The Future (and Past) of Online Dating

the-future-and-past-of-online-dating

I worked in customer care at JDate in 2002.

I created e-Cyrano online dating profile writing in 2003.

I published my first book, “I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating” in 2004.

I created my Finding the One Online program in 2008 and launched it the week I got married.

Which is to say that I’ve been at this online dating thing for a long time. I know its strengths. I know its weaknesses. I know how you can get the most out of online dating as much as pretty much anyone on the planet. Which is why I find the future of online dating to be somewhat sobering. Enter this interesting article in Digital Trends.

Anyone still on the fence because it’s embarrassing/boring to meet online is missing the big picture.

“Vox recently analyzed data from 35 years’ worth of wedding announcements in The New York Times, and found that “online” now ranks as the third most common way people meet — second only to “school” and “mutual friend.” In the older-than-40 age range, it creeps into the second spot. Even more remarkable than the speed with which such services became mainstream is our willingness to fess up: Maybe it wasn’t so much a meet cute as it was a photo swipe while sitting on the john. And you know what? Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that.”

I agree. Doesn’t matter where you start. Only matters where you finish. Anyone still on the fence because it’s embarrassing/boring to meet online is missing the big picture.

You can find love online. Millions have. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fundamental flaws with the process.

In a 2003 article highlighting the beginnings of a perception change regarding those who found love online, The New York Times noted “even those who embrace online dating acknowledge a major flaw: the frequent disconnect between who people say they are online and what they are really like. In one recent example, the Army said it was investigating accusations that a colonel, who is already married, duped dozens of women on tallpersonals.com into believing that he would be marrying them.”

I was quoted in that article – my first press ever. I had no idea at the time that I’d be talking about the same stuff fourteen years later. Nor did I know what the evolution of smartphones and GPS technology would have in store for my beloved online dating:

“Tinder was genius in terms of reaching college students…Instead of sitting down and creating a profile, it makes it feel like a game. College students are comfortable whipping out their iPhone when waiting in line.” The gamification Lewis refers to is what Tinder users commonly refer to as “the swipe”: a simple yes or no decision that asks users to accept or reject a potential mate with a right or left swoosh of the finger. The feature, introduced to the app by Badeen, serves to both simplify and speed up the process, while essentially transforming the traditionally rigid world of online dating into a mobile game.”

You can find love online. Millions have. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fundamental flaws with the process.

I’ve written about this extensively, so I won’t beat the dead horse until it’s deader. I just think it’s pretty obvious that what you gain in speed, you sacrifice in quality of interaction.

“Designers of dating apps recognized that they had a problem with women getting harassed and overwhelmed by aggressive messages that they had no interest in,” says Klinenberg. “So there’s a growing number of sites to help women initiate or OK the communication chain….Lewis adds that the creep problem may never go away entirely, as eliminating it might ultimately be bad for a company’s bottom line. “If you talk to any straight woman who has used online dating, they hate it because they’re just inundated by creepy guys,” Lewis said.”

Yeah. I did a TEDx talk about this very thing. Make sure you read the comments  if you want to hear how poorly it goes over when you tell people to write better profiles, better emails and slow down a beat. Some people just have to learn the hard way.

Ultimately, like any tool, online dating works better for some than for others. Some people are “demographically undesirable,” to be sure. But when you consider that all of the online marriages are not strictly between tall rich white men and twentysomething supermodels, I think we can agree that there are many more people benefitting from learning how to navigate this space.

What are your thoughts about online dating? What has (or has not) worked well for you?

Your thoughts below are appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Stacy

    Evan, you should create a dating website. I would be curious to see how you would put it together and what your idea of what an effective one would be/look like from your pov.

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thought about it but since technology and project management are my weaknesses (and the field is expensive/competitive) it’s not the best investment of time. I do still hope to partner with a dating site and revolutionize the way they treat/teach their customers to succeed online.

      1. 1.1.1
        bellamytree

        Ooh – I like the idea of you partnering with a dating website, Evan. If you do, any chance it could be one with international reach – match, eH ? – so we all all get the benefit of your input ? 🙂 Or at least in the UK!

  2. 2
    Stacy2

    The “problem” with OLD is sort of obvious, right? There’s not enough “tall rich white men” to go around 🙂 Kidding. Sort of.

    1. 2.1
      mgm531

      No, the “problem” with OLD is that at the end of the day, it’s still a numbers game that men have to play to “win”.  It doesn’t matter how clever, witty, creative or interesting a man’s profile is or how creative they make their emails it still comes down to volume.  Sure, taking the time to improve your profile and taking the time to craft a better first email will improve the odds of sucess for men on OLD, but not by much.  This is especially true if the material men have to work with is lacking (I cannot tell you how many women’s profiles I’ve seen that have just a bare bones generic mish-mash of cliched sentences — if they have anything at all).

      I can use myself as an example.  I’m on two different OLD services and between the two I sent out roughly 150 emails to women which resulted in about 10 responses that ultimately resulted in just two dates.  Neither of the dates were spectacular.  They were pleasant enough, but just not the right fit on both sides.  And before you counter with the ‘but…” these were women that were in my appropriate age range and were aproximately the same attraction range as I am.

      So let’s do some math on this.  10 responses from about 150 emails is about a 6% response rate.  Kind of discouraging, but if it look at from a date to response ratio it’s even worse at just over 1% date(s) sucess for 150 emails sent.  The conclusion is obvious.  And that is the same issues with OLD that have always been present are still there.  Which has resulted in the same conclusions and thus the same results:  It’s still a numbers game for men, it matters little what is done or said as it results in same results and therefore it doesn’t really pay to tray and make a lot of effort because it makes little difference.

      1. 2.1.1
        Stacy2

        When i was OLD-ing, i can not tell you how many emails i received from men completely out of my league. Can’t really fault a guy for trying/reaching, but i think better targeting (and a more honest assessment of what constitutes your league) would greatly improve your chances. In fact, men i was really interested in were so few and far between that i responded to 100% of their emails. Good luck out there. Also, I’d pay attention to how recently the person has been active. Anything less than 24 hours is likely a phantom/dormant profile.

        1. mgm531

          @ Stacy2 — Oh, okay, I guess it’s me then.  I guess my poor response rate is due to the my shooting out of my ‘league’ and I should do a more ‘honest assesment’ of what my league is.  Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it’s the women I’m sending emails to should do an ‘honest assesment’ of what THEIR league is?  I mean you said it yourself that the men that you were interested were ‘few and far between’.  If there as so many men, as you say, that are sending messages to you that you feel that are ‘out of your league’ then shouldn’t be sending a clear message to you as well?  A message that maybe you are in fact in their league, but you just don’t want to admit to the truth of it.

        2. Stacy2

          Mgm531:

          To answer your last question no, not really. Why would I date anybody but the absolutely most desirable men I can get? You are failing to understand female perspective on dating. Women don’t go for the quantity they go for the quality.

        3. Shaukat

          When i was OLD-ing, i can not tell you how many emails i received from men completely out of my league.

          Pretty sure you meant to say below your league.

          In any case, is that because they actually could hold down a job and didn’t throw water in your face while you were sleeping;)?

        4. mgm531

          @Stacy2 — “You are failing to understand the female perspective on dating”

          Not true at all.  I understand the female perspective on dating very well.  Indeed, with the thousands upon thousands of articles, diatribes and rants available online about the subject, how can I not?

          You know what I don’t see much of?  Understanding the male perspective of dating and how difficult it is to date as a male, especially with OLD.  Further every time a man brings up the point that it’s no bed of roses for us for OLD (or for dating in general) more often not we get gas lighted or told that we are shooting out our league or some other such nonesnese.

          We are advised to make our online dating profiles more interesting and to send better first emails or to post better pictures in our profiles.  Then, we are told, things will change and  the heavans will open up and women will magically start responding more.  Except, most of the time, things don’t change and the results are more or less the same, regardless of how good a man’s profile is and how good an email message they send.

          Then we are told that it must be OUR fault that we don’t get many responses.  It must be because we are not handsome enough, tall enough or interesting enough to be worthy of demanding the attention of someone within an arbitrary ‘league’.  Well I say no to that.  I say that I AM good enough to get responses to messages I send and I DO have a good enough profile and that I am NOT shooting out of my league and that as much as I can change myself, I cannot change the behaviours of the people I am sending messages to.  Thus, as I have concluded, I have no choice but to send lots and lots and lots of messages to women because that’s the only way to play the game.

        5. Stacy2

          @mgm531

          Well I say no to that.  I say that I AM good enough to get responses to messages I send and I DO have a good enough profile and that I am NOT shooting out of my league and that as much as I can change myself, I cannot change the behaviours of the people I am sending messages to. 

          Well let’s see. If I was unemployed and kept applying for CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies and getting zero responses, I could conclude that either

          (1) i am not qualified or

          (2) I AM good enough damn it what’s wrong with those shallow HR people who don’t see how great I am, i just have to send 1000 more resumes out as this is a numbers game!

          Which one do you think would be closer to the truth and ultimately lead to a better course of action towards the ultimate goal (obtaining employment)?

          We all want what we want, and btw there are people out there who would rather stay unemployed than to take jobs they don’t want (and they can’t get hired for the jobs they do want) so there’s always a choice – adjust your expectations or do without.

          This is simply life so don’t shoot the messenger. Women deal with the exact same crap.

          Email to women who’d see YOU as a catch rather than emailing women who YOU see as a catch and you’ll do better. Trust me.

        6. KK

          Stacy2,

          Why do you always have to be so rude? By your own analogy, what does that say about you? You’re divorced. (As am I so I’m not throwing stones, but…) That’s the equivalent (in your analogy) to being fired! Are we to conclude that you suck at relationships?!?! “Oh, but I left him”… Yeah, because he quit on you first!

          No one knows your situation but you. If you want others to give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe you should do the same.

        7. Stacy2

          @KK

          I don’t believe I was either rude or disrespectful. What is your point? We should sugarcoat the truth and post feel-good comments that would reinforce the view that clearly has not resulted into any positive outcome for mgm531 so far? This isn’t a support group for people rejected in OLD. But I am sure he can find enough fake “support” on red-pill forums. What good is it though.

        8. mgm531

          @Stacy2 — Why is it you always seem to take the position that it is men that are shooting ‘out of their league’ and not the position that maybe women have too high a standard in their selection of men with OLD?  I’m not saying that women on OLD should have to ‘settle’ — whatever that means — but jesus christ on a cracker does it feel like you have to be Chris Hemsworth with an CEO title to get any attention from women on OLD.

          You assume that I’m sending messages to women out of my league and only to the ‘hottest’ women, but I assure that I’m not. In my view relationships should be based on EQUAL partnerships where upon both sides bring more or less equal value to a relationship.  But from what I’m seeing with OLD that is NOT the case and it feels like a lot of women have the attitude of requiring men to prove their worthiness to even garner their attention without indicating what they can offer.  Qutie frankly I’m not inclined to begin a relationship on unequal terms and I’m not about to resort to groveling online for attention.  It’s just not my style.  So I’ll take my efforts somewhere else, thank you very much.

        9. Stacy2

          mgm531:

          Why is it you always seem to take the position that it is men that are shooting ‘out of their league’ and not the position that maybe women have too high a standard in their selection of men with OLD? 

          That is not my position, this is not men vs women thing. Any person who’s striking out 99% of the time is by definition either shooting out of their league or has some really significant handicap – by definition. Only you can know what it is, and if you’re self-aware enough you do. You can take it or leave it. It’s your dating life. Whatever.

      2. 2.1.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        Hi mgm531,

        “It’s still a numbers game for men, it matters little what is done or said as it results in same results and therefore it doesn’t really pay to try and make a lot of effort because it makes little difference.”

        I disagree.  Putting some effort into your profile can increase your response response rate.  As you mentioned many men and women tend to have real basic profiles that are full of cliches.  The idea is to make yourself stand out while telling us something about yourself that will make us smile while we’re reading it.  Get some feedback from women relatives or friends who will be honest with you.

        Start by removing generic statements that tell us what you are and instead show it.  Most overused (by both sexes) generic statement:  I look young for my age.  So many people write that, it’s become meaningless.  If you think you look young for your age or are young at heart, show it.  Get professional profile photos that clearly shows your face.  (Please guys, no more photos with sunglasses on and a hat shadowing your face while you’re holding up a fish you just caught)  Or write a few sentences about how you went on a weekend backpacking trip with your teenaged nephew.   Hmmnn, active and in shape, likes outdoor activities, is close to family–you just showed me some attractive things about yourself in a way that grabbed my attention.  Way better than stating, “I’m young at heart, into outdoor sports, and am close to my family.”

        Also, avoid restrictive or judgmental statements that will limit who responds to you.  The classics here are women who have restrictive height or income requirements.  They are turning off many men in their “preferred demographic” because they displaying shallowness and being judgmental.  Things that women will pass a man over for include a desired age range that doesn’t include your age or stating physical preferences.  I’ve seen several profiles that say something to the effect of “An exotic dark eyed brunette will always turn my head, but I’m open to all types of women.”  Yeah, this blue eyed, freckled blonde isn’t going to spend 20-30 minutes composing a response to that.  Also a popular thing in an election year, “I’m a huge XXX supporter.”  If your politics are that important to you, there are dating websites just for adherents to the major political parties.  Even if I voted/plan to vote for that guy’s candidate, I’m really not interested in swapping initial messages on politics.

        My overall suggestion would be that if you are going to spend time putting up a profile and sending out 150 emails, spend a little more time up front on the presentation.  You are already sinking effort in the endeavor, why not put in a little more for a potentially bigger payoff?

