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The written profile I created didn’t give any clues as to the owner’s gender and it included a few ‘hooks’—mentions of party tricks and whatnot—to give people something to talk about in their messages.

Here it is, if you’d like to read it.

N ow for the interesting bit: the profile pictures. I selected five photos for the boys and five for the women that depicted men and women who I personally thought varied in physical attractiveness.

Then I gave the ten photos to three other people (male and female) who would act as independent judges of the girls’ and boys’ looks by ranking them from best looking to…not the best looking. Pleasantly, for the experiment, all three judges agreed on the rankings.

At this point, I had ten profiles with similar sounding usernames, all with the same answers to 25 questions, with the same written profile and personal stats (all heights consistent, the same level of education, etc.), and each account had a different photo of a man or woman.

I then herded our collection of fake people onto Deception Airways and pretend-flew them to five different US cities, where they would be allocated in pairs. The best looking man and woman in one city, second best boy and girl in another, and so on.

I must admit, I was excited. If you ever want to feel like a small-time god (albeit a somewhat meddling, devious one), I recommend creating multiple dating profiles.

Before we get into the results of this first stage of the experiment, here are a couple of interesting online dating facts that hint at the complexity of meeting people online.

To be fair, my tinkering with the system wasn’t really helping with that last statistic. Anyway, science and all that! Onto the results.

A fter being online for 24 hours, the ten accounts between them had amassed 90 messages. Remember, for this experiment, it was all about unsolicited messages—I sent no messages to anyone and never replied to ones received.

As you can see from the graph above, the women got many times more messages than the men.

If this was a sign of things to come, then it seemed a sure thing that the women would get messages without any extra effort on their part, whereas the men’s inboxes would be markedly less full.

The above graph shows the results after the profiles had spent 168 hours online.

In summary, when it comes to receiving unsolicited messages based on gender and photos alone, women wipe the floor with men, and very attractive women sandblast the floor with the fellas. They kill. Their inboxes heave with hellos and how are yous.

To make sure it wasn’t just an American thing, I refuelled the Deception Airways jet and relocated all of the profiles to the United Kingdom for a much longer stay. 4 months in fact.

B y this point it was obvious that women on OKCupid, and probably all dating sites, get a lot of messages from men, and if a woman happens to be very pretty, she’s swamped with attention.

This is not breaking news, because most women who have tried online dating quickly discover what it’s like for females online. It’s the same as offline, except exaggerated. If they are hot, the girls can pick and choose which men they interact with. If the men are hot, they will get some unsolicited messages, but the attention they receive will be several orders of magnitude less than their female counterparts.

The worst looking men and women, unfortunately, are in a similar boat to each other—the ‘Not Much Attention’ boat, which is scheduled to arrive at Love Island, but no one can be sure of when.

I left the 10 profiles dotted around England for over 4 months while I spent time on other projects, like analyzing the last words of 478 death row prisoners, then I returned to the accounts to see what had happened in my absence.

As you can see, the results after 4 months echo those from a week into the experiment.

Apart from seeing the difference in message volume, this experiment also allowed me to see the content of messages received and sent by men and women. My impression, after reading several hundred in the women’s inboxes, is that most men compliment the attractive women a lot, they make reference to something in the woman’s profile (you would not believe how many times men mentioned the party tricks and ‘Arrow’ the cheetah from the generic profile I wrote), or they ask a general question about travel or something equally boring.

They are rarely, if ever, imaginative and I sympathise with any woman who has struggled to find any diamonds amongst the rough myriad of messages she is bombarded with each and every day. Then again, what can a man say that hasn’t been said before?

He has to make a good impression and show he’s attractive without coming off as a creep, without looking needy and without saying the same thing as every other chump.