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But the temporality of response also communicates, so that a delayed reply probably suggests limited interest, unless there are apologies indicating otherwise. OK Cupid charts current sexual mores and behavior patterns from its user data.

Chart 1 reflects openness to same-sex encounters based upon user questionnaire responses, mapped by location.

One of the differences between gay and straight online dating, however, is that there seems to be far more fluidity about what form new relationships will take.

On the one hand, the technology might more frequently lead to quick hook-ups for gay male users, but for same-sex dating, there’s also far more likelihood that dating sites function as social networking and that relationships facilitate online will actually transition into platonic friendships.

Thus, the duration of the present is intensified, as the expectation of instant reply can make now feel like forever.

Sites track and tell users when each person is online or when they’ve last logged in; they also indicate if it’s been awhile since a person has been contacted—thus marking undesirability or potential desperation.More than once, I’ve been advised that the only way to meet people is to go online.This mythical structure of possibility suggests that, if you keep searching, you will find someone, but also that there might always be a better match in the future.Writing a profile is a kind of labor time; I’ve even read profiles that suggest that the author should be paid for writing.Along similar lines, in their song “Personal,” members of The Ballet sing, “Saw you on Gaydar/Your profile was so clever/The references to Baudrillard/Must have taken you forever.”3 Self-representation becomes a calculated investment in future return.

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