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OkCupid code words?
August 12, 2014 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed in my travels on OK Cupid that there seem to be a few code words in play on the site --- for example, mentioning the movie Secretary in the movies/books section seems to pretty consistently be a gentle hint that the person is either into BDSM themselves or at least kink friendly. It made me wonder what other key words may be out there that I'm missing out on, in case I've put them in my profile or see them in others'. What is the modern handkerchief code?
posted by maggiepolitt to Society & Culture (34 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
A hell of a lot of people seem to mention the Oxford Comma. I assume that's flagging nerd (like argyle hankies!), but honestly I'm not sure what's really behind it.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:50 AM on August 12 [9 favorites]


Are you looking for sexual things, or more general things?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:51 AM on August 12


Either or both.
posted by maggiepolitt at 11:54 AM on August 12


I keep thinking of things which don't necessarily apply ONLY to OKCupid.

One thing I have noticed a lot is that many women listed as gay or bi specify in their profiles that they are actually queer, which I think is basically saying "gender and sexuality is interesting and important to me, and also it's very likely that I have tattoos and don't really want to date straight cis guys."

For some reason, if people go out of their way to mention that they really like tea, there is a good chance they are a book-loving introvert.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:58 AM on August 12 [9 favorites]


It started as OKCupid's own research finding that saying you like the taste of beer was the single best predictor of openness to casual sex. Not everyone knows about this, and of course plenty of people like beer, but I've definitely experienced heard about it working as a bit of a shibboleth now.
posted by argonauta at 12:04 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Atlas Shrugged at the top of the book list is a good sign the person in question appreciates it beyond its literary qualities.
posted by griphus at 12:07 PM on August 12 [27 favorites]


This isn't OKC exclusive, but "GGG" may be a code - it's from the Savage Love column, and stands for "Good, Giving, and Game". The implication is supposed to be about how flexible and up-for-experimentation you are in bed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:08 PM on August 12


I think GGG is less a 'code' and more 'saying exactly what you mean'.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:23 PM on August 12 [20 favorites]


I see "comfortable in one's own skin" frequently enough that I wonder if that's code for something.

Any mention of the word kind, even in contexts where it is absolutely the correct word, will be taken out of context to mean "pot smoking." I've learned this from experience.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:58 PM on August 12


This is perhaps subjective, but I have noticed that the more of these secret code descriptors a person has in their profile, the more they think they are awesome at gaming the online dating system (and subsequently have more experience on the okc circuit and subsequentlysubsequently are more jaded about dating).

Like, he's not the only one, but I went on a few dates with a dude who had "oxford comma" and "GGG" and who had clearly paid attention to the okc labs suggestions for photos, and he talked a lot about dating and I found out after I stopped seeing him that he had been blogging about me on his blog about online dating.

So that's a thing.
posted by phunniemee at 1:41 PM on August 12 [16 favorites]


I have a comment about the Oxford comma on my profile but I had no idea this was A Thing on OkC Profiles and now I guess I'm going to take it off.

I also have tea listed as a thing I could not do without and I guess I am a bookish introvert so.

Not a keyword, but when someone leaves the drug field blank it means they only do soft drugs like weed.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:45 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Redditors are likely to mention narwhals and/or bacon.
posted by dekathelon at 2:03 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Not a keyword, but when someone leaves the drug field blank it means they only do soft drugs like weed.

This is definitely a thing, yes.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:05 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


As this article pointed out, when a man says he wants a "woman who takes care of herself," he means he is (exclusively) interested in thin women.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:23 PM on August 12 [37 favorites]


I need someone to help me decode griphus' comment.

Is the idea that it's code for being a libertarian douche, or … something else? (I have heard one or two things that suggest it might be "something else" but man, talk about your risky signals if so.)
posted by kenko at 3:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I also would have assumed that a comment about Oxford commas wasn't so much "flagging nerd" as just straightforward "exhibiting nerdiness", which suggests that I might be, of all things, underthinking okcupid.

Honestly, I think a lot of these things, at least on the Secretary tip, are a little unnecessary; if you want to signal that you're kink-friendly or like pot but nothing harder or whatever, the questions offer ample opportunity for that (and at least with Secretary it's not as if you're being subtle about it by being cutesy about it.)
posted by kenko at 3:24 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think a lot of these things, at least on the Secretary tip, are a little unnecessary; if you want to signal that you're kink-friendly or like pot but nothing harder or whatever, the questions offer ample opportunity for that (and at least with Secretary it's not as if you're being subtle about it by being cutesy about it.)

Maybe I should explain what I mean --- I don't set a lot of store by the questions, myself. Don't usually bother to look at them. So maybe dedicated kinksters do most of their signalling there. It was just that I had noticed it cropping up in the profiles of a few people who were quite open about that in their profiles --- and from then on it sort of set off my spidey-sense and if I saw it in another profile, I'd usually find, upon a closer look, that there were other signs that pointed that way as well.

But I can understand its function. Front load your fetishes and it makes them deal breakers rather than additional interests. Which is fine if they are dealbreakers, but potentially needlessly off putting if they're not.
posted by maggiepolitt at 3:36 PM on August 12


Is the idea that it's code for being a libertarian douche

Totally, people of all kinds use the favorite books thing to signal their politics or values. Ayn Rand = hardcore libertarian is most definitely a thing. People into lefty politics or social justice do the same kind of signaling, I just can't think of any one book in particular that's used the way that The Fountainhead is. I also feel like mentioning The Wire is code for a particular worldview, or at least "educated person who thinks critically about stuff".

