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.

The Myth of What Women Want

 

What Women Want

"Ooh, ooh! I know this one! 'Their own will', right?"

Of course, it’s hard to actually relate to women when we’re acculturated into an antagonistic relationship with women, where men and women may as well be separate species entirely, eternally in conflict. Men are simple creatures, wanting food and fucking while women are inscrutable and sphinx-like. Men will never understand what women want because they’re just too different, yo. Even when the supposed conflict is in a joking manner, there’s still that undercurrent of “…no but seriously, it’s impossible.”

Don't be redicul...oh.

The idea that men and women are in conflict makes relationships almost impossible because it presumes the antagonistic, commodity model of sex; men are taught to enter into relationships under the assumption that we’re having to bribe, bargain or cajole women for what we want1because everyone knows women don’t want sex, bra. We can’t work together because men are intellectual while women are emotional. Men wanna do things while women want to talk about their feelings.

Of course part of what maintains this “conflict” is how much of it relies on the shared wisdom of “everybody knows”. Of course “everybody knows” women don’t want sex. “Everybody knows” women only want slab-jawed alpha-male dudebros with six-packs and seven figure bank accounts. “Everybody knows” women are never going to tell you what they really like in a man.

These are all examples I hear from guys all the damn time. Hell, I’ve heard some of these over thelast couple of days.

If we want to have more success in dating, if we want to understand women better, then we have to untangle all of these mistaken ideas about what women want.

Women Are Not A Hivemind

As I’ve said before: when you’re trying to figure out what women want, you’re asking the wrong question because women aren’t one monolithic entity. The question of what women want is inevitably phrased as though all women are exactly the same. The common stereotypes about women are trotted out as being universal to the gender as though all women were a gestalt intelligence, individual drones being ruled by some queen bee pulling strings from her central hive.

Dammit DiCampi, you're not helping!

The thing is: what a woman wants – at any level – is a product of a multitude of individual factors. The culture and society a woman grows up and lives in will directly affect her outlook on the world and the way she interacts with it. The needs and wants of, say, a Masai woman are going to be radically different from a woman born and raised in Osaka. The experiences of a businesswoman of color in Chicago are going to be different from a white woman in Boise who works in the service industry.

But when we talk about “what women want”, we tend to assume that the stereotypes are universal – and usually based on upper-middle class WASPs2. Even when breaking it down tends to aggregate all women into the broad stereotypes of their segment; all white women are X, all black women are Y, all Asian women are Z, all lesbians and queer women are W, all trans women are J, etc.  The assumptions about any one group whether in the macro (all women) or the micro (bisexual Five Nations women) erase the existence of an individual who doesn’t conform to that strict definition of womanhood; at best she becomes “the exception that proves the rule”3

Yes, there will be certain commonalities. There are always going to be experiences that will be more widespread, especially among people who have a shared cultural upbringing. But this doesn’t translate to “all women are X”;  even amongst seemingly homogeneous groups (bisexual and lesbian women, say) there is going to be a wide variety of differences. The first key to understanding what women want is to quit assuming that there’s a universal law.

(To pre-empt the inevitable argument in the comments: this doesn’t somehow invalidate the #yesallwomen hashtag. #yesallwomen is about women’s experiences, not about traits that are universal to the gender.)

Yes, Women Want Casual Sex Too.

As insane as it seems in the 21st century, the idea that women want casual, no-strings-attached sex too – just as much as men do, in fact – continues to be a matter of controversy. Oh sure, it’s fine if they’re in a relationship – everyone knows on the rare occasions that women want sex, it’s in the context of a relationship. It’s a cornerstone of the commodity model of sex – men want sex more than women, therefore they have to reach the “market price” women set in order to get the hoo-hah. After all, how else are you going to get a man into a relationship if you don’t bribe him into it? Why is he going to buy the milk if he can just fuck the cow for free?

OK, so I'm not so clear on how metaphors work.

Women want to have sex, even casual sex… but the consequences tend to mean that they’re more likely to take a pass. Beyond the physical perils – such as pregnancy and a greater risk of contracting STIs – the potential social fallout often means women don’t see it as being worth taking the chance. Why risk slut shaming and social opprobrium for what’s likely to be mediocre sex? After all, women having casual sex is inherently a bad thing because a woman’s value is intrinsically tied to the “THIS MANY SERVED” sign hovering on the outside of her vagina. Since women are the “gatekeepers” for sex – because any man would fuck in a heartbeat, amirite? – it stands to reason that a woman who lets too many people through the gate is a lousy gatekeeper. It’s like the oft-cited-incredibly-tired comparison of the key and the lock. A key that can open any lock is a master key while a lock that can be opened by any key is shitty lock.

Oh yeah, get some of that multi-tooth actuator action baby.

Sure, it’s a pithy sounding quote that seems clever, but like most glib quotes about the superiority of peens over vajeens, it makes no sense. It only works if vaginas are supposed to only fit onepenis and somehow keep all others out.  ((And this isn’t even getting into cutting new keys… ouch.))  You may as well point out that a pencil that goes into a sharpener too often gets whittled away to nothing while the sharpener can take pencils all day without a problem. It’s exactly as relevant: long cylindrical thing goes into hole designed to receive cylindrical thing.

The problem is that this is another case of received wisdom that people keep trying to justify into existence. There has been study after incredibly flawed study in an attempt to “prove” that women don’t like sex the way that men do as people try to ascribe to biology and evo-psych something that’s caused by culture. If we can “prove” that women don’t like sex because BIOLOGY then it goes to show that women who like sex are somehow wrong and defective. It’s a way of making the madonna/whore dichotomy a matter of scientific fact rather than shaming women for the crime of liking sex the way men do. To give a recent example: the jubilation on the right over the Hobby Lobby decision in the Supreme Court shows that the case was much more about punishing women for having sex than it was about contraceptive care. Even other women get caught up in the “shame” of admitting that women like to fuck; many women list alternate reasons why they might be prescribed hormonal birth-control pills because these are somehow more “legitimate” than “I want to fuck and not have babies, m’kay?”