         

         

        1. mgm531

          @GoWithTheFlow — Your assumption is that I haven’t already tried all the things you suggest.  In point of fact I have.  And you know what?  It made little difference.  Trust me when I say that my profile is far from boring.  My pictures are good and I’m in pretty good shape, but of course that’s all relative.  I have no pictures of me in sunglasses, posing with a fish or with a hat on.  I make as much of an effort as I can with the information I’m given to send relevant and pertinent messages.  I’ve done all the things that everyone said would be the key to success with OLD.  But the results are still the same.  Maybe it’s just me, and I’m just ‘undateable’.  For a long time I was inclinded to think so.  After all, what other conclusion could it be?

          But then I started to realize that my story is not unique.  In fact it’s pretty common place with most men with OLD.  In fact I’ll wager that if you asked most men, regardless of their age, race or social standing what their experience is with OLD dating they’ll tell you it’s pretty close to my experience (unless you are part of the elusive 20% of men that women find desireable, but then if that were the case you wouldn’t need to be using OLD in first place).

          That’s when I began to realize that it’s not me at all.  It’s the way I had been trying to reach my audience.  I needed to send out lots and lots and lots of messages because no matter how wonderful my profile is or how fantastic my first message is, it still is and always will be, a numbers game.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          mgm531,

          Go ahead and shoot the messenger if you want.  It will just mean you will have less people willing to to try and help you, and ultimately less who will empathize and sympathize with you.

          You can look at this as a judgmental fault assignation issue–and then do the entirely human thing and drop into a defensive “It’s not my fault!” stance.  Or, as Evan does, you can approach this from the perspective of whether what you are doing is effective or ineffective.

          I don’t know how long you have been reading Evan’s site, but here are a few of the suggestions and techniques he teaches us in Love U.  They work.

          What Percent of People Respond to Your Initial Emails on Match.com?

          A Well Written Online Dating Profile Matters

      3. 2.1.3
        Nissa

        MGM531,

        I can’t speak for every woman, but most of the men who emailed me weren’t a match. I think that is what Stacy2 is talking about. It’s not a mean-spirited commentary about the man’s looks, I promise. Sometimes it’s a difference in what is important to you. If a woman is vegan and that’s important to her, all the meat eating guys that email her are not a match, no matter how cute they are. There are a lot of dealbreakers like that – smoking, wanting kids, living 100 miles away, 10+ years’ difference in age – that are ok for some and not others. And frankly, it’s time consuming and depressing when every time you log on, you have maybe one guy that meets your BASIC criteria, and 15 that have several no’s. When I email a guy back that ‘sorry, we are not a match’ the majority of the time he could easily compare our profiles and the reason would be obvious of where our profiles differ.

        1. KK

          Nissa,

          “If a woman is vegan and that’s important to her, all the meat eating guys that email her are not a match, no matter how cute they are”.

          This cracks me up! I’ve heard there are dating sites for vegetarians and vegans. Seriously. You should check it out.  : )

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          Hi Nissa!

          Marina Adshade, Ph.D. is an economist who looks at dating and mating from an economics/market based standpoint.  In her book “Dollars and Sex:  How Economics Influences Sex & Love” she explains that it’s not a simple buyer-seller market where you go out and “purchase” what you want.

          The confounder is that not only are you buying, but you’re selling yourself at the same time to the person you want to buy from.  Your wants and needs need to match up with what they have to offer, while what you have to offer matches up with their wants and needs.  That’s why it’s typical for both men and women to feel that it’s hard to meet someone compatable:  Because it’s a complicated dynamic.

        3. Nissa

          KK,

          Oh no! I’m even more far out – I eat a ketogenic diet (75%fat, 15% protein and 5 % carbs), only eat once a day and fast intermittently, from 48-hours to 7 days. I’m hoping that one day I’ll meet a nice triathlete and we can happily eat together once a week.

        4. SparklingEmerald

          When I was in OLD, a good portion of the emails I received were from men who were CLEARLY not a match.  I never specified height, income or anything looks related.  I had an age range of 10 years plus or minus my age, non- smoker and within 50 miles of my zip.  All very reasonable in my opinion.  And yet smokers, young ones and men from the other side of the country would write to me.  Just makes me think they couldn’t be bothered to read my profile.

        5. Nissa

          Oops, math typo. 75-15-10.

        6. CaliforniaGirl

          After my profile was written by one of the Evan’s guys, the amount of emails I started to receive went up drastically. I also noticed that quality of guys and their first messages have improved a lot. Many guys, with whom we were not a match, would just write me that it’s one of the best profiles they’ve seen so far. I also had good pictures taken in different dresses (men love dresses) – asked a friend with a great camera and good photography skills. After I did that, a third guy I went on a date with is my current boyfriend of 4 months and he meets all of my requirements plus bonus points 🙂 Even if it doesn’t work out with him, I feel so much better to go back on Match, because my latest experience with new profile was really good.

        7. Emily, the original

          California Girl,

          If you don’t mind me asking, what was changed in the written part your profile?

        8. CaliforniaGirl

          @Emily, the original,

          my written part looks now like a story, few adventures I had, what I like to do with my partner, like riding bikes down the Venice beach or exploring Getty museum while holding hands. Some guys wrote to me that I described a perfect girlfriend and they just had to write to me even though we were not a match and many wished me good luck and that a guy who’ll get me will be lucky. My whole experience has changed, less one word emails, a lot of positive feedback from guys, many interesting emails  and a boyfriend in less than two months.

        9. Nissa

          Emily, the original,

          Your response puzzled me for a minute and then I realized, in my comment I about what I put in the profile, I didn’t mean the free text part. I meant the ‘details’ segment that pops up before they even get to the free text. For example, the ‘have kids’ & ‘want kids’ segment. I clearly have marked ‘no’ to the want kids question, but would get emails from guys saying ‘open to starting a family!’. At age 50. Ulp.

        10. Karl R

          Nissa,

          In all of the time that I did online dating, I never got a mutual match that was an exact match.  Maybe I’m just a weird freak, but there was always one or more areas where there wasn’t a match.  (As an example, one of my mutual matches had only listed four criteria.  I met three of them.)

          I was constantly playing a game of “What’s Close Enough?”

           

          To address your specific examples, I wouldn’t care if my partner was a vegan, as long as she didn’t care that I was a meat eater.  Therefore, I would certainly have been willing to contact a vegan … but I would certainly have understood if she declined for that reason.

          Similarly, I was adamant about never wanting kids.  I was perfectly willing to get a vasectomy to ensure that.  I had at least one woman contact me even though she wanted kids “someday.”  Either it wasn’t a deal breaker issue for her, or she was hoping she could change my mind.  (Since we didn’t make it to a third date, I don’t know which it was.)

           

          It’s one of the inherent flaws with the online dating system(s).

           

          As Evan has pointed out before, he would have filtered out his wife on Match.com.  I would have filtered out my wife too.  Therefore, I can see the point in trying to reach out to someone who might not be an exact match.  I’m also realistic enough to recognize that most people will have a reaction much like yours.

        11. Emily, the original

          CaliforniaGirl

          my written part looks now like a story, few adventures I had, what I like to do with my partner,

          It sounds like it showed who you were as a person and revealed your personal flair, which worked because you were a successful dater! 🙂

        12. Emily, the original

          Nissa,

          Your response puzzled me for a minute and then I realized, in my comment I about what I put in the profile, I didn’t mean the free text part.

          I don’t know that much about online dating, so sorry if I wasn’t clear.

          I clearly have marked ‘no’ to the want kids question, but would get emails from guys saying ‘open to starting a family!’.

          They have bad reading comprehension (or aren’t reading it at all)!

      4. 2.1.4
        Theo

        Have you tried targeting women of all ethnicities? White, black, any color? When I started messaging female academics from any part of the world living in my city I was successful within three months. We are two PhD’s expecting a baby in March.

        1. mgm531

          Yes, I have no issues with dating women with any race or ethnicity.

      5. 2.1.5
        ScottH

        I agree with what GWTF says.  I’ve lost count and my head spins when I try to think of the different women I’ve met online but it’s probably north of 150 women that I’ve met in the last 5 years and I’m not a high earner or particularly tall and maybe decent looking.  I’ve refined my profile with the help of some women friends and have a dozen very clear pix.  I frequently get comments from women about how my profile stands out from the rest, although the rest pretty much suck.  It astounds me how awful some of the profiles are with only one or two pictures that are both blurry and all the sunglasses and hats.  One woman told me that I’m exactly what she thought I would be based on my profile.  I do get passed over by the women looking for the high earners and that’s ok with me.  They’re not my type anyway.

        Having said all that, I’m in a rut right now and it feels like it will last forever but I have to remind myself of the time I met 3 women in 24 hours and a 4th one a few days later.  (that was waayyy too much).  Also, I’ve only had 2 longer term gf’s from those ~150 meets and I think that I probably passed on some who would have been good to get to know better.  OLD is rough but not being in the game is even rougher.  Quitting is not an option, says the glutton for punishment.

      6. 2.1.6
        Yet Another Guy

        Wow! My response rate is at least 50%. A key differentiator when it comes to getting responses on most dating sites is a well-written profile. It is not enough for a man to merely ensure that his profile does not contain grammatical or spelling errors. It is important for a man to pick what he includes in his profile wisely as well as the words and sentence structure that he uses while composing his narrative. Women pay attention to word usage and sentence structure in a way that men overlook. An educated woman can generally ascertain a man’s educational attainment level as well as his overall level of attention to detail and intelligence from reading his profile. Every woman appears to have a little sapiophile in her.

        Speaking of getting contacted by women, I learned something new today. A dating concierge contacted me today on behalf of one of her clients. I was surprised to discover that such a service existed. Women actually pay a proxy to scour online dating sites for men who may be good matches. I was flattered, but I prefer to find my own dates.

        1. Stacy2

          Women actually pay a proxy to scour online dating sites for men who may be good matches

          Eh.. these are the so-called “matchmakers” who dupe their female clients out of thousands of dollars promising “exclusive database of eligible men” and then troll match and linkedin to hit up random men who seem in the ballpark. Total scam but it will continue to work for as long as women believe that there’re “better men” somewhere for them to meet than what they’re already meeting (the same not being honest about one’s league thing…)

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy:

          I would have gladly entertained the idea of meeting the women who the matchmaker was representing had she contacted me directly. The idea of having a third-party between me and her was a complete turn-off. Being courted by a well-known Internet search company was fun. Being courted by a dating concierge was a “What was she thinking?” moment. No guy who is worth having needs or wants to be introduced by a matchmaker.

        3. Rowan

          What you’ve indicated about a well written profile is dead on. This is a persons opportunity to make a good impression. Sentence structure, grammar, spelling, proof what you’ve written! You don’t need your initial impression to be…not that bright!

      7. 2.1.7
        John

        Hi mgm531,

        I totally agree with your assessment of OLD. I do well when I meet women in person at parties, the gym and the grocery store. The nature of OLD is not great for guys. Do you know a good-looking guy who gets 400 emails per week? I don’t. I think the reason I do well in person is that I can show my personality in real time instead of trying to present myself like a commercial ad online. I also am not competing with 400 other guys in her email box. OLD also encourages a climate of elimination for any small flaws or mistakes for both sexes.

        I tried OLD for one year and I did not do well. In real life, I do quite well. I thought opening myself to a larger demographic of women by going online would be good. It didn’t work.

        People will tell you it is your fault, For example, people will say you need better pictures, a cleverly written profile and to be patient with the process. It isn’t your fault, although many people will give you “advice” to help you. I don’t waste my time with OLD anymore. I prefer the old-fashioned way. It is more fun too.

         

         

      8. 2.1.8
        Nat

        @mgm531: Yeah it can be tougher for men online. I guess all u can do is send lots of short, or copy-and-paste, msges to lots of women, while putting a bit more effort into msging the minority of women that u really fancy. And supplement OL dating with some real-world opportunities of meeting people. It can be hard for busy people to make time for the latter though, but I think it’s helpful, especially for men. U have a better chance to shine. I haven’t attended many wine tastings, but those few times I did, I always met an attractive guy and exchanged numbers. No rship developed that way so far, but if I were still single I’d try to go for one every fortnight, because it was a fun inexpensive way to hang out with friends and meet attractive people at the same time. And drink wine lol.

         

        Online, some people are just passing by, not taking the thing seriously at all. Sometimes they’ve already met someone they like (online or offline) and are just trying their luck a bit on the side, before getting serious with the other person. So I agree with u that part of it is a numbers game. It can be discouraging, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs and that’s a good enough reason to keep at it.

      9. 2.1.9
        Malika

        Lots of people have given you very sensible advice, so i won’t repeat any of the tips mentioned below/above. I will say it is very sound advice. Have you ever talked to friends about your experiences and shown them how you have written your profile and e-mails? Have you had your photos vetted by friends? We sometimes think we have a very clear view of the situation, but friends can give us the famous paradigm shift that is needed.

        As for the succes rate itself. I hear you, it is tough out there. In my whole life i have been on around 70 first dates. The first one was around ten years ago and i have been doing it on/off ever since. My efforts have resulted in a relationship i wouldn’t have missed for the world, an STR that was just as wonderful if unfortunately short lived, a handful of lovely first dates i never heard from again but which were still a great evening and two close friends. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? The only thing is that for all of these great experiences, there are dozens of first dates i had to will myself to get through, and many more correspondences than that which led nowhere. I sometimes wonder if i had put all the effort i put on online dating in writing a novel, whether i would not have concocted my own War and peace-like classic by now : )It’s just as much a numbers game for women as it is for men, and getting the first contact is only just the beginning. I have also sometimes felt that the expectations of the men on OLD were inflated  (they either want the ultimate trophy girl, someone who will make them forget their recent heartbreak in an instant or someone who is exactly like their exgirlfriend, only without the annoying bits). It’s an imperfect medium, which shows our foibles. While great, i don’t blame you for thinking that IRL might be a better option.

      10. 2.1.10
        SparklingEmerald

        MGM531 – I understand your frustration, maybe because while I am a woman, who supposedly should have it so “easy” in OLD, I became involuntarily single in my mid-fifties, and believe me, men were not beating down my door to date me.

