Features | Online Dating – A Social Experiment

Features | Online Dating – A Social Experiment

Online dating sites now allow for us to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of places. This is both a good and a bad thing. In the virtual world, you might bump into the love of your life or you might gain unwanted attention from creeps, but then the same could be said for real life. Brigitte Phillips decided to make a fake profile, writing the most unconventional ‘about me’ possible in order to see what kinds of attention she gained.

 

It was the Christmas Break of 2012, and I had just come out of a long term relationship. In order to combat the boredom of a month in the middle of nowhere after spending my first semester at uni, I decided to do what others have done before me, and make an OkCupid account. At that point in time, screenshots of terrible ‘nice guy’ profiles and creepy messages were making the rounds on the internet and quite frankly I wanted to get in on the action. I decided to turn this venture into my own little social experiment, creating a profile with some of the most ridiculous answers to the ‘about me’ questions possible.

I even mentioned above that this was not even a serious profile. Once I was suitable satisfied with the monster I had created, I sat back and let the magic happen. It was truly incredible how quickly the matches started rolling in. By no means were they all idiots, many lovely people participate in online dating and it is pleasant for everyone involved, however the vast majority of the first people I encountered were, to put it politely, completely flipping bonkers.

What’s worse is a sizable chunk of them didn’t seem to have even read my profile. Despite the fact that most of my profile was at best passive aggressive and at worst completely crazy, I would receive dozens of messages a day telling me that I ‘seemed nice’. I felt judged on a superficial level, and it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Wasn’t there more to online dating than the aesthetics of the candidates?

After days of wading through a sea of misogyny, I came across the best message that I think I ever received on that website.

It was like I had hit the jackpot. The sadist in me was definitely tempted to comply, even if it was just to get some good blogging material. However, he became more and more needy, sending me at least one message a day, asking if I wanted to set him any challenges. Through a combination of not wanting to lead him on, and not actually being able to come up with any fun challenges, I let him go.

However, he didn’t truly exemplify what I came to OkCupid for. He was just a guy, who was very open and forward about his kink and knew what he wanted. No, the man I had been waiting for was just around the corner. This profile lived in the magical realm of either fiction, or a genuine actual real life prat.

This guy listed what he required from his fellow OkCupid users: “What im looking for in a girl: you should be someone who isnt gunna cheat on me (come on you wont score a guy like me again lol). you cant be fat no offence but really im not into that at all. So yeah if you are looking for a nice guy to keep you warm on cold nights im your man”. He also told me that I would be a 9/10 if I lost some weight and he also appeared to be a racist; it was like the Holy Trinity of OkCupid. Funnily enough, when asked if his life was a movie, which genre would it be, he replied with horror. A date with him certainly would be my worst nightmare. He even had the audacity to refer to himself as a ‘nice guy’. You couldn’t make it up.

Unfortunately, after a couple of months, the hilarious messages started to drop off and instead I was getting messages from people who were genuinely interested in me, despite the  things I had written on my profile. Even now as I look through the hundreds of unread messages on my now dormant account, I feel a pang of guilt. Yet despite the fact that I have happily been in a relationship for the past few months, I still keep my account open, hoping upon hope that I will get messages as fantastic as I used to back in my halcyon days of OkCupid.

 

Brigitte Phillips

Image property of match.com

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