Research suggests that online daters who mention reading amongst their interests receive a greater number of messages than those who don’t. In men, this increase is 19% and, even if it’s only 3% for women, it seemed a subject worth examining further.
So I went looking for some answers – for example, does any form of reading matter? Can certain genres put a person off? And what about a particular book – could that have such a negative impact that a potential dater would click ‘next’?
The same research suggested vast tracks of men were put off by one women’s professed love of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. It also stated that men admitting to reading the Harry Potter series on their online dating profile received 55% less messages than other male readers. Gosh …
My feeling is that with books – as in all things – it’s in the eye of the beholder. Lovers of “Lord of the Rings” would seem more likely to be drawn to science fiction or fantasy readers, whereas lovers of Dan Brown’s offerings may find themselves subjected to negative judgement by fans of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. But that fits in with my basic premise in dating – there is no right or wrong, there is only compatibility. As I said, in books as in all things …
But what really bothered me is the differing percentages between the genders. A 19% increase in interest for men who read, but only a 3% one for women who do. Does this back up certain sweeping generalisations about the genders?
Assuming these figures are for heterosexual dating, the standard sweeping generalisation is that women seek a good provider and men seek a mate younger and better looking than themselves. But as we’re talking about reading here, how does that fit? Well, let’s try the following on for size …
- Women are known to place a high value on a man’s personality – hence finding one who reads to be more well-rounded and therefore more attractive than one who doesn’t.
- Men seek women who are less clever and/or less successful than they are – hence finding one who reads not being their highest priority.
As I said before, in books as in all things … sweeping generalisations not exempt!
© Debra Carey 2017
Oh, dear, Debs, you are such an old cynic! 😉 You may well be right, but what I have discovered over the years is that most men don’t read much anyway. My brother reads more than most men, but even he doesn’t read anywhere near as much as the women in our family, including his wife. The boys I teach prefer non-fiction, such as sports books and magazines, if they read at all, and the ones who are keen readers are rare. They stand out precisely because they are a minority, so of course we are attracted to them. And you have to ask: who goes to dating sites? I’m wondering if the book loving men are too busy reading…
By the way, there is a male Potter fan in my family, my nephew’s eight year old son, a Year Two lad, who is just starting Goblet Of Fire… Hopefully he won’t need to visit dating sites when he’s of age!
Sue, you got me! I am a terrible old cynic …
That’s an interesting perspective about male readers. In my family, my father was the big reader and three out of the four children (one male, two female) followed suit, so I guess I start from an unusual standpoint. He did read a lot of sports stuff, but also thrillers ‘n other stuff.
As for dating sites, they’re used a lot in the UK. I’ve used them and most – in the mature dating marketplace – do. For younger people there is still school, college, work and sports clubs. For those coming round again, most of those places are unavailable or filled with the happily married.