My name is Dan, and I'm a 39 year old single man who finds himself using a dating Web site.
On paper, I'm a good catch. I've got a graduate degree, and I work in a prominent job in a local government agency. I own a nice house in a decent neighborhood. I've got all my hair. My height is average - 5' 10". I tipped the scale at 165 pounds yesterday; 10 less than in January, but with about 10 more pounds of gut to lose. (I'm getting a membership at the local JCC next week, to firm up what will remain.) I'm fairly attractive, too.
However, in the world of online dating, it seems like I'm invisible. For every 10 to 15 letters I send out, I get only one response, which may or may not be positive. I compose literate, unique letters -- not cut 'n paste -- with no content that could be considered offensive or sexual. I only pursue women that I feel are "in my league," who are looking for someone with my stats; I won't write to a woman who is looking for a man that is 5' 11" or taller, 38 and younger, athletic, or with an income range that is above mine. Still ... nothing.
Men everywhere online lament that "women never respond to personal ads." Women usually respond with "it's because we're swamped." I think this will lead to the eventual downfall of most online dating services.
Why? Let's use an analogy.
Imagine a society where ten hour workweeks are the norm. There are 1,000 job vacancies for mid-level professional positions, and 1,000 qualified applicants. Those doing the hiring almost never headhunt, because they'll always have plenty of qualified applicants. Each of those 1,000 applicants applies to 100 jobs. Each of those doing the hiring will have 100 resumes to look at. They all pick what they feel are the best of the best that apply. Those lucky "best of the best" -- maybe 200 of those 1,000 job-seekers -- end up with a job offer. Because there such a short workweek, they can work four or five jobs if they want.
If the employer doesn't allow moonlighting, they can easily find another job; they're the best of the best, after all. Rather than replace the former employee with the second or third choice of the previous applicants, they readvertise, get 100 more applicants, and again choose only the top one, even though the others are suitably qualified. The employers complain, saying that all employees do is hop from job to job; that it's so hard to find and retain good workers. Most job-seekers complain that nobody will hire them, and that employers only hire the overqualified, despite what they might say otherwise.
Some of the 800 that didn't get jobs tell of their plight on a Web-based message board. They're told that maybe they shouldn't be seeking professional work, despite their degrees, qualifications, and talent. Instead, they're told, they should find a job at McDonalds or Wal-Mart. They're also told that such jobs should be considered equal to the positions that better suits their knowledge, skills and interests; that they should look past the low pay, poor working conditions and lack of personal fulfillment. If they're not willing to consider the cart retrieval boy job at Wal-Mart as equal to a mid-level planning or environmental science position, they're just too picky or elitist.
Now, let's pretend there's 3,000 job seekers, and 1,000 jobs. Welcome to the world of online dating.
In the world of online dating, it seems that small group of men enjoy a disproportionately large amount of dates, sexual encounters, and relationships that may or may not last, monopolizing the average-and-better women, while the larger group of average-and-better men will have great difficulty meeting peers. Because a relatively small percentage of men are dating a relatively large amount of women, the men will be tagged "players," and women will think less of the men they meet online. With the majority of men getting ignored unless they date down or just happen to beat the tough odds, they'll get frustrated and leave. The model falls apart.
Fortunately, my account with a popular online dating service is free; the only cost being the erosion of my self-esteem. I can afford to stick with it, hoping that maybe I'll beat the odds. For those that are paying, I think it's a huge ... well, a huge marathon. You can complete a marathon, and even finish towards the front of the pack; an accomplishment in itself. However, there's a small group of runners from Kenya that win every marathon they participate in. Unless you're a Kenyan runner, you're just not going to win.
What say you?