Ms ZiYou Dating Feminist
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Dating as a Feminist – or how to eliminate 80% of the dating pool

As I mentioned in my 2019 goals, sorting out my non-existent love life was on the cards for 2019. So how have I been finding it? How is online dating as a self-confessed militant feminist?

The background

As a single woman in her late thirties, I decided online dating was the way forward – I live in a major metropolis and have a busy life, so it made sense logistically.  I have dabbled over the years with online dating but to be honest, always found it too much effort and discouraging. I’d be keen and enthusiastic for a few weeks, then my hope would start to fade and I’d stop checking in.

But this time I was determined to make a go of it. I had analysed my previous failings and l diagnosed a lack of willpower. I sort of understood where I went wrong. This time I wasn’t going to let mean comments and torrents of messages from illiterate men get me down.

Dating Expectations

So, first things first what do I want to get out of online dating?  So I asked myself:

What am I truly looking for?

Simply: A man with the same belief system that is fun to hang out with.

Things I care about

  • Politics and being socially very liberal
  • Understanding feminism
  • Loving to Travel
  • Being naturally curious
  • Generally being chilled
  • Independence
  • Literate

Things I couldn’t care less about

  • Appearances
  • Perfect Body
  • Having money

How hard can it be dating as a feminist?

To me, the list above doesn’t seem too onerous……but then again, I live in the liberal elite bubble. Nonetheless, as per my goal for 2019 I went into it full of enthusiasm.  I made sure I kept to my criteria and was not rejecting men for superficial things – I gave everyone a chance.

The reality in Month One

But wow, the state of single men in London is scary. I could easily reject 80% of the online daters due to incompatibility. Some were openly traditional, spouting traditional values and looking for a woman to keep house, cook, have sex with and raise babies. Not exactly what I am looking for. And then there are the men looking for princesses and the men who offer compliments all the time, which again is not my thing. Not to mention the men looking for “a” woman. Basically any woman. First will do.

Moving on, and this might be a bit 剩女 (Leftover Women), but the educational standards and ambition of a lot of men scared me. As in they had none, but they seemed to think we’d be compatible? I got a lot, I mean a lot, of messages that were written in poor English and that I struggled to comprehend. I don’t believe career ambition is necessary, but a man needs to have some interests and driving forces in his life – whether that is through work, travel or hobbies.

Paedophile, Misogynist or Just Bad with written English?

And as a societal point, the number of adverts I saw where grown men were looking for a girl was frightening. “Man seeks girl” seems to be a common dating phrase, yet the underlying message is horrifying to me. Is he a paedophile, a man who gets turned on by juvenile females?  Or just a casual sexist, who like to suggest that he is a grown man and women he dates are childlike girls? Or is it just such a poor understanding of the English language that the man fails to see the issue?

Either way, any man with any of this language was instantly ignored as not suitable. An easy way to dismiss most of the dating pool – I need a man to be literate and understand language. Moreover, in 2019 I don’t think this is too much to ask for. Yet even in a cosmopolitan city, this language was prolific.

The dates

Knowing that I had to put the time in, I keep going. And I managed to find quite a few men that seemed like a good match after a few messages back and forth. So, I agreed to meet them for a first date – over drinks.

The guy who only talked about himself

My first date could easily be described as a disaster. He selected a pub he claimed would be quiet when it was the exact opposite of that. Then when I mentioned it looked a bit busy, he was determined to keep to this pub. And then he proceeded to talk about himself all night and never asked me one question about myself. An experience. Not to be repeated.

The Marxist

And for my second date, I really should have known better, but I thought this very socialist guy was worth trying out. I thought his socialism could foray into feminism and we could be well suited. Turns out not. He didn’t really care about women, just his version of Marxism and for the many (led by males, natch).

The guy who was too clingy

Now, this guy was lovely, but clearly looking for a co-dependent relationship. Not to mention he didn’t seem to have any real passion in life and was floundering around with work etc. So he’d be a lovely catch/project for someone, but just not the right guy for me.

The worth seeing again

Now given my striking out 3 out of 3 ratio, I was getting despondent. But then something magical happened. The next guy I actually liked. The time flew and we realised we had been talking for hours. Moreover, he seemed to get me. And so, I dutifully agreed to the next date.

