Category Archives: relationship

The Online Dating ‘Tipping Point’

The Online Dating ‘Tipping Point’

 

 

The rules of dating are not simple and finite — they’re complicated and constantly changing, especially when you factor in online dating. Now, a new study has unearthed yet another thing you could be getting wrong: Online daters can doom themselves to disappointment if they wait too long to meet prospective partners in person.

A new study published recently in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication describes an online dating “tipping point,” when too much online communication before a first date causes a person to idealize someone they’re interacting with prior to actually meeting them face to face. This, naturally, leads to a letdown upon meeting someone who doesn’t match lofty expectations. That “tipping point” occurs after 17 to 23 days, according to the researchers, so you don’t want to wait longer than that to pencil in a get-together.

Lead researcher Artemio Ramirez, Jr., Ph.D., an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida, had some personal inspiration for conducting the study: He met his wife on eHarmony in 2005.

“We actually met face-to-face within that 17- to 23-day window, where we say the impressions and idealizations are at that peak, the most positive level that they’ll be prior to meeting face to face,” Ramirez told The Huffington Post. “I’m saying this in retrospect, because I had no idea at the time.”

If you wait too long to meet, you’ll start making assumptions.

Ramirez and his colleagues were interested in looking into how people process information they read in online dating profiles, hypothesizing that most would make assumptions, fill in the blanks and elaborate on the limited, highly curated information they were given.

“For instance, if you say you have a great sense of humor, I start thinking: Not only do you have a great sense of humor, you have a great sense of humor the way that I think of sense of humor,” Ramirez said. “There’s a difference between the ‘pull my finger’ sense of humor versus the Monty Python sense of humor.”

After conducting a national online survey of 433 online daters who had been on an in-person date within the last year, the researchers were able to support their hypothesis. They found that the longer people waited to meet an online match, the more likely they were to be disappointed when they finally met in person, an effect that was particularly seen after that “tipping point” period.

“That runs counter to what we’re taught in face-to-face situations: You should get to know the person and learn a little bit about them,” Ramirez said. “We’re saying, ‘Yes, getting to know them is good, but you’re going to reach a point where you really should go meet them face to face, otherwise you’re running the risk of thinking that this person is perfect, that they are The One.'”

Not to mention, people lie in their profiles all the time.

The people in Ramirez’s sample reported that their disappointment often stemmed from their date not communicating in person the same way they communicated online. Perhaps their sense of humor was a bit different or their pictures didn’t adequately represent them. Or maybe the person lied about something in their profile. Someone might claim they’re 6 feet tall when they’re 5 foot 6 or that they’re avid rock climbers when they haven’t scaled a wall since college. Hence, the disappointment.

“There’s a learning curve in terms of being able to read between the lines on profiles,” Ramirez said. “We want people to think positively of us.”

Essentially, too much online interaction makes you think you know a person better, Ramirez said. Plus, even if someone isn’t lying in their profile, people aren’t the sum of their favorite books, movies and music, so there’s only so much one can glean from such limited data. But since it’s natural for online daters to read between the lines and assign additional characteristics to prospective partners, the “real” person that meets them on that first coffee or movie date may not live up to their expectations, particularly if they’ve had too much time to craft a “dream” version of the person.

That said, Ramirez cautioned against considering this “tipping point” a hard and fast guideline. He said it’s just another thing to consider while navigating the intricate universe that is online dating.

 

 

***quick posting no funny pix this week ;P****

The Worst Dating Advice In the World (and Why It Really Works)

Worst Dating Advice and that Works?

 

There are a number of cliches when it comes to dating advice out there, each of them hollow and infuriating.

But none of them are quite as mystifying as the perennial classic: “The best way to find a girlfriend is to not want one so badly.”

“Don’t try so hard and it’ll happen.” “You’ll only find a relationship if you aren’t looking so hard…”

It’s gets tossed out almost as often as “Just be yourself” and is about as useful, but with the added benefit of borrowed authority and meaning by sounding like a zen koan delivered by an ancient master. “Meditate on this truth and you will understand the path of the Player, grasshopper.”

More often than not, this is the advice handed out by someone who believes in the binary state of dating skills – you’re either good or you’re not. It’s advice hinged on the idea that dating should be effortless and that attraction is magical and you can’t actually create it; your dating future is in the hands of fate, so there’s nothing you can really do to force the issue.

Thing is though – and you had to know by now that a twist was coming – they’re not entirely wrong.

The idea – that your best success comes with less effort – is sound. The issue is that most people misunderstand why this is true.

Why We Get It Wrong

The big misinterpretation of “Don’t try so hard” is the idea that you’re being told “Let go and let God” – that is, quit trying to make it happen yourself and let fate take care of you. Instead, the real idea behind it is closer to the Taoist idea of wu wei – “action without action”. Trees don’t try to grow. They just grow. Similarly, the idea behind “Don’t try so hard and it will happen when you least expect it” is “don’t try to find a girlfriend, just find a girlfriend”. 

To put it in a more easily digestible nerd form: you don’t control the Force, you let the Force flow through you. Just as you don’t try to find someone to sleep with, you live your life in such a way that people come into it naturally – including people that will want to have sex with you.

As I’ve said before, it’s the illusion of luck or fate; it’s not that the Gods have suddenly decided to smile upon you and bless you with someone who really wants to see your boner, it’s that you’ve set yourself up in such a way that these people come into your life without forcing the issue – and when they do, you’re in a position to actually act upon the opportunity.

But while it’s easy to say “go with the flow”, let’s look at some of the reasons why trying can actually make things harder for you.

1) You Want The Wrong Things

We’re less than a week away from Christmas, and less than two weeks from New Year’s, and it’s only natural for people to look at their lives right now and resent the fact that they’re single. They’re tired of being lonely, tired of looking around and feeling like they’re the last person in the world without their own little snuggle bunny. They want nothing more than to find a relationship  and they want it now.

And yet they don’t understand wy the harder they try to find one, the more it seems to slip from their grasp.

The problem is that they’re looking for something that they are confusing something that they want – a relationship – for something that they need – validation. They’ve convinced themselves that this one magic bullet is going to complete them, make them feel as though they’re no longer missing that piece in their life and now they’re whole. It’s that desire that’s fucking them over. By seeking an external solution for an internal problem, they’re trying to apply a bandage to a sucking chest wound – it might make it suck a little less for a little while, but it’s not going to fix the real problem.

You don’t want to know how long it took me to learn this issue myself.

Someone who is trying to have his emotional issues fixed by another person isn’t going to be the most confident or outcome-independent person; they’re going to be fixated on the solution to their imagined problems.

They’re treating another person as a thing, an object, a shape that can fit into the cutout marked “relationship” with the expectation that it will magically make things better. They want a girlfriend who will drag them out of their shells or make them more interesting people. They want more sex because it “proves” they’re attractive or that they’re not “losers”. They want the life that they think has been denied to them and that other person is going to be the gateway to finally fulfilling all of their hopes and dreams. You can’t fill the hole in your life with a person any more than you can with sex, drugs or possessions. 

Not even if it's really cool stuff?

This is not an attractive trait in a person, and other people can pick up on this belief very quickly… and it’s going to repel them.

It’s one of the oldest cliches out there, but you really can’t  make a relationship work if you aren’t happy with yourself. Taking time off from trying to get laid or finding a relationship in order to get your own life in order will make it much easier in the long run. A proper partner-in-crime is a compliment to an awesome life, not a prerequisite. Build a life you’re happy with and find what you need to complete yourself inside and you will discover that everything comes much more easily.

2) You’re Trying Too Hard

Yes, I know how much I’ve emphasized that getting better at dating requires a lot of hard work, and the idea that you’re trying too hard seems contradictory.

Sometimes when you’re focused on a task, it’s possible to get tunnel vision and lose your focus. You become obsessed with the minutia and repetition and lose track of the bigger picture.

