A/S/L? Molly Soda is 25-year-old year old artist living in Detroit. In honor of Valentine’s Day, Soda turned to her OkCupid inbox to create a series of GIF collage “valentines” containing messages men sent to her on the online dating site. The messages—which range from disconcerting to clueless to random to borderline-evil—are housed in glittery, pulsing, colorful hearts. Soda’s valentines also contain stock imagery of romantic couples, Four Loko, Emojis, dragon lower back tattoos, and other found visual cues that showcase the messiness of internet sex appeal and pursuing romantic partners online.
Perfect for your honey or hate-crush, we recommend you check out her 25 valentines published on NewHive.
Screenshot, Art School.
We emailed Soda to talk about finding love online in the time of LOLs.
What inspired you to make the valentines?
Molly Soda:I wish I could remember which OkCupid message sparked the idea. At this point, OkCupid messages serve as a constant source of entertainment. The things men write to me on there are crazy. It’s hard for me to believe that any of them would actually think saying something like, "nice face i think i'll take it" would work on a girl?
What about the aesthetics/language of Valentine’s Day are you drawn to?
I'm more so aesthetically drawn to Valentine’s Day than anything else. It's my favorite time of the year to go to the dollar store and stock up on household decorations. Red and pink is my favorite color combination and I would prefer everything be heart-shaped anyway.
What feelings are you trying to convey with the valentines? How did you determine what would go in your collages?
I'm just poking fun at the situation—you have to laugh at the somewhat fruitlessness of online dating. There's no point in feeling down or sorry for yourself because you're "alone" on Valentine's Day. Trying to force a relationship to happen is way worse than being alone anyway. Putting some of the valentines over pictures of say, stock photos of happy couples holding hands just adds to the ridiculousness of it all. We want to be that happy couple holding hands on the beach but everyone knows relationships aren't really like that.
What have you learned about romantic courting through your time spent on OkCupid?
I'm sure there are plenty of nice boys on OkCupid hiding somewhere, but I haven't met any. Not a single one. I have lots of friends who have had success, some who even end up dating people on OkCupid for years. I have no idea how that happens. Luck, I guess. I stopped going on OkCupid dates back when I was in college, now I kind of use it half for fun and half because I secretly hope that the man of my dreams will find me on there…but the man of my dreams probably doesn't use OkCupid.
Why do you think there is so much miscommunication on OkCupid?
I think people feel comfortable approaching others on the site because it's the Internet. There's no face-to-face contact. Approaching someone at a bar or in public is way scarier. People feel safe behind their computers—it's one step away from sending someone an anonymous message on Tumblr. You can say all sorts of crazy/rude sh*t and no one can do anything about it.
Did you read the Wired article about the man who hacked OkCupid to find a girlfriend? He divided women into groups like "tattoo," "Samantha," "dog," etc. Off the top of your head, what groups would you divide potential love interest into?
I just read it! That is so sweet! I think I would divide people into groups based on astrological signs. I'm really into the idea of dating a Sagittarius because I never have so… "Sagittarius." Some others would be "car," "hammer," "party."
Can you clarify? What does each mean?
"Car"- I would definitely want to date a guy that drives a car. It's important if you live in Detroit, and I want someone to drive me to Home Depot and stuff.
"Hammer" - I want a guy who knows how to fix and build things and who is also patient enough to teach me how do it myself.
"Party" - I'm attracted to boys who love to party, but they're generally bad for me. I want someone who can hang but won't enable me either.
Who's your muse on this project, OkCupid or the men who sent you messages? Or yourself?
I am my own muse a lot of the time, but I think the men helped out a lot on this one.
Screenshot, Nice Face.
Why did you choose to share the valentines on newhive? What do you like about the platform?
I decided to use NewHive because I like how much easier it makes everything. It's a more intuitive way to work with web design and a really nice way to share things. It's a new concept, I've always liked the idea of making websites that stand alone as "pieces" that don't necessarily need to "function" a certain way, and NewHive totally facilitates that for me.
What *would* be a nice message to receive from a guy on OkCupid?
If someone quoted Bright Eyes “Lover I Don't Have to Love” in an OkCupid message—any of it—that would get me going.
What's you OkCupid name? Can I share it so people can send you a Valentine’s Day message?
If you don't think your dream person is on OkCupid, where else online do you think you might find them? Tinder? Instagram? Have you seen site dreamcliq.com—it's like the Pinterest of dating? Do you think it’s easier to connect romantically over sharing visuals is easier than writing messages?
Dreamcliq seems cool, I think I might mess around on that for a while now ‘cause I cant resist signing up for profiles on websites. I think sharing visually can attract you to someone, but ultimately it's about what comes out of their mouths.
I honestly don't think I'm going to meet my dream man online. I'll probably drop my phone in a puddle while walking down the street and he'll pick it up and hand it to me laughing.
For more, check out Molly Soda's NewHive page here.