If despite your best efforts, how would you feel if it took over a year to get a single date? (You can fit quite a bit of rejection into one year, which is why I started this blog.) Now imagine trying to find that congenial life partner, aka “the one” to rule them all, if you only averaged a measly one date per year. Let’s say you’ve tried all the apps/sites and went to all the hip joints in your area but you came up empty (feel free to read about my failures #GirlFail). In consideration of those odds, would this change the way you live your pilgrimage as a love-laden individual? Ironically, most single-life blogs don’t narrate this story (#SerialDating) but it is mine and many others. While bemoaning myself into an assisted charcoal-burning suicide is a nonstarter, I did want to try and objectively explain my predicament since it’s more common than many think, especially for men.
(And in case you think it’s because I look like a troll or that I’m a slob – let me stop you there. Although I have no problem saying I’m average looking, I have my strong suits; e.g., physically fit, healthy eater, average height, and educated.)
Here’s a conversation I came across that perfectly depicts the disconnect I have set out to write about:
While both sides are correct, she (@FirstDatePurg) missed his (@DateTechnician) point completely. “Dating is work.” No doubt about this but how much work is being exerted on both sides and, on average, is it equal? And how different is it? (Not trying to single out @FirstDatePurg here, I’m sure she’s a great person and a hell of a catch. Also, @DateTechnician’s reference can be found here.)
To better explain myself, I’ll provide you with the exact antithesis of my situation, as I am confident it will be a tale you’re familiar with.
My friend Laura traveled abroad and painted the town red for the price of a venti iced skinny hazelnut macchiato with sugar-free syrup (#Starbucks). How? Well, on her second night, a chic man approached her on the street and asked her out dancing. With caution blowing in the wind, she accepted and journeyed with the stranger to a high-end club, got free entry, free drinks and free food. He was rich and well-connected with the local social elites and so, during her stay, she boogied at exclusive venues, debauched at luxurious homes, and eventually had sex with this attractive man on his stone balcony. And would you believe it? this story doesn’t end there.
After arriving back in NYC, she then captivated her peers with this enriching story, allured a wider audience via social networking sites with dreamlike photos no other tourist took and, in effect, bolstered her social status. Additionally, she’s able to use this sumptuous footage on dating sites/apps to easily attract more affluent and successful men in the city, and punch above her weight. You see, this experience doesn’t happily retire in a scrap book along with other distant memories but invariably gathers interest, allowing for larger investments in the near future.
Here’s my point: No universe exists where this even remotely resembles my life. In fact, all imaginary universes lack the temerity to grant even a slice of this pie based on – in Conway’s cowardly words – “alternative facts.”
A more impersonal way of conveying this is to say that there are disproportionate social opportunities that present themselves to some people, particularly women, and usually with little effort from the beneficiary. Additionally, when this is cited, one often hears a retort in the form of “you just have to have confidence,” or “you can do better” or “it’s less work for guys.” Jim Jefferies, shown below, provides an equally sleazy retort.
To be sure, this is a generalization and a half-truth. My intention is not to be divisive or rude in any way. The tone of my convictions are set to match those that truly believe it’s anyone’s game out there and if it’s easy for them, why not everyone else? Their existence immediately grants merit to this half-truth. (But feel free to argue with me 🙂 )
Why? First, as a society, we’re entering a new realm of romance with online dating spearheading the way – a modern romance, as some have called it. Second, it’s difficult to gauge just how much it’s impacting us. Granted, love will forever be an evolving hot topic and the example of Laura definitely isn’t everyone’s story but something of the sort happens every week, and I’d bet every day. As I’ve stated before, dating apps/sites in densely populated areas encourage two things:
- Men to be lazy (which I’m guilty of)
- Women to be picky (OKC and Tinder stats support this theory)
And as far as I can tell, both of these subversive traits will hinder everyone’s happiness. Consider the first point for a moment with regards to Tinder, which I can speak for. A guy’s odds of winning the Tinder lottery are absolutely pathetic. Dozens of studies report stats that back up our scanty luck; e.g., out of 250,000 swipes, a male subject was only matched with 532 of them. I’ll rephrase that: after swiping right to a quarter of a MILLION profiles, a guy only received 532 matches. The best part? The majority of the matches the male profile received came from other men. A quick calculation would show that if you’re a straight male, you would have a match rate of under 0.212%. By comparison, an average female had over 8,000 matches compared to just over 500 for men. Yet despite this, I still see men in public swiping on their mobiles instead of striking up conversations with others in public. How can we be so lazy? Has online dating justified shyness and reclusive behavior?
