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Online Dating: A Number Crunch

Posted May 24, 2012 11:01 AM by HUSH

It's 2012, and our TV news programs have decided to pander our attention spans with consistent news 'fluff'. I can't really blame them, but there is one recurring topic that continues to come up in a news cycle: online dating.

...via Mrsguided

Sometimes all it takes is the existence of a dating site to count as news. Recent examples include Farmer's Only (tagline: "Because city folks just don't get it") and Miss Travel, where attractive women travel free on the expense of 'generous' male benefactors. Let's not forget Women Behind Bars or 420 Dating, which seem pretty self-explanatory to me.

...via Inmate 82

What doesn't the TV news cover? The operation of dating websites. And I'm not just talking about the absurd ones. eHarmony, Match, Chemistry-all of them claim to be exactly what you need to find who you're looking for. One of them even attempts to claim 20% of new relationships.

Let's take a closer look at some of these facts/myths/close encounters of the fifth kind, shall we? (For the record, that's when extraterrestrials contact you via email.)

Have you seen Match.com's commercial, which says 1 in 5 relationships start online?

The numbers Match.com report are the conclusion of this study, performed by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey. Amongst the findings were: 17% of couples married in the last three years met through an online dating site; 20% of newly committed couples met through an online dating site; and that Match.com has led to twice as many dates and relationships than their closest competitor.

So I took a look at Chadwick Martin Bailey's own organization to learn a little more about this study. Turns out, they're hired guns. From their own mission statement: "Working with primary data or behavioral data, this ensures that we create effective analysis plans and use the best techniques to find the answers you need." Not really all that surprising, eh?

Pictured: Chadwick Martin Bailey...via Screened

Let's take an even closer look at some of these numbers. You can thank me by introducing me to your youngest sister. Just jokes, people. Let's continue...

Never does Match.com mention the extent of such relationship, and the term 'relationship' tends to be somewhat subjective anyhow. Relationships come and go, as we all know, and by not clarifying their message they allow their audience to interpret the meaning of relationship to whatever they please.

So, if 20% of couples may have met online, how many broke up a month later? According to a 2011 international study, 14.7% of cohabitating couples met online. (To put a perspective on things, that would be 147 couples out of 1,000.) Cohabitation is a rather significant step, and in most instances is a sign of a strong, long-lasting connection. Yet, only 38% of that 14.7% met through an online dating site. (So that becomes just 56 couples out of the initial 1,000.) Overall, than means less than 6% met through an online dating website. As a lens, if the ultimate goal of dating is marriage, then only 3% - 6% of online daters found satisfaction with their use.

Technical difficulties to say the least...via Young Philly Politics

Let's examine the wording of the statement as well. The unsolicited question to "1 in 5 relationships now begin on an online dating site" is "What ratio of relationships begins on an online dating site?" I don't think that's the question most match.com patrons ask themselves. A more accurate question is, "What are my chances of finding a relationship online?" While 17% of those who used an internet dating site reported being in a long-term relationship with some they met through the site, two independent studies found that more than half of online daters met zero people.

This could be a product of choice overload , which has been proven to confuse people to the point where they don't make a choice at all.

And the road to the white picket fence with a black Labrador retriever, 2 car garage and 2 ½ kids is rather long as well. In 2009 the Wall Street Journal reported that it would take an average of 1,369 match.com dates before finding a marriage partner. That, my budding casanovae, is a lot of dates.

Ahhh, a beautiful nuclear family...via Tommy Leeedwards

Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, led research that concluded that even though about 25 million adults seek online matchmaking, those individuals were no more likely to find their soul mates as people who find partners by more traditional methods. Also remember that dating sties want you to find love, but they don't want you to do it too quickly since they'll lose paying customers. Lawsuits have been drafted claiming that sites fake profiles and even hire employees to go out on dates with customers in order to retain business. None of these allegations have been proven, however.

It probably seems like I'm just using this space to point out problems with match.com. That's not entirely true as other dating sites like eHarmony and Chemistry askew their collected statistics as well. Match.com just happens to be the most prevalent. Plenty of people meet companions and find true love through online dating; I myself know someone who married a lover they met on match.com. And if you live in an area where it could be hard to meet people, or are a little afraid of putting yourself out there, I encourage you to try online dating. But, know the facts before you go in and don't be brainwashed by misleading commercials.

I'll say this though, while I've railed against these misleading commercials, they also know how to produce ones that break up the tedium of television advertising. Or, at least for the UK.

Resources

Plume blog - What are the Actualy Chances of Finding a Relationship Online

Me, My Spouse and The Internet - A Look at the Media Response to Out Valentine's Day Report

Time - Does Online Dating Make it Harder to Find 'The One?'; Are Online Dating Services a Waste of Money?

Psychology Today - Eight Ways to Make Dating Sites Work for You

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#1

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/24/2012 2:57 PM

I have a friend who found a woman online. Great, good for him. They chatted online, decided to meet, hit it off, dated a while, and eventually married. About a year, from beginning to end.

About a year into the marriage, she finds another guy online, decides to meet him, dates him, hits it off, and leaves my buddy.

No, thanks anyway. I'll stick with something I already suck at. Why bring a new technique into the mix?

