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Matching X-Men On Real Dating Sites: An Experiment

Online dating is never going away. It's the closest we have come to sifting through people like products, hunting for strangers who might look good on us before adding them to our carts. The system is an elegant solution to the age-old question: Will I ever find my perfect counterpart, and who am I going to have sex with on Thursdays until then?

As a consequence, the art of the spontaneous pickup is now wheezing its last lonely breaths in the corners of dimly lit bars. And with it, courage is dying too. No longer are we forced to brave icebreakers, or small talk or the possibility of sharing a nice evening with a stranger only to find out later that her favorite band is Bush. It is sad, but it is also the future, and even the sexual savants among us have no choice but to accept the evolution of courting.

It will be strange at first, but I will adapt.

Before I embrace it fully, however, I am conducting a few scientific studies to ensure that dating websites can carry through on their promises. I created three field-test profiles on every free dating website I could find as Scott Summers, Logan and Jean Grey. If each site is in fact capable of uniting perfect matches, then solving the epic love triangle between Cyclops, Wolverine and Jean shouldn't be too much to ask.

My research, flawless. My findings, staggering. The study, below.

Lab Report: Testing the Legitimacy of Online Dating Compatibility with the Help of Marvel Superheroes.

Hypothesis:

Subject CYCLOPS should bond with subject JEAN GREY despite the advances and forced attraction of subject WOLVERINE.

Materials:

*Email accounts for each subject: scottsmmrs42@gmail.com, wolverine.logan@yahoo.com, jeangrey15@live.com

*Reasonably extensive knowledge of personal history, sexual preferences and greatest fears

*Lawyer(s) to deal with legal recourse

Procedure:

1. Create complete profiles for each subject on dating websites dedicated specifically to profile matching. Matchnet.com, perfectmatch.com, soul2match.com, findyourfacemate.com, etc.

2. Link to respective email accounts

3. Select photos of each subject. NOTE: Stills from live-action films selected for this experiment after comic images were rejected by soul2match.com and matchnet.com

4. Acknowledge the genius of the plan out loud

5. Wait for results

Observation and Data:

Dating websites, it turns out, have little to no appreciation for science. Within 24 hours, the majority of the profiles I created were disabled for breaching the terms of service. Apparently the world of online dating is familiar with the X-Men and I was flagged. Jean Grey, however, slipped in under the radar on most sites.

Of the profiles remaining, nearly all of them sat stagnant without a single match. Despite Jean Grey's ubiquity and general attractiveness, she had zero bites over the first week. Wolverine, however, was matched with two women across two different websites: Karen S. whose interests included MMA and weaving, and Charlotte P. who was an unregistered psychotherapist living in Nevada. I did not respond to either woman.

The second week, however, love found a way. Findyourfacemate.com, a website that matches singles based on facial features, matched both Scott Summers and Logan to Jean Grey.

Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2011 10:10:23

Subject: It's a Match!

From: noreply@findyourfacemate.com

To: jeangrey15@live.com

Hello!

There is a single in your area who is a great match for you! To see the profile and to send a personal message, please log in to findyourfacemate.com. We'll have our fingers crossed for you!

Sincerely,

The facemate team


Findyourfacemate.com functions on the assumption that, when determining a mate, no one cares about shared interests or religious views nearly as much as they care about looking at their own reflections. The site picks couples based exclusively on similar facial structure, coloring and geographic proximity. In other words, everyone is just looking for his/herself as long as they don't have to drive far. A logic with which I can find no argument.

Even though it united the three X-Men, I was suspicious that these particular matches were predicated less on facial characteristics and more on the fact that all three were so close to each other, or more specifically, on top of one another; I had them all living at the same address in a mansion that, on Google maps, looked the most like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

This feels right.

So technically the site didn't do anything but introduce three people who were already roommates, a technique that feels particularly dangerous for a dating website that matches singles who share features.

Concerned that I may have tainted my own results, I created a fourth profile, living a few blocks away, to act as an objective constant in the experiment: Storm Shadow. The facial recognition software didn't let me use a masked version of the assassin, but it did allow this:

I also selected an interest in men and women to cast as wide a net as possible. Fortunately, Storm Shadow was not matched with Jean, Wolverine or Cyclops, proving that even if findyourfacemate couldn't differentiate between love and lust, it could at least tell the difference between comic franchises.

Still, I was concerned that a dating website would intentionally tear a house apart by establishing a love triangle between three roommates. I sent a letter explaining as much, from the workdesk of Wolverine.

Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2011 12:45:30

Subject: Re: It's a Match!

