The study found a marketplace mentality within the online dating experience. With the increased supply of potential mates dating sites offer, "consumers" evaluate the worth of the goods, choosing exactly what they want or don't want in their ideal partner. At the same time, online dating can encourage users to evaluate their own worth, with profiles serving as their own personal shop window.
As a writer and thus a relentless self-editor, I admit I've wasted too much time tweaking my profile's sales pitch. The average OkCupid shop window displays a lot of interesting details about someone that couldn't necessarily be gleaned from an initial conventional encounter. Depending on how well a man has crafted his profile, I could know the six things in life he can't live without, his beliefs on God and politics, or his preferences in the bedroom before I even know his name.
To aid the selection process, some sites use algorithms that determine compatibility scores between relationshoppers. OkCupid plugs my answers to its user-generated questions -- of which there are thousands -- into its algorithm and tells me what percent match, percent friend or percent enemy I am with a given man's profile. The questions range from the meaningless "which super power would you rather have? I've had the patience to answer only about questions; as a policy, I do not answer the over-shares. But does having all these options and data at our fingertips add value to the online dating experience?
The danger of too much of a good thing is falling into the paradox of choice. Choosing between so many options might actually be psychologically taxing, causing undue anxiety or indecision. Online dating has been compared to being a kid in the candy store," says Toma. The relationshopping study warned the marketplace mentality can make online daters get fixated on finding the perfect "product" instead of on the relationship-building process.
Because of this endless number of new women who join, you can get trapped into trying to find a theoretical perfect match," says Harry, Fatigue is not the only potential side effect. A review of the academic literature on online dating yes, that exists suggested that browsing potential partners simultaneously -- instead of separately, as is more typical in offline dating -- might actually undermine your chances of finding a good match.
In culling profiles, users tend to judge harshly, prioritizing details that might be irrelevant, or even contradictory, to what could actually make them happy in real life. In fact, for me, none of them have been an option so far," says Wally, who has had a lot of first dates but nothing that's stuck.
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However, if you are on the market for a Madison stereotype, there is no shortage. OkCupid, at least, is rife with nerdy graduate students, Epic employees, the outdoorsy types, and near-east-siders who like biking, gardening and beards. But even if you manage to narrow in on your perfect on-paper match, there is still that one intangible and mysterious thing even an algorithm can't predict: Yet, nearly a year into my on-and-off relationship with OkCupid, and despite many dates and one short-lived "thing," I still haven't felt that in-person magic with anyone.
In fact, the man with whom I've had the highest compatibility score turned out to be on a very different page. The offline spark is difficult, perhaps impossible, to replicate online. It may be the part of the relationship initiation process where conventional dating will always trump the virtual version. But then you meet in person, and you don't really groove with each other," says Phin, According to Toma, social psychology research casts doubt on whether algorithms, which essentially measure personality traits, can actually say anything about compatibility. No two-dimensional profile can convey the full complexity of a person or of human interaction.
And, with the curated nature of profiles, there is also the risk of false advertising. Toma's research has focused on the prevalence of deception in online dating.
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Their fibs were pretty minor, however. Men tended to exaggerate their height by an inch, and women fudged their weight by about eight pounds.
Toma called this strategic lying, or explainable compensations for perceived shortcomings. Fortunately, the Madison men I've met appear truthful, although I've never carried a measuring stick with me on dates to be sure. A handful of my interviewees haven't been as lucky; the most extreme surprises included a possible mental disability, an apparent psychological disorder and a certain crime record. The initial plunge into Madison's online pool can be invigorating. The options seem endless, and the attention is flattering.
Then the weeks pass, the number of new and interesting faces dwindles, the messages slow to a trickle, and the challenge of dating resurfaces. A former New Yorker, Max has found Madison's petite online dating scene both charming and frustrating: Indeed, the probability you are already connected in the real world to whoever has caught your eye in the virtual world is high in Madison.
Online dating gives her a more direct way of talking to a girl she is interested in, rather than scoping her out through friends. When he first joined OkCupid, Harry's immediate top three matches were women he knew personally.
Inevitably, you'll also end up recognizing complete strangers on the bus, in the Jenifer Street Market, at Alchemy, at a friend's house party or [insert other real-life Madison location], only to realize you've viewed their profile. Even online, geography may still determine whom you meet in Madison, a city seemingly zoned by stereotype. I am also a near-east-sider and a former UW-Madison graduate student. I too have found it likely that the gentlemen I choose to meet live nearby.
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The closest lived half a block from me. Madison's size also makes dating overlap comically probable, especially if you and your friends have similar tastes. Emily, a friend of mine, ended up sharing dates repeatedly with a mutual friend of ours. Once I had my eye on one man's profile and had been considering making the first move, and then I found out a good friend of mine had just had a very romantic evening with him. A few friends of mine have even jokingly discussed creating a shared Google spreadsheet of the men they've met online, to compare notes.
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I think they were half-serious. As the profiles become increasingly familiar and the first-maybe-second dates pile up, the Madison dating pool starts to feel not just small, but also crowded, creating another high probability: When he first joined OkCupid, Sean identified as bisexual. A little while into one of his first dates with a man, it slowly dawned on him that he had been out with his date's sister the week prior.
An awkward conversation confirmed his suspicion.
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There was no second date with either sibling. Sarah once ran into two former dates in the waiting room of a doctor's office, on the same occasion. As I was writing this article, a man I had corresponded with months ago but never ended up meeting sat at a table next to me in Ground Zero Coffee. I feigned concentration on my laptop, and he was engrossed in a group discussion, but I could sense the mutual realization. Despite its follies and shortcomings, and if my batch of interviewees are at all representative, few online daters would dissuade anyone from giving it a shot.
He wondered why any singles wouldn't want to increase their chances of meeting someone. It is liberal for the upper Midwest, however. It's not the same scene since the Hotel Washington disappeared, but there are still gay bars and clubs, and loads of gay singles. It's definitely not the capital of the Bible belt Wisconsin in general - and Madison much more so can be conservative on fiscal policies, but much more liberal on social issues than many other states.
Originally Posted by nathansparks Despite Madison's progressive reputation, it's a mid-sized city although that is changing quickly and its gay culture is subpar compared to Midwestern cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, mostly because those cities are much bigger metros hence more variety and diversity.
Since you're looking for a "strong gay nightlife and dating scene", Milwaukee fits your criteria, but don't rely on my advice alone because I'm not a gay guy. My assertion is purely based on observations and experiences since I've had years of experience with Madison. In short, Madison is most definitely a gay-friendly city, but it lacks the "gay vibrancy" that Milwaukee has. Otherwise, I hope this minor problem alone doesn't deter you from moving to Madison. It has the best quality of life and economy in Wisconsin. My wife and I recently moved here and love it.
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