Online Poke Her

I found this interesting:

[An] experiment with Tinder that claimed that that “the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men.”

A couple of years back I saw another analysis of one of the big dating sites which showed that most men considered something like 70% of the women to be attractive enough to date, whereas most women saw only 20% of the men the same way. The two studies suggest women who go on dating sites are unrealistically fussy, especially considering they’re on a dating site in the first place. Men, being men, appear to be more open to compromise on looks if it means getting laid and (possibly) having a relationship. None of this will be new to those of us who are over thirty and walk around with our eyes open.

The trouble is, I’m not sure women quite understand the dynamics of dating sites, which the statistics above confirm. I recently had occasion to watch a couple of young women swiping away on one of the dating apps, and they got all giddy over a dashingly handsome young Italian complete with a tailored suit and designer stubble. I expect they imagined the possibility of a romantic relationship, but what I saw was a chap who’s probably having a whale of a time ploughing through those 78% of women dumb enough to think he’s boyfriend material. Unfortunately, anyone who didn’t match this guy’s looks got immediately discarded. What’s even more unfortunate is one of the girls was about hot enough to attract a guy like that. I suspect this has always been a problem for pretty girls, but it’s likely to be accentuated in the era of dating apps: they’ll attract the attention of the best looking guys, who will find them average rather than special and have few qualms about ditching them in favour of the next one. While many women talk about their disappointment with dating apps, I’d imagine for good looking women it’s a rollercoaster of flattery followed by inexplicable rejection.

I’m not sure even those who run dating apps quite know what’s going on, or if they do they pretend they don’t. One of the biggest problems is men who sit there all day carpet bombing women with “hi how r u sexy?” messages or dick pics. Any woman will tell you that within weeks of joining a dating site in London or Paris, her inbox is full of vulgar messages written in atrocious English from manual labourers in Turkey, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Tinder attempted to deal with this by limiting “swipe-rights” to 100 per day, or something. Bumble took it one step further and made it such that only women could initiate a conversation, but as the statistics above show, all that does is fill up the inboxes of the top 20% of men while the other 80% wait in vain for the slightest interest, unable to chance their arm even with the biggest hound on the whole platform. In other words, they’ve sold rejection to the already rejected. The simple solution is to restrict men to initiating two or three contacts per day, but the business model is to get men using it for hours at a time and pestering them with ads, so they’re not going to do that. But if they were serious about hooking people up, which they’re not, that’s what they’d do.

I also get the impression women like their inboxes full of unsuitable proposals because it gives them an excuse for not making an effort. Every woman I’ve spoken to about her experience on dating sites says “Oh, I don’t have time, I get so many messages I can’t be bothered to go through them all.” From what I’ve read on blogs which cover this stuff, the sort of women who go on dating sites have a habit of not responding to genuine proposals for days or weeks, and only then grudgingly agreeing to a date because their days are crammed full of work, weekend breaks, yoga sessions, or after work drinks with the girls. One of the most peculiar aspects of modern dating is middle aged, professional women citing as a priority their desire to find a lifetime partner, but refusing to make the slightest effort to find and accommodate one. If women joined dating sites and found one or two serious, well-written introductions dropping into their inbox each week, they might be forced to accept their reasons for not responding were shallow indeed. Better to hide behind the avalanche of dick picks and conclude they’re above all that. By contrast, even the most eligible, suitable men who fall outside the top 20% must spend considerable effort writing thoughtful introductions only to receive a response once in every fifty or hundred attempts (I’m not exaggerating here).

If we are to believe dating sites aren’t the best way of showcasing your suitability as a mate, let alone finding one, the problem is compounded by the fact that most people below a certain age don’t know any other way. A few weeks ago on the recommendation of William of Ockham I listened to a Spectator Radio podcast which discussed the impact dating apps are having, and they speculated that da yoof spend all their time building online personalities at the expense of those they display in real life. This not only makes them reluctant to meet people in the flesh, but also pretty useless when they do, i.e. they have no idea how to flirt and interact romantically in the offline world. I can’t claim to understand the younger generation but I do meet a few of them these days, and I occasionally wonder if they put as much effort into developing communication skills and an interesting personality as they do their Instagram feeds, they may not need dating apps at all. One of the more amusing aspects of this era is when you hear a couple say they met in real life and they make it sound like a freak occurrence. Unfortunately, you more often hear a girl say she met her last five boyfriends on Tinder, without any idea of what she ought to deduce from that statement.

