Today’s edition of our occasional series for the introverted heterosexual male focuses on assortive dating and mating. Our dominant theme will be supply and demand, along with how birds of a feather flock. Economics, psychology, and gaming, woot!
Overall, the numbers are on your side. There are more adult women than men, and homosexuality is higher in the male population, further eliminating your competitors who have been exercising, showering, and dressing well for years. Sadly, you are still being judged against them, but at least you need not compete with them. (I don’t know enough about the gay gamer dating scene to help there, sorry.)
You probably already know enough about supply and demand to see how having the numbers in your favor helps. Think of healers: priests can demand whatever they want because there are not enough of them to go around. All things being equal, lower supply leads to a higher price. For our purposes here, that means you can date higher up your preferences the less competition you have.
Even if you are the worst male around, and every woman would prefer someone else, if women outnumber men you will at some point be the last (available) man on Earth. Consider this your worst case scenario. It is you or electric devices. Of course, given how much time you spend playing with electric devices, you can see how that might work out badly for you.
Remember that: soloing remains an option. And frankly, given all of you or 1/10 of Brad Pitt, some women choose to will share. While the average woman’s odds of getting Brad Pitt are about the same as your odds of getting Angelina Jolie, understand that you must provide some reason to choose you over continuing to hope for something better.
This brings us to the other half: demand. A low supply of men only helps you if there is demand from women. If no one wants something, it does not matter how cheap or rare it is. Maybe a 12 Pound Mud Snapper is really expensive on your WoW server, but I don’t see a useless decorative fish selling for much. If I can give you only one piece of dating advice, it might be to be more desirable than a virtual dead fish.
In the ideal case, you go where there is a high supply of the sort of women you demand, where those sort of women demand men like you, and men like you are in short supply. This is like finding your favorite farming area fully spawned but completely uncamped. How do we find this happy hunting ground?
First, what are you looking for? If anyone will do, just proposition the next female who walks by. Let me know how that works out for you. (If you are currently in your parents’ basement, this may not be the best plan.)
No, seriously, what are you looking for? Yes, I know you want a large-breasted former cheerleader with an oral fixation, but you’ve seen how well that standard has been working for you. Have you thought about what is a necessity and what is a deal-breaker? What would your ideal be and what aspects of that are optional? If you do not know what you are looking for, you will not recognize it when you find it.
Think long-term compatibility here. (If you’re looking for one night stands, there are lots of sites that help with that.) I am going to suggest that you want someone who is not opposed to your gaming, unless this whole “computer games” thing is just a distraction while you wait for Miss Right to happen by. You may or may not want someone who would play along with you, but many gamers do; it would be nice if she has some idea of what you are talking about when you say you rolled up a new troll shaman. You at least want someone who can otherwise entertain herself while you play.
The most obvious match for a male gamer is a female gamer. If you just thought, “Yeah, the guild needs another healer anyway,” go sit in the corner for five minutes. If you date another gamer, your ego must be open to the possibility that she will be far better than you and will trounce you consistently in PvP, Quake, or Mario Kart. She is not subordinate to you. Okay, yes, she is more likely to play a healer, but that means you are really in trouble if you mouth off about a missed heal.
Most girl gamers are going to expect misogyny and pre-emptively scorn you for it. You may be neither a 12-year-old who types naughty things when mommy isn’t around nor an obnoxious hornball who thinks humping things is lololololz0rz funny, but she has already dealt with several thousand of them. “r u rly a girl a/s/l?” If you are trying to pick up women online, you must prove you are not that guy…while trying to pick up women online.
The other problem is that whole supply and demand thing. What is the gender ratio on your MMO? You already know that “hot elf chicks” are more likely to be elves than chicks IRL. (Also, don’t call women “chicks” while hitting on them. “Baby” is bad, too.) If you can meet a nice girl on a raid, bully for you, but I will not suggest that as a prime target. At most, be aware of opportunities during your daily gaming time.
If you want to shift that balance, there are games with different gender ratios. A Tale in the Desert and Second Life will have more real women. Games with stable and mature communities are usually good places to look; you can work out your own cause and effect there, but I see a correlation. Note that if you are neither stable nor mature, these are bad places to look.
Looking for gamers in real life is another option, and you can (usually) tell someone’s gender immediately. These ladies are also used to dealing with gamers and letches. If you know any female gamers, ask them about that hungry look men get when they walk into the gaming shop, mixed liberally with panicked confusion about outsiders. Ask about condescending remarks from boys who are not fit to carry their dice. Then realize that when the sex ratio aspires to 6-to-1, she can have her pick of anyone she wants, even if she is a raving psychotic loon.
Again, pick your hunting grounds. Some gaming shops cater to that old-school guy with a beard and pot belly; others show shoujo anime twice a week. If everyone around you looks like you, you probably do not see anyone you plan to date. This may involve going outside your comfort zone.
This is the key tension: getting far enough outside your normal stomping grounds to find a better gender ratio while still finding someone compatible.
You have fellow travelers in that world of science fiction and fantasy, where people will at least understand orcs and paladins even if they have never gamed. The real secret is the conventions that you don’t go to. You are probably a fan of stuff that caters to men: you are male. There is stuff that caters to women. If you go to places where they talk about that stuff, there will probably be women there. A Buffy the Vampire Slayer convention will be ~80% female, so it could be your turn to get hungry looks.
Any sort of get-together is good. Social events tend to be more female than the underlying populations that support them. If your game has a 6-to-1 sex ratio, you might get 4-to-1 or better at a player meet. Also, the obnoxious adolescents either will not show up or will make you look good by comparison. Anime conventions have good female representation, although remember again how many men have already made passes at the catgirl (half-naked cosplayers: relatively high demand and low supply).
Two caveats as we are moving into female-majority areas. First, you should actually know and like the stuff there. No one likes a poseur. On the other hand, when the Buffy convention has a dance and drinks are served, any male who is willing to be on the dance floor is a potential hot commodity. After enough drinks, standing near the dance floor could be enough. Second, women talk. They have friends, and friends have friends. Mistreat the wrong lass and you can give up that venue, and God help you if you met her at a player gathering for your server.
Let’s abbreviate that to: if you think you are pimpin,’ you are probably being a schmuck. Don’t mess things up when the odds are in your favor.
Please also remember that as you get further from your comfort zone you will be re-integrating with the general population. Their ways are not our ways. They do not read books with spaceships on the covers and they think dice have only six sides. Communication may be difficult. Don’t be creepy.
If you feel comfortable in the real world, go for it. You could gradually move from libraries (meat markets!) to bookstores to coffee bars to real bars. With any luck, it will never get that far, but if it does, remember that real dancing does not resemble DDR.
You are willing to wake up and farm at 5am because there will be fewer people competing for what you want. It could be worth your while to try a similar real life shift in time or place to improve your chances of getting what you want.
Tune in next time, when we discuss chat systems. Now that you have met women, how do you talk to them?