What is OkCupid like for men?
April 26, 2013 9:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested in the male experience when it comes to this popular dating site.

I just joined the site a few days ago. I'm a female, and so far have received plenty of the "typical" messages women tend to get from certain kinds of men--the "hey how r u let's meet" sort of stuff, and other completely impersonal blanket messages I can tell they sent to me and a hundred other women. So men, please tell me what online dating is like for you. Do you get those prepackaged messages as well? Do women often contact you, or do you find yourself having to always initiate? What sorts of things are red flags in a profile?
posted by thank you silence to Society & Culture (36 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an able-bodied white male; I've used okc on and off for most of my 20s.

I get almost no impersonal blanket messages - then again, I get almost no messages, period. At most, I might get one message a day, but the average is probably more like 20 a month, excluding responses to messages I sent out myself. Nearly all of these messages are from women I have zero interest in, and I rarely respond to them - but then again, two of the best relationships I've ever had, including my current one, started with her messaging me, and because the volume of incoming messages is so low, I at least glance at nearly all of them.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:42 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a 30-year-old man, I was on OKCupid for a month or two.

I always had to initiate. Always. I would send a fairly detailed, unique message each time. I tried to send 2-4 per day, sometimes a few more. There are tons and tons of interesting women on there. Red flags for me were extreme sports fans, poor grammar/spelling, unemployed and living with parents, lack of questions answered.

I used the questions for red flags a lot. There are things that are important to me, like equality, free speech, typical left-wing causes, etc. If someone's answers didn't mesh with me on those, we probably wouldn't have gotten along too well.
posted by Slinga at 9:42 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

31 year old guy here. I'm new to the site. I always had to be the first to send messages. I'd see women look at my profile, or even rate me highly and not contact me, but once I contacted them, they'd respond.

The conversations in the messages back and forth can be frustrating; a lot of the time I was investing more in the conversation than the woman was, so I felt like I constantly had to be initiating, asking questions, etc. Which is fine, but a lot of the time there was no balance in the conversation.
posted by averageamateur at 9:44 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's an OKCupid subreddit that might give some idea: here
posted by tinwhiskers at 9:46 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have given up on the site. I think I received about two unsolicited messages in about 6 months. Most of my quiver matches tended to be the same women over and over.

For you, that's good news. Just ignore all incoming messages and send messages to men you like. They are quite likely to respond as they probably aren't getting many messages.
posted by chairface at 9:54 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

35 year old male. I have a fairly inactive profile, but I usually get four or five of those messages a month, usually of the type you described. "Hey let's chat sometime" or "Hey how's it going?" 90% of the time the women who write these aren't attractive to me, and since their messages aren't particularly inspired I just ignore them.

Occasionally I get an e-mail from somebody I'm not attracted to who nevertheless seems like an interesting and fun person, who has clearly put thought into their message and read my profile. When that happens, I respond but make sure to mention in the first or second email that there is no attraction and I would be willing to meet them just out of curiousity, but only in a platonic way.

I have never received a "first contact" email from somebody I'm attracted to. Then again, I'm pretty selective about whom I sleep with - approximately 80% of the world is completely physically unattractive to me, and on a emotional level I never sleep with anybody unless they have one quality that I really respect deeply.

As far as red flags, I tend to focus on specific match questions that indicate incompatibility - the "deal-breaker" questions, so to speak. I don't think profiles really tend to be indicative of people's full personalities, so I look for red flags in both e-mail and in-person interaction more than the profile itself.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:55 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Used OKC a few years ago when I was 29, and then again at about 32. I got a few blanket messages a week, but otherwise had the best luck with people who messaged me. I got maybe 2ish thoughtful messages a week. I only messaged maybe 3-5 people per week and got thoughtful replies probably 75% of the time.

IMing on OKC nearly always ended up being a waste of time beyond maybe a single session. Would do it out of boredom sometimes, but lots of wanting to chat online was a red flag for me. Whether actually trolling for date or just wasting time, I relied pretty heavily on questions to figure out stuff to talk about.
posted by substars at 10:00 AM on April 26, 2013

41 male here. I've been on the site about three years. Evidently there's a big drop off in contact from the mid-thirties to the early-forties.

