Internet dating is pretty much made for the ladies, right? All you’ve got to do is throw up a couple of pictures, string together a few sentences that aren’t totally cliche, and wait for the emails to come rolling in. Sure, you’ll get plenty of messages from crazies, and old dudes, and people from other states, and people who don’t speak English, and people who just want to have sex with you, and people who just want you to have their babies, and people who just want to harvest your organs BUT once you delete those you’ll be left with some totally decent guys. Right?
I insisted that was right. And to a certain extent, I still do insist that is right. Internet dating, for being definitively modern, is still pretty old-fashioned. Men write women. It’s a one way street, plain and simple. Then the women decide whether they will write the men back, and the men sit and contemplate. Of course, ultimately, the jokes on them, because if she does decide to write back and they find each other irresistible, one day they might get married and then one day after that they might decide to have children so that one day after that she’ll have to pass an enormous being through a very small part of her body while he sits in the waiting room and drinks scotch and smoke cigars and very possibly wonders which of the nurses is hotter. So who’ll have egg on their face then, eh ladies? But for now, while it’s still just Internet dating, the women are definitely in the lead. I get one email a day, they get one email an hour. You decide who’s better off.
But I’ve asked women how they feel about this, and they beg to differ. Oh, how they beg to differ. Too many emails, they say, is far more burden than boon. It takes forever to go through them all, and if you have any hopes of finding the normal guy needles in the insanity haystack, you’ve really got to read each message. We should all have such problems. But still it’s an interesting point. And some insist, and these are very attractive women, mind you, that they don’t actually get as many messages as we lads might think. And these women are hot. I mean, I’ve dated them, so you know they must be prettttty foxy. Could it be that they’re too attractive, that men assume they’ll never write back, so they don’t even bother? Could these ladies possibly be right, that being an attractive single girl on a dating site is not all it’s cracked up to be? There was only one way to find out: put up a fake woman’s profile and see what happens. So that’s what I did.
A friend of mine had paid for his Match profile in advance, but had met a great girl and no longer needed it. Dying to find out what it was really like for the females, we jumped into action. We deleted his profile, images, everything – and replaced it with a woman we called SuzieQ. Her profile was smart – but not too smart. (Yeah, we know guys are dicks too.) We made her very approachable in terms of job, ambition, sense of humor – but also very desirable. And for her picture…well, we did what any self-respecting man in the computer age knows how to do: we typed “hot chick” into Google and clicked on “Images.” What we selected was something like this:
Hot, but in a wholesome, normal way, right? The fact that this actual woman is, I believe, a porn star is neither here nor there. So we put up her profile and you know what happened? The same thing that always happens. The women were right.
The responses SuzieQ received, in a word, sucked. The first day she probably got ten or fifteen emails, far less than I expected, and they were all deranged. There were several guys openly living in their mother’s basement, nearly all of them were weird looking, and none had respected poor Suzie’s age requirements. When women write 18-25 in their profile, do guys assume there’s a hidden x2 in there? There weren’t as many out-of-state emailers as I expected, but Staten Island was extremely well represented. Not since Jersey Shore has Staten Island been this well represented. But if there was one unifying principle in Suzie’s responses, it’s that were all pretty…boring. No one was funny or clever, no one was creative, no one seemed to really address her profile at all. It was just all vague, uninteresting blabber. And most of the messages were blatant copy and paste jobs. I felt so bad I wanted to write Suzie a note myself. Just so she doesn’t get down on herself, you know?
The next few days were worse. The quality of the messages didn’t improve, and the numbers decreased rapidly. Pretty soon SuzieQ was getting one, maybe two emails a day. And to call them emails was generous. “Hey, you like underwear?” No sir, not in the way you’re asking, I don’t. After it was all said and done, my friend and I agreed there was only one or two guys that we would’ve responded to. That’s pretty, well, bleak.