How many times have you been playing a particularly frustrating video game – especially an old-school, Nintendo-hard ((I’m sorry, I’m so very, very sorry…)) game like Ninja Gaiden – and you’ve been stuck on one. Fucking. SPOTIt might be the boss that kills you with a cheap one-shot kill attack every time. It might be trying to sneak through a mandatory stealth section when you can’t avoid detection no matter what you do. It might be trying to thread the needle on a tricky platforming section that kills you every goddamn time.  

This alone is enough to send people of a certain age into a frothing rage.

You reload, replay, die, scream, reload, replay, die. Wash, rinse, repeat until you’re about to snap your controller in two. You might make a little progress only to die again and end up back where you were before… and now it seems almost random as to whether you can make it that far again. Your world narrows until nothing exists except trying to beat that section.

And then you stop. Take a deep breath and take a step back. You put it down for a few hours or overnight, come back to it fresh… and all of the sudden you blaze through that section as though it were nothing.

It can be almost any task – a painting you can’t get quite right, a section of a writing project that you’ve deleted and re-written twenty times, trying to master a three-point free-throw… or dating.

Just as your frustration with a game can inhibit your ability to play it, being too determined to get a date or get laid can inhibit your ability to let your charm flow through you. Your aggravation leaves you tense and annoyed – not only does this bleed through to your interactions with other people, but it can also leave you focused on all the wrong areas. You might be absolutely determined to go out and meet someone via cold-approach that night, but your attention is entirely on making approaches and as a result, your body language and tonality is completely off.

Think of it as trying to perform a waltz with every muscle in your body tensed at the same time. You may want it more than anything else in the world, but your own body is going to fight you every step of the way and make it harder than before, slowing you down, making you expend more and more energy and tripping you up.

Now imagine that same waltz after all of your muscles have relaxed. Suddenly what took all of your concentration and energy feels almost effortless, as though you weigh nothing at all. You glide, instead of stomping; you move with grace and poise instead shuddering and shaking as you push yourself through the steps.

Instead of focusing on one aspect – getting a boyfriend or girlfriend – take a step back and just focus on being social. Having no agenda outside of enjoying yourself and the company of others makes it much easier to let your best self shine through, rather than circling the room like a shark, looking for potential targets.

On a similar note:

3) You’re Too Focused On Results

The idea of “outcome independence” is a popular one in the dating advice world, and with good reason. By letting go of a focus on the end result – a pile of clothes at the foot of your bed, the two of you coated in the sweat of your efforts, staring at the ceiling, unable to stop grinning as you bask in the afterglow – you are freed from the hang-ups and sticking points that can trip you up.

When you let yourself get too hung up on a specific goal or a specific person, you start to give it greater levels of importance in your mind than it really deserves – and with it comes greater levels of pressure which ups the possibility that you’re going to choke in the middle, panic if things go even slightly wrong or, for that matter, psyche yourself out entirely.

Back in the early days of my transformation, I was so absorbed in the potential outcome of every interaction with women that I would have mini panic-attacks while I was talking to them. It became a question of “Can I actually manage to keep this routine going when I’m fairly certain my heart is going to explode? OH DEAR GOD DON’T LET HER REALIZE I THINK I’M ABOUT TO DIE RIGHT NOW.”

This reached it’s peak when in the course of one night, not only did I literally choke on making the approach, another time I actually threw up from self-inflicted nerves. While I was talking to a woman about why I became an artist.

"I don't think you're gonna recover from that one, buddy."

By focusing so much on the idea that I had to impress this woman right here, right now, I put an insane amount of pressure on myself. It was as though I was being called up to hit the tie breaker that would win the World Series… after having just warmed the bench for the last 25 years.

My big breakthrough came when I quit treating every woman I approached as someone I had to succeed with, whether I was defining “success” as “said hello”, “got her number” or “got her in bed”. Making the mental switch that it didn’t  matter whether I impressed her with my wit and charm or if it even went anywhere beyond a pleasant 5 minute conversation with a stranger felt like taking off a thirty pound weight vest. I didn’t  feel any self-induced pressure to make things happen; instead, I was relaxed and at ease and able to be in the moment rather than weighing everything and judging myself based upon my success or failure. The fact that I was so much more calm and chill read as confidence and I was no longer intimidated by the people I was speaking to.

And I started to have greater levels of success.

Being able to separate yourself from the outcome – to just treat each interaction with a person as that interaction, without worrying about your agenda or trying to impress them, seduce them or otherwise work towards a goal – will take away much of your anxiety and nervousness. If you don’t get her number… so what? It doesn’t matter  – that wasn’t  the point and you’re the same awesome person you were beforehand. There will be others, and you can enjoy spending time with them as well.

4) You Are Not Ready

This can be a tough one at times.

It is all too possible to let your ambition outrace your ability to match it. It’s only natural; we all want results – especially when it comes to our dating lives – and we all want them right the fuck now. It’s a part of the human condition, and if you’re like I was, you’ve been feeling this frustration for years if not decades and you want to make up for all that lost time… starting right this goddamn instant.

But like Luke rushing off to face Darth Vader before he completed his training, by going out and trying to force dating success to happen, you’re setting yourself up for failure and defeat – which can, in turn, set you even farther back than you were before.

It’s a common issue with people who’ve started working on improving their lives – they want to believe they’re further along than they really are because we want to get to that end result where all of our dreams come true. But because we’re in a rush… we fuck up. We trip over things that would never have phased us if we had spent a little more time practicing and preparing ourselves. We make rookie mistakes. We imbue things with too much importance before we’ve gained the experience and wisdom to realize how ephemeral they are.

And to make matters worse – you can find the right person at precisely the wrong time. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than a relationship with someone who you know is right for you, but the timing was wrong or that you weren’t in a position to actually make things work out… and the realization that you could have, if you hadn’t tried to force the issue and were willing to wait just a little longer.

Some things do need to happen in their own time. Not in the woo-woo sense, but in the sense that sometimes just because we want something doesn’t mean that we’re ready to have it… but we will be in the future.

I should know.

I’ve rushed into relationships with women – awesome women, women with whom I’m still friends today – because I thought I was ready when I wasn’t. I thought I had to get in and lock them down now because if I didn’t, I’d miss my chance… and in doing so, I doomed those relationships. I still had a lot of learning and growing to do before I was ready to pursue them.

By being willing to wait and – to continue abusing the Jedi metaphor – complete my training meant that when the time did come, I would be ready.

And it’s a good thing I did. There was one person in my life who – at the right time and in the right place – would be my ideal partner. If I tried to make it happen before I was the person I needed to be, it would have fallen apart.

But by waiting, growing and biding my time, I was able to be exactly who I needed to be and where I needed to be in my life to make it happen.

And it did.

I’ll have to tell you about it some time.

Easier Dating… Really

How To Make Dating Easier

 

 

I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve known who’ve told me they hate dating. And to be perfectly honest, I thought they were crazy. Dating was awesome. I loved the thrill of the chase, the intoxicating nervousness and energy that came from getting to know somebody new, the flirting back and forth as we tried to feel each other out. First dates (and second and third, really) were things to look forward to.

Now, granted at the time I was only into dating casually, while several of my friends were looking to settle down, so I could understand – kinda – where they were coming from. They just wanted to find Mr. or Ms. Right and skip straight to the happy committed life, so of course the frustration of wanting to skip the entire courtship aspect made sense to me.

If you listen carefully, you can hear another piece of her soul wither away into nothing.

Except… that wasn’t the problem. Not exactly. The problem was that dating was exhausting to them. It was a constant repetition of putting in massive amounts of effort for a minimal reward… if they didn’t strike out entirely. They were spending most of their time and energy on the areas that would be the least productive and neglecting aspects where spending a little more time would produce huge results – small wonder they hated dating. Changing up your dating philosophy to make your efforts more efficient can make your dating life much easier… and much more rewarding.

