Who Has The Power in Dating?

I’ve noticed that there’s a topic that comes up repeatedly when it comes to talking about dating issues, whether it’s about the problems with being a Nice Guy, online dating, or even just approaching new people: the idea that women hold all of the power in dating. They are The Choosers, the gatekeepers to the Promised Land1, cruel temptresses who taunt men by being attractive and yet unavailable. Because sex is so much more easily attainable for women – or so the conventional wisdom goes – they have luxury of being able to define the standards which men must meet, wantonly cutting off men who are not rich, tall douchebags with square jaws and fast cars. Men feel helpless; they feel that they are forced to leap through hoops in order to win women’s approval and hope that she will pick him against all odds.

Too bad that it’s bullshit.

In fact, not only is the idea that women somehow control all the power in sex and dating not true, but it’s a case of people asking the wrong question. It’s a cluster of self-limiting beliefs that holds people back from meeting new and exciting potential partners, whether it’s for sex or for relationships.

“Any Woman Could Get Sex Any Time She Wants”

The Belief:

This is one of the most pernicious myths about dating out there. The idea is that because it is supposedly easier for women to find a sexual partner than it is for a man, they are the dominant force, the buyer in a buyer’s market. Because men supposedly can’t wander into the mythical Bar (and it’s always a “a woman can wander into a bar” scenario) and wander out five minutes later with a woman eager to jump his bones, women by default have greater power when it comes to dating. Men have to compete in order to win her approval while a woman gets to pick and choose who she wants based on whatever arbitrary standards she feels like in the moment.

“Ooh! Oooh! Pick me! Pick me!”

Why It’s Bullshit

To start with, there are plenty of women out there who aren’t rolling into a bar and rolling out with a bedmate. There are many women who struggle to find dates, whether it’s because they’re too tall, too big, too whatever.

Let’s be honest. This complaint really translates as “the hot woman I want to fuck but won’t give me the time of day can get sex any time she wants.”

Beyond that, the ability to get a sexual partner within a pre-set amount of time or with whatever suitable definition of “ease” might be isn’t exclusive to women. Men have equal ability to find sexual partners as women do… it just involves being willing to lower your standards to being willing to sleep with anyone who offers or shows an interest. Women who aren’t conventionally attractive, whose body types differ from the culturally accepted ideal or otherwise don’t meet one’s personal levels of sexiness are out there, hoping to get laid just as much as everybody else.

The same applies to women. A woman’s supposed ability to get laid easily or quickly doesn’t correspond with the desirability of the available sex partners. A woman could go into a bar and pick up a man for sex, yes, but it doesn’t mean that she’s going to necessarily find someone she’s attracted to.

And to be perfectly frank, if all a woman wants is to get off, vibrators are safer, easier and aren’t going to use the last of the milk in their coffee the morning after.

The problem with asking this question is that it assumes that women and men have the same goals when it comes to sex. Guys frequently get hung up on numbers; how many people have you slept with, how quickly can you get a woman to sleep with you. They have a tendency to fall for the old axiom that sex is like pizza; even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.

…and both are best when provided by someone dressed like a giant rat.

Having had a lot of bad pizza and regretful sex… yeah, not so much. The problem is that men are viewing women through the prism of the male experience: the goal of getting sex as quickly as possible, as easily as possible. While exceptions certainly exist, women on the whole don’t approach casual sex the way that men do; they’re not looking for how quickly they can find a pole for the hole, they’re looking for someone who excites them and can provide the sex they want. Johnny Pick-Up Line with the over-greased hair and the Affliction tee may be ready and eager to be the droid she’s looking for, but the fact that he’s willing to bang her doesn’t translate into “yay, I have all the power here”, it’s “great, another asshole who wants to get into my pants.”

There are certain areas where it is in fact, a buyer’s market for women. In online dating, for example,  the number of men on dating sites tends to easily outnumber the women. A woman will find frequently find her profile flooded with emails and winks.

Now ask her just how many of those come from people she’d want to talk to at all, never mind go on a date with.

“Women Only Want Tall, Rich, Handsome Alpha Males”

The Belief:

It stands to reason that since women have all of the power when it comes to dating, they get to pick and choose from ALL THE MENZ… so of course, the only men who get laid are alpha males with lantern jaws and six-pack abs. Everybody else – the beta males, the socially awkward, the chubby, husky dudes, the symetrically challenged – they’re left holding the bag and their dicks, crying impotent, sexless tears. Even goddamn Disney gets in on the act: the unspoken moral of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is “You can have a beautiful soul and sing like an angel, but the cheerleader is still going home with the quarterback.”


Why It’s Bullshit

Take a stroll through Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon. You’re going to see lots of dudes who aren’t exactly making the cover of People’s Sexiest Man shopping with their girlfriends and wives.

“But look at the women they’re with!” I hear some of you cry, at which point we’re right back to the same issue as before: “the impossibly hot woman I want to date/sleep with won’t date me.”

So straight talk: societally accepted standards of beauty kind of suck. They promote literally impossible standards in myriad ways – both overt and subtle. Beauty standards as we’re taught in western culture are European features and bodies and skin that can only be achieved via money, surgery and lots and LOTS of Photoshop. And to be perfectly honest, people can be pretty damn shallow regardless of gender.

That being said, one common issue I talk about is the overdeveloped-and-undeserved sense of entitlement that a lot of men2 have. They tend to believe that they deserve a smoking hottie, a perfect 10 regardless of their own looks, wealth, lifestyle or personality.  It’s not a real surprise to find out that a Nice Guy who doesn’t take care of his appearance and believes that he’s owed a girlfriend is having a hard time getting that 10 to give him her number. Meanwhile he sees Studly GoodNight go up, slap her on the ass, tell her obscene jokes and takes her home that night to fuck her until her eyes bleed.