Understanding that women are sexual beings – just as much as men are – is critical to modern dating. Respecting them as equals and collaborators in sex rather than as antagonists makes for better partnerships. This, in turn, means that not only will there be more sex, but there will be bettersex.

Oh and speaking of:

Women Don’t Want Movie Stars and Models

As we’re talking about what women want, it’s important to talk about what women don’t want, too.

And in this case, it’s “prettyboy actors” and models.

One of the most recurring complaints  I see from men about women – in fact, one of my longest running frustrations with men –  is how women “only” want a certain type of man. That type is inevitably someone who is model-gorgeous, preferably with 5% body fat and abs like damn. Guys will point to Brad Pitt, Michael B. Jordan, Zac Efron, Harry Stiles or any other Tiger Beat cover model and say “See, see?! Women only want guys who look like that.

Yet, surprisingly, men who aren’t pretty-boy frontmen or Abercrombie and Fitch models continue to get laid and get married on a daily basis – even by women who would presumably be “out of their league”. To choose a famous example4 , take Adam Duritz, the lead singer of Counting Crows. He’s a man a man that Jezebel describes as “a haunted chia pet”, yet has dated an impressive number of women, including Mary Louise Parker, Gwen Stefani, Emmy Rossum, Lara Flynn Boyle, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Anniston and Samantha Mathis.

Hold up. Samantha Mathis? MY Samantha Mathis? OK, FUCK this guy.

Then there’s Prince Fielder, the first-baseman for the Texas Rangers. He is decidedly not the washboard-ab-bedecked, 32-inch waist athlete type… yet he has many many fans who appreciate his more generous build. In fact his appearance in the ESPN “Bodies” issue is being celebrated by connoisseurs of larger men (and there are many) on Twitter with the #huskytwitter hashtag.

And of course, there’s Geoffry Arend, who is married to ginger bombshell Christina Hendricks, despite not being what you might call gifted in the facial symmetry department.

Yup. There's no way this could possibly be real love. He's got her parents tied up in a basement somewhere.

Just like men may drool over Kat Dennings and yet still fall in love with women who are not Kat Dennings, women are capable of eye-fucking the hell out of Ryan Gosling or Idris Elba and still desire normal, non-celebrity men. Men and women are equally capable of lusting after extremely attractive people and still lust after people who aren’t featured on movie posters. The difference is that men are told over and over again that a certain type of woman is desirable… and tend to assume that women feel the same way, despite all evidence to the contrary. Yes, good looks certainly help… but it’s not the only factor in attraction and what women define as “good looks” can vary widely.

 It’s Not All About You

If there’s one thing that men tend to do constantly, it’s to assume that everything is about them – and this includes women’s behavior. One thing I see over and over again is the assumption that women are trying to trick men or somehow put one over on them. It comes up in discussions aboutThe Friend Zone – when women are implied to have done this maliciously to men. Other times I’ve seen it come up in discussions about dating; one of my favorites5 is that “women won’t tell you the truth about what women want”. The idea is that what women say they want and what they reallyrespond to are two different things entirely. Under the most benign interpretations, women are simply ignorant about what they really want and will just tell you what society tells them they likeMore often than not though… they’re actively lying to you because FUCK YOU, PENIS.

Of course we all know men never do this.

Do you not read Saga? Dude, READ SAGA.

Even times when it’s well-intentioned, the tendency for guys to assume that everything women do is for our benefit is presumptuous. To give an example I see often: one of the ways that guys try to psyche each other up to make a cold approach is to remind themselves that women don’t put on sexy dresses and make-up and go out to clubs because they don’t want to meet guys. And while this is often true – the social contract in certain bars is that meeting strangers is not just expected but desired – it ignores the fact that women will quite cheerfully dress up and go out with their friends because it makes them feel good and they want to spend time with their friends. Men don’t enter into the equation at all.

It’s not terribly surprising. We already have the majority of culture catering to our interests as men; it seems only natural to assume that everything is about us. But it’s that “man”-centric view that causes so many dating issues; we get defensive because we see rejections as being slights against us as people. We freak out over women being visually aroused by other men because we assume it says something about how they feel about us. We obsess about women’s sexuality because surely it should revolve around us. When it doesn’t… well, it feels like we’ve had something taken away from us.
And while we’re on the subject:

Women Are Trying To Help You

Men tend to make the common mistake of believing that feminism is about superiority. They hear “feminist” and assume that what women want is total domination over men… because… well, c’mon, it’s what we’d do, right? Feminism has to inherently mean that women are superior and men are inferior and need to apologize for being male and so forth and so on.

Which makes for great MRA paranoid fantasies but in reality, it’s a lot simpler. In the words of Rebecca West: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people”. It’s not about destroying men, it’s about making men and women equal. People get caught up in the furor of “OMG Feminists are coming for your penis” because they assume that equality is by its nature a zero-sum game; if women somehow become men’s social equals that means, by definition6 that men have lost out on… something. Nobody’s quite able to say how it brings men down but by Jimminy they know it will. Because reasons.

IT'S A TRAP!

Here’s the thing, though: part of making men and women equal means correcting a toxic system that actively hurts women.To a lot of guys, that can seem threatening; it means having to be aware of the invisible benefits that men enjoy by virtue of being male and the understanding that some of the privileges we enjoy come at a cost to other people. We don’t like to think about the negative side of things that we enjoy. We don’t want to think about how our smartphones are made by slave labor. We don’t want to think about how our culture of conspicuous consumption poisons people in developing countries. And we don’t like thinking about how much of being a man in western society is at the expense of women.

