Finally, the economist Justin Wolfers points out one of the most revolutionary benefits of online dating — finding matches in traditionally “thin” markets: WOLFERS: So I do think it’s a really big deal for young gay and lesbian men and women in otherwise homophobic areas. And I imagine this is true in other ethnic communities. REED: Well, one thing I wanted to make clear is that she’s not just a bad person, she wants to ruin your life. Money, my car, my phone, keeping America American, my family, and my friends, and Aaron Carter. So my goal at that point became to convince them that she is just awful. If they asked what I was doing I said I was pretending to be a 14 year old on Facebook so I could bully my sister’s friends. With a lot of guys I could just, I wrote gibberish, just pounded on keyboard for a minute and sent it and the vast majority of them responded with that sounds great, what are you doing on Friday? REED: Actually, I found that a deal breaker for me was messaging Aaron Carter Fan.And certainly there are, it’s enormously easy to match on very, very specific sexual preferences. So under the section “what I am really good at” the only thing she lists is “convincing people I’m pregnant.” DUBNER: LOL at the end of it. DUBNER: And how many dates did you have then out of Aaron Carter Fan fishing? [THEME] ANNOUNCER: From WNYC: This is FREAKONOMICS RADIO, the podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. [MUSIC: The Diplomats of Solid Sound, “The Cuber Bake” (from Let’s Cool One)] DUBNER: We’re talking today about online dating.Women who make more don’t get a lot of extra attention.And by the way, there’s a very interesting recent study by two University of Chicago economists and another economist from another school, and they find that once you get out of this world into real relationships, relationships tend to be less stable and happy if the woman makes more money than the man.
Also, you’ll learn just how awful a person can be and, if you’re attractive enough, still reel in the dates. [MUSIC: The Mackrosoft, “The Game In F# Minor” (from Antonio’s Giraffe)] DUBNER: So you set up a profile, and your name is what? [AARON CARTER MUSIC] REED: And there is just no substance there in his music at all. [MUSIC: Seks Bomba, “It Takes Two to Tango” (from Somewhere In This Town)] DUBNER: So you created a profile for a girl named Aaron Carter’s Fan who likes to party and knock over homeless people, or at least their cups, and she’s a racist, gold digging, fake pregnant-getting, 25 year old girl, white girl. I asked my friend Rae Johnston, who is an Australian-based model and actress, if I could raid her Facebook photos and she very kindly said yes.
So here’s the question: does all of Oyer’s knowledge translate into actual wisdom? DUBNER: Vogt and Oyer sat down with Suzie Lechtenberg, a producer on our show. [MUSIC: Christopher Norman, “Word of Prey” (from EP3)] DUBNER: Now, as Paul Oyer sees it, the most important first step in online dating is to know exactly what you’re trying to get out of it. OYER: Okay, so as I look at what you’ve got here, well, before we even look at it we have to stop and think about the first thing an economist is going to do is think about supply and demand. tend to swing much more towards more available women.
In other words – is he any good at giving actual online dating advice? Suzie LECHTENBERG: PJ, do you feel like you want to read a few of the –… so we’re looking at my OKCupid profile, which I don’t know why this is as embarrassing as it is…but it’s got a few picture of me, which I’ve tried to make, like, pictures that are flattering, but not like too flattering. VOGT: Okay, so like it says the six things I could never do without. LECHTENBERG: And what do you spend a lot of your time thinking about? It’s Barthes Simpson, but it’s Barthes spelled like Roland Barthes, like the theorist. LECHTENBERG: So spell it, spell the whole name out for us. OYER: As an economist I can’t help but think we have to start with your objective function. So I don’t know if you realize this, but you’re in a great position. We have an oversupply of men relative to women, at least compared to other cities. So you’re in a good position from a competitive point of view.
So an overweight person who is otherwise medium attractive will do almost as well as a medium attractive person who is not overweight. And what about men’s preferences versus women’s preferences?
OYER: Men, on the other hand, care a lot less about income.