Txtwar

In the future, perhaps we'll have plugins to help us craft the perfect e-mail to a potential sweetheart or figure out whether we're even a good match. In the meantime, though, a new website has as algorithmic answer to at least one of dating's greater mysteries: how long do you wait before texting back?

Txtwar presents the problem as a simple equation:

how hot are you + how hot are they + how much do you like each other + how long do you each typically take to text back = how long to wait.

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The basic underlying theory here is one that underpins a lot of awful culturally normalized ideas about how we do and should date: if you're not as hot as the other person, you should act more aloof or if you're really into them you should probably pretend that you're not. Txtwar just takes all those cultural calculations and turns them into a five-part math problem.

The site's creator, Albert Chang, said via e-mail that he created the site because he "thought it would be useful to people and also kind of funny." In other words, it's more an exercise in internet virality than the science of romance.

Chang has a background in data analytics and has been wading through some of the data people input into the site to examine questions like "Do hot girls take longer to reply than ugly girls?” He's found some interesting things, like both men and women who rank themselves the hottest take the longest times to reply. Interestingly, though, people of both genders who ranked themselves least attractive tended to take the second longest to reply. Men also tended to take generally longer than women.

I played around with inputting a couple of different texting scenarios, and it seems the basic formula here is to just add a few minutes (if the person texts back in under an hour) or an hour plus a few minutes (if they took longer than an hours) to however long the object of your affection took to respond to a text. So, really, you could do the math yourself. Or, you know, just ignore some weird arbitrary dating calculus and text back when you feel like it.