To set some geographic boundaries for his search he decided to register on a Dating Website. The weeks passed, but that one and only did not turn up from the thousands of the lady users of the site. Some of them just ignored his messages, others replied very briefly, and the rest – they just did not stand up to his expectations. As we came across his problem, we decided to help our friend and try to understand, what is that the women seek from this kind of dating sites. So that our experiment is also useful for the ladies too, our editorial team also approached the representatives of the better half of humanity themselves – to get to the reasons of this common Internet-fiasco.
Four of our most determined investigators were given this intriguing task: Matthew and Yuliya (Youth Time employees), and Evgenia and Arseny – our very own and praiseworthy writers.
They will tell you their stories. We will start with 27-year-old Matthew Elliot from Scotland.
A Man’s Journey in a Woman’s Shoes
In the weird and wonderful world of the internet, where fantastical conspiracies, imaginative pornography and infinite megabytes dance deliriously across our screens, it can come as quite a pleasant surprise to unearth something interesting about ourselves. Normally I try to restrain myself from falling too deeply down the rabbit hole (well sometimes) so when word was received from above to explore the world of online dating from a peculiar angle, professionally and not voyeuristically, I was intrigued. The catch? To pretend to be a woman, looking for a man. Now as a man I anticipated that I might learn a few truths that have been apparent to women since Adam ‘forgot’ to wash, but the scale of the tragedy I witnessed was wholly unforeseen.
Absorbing the immediate flood of flirtations and invitations from across the seven seas was our fictional guinea pig, Katiuska, a lovely but not bewitching, engaging but rather normal, twenty nine year old girl. In the interests of ‘capturing’ a wider variety of men, she was multilingual, on two separate websites and alternatively living in London and Prague. A few audaciously stereotypical lines on her perfect man, and an anthology of vague allusions to beaches, yoga, movies and music, and our fabricated double agent was ready for action (metaphorically of course). Within seconds, a bombardment of notifications swarmed my email, Katiuska was popular indeed. A few days and several hundred flirtations later, a pattern was emerging, it appeared there were five types of men interested in our young heroine.
Most notably were the shameless degenerates, a universal breed of men usually of more advanced age who thought nothing of outrageous (and geographically impossible) offers of wild sex. Perhaps I have lived quite a sheltered life, but I was under the impression that not too many women will happily take up a strangers offer to go ‘behave like animals in the woods at 5o’clock’, or catch a flight to Dubai next weekend. Typically these chaps have no photo, are ‘caring’ and ‘genuine’ and just love ‘oral sex, stockings, sport and tv’. Truthfully I don’t think they even expect a reply, it’s more about their own gratification in sending these anonymous emails to supplement their fantasies with ‘real world’ action.
Next up were the borderline maniacs, complete profiles, with extreme specifications on their ideal women, none of which applied to Katiuska or indeed anyone, who would send repeated emails explaining their terrible situations and how I could help. Even going so far as to say ‘I know you saw my messages …”. It seemed their frustration had leapt of their car crashed souls and onto the information superhighway demanding immediate fulfilment.
We then had the obviously married or otherwise taken men who were apparently partaking in some kind of sideshow thrill but were too scared to actually make themselves known so compensated with transparent lies ‘no photo long story v weird girl and stalking! :-/ but im 6ft2 (tall), short brown hair (dark)..decent body..nice looking (handsome)lol!‘
Salvaging some credit for mankind were the genuine inquirers. It is a mad world out there but one with (apparently) normal men who are single, lonely and looking for a partner, perfectly reasonable behaviour and polite and intelligent emails. I felt guilty knowing they probably expended some effort writing and were maybe innocently hoping for a reply. Was I another species of internet dater, a fictional character wasting everyone’s time?
Dominating the digital horizon, however, were the endless, embarrassing and pathetic series of ‘Hi’s ‘Hello’s ‘Wink’s ‘How r u’s, ‘U R SEXI’s and ‘ ’ that are as much an indictment of education and the twitter age as of a lack of human imagination. Yes the ‘come to my hotel so #@$#’ crew were sinister and debauched but at least they could string a fantasy together. Perhaps this tedious majority were unaware that Katiuska was receiving dozens of messages a day and could therefore afford to be an extremely selective woman of taste, but the lack of effort was astonishing. If there really are millions of guys out there saying ‘how’s u ;)?’ to hundreds of women a day online then frankly humanity may as well call it quits and give the dolphins a chance to rule.
