Online Dating at OKCupid

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Online Dating at OKCupid
Love Buzz reviews OKCupid's approach to calculating chemistry.

If you don't think matchmaking is rocket science, well, maybe you're right. Either way, it took a handful of Harvard alums to create OKCupid, a site that uses math, psychology and a series of questions to derive a percent compatibility among its members. Simply sign up (which takes about four seconds and costs nothing) and start answering. There's no fine print, no cost for anything (including messaging) and no need for an Ivy-league degree to answer most of these brain-busters, including: What is your relationship to marijuana? How often are you open with your feelings? Is there any excuse to cheat while in a serious relationship?

Each question asks for your answer, your ideal match's answer, and your rating of the question's importance. Official as well as user-submitted questions are endless; the more you answer, the higher your potential match percentile can be.

OKCupid calculates match, friend and, oddly enough, enemy percentiles. Surprisingly blunt extremities are common on the site: a "Dead to Me" page lets you block other users, and a "My Stalkers" page lists members who've viewed your profile. Everything is organized and easy to access from a horizontal nav bar with drop-down menus.

Open-ended and entertaining, member profiles capture the honest tone of the site. Even if a profile is brimming with BS, match percentiles filter out the good-on-paper from the potentially good-in-person. That's not to say matches are foolproof -- I had a 72% match with someone who listed "Did you ever torture a cat, dog, or any other furry animal for pleasure?" as a top-five most-important question. It's not you, it's me!

Since online-dating beggars can, and should, be choosers, every profile includes a sidebar of similar members with photos and comparative captions, such as "Hornier" or "Less Extroverted." If you're into someone, you can flirt by clicking "Woo him/her", send a message, or send the entire profile to a friend for a second opinion. OKCupid users vary in ethnicity (the site is accessible in US, UK, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Netherlands and Germany), sexuality (gay/straight/bi), and age (20's to 40's).

Besides browsing matches, users can create journal entries (visible to all), take HelloQuizzy.com tests (the result of your Sensual Bath Test can--and will--appear on your profile), start a forum, or check out the humor page--and the OKCupid staff has quite a sense of humor. Between bribing members to gain 30 pounds in 30 days and April-fooling users to submit genetic-test results for OKCupid access, it's a wonder these guys have time to maintain the site. But Love Buzz sure is glad they do.

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