        My biggest mistake was trying to get back into dating while I was separated but not legally divorced.  We initially didn’t get a legal divorce because I was in physical therapy, and I had very good coverage under my hubbies health care plan, but under my employers, the coverage was dismal.  But after I was done with PT, we both just kinda dragged our feet on finalizing the divorce, and since I was honest about EVERYTHING in my profile including that I was separated and not divorced, that was a real ding against me.  The few men that did write to me questioned me extensively about my separation status (perfectly understandable) and usually I would end the interaction because I could see that they were clearly leary of my relationship status.

        I bought a copy one of “Finding the One Online” and re-wrote my boring profile and that DID make a difference though, in the quality of the handful of men that wrote to me, and boosted the number of responses I rec’d a bit, but it was still slow going. But I was still dismayed to click on my “number of views” only to see that 100’s of men viewed my profile, but only a handful men actually wrote to me, and of that handful, there age inappropriate, men 100’s of miles away, or rapey, creepy e-mails.

        When my divorce became final, it got better, and one year (almost to they day) I met a wonderful man and we are getting married this year.

        But I can understand your frustration at all the advice that seems to say “If you are single YOU are the common denominator, so therefore YOU must be defective or doing something horribly wrong.

        I was accused of holding out for a six foot rock star (baseless accusation, I never said any such thing, and in fact often said quite the opposite),  and all sorts of assumptions were made about what I was doing wrong, and what kind of defective character I must have, and even the whole shooting out of my league thing, which is silly, because I didn’t approach men, I only responded to men who approached me.   (at the most I would like and comment on a picture in someone’s online profile )

        In the end, I would say that it is hard for BOTH genders, but some of the challenges we face are a bit different.  (men getting rejected by the women they approach, women not getting approached at all or by men they aren’t interested in, or being rejected after they respond to an approach)

        I do understand the frustrations on both sides of the gender divide, and all the advice, no matter how well meaning, starts to feel like endless criticism and often false criticism.

        I also know that one can do everything right, and still not find their match.  I don’t ever assume that because someone is uncoupled that they are deeply flawed in some way.  It is a free will decision on the part of BOTH people for a relationship to develop.  While there is much one can do in their quest for love, there is still an element of chance involved.  I worked very hard to find a boyfriend (and wound up with a husband), but I also consider myself very LUCKY to be in such a great relationship/soon to be marriage, and I realize that at my age, there was a big lucky roll of the dice involved here.

        If I was a believer, I would be thanking God for my guy, since I am not, I am thanking Evan’s profile writing advice, and my lucky stars !

        1. S.

          Aww, good for you, Sparkling Emerald! Thanks for the positive words here!

  3. 3
    JB

    As a fifty something yr.old male who’s been doing this since 1997 one of the problems I’ve certainly seen recently is mixing/combining “online” dating and “mobile/app” dating together. It creates a clusterf**k for those of us old school people that actually have a profile that says something and want to engage in a mature adult way with a couple of emails of substance before wasting my very precious time and money “meeting someone for a drink”. I don’t think actual “online” dating which in my opinion is using a computer and a webpage to communicate and meet will ever be the same because mobile/app has dumbed it down so much and ruined it. It’s hard to put toothpaste back in the tube, ask the music industry.

    Evan is correct. Starting his own dating site or app would be a waste of time and a losing proposition for him but lending his expertise and advice to Match as a partner/consultant would help them immensely. Of course I’m dreaming of the day when just a small percentage of women would see and take his advice of having realistic expectations on the site…..lol

     

    1. 3.1
      KK

      JB,

      In your opinion, what are realistic expectations?

      1. 3.1.1
        Tom10

        @ KK
         
        Touché – I was thinking the same thing. If someone has been on-line dating continuously since 1997 I don’t think it’s necessarily it’s the unrealistic expectations of women that are to blame…

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          A universal human truth:  People want to hold on to their expectations and standards and want everyone else to let go of theirs!

        2. JB

          I’m sorry I should’ve said “on and off” since 1997 but never the less I think most of us on here know that both sexes not just women have unrealistic expectations in OLD it’s just that men will inevitably take what they can get and women won’t and don’t. Some get off websites quickly and say “there’s no good men on here” when they’re a “4” thinking they deserve an “8”.

          For the record over the years the years and to this day. I email and date all types of women so I’m very flexible. I love variety.

    2. 3.2
      MilkyMae

      I think values and libido play an important role in forming expectations. If you like the idea of relationship and you crave a partner, your expectations will gravitate towards realistic.  If you want someone to prove the merits of a relationship to you and you never get the desire to make a relationship happen, then your expectations will become unrealistic. Unrealistic expectations(ie  everyone is meh or you spend years online dating) may be a something more than lack of pragmatism or self-awareness.

    3. 3.3
      Tron Swanson

      I agree with you, re: the app issue. I’m in my late thirties, and I’ve been doing this since ’98. When it was website-based, it was common to chat on MSN or Yahoo before you spoke on the phone…so we’d have to actually sit down and get on our computers. We’d get home from work, get online, etc. It was nice to have each other’s attention, so we could actually talk about stuff. Now, though, if you try to text or call, the woman is…still at work, or driving, or at the grocery store, or whatever. She may be willing to chat, but she’s pretty distracted. It makes me sound old, but, I miss the days of one-on-one chatting, where both people had to be at home.

      (Also, speaking superficially, the women were likely to be at least partially undressed, so webcam stuff was much more promising!)

      1. 3.3.1
        JB

        Thanks Tron for actually addressing the topic. Bottom line is the “future” and “present” of online dating isn’t “online” at all. It should now be called “app” or as the experts call it “mobile” dating because 99% of people never go near a computer or online to do it. Long emails, profiles and yes Evan I’m sorry but the 2/2/2 rule or as you say some variation of it are all of a bygone Flintstonian era. Even the CEO of eHarmony did an interview last week saying if they don’t change and adapt they’ll be toast and he knows it. Honestly, I don’t even know if eHarmony has an app as I never went near that site in 20 yrs because I’m not answering 496 questions to NOT have a choice in who I communicate with….lol

      2. 3.3.2
        Malika

        Hi Tron:

        That is the exact same reason why i avoid the apps like the plague. When i am on my phone out and about, i don’t give messages the attention they merit. When i log on to Okc on my laptop it becomes far easier to craft a message and to really engage with the man who is writing to me. Okc can be used as an app and as e-mail, and i figure that the men who are really interested in connecting with me will make the effort to chat with me properly, rather than the odd throwaway line in response to my e-mail like message.

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          Malika,

          I won’t do the apps either for the same reasons you state.  “Lucky” for me that the apps skew young while the computer based sites skew older.  I don’t think I’m missing a lot of my demographic by not being on Tinder.

  4. 4
    KK

    Tom10,

    Lol. It was an honest question. I’m just curious if his idea of realistic expectations is anywhere close to other’s ideas of realistic expectations.

  5. 5
    Tron Swanson

    I’m curious about the “women initiate or OK the communication chain” part. How would that work, exactly? I’m all for women pursuing men…but most of them don’t really want or need to, it seems.

    Also, banning “creeps”…don’t online dating sites benefit from the huge glut of men on them? If they got rid of all the men that women didn’t want attention from, there wouldn’t be many men left, no? I’m no expert, but I suspect that that business model might have a few glitches in it.

  6. 6
    jay

    Evan, What do you mean by “demographically undesireablr?” That smacks offensive and perhaps racist to me. But I’d like to hear an explanation before I assume your intent.

  7. 7
    Stacy2

    I think some typical “sins” committed by men online are:

    1. Having nothing but generic statements in their profile, i.e. “i like movies and restaurants” – duh. Who doesn’t?

    2. Cliches (this is a personal pet peeve of mine), No dudes who “work had and play hard” need apply. Seriously.

    3. Living 5 zip codes away. Or 2 states away. Lying about where they actually live, i.e. putting NY, NY in their location only to reveal that they in fact live in CT but are “in the city all the time”. Next!

    4. Messaging women 2 tax brackets above (don’t shoot the messenger! it’s just not a good strategy)

    5. Sending emails that say “Hey!” or any variation of it

    6. Sending long elaborate emails, often cheesy. If I like you, a simple “hi there liked your profile, how was your holiday – email me if you want to chat” will do. If I don’t like you, a long elaborate email won’t make a difference

    7. Playing Q&A, i.e. near-empty profile and “ask me anything!”. I don’t have time for these games

    8. Pictures with ex-gf (females not identified as relatives)

    9. Baseball cap on in every photo – you’re not fooling anyone, we know you’e balding

    10.  Any negative references with respect to women’s age or appearance. I actually saw a profile on match where I guy stated that he wanted to meet a woman who was “athletic and toned” and put up among his pictures a photo of Jessica Biel as an example (with the caption “Jessica Biel is athletic and toned”). Can you say “poor clueless schmuck”?

    Look guys i know that OLD could really suck, and women are a lot more discerning than man. But knowing your “end market” (i.e. your league) and better “targeting” can actually make it a lot more efficient. Like i said, in my OLD days I responded to 100% of the emails that came from men who cleared 3 simple hurdles: simply taller than me even by an inch (I am 5’5” so not really that hard), reasonable geographic radius and same comparable tax bracket. That’s the truth.

    1. 7.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      Stacy2,

      In re: your #10–I saw one profile where the man checked off he wanted a “curvy” woman than in his profile wrote that Kate Upton was his definition of curvy, anything larger than that was fat.  As far as comments on women’s looks on men’s profiles, the thing I see most often that make me shake my head is men who contact me, then when I read their profile, they say they prefer brunettes, redheads, olive skinned or tall women (you get the idea) and I’m a short fair skinned blonde.  Dude, did you even look at my profile photo???

      1. 7.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        To me, curvy is a set of proportions, not a physical size. Curvy is a D cup or larger, a hip-to-waist ratio of 1.3 or better, a chest size that is roughly symmetrical to hip size, and an ample backside. That is curvy. Ashley Graham is not a small woman, but she is the definition of curvy.

        I prefer curvy to athletic and toned. I am a big guy for my height (5’11”). I have always been built like a football player (linebacker, not lineman). I used to weigh 225lbs with 6% body fat when I was in my late twenties, which is why BMI is close to useless as a measure of fitness. I have been built like a man since I was 15 years old. I want a woman who is built like a woman, not like a boy. A lot of athletic and toned women have boyish figures. A woman has curves. I will take a mid-forty-something to mid-fifty-something version of Ashley Graham over a comparable version of Kate Upton any day of the week.

        Kate Upton is somewhat shapely, but she is not curvy. She is too wide through the waist for the size of her hips and her chest. She fails the 1.3 hip-to-waist ratio test. Her reported measurements are 36-28-35 (35 / 28 = 1.25). Ashley Graham’s reported measurements are 42-30-46, and she wears a D-cup bra. Ashley passes the 1.3 hip-to-waist ratio test with room to spare (46 / 30 = 1.53). Kim Kardashian also passes the curvy test. Her reported measurements are 34-26-39 (39 / 26 = 1.5), and she also wears a D-cup bra.

        1. Emily, the original

          Yet Another Guy,

          To me, curvy is a set of proportions, not a physical size. Curvy is a D cup or larger …

          To me, hung is 8 inches or larger.    🙂

          (Forgive me. I’m not knocking what you wrote. It was just the first thing that came to mind when you were so descriptive about the measurements as to mathematically deduce them.)

        2. Yet Another Man

          @Emily:

          However, the descriptor “hung” is not being used by men as a euphemism for fat, that is, unless the measurement you gave is for girth. 🙂

          With that said, the descriptor “curvy” is abused by women who are not remotely so. For example, big boobs and a big belly is not curvy, nor is small boobs and a big butt. Curvy is basically an hourglass shape on steroids. If we look at the prototypical hourglass shape that has been coveted for years, we find that it is 36-24-36. That shape also has a hip-to-waist ratio of 1.5. What makes curvy special is that big boobs and an ample bottom come along for the ride. I have to mind my Ps and Qs when a truly curvy woman walks into the room; otherwise, I can find myself going absolutely Pavlovian. 🙂

          When I was a young man, my father told me that a little extra everywhere was the price that a man paid for wanting a woman with big boobs. 🙂 I am usually not drawn to a woman who is less than a natural D (my ex is a natural DD); therefore, I am significantly more forgiving about a woman’s overall measurements than most men as long she meets that the natural D-cup and 1.3 hip-to-waist ratio requirements.

        3. KK

          YAG,

          Never heard of Ashley Graham but Kim K’s hourglass figure is due to breast and butt implants.

        4. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          However, the descriptor “hung” is not being used by men as a euphemism for fat, that is, unless the measurement you gave is for girth. 

          Girth or length!   🙂

          With that said, the descriptor “curvy” is abused by women who are not remotely so.

          I understand you. The famous Sir Mix-A-Lot song says: Little in the middle but she got much back.

          So you want Sophia Loren, not Marilyn Monroe. You want an ample hourglass.

        5. Yet Another Guy

          @KK

          http://www.ashleygraham.com/

          If I found an age appropriate women who was built like Ashley Graham, I would would never let her go. Some guys like women who have a little extra meat on their bones, that is, as long as the little extra is in the right places.

    2. 7.2
      Karl R

      Stacy2,

      Your sins #1, #2 and #7 are heavily perpetuated by women as well.  You just don’t read their profiles.

       

      Regarding #4, I dated two women who earned at least double what I did.  (One of those relationships definitely could have worked out, except our jobs were (geographically) taking us in different directions.)  I certainly agree that it’s more of a long-shot, but there are women who are open-minded about income gaps like that.  As a man, the only way to identify those women is to take a chance, then see if the woman responds.

       

      Regarding #3, zip codes and states are very non-specific units of distance.  My office is 6 zip codes away from my house.  That’s a 20 minute drive, which most people would find quite reasonable.  Since I live in Texas, you can imagine how far I have to travel to get two states away.

      1. 7.2.1
        Stacy2

        on #3 – i live in NY and I used to state my geographical preferences very narrowly (this is a dense city so really no upside to “casting the wide net”). However, in addition to people living in the larger metro area i received emails from men in VA, MD, Austin, TX and Brazil. And they were aware of my location. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the heck they wanted.

        1. Karl R

          Stacy2,

           

          You said that you’re interested in “the absolutely most desirable men,” and that those men are “so few and far between” … but you’ll arbitrarily rule out men who live 6 or more zip codes away?  That seems completely counterproductive, given your stated goals.

          When my wife and I were in NYC, we walked from Penn Station to Central Park and back (4 zip codes in each direction).  It was eighties and sunny (early July), and we barely broke a sweat.  As you pointed out, you’re in a densely populated area.  Zip codes are really small.  You could expand your geographical range, double or triple the number of desirable men, and still be within walking distance.

          Is a man’s desirability inherently connected to his zip code?

        2. Stacy2

          Karl,

          zip codes are not really that small when you consider NYC population density. Obviously Manhattan is long and narrow but the entire island below 96th street (above it is Harlem) is just about 25 zip codes, and only 2 across. So 5 zip codes across could put you deep into Jersey or Queens or South Bronx if going North. You geth the point. Considering that there’re 1.6m people living in Manhattan alone, and that this is where high-earning singles live – yes there absolutely is a correlation to the location.

        3. Stacy2

          FG:

          if you knew anything about New York (which you don’t) you’d understand that the map clearly shows higher proportion of single men in ethnic neighborhoods (chinese, russian etc) and ghettoes. Since they are not my target demographic, it iscompletely irrelevant where they live; actually it is relevant in the sense that I want to stay far away from them.  So your “snarky” comment is simply dumb (in the future better not rely on nypost for your data)

        4. FG

          What we all are increasingly understanding, in fact, is you wish to remain alone and pining! Oh, and fertile!

          Almost the entirety of Manhattan glows pink for female-side imbalance. So ALL the evil ethnic men sit in on spot, right? 🙂

          As to my understanding of NYC, true, haven’t had a gf there in many years. And I miss having a ready landing spot at 35th & Lex.
          Also miss Charlie (not quite in the same way though lol) who lived a block away from the defunct Elaine’s.

          And if you’re the current prototypical NYC woman, I’m glad I rejected the job offer I got last year.

        5. Stacy2

          FG:

          (1) Almost the entirety of Manhattan glows pink for female-side imbalance. (2) So ALL the evil ethnic men sit in on spot, right? 

          1) Not all of it, and especially not in the 30+ age group

          2) I don’t know, you tell me. Are you having vision or reading comprehension problems with the article you brought up? Highest surplus of single men is in Jamaica, Chinatowns in Manhatttan and Queens and Brighton Beach. Red Hook which is a flaming ghetto where even in this day and age you can see crackwhores hanging in front of the bodegas is all “blue”. Some of these are areas where I wouldn’t get out of the car in broad daylight. Yeah, let me go boyfriend shopping there. LMAO.

          3) Your limited understanding of the way [any] commodity market, including dating, works is transparent. An x% “surplus” of women simply means that the bottom x% will be pushed off the curve and may not be able to “transact”, i.e. in this case find a mate. Those at the (100%-x%) percentile will find a match regardless of the overall surplus, so for any woman who is objectively clearing the 100%-x% percentile in attractiveness, this gender imbalance won’t matter.  Which is exactly the reason why I find all these women to men ratios articles to be completely dumb.

          Personally, I have always been in LTRs and never had to go outside of Manhattan to find them.

           

        6. GoWiththeFlow

          Stacy2,

          I’m in a large metropolitan area in a western U.S. state with a single male/single female ration that is supposed to be great for women.  In fact, my city winds up on those lists of where to live if your a single woman looking for a single man.  It’s still not easy!

          The assumption behind these statistical ratio comparisons is that it’s like musical chairs:  The music stops, people grab a chair and a percentage of game players are left standing.  The reality is that people don’t just grab any chair because they have to grab a chair.  They can decide that they aren’t into any of the chairs available at the moment and they will go home and try another day.

      2. 7.2.2
        Stacy2

        @Karl

        You just don’t read their profiles.

        Something i forgot to mention – i actually did read women’s profiles when i was OLDing, to assess the competition so to speak. I saw that a lot of them didn’t write much, but I also noticed 2 things: a lot of their profiles were so clearly fake, best case those were escorts using dating sites for free ads. Comon, one picture with fake blown lipls and “email me at bunny (at) [email protected]” should give you some clue!! I wonder if men are able to identify these as fake or  don’t see past the  “pretty face”?

        Women who did write something were often very clearly signaling their expectations. In other words, if a woman has pictures of skiing in Vail and beach hopping in St. Barts, and you’re a teacher from Flushing, Queens, you can’t afford her. Period, full stop. Don’t waste your time on “carefully crafted email”. Those pics and captions are in her profile for a reason. I also wonder if a lot of “frustrated” men are simply unable to read between the lines here. Oh well.

        1. FG

          Here comes a few radical thoughts or questions…
          If you’ve always been in Manhattan-based LTRs, what is suddenly NOT working?
          Why have none of those LTRs resulted in permanent commitment, on the male’s part and/or yours?

          We understand you make a good living at what you do, and given $140K/year is the bottom rung of the top 20% in Manhattan, we can assume you are in that range. Who knows (aside from yourself), maybe even higher? Or not!

          No one here will think of you as a sweet, affable, pleasant creature. Everything you write seems to point to a mounting opinionated bitterness. You may be pretty (or not), you may have enough diplomas that wallpaper or paint are no longer necessary at home or office (or not), you may be able to fake it for a time, but an intelligent guy will soon grasp the facts. You are 35-ish, fertile (I’m still getting a kick from that; sorry), seeking a mate, and thigns are nto panning out. WHY?

          At 35 or so, people are settling in! Or resolved this part of their equation years prior. Usually, they’ve made good choices along the way. Most affluent people established a solid foundation. It may or not eventually come apart, for a variety of reasons.
          But not in your case, indeterminate answers as yet. Come 35, the bar scene doesn’t do much for us (if it EVER did).

          Quite frnakly, I don’t need the answers to the previous questions, or the editorial to accompany my comments. You, however, clearly do! People get to Manhattan. Settle in! Find mates! Move out! Or become permanent fixtures, fascinated by the lifestyle? After the museums, shows, restaurants (though you can wash rinse repeat for those), Central Park, Balthazar’s , Sardi’s back room, the Blue Note, Max Brenner (and a chocolate overdose), T on the Green,  a few clubs, SoHo galleries, and just wandering, maybe you can grop up to find a less eclectic and more meaningful chapter to life. Let alone the fact that a number of perhaps antiquated but sane places I liked just disappeared.

          A friend of mine is a senior VP on Wall St. Lives in Jersey w wife & 3 kids. Commutes. Guess the fact that he was married when he got to NYC helped. His wife is (very) gainfully employed. So? Just means he skipped the entire Manhattan singles scene.

          Don’t like the path you’re on? Change roads.
          Don’t like what you’re harvesting? Here’s a wrench and a screwdriver. Find the proper buttons, potentiometers, and make necessary attitude adjustments!

        2. Stacy2

          If you’ve always been in Manhattan-based LTRs, what is suddenly NOT working?

          Who says it’s not working? I am in one now. My lifestyle choices are mine to decide and I don’t need to bend or justify them to anybody (certainly not to prospective dates or anonymous strangers online). [sarcasm on] But i appreciate your concern.  [sarcasm off]

          People get to Manhattan. Settle in! Find mates! Move out! 

          Those are exactly the type of people i would like to NOT date (even if my only other option was to stay single forever lol). Manhattan/Brooklyn (good parts) is overridden with kids, families. If it’s not your home but simply a playground for you to find a mate to go to suburbs to procreate and bury your dreams – we’re not a match and let’s not waste each other’s time. This is not an insult to anybody. To each his own (lifestyle and priorities that is)

  8. 8
    AAORK

    Guy perspective here. Been out of OLD for about 2 years (in a relationship) but I’ve had a lot of experience in that area. White male, 6-2, high earner, athletic, not overweight by any means (think Evan’s physique, just more muscle), not super handsome but still pleasant to look at. So obviously I’m not a member of the 15%-ers club that most women seem to demand or expect. Everything I wrote in my profile was 100% true but upon reflection I suspect that was more a liability than an asset (“No, he can’t be for real”) so not sure if I missed out on some fun for that.

    I was pretty selective about sending emails and never did the ‘shotgun’ method. I always read profiles carefully. I knew what I wanted. Frankly, I just didn’t find many I was compelled to write. To those I did, always the same format. Something along the lines of “Hey liked what you wrote in your profile. I like [common interest] too! And I liked [comment about something in a picture]. It would be great to connect to find out more!” Never wrote to anyone who wasn’t active in at least the last 3 days. About 1 in 7-8 were never read. Of those that were read, response rate was about 1 in 3-4 and I managed to convert about half into a first date. Had about 40 ‘first meets’ but only 4 made it to a second meet (first date). I kept running into people who just weren’t who they said they were .. at all. I did get some first emails, maybe 2-3 per week. All from women greater than 10 years +/- from me so no dice.

    After 6 months or so, I managed to succeed somehow but overall I did have one big take-away. Regardless of SMV, it appeared that most all the women wanted a guy that was ‘better’ than her (can we say ‘above her league’?). There were those with a career of retail/secretarial/blue collar but ‘had a passion for traveling to exotic locations’ (the “Fund Me” group). Or the divorced Mom’s with 2-3+ kids but wanted someone ‘adventurous and spontaneous’ and/or ‘financially successful’ (the “Rescue Me!” group). Or the high-travel career gals with little free time but who ‘wanted someone to snuggle with’ (the “Token Accessory Add-on” group). And then there were the multitude of profile pics with muffin tops and ‘Slender’ as body description (the “Out of Touch” group). Did you know that ‘Curvy’ (a most popular selection) has been completely redefined in the online world?

    However, I would say (and I say this to my girl all the time) that I am a bit sympathetic to the gals. In my travels, I too encounter very few tall, handsome, successful guys who dress well, are generous, have a great sense of humor, love kids, and (ok I’ll stop now) ..  and who aren’t married or taken. Yes, it is tough out there.

    1. 8.1
      sophia

      re: (think Evan’s physique, just more muscle)

      That is HILARIOUS! (sorry, Evan, how does he know that?! ha)

      I’ve always thought the study of behaviors on OLD would make a great thesis for some Ph.D in Psychology. It’s quite fascinating, really, if one can remain emotionally neutral.

       

    2. 8.2
      ScottH

      I agree that it’s tough out there.

      How easy do you expect it to be to find a suitable life partner?  How easy do you want it to be?  It’s well documented that in mid-life, it’s rare to find a healthy person and then on top of that, apply all the criteria that makes it even harder:  tall, high earner, good dresser, sense of humor, etc…  And many of these attributes don’t reflect upon someone’s worthiness as a good partner.  Then consider all the baggage she has and you have and whether you both want to take all that on, the odds are very much stacked against success.

      If you found someone after 6 months, you did really well.  I bet it was because you have more muscles than Evan.

      1. 8.2.1
        KK

        Lol!!!! ScottH,

        “If you found someone after 6 months, you did really well.  I bet it was because you have more muscles than Evan.”

        Too funny!!

      2. 8.2.2
        AAORK

        LOL thnx yeah but that was a looonng six months and a good amount of disappointment along the way. Did I do ok? Maybe. No doubt the height and muscles helped. BTW I always see comments from both men and women that men are more visual than women. I used to believe that myself but not anymore. Women are just as visual as men and it has nearly, if not the same, value when determining attraction. This is probably one of the most successful misinformation campaigns women as a whole have ever achieved with respect to female characteristics. No bad feelings though. Hey ya gotta do what you gotta do to gain any edge you can.

        An add on comment I wanted to mention is that OLD was an extra means of meeting women because both my career (IT) and hobbies (diving, flying, rock climbing, camping/hiking/biking) are so heavily dominated by men. I’ll also point out that my successes IRL (when the opportunity arose) were much higher than with OLD. It always seemed that the ‘catalog’ mentality of OLD just causes women to raise their expectations so much. And I think the biggest contributor to failures with OLD are due to people constantly shotting out of their league.

        1. Stacy

          @Aaork,

          I think  men and women want to be attracted to their partners of course (which is the way it should be). But I disagree that a woman puts physical attraction as a priority equal to the average man. A woman would much quicker deal with a lack of physical attraction for another desirable attribute and a woman would allow attraction to grow more often than not (and no, it’s not always about money – other characteristics such as sense of humor or loves kids comes to mind). I still have not ever met one man who would do this. And if he does, he’s an anomaly. If a man isn’t attracted, it ain’t happening.

        2. AAORK

          @Stacy, if what you assert matched reality, we would not be experiencing (much less even discussing) the problems we are seeing today. I think it’s important to note that the gender and dating issues this blog capitalizes on only recently appeared over the last 2 or 3 generations of this country and are distinct to Westernized cultures. Many, many parts of the world simply do not have these problems. As to the cause, there are plenty of speculations but the impact cannot be wished away.

  9. 9
    usagima

    I think it comes down to some sites being like a catalogue of profiles, there’s an expectation of choosing who you like but people forgetting the significant part – who is interested in you also.

    My profile took some time to prepare, I got help from some women friends in my age range re what my profile said and the pics I used. These women know me well and all said yes it was definitely me (I think they had fun helping) I also read blogs like this one to work out what ‘spoke to’ women yet was not boring and still essentially me. It’s not been perfect and I’m learning to better decipher what I’m looking for also.

    I’ve seen profiles both sides of the pool that are pretty lazy and creepy. And I’ve had decent open communication with people who decided I wasn’t for them or vice versa.

