The Atlantic

Dude, She’s (Exactly 25 Percent) Out of Your League

A massive new study of online dating finds that everyone dates aspirationally—and that a woman’s desirability peaks 32 years before a man’s does.
Source: Lee Celano / Reuters

You’re at a party and you see someone cute across the room. They glance at you, maybe even smile for a second, then carry on with their conversation. You feel the room shrink, your heart rate quicken, your face go red: You’re crushing on this stranger, hard. But then the sensible part of your brain tells you to forget it: That person’s way, way out of your league.

Wait a second, you counter: Do dating “leagues” even exist?

At this point, , a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, crashes in to your thought process (and this news article). Yep, she says. Leagues do seem to exist. But you’re not alone in trying to escape yours: “Three-quarters, or more, of people are dating aspirationally,” she says. And according to a , users of online-dating sites spend most of their

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