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Why women like the man to pay on the first date.

21 Jan

I feel like the manosphere has mostly embraced the idea that the man should never pay for a single thing on a date until the woman has put out.  Kind of like, “you have to pay your way until you give me sex,” which is a very romantic notion.  Or, judging the woman’s character on the basis of whether she reaches for her wallet first and gives lip service to the idea of paying her way:  if she doesn’t offer to pay her way, then she’s clearly an amoral dinner whore who will probably divorce you and ruin you financially for life after she pumps out Baby #1.

This whole approach banks on the premise that the man is so sexy to the woman that she will do anything just to remain in his presence.  The problem with this approach is that very few men are actually that sexy relative to the women they are going on dates with.  Most of the time, the woman will come away with a negative impression of the man if she senses that he expects her to pay, even if the rest of the date was a success.

So, in this era of “why should the man pay when women are earning a lot of money/feminism means that women deserve JACK from men!”, why do women still want the man to pay?

My theory is that the man paying is a demonstration of the mix of alpha and beta traits that women are looking for in men.

Paying is beta because it demonstrates that the man can be a good provider.  Christian dating advice usually hammers this point home to male readers:  Men, show how godly you are by providing for your woman!  PROVIDE as God PROVIDED for you!  Answer the call of PROVISION!  …But seriously, it’s a comfort-building move that puts the woman at ease and makes her feel cared for.  It takes the pressure off her to lead.

Paying is also alpha in that it demonstrates the man’s control over the situation and his social ease.  A man who kind of glances at the check and then glances at you expectantly, like, Hey, aren’t you going to pick up your half of the tab = not confident, not cool, is more interested in testing you than getting to know you, is waiting for YOU to set the tone, is waiting on YOU to act, is waiting for YOU to initiate.  These are attitudes that make a woman shrivel on the inside.  Conversely, a man who nonchalantly grabs the bill and pays without looking to the woman for any sort of affirmation = TINGLES.  It’s a dominant move that says shows the man is a leader, he doesn’t need your “permission” to pay, he’s not deferring to your lead, it’s that he wants to pay and he’s going to and, furthermore, he CAN pay.

Because of the implications of paying, I recommend keeping first and other early dates low-cost.  That way the woman won’t feel as though the man was trying to purchase her time/physical affection if the date was only so-so, and the man won’t feel as though he blew a bunch of money on a mediocre time.  Also, if you (the man) ARE intending to pay, grab the check as soon as possible.  The longer the check lies there, the more pressure the woman feels to offer to pay since she’s no longer sure you’re the type who pays for dates or not, or if you will only offer to pay after she offers first.  Either way, it’s a tingle-killer.

Also:  what about women who insist on always paying their way?  The reason women do this is because they feel that dates are basically a sort of socially sanctioned prostitution in which the man purchases time with the woman in expectation of some degree of putting out.  In her mind, if she permits him to pay, then she may give him the ~wrong impression~.  So, in order to thwart that expectation, the woman will insist on always paying for herself, which, generally, has the side effect of being a romance-killer since she has now robbed the man of a chance to show his alpha/beta mix AND it shows that she is a believer in equalism.

If you run into a situation with a woman who seems intent on paying, don’t barter with her, just tell her “We’re on a date, so I’m paying.”  Your tone should convey that this is non-negotiable.  If she puts up resistance, tell her, “When you ask me on a date, you can pay.  Would you say that’s fair?”  If she STILL insists (but why would you be on a date with this kind of woman in the first place?), you can try a nuclear move of asking the server if you can retroactively have separate checks since your date has refused to let you pay for her.  At that point, it’s all scorched earth since there’s no way you will ever be taking her out again anyway.

Tired of Christian dating advice acting like physical attraction is an either/or proposition.