And on the individual level, this idea puts us on the defensive – we aren’t sexist! We don’t treat women like crap! We aren’t specially privileged! Don’t take your anger out on us! But it’s a system we all benefit from whether we are aware of it or not.

Now here’s the twist: the same system that women are trying to fix hurts men too. It’s not women who enforce the rigid, toxic definitions of masculinity, it’s men. The same system that tells women they’re horrible sluts for having sex is the same system that makes it harder for men to get help when they’ve been sexually assaulted or when they’re trapped in an abusive relationship. It’s the same system that says manhood is something that can be taken away from you and that any man who doesn’t adhere to the narrow definition of “man” needs to be punished for it. It’s the one that says violence is the only acceptable way to solve your problems and that admitting weakness or seeking help makes you less than a man.

This is part and parcel of the antagonistic view of relationships between men and women; we’re taught that women are the enemy when what women want more than anything is to help us – men and women both. Instead of assuming we know everything, we need to stop and question. We need to ask. We need to listen.

Because that’s really what women want.

  1. which is to say: fuckin’. [↩]
  2. HA! Callback humor! [↩]
  3. Which, BTW, isn’t what the phrase means. [↩]
  4. Before you say “of course, he’s famous”, if I used a NOT famous example, you’d have no idea who they were. [↩]
  5. for suitably sarcastic definitions of “favorite” [↩]
  6. not really [↩]

 

Online Dating… Is It Worth It?

Online Dating…  Is It Worth It?

 

I’m a big believer in efficiency when it comes to dating.

Most people are… in theory, at least. In practice, however, we have these tendencies to expend a lot of our time and energy on aspects of dating which don’t bring an equivalent level of return for your investment. They’re time sinks that slow you down and cause you no end of stress, anxiety and worry and it only makes dating harder. 

This is especially true when it comes to online dating. In fact, you’re more prone to wasting your time with online dating than you are trying to meet women by making a cold approach at a bar or making small-talk with the cute librarian you ran into at Starbucks.

Y’see, online dating can seem perfect for folks, especially people who have a touch of approach anxiety or hate the bar and club scene but don’t necessarily want to try hitting up strangers at Barnes and Noble. Why do all of that when you can meet women without leaving your house? Flirt to your heart’s content without even bothering to get dressed!

"There's just something magical about hitting on women when I'm not wearing pants."

Unfortunately, as easy as online dating can be, it’s even easier to end up wasting time when you don’t have to. So you want to make sure that you’re not making these incredibly common mistakes.

You’re Using Winks, Flirts, Nudges, Pokes, etc.

Almost every online dating site out there has some form of a low-stakes “hey, so and so wants you to talk to them” notification – often given a cutsey name like “wink” or “flirt” or “send a flower” to make it seem more acceptable.
And frankly, it’s more than a little lazy.

Most dating sites let you set up a profile for free but require that you pay money in order to be able to message people. Some, back in the early days of online dating (lo those dark days of the late 90s and early 00s), were especially evil and would sell a limited number of messages; if you sent out a message and didn’t hear back, well, tough shit Charlie, you just blew a buck (or whatever the per-unit cost was). Winks, nudges, flowers, etc. were intended as a way of trying to get someone to message you, so that you could chat without wasting your hard-earned money. Needless to say, it was kind of an insult even back then; nothing screams romance more than “I’m interested in you but not enough to actually pay to join the site.”

Fortunately most sites seem to have wised up and charge a subscription fee instead, but the vestigal organ that is the “wink” hangs in there like an appendix and does nothing but cause trouble.

Here’s the thing: everybody knows exactly what it means when a guy sends one of these. It’s a way of saying “I know you’re probably not going to write back to me, so please notice me noticing you and do the hard work for me…”

So, kind of like the shy guy in class who keeps looking at you and scrambles to look away whenever you accidentally make eye-contact.

What Should You Do Instead?

If you’re interested in them, send an email already!

Much like stressing about the opener, the first email is there to get them interested enough to write back. The key is to be short and sweet; the longer the email, the more likely it’s going to seem as though you’re too desperate. And besides… if you’re already assuming that they’re not likely to write back anyway, why are you going to waste even more time writing out a sonnet?

I’m a fan of the dating site email template – less of a form letter and more of a very easily customizable email that you send out in order to save time. I’ve used a longer one in my day, but over the years, I’ve streamlined it down even further. The structure is simple: Greeting, a little about what it is about them from their profile that you like, a question to prompt a response, a little bit about you, and then “I hope to talk to you soon.” Two or three lines for each section. Feel free to write out the “about me” section in advance; it’ll save you time in the long-run and it allows you to fine-tune it rather than hitting “send” and then kicking yourself because you realized you could’ve said something wittier.

So a (very generic) example would be:

“Hey, you seem like you’re cool and I wanted to say “hey.” So… hey!  Your being into $COOL_THING caught my eye… have you ever tried $RELATED_COOL_THING? But I have to know: what’s your ultimate escape from the world when you need a release? If you had a chance, what would you do to wind down after a long week? Awesome book? Planning the perfect museum heist? I’m always looking for a potential partner in crime…

A little about me: I’m $AWESOME_ATTRIBUTES_X, Y and Z… and best of all, I’m modest!

Like I said: you seem like you’re a really interesting person and I’d love to get to know you. Hope to talk to you soon,
YOUR_NAME”

Give it a somewhat offbeat subject line in order to stand out from the crowd  – I’ve always had success with “Pirates are inherently cooler than ninjas” – and send it on its way. It takes slightly longer than hitting “wink” (unless you’re like me and kept two to three variations in a text file that you could copy and paste in as needed…) but it’s also far more likely to get an actual response instead of a silent eye-roll.

You Wait To Long To Ask Them Out

This is possibly the biggest time-waster when it comes to online dating: taking too long to actually ask her out on a date.

