Only eating and sleeping could be said to have a stronger grasp on the steering wheel of our daily behavior than the thing in our heads that is constantly urging us to find love and have sex. But even an insatiable appetite and overwhelming tiredness are no match for the sudden arrival (or breakdown) of pure romantic love, or unbridled sexual lust.
These are, after all, the states of mind that inspired every one of our direct ancestors to relentlessly pursue love and sex until they succeeded at least once in getting their genes into a new generation. We are each the product of an unbroken string of successful fuckers and lovers, so it’s no wonder fucking and loving pervade our thoughts as completely as they do.
The advent of online dating, then, must have seemed like an incredible idea. Whereas in the past the pool of single men a woman could potentially meet and attract was limited by who she happened to physically be around during daily life, now it was exponentially larger. Now the number of men she could date was limited only by how far she would eventually be willing to travel to spend time with them in person. Dozens of suitors turned into thousands, or even millions.
However, things turned out to be more complicated than that. Just as freshly-online businesses, expecting to amass untold fortunes in a new, global market, found themselves in competition with internet businesses that they would never have otherwise had to compete with, so too did online daters face the prospect of having to stand out as special and attractive among a much larger pool of singletons than they were used to. Whereas before a man just needed to be the best looking guy at work to get a date with a colleague, now he needed to be in the top 10% of all men to get a date with one of the women in his city.
The expanded horizons offered by online dating don’t equal unrestricted access to a ready and waiting list of beautiful people. Every man and woman online still has criteria that must be met by people who want to date him or her, and every guy and girl is still in direct competition with every other person of their gender. In that case, then, is the acquisition of love and sex online just as easy or difficult for men and woman as it is offline? Or does this new social arena amplify the dating frustrations each sex has struggled with since the dawn of time?
To find out, I decided to peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse into what online dating is like for men and women who are of varying levels of physical attractiveness.
Phrased another way, do women have it a lot easier than men, and do hot people in general have it the easiest? I know what you might be thinking: yes and yes. It’s hardly the unsolved question of the century. However, at this early stage I didn’t know exactly how big the gap between men and women might be, or how different a relatively unattractive person’s online dating experience might be compared to someone more blessed in the looks department.
Nor did I know what to expect to see in the unsolicited messages, because men rarely get to see the messages women receive from hopeful boys, and women rarely witness the reverse. I’d have a privileged, and somewhat immoral, view into both. You’ll find Part II of this story at this post on our site.