12 Jan

I can’t remember if I’ve discussed this article from MarryWell before, but even if I have, it’s worth a revisit.  I bookmarked the article a couple of years ago in anticipation of blogging about it, but did I ever get around to the blogging part?  ANYHOW…it’s your basic “how important is physical attraction?” Q&A, wherein a thirtysomething single female MarryWell-er gets an answer from Candice Watters.  (Longtime readers of my blog can probably tell you Candice Watters’ opinion on the topic, and my opinion of Candice Watters’ opinion on the topic.)  Basically, the reader says she forwarded the infamous “Brother, You’re Like a Six” Boundless article to a single male friend whom she felt needed the ~advice, and he wrote her back a lengthy reply that basically reads like typical manospherian reasoning on the subjects of looks, chemistry, and attraction.  Since this reply from the horse’s mouth wasn’t good enough for Reader, who believes men are “swayed heavily by…our culture” and “secular standards about who to pursue,” she went to Candice to get the answer she wanted to hear.

Candice wrote a reply that encapsulates the aspects the I find most infuriating about Christian dating advice:  namely, that physical attraction is this sort of either/or thing that you can only count on for a couple of years, and then you plummet directly into companionate love for the rest of your life, never to feel any heat again, but that’s okay because your companionate love is so rich and deep that you’ll never miss being hot for each other except those six times you have sex per year.  Okay, that’s my paraphrase, but what other conclusion can one draw from a reply that begins thusly:

If only it were that simple! Find a gorgeous woman (or man), marry her (or him), and live happily ever after. Of course that’s how it works in the movies. But movies always end before the fireworks (what your friend calls “zing-pop”) die down. And they do. Always. Every marriage moves beyond the new-love, high-octane phase eventually, according to Psychologist Dorothy Tennov. The longest it can last is three years, and often it’s less. On average the emotional highs last between eighteen months and three years. Then what?

If what he’s looking to hold his marriage together for “many, many, many years” is sexual attraction, he’s setting himself up for disappointment. The only way to keep the high-jinks of new love going is to keep starting over with new lovers.

But it need not end this way. When two believers come together in marriage, they have the potential, when the giddy feelings ebb, to leave what C.S. Lewis calls the “thrill” phase of romance for the “quieter and more lasting kind of interest … and happiness that follows.” He encourages this process, noting it is “one little part of what Christ meant by saying a thing will not really live unless it first dies.”

What I do not understand is this churchian insistence that marrying out of sexual attraction is this zero-sum, either/or proposition, like either you marry because you want to BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG and do pretty much nothing else, or you marry because you’re pure and holy and mainly interested in doing taxes together and making sure your future children are raised in the faith, and the sex appeal is just sort of this little side bonus.  Why can’t people marry because there’s sexual chemistry AND they are well-suited to each other in temperament and other values AND it all comes together in a complete package that includes sex, kids, and life?  Why must one preclude the other?  Why can’t you grow in companionate love and the security of stability, and still find each other sexy and attractive?  How is this “well, don’t think you’re going to find each other sexy forever, ’cause that never lasts” view of marriage going to encourage young men to marry?  I mean, what young guy (or young woman, for that matter) is going to hear this and be like, “OH YEAH, BABY, SIGN ME UP!”??

I agree that singles looking to marry need to be realistic about the mundane aspects of married life (someone who needs constant romantic drama/stimulation is not a wise marriage prospect), but I find the constant downplaying of the importance of sexual attraction really irritating.  Most men aren’t going to marry – or even begin pursuit – for lack of sexual attraction, and most women would be depressed to find out a man would pursue them without having any sexual attraction.  Marrying someone SOLELY due to sexual attraction is obviously unwise, but how many people are really doing that?  Especially in an era where you can have sex and not be judged socially without having to marry the other person – even within the church?  How many singles really get removed from churches these days because of fornication?  If anything, the current sexual and cultural climate in the U.S. is forcing men to consider other reasons for marriage, just to reduce the risk of divorce.

Other reasons this article irritated me:

  • Watters’ assertion that Reader’s male friend has a “consumer mentality” about sexual attraction and the insinuation that making sexual attraction really important is per se BAD.

Your friend’s thinking mirrors our consumer culture far more than it does the Bible. God designed marriage for a purpose, several actually. And all of these purposes: “procreation, remedy against sin, mutual society, help and comfort” are achievable even if physical attraction isn’t the primary driver. That’s not to say there’s something wrong with pursuing a mate you find attractive. But it is to caution against giving looks and “chemistry” pre-eminence in the decision process.

