Thanks For The Boobs, OKCupid

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I absolutely love OKCupid, even though I haven’t gotten a date out of it in almost two years.  But it is the perfect form of people-watching.
I actually adore sitting down in a train station and watching all the people go by.  I like imagining their past histories, where they’re going, trying to read the history on their faces.  And OKCupid is this place that allows me to see who’s near me in the neighborhood, gives me a match percentage so I can imagine what kinds of friends we’d be, and read little snippets of their personalities.  I rarely contact people, but I love seeing who stops by.
And lately, the attractiveness of the people I’m viewing has stepped up.
As anyone who knows me knows, I have a type: pale, large-chested, plump, smiling.  And the photos of almost everyone I’ve looked at have fallen into that pattern, whether I’m selecting for match percentage or not.  There’s a lot more pictures with ample cleavage, a lot more paper-pale women smiling at me.  Walls of heartbreaking beauty.
Is that OKCupid homing in on me?
It’s a serious question.  I’ve written before about how Facebook quietly mutates to present you with your own customized world.  And OKCupid’s sadly-discarded blog shows that they’ve been able to do some fairly sophisticated analyses of what makes for an attractive picture way back in 2011.  They have the processing power to look at JPGs, break them down, and determine what’s attractive in general.
Two years later, it’s entirely possible that they’ve determined what’s attractive to me.
And that’s the fascinating thing about these large-scale social networks: there’s no incentive for to share their techniques with us.  It’s all back-end stuff, quietly massaged to try to keep us logged in and coming back.  How does Facebook decide what posts make your stream?  Nobody knows, except for Facebook’s engineers.
Which lends an oddly deity-like atmosphere to social networks as a whole.  It could well be that the past couple of weeks have been mere coincidence, that whatever algorithms choose who gets presented to me have randomly shown me the busty beauties who stir my affections.  Or it could be that some monolithic parallel processing machine behind the scenes has ticked into place, having finally ascertained what I want and now routinely doles out only women whose photos it knows I’ll find appealing.
In a strange sense, I wind up in the position of ancient man: attributing intent to things that may be completely random.  Or maybe attributing intent to something that moves according to rules I don’t quite understand.  In either case, I am a dumb caveman, goggling at the world, creating gods from clouds.
Except in my case, I know something is watching me.  I just don’t know how much.  I’ve just spent the past 500 words pondering, “Does OKCupid know how much I love boobs?” – and the question is, at its core, a quite serious one, as I’m pretty sure OKCupid would benefit from this knowledge if it could get it.
The question is, does it have it?

1 Comment

  1. linktown
    Dec 22, 2013

    For what it’s worth, the attractiveness of people in my “matches” on OKC dropped dramatically within the last couple of months. I think they made a substantial change to their ranking algorithm, and for you they got better, and for me they got worse.

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