So I signed up for a free trial on the largest german online dating service. I was skeptical so I used my most anonymous real name (there was no need, the profiles, as it turns out, are all anonymous, no exceptions made) and replied the enormous amount of questions they asked and clicked on the pictures of my chice out of impulse: what does impulse tell me? Do I like a vertical squiggly line or a horizontal squiggly line? Do I like that black and white picture of arrows in each other or rahter the one with circles and more circles? I shit you not! Thing is, I’ve done tests like these before for other purposes and personalitywise, they are ridiculously accurate…
Then I was asked to add a photo of me, and I clicked skip. I got the same menu prompting me to put a foto of myself and a warning along the lines of “Are you sure? Consider carefully: would you contact someone with a profile without a foto? You can still add a foto now or later.”. I said out loud “Uh, yeah, I would (contact a profile with no photo)” and I skipped it. They also informed me that the photo I chose to add would be blurred at all times, unless I chose to unlock it either for all premium members or for one member of my choice.
Apparently, other people are willing to contact profiles with no fotos: while I was adding some stuff to my profile, I got two contact requestes (that very quickly became three). I then decided I was going to add a foto, because I did mention I’m a large woman (obese-haters need not aply, thank you) but nowadays, guys think women who say they’re far are exagertaing because of the attention-seeking skinnies that go around claiming to be sooo obese. I decided that, even if the foto is blurry, they’ll be able to perceive a head-to-body ratio that will give them an approximate idea of what I’m talking about.
I checked the profiles of the people who had contacted me. One of them had “smiled at me”. You can “smile” at people if you like theire profile. This is actually fucking awesome. Because it allows you to show someone you think their profile is interesting. A non-invasive way of saying “I’m intrigued”. I was expecting awful contact attempts like “Hey, what do you like to do after work?” (wow, so organic) but this was nice. I checked his profile and found myself quite intrigued. He was an engineer, two years older than me and mentioned one of his funny habits was to plant sunflowers on his balcony so the blackbirds would have something to eat – which many people will apparently yawn over, but it actually tickles me. His idea of a first date is a cup of coffee together, because if people start planing too much stuff for the first date, they might end up dissapointed. Again: I’m so sure so many people would have a problem with an answer like that (them bitched who need to be swooped off their feet at every second of their lives, I guess) but I liked the down-to-earth honesty of it. So I “smiled back” and went to check the other profiles, thinking they would all be that appealing, that this is all rigged.
But it’s not rigge. Of the other two, one was pretty ok, the other wone left me kinda “meh” and then boom, I get a new message: “my” engineer reacted to my smile with “questions for fun”. I didn’t know what it was, I clicked. I got 4 multiple choice questions with the title “would we fit together?”. The questions ranged from “what’s your reaction when someone sends you an e-mail with typos” to “what of the following is an absolute necessity in an appartment for two?”. The challenge was to answer these same questions he had already answered and if we had a perfect match, I’d buy the coffe the first time we met. I was very undecided when it came to two of the questions (the other were pretty plain to me) but I did answer, and I put the space above a dishwasher as a necessity (although it was a tough choice). And the result: only one match. Ouch.
The software did tell me what his answers were and I was a bit put down, because when it came to the two questions I found so hard, he had answered exactly the other option I would’ve chosen. See, the world isn’t black and white so black and white answers on a site like this… well…. the software did try to comfort me: “Don’t be put down! It doesn’t mean you’re not right for one another. Sometimes, it’s exactly this kind of differences that turns a conversation so interesting!”. So this software is even encouraging tolerance rather than encouraging an awful tendence to click twice for a better version of your dreampartnet. Nice!
While I was considering this….. I got a message from the engineer. Okaaay… his message said something like “Pity, pity…”. I smiled at my PC. Sure it’s a pity, and yet he seems to want to know something beyond a couple of multiple-choice answers. So I told him “Heh, I would be open to a discussion about the dishwasher!”. And after a while, a new message from the guy! And it’s… BLURED!! Weee! The software then tells you you can only read and send one message if you’re “freemium”, would you be interested in becoming a premium member? I knew right away that no, I wouldn’t be interessed (hey, I gave up meat because my fincances are bad! I’m not about to start buying a different kind of meat!) but I clicked on it, curious about the prices and laughed my ass off. It’s expensive. It’s fucking expensive. You got 3 choices: 6 months membership, 12 months membership and 24 months (!!!!) membership! No matter what choice you go for, you’re allways 300€ poorer in the end (that is how much a partner costs – unless you go for a bargain and get several partners. Hmph.) because the longer the membership, the cheaper the monthly rate is.
Well, I’m quite sad that I so abruptly got cut off from the eingineer and didn’t get to say why (I contented myself with sending him a smile, all I could), but I wasn’t 50€/month sad. I did find the experience rather amusing and it took away some misconceptions I had about online dating. Apparently, it doesn’t have to be a freak-parade if you find a decent enough platform, if you’re willing to pay for the security of such platform and if you stick to your guns. I don’t have to contact everyone who looks at my profile (I have a lot of engineers looking at my profile…. if pastry-chef like a fetish-job for engineers?) and when a guy does send me the dreaded “Hey. I wanna get to know you.” clusmy/desperate message, you don’t have to reply. Or you can and be nice abou it. Or not. And you can even block them if they get on your nerves.
So all in all, it was positive and gave me a different view on the matter. I can’t do it know because, well, my life is a mess and I don’t have the cash or the nerves and patience. But when I get a job with some disposable income (October!) and straightened a thing or two in my life, I’ll surely give it a go. (I’m applying for college, starting…. October! October is going to be a pivotal month in my life and I’m not doing other major changes before that)
I do think I’ll go for the 6 months membership, even if the 12 month membership is attractively cheaper in the short-range. I know you can’t really force love, but I feel that if I actively look for a partner for 6 months and don’t find anyone who suits me, it is defenitely time to stop looking and do some soul-searching and consider what the fuck is the deal with me and other people. Because as far as I can tell, if you’re willing to try and take the same amoun of rejection you’d get in real life at a faster pace… you won’t need more than 6 months…