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#2
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/24/2012 3:04 PM

Talk about online dating....................have you heard the latest about John Travolta?

Apparently he's an angry gay man that's been attempting to force himself on other men, for years. Ay carumba!!

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#5
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/24/2012 10:21 PM

I hope you're not filing that information under "RECENT SUPRISES".

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#8
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 6:33 AM

I don't keep up with entertainment news at all...........just caught a little blurb.

I don't even think I know the names of any actors that have emerged in the last 10-15 years.

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#3

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/24/2012 3:41 PM
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#4

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/24/2012 10:03 PM

It's been said that 27% of all statistics are made up on the spot just to baffle people.

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#6
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 12:37 AM

67% of the time, every time!

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#7
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 4:49 AM

Does that mean that 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot not to baffle people? Curious minds want to know....

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#9
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 8:36 AM

Are you willing to fund me for that research?

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#56
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/11/2012 10:40 AM

Try the nice folks at KrisDel™.

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#10

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 9:43 AM

Sadly, I can vouche for these statistics (not the skewed ones). I'm terrible in social situations and I really lock up when at scenes like bars.

I thought I would try match to meet people a different way. Being the nerd that I am, I've kept mental statistics on what happens to me. Responses to emails I send is roughly 2-7% (we'll say 1 in 20 for easy numbers). About 33-50% of those responding will give me their phone number and about 50% of those giving their phone number will go on a date.

Assuming it takes 10 first dates to get in a relationship (general 1 in 10 rule), it would take me about 800 emails sent to get in a relationship. Assuming 1 out of 5 relationships (which might be low) will lead to marriage then it would only take me 4000 emails sent on this website to find a marriage partner.

Even though I lock up in bars and clubs, I have a much higher success rate in those so I think I'll just stick with that .

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#11
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 3:24 PM

I wouldn't call it sad, I went tried it. You take it as it is, I have to say, I'm not going to say what type of guy I am..........cuz I'd be bias

The girl I'm currently dating (3) years. I met her online. Our first date, we went for a walk. Local college has a walking path. As we were talking, kinda introducing ourselves, telling a little about our background. Out of the blue, she asks if I had a twin sister named Sharon that works at a veterinarians office.

I was shocked, a shiver went down my back, I never got that far to talk about my family. It literally spooked the hell out of me.

I said yes, I do, how did you know that I asked.

Turns out, she's one of my sisters best friends. And she put it together and reconized my personality from my sister. Seems when girls start grouping they talk.

Then I recall about 10 years ago. My sister was on some type of business development board. She went to a governors conference, She and her both had their picture taken together with the current governor at the time, as she showed it to me, being my twin, I of course teased her about the photo.

One of the lines I asked my sister was, "Who's the hot chick next to you and the clown (governor) in the photo?" Of course my sister knew better then to acknowledge me, because she knew I would only continued to tease her. Which of course I did anyways.

I always knew it was a small world.

But as for the online dating.............Its a 'throw-a-way' industry mentality.

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#15
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 8:47 AM

No no. I meant it was sad that I kept statistics. I guess I enjoy it (maybe that's why I'm an engineer).

This is a great article though. I used to live in a small town so I tried it then. All of my matches were from a nearby big town and didn't want to travel far enough to go out. Recently, I moved to that big town and decided I would try it again. Still no success, so I thought the problem was me until some of my friends said they weren't having any luck either.

Basically, I fell for the scam twice but I won't fall again.

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#12
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 4:02 PM

You just need to drink more. There's a "sweet spot", where your confidence level is peaking, but you're not anywhere near slurring your words. The trick is to maintain that sweet spot for as long as possible.......................go too far and your falling down and acting stupid.

I love that place. Back in the day I could flirt with the girls and run the pool table at the same time.

Oh memories..........................

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#13
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 5:15 PM

Or flirt with the pool table and make the girls run away.

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#14
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/25/2012 5:30 PM

Shhh.........................I'm trying to remember the good times.

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#16
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 9:11 AM

I can vouch for the low statistics as well.

I am a long-time user of Match and other services as well. While I have met a few women that way, I have also found (by keeping data) that the response rate to letters that lead to actually meeting in person is about 2 - 5 %. Several "dating gurus" also will tell you this is about right, like any direct marketing campaign, which is what an online profile really is at heart.

Some women friends of mine attest it's the same for them. The reason for still being a user is that even with the small number of successes, it's still better than spending a lot of time in bars and social clubs becasue I get to at least view a larger number of people. If it's going to take meeting 50 peope to get one date (which doesn't necessarily lead to a romance or relationship) I might as well be where a lot of people are. I'd be a chronic drinker if I hung out in bars that much and at my age that's not the smart thing to do.

When I tried e-Harmony for a second try (after a friend met the love of his life within two weeks) I kept statistics again. This time over a three-month period I had 600 "suggested matches" of which 595 were not of interest to one, the other or both of us. Of the remaining 5 matches, none led to a date. And for this I paid $150....but I quit and a never enve listen to an eHarmony commercial without wanting to throw a shoe at the tv. Hype? Oh yeah, big time.

Now here's the thing: with the large number of people using dating sites, I would expect that some matches are going to happen according to laws of averages. In other words, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. And this is what those services play up, like all advertisers do....if you wanted to sell a product or services, wouldn't you brag about your successes and present them in the best light possible?

