Message Monday – Nonsensical Questions

Happy Monday everyone!! A few notes before we get to this week’s featured message.

  • I have to confess that I was horrified when I read L’s most recent post about transition lenses. But not for the reasons that she and our lovely readers who commented were. I was horrified because I have always wanted transition lenses. I have atrocious vision. I got glasses in the 2nd grade (tragically enormous glasses), and my eyes haven’t stopped getting worse since. I’ve never lived in a world where I can just walk outside and throw on sunglasses. I have to either have prescription sunglasses made, or I have to be wearing contacts already. When I first saw transition lenses, I immediately wanted them. They’re so effortless. I walk out into the sun, and I’ve got sunglasses on! I walk back inside, I’ve got regular glasses on! But sadly, transition lenses have never been in the cards for me. My prescription is a) already very expensive, and b) apparently doesn’t lend itself well to transition lenses. This now seems to be a blessing in disguise, seeing as what a date repellent they seem to be. But a dream of mine has now died. Thank you L for enlightening me and all the other poor souls out there who hoped to someday get transition lenses.
  • I wish I could attribute my absence lately to all the dates I’m going on. The truth is that I haven’t been on a date since I moved back to New York. So we’re still working on that front. The good news is that, now that I finally have a job that I like and I’m not miserable for 10 hours every day, I’m a much more agreeable person (as much as I can be at least – I still generally hate people). So I’m hoping that that positive is going to rub off on the rest of my life.
  • A new bar opened up in my town last weekend, and I went to the opening. It was more of a high school reunion that I expected, which was overwhelming. I need to figure out where to go to meet people who aren’t the guy I married (and subsequently divorced because he wanted kids and I didn’t) for a high school economics assignment senior year. That’s proving more difficult that I anticipated.

Moving on. This past week I received the below in my inbox:

nonsensical question

Can anyone tell me what the hell he’s talking about? Literally anyone? Because I have no idea. I took a screenshot and sent it to S and L with the caption “Another day, another nonsensical message from a guy.” I mean, setting aside the myriad grammatical errors, how did I find what out? I don’t even understand the question.

Also, why is this a thing that I’ve now been asked not once, but twice? Do I unknowingly possess secrets of the universe or something?

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The Post that Gave D a Nervous Breakdown

We’re resurrecting Pic of the Week, because if we didn’t with this picture, we would be legally obligated to turn in our blogger cards. This guy popped up as one of my “matches” on Hinge (more on Hinge in a later post).

The problem is, I don’t even know where to begin with this one…

Girls and Corpses

This is a real publication?!?

What.

The.

FUCK?!

Let me tell you, I just fell into a really fucking weird internet wormhole researching this magazine. You know, the “world’s first comedy magazine about death” that sometimes does photo shoots in real live morgues. 24 issues may not seem like a lot, but you go look at 24 magazine covers featuring scantily clad women getting up close and personal with dead bodies and try to tell me with a straight face that you don’t feel forever unclean.

I mean, it’s endorsed by Sheri Moon Zombie, which is literally all I need to know about it. True story – I was once conned into watching The Devil’s Rejects on my birthday, by the guy I was seeing when I started law school, and I will never be the same. I lost so much that day: innocence, the contents of my stomach, the will to live. (I may or may not have just taken a break to text him “remember that time you ruined my birthday by making me watch The Devil’s Rejects? you still owe me for that.”). I’m getting sidetracked. All these corpses, plus that movie trailer (that I inexplicably watched despite the fact that every scene of that movie is seared into my brain and will haunt me for all of eternity), has really put me in a weird place today. What I’m trying to say is, a good litmus test of how much I would enjoy something is to ask “would Sheri Moon Zombie like this?” If the answer is yes, get it the fuck away from me. I don’t care if it’s heavy on satire and meant as “a commentary on advertising, where you put a beautiful girl next to anything to sell it.” I just. NO.

Back to the picture at hand. Literally, because on the cover of the issue this dude is displaying, the corpse is getting a little handsy up underneath that bathing suit. It’s so creepy and gross, but I can’t look away. Why is the corpse feeling up this Baywatch model? WHY IS THIS HOW I SPENT MY DAY IN BETWEEN CLOSINGS?!

Among all the other burning questions I have about this, the one that is most relevant to this blog is: why is this one of this dude’s featured profile pics? What is this picture supposed to tell me about him? Because the first thing that came to my mind was “I’ll probably murder you and do unspeakable things to your dead body.” Granted, I now know that this a satire/comedy magazine, but that doesn’t really eliminate the possibility that this dude is a deranged psychopath who just enjoys the spread and doesn’t give a shit about the articles. The necrophiliac’s Playboy, if you will.

That last sentence has me wondering how my life has come to this point, where I’m describing things as “the necrophiliac’s Playboy.” I take it back – Wallet Chain (the nickname my friends “affectionately” gave the guy I dated in law school) didn’t ruin my life.

Online dating did.

And One Podunk Town…

S mentioned that one of us was moving to the ‘burbs. That would be me (which you probably already figured out from the color-coded comment “the ‘burbs is a generous description for where I’m headed.”) That comment was maybe a liiiiitle exaggerated. Poughkeepsie, NY isn’t really a little podunk town. Technically speaking, it’s actually a city, so our tagline can probably stay as is. But it feels a lot like a podunk town. I can say that, because it’s where I grew up.

That’s right folks. I moved home. Specifically, into my younger brother’s childhood bedroom (he took over my bedroom when I was off at college – teenage boys are disgusting, and also I’m too lazy to swap rooms). This move transpired really quickly, and very unexpectedly, so my parents are letting me stay at home for a a little bit to give me enough time to find a place I like, rather than just whatever was available in the couple weeks between accepting a job back home and moving back home. They’re the best. (It’s not lost on me that I once said that a guy who lives with his parents raises a red flag, and here I am, 30 and living with my parents (though just for 2-3 months, max) At least I’m employed, right?)

It feels really strange to be back here. I left for Boston when I was 18. That was 12 years ago. The only place I’ve ever lived as an adult is Boston. And even though I’ve come home plenty over the last 12 years, it’s so different to be living here again. I’ve only been home for 2 weeks, but in that time I’ve re-lived a lot of forgotten memories running errands and being down on Main Street for work. It’s really bizarre to live and work somewhere so familiar, but at the same time so in the past. This is going to be really fucking weird. Weird in general, and weird for dating. And that’s what you all come here to read about, now isn’t it?

