11 Disappointing Truths About Modern Dating

iStock
iStock

Finding the perfect mate has never been easy, but modern technology makes it all the more complicated. Sure, you theoretically whip out your phone and set up a date with a stranger as quickly as you can order a pizza, but that doesn’t necessarily mean wedding bells are in your future. Here are 11 disappointing facts about the modern dating world:

1. ONLINE DATING INVOLVES MANY MESSAGES BUT FEW MEET-UPS. 

Online dating has surged in popularity, but turning those digital connections into offline dates is still tricky for some users. A full third of professed online daters have not actually met up with someone they met through a site or app.

2. ONLINE DATING STILL HAS A STIGMA. 

A 2015 survey found that about 23 percent of U.S. adults think people who use dating sites and apps are “desperate.” On the plus side, at least that’s down from 29 percent in 2005. Oddly, 16 percent of dating site users agreed that it’s desperate. However, the joke’s on the haters—in 2013, a third of all marriages began online.

3. PEOPLE DON’T ALWAYS SWIPE THOUGHTFULLY. 

Research has found that the dating pool sways your decisions when looking through online dating profiles. In one study that mimicked the quick swipes of dating apps, women found men’s faces more attractive if they came after other attractive faces. The reaction times were so short that the brain couldn’t process individual faces, blending together qualities of previous profiles. 

4. IT CAN BE A LONG PROCESS.

Love at first sight may exist, but most daters have to give it a few tries. A 2014 survey of 2000 UK residents found that before finding their life partner, women will date an average of five other people while men will date six others. Both men and women have an average of four disastrous dates, two long-term relationships, and one live-in partner before meeting the person they call “the one,” the survey found. 

5. YOUR PLACE IN THE ALPHABET MAY AFFECT YOUR FORTUNES. 

A 2015 survey of 86 online dating studies found that people whose names on dating sites started with a letter early in the alphabet were seen as more attractive. A person whose name started with the letters A through M had an edge over someone in the N through Z range. If you can make your username “FunTimes86,” great, but if you’re using “Zachary,” too bad!  

6. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY WANT. 

Research has found that what people think they want in a romantic partner and what they actually want aren’t always the same. A study of speed daters found that people’s stated ideals in a partner before the event had nothing to do with whom they actually liked when they met them. Furthermore, other research has found that the characteristics people say they find attractive in theory don’t usually match up to the people in whom they become romantically interested. 

7. PEOPLE WANT TO DATE PARTNERS WHO ARE LIKE THEM. 

In a 2014 data analysis of 1 million matches on an online dating site, women were far more likely to message men with whom they shared demographic and other traits, including age, ethnicity, attractiveness, religion, income, creativity level, and even how many pictures each had on their profile. When the same statistician analyzed surveys submitted to a genetic data company, she found that couples were likely to share 97 percent of the traits the survey asked about. People who are athletes tend to date other athletes, vegetarians want to date other vegetarians, and people who are consistently punctual usually end up with someone who knows how to show up on time. Opposites attract? Not so much. 

8. EVEN IF YOU’RE LOOKING, YOU MIGHT NOT BE DATING. 

In 2006, a U.S. survey found that 49 percent of singles who wanted to be in a relationship (around 7 percent of the U.S. adult population at that time) had only been on one date in the previous three months. Luckily, there’s an app for that now.

9. MEN STILL REALLY WANT TO PICK UP THE CHECK.

Sociologists who surveyed more than 17,000 American singles find that 75 percent of men feel guilty accepting women’s money to pay for a date. Another study of 1000 people found that 77 percent of people in relationships think that guys should foot the bill for a first date. 

10. BEFORE YOU MEET UP, YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN SEARCHED. 

In a 2015 survey of Australian online daters, 69 percent said they did some sort of background check before meeting up with another user. A national U.S. survey in 2013 found that 41 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 30 percent of all adults use social media to gather more intel on a potential date. Face it, your date is only pretending to wonder what you do for a living or how many siblings you have—they’ve probably already read all of your social media profiles. 

11. IT’S NOT OVER WHEN YOU GET MARRIED. 

According to a 2014 survey, the majority of U.S. adults have been married at least twice. Remarriage is particularly popular for older adults, with 63 percent of 45 to 54 year olds remarrying and 67 percent of 55 to 64 year olds. Among those 55 and older, 33 percent of newlyweds have been married three or more times. Lifespans are long and divorce common, so finding your first spouse may not save you from the horrors of the dating pool forever. 

Still not convinced that romance is dead? To get the truth about love, plus more misconceptions related to the everyday stuff we take for granted, tune in to an all new episode of Adam Ruins Everything, Tuesday, August 23 at 10/9C on truTV.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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22 Creepy Cryptids From Around the World

Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.
Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cryptid is an animal "that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." But as Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts are often quick to point out, it’s pretty difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s much more fun to indulge in the idea that giant sea monsters and hairy humanoids are roaming the uncharted corners of the planet.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is taking viewers across time and space to unearth legends about lesser-known monsters that, again, haven’t been proven to not exist. Take the Mongolian death worm, a lamprey-like nightmare that supposedly lives in the Gobi Desert and radiates a poison so strong that you could die just by standing near it. If you’re an ill-behaved child or a Catholic who scarfs down steak every Friday during Lent, watch out for the Rougarou, a Louisiana-based werewolf that sniffs out those two demographics.

Learn about more fearsome, fascinating cryptids of all kinds in the video below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for future episodes of The List Show.