Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Commentarama Dating Advice Goes Scientific

You laughed when we gave dating advice, but we knew what we were doing! Indeed, science has now proven what Commentarama already knew: successful dating is all about ideology.

The study in question took a look at married couples and tried to determine what factor or factors were most likely to predict a successful marriage. And what did these scientists find? Well, it turns out that political affiliation is by far the single most important factor. Yep. It’s more important than looks or personality or anything else. In other words, matching up with someone with the same political views is your best shot of finding someone to marry and staying married after you do the deed.

Said researcher John Alford:

"It turns out that people place more emphasis on finding a mate who is a kindred spirit with regard to politics, religion and social activity than they do on finding someone of like physique or personality. It suggests that, perhaps, if you're looking for a long-term romantic relationship, skip 'What's your sign?' and go straight to 'Obama or Palin?' And if you get the wrong answer, just walk away."
Yes, walk away. Don’t even waste your time trying to sway over that stupid liberal/conservative/libertarian/communist/fascist/socialist/anarchist/Ron Pauler/independent, it will only end in a messy divorce with shots fired and a heartbreaking division of the commemorative Elvis plates.

Now that you know this, you should feel happier. Do you know why? Because we’ve narrowed your choices and that makes you happier. . . I’ll bet you didn’t know that? It’s true though. Another recent study found that the more choices a person is given in terms of choosing partners for dates, the less happy the person was and the less successful they ultimately were at dating. They aren't really sure why this is true, but it seems to be.

Personally I would say it's "choice paralysis" caused by a combination of having too many inputs to make a rational decision combined with an increased fear that you made the wrong choice. . . like when you see more than 12 donuts you want.

In any event, this makes me wonder. People are marrying later and having fewer kids all over the globe. Many explanations are offered for this, but none of them actually work consistently across countries. In other words, if something like economic success were the cause, then we would be seeing a consistent fall in each country as they get richer. . . but we’re not, the falling rates are not consistent. The same problem is true with other explanations like availability of birth control, employment of women outside the home, culture, religion or lack of religion. I wonder if the problem isn’t staring us in the face in this study?

In the past, people tended to live in the towns they grew up in and they really only got to know a small circle of people, i.e. they had limited opportunities to marry. Thus, this study says they should have been more successful at finding mates and happier with their choices. Today, by comparison, people live in different cities at various points throughout their lives and careers. They're also more likely to run into possible mates at college or at their jobs than in the past, and then there is the internet. Perhaps all this extra choice is causing "choice paralysis" and ruining it for everybody?

Hmmm.

Any way, don’t date outside your politics and start ruling out more of your choices before you even start looking. You’ll be a dating monster in no time!

You're welcome.

Thoughts on any of these theories?

42 comments:

Ed said...

Great advice Andrew! It's all backed by science too! Lol!

Ed said...

As an unrelated aside, did anyone see our dipstick leader blowing the toast in Britain? What an embarrassment.

T-Rav said...

Meh. If I ever get married and then have a divorce, it won't be "shots fired and a division of commemorative Elvis plates," it'll be "shots fired DUE TO a division of commemorative Elvis plates."

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Everything we do is backed by science, 100%.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, LOL! Yeah, I figured most people would take the division of the Elvis commemorative plates pretty seriously! ;-)

Any thoughts on why fewer choices make people happier? That seems to fly in the face of modern consumer thinking.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I did see that. What an idiot. He bizarrely assumed this is 2008, then he toasts at the wrong time, takes too long, and our MSM is blaming the queen for not ignoring his breach of protocol? She should have slapped him upside the head. . . "give me an Ipod with your own speeches on it... OF WITH HIS HEAD!!"

I don't think a lot of Americans would object to that.

Tam said...

Regarding the "fewer choices = happier" I can offer 2 bits of scientific evidence. Supposedly, Danes are the happiest people on the planet. One of the top reasons cited in the story I saw was closed borders. They are all the same. No immigration, illegal or otherwise. Secondly, have you ever been to in-n-out? Fewer choices = happier.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, Good points. As a species, we really happiest with things that are most like us. Maybe this is all related?

I'm thinking what's going on is that the more choices you have, the harder it is to make those choices because the difference between the choices becomes very slight. So you end up guessing between very similar choices. We don't like guessing, we like certainty. And then once you've chosen, you face the problem that you know that because you have guessed, that there is a pretty good chance that you would have been happier with a different choice.

So it's harder to chose from the get go and then the chance of mistake goes up, which makes us less happy with the choices we make.

If that's true, then it might be worth considering that too many choices do make people unhappy?

