“When we started talking, Karine didn’t speak English, but she has a good heart,” he adds (viewers will also attest that his Portuguese left a lot of room for improvement). “I guess love has no distance.”
Maybe this is a practical line, or maybe it is true. Paul and Karine are still together and have just had their first son.
The first thing you notice about ColombianCupid is that it’s not like Tinder at all. Or Hinge, or Bumble, or one of the other popular location-based dating apps. First of all, it costs $ 35 per month for a subscription that allows you to message people, even by premium dating app standards.
When creating a profile, ColombianCupid asks for a detailed description of your “appearance”, which includes glasses, body art, and your “best feature”. Under the latter’s somewhat confusing drop-down list, in addition to “my butt,” “my lips,” and “my personality,” you can select “my wallet”. You answer questions about your English and Spanish language skills, your annual salary and whether you consider yourself “very attractive”, “attractive”, “average” or “below average”. I hesitated slightly before choosing “attractive”.
These inquiries may be unsettling for the average American in the dating group, but they reminded me of some of the most memorable conversations about 90DF, in which non-Americans can be surprisingly straightforward. As Michael and Georgia’s tallest Angela peruse a boutique in her native Nigeria, she hesitates when asked to try on a traditional outfit. “It seems embarrassing to her because she’s fat,” Michael told the shopkeeper. He later appears confused by Angela’s anger.
The language barrier certainly includes a distance between American modesty and straightforwardness in other cultures. ColombianCupid, on the other hand, doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is. It is part of the Cupid Media network operating 35 “niche dating sites” including Asian Dating, ChinaLoveCupid, BBWCupid (BBW is the abbreviation for “tall beautiful woman”), Black Cupid, and InterracialCupid. The company claims to have “helped over 30 million people seek love.”
As the name suggests, these sites target the desires of certain ethnic and physical types. ColombianCupid sent me messages promoting “Natural Mexican Beauties” and “Exotic Caribbean Girls”, which linked to other Cupid Media sites. (I tried and failed to find men looking for men on apps who were willing to record this story.)
This doesn’t mean that everyone here is looking to accomplish a fetish. “I was worried [about that], admits Karine. Then again, she adds, “It’s always a concern when looking for a relationship in a dating app. Before Paul, I had met other guys, and I knew when they only wanted sex.
Indeed, some of the problems that users face on these apps are of the ordinary kind of digital dating. “Last night a Greek boy named Goran wrote to me,” says Martha, 37, from Cali, Colombia. “And he’s depraved. Today he sent me pictures of his penis.
Marthe tells GQ that she was feeling lonely and that she joined ColombianCupid on the recommendation of a friend to quickly get discouraged. (ColombianCupid’s conversations have been translated from Spanish.) “I think these pages are for the foolish.”
Other stories are more successful, so elusive. “I had the chance to meet a great rider on this page,” says Naii, 26, from Neiva, Colombia. “We talked for two months [over video calls]. He was the only man I had ever met on this page, and I never thought I would find such a person. She eventually ran into the German pilot on her four-day trip to Colombia, and although “the pull was strong, we weren’t compatible,” Naii said.