Your Looks and Your Inbox

November 17th, 2009 by Christian Rudder

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. 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 OkCupid users. Here are two women near the top of our range.

[show men instead]

And here are two rated in the middle.

[show men instead]

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.

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. Life imitates blog!

Anyhow, I know attractiveness is far from a universal concept, but maybe keep these folks in mind as we go through the data.

. . .

We’ll start with a simple line chart. 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.

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
2/3 of male messages go to the top 1/3 of women.
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. Site-wide, two-thirds of male messages go to the best-looking third of women. 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 medical term for this is male pattern madness.

. . .

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. Very harsh. 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. But with the basic ratings so out-of-whack, the two curves together suggest some strange possibilities for the female thought process, the most salient of which is that the average-looking woman has convinced herself that the vast majority of males aren’t good enough for her, but she then goes right out and messages them anyway.

Just to illustrate that women are operating on a very different scale, here are just a few of the many, many guys we here in the office think are totally decent-looking, but that women have rated, in their occult way, as significantly less attractive than so-called “medium”:

Females of OkCupid, we site founders say to you: ouch! Paradoxically, it seems it’s women, not men, who have unrealistic standards for the “average” member of the opposite sex.

Finally, I just want to combine the two charts to emphasize how much fuller the inboxes of good-looking people get. I have scaled this graph to show multiples of messages sent to the lowest-rated people. For instance, the most attractive guys get 11× the messages the lowest-rated do. The medium-rated get about 4×.

This graph also dramatically illustrates just how much more important a woman’s looks are than a guy’s.

. . .

Now let’s take a look at how senders’ and recipients’ attractivenesses affect reply rates, not just the number of messages sent.

As you’d expect, more attractive people get more replies. And since they themselves get so many more messages than everyone else, they write back much less frequently. Here’s the graph for female senders, plotted in evenly-spaced “attractiveness groups.”

And here’s the one for male senders.

One interesting thing seems to be going on here: when the best-looking men write the worst-looking women, taste the rainbow,
of self-esteem issues
their message success rate takes a big hit. 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? It seems to be some kind of self-confidence thing.

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.

. . .

This post has been the preamble to the larger discussion of “what makes a good profile?” We’ve spent a lot of time on OkTrends looking at messages, and since your profile is the other important place you express yourself, we thought it deserved the same treatment.

I wanted to address physical attractiveness right at the start, because obviously it’s a huge factor in how successful your profile is. In the upcoming posts in this series, we’re going to control for attractiveness, so that we can deliver real and useful advice for all the non-models out there.

We’ll look at, among other things: what makes a good picture (is it taken outside? inside? is it full-body? a head-shot? with your pet snake? what?), what kinds of self-presentation will get you the most messages (jokey? flirty? all business?), and how much profile information is too much. Should be good.

556 Responses to “Your Looks and Your Inbox”

  1. Lewrence says:

    Chris: It’s all part of why alot of people don’t date much, They refuse to even acknowledge that someone has ‘spoken’ to them. I encounter it alot and it just shows me how shallow some people are. Take it not as personal as it seems. Those will be life long unhappy people who think that they are entitled to something that they’re not.

  2. 4dachairman says:

    Ah, so I guess I can safely assume that the reason why I don’t get messages is because I am really ugly. If only I could find a way to market that ugliness….

  3. nick says:

    In response to Chris: Chris I bet you aren’t an ugly guy either and unfortunately I too have had minimal success with internet dating. In fact I think have had more luck with craigslist than anything. It’s unfortunate that these dating sites make men feel ugly. When you look at how many men there are search versus women it’s almost on a logarithmic scale.

    What is tragic is that most women put little effort into building an interesting profile or even putting faith that there are actually decent guys online. Internet dating is still (and probably will be for a while) a “creepy” and mistrusted place to meet people. There are a couple bad apples out there but that small statistic really puts a poor image for the face of internet dating.

