The best dates are blind

·4 min read

According to research by the dating website Match.com, each state has a popular and unique word that keeps cropping up in its local profiles.

In Wyoming, no real surprise, the most popular word is “hunting.” People from Wyoming use that word a lot in real life, so it makes sense they’d use it on their dating profiles, too.

In Oregon, it's “kayak.” And in Colorado, it’s “snowboarding.” No surprises there, either.

In Ohio, weirdly, it's “bonfires.” Best not to think too deeply about that one.

Florida is “Disney.” Virginia is “military." California is “desert,” which at first I read as “dessert,” but I knew that couldn't be right because, well, carbs.

New York is “museum,” and Mississippi is “lookin’,” which sounds dead on: People in New York are pretentious intellectuals, and people in Mississippi are friendly but direct.

Dating sites are all about matching people to each other, but television networks and streaming video services do basically the same thing.

Netflix has a complicated algorithm designed to suggest things you might like to see based on what you've already seen. Amazon keeps a close watch on everything you’ve ever bought or browsed in order to serve up a menu of “You May Also Like” items.

Buying stuff and watching shows is a lot like dating when you get right down to it. When you try a new product or watch the first episode of a television show, the two of you are on a first date. And as single people, consumer packaged goods companies, and movie and television studios all know, first dates are easy compared to second dates. It’s the second date when things get interesting, where the commitment deepens. By the third date, you’d better seal the deal.

If you’re selling spaghetti sauce, you get a first date with the consumer by offering a deal — two for one, a coupon, or maybe just a jazzed-up label. If they buy your sauce again, you’re looking good. A third time, and you have a spaghetti sauce customer for life.

Replace “spaghetti sauce” with “television show” or “life partner,” and you get the idea.

Dating, like show business, is a high-stakes game, which is why so much effort is spent trying to figure out what "You May Also Like."

But as the Match.com survey shows, we're a complicated country. The “kayak" people and the “lookin'” people probably aren't going to be watching the same thing that the “bonfire" people are, though I suppose the “hunting” people (which includes Louisiana and Arkansas and Montana) and the “woods and lakes” people in Maine and New Hampshire could probably go on some successful dates.

The problem is, some of the best matches are between people who don’t have things in common. We’ve all seen plenty of “museum” people end up in lasting relationships with “bonfires.”

Just as each one of us, I know, has looked at the “You May Also Like” suggestions from Netflix or Amazon and thought, "Who do these people think I am?"

Successful couples aren't necessarily the product of a “kayak” person from Oregon bumping into a “kayak” person from Vermont, where it's also the most popular word in Match.com dating profiles. I'll bet someone from Tennessee — “porch” —could end up on a date with someone from New Jersey — “lounge” — and still feel a click of attraction, no matter what the algorithm says.

Television show “dating” works the same way. I wasn't really interested in dragons and quasi-medieval violent political struggles until I saw Game of Thrones. I didn't care about South Koreans in debt until I saw Squid Game. And if you'd asked me if I wanted to watch the inventors of useless Skymall-type doodads pitch their stuff to venture capitalists, I'd have said, “Hard pass on that, thanks,” but then I watched Shark Tank.

The biggest hits, in other words, and entertainment company executives hate to hear this, are blind dates. The blinder the better.

And it’s true for people, too.

Two more popular words unique to certain states: Texas, obviously, “oil.” Missouri, oddly, "zoo.” Figure that one out and you've got yourself a hit. Or a match.

Rob Long is a television writer and producer and the co-founder of Ricochet.com.

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Tags: Life, humor, Romance, Hollywood, Entertainment

Original Author: Rob Long

Original Location: The best dates are blind

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