Meanwhile, OkCupid has released data showing who is the most and least desired in online dating:
Men don’t write black women back. Or rather, they write them back far less often than they should. Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race--including other blacks—singles them out for the cold shoulder.
1. Sorry, Franchesca, but the reason Asian women are so popular isn't because of some play someone wrote six hundred years ago, and I'm disappointed by the complete lack of science in your video. Because, look. From an evolutionary standpoint, Asian women are the most feminine-looking women. They are petite, meaning that even short guys can date them and still be taller. They are, on average, more slender than other women. This, like it or not, is considered attractive in our culture. Asian women have less body hair -- which is an unconscious signal of youth (albeit prepubescent). Many Asian women also tend to look young for their age -- and youth is a powerful biological sign of fertility.
2. Similarly, the reason Asian men are so unpopular is probably related most strongly to height. Women generally prefer to date men who are taller than they are -- and there isn't one culture we've ever studied, anywhere in the world, in which height is not considered attractive in men. (Not to mention: every inch of your height is worth $789 per year -- which, compounded, is hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.) Women aren't the only problem, either. A lot of men aren't confident enough to date a woman who is taller then he. The average Asian male is 5'5-5'8. The average White American male is 5'10.
3. Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out in The Atlantic that the OKC data isn't necessarily representative of Black preferences. He writes,
"When black folks date online they don't go to OKcupid. They go to blacksingles. They go to soulsingles. Or if they're truly high post, they go to EliteNoire.
Black people who are going to a site like OKcupid are generally black people who, with some exceptions, are open to interracial dating. But the same isn't true of white people on OKcupid."
THAT SAID, many people struggle when trying to find a date online, both because other users aren't replying to their messages, and because they are being filtered out of users' search results.
This sucks, and I'm sorry.
But here's the good news:
Your prospects might not be as bleak as you think.
See, people think they know what they want in a romantic partner -- but studies show otherwise. In Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, Ori and Rom Brafman discuss a speed dating study in which participants were first asked to fill out a questionnaire about what was important to them in a dating partner...
And then, post-event, participants were asked who they actually went out on a date with. Who did they go on two dates with? Who were they still dating six months later?
What the researchers found was very little correlation between what we think matters... and what actually matters.
Scientists have basically no idea why we love the people we love. (Though biological anthropologist Helen Fisher has some interesting ideas.)
Maybe someday, someone will figure out how to predict chemistry -- and that person will be an instant billionaire. But for now, we have no idea.
Which is why, in spite of finding someone's photo to be attractive, you might not be attracted to someone you met online in real life.
But it's also why online dating doesn't work for people from certain groups.
We think it's important to us to date a tall, White man, or a short, Asian woman...
So we filter our search results to only show men of a certain race and over a certain height.
We only reply to Asian women's messages.
But if you meet someone in real life, there is no telling what will happen. We are impossibly bad at predicting who we're going to end up with.
Case in point: me.
I can obviously only write from my experience is a thin, pretty white woman. BUT.
I've previously written about how incredibly lucky I have been in love. I've dated some of the most amazing men, most of whom continue to make me proud and take my breath away.
But, honestly, I don't think I would have dated a single one of them if we'd met online.
Because, all else equal (i.e., we haven't met yet), I would want to date a super intelligent, super compassionate, 6'5 or taller athlete who loved the outdoors, theater, and eating burritos and Chinese food four or more times per week. Who is also really good at music. It wouldn't hurt if he were also good-looking.
This describes none of the people I've dated.
I've dated a White guy who was 5'10 and loved engineering and little else. I've dated a 5'9 Asian guy who hated all things outdoors, but could totally rock out with me on the piano. I've dated a 6'5 guy with a hairy back and a big belly who loved basketball and Chinese food. I've dated a 6'0 guy who loved all things outdoors but was completely tone deaf. I've dated a 5'10 Indian guy who was super smart; he didn't do a single one of the other things on my list, but he was always down to try anything. I've dated a super tall, muscular Army guy who never went to college, but was easily among the smartest guys I've ever met (you probably learn as much in a few weeks of bootcamp as you do in four years of college, anyway).
Do they fit the prototype? No. Not at all. The only thing any of these guys have in common is incredible intelligence and compassion. The rest of the stuff on my list did not actually matter. I thought it did -- but once we start talking in person and feeling that chemistry, everything else flies out the window.
Nevertheless. If I were going to look for someone new, and it were going to be online... I would use search filters to see only the guys I'll statistically be the most compatible with. It is the only rational way to use online dating.
I know -- not based on anecdotal evidence, but on decades of psychology research -- that I am most likely to get along with someone who is like me. In real life, opposites do not attract.
Therefore, it doesn't make sense for me to ask OkCupid to show me EVERYONE. It makes sense for OkCupid to only show me cis men who are highly educated (you don't have to have gone to college to be smart, but it's a strong correlate); who are active (as in, physically fit and not overweight) and adventurous; who are politically moderate; and who are like me in appearance (White, tall, similarly attractive -- and OKC's algorithms try to make sure that 9's see 9's; 7's see 7's; etc.) and socioeconomic status.
Because these are the people who are most likely to like me, and to whom I am most likely to be attracted.
