Monday, February 3, 2014

GUEST POST: How Algorithms Make It Easy to Find Love... and Throw It Away

Yoshi's on the left and
I'm on the right.
You've heard tales about my friend Yoshi over the past year, and now you get to hear from him directly! He's got a weird sense of humor, sometimes he's rude, and he's become a close friend of mine. He has listened to my sometimes sweet and other times idiotic dating stories, and now he asked to share his story. I said absolutely!

Lovestruck in Calculus

Years ago when I was in college, there was a sweet (looking) girl in my calculus class. "Looking" is in parenthesis because I had actually not talked to her more than few words.

There was no Facebook at the time, so the only information I had on her was her name. My options were limited to getting to know her in the old fashioned way. As a first step of this, I wanted to ask her to my fraternity formal (years later I found out that there was this thing called "asking someone to coffee"), so I set up a plan.

Right after the final exam, I planned on asking her to my formal as she left the building. In order for this to work, she couldn't leave the exam before me. So on exam day, I just wrote down my name, filled random bubbles on my Scantron sheet, and bolted out the door. I waited outside the door of the math building, eagerly awaiting my soon-to-be date. It was cold, and I must have waited at least half an hour. Where was she?

The moral of the story? Always check how many doors the building has and getting "D" in calculus sucks.

Algorithms Lead to Love...

That was a decade ago. Things are different now. With the rapid advancement of the technology such as online dating websites, you get to go on a first date knowing most of the person's information. It seems to be working too; according to eHarmony, 236 of its members marry everyday in the United States as a result of being matched on eHarmony.

We live in the generation of dating where we have the "find love" and "next please" buttons on our fingertips. The online dating sites such as eHarmony (and, Kat's favorite, OKCupid) use complex matching algorithms and select the potentially successful matches. The numbers strongly suggest that the algorithm is the result of more than just a conceptual theory. Clearly, finding love has become easier and more convenient (or so eHarmony's PR team tells me).

...But Do Algorithms Make It Too Easy?

As someone who makes his living in the field of technology, I am happy to see that the technology is helping to solve one of the oldest and most complex needs of humanity. However, it is worthwhile to note there are side effects of technology-driven convenience:
 we have a tendency to easily let go of things that are not hard earned. 

(See Kat's articles about her dumping guys she met online, and then it was her turn to get discarded.)

Whether one is for or against online dating trend depends on the individual's definition of "dating." If one sees dating as a road to happiness, then the technology has in fact made this road much easier to travel. So that's a good thing. Who wouldn't want happiness, and who wouldn't want to get it more efficiently?

You may be wondering why I am stating the obvious. Well, I am not.

Most of the readers who read The Requirements for Dating Me would agree that I am a weirdo (OK, we are still on the "stating the obvious" part). If you are not convinced, the next few lines might change your perception.

I find joy in walking the road of uncertainty. Even if it's misery that welcomes me at the end of this journey, as long as I get to suffer it in the old fashioned way, I will be happy, in a weird way, as Kat would put it.

Final words

I, too have been on dates using an online dating site. While writing this, I tried to remember the name of the last girl I went on a date with from the online dating site. I sadly couldn't.

Ironically, I can still remember the name and the face of the girl who indirectly made me stand in the cold for 30 minutes almost a decade ago. I will remember her every time I see the only "D" in my transcript.

Yoshi is a twenty-something year-old single guy who thinks Marilyn Monroe was the last great American beauty.


  1. Don @ HowYouCanFindLoveFebruary 5, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Interesting point that we are more likely to let things go that we haven't worked hard for. Keeps me thinking....

  2. Yoshi, I recommend reading this:

  3. Funny you should say that since both Yoshi and I had separately read that article!

  4. Wow. It's a whole new ballgame out there.

  5. Absolutely love this post! It's so true that things have changed in the past couple of years. I'm still a little hesitant with trying online dating at the moment, and a lot of it has to do with me being very old-fashioned. But as technology continues to lead us in that direction - I guess I'll just have to suck it up.

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)

  6. I know, right? A lot has changed even just since 2004, before I met my ex-husband.

  7. Try it, Natasha! If for no other reason, you get a great crash course in first dates and practicing talking to new men. I've had good luck with OKCupid -- which is free -- so nothing to lose. ;)