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How men and women look at online dating

 There are dating apps dedicated to book enthusiasts, vampire lovers and female prisoners. But no matter the niche, the distinctions 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 televisioninstead we turn to something a little more ‘low-key’ – online dating.

tinder GIF by Cheezburger online dating
via Giphy


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 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 the potential candidates dress and whether they have cute friends to set their own friends up with. 

tinder discover GIF online dating
via Giphy


It may sound like an involved process, and it is, so you can imagine that doing it 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 viewpoint in this article. I know the world of queer dating apps – like Jack’d and Her – are totally different from what I’ve experienced.


I asked a male friend of mine to share his thoughts on how straight men interact with dating apps, and 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.

alison brie flirt GIF online dating
via Giphy


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 for 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!)

booty tinder GIF online dating
via Giphy

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 so 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.


This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Twenty Something Humans. Read the original here.