Dating Data Study: How Your Geek Life Affects Your Love Life

A nerdy couple reading books together.

It may be stereotypical, but when we think about who makes a good dater, it’s often the casanovas and sultry sirens that come to mind. There’s a tendency to think that success in dating has a lot to do with looks and confidence, but is that really true? Though it’s undeniable that looks are important, thanks to online dating data we’re now able to identify other important things that can affect who we’re attracted to—things like intelligence, passions, hobbies, and areas of expertise.

You know, the nerdy things about us.  

To learn more about whether being a little nerdy/dorky/geeky can help or hurt you when it comes to landing a date, the online dating site and app Zoosk analyzed 777,168 dating profiles and 219,650,538 messages. What they found varied from interest to interest, but they came away with a few key takeaways.

Here are a few insights into how dorks, nerds, and geeks are perceived while online dating:

Online daters love dorks.
It’s true kids, saying you’re a dork in your dating profile can get you up to 74% more incoming messages than the average. Sadly, nerds and geeks don’t do as well. Saying you’re a nerd in your profile only gets you 7% more messages while being a geek actually gets you 7% fewer messages.

Two dorky people smiling at each other.

Being a smartypants doesn’t hurt either.
Don’t be afraid to brag about your intelligence, because saying you’re smart, educated, or intelligent in your profile can get you up to 68% more messages. And don’t forget to mention your degree—saying you have a PhD results in 41% more messages.

Smart Words to Put in a Dating Profile

Word Mentioned in Profile

Increase in Inbound Messages

Smart

68%

Educated

60%

Intelligent

57%

PhD

41%

A smart looking cat.

Calculus can help you get a date.
Mentioning any area of study in your dating profile can help you get a boost in inbound messages, but calculus is by far the most popular. People who mention it in their profile see a message increase of 88%. Physics is popular as well with a 70% increase in messages, and bonus points if you’re a mathlete. They get 27% more incoming messages than the average.

Most Popular Areas of Study

Area of Study Mentioned

Increase in Inbound Messages

Calculus

88%

Physics

70%

Mathlete

27%

Math

25%

History

18%

Science

15%

Biology

14%

Technology

13%

Literature

12%

A person working on a math problem.

Most nerdy pursuits don’t get a lot of love. But there are exceptions.
When it comes to stereotypical “nerdy” pursuits, it’s hard to tell why some are well-received while others aren’t. For example, expressing your love for Nintendo in your profile can get you up to 28% more messages, but Sega isn’t as popular and gets you 49% fewer messages. Likewise, talking about Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft in your profile tends to result in fewer messages, while Final Fantasy goes over well.

‘Nerdy’ Pursuits in a Dating Profile

Word Mentioned in Profile

Change in Inbound Messages

Final Fantasy

49%

Nintendo

28%

Cosplay

-16%

Fallout

-18%

Fan Fiction

-22%

Comic Books

-23%

Zelda

-40%

Larping

-43%

Pokemon

-44%

World of Warcraft

-45%

Sega

-46%

Dungeons and Dragons

-59%

The most popular Harry Potter house is Slytherin.
Maybe it’s because they’re controversial and misunderstood, or maybe it’s because they’re ambitious and cunning, but using the word Slytherin in a dating message makes you 67% more likely to get a reply. And the other houses don’t even come close. Ravenclaws come in even, and Hufflepuff and Gryffindor actually get fewer messages than the average.

Most Popular Harry Potter Houses Among Singles

House Mentioned in Message

Change in Reply Rate

Slytherin

67%

Ravenclaw

0%

Hufflepuff

-26%

Gryffindor

-54%

Slytherin robes from the Harry Potter movie.

Being a Star Wars fan may help you snag a date.
We’ve known for a while now, that being a Star Wars fan goes over big with online daters. Messages that mention Star Wars get 60% more incoming messages than the average, and even saying May the force be with you results in a 22% increase in messages. Mentioning Princess Leia will also give you a slight bump up with a 1% increase over the average, and Darth Vader really sparks conversation with a 61% increase.

Darth Vader standing with a light saber.

Spelling and grammar is sexy.
Most of us know it’s important to have good grammar and spelling in your dating profile, but it’s not a bad idea to talk about spelling and grammar either. Daters who mention spelling get up to 73% more incoming messages, while mentioning grammar can get you up to 93% more incoming messages.

It doesn’t mean game over, but most daters aren’t into video games.
You might want to wait before mentioning things like gamer, video games, or gaming in your dating profile.  Mentioning your love of video games can get you up to 60% fewer messages. And it doesn’t go over well in messaging either. Messages about video games get 53% fewer responses than the average.

Not all superheros are created equally.
Online daters like to chat about superheros, but mentioning a superhero in your dating message may or may not help you get a reply. And when it comes to DC vs. Marvel, both the Justice League and the Avengers will get you fewer replies. (Sorry guys.) However, overall, messages that mention individual DC characters have an average of  41% fewer replies, while Marvel characters have an average of 21% more replies. So it’s Marvel for the win on this one.

Mentioning Marvel Characters in a Dating Message

Character Mentioned in Message

Change in Reply Rate

Daredevil

47%

Wolverine

37%

Marvel

32%

Thor

24%

Spiderman

17%

Ironman

10%

Captain America

3%

Avengers

-46%

Mentioning DC Characters in a Dating Message

Character Mentioned in Message

Change in Reply Rate

Green Lantern

114%

Catwoman

68%

Wonder Woman

46%

Superman

30%

Aquaman

24%

Batman

-26%

Green Arrow

-48%

Justice League

-64%

Doctor Who, Cosplay, Tolkien… Daters love talking about nerdtastic interests.
Whether it’s a TV show, book, author, or video game, where mentioning your love for all things nerdy can really pay off is in your dating messages. (Even cosplay, which is best not mentioned in your dating profile, can help you get a response in a message.) Overall, online daters like to talk about their favorite cult classics, and the most popular by far is Doctor Who.

Popular Nerdtastic Interests in a Dating Message

Word Mentioned in Message

Increase in Reply Rate

Doctor Who

69%

Tolkien

66%

EverQuest

64%

TARDIS

62%

Cosplay

59%

The Matrix

50%

Space Invaders

36%

Game of Thrones

27%

Star Trek

13%

Hobbit

5%

The TARDIS from Dr. Who.

Megan Murray

Editor-in-Chief of The Date Mix

Megan Murray is the Editor-in-Chief of The Date Mix and works at the online dating site and app Zoosk, that has over 40 million members worldwide. She splits her time between writing for The Date Mix and working on the Zoosk product, which gives her behind-the-scenes knowledge about the world of online dating.

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