QED: all women want are hot assholes, not nice guys who may not be the social ideal. Look around and all you see are beautiful people fucking other beautiful people while wonderful – if less facially gifted – men are stuck home alone.

The problem is that this falls under what’s known as the confirmation bias: the tendency to only believe evidence that validates an already existing belief. In this case: “I am not attractive. Hot women do not want to date me. I only see hot women dating hot men. Ugly men do not get girlfriends or wives.”

And yet somehow Patton Oswalt is happily married with a lovely daughter. As is Alan Moore, for that matter.

“You are now powerless before my Sex Beard.”

For that matter, we can add Dennis Kucinich, Woody Allen, Henry Kissinger… In fact, the “ugly guy pulling hot women” trope is so well known that TVTropes has an entry on it.

Before you start, let me forestall the inevitable “Great, so you don’t have to be hot, you just have to be powerful/rich/more talented than God”. There is far more to attraction than looks – though they help – or being in the rarified 1% of money, talent or fame. I have friends who aren’t conventionally attractive, aren’t especially rich and are certainly not powerful… and yet have amazing girlfriends and wives. Why? Because they have lives. They have passion in their life and know how to convey it. They have the confidence – and more importantly, balls. They can make women laugh, feel special without putting them on a pedestal and yet not come across as needy. And they’re not the only ones out there.

Speaking of balls…

“Men Have To Take All The Risks”

The Belief:

It’s the 21st century, a post-Third Wave Feminist era. Women are closer to true social equality than ever before: wages are growing closer to parity, women outnumber men in college attendance and are achieving leadership positions in corporations and government in ways that previous generations could only dream of.

And yet men have to do all the work when it comes to courtship. Men still have to be the aggressors, men are the ones who have to make the approach, call first, ask her out, pay for the date… all of the heavy lifting when it comes to dating. Women are clearly either lazy, entitled or just get off on having men subjugate themselves.

Why It’s Bullshit:

Let’s be honest: more often than not the men who complain most about this are the men who would prefer not to be approaching women themselves, whether due to approach anxiety, a fear of rejection or even just not being sure whether or not she’s interested. As a general rule, men who are able to approach women aren’t too concerned about why women won’t make the first move because they’re more than happy to make the move themselves.

Now to be sure: there are plenty of women out there who will happily be the aggressor when it comes to relationships. Women who are willing to come over and say “hey” to a guy they find attractive aren’t unicorns or the Loch Ness monster. Hell, they’re not even the okapi. They just tend to be discounted because of confirmation bias; they don’t “count” because they’re approaching other people or because they’re the exception that proves the rule or… or… or…

But for the sake of argument, let’s look at why women may not want to make the first move.

To start with: even in this day and age, women are socialized to be passive and submissive towards men. They’re taught to be accommodating, to not cause offense… and to not be aggressive or forward. And in fact, many men actively dislike women who are agressive sexually or romantically; they prefer the standard gender roles and find women who make the first move to be intimidating.

Another reason why she may not be making the first move? Because you can tell a lot about a guy by if and how he makes his approach. Does he have the confidence to walk up and make his interest known? Confidence after all is sexy indeed; the guy who can’t quite work up the guts to walk over and introduce himself isn’t winning any favors by trying to call her over by sheer willpower. At the same time, she can generally be assure that someone who makes the point of coming over to talk to her is interested in her; if she goes up to a guy to talk to him… well, is it that he’s genuinely interested, or is it that he’s willing to run with the fact that someone came to him and any warm body will do?

For that matter: she may not be coming up to talk to you because… well, she just isn’t that into you. Sorry. You might be able to spark her interest if you were to go over and show that you actually do bring a lot to the table, but since you didn’t, she certainly isn’t going to be able to read your mind.

But the biggest, most likely reason that she’s not making the first move? The odds are good that she’s just as nervous as you are.

I know, it goes against all those beliefs about how women are the choosers and have their pick of men but the fact of the matter is, women suffer from the same insecurities, fears and imagined worst-case-scenarios men do. Think of how many times you’ve looked over at a woman standing with all of her friends and wishing you could catch her alone so you wouldn’t have to deal with the entire group? Guess what? She’s feeling the same nervousness. Is she going to get mocked and shut down by your bros? Is that girl you’re standing with your girlfriend or just someone you happen to know? Is she going to have to fight them for your attention? Are you going to just make fun of her when you consider yourself out of her league?

Every single awkward moment you’ve imagined, every single way things could go wrong that you’ve war-gamed in advance that freezes you in your tracks?

She’s felt them too.

So Who Really Has The Power?

Well… nobody. And everybody.

To quote a wise man who knows a lot about the dynamics of relationships:

“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall.”

“Also, it’s a very bad idea to tell the queen you’re going to snitch to the king BEFORE you do it.”

The point being is that the reason why so many people think that women have all of the power in dating is because they see themselves as powerless. They cling to self-limiting beliefs that confirm all of their worst fears and insecurities and validate their decision not to risk being rejected. In fact, they’ve been rejected in advance and that their only hope is that you somehow struggle hard enough to “win” her approval.

It originates from a scarcity mentality, the idea that there are so few women out there that each time you get rejected, you are that much closer to being shut out of dating and relationships entirely. Instead of seeing every encounter with a woman as a chance to meet someone new and find out whether or not she’s someone you should be interested in, each potential approach is a last ditch effort to ward off loneliness and being emotionally bereft.