So take the claims with the same large dose of salt you would take any advertising with.

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#17
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 9:53 AM

I'm actually on Match right now. I got tired of the website so I cancelled my subscription (as soon as it finishes). People seem to be very superficial on these websites. I thought eHarmony was less superficial but there were fewer people to talk to so less success.

Here's a few hints that should help you out:

I'm about 5'-7" to 5'-8". If you're anything shorter than 5'-10", increase your height on there. I swear 80% of the women I see on this website require that or they won't talk to you. However, they can't tell the difference in 5'-8" and 5'-10" when they see you.

Also, add jokes into the profile. I actually have a line in mine about having multiple personalities. If they don't see that as a joke then I don't want to go out with them.

I recently made these changes and stopped caring about the website. I bet in my last month that I get more phone numbers than I ever have on there.

I think I might also make a generic email to send to women and send it to at least 100 of them just to see how many respond.

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#18
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 10:36 AM

You may have a point there about height....I have seen profiles from women who are 5'-3" or 5'-4" wanting a guy at least 5'-10" or more. Go figure.

I am 5'-9" when I do my stretches and if I wear boots and don't slouch I stand something over 5'-10", so it's only stretching (pun intended) the truth a little.

Speaking of superficial, just before Christmas I met a woman and we really hit it off, until on our third date we started to get a bit passionate and she ran her fingers through my hair, only to find out it comes from Hair Club For Men. I felt her energy change, and the temperature in the room dropped about ten degrees. Still, she said yes to a New Year's Eve date, but the next day she stopped talking to me or taking my calls and three days later she called me with a bogus story about reuniting with an old boyfriend, and cancelled our New Year's date. Yet over that weekend she reviewed my profile three times so she seemed to be having second thoughts. I waited nearly four weeks, called her again and she started with how we could get together again but somehow wouldn't commit to a time over the next week, until she finally admitted she didn't want to go out with me. No reason and she even hung up on me. No wonder she's still on Match and still looking.

A couple other things not necessarily in my favor....I am 63 and never married. I think both tend to be red flags, one because it may look like I'm a player who won't commit....and even women who are 60 put the age range of men they want to meet as 40-55. Cougars, maybe? Or do they just want a man who still has the energy of youth? I do.

Still, inventing an imaginary marriage and divorce is a tough way to go....sooner or later it will come out, and the breach of trust will turn off any woman. Same for age unless I put something in the profile, like I've seen some women do. Maybe I'll change my age to 59 on the headline, but explain in the profile what my real age is, and that I still have the energy (and looks) of a man 10 years younger than me.

Well, it can't hurt to try and it certainly can't hurt my already very slim chances.

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#19
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 10:46 AM

Yea lie to them. What have you got to lose?

Plus, if I really hit it off with a woman, and she was turned off by the fact that I lied in my profile, I will use the line from Hitch. "Would you have noticed me otherwise?"

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#20
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 11:04 AM

Another good point......

One woman I dated a few years ago suggested that women want to see a man makes a lot of money, and recommended I say I make $150,000 a year to at least get her interested.

I'm still somewhat leery of telling too many lies, as they will come out and if she hears too many lies she will never trust me....and no worthwhile relationship will ever come out of that.And quite frankly, who want a woiman who falls for somene I'm not, and doesn't want to be with who I am? Shame on her for being so superficial and shame on me if I try to attract her for all the wrong reasons.

I may wind up alone but at least I will be proud of myself.....and I have to live with me 24/7. That's more important than a false lover.

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#21
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 2:03 PM

Isn't hard when you have to lie, at least for me it is,

I'll tell you something, I used match when I was unemployed. And I told them that I did not want to start a realationship until I got my life in order, i.e. a job. I knew it was only temporary, (but hey, I had time on my hands.)

After letting them know, that was the reason, that I did not what to get serious as in a personel meeting. The number of responses where they wanted to meet shot right up, I could not believe it.

I never would have thought that "hey I like to meet you, but I rather wait till I have a job" was a great pick up line. (Of course, they knew what my background was because I didn't lie and would not be unemployed for long). But they could also look up and see my speeding citations other that that a clean record.

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#22
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 3:42 PM

So you were on a dating website but you said you were not looking for anything? You do realize that's like saying "I'd think about going out with you but I'm really too busy to commit on any level." Which, by the way, works!

I once dated someone for a month. On the last date, I went out with her thinking "I'm going to break up with her unless there's a sign from above about this one." She broke up with me on that date (oddly enough). I was fine with it at first and completely, wholeheartedly agreed. That was until I left and started thinking "why didn't she want to go out with me any more?" For the next week, I couldn't think about anything but how much I wanted to go out with her again lol!

Some times, you have to tell people that you don't want them for them to want you. Remember, people want what they can't have.

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#25
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 8:01 AM

It does sound that way doesn't it. But it was more to that, how it started was,

What I was looking for was, "Lets be friends first.", Because there are players out there, on both sides.

Frankly, I thought my unemployment would only last a month at the most, it was over to six months, not counting any temporary. It didn't seem that long looking back on it, but at the time it was hard for me. So I was fine with the "Lets be friends first".