This isn't, as Franchesca would call it, "sexual prejudice." (For the record, there is no such thing as sexual prejudice. There is only sexual preference.) It's simply science. Psychology research shows that we are most likely to like people who are like us.
But obviously, there are unpredictable exceptions. You can have incredible chemistry -- incredible instant connections -- with the least expected people, at the least expected times.
That Indian guy I dated? We met when I snuck into the hot tub at his apartment complex -- he saw my flop down over the bushes on his side of the fence, and was like WTF? And then the sparks started flying. Last thing I expected to happen.
That Army guy who never went to college? We met when I was getting out of the Caribbean Sea after a long snorkel, and he was drinking a beer on the beach. The first two weeks we knew each other, he couldn't stop talking about the moment he first saw me -- "You were like a mermaid!"
They are all the last person I would have expected to fall for -- but I did.
But only because we met in real life.
So my advice to people who haven't fared well online... is not to limit yourself.
I know it's 2016 -- but I think the best way to meet new people is still the old-fashioned way: in real life.
There are no filters in real life.
In the age of on-demand food and entertainment -- in the age of the shut-in economy -- many people don't think they "know" how to meet people in real life.
The best way to meet new people is by doing what you love. It's by being mindful in your everyday life. It's by appreciating everyday miracles -- and by asking, "Why not?"
Do you make eye contact with people on the train, or do you stare at your smartphone the whole ride? Do you volunteer in your community? Do you ask your neighbors if you can borrow a cup of sugar?
Are you involved in meetups? Adult sports leagues? Do you attend classes and lectures out of interest? Or do you mostly just stay home?
Here are a few other pieces of advice I've shared about meeting new people:
1. Become a regular.
There are three criteria for forming new friendships: proximity; regular, unplanned interactions; and openness/vulnerability.
If you become a regular -- whether at 7pm Monday/Wednesday pickup basketball or Tuesday night karaoke at a certain bar or frequenting a specific coffee shop, becoming a regular will help you satisfy one of the criteria for making new friends.
2. Get involved.
Part of the reason people have fewer friends and meet fewer people than ever now is because our social circle consists of existing friends and their friends. We're not volunteering. We're not going to church. We're not members of community organizations.
Entertainment increasingly takes place inside the home, where people watch Netflix and login to OkCupid.
No wonder we're so darn lonely. No wonder it's "so hard to meet new people."
3. Learn how to be more playful.
Almost everyone I've ever dated is someone I met while playing -- basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, snorkeling, scuba diving, attending a book reading, etc. When we play, we feel more social. We feel energized. And we're activating many of the same neural pathways as the human sexual response does (see also: Why a Terrifying First Date is Better Than a "Nice" One).
Problem is, playfulness isn't a trait -- it's a skill. And most millennials don't really know how to play. But the great thing about skills is that you can learn them! Get started today.
4. Go for walks.
Not only is walking for two minutes for every hour of sitting and/or fifteen minutes after every meal one of the healthiest, best things you can do for your body...
It's also a great way to meet new people -- people in your neighborhood. People who work near you. People you could be friends with or fall in love with.
Love is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to fall in love. And if you spend your fifteen-minute breaks walking around the block instead of scrolling through your newsfeed, who knows what amazing thing could happen?
5. Break your social media addiction.
We are accustomed to instant arousal. Instant (but passive) entertainment. Be an active participant in your own life. Break the addiction -- either by setting aside time each day to walk, socialize in real life, or something else, OR by downloading a plugin that prevents you from wasting too much of your life online.
You will be happier, healthier and more creative. And you will be more likely to meet new people. Which feed into each other, creating an awesome cycle.
Contrary to what Everyday Feminism would have you think, networking isn't an "entitled white person" thing. It's beneficial to everyone -- especially women and people of color.
This will help you expand your professional opportunities, but it will also help you meet more people. Don't go to networking events to hit on people -- that's a little weird. Just go with an open mind. You never know what can happen.
7. Stop (or cut back on) watching porn.
Not only is porn kind of bad for you (it leads to loneliness, sexual dysfunction, arousal addiction and worse sex) and kind of unethical and coercive (at least, from a human subjects/IRB perspective)...
But it also makes you less likely to meet new people. Why bother going out (which takes energy) and trying to meet new people (and risk rejection), when you could just stay home and jerk it?
If you watch less porn, you'll be more motivated to try to find what you want in life... in life. Instead of online.
8. Improve your charisma.
Charisma isn't an art -- it's a science. The science of truly engaging with people and making them feel great when they're around you. Which will make them want to be around you more.
To get started, I recommend These Specific Behaviors Will Make You More Charismatic, Starting RIGHT Now. If you like it, you should read The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, by Olivia Fox Cabane.
This will help you do and feel better in all areas of your life, not just your love life.
People think they know what they want -- and when they date online, they are able to filter out everyone who doesn't match their criteria.
But people are impossibly bad at predicting who they will actually fall in love with. Statistically, we're most likely to like people who are like us -- but real life is full of curveballs. And there are a lot more ways to be "like us" than we realize.
Online dating is one way to meet new people. But for anyone who's struggling online... it's really worth making the extra effort to put yourself out there in real life.
Real life isn't scripted. It isn't edited. And you never know what could happen.
I leave you with these pictures of very sexy Asian men -- because is there any good reason not to?