Online Dating

Chapter Four: Wining and Dining

Article: Chapter Four: Wining and Dining

So you made it past the gate and got yourself a date – good for you! Now, to quote my spirit animal RuPaul: Don’t Fuck It Up!

The Push Girl Rules
No, we’re not talking about that silly book which told women everywhere how to act like a lobotomized, manipulative ninny in order to score a husband. We’re talking about the Push Girls Rules, which will teach you how to score a fun, fabulous dude without putting up with any crap!

Online dating's fatal flaws

Article: Online dating's fatal flaws

Researchers recently published a book-length article in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest on the scientific flaws of online dating. They wrote a layperson’s summary for Scientific American, but even that was three pages long (practically an eternity in internet time). So here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:

What The Economist doesn't get about online dating

Article: What The Economist doesn't get about online dating

A recent article in The Economist magazine examines a bunch of scientific papers about online dating in an attempt to figure out if any of those fancy matching algorithms are better than old-fashioned matchmakers like your grandmother. Or even if simply all that choice — and all those checkboxes! — improves your odds of finding love. Turns out there’s very little data to support either theory — and what data there is (hi, Malcolm Gladwell) suggests that too much choice means people (a) make bad decisions and (b) feel less satisfied with their ultimate choice. Oh, yeah, and related research shows that, yes, people with similar personalities tend to have happier relationships — but by the not-exactly-earthshaking margin of 0.5%. In other words, if you want to have a 0.5% better shot at happiness, make sure you go online to find someone who checks all the same boxes as you.

Scientifically proven first-date questions

Article: Scientifically proven first-date questions

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are mildly obsessed with the dating research blog OKTrends (it’s attached to the dating site OKCupid) — check out our past coverage of OKTrends on the myth of gay evangelism, the (consistent, predictable) way we lie online, misconceptions about online profile photos, and the real stuff white people like. We’re not stats geeks, but we love it when someone else geeks out to show us what we think about when we think about sex, love, and dating. The latest installment to catch our eye is a post about the best questions to ask someone on a first date. Because, admit it, what you really want to know on a first date is: Are we going to have sex tonight? Is this person liberal? How did they vote on the last election? Are we soul-mates? But it’s not necessarily considered polite to come right out and ask those questions point-blank — and even if you were brave enough to ask those questions, there’s no guarantee that (a) your date would answer honestly or (b) they actually know the answer. But the stats — the stats don’t lie!

An art installation using America's online dating trends

Article: An art installation using America's online dating trends

If you’ve ever used online personals, you’ll love this: Through February 19th, Bit Gallery in New York City is showing R. Luke DuBois’s latest project, “A More Perfect Union,” which looks at American self-identity through the medium of online dating services: “Culling data from over twenty online dating sites, the work is organized according to the same heuristics as the U.S. Census, sorting dating profiles by Congressional District and subjecting the imagery and text to statistical analysis.” There are three elements to the work:

City’s dating identities: “Revealing a ‘dating lexicon’ of each state, DuBois built maps using the words provided by 16.7 million people describing themselves and those they desire. Comprised as a romantic atlas of the United States, each regional geography uses keywords from dating profiles in lieu of the city and town names.”

The REAL stuff white people like

Article: The REAL stuff white people like

StuffWhitePeopleLike (TED Conference? World Cup? Picking their own fruit? Genius!) is one of our favorite blogs in the universe — seriously, it ranks right up there with FAILblog, even if it’s a bit of a one-note joke (but every time we leave it be for a few months, we go back and are reminded of its utter brilliance). Anyway, the dating site OKCupid, on its surprisingly fascinating OKTrends blog, decided to throw caution (not to mention fears of pandering to racist stereotypes) to the wind and examine the real stuff white people like… as well as the stuff that Asians, blacks, and Latinos like. They did this simply by parsing the data on all the personal ads in their system. The concept is both clever as well as a little bit stomach-turning.

Virgin dating site leaves us speechless… almost

Article: Virgin dating site leaves us speechless… almost

Browsing the dating site YouandMeArePure.com left us temporarily speechless, and then clutching for the right words to express our… awe? The top five things that boggled our minds:

For grammar nerds who are bothered by the site’s name, the very first sentence at the top of the entire site helpfully explains, “YouAndMeArePure is NOT a sentence just in case you are checking for grammar. It is rather the name of our website. The name was carefully crafted from the beginning to express that we value both, people entering in relationships and virginity.” Okay then, that totally clears things up for us. Thanks!

When we lie online, at least we do it consistently

Article: When we lie online, at least we do it consistently

It’s not exactly breaking news that people lie like rugs in their online dating profiles. “Recent” photos are a couple years (at least) out of date; the weight someone lists is kind of like that pair of jeans they keep around, hoping they’ll fit again; and the height listed would probably be accurate if the person was standing on a box, like Tom Cruise in his wedding photos.

The 4 myths of online profile pictures

Article: The 4 myths of online profile pictures

OkCupid.com is a free online dating site (with, btw, a weirdly all-male staff, save for the one woman on their about page whose title is, even more disturbingly, “office chick”). They cataloged over 7000 photographs (with average attraction ratings and aged 18 to 32) on their site, analyzing 1) facial attitude (Is the person smiling? Staring straight ahead? Doing that flirty lip-pursing thing?), 2) photo context (Is there alcohol? Is there a pet? Is the photo outdoors? Is it in a bedroom?) and 3) skin (How much skin is the person showing? How much face? How much breasts? How much ripped abs?) — and they found some interesting, myth-busting things. It’s actually a fascinating article with cool charts and graphs that’s worth a look, but here’s the quick gist of the data:

Women with photos flirting directly at the camera get more messages than those smiling
But flirting away from the camera is the worst thing a woman can do for generating responses (same goes for men)

10 alternatives to an online dating profile pic

Article: 10 alternatives to an online dating profile pic

photo via boingboing A foodie friend of boingboing is so proud of his well-stocked, well-labeled, spotless refrigerator that he uses a photo of its interior instead of a headshot on online dating sites, and emails the pic to women he’s wooing. Leaving aside the fact that a tub of pork fat immediately limits your dating pool (though…

Reproduction, Us Weekly-style: Celebrity look-a-like sperm donors

Article: Reproduction, Us Weekly-style: Celebrity look-a-like sperm donors

Online dating neophytes will sometimes get lured into a blind date with someone whose profile boasts that they bear a striking resemblance to, say, Robert Pattinson. It takes only one — okay, maybe two or three — dating disappointments before the neophyte realizes that (a) some people have a very loose definition of “resemblance”; and (b) someone who truly believes that he resembles Robert Pattinson makes a terrible date. (Unless he does, actually, resemble Robert Pattinson, in which case you might be willing to give him a pass in the personality department for the night.) Seriously, though: Anyone who thinks they’re a celeb look-a-like is probably also still convinced they’re as special as their momma always told them they were.