Men have just as much power in the dating scene as women do, if they only would reframe the interaction in their minds. Don’t see approaching a woman as supplicating or auditioning for the role of “suitor”, see it as evaluating whether she’s someone worth your getting to know. You don’t want to spend time desperately trying to make something happen in order to make her choose you, go out with the idea that you’re trying to decide whether you want to choose them.

Instead of clinging to the idea that women are “in charge” because of bullshit ideas about how easily they can get laid or what “all women” are attracted to, spend more time thinking about whether their interests match up with yours. Talk to her with the aim of finding out whether or not she’s as cool as she seems to be. Is she someone who has something going for her besides her looks? Does she live a life that you would like to be a part of? It’s easy enough to decide off the bat whether or not you’d want to be balls deep in her by the end of the night, but is she someone you could have an engaging conversation with after you’ve blown your load?

When you change the mental frame from “supplicant” to “chooser”, you go flip the script. You adopt an abundance mentality. You’re no longer going in with an unattractive aura of neediness, you’re someone with an attractive life and value to offer and you’re looking for a partner in crime to share it with. If she doesn’t like you, well, so the hell what? There are plenty of other women out there and you’re just one step closer to finding one who fits you.

And that attitude, my friends, is real power.

  1. which is to say, vaginas []
  2. and to be fair, there are plenty of women who suffer from this too. []


  1. AureliaVerity says:

    I used to have a very Victorian view of dating back in my high school days. The Men ask The Women out and they bring them The Flowers and they pay for The Dinner and the girl works hard to protect her Virtue despite all that. Some of it came from my upbringing and the kind of parents i have and the country i came from, but as time went on i felt more and more uncomfortable with this arrangement.
    I met a lot of girls who felt the same. I think an average North American woman is not comfortable with the idea of handing all the "dating duties" to the guy. it feels weird, why is the guy stuck with everything? it takes two to dance as it were.

    For women, asking guys out is a bit of a gamble, some like the idea of women taking control but others look too much into it, feel insecure about it. I have even known cases where guys get an ego swell because of it, think that they are especially attractive and wonderful because a CHICK approached THEM.

    There is also this thought that a guy will get the wrong idea about a girl if she asks him out. This can scare off many women away from being active participants, especially if they are new to dating.

    • You hit on something here. Back in college, I did do the approaching on my fair share of occasions. If I ever directly interacted with a man, even if I was just trying to see if he was a guy I'd like or not, it always turned to "So, you want to go to my place right now then?"

      And it completely turned me off to doing any approaching. It didn't take me long to learn that if a girl shows interest in a guy in any capacity, that seemed to translate to "Clearly she wants to screw me." And that wasn't always the case.

      And when a girl has a guy get it in his head that he thinks she wants to screw him when she doesn't, that can get very very very dangerous.

      I think the point that "what people want out of an approach" is a very good one. Making assumptions about what any person wants when you first meet them is the road to trouble.

  2. Honest question:

    Why do dating sites have so many more men than women? It seems like there should be equal numbers guys and girls when it comes to being somewhat lonely and having trouble getting a date. And its not like more men know about online dating than women (also, if anything, it seems to be more socially acceptable for women to use a dating site than men).

    • I don't know, most of the dating sites have been seem to have men and women in roughly equal proportions. I've never had troubles finding large numbers of prospects on dating sites.

    • Greenfire says:

      At a guess, I'd say its because its more socially acceptable for women to use their social network to try to get a date than it is for men. That is trying to get friends, relatives, co-workers, church-members, ect to set them up with someone, instead of going it alone on the internet.

    • In part, I think, it's because dating sites are prime examples of why we can't have Nice Things.

      At least on the free sites, the signal-to-noise ratio for women is *terrible*. For every interested email — from someone who clearly is interested in *you* as a person — we receive at least one (if not many many more) drive-by spammings by people who are clearly trying the shotgun approach.

      I've taken to replying (sarcastically) to them, and the responses are telling. Some of them clearly recognize their behavior is futile. (Many such people, it seems, are just looking for sex.) Others are self-proclaimed "nice guys" — men who see themselves as somehow superior to most other people on the site yet are unwilling to spend two minutes composing an even vaguely personalized email to a woman they find attractive. (I had a great exchange over the course of several days with a guy who insisted he was doing EXACTLY that. It rapidly degenerated into misogynistic comments on his part; it was very clear that he was unwilling to let a woman have the last word.)

      Either way, though, it drives women off rapidly, *especially* when the comments are sexualized.

      IMHO (and this is a bit of guesswork on my part, together with a few observations), genderized responses to personal failure also play a large part in the situation. Women, when they fail to attract someone, are conditioned to internalize their failures. There's something wrong with them; they need to change themselves. They should lose weight, they should work out, they should wear more stylish clothing and be more interesting. They should give up and try again later, in other words. Men, OTOH, blame society and, more specifically, women. It's not anything they're doing. It's the women who aren't responding. This means that men are going to be *way* more persistent when it comes to online dating, but they'll be persistent in all of the wrong ways. Shotgun approaches, again. Which brings us back to why we can't have Nice Things online.

      • I think this is a real part of the reason. I’ve deleted my profile from dating sites in the past just because of the really creepy emails. The ‘drive by’ emails wouldn’t be SO bad on their own (“Hey Baby”), but once the unsolicited sex requests start pouring in (even when you say you only want friends), that’s when I start to feel icked out. That and the fact that an unusually large proportion of interested parties were at least as old as my dad.

    • progSHELL says:

      According to a couple informal polls I’ve taken of my female friends, our generation has, in general, been so fucked up by romantic comedies that many women expect the meet-cute to be part of their romantic story. “We met on OKCupid” just isn’t as good a story as “well we were both at the salad bar and we both reached for the salad tongs at the same time and it was true love!”

