12 Things You're Doing Wrong on OKCupid

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There was a time when if you told people that you were online dating, they felt sorry for you, concerned for your safety, and convinced that meeting someone of substance wasn't a viable option. "Can't you just jerk off in the HORNY CALI TEENZ chat room like the rest of us? This 15 year old Paso Robles chick said she's DEFINITELY not a 42 year old named Steve."

It was a different time. Most Americans didn't have internet, and those that did had modems that were some of the best dubstep producers of our time. The internet seemed like a foreign place - one that was never intimately connected with our actual day-to-day. Archival news footage shows Americans trepidation about those two worlds colliding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znESQTt3L80

I miss the days when the Hanks/Chapelle pairing was a Hollywood mainstay.

Nowadays, meeting people online is a staple of the young dating community, and OKCupid is the cool kid in the room. If you're in your 20's or 30's and not on OKCupid, people look at you like something's wrong. "She's just probably too ugly for the internet." You're a pariah if you're not putting your face and intimate details out for strangers to see. Online identity is a virtual (eh?) non-issue - literally everyone I know has a picture of themselves connected to their name somewhere on the internet, and most are easily identified with some simple boolean searches. The lines between who we are online and who we are offline are indeed becoming increasingly blurred.

But just like with face-to-face dating, there are some simple rules of etiquette - things that will help improve your dating life and things that will hurt it. These are the top 12 no-no's we see across OKCupid:

12) Travel Pics

You backpacked through eastern Germany after college, and studied as an au-pair in Costa Rica before scuba-diving your way to Senegal where you spent the last three years building mud huts for orphans and now you've forgotten how to speak english. We get it. You like to travel. But one picture of you jumping midair on the Great Wall is probably enough. Everyone loves traveling, but if you're going to date someone, that date isn't going to take place over Skype - so show them what you do in the city in which you're actually going to meet. If it makes you feel better you can still take malaria pills before the date.

11) Rock-climbing Pics

Saying you're a guy on OKCupid who rock climbs is like saying you're a guy on OKCupid. Yes, you're in shape, and you like working out and that's great - but can you imagine what it would look like if you took a pic of yourself doing a bicep curl? As a guy, it's really our not-so-subtle way of saying "Hey, check out these sweet delts," while trying not to commit offense #10.

10) Shirtless Pics

shirtless-douche OKCupid WrongBro. Brah. Bruhhh. You work out like, mad hard. Like, you put those weights up and down so much it's like you two are in a bi-polar relationship with each other, yhrm? But like maybe, you can put your flip-phone down, and take a look into that mirror you're in front of, and ask yourself, "Am I trying to go on a date? Or am I trying to say I'm a narcissistic toolbag who didn't want his friend to take a more subtle pic because 1) that's gay and 2) I don't have any friends." If it's the latter, then by all means, keep truth in advertising, brah.

9) Can't See Your Face, Can't See Your Body, Can't Tell Who You Are

Remember that picture of you standing in front of the Leaning Tower? Remember that picture of you diving into Havasu? Remember how none of these would be helpful in a police lineup? While it's great to see all the things that you love to do, ultimately we want to date you. And for some anti-progressive, anti-intellectual, sex-negative cretins, it turns out that physical attraction is an important element of that.

That doesn't mean just seeing your face, it also means seeing your body. I remember when I first signed up for OKCupid years ago (I was probably 23), and I messaged a girl with an absolutely beautiful face. Her profile said she was curvy - but that's okay - I like curvaceous ladies! I was a little concerned that she didn't have any full body pics, but again she had a gorgeous face and cleavage to match (she utilized the Myspace selfie angle).

When she came to my door, I was in shock. Without exaggeration, she was probably the fattest young woman I had ever personally seen, approaching, if not passing 300 lbs. While we continued to talk at my place for a couple hours, I felt like I had been lied to. Now I was having a date with someone who I didn't want to in an effort to be courteous. During the course of that conversation I actually came to learn that she was scheduled for gastric bypass surgery. And while I commend her for addressing what she felt was an issue, it was definitely unfair for her to represent herself the way she did online.

It took a few more similar dates before I finally realized that if someone isn't showing a full body pic, it's probably because they don't want to, and so I won't engage.

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The last of these offenses is the "unidentifiable" date. You have friends, you love them, and you go out drinking with them. Awesome. Don't make that your profile pic - and if it is a pic you decide to put in your profile, you need to make it really clear which one of those is you. Almost without fail, every time I've seen a picture with multiple attractive girls in it and clicked, it's turned out that the profile belongs to the least attractive girl in the picture. The old click-bait-and-switch.

