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.

Join our conversation (261 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 101

    I don’t look half as bad i am older 44 but i train and keep fit i am muscular funny etc. In Montreal online dating is the worst you get the below average women who is full of wrinkles and most of the time ugly to passable they don’t even reply to you and when they do its not interested. Even if you are polite you sent a message your profile is interesting they reply well don’t waste your time. I am on badoo been on and off for 3y and what hits me is that the same people are still on after all this time. Quit sad actually i am very active and most women i talk to have nothing to offer dead end jobs with 2 kids full time and they are inactive. Single life is much better then being with someone who brings nothing to the relationship.

  2. 102
    Silent V


    I understand that women shouldn’t just give chances to men even though they don’t find them attractive but like the article states women are only interested in the top 20% of men, in fact women would rather compete over a man of poor character who is in this category with other women instead of giving a guy below their “standards” a chance. Men are a lot more practical and would rate an average woman (5-6 on a 1-10 scale) as attractive as long as she takes care of herself. Women are very superficial  and unwilling to compromise. And it find it more often than not that it’s the women who are average that feel entitled to a perfect man. Men also shoot outside their range but for the most part a man will be willing date a woman who is in his own league

  3. 103

    Women have more individual taste. Men seem to have more agreement among them as to what is hot. So the numbers for women’s ratings are skewed. Another way to put this is, objectively, most men are average, but I find a very small percentage attractive (which may exclude many hot men too). But the men I like will be totally different from what

    This is why the men rated ugly get messaged still….the women messaging those guys dont think they’re ugly. Women may agree on th hottest of the hot, but after that, individual tastes are all over the place and attractiveness goes beyond a photo.

    I will confim as a woman that it is easy to get attention with OLD.

    1. 103.1

      *From what other women like. Oops, didnt finish my sentence.

  4. 104

    Unfortunately i see many women nowadays with ugly guys.   Then again which many of these guys most likely have a very large bank account since these golddiggers are using these guys which is very sad since women like to be very spoiled today.

  5. 105
    Rayce Carrington

    omg how can anyone say bald men don’t have it worse than men with hair. I’ve read countless comments online by women who say things like “I would never date a bald man” or ” I wouldn’t touch a bald man with a ten foot pole.” No woman ever said “ew that guys got hair!.” I’m thinking I should never date women with short hair to make things more equal.

  6. 106

    I think that this is because men have more tolerant  rating system  for who they would sleep with and think in terms of scale of 1 to 10  (and a different standard for who they would be in a relationship with.)

    I think women look at a man’s attractiveness as an overall combination and think in terms of yes or no.

  7. 107

    HAVE YOU SEEN MEN’S DATING PROFILE PICTURES???? Men who havent bathed in days will snap a photo and put it on a profile. MEN who just woke up and rolled over take a picture put it on a dating site. MEN WHO HAVE KILLED AN ANIMAL will put it on a dating site. IT WILL BE SO DARK you can barely make out it is a person and guess where it will go…. ON A DATING SITE.. PHOTOS at bad angles… increasing that double chin or photos from the eyes up…. ONLY about 10% of the men are wearing something other than a old tee shirt… AND you wonder why women arent feeling that???

    1. 107.1

      And yet these men will be hitting on the most attractive women…

  8. 108

    I have issues not judging men on their looks when I know very well that that’s what most of them are doing to me, along with all the other women they are viewing as potential romantic partners or sex partners.   I can think of numerous times when I have overheard men talking about how they want a  certain woman to change her appearance to look better (to them), and it’s always men that don’t look like much themselves, which I’ve always found interesting. I have never overhead a good-looking quality man saying something like that (not saying that it does not happen).

    So how does one even want to give that type of respect to someone who does not bother to give it to others? If a man is going to reduce a woman to her physical appearance, why not give them same in return?

    I know that everyone has their preferences, myself included. However, I honestly never sit around and think about how a potential partner  should alter his appearance to fit what I find attractive.   If I’m not attracted to them, I simply move along instead of thinking how they should alter themselves to fit what I want.   The sense of entitlement  that seems to be prevalent in a lot of men is such a turn-off.

    Yes, I know that not all men are like this. I do believe that a large majority is though. Yes, I know that women are guilty of this too.   I guess what I’m getting at, is how do you find men that aren’t so superficial?   I am in the gym scene, so I imagine that may play a large part.








  9. 109

    What do you do if you’re not an attractive woman, you don’t make much money, you wear clothes from JC Penny when you want to dress up, you don’t feel comfortable going out to dinner when the bill hits $100?

