Origin Story – June 13, 2012
Four years ago I embarked on an online dating social experiment that has changed my life forever. Here’s how it all began:
I had recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting career. But, in reality, I was spending most of my time trying to make ends meet by working 10 independent contractor jobs, missing my friends back in Chicago, and eating homemade cookie dough every night to feel better.
I’d had some personal setbacks which had led me to be content with being alone for a while (and possibly forever). “Hey, love just doesn’t happen for some people” is what I kept telling myself. And I would be okay. At least I kept telling myself that.
Lauri’s Phone Call…
June 13th was a day just like any other. I was sitting at my computer transcribing a ghost hunting reality show called Fact or Faked (Hint, it’s almost always FAKED). And then I got a call from my Chipotle loving, hilarious friend Lauri (don’t spell Lauri with an “e” or she’ll de-friend you!) Roggenkamp.
“Hey, Robyn. Are you on OkCupid?”
I was, of course, COMPLETELY insulted. Did Lauri think that I needed to go ONLINE to find dates? I mean sure I had been taking a break from dating since I moved to Los Angeles — a TWO YEAR break, but who was she to judge?
In a high-pitched overly chipper voice I replied…
“No, I’m not. Whyyyyyy?”
“Well, I just put up my first profile and I was wondering if you could check it out and see if I wrote anything weird.”
PHEW! Okay. She wasn’t judging me. She just wanted my advice. Which, as a person who had repeatedly failed miserably at dating I was more than happy to give.
Relieved to take a break from transcription I logged onto OkCupid (a popular free online dating site) for the first time. And… I couldn’t see Lauri’s profile. Or anything, really. Turns out you need your own profile to look at other people’s profiles.
I am NOT putting myself out there.
No, I was not about to put anything related to my REAL self out there. I was stubborn and I believed in finding true love the old-fashioned way. IN PERSON. And after years of co-dependent habits and secret relationships (“Don’t tell anyone we’re together so that I can still play the field & none of the other girls I’m dating will find out about each other”) — well, obviously, my methods were working out GREAT for me…
But I did want to help out Lauri. And I was bored and looking for an excuse to procrastinate work. So I used a fake email address and took five minutes and created what I thought was a ridiculous, insane person nobody would take seriously.
That was it.
The entire profile. I mean, seriously, how could anyone believe that was a real, three-dimensional living breathing person?
I checked out Lauri’s profile. It was pretty great. She has a specific sense of humor but it worked. Then I forgot about OkCupid and went back to work.
A couple of days later at dinner with Lauri and some other girlfriends I logged back on to OkCupid and was shocked to find HUNDREDS of messages to “tracylovescats”.
And they were hilarious. Here are some examples…
i love that you said “beep boop beep bop.” i say that a lot. that and “meep meep.” let me know if i’m your type or that you find me attractive, or both, or neither. peace ggk
What? He says “beep boop beep bop” and “meep meep” a lot??
Cats and sexy times. I can live with that. Lemme play with your kitty
I LOVE cats but i’m allergic 😦 I can always get some over the counter stuff tho!!
Whoa. This guy’s already committed!
Meow, Meowmeow yawn nap, yawn, meow. ~Sean
And this guy is speaking my language!
I was fascinated so I started playing along. My responses are in pink:
haha, nice. So how are your kitties doing today?
Thank you SO much for asking!
They’re great. They’ve been running around like lunatics today! And two of them just had litters of kitties so we’re all getting to know each other.
We’re going to have a kitty tea party later. I hope they behave!
Awesome. I hope you invite Jenkins and this proper kitten:
Oh my goodness! That is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. THANK YOU!
Playing this “tracylovescats” character was actually pretty fun! I even invented funny cat names for all my cats:
I was pretty sure that I was being HILARIOUS. But then it dawned on me…
This Crazy Cat Lady was more popular with Men than I was…
I was single. Painfully single. And this wack-a-doo Crazy Cat Lady was getting hundreds of messages a day.
So what did “tracylovescats” have that I didn’t? Is it that easy to find someone online? Even if your personality seems completely insane?
I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So I ran an idea by my writing partner and friend Bob Ladewig (more on Bob later!) — What if we did a social experiment and placed characters we thought were completely UNDATEABLE on OkCupid and tracked the results?
I wanted to know if the internet leveled the playing field and even the craziest of crazies could find love. (Note: I include myself as “crazy” so no judgement on others here).
An Experiment is Born…
So we hatched a plan. We didn’t want to be mean or lead people on so we set up some rules, held a photo shoot with some friends, wrote our UNDATEABLE characters, & posted them on OkCupid and tracked the results.
All in all, we ended up posting 38 character profiles all across the country in the Top Ten cities for online dating.
It’s been very exciting! And I’ve learned SO much.
But I want to get back go the basics and tell you about the experiment itself. Log in each week as I present you with experiment findings, characters that didn’t make the live stage show, unbelievable conversations with REAL people talking to our FAKE characters, and much much more.
Is anyone truly Undateable?
We’ll find out…