One of the things I’m finding hilarious about dating again, eleven years after the last time I was single, is that no matter how compatible or otherwise my date and I might be, there is one fact on which we always agree: OK Cupid is shit now. This isn’t a problem with an obvious, easy solution, I just think that when you realise something truly good is gone, it’s important to allow yourself time and space to mourn. OK Cupid sucks horrible arse these days, and I know I’m late to this revelation but I’m super fucking sad about it, and I wanted to have a little rant.
My email inbox tells me that I joined OK Cupid in August 2011, but that can’t possibly be right because I’m sure I met my ex before then, and OKC was our first point of contact.
Perhaps I should check the date with one of my good pals who has a head for them – I met him on OKC too, back in the day, and he has a decent knack for remembering how long it’s been since we last did what. Last time we went to an actual pub before Covid, for instance, or last time we drove the DLR.
Maybe I should ask another friend, a guy I still get pissed with and play board games sometimes: when did we meet mate? Can you date it?
The point I’m making is that back in the day, OK Cupid was a genuinely brilliant place to meet people, as evidenced by the brilliant people I met while I was on it. On the old OK Cupid, you answered a tonne of questions (the more, the better!) and matched with people not just on the basis of them ‘having the same answers’, but based on data which demonstrated compatibility.
To give you a simple example, if you’re lefty like I am you don’t want a site to match you with someone who’s fiercely right wing, so ideally you need them to have answered a question like ‘do you believe that poor people deserve to be poor, because they haven’t had the nous to be born to someone who works in banking?’ with ‘no’ and ‘do you hate Boris Johnson?’ with ‘yes, fucking obviously.’ But when we’re talking kink, the site needs to be clever enough to recognise that ‘submission’ should be put with ‘dominance’ or ‘switch’ and not just try to pair people who tick the exact same box. I don’t know the details of how the algorithm used to work, but I know that it definitely did. It certainly worked better than the current one, which has a question about whether, during sex, you’d rather be ‘tied up or doing the tying’ that I swear it’s using to match me with similarly subby little fucks. We could swap some fun stories, for sure, but I’m here to swap spit, goddamn you.
The old version of OK Cupid, if you used it right, was as close to a guaranteed hit as you’d ever get. I kick myself for not appreciating the miracle of it at the time. That foolish slip of a twenty-six-year-old used to be so blasé about her match percentages! So casual in assuming that this magic would never be lost! She never knew how lucky she was, having red-hot match after red-hot match hurled into her search results, toying with the idea of them but never understanding their worth – like a princess selecting which swan to eat for lunch! I HATE HER.
I have friends from OK Cupid today because of how it was a decade ago. If I matched with someone over 95% then – provided this match was based on a decent number of questions – we’d almost certainly get on. That is what matching is for. Naturally, no computer can ever tell you if you’re going to want to shag someone, or whether your shagging will turn into something long term, but if I matched with someone at 95 or over, I could guarantee that the pair of us would at least have a laugh over a pint and a plate of chips, and the fucky stuff would come later if we sparked. Sadly though…
OK Cupid sucks absolute massive, horrible, stressful, awkward arse now
I know I’m late to the party here – forgive me, I’ve been busy with monogamy. But my brief foray into OK Cupid last year was an ice-cold bucket of shock. No sooner had I set up my profile than I’d be getting intros from men who matched at 99% but had barely answered any fucking questions! Men who were so clearly unsuited to me that I wanted to write angry letters to the website on their behalf, berating it for cockteasing this poor 60-year-old crystal-loving yoga instructor into ever thinking that he and I might work. Even when people have answered loads of questions, that’s still no guarantee that a high match percentage will make for a decent date, for the simple reason that the current OK Cupid matching algorithm is demonstrably either evil or actually drunk.
Example: I have answered the question ‘do you smoke?’ with ‘yes, frequently’ because – pay attention now, see if you can absorb this better than the stack-of-Raspberry-Pis-and-gaffer-tape that apparently powers OK Cupid – I smoke frequently. I have also answered the question ‘is smoking disgusting?’ with ‘no’, because even though I know it is disgusting really, it’s important that any dude I meet be OK with me nipping out for nicotine occasionally. You have the option in OK Cupid to say what your ideal partner would answer, so I’ve ticked ‘no’ for that, and marked it as extremely important. I’m a masochist, sure, but I don’t want a man who actually thinks I am gross. AND YET. So many of my matches answered yes to that question! So! Many! I wouldn’t normally talk smoking on here (except that time when I wrote erotica about the hot guy in the impotence warnings on the back of fag packets – I miss him), because I do feel genuinely disgusted and ashamed by that aspect of my behaviour, but it’s such a perfect example of how shit the site is now.
“I want to meet a man please!”
“Here are a hundred.”
“Will they like me?”
“Lol no, they literally think you’re disgusting!”
I can spot these answers fairly easily if I scroll down, because I’ve marked my own as ‘important.’ It’s disconcerting and offputting to have to do that though, because I don’t have time to fine-toothcomb everything, double-checking work that computers used to do.
This is what gets me about the new OK Cupid. It doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t actually have to ruin something that works purely to keep up with the Joneses over on other dating sites, like Tinder – The Land Where Looks Are King. If you want to make money, you capitalist fucks, I’m telling you now that I – an actual cheapskate/horny slag who has never paid for dating in my life – would genuinely open my wallet if you’d dust off your old codebase and reignite The Site That Was Good. Naturally you then run into the problem that paid dating sites only attract people with cash, so you miss out on broke hotties and cheapskate horny slags when you’re getting your matches. This isn’t a massive problem for me, though, because the people I am most frequently matched with tend to be nerdy techbro types, and they’re often grotesquely overpaid. So I’ll be fine. Just do it for me. Go on, you cuntblocking pricks.
