The Confidence Trap

Daniel A. Cox June 23, 2022

Woman is getting bored in restaurant while her boyfriend is talking on the phone.

None of us can resist a bad first-date story. They are ubiquitous in American culture. And like a train wreck, it’s difficult to turn away.

Recently, I came across a particularly memorable example on TikTok. The narrator was recounting a recent dinner out with his wife at a packed restaurant that put them inches away from a young man and woman who were out on a blind date. Things fell apart almost immediately. Within 30 seconds of sitting down, the young man announced that he just returned from a business trip to China where he learned that “business and sex are often one in the same.” Things only deteriorated from there. The date ended with the young woman fleeing the restaurant.

Bad dating stories abound on the Internet. And although admittedly anecdotal, men appear to be responsible for a disproportionate share of these dating disasters. Surveys provide some corroboration. A recent Pew survey found that among singles, women were far more likely than men to say it was difficult to find someone who meets their expectations. What’s more, men and women agree that it is men, more than women, who have unrealistic standards when it comes to dating.

Continue reading on American Storylines

Survey Reports

An illustration of the side profiles of four people. From left to right: a young white man with blond hair, an older Black woman with short, curly Black hair, a young woman with tan skin and black hair with a blue streak, an older man with darker tan skin with curly grey hair and a mustache.

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