Okay, this topic has a theme. Anyone reading it or writing a reply has to first go watch and listen to the theme song:
There have been a number of forum threads recently that seem related.....women want to drop hankies and have men pick them up. The CM men are not "agressive" enough in making contact. Or they make contact and then disappear. The men don't talk enough on the forums, and don't tell the women what they want. And so on.....
With respect to the problems being discussed, I think there are three negatively interacting factors at work:
1) Online "dating" is not real dating. It lacks all the social cues of the real world and substitutes the rather dry medium of the written word.
2) The distances are daunting. I keep getting matched with women who live, for example, live 2050 miles away. Some young people with few obligations, jobs that have regular hours, and disposable income may be better able to make an LDR work, but for many men with family commitments and difficult job situations in a poor economy, an LDR is quite difficult.
3) We are firmly stuck in a broader feminist culture that for forty years has told men, "Don't you dare pick up that hanky....I can do that myself. Don't you dare act manly toward me, as that demeans me and just shows that you are a knuckle-dragging chauvinist."
So let's talk about the dropped hankie issue. In the real world, if a woman drops a hankie (which is a metaphor for all sorts of signaling behaviors to let a guy know she might be interested in him), the man can respond immediately by picking up the hankie and handing it back to her (or some other REAL signaling behavior, in REAL time). And the woman can immediately respond in real time, with a follow up signaling behavior that most men will understand immediately from literally thousands of years of imprinting. The woman can smile, she can tilt her head, she twirl her hair, she can touch the man's arm, she can laugh, she can wiggle her hips, she can "accidentally" lean into him......and I have not even begun to tap dozens of other signaling behaviors that women routinely employ in the real world.
Online, a guy gets an emote. Um, okay. I see your 256 pixels of light emitting diode radiation that were sent by a one-sixteenth inch twitch of your index finger.... and...then what? First of all, online dating is usually asynchronous, meaning it could be hours or days before the guy logs in and even realizes that he has 256 pixels of sexy goodness winking at him. So he looks at her picture and the highly artificial profile (too many of which start with "...I want man who won't cheat on me or lie to me..." Hmmm....no cheaters, no liars. Ooooookaaaaay. I think I can meet that very low bar. But the picture is fuzzy, and all I got from the profile is that she likes long walks on the beach....like very other woman on the planet. Not much information there. No live in real time smile, no hint of real time cleavage as she twirls her hair, no real time touch on the arm. It's ten o'clock at night, I just put in another eleven hour day, and I have to write something clever and witty to this woman when I really am so tired from working all day that I just want to go to bed. Maybe I'll wait until the weekend, when I might have more energy.
And the weekend comes, and you stare at the emote message, racking your brain for something witty and clever to write, sharing your deepest feelings with this woman you don't ever know, have never seen in real time, and have no clue about what the 256 pixels of radiation sent by her sixteenth of an inch finger twitch really means. Except that you have to write something. You can't smile back, you can't ask for her number (because online, that means you are a spammer, a pervert, or just a creep). You can't say, "Hey, are you doing anything Friday?" because you checked her profile and she lives 873 miles away. You have to start writing, and sharing your feelings, and telling her about your day. With words.
Ogg not good with words. Ogg rather see smile. Then Ogg hit you on head. Drag you back to cave by hair. That manly stuff for Ogg. Ogg not good at chipping out word letters on stone and carrying heavy stone across river to woman cave. Ogg want to kill big hairy auroch and leave haunch of auroch at woman cave to show manliness: Look! Ogg good hunter. Ogg can feed sexywoman and all little Oggs sexywoman will make with Ogg.
The medium...not just CM, but the whole online world...um, folks, it's not REAL. It's a bunch of electrons and photons. And it forces men and women to use behaviors and to adapt to new forms of communications we barely understand because they are so new. There is no way to drop a hanky online in any meaningful way and have it mean what a dropped hanky (or the metaphor for a dropped hanky) means in the real world. An icon for a dropped hanky is just another icon. It would be the forty-first icon on CM; if the first forty aren't doing the job, I really really doubt one more is going to make a difference. The problem we all want to solve is much more difficult than that.
The Internet has been a great equalizer. And with that equalization of outcomes there have been many unintended consequences. Amazon has changed the retail business permanently. The iTunes Music Store has changed the world of music--kids born today will never go to a "record store," because they are all gone. Forever.
And online dating is forcing an equalization of relationships. Good? Bad? I have no idea. But the rules for dating online have to be different than the rules for dating in the real world. And in ten or fifteen years, there will likely be a much better understanding of how men and women of all ages should behave online. And lest someone think I am just talking about men and women of a certain age, people in their twenties are learning, mostly to their chagrin, that posting intimate and private details of their life online can have deleterious consequences when looking for a job or a spouse.
Men, by and large, are doers. We want to take a woman out..to dinner, to a movie, to a concert. For a walk. For breakfast. We want to make her dinner. We want to buy her flowers. We want to hold her in our arms and tell her we are madly in love with her. We want to hold hands, we want to protect her. We want to hold her face tenderly in our hands, lean in towards her, and kiss her gently on the lips. We want to kneel down and propose marriage.
Online....what do we have? We are reduced to writing...and it is nearly impossible to write about being manly without coming off as a lying braggart. Online, we are emasculated, stripped of our manhood, feminized--yes, feminized, because instead of ACTING MANLY, we must talk (write) about acting manly. It's a horror show in slow motion. It is painful, it is frightening, it is difficult.
And so we muddle on. Trapped by forty years of a culture of forced feminization, trapped by women who live too far away to give us a wink and a nod, trapped by the grossly inadequate medium of messages and emotes that prevent us from being the men that we are.
Let's go crazy....