There are dating apps dedicated to book enthusiasts, vampire lovers and female prisoners. But no matter the niche, the distinction between the male and female expectations are universal.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it, dating is hard. Not all of us have friends who can set us up with a Prince (I am speaking to you, Meghan Markle’s friend who set her up with Prince Harry). And most of us aren't lucky enough to have 20-odd humans vie for our attention on national television, instead we turn to something a little more ‘low-key’ – online dating.
From Tinder to Bumble to Grindr to Ashley Madison, the list of online dating sites is endless. If you are a woman in prison, Women Behind Bars is a prison pen pal service that connects people with female prisoners looking for a relationship. If you are looking for a significant other who enjoys reading, try Alikewise. Or if a gothic/vampire partner is more up your alley, try Gothic Match or for all your online dating needs.
Now, you don’t even need to have signed up to an online dating site to know that most men and women look at online dating differently – I’d go a not-so-large step further and say they look at dating in general differently.
A lot of women look at dating sites as a means to meet ‘Mr or Mrs Right’, as opposed to ‘Mr or Mrs Right Now’ (granted, Tinder and Grindr may be exceptions to this rule). I'm speaking generally here, and of my own experiences, but I also think women aren't so interested in receiving a string of unsolicited dick pics.
They want to look through their possible matches and see their likes, loathes and (most importantly) their photos. They'll sit with their friends and look at how they dress and whether they have cute friends to set their friends up with.
It may sound like an involving process, and it is, so you can imagine that doing that repeatedly, every time another one-night-stand comes along can be quite exhausting. I'm exhausted just writing about it.
So, after that little rant, let’s turn it over to the boys shall we? I should also mention that I'm speaking from the heterosexual view point in this article. I know the world of queer dating apps –like Jack'd and Her – are totally different to what I've experienced.
I asked a male friend of mine to share his thoughts on how straight men interact with dating apps he had some interesting insights. According to him, men don’t like to "pick women out of a catalogue"; you don’t use catalogues to buy a Hermes.
So, a lot of people end up treat dating sites like exactly that – a casual hook-up/friends-with-benefits/refuse to meet your mum kind of situation. Dating apps seem to have removed the natural emotional connection that occurs when meeting potential long-term partners and have turned it into more of a ‘catalogue’, curated for your perusal.
Some men are more interested in how women look and might therefore think that women view them through the same lens (and some do, but my experience is that we tend to take a big picture approach.
These are just my opinions about the perception of dating sites on the male and female mind; everyone is different and there are still men on these hook-up sites who are looking for love. (I just got back from a wedding that started as a tinder relationship!)
So, what does this all mean? Why do men and women seem to want different things on dating sites? The simple answer is that romance offers men and women very different benefits and when the two genders look at dating sites, they're looking for completely different things.
Even though your interests may align, this doesn't mean you're compatible as long-term partners. So… perhaps the old-school friend of a friend setup isn’t all that bad? Does anyone have any Royal connections? Asking for a friend.
Ashlee loves Thai food, feminist prose and angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion. She eats too much spaghetti, reads Harry Potter continuously, loves 90's R'n'B and quotes 10 Things I Hate About You way too often.