Attractiveness and online dating
We all know that beautiful people are more successful daters, but let’s quantify by exactly how much.To illustrate the exact spectrum of looks we’re talking about here, and to put some human faces on our discussion, I want to introduce a few photos of real Ok Cupid users. As for photos at the bottom of the curve, it didn’t feel right to write someone and say “can I use you to illustrate the concept of ugliness on my blog? The above featured users have graciously agreed to let me post their pictures, so please don’t make them regret it.This week we will confront an unfortunate truth of online dating: no matter how much time you spend polishing your profile, honing your IM banter, and perfecting your message introductions, it’s your picture that matters most.We’re going to look at how your photos affect both the messages you get and how successful your own outgoing messages are.Paradoxically, it seems it’s women, not men, who have unrealistic standards for the “average” member of the opposite sex.Site-wide, two-thirds of male messages go to the best-looking third of women.
Now let’s superimpose the distribution of actual messages guys have sent: When it comes down to actually choosing targets, men choose the modelesque.Someone like roomtodance above gets nearly 5 times as many messages as a typical woman and 28 times as many messages as a woman at the low end of our curve.Funnily enough, I had to write about a dozen beautiful female users before anyone would even get back to me. Anyhow, I know attractiveness is far from a universal concept, but maybe keep these folks in mind as we go through the data. The information I’ll present in this post is not normalized because, as we’ll see, it’s interesting how men and women evaluate looks differently.Our chart shows how men have rated women, on a scale from 0 to 5.
The curve is symmetric and surprisingly charitable: a woman is as likely to be considered extremely ugly as extremely beautiful, and the majority of women have been rated about “medium.” The chart looks normalized, even though it’s just the unfiltered opinions of our male users.
Given the popular wisdom that Hollywood, the Internet, and Photoshop have created unrealistic expectations of how a woman should look, I found the fairness and, well, realism, of this gray arc kind of heartening.