Overall, ok cupid has been an thoroughly depressing experience. I'd quit online dating in a moment if I had any better ideas.

I get, in general, around 6 to 7 uninitiated incoming messages a year. Most of them are copy pasta, but four or so have not been.

1) Was a Nigerian scammer.
2) Was a woman who seemed nice enough, but stood me up for the date when we planned to meet.
3) Was a woman I went out on date with, had a good time, communicated again, set up a time to meet, and then disappeared.
4 - 7) Were women who I simply wasn't attracted to, or whose profiles made me think we had some serious deal breakers and they hadn't really read my profile.

So, one date uninitiated by me in three years.

I have sent out probably around hundred messages and get about a 20% response rate. Among those responses about half are some variant of "Wow, great message. But I don't think we'd get along because: a) you're too short, b) you live too far away, c) I lied in my profile and I really really do want kids, or d) I think we wouldn't get along for some other vague reason.

Of the remaining 10% the women most, say 70%, didn't pull any conversational weight at all, like averageamateur said, and I simply gave up trying to talk to them. The rest stopped replying after two or three messages for reasons I can't guess at. Only three agreed to actually meet in person.

Of those three only one did I really feel any chemistry with, but after a couple of dates she broke it off.

So, over all it seems like a huge waste of time and an exercise in humiliation because of the vast amount of apathy and silence I run into. I'd be up for anything else, but there are almost no ways to meet people once you're out of school, and as many threads have gone into here, it's become increasing unacceptable to approach women in public.
posted by bswinburn at 10:31 AM on April 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Do you get those prepackaged messages as well?

Not really. The only time I got one line messages from people who hadn't read my profile was through OKCupid's not very well designed IceBreaker system, where it shows you a random person who shares a random keyword from your profile (like "boardgames") and encourages you to send them a message about it (which was almost always something like "So you like boardgames?").

Do women often contact you, or do you find yourself having to always initiate?

Getting contacted was pretty rare, and only one woman contacting me led to an actual date (but that was the first date with my current girlfriend, and we have been together for almost three years now). Other than that all contact was initiated from me sending the message. Also, I was the only one who brought up meeting up in real life, it took me a while to figure out that if I was interested I should ask them to meet up somewhere after three messages or so. Before that I spent too much time sending messages that didn't end up leading anywhere.

What sorts of things are red flags in a profile?

Red flags for me were generally just indications that our personalities wouldn't match up well. So for instance listing God in the most important things question or otherwise seeming very religious. Or women who put "I hate drama" in their profile but seem to have drama-filled lives. I also never bothered contacting women who said in their profile that they were only looking for friends, or who didn't give real answers to the questions that gave me some indication of their personality. And putting a laundry list of negative qualities that they didn't want in a partner always looked bad, even if the negative qualities made sense.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:33 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I joined two weeks ago. Here are some of the emails I have received. Note that these are the emails in their entirety:

Hi, my name is Dawn.


I don't have a photo but otherwise I'm everything you're looking for. Email me your address and I'll send you a photo.


Lets rock each others worlds.


Weird. At first glance I thought you were my ex from Toronto. Alas, you are not. If I was local I'd show you my shoe collection and you could define what's good about them. I need better walking shoes, if that's what you referred to. However, I have altogether too many pairs of impractical, whimsical, colorful, kittenish, and unwearable-for-more-than-5 minutes shoes around.


Hey, excellent profile... lol


Fuck yeah, let's do it! When?!!?!


Those are some of the people I didn't write back. I've also had plenty of normal responses and so far am happy with the site. (I've had 7 dates in about 2.5 weeks).

Women contact me enough (especially if I rate them high), but I also make it clear in my profile that I'm open to that. There's also an OKC question that asks if it's acceptable for women to ask out men. I answered yes and clarified, "It's encouraged."

Red flags in profiles for me are often crazy photos (women who have to show off their bodies, pose in lingerie, every picture is a selfie, or every photo is professionally done, etc.). I also hate religion and astrology so those are obviously flags for me.

