I’ve long wanted to join a dating site with my husband. It may sound strange, but this desire was born out of pure curiosity. I needed to know if we’d been living a lie all this time. Sure, we may have been together for 20 years, and sure, we were in love, and sure, we still had fun together, but that didn’t mean anything. How did we know we were truly meant for each other? We’re not Google analytics. I needed hard data, and digital algorithms were the only definitive way to find out. So my husband and I joined several dating sites to see if what was in our hearts was borne out by the metrics.
At first it was a little tricky convincing my husband to go along with the experiment. I had to promise I wouldn’t actually go out on any dates. I also reassured him that he didn’t have to communicate with anyone or do anything other than set up a profile. But I’m pretty sure he thought I was looking to replace him. And, he didn’t want anybody to know. So don’t tell, OK? Honestly, I just wanted to see if these sites lived up to their promises. Did computers really know better than humans what was best for us?
So in the spirit of in sickness and in health, we signed up to see if online dating knew better than we did, and here’s what happened.
First I signed up for OkCupid, which was super easy. After three steps and a few minutes to create a profile, I received a message from “Alice,” an employee, or bot, of the company, with information on how the site worked and tips to improve my experience and success. Turns out her tips were unnecessary, because without doing anything and with an incomplete profile, I racked up 15 messages in just a few days from potential suitors. (I know no one says “suitors” anymore, which is another good reason to stay married). I was somewhat flattered and impressed with myself. Of course how interested could someone be when all he knew about me was that I was a straight, white, single Pisces?
After my profile was filled out, the site crunched the numbers on me and allowed me to “browse matches». A bunch of potential customers popped up along with their profile picture and the percentage the two of us matched. The candidates were in total random order, though, forcing me to scroll endlessly through quasi-matches to see if there were any more better-suited single men out there. Or, in my case, my husband.
One of my best matches, at 80 percent, was Dancespirit, which sorta goes to show right there the matching system was broken. I would never date a guy named Dancespirit. I wish nothing but the best for him, but I just couldn’t see it working out between us. The best suggested match, at 69 percent), was a 34 year old from New York whose profile picture looked like it may have been taken on Valentine’s Day right after his girlfriend dumped him. His close-up was taken in front of a big, red, shiny heart. He looks slightly pissed off, possibly due
Although some of the matches were questionable, the good thing about joining a dating site when you’re married, aside from not having to go out on a bazillion blind dates, is the messages you receive. It’s a nice ego boost – even if it is so someone can try to get down your pants. I’ll take it.