Hopefully, we can illuminate some reasons why first dates go so wrong, so often—and maybe bring about a few more second dates in the process.
An Introduction to Economic Dating Theory Dating as an economic field of study dates back to Gary Becker’s famous 1973 two-part article “.” Becker envisioned society as a massive cocktail party with men and women as rational players trying to optimize their own mate selection.
) creates a "bad equilibrium"—an outcome where both sides converge, but neither side is pleased with it. Of course, this strategy may not work for everyone.
In an experiment he ran with online daters, subjects were forced to eschew safe topics in their messages and only throw out probing, personally revealing questions like “How many lovers have you had? According to one survey respondent who tried to spice up a first date, “We went to a comedy show and she got offended....
Men preferred smarter women, but avoided women who they perceived as more intelligent than themselves. Our Experiment: Exposing Dating Inefficiencies In the real dating scene, outside of these controlled experiments and thought exercises, matches are neither random nor frictionless; we find our first dates based on who we happen to meet at bars or whose profiles we stumble across on dating apps.
It is an imperfect market at best, and the unpredictable, oft-confounding outcomes of first dates have served as the raw material for many a self-help book, romantic comedy, and Carrie Bradshaw quote.
comes to grip with reality, an equilibrium will be reached, with 4’s paired with other 4’s, 6’s with 6’s, and those obnoxious 10’s coupled up and making out in the photo booth.
As he , “when going on a first date, we try to achieve a delicate balance between expressing ourselves, learning about the other person, but also not offending anyone—favoring friendly over controversial—even at the risk of sounding dull.”While not rocking the boat may seem like ideal strategy for getting a second date, Ariely argues that sticking to neutral topics (haven’t we all been on a date where the weather was discussed ad nauseum? So the next time you find yourself on a “boring” date, the solution may be to push the envelope—and converge upon a new equilibrium.But as with any complex market, there are some underlying principles to dating, and certain commonalities that are exposed when you look beyond your own experiences.We thought we’d examine the theories put forward by economists as to how dating work, and then compare that to the reality.as I laughed.”Dating Inefficiency #2: We set ourselves up for disappointment Our least surprising finding: physical attraction is an important factor for men when asking a girl out on a second date.However, the importance of a woman’s appearance varied significantly depending on how the date came about.