I alternate between two modes on OKCupid: Wanting my profile to get more attention, and regretting whatever I’ve done wrong to warrant the sort of attention it does get. I decide the profile must be the problem; I dashed it off quickly and only mention being a fan of one or two tv shows, bands, and movies, that are usually described with the phrase Cult Favorite. Perhaps, I think, if I mention all my cult favorites, I’ll find other devotees. I add extra photos to show that I have friends and interests and am not slug-shaped.
It doesn’t work, and neither does paying two dollars to boost my profile in the search results. The stream of generic emails from scammers posing as long-distance loves continues, albeit at a greatly reduced pace since I’m no longer Fresh Meat. Even the scammers here disappoint me: On Match.com, they used pictures of handsome businessmen and majestic athletes. On OKCupid, they use pictures they seem to have copied and pasted at random – bathroom selfies and the visibly unemployed.
It gets to the point where I would happily wire them a small sum, just to indulge my fantasies, and that’s when it clicks: this is why people pay for Match and other sites. But having had no luck on Match in the past, I’m reluctant to try it again. I start working on a JDate profile, and immediately receive a stream of alerts from that site, exhorting me to check out various profiles – many of which are, of course, familiar from other sites.
One of them I’ve even met in person. I decide I’ll take it slow, and don’t pay for a subscription, in spite of messages that are supposedly piling up in my inbox, unread, behind the paywall.
While I fine-tune my JDate profile, OKCupid springs to life: Someone not far from me sends me an email, and though he’s not the handsomest man I’ve seen, he appears to have actually read my profile, which at this point is a win, in my book.