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.
At first blush, things didn’t look so hot: 61% of conversations take place between an older man and a younger woman, and in almost half of them, the age gap is at least five years older.
So that’s what this column, Undressed, is about: gender, social norms, dating rules — and what happens when we break them.
When I was a junior in college, a woman called “The Princeton Mom” wrote into our school newspaper telling undergraduate women to “Find a husband on campus before you graduate.”“Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out,” she said.
The older-woman-younger-man combo is significantly more rare (appearing in less than one-third of all conversations), and in only 12% of these is the woman at least five years older.
Men tend to message women significantly younger than they are.
By the time they’re 55, men send more than half their messages to women at least 8 years their junior.