On Questions

As a certified question-asking expert (okay, that’s not a real thing, but I’ve been told that I ask interesting and unusual questions), I take some issue with some of the questions in the OkCupid arsenal.  For you non-users out there, once you fill out a profile, you can also choose to answer a bunch of questions in order to be more accurately matched with other users.  Some ask about your lifestyle, some your ethics and beliefs, and others about your behaviors and preferences.  You can always skip questions that either don’t interest you or that you don’t like, but I often wonder if they think some of their questions through. 

Here’s one that strikes me as odd:

What is your opinion on freckles?

-They turn me on. The more the merrier!

-They turn me off. Give me flawless skin, please.

-I could take them or leave them.

-A light dusting can be cute.

Am I missing something?  When did freckles become a make or break criterion for a relationship?  Do other people actually spend time thinking about this?  Apparently, because this is a separate question:

Do you find freckles attractive?

-Yes

-No

-I’m Not Sure

-It depends where on the body they are

Man, I really hate when a guy has freckles on his eyeballs.  That’s the worst.  In addition to answering questions, users can choose what answers they accept as “correct” or “acceptable” from potential matches, which is why this next one seems like the dumbest question ever:

Have you ever had sex with someone you first met online?

-Yes.

-No.                           

If you don’t accept “yes” as an answer, why are you on the site?  I suppose if you are anti-premarital sex you might assume that a user would sleep with someone from this site if they were to get married, but it seems like there should be more answer options here.
Sometimes the questions are just poorly worded, like this one:

Do you believe in dinosaurs?

  • Yes

  • No

I’m never sure exactly what they’re asking for here.  They ask it the same way someone would ask if I believe in God.  Are they asking if I believe dinosaurs existed, or if I believe we should worship them?  Do I believe in the concept of dinosaurs?  Just in case, I clarify my answer with a note: I believe both that they existed and that they are awesome! (Also, if someone answers no to this question, stay away from them.  They are crazy, boring, or both.  Either way, run!)  There are also a series of questions that I can’t imagine would be relevant to anything in a relationship, ever.  I could have listed many more of these, but I found these to be among the funniest:

Do you use hand sanitizer?

Yes.

No.

Really?  I could understand “do you use soap?”, which could be relevant to germaphobes (which, oddly, spellcheck corrects to “semaphore”.  Silly spellcheck), or germaphobe-aphobes.  But who cares enough about this to consider it in their search for a partner?

Which do you prefer?

Shower

Bath

It depends / Don’t make me choose!

Again, a dealbreaker?  I know many couples like to shower or take baths together, but if you prefer showers, would you really not take a bath if your significant other wanted to?  That seems like a bigger problem than your washing preferences, if you ask me (which you didn’t, but I don’t care). 

At the movies, do you stay for the credits?

Always.

Sometimes.

Never.

 

I have zero clues as to why this is a question anyone would ask, ever, not just on OkCupid.  What difference could this possibly make?  Are you constantly in a rush, and someone’s propensity to watch the credits would drive you to insanity?

How ticklish are you?

Extremely.

Somewhat.

Just a little bit.

Not at all.

 

Okay, I have at least one ex who would be concerned about this question down the line.  He thought that me being ticklish was the most hilarious thing ever.  For anyone out there who is also ticklish, you know that it the opposite of that.  But even my ex who took great joy out of catching me off guard and getting a good tickle in wouldn’t consider this to be important dating or friendship criteria. 

Of the following, which do you spend the most time doing while taking a bath or shower?

Washing and/or conditioning.

Shaving.

Relaxing.

Masturbating.

 

The person who wrote this person is sitting in a corner laughing at what he/she thinks is a really funny question, but really, it’s pretty pointless.  I suppose some people could be turned off (or turned on, depending on your preference) by the last answer, but I can’t see anyone giving even half a shit about any of the other options.  You might spend a long time shaving because you are particularly hairy, or because you are very careful and don’t want to cut yourself.  You might not shave at all.  None of these answers really give any additional information about a user.

Then there are some questions that bother me for completely different reasons.  This one isn’t necessarily a bad question, but the answer choices don’t make sense:

Can overweight people still be sexy?

  • Always

  • Yes

  • No

There is no reason to have an option besides “yes” or “no” for this.  What kind of answer is “always”? Even if you have a preference for overweight men or women, there’s no way you find all of them attractive. Like most humans, I have a type.  I tend to prefer pale skinny dudes in glasses, but that doesn’t mean that I find all pale skinny guys attractive.  That’s like finding all tall men attractive, or all Italian men, or all blond men.  That just doesn’t make sense. 

There are also, of course, questions to test intelligence.  Some target use of grammar, others a grasp of logic.  But the knowledge questions bug me, like this one:

In the line Wherefore art thou Romeo?, what does wherefore mean?

  • Why

  • Where

  • How

  • Who cares / wtf?

I’m a literature nerd, so of course I know this, but I don’t care if other people don’t have this info in their brains already.  If you don’t care, don’t answer the question, and if you don’t know, look it up.  You’re filling this profile out on the internet, so use google.  I know you know how.  And then there are the questions that just strike me as offensive:

Who’s smarter on average?

  • Men

  • Women

  • Neither; they’re the same on average

I can’t believe this is even a question, or that anyone ever has the audacity to chose one of the first two answers, but I’ve encountered some who have (again, a story for a later date.  Look forward to some attacks on feminism!).  Even if someone really believed that, say, men are smarter than women, if they’re straight men on OkCupid looking to meet women, it’s pretty risky (read: moronic) to answer honestly.  There’s also this:

Which best represents your opinion of same-sex relationships?

  • Girl-on-girl is okay, but guy-on-guy is wrong.