Listing Sex at Dawn or The Ethical Slut = they're interested in open relationships but their identity isn't totally wrapped up in it (on preview, what maggiepolitt said - interested but not a dealbreaker). Kind of along the same lines as mentioning Secretary of Dan Savage.
posted by bradbane at 3:57 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


I could also imagine other reasons you might choose a (completely obvious) signal rather than straight-forward statements, such as deniability. If your boss stumbles across your profile, you can both pretend that you've only mentioned Secretary because of your affection for James Spader.
posted by you're a kitty! at 4:07 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


(I was asking about Atlas Shrugged in particular because more than one person has told me that while they detest its politics the sex scenes were far from uninteresting to them, so it seemed possible that it was a deep cover signal for something other than politics. Really, though, as with Secretary, it seems pretty above-board for a code.)
posted by kenko at 4:27 PM on August 12


People who put "Catcher in the Rye" and/or "The Power of One" as their favourite books don't read books for fun.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:33 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I'm straightforward in mine* about dealbreakers, but I use both shibboleths and straight language to talk about things I'm into. I like to see what people respond to when they message me and find that it's a useful selection system.

*ohyoudontsay
posted by a halcyon day at 4:34 PM on August 12


Look at the answers to smoking/drinking/drugs. If they leave exactly one blank, which will be either smoking or drugs (no one leaves drinking blank while answering the others), that means they do that thing. If they didn't do it at all and were in the mood to answer those questions, they'd let you know they don't do it. I don't see why an earlier comment said that if drugs are blank, that means just marijuana and no hard drugs. The reason so many people leave only that field blank isn't that this is a code specifically for "soft drugs" — it's that they use illegal drugs (of whatever variety) and don't want to admit it because it's stigmatized and, you know, illegal.

As noted above, there are a lot of profiles that start out: "I'm queer, not bisexual, and I hate that OKCupid doesn't let you choose queer," etc. As a straight man, I instinctively avoid those profiles — even though I've dated both bisexual and straight women and have noticed that this doesn't seem to make any difference to me. I couldn't be more accepting of all sexual orientations, but I still get the intuitive sense that the person who starts their profile out like that is trying to filter me out.

Lots of references to meat + photos wearing fur = I don't want to date a vegetarian. (I'm a vegetarian.)

Cheering sports teams, listing one of your main interests as having a "girls' night out," and adding that guys should have a "guys' night out" = very normal and mainstream, and looking for same.

Zombies + bacon + cupcakes = trendy hipster.

Interested in "social justice" + "very open-minded" = left-wing and open to all left-wing points of view.

First line of the profile is "I hate liars!" = I'm still bitter about a recent breakup and you'll be a rebound at best.
posted by John Cohen at 6:43 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


"I'm queer, not bisexual, and I hate that OKCupid doesn't let you choose queer,"... I still get the intuitive sense that the person who starts their profile out like that is trying to filter me out.

Almost certainly!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:36 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I disagree that people leave "drugs" blank because drugs are illegal. Weed is either legal, or medicinally available in a lot of states. People leave it blank because it's a big deal to people to say "I do drugs" when all they do is smoke a little weed.
posted by dithmer at 7:42 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Similar to what likeatoaster mentions, a man who mentions "running," "fitness" or the like, especially in his "message me if" section, is (exclusively) interested in thin women. No, they're not synonymous. Yes, it's what it almost always means.
posted by dekathelon at 9:15 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


38 is definitely code for 42.
posted by antipode12 at 10:31 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


And along the same lines, 6" is code for 5"10.
posted by Ned G at 3:02 AM on August 13 [7 favorites]


I'm not really sure what I'm looking for/I'm looking to start out as friends and see where things go = I'm looking for casual sex, but I think it will significantly limit my options if I just come out and say it.
posted by whoaali at 3:14 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Adding to what no regrets, coyote mentioned: listing Catcher in the Rye, Life of Pi, Kurt Vonnegut, or anything else you can think of that is stereotypically on a high school reading list = "I don't actually read books."
posted by timory at 5:17 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Zombies + bacon + cupcakes = trendy hipster.

Oh, no no. Those things don't signify "trendy hipster." Talking about biking and weird bands and tattoos signify "trendy hipster." Those things signify "person who spends too much time on the internet."
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:21 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Is Secretary still the code? For women, I thought it was mentioning 50 Shades (even if it is disparaging).

bradbane: "Totally, people of all kinds use the favorite books thing to signal their politics or values"

I see a lot of women who mention Chuck Palahniuk. I don't know why, but I feel there is some reason.

FWIW, I mention running a lot in my profile (because I run a lot) and I tend to prefer not-thin women.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:33 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure what I'm looking for/I'm looking to start out as friends and see where things go = I'm looking for casual sex, but I think it will significantly limit my options if I just come out and say it.

Yeah, that reminds me: someone who is only looking for "new friends" or "short-term dating" is likely looking for casual sex. This goes double for women, because apparently women who list "casual sex" outright get bombarded with the kind of messages you'd expect.
posted by dekathelon at 7:43 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Talking about biking and weird bands and tattoos signify "trendy hipster."

Even easier: flannel shirt in every picture. (Bonus points if it's 7 pictures of wearing a different blue plaid print flannel.)

Or apologizing for not being able to grow a beard.
posted by phunniemee at 9:32 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


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