The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 1

I’ve taken over The Bachelor sweeps at my new work so I thought I’d write some commentary to go along with it. The blog will contain longform recaps before I condense it down to something a bit more pithy for my workmates (who will probably just want to know if they’re still in the running or not) on a weekly basis . No promises every episode will get its own recap, I may combine depending how busy I am! If you want my running commentary on the episodes I’ll be livetweeting at vic_values.

Memorable entrances
My general feeling is that anyone who gets shoved in to the montage portion of the evening is probably not a long-running contender. You don’t need to have a gimmick, but if the editors aren’t working to get us invested from the start, then that’s telling us something.

michelle
Michelle is a 31-year year old cop who in a gross misuse of police resources has apparently driven her patrol car to the Bachie mansion from South Australia. Matty, secret kinkmeister that he is, asks Michelle to faux-arrest him. He is…quite in to it.

akoulina
Akoulina is a 29-year-old gymnastics instructor who apparently never got over that thing you did as a kid any time the Olympics was on, where literally any piece of fabric could be your ‘ribbon’ if you twirled it enthusiastically enough. Walking out of the limo with ribbons going full force makes her look like a complete fruitcake, but at least she shows off her career without gross misuse of taxpayer dollars like Michelle did. She also provides entertainment to drunk girls at the cocktail party with her ribbons so all in all A+

tara
As a self-confessed complete and utter bogan, I must say that Tara really did our people proud tonight. She struggled to find the right words upon meeting Matty, and eventually landed on calling him ‘mate’. And really, who amongst us hasn’t accidentally called the object of our of affections ‘mate’ like we are the oldest bloke at a country pub? I must rewatch the episode on Tenplay at some point but I solemnly swear her reaction when Matty called out her name for a rose was to enthuse ‘sick’. And she’s going to pull out ‘devo’ next week according to the preview. All of this may not make her seem like the most charming paramour – and Matty’s a marketing guy, so he’ll probably appreciate a bit of polish – but she seems genuinely charming, PLUS she’s a nanny who finds kids are ‘attracted’ (hmm) to her, which will undoubtedly appeal to our family-orientated bachie.

Elora
An incredibly odd choice from the producers here. Elora was born in Tahiti and is the only non-white woman in the entire cast… because diversity is not apparently something we worry about in the year of our lord 2017. Already marked by her difference, Elora does not arrive in a limo with the rest of the girls but arrives for some reason after the cocktail party has already begun – while fire dancing. It strikes an odd tone as this woman, already marked in her difference, is then treated as an ‘intruder’ by the other contestants. We’ve got at least five more episodes for that, ladies. Matty sweetly devotes some extra time for a chat with Elora due to her not getting a limo entrance like the others.

The beef
The real juice of the first episode generally has little to do with the Bachelor himself. Yeah yeah, maybe he’s meeting the love of his life that night. But more importantly, a bunch of women who are all competing for the same goal are going to meet each other for the first time and be continuously plastered with champagne. It’s a recipe for one thing, and that’s beef. Drama. The good stuff. One could almost say no reality TV show has really kicked off til someone says ‘Game on moll’, and The Bachelor episode one delivered the goods.

So who’s got beef?
Leah + everyone
leah
She’s a classic reality show villain, and even pulls out the ‘I’m not here to make friends’ card in the very first episode. She proudly announces that she’s not wearing any underwear, a comment made redundant by the fact that anyone that looks at her largely-transparent dress can see it quite clearly for themselves. She’s not really an interesting villain, just a drunk, attention-seeking 24-year-old who’ll hang around and screech for half the season at the behest of the producers, until Matty decides they don’t have a ‘connection’.

Jennifer and Elizabeth

 

There always has to be someone who cries on the first night and this time is was old Chest Tatt Jennifer. She’s got a real look of the Real Housewives to her and the attitude to match. This drama starts up when dark horse Elizabeth decides to openly declare Jennifer’s (totally not a wedding dress) dress to be ‘putrid’, and then when immediately called on it declares this to be ‘social commentary’, an excuse I will now also use any time I get busted bitching about someone. It later emerges that Elizabeth was actually doing a bit of the old Caroline Bingley and commenting on the mud on the hem of Jennifer’s dress, but either way this fight and its teary aftermath were juicy enough that some of the girls literally fetched popcorn to go along with all the other salty goodness.

