My Take On The Mathematics Of Beauty

Ok, let’s completely ignore the fact that I haven’t blogged since October 17th, a much longer hiatus than I ever intended. I’ll get to that later. I’ve had Lance writer’s block for the past couple of months so I figured the best way to bust out of it is to just fire off some content. I’ll do a recap on my life and crap later.

My pal Hammer pointed me to a thought provoking article on the OkTrends blog, called The Mathematics of Beauty, which I thought was pretty interesting. These guys analyze the wealth of data from OkCupid.com and usually come up with insightful and sometimes controversial conclusions. See what you think.

I don’t want to spoil the article if you intend to read it, but what they analyzed was the amount of messages women get based on their perceived attractiveness, ie cute vs. super hot vs. ugly etc, and they offer somewhat surprising conclusions and recommendations.

What provoked the strongest reaction for me was when they posted two pictures of supposedly equally attractive women, then asked the question why one would get a MUCH larger number of messages than the other. This is a good question, because using the OKCupid rating scale of 1-5 stars, both chicks are approximately equal in looks (3.4 to 3.3) but the second chick received 2.3 times the average number of messages versus a mere 0.8x for cutie number #1. Huge discrepancy. Why?

OKTrends tried to break it down mathematically and offered game theory as a possible reason why. I don’t agree.

Here’s what I think. I think it boils down to sex, and specifically, the raw, orgasmic, dirty kind. Let me run two pictures from the post and then I’ll break it down:

The girl on the left I’ll refer to as Smiles88 and the chick on the right I’ll call Vixen69. BTW, I didn’t receive permission to run these pics, so I’ll keep them up until someone tells me otherwise.

Here was the immediate, brain-stem reaction I had upon seeing these pics:

Smiles88: goofy, cute, dorky, fuckable but boring, questionably orgasmic, good friend/companion, motherly, wants kids

Vixen69: highly fuckable, fun, sexy, loud multiple orgasms, stylish, bitchy, emotional

That reaction wasn’t something I thought about, it was simply an electric impression that buzzed through my admittedly lizard-like brain. Granted, I am a sample size of one, but I’d be willing to

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bet a lot of OkCupid surfers had similar reactions. When it comes to guys emailing chicks on an online dating site, perceived sexual attraction will trump everything. If you project that you’re sexy and adventurous, by god, you are going to get a shit load of dudes emailing you. Put another way, if you look fuckable, then you better be prepared for an inundation of emails. Even if you look really hot, but you don’t project fuckability, which absolutely happens, then your response rate will be lower. Another interesting permutation is also true: if you’re homely and your projected fuckability is high, you will still get a high response rate, perhaps even higher than the poor girl who is rated 5 stars in looks but 1 star in fuckability. What a waste that is, right?

Now that I think about it, it would be great to have a Fuckability Scale on dating sites with 1-5 stars. I bet the math whizzes at OkCupid could really do something with that data. One thing they would see is that fuckability and cuteness are not always related. Fuckability is a deep, animal bit of stimulus that gets us every time. Only when we start to rationalize and (over)think who the other person is do we put weight on things like interests, companionship, even compatibility.

The Game Theory that OkTrends offered is merely a piece of the puzzle that is the sexual marketplace of a dating site. Personally, I don’t think about if a woman is attainable or unattainable when I decide to connect with her, I just react to her Fuckability and go for it.

In the above example, I think both chicks are cute but neither are “my type.” I would message them both, but I would put more effort into attaining Vixen69 because I perceive her as being much more fuckable. If my impressions held true about the two girls, I would only consider Vixen69 as LTR material. I like them adventurous and a little bit bitchy.

What does this mean for you?

First impressions, and profile pictures, are everything on online dating sites. Portray yourself wisely and be aware that whatever you put up has a profound affect on how much traffic you’re getting. Also, sex sells. If you want a lot of traffic, project sexiness and you’ll get it, but be aware that legions of horny douchbags will send you asinine emails.

  • Hammer

    I had the same visceral reaction to the pictures that you did. For me, though, the visceral reaction is only an initial thing, and a couple more layers of thought go into whether I would email her.

    If both girls only had the one picture on their profile, I would probably message the one on the left and not the one on the right. The one on the left is objectively cute/hot/whatever, and the objective hotness of the one on the right is questionable. It’s a shady angle that could easily be covering up some blubber.

    To me, the one on the right is posted and trying to be hot, whereas the one on the left is playing down her looks in her profile because she doesn’t want those types of responses from guys, but you know that if she got dolled up she’d look way more fuckable than Vixen. I like my women looking hot, but there’s a difference between knowing you’re hot and desirable (and playing that down as a result) and needing that validation from hundreds of skeevy guys messaging you on a free dating site.

    It’s been my experience that 1) there is no correlation between perceived sluttiness and skill in bed, and 2) once I’ve banged a girl, 9/10 times she will lust for my dick regardless of perceived sluttiness B.B. (before bang).

  • Honey

    I don’t know if I’d deliberately try to increase my response rate from skeevy guys. Most of the guys I went out with off dating websites, I emailed first anyway. I even emailed Jake first!

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    @honey, you’re an anomoly. You and DD are the only two chicks I’ve ever talked to that have emailed guys on a dating site before.

    Your comment is at the heart of gaming a dating site. Put the pictures and profile up that attracts the guys you want to attract…being selective is better having high volume.

  • Honey

    One of my best friends from college was in town over the weekend, she is on OKCupid and also emails lots of guys first. I helped her email 3 guys while she was in town visiting.

    Although, she did go on to get a doctorate as well (though a medical one, she’s a hearing specialist), so she is in the same category as me in a lot of ways.

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