I also loathe profiles that contain things like "writing this is really hard" or "I can't believe I'm on a dating site!" or their variations.

I look at pictures first, questions second, and then I read profiles if I like those other areas. If it's someone I really like but don't think they'd like me (due to some of the conflicts in questions or statements in their profile -- for instance, if they indicate they want someone over 6 feet) then I don't bother to contact them but will rate them high which often causes them to contact me and then I know that the height thing (or whatever it was) isn't that serious an issue.

Note that almost without exception, my "break the ice email" is one word, one punctuation mark, and my first initial. I've received a positive response to every one of those emails. When I write anything longer, I often do not get a response or end up with weeks of emails.
posted by dobbs at 10:34 AM on April 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

I used to use ok Cupid. Got a fair number of unsolicited messages from random women with whom I knew I had nothing in common. I found the service more annoying than useful. Online dating is ultimately a numbers game. Send out a lot of inquiriess and hope that one fish bites.
posted by dfriedman at 10:35 AM on April 26, 2013

I was on OKCupid for a few months about 6 years ago, when I was 31. I never initiated contact with anyone, and at first, since I was new, that was not a hindrance at all - I got messages from maybe 6 different women or so within my first month, mostly just because I was a new guy. Things tapered off considerably after that. Anyway, none of the messages I got were of the "hey, wuts up? Hollaback if u intrestd" variety, so I did pretty well. Of the first wave of emails I received, I met three of them and dated one for a month. After that, I had three more women contact me (that were actually in my area) over the span of a few months, met two of them, and am now married to one. I'm not a real social butterfly or anything, so the level of contact I had with others during my time there was perfectly fine for me.

They used to have overlaid probability graphs of where you and a potential match rated on their various personality quality scales (i.e. independent, indie, thrifty, sloppy, etc.) that have since been replaced by bar graphs that only show the person who's profile you're viewing. The graphs would kind of summarize all the questions you and another person had answered up to that point and you could see how similar you were in those areas. I relied on those a lot more than on pure match %, just because there were certain traits listed that weren't going to be dealbreakers one way or the other and not matching up on those would negatively affect our match %. So, certain traits being way off were red flags, others weren't.

The only other red flags for me were atrocious spelling and grammar. Also seriously cliche profile information or thinking you're making a clever joke by not revealing anything in the "most private thing I'm willing to reveal", which just shows a lack of reading comprehension. Maybe photos taken with a webcam in an otherwise dark room. Otherwise, it was mostly taste stuff for me that wouldn't necessarily apply for other people.
posted by LionIndex at 10:37 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mid 20s male, using OKC lazily over the past few months.

I've sent out maybe 30 messages, received responses from 7 or 8, and actually met one person in the real world. The two or three unsolicited messages I received were thin ("Hi! let's chat" or "what's up") and from people I didn't find attractive, so I just ignored them.

I send short, specific messages to people I find attractive, usually in response to favorite books, music or hobbies they listed.

Honestly, I look at pictures more than anything else. I tend not to message girls with just a bunch of close-ups; has to be some kind of full-body shot.

I never use the instant messaging feature.
posted by mean cheez at 10:38 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll add that answering a ton of questions made a HUGE difference in the quality and quantity of the correspondence I've received. I answered 200 my first day and most of the "matches" I got were not matches at all--most of the people who mailed me wrote so bland or annoying intro emails I didn't bother to respond. Couple days later I answered another 800 or so and things changed drastically. I now get quality intro letters. In total I probably spent 3 hours answering questions, mostly while watching TV and such. Hardly painful.

I also use the "ratings" page and have set a system for myself: 1 star for anyone I don't like, 2 for those who seem cool but are not a match for me, 3 for anyone I want to investigate further as they could then go down to a 2 or up to a 4 or 5, which I use when I want people to contact me. I know this system isn't especially fair (I'm rating people 1 or 2 who are not really 1s or 2s in an objective sense) but it's worked for me. I find that if I rate certain types highly, then more of those come up in the future. So if I rate a black woman 5 stars, more black women will come up. If I rate an overweight woman highly, same thing. You can of course game this to make sure you never see profiles by types you know don't resonate with you.
posted by dobbs at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

If I were receiving a message every day, I'd think that's high. I get more like two a month. That might depend on the population of your city. Only once have I got a generic message they could have sent to anyone.

