You look so lovely
Just swipe me to the right
Last year, Nancy Jo Sales wrote a piece for Vanity Fair titled “Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse,” which blamed the Tinder dating [sic] app for today’s hookup culture.
Click here to read that article, which will appall any father of twenty-something daughters.
(I'm not sure that all the Tinder profiles that appear in this post are legitimate. I'm guessing that the one above is not.)
But as Jon Birger explained in the Washington Post, the problem isn’t Tinder:
But as Jon Birger explained in the Washington Post, the problem isn’t Tinder:
[T]he college and post-college hookup culture is a byproduct, not of Tinder or Facebook, but of shifting demographics among the college-educated. Much as the death toll of World War I caused a shortage of marriageable men in the 1920s, today’s widening gender gap in college enrollment has created unequal numbers in the post-college dating pool.
Speaking of World War I, some ten million soldiers – nearly all of them relatively young men – died in that war, and another twenty million were wounded.
So if you were one of the young European bachelors who survived the war intact, the male-female numbers after that war were definitely in your favor.
There’s a scene in Irene Nemirovsky’s novel, The Fires of Autumn, where an attractive young French widow is disappointed to learn that a childhood friend of hers who survived the Great War has no interest in marrying her, but just wants to get jiggy with it:
You want to have some fun? Fine. You don’t? Goodbye. There are too many women and they’re all too easy.
As was noted in the previous 2 or 3 lines, about 60% of college graduates today are female – in other words, there are three young women receiving college degrees for every two male college graduates. And the federal government says that by 2023, there will be two female college grads for every male who earns a degree.
“No wonder some men are in no rush to settle down,” writes Birger, “and more women are giving up on what used to be called ‘playing hard to get’.”
These demographics represent the true dating apocalypse, as stacks of social science show how dating and mating behavior is influenced by prevailing sex ratios. When there are plenty of marriageable men, dating culture emphasizes courtship and romance, and men generally must earn more to attract a wife. But when gender ratios skew toward women, as they do today among college grads, the dating culture becomes more sexualized.
It’s a good news, bad news situation:
The good news . . . is that people tend to have better sex when ratios skew female. The downside? Women frequently wind up being treated as sex objects, and men are more inclined to exercise the option to delay marriage and play the field. [T]oday’s uneven gender ratios add up to sexual nirvana for heterosexual men, but for heterosexual women — especially those who put a high priority on getting married and having children in wedlock — they represent a demographic time bomb.
There are still plenty of young men out there, just not plenty of college-educated men. But it seems that college-educated females are increasingly unwilling to tie themselves to blue-collar guys:
As Birger points out, “[E]ducational intermarriage is less common today than at any point over the past half century.”
Because the pool of college-educated women is much larger, the unwillingness of college-educated men to consider working-class women as life partners has little statistical effect on their marriage prospects. But for college-educated women, excluding working-class guys makes their dating math much more challenging. If there is an undersupply of men in the college-educated dating pool, there is going to be an oversupply of men in the non-college-educated one. Indeed, there are 1.5 million more non-college-educated men than women among Americans age 22 to 29. Bottom line: New York City women looking for a match would be better off, statistically at least, at a fireman’s bar in Staten Island than a wine bar on the Upper East Side.
Birger’s reference to New York City isn’t an accident – the numbers in the Big Apple are even more skewed against women than they are elsewhere.
That’s due in part to the large population of gay males there:
Cities known for being LGBT-friendly (New York, Washington, Miami, etc.) have disproportionate numbers of gay men, but not of lesbians. Consequently, the different-sex dating markets in these cities are worse for women than the overall census numbers imply. . . . Manhattan’s hetero, college-grad, under-30 dating pool has three women for every two men.
And Birger says that things are going to get worse for you ladies in NYC before they get better:
I’d also urge marriage-minded women not to put off getting serious about dating because the math will only get worse over time. Call it the musical chairs problem: nearly everybody finds a chair in the first round. By the last round, however, there’s a 50 percent chance of not getting one. Similarly, in a dating pool that starts out with 140 women and 100 men, the gender ratio among those still single soars from 1.4:1 to more than 2:1 once half the women get married.
The numbers are much more balanced in the western half of the country, but there’s only one urban area in the country where male college grads outnumber female ones by a significant margin: Santa Clara County, California, home to “Silicon Valley.”
“There, it’s women who have the dating leverage,” Birger writes. “I think it’s pretty good for the girls,” one single woman told the San Jose Mercury News. “You can be more picky” because males “have to try harder.”
The proof is in the numbers: in Santa Clara County, 33 percent of college-educated women age 22 to 29 are married vs. 13 percent in Manhattan.
You college-educated New York City gals have three choices. First, you can quit being snobs and start hanging out with firemen, construction workers, and other working-class guys. Second, you can move to Silicon Valley and have your pick of the computer nerds who live there. Third, stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn and resign yourself to the life of a “Tinderella,” as described in the Nancy Jo Sales Vanity Fair article mentioned above:
“Agh, look at this,” says Kelly, 26, who’s sitting at a table with friends, holding up a message she received from a guy on OKCupid. “I want to have you on all fours,” it says, going on to propose a graphic sexual scene. “I’ve never met this person,” says Kelly.
At a table in the front, six young women have met up for an after-work drink. They’re seniors from Boston College, all in New York for summer internships . . . . They’re attractive and fashionable . . . . I ask them how they’re finding New York dating.
“New York guys, from our experience, they’re not really looking for girlfriends,” says the blonde named Reese. “They’re just looking for hit-it-and-quit-it on Tinder.”
“People send really creepy shit on it,” says Jane, the serious one.
“They start out with ‘Send me nudes,’ ” says Reese. “Or they say something like ‘I’m looking for something quick within the next 10 or 20 minutes – are you available?’ ‘O.K., you’re a mile away, tell me your location.’ It’s straight efficiency.” . . .
“If he texts you before midnight he actually likes you as a person. If it’s after midnight, it’s just for your body,” says Amanda. It’s not, she says, that women don’t want to have sex. “Who doesn’t want to have sex? But it feels bad when they’re like, ‘See ya.’ ”
“It seems like the girls don’t have any control over the situation, and it should not be like that at all,” Fallon says.
“It’s a contest to see who cares less, and guys win a lot at caring less,” Amanda says.
“Sex should stem from emotional intimacy, and it’s the opposite with us right now, and I think it really is kind of destroying females’ self-images,” says Fallon.
“It’s body first, personality second,” says Stephanie.
“Honestly, I feel like the body doesn’t even matter to them as long as you’re willing,” says Reese. “It’s that bad.”
“But if you say any of this out loud, it’s like you’re weak, you’re not independent, you somehow missed the whole memo about third-wave feminism,” says Amanda.
If you think the numbers are bad for young college-educated females, they’re even worse if you are une femme d’un certain âge. Overall, there are slightly more twenty-something males than twenty-something females. But there are only 77% as many over-65 males as over-65 females.
It's not quite “Surf City” – “Two girls for every boy!” – for us silver foxes. But it ain’t bad.
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Miracles of Modern Science is an indie band that was formed in 2005 by two Princeton students who met on Facebook. (Tinder wasn’t invented until 2012.)
“Swipe,” which features guest singer Kristin Slipp, was released in 2014. If the lyrics quoted above are confusing, here's the deal: you swipe to the right on your smartphone if you like a photo that Tinder serves up to you, and you swipe to the left to reject that photo.
Click below to buy the song from Amazon: