We often hear from men about this “once great” country—a country where women were handed off from father to husband not unlike a football, where we couldn’t open a bank account or see a doctor without the express permission of our husband. Well, it’s increasingly clear why the “good old days” hold such a romantic appeal to men today: A new Psychology Today article posits that modern dating’s higher standards for straight men have created more “lonely, single men” than ever—and the psychologist writing the column pretty much says that men need to fix everything about themselves or die alone, which sounds like a fun little choice.
According to author Greg Matos, because men comprise approximately 62% of dating app users, their chances for matches—let alone successful in-person meet-ups and eventual relationships—are dramatically lower out of the gate. Further, he writes, “dating opportunities for heterosexual men are diminishing as healthy relationship standards increase.” Ouch! The article also cites a recent Pew Research study that found men are now “more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.”
Matos says he regularly holds roundtable-like discussions with women ages 25 to 45, and hears that they “prefer men who are emotionally available, good communicators, and share similar values.” Somehow, these aren’t exactly fitting descriptors for many single straight men out there. But unless they work on themselves, perhaps seeking out “some individual therapy,” straight women are increasingly better positioned to have their pick of other suitors who actually meet their standards.
None of this is meant for us to wear rose-tinted glasses when appraising modern dating, which is very often still garbage for women who date men (though marital rape being recognized as a crime is certainly a relatively new perk!). For starters, even uttering the words “situationship” or “sneaky link” aloud is humiliating. And all the hiking dates? Being forced to try charcoal ice cream?? The “define the relationship” conversations—and having to assume someone you’ve been seeing for a year is simultaneously raw-dogging the population of a small town a la West Elm Caleb unless you’ve explicitly confirmed you’re “exclusive”?? To quote the great philosopher Olivia Rodrigo, it’s brutal out here.
The knowledge that single straight men are running out of options unless they acquire the skills to be in healthy and supportive relationships is validating—but it also comes with its own set of concerns. Growing numbers of “lonely, single men” absolutely sounds like a recipe for more self-victimizing incels, more anti-feminist backlash, and more heated discussions on internet message boards that all too often breed violence.
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Ours is, after all, still a patriarchal society. Roe v. Wade was overturned less than two months ago, all but reducing women and pregnant people to incubators. Shortly before then, a very public celebrity trial callously reminded domestic violence victims how much the world loathes them. But one right we haven’t lost is the right to swipe left on as many emotionally unintelligent men as we please and, according to Psychology Today, still have the upper-hand in this whole numbers-game thing. I, for one, plan to use that right to the fullest.