Now, is that any worse than a man’s predicament? We don’t get many emails, and I assure you, almost all of them are awful. But what we don’t have is the pressure. It kinda hurts to read notes from 15 dudes who are hoping you’ll write them back. You feel bad hitting the delete button over and over on guys who’s league you are hopelessly out of, even if your league is an entirely fictional creation. Guys may have to do all the work, but it’s a guilt free endeavor. Either we succeed or we don’t, but we can forget about it and move on to the next battle. Women though, have to live with saying “no.”
I’ll take being a man any day. Plus, there’s that whole baby thing.
You now, I’ve heard this sort of women’s-eye-view portrayal of the online market before, but it seems like there’s a tension here vis-a-vis the usual expectations re message-writing.
If the overwhelming majority of messages girls received are hopelessly, beneath-contempt bad, then how come guys sending messages that are at least sort of ok don’t just clean house? If the competition is all abysmally bad, then how come there’s this sense that messages have to be awesomely great to have a chance of succeeding?
Because in this context, beggars can be choosers.
Huh? The “finding the normal guy needles in the insanity haystack” picture is only consistent with that if the haystack is impossibly large (in which case yes, a tiny fraction of the messages being good can mean lots to choose from in raw numbers), but the post reports SuzieQ’s haystack as being disappointingly finite. Hence my question.
Ah, B – some women prefer to give birth in a more organic/instinctive way rather than the hospital scene – and it can bring quite a natural high. Prepared home birth as well as waterbirth (home or birth center) can be amazing and empowering for both partners. Famous women who’ve had healthy, positive home birth experiences with licensed midwives include Cindy Crawford and Giselle Bundchen, waterbirth mothers include RIcki Lake and Lucy Lawless.
Going back to the preconception of it though – yes, online dating sucks, and is not a hipster or intelligentsia jackpot – on that you are quite correct. It gives “Fool’s Gold” a whole new interpretation…
Thanks for sharing this post.
Where in the world is the concept that there are floods of e-mails coming to all half-way attractive women invented? Au contraire-I think your female friends might be messing with your head! I would say at least half the time, a woman has to initiate contact and from my purely informal survey, we strike out too. Yes, people do not return e-mails. If you read the guy’s profiles, virtually everyone invites women to send them a wink, message etc.
I actually just took down a very nondescript (VERY nondescript) profile from PoF after it had only been up for five days. First, let me elaborate on said nondescript profile. 1) No pictures at all, 2) basically stated that I’m not here to date, just to look around, 3) that I’m not interested in talking with anyone, and 4) I have no problems getting dates in the “real” world and this is merely a form of entertainment for me. Sounds pretty bitchy, right? Who would give me the time of day, right? The answer? Everyone apparently.
The first 24 hours I got 32 messages. A couple guys I’m friends with (random!), quite a few guys were “in a relationship” but looking for FWB (um, no thanks), three seemingly legit, nice guys whom I gave my contact info to before I deleted my profile so we can remain in contact… and well, the rest were like you stated: not in my age range, not in my “race preference” criteria (ie. I like white boys/not equal opportunity, sorry), had kids (I specifically don’t want to date anyone with kids. I don’t have any and don’t want to start now) and some were just so… yuck. I mean, I know I didn’t have a picture up, so they didn’t know if they were “in my league” or whatever, but seriously. I’m 31, 5′ 8″, athletic (yes, I really do have the athletic body type)… how in the world does a 47yo, 5′ 6″ overweight hispanic dude with four kids fit into my description of a date? Oh, that’s right. He doesn’t. On top of being pretty much revolting to me it also makes me wonder if he was illiterate or just really didn’t give a shit about reading my profile. **rolling eyes**
Anyway, I finally deleted my profile this morning because last weekend I had some random guy (note: that has never seen my face or talked to me) message me at 1:30am asking if I wanted to come over and well, you get the picture. I’ll stick to meeting people the old fashioned way. :)
Reblogged this on Smooth ReEntry and commented:
My head is still spinning over the Manti Te’o story. Just when I thought the story couldn’t get any weirder, it turns out the clingy sounding woman is really a man by the name of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo…The whole thing is scary as shit and reminds me of this post.