  • Watters’ slamming of Song of Solomon as an example of the importance of sexual attraction.

I suspect your friend would say his desire for a “zing-pop” connection is consistent with Song of Solomon. There certainly was chemistry between Solomon and his bride. But nowhere in Scripture is that given as a condition for a God-glorifying marriage. You can build a strong, godly, world changing marriage on many things. But you can never build that simply on looks. Good looks are a bonus. They’re like icing on a cake. And as the saying goes, if all you eat is icing, you’ll get sick.

  • Her church lady-ing of Reader’s friend for his desire to be sexually attracted to his future spouse.

I worry for men like your friend who may miss out on highly productive marriages and families that are fruitful for the kingdom, simply because the women God brings to them don’t, at first, cause a chemical reaction.

I know I’ve said this before, but…does Watters understand ANYTHING about male attraction?  HER OWN EXPERIENCE trying to win over her now-husband seems to have taught her nothing!  Steve didn’t want to date her at first because he didn’t find her physically attractive!  How much time and heartache would she have saved herself if she had done more to make herself look good from the get-go?  Yet she continues to accuse men of passing over women who would be good wives, except those women are missing a key component of what men think makes a good wife:  physical attractiveness!!!

But sure, let’s keep praying that God will change every man’s mind about attractiveness, or at least the minds of the ones who don’t think the way women do about attractiveness.  (This is the advice she gives to the women:  don’t try to change men’s minds directly; instead, PRAY their minds into a different direction.)

Meanwhile, zero admonitions to the women to get themselves to the gym, stop eating every baked good that passes before their eyes, to dress better, and to be fun to be around.

 

Make every day a hot day.

18 Dec

I don’t know if I’m just getting punchy before the holidays or what, but lately I’ve been feeling really irritated at how frumpy so many women are.  Frumpy clothes, frumpy hair – and then they wonder why no guys are paying attention to them, or they’re only getting attention from the guys they don’t want.

It’s not just frumpiness of style, either; it’s also plain old being plain.  Timid.  Unimaginative.  If you look like the personification of beige yet remain stumped as to why a guy can’t see the beautiful personality that your mom, grandma, and all of your female friends see, wellllll.

Sometimes you got to help a brother out.  Men are visual creatures.  Make it easy for him, not harder.

In other words, make every day a hot day.  Don’t wait for an occasion to look hot; make looking hot your regular look.  If you wait for a perfect occasion for looking hot, chances are it’ll never happen.  Stop looking for excuses, and just do it.  You feel a little fat today?  Doesn’t matter, make it a hot day.  Got a zit?  Doesn’t matter, make it a  hot day.  You’re tired?  Doesn’t matter, make it a hot day.  You’re not going anywhere special?  Doesn’t matter, make it a hot day.  You don’t think you’re pretty?  Doesn’t matter, make it a hot day.

Just to clarify – a hot day doesn’t mean dressing like you’re going to the club.  It means looking attractive, on top of things, classy, intelligent, and interesting.  Aim for smart-sexy, not club-trampy.

Do you need a style revamp?  Consider your answers to the following questions:

Do people regularly compliment your outfits?

If you are not getting regular compliments on what you wear, then you probably need to step it up a notch or two.

Has anyone complimented your haircut when you’ve just gotten it cut?

If no one has told you that your hair looks good after a haircut, then you’ve been paying someone who doesn’t deserve your money.  Find someone new to cut your hair, and keep going to someone new until you start getting compliments.

Do you read any fashion magazines or blogs?

If you don’t, I recommend People Stylewatch.  Its specialty is accessible (read:  normal person) fashion, not couture, and showcases clothes at a variety of price points.  I also recommend the TLC show What Not to Wear.  Stacy and Clinton tend to style everyone the same, but it’s good for middle-America office-worker fashion and tips on how to put together outfits, and most of the people they make over are average-looking.

If you don’t have anyone in your life whose opinion your trust about your appearance, feel free to send me some pictures for a critique.  I will give you an honest assessment and won’t share your photos with anyone.

