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!

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First Date with Keith Mars, P.I.

I’m sure some of you just read that title and thought wow, the Stucu ladies have gone completely off the rails and are now just casually revealing their dates’ full names on their “anonymous” blog. Next up it’ll be their home addresses and social security #s. I should probably stop reading before they get slapped with a huge lawsuit.

mean girls wild

Source: wifflegif.com

For those of you who don’t recognize the name ‘Keith Mars’, let me assure you that it’s NOT my date’s name. It is, however, the name of an infamous dad slash detective on one of the greatest, most underrated teen crime fighting mystery TV shows (that yes, we’ve gushed about before) of our time. That’s right, I’m talking about my homegirl Veronica Mars and her wonderful, hilarious, brilliant private investigator dad, Keith:

So why have I gone on a tangent about a fictional middle aged TV character? Because, readers, last week I went on a first date with a real live P.I.!

gryffindor-cheering-quidditch-dean-thomas

Source: www.survivingcollege.com

You guys. Stalking/sleuthing/investigating shit/being nosy is honest to God one of my favorite pastimes. Well, I should say our favorite pastimes. As we’ve mentioned before, we here at Stupid Cupid take our stalking investigative skills VERY seriously. L and I always dream joke about opening up a ladies’ detective agency because we’re so fucking good at getting information. TRUE STORY: L once impersonated a college guidance counselor on the phone in order to pump a girl (who we’d never met but who happened to be dating a friend’s ex) for information on her relationship. AND IT WORKED. I mean:

someecards find shit out

Source: www.someecards.com

So when this guy contacted me on Okcupid (I’ll be posting an eHarmony update in the next week but as of today I still refuse to give those crazy bastards my money) and a few messages in revealed that he’s a private investigator, I went from mildly interested to:

buster excited

Source: gifrific.com

Back to the name. Good old Keith garnered this nickname well before I decided to blog about him or frankly, even meet him, for two important reasons:

  • He bizarrely shares a name with H, the guy who I dated and was super into last summer and who it took me a while to get over. Obviously I can’t reveal the actual name to you, but trust me, it is NOT a common name. H1 was the first person with that name that I’d ever met, so when Mr. P.I. introduced himself, I kind of maybe thought someone was playing a prank on me. Saying that name in reference to a different person felt so weird that I knew he needed a nickname, and he needed one fast.
  • In case you forgot/just stumbled upon this blog, we recently started referring to our dates using nicknames. And when I hear the term ‘private investigator’, a certain balding, badass vigilante of the law hailing from Neptune, California who literally walks through fire to save his only daughter inevitably comes to mind:

After messaging back and forth a handful of times, we set up a date. Truth be told I wasn’t totally excited about Keith, aside from the prospect of interviewing him about his job, cases, busts, whether he carried a fake ID/got to taser people,

veronica mars taser

Source: www.sheknows.com

and general tricks of the trade. Besides the fact that he was a P.I., here’s what I knew about him going into the date:

  • He went to Penn State
  • He lives in the suburbs (what is with me and suburban dudes??)

Aaaaand that’s basically it. It should also be noted that this was my first date since my breakup with D two months ago, and my first first date in over six months. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit rusty.

leslie knope cargo pants

Source: www.tressugar.com

We decided to meet for drinks in my ‘hood. The night of our date arrived, and Keith was running late. Like, a half hour plus late. STRIKE ONE. I mean, I’m kidding (sort of), because I know shit happens, but this seems to be a common theme among suburban guys I go out with: they are all SHOCKED that the traffic into the city is bad. At rush hour. On a notoriously awful two lane highway. I mean, am I missing something? How hard is it to leave yourself an extra 20 minutes figuring that you probably won’t be flying down 76 at 6:30 pm? Especially when you’re the one who set the time of our date? FOOLS.

Anyway, I was already salty about the delay, but I tried to brush off my irritation. Luckily the bar was close enough that I could just hang at my place and not awkwardly loiter or pathetically drink by myself until he arrived.

When we finally did meet, it was a classic case of picture fraud. Keith Mars was…not as cute as his pictures. More importantly, to me, he was not as tall (but as we know, ladies, they pretty much never are). He wasn’t bad looking, it was just a bit of a letdown.