Well, I’ll say this, you did two things totally wrong:
(1) Every guy who’s been on these sites and has a certain level of intelligence are very sceptical towards studio photos. I mean anything with a low DOF that suggests you’ve made a serious effort to look your absolutely best. Women who look good are on tons of photos these days. She just has to pick a couple of them. And one photo only, that’s a sure off-putter. You all know this by instinct when on the guy-side.
(2) You should have stayed online a lot. Women friends of mine get tens of emails an hour, at least, when online in the evening. Sure, good looking women but nothing extreme.
Finally, people are really good, research has shown this, at spotting if a text was written by a man or a woman (double blind RCT). You should’ve had a woman write a real text.
No, I’ll propose this instread: Women have it worse in one way because they tend to eventually fall into three traps. (1) She thinks she’s as good looking as her best photos. (2) She expects really interesting emails. How would that be possible with the rather mind numbing presentations people put out there? It’s not. Wouldn’t you be rather freaked out if someone at a party or in a bar went up to you and told you his life story or somethings really unique? If not, read on to find the third and most important trap.
(3) The biggest trap of them all: Believing you can boyfriend the best guys who’ve hit on you. A guy who walks up to you at a party or in a bar and has the perfect thing to say, he’s done it before and he’ll do it again. That super good looking guy who’s flirting with you online? Yeah, no, you’re not as good looking as your best photo – he want’s to get laid. I’ve seen so many of my women friends fall into this trap on modern dating: Being charming as a women, taking initiative, joking about sex, being funny, well, you tend to attract guys. I’ve seen these friends going into relationship after relationship with men who simply are out of their league, and it will matter soon enough. Women can sleep with guys who are out of their league, men can date out of their league but can normally bed below what they can date, unless they’re serious players :-) So women can easily fall into the trap of: I can get this kind of man, when she can, well, only for the night.
There’s actually a fourth trap that both men and women fall into: Illusion of exactness. With too much information comes an illusion of having that possibility to made more precise descisions, with really having defined how to rate the outcome. Let’s ask ourselves: Would we have even looked twice at our exes if we would have seen them online? I didn’t think so…
@Alf: Thank you! I have said something similar in a reply to another thread that has yet to clear moderation but the woman in the most recent long-term relationship I was in told me exactly that: Had she met me online and not in a non-dating setting (she had a business problem that needed to get fixed and was referred to me by a common acquaintance) she would not have given me the time of day. The relationship lasted three years.
The highly-detailed search profiles make us believe that the ideal can be realistic: I “can” find a 5’8″, Indonesian-latina mix, 28yo, post-doctoral, athletic, non-smoking, socially drinking, avid reader who enjoys oral sex and can see herself in a long-distance relationship but loves dogs and gets along with her parents and who lives ten minutes from my house. There has to be. The SE lets me look for it. The problem with that approach is: If that really is your ideal (and I am not criticizing), what if the match was perfect but instead of 28 she was 29 (or 27)? Or if she was “only” 5’7″? Does it make her less ideal? It does not matter because you would not see her in your results as she fell outside the filter.
