Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Loneliness Industry

People make money when you live alone...

I was talking to someone about online dating the other day and they told me they get these fake "likes" from people.  Usually, the person "liking" them has a head shot from a glamour magazine and they are located halfway across the planet - in Australia or New Zealand.  No danger of actually meeting them.  You try to communicate with them, but they usually never reply, or if they do, only with a generic comment.

It seems these online dating services (Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, etc.) use these fake profiles and automated bots to maintain "engagement" with customers, so that they stay online more and see all the ads for porn.  Eventually, they give up on meeting someone in person and just go to the porn site.  Mission accomplished!

If you think about it, it makes sense.  The last thing a dating site wants you to do is actually meet someone.  If you did, then you might get married, settle down, and close your tinder account for good.  And we can't have that, can we?  It might impact our engagement numbers for the site!

This made me think - I know, a dangerous pastime - that so many industries that cater to the singles crowd, really want to make sure they stay single.  The single's bar (the meat market) caters to the one-night stand.  It is a hard (but not impossible) place to meet a life partner.  If you do meet someone there, for a "pump and dump" you will be so turned off by it, you will vow to never go back again!  But low-self-esteem and desperation kick in, and you find yourself walking again to the singles bar, to spend too much money on watered-down drinks and maybe meet Mr. Wrong.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense.  Corporate America makes more money off of single people than couples.  Your landlord certainly doesn't want you getting married.  You might buy a house!  Or, at the very least, the two of you might move in together and thus split the rent - and that's no fair to the Landlords of America, is it?

Single people, I suspect, are more likely to order out for food, or patronize fast-food restaurants.  Two single people buy almost twice as much "stuff" as a married couple.  From a business standpoint, singles are far more profitable than couples. The single people I know are more likely to spend money on discretionary things.  Couples save up to buy a house, have a child, or put that child through college.  Singles buy a fancy car and fancy clothes - they have nothing else to do with their money - right?

Maybe I am being a bit dramatic. But it seems this whole "red pill" and "incel" movement is designed to keep men single by making them toxic to women.  And the few women who mistakenly marry an Andrew Tate fan, end up getting divorced - feeding the divorce industry, which makes profits from turning couples into singles.

It is a perfect closed-loop ecosystem.

This raises the question, If dating sites are a waste of time, and singles bars are toxic, how do you meet someone to spend your life with?  Tough question! Ann Landers always suggested going to civic events or meeting someone at church. They have liberal churches, too - if you don't want to end up marrying a holy roller.  But joining a book club or other organization may put you in contact with other people having similar (but not identical) interests.  The more people you are exposed to, the more likely you'll find one that you like.

Of course, the loneliness industry hypes the myth that there is a "perfect match" out there somewhere for you - and you need only sign up for their website or computerized dating service to find out!  People are disappointed that their "perfect match" is anything but perfect, and off to the divorce lawyer they go - again, a closed-loop system.  They're now back on the market!

So, how did I end up staying with the same person for 36 years?  Well, we are hardly a perfect match, but we realize that and accept we aren't perfect.  But on the other hand, we don't hate each other - too much, anyway.  That's a relationship - there is a lot of give-and-take, and sometimes, frustration and anger, although as we've aged together, we have fewer and fewer disputes, mostly when we are just tired and cranky and have low blood sugar or are dehydrated.  Stuffing a cookie in Mark's mouth (or mine) often ends arguments abruptly.  We keep "granola bars" or peanut-butter crackers in the car for just such a purpose.

Surprising, isn't it?  Much of what we think are serious or deep emotions are, in fact, a combination of brain chemicals or blood chemistry.  Hydration and blood sugar are the two that can change your mood in a heartbeat.

This is not to say you can cure mental illness this way.  If you spouse abuses you, chances are, there are serious issues involved. If your spouse starts subscribing to a "red pill" discussion group and tries to "neg" or "gaslight" you, well, you've lost him to a cult.  But usually, you can spot these things - or should - before you commit to a relationship or marriage.  Sadly, my Dad failed to dodge that bullet!

But I digress...

The point is, these dating sites and pickup bars are not your friends.  The last thing they want you to do is get married - that's bad for business!   Even your friends are against you in this regard - if you get married, you won't hang out with them as much, and it will make them feel even lonelier.  Many a "friend" has sabotaged a good marriage or relationship, by promoting a "girls night out" for the wife, or buds who want a "boys night out" for the husband.  Like crabs in the bucket, they want to pull you back down to their level of misery and loneliness.

Even your parents and other relatives may try to subtly sabotage a relationship.  Mothers-in-law are famous for their "Momma's Boys" who defer to Mom whenever a serious discussion or decision has to be made in a marriage.  The wife is always out-voted 2:1 in this scenario.  Sisters and brothers may be jealous of your happiness and want to bring you down to their level - and have you spend more time with them instead.

You are under attack from all sides - or so it can seem.

Sadly, it seems that social media, the ubiquitous smart phone, and dating apps have all conspired to keep us single.  We are all exhorted to hold out for "the perfect mate" or told that we better accept what we can get (even if it is a horrendous match) because "the clock is ticking."  Neither is a good proposition.

This so-called "epidemic of loneliness" isn't, perhaps, an accident, but in fact, a marketing ploy.  Lonely people are good for business!