And my red flags were in the questions, stuff like "Is interracial marriage a bad idea?" "Is contraception morally wrong?" etc. Such women didn't message me, but OKC keeps shoving racists in my You Might Like for reasons that are lost on me.
posted by RobotHero at 10:53 AM on April 26, 2013

Late 20s here. I met my wife on OKC.

That said...

By and large, I think OKC is an incredibly depressing place for many men. It can very easily suck you in, in a facebook kind of way. I can't even tell you how many times I went on to check a message or two and ended up spending hours skimming through hundreds of pages of profiles. Getting uninitiated messages as a guy is rare, and getting those messages from people you'd actually want to date is even rarer. Every single date I went on from OKC was initiated by me.

For me, the key to using OKC without getting depressed/overly involved/sucked in was two things: setting time limits and changing my perspective. I gave myself a limit of half an hour a day, which was enough to read my new messages, send a few more, and then get the hell out. The second part was using it as a tool, not the only means for meeting women. My success and happiness with OKC seemed to increase as I widened my social environment. The more you focus on it, the more you start to think about how you aren't getting replies, am I ever going to meet anyone, etc.

A lot of guys I know that are new to it get pretty down on themselves after they've messaged a few girls that they think are amazing and then they don't get any response. It takes a bit of a thick skin and realizing that most women are getting bombarded with messages to put the whole thing into perspective. I tried to have three active conversations going at any time - I felt that as long as I kept doing that, eventually I'd find the right person.

I had both the best and worst dates of my life with people from OKC, and I'd say that my experience only tilts to the positive side because I met Mrs. _DB_ there. For the most part, I think that it tends to be a neutral or negative experience for a majority of the men on there.
posted by _DB_ at 11:31 AM on April 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

One photo red flag for me was women who submitted profile pictures which were rotated 90 degrees off from where they ought to be. I'm sure it is not just women - but somehow this seems to evoke the sort of person who would get stuck in a revolving door.

In terms of meeting up on dates: women are advised to take care so, as a man, there is always the need to re-assure that - no - I am not an axe murderer.
posted by rongorongo at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

27 year old male using OKC in a relatively small city.

I've never received a pre-packaged message. I've had a profile up for probably about two years and I have received less than ten messages. If you were to send me a message I would definitely read it and look at your profile and write back if I was even slightly interested so I'd think that would be a great way to go for a woman.

Recently I've been making my initial messages shorter and less well crafted. Simply because the hit rate is so low I feel it's not worth me spending more than five minutes on one. I've had three dates in the last few months with this strategy.

I think red flags are a personal thing - what's a red flag to me might be like a red rag to a bull for someone else! Mine are: poor grammar/spelling, anything negative at all and people talking about how much they love to party.

It's not perfect but, on the whole, it's by far the best online dating site I've used.
posted by neilb449 at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am in my late 40's, have used OKC for a few years off and on with mixed, but mostly little success.
Online dating is a game, unfortunately. It takes months to get noticed, months to filter out the noise, months to fine tune the match algorithm before one starts to see and connect with people who are any sort of a match (this applies to my demo, not hot young girls obvs).
Sometimes I initiate, but mostly i figure women get an order of magnitude more messages than guys do so I mostly respond. I had a really nice relationship with a gal who told me, frankly, she gets dozens of messages a day, had stopped using OKC, popped back on on a whim, mine was the first message so she replied...so it's a crapshoot at best.
More than half of the connections I've made have gone no further than emails and texts...I'm a straight shooter, but have been stood up irl more than once for no discernible reason.
I am currently dating some one who contacted me with a simple 'hey we're similar check out my profile' message. she's hot, we have a great time together, something may come of it but who knows.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:37 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sorry, one last comment.