    And it’s hard to spark up a discussion with someone named “cuteblondy” that only has in her profile “I like to have fun with friends and go to clubs on the weekends”. Sure this girl seems beautiful but, she has never achieved anything in her life nor really worked for anything. You don’t want someone like that because they are boring people. They are the types of people that SHOULD be meeting scum at bars. And ironically they fail to ever notice why they only get cheap one liner compliments in emails.

    Best of luck to you though Chris.

  4. susan says:

    I find this article interesting, yet a little hypocritical of Okcupid to actually post. The only reason I logged on today, was out of curiosity over an email they sent me saying something like “congratulations, you have been consistently rated ‘good looking” The email went on the explain that my new “priviledged status” would mean that they would now “allow” better looking people to see my profile in their matching system. What a bunch of hypocritical losers!!! They are already apparently “holding back” the so called “good looking” people from the “general population” and trying to match people on their ratings of attractiveness first? And then they go and write about how scewed we all are??? It makes no sense. And the most disgusting part of the email, was the ending that stated “no, we don’t send this email to everyone. Go ask an ugly friend, and you’ll see”. What a bunch of wierdo losers!!!! Run from this site, people.. I mean, its free… what are they getting out of it by doing all of this? You’ve really got to wonder…..

  5. Steven says:

    I really hope that my looks aren’t being compared to the messages I send out, or even receive. I mean, I suck at starting conversations even with the advice in another post from OkCupid, but I don’t think that I’m ugly and yet my inbox is low and unfulfilling compared to my outbox. Maybe there is some secret that the “successful” men know that I don’t that gives them success.

  6. Frnnk says:

    Are you depressed by reading this? I am. And my brain hurts. LOL. I have plenty of doubts about the total accuracy of this little data spread but let’s playbmakebelieve. First off, I’d rate myself pretty high up in the attractiveness category, yet I’ve only been actively sought by one female and she made it clear what her aims were. :/ other than that, my sent vs replied back rate is astronomically low. Something like my basketball percentage. 5 out if 100 shots or something. I found that I burned out on searching for hot chics and learned that throw away inquisitive messages that may or may not be funny generate the highest response. Women seem to want a guy who’s not that interested in them. I know, that was dating 101, but wow. The least likely you talk to them expecting response the more they respond. But each female is different(don’t quote me on that). Okc is fun as a lab but for real dating is it. But it does seem that the hottest chics populate okc. Thus the quandary, how to illicit their trust!! Well men, I haven’t found that hill nor crossed it. But tell us when you do. But you’ll probably be too busy getting married by then :/

  7. GumbyPumpkin says:

    Done on here! Im grabin a sock and its time to rock!!

  8. Petra says:

    I think the idea behind female messaging is that even though they find a man “not that attractive”, there’s so much personality wise that can make him attractive, by reading his profile. Or perhaps we are just shallow. Who knows.

  9. Gale says:

    Here are the filters I use when viewing guys on line. First, since I am not an animal person, not that’s theres anything wrong with that. I automatically delete any pic’s that have the guy holding a pet. If they are standing by their dog I may consider them. Next, I do not want to look up your nostrils. If I can see up your notrils that is too close. Third, try to submit a pic with a genuine smile. If you look mad in your pic, I move on. I despise having my pic taken but the one I posted has a genuine smile. My hair is not perfect. I am not in a sexy pose. I just want you to see what I really look like.

  10. cloibne says:

    I am afraid I am very afraid.

    Ya, I joined ’cause the other match site I was on was making me feel aesthetically competetive and I joined that site ’cause of how creepy people in the outside world can be.I wanted some control over their come ons.

    Attractiveness is as bad as unnattractiveness, people will be just as mean to you for being prettier as uglier just in different ways.

  11. Mystacall says:

    yeah I have to agree with susan…whats up with the holding back…because the Quiver matches…lol you have sent me…are um…well you know..anyway its free but I would lose the you are good looking you get better choices feature.

  12. Linda Long says:

    I love reading these trends. As concerning one’s looks I am surprised just how many people use the worst photos on their profiles. Bad angles , bad lighting, bad background and bad cloths. Many people try to take there own photo. Bad idea. Not only does it not come out well, it also makes you look like you have no friends!

