Could it be that the age gap exists just because it’s default behavior — a standard that persists simply due to the fact that it hasn’t been adequately challenged?
Left Chart: This shows men’s reply rate (by percentage) when women message first.
The older men get, the younger the women they message (relative to their own age).
In college I studied Computer Science and forgot how to talk to women.
There just weren’t any of them, anywhere (or if there were, they were in hiding).
When women start conversations, they tend to message men closer to their own age.
By 55, they’ll send more than half their messages to men at least 4 years their junior.
As the only straight woman within reach, I soon became the de facto dating consultant for my male friends, despite my waning expertise.
They were even more eager to pick my brain on all things female when I started working as an engineer and data scientist at Ok Cupid, where I analyzed data from millions of daters to get a sense of the “correct” way to date for men, women, and everyone in between.
Not my ideal meet cute, but whatever — and it made me wonder: is the old norm of older man with younger woman out?
I decided to find out by pulling data on Ok Cupid messaging between straight daters from 2013 to today — so I looked at over 10 million “successful” conversations, defined as convos that included at least at four messages back and forth with contact exchange.
But what I soon realized was that sometimes the best way to date is to go off script.
So that’s what this column, Undressed, is about: gender, social norms, dating rules — and what happens when we break them.
It appears this age gap is largely driven by dudes.