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

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A friend forwarded me an article about looks on the dating site OkCupid.com. 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.

Similarly…

– 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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Comments:

  1. 21
    nathan

    There are definitely positives to online dating, and it’s one avenue to take on the search. However, I do think that the almost endless options, the one click away aspect, and the ability to sit in your own living room and come up with a million fantasies about people you’ve never met seems to exaggerate issues like looks.
    Christina’s point about many folks not approaching the 9 or 10 in real life is totally true. It’s easier to approach someone like that online, sitting in your living room, where any rejection comes in the form of an e-mail a day or two or three later.
    Just as it is easier to reject those who look “average” online with a single click, whereas if you met the same person at a coffee shop and started talking with them, you might find it much harder to say no. You might even be attracted to   them. It’s less black and white in real life.

  2. 22
    Ellen

    Okcupid is really the only dating website I use right now.

    I am somewhat typical of women on this website & in the article above  with one exception- I DO write to average Joes if there is something in their face/eyes that grabs me, I find attractive AND their profile is a killer in terms of intelligence/articulate/humor/what have you.  I try like HELL to focus on guys my age (50s), but in the end write to the guys in their 40s. And last year, the year before, dated even younger here and there (2 cougar sites).

    Why? Guys my age, few of them, have taken good care of their faces/bodies/spirit. Too many just look bad (esp. after age 53 or so) and/or are very controlling/manipulative/walking wounded. Or MERELY sexist/ageist given their generation I guess.

    Now I’m walking wounded also (aren’t we all?), but I don’t PUNISH men for what my ex did or my last steady did. I am mature, I can put it in perspective. What I do do is bitch about it to my girlfriends and maybe my new date a little (my version of  MY riot act I guess), but try to keep my mouth shut as much as possible after that…It’s like a little salvo I shoot off early in the relationship that most men ignore anyway I’ve found! 🙁

    Too many men my age seem to have the attitude “By God this woman isn’t going to   ___, ____, ____ like my first ex, my second ex, the last woman I dated did (feel free to fill in the blanks anyway you choose).

    Re looks: Recently I started dating against type- a 9 years younger, formerly obese man who scored very similarly to me on okcupid (you are asked to answer up to 200 questions! so it’s similar to eHarmony maybe). OMG people! He’s such a sweet soul and treats me like a princess.  He is also smart, funny, articulate, and  an alpha male (which makes me weak in the knees). So I’m in heaven right now.

    Should have done this a long time ago (date against type), but what happened with me was I got spoiled sorta dating younger, dating the “dashing”, good looking men ’cause I could I guess. I mean I got this email from okcupid telling me they would now send me better looking matches ’cause I scored high, looks-wise, by men rating women on their site.

    I also got in the habit of dating good looking men for the simple reason my ex wasn’t good looking///So I have my reasons…..I am not usually, typically shallow- at all.

    So I am like the typical powerful, “silver fox” male who, because he typically dates younger, trophy women, becomes addicted to them. A man’s career/salary matter less to me ’cause I’m like many women on here: smart, independent, good job….

    But now I am breaking that pattern and dependency I think. As one   online friend put it a while back “The good looking ones are practiced at loving and leaving”. So true.

    Maybe what folks should do is read the profile first, then examine the photos. And always go with your intuition. I almost didn’t contact my current honey ’cause his pics were a bit goofy & cocky, but my deepest intuition said “Go for it”, so I did.

    Finally, for the first time in two years I feel safe with this man, don’t feel nervous about the progression of the romance or my part in it much. It’s flowing without too much effort on my part which is NICE.

