I didn’t have a summer fling.
In the late August drought, the only thing drier than dry grass was my phone. Even with the slight boost in stats—I went from a 6/10 in New Haven to an 8.7/10 in Montana—I didn’t find a single person on Tinder I’d even consider making eye contact with. I’m weird, but it seems like every woman-loving woman or non-binary woman in Montana has wisely left the Tinder arena.
As it turns out, Montana Tinder consists of a cohort of very rustic, mostly straight, beer-drinking, cowboy-hat-wearing men. Unfortunately, I view this population with the same vague curiosity that comes from admiring a freshly painted beige wall or flipping through a tabloid in the waiting room, which, by the way, is not the desired emotion for selecting a potential mate.
I didn’t know exactly what made these men from Montana so…unattractive. Maybe it was the subtly homophobic energy that gave off every snap of a jacked-up truck. Maybe it was her signature scent, a delicate combination of feet, sweat, wet sheets, and Ax body spray, which was so strong it wafted across my phone screen like the “before” part of a cologne ad. Maybe it was the not-so-subtle bloody fingers and proudly dirty cheeks, sure markers of a blue-collar worker with a penchant for hunting. One remarkable profile contained no fewer than five images in which a smiling occupant cradled a raw fish in his fleshy palms.
Whatever the reason, I swiped left on every profile. Summer dragged on and still, I was as far from broadcasting as possible. But the more I swiped, the more I noticed that the profiles followed a pattern. In fact, many looked almost identical. They contained similar phrases like “I’m just looking for a mother for my dog” or “I can smoke you more”. Like any good scientist, I thought this pattern deserved investigation. If only I could identify the problem with Montana Tinder men, maybe the lack of eligible partners for other people attracted to men could be rectified. I wasn’t getting a date, but I could at least get some data.
Encouraged by this new, noble and highly scientific goal, I drafted a spreadsheet containing variables that I found to be common to all profiles. Then, when things were slow at work, I swiped left until my thumbs hurt, taking care to mark each data point in the spreadsheet. Co-workers were invested in the survey once they saw my long tables. Each week, they asked for an update on the status of Montana Tinder men and asked when my findings would be analyzed and presented.
After a few hundred hits, I had sold out all the matches, not only in my town, which contains less people than Yale’s campus, but in my entire region of the state. That’s when I knew my work was about to end. There was only one task left for me: collect all this raw data (lol) and share my findings with the world.
Without further ado, I present to you the final project of a summer spent swiping:
The Redneck Dilemma: An Analysis of the Behavior and Mating Rituals of Montana Men with Implications for Declining U.S. Births
It’s a well-known fact that Montana faces a severe population shortage. A recent study by the state reveals that the ratio of cows to people has now reached 2.5 cows for every person. This survey aims to uncover the factors that explain the decline in birth rates by examining a primary mechanism by which Montana men – in Latin, Montanus idiotus — find a partner
In the wild, males of a species usually produce an auditory signal to attract females to a breeding site. This phenomenon, called the “mating call”, is best observed in several species of songbirds. However, Montanus idiotus inhabits a state where fifty miles is an acceptable, nay, convenient distance for a match. This distance means that the males’ auditory signals often go undetected by potential mates.
Montanus idiotus has developed a unique biological adaptation to combat this setback. Instead of auditory mating calls, mating calls* de Montanus idiotus are produced in the form of a photograph and short notes, and distributed through the online dating site Tinder. Thus, Tinder provides a vital mechanism for Montanus idiotus to attract a member of the preferred sex. Tinder profiles serve as the latest evolutionary adaptation in a long line of matchmaking calls. But are they the most effective?
The mating practices of Montanus idiotus are very poorly studied. Although the initial results of this survey seem promising, further research, particularly in the field of female receptivity to the mating calls of Montanus idiotus, is required to truly understand this peculiar species.
* The reader should note that at the time of writing, the scientific literature is divided as to whether the cries emitted by Montanus idiotus they are actually mating calls, or indeed distress calls.
103 Tinder profiles were analyzed in this study: 30 in a preliminary survey and 73 in the main survey. In the preliminary survey, subjects were rated in 12 categories. In the main survey, this metric was expanded to 16 different categories, including photo and written aspects of each profile. In addition to the survey statistics, several profiles that deserve specific attention have been chosen as the focus of the case studies.
Part A: Survey
The main demographic of the main survey was mostly white males, aged 19-25. 73 profiles have been surveyed.
We theorize that the following categories reflect many Tinder users. Of the respondents:
36% had a photo with a dog
16% wrote their height in their profile
29% contained at least one shirtless image
27% mentioned the gym in their profile or had a photo at the gym
11% had an image with a blunt or smoking occupant, and an additional 5% mentioned smoking
23% had an image where the occupant was wearing or drinking alcohol
4% explicitly stated that they were looking for connections or friends with benefits; we believe this number is low compared to other Tinder user demographics
We theorize that the features analyzed in the following section are more specific to Montanus idiotus:
3% mentioned hunting or fishing in their profile, and an additional 12% had a picture of hunting or fishing.
23% had a picture with a cowboy hat and/or horse, including a profile with four pictures in four different cowboy hats
An additional 4% mentioned farming or ranching in their bio
16% had a picture of a vehicle (car, truck, or dirt bike), including a profile with a picture of a toy truck and a profile with four pictures of vehicles and no pictures of the subject.
A somewhat alarming 4% contained at least one image of a Trump flag or assorted paraphernalia
13% contained at least one image of a weapon
We can only conclude that the inclusion of these details is a primitive tactic used by Montanus idiotus to demonstrate that the subject is a good provider and would be a biologically sound mate.
Part B: Case studies
The case studies were not originally intended to be part of the study. However, we hope they provide additional insight into the dire situation of Montanus idiotus and its mating prospects.
Subject 1, “Will,” a 20-year-old male, opened his profile by describing himself as “a thick mother whore.” He proceeded to list his stats, writing that he’s 6’2″ and weighs 190 pounds. Presumably, this is to indicate his viability to any potential partner. Regarding height and weight stats, Will asks, ” is this good I expect that.” If you have to ask, it might not be okay.
In the included photo, an unsmiling Will holds an olive green water bottle in both hands, holding it in front of him like a shield. This is a common tactic employed by men who fear female attention and seek to put available barriers between themselves and the nearest woman.
Subject 2 – “Larry”, a 22-year-old man – showed a black-and-white image of himself, dressed in beanies and a cowboy hat, with his gloved hand adjusting an invisible instrument near his crotch . Larry opted for a simple but profound opening line: “I like to choke the shit out. Take that as you will!”
NO, LARRY, I DON’T TAKE IT AS YOU THINK.
Subject 3, “Teajay,” a 20-year-old male, was one of the most exemplary specimens of Montanus idiotus examined in this survey. Teajay left his bio completely blank, perhaps with the intention of cultivating a mysterious persona, or perhaps because he was incapable of forming basic sentences.
The opening photo, however, was the one that stood out the most. In the image, Teajay is standing with his arms outstretched, holding a can of beer in each hand. This pose reveals the full extent of his wingspan and hints at his ability to ingest alcohol. Teajay is completely naked except for a large cowboy hat covering his crotch. He looks into the camera, with a look that is both stoic and defiant. Teajay is a Montanus jerk, and proud of it. This is their mating call.
After conducting preliminary and main surveys, we suggest that all male-attracted Montagnards considering downloading Tinder should immediately burn their phones and disinfect their eyeballs to avoid contact with Montanus idiotus.
We also recommend that the Montana be sold in Canada as replacement parts.
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