Chris Dating Info

Male, Straight, Monogamous, Wants Kids, SF but flexible, born 1992

Single as of September 2022

I originally shared this "date me" doc as a Google doc on twitter. It got more attention than expected. Unfortunately, the level of traffic seems to have caused Google docs to flag it as spam. As a result, I've moved it here for longer term preservation.

Most of my life has been focused on trying to do things I believe are important. When I was 18, I dropped out of university to support a friend accused of terrorism, because I believe it’s most important to support people when others don’t. When he was found innocent, I noticed that deep learning was going to affect society, and dedicated myself to figuring out how humans could understand neural networks. I’ve spent the last decade working on that because I think it could be one of the keys to making AI safe.

Serving others and working on important problems is a privilege, but it isn't the only thing I want in life. More than almost anything, I want to have a family: to have a partner and children to share life with. I’ve been lucky to date several wonderful women, but it’s always turned out we weren’t quite looking for the same things. And so I wanted to try an experiment: simply trying to describe myself and the life I hope to build with a partner as earnestly, openly, and honestly as I possibly can, so that someone can reach out if what I’ve written resonates.


Pros (at least for the right person!)

  • I think a lot of the best parts of me are seen in what I create: my research, my personal essays, and the journal I founded.
  • I’m really excited to have kids with the right partner someday. I’m not just willing to have kids. I’d be an enthusiastic co-parent who’s genuinely eager to do half of childrearing.
  • I’m happy to be the primary person responsible for financially supporting a family. This one feels awkward to express, and I worry it might carry connotations about gender roles that I very much don’t intend. I’m very happy to share financial responsibility! And I can also imagine a relationship with someone who was pursuing, say, a non-profit or academic career that would be hard to support a family on where I’d be delighted to remove any difficult tradeoffs.
  • I’m very dedicated to doing what I believe to be morally right. I think some people find me frustratingly scrupulous, but I think for others I can help them feel supported in holding true to their own values (even when we differ).

Cons

  • I have mild issues with anxiety. I often irrationally worry that people don’t like me. In relationships, I worry a lot about not being good enough and my partner leaving me. I also find it hard to be spontaneous, or to go to large social events. I’m very self-aware about all of these things and am generally able to manage them fairly well, but you would see them in a relationship.
  • I’m not very assertive and have to really push myself to have important disagreements. This is the flip side of me being highly agreeable. I know that having conflict is important, and I can force myself to have difficult conversations, but I’m often slow to do so and find it difficult.
  • A surprising contrast to this point: I think I'm actually very good at standing up for what I believe in. For example, as mentioned above, I dropped out of university to support someone facing serious terrorism charges because I thought they were innocent.

We might be compatible if…

  • We have shared sources of excitement. A big part of my experience of life is being excited (or having other strong feelings) about things: the beauty of math and science, the desire to build a wholesome life, the drive to help others, the dream of having a family someday… Sharing some of those feels like a powerful foundation for a bond.
  • You are excited about some technical subject (math, science, economics...). I especially love when I can talk to someone about something where they’re much more knowledgeable than me. And especially when they have lots of enthusiasm and excitement about their topic.
    • You share an aspiration to be “high-integrity” in certain ways, such as being honest even when it’s hard, being genuinely truth-seeking, being morally independent (you decide on your own moral views rather than adopting a social or political movements unreflectively), and being willing to be wrong. To be clear, I’m not some perfect paragon of these values myself! But I tend to feel a lot of connection, trust, and respect when I aspirationally share these values with someone.

Other Important Things

  • I’m monogamous - I’m glad other people enjoy polyamory, but it isn’t for me.
  • I’m looking to have biological kids - I’m really excited to have kids someday and am looking for someone else who is. This doesn’t have to be soon! I’m very flexible about timelines and could easily imagine anything between 3-8 years. My main concern is having time to build a close relationship together first.
  • I’m a politically moderate - I’m a classical liberal, but in modern US politics, I think I’m probably moderate. If you’re looking for a partner who’s far on either pole of US politics, I’m probably not the right fit. (I care much more about global poverty and animal welfare than typical US politics.)
  • I’m open to dating someone more or less anywhere and visit regularly - Finding a highly compatible partner is hard. It would be sad if geography prevented a good match! (I’m based in SF right now.)
  • I’m attracted to a range of gender presentations - I really want to have biological children with my partner. Beyond that, I’m attracted to a range of gender presentations and roles. I’m equally attracted to people who present androgynously as I am to people who present femininely.
  • In the long term, I’m open to a wide range of future locations and lifestyles - From living in large cities, to small towns, to becoming homesteaders. Living in the Bay Area, elsewhere in the US, or other Western countries.

