When what is arguably the coolest dating site around is purchased by what is arguably the least cool one, what's a single girl to do? Where's she supposed to go to find an interesting date?
This isn't simply a hypothetical question: Last week, super-groovy OkCupid.com was purchased by mass meat market Match.com.
When I was single, OkCupid was far and away my favorite source for dates. Plenty of the guys I came across on that site were smart, interesting, funny, and quirky (and not bad-looking either). I got into mini-relationships with a few very okay cupids and also met my current BF Sweet Pants through the site.
Unlike OkCupid, Match charges (a pretty hefty fee) for you to check out a bunch of guys who all look the same and write profiles that sound the same — if you ask me. What's more, about 93 percent of Match.com users (according to one estimate) were inactive. The only site I liked less than Match was eHarmony. (Perhaps that had something to do with the fact that, after I filled out their dating questionnaire, eHarmony told me I was unmatchable.)
OkCupid claims that they'll stay cool, despite having a new corporate daddy. But I'm worried. The site has already sold out, literally — so I hope they choose not to do it figuratively as well.
In the meantime, we should keep an eye on a few new up-and-coming dating sites that could very well wrest from OkCupid the title of Dating Service Most Likely to Produce a Good Match.
Here are a few up-and-comers:
This site gets 300 million page views a month in France, where it originated. What I like best about it is the way it organizes its different users, allowing them to group themselves under "Social Type" rubrics such as Intellectual, Executive, Bohemian, Adventurous, and Athletic, and into "Style" categories including Chic, Metrosexual, Sporty, Casual, Men in Uniform, Skater, Hip Hop, and Corporate. Another unique feature: It's set up in such a way that women have to make the first move before guys can communicate with them — and if you ask me, that makes it especially worth trying out.
As I've noted before, two people who have never spent time together before are more likely to bond if they do some kind of activity on their date, rather than just sitting around and talking. HowAboutWe understands the importance of doing something memorable for your first meeting. The first thing you learn about anyone on this site is what they most want to do on their next first date. I've become quite partial to activity dates — partly because I've been on so many first dates that function as interviews that I now feel bored with myself whenever I go on one, and partly because if you do an activity (like going to a play or going for a walk) you're bound to get something positive out of it even if you find you despise the guy in person.
This is a site for people looking for lovers who are also book lovers. Folks fill out profiles that give precedence to their reading lists, the idea being that while you can't tell a book by its cover, you can tell a lot from a person based on what he likes to fill his head with. I'm predisposed to like everyone on this site, just because I'm predisposed to like anyone who feels so excited about books that he signs up for it.
For tree huggers who occasionally want to put their arms around people, this site is going after a very specific single niche. And since I get turned on by people who compost (like Sweet Pants does), I understand the appeal of this service, too.
My friends in Boston have raved about this free site. On the site's homepage, it claims to have 145 million monthly visitors, which sounds like a ton. Has anyone out there tried it? Can you tell us what it's like?
Also, in general, help a sister out: What sites have you had a lot of success with? And why?