The truth about why modern dating sucks (and what you can do about it).

The truth about why modern dating sucks (and what you can do about it).

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Disclaimer: none of what you are about to read is about assigning values, i.e. good or bad, right or wrong, etc. I am simply describing what has and is happening in our society with regard to male/female relationships, so don?t blame me: I?m just the messenger. TL;DR is at the bottom.

Before we begin, something should be known: it doesn?t have to be this way? for you. I?ll admit that my first couple of years dating post-divorce weren?t very good: I wasn?t excited about most of the women I met (this is the rule for 95% of men SOD) and I blew it with the few exceptions to that rule.

Today it?s the opposite: I?m excited about every woman I meet because I?m not relying on SOD for my social life (I choose them rather than the other way around) ? and my love life is fun and exciting. That doesn?t mean everything?s perfect or that I could pull Jennifer Lawrence, but I?ve been able to escape the traps I?m about to describe below.

The good news is that you can too.

Here are 5 mantras single women can apply to their lives to meet more high quality men, and here?s the technique every man who?s tired of dating lemons SOD (Swipe/Online Dating) can use to meet more beautiful women IRL.

The Death of Marriage and the Rise of Sexual Freedom

OK, here we go?

If you?re not a rich, handsome man or an exceptionally beautiful and/or young woman (and sometimes even despite these things), finding a romantic partner in the modern world is difficult. For some it borders on seeming damn near impossible.

The good news?

It?s not your fault (probably).

Why? Because we are operating in the wake of a massive societal change.

On one hand, the institution of marriage is crumbling before our eyes ? not because of gay marriage or anything like that of course ? but because the religious and community pressures to remain in a marriage through difficult times and/or a loss of attraction for one?s partner is gone. Marriage has become a voluntary act done more for status and security than true love and commitment; it is no longer a permanent bond, but a contract that can be broken at anytime for whatever reason, no matter how arbitrary.

On the other, sexual freedom is on the rise. We can be partners with whomever we choose. We can choose to get married, be polygamous, hook up, or live with/date that ubiquitous partner, the boyfriend or girlfriend.

In sum, our society is returning to a primitive state regarding sexuality: there are no true rules as long as both parties consent.

Hypergamy

Women are naturally hypergamous when it comes to sexuality (Men are naturally polygamous, but here?s why that doesn?t really matter).

What does this mean?

It means that women will ONLY mate with the highest value male to which she has access, and furthermore, that if a higher value male becomes accessible, it?s possible or even likely that she will leave her current partner for him. To put it bluntly: women are inclined to be picky when it comes to relationships.

Men, as we know, will mate with the highest value woman who will have him ? which sometimes means the only girl in the bar.

This is not right or wrong: it just is.

And it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as a woman is making ? at least symbolically and instinctually ? an incredible investment/risk when she has sex with a man. Because if she becomes pregnant through that act, she now faces nine months of gestation and, in our society, at least eighteen years of personal responsibility for that child. That?s not to say the man isn?t also responsible ? but not in the same way, both from a physical standpoint and what society expects of mothers.

So it makes complete sense that women would only want to mate with the highest value men, especially when coupled with our instinct to select mates who are likely to give our offspring the greatest chance to survive (this is the reason why men prefer youth and beauty, and women prefer strength and status).

In previous societies ? indeed, not so far in the recent past ? monogamy through marriage provided a check against hypergamy. Yes, a woman could still select the highest value man she could find, but she had to marry him, meaning both were off the market.

However, in a society where marriage is merely a voluntary contract that can be broken at anytime for almost any reason, and where sexual freedom is encouraged and accepted, hypergamy runs its natural course.

So what happens?

Large numbers of women pursue small numbers of the most attractive, high status men. Ever hear women complain, ?there aren?t enough good guys these days?? That?s why. Because in their minds? eye ? in a hypergamous state ? there aren?t. The irony is that there never will be, because even if every man advanced his station in life significantly there would still be gradations between men, and women naturally will continue to select only the most successful.

For women, this means constant competition for a small pool of men. Let?s take a common example from SOD, where it?s common to see women ask for a man ?six feet or taller? who ?has his shit together? (i.e. is wealthy).

Well guess how many men are six feet or taller? In North America only 20% ? which means these women have immediately reduced their eligible dating pool by 4/5ths.