Cue the strings
Matty did seem to have some clear favourites on the night. Michelle (of the cheeky role play) received the first impression rose – not always a great indicator of success in the end, but she sure as hell got his attention.

lisa
He also pulled aside Lisa for a chat to tell her how much she – a model by profession, apparently – doesn’t know she’s beautiful. As much as Matty managed to fall for boundary-setting, emotionally-open Georgia Love, it’s no great surprise that one of the girls that caught his eye on the first night was a quintessential Cool Girl. I’m bouncing around a bit of a post about the Cool Girl, but you’ll be familiar with the idea if you’ve read or seen Gone Girl or are basically aware of the existence of Jennifer Lawrence. The Cool Girl’s two most important qualities? She’s hot, and she’s chill. Lisa had some serious calm confidence in her chats with Matty, and she’s got hotness in spades. I can see her going a long way, but the challenge for her will be opening herself up emotionally. You don’t get the Bachie without being a bit effusive with your feels.

laura
I can definitely see Lisa being in the final two with someone like Laura. At 30 years old (to Lisa’s 24), Laura offers a different kind of confidence and warmth, and Twitter (as well as the rest of the contestants) seem to think she also bears a pretty strong resemblance to a certain Bachelorette who has captured Matty’s heart before. There wasn’t a lot to go on from this episode but there definitely seemed to be some sparks! Or maybe I’m just biased because I got her in the sweep.

If we judge by the order of the roses, then Lisa and Laura are both strong chances, along with Alix, a ‘professional body painter’ who I have dubbed Manic Pixie Cool Girl, and Elora.

And a hearty ‘we barely knew ye’ (because you received no screen time) to our first eliminated contestants, Monica and Stacey.

Next time: actual dates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

Tinder Trends Part 4: The Big Study Epilogue

A few little bits and bobs to finish off The Big Study this week. I mentioned in the last post that I had a few more data points I wanted to tease out, mostly regarding age.

My first point was a bit surprising – does Tinder want me to be a cougar?

ages

More than 50% of profiles shown to me were aged in their twenties. I’ve been looking to see if I can find some solid demographic data – to see if it’s just reflecting the age of users, however the only stats I can find break it down in to large groups, like age 25-34. Anyway, it’s always flattering once you’re in your dotage to know that plenty of men in their twenties still look at a woman of your age as a viable option, and not just a candidate for the nursing home. I just found it odd the relative dearth of men the app seemed to be showing that were my own age.

5c95984811e99c1aa65280d4b26600a1

“When?”
“Someday!”

bio
Breaking down the bio features stats by age revealed that they were really pretty close. I was wondering if the data was going to surprise on the ‘looking for’ front, but it didn’t. Men who have had a little more time on the earth have a better idea of what they’re looking for, and are more inclined to tell the world. Where they seem to be a little more shy is adding information about themselves, with the 25-29 age group having the best showing here. As stated in the last post, the height factor wasn’t really much of a ‘thing’ – about 15% of all profiles listed it – but the 30-35 age group was more than twice as likely as the 25-29 age group to list their height.

onesormore

Moving on to photos, rather than looking at each photo type as a percentage of all photos, I also wanted to see how each was represented by percentage of profiles. I think faces are kind of important, so I was very pleased to see over 90% of profiles have at least one photo where the subject’s face can be seen in full. I am vaguely astounded that only 40% of profiles have a travel photo – I have used the app on and off since the study and they are absolutely still a mainstay.

photosage3
Alright, no-one’s surprised that the 25-29 year olds are dominating the meme game, nor that the 30-35 year olds have maybe had the best opportunities to travel. Nope, the biggest surprise was the 36-40 year olds having the highest average number of gym selfies. Older dudes be taking care of themselves, and they’re not afraid for you to know it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blog posts looking at Tinder from a data analysis perspective. I’m shortly starting a new role so I’ll have to turn my Huge Nerd Brain to other, less frivolous things for a while. I have a couple of pieces that will by published off-blog in coming weeks, but Victorian Values will return in some non-Tinder-y form. If you’ve got any suggestions for subjects that you think are under-sassed and under-charted, please send them my way!