    I have had women contact me first and I had the great experience dating a smart funny capable woman for a while. In the end the distance and where we were in our lives ended it (my kids are still quite young, hers have flown the nest already)

    Good luck to all out there in OLD

  10. 10
    Lia

    When I was online dating I had a great time! At first I was pretty freaked out. It felt strange to be getting attention from men I didn’t know (I know, I know – that is kind of the point, duh!) I hid my profile after one day online and my sister shamed me into unhiding it. I am glad she did! There were a few men that I met that made me want to stab myself with a fork just to alleviate the boredom, but who knows, maybe they found me boring as well! However, most of the guys I met I found interesting in some way and I had a lot of fun. There was dancing and movies, dinners and plays, hikes and horseback riding, hockey games too. (I never knew I could have so much fun at a hockey game!) I dated more then I had ever dated before and I leaned so much about men and about myself.

    I will admit that I was more likely to responded to those men who complimented my writing than those who just complimented my pictures. I felt that how expressed myself in writing was more me than my pictures.

    Again and again the men I would meet would share their horror stories of online dating. Many of them would tell me that I was the first woman they met that actually looked like her pictures. I know that women have their own horror stories, but men have stories that can match and even surpass those. After telling me about their Match horror stories, they would ask me for mine and I would simply tell them that I didn’t have any horror stories. 

    For several years I have dated online off and on. No, I didn’t find a man with whom I could spend my life. I have had a three boyfriends and met some really good guys in the process. I do not blame online dating for the lack of a long term partner. That would be ridiculous! I know that the one constant in ALL my relationships is ME. I learn from every relationship and every time I do better, choose better and learn more. 

    To Mgm 531:

     
    I know that you have received a lot of advice here and I think some of it was well meaning and some of it not so much. I would like to say that I admire the courage and determination it takes to put yourself out there again and again. I know my experience was very different from yours. I did not write to men I only responded to those who wrote to me. Therefore, I have no advice to give because I did not walk in your shoes. 

    1. 10.1
      Malika

      Hi Lia:

      Your comment on how it takes courage and determination to put yourself out there really resonated with me. I sometimes feel discouraged at the amount of effort i have put in and that i am still single. Yet i know quite a few people who refuse to try OLD, but unlike Mgm 531 hardly ever meet anyone in an organic manner. Of these people i know, quite a few haven’t had a date in years and can be quite bitter about it, one woman who randomly met someone settled into a dissatisfying relationship and one very attractive and intelligent woman has decided it’s just not meant to be because he did not fall into her lap while taking the bus back home from work! OLD is imperfect, but i ‘d rather dust myself off after a disappointment and keep on going rather than subject myself into going into a lonely rut.

  11. 11
    Wyatt Dick

    I do believe that there are some inherent differences between men and women. Women are less visual, and their sexual interest CAN be piqued by a wider variety of stimuli than is the case with men. BUT a lot of men, especially the older crowd, dramatically underestimate how much socialization accentuated these differences. And that socialization has been changing dramatically.

    Furthermore, the nature of OLD tends to further suppress any remaining male-female differences with respect to how ‘visual’ the genders are. If you really feel you are that exceptional male whose intangibles (personality, intelligence, charm, etc.) are such that you can attract women who would be ‘out of your league’ based on the standard criteria of looks, fitness, age, height, income, then OLD is probably the wrong medium for you if you really feel you need to date women who are more physically attractive than you are. Such a man needs to take his shots in real life where those qualities can translate. (Still a long shot, with the odds getting longer every day, but best of luck–it does happen.)

    But if you are a man and want to play the OLD game, I think it is best and most effective to stay within your league. It may indeed be true that the online leagues are distorted for whatever reason. But leagues never were true–they were always just a market function. And markets are as easily set by misperceptions as accurate ones. It is what it is.

    So if you want to play online, it seems best to play by the online rules. Life is not fair. Go after women who are interested in you–not women who you believe SHOULD be interested in you. And of course you can always change your online league–diet, gym, a good haircut, nice clothes, etc. can make miracles. It ain’t easy. I’ve done it before, and now, later in life, need to revamp the old body again. And this time around it’s harder to find the gumption. But again, life is how it is.

    1. 11.1
      JB

      And of course you can always change your online league”

      Of course we can. As men we can get a “raise”, get a promotion, grow 3 inches, get that Masters/PhD, finalize the divorce, and it would be wonderful to find the fountain of youth and become 30…..err I mean ….49 rather than 56…….lol but at the end of the day my face/headshot even if shot by a professional photographer looks like me and I look the way I look. A solid “5” (IMHO).  Life definitely is how it is and it ain’t like it was at 40.

      1. 11.1.1
        Wyatt Dick

        No one ever said we could become magicians and change from a 3 to a 10. But simply being in great shape with a good haircut and some fashion sense can make a big difference. But yeah, for shorter guys, I have no real solutions. Be the best you you can be and hope for the best.

        But on the flip side, men should ask themselves why they must have that ‘hot’ girl? If you imagine things are better or easier for ‘less attractive’ women online, you’d probably be wrong. What could the overweight woman in accounting with bad skin possibly do to make YOU attracted to her? Could she be ‘nice and kind’ enough? Funny enough? Smart enough? Or would her physical appearance disqualify her no matter her intangibles?

         

        1. JB

          “What could the overweight woman in accounting with bad skin possibly do to make YOU attracted to her?”

          I suppose dropping a few pounds and seeing a dermatologist would be the correct answer?…..LOL

          What could an overweight GUY in accounting with bad skin do? I guarantee she wouldn’t date him. She’d want a skinny guy. Most overweight women aren’t attracted to overweight men. Go figure.

        2. Emily, the original

          JB,

          I suppose dropping a few pounds and seeing a dermatologist would be the correct answer?

          I have a male acquaintance who did just that — dropped 40 pounds and cleared up his skin. Now he is dating someone, but she wont’ commit to him and goes off on weekends with her male friends. He didn’t change what was inside and she is walking all over him.

        3. Wyatt Dick

          OK JB. I think I see where you are coming from.My initial comment was directed at men who feel that women should do most of the work in terms of overcoming their more primal, ‘superficial’ attraction triggers (like they used to, some say), while men shouldn’t have to overcome theirs.

          But it seems like what you meant was that you feel the actual sexual market has become historically imbalanced. That is to say that in the sexual marketplace, women no longer see a man whose sexual market value is approximately equal to theirs ‘objectively’ as being their actual equal, subjectively.

          While this hypothesis suffers the usual problems of trying to determine what the objective value of something in a market is, independent of the actual market, I do think it is interesting. I live overseas and have for years, but in my last visit home to Canada, I did see some anecdotal evidence for this. Most women that I saw who were REMOTELY thin (by today’s standards) were with or being chased by men who were in even better shape, to the point that I saw a lot of gym rat men with good bodies chasing women who would have been considered outright chubby when I was growing up.

          Certainly, the men in Canada are fat too, especially older men. And I saw many relatively well-matched fat couples. But particularly among the young, I did see evidence of the kind of imbalance you are suggesting.

          Let’s remember that, ultimately, most heterosexuals do want to pair up and find happiness. And if we have created a society where this is becoming more and more difficult, then we are all victims. Sure, maybe one gender is more at fault–few things are really equal. But I’m not sure how much that matters when we are all becoming less and less happy.

          So while I find this theory that that the marketplace has become imbalanced interesting and worthy of discussion, I’d prefer to do that within this framework of understanding that we are all at fault to some degree and that we are all being victimized (by ourselves). I see no reason for intense anger or blame directed at either gender.

          One possible (and partial) explanation, beyond the greater obesity rates for women than men, may have to do with the nature of female and male sex drives (or at least how they stand in today’s society, right now). Women may be more likely to simply opt out when nothing they can get attracts them. Men, on the other hand, are probably more likely to stay in the game–at least in terms of chasing sex–even when nothing they can get truly attracts them. However, such men might still only be willing to sleep with the fatter, uglier women then can get and would also opt out of the game when it comes to actually marrying. So in some ways, they are just as out of the game from many women’s perspectives as the women are out of the game from men’s.

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          Hey Wyatt,

          “One possible (and partial) explanation, beyond the greater obesity rates for women than men. . .”

          I don’t know what the ratio is in Canada, but in the U.S., there are more overweight and obese men than there are overweight and obese women.  There is a racial/ethnic split as well.  With caucasians, more men are overweight/obese than women.  In the African American community that is reversed.  In hispanics, there are more overweight men, but the gap ins’t as great as it is with caucasians.

          I don’t know if it’s because our society comments on or disapproves of female overweight/obesity more than male overweight/obesity, but the perception that women are more likely to be fat than men just isn’t true.

          http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/adult-overweightobesity-rate-by-gender/?currentTimeframe=0

    2. 11.2
      Lia

      Hi Wyatt,

      You wrote, “Women are less visual, and their interest can be piqued by a wider variety of stimuli than is the case with men.” 

       
      Yes, yes, yes!!! I am not active online right now. However, I have been “window shopping” and I favorited dozens of guys. It is my “save for later” list. After reading your comment, I went back and looked at them to see what it was that appealed to me when I favorited them. I found more differences than similarities. I found the height range was from 5’6” to 6’2”, education ranged from high school graduate to PhD, different body types, totally bald to full head of hair, some had kids at home, some had kids that lived away from home, some had no kids at all, an age range that spans about 15 years – and on and on. What I did find were two things that they all had in common. The first was that something in their profile made me smile, not because they were funny (though there were some that were funny) but because I felt a connection. The second thing they had in common was that every single one of them had a big (sometimes goofy) smile on their face. 

      1. 11.2.1
        Wyatt Dick

        Hi Lia,

        What I had meant was that women are open to a wider variety of non-visual attraction triggers than men are, on average. But the point you bring up is also true: even within the range of visual stimuli, women tend to be more variable when it comes to what they find attractive. (Of course your examples speak to both aspects of women’s greater variability.)

        If you asked men to rank the top ten ‘hottest’ girls in a room of 100, their lists would be remarkably similar. Women’s lists–even when dealing with strictly appearance–would vary much more greatly. I’ve almost never thought a girl was really attractive and had my male friend say that she was not attractive at all–that he’d never sleep with her. This experience, on the other hand, is quite common between females where one girl will say that a guy is a hunk, and the other will mock vomit in response.

        That being said, the interaction between nature and nurture is complex. And nurture is operating with a power and scope that it never has before, opening up the possibility that the sheer magnitude of modern media’s impact on our lives could overwhelm any innate sex differences. Women are now being bombarded constantly with images of the hottest, most perfect men. Shirts off. Skin gleaming. Abs rippling. And they are responding by becoming more and more ‘visual’ and pickier and pickier about pure physical looks. Men, in turn, are responding to this in much the same way women have: they are losing confidence and having body image issues. Male anorexia is on the rise. Men are getting more surgery–peck implants, calf implants, hair restoration, botox, etc.

        This is a great paradox of our times: a small portion of the population is fitter and sexier than ever in human history. But the common masses are fatter and uglier than ever, yet bombarded with images of that small, perfect elite. Like most ‘drugs’, attraction has dependency/tolerance aspect to it. 150 years ago, the sight of a chubby woman’s ankles would ‘get a rise’ out of most women. These days, many men can’t get it up at all in bed as they are used to surfing 100s of perfect images an hour while masturbating. No doubt women’s attraction triggers are also being exhausted.

        And that’s what a lot of people don’t seem to get here. The attraction triggers for both genders have been so desensitized that for a lot of less attractive people, their physical ‘match’ is no longer ‘hot’ enough to arouse them. They keep aiming at ‘hotter’ people because that is what they are used to from TV, and people their own level no longer make them feel anything, physically. It’s gotten to the point where a lot of people would rather be alone and handle their own business than try to date (and eventually sleep with) someone as ‘unattractive’ as they are. So you get heaps of people from both genders desperately trying to score something out of their physical league because anything below that just can’t turn them on anymore.

        It’s a freaking mess out there.

        1. Lia

          Hi Wyatt,

          I can see that you have given this a lot of thought! I have great appreciation for the analytical way that you communicate. I think that you have made some very valid points. I have friends that date online and I am staggered by how their perception of men online and their perception of themselves seemed so skewed. I would point out men that I thought were attractive only to have them tell me I had no taste. Of course these men did not look like movie stars, but who does? 

          You wrote that women are “becoming more and more ‘visual’ and pickier and pickier about pure physical looks.” I have found that to be true with several of my friends who have dated online. One friend in particular would roll her eyes at me every time I would show her a profile of a guy I found interesting. She was so patronizing and teased me about reading profiles of men she thought beneath her saying that she never bothers to read a profile if the man is not hot. Now you might think that this friend of mine was a beautiful, fit, hot, young woman. She is not! She is my age, she was at least 40 pounds overweight and listed herself as “about average”, the pictures she posted were not accurate and she would meet men and then tell me how rude they were to her. 

          I never had men be unkind to me because I didn’t post pictures that were misrepresented how I looked. I listed myself as “about average” my friend asked me why I didn’t list my self as “slender” when I was. I told her that everyone has a different idea of what “slender” is and for some it could mean stick thin like a model and I didn’t wasn’t anyone to think that I had mislead them. 

          You make some interesting points in your last two paragraphs about both genders becoming desensitized visually. That makes me sad.
           

        2. Chance

          Hi Lia,

           

          Good to see you back here.  I did have one question:  what are your thoughts on the social media sharing epidemic as it relates to how it might be impacting your friends’ behavior?  Do you think that the immediate positive feedback (often of questionable sincerity) that people receive from posting self-shots or other shots involving themselves/their friends/their family can cause these people to have an inflated view of themselves?

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Hi WD –

          You said “the common masses are fatter and uglier than ever” .  I too as of late have noticed the “uglification” of the general populace (in both genders) and I feel so shallow for noticing !

          The population as a whole has gotten fatter (including myself, but fortunately I started off as stick thin, so my weight gain with age is manageable.)  I have also noticed a lot more “androgynous” looking people, and not “androgynous” in a sexy, exotic way, but more masculine looking women (not in a cute tom-boyish way) and weak looking, effeminate men.   I really do wonder if our food and soil supply has become so contaminated with artificial crap, that is affecting us in negative ways.

