Free online dating websites uk

Racism and online dating: my experience

Bim Adewunmi 'Several people asked me: "Where do you really come from?"' Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

In the disappointingly cool summer of 2009, I bit the bullet and joined an online dating site. Basic research had taught me there are two types of dating sites: the ones you pay to use, and the free ones that really should be paying you. Broadly speaking, the ones you pay for are supposed to bring in a more discerning clientele, and if you're on a free dating service, chances are you'll be kissing (or at the very least, instant messaging) a lot of frogs. Despite this, I decided to chance it on a free service, OkCupid.

OkCupid is one of the most popular free dating sites on the web, with about 100, 000 members in the UK. Here, the site has a reputation for cool, intelligent and politically liberal users, often with jobs in media, charity and technology. On the day I registered, before I had even fully completed my profile, I got into an instant-message conversation, initiated by a 28-year-old graphic designer from south London. His profile picture showed brown hair, big brown eyes and a smiley face. We chatted for about 20 minutes, discussing grammar, hay fever and egg sandwiches. It was easy, uncomplicated and fun. Optimistic, I signed off. Then came the other IM conversations and emails.

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