After I signed up, I was called to do some work from a project I had before I they left me go. I actaully forgot about it, when I return about a week later, there was quite a few inital inquirys, when I got back, and no, my profile imo was actually quite plain, it lack allot of information.

Second week I was on, email was already out and it was phone conversations they wanted to meet. btw, it was only one at a time, and the reason why the intial ones did not last, is because some of them were players themselves. Others had to meet. because frankly, I was relatively honest, and by relative, I mean, I didn't say everything and let them put it together.

Remember, people want what they can't have.

At times, but I knew what I wanted, and I felt there were people there also. No different then traditional dating, you have to weed through them. But I always felt, be honest, and weight out what your going to say.

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#23

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/29/2012 7:13 PM

So where are the stories about engineers meeting other engineers and designing happily ever after? (This is an engineering forum, right?) Market research is rooted in sociological studies. Beyond statistics, it is hard to class it as hard science (unless one ties it to neuroscience)... certainly not engineering, unless it be social engineering.

The site would become pretty boring without a few "gray area" (by criteria) threads, now wouldn't it? If sociology and statistics are all we need to qualify a topic, then... ?? The sky might be the limit. Just sayin'.

.......

The most depressing posts here are the ones about having to "fudge" who you are to get responses. And most users probably think most "others" are shallow and insincere. Just fits in perfectly with the, apparent, commonly accepted mode of deception across many spheres of our society. (Like the current focus on saying whatever one needs to get votes. Hm-m-m... that's been around for a long time.) O.K. So I guess we are a shallow society. Otherwise, why do it?

(Aside: I was recently reading a book about the history of the TV show Gunsmoke. When it first was on radio, it had no sponsors. The authors quote an article in Time Magazine, I think in 1953, where an advertising person was quoted as saying -- paraphrased from memory -- "It's an intelligent series, and advertisers know you don't waste money on intelligent people." Quite astonishing! No? And if "we've" been dumbed down since... why, it's depressing beyond beyond!)

If one has to fudge reality to get interest, frankly, I wouldn't want the attention of anyone who needs more (or less) than that. If the foundation isn't based on truth, I doubt the long-term survival of the building.

I feel for any of us looking for companionship under these circumstances. I know how loneliness can make one desperate enough, though. You might end up with many less opportunities, by not embellishing presentations, but there is something to be said for holding out for maturity; i.e., someone who knows and accepts reality and also values what makes a lasting relationship. Good luck to those searching.

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#26
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 8:05 AM

CR4 drift plenty of times, and threads get shut down on discretion of ADMIN.

As far as this, I think this is an issue especially with work-a-holic types, which we have here as well as any industry.

If sociology and statistics are all we need to qualify a topic, then... ??

Thats true, and it looked like this was going to be on that was rather bland, for better or worse, a little experiences was shed.

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#27
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 8:50 AM

I tend to agree, that if someone is so shallow as to be attracted only by certain criteria of height, age wieght, or availability they are probably not mature enough to suit me. They are cetainly not mature enough for marriage or a long term relationship, because the first time another potential partner comes along with better looks, a better line, a little more aloof, etc. they will be gone. Who the hell needs that kind of kid stuff?

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#30
In reply to #27

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 12:02 PM

I don't know if it means a partner would leave under those circumstances, but your fear that they might is evidence of why it's not a good idea to be untruthful. It leaves a nagging feeling of "what if" for either or both, if both have not been honest. She (or he) is supposed to be your best friend.

This is what is so perplexing. We all have faults and yet fear if we don't appear perfect to other flawed beings around us, we'll be shunned or castigated. If everyone admitted as much we might have more truth in the world.

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 9:00 AM

Cmon...everyone lies at some point in the initial stages of the relationship (or dating really). What happens if you're 30 and you get a date with a great woman? You two have a lot in common and you're really having a great first or second date. You're thinking "wow I can see myself being with her." And then she asks the question "have you ever been in a relationship?" The truthful answer is No but you can tell that's obviously an important thing to her. What do you do?

If a situation like that came up for me (although I have been in relationships), I would lie. I would tell her yes and try to change the subject knowing that if she gave me a few more dates and a chance at a relationship I could tell her the truth later. (please don't look for an example of another question she could ask that's completely different...I meant a question on this level and I'm not looking for an argument).

Too many people have a list of what they are looking for in a man or woman. And if you don't fit all of that list then it's time to bail. I had my list a while back and I realized that when I abandoned some of the criteria I started meeting lots of great women!

I get your point though so don't think I'm just ripping you here. At this point, my entire Match profile is a joke (except for a few truthful details) and I'm just going to have fun with the last month of my subscription. I'm just taking a light-hearted approach to all of this.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 11:53 AM

I understand and don't disagree. For the sake of having a chance at a relationship, both men and women "lie" if they think the answer they give might destroy that chance. But height differences by 1" or so? That's pretty shallow. That is mostly what I was referring to. But stop and think of what you are describing... an "everybody does it" world. I don't think the world has improved because of it.

I think truthfulness is probably more important to women in this scenario. Sure, she might think it's actually romantic that her lover "lied" because he didn't want to lose her... initially. But it will be a little incident that nags her, whether shes says it or not. Even men, too. I'm a firm believer that a true heart should never fear the truth. And that comes across in one's response.