      Also, regarding the traditio

    • progSHELL says:

      According to a couple informal polls I’ve taken of my female friends, our generation has, in general, been so fucked up by romantic comedies that many women expect the meet-cute to be part of their romantic story. “We met on OKCupid” just isn’t as good a story as “well we were both at the salad bar and we both reached for the salad tongs at the same time and it was true love!”

      Also, regarding the traditional male role as the approacher still persisting into the 21st century: guys, real talk, if the roles were reversed and the societal pressure was on the women to make the move, would you say “No, I want to open myself up to the possibility of rejection and approach anxiety?” Of course not. I don’t blame any woman who doesn’t want that stress.

      • Shouldn't this have been true for all women in the West going back to at least Shakespeare? The meet cute was part of romantic love stories since practically forever. Movies might have made it worse but that so bad as to completely poison the minds of millions. I might be overly optimistic on humanity's ability to tell fiction and reality apart though.

        • Fiction describes, critiques, and plays with reality enough that the line can be very blurry. Some things are pretty obvious, others not so much, especially when hopes and dreams of the audience start to get mixed into the fiction.

          Making it worse is exactly how little reality has to be in a movie that is 'based on a true story.'

  3. wally2069 says:

    There are risks on both sides of the gender line and the biggest part of bridging that gap is bring able to recognize what the other side is risking too.

  4. As a New Yorker, I can safely vouch that there is a lot of bad pizza out there. Outside NYC and its suburbs, its nearly impossible to find passable slice. Especially if you happen to be in Chicago (kidding).

    • As someone who is not a New Yorker but has been to New York many times, I can vouch for there being bad pizza in NYC and good pizza in other places.

    • No way, come to New Jersey they have plenty of really good pizza spots here….I've had bad pizza and good pizza in NYC….not to mention the overrated pizza joint Lombardi's….

  5. I'd argue that men and women have equal but different power in dating. Since men are the ones who still make most of the first contacts, men have the power of initiation. The power of initiation usually gives men the power over the initinary of the first date (although I've learned if one party has dietary restrictions of some sort than defering to that party is always the safest option). The power over the initiary gives men a tremendous amount of control of how a date works out. Women are usually in the role of responding than initiating so men get to control what they are responding to.

    Women have the power to control how far things can go unless tham man decides to do something evil, immoral, and most likely illegal.

    • This is so narrow minded. -It doesn't have to be that way.-

      Like, I'm sure you mean well, but your last comment especially makes my skin crawl. You're talking about women and literally their only role is to -respond- to things. I call bullshit. And you imply their "power" is in this response. UNLESS OF COURSE THE GUY WANTS TO RAPE HER then I guess she's just SOL.

      CREEPY. Just. Ew and no. Women can do more than just -respond to shit- and decide 'how far things can go' unless of course the guy is a creepy rapist asshole then I guess women are just potential victims or something.

      Stop thinking of women like that. We're more than just something for men to bounce ideas off of, we're more than someone that needs impressing, and we're sure as hell more than potential victims. I know you weren't trying to say that's all we amount to, but you sure as hell implied it.

  6. I really think that a lot of misconceptions about dating come from taking fiction to seriously. A lot of what makes really good fiction like the bad boy who gets all the girls or the dogged nice guy who gets the girl by whacky romantic stunts; doesn't really work out in real life much. The Onion famously pointed out that the latter is likely to end you up in jail. Bad boys are well bad and probably won't make for stable, supportive partners even though the might be exciting. Also guys fall just as much for "bad girls", the Vamp and the Femme Fatale are to men what the bad boy is to women.

    Another problem is that people are more exposed to unrealistic standards of beauty than they were for most of human history. Better healthcare makes maintaining beauty easier. The mass media of the 19th to 21st centuries like newspapers, movies, television, the internet exposed people to more physical beauty everyday than previously possible. This probably raised people's expectation in romance to rather unrealistic levels.

  7. I have a qualm with the Men Take All The Risks section. The Doctor has spent numerous columns about why *you* should take all the risks, but now he states that the notion it's necessary is bullshit and then proceeds to list all of the reasons that women *don't* to take the risks. He kind of sinks his own argument here by absolving women of responsibility, does he not? Or is he trashing the notion that women are "lazy, entitled or just get off on having men subjugate themselves"?

    • It's the latter.

      The Doc tends to encourage EVERYBODY to be more proactive about their love-life, rather than being passive. It's a reframing of the situation. Rather than taking a risk of being rejected, you're taking the opportunity to let someone know how awesome you are.

      It's the mentality of transactions/risk vs reward/entitlement/etc that's the problem, not necessarily the interactions themselves.

    • abhorsen327 says:

      I don't think it's about absolving women of responsibility and saying that they shouldn't take risks; it's more about recognizing why they don't take risks. The Doc generally encourages everyone, men and women, to overcome their insecurities and make their move. It's still valuable to understand what other people may be thinking or feeling, and why they might chose particular actions.

    • charle33 says:

      I figure he's saying everyone's at fault, and if you want someone, you're better off just making your own move first than waiting for them to make theirs.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      Here's the thing, if you want to meet someone: a man, a woman, a famous person, the maganer of the nightclub, its up to you to make it happen. So yes, women can and do approach men but if you want to meet that woman, its not realistic to expect her to do the work for you.

  8. Another reason the "men do all the work" line is B.S.: Men put way less work into being attractive. Even those who put a lot of work into being attractive do far less work than a typical woman. The woman you're working up the enthusiasm to talk to had to shave her legs, get an expensive and hard to maintain haircut, study fashion and really fuss heavily over an outfit, and buy, learn to apply and put on make-up just be considered cute enough for you to talk to. And she has to do all this for the rest of her life, just to maintain the basic minimum considered enough to be worthy of having male sexual attention, from potential suitors to even maintaining a partner or husband's attention.

