In Which I Compare Online Dating to Pringles

Once you pop…

Online dating is an addictive pursuit. Like most other addictive pursuits (gambling, crystal meth, Pringles), it is a blatant waste of time. You might as well spend your days enumerating your body hairs. And yet it’s pretty near impossible to go cold turkey.

Spare a thought for the heavy Pringles user. He curses the day he ever popped, such is his inability to stop. One misguided decision at one wild party, and six months later he wishes he’d stuck with the Kettle Chips. His home is a kerbside den constructed from Pringles tubes. His breath is so redolent of sour cream and onion they’ve had to block off the whole street.

Sometimes he wakes up in a cold, oleaginous sweat. He weeps at the rolls of lard that swaddle his body. He weeps at his failed relationships, and at the fact he was fired from work for scoffing Pringles in front of the CEO. But above all, he weeps because he needs Pringles. He quite likes those limited-edition curry ones in the small hours.

I’m not saying online dating is a life-wrecker, or even that it makes you particularly fat. It’s just that we’re talking similar neural pathways. The average online dater cannot help but go back and score some more. Just as the compulsive gambler tells himself “next time I’ll win big”, the online dater wonders whether the next message might restore her faith in humanity.

The insubstantiality of OkCupid – its fun and frivolity and moreishness and quick-fix insufficiency – all of these are things that make it a lot like Pringles. It won’t nourish your hungry soul, and it won’t give you a solid, bread-and-butter style relationship, but it will make you hellbent on trying its new flavours.

Whether this sheds any light on my decision to rejoin, decide for yourself. My official line is that I miss its role as a social network for the disenchanted. Having left the site through disenchantment, that makes me precisely the sort of person it was designed for.

I also feel that, given the choice between addictions, OkCupid is probably my cheapest bet.


About Abi Millar

British freelance journalist living in the Netherlands
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13 Responses to In Which I Compare Online Dating to Pringles

  1. Nick says:

    Ditto. It’s that thought of the big win that keeps you going, especially if you’ve won big before. So you deal with the insubstantiality, you come to crave it even, because it seems to be alive with all sorts of possibilities, as you have the chance to cross paths with those that you might never meet out there.

    I still prefer Kettle Chips though.

    • Abi Millar says:

      Don’t start on Kettle Chips. My friend and I got through an entire family-sized bag the other day. I did say no when she opened a second one, however…

      • Nick says:

        Um, when you say a family sized bag…you’re not talking about the normal one person 150g bag are you!?

  2. Andy says:

    The thing about addicts is it’s often so hard to get them to acknowledge their dependency. Even then, they’re prone to lying to themselves and their friends. I once heard of a “Pringles” user who, after a failed attempt at quitting, told everyone they only wanted more “Pringles” so they could write their blog. Thankfully, they couldn’t maintain that level of self-deception for long and quickly acknowledged their “Pringles” problem. I think they ended up happier as a result.

  3. Tom says:

    So, in theory, the website is just a way of accelerating the natural process of meeting others. Allows you to add all sorts of filters and such. Gives you the chance to ‘bump into’ people you never would have met otherwise.

    I still have faith in it. Specifically, and generally. For the time being, at least. I find that the majority of the time I am impatient, frustrated, and dejected – but all it takes is one good conversation with one good person and the negatives are quickly forgotten.

    I don’t find OKCupid to be insubstantial or a ‘quick fix’. But I think I probably have had quite a different experience than you, overall.

  4. jonathan says:

    thank you for shedding a light on pringles addictions. i can finish a damn can in a few hours. dont buy them anymore.

    also it’s weird too, like I want to go back but I don’t. I told myself a few weeks ago, when I return from this vacation – I’ll go back on. hasn’t really got me to jump in that quickly. dont know if i’ll hate being on it, or give it an honest shot. i’ll think a little more, but i really want to see who my exact opposite is, the “99% enemy”. that sounds more fun than actively looking for mates.

    • Interesting... says:

      Hadn’t thought of that. Sounds very interesting.
      Ok, off to try it now! Thanks Johnathan.

      • Matt Baker says:


        I’ve found someone who is a 0% match, maybe I should email them and extol my virtues – or lack of them – according to her

        • Gliktch says:

          Hahaha, a worthy pastime… I did find one lass who was apparently a 0% Match, 99% Enemy, and IIRC about 23% Friend :p Probably wouldn’t have helped that she looked like Sandra Oh’s fat little sister or something (

          Just as interesting if you’re looking for a change from poring over ladies’ profiles searching for wifey material, is to access your own profile and see what’s said about the ‘similar users’ to you… And maybe trying to differentiate yourself 😉

  5. Rambling says:

    I can’t even remember exactly how I stumbled across this blog, but it was a fantastic read! Oh, wait- I at least know I had some question about OkCupid that it’s help system was too inferior to actually let me find it. Now, how about a short ramble:

    I’ve actually been on OkCupid since near the beginning of its existence time, it feels like. Its little tests were posted on a random forum I once went to and the rest is years of new accounts, deleted accounts, disabled accounts, answering the same questions, making the same profiles, uploading the same pictures, messaging the same types of women to no avail, and sometimes even seeing the same profiles (still single)- again and again. I’m always expecting something out of the site, while allowing the clutter of romantic thoughts a release. It’s been my way to hope.

    Yet, I’ve only dated (and regret it dating her, as well) one person from OkCupid. It certainly hasn’t been that I kept shopping and looking only for someone perfect. No, I’m one of those that find someone interesting, send her a message and typically never receive a response. Is it really that women are messaged that much that they get to the point of becoming completely unresponsive? Sadly, I’m not even sure if I should keep a profile at all or not. The problem, though, is that I really have no other option of finding someone anymore, aside from hoping a friend of a friend happens to be what I’m looking for. I’ve effectively trapped myself into this idealized internet dating world.

    Which it certainly can be idealized. The relationship I had was recent. Basically, a week of long messages to each other with about two months of dating (roughly seeing each another once a week) and she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I wanted to simply meet someone, use the site to get the initial hurdles over. If it works out, then the rest I would expect to be like any normal relationship.

    Having spent the day in this hot weather here, I’ve lost track of what I’ve been saying. I at least typed out some thoughts for whoever on the internet to read, haha. Most likely I’ll go answer pointless questions, now. Wishing at least someone had a little desire and motivation to message back.

  6. Can I just say, I love that the Google Ad at the bottom is for a rehab centre?

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