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The knee-jerk response would be to somehow chalk it up to hunky spammers, but we very carefully control for that in these articles, and in any event why would better-looking girls be drastically more susceptible to it? As we did before, I’m going to consolidate the line charts to show just how your attractiveness changes how often your messages get responses.
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.
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.
So basically, guys are fighting each other 2-for-1 for the absolute best-rated females, while plenty of potentially charming, even cute, girls go unwritten. The female equivalent of the above chart shows a different bias: As you can see from the gray line, women rate an incredible 80% of guys as worse-looking than medium. On the other hand, when it comes to actual messaging, women shift their expectations only just slightly ahead of the curve, which is a healthier pattern than guys’ pursuing the all-but-unattainable.