Fascinating.... :-)

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I think it's probably a consequence of people just getting worn out with choices. Often, we say we want more choices, but we don't really mean it; a lot of times, it's just simpler to go with a "lesser of two evils" situation. But then, most of my "relationships" end in disappointment and me curled into the fetal position, so you probably shouldn't cite me as a dating expert.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Heartache is good for you, it builds character and cleans out the arteries... or so I'm told. ;-)

What I find interesting about both of these studies is that they show that some of our common sayings are wrong. For example:

"As happy as a kid in a candy store" should probably be "as happy as a kid with a small selection of candy."

And "Opposites attract" should be "opposites divorce."

T-Rav said...

Funny, that's what I kept getting told in college when my friends beat me up--it "builds character." Also hypertension, high blood pressure, and long-term emotional trauma, but mainly character.

I have to say, though, sometimes the "opposites attract" thing works out. Look at James Carville (if you can) and his wife.

CrispyRice said...

I can actually buy into this premise. Your political leanings tell a great deal about what you think about other things, as well as how you approach life in general. The other compatibility factors fall in line from your philosophical outlook.

As an aside, a guy I knew who was doing the online dating thing was headed to "conserva-date" or some such site. Sounds like it may be a good place to look, LOL! I think Hannity has a dating section on his site, too.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said...

I don't need your tips on relationships, silly people! All my relatives, employees, and even total strangers say I already am a dating monster. Well, except for the "dating" part.

ScottDS said...

Well, my dad is a former Republican turned Democrat and my mother only registered to vote three years ago... figures they'd spawn an independent like me. :-)

As for me, I once read your theory in a book about the "quarterlife crisis" (yes, it's real!)... too many choices can be awfully intimidating sometimes. I've faced that dilemma myself on several occasions, up to and including right now.

As for woman, not enough choices can be awfully depressing! Then I realize I'm way too immature for a serious relationship and thank my lucky stars I have a lady friend back in FL with whom -- I've said too much. :-)

On a more serious note, while I don't doubt the study (I saw the headline myself the other day), is it possible this why we're so divided as a country? Too much congregating with our own kind? (I'm sure there's more to it than that and, per usual, I'm simplifying things a bit.)

Writer X said...

I hope that no animals were harmed to reach these scientific conclusions.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, If your friends are beating you up, then you either need new friends, weaker friends, or a gun. And if that's not enough, then Commentarama offers a service that can help you out.... ;-)


Yeah, dating is all about hypertension. . . that about sums it up. There might be other aspects of it, but that seems to be the big one.


I'm sure the opposites attract thing can work, after all, this study was just speaking statistically. But when I think about the married people I know, they do all seem to have matched pretty closely to themselves.

Maybe Carville is secretly a conservative. . . creature. As an aside, I thought he was great in Lord of the Rings.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, It really does make sense if you think about it because you won't be fighting over politics and, as you say, it does seem that our politics are consistent with other things that we believe. So maybe that is the key to finding someone with whom you are compatible?

I had no idea they had conserva-date, but it sounds like a good market opportunity.

AndrewPrice said...

DSK, Best wishes with the trial. If you need a lawyer to rob you blind, I'm more than happy to take your money. :-)

By the way, are you f**ing kidding me? How insanely stupid to do you have to be to be on your way to France to win the Presidency and you decide to stop in NYC to rape a hotel maid? Le dude.... that's messed up.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, A "quarterlife crisis"? That's facepalm territory there. That's an exciting time with all those possibilities available to you! Heck, the world hasn't even had a chance yet to teach you how sheltered you've been. :-)

I would say that grouping together definitely causes polarization. But I think it's overstated when people say that we hang out too much with our own. There are places, like inner cities, where blacks or Hispanics are bunched together in ghettos. There are colleges and little liberal enclaves where white liberals huddle together shivering in their lattes. And there are a few racially segregated cities across the liberal northeast. But in the rest of the country, I think you'll find that people are surprisingly mixed -- ethnically, racially, religiously, and politically.

That's very true about not having enough choices for dating too.... ask anyone who lives in prison.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, LOL!

I suspect a great many animals were eaten on the dates they studied and they may have tested some shampoo on a couple poodles. But beyond that, I'm pretty sure no animals were used to conduct the dating tests.... at least I hope not.

ScottDS said...

Andrew - I won't get into it but I truly believe the "quarterlife crisis" is real. And I'm the LAST person to brand just anything a "crisis" or a "syndrome" and I detest the "pop a pill" attitude that a lot of people have towards life's problems.

All I'll say is I looked up the term on Wikipedia and, at least at the time, I matched nearly all the characteristics.

That's all I have to say about that. :-)

Now "restless leg syndrome" - yeah, that's crap! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Restless leg syndrome derives from the same condition as "happy feet" and "shaky butt." It's realistic.

