Dateonomics Review: Dating is Number Game, and How to Date Smarter

This month for the Dating Book Club, I read Dateonomics, by Jon Birger. The economy of dating is an inherently unsexy and unromantic venture to delve into, but knowledge is power. And frankly, the lovey dovey stuff doesn’t get you far sometimes. It’s also nice to know that the behavior women are witnessing in the wild, can be explained by data and biology, and not that they are a terrible person or in some way defective because they can’t find a mate. Which, after a significant time of dating, is bound to take a toll on your self-esteem at times. This book its a great reminder that sometimes not finding a mate isn’t about you at all.

Similar to my Modern Romance review – Here are my thoughts while reading Dateonomics.

  1. Gender ratios are the cause of hook-up culture? The reason why men are waiting longer to settle down? Do we now have “emerging adulthood” for men, because there are too many women? Chicken or the egg?
  2. There is a matchmaker in Cleveland?!? Hmmm…. I really should check out a speed dating event – but they are all marketed to “professionals” What if I’m taking a short break from being professional?
  3. New York is all women, and San Jose is all men. New York men are lazy in love, and San Jose men put a ring on it faster. Why do I not live in San Jose again?!
  4. Mixed Collar marriages – not going to work with conservative minded men and liberal women. Men who want the woman to stay in a traditional gendered home role AND work all the time to bring home the higher paycheck are not going to have happy marriages.
  5.  Women don’t have as many options after high school to earn a living wage, and thus NEED college more than men.
  6. Oh wow – what was the gender ratio for my college?! Internet research for current student population. . . . 59% Female, and 41% Male. I wasn’t dating in college, but curious if others felt this was an issue in dating….?
  7. Hooking up is the norm on college campuses with more women, because men can get away with being non-monogamous. Great for women who also just want to date around, not so amazing for a girl that falls in love.
  8. Women expect a casual relationship to eventually move to the phase of exclusive dating. When women out number men, their is no incentive to move to the next phase, thus trading dating for hooking up. How can playing hard to get work when the men can just move on? What about the reward uncertainty making someone seem more attractive? Is everything just a short term game?
  9. I am DEFINITELY going to discuss college choice and gender ratios with my kids when the time comes.
  10. MEN. It really is all their fault. Biologically they are the ones whose behavior changes most when there is an imbalance in the gender ratio.
  11. Men value monogamy and romance more when there is a lack of women, and more competition for mates for them.
  12. Men are scarce, and women are treated as sex objects – but hey! On the plus side sex tends to be better quality, last longer, be more plentiful, and include more foreplay!! Yay? Why can’t we have this with monogamy?
  13. OOOH! Another positive – women’s rights!
  14. Hawaii has more men – YET ANOTHER REASON TO MOVE TO HAWAII!!! Maybe find a Gentleman AND an Officer.
  15. Gender ratios impact rape-culture, and severity of punishment. Makes total sense in a weird way. And now I’m REALLY not going to send my kids to a college with more women than men. Which may be a really difficult task.
  16. I feel like this is also good info for how to not raise an asshole adult. Environment does play a part in feelings of entitlement for both men and women.
  17. MEN MAKE HANDMADE CARDS AND PANCAKES FOR WOMEN ON VALENTINES DAY?!?! In this day and age? Where are these guys? Why did I EVER move from Pasadena, California?!?
  18. This book is making me sad. Men want to date younger, because they can. Because they are in demand. My life is over, I will never find someone to grow old with, and will only have amazing sex. Wait. What?
  19. Many women don’t realize the competition they are in, or mentally can’t handle it. Reject before you can be rejected becomes a way of life. Does this fuel people being picky? Do we need higher standards, and everyone get on board to make men behave? Or should we be more forgiving?
  20. Men online expect women to fall over them. As mentioned in Modern Romance, all these average Bozos are studs online. No. Not true. Its not just the act of going online that makes men picky – its that they perceive that there are way more women. Men get away with bad behavior because the woman who wants a family and kids and marriage will put up with it (even looking the other way regarding infidelity). These men wont stay faithful, and they probably won’t stay married, but in round two of dating, will only date younger creating a constant supply issue for men the same age as women. GAH! My head might explode. I need to move back to California.
  21. If I can’t count on a man providing, protecting, or staying faithful to this family, then damn straight I’ll do it myself.
  22. Single 35 year old have to “optimize” their attractiveness to compete with 25 year old women. That’s it. THAT IS IT! I’m going to start dating more 25 year old men. Might as well get the fresh meat while I can.
  23. The over 30 market. Many women still single from 30-40 are amazing people, that didn’t lock it down. They weren’t crazy and trick a guy into marriage. They didn’t pretend to get pregnant. They wanted to fall in love with someone who was equally in love with them. They were ‘t going to tolerate bad behavior, or let guys get away with misogyny.
  24. The good men are taken by those who are decisive. But what about the DIVORCED population?!
  25. Men want to be chased and pursued in a lopsided demographic. The men getting married are doing so by the women who are aggressively chasing them. All of us women who think that a guys lack of interest is proof that he isn’t into us – maybe we don’t give up unless we have a clear rejection? Who wants to be THAT girl that doesn’t take a rejection?
  26. Ultimatums work – Be prepared to walk away. Totally reasonable to ask early on, where is this going, if you don’t want the guy to waste your time.
  27. High-Risk? Manipulative? Yes – these are the women with boyfriends/husbands.
  28. THIS! This is why I’m not getting hit on out unless I initiate it. Lesson – initiate more!
  29. Asian American women are taking all the men! Wait – I should be going after more of the Asian American men!
  30. 522,898 divorced-not-remarried women, and 302,716 divorced-not-remarried men. Oh this is NOT looking good for me…. Round two? I might need to stick around for round 3 or 4…. The term “cougar” isn’t sounding so bad now.
  31. I got married young, I waited 5 years to have kids, and I still got left. Damn men and their options.

There are a lot of great take-away lessons from Dateonomics. Depending on who you are, and what you are looking to get out of from a relationship. Date smarter, and maybe we can prevent the dater burnout.

My dating strategy moving forward –

  • Choose a career or industry with more men (Ha!)
  • Be assertive – initiate – don’t be shy
  • Speak up. Say what I want when I want. Make the conversations happen, so no one is wasting time.
  • Move back to California (or visit A LOT, especially NorCal)
  • Continue to focus on meaningful relationships (and experiences) versus finding a man or boyfriend or husband
  • Expand my dating pool. Changed my age range to 25-45. Looking at all educational backgrounds and career choices.

Dateonomics looks at the dating problem from purely a math standpoint. It is a numbers game, and that historically and biologically (instinctively) affects people’s behavior. Simple supply and demand and market logic only goes so far. Culturally, behaviors become more prevalent and thus normalized, but there will always be a spectrum. I think that both Dateonomics and Modern Romance support the notion that the more time you spend with a person the more likely you are to build a long term connection. The men at the colleges with more men invest time in the women and make lasting connections. Presumably, but an interesting follow up question, do these men stray/breakup/divorce once out of their lopsided ratio?  There are also, plenty of men who were raised to be, and want to be monogamous, but need a oat sowing phase. Stories abound of the playboy who finally meets the love of his life. Who are these guys? Who knows! What it comes down to eventually is the right match at the right time. Every relationship you enter in will inherently have risks.

Rather than view the jerk who is trying to have as much sex as possible as a total jerk for going out with you only long enough to get laid, view it as a learning experience. View it as part of the journey. Get what you want out of the relationship, and if its not working for you, end it. Be ruthless in going after what you want! But also, maybe move to a better location and a man will fall into your lap like a salmon swimming upstream. Maybe.


4 thoughts on “Dateonomics Review: Dating is Number Game, and How to Date Smarter

  1. Holy mother of monogamy, this is depressing, right?! I’m 45!!!! Divorced. I’m pretty much screwed…. although I think we drew some of the same conclusions for ourselves and our behavior going forward.

    I have already said I will make conversations happen, I will approach more men. I talked to a random guy at the gas pump one day, I was so proud of myself… because if you wait on them to approach you, you might be too old to have sex….. haha…

    Also, I’ve considered mentally that I will open up my dating age ranges… before I was pretty strict about it, and turned down some perfect lovely “children” because they were 10 years younger…. that isn’t sounding too bad now, if they were actual good humans… I haven’t had a chance to put that into practice yet, but I rarely go OUT. But that’s another effort I’m making. I’m off the sites and after reading this, now I understand why they suck…. so I will HAVE to put forth effort into meeting a human male, face to face, if I want anything to happen.

    Dating sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! The advice, go where the men are, is applicable but finding the men is getting harder.

      I am trying to go out more, but I’m going out with friends, and not always trying to pick up on guys. The Midwest is supposed to have the friendliest people, but at the same time, no one is making new friends. Ha! People are losing the art of conversation and no one is talking to strangers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OH… and *I dated an Asian man once (Korean actually). I had never really been attracted to them before, but something about him….. and it didn’t work out because he just wanted a FWB with me and a few OTHER women (rolling my eyes)… but I totally have this new fondness for Korean men. He had lovely smooth cocoa-y skin.*


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