After a long period of consideration (30 mins – 1 hr) I decided to try out again the online dating world. I signed up for an app called Tinder which was recommended by a friend. We were having a girls night out for restaurant week, and the topic of dating came up (somehow when single girls get together, this topic always crawl itself into the conversation so naturally). She thought the site was supposed to be a hook up, bootie call site but turned out, according to her friend who recommended her to the site, “all the guys there just want to get married.” Hymm….. I thought, well, why not?
So I signed up for Tinder, and I was hooked. The app connect you with all the people on facebook that is in your location proximity. You can see their 1 picture and a few lines they say about themselves as well as if you have any friends in common. That’s the scary part, do you really want to start talking to a stranger who knows a friend/acquaintance of yours? Then you can swipe left to deny your interest in them or swipe right to show your interest. Then, if they choose you, you would have a match. Voila, how statically romantic. The chance of you liking someone based on your own definition of beauty, attraction, interesting level and location proximity (maybe you only want people 5 miles away from you, maybe you don’t even care where they are… your chance of having a match is much better when you don’t care where they are) is not at all high. Well, depends on how picky you are, and how picky your match is. Again, this could be such a good study for game theory also.
After I signed up, it was not about the dating aspect anymore but about the pictures people post up to represent themselves and the things people think is appropriate to say. Some were typical self description, some were outrageously obvious about their intention for a bootie call, and some sounded sincere, but I’m also skeptical about those.
I started browsing through the pictures. This guy is too skinny, this picture is just weird, this guy looks like a stalker, and oh mine don’t I know this guy, OH MY GOSH Michael, you are on Tinder? This was 95% of my thought when I quickly look over these pictures. Then, all of the sudden, no more people in your area…. what happened? All of the sudden, all the previous guys seem to be a bit more attractive and interesting. Talk about psychology, I wonder how much and how many women are there just like me. This behavior reminds me of the book recommended by a friend, “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.” This book explains why we do the things we do, and though we would like to think some of our decisions were objective, random or spontaneous, they are actually quite predictable. When my pool of candidate in Tinder began to dry out, the need to pick out a candidate suddenly arose and instead of thinking “there are just not that many people online right now using Tinder”, I started to think “I am too picky, that’s why I haven’t found anyone yet.” The good thing is that I have read this book before, and I knew how to avoid making the same mistake as I normally would. I came back to my initial reason why I came to this site, just to check it out, not to find a soul mate or a date.
I spent one night browsing through all the Tinder candidates and expanding my location proximity so I could see more. After a while, I started to get very bored. What else is out there? I asked myself. The next day, another person randomly told me about Okcupid, another dating site but supposedly, it matches people using mathematical algorithm. This sounds very appealing to me. I have always been a fan of using science and logic to explain the world and my ever changing emotion.
I signed up for okcupid. I made sure none of the picture I uploaded reveal my identity. All of my pictures were about location, and one of them has a picture of someone from so far away you can’t even see the face or figure (the site requires one of the pictures to have you in it, so that’s how I go around the system). With okcupid, you have to answer many questions and rank them by importance. Slowly, I figured out the logic behind this site, and it makes a lot of sense to me. However, one thing that it might not work is “opposite attracts.” After answering many questions (I sporadically answered 100 or so multiple choice questions in 2 days), the site would show you who you are compatible with (in % of compatibility) and their location proximity to you. In a psychology online lecture I was watching from Yale University, the Dean of Yale, who was also the professor of the day, spoke about this notion of opposite attracts. Studies have shown that people are more attracted to the ones opposite or at least different than them than those who are similar to them. That doesn’t mean you are more attracted to people who have the opposite values than you do, which might be possible, but it is more about you being attracted to people whose personality is different than you. So… okcupid, by ranking the people similar to me, actually made me less interested. The math made sense, but I was more incline to see who was opposite to me. I don’t think I could stand dating someone like me, I would go insane or bored. Either option is not very good. However, I did find a friend on Okcupid.
So then, the next question is: can a man and a woman be friends? In the movie “When Harry met Sally”, it is clear that it is impossible. Many people have told me it is impossible. My experiences also tell me it is very hard. However, I am not convinced. I had friends who did tell me they wanted to date me, but after a period of time with no signs of hope or flirting from me, we became friends. I am determined to find a male friend, and I will continue to look for one as long as I shall live. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I just want to win this fight. So bring it on my new okcupid friend, lets try it, shall we?
So, whats the moral for this whole story? Read more books, take free online classes from Ivy League schools and try new things but make sure you questions all of your thoughts and your assumptions Why? Its educational, and it’s always fun to keep surprising yourself.