Look, I get it. If you’re not the most assertive or confident person, you may not feel comfortable asking somebody out on a date early on. You may be trying to feel things out and get to know them. You may be trying to avoid getting shot down and want to wait until you’re absolutely sure that they’re into you. You may be worried about coming across too strong or looking too interested; after all, the person who’s less invested is in the dominant position, right? Right?

Here’s the problem with that attitude: the longer you wait to actually ask her out, the more likely it is that you’re never actually going to meet her in public. By spending so much time trading emails back and forth, you’re bleeding emotional momentum. That initial rush of interest goes away quickly if you wait too long to actually make your move; they’ll almost always start to assume you’re not that interested in them after all.

Moreover: you’re almost certainly not the only person she’s talking to. If you think she’s attractive, then other people do too… and the longer you take to actually say “hey, I’d love to get a drink with you” or “I’ve had a crazy idea: would you like to go to a sushi-making class?” the more likely someone else will.

What Should You Do Instead

Very simple: ask her out, stupid!

If you’ve been exchanging emails back and forth, then they’re interested in talking to you; take “yes” for an answer and say “You know, I think getting to know someone over drinks is better than just emailing back and forth, don’t you?” 

How do you know when to ask? It’s fairly simple: the magic number is typically when you’ve exchanged 3 or 4 emails. Watch for the length of the reply. Much like talking in person, if they’re writing long emails or asking lots of questions, they’re definitely into you; short, terse responses mean that they’re not quite feeling it.

The best thing about it, though, is that it’s a no-lose situation. If you ask and she says “yes”, then congratulations! Go out and ace that first date. If she says “not yet,” but suggests maybe another time soon? She’s still interested but needs a little more time to be comfortable. She says no? Cool, you don’t need to waste any more time with her; move on and find someone who does want to go out with you.

You’re Talking To Only One Person At A Time

Online dating isn’t like meeting people in real life. Narrowing your focus to only talking to one person – especially if you haven’t even gone on your first date with them – is a mistake.

Even if you’re a confirmed serial monogamist, narrowing your focus to only one person at a time is a mistake. You’re putting all of your metaphorical eggs in one basket and – this is key – making the unwarranted assumption that they’re doing the same. Like I said earlier: if you’re interested in them, odds are that somebody else is too… and your online honey-bunny is talking to them, too. Odds are good that they may well be going on dates, as well; not everybody is going to put all other interactions on hold just because they’re talking with one person or another.

You need to avoid pinning all of your hopes on one person, especially before you’ve met in person.Oneitis crops up in online dating all the time. Getting over-invested in one person is a great recipe for frustration and needless heartbreak.

What You Should Do Instead

If dating is akin to fishing (hence “Plenty o’ Fish”, from the stale platitude “there’re plenty of other fish in the sea…”) then you want to be fishing with dynamite. To abuse the metaphor further, you want to be tossing as much out there as you can and seeing what floats to the top. It’s one thing when you’re meeting women in person – unless you’re a graduate of the Lando Calrissian Player School, then you’re only going to be flirting with one woman at a time.

Graduate studies at Player School include how to avoid scheduling problems...

When you’re using an online dating site, you don’t have any such restrictions. You should be talking to as many people as possible – the joys of the text means that you can carry on several different conversations at once with minimal effort. Even if someone seems perfect on paper, you have no idea how well you’re going to work out in person… if you ever get to that stage in the first place. Some people aren’t going to work out. Some people are just going to disappear off the face of the earth with no warning. Even two or three dates isn’t enough to preclude things not working out. Unless you’ve had some form of the relationship talk, don’t be so quick to cut ties with other potential dates. You never know when you might want them back.

You’re Getting Hung Up On the People Who Don’t Respond

Here’s one of the harsh truths about online dating: it’s a numbers game. The people who don’t respond to you are always going to outnumber the people who do. You will spend a lot of time feeling like you’re shouting out into the void or tossing off messages in bottles only to watch them disappear over the horizon without any hope of a response.

This is the reality of 99.999% of people who use OKCupid or Match or Plenty Of Fish or Geek2Geek or Fetlife or ChristianSingles or JDate… really, any dating site (with some notable exceptions). Yes, there are occasionally people who use OKCupid like a sex ATM. They are the exceptions, not the rule. Women have it just as bad as men do – they may get deluged by guys who aren’t their type, but the ones who are never seem to write back.

Welcome to online dating, adjust your expectations accordingly.

Ain't no rage like nerd rage, 'cuz nerds rage at inanimate objects like they give a shit.

The problem is letting that deafening silence get to you, letting it make you bitter and resentful. And it’s easy. We all assume we’re the lone exception, that those non-responses are somehow a judgement of us as a person and that everyone else has it better or easier than we do. Sometimes that anger and resentment spills out into your messages to other people – I’ve lost track of the number of  “You won’t talk to me, you must be some BITCH!!! LOL slut!” messages that my female friends have shared with me.

Spending your mental energy angsting about every non-reply you get is a waste of your time. It won’t help you get any more responses; all that will happen is that you’ll get more and more depressed before possibly giving up on online dating altogether.

What You Should Do Instead

Look, there are untold numbers of reasons why people don’t respond to online dating messages… and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with you. They may have taken a break from dating, they may be focused on one person, they may be out of town, too busy with work, or coming off a harsh break-up. You literally never know. Sometimes it’s something fixable – your profile isn’t exciting, your spelling is off… – and sometimes it’s something that you can’t control like reminding them of an ex-boyfriend or using a phrase they hate with the passion of a thousand suns.

So if they don’t respond: forget ‘em. Put your focus where it should be: on the people who are interested in you.