    1. 22.1
      jessica

      I could not agree with you more. I am an attractive woman in her 50s and I have the same complaint that the men go downhill after 53. They are not only ugly and I mean ugly because they do not take care of themselves but also as you noted angry and miserable. I have not only found this on the dating sites but in real life, men cannot move on after rejection. And yes, they take it out on any decent kind woman who comes along. Sometimes it is very noticeable and sometimes not so–I wasted 7 years with a man who treated me more like a mistress than a well respected talented successful woman and mother.He lied to me about so many things that were important and would have influenced my breaking up with him. And he feels absolutely no guilt over it probably putting all women in the same basket as his exes (yes exes) I am so discouraged. I feel there is not any man decent over the age of 53 to meet. And I have had over 300 emails in the first 3 weeks and get an average of 6 new ones a day. But because of all the lying going on behind their profiles, I cannot sort or filter on anything consistent. Tomorrow is the last meeting. I am ending the dating sites again. I am happy living life independently. It just isn’t in the cards for me. Just too many broken and lazy men out there who I am not going to waste my valuable time interviewing.

      1. 22.1.1
        jessica

        Just to explain the comment on so many emails, I know that woman get a lot no matter what they look like. So I am not bragging, just that I have had many men, all , ages, bald, fat, (never thin), only the young ones have nice athletic body types. (under 50). I have tried to overlook the horrible pictures in search of the well written profile and how he converses with me before a meeting. But I meet, and they are never what they said in their profiles even, let alone their body type or pictures. It’s like they are not even the same person. How many females (daughters, sisters) are helping the men with their profiles? And when I do meet for a drink, which I pay my share, the man actually thinks he has the right to invade my space and lunge in for the first Kiss. Why would I kiss someone who I just talked to for at most 2 hours? The majority of all shape and sized men have remarked on their profile, there ” has to be chemistry” Then they use it as an excuse to find out if there is any chemistry on the first date by touching me. Done with it. Looks have nothing to do with being a gentleman.

      2. 22.1.2
        DaveInLA

        “I could not agree with you more. I am an attractive woman in her 50s and I have the same complaint that the men go downhill after 53.”
        Jessica — what do you think most women look like after 40?  

        1. Dan

          Ha! My thoughts exactly. I’m surprised at  the amount of women wirh a spare tire who are looking for a man with a six-pack.

      3. 22.1.3
        Julie

        You are so right about the lying. I’ve found most men lie on these sites even when they don’t have to. Guess what, I’m a paralegal by profession and I WILL find out. I get disgusted with it too. Sorting it all out and trying to figure out what/who is real and who isn’t is exhausting and more work than I have time for.

      4. 22.1.4
        DeeGee

        jessica : “I feel there is not any man decent over the age of 53 to meet.”

        [waving]   I’m over here…

      5. 22.1.5
        Amy

        @Jessica, you are sadly right. Not only are they angry and miserable, but living in lala-land. They believe, a 20-year-old would go for them, knowing they are very old and have a lot of health problems. That is were the bitterness comes from also.

    2. 22.2
      Buck25

      Let me guess, Ellen. I’ll bet he wasn’t obese in his profile pic! As for going against type,how? Was he a little less hot than the younger men you had been responding to, or maybe only 9 years younger instead of ten, or twelve, or fifteen? Sounds to me like you got the Holy Grail of virtually every 50+ woman on this site-a much younger man, just not as young as you were seeking. Let me or any man date a woman 9 or ten years younger, and you and the rest of the resident harpies would be shrieking,   “Creep, pervert, cradle robber!” in outrage, and you know it! And to think, you almost didn’t contact him, because he didn’t look like what? Brad Pitt, perhaps? What really amuses me, is that you could have met the same guy, and if he had been 9 years OLDER than you, you wouldn’t have bothered to read his profile. You know it, and I know it. All online dating does, it let women fixate on age and looks in a way you never could in real life. The more I read here, the more I’m convince I NEVER want try online dating again. Not that you care, but women my age, (I’m 68) look just as repulsive and sexless to me, as men your age look to you. I want younger and more attractive too, and in the real world I have some chance of actually getting that; online, I have none.

  3. 23
    nomdegeurre

    Angie #14

    The problem with your theory is that 3 Stars qualifies as above average.   Women rated 80% of men BELOW 2.5 stars.   There is no getting around the fact that women on OKcupid are extremely harsh in judging men’s appearance.

