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Selecting and Selected

My brief effort at internet dating ended in a whimper last month when my match.com promotional subscription ran out.  Perhaps it was my lack of desire to post 80 pictures of myself on the internet along with a 1,000 word description of each thing that I have ever done, or perhaps I am not that desireable after all.  For my official excuse, I think I’ll go with a scientific study that I read recently, which elaborates on the idea that people are bad at thinking about each other in abstractions.  What this means is that the shopping lists that people set out for a desireable mate having nothing to do with what people actually want in a desireable mate.  Women tend to include in their shopping lists the desire for earnings potential and status in a mate (men tend to write down the desire for a good-looking mate, no surprises there).  It turns out women actually just want good-looking mates.

I figured as much.  What was new to me was a nuance in how men and women select their mates.  In most settings, women are reported to be more selective than men.  A group of researchers found this to be true in the common speed-dating setting where men rotate and women stay seated in one place.  When the roles were reversed and the men stayed seated in one place – the men became more selective.  The implications in daily life are intense; I’ll test out a few and see if I learn anything new.

P.S.  The study is by Finkel and Eastwick – well worth the read.

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