Few people go through life without at some point having to face that soul-crushing question "Why am I still single?" The answers range from the painfully obvious -- that "MAKE ME A SANDWICH" T-shirt isn't endearing you to anyone, dude -- to the utterly and cosmically inexplicable. Yes, sometimes it's not you! And according to science, it's sometimes surprising stuff, like ...
Look, not that we're a bunch of crazy cat ladies over here (we totally are), but cats are amazing. They're ruthless killers, they know how to use a litter box right out of the womb, you never have to take them for walks (unless you're one of those people), and they freaking evolved to talk to us. And once they've gotten all that talking, not-walking, ruthless killing out of their systems for the day, they are excellent cuddlers. What's not to like?
A lot, if you're in the habit of showing them off on social media and don't want to die alone. (Except for all the cats, naturally.)
For some reason, people seem to like dogs better overall, and it goes beyond pet preference. It seems that if a potential significant other likes flaunting their cats online and has no dogs in sight, you're 6 percent more likely to turn your nose up and move on. The folks at Facebook performed a study (read: they creeped on the profiles of 160,000 people), and determined that 30 percent of people who shared cat photos were single, compared to only 24 percent of dog-photo-sharing people. So maybe you have cat memes to blame for not getting any action between 2009 and 2013.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Facebook researchers/creeps also found that if you're a cat person, you're more likely to be into nerdy stuff like sci-fi and that weird phenomena known as "staying in and reading a book." Dog folks, like their furry companions, are more likely to be outgoing and be full of something called "energy." They're also more likely to be into rom-coms and, extremely weirdly, share the same love of Marley & Me.
But don't despair, cat folk. While your love life might be statistically more lacking, your friendships, while probably fewer in number, appear to be more fulfilling and meaningful than those of the dog lovers out there. So, you know, suck it.
We have a lot of things we look for in a potential partner -- religion, politics, stances on perpetuating the species, how excited they are for the next season of Venture Bros, and so on. People use these things to determine compatibility with a person before sharing DNA with them, and rightfully so. After all, how can you spend the rest of your life with someone who has ideologies directly opposed to your own? Like, what if you get married, but then it turns out their phone isn't exactly like yours?
It might sound completely ridiculous (it is), but this issue is a much larger foam noodle in the dating pool than one might think. According to a Match.com survey of 5,500 unhitched Americans, Android users are 15 times more likely to think less of iPhone users, and iPhone users are 21 times more likely to look down their noses at lowly Android users. Windows Phone users were presumably too busy drowning in sex to answer the survey (just kidding, they don't exist).
Oh, and if you're a shmuck who has the audacity to own an older model? Then you're an entire 56 percent less likely to catch a smooch buddy. And gods forbid you're a dude with a cracked screen, because freaking 86 percent of women will judge you more harshly for it. You complete wreck of a human being, you.
Like we said, this is ridiculous. We'd like to believe the human race isn't so incredibly petty, but those are the raw numbers. Our advice? Let's go back to judging people for the important stuff, like whether they load their toilet paper front-facing or not.
One of the fairy tales repeatedly shoved down our throats since birth is that pretty people get all the happy endings. The beautiful princess gets the handsome prince, and while some shenanigans might happen, they eventually go off into the sunset all happily ever after like. Meanwhile, somewhere in the background, all the plain (or just plain ugly) folks are shackled and shoved off into jail or something.
But not so fast, beautiful ones. In reality, your roguish good looks have doomed you to a life of singleness, or so claim some people from Harvard. In a study titled Attractiveness and relationship longevity: Beauty is not what it is cracked up to be, researchers asked women to rate the attractiveness of 130 celebrities and 238 regular schmucks. In both cases, it turned out that the subjects deemed most desirable were "more likely to divorce" and also "married for shorter durations." (Hmmm, perhaps there's a correlation between those two things?)
But why would being good-looking make you bad at relationships? Well, previous studies had found that when we're committed to a partner, we see other people as less attractive. This is your brain's way of making sure you stick to your relationships. But the Harvard researchers believe that attractive people don't have this "protective bias." To demonstrate their theory, they asked 130 people to rate the sexiness of someone of the opposite gender. And what do you know, the prettier raters were more likely to have the hots for the people they were rating, but "only if they (themselves) were in a relationship." It's like nature is pushing them to go out and share their beautiful DNA with as many people as possible, eventual legal costs be damned.
Of course, none of this information is as surprising as the fact that Harvard apparently has a whole wing devoted to Tinder Studies.
Love sprouts anywhere there are at least two warm bodies of the same species, right? From the frigid Antarctic to the harsh daily sauna that is the Sahara Desert, people will always find ways to make whoopee. After all, it all comes down to a bunch of long-named chemicals. You'd think it wouldn't matter where you were; you're bound to find a willing participant in the dance of love.
Well, you'd be wrong, at least partially. It turns out that, at least in the United States, it actually does matter where you live. In a nationwide study conducted by Michigan State University, it was found that if you live in the frontier region, the Mid-Atlantic, or the Northeast, you are more likely to have attachment avoidance or attachment anxiety. Basically, this means that if you live in more mountainous regions, you're more likely to be of the loner variety, while living in or near cities makes you a bit clingier and probably paranoid that your bae will leave you for one of the many other possible baes in your area. So if you want to have a healthy relationship that's generally free of standoffish or clingy behavior, science says you're gonna fare best in Mississippi, Utah, or Wisconsin. In the study, those states were tied up for first place in a pleasant threesome of romantic satisfaction and health.
Meanwhile, North Dakota was deemed the worst state for love ...
... followed by Kentucky, Kansas, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Ohio, South Carolina, Colorado, New York, and Indiana. But don't worry, the authors of the study encourage readers not to move out of wherever they are. In the conclusion, they state: "To a certain degree, positive relationships are found everywhere and transcend time and place. After all, home is where the heart is." Awwww. (But seriously, get the hell out of North Dakota, especially if you're planning to get old.)
Ah, dating apps. It seems like no matter how many we sign up for, no matter how many people we're matched with, we can't seem to muster up the courage to send a message. But what a bunch of good-looking candidates, right? We may be all alone now, but at any time, when we're ready to get within touching distance of another human specimen, we could snag a date with a suave stranger and hitch a ride to romance town.
Well, guess what? It's that very same perception that there are entire schools of fish in the sea that might be holding you back in the real world. As GQ editor Ashley Fetters says, "There's an illusion of plentifulness. It makes it look like the world is full of more single, eager people than it probably is." She goes on to describe hitting it off with dudes at bars, only to shy away when it comes to sharing numbers because she "could also just go on Tinder." Sound familiar? It's what psychologists call the paradox of choice. In one famous experiment, only 3 percent of shoppers bought jam from a table offering 24 samples, while 30 percent bought jam from another table with just six samples. Online dating is kind of like that, only with far less jam.
Oh, and it turns out our preoccupation with quickly judging a person based on their sexiness quotient isn't exactly healthy either. A study by the University of Kansas suggests that constant swiping is messing up our ability to make real connections with other human beings. After splitting 130 people into three separate groups, they found that, essentially, after having an actual conversation with a person, our perception of physical attractiveness goes up.
So we're back to some very basic advice that many of us are still learning: Stop judging people based on their looks. Do that weird thing called "talking and finding mutual interests, like maybe you both really can't live without a dice bag and the special hardcover version of Xanathar's Guide To Everything" or something. Just go be people. We'll be over here, encouraging you from our dank cat cave with the applause emoji on our broken Android screens.
Friendly reminder that your cat doesn't know what Valentine's Day is and will just assume you're worshipping them as per usual if you get them a new cat tree.
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