Report: Do ‘Ugly’ Women Get More Male Attention Online?

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Looking for love online? Covering your flaws might be the wrong move.

According to numbers crunched by dating site OKCupid, women who get mixed reactions tend to get more messages.

(See OKCupid’s data on the similarities of gay and straight users.)

The site lets users rate potential partners by using one to five stars, with five signifying the most attractive. So if a user receives an average of about three to four stars, her profile would be considered above-average. As OKCupid’s blog points out, though, a 3.5 rating doesn’t always mean the same thing. If every user voted Mary a 3 or a 4, she would be “cute” across the board. But if Jane receives mainly 5 votes and 1 votes but still gets the same average, she’s either loved or hated. Women like Jane tend to get the most messages, even though Mary is more universally liked.

Why are men (because all the women studied were straight) more interested in Jane? OKCupid thinks it may be because if some men consider a woman unattractive, those who are interested in her feel like they have more of a chance. Mary is conventionally “cute,” which makes men think there’s more competition than there actually is.

(See how online dating is the last bastion of overt racial preferences.)

So ladies, if the whole “be yourself” trick isn’t helping out your online odds, OKCupid suggests taking one thing that you think men don’t like — whether it’s your pale skin, lip ring, third arm, whatever — and play it up. It may lead to more male attention. (And after all, if you meet your date in person, he’s going to see your “flaws.”)

OKCupid says they’ll analyze men next. NewsFeed can’t wait to see if ladies prefer a Zach Galifianakis over a Brad Pitt.

(See how OKCupid found out that iPhone users have more sex.)