Some thoughts from the economist blog on dating…
“Assume there are better and worse catches in the dating market. Part of the dating process, a rather big part, involves determining whether you are, or are not, too good for the other person. So the people who pursue you the most persistently may be the people who are not as good catches as you are; hence your relative lack of interest. Conversely, the people you want most are the ones who are probably better catches than you are, and therefore you are probably more likely to do the pursuing.”
You know – better and safer not to comment on this…
…But whatever… I feel he has an interesting point here, but it is a fairly self-centered way of thinking about it all. It’s nice to be pursued, it’s entertaining to pursue, but does this mean if I am the pursuer then I should give up? Does this mean I should ignore those pursuing me? What room does that leave for romance?
It may be interesting to break it down a little, and define exactly what a ‘good catch’ is, and what are the dimensions that we use for defining ‘good catch’? Thankfully this has a different answer for each of us, but some of those dimensions may be beuaty, social skills, intelligence, wealth, age, fitness, experience, height, weight…. and what do you know – we are ending up with a online dating profile.
One of the issues with online dating is that the best profiles get an inordinate amount of enquiries, while the less good ones get very little. Those ‘great catch’ profiles are getting pursued by (mainly) people with profiles that portray ‘not so great catches’. As a result the ‘great catch’ profiles are not in control – it’s like they walked into a bar and everybody turned and talked to them at once. My advice to such people is to be far more proactive, to contact other ‘great catches’ themselves, selectively showing their photo only to them, and to mainly ignore an unsolicited messages they receive.
So how do we match the ‘above average’ with the ‘above average’, and not the ‘above average’ with the ‘great’? (nobody is below average right?) Most methods of determining whether someone is a match are either absolute (religion = X) or one-way (income > Y). A more honest matching system would match like with like, but that is really tricky as most people, it seems, have a self-image of themselves as looking like they did at 20, with the career track of when they were 30, the experience of 40 and the income of 50.
The next question is whether matching needs to be by category or not? Do beautiful people only want to be matched with beautiful people? What about Anna Nicole Smith? : Does a large income therefore make up for a lack of beauty? Does beauty make up for a lack of intelligence? So do the categories balance out or is it better to be evenly matched in each category?
Obviously it is much harder to find someone who is a match in each category – so is dating really about figuring out what you need, what you are willing to forgoe and what you offer?
Whatever it is, it isn’t easy, but if it was then where would the fun be?