Usually I feel like science and I get along pretty well. It provides me with a job, and in return, I support it by sneering at people with Creationist bumperstickers. I also have high hopes that the scientific method is eventually going to supply me with a suitable mate. After all, my best friend found her soon-to-be husband thanks to the eharmony guy, even if he is one of those anti-Darwin nuts (the eharmony guy, that is, of course, not my future bff-in-law– I wouldn’t put up with that).
But this week, I’m pretty sure science is out to get me. First there was this study. It found that single women die seven to 15 years sooner than married ones. Can you believe that? 15 years?!? I mean, I already knew that I had a 99% chance of being eaten by my cat (note to scientists: this and any following statistics are completely invented), but I had no idea that it would happen so soon. The data seems to require some kind of dramatic response, but what? The article reporting on the study was not much help, since its suggested survival technique was “staying positive.” Yeah, thanks, that effort was going a lot better before I read your stupid story.
Despite this setback, I mustered my positive attitude and my belief in algorithms of love and (Hmm, if no one has written a romance novel called “Algorithms of Love” yet, I’m calling dibs. A spunky Victorian damsel in distress meets…a high school math teacher?)…anyway, I reactivated my online dating profile. I jumped into “Quickmatching,” an endlessly entertaining process where you get to rate guys with 1 to 5 stars based on a photo and a fraction of their profile– it’s basically Netflix but with vastly less information and higher stakes.
The website quickly found me one guy with whom it said I’d be very compatible, and a review of his profile proved him to be so incredibly hateful that my married friend renamed him Mr. Misanthrope, and opened an account on the site solely to start a flame war with him. [I’m not kidding; here’s a sample of their conversation: An articulate–albeit spellcheck-challenged (e.g., “du jour” not “du juor” and “original thought” not “original though”)– computer genius like you should be able to live and work anywhere he likes. Is it that you enjoy feeling superior?]
He was bad, but one terrible match could fall within the confidence interval of their perfect calculations, right? So I didn’t give up, and moved on to the next suggestion. Who was my ex-boyfriend. Yup, that’s right, the guy I had broken up with just days before for being almost, but not quite, perfect for me. It not only raised a major rating dilemma (1 because we’re definitely not going to go out or 5 because he actually is a way better match than average?) but also, arguably, showed that the computers know exactly what they’re doing. Which brings me back to my original point. Damn you, science.