Friday, June 28, 2013

The "You are Hot!" Email

Variations on a theme

One of the things that happens when you're a girl on OKCupid is you get bombarded with a million messages. Many of these messages are 10 words or less. Now for the first 2 weeks, all I did was delete these messages. The below messages are all distinct messages from different guys. And these are the entirety of the messages I received...


hi :)

Hi :)



Hi! How are you?

Hi, how are you?

hey there. How are you?

How are you?

Hi there, how are you? 

Hi there. How was your weekend? 

Hey there hows you're weekend going?

Hi! How is your week going? 

Hey! How's your week going thus far good looking? 

Hey how's it going?

Hey what's up how are you doing??

Hi how are you? What are you up to?

well hello there

hello beautiful how are u doing

Hello beautiful



I was curious what these guys were thinking. Did this actually ever work for them? What kind of girls responded to these messages? So yesterday's experiment was to respond to messages like this and see what happened.

Well hello there

By the time I had gotten into work, I had 2 such messages in my inbox - "Good morning" and "Hey beautiful... how are you?" So I responded with "Good morning" and "I'm doing well. How are you?" They both responded back. It was obvious that they had only looked at my photos and not read my profile. One was in the midwest when I was very explicit that I was only interested in guys who lived in the actual city of San Francisco (rather than the broader Bay Area), and the other's profile photo was a shirtless selfie. My profile was also very explicit that you'd better be doing something pretty awesome and active to have a photo with your shirt off. No selfies in the mirror while you're flexing.

So I engaged these guys for 2-3 messages before I sent them a few questions...

"I don't usually respond to messages that are just 5 words. I have a few questions if you don't mind... 
Did you read any of my profile or just look at the photos? Do you generally send short messages? If so, why? Do you usually get many girls responding to short messages? Do you ever meet up with these girls? 
Have a great day!"

They didn't like this so much. The first - "Yes I read ur profile." I'm calling BS on that one, buddy. "Maybe ur trying to teach a lesson of sorts." Hmm... are you perhaps perceptive just a bit? And the second - "Yes, i read most of your profile, but it,was a bit long...and i did look,at your pics, more than". Well, at least he's honest. I told them both, "Thanks for answering my questions. Best of luck with online dating." They didn't like that too much either.

It was very obvious that both had written such short responses because they were incapable of writing longer responses of any substance. Both were attractive, if you were into what they were putting out there, so I assume this tactic actually works if all they're trying to do is go home with a girl who isn't so smart. Good for you for figuring out how to get what you want with the least possible effort.

Gaming the system

After posting on Facebook about how terrible most of the messages I've received have been. A former coworker told me it should get better after the "You are Hot!" email comes. What is this? This is new information. I haven't heard about this before. She said it took a couple of weeks. I was intrigued. I wanted to see if I could game this system somehow.

First I deleted all of my "this is what I look like when I'm not dressed up" photos and toned down any mentions of wanting a serious relationship. Then I signed up for OKCupid's premium service - A-list. With A-list you can filter your matches on more options like attractiveness. I started a new search. I filtered on guys with a high income, 28-40 years old, at least 6' tall and average rating of 5 stars. First thing that jumped out was all of the guys under 30 were looking for younger girls. Many of them had age preferences of women 18-25. I was not going to get 5 stars from them. I had to narrow my search.

I changed my search to guys 30-35. Then for all of the guys who actually lived in SF and I found at least moderately attractive, I rated them 5 stars. As expected, many of these guys who know they're attractive are also quite self-absorbed. If you have A-list you can see who rates you highly. All of the guys who were online who I rated as 5 stars almost immediately rated me highly back. This was working perfectly. In the span of about 10 minutes I had 30 new guys in my "rated you highly" list. A few minutes later I got the "You are Hot!" email. It also happened to be almost 2 weeks to the minute after I signed up so I like to think I would have gotten the email regardless.

The "YOU ARE HOT!" email

This seriously exists.

We just detected that you're now among the most attractive people on OkCupid.
We learned this from clicks to your profile and reactions to you in Quickmatch and Quiver. Did you get a new haircut or something?  
Well, it's working! 
To celebrate, we've adjusted your OkCupid experience: 
You'll see more attractive people in your match results.

This won't affect your match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But we'll recommend more attractive people to you. You'll also appear more often to other attractive people.

Sign in to see your newly-shuffled matches. Have fun, and don't let this go to your head.

Supposedly I will now get fewer "hi" messages from unattractive men. I will let you know whether that's true or not. For now, I'm totally letting this go to my head.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To Online Date or Not To Online Date

Online dating? No thanks

I've always been opposed to online dating. It was fine for other people, but not my thing. I hate awkward situations, and I find it hard not to show it when I'm bored or annoyed. Meeting someone in person from a dating site seemed like the most awkward situation I could think of. Growing up I had a ton of pen pals. Nearly always, any written connection just didn't exist when we actually met. Needless to say, I was skeptical that it was going to be any different with online dating. My affinity for online dating decreased even more when I discovered that my ex had profiles on several online dating sites while we were living together (classy, right?). Plus, I never had a problem meeting guys in real life. I didn't need this online dating nonsense.

The musical chairs of dating

Since the end of my last relationship, the pool of available men has seemed much smaller. A friend has a great analogy for dating in your 30s - it's like you're in a game of musical chairs and everyone else sat down, but you didn't get the memo that the music stopped. I have always been a serial monogamist. After a string of poorly chosen relationships, I found myself single for the first time since middle school. Until the last relationship ended, I could count on two hands the number of months I'd been single since I was 14. That strategy obviously wasn't working too well so I figured maybe now was a good time to change tactics.

It's go time

I'm naturally competitive and an over-achiever. With the rest of my life, if I want something, I go get it. If I want to accomplish something, I find a way to do it. Climbing mountains, getting my dream job, running a marathon - all achieved by working my ass off and knowing exactly what I wanted. Yet for some reason, dating was the opposite. I was just passively waiting around to see who the next guy would be to fall into my life. As much as I hated the idea of online dating, it was proactive. And from what I could tell, every eligible straight guy in San Francisco was online.

The misadventures begin

After polling my friends for a clever username, I went onto OKCupid and set up an account. Before I had uploaded a photo or filled in any information, I was getting spammed. The first message was from a guy in Turkey. This wasn't starting well. After a few glasses of wine, writing my profile wasn't as painful as I was expecting. Before I had even finished my profile, the deluge of messages had started. In the first three days, I had 115 messages. Flattering, sure. But the vast majority was crap. It was exhausting to wade through all of the nonsense. I was invited to "special dinners" (scared to think what those might be), called the "female Tintin" (is that supposed to be a compliment?) and told my "profile pic is a bait for a man to read your profile" (I thought that was the point). Some of the messages were thoughtful, but as soon as I looked at the guy's profile we were obviously not a match. This was starting to feel like a whole lot of effort, but at least I would get a few good stories out of this even if I didn't find my dream guy.

Welcome to the party

Now after 2 weeks, 300+ messages, 4 dates and 3 more scheduled, I already have more than just a few good stories. I posted some of the highlights and lowlights on Facebook. The posts got more likes and comments than I ever expected (and a small army of friends who are now determined to find me a boyfriend). At their urging, I'm starting a blog of my misadventures. Posts to come will include the best and worst messages, awkward meet ups, tactics that seem to work and not work, and comparisons of all the different sites out there. If you have your own online dating story that you want to share, leave a comment and we'll chat. And of course, if you've got an amazing single guy friend, let me know. Enjoy :)