An exhausted Katiuska wanted to withdraw back into her shell and escape her enthusiastic welcome to this phantom festival of anonymous arousal. If her Romeo was out there, how to identify him among the horde of infatuated Italians, Turkish gangsters, wordless winks and meaningless compliments? Certainly it would take much effort and an iron ruthlessness to distinguish the good, the bad and the downright crazy.
What of the men, does this online anarchy not perpetuate whatever underlying problems they face? If street harassment isn’t quite as kosher as it may have been 20 years ago, is this hyperspace wolf whistling a modern substitute? Does having a thousand women, a thousand faces and a thousand impossible possibilities to titillate you each night satisfy a hunger for communication?
Looking back the bleakest conclusion was how tragically similar we all appear to be, if you were ever concerned that the city dwelling masses could be an homogeneous herd of nodding cattle with the odd peculiarity, then try reducing personalities to a two dimensional format. Maybe it can only be a good thing that apparently we are all cool, carefree, considerate lovers of nature and life, who love to relax, watch tv and travel to exotic places for clichéd ‘selfies’, perhaps if only online dating was compulsory practice for violent offenders and rogue politicians planet earth would be a dazzling utopia.
For better or for worse, until technology spawns a new paradigm of romance, online dating is here to stay. So some words of advice from a man (or woman, I’m confused) to men searching for love/dirty talk. A picture says a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean ‘hello sexy’ will have the ladies flushed with desire. It also doesn’t mean photos of you eating a gigantic chicken leg, flexing your muscles, or gazing thoughtfully at the Eiffel Tower can replace showing some real personality. It’s a competitive world out there and the internet is a fickle place, so don’t rely on it alone, don’t play by the rules, and stand out from the crowd.
Arseny from Prague, who also took part in the Youth Time experiment as a girl
1. I am – a woman, 26 years old, named Julia, recently in Prague and feeling lonely. So far so good, and a photo lifted off the Internet portrays me as a modest, ordinary girl without distinct advantages, at least in the picture. A few days later I remember my idea and open my profile. How surprised I am to see about 100 posts and 200 views of it. The system works and it works well! 🙂 After a cup of coffee I decide to check what we guys write in order to get acquainted with a girl. Around fifty percent of them start with “Hi” or “Hello. How are you?” If I answer they begin questioning. My personal reaction: I’m on a job interview.
2. Summarizing: what kind of nonsense are we men writing? Put yourself for 5 minutes in the position of a girl who receives every hour: “Hello,” or “How are you?” or “Where are you from?” or “For how long?” And so on. The brain tunes out! On the other hand, there are so many lonely people. It was pretty hard but, finally, I came to the conclusion that to get what you want you really need to give something away. And to give not because it’s necessary, or to please someone, or to make someone like you, but to give from the heart. Affectation is easily revealed even in the dialogue on a dating site.
The Art to Be a Man
To change her gender for the sake of the Youth Time virtual experiment had our editor Yulia Mazykina.
The week which she spent in the web has brought its fruit for the research. While her enthusiasm was reducing day by day, the experiment has acquired features of a sociological study.
Let me introduce myself – I am – Yuri, a handsome, lonely 35-year-old guy, recently moved from Russia to one of the central European cities, intelligent, do not smoke and only drink in company. I am looking for a pretty girl, from 21 to 30 years old, who knows how to be a woman. Yuri’s posting is a rather sweet profile on a dating site which makes no claims. I determined in advance: I will “conquer” girls with sincerity, manners and serious intentions so the section “Sexual Preference” remained blank. Yuri also ignored an absolutely unexpected point where a man has a chance to become a sponsor. I just had to confirm that the current network dating industry is based on money and the money chase.
Opening 1: My single girlfriends complain that a normal guy is hard to find today: you can most easily come across a married man or an insane and unfortunate alcoholic – drug addict – vagabond – henpecked. So the image of my character was built upon the aspirations of the majority of women: pleasant appearance, reliability, security, the desire to create a close-knit family. I registered Yuri and prepared to fend off fans. But there it was: a week-long experiment and I have only 50 profile views and 25 messages in my folder although there are thousands of single girls on the site. It turned out that on the Internet women behave the same way as in life: they sit at the bar waiting for the prince to come. Just a few of the ladies tried to initiate a conversation first: 43 -year-old Olga from Yelabuga, a small Russian town; Eva of the same age; and a 19 -year-old Ukrainian student from Lvov. The first one admitted frankly that her goal was immigration, the second one was apparently looking for a young lover, and the third one probably concluded that she had hit the wrong target because afterwards she did not answer at all. Yuri was upset with the indecision of women and then decided to take action himself.
