Dating Market Forces Suck

11 Feb
Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Last week’s Freakonomics podcast explored the subject of online dating, a topic which resonates with me considering my recent return to the online dating world. Side rant: Why do men above my posted age limit insist on contacting me? This vexes me greatly. And I had a guy in an open marriage contact me as well. My profile clearly states that I’m seeking single men. What the hell? Are they all daft? 

In the podcast, labor economist Paul Oyer counsels a 28-year old single, straight male living in New York City on his online dating profile. Oyer tells the guy that he’s in an excellent position in terms of the dating market. He’s young, he’s straight, and he’s living in New York City. Here’s what Oyer had to say:

Okay, so as I look at what you’ve got here, well, before we even look at it we have to stop and think about the first thing an economist is going to do is think about supply and demand. So I don’t know if you realize this, but you’re in a great position. New York City is demographically more female than male. I’m not entirely sure why that’s true. Out here in San Francisco it’s the opposite. We have an oversupply of men relative to women, at least compared to other cities. New York City and Washington D.C. tend to swing much more towards more available women. So you’re in a good position from a competitive point of view. You’re proving a good, single, straight male, which is in relatively high demand. Now the other thing to keep in mind here is time is very much on your side. So you’re in a good position for two other reasons, and that is the male/female differential I just mentioned is going to swing much more in your favor over the next 10 years. So you’re under no pressure to hook up for a long-term relationship right now. So that’s one thing that’s good. The other thing is just more generally, aside from your gender, the fact that you’re 28 years old from an economist point of view means that you should be very picky. So you should be picky, you should be looking for a really good match. And the reason for that is suppose you do find just the right person, and get married and live happily ever after, well you’re in no rush to do that because you have, let’s just say 50 more years in which to enjoy the relationship you find if it’s a successful one.

Oyers advice is pretty much what I was trying to express to my ex-boyfriend as I ended our relationship, but I lacked the supporting stats at the time. Essentially, I wanted to convey that my ex would fare well in the dating market — the odds were/are on his side. He was living in New York City at the time (and still does). He’s straight, relatively attractive and accomplished; and at the time recently single. I’m all of these things as well (sans penis) but I’d be moving back to the Washington, DC metropolitan area a.k.a. no-man’s land. Both cities (New York and DC) are areas in which the single women outnumber the single men.

Damn these dating market forces all to hell! Ugh.

Courtesy of Truila
Courtesy of Truila

For more information on where the single folk are check this out. I really wish this was available in a mobile app format.

On a slightly less depressing note economist Justin Wolfers, ended the podcast with this:

It used to be that you would find compatibility first and then learn more about someone else’s attributes and now you see all the attributes and then you learn about compatibility later. For an economist it’s very seductive to believe that more information makes these things work better and I haven’t seen careful studies of this yet as to whether these high information marriages are working out to be more stable.

I do feel that more information gives one the ability to be more strategic in terms of online dating, but that doesn’t always equal success — whatever that may be.

This week’s Freakonomics podcast will focus on marriage and the myths concerning the institution. I can’t wait. My mother already told me that “marriage isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.” But it depends on who you ask — right?


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