It’s becoming clearer with every close examination of the subject that online dating is a poor facsimile of real world dating. The latest social science shows that the Dunbar number — 150, the number of people of varying acquaintance an average person could reasonably manage in his social circle — doesn’t increase on social media virtual networks. In fact, the evidence suggests that online social networks degrade the quality of our more intimate inner circle relationships because we devote more of our mental energy to maintaining connections with distant people.
With social media, we can easily keep up with the lives and interests of far more than a hundred and fifty people. But without investing the face-to-face time, we lack deeper connections to them, and the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones. We may widen our network to two, three, or four hundred people that we see as friends, not just acquaintances, but keeping up an actual friendship requires resources. “The amount of social capital you have is pretty fixed,” Dunbar said. “It involves time investment. If you garner connections with more people, you end up distributing your fixed amount of social capital more thinly so the average capital per person is lower.” If we’re busy putting in the effort, however minimal, to “like” and comment and interact with an ever-widening network, we have less time and capacity left for our closer groups. Traditionally, it’s a sixty-forty split of attention: we spend sixty per cent of our time with our core groups of fifty, fifteen, and five, and forty with the larger spheres. Social networks may be growing our base, and, in the process, reversing that balance.
Close real world friendships suffer when we whore for attention on Facebook from people we hardly know. It’s similar to how multitasking and clickbait internet distractions corrode our mental ability to focus deeply on a single topic. Our intimate relations and our creativity are both sacrificed in this new world mordor.
On an even deeper level, there may be a physiological aspect of friendship that virtual connections can never replace. This wouldn’t surprise Dunbar, who discovered his number when he was studying the social bonding that occurs among primates through grooming. Over the past few years, Dunbar and his colleagues have been looking at the importance of touch in sparking the sort of neurological and physiological responses that, in turn, lead to bonding and friendship. “We underestimate how important touch is in the social world,” he said. With a light brush on the shoulder, a pat, or a squeeze of the arm or hand, we can communicate a deeper bond than through speaking alone. “Words are easy. But the way someone touches you, even casually, tells you more about what they’re thinking of you.”
Once again, a game concept — this time, kino and the art of touching and physical escalation — is corroborated by science. A player will communicate a lot of his sexual intention nonverbally, through escalating violations of his quarry’s personal space. If he is skilled, the woman will respond to his touches with intensifying attraction, and erotic thoughts will sabotage her efforts at studied indifference. This tension is what will make her seduction so memorable for her in days, and maybe years, to come.
One concern, though, is that some social skills may not develop as effectively when so many interactions exist online. We learn how we are and aren’t supposed to act by observing others and then having opportunities to act out our observations ourselves. We aren’t born with full social awareness, and Dunbar fears that too much virtual interaction may subvert that education. “In the sandpit of life, when somebody kicks sand in your face, you can’t get out of the sandpit. You have to deal with it, learn, compromise,” he said. “On the internet, you can pull the plug and walk away. There’s no forcing mechanism that makes us have to learn.” If you spend most of your time online, you may not get enough in-person group experience to learn how to properly interact on a large scale—a fear that, some early evidence suggests, may be materializing.
Thin-skinned, infantile, tantrum throwing, socially retarded internet SJWs explained. A little bit of pushback, and your typical online male feminist or fatty apologist shrieks in horror and promptly retreats to the comfort of a two liter Mountain Dew with a side of Cheetos.
“It’s quite conceivable that we might end up less social in the future, which would be a disaster because we need to be more social—our world has become so large” Dunbar said. The more our virtual friends replace our face-to-face ones, in fact, the more our Dunbar number may shrink.
Online dating is the perfect match for our sperged-out, credentialist suck-up culture. Static photos, a CV, and all the nuance, grace, subtle physical cues, playful expressions, and sexual tension stripped from the initial courtship maneuverings are exactly what America’s fearful androgynes want. It’s a world perfectly crafted by, or perfectly symptomatic of, the sexually neutered and psychologically withered beta males and the aggro, unfeminine, ego-salving bloat bodies that pass for females. There is even evidence now that relationships which form from meeting online are more likely to break up.
Call me old school, but I prefer meeting and seducing women in the flesh, where the pleasant discomfort of the moment can’t be escaped, our stats can’t be aridly collated and perused, my probing hands can’t be evaded, my warm smirk can’t be missed, my wordless entendres can’t be mistaken. The incitement and sustenance of a woman’s romantic attraction demands a… personal touch.