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So I’ve written many posts on OkCupid’s interesting data crunching, and their even more interesting results. Anyone can give you their opinion on what it takes to succeed in online dating; but offering up hard data… well, it doesn’t get much better than that, especially when the results aren’t what we expect.

A friend sent me a great link on Twitter today. Wired magazine has crunched data from OkCupid and Match.com to come of with the things that create online dating success. This one is all about the written portion of the profile: what words, interests, hobbies, movies, and music will titillate others and generate more attention, emails, and options?

The punch line (and the title of the article on Slate) is:

Gender Nonconformity Will Get You Dates

Yes, that’s right. Showing interests that go against gender stereotypes can work right in your favor. For example:

  • Popular men liked oceans, breakfast, and yoga
  • Popular women liked fitness, Pulp Fiction, and surfing
  • Men who discussed their kids were popular; women who did were not
  • Women who discussed electronics were popular; men who did were not
  • It’s better for women to mention The Matrix, and men to mention weddings

Wired’s set of infographics, entitled How to Create the Perfect Online Dating Profile, has all this information and much more.

Other interesting tidbits include:

  • The highest ranked sports (for both genders) included surfing, yoga, skiing, and running
  • Radiohead was the most “attractive” band mentioned
  • Mentioning cats was okay, but “my cats” was not


To some extent, the gender stuff makes sense. After all, we like people who are interested in what we like. Poker is a male-dominated game; when I said I play poker in my online dating profile, I got emails from men, many of whom played the game. When a man says he likes yoga, a woman sees that he appreciates what other men might make fun of.

Just as importantly, it’s interesting to see someone who not only doesn’t conform to a gender stereotype, but will openly admit it. It can show that you’re comfortable with who you are. And when someone shows non-stereotypical interests, it suggests that–MAYBE–they’re more open-minded and able to see things from the other sex’s point of view. And that, my friends, is a key aspect of a successful relationship.

But, as with all OkCupid’s data (and any data), such results are heavily dependent on the sample you’re analyzing, the specific questions you’re asking, and how you define certain measures (like “attractiveness” and “popularity”). These results reflect what’s popular right now (e.g. Radiohead, yoga). We also don’t know if these people are “popular” because they like these things, or that they like these things because they’re the sort of people who have the traits that make them popular, and that popular people tend to band together and gravitate toward what’s “hot.” I’ll have to think more about this; I just got this info an hour ago and haven’t had time to digest it beyond what you see here.

Let me know what you think of these results.



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