Women have subscribed to an objective checklist mentality to dating. It’s no longer enough for a relationship to grow organically. Men are judged by a set of intangible attributes – a mental code of must haves – before a single glance or word has been exchanged.
Admit it, you’ve heard that cringeworthy phrase, “He ticked all the right boxes” and spewed a little in your mouth. What characteristics sit alongside those boxes, anyway? Perhaps if we knew, we’d be better boyfriends, husbands or lovers.
I once had an attractive brunette tell me that I was perfect on paper, but she didn’t feel it. Another said I was an amazing guy but she couldn’t keep up with me; didn’t like the pampering and intrusion. When all of what I’d been hearing was a lack of commitment from men, here I was prepared to give a woman my full attention, and it wasn’t enough.
There’s always a but.
I suspect we’ll never know why. The more we agonise over it, the more we’re beholden to this fool’s errand.
We just have to accept that women now objectify us, and with online dating and social media as the medium, they’re succeeding at warp speed. And we have to adjust; keep up.
As Jesse Fink, author of LAID BARE: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders (Hachette Australia) put it, beware of the man trap.
It’s no longer enough for an attractive girl to meet a man at a bar or a friend’s barbecue or a rock gig, think he’s handsome and nice and take a chance on a relationship. The internet encourages the checklist mentality to go feral. Men under 5’10” might as well jump off a bridge and be done with it. Where once women could be the object of bounded lust at their local surf club, shopping mall or school fete by dint of their sex appeal they can now be minor web celebrities simply by uploading some alluring photos on Facebook.
Nowhere is this criterion phenomena more rife than RSVP.
Here, men sell themselves to women by selecting their physical and social features (many take liberties). They send out what’s referred to as a “Kiss” to initiate contact. If you’ve been online, like me, you’re probably guilty of not even reading the profiles after you master the rules of the game.
Women are searching for love by default. They’re complicit in judging men on their looks, age, residential location, body shape, personality type, eye and hair colour – even nationality or cultural background. You can eliminate Southern Europeans from your search, if you like. Things like your level of education and job role, can be a deal-breaker.
Profiles read, “My ideal man is” or “You will need to be” – much like a position description for that job on Seek you know you’re never going to get.
The biggest insult comes when you spend the token five dollars to send an email to your potential love interest, only to get no response or worse, a template-selected smack down.
“Thanks for the kiss, but I don’t think it would work out between us.”
Didn’t you just ask me to send you an email?
Although some statistics prove online dating can be a success, the overwhelming majority aren’t so fortunate. It’s expensive, emotionally taxing and almost equivalent to a full-time job in time spent.
In my experience, the trouble with all of this is the facade both men and women create. Online, you can be anyone.
In an age of instant gratification, soundbites and little patience, perhaps we are guilty of designing a life, rather than enjoying one.
I think it’s time to uncheck the boxes, ladies, put those pens down, and just talk to us.