    Compared to that, honestly, chatting people up ain't all that. I do both, and can assure you, basic woman maintenance is more work.

    • Point. More importantly, men really only started grooming themselves more than getting a basic haircut and shaving, which really doesn't take that long, until very recently (like 1980s/1990s). The majority of men still only groom themselves by getting their haircut and shaving.

    • Not really. The levels you are describing are what women do to meet the expectations of other women (or possibly themselves). Men expect a level much lower level (though still the presence of most or all of those things depending on the guy) of all of those things. Well any man who doesn't describe his self-worth through the number on the 1-10 scale of the last woman he slept with.

      Just be aware of fashion, you don't have to be so aware you could host your own version of What Not To Wear. Have clean and maintained hair, you don't have to look like you got your hair done for a wedding (some of the cutest and best looking hair styles I've seen have been on friends when we were 4 or 5 days into a week-long of camping and they just did something quick to keep their hair out of their eyes). Wear an outfit that makes sense within itself, you don't have to spend three hours agonizing over which accessory best goes with an outfit.

      • I'm pretty sure you vastly underestimate how much effort it takes to look 'natural' or appear at the 'lower level' that you think you would be willing to accept.

        That being said, most men don't even feel the need to follow the advice in your second paragraph. I have essentially never (overgeneralization alert!) seen a couple out in public where the man was better dressed and better groomed than the woman. Women may internalize dating failures far too much, but men frequently seem to underestimate how much more attention they might get if they wore something other than a junky t-shirt. (I've often mused that I'm cursed by the fact that the sex I'm most sexually attracted to happens to be the one that, objectively, is far less attractive, if only because the men don't put effort into their appearances.)

    • I think I speak for a lot of men when I say that you don't have to do all that stuff to impress us. If you want to do it for other reasons, fine, go ahead, but don't complain about it.

      • VintageLydia says:

        Every guy who’s ever said that to me never seem to find the girls who never wore make up attractive.

        That is, until they see her with make up.

        I think you underestimate both the shallowness of most men and what girls do to appear “naturally” pretty or beautiful. I use 6 products alone just to even my skin tone, hide my blemishes, and make sure that make up stays on all day. I’ve yet to meet a guy who knew I was wearing anything until they see me without it and only two of those products have any color to them (and they’re both skin tone.)

      • This really to both Beardy and Max. Lots of men like to say thinks like this but they really don't mean it. I'm a man, I know how a lot of men talk about women when they are not around. The women who get the most positive compliments are the ones that look very attractive and put a lot of effort in grooming. This is true among nerd men. Comments like this come off as sexist and off-putting, not enlightened.

      • Kerrimonster says:

        I don't usually do those things and I do have people interested in me. However, I also have a lot of judgemental arseholes telling me I am disgusting, gross, lazy, a slob, unhygenic, have let myself go, must be a lesbian (horror of horrors!!!) etc etc. despite the fact that I shower and wear clean clothes and brush my teeth and all that. And it sucks, even though I wouldn't want to date or be friends with those people, it still sucks and it isn't fair, since a lot of them are guys who have pretty much the same standards of hygeine and neatness as I do…but somehow I'm nasty and lazy. So will complain about it, because it pisses me off.

      • To be honest Max, my husband likes the whole kit and caboodle. He doesn't like to see me not made up or decked out.

      • Frankly, i would love to hear from a man who truly does not care whether a woman shaves her armpits, legs and/or cooch to prepubescent flawless smoothness, and THEN i will believe men “don’t care about all that stuff.” I ASSURE you i do NOT spend all the money and time it takes to keep my legs shaved either for myself or for other women. When there is no man or potential man in the picture, i’ll let that shit go as long as i want. And one of the best ways to get a guy to make a face of disgust is to show him a *gasp* unshorn pit that sends him screaming for the door. It’s not just the makeup/hair/clothing, you realize. And no, shaving legs is NOT a function of simple hygiene. Unless MEN IN GENERAL are filthy. (Pits i MIGHT grant you, but then would point out that since most men fail to shave their pits, by the same logic men are unhygienic.)

    • To be fair, there are quite a few men who invest a large amount of their free time into being attractive. Sure, cardio and going to the fitness center does have other benefits as well, but for many looking good and feeling more secure is a huge factor as well. I'm sure if you'd add up those hours it would be a bit fairer ;). You're right of course that the average women probably spends much more time on her make-up/outfit than the average man.

      Also, I think part of the problem is that many men have problems approaching women at all; they'd probably rather spend 2-3 hours in private grooming or preparing instead of actually having to approach someone ;). Because if you don't have the courage, nothing is going to happen at all, that much seems to be certain. The biggest problems still seems to be approach anxiety and some of my friends simply don't try anymore and they ultimately come to the conclusion that it is easier for women to get to know people. Because even if they'd spend 4-5 hours grooming and preparing, it will still be a zero sum game for them.

    • If you think women are the only ones being conditioned into spending a great deal of time and energy on being attractive, you are simply failing to realize the effort guys are investing in being noticed by women.

      Not only are we expected to be well-groomed and look good, but we are also expected to be athletic, hit the gym four times a week, be competitive, outgoing, assertive, altruistic, nice to our peers, have a masculine body language, have a sense of fashion, be intelligent, be able to make a woman laugh, overcome approach anxiety, be confident, know how to connect with women, drive a fancy car, have a nice apartment, have a good education and career, have a good social network, have a full schedule with a lot of activities, be a great conversationalist and so forth.

      You might argue that men don't need to live up to all of these ideals, but that's just like the replies you've been getting to your comment where guys kept insisting that women don't need to do much more than looking presentable (which for some reason got downvoted a lot).

