Cupid

Love Is Not Blind

 

The evil geniuses at dating site OKCupid often experiment with the data that they collect — and on their customers.

They post the results on their blog, which remains one of the most anthropologically interesting places on the web.  A while ago, for instance, they did an interesting thing for a dating site: they removed all of the pictures.  

For seven hours, it was a dating site without images.  All of the interactions on the site — the messages back and forth, the profile browsing, the instant chatting — all of it was done without the benefit (or hindrance) of a physical image to look at.  People didn’t know if they were physically attracted to each other.  It was, for seven hours, kind of weird: people responded to each other 44% more often, the conversations went deeper, and real-world contact information was exchanged sooner.  In other words, more people lined up more dates when they didn’t know what the other person looked like.

And then they turned the photographs back on:

When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind.”  Those conversations melted away.  The goodness was gone, in fact worse than gone.  It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight.

Which isn’t surprising, I guess.  But then the nerds at OKCupid did an interesting bit of research.  A few years ago, they actually had a “blind date” app that was entirely photo-free.  It didn’t last long (no surprise) but some people did end up using it, and the experiment with the photo-free site led them to dig into the failed app’s data to find out what happened when people actually went on blind dates, which was:

[O]nce they got to the date, they had a good time more or less regardless of how good-looking their partner was

Which means that looks don’t matter.  Unless you know what the other person looks like.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Arwen Willemsen.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 29 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    If you closed your eyes during sex, would sex be just as good? Of course! Real sex is about touching, not about looking. 

    Unless she’s (or you are) really really ugly, to the point of distraction. Always bring two bags.

    • #1
  2. Fredösphere Inactive
    Fredösphere
    @Fredosphere

    I participate in a sci-fi reading group here in Ann Arbor. The group skews heavily toward the university mindset–open-minded, and “open-minded”. (If you know what I mean.) Recently we read Every Day by David Levithan, a story about a teenager who wakes up every morning inhabiting (you could say “possessing” or “borrowing”) the body of a different teen. The poor kid falls in love with a girl and pursues a relationship with her. He tries to teach her that eros transcends trifles such as gender, beauty, and weight. He expects his lover to connect with him soul to soul.

    I thought the idea ridiculous–sexual attraction is fundamentally about the body; sheesh!–but I kept my mouth shut. To my pleasant surprise, the group didn’t buy it. Several people attacked the idea as absurd, and no one rose to defend it.

    We have other types of relationships that transcend physical attraction, namely family and friendship. Asking eros to do the same is a bridge too far. The push for an infinitely protean sexuality has found its limit.

    • #2
  3. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Physical attraction is instant. Intellectual-emotional attraction is infinitely more complex and takes time to develop. 

    With physical beauty, there’s typically an overall impression that overshadows individual features. With personalities, individual features rise and fall from focus, and a lot of conscious decisions must be made along the lines of, “Does her appreciation of football compensate for her picky diet?”

    Of course, in male calculus, xxx = y*i.

    • #3
  4. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Relax, Rob.  You look fine.

    • #4
  5. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Aaron Miller:

    Physical attraction is instant.

    For guys, yeah. Or at least there are very few exceptions. For girls, not so much.

    Of course, a girl would be a fool to seek out potential mates who don’t find her physical beauty obvious.

    • #5
  6. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Rob Long: Which means that looks don’t matter.  Unless you know what the other person looks like.

    Brilliant summation.

    -E

    • #6
  7. Foxman Inactive
    Foxman
    @Foxman

    KC Mulville:

     Always bring two bags.

    I wouldn’t mind so much if my girlfriend would stop trying to use plastic bags.  I mean they are see-through. And the rubber bands are too small.  They dig into my neck.

    • #7
  8. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    40 years ago I knew this nice looking guy who eventually became a cardiologist who liked to brag that he would go to a party or bar and seek out the ugliest woman there and he never went home alone. I met his wife 10 years later and realized he had been telling the truth.

