I think it depends on what you’re looking for.
Just because it’s a free site, OK Cupid will naturally draw more people who are not terribly invested in the outcome of the experience. If I had to put a label on it, I’d say that OK Cupid is what Craigslist Casual Encounters and Nerve used to be. There are a lot of creative types on OKC. If you’re looking for the financially stable i-banker or lawyer, you’re in the wrong place. OK Cupid reminds me of a youth hostel. Good for resting your head when you’re feeling a bit weary, a great place to hang on your way to some place better.The people there, like a youth hostel, are only their temporarily until something better comes along. There’s also a bit of a sublet vibe to it. You can sense the temporary nature of the connections made by these men. Their lives are in transition, so they can’t commit to more than temporary. Lots of guys with broken hearts, unfulfilled libidos and fragile spirits. They can’t handle any obligation. The most they can offer is one night. Maybe two. I can remember going in to my inbox a few months ago and seeing a string of little boxes where the guy’s profile pic used to be next to the messages that they sent. They were messages from men to which I had never replied. They gave it all of a couple weeks or a few days and disabled their account. Either they were never that invested or were disillusioned. See? Temporary.
For the most part OKC was a great way to get dates. That’s it. Dates. Not relationships. Well, casual relationships can result of this site. But true love isn’t on the menu.
My OKC experience was mixed. I made a couple of friends that I now hang out with and talk to regularly. I got an email from a guy this weekend that I met a few months ago. He had decided to move back home because he wasn’t able to find a job. He’s 39. My heart kind of broke for him. The city had beaten him. Another guy had been dumped by his much younger girlfriend almost 9 months ago. He’s still not ready to move on. He calls me with questions or looking for advice. His self-confidence is shot, but it’s starting to come back. Other than those two and one brief casual relationship, my dates we mostly with men in the “in between” stage. Newly divorced or separated. New to the dating scene. Freshly dumped. Lots of rebounding. I had some really great dates with some good guys, though. Fun dates. Dates where you throw back some beers or great glasses of wine and put money in a juke box and play bad music and walk hand in hand. I will say that for OKC. You do meet some engaging, fun men. But between the kid in the candy store mentality and being emotionally ambivalent, it’s hard to build anything consistent.
Clive Owen has a great line in the film Closer. He’s sitting in a private booth with a stripper, played by Natalie Portman. He’s completely shattered because his wife, Julia Roberts, had cheated on him with Portman’s boyfriend Jude Law. He goes to the club where Portman works looking for answers. He can’t understand how she’s not as unhinged as he is over their respective partner’s infidelity. “What ever happened to intimacy?!” he bellows at Portman, who’s looking at him with a mix of contempt, empathy and pity.
OK Cupid is that private booth. It’s where people go to make sense of it all, to vent, to hate fuck, to get off, to connect. But they do not go there to love or be loved. It’s the proverbial port in a storm. People are just clinging to whatever they can find to keep them from being swept up in the crashing waves and winds. Then, when the winds die down and the waves settle, we get back in our little boat and row towards that lighthouse called True Love. We paddle slowly at first, slightly battered from all the rocking back and forth. But with every row we know we’re getting closer to whatever destination we decide upon in that moment. We pick up speed. We change our course. But we get there. Maybe not when we thought we would. But we get there.
I abandoned Match.com a long time ago. I was basically meeting the same type of men, though there were more white collar types. I just couldn’t sift through any more profiles with photos of guys with their sunglasses on, or 6 pictures of landscapes and trees or snow. You get that on OKC. But at least on OKC you’re not paying for it.
I don’t use Jdate or EHarmony. If anyone has any feedback on those two sites feel free to leave feedback. I think you should sign up for at least 2 sites. Maybe 3 depending on the fees. One should be free, like OKC. The other should be a pay site like Match or JDate. And one should be targeted to a specific interest, like IvyDate.com or something revolved around an activity or hobby of interest. I’ve never tried HowAboutWe.com but it sounds like an interesting concept.
Keep in mind that I think that a big part of my experience with these sites is my age. For some reason I think if you’re in your twenties or early thirties you have a vastly different experience. You won’t be dating as many divorced people. I think that makes a huge difference.
What online dating sites do you use?