Men of Character Are In Decline
Benjamin Sledge

But, like, he was really, really good looking.

I don’t doubt that a lot of men behave like complete jackasses on Tinder dates or that much of this is true, but one thing in particular caught my eye and it needs to be examined (FYI: I am NOT the kind of guy who partakes in the kind behavior described above — I find it abhorrent and wish Jackie had throat-punched the dude. Sexual assault is never ok, and I’m not justifying that in the slightest).

“He was really attractive, so I guess he wasn’t used to being turned down.”


As a guy who’s been on Tinder, Bumble, and some of the other apps, I find this comment quite telling. Because in all likelihood, this is how Jackie and many other women make their decision: how good looking is the dude I’m going to date?

So far, my experience on these apps has been that I match with a decent number of women, but actually getting them to go on a date becomes problematic — and my guess is the underlying dynamic goes something like this:

A) My profile is swiped right on, because I’m good enough looking to make the first cut, as in “yes/no.”

B) The woman and I have some sort of dialogue, and after 7–10 texts I’ll usually suggest we meet up for coffee or a drink.

C) 85% of the time, the conversation ends, or she stalls…

Here’s my guess at why: there are other, better looking dudes she’s talking to at the same time she’d rather go out with — AKA I’m not quite good looking enough to make the second cut.


But that makes sense, right, because the way these dating apps work, the emphasis is primarily on how attractive someone is — not their character.

Now, think about how this plays out on a macro level: the best looking guys are inundated with opportunities to date beautiful women all the time, and because they’re “really good looking,” they probably get away with terrible behavior — asking for sexual favors, groping, etc.

On top of that, the Bumble/Tinder culture leads women to pare down their selections based on some pretty stupid and/or meaningless criteria:

  • He overshares.
  • He texts me more than once when I don’t text back.
  • He feels “creepy” (whatever the fuck that means).
  • He seems X, Y, or Z, and I don’t like X, Y, or Z.

This leads women even more toward dating Fuckboi McGroperson, because he doesn’t do any of the above. Instead, he’s fucking the last girl he met on his dating app and let’s just be honest: the better looking a guy is the less likely women are to think he’s “creepy.”

So ultimately, if women don’t want to date these kinds of jackasses, they need to stop selecting men based purely on their looks and how they play the game — because the pretty-boy pick-up artists win that game.

The guy with character? Not so much. He overshares, texts twice in a row, and is excited to meet a woman — not for sex, but an actual connection.

It’s called being genuine. But it’s a strike against you in the world of dating.

More broadly, I’m skeptical of any argument that puts forth the idea human behavior among group X or Y is undergoing some sort of massive, fundamental change (always for the worse, right?) over a short period of time. The reason these arguments are popular, however, is because they make everyone who’s not in group X or Y feel special or vindicated or justified in their own biases against them.

For example, the idea that men of character are in decline makes the following groups of people feel better about themselves:

  • Single women who’ve had bad dating experiences and/or have been unsuccessful in finding a long-term relationship.
  • Married and/or older men.
  • Anyone who doesn’t like young people or Millennials.
  • Anyone who doesn’t like video games, smart phones, hipsters, or anything else having to do with the culture of people under 35.

As for the cultural reasons given to account for said decline, I’m not so sure the effects are as strong as we’d like to think they are. Like for example, yes, pornography is certainly not a positive influence on today’s men, but it wasn’t so long ago men regularly visited brothels — or if they were wealthy, had mistresses (many still do).

And who are the guys getting headlines for sexual harassment and assault? Mostly older men — O’Reilly, Cosby, Ailes, Trump, and the like. So how is it fair to stamp the younger generation as lacking character when we have plenty of examples of older men behaving in the same ways or worse?

Am I saying Jackie — or any other woman — should have the experience she had? Absolutely not. That sort of behavior is disgusting and unacceptable. But some percentage of men have always been pigs. That’s not new.

So let’s not pretend it’s an epidemic, and to whatever extent it is a problem for single women, I would suggest that one of the ways to avoid this is by not selecting dates based purely on physical attraction.

Because the dude who’s got perfect abs, a charming smile, and an ass carved out of wood has likely gotten a pass on his behavior toward women his entire life. He’s the guy who got blowjobs underneath the bleachers while the rest of us toiled away in math class. He’s the guy who was having threesomes before most of us lost our virginity. He’s the guy who has women throw themselves at him all the time, because he’s really, really, really good looking and successful and confident.

It’s the same reason I don’t swipe right on the super hottie who’s all about bubbles in the club — cause I want nothing to do with the kind of woman who has that profile.

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