TEDEd and OKCupid – Behind the Numbers

When two people join a dating website, they are matched according to shared interests and how they answer a number of personal questions. But how do sites calculate the likelihood of a successful relationship? Christian Rudder, one of the founders of popular dating site OKCupid, details the algorithm behind ‘hitting it off.’

Lesson by Christian Rudder, animation by TED-Ed.

Movie Review – Sabrina (1954)

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For the next Hopeful Romantic movie review, I reach back to the 1954 version of Sabrina. It stars Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, and Humphrey Bogart and William Holden as the well-to-do brothers Linus and David Larrabee. I certainly hope everyone has seen this movie, but if not, please stop reading and go out and rent or buy it immediately, as I will include many spoilers in my review.

Sabrina is the daughter of Linus’s chauffeur and grew up around the Larrabees, falling in love with David along the way. David is somewhat of a playboy, falling in and out of love with every girl that comes along – and has had three failed marriages to boot! Sabrina witnesses David from afar, and fantasizes about being one of those girls that David falls for. In this respect, Sabrina is very much a hopeless romantic  – she has fallen in love with David in a completely one-sided affair.

After realizing that David won’t give her any romantic attention, Sabrina runs off to culinary school in Paris. During her exile, she learns a bit about herself and high society, changing her looks and demeanor to someone that can gain the attention of David. She returns, but there is only one problem – David is engaged to someone else.

Not even recognizing Sabrina at first, David picks Sabrina up from the train station to drive her home… his home, in fact. Well, he soon figures out this is the same girl that he grew up around, but how has she changed! So much, in fact, that he now wants to call off his pre-arranged engagement to run off with the chauffeur’s daughter.

Linus, the brains behind the Larrabee empire, is about to see his multi-million dollar deal go out the window if David runs off with Sabrina. So he intervenes, trying to “keep it all in the family”. He entertains Sabrina after he incapacitates his brother, trying to get her to fall in love with him instead. He feigns wanting to get away from the boardroom and to run off to Paris to experience the city. And he convinces Sabrina that he wants her to come with him. And the hopeless romantic that Sabrina is, she falls for him. And just when Linus almost has her convinced of their budding love (and has her booked on a one way ticket back to Paris), Linus drops the truth of his whole charade.

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For the Hopeful Romantics out there, this seems like an awful lot of deceit, with an extra dose of falling in love too soon. And indeed it is. But there are some shining points in this story.

  1. Sabrina figures out how to gain David’s attention. Simply fawning over him and expressing her one-sided crush isn’t enough. She had to go to Paris and become a whole new person – new clothes, new attitude, new haircut, etc. The lesson here is that if you are attracted to someone (or a certain type of someone), you’ve got to look the part. And Sabrina does that transformation exceptionally well.
  2. A funny thing happened to Sabrina and Linus both. While they were out on the town while David was holed up, they connected. Perhaps a little too quickly for Hopeful Romantics like us, but nonetheless they connected. Sabrina was eager to go to Paris with him and show him around, and Linus was honest enough to admit to his deception. Excitement and honesty are two solid ways to start a relationship.
  3. At the end, David realizes his foolishness and tries to set things right. He doesn’t know if his brother was really faking it with Sabrina, or if Linus fell for her too. So he eggs Linus on, essentially calling Sabrina a gold digger. Boom! Linus punches David right in the kisser. At that point, Linus realizes how much he likes (loves?) Sabrina and runs off to catch her on the boat to Paris.
    Sometimes, even Hopeful Romantics need friends and family to help us realize how we truly feel about someone or what we should do in a given situation. And it is our responsibility as Hopeful Romantics to help out our friends and family when they need a little encouragement to head down the right path with (or without) someone.

So the moral of the story is, don’t fall in love too soon. And if you do, at least have the good fortune of it being Humphrey Bogart’s character.

Book Review – Dealbreaker

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This post restarts my series of book reviews from a Hopeful Romantic perspective. Some of the books are kinda new, some of the books are a bit older – either way, the books offer something (at least partially) for those looking to improve their approach to love and relationships.

Now, most books about relationships fall into three categories.

  1. From a clinical psychologist with a Phd that has done countless studies and therapy sessions. These aren’t much fun to read as they are laden with examples of people that should have known better.
  2. There has been a wave of guys writing a sort of “tell all” book geared towards women to enlighten them on the wayward ways of men. (I’ll get to reviewing those books in time.)
  3. The humorous memoir written by a chronically single woman. It’s great to be entertained and all, but I’m not sure why so many women keep buying these types of books from someone who ultimately hasn’t been successful in finding a lifelong romantic relationship yet.

