It may seem perverse, but people often bond over how much they dislike something – or someone. In fact, if you play your cards well enough, hating the same things may be the best way of ending up in bed with someone you fancy.
Here are some random things I hate: peanut butter; people who dawdle on busy pavements; Johnny Depp; vodka; nuclear orange cheese; David Avocado Wolfe; and John Legend’s ‘All of Me’, a song as romantic as plastic carnations performed by a man in the throes of a wedgie.
If you agree with me, we may fall madly in love and move some place exotic — like the Maldives or Mullingar.
In the past week I have been asked twice how a single person should set about finding true love. I’ll be honest — I’m fucked if I know. Sure, you can trawl for potential mates on dating apps, at evening classes, through mutual friends, at work, in the pub and at meet-ups, but it’s a crap-shoot whether you’ll actually find anyone you fancy. But if you do, there are a couple of things that can help turn attraction into love – or at least into overnight affection.
Funnily enough, hatred is one of them.
A 2011 study, conducted by Jennifer Bosson from the University of South Florida, revealed that gossip, especially the nasty variety of thrashing someone helps people bond. “There’s something really powerful about the discovery of shared negative attitudes,” she says.
Bosson found that denigrating celebrities worked just as well as gossiping about acquaintances. Which may explain Kim Kardashian’s enduring presence in the media. Either way, mutually hating a third person, or thing, helps us form social bonds. This is because by doing so, we create an Us vs Them scenario — or as scientists would say, an “in-group” in direct contrast to a specific “out-group.”
Given this, it’s surprising it has taken so long for someone to monetise Bosson’s findings. But this research informs the thinking behind the newest dating app, Hater. Hater matches people on their dislikes instead of their likes. It launched in February – but it originally began as a joke. Its creator, Brendan Alper, left his job at Goldman Sachs to become a comedian and the idea was part of his set. But he suspected that there might be something in it, so he did some reading and realised, hey ho, he was correct.
FEELINGS OF INTIMACY
You’d think, what with Tinder, Bumble, Happn and Grindr, the dating and hook-up app market would be saturated — and it probably is. but I suspect that this idea may just be freaking genius. For one thing, dating apps generally require us to put our best face forward, both literally and figuratively. Hell, Bumble now wants its users to upload 10 second videos to give potential matches greater insight into their lives, turning online dating into a full time social media marketing job.
Hater, at very least, lets you be negative and bitchy — two things women, in particular, are cautioned to avoid, but which most of us, men and women, generally love to do.
The path to true love doesn’t necessarily have to be littered with malicious gossip, tattered reputations and hour-long bitch-fests. Hatred isn’t the only odd thing that prompts sexual attraction — fear does too. Studies have found that exciting, or scary experiences, enhance feelings of attraction. The psychologist Arthur Aron and colleagues had a female interviewer stop male passersby to ask them questions. One set of men were crossing a swinging suspension bridge and the other was on firm bridge. Afterwards, when asked for their opinion of the interviewer, the blokes on the suspension bridge rated her as far more attractive than the men with their feet on firm ground.
This seems to be because danger stimulates adrenaline, and adrenaline is closely related to dopamine — the chemical most associated with romantic love. Because of this, biological anthropologist and love expert Helen Fisher recommends rollercoaster rides and horror films as a way of sparking romantic and sexual interest. Ugh, no thanks Helen! I hate horror movies!
If you don’t fancy bitching or terrifying your date, you could always try interrogating them. Aron also came up with a series of thirty-six questions, which he claims promote feelings of intimacy and attraction.
The questions start off fairly innocuously. They include asking your date about their ideal dinner guest and to describe their perfect day. The questions then get more probing. The thinking behind this is that sustained personal self-disclosure, if reciprocal, makes us feel close to one another.
INSECURE AND SEXIST
That’s probably true, but deep personal revelations are a bit hardcore for a first date. Do you really want to discuss your relationship with your mother when trying to get laid? Nope, me neither. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that most people would hate that.
Finally, you could try being funny — but only if you are a man. Wit and the ability to make someone laugh are a sign of intelligence. In the words of psychologist David Buss, humour “requires social intelligence, and it takes social verve or confidence.”
When asked what they want in a long-term partner, both men and women cite a “good sense of humour” as important — so often that it’s been a cliché for years. But it seems that women want men who will make them laugh, while men want women who’ll laugh at their jokes.
A 1998 study found that using humour makes men more attractive to heterosexual women. However, the men rated funny women as less attractive, no matter how physically alluring they were.
Ugh, insecure and sexist men! That’s another thing I hate. In fact I could rant for hours about that! Not to mention Donald Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos, Theresa May, the awfulness of films from the DC Extended Universe, the inexplicable popularity of Justin Bieber, and the fact that Avril Lavigne is threatening to release a new album this year.
If that sounds like your idea of fun, come on over. I’ll get the wine and biscuits…
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