    • #8
  9. Foxman Inactive
    Foxman
    @Foxman

    Southern Pessimist:

    40 years ago I knew this nice looking guy who eventually became a cardiologist who liked to brag that he would go to a party or bar and seek out the ugliest woman there and he never went home alone. I met his wife 10 years later and realized he had been telling the truth.

     A good-looking doctor who had to resort to ugly woman?  He must of had some personality. 

    • #9
  10. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    On his podcast, Adam Carolla often mentions this phenomenon demonstrated in the show Catfish.  A man, having been led to believe his online correspondent is hot, will go on and on about his “soulmate”.  Then, when he goes to her house and finds out she’s 50 pounds heavier than he, his tune changes immediately and profoundly.

    • #10
  11. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Foxman:

    KC Mulville:

    Always bring two bags.

    I wouldn’t mind so much if my girlfriend would stop trying to use plastic bags. I mean they are see-through. And the rubber bands are too small. They dig into my neck.

    Tell her to use duct tape; it’s much more comfortable. 

    • #11
  12. user_137118 Member
    user_137118
    @DeanMurphy

    My wife and I have been watching a show called “Married at First Sight” where 3 couples let a panel of experts choose a mate for them, and they did not meet until at the altar.  They agreed to be married legally and try to make it work for 5 months; at the end of the 5 months they would decide to stay married or divorce.

    One couple is an average looking man and a former “Bachelor” contestant.  She had an anxiety attack at the wedding once she saw him; but they have stuck with it.  The last episode was the end of their 3rd week.  Now she is contemplating that she has fallen too far for this very nice and attentive man (they have yet to consummate the union) and thinks he is starting not to like her.

    The other 2 couples were attracted to each other right away, one couple consummating their union on the wedding night (facilitated by alcohol consumption it appeared).  The last couple waited a few days to get physical.

    The ones who immediately got it on are now not getting along very well with each other.  And the last ones are getting along the best.

    • #12
  13. Foxman Inactive
    Foxman
    @Foxman

    Dean Murphy:

    The other 2 couples were attracted to each other right away, one couple consummating their union on the wedding night (facilitated by alcohol consumption it appeared). 

     RAPE!

    • #13
  14. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Foxman:

    Southern Pessimist:

    40 years ago I knew this nice looking guy who eventually became a cardiologist who liked to brag that he would go to a party or bar and seek out the ugliest woman there and he never went home alone. I met his wife 10 years later and realized he had been telling the truth.

    A good-looking doctor who had to resort to ugly woman? He must of had some personality.

     Yeah, I think he thought he was God’s gift to women if not everyone else.

    • #14
  15. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Southern Pessimist:

    Foxman:

    Southern Pessimist:

    40 years ago I knew this nice looking guy who eventually became a cardiologist who liked to brag that he would go to a party or bar and seek out the ugliest woman there and he never went home alone. I met his wife 10 years later and realized he had been telling the truth.

    A good-looking doctor who had to resort to ugly woman? He must of had some personality.

    Yeah, I think he thought he was God’s gift to women if not everyone else.

     You already told us he was a doctor. Stop repeating yourself.

    • #15
  16. user_697797 Member
    user_697797
    @

    KC Mulville:

    If you closed your eyes during sex, would sex be just as good? Of course! Real sex is about touching, not about looking.

    Unless she’s (or you are) really really ugly, to the point of distraction. Always bring two bags.

     I don’t know. The looking part is pretty important. Also, the importance of attractive women as status symbols for men shouldn’t be overlooked.  

    • #16
  17. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    Not so fast, Grasshoppers.  Where men are concerned, wealth is the equivalent of a Hollywood makeover.  Nothing says “attractive” better than an unending roll of gold Kruegerands in the pocket.  Imagine what would happen if the pictures of the men were exchanged for a copy of a latest paystub, broker statement or trust summary?  The handsome broke men would turn into frogs and the well off, prince charmings.

    • #17
  18. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Doug Kimball: Nothing says “attractive” better than an unending roll of gold Kruegerands in the pocket. 

     No matter how I interpret this I find myself coming up short.