I had 3 weeks between when I accepted this new job and gave my notice, and when I actually moved. Getting matches and viewing profiles of eligible bachelors in the greater Boston area, when I was packing to move over 3 hours away, got real old real fast. So I changed my location on OKC, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge.

It took 24 hours before Hinge matched me with someone I went to high school with.

First of all, I knew that would be coming, but christ it happened fast. Is that some sort of sign? I didn’t have a horrible high school existence, but still. What a jarring start to my transition home. Secondly, there are actually a handful or so of guys that I went to high school with that I would happily date. Sadly, none of them were this match. At first I just knew that he looked familiar. And then, perusing his pictures, I saw someone else that I immediately recognized, and it hit me who the match was. A nice enough guy, but not someone I would ever date for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the other person I recognized in the photos. The two have always been close. And as I explained to one of my closest friends from high school, I would rather die alone and be eaten by 408 cats than live a life that includes that asshole friend in any capacity.

I’ve since been matched with a few more guys from high school, none of whom I would date either (though I don’t hate any of their friends, so maybe…).

I also started messaging with a guy on OKC who seemed really cool and who I was actually excited about meeting. And then, the week we intended to plan a date, he informed me that he had just accepted a job down in Maryland and would be moving out of the state. Right as I was moving in. Oh universe… Lastly, on the online front, there was a guy who texted me to death, without making any attempt to actually meet me in person. I just wasn’t interested enough to ask him out, so that faded out.

There is a guy offline that I’ve been interested in for a long time. But since we lived 4 hours away from each other, I never did much about it. By never did much, I mean drunkenly texted him about my feelings once last spring at 1 am after having been out with him and a bunch of others all night. Can you say sloppy drunk?

Although nothing came of that text, I have a feeling that had more to do with distance than anything else. We’ll see if that feeling is right or not, now that I live a lot closer and will be seeing him a lot more. Cross your fingers, ’cause he’s definitely got a little Tim Riggins in him (the good parts, not the emotionally unstable parts).

So – I’m back in New York. This is going to be verrrrrrry interesting. Guys find race car border wallpaper sexy right?

That time D went on 2 Dates in 1 Day

Well hello there everyone. Happy Monday! I know we’ve been a little delinquent on our posting lately. We’re working on it, we promise! And to prove it to you, on this Monday, rather than a standard Message Monday post, I’ve got a post about a real date! That I went on! This is a dating blog, after all, so we should probably tell you about these things. This particular date was awhile back. In fact, this post is actually long overdue. Remember that time I alluded to the time I went on 2 dates in 1 day? Well, today’s the day I finally tell you all about it.

Back in mid-April (sidenote: how the F is it already the end of August?), I was dating D. As you may recall, following what ended up being our last date, on a Saturday afternoon, I went on an impromptu first date with another guy. We’ll call him Gillette. As luck would have it, the ultimate take away from my date with Gillette was that I really did like D. Annnnnd then D dumped me 4 days later. I don’t know if that’s karma, or what, but I know I probably won’t ever go on 2 dates in 1 day again.

To backtrack, earlier that week I got a message from Gillette on OKC. A really, really great message. Of the unicorn variety. And even though I was seeing D, that was still new, and I admittedly had a few reservations about getting involved with D. So I responded to Gillette, because unicorns are such a rare and mystical thing, and we hit it off immediately. He was a fantastic texter, and I’m super picky about texting. He was really funny, and there was a LOT of banter. I love banter. So when he texted me late Saturday afternoon and asked if I wanted to get dinner, I rolled with it. (By rolled with it, I mean called S AND L panicking that accepting made me a super slut somehow). 

He’d never had hibachi, and there’s a hibachi restaurant at Patriot Place, the outdoor mall built around Gillette stadium. His pictures, though not an outright lie, were misleading. But as soon as we got into the restaurant, the charming, witty banter began, and I had a blast with him. I thought it would be a little awkward at first, because when we got there, I remembered that hibachi is typically shared with strangers, but we had such a good rapor that that aspect wasn’t weird at all.

When we had finished our meal, he asked if I wanted to take a walk. I agreed, but wanted to head to my car first to grab a coat, and to drop off my leftovers. Long story short, we ended up driving over to the parking lot by the nature trail and cranberry bog that are behind the stadium, under the guise of taking our walk there. We didn’t even get out of the car. Well, that’s technically not true. We did get out of the car, but only to the get into the backseat for more comfortable make-out conditions. Also, I did a little re-arranging of stuff from the backseat to the trunk, because as Norman Bates can attest, the interior of my car is “not bad,” but also not great. My trunk is full of a bunch of random shit, including a sleeping bag I affectionately call The Sleeping Bag of Broken Dreams (which has actually come in really handy on more than one occasion). Which made the task of moving the junk that had accumulated in my back seat to the trunk comical. But I digress.

Now, to give you the full effect, let me just describe to you the conditions. This parking lot is more just like a gravel pit. There were maybe 3 other cars parked, and about 20 or so dry-docked boats in shrink wrap. Can you say romance? It was still light out, and I parked my trusty little Corolla in the most conspicuous spot possible. AKA right out in the open, rather than tucked in between two boats.

We ended up making out in the back of my car for awhile. I knew almost immediately that I was not into Gillette at all, despite the genuinely good time I had had at dinner. He was not a very good kisser. I know the existence of bad kissers is a hotly debated topic (actually, it’s not, because everyone knows bad kissers exist in this world), so I’ll rephrase and say that his style was not my favorite – he was of the sloppy variety. Also, all I could really think about the whole time was that I really wanted to be making out with D. But, Gillette wasn’t a totally terrible kisser either, and it was nice to be making out with someone (D was getting over a cold so there had been no making out earlier in the day while I was with him).

The next day Gillette texted me asking to see me again. I felt bad letting him down, but he was super awesome about it. I figured that was the last I would hear from Gillette.

