Website maps what Americans look for in love
Saturday 09 April 2011
In the cosmopolitan US capital, singles are seeking everything from "Morocco" to "Ethiopia", "Kazakhstan" and "steppes", to "Ascot" and "Bourgogne."
In oil-town Houston, lonely hearts are looking for "rich" "entrepreneurs", while in remote Maine, they desire "unmanly" "vampiric" types.
Those are the words that come up most often on the profiles people write to describe themselves and their ideal soulmate when they join a dating site.
Artist and composer R. Luke DuBois has put them together to form an interactive map of lovelorn America.
DuBois joined 21 online dating services to craft his project, called "A More Perfect Union," which maps the entire United States, replacing the names of towns, cities and neighborhoods with the words people use most on matchmaker sites to say who they are and who they want to be with.
"A More Perfect Union" is a census of people's longings, fantasies and even their dark sides - like the people or person in Colorado who used "killed" most often on dating sites, and the one in Utah who was looking for "dead."
DuBois did not attempt to explain why American lonely hearts use certain words over and over again. He just mapped them.
He said his lonely hearts census paints a better picture of who Americans are than the official census carried out every 10 years by the US government, which "gives us insight into our income, jobs, homes, ages, and backgrounds."
"What if, instead of looking at whether we own or rent our homes, we looked at what people do on a Saturday night?
"What if, instead of tallying ancestry or the type of industry in which we work, we found out what kind of person we want to love?" wondered DuBois.
The maps contain "20,262 unique words, based on the analysis of online dating profiles from 19,095,414 single Americans," he said.
"Each word appears in the place it's used more frequently than anywhere else in the country."
Words are enlarged by mousing over them, although some of the maps - such as the one of New York City - are illegible.
On the easier-to-read state maps, DuBois's research tells us that people in the eastern part of Wisconsin are looking for "blindfolded" "German" "brewers" with a "saloon" and a "suntan", while residents of the Maryland suburbs of Washington are seeking "excitement" with an "interesting", "presidential" "senator".
In Massachusetts, "rugby", "avocados", "asses" and "Irish" are among qualities being looked for in a potential mate.
Southern Californians seek "artistic" "writers" with "tattoos," who are into "acting", "film" or "entertainment".
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