Conversely, women are differently challenged than men in their approach. After some experience, I stand firmly convinced that women are less risk-tolerant in their dating approach. The saying is that you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince and the are not (on average) willing to do that. At best, they might consider “voice-verifying” a frog. But kiss him? No, they are not looking for Ryan Goslington. They are realistic enough in that respect. But they are still expectation-driven. I would say almost (but not quite) to the extent men are. It literally does not matter to them that (spoken in terms of OKC) you have a 95% match in your profiles: You care about almost everything they do and vice versa. Imagine: A 95% match! That would seem to be a marriage that has to work. I don’t agree with my siblings on half of the stuff (nor would I date or marry them) and we know and like each other. 95%! But she is looking for 28 to 38 and I am 42… AOL never developed a ding for that: You have no mail! They should have. :)
Lastly, and this makes it admittedly more difficult for women (because men are OK with it) but we are talking intimate dating here. IOW, it involves sex. I think women can rightly assume that any guy that emails them or winks wants to have sex with them. I know I do. Not exclusively. Not as the highest goal. But it is out there. I find that if I am interested in a woman as a person I tend to be interested sexually before too long as well; even if I was not at the outset. So that is in the room with every email a woman receives, regardless of how gallantly and romantically it is phrased. The thought of having sex with someone they are not sexually attracted to is, to a woman more than a man, somewhat repulsive. And, by evolutionary force, she does not want to have sex with most of them. I believe that unless a woman can see herself potentially having sex with you, she will not accept a date proposal. It may never get there in the end. But still.
When I was in my mid-20s I lived in the City-by-the-Bay and regularly got hit on by gay guys. I soon found out that almost none of them have a “straight” fantasy and will desist if you tell them you are not interested. I tended to accept it as a compliment and smiled and told them “I am sorry. I am not interested. I am not gay.” At worst they’d have a funny comeback: “What a pity. You should be. You don’t know what you are missing. ;)” but that was it. To a woman, being hit on with sexual connotation by someone they would not agree to have sex with is not quite as positive an experience. In “real life” (my above mentioned ex told me) she knew she was getting stared at but just ignored it or, when she had the time and opportunity, she would give them a “dirty look” as she called it. But for the most part, she ignored it. Here, however, you invite the nutcases into your inbox.
It is a quandary.
I don’t know about all these rating systems that people keep making up as they go along. I guess I’m a slightly above average female in terms of looks, and I specifically wrote a profile to weed out as many dummies as I could. The guy that tried to explain evolution to me and got it wrong (and I wasn’t even asking him about it!) basically made me write a profile that was probably more intellectual than it should have been. So now about 80-90% percent of the messages I get consist of “Hello.” That’s it. Once in a while they add in a “How’s it going” or “your beautiful” (yes, I know that’s not the right word). I don’t know the thought process behind these one-word messages, but it’s like being messaged by Lennie from Of Mice and Men. So although I don’t respond to the weirdos, I do end up spending more time reading their messages and sharing them with friends!
I don’t understand the logic behind the concept that a 1st contact message needs to be some lengthy drawn out ordeal to get the ice broken. What’s wrong with “Hi, how are you?”. Some sites even have “first message too short” traps built in. O.o
There’s two major flaws in this line of thinking, possibly more…
1. If someone came up to you in person, and began rattling off a 500 page essay, you’d look at them like they were completely off their rocker along about the third sentence in, and probably walk (if not run) away. Why is the rule magically different on the web?
2. Mobile dating apps are prolific now. And rather than rewrite (or append) a site’s desktop functionality, they typically just slip the mobile in between the cracks to stay afloat in the competition. Ok, so bad on them. But the result is that what’s more or less a text message system to me is viewed on an email system for my recipient. The expectations are completely different. I’ll be the first to admit, that when any email (dating or not) only contains 4 words, there’s a strange feeling about it because we’ve come to expect more in email form. But with the ratio of ignore to reply being what it is, should I be expected to fight with a phone keyboard for every initial contact I want to initiate?
No one would fall for some pics you took from the internet. You would have gotten hundreds of emails if you pulled the pics from a facebook profile. The guys who messaged you are horny and stupid. If you came up with a more realistic profile you would have gotten the rest of the guys on match: horny, stupid and desperate.
The flaw in this sort of test, is that… anybody with half a brain will be able to pick out a fake. ie: One pic… Looks too good to be true… Pro looking pic = Fake. So you’re instantly ruling out all the smart people and just getting the idiots to respond.
In my experience, this is the inherent flaw in internet dating, and why it usually doesn’t work…
For a man, when we see an attractive girl who’s totally available, we see that as a great thing. Nice pic, single, no exes, no horde of men chasing them. = Awesome… Where do I sign up?
