Before You Open a Dating App, WATCH THIS

When it comes to finding someone you want to be with, what are the specific criteria you’re looking for in a partner?

We ask some fun questions this week and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you agree with the studies that say “men holding cats in profile photos are perceived as less dateable”? And if so, what’s your theory? And most importantly, in the bookworm debate, do you agree with Jameson and me . . . or Stephen? Let me know in the comments. 

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Matthew:

I’ve been humbled enough times, Steve, to realize that what I think are my criteria are rarely my actual criteria. That we come up with all of these constructs of what we must have and what our heart actually needs is often much more simple than we ever give it credit for.

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Matthew:

Welcome to the Love Life podcast with me, Matthew Hussey and my brother, Stephen Hussey.

 

Stephen :

Now, have you been watching Ted Lasso? Is that what that is? Are you trying to capitalize on the Roy Kent female fancy?

 

Matthew:

That’s not Roy Kent.

 

Stephen :

Isn’t it?

 

Matthew:

I would say that was more Ray Winston.

 

Stephen :

Oh, right. I think everyone’s going to think you’re doing Roy Kent.

 

Matthew:

No, “This is Roy Kent.”

 

Stephen :

“Get it in a bloody … stick it in a bloody goal.”

 

Matthew:

“You’re talking shit. Roy Kent’s much more like this.”

 

Stephen :

Do you play that up in LA when you’re getting your coffee?

 

Matthew:

No, because Roy Kent has a voice unlike anyone else in the world. It’s sort of bizarre. It’s a bizarre voice even for an English person.

 

Matthew:

Well, Steve, just in a bit of dating news, did you know that Kevin O’Leary just agreed to a $300,000 Shark Tank deal for a dating app for cat people?

 

Stephen :

I have seen that. And clearly Kevin is going for contrarian bets. He’s not getting into the cryptocurrency fever right now. He’s going, “No, this is the play now, cat dating apps.”

 

Matthew:

The app is called Tabby, which I think it should have been called Cat Flapp. And I think “Flapp” should have been spelled with two Ps.

 

Stephen :

Right. Okay.

 

Matthew:

And it just feels catchier to me. The reason this app exists is because the Colorado State University and Boise State University asked nearly 1,400 heterosexual American women between the ages of 18 and 24 to rate a group of men’s photographs, some holding cats and some holding dogs. The study found that men pictured holding their cats were viewed as less dateable. So what do you make of that, Steve?

 

Stephen :

Well, it’s a great thing to get them on a dating app then, isn’t it? Since they’re doing so well. It’s really . . .

 

Matthew:

I like the idea that this is born out of such a negative idea that we’re going to take people who have, in this study, shown themselves to be less dateable and put them all together in one place so that they’re not bothering anyone on these other apps.

 

Stephen :

Yeah. “Women don’t seem to like these men.” Well, yeah, that’s it, isn’t it? I’ve seen this before and several articles, how men holding cats is apparently . . . The cliche is that men holding dogs, men cynically sometimes hold a dog because the women love it. And even that in itself has become a little bit of a cliche now. But apparently men holding cats, it’s the opposite.

 

Matthew:

Why doesn’t it work with cats?

 

Stephen :

Yeah. What is that? Is it that cats are-

 

Matthew:

You love a cat, Steve.

 

Stephen :

I like cats. I like cats and dogs. I don’t think I’m one or the other specifically.

 

Matthew:

You’ve always had a soft spot for cats, haven’t you?

 

Stephen :

I think I used to like more when I was younger and now I’m sort of equal on both, but I do love a little cat. I mean, when they’re cute and kittens and, yeah, lovely little things. But I guess it’s just the image, isn’t it? Is there something seen as unmanly about holding a cat or is it just that cats are such a divisive creature where they’re seen as aloof and cold and unpleasant in that way?

 

Matthew:

Cat people wouldn’t agree with you on that, Steve.

 

Stephen :

I don’t agree with that, but that’s-

 

Matthew:

Some people have lovely cats.

 

Stephen :

I don’t agree with that, but that’s the personality type. That’s what is seen as for cats.

 

Matthew:

I wonder if it’s to do with the fact that you don’t take cats for a walk. So a cat sort of suggests  . . . you could say there’s this implication that you don’t get out as much with a cat, but if you’ve got a dog, then you might do manly stuff like go on hikes and get out there and be in the world and do things. Whereas you’re not taking your cat for a hike.

 

Stephen :

Yeah. I think there’s something of that. Isn’t it? You’re not doing those macho things. You’re not an outdoorsman.