I was on there for about 2.5 years and probably went on 50 or so dates of people I met on there. If I was messaging one or two people a day, that works out to about a 5% rate and it seemed like I was having higher success than any of my friends were having. Most of the guys I know that are using it have met maybe three or four people after a few months on there. As a guy you have to accept a pretty high rate of failure, even in the best cases.
posted by _DB_ at 11:39 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

To answer your question about Red Flags, i would say that it's pretty specific to any one user. I'm an omnivore, so any profile that goes on and on about veganism is a red flag for me, but would not be for a fellow vegan.
I want smart, funny and active, not such a cray mix, but easy to filter for just by the way a profile is written and structured. I use the favorite books section as a filter also -- a shit-ton of self help books is a no-fly zone for me.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:49 AM on April 26, 2013

It depends on where you live.

In Chicago as a mid-20's male I got maybe one message a week unsolicited and always, as noted, from someone I had no particular desire to meet for whatever reason.

However, sending 2-4 messages a day, I'd get a fair response rate and could swing an actual human date about every other week. None of them led to second dates as of giving up on OKC that time.

In Fort Worth, TX I get zero unsolicited messages, a much lower response rate, a lower rate of intent to meet, and a higher rate of flakes.

It's all very depressing. Especially having some idea what the experience is like for women on OKC.
posted by cmoj at 11:51 AM on April 26, 2013

43 year old male, met my wife on OKC after using it for a year.

I never used OKC IM.

I had possibly 12 unsolicited mails, all from obvious scammers. I read them, and if they'd been from anyone even marginally approaching my criteria, I'd have responded.

The oddest ones to me were from people in other countries or more than a thousand miles from me. I'm not sure how the scam is supposed to net them money, but I simply assumed they were scams and ignored them with no comment.

I agree with two points above, first this:
"For me, the key to using OKC without getting depressed/overly involved/sucked in was two things: setting time limits and changing my perspective."

That is true, and I set myself a 3 hour limit once a week for composing messages. I also set a limit on number of messages before we'd agree to go on a date or stop messaging. For me, that was 3, and I said it in my profile.

I'd respond the same day to messages, that's easy and not time consuming. I generally got 2-3 dates a week using this technique. 20% went past the first date, it is a numbers game.

The perspective change is more important, and it involves a perspective change about myself. Here it is "Basically, I am a catch. I am (fill in the many blanks). There really aren't a lot of people like me, so I can and should be selective."

The second point is this:
"I'll add that answering a ton of questions made a HUGE difference in the quality and quantity of the correspondence I've received."

That's very true in my experience, especially using the "red flag" option on some of those questions. No, if you are a raving Christian/homophobe/sports-fan (not that those are equivalent), we aren't going to be a good match. Simply removing them from my matches made things so much easier. Be very thoughtful, but do be harsh in figuring out what is not acceptable to you, and stick to it.

Red flags for me were:
- No pictures
- Out of my area
- Heavily Christian/Jewish/Muslim

Orange flags were:
- No conversation "hooks" at all. If you don't give me enough information to write you something other than "you look cute, wanna date", then I probably wasn't going to bother.

Yellow flags were:
- Profile had no humor at all
- Excessively oriented toward marriage in the profile
- Whining about old relationships (surprisingly common)
- Creepy co-dependence sounding things, which is quite a gray area and subjective. Avoid this classic: "Sometimes, I like to stay up for hours and stare at my boyfriend's face while he sleeps."
posted by Invoke at 11:57 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Invoke is 100% correct when he says "it is a numbers game"

This is the line I use when people ask me about online dating. It's one of the few places where quality can't replace quantity. You have to send a lot of messages to see results, no matter how high-quality you or your profile are.
posted by _DB_ at 12:06 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use the site and have met 10 or so people in real life. I get one line messages from women every so often and rarely get thought out ones, like the ones I send out. That's much more likely to get a response.

Red flags: I don't give any further consideration to anyone who says the world would be a better place if people with low IQs weren't allowed to reproduce, or indicates regressive attitudes towards minorities or about gender or sexual orientation in their match questions.

Also, profile defensiveness such as leading with a lot of "don't message me if" statements is a huge turnoff, especially if it's emotionally laden. It's one thing to list your exclusion criteria, like wanting someone who lives in the city, and quite another to vent about the immaturity of dudes online or express cynicism about online dating.

