New Dating Apps Kill Mixed-Attractiveness Relationships

Here is one more complaint about new dating apps. They kill the chance of mixed-attractiveness relationships. Think of the movie Roxanne with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. Hannah’s character, Roxanne, is a striking beauty whereas Charlie, played by Martin, has a huge nose which distorts his features. In the 1987 movie Roxanne comes to love intelligent, resourceful and poetic Charlie despite his unattractive looks when she gets to know him. That would never happen today if the two of them used dating apps! In fact, Priceonomics tells us that the focus on looks above all in dating apps leads to the death of mixed-attractiveness couples.

When was the last time you met a couple where one person was attractive and the other was not?

There’s no reason couples like that should stand out-except for the fact that they are so rare. Seeing it can set off an uncharitable search for an explanation. Is the plain one rich or funny? Is the attractive one boring or unintelligent?

While love-seeking singles speak of this dynamic through euphemisms like “she’s out of my league”, economists and psychologists have dismally documented it. 

People generally date and marry partners who are like them in terms of social class, educational background, race, personality, and, of course, attractiveness.
To use fratboy vernacular: 7s date other 7s, and a 3 has no chance with a 10.

And dating apps simply help speed up the selection process. The article notes tongue-in-cheek that if all of us were to meet on first dates only the mixed-attractiveness couple would go totally extinct. But, how else can you meet someone who is intelligent, resourceful and poetic if not via the online dating app route?

Acquaintances, Friends and then a Couple

If we all weren’t in such an all fired hurry for sex on the first date maybe we could find more friends, even the elusive and poetic Charlie from Roxanne. In this regard APS (Association for Psychological Science) writes that longer acquaintance levels the romantic playing field.

Partners who become romantically involved soon after meeting tend to be more similar in physical attractiveness than partners who get together after knowing each other for a while, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Our results indicate that perceptions of beauty in a romantic partner might change with time, as individuals get to know one another better before they start dating,” says lead researcher Lucy Hunt of the University of Texas at Austin. “Having more time to get acquainted may allow other factors, such as another person’s compatibility as a relationship partner, to make that person appealing in ways that outshine more easily observable characteristics such as physical attractiveness. Or perhaps another person might actually become more attractive in the eyes of the beholder by virtue of these other factors.”

It turns out that opinion about desirability changes with the length of acquaintance. Factors such as sense of humor and honesty come to light and overshadow physical attractiveness, especially if the physical attractiveness is not combined with other positive features.

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