          I honestly don’t think the population suddenly became lazy and less careful about the food we eat.  When I was growing up, I rarely saw HUGELY, MORBIDLY obese people, or even people who were “averagely fat”.  Most people I saw were slender, curvy or at the most a bit chunky.  The HUGE person that I rarely saw in my youth has almost become the new normal. And it seems like everyone over the age of 25 has a pot belly, even if they are stick thin everywhere else.   And I don’t remember in my youth meeting people who were constantly counting, weighing and measuring every morsel they ate, clocking their exercise etc.  Yet today, everyone I know is STRUGGLING with their weight, and despite eating reasonably well, and having a reasonably active lifestyle, still struggle to maintain a slightly chunky physique.

          In my youth, (late teens to mid 20’s) I had a predominantly TERRIBLE diet, didn’t go out of my way to exercise (although I did hike and walk a lot) and I stayed very slender with no effort.  Now I eat very healthy most of the time, (fresh produce, whole grains, salads, lean proteins, etc)  hike, bike, spin class, yoga, cardio jam, and I struggle to remain a bit on the chunky side.  I think some of this can be linked to my age, but my mother stayed slim her whole life, in fact was often “too skinny” and while she ate reasonably healthy, she was not a salad, smoothie and whole grains eater like I am now, nor was she physically active.  (She was a smoker tho’ until she got to ill to smoke) and that could partially explain her slender to too skinny physique.

          The livestock that we eat has been treated with hormones to make them fatter and less muscley, the crops we eat have pesticide built in, that blows up the bellies of the insects.  I can’t imagine that if we are eating fattening hormones in our burgers, that it doesn’t effect us.   And the insecticide that blows up the insect bellies, could be bloating ours.  And those hormones in the livestock,  could be tampering with our hormones.

          I really wish we could get to the bottom of this obesity epidemic and fix it.  I know right now the thinking is to put 100% of the blame on those who struggle with obesity, but I really don’t believe that is the case.

          When I look at the younger generation I see fewer attractive people, not just the weight, but the facial features.  Sometimes I think it is some of the younger fashion choices such as massive tatoos, piercings and hairstyles, but even factoring out generational fashion trends, it does seem like the population IS uglier.  And as I said before, I feel really shallow for noticing.

        4. KK

          Hi SE,

          You’re right. I think another culprit is processed food. Avoiding it completely is a wise choice. Funny story. I was listening to a friend go on and on about her efforts to work out regularly and eat healthy with no results. I asked her if she knew how many calories she was eating daily and she said she wasn’t sure, but likely around 1,200 because she doesn’t eat much and eats healthy most of the time. I suggested a food diary. She didn’t like the idea. Fast forward to meeting at her place before going out to dinner. She started up again about her inability to lose weight. I asked what she had eaten so far that day. She said she ate a very healthy breakfast. An egg white omelet with spinach, onions, and tomatoes. Sounds good, right? For lunch, she said she had two small burritos and a coke. I asked what the calorie content was of the burritos. So she pulls one out and said how good they are. She discovered them recently and just really likes them. We looked at the package and it said 700 calories. For one burrito. She had two. And a coke. Lol! She was horrified she had consumed over 1,500 calories for lunch alone!

        5. Stacy2

          @SparklingEmerald and Co:

          On the topic of food and being fat: I grew up till my late teenage years in an eastern european country where to this day and age everybody is mostly “stick thin” by american standards, despite large quantities of the same meat and wheat products imported from abroad and consumed locally obviously. This obesity epidemic in the US, in my not completely scientific opinion, has to do with much simpler lifestyle factors:

          1. Portions here are huge. Everywhere except for top restaurants (where people complain they’re small but that’s actually normal) the portions are just ridiculous. One portion at a family style restaurant of the Applebees or Fridays or whatever would feed a FAMILY of 3 back in my old country. No wonder stomach reducing surgeries are on the rise

          2. Sugar everywhere, food in general is overpacked with calories. For some reason sauces with sugar are extremely popular here. The first time i had a sweet sauce on meat was in the US and at the time i though it was disgusting (sweet tastes were reserved for deserts only)

          3. People don’t know how to cook, the culture of eating out prevails – not healthy. When i was growing up, my family ate exclusively homemade meals. Going to a restaurant was a 1-2 times a year event and it was for special occasions. Homemade meals were not fancy, but were prepared from scratch completely – simple meals consisting of a meat, rice/potatoes/cereals and vegetables. We also had A LOT of fruit and almost never candy. In fact my parents did not give me any processed sugar or candy for the first 4 years of my life. None at all. It pains me to see my american 3yo nieces being fed marshmallows. Here I see mothers feeding their little kids chicken nuggets from McDonalds, mac and cheese (ouch), giving them chips, sandwiches with processed meat and cheese and other garbage like that. Cheap and low quality food is everywhere and the masses don’t know how to cook. So instead of picking up a whole chicken and some potatoes and celery and making chicken soup and mashed potatoes for their family, like my mom would do, they buy some frozen junk and feed their kids that

          4. Car dependent culture. Most people outside of a few large cities simply don’t move enough naturally. Enough said.

          I think these factors combined are way more important than blaming pesticides or GMO.

        6. KK

          “3. People don’t know how to cook, the culture of eating out prevails – not healthy.”

          People who don’t cook, choose not to. Cooking isn’t a very difficult skill and you don’t have to be a gourmet chef in order to make a good meal. My teenagers know how to cook.

        7. GoWiththeFlow

          Wyatt, Lia, SE, Chance, Stacy 2, KK,

          First, as far as women becoming picky about men’s appearance, I think it’s the catalog effect of OLD–it even affects behavior when you meet someone IRL.  I read an article once that quoted Helen Fisher, where she said our brains can’t handle more that 5-6 options at a time.  If we have a plethora of options (even if they are only perceived options) the brain deals with it by not choosing.  This leads to maximizer behavior, always holding out for someone more perfect.

          For myself, I can always find something attractive about the men around me.  A smile that lights up their face, beautiful eyes, or a sexy voice.  You can build on attraction from that starting point if your mind is free.  If everything has to be perfect, “oh the eyes are nice but look at the size of his nose” then you shut yourself off and move on to keep searching for “more perfect” in a mate.

          As far as the deteriorating health of the American public, it’s real!  Last year life expectancy for some demographic groups went down.  That’s shocking but hardly surprising.  Bad food policy, large agribusiness, and poor health education in schools got us here.  Too much sugar and processed carbs, low quality meats and dairy, and a ton of additives.

          About 4 years ago I switched to preparing my food from real ingredients (you won’t find a can of soup or box of hamburger helper in my pantry) and I wound up lowering my blood pressure and normalizing my blood lipid levels.  I let the kids eat more complex carbs than I do (pasta, bread, potatoes) because they have different dietary requirements than an adult.  They need the carbs to have energy and grow.  I don’t need to grow anymore 😉

      2. 11.2.2
        SparklingEmerald

        Hi Lia – Good to see you back, I have always enjoyed your insights.

        WD, I have enjoyed reading your insights as well.

        Lia – You are totally spot on about there being more differences than similarities as far as what you find physically attractive in a man.  I have been drawn to short men, tall men, lean and lanky men, muscular men, long haired and bald.  What really draws me in is a certain facial countenance, which only can be accurately seen IRL.   A man whose raw physical facial features are only average can be become smokin’ hot in my eyes with a big boyish grin.   And a man with classically masculine, handsome facial features will repulse me, if that handsome face is stained with a scowl, creepy leering countenance, or an arrogant sneer.

        While I may not be the most objective judge of my fiance’s attractiveness, I will say that even though I think he has  very handsome, rugged and masculine facial features (not to mentioned smokin’ hot, well toned arms) I was instantly drawn in by the twinkle in his eye, and the “smitten” look on his face the first time we met face to face.  (I know that I had a similar facial countenance when I looked up and saw him for the first time)  That, and the fact that he greeted me with a warm hug, and a very short and sweet peck (kiss) on the lips.  After the initial attraction, he held my interest with his thoughtfulness, his up-front, non-games playing display of his obvious interest in me, and has told me several times that I am fun to be with, and he LOVES how physcially affectionate I am.  (not just sexually, but very generous with the hugs, hand holding, cuddling, kisses, etc)

        Believe me, if had shown up with a scowl on his face, or eyed me like a piece of meet, or made it clear that he was only looking for a booty call, or even just acted bored and disinterested, my initial attraction to his handsome online photo would have evaporated.  Same, if he started playing hot and  cold games and sending mixed messages.

        On the flip side, if there was NO physical attraction on my part, no amount of thoughtfulness, display of effort and interest would have won me over.  I always feel bad when I am approached by someone (IRL or online) for whom I have ZERO physical attraction to, especially if they come across as someone who is truly interested in me,  and truly interested in a relationship, and comes across as a good relationship partner.  I know they will make a good partner for SOMEONE, just not for me.

        1. Lia

          Hey Sparkling Emerald,

          Happy to see you here and tell you again how happy I am that you found a great guy!!! I agree with you, how a man treats me goes a long way in sparking and building my interest. I also agree that if there is NO physical interest initially that it wont go anywhere. But I have learned that it doesn’t take a lot of attraction in the beginning for me personally. I have fallen for three guys in the last several years who I felt moderately attracted to initially. There is a running joke among my friends and family (a joke that is neither funny nor kind) that I notoriously date men that aren’t very attractive. Wyatt made some really noteworthy points in his comments. I know objectively that the men I have dated did not have those movie star looks, but that is not my “thing”. The more I developed feelings for a guy the more attractive he is to me. 

          After my last relationship ended everyone told me to date someone handsome next time, and of course I will date someone handsome – handsome to me that is, no one else’s opinion matters! Though my friends and family did admit that he looked more attractive the longer we were together. He smiled and laughed a lot and he was more confident and relaxed. I think that loving and being loved makes people more attractive… maybe that is a silly thought but I think it all the same.

          To Chance,

           
          Given that I have very little to do with social media, I am not the person to ask. However, with one friend in particular I would say that is not the case because she doesn’t have much to do with social media. She use to be slender and she use to get a lot of male attention. I don’t know why she judges men so harshly.

        2. Lia

          Hey Sparkling Emerald,

          Just wanted to comment on your observation that there are so many people who struggle with being overweight. From the things that I read it seems to be that some believe that it is the hormones in our meat that fatten us up like the cattle and chickens we eat. In addition to that there are those who believe that genetically altering our food has made it hard for people to properly utilize the food we eat, such as wheat. So many people have trouble with gluten that gluten free is now a big thing. 

           
          When I was a kid I ate an enormous amount of food and was stick thin. Now we have children who are in grade school that are over weight. When I was in school we had two overweight kids in the whole school, just two and they were not as overweight as many kids are today.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Lia. That’s a too bad about your friends commentary on the ” attractiveness” of your dates/ boyfriend’s.  I think people should keep their pie holes shut on such superficialities.  If they have a concern about you ( you general ) being mistreated in some way, they should definitely say something, but comments on their perception not his physical looks should be kept to themselves.  While there are certain looks that are universally considered attractive by most, beauty is still in the eye of the beholder.  My concern is who I am attracted to, not who anyone else thinks I should or should not be attracted to.

          am

  12. 12
    Marie

    OLD is great! I met my husband through OLD. We were both in our early 30’s, same income bracket (high), level of education (advanced), attractiveness (7-8), sense of humor, and direction in life.  We met after being on Match for 2 weeks, married after 2 years and now expecting our first child. (In total I think we were each online for about 1.5 months before mutually taking our profiles down.). I have many friends who met their husband or wife online and are very happy.  It’s so skewed from all the negative comments I see on here.  I guess it is because people who have had great experiences are not really talking about them because they are too busy enjoying their success.  My husband never had the same bad experiences as those men on this blog.  For every 2 emails he sent out I think he had a potential date or at least a response.  He’s a pretty chill guy so not getting a response didn’t bother him much.  What helped me most was being really prepared for online dating prior to launching my profile.  I had enlisted Evans help about 3 months prior to launching so had learned a lot about online dating and dating in general, what to expect, how to keep the momentum going, who to email. He vetted my profile, search criteria and everything.  I approached it like a a second job really.  I think if you really want online dating to work and are looking for a serious relationship, you really need to invest the time, education and money.  Otherwise don’t bother doing it because you will just become bitter.  I check back to Evans blog from time to time because I find it interesting and some of his advice can be applied to people who are married.  I just wanted to make sure people know online dating can work quite well for both genders with the right amount of preparation and the right attitude. If you go in thinking it’s not likely you’ll be successful and have a chip on your shoulder for the other sex already, then chances are you’ll be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Good luck out there and don’t give up!!

    1. 12.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      Marie,

      Congratulations on your and your husband’s impugning parenthood!

      You are soooo right!  If you are going to do something, take the time to do it well.  I just cringe when I see people advise stuff like doing mass copy and past emails, or that’s it’s a numbers game, i.e. quantity over quality.  Yes you need people to respond to you, but a flood of messages doesn’t do you any good if they aren’t the right people for you!

      1. 12.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Holy crap!  Major “spell-check” fail!  IMPENDING parenthood 😉

        1. Marie

          Lol, thanks GWTF! We are in our second trimester and I have to say the best part of being preggers outside of the baby itself is watching my hubby adjust.  He’s now researched and categorized all the things we need for Baby, the best consumer report grades, the best style for a onesy, etc.  He’s read most of those baby books and talks as if he knows exactly what it’s like to be pregnant (always a know it all, I say that with fondness).  He’s such a geek at heart, it’s so cute!

