Assortative mating and online dating
The other day I saw a short heavyset guy and a short heavyset girl at 49th and Broadway, and this made me think about assortative mating. Assortative mating is a complicated name for the simple concept that couples have more traits in common than likely in random mating. In other words, like pairs up with like.
This is a natural preference that we human beings have, and one needs to be aware of it to succeed in online dating. You will be most likely to get responses to your emails, and second dates from your first dates, if you focus on members of the opposite sex who are like you.
The most important traits are social status, looks, height, body type, age, ethnicity, baggage, and religion. Match up on these characteristics and you will find good dates. Let’s examine each more closely:
Social status: this includes income, education, and your family background. Some of this information can be pretty hard to figure out based on the checkboxes at Match.com. A Bachelor’s degree from the College of Staten Island isn’t in any way comparable to a Bachelor’s degree from Yale, yet they are both identified with the same checkbox. And regarding income, most women don’t list their income. Nevertheless, this is an essentially important component of dating success.
Looks: if you’re ugly don’t expect to hook up with someone super hot looking. Of course, the photos are so bad it’s often hard to tell what people really look like until you meet them. When you meet in person, you may be horrified, or you may be pleasantly surprised.
Height: the average man is five inches taller than the average women. And two inches make a big difference when it comes to height. So if you’re a man of 5'11", getting a woman who’s 5'8" to go out with you might be a difficult challenge. Your luck would be much better going after a woman who’s 5'6".
Body type: you’re best sticking to the same body type as you, even though the desirability of body types differ depending upon your sex. But one interesting point is that many assume that a slender body type is most desirable for women, when actually men like any body type as long as it’s not something like “a few extra pounds” or “large frame.”
Age: men would like to go out with women who are ten years younger, but it’s not going to happen. On the other hand, women who are older than me keep sending me emails, and this doesn’t work either. If you’re a man, you should know that women prefer men who are exactly two years older than them. And if you’re a woman, you should know that men don’t care how much younger you are, but you are wasting your time sending emails to younger men.
Ethnicity: I think this is self-explanatory.
Baggage: if you are divorced with kids, you are best off seeking partners who are also divorced with kids.
Religion: women tend to be somewhat more religious than men, so if you’re a man and an atheist, you need to also match with women who profess a religion but don’t really practice it. (Once I went to an atheist rally and there were ten men there for every woman, and the women weren’t very attractive.)
posted August 19, 2005