    1. 23.1
      Sondra

      Or they just are lazy and if they don’t want to talk to the guy they give them a one or two star. By the way, if they have a premium membership, they can see if you gave them a three star too and you figure that out quickly even if you don’t have one yourself because as soon as you rate them three stars, they contact you.  

  4. 24
    Maeve

    a) Thanks to intense socialization beginning at birth and continuing throughout life, women spend a lot–A LOT–more time, effort and money making themselves attractive to men, a situation that most men feel perfectly entitled to, thus leading to today’s world where a 55-year-old sloth with a beer gut living in a trailer sends messages to beautiful young 28-year-old women with a graduate degree. In other words, hang on for it, *most men are less attractive than most women.* It does not make intuitively bad sense to me to find that most women rate most men as relatively less attractive in the world we live in.
      
    b) let’s evaluate the methodology of the OKC article … oh, wait, we can’t, because it doesn’t give us the methodology. What exactly was the question posed to their participants? Was it based on the ratings in their website? That would be odd, because people rate profiles, not photos, on OKC. So did they do a special study and ask people to rate photos separately? In which case, were they asked to rate based on their own hypothetical “average” or just asked to give a number based on how attractive they found them personally? Huh. We don’t know. All right: what about their assumption that in a “realistic” world assessments of attractiveness should follow a bell curve?
    Anyone?
    Look up “Sturgeon’s Law”: 95% of anything is crap. This is applied to everything from the quality of science fiction books (original interpretation) to pop music to politics to science to experiments–there are all kinds of fields, from trivial to profound, with skewed distributions and the vast majority of entrants *legitimately* rating well below the mean. This doesn’t make science fiction readers, music fans, political afficianados or scientists morons, and it doesn’t make women crazy.
    Is there any particular reason, other than the male ego, why women’s assessments of men’s attractiveness should not follow a long-tail distribution pattern, when so much else in the world does? Especially when apparently it does not alter their actual dating behaviour anything like the supposedly mathematically “fairer” men’s?
      
    c) Evolutionary Psychology: Tons of scientific data over decades covering millions of years of behaviour not only for our own species, but for our closest primate relatives, shows this to be a consistent and perfectly rational strategy on part of both men and women: men (and other male primates) are less discriminating because the consequences of a bad choice don’t last long and aren’t serious. You get the wrong girl/chimp knocked up, you run away, she’s on her own. Every guy wants the hottest one because she’s presumably most fertile, healthiest, and most likely to successfully raise an infant to adulthood. The vast majority of males will not succeed in this, but are perfectly happy to settle for someone far less attractive (or several someones) if they seem like reasonable biological bets. Women, thanks to the investment not only of pregnancy but child-rearing, are vastly choosier–a single act can result in pregnancy and then we live with it for 18 years, whereas a guy can theoretically spawn 365 kids in a single year, none of which he necessarily needs to contribute to (anthropological studies show, contrary to pop assumption, that the average man in a hunger-gatherer society contributed about 10% or less of any one kill to his existing children or the women he had fathered them with–most of it went to higher-status males or other fertile females).
      
    So where does this leave us? With a mildly interesting, two-year-old OKC study of questionable methodology and quality reporting on how millions of years of human evolution have not yet been trumped by modern cultural ideals of romantic love as a lifelong partnership between “soulmates” with no regard for the physical characteristics that traditionally resulted in successful reproduction; however the internet is allowing a larger field for these forces to play out, with predictable results.

    1. 24.1
      Ld

      This is an insightful and data-driven post, so unusual for online comments….thank you and I completely agree, yet also know that our unconscious estimations of reproductive benefit and likely fittestness are more complicated than physical symmetry/size/strength/health.   Personally I have fallen for men for a wide variety of reasons: attractiveness, confidence, humor, sexiness, kindness, intelligence, spiritual depth, it all depends on the package!
      And we really need an online dating site that is scratch n sniff 😉 because the same sort of attraction research in human females shows the little known fact that the vast majority of the variance in attraction patterns can best be explained by the particular way a man smells. When a woman’s hormones change in pregnancy, her attraction to her mate also changes because the smells she is attracted to change…..fortunately her hormone/odor attraction goes back to normal after the birth 🙂
        
        

      1. 24.1.1
        Terry S.

