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Weekly Digest: Swiping and Dating Preferences
Welcome to my weekly digest for July 27, 2023, with the best articles from around the web and a roundup of my recent writings and appearances.
Swiping and Dating Preferences
Rob Henderson wrote up some analysis of an American Enterprise Institute survey on dating from earlier this year. He has some interesting discussions of things that we’ve discussed here before, such as women’s strong preference for a taller man. He also writes:
Relationships used to begin with courtship, meeting families, spending lots of time together, etc. and then finally sex. Today, relationships among young people commonly begin with sex, then turn into a “situationship,” then “seeing each other,” then perhaps a discussion about monogamy (“are you seeing anyone else?”) then maybe exclusivity. But a lot of relationships don’t even go that far. They get stuck in a holding pattern of casual sex, which guys often enjoy. Girls don’t want to seem vulnerable so they don’t bring up the possibility of commitment and hope maybe the guy will like them enough to raise the topic themselves.
Here's a sketch of what might be happening: Men high on the Dark Triad (psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism) use dating apps. They might make up 10-20% of users. They go on a rampage, sleeping with lots of women, playing games with them, leading them on, ghosting them, lying to them, etc. Dark Triad men are excellent impostors; they are good at mimicking desirable romantic qualities, and are thus able to procure lots of sex partners. The women they sleep with become disillusioned. These women begin to behave in psychopathic and narcissistic ways to protect themselves from emotional vulnerability and pain, and perhaps as a way to even the score with “men” as a category. They learn to avoid Dark Triad men and exploit normal men. These men become confused and upset, and begin to treat other women the same way to “get even.” In short, Dark Triad men mistreat women, who then mistreat ordinary men, who then mistreat ordinary women. Bad behavior drives out the good. A system tailor-made for psychopathic males (dating apps facilitate anonymity, superficiality, and deception) predictably gives rise to a defect-defect equilibrium. Eventually, you have a situation where everyone adopts Dark Triad strategies of emotional coldness, unfeeling callousness, and calculated duplicity to obtain sex and avoid getting hurt.
He also has a great observation on the implication of political polarization between the genders, and the unwillingness of liberal women to date conservative men:
Regarding personal beliefs, there is an interesting paradox here for men and women. Most women today are liberal, yet women are also more likely than men to desire committed relationships. Men who are liberal are, on average, far less interested in committed relationships than conservative men, who are more likely to be interested in marriage. If you don’t date conservative (or “moderate”—a joke I’ve heard is that any man who calls themselves a moderate on the dating apps is a Republican) men, you’ll probably be on the dating apps for a long time. There’s already a scarcity of college-educated men. If you rule out everyone who is right of center, then your dating pool will be very small indeed.
There’s a lot more in the piece so be sure to give it a read.
Best of the Web
In follow-up to some of my recent writings on fundamentalism, someone sent me this 2008 piece John Piper called “20 Reasons I Don’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists.”
Verso: The Right-Wing Avant-Garde in American Fiction - This piece is probably of niche interest. Verso is a leftist publishing house.
The Tablet: Welcome to Blackstone U.S.A. - How private equity is gobbling up the American city and turning residents into collateral
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New Content and Media Mentions
I was cited this week in the Michigan Advance.
New this week:
What do I think about The Fourth Turning? - The most commonly asked question I get from readers is what I think of the book The Fourth Turning. I haven’t read it, but I use this as an occasion to layout my own framework of American history.
Russell Moore's Latest Salvo In the New Evangelical Culture War - A few thoughts on Russell Moore’s new book that bashes evangelicals.
At American Reformer, Timon Cline writes on Cotton Mather.