Me, I’m kinda glad I was born in 1977.


13 thoughts on “Online Poke Her

  1. Tim,

    It’s not just online where women claim they’re interested in a relationship, but don’t act that way; I had a similar experience in the real world with speed dating. The sessions were supposed to be $35 a time, but I almost always got to attend for free, because the organiser had far more women on her books and needed more men to even up the numbers. Even so, it was common for some women at an event to be on the wait list: they only got to speed date if another woman didn’t turn up for some reason.

    Given the above, you’d have thought I’d be on a no-lose proposition, but far from it. A strict rule was that you weren’t allowed to ask for ‘phone numbers or email addresses during the dating session. Rather, afterwards you sent anyone you liked an online message, to which they could reply if the interest was mutual. I didn’t confine myself to the real beauties and was pretty liberal in my messaging, but hardly ever got any replies. (A man at one event told me a third of the women don’t even bother logging on afterwards to see whether they’d got any messages, although I’ve no idea where he got that figure.)

    So what is going on? Women are paying for the opportunity to talk to men. Those on the wait list are making the effort to dress up and go out just for the possibility of talking to men. Yet they don’t respond to those men who show an interest. Are they really serious? After a while, even though I was mostly attending for free, I gave up on speed dating as a waste of time.

  2. @Schroedingers dog – the answer is simple. Women first and foremost are seeking VALIDATION. They want the attention, the feeling that they are still attractive and can have their pick of men who lust after them. They do not necessarily want to go through with the date. It is the womens main fantasy.

    It is the same with clothes – they want to be the centre of attention. As an anecdote (backed up by observation and experience) I was at a function and two women turned up WEARING THE SAME DRESS!!!!!! One of them (the wife of a friend) made him drive 20 miles back home so she could change and drive back another 20 miles just because … Men in a similar situation would simply congratulate each other on excellent taste and choice on clothes and get on with it but not Michelle. She wanted the validation of being the best dressed at the ball and the envy and jealousy of the other women.

    If you remember the TV show Butterflies when a frumpy housewife (Wendy James) was being pursued by a well off, wealthy man for series after series or Miranda, again a frumpy solid two or three on the attractiveness scale being pursued for several series and not committing to any of the eligible males. Common sense would say that the men in both of those shows would have said “Soddit” and gone on to pastures new. Miranda in particular couldn’t make up her mind about what to eat for breakfast without months of therapy. And we are supposed to believe that this makes her so infinitely desirable to men that they would expend the effort?

    Reading the wikipedia entry on it (, it received positive reviews, awards etc. I wonder why? Could it possibly be that it stokes the egos of women and they can relate to it since they have continuous positive affirmation of their attractiveness from the males contacting them through the dating site/App?

    I keep mentioning height but for western men, only about 15% are over 6 foot tall and if you wan them over 6 foot 2 inches, that percentage falls to less than 4%. Guess what women want? Yep – 100% of the women are pursuing less than 15% of the men.

    Soddit. I’ll leave them to their cats and 3 litre boxes of wine. As one comment I saw said, “Ladies, you cannot change a pickle back into a cucumber”. If you marinade the majority of men in the vinegar of your contempt for years, then when you want them to “man up”, marry you and provide you with a house, children and an income, you might find that they are somewhat reluctant to revert back to the cucumber they were 15 or more years ago.

  3. That Quillette article was an interesting read, but its author does not find it necessary to distinguish between a woman’s superficial impression based on a single photograph, and the contentment or dissatisfaction of that woman in her marriage. He says 80% of the women find 20% of the men attractive, and therefore concludes that 60% of women will be stuck in a marriage to a man they do not find attractive.

    This is just wrong. First, a woman may find a man unattractive if her first impression is a photograph, and yet find him attractive if her first impression is when he’s chairing a meeting of a Fortune 500 company.

    Second, saying women find 20% of the men attractive does not mean that each and every woman finds the same 20% of the men attractive. What it means is that each woman finds ~25% of the men attractive, and of all the men, 20% appeal to almost every woman. The point is, though, that even if each woman finds the 20% top guys attractive, she still finds ~5% other guys attractive, and many other women disagree with her.

    This is how it works, in practice. The hottest guys can have their pick, but each woman also likes a few other guys who don’t get to have their pick. They find that most women aren’t into them, but strangely enough a few are, and they choose between them (or get chosen), and settle down.