        Yes, I find the smell of a man extremely important. Also the sound of his voice can be very attractive. I think as I have gained more experience in life my wants and needs in a man have changed. Now I am looking for someone who takes care of themselves, is average in looks,    honest, warm,   knows how to manage his money, respectful, will work with me on issues and wants to grow emotionally, and has common sense.

  5. 25
    Sheyna

    Women may be harsh…I had an experience recently that illustrated this. I got a nice, brief e-mail from a guy with terrible pictures. You could barely see him in fact, it looked like they were taken in the dark. So I didn’t reply, I know..rude, right? Yes, c’est la vie.
    Weeks later, I went to a party and met a friend of the hostess. We flirted a little, I thought he was very cute but I left early because I felt creepy flirting with a guy my friend may or may not have been dating. She introduced him as her friend, so I wasn’t given many clues.
    A week or so later he emailed me on the dating site to say he had finally figured out where he knew me from and we’ve been out a couple of times. You’d think that would have taught me a lesson but it’s still difficult to get around some of the bad pictures.
    I know everyone thinks they look good but dang some people my age (35!) look like they’ve been through the wringer. Since digital cameras were introduced, I think every woman grabbed one and started practicing being photographed, men apparently did not, they could learn a bit about flattering lighting, good angles…attractive clothing…

    1. 25.1
      TheForgottenOne

      @ Sheyna #25
      You make a good point about men not having very flattering photos in their online profile.   The challenge that I have had and suspect most men have is that, quite frankly, we don’t have people following us around taking pictures in our most natural and engaging environments.   Maybe this is different for women but if I’m out having a good time with friends or at the park walking my dog I don’t say to myself ‘Hey, this would make good picture to post online’ and immediately stop the next stranger I come upon and ask them to take my picture.   So the online pictures rarely pose a true representation of who the person is in real life.  

      1. 25.1.1
        Josie

        “So the online pictures rarely pose a true representation of who the person is in real life.” Well… yes, but you can’t expect a woman to see past a bad photo, as I cannot expect a man to “envision” how I look better in my photos than in reality!

        If you have a friend who can take natural, flattering photos for purposes of online dating, then why not? One of my single male coworkers recently asked a female friend to go shopping with him, which is also nearly always a good idea for the single guy (unless said friend has a taste for Affliction shirts or skinny jeans 😉 ). Why not ask a female friend (or if you don’t have one, a guy friend) to go to the park with you and take a few natural photos. Evening/late afternoon or early morning lighting is best.

        1. Julie

          I always look at it as a minor red flag if a guy has the bathroom mirror photo of himself posted. The first thing I think is “Does this man have no friends or coworkers who could take a photo of him somewhere other than the bathroom??

          The opposite of that is the man who posts nothing BUT group photos of himself out having fun with groups of friends…and you have to figure out which one he is in the group.

  6. 26
    Lisa M.

    Ellen, good for you.

    I think OLD is the best route for me because offline I rarely get approached and when I do, he’s a jerk with one thing on his mind.   With OLD there were more men approaching me for dates and they weren’t all  jerks and players.   I have never approached a guy offline in my life but when I was online I made the first move a few times.   I just couldn’t stand it when they would show up after misrepresenting themselves in their profiles looks-wise.

    So, I agree with Christina as well.   It seems that people find it easier approach others online.

    1. 26.1
      Amy

      I am with you. OLD is the best route and I have had better luck with it than online.

  7. 27
    Zaq

    Most of my posts have been mentioning this like forever !
    Its not the only study done that confirms this.

    Women agree on who the most attractive men are, but not the rest, skewing the average score downwards. On one of the other studies of on line dating it was clear that the women were ONLY responding to the most attractive.
    Lisa will no doubt agree with this

    Men however approached the women in direct proportion to how attractive they were. Average women WERE therefore contacted, just not as much as the most beautiful women. If 2/3 the messages are going to a 1/3 of the women, that sounds perfectly reasonable doesnt it.