If you want to maximize your responses, you need to find the people who have shown that they’re into you. If someone’s visited your profile, check theirs out and send them a message if they’re your type. Do what you can to bring people to your page. Make sure to use keywords so that people searching for you can find you. Updating your dating profile photo regularly helps keep your profile at the top of searches and on the front page. If the site has quizzes or forums (like OKCupid) get involved in the community.

And above all else: keep moving forward. Improve what you can, where you can. Fine tune your profile, update your photos, and craft the perfect online dating email.

Pay no attention to the people who don’t respond; they’re unimportant and you’re wasting your time with them.

Spend your energy where it counts and you’ll be an online dating master before you know it.

Rejection

How to Deal with Rejection

 

One of the biggest fears that a lot of men and women have when it comes to the dating scene is the fear getting rejected. Whether it’s summoning up the courage to go flirt with the cute girl at the party or finally mustering up the nerve to ask out the co-worker that you’ve been interested in for the longest time, fear of being rejected keeps most people from ever making that critical first step.

Notice very carefully that I said it’s the fear of getting rejected that holds people back. Much like  many other phobias, it’s the anticipation of rejection – more than the rejection itself –  that causes people to hesitate. The expectation of being rejected is so disturbing and present that many people won’t make any attempts at all in the face of everything they imagine will happen to them when (not if) they get shot down.

Now, it’s not terribly surprising that men fear rejection; after all, you feel as though your very existence is being judged. Being rejected can feel as though it’s a response to you as a person rather than a reaction to the circumstance or situation. You feel humiliated. You feel like not only did everybody just watch you get shot down, but they’re all enjoying watching you being put back in your place. Now news of your failure is spreading like wildfire through your entire community, leaving you emotionally stranded as an object of ridicule who will never, ever be able to ask someone else out successfully ever again.

Of course, what you imagine is far worse than the reality by orders of magnitude, but being rejected still sucks. However, it doesn’t have to be the apocalyptic event that you’ve built up in your mind. With the right mindset, rejection can even help you in the long run!

It’s Not As Bad As You Think

Let’s get this out of the way: being rejected  – whether it’s by a relative stranger or by someone you have known and longed for for ages – sucks. No question there. However, it’s also not the end of the world scenario that you’ve conjured up in your head.

Y’see, if there’s one thing our brains seem to enjoy, especially if you have even the slightest hint of social anxiety, is coming up with worst-case scenarios. These tend to be the emotional equivalent of the Rube Goldberg-style death scenes from The Final Destination movies, everything building up to an operatic climax that ensures that your entire world is ruined foreverrrrrrr!

All of these scenarios are built up on expectation of embarrassment. You’re afraid of being embarrassed in front of others, whether it’s the boss you just asked for a raise or that hot librarian working the reference desk when you asked her for her number. You can just picture her breaking out into a harsh laugh, hardly believing that you had the temerity to ask her for her number, calling her friends over to witness your humiliation as your slinking away as everybody hoots and laughs at you while you slink away with your tail between your legs.

In reality though? That’s not going to happen.

When you’ve made your move and been rejected… all that’s happened is that you’ve been turned down. That’s it.

Everything else? That’s entirely in your head. Nobody’s pointing and laughing. Nobody else is going to notice – or even care. Hell, anyone who does happen to see it won’t even remember five minutes later. It’s not an indictment of you as a person. It’s just a simple “no, thank you”.

Once you learn to accept this, you’ll be able to make the steps towards turning rejection from an earth-shattering event to “no big deal”. Of course, the best way to do this is… well, through experience. That is, to be rejected a few times. And that’s the tough part.

Reframe, Refocus, Redirect.

Getting to that level of confidence can be difficult. After all, if the way to get over rejection is to get rejected, how are you supposed to learn from it in the first place?

The first thing you need to realize that you are in control of how you respond to things. You and you alone have the power to decide how you feel about something.

Remember what I said about how all of the pain and embarrassment from rejection is in your head? It feels that way because you allowed it to. You’re the one who decided to feel bad about it. It’s about how you choose to see things. Let’s say that you’ve asked your crush out on a date and she gives you the “Let’s just be friends” speech. You have two ways of responding to this: you can see it as a judgement on you as a person, or you can see it as being one step closer to someone who can appreciate what you have to offer.

You can see it as a crippling failure… or you can see it as a triumph; after all, how many people doyou know who don’t have the courage to make their move and will just spend the rest of their lives in frustration, never knowing what might be?

You can see it as an embarrassing moment, or proof that you’re latest attempt didn’t work and need to try to do things differently next time.

You can see it as “proof” that you’re an irredeemable loser… or you could see it as just another woman who can’t recognize a good thing when it’s right in front of her.

Rejection only damages your self-esteem if you allow it to. To quote a wise man: “Pain don’t hurt.”

When you’re rejected, it’s up to you to reframe the situation. You can let it destroy you or you can decide that it’s not a big deal. When you’re getting rejected often, it’s possible to see it as a judgement on who you are as a person and begin to take on the attitude that everybody rejects you. As with other self-limiting beliefs, this becomes a cycle of confirmation bias; you only see what you expect and translate it into more proof that there’s something “wrong” with you. You need to remember that it only seems like everyone rejects you; you still have friends and family who love and care for you. It’s literally all in how you’re choosing to see things.

Remember: it takes a lot of guts to make that approach. Are you a loser for having been rejected, or are you a hero for reaching down, grabbing your nuts (or your ovaries) and saying “To hell with everything else, I’m going to take that chance”?

You Can Learn From Rejection

I didn’t fail 1000 times. I successfully discovered 1000 ways that didn’t work. – Thomas Edison

One of the great paradoxes of life is that it’s difficult to learn from success. When you have an easy success, you have very little frame of reference for why you succeeded. Was it all due to a combination of perseverance and skill, or was it a case of the universe lining up perfectly and leading to a once-in-a-million chance?

You can learn a lot from failure, however. Repeated failures let you refine your process, eliminating errors and mistakes and narrowing down your pathway to success. Failure is the greatest teacher you can have, and this is doubly true when it comes to dating.

