Upfront, the authors of “Freakonomics” discovered that 56% of men that create an online dating profile do not even get one single message (compared with 21% of females) while Jupiter Research found that 97 %( of men) quit within 3 months (draw your own conclusions). The mating ‘leagues’ are symmetrical(as evidenced in studies, like the OK Cupid one that showed women are rating 80% of males below average – rendering a skew which hinders assumptions of pair-matching). If only 20% are above average how many of us are actually considered good looking? Clearly, these are standards the vast majority (90+%) of men can’t ever hope to meet
I see conventionally attractive men going for short overweight women, frequently, irrespective of independent status indicators. Of course, cases of the reverse dynamic are vanishingly rare (wherein lies the basis for many a male grievance). Yes, and the problem with these ‘leagues’ is that they are asymmetrical (meaning that there is a higher probability of a female attracting any given statistical subset of ranked males, than the reverse), rendering a disproportionate scarcity of receptive females for lower ranked males.
Which, means that females have shown to be more critical in judging male attractiveness than the reverse (meaning that they are *more* likely to find a receptive partner, regardless of their own relative attractiveness). The undercurrent in male complaints, are that – for an increasing proportion of males – they no longer have an expectation of finding a reasonable equivalent in terms of a female partner(ie. in terms of assortative mating), because sexual liberation has freed western females to indulge increasingly in disassortative mating(which is the expectation for all but the most attractive females, given their rate limiting function in sexual reproduction).That the attention women receive is frequently dismissed as originating from unattractive men, gives us a further indication of where the onus actually lies. Female choice is the dominant limiting factor. We have many reasons to suppose this, beyond online dating data (which supports that females are more selective, given that message frequency is a corollary of selectivity), which poses too many confounders in the data to rely upon too strongly.
I’ve tried to exam the matching dynamic by myself in an experiment in the context of online dating. To address these research questions, I analyzed several data sets obtained through Badoo, a major online dating site . I examined the matching dynamic in an experiment in the context of online dating inserting fictitious profiles varying in social desirability (physical attractiveness).
Study 1.Popularity: Unsolicited message
We will see that physical attractiveness measure is used by daters as a proxy for the overall attractiveness of a profile. And this independent variable, the profiles physical attractiveness, is a limiting factor in mating success. So we created online users in different groups of physical attractiveness. Sorted in 4 groups: 1) highly attractive (in the 5 quintile on beauty scale) 2) moderately attractive (in the 4 quintile), 3) medium/average attractive (in the 3 quintile) and 4) unattractive (in the 1 and 2 quintiles).
I worked with 4 highly attractive male profiles:
4 moderately attractive male profiles:
4 average-attractive male profiles:
And 4 unattractive male profiles:
Female profiles: 1 moderately attractive female (left), 1 highly attractive female (right):
1 unattractive female (left), 1 average attractive female (right):
Since online sites (Badoo in this instance) do not provide the site’s activity log files to compute users’ popularity, as well as the popularity of their communication partners, (as measures of social desirability), I retrieved the number of messages by each fictitious profile to index his or her own popularity. Next, I computed the mean popularity of the profile’s contacts. All statistical tests we ran were highly significant. So for each dummy profiles, I computed:
1) His or her own popularity, (individuals who contacted him or her)
2) Ratings the physical attractiveness (according to their profile’s photos) of each user who contacted him or her. These assessments were provided by 5 raters. Then each user is sorted within a attractiveness group according to his/her rating obtained.
We can see high asymmetry in female messages distribution, observable male variance and skewing mating success towards top ranked males (highly attractive profiles). We do not found support for the matching hypothesis in that higher-attractive female users are more likely than lower attractive users to contact high-desirability targets; whereas the opposite was true, medium-attractive and unattractive female users are more likely to contact high-attractive male users.
1) Most women do not seek among the male profiles to send unsolicited messages; they passively wait to be contacted.
2) The few unsolicited messages rate sent by female users don’t come from top-ranked females. (High attractiveness).
3) A subset of moderately attractive, medium attractive and unattractive female mainly contact high-attractive male users. A small amount of medium attractive females send some messages to moderately-attractive males. (disassortative choice behaviour).
4) Some unattractive female users contact moderately and medium attractive male daters (disassortative choice behaviour) We see that, the probability of sending a first-contact e-mail to a female profile is monotonically increasing in the attractiveness of the photo in that profile.
First I assessed the attractiveness of all users’ sampled (150 individuals) that I was going to contact through fictitious profiles. I rated the physical attractiveness of all the users who contacted him or her. I selected randomly a sample (n=300) of female users (n=150) and male users (n=150). And I rated the physical attractiveness of all the users within the sample. This measure is based on the evaluations (on a scale from 1 to 5). After selected profiles were rated using a 5-point type scale, they are sorted within the 4 ranges of attractiveness previously established, with regard their average score: highly-attractive (5 points), moderately-attractive (4 points), medium-attractive (3 points) and unattractive (1 or 2 points).
One obvious implication of these data, is that, given sufficient latitude of female choice (ie. relieved of systemic constraint, which would otherwise limit their choices), female sexual choices will always tend towards small male breeding populations. In more colloquial terms, what this means is that male/female ‘leagues’ are asymmetrical – with male ‘rank’ being bottom heavy in distribution, while female ‘rank’ being top heavy.
If we take the (justified) assumption that guys are more inclusive in their mating choices, and consider a higher male optimal mating rate, we also come to an inescapable conclusion: that not only should the most attractive males mate with the most attractive females(duh), but also a significant proportion of average females as well(given the higher male mating rate).
Which, of course, renders less available ‘average’ females to be mated with average guys – necessitating an imbalance that progresses down the attractiveness scale (rendering a sexually asymmetric mating dynamic). This is why it is so easy to observe that even relatively unattractive females are still much more successful than unattractive males at disassortative mating (ie. such as with average women being able to commonly mate with hot me, etc).
Most of men, who have difficulty meeting women online, use to resort to online dating because they somehow think women will fall in love with their personality. Of course sitting behind a computer and writing messages is easier. They send messages to countless female users, but even by changing the variables, the response rate (girls messaging back) are extremely low. It’s not worth the effort at these rates. In the end, guys are contacting women they’d never speak with in real life. The inflated self-perceived sexual value these women develop spills out into the real world, making it more difficult to pick them up. Guys are induced to contacting subpar women trying to improve their poor response rates.
The wrong belief is essentially that women when come to online dating cast aside their innate picky feelings of physical attraction and their skewed cognitive analysis of a man’s value. (women on average express greater hypergamic selectivity, both offline and online). Where the average woman fantasizes about being swept off her feet by a Prince Charming.