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A data-driven investigation into the allure of Pete Davidson

How you can land your own Kim Kardashian

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A data-driven investigation into the allure of Pete Davidson

Much like gravity, the insufferability of Foster students, the plethora of boba shops on the Ave, and the corporate-bought Seattle election, it is an undeniable fact that comedian Pete Davidson pulls.

Recently, my world was kind of rocked when I learned that Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian could possibly be dating, based on public appearances and private appearances inevitably caught by TMZ. Unlike myself, it seems like Davidson’s world is actually being rocked.

Now, keep in mind, this is all based on rumors and could really be a PR stunt, as some speculate, but still. C’mon now. It’s Pete and Kim.

I was so very morbidly curious about how this could happen, and I’m also disappointed to look back at myself and realize that I really became that Daily Mail tabloid writer peering invasively into celebrities’ personal lives.

The clearest explanation, of course, is that Davidson and Kardashian kept talking (and more) after the latter hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) back in October. But let’s scratch that theory, because as an incredibly online woman should, my mind simply went deeper and deeper into it.

So as a woman of science, I spent my Friday night sending out a Google Form to friends, Twitter, Instagram, and the UW subreddit to crowdsource responses for an evidence-based investigation of what makes this simple, tall white man so attractive to beautiful women. 141 people considered it worthwhile to fill out this inane survey.

More than anything, as a virgin ambassador of The Daily, I wanted to know more about what draws people to their significant others and how people actually date. We all prioritize physical attractiveness, personality, humor, and other factors on different levels and we all say different things about what we find attractive in a person, but what does it actually look like in practice in the dating lives of UW students?

In my survey, I asked three questions of my respondents: Would you consider Pete Davidson hot, are you surprised that Davidson and Kardashian are dating? (Okay, allegedly, I guess.), and why and/or how do you think Davidson keeps getting b-----s?

Twenty-seven percent (38 respondents) said they found Davidson attractive and 58% (82) essentially said “no thank you.” 

Eighty respondents, or 56.7%, said they were surprised by a pair like Davidson and Kardashian, and 34% (48) said it was no surprise.

Neither of these sets of numbers add up to 100% because I made the mistake of including an “other” response on the first two questions, meaning the survey also generated some colorful commentary that leaned more toward yes, no, in the middle, or just confused.

Adjusting for these responses, 34% (48) said they found Davidson attractive and 61.7% (87) said the opposite. The rest just settled in the middle. As for the surprising nature of the relationship? Eighty-two respondents, or 58.16%, were surprised, and 34.75% (49) were not so surprised.

For the most part, this sample shows that people at UW aren’t all that attracted to Davidson and are surprised by the Davidson-Kardashian matchup. 

Davidson isn’t someone that many consider conventionally attractive — especially on the Hollywood white boy scale — and the responses to these first two questions have me thinking that people are voting with physical attributes in mind.

However, the last question — where 124 respondents could explain why they think Davidson manages to pull — is where things get interesting and beautifully chaotic.

In the interest of being organized, as well as for the sake of my sanity, I categorized the recurring themes (mentioned more than once) into 15 sections: Funny, references to his penis, virality, white man, nice guy, hot, mediocrity, good at sex, damaged “I could fix him” vibes, “strange” and “sickly” appearance, a blackmail or sold your soul to the devil situation, supernatural occurrence (whether it be Davidson or the relationship), straight people, class clown sexiness, and apparently “smell” made the cut.

There is so much going on here. But one thing is evident — it’s not as clear-cut as “ugly or not.”

Regardless of how positive, negative, or confused everyone was, I was mostly grateful for the honest reflection of the surveyees.

Many started off with comments on Davidson’s physical appearance.

“[H]e’s attractive in the way alcohol makes you think definitely not-hot people are attractive, but instead of alcohol it’s communal delusion of an unknown origin,” one respondent said.

Harsh, but maybe fair? Maybe.

More than one person said something along the lines of “[h]e’s hot in a[n] ugly way,” which I’m still trying to wrap my head around the logic of.

Though 10 respondents said they legitimately think Davidson is conventionally hot, some commented on his unconventional attractiveness in a “strange,” “sickly,” and “morbid” way. I’ll let the responses speak for themselves.

“[M]orbid curiosity. [I]t’s like when you pass a dead animal o[n] the sidewalk. [S]omething draws you towards it despite the gore and despair.”

“He reminds me vaguely of a swamp creature (no offense, Pete).”

“[L]ooks malnourished[,] which is attractive to some people [I guess].”

“But he’s also ghostly[.] B-----s love the supernatural.”

Yeah. I mean, the silver lining is that at least it looks like we’re progressing as a society in terms of open-mindedness.

Also, 47 responses did state that the perceived attractiveness comes from Davidson’s personality and humor. After all, he is a comedian and overall cool dude, from what we get to see. 

“[H]e has the same energy as that class clown in [yo]ur 10th grade [E]nglish class [yo]u would let hit,” one respondent expertly wrote.

This brings up an interesting and important point about personality being a relevant part of what we find attractive. We’re not all just wanting to bang a white Ken doll of the week anymore — and I still question the Eurocentrism that convinced us into thinking that it’s the height of beauty. Being funny and multidimensional does boost attractiveness.

But then, what do I know? I am painfully, but blissfully, single. But it’s nice to know that evidence shows that UW isn’t as superficial as some might think — not that I can actually generalize this poll to the whole UW population. (That’s right, I did pay attention during Q SCI 381.)

A lot of times, it still feels like physical attraction is the main factor, taking into account biases based on race, conventional facial features, fat, and many other factors that result in pretty homogenous relationships on both the platonic and romantic ends. So, it’s cool to see that the UW Comedy Club studs have a chance.

But also, “dick” was one of the top survey responses as well. 

So who really knows? As someone mostly uninterested in the dating world in practice, I still haven’t landed on a conclusion on how we all date. But it’s nice to see that it’s not all just superficial bulls--t.

Pete’s out here living his best life, and whether it’s a result of being a white cishet man or the stand-up schtick working, there’s something for us to learn. Something.

Reach Opinion Editor Deborah Kwon at Twitter: @scoobydeeby

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