In the future perhaps we can investigate what’s behind the decline: is it because older guys and their older abs are inherently less attractive, or because women as they age find body shots less interesting?
One final point, vis à vis men, their torsos, and the clothing thereupon: if you’re not the type of guy who can show off your muscles, don’t veer off in the opposite direction and get all dressed up.
To wit: a journalist was visiting our office recently, and when we told her we were researching user photos, the first thing she said was “please tell me people hate it when guys show off their abs.” We hadn’t finished running the numbers yet, so we confidently reassured her that people did. Of course, there is some self-selection here: the guys showing off their abs are the ones with abs worth showing, and naturally the best bodies get lots of messages.
So we can’t recommend this photo tactic to every man.
A 32 year-old woman showing her body gets only 1 less message a month than the equivalent 18 year-old; an older woman not showing off gets 4 messages less, a large relative fall-off in popularity. When we look further into the data, we can see that as women get older, they are more hesitant to emphasize their bodies, despite its still being a good strategy (at least in terms of message volume).
Instead, they increasingly choose to show themselves in non-sexual contexts, like being outdoors: For women in their late teens and early twenties, body pictures are the most popular type of shot; outdoor pictures are second. To wrap up our cleavage discussion, let’s assess the of messages the cleavage-showers are getting.
Certain social etiquettes apply even online: if you’re going to be making eyes at someone, it should be with the person looking at your picture.
Men’s photos are most effective when they look away from the camera and In terms of getting new messages, the My Space shot is the single most effective photo type for women.
In fact, we used to give this very advice on Ok Cupid’s own photo upload page: When at first these results came back, we didn’t believe it.
We installed all kinds of sophisticated photo analysis software libraries, ran scripts to measure the percentage of face in each of our photos, generated diabolically meaningless scatter plots: But the facts were stubborn: your face doesn’t necessarily matter.
But since the Cleavage Shot is the feminine analogue of the Ab Shot, and an undisputed online dating archetype, we thought we should discuss it.