UNPOPULAR OPINION: Men, This Is Everything You're Doing Wrong at Online Dating

I'm surprised sometimes how infrequently men have close female friends.
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Dale Sylvae
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I'm surprised sometimes how infrequently men have close female friends.

So I was perusing some blogs and came upon one about dating sites and I saw a lot of comments from men like this:

"Women on these sites are egoistic!"

"It's a first world problem to be messaged all the time"

"Women basically get your pick of who they want"

And let me assure, you, as a woman, it is NOT LIKE THAT.

Some background: I am a fairly experienced paid model. I also have a full-time job at a law firm and graduated with a 3.6 GPA from UCSB. I am 24 years old, 5'7", 123 pounds, mixed race, mostly Caucasian. My last boyfriend was also a model. 

And I am on Match.com and OKCupid — because regardless of who you are, it's fucking hard to find people to date.

I understand that it can be tough to get rejected. Trust me. The number of times I've messaged a guy on OKCupid or Match.com and gotten NO response (and I have messaged a few guys, and seen the "read" status with no response) — it sucks! I hate that there is a dumb societal pressure for men to have to do most of the messaging. I thought about these comments and the general stymies with online dating, and here is where I really think the communication breakdown lies:

1. Men have to do all the talking — and most men have no idea where to start.

It is frankly quite unfair that men are expected to do all the communicating. Are women not equally capable of utilizing a keyboard? And they have to handle the vast majority of the rejection — I'd be pissed about that if I were a guy. 

But let's face it: The way men are brought up in our country is not exactly to befriend women and get to know them better as a person. I hang out with a lot of dudes on the regular and I'm surprised sometimes how infrequently they have close female friends. I also know a lot of women who don't have close guy friends. The men I know who are good at talking to women often have a close, healthy, and respectful relationship with several other women, and they often get more women in the dating pool as a result, because they don't feel uncomfortable with the idea of talking to them; they treat them like equals. 

If we don't get to know each other as people, we end up sending messages like "sup, babe," or "you're hot" or some lengthy, obviously copy-and-pasted message that makes me feel like I'm just one of a thousand. I know what you're thinking — you have to send a thousand messages to get a response and you can't personalize every single one, right? This brings me to my next point:

2. Women are so used to being harassed by men that we are freaked the fuck out by you guys.

Listen, I know it seems like a dream to have a thousand women send you messages like "you're hot." Here's the thing — it isn't like that for women. Our wet dream is usually not to have a bazillion naked dudes around us; that just sounds like an awkward orgy we accidentally thought was a housewarming party. That's just how our brains work — we would rather have ONE (or two) really good dude(s) rather than several dudes of mixed quality, so the massive influx of messages is actually just stressful. 

Also, consider this: A LEADING cause of death in the United States for women...is men. I'm not saying you're all murderers or dastardly dudes! But on average, you are bigger, therefore scarier, and to be quite frank, the amount of times I consider bringing my can of pepper spray (you will be surprised by how many women own these — I might actually get another one here) out on a date is quite high.

This is why women hate being catcalled on the street. When you're the one in power, women catcalling you feels like a compliment because they can't hurt you, so they pose no threat. The other way around, it feels scary and threatening, and also feels like you don't give a shit about our brains and you only care about how we look. We know you might mean well (most of the time). But them's the facts. For a better explanation, see this Louis CK skit: 

Also, because we get so many harass-y messages, even though 50 percent of them may be well intended, we disregard all of them because it is OVERWHELMING to try to go through each profile. And most of us feel really bad. 

I stopped using OKCupid as much because there were guys on there who would send me a message and seem really nice and cool and it seemed like we had a bunch in common, but I'm not gonna date you, man — we're just not in the same league. But I want to be friends? So if I send a message back, I'm stuck — you're going to think I'm interested. And if I tell you later I just want to be friends, then I'm leading you on, and it's all my fault. So really, it's safest for us to just not reply at all.

Also, sidenote: Guys do NOT know how to take pictures of themselves. I know a lot of good-looking dudes whose Tinder profiles are just WRECKED. Like, c'mon, there are basics here: A) Don't post a pic of you next to a hotter friend. B) Don't post a profile pic where I can't see your face. C) Think about it as if you were a lady looking for a hot dude: One nice smiling pic, no pictures of your ass, more than two photos. Thnx.

3. This leads men to feel rejected and angry.

It's completely human and justified to feel angry and frustrated when you're trying to find a connection with someone and you put yourself out there and try to be vulnerable and it feels as though people are disregarding you. I completely understand that — it sucks! I was super weird and not attractive in high school, and honestly, I'm glad for it because the number of times I got rejected helped me be a much more stable person today. And it leads to things like the comments at the start of this post, where because you don't hear from women, you naturally assume what they're thinking. "Oh, she must think she's better than me," or, "Oh, women have a much easier time," and I get it. 

It's like when a friend is always late and you don't hear from them and you start to think, "Wow, they must just not care about me at all," when really they are just having a really bad week. Most often (I think) women are thinking, "Oh, my God, I can't even handle all these messages," "I'm just looking at the thumbnail, is that a bro tank?" "I'm quitting this site because I have 250 unread messages from a week and a half and I feel like a dick." "I'm clearly 25, why are 40-year-old men messaging me? Stahp!" "Why do you think I'm going to send you naked pictures after one message?" or "Fuck this, I'm still in love with my ex." So try to see both sides of the equation.

A lot of these problems are caused by the way we are supposed to view each other as genders. The guy-chasing-girl thing comes from a dumb, antiquated past that expects women to be virginal (HAH!) and men to be the fucking Marlboro man, and none of it exists anymore. Men are taught to be providers and to find a woman to provide for and not being able to find that is scary. Women are supposed to sit there and wait for a dude to come to us but we get disillusioned when it seems like everyone just sees us as pieces of ass and so, not going to lie, there is definitely sometimes some vindication that comes from pressing the delete button on a message. 

The PUA and APUA (anti-pick-up-artist) movements have started because women are becoming more independent and less reliant on finding a man, and this leaves a lot of men without a toolkit for dating, because what we've been taught from movies and TV shows and our parents' generation is in no way applicable to Millenial dating.

So here's my suggestion: Get off OKCupid. Get off Match.com. There's no way to win dating sites. And try your darndest not to focus on the idea of "dating;" instead do two things:

1. Figure out a way to love yourself. 

And be okay with the idea that you're by yourself, alone, single. You're not going to randomly drop dead if you're single, and you're not going to die in a corner in 80 years alone — that doesn't fucking happen. Don't try to find a match. Do stuff you like. Try to be a good person. Get to the point where you respect and like the person that you are.

2. Make friends with a member of the opposite sex.

FRIENDS. DO NOT CHASE. Don't think of sex, don't do it. I don't care if you have to jack it thrice a day (ladies and dudes), but make a friend of the opposite gender to the point where you respect their brain and their point of view as a woman or as a man. You can't date a person of a gender you don't respect; it leads to arguments and shitty things. So learn to respect them.

It's a hard battle, but it's worth it. This prevalent anxiety in America where women need to find a man to be validated (chick flicks and Disney princesses, anyone?) and men need to find a woman to be successful is total crap. We aren't supposed to be completing each other. We're supposed to be a team. At the end of the day, I just want a best friend who loves me, who respects me, who supports me, who argues with me, who laughs with me, who drinks beers with me, and who has bangin' sex with me. And I highly suspect I'm not going to find them on Match.com.