 

Jameson:

Or actually you could imagine that that person’s just looking for the least possible amount of responsibility. With a dog, you have to be a little bit nurturing. You have to take ownership of, okay, well, I am going to walk this thing at least once a day. I got to make sure I feed it at a certain time of day. With a cat, just throw in some food, throw in a kitty litter. I’ll see you next week.

 

Matthew:

Can we get the women listening . . . I know we have men listening too. Maybe we should get some views from both sides. Men, do you find it unattractive? Does it bother you if a woman has a cat? And ladies, why do you think this study showed that men who held cats are less dateable? Assuming this study even has any validity, Steve, but why do you think it could be a phenomenon that women find men holding cats less dateable than men holding dogs?

 

Stephen :

So here’s my question, Matt, do you think people connecting on one mutual interest, does that help with matching at all? It’s kind of like that movie cliche of we have so much in common, but it’s only one thing.

 

Matthew:

Well, I think that you can sort of . . .  I’ve always struggled a little bit with the idea of someone else having an animal, not because I don’t love animals, because I genuinely do, but I just never got one because I wanted that freedom of being able to travel and not have to constantly think about coming home at a certain time of day to feed a dog or whatever. And it would scare me to invite into my life, someone who had all of those responsibilities, that meant that now if I fell in love with that person, they sort of would be mine too, because they would have an effect on me. So I think that if I were to reverse that and say part of the reason to have a place where people can meet that have something in common like that is they understand each other.

 

There’s one less hurdle to get over in helping someone understand what life is like with a dog because they already have one or they already have a cat. So they get it. I think there’s possibly some friction to be eliminated by putting yourself in a pool of people where they get it. The other argument is if you have a dating app that just gives people a way in to conversation, that if you make a Lord of the Rings dating app, not a bad idea, Lord of the Flings is what it would be called and it would be for Lord of the Rings fans. It’s just a way in. It’s just like, hey, you didn’t know what else to talk about, here. Start on Frodo.

 

Stephen :

See, I wonder if it’s more like, is it the purpose of it that there’s some things that you’re so into that it’s a part of your identity and that’s the real difference, isn’t it? Because some things you can have, I love Lord of the Rings, you love Harry Potter more. I wish you loved Lord of the Rings, but we’re going to get on anyway. It’s not a deal-breaker. But for some people who love, love, love pets and specifically cats, it might be for them like it’s such a big part of my identity being a cat lover that I just want to meet other cat lovers. I don’t want to meet a “dog person.” I don’t want to meet a “no pets person.”

 

Matthew:

Well, that is sort of the idea, isn’t it behind religious apps? Apps based in religion is that for a lot of people that I just don’t have any interest in meeting someone that is not from the same faith as me.

 

Stephen :

Right.

 

Matthew:

So that’s just off the table and this just makes it far easier to find my pool of people. I suppose what we’re saying is that cats are like a religion.

 

Stephen :

Well, I mean in the UK, UK is obsessed with dogs and pets in general. And you live in LA, Matt, and people bloody love their pets in LA. It basically is an identity for a lot of people.

 

Matthew:

We all have these preconceived notions of what it is we want and what we don’t want to have to deal with. We all have things we think are our criteria and I have come to believe I’ve been humbled enough times, Steve, to realize that what I think are my criteria are rarely my actual criteria.

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Matthew:

Maybe you have specific love life questions for me about something you’re going through right now. Well, there is a place where I answer them and that’s my Love.Life Club. This is for a group of people who have decided to be coached by me every month in a more intimate setting than YouTube. If you want to come be part of this, go to AskMH.com. The link is in the description for a 14-day free trial.

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Matthew:

We come up with all of these constructs of what we must have and what our heart actually needs is often much more simple than we ever give it credit for. And when we go out there and constantly exclude people based on these things that we think we must have or definitely don’t want, we’re actually excluding a lot of people that could bring an extraordinary amount of happiness and connection into our lives. People we could have a wonderful relationship with just because of our preconceived notions. And we could do that. A woman can do that with height. A man can do that with a woman’s age. I’ve coached people where I know they’re doing it on religion. And I don’t mean even necessarily, Steve, that they’re not entertaining people outside their faith. I mean, I’ve coached people who have decided how much faith a person in the faith that they’re in has to have and just how rigid that person has to be in their belief. So now they’re not just saying, “I want someone from my own faith.”

