In Which I Am Easily Bought
On Sunday I received my first gift on Zoosk! I am so popular online I can’t handle it! The gift was a little cartoon of wine – either a red or a rose, according to the color of the bottle – and two glasses. I love presents, so this was pretty awesome.
A few background details in case you aren’t currently familiar with the site: Zoosk. I actually didn’t know this was an option until the wine and glasses arrived in my inbox, which just goes to show you how important it is to fully research all the bells and whistles of a dating site when you first log in.
In Which I Try to Buy Others As Well With Varying Success
I was so taken with my virtual merlot (we’re thinking merlot, right? Zoosk doesn’t seem like malbec country) I had the bright idea to send other guys who I thought were interesting a gift as well. Everyone loves presents, and a picture would not only grab their attention but it required so much less effort than crafting the perfect opening line.
I clicked on the option to send a gift and immediately came up against two problems. The first: I’m jumping into a heteronormative landmine, but based on stereotypes alone, the gifts seemed to be geared more towards men looking to woo women, and not the other way around. You could send someone a teddy bear, a bouquet, a necklace, or a heart shaped box of chocolates, amongst other things.
Perhaps because there exists a tradition of men giving women gifts and not vice versa the options are more limited? I would love to see some additional gift options, though, like an ice cream cone, or a book, or maybe a puppy. Either way, the second problem was the gifts cost coins, and I was coinless.
Amassing a Small Fortune in Online Dating Currency
Like many online dating sites, Zoosk offers premium services for a fee, giving gifts being one of those services. For an extra fee you can also unlock matches, boost your profile, or for the impatient among us, confirm someone has read your message. The fee is paid in gold coins, similar to the type Scrooge McDuck used to swim in, and gold coins can be obtained two ways, through using your credit card or by “playing the carousel.”
I realize “playing the carousel” in this context sounds incredibly weird. In actuality, one of the main features on Zoosk is a carousel of potential matches, similar to tinder or other mobile based “hot or not” dating apps, but only pulling from Zoosk’s database.
On the screen pops up a Zoosk member’s profile picture and age and the question “Want to Meet Him?” If you click “yes” or “maybe” you get a gold coin, up to 40 per day. In this way, Zoosk members are rewarded for their open-mindedness, and if the interest is mutual you get a nice notification.
I didn’t have enough coins to buy the gifts I wanted so I decided to carousel my way to riches.
Click: Absolutely Not .
Click: I Guess?
Click: How Are You Still Single?
And on I went until I reached my limit. This also worked in my favor since it forced me to better engage with all my potential matches, instead of simply reacting to guys who contacted me.
You Get a Gift! And You Get a Gift! Gifts for All!
I wanted to choose a gift that was both friendly, gender ambiguous, and also cheap, so I could send a couple. I settled on a Beauty and the Beast-esq rose, which I’m sure I was subconsciously drawn towards after my Valentine’s Day date.
I sent five roses (I had a few coins in the bank before my carousel shenanigans) to five different men who seemed interesting and received two responses immediately. The first guy wrote “Thank you sweet heart, I love the detail. How are you doing?” The guy second wrote “aww thank you” and sent me a teddy bear waving in exchange! That is a 25 coin present!
What a Virtual Gift Gets You
I’m sure you’re wondering what happened with the original guy, the one whose gift set off this chain of events. He was Australian but living in New York for work, liked extreme sports and traveling, and had only received one gift himself: a picture of a strawberry with whipped cream. We’ve been chatting online for a while, and we’re still talking now.