The future

And that second date turned into another date. And we have a pleasant evening at the ballet. He also manages to pass my feminism test perfectly, with a better answer than I could give.

As for the future, only time will tell – I’ll keep you updated.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • What do you think of internet dating?
  • Modern dating – any experiences to share?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

39 comments on “Dating as a Feminist – or how to eliminate 80% of the dating pool

  1. Thankfully, I’ve been out of the dating pool for a long time as I mostly hear horror stories from all genders and orientations. Appalling levels of literacy, candidates with little to talk about and unrealistic expectations seems to be the norm. It sounds like your hit rate has not been too bad all things considered. Were I to find myself “unexpectedly back on the market” I’m really not sure I’d bother.

    1. Yes, I agree I don’t think the challenges are specific to straight men – it’s hard out there for everyone. That’s interesting that you’d probably not bother if you were single – it is a lot of work!

  2. My experience is clearly a bit different, as I’m a queer woman dating in a much smaller city, but I’ve definitely had some similar experiences. Fortunately most queer women have pretty feminist views and aren’t looking for a “traditional” relationship. But there are definitely a lot of women who fall short in the intellectual/literacy department. One of my friends calls me an “elitist” because I am only looking for women with some post-secondary education, but with 16 years of post-secondary education behind me it seems impossible that I’m going to fall in love with someone who stopped after high school.

    1. See that does seem much easier – feminist viewpoints must be much easier to come by.

      But sad to hear you also find the literacy challenge…… although not a deal breaker for me, it does make sense to seek a partner with similar educational levels and life experiences.

  3. First off, hooray for success with guy #4 (so far)! I fear I’d be too much like #3 (a lovely catch/project for someone). I’ve tried some of the online dating apps (most recently Hinge at the suggestion of “Champagne & CG”), but I’ve never had a single match besides spam porn bot accounts. This area is quite conservative, and that doesn’t lend itself to finding a good liberal match.
    I wish you continued success with Mr. Worth Seeing Again!

    1. Hi Josh – oh no, you’d be much more put together than Mr 3! You have a job you adore, hobbies, interests and plans for life.

      Oh yes, all the conservative types are hard – and you have to manually read and weed them out which is absolutely painful.

      Thanks for the encouraging comments, I’m sure you’ll come up with a plan one day too.

  4. I also don’t care about their income/money situation per se, but I wouldn’t want anything that derails my FI plans which I guess might mean in practice dating people of a similar income level.

    Keeping finances separate is easy enough, whatever the income disparity, but the living situation could prove tricky. My flat isn’t really big enough for two people to live comfortably so could get a bit awkward if he was living in a shitty shared house and wanted to move in and I refused. Or if he wasn’t able to contribute to us moving to a larger place together.

    Do you have a rule on your relationship not affecting your FI plan?

    1. Online dating was an interesting experience for me. I found as a guy honestly I had to get past the stage of just looking at the pictures of attractive females (you tend to go into fantasy mode I found) rather than looking for someone to have a genuine connection with and delve a bit deeper. I actually met my partner on date 4 which I was quite disappointed with tbh. Having never really dated before I was really enjoying it!

      The money thing is also interesting. Id never dream about putting my salary on my dating site for fear of gold diggers My friend on the other hand who earns about 30k a year put his income bracket because ‘there was no point dating someone with a higher income as we couldn’t do the same things’

      I couldn’t agree less with this. My partner had no assets and earned about 24k a year when we met. We had to have the money talk very very early on as I earned 3 times what she did and she was trying to pay half. For me as long as she contributes what she can (which she doesn’t more than she needs to and doesn’t take advantage that’s all I care about. At some point as a couple especially if you have children or marry your finances are forever intertwined anyway. I’m the type of personality type that I get alot of pleasure out of giving her experiences she wouldn’t have been able to have herself (not meant to be patronising) There alot we do that doesn’t been need to involve alot of money anyway

      Forgive me Fretful but limiting yourself just on income bracket (assuming you mean contribute equally rather than contribute as these things can be apportioned? ) may mean you’re missing out possibly?

