Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Love By The Numbers...Red Hair Most in Demand in Austin, Texas...

Portly Popular in Portland, Skinny Tops in San Diego, PhD's Get Nod in San Francisco, Red Hair in demand in Austin...

By Andrea Orr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Are you chubby and looking for love?

A good destination might be Portland, Oregon, where, more than any other place in the United States, men and women state a preference for going out with someone who carries "a few extra pounds."

Miami and San Diego, on the other hand, might best be avoided. People in those cities have an unusually strong preference for the svelte.

That, at least, is according to recent data from the online dating site Match.com (http:// match.com), which can use its data base of 12 million members to come up with all sorts of random trivia on singles in different parts of the country.

It is a curious by-product of a hugely popular global dating service where members can check boxes on everything from desired height and body type, to hair color, eye color, thoughts on alcohol, drugs, astrology, religion, education and tattoos.

As millions more sign up for online dating services, some of the biggest providers are able to crunch some pretty specific data on regional preferences.

Men and women with red hair, for instance, are most in demand in Austin, Texas and least in demand in Miami, according to the Match.com data.

Men in Denver prefer women with long hair. Men in Miami and Houston are most turned off by long hair. As for women's thoughts on men with long hair, it is considered hot in Denver, not in Chicago.

San Francisco, meanwhile, has the curious distinction of being the scholarly city. When asked what level of education they considered suitable in a mate, more men and women in San Francisco than in any other city, said they were seeking a PhD.

Doctorate degrees, by the way, are least in demand in Portland, Oregon, and Detroit.

And if guys who are a little on the short side feel they are being short-changed, they might want to consider relocating to Texas, where women have responded in disproportionate numbers that they are willing to date men 5-feet-6-inches or shorter.

"When we look at our member base, we can tell you what divorced women in Chicago who have children living at home think about men with long hair who don't drink," said Match.com spokeswoman Trish McDermott.

"We can break down any of the information we have on the site and get really interesting insight on what it means to be single in different parts of the country."

She admitted that much of the data was nothing more than curious factoids but said some of it was serving to break longstanding myths about what men and women considered their ideal mate.

Knocking down that longstanding saying that gentlemen prefer blondes, for example, Match.com surveys have consistently shown that gentlemen actually prefer women with light brown hair. Blond hair and dark brown hair tie dead even for second place.

Perhaps more interesting, when asked about large age gaps between partners, Match.com found more men who said they were willing to date a woman 15 years older than women who were willing to go that much younger.

"Women may be underestimating their opportunity," said McDermott, who conceded there was also another possibility that women who responded to its surveys were simply being more realistic than men.

She also offered that men who were regular social drinkers were shunned most often by women in Detroit. Women who drink regularly may be out of luck in Miami. Divorced men and women have some of the best chances of getting a date -- at least an online date -- in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

And for what it is worth, the composite of the ideal woman, is a flirtatious, thrill-seeker with an average build, long, light brown hair and a college degree, who doesn't smoke, does drink socially and enjoys public displays of affection.

Women seem to want pretty much the same: a bold, assertive flirtatious non-smoking social drinker who has dark brown hair, an average body and a college degree -- who likes to dance.

(Andrea Orr is the author of the Reuters/Prentice Hall book "Meeting, Mating and Cheating: Sex, Love and the New World of Online Dating)

  • Read Story
  • Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home