Tuesday, January 13, 2015

That Book/Cover Thing

I am not happy about the current age of shidduch-photo requesting. I stopped fighting it, however, from sheer exhaustion, but I believed that it reflects the negative shallowness that seems to have crept over frum dating life. 
But an article about Tinder ("Tinder Taps an Age-Old Truth" by Nick Bilton), the photo-based dating app, reports that the data doesn't necessarily reflect pairings based on skin-depth alone.
“Research shows when people are evaluating photos of others, they are trying to access compatibility on not just a physical level, but a social level,” said Jessica Carbino, Tinder’s in-house dating and relationship expert. “They are trying to understand, ‘Do I have things in common with this person?’ ”
. . . She discovered that Tinder users decoded an array of subtle and not-so-subtle traits before deciding which way to swipe. For example, the style of clothing, the pucker of the lips and even the posture, Ms. Carbino said, tell us a lot about their social circle, if they like to party and their level of confidence.
Tinder also conducted studies to try to glean more insight into users’ behaviors. In one survey, women were asked to swipe through a series of photos of handsome male models. In almost every instance, the women swiped to the left, dismissing the men with chiseled faces. When asked why, the women said that the men looked too full of themselves or unkind. “Men with softer jaw lines indicate that they have more compassion,” Ms. Carbino said.
Some frum male profiles actually possess photos; for those that don't, there is sometimes an online presence that can be scrutinized. Much can be gleaned by a picture. 
“There is this idea that attraction stems from a very superficial outlook on people, which is false,” Mr. Rad said. “Everyone is able to pick up thousands of signals in these photos. A photo of a guy at a bar with friends around him sends a very different message than a photo of a guy with a dog on the beach.”
As a female, I sometimes wonder if single guys realize that their photos are being squinted at by eligible women; they don't seem to have tried that hard, or are they perhaps intentionally defiant, daring the world to hold their over-casual, shlumpy demeanor against them?
Then the über-dude, all peace signs and flipped-up collars.  
One very telling move: Cropping off the top of their head, removing any sign of a yarmulka. Interesting.

Back to the data: The fairest aren't pursued the most.
Earlier this year Paul W. Eastwick, an assistant professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, and Lucy L. Hunt, a graduate student, published a paper noting that a person’s unique looks are what is most important when trying to find a mate.
“There isn’t a consensus about who is attractive and who isn’t,” Mr. Eastwick said in an interview. “Someone that you think is especially attractive might not be to me. That’s true with photos, too.” Tinder’s data team echoed this, noting that there isn’t a cliquey, high school mentality on the site, where one group of users gets the share of “like” swipes.
I'm still not ecstatic about the prevalence of shidduch photos, but then again, I've never used them to gauge sculptured noses, but to take in the type of image he wants to present. It is quite informative. 

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