Schumann: Vanity, Online Dating and Slave-Morality

Blog Contributor

As of late, there has been no shortage of applications to speed up the arduous, esteem-damaging process of online dating — and certainly no shortage of lies you tell yourself after a rash of failures or no replies.

Tinder has received a lot of negative attention from mediocre-looking beta-males to the range of girls who generously describe themselves as “a few extra pounds.”

The app is shamelessly, delightfully narcissistic*, offering users a single chance to make an impression solely on superficial attractiveness, not an app for those when asked to describe their positive attributes would start with “funny/fun to be around.” 

The brilliance of an offering of this nature, is it creates the impression that someone genuinely finds you attractive. I’m sure all but the most stunning of you out there have been dismissed as “a great friend” in the past, and feel the sting of not being treated purely as an object of desire (the ultimate masculine fantasy, surely)* Tinder provides ample opportunities for attractive people to pick low- hanging fruit, and the rest of us betas to spend agonizing hours hiding our rapidly receding hairlines.

Tinder found an excellent way to emphasize the functionally positive (lol) aspects of our culture’s narcissism creating an interface based solely on first impressions to attract potential suitors. A quick judgment call depends on which direction you get swiped. I used to be a mind reader, so I’ll venture a guess: Plenty of you have failed and questioned your own value because of it. Don’t worry, I’m here to prove that your doubt was absolutely justified, but it doesn’t matter as you’ll find a post hoc justification for your failure to serve as a protective element against change.

Whatever, I don’t care what these people think of me. The app is stupid anyway.” (This is the female response. Men typically dismiss the women as the issue, ignoring their own faults. More on that later.) Then why did you download it?

Look sister, even if you weren’t planning on a disappointing attempt at sexual catharsis at first swipe, you still were looking for some sort of reinforcement, some encouragement, someone to subliminally approve of “you for you.” A little mental math leads me to the conclusion that if this assumption is correct, I can absolutely ascertain the problem is you.

What does this ugly loser know about online dating anyway?” (She says, as she uses her Instagram likes to quantify her value)

Not much, but at least I’m trying to understand the principles that motivate our human actions. Vanity, especially in the modern social media context is a classic example of slave-morality. This vanity exists as a fundamental attribute of the meek and powerless. Unable to set their own value, they seek praise to serve as a replacement for the inability to create value. Vanity is a direct consequence of inferiority.

Let me explain such a basic principle of relationships it seems almost obvious, except everyone seems to walk up to it, get their face bitten off by it and walk away none the wiser.

There exists a conflict between those unable to set their own value and those who are able to create value. Relationships (romantic, platonic, business) are based on exchanges of value. I’ll draw the following example to illuminate this point:

Say “Marlene” is driving down the highway and catches a flat tire. ‘Bob’ pulls up next to Marlene to offer his help.
Bob: “Hey, how are you doing?
Marlene: “Not well, I’ve got a flat tire.
Bob: “I’m sorry, for I know not how to repair that. However, I am a very kind man, and a punctual employee.
Marlene: “I don’t give a shit, creep. I need my tire replaced. Is anyone here a mechanic?
Bob: “I can’t help, however I am an excellent child to my kids. I have never forgot to pack them a healthy well-balanced lunch.
Marlene: “Fuck is wrong with you? I NEED MY TIRE REPLACED.

Do you see now? This situation could have been entirely different had “Bob” been able to offer value. Couldn’t deliver it directly? No problem, he could have found a way to solve the problem. Instead, he pandered on about useless, irrelevant attributes that had no bearing on the situation whatsoever.

Now ask yourself: when people use these applications, what are they really looking for? I swear to God if one of you says “stick figure girls” I’ll jack-o-lantern your house.

Deliver the product the audience wants.

But that’s superficial, and blah blah blah appreciates me for me.

God, you people drive me to drink.

Have you ever seen Glengarry Glen-Ross? If no, that’s inexcusable. There’s a famous scene in the film starring Alec Baldwin. It’s the movies most recognizable scene, more than worthy of it’s praise, but most patrons misinterpret the message. (I forget how many of these there are, so here’s a link to the GGGR scene I referenced above…)

Baldwin’s character gives a flawless explanation of this exact value-driven relationship in the context of selling and describes power and demonstrates the difference between the slave and master morality. He does a fine job showing how “you” or “I” (in the sense of perceived personal identity) don’t matter, but how our actions make us who we are. All we are are the sum of our actions.

The fucking leads are weak? You’re weak.

Baldwin eloquently described himself as “Fuck you, that’s my name.

Baldwin realizes the context the conversation exists in, he doesn’t do it for the money, for the condescending steak knives or pathetic attempt at motivation, and he also realizes his personal attributes outside of this role are utterly irrelevant. All he is here is someone who does what those imbued with the slave-morality don’t: close. Watch carefully the way he talks to the second employee after this first interaction.

And your name is you’re wanting, you can’t play in the man’s game. And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them….Then go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line, which is dotted! You hear me, you fuckin’ faggots?

What does this have to do with online dating?


You’re playing a game, do what it takes. Develop the persona you have to, to achieve the intended result. This applies to nearly every realm on this planet. Especially, corporate employment.

But that’s not who I am, I want people to appreciate who I am and my natural attributes!” (They say after describing how they can’t find a “good man/woman”. Huh. Say it ain’t so.)

Baldwin says it best:

“Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home and play with your kids! You wanna work here?”



1.* The concept of Narcissm has several definitions. The one I always use essentially boils down to the maintenance of a certain appearance, a “true you”, a manufactured identity one creates.
2.* I have no conception of the equivalent female fantasy. If any female viewers would like to contribute, feel free.

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