Tinder Trends Part 3: The Big Study

Okay, this is Part 1 of the Big Study. But having a Part 1 of Part 3 seemed a bit ‘Hunger Games’ of me. Or even worse, ‘The Hobbit’.

c5152cf36470509dfc30370a5f40e4d0

In late March I committed myself to my largest data collection to date. I set my age parameters to 25-40 years, and my distance parameters to 50km. Over a few days I swiped through 200 profiles without discrimination, recording 13 data points on each profile. I managed to find one person worth matching with (and then quickly found myself bored when I realised I was asking all the questions), and once again questioned why I like men.

And then I stared at the data – for weeks. I plugged it in to visualisation apps. I attended an Excel Bootcamp, sure that if I just understood VLOOKUPS, or heard about a different chart type, I could get this data to tell the grand story I thought it must.

footage
Actual footage

What I mainly discovered is that Excel really doesn’t like that part of my data is text (four data points are Y/N). So what I’m going to do is slowly tease out some insights. Maybe there isn’t one big story to tell, but there are some smaller ones. And they’re not necessarily the stories I thought I’d be telling (surely the most fun part of data analysis – when the data tells you something unexpected).

In my last Tinder Trends entry, I talked about the infamous bios. It got pretty macro, so in this case I only looked for a few data points. I wanted to tie it back to the idea that you should:

  1. Have something to say for yourself
  2. Know what you want and what you like
  3. …I didn’t concern myself too much with fuckwittage this time, but I did have one more bio feature I was curious about…

Height. I felt like it comes up a lot, and I sort of scoff every time I see it. For one, it’s only ever tall guys who list their height, which feels kind of like boasting. Also, I don’t think height’s a personality feature. During my data compilation, I ran a (very small) poll on Twitter to see if other people felt the way I do – that it’s probably not that important to know during the very early stages:

tall

I didn’t get any in-depth responses, but I do wonder if the two women who responded with ‘Yes’ are of non-average height themselves, as I can understand the relevance if you yourself are very short or very tall. Just for avoiding potential neck strain issues.

So what did the data actually say?
MenofMystery

This larger sample closed the gap a bit on the old ‘I will rely solely on my appearance’ brigade, with only 23% represented this time rather than 35% in the last sample.

Obviously, the following figures are from the remaining 77% who had something to say for themselves.

Features

This chart doesn’t really represent the crossover of these three data points – I did some unnecessarily fancy Excel formula work to find there were 30 profiles that featured what they do, what they’re looking for, and height (i.e 15% of the total sample).

So, first observation: the height things isn’t really too widespread. It’s noticeable, but not exactly endemic. Can we even call ‘about 15%’ a trend?  Look, if a girl has nicknamed you The Mountain and you’re not keen to go through that again (or….you’re really keen for that to happen again), chuck it in there. But just know it doesn’t make you better than anyone else.

People are better at expressing what they’re looking for in another person than discussing their own selling points, clearly. It’s still not a great amount, but it was pretty heartening to read people express what they’re on Tinder for, and mostly without being too prescriptive. Lots of men just wanted to meet some new people. I think that’s something that’s got to come from the heart. You know what doesn’t require an excess of soul-searching? A little of information about you. I treated jobs and interests equally under the ‘what I do’ section, because I think both give insight in to a person’s character in different ways. If you’re extremely passionate about your chosen career, please put that in your bio. If your job just pays the bills. but you live for mountain biking on the weekends, chuck that in instead! Either of those things gives the other person an opening for conversation, which is important.

You know I love analysing photos, as it was the subject of my first column, but I decided to look outside the animal kingdom this time. My subjects posted an average of 4.5 photos each, which meant I had a wealth of potential data points.

Pictures

Note the scale on this one – no data point represented more than 20% of all photos. What I may pull out at some stage is the percentage of all profiles they represent, but I think this is something I want to explore more in the next part.

Travel photos are god. You’ve got to feel bad for the guy on Tinder who has never travelled overseas. How will we ever know where all the money has gone for the house deposit that will never be? I think travel is a common interest for a lot of people in the 25-40 age group, so it makes sense (real talk, I’m guilty of it myself in my own profile), and I also suspect there is simply the reality that we take more photos when we’re on holidays.
And, apparently, when we’re drinking in bars. It overwhelms the animal photos by far. It was extremely rare to find one these photos where the subject wasn’t red-faced and well on their way to inebriation. There’s a certain honesty to it, but it’s not putting your best foot forward.

