Match.com, whose sluttier sister site OkCupid is embroiled in its own queer battles, decided to throw a bone to bisexuals this week. A small one, anyway. A semi.
The subscription-based dating service, which has long required bisexuals to make two separate profiles if they wanted to date men and women, and hence pay for two separate profiles, is now allowing bisexuals the option to get one free, if he or she contacts its customer service department.
While this bi-one-get-one-free shtick does pose a sorta solution, it would make far more sense if Match revised its site to reflect the fact that bisexuality exists, and is an option its members would appreciate.
The policy change came about after UK site PinkNews published a customer service message from a bisexual member who was unhappy about paying double what straight and gay members pay. Match replied:
"We understand you are bisexual and would like to be able to search for both men and women". We are sorry you have [sic] been able to register as such and will do our best to offer some assistance.
"Unfortunately, it is not possible to switch back and forth between gender preferences. Bisexual members would be required to have 2 separate profiles. Unfortunately, this would mean purchasing two separate subscriptions...Please accept out [sic] apologies as we realise this is not an ideal solution."
Out apologies indeed.
The next day, Match released a statement saying that bisexual members' second profile would be "provided at no additional cost to the member."
"In addition, we will be making it easier for bisexual members to use the service. All they need to do is contact our customer services team directly to be set up with two profiles as part of the existing subscription."
Judging by the typos in the above customer service message, we're not all that confident that forcing bisexuals to deal with further bureaucracy is going to make anything "easier." Plus, it doesn't help Match's case that it has published a blog post titled, "Are bisexuals a bad dating choice?" Other Match.com articles reinforce bisexual stereotypes and fears by posing questions like this one in "Bisexual Women:"
"How do you know whether she's serious or just curious?....For lesbians, is dating bisexual women a good idea?" And: "[D]o you ever worry she might someday leave you for a man?"
This isn't to say that some lesbians don't have these fears, of course, but presenting bisexuals in such a dichotomous and reductive frame sets bisexuals up to either marry you or turn your life into a minefield of crippling heartbreak. Those are the only two scenarios if you date a bisexual in this set up. God forbid you meet up for a shitty beer and are simply not compatible. Where is the blog post on that incredibly likely scenario?
A different Match blog post offers tips on how to "explain your orientation" to dates, which again would be irrelevant if bisexual users could simply identify as bisexual in the first place. By forcing bi members to have two distinct profiles, Match.com is also forcing bisexuals to lie about who they are, which many of us can agree is not the ideal way to present yourself to a potential soul mate.
So, nice work Match.com for becoming slightly less awful. We look forward to the day your site becomes technically savvy enough to incorporate that third button. Until then, we'll be over here wondering if you're serious or just curious about the concerns of your members.
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