Katy Perry’s lesbian makeout ditty can be explained by the fact that she’s a west-coast girl, apparently — and to understand why, we have an online dating site to thank.
There were murmurs from social media after pansexual dating site OKCupid posted aggregated data about its gay and lesbian users. Under the heading “stuff gay people like,” staff pulled out common trends. Gay men like The Devil Wears Prada, Britney Spears and Project Runway. Lesbians like The L Word, Tegan and Sara and Social Justice. (Both gays and lesbians like Katy Perry, although it turns out she’s a lesser hero to Tori Amos, David Sedaris, Ani Difranco and the rest of the usual suspects.)
The problem with the info is selection bias. OKCupid is one of the more conservative ways that gay people meet each other, as compared to, say, Manhunt or Recon.
So when the results showed that gay men don’t get hot over straight guys, for instance, I had to chuckle. OKCupid users aren’t into straight guys. Duh. Guys who are into straight guys aren’t on OKCupid at all: they’re over on squirt.org and its ilk.
But the selection bias is greatly reduced when they compare subsets of their users. If the relatively tame desires expressed on OKCupid are your data set, how do they compare regionally? That information is less likely to be saddled with the problems of selection bias.
And that makes the map of comparative gay curiosity just about the most interesting thing they published. It shows that people are more gay curious — other than in isolated cities like Austin and Madison — in Canada and along the US West Coast.
California Girls, indeed.