Great Expectations: Arbitrary Decisions and Online Dating


Based on the number of generally attractive women out there who are single, it’s safe to say male expectations are too high.

Hell, my expectations are too high.

We’ve grown up so used to seeing buxom cheerleaders, hollywood beauties, and *cough* pornstars (what’s the right adjective to describe a porn star–open, perhaps?), we think we deserve a 5’5″, 36-24-36 darling with beautiful eyes and an ass that defies gravity.

Most of us don’t, but that’s what we expect–which, in point of fact, is why so many attractive/eligible men are… wait for it… sexless and single.


However, our female counterparts have caught up in record time. I’m not going to suggest that the level of male objectification has gotten to the point of what females experience, but it’s closer than you might think.

This epiphany occurred to me yesterday as I was playing cornhole with my cousin’s incredibly attractive friend (no, no–not that kind of cornhole). On Tinder and Bumble, I wouldn’t even bother swiping right on this girl (that’s a lie, I probably would… but there’s no fucking way she’s swiping right on my ass)–a petite blonde with a smoking body and a great smile.

Online she’s out of my league, and we all know it.

But in person, interacting with her, I could tell she was interested–or would be if she wasn’t dating some fucking surgeon who I can almost 100% guarantee is an asshole (here’s the thing, doctors who aren’t assholes practice family medicine or do something where they interact with patients who aren’t passed out on an operating table–surgeons are the gunners who ruined the curve in your college biology class and threw classmates under the bus on their med school rotations).

Anyway, she was interested. Like obviously flirting interested. Like touching my hands and arms and seeking my attention most of the evening interested.

Like as in: shit–maybe I should’ve gotten her number interested.

On my drive home, the realization sunk in that I was actually in the game with this beautiful woman. But on Tinder or Bumble? Not a chance. Not a chance in the world I get a girl that attractive to swipe right.

And therein lies one of the major problems with online dating: you can be a relatively attractive person, but when there are really, really, really good looking people out there, why swipe right on just relatively attractive?

So there are two lessons here:

  1. Chemistry matters, and online dating totally misses that. All of it. Because even when you do meet that person you’ve been chatting with, whatever magic exists is diminished by the fact you have no connection with this other person whatsoever, and the only reason you’re meeting is that you find each other mutually attractive. So no matter who you are, if you’re meeting people on Tinder or Bumble, you’re selling yourself short.
  2. Girls are 100% just as picky as guys, if not more so.

The other problem with online dating is that by our nature, people make a lot of assumptions about others based on appearance, and this leads to a lot of bad decisions. Bad because they’re arbitrary (they don’t matter), and yet are used as a reason to swipe left.

For example, say a girl doesn’t like the Yankees and comes across the profile of someone wearing a Yankees hat. Swipe left. End of story.

But that’s a completely arbitrary decision. And in that sense, a pretty stupid one too.

Because a lot of people like the Yankees, and it has nothing to do with whether or not that person is a suitable mate. Chemistry goes beyond sports, political affiliation, and a whole host of other considerations. Unfortunately, in order to weed people out, my guess is a lot of people have an arbitrary mental checklist of certain things that are an automatic swipe left.

Like: a mirror selfie, shirtless/bikini pic, one with a child/dog/cat, too many photos with sunglasses on, the wrong kind of sunglasses, doing an objectionable activity (like fishing, hunting, etc.), has a tattoo or doesn’t… it can go on and on and unfortunately I’m sure for many people it does. And in so doing, they may be swiping left on their perfect match.

You see, we’ve been lied to all along.

Because a picture doesn’t mean a thousand words. It means whatever the fuck the person looking at it thinks it means. And as cruel and judgmental and ridiculous as our society is, a lot of Tinder profiles are DOA for that reason.

The second lie is that deep down we all have this belief in destiny–the notion that everything is going to work out–and we especially like to apply it to our love life. But you’re not Luke Skywalker, and Bridget Jones got fucking lucky. The truth of the matter is that destiny doesn’t exist; not in real life, or in love life.

No, the people we end up with are a consequence of luck, circumstances, and our own individual actions/choices. For the most part, we can only control the latter. So for those who choose to eliminate people from consideration based on completely arbitrary factors, good luck. Just remember, destiny won’t save you.

My takeaways:

If you can, it’s better to meet people in real life. Always. Because the chemistry of that organic meeting, the sexual tension that can be built in even a short amount of time, is huge–it goes so far beyond what you look like in a set of six pictures and a short blurb about how you like whiskey and pizza.

Being newly single, I’m still working on that–look for a post soon on ideas for meeting people in real life, as opposed to mindlessly swiping on your phone.

Beyond that: if you are trying to meet people on Tinder and Bumble, don’t be so judgy. Swipe right more often than not, and have a conversation or meet the person.

Cause as it turns out: chemistry matters.

Thanks for reading–if you enjoyed the post, please retweet, share, like, and/or do whatever it is you do on social media. To support me, you can buy my debut novel, Cherry City Pulp, or donate to this site,, or–where I do some different kinds of writing. As always, cheers! 


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