          I’m not unsympathetic to the trials and tribulations on dating/online dating.  I’ll be the first one to admit I had a fair amount of anxiety prior to trying online dating, but I did one thing right which is to acknowledge I would be completely out of my depth and got some help from a professional on online dating before I scarred myself for life! People who are skeptical about online dating say I just got lucky. While I acknowledge that there was some element of luck, I don’t think I would have turned him up using the usual methods and then managed the relationship so smoothly without having built the skills.  So I think success at online dating is a combination of skill and luck and you just have to do what you can to maximize your toolbox so you can properly taking advantage of any luck that comes your way!

    2. 12.2
      YAG (a.k.a. Yet Another Guy)

      OLD does in fact work, that is, as long as one has realistic expectations and puts effort into finding a match. I have over a 50% response rate; however, I am not a newbie to OLD. I met my ex on Match in 1997. My high school-age fraternal twin daughters are Match babies. While we had a good run, a “till death do us part” marriage was not in the cards.

  13. 14
    YAG (a.k.a. Yet Another Guy)

    I have been studying the science behind coupling since my I left my ex. Even though human beings are capable of higher-order thought, we are still animals. The desire to couple for men is driven by the primal urge to procreate. Men are visual because their primal triggers for selecting a mate are visual. These triggers drive men to select women who can nurse (busty) and survive childbirth (the hip-to-waist ratio thing). These are signs of fertility.

    Female triggers are more complex, but they are primal all the same. A woman subconsciously or not so subconsciously selects a man based on his ability to make her feel physically secure. Women will say things like, “I want a man who makes me feel small,” but what they really mean is I want a man with whom I feel safe from other men in his company. I am absolutely certain that the reason why I do better than men my height with comparable educational attainment, earning power, and looks is that I am physically larger than the average man my height. I have broad shoulders and large hands (I have been complimented on my hands so many times that I have lost count, something that I thought was extremely weird at first). I make women who feel large with other men feel smaller even though I am just 2″ taller than the average man, especially women who are 5’7″+ with medium to larger builds.

    The primal area where women leave men in the dust is their instinctual need to select a man based on his ranking within a social hierarchy. While a woman will accept a man of equal status, she more often than not desires a man with greater social status (a quick scan of profiles on Match will yield this universal truth). Women rarely date down with respect to social status. Men almost universally date down in social status in order to meet their primal desires (i.e., a woman of equal social status who triggers primal urge can easily date a man with a higher social status). This drive exists within a woman to ensure the success of her offspring. This instinctual behavior may be obsolete in a post-women’s liberation world, but it still exists; otherwise, we would not see men complaining about women wanting a taller than average man who is educated and has superior earning power. Like men who have to look past physical primal triggers to appreciate the other qualities that a woman may bring to the table, women have to override this instinctual behavior in order to be able to date shorter, less successful men who may make great partners.

    1. 14.1
      Emily, the original

      YAG,

      Women will say things like, “I want a man who makes me feel small,” but what they really mean is I want a man with whom I feel safe from other men in his company.

      There is some truth to that. I want a man who can “TCB”  — take care of business, be his own person — but that doesn’t translate to him being bigger and bulkier than I am. While I don’t want to tower over him or outweigh him by much, I have, for the most part, liked men around my height (5’5″) and rock-star skinny.

    2. 14.2
      Wyatt Dick

      The evolutionary psychology stuff is very seductive, and very dangerous. It’s tempting because, at least insofar as basic biological imperatives go, the answers probably are found in evo psych.

      But it’s dangerous because disentwining nature and nurture is very hard. But even just dealing with the nature side of things, the evolutionary narrative can often be more complex in reality than one would think. There are many ways to come up with an evolutionary story that fit the facts. For example, the evo psych narrative had been that women are more naturally monogamous than men because they of their greater investment in childbirth and child rearing.  That seemed intuitively accurate, at least on the nurture/biology end of things.

      But then came new theories that seemed to show that even strictly biologically–and just from an evolutionary perspective–women might not be more naturally monogamous. Rather, from an evolutionary perspective, what women wanted was to have sex with hot guys with good genes and then get less hot guys who were better providers to raise the kids sired by the hottie. This also seems to make evolutionary sense.

      So many of the answers are clearly to be found in evo psych–but it isn’t nearly as easy to ascertain the truth as many internet warriors and red pillers would have you believe. Naturally, a lot of women are fed up with the evo psych narratives entirely and have gone too far to other extreme, to the point where they feel it’s all bullshit.

    3. 14.3
      Nat

      “women have to override this instinctual behavior in order to be able to date shorter, less successful men who may make great partners.” Sadly, never gonna happen for a lot of women. It’d just create a mess in many cases. One part of the MRA stuff I agree with is that most modern women become really bitter when they feel “forced” to “settle” in that way. I don’t wanna name anyone, but ust among the few women posting here, it’s pretty clear that there are women who, if they dated an unsuccessful women, would be miserable and bitter. Everyone would lose, IMO. I agree with what one male commenter here posted before, that men make their peace with who they married, even if she wasn’t the hottest woman he dated, but women are more likely to be bitter if they marry a less hot or less successful man, if they dated hotter/more successful men before.

      Some women manage to “override” this instinct, but I would say it is very very rare and would probably require some professional help.

      1. 14.3.1
        Nat

        typos: ” just* among the few women posting here, it’s pretty clear that there are women who, if they married unsuccessful men*, would be miserable and bitter. Everyone would lose.”

        1. Chance

          Hi Nat,

           

          I agree that women generally have a much greater fear of “settling” than men, but I believe this is the case as it relates to any trait that a woman values in a man – not just income or height.  I believe the cause of this tendency is probably also rooted in evo psych.

           

          Without getting into the details and subsequently being accused  of being “red pill” by some of our more reflexive commenters, I’ll just say that – from an evolutionary standpoint – it is intuitive to think that it was much more costly for a woman to fail to optimize her biological imperatives as it relates to mate selection than it would be for a man.  Furthermore, women had a relatively short window to capitalize on their opportunity.  As a result, this is why I think that women are much more likely to experience anxiety caused by a nagging doubt regarding whether they’ve chosen the best possible mate, which is why we hear a verbalization of the fear of “settling” from women much more than we hear it from men.  To be sure, men don’t want to settle (who does?), but it isn’t the anathema to them that it is to women.

           

          Now, as it relates to anxiety caused by the thought of never having sex with a person other than your partner for the rest of your life, we know which gender experiences more anxiety 0n that front 😉

        2. Nat

          Hi Chance, I mostly agree with your first 2 paragraphs, but I still think this fear is strongest pertaining to the income factor. Because there are so many everyday moments when that bitterness can surface. When the married woman is house hunting, or wanting to buy furniture or designer clothes, planning vacations, introducing her partner at social events, or chatting to her girlfriends about her partner (this is a big one!), her unhappiness about his perceived lack of income/status can be triggered. Heavy social media use can make this worse–especially if her friends are, or are married to, high income earners.

          But naturally, individual differences are at play–some women have much less need and desire for a high maintenance lifestyle than others.

          Haha and I agree with your last paragraph. Similar to how I feel that there are women who would be better off not marrying men who aren’t good enough by their standards, there are men who are better off not marrying if they’d be miserable with long-term monogamy. Pple need to be honest with themselves about how they’re wired.

        3. Stacy2

          her unhappiness about his perceived lack of income/status can be triggered.

          I think at the end of the day we want to be proud of our partner. It’s a feeling that doesn’t have to come from (just) money or status. This is oversimplifying the issue.

      2. 14.3.2
        Lia

        Hi Nate,

         
        I will admit that there are a lot of women who are just as you described. I have friends who are like that and there are some women who post here that clearly are as well. However, I also know that there are women who can see the worth of a man in how he treats them, his integrity, his intelligence, his sense of humor, his willingness to listen and understand, his kindness, and a myriad of other things that make being with a man fabulous. I know women who can and do see that the measure of a man does not lie in his height or income.

        1. Nat

          Hi Lia,

          What u said is correct. I agree many women genuinely appreciate men’s kindness, intelligence, integrity etc. But even women who appreciate the other traits in a man like his good character can still be unhappy marrying such a man if he lacks other traits, like being successful or ‘hot’. We all have conscious thoughts, but also automatic impulses.

      3. 14.3.3
        sandra

        For clarity, it is completely within reason that a woman does not want to settle for a man who is UNsuccessful  –  a chronic failure or someone just scraping by in a marginal job or content with the minimal.  Any woman who can support herself does not need that ( an exception would be struggling artists or musicians who are younger).

        Now only wanting the wealthiest or hottest is another matter.

         

      4. 14.3.4
        Emily, the original

        Nat,

        Women are more likely to be bitter if they marry a less hot or less successful man

        Not true. I just met a friend’s boyfriend. She has a master’s degree while he has not been to college. But he has his own business (landscaping and snow removal) and though he is not wealthy he is successful enough to support himself and pay his employees well. She respects that he has an entrepreneurial spirit and doesn’t want to answer to 15 bosses all day long.

        1. Nat

          @Emily: Um that’s just 1 anecdote though. 🙂 And some would consider him reasonably successful and more successful than your friend, because he runs his own business, even if it’s quite a small one.

           

          In fact, red pillers would probably term him an ‘alpha male’, that pinnacle of masculinity in their opinion, but that’s another story. 🙂

        2. Emily, the original

          Nat,

          @Emily: Um that’s just 1 anecdote though.  

          Sorry, I haven’t conducted a major scientific study. Most of what people post here is their own anecdotal evidence.

        3. Karl R

          Nat,

          While I agree that Emily only posted one anecdote, you posted your opinion with zero anecdotes … and zero other supporting evidence.

          And since you haven’t dated “most women”, or even solicited the opinion of “most women”, I’m a bit skeptical that you could know whether “most women” would feel bitter, regardless of how much anecdotal evidence you can provide.

        4. Nat

          Lol oh cmon she categorically said “not true” and then cited 1 anecdote. Thats just faulty logic. U can’t definitively refute an argument pertaining to “many” or even “most” with just 1 anecdote.

          Also from your 2nd para, I can’t help feeling u simply wouldn’t want to accept my conclusion, “regardless of how much anecdotal evidence (I) can provide”, and frankly I’m not keen to write a thesis on the matter in the comment section either. But studies have shown it’s rarer for women to “marry down”.  And I likely have many more female friends than you do, and have spoken to enough women offline and online to be quite certain that many–not all–women would be very resentful if they married men they felt were “below their league” financially. 

          If we’re gonna be sharing anecdotes, my best friend is a brilliant educated woman who admitted to me a few times “I can’t respect a man who isn’t high achieving/successful”. And she’s not some shallow bimbo, she’s given up high earning jobs to do NGO work like micro finance in China–trying to “save the world” as she says, lol. But she still hated it when she tried dating guys who lacked drive. Even “nice girls” with lots of depth think that way, so I’m not buying that it’s a rare phenomenon. There are other threads on this blog where enquiring minds can read all the anecdotes they want, but it’s not v relevant to this thread.

        5. Nat

          Oops, forgot to address that comment to Karl R.~

        6. Karl R

          Nat said:

          “But studies have shown it’s rarer for women to ‘marry down’.”

          Another unsupported statement from you.  According to 2014 census data, 25.4% of husbands and wives earn within $5k of each other.  20.1% of the time the wives earn at least $5k more.  The remaining 54.4% of the time, the husband earns at least $5k more.  (If you want to count every marriage where the wife earns at least $1 more, that’s 38% of all marriages.)

          Wives out earning husbands is hardly rare.  And even for the ones where husbands earn more (like in my marriage), you can’t accurately assume that the wife would be bitter if the positions were reversed.  (My wife wasn’t bitter about out earning her ex-boyfriends.  She was bitter about the one that was insanely jealous (of her male friendships) and insensitive, but that’s not tied to their relative earnings.)

           

          Nat said:

          “And I likely have many more female friends than you do,”

          Another unsupported statement.  My wife and I are avid social dancers, so our main social activity involves me spending time interacting with hundreds of female friends.  That includes friends where the husbands lost their jobs during the 2008 economic downturn, friends where the husbands are retired while the wives are at their peak earning potential, and friends where the women are highly paid professionals.

          Moreover, I’ve dated women who out earned me.  Until my career took off, most of my girlfriends earned significantly more than me.  While there were clearly some women who wouldn’t date men who earned less, that primarily tended to occur in online dating (with its check-box mentality).

           

          I agree that some women would feel bitter if they earned more than their husband (even if it was only by a small amount).  Since their are more then 100 million in the U.S., even a minority of women could be accurately (if somewhat misleadingly) described as many women.  But the word “most” implies a large majority, and you’ve produced no evidence supporting that belief.  Furthermore, society is moving away from the paradigm where the husband is the primary breadwinner, and that paradigm has been changing for a few decades.

        7. GoWiththeFlow

          Nat,

          Dating and marriage are going through a period of rapid transition.  In advanced nations, it’s only been for a period of 40 years or so that people are completely free to marry (or get married at all) of their own free will based on their own priorities.  And from the standpoint of being able to support themselves while they search for a mate.  Therefore within the genders, there is going to be a variety of opinions (not to mention behavior) that is going to cover quite the range from traditional gender roles to an egalitarian mindset.

        8. Emily, the original

          Nat,

          Lol oh cmon she categorically said “not true” and then cited 1 anecdote. Thats just faulty logic. U can’t definitively refute an argument pertaining to “many” or even “most” with just 1 anecdote.

          Yes, but there were several women who posted their comments above mine who expressed similar sentiments that I did.

  14. 15
    Marie

    Thanks Evan! As you can see, Y and I are still going strong despite the overthinking and all. 😉 Thanks for all your help!!

  15. 16
    S.

    As an average looking African-American woman, I’m one of those “demographically undesirable” you describe.  That said, online dating was okay. I got dates.  I got intimacy.  It took a few years to know how to select folks.  But I got some attention and started a couple of relationships.

