Sunday, February 13, 2011

Unlocking the Mysteries of Dating with Statistics!

by Megan S.

Getting to know someone can be tricky and hanging out for the first time one on one can be even worse.  Conversations can be filled with awkward pauses and missteps. Dating adds an additional complication to the equation because you are also trying to judge your compatibility. So, how does one accurately gauge whether your date has the qualities you are looking for without asking potentially offensive questions?  OKCupid has done some number crunching.

OKCupid is a free online dating site. Most of the over 275,000 questions available to answer are user generated and in two parts. The first asks the applicant their particular stance on an issue.  The second assesses how important it is that their potential mate share that same position.  OKCupid has 3.5 million active members answering those very questions which means the masterminds behind the site have access to an incredible amount of data. 

OKTrends, the dating site's blog dedicated to reporting on data trends generated by users, has uncovered interesting correlations between the answers to potentially sensitive questions and completely acceptable first date conversation starters.  Want to know how likely your date will be willing to sleep with someone on the first date?  Ask your potential paramour if they like the taste of beer.  Beer lovers, both men and women, are 60% more likely to have sex on the first date than those who do not enjoy the elixir.  Out of the hundreds of thousands of questions on the site, this one was the only query that had a meaningful correlation between the answer and whether the woman was willing to have sex on a first date. 

There are more strongly linked predictors for how willing a guy will be to sleep with someone on a first date than for females.  These include "In a certain light, wouldn't nuclear war be exciting?" and "Could you imagine yourself killing someone?"  I don't know about you guys, but positive answers to these puppies would be a definite mood killer for me.

OKTrends has also spotted a series of three questions that, if the couple agrees on each, the pair has a better chance at a successful long term relationship.  The three are:

* Do you like horror movies?
* Have you ever traveled around another country alone?
* Wouldn't it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?

More safe first date questions are available on the site.  Be sure to check out their other eye opening trends linked on the right hand side of OKTrend's page.
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