Beloved online dating coach, and friend of BackTalk, Virginia Roberts of The Heartographer, has clued me in that OkCupid is making some changes to its set of default profile questions (the ones that show up on your profile page, not the endless stream of questions exploring such philosophical topics as whether nuclear warheads should be legal and the normality of trying to use the Force as a child). Thankfully the ones they got rid of were the absolute worst:
"The first thing people usually notice about me" and "The most private thing I'm willing to admit."
These questions, although crafted perfectly for people who like to be an ass in online social settings (like myself), were almost too perfect. Like when a comedian asks an audience member to come up on stage and that individual actually turns out to be legitimately funny. No! We didn't want you to be funny, Gerald! We wanted you to look stupid, so our laughter would benefit the person we actually paid to see tonight!
Such were the nature of these questions. They were so self-serving that any respectable human being with an ounce of self-awareness could not answer them genuinely. Instead, they begged us to be sarcastic and ironic with them, a gaping hole parading as an undiscovered fault line, into which the Harvard-graduated OkCupid wizards coaxed our wit. Well, OkCupid, you found us out! But we know you knew our games all along.
Roberts does argue that these questions did serve some kind of good purpose:
[The first thing people usually notice about me prompt] can also help weed out the self-involved (just like the still present "I'm really good at…" question). The tone of the answer can convey a world of info. People who say that you'll notice "my biceps" or "my luscious lips" or even "my giant cock" are definitely a different dating demographic than those whose response is more along the lines of "How I never, ever type two spaces after a period" or "that I'm shooting pictures so I don't actually have to talk to people," ya know?
Roberts goes even further on what the loss of these two questions actually means for savvy singles as well as how OkCupid failed at communicating the roll out. You should definitely check it out. In the meantime, what were your favorite ways to answer these two questions? Let's have a In Memoriam session. Post them below.
Hat Tip to @AskVirginia