      1. To be honest, it’s a theoretical thing with me as I don’t date full stop. Have always been a very solitary person and am generally reluctant to intertwine my life with someone, which I’m aware makes me unusual. I’m not inclined to try dating apps but if I did I wouldn’t have an income requirement for my dates (I completely agree that I could miss out on something otherwise) but I just wonder whether it would end up being a source of tension.

        1. Potentially I guess. It depends on whether you allow it. Alot of men still have the mentality that they feel threatened by an woman who earns more than them.

          I’d be quite happy to be a kept man myself 😂😂

      2. Hey FBA, thanks for sharing. I like your approach. Although I don’t think you can tell what I earn as I don’t exactly spend that much!

        I never managed to find any gold diggers, but then never added Salary in either.

    2. Hi FF, I’m not sure I really have a rule about relationships and FI plans…..My type of plans are generally fluid and flexible, so I’ll play it by ear.

      And on the income level – there aren’t many people on my income level, especially if you add in single men that meet my criteria it would be an even sparser pond to fish in.

      1. No but you’ve mentioned low 6 figures I believe so I’ve an idea. There’s a group of men that would definitely feel threatened by that (sadly for them) though obviously if they were they wouldn’t be right for you in any event

  5. Hi Ms ZiYou

    Firstly, great to hear you’ve had success and good luck, hope it continues to go well.

    You’ve not done too badly to find a decent one after just 3 dates, it’s taken me a lot longer in the past, hence I’ve been putting off returning to the dating thing as it takes such an effort. Or maybe I’m just too picky?

    Anyway, I too have had experience of the ‘guy who only talked about himself’ (he asked me one question at the end of the date), the ‘too clingy but nice’ guy (I went on a sympathy second date, which may have made things worse…), also a couple of guys who said they were separated/divorced (except that they weren’t). That said, my last serious relationship did come via online dating.

    I hadn’t really thought about it but the last 4 on your list of what you care about match my own list, particularly being literate. Not being able to string proper sentences together like an adult is really off-putting!

    Although looks aren’t the most important thing for me, I do not like being deceived by guys putting up photos which are years old so when they turn up for the date, at worst, they look like that person’s dad and about 3 stone heavier. I found out today that there’s an actual term for this deceit in the dating world – ‘kittenfishing’…

    Getting pressure though from my friends who are concerned about my love life!

    1. Thanks Weenie – fingers crossed it goes well – only time will tell.

      Your guy who only talked about himself and too clingy stories made me feel better I wasn’t the only one with these experiences.

      Ah yes, there are a lot of people who use old pics – I don’t really understand it, as surely you will eventually really meet them and be unamused. I love the word kittenfishing, hadn’t heard it before.

      What would make you start online dating again?

      1. I need to be in the right frame of mind to do it and currently, I don’t appear to have any space in my mind to think about online dating!

        Although after reading about your success, I did check a few websites out…no promises though! 🙂

        1. I so agree – you have to be in the right frame of mind and be prepared to sort the wheat from the chaff – while also trying to make sure you don’t exclude people for non-important reasons!

          Looking forward to hearing how it goes….

  6. Kudos to you for trying. I’ll be 55 this month, divorced 17 years ago. I had one long term relationship (7 years) that ended about 9 years ago. Since then, I’ve tried on-line dating a few times, but as you note, it’s SLIM pickings out there. I commend you for your approach in listing out firmly the “must haves” you want in a partner. I’ve wasted my time settling on someone who was a “project” who I thought I could change. Turns out he was just being himself, and I shouldn’t try to change anyone any more than I’d want to be changed. So, for now, I’m just being me, and seeing what, if anything, happens. Maybe my Mr. Right will find me. Best of luck with this one who seems compatible with you! Please keep us updated!

  7. Hi Ms ZiYou,

    congrats on sticking through the hardships of online dating, and I wish you all the best with Mr. “Worth Seeing Again”! I’ve experienced absolutely *everything* you describe, and feel exactly the same way you do about those experiences. It’s just so hard to stay optimistic after a string of horrific dates and the amount of time and effort it takes to even get there. As I’m 10 years older than you, that makes things even tougher. I’m actually seriously considering hiring a matchmaker now, because I’m so sick of it.

