help how does this work
January 11, 2013 8:12 PM   Subscribe

So.... how does okcupid work for gay/bi women?

Asking because I did the whole set-up-a-profile thing or whatever, but a) I have no experience with online dating, and b) Also, I have no experience with dating women (but obviously am interested). I'm just really not sure about the dynamics. Who messages who? What kind of messages do you send? What makes a "good" message-able profile? Not that I have to be the one being messaged. What makes a "good" message? What does the looking for "casual sex" versus "short-term dating" versus the other stuff mean in the context of gay/bi women on okcupid?

As is probably obvious I am the sort of person who picks up many social conventions through long and painful trial and error.

Other details: I'm not looking for a serious relationship (both that and "I've seen men before but not currently" are stated up front in my profile). Late-20s female in downtown Toronto. I think my profile is the pretty typical herearesomebooksthatIlike-Ilikegoingforbeers-ortogalleries-orresturants-etc. According to okCupid more "sex-driven" and "kinky" than average (thanks okcupid!). I have a non-identifying kind of half-face pic up (fwiw I wouldn't be that into putting identifying pics of myself up if I was on there as "straight" either). The profile is limited to non-straight people.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm just really not sure about the dynamics. Who messages who?

Why would this possibly be any different for same-sex relationships than it would for different-sex ones?

If you want to message someone, do. If you don't, don't. It's that simple.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:21 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a past OKcupid user, I would have never messaged or responded to someone who didn't have identifying pictures up, ESPECIALLY if I was looking looking for non-relationship experiences (SEXXX!!1!) because, hello, attraction is really important in that case.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:33 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I find this question sort of baffling. I am a gay woman who has used okcupid before.

Who messages who? Not sure what you mean here - if you see a profile of someone you are interested in, message her.

What kind of messages do you send? The same type of message you would send a man. Opinions vary as to what is best, but I like something short that shows you read the whole profile.

What does the looking for "casual sex" versus "short-term dating" versus the other stuff mean in the context of gay/bi women on okcupid? Not sure what you mean here either - some women will be looking for casual flings, some women will be looking for long term relationships. Same as all the straight people.

If you could update & clarify what your confusion is, I think you might get more helpful answers.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:39 PM on January 11, 2013

"I have a non-identifying kind of half-face pic up"

I never reply to or message people who don't put up several honest and clear photos of themselves. Unless you are dedicated to only messaging other half hidden faces, I'm assuming you are looking at the photos to gauge your own interest. It goes both ways.

I'd be interested in your reasons for doing that. Are you embarrassed? You realize the only people who will see your profile also have one right? I've found a few friends, we five star each other. In person we chat about our experiences. It hasn't been embarrassing.

Outside of that, go on a few rating binges and then message anyone where you both gave each other 4 or 5 stars with a friendly greeting. Keep it short, a few sentences, and make sure to give them something to reply to, a question that relates to their profile works best. Just the same sort of thing you'd say when approaching a stranger at a party.

They might not reply, don't take it personally.
posted by Dynex at 8:42 PM on January 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

From what I've heard, straight women tend to get an overwhelming flood of messages from men. This is not because they're straight, but because men send more messages. You will have to do the sending if you want to meet people.

The partial face pic would be an auto-reject for me. It's a dating site - attraction is, for most people, at least partly visual. I'm not going to waste time with people I can't see.

"Casual sex" would suggest "one night stand, sex on the first date" to me, whereas "short term dating" would mean "no uhauls, plan for a few dates."

The OKCupid blog hasn't updated in quite a while, but they have some interesting articles about what sorts of things get responses and what don't. Worth a read.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:47 PM on January 11, 2013

You (regardless of who "you" are) will fail miserably at Internet dauphinois without decent profile photos. It is the single biggest thi that will entice someone to message you or reply to your message. Not having them is like job hunting with no resume.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:57 PM on January 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh god, that is the weirdest autocorrect for "dating" I could imagine. Also "thing".
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:05 PM on January 11, 2013 [35 favorites]

Nthing that you want to put in clear, identifiable photos of yourself. Maybe this makes me shallow, but I look at photos before anything else, usually even before reading a person's whole message. I'm really not interested in pursuing anything if I'm not attracted to the person.
posted by Sara C. at 9:06 PM on January 11, 2013

OMG can we always call online dating "Internet Dauphinois", like, forever and ever?
posted by Sara C. at 9:07 PM on January 11, 2013 [36 favorites]

Who messages who?