Simplifying Dating Means Increasing Efficiency

I believe in efficiency when it comes to my social life – especially to dating. I’m a firm believer that life is too short and there’s too much to do to waste time when you’re looking for a partner, whether it’s for sex, companionship, or romance. Over the years, I made a lot of mistakes that ultimately meant I spent more time than I needed on aspects of dating and personal development that didn’t help me nearly as much as I’d assumed; the results simply weren’t worth the initial level of investment that I put in.

I’ve talked before about my belief in simplifying the dating process as much as possible by stripping out the extraneous and unnecessary. Part of this is understanding where and how to spend your energy and time. We have a tendency to focus our attention on areas that we assume make huge differences based on presuppositions about dating. In reality, however, these tend to be areas that aren’t nearly as important as we may think. As a result: we’ve wasted a lot of time with very little to show for it. Time we could have spent better elsewhere, on areas that actually helped.

An example: I spent a lot of time worrying about social status and value  when it came to women. At the time, I was mainly meeting women in bars and clubs and I had bought into the idea of social proof – that the more it seemed like I was a big shot at the bar, the better I was going to do with women. So, in order to keep up one’s social status – according to the theory – you wanted to be seen working the room. This meant you wanted to always be seen talking to lots of women – the better to inspire jealousy don’cha know – , making friends with the bartender so you could get free drinks, jumping the line at the door and so forth and so on. This could be exhausting… not to mention more than a little terrifying if you were even slightly shy or anxious in social situations. I kept feeling like every eye in the place was on me and I had to keep up the act, for fear that they might realize I was just some dork trying to occupy a cool guy’s body. If I wasn’t talking with a group of people or chatting up the bartender or the DJ or whomever, I had to have my crew of friends to fall back on, lest I look like a loser who was lost and alone.

Until one day, I came to a realization: nobody noticed. Unless somebody had been watching you specifically – which is usually a good sign that they’re interested in you already – they’re not going to be paying attention to you. Most people really aren’t going to worry about whether some stranger was talking with another stranger. Nobody is going to assume that you’re a loser if you’re not constantly surrounded by people because, frankly, they’re probably not aware of you in the first place. They’re more concerned with their immediate surroundings – the people they’re talking to, whether they need another drink, the song currently playing, or even whether their shoes are killing their feet.

I was spending a lot of time and energy trying to guard myself against a problem that didn’t exist. As a result, I was expending a lot of needless effort  that brought back minimal returns. It was one thing when it was just part of who I was – I had bars where I was a legitimate regular, so the bouncers would let me in because they knew me – and quite another to try to force myself into being the Life of the Party when I’d really rather just focus my attention on the people I wanted to meet.

Over the years, I’ve identified areas where men tend to waste their time… and the areas where a little effort does the most good.

I’ve Got 99 Problems But A Bitch Ain’t One.

The first rule of dating efficiency is that you can’t win them all. Rejection sucks, yes, but not only is it not the end of the world, it’s usually a sign that the two of you weren’t compatible in the first place. Unfortunately, our egos often get caught up in our dating lives and as a result… we tend to take rejection personally. Especially when we’re rejected by someone who we think is just being a bitch.

Sometimes she’ll freeze you out. Sometimes she’ll tell you she’s got a boyfriend  – only to later make out with a rando she met that night. Or perhaps she just gives you the withering stare that makes you wonder why you bothered to gestate in the first place, never mind have the temerity to approach her.

It’s tempting to want to want to take her down a peg. To break down her defenses and make her realize that no, you really are attractive and she should give you a chance. Or maybe you just want to make a point on behalf of every rejected and downtrodden nerd who was told he wasn’t good enough.

For example: I’ve had more than a few readers send me this video.

It’s an appealing fantasy – the idea that with the right combination of wit and piercing insight, you can take down a woman’s defenses, get revenge on the Mean Girl for your nerd brothers, and win her heart and squishy-bits in the process.

It’s also not worth your time.

There’s been a lot of ink spilled in dating advice on dealing with “bitchy” women – how to demolish her “bitch shields”, how to outwit manipulative game-players, dealing with shit-tests, how to pick up women who give you the boyfriend objection… and none of it is worth the effort that it takes. You’re letting your ego get in the way – you have something you want to prove, whether that you want to take the bitch down a notch or somehow be the avenging arm of Karma and getting her back in the name of all the OTHER people whose fee-fees she’s hurt. It’s not about actually getting to know her, it’s about proving you have the Magic Dick. Sometimes you might even manage to get a zinger out in riposte. But you know what? She doesn’t care what you think of her. To be insulted by someone, you have to give a damn about their opinion. You can call her a fat slor, a bitch, or whatever else you want and she’s going to forget you exist as soon as you exit her eye-line because you simply don’t matter to her.

In the end it doesn’t matter. Whether she was lying about having a boyfriend, enjoys stomping on the egos of innocent men, or simply was having a bad day and you happened to be the 14th dude to hit on her, the fact of the matter is she doesn’t like you.

You can spend a lot of time – and it’s going to take time… if she liked you, she wouldn’t have rejected you in the first place – to try to change “disinterested” to “interested”. Or you can shrug your shoulders, never give her another thought  and find someone who actually wants to talk to you.

Keep Up Your Appearances

There’s being good looking and then there’s being attractive. The two are different.

Good looking is a combination of an individual’s preference, cultural values, facial symmetry and body ratios.
Being attractive , on the other hand, is about appearance and presence.

Whether or not you’re good looking is a matter of perspective as much as anything else. You can’t account for individual preference and short of painful surgery, you can’t change how you look.

And the results are, shall we say, mixed...  (Photo credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

Your appearance however, is easily fixable, and usually in a very short amount of time. It’s very simple: wear clothes that fit properly, get a flattering hair cut, maintain proper grooming and hygiene and work on your body language and posture. If it seems like I emphasize these factors often… well, it’s because they’re some of the most important parts of making yourself more attractive, and it’s all easy to fix. And yet it’s the area where men fall down the most… so much so that even a minimal effort to address these issues will make you stand out from the crowd.

Don’t believe me? Take a trip to the mall on a Saturday and do some people-watching. Almost every guy you see will be shuffling along in his oversized, badly fitting clothes, his lousy hair cut, shoulders hunched, chin tucked and back curved. The guys who look half-way decent will shine like a damned beacon in the night.

It takes very little effort – mostly a matter of research, especially if you’re looking to save money – to fix problems with your appearance. You can quite literally transform yourself overnight. 

Don’t make the classic mistake, though, of thinking that you just need some “going out” outfits and calling it done. Managing your appearance is a daily activity, and an important habit to cultivate. If you only pay attention to your appearance when you’re planning on going out and trying to meet people, then you’re missing the point. It needs to be part of your every day life. This doesn’t mean you need to be dressed to the nines every time you go to the gym, but if you’re leaving your house and you might be interacting with the general public? Take some time and dress well. You never know when you might run into the woman of your dreams; you don’t want to find Ms. Perfect at the grocery store when you’re in a stained pair of sweats and your hair looks like you’ve got a raccoon living in it.

Don’t Overthink It

I wish I had a nickel for every letter I’ve received where guys wanted me to read their crush’s mind for them. All too often, guys refuse to trust their own instincts when it comes to women. Instead, they try to analyze women’s behavior like conspiracy theorists studying grainy, low-rez YouTube videos of the Twin Towers, looking for the microexpressions and unconscious tells that will reveal THE TRVTH to them.

"Her left eye crinkled more than her right eye! She's planning on flaking on me tomorrow, isn't she?"

