I recently stumbled upon links to Avner Geller’s blog post about OKCupid. He’s a San Francisco illustrator with an amazing talent for capturing whimsical, playful faces on even his grown-up characters. I just love his work. Check out these three images he did based on his first OKCupid impressions! All images are used with permission; please visit avnergeller.blogspot.com to see more of his stuff. Click over to his OKCupid post to see bigger versions of these files, too.
I’m not 100% certain, because we kind of lost touch after he generously gave me permission to showcase his work here. But I’m pretty sure all these answers are not his own creations, but rather, are based on the kinds of things he was seeing in other people’s OKCupid profiles as he browsed around. So I’m going to critique some of those answers, because well, that’s what I do best. Don’t worry, I also suggest some alternatives and point out which ones are best!
This is a fun aggregation of some of the most common answers he saw to the “six things you cant’ live without” question. The ones he picked to show here are actually really sweet, not-all-that-cheeky answers, but I tend to find that including at least one or two cheeky choices makes for a more eye-catching profile that leads to fun conversations or obvious date ideas. For example, the user who put “Salted carame Bi-Rite ice cream” probably has something really specific in mind, but you KNOW right off the bat that they enjoy this one specific flavor of this one product. So what if you opened with an invitation to get ice cream at _____ and see if it stands up to that person’s dairy-dessert standards? It’s nice when such answers can lead to a concrete meeting. :) Good job, random OKCupid user who possibly inspired this corner of Avner’s work!
The other notable ones are “organic food,” “my iPhone,” “my passport,” and “whiskey.” Why are these somewhat generic-sounding items useful? Well, they paint a really clear picture about your priorities. Let’s say you’re the sort of person who scoffs at Whole Foods shoppers, and doesn’t give an organic free-range rat’s ass about where they bought their meat or what Monsanto’s up to. Well, that sort of person is going to see “organic food” on this list and recognize that there may be a basic incompatibility there, which is a good thing—you only want to connect with people who fit you well! Same with iPhone; if you’re a total techhead who actually enjoys being on their phone all the time, you don’t want to go out with someone who’s going to find your gadget habit annoying. If you’re a true homebody, you perhaps don’t want to pair up with a global nomad who lists their passport as one of their Big Six. And if you’re not into folks who enjoy the occasional grown-up beverage, then a potential date who lists “whiskey” may make you think twice, and rightly so!
The key is to make your list a combination of cheeky/quirky/fun items and useful tells like organic iPhone whiskey items. Mix it up, but make that field count; try not to just list generics like “sunshine” because even if it’s true, it’s less evocative than “monthly hikes (AT LEAST!) up to Snow Lake to clear my head from the urban insanity,” you know? That’s a sound way to scare off the couch potatoes.
These Friday night answers are cute, too. Of COURSE you know I’m going to advise you to go for the quirkier ones, like “skipping the scary parts,” because they provide a much more concrete and endearing image than the more generic “shaking my booty.” You might even be able to pull off suggesting a horror movie date, perhaps with a promise to comfort her or at least tell her when she can look at the screen again. (No guarantees that this response came from a lady, but that’s how Avner drew it so we’re going with it.) Just be careful not to be creepy and over-suggest a date in which you’re all saving her or snuggling her when you’ve literally never met before. You’d want to playfully suggest anything like that with a tongue-in-cheek tone, and probably build to that as a second or third date as you’re getting to know each other better. I know; I know; it’s a fine line! :) That’s why I’m here to help you walk it.
This last one is the treasure trove of overly generic responses, with a couple overly negative ones sprinkled in there. Saying you should message me if “you are NOT looking for a one-night stand” or “you have your shit together” is just super negative, and puts out there that you’re already predisposed to having a bad experience with online dating. This sends a myriad of subconscious signals, and might even discourage some potential dates from contacting you at all since they might perceive you as too picky or jaded or unlikely to respond.
The other, less negative answers shown here are also just less conversation-starters, you know? Keep in mind that this particular field appears at the very bottom of your profile. So people need a compelling closer, a great exit line, something to really snap you into their memory! The answer “you want to go dancing” is not so compelling, you know? If it were “you’re brave enough to try a salsa lesson at ___ with me!” is a better spin of the same idea. I dare you to come up with something even more creative. Perhaps “if you’ve seen all seven seasons of Mad Men and you secretly judge people who aren’t caught up” would be a more playful vein. Or “you’ve never used a hashtag in a single tweet (okay, maybe just the once).” Or “you want to pet every single puppy you see tied up outside on the corner.” (That’s more evocative than just “you like animals,” you know?)
Let me know what you come up with!