P.S.  This is most likely my final blog post of 2012, as I am leaving for my hometown on Friday and won’t be back until the new year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.  Thanks for reading!

Best of Boundless: “Man Enough to Love a Real Woman.”

4 Dec

This is quite possibly the greatest article Boundless has ever published.

In this article, author Joshua Rogers describes how he gave up aspirations to have an attractive, non-needy, intelligent, and spiritually mature wife who was also fun to be around, and instead learned how to love a “real woman.”***

I really wanted to quote basically the whole thing, but I’ve listed the money quotes below.  In the article, they appear beneath the sub-headline Are You Man Enough?.

To those single guys out there who are trying to find the ideal woman, do the world a favor and give up. You’re not the ideal man — not anywhere close. And you would never get married if women held you to the same standard you apply to them.

But maybe you insist that you’re not going to settle for a woman who’s not everything you’re hoping for in a wife. Settle? Whatever the circumstances, believe me, she will be the one who settles for you and all your deficits. And until you realize this — through humbling circumstances or otherwise — maybe you should take a break from dating for a while and spend some time asking God to make you man enough to love a real woman.

This is the Boundless mentality in a nutshell:  (a) that men are the misguided ones, clinging to unrealistic standards and depriving worthy women everywhere of husbands, (b) that men will never equal women in moral worth because men are just too stupid, and (c) that having high standards is a spiritual failing and men must seek reprogramming from God to make them be attracted to the women around them.

Meanwhile, women are Daughters of the King who deserve to be loved for who they are, not what dress size they wear (or whatever other measuring stick is being held up to them).

It’s a good thing women are so gracious as to marry men!

***Not that Rogers ultimately deigned to marry a woman who failed to meet his standards for beauty, intelligence, and spiritual maturity.  In another article (which reads like a clinic in how to remain an involuntary bachelor for life, complete with kissing dating goodbye, beta orbiting, and scaring a girl off by talking about marriage on the first date), he describes his then-future bride thusly:

She was bright, attractive, fiercely devoted to Christ, and – in light of my recent failings – I thought she was far too good of a woman to be spending time with me.

Standards for me, but not for thee!

Guy gets strongarmed into proposing to girlfriend of nine years; no one blames the girlfriend for sticking with him so long.

4 Oct

In a current Boundless discussion thread, Amir Larijani talks about how he and a bunch of other guys from his church staged an intervention with a peer, basically forcing him to propose to his girlfriend of nine years after she finally gave him an ultimatum.  I think we’re supposed to cheer that the men strongarmed this guy into fessing up to his commitment fears and volunteering  for lifelong financial servitude becoming the man God wants him to be, but the girlfriend is totally off the hook for sticking with a guy for NINE YEARS when he clearly had no intentions of proposing?  Did she think she had NO OTHER OPTIONS?  Was he THAT much better than everybody else?  (Or were they having sex the entire time and so she had hamstered herself into thinking he was ~the one~?  Because if they weren’t having sex, a nine-year celibate romantic relationship is just weird.)

No dating relationship should last nine years, unless you’re both widowed senior citizens who need someone to go to dinner at 4:30 with.  Especially for Christians, it sounds completely unhealthy.  Either you’re having sex, which is sinning, or you’re having almost-not-quite-sort-of sex, which is also sinning, or you’re not having sex at all, which is highly unnatural in the long term for two people who presumably are looking to have a future together where they WILL be having sex.  I can see a Christian couple putting off sex for a year or two – but nine years?

I think I’m just having a knee-jerk reaction of mortification at the thought of marrying someone who more or less had to be pinned down and forced to say “uncle.”  Sure, the woman in this sort of situation will always get cast as the angel who believed in his true, hidden self and showed biblical perseverance, faith, and loyalty in helping the man get past his fears, but….ugh.

Basically, I’m just here to reiterate my opinion that people should only date when they are prepared to enter into a marriage, and that the dating period and engagement should be short.

When guys advise girls to put out to prove marital worthiness, they really mean “only put out for betas.”