  13. iamowl says:

    I am educated and very physically attractive. Many of the “quiver matches” you’ve provided are so off-the-mark, as to make me think that you have no educated and attractive men. I don’t believe that. How could I ever be attracted to a beer drinking, unintelligible, or macho “bubba”? I couldn’t. Where is your science in making matches? I might be from Montana, but I am rather worldly when it comes to intellectual understanding.

  14. Lucinda says:

    The two graphs of “appraisals of attractiveness” only demand explanation if you assume that OKCupid is some sort of random population sample – which obviously it isn’t. It’s possible that fewer attractive men sign up, for whatever reason – therefore making women’s assessments of most users as average or below, spot-on, and not biased – that info is not available to us. Studies have repeatedly shown that men overrate their own attractiveness, relative to how others view them, and women do the reverse.

    As a medium-attractive woman myself, I must say that the four photos you posted of guys were, indeed, average at best – women know the difference between a handsome man and a plain one, and can “grade” him as such without effort. Nonetheless, less-hot men well-endowed with wit and charm outshine modelicious frat boy-types with ease in every way that counts, so I would consider any of those guys… unless they sent a form letter. Most of us humans are suckers for raw physical beauty, but having had it both ways, there’s no question: personality and intelligence go the distance.

    As previously noted in this study, the upshot is that women reply even to men they think are less attractive, regardless, while men spend most of their time on the hottest, possibly less attainable women – I’m afraid this data, and its unfortunate consequences, won’t really shock anyone.

  15. nina says:

    Is this data based on how many stars we give people? Usually I allot stars based on how right that person is for me, not just how hot they are. I give 4 or 5 stars if I might be interested in learning more about that person. Otherwise I just give 1 star. A lot of times it has nothing to do with looks but maybe that person mentioned a religion, military career, or other things I’m not into. Did I throw off the curve?

  16. FlopsyBeau says:

    Lemme get this straight, guys like the attractive gals, and they could give a crap about what your “interests” are? Yep, you sure got our number there captain obvious hawhawhawhaw

  17. Emma says:

    the obviously doesn’t make any damn kind of sense to me, AND don’t try to show how it does make sense cos’ it meants to be none-sense it just the way it is :l … bullshit instead of doin’ somethin’ usefull I actually watsed my time thanks buddy, gimme my time back! or you know what, why would I even wanna hear anythin’ else from you ? Jesus christ :l!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible, given the ranking by women of male attractiveness on this site, that very attractive men simply have no need to use this website?

  19. Jayce says:

    Looks like you forgot to mention the whole, too attractive to approach aspect. Guys seeking girls do it to some degree, in that the 10’s get less than the 9’s…. as guys often feel they haven’t a chance anyways…. as for the girls after guys… it seem sthey think that the good looking guys are full of themselves and aren’t worth contacting, a sad state as that’s not the case.
    Funny thing is these stereotypes often hold true to both sexes and yet the men are the ones largely sending the first contact messages. Regardless of attractiveness it’s definateltu the content of the message taht gets replies.. i’ll sound like a douche here and say this.. i’ve found the attractive girls respond better to insults about their beauty (hey an angry response is STILL a response and your foot in the door), and ANY girl will be more liekly to respond is you say something about their profile! Show that you aren’t just about her looks (wehether shes good looking and wants a guy that isn’t just about sex, or not so good looking in that she doesn’t want to feel self0conscious thinking that the guy is only thinking about her looks)
    Psychology sure is interesting.. now .. maybe i should get some plastic surgery and make myself look as aweful as possible and see if those messages start rolling in!
    I always reply, regardless wether i find the person attractive or not. by not making long responses, or asking followup question, people generally los einterest, without the let down. Sadly I don’t get many messages OR responses and i’d like to think i’m average looking with an above average compassion,honesty and intelligence. I suppose my assumptions of my traits are off base or women don’t actually like what they say they like, when it boils down.
    EDIT: as i like to reread before i post im a little confused about some of the ‘data’. I got that the less attractive a man is the mor elikely he is to garner a response…. anyone else get that? (until the consolodated chart of coarse)