For a woman, when they see a seemingly attractive guy, totally available, nice pic, single, no exes, no horde of women chasing them. = Loser…. Steer clear.
The very fact that you are an attractive available guy on a dating site in the first place, puts the thought in their minds… ‘So what is wrong with this guy’. In my life, I have been dumped three times by women who decided to pursue men who were married. Two of those were men married with kids, who lived in other states. I’ve been dumped numerous times by girls pursuing guys that already had girlfriends. I’ve been dumped numerous times by girls who chose to pursue guys who were already pursued by many women, and widely known for being womanizers. I’ve had numerous women who wouldn’t give me the time of day when I was single, suddenly decide that I was the hottest guy ever, when they saw me with a girl, and then they had to have me.
Men who are married, with girlfriends, hotly pursued by women, celebs, ect… Bottom line… For whatever reason, there is a bizarre psychological trait in many women, that makes them believe that… a guy already being pursued or taken by women, is the most positive sign of all. To them, if a man is already taken, or wanting to be taken by hordes of women, then he must really be the guy to have. A guy who is single, available, with no baggage and completely available? = Loser.
In my past attempts at internet dating, on the rare occasion I actually got women to talk to me…. I started noticing a pattern. Each time, they would start off with something like… “You seem really great, so what’s the catch?” or “OK, I can’t believe you’re single… Seriously? What’s wrong with you? lol” or “No really… When is the last time you were with somebody? I don’t understand why you are on a dating site”
I thought these were incredibly strange things to say to somebody when contacting them… But after a while, I started understanding the pattern. A giant portion of women enter into the process, already assuming that… if you’re a single guy and on a dating site… you must suck. They may not be doing this consciously, but some weird part of their mind is putting this idea in their heads. And since… lets be honest… it’s the women in control in this environment… the connections fail most of the time, before they even get started.
So basically, as soon as you step onto a dating site as an honest, decent, totally available guy… You are already at a huge disadvantage. ie: Both for the men AND women… It usually doesn’t work.
Part of this is true – when we women see a man who is available (and good looking) we tend to assume the worst. What’s wrong with him? Why isn’t he married? We assume he has some kind of problem (porn/drug/alcohol addict, abusive, a slut, etc.).
However, not all of us ladies chase after the taken guys. Some of us look into the ones who are not taken, despite our misgivings. Our society has warped us into thinking that everyone who is single is unsuitable for relationships. Yet we don’t judge our single selves that way. Strange.
Online dating is the pits, and the so-called success stories, half of them are “and we’ve been dating ever since!” – as in dating, but not yet married. So to those losers, no, you are not yet finished with singlehood, not until there’s a ring on it. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, or it’s back to internet dating for you.
And I bet most of the marriages happened between two long-term online daters who were desperate to get out of the spin cycle at any cost, and took the first decent person to come along.
Hahaha I’ve done this, and it’s absolutely true. After months of “WTF FFS”, I decided to investigate. And same results. Don’t think it is limited to any particular locale.
In a nutshell:
1. Guys are pigs
2. The ones that aren’t don’t stand a chance. Our “Hi, how are you?” messages are buried by “I bet you could suck the peel off a banana”
3. It doesn’t matter what you look like, you’ll get the same thing. The quality of the assailant is the only thing that changes.
4. Men don’t read. I put “I have herpes” in my profile, it went ignored with the exception of one case, where I got “Me too!”
5. Every guy has a cock, and isn’t afraid to send you a picture to confirm it.
6. It’s easy to see why some sites have a double standard mechanism to prevent these pics. But that’s useless. They’re just as happy to describe it to you graphically (sometimes with great detail)
7. They only want to get laid (in case that wasn’t already obvious)
Moral of the story? Yep. Online dating sucks. If you want to take all the mystery out of it, try it for yourself. Pretty sure it’s universal.