Wednesday, November 14, 2012

OK Cupid hoax reminds us how stupid sex makes us

I wrote recently about research that demonstrated exactly how sexual arousal impairs male judgement. But the experiment recently conducted by Mandatory's Rob Fee on the same topic is far more entertaining.

Here's his explanation:
A friend of mine recently signed up for OKCupid (for those who might be unaware: an online dating site) and was constantly telling me about all the bizarre and pathetic lines guys try to use on her via instant message. She would very blatantly shoot them down and yet they would continue to message her. Obviously, for most women this doesn't come as a surprise whatsoever. I started thinking about it and had a thought: I wonder how far guys would go to get a date or a hook-up. And so, my OKCupid adventure began...
Rob set up a fake profile for a 23-year-old SWF in Beverly hills, using a photo donated by a "cute" friend, and gave her a bio full of alarm bells:

She comes off a dumb, superficial, self-obsessed, racist and weird. Plus, there's the last comment to scare off the commitment-phobic.

Here's the initial result:
Within 6 hours, my profile had been viewed over 400 times and 39 guys had messaged me. 
Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't really read the bio. They just saw a cute girl and went for it. I'm not saying that's smart but I'm just hoping for their sake they didn't read that trainwreck of a description and think "OK yeah! This is what I've been searching for!"

But Rob went further. He started interacting with these guys, constantly amping the weirdness and distasteful details:

His conclusion?
Now, of course, I'm not saying that every guy on the Internet is desperate and creepy, but ... fellas, browse through that profile a little and make sure you aren't getting ready to message an illiterate part-time prostitute with a rubber arm and a history of vehicular crimes. Have fun out there!
I thought his inclusion of an artificial limb was a little low (the blog's other posts seem to be mostly about naked women) but the social experiment was interesting. Even if the findings fit into what everyone assumes.

Is every other male instinct (self-preservation included) completely pushed aside by the instinct for sex? Advertisers sure think so. That's why they use sexualized women to cloud our judgement so we'll buy more burgers, cars and other shit.

The more I think about this effect, the more I'm starting to wonder if we should be trusted with anything when we're impaired by arousal. Including operating heavy machinery:
A study of 2,142 drivers found 60 per cent of men admitted being distracted by attractive women while 12 per cent of female drivers said they took their eyes off the road to leer at handsome men. 
And 21 per cent of drivers also admitted that they couldn't tear their eyes away from advertising billboards featuring pictures of picture perfect models were also a major distraction on the road. 
Insurance company Direct Line discovered 17 per cent of male drivers admitted knowing their actions were dangerous but said they 'could not help but look'.
Wow. Talk about using the wrong head.

Be careful out there.

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