blackgirlgenius (olamina) wrote,

Love, Dating, and Resisting Hermeneutics - Part 1

Last night as I was flicking the channels, I stumbled across a BBC produced pop psychology/brain science 3-part series entitled "Secret of the Sexes". Now, I am a sucker for pop psychology especially anything about love, sex, and relationships so though I was meant to be watching something else I couldn't turn away. I decided to blog and give you a summation and observations on this series.


The first one I watched was episode #2 on attraction. In this episode, some scientists, psychologists, make up artists, and stylists were brought together to find out whether a Scientific Dating Agency could work. They tried to discern what made men and women attracted to each other and then try and mold people thus that they were able to attract their "ideal" mates. They had two main guinea pigs, one woman and one man, both in their 30s who'd had little luck dating. Through a mix of computer profiling, makeovers, and questionnaires the research group tried to mold them into what was determined to be more attractive by the larger group of men and women they'd interviewed. After they were poked and prodded all were sent off to this speed dating event where every table was equipped with a meters on either side wherein they could gauge their opinions of the people they met at the first impression, during their brief discussion, and also at the end. The researchers were testing a few things:

1) whether men were truly attracted to the body type they chose on the computer screen (an "hourglass" type, which is the most "fertile looking" was most popular)
2) whether people were more attracted to people with similar face types to their own
3) whether the women (who by and large said they were not motivated by money) were actually telling the truth
4) whether women were actually attracted to the muscular types they chose on the screens
5) whether people with similar answers on the questionnaires would actually be more attracted to each other

By the end, it turned out that it was utterly impossible to match people up using any of the criteria they'd set forth. According to the scientists, there are a million little reasons why a person would or would not be attracted to another. For example, the main woman they focused on met her best match at the speed dating and was initially attracted to him, but as they talked she slowly disliked him more and more. Later on, after finding out he was her match according to the questionnaire and facial profile she gave him another chance and they ended going up twice. After two dates the guy told her it would not be going any further. When the interviewers asked him what had gone wrong he said they way she spoke reminded him of a family member of his in a disturbing way, he recognized it as a silly reason, but knew he was no longer interested in her. There's just no telling. The researchers also mentioned that while many people may have been chosen by the computer as perfect mates a lot of the criteria the computer used to judge came from questionnaires which quizzed them about deeply held values. While the similarity in values could've helped them lay the foundation for a relationship, people don't tend to think about/ connect on those sort of things at the outset of a relationship. Incidentally there is actually a British reality game show (this is what I am calling reality shows now) wherein 4 pairs of people are matched up by computer and then the group of 8 are thrown into a chalet somewhere to see who hits it off. I only saw it once, but apparently the computer is almost always disastrously way off. The manage to pick the most despicable people to be on Brit reality shows (I guess that's all reality shows actually, but the show was pretty funny.

One thing I noted in the program is that the man they focused on was a very sad little Welsh man on the program who was a slight and somewhat pathetic nebbish Political Science lecturer at a university and as the show went on I felt sad enough for him that I'd have gone out with him just out of pity. I don't know if I'm abnormal, but I noticed that one girl did end up throwing him a bone at the speed date just because he seemed nice enough. I wonder it would work the other way, I think it is far less likely. I dunno.

My synopsis on the last episode(on Love and Relationships) synopsis here.
Tags: love, relationships

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