I knew within the first five minutes that I wasn’t into him. He was perfectly nice, and not wholly unattractive, I just felt nothing. Zero interest. Zero attraction. Zero connection. The more he talked, the more I thought:

nope

Source: persephonemagazine.com

(What’s that? I use this GIF in almost every post? I don’t care, I fucking love that creeping octopus. You’re welcome.)

I was doing my best not to pounce on him immediately with my list of 900000 P.I.-related questions. As we exchanged standard small talk, I started to realize something: Keith Mars was kind of a bro.

If you have a chance, check out this excellent comic on bro criteria. Do you see the example at the very top? “Still brags about getting wasted years after college”?

DING DING DING DING DING

God, you guys. Keith Mars would not shut up about how much he and his friends “partied” at school. NEWS FLASH, BROS: everyone partied/drank in college. It’s COLLEGE. This does not make you cool or unique or interesting. In fact, as a 30 year old still telling these stories to strangers, it makes you kind of pathetic.

Thoroughly turned off by my date’s troubling brotastic tendencies, I decided to get to the main event. And I will give Keith credit where credit is due: he answered every single one of my P.I.-related questions (and I asked what some might call an uncomfortable number of questions). He didn’t seem annoyed, not even at the end, by my endless curiosity. If anything, he was bemused by my sheer excitement and joy. I feel weird about revealing specifics because, you know, this dude is a private investigator, and I don’t want to be a dick (HAHAHA get it?) but of course I’ll share some general things I learned:

  • His firm works almost exclusively on civil cases, which means entrapment isn’t illegal. According to Keith, you can entrap the shit out of people. He once Catfished a dude on Facebook and posed as a hot girl asking him out in order to get him to show up to a bar. It totally worked.
  • He doesn’t carry a gun or a taser, at least that he would admit to me, but if he has to make a house call that could be dicey, he’s usually working with at least one government bureau that will send someone along with him.
  • He has a few aliases, but no fake IDs (again, at least that he would admit to me).
  • Cell phone fraud is apparently a huge international problem…? And the main case he’s working on. He also does a fair number of insurance fraud, cheating spouse and custody cases.
  • He sometimes works with Homeland Security as well as the Secret Service. !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • He claims he never does background checks on his dates (I call bullshit, because who wouldn’t), but that he’s done it for friends, and he did it once for his sister’s boyfriend.

swanson

Source: awesomegifs.com

Guys, I was in heaven. HEAVEN. I forgot that Keith Mars was a bro. I forgot that he was three inches shorter than he claimed to be and a half hour late. I left out some other really cool details that he shared with me, just because I feel funny putting it on the internet, and also because, well, he’s a P.I., so I wouldn’t put it past homeboy to find this post. He certainly wouldn’t be the first. Luckily I never mentioned that I had a dating blog, so he wouldn’t even know to look, but still.

Finally, after a solid 40 minutes grilling him about his job, I cut myself off. We went back to chatting about normal things, but it wasn’t as interesting. After we finished our second drinks, I was over it and ready to go home. We left and walked a few blocks in the same direction.

“Well this was a lot of fun,” Keith said. “We should do it again sometime.”

I wasn’t about to be like thanks but no thanks right there on the street, so I think I just said a vague “Yeah, it was nice meeting you, thanks for the drinks”. He awkwardly went in for a kiss on the cheek, I wiggled it into a half hug, and fled.

Well readers, to use the LINGO of those of us in the business, this was an open-and-shut-case. We met, we drank, he bro’d, I pumped him for information, and that was that. Except not really, though, because the Law of Dating Inverses held true: predictably, because I wasn’t into him, Keith Mars continued to text me after our date. I’ve been polite but brief, and I’m just waiting for him to actually ask me out again so I can say thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Mars. To quote a great:

veronica mars

Source: thoughtcatalog.com

Date Rating: 5/10. I was so enthralled by the P.I. stuff I’m seriously considering a career change, but the rest of the date was mediocre. And regarding the bro thing:

dealbreaker

Source: www.tvatemybaby.com

that awkward moment when your date finds your dating blog

You guys. I hope you’re prepared to have a large chuckle at my expense, because boyyyy do I have a treat for you.

hump day treat

This is (to our knowledge) a first here at Stupid Cupid. Up until now, no one we’ve dated, as far as we know, has found, had access to, or read our blog. UNTIL NOW. Because (drumroll please)….

Someone I’m currently dating has found this blog.