I left the whole thing feeling a little bad about both Gillette and D, and kind of skeezy for going on 2 dates in 1 day. It’s not something I’ll likely ever repeat. I can barely handle going out with multiple guys in a week when there’s a chance that I’ll see at least one of them again. I know there’s no reason to feel bad about that, but it’s just not my style.

I wrote the bones of this post awhile ago, but had yet to finish it until this past weekend. Cut to a little over a month ago. I was seeing someone (who I’m no longer seeing, womp womp, and I’m not really ready to address it on the blog yet). Gillette texted me out of the blue and started chatting me up. He asked if I wanted to “hook up” again. I told him I was seeing someone. He said that he had started seeing someone too, but they weren’t exclusive yet, and I had been fun to hook up with. “Are you and your guy exclusive yet?” Ohhhh, Gillette, how the mighty have fallen. I mean, at no point were you actually mighty, but you had been a pleasant memory until that question.

I have a bunch of stuff to post about in the near future. I promise to be better about actually posting, rather than just thinking about it on the commuter rail. In the meantime, I know L has a date story to regale you all with later this week. We’re getting back on track folks (you know, if “on track” means going on dates that are blog worthy for all the wrong reasons). Good job us!

Thoughts on the Okcupid experiments from three reluctant guinea pigs

Happy Friday, readers!

When the story of Okcupid’s experiments broke a few weeks ago, the Stucu ladies were already in a bit of a dark place. Dating-wise, it’s been a wildly unsuccessful summer for the three of us, so it was total insult to injury when Okcupid plopped a big cherry on our shit sundae by announcing that we may have been unwitting, unwilling participants in some… experiments. If you haven’t read up on what happened, check out some of the coverage here, and here and here. Awesome. We appear to be dating in The Truman Show! Which come to think of it would explain a lot.

ts rain

Source: gifstumblr.com

Sure enough, soon after the news broke, LSD received this fun email from Okc’s evil masterminds:

okc

janice

Source: meangirlgifs.tumblr.com

If you’re scratching your head after reading that and saying, “What the fuck?” then that makes four of us (five if we include Janis Ian). First of all, I’d just like to point out that this company clearly has a fetish for dehumanizing its users by comparing us to gross, thoroughly un-cute animals. In January it was scorpions, now it’s large rodents. Okcupid, if you’re going to compare single people to animals, can you at least use cute ones? Or funny, nostalgic ones? These guys seem particularly appropriate:

Pues no hay nadie perfecto..

Source: ffffound.com

Anyway, next time you have something controversial to tell us, maybe don’t let a 17 year old unpaid summer intern put together the “artwork” in MS Paint and fire it off to your users. You fools.

Before my rage bubbles over too much, let’s get to the point of this post, which is to share our thoughts on the experiments themselves (SPOILER ALERT: we’re not thrilled). If you’re Bill Nye or something, and want to read the full, original text about the experiments before you take our incredibly unbiased words for what they are worth, check them out here. Three of them, three of us. #winning.

Experiment #1: LOVE IS BLIND, OR SHOULD BE

Quick summary: for a period of time one day back in January OKC declared it Love is Blind Day and hid all user profile pics. What they “found out” shouldn’t surprise anyone. At all.

First, while profile pics were hidden, there were WAY less first messages sent, compared to a “typical Tuesday.” It looks like an average of around 3,000 messages per hour for the entire time the experiment was running, when it’s normally around 20,000 – 30,000. Essentially, most people didn’t want anything to do with Love is Blind Day.

love is blind

Of the new conversations that were started in that period, people responded more often, and allegedly exchanged contact details more often. 

compared to a typical tuesday

I wasn’t surprised by this either. Far fewer conversations were started. So it makes sense that of the ones that were, they progressed further/faster. The people who participated in Love is Blind day were the very types who don’t place a really heavy emphasis on looks. Or at least the ones who don’t think they do. More on that in a little bit.

As an aside, while I had a depressing personal reaction to some of the results (see below), this is actually the only part of this experiment itself that bothers me. Are the people at OKC routinely monitoring the contents of all messages exchanged, like some creepy big brother matchmaker? Or was it just during this “experiment” to see what happened? I mean, I know I’m using their service, so I don’t expect that messages are totally private. But the idea that rather than just policing messages that people report as inappropriate, someone is over at OKC headquarters watching conversations progress and timing how long it takes for phone numbers to be exchanged, makes me never want to send another message.

Lastly, OKC kept track of how many of the conversations started during the Love is Blind period actually continued once profile pics were restored. The trend was overwhelmingly to abandon the conversation. No matter how deep into the conversation people were. Even after the exchange of 12 messages, there was still a more likely chance that the conversation would end rather than continue. 

convos in progress when pics came back 

This is one of those results that surprises me, but also doesn’t. I mean, on the one hand, I don’t routinely exchange 12 messages with someone who I don’t find interesting. And yet, even those conversations that were going seemingly well tended to end once profile pics were restored. But, on the other hand, we live in a world that places a high value on certain kinds of physical attributes. So basically, Love is Blind day proved that the majority of people who claim “personality is more important to me than looks” are big fat liars. Because like I said above, those are the people who were much more likely to give Love is Blind day a chance. OKC users are big fat liars? That is SHOCKING.

I’d like to think I’m open-minded enough that if we were having a good conversation, but the person turned out to not be my type physically, I’d continue the conversation. i’ve responded to great messages from people whose pictures didn’t strike my fancy right away. Because, despite my tendency to form extreme crushes on total strangers (just last week I fell in love with a stranger on the T), physical attraction is also something that can build for me. Obviously, there has to be some baseline attraction. But much like a hot guy can become hideous based on his personality, a normal guy can become really attractive once I get to know him. And similarly, I’d like to think that there are others out there with the same outlook. But then I read about this experiment, and quite frankly, it made me super sad about the future of my dating life. I’m not especially attractive. Now, I don’t think I’m hideous either. It’s just that I would categorize myself as fairly plain. At least as far as looks go. I’m far from plain personality wise. I’ve got that in spades, and I like who I am. But if looks really are as important to online dating as they appear to be, then I don’t know why I’m bothering with this in the first place. Lord knows I get fewer messages, and go on fewer dates, than L and S. That’s never really bothered me before. I mean, we’re all different people with different tastes, living in different cities. And I tend to be more attracted to country boys (read: hicks), which is not the most populous type of guy in Boston. But then this “experiment” came out, and all I could think was, “well now I know the real reason I’ve been so unsuccessful.” (Oh man, D, now I’m sad. I’m going to resist the urge to throw out a patronizing “Ra-ra you are so amazing I wish we were both into women so I could date you right now”, even though that’s what I genuinely think. Instead I’m going to agree that the dating game can be a serious self esteem crusher. Show me a person who online dates and doesn’t go to this place at some point or another:

and I will show you a liar. Or possibly just a straight man (badum-ching!). Anyway, D, I just wanted to say I love you. Publicly. On our blog. And totally derail this post. Sorry, readers…)

have a lot of feelings

Source: perezhilton.com

Okay, I think I’ve gotten a hold of myself. Carry on, ladies.