Furthermore, we seldom acknowledge why we’re acting the way we are. If you espouse to change or stand against the duplicitous role of Photoshop or the relentless bias towards actors and actresses with impeccable vanity in movie after movie, then I trust that you’d find it apropos to be mindful of how apps and the internet shape your interactions in the real world.
Ah, the real world of modern romance; where 1 out of 15 profiles feature a scandalous selfie of a girl squatting on a toilet (#FuckSocialNorms?). To be fair, men are equally as guilty with their photos and insipid descriptions about cheesy tacos but here’s the difference: the girl on the shitter is getting more dates than most men. Now her gag reflex may be as absent as her father figure but the fact that despite her foul lassitude, her odds of scoring a free meal with a local chap this weekend are vastly superior to mine should be contemptible.
I’m not saying that Ms. Support-Our-Poops should die alone but what irks me is that there is a Donald Trump level of loyalty towards these people – only instead of standing in the middle of 5th avenue and murdering somebody in cold blood (and not losing votes), it’s taking selfies while pinching off a big mud monkey in their WC. And this is all men’s fault. If photos like these were as readily available in the early 1990’s, Chuck Berry would never have put those video cameras in the ladies bathroom at his restaurant. So, why are men swiping right to this aberration?
Society has assigned passive and active roles for tasks based on gender for thousands of years. For example, men took an active role in providing for the family but a passive role in the actual care of the family (house maintenance, cooking, cleaning, etc.) and visa versa for women. This is something we gingerly internalized and while there are biological origins to these duties, that doesn’t make them intransigent, as you can see with my outdated example. For the most part, what continues to transpire today – what was regarded as the baby in the bathwater – is men actively seeking out and engaging with potential partners while women typically take a more passive approach, although this changes with older age. The main downside to this method is that objectified women are consequently subjected to much more unsolicited behavior; both good and bad, for better or worse, from both the richer and the poorer. Adhering to this, establishments are consistently insecure about their male-to-female ratio and, in an effort to satisfy this insecurity, will host a “ladies night” or ladies-get-in-for-free events. (Free entry and drinks for women every Saturday at Hudson Terrace and Monarch Rooftop. Tell your friends!)
These active/passive roles in our society are part of the reason why the superficial importance of appearance remains in the foreground. Getting dolled up is a side effect of assuming the passive role. Personally, I’d rather compliment your personality than your looks but alas, a ringing endorsement for the shoes she picked out is expected sometimes. (Side note, I can’t recall a single pair of shoes from any past relationship – they don’t fucking matter.) Truth is, calling someone beautiful isn’t much of an homage if you’re merely pointing out your appreciation for their genes, which they had no control over in the first place. Would you blush if someone complimented what hospital you were born in as well? No, but you recognize that beauty is vital to your passive role in the dating scheme. How many times do you hear “when will I finally find my perfect man?” In general, don’t they mean “when will the perfect man find me?” How many late night hosts introduce a guest in the following way: “We have the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence on the show tonight!” Why not “the talented Jennifer Lawrence”? She is talented as well, no? When asked why you chose your career path or hobby, how many women say they did it to meet men? I’ve lost count how many times the OPPOSITE is said; men becoming poets, actors, architects, musicians, authors, etc. solely to gain a competitive advantage and to hopefully – as Beavis and Butthead often wished – “finally score.”
There have been noble movements across the country opposing this but like most inexplicit parades, some look the part but don’t act it. Hipster fashion rejects flashy tight yoga pants for ripped blue wash jean shorts draped over black stockings; prescription contacts for your Dad’s first pair of oversized spectacles; a matching outfit for half a dozen conflicting cultural references you know nothing about. In my mind, the goal of some hipster trends is to appear as impractically unattractive and indolent as possible. If not their bib and tucker (#sarcasm), then overt objection to the generic à la shitter selfies. However, in some respect, this is the broad reply to unwanted, unsolicited behavior (e.g., dick pics and catcalling), which is the sad trade off.
And yes, it is disgusting how many derisive pigs there are. How hawkish their openers can be. How unlettered they are. How they have become tireless parodies of themselves collecting waste while others ignore their bullish tropes. Innumerable twitter accounts, vlogs, blogs, songs, and books are dedicated to these types of scum. This is low-hanging fruit but it’s easy to vent about.
As much press as irreverent openers get, this doesn’t add to one’s workload if you can still pull off a date with someone. Everyone should enter the world of dating with the mindset that at least 50% of men/women you’ll encounter will be shit. Tinder just helps to magnify this. Like I said before, men are generally more assertive out of necessity, so pigs flooding your inbox is sure to happen. The big downside to online dating is the ignorance on both sides. Unfortunately, many great guys waste away their chances by throwing around openers like “Hey, how are you?” or “We have a lot in common, want to chat?” because they don’t realize a women’s inbox is being filled up with competing messages and matches that are all subject to a vetting process. Who wouldn’t become desensitized to simplistic greetings or compliments? That is the center of the bull’s eye here. Neglect this at your own peril.
