Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Who'd have thought it: shallow works

One of the most consistently interesting blogs ever is OKCupid's, in which the geeks who run an online dating service crunch the figures and arrive at stunning - and statistically significant - conclusions about the human condition. It's helped, of course, by having had many millions of customers over the years, all providing demographic and anecdotal data. They prove that romance is simply a matter of statistics (which is something to think about on Valentine's Day - give your loved one a calculator or an SPSS database).

Today, they've analysed the relationship between questions asked on a first date and the deeper questions to which answers are really required. For instance, if you want to know whether your date will have sex immediately, what would you ask? How about 'do you like beer'?

If not, you'd be a fool.

[female] beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they've just met.

Men are apparently even easier, though I'm tempted to suggest that most men are happy to put out on the first date anyway:


predictive questionimplied odds
of first-date sex
Q: In a certain light, wouldn't nuclear war be exciting?
'yes'⇒83%
Q: Assuming you were in the position to do so, would you launch nuclear weapons under any circumstances?
'yes'⇒82%
Q: Could you imagine yourself killing someone?
'yes'⇒82%


How do you know if someone will be a long-term match? OKCupid's users think that questions about sex, God and smoking will reveal compatibility, but the stats show that only 15% of the couples agree on all three questions, whereas 30% of the successful matches agree with each other on whether or not it would be fun to disappear round the world on a yacht, whether they like horror movies, and whether or not they've travelled around the country alone.

There's plenty more of this stuff, based on the exit questionnaires of 35,000 couples who closed their accounts because they'd met someone via the service. It's totally fascinating.

So assuming any of you have ever managed to snare a date, what do you ask to distract attention from the furtive administration of Rohypnol? I find that the best question is that old classic, 'does this old rag smell of chloroform to you?'.

4 comments:

Ewarwoowar said...

Forget the dating here, there's a bigger issue here - 83% of men say that nuclear war would be EXCITING?!

WHAT?!

The Plashing Vole said...

Apparently so. Presumably these Americans think they'll manage as muscle-bound survivalists. I'd recommend viewing Threads, or The Road.

Blossom said...

If I was on a date and I was asked those questions, I would assume I was in the presence of a psychopath. Presumably they're asking these questions while twitching obsessively and rocking back and forth?

Benjamin Judge said...

Why oh why oh why oh why etc etc would you want to have sex with someone who found nuclear war exciting? As I believe Ol' Dirty Bastard once eloquently put it "Yo. I'm better off with my hand."

As an aside, there is a question that correlates 100% and that question is - Would you like to have sex tonight?

Probably best not to ask it though.

Rather wonderfully, the word verification for this comment was jolys.