I Responded To OkCupid Suitors With Nothing But Video Game Quotes—This Is What Happened Next 

I don't get men—and the sentiment is mutual.

I emphatically grasp the facts of men using force and threats to get women to acknowledge them. Yet: this has never happened to me. When a man has followed me through a train station or pulled up alongside me in their car, he does not want me to speak with him, but just to speak, to betray the male-assigned appendange underneath my dress that will give him license to harm me. A man has never asked me for my number or name on the street. Which I wouldn't give. 

But others would, or rather, would be expected to. Or else. And my feminism demands I do everything I can to relate to and understand the struggles of all women. Sometimes this means I have to read a book or shut the fuck up when a woman of color is sharing her experiences. 

And sometimes—sometimes this means I set up a fake OkCupid profile posing as a straight woman and tell men I will torture them to death. 


Last year, Buzzfeed ran an article about a man who posted a fake OkCupid profile with an attractive woman, then responded to messages with quotes from the ridiculous @Horse_ebooks Twitter feed—and still generated interest from men. Inspired in part by this, and in part by my own staggering ignorance on how one passes as a straight woman, I set myself to bring some boys to the yard of GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence computer and malevolent sing-song seductress of the Portal video games

Everything I'm about to show you took place within the span of about 36 hours. And may horrify you.

The first step was to procure a photo that would pass as candid enough to not arise suspicion from community moderators but adequately "staged" so as to give the 45 men who messaged me unsolicited a chance to realize they were being fucked with. 

Unsolicited is admittedly loaded—it's an online dating profile; there is a very explicit expectation of suitors.

What I mean by this is that I did not view or rate anyone's profile. I did not answer questions or post any status updates. Other than merely creating the profile, I gave no indication to the men of OkCupid that I a) even existed, or b) was open for business. 

In the spirit of my predecessor, I set a boundary with myself that I would not "roleplay" as GLaDOS but instead outright copy/paste her dialog from the Portal games (and the songs associated with them), rearranged to fit the situation. So as not to exhaust my material—and to, again, give the men contacting a chance to realize they were being had—I cobbled a profile by collating random paragraphs from those I had come across on my personal OkCupid program. 

My intent was not to laugh at men trying to make an earnest connection through online dating, but to see how much abrasiveness and blatant disinterest a man is willing to push past to get to a woman—and then laugh at them. 

Just how desired is a woman posing with books who has a PhD in sociolinguistics and likes MMA

I got three messages before I had even completed my essay answers. I thought I'd be lucky to trick even one hapless Romeo. I could barely keep up with demand. 

I couldn't decide whether or not to to play coy by trying to be somewhat rational with my answers, or be very explicit in my obtuse desires to hurt them. 

So I did both.

I had an admittedly limited vocabulary. A lot of GLaDOS' lines—in which she needles protagonist Chell's weight and (possible) status as an adoptee—I do not find suitable to say to anyone no matter how aggressive and unpleasant I find them. Oh, don't worry, the aggressive men will come. 

They always do.


You'll notice I switch avatars halfway through—about 14 hours into my experiment, a moderator noticed my image had appeared on Cosmopolitan Serbia and deleted the image. They didn't check to see if the all the men who were messaging me were giving their phone numbers and physical addresses away to a chat bot, or to the lesser-known but equally malicious transgender lesbian with access to ThinkStock. 

Or maybe they did, but recognized that my faux account alleviated countless other women bombarded with suitors—however infinitessimal that relief was—and decided it could wait. 

When I message a woman on OkCupid and she does not reply back to me, I take it as a soft no and move on. It never occurs to me to write them again, and again. Perhaps it's because I never occur to anyone else.

The transgender lesbian, a super common fucking phenomenon in my community—I'd even say that, in my experience, straight trans women are the minority—is abjectly absent from mainstreaim media. I don't see myself in the books I read or the TV shows I watch, and maybe this means the idea that there are a hundred or more of me just encircling every person I'm dating is not present in my mind. 

But the men of OkCupid know you are surrounded and are counting on you to eventually give in, hoping to be the first in line when the wall collapses, if not "your type."

At one point, I pointedly told a man that I wanted to test deadly neurotoxins on him. I told another he was a bad person and then stopped responding. 

These men are so confident in their leverage over me, as a desperately outgunned and overstimulated woman, that flat-out threats of violence—if I had told some random person on Twitter I would throw neurotoxins at them, I would maybe get a house call from someone with a badge—do not deter them. At all. The chance that their push will be the one that sets me off the ledge and into "giving a nice guy a try" is just too great for them to pass up. 

Being (read as a) a straight woman in a public space is a hostage situation. 

No matter how outlandish you make your demands, they just chuckle and cover the radio and say "can you believe her? She has no leverage." 

In 36 hours, I received 45 messages from men—OkCupid only allows for you to store 300 at one time. 

It was exhausting. 

I was afraid to open the browser window or check my phone—and this was for a fake profile for a person who did not exist and could not, until I posted this article, be tied back to me in any way. 

On any other day I'd fawn over the women in the stock photos I used, and pine to starve and cut myself up until I looked like them. But for once in my life I'm scraping the floor to gather all my blessings of being fat with a really deep voice into a little pile I can be thankful for. 

OkCupid is so horrible, it makes me glad I'm not the kind of woman I'd wish to be, upon wielding witchery that reshaped reality.

Precisely one in 45 of these men acknowledged the reference (by threatening to report me as a chat bot). Despite being a physics-based puzzle game and spewing a number of catchphrases into our pop culture lexicon ("the cake is a lie!," "Because I'm a potato!," etc.), the Portal series is often derided by the gamer community—which employs a similar tactic of surrounding women and hurling attention at them until they acquiesce or disappear—as being a "casual" game for people who aren't real gamers.

You know: women. 

The Portal series passes the Bechdel Test, comes back around, beats the hell out of it and takes its lunch money. The female fanbase is very visible—cosplayers, singers, artists. 

Did these men really not get my references? Does Portal exist just beyond the immediate mental reach of men who list "gamer" or "video games" on their profiles (I counted 22 of 45, but my account was deactivated before I could get a full total)? Or is this selective hearing? 

Are the menfolk dismissing what I say beyond what it suggests for the possibility of a late-night hookup?

Should I try this again with Call of Duty or Final Fantasy quotes?

I feel I must. 

For science. 

You monsters.


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