20 Sep

Obviously, as a Christian, I believe that sex should be reserved only for marriage, but since I operate in a corner of the internet that isn’t exclusively Christian, I figure it’s worth talking about why premarital sex is such a bad deal for women overall.  This is not to say that some women haven’t put out and ended up in good marriages anyway.  It’s more that if you look at society as a whole, it’s a bad thing.  It’s worth pointing out that the manosphere seems mainly geared toward upper-middle and upper-class (white beta) men (if not in raw income, then at least in education/social class/taste), and so a lot of advice is filtered through those lenses.  Many social pathologies have not (yet?) come to the upper echelons of society because of money and a stronger adherence to traditional social strictures.

The basic gist that I see all over the place is that women should have a low partner count but should put out for guys they’re serious about who could also be husband material.  The problem is that the same guys who advocate this strategy also believe that women have no control over their hamsters and will be ~forever ruined~ for marriage by sex with an alpha.  So basically, they are advising women to be crazed sex freaks only with betas.  This sexual performance will prove to the man that the woman is a good bet for marriage.  So somehow women are tasked with finding betas to treat like alphas within, like, three tries, lest they be branded for eternity as ruined slags who will cheat cheat cheat cheat cheat cheat cheat and make you raise someone else’s secret baby.  Also, they need to divine the man’s fitness for marriage within 3-5 dates – so within 12-20 hours of time spent with the guy, approximately.  This is because no self-respecting man is going to waste time on a chick who won’t put out.

This “strategy” seems like no strategy at all.  Men are banking on the premise that the two guys who came before him were horrible at sex, but she had significant relationships with them anyway (because only big ol’ whores would have one night stands or flings).  Women are banking on the much riskier premise that she will find someone who is willing to commit to her in marriage within three tries that she can also be a crazed sex freak for for the rest of her life.  It’s like playing Super Mario Bros. with three lives and you have to get to the flagpole before you die three times or time runs out.  Also, I feel like there is a presumption that the girl is always the one ending relationships, because what guy would dump a “nice” girl who is a crazed sex freak only with him, right?  But girls get dumped all the time, and not just by alphas.  Every girl, if it hasn’t happened to herself, knows girls who in good faith entered into dating relationships that ended in getting dumped for whatever reason.  The guy just stopped being attracted, the guy decided he wanted something else, the guy decided it wasn’t working out – even if the guy had also declared his love, talked about a future/marriage, often went the extra mile.

So what does a girl gain from a failed sexual relationship?  Nothing.  The guy gets sex and an ego/status boost.  The girl just loses time and gains a notch that will work against her chances of getting another marriageable guy, because guys don’t care so much about the quality of the relationship, they just care about the number.  She can also then expect the next guy to expect her to do everything sexually for him that she did for the previous guy, unless she lands a suuuper beta with a forgiving heart.  But landing a suuuper beta with a forgiving heart makes it even harder for the girl to be a crazed sex freak for him, so it’s just a downward spiral with no end.

It’s just a very bad strategy.

Recently conservative comedian/commentator Steven Crowder got married, and both he and his bride were virgins on the wedding day.  He recounted in a subsequent op-ed that he thought their wedding night was “perfect” and “nothing short of amazing. ”  Whatever kind of sex they had that night was surely not perfect or amazing by experienced sexing standards, but by coming to marriage as virgins, Crowder and his wife got to have a wedding night that they could consider perfect and amazing and that will remain a cherished memory.  More interestingly, the next day he and his wife were eating breakfast and they overheard another newlywed discussing her new marriage and opining that “nothing’s really changed.”  (Also, the groom had gotten so wasted at the reception that he wasn’t even eating breakfast with his new wife.)  Presumably this woman had cohabited with her now-husband and had used up all the perfect and amazing sex of new love long before her wedding night.  It made me sad to read about it.  At the one table were Crowder and his bride giddy with the freshness of lives newly entwined, while at the other table were people who had been there, done that so long ago that the marriage was hardly registering with them.  And people wonder where romance went and why marriages don’t last…but darn it, they got the receipts from premarital sex!

P.S.  Only three people have responded to the podcast idea.  Please weigh in if you would like to see this project move forward.

