When we were growing up, our moms told us we were precious jewels. Grains of sand, or snowflakes — completely unique and unlike anything that has ever come before it. Nothing will measure up to our beauty, our intellect, our wit. We are magnificent, wonderful, amazing people who are completely our own.
Then came along online dating, which tells you you’re exactly like everyone else.
This is how I know:
When you click on someone’s profile on OK Cupid, it tells you a bunch of things about them (which I’ve laboriously outlined for your viewing pleasure). But once you’ve finished looking through the innermost thoughts of your potential suitor, there’s an entire section called, “similar users” at the bottom of their profile.
I.e. – “here’s a bunch of dudes who are just like the guy you’re already looking at…” “but maybe a little taller/buffer/smarter/richer.”
Now, we all know I am a perfect star in the sky and so I can only assume that when men visit my profile, the “similar users” section says, “yeah, right. This gal’s one of a kind! Better scoop her up quick!”
But the section offends me none the less. So I decided to do a small experiment. Like, very small. Tiny.
I randomly clicked a guy’s profile on OK Cupid, scanned through, and then clicked each of his similar users.
Okay so here’s the “original” guy I clicked. Let’s call him Pete. I actually have no idea what his name is, but sometimes you just look at someone and say, “hey, that guy looks like a Pete!” And he does. So… here’s Pete:
According to his profile, Pete likes to run and travel. Pete claims to be environmentally conscious and sarcastic. He works in a field with numbers (something analytic). He’s tall (6’1″) and says he’s optimistic and thinks life is “all good.” Ok, so that’s Pete (in a nutshell).
So first on the list of “similar users” is Tyler. Tyler is social and likes to travel and play sports. He’s 6’4″ and also claims he likes is goofy. So far so good.
Next comes Sam. Sam is 6’1″, outgoing, active, likes to travel, and works at a bank.
Then Miles, who is “happy-go-lucky,” likes sports, is an engineer, likes to joke around… but he’s 5’7″.
Then Michael. Michael works with computers and is 6′. But Michael says he’s shy and awkward. Kudos for coming right out and saying it, Michael.
Now Ed, who likes to laugh, likes to play basketball, and is 5’11”. He works in sales.
So there’s a few more, but you get the gist. More or less, these are the same people. Which makes me feel terrible.
In the world of online dating, we’re all returnable and transferable. Don’t like the original Pete version? Go for the similar (but taller) Tyler version. Looking for someone a little less excitable? How about the Michael version?
Why do people hate online dating so much and get so frustrated? Because we’re bogged down by the same buzz words every day. “Laid back,” “easy going,” “warm hearted.” I’ll get into those words in another post, but they’re basically all a sneaky way of saying “giant douche bag.” And then there’s links to find 10 more of the same!
If all we can narrow match results by is location, height, religion, etc., then how do you find that diamond? You just have to sift through the giant chunks of coal, get your hands a little dirty, and hope you don’t wind up with the black lung and die before you see that small glimmer of hope.
If we’re all just variations on a theme, how do we distinguish?
But hey, I like to think there’s not that many girls out there who have designer purses, but can scarf down a large stuffed crust pizza in one sitting. Who marched alongside the boys in drum line, but owns more high heels than I can even count anymore. Who can build a bookcase, but likes those fruity cocktails with the fruit on the side. Who can find equal enjoyment from Boondock Saints and 27 Dresses.
The “similar users” section is online dating’s little jab. It’s own special way of saying, “you might think those things matter, but they don’t.” And somehow you have to find your own way to stand apart, to be special, to have someone pick you over these 10 other people who are basically the same. Maybe I should go check out who is just like me and befriend them. They’d probably be amazing friends. We already have everything in common.
So maybe we are all just the same. But hey, at least my mom thinks I’m pretty cool.