  • Guy-on-guy is okay, but girl-on-girl is wrong.

  • All same-sex relationships are wrong.

  • It’s all fine by me.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think the first two answers might be worse than the third.  I don’t understand the mindset of anyone who thinks same-sex relationships are wrong, but at least the person who answers that way is consistent in their closed-minded beliefs.  Anyone who answers either of the first two is a hypocrite.  Why would two guys be okay, but two girls isn’t, or vice versa?  I understand if someone who has no interest in watching either of those combinations in porn, but thinking that one version of being gay is fine while another isn’t strikes me as ludicrous.  And, of course, my favorite:

Is a girl who’s slept with 100 guys a bad person?

  • Yes

  • No

There is no equivalent question about men, which makes me think that the question is  sexist.  Why should a female “slut” be a bad person if a male one isn’t?  I know a lot of people, without acknowledging it, do believe that, but it’s odd to see it phrased this way on a dating site.  It’s impossible to guess how another user is answering, either.  Are they saying yes because they think anyone who has 100 sexual partners is a bad person, or because they think that a promiscuous woman is inherently bad?  If the question means to test a user’s adherence to gender stereotypes, than it should focus on that, rather than pose a question with ambiguous intentions at best.

And, just for fun, here’s a question that was only meant for douchebags:

Which type of wine would you prefer to drink outside of a meal, such as for leisure?

White (such as Chardonnay, Riesling).

Red (such as Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz).

Rosé (such as White Zinfindel).

I don’t drink wine.

 

Okay, yes, I have my preferences, but I can’t imagine giving a rat’s ass what kind of wine the other person drinks, or if they drink it at all.  They could just as well have asked if they prefer Coke or Pepsi.  It doesn’t matter.  And if this kind of thing is important enough that you would bother to answer and care what a potential match would answer, you might be an asshole, or you need to go look up the definition of “priorities” and then go find some new ones.

 

 

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “On Questions

  1. Danny Q

    actually, there is a question replacing the woman with a man in the Is a girl who’s slept with 100 guys a bad person? question. It might not be answered as frequently, but I have seen it several times.

    And I think you are putting too much importance on individual questions, nothing is make or break unless you mark it as mandatory. You can mark these mostly unimportant questions with slightly important or whatever. They are good for breaking a tie or a bunch of little pros/cons can be enough to outweigh a more significant con/pro

    Some of these are just for fun. Some of them apparently do correlate with more meaningful information. You would probably find the statistical analysis they used to post interesting.

    http://blog.okcupid.com/

    Unfortunately they don’t write these anymore, but they detail interesting things, like the 3 best (appropriate) questions to ask on a first date to see if you have long term potential.

    Do you like horror movies?
    Have you ever traveled around another country alone?
    Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?

    http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/page/2/

    It sounds stupid, but apparently they have the numbers to back it up. The dumb questions may not be causally related to the more meaningful ones, but if there is a strong correlation it doesn’t really matter so much why that correlation happens to exist. To give a personal story, I sent out a message to a woman on the site who had a profile I was generally impressed with, but not overwhelmingly so. She replied and happen to notice in my profile I mentioned nachos as my favorite food. She mentioned something about how she went on a hunt for the best nachos in Toronto while she was living there. When I read that, I was instantly hooked, I REALLY wanted to talk to this woman. Not because I give a damn at all what anybody’s favorite foods are, or because I’m an actual nacho fanatic, but it was more like, “Holy shit! Somebody else shares this obscure interest most people don’t share.” It’s a stupid meaningless thing that has never really come up much again in our conversations, but that’s what sold me on her and it turned out my initial impression was totally on the money. She is now a good friend and I’m going to travel to Canada on my vacation just to meet her. All because of an offhand comment about nachos.

    Also, I have realized I probably underestimate the number of people who are not interested in sex. I am surprised at the number of profiles I have come across from people indicating that they are asexual. The site has made me aware of it as a sexual orientation or lack of one or whatever you want to call it. It’s not just the save it for marriage/religious type who aren’t interested in sex at the moment. Many people simply aren’t just because that is who they are. For somebody who can’t understand how others see a same sex relationship as wrong, I’m surprised to see your comment that anybody who is interested in a no sex relationship shouldn’t be on the site.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to come off as overly critical, I do enjoy reading these. Keep it up.

    • Yeah, I never knew there was a male version to that question – it’s never shown up for me, and it definitely takes longer to get to, which says something in and of itself. It seems like they could easily split it into two questions that each target an different piece of the question, though: Is a person who sleeps with a hundred people a bad person, and is a woman who sleeps with a lot of men a worse person than a man who does the same?

      I didn’t mean to imply that people should only be on the site if they plan to sleep with the other person, but to highlight the weirdness of the “that you met online” part of the question. It seems like there should be more answer choices for that one, like “I would, but haven’t” or “I’m uninterested in a sexual relationship” (although I think there are other questions geared toward finding that last one out). I think this question is aimed to gauge comfort level with dating someone you’ve met online, but if someone isn’t comfortable with online dating, then why join? If someone is looking to find other asexual people, this question isn’t a clear enough indicator for that.

      As far as those odd little questions go, certainly a lot of them are fun to answer, but when you answer a lot of them, and don’t mark them as irrelevant, they can water down your results so that now you’re matched with someone who really likes freckles and hand sanitizer, but who has no interest in something more character revealing, like the outdoors. I suppose if you choose to mark them as irrelevant, then it won’t matter too much, but then why waste the time? I almost feel like they should take some of those and put them in a separate list as “questions ideas for when you send messages”, because a lot of people don’t seem to know how to ask much outside of “how are you?”

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