In what is probably one of the most depressing surveys of late, Christian Rudder aka the co-founder of OKCupid found that men believe women ‘aren’t as hot’ after the age of 21. In a graph which is too gross to publish here, male ages were pitted against the ages of women they found most attractive and, lo and behold, it doesn’t deviate from 20-24 – EVEN AT THE AGE OF 50.
Alright here it is. You'd only bloody Google it anyway:
After staring at my screen while making a strangled sound, I decided to a) figure out how Rudder had reached this conclusion; b) ask some real men whether they agreed; and c) burn any copy of this survey that I happen to come into contact with until the day I die. Basically, a really measured response.
Turns out all the data was collected from OKCupid (that free dating site full of guys sending you pictures of their balls, unless it's changed radically from 2011 when I had a profile), and their rating system. He looked at how women rate men based on their age, and how men rated women, which is how the above graph was born. When I posted this survey on my Facebook profile, it got an instant and pretty vehement response from both men and women. But mostly men.
‘Was the survey taken at the BBC in the ’80s?’ said one guy in his thirties. ‘Women under 21, at least from my ivory tower of old age, are quite often indistinguishable from children,’ agreed another (FYI his ‘ivory tower of old age’ is 25). Someone else weighed in with the equally salient point, ‘All 21-year-olds – male or female – are morons.’
Fairly negative feedback here, but don’t worry under 21-ers, the viciousness isn’t actually directed at you, it’s in defence of you in two years time and upwards when you’ll have blossomed into a lovely flower of a woman that men won’t shun purely because you’re not just out of your teens.
Which is whole point. Yeah, you’re probably quite hot when you’re 21, but you don’t automatically stop getting hotter with every year that passes. Like the sun. No seriously, the sun is currently undergoing a ‘Solar Lull’ which could see us being thrown into a 17th century-esque cold period of... see there’s so much more interesting stuff to focus on than whether or not I’m sexier now than I was at 21. And the answer is no, I’ve gained 2st and had adult acne, but that’s irrelevant here.
Looking past the headlines, though, it seems this is just a survey of what men fantasise about, rather than actually acting upon.
‘This is just measuring people’s opinions, not what they actually go out and do,’ Rudder said in an interview. ‘What you see when you actually look at what people do, you see the realism set in. So these 40-year-old guys… the people they actually have the courage to actually go out and message are a lot older: it’s 30, 35-year-old women.’
‘For starters, let’s leave aside the painfully obvious fact that there are clearly hundreds of millions of women aged over 21 who are incredibly beautiful and physically attractive (like my GF, and the likes of Scarlett Johansen, Milla Jovovich, Heidi Klum, Kate Winslett, etc, etc, etc),’ says Jack, 27. ‘There is so much more to attractiveness or hotness than whether someone is physically appealing. Things like humour, general being-a-good-person-ness, the ability to hold an interesting conversation about interesting things, passion for interesting things, personal experiences, etc. It’s trite but it’s true.’
When you’re 21, how much in common are you going to have with a 50 year-old? It’s pretty clear that while older men might lust after 20 year olds, the fact that they’re more likely to contact women closer to their own age demonstrates an awareness of this.
And, as my mate Roddy pointed out, the average age in ‘*FHM’*s 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2014’ is 28. Oh, and thanks to Nigella, 88% of the 100 are aged 22-54. So put down the anti-ageing serum, and don’t delete your DOBs off your Tinder profiles just yet. Sexiness can’t be quantified by one dating site, especially not, to reiterate a previous point, a dating site predominantly featuring men who send you photos of their balls.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.