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Finding love apparently involves math. This is probably why I’m single.

September 23, 2010

According to OkCupid, the dating site I joined out of desperation and feel sort of embarrassed about discussing here although that is not stopping me which just goes to show that I apparently have no filter when it comes to airing my dirty laundry on the interweb, I am highly compatible with Rachel, the girl with questionable morals who robbed me of the opportunity to ditch her by dumping me first.

It seems I am a 91 percent match with a philanderer who has a penchant for popping pills and irresponsibly swilling the sauce. Very high five.

Also? She doesn’t even have cats, you guys.

OkCupid boasts a powerful method for matching users based on a series of questions and complex algorithms. I would go into more detail, but I have no idea what an algorithm is because I quit arithmetic after Algebra II in high school and went on to major in journalism in college, which required me to take only one statistics class and it was taught by a very pregnant professor who spent most of the semester having us calculate the probability of her first baby being born a boy.

As usual, when I don’t understand something, or want to know more about a topic, or upon reading about an incurable respiratory disease in an obituary at work and then feeling a little feverish become concerned I’ve contracted an illness whose only known treatment is a lung transplant (Hi, Hamman-Rich Syndrome), I turn to Wikipedia. Because Wikipedia is wise. And worldly. And completely written by anonymous web collaborators with no formal training known as Wikipedians. That’s how I know it’s all true. It’s basically the tribal elder of the 21st century. That’s probably why it’s name sounds vaguely Native American. This is all covered more in-depth by Kevin Costner in “Dances with Wolves.”

Wikipedia tells me there’s something called a Big O notation in the analysis of algorithms. And that’s where my research started and stopped, because a Big O is exactly what I’m looking for.

Although at this point I’d settle for a Small O. Or a Fair-to-Middling O. Or a mildly attractive woman with a subscription to O magazine who wants to snuggle with me and my cats and gush about how insanely adorable Nate Berkus is.

I concede that I’ve clearly underestimated math’s powers. Maybe I’ve been wrong about math all along. I mean, *obviously*, I’ve been wrong about math all along. I’m working with sixth-grade skills at best. I just never factored in an O of any kind into my equation. Because I don’t know how to factor equations.

But then I started to wonder why algorithms add up – or divide or carry the one or whatever algorithms do – to Rachel being 91 percent perfect for me. I thought I’d better take a closer look at my online profile to figure out where I’d gone amiss. Or rather, not gone amiss, as the case may be.

Then I noticed this:

OkCupid says I'm not fully compatible with myself. Tell me something I don't know.

Apparently algorithms think I’m a 97 percent match for myself.

I may totally suck at math, but even I know that just doesn’t compute, because I am *totally* not my type. Long red hair? Glasses? Radiant personality? No thank you.

Whiskers on kittens and the uber-babe who sings the song about whiskers on kittens are a few of my favorite things.

Because when I was a kid, I was obsessed with “The Sound of Music” and watched our video taped from TV on a constant loop until it wore out in certain spots and now as an adult – who’s maybe listening and humming along to the movie in the background as I type this – base all my opinions of beauty and elegance and the effectiveness of training children with shiny dog whistles on the way a blond-haired, blue-eyed, nun-to-be Julie Andrews acted on the silver screen in 1965.

Try as I might, I just can’t seem to von Trapp a lady like that.

So I’m left to perpetually ponder: How do you solve a problem like Maria?

And did the sisters at the abbey try algorithms?

48 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 3:47 AM

    Well, at least you’re not your own worst enemy.

  2. September 23, 2010 4:16 AM

    If I were ten years younger… hang on, how DO you feel about older women?

    • September 23, 2010 1:05 PM

      You may have read past the part where I talked about the crush I have on a 74-year-old British treasure.

    • September 23, 2010 10:42 PM

      aahhh crap…. get in line?

  3. September 23, 2010 6:13 AM

    Seeing as you and I have similar mathematical skillz – I have calculated that you should select enemies to date instead. This will give you 95.67% chance of having happy, long lasting relationship with a 5:2 ratio of cat snuggling and a 3 in 4 chance of Nate Berkus gushing.

    You’re welcome.

  4. September 23, 2010 6:53 AM

    Maybe you need to upgrade to AwesomeCupid, because the crowd you’re with at the moment is just ok.
    Incidentally, dirty laundry? eBay.