In my own journey towards getting better with women, I have been laughed at, ignored, shot down, dumped and otherwise rejected more times than I can count… and as much as it sucked in the moment – and let me tell you it sucked – each and every failure I experienced was infinitely more valuable than the early successes. Every time I fucked up, every time I fumbled an easy score, every time I choked1 it meant I did something wrong, and once I figured out what that error was, I could eliminate it from my repertoire.

It’s like I said earlier: rejection only has to be horrible if you frame it that way. If you see it as being a learning experience – something that will only prove to make you stronger in the long run – then rejection can be incredibly valuable to you.

I’m a big believer in documenting everything in your dating life. It’s part of how you troubleshoot your skill set, after all. When you get rejected, it means something went wrong along the way, and once you can figure out what it was, you can take steps to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Now it can be difficult to be detached and analytical when you’re in the moment… but when you’ve had a chance to get home and put pen to paper, you should be taking notes about everything. What you said, what she said, how she said it, whether she mentioned having troubles with her boyfriend, stress from work, everything. You want to be able to take an honest and appraising look at what happened. After all… it could just as easily be a fault of bad timing as something you did. Maybe you made an off-color joke that she took badly, or perhaps outside influences lined up in just such a way that she was not in a position to be receptive to your advances.

The more you’re willing to see rejection as something you can learn from, the less rejection will bother you.

Confidence = Fear + Survival

Once you’ve had more experience with rejection, learning to control your reaction to it and how to learn from it, you’ll find that you won’t fear it as much as you did before. You’ll be in a better position to go out and risk getting rejected and not letting your fear hold you back.

Now this doesn’t mean that making your move will be easy at first; in fact, you’ll almost certainly still feel anxiety. This is ultimately a good thing; after all, you should be making an effort to get outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. However, the more you experience rejection, the less it will affect you or ruin all of your progress. In fact, after a certain point in my development, I welcomed the harshest rejections… in fact, if I got an especially bad one, I would turn it to my advantage. I would actually tell the girl “OK, hold that thought for just a second, ok? I’ll be right back.” Then I would grab my wingman or wingwoman, bring them back and re-introduce myself.  “This is my buddy,” I’d say, ” and he totally needed to see you shoot me down like that. Could you just do that again? In fact, could you make that even meaner?”

Sometimes I’d get a laugh out of her and turn the entire interaction around. Sometimes she’d ignore me entirely. Sometimes she’d be even harsher… and then I’d turn to my wingman and demand a high-five. “See? I told you that was awesome!” I’d say as we walked off. I may not have gotten her number, but my friends and I would turn a negative into a positive experience. We would have the confidence to face rejection head-on and not flinch. Because we had learned how to handle rejection, process it and make it into something we could use, we would take the risks… and reap the rewards that came with them.

Rejection hurts. But while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Rejection may suck, but you can turn it into more than it seems and use it to become even stronger than you ever were in the first place.

And then you won’t be getting rejected as much again.

Don’t be a Creeper

Please don’t be  a creeper

 

On a previous post we talked about the concept of male privilege. This week, we’re going to take that knowledge and examine how you can put it to practical use.

One of the more common problems I see amongst the nerd brotherhood is a certain lack of self-awareness. Too many guys out there – especially those who can be a little less socially experienced – don’t quite understand the difference between how they perceive themselves and how they’re coming across to others. As far as they’re concerned, they’re the very model of chivalry and gentility. However, the girls they’re talking to? They have a slightly different opinion about the matter.

The more kind-hearted ladies would describe them as “intense”. Or they would say “(He) comes across a little strong, but he means well. You just have to get to know him”

The less kindly would say it flat out: “He gives me the creeps.”

It’s surprisingly easy to give off the creepy vibe to women, especially if you aren’t aware of what you’re doing and why it makes women feel the way they do. Your friends may know you well enough to know that you don’t mean to be a creeper, but you don’t have the time to explain that to every woman you meet.

So it’s time to take a look at your behavior and make sure you aren’t being a creeper.

On Male Privilege and Being Creepy

As I said last time, part of male privilege is all of the things that guys take for granted, like personal safety. Women, on the whole, don’t pose a physical threat to men; while there will always be individual exceptions, the average male is larger, stronger and heavier than the average woman. In practical terms, this means that the average man is fully capable of overpowering the average woman with relative ease… and women are very aware of this fact. Women have to gauge every interaction with men, especially men they don’t know, on whether or not he presents a threat to her. This is the unspoken subtext for every time a guy talks to a girl, sends a Facebook friend request or asks her out.

Just about every woman out there knows somebody -a friend, a family member, someone – in their immediate circle who has been threatened, taken advantage of or assaulted… if they haven’t been themselves. Think about that for a second.

Because women live in a state of near-constant threat awareness, they are far more cued in to the slight clues that hint at potential danger than guys are. Because the stakes are much higher for women than they are for men, women are more sensitized to these little hints, which can lead to false-positives. That guy who stares too hard and lingers around her long after he’s worn out his welcome may not actually intend to make her uncomfortable, but she has no way of knowing this; it’s far safer to allow for the wrong impression than it is to ignore the signs when someone actuallydoes mean her harm.

 

Guys – who don’t have to do this mental calculus on an almost hourly basis – are frequently unaware of this issue. They’re often ignorant of just what it is they’re doing that sends all the wrong signals. In fact, because they don’t live with the same omnipresent threat that women do, they’re frequently offended by the idea that it’s their behavior that creeps girls out. Because they don’t (or won’t) address the issue, the behavior continues.

And don’t think that girls won’t talk about it. Every girl has a story about creepers she has met… and she will be sure to share that information with all of her friends.

The last thing you want is to be a creeper. Fortunately, some self-awareness and fairly simple changes in a guy’s behavior can eliminate the creepy vibe.

Watch Your Body Language

Body language is one of the ways that women use to gauge men’s intentions… and it’s one of the ways that guys mistakenly give off the creepy vibe.

Guys will often face people directly when talking to them, pointing their feet, torso and face directly at the person they’re talking to. To guys, this is a sign of attention, that you’re engaged in communicating with the person in front of you. To a woman whom you’ve just met, this is anincredibly intense look; it comes off as almost uncomfortably aggressive and will leave women feeling cornered. This is especially true if you’re broad or tall; you may think you’re being direct or confident, but you’re coming across as overbearing and threatening.

To avoid being creepy, learn to avoid giving women the full frontal; angle your body away from theirs, or even address them from your side or over the shoulder. The more comfortable a woman is with you, the more directly you can face her without causing her to instinctively reach for the pepper spray.

Avoid overly intense eye-contact. The difference between flirty eye contact and overly intense is a fine one;  too short and she won’t notice, too long and you will begin to seem aggressive. Ideally, you want to hold eye contact for just a little longer than normal – a matter of a second or two past the point where it starts to feel uncomfortable – then deliberately break contact by looking up and away with a smile. That hint from holding eye contact just a second too long feels exactly like the rush that you feel when you see someone you’re incredibly attracted to. Hold it too long and it becomes a threat… legitimate discomfort rather than butterflies in the stomach. Getting the timing right on this is a matter of practice and calibration; you’ll have to accept that you’re going to end up being a little creepy as you learn to calibrate your internal clock.

Notice very carefully, by the way, that I told you to smile. Remember this: one of the keys to not being creepy is a big, toothy grin. Imagine for a second, two men, both looking at you. Both of them are standing in the exact same pose. One of them is stoney-faced; he may as well be looking at paint samples as looking at you. The other has a big smile on his face. Which one of them seems friendly to you, and which one seems like he might be considering whether he wants to beat you into a fleshy cube?

Now realize that this is exactly the difference that a smile makes to women. The difference between “friendly” and “estimating the number of lampshades he can make from your skin” is often a grin.

…And Keep Your Hands To Yourself.

Related to body language is touch and spatial awareness. You need to be aware of how close you are to people – especially women – and how this makes people feel. There are certain zones of personal space; the outer edges are known as public space, while the closer you come you pass through the social space, then into increasingly intimate personal space. The physically closer to someone you are, the more intimate the space. If you aren’t someone with intimate space privileges – family members, close friends, lovers, intruding into this space can be incrediblyuncomfortable; it feels like a threat and triggers a threat response in the people you’re talking to. If you’re talking to someone and they’re stepping back from you, you can safely assume that you are too close. Do not make the mistake of stepping forward. This will inevitably be seen as threateningly aggressive. You’ve now gone from making them feel uncomfortable to making them feel pursued. And if you inadvertently back them into a wall or a corner you will have moved from uncomfortable to “actually fucking afraid”. The smaller the space you’re in – such as say, an elevator – the greater the distance you need to keep from her for her comfort. If she is comfortable with your coming closer to her, she will let you know.

Similarly, you need to be aware of touch. Touch and physical contact is incredibly important to humans; we have actual needs for physical contact. Touching, especially when flirting, can be a good thing. Too much touching, on the other hand, or touching for too long, sends the wrong message. It comes across as aggressive and dominant behavior. Leaving your hand on a girl for too long – even in a neutral place like the shoulder or middle of the arm – will read as though you’re claiming possession of her… or worse, that you’re going to drag her off somewhere. Too short and you can come across as nervous… and that nervous energy will make her nervous. You need to learn to break physical contact before she gets uncomfortable. Much like making eye contact, this is a case of learning how to calibrate your sense of what’s appropriate. It can take trial and error to go from “Creepy touchy guy” to “guy who’s physically expressive”.

This can be a tricky issue because it often comes down to cultural differences. What is natural to some cultures will seem scandalous to others. Some cultures are far more touchy-feely than American culture; the defined “personal” space is often smaller, and allows for greater intimacies between relative strangers. In American culture, greetings between strangers and acquaintances are frequently limited to handshakes at approximately half of arm’s length. Other cultures have higher levels of interpersonal contact; greetings can include hugs or kisses on the cheek. Some cultures require greater distance between people for their comfort; others allow for standing far closer.

You need to remember: nobody is going to give a damn where you grew up or what everybody does back home if you’re creeping them out. Being from another culture isn’t an excuse, and the longer you’ve been in their culture, the lamer that reason will seem. It is incumbent on you to make allowances for the culture you’re interacting with and to learn to adjust your behavior to what’s socially appropriate.

Watch Your Fucking Language

This is about more than just swearing… it’s about the implications behind what you say and how it comes across to others.

Look: there are certain things that will seem funny to you but will be incredibly off-putting in another context. Context such as, say, talking to a beautiful woman you’ve never met before. Women already have to fear for their safety on a daily basis… the last thing you need to do is remind her that, oh yes, you represent a potential threat to her. This means that there are certain jokes that you just shouldn’t make. Jokes about rape, abduction, physical assault or murder are off the table. Period. Too many women have experienced physical or sexual threats and violence for you to jokingly suggest that you might kidnap or rape her.

You may think you’re being funny when you walk up to girls holding a napkin and asking “Hey, does this smell like chloroform to you?”

You aren’t.

You’re being creepy.

Now stop it.