From: wolverine.logan@yahoo.com

To: noreply@findyourfacemate.com

Hey Bub,

What gives? You matched me up with a woman I've gotta work with? Real nice. She also told me you hooked her up with that four-eyed asshole she's already seeing. Thanks a lot for that one. I don't know what kind of slapdick operation you're running but I want you to know that if your offices are ever attacked by Sentinels, I'm going to sit on my ass and watch it from television, and I love wrecking Sentinels. I talked to the other guys on the team and they're not going to help you either, not after the shit you tried to pull here today. Not even Beast and he's altruistic. You really pissed me off, and when I get pissed it's not just something I can just get over. I've got these goddamn blades that shoot out of ma df;lias;hf a[fasnsdn vm.

3444m40jg9jf[e


Wolverine never received a letter in return, however, Jean Grey did.

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2011 14:02:01

Subject: RE: It's a Match!

From: noreply@findyourfacemate.com

To: jeangrey15@live.com

Hello!

We deal with thousands of applicants at findyourfacemate.com every day and even though we make a concerted effort to verify the authenticity of each applicant, from time to time fictitious persons will slip through our vetting process. We sent you an email announcing a match between you and applicant, James Howlett, profile name: Logan. We regretfully inform you that we believe the account is built for a fictional character. We will be suspending the account until we can verify the authenticity of James Howlett, profile name: Logan. Please forward us any email contact you have had with the owner of that account.

We deeply regret the inconvenience and we hope this won't discourage you from using findyourfacemate.com in the future. Please contact us if you have any questions at info@findyourfacemate.com

Sincerely,

The facemate team


To their credit, they were inadvertently proving my hypothesis. Jean was going to end up with Cyclops. Still, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't wasting all my superhero scientific research on idiocy.

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2011 16:13:57

Subject: Re: It's a Match!

From: jeangrey15@live.com

To: info@findyourfacemate.com

Hello facemate team,

Thank you for the warning regarding Logan. I truly appreciate it and I understand that it must be a challenge for you to determine the origins of every person who joins your website. I'll be honest, I've seen so many liars on dating websites I wouldn't be surprised if half of them didn't even remember their origins themselves!

While I understand the situation, I am still disappointed. He seemed like a great guy, and frankly, I'm mad at myself for not seeing through him. I generally pride myself on knowing how honest people truly are.

Oh well, one down.:) I hope it wouldn't be too much trouble for you to verify the account of another match you sent me: Scott Summers. I want to be sure he's at least a real person because I feel a strong connection with him. He's so cute and shy. He says he has trouble just looking people in the eye. How cute is that?! I'm rambling, thank you again for the notification. I will wait for your next response.

Jean


Within 24 hours I had my response and the conclusion to my research.

Date: Tue, 31 Apr 2011 14:15:01

Subject: RE: It's a Match!

From: info@findyourfacemate.com

To: jeangrey15@live.com

Dear Jean,

We have no reason to suspect that Scott Summers, profile name: Scottclops is a fictitious profile. We are glad to hear you found a match on findyourfacemate.com! Please spread the good word to your friends!

Sincerely,

The facemate team


Conclusion:

As requested by the facemate team, I am now spreading the good word. The website passed the test by bringing two heroes, destined to be together, together. Whether it was the nearness of their features or their literal nearness I cannot say, but love triumphed in the most accidental and clumsy way possible. If you are skeptical about dating online, I hope this is encouraging news, and also, should you encounter a ninja assassin on one of the dating websites you try, give him a shot, it might be the lonesome Storm Shadow, living down the street from the X-Men.

While it has no bearing on the experiment, I think it's important to acknowledge that Jean received another email from findyourfacemate on May 6th confirming through diligent research that Logan was in fact, "a fictional character. A superhero from a comic book universe." Jean sent one final reply:

Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2011 20:13:28

Subject: Re: It's a Match!

From: jeangrey15@live.com

To: noreply@findyourface

Well, frankly, I am outraged. Not with you, you have been very kind. It just makes me furious that anyone would take the time to build a profile for a made up comic book character. I mean, who has the time to waste on a project like that? And to what end? Surely whoever it was must have known he/she would be caught by your incredible team once he/she was actually matched with a real person. It makes me wonder about how often people lie on their profiles all over the Internet and are creating empty husks of relationships with other people who are, themselves liars. It almost makes me lose faith in online dating as a system that it seems better designed for fictional people to fall in love than everyday folks like you and me. I get so mad just thinking about it. It sounds silly but when I get mad like this, it feels like there is a powerful fire burning in my head, right behind my eyes. I feel like I might ignite at any minute and destroy everything around me, it would be so gratifying to just let go, you know? To feel it spreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafsdinfIamthephoenix iosndfpasnai sgnisdgisgn ;ng


For more terrible dating sites, check out The 5 Most Ill-Advised Dating Sites on the Web. And get more from Soren in The Rich Dick's Guide to Picking Up Women.

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Soren Bowie

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