April 1, 2011

Internet Dating: Who Has It Worse, Men or Women?

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What is the issue?

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 joke’s 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.” 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 they 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. TC mark

image – iStockPhoto.com / Crossposted
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