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.
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.
Wolverine never received a letter in return, however, Jean Grey did.Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2011 14:02:01Subject: RE: It's a Match!From: firstname.lastname@example.orgTo: email@example.comHello!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 firstname.lastname@example.orgSincerely,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.
Within 24 hours I had my response and the conclusion to my research.Date: Tue, 31 Apr 2011 14:15:01Subject: RE: It's a Match!From: email@example.comTo: firstname.lastname@example.orgDear 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: