Finding a date is easier than ever. All you have to do is log on and start swiping; with enough time and patience, you’ll eventually land yourself a date. (I’m assuming you’re not a creep; hopefully I’m not mistaken.)

But while finding a date is easier, dating as a whole is more unfair than ever.

Something tells me you need more information. Fine, Captain Fussypants — let’s explore.

It’s Unfair For Women…

Once upon a time, all a gal had to do was head to the sock hop, buy herself a bottle of Coca-Cola and wait; in no time at all, she’d have a gaggle of swell fellas in suits and responsible haircuts and throwing their hats in the ring of courtship.

(There wasn’t much going on in America before 1968 or so.)

Now, however, the landscape has changed.

Education And Women

In the current dating scene, there are more college-educated women than there are college-educated men. [R] Assuming you’re a college-educated woman looking for a guy with a Bachelor’s degree (at least), that presents a supply and demand issue. I don’t have to explain the concept of supply and demand, since you learned all about it at your fancy college (NERD).

Women face a shortage of men at college, while men fear dating women more educated than them

Even if you’re not concerned with your potential partner’s level of formal education, they might be — some guys are uncomfortable dating a woman who’s more successful than they are. [R]

Source:The Atlantic

The study shows percentage wise by how much women under the age of 35 with at least a bachelor’s degree outnumber men of the same age with equivalent degrees in selected cities and the US as a whole.

Oh, trust me…there’s more. Settle in.

Antiquated Beauty Standards

There’s also the societal expectation that women be “beautiful” at all times, just in case a man — preferably one in a suit and a responsible haircut — decides he’d like to make her his betrothed. So while guys can walk to the store in a bathing suit, a raggedy-ass t-shirt and dirty old shoes without a care, women don’t have that same leeway.

Being a woman and the burdens of having to look beautiful at all times

Overchoice Is A Burden Too

A lot of guys bitch that “women have it easy!” when it comes to online dating because women receive far more attention from guys than vice versa. But that does lead to “overchoice”: the more options you have, the more difficult it is to pick one.

Having too much choice does not make dating any easier

I know that sounds like a good problem to have, but having too many options can be just as disheartening as not having enough.

…And It’s Unfair For Men

Men don’t have an easy road, either: they’re expected to engage in traditional manly-man behavior, but also maintain a softer side. They have to defend a lady’s honor, but also let her fight her own battles. It’s a thin line to walk (although I do it admirably).

Gender Roles Have Shifted

There’s also been a shift in gender roles when it comes to dating. Generally, women are taught to be more demure and indirect when it comes to relationships and let the man take the lead. [R]

The transition in gender role shifts have added issues to the development of relationships

Many women believe that approach to dating turns them into bystanders in their own relationships (for what it’s worth — probably nothing — I agree), and they want a more active role in dating. But because it’s not common for all women, the pool of guys who understand and are comfortable with this approach to dating is limited. That’s why some men prefer women to make the first move, but only 29% of women initiate the first kiss, and only 13% of women ask for a guy’s phone number. [R]

Women: Don’t read this part.

Guys: WOMEN, RIGHT? OY-YOY-YOY.

Like women, men are raised to behave a certain way in dating situations. They’re supposed to make the first move and take charge, BUT, they also have to do it in a way that’s respectful and doesn’t trample all over the woman’s agency. It’s not impossible to do, but it can certainly be tricky, especially when the general attitude is to “just go for it, BRO.”

The art of making a move is a fine balance between being forward and respectful

Even something as innocuous as holding the door for a woman can be perceived as antiquated and misogynistic behavior, depending on the woman. (It’s not terribly common, but it does happen.)

The Online Dating Imbalance

Women receive nearly 300 likes on dating sites for every one like a man receives. And I’m sure there are some dudes out there clamoring that it’s bullshit that chicks don’t wanna bang me, they’re all bitches who don’t realize how nice I am. (If you’re one of those guys, I’m genuinely pleased if I offended you.)

