It is a common internet business model. You offer a free service which is largely useful, but has less functionality than the version which your “premium” customers pay for. On the music service Pandora you can pay to vanish the ads. Many free online games have the capacity to buy better tools or weapons or more stylish apparel for your avatar.
OK Cupid uses this model. You can not, for example, sort for people who polyamorous without paying the service. Last month I finally caved and gave them $20 for a month subscription so I could filter the way I wanted to. Smart move. [My clever friend Mike Ewall thinks that you don’t to pay for this. So you should certainly try without.]
When my distance range was set wide enough I found out that I had nearly 99% matches with all the residents of Tupelo North (ex-communards who defected to Northhampton) Angie, Ethan and Clementine. No surprise here, they are people I already had strong affinity with and connections to.
There were also now high match polyamorous people I had never met or seen online before, including Gypsy. [Before my friends working on cultural appropriation get upset about my use of this pseudonym, she has Romani blood, speaks Romanian (while not quite Romani language, but related), born in the region and has legitimate claim to this heritage, though she does not take it.] She left central Europe when she was 8 and has a charming euromutt English accent.
I read her profile, looked at many of the hundreds of questions we had both answered on OKC. We flirted online, then moved to email, text messages and phone. On the way up to this last weekends Point A meeting we got together for a couple hours in the DC suburbs waiting for the rush hour traffic to clear.
I can’t remember the last time I went on “a date” in most senses of this term. But neither of us had trouble finding things to talk about. She is a fierce atheist, polyglot (conversant in 5 languages), home schooling mom and CEO of her own manufacturing company. Her former occupations are as diverse as molecular biologist, classicist and stripper. I arrived worried she would be intimidatingly smart. But these fears quickly vanished, smart certainly but hardly intimidating – warm, quirky, open. It was a lovely experience, with someone I never would have found without this service. I’m rethinking my critique of OKC.
There will certainly be another date. Stay tuned.
Update Aug 2015: She is now one of the most important people in my life.
I’m looking for a bromance.
I can’t seem to find one?
Does anyone want to be my bro and go to hockey games with me?
I realize what I am lacking in my life is radical heteronormativity. I’m sure there are some poly dudes I can relate to who are into chugging beer, anarcho-communism, beer pong, protesting nukes, hockey, and twerking on consenting (of course!) blonde babes . I feel there is a dark hole inside of me that is missing someone to converse about this with.
Could I use Okcupid?
Does anyone know anyone who would be my bro?
[This guest post was written by Belladonna Took – in the spirit of my son, she said “if you are going to leave your wordpress account open on computers all over Acorn i am going to write posts in it”]
i am part of a secret Facebook polyamory group. Some of the people, for lots of different legitimate, (though often sad), reasons can not be public with their sexual identity. The other day a new person was added to the group and the way they were introduced is with a link to their OKCupid profile. i clicked thru to look at the profile and was told that i could not see it, because i did not have a profile on OKCupid myself. i had been thinking about making a profile for a while, not because i need more romantic relationships, but because i believe the platform is extremely powerful and i wanted to understand it better. So this restriction set me to crafting one for myself.
i have lots of profiles. i have a Facebook one, a LinkedIn one, i have both the official one on wikipedia and the banned one (which is much better). So i did not think it would be a big deal to craft one for OKC (as it is often abbreviated). i was, once again, completely wrong.
The first thing that happened was OKC matched me up with a gal from Twin Oaks, who while i quite like her, would be a terrible romantic partner and both of us knew this instantly. And she is not polyamorous.
OKcupid had a lot of trouble matching me to anyone else. i thought at first this was because of my age, and being married, and being poly and being located out in the middle of no where. But again i was wrong.
Cassandra looked at my profile and started to tell me all the things that were wrong with it. i realized that i had done it poorly and she offered to help fix it, including answering questions for me to filter out non-poly people from finding high matches with me. Unsurprisingly, after she answered a bunch of questions for me hers and my profiles matched much better. She also added a bunch of pictures and edited my bio and other identity questions.
And then once Cassandra made these enhancements i started to get more people responding to my profile, despite the basic information still being the same. i did not even see that Cassandra had put in this beautiful picture (which she took) of Mac and i kissing.
One of the women responding to my profile asked if including this image actually helped me find new intimates. When she asked i was unaware the picture was on my profile, but i assure her that it did work effectively as a filter for people who have jealousy problems – which would be a total deal breaker for someone thinking of getting involved with me.
So now that i have worked with OKCupid for a while, i have a less rarefied attitude towards it. Many of the questions are weak, it has been bought out by Match.com, so there are endless ads on it. And while i am not actually looking for a new girlfriend it is a bit depressing to see myself so poorly matched.
But i am going on a double date with Mac and Cassandra and her partner tomorrow. It turns out Cassandra and i have a high match.
Let’s back up a moment and assume you don’t know much about the online dating world and OkCupid in particular. [i will confess i have never actually been on OkCupid, so i am telling you my story of what i think is happening there.] One of the things you perhaps don’t know about me is that i am a matchmaker of sorts. I help people find communities, romantic partners and allies in being able to live in the countries that they wish to reside in.
For finding a romantic partner there is no better service (if you are reading this blog) than OkCupid*. It is free (it has ads), it is vast, it has fun surveys and quizs to fill out to help you find people who might have similar values to you and you can write your own quizs and contribute to the content of the social network. It is groovy in three dozen ways; it is to online dating what wikipedia is to online general knowledge. 7 out of 8 friends or allies who have found new romantic partners in the last two years have found them through this service, it is very powerful.
And with any great power comes great danger. For example what would you think if someone answered “yes” to the following question:
Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?
This question and others like it are being asked in surveys on OkCupid, but they were developed for criminal institutions to try to discover rapists, who had not already been caught. You will likely not be surprised that the people who said “yes” to this statement are found statistically more likely to be involved in a rape assault. And it turns out that there are a fair few people who answer yes to this question.
So you put this new filter on and a request or message comes thru and the computer tells you this person is high risk. Then presumably you block or discourage the person who gets the red flag. Might you possibly be blocking the suitor of your dreams? Probably not and who cares. The pool is big enough so that we should be throwing away all the fish that are likely poisoned.
The filter is not perfect, of course. Some folks interested in sexual assault are smart enough to get that this question is a trap, so add on apps are no alternative for good judgement. But it is another addition to the portfolio of tools which are helping push back on rape and build a sexy consent culture.
* I should say if you are a Christian looking for another Christian you might have better luck at eHarmony than OkCupid. But i would not recommend this site politically, because it does not permit people to search for intimates of the same gender.
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