 

They’re saying, “I want someone from my own faith who’s just as strict about their faith as I am.” And I always wonder if that’s just another way to be unavailable, if it’s just another way to not entertain people that could actually teach us something or that we could teach them something. Part of the beauty of a relationship is that we get access to worlds and things we don’t know. Why do you want to date someone who’s exactly like you? That to me, there seems to me something incredibly boring and stagnant about that.

 

Stephen :

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Matthew:

Dating someone whose values are aligned with yours, but who has made some different choices to me is part of the richness of combining your world with somebody else’s in a way that enriches your own and theirs. And that’s what I think is the danger of criteria based apps is they assume that we’re an expert in knowing what we want and don’t want. And I don’t think that we are.

 

Stephen :

One counterpoint I will say is you might . . .  I’m a book lover. I don’t have certain things I hinge my identity on, like a hard political stance or religious stance. But I am a book lover and I don’t think I could properly be in a serious relationship with someone who doesn’t love reading.

 

Matthew:

Oh, Steve, you’re going to eat those words, mate.

 

Stephen :

Why is that?

 

Matthew:

You’re going to eat those words.

 

Stephen :

What, you think I’ll date someone who’s never read a book?

 

Matthew:

Or what if she really like podcasts?

 

Stephen :

I don’t count that as reading, Matt. I say I’m very passionate about books and reading and that’s something that’s important-

 

Matthew:

Right.

 

Stephen :

That’s something that’s a deep value to me.

 

Matthew:

And what if you sit there on your couch . . . It’s a Sunday, you’re sitting there on your couch, reading your little book and she’s next to you and she’s plopped on her headphones and she’s listening to her favorite podcast. It’s no less intellectual than the book you’re reading. She’s just taking her information via a different medium.

 

Stephen :

I’m not sure I really believe in that. But you know-

 

Jameson:

I heard Steve’s head nearly popped when you said no less intellectual than reading.

 

Matthew:

I just don’t believe it, Steve. I think that what you need is someone who stimulates you intellectually and you can connect with in conversation about all sorts of different subjects. And that’s the true thing that you need. Not someone who reads books.

 

Stephen :

I would say reading is a necessary, but not sufficient criteria. I’m not saying books and that’s it. I’m just saying I think I would have to be with someone who reads books. I don’t think that’s some big-

 

Matthew:

I think if you-

 

Stephen :

That’s not some demanding unicorn I’m after, a person who reads books.

 

Matthew:

That’s like saying I have to have someone who has a cat.

 

Stephen :

But pet lovers, I can get the idea they might want someone who loves pets. They might have to love cats. If you’re someone with six cats and you love cats, you might need someone who loves cats. Right?

 

Matthew:

All you need is someone who respects how much you like books and doesn’t mind you sitting there reading and they can keep themselves busy while you do your reading. And they’re more than open to entertaining the conversation about the book you’re reading. I think that’s what you need. I don’t think that’s going to matter to you. I think that’s one of those things. And I’ve done this with plenty of things in my life where you’ve convinced yourself it matters. But if you met the ideal person tomorrow, I don’t think it would matter to you, how many books have you read in the last year.

 

Stephen :

Jameson, whose side do you weigh on this?

 

Jameson:

When I was your age, Steve . . . I love doing that. I love doing that. I don’t know what the age difference is, like three years or something, but I’m on Matthew’s side on this. I’ve actually become way more open-minded on this front and what Matt is saying, my understanding is that there’s always a level deeper. Your app, Steve, would be “respects intellectualism.” That’s what’s underneath it.

 

Stephen :

I’m not saying-

 

Matthew:

Your app would be called Book Ups.

 

Stephen :

You’re saying like I’ve made such a big demand.

 

Matthew:

Nothing, Jameson?

 

Jameson:

I was laughing, but my mic was off. But Book Ups is good.

 

Matthew:

Book Ups is good. I’m good at coming up with app names is what we’re learning.

 

Stephen :

You should go on Shark Tank, mate. But you’re acting like I’m saying such a highfalutin thing. Like, “Oh, she better have read Moby-Dick.” I’m just saying someone who likes books. It’s not that big a thing.

 

Jameson:

I know. But there’s something in your point that I’m glad Matt is pushing back against, which is like, if you’re too dogmatic going into it, and I get it, books is a low bar, I suppose. But actually I think people read a lot less than people say they read in general. I know you read a lot.

 

Matthew:

Steve, of 100 people that say they read, one does.

 

Jameson:

Kind of, yeah.

 

Matthew:

They pick up a book, they read a page and then they go and watch their favorite Netflix show or they listen . . . How many people these days say they read a lot, but they listen to Audible a lot.