The wealthy ?has his shit together? part is more difficult to define, but suffice it to say that in an economy where wages have been stagnant for 30 years and $30?50k of student debt (if not more) is common, again here is a place where many men simply fail to measure up.

And this is to say nothing of the other demands a woman these days might have for her mate ? from meaningful (doesn?t smoke) to unbelievably trivial (has a picture of himself holding a fish on his dating profile).

For men, it means that if you?re not those things women are looking for physically (or you?re a jerk who likes fishing), aren?t wealthy, and/or have any other sort of baggage, like having been divorced, children, etc., it?s going to be exceedingly difficult to meet women.

Consider this: for most of human history, only 40% of males who grew to sexual maturity passed on their genes, whereas 80% of women did. We?re returning to that state, which means that if you?re not a man in that 40%, you?re prospects are pretty fucking grim.

I should point out here that some people are just happy to be in a relationship ? any relationship ? and have little to no discretion as long as they?re sleeping next to a warm body. I?m not judging those people, but they tend to be less good looking, less successful, and less discerning than others. I guess what I?m saying is yes, they exist, but they don?t factor into this dynamic, and besides, they?re rarely single for long anyway.

Social Conditioning ? the Myth of Chastity and the ?Nice? Guy

If the imbalance that hypergamy causes weren?t enough, another fuck you comes in the form of society?s inability to adjust to this new paradigm.

Female Chastity

For example, most people in our society place an extremely high value in female chastity, when in point of fact it has no real value.

Please understand: I?m not suggesting women shouldn?t have control over their sexuality or that consent doesn?t matter. They should and of course it does. What I am saying, however, is that we place an oversize value on whether or not a woman has sex, period ? especially if that sex is casual or takes place outside of a traditional relationship.

In other words, women are still raised with the notion that chastity is of great value and society broadly speaking, supports that notion.

Don?t believe me?

Recall the shaming of Aziz Ansari by ?Grace? who wrote a scathing, revenge-porn style tirade on babe.net ? although I hesitate to call it revenge porn given that sex didn?t even actually happen.

Like seriously, our society collectively freaked out over a consensual date on which the woman in question wasn?t upset that she had sex ? because again, that didn?t happen ? it was that her date tried to have sex with her.

I won?t defend his behavior, because if Grace?s account was even vaguely accurate it sounds like Aziz behaved boorishly ? but again, let?s remember, he didn?t force her to do anything, nor did he break any laws, and even she says he apologized once he realized things hadn?t gone well and that she was upset.

So why, truly, were people so upset?

Because we still view men as having more agency in sexual relationships than women. Because we still view men as predators and women as shrinking violets. Because we still view chastity as so important, as such a paragon of virtue, that even an encounter that stops short of violating it can be viewed as an outrage.

Indeed why was Grace so hesitant? By her own account she was excited about being on a date with Ansari and went pretty far with him voluntarily ? at least initially.

But when the notion of sex was introduced, she got scared because she?s been raised in a society that places distinctive value on female chastity. My guess is that the real problem was that Aziz didn?t provide a permission structure on the date for why having sex with him would be an OK thing to do. As a consequence, he made Grace feel ?slutty? and she didn?t like that, which is totally understandable.

Again, consent matters, and no woman ? indeed no person ? should ever be forced to have sex against their will. But the fact our society continues to uphold female chastity as a virtue in an era where it simply doesn?t matter is toxic.

It is at the root of all slut shaming, and I?m actually kind of shocked that it appears I?m the only one ? a male no less ? regularly saying what is right and true, which is that women should be able to have sex with whoever they want to and in whatever context, no questions asked.

The ?Nice? Guy

Unfortunately, today?s men also live with an unfortunate burden, and that is being the ?nice? guy, the white knight in shining armor ready to rush in and save the virtue of the modest maiden who?s ever threatened by rakish men and her own sexual desire.

This is ? like our obsession with female chastity ? a relic of the recent past in which marriage was expected. We want men who are good guys, who do the right thing, who study hard and get good jobs, who are nice and deferential and ingratiating.

The problem is that none of this matters when it comes to attracting women in a hypergamous society. What matters is wealth, power, and looks, as well as the abundance and social grace that only a man who?s had many women can possess ? the sort of man who ignores her periodically because he truly has better things (or other women) to do, who doesn?t buy her gifts because being with him is prize enough, who?s unlikely to ever commit to a relationship because why would he with five to ten beautiful women fighting to be with him all the time.

And so it is that when the nice guy gets his date with the girl he?s been pining after, he fucks it up: buys her flowers, tries to get to know her over a dinner date and, as he?s been taught by every RomCom and television series, waits to kiss her before dropping her off, not presuming to ask her to his place or escalate ? and that?s probably a good thing, because like a cat who?s been pet too long she?s unlikely to agree to that sort of thing anyway.

The nice guy won?t do well in marriage either, because while the wife may take advantage of his submissive nature and gain by it ? IKEA, house with the white picket fence, pets, kids ? she?ll eventually grow to resent this man who appears to have no other initiative than to please her, pining for the sort of alphas we see on movies or social media and possibly acting on those urges on a ?girls? weekend or a Vegas bachelorette party.

Inevitably the nice guy finds himself divorced, most likely stripped of his money and children, for the mere fact that he was exactly the sort of person society wanted him to be.

An Un-Holy Alliance

When we combine the two ? the glorification of female chastity mixed with the nice guy paradigm ? we can explain much of what happens these days when sex goes wrong and turns into date rape or sexual assault.

Picture the cute couple on their dinner date, guy peppering the girl with job-interview questions and the girl doing her best to maintain interest ? after all he is handsome, has a good job or is good in school, etc. Maybe she drinks more than she should to ease the social anxiety ? maybe they both do? And then, being that it?s the third or fourth date, they end up at his or her place watching a movie.

He makes an awkward move to kiss her ? a turn off ? but she relents and they end up kissing anyway. As the escalation continues the woman is presented with two options: acquiesce and go along with it, or stop him, risking anger and/or rejection.

The guy, on the other hand, does not want to stop at this point. He?s probably sexually starved because the nice guy routine doesn?t work and he?s in the bottom 60%, so if he?s had sex with women it?s probably been bad and sparing. And, by all accounts, she?s going along with it willingly, so why not continue?

So what happens?

If the girl acquiesces, she?s going to feel shitty about it afterward and in some ways feel violated, because even though she never gave the guy a hard no, she didn?t really want what happened to happen. If she stops him, the guy ? if he?s truly good ? will stop, but he?ll be angry, hurt, and probably won?t want to see her again.

Some guys, unfortunately, won?t stop ? the true definition of date rape.

Please understand: I?m not justifying the guy?s actions if that?s what he does. It?s wrong and it shouldn?t happen and guys like that should go to jail for a long time. But the dynamic of the social burdens both sexes are carrying help create the situation in which such an act is more likely to occur.

Technology and Social Media

The final factor that keeps people single is technology and social media.

Technology acts as a separator, making people more passive and anxious, less socially adept.

People ? men especially ? spend hours playing video games, whether on a system, their computer, at home, or on their phones. Any moment of boredom or inactivity in an elevator, at the DMV, waiting in line at a restaurant, etc., is now spent scrolling through social media or checking email on our phone instead of talking to the person next to us. Instead of going to a bar or a coffee shop or a concert or wherever, people swipe through Tinder and Bumble instead of meeting people in real life. And this is to say nothing about the amount of time people spend watching television.

In short, technology walls us off from other people, and in a very literal sense, makes it less likely we?ll meet our next lover. At the same time, it makes us more passive and less social, decreasing our chances to catch his or her eye if and when the right person crosses our path.

An excellent example of this is flaking: when people don?t respond to texts, DM?s, phone calls, or fail to go to parties, dinners, dates, etc. Research has shown that millennials in particular are less likely to view flaking as bad while ? surprise, surprise ? being more likely to flake out. And while in the moment, flaking might seem like a reasonable thing to do ? after all, everyone gets tired, doesn?t feel like going out for whatever reason, or has something else come up ? the long term effect is that it destroys relationships quite literally. The data shows that people who admitted to flaking out more often had fewer friends, poorer relations with family members, and were less likely to be in a relationship.

Technology has more insidious effect as well, which is that it serves as a virtually endless source of false validation. It doesn?t confer any real benefit to the user mind you ? but in the moment we are unaware of that fact, and for some people it becomes a true addiction. Sure, some people are paid to play video games, and some people make money by schilling shit on social media, but these are tiny exceptions, not the rule.

