Dating websites often claim attraction between two people can be predicted from the right combination of traits and preferences, but a new study casts doubt on that assertion. The study, which used speed dating data, found a computer could predict who is desirable and how much someone would desire others — who’s hot and who’s not — but it could not unravel the mystery of unique desire for a specific person.
Dear E. Jean: I’m a 30-year-old guy. I’m writing to you because I want honest, impartial advice on the following question: Am I an asshole?
I met a girl on a dating site, and we started to talk—and talk a lot. Over the course of the past month we probably exchanged 2,000 texts, and spoke on the phone every other day. We got along great. But she refused to meet in person, even though she’s a grad student at a university close to my office. I asked about her reluctance to meet, but she brushed it off. She said she had no “fears” and had never experienced any “horrible first dates,” so I was having difficulty understanding why we shouldn’t hang out. I therefore sent her the following message: “I need to know if you want to move this forward. It’s seriously time we either sh*t or get off the pot.”
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She replied that she couldn’t meet because she was “trying to quit smoking, get in shape, and look for a job.” I feel that I’ve made my intentions clear, and thus my question: Am I a total jerk? Was I right to break ties? Or should I wait and hope that one day this will turn into something more? —Can’t Understand the Female Sex
My Dear Chap: The young lady is not interested. The young lady is not looking her best. The young lady is dating another guy. The young lady is dating two other guys. The young lady is a guy.
P.S. You’re too fine a fellow to waste your affections—70 texts a day, by my calculations!—on an imaginary girlfriend. I strongly recommend you sample the excellent dating site HowAboutWe.com. You sign up and suggest a clever date you’d like to go on, as in, “How about we drink Chartreuse and guess the 130 secret ingredients?” Young ladies with the same interests accept (or suggest another cool idea). Then you simply set a time, and meet!
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.
Dear E. Jean:I don’t want to sound mean, but actually, maybe I do: My ex-boyfriend and I run in the same social circles, and he’s an asshole! He’s always between jobs, couch surfing, borrowing money, etc., but somehow he still manages to have tons of smart women after him. I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, but I have a really great job and a lot of other good things going for me, yet no suitors in sight. I’m fine with that, but I’m bothered by the fact that when we run into each other, he always seems to have a romantic interest, while I’m painfully alone.
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Externally, I remain composed, even when I see him making out with girls right in front of me. But internally, I’m screaming. It’s not that I want him back (see above, re him being an asshole), but the situation is frustrating and sometimes embarrassing. I’m reaching my boiling point and afraid I might do something insane like grab a guy by the crotch and have sex on a restaurant table just so my ex (and our social group) sees that I, too, am desirable. Do you have any suggestions for coping with this situation in a more self-respecting way? It would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely… —Miss Swiftly Crumbling Composure
Swiftly, My Snapdragon: Yes, my luv, I have a suggestion. Run and get a pencil, and circle the correct answers to this little true/false quiz, which I call:
ALL THAT YOU KNOW ABOUT BEING “DESIRABLE” IS MISTAKEN
1. T or F: A woman alone is always in the best company.
2. T or F: The chick on the back of a rebel’s motorcycle is more fetching than the chick who is the rebel on the motorcycle.
3. T or F: The most attractive heroines in literature never appear on a page without a boyfriend.
4. T or F: Arriving in public without an escort makes you nervous, Miss Swiftly, because you believe the total crap the witch doctors, abbesses, elders, gurus, grannies, pastors, doctors, and dingbats have been laying on women to control them for the last 17,000 years, right up to 2017 (when a girl doesn’t go to the prom alone; she goes with her squad of girls!).
5. T or F: So maybe you should grab a guy, or at least plant one on his lips.
6. T or F: You’ll see Taylor from Billions wearing a push-up bra and little satin tap pants before anyone cares what your scurvy, money-scrounging chump of an ex thinks.
7. T or F: A woman without a man appears more mysterious than a woman with a man.
8. T or F: A woman alone is a threat to some, but yet also a symbol of strength and choice; you’re waiting till you find the right one.
9. T or F: You should join Bumble, meet some new friends, and enlarge your social circle.
Answers: 1. True; 2. False; 3. Frighteningly close to true, but false; 4. True; 5. You can grab a man whenever you like, Miss Swiftly, but this statement is false if you begin grabbing men to make yourself appear more enticing to your odious ex; 6. True; 7. True; 8. True; 9. Doubly true.
Teens expect to experience some digital forms of abuse in dating, but girls may be suffering more severe emotional consequences than boys, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Michigan and University of California-Santa Barbara examined the impact of gender on high schoolers’ experience of digital dating abuse behaviors, which include use of cell phones or internet to harass, control, pressure or threaten a dating partner.
Overall, teens experience this digital dating abuse at similar rates, but girls reported that they were more upset by these behaviors and reported more negative emotional responses.
“Although digital dating abuse is potentially harmful for all youth, gender matters,” said Lauren Reed, the study’s lead author and an assistant project scientist at University of California-Santa Barbara.
The study involved 703 Midwest high school students who reported the frequency of digital dating abuse, if they were upset by the “most recent” incidents, and how they responded. Students completed the surveys between December 2013 and March 2014.
Participants reported sending and receiving at least 51 text messages per day, and spending an average of 22 hours per week using social media. Most participants reported that they text/texted their current or most recent dating partner frequently.
The survey asked teens to indicate the frequency of experiencing several problematic digital behaviors with a dating partner, including “pressured me to sext” (sending a sexual or naked photo), sent a threatening message, looked at private information to check up on me without permission, and monitored whereabouts and activities.
Girls indicated more frequent digital sexual coercion victimization, and girls and boys reported equal rates of digital monitoring and control, and digital direct aggression. When confronted with direct aggression, such as threats and rumor spreading, girls responded by blocking communication with their partner. Boys responded in similar fashion when they experienced digital monitoring and control behaviors, the study showed.
Boys often treat girls as sexual objects, which contributes to the higher rates of digital sexual coercion, as boys may feel entitled to have sexual power over girls, said study co-author Richard Tolman, U-M professor of social work.
Girls, on the other hand, are expected to prioritize relationships, which can lead to more jealousy and possessiveness, he said. Thus, they may be more likely to monitor boys’ activities.
Materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
From what really happens to what we wish would really happen. Here, dating moments familiar to anyone who’s ever swiped on Bumble or said yes to a set-up from friends.