The thing is, women aren’t hard to read; in fact, most of the signs are pretty obvious. Women aren’t devious, manipulative chessmasters who screw with men’s heads for fun… and frankly the ones who are are easy to avoid. After all, it takes two to play games and you can short-circuit any games by simply walking away. While it is true that women are socialized to soften their answers for fear of causing offense or may try to let a guy down easy, a rejection is stillpretty clearly a rejection. Similarly, a “yes, I’d like to go out with you” is a “yes, I’d like to go out with you,” not  “I will milk you for free meals and attention until something better comes along”.

The impulse to overthink dating is a reaction to uncertainty; you don’t like the feeling of being out of control, so trying to analyze everything is a way of reasserting a feeling of control over the subject. In fact, in many cases, you already know the answer, you just don’t like it. When you’re reading the tea leaves to find out if she likes you for example, you already know she doesn’t; you’re just looking for reasons to keep hoping.

Occam’s Razor should be applied to these issues. If she asks you to buy her a drink, she’s probably flirting, not shit-testing you. If she’s very slow to text you back or responds in short, monosyllabic answers (if she responds at all) then she’s just not interested in talking to you. If she keeps telling you she’s busy when you ask her out without suggesting another day, it’s a message that she’s not interested in going out with you.

The simplest answer is usually the correct one.

(I now await people over-thinking not overthinking in the comments.)

Build Chemistry

You want to know the difference between being “just friends” and a long night of squishy noises back at your place? Chemistry.

Except chemistry doesn’t “just happen”. You have to be willing to build it. This means being willing to own the fact that you’re interested in someone as more than friends but as a potential sexual and romantic partner. If you’re cloaking your interest in someone under the guise of “being a friend”, then your attempts to build sexual tension is going to be incongruous and uncomfortable for everyone involved. If you’re not willing to be physical – to actually touch her – then you’re going to be telling her you’re not actually interested. This doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to attempt to maul her with your mouth at the drop of a hat; there’s a difference between building tension by making physical contact (a hand on the lower back,  a light touch on her arm) and manhandling her or touching her inappropriately.

The key to chemistry is to keep things light and fun. It’s one thing to let her know you’re interested in her sexually – and believe me, if she’s on a date with you, she’s aware that you’re interested – and another to bludgeon her over the head with it. Flirty touching is about a tease and building interest through sexual tension and restrained desire. If she’s not interested, then trying to push it is only going to go from “not interested” to “leaving right then and there.”

But don’t think that you just focus on the physical; you have to engage her mind too. This means finding commonalities and connecting with her emotionally. What does she have going on in her life that you can relate to or that you find interesting? What sorts of things do you have in common? What sort of stories can you share? Are you asking questions, listening to what she has to say and then being able to springboard off of what she just said as a way of taking the conversation even deeper?  Can you two find the same wavelength and talk as though you were both old friends, even if you only just met that night? Can you make her feel and make her laugh? Then you’re more than half-way there.

If you want to get into a woman’s pants, first you need to get into her head… and let her into yours. 

Avoid Evo Psych (And Other Magic Bullets)

Every so often someone claims to have cracked the attraction code and has an easy, surefire way of generating instant, insane attraction in any woman at any time. Other times they will insist that the key to getting better with women is to trigger her “instincts” – whether this is by being more “alpha” or being “dominant” or other ways of supposedly appealing to her reptile hindbrain and taking advantage of  mating behavior that is supposedly hardwired into women via evolution because it helped insure healthy, genetically desirable offspring.

One problem with this is that a) it’s based on faulty presumptions of human sexuality and b) we don’t operate on instinct. Some aspects of sexuality – how long it takes men and women to become sexually aroused, for example – is biologically based. Others, like whether women are interested in short-term mating strategies (i.e. casual sex) are based far more on socialization, cultural adherence to gender roles and the risk of personal safety vs. the reward of pleasurable sex.

The other problem is that it’s trying to short-cut attraction by supplying placebos and trickery for actually engaging someone emotionally, not to mention having an actual life and, y’know. People skills.

Canned routines, for example, that many PUA schools advocate are supposed to create the illusion of being “high-status” while supposedly hitting other attraction switches like “leader of men” or “adored by women”. By using these routines, you’re substituting somebody else’s personality for your own and using their stories in place of yours. You’re essentially borrowing somebody else’s personality in order to fool others into thinking you’re cooler or more desirable than you are.

"... and I would've gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for you pesky bloggers!"

Similarly, being “alpha” is a way of rationalizing why women only seem to like “certain” men (a fallacy of composition) while buying into a false narrative about human reproductive behavior based on faulty assumptions about evolution and animal behavior (a naturallistic fallacy).

These are no substitute for doing the work: going out and learning how to interact with people by actually interacting with them. No amount of inner game workshops, routine manuals or evo-psych bullshit is going to teach you as much as actually talking with people. Want to be more attractive to women? Quit trying to learn how to flip switches and work on being an interesting and well rounded person with stories to tell.

Speaking of:

Get A Life

If you want to get better at dating, you have to get better as a person. This means having an active, full life. If your day-to-day activities consist of waking up, going to work, coming home to play XBox or watch TV until you pass out, you’re going to have a hard time finding people who are going to want to share that life with you.

“What do you have going for you besides your looks” is more than just a line to feed women: it’s a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis. Do you have passions in your life? Hobbies? What do you do that makes you unique and interesting? What do you do for fun? Do you engage your intellectual curiosity, or do you just drift through life aimlessly?

It’s important to have pursue your passions in life, even if it’s not necessarily your career – or even the driving force in your day to day existence. Pursuing your interests serves to make you a more interesting person – it means you lead a more active life than someone who just lives through and for his work. It means you’re more likely to have stories to tell and experiences to share, unlike so many other people out there whose day to day lives are just one blurring into another.

Just as importantly though: pursuing the things that you are passionate about means you are more likely to find people you’re compatible with. If you’re a music lover, you’re going to have a lot in common with the people you meet at concerts and performances. If you love animals, volunteering at an animal shelter is going to bring you in contact with people who also share your interests.

They bonded over their mutual love of fine wines and subtly mocking hipsters' mustaches.

It doesn’t take very much to turbo-charge your dating life. When you’re spending your time and energy wisely, you’ll find you actually enjoy the dating process far more… which will make the results all the sweeter.

Sex=Economy

Sex=Economy

Sometimes the universe decides I don’t have enough rage in my life.

OK, perhaps I should explain. No is too much. Let me sum up.

One of the dating misconceptions that I tilt at regularly is the myth that women are the sexual gatekeepers and that sex is a transactional procedure where a woman only “gives it up” when a man meets her price; this is generally known as the commodity model of sex. The commodity model of sex insists that women are only worth the sex they don’t have; after all, if she “gives it away” too readily, then she is actively driving down her own value. Because apparently sex is a limited, non-rewnewable resource and once you’ve tapped that particular well, it’s dry forever.

Which brings new meaning to "WE'VE GOT A GUSHER!".

This is an idea repeated over and over again, from toxic Pick-Up Artists like Roosh “Once you’ve had sex with a girl 3 times, there is nothing interesting or useful she will give you for the remainder of the relationship.” V to the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. In fact, it’s the Austin Institute’s video “The Economics of Sex” that prompted today’s column with its supposedly “novel” variation on the commodity model of sex by insisting that women being too slutty devalues sex and thus deprives them of any chance of being married. After being directed to a glowing paean to the idea in the New York Post and then reading  Lindy West’sexcellent takedown, I had to see this wonder for myself. Because apparently I don’t get nearly angry enough in my day to day life.

So I watched this 10 minute wonder and…

well…

"I feel a column coming on."

All we have is the usual “if you give the milk away, nobody will buy the cow” argument, trying to use economics as a fig-leaf to give it the sheen of respectability. Too bad it’s complete and utter horse shit.

Let’s take this sucker apart, shall we? Pack a lunch, this is going to be a long one.

The (Bullshit) Economics of Banging

“The Economics of Sex”1 is a self-consciously hip whiteboard-style talk in the style of Minute Physics, because nothing makes slut-shaming go down easier than cutesy rip-offs of popular YouTube channels.

The basic premise of the video is simple: marriage is on the decline in America and that’s terrible. People’s first marriages are happening later and later in life – with a median age of 27 for women and 29 for men – and this is also terrible. Why? Who knows; if the Austin Institute does, they’re not saying. However, the cause is abundantly clear: women are giving it up to easily. You see, sex – according to this video – is a commodity, which means that there’s a market price. Since men want sex more than women do, women are thus the gatekeepers of sex, controlling the sexual market with an iron vagina. Men, on the other hand, are the gatekeepers of commitment, which women desire more than men do. And so the presumed exchange is sex for commitment.

To quote straight from the video:

The “price” varies widely. But if women are the gatekeepers, why don’t very many women “charge more” so to speak? Because pricing is not entirely up to women. The “market value” of sex is part of a social system of exchange, an “economy” if you will, wherein men and women learn from each other—and from others—what they ought to expect from each other sexually. So sex is not entirely a private matter between two consenting adults. Think of it as basic supply and demand. When supplies are high, prices drop, since people won’t pay more for something that’s easy to find. But if it’s hard to find, people will pay a premium.

So apparently under ideal circumstances, the invisible free hand of the market would be quietly stroking everyone’s nethers and keeping the price of sex high. But because women aren’t standing in lockstep solidarity and universally setting the market value for sex at “marriage”, the result is that the “market price” for sex is low.

ACTUAL QUOTE TIME:

Sex is her resource. Sex in consensual relationships will happen when women want it to. So how do women decide to begin a sexual relationship? Pricing. Women have something of value that men want…badly, something men are actually willing to sacrifice for. So how much does sex cost for men? It might cost him nothing but a few drinks and compliments, or a month of dates and respectful attention, or all the way up to a lifetime promise to share all of his affections, wealth, and earnings with her exclusively.

And since everyone knows that men won’t get married unless bribed into it by being granted access to a woman’s hoo-haa, men are reaping the benefits of the low-cost sex available to them. This is, of course, unfair to women because men can get boners forever, whereas women lose their fertility at 40 and thus become completely and utterly undesirable in any context and are thus without any sexual capital.

A scene from the upcoming "MILF of Wall Street"

Oh and also, part of the reason for this market disruption was the ability to have sex without consequence. So the pill has disrupted the sexual marketplace. Also: it literally compares the birth control pill to bees and compares the Sexual Revolution to the effects of DDT. And why is this bad for the “cost” of sex? Again: an actual quote from the video.

Before contraception, sex before marriage took place during the search for a mate—someone to marry. Sex didn’t necessarily mean marriage, but serious commitment was commonly a requirement for sex. Sex was oriented towards marriage. Don’t believe people who say your great-grandparents were secretly as casual about sex as your friends are. They weren’t, because to mess around with sex eventually meant, well, becoming parents.

Of course, this is bad for everyone because having low-commitment sex means men simply won’t grow up because why should they. So this is bad for society all around and thus women need to band together to perform a Lysistrata-esque pork-out and thus artificially dry up the supply, allowing the “natural” market price of sex to rise. And if it does, then we’ll see more “improved wooing”, fewer premarital partners and shorter co-habitations and – most importantly – “more marrying going on.”

Facts? Who Needs Facts?

So let’s start with the most obvious: the idea that women are “the gatekeepers of sex” because they don’t want sex as much as men do. The Austin Institute is quick to insist that women are less sexual than men because “men initiate sex more than women, they’re more sexually permissive than women, and they connect sex to romance less often than women.” This, we are supposed to believe, is just biology; “blame it on testosterone,” suggests the video.

Bullshit.

Women actually have a greater capacity for sexual desire than men do… society has just trained them out of acknowledging it.  The idea that women are less sexual than men is not only cultural, but recent; before the Age of Enlightenment, western society from the Hebrews to the Greeks to Renaissance Europe tended to view women as almost overpoweringly lustful and needing to be reined in by marriage, lest it drain men of their life’s essences.

"Viagra... not... enough. Can't... keep... up... any... longer."

It wasn’t  until the 19th Century, when (ironically enough) the early Feminist movement and the rise of evangelical Christianity coincided with redefining gender attitudes towards sex, labeling men as bestial and lustful and women as the sacred and angelic guardians of virtue and purity. Up until that point, men were considered to be the pure ones, who had to resist the temptations of women and control their sexual natures for them.

Of course, it doesn’t help that most studies into human sexuality, especially with regard to libido and sexual desire, take it for granted that women don’t like sex as much as men, letting confirmation bias color over bad methodology and shoddy research. For example: while the video itself doesn’t cite any sources (natch), a downloadable companion piece from the Austin Institute’s website references the infamous Clark – Hattfield study that erroneously concluded that women were just flat-out less interested in sex than men. The methodology of the Clark-Hattfield – reproduced later by Hald &Høgh-Olenson – involved literally just walking up to strangers and saying “hey, want to fuck me?” an approach that nobody actually uses to get laid. In fact, a later series of studies by Terri Conely found that women were very interested in casual sex… provided they thought the sex would be worth it. The approach in the Clark-Hattfield study betrayed a significant lack of social skills and set off alarm bells for women’s concern for their personal safety as well as an indication that the sex with person asking probably wouldn’t be worth the attendant risk.

(It certainly doesn’t help that one of the senior fellows is Mark Regnerus, someone synonymous with shoddy research, bad methodology and biased conclusions unsupported by the data. But hey, why let facts get in the way of an agenda?)

But then, our culture tends to vigorously (and sometimes violently) resist, even repress, any research that goes against the accepted wisdom. Alfred Kinsey, after all, had his life destroyed because Sexual Behavior in the Human Female diverged so greatly from the cultural narrative. The exact size and anatomy of the human clitoris had to be discovered twice – once in 1998 and then again in 2009 because the medical community couldn’t be bothered to care the first time; until recently, many anatomical texts would leave the clitoris out entirely.

Of course, this is if you want to be strictly heteronormative about this. The video’s insistence that women are the gatekeepers of sex and men only give commitment in exchange for sexual access rather neatly ignores the existence of gay men and lesbians. Presumably gay men – men, after all, preferring low-cost, no commitment sex – would never get married while lesbians would almost never have sex, ever. And then you have the issue of just where trans men and women fall into this spectrum of “sex” and “commitment”…

But just as the video gets the science wrong – with an air of “just trust us on this, m’kay?”, it gets history wrong too. One of the most egregious examples, from the video:

Here’s the thing: In the past, it really wasn’t the patriarchy that policed women’s relational interests. It was women. But this agreement, this unspoken pact to set a high market value for sex has all but vanished.

Ok… when exactly was this magical time when women were in charge of sexual roles and behaviors? Any time within, say… the last 60 years? 100 years? 1000 years? Trick question: women have never been the gender police. The closest you can come to anything resembling a woman-dominated sexual marketplace (to use their metaphor) requires going back to pre-agricultural society; the only contemporary examples are stone-age tribal units that have been cut off from the world. Men have long established and regulated what is considered “acceptable” sexual behavior in men and women and continue to do so today. The ones empowered to set social and sexual standards were men; men were the heads of the religions that dictated morality. Men were the heads of government that enforced laws regarding sex and sexuality. Women having positions of actual authority outside of the running of a household is a recent development… and even now, pretending that they have somehow taken over, even covertly, is laughable. When a woman in 2014 can’t cut her hair without men lamenting on how it makes her less sexually appealing, it’s hard to swallow the idea that women were traditionally regulating sexual relations and somehow charging a “higher market price”. That “unspoken pact” was unspoken because it didn’t exist in the first place.