  20. scm says:

    after repeatedly hearing from my male friends about how women’s inboxes are always so flooded with emails, I’ve been getting more & more discouraged. I consider myself reasonably attractive, and my profile reasonably interesting. yet not only is my inbox not flooded with messages, I can’t get replies from the guys that I initiate contact with! isn’t that backwards from how it’s supposed to be? I really can’t figure it out. and I have to say, the information I’m seeing here isn’t exactly making it better! ah well…

  21. tungur says:

    hunky spammers lol

  22. Adam says:

    I would be interested in a LGB study in this same vein… how likely are guys to message an attractive guy, etc.

  23. Jorge says:

    I am ready to drop 1 star bombs on attractive girls who have no culture and/or are shallow. =)

  24. Treatathon says:

    Few women want to be the less attractive partner in a relationship…

  25. Robert says:

    A very interesting read, was curious so went and checked my outbox and inbox just to see what kind of strike rate I was achieving than compared it to the charts and I think it came back about right (telling me I’m about average looking)

    A somewhat relevant statistic I’d like to see though is the average numbers of messages sent per person. Is it really how it seems with guys sending tens if not hundreds of messages while girls send very few (which would result in significantly different sample sizes) I know in my own experience (and I’ve been on here since way back when it was still Spark) that in all that time have only been approached twice for all the hundreds of messages I’ve sent.

  26. she8 says:

    i find this very ineresting, ive read many articles on my own on how your looks can affect your whole out come in life. i do belive your attactiveness does affect your people treat you, i say take these articles with a grain of salt. in all articles i have read on this topic (which is a lot) not a single one defines what is beaty or what is attractivness if these tests were done in other cultures what is found to be attractive will change, it is all individual and relitive, until someone can prove that a universal beauty exists.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well, if anything, reading the posts confirms what my friends and I already know..most guys get very few’s sad but true.
    I’m an average looking guy who has lots of interests..but you know what I’ve discovered?
    Women are equally, if not more, visual than guys.
    I think a primary reason why guys seem to really “work” the Internet dating thing, and quite honestly, most women just “dial it in” is that guys are really aware of how competitive it is out there..yes, call me a chauvinist, but women seem to be under the impression that finding a “great” guy is like ordering a custom dress..”I want what I want and I’ll wait”

    Ladies, take your heads out of your’s an established statistic that single women way outnumber single men in this part of the country.

    Keep waiting for 6’2″, full head of hair, cries at movies yet is easily at home in black tie or sweats.. And like they say, he might be out there, but he’s already dating

    In the meantime, guys like me who are feed up with this crap are being swooped off the market by foreign women who can’t believe their luck..think of it this way, their fighting over what you think belongs in the discount bin….silly girls

  28. Matt says:

    Like others mentioned, I’d also like to know how this data was gathered. If it’s based on the star-rating via Quickmatch or on profiles, the “attractiveness” ratings are pretty bogus (at least for me). I’ve rated a few hundred girls, and maybe 15-20 got 4-5 stars. That has nothing to do with looks, and everything to do with the rest of their profiles.

    The vast majority of good-looking girls seem to make zero effort in creating a unique profile. “Things you can’t do without” listing off food, water, sleep, etc. “Favorite books/movies/music/food” listing off a handful of generic items that could easily be on anyone’s profile and tell you nothing about them. “You should message me if” … “you’re nice”, or “you’re not creepy”, like that helps anyone (the creeps don’t think they’re being creepy). And most of the time when I do see anything specific or interesting it’s in a negative context, like “don’t message me if you’re looking for X”, or “I hate guys who do Y”. That helps the signal/noise ratio sometimes, but it doesn’t let the rest of us know anything about you.