 

Stephen :

Yeah. I’m-

 

Jameson:

That’s me. I read a lot, but it’s listening to audio.

 

Stephen :

I listen to Audible, but yeah. I like Netflix as well. I don’t think I’m asking for a lot there. Chat about stuff.

 

Matthew:

Well, look, I for one will be looking out for someone who reads a lot on your behalf.

 

Stephen :

Your girlfriend reads books, Matt.

 

Matthew:

She does.

 

Stephen :

So made you look like a fool, haven’t I?

 

Matthew:

I don’t think that was the point. But anyway, I think this was interesting. If you’ve got any suggestions for great apps, let us know, podcast@matthewhussey.com. But don’t you dare send it in if you haven’t got a pithy name to go with it for that app. 

 

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I know you are going to love and get so much out of this next video. Go check it out here and I will see you over there.

 

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Matthew:

Lack of compatibility can either take the form of we’re very different people or it can take the form of we have very different ideas about how much we’re willing to adjust.

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13 Replies to “Before You Open a Dating App, WATCH THIS”

  1. If you have ever tried to introduce 2 adult cats to each other you will know why the cat people app is doomed to failure! Sorry Steve, I agree with Matthew and Jaimeson, and I definitely read books. Most intellectuals read, so perhaps that’s a better criterium.

  2. I would probably use “Book Ups” if it existed. As someone who has and still is putting years of effort and dedication into her writing, a man telling me “I hate reading” is just a turn off. Full stop. That aside, I can see both sides of the debate here and honestly, I would be willing to be flexible in my definition of reading to include not only print media but audio such as podcasts. I think that’s the key though – flexibility in your criteria – as long as you aren’t bending so far that you break.

    As to the great cat debate, I definitely don’t think a man holding cats comes off as less dateable. However, I may be biased since I have two cats of my own. Personally, I don’t really care if a guy loves cats or not, so long as he will tolerate their presence and not be an ass about it. That being said, I have a friend who started dating someone who was severely allergic to cats and he eventually had to give them away when they decided to move in together. They are now married, so I guess it was the right choice, but it’s not a fun situation to be in. So, I guess I can maybe see some appeal to the cat owners app.

  3. Matthew,
    I listen to your podcast whenever I get a chance and love them all. However, I couldn’t help but leave a comment on here . You’ve touched on ideas about dating apps and compatibility based on cats, dogs, books, money, success, etc…it’s all great but my question is : Do we settle with compatibility and comfort or that person needs to make our heart beat faster as well ?

  4. Here is my 2 cents on the cat subject. I will preface by saying I am a huge cat lover, as a matter of fact, I bred purebred show cats for many years. However, when I am on a dating app and I see a pic of a guy with his cat(s), while heartwarming, I also immediately think of that man as quiet, introverted and aloof.

    As for the discussion on criteria and the need to find someone who must love books, some criteria are important and non-negotiable such as whether they smoke, like to go out drinking and partying several days a week, if you love to travel often and they have no desire to ever leave the city, etc.
    I agree with Matthew in that, I feel that if we pigeon hole ourselves into such specific criteria, we will loose out on so many potential possibilities. You could weed out all the perceived people who do not meet your specific criteria and meet that one girl who loves to read just as much as you and she has the personality of a book-end; nothing else matches except she loves to read.
    Or, maybe lighten up the expectations and find the happy medium. I used to be a voracious reader not so long ago but, when things get busy, I just do not have the time to settle into 30 books a year anymore. It does not mean there is no longer a deep appreciation for books, or the interest and hunger to learn, it just means I have to satiate that hunger for knowledge by another means. I believe as long as you find someone who has the same deep appreciation, interest and enjoyment in sharing common things that are mutually important, that is the perfect recipe for true happiness!

    Like I said, just my 2 cents :)

  5. Hmm…. I <3 cats and have my own. They are my children and as such, we are a packaged deal. If a man doesn't love cats, or at the very least like them, this is not gonna work. That's a deal breaker for me and non-negotiable. This app might be a good idea.

  6. Stephen, you are actually my favorite and far more my style of guy but I have to go with Matt on this one. Not everyone is a reader–I say this as someone with dyslexia who has read more literature than most English majors. (Yes, I have read Moby Dick and Ulysses–Moby Dick is great and is referred to everywhere in pop culture–even Star Trek Wrath of Kahn quotes from it. James Joyce is just a dick–Ulysses is a skilled flex from a gifted writer with each chapter being in a different style of writing and filled with lots of literary and cultural references so “smart” people can feel smarter than the average person, but Joyce was real asshole of a person and his condescension shows in his writing. Liking his book is not a test of a person’s intelligence.) Intelligence is about a learning mindset not about what medium is used. It also depends on what you read and how deeply you read. People who brag about how many books they read a year skim the work and often do not even consider deeper ideas or challenge themselves beyond the latest summer must read. I find that people that obsess about books do look down on those who don’t. For centuries books were the effective way to get information–many times the only way. Within the last few decades, a myriad of ways to learn have become available. I don’t think of myself as a reader as I read for information not for pleasure. However to keep informed I probably read at least 3 hours a day although it’s mostly articles and information reading. I’ve had years of focusing on books where I read many foundational books, but this year is my year of film so I am watching at least 4 films a week–but specific groups like all from a certain director or of a specific theme–and then of course, I have to look up more information on the films and cultural influences of the film, societal changes from the influences of these films–such a thing as the counter-culture midnight movies of the 70s that gave us Rocky Horror is what introduced reggae music to the world via Jimmy Cliff in “The Harder They Come” (Bob Marley would not have had an audience outside of Jamaica were it not for this midnight movie laying the groundwork for that sound and creating an interest in that style). I am deepening my understanding of the world, myself, and society by watching movies more than most people who read all year. Stephen, you read for pleasure—that’s wonderful, but not everyone has the same pleasure from a physical book or has the luxury of solitude needed for such a pastime. Matt is correct, you need someone who lets you enjoy your pleasures, appreciates your books, and going to book stores, etc. but not necessarily another reader. (By the way, I am too old for you so this is just a comment because Matt asked people to comment.) What if while you were reading, she was the type that liked cooking or knitting? Making you something nice while you had your reading time. I think you could be very happy with that. (PS. my email is the title of a short story by Hans Christian Anderson–he’s considered the Shakespeare of Denmark–he’s far more profound than just a “children’s author”–My recommendation to you is his short story “The Shadow” but you have to know some cultural/folklore history such as someone who doesn’t have a shadow has no soul and in English we only have one form of “you” not a polite and informal one–Okay we do–it’s thee and thou–informal–but it’s archaic at this point. Most other European languages kept both forms.) You and Matt are great–I listen when I can because again–it’s learning.

  7. One more thing about reading—If someone says “I hate math” or doesn’t go home an do math problems for fun, it’s viewed as acceptable and people love to jump in and bash math too. Yet if someone says “I hate reading” we treat them like a cretin. It’s the same thing. A lot of readers/writers say they hate math and that is just as “unintellectual” as a reader finds a person who isn’t into books. People enjoy different pleasures and one should not be raised above the other but you appreciate and support your partners interests even if you don’t share them.

  8. Thank you for the conversation. I understand that Stephen wants someone who meets him where he’s at. He’s allready got his phd and wants someone who can keep his intellectual competance growing. I’ve got friends with phd’s and I’ve even fallen in love with one of them. (He showed some interest in return.) But I don’t think I would be enough for him in the long run. Because my background as an artist is more non verbal. I tend to listen more than I speak. But if a young girl falls in love with you Stephen, please give her a chance. Who knows maybe you will grow to love her or learn something about yourself. Don’t hold the people who loves you on arms length… When you grow old you might regret it…

    By the way. The men I know who loves cats are both intelligent and sexy but I wouldn’t immediately associate pictures of men with cats as attractive. So save the picture for date number two or three…

  9. I get it, though – I’ve met with three guys in the last few months, none of whom read. And since I’m an editor and aspiring writer, that did put me off. When I get hit with the ‘don’t read’ I’m not really sure what they *actually* do with their spare time, (generally ends up being playing video games or watching lots of TV) and none of those activities appeal to me whatsoever. I don’t even have a telly.
    I equally have a tendency to put them off by being ‘too’ excited about whatever topic I think is of general interest when it’s actually a niche thing that only I’m interested in. :P

    I like the beard, though, Stephen, so call me! ;) I’ve read Moby Dick.

    Kidding, I do have strong religious convictions in addition to loving books.

  10. To Steve: ultimately the book reading will be less important than respect for you reading and having a lot of books. But i get you! I love to read and even when i’m not reading i have to have a book around (i’ve got my books than the school library ☹️).
    Matt: weren’t you the guy who said “if you go to a man’s house and there are no books, don’t f*** him”? Quit bagging on your brother lol

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