      Fact of the matter is, both men and women have to choose between suffering the scorn from doing the bare minimum of what's considered attractive, or chasing the normative gender ideals pushed upon us by our friends, peers, media and even human sexuality itself.

      It's something BOTH men and women suffer from, so don't dismiss the hard work we go through in order to be attractive to you guys. :-)

      • Bullshit.

        I have gone out to concerts and looked around at bars and walked around on campuses full of well-kempt young women. In none of those cases have the men payed even a tenth as much attention to their appearances as the women. "Grooming," for men, means taking a shower and combing their hair; for any woman, it means showering, blow-drying and styling their hair, putting on a layer or two of make-up, and assembling a coordinated outfit. We too are expected to hit the gym repeatedly each week (do you think this is a *genderized* activity?). And saying that women are not supposed to have personality traits is … well, to be blunt, one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

        Again, how much time and effort do you put into your appearance on the night you plan to go out somewhere? (This is time above and beyond showering and dressing.) Do you have to put on makeup just to look 'normal'?

        • I did a quick calculation in my head and came to the conclusion that I pass about 500 people on my way to work every day. For the sake of discussion, let's say half of these are women. Yet, only 1-3 women catch my attention or stand out for being very pretty or "fixed" if you will.

          Am I going to call bullshit on claims that women always need to worry about their appearance because of my narrow little test group? No. And neither should you in regards to men, because just like we know nothing of what it is to be a woman, you have no idea of what it's like to be a man.

          If you choose to not believe that men have pressure on them to be attractive through their appearance, actions, experiences, abilities, possessions and wit then I can't stop you, but I can tell you that men are very conditioned into believing that they must impress women through as many means as possible, just like women are conditioned into thinking that they must be beautiful for men.

        • About 80% of the clients at my local gym are male; it was the same in the last city I lived in. I'd even go as far as to say that "hitting the gym" is indeed not a genderized activity. I think society placed great emphasis on the physical fitness of males in TV, advertising etc.

          I'd really like to see evidence to the contrary, if you have any. I've always seen this as a typical male field because I never knew a women that went to the gym regularly. Still, I might be totally wrong ;).

          • Getting into a discussion about which gender spends the most time exercising is most likely going to stir up the hornet's nest, but I read somewhere that male gym memberships increased radically alongside the progression of the female liberation movement and women's entry into the workforce. I'll see if I can find the article again.

            And yes, I've also noticed that the gender representation at the gyms or sports clubs I've frequented have been about 90% male and 10% female, though the female representation has been far bigger in instructed classes such as dance or aerobics where the representation have been closer to about 60% female and 40% male.

          • On the gym thing: women tend to work out in spaces that aren't dominated by guys, which is why a lot of women don't lift (for example). I just read a study showing that there's a discrepancy – about 34% of women don't work out, compared to about 28% of men – but it's hardly the huge difference you'd expect from the numbers you're citing above.

          • Yup. Women have plenty of gyms here, and they do much better than the other gyms. The male dominated gyms still have women there, though. Most of the women I work with utilize the employee discount for the big name gym in the area. I go to a small family owned one that is split pretty even on gender membership, but most of the women have personal trainers while most of the men do their own thing. However, if I didn't have the family support I have here, I would have to go to the big ones that have child care so I could work out during the day and still have time to spend with my husband (who doesn't work out).

        • EDIT: “Hi, I seem to be able to be clever without using slurs!”

      • You said “Not only are we expected to be well-groomed and look good, but we are also expected to be athletic, hit the gym four times a week, be competitive, outgoing, assertive, altruistic, nice to our peers, have a masculine body language, have a sense of fashion, be intelligent, be able to make a woman laugh, overcome approach anxiety, be confident, know how to connect with women, drive a fancy car, have a nice apartment, have a good education and career, have a good social network, have a full schedule with a lot of activities, be a great conversationalist and so forth.”

        Most of those apply to women as well (we’ll replace “masculine” with “feminine” in the body language section). You don’t actually get points for “nice to our peers” or altruistic though – it’s generally expected that regardless of your gender you shouldn’t be a rude, vile human being if you want people to like you.

        Guys seem to really overestimate how much women care about their car. If she seems to care about the car and she is not a car enthusiast, it’s probably the money factor itself (yes some women are gold diggers, I recommend not dating them) and there’s no need to break it down into three or four separate items in your list (“drive a fancy car, have a nice apartment, have a good education and career”). I’ve found wealthy guys to generally be horribly entitled, self-obsessed, and spoiled and generally count their wealth against them. Especially if they don’t let you pay for dates, then you “owe” them what they want once they’ve decided they’ve reached the point in the relationship they should get it. And seriously, no one cares about your social network when deciding whether to date you unless your friends are all jerks.

        Guess what no one is going to fit the list traits that make someone The Perfect Girlfriend/Boyfriend. The traits are roughly the same (excluding looks though outside of Hollywood things aren’t as bad as in it) regardless of gender or have their opposite equivalent if the guy needs strict traditional gender roles (which means a girl who will be submissive and obedient and financially not as well off). Most guys are more interested in a partner luckily, and most people who don’t end up eternally single don’t expect perfection.

    • Most patriarchal societies, especially deeply patriarchal ones heavily suppress and discourage female beauty. They discourage wearing makeup, jewelry, adornments etc. The rise of the female beauty industry coincides with rising prosperity, feminism and modernity. Also most the beauty industry is dominated and promoted by women.

      So its a bit rich for feminists to now start complaining that they have a lot of work to do putting making up on. STFU. Its your own fucking fault. You had a very strong hand in creating the problem your now complaining about.