  5. September 23, 2010 6:56 AM

    i’m a geek, and the concept of “Big O” and “math” being used in the same context, let alone continent, leaves me tweaking…

  6. September 23, 2010 8:29 AM

    I have a debilitating math phobia so you lost me at algorithms….uncontrolled shuddering and a few tears

  7. September 23, 2010 9:08 AM

    Seems like something’s wrong with their algorithm. Shouldn’t you answering all the same questions exactly like YOU make you a total match? Apparently this is why math eludes me.

  8. Lindsay permalink
    September 23, 2010 9:13 AM

    It’s official: I have a cyber crush. I’m not sure how you’re single!

    I’ve been on OKCupid now for 2 weeks now. It’s just like any other dating site, except now I get to see any potential dates’ answer to questions like, “Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?”

  9. September 23, 2010 9:59 AM

    Agreed, math sucks. But at least you weren’t your own enemy. I’d bet an entire $1 that I’d be my own enemy on OKCupid. So you already know that you have certain people beat there 🙂

  10. Dizzy permalink
    September 23, 2010 11:13 AM

    I think we have the exact same glasses. I suck at math, just like you. And I’m 29! (have been for a few years now) We are like two peas in a pod. Or even twins with different sexualities… & mothers.
    I really don’t have anything clever to say, though, so you are 99.9% cooler than me.

  11. That Girl permalink
    September 23, 2010 11:24 AM

    Perhaps the solution is a tutor. I’ve seen teen movies and know exactly how that goes. Hint, it’s super fucking well. I could recommend some really smart mathematicians who could algorithmically get you to that O as required. Nerd glasses may or may not be included.

  12. dru permalink
    September 23, 2010 11:30 AM

    Mm, the math and Big O thing don’t surprise me.

    My bf has been known to whisper calculus to me before – something about complex math that I don’t understand just makes me happy. Math and code. Zomg I love C++

    However: I’m sorry 😦 I want you to be happy and sexing and whatnot. For serious. ❤

  13. September 23, 2010 11:55 AM

    Holy cow, you are gorgeous. Really, really pretty. And not even just internet pretty or 3am pretty.

    So I think that you are not factoring in the pretty quotient, which inversely affects the ratio of good to bad potential matches in a quadratic equation.

    [In case you didn’t notice, I stopped math in high school, too, and was thankfully the last incoming year that could substitute logic for math. SCORE!]

    PS – I’m watching Pushing Daisies on Netflix, and did you know that Kristen Chenowith does several episodes dressed in a novice’s habit? If she wasn’t so frail looking, I think she’d give Julie Andrews a run for her money.

  14. September 23, 2010 12:58 PM

    ok, still laughing over “Or a mildly attractive woman with a subscription to O magazine.”

    also: i don’t understand math at all. i can *write* about people doing math, but i can’t even do long division anymore.

  15. September 23, 2010 1:15 PM

    No, I don’t do the maths.

    I mean, I can totally figure out when a train leaving Chicago traveling southwest at 65 mph and a plane leaving Santa Fe heading northeast at 400 mph will lose your luggage, and whether or not the statistically inevitable chatty person sitting next to you will have ham or turkey on their sandwich, but really…who can’t?

    But when you start getting into algorithms and beta blockers and imaginary numbers and Oedipal complex equations, you’re pretty well over my head.

    Cause I’m really meant to be in the shallow end of the pool, and “over my head” is a pretty short swim.

  16. September 23, 2010 2:26 PM

    So shortly after our tumultuous break up, OKCupid suggested Love Interest E to me as a highly compatible match. Thanks for that.

  17. September 23, 2010 2:52 PM

    This is so funny and so Von Trastic (Von Trappstic? Von Trappstick? Mmmm,*smacks chapped lips*) I don’t even know what to say. Is there such a thing as a perfect blog post? I think this is it.

    Also, I too have the Maria thing. I want to be her, and I want her to be my mom, and my friend, and my husband, and my gynecologist. It’s really complicated.

  18. September 23, 2010 3:26 PM

    well they were nuns, baby. they certainly wouldn’t use a Big O algorithm would they?

    also, if there’s a Big O algorithm, I might be persuaded to learn more math.

    also also, we need to buy you a better vibrator.