    Lets be realistic, the bottom 20% of the women are probably not in the game, but in any event are better off than the bottom 50% of the men !

    1. 27.1
      Jenn

      “Average women WERE therefore contacted, just not as much as the most beautiful women. If 2/3 the messages are going to a 1/3 of the women, that sounds perfectly reasonable doesnt it.”
      No, it does not because that suggests that the average-looking men  who are busy fervently  contacting the hottest women on the site while simultaneously ignoring other less-than-hot females, are deluding themselves into thinking they are worthy of getting the 10s. How that is at all reasonable, I don’t know. As an average-looking woman who does not expect GQ models to contact me, I’d really love it if guys could get their heads out of the clouds. You are not going to land that Maxim model, no matter how hard you try. Try putting as much effort into landing the girl-next-door-types and you might find you have much better luck (not to mention a more realistic sense of your true market value).

  8. 28
    Zaq

    Also to reiterate a point I’ve made before. A normal distribution curve shows that women are NOT being judged against some arbitrary media  standard of beauty, but only against other “normal” women.

  9. 29
    Angie

    @24 –nomdegeurre
      
    Actually, this is confusing b/c I just looked on OKCupid now, and you can’t give someone a zero, so I don’t know how people can score less than “1”, unless OKCupid has made changes since this blog post.
      
    I just logged back on, saw a pic of a guy who was really good looking, I clicked on his profile… I had given him 3 stars.   Haha, then I reread his profile.   Yup…. good looking, but no interest.
      
    I agree with #25 Maeve.   We (at least women) are rating profiles.   Men are probably more likely to just rate looks.

  10. 30
    Zaq

    Maeve@25

    Well its not just this study, but many others  that are all saying the same thing. If the  studies were coming up with CONFLICTING results then you  would have some right to challenge the study.

    In any event you are aware that evolutionary psychology also seems to  explain the observed behaviour of women in mating choice. However to my mind there is a problem. Women want the alpha male to get the best genes, but he is unlikely to stay around to look after the family.  This has led some researchers to speculate that womens strategy was to find a beta male  to support her and cheat on him !  You have rightly brought attention to the fact that the best hunters present the kill to the tribe, not to  their offspring, which I guess is why women are attracted to men with status.

    Clearly none of this works well in  a monogamous society. So where does that leave us  ? OLD cannot work for men, if women continue to follow this strategy.

  11. 31
    Lisa M.

    @Zaq: Why do I get the feeling that when you’re referring to “women” you actually mean “hot women” and you want full access to all of them and the alpha males of the world should only get the women you don’t want. You can correct if I’m wrong.
    I’m sure you know that men and women are hard-wired to be visual because that is how we are able to detect clear signs of good health and fertility (strong genes possessed by alphas). Like you said, it’s evolution, right? It’s extremely difficult for human beings to ignore their true nature.   We can only be socialized to go against them. As women, we know intellectually that most alpha males won‘t make the best mates for the long haul, okay? But biologically it’s difficult for us not to desire these males.
    I totally agree that women only seeking out alpha males for long-term relationships is not the best strategy for finding a good mate. I do believe that MOST women eventually settle for beta males.

    1. 31.1
      DeeGee

      Lisa M. said: “I do believe that MOST women eventually settle for beta males.”

      ouch.   I hope that the next woman I am with doesn’t just “settle” for me.
      (I’m not overly beta though).

       

    2. 31.2
      looksmoneystatus

      So whey do women tell males to make their profiles more “interesting” when in reality they only care about looks.

  12. 32
    Karl R

    Maeve said: (#25)
    “Look up “Sturgeon’s Law”: 95% of anything is crap.”

    Sturgeon’s Law is a paradigm, one possible perspective of viewing the world. It’s not any more accurate than a bell-curve view of the world..

    But anybody who believes in  Sturgeon’s law is going to be a horrible boyfriend/girlfriend.