      • Dr_NerdLove says:

        Charmer, aren't you.Here's a free hint: you can buy Redkin and Maybeline products in Iran and Afghanistan.Here's another: men and women have been adorning themselves with jewelry and using makeup since time immemorial.You will find references to powdered lead as a form of foundation in ancient Greek and Roman texts. Egyptian, Babylonian and Sumerian women would use kohl to line their eyes and ochre to stain their lips.Cosmetics have been with us since the first cave-dwellers realized that a smear of beetroot made Shagga's cheekbones stand out fetchingly.

      • It isn't about having access to make up and beauty products. It's about not having a socially acceptable choice about whether you want to use them. Both options are shitty. So, no we won't STFU.

  9. D.S.Fitz says:

    If only I read that a decade ago. Men are really ignorant about this stuff because they were never taught, and a few bad experiences can ruin a person's perception. This was a really informative but, for me, frustrating article. It's hard to accept that your "misfortune" is your own fault.

  10. No More Wallflowers says:

    I've always thought men had the power in the dating scene, to be honest. My perception was they can pick and choose who they want to hit on and if they get turned down then move on to the next girl.

    This was my distorted view of the dating scene since I was the girl who never got picked :-P. I had a hot sister who ALWAYS got hit on. I was the perpetual wallflower who waited to be asked to dance and spent the night of the prom watching everyone else!

    So after contemplating and actually getting balls one day I decided, guess what, I am not going to be the wallflower anymore and I did the asking/approaching. Hell yeah I got rejected more times than I actually remember, but at least I didn't feel as pathetic as I did when I just sat there and did NOTHING. It's quite empowering…and the "Thanks but no thanks." doesn't sting as much.

  11. same song different day women good man evil.

  12. Okay, I think Nerdlove is making a LOT of unfair accusations, straw man arguments, crazy claims and biased assumptions in this collection of articles that seem to be aimed at helping nerds get a healthier outlook on dating women.

    First off it's the nice guy theory and the idea that nice guys are generally passive-aggressive manchildren with hidden agendas.

    I think this is an extremely unfair description to attribute to men. As far as I'm concerned, the nice guy behavior is developed out of sheer respect of women's boundaries. Maybe Nerdlove has forgotten what it was like to be a 12-year old, but starting at a young age girls tend to be VERY gossipy and vocal about their dislike of certain boys, their behavior and How That Guy Told Jennie He Liked Her And Got Laughed At™. As they get older, this behavior continues in more sophisticated ways, and a lot of males end up in situations where they on one hand want to be direct with the women they're interested in, but on the other hand literally don't know how they would go about doing so without going against the complaints, scorn and ridicule that they have been conditioned (by girls) into avoiding. So what's a guy to do in a situation like that, besides first trying to befriend his love interest, and then try to develop that friendship into something else? And yes, there's also the occasional truly creepy nice guy that every woman has had to deal with once or twice in her lifetime, but I doubt that this is Nerdlove's target audience which makes me wonder why he so ardently shames nice guys when they are basically trying to figure out how to pick up women while at the same time respecting their (presumed) boundaries.

    My second complaint is the idea that men have been conditioned into feeling like they're entitled to a hot girl.

    I'm just going to call this one out on being straight-up bullshit. Exactly WHERE is Nerdlove getting this from? Are there any studies or articles about this AT ALL besides the recurring "10 Ways Men Have Been Conditioned Into Hating Women"-article on Cracked.com that keeps popping up every now and then? I honestly think this is a VERY TOXIC VIEW to hold of men, and it's comparable to assuming that every girl is inherently expecting a guy to sweep her off her feet and give her a pink, diamond-encrusted castle just because she's been exposed to Disney movies and Sex and the City. Why Nerdlove would want to assume that all men are so easily conditioned into behaving like spoiled children on such a low level that if this was true for all other facets of life we would literally not be able to function as human beings is beyond me, but that's what's happening here.

    Nerdlove, I think you're doing men a big disservice by making these BS assumptions, and reading your articles I sometimes almost wonder if you're even a man yourself considering the alien way in which you describe male thinking and how detached you seem to be from the idea that men – or even nerds with issues – can be reasonable human beings with sane dreams and expectations.

    I mean, you're either incorrectly assuming that nerds are far, far more messed up than they are in reality, or your articles are catering to the 0,00001% of nerds that are awful human beings lacking the ability to distinguish right from wrong or don't understand that gratuitous sex shots in video games are not good blueprints for interaction with the opposite sex.

    In either case your articles are going to be totally useless until you adjust this harmful view you seem to have of male nerds (or men in general).

    • Men have been socially conditioned into believing that they are entitled to a pretty, beautiful, or hot woman. This should be so obvious that it really should not be questioned. In human literature, beauty has been one of the key traits assigned to female love interests since Helen of Troy. There are countless works of fiction where an average or homely man ends up with a good looking woman. All this creates an expectation that men are entitled to a hot woman.

      • So on one hand you have a recurring fictional element, and on the other you have misogynists being angry at women for being unattainable? Hate to break it to you, but that's a pretty weak correlation right there, and I could just as easily make up a number of other reasons that would make about as much sense.

        The way Nerdlove tries to pass this off as an axiom of misogyny with no scientific data backing it up is nothing more than an insult.

        I mean, I find it amazing how Nerdlove on one had does a good job meticulously cracking down on male misconceptions about women, relationships and sexuality while at the same time making vague, sweeping generalizations about men.

        Saying that men are conditioned into feeling entitled to a hot woman makes about as much sense as saying that women have all the power and enjoy exerting it over men. It's simply not true and assumes nothing but the worst about the gender in question.

