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.

  10. 70

    Here’s the thing; I don’t know how typical I am but I have what I like to call the ‘Fuck It Plateau’. Dating a woman is an uphill battle to start with. I am frequently working quite hard to get dating done and after a certain amount of shit I will just…stop. You’re someone I fancy a bit and want to get to know better, I’m not in love with you so I actually have no pressing reason to try all that hard, dating you and not dating you at that point are more or less the same to me. There’s only so much work I will put in.
    The other thing is that a lot of women think they’re worth far more work than they really are. See, if you want me to put a lot of effort in to woo you then you’d better be a damn incredible specimen. You probably aren’t. In fact you’re more likely to be either average or below average by any given standard. Given that you’re average or below average and given that dating you is more work than dating this other average girl over here why am I dating you again?
    Basically I’m sick of dating girls who are distinctly middle of the field but think they’re worthy of a Disney style romantic adventure. If you want me to date you now then either bring something to the table and be worth the effort or lessen my effort. Either be intelligent, witty, beautiful and captivating enough that I’ll walk over glass for you, or sweep the glass away so I don’t have to walk over it. Help me plan the date, book the damned restaurant or something. That reflects well on you and makes me more inclined to value you highly. Realize you aren’t worth more than me on a universal scale and treat the date as a cooperative attempt to have a good time rather than a proof of my worthiness. Contribute.
    And no, turning up is NOT a contribution. If you read this far I would like to point out I am a single Fire fighter, Marine Veteran, College educated, athletic, single white male. It is not enough to simply show up and look pretty anymore ladies. You have had these check lists of what your perfect man must have for years now. Believe it or not we noticed. Now you step up and earn it.

  11. 71

    I could not agree more. As a female who dated online I was bombarded with messages more than I could keep up with. I am not being arrogant but I think by most standards I am traditionally attractive. online dating fails from my perspective because at a certain point when u are getting that many emails you have to just start looking at the pictures. I have a job too! I am sure I passed over a lot of really great guys that do not photograph well or who I would really like if I met in person. I always try to explain this to my guy friends who get disheartened with no response. I cannot respond to everyone I’m sorry. One of the sites added a button you can click to just send a no thank you reply which I did do. But guys please don’t send me a follow up message or a nasty gram if I don’t answer that happens a lot.

  12. 72

    Keep in mind women grow up learning from a young age how to be attractive and we experiment until we get it right. Many men don’t know how to take good pics and often post goofy ones, ( paintball bruises on forehead, goofy facial expressions, that sleazy lying on their back in bed with the double chin and bare chest pose.) Also, most people would agree that women are generally more attractive than men even without accouterments. How many straight women and gay men have shown interest in women’s bodies simply for their beauty? I don’t see the reverse happening. Finally, there is often an expectation or even demand from men early in the dating process to have sex quickly. When we fall in love men become more attractive to us. If not allowed the time for that to happen first, we’re basically getting pressured by a stranger we’re not so attracted to to do very intimate things. Dating is tough on both genders.

  13. 73

    My thoughts on this, I’ve been doing online dating for awhile. I have met a few good guys and actually had relationships, but after being on and off for a few years let me say this.    I rarely make an initial contact with a man. It’s not that I would not it was just that I got so many emails I could barely keep up with what I got. I don’t know if I am in the top percent or what, but I would average about 5-10 emails a day and I am not including winks and what not which I pretty much ignored.    Many of these men may be great guys in person but they just did not photograph well at all and so I passed them up, why because there were other better looking guys and to be honest I just did not have the time to look beyond that because there were so many of them.  This is why I truly believe that online dating does not work!    It is too much about looks and too overwhelming.     I don’t know if guys read your blog but I want to say to please understand that women are overwhelmed on these things. I have had guys get downright nasty with me for not responding.     Also there are many men that clearly do not read the profile.  I get men ten years younger, ten years older, smokers, people with no jobs, you catch my drift, so  guys if you read her profile and don’t fit, don’t be surprised if she does not respond.       I’m done with it now, it just does not work at least not for me.      I need something on a smaller scale.

    1. 73.1

      Lisa #73


      I’m also Lisa and could have written this myself, so thank you  :)

      After my 20 yr marriage ended and 3 year relationship ended a few years ago, Ive been giving online dating a try and each year it gets more discouraging to me.  I’m off for now but thinking I need to dip my toes in it again.

  14. 74

    Ive always believed, don’t judge a book by its cover. Beauty is in the heart and I seem to have a gift for seeing people’s colors sometimes and, most of the time Pretty is pretty does applies to most people that I’ve experienced and observed in my life. So the superficial beauty will fade but the beauty from the heart can shine on!!

  15. 75

    I had a look on OK Cupid just now (Aug 2015), the points system is replaced by the Like button, but I did take the “Are You Attractive” test.
    The results were totally not what I had expected (the results were way too high in my opinion), either the test is off or I don’t see myself how I really am.

  16. 76

    Wow.  Is thinning hair really that horrible to women?  Some of these comments have really been a blow to my ego.

  17. 77

    Hello to all: Listen up. Nothing is solved in this forum. The dating world is what it is. On OKCupid the men don’t bother to read your profile. They just send a dumb opening email. Sorry, vilify me all you wish, but I don’t want an ugly man unless he can offer me what Aristotle Onassis offered Jackie Kennedy. I am in shape with a very good face, long thick tresses, and a nice busty body. Men write me that are 22 years old. The only way you’ll see good looking men on Cupid is to upgrade to their A-list…..period. MONEY is what they want. Then you’ll see better men but are these profiles even legitimate? And even if they are real profiles, my belief is that these guys are all looking for booty. I ALMOST met a guy from Cupid, around a 6 or so, because he was persistent. He began to ask jealous questions before we even met so I blew him off. Then he texts me that I have ‘big lips’, I guess to hurt my feelings, because he couldn’t find anything valid to hurt me with. I texted back, ‘So you’d tell Jolie or Roberts that they have BIG LIPS also’?

    He was just a desperate-for-booty boozer like most of the men on that site, Get out your shovels and dig, if you have the time and persistence, to find a jewel.

    1. 77.1

      Maybe the guy likes big lips.

      And you wouldn’t date what you consider to be ugly unless he’s a super wealthy business man who can give you a yacht, $150,000 a year for life after his death, a $3 million trust fund, and several apartments and mansions.

      That’s what Onassis offered Jackie Kennedy.

      Try meeting men in real life instead of online since online doesn’t seem to be getting you want you want.

  18. 78
    Dean Murphy

    Age has nothing do to with it. I am 51 and run into women who are grossly overweight, have children living at home, and think they should have a tall professional good looking guy. Seriously? Now me personally I don’t even bother with the overly attractive women because I know what they think they deserve and its even more ridiculous.  Ladies you are single because that is what you want to be! You all think you deserve freaking prince Albert and sorry hes taken. Also I stopped dating overweight women all together because despite their I’m a secure BBW and love myself claim. Most are insecure, jealous, and suspect every guy they are dating will cheat on them. Guys take my advice don’t waste your time with them. If they cant find thier way to a gym and get in shape why should we waste our time with them?

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