Swipe through enough online dating profiles and you’ll see plenty of women exclaiming ‘No hookups!’.
Men rarely, if ever, write this.
Hookup culture (people meeting up for casual encounters) is supposedly happening because of dating apps like Tinder, Happn and Bumble.
I don’t agree.
Men and women love sex equally. And according to evolutionary biologists men are programmed to be promiscuous and women to want longer term partners.
There’s another theory women also like a variety or partners, but social convention and fear of judgement has forced them to adapt and be content with one primary partner.
Regardless of which theory is true, I firmly believe the stereotypical 30 year old man is more willing to engage in casual sex than a 30 year old woman is.
(Note my use of the word stereotypical in the preceding sentence. This article is about gender trends, not individuals. Not all men and women act the same way.)
Because of this, men have two dating goals. Have sex and/or find a serious, exclusive partner, not necessarily from the same women.
His attraction switches are primarily physical. She looks good, therefore I would sleep with her. And over time, if she suits my criteria for a serious, exclusive partner things may progress in that direction.
The woman has the goal of finding a serious, exclusive partner.
Her attraction switches must therefore take in to account the physical, but are also influenced by how many dominant personality traits he has and his living situation (power, status, facial features and deep voice indicating high testosterone levels, intelligence, money, etc), all of which make him a good partner.
She has done the whole sleeping around thing in her early twenties, is approaching thirty, and suddenly realises her biological clock is rapidly counting down.
Because of this, men and women approach online dating with two different agendas.
Differences between online dating strategies of men and women
The strategic play for men is to message as many women as possible who they find moderately attractive and upwards. Some of the women we have no intention of getting in to a relationship with, and just want to sleep with them. Others are potential long-term candidates. Sometimes we won’t know which category the woman falls in to until we’ve dated her for a while.
But in general, if we messaged a woman, we have already decided in our minds we would sleep with her. That’s a given.
The strategic play for women is to remain the selectors. This has been the case for centuries and isn’t likely to change any time soon. As in the offline world where it is up to the men to approach the women, online it is up to the men to send the opening message, often with no response (which is ultimately why the quality of men’s opening messages is poor – we simply don’t have time to write out long, witty, carefully prepared opening messages to each of you, knowing we are unlikely to get a reply even if we did).
As a result an average looking woman’s inbox is flooded with hundreds of messages or varying degrees of quality, whilst even the most attractive man receives just a handful.
She begins to weed out the definitely Nos. She dismisses the ‘hi’s and the ‘hey beautfiful’s unless they are from a very attractive man, in which case he is forgiven for such blandness.
She even cuts the average looking guys with funny opening messages, because, after all, she has plenty of great looking guys vying for her attention.
The list of 100 potential suitors is trimmed to a short list of ten, each of which gets a reply.
(Either that of she becomes entirely frustrated with the lack of quality of men messaging her and deletes her profile).
Of those ten, maybe three messaged her because she fulfilled the criteria for a long term mate, three messaged her because they are undecided, and the other four messaged her because she fulfilled their sex criteria, not their long term mate criteria.
Of course, the seven can’t admit that because then they would blow their chances. They must act identically to the three men who consider her long term relationship material. They know their strategy opposes the woman’s, and they would be immediately asked to leave the playing field.
At this stage, if the woman chooses one of the ten guys to go on a date with, she would most probably end up on a date with a guy who didn’t want anything serious (40% chance), followed by a guy who isn’t sure yet (30% chance), or a guy who is really in to her (30% chance).
No wonder women continually complain of guys just wanting them for their bodies.
(These stats are totally made up. I have no scientific basis for the numbers. Feel free to adjust as you see fit)
Before I continue, I am not judging either the male or female mating strategies. Wanting a committed relationship is as valid a goal as wanting a one night stand.
Hookups are often portrayed as a negative thing, but they aren’t.
I wish people would stop describing them as such. There is nothing wrong with wanting casual sex. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see someone casually for a few months whilst you look for a more serious boyfriend or girlfriend. There is nothing wrong with wanting an exclusive girlfriend or boyfriend.
Just because your date’s goal is not what you want doesn’t make it wrong.
As soon as society stops judging these different forms of relationship the better.
So what are we to do?
Modern Dating Rules
I propose we all stick to the following rules to make sure we all get what we want as quickly as possible.