You’re probably saying something like, “That’s funny! But come on, it’s not that bad. At least you didn’t write about him.”

Except OH WAIT. I did. Yup. Go back and read that little diddy about my first date with D, in which I called him a nerd, lambasted his Okcupid profile, and basically implied that he was a creepy stalker slash potential murderer. #facepalm

face palm

Allow me to start at the beginning, because this is truly a tale you all deserve to enjoy fully and in minute detail. I have been seeing D intermittently since our first date about two months ago. I didn’t mention him again after that post because honestly, I really do try to avoid writing about guys I go out with unless/until it’s over. For this VERY F*CKING REASON. But I made an exception this time since D was the one to break the the epic dry spell I’d written so much about.

As previously mentioned on my first date post, D works in IT and is essentially a doctorate-level internet stalker, which I respect. Or at least I did, when I thought the only thing he’d found was my last name via my LinkedIn profile. I told him about the blog almost immediately, but gave him minimal info. beyond the fact that it existed. And he never let on that he’d discovered it. UNTIL…

This past Sunday night, when D casually brought up that awful scorpion email we single mutants received from Okc a few weeks ago. You remember, the one I freaked out about? I responded with something like: “I know, wasn’t that the worst? I actually just wrote a rage-filled blog post about it”.

But something about the way D had brought it up made me pause. My Spidey senses were tingling. So I broached the subject…

d blog 2

As you can see, D never actually answered my question. My weird hunch suddenly turned to certainty, and then to straight dread. At this point I’m going to switch FULLY over to screen caps of our conversation, so you can live out the epic fail right there with me:

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Speaking of going “Fuuuuuuuuuck” at high volume, while this was going down I promptly threw up the bat signal and woke poor L’s ass up:

d blog

Good co-blogger and friend that she is, she called me immediately and calmed me down. Meanwhile, D was finishing his epic tale of Stucu discovery…

d blog 2

So. Quick recap:

  • This douchebag in a vagina costume is single-handedly responsible for blowing my cover. That sounds about right.
  • D found the blog, followed it, and promptly forgot about it, until my post ABOUT HIM showed up on his blogroll. I can’t make this stuff up, folks.
  • D has known about the blog for two months, and I had no clue until three days ago.
  • D’s friends have read our blog.
  • D’s mom has read our blog. (/Hi, Mrs. D?)

After my initial shock/freak out, I started to process what happened, and I realized that D was actually being incredibly cool and gracious about the whole thing. Hypocritical as it sounds, I’m not sure I’d respond so kindly if I stumbled upon some blog post a first date of mine had blown up the internet with, especially if he basically reviewed me like a summer blockbuster and RATED OUR DATE on a scale of 1-10. Especially when D started referencing older posts of mine and I realized that he’d gone back and read our entire blog, from start to finish:

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I’ll admit, the one thing I was annoyed with D about was the fact that he’d kept his discovery a secret. The fact that he’d known basically the entire time we’ve been going out and hadn’t said a word about it made me feel a bit like an idiot. But after he laid down his arguments:

  • We were dating very casually at first, with lots of time in between seeing each other. He wasn’t sure if he’d even see me again.
  • I’d accused him of being a stalker and (only half-jokingly) asked if he was a serial killer, and he didn’t want to come off as even creepier than I’d already accused him of being.
  • He was secretly hoping I’d write another blog post about him before he revealed that he’d found it.

I couldn’t really be mad. I would’ve done the same thing had I been in his shoes. All I can say is, thank God I kept my mouth shut for once in my life and stopped at one post!

Also, the bottom line is, this sort of thing comes with the territory. This is what we signed up for when we started a dating blog and put our shit on the internet. Anonymous or not, we knew this was always a possibility; I figured I’d be sharing the blog with SOMEONE eventually if we got serious enough. I just (foolishly) thought that I’d be in control of the when and the how of that reveal. Ahhh, how young and naive I was back then.

