it started with someone’s okcupid experiment

Recently, a guy conducted an experiment.  In short, this guy put up a fake profile pretending to be a very pretty 23-year old.  He wanted to see how many men would still try to date her even when she came across as completely bat-shit-crazy in her written profile and during communication.

You may have read it about it elsewhere.  I read about it on GawkerHere is where you can find the author’s original post.

It’s not the first time someone has done this for “anthropological” reasons, and it certainly won’t be the last.  Nothing revealed was a surprise.  It was predictable.  Some men (but not all) will put up with high levels of “crazy talk” just for a pretty face or to get laid.

Moving slightly away from this experiment, there was a comment on Gawker that put into words exactly how most of us who are online dating and hoping to meet someone real for something (hopefully) serious feel.  It started out with a man commenting that he was on OKCupid and he felt like he was having a tough time because he thought he was “plain looking” though he didn’t consider himself “that ugly.”  He marveled that this fake profile of a hot girl got so many views and emails in the first 6 hours it was up.  He said he averaged a few views a day and a couple of messages a month and wondered about the gender dynamics and experiences of OKC.  A woman replied to his comment and it really just sums up how I (and many others) feel when it comes to the messages I receive and how I’m trying to deal with the online dating experience.

Here it is:

“As a woman who was on OKC and will probably go on again, yes, the women get bombarded. It sets you up to not really even have the time to go perusing guys’ profiles and reach out to them–you’ve got eleventy hundred messages to reply to, weeeee.

Here are the dealbreakers, if you are looking for someone who knows which end is up: every guy who said “yr hot” was deleted. Every guy that made a transparent critical jab in order to play the insecurity game was deleted. Every guy that only fawned was deleted–if you like someone that much without knowing them, you don’t know much and you cannot be trusted.

The second and last of two guys I met with was neither fawning nor critical–just curious in his first message. He asked me a question. The question was drawn from something I had said in my profile, meaning he had carefully read and thought about what I wrote. And because it seemed like he was actually curious about understanding me better, I was compelled to respond.

That is what women want–for someone to “get it.” So a conversation was started–not about attraction–just a conversation. From that conversation, it was easy to check in one night and find that we were both in the mood to get a drink.

So the best advice I can give you is to try to read the women on the dating site as you would like to be read–as a complex real person, not a free dinner, or a gym-goer, or someone that will “treat her like a queen.” None of that is real at all. You will only hook idiots if they respond to such things.

You’re not ugly. The guy I fell for was, but it didn’t matter because of the confidence. I don’t have advice for getting girls to pursue you–they won’t on OKC. I am just telling you that your looks have nothing to do with it; you absolutely must be patient and persistent if you think you have the seed of a conversation starting, and above all, take it lightly. 90% of the people in the world are dumbasses. Don’t sweat it. You MUST NOT sweat it. Don’t smell like fear. Smell like you are curious about the world, intrigued, secure with yourself and looking to expand into really “getting” another person. Easier said than done, I know, and frankly if someone told me this shit, I’d be like, “Okay you have fun with that.” So I don’t think it’s fair in the least. But this is how I think things work in that venue.”

It’s simple, guys and girls, engage the person you are messaging.  The obvious generic copy’n’paste jobs show no real interest.  It doesn’t show me that you even read my profile or care to know anything about me beyond what I look like.  All you have to mention is ONE thing.  If you are super lazy, pick the one section out of the whole profile that has the fewest words, read it, and mention it.  That will at least give you a better chance of initiating communication, which can lead to a date, which can lead to friendship, sex, dating, marriage, whatever you are looking for.

P.S. The young man who started this string of commenting and insights received mostly positive feedback.  He wound up caving into one request that he post a pic and he did.  He was cute and a far cry from many of the kinda creepy looking guys on OKC.  People were encouraging and hopefully he takes the sound advice and doesn’t let the disappointment of fewer views and messages bring him down.



  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. The first message is huge in regards to making your actual intentions known. I typically always try to send a couple small paragraphs.

    An interesting parallel to this, just last night I changed my ‘primary’ photo on OKC due to a friend’s recommendation (she said I looked hot in it). I did. Within 12 hours I had received a message from a girl whom I had not been in a conversation with prior.

    Good in regards to the extremely low odds a guy ever receives a message first. Is there a bad? Yup. All it said was “Hi, how are you?”

    I appreciate a woman who is will to put herself out there and make first contact, but seriously…you have an entire profile to draw conversation topics from. Expect that I have the same standards as you would when it comes to being contacted.

    • Exactly! Same rules apply to women…read the profile and personalize your message! It makes a world of difference to stand out among the boring same old, same old tired notes.

  2. This is a great experiment. It’s definitely true that the dynamic is vastly different for men on OKCupid than for women. I don’t mind it, though, and I’ve had some successes on the site.

    Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

    • Thanks for the comment! It was an interesting experiment, though it didn’t really tell us anything that years of dating has taught us. But it is also great to see how it brings out good and interesting feedback from the reading audience.

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