Instagram is probably the most egregious example, where many people post multiple pictures and stories a day recording their life ? and why? For that little heart button in the bottom left screen. Don?t get me wrong, it?s also a cool way for people to connect with others as well, but the subtext is that people think they?re celebrities and that every small event in their life is worthy of sharing with others.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to how we measure ourselves as attractive. Many women (and some men) seem distinctly dependent on taking selfies or posting glamorous photos of themselves in order to be told they?re attractive ? aka validation.

The problem with this is twofold:

1) It?s a huge boost to the ego that is almost entirely untethered from reality. Seriously, people on social media tell others ? particularly women ? that they?re beautiful all the time, when in point of fact, they are not.

I?m not saying this to be mean: I?m saying this to be real. For example, there?s a woman I follow on Instagram who posts modeling pics all the time with the expectation that it?s going to happen for her someday ? and it?s not. It?s just not. And there?s no shortage of others ? even some dudes ? who really think they?re hot shit, when an honest assessment would reveal that their shit is actually no more than lukewarm.

2) Because people receive validation through social media like Insta (and SOD ? there are some people who are on Tinder and Bumble who have no intention of going on a date; they?re just there purely for the validation), they don?t feel the need to get it in real life. In a way, it?s mental masturbation ? desire sated, they?re now free to watch Netflix and eat sandwiches.

I?m not saying I don?t understand it, nor am I claiming innocence. I?m on Insta, and it?s great when people like my posts. It feels good. But I?m also on there to reach readers and establish a brand ? not simply to stroke my own ego.

Video games have a similar effect, but here men are the main offenders. And again, I understand the appeal ? I mean, have you seen today?s video games? They?re fucking phenomenal! Super realistic, amazing graphics and gameplay, the ability to play with or against other people from around the world in real time, etc.

And there?s a real feeling of accomplishment there too ? I?m getting new armor, new weapons, gaining more experience, allies, points, whatever. It validates the players need for real life accomplishments and those accomplishments are much more attainable than they are in real life?

Which is precisely the danger.

How many men in this generation are lost souls who?ll do nothing more than prop up local fast food restaurants and smoke a lot of pot? I don?t know what that number is, but it?s not small.

The final problem with technology and social media is what I would call the multiplier effect.

We?re constantly inundated with images and videos and memes and what feels like access to really, really good looking people all the time? and so our minds unconsciously tell us that this is the sort of person we can have a relationship with when that?s often not the case. In short, it?s really easy to become unrealistic ? so picky that we essentially price ourselves out of the dating market.

Don?t believe me? A recent study showed that people on SOD select people that are on average 25% more attractive than they are. And while I won?t claim some men aren?t too picky ? because they often are ? this is particularly problematic for women, because they?re hypergamous and only want to mate with the highest value male available; the problem is that the men women perceive as being available either often aren?t, or wouldn?t choose them given the option.

TL;DR

In short, there?s a wide array of forces that make modern dating difficult ? forces that we as individuals can?t control.

The waning importance of marriage, religion, and community have made our society hypergamous, which by its nature means that the vast majority of women are competing for a small pool of men, and the only people who benefit in this system are extremely attractive women and super high value men. Nearly everyone else has to scramble and compete.

Next, our social conditioning has not caught up with the realities of today?s sexual relationships. Women are taught and still believe that chastity has great value. It does not. Men are taught and still believe being a ?nice guy? and achieving a modest level of economic security should be enough to attract a woman. It is not.

And while technology has made our lives easier in almost every way, when it comes to dating, it?s made it more difficult. People spend less time with others, are more passive, picky, and unrealistic in their assessment of both themselves and others, and all too often fall into the trap of seeking false validation though social media and videogames instead of IRL.

The good news? Here?s what you can do about it. Men. Women.

Jeff Allen is an independent author and blogger living in Portland, OR. His website is ChuckingRocks.com, where he writes about Health and Wellness, Dating, and whatever the hell else comes to mind.

His first novel, Cherry City Pulp, is darkly comic take on modern American society and what happens when coincidence and human frailty break the wrong way. He?s currently working on his new manuscript, Say Yes ? please visit the site for more information.

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