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8) Don't Write Your Name

This one is counterintuitive to me, but I've done many experiments alone at 3:00am, so trust me on this one. When you send an initial message to someone, don't sign your name. It might seem impolite not to, and it might even seem more personal when you do, but the rate of response you get goes down significantly.

Why? When you sign your name there's a finality to it. You're clearly marking the end of a correspondence, as if making a statement, when what we want is a dialogue. There's something psychologically easier about disregarding a message that's been signed - it almost makes it seem self-contained and concluded - instead of "something I need to get back to", which is what you want.

7) No Essays

Never start a message off with an essay. Yes, it's great to know lots of things about you - but you have your profile for that. If you ask 5 things and tell 5 things, you'll be lucky if three of those things get a response.

Again, this is a conversation we're starting. Can you imagine talking at someone for two minutes before even letting them have a chance to respond back?

Keep it simple and singular. Introduce, ask, state. "Hi there! So what kind of writing do you do? I actually write for a website where I mainly talk about my diarrhea affliction."

The same goes for your profile - try to keep sentences short, or use bullet points. People get lost in essays.

6) Wanna fuck?

Eh, not really.

I'm all about being upfront, but there are better ways to do it, and if you're a dude, the rapist factor is way too important for women to be looking to OKCupid for something that casual, which is why we have Tinder.

5) Women Taking Men for Granted

I probably get one female-initiated OKCupid message a month. And sadly, most of those messages are from very nice women, but ones that are nowhere in the realm of what I'd consider myself attracted to. By contrast, my female friends get around 25 message a day.

Basically, OKCupid is mirroring typical bar behavior that we see, which is great if it seems convenient for both parties, but from the murmurings I hear, it's not. Men complain that not enough women respond, and women complain that most guys that message them are creepy.

So what do we do? If the engagement was a little more equitable I think we might find that men are having to send less messages and women are having to sift through less messages about dudes' junk.

And women: don't feel "embarrassed" about getting rejected or having someone not respond to your message. You know those little status indicators that show how frequently someone responds? 95% of the women I see display "very selectively" while 95% of the men say "frequently". We as men are very used to rejection, so meet us halfway.

Also, if you do choose to respond to a message someone initiates - please don't ask them about things that they mention in their profile. That's why they wrote the thing in the first place.

4) Copy+Paste Jobs

"What's up? I really liked your profile and feel like we'd be a great match. Let me know if you want to grab a drink sometime."

I understand that OKCupid is a numbers game, but any OKCupid user with the slightest bit of savvy will spot these immediately. You're going to get a much higher return by investing a little bit of time in actually personalizing a message to the user based off their profile.

Remember, it doesn't need to be long - but find some succinct point of conversation you can latch onto and go for it.

3) Lying about Height

This one is for you, fellas. You can lie all you want about being 6'1 (which in case any women are wondering, is definitely my penis size), but the fact is you're going to need to meet these women. I have heard countless stories of women going to meet up with guys from OKC only to find out that they're 2-4 inches shorter than they actually say. There's nothing wrong with being on the shorter side, but if we're into the whole consent thing, let's let both parties decide what they're attracted to, yeah?

2) Excuses to Why You're on

If your profile says anything like "I'm only doing this because my friend made me" or the most private thing you're willing to admit is "That I'm on this site", you are a piece of shit.

If you're not going to sincerely look for a partner using the site, no partner is going to look at you seriously. How would you feel if someone messaged you and said said "I'm only messaging you because my friend made me". We're ALL on this site - just because you feel bad about it doesn't mean you have to make others.

1) Not Meeting Up

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but I'm telling you: any date made more than 4 days after when you scheduled it won't happen. The work week is tough. Things come up, plans change, other OKCupid messages are being fielded. Your OKCupid date is going to flake.

Nothing is worse than the protracted OKC exchange that never leads to actually meeting. No one is the same on OKC as they are in real life - it's a thin slice of their best side, and if you want to see the whole thing, it's best to do that ASAP. So exchange a few messages and then make an effort to meet up, and make sure that meet up is scheduled for the immediate future. We're all just text-based blips on each other's radars, and no one can bank those away for more than a few days. ---- So there you have it. This comes from years of OKCupid dating, studying and styling friends' OKC profiles (both men and women), and having only a 2% OKC date punching me in the face rate.

With any luck you too could be pooping back-and-forth forever! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQoJo81lujk

This week's podcast: Epsiode 56: Madison Young & Eric's Breakup (I'm starting the trend of making breakup podcasts. Fuck CDs.)