Got a date this weekend? Want to know more about your special friend? OkTrends, the dating-research blog at OkCupid, recently released a statistical analysis of 776 million user answers to questions like "Do you believe that people have a civic duty to vote?" and "Have you ever traveled around another country alone?" OkCupid uses these answers to match the lonelies with their ideal mates. Christian Rudder distilled answers to innocuous questions to reveal the coded communication beneath, discovering which simple, breezy questions people should ask on first dates in order to find the information they really want to know (things that often aren't discussed until after hours/weeks of grueling small talk).
For example, if you really want to know "Would you consider sleeping with someone on the first date?" ask your date "Do you like the taste of beer?"
No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they've just met.
To discover the answer to "Do my date and I have the same politics?" instead ask "Do you prefer the people in your life to be simple or complex?"
Complexity-preferrers are 65-70% likely to give the Liberal answer. And those who prefer simplicity in others are 65-70% likely to give the Conservative one.
Then there's my favorite: Curious if your date is religious? Ask "Do spelling and grammar mistakes annoy you?"
- "For every one of the faith-based belief systems listed, the people who were the least serious wrote at the highest level [based on user profiles]."
If your date answers no—i.e., is okay with bad grammar and spelling—the odds of him or her being at least moderately religious is slightly better than 2:1.
But don't forget, as xkcd reminds us, "Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there.'"