Also, liking Ayn Rand.
posted by alphanerd at 12:23 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

You might find this article illuminating, although it's getting dated:


Executive summary:

• The women as a group received over 20 times more messages than the men.

• The two most attractive women received 83% of all messages.

• The two most attractive women probably would have received several thousand more if their inboxes hadn’t have reached maximum capacity.

• It took 2 months, 13 days for the most popular woman’s inbox to fill up. At the current rate it would take the most popular man 2.3 years to fill up his.

posted by de void at 1:04 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Late-20s, cis-hetero white male here. SF Bay Area.

So men, please tell me what online dating is like for you.

It is a mixed bag, much like other ways of meeting new people/dating. Fortunately, it's not too hard to filter through to find the good parts.

Do you get those prepackaged messages as well?

Yep, but nowhere near the volume I've heard women get. If I'm "active" on the site (i.e. I change a little thing on my profile every few days, answer/re-answer questions, rate a bunch of people) I'll get a mostly content-less message around 1-3 times per week. If I have not logged in for a while, it's closer to 0-2 times per month. A lot of this is from the activity that shows up on the main "facebook news feed" clone page and the default search filter of "active in the past week."

Do women often contact you, or do you find yourself having to always initiate?

Women do contact me. But I usually have to initiate. That said, of the women I have gone out with, I had a *much* better time with the women who contacted me first. Maybe my profile is much better at attracting the kind of people I like, than I am at figuring out if I would like someone from their profile.

What sorts of things are red flags in a profile?

The globally applicable red flags would be things that indicate profile is a cam-site bot or similar:
* random @yahoo.com or similar email address in profile
* empty profile
* low numbers of answered questions, especially if they are mostly silly ones (they like to get minimal numbers of low-importance-to-others questions, then make answers mandatory = instant 90+% match numbers)
* no photos / all selfie-photos / multiple photo hits on tineye.com

Other things that are just annoying for most:
* "OMG I am on a dating website, whyyyyy"
* iz ful uv txt spk
* overuse of cliches, e.g. What are doing with your life? "Living life to the fullest!" Ugh, vomit.

The other red-flags I can think of are more specific to my own tastes, and would not help you unless you're trying to get me to like you.
posted by jraenar at 2:13 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

mid-late 20s, hetero, white male. average American midwestern city (2+ million), 2 years. Answered over 1000 questions. Over that time, I received a handful (4-5 ?) of unsolicited messages, none were spam bots or prepackaged. One was very recent and may meet with her. The rest were from others whom I just wasn't interested in and didn't think it was a good match. With that in mind, I and other men expect to initiate nearly all or at least most conversations. Receive about 4-5 visits to my profile a week, they tend to come in groups. To my surprise, some (maybe a 1/4) are far away (>100 miles) from me and none of these are bots. Link to my OKC profile is in my mefi profile. Also, to my surprise, most of the profiles listed under recent activity are out of my state.

Not so much a red flag but something that I've noticed in profiles, and a little bit of a pet peeve: vague profiles. Mentions they like genres of music, travel, "going out", but no mention of specific bands nor albums, names of specific bars or even neighborhoods, specific cities they've visited (and a quick line about impression of that country or city), or even specific activities (that you'd do going out). Most American women can't live without or go without: family, friends, "going out" oxygen, water, and their iPhone. Listing these doesn't tell me much about you that, along with not putting anything under 'most private thing about you' is cliche.

It's a lot easier to write a message if you specify things in your profile. Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but I've had better success (Dates, additional messages) with those who had more specific things in their profiles.
posted by fizzix at 2:57 PM on April 26, 2013

I'm a female, and so far have received plenty of the "typical" messages women tend to get from certain kinds of men--the "hey how r u let's meet" sort of stuff, and other completely impersonal blanket messages I can tell they sent to me and a hundred other women.

i'm mid 20s, straight guy. i could be accused of doing this. you seem to think it's a bad thing they are doing. they way you say "completely impersonal blanket messages" seem pejorative.