I mean, the take-aways here are essentially: 1) virtually no one is interested in pictureless online dating; and 2) the world is a shallow place.

Experiment #2: SO, WHAT’S A PICTURE WORTH?

Did someone say shallow? L here, LSD’s admittedly most shallow contributor, ready to take on experiment numero dos. Basically, OKC asked a sample of users to rate other users’ profiles and pictures separately, and here is what they found:

looks-v-personality

In case, unlike me and S, who had a high school statistics teacher who was so amazing that his last name actually RHYMED with a deity, you have trouble interpreting scatter-plots, let me break it down for you: OKC users, by and large, rated people the same rating for looks and for personality. Now, this means one of two things:

1. People are truly as nice, kind, funny, and cool as they are good looking. Naomi Campbell is a good example of this. She is not only beautiful, but a really nice person.

That’s why she just hit Oprah with her cellphone. OPRAH, PEOPLE!

And before Gandhi passed away, “People Magazine” was frequently putting him on their “50 Most Beautiful People” list. I believe that Paul Wellstone will be remembered not as one of the most compassionate, progressive legislators of our time, but as 2008’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

OH WAIT…

2. What’s that you say? The above paragraphs reek of sarcasm? You’re right, dear readers, they do, because the much more plausible explanation for this graph is that OKC users are just really shallow and care WAYYY more about what you look like than what you write in your profile. Clearly, the mad scientists at OKC had this hypothesis as well, so they decided to take their experiment one step further: Remove profile text altogether and see if users’ rankings of people differed at all from when they could see profile text. And sure ’nuff, what did they find?

profile-text-experiment

Yup, same basic trend: profile text had very little to do with rankings.

Is this surprising to me? No. As the mastermind behind Tacosdelish, I’ve actually seen firsthand that many people could care less about what you put in your profile, or even what you say when you’re messaging with them. But does that mean that we should all give up unless we have really hot profile pics to post? Not at all, and let me tell you why:

  1. You can screen out a lot of crazy by looking at a profile. One of our mottos here at StuCu is “live every day like it will be your last because there is a good chance you’ll meet a murderer when you’re online dating and he’ll kill you.” Believe it or not, there are a staggering number of potential murderers (as well as womanizers, mentally unstable trainwrecks, perverts, and general fools) who actually just admit to being these things on their profiles. And no matter what a guy looks like in his pictures, if there are major crazy flags in his profile, I screen him out.
  2. A profile gives you something to message about. How many times have we complained on this blog about getting generic messages? Or messages just about our looks? Or messages that were actually intended for Angela Merkel? Your profile gives people the ability to start some sort of conversation with you, or, at the very least, make a witty joke before they ask you out for drinks. 
  3. Most people are just average looking. I’m not trying to pretend I’m better then the average OKC user. I didn’t message a single person or return messages on “love is blind” day because love is not blind.  I am actually legally blind in my left eye, so I know what it is to be blind, and LOVE IS NOT. I need to be attracted to the person I’m going out with, and he needs to be attracted to me, or otherwise the date is a huge waste of time (unless we end up starting a book club or write a plan for world domination or something). Now, I know that attraction can develop over time, but I do think this is only true up to a certain point. That is why, when I’m evaluating people’s profiles and deciding whether to message them or message them back, I put them into  one of three categories. (See, now do you understand why I’m the shallow blogger?) :
    • Category 1: I can’t get past his looks. The pics they posted are just not attractive to me. (15% of men)
    • Category 2: They look passable. This means they have at least one picture that I find attractive, and no pictures that scare me. (65% of men)
    • Category 3: They look super hot. Every picture they posted is attractive to me. (10% of men)

So here’s the thing. Most men fall into Category 2. (I actually think even MORE men could graduate from Category 1 to Category 2 if they stopped posting idiotic bathroom selfies or creepy pics of them in bed.) And, if you’re Cateogry 2, I read your profile to get more information.  Because I believe there is a chance we could have a decent date/you could be the love of my life. So, if there is nothing in your profile, or if it is full of stupid adjectives and not so subtle digs at women, then I will GTFO and move on (sadly, I’d say more than HALF of the Category 2 guys weed themselves out this way). But, if we have even a little bit in common and you are not a She-Man-Woman-Hater, I’ll message you back.

Now,  if you’re Category 1, I do just skip your profile and continue on my way. Sorry. I’m not as nice a person as Naomi Campbell, ok? And, Category 3 guys do get a VERY LENIENT read on the profile, and I’ve been known to go out with a couple Category 3 guys whose profiles have expressed thinly veiled chauvinism or some pretty egregious spelling errors. But this has almost NEVER turned out well for me, so honestly, I do this less and less.

The big takeaway here: Most of us look like average, Category 2 people, and so what people think of our looks is pretty subjective.  So keep on writing those profiles boys. Unless of course, you’re so hot, you look good even when you’re pumping gas

RYAN GOS PUMPING GAS

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/15-insanely-sexy-pictures-of-ryan-gosling-pumping-gas#3qqsag1

Then my answer is YES YES YES.

Experiment #3: THE POWER OF SUGGESTION

I actually asked L and D if I could take this one, because I think it’s the most brazen (and therefore, offensive) of the three experiments. While the first two covered looks and how much they matter (shocker: they matter a lot. I could have told you that, fools) this third one was about compatibility. Basically Okcupid attempted to figure out whether people’s behavior on the site could be influenced by being told they were “good” or “bad” matches when in reality they were the opposite. They did this by manipulating the match percentage of a sample of users and watching what happened. Here’s what the Okc nerds say about match percentage in their blog post:

“By all our internal measures, the “match percentage” we calculate for users is very good at predicting relationships. It correlates with message success, conversation length, whether people actually exchange contact information, and so on. But in the back of our minds, there’s always been the possibility: maybe it works just because we tell people it does. Maybe people just like each other because they think they’re supposed to? Like how Jay-Z still sells albums?”

burn

Source: www.goodreads.com

Um, let’s leave Jay-Z out of this, shall we, Okcupid?

Anyway, I’ll come back to my thoughts on match percentage in a sec. For part one of this experiment, Okcupid told people with low match percentages (30%)  that they were super compatible by making the percentages appear as 90%. Unsurprisingly, those people sent more first messages than those who saw the actual lower percentages.

okc1

Then they wondered, does this perceived compatibility cause people to actually hit it off and send more than just a first message? According to their data yes, it does:

okc2

Anyway, these results were stressing the Okc peeps out, because they basically suggested that their match percentage algorithm was worthless. So they flipped it and reversed it: this time around they told actual “good” matches (90%) that they were “bad” matches (30%) and saw the same general trend. Here are all the results displayed all together:

okc3

In summary, according to Okcupid, users can be influenced to message more often if they’re told they’re a good match, and less often if they’re told they’re a bad match. Unsurprisingly, people have the best chance of hitting it off if they appear to be a good match and actually are a good match (bottom right number).

My one real beef I have with the experiment itself is: for bad matches who are displayed as good, why is four messages considered some magic number of compatibility? Okcupid had this to say about it:

“The four-message threshold is our internal measure for a real conversation. And though the data is noisier, this same “higher display means more success” pattern seems to hold when you look at contact information exchanges, too.”

True, four messages technically constitutes a conversation, but you can’t then conclude that those people actually hit it off. I’ve exchanged four messages with plenty of dudes and decided that I actually hate/could never date them. Same goes for exchanging contact information… if I had a dollar for every time I seriously regretted giving someone my phone #, I would have enough to cover happy hour later today. Which would be awesome.

happy hour

Source: modernmagnolias.blogspot.com

 

Mmmmm happy hour. Focus, S.

Anyway, if Okcupid had instead polled the people involved in this experiment and asked what they actually thought of their match after four messages, or checked back with them a week later, then that data would be much more revealing and accurate. I suspect that for many people it just took that long for the other person to share some detail about themselves that horrified them (and that could have easily been discovered earlier if that person’s info. had been provided truthfully and accurately in the first place). Maybe five messages is how long it typically takes for people to casually reveal whichever of their answers are deal breakers, like that they hate gays or love nuclear war.

Also, not to get all ‘big brother is watching/NSA is listening’, but I’m with D on that last quote from Okc about “looking at contact information exchanges”. The idea that some 23 year old statistics nerd may be reading my messages to see whether I exchanged phone #s with a dude is gross. And creepy. And gross.

So, regarding experiment #3, my first takeaway is that dudes appear to actually look at match percentages, which given the two above experiments and L’s own experiments with Tacos Delish, I wasn’t entirely sure about. Hurrah! Second, I’m not surprised that people can be influenced to some extent (as you can see we’re not talking huge numbers here) by match percentages. Because, if I may remind the nerds of Okcupid, match percentage is not some random, arbitrary number. If you really want to get nerdy, check out their formula for calculating it here. Basically the number is representative of two people’s answers to questions and how important or unimportant they consider the questions to be. The Okcupid people themselves insist that some of these questions are a very reliable predictor of compatibility. Some questions are stupid and meaningless (I hate camping and horror movies, but they’re certainly not deal breakers), but others, likes these, are pretty big deal (you can literally mark them as ‘mandatory’, and I do):

dealbreaker

Source: modernmagnolias.blogspot.com

Yup. A guy’s answers to these matter to me just a smidge. It’s true, a 30% match could probably make me laugh, or we could have off the charts chemistry or even really like each other. But at the end of the day, if he answered his questions truthfully, we’d still disagree on some fundamental things, and odds are those things would become an issue somewhere down the line.

Now on the flip side, a high percentage is no guarantee that I’ll actually be into the person. I look at a guy’s stats (age, location, education level, height etc), then profile and pics. Then match percentage. Then if we message, he could be ass numbingly boring, or reveal that he has only a basic grasp of the English language, or be mean-spirited. Or we could meet and have zero chemistry. There are a million different reasons why a 99% match could still not be the guy for me, but the point is at least I know when I message a 99% match (or even an 80% match) that we’ve presumably cleared the hurdle of agreeing on things that are important to both of us. In short, it saves time. Unless, of course, you’re an Okcupid guinea pig, and like I said above, I have a sneaking suspicion that these poor souls came to the exact same conclusion, just not as quickly. Such is the life of a lab animal.

 

pinky

Source: www.thedailytouch.com

Conclusion

I’ll admit, there’s a part of me, the secretly nerdy psych major part, that finds this all fascinating. We spend so much of our time on this blog being utterly baffled by people’s behavior, so anything that may shed some light on why people do what they do is, on some level, really cool. People are cool! Human behavior is fascinating! Science! Discovery! Progress!

But then there’s the other part of me, the painfully single part who accidentally goes out with bros, cries in public after being dumped, and experiences fade aways on an alarmingly regular basis. That part of me is

not impressed

That part of me thinks that online dating is hard and confusing and ridiculous and soul crushing enough without some Harvard BA in applied mathematics fucking with my user experience for sport. Yes, I realize that I signed a “user agreement” and it basically says Okc can do whatever they want with me. And I think it makes total sense for Okcupid to study the data they already have (and they have plenty) to draw lots of interesting, informative and helpful conclusions. Experiment #1, while stupid, was at least clear cut. Everyone realized what was happening. Nobody was being deceived. Experiment #2 was more deceiving, for sure, but still an A/B test (two versions of something with info. included or left out).