    Maeve said: (#25)
    “This is applied to everything from the quality of science fiction books (original interpretation) to pop music to politics to science to experiments”

    If you and I read the same middle-of-the-road science fiction novel, you’ll say it’s crap, and I’ll say it’s not great literature, but it was a fun read anyway. If our partners cook middle-of-the-road meals for us, you’ll think your dinner is crap, while I’ll appreciatively thank my fiancee for making dinner. For those of you who like to cook, would you rather cook for Maeve or me?

    If 95% of people, places, food, music, movies and gifts are “crap,” then you are (justifiably) going to get a reputation for being ungrateful, difficult to please and difficult to get along with.

    I’ve never dated a woman that I thought was crappy, but anyone who thinks 95% of everything is crap … they will be horrible to be around in general, especially as a partner. (To be fair, I have dated a number of women who were completely wrong for me, but they were decent or wonderful people in their own way.)

    Maeve asked: (#25)
    “Is there any particular reason, other than the male ego, why women’s assessments of men’s attractiveness should not follow a long-tail distribution pattern, when so much else in the world does?”

    Yes.

    First, you will be a happier person if you stop viewing 95% of everything as “crap” and start viewing at least 80% of everything as “decent or better.” (From my perspective, very little in life follows a long-tail distribution.)

    Second, if 90% of women are pursuing 5% of the men, then either your odds of getting one of those men is rather small or your odds of sharing that man with other women is rather high. That’s the way the math works. (Actually those two options are not mutually exclusive.)

    Finally, if you believe 95% of everything is crap, then 100% of men will find you unpleasant to be around on a long-term basis. The top 5% of men know they can do better than that. The bottom 95% are convinced they can do better, too.

    Maeve said: (#25)
    “This doesn’t make science fiction readers, music fans, political afficianados or scientists morons, and it doesn’t make women crazy.”

    You’ve chosen an attitude that makes your world a mostly crappy place to live in, an attitude that makes you seek the men that you can’t get, and an attitude that people can’t stand to be around. That might not be crazy, but from my perspective it seems to be rather unwise.

  13. 33
    Lisa M.

    @Maeve: I just read your comment (#25)  (I don’t know how I  missed it) and it basically broke down most of what I said in comment #32.  Well done.

  14. 34
    Zaq

    Lisa M

    I don’t know why people are misinterpreting what I am saying.  You want the best men. You have been designed by evolution to want the best men. I understand that. It is a powerful biological imperative.
    I want younger women. It’s a powerful biological imperative. My testosterone levels will increase just being in the presence of fertile women. I cannot control  it.
    I am not trying to  dissuade you from chasing alphas because I’m jealous of them. I believe you are projecting on to me your frustration that women who perceive themselves to have high mating value, are being asked to accept men of lower perceived value.
      
    Whether or not you are a “9” or not is down to others to judge, but a true alpha male is not even a ”10”. He’s a “10,000”. He is so rare, that other men hardly ever come into contact with him.
    Your value is tied to your age. As Joan Collins observed “beauty is like being born rich and becoming poor”
    The tragedy is that many attractive women hold out for so long, that when they finally think of settling for the guy that has been chasing them for years, they find that he is now married to a much younger woman.
      
    I don’t have the answer. I certainly am not impressed by others suggesting that in order to be successful in dating you have to ignore physical criteria completely  

    1. 34.1
      Bec

      I totally agree with you about men wanting younger woman, and looking back and realising the guy who had chased you for years is now married to a younger woman… but I want to understand how this works . Marrying a younger woman, she is eventually going to get older too. Will you divorce her when she gets to 35, and find someone younger (and keep repeating the cycle), or even though you like younger woman, when you fall in love you will stay with her as you both get older because ultimately you love her. I want to understand where you’re coming from, because as women it seems we’re screwed, because none of us can stay young forever.  

  15. 35
    Laine

    Maeve beats Karl hands down.

  16. 36
    nomdegeurre

    @Angie#30

    Actually, this is confusing b/c I just looked on OKCupid now, and you can’t give someone a zero, so I don’t know how people can score less than “1”³, unless OKCupid has made changes since this blog post.
      
