Now, when I've read LessWrong in the past I've always thought to myself, "what a nice friendly community, populated by geeks like myself". But looking at all those profiles I'm amazed how outdoorsy adventurism seems to be a big part of your self-image.

SarahC "hiking and trail-running the Wasatch Mountains this summer was a blast"

Yvain "insane adventure ... mountain-climbing in the Himalayas"

mattnewport "Mountains make me happy. I love snowboarding and hiking on them."

Nisan "I love exploring" [pictures in exotic mountainous locations]

JGWeissman "I am an active member of the UCI Sailing Association"

Relsqui "You want to go do something with me. Ride bikes"

I've got nothing against mountains, I've even been up a few and enjoyed it. I'm not fat or anything, I even exercise semi-regularly. But if I were to make a profile like this it would never occur to me to emphasize those aspects of myself. Is this known to be attractive? I personally find these profiles intimidating. I would be more awkard and less comfortable meeting any of you after seeing those profiles than just after seeing your LW contributions.

To me, those profiles have a tendency towards coming across as perfect-and-a-bit-bland or goody-two-shoes, which is simultaneously intimidating (I'm not perfect) and not exciting to me. I like people that have some decadent, flawed or 'evil' aspects. Saying you have an evil sense of humor is something, but it's a bit non-specific.

Disclaimer: I married my high-school girlfriend. I have zero experience with dating or dating websites. I probably have no idea what I'm talking about. I would possibly be qualified to give advice about maintaining a successful relationship but I know very little about starting one. My tastes in people are also probably not typical, I have a fondness for the romantic and the mysterious - exhaustively detailed profiles are inherently something of a turn-off to me.

Edit: Rereading my comment, I think I hit the wrong tone. I meant to convey "There's something I don't understand!" but probably came across as "You're doing it wrong!". I don't expect OKC profiles to be optimized to appeal to me. For one thing, I'm not an American and probably miss a lot of nuance - for example I'm not sure that outdoorsy signalling has the same meaning in my country. (For another thing, I'm married.)

Outdoors-adventure stories/pictures: I also enjoy such activities in moderation (e.g. I play beach volleyball several times a week), but doing so is seen as an attractive quality (evidence of "spirituality", health, attractiveness, willpower, etc. in comparison to the stereotypical couch potato or computer nerd). So you should expect people to sell that part of themselves to the extent that it exists in any quantity.

4Relsqui10yI find it really interesting that I'm included in that, but I think I understand why. I absolutely share your intimidation by really outdoorsy-oriented profiles. It makes me feel like the person would always want to be off doing things I didn't know how to do, wasn't fit enough for, or just wasn't interested in. I don't place my mentions of cyclling in that category, for two reasons: 1) Bicycling as a primary mode of transportation is common among people my age in my city. Cycling isn't a hobby for me; my bike is my car. I rarely ride just for pleasure. 2) Because of the first point, dating another cyclist--or at least a bike-friendly person--is actually a practical matter for me. If I date someone who has a car and no bike, and we travel together, I'm relying on that person for transportation wherever we go, and cannot leave by myself if I want to. This is inconvenient at best, and potentially scary at worst. We could travel separately, but drastically different speeds make that a bit of a nuisance ... plus, traveling with my date is just nicer. This is not to say that I wouldn't date someone who didn't use bikes for transportation. But it's easier, and if it's going to be an issue I'd like to establish that up front. Besides ... it's a filter for the sorts of people who might think "Ugh, why are these stupid bicyclists riding in the road?! Don't they know it's just for cars?!" ;)
6[anonymous]10yWell, a lot of people like physical activity in a partner -- it says something about physical attractiveness, and also a sort of energetic outlook. As for the predominance of outdoorsy activities -- honestly some of it is a class/culture thing, but so what. I've also noticed that there's overlap between math and mountaineering -- sort of the same kind of "coincidence" as math people liking Bach. Geeks tend to be drawn to physically demanding individual pursuits: running, climbing, cycling, and to a lesser extent weights. (Swimming ought to qualify but I've never met a lot of geeky swimmers.)

Open Thread, September, 2010-- part 2

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read17th Sep 2010877 comments


This thread is for the discussion of Less Wrong topics that have not appeared in recent posts. If a discussion gets unwieldy, celebrate by turning it into a top-level post.