Couchsurfing.org: World’s number one dating site?
There is a community out there, more than 2 million strong, the majority of members of this community, are well versed in the art of being secretive online daters.
Few will admit it.
Many don’t even realise it.
Couchsurfing.org is a free to join entity, and nowhere on the site, does it claim to be a dating site. There is no photo on the home page with a happy couple eyeing you up and enticing you in, saying with their eyes: ‘you can be just like us.’
There is no box to tick to show if you are single on your profile, or tell your future Prince Charming whether you are looking for ‘friendship first,’ or ‘maybe more.’
Under the covers though, amongst the people behind the profiles, the tens of millions of real life interactions, linkages brought about through the site have seen a fair share of marriages engineered.
What is the basis of the community? As the name would suggest, it is about couches, moreover your hitting another member of the community up for a chance to ‘surf’ their couch, whilst you are on a holiday or on a bit of a saunter around the world.
It is a cultural exchange system, one that leaves many lonely, and/or adventurous people with a constant flow of strangers through their home.
Some are a little more discerning about who they let into their homes however. They pick and choose from the volumes of people submitting couch requests to them, selecting only those they believe will make an interesting dating proposition.
Indeed whilst female Couch Surfers will tell you that they mainly send requests to males because women can be ‘jealous’ or ‘difficult,’ there is another motivation behind it.
It is a fact that far more men seek to surf with girls, and girls with guys, than like with like on the site.
It is a fact too, that the majority of those who have ‘hosted’ have had relationships, however short term, with those who were supposed to just come for the free bed, board, and exchange of stories. The discerning male couch hosts, even have a secret code (Similar to the American Pie Movie’s Love Bible) a system of criteria under which they can get a better hit ratio from selections made.
On asking a range of women ‘surfers’ about this aspect of Couch Surfing, (this blogger has hosted more than 100 guests via the site) the findings are similar. With tales recounted of wonderful engagements that they too have gone out of their way to find.
They have found these men through really examining the person they are seeking to be hosted by. Yes real examination is possible, and safety is virtually guaranteed through a vetting system from surfers where references are visible for all to see. Visible on a profile that allows for expansion on the real essence of the individual, that is sadly lacking from a multitude of both the free and paid for dating sites out there.
The real truth of the individual on display, yes new players in the free dating market like singlesnet.com do have a rating system for those who have met in real life, to tell tales out of school if the person was lying about who they are, what they look like, etc. However as the couchsurfing.org profile is not written as the marketing ‘come on’ selling yourself as a soul the other person will want to keep spiel, it actually does a better job at getting the real information across, than any marketing writing by an amateur love ad maker.
Now I’m letting the cat out of the bag here, the community would kill me if they knew I had written this, it is a closely guarded secret that this is what goes on. I just want the world to know, and if they join the community as a result of this blog, or if members of the community want to ring my neck as a result of this blog then go right ahead.
Remember, it takes a hard neck to invite a stranger into your home in the first place, or indeed to ask to stay in a stranger’s home. If you do join though, remember that there is more to the site than mere dating. It is a wonderful place of interesting people, and full days of uncovering elements of your own city that you didn’t know of before.
Don’t approach it like a dating site, but be open to what can come, as many of the finders of love on this site will relate, “We got together out of coincidence, and chance,” we certainly did love, but perhaps there was more than the hand of faith involved. (Now where is my couch surfing bible?)
Nicholas Jackman has written extesnsively on social media and dating. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter here.