    I just logged back on, saw a pic of a guy who was really good looking, I clicked on his profile… I had given him 3 stars.   Haha, then I reread his profile.   Yup…. good looking, but no interest.
      
    Whether you’re rating on a 0-5 scale or a 1-5 scale, 3 is still average.         The women of OKC rate 80% of men BELOW average.   Whether you give him a 3,4, or 5, it’s still placing him in the upper 20%.    Women are almost as stingy with their 3 star ratings as the Ivy league is with  acceptance letters.    

    I agree with #25 Maeve.   We (at least women) are rating profiles.   Men are probably more likely to just rate looks.

    If that’s the case, women would also  give  higher ratings  to men with well written profiles, i.e. a “3” in looks would get a 4 or 5 rating.   Which would significantly  counteract any downgrading based on the written section of men’s profiles.       

    For what it’s worth, I  read women’s profiles & when  I don’t like what they’ve written, or I  doubt that  we’d have anything in common, I’ll give them a  3 even though they’re pretty.   Likewise, I’ll give  higher ratings to women with interesting profiles.   I’m not saying a lot of men do this, but I’m definitely not the only one.

  17. 37
    Joe

    @ Sharon (#11):

    Why would you think that the top echelon of women would be different than their male counterparts that don’t need/use  online dating?

    As far as pictures go, I find that women (Ashton Kutcher aside) are more likely to be taking pictures, and thus have a larger selection of pictures from which to select attractive shots.   This doesn’t really excuse men from having poor photos, but when their selection is smaller, there are bound to be fewer nice choices.

  18. 38
    jack

    The damage has already been done. Whether by accident or on purpose, women have gorged themselves on unrealistic expectations of what they find “attractive”. By all means, do not settle for an average guy, even if you are average. It will only end in misery for both of you.
    There is nothing left to do but let the train run off the cliff into lonely, bitter old age for these women. It is unfixable. Periodically, a few of them will wise up and train themselves to be be humble and learn to destroy the unrealistic expectations that are destroying their chance at love and happiness.
    The rest will watch shows like Mad Men and fantasize about Don Draper until they are old and ugly. Watch for life expectancies to drop in the future as legions of unloved men and unloved women die an early spiritual death followed closely by a physical death.

  19. 39
    Node ³

    How did I miss this?
      
    Anyway, you can check your personal ratings history on OKC by going to Connections → Notes & Ratings.   Here’s mine:
      
    ★★★★★ 10 (1.6%)
    ★★★★ 62 (10.3%)
    ★★★ 106 (17.4%)
    ★★ 191 (31.4%)
    ★ 239 (39.3%)
      
    Total: 607 (100.0%)
      
    Embarrassing to say, but I’m not doing a whole lot better than the women when it comes to being too picky.   The main reasons I rate so many people poorly are the following, in roughly descending order of importance/frequency:

    Profile writing quality is poor (proxy for “low intelligence”)
    Profile too short (< 400 words) Obese Single mother God/religion/Bible mentioned more than once Not a college graduateThis probably means I need to compromise more, but there is the issue that partners with similar characteristics report higher relationship satisfaction.   I wonder if there are statistics that would guide me on which criteria would be good to relax.   

    1. 39.1
      DeeGee

      This must be old as “Notes and ratings” doesn’t exist on OKC any more.

  20. 40
    Michael17

    I agree that women tend to go by selection criteria that doesn’t serve themselves well. But I’m not sure what this study proves.
      
      

    For one thing, I’m not sure how the people on these online dating sites are representative of the general population. Or even representative of the general single population.
      
      
    I write not to the women whom I think are in the “top 10%” (or 5% or 20% or whatever), but instead to the women whom I find attractive going from their profiles (and who, I think from looking at their preferences, might go for me). I’m not positive how all the other men rate the women I write to, but I do hope that I am able to outshine the competition and get the attention of these women. I will also admit that there is only a small percentage of the women on Match whom I want to write to.

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