Not gonna lie, I can’t help but feel a liiiiittle bit like Bridget Jones when Mark Darcy finds her diary:

Luckily, I didn’t write that D acts like he has a “giant gherkin thrust up his backside” (don’t worry, he doesn’t), but Lord, do I feel Bridget’s horror and embarrassment in that moment. Actually, I think we all need to watch the following scene right now. Don’t ask questions. Colin Firth just makes everything better:

At least this whole thing didn’t end with me running down the street in gold zebra print knickers while a homeless man shouts after me in the snow. #smallvictories

Anyway, D continued to assure me that he was cool with the whole thing, and he was also super complimentary about the blog and our writing in general. Just when I felt my blood pressure return to a semi-human rate, another thought occurred to me: I wanted to write a post about this. I wanted to share this absurd hilarity with our readers, complete with our texts. Was D going to be cool with that? What was the protocol now that I knew he was going to presumably read every new thing I wrote? I asked him if he’d mind if I shared this story:

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And we shall, D! We shall.

Tough Life lessons with S (and Blerta)

I’ve learned a few important lessons since my first post back in January:

1. Beware of Reddit.

2. Don’t forget to warn your mom about potentially upsetting content. For instance, when your co-blogger posts a particularly offensive and gross message for Message Monday, it’s good to give your mother a heads up, or she may call you, freak out, tell you she lost sleep thinking about you and your co-bloggers coming in contact with dudes like that, and ask if you want to come home (that is my mom’s go to line whenever something upsetting happens: “DO YOU WANT TO COME HOME???” To be fair, home is a 20 minute drive from my apartment so it’s not a totally ridiculous question. And real talk, sometimes yes, yes I do want to come home and lay on my parents’ couch and eat free food and watch free cable. So sue me. #almost29yearsold

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3. Don’t trash a guy on your blog until you’re sure it’s over. Ahhh yes. This is an important one that I am learning in real time, literally as I write this. Please refer to this post where I introduced you all to a guy I’d been seeing named H, then proceeded to call him a “dickweed” for abruptly ending it with me and added a sassy little Kelly Kapoor gif to round out my rage. Don’t get my wrong, H acted like a jerk, and he totally deserved it. But now it’s time for me to eat crow/feel stupid and reveal to you, dear readers, that H reappeared a few weeks after that incident, apologized profusely for being a jerk, and after talking it out we started to casually, slowly see each other again.

Before you get all, ‘what the hell, S, this guy sounded like an asshole,’ allow me to fully explain the situation. H is fairly recently divorced… the first divorced dude I’ve ever dated. He was pretty open/up front about the terrible shape he was in when his marriage first ended and that he only just re-entered the dating world, intent on taking things slowly. Now clearly when he pulled a ‘oh hey I’m sort of seeing someone else, JUST KIDDING that was a mistake please forgive me’, I could tell he miiiiiight not be the most stable table on the showroom floor in terms of dating readiness. But what can I say? I liked him. A lot. I thought we’d really hit it off. And I just knew if I didn’t (cautiously) give this dude who I really liked a second chance, I’d always wonder.

So I agreed to start seeing H again, very slowly and casually, and we did just that. Here’s what I liked about him:

  • He was really smart, but didn’t take himself too seriously. H had a graduate degree, was a college professor on top of his full time job, and had run a successful start up with his two friends right out of school. He was intelligent, creative, interesting, and successful, but he also loved bad TV and eagerly ranked the best diners in South Jersey with me. There was zero arrogance, which I’m all about (take notes, Mr. Mensa).
  • He was honest. Possibly bordering on too honest. H was totally up front about the divorce thing and the fact that he was still very much recovering.
  • He was fun, considerate, and (relatively) easy to make plans with. I say relatively because any one of my girlfriends would still beat him, even on their worst day, in the being proactive category, but to be fair we are an exceptionally bossy bunch. H remembered things I said I’d wanted to do or try when we made plans, cooked for me (although sadly there was no elaborate menu this time) and even though he lived in the suburbs, always offered to schlep into the city to see me.
  • The chemistry was there. From the beginning I felt like we had that intangible thing that I talked about in my post about the points system. We just clicked. Little to no awkwardness. Easy flowing conversation. Joking, teasing, banter. The same sense of humor. Chemistry.
  • The attraction was there. H was no model (neither am I, so thank God) but he was my particular brand of cute, which is a little nerdy (much like L has a self-professed “mediocrity fetish”, I have a “mildly schlubby guy next door with glasses” fetish. Mmmmm glasses.) If I had to describe him I would say if Jack Black and the guy from Rudy had a baby, and that baby grew up to be a 6 foot tall 33 year old nerd who wore glasses, that would be H.

