11 Disappointing Truths About Modern Dating

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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.

11 Masks That Will Keep You Safe and Stylish

Design Safe/Designer Face Covers/Its All Goods
Design Safe/Designer Face Covers/Its All Goods

Face masks are going to be the norm for the foreseeable future, and with that in mind, designers and manufacturers have answered the call by providing options that are tailored for different lifestyles and fashion tastes. Almost every mask below is on sale, so you can find one that fits your needs without overspending.

1. Multicolor 5-pack of Polyester Face Masks; $22 (56 percent off)

Home Essentials

This set of five polyester masks offers the protection you need in a range of colors, so you can coordinate with whatever outfit you're wearing.

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2. 3D Comfort Masks 5-Pack; $20 (25 percent off)

Brio

The breathable, stretchy fabric in these 3D masks makes them a comfortable option for daily use.

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3. Reusable Face Masks 2-pack; $15 (50 percent off)

Triple Grade

This cotton mask pack is washable and comfortable. Use the two as a matching set with your best friend or significant other, or keep the spare for laundry day.

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4. Active Masks 3-pack; $23 (14 percent off)

RipleyRader

Don’t let masks get in the way of staying active. These double-layer cotton masks are breathable but still protect against those airborne particles.

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5. Washable Protective Cotton Face Masks 2-pack; $13 (35 percent off)

Its All Good

Avoid the accidental nose-out look with this cotton mask that stays snug to your face.

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6. Washable 3D Masks 12-pack; $24 (44 percent off)

Elicto

With this 12-pack of protective masks, you can keep a few back-ups in your car and hand the rest out to friends and family who need them.

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7. Reusable Dust-Proof Mask with 5 Filters; $22 (45 percent off)

Triple Grade

This dust-proof mask can filter out 95 percent of germs and other particles, making it a great option for anyone working around smoke and debris all day, or even if you're just outside mowing the lawn.

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8. Reusable Fun Face Cover / Neck Gaiter (Flamingo); $20

Designer Face Covers

Channel some tropical energy with this flamingo fabric neck gaiter. The style of this covering resembles a bandana, which could save your ears and head from soreness from elastic loops. Other designs include a Bauhaus-inspired mask and this retro look.

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9. Seamless Bandana Mask; $8 (52 percent off)

Eargasm Earplugs

This seamless gaiter-style mask can be worn properly for protection and fashioned up into a headband once you're in the car or a safe space. Plus, having your hair out of your face will help you avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth before washing your hands.

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10. Two-Ply "Love" Face Masks 2-Pack; $18 (40 percent off)

Design Safe

These statement masks allow you to have a voice, even if your mouth is covered.

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11. Neoprene/Fleece Neck and Face Mask (Purple); $10 (66 percent off)

Its All Good

This mask will definitely come in handy once winter rolls around. It features a fleece neck, face, and ear covering to keep your mask secure and your face warm.

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Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

15 Facts About Babe On Its 25th Anniversary

James Cromwell in Babe (1995).
James Cromwell in Babe (1995).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

It's hard to believe that it has been 25 years since a tiny pink piglet named Babe stole the heart of audiences around the world, and turned many of them into lifelong vegetarians (more on that later). What’s almost even harder to believe is that the heartwarming story of a pig who wants to be a sheepdog was partially ushered into existence by George Miller, the same man who brought us the Mad Max franchise. Here are 15 things you might not know about the little piggy that could.

1. James Cromwell thought the original idea for Babe was silly.

When actor James Cromwell first heard about Babe, which is based on Dick King-Smith's novel, “I thought it sounded silly,” he told Vegetarian Times. “I was mostly counting the lines to see how much of a role the farmer had.”

2. Farmer Hoggett has just 16 lines in Babe.

But by that point, Cromwell was already sold on the script, intrigued by what he called the “sophisticated yet pure-of-heart piglet.” And he clearly made the right call: The part earned Cromwell an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

3. It took 48 different pigs to play the role of Babe.

Because pigs grow quickly, the crew utilized four dozen Large White Yorkshire piglets throughout the course of filming, shooting six at a time over a three-week period. A total of 48 pigs were filmed, though only 46 of them made it to the screen.

4. Babe also featured one animatronic pig.

Animal trainer Karl Lewis Miller seemed almost embarrassed to admit that they did have one animatronic pig play Babe, too. This is the pig they used for wide shots—when there was at least 15 feet surrounding Babe all the way around, and no place for Miller to hide.

5. Babe is a girl.

While this is never explicitly stated in the movie, because a male pig’s private parts would have been visible on film, all of the pigs used for filming were females.

6. In all, there were 970 animals on the set of Babe.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Karl Lewis Miller—who had 59 people assisting him—said that, all told, there were 970 animals used for the film, though only 500 of them actually made it into the movie. This included pigs and dogs, of course, plus cats, cows, horses, ducks, goats, mice, pigeons, and sheep, too. Baa-ram-ewe indeed!

7. Babe is also Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory.

In addition to voicing Babe, voice actor Christine Cavanaugh—who passed away in December 2014—lent her vocal chords to more than 75 projects over the years, including the title role in Dexter’s Laboratory, Chuckie Finster on Rugrats, and Gosalyn Mallard on Darkwing Duck.

8. Babe was banned in Malaysia.

Not wanting to upset its Muslim community, to whom pigs are haram, Malaysia banned the family flick from screening in its theaters. But its proscription didn’t stick; the film was released on VHS about a year later.

9. Pork product sales dropped in 1995.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

In December 1995, just four months after Babe hit theaters, Vegetarian Times ran a story about the problems facing the pork industry. Among the factors contributing to the industry’s slump, according to writer Amy O’Connor, was “the motion picture Babe, featuring an adorable porcine protagonist and a strong vegetarian message.” She went on to note that, “This year, the U.S. Department Agriculture showed stagnant demand for pork, while retail sales of canned meats such as Spam hit a five-year low.”

10. Sales of pet pigs increased following the release of Babe.

In The Apocalyptic Animal of Late Capitalism, author Laura Elaine Hudson is unable to substantiate claims that pork sales dropped a full 25 percent in the U.S. following the release of Babe, as some sources claimed, but she did find that sales of pet pigs increased—as did, eventually, the number of abandoned pigs.

11. Babe turned many viewers into vegetarians.

Babe’s popularity—and its main character’s adorableness—led to many fans of the movie (particularly young viewers) adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. The practice became so widespread that it was dubbed “The Babe Effect,” and fans of the film who went meatless became known as “Babe vegetarians.”

12. James Cromwell is a "Babe vegan."

Among those individuals whose eating habits were altered by Babe was the movie’s human star. Though he had been a vegetarian decades before, Cromwell “decided that to be able to speak about this [movie] with conviction, I needed to become a vegetarian again.”

13. Mrs. Hoggett was aged up for Babe.

Magda Szubanski stars in Babe (1995).Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Magda Szubanski, who plays the farmer’s wife Esme, was only 34 years old at the time of the film’s release. She logged lots of time in the makeup chair in order to pass as the wife of her then-55-year-old co-star.

14. Jerry Goldsmith was hired to score Babe, but was replaced.

Jerry Goldsmith wrote a good deal of the music for Babe, but he and George Miller’s ideas for what it should sound like did not mesh. So Goldsmith was replaced by Nigel Westlake.

15. Babe earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Among Babe's seven Academy Award nominations (yes, seven) was a nod for Best Picture, which pit the pig film against an impressive lineup that included Sense and Sensibility, Il Postino, Apollo 13, and Braveheart (which took home the award). The film did win one Oscar: it beat out Apollo 13 for Best Visual Effects.

This story has been updated for 2020.