Why women need good men in a world where Tinder exists

On Friday, a friend sent me a text while she swiped left and right for awhile on Tinder. The app connects users to close-by potential dates, which is why what my friend found there that morning alarmed her.

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She stopped swiping when she saw it: the familiar face of a man last active on the app a half hour earlier — a smiling male acquaintance.

A smiling male acquaintance who has a girlfriend.

But his Tinder profile is not the first to put my friend in an awkward position.

He is the third guy the app has suggested to her who has both an active Tinder profile and a committed significant other. Each has been a reminder of my friend’s ex-husband’s infidelity — each an instance in which faith in men is discouraged instead of restored.

Which, in the wake of encounters of all kinds with men, is now and then the story of a lot of ladies’ lives — some of them my friends, some of them readers.

One of them me.

Sometimes we respond by making careless, sweeping statements: “Good men don’t exist.” “Men are disappointing.” The first one is always false. The second one isn’t always true. Some men cry foul when a woman makes similar statements. Other men have compassion about it.

Because this is complicated. Because men and women have hurt each other. We are frustrated with each other. Some of us have fresh wounds, or old ones that haven’t totally healed. Some of us have scars.

The result of some women’s wounds and scars is what inspired me to write a recent social media status:

I know lots of women who no longer believe that good men exist. Attention men: with virtue and integrity, please prove them wrong.

It struck a lot of chords. It also struck a lot of nerves.

“I have (practiced virtue and integrity), and I’m the one who gets burned,” one man wrote in a comment.

“The only thing the women see is our flaws,” wrote another.

When others saw the part of what I wrote that says lots of women no longer believe that good men exist, they responded: “I’M RIGHT HERE!”

To which I frankly say, on behalf of lots of other women, “WE KNOW.”

But good men, there is something we need you to know: We are not mad at you. We are mad in front of you.

And it’s ok to be mad after a man manipulates us — behaves between dates like they don’t even like us but plants seeds of doubt about it in us when we call them out for that. And it’s ok to be mad after a man lies to us — stretches the facts or forsakes them because he doesn’t think he’ll like what we’ll think of the truth. And it’s ok to be mad when a man lacks integrity — when, for instance, he uses Tinder to use some women and to dupe others.

We do not deny that women have treated you poorly by divulging that we have been treated poorly by men. Asking men to practice virtue and integrity does not imply that we think you never do. “Men, please be mindful of how what you do affects others” is not synonymous with “women don’t have to be.”

And I did not imply with my status that good men don’t exist. I implied, good men, that you matter.

I can’t say that your decisions to honor our dignity, to be honest with us, to prove our sweeping statements wrong (and to forgive us for making them) will necessarily get you a wife — neither men nor women are promised spouses by practicing virtue.

But this I can say with certainty: we need you.

You are contradictions to the men my friend found on Tinder.

That you honor women’s dignity is apparent when your respect for a woman is not disrupted by a decision not to date her. And when you are forthcoming about the caliber of your commitment. And when ulterior motives aren’t what fuels your pursuits of (or interactions with) us.

That you honor women’s dignity is apparent when you respect our boundaries. And when you do what you tell us you’ll do. And when you own it when you don’t.

That you honor women’s dignity will bring hope to a hopeless woman whenever you — or a woman who knows you — happens to cross her path. Even if you never actually meet her.

The women who have lost hope that good men exist haven’t lost it because they have had no encounters with men who exemplify virtue, but because of the alarmingly higher frequency of encounters with men who don’t.

This is a call to be vigilant about your behavior — not because good behavior gets you a girlfriend, but because you don’t know whose faith in men your behavior will restore when your virtue and integrity are observable.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Val

    You are totally right; I’m so grateful to be friend with some of those good guys, even if I don’t date anyone of them: everytime I’m tempted to say that there aren’t good men out there, I look at them and I change my mind.

    • Arleen Spenceley

      They DO exist. 🙂 Thank you for reading and for the feedback!

      • Val

        You are welcome!
        I would also add something (then I stop commenting, I promise!): I read a lot of comments, here and on your Facebook page (as well as on other discussion on this topic around the Internet) in which men and women blame each other because “women only like good looking men” and “men only like hot women, they don’t mind about virtuous ones”.
        I understand the pain of singles seeing all their friends in couples and asking themselves “what is wrong with me?”, I’m single too and sometimes I ask myself the same question (that usually starts a pity party that ends with “I know, I’m never gonna get married, I’m a monster”) But getting angry at the opposite sex doesn’t help at all, it just makes thing worst, and I honestly feel that in this matter you can’t generalize: there isn’t “men” and “women” there are Paul, John, Alicia, Laura etc… Everyone is different.
        Also, for years I was too ashamed to admit that I wanted to date someone that I was also physically attracted to, I thought that it made me look vain or stupid. Now I’ve changed my mind: I don’t want to date Brad Pitt and I don’t want to date someone just because he is cute. There are more important virtues that I’m looking for that come before but I want to be attracted by him. He doesn’t have to be super beautiful just attractive for me. Honestly I would be very cautious to enter in a marriage with someone who doesn’t attract me at all (or not that much).

        • LairyTate

          First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman having physical standards for her mate. We need to educate men that their appearance is important and that they need to get into top physical shape and maximize their appearance to have a fighting chance if they are average or below average looking. We need to stop lying to men by telling them that they simply need to be responsible and kind to women, good Christians etc to earn their romantic love. This is only true if the woman is attracted to him physically, or if she is really desperate and believes she has literally no other options to start a family (such as when her biological clock really starts ticking).

          For women, we need to educate them that the attention of good looking men is a dangerous drug. Through dating apps, many average to slightly above average women are getting tons of attention from hot men who are looking for casual sex or “friends with benefits” (FWB). Average women very often give the hot men casual sex because they like his looks so much (and they think they can hook him in with sex), but these men almost never commit to them. Once a woman has had sex with a hot guy, she will think even less of the sexual offerings of an average man going forward. Her standards for a long term relationship will be skewed because she never be able to get a hot guy to commit to her and be a good father.

  • LairyTate

    Tinder is basically online dating, which has been around for a while now. And online dating can be used for ‘hookups’ or for long term dating, and both of those uses are happening on Tinder. The hookups part of it certainly makes for better media stories.

    For most women who complain about “where have all the good men gone?”, what they usually mean by ‘men’ is physically attractive men. These same women have usually rejected good men who are too short, too ugly, less masculine etc. Most men who complain about being virtuous yet not getting a woman are unattractive in their looks, or else they themselves only pursue women who are too far out of their league from a beauty standpoint. Women don’t usually start to consider these men until their late 20s and early 30’s after they’ve been burned numerous times by better looking men.