    Maybe this is the same with other guys’ profiles, I haven’t really looked. Do women see similar problems? It’d be interesting to know, so we could edit our profiles to help the women who look at them. :)

    But anyway, that’s why the average rating I’ve given is really low, and it has nothing to do with a lack of physically attractive women (of which there is an abundance), and everything to do with the low probability of finding a match that’s attractive, has a useful profile, AND seems interesting to me. Maybe most women tend to rate that way too, whereas guys just go by the picture, and that’s why you see such a skewed distribution.

  29. la.lah says:

    Well I think office worker #2 is way cuter than the “top” matches 😉

  30. Shawna says:

    I got that email too, and I laughed like hell at it. It’s not meant to be serious. I appreciate that most of this site is built around humor.

  31. drew says:

    One, women message far less. So their trends look like they don’t care about looks as much. BUT, men still message for more to lesser attractive females, even if it’s proportionally less than message better looking women.

    Also, there are a lot of women with kids on this site. And I’m guessing if a guy is unattractive yet makes good money, these women are actually admitting they are chasing men for their incomes while saying they think the guy is an ugo.

    Let’s face it, this is no surprise. Women will come out and say their bf or husband is unattractive. Nothing new here.

  32. Mike says:

    Interesting article – and somewhat sad. I’d be really curious to see the same study done about the gay portion of this site…mostly because I’m gay and this article was not so useful for me personally, though I appreciate I’m in the minority. On the other hand, as someone else remarked, it seems a lot of straight women are skeptical of online dating and afraid of men, whereas my experience is that it is often the online way for gay people to meet each other if they don’t like clubbing, so your overall “success rate” of happy couples finding each other is probably significantly bolstered by the gay community…in return, we’d love the same study done about us :)

  33. rebecca says:

    I noticed that the attractive women look a lot more attractive than the middling-ly attractive women, as compared to the attractive men and the middling-ly attractive men. I think I would rather message the not as attractive men than the attractive ones, because they look like they are actually doing things in their pictures, like playing in the snow or listening to something in an artistic looking place. I would think that was why people message the nines, but not the tens, because the tens spend all of their profile energy looking attractive.

  34. welp says:

    I’m sure you’ve been called on this before, but “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 medical term for this is male pattern madness.” flies in the face of the fact that we are here to message people we find attractive. Whether or not it’s the most efficient way of getting talked to is moot.

  35. ducatista1 says:

    I don’t even consider the photos when and if I rate someone. It’s all about the personality in regards to having a good relationship. I have my looks preferences for sure, but that goes out the window in a few minutes of talking.

    I’ve been on a year and I’ve gotten only a few messages my way, which is fine considering my profile says I’m not interested in dating beyond some conversation, so I get that. I have had huge success with getting responses back from my queries however. Oddly enough, I’m Bi by the way, men are more likely to respond than women by a small margin.

    One thing I’ve noticed about the profiles is the women’s profiles are extremely generic. There is very little variation from one to the next and frankly people in real life are hardly so generic. I can’t help but suspect that the females users of this site write profiles depicting their ideal or fantasy self rather than the real person. Another point of note is that the females profiles would have you believe that all these ladies are the most loving, even keeled, well rounded people in the world. Jeez, I would love to actually meet such a perfect person just once before I die. Not trying to be disparaging towards women mind you, not at all, it’s just that what I read and who I meet are not even close to the same people. Having read hundreds of profiles over the last year maybe less than a dozen have struck me as original or have given me insight into the person behind the screen. Often the profiles that do intrigue me are the ones where someone expresses some of their true not so perfect self. That is who I will see on the average day not the “when I’m at my best” person. The gay guys profiles strike me as genuine by and large, if not a bit dry. Hey guys are a bit more nuts and bolts, hahaha no pun intended. I can’t say as to what the ladies see from the straight guys, I fear the worst though.

  36. Whitney says:

    I’m not sure if the author of this blog considered that women might not be using the 5-star system as a “hotness” rating, but rather as a personal compatibility marker, which would account for the very different distributions on the messaging and attractiveness charts. That was my personal experience, anyway. When I used OKCupid I would give very attractive men I didn’t think I would be compatible with one star and decent-looking men who I had a lot in common with four or five stars. I think the seemingly disparate charts might just be another classic miscommunication between the sexes: men may be doing a 1-5 hotness rating while women are doing a 1-5 “right for me” rating.

