There's still tremendous mystery in finding a romantic partner. Though there are plenty of smart people attempting to make it as easy as picking up a soda, it's still cloaked in total confusion. While we might have hundred-question quizzes and algorithms and chemistry tests overlaying online dating profiles with professional images and carefully crafted descriptions, the truth is that the Internet definitely hasn't figured out why one guy (or gal) sends us spinning, while another who looks similar and has the same job barely registers. And, even more befuddling, why some of those people who we are attracted to are into us, while most of them aren't.
And maybe that's a good thing.
But of course, that hasn't stopped people from trying to "crack the code," to beat a dead metaphor horse. OKCupid, the acknowledged Captain Obvious of Internet dating sites (it's free, has zillions of users, and seems like it's always trying to please all of them with really, really obvious schemes) has started allowing its users to narrow down their search parameters by body type. Unsurprisingly, the founders say that they decided to offer this service (which costs extra, by the way), because people are just clamoring for it.
"People have strong preferences on body type," OKCupid founder Sam Yagan told Today.com. "We might as well just let them admit that and save everyone some time."
So this is just an efficiency thing, huh? I don't buy it.
Never mind that this is just pretty ridiculous because of a little thing called subjectivity; one's body type varies not only with time and number of workouts completed, but also with perception (yours and your potential date's). In other words: One person's curvy is another person's fat — and sometimes it's both descriptors, on the same day, to the same person!
And really, how lazy do you have to be not to scroll through a person's online dating profile for a few minutes, and I don't know — use your eyes to see if you like how they look?
Of course we are attracted to people's looks; there's no crime in that. But even those of us with type preferences don't ONLY like those types. Take me for example: There's a pretty specific type of man I find attractive. I could describe him down to his non-cleft chin. (Sorry, cleft-chin havers, I find them creepy.) But when I was online dating, did I look only at profiles of men with the 15 attributes I find superhot? Of course not, because that's just dumb. In fact, I dated my type, not my type, and everything in between. I only had four things a potential date must NOT have (no, I'm not telling what they are, but let's just say "No drug addicts" was one of them, so they were pretty broad categories).
After three years of online dating (yes, I had a lot of fun, and officially always recommend Match.com), I met my current partner at a friend's birthday party, the old-fashioned way. I saw him across the room, and madly pursued him for months afterwards (stealthily enough so he had to put in some significant effort, or at least thought so). Is he my type? Kinda. He checks some of my major "type" boxes, and misses others — one huge one, in fact (OK, I'll tell: He has blonde hair and I like dark or red hair). So if I had looked for him using a bunch of boxes on an Internet questionnaire, I would never have met him.
That's why OKCupid is silly for even offering such choices, in my opinion. Because while we all have our types, more often than not the ones we become girl/boyfriends, partners, husbands, wives, our better halves — break our rules.
It's part of the reason we love them. My boyfriend's curly blonde hair is now one of my favorite things about him.
Are some online dating filters useful? Sure; looking for someone with similar interests, in a certain age range, religion, or distance from your hometown is, at least, reasonable. But what they look like? No.
Yes, attraction is important. A belly or brown hair or freckles isn't, and doesn't always figure into who you are attracted to. (If you are that rigid about the kind of people you are attracted to, sorry, but you have control issues and are missing out!)
Would you use a body type filter if you dated online (or do you use one now)?
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