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Why is dating so difficult

Add to that the heightened amount of control that women have over online conversations (politeness norms can make it more difficult to assertively deflect romantic advances in face-to-face conversations, nudging women toward showing greater politeness than they might otherwise feel) and you have what social psychologists might call “a masculine identity threat”.

There is no excuse for sexual harassment, online or offline.

It was the only time in my life that I got depressed: poor sleep, suppressed appetite, Kafka. The next kiss didn't come for another 4 years, when I was in medical school. Turns out that the skill set required to navigate the tricky waters of romantic interaction wasn't in any book I had read or any class I had taken. As guys, a lot of what we did in physics and math class was to try to straighten crooked stuff out.

A few years later, right about when I was a pre-med advisor to Harvard undergraduates, I noticed that my friends and advisees were in a similar pickle.

Here were smart, funny, good-looking guys surrounded by single women who were to be asked out - and not a whole lot was happening. Smart people created nearly everything that I value - Beethoven's late string quartets, my HP laser printer, Feynman's lectures, suffer like I did? Set up the whole date: where, when, how, and in what outfit.

A hypothesis I’m exploring concerns men’s responses to rejection on dating sites.

Online dating offers dramatically wider opportunities to find and approach other singles.

Consider the following story relayed to me during my research: my interviewee, after declining a man’s interest on a popular dating site, described receiving a message from him with a picture of an erection next to a kitchen knife.

This disturbing juxtaposition suggests an intended reading of the penis as a weapon, with the ability to hurt or “punish” this woman for her apparent “transgression” by rejecting him.

What would possess someone to send a graphic image of themselves without ever being asked for one, or even thinking to check if it might be appreciated?

When it comes to the internet, it seems common sense to think that the physical distance and anonymity the online world provides allows, even encourages, people to do things they wouldn’t normally do “in real life”.

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