  19. September 23, 2010 3:50 PM

    As a lapsed Catholic who spent her summers and every holiday with the nuns at the convent I can tell you the real reason they sing is cases of sacramental wine and countless hours of watching Lawrence Welk. All Nunage aside. It’s kind of awesome you are at least 97% compatible with yourself. Yeah for You!

    Perhaps the Algorithm is wrong. My gf and I are opposites in many, many ways it seems to work.

    p.s. Math sucks and gives people headaches. Yeah for Ice Cream. That is all.

  20. September 23, 2010 7:43 PM

    I totally have a drinking problem and questionable morals. Howzabout I take you out on the town?

  21. September 23, 2010 7:50 PM

    Ok, so I left this comment that was seriously the bombdiggidy and totally solved all your problems and also had the meaning of life thrown in but I’m not sure what happened and now it’s lost in all the etherness on the web. So here’s a new summary: Paris Hilton is obviously the mathologist for this Cupid Co. and you should run away with Portia De Rossi cuz you’re both super hot and I’m sure Ellen’s perkiness has to get old at some point – all that dancing and stuff, it’s just not normal. Sadly, there was also a lot of poetic beauty to my comment too which is obviously lacking in this one but that is now all gone…unless you find it, in which case, uh, that’s not the one I meant…

  22. September 23, 2010 8:38 PM

    You are really pretty (and I’m straight lol)! I always hoped that my eyes would be crappy so that I could wear glasses…I think guys and girls in glasses look super cute.

    Ahh I used to be so obsessed with the Sound of Music when I was little. I think I may have begged my parents to buy a whistle because I wanted to march down and line up on the stairs just like they did. I’m totally going to be using “von Trapp” as a verb now, by the way. Awesome post as always! 🙂

  23. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    September 23, 2010 8:59 PM

    I’m majoring in journalism… and I didn’t have to take statistics.
    P.S. I really needed a post from you today and you came through. Thanks! 🙂

  24. September 23, 2010 11:02 PM

    you’re brilliant. i’d straighten my curly locks, bleach them blond and chop them off into a pageboy – i’d even wear brown dresses with an apron – if this meant we’d be 100% compatible. only i’m not compatible with anyone, including myself. and i almost failed statistics in college so i cheated on the final exam. statistically speaking, i’d probably cheat on you.

  25. September 24, 2010 12:37 AM

    For some reason I’m now singing this ditty…

    Oooo dear what can the matter be
    three old ladies locked in the lavetory
    they’ve been there from Monday to saturday
    no body knew they were there

    I think I need some kind of O too.

  26. khickey11 permalink
    September 24, 2010 9:22 AM

    I’m with Lindsay & s… LOL!! There is no WAY you should be single, and I too have questionable morals and a drinking problem!

    Wow it took me way too long to get around to reading this post. Especially when I already know how humorous you are. (I’m sorry that most of it is laughing at yourself. Really I am.)

    Do you have a Rabbit? Those things are incredible.

  27. Roxanne permalink
    September 24, 2010 1:15 PM

    If you have not yet, you NEED to see Victor/Victoria, a 1982 film in which a poverty-stricken Julie Andrews makes it as a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman! AND, the Music Man is her gay best friend! I would never have considered Julie Andrews particularly sexy or of my type, but damn, she looks good in men’s wear!

  28. September 25, 2010 12:57 AM

    You are ADORABLE! ADORABLE I say. I’m confused why there are not bouquets at your door right NOW. You should go check. I’ll hold.

  29. September 25, 2010 3:30 AM

    Man, I hate when pregnant women make it all about them. I get it! You have a baby inside you. There are other things going on in the world.
    I’m sorry you’re having so many dating dilemmas. Isn’t it weird how the blank blog template tricks you into sharing all of them? I’m glad you are. I smell a fresh gay take on a chick lit dating dilemma book in the works. Or is that my decaying weave?

    Also, that picture’s hot. I like the shades.

  30. September 25, 2010 4:05 PM

    You are a lesbian????
    Bwahahahahah…ok I kid.
    But seriously, I laughed my ass off as you were ranting about math. You almost sounded like you knew what you were talking about….as someone who actually likes math, I am impressed.

  31. September 26, 2010 12:46 PM

    Actually, you’ll be happy to know that it isn’t you that is bad at math. OK. I mean, you shouldn’t use this as evidence you’re bad at math. It’s actually those algorithms that are.