  37. Hairitage47 says:

    I can also confirm that some guys receive very few messages. I see references to receiving “hundreds of messages” in some of the research articles. I’m not exactly ugly and have a well-developed profile, yet I’m fortunate to receive one or two messages a month. Good job … good income … well educated … no kids … lots of interests … NONE of it seems to make a bit of difference. I’m wondering if there is any expectation that it should be the guy that makes contact first. Or maybe I just need a haircut:)!

  38. diy says:

    The perfect curve of the men’s rating of women was somewhat surprising. I wonder if there’s any skew because of the ratings system on either side of the equasion: if both parties rate each other >4, the lucky couple is informed of the results. Personally, this makes a difference in how I rate someone. any 4 or 5 is a woman I would respond to if she emailed me, or likely send a message to if we rated each other highly. If I’m on the fence between 3/4, she either gets skipped or rated a 3. I’m generally skipping because I don’t want to decide about sending an email if we match.

    Is there any data on how much more often a matching couple starts a conversation, vs sending an email vs no communication? Perhaps it’s less often! These stats have surprised us before…

  39. Geoff says:

    Women watch Sex And The City and think it’s real life when a power alpha male like Mr. Big decides “no, I don’t want to marry and have sex with a smoking hot 22 year old who has plenty of fertile eggs! I want 42-year-old Carrie who smokes like a chimney!”

    Women have no desire to date anyone less than an alpha male, but get shocked and surprised when they turn 38 and find out wild sex didn’t lead to a committed relationship. Good for me and my bros, bad for slutty girls and society at large.

  40. Joe says:

    In my experience of dating sites so far, and believe me I have had allot of experience over the past 2 years on various dating sites.
    I have come to the conclusion that the Princess syndrome really does exist unfortunately! Maybe it’s because woman get allot of messages compared to men?
    I am no brad pit, but I am certainly no Quasimodo either.
    I tend to look at the profiles, see if there are similar interests, taste in Music, Sense of humour etc. in short if I think that we could have a conversation I will contact them. I probably get about 10 replies out of a hundred, and most of them just give a one word answer, and never ask anything about myself!

    I have become very disillusioned with online dating, don’t get me wrong I have met up with some nice woman (Not on this site only joined just over a week ago). but I want more than meeting up with some nice woman.

    Personally I don’t think you can beat the real life scenario of meeting face to face, ie socially, Work, or even in a supermarket, to have that spark/Connection.

    Maybe real life is best after all!

    Oh well Sigh.

  41. Jim says:

    So it pays to be an ugly guy… wonderful =(

  42. cali guy says:

    Men and women are different (btw, this is a good thing ; ) .

    As someone mentioned, women do NOT want their mate to be better looking than them. Men, on the other hand, do.

    Also, there is still, even in this brave new world of ours, at least some, if not a lot, of expectation that men should initiate first contact.

    Just keeping in mind these things (never mind all kinds of other issues, including OKCupid specific things) the data shown is not suprising.

  43. my_nizzle says:

    I posted this on another Oktrends post….

    I have to agree with the “method”… I have been on OKC for about a month now. This has landed me about a couple of dates a week. I get to be very selective, and I have a strict protocol I follow. I typically get at least a message a day. I would consider my looks to be above average, yet I also carry myself well out in public. I find it all of this to be very satisfying and enjoyable. I have a tendency to have filled up my inbox in this short amount of time.

    But what is striking the most are the amount of hypocrites that are out there…. Yes ladies , you.. Why do you win k at me when you explicitly state that you don’t like it and find it “creepy”. Why do you think it is ok for you to do it?? Also don’t “save” so you can watch me come on, or when I say hello, you say you just saved me to “look” at my profile later…pffft!!! right..hahahaha!!

    Too all those poor guys out there that are having such a hard time, go back and reevaluate yourself. Go find an alpha and pick up some ideas that work. I am not talking about puffing out your chest and being just physically stronger, but start with your self esteem. That carry’s a lot of weight. Like my buddy says “Fake till you make it.”