One woman messages another woman.
posted by John Cohen at 9:08 PM on January 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

What everyone else is trying to say is that if you are not good at imagining gay/bi women as other human people just like you, you are not going to be very good at dating them (even casually.)
posted by animalrainbow at 12:38 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
Sorry, I didn't mean to offend anyone. I know/am friends with/have lived with many gay/bi women. They are not some mysterious "other" to me. My question is based on:
1) From what I understand, on "straight" sites, women get many more messages than men, and if a woman initiates contact this is still considered in some circles non-traditional/unusual. Obviously, I do not expect this same dynamic with gay/bi women.
2) And 2, I should clarify that besides the no experience with online dating thing, I really have no experience with casual dating either. Not much experience with dating anyone (men or women). I've had 2 kind of medium-term relationships ever and they were not a result of casual dating and were not initiated on my part. How it works is what I find kind of baffling.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:24 AM on January 12, 2013

Oh jeez. OP, I get what you're saying and your perception that this works a little differently for queer women is VALID AND CORRECT. I once had a partner with an active OKC profile who changed her status from "gay" to "bi" and the messages from guys started flooding her inbox within half an hour, while the ones from women continued to show up sporadically if at all. The first time I met a woman in real life who had gone on actual OKC dates with other women, I was like, WHAT, HOW DID YOU DO THAT. (Turns out she asked and they said yes. Who knew?) This is a thing. Women are not socialized to approach other women. It's true.

It's also somewhat true that you do it just like all the other people of OKC do it. Send message to appealing person, mention interesting thing in profile, propose doing something IRL. (Some people are more into extended correspondences online. I don't really understand that so much. It might be easier for you at first than leaping into real life dates -- but if real life dates are what you really want, maybe just go for it.) It's just that you are already at an advantage if you're willing to be the one who does the asking, because for many women this is a giant hurdle to overcome. (Ask me how I know!) And, maybe even more so than other people, it's best if you go into the whole thing with really relaxed expectations. It's slightly more likely that you'll get replies like "Oh hey, sorry it took me so long to write back, I don't really pay much attention to this site, haha" -- because for many of us, paying a lot of attention is like spending a lot of time at a party where we are all staring at each other across the room, not saying anything. Which is to say, really anxiety-producing!

The casual sex/short-term dating question is a tough one to answer since those terms mean different things to different people. I'd just say check the boxes that sound good to you, maybe toss in a brief explanation in your profile if it seems necessary, but ultimately handle it by talking in person, when it comes up, about what each of you wants.
posted by clavicle at 12:11 PM on January 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Being a lesbian doesn't really have any etiquette different than straight people. Straight women do wait for men to message them a lot (a mistake, I think) but you can either message people or wait for messages. I never messaged anyone and got lots of people writing me. I also visited pages and let people see that I was visiting.

If you don't have real pictures of yourself, that's gonna make you less likely to get messages. No one's personality sells me alone. It's a whole package deal and trying to get a complete picture of the person. It's nice that you made it clear you are bi - simple fact is some lesbians won't be interested in a bi woman and you are weeding them out immediately.

Just being honest about what you are looking for and have legit pics of yourself. There's no wrong or right way to be honest about yourself.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:48 PM on January 12, 2013

Well I'm late to the party but I'm a lesbian on OKC so I thought I'd chime in.

1) Message first! I've never actually been messaged on that site, so I always do the messaging and I have a high reply rate. When I thought I was bi I'd have a ridiculous amount of messages from men... don't know why... but if you're going into the women-dating-women arena you're pretty much going to have to message first. Doesn't mean you'll have to initiate everything though, some people will reply to you and all of a sudden they're the ones asking for your number/asking you out/asking for fun sexytimes.

2) Ignore the "casual sex short term dating long term dating" section. Most people have in their profiles or their questions what they're looking for. If not, it tends to be obvious when you talk to them. I've found that to be more accurate than the "looking for" section.

3) For what to put in the messages... I usually just ask a question about some interesting thing in their profile that I'm also interested in. Like "what drew you to X career?"
posted by Autumn at 7:51 PM on January 17, 2013

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