You’re Probably Passing Up Your Soulmate, And You Don’t Even Know It

A friend forwarded me an article about looks on the dating site It blew my mind.

Okay, maybe it didn’t blow my mind, but it did validate everything that I’ve ever said about online dating. I’m going to do my best to summarize– and explain what you can learn from it. According to this article…

1) Men have a very fair assessment of women’s overall attractiveness. This doesn’t mean that they’re not shallow (they are), but rather, that they are consistent and reasonable in terms of “rating” women’s looks.

Like in a normal bell curve, 5% of the women were found to be the least attractive and 5% were found to be the most attractive, with most women falling in the middle 90%.

It’s women, not men, who have unrealistic standards for the “average” member of the opposite sex.

2) Women, on the other hand, rate 80% of men as below average.

Let me repeat: It’s women, not men, who have unrealistic standards for the “average” member of the opposite sex.

After coaching women for many years, I already suspected this, but this was a stark realization when you see just how few men you even find to be average looking.

3) This doesn’t let men off the hook at all. OkCupid reports that the most attractive women still receive 5X more email than average women and 28X more email than unattractive women. Literally 2/3 of male messages go to the best looking 1/3 of women.

As OkCupid observed, the medical term for this is “male pattern madness”.

4) Women engage in similar behavioral patterns, just not as extreme. The most attractive men get 11X more than unattractive men.

To sum up, women find most men ugly, but write to them anyway. Men find most women reasonably attractive but spend their time writing only to the hottest ones.
Yep, that sounds about right.

As for how this affects YOUR online dating experience?

• The average female sender gets a 30% reply rate from the most attractive males.
• The average male sender gets a 27% reply rate from the most attractive females.

In other words, if you’re getting 1 out of 3 people writing back to you, you’re doing okay.

A huge problem with online dating is that we have an unrealistic set of expectations about how things work.


• The most attractive men get a 53% reply rate.
• The most attractive women get a 66% reply rate.

Once again, proving that attractive women are at the top of the online dating totem pole.

So, what do you DO with all this information?

First of all, count your blessings that you UNDERSTAND this. A huge problem with online dating is that we have an unrealistic set of expectations about how things work.

If you’re writing to a very attractive person, you now know you’re competing with everyone else on the website. You can’t be too disappointed when you don’t get a reply.

Next, you could say to yourself, “Hmm…if all the other women are writing to the top 5%, that means those men in the 50-90th percentile are comparatively being neglected.”

Thus, you’re going to have a lot more success writing to the proverbial “6’s” and “7s” than the “10’s”.

Finally, you’ll see that since you can’t force people to write to you (since most men and women are chasing younger, more attractive people), ALL you can do is open up to others and improve the way you interact on your dating site.


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  1. 61
    Jim T

    This is not their fault.  It is hardwired in to a woman’s genetic code to go after the leader of the pack.   The real problem today is they are surrounded by these ideal mates, but they are not real.  Its 100% commercial.  Smoke and mirrors.   And the saddest part of all is many of these women are married to good men. But because of this there is a sense they are missing something better and it creates an unhappiness within.  Add in the fact that they also have very unrealistic expectations of themselves and POW… misery cocktail :(  I truly feel for women.
    And how these dating websites makes this worse is… because it dangles some of these guys just that much closer.  And for those poor girls who actually catch lightning in a bottle and more than likely get spit back out… please don’t take it out on the good ones with your “all men are  _____” speech.   Not the case sweetie, its most of the men you chase.  Know thyself, the world and do your best to find happiness in finding someone who first is a good human.
    Best wishes everyone.

  2. 62

    While I believe that women are not attracted to > 80% of men and ALL of them are ONLY interested in the top 10=20% of men … even if they are married and even if they are thugged-out-just-out-of-jail-bad boys some of the other stats just don’t pass the sniff test to me. In my experience, I’ve found that nearly NO WOMEN AT ALL message men. Why ? They don’t have too all they have to do is not look like a whale and have 1/2 a brain and they will have plenty of attention from men. In addition, the “response rates” is complete crap. As a man who participated for a long time I can tell you that men do not get a 30% response rate from ANY women. Brad Pitt could log on and message 100 woman and not get 30 responses so for a average guy to be getting that … BS. Not true. Online dating is just horrible for men. As a guy, imagine 1,000 women messaging you ??? Ain’t gonna happen. Ever. All online dating does is tilt the scales in favor of women even more; such that it is so overwhelmingly in their favor they just treat ALL guys like crap. Then they lie on their profile some more or mention sex, or post another fake pic and then another 1,000 guys will message them. Guys … do yourself a favor and stay away. Once they realize that good, decent, hard working are on to their game and are not willing to play according to their rules … then maybe they will change their rules. And I would like to say that they’d change to give us a chance but its not that. The rules would change because its the ONLY way for them to every find a man; so its women change your rules or you all end up alone … which I think a lot of them are starting to find. 

