Is this guy a drunken asshole or does he sincerely believe I look like a curvier Natalie Portman? Why don’t I ever meet guys who try knowing my name before we grind? Is this girl going to have sex with me or what? Let’s be honest, the dating market sucks. It is an inefficient, confusing and exploited market that needs to be fixed.
Ever since the 21st century’s introduction of contraceptives and longer life expectancy, our genetically programmed courtship processes have gone obsolete. Back in the good old days (early human days), finding a suitable mate was a faster and simpler process. Our early ancestors didn’t have the time or need for courtship processes that lasted longer than two weeks, let alone two years. Any form of ritual that could be interpreted as a courtship process was strictly for reproductive purposes. Our ancestors didn’t have to combine checking accounts or pay off mortgages three years after courting. The release of dopamine and oxytocin would keep them together long enough to raise a child, but there were no cultural or economic pressures to stay together further down the road. Back then, the mate was subjected to a much less arduous courtship process. Indicators of fit DNA, large investments of time and the ability to fetch those red berries you love at 3 a.m. are some of the mate’s obligations in proving his eligibility.
It seems like the mating rituals we are programmed for are present in modern days as vestigial impulses. Most of today’s courtship processes are more or less short-lived and may result in random hook-ups, embarrassing pick-up lines, incongruent intentions and lots of confusion. The main problem with today’s dating market is imperfect information; most people just can’t figure out the opposite gender. In the good old days there was no such concept of “fornication buddy” or “friend who is a girl,” these modern phenomena make it a challenging task to figure out another’s true intentions. Today’s women need more than sperm with superior DNA, they need … well, I do have a word limit so I’ll let you figure that one out. Why don’t we just ASK our prospective mates what their heart or penis desires? Apparently you can’t do that; it is against the rules of interaction. There is a convoluted method to picking up girls/guys, a method that must abide by the rules. Where do these rules come from? I am sure I can come up with some ad-hoc evolutionary explanations and still be wrong. These rules, however, exist and complicate things even more.
In a capitalistic economy, entrepreneurs capitalize and thrive on inefficient markets. In theory, entrepreneurs would have already taken advantage of the broken dating market, fix it, and make a boatload of money. This, unfortunately, isn’t the case. Nobody is trying to fix it, only exploiting it, and compounding the dating market’s inefficiency. Companies like AXE, Victoria Secret, Cosmo and Viacom leverage our dating insecurities for an effortless buck. Their marketing campaigns further distort our vision of an efficient dating market.
Nobody is trying to repair this broken market because it is much easier to just exploit it. Of course there is match.com eharmony.com and other matchmaking websites that are successful and make a healthy profit. These websites are on the right track, but have hardly solved the problem. Meeting people online isn’t for everyone, just like some people prefer not to shop online. We need to create an efficient dating market for these people. Imagine a dating world where you can meet someone in places other than work or an alcohol-abundant house party. Where reading the mind of the opposite gender isn’t harder than reading Shakespeare while drunk. This world I speak of is possible. It may take some serious consciousness raising or a really clever entrepreneur.
LIOR GOTESMAN wants to hear your plans on how to fix the dating market. Or you can just complain about it with him at email@example.com.