The surprising influence of hobbies and crafts in dating profiles

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Here’s some things you might not know about knitting. A man called Bill Lee invented a knitting machine in 1589, turning what to that point had been a thriving cottage industry stretching back centuries into a mere hobby. It nevertheless flourished as a pastime, so much so that a book was published in 1611 containing 126 patterns, the first time in history knitting templates had been shared this way.

Here’s another astonishing fact about knitting: if you list it as an activity in your online dating profile, it has the effect of reducing the amount of communication traffic you’ll receive from potential suitors. That seems an unreasonable reaction to a skill that could be very useful in the event of an apocalypse.

But the experts at eharmony have been crunching the numbers around those members who mention various arts and crafts in their profiles, and knitting is perplexingly problematic. Women who mention they like knitting receive 32.4% fewer nibbles than those who don’t. Men who like the clickety-clack of knitting needles receive 7.6% fewer reach-outs. It is one of two craft activities that have a negative impact on the message streams of both men and women.

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The other is sewing, another skill that would be handy while enduring a nuclear winter you would have thought. Women who say they sew receive 20.2% fewer communications than those who don’t mention it. Male sewers also suffer a decline in messages of 5.2%.

Mysterious as those reactions are, at least there is a degree of consistency there. But for everything else – drawing, painting, photography, crochet, scrapbooking, woodwork, poetry and quilting – the data throws up some surprising results.

For example, if you’re a woman who says she likes quilting in her dating profile, you’ll receive a staggering 50.5% fewer communication requests than those women who keep their quilting habit a secret. On the other hand, men who say they like quilting (admittedly there aren’t many of them) receive 0.7% MORE reach-outs. Go figure.

And how’s this for gender inequality: female scrapbookers receive about 32% fewer communications requests than woman who don’t mention it, but men who list scrapbooking as a hobby are showered with 24% more reach-outs.

Only women who mention drawing and painting receive an increase in communications (13.1% and 1.8% respectively), while for men listing any art or craft other than knitting or sewing will bring them more attention. Even the men who admit to crochet in their spare time receive an 11% boost in message traffic.

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To emphasise the unfair bias towards arty crafty blokes and the seemingly negative view of women who can knock up a chest of drawers in the shed and fill it with clothes they have made themselves, women who mention woodwork as a hobby receive 22.7% fewer messages than those who don’t, while male woodworkers have to down tools while they deal with 12.6% more communication. It’s got to be a stitch-up, don’t you think?

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