Regarding your example, I lived through that. I married an older, "experienced" woman at 23. (She was more than 10 years older.) She was experienced enough to not have to ask how experienced I was -- she knew. It was her values as much as her beauty that attracted me. I never lied about my past experiences, or lack thereof. And that was part of what attracted her!

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 12:10 PM

Lol believe me, it took me weeks to convince myself to change my height. I had the same approach as everyone else here when I started online dating. It got really depressing seeing all of the women that I had so much in common with and met most if not all of their criteria (except the height). Most of them wouldn't talk to me because a number on my profile said 5'-7".

I had a friend who's a psychologist and met her husband on a dating site read my profile and give me advice. She had done many studies, in class and just for fun, on dating website psychology. She was the one that convinced me to change my height and her reasons actually made sense.

Most women set the height as 5'-10" because they prefer a tall guy but don't actually know how tall that is (I mean the average height of a male in the US is like 5'-7"). Because I had my height set at 5'-7", a lot of women weren't seeing my profile when they would do a search. Remember the search engine is strictly based on what criteria they put in. If 70-80% of women are looking for a guy at least 5'-10" then 70-80% of women are not seeing my profile.

I dont' typically lie when I date women. I "fudged" my statistics to increase my chances of getting a date. Apparently this is the way things work (even when trying to pick someone up outside of a website). I don't claim to understand it and I'm sure most people reading this don't either (being engineers and scientists). I just accept it lol.

Regardless, I've given up on the dating website and will use traditional means (less lying is needed there too lol). So I'll keep my height where it is so more people will read the jokes

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 1:54 PM

Agreed. Statistics is a better description and context. Thanks for that. Calling it lying is a bit harsh, but it is inaccurate, nonetheless.

LOL about the comment that women don't really "know how high that is." Funny that the psychologist giving you the advice was female! That's a hoot. Of course, women readers will take offense at that -- especially on an engineering forum! It may have a basis in fact, though, since there are neurological differences between the male and female brain. Another factor that shouldn't be lost sight of in the hunt. (Sexual profiling!? )

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 2:00 PM

I'm sure the women here would know the difference and that's no offense to them. But a majority of women aren't engineers. Most women I've talked to don't even know what engineers do (that's sad really).

I wouldn't mind being with someone that knew the difference but I think I'd rather fish in the pond that has more fish. Maybe that will change in me as I get older but now it is what it is.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 2:36 PM

Most people are not engineers. Most people think engineering and science are the same thing. Many people think that if they don't understand how something was made, then a wizard did it.

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#37
In reply to #34

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 4:22 PM

Is science or engineering taller? I wouldn't want to get involved with the wrong discipline.

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#39
In reply to #32

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 8:15 PM

Funny that the psychologist giving you the advice was female!

You must also think the same about catholic priests counseling in sex education.

Did I say that out loud?

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#24

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 1:59 AM

I guess it worked for me (Kind of). I met my girlfriend / wife / whatever through a local AOL chat room. The title I use for her depends on the environment we are in. We have been together for 15 years now, which is longer than either of us were married. Somehow, at age 66, marriage is not all that important anymore. Occasionally such things do work out.

Bill

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#35

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 2:36 PM

Phew. I've been monitoring this discussion from afar for a few days now, and it's really taken off. Allow me to interject a few things:

-Primarily a technology and engineering site, CR4 is accepting of any science. It provides a valuable cross-section of individuals who come to read not just about lock washers on a sea trawler, but also those who come for bio-med or defense articles. CC is definitely a social science, but we limit the postings to twice a month and to mature articles. CR4 works good because we blend mediums, not isolate them.

-Cingold has done a very good job articulating his point regarding casting a larger net in what is, already, a niche pond. However, I do suspect many women could tell the difference in a few inches, and the last time a blogger on CC said there were differences in the male/female brain, well, it resulted in this...

-When viewed biologically, I don't think women and men are shallow or depraved for placing emphasis on certain traits. Think of it as sexual evolution. Before we had cars, guns, computers, everything else, etc., women essentially needed strong men (both physically and socially) to provide safety for themselves and offspring in case of a threat. Men don't need these same traits in their women, so they prefer indicators that their potential mate could produce better offspring (muscle tone, large breasts, supple features). Today, I'd say that this remains mostly true, except women don't need men to provide anymore. The dating paradigm has shifted, and I think women are confusing because they no longer require the same characteristics (though may desire them!), while men are essentially stuck in an obsolete phase of attraction.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 2:54 PM

I hope no one takes any of my comments offensively. These are based strictly on observations I've made in my lifetime.

I would love it if more women were engineers but that's simply not the case. For instance, my class graduated just over 60 mechanical engineers...4 were female. Granted that's in mechanical and I've seen the numbers closer to 50/50 in chemical and biomed but those numbers still don't make up for the large male population in other disciplines.

