Someone on OkCupid recently sent me a message: “You really need to work on your profile," it read. "Just friendly advice.” I had some advice for them as well -- but it was too much effort to offer it. I have enough work. So why would I look for extra work on a dating site where the objective is, in and of itself, already requiring so much effort?
The work-to-payoff ratio in dating is by far the lowest of any interpersonal relationship. On the high end for adults is the parent-child relationship... in which I'm still the child. I visit on holidays, call a couple of times a week, drop by “just because,” and answer questions like, “What’s this with Becky’s hair, and why is Beyonce mad at her?” In return I get dinner, sweaters, and rides to the airport. And if, like me, you’ve attained a level of zen where guilt trips cannot affect you, parents are all reward and no work.
But dating's a chore. And like a second full-time job, the practice takes a certain fortitude to get mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared over and over. If you asked a dozen people why dating is miserable, you'd get a dozen different responses. For me, the reasons I don't date sound an awful lot like the reasons I give for not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.