As a therapist, I see many clients who are dissatisfied with their love lives. They say things like, “All guys want is a really hot girl” or “Women just want a guy with loads of money.” They look at me with a hangdog expression, meant to convey, “I am doing everything I can, and somehow, because of ‘Cruel Fate,’ I am still single.”
Then I ask where they go to meet people. Their response? Bars, parties, or “nowhere.” Well, it is no wonder they aren’t finding their co-star in the rom-com of their lives. Let’s examine these awful meeting places.
Ladies, when men go to bars, they go for one of two reasons:
- First, they go to bars to hang out with their friends. And due to that fact, they aren’t likely to turn away from the game to go up to a woman, because then their friends would tease them mercilessly! And don’t forget, they are actually watching the game. As attractive and scintillating as you may be, you are not going to get much attention between these factors.
- The second reason men go to bars is specifically to meet women. Sounds promising, right? Think again. About 90% of the men I see think that they wouldn’t meet their wife at a bar. So, they are just looking for a woman to fill, shall we say, a more temporary role in their life. It could just as easily be you as the woman next to you, and they will pick based on looks (especially since their friends are watching) and probably who looks drunker. However, when men are looking for marriage, they look at qualities besides who looks good.
Guys, unless you are a hotter, younger Donald Trump, you will not fare much better. Yes, as the mothers of many women say, “It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich guy as a poor guy.” By which the mothers mean, of course, that they hope their daughters fall in love with a rich guy. And when you go to bars, the rich guys have the advantage. They can buy drinks for the table, they dress well, and when they talk about their awesome job, it is natural for women to feel impressed. (This is evolutionary, like when a male peacock shows his feathers.)
There is no way in a loud bar environment for a man to lead with qualities that are less immediately obvious, particularly if he is more of an introvert and doesn’t brag very much. So, you may be a wonderful guy who loves politics and reading Slate, and a girl with these exact interests may be standing right next to you, and she will be more into the guy who buys her a drink and talks about his finance job, because SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW YOU LIKE POLITICS AND SLATE. And short of walking around in a Slate T-shirt all the time, there is no way around this.
Parties are great… if you happen to be outgoing, and also if there are appealing, eligible people of the opposite sex in attendance. However, people who throw parties just invite random people, rather than focusing on creating an individualized speed-dating session for you. The odds of your specific soulmate (who likes 90’s music, reading Kafka, and going to old school diners, of course) showing up is very small.
And again there is the extraversion issue. If you’re a real extravert, you’ll do well at parties. However, one third to one half of Americans are introverts, who just don’t shine in this arena. It is unlikely they will find it easy to connect with others at a party, even if those others would end up being compatible with them. Tragic, isn’t it. Yes… if there were no other options. (That was foreshadowing.)
Most people go to work, engage in some hobbies, and go home (and the work and hobbies are usually gender-specific; there are not a lot of guys in your pottery class or women in your basketball league). And then they convince themselves that somehow a perfect partner will drop out of the sky and into their lives. Did you ever hear that story about the guy in the flood who kept rejecting help from passing boats and saying, “It’s ok, God will save me”? Then he drowned, and when he went to heaven, he asked God, “Where were you?” God responded, “Didn’t you see all the boats I sent you?”
Do you want to have to ask God, “Where was my soulmate? Wasn’t I a good person?!” Because he will probably reply, in typical omniscient fashion, “Didn’t you see the online dating emails I sent you? Wherefore did you send them to your spam folder? Forsooth, your soulmate was on the first page of matches!”
Now, let’s turn to the good news. Online dating is a modern day miracle for the 99% of the population that does not walk into a party and immediately get accosted by members of the opposite sex just itching to bear their children. Creating a dating profile lets you showcase your awesome personality to people looking to meet someone just like you. (Every pot has a cover, as moms also like to say.) It is a real self-esteem boost to write a profile, since you’re focusing on what makes you so great. And, when perusing pages of potential matches, it can be very reassuring to see how many people out there could be compatible with you. It can even make you question your long-standing and fairly depressing belief that there’s nobody out there.
Additionally, with online dating, you control the pace of the conversation. While you may be witty and interesting, coming across this way in a fast-moving party conversation can be difficult. However, when you have the time to plan what you’re going to say, you can present yourself in all your unique glory.
Josh X is a smart, somewhat nerdy guy who likes reading, humor writing, and running with his dog. Here’s how he comes off at a party.
Josh: “Hey….. Taylor, right? Hey. So how do you know… um… Alexis? Oh…. Okay…. I know her because she works with my friend… They went to school together. Oh, okay, yeah See you later.” (Taylor excused herself to text with her mom, aka see if that really hot guy that just walked in needs a drink. Josh gets a beer and wishes he had just stayed home and watched Game of Thrones.)
Now, here is Josh on JDate:
“About me? I’m your average, run of the mill, hysterically funny, voraciously reading (also voraciously writing), nice, Jewish boy. Graduate of Penn, lover of my Labrador, fan of Game of Thrones but wish I had a girl to dissect it with me. I also like running, but am intimidated by triathlons… unless you do them, in which case, I’m in training.”
Josh, you witty, well rounded guy, you are making me want to leave my husband.
I know you’ve already heard you should try online dating from a lot of people, and now you’ve heard it from your friendly neighborhood psychologist too. It beats bars, parties, and even “nowhere” (shockingly) by a wide margin. It lets your distinct brand of specialness shine, especially if you’re not the most outgoing person in the room. And, as those moms I keep referencing always say: You’ll never know if you like it till you try.