I have been thinking a lot about data and algorithms recently. After a disastrous date a couple of weeks ago I have been thinking that I might need to change my approach to the whole dating problem. I have been wondering: Can data find my future husband? What kind of algorithm would I need?
I turned to Google, the oracle, the harborer of all knowledge, intelligence and a whole heap of useless and distracting information and false facts and I typed:
Can data find my future husband?
I am going to include the link to the top hit, because it made me laugh out loud. Do it and tell me in the comments what this quiz tells you your future husband will be like.
According to this quiz, my future husband is:
A 6’4” doctor!
“Your future husband is a 6’4” doctor. He’s bald, with grey eyes and a small beard. As is the nature of his work, your future husband is selfless and will often put you and your needs before his own. But don’t think he’ll be a pushover, because he’s far from it. He’ll always stand his ground and stand up for what’s right, which also makes him very passionate. In the bedroom, you’ll find he’s a whopper at 9 inches long. His favourite position is doggy, and he’ll always hit the spot to give you a knee-buckling orgasm every time.”
I love the sound of my future husband. If only the dating apps could find him for me.
Dating sites are predicated on some very basic algorithms and maths. They seek to match people depending on a variety of preferences, often very simple and binary data points entered by the person seeking a date.
I enter my age preferences: under 40 because I don’t want to risk any data app matching me with my ex. Under 40 should rule him out, provided he is honest.
I enter the distance from my flat that I would like my future date to live in.
I get bored of entering the other criteria, so I upload a few photos and Bob’s your Uncle.
I am ready to go.
My dating apps give me this…
Back to the drawing board. So, I decided to write a list of all of the things that are important to me in a future partner. My future partner must have:
- Integrity – he must have a strong and consistent set of moral principles and he must have the courage to live by them.
- Honesty – for me this is more than just not lying, honesty means being open and not avoiding a difficult conversation or telling someone the truth.
- Atheism – I am staunchly secular
- A healthy attitude towards money – he has to be cautious with money, but not tight.
- Well read
- Open minded
- Flexible and tolerant.
I basically want an algorithm that will help me to get the elation, the giddiness, the euphoria, the energy, the possessiveness, the obsession, the supernatural feeling of falling in love.
I can see that if I am going to rely on data to find my future husband, I am going to need Alan Turing (the guy who cracked the enigma code) to solve this problem.
I researched further and started reading about Helen Fisher. Helen Fisher is a neuroscientist and the Chief Scientific Advisor at match.com. Can I just say, that in my next life, I would like to be the Chief Scientific Advisor for match.com. What an awesome job! She also has a website (The Anatomy of Love) and has written a few books.
Helen Fisher’s research suggests that we all, to different degrees, express four different styles of thinking and behaving, each associated with one of four basic brain systems: the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems. I am probably not qualified to go into detail here, but suffice to say, Helen also has a personality test on her website which is designed to help you to understand what kind of personalities you are attracted to and therefore to find love.
Yes, you guessed it, I did Helen Fisher’s personality test too. These were my results:
Your Primary personality type is Director.
DIRECTORS shoot for the stars. These men (and women) express traits linked with the testosterone system in the brain. They tend to excel at analytical and strategic thinking. They are also direct, decisive, exacting and tough minded. Directors are good at what scientists call “rule-based systems,” aptitudes such as higher math, mechanics, computers, engineering and/or music. And they are often competitive, as well as skeptical and emotionally contained. Directors approach dating and relationships the same way they approach their other interests, by rationally analysing their hopes, needs and intentions. Foremost they seek a partner who shares their goals, as well as someone who is eager to exchange ideas, build theories and talk about science, philosophy, history or whatever interests them. To balance out their forthright style and tendency to make decisions quickly, Directors tend to gravitate to partners who weigh alternatives, listen actively, handle conflicts deftly and have other well-honed social skills. Because they analyse their own emotions, as well as hide them, Directors tend to seek mates who are emotionally expressive. Because they have difficulty dealing with “controlling” people, they tend to be attracted to those who are flexible, even indecisive. Thus they often gravitate to Negotiators who have the empathy and emotional complexity to handle their forceful personalities.
This describes me perfectly! I think Helen Fisher might be onto something. I think I need to get on to match.com. The problem is that I know that my ex is on match.com again after another break-up and I really really really don’t want to risk being matched with my ex.
P.S. I had an idea for a dating website of my own. Have you read about matchmyex.com ?