Thursday, February 12, 2015

OkStupid

Why So Many Millennials Hate Online Dating, Yet Keep On Doing It


     Dating should be fun, right?

Stop the music--cue the record needle scrape!

Say WHAT?!?

Sure, maybe back in the day... pick her up at eight, drive down to the diner for some milk shakes--strawberry and vanilla--and head on down to the drive-in movie theater to watch a re-release of Gone With the Wind. Maybe you'll get to first base when Clark Gable kisses Vivien Leigh.

But in today's strange world of first dates with people you've met online, the guiding principle seems to be that timeless line Gable utters the film: "Frankly, my Dear, I don't give a damn."

Because online daters have no solid previous connection to each other (least of all, in most cases, a personal introduction by a mutual friend--although some apps allow you to find or see people with whom you share friends on Facebook), there is little at stake in the first meeting or online interaction. It is thus easy to cut bait at any time, a choice many people may make at any stage in the process. In my experience, very many people are willing to go out for coffee or drinks and see how things go on a first date. After all, they are online for a reason. Yet making it past the first date to the second might be almost as difficult as passage from East to West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. The barrier to getting from A to B can be as impenetrable as the Berlin Wall.

Why is this? Given zero previous social ties and lacking any standing relationship with the other person, it is super easy to write them off! I found this out the hard way in the hard-knock dating scene of New York City, where it felt like if you hadn't yet made a killing by selling an ingenious app to Google, gone to a top Med or Law school, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro by age twelve, or cured a vicious disease with a miracle vaccine, you were likely just an average guy (read waste of space) who didn't deserve the time of day. During these difficult times, I seemed to get enough first dates, but was quickly and thoroughly dismissed as an obviously unfit mate.

I seriously considered rewriting my OkCupid profile like this to see what kind of new replies I would get... How would you respond to me with this self-description, ladies???

I have an I.Q. of 202, which occurs which occurs in approximately ONE in 10,881,400,000 people. As I am writing this there are approximately 7,290,250,000 people alive on earth. Statistically, I should not exist. I have invented an app which I sold to Google for 4.7 Billion dollars. I have climbed Everest 7 times, and stopped at least twice each time on the way to call my mom to make sure she wouldn't worry about me. I have founded a worldwide foundation that fights for human rights, ending poverty and disease, and preventing ethnic cleansing and violence against women and children. I hold boxing titles for championships in the United States and Europe, and have defeated the Ukrainian boxer/former presidential candidate Vitali Klitschko both at boxing and at chess, at which he is also a prodigy. Jay-Z has publicly acknowledged that I am cooler than he is, and also that I am a bigger man. He also added in a comment to The Source magazine that I am "his boy." Not sure what that means, but I like it!

I could go on and on about my many accomplishments, but I AM MORE INTERESTED IN GETTING TO KNOW YOU!        :-)


All kidding aside, I did find New York to be a tough dating market. One fellow dater described her theory for why the scene was as bad as this: 1. People are way too busy. and 2. Everyone thinks they can do better.

I would say these two obstacles could get in the way in any major city, but since I've moved to DC I've found people to be more approachable and accepting on dates. I've generally had a much better time going out, and it doesn't feel like the girl is sitting there judging me against a check-list of ideal partner qualities she has in mind. Down here, people are genuinely interested in relating to each other, and don't tend to leap to judgmental conclusions very quickly. I've heard similar stories from friends who have had much better luck dating in other cities where people are more "relaxed" or "down to earth"--Chicago, for example.

So, the problem I had been blaming alternately on myself and alternately on "OkStupid" or whatever app I was using at the time, turns out to be a problem with neither me nor the dating platforms, but with the Millennial social milieu and how we, myself included, utilize these dating resources. The more we can focus on relating before judging and giving each other a chance before writing each other off, the more likely we will be to forge meaningful and successful relationships.


~ Trevor Swett

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