But when these assholes start changing match percentages, now people are just straight up being lied to and that’s when I hop onto my soapbox. Because you, Okcupid, an online dating service that people use to meet their significant others, may have legitimately prevented people from crossing paths who would have otherwise seriously hit it off. Many of us, LSD included, are using your service to hopefully meet the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with, sparing a lot of time, money, misery, humiliation and heartache in the process. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but if you were looking for a blog free of drama and ended up here, you clearly took a wrong turn somewhere.

drama

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Believe it or not, Okcupid, we’re not thrilled to sign onto your site day after day and cruise for thoroughly undatable sociopaths and illiterate weirdos, while our friends get engaged and married around us. It sucks. It’s the worst. And your comical disregard for that fact is not only infuriating, it sort of makes me want to stop using your site and go elsewhere. Except as we’ve covered pretty well here…. there is. no. elsewhere.

Plus the site’s arrogant, flippant tone throughout this whole thing (go reread that email above), combined with the way they’ve been dressing it up as if 1. if we’re on the internet period we should expect to be lied to in the name of research on a daily basis and 2. it’s some benevolent way for them to help us have a better experience, is also totally gross to me. This WSJ interview with Okc co-founder Chris Rudder sums it up pretty well:

okc4

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/08/12/qa-okcupids-cofounder-on-the-growing-pains-of-data-science/

Blech. Sure, Chris Rudder, we’re in control, but we base who we interact with on certain criteria. And if we’re given the wrong criteria or you withhold information from us, then that control is a fallacy. Don’t patronize us, buddy. Also, you’re lucky, so lucky, that a Stucu blogger didn’t wind up in one of these experiments, because you and our poor readers would probably never hear the end of it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Pic of the Week – Pumping Gas

Before I get to the substance of this post, I would first like to address the unfortunate uptick in the usage of YOLO around these parts. Both of my fabulous co-bloggers have used the term in their recent posts. And though I love them dearly, I would like to officially distance myself from them when it comes to this stupid ass phrase. Under no circumstances do I want anyone thinking that I’m calling this the “summer of YOLO.” 

weevil time to party

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/caridee17/veronica-mars/

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally on board with and embrace the sentiment behind “summer of YOLO.” Much like S and L, earlier this week I demanded an explanation from the guy I was seeing who faded into oblivion (it was a BS reason), where I previously would have just wondered and obsessed in silence. I’ve tried a bunch of new things this summer, both on the dating front, and in general. I just shun the actual term “YOLO.” And I wanted to make that clear. 

Okey dokey, on to the topic at hand – dating. We haven’t done a pic of the week in awhile. It’s high time we fix this.

The majority of profile pics tend to fall into one of the following categories:

  • selfies (most typically of the bathroom variety);
  • with friends at a bar/party/club, drink in hand;
  • at a sporting event;
  • in formal attire (“____’s wedding!”); and/or
  • doing something outside, most commonly hiking or at the beach.

But we wouldn’t have this blog feature if everyone stuck to that predictable format. Shit would get real boring, real fast. Which brings me to a rarely seen category: dude performing a mundane task.

pic of the week - pumping gas 

Pros:

  • full body shot
  • he knows how to pump gas (I know that seems like an obvious thing people know, but on a road trip with a friend one summer, I went in to get snacks and left him to pump the gas, and he apparently had to ask the guy behind us for help, so I no longer assume)

Cons:

  • not interesting in any way, shape, or form
  • unclear whether this is: his car, a stranger’s car, a rental car, or a friend’s car
  • potentially a shot of him just doing his job
  • not interesting in any way, shape, or form
  • you can not actually see his face
  • not interesting in any way, shape, or form

What exactly is the point of this picture? Both in general and for an online dating profile? Why was this picture even taken? He’s not gassing up the Batmobile or an Aston Martin. It’s a subaru. And nothing against subarus, I’ve owned 2, but no one cares. Despite that, someone whipped out their camera(phone) anyway and documented this happening, and then this dude thought to himself, “you know what would be a great profile pic on OKC – that pic of me filling up a tank of gas!” The only thing this has going for it is that it wasn’t taken in a showroom.

If you’re going to put up pictures of you with a vehicle, at least make it worth my while. Unless it’s one of these beauties, I don’t give a shit:

aston martin vantage roadster

Source: autoevolution.com

two tone pickup

Source: rustfreeclassics.com

HA, those 2 images look absurd together. Don’t worry, I know that the second picture is pretty specific to me. But god I love a pickup. And an old-school two-tone pickup? Heaven. Rustfreeclassics.com is a gold mine for me. (Of course I love something on a site called Rust Free Classics). But I also love that Vantage Roadster. I don’t know how to explain it, but they both do it for me.

You know who drives a sweet truck? My soulmate:

Tim Riggins pickup truck

Source: dearfuturehubby.com

Texas forever man. Texas forever.

Message Monday – Adultery

Happy Monday everyone! Today’s message is brought to you by the scourge of the earth!

Ok, so that might be a tad dramatic. There are way worse people on earth than this guy. Terrorists. Rapists. People who abuse animals. Scott Stapp. BUT, I have an extremely intense hatred of cheaters. If I believed in heaven and hell, I would certainly believe that cheaters reside in their very own circle of hell. Sometimes I wish that I did believe, because knowing that nothing horrible will happen to the world’s worst people after they die is really unsatisfying. But religion and the afterlife are not the topic of this blog. The topic of this blog is encounters in online dating. So:

sneaky married guy

No. No, I’m not interested in being sneaky. With anyone, honestly, let alone a married guy. Sure, a little intrigue is always fun. But sneaking around with a married dude goes beyond intrigue. You are a horrible person, sir. Not only that, but you’re trying to get me to become a horrible person too! I’ve got plenty of faults already, I don’t need to add accomplice to adultery to the lengthy list.

Setting aside the despicable nature of your inquiry, you’re not even that good at being a horrible person, quite frankly. I mean, you blurred out your own profile photo, but I bet people who know you would probably still recognize you. The name you signed is also contained in your username. I suppose it’s possible that this is a fake picture and a fake name. But something tells me you’re not that smart. I mean, you’re openly soliciting sex on a dating website, despite your desire to keep things on the DL. There are much more discreet ways for you to find what you’re looking for. Also, if you don’t like monogamy, DON’T GET MARRIED ASSHOLE. That’s a clear solution to your problem. You won’t have to be sneaky about anything if you give up the jig and stop trying to actively maintain the facade of a happily married, monogamous man. Did that ever occur to you? It really is that easy. Don’t enter into a monogamous relationship, and you can openly have all the sex you want, with as many people as you want, whenever you want. Oh, removing the illicit part takes all the fun out of it? BOO FUCKING HOO. You know what I think is fun? Respecting the person you’re in a relationship with.