Being extremely patient for feelings.

27 Aug

In a recent Boundless article, the author talked about how he knew upon meeting the woman who became his wife for the first time that she was The One, but that it took five dates over the course of four months for the woman to start having any romantic feelings for him.  (The article also specifies that his wife at the time was 33 years old and specifically gave him a chance because she had accepted that she needed to “intentionally alter her approach and expectations” from those of her younger years.)

I think that if more Christians want to get married, they have to accept that this is how it will probably play out for them.  Not so much the age factor, but just the slowness factor.  It’s something that I am working on accepting.  While it would be nice to meet someone who I immediately thought was good-looking, intelligent, witty, and a good conversationalist, in addition to being a devout Christian, and, most importantly, was also attracted to me AND was marriage-minded…it’s highly unlikely that all of these criteria will be met early on. Realistically, the probability is much higher that I will meet someone who is not physically off-putting and who is nice and that I can talk to, and from there it’s up to me to open my mind.

I think it’s just an issue of everybody having to swallow their pride and accept that most of us are not sexy people and therefore will not end up with someone really sexy, and that therefore the attraction discovery period could end up being lengthy.  Most people are just NOT. THAT. ATTRACTIVE.

Actually, now that I think about it, four months is pretty fast in the grand scheme of things.  This guy’s wife could have taken two years to decide if he was attractive.  Then again, she was 33.  Age is often the NOS of courtship speed.

By the way, I’m just going to reiterate my highly mansopherically unpopular opinion that you don’t need to feel IIII AMMM SOOO CRAZYYYYYYYYYYY ABOUT YOUUUUUUUU to marry someone.  Men can be equally crazy about a series of women, but only the most romantic of women are equally excited about multiple guys over the course of their lives.  Especially as women age, companionship and emotional/financial stability become more important to the love mix.  It’s less about feeling swept away as it is in feeling secure, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the woman doesn’t love the man or that she loves him less, or that she wishes she married someone else.  It’s just more prudent.

Emotional chastity and the break-up.

30 Jun

One thing that I don’t think is talked about enough in Christian dating circles is emotional chastity.  Yeah, I know Boundless likes to pound the “intentionality” drum (mainly in the direction of men), but it’s not exactly the same thing.  “Intentionality” makes it sound like you’re running a program called IntentionalityCheck 2.0 that has an intentionality app that you can install on your smartphone to make sure your dating behavior is kept within intentionality guidelines.  “Did I guard my heart?” Check.  “Did he pay for dinner?” Check.  “Did he directly say it was a date and that he would like to pursue me for the purpose of marriage while being the spiritual leader that the Bible instructs him to be while loving me sacrificially as Christ loved the Church so as not to defraud me during this season of singleness?”  Oops.  EJECT!  EJECT!

Emotional chastity, on the other hand, is more a character trait.  It’s internalizing a way of living.  Just as a physically chaste person not only refrains from improper sexual behavior but also lives in such a way as to not put himself in a situation where physical chastity could be compromised in the first place, an emotionally chaste person guards his heart as a matter of being, not as an item on a checklist to qualify for emotional chastity.

I think that Christian singles today get themselves into more trouble by violating emotional chastity (EC) than by physical chastity (PC).  (And since the number of Christian singles who aren’t physically chaste is pretty high, you can only imagine how many aren’t emotionally chaste.)  Especially among Christian singles who are trying to practice PC, the EC thing can be a huge downfall, since getting close to someone emotionally is the only outlet for sexual energy that hasn’t been slapped with a big NO-NO sticker.  As a result, we have Christian singles entwining themselves into friendguy/friendgirl relationships with endless angsting and drama on one party’s end, which just leads Boundless types to shriek at the men to install IntentionalityCheck 2.0 and MAN UP AND MARRY THOSE WORTHY CHRISTIAN GIRLS.

EC isn’t just for the romantic arena, though; its benefits extend to all areas of life.  How many times have you known someone who lacks discretion in how much of himself he gives away to friends, to relatives, to parents, children, or coworkers?  EC isn’t about prevention so much as it’s about discretion and self-control – in a word, maturity.  It’s about maintaining boundaries that are healthy.