    I’m just coming off a dating break.  It’s a lot of work for me to date and continue on with my after-work activities and goals at the same time.  So I’m deciding to work on meeting people in real life. That way I get to do things I really enjoy and am passionate about and meet people.  It’s tricky because I’m not great at flirting and men are quick with the friendzoning sometimes. But then I can be too. I like having friends.  I really do.  And this was such a nice break. I did some awesome things. I went to eleven holiday get togethers this holiday season. It was nice to just enjoy them.  The one where I hoped this guy would come to was the one that I didn’t enjoy so much.

    So online dating is okay because both people are presumably available and interested if they go on dates together.   But . . . I like dating men who are my friends first.  Is it efficient? Hell no. But I actually enjoy it very much and that’s important.  So that’s where I am.  And people meet me when I’m real.  Not dressed up, not going to events and stuff I’m not really interested in.  I don’t mind trying new things but I can honestly say I rarely went to any event with someone I met online that I was really interested in. I was interested in him so I’d go where he wanted.  But I wasn’t actually into the things the guys wanted to do as activities.  I thought that wasn’t that important.  But it turns out that it is.  I also want to find someone spiritual, but not religious.  Someone who actually practices some sort of mindfulness or wants to.  It’s hard to find that in profiles out there.

    So that’s my experience. I’m exploring my spirituality and learning a lot about myself and life in the process.  Real life is cool. 🙂

    1. 16.1
      sophia

      I like real life (or 3-D as I call it), too, as you can sense or feel a person’s “energy” and this is far more difficult to ascertain in 1-D or 2-D.

      🙂

      1. 16.1.1
        S.

        That’s true. It’s slower getting to know folks, but it’s fun and you’re doing stuff you would want to do.  It’s also cheaper. 🙂  But there is no sense of wasted time at all because it’s activities you would already be doing.

        I’m not saying I’m a huge success at either real life or online dating.  But gosh, I had fun last month!  I lost a few pounds and had fun going out during the holidays.  It was great!

        Now that I’m off my dating break I have to step it up a teeny bit if I see a man I’m interested in.  But other than that, I’m enjoying life. 🙂  I feel so peaceful  and that is not a feeling I had on the dating sites.

    2. 16.2
      Elemental

      I’m with you S. I’ve just bailed on my third attempt at OLD because it’s just too uncomfortable for me. I find the difference between IRL interactions and meetings and OLD too significant to get a handle on. I know IRL isn’t as efficient, but every time I’ve tried OLD, my somewhat anxious personality kicks into overdrive. On the other hand, I’m comfortable and relaxed meeting new people IRL, getting to know them and just letting a relationship, or not, develop based on a series of interactions. I guess that puts me in the “fail to adapt” category, but c’est la vie!

  16. 17
    Wyatt Dick

    Successful human relationships have always involved finding a way to master or manipulate or otherwise get past our basic, ‘biological’ instincts. You can’t have communities, for example, until we all find a way not to choke someone out as soon as they piss us off. Similarly, people have always found a way to manage the biology of sexual attraction in order to pair up without feeling like you are ‘settling’. (Though to some extent this may have been facilitated by suppressing female sexuality so that it’s more about managing one gender’s–males–attraction triggers and not both.) Nevertheless, the idea that “I just like what I like and can’t do anything about it” seems like bullshit to me. Sure, you can’t simply will away the basic instincts, but there are ways to work around them. Always have been.

    That being said, in today’s world, with a digital media that is out of control and bombarding both genders with the message that the intoxicating chemical stew of infatuation and attraction is the most important thing in the world, and the corollary that sex, youth, and beauty trump all, things are a lot harder. Throw in the fact that females are freer to show their primal preferences (so now we have to fully overcome both genders’ biology) and things get really tough. Compound that with the fact that we all want hotter partners than ever, but are on average less attractive and fatter than ever, and you get a real mess. Almost a Gordion knot that seems impossible to unravel.

    I’ve been in Asia for almost 15 years, and while I have dated and had relationships here, it ultimately wasn’t for me. I’m going back to Canada in six months, and so I’ve started investigating the dating scene recently. Wow. It’s a lot different these days.

    I’m 44 and have become somewhat overweight. Probably an average weight for men my age back home–but in China that makes me fat! Having been on some online dating sites and read this blog and others, I see only one logical way forward for most people (including myself). No one person is likely to change the world, so you have to try to adapt to and succeed in the world you actually  live in. And the best way to adapt these days seems to be by becoming as physically attractive as one can be. Sure, one can argue that this is healthy, at least physically. But I mean that these days you probably need to go beyond the healthy weight and eating habits of our fathers and grandfathers. Psychically, their level of investment in ‘fitness’ was probably more ideal: don’t make it a huge thing, eat sensibly, get some activity, and stay relatively healthy. Put on some weight as you age and don’t sweat it too much, but don’t obsess about it.

    Today, it seems more beneficial to push harder on the fitness front. You can’t fight every battle or win every war. Sometimes happiness is about helping yourself and your partner get over or around their superficial urges as best you can. And since everyone now has a stronger superficial need for physical attractiveness in their partner, it seems easier to simply cater to that need as best you can than to try to deprogram the world, even if that would be nice to do.

    So I’m not going to date at all until I get not only to my ideal weight, but also get some muscle and tone. Even some abs–though maybe not those of a 25 year old. I’m going to get my teeth capped and whitened. Do some manscaping. Find the best haircut I can get. Spend money on clothes, and then on a good photographer for a great online profile. This will be a large investment of time at first, but once you get there, maintaining is less effort. Still more time and attention than I’d ideally want to spend on the superficial in a perfect world–but this world isn’t perfect. What’s even more important than getting to this level of attractiveness is KEEPING it. You do a huge disservice to your partner by attracting them at first, getting their commitment, and then letting yourself go. You have to make this change for life. And huge changes to one partner’s physical appearance (and not the others) AFTER you have committed is a sure way to introduce possibly fatal imbalances into your relationship.

    Sad and superficial as this is, it seems to be the most logical way to go. Life is what it is. And after the reading I have done on the current state of things, I’d recommend this to anyone who seems unhappy with the ‘matches’ they can currently get. (Of coure if you are far from your ideal physical self, but happy with that in others, great. No need to change.) I’m not saying that you should then proceed to be obsessed with beauty, and try to only get the hottest partner you can. Quite the opposite. You should still focus on the more important qualities in a partner. But the fact is that many otherwise great and ‘deep’ and substantial people are also caught up to some degree by the superficial imperatives of today’s world. Being the most physically attractive you can possibly be simply helps widen your pool of possible matches on a deeper level by no longer disqualifying yourself to otherwise great people who also care a bit more than they ideally should about appearance.

  17. 18
    John

    Wyatt

    I’m a guy in my 40s living in America. I’ll tell you when you actually get back into the dating pool it will shock you more than looking at it from the outside. I think most of  your observations are correct.

    The one idea that you have of becoming more superficial to fit in with the superficial group is probably not a great idea. Yes, be physically fit eat well and exercise.  If you do that and drink really good clean water and copious amounts of it, you will look younger and healthier. This is what I do. I’m also a serious weight-lifter. It boosts testosterone. I would say it is more important to get your inner game going.   Here’s what it looks like:

    1. Emotional intelligence

    2. Ability to persist

    3. Financial literacy and accumulation

    4. Physical fitness

    5. Mental sharpness

    6. Excellent sense of humor

    7. Ability to let things roll off your back

    8. The ability to connect to another human being emotionally

    Having nice clothes, clean teeth, a good haircut; that’s all great, but inner strength wins the day  and will set you apart from your competition. I really enjoy your comments.  They are well thought out and concise.

     

    1. 18.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      John,

      There have been studies done on cardiac rehab patients (after heart attach, catheterization & settings, or bypass surgery) and weight loss patients that show people with strong internal motivations have greater success with weight loss and exercise plan that people with external motivations.  If you are driven by concerns about your health and wanting to feel good you are more likely to change to and stick with a healthy lifestyle than if you are doing it to try and please a spouse or to be more attractive to the opposite sex.  Being more attractive is a bonus 😉

      So you are right:  Develop strong inner motivations for improvement.  That will make sure the results are lasting and effective.

  18. 19
    Wyatt Dick

    Thanks John.

    I’m not much of a ‘game’ kind of guy. But I do believe in controlling what you can control. The physical stuff seems like an easy no-brainer, at least conceptually. It’s the obvious first step and there’s nothing complex about it. That said, actually getting the gumption to do it is always the issue. But there’s literally not much to talk about. You do it or you don’t.

    The other stuff–if we remove the whole PUA frame–all makes sense. But personality changes are obviously a more complex issue than simply taking care of your physical business.

     

    1. 19.1
      S.

      Hi Wyatt,

      Now I understand.  You are starting with the simpler issue first.  I get it; change is hard. I’m working on myself with the hard stuff. Not changing my personality, but changing my habits and letting myself be with discomfort for a little while (not harming discomfort or anything damaging) so that I can change.

      I’ve dated a few hot men, but their inability to address some flaws with regards to trust, emotional intelligence, and communication ended things every time.  All the chemistry in the world can’t be sustained if those things aren’t addressed.  So I’m starting with me first. I can’t do much about how men show up in the world, but I do have control over me.  Yes, it’s complex. And difficult.  But it can be done. 🙂

      S.

    2. 19.2
      Sophia

      @Wyatt Dick, regarding “Sad and superficial as this is, it seems to be the most logical way to go.”

      I respectfully disagree 100% with the “sad and superficial” part- if you were referring to maximizing one’s physical fitness, which is how I read it. Disclaimer: I’m a bit of a gym rat because I LOVE it. I love how I FEEL while I work out, after I work out, you name it. I have high energy (mid-50’s), sleep GREAT, and have a solid core and strong back. I follow the 80/20 rule of eating and I do this all for myself, doesn’t matter if a guy is in my life or not. Obviously, it attracts guys BUT…I do it for health reasons! I honestly can’t understand why people don’t enjoy taking care of their bodies- and trust me, I have the same time issues as anybody else! (full-time work, kid, elderly parents who need help!). But, it’s part of who I am and ,therefore, a deal breaker regarding whom I meet.

      I don’t expect a magazine model or any weight-lifting champion but I do wish for a guy who takes care of his body via an active lifestyle (sports, fine) and attempts to eat quality healthy foods. (ps. the sugar industry and researchers who idolized money over true data made fat the bad guy, we’ve been sold a bill of goods for decades, ugh, but I digress).

      My mom, btw, is 90+ and has just given up walking 5 miles a day AND she takes care of Dad…her quality of life is high, and while genetics plays some role, she’s been active all her life and has eaten veggies and fruit like there’s no tomorrow.

      My point? There are far bigger reasons (as John mentioned above) to spend time taking care of oneself, physically – there’s a lot of emotional health that subtly slips in, as well.

      So, I don’t think this is sad and superficial at all (if I understood you correctly)- I feel this is positive and HIGHLY important for one’s life!! It’s all you can control, really.

      ps. a good haircut is achievable for ANYBODY and while that may be superficial, it’s easily attainable. Come on…

      ok, off to the gym! (ha)

      1. 19.2.1
        S.

        It’s so interesting. I so believe in healthy eating, but I don’t like the gym. Like your mom I think I’d prefer to walk. I once lost 50 pounds by walking alone and eating a clean diet.

        It’s superficial if you don’t feel good doing it.  The gym itself bores me after a while. I hit plateaus and well, on a treadmill I’m not actually going anywhere, lol.

        As for haircuts, it’s not for everyone. I have a friend who is 56 and he doesn’t want to shave his beard. Many men are really attached to their facial hair.  I feel it’s the same way for women and certain hairstyles.  Certain things are just ‘you’ after a while. My father had a mustache all his life until he died.

        Going to the gym is part of who you are, but it’s not for everyone.  I like being active in other ways.  (For example, I recently thought of doing a 5K in a high rise.  Stairs!  I have to rehab my knee a bit more for that, but it sounded like fun to me.)  Another male friend of mine was considering learning ballroom dancing since he heard they need male partners there.  To each their own, I guess.  Sure you can control it, but I never got the endorphins back in the days I was going to the gym three times a week.  I’m much more at peace and flexible with yoga.  Also helps with my chronic overuse injuries. The reasons to take care of yourself physically are many but my point is everyone has to find the activity that’s healthy yet that is right for them.  If you’re doing it just for health or to attract someone it becomes more difficult.  And if makes you miserable and I’m not sure how healthy or sustainable that it.

        When I get bored I just keep searching until I find the things that keep me active but that I actually enjoy.

  19. 20
    JB

    I’ve also noticed lately as the “apps” have over taken the online sites of Match & POF the proliferation of  female one sentence/ 2 or 3 pic profiles. I can tell immediately they were done on their phone. I haven’t perused Men’s profiles lately to see if this is the case for them as well, or is it more of a woman thing? Women have you noticed any change? The sites don’t care they just want as many active/paying subscribers as they can get. Of course I do as well as I’m a stock holder. 🙂

  20. 21
    YAG ( a.k.a. Yet Another Guy)

    Well, I learned where age-appropriate attractive women can be found. I took my high school-age daughters to a local higher-end mall on Sunday. They introduced me to all of the “girlie girl” stores. I had to pinch myself when we entered Sephora. OMG, there were so many hot age-appropriate women in that store that I could not believe my eyes. I received several IOIs too, which made me feel less uneasy about being in the store. It helps that my daughters are twins. Woman always want to talk to me when they discover that my girls are twins.

  21. 22
    Luka

    I seem the same issues online as IRL, perhaps magnified because on Tinder people do become commodities (next as a verb, uhhh).

    Everybody can get a date or a partner online, you just have to be realistic. Remember most of the planet is coupled up. I’v spent a lot of the last few weeks on this site and others like it, and I strongly feel the biggest issue with dating in general, but especially online, is unrealistic expectations. To the exclusion of almost all else. Men and women. Guys have to realise if you want a 19 year old lingerie model you had better be a tall, white, handsome hedge fund manager. And if if women want a guy like that they had better be a 19 year old model. Being realistic about yourself isn’t about high or low self worth, its about acknowledging the truth of what the opposite sex wants.

     

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