I just went through some of my old notes and came across one that I do not want to turn into a bigger article but share nonetheless. I wrote the following down in 2016 when reflecting on Tinder. I will add a few comments at the end.
Probably everybody who spent a lot of time in clubs and bars has a partly skewed view on the reality of the looks of men and women. The reason is simply that those are very selective environments. Broke guys don’t go out. Likewise, unattractive women rather stay in instead of competing for the attention of men with other women in a club. Thus, you only see, generally speaking, people who are more attractive than the average in a typical club or bar. Now you may think that whenever you go out, you see a lot of dogs. Well, maybe you should try having a look at Tinder. Frankly, I was shocked how unappealing the vast majority of women on there is. It was like being in a club that is overrun by 5s — until it hit me that what we refer to as a 7 is of course already a woman of well-above average looks, even though she is not outstanding in any way.
To be honest, I felt as if Tinder was playing a prank on me. The first few profiles you see were of rather good-looking women, and then the quality suddenly dropped dramatically and stayed there, with rare exceptions. Most likely Tinder is using an algorithm that gets you a few popular profiles at first, measured by likes, before exposing you to the bulk of their users.
It is indeed the case that we have a completely skewed view of reality because the people we closely interact with come from a somewhat similar background. If you are smart and good-looking, your friends probably are, too. If your salary is the statistical average, chances are that most of your friends make as similar amount. (There is b.s. advice floating around according to which you are the average of your five closest friends so you should simply make friends that make much more money than you, which confuses cause and consequence.)
I learned how different the lives of people can be partly only due to hooking up with random chicks. For context, I grew up in a rather sheltered environment and my friends back then were from similarly stable families. In my narrow view, everybody lived in a house, some in bigger ones, others in smaller ones, and nondescript apartment blocks only existed on TV. Some of the women I hooked up with seemed to have a hard time making ends meet while others had opulent lifestyles. Yet, this was nothing compared to the high roller party lifestyle of some of my former clients who summer in some of the most expensive places on earth.
If your social circle consisted only of rich guys, you would assume that everybody else is rich, too. Of course, you would be aware that your waiter probably does not drive a Ferrari, despite the fact that you see him getting lavish tips all evening. Similarly, if you only hang out in clubs that are full of hot, young women your perception of what a typical woman looks like can be quite skewed as well. Segregation is probably more good than bad overall, as people prefer to be among those who are similar to them. A consequence of this, though, is that your perception of reality may be completely off.