I'm not buying the quarter-life crisis though. Nor do I buy the midlife crisis. Though I do by the 99.9999% life crisis. ;-)

And seriously, don't believe the Wikipedia for anything other than pop culture.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I'm sure DSK would give you a reply as to what was motivating him at the time, but right now I have to scurry off to the basement and/or keep my eyes on the sky, which will be kind of difficult from the basement, but oh well. Here we go.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Good luck. Hopefully, when you emerge, you won't find that the world has become technicolor and there's a witch under your house! :-)

Tam said...

And T-rav, don't worry. From across the pond, Dear Leader is there for you. Downing a Guiness. He feels your pain.

T-Rav said...

Okay, that was fun. Anyway, I'm alive and well. Our neck of the woods had a little bit of damage--my aunt and uncle have a tree down, some friends had a few structures destroyed, and there was a lot of devastation to the north and west--but other than that, it's all good.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Glad to hear it. And there is a witch under your house, make sure you follow the EPA guidelines for disposal.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, you mean make sure I have a friend or relative with the Agency, or a lot of cash on hand, right?

Tam, yeah I'll bet he's thinking of me. Actually, he probably anticipated our predicament; that's why he messed up the toast to the Queen. He was just too concerned about us li'l folks. What a guy.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I'm sure they have a form -- "Witch Disposal Form DD-250 (Long Form (2009)) -- Post-Tornado".


T_Rav and Tam, I'm sure Obama is always thinking about us.... they just aren't very happy or nice thoughts.

The Environmental Protection Agency said...

Dear Mr. Rav,

It is your responsibility to dispose of witches properly. As you know, witches are an environmental hazard as they contain a lead core and will melt when they come in contact with the water table. Failure to file the appropriate paperwork is a crime punishable by the seizure of your lands and family.

Signed,
The Government

T-Rav said...

Dear Environmental Protection Agency,

I noticed you have a lot of nice-looking agents working for you. Be a shame if anything were to happen to them.

Sincerely,
T-Rav

AndrewPrice said...

You're a brave man T_Rav. Clearly, you heard that black helicopters can't fly when there's tornadoes in the area.

T-Rav said...

That's very true, Andrew. But only if you set out holy water first. The high winds carry it aloft, and of course it then becomes impossible for black helicopters to remain in the air.

By the way, to end this nerve-racking day on a cheery note, Ed "Fatty" Schultz has been suspended from MSNBC for a week after calling Laura Ingraham a slut. Excuse me while I snicker.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Well, that explains it. When I was a young dedicated liberal Democrat, I told my wife (who came from a very Republican family) that if she ever registered as a Republican I would break her arm. Years later, after we were divorced, I registered Republican and she registered Democrat. I guess it's true. LOL

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That is a nice way to end the day! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Yep. This study explains it all. LOL!

Ed said...

T_Rav, That's awesome about Schulz. I hear that even feminist groups are saying he needed to be suspended. Of course, they're attacking Ingraham in their press releases at the same time, but at least they aren't turning a blind eye for once.

rlaWTX said...

I tried to find the article - cuz I'm weird like that... but the UTPB library doesn't have a remote subscription... here's what I did find - cuz I know you care!!!

The Politics of Mate Choice.
Journal of Politics; Apr2011, Vol. 73 Issue 2, p362-379
Recent research has found a surprising degree of homogeneity in the personal political communication network of individuals but this work has focused largely on the tendency to sort into likeminded social, workplace, and residential political contexts. We extend this line of research into one of the most fundamental and consequential of political interactions—that between sexual mates. Using data on thousands of spouse pairs in the United States, we investigate the degree of concordance among mates on a variety of traits. Our findings show that physical and personality traits display only weakly positive and frequently insignificant correlations across spouses. Conversely, political attitudes display interspousal correlations that are among the strongest of all social and biometric traits. Further, it appears the political similarity of spouses derives in part from initial mate choice rather than persuasion and accommodation over the life of the relationship. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]

rlaWTX said...

I love professional journal articles. /sarc off

[1] so, how long is the life one has a crisis a quarter of the way in? can you have one at 1/3 too?

[2] Crispy's idea that ideology says a lot about other attitudes and perspectives sounds sensible. Which means the research would never get funding.

[3] Too many choices vs. Bad choices.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That's the long way of saying, "people look for mates who share their politics." LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I suspect that you could have any kind of crisis you wanted. You just need to come up with a nice sounding fraction -- 13/16th doesn't sound as nice as 1/4.

I get why they would think a quarter life crisis makes sense, since that's roughly when school ends and you have to move into the working world, but it strikes me as a label looking for a condition.

Yeah, it seems they never do fund anything sensible sounding. Better to study abstract and insane things. LOL!

Good point about too many choices and bad choices. I guess drawing the line is where success rests?

DUQ said...

You could make a whole new industry of life crises. It could be like "Alice in Wonderland" with the unbirthday!

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