    I’m sure not all the really successful men online are telling the truth, but being poor or overweight or over 50 or driving beater cars seems like an automatic no to so many people.

  10. 110

    Most women don’t want bald or short men and men don’t want fat women or women who aren’t 10’s so yeah everyone can stfu.

  11. 111

    I’ve seen variations of these studies and they do all seem to point in the same direction. I am alone in finding it really, really depressing? It just seems like men and women don’t want each other. Unless a man’s a 6’3 GQ model/brain surgeon he’s no good, and a womans ready for the knackers yard when she’s 26. It’s bleak stuff:(

  12. 112

    Actually, women try harder to look good in photos, or to get plastic surgery etc.   So women are actually more attractive.   Men don’t feel as much pressure to look good so they don’t learn how to take attractive pictures, or dress well.   Gay men feel more pressure than straight men to look good, which is why they often are more attractive than straight men. Girls become concerned with their appearance at a young age and have a lot of practice doing things to look good.   Straight guys don’t.     It’s all about how hard they are trying.     

  13. 113

    I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s take on this. The study is perhaps done so men who aren’t “hot” get some reassurance that women judge even more on looks, and learning that a major facet help them relax and stay online, and for women to realize they’re being a bit harsh to keep them there. Scientific and properly conducted or not, it would have been good if (a) they had used a cross section age wise. and (b) shown “hot” guys with bad photos. (I’m 48, and have no idea where I am on the attractive spectrum, lol)

    Of course we look at the photos first, and realistic or not, I know I have some traits that I just plain don’t like (Long hair, huge beards more than 2 inches shorter). If I wouldn’t be interested IRL, I’m not going to approach here. (I message first if interested, because why not?)

    Ultimately, I take OLD as one part of being single and looking for a companion/BF. I have engaging conversations with men quite easily IRL, I simply don’t get asked for my number or whatever. (Maybe I should learn to get over that I blush red as a beet, and learn to ask them?)

    I look at it this way: I’m have reasonable pictures that capture me well – how I look IRL, and have constructed a profile that indicates how I really am – quirky is a good word for it I guess. It’s important to paint an accurate portrayal of yourself, how someone looks is a part of the picture  – so say I am engaging with someone online — This matters far more:  does he share things about himself which make him appealing overall? Does he seem like he’d be fun to talk to and interested in similar things?

    I think the biggest mistake I made last time I did OLD was developing a great rapport in messaging then meeting them IRL and not feeling the chemistry. That’s the overall goal. You can’t generate it after the fact because he’s a cool guy. I know that for a fact, at least for me.

    Chemistry matters, and can only be determined face to face, “hot” or “not” for both parties.

  14. 114

    You can’t help who you are attracted to.

    Many women can not sleep with men that are unattractive because how do I say… the body does prepare it’s at all especially down there….dry. Simply not sexually compatible. Let alone kissing or even wanting to touch them.

    Men don’t have this problem anywhere near as much….they can sleep with less unattractive women or even totally unattractive (I have many males friends say this). Hence, why we have a constant population of people being born…. hello?

    With natural selection they think that woman (unconsciously) are attracted to particular types of men to ensure the health and protection of their offspring. Just like how men are usually more interested in sex. I’m not going to explain anymore because you can look into it further if you don’t know this.

    I really wish it wasn’t this way because it makes it very difficult to find a partner and I do not even want to have kids! The types I do find attractive are not necessarily the most attractive (because they are busy getting all the models that really, all men prefer). Im no Alfa. Although I do think I actually could be if I wore make up (changing my face), constantly fussed and designed my hair and wore sexy clothes and acted more girly. But that is NOT me at all. My female friends find more men attractive or decent than I do.

    People really need to understand it is very difficult for everyone (I imagine the best looking have their own attention seeking, ego dramas and possibly even more fidelity problems too). It is not a choice, you cannot control who you find attractive or not. It happens in a matter of seconds in the brain. (less for women).   Plus pheromones getting involved. Sometimes you just have to meet or do video chat to see if you could find them attractive enough or not.

    Men who call woman shallow for not finding most men sexy need to look at the cold hard facts of human nature and realise it’s not easy for us either. I feel most men can be shallow by being happy to sleep around with whoever and then when they are in a serious relationship they still perve at others like just one woman can never satisfy him. So I would not be pointing fingers as males, claiming you are the angels and have no faults yourselves. I like bald men and prefer a shaved head, I even like very crooked teeth depending on how the look. What attracts me is the face + body shape. I really don’t like bulky body builder types either. I prefere skin colour light or medium and don’t like red or the white albeeno blonde. Whereas my other white friend is generally only attracted to black men.

