About the Experiment

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 4: Michael's High Standards

Last week I wrote about Knowing What You Want vs. Being Picky and now we have an example of being picky (and it's not a bad thing): this week my friend Michael, Matchmaker #4, didn't find any guys that were up to his standards.

At first this made me really nervous.  Couldn't we just look at the messages again and find the least offensive guy or two?

But then I actually heard what Michael was saying: he didn't find anyone who he thought would actually be a good match and seemed up for the experiment.  So why would I go on dates with guys that clearly don't seem like good matches?  Whoa, standards.

There were a few interesting things that happened with messages this week:
When Michael and I revised the OkCupid profile for this week, he wanted to add more specific biographical information, like where I grew up, went to school, places that I traveled to.  I thought this was interesting and might give guys some good conversation starters.

We also took out the intro paragraph that described the experiment, instead we added in the "You should message me if" section, "You're open to being part of a dating experiment called Post-Modern Matchmaker (my friend Mike is using the profile to be a Matchmaker for me this week)."  We thought that the long description at the start of the profile might have been scaring guys off, and one sentence later in the profile might yield some promising matches.

Instead, we got a lot of messages that just said, "Hi." or "How are you" (yes, sans question mark).


Only one guy referred to the specific info we included, he sent a message that just said he'd gone to the same university I had.  Another guy sent a message that just said, "you remind me of my best friend Brandy."  Cool?  How is someone supposed to respond to that?  Pre-experiment I never responded to message that just say "Hi" or "How are you" because if a guy can't come up with something more interesting than that, I don't want to date him (also, punctuation is required).  When a guy sends a message that is just a statement (no questions), I also usually find it unappealing.  I've been on plenty of dates with guys who only talk about themselves and don't ask me any questions, so why respond to an OkCupid message that is basically the same thing?  With the experiment, when someone else is using the profile, it's even more awkward.  It's weird for the Matchmaker to send a message as though they're me, but when they send a message that it's the Matchmaker, guys don't usually respond.

One guy sent a message that said, "OKC keeps thrusting me on your direction so I thought I'd drop you a line and have a sample of your wit!:)"  I see that as saying "Make me laugh to convince me to be interested in you!" but Michael liked him so he sent a message to tell that guy about the dating experiment and if he had any questions about me Michael could answer them.  No response.

After several days with no matches that he liked, Michael suggested that I start using QuickMatch to rate some guys' profiles.  It's based on a 5 star system, and if you rate someone 4 or 5 stars OkCupid sends them a message saying that you like them.  If you both rate each other 4 or 5 stars, you both get a message.  We got some mutual 4 or 5 star ratings, but none of those guys sent messages.  Michael sent one of them a message explaining the experiment and seeing if he would be interested in meeting up.  No response.

Where are the adventurous men in LA?  I see so many photos on OkCupid of skydiving or Burning Man, are guys really that scared of a dating experiment?

Michael was also surprised by the response (or lack thereof).  He's been with his boyfriend for a while, but when he was single and on OkCupid guys sent more messages that seemed like they'd actually read his profile.  It seemed to him like people are putting less time and thought into messages than they used to.  I think it may be because of apps like Tinder and Grindr, in which messaging is more like instant messaging/texting, whereas OkCupid is more like email.  OkCupid does have an app, so if guys are basically using OkCupid like Tinder then sending a message that just says, "hi" makes a little more sense.  It's still annoying/boring.  The irony of so many forms of communication and less meaningful communication.

There was another interesting twist on the experiment this week: my cousin Emily (Matchmaker #3) has a friend whose younger brother's best friend lives in San Diego and she thought he might be interested in the experiment.  After reading the blog, he sent an OkCupid message this week, so we'll call him Bachelor #8.  It's a significant distance between LA and San Diego so I don't know how soon we'll be able to meet up, but I couldn't pass up a cousin's friend's brother's friend story.

It got me thinking about a variation on the experiment: I want to see if my friends and family would set me up with guys they know in real life.  So dearest family and friends reading this, if you know of a single guy in my age range who might be a good match, will you find out if he would be a part of the experiment?  If he is interested, let me know!  Online profiles are subject to the Marketing of Dating, and I'm very curious to see what kind of matches would happen when the matchmaker actually knows both people.  I have a few more Matchmakers lined up, but I'm hoping to move toward real life matches in a few weeks.

In other news, I'm still working on scheduling a date with Bachelor #6.  It's been almost two weeks.  I'm not a patient person!

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