Tinder is Tinder: don’t be Tinder
The weird Tinder-esque swiping system means that the thing OK Cupid used to be brilliant for (searching, filtering, getting into the nerdy/funny detail of how people summed up their lives) was suddenly replaced by a big neon sign telling users “LOOKS ARE IMPORTANT”. As far as I’m aware (though please, experienced New OK Cupid users, guide me if I’m wrong) there isn’t a neat way to filter people who fit specific criteria. So I couldn’t laser-target my search to dudes who were into kink, within a 5k radius, had cats and owned their own vans… right? I can’t remember if you could get that level of detail on the old OK Cupid, but you sure as shit got more than you get right now, which is barely more detailed than ‘age/location/in possession of camera and face.’
If you’re the sort of person (me) who doesn’t find ‘listlessly scrolling through photos’ to be a particularly good way to meet matches, you can of course click through to someone’s full profile (one click more effort than I’d like to make, you fuckers) but only if you haven’t already accidentally swiped left in an effort to at least pay cursory attention to their image gallery. I know I’m in the minority in how I feel about visual appeal: if I’m looking to fuck someone, I’m checking for funny/kind/kinky (in roughly that order), and somewhere at the bottom of the list is ‘show me a glimpse of their face’. So I know I’m not ‘normal’, but even people who do care about looks have expressed frustration to me at the Tinder-fication of this once-awesome haven for horny-yet-unphotogenic nerds.
The real damage
“Oh GOTN, you fucking twat, you’re basically just an old cunt ranting at the sky. You’re like those people who come into school for parents’ evening and lament the fact that it’s all laptops and smart boards these days. Except even those parents are probably thin on the ground because smartboards have been around for AGES – even your references-to-new-technology are hopelessly dated, you whining prick.”
YES I KNOW. Trust me, I’m as annoyed as you are. This isn’t who I want to be. But this isn’t purely a ‘modern life sucks’ rant: Old OK Cupid wasn’t good because it was old, or because it didn’t push you to a Fancy App instead of a good old-fashioned website. It was good because it worked. Because it knew its purpose. Because it’s primary goal was to help you meet people you actually liked. The part of me that would love to embrace conspiracies wants to hypothesise that New OK Cupid is actively trying to stop me from finding good men, so I stay on the site indefinitely – bait to catch yoga instructors who don’t stand a chance at shagging me, but reckon if they pay for the upgrade they might get a finger in someone.
For what it’s worth, as a straight woman, my ‘strategy’ when it comes to the absolute shitshow that is New OK Cupid is to increase my focus on contacting dudes first. I’ll do a lot of swiping, and a lot of research, and send maybe two or three messages, then close the fucking app and leave it a few days to see if my men take the bait. So far, I have met one guy on New OK Cupid who I would rate as a genuine match – funny, kind, kinky (not necessarily in that order) – and I caught him by messaging first. If in doubt: message first. It helps you sidestep the horrors of intro admin, and the kind of men who are worth your time will usually fucking love it.
OK Cupid is so shit it has definitely ruined lives
In the meantime, please join me in this howl of aching horror that OK Cupid is shit these days. It’s not just annoying because it’s new, there’s genuine sadness here that I feel it’s important to articulate. Think of all the damage that’s been done by taking a sledgehammer to what was once a priceless piece of dating architecture! All the people who would have banged, but never get the chance, because they’re busy fielding bullshit messages from 90% matches who are not compatible in the slightest. All the relationships that never got the chance to blossom because the people who might have planted the seeds of them got pissed off with being shown photo after photo of grinning teetotallers when they’d made it expressly clear that they drink like a fish! Think, if you will, of the children left unborn, because the clumsy fumbles that Old OK Cupid would have facilitated never got the chance to occur in the first place. The countless thousands of snogs that haven’t happened, the tits that have gone un-fondled, the dick that’s not been sucked!
So come, my friends! You, the unloved lovers! You, the horny and unfucked! The nerds who don’t care about photos but who’d really like to have sex where someone else does the tying for once! Those of you who remember what life was like when OK Cupid was more about matching than edging you: join me. Share this post on your social media, send it to your online dating friends. Email it to the people who run the site and ask them to hit the button in the server room that says ‘REVERT ALL CHANGES: WE’VE MADE A HORRIBLE MISTAKE.’
And perhaps if you agree, you could also add a link from your OKC profile. Just pop it in there as a nod to the obvious: ‘FYI, comrade: it’s hard now this site’s gone to shit. Maybe we’ll be two of the lucky few who hook up despite the new algorithm’s baffling and nefarious work.’ It’d be cool, wouldn’t it? Stick a link on your profile, start a conversation, meet a likeminded soul. After all, no matter how bizarre and unsuitable your matches might otherwise be, there’s one thing every user will agree upon: New OK Cupid is cockblockingly shit.
Oh no wait! Sorry! You can’t even hotlink articles from your profile any more! Everything about it is terrible and wrong and the people who destroyed it should hang their heads in shame!
Take me back in time and give me power, I’d have made the old OK Cupid – the good one, the one that worked – a special case website to be protected at all costs. Dating architecture – no, infrastructure – that deserved to be preserved. I’d have made that shit a listed fucking building.
I can’t say that what’s been done to OK Cupid is actually a ‘crime’ in case that’s libel, but I won’t refrain from wailing that it’s clearly a fucking tragedy.