NICOSIA, Cyprus — Theories abound for why more guys are single than ever, but why not go to the source itself? Enter single male Reddit users, a web-native group whose anonymity can lend itself to keeping it real. Single men, according to these select Redditors, aren’t single by choice. Rather, they remain alone because they find themselves deficient in one or more areas — and unable to otherwise compensate.
Researchers at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus recently examined nearly 6,800 responses to a Reddit post that asked men why they were single, hoping to better understand why so many men remain bachelors. The researchers found 43 major reasons for staying single, with undesirable physical and personality traits leading the pack.
Menelaos Apostolou, the study’s lead author, notes how substandard physical traits — poor looks, lacking height, being bald — were most frequently mentioned in the thread as a reason for staying single. Such responses from discouraged users included, “Cause I am ugly as f**k and have been cursed with awful genetics,” or, “Being under 6′0″ means I am invincible [sic] to women.”
Lacking confidence was also frequently mentioned, as was possessing poor social skills. “Confidence is the key, and I′m locked out,” wrote one Redditor.
“My IQ drops to about 40 whenever I talk to women,” added another.
A significant proportion of respondents said they simply weren’t interested in a serious relationship — or at least wouldn’t be willing to put forth the effort — while a similar number said they had been deterred by previous bad experiences.
Other common reasons for staying single included lack of opportunity, having too high of standards, sexual problems, addiction issues, and suffering from physical or mental disability.
As for why these issues are issues today, but may not have been in the past, Apostolou points to the demands of the modern dating marketplace. In today’s society, where brides are free to choose whomever they please, being a breadwinner only counts for so much.
“Single modern men often lack flirting skills because in an ancestral pre-industrial context, the selection pressures on mechanisms which regulated mating effort and choosiness were weak,” Apostolou explains in a statement. “Such skills are needed today, because in post-industrial societies mate choice is not regulated or forced, but people have to instead find mates on their own.”
In other words, choice in marriage has a downside for many modern men — to get hitched, they have to be attractive, well-rounded gentleman. This means not only looking dapper, but knowing how to flirt, make a good first impression, and show proper etiquette.