What NOT to do on an OkCupid Date, from the perspective of Becca, avid OkCupid user and now blogger:
1. Do not talk about OkCupid on an OkCupid date.
This is the absolute most important rule. It is acceptable to touch on topics related to each other's profiles, but absolutely and under no circumstances should you center the conversation around the fact that you met on OkCupid.
For example, instead of saying, "I read on your profile that what you do on a typical Friday night is run around naked," maybe you can say, "So, you run around naked?"
That way, you are bringing up conversation topics without making them seem like you're reading off someone's profile.
Under no circumstances should you mention any of the following things: Your OkCupid match percentage with your date, the phrase "OkCupid profile," the answers to your match questions or the word "OkCupid."
Can you imagine the humiliation of being in a quiet bar with a few other people who look like they're on dates as well and your date says, "So, how long have you been doing this OkCupid thing, anyway?"
That's basically what happened with a date whom I'll call Question Man.
Why all of this matters: While most of the world seems to be online dating these days, essentially, no one is talking about it IRL. Online dating is still somewhat stigmatized. Thus, no one wants someone screaming, "HELLO WE ARE ON AN OKCUPID DATE" while you're on an OkCupid date.
That said, I really do believe that OkCupid is simply a vessel for which to meet awesome (and sometimes not-so-awesome) people who we probably would have never met in our in-person lives. At the end of the day, OkCupid dates are an opportunity for two humans to go on a regular date together. So, even if you are totally comfortable with the fact that it is an OkCupid date, to me, keeping the conversation focused on OkCupid takes away the mystery of getting to know another person.
I'm just kind of like, screw it, forget about your profile, let's see who you really are!
Because you really can't get to know a person from his/her online dating profile and match percentage questions. I'm a firm believer in using OkCupid to create meaningful in-person connections, connections that usually have nothing to do with how funny or interesting I thought the person's profile was or our match percentage. In fact, I've had better luck with people with lower match percentages.
The moral of my story is this: Let's stop the online dating stigma and treat OkCupid dates as REAL dates. Not talking about OkCupid on the date while also losing the stigma can help us get to that point, I think.
2. Do not discuss how you feel the date is going to your date, mid-date.
This has happened to me on two dates. The dude said, "So, this is going really well right?" to which I responded, "Yes?"
Did you really think I was going to say no, this date is awful? I think that no one, unless they don't have a heart, would announce, "Um. No. This is one of the worst OkCupid dates I've ever been on. I really wanted to leave 10 minutes after I sat down, but I felt that was rude, especially because you have insisted on paying."
Of course, that's what I want to say, and though I'm pretty direct, I don't have the heart to say such a thing.
To me, online dating can be amazing, because intentions are clear from the get-go. The problem with this is that I think it leads to people verbally analyzing the date while on the actual date. After all, the two date participants were matched a computer. There isn't much mystery since the label "OkCupid" makes intentions so clear.
3. Do not ask the other person how many OkCupid dates he/she has been on.
Question Man asked me how many OkC dates I had been on. As if I was going to say, "Oh yeah, you're date number 15."
It's kind of embarrassing in either direction. If you're on your first OkCupid date and announce that, you may come across as a noob, and if it is your fifteenth OkCupid date, like it was for me, well, we all know why that is embarrassing.
4. Do not touch your date unless you ask permission first.
I have been on so many dates where all of a sudden, the dude's hand is on my shoulder and I don't know what to do. Again, I'm pretty direct, but I really struggle with telling someone, "Excuse me, could you ask before you touch me? I really don't want to be touched right now --thanks!"
Here's what I REALLY want to say: "Screw you, you stupid MAN! You think you can just touch a woman without asking her? It's a violation of boundaries and I think it is fueled in large part by sexism. GET OFF OF ME THIS IS NOT CUTE."
5. Get up and leave if the date is going poorly for any reason and you know you don't want more.
Ain't nobody got time to sit through dates that are uncomfortable, boring or even offensive. I think this rule is especially relevant to online dating. A great thing about OkCupid is that you can meet people who you may never meet in your in-person daily life. This also means that if the date is not going well, you can quickly make an exit, as it is typically highly unlikely that you may ever run into that person again.
And both date participants know that there is a whole OkCupid universe out there waiting to connect you to more people. It's like shopping! But seriously, most people are not going to be THAT offended if they quickly realize that you aren't interested.
My philosophy is if you try on one dress that doesn't fit, try on the one on the hanger next to it!
Of course, when you make your exit, you should be polite and make up some excuse. And then later, if the person texts you, please be direct and tell them in a polite yet honest way that you are not interested.
What I do at parties to escape an awkward conversation is say, "Excuse me, I need to go refill my cup at the punch bowl." But since this excuse doesn't usually apply on OkCupid dates, I usually make up an excuse about waking up incredibly early for work or for an event. I can do this now that I am temporarily a real person.
In summary, don't waste your time. There is a whole OkCupid world out there waiting for you. Just be polite and remember that even if the date is someone like Question Man, he/she is still a person.
Surely, there are more tips, but these are what I can think of for now, with 21 Okcupid dates behind me. Happy hunting!