I'll check out the article you linked to see how much trouble I'm in

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#38
In reply to #35

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 8:07 PM

HUSH, my comment about the nature of the thread was not meant to be critical but to be comparative and invite/encourage other topics/threads outside the engineering fold. I enjoy the expanded discussion base. Presumably/hopefully, if one provides similar scientific resource references as part of the thread opening/post, then a wide range of subjects would be tolerated as long as the ensuing discussion maintains civility. (The reference did originate from the topic of another thread. I would hope that even political behavior, if discussed in terms of sociological studies, would be tolerated.) Opinions are bound to accompany almost any topic. I don't see how that can be avoided in any discussion. I also understand that these types of blogs are limited in appearance. I don't necessarily agree a limitation is needed, but I understand the intent.

Your reference to the thread that "resulted in this" regarding brain differences being mentioned, seemed pretty tame to me, in case you meant that it became controversial. Maybe I misunderstood what you intended. Most posters agreed that differences exist. Extending the observations that have been made in research, about male/female brain differences, into stereotypes, is when discussion can become strained. It gives the same gut feeling of name-calling.

"Shallow" is a term/concept invented and understood by our species, no matter the language. I'm not sure if there is an evolutionary context of that trait or behavior described by the term. But we all know it when we see it or experience it. And the word shallow seems to satisfy the emotion as an expressive tool. Our brains have, seemingly, evolved to that state, for better or worse. I do understand it as a relative and subjective judgment, which makes the evolutionary meaning vague and possibly useless. We also have evolved to defining "right" and "wrong." And the development of "compassion" allows for the fittest to also care about preserving the weak. Our movie (and earlier comic book) heroes spend most of their time, arguably, doing just that. We must care about and value that behavior or why pay homage to them in works of art? (I'm not sure of the evolutionary purpose of art yet.) Our mental and emotional lives are complex and intertwined.

In the animal kingdom, these mechanisms (of mate choices) are observed as innate, instinctive behavior -- without thought as we would define it. And this may be a refinement of the grosser attributes you mention in selecting a mate. But in humans these "judgments" are a conscious process. And they take processing time. There isn't an instinctive, immediate response, or a mechanistic response, like chemical responses, such as feedback loops in the body's control systems. Otherwise, if short was an evolutionary disadvantage, short would be short to all women. And very few, if any, would ever marry a man shorter than themselves. I wonder if "thinking," now, can't be considered being governed by evolutionary "mechanisms." We all make "wrong" choices more often than we would like. At least we say this to ourselves enough times in life.

Romantic love is a recent invention by us, too. At least according to histories of it. By the shifting criteria you've mentioned, I would even suggest that women don't need men at all. (And, at least one book has been written asking that question.) Or maybe, now, women ONLY need men for the emotional needs connection, which isn't based on height. But women, as a general rule maintain close relationships with other women, precisely because they provide a better emotional connection for each other. Men may be stuck, it's true. Of course some women might also be stuck with no real clear definition of a companion. Or a shallow one. If there is a disconnect, women need to educate men fast if they want one. Time flies. Life is shorter than one can imagine when young. And, obviously, choices in this sphere can have very serious repercussions that register in the here and now, aside from any evolutionary consequences.

My opinion is we need each other, regardless of whether or not we can give full meaning as to why. If not, why are so many people so obsessed with the activity? An obsolete evolutionary mechanism, perhaps?

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#41
In reply to #38

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/31/2012 9:25 AM

I believe 'shallow' can also be called Darwinism. It is essentially weeding out the genes that make the species, as a whole, weaker. I don't think our brains have necessarily evolved to that state, as much as devolved--or never evolved. Art may be one of those things that is inexplicable; it also shows that a human is perhaps a more intelligent being, or being praised for such creativity by others is a sign of social acceptance. Interpreting emotions through art is the tricky part, but it could be an advanced form of communication, much like you see squirrels do with tail flicks and bark scratches, or dogs and territory marking. Both of those examples are motivated by fear.

"And very few, if any, would ever marry a man shorter than themselves."

I believe this remains true, but if by making 'wrong' decisions you imply mating with the incorrect individuals, then I think that is an point for biology overriding logic. Also, remember that being short is very subjective. While I'm of average North American height, I'd be an athletic superstar in some Asian countries.

Ahhh, I hate to paraphrase w/o a citation, but I recently read something to this effect that I can't locate right now: "It used to be believed that while the boys ran around the playground, the girls stood in a circle and did nothing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The girls talked, and in doing so, learned some innate truths about the world, each other, and themselves."

I don't see how it is up to women to educate men on attraction. Some men get it, some men learn it, and some men do neither. Essentially, this is what determines if your genes carry through existence, not women being choosy. I believe this is a very intact evolutionary mechanism. I look forward to your (and anyone's!) thoughts.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/31/2012 10:27 AM

Lol I'm trying to beat evolution! Or I guess learn what women find attractive so I can not be weeded out of the gene pool.

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#43
In reply to #41

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/31/2012 2:51 PM

You're right about the education process. That is purely elective... I think. But that is what I was getting at. Thinking.

I'm not up on the latest advances in neuroscience, so I don't know if a case can be made for DNA controlling one's thought processes in real time. If one wants to argue that DNA fashions a brain that can only think in certain ways based on past influences, how far does it go? How much free will does one really have? (There is interesting research that implies less than we think. There's that dang word again! This Wiki article provides an overview.)

