It appears this age gap is largely driven by dudes.Men start 80% of conversations on Ok Cupid, and they tend to message younger women.
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And a 30-year-old man is more likely to respond to a message from a 50-year-old woman than a message from any other age group.
When women make the first move, the age gap dating norm is reversed.
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.
Could it be that the age gap exists just because it’s default behavior — a standard that persists simply due to the fact that it hasn’t been adequately challenged?
Left Chart: This shows men’s reply rate (by percentage) when women message first.
I asked my friend Trevor, a 28-year-old mathematician, what he made of it.
“Well to be honest,” said Trevor, “I usually go for older women.
Not my ideal meet cute, but whatever — and it made me wonder: is the old norm of older man with younger woman out?
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.
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.