The Meet Market

I recently read a book titled, Dollars and Sex (Allen & Unwin) by Dr Marina Adshade and was intrigued by her market-driven summation of online dating. As someone who has had success with online dating, and seen others suffer in the labyrinth, the concept of seeing this option through an economic lens was edifying.

Adshade proclaims that our checklist mentality is holding us back. Our lack of patience for the natural process in finding a mate is doing us in.

Online people are rejected as possible partners without ever having been seen – not because of who they are but because they have characteristics that fall into a broader category that was eliminated in order to make the search [for love] less time consuming.

From a male perspective, putting in the time is something we do poorly.

One of the fundamental elements of online dating is good prompt communication: write well, be honest. In my experience, the more work I put in to getting to know someone before I met them, the better the first date. Conversely, the men I speak to who spend very little time emailing, texting and talking on the phone before meeting, are often underwhelmed by the first date.

According to Adshade, daters and their biases are altering a geared market.

From an economics perspective, limited searches take ‘thick’ markets and turn them into ‘thin’ markets. The fact that online dating markets are thick should imply, in theory at least, that not only is it easier to find love on that market compared with a more traditional dating market but also that the relationships that form are of a higher quality.


This is what men do. Women are doing it too.

It’s the biggest mistake we make when online dating. We narrow our search for love with superficial parameters. Why?

Is it because we put an unrealistic price on our time? Is it because we can’t control the physical environment by our actions, much like we do in the workplace? Is it because of our self-esteem, or lack thereof?

As Adshade says, we trade off characteristics that we value in a mate in an attempt to find the best match given our own value on the market. Is this perceived or real, though?

You can be anyone you want online.

Generally, short people are taller, overweight people are average, and alcoholics are occasional drinkers. You will endure the depths of the human condition by spending just three months actively online dating. But without those experiences, you won’t give yourself the chance to meet someone who’s kind of amazing.

Whoever says, men aren’t looking for relationships, is telling a furphy. But where we go wrong is expecting a quick long-term relationship. That’s an oxymoron.

Whether online or the old-fashioned way, meeting someone takes effort on your part. It takes time to establish a connection. It’s emails, it’s texting, it’s phone calls, it’s coffee, it’s cocktails, it’s dinner, it’s actually giving a fuck about what’s coming out of her mouth (and not visualising that it’s your cock before you’ve even said, hello).

Ease-up on the checklist and leave yourself open to whatever may come your way.

Online dating starts in front of a computer or mobile device, but it’s end only comes with interpersonal connection. Find your commodity in this meet market and cash in.

The difference between online dating success and failure is knowing why you’re there and taking the opportunity that comes your way – and it will. If you search for perfection, disappointment will surely follow.

Look in the mirror.

Readjust your margins and get back out there with a more realistic attitude.

Online dating works for those who put in the work.

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