So I was going out with H until two weeks ago, and having a great time. I was also (half-heartedly) talking with and going on a few dates with other guys. In hindsight, I think I was doing this more to try to keep things breezy:

H had been pretty clear about wanting to keep things casual, which at first I was totally kosher with, but I as time went on I could feel myself starting to really like him. After our last date a few weeks ago, I just knew. I knew I’d have to have the ‘are we exclusive talk’ with him, and I knew how it would go. So being the BREEZY woman that I am, I naturally wrote out a FULL SCRIPT of what I wanted to say (actually super necessary because my mind goes blank in situations like this), called H and blurted the entire thing out in 12 seconds. And it went down exactly as I predicted: H said that as much as he liked me and was having a great time, he just wasn’t ready for an exclusive relationship yet. And I knew that unless I cut things off completely at that point, I’d be too tempted to keep seeing him. So I told him we had to stop seeing each other and asked him explicitly not to call or text me. And then I basically hung up on him because I was flustered and about to cry.

have a lot of feelings

Real talk, I was pretty bummed, you guys. I liked H a lot, probably more than anyone I’ve met via online dating. I was having a lot of fun with him and I could see trying to make a go of it long term. And truthfully I was really surprised by how hard a call this was to make. I knew intellectually what I was “supposed” to do as a strong, independent woman with a reasonable amount of self worth. But I liked this guy so much and was having such a genuinely great time with him, it was not easy to let that go, especially as an almost 29 year old single girl. I was so so tempted to just keep seeing H casually, not rock the boat, and try to ease him into the idea of something more serious.

But while my romantic self was concocting all sorts of fantasies about how that would totally definitely 100% work, my pragmatic self was like listen, home girl, you’re smarter than that. You know what you want, and you know that H either doesn’t want that or isn’t ready for it, and if you compromise on this you will feel like shit about yourself. I felt like I had an inner sassy gay friend guiding me:

look at your life

Also, as L pointed out (she’s so wise) this thing between us would have still inevitably ended, but probably in a much more miserable, messy way somewhere down the line. Ugh. Being a mature adult is the worst, isn’t it?

So now that it’s really over between me and H, I can officially go to town, tell you all some really embarrassing shit about him, and pull out as many sassy gifs as my heart desires, but of course now I actually have no interest in doing any of that. Damn it. It’s helping to remind myself that H was far from perfect. His apartment was a pigsty. He also owned and once wore in public, in my presence, with a straight face, a Google glass.

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I mean.

Speaking of things H wore, perhaps revealing one little embarrassing detail about him to the internet will cheer me up. And never fear, I know just the thing to share with the class. H suffered from sleep apnea, so to help him breathe at night he had to wear something really…. unique to bed:

cpap

That super attractive piece of equipment is called a CPAP machine, and it’s something that I unfortunately became all too familiar with over this past summer. Fun fact: it not only makes the wearer look like Bane from Batman, but also sound like him, too. Between that and the Google glass, I did sometimes feel like I was dating a legitimate cyborg.

bane

Confession: when I wrote the bulk of this post last week I was going to end it by sharing this clip from Girls:

and telling you all that this scene is exactly what I do when my love life is not working out as planned. Basically: feel sad—> wallow in my sadness—> listen to some embarrassingly dramatic melancholy tunes—> get tired of being sad and dance it the eff out to some Robyn.

I was going to end with that. Until Tina Fey hosted SNL last weekend and bitch slapped me out of my walking Zoloft cloud trance.

I mean seriously, the whole thing is hysterical, and so true, but when they parody that exact scene at 2:35, I DIE. Once again, Tina wins at life. #Blerta

I’m doing my best to try to forget about H. I had a lot of fun with him, so I don’t regret giving him another chance for one second, but it’s time to move on. This will undoubtedly involve a lot of fall TV and white wine spritzers. And one October goal of mine, BESIDES blogging more, is to get back in the OKC saddle again. If Mr. Mensa would ever stop taking IQ tests and get his act together (he is STILL. MESSAGING ME. wtf) I would honor our survey results and start with him. Until then, bring on Season 2 of Nashville!

Have any of you lovely readers ended it with someone you really liked because you wanted different things, or because of bad timing? Leave a comment and tell me about it. Maybe we can form a ‘people who make grown up dating decisions even though they suck’ support group. I’ll bring the wine spritzers.