    One thing I find especially disheartening, as a financially independent feminist, are the men who straight up laugh in my face the minute I mention my goal of early retirement. And then run when they realize I’m dead serious. I guess I should feel grateful to know early on we’re not compatible, but it’s still shocking to see that as a woman, with the pay gap and all, I’m still in much better shape financially than men who often make 3-4x my salary. My last serious boyfriend, 3 years ago, was an 52 y.o. anesthesiologist with a *huge* income but very little savings. He was appalled once I started to divulge, a year into the relationship, that I was on track to retire within months. We were never able to get past this, and broke up soon after that. I really liked him otherwise, so it was very sad.

    To me it seems the men I’m attracted to consistently resent my financial discipline. You’d think they’d appreciate the free money! 🙂

    1. Hey FF, I really hoped you’d comment I need to hear your perspective on these things.

      Now a matchmaker? That is some serious moolah. But I bet they’d have motivated dudes on the books.

      That is so disheartening that men reacted badly to your money and financial prudence….I am hoping I never have to go through that, but I expect I will at some point.

      I’m sure you just need to find the right man that will appreciate all you have to offer!

      1. Yes, absolutely, your last comment especially is right on: “All I need is ONE good guy, right?”… It’s just hard to stay hopeful after each failure. It doesn’t help that I’m quite shy and introverted by nature – dating is hard for most people, but I think I’m uniquely unsuited for it! 🙂

        I hope you have better luck than I with this Ms. ZiYou. I live in the US, and I’m hopeful that British men are more open- and equality-minded. Hang in there!

        Yes the matchmaker is definitely an enormous expense, especially if you want someone with a good reputation. The only reason I’m considering it, instead of just letting it be left to chance like I’ve done up until now (and learning to be ok with whatever happens), is because I’m “lucky” enough to soon receive a decent-sized inheritance from my parents, who died recently… and I know they would be pleased to know that I plan to spend their money on this. One of their big regrets was that they never got to marry me off… They were always very traditional, and definitely never agreed with my strong desire for a career and for FIRE. We had epic fights, but while I still believe I’m right, I also think I owe it to them to not use their money for early retirement or anything that they disapproved of. I just hope I don’t waste it hiring a bad person!…

        Sorry this is probably a bit too heavy!… 🙁 Sorry about that, and definitely don’t feel like you have to respond. Best of luck Ms. ZiYou, I look forward to your future dating updates!

  8. Thanks GFF, yeah eventually I shall share the blog and money stuff. It’s not that I don’t care about money per say, I obvs care about my money. I just don’t think a lover needs to be identical to me in this regard.

  9. Great article Ms. Zi You 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experiences…

    I’ve quit all online dating apps because I believe it’s not targeted enough, and believe the people on there are too lazy to get out into the real world. There’s some nuance here, as some people are very busy and can’t find time to meet people, but is swiping really the best way?

    I’ve had more success just going out and meeting people at meet-ups, at coffee shops and bars I like, or through friend groups…

    I wonder with your specific set of wants, would going to liberal conventions, conferences, or meet-ups lead to something? At the very least, maybe you would meet some new friends, who could introduce you to other friends.

    I’ll look forward to the next update! 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading Erik!

      As for meeting people in the real world, that hasn’t worked for me – for one I’m busy engaging in the activity, and two many people aren’t single. Not to mention cold approaching people in coffee shops bars is a bit too appearance orientated for me!

      But I’m not convinced swiping is the perfect way, but at least you get the rejection in the comfort of your own house?

  10. My BFF’s tales of dating sound exhausting! Occasionally exciting, but so much disappointment. Sounds like a promising bloke there though! I’ve been with my husband since school so never dated but I can’t imagine doing anything BUT online dating haha … meeting people randomly in the real world seems impossible?

  11. My spouse and I met on an online dating platform. Going strong for over a decade now! So my one and only experience with online dating was a resounding success 🙂

    Kudos for standing your ground on some basic threshold of civility!

  12. Ugh, I’m not looking forward to online dating again. I did it in my 20s, and it led to some amusing stories but mostly mediocre to bad dates.

    For now, I’m still relatively newly divorced (4 months now), so I’m not interested in serious dating, which it always seemed to me most online dating is geared toward. But at some point I’ll be willing to dip my toe back into that water, and I’ll probably have to do it via online dating because I just don’t go out that much when left to my own devices. At least maybe I’ll get some funny stories for the blog.

What do you think?