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Online dating is a skewed game (for M/F), if you're in the top 2% of attractiveness for men it's great - otherwise it's not worth it. This is compounded a bit by region, if your dating market is pretty even or skewed where there are more women than men (NYC/DC) it gets a lot better (I suspect actually for both men and women, but don't know) - in the bay area it's not worth it.

Women get a lot of matches which while a lot better than no matches (can go on dates, get practice, etc.) leads to a filter problem. Many (based on OKC data [0]) tend to pre-select based on attractiveness*, so the top 2% of men get most of the matches, which pre-filters out high quality candidates that would have a chance in real life. It also leads to lower quality interactions (since those men have more options anyway).

If you're a woman with hundreds of matches it's not really a surprise they'd be multi-tasking on a zoom date, the dates are abundant - each one has low value. This shifts as people get older though - if I had to guess that's probably part of why your recent matches improved after 5 yrs, suddenly there are fewer men available and the competition heats up (both because there are fewer available men and because there are more younger women getting more attention).

If you're a man that gets one match at best every other month, they're so scarce the value is high. I think honestly women and men have a poor sense for how extreme the difference in online dating experience is.

We're not that different from other apes in a lot ways, if you're not really good looking and you're in a skewed market online dating is a bad approach for you (imo).


* Men do too obviously, but not to the same winner-takes-all extreme (based on the OKC data).

fossuser · 2021-06-11 · Original thread
There's also an obvious selection bias - the matches may be sending low quality messages, but if women are largely selecting only the top 2% of good looking men they're skewing these results themselves. The 'better' men never get to the messaging stage at all.

I'm happy to be out of the game, but online dating is bleak for 98% of men.

Okcupid used to have great data on this before they sold out, a lot of it ended up in this book:

The data in that book corroborates a lot of this. We're not that different from gorillas - sexual selection is tough and most of the discussion around it ranges from wrong to dishonest.

fossuser · 2020-11-25 · Original thread
There's a pretty good book by one of the OKC founders that goes into a lot of this data.

There's a bunch of good graphs and analysis in there (which matched my anecdotal experience of online dating).

The takeaway for me - if you're a man looking for a woman and you're not in the top 5% of attractiveness for men (really top 2%) then online dating is a waste of your time and you're better off doing pretty much anything else. This is doubly true in skewed dating markets like the bay area (less so in favorable markets like NYC, DC).

There's a lot of 'what you can't say' [0] in that book, sexual selection is skewed in lots of ways people pretend it isn't. I think it'd be better to acknowledge some of these things and consider it in an intellectual way - not so you can leverage it in some sleazy/misogynistic pick-up-artist way, but because understanding how it works helps you know how to behave/show confidence etc. Helps for the aspie-er among us where this doesn't come naturally (and is more important for men seeking women where for better or worse we have to be the ones to figure it out [1]).

On a somewhat related note, this Ted Chiang short story explores some of this and is just generally great:



Zanneth · 2019-09-28 · Original thread
The co-founder also wrote a book about statistics behind dating sites, as well as a variety of other topics, called “Dataclysm”. I read it a couple years ago and I definitely recommend it if you’re interested in this kind of stuff.
jdk · 2017-10-16 · Original thread
The cofounder of OKC and author of these posts for a long time wrote a book in the vein of the blog:

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