Update, Jan 2022: I've been being a bit of a misanthropic introvert for the past while, so my status is basically "not looking" at the moment (for dating or hangouts, alas!) However, you're still welcome to message me-- I keep track of all of the cool people who I'd be psyched to hang out with if I were being more social, and the day may yet come when I emerge, fully formed, from my elliptical-containing, internet-awakened home. I'm also still at some parties and other group events, so feel free to hit me up there-- and generally, much thanks for reading / reaching out / being interested :).

Seeking Dating Partner

Hey, I’m Vael! I'm a postdoc at Stanford, looking for a cool new human to date :). I'm conveniently a stereotype of myself, being a poly nonbinary person in Berkeley, with some added "intense weird academic!" for flavor. In my work time, I'm trying to figure out how I can contribute to safe AI (this upcoming postdoc is an ethnography of AI researchers). In my down time, I'm far too into reading fanfiction while working out, and introspective activities like writing dating documents describing my goals. If you're interested in being a primary or secondary partner of a "casually upbeat", conscientious weirdo, please read on!

(I'm unduly excited about the photoshoot my friend just did, so here are Too Many Pictures for your perusal)


  • poly. Interested in dating or being close friends, with the investment associated with a poly primary or secondary (spanning the range from “living with” to “casual dating”!)
  • interested in social dynamics, and minds. You enjoy analyzing relevant social minutiae, and thinking about minds individually and at scale. You have the skill of "emotional problem-solving"; you’re curious about why people think what they think, and like thinking strategically about social, emotional, and epistemological patterns.
  • skilled at something work-related (technical or people-based, perhaps reflected through respect of community, respect of colleagues, job title, salary, etc.). This is tapping into my internal representation of "competence" -- do you have hard-to-achieve, long-term goals you care about, and do you make progress towards them in a way that’s legible to others?
  • oriented towards work, and ideally influenced by Effective Altruism ideas around work. Thinking strategically, thinking about scale, thinking about contributing. Dedicated to whatever you’re doing in a sustainable way.
  • (waves hands around) "good at thinking"...? Kind of a thoughtful, emotionally level-headed, ideas-make-sense-to-me-upon-reflection, "clear-sighted", insightful way of interacting with the world? People trust you to have "reasonable opinions"? (waves hands around some more)
  • you're independent. You also feel emotionally stable, and overall happy with your life or capable of getting to where you're going next.
  • lives in or would be happy to frequently transport to Berkeley, OR would be happy to do a lot of Zoom calls


  • I'm a postdoc at Stanford doing an ethnography of AI researchers! Effective Altruist / Rationalist, happily living in Berkeley, looking for how to contribute to AI safety in a way I’d reasonably enjoy :). If you happened to be desperately seeking ~15k words of me informally summarizing my recent life, I have just the thing for you! Age 28, 5’8, vaelgates.com
  • Complimentary words about me:
    • honest, upfront communication
    • conscientious, reliable
    • driven, generally competent
    • problem solving oriented
    • cheerful, high energy, very reliable mood
    • growth-mindset, good introspective access
    • attentive to people when talking, interested in emotional / mental models
    • something like charming, more endearing than classically charismatic
    • athletic
    • self-sustaining, low drama
  • Some traits that might immediately rule me out for you:
    • poly
    • basically asexual
    • don’t want to relationship-elevator (independent, parallel growth!)
    • don’t form really strong emotional / dependence-feeling bonds on individuals
    • nonbinary and pretty aromantic


  • "But Vael, what does "dating" even mean if you’re mostly aromantic and asexual?" If I see you regularly, think about you regularly, talk to you about the details / concerns of my life, and you do the same, and we both agree we're dating, I consider that dating! I find "poly dating" puts people in a better mindset for the level of investment I’m looking for, but "close friends" or "casual dating" both span the gamut as well.
  • I’m not really an "activities" person: talking, walking, coworking, cuddling are my go-tos.
  • Assuming we're a good fit, I'm interested in trying one date, in dating for six months, in dating for a year, or for many years; whatever makes sense.


If you've made it this far and think we might be a good fit, please contact me! I expect the number of people who hit all these criteria to be very small, so I'm really looking forward to hearing from people (women + nonbinary folks especially welcome). I’d be excited if you sent me a PM on Messenger, or sent an email to vaelgates@gmail.com, with literally the text: "Hey Vael, read your dating doc, am maybe interested!” I’ll then either send back a quick note if I don't think we'd be a good fit (but with my great appreciation for messaging me!), or send you my [more detailed dating doc], and we can go from there. Many thanks, good humans, for reading my particular nonsense. All the best.