Archive for the ‘attraction’ Category
The folks at OKCupid have the juiciest data. They can tell you which mobile operating system is most likely to get you laid, or why it’s statistically advantageous for men to date older women. Today, they unveiled the “mathematics of beauty” for the ladies on their site. (Men are up next for data-driven objectification.)
Their approach is fairly straightforward. They compare female users’ attractiveness ratings (1-5, generated by male users) with the number of messages they’ve received from potential suitors.
Simple enough. But the results are pretty wild. Women with fairly polarizing looks – a healthy dose of both 5s and 1s – get significantly more attention than do women with the exact same average rating but stronger numerical consensus. Which means that you have a greater chance of getting messaged if the guys who don’t think you’re smokin’ hot think you’re ugly rather than cute.
This is super interesting within the confines of OKC, but it’s also fascinating in the “real” world. By passing over the universally hunky, all-American guy in favor of the more uniquely attractive nerd, are we unwittingly opting for fiercer competition? And frequency of feedback from the opposite sex aside, is it more desirable to be objectively cute, or considered strikingly beautiful and ugly in equal measure?
I can honestly say I’m in the latter camp. I absolutely hate being called cute, it’s such a blah, passionless term. Granted, this is a convenient outlook, since (for better or worse) I do have rather unusual features and therefore little chance of universal appeal. But this preference extends to areas beyond physical vanity. I’d prefer that my off-beat brand of sarcasm delight some and offend others, instead of eliciting a polite chuckle from all. And breaking out some ridiculous moves on the dance floor is always far more fun than just swaying side to side, no matter how many eyes may roll.
It is easy to assume that “balance” can only be achieved by gravitating towards the center. The watered-down, inoffensive middle-ground. But balance can also mean embracing the reality that if you try to please everyone, you’ll invariably please no one. If you can live comfortably and sanely (not easy) between the opposing forces of acceptance and skepticism, that is balance. The politician who speaks her mind rather than toeing the party line will be more loved but also more despised. A chef knows that the bolder he makes his flavors, the more compliments and complaints alike.
Whew, an entire rant inspired by a silly blog post! I am most definitely procrastinating. But interestingly, I have noticed a change in my own behavior when meeting new people recently. Whereas up until a few years ago, I’d try to present the most broadly appealing, politically correct version of myself at the onset (and then go all crazy on ‘em later), I now tend to do the opposite. I am oftentimes more extreme than in everyday life. I tell my wildest stories, and crack my more inappropriate jokes. I’ll even amp up my personal style. Ultimately, I think this approach is far more efficient, as it weeds out people who’d likely rate you a “1″ (or even worse, a “3″) anyway. And who has time for them?