Don’t Hover

Hey, I get it. Approaching beautiful women is nerve-wracking. You are putting yourself out there and deliberately making yourself vulnerable to the opinions of others. It can take a lot of courage to do this. But if you’re hovering around a girl while trying to work up the nerve to talk to her, you’re going to be creeping her out. Women are incredibly aware of their surroundings; they have to be. A guy who’s making a point of being in her general proximity without actually approaching her or talking to her is going to be seen as a potential threat. You may be waiting for an opening. You may be waiting for her to walk away from her friends so you can approach her by herself. You may just be trying to psych yourself up to deliver your opening line. You know that you’re perfectly harmless… in fact, you’d be willing to bet that you’re more afraid of her than she should be of you.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s going to read to her. You’re going to come across as a predator waiting for his moment. This is creepy behavior that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Avoid this by instituting what’s known as the “three second rule”. The three second rule is simple: if you see someone you’re attracted to, you have exactly three seconds from the moment you see her to walk up and introduce yourself. This rule prevents you from psyching yourself out of approaching the woman you like and keeps you from hovering. It can feel intimidating, but the three second rule is a great way to power through that initial nervousness that ends up sabotaging guys. The sooner you get comfortable approaching beautiful women without lurking and hovering, the better the results you’ll have.

Don’t Linger

Part of not being creepy means being socially calibrated. Part of socially calibrated means knowing when you’re not wanted and  learning when it’s time to walk away. If a woman isn’t interested in you, proximity isn’t going to change her mind. In fact, the longer it takes for you to get the hint that you’re not wanted, the creepier you’re going to seem. Creepy guys will stick around long past the time when they were supposed to leave. You may be honestly missing the clues that it’s time to go; she’s going to see it as you ignoring what she sees as very clear signs that you’re not wanted.

If the conversation is starting to die off – as opposed to a natural lull – you don’t want to try stick around desperately trying to keep things going. Make your excuses and bow out of the conversation gracefully. Similarly, if you notice that her eyes are starting to dart around to the sides – as though she were looking around for someone – you need to realize that she’s looking for someone to rescue her from you. Most women are socially conditioned not to give offense or hurt men’s feelings and so they’ll rarely break off a conversation directly. Instead they’ll be looking for a socially relevant reason to leave. Once you start getting the signs that she’s trying to exit the conversation, you need to take the initiative, end things first and walk away.

Avoid Over-Contact

It’s entirely natural to want to talk to the girl you like… after all, you want to learn more about her. You’re going to want to make plans. You’re going to want to confirm those plans. You’re going to want to advise her when plans have changed, when you’re going to be late, when you’re actually a little early…

However, when you’re sending email after email and filling up her voice mail with dozens of messages, you will have caused her spider-sense to start tingling. You may feel that you’ve got a perfectly good reason to send her several texts throughout the day, but she’s never going to see that. She’s going to assume that – at best – you’re almost pathetically needy. At the worst, she’s going to think you’re possessive and controlling, possibly even a stalker-in-training. Either way, she’s going to be losing your number very quickly.

You need to avoid creepy levels of contact. Keep yourself to a strict limit; no more than two or three attempts to contact her without hearing back. Remember: one unreturned message is happenstance; it could be anything. Two is cause for concern. Three means she’s trying to tell you something.

Don’t Be An Accidental Stalker

It’s only natural that when you like someone, you want to see them as often as possible. If you’re trying to charm a woman, it can be tempting to “accidentally” run into her… at work, at the grocery store, at the fitness club. But you need to remember that there are only so many coincidences before she’s going to think that you’re following her.

In the age of Google, instant messages and social networking, it’s easier to find people and stay in contact with them than ever before. For women, this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s never been simpler for old friends to find you and get in touch. On the other, it’s never been simpler for the wrong people to find you as well. Google and Facebook have made it easier for men to stalk women than it has ever been; privacy as we used to know it has changed in radical ways and we’re still racing to keep up with the changes.

You may swear up and down that you’re not a stalker. You’d never try to track her down or follow her. But if you aren’t careful about how you act online and in person, that’s exactly how you’re going to seem. Girls are acutely aware of guys who seem to be following them, even when it’s via cyberspace. If you’re not careful, your innocent attempts at social networking are going to read as someone who’s intent on following her wherever she goes.

This can be problematic if you frequent certain places at the same time; there’s only so many times you can bump into her at the gym before she will think something’s up. If the barrista doesn’t know that your 8:15 stop for a vanilla latte is part of your regular routine on the way to work, she’s going to begin to think that you’re coming specifically to see her. At first, this can be flattering. If it goes on for too long, it becomes creepy.

This also applies for being online. For women, this means that the threat to their safety has grown dramatically as well – and women are well aware of it. Social networks are a great tool for keeping in touch, but they’re also a haven for finding out all kinds of personal information, including phone numbers and home addresess.

Trying to friend her on Facebook, adding her on AIM, following her on Twitter, asking to be connected via LinkedIn… if you aren’t very aware of the level of your relationship, you could seem as though you’re cyberstalking her.

Being friends on Facebook isn’t proof against this either. Many women have been creeped out by guys who insist on “liking” or commenting on EVERYTHING they post, who post repeatedly on their wall, or send chat request after request. They may have had the most innocent of intentions, but their creepy behavior got them blocked and de-friended without a chance to explain.

The answer to this is to deliberately ignore her. Just because you’re at the gym together doesn’t mean that you have to stop and talk to her every time. Sometimes it’s good to be too involved in something else to even know that she’s there. Be a little too distracted to do more than give your regular order at Starbucks. Don’t snub her, just be “unaware” of her presence… which means you don’t walk past her then stare at her when you think she’s not looking.

Online, be similarly sparing in your attention. Just because she’s popped onto AIM doesn’t mean you have to say hi. Keep your comments, likes, @ replies and retweets sparing and strategic. Less is frequently more when it comes to avoiding creepy behavior.

Obviously, avoiding creepy behavior can be a tricky balancing act. But once you’ve learned to be aware of how your behavior appears to others, you’ll be better equipped to avoid giving the creepy vibe to the women you meet and enjoy meeting and dating beautiful women.

 

Why reach for the Moon when we have the Stars..?

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