    It can be extremely hard for all of us. Unfortunately this study accurately reflects me. Women find 40% of men attractive and men find 80% attractive. I would love to find someone who I find even decently attractive who likes me back and we match.   Yes, women get rejected as well, even by the average guys. No point blaming eachother. It’s just the way it is.

  15. 115

    Refreshing to read posts of many women here who admit they are shallow.   I think it’s particularly the case for baby-boomer women, than for younger or older generations.   The daughters of baby-boomers seem more intellectual than their moms in choosing men, while the mothers of baby-boomers probably were simply willing to ‘settle’ (in the post-War years), in order to have a good life.

    The media is the problem.   Baby-boomer women are honest in admitting they want to date only the best-looking guys that their own looks can snag (the ‘hunks’, the ‘cute guys’), but the media refuses to acknowledge it.   Instead, it produces movies like “Shallow Hal”, pretending that only men are shallow, and women are ‘above’ that — bull.

    Thing is, who reads advertising?   Women.   Advertising, in TV, web, magazines, is basically directed at women.   Women shop.   Men don’t.   Few ads specifically try to attract men; it’s women they’re after.

    And women don’t want to read in the media that they are ‘shallow’ and ‘superficial’.   Women like to pretend that they have lofty goals when it comes to choosing a life-partner.   So the media laps this up, and makes sure that’s what is perpetuated in almost every TV show or magazine article.   After all, piss off your readers … and they won’t see the ads.

  16. 116

    What confounds me is all this important put on height! I see men that attract me and all variants of height. I went out with one last week who is just the cutest thing, and he is only 5 6. I’m only 5 foot 4. But that delicious-looking caramel complexion, and that faux hawk are just cute cute cute. Then another guy who is 6 foot 2. I am in love with one who doesn’t want to get serious, and he is only 5 foot 9. That’s plenty tall for me.

  17. 117

    I’m not surprised that men find women more attractive on dating sites. Most women work really hard at presenting themselves well, and we’ve been doing it since our teens. We have an arsenal of skin care products and cosmetics at our disposal, and diligently use moisturizers and sunscreens.   We regularly use a professional stylist to do our hair, and we won’t hesitate to color our gray hair. Most men are pretty much “as is”.

    Skillful application of makeup can go a long way towards making an average woman look cute and a pretty woman look gorgeous. I’m betting that more women use professional photos in their profiles too. Few women would take a bathroom selfie in harsh light, but men do it all the time.

    1. 117.1
      Emily, the original


      Actually, there are a lot of attractive men, but a good percentage are gay.

        1. Emily, the original

          My best friend in my 20s was a gay man. We’d bar hop back and forth between the gay and straight bars. The hottest men were always in the gay bars.



  18. 118

    I’m sorry but it’s not just a matter of men looking “below average” or “ugly.” There’s a lot of guys on there that take terrible photos or display a complete lack of concern for proper grooming. That says a lot about the guy’s dedication to finding a relationship and to their personality. The majority of men I ignore, it’s because of this. “Ugly” is secondary. If I still clicked on you and looked at your profile, incompatibility or poorly written profile is the problem. I also find photos can tell you a lot about their personality, whether it’s a travel shot, shot of them being active, whether they are smiling, and what they are wearing. (And the suggestion I’ve seen on the internet to guys NOT to smile on your profile? Terrible advice!)

  19. 119
    Yet Another Guy


    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.

    The fly in the ointment is that the lion’s share of women on dating sites rarely reach out to a man believing that a man who does not initiate contact is not worth their time. I have found that women who do initiate contact often tend to go big as well, which means that both genders tend to engage in maximizing behavior when they reach out.

    Another study that I would like to see performed is one relating to long-term messaging patterns.   Do online daters change their messaging pattern as their duration on a dating site increases?   Do online daters change who they approach based on their own SMV and feedback from the dating process?

  20. 120

    I have a problem with the statistics. It’s only based on online dating. Women on Tinder only found 20% of men attractive. I personally hate online dating. I find that the men I meet in bars are better looking, better educated, and less shy or awkward. I get the impression that attractive men are not online at all, but women of all kinds are online because women have more societal pressure to date and a biological clock.

    I also think men and women go online looking for different things. Men are looking for hookups so they are less picky, but women are looking for relationships.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *