This article discusses the following:
Why Online Dating Is An Addictive Environment
Why Women Have An Advantage On Online Dating
The Tricks Online Dating Companies Use To Hook You
How Online Dating Distorts Your Perception Of The Real World
The continuation of the human race is now significantly influenced by technology. We use satellites to see which sexual partners are within a 20km radius of ourselves.
Technology continues to change every single aspect of our lives, including our partners. Online dating has quickly moved into the acceptable mainstream and it seems unlikely to go anywhere.
It seems likely that dating technology will become more and more prevalent and future generations will grow up never having experienced dating without it.
But what is dating technology really. A simple tool used to make dating more convenient?
Absolutely not. As with all technology, we create it and then it changes us.
You might read the conversation above and rightly wonder why this guy is such an angry, desperate weirdo. You might shrug your shoulders. There are plenty of weirdos to be found online after all.
But this isn’t a rare thing at all. Its a pattern.
If you ever have the chance to look through a woman’s Tinder account, you are guaranteed to find a conversation just like this one.
The left side of the screen will be filled with paragraphs of writing from the man and the right side of the screen will contain a few 3 word responses from the woman.
Typical men. You might think.
A feminist will say that these men are entitled. Our patriarchal society has influenced these men so that they feel entitled to a woman’s attention. But is that really what’s going on here?
It’s easy to observe the behaviour of men on online dating and laugh at their desperation. You can call their behaviour sexist and condone it.
But nobody tries to understand why they’re so desperate and angry in the first place.
On an individual level, there really is no excuse for men insulting women online. But what’s the bigger picture here?
Is it that men are just scumbags? Is it because they’re losers?
Or could it be the technology itself that pulls men into desperation, anger and despair?
Could online dating be responsible for turning young men to a defeatist mindset for the rest of their lives?
Could it even be partly responsible for producing an online Incel community that occasionally commits mass murder?
This is why online dating drives men crazy.
Dating Apps are Slot Machines
(To find out more about how Apps are trying to get you addicted you should read: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked - Adam Atler)
Swiping left on a Tinder profile is the same as pulling the lever on a slot machine.
You might match, you might not. You might win, you might not.
And so the addictive brain chemical dopamine rises in your brain in anticipation for the win.
Many years ago, B.F. Skinner first put a hungry rat inside a box with a small lever inside. The rat would be rewarded with food pellets at random intervals when it pulled the lever.
These random intervals for reward drove the rat crazy, causing it to pull the lever like a maniac.
We call this a variable ratio interval. And it doesn’t just work on rats. It works on humans too.
The variable ratio interval is what makes gambling addictive. It’s also what makes many MMORPG’s addictive
And the same variable ratio interval is used in Tinder’s famous Swipe Left/Right match system. (A system now copied by most other dating apps)
It’s no wonder Tinder addiction is a thing.
But this isn’t just a slot machine.
It’s a slot machine of sex
One of the deepest drives a man can have is mixed in with an addictive slot machine-like environment.
Now it’s not only the Swipe Left/Right system that uses a variable ratio. Its also the messages themselves.
Each positive reply from a potential sexual partner encourages a dopamine response in the man’s brain.
After facing a rejection or a non response, many men act like gambling addicts at the end of a losing streak. Anger. Frustration. Desperation.
When a girl stops replying, she’s not just rejecting the man. She’s also taking away his dopamine surges. And so the man will message her again and again, often not so much desperate for her as desperate for another hit of dopamine.
the uneven playing field
Online dating is where average men go to have their self-esteem destroyed.
For the average man, the playing field is not flat. It’s on a gradient. A gradient that leads downhill into a pit of desperation and low self-esteem.
Because on dating apps..
The value of the average woman is ARTIFICIALLY raised and the value of the average man is artificially lowered.
And this isn’t because of society. Or feminism. Or anything like that.
It’s simply a consequence of the technology itself.
(Every human being has intrinsic value. Ugly or beautiful. The “Value” being talked about here is what you might call “Sexual market value”)
Because of how our biology interacts with the technology, women have the upper hand on online dating (Generally speaking) for the following reasons.
Men are visual. Women are interpersonal.
More than anything else, men are attracted to physical beauty. Women on the other hand, while they do appreciate physical beauty, are more attracted to things like status, character and talent.
So why is this an advantage to women? Well..
Just look at how dating apps are set up.
The primary focal point of the apps are images.
Both sexes get to see their match’s physical attractiveness. Something that is far more appealing to men than it is to women.
The result is that men are easily pleased by the image they see, while women are reading the profile looking for something more. (For some women, appearance alone is enough to swipe right. As you’ll see at the bottom of this article)
This also means that selfies are acceptable for women, but not for men.
For women, the goal of the perfect photo is to be as physically attractive as possible. Sure, men will appreciate other aspects of a woman’s character, but more than anything else they are biological wired to look for an appealing face and body.
But the perfect photo for a man is one that demonstrates: Personality, a sense of humour, status and physical beauty.
Something that isn’t particularly easy for the average man to convey using images alone.
The very fact that the man is holding the camera lowers his attractiveness. The perfect photo of a man is taken side on, as if the man isn’t aware of the photo at all. As if it’s being taken by a paparazzi hidden in the bushes.
In the real world, most men find dating success through competence in their job or craft. Competence that turns into confidence.
Instead, the average man today finds himself pointing the camera at himself trying to make himself look pretty in order to fit in with what the new technology wants.
Middle aged men find themselves taking bathroom mirror selfies in an effort to create an attractive profile photo. Something that is completely unnatural to most straight men. And something that men in their 40s and 50s never grew up with.
2. Communication via text
After images comes text. This is the chance for a man to showcase his humor, personality and status. All the things a woman is looking for.
The problem is..
Text is weak
All of the natural expressions of personality; facial expressions, voice intonations and body language are completely lost in text.
Text is a medium that is usually consumed thoughtfully and logically. Not emotionally.
Sarcasm easily gets lost in translation.
All of the natural brain chemicals that would be firing off in a real life conversation are dulled by text.
And this is the medium that men need to use to express their personality.
Text can’t compete with images.
Yes, women are stuck using text too. But women generally don’t need to convey their personality via text to the same extent, because men, being visual creatures, are usually more or less satisfied with the images they see.
3. Photo retouching, angles and make-up
Men are fools for an image of a beautiful woman.
Women have all the tricks in the world to create an image that is far more attractive than their real selves.
Photos can be retouched to perfection. Today anybody with a smartphone and the Facetune app can brighten their skin, teeth and eyes. Filters can be added. Waists can be narrowed. Curves can be added. Breasts can be enlarged (without surgery). Some people even go as far as removing people from the background (seriously).
Angles can be played with and makeup can be painted.
With all of this in combination, any woman on the planet (even somebody who is universally, monumentally ugly in the real world) can begin to look rather attractive.
(“Ugly” in physical appearance only. Not ugly in character)
Have yellow teeth? No problem, just digitally whiten them.
Have beedy eyes? No problem, highlight them with makeup and then digitally enlarge them on an app.
Overweight? No problem, point the camera down at yourself from up above your head, an angle that highlights your cleavage and hides your stomach. And if this isn’t enough, open up an app and start narrowing that waist.
Are these options open to men too? Yes. But it simply doesn’t have the same effect. Because once again, men are far more visual than women
The snowball effect
All of these small advantages that women have in online dating may seem relatively minor.
However, all of these small details add up over time and begin to radically change people’s perceptions.
Let’s start with the year zero.
For arguments sake, lets say there are 1000 men and 1000 women who have downloaded Tinder for the very first time and lets see how the dynamics of the app develop overtime.
Stage 1 - Day zero:
Men upload their photos and do their best to use the weak medium of text to convey their personality.
Women upload their digitally perfected photos and type in their descriptions.
Right away, due to human biology and the fact that images are the focal point of every profile, the women will receive more messages than men.
Most women have multiple messages to choose from and reply to only 30% of the messages. The woman feels desirable and gets a nice little boost of self-esteem.
On the other hand, most men will send out multiple messages to a number of women, and receive replies from around 30% of women. He’s a little bummed about those who didn’t reply, but satisfied with the 30% who did.
Stage 2 - After 1 week
Women continue to be flooded with messages and begin to feel like they’re quite the catch. They begin to only respond to around 10% of the messages they receive.
Meanwhile, from the men’s point of view, women seem to be responding to less and less of his messages. So they begin to get frustrated and desperate. Is there something wrong with me?
He begins making adjustments to his profile. A photo of him rock climbing. A photo of him holding a puppy. A shirtless selfie (After all, I would be attracted to a women taking a shirtless selfie, so women must like it too right?)
But no matter what he tries nothing seems to work. I guess I’m just unattractive..
He tries to show his sense of humour that seems to work so well in real life, but it doesn’t seem to have the same effect when using the weak medium of text.
Stage 3: - After 1 month
Women are now mostly bored of the whole thing. The most attractive women have hundreds of messages and they begin to see an opportunity to direct people to their Instagram account and build a following there.
The average women are also flooded with messages. Men seem to be reacting to me significantly better on the app than they do in real life…
She begins to realise that she essentially has an endless carousel of men for the picking. Her standards begin to rise. Now she will only meet men who are particularly attractive.
The average man, who she would happily date in the real world, is now disposable in her eyes. Although she may still send a few short responses to encourage a few compliments her way.
Men on the other hand (The average men), are losing their minds.
They seem to be sending out countless messages and getting almost no response. The women who do respond seem to take hours between their messages and don’t seem particularly interested in meeting up.
He feels a REAL drop in self-esteem. It seems that he’s far less desirable to women than he thought he was.
His messages begin to reek of desperation. He starts sending 3 messages. 4 messages. 5 messages in a row.
He’s aching for some kind of reply. Anything.
It doesn’t matter. Just something. So that he can enjoy the next dopamine surge he gets from her replies
Overtime, he begins to get angry. Who does she think she is? Why do women think they can treat me this way?
And that’s when you start to see this:
This snowball effect begins rolling every time a new person joins the app.
Women’s self esteem goes up. Men’s self esteem goes down.
And then they carry this artificial self-esteem adjustment out into the real world.
The financial incentives
In the mix of this madness of sexual urges, dopamine, addictive variable ratio effects and photo retouching, comes the financial incentives.
Dating platforms want to make money. Lots of it.
They want two things from you:
1.They want you addicted to their platform
2. They want you to pay for their premium service.
They want you addicted to their platform
And no, “addicted” is not an exaggeration. This is exactly what they aim for, as do all apps in the attention economy.
They want you addicted to their platform so that you’ll spend more time on their app and view more advertisements.
So here are a number of ways dating apps will encourage you to become an addict:
Sure, you’ll receive notifications when you receive a message or get a new match, but why stop there?
Why not send notifications telling you it’s “Busy in your area!”
Or send notifications for features you never signed up for.
And send notifications whenever somebody adds a photo, because why not.
Having a number next to your messages tab makes you feel good. So for many of these apps, anything can be classified as “a message”.
If somebody joins the app, that’s “a message”
Sponsored message? Sure that counts as a “message” Why not!
2. They want you to pay for their premium service
Yes, this is their ultimate goal.
Generally these premium packages consist of a “Boost” which increases your visibility on the app and being able to see which other users have liked you. (They could of course allow this feature for everyone, but why waste an opportunity to make people pay).
The dating app isn’t designed for you. It’s designed for them.
The entire dating app is a sales funnel into their premium service.
And you can be absolutely certain that their algorithms encourage people to end up paying.
How do they do this, well, it seems likely that it goes something like this:
The profiles of new users are made visible to a large number of people. An early success will suck new users into using the dating app for the long-term.
Overtime, the algorithms will gradually decrease the visibility of the user’s profile. As the user begins to get less and less attention, the “Boost” option begins to seem more and more attractive.
You can be sure that the vast majority of those paying for the premium service are men. In fact, this is the foundation of the business model of online dating.
online dating and the black pill mentality (Incels)
Here is one of many Tinder experiments making its way around the online “Black PIll” community.
The Black Pill ideology is one of defeatism. The central belief is that men who don’t win the genetic lottery (Being tall, handsome, a chiseled jawline and a positive canthal tilt - don’t ask) don’t have any chance of having successful dating lives.
To those in the Black Pill community, the above experiment is proof that if you don’t look a certain way, then girls won’t like you. And that women only care about appearance.
This community is linked with the Incel community (Involuntary Celebetes), men who want to have sex but can’t find a woman who will let them. A community that has so far produced 3 mass shooters.
Those in this community are convinced that they have the truth. That anybody who denies their truth simply cannot admit it; that the only thing women care about is appearance. And that if you didn’t win the genetic lottery, you have no chance.
But the problem with their outlook is this..
They’re seeing the world through the lens of dating technology
This is how technology changes people without them noticing.
They watch how men are treated in online dating and come to the conclusion that this must be the truth of how people interact. They think that technology reveals the truth about the way things work.
But technology doesn’t reveal the truth. It warps it.
They never consider that looking at the dating world through the lens of technology could lead to inaccurate viewpoint. Or that men and women might act differently in the real world than they do through technology.
Because for men in the real world; social skills are more important than appearance.
(Just ask any of the countless ugly PUA’s (Pick up Artists) that manage to pick up beautiful girls all the time)
But Incels aren’t aware of this simple fact because they never got their information about dating through the real world like the PUA’s did. They got their information through technology. And they made the mistake of assuming that technology reveals the truth about the world.
Because they don’t understand that viewing the world through the lens of technology leaves you with an inaccurate perspective. They don’t understand that technology is not neutral.
“Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” - The first law of technology (Dr Melvin Kranzburg)
So online dating has an incredible capacity to drive men crazy. Even to the point of depression, defeatism and potentially contributing to mass murder. (Seriously).
While online dating is becoming more and more popular, there will always be a wide open world to act in and billions of potential partners to date (That is, if you can summon the courage to get off your technology and engage with the world).
A simple solution is available for anybody struggling with online dating.
Step out into the world and start meeting the opposite sex the old fashioned way. The way you were evolved to. The way you were born to.
If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’d like to read more: