Online dating profiles: women choose nice guys over “bad boys”


Online dating profiles: women choose nice guys over “bad boys”, but only after seeing they’re emotionally unavailable (source: Medical Daily).

The “nice guy” paradox asserts that although women say they want to date a nice, kind, sensitive  guy, when actually given a choice, women end up rejecting him for a “bad boy” with an alpha male personality. However, according to a Journal of Experimental Social Psychology study, this stereotype doesn’t apply to online dating: nice guys actually finish first compared to emotionally unavailable men with other salient characteristics, such as physical attractiveness.

Social psychologists conducted two experiments in which men and women viewed a series of online dating profiles that included different combinations of desirable and undesirable information about their physical appearance and their emotional availability.  The participants rated profile photos and, in addition, answers to questions that described how emotionally available the individuals are.

In the first experiment showed that women were more romantically interested in the emotionally responsive men when they had first looked at profiles of nonresponsive potential mates, compared to when they rated the profiles of emotionally responsive men first. These men were also rated as more physically attractive when their profile was viewed second, after nonresponsive men.

In the second experiment researchers focused specifically on how the order in which these profiles were seen affected interest in a potential date who was unattractive, but responsive. Participants only viewed two profiles and had to choose which they would prefer to date. Similar to what the first experiment found, the unattractive but responsive dates were much more likely to be chosen when their profiles were viewed after those of the nonresponsive potential dates. This dating choice did not depend on whether the person was attractive or unattractive.

“These results highlight the importance of the context in which dating decisions are made,” wrote the study authors. The order in which online dating profiles are viewed could boost someone’s odds of getting a date.

Another study found the best way to turn an online exchange into a real-life first date is to have the perfect handle, photos, and headline. Men preferred women with the most obvious screennames like “Blondie” or “Cutie” while women had a preference for screennames that indicated intelligence, like “Cultured.” When it came to the main photo, women liked a “genuine smile,” while men were intrigued by women who wear red and slightly tilted their head.

Also, you should be honest in your headline. The perfect description falls in a 70:30 ratio of what you are like to what you want. The typical yet effective, “Honest, good-looking, easy-going, educated female, good sense of humor, sporty, sociable, likes music and travel, seeks like-minded, good-natured guy to share quality times,” is viewed more often. Online daters are usually gender stereotypical, as men like fit women who do yoga but not bodybuilding, and women like bravery, courage, and risk-taking men more than kindness and altruism.