OkCupid: As Dumb about Dating as Us?
I love OkCupid’s blog, OkTrends. “Why You Should Never Pay For Online Dating” made me feel vindicated in canceling my Match.com account, and “The REAL Stuff White People Like” was smart and funny. But after finishing today’s new blog, “The Mathematics of Beauty,” I have one question for you, OKTrends:
OkTrends suggests that a woman with looks that polarize men (ie men either find her very attractive or very unattractive) receives more messages because the men messaging her…think they have less competition? They actually say the women with these “polarizing looks” receive a “better response”- better how? Does that just mean more responses? My OkCupid profile happens to make a dick joke about penis size. You know what my in box is full of? Guys sending me their measurements. Do I believe this is a “good” response? Only if he’s 10 inches.
How OkTrends gathers its data is fine by me; they look at how their users are ranked, attractiveness-wise, and compare it a) to the number of messages they got and b)how that attractiveness was calculated (ie a seven out of ten across the board is different from a girl who gets ten out of ten 70% of the time, and zero out of ten the other 30%). They found that women who some men found very attractive and others found very unattractive got more e-mails than women who averaged the same throughout, even when the women’s average attractiveness was the same.
What the blog fails to point out, even though they warn me at the beginning they’re about to objectify women “big time” (side note: I did not feel objectified once, I mostly felt aggravated), is that the women with looks that polarize men are the women who look like they are drinkers and possibly slutty. It’s the brunettes with the make up and tattoos and piercings, hell, I think one of the pictures OkTrends pulled even has liquor bottles in the background. Similar to their post “The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures,” where OkTrends (surprise!) confirmed cleavage pics get you messages, this seems the data shows dudes like girls they think they might be able to get it on with.
The “drinking” element that OkTrends misses also explains the polarization: Drinkers, generally, like drinkers (more than nondrinkers). Nondrinkers can find drinkers gross or immoral, possibly slutty. Hell, drinkers can also find drinkers slutty, but maybe they’re into that. (I also consider myself moderately drunk and slutty, so please don’t think I’m judging here.)
So after all this, you can imagine why my head exploded when the end of the post suggested I flaunt my worst feature to make men more attracted to me. See? Because if men disagree about whether or not I’m hot, they’ll like me more. You can see that in the data (no you can’t). Should I bring up babies on the first date too? Maybe I should say to hell with it and skip the shower. This is honestly the worst advice OkTrends has ever given me.
I think it’s awful sweet that OkTrends wants us to feel comfortable in our own skin, but purposefully flaunting something we’re insecure about is not going to make us more attractive. I should know, I did it from about age 15-20. And then I started drinking.
Photo by Helga Weber.
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