The Darwin Revelation: Dating and Mating
When Charles Darwin published Origin of the Species in 1859 and introduced his idea of natural selection and sexual selection in which only the strongest, brightest, and most adaptive of a species will live to procreate, I think the last thing that Darwin thought his theory would lead to was an online dating website. But, DarwinDating.com exists today, holding Darwin as the founder behind their idea of creating a dating website for “beautiful people who possess the qualities of effective natural selection”. I laughed at first when I saw this, but they do have a point: humans are much more willing to not only date, but mate with people that they consider to be of their same level of attractiveness or better.
We choose our mates based on attractiveness, health, virility, age, and lastly, personality. It’s easy to tell by sight if you’re attracted to someone—that’s why first impressions are so important. You see someone first, and you speak to them to judge character next. Have you ever wondered why when asked what the person you’re dating is like, you begin with a physical description that highlights all the aspects of that person that you find attractive, important, or promising? (An example of this would be, “Well, he’s tall, muscular, has dark hair, is two years older than I am…” etc.) Subconsciously, you’re going through the details of a significant other that make you believe that makes them an ideal candidate to showcase the production of natural selection.
Taken from an excerpt of the Origin of the Species in our Darwin reader (which you can find here: ) in which he explains his thinking on the topic of natural selection, Darwin states: “…Can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind?” (Appleman 111-112) For humans, intelligence, strength, and beauty seem to be the standards that we unknowingly breed for in natural selection. Some people argue that money is another thing that helps people become more successful and desirable, but wealth is material, and thus must be gained. Also, having money doesn’t guarantee you a genetic jackpot. Look at Donald Trump. (But then again, he is married to a model and fathered a child at the age of sixty. Natural selection for a better next generation?)
In a further except in the same reading, Darwin goes on to say, “As man can produce and certainly has produced a great result by his methodical and unconscious means of selection…Man can only act on external and visible characters…Man selects only for his own good…” (Appleman 113). On DarwinDating.com, they provide a (seemingly) tongue-in-cheek explanation of what are not attractive characteristics that people applying to the site are not allowed to have, including “no visible skin between the eyebrows” and “no proportionally large ears”. We are, admittedly, a very sight-biased species, but in the world of dating and mating, we would rather die than admit to trying to procreate with someone “ugly” or “beneath us”. Maybe this fascination with aesthetic beauty is Nature’s way of further evolving the human species.
Some people have certain “types” that they find themselves attracted to. Some people can’t tell you why they’re with their partner based on looks, but they certainly can tell you what they find attractive in a member of the opposite sex, and chances are, some or most of those traits will be exhibited in the person they are with. DarwinDating.com has exploited this tendency in people to find new partners based on looks, and everything that goes with it in our society today, which includes a certain physique. You can’t blame them, really—everyone dates according to the process of natural selection: that’s why the human race is still around today and flourishing. Most of us just don’t publicly subscribe to the notion like they do.
1.) Appleman, Philip, ed. Darwin. 3rd ed. New York: W.W.Norton, 2001.