Until recently, college-aged individuals were not using online dating services for two major reasons: socially-lubricated weekend parties and money. As more and more of our social lives are found on the computer and the frightful weather makes going out on the weekends less appealing, many college students are embracing the comfortable objectivity of online matchmaking.
For most dating sites, it costs $40 a month to do anything more than make a username on the website. As an adult, this fee presumably won’t make you feel like you are giving half your paycheck to stalk people’s Internet profiles. New online dating services such as OkCupid do not charge users to create a profile. OkCupid provides two services that college student’s love: it’s free and it doesn’t require that much effort.
After this past weekend’s snowstorm, and the below single-degree temperatures that registered the week prior, it’s clear that winter is not kind to the Northeast. When it comes down to shoveling out your car with a bucket – for lack of proper snow removal tools – in order to go anywhere, you begin to weigh how important it is to actually leave your residence. How much fun is it really going to be to go to a crowded bar and listen to four karaoke versions of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”? I vote for playing “High School Musica”l karaoke on my PlayStation and setting up an online dating profile instead.
With the money dilemma answered, the snow outside still up to your knees and a free Saturday night, the only thing that stands between you and online dating is the myth surrounding it.
It’s a frightening place to head off into alone. You don’t want to be the first of your friends to admit to being on the site and you have no idea what lurks after the initial step of typing in the OkCupid URL. Well, let’s a take a look into the Internet dating world and see if the risks outweigh putting on your snow boots.
The whole process of setting up a profile on OkCupid requires a few simple steps of deciding which socially acceptable parts of your habits or personality will attract others, along with picking a profile picture that optimizes your chances of finding a match.
First, you have to come up with a username that is nearly reminiscent of your AIM screen name from eighth grade, but with fewer “xoxo’s.” Once you’ve carefully hidden your identity in some slightly witty tagline, it’s time to choose the face that’ll represent your Internet presence.
The foolproof method for choosing your dating profile picture involves finding an attractive selfie of yourself from Photo Booth, giving it a sepia wash and then cropping out your cat. Now you are 35 percent of the way to finding Mr. or Ms. Right, according to the progress chart at the bottom of the page.
The other 65 percent of establishing yourself on OkCupid are going through a series of self-evaluation questions and then briefly summarizing your existence as a human in paragraph form.
In the question portion, you will become aware that socially drinking does indeed encompass sitting alone in your room while completing said survey and that you really are smarter than most people. This process yields your compatibility with other users on a percentage scale. This percentage scale then proceeds to mean nothing because most people will rate you based slightly on your self-statement paragraph and mostly on your profile picture.
The self-statement fill-in the blank section of this can be equated to that uncle at your family Christmas party who decides it’s his mission to ask you every personal, life-altering question that you know you should know the answer to.
Here’s a sample question and a typical answer found in this section of the survey. Question: “What are you doing with your life?” Answer: “I’m living the dream and finding myself.” Translation: “Just got out of college, my only job is delivering newspapers and if one more person asks me what I want to do with my degree in Art History, I will cry.”
Other questions include asking you to list what you’re good at, what are six items you could never do without and, the most mind-boggling of all of them, the self-summary. Your self-summary should neatly sum up, in about 100 words, how you view yourself, how society views you and what you want in a mate, oh, and it needs to be witty and charming. And you thought your college application essays were hard.
Once you’ve completed this horrifying self-analysis, you’re 100 percent done with setting up your profile. Though setting up a glorified social networking profile isn’t exactly the easiest process, if you’ve resolved to stay in due to snow or are too busy to head into the overcrowded bar scene, then OkCupid or another dating site might be the right avenue for you. You’ll be surprised to see how many of your friends and colleagues have embraced the upswing of 20-somethings online dating.
Allie Connell is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.