In the context of dating relationships, EC can help a relationship blossom as it was meant to unfold.  You’re not oversharing too early.  You’re not becoming emotionally dependent on the other person to the point you’re smothering them.  You’re not promising things you haven’t thought through or don’t intend to follow through on.  You’re taking the time to establish a foundation before you start erecting an emotional three-car garage McHouse with dust-repellent blinds and a mint-green nursery for the twins.  Likewise, if you break up, especially if it’s early into the dating process, you won’t feel like someone robbed you.

Speaking of which, I really think that Christian dating advice needs to focus more on break-ups.  I feel like there is so much emphasis on just trying to get people to date ~intentionally~ that there’s next to nothing out there if that dating doesn’t work out.  Most people don’t marry the first person they date, so what do you do if you realize this person isn’t the one?  Well, that’s easy. You just tell the break-upper that he’s not being sufficiently spiritual or seeking the Lord enough.  That’ll teach him to date a girl and not marry her!  So many people would benefit from getting broken up with swiftly and succinctly, rather than trying to couch it in LJBFs and “You’re so great, someone (else) will be lucky to find you!”s.

Do people ever really learn lessons from dating?

25 May

The mainstream CW on dating is that you should date a lot of (or at least several) people prior to marrying so you can sample what’s out there, “learn,” and “grow.”  There seems to be some sort of social law stating that you will not marry your high school sweetheart (should you be lucky enough to have one), followed by muddling through the carousel dating around during your 20s until sometime between 28 and 32 you settle down with The One.  During this dating around time, you will “learn about yourself” and “learn about what you want.”  The One will also during this time have been learning the same things, thus ensuring that he (or she) is truly The One.

This all sounds fine and dandy, but in practice, is this really what happens?  Doesn’t everyone know girls who date jerk after jerk after jerk, all the while lamenting that they keep ending up dating jerks?  Doesn’t everyone know guys whose girlfriends are all clones of each other?  (For famous examples, look at Rod Stewart and all of his wives.  Or Bruce Willis’s current wife, who looks like a younger version of Demi Moore.  Or Leonardo DiCaprio’s string of blonde models.  Or, to cite a female celebrity, Kate Hudson’s penchant for procreating only with rock stars.)

I really don’t think that people actually learn much of anything through serial dating, because if attraction is uncontrollable, then people are always going to be attracted to the same kind of thing.  And that means that the person will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  Few people surprise their friends every time they start dating someone new.  The only time that surprises tend to happen is when the person has had their fun and/or was scarred by the previous breakup and is now truly serious about finding a life partner.  Cue manosphere screeching about carousels and leftovers – not that plenty of women haven’t had the experience of their ex turning around after the breakup and marrying the woman’s opposite mere months later.

A better strategy seems to be to sit down and think hard and shrewdly about what you want and what you absolutely need, and then target only people who fulfill that profile.  But in a world where women follow the tingle and men (at least most beta men) accept scraps, such tactics seem unlikely to catch on on a wider scale….

Even old widowers need game.

13 May

I was talking on the phone with my mom this afternoon, and she told me that there is an older widower at church who is trying to find an older widow to date.  He’s attempting the classic (and futile) church guy game plan of approaching each widow, one by one, until he can find someone who will accept.  All the widows know about this, so that’s a big pre-UNselection minus.  Worse, he has a poor reputation and since he has been in the church for a long time, everyone knows what his problems are.  So that’s even exponentially worse pre-UNselection.

I suggested that this guy find another church, but then again, the evangelical church community in my hometown isn’t so big that word about him still wouldn’t get around.  My mom, knowing that this guy spends part of the year in Florida, suggested that he might have better luck there because nobody would know him.  Ouch.

The other bad thing about old widower game is that the older widower must also compete against the memories of all of the widows’ late husbands – men who married their wives when the wives were very young, were often the women’s first major loves, and who were the fathers of the women’s children.  That can be a really tough act to follow.  Plus, if the first husband did things right financially, the widow will have no economic incentive to remarry, either.

Bottom line:  Game is for all seasons.