Really Good News If You’re Not That Young and Hot


I’ve written before on sexual market value – how we “rate” other people in comparison to others. It’s crude math, but it serves an important purpose:

It lets us know what we can realistically expect from dating.

A man who is a 2 – because he may be short, heavy, uneducated, unintelligent, unsuccessful, and insensitive – will probably not look in a mirror and see a 2. Chances are, he is attracted to (and feel like he “deserves”) a much more desirable  woman than another 2.

Reality will likely prove him wrong. And that’s when he needs to adjust his standards.

For the most part, if you look around, people tend to match up pretty evenly.

Most people end up with people at their same “level,” in some respect. Wealthy men  who are not particularly attractive may end up with women “above” them. Attractive women who are not particularly smart or kind may do the same. But, for the most part, if you look around, people tend to match up pretty evenly.

There’s been a lot of commentary on this blog about how the rating system is somehow “wrong,” because one person’s 5 is another person’s 9. Well, that’s somewhat true, according to recent psychological research. Stick with me here:

First of all, there really IS a pretty universal standard as to what’s attractive, so let’s not sweep that under the rug. According to a recent New York Times piece.

“Psychological research on first impressions has shown that men and women do, in fact, reach some degree of consensus about each other in precisely this way. During an initial encounter, some people generally inspire swooning, others polite indifference and others avoidance. Desirable qualities like attractiveness, charisma and success – the features that differentiate the haves from the have-nots – are readily apparent.”

At the same time, even if we can all easily pick out the Clooneys and Albas from the crowd, there is something very powerful that gives lower ranked people an edge:

“Yet alongside this consensus is an equally important concept: uniqueness. Uniqueness can also be measured. It is the degree to which someone rates a specific person as lower or higher than the person’s consensus value. For example, even if Neil is a 6 on average, certain women may vary in their impressions of him. Amanda fails to be charmed by his obscure literary references and thinks he is a 3. Yet Eileen thinks he is a 9; she finds his allusions captivating.”

People who are hot and charismatic will always attract people — online and in person — at alarming rates.

This makes perfect sense and tends to get lost when we talk about dating, mating, and sexual market value. My wife might see me as a 10 but some woman who values guys with tattoos, Harleys and guns probably wouldn’t even look twice at me. Similarly, look around a dating site: part of the reason some people succeed is because they STAND OUT. Their profiles are funny. Their photos are memorable. They list interesting hobbies. They are unique. Hell, I built an entire business out of helping people capture their unique qualities in their profiles,  and yet this study is a very useful reminder – people who are hot and charismatic will always attract people – online and in person – at alarming rates. But for the rest of us, there is hope as people get to truly know you:

“The old axiom says beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to initial impressions, this statement is not really true: Consensus about desirable qualities creates a gulf between the haves and have-nots. But the truth of this maxim increases over time: As people get to know each other, decreasing consensus and increasing uniqueness give everyone a fighting chance.

So if you do not have a high mate value, take heart. All you need is for others to have the patience to get to know you, and a more level playing field should follow.”

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

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  1. 21

    Thanks for the comments!. So, he took me to a fabulous Thai restaurant. Asked me why in the world was I single, attractive, smart, warm, friendly! I was like wow, this new Evan stuff is dynamite. I used the Evan advice, just stayed present in the moment, no scrutiny, no invasive stuff, two people meeting….casual. He actually (not making this up), told me the reason he just HAD to meet me was my response to the note. He said, “I was waiting for you to get pissed and send the angry FU note, and you were so understanding, I went “who is THIS woman?”. MmmmHmmmmm. I guess staying calm and letting things play out   is a good thing. Thanks Evan good advice.

  2. 22

    After getting back into dating after 27 years, it’s interesting to read all of your comments. I’ve been online dating for a few months. I am 46, attractive, funny, intelligent, and many lovely things, of course, and I while I’ve had  some success with online dating, it is true that the majority of guys that pursue me I don’t find attractive physically or in other ways. It isn’t just about being typically a 10 either, my longest relationship was with this guy who was funny, obviously intelligent, and had witty things to say on his profile, was physically maybe a 5,  and I went for it, and  we had a great connection despite his crazy pictures from the start, but there was something in his face that was appealing to me and his profile did the rest. Our first date lasted 11 hours- just talking! I do, of course, typically go for guys I find physically attractive- but the attractiveness isn’t always in physical features, it may be his pose or his smile, his eyes, the way he stands, the picture of him holding an orphan in Cambodia or something I can just tell intuitively that is attractive to me. Most of the time I’m right about this, and the conversations, the profiles tell me the rest. I am not skinny, young,  and I  don’t put pics up of my body, but the guys I’ve  met online and then dated have found me very sexy and attractive  despite  being curvy and old!

    Some guys get offended that you aren’t replying, but terrible pictures, guys looking angry, weird, bad lighting, bathroom pics, pics of abs, pics of biceps, pics of their truck and their dogs and the fish they caught, pics with their grandma who they still live with- you know, you just know they don’t have their crap together or they’re weird or they don’t fit you. Of course, I live in South Louisiana and the options are not as plentiful, and I have literally been on sites that I had to just deactivate because I either dated, talked to, or got rejected by anyone remotely interesting within a 100 mile radius! Now, that being said, I’ve had fun online dating but it’s led to mostly just casual things, no one has acted even remotely interested in finding love, and not just with me, I discuss this with some of them who are honest and upfront. What’s up with that? For a while I didn’t care, as I was just enjoying the casual things as well. I feel like the likelihood of finding a great guy who also has a connection and all the things I want is just so slim. Maybe I need to move to a bigger city!


  3. 23

    Maybe it’s just me but I hate rating people on scales of 1-10. Who am I to say what another person’s ‘rating’ should be? What gives me the right to determine their worth in that way? Rating scales seems so high school to me.

    As I’ve gotten, I have gotten better at showing people who I really am. I guess part of that is because *I* know who I am better. I use to be crap at telling a man what I wanted. I was all about pleasing him. This would lead me to be frustrated though. So for a long time I used the internet as a way to speak my truth to get comfortable in asking for what I wanted or speaking up for what I believed. I started to see men really respond to me online because of it. Not all men mind you. Some would outright call me a name and say I was a “feminist” like wanting equality for women is a dirty word. But some guys responded real positive to me speaking my own mind and loved my intelligence and sound they found my honesty and open mindedness refreshing. So I have carried that in the real world with me. When you live your own truth and fully live as the unique person you are, that’s when you attract the kind of people that will truly appreciate you and don’t just look at you as some number on a scale. I am not a number on a scale whether I am a 1 or a 10. I am a unique person that has a combination of traits that are both good and bad and strength and weaknesses that vary. But I am a full bodied complex person and that’s how I want to be treated. Not like a one dimensional number on a stupid scale.

  4. 24
    Lone Rose

    Well, im 36 years old and i have settled to date men well below my value for awhile now!, and even these guys who are below my level in regards to they may already have kids, -(i have never married or have kids and yet they still look down on me , even when some of them have made irresponsible, couldnt care less choices about who they married/ had kids with, at least i didnt do that in my past and am not careless/irresponsible) they are not as independant as me, and yet they have still rejected me, and the few guys that are/were interested in me lately are completely wrong for me.

    What am i doing wrong? its extremely frustrating, i try and believe that there is something wrong with me, but i see people with much more personal issues then me who are still in happy relationships- they are not perfect looking, and they have major things wrong with them, so why are they in relationships while i am still single? i must be doing something wrong, and i wish i knew what that is!

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