Looks Do Matter for Dating Website


Recently, I revisited the dating website OKCupid.com and discovered that my profile was still active (I hadn’t used it in ages). My cyber-mailbox was stuffed beyond capacity, so I avoided it altogether and perused through the new features. When I checked out their blogs on OKTrends, I noticed a substantial piece that, at first, discusses how quality photographs affect the number of responses a member receives. However, when I looked at the language, it seemed that OkCupid.com chose to measure hotness instead.Christian’s research was very extensive, but I would like to highlight some of the most insightful points, including the following quote:

“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?” so you’ll just have to extrapolate.”

Ech. Imagine being the unlucky soul who is used in a statistic that measures attractiveness… or lack thereof. Already I was a little nervous about the research and what results it yielded.

For one, the male members on OKCupid are very forgiving on our looks than the female members. Women are rated equally as either ugly or beautiful (noted as extremes), but the highest ratings were given to those who had medium-attractiveness. On the other hand, a majority of men were rated as extremely ugly by female members, but a high majority of unattractive men were contacted. So, while male members aspired to connect with highly rated members (deemed the most beautiful), female members settled for the male members that were the lowest rated on the website.

Is it really considered settling? Recalling my own past, I was pretty effective in meeting lots of guys through OKCupid. But, I struggled with those encounters. It wasn’t until later that I learned to just go on a date, enjoy the night, and have sex without having to get absorbed into details that I couldn’t control. And by that time, I enjoyed being by myself, so those dates didn’t seem as important or necessary. Before Carlos, I started to date men that were stylish but probably not considered as traditionally attractive as the others.

I don’t know if this is the case with other female members, but I also feel that female members don’t really care how unattractive male members are. If they look good enough and have an even better personality, then it’s normally a win. For male members, it seems their priority is based more so on the aesthetic than on anything else. But, again, this study doesn’t equate personalities, nor does it correlate one’s profile with the attractiveness of the member. So, there plenty of gaps that further complicate the seemingly simple process of online dating.

The study goes on to deconstruct the attractiveness of email responders and senders, successful correspondences, etc. Of course, the people of OKTrends are trying to improve the effectiveness of their website. It makes me want to cringe. It’s like the Stepford Version of myself – all of the best pieces of me are on display for judgment, but it’s just a shell – just a bunch of words and pictures on a computer screen. It bares no real semblance of who I am on any given day.

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