If we have any free will, then it follows that thinking can, in any instance, trump evolutionary influences. Which then means we are, to a degree, above the influence. Since we really don't have a good understanding of "thought," let alone "consciousness," scientific discussion of the subject remains rudimentary. It may someday be shown that we are, truly, mechanistic beings, down to every single thought. Although, I doubt any thinking being would agree. If so, all thoughts can be predicted at that point. This subject can be expanded into what is "self?" Self, is germane to a discussion of thinking because each of us feels a "self" (i.e., self-awareness as a phenomena or abstraction) that "thinks." (What does abstraction mean? Is it possibly beyond the realm of physical science?) And our choices as actions proceed from this. I am addressing a "you." Self recognizes other selves. (And in the current discussion, "self" is looking to choose another "self" to share life with. Is consciousness what is, truly, being shared?)

Evolution is a reasonable explanation for the development of organic, living, physical bodies. But this "self," whatever it's genesis, is the focal point of how any of us act. It appears very complex and beyond (at least for now) mechanistic explanation. There have been many attempts to define or explain it in recorded history. Pick your preferred paradigm. A science-based one might start here. My own experience is that our "self" is more than an effect of physical processes.

However one wants to explain it, this self is responsible for choices. And choosing is what we are discussing. A natural question is, "Can thinking supersede the influence of past experience?" What we term "values" now becomes a factor in that process. Another abstraction. When and why is someone willing to sacrifice one's own life for another? In man's case it isn't always for preservation of the species.

We are sufficiently complex in our makeup that trying to explain our mating choices, as thinking entities, in evolutionary terms, and with current understanding, becomes a little like hand-waving and saying "because," with little scientific data to detail "thinking," "self" and "consciousness." Neuroscience is still in its infancy. To predict its success in these matters is quite premature and based on too little data.

Prediction is a hallmark of science. And despite the hope for certainty, as it currently stands, predictions are expressed statistically, not specific to any one instance. And that is in non-conscious (??) phenomena, to boot. I would suggest that consciousness, (whatever it is), thinking, and free will (subject to debate and degree), really muddies the waters for scientific prediction, or explanation, of our behavior and whether or not that (behavior) propagates via DNA. I would argue that from one generation to the next it propagates via culture, not biology, which is your point about the definition of "short" in one culture vs. another. These are learned behaviors for us; not instinctive.

Science precludes adopting any paradigm for these phenomena until "proven." I'm sure I won't be around to see this adoption. I doubt if any current participants of dating services will either. (Women, especially, use thought to influence (plan) how they go about attracting any one desired candidate. I know because I've seen the discussions in sitcoms. )

(This is quite far afield of statistical reports about dating services. Sorry for the distraction. But that gets back to the idea of tolerating subjects that are relevant and interesting, but defy hard scientific explanation -- so far. I'm glad that some science is being applied to the questions. Better to investigate rather than brush aside or ignore. Our advancement/progress never comes by that route.)

Sorry for typos or grammatical errors. Initial proofing and editing can lead to some strange sentences. I can can only justify so much time to do it.

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#46
In reply to #43

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 9:57 AM

Ok. It's fair to wonder how much free will plays in attraction, and to link this back to the original article, specifically online dating where the initial attraction is based upon what 'suits' someone and on commonalities. I think people in a real world, situational setting are going to be less picky than they would be online. Part of the reason people attempt online dating is because it makes it easier to exclude people who you already believe you're uninterested in. Yet those individuals may spark a biological response (adrenaline rush, nervousness, sweating) in person that you won't get while at a computer screen.

Does oneself look for someone who is alike, or rather complements them wholly? I believe that with online dating-where rationale is the overriding principle (or so I believe, not hypothesize)-it would be the former. Yet, in a real life situation where you look for that 'chemistry', it becomes about what individual strokes your animalistic desires. Essentially, "Who makes you go caveman/woman?" With this, I'd agree that 'self' is more innate than unborn.

I suppose the only thing I can point to as evidence (and I'm skeptical of this as evidence, since it is mostly anecdotal and a fool's science) would be the attempts of lustful-yet-lonely men to form 'seduction communities,' or as, groups where guys get together and talk about how to woo women. It's interesting that while researching some perspective for this reply, I stumbled upon one of these message boards, and was promptly reminded of this:

VH1's The Pick-Up Artist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pM77Xt4rVk

Essentially, some really tall guy in feather boas provides a step-by-step basis for meeting women. I remember seeing a few episodes about 5 years ago. It's actually rather misogynistic, but IF (and from my perspective, that's a big 'IF') what the teaches does work, then there is clearly some attraction spigot attached to instinct, because you would expect that most women would try to tune out guys who dress like they're in the New York Dolls.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 10:08 AM

I enjoyed the article and discussion that followed. Where did you get your information? And for that matter, what made you look in to this information?

I always enjoy poking holes in misleading statistics and this one is somewhat personal because I've been involved and actually recorded similar statistics.

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#48
In reply to #46

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 10:33 AM

I sure am glad that chicks always dug me because I'm funny. I have no clue what you guys are talking about.

If I was in the dating scene, the last thing I would do, is show a date this thread.

Just a quick story: On one of my first dates with my current wife of almost 14 years, I picked her up and took her to the beach in Santa Cruz, close to sunset. In the trunk, I had a blanket, couple of bottles of nice wine, ice bucket w/ ice, pan, loaf of French bread wrapped in foil, and everything already prepared and mixed to make cheese fondue. I laid out the blanket, started a fire.......................and the rest is history.

