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  • Robert Farago

How Dating Apps Destroyed Dating

Now what?

Most of my thirty-something to fifty-something cigar-smoking buddies have stopped dating. In this they’re not alone, although technically…

They are. Statistically, over a third of single men between 18 and 39 have stopped dating. Not to put too fine a point on it, dating apps fucked-up dating.

Who saw that one coming?

Once upon a time – since the dawn of time – geography limited a person’s dating prospects. The basic rule of thumb: what you see is what you get. Or not.

There were two ways to find a date: ask in-person or arrange a date through a mutual acquaintance. This led to something called a “blind date,” where neither party had even seen each other before meeting.

With a limited supply of potential romantic partners, both men and women had realistic expectations. They also had to discover their date’s life story through a process known as talking.

“Personal ads” in the back of alternative newspapers – peppered with space-saving acronyms – were more about kinky sex than romance. But they foreshadowed the dating cataclysm to come.

When online dating apps hit the scene, they were greeted like a liberating army. The number of potential partners increased exponentially. Users could preview potential partners’ looks, statistics and predilections.

Sure, users massaged profile pics and profiles for maximum appeal. But Americans are nothing if not canny consumers. Dating app users quickly separated the wheat from the chaff before reaching out for a date.

Aye, there’s the rub… The immutable law of supply and demand kicked-in, and everything went to shit.

Dating app users were attracted to attractive people – a small percentage of the whole. Women whose pics magnetized men were inundated with requests. Likewise men who fit the bill.

For those fortunate few, the thought of “settling” for someone who wasn’t ideal went out the proverbial window. This left the majority of users, mostly men, on the outside looking in.

Talk about demoralizing…

Dating apps quickly reached the point where they had to create fake profiles to keep marginalized men from bailing.

When the men saw through the scams and/or dated women creating fake profiles of their own, their frustration and alienation reached terminal velocity.

Meanwhile, desirable women – a larger percentage of the dating pool than the male equivalent – learned they had virtually infinite choice. They raised their standards.

Or, to put it another way, they became serial daters. Rather than work through the inevitable issues of a “real” relationship, their aspirations changed from finding “Mr. Right” to finding “Mr. Perfect” (not the wrestler).

According to the widely disseminated 666 template, the ideal man is six feet tall, earns a six figure income and holsters a six-inch penis (bonus points for a six-pack). Less than two percent of American men answer to that description.

The ones who do are busy shooting fish in a barrel. Thanks to the apps, these “fuck boys” have access to a virtually unlimited string of beautiful “conquests.” Removing any incentive to “settle down.”

Men who don’t fit the ideal dating app profile have been thrown back into the real world. A world where women are wary of an in-person approach. After all, their ideal man doesn’t need to do it. “Losers” do.

Women who don’t find success on dating apps – again a smaller percentage than men – are equally demoralized as left-on-the-shelf males.

Less-than-traditionally-beautiful women on dating apps know they can’t compete against more attractive women. This leaves many of them lonely and bitter.

But not as bitter as the male dating app survivors. They’ve given up.

The trend is so pronounced that love gurus – both male and female – are telling disaffected men it’s OK to stop dating. Work on yourself instead, at the gym, through hobbies, travel and “inner exploration.”

I presume the point is to become more attractive to the opposite sex. OK, but where? Not on dating apps or social media. That dog won’t hunt.

It’s back to square one: men looking around their immediate environment for dates.

Except for the one third that isn’t, averse as they are to the rejection and disappointment they experienced to get to this point.

There is no “answer” to this conundrum. The hope: women will lower their “body counts” and unrealistic expectations to “date down,” as they realize that FB’s are assholes by another name.

Natural selection will have the final say, of course. Meanwhile, according to a recent survey, millennials represent the biggest generational share of pet ownership in the United States. What does that tell you?

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