A reader responds to my observation "Meanwhile, the lack of effort millions of males [today] put in to finding females is similarly striking:"
Speaking as a 29-year-old single nerd, I don't think that's it. I think it's that women in this country simply aren't as interested in marriage for long-term goals as opposed to marriage as a _result_ of short-term euphoria, and the guys have no idea how to get around that.
Why this is, could be discussed. I think it is a combination of feminist brainwashing and the fact that women have far more options available that in the short term are far more attractive.
I've read _Pride and Prejudice_. Good book. Good manual, actually. The problem is, the women for the most part haven't read it, and don't seem to understand the very concept of what it's about. Dating today is about hooking up, which is to say random sex (which the women then get depressed about, and then feel frustrated with being depressed about it); love is defined as having fun, usually with some connection to alcohol. At the same time, the women seem to want to force the emotional component, to accelerate it, when it doesn't even exist to start with. I can't and won't pretend an emotional interest that doesn't exist, particularly on the first date.
But the environment for building contact and relationships doesn't exist anymore, particularly with the increased mobility and social fluidity everywhere - contacts don't last, communities don't include singles, everyone moves all the time. I made a point of introducing myself to my neighbors when I moved into my most recent apartment; a year later, every single one had been replaced by new tenants. In some cases, twice.
As an example of the helpful structure that's missing from contemporary middle class American life, there's a Turkish nightclub down the street from me, and every Saturday night, three generations of the small local Turkish community show up. So, if you are a young Turk in LA, you are constantly being put into proximity with other young Turks, and your elders are keeping track of eligible bachelors or bachelorettes for you.
I wonder if the invention of the electric guitar doomed this kind of multi-generational socializing in middle class white America by making the kind of music the kids (boys, at least) like physically painful to their elders.
Women today are very confused creatures. I don't know what to do about it.
I am about ready to put some serious money into one of those mail-order bride services myself. What I've been doing for the past 10-15 years - being myself, being polite and nice, living life as it comes, waiting and looking for opportunity to knock - just is not working and shows no signs of doing so. Going to art galleries is sorta good advice but doesn't overcome the most basic obstacle, which is that I simply find it very difficult to strike up conversations with complete strangers for no reason. Art is something I have particularly little to say about
Finding a conversational pretext is a big problem for millions of shy guys who would make good husbands. Travel is one possible palliative: It gives you an excuse for remarking on the view or the lovely tropical weather or whatever. Standing in your local bar, it's awfully inane to say, "So, how about this weather?" But on a Hawaiian beach, it's surprisingly serviceable.
I've received some advice from family to the effect that I should be looking among partners in sporting activities for a mate. That's the sort of advice that is fine in theory but absolutely useless in practice; I am in reasonable physical shape (not overweight, capable of a 10-hour hike in the mountains and no cramps or blisters the next day), have zero interest in cutting out a significant chunk of my time to put into physical activity (particularly since I tend to find exercise for exercise's sake extremely boring - I've tried to force myself past that but it doesn't work so well), and the sort of physical activity I _do_ find enjoyable - artistic roller skating and European-style swordsmanship - is of rather limited interest to the general population.
All that said, I should also note that my sister seems to have the same problems I do in finding suitable candidates, and not because she's feminist or not looking. She's still in grad school though, and she likes computer games and biochem and science fiction, so may have better luck. It worries me though. If her luck's the same as mine, I don't know what she'll do; there aren't any mail-order husband services.
You'd think the market would respond in some way to this gaping lack. But all there is right now is jury-rigged substitutes to a real solution.
A reader responds:
As a geek, I certainly share the impression of your correspondent in that the meatspace dating scene (if it may be called that) is very difficult these days. Without churches, in particular, as meeting venues, singles today have a lot of problems. In the early years of the sexual revolution it seems like sex itself could have been used to "meet people", but that option went away with resurgent feminism and AIDS fear.
But... when your correspondent writes: "You'd think the market would respond in some way to this gaping lack", I am wondering what internet he used to send you that? The market has generated match.com, eharmony.com, and all the other dating services out there. Not to mention friendster and myspace, and perhaps many other services for making friends that I don't even know about.
Who do I have the most pity for? Me! I am 41, meaning, during my 20s I had all the dating woes of a geek in modern meatspace society. But until I was in my 30s there was no good way to use the internet to meet women. (I realize one could have used usenet, in theory, even back into the 80s, but it was a very limited venue both in total number of people using it, and in men:women ratio.)
Frankly, I don't know that geeks have ever had it this *good*. That we hear so many complaints may well be sampling bias: the internet certainly *can* empower your dating, but it empowers complaining about dating even more certainly.