1. Don’t believe that online dating has caused the so called hook-up culture.
It hasn’t. Men have been trying to seduce women for years. Dating apps and the internet have just made arranging dates easier, and your woes, annoyances and frustrations more public.
2. Understand that men and women are different.
I’m all for equally voting rights and pay. But let’s not kid ourselves men and women are biologically wired the same way.
Articles are constantly published by women about their horrendous date with a guy who just wanted sex. When this happens the womenfolk and beta males rush to the aid of the apparent damsel in distress with messages of sympathy.
And men complain in private to their male friends about how a women wouldn’t ‘put out’ on the third date, or how the woman he fancies sees him as a friend, or how he can’t get dates with attractive women.
Let’s just accept people want different things, and wanting those things is OK.
3. No-one is forcing you to do anything.
Don’t sleep with a woman or man and then become bitter the next day. You had a choice in the matter. She didn’t trick you. He didn’t hypnotise you. No super secret manipulative strategies were used. You agreed to because part or all of you wanted to.
And no-one is forcing you to go on a date, remain on a date, or have further dates with someone you don’t like, or you don’t think is after the same thing as you.
Accept responsibility for your actions.
4. No matter what your dating goal is, you will always meet assholes.
A man demanding you come back to his flat for sex is a dick. A woman demanding on a first date to know how many kids you want and if you are going to be serious with her is being a dick.
Don’t be a dick.
And politely decline to see again anyone being a dick to you.
No one should be demanding anything.
5. You don’t deserve anything except to be treated with respect and kindness.
Cut the entitlement crap. Going on a date does not bind you to some unwritten contract obliging them to see you again if you like them. Nether are you entitled to act as though you are superior or in some way better than your date because your dating goal is different to theirs.
However, do expect to be created with respect and kindness. This is a tricky one, and you need to stop the knee jerk reactions to hearing news you don’t like.
Learn to be less sensitive.
For example, if a man asks a women to come back to his, this is not being disrespectful. This is honest and direct communication. You have no right to be upset if the man asks correctly.
Likewise, if a woman demands you buy her dinner, that is disrespectful. But if she politely informs you she is only looking for a long term relationship, that is respectful, even though it may not be what you are looking for.
6. Go on more dates.
You will have a higher chances of meeting someone who matches your dating goals if you do.
Don’t winge or complain after every bad date. Women, learn to be less picky. Instead of replying to 10 of the 100 messages you receive, reply to 20, and go on dates with 5. You’ve just upped your chances of meeting a guy who wants a relationship with you.
Also, if more women replied to men’s opening messages I suspect the quality of opening messages would improve (because we haven’t had to spend an hour copying and pasting the same message to fifty women who we don’t even really want to date, but are dropping our standards just to get a response), and all your inboxes would be less flooded with rubbish form guys desperately seeking any form of female contact.
And guys, up your game. Learn to communicate with women. Learn to listen and not brag. Learn to be humble, open and authentic. Learn to not storm off if things don’t go your way. Sort out your hygenie and personal care.
Accept online dating is frustrating for both genders for different reasons.
7. Women, stop hating on us guys.
Sure you’ve got a full inbox from on messages from creeps and weirdos. But amongst those you also have some guys who want to meet you.
Please step into our shoes for just a moment and understand why we do what we do. Again, I’m not condoning dick pics or abusive messages, but sometimes writing ‘hi’ is all we’ve got left in the tank when our first 99 messages have gone unanswered.
If you do feel frustrated by how many message you get, spare a though for us men who have no messages at all, and have to do all the work to find your profile, read it and message you. I guarantee we spend longer on that process than you do simply deleting or reading messages.
8. Men, stop hating on women.
They are not replying to you because there are better looking guys on the site, and women have hundreds of guys in their inbox to choose from.
If you don’t get a reply, it is NOT OK to send an abusive or insulting message. Keep your ego in check. Online dating is a frustrating numbers game for us. If you don’t like it, leave.
Don’t resort to abuse.
Likewise if you suggest a date and get turned down, get over it. Don’t persistantly call or message a women, oscilating between loving and hating her.
There is never an excuse to being rude, abusive or forceful with a woman. Remain respectful at all times.
Hookup culture was not caused by online dating apps. It’s simply men and women playing the same game with different opinions on what it means to win.
Let’s all just accept that. It would lead to a far more harmonious and pleasant dating experience for everyone.