    Another thing, I wish OkC had a anonymous button where after you had a date , you can click an option of if you scored ( got laid,. what ever you want to call it) or not. I would LOVE to see the statiscal data on this. I would have ding that button quite a few times all ready.

    Oh yeah,, I feel really , really , really, and I mean really bad for you short guys out there, I have never, seen such direct discrimination ever in my life… I guess it helps with me being 6’4″ and confident…..remember, confidence!!, don’t confuse it for cockiness!

    All I have to say is THANK YOU OkC!!!!

  44. Dave says:

    Overall, I think I fall somewhere in the middle category of men. And pictures do mean a lot for women. For instance, I was feeling kind of wild one day and decided to do something crazy with my profile (this was on a different dating site). So I posted a shirtless pic of myself and things changed very quickly. I averaged about one message per day and had more visits in the first week than the entire few months that I had been on there beforehand. I took down the sexy pic after a while though because it wasn’t getting me attention with the ones I wanted it to. LoL.

    Women are superficial. So guys, only post really good pics and switch them up from time to time. The same woman who wasn’t attracted to you in one picture may fall for you in another. Good luck everyone!

  45. Sturmwald says:

    Like a lot of others commenting here, I don’t base my star ratings on looks. If that was the intent of the ratings system, it should be stated someplace. I’m curious enough that I wrote a match question about it. If you want to weigh in, answer it here:

    And to Christian and company, you might consider following this one as well.

  46. CL says:

    Apparently I’m not as ugly as I think I am because my inbox is fairly healthy.
    That said I never really respond to any of the men, attractive or not, because I’m afraid of having to go on an actual date.

    I know I’m wasting my life away but I have avoidance/social phobia. How pathetic is that? : (

  47. Iconian says:

    I have quite a few things to say, but I think I’ll first respond to CL, who wrote most recently. What you say makes me really sad, in several ways. It’s my guess that you’re worried about eventually feeling rejected if you were to actually go on a date with a guy. So there are lots of things I could say, but I’ll just say this: consider that while YOU may be scared of rejection, you are yourself in a way actually rejecting the guys who have messaged you. In the last month I’ve contacted probably thirty different women on three different sites, and I think about six or seven of them have even replied, and none of them were interested in actually meeting, and it’s burnt me out quite a bit. In some ways talking to people in real life is a lot easier, because you can actually engage them and respond to the things they say while you’re talking. So, to CL and others, please consider that there are some nice guys out there, maybe some guys have hurt your feelings, but consider that if so much of the time you just don’t reply to guys, you may be hurting our feelings too. Give us a chance. And if you’re worried about the possibility of an actual date, just keep in mind what they say about meeting someone you met online–meet them in a public place, like a restaurant, maybe a park, anywhere with people around.

    Now, about this article. I really think there is a “Princess” mentality among many, quite possibly most, women. I knew it before I started online dating. By and large, women want their prince, and men want a princess–or maybe a supermodel or actress or whatever. You want someone you’re compatible with, attractive, friendly, and so on. But I think that something everyone, both men and women, need to do is be willing to CONSIDER. Online dating really has shown me recently how really, really shallow both men and women are.

    It’s been somewhat of an amazement to me, because I’ve come to realize how shallow so many people really are, and it’s not just about physical attractiveness. The most obvious form of shallowness is when you’re only willing to look at or reply to or go on a date with someone who’s physically attractive–but there’s more to it than that. For me, the most surprising instances of shallowness I’ve found have been among supposedly more intelligent, educated people. This is just an example, but some of the highly educated people out there are unwilling to even CONSIDER anyone who is not of a similar level of education. To me, that is a big example of shallowness. If you’re basing your entire assessment of a person on what’s written in their profile, I think you’re doing yourself–and those you’re looking at–a big injustice. There might be someone out there’s who nearly perfect for you, but because you are only willing to even LOOK at someone who meets your requirements, you could be passing up some very good possibilities. And in the end, though you might “get what what you want”–i.e., you might get the guy who has the doctorate just like you wanted–you might realize in the end that it wasn’t really what you wanted, because his degree amounts to a hill of beans when he’s abusive, or a cheater, or he’s lousy in bed, or is boring to be around, or or or.

