Remember how your mother always told you that someone will love you just the way you are? Well, the data analyzers over at OK Cupid recently arrived at this very same conclusion, but in a much more roundabout way:

They found that hetero women on their site were much more likely to get messages them if other men considered them ugly.

I’ll admit that when I first read the premise, my feathers were ruffled. Thinking about women in terms of rating their attractiveness is not something I’m particularly comfortable doing. But at the end of the day, that’s pretty much what first impressions — like online profile pictures — are all about, for both genders. A fact that we might not like, but a true one nonetheless.

At any rate, the analysts discovered that the more apparent a woman’s polarizing characteristics are in her picture — tattoos, a big nose, wild and curly hair — the more likely men are to message her.  They theorized that it had something to do with the biology of competition: if a man thinks that other men are less likely to pursue a particular woman, he figures he’ll have a better shot, so he tries.

But then, they took it a step further. They concluded that a winning online dating strategy was to encourage diversity of opinion in other users — in other words, accentuate your unique characteristics:

…it’s hard to change your overall attractiveness (the big single number we were talking about at the beginning). However, the variance you create is under your control, and it’s simple to maximize:

Take whatever you think some guys don’t like—and play it up.
And so we arrive at our point, which is valid for all people, members of the online dating pool or otherwise. Be yourself, and people you want to be around will follow.