as others have said, for men, the response rate is just so low, it doesn't make sense sinking a lot of time into writing some long, eloquent message. especially if she has some arbitrary, and probably really trivial to the extent it would exclude someone she would REALLY like to be with, criteria like not capitalizing "i"'s. writing something more, like mentioning something in their profile you may have in common: a band, a book, a tv show, someplace you've both visited shows(?) slightly more effort. on the other hand, it kind of just reduces everyone to a collection of preferences.

i think the disconnect may be in how, in general, men and women view messages on the website differently. if i were to guess, women use messages to judge the adequacy of men for dating. whereas men use them as a way to signal interest. both perspective arise naturally from the overabundance and paucity of messages.

for me, when i send a message, it means nothing more than "you at least meet my minimum requirements, and maybe you're a lot better that just the minimum. check out my profile, and if you also are interested in me, let's talk." i think the okcupid people have tried to set up other things to work that way, for example, the star system on the website, but you have to pay to be able to use it. so, sending messages is a way around that.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:52 PM on April 26, 2013

I used A/B marketing techniques to hone my profile over 2-3 years, and I got to the point where I was getting serious and genuine contacts by women about once a week. I even talked to a couple on the phone. Most seemed like nice women, too. But it never led anywhere.

Over that same time, I contacted about a half dozen women who were amazing, and each seemed to be the perfect woman for me. And I was blown off every time. No responses.

So, I think my profile reached a point where some women WANTED to contact me, but the women I was most connecting with were not responding to that same profile. There's a disconnect there and I'm trying to figure it out, so right now I have my account disabled.
posted by CarlRossi at 4:40 AM on April 27, 2013

jraenar just wrote:
Other things that are just annoying for most:
I'll add to the annoying list: Photos from excessive travel. Especially Machu Pichu. Christ. What is the deal with that? Was there a groupon I missed?
posted by CarlRossi at 4:44 AM on April 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, please don't argue in the thread. If you need to have a one-on-one debate, take it to MeMail.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:17 PM on April 27, 2013

For me it's usually a mix of cam-girls/foreign brides who even in this day and age can't get someone to write a complete sentence. That's about 85% of my messages. 10% are along the lines of 'we matched/thanks for contacting me/I'm not actually looking for a relationship right now. The other 5% are split, some are nice people and we sometimes hit it off, and then the other split is one message and nothing else ever. Most of the time I check out their profile a week later and it's deleted.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:32 PM on April 30, 2013

I'm 39, white, from the west coast. I joined OKC three weeks ago. So far I've sent out 15 1st contacts... got 3 replys, two of which never replied the second time. Not sure the conversation is still on with the third one. At this rate I can't even imagine getting to the point of a 1st date...

In the past I've been on a smaller local online dating site with great success (3 relationships, one of which was LTR).
Not sure if it's something inherent to the OKC "system" or demographic (unlikely) but I find this site somewhat frustrating in that it seems like most of the effort is spent trying to find a matching "profile". All the % match / ratings / questions are really not that crucial, but merely guidelines at this stage. The real reckoning begins at first meeting. (digressing here)

Men get unsolicited emails from women on OKC???
posted by Almasy at 9:58 PM on May 2, 2013

I've actually met a couple of very beautiful and intelligent women there. I'm more inclined to limit the time I invest in online dating, has a much lower ROI in my opinion vs talking to the girl next to you at a coffee shop where you can actually multi task. I can read, get work done, enjoy coffee/espresso, if I don't meet anyone NO LOSS of time. BUT...like the girl I recently met from OKC said, mirrored my feelings exactly, you can exchange emails, chat...but until you meet the person face to face, you have little to know idea if you'd click. Another girl I met from OKC, Very Beautiful, messaged me asking to have sex, and call her ex boyfriend while we were at it so he can hear it lol.

I don't use the site much, but have a software script that goes through quick match sending 5 star rating notifications to hundreds of girls. I filter the responses :)
posted by Nicholas Geary at 11:55 PM on May 9, 2013

Old post I know, but I've used it off and on for six years. I receive 3-4 unsolicited messages from women per year. I'm (significantly) below average height and an ethnic minority.
posted by mnemonic at 5:42 PM on December 25, 2013

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