Bottom line: Regardless of how you're finding your dates, just be yourself. You can only BS for so long...................so why waste the time?

[Edit} The KISS principle doesn't just apply to engineering.

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#49
In reply to #46

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 10:49 AM

@ cin: The original article has resources attached. As this discussion has developed, I've gained some perspective from some books I've read (by which I mean, skimmed), including "Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming." I've developed a better sense of this material as Chelsey H and I have produced content for this blog. "Sperm Wars" is a book that a gf introduced be to in college (whoa!) that I'd read when I was bored. It's heavily based on the instinctive nature of attraction, and more specifically, reproduction.

@ kamarat: Nor would I show this to my date! Fortunately, my personas are kept rather far apart, save E. Nigma.

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#50
In reply to #46

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 1:01 PM

I've already posted so much, I feel like I should abstain as an equalizer. But I won't. (Or is that can't?). I'll try to keep it shorter. ("No! I really have made short posts before.)

I think the mention in your first paragraph of the necessity (at least to me) of physical meeting and nearness is precisely correct. Yes, online match-making (which is more correct, since no real dating occurs, virtually) might be useful(?) in excluding people, but as you point out, the person you exclude "on paper" may have the opposite effect physically. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

Cases can be made for both equals vs. opposites in compatibility. Many successful marriages come from both scenarios.

Oh, no! Anecdotal? Don't get me started on that one! (I can't decide whether "liberal" or "anecdotal" is the more sullied word.) But, the guys getting together is just the counterpart to my reference to girls/women doing the same thing. So much thought and planning surrounding the activity! It becomes an obsession. "Will I find that 'special' someone to share life with?" The accompanying fear as time passes is, "No." The obsession grows.

I can really sympathize/empathize with the "inexperienced" guys in the video link. There is no doubt that there is a ritualistic component to the mating game. I'd suggest that these guys would have more success by going to the "right" places to meet women. (There are women just as inexperienced as them, too.) I don't think the club scene suits them. On the plus side, they represent raw, untapped potential for "good" women (even without boats and motors, kramarat). There is a paradoxical attraction that women have for this type of innocence. It probably relates to the mothering instinct. Which is why, I think, women naturally take on, as one of their responsibilities, "dressing" their men; or at least providing a daily critique of the clothes a man has decided to wear.

I can't imagine anyone denying (after even brief contact) that there are differences in male/female thought patterns, which means brains. (Again, I think it is just as much socialization via boy vs. girl "culture" as it is innate. Sometimes the line gets blurred between the two,)

Your succeeding post below is also interesting. In written communications, especially, we can be very selective in the persona we present to one another. While increasing possibilities, it can also lead to a waste of time. I would prefer the efficiency of no vernier. But the opposite tendency may be compulsive (see below).

As married people know, after the romantic phase of a relationship, the couple finds out their true compatibility. If s/he turns out to be your truest and best friend, you've done well. With ~50% success rate (using divorce as a measure) it appears that despite the self-confidence, and self-proclaimed skill of many of the players, we still may as well flip a coin.

(I just realized one possible reason why I am, comparatively, long-winded... @. I don't tweet or twitter. That venue requires and, therefore, tends to develop brevity. Conversationally, I've always been considered (and am... mostly) a quiet introvert. Hours upon hours without a word suits me fine. Also, considered a male characteristic. A separation of personas? A vernier? Seemingly paradoxical. Go figure.)

P.S. - Interesting that the term "woo" has taken on such a negative connotation/meaning in other venues -- mainly scientific. How many good words will suffer at the hands of modern culture?

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 1:45 PM

I would like to think that a major reason that marriages have such a low "success" rate (at +50% divorce), is that society has placed the emphasis solely on finding that one 'perfect' person for you rather than being the right person.

If there's one thing about online dating I don't like, it's that the match "shopping" may subconsciously encourage self-centered thinking. Good relationships take work when the initial romantic 'high' fades; if both parties realize that you get out what you put in, they will see the rewards of a lasting relationship.

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#52
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 3:21 PM

I think it's because people have become so dimwitted that they equate, "the best sex ever" with thinking they've found "the one".

No sense making it complicated.....................it's just plain old stupid at work.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 4:24 PM

I heard a comedian about 2 weeks ago that made a comment somewhat to that effect.

I hope I don't maul it too badly but it goes something like this:

What I was 25 I'd see a beautiful woman, and I would give anything to have her.

Now, when I see a beautiful woman, I would think, "Boy, she must be a real bitch to live with".

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#54
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Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 5:29 PM

I learned pretty early that the "beautiful people" bug me. Way too self absorbed.

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#55
In reply to #51

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

06/01/2012 6:35 PM

Agreed. I think the effort part is also a reason for failure. Similar to the "pop a pill" mentality. To often, if there's much effort involved, it must be wrong... right?

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#40

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/30/2012 8:41 PM
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#44
In reply to #40

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/31/2012 2:55 PM

LOL!

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/31/2012 5:07 PM

In certain areas, I'm quite happy being a simpleton.

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#57

Re: Online Dating: A Number Crunch

05/26/2019 4:04 AM

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