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September 29, 2006

Comments

I'd be careful drawing general conclusions about male success from the BMI figure. All it says is that men with that BMI got more first-contact emails. It doesn't say from whom. I'd guess that *women* with higher BMIs are more likely to solicit men with same. I'd also guess that the more desirable a woman is, the less likely she is to initiate any contacts.

The "superstar effect" jives with my observation that a man's looks have to be very good to help him in life, and very bad to actually hurt him.

"Men primarily care about how women look. They don't care much about anything else. I previously wrote about how Maureen Dowd is wrong in her claim that men don't like smart women. Men like women who are good looking, they don't care about the other stuff."

I disagree.

True, any man with a functioning circulatory system is likely to feel an initial spark of attraction based only on appearance. Perhaps more so than is a woman, as Spungen indicates.

However, when it comes to actually dating someone, i.e. spending a lot of time with them, listening (or pretending to listen) to them, coordinating various arrangements with them, including possibly living arrangements, and so forth, most of the guys I knew when we were back in our dating years (long since past, I might add) were considerably more selective than the above quotation would suggest.

A nice-looking girl without much else to recommend her might fall into the 'brief fling' category, to put it politely, but a guy who dated such a girl for any sustained period of time simply because she was a looker wasn't exactly admired by most of my friends.

Am I simply a middle-aged fool, or would not most bright men far prefer to date a woman with a lively wit and intelligent interests? She won't be good-looking forever; nor, for that matter will you.

I do think that a big disparity does exist between a woman's reactions to the career and income of a potential boyfriend, versus a man's toward a potential girlfriend. Women are quick to consider the breadwinner factor, as well as the prestige of dating a doctor/lawyer/stockbroker. Her friends will be envious. If a man is interested in a woman, he doesn't care if she's a clerk at Borders. Still, this isn't the same thing as not caring about whether she's bright. Do you really want slack-jawed kids?

Fred, when you only have the easily verified dimensions available to you (online), you can't help but pick based on that. I know little of online dating, but I presume that the profiles are not very successful in expressing one's personality.

As for the relative lack of concern about education (and therefore, by proxy, intelligence), I suspect it might be based on a tacit belief that the truly stupid probably wouldn't be participating in online dating in the first place. In other words there's already an informal screening process in place.

I wish people treated BMI with the respect it deserves: never talk about it again! It is a very flawed metric.

Look, I'm BMI of 26 now, borderline overweight. I was BMI of 26 when I was a weightlifting freak and was all muscle. Now, I haven't touched a dumbell in months. Same person, same BMI, completely different body type.

The Superfluous Man, I congratulate you on knowing little of online dating. I suspect the less known, the better.

Despite claims made by the various online dating services, I suspect that - as an avenue to romance - online dating is about on par with anonymous phone calls or blind dating. How many people (particularly women)do you know with good things to anonymous, perverse, sex phone calls? How many people (particularly men) do you know with good things to say about the blind dates they've been on? How many people (male and female)do you know with bad things to say about the blind dates they've been on?

I'm guessing that, as compared to online dating, one would significantly increase the odds of landing in a decent relationship by showing up drunk at parties to which one has not been invited, while openly displaying prison tattoos, a prescription for herpes medication, and a jumbo roll of condoms.

I could of course be wrong about all of this. However, let me suggest the workplace as a more realistic venue. Wasn't it on this weblog that somebody mentioned that at least at work women can see that you're capable of showing up somewhere five days a week at an appointed time. If you're semi-decent at what you do, this immediately sets you apart from a large chunk of the competition. Let's face it, lots of people are clearly incompetent at what they do. If you have the characteristics of the alpha-male leader (the 'eye of the tiger' as it were) the ladies will gravitate toward you like iron filings toward an electro-magnet, and hey, if you happen to get fired, you can always get another job.

However, let me suggest the workplace as a more realistic venue. Wasn't it on this weblog that somebody mentioned that at least at work women can see that you're capable of showing up somewhere five days a week at an appointed time. If you're semi-decent at what you do, this immediately sets you apart from a large chunk of the competition.

I suppose that's true, but consider:

1) Many employers flatly prohibit workplace dating.
2) If a relationship with a co-worker ends, especially if it ends on less-than-optimal terms, all sorts of awkwardness may ensue.
3) Depending on where you work, there might not be any available women.

"I suppose that's true, but consider:

1) Many employers flatly prohibit workplace dating.
2) If a relationship with a co-worker ends, especially if it ends on less-than-optimal terms, all sorts of awkwardness may ensue.
3) Depending on where you work, there might not be any available women"

1) Break the rules. Actually, women will be more likely to get involved with you because you're breaking the rules. They love the idea of covert, illict relationships, which I suppose should give all of us males pause for reflection. But they do. Even the quiet, seemingly risk-averse ones do.

Anyway, it's damn difficult for your employers to prove anything so long as you are absolutely scrupulous about what you put in the emails.(This was something I learned rather the hard way. Still, neither I nor the woman I was seeing were fired.)

2) Yep, true. Try not to pick anyone who's going to start weeping at her desk. Try not to pick anyone you're going to fall psychopathically in love with. Of course, these guidelines apply to any relationship founded anywhere.

3) Now, that would be a problem.

Break the rules against workplace relationships? Well, yeah, it might increase your desirability to some women, that whole rebel aura, but it also might cost you your job. Employers are extremely sensitive when it comes to things that might lead to accusations of sexual harassment. And consider one more thing: if you do get involved with a co-worker, no matter how discreet both of you try to keep things it won't be long before almost everyone in the workplace finds out about it.