Yet, isn’t this the best time to be single? The ads for Match.com make loneliness out to be as fun as having herpes. I mean, you can find a date using nothing but the internet; a concept most people don’t even understand. Oh, and there’s finding someone in person; speed dating, singles mingles events, and the like. However, online dating has lost its sketchy stigma and the majority of Americans now say it’s a great way to meet someone. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, usage of young adults have nearly tripled since 2013. A few years ago, I wrote about my OkCupid social experiment, which compared my real profile as a man to my fake profile as a woman.
How useful is OkCupid for men? Well, I visited over 600 profiles and sent about 450 messages over the course of six months. Out of those 450 messages, I only received 5 replies. Yup, that is 5 out of 450. That equates to about a 1.1% success rate, where success SOLELY means getting a reply. In order words, I wasted over 112 hours of my life. Here’s a tip: you have to be inured to rejection to continue. And clearly everyone wasn’t having the same rotten luck. It may sound crazy but I consider this to be a success story from a guy’s perspective.
The social repercussions for lazy bios and gag-provoking photos are unmistakably different and don’t favor men in this era of modern romance. Would you swipe right after reading the following bio?
Looking for someone to show me the city
(aka, they know nothing about the area)
I’m great at lying and I will only complicate you
(most likely crazy and selfish)
I don’t even use this stupid app anymore
(probably won’t respond to your message)
From what I gather, women are much more likely to reject this but as unappealing as it sounds, men are swiping right because why not? What difference does it make if you’re already struggling to find a date?
This isn’t to say women don’t struggle, but it is different and I’m not alone in saying that I would trade places in a heartbeat. Much like anything else, dating/socializing is a muscle to exercise and for many of us, we’re indulging in this numbers game because we’re reluctant to settle. Averaging 1-3 dates per year doesn’t give you enough practice in repartee, or time to polish your first impression, refine your best stories, or calm your nerves. This is where many of us part ways; I argue that 10 mediocre dates are superior to 1 great date. To put it another way, I’d rather sift through cringe-worthy openers, perverted invitations, poor dinner conversation, and a few free meals than spend another evening alone staring at an empty inbox or being turned down a dozen times in public. Love is hard; sex complicates everything, and it’s supposed to. This is why whenever I hear the type of hogwash that’s in this tweet…
…it tells me two things:
- Nearly a thousand people agree with this written memento (facepalm)
- Those that act this way aren’t putting in the hard work required in a true relationship
Most of us are looking for that someone to fulfill and complete us. And the more relationships, sex, dates, conversations, repartee, etc. the better your chances are at coming across the one who will requite the love you share. But consider this if you still believe I operate on a level playing field: literally every person I’ve ever been with has had at least twice as many lovers and dates (albeit not always relationships) than I have hitherto. The number of dates amassed within a couple of years for many dating blogs hosted by women would take me multiple lifetimes to accrue. And if they’re having trouble finding the one, what does that say for people like me?
Is this news? Not really. But if it is true that I’m intrinsically placed at a disadvantage and the game is slightly rigged against folks like me, then it’s also disadvantageous to act or think like so many of those who don’t share this struggle. As such, I’m proposing a sort of Single Life Manifesto in an effort to steer oneself unperturbed through the tempest of modern romance.
1) Vigorously disdain unctuous platitudes such as:
- Everything comes to you at the right moment; be patient
- There’s other fish in the sea
- It’ll work out in the end, just be yourself
2) View online dating resources as simple means of finding others but not the ONLY means
3) Embrace every opportunity to refine communication skills with exigent effort
4) Insatiably devour failure and rejection; eat it for breakfast, dammit
5) Always be respectful and don’t be a scornful or sleazy asshole. That lot has been amply filled without the likes of you. Ask anyone
6) Better yourself every day for there will be times when you’re just not good enough (ever seen a shirt with “Strong women intimidate boys and excite men” on the front?)
“If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you wont give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy. … Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley
If you believe this mindset would breed a life of misery, contempt and pessimism, you are mistaken. On the contrary, it’s stoic and honest, which is useful during formidable times. And if you believe those, too, are overrated traits, here’s another platitude for you: nobody said life would be easy. That’s what true confidence looks like. And who the hell doesn’t want confidence in a lover?
“Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” – Shari R. Barr
A friend once comforted me by saying, “You know what your problem is SingleGuyInNYC?”
“You just got to be yourself and let someone come to you.”
We sat in silence for a few seconds before laughing to tears. It was the best damn joke I’ve heard in a long while.
And that’s my point.
-Single Guy in NYC