My record with Rhode Island continues to leave a lot to be desired. Block Island is the worst, the men are useless, they’re terrible drivers. Basically the only positive I can come up with is Del’s Lemonade. And I can get that shipped to my door here in MA. So…… I remain generally disappointed with what RI has to offer. To my friend “Joey” from RI, I’m sorry to insult your state. But my experience seems to indicate that you’re the only good RI apple. Which is a bummer, considering my proximity to that state.

Stucu’s Best Date Spots: Boston Edition

Today I’m rounding out our “best of” series (you can check out DC here and Philly here). To recap, we’re providing some of our favorite first date spots in our lovely cities. Up today is the best city of all, Boston. The Charles River is swimmable again, the Big Dig is over, our former mayor is affectionately known as Mumbles Menino, the ducklings get dressed up for every occasion, Boston is one of the best walking cities there is, etc. etc. The only thing keeping Boston from perfection is the baseball team that plays here (but not the ballpark, I love Fenway). Anway, let’s get to it.

D’s TOP THREE BOSTON DATE SPOTS

1) Granary Tavern (170 Milk Street, Boston, MA 02109 – Financial District)

Obviously, a good bar is a standard go-to for a first date. It’s a public place, it doesn’t have a time commitment, alcohol helps with nerves, etc. If it’s going well you might end up a little drunk and almost miss the last train home because you’ve totally lost track of time (this happened to me a few weeks back, on what quickly became my best first date ever). If the date is a dud, you’re out as quickly as you can down your drink.

funneling

Source: Huffington Post

This kid is going to be a CHAMP when he gets to college. Anywho, Boston is certainly not lacking in bar options, with a pretty even spread of shitty, mediocre, and great. I actually LOVE dive bars, but since my favorite one closed years ago (RIP Our House West), and people tend to have strong opinions about dive bars, I avoid them on the first date. Like S, I like a casual place that’s not too loud, and has a decent menu if the date is going well. I also like a bar that isn’t full of 22 year old assholes, a population that Boston has in spades. We are a young city full of colleges. Which was GREAT when I was going to college here (Go BU!), but now that I’m less than a month from 30, I’m over those shenanigans. So, that eliminates every single bar in Faneuil Hall, and virtually all of Allston/Brighton.

But we’re not talking about the worst of here today, we’re talking about the best. So I present to you: Granary Tavern. It’s in the financial district, so it’s easily accessible by T. But it’s also on the fringe of the Financial District, right on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, so there’s lots of other stuff around in the evening. It’s got a good selection of beer on tap, as well as wine and other cocktails. They’ve got a good menu, including a late night menu. And they’ve got a decent amount of space. Also, they have outdoor seating in good weather, that faces out to the greenway. 

granary tavern

Who wouldn’t want to sit out there with a cold drink and a cute guy? I love dining and imbibing al fresco. 

I also love Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square. They have insanely delicious cocktails. But it’s much trendier and gets really crowded, eliminating it from contention as my favorite. But it’s a decent back up on the right night/with the right date.

2) Sacco’s Bowl Haven (45 Day Street, Somerville, MA 02144 – Davis Square)

I also love a good activity date. Sitting across from a stranger drinking a beer can be super awkward. It’s nice to have a distraction, something that engages you both. And for that, I love me some bowling. Perhaps it’s the fact that I grew up in a town where bowling and woods parties were basically all we had to entertain ourselves. Perhaps it’s my intensely competitive attitude (my desire to win, at everything, while likely a character flaw, is also such a huge part of my personality that it’s one of the few parts of my crazy that I put on full display from the beginning to weed out the people who don’t find it charming). Almost definitely, a part of it is that my butt looks slammin’ in jeans, and bowling provides a lot of opportunity to put that on display. Besides, New England has the ever-charming and quirky candlepin bowling.

candlepin bowling

It seems like it might be easier, but it’s not. Here’s a delightfully 80’s tutorial that I came across recently while trying to brush up on my skills before a bowling date, as I had talked a LOT of trash leading up to the date (despite the fact that I’m a mediocre bowler, at best). 

There are a couple of places to bowl in Boston, but my favorite by far is Sacco’s Bowl Haven in my old ‘hood of Davis Square in Somerville. Right on the red line, Sacco’s is also easily accessible by T. They only have candlepin, so if you’re not a New England bowling purist, you’re better off going to Jillian’s or Boston Bowl. In addition to candlepin, Sacco’s has alcohol and delicious flatbread pizza. I dare you to find something wrong with the combination of beer, pizza, bowling, and healthy competition. Although they keep a certain number of lanes open for walk-ins, Sacco’s gets crowded fast, so midweek is best for this. Sacco’s will take your number and call you when a lane opens up, so if there is a wait and the bar is crowded, head over to Red Bones (or any one of the numerous other places in Davis) for a beer and/or food. 

3) Castle Island (at the end of William J. Day Blvd. in South Boston)

Since it’s summer, and summer in Boston is lovely (humid as fuck, a specialty of the eastern seaboard, but all the colleges are out and there’s an abundance of parks and waterfront to explore), I’m rounding out my fave first date spots with an outdoor activity. A little vitamin D, a little physical activity, and endless options for ways to continue the date if things are going well. I’m partial to Castle Island for this.  

Castle Island

It’s not actually an island, so if the date is a dud you’re not actually marooned with the fool. It’s got great views of Boston Harbor and the harbor islands, as well as the city skyline (especially if you walk out on the causeway in Pleasure Bay (I hate that name, so much, but I digress)). They open up Fort Independence in the summer, and who doesn’t love exploring a good fort? A nice sea breeze is always refreshing. If the guy is in fact a dud, you can call it a day after one lap around the fort, and at least you got some exercise! If it’s going well and you get hungry, Sullivan’s is right there with seafood, burgers, and ice cream (in case you weren’t sure you were in South Boston, that name should give it away). There’s no bar at Sullivan’s, but a quick walk into South Boston will give you plenty of options if you want to cancel out all that strenuous walking with a cold one.

