Donna Kim-Brand

Online Dating or What’s hair got to do with it?

Online dating is now the number one way most people look to ‘hook up’ or hunt for a relationship match. Dating sites use complex algorithms to both attract customers to their sites as well as potential partners to each other.

The conundrum with all dating is this: how much do we play up to social stereotypes of who or what is attractive, especially when those may conflict with what people claim they want, which is authenticity and feeling comfortable in their own skin. How much of a makeover is too much? And, goodness knows, what if we start going gray, with its associations of gloom and decrepitude…

As we age, most of us go gray naturally. But does revealing our gray detract from our appeal? And what about long gray hair on both men and women – does this peg them as aging hippies with a range of assumed values that go along with this view?

Some claim that “silver is the new blonde” while others decry the pressure from media and advertisers to keep buying in to the need to color one’s hair to look sexy or to not look like you’ve passed your sell-by date. Everyone has an opinion.

Here are a few dating site statistics, and note where the hair issue may fit in.

It’s not a big surprise when looking at the graphs of females and males at adult ages, what age they prefer their opposite partner to be. Females, until age 40,  prefer their men to be a similar age as they are. After 40 women prefer their men to be up to five years younger.  So guys – 40 is your tipping point unless you keep yourself fit, active and lovable. Males, from age 21 up past fifty, continue to prefer females age 20-24. Women, looks like guys prefer the young, unseasoned women – wonder what benefits that reaps them?

When it comes to specific mentions of hair on dating sites, it’s possible that ‘non-whites’ who tend to have dark hair don’t bother to mention hair color or hair. The ‘whites’ take the cake when mentioning hair color as an attribute. From 3.2 billion descriptive words in profiles, white males most mentioned: my blue eyes, blond hair, Ween (a progressive rock band), brown hair & hunting and fishing.

Women’s statistics reveal they mention most: my blue eyes, red hair, blonde hair, love to be outside.

Black men do mention dreds in their top five descriptors, while Latino men skip the hair and mention salsa merengue and merengue bachata dancing along with Cumbia music. Asian men go with ‘tall for an Asian’.

There are special dating sites for women with extreme short hair, but I’ve heard that longer hair is rated as more attractive for both males and females. Says who? Statistics. It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference and choice up front, and the nature of the relationship down the road.

Ultimately, I say do what works for you. In the long-term you can’t fool Mother Nature or a partner for too long. If you feel more attractive coloring, cutting or styling your hair a certain way, do it! Congruence between how you look and feel shines through your eyes in a photo and carries over to how you converse on the phone and how you carry yourself and walk in person. And other statistics show that self-confidence and inner peace are the sexiest and most attractive qualities around, whether you are arm in arm with a partner or standing on your own two feet.


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