    My point is that I think everyone needs to broaden their perspectives a little bit, or a lot. Do you get a message from a guy that’s overweight and smokes and drinks a lot? Instead of just glancing at his profile and then choosing not to reply because of those things, maybe you should at least message him–give him a shot. You might have ten other guys who have also contacted you, but until you REALLY get to know someone, how do you know what they’re like? Consider that for one thing, people CAN and DO change, maybe not often–but what if that guy who doesn’t seem like a catch has never felt appreciated by anyone in his life. Maybe you could actually make a difference. Maybe decided to stretch a little and broaden your horizons, maybe in a year this guy would become practically a perfect match for you, even though today there are a few SUPERFICIAL qualities he has, SURFACE aspects of who is as a human being, that make him seem like a poor catch, but in the long run aren’t really part of his deeper personality, or who he is as a person. Men and women would both do well to CONSIDER many more possibilities than they do.

    Does that mean that you have to completely ignore your feelings about people, and your personal likes and dislikes? NO! As this article pretty accurate demonstrates, guys in particular pretty strongly prefer to message pretty women, and I am one of them as well. I would say that most of the women I have sent a message to in the last month were average or above average. I know there are some people out there who wish that everyone would entirely ignore physical attractiveness and just focus on the other traits of a person, or the things they wrote about in their profile. But personally, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with preferring attractive people. But I think the key is not to exclusively focus on them–be willing to CONSIDER others, even if they aren’t so attractive. There are lots of different traits a given person can have, and I would say that your best bet is to view a person holistically, and be willing to consider everything you can about a person.

    Remember, just because you message a person, whether you’re replying to them or initiating contact, doesn’t mean that you’re ready to marry them or spend the rest of your life with them, or even necessarily meet them. I think everyone would be much better off to look at the messages and communication you have with people on dating websites as opportunities for learning about people, to find out more about them and see just how compatible you may be with each other. Don’t let someone’s profile be a final judge about them. Get to know them first, and then judge. Message the less attractive women. Reply to the men who don’t sound like such great catches. Keep your options open. You might find that it’s worth it.

    The truth is, I think this is really more important for women to understand than men. If you’re a woman who wants to be treated like a princess, you should maybe try acting like one more. I don’t mean that in the sense of a diva or a spoiled, naughty, haughty brat. One of the most important things that makes the good characters from fairy tales and myths and such so likable and worthy of emulation is their love and kindness–not just for the handsome, dashing, and brilliant nobles, but also for the ugly, ignorant, and even crude peasants. What kind of a princess won’t even communicate with her subjects? What kind of a message does that send? And what kind of person will you ultimately end up with if you only care about the guys who on the surface seem to be what you want?

    Ultimately, I believe that communication is one of the most important aspects of any healthy relationship. And if you won’t even consider communicating with another, whether you are a man or a woman, do not be surprised if you end up miserable with someone who has lost interest in you, or has even left and broken your heart. If there are things in someone’s profile that you really don’t like the sound of, then DO communicate about them, DO attempt to address them and seek out answers and see if there can be some sort of reconciliation. Don’t just skirt over your concerns and totally ignore the red flags. But remember to also focus on the positive.

    Anyway, there are probably a few more things I could say, but this post is already long enough.

  48. Erik says:

    Looks are a touchy subject when dealing with a dating site, that should be self evident… While the stats are interesting and revealing in ways, do you think this article serves the user base or gives a significant portion of it something else to feel bad about?

  49. zephyr8blue says:

    this is really interesting… I wish they had the graphs for the gay okcupid members.

  50. cestglenn says:

    CL – dang girl – what’s the problem? Everyone has avoidance/social phobia. Seriously. It’s not pathetic. Recognize it, cope and enjoy. Breathing helps too. :)