All true, Peter. You might lose your job, if dating is expressly prohibited. I don't remember ever working anywhere where this was the case (not that I ever inquired), but I know it is with some employers.

As to your second point, absolutely true. Regardless of the lengths that you go to to try to conceal it, some co-workers will undoubtedly figure it out. I can't think of one single time when this wasn't the case. Nevertheless, suspecting and knowing are two different things.

And . . . ?

Lots of employers would insist on the out and out neutering of all male employees if they could get away with it, as well as hysterectomies for all female employees, and saltpeter circulating in the water supply. All those messy, oozing, human entanglements that divert one's focus and undermine productivity. Of course, without those same messy human entaglements, our lives EVEN MORE boring than they already are.

Putting young, single men and women together in the workplace and expecting them not to behave like young, single men and women has got to be a sublime example of corporate idiocy. It's going to happen. I remember in the first Gulf War, a naval support ship had turn around and come back to the States halfway through it's voyage because something like 15% of the female sailors on board were pregnant. Wow, what a surprise! This ship was, by the way, dubbed, "The Love Boat" by those in the service.

Were any of the admirals who thought it was such a progressive idea to put men and women onto the same ships ever 24 year old sailors? Could they not vaguely, feebly, remember what it was like to be a 24 year old sailor? Does the military now promote to positions of high command people of such asexual, inhumane, and technocratic inclinations that the basic facts of human nature are as indecipherable to them as cuniform script. Might this not explain to us something about the ahortcomings of our current military endeavors?

I'm not offering anyone actual advice, I'm just sort of airing my own thoughts on the internet, as I guess we all are. If I weren't married, and I was working in the sort of place that explicitly forbade me from engaging in a private relationship with another person that was her and my own damn business and nobody else's, and I got to know a co-worker whom I took an interest in, and who seemed to take an interest in me, it would have to be one hell of a great job (I mean a really great job) for me to even consider giving preference to my employer's concerns over my own.

My wife met her current husband through her work (he was CFO, she was in QA...). The company wasn't entirely happy about the situation but they weren't in a position to fire both of them, and since my sister initiated the thing there was no suspicion of sexual harassment...

I could of course be wrong about all of this. However, let me suggest the workplace as a more realistic venue.

Ha! You must not be a software engineer.

"My wife met her current husband through her work" . . . Would that be you?

I met my current wife, actually, my only wife, through work. It created some problems, particularly as she wound up getting pregnant during the time that we were actually working together and well before we got married (made for some rather delicate workplace conversations). Oh well, she resigned and we survived it.

Yeah, I am definitely not a software engineer.

Oops! No, meant to say my *sister* met her current husband through her work. I met my wife at a party :-)

BMI is weight divided by the square of height, producing a physics-like measure of something that's not quite density but is intended to vary with non-height physical dimensions. The assumption, of course, is that fat people will be heavier but not taller, so the BMI metric will go up.

This works fine for out-of-shape people (ie most Americans), but athletes, with their extra muscle mass, will have higher BMIs without being overweight...and, more to the point here, a guy who's got enough muscle to 'adversely' affect his BMI is going to be very, very attractive to the ladies.

So that 27 might include athletes as well.

BMI:
in addition to fact that muscles add weight, I think I've heard that taller people tend to have higher BMI (as you might expect weight to grow like the cube of height), so high BMI might just mean that tall men do well.

Since Asian men is at bottom of preference, it creates greater selection pressure for Asian men. In the long run, ony surviving Asian men would be superior in all other aspect of life like income, social status ect to compensate for their unattractive physical feature. Nature has its own way to balance thing out. Males face less selectoin pressure for physical feature would end out inferior in other aspect of life.

Fred wrote:

I'm guessing that, as compared to online dating, one would significantly increase the odds of landing in a decent relationship by showing up drunk at parties to which one has not been invited, while openly displaying prison tattoos, a prescription for herpes medication, and a jumbo roll of condoms. (end quote)

hee, hee...

Anyway, I remember Match.com boasting about how many members it has, and how many people got married using their services. Interesting thing is, it works out to about 1 out of 73 members getting married in any given year.

in addition to fact that muscles add weight, I think I've heard that taller people tend to have higher BMI (as you might expect weight to grow like the cube of height), so high BMI might just mean that tall men do well.

Actually, no. If two people are equally proportioned, the taller person will have a greater BMI. But in practice, taller people tend to be proportionally thinner and have lower BMIs.

The real top draw totty and alpha males are not going to be using on-line dating in the first place, or has someone already said that?

Brandon Berg,
Could you give a reference?

I don't actually have a reference. I took the raw data from NHANES I and ran a Perl script to calculate the average BMI, waist circumference, and waist-height ratio. What I found was that in both men and women, BMI and waist-height ratio were negatively correlated with height, and waist circumference was uncorrelated with height in men and very slightly negatively correlated with height in women.

The primary caveat is that the data are pretty old--I think from the fifties or sixties. I didn't realize this until after I'd already coded up the script, and didn't feel like doing it again with NHANES III.

Brandon Berg,
I'm shocked that waist is uncorrelated (or even negatively correlated) with height. Available sizes in men's pants suggest that it's slightly positively correlated.

Data is the best reference. I'll try NHANES III.

"Men primarily care about how women look. They don't care much about anything else."

Actually, even if subconsciously, I think that people hook up with the opposite sex for long term relationships only with people with similar IQs. It is a groundrule even if they don't think of it in these terms.

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