My inbox on Ok Cupid currently contains a message that reads like an attempt to hire an escort (“I’m not looking to jump right into a serious relationship, but I have a good chunk of change in my bank account if you wanted some adventures in the city or are up for a trip to Europe on my tab”), another from a 61-year-old man in Mexico City congratulating me because I am “a really fun and fantastic girl” (I’m 23 and live in New York), and an abundance of pick-up lines ranging from cheesy to grossly offensive.
Ok Cupid’s homepage includes an endorsement that it is the Google of online dating, but in actuality it is not the Google of online dating.
“Our qualified men pay to start a conversation, and these men would love to get to know you better,” they read.
My philosophy was: the wider I cast my net, the more likely I am to find that rare guy who’s just right for me.
And while I’m no longer in the dating pool, I definitely remember many a month when I felt like all the attractive and kind men had gone into hiding.
Evolved.”) is bound to make some members feel uncomfortable.
But what I found most off-putting about Sparkology’s version of online dating was the constant assertion that the men on the site were “real gentlemen” of a higher quality than other dating sites (wording taken from the Sparkology FAQ page)—and that, because they’re paying to talk to you, they therefore deserve increased attention and consideration, even though you’re paying to be on the site too.
There’s something deeply icky about pushing women to feel indebted to men they’ve never met, the virtual equivalent of feeling pressure to converse with a stranger because he decided to buy you a drink.
(The site also has the annoying habit of pricing its plans for female members in the equivalent of cocktails: Women can join for six months at twenty-five dollars per month—a mere one and two-thirds cocktails!
They found that women who are part of this vaguely-defined demographic want to connect with ambitious men who graduated from prestigious schools and that men want women to be educated, but don’t really care about where.
This led to the site’s requirement that all members be college-educated young professionals, and for men to have received their degrees from a list of select schools.
Then again, the site’s activity might be so greatly diminished that it wouldn’t be a very interesting option for online dating at all.
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