The book I’m reviewing today, Dealbreaker, seems like it would fall into that last category. Besides having a chronically single woman as a writer, Marisa Pinson, she is joined by a male writer Dave Horwitz. They both perform together at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles and have started writing television episodes together, too. Their authors’ bio on the last page mentions that they started writing Dealbreaker (first as a blog, then into a book) so “they could vent their frustrations about their ill-fated dating lives”.  Alright, so this book will break the mold a little bit and will not just be written by a single lady writing about her relationship woes in a comic fashion, but will be written by a guy, too.

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First, this book is hilarious. It is especially hilarious to those with a varied dating past, as we can likely relate to almost every single Dealbreaker. But here is the thing – while they list and explain these funny dealbreakers (something that makes you not want to date someone), they are all true. Here’s one from a page I just randomly opened:

You Won’t Stop Talking About Your Ex
Wait, I think you’ve told me this story before. It ends with your ex saving a baby from a burning building. No? Oh, it’s the one about how he took you to a private island owned by his billionaire father? Or maybe it’s about how the only reason you two broke up was because he had to go on a humanitarian mission in Africa! You know what, if you like him so much, why don’t you go live with him in his sweaty, mosquito-infested tent? Oh, I get it. That’s how this story ends.

If I hadn’t already made enough incorrect assumptions about this book, I also thought that Dealbreaker would line up with the content from Chapter 5 Differences. But Marisa and Dave span dealbreakers across the gamut of a doomed relationship, listing each dealbreaker when they are most likely to be discovered. Here’s the chapter list (since the book itself doesn’t have one):

  1. The First Impression
  2. The First Date
  3. The Morning After
  4. Three Months Later
  5. Three Months Later (Again)
  6. The Breakup and Beyond

From a Hopeful Romantic perspective, some of the dealbreakers are visible external traits – what they look like, what they wear, and types of things that they like. (You drive a Hummer. Your funny tattoo.) They also list internal traits that you (should) figure out after a few dates/conversations. (You’re a Scientologist. You Don’t Believe In Evolution.) And then the other dealbreakers seem to be caused by a lack of relationship skills or common sense. (You live with your parents. You flirt with other people.)

All in all, for those looking to learn something while they are entertained, this book not only lists some common issues to watch out for, it also reads as a list of things to not do yourself. In relation to The Hopeful Romantic, you will see some of the same themes and topics mentioned in Chapter 2 – Knowing What You Want, Chapter 5 – Differences, Chapter 6 – Growing In Love, and Chapter 7 – Dead End Relationship. Please, stay tuned. In the meantime, buy Dealbreaker and get a jump start on getting out of your next doomed relationship.

Music: The Hopeful Romantic Mixtape

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A few years ago for Valentine’s Day, I compiled a Hopeful Romantic Mixtape – songs from my favorite artists that correspond with each chapter. Well, with the advent of this new website and the streaming availability of Spotify, I thought it was worthwhile to repost. Here’s a link to the Spotify playlist, as well as a chapter and track listing:

Chapter 1 – Being Happy
Heartless Bastards – Be So Happy

Chapter 2 – Knowing What You Want
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Oregon Girl

Chapter 3 – First Contact
Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves – Am I Wasting My Time

Chapter 4 – First Date, First Kiss
Flight of the Concords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract

Chapter 5 – Differences
Wilco – Pick Up The Change

Chapter 6 – Growing In Love, Then Falling In Love
Ben Kweller – Falling

Chapter 7 – Dead End Relationships
Feist – Inside And Out

Chapter 8 – The Art of the Breakup
Loretta Lynn – Mrs. Leroy Brown

Chapter 9 – Recovery
Limbeck – Honk + Wave

Chapter 10 – Is This Person the One?
Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position

Chapter 11 – Appreciation + Compromise
Golden Shoulders – Patience Darling, Patience

Chapter 12 – Being Happy Together
Jens Lekman – Someone to Share My Life With

That last song was Melissa and I’s first dance at our wedding!

I’ll try to update this playlist every Valentine’s Day. So look for a new one next February!

Photo via Flickr user le vent le cri

Tastebuds – Free Music Dating and Social Network for Music Lovers

Tastebuds music dating lets you find people who share your passion for music

Tell us the bands you love and we’ll find single people nearby who share your tastes

When I was in the single column, music was very important to me. (It still is.) When Facebook first came out (and everyone had their profile open), you could click on your favorite band on your profile and it would show you everyone at your school who also listed them in their favorites. You could go through the list of people and find anyone else who was single – you could Poke them or add them as a friend. I think I even went out on a date or two this way.

Well, Facebook eventually phased out this feature, and now most everyone keeps their profile private; it’s so hard to see who is single anymore! If Tastebuds gets critical mass, then it could bring that ability back to the masses.