  3. 63

    A Perfect 10 man or woman isn’t real. Who can say that they are flawless, most beautiful, most smartest, most strongest, and such? No One!!! Humans have flaws and there is no such thing as a perfect person, but you can definitely find someone who is the right person for you who will find you beautiful inside and out. I think people need to accept reality that there is no such thing as the Perfect person and stop focusing on physical attraction, money, or status as standards when ranking people. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain and it has fooled many people thinking that an attractive and sweet talking person has good character. Good character can’t be measured by charm and beauty. Just ask the judges when people go to court for divorce.

  4. 64

    I get less than 1 out of 3 replies. And I would honestly, fairly put myself in the “average” category. But it’s true that most men I would consider average are chasing the hot women. I’ve had to lower my standards looks-wise. But I don’t really care about looks all that much. I admit I do care more about body size (not attracted to obese men), grooming, and facial expression (a smile goes a long way, what’s with all these “deer in the headlights photos” guys?) But I will contact a geeky looking guy with average body type if I think we will be compatible. So yes, I would have to agree that “women find most men ugly, but write to them anyway. Men find most women reasonably attractive but spend their time writing only to the hottest ones.”

  5. 65

    It’s simple. If you are a 4 then date a 4. Don’t call someone shallow for not picking you if picked them for looks too. This reminds me of revenge of the nerds. All I kept thinking about, while watching that movie, is the nerd was as shallow as the cheerleader. He wanted her because she was attractive, or he would have pursued a fellow nerd.

    1. 65.1

      And who will enforce that? Do we have a Bureau of Dating? Is there a regulatory agency for that? I mean, last time I checked, that seems to be self-policing. The more attractive person still has the freedom to say no if they choose. The “high value” folk seem a lot more bugged about this than the mere mortals.

  6. 66

    If OKC got those stats off the rate feature I think they did the page you rate from displays the persons profile, not just their photo.

    Women read profiles and men for the most part don’t, then there’s the poor quality of the average written profile (so so many don’t even write anything, they just have a photo, and get marked down for it too) men and women are assessing two different things. Women are assessing a profile while men just the photo, also guys don’t always put a lot of effort into pics while women will obsess over theirs, I’ve met plenty of guys who look a lot better than their photos.

    It sounds less like women are assessing physical looks and more they just don’t think the guy sounds very interesting, far more likely though (give what is on that site) women are seeing mens comments on their profile about casual sex and are marking them down for being creepy.

  7. 67

    You are not counting that women are writing back to make snarky comments to rude guys. You are also not counting that women find them “unattractive” but most of the men are more unattractive than most of the women. Women are looking for older men and they are just not in shape or looking good for their age while the women are taking care of themselves with so much emphasis on their looks to begin with. Your study is flawed.

  8. 68

    These battle of the sexes topics always get so many bitter posts. If you think the opposite sex has gotten too picky because the only people responding to you are “below your level,” you’re wrong about your level. And it’s not your looks screwing things up, it’s your bitterness.

    I’m never going to date a man I’m not attracted to, and I hope never to date a man who’s not attracted to me. I’ve never fallen for a man more than a couple years from my own age; I’ve never fallen for a man who wasn’t brilliant; and I’ve never fallen for a man I wasn’t proud to show off to my friends. Oh, and post #24 – I’ve never fallen for a man who didn’t smell good. Call it shallowness or evolution, it’s just the truth. But since I routinely fall in love with men who are just a little out of my league, I can’t take them for granted. My boyfriend makes me want to be a better person, to be as great to him as he is to me. And that starts a virtuous cycle where we both feel really lucky and end up being really good to each other.

    Everyone with the bitter or entitled posts, you should try humility and gratitude. It not only makes you more attractive, it makes you happier.

  9. 69
    Olga Glushko

    I do believe that women have high ‘standards’ on men, not unrealistic, because we all know that men are usually not looking for serious relationship. We have the chance to choose who’s best for us to spare ourselves from the pain they can inflict when we are deeply in love with them. Thanks for this article, it really opened my eyes to the strange world of online dating.

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