    If there’s an epidemic of women being disappointed with their men, it’s not a mathematical outcome of subtracting 20% from 80%. It’s a result of a cultural malaise, which did not exist 100 years ago.

  4. That Quillette article was an interesting read, but its author does not find it necessary to distinguish between a woman’s superficial impression based on a single photograph, and the contentment or dissatisfaction of that woman in her marriage.

    Yeah, I didn’t find the article all that great, it was the statistic which I found interesting.

  5. That’s why beer was invented. But unfortunately does not work over internet.
    Wealth has an attraction as well.
    I can only comment as a male attracted to women. I have found women very attractive in real life (avoiding saying in the flesh) when a photograph would show them as being very ordinary. Personality, attitude and general joie de vivre always trumps looks.
    Besides, don’t people want a spouse that looks like a parent?

  6. The article, Tim’s post and subsequent comments can be explained by looking at the extremes.

    What’s the extreme version of this mismatch of expectations versus reality?

    “Fag hags”.

    Why do some single women choose to spend significant portions of time with gay men?

    I put it to you that the simplest explanation is that, as Phil B points out, they are seeking validation. What can be more a low risk, high reward strategy than receiving vacuous compliments from a man who will never reject her in the future because, by his nature, he’s already rejected her entire gender (ie it’s not a personal rejection)?

    The strange online or speed dating behaviours are simply milder versions of this.

  7. Schrodinger’s Dog

    I did a bit of speed dating in Southhampton when I was living there. Same system, log into to a website after and ‘declare’ your interest afterwards. I simply used to click all of them. My hit rate of follow dates was about 1 out of 3 evenings, so something close to 100 women. This despite the conversational side indicating a far better rate of at least ‘worth having another drink with’.

    I believe there was a lot of status for women just in the illusion of being chased that was enough fulfillment.

  8. There is huge market segmentation in dating online.

    Tinder where women want proof they are hot is very different from E-harmony, where they want proof and marriage…..

    Longest marriage amongst my friends began back in 1998 with a meeting on line….

    Also western men have more options abroad than ever….. Sexual Market Value of women in the West has taken a hit.

  9. Schrodinger’s Dog,

    That’s fascinating, thanks for that contribution. As others on here say, this is probably explained, at least in part, by women using dating services for validation rather than to actually find a partner.

    There’s probably something else going on too, though. A lot of women on dating sites claim they are there reluctantly, often saying “my friends talked me into it”. I think a lot of them don’t want to make the compromises, sacrifices, and efforts to have a relationship (or they simply can’t) and so do just enough to convince themselves they’ve tried and failed so that’s why they’re single. I knew a woman in Russia who spent the entire time working mainly so she could say she was too busy working to have a boyfriend. Given there were enough men showing an interest, it was pretty obvious she didn’t want one but couldn’t just come out and say it: she had to have a socially acceptable excuse, which I suspect even she believed.

  10. The way dating sites work is “dating bacon.” These are hotties who are persuaded to join the site even if they are in a great relationship, with zero intention of looking elsewhere. They pull the suckers in. One hottie will generate a couple of thousand paid sign-ups.

    Out of curiosity I joined a site advertised at Tim Worstall’s ConTel called Victoria Hearts. I took the free option just to see what there was. I specified women 50+ and got deluged by messages from women far younger than that, most totally gorgeous. It’s a Russian site and I guess women there are even more desperate to get out than ambitious people are desperate to get out of the shithole where I live (and which I somehow love). Oh by the way I’m not at all pretty.

  11. Women do seem to struggle with the logic that if you only fancy one in five blokes, other women feel the same and any bloke you fancy will also be fancied by three or four other women and he’s going to the obvious thing, which is sleep with all of you. This then leads to “there was this one guy but didn’t work out”. Really? You don’t say. A top quintile guy is going to settle down with a top quintile woman, but feel free to get your knickers off anyway. (Nicely summed up in the lyric “I met the man of my dreams and his beautiful wife.”)

    This sort of leads back to the UBI discussion. Western women have everything on a plate and don’t want to give any of it up for a bloke. Any guy who has spent any time outside the western matriarchy will quickly see that normal, non privileged women don’t behave like this.

  12. “By contrast, even the most eligible, suitable men who fall outside the top 20% must spend considerable effort writing thoughtful introductions only to receive a response once in every fifty or hundred attempts (I’m not exaggerating here).”

    Exactly my experience. Everything said here makes sense.

Comments are closed.