And yes. There was two profiles where the person’s partner was clearly in their photo. One was explicit about their open relationship. One….was not.

My final point for this part was actually my greatest bugbear:

Faces (1)

In only 52% of pictures could you see the subject’s face in full. What was happening in the other 48% of photos?

fontlook

  • Group photos – I saw profiles where every single photo was of a group, making the person whose profile it actually was indistinguishable.
  • Sunglasses. Yes, I know you think you look hot in your sunglasses (it’s because they obscure part of your face). Once again, entire profiles could go by with only photos in sunglasses. Limit yourself to one only, and make sure your entire face is visible in another – preferably your main – photo.
  • Photos taken from so far away they might as well have been taken on the international space station (strong crossover with travel photos here).

Have you ever felt a genuine connection with someone whose face you couldn’t see? ‘The eyes are the window to the soul’ is actually a phrase for a reason, and not just because some houses look like faces.

 

 

As I set my age parameters far wider in this sample than they would usually be, in my next set of analysis I’d like to see if I can tease out some age-related data. Are you more likely to know what you’re looking for when you’re approaching 40? Are the 25 year olds vastly over-represented in the gym selfie department? I actually have no idea, so let’s go on a journey of discovery together next time.

 

 

A deviation: Art has all the nudes you need

On Wednesday I knew I’d have some time to kill before heading out to Hawthorn to watch Colossal (which is quite the take on the monster movie, if you’re interested!) so I decided to stop by the National Gallery of Victoria. Having read a little about it when it opened at the end of March, I wanted to check out their new free (don’t worry, this ain’t #SponCon) exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800.

Truth be told, I’m not really an ‘art’ person. I’m more of a music/words/theatre type, but I don’t mind the occasional gallery visit. I’m very much looking forward to their Van Gogh exhibition which starts in late April, but I’m fairly awful at appreciating contemporary art. The Love exhibition is a bit of an odd bunch. It mostly consists of works from the Gallery’s existing collection, somewhat loosely connected to the idea of love. I knew a few pieces from the promotional material, but my main thought process was that if I was bringing together some early modern European pieces around a universal theme, I would do what I could to relate it to present day. And that made me suspect I could probably tie in some of the artworks on display to my writing on love, dating, and Tinder.

Turns out there’s a reason I’m not running a gallery. However, I found no shortage of amusement, mostly in the ‘Anticipation’ section. This section revolves around flirtation, seduction and danger. In the section I learned that the language of a fan could be just as direct as a right-swipe, mansplaining is found to be the truth universal, and everyone has always loved a nude.

My apologies for the photo quality – they were snapped on my phone, and the gallery keeps the light quite low. Also I’ve mined the labels as much as possible post-visit – there may be some wonkiness with translations or attributions.

Selfies are nothing new

20170412_155017_220170412_155023_2

  1. Anthony van Dyck, Self-portrait, c. 1645
  2. Elizabeth Louise Vigée le Brun, The artist at work, 1830

Feeling a bit embarrassed about spending half an hour taking photos at slightly different angles to find the perfect profile photo? Some people like to think we have reached the depths of vanity with our selfie culture, but honestly, how long would it take to paint a self-portrait? Consider how many hours you would spend obsessing over the curve of your shoulder. Or whether you would look better in a diaphanous gown of blue or pink.
Who’s vain now?

Well, actually…

20170412_161559_220170412_154437_220170412_154532_220170412_154408_2

  1. Cornelis Bega, The young hostess, 1650-54
  2. François Boucher, The music lesson, c. 1745
  3. Peter Paul Rubens, The Garden of Love, mid 17th Century
  4. François Boucher, The enjoyable lesson, 1748

Large parts of this exhibition was just representations of bored women on terrible dates – or just trying to do their job, hey.

I’m willing to admit that maybe it was just François Boucher who was fixated on women not being able to play a goddamn flute with their own hands thankyouverymuch, but golly, the ennui of these women. Every one of these men sounded like such a promisingly cute geek in their profile, and then gave you an 45-minute spiel on Star Wars lore when you confused Darth Malgus for Darth Nihilus in passing.

