The result is the very popular event OkStupid She Does the City chatted with Avery about the nature of the internet dating beast. What made you want to start OkStupid? OkStupid all started as a video installation. I invited about twenty of my male friends over and we recorded ourselves performing some of the conversations verbatim, as though they were conversations we were having on an actual IRL date. The idea was to show how inappropriate the conversations would be if they were held face to face, but — for reasons that still elude me — a ton of people mostly men feel comfortable initiating when they have internet anonymity to protect them.
The video installation was a big success. It seemed like the next logical step of the OkStupid project was to provide an opportunity for others to share their similar experiences. What was your most memorable online dating interaction? What common themes have come up? The bad conversations come in all forms but they all seems to boil down to a sense of entitlement.
Traditionally these conversations materialize in a handful of familiar ways: I like these because there is no reason to answer cordially and amazing conversations sometimes ensue.
One time I was even asked to smile. In an OkCupid message! I just wanted you to know that.. Just to be honest. Being a whore bitch from hell has never been more appealing! The questions range from silly to fundamental and are the most efficient way of finding out if a person is unabashedly awful. The arrogance and entitlement of this attitude drives me particularly crazy. What is the best pickup line you have seen online?
Despite how it seems, I receive plenty of good messages, I swear! I get way more good or bland messages than outright bad ones. Maybe we can meet up and, if we hit it off, see where it goes from there? How about a drink? What are some conversational red flags to be aware of? Using a single letter or number to replace a word. I get that some people are sending messages from their phone but it takes like three extra seconds to not have your first impression come across as a barely literate tween.
Why do you think this event resonates with people so much? OkStupid takes a negative experience shared by many and turns it into something positive and hilarious. I think humour is one of the most empowering reactions to these feelings. Best advice you can give to people traversing the muddy waters of online dating? Have patience and humour. Take advantage of message filters.
Stephanie Avery is a Toronto-based artist, art director and adventurer.