So there you have it – LSD’s Best Date Spots in our respective cities. Thanks for tuning in while we share our recs! Next week we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming of dishing about boys, insane messages, and memorable dates (both good and bad), because those things just keep on coming.

P.S. Boston peeps, did I miss any gems you want to share? I’m all ears in the comment section!

Message Monday – Unemployed

Happy Independence Week (American) readers!! I have a 3 day week this week, which is glorious, but also means I have a ton to get done in the next few days, so that I can properly enjoy my long weekend lakeside. So this’ll be a short Message Monday.

Last Monday, my “bagel” of the day and I matched. Meaning, we had both liked each other, and now had a message chat room open through the app. Typically, Coffee Meets Bagel opens the chat room and provides a ice breaker question to get the conversation off to a more interesting start than “Hey.” This was no exception, and the app asked us “What would you rather be doing right this second?” I was busy with something at work, so I didn’t reply right away. 2 hours later, my bagel responded:

message monday - unemployed

Well. That’s a huge debbie downer. Nothing says “hey, I like you and we should get to know each other” like unemployment.

debbie downer

I mean, it’s probably a very accurate answer to the question asked, and kudos to him for his honesty, I guess, but couldn’t he just say something like “spending the day at the beach.” I suppose it’s possible that, in his current predicament, spending the day at the beach was actually precisely what he was doing, so wasn’t a viable answer. But come up with something positive to say. Or at least some innocuous activity. Because, although I won’t immediately judge/fault someone for being unemployed, I’d like any potential relationship to at least start off in a positive place. And that answer is just depressing.

Suck my dick Frank

You guys. I am fired up today. And not in a good way. So fired up, in fact, that the post I was originally going to put up today is on the back-burner. Instead, I’m treating you to a hastily written, rage filled post.

Last week, I messaged a guy on OKC. His name is Frank. I’m not even going to give him a nickname. Because as it turns out, he’s an asshole. And assholes deserve to be called out. So Frank from Rhode Island, I’ve got 5 fingers, and the 3rd one is for you. In other words:

i would not lend a hand

Source: quickmeme.com

Let’s backtrack, shall we. We hit it off pretty quickly (as much as you can online), and planned a date for last Sunday. He chatted me up all week last week. Sunday morning he confirmed our date. And then an hour later texted me to cancel.

cancelling sunday

A bummer, but not really a big deal. Shit that’s totally out of our control happens sometimes (I assumed it was totally out of his control, but I now assume the opposite). And, honestly, though I was bummed, I was also secretly excited to suddenly have no plans. I lived. it. UP. on Sunday (i.e. took a nap, ate some leftover cake from my brother’s graduation party, and binge watched Orange is the New Black). 

Monday morning, as promised, he texted me. But it was a very short conversation. I thought something might be up, so later that day I just straight up asked him if he wanted to reschedule our date.

monday text

I was still a little suspicious, but he claimed he wanted to reschedule. And then he followed that up by texting me yesterday morning, and again later in the afternoon. But he still hadn’t actually made any sort of effort to reschedule (clearly a sign, but I took him at his word so I ignored this sign). I took matters into my own hands, because despite this being vaguely annoying, I was excited about going out on a date with him. Last night I proposed a date idea, and told him I was free tonight and tomorrow night. He responded that my idea sounded great, and we could do it tonight. So we made plans. Again. This was around 10/10:30 last night.

I woke up this morning to find that Frank had texted me the following at 12:16 a.m. 

I'm sorry

Ummmmmmmmm.

Shit got serious between 10:30 and 12:16? Really? 

calling bullshit

Source: replygif.net

I would wager $100 billion that the reason he canceled on me on Sunday had to do with this girl. And you know what. That’s FINE. I messaged him. So if he was already casually seeing someone else, but wanted to keep his options open, that’s cool. And if, before our first date, things took a serious turn, that’s cool too. These things happen. But he should have just been upfront about it when he canceled on Sunday. Or at least been honest when I asked him about rescheduling. Here’s how that could have played out:

D: Hey! So did you want to reschedule/make new plans, or are you executing an elaborate fade-away plan? (90% kidding there 🙂 )

Frank: Hey. Actually, I have to be honest. I have been seeing someone and it’s starting to get serious. Sorry about canceling on you at the last minute. I wish you luck.

D: No worries. Thanks for letting me know. Good luck to you too.

See how easy that was? But NO. That’s not how Frank rolls. He CONFIRMS, then cancels an hour later, then claims to want to reschedule, then actually reschedules (with some prompting), and then cancels again 2 hours later.

If he had taken the adult route, would I have been bummed, because he seemed like a cool dude? Yeah, definitely. But I also would have understood. Instead, he played this stupid game, and wasted my time (and his, but I don’t care about him, and you shouldn’t either).  

What the fuck is the matter with you Frank? That’s not a rhetorical question. I want to know. I want to know why you thought this absurd game was the right way to play this. I want to know why you didn’t take the out when I presented it to you on a golden fucking platter. I want to know why at 10:30 p.m. last night you enthusiastically planned a date, and less than 2 hours later you suddenly remembered that you were seeing someone and it was getting serious. Because that makes no sense, Frank. 

throne of lies

Source: replygif.net

Either it had already gotten serious and you just didn’t have the balls to tell me earlier, or you didn’t actually want to go out on a date with me. But nothing ACTUALLY changed between 10:30 p.m. and 12:16 a.m. Which makes you a lying asshole Frank.

rose-gives-finger

Source: gifrific.com

Further, I do NOT wish you luck, Frank. I hope this girl shits all over you and crushes your stupid, lying heart.

Frank and Beef Teriyaki Guy are giving Rhode Island a bad name. I’m starting to think that, because it’s such a tiny state, the handful of guys I know from Rhode Island are the only good ones. And they’re all taken. I think I’ll be swearing off Rhode Islanders for awhile.

*sorry about all the swearing. Not really, but I feel like I should probably apologize. So here’s my half-hearted apology.