Men’s Struggles with Online Dating Masks a Deeper Problem

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Online dating is weird, (mostly) pointless, and quasi dystopian.

All those supposed “success stories” those websites like to post? Probably fake. Or extreme outliers. Like blue lobsters. Marketing gimmicks to keep you subscribed.

The only real winners in the online dating world are the conglomerate websites. The proverbial picks and shovels sellers in this modern romance gold rush. They’re literally making billions off your yearning hearts. Cock teasing men is big business.

We already know that online dating is a venue that mostly benefits hot guys. For the uber attractive (top 5% of guys?), online dating is a fun playground. To which I say, good for them. Everyone leverages their advantages where they can.

But if you’re like most men, online dating is just a vast time suck. An exercise in futility. You shoot dozens of messages into the cyber void. Then don’t hear back. Even after spending whole minutes on messages, crafting them with attention and care. You’re not going to be like those other guys who just write things like “‘sup?” or “DTF?” You’re going to put actual thought into what you say.

Of course, the reality is most women receive dozens of messages a day. Or even hundreds, if they’re hot. Shakespeare himself couldn’t craft a sonnet steamy enough to overcome that kind of inbox inundation.

So you get depressed. You give up. Only to return, like a relapsed crack addict, back to the seductive siren call of the online dating world, weeks or months later. You think this time it’ll work out. This time your magical pixie sex-loving soulmate will appear. The cycle of failure begins again. And another dating service gets a billion dollar IPO on Wall Street.

Here’s the deal. If you’re relying on online dating to find a mate, that’s like relying on fast food for nourishment. Yeah, you can do it for a short time. But any longer and you’ll just end up killing yourself.

Online dating is stupid. Online dating has become a crutch for too many men. Online dating has become a poor substitute for actual, genuine communication and interaction. It’s fundamentally anti-human nature, which is why it really doesn’t work.

It’s also retarding the personal growth of many men. It’s helped to create a generation of poorly socialized incel losers.

In the quest for a mate, there are two factors that matter most. PROXIMITY and PERSONALITY.

Proximity. Meaning your physical social circle. Your friends and acquaintances. The people you see and talk to in-person throughout the week. Your neighborhood. The people you live near. Go to school with. Etc.

I used to work with a guy who grew up in a super small town in North Dakota. He married his high school sweetheart at 18. He has one kid, and another one on the way. Now, do you think he was able to get married and build a family at such a young age because he’s some charming swooner? No. Dude is below average-looking at best, beer-bellied, and has a mullet. But he was able to pull off the gig purely because he and his future wife graduated in a high school class of like 12 people. There was nothing special about him particularly. But he was familiar and known to her. He was one of the few candidates in close proximity to her. So, by default, Mr. Mullet Man won out. Put any other dude in that position, and the results would likely be the same for that other guy.

Personality. This is obvious. The better personality you have, the bigger net you’ll cast. Especially if you have a good sense of humor, or just put off a good vibe. There are few things better than finding out you click with someone over the course of a conversation.

Here’s the problem. Online dating eliminates those crucial features of proximity and personality that are so essential to finding a mate. Instead, it puts a digital gate up between you and everyone else via a computer/smartphone screen.

It’s much harder for your personality to shine through in a mere profile summary. Inflection, tone, subtext, and your overall vibe often get lost in translation.

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I had a girlfriend one time who I was initially attracted to because of her voice. She had this sweet but firm “museum curator” like tone of voice that I really liked hearing. And when she talked, the tip of her nose bounced up and down in this really cute way that I loved watching.

How in hell does a dating profile convey one’s voice or something as uniquely attractive as the way the tip of one’s nose bounces when they talk? It doesn’t. Those were things I only noticed because I knew this girl in person.

Online dating has unconsciously trained men to be lazy, and take an easy short-cut to find a potential mate. The failure of online date is not a bug; it’s a feature.

It also dehumanizes people down to a scramble of pixels. And it’s very easy to dismiss (swipe left) a mere digital specter on your screen.

I found myself realizing this some time ago as I was scrolling through a gallery of women on a dating app. I caught myself mindlessly nexting one after another. Dismissing potential mates for the most superficial and silly of reasons. Reacting to visual stimuli from my lizard brain with guttural caveman responses. “Me not like her hair style.” “Ugh, shoulders too broad.” “Too tall, me not like.”

No doubt the same has been done to me hundreds of times.

I did a thought experiment. Out of all the women I’ve messaged who never responded, how many of them might have been more receptive if I was in their proximity? What if I was like Mr. Mullet Man above, so to speak?

I suspect the answer is I would fare much better. Any time I’ve ever been in a social setting — school, workplace, church, etc. — I’ve never had issues with meeting or attracting women. I don’t have a standout personality or anything. And looks-wise, I’m average at best. But I’ve never lacked for admirers when in a good, diverse social environment, as I suspect is the case for many other men, too.

And how many women have I nexted on a dating app that might have been good partners in real life have I missed out on? How many cute nose tip bouncers have I potentially overlooked?

So why waste time with online dating apps that don’t allow the average man to play to his strengths?

As I’ve gotten older, and my social circles have shrunk, or in some cases, disappeared, so have the opportunities for finding potential mates. This is one of the struggles with adulthood post-college, and in entering middle-age.

In response, many have turned to the dead end of dating apps as a supposed solution. But for most that’s really just setting yourself up for failure, because it causes you to ignore the two primary factors of proximity and personality mentioned above.

So men who continually fail at online dating start to give up hope, and feel like failures in life in general, when that is not the case. Really, social media overall has caused people to be far too hard on themselves in judging their social status.

The problem is not online dating. That just masks a bigger issue. It’s poor social skills. It’s not having a good circle of friends. It’s the modern problem of becoming trapped behind a computer screen, and everyone’s digital avatar becoming the substitute for their actual being.

So many men have become dependent on online dating, that it’s crippled their ability to function in real life.

The reason why incels exist, and why there are so many lonely single men these days, is not because women’s standards are too high. It’s not because hot chads are out there dominating, making it impossible for the common uggo to have a fighting chance. It’s because so many men can’t communicate or socialize properly at even a basic level. It’s like they’ve forgotten how.

This is not an endorsement of the pick up artist lifestyle. Nor am I saying that online dating is a total waste. It’s a supplement at best. It can work.

This is about simply being human and interacting with other people in healthy social environments. Something that has become harder to do these days. The pandemic only made it worse.

I think if men focus on building genuine social networks first, then the opportunities for finding mates will quickly follow.

Afterall, no matter who you are, or what you look like, you possess some unique nose-tip-bouncing quality that someone finds endearing. But it’s going to be almost impossible to find that someone if you never actually meet in real life.

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