Apparently, the cougar phenomenon is just a blip. Because according to Facebook, when it comes to coupling up, men average about two years older than their female partners internationally.
In their latest post on love and relationships -- part of their week-long Valentine’s Day series -- analysts at Facebook Data
Science combed through our profiles to extract data on age differences among Facebook couples.
And despite the cougar phenomenon and MILFs who give motherhood a good name, it seems the longstanding tradition of older man and younger woman remains the most common pairing.
Among Facebook couples around the world, men averaged 2.4 years older than their female partners, while the majority (67 per cent) of relationships involve an older man and young female.
About 20 per cent of Facebook couples involve an older woman and younger man, while 13 per cent of partners are the same age.
The report also revealed interesting timelines and geographical patterns when it comes to love and age.
The age gap tends to grow larger among older couples, for example, while younger couples tend to be closer in age.
That’s understandable given the “school effect,” analysts say, as younger couples are more likely to meet at school.
This holds most true for Australia, where age was the closest between men and women with an average age gap of 1.82 years.
The report also draws comparisons with the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, which measures gender gaps
on economic, political, education and health-based critera. The lower the ranking, the larger the gender inequality.
And after a side by side analysis, researchers found that lower GGG rankings correlated with higher age gaps in couples.
In the Facebook report, Arab countries posted the highest age gaps. Men in Egypt, for instance, averaged five years older than women, and 85 per cent of relationships involve an older man and younger woman.
Couples in Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland, which rank highest on the gender gap report, post similar ages.
Where this trend diverges, however, is East Asia, where the gender gap is high but age difference relatively lower.
Facebook analysts also hypothesize that age differences are lower in affluent countries with higher education, where couples are more likely to have met in school.
Also on HuffPost:
DO: Make It A Landscape Shot
Landscape pictures, according to eHarmony's blog, are <a href="http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/the-most-popular-online-dating-profile-photos-revealed/#.UsxLedJDvAk" target="_blank">more likely to be clicked on than up-and-down or extremely close shots</a>, likely because it gives people a better sense of the person's body, as well as their face.
DON'T: Crop Someone Out
Along with falling into that narrow "up and down" no-no, cropping someone out results in less communication, according to eHarmony. And besides, you really should have at least one good picture of you on your own somewhere.
DO: Upload A Bunch Of Pictures
Give the people what they want! And in this context, that means a variety of pictures, so that prospects can get a good sense of what you look like, what you're into and so on.
DON'T: Snap From Afar
Though you don't want to get too close, you also don't want your picture to be taken from far away — that can seem as though you're hiding something about your appearance.
DO: Show Your Left Side
Real scientific research has gone into this one, so why not trust it? Apparently <a href="http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/04/23/left-side-of-face-more-emotional-aesthetically-pleasing/37698.html" target="_blank">showing the left side of your face in pictures</a> is more aesthetically pleasing, according to PsychCentral, and has the added bonus of showing more emotion.
DON'T: Feature Shots Of Your Buddy
Even if it's the most platonic of friendships, don't include a picture of yourself with a member of the opposite sex if you're looking for a heterosexual relationship. In general, keep pictures confined to shots of yourself.
DO: Show Pride (If You're A Guy)
According to eHarmony, some studies have shown that <a href="http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/the-most-popular-online-dating-profile-photos-revealed/#.UsxLedJDvAk" target="_blank">women prefer pictures of men who demonstrate pride</a> — whereas the opposite is true for men when it comes to women.
DO: Show Happiness (If You're A Gal)
That same study showed that men prefer women who demonstrate happiness in their profile pictures, assumedly because it's associated with femininity and nurturing, and are least attracted to women showing pride.
DO: Get Outdoors
Taking a picture outside allows for the flattering effect of natural sunlight on skin, notes eHarmony. Just be careful to avoid squinting into the sun, and opt for a sideways glance instead.
DON'T: Be In A Costume
As one eHarmony blogger pleads, <a href="http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2013/03/26/are-your-online-dating-profile-photos-hurting-your-chances/#.UsxaNNJDvAk" target="_blank">even if you think it's a hilarious picture</a>, don't put up a shot of your Halloween costume. Sure, you want someone who shares your sense of humour, but let them see what you look like first.
DO: Get Flirtatious With The Camera
OkCupid found that, to their surprise, when women made a "flirty face" without smiling at the camera, it <a href="http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/" target="_blank">generated more new contacts in a month</a> than any other expression. Flirting away from the camera, however, was the least favoured expression.
DO: Get Serious Away From The Camera
For men on OkCupid, the most favoured expression was an <a href="http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/" target="_blank">unsmiling face that looked away from the camera</a> — possibly, they theorized, because it gave an air of mystery. Flirting away from the camera, however, was also still a big no-no.
DO: Take A Selfie (If You're A Gal)
The researchers seemed as surprised by this as us, but apparently, the selfie, duck face or MySpace photo was <a href="http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/" target="_blank">the biggest hit by OkCupid users in terms of context</a>. Is it possible it <i>is</i> the most flattering angle?
DO: Grab An Animal (If You're A Guy)
As for men, the favoured context for a headshot was one featuring a guy with an animal, whether a pet or even one at the zoo. Though this may not apply to everyone, as it was followed closely by ...
DO: Show Off Those Abs
The second most popular context for men on OkCupid was showing off muscles — though the researchers are quick to point out that (a) obviously it's only guys who have them who would show them off, and (b) this becomes less attractive to women the older the guys are.
DO: Show Cleavage
This isn't necessarily a surprising finding, but men really do prefer profiles of women who show cleavage. The interesting point? Unlike the muscle men, as women get older, if they show cleavage, they're more likely to be messaged.
DO: Show Some Interests
OkCupid found that <a href="http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/" target="_blank">as far as a picture leading to a conversation goes</a>, the most likely ones start with a shot of someone doing something interesting. And it's not hard to figure out why — it gives the messager an easy opening.
DON'T: Drink In Your Picture
Is it because you seem young when you feature booze in your profile picture or that you don't have any other interests? The research didn't specify, but drinking in your shot was the least likely picture to generate an actual conversation.