Romantic courtship is often described as taking place in a dating market where men and women compete for mates, but the detailed structure and dynamics of dating markets have historically been difficult to quantify for lack of suitable data. In recent years, however, the advent and vigorous growth of the online dating industry has provided a rich new source of information on mate pursuit. We present an empirical analysis of heterosexual dating markets in four large U.S. cities using data from a popular, free online dating service. We show that competition for mates creates a pronounced hierarchy of desirability that correlates strongly with user demographics and is remarkably consistent across cities. We find that both men and women pursue partners who are on average about 25% more desirable than themselves by our measures and that they use different messaging strategies with partners of different desirability. We also find that the probability of receiving a response to an advance drops markedly with increasing difference in desirability between the pursuer and the pursued. Strategic behaviors can improve one’s chances of attracting a more desirable mate, although the effects are modest.
Anyone who has ever logged on to Bumble, Tinder, Hinge etc. knew this as a fact within 5 minutes of using the app, but it is always good to see scientific confirmation. In what was likely the easiest hypothesis to prove of all time, I would like to at least shout out the researchers Elizabeth Bruch and M.E.J Newman because the data collection and analysis are quite impressive.
Onto the Findings, which you can read in the link at the top:
1-They found that men and women both pursue (swipe) others that tend to be at least 25% more desirable than themselves. How do they determine desirability? The more connections a person has, the more desirable they are. Seems plausible. Is this groundbreaking? No, but like I said it’s interesting to see the science and data behind what everyone is thinking in their head once they open a dating app. See a straight up dime at a bar, is it likely that the average male looking like a solid 6 is going to go up and flirt with her? Probably not unless inebriated to the point where in his head he’s a soft 9. On the flip side of that, you see that chick on Bumble or Tinder etc? Hell ya you’re going for it. You know you probably aren’t going to match (top 10 feeling when you do though), but what the hell do you have to lose? Nothing. Call it social anxiety, call it fear of rejection, whatever it is, that’s one thing online dating has helped every user of it ever. So many shots are going up nowadays that people would never shoot in public. Gotta think every now and then one’s going in for a lucky sap.
2-If you do connect with someone out of your league, you are more likely to type a longer message than you would for someone in your league. Call it being desperate if you want, I think it’s more about letting the other person know you’re genuinely interested. A longer, deeper message shows you care more about the topic in hand (The more desirable connection, in this case) than other not-as-important topics. Abraham Lincoln for example, put a little more thought into the Emancipation Proclamation than “I’m hereby freeing the slaves”; that dude wrote 5 pages about the issue, and it is still one of the most famous documents of all time. You know why? Because he cared a lot more about it than a lot of the other shit presidents have to deal with. So, lets say you match with a hottie. You don’t have many shots to make a good impression; it better be a good shot on the first try. Someone you match with that’s just “meh”, ya, you’ll say “hey” or “whatup” get a small-talkish response and likely never chat again. Someone outta your league? Ahh shit, here’s your chance, better not screw it up! Better type up something long enough that will A) be likely to receive a response, and B) start a solid conversation. Nothing harder on those apps than having a startup convo go dead and find yourself in some limbo trying to figure out your next move. Another thing found out, is that the difference in message lengths between the two types of connections is larger for women. Soooo fellas, use proven science to take that as a hint. If she sends you a long ass message, she’s probably feelin’ you because she thinks shes matched a keeper. Use that how you will.