Then again, this willful ignorance of actual history is par for the course. In insisting that sex was was traditionally and predominantly aimed at commitment, the Austin Institute ignores vast swaths of history, focusing instead on misty fantasies . In colonial America, pre-marital sex was ostensibly a no-no, and yet it happened anyway; the concern was less about who was sleeping with who and much more about whether the young lady would get pregnant. In the 1920s – the time when the video insists our great-grandparents were really all about marriage – casual sex and cohabitation reached all-time highs.

It's almost like none of them ever read The Great Gatsby.

In Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Kinsey found that half the women who weren’t virgins before marriage had slept with more people than their eventual spouses. From the 1950s onward, the social stigma against casual, pre-marital sex was already on the downward swing before the advent of hormonal birth control.

And while the pill helped, it certainly was never the only form of contraception out there. Historians have evidence of condom use as far back as ancient Greece (usually animal bladders or intestines). The first commercial condom factory opened in 1897, and by the 1920s (when your great-grandparents were equating sex with pregnancy, remember), latex condoms came on the market. When people wanted to have some child-free fucking, there were plenty of options for them.

The sexual revolution wasn’t just about the ready availability of condoms; it was also about women’s greater economic opportunities and the de-stigmatization of divorce. Now that marriage wasn’t intrinsically bound up with financial security and sex didn’t mean pregnancy, women were free to actually enjoy their own sexuality… suggesting that the “market price” that the Austin Institute waxes rhapsodic about was artificially inflated under the best of circumstances.

But What About Marriage?

“The Economics of Sex” is very concerned with the fact that the rate that couples marry is on the decline and – worse – the median age of people getting married for the first time is increasing. Why is this bad? They don’t say. We’re just supposed to accept that it’s a bad thing because reasons. Similarly, we’re supposed to just accept that the cause is that women are “giving it away” too cheaply and thus losing potential capital that they could trade for commitment and marriage.  An exact quote:

“While there are certainly factors that contribute [to the lower number of Americans 25 – 34 years old getting married and higher average age of first marriages], the gender imbalance in a split mating market is a big one”

Is it? They provide no evidence and in fact, completely elided over all those other causes. This is known as “begging the question”; basically, “this is true because we say it is, and we say it because it’s true”. But let’s look at a few of those pesky “other factors”, shall we?

It’s hardly a surprise that the median age of first marriages is rising; in fact, according to the US Census bureau, it’s been doing so since the 1950’s when the median age was 24 for men and 20 for women. One reason for this change: the social stigma against pre-marital sex had lessened and social and legal protections for unmarried parents and their children increased. As a result, men and women who might have gotten married chose instead to cohabitate – splitting their economic burden without necessitating a legal contract beforehand. In fact, the percentage of couples living together and the decline of marriages were almost exactly the same.

...plus the sex is way hotter when you're living in sin.

Another reason for the change is that, starting in the late 60’s  and early ’70s, the barriers preventing women from having greater economic opportunities finally came down. For the first time ever, women were able to fully participate in the workforce, choosing jobs outside of the traditional “women’s fields” of nursing, teaching  and social work. They were looking forward not just to jobs but careers, ones that mandated college degrees. The number of women attending college, masters and PhD programs has skyrocketed since the 80s,  and having a college education pushes back the marriage timeline by a number of years for both men and women.

Of course,  the pill helped as well. Not only did the number of “shotgun marriages” (marriages prompted by getting pregnant) occur, but it freed women up to pursue their dreams without having to worry that they would have to sacrifice their careers on the altar of motherhood. Women who have kids take a severe career penalty, both in earning power and in upward mobility; widely available, effective birth control allows women to ensure that they’re able to have children on their terms, at a point when they’re much more established in their careers. In fact, a large part of the “hook-up culture” that causes the Austin Institute and writers like Naomi Schaefer Riley to gasp and clutch their pearls is due in no small part to the fact that women like sex, but don’t want a commitment because it would get in their way of their career ambitions. Women who marry later in life earn more money and report higher satisfaction with their lives in general. And considering that the average college student graduates with $25,000 in college loans to pay off… well, small wonder that men and women both would want to maximize their earning potential before tying the knot.

But What About The Men?

Of course, after spending all that time slut-shaming women, one would think that men would get off clean. Not so; in fact, men get insulted in equal measure. Men, you see, only care about one thing: bangin’. In fact, the only reason why men aren’t getting married is because they’re too busy enjoying all this low-cost sex that women are just tossing around. After all, men are incapable of emotional connections and relationships. Men just don’t fall in love… not when there’s all that cheap poontang to sample.

ACTUAL QUOTE TIME:

The blunt reality is an economic one. Women vastly outnumber men in the marriage market, which means men can be picky and insist on extensive sexual experience before committing. Men are in a position to maximize their rewards while investing fewer resources. Why do they do this? Because they can.

Yup. You caught us. There’s no chance that sex with one’s romantic partner is a component of one’s emotional connection; we’re just insisting that women put out because otherwise we’ll never spring for a ring. Busted.

"Tell ya what, sweetcheeks. You come back after I've had my foursome and we'll talk ceremony, 'mkay?"

(Who, exactly are they insisting on this extensive sexual experience from? Either they’re having “extensive” sex from their partner – which is part of what the rest of us call “a relationship” – or they’re demanding to be allowed to play the field before settling down. Except… they’re already “overpopulated” in the short-term market where women supposedly control things. So somehow men are getting low-cost sex in a market that women supposedly dominate because otherwise they won’t marry them. How exactly does one resolve this intellectual conundrum? Naturally, the authors don’t explain.)

Of course, since men will never commit except if they’re coerced into it… what is the appeal here? I mean, we’ve established that men don’t care about silly things like love or emotional intimacy or companionship… so what, exactly, is the upside to being coerced into an otherwise loveless marriage? Getting laid?
Evidently the ideal world that the Austin Institute pictures is an awful lot like “Paradise By the Dashboard Light”. To whit:

I couldn’t take it any longer, Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my God and on my mother’s grave
That I would love you to the end of time.

I swore I would love you to the end of time
So now I’m waiting for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Because if I have to spend another moment with you I don’t know how I’ll ever survive.

And why, exactly, wouldn’t guys just leave? After all, according to the video, women’s desirability goes out the window when they hit 40 and their fertile years are gone, while men have the capacity for “fun”2 well into their twilight years. What’s keeping the men around around once her fertility’s run out? The sunk-cost fallacy? Well shit, sign my happy ass up. That sounds amazing.

But you see, men need women… because otherwise we’re just never going to grow up. You see, according to the video, young men are somehow “failing to adapt to contemporary life” – a familiar old complaint. By what standards are they measuring men’s ability to adapt? Once again: they don’t say. We’re just supposed to take it at face value. But this is because women are being too permissive with us. By giving up the ass, they’re enabling us to live a life of pizza, beer and trashy women. No, seriously. They blame women for this. Again, an actual quote:

In reality, men tend to behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives permit.

So just for those of you keeping score: women have to quit offering sex and be surrogate mothers because guys are incapable of maturing on their own.

Keynesian Concern Trolling

The internal logic of “The Economics of Sex” is dubious. The video spends a great deal of time simultaneously slut-shaming women and insisting that they’re somehow less sexual at the same time –  Schrödinger’s Sluts if you will.

"Schrodinger's Sluts", incidentally, is the name of the riotgrrl punk math rock band I manage.

Hell, as the blog Lady Economist points out, it’s not even good economics! I mean, shit, even if we were to concede the idea of sex as a commodity, there’s more that influences the market value than just simple “supply and demand”. Even if the supply of a particular item is high, there will be other factors that influence price ranging from desirability to perceived quality. Bespoke fucks3 are going to be going at a premium regardless of how much sex is floating around.

But in the end, the cold, hard fact is that outside of sex-work, sex isn’t a commodity and equating a woman’s willingness to have sex with her “market value” just hides the implication that one believes that this is all a woman has to offer. All this is is an attempt to give the authors’ Madonna/Whore complex a gloss of legitimacy by pretending that it’s about the numbers, not the authors’ attempts to impose their world-view on others. Like other attempts to rationalize slut-shaming women, this is just concern trolling. The false note of solicitude, the tone of “hey we don’t like it, but this is just the way it is” and the crocodile tears shed for women standing in solidarity just makes it more insulting.

1. Which I’m not going to link to because fuck no I’m not giving them free views

2. They didn’t want to say “erections”

3. You know, from a quality fucksmith

Is she Serious about you?

Is she Serious about you?

 

 

Relationships are complicated, but when mixed signals begin floating around, it can seem impossible to figure out whether or not your partner is really serious about you. If you’re unsure whether your partner is in it for the long haul or just keeping busy until someone else comes along, these tips will help you decide when it’s time for you to look elsewhere for love.

 1. She doesn’t make you a priority
You constantly get stood up or she cancels on you at the last minute and offers up no good reasons. She treats the relationship like a game and doesn’t seem too bothered when you go days without seeing each other. She doesn’t respond to your calls or texts with much enthusiasm and you might even get the impression that she’s forgotten all about you.

2. She has too many guy friends
A few healthy friendships with the opposite sex is not necessarily a bad thing; however, a woman with too many guy friends can cause confusion and drama in a relationship as it indicates that she is not ready to give up her single freedom and is still exploring her options.

3. She doesn’t acknowledge you
When a woman wants you around long term, she’ll let you in on her personal life and bring you around everyone she cares about. However, if her friends and family know nothing about you and you’ve never been a topic of her personal conversations with them, rest assured that she doesn’t think about you much when you’re apart. If she does not acknowledge you as her man then simply put…you’re not her man.

4. She keeps her exes around
You are on a date, her cell phone buzzes, and you see the name “Tommy” brightly flash across the screen. She quickly puts her phone away. You ask her who it was. She says, “Oh it was just a friend.” You let it go. Two weeks later, you find out Tommy was an ex she dated right before she met you. She may genuinely be just friends with her ex, but if she is in regular contact with him (other than children being involved) she may have subconsciously formed a backup plan.

5. She avoids commitment-related conversations
She steers clear of any commitment-related conversations. Whenever the topic falls on defining the relationship, she pulls back, goes quiet or changes the subject leaving you with a sense that she is not as serious as you are. A woman who steers clear of commitment-related conversations has no intention of being serious with you.

“STRAIGHT WHITE BOYS TEXTING” TUMBLR

“STRAIGHT WHITE BOYS TEXTING” TUMBLR

Hello all!!! It’s already hump day….

Today i want to have fun with page i recently discovered and i can relate to this.

And i many times do i mentioned guys online can be so… obnoxious… -.-;

the website is called STRAIGHT WHITE BOYS TEXTING

oh boy how did i laughed and had facepalms lol

From street harassment to unsolicited dick pics, it seems like guys everywhere feel totally comfortable announcing their sexual opinions and desires to women, whether those women expressed any remote interest or not. Women have been pushing back a lot lately, from the #NotJustHello Twitter hashtag, to poster campaigns that draw attention to street harassment, to a Tumblr called Straight White Boys Texting that showcases the ways in which boys get sexual for no reason. And the site manages to compile all this without facepalming hard enough to cause brain damage.

The truth is the fact that so many guys feel totally entitled to get sexual at the drop of a hat is not all that funny, given all the real harm that can come out of that sense of entitlement. Still when you see so many examples of guys getting sexual with no provocation, it’s also kind of…hilarious. I mean, these guys never, ever seem to get a positive response to their sexual comments. And while it sucks to be on the receiving end of this kind of thing, given that it can make you feel anything from exasperated to gross to downright unsafe, collect all these stories together, and it’s hard not to laugh at the pattern.

Plus it totally changes the power dynamics involved, which carries with it a certain amount of vindictive pleasure. “Oh, you thought you could make people uncomfortable any time you feel like it without anyone knowing? That’s cute.”

Straight White Boys Texting has gotten some criticism for focusing on straight white boys, but as the blog’s popularity has grown they’ve also started featuring texts from people who aren’t straight white dudes (and featuring exchanges that aren’t texting). Still, though it’s hard to argue against the fact that when it comes to feeling entitled, straight white guys tend to be the worst offenders. It’s the world we live in. Just check it out:

Dude, that’s not autocorrect. And even if it was, if your autocorrect has learned to put in “have sex” that easily, that’s even worse.

Trying to use science to get women to date you doesn’t work as well as you think it might, huh?

No words.

Lolololololololol.

Something tells me she won’t ever be texting him back…

Sooner or later, there’s always a dick pic. In this case, it’s sooner. As in, out of nowhere and with no warning.

Damn that worked out nicely.

Even though this whole thing is ridiculous no matter how far apart the texts, I like to think that they really did happen within the space of an hour.

This one has some pretty thrilling sequels, too. It just keeps getting better.

Well this guys certainly wins for asshole of the year.

But this one is my favorite:

Be on notice, men of the texting world. As long as you reserve the right to be sex-fueled idiots whenever it suits you, we reserve the right to make fun of you.

Images: Straight White Boys Texting/Tumblr

 

 

5 Reasons Times When You Shouldn’t Be Dating

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Dating

 

 

So today I want to do something you don’t see very often in the Dating Advice Industry: I want to tell you why you shouldn’t be dating.

"I understand the individual words, but when you string them together like that they make no sense..."

Stick with me here. I’m going some place with this, I promise.

I spend a lot of time talking about how to get better at dating, how to get people interested in dating you and the process of going from casual dating to a committed relationship . But I don’t spend that much time talking about all the times when dating somebody is a bad idea. And frankly, it’s something more people need to talk about. Watching relationship drama on social media may be one of my favorite hobbies, but I have seen so many relationships that frankly should never have started in the first place. Sometimes you’re simply just not in the right place to be dating anyone – or at least not more than incredibly casually. It ends up being hurting you, or hurting women you’re hoping to date or both. On a more enlightened self-interest level, dating at a time when you’re simply not ready for it tends to actually make you worse at dating. Those failed relationships become so much more emotional scar tissue on your heart, making it harder to improve.

So let’s talk about some of the times when you really shouldn’t be dating… and why.

You Shouldn’t Be Dating When: You Have Something To Prove

This is an incredibly common issue, especially if you’ve been working at improving your dating life. It’s a very understandable motivation, when you get right down to it. When you’ve been branded a loser or The One Who Was Not Good With Girls as I was, there are times when you feel like you’re the Last American Virgin. It seems like everyone else is looking at you with a mix of contempt and pity. You feel like you have a neon sign over your head that screams “this guy can’t get laid” and everyone is snickering at you whenever they see you. So you get into self-improvement. You get into pick-up. You start to turn things around. You’ve been learning how to talk to women. You’ve been reinforcing your archetype, building your new style and you’re starting to have some successes. In fact, you may be having more success than you ever believed possible.

Small wonder then that you might feel like demanding some acknowledgement from the world. And what’s one of the best ways to show that you’re not the same loser you used to be? You go out and parade your girlfriend around like a banner.

Or maybe you just want to prove something to yourself. After all of those years of being terrified to talk to women, finding a girlfriend is like starting a new phase of life, a way of proving you’re not that guy any more.

Or maybe you’ve been dumped. Who’s really at fault doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you want to show her that you’re over it. In fact, you’re so over it you’ve gone out and found someone better than her. You didn’t get dumped, you traded up! And nothing would make you happier than to just rub her face in it. Are you jealous yet, Amanda? Huh? Huh??