Think twice if you think women have the upper hand while online dating. What men perceive as their own disadvantage can in fact be an advantage

But even if you ignore the overchoice problem, guys hound women on dating sites. Sure, it sucks to open up Tinder and see no new matches or messages, but opening up Tinder to a festival of unsolicited dick pics isn’t exactly a walk in the park either.

Source: Pew Research Center (Internet & Technology)

These statistics show that it is young women who experience the most severe forms of online harassment (i.e. sexual harassment). Think about how that may effect your chances of getting future dates the next time you engage in this behavior.

The Authenticity Problem

Online dating is great because it affords you the opportunity to connect with people you’d probably never encounter otherwise. But the flip side of that coin is that when it comes to online dating, you have no guarantees of anyone’s authenticity.

In the analog era of romance, you knew what you were getting before you agreed to the first date — you’d already talked to them, you’d confirmed (hopefully not verbally) that you both found each other physically attractive, and there was a mutual spark. Every once in a while, the person you thought was so charming during your first conversation would turn out to be a pile of hot garbage, but that was fairly rare.

Comparing old school dating to modern dating, the game has completely changed

Now? It’s a goddamn crapshoot.

That attractive guy you met on Tinder could look the same way in person…or he could be a bridge troll. That witty girl you chatted up on Bumble might live up to your expectations…or she could turn out to be thunderously boring.

Source: Online Dating Matchmaker

The study found that 9 out of 10 lie on their dating profiles with the deceptions being small enough it would be hard to detect face-to-face.

Nobody is really “themselves” anymore, at least not up front. Whether we admit it or not, we operate in two modes: Dating Mode and Regular Mode. In Dating Mode, we’re effortlessly witty, we’re charming, we go on cool vacations, we angle our cameras and take 15 different shots of the same picture to hide that imperfection. In Regular Mode, we’re stressed, we’re tired, we’re broke, and we have to fart.

So What Do You Do?

You have two options.

Complain & Remain Single

You can hold your breath, stomp your feet, tell everyone in earshot that it’s just so damn hard to find the right person for me, write angsty Facebook posts, turn to pickup artists for tips, and take Instagram pictures of the empty spot next to you in bed with a pouty face.

“Moaning about how unfair dating has become is a waste of energy and won’t change a damn thing.”

By all means, feel free to do all the above — just know that it’s not going to change a damn thing. OR, you can…

Adapt & Change Things For The Better

The level of unfairness applies to us all equally as we are all on the same boat

Yes, dating is more unfair than ever. Yes, it’s hard to navigate. Yes, you’re going to say or do the wrong thing, and yes, you’re going to be endlessly frustrated by it. And you’re going to be fine. We’re all in the same boat — nobody has the secret to dating, and anybody who claims they do is talking out of their ass. All you can do is accept that it’s not easy, do your best, and enjoy the ride. It’ll all work itself out in the end.

And if it doesn’t, there’s always booze.

Resources & References

Here are some more sources on the balance shift of dating between men and women.

  1. A brutally honest take on the harsh reality of today’s dating culture, its intense competition and what to do to have a successful date and make her fall in love with you by The Social Man
  2. 7 Reasons why dating is unfair for young women today and you had no idea – Dating is a crazy numbers game by Steven Lerner
  3. A discussion panel on whether online dating is better for men or women by Think Tank
  4. 6 problems only independent women face when dating – Elite Daily by Nikhita Mahtani
  5. Do women have it easier in dating? – Kotaku by Harris O’Malley
  6. An interesting comparison between old school and modern dating by Off the Great Wall
  7. Scientists prove why online dating is perfect for men but awful for women (unlucky in love) – The Sun by 

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  • Peter Bout

    Can some please tell me how a man is meant to work out the gender role shifts?

    I get that a woman does not want to sit there being bystander and agree that it is a two way contribution. But it just seems like we are at that point where there are many that want and active role to the dating and many who want the traditional woman’s role…. man, it makes it hard to know what approach to take!
    Any tips in understanding if the woman wants the active role or is simply more traditional? I know you should be able to tell but it aint always that easy!