Are Women as Creepy as Men When Trawling for Dates on OkCupid?

Nov 11, 2014 at 3:58 PM ET

A couple of months ago, Randy Olsen, a PhD candidate in Michigan State University’s computer science program, posed the question: Do men on OkCupid follow the Standard Creepiness Rule? For those of you who aren’t aware, the rule is based on the principle that you shouldn’t date anyone younger than half your age plus seven years, lest you be considered creepy.

Using search preferences on OkCupid as a guide (based on data found in OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder’s new book, Dataclysm), Olsen found that men tend to inhabit the younger half of the “zone of non-creepiness” and crossed the line into official creep around their mid- to late 30s. (For context, this means that men around 35 were looking to date women below the age of 25.)

In the spirit of gender equity, Olsen has now turned his gaze to women to see if they, too, fall foul of this rule. His illustrated findings show a difference: Women tend to stick strictly within the Standard Creepiness Rule. And if they do deviate, it’s in the opposite direction to men.

“There are a few spots in their teens and low 20s where women actually seek older men than the Standard Creepiness Rule says they should, but that trend quickly ends by the time they’re 21,” Olsen writes.

So there you have it: Men are officially creepier than women when it comes to trawling for dates online. Well, at least on OkCupid. CougarLife may tell a different story.