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The Day I Discovered That I'm an OK Cupid Asshole

Illustration for article titled The Day I Discovered That Im an OK Cupid Asshole

I jumped into the internet ball pit of online dating as a free, simple way of getting over my last girlfriend. It was great! It was convenient, quick, and distracting. And then I read a bad review about myself online.

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My roommate IMed me a link to a girl—who we, by a strange twist of fate and internet tragedy, had last year both latched onto via OK Cupid—and her account of the experience on her blog.

Oh gentle Christ.

After gulping several times, I read it. The experience of reading about yourself online, especially under the guise of a pseudonym, was surreal enough, even on the personal blog of some girl you never talk to anymore.

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But reading somewhat vivid descriptions of your personal online conversations, text exchanges, and digital courtship was something else. Especially given that I came out looking like a dick.

I was described as having gone "radio silent," accused of avoiding hanging out with her despite the fact that our "offices were less than a mile in walking distance." Ours was, she said, a "passionate cyber-meeting turned cyber-fueled fling that couldn't sustain itself. What was missing was the human part of it. When Stan [me] stopped talking to me out of nowhere, he later apologized over G-chat for his behavior." She concludes that "You really don't know what ultimately drives people to join dating sites and the kinds of people you're going to meet."

I had been turned into a cautionary tale. And, for the record, I never sexted her. At least I'm pretty sure I didn't.

This is a weird way to find out you've hurt someone. But why should it be surprising? OK Cupid (and the rest of the bunch) abstract the human element away from love and sex. And that's fine! Desirable at times, even. We're living in an abstracted age, where conversations are condensed and pictures are cropped and feelings often don't matter. The crevasse between someone's decent OK Cupid profile and caring about an actual human being is a wide one—and the simplicity of dating sites doesn't prepare you for the leap. Of the online dates I used to go on, their terminuses weren't some shouting match or personality clash. It was just apathy. Meeting people in real life is tough! That's why dating sites make money. We don't like tough. But these flings disintegrate as easily as they form, victims of their own convenience.

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And they make it easier to hurt someone, because, truthfully, you never cared that much to begin with. When canceling a date is as easy as canceling an Amazon shipment, what are we to expect from each other? People come off as bitchy and rude and careless because the internet lets us be this way—because we demand it! Is this good? Is it even sustainable? I'm not sure. But I am pretty sure that I never sexted that girl. Really. I mean come on.

Image: mast3r/Shutterstock


You can keep up with Sam Biddle, the author of this post, on Twitter or Facebook.

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DISCUSSION

renodakota
RenoDakota

I think that with dating (online or not), you find either (1) people who are truly looking for love, or at least a relationship, or (2) people who are putting themselves out there for whatever comes their way, either some sexy sex sex or a relationship and/or love. It seems that when people are flat out looking to fall in love or be in a relationship, they tend to put more weight upon every single date, nay - every single interaction. Thus, a few emails can send him/her into a tailspin over how to respond or where to go on the first date because even though you haven't met, things matter. They have something at stake, even if no one else would perceive it. Once the meeting happens, if it only went ok, or well but not exceptionally well, a person who really wants to be in a relationship might perceive it as having gone better than it did because they want it to be so. If the other person who went on the date only perceived an ok date as being ok and blows the other person off, well... sort of rude, but it was one date and that person didn't see either party as having anything at stake. So, no big whoop if it wasn't love - it was a date, and it was nice.

I don't think either side is at fault. People come at things with different agendas, and when it's that early in getting to know someone, agendas aren't fully typically fully disclosed. Looking for a relationship for one person might mean OMG LUV but for another person, it might mean a constant wedding date and sex on the weekends. Online dating profiles don't do the best job at weeding out who's in which camp.

(Note about OK Cupid: I found that while I had the impulse to reply to everyone who messaged me, even the "Hey babe, cute pics, let's grab a drink" guys, once I stopped doing so b/c I was too busy, I also got WAAAY less of the bullshit messages and more from guys who read my profile and were interested in what it said. That's my OK Cupid 2 cents.)