I’m a big fan of conducting social experiments. Earlier in the summer I went to a local mall and walked into three “high end” stores wearing a pair of jeans, t-shirt, flip flops and carrying a knock off name brand bag. I was not offered any assistance despite picking up numerous items and being in each store for a full ten minutes each. A week later I went into the same stores again, this time wearing clothing with obvious designer labels showing. I was asked if I needed help within seconds of entering each store and was practically doted on the entire time. Interesting.
My next “experiment” was at a coffee shop near my school. The first time I walked in after a rough night with the girl, hair a mess, no makeup, rumpled clothes. I was treated rather rudely, no small talk, almost rushed out the door and my cappuccino was not terribly pretty. A week later I went in again this time with makeup on, hair done, wearing more business like attire. The same person helped me as before but this time I was chatted up and walked out with a cappuccino that was very pretty, complete with delicate leaves carved into the foam. Interesting.
Two weeks ago I decided to broaden my experiment and chose an online dating site to do so. The store clerks could have been having bad days and that would explain why I was treated badly but online there are more people viewing me and we all know people put on their best front when utilizing online dating sites. I took the pictures off the profile and made sure that my description, while honest, was very minimal. No responses for 14 days. Today I went back and put up an unflattering picture. In the five minutes since I have received four new messages and three chat requests. The content has not been changed. I have stated nothing about myself beyond basic physical characteristics and the main content is somewhat surly, bordering on rude with a bit of sarcasm. Interesting.
In a week I will put up more flattering photos. Anyone want to take a guess as to how many replies I get then? The next week I will take down all the photos and update the content to show who I really am and the week after that I will put the photos back on. I am very interested to see what kind of responses I get based on photos and content. I suspect that when the pictures are there I will get replies but without them I won’t. What this tells me is that my looks are more important to most people than what I have to say or who I really am. This makes me sad for humanity but I guess I already suspected that humanity was sad in general.