Opening number 2: Writing messages to strangers trying to interest them is a pain. Especially when the majority of the users do not write much about themselves in their profiles, placing just a photo where they are pictured on vacation in huge sunglasses which cover half of the face. Yuri did not want to make compliments about the good choice of optics, and to comment on bodies barely covered with bathing suits seemed rather vulgar. Often I started a conversation with a greeting and added something about the beautiful weather or a good mood. Messages remained unanswered or were responded to in a rather unfriendly manner, “Nice weather, you think? I do not know. No big deal.” Or: “And what do you admire so much?” “Everything’s fine. So long,” etc. “Do these girls really want to find a good guy here by behaving this way?” – I wondered more than once. There were a dozen of posts where I tried to use my writing skills and the principles of pick-up, to be hastily read online. All of them have gone unanswered although I was notified that my messages were received and read by the girls of my choice. Apparently my attempts to strike up a conversation in an ornate style like “you have beautiful eyes the color of the deep blue sea” or comments on a beautiful and sincere smile are boring for the girls, too. Yuri is not the first, and Yuri will probably not be the last.
Opening number 3: Dating sites are not for dating. The statement is, of course, rather controversial, but my experience has shown that in many cases this is so. There is a certain type of girl in such places – VIP. On the site where I’ve registered Yuri the users are given the option of paying about $5 separately for interaction with such girls. Money is needed also to give your interlocutor a symbolic bouquet or a compliment generated on the site. Yuri decided that he might ruin himself that way, so many “cats, daisies, and angels” were left without attention. Apparently, it is not considered shameful to make money off loneliness and the desire to find romance on the Internet.
Opening number 4: On dating sites people can “hang” for years. More than half of the girls whose profiles I’d viewed in the search for suitable candidates for Yuri have a serious track record: some of them have already been on the site for 2-3 years. I asked one girl why she had not managed to find anyone after such a long time. In response, I received complaints about constant business pressures and the lack of good choices. Personally I came to the conclusion that if a pretty girl is sitting on that site for years, then 1) she has not found anyone, because she was not really looking for someone or 2) she is pursuing other goals. I won’t continue with this controversial topic, but I can offer support for men who perceive dating sites as directories for intimate services.
Opening number 5: Girls do not ask the most important questions. No one asked Yuri if he was married or divorced, although often on dating sites girls complain about the abundance of married and lascivious users who cheat on women. In my application, the box for marital status was missing, but no one asked why. This week I got to enter into a more or less complete correspondence with a particular girl, Anna, 29 years old, who lives in a neighboring town. I think that Yuri got her attention by mentioning in the first message his financial independence and security. This trick worked, and soon I was invited for a cup of coffee and got the promise of an evening stroll. I think Yuri would have liked her despite the obvious commercialism.
All told, I have had several lackluster conversations, one invitation for coffee, and a profound disappointment. I conclude the article feeling somehow jealous of my colleague Matthew’s success, whose Katiushka has driven a hundred men crazy on the same site this week. How can a young brunette with beautiful eyes distinguish in the streams of vulgarity and deception someone good and honest? Hardly a feasible task, and I partly understand the failure of the well-mannered Yuri who wears glasses: modest guys on dating sites have almost no chance as the girls are spoilt by the attentions of gigolos and womanizers and then are unhappy, lonely and disappointed. I’ll finish with a piece of advice from my hero, which he would have given if he had been a real person: you must work not only on your online profile but sometimes go out. This is something that certainly increases the chances of good guys and girls finding each other.
Evgenia, from Moscow, participated with her friend in an experiment as a man
Actually, after we experimented with the system, we realized that the percentage of adequate girls on a dating site is much higher than that of adequate men. At least none of the girls had sent us obscene body parts photos with an offer to have some fun.
Girls are more honest – if they are looking for a sponsor, they usually mention that in their profiles, and absolutely do not search on dating sites if they are happily married. However married men are often the opposite – as girls frequently related, many men search on dating sites “to find relief” from their married lives, to boost their egos by flirting with young ladies, and, perhaps, even to cheat on their wives. Also they often hide their marital status.
P. S. from the Youth Time Eds.:
We deliberately decline to analyze the results of the first experiment carried out by our magazine: all participants’ stories speak for themselves. As in any research, we only provide facts, and you are the one to draw conclusions.
We only would like to note that the idea of this social experiment seemed to be interesting and useful for us. Therefore, wait for our new investigations in the coming issues of Youth Time magazine.