Forty may be the new 30, but not if you’re hoping to get lucky with online dating. New (depressing) research finds that women peak at 18-years-old. EIGHTEEN! But, guys, you’re okay. You just get better with age! You don’t peak until age 50, when you have a nice head of salt and pepper hair. In other words, when you’re considered “distinguished” and not “out to pasture” like your female counterparts.
This new study, which focused on the hierarchy of dating, researchers were able to pinpoint some characteristics of desirability. The found that average desirability varies with age for both men and women, but that it varies more strongly for women, and the effects run in opposite directions:
Older women are less desirable, while older men are more so. For women, this pattern holds over the full range of ages on the site: The average woman’s desirability drops from the time she is 18 until she is 60. For men, desirability peaks around 50 and then declines.
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The study also showed clear and consistent dependence on ethnicity, with Asian women and white men being the most desirable potential mates by our measures across all four cities — New York, Boston, Chicago and Seattle.
What’s more, education doesn’t seem to pay off for ladies like it does for men:
Desirability is associated with education most strongly for men, for whom more education is always more desirable. For women, an undergraduate degree is most desirable; postgraduate education is associated with decreased desirability among women.
But don’t let any of this discourage you (or give you too much hope, if you’re a man).
“The fact that somebody is appealing or unappealing in an online dating profile isn’t particularly useful in predicting how compatible you’ll be with that person when you meet face to face,” Eli Finkel, a professor of psychology and management at Northwestern University, told CNN.