    • #18
  19. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Rob, I know you’re a successful producer and writer, but do we really need to be discussing that dreadful “Catfish” show that even I can’t manage to avoid having thrown in my face?

    As for you, sir, I said it before and I’ll say it again … pick up the damn phone and call Ann!

    • #19
  20. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    “Does her appreciation of football compensate for her picky diet?”

    If I were still single, that would be a very legitimate question Aaron Miller!

    Wait… my husband just asked me to like your comment. :)

    • #20
  21. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Foxman:

    Southern Pessimist:

    40 years ago I knew this nice looking guy who eventually became a cardiologist who liked to brag that he would go to a party or bar and seek out the ugliest woman there and he never went home alone. I met his wife 10 years later and realized he had been telling the truth.

    A good-looking doctor who had to resort to ugly woman? He must of had some personality.

    Might one assume that he picked these women for a particular reason, and that his personality was involved.

    • #21
  22. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    Foxman

    KC Mulville:

     Always bring two bags.

    I wouldn’t mind so much if my girlfriend would stop trying to use plastic bags.  I mean they are see-through. And the rubber bands are too small.  They dig into my neck.

    You must have your eyes closed.  That’s no rubber band.  She’s choking you.

    • #22
  23. user_139157 Inactive
    user_139157
    @PaulJCroeber

    Singles dances are always well lit, at first.

    • #23
  24. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    If I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life looking at her, I should at least enjoy it.

    • #24
  25. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I think its fair to say that there is a series of acceptability floors.  With trade offs between factors above the acceptability floors.

    You do in fact have to be this hot to ride this ride.

    • #25
  26. user_1121313 Inactive
    user_1121313
    @AnotherLawyerWaistingTime

    Some research indicates that a man’s job/wealth/income/money influences woman’s perception of how handsome he (he will gain between 3-4 pts on a scale from 1 to 10) is and it is thought to be tied to providing for off-spring where as a woman’s job/et al has no effect on if a man views her as attractive. 

    Couples will pair off naturally in like groups all things being equal  i.e. 5’s will pair up with 5’s, 10’s with 10’s unless there is some internal/external reason i.e. such as the doctor story told previously indicates.

    • #26
  27. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Looks matter.  So does everything else.  

    Dating site experience (abridged version):
    1.  I’ve had great email dialogues with women, they wrote well, had a decent job, etc – and then when I talked to them on the phone (one example in particular), the voice just killed me.  It was like it was set to “whine” even when she wasn’t whining.

    2.  Women seem to set target income levels for their desired mate more than I would assume – I don’t know if guys do this a lot, I don’t see their profiles, but I find that interesting.  I think it’s a weeding effect.  You must be this tall to ride on this ride, I guess.

    3.  It’s interesting that without pictures, email relationships were going along so well – but the reality is that’s not the real world, nor does a conversation in the real world encompass the physical.

    What’s been demonstrated is that you need pictures so you don’t waste your time emailing someone you have no chance of being attracted to physically.  Which seems obvious, but there it is.

    • #27
  28. user_432921 Inactive
    user_432921
    @JimBeck

    Music  may offer a key to the understanding of sexual attraction in animals.  Given my  age these suggestions might not be known to many.
    1. Just One Look by Doris Troy
    2. Sharp Dressed Man   Z Z Top, echoing what Walter noted
    3. Love Stinks   J Geils   This song matches the research that college men can accurately rate the facial attractiveness of coeds by just smelling the t shirts they have been sleeping in. The men have not seen the subjects that they are comparing.
    Also to show how shallow my generation was, from Frank Zappa 1968 (What is the) “Ugliest Part of Your Body” and Absolutely Free, which starts with the word discorporate.

    • #28
  29. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Another physician friend from years ago had a high society Ob-gyn practice and an attractive socialite wife. He and I trained together for a marathon and on one of our long runs he began to tell me about this new restaraunt/bar that had openend in a nearby town. He went on and on talking about the number of beautiful women he had seen when he was there. So I asked him if he took his wife there and he responded in a serious conspiratorial tone, “Son, You don’t take a box lunch to a banquet.”

    • #29
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.