I wrote the following in response to a woman who had responded to an email I sent to her (on an online dating site) where she asked "Why are men from Florida and beyond emailing me?
What does that mean exactly!? Yikes." so I went into full op-ed mode:
Like life in general, Match is indeed a scary and confusing place.
I think scarier, in fact, for women than men if only for the thing alluded to
already. Men (it seems…and I’m generalizing here) basically send an email or a
wink to every woman on match at some point in time. Ha ha you think I’m kidding
but the sadness of it all is that I’m probably not. I don’t know what it is
about the whole online dating thing but I have observed the following and of
course this is based purely on me so probably can’t be extrapolated
successfully out to the rest of the population (which isn’t to say that I
If you make the analogy to hunting and trapping (um, just follow
me here) then:
Men use shotguns and hand grenades for hunting and believe that
any bait for trapping (that another man is using) will work for them AND will
target a specific type of woman.
Women use sniper rifles with high powered scopes for hunting and
tend to not care what they bait their traps with because they know it’s always
a filtering process (versus a catching process) when they check their traps
As you can figure, each of these approaches have significant
drawbacks to them.
Let me talk about men first because, gosh, I’m one of them so
probably have a better handle on that end of the species palette. From a
hunting perspective, men use shotguns and blast away not really aiming but
generally pointing in the direction of their prey and only after the smoke
clears do they look to see if they hit anything. The “hit” rate is extremely
low because, obviously, there is no thinking, no strategy, nothing used to gain
any kind of leverage on the situation. Some typical ways to tell they are doing
this are the wink and the one line email (“Hi, how are you?”) because both lend
themselves to mass production (or the law of big numbers). This can also be
called “the easy way” but only in the sense of pulling the trigger, not in the
sense of bringing something home for dinner.
From a trapping view, men will try to use the bait that they
think has been successful for other men simply because, well, I take it you have
met a man before…um, so you get it. Men lionize other men whom they think are
already successful, manly, virile, etc. and will emulate them down to the
minutest, most annoying detail. It’s not really that men don’t know who they
are themselves, I think they do actually, but that they think that they know
that you (women) want someone else. That someone being the A-type, lead dog,
superman type guy (they have indelibly embedded in their head). Yeah, kind of
stupid but, hey, wtf, it’s what magazines, TV, movies, mom and dad have been
saying for a gazillion years…so it’s just got to be true.
Women, on the other hand, seem to have very, very specific
ideas of who and what they want. That’s what I mean by using a sniper rifle to
hunt with; it’s a surgical strike versus the shoot everything approach.
Unfortunately, sniper rifles take a long time to set up and they shoot very,
very slow so women basically have one single chance to fire at a desired target
(man) at any one time. If they miss the target (again; man) because they had
the wrong ammo or the wind shifted, etc, then he knows he’s being shot at and
will turn tail and disappear into the forest…er, I mean he won’t answer a wink
or email…or…he will but understand it in the completely wrong way. The problem
with this methodology is that it’s a lonely endeavor even in the best of
situations and takes a fair amount of preparation and planning, dreaming, etc.
(which builds false expectations). Everything leads up to the “kill shot” and
the inevitable miss really is heartbreaking as it is based on tremendous inner
buildup that has gained momentum up to
the point of screwing up the courage to pull the trigger.
From a trapping perspective, and as you’ve experienced, women
need no bait other than an online dating account in order to get a billion or
so invitations from men. The hard part is filtering out the “too far away”, the
“too old”, the “too stupid”, etc. or as I like to call them, the “unwashed
masses”. When checking the trap, which unsurprisingly
is always full, the trap is usually all of the unwashed masses variety. The
unfortunate problem of this embarrassment of riches is that a lot of times,
because of the sheer volume, some good prey slips through the filter and get
thrown out with the rejects…and women never know how close they were to the
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…and I’m not sure why I
chose the hunting and trapping theme except the whole shotgun/hand grenade
visual really struck me as an appropriate metaphor for men’s actions. Um, but did
I actually offer any advice on how to short circuit this whole process? How to
rise above the fray and succeed where multitudes of others haven’t?
But hopefully I entertained and, at the very least, provided a
different view on the whole online dating world. If you’ve made it reading down
this far, with eyes open and alert, then thanks a lot. I’ve had good and bad
experiences on online dating sites and have left for a while and come back…and
have evolved who I am so look at it differently…but in the end I have come to
the conclusion that it’s all learning, it’s living and it’s moving ahead that
I’d rather have the bad experience as long as the good
experience was there too…but I know I’ll learn something from each.