No one can make you a third wheel unless you let them

20170412_155235_2

Unknown, The Cradle of Love, c. 1816

Odd one out?
It’s time to get creative, and think of a group activity where no-one will notice you’re a little extraneous to their needs. Bowling is good, theme park visits less so. And everyone loves dancing – until a slow song comes on.

Pls send nudes
20170412_161919

Unknown (Deruta manufacturer), Dish, 1520-1530

A large part of what I learned touring this exhibition was that artists have long loved using ancient mythology as an excuse to paint some tits. This one’s a little different.
The label for this item discussed the production of pottery to celebrate marriages and romantic unions, sometimes forming part of the dowry (the markers on this particularly item doesn’t entirely explain the context of it’s creation). The exposure of the breast in this item is unusual, but it’s a fun idea to make him wait for nudes until he puts a ring on it.
(Don’t mess around with your digital security, ladies. For trusted folks only)

Never date a musician
20170412_155254_2
Jacques André Portail, Young man seated, playing a lute, 18th century

They’re moody and mysterious, sitting around on rocks and throwing you cheeky looks,  until they ruin the mood by playing Wonderwall at your best friend’s birthday party. And then there’s the constant fear of the Taylor Swift treatment when you break up.

I didn’t tend to take many photos of the devotional section of this exhibition, as I’m not really one for making fun of religion – particularly not on Easter weekend. This is but a small taster of the over 200 works on display for free in this collection at the NGV.
I hope you enjoyed this slight deviation, while I continue to sort through my biggest sample yet. I collected 13 data points on 200 subjects, not considering that I didn’t necessarily have the skills to mine that data particularly well as yet. But I will be back – with charts!

Tinder Trends Part 2: So Tell Me About Yourself

While you let the secondhand embarrassment of the above video sit with you for a bit, I want you to consider that the only difference between those vignettes and a Tinder bio? Is that one third of those men aren’t staring silently at the camera. Everyone struggles essentially putting the ‘Hey I’m a relatively normal human being who wants companionship’ out there in to the world – but at least Mr Refined Valley Dude knows what he’s about.

Once again, I’m concentrating on men (….because that’s what I’ve got set as my Tinder preference) but I think there’ll be some takeaway for women. In fact, I think this edition is going to be very common sense, but my favourite part of putting together the data for the column is just to demonstrating how low any woman’s expectations are going to be for what you write about yourself.

So here’s the first tip. Just write something.

I should note that this column is aimed at people who use Tinder as a dating app, rather than for facilitating hook-ups (which I know is what it’s designed for). I don’t do casual sex, so I can’t really give a lot of advice on the subject, and I feel like people who are just looking for a shag can probably get there on their own. For you guys, the only suggestion I would make, and this is the common sense of any Murderino*, is if they look like they have a body in the back of their car, or if they say something in chat that makes you suspect that they don’t respect bodily autonomy…don’t have sex with them. So keeping that in mind, unless you have the best bod in the world, and some plucky young lass is planning to use you only for that body, you’re probably gonna need just a little something in your bio to avoid an immediate left-swipe. And if you have anything, just anything, you’re doing better than 35% of my sample of 100 profiles.

A note here: I have been an unintentional hypocrite on this personal deal-breaker. If you de-activate your profile and then re-activate it, it wipes your bio. Go check if you’ve still got one!

bios2

(Okay so this is not technically a pie chart. It’s a donut graph, which I have permission to use if I need to, plus I love any excuse to think about eating donuts. Bar charts do not evoke going to a bar)

Here’s the common sense:

If someone’s considering whether to swipe right, they might want to have an idea of how compatible you are, what you might have in common. The best way to get an idea? Knowing who someone is, what they’re looking for in a partner, and what their interests are.

Five per cent of men in my data could actually articulate all that.

Others came close. Six per cent outlined their interests, succinctly. Four per cent issued a laundry list of everything they liked.  Four per cent outlined what they’re looking for. Pretty much all those guys could be saved, with a little profile re-write.

Getting an idea of what someone is looking for is a good preview of your potential compatibility. A guy who’s looking for princess to look after? Not for me.  But that could be some woman’s dream guy. If you’re not sure about the whole Tinder thing, and you’re just hoping to meet some new people? Put it out there.