    I heard that these dating sites, while they do succeed sometimes, are failing. Because, guess what, they’re not good at math either.

    Or, maybe perhaps possibly who knows, human relationships shouldn’t be defined by algorithms. Just sayin’.

    So. My point is. Fear not. It’s the math that’s the problem. Not you.

  32. September 26, 2010 7:11 PM

    I can’t believe there is another woman out there who has unclean thoughts about Fraulein Maria. I saw the movie in the pre-VCR era (yep, that old) and it launched me into early lesbian puberty.

    I feel so validated.

  33. September 26, 2010 10:19 PM

    You’re so lucky you’re dating yourself. I’m dating myself right now too, and it’s really rewarding. I’m very generous.

    I was dying here: “Although at this point I’d settle for a Small O. Or a Fair-to-Middling O. Or a mildly attractive woman with a subscription to O magazine who wants to snuggle with me and my cats and gush about how insanely adorable Nate Berkus is.”


    You’re killing me Larry.

  34. September 27, 2010 1:01 AM

    How can you be 97% compatible with yourself? I mean, it’s you, shouldn’t you be 100%?

  35. September 27, 2010 8:39 AM

    I came over here from The Bloggess based solely on the title of your post because my boyfriend is on my last nerve and I was like, “Well, shit, I should’ve paid attention in math and then I’d know dating the boy I loved in 4th grade 25 years later was a really bad idea.” But then I read your post and laughed really hard and forgot how much I hate him right now. You’re awesome!

  36. September 27, 2010 3:35 PM

    Well I have long red hair and reading glasses, but I won’t fight ya for Julie…as long as I am left to my own devices with Sophia Loren. Or she is left to have her way with seducing me as I innocently pretend were just friends.


    Listen if Julie Andrews type looks are your benchmark you should be pretty good to go, but I agree you are gonna find a hard time in the personality/intelligence area.

    No joke-how about your local gay friendly church, instead of the internet? Our local King of Peace MCC has layers and layers of lesbian, and you know lesbians just love to hook up their friends, so even if you don’t meet her there it could be a six degrees of separation thing?

    Ok no really, this is a good idea, go do it. No, find out right now. Google it. I wanna know how it goes in…six weeks from now. I’ll be keeping tabs.

  37. September 27, 2010 8:34 PM

    you make this single business quit hilarious…

  38. The Good The Bad & The Random permalink
    September 29, 2010 12:49 AM

    i’m somewhere in the middle of cracking up and reciting the sound of music in my head. If i would’ve known math had something to do with a big O perhaps i wouldn’t have opted for communications after all…

    • December 19, 2010 3:13 AM

      Just reciting? I’m singing Maria. Damn! Now my neighbour is thumping on the wall.

  39. September 29, 2010 4:58 AM

    you are (italics) really cute. How come you didn’t meet anyone in college is that where college folk meet. I get A’s in math and find it funny that you base it all on Opra’s magazine.

  40. September 29, 2010 10:26 AM

    How can you be single with that smile? I mean has the entire world gone crazy??
    You’re freaking cute and smart!! and funny!!

  41. October 1, 2010 10:25 AM

    I get O magazine which I where I learned to toss around the phrase “If there’s one thing I know it’s this” I am approximately 50% compatible with myself. I figured this out by guessing that half the time I think I’m doing a pretty good job and half the time I think I suck. I shoved in the word “approximately” to use as a “margin of error.” 97% is really good.

    How do you solve a problem like Maria? Clearly, by hanging out around a nunnery! Don’t you think there’s fairly good odds that one of those broads sings, plays, guitar, is a lesbian and wants out (of nunnery and closet?)


  42. October 1, 2010 11:19 AM

    I am actually quite jealous that you are 97% match for yourself. I am so against myself that I sometimes feel I need one of those full blood transfusions you know for when your blood is poisonous to you. On a completely different subject: I don’t see how you remain single either.

  43. October 24, 2010 10:11 AM

    Hi! I just surfed over here (can’t even remember now how I got here) and saw this post. I LOVE OK Cupid! Not for it’s dating but for it’s snark. When I took their personality quiz and they dubbed me “Ghengis Khunt”, I HAD to join! I’ve added you to my reader so I’ll be back!

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