Reach Out!

By default, one has a ~5% chance of meeting the person they marry per year. I’d be delighted if we could increase the chances for each other, even just a little bit. If you think we might be a fit, I’d love to do a video call or go on a walk and just chat about interesting things.

You can DM me on Twitter (DMs open!) or send me an email at christopherolah.co@gmail.com. Feel free to just tell me about some part of this document that resonated with you. :)

You’re also very welcome to try and play matchmaker if you know someone else you think I’d be compatible with. I think matchmaking is underrated.

Awkward selfie at my favorite park. But gosh, isn’t San Francisco beautiful?


Sources of Meaning

There are some topics which are close to my heart. Dreams and ideas which spark my excited enthusiasm. Facts about the world which trigger an earnest drive to help. These topics feel close to who I am, woven into my soul. When I’m around others who share similar feelings, part of me opens up. I am more myself, and can form deeper connections.

Moral Companionship

A formative experience for me has been moral loneliness. As a young child, I was upset about how animals are treated but didn’t know anyone with similar beliefs. As a teenager, I struggled with the Bible and became an atheist. But becoming an atheist left me alone in caring intensely about global poverty (this is something I still admire about the church I grew up in). As an adult, I’m lucky to have found friends and community with similar values but… I’d really love to find moral connection in a relationship.

What do I mean by “moral connection”? I don’t mean believing all the same things: the last thing I’d want would be for either of us to feel constrained in our independent moral judgment! But I think it would be lovely to have enough shared fundamental values to not feel alone, and to really see and value in each other our efforts to be good people. (I suspect an important part of balancing moral independence and connection is valuing each other’s values and process rather than beliefs.)

What are my values? I try – although I obviously don't always live up to this – to be genuinely truth-seeking, care about the welfare of all humans and animals, and be willing to act to improve them. I viscerally care about animal welfare and global poverty. I work on AI safety because I think there's a serious risk of it being unsafe. (Many values I hold are associated with Effective Altruism. However, there are also some things I'd disagree with the EA mainstream on, and I generally value moral independence.)

Seeking Wholesomeness

I’m not sure how exactly to articulate this, but I feel like the default trajectory of my life is to optimize it for efficiency and impact. Those are meaningful things to me – especially as they relate to helping the world – but I don’t want that to be the entirety of my life. I also don’t want to get pulled into consumerism, or hedonism, or lots of other lifestyle attractors around me. Instead, I’m – confusedly, graspingly, stumbling – trying to find something related to family, and connection, and reflection, and integrity. Wholesomeness.

Somehow this idea of seeking “wholesomeness” feels very intertwined with relationships. I guess because “family” feels like a central part of it? Or because many of these things feel most meaningful when you’re sharing them with someone?

I’m not really sure what it would look like for us to try and find wholesomeness in this sense. It’s something we’d need to find out together! Maybe we should live in a village with friends. Maybe we should build a home and live in the woods. Maybe we should drink tea every morning together as the sun rises. Maybe it’s smaller subtle things. But if the vague thing I’m gesturing at resonates with you, I’d at least be an enthusiastic partner as we stumble towards it together.

Aside: I really like Simon Sarris’ twitter feed as one possible vision of “wholesomeness”, in particular threads that just have pictures of his family and their home.

The beauty of math and science

I find math deeply beautiful, and I get a lot of meaning out of it. This is true of science broadly as well, although to a somewhat lesser extent. I get a lot of joy out of learning and exploring and being curious and discovering. I’d love to share that with you. I’d love to work through a textbook we both find interesting, or research some topic, or do a small project. I’d love to whiteboard, and share what we’re thinking about, and be curious about the world together.

(It’s worth saying that this isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. I think a lot of people who are very intellectual can feel intellectually insecure talking to their partner. What if they say something “dumb” and their partner rejects them intellectually? But I think if we want to, we can work together to have an environment that’s safe and allows us to explore ideas together.)