It doesn’t have to be strict. You might as well keep it light – research has shown your idea of what you’re looking for may mean nothing when it comes to who you match with (note that this research is based on RSVP, which is prescriptive when it comes to having users describe their ideal partners – with fields like hair colour, eye colour, body type, education level, personality type, political view, and religious affiliation).

You can get deep talking about interests and deal-breakers and all those things in chat or on a date after matching, bios are just a great way to rule you in or rule you out in that first round. Unless you’re kicking a baby or a dog in your pictures, if we have a few common interests and you haven’t said anything problematic in your bio, I’m probably going to swipe right.

Now.  Let’s outline how low a girl’s standards are going to be. Here’s some things I came across in my data:

‘The girls sayin’ “not into one night stands” or “not into netflix and chill” are totally into them [wink emoji]

An idea to try: when a woman tells you explicitly what she is and isn’t in to, believe her.

‘Won’t buy your taco’s But I will touch your butt!’

Por que no los dos tbh.

 ‘If you don’t believe in love and fairytales we probably won’t have much in common [heart emoji] Taylor Swift’

This message was somewhat undercut by the fact that one of his pictures is he and (presumably) a friend naked, with their backs to the camera, doing the shaka sign.

Outside this sample, I did have an example of using your bio to be really really gross that I probably need to share. I’m quoting this sucker in full.

‘Keep it simple and real. My life is a drama-free zone.

I’m in no rush, going with the flow and seeing where it leads. I like to think of women like cars. Used cars may have low mileage, been cared for, kept clean, or they may be abused, with visible and hidden damage. Then there are ex-rental cars, only suitable for short term use, troublesome and costly to maintain while offering minimal benefits. What I really want is a brand new car to start afresh, care for and travel many miles with!’

Admittedly it was kind of tempting to match with this guy who’s cruising Tinder for virgins just to link him to the car chase in Blues Brothers.

crash

After absolutely nothing at all, the biggest trend were bios that would send any woman possessing all her mental faculties to sleep.

‘Hi

I work in the transport industry’

‘6ft Tall

Eastern Suburbs’

Look honestly a boyfriend who’s not around much would probably be great for me, but I’m still going to need a bit more information. And height is not a personality feature.

You can be weird to get attention, or can seriously raise a woman’s curiosity by being a 38-year-old-man who’s ‘new to this whole internet thing’ (how? You’ve been in prison, right? Or trapped in an underground bunker?), but being genuine is always going to be the winner.

The rules for Tinder bios are basically the same as the rules for being a human being someone might want to talk to, and potentially eventually see naked.

  • Have something say for yourself.
  • Know what you want and what you like (being open to possibilities!)
  • Don’t be a fuckwit.

 

*If you listen to My Favorite Murder please @ me immediately.

Why I Call Myself a Romantic Realist

mechart2

*I attended a data analytics and visualisation workshop this week, and have been expressly forbidden from continuing to use pie charts. Bubble charts are where it’s at.

A quick note to explain the term

Sometimes my writing on Tinder can come off as a little cynical, but you’ll note underneath it all, I want people to do it right, because I want them to find love (even on a hook-up app). I am a romantic.
People expect women to be romantic. By no means is it always true, but there is an assumption. So what I’m saying is – I’m the kind of romantic who reads romance novels. I watch When Harry Met Sally… with alarming regularity. In fact, you can hook the Nora Ephron directly in to my veins, thanks.
But real life is infinitely more complicated than the happily ever after. The background I come from is not solely my story to tell, and given I write under my own name I don’t  want to expose real people, who still exist in a real marriage. But suffice to say that as I grew up, the friends I gravitated to were people a bit like me. For us the norm was divorce, single parents, step-parents and endless other domestic complications. Visiting a friend’s house and finding two parents who were loving and affectionate, who bantered instead of bickered, was like stepping in to an alternate universe. Why was no-one calling each other stupid or unreasonable?
So I’m a romantic. But I’m a realist. What does that mean? It means I truly believe in love, and believe it’s worth fighting for when you find it. Personally, I think it’s worth waiting for. But it also means that I know love can be fragile, and hard to find. And most of all – when it comes to love, actions speak louder than words. All the pretty words mean nothing, if you don’t act like it.