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OKCupid is DTF (in a manner of speaking)

Commentary: The dating site, recently mired in controversy about real names, releases its first-ever ads. They're all about being, um, DTF.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A moving come-on?


Let's talk abbreviations. 

Who doesn't know what DTF stands for? 

Should you be unsure, we need to talk. Or, perhaps, you need to venture into the world of online dating. 

OKCupid, a site that seems to have been around since the internet was invented, has decided to adopt the infamous abbreviation for its first-ever ad campaign.

The ads do, however, mind their p's and q's. And, indeed, their f's. Because they all ensure that the "f" doesn't stand for the single-syllable, guttural expletive that most would assume.

Instead, they whimsically wonder whether you're Down To Foot The Bill. Or well, Down To Fire Up The Kiln. Which sounds like a monstrously romantic first date.


Well, whatever turns you on, I suppose.


And how about this for sheer hot heaven.


Down To Feed Each Other Greens?


There's even one that might delight those in Colorado, Washington, California and, well, most of America, really.


Don't let your relationship go to pot. (My apologies.)


Naturally, given these times in which opinions are even more extreme than attitudes toward love in Silicon Valley, one or two ads tiptoe along socio-political lines. 

"DT Fight About The President," for example. And "DT Filter Out The Far-Right." (OKCupid has a demonstrated history of an obvious political slant. In August, the dating site booted a user who was found to be a neo-Nazi after he organized a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The campaign, though, is elegantly put together. Which you'd expect, given that it's the work of renowned artist Mauricio Cattelan and his collaborator Pierpaolo Ferrari

The tagline "Dating Deserves Better" suggests a certain acknowledgement the online dating experience has sunk to the level of fast food.

Melissa Hobley, OKCupid's chief marketing officer, told me the campaign is "an extension of OKCupid's mission to focus on substance and depth, and to reflect back the issues and passions that people care about."

She readily agreed the ads were influenced by the tenor of the times. "In the current political and social climate, we felt a responsibility and saw an opportunity to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to reclaim the meaning of DTF and make it theirs," she said.

Ian Hart, the ad agency copywriter behind the campaign, explained it like this to Adweek: "When we say dating deserves better, what we're really saying is people who date deserve better. Because I mean, they really do. Modern dating treats emotions like a disposable commodity. Anyone who's been single knows this. It's an aspiration to treating people like people."

Because I mean, what an aspiration. Next, we'll be hoping for civility and honesty in public life.

Indeed, recently OKCupid has tried to create an atmosphere of honesty by asking all its customers to use their real names. This received a resounding Don't Try Foisting That Bilge Upon Us from the world's loveseekers. The plan was ditched

Personally, I have a lot to thank OKCupid for, but not in the way you might think. My life changed rather drastically when an OKCupid date didn't turn up. (Perhaps I'll tell the story on Valentine's Day.)

I wonder, though, whether these ads -- beautiful though they are -- can possibly alter the commodification of relationships.

Technology has been highly successful in making so many valuable things disposable -- music, for example.

The epitaph to love might ultimately read: Died Trying Fruitlessly.  

First published Jan. 3, 5:52 p.m. PT
Update, Jan. 4 at 11:50 a.m.: Adds comment from OKCupid.