I love online dating. I've met all sorts of guys, including my LTR, online, and recommend it to all my unattached friends. In fact, I've


Today in Sex: Scientific Study of Online Dating Reveals the Obvious

I love online dating. I've met all sorts of guys, including my LTR, online, and recommend it to all my unattached friends. In fact, I've even instituted a zero-tolerance-for-whining-about-being-single policy if they don't have at least an OK Cupid account (that's free). Not surprisingly, the vast amount of demographic information available on these dating sites is a goldmine for social scientists. And what they've found will shock absolutely nobody who's ever picked out a six-foot-tall, 30-year-old screenwriter with a passion for cooking and skiing, only to meet up with a five-foot-tall, 50-year-old fry cook with a coke habit.

Researchers from UC Berkeley's School of Information found that:

Appearances count. No duh. Why do you think so many 40-year-olds use circa 1985 photos to lure you in? And don't even get me started on the evils of Photoshop.

Don't waste a lot of time going back and forth online. Stories where couples report falling in love before they've ever met have always given me the willies. It's so easy to look hot and appealing via well-thought-out emails and carefully edited photos. Chemistry is one of the many things impossible to ascertain via the internet, because if he smells of rotting cheese and boiled fish heads, you won't know that until you're seated across from him. Not to mention, when someone puts off meeting you IRL, it's generally because they're married.

Men lie about their height, women lie about their weight. Researchers found that men add an extra half-inch, while women "lose" an average of five pounds. In my estimation, these are extremely conservative measurements. Oddly enough, there was no mention of age liars, which run rampant regardless of gender.

Women are more likely to want to stick with their own kind. Apparently women are less likely to want to date outside their ethnicity. Nearly twice as many women as men specified that they wanted someone of the same racial background as themselves. This was the one finding that I was actually surprised, and appalled, to read.

The median age of online daters is 42 for men, 41 for women. Since we already know everyone lies about their age, I suspect this is more like 47 for men, 46 for women (though I have no credentials to back up my hypothesis; just a lot of anecdotal evidence). This makes sense since the older you get, the more difficult it is to meet people. It's not like your average 50-year-old is going to pick up a dude at Bikram yoga or playing kickball.

Women were more likely to be freaked out when men used the word "love;" while men had a similar reaction to the word "hate" in a woman's profile. This is simple--men who toss around the L-word too soon are usually full of crap. Women who hate a lot of things come across as bitter and angry--which is more of a turnoff than a stray chin hair or those five extra pounds you've been lying about.

As you might have gathered from all the evidence presented above, it's clear that the most important quality an online dater can possess is not a hot bod or long flowing locks, but a keen sense of humor. If you need convincing on this point, pick up My Blind Date Went Blind for backup. Discovering your "former swimsuit model" is now a plus-sized WoW enthusiast will seem like small potatoes after just a few pages.

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