I’m going to be honest: I’ve fallen victim to this more times than I care to think about – for just about every reason you might think. But when you’re in this “out to prove it to the world” headspace, you really shouldn’t be dating. You’re not getting into a relationship with somebody because you have an amazing connection and you have so much in common and she makes you laugh. You’re doing it because you don’t trust yourself. You’re using another person as a prop – waving her around and saying “See? See?” This is a horrible thing to do to another person – you’re denying her humanity and just using her to aggrandize yourself… even if it’s only to yourself. And frankly… nobody’s buying it. Showing your girlfriend off like a prize isn’t going to convince anyone that you’ve changed. It betrays that – for all the improvement you may well have made – you’re still looking to other people for validation. It’s a sign that, deep down, you don’t believe you’ve actually gotten better, you just want other people to think you have. And that break-up  – because you’re going to break up – is going drop C4 on the child’s popsicle stick house that is your ego.

…You Expect Her To “Complete” You.

This is one tends to trip people up. When we hear people talking about how someone “completes them”, we’re picturing Tom Cruise in the rain, desperately trying to convince the latest of his L-Ron-Hubbard-approved girlfriends that a) she should never wear heels again and b) she should love him and squeeze him and call him George. He likes it when they call him George.

"Look, the casting director said we test well together. That's enough for marriage, right?"

It’s a very romantic scene. It’s also not how things play out when Cameron Crowe isn’t directing your life. More often than not, people who are looking for a woman to “complete” them aren’t looking for a soul-mate so much as a lifestyle accessory. They’re looking for someone who is making up for some supposed lack in their life… usually a hole marked “girlfriend”. Often, when guys talk about wanting someone who completes them, it means that they want someone who will change them or fix them. They’re looking for someone someone who is going to help them see what they “missed out on” in life or who magically negates some quality they don’t like about themselves. They want someone who will take them out on adventures and show them the magic that is the wonder of life… never mind the fact that they’re not particularly adventurous and get seriously annoyed when their commute is 10 minutes longer than normal because now they’re going to miss part of Game of Thrones and have to wait until the DVR is finished recording. Even when they’re not looking for an explicit Manic Pixie Dream Girl, they usually want an incredibly improbable – and often conflicting – collection of attributes.

Much like the guys with something to prove, this isn’t about connecting with a person, so much as finding some combination that’s equal parts blow-jobs and life-coach.

The thing is: your partners aren’t there to fix you or fill a hole in your life. That’s why we call them “partners” instead of “repairmen” or “tech support”. When we talk about someone “completing” us, we’re not talking about rolling along until we find our Missing Piece, we’re talking about someone who we never realized we needed. If you feel like you have a hole in your life, then you need to fix it yourself instead of relying on other people to do it for you.

… You Think You’ve “Earned” It.

There’s a difference between deservedness and entitlement. We all deserve to be loved. We’re not entitled to it.This particular issue comes in many flavors. The classic White Knight is someone who tries to “earn” a relationship by “saving” a woman in some form of “distress”. The Nice Guy, on the other hand, is the guy who complains that he didn’t get a good-night hand-job after holding the door open for her and generally didn’t act like a douchebag.

"Come on, helping you with your coat is worth at least a minute of oral sex..."

There’s the Alpha Bro and the Men’s Rights Advocate who get annoyed that women refuse to give in to their obvious male superiority and in the guy who complains he deserves a 101because REASONS. 

The attitude may be dressed up in flowery language about “deserving a chance to win her heart” or it may be more blatantly mercenary in the “I did X for you, you should give me Y” vein of the commodity model of sex and relationships, but either way it comes down to the same basic idea: that relationships are something you get when you collect enough metaphorical proofs of purchase and five bucks shipping and handling.

People with this attitude towards women and relationships betray a sense of misogyny. They may not realize it – in fact, White Knights and Nice Guys explicitly pride themselves on loving and respecting women – but it treats love as a transaction. At best, the idea that you “earn” a relationship means that you see women as gold-diggers or prostitutes. At worst, they’re the prize at the bottom of the cereal box, just waiting for someone to dig them out of the piles of Captain Crunch. It not only implies that women have no agency, but that relationships aren’t about chemistry and mutual attraction, but about earning enough points until someone is obligated to date you. And that attitude is relationship poison.

If you are working with the idea that you are somehow owed a relationship… well, it’s probably time to sit things out until you can get past that.

…Life Gets In The Way

Sometimes it’s not about you. Sometimes shit just happens that means you’re not in a position to date, no matter how much you might want to. No matter how much we plan or prepare, life frequently finds a way to kick our legs out from under us and drop us on our asses. Relationships, after all, take time and energy. New relationships especially require careful nurturing; it’s all-too-easy for a new or burgeoning relationship to fall apart because of unintentional neglect. You may want to spend more time with that awesome woman you met off OKCupid but… well, shit just keeps coming up, responsibilities or problems that by necessity have to take priority.

It might be that your job has piled on the hours until you’re working 12 to 15 hour days without a break. Or you’ve been put on the graveyard shift and when most people are out socializing (or asleep), you’re stuck at work. You might be trying to hold down a job, even two jobs, and get a degree. Or hell, just going to grad school in general. It might be that you have family issues – having to care for a relative, or an incredibly stressful intra-family conflict. You might have health issues that limit your ability to function. You may be dealing with financial hardship that means you’re constantly working your ass off, running as fast as you can just to stay in one place.

"OK, sell some plasma... and jerk off my boss again... and I might actually eat this week."

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying you can’t date if you’re not solidly middle class; you can date quite successfully on the cheap. Nor am I saying you shouldn’t be dating if your life isn’t somehow perfect… but it it should be stable. Constantly changing circumstances – never being sure when you’ll be available, always having to cancel plans at the last moment – is hard enough on an established relationship. It’s almost impossible to start a new one under those circumstances. And if/when they do fail, it leaves you feeling even worse and blaming yourself for not being able to make it work despite everything.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of bad timing.

…When You Just Aren’t Ready

Speaking of bad timing…

Sometimes we just aren’t ready to date… no matter how much we may want to. The most common example of this is after a break-up. There’s a lot of social pressure to “get back on the saddle” after a break-up – almost doubly so if you were the dumper instead of the dumpee. Or we might be the ones trying to convince ourselves that we should be over things by now, that hurting this much for this long is just kind of ridiculous. And as a result: we go diving in head first before we’ve actually healed up and end up reopening the wounds… and creating misery for the people we’re trying to date as well.

Other times we rush headlong into something more serious than we are ready for because we assume that we’re supposed to want it. It may be that you’ve just gotten out of a long-term relationship and feel as though you need to be in something serious and committed right awaybecause… well, you’ve been in one for so long, you’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to be single. Or  we might push for a committed, exclusive relationship because we’re deeply insecure and feel like we need to lock this person down before they have a chance to realize that they could do better. Or you may just not know what you want – only what you think you’re supposed to want, and you haven’t really had any chance to explore what your actualoptions are.

You may rush into a relationship because you’re in love with the idea of being in love. Or you might have always wanted a girlfriend but simply don’t have the emotional tools to actually handle a relationship. You may still be working on being able to enforce your boundaries. You may be trying to unlearn the lessons from an emotionally abusive relationship.

Regardless of the reasons, we live in a culture that believes that we’re supposed to be in relationships. Pop-culture tells us over and over again that being single is the worst thing possible and that if you’re not part of a couple then there’s something wrong with you. We’re not encouraged to appreciate the value of being able to be alone, or that sometimes no, you shouldn’t be dating anyone. Quite the opposite, in fact – more often than not, we’re taught to cling to our relationships like a love-sick barnacle to an especially sexy rock.

"♬ And Iiiiii will always loooove youuuuuuuuu ♪"

But sometimes we need to be single for a while. Part of being successful in dating means knowing yourself. You need a certain level of self-awareness if you want to avoid the mistakes you’ve made before and not inflict more unnecessary pain and hardship on yourself or on the people you want to date. So it’s important to recognize that there are times when we shouldn’t be dating… at least for a little while.