... I also just find it really attractive when someone is genuinely fascinated by math or science. I'm usually slow to develop crushes, but a striking exception was an occasion when someone at a party rambled to me about cool biology papers they'd read recently for half an hour. Instant crush.

Having a family together

More than almost anything, I’m excited to have a family with a partner someday. I’m excited to do it with a particular set of motivations: to have a family, not just because it’s a thing people do by default, but because it’s an adventure we’re both deeply excited for and invested in. To be trying to learn, together, how to make it beautiful and meaningful and alive, even when there are tricky moments. (To be clear: I fully expect having children to have lots of unpleasant and exhausting parts!)

I’m excited to have children, but I’m even more excited to have children with someone. When I imagine it, a big part of what I’m looking forward to is sharing it as a powerful, deep connection to my partner. Just the thought that there’s a small possibility that a relationship might someday lead to having children with someone gives me an almost intoxicating sense of connection.

I love going on walks after it rains. These photos were all taken at a park near my house. I’d love to show you if we end up dating!


More About Me

Some Random Facts About Me

  • Sometimes when it rains, I go outside and rescue worms from dying on the sidewalk. (I don’t claim this is a particularly effective way to improve the world.)
  • I became vegetarian when I was 4 and realized what meat was, without knowing any vegetarians.
  • I have neither an undergrad degree nor a PhD. However, two universities have encouraged me to apply for tenure-track positions despite this.
  • For several years, I cooked free 20+ person vegan dinners for hacklab.to’s weekly open house.
  • I was a devout, evangelical, creationist Christian until I became an Atheist around 15.

What My Friends Say

  • "Probably has similar pros and cons to dating a moral philosopher." (I'm uncertain if my friends who are actual moral philosophers would agree.)
  • "Upbeat and energetic."
  • "Would probably tend to err on the side of his partner."
  • "kind, playful/fun, thoughtful, considerate, and delightful"
  • "Notable traits: extremely kind/caring."

What I do in my free time (I’m kind of a homebody)

  • Reading + Tea - Honestly my main weekend activity. Sometimes with a fireplace. Lots of coziness.
  • Visiting friends with kids - Often one of the highlights of my week.
  • Walks - I go on a lot of walks around my neighborhood and nearby parks, especially after it rains.
  • Work - I work a lot, even in my nominally free time. I enjoy it and think it’s important. (But in the longer run, I’d like to have more work-life balance so I can focus on my future partner and family.)
  • Exercise - Sometimes strength training at the gym, sometimes running.
  • Cooking - I enjoy cooking for other people and I think I’m decent at it.
  • Small social gatherings - I sometimes host tea parties or organize small hikes for friends.

Things I’m not into

  • I’m vegan – I don’t consume animal products. I find the way we treat animals really upsetting. (You don’t need to be vegan, although it would be lovely if you cared about animal suffering.)
  • I don’t drink, smoke, or use any illegal drugs. A couple people in my extended family were alcoholics and I find addiction pretty scary. (I think it’s fine if you do some of these in moderation.)
  • I’m not interested in “kinky” sexual things (eg. BDSM). People should do whatever they enjoy, but this isn’t for me.

Why past relationships didn’t work out

It’s often unclear why relationships don’t work out, but here are a few things I think were factors, in case they can help us avoid similar incompatibilities:

  • I wanted to have kids someday, but my partner did not.
  • Partner was poly, I was anxiously attached.
  • My partner valued spontaneity and adventure, but I found this anxiety producing (especially when adventure involved things that were mildly dangerous).
  • We just weren’t that compatible in some hard to pin down way.
  • I was more politically moderate than my partner.

More

Dating profiles can be highly polished pictures of someone. I’ve tried very hard to be earnest, but even so it’s a very limited view. Thankfully, I have years of a pretty extensive online presence that might offer a more holistic picture. One starting point might be the personal essays and selected twitter threads, or this 80,000 hours interview with me. For a more unfiltered view, you could look at my twitter replies (I think replies are more unfiltered than normal tweets) and go back through history.

Appendix: Media I Read / Listen To

A friend suggested I should include a list of books I’ve read. This turned into a whole additional doc. :)