      • Le Jacquelope says:

        Not true. We are raised to believe that the pretty and beautiful woman only goes for the hero. We have to earn her through extraordinary acts. And in the modern day we are raised to believe that she may not want us even then. In every one of those stories you read about the homely man getting the good looking woman, he had to go through some kind of adventure for her. Every last one of those stories.

    • In regards to your first point–I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but *girls* are at least as likely to get teased or shamed for who they "like" as boys are. I remember it being a constant topic of conversation when I was around 9-12: girls would try to figure out if their friends liked a boy, and if so which one, and then there would be all sorts of teasing (of the friend). And it wasn't always from other girls. There was a guy in junior high school who found out I had a crush on him and made a number of snarky comments to me about it in front of my friends. That sort of social pressure continues well into the teens. I remember, at 15, lying and saying that I wasn't interested in a particular guy I happened to like a lot when an acquaintance questioned me about it in a group setting, because I wasn't sure what the fall-out would be. He was a pretty popular guy–it wasn't that I was afraid that I'd be teased for liking him, but for thinking he might ever be interested in me.

      I've been working in schools (elementary through high school) for the last ten years, so I can safely say it wasn't just me and my group of friends–it happens all over.

      The problem with capital-N capital-G Nice Guys (not guys who are actually nice) is not that they take a cautious, respectful route to getting to know women. It's that they pretend to be friends with a woman when really they wouldn't be spending any time with her if they knew for sure she'd never sleep with them (so obviously they *don't* really respect her as a person), they'll act supportive and then complain behind the woman's back about how stupid she is not to see how great they are, they expect the woman to realize they want more than friendship without ever actually making a move and blame her for not realizing, and they'll get irritated, bitter, and sometimes hostile when, after putting in the "effort" of friendship, it turns out they're never going to get more than that. It is a common pattern of behavior–look at any post about Nice Guys and see how many guys will turn up talking about how they do those things, but really it's justified! There have been several in DNL's posts on the subject, and those are just the ones who bother to comment, so clearly they do make up a significant portion of this site's audience. Plus there are plenty of guys who aren't full-out Nice Guys but have some of the same problematic ways of thinking.

      An actual nice guy might start out just being friendly with a girl, but she seems to feel comfortable around him, he will *actively* start making it clear he wants to date her, not expecting her to figure it out. And he knows she doesn't owe him a "yes", and doesn't get angry if she turns him down.

      • I understand that girls are also subject to ridicule, have the same basic fears as guys and can be conditioned into hiding their emotions, but I believe that girls have a far bigger tendency to be gossipy and cliquey starting at a young age, and that they subsequently create a veil of dictated social conditions in a lot of social situations.

        I think this pushes cowardly- or less desirable guys into the Nice Guy-deadlock, where they're essentially afraid of stepping on anyone's toes while at the same time experiencing frustration at the perceived situation of being totally blocked out from any romantic interaction with women.

        I think that both you – and Nerdlove – are making the incorrect assumption that just because a guy belongs to the "Frustrated Nice Guy"-category his intentions are selfish and his attitude malignant, and I think that this is a pretty bold claim to make as I don't for a second believe that the guys belonging to this group come close to being overrepresented by the misogynistic commenters you're describing.

    • I think your point about the entitlement thing is a good one, but I think that what the Doc is trying to say is that this is a cultural trope, which some men buy into and all men exist in the context of. If Dr. Nerdlove wrote to women, I ABSOLUTELY think he'd address the cultural trope of the pink-diamond-encrusted castle, because like it or not that's a message American women get. Some of us reject it, and some ignore it, and some accept it, but we all exist in the context of that message about femininity one way or another.

      I also do think he's addressing precisely those male nerds who have entitlement issues – and I've encountered lots and lots of them. If you're a moderately attractive woman with nerdy interests, you can't really get away from them. Ugh.

      • He's not just beating down on cultural tropes though. He's either stupidly, deliberately or arrogantly lumping together categories of men who are somewhat innocently misinformed or suffering from issues, and make sweeping and insulting generalization based on a minority of genuinely awful misogynists existing within these groups (those you are claiming that Nerdlove is really targeting).

        For a dude who's mission statement is to "help the nerd get the girl" Nerdlove seems more interested in purposfully writing insulting and sensationalistic posts for the sake of perpetuating his image as Hardass Nerd Who Finally Discovered The Light And Now Tells It Like It Is Hardcore Style® while not caring so much about the fact that a lot of sensitive and messed up people are going to be discovering this blog in search of much-needed information and straightening-out and are instead lumped together with sexists, misogynists and creeps for no apparent reason.

        • I guess I don't think "has entitlement issues" = "misogynist." In my experience, the entitlement thing is a spectrum. It's just that the non-awful ones are usually at least willing to listen to me. :)

          I don't know a polite way to say this, so I'm just going to be blunt: do you, yourself, feel that the Doctor lumps you in with creeps and misogynists? If so, why do you feel that way? If not, who is it that you think you're defending?

          I don't mean to argue with your read; obviously two different people can read the same text different ways, and it doesn't mean either of them are wrong. I'm just curious about where this is coming from, for you.

          For perspective, I read a women-and-money series that takes an equally hardass attitude toward women. It was really, really hard to see how I'd absorbed some toxic lessons about money from our culture, even though I didn't think I had. I didn't want to be lumped in with flakes and gold-diggers and princesses – but some of the behaviors that seemed very normal to me were actually predicated on some of the same ideas that produce behaviors I despise. Taking a hard look at myself in the context of gendered expectations was immensely painful, but it's made me a much better (and more solvent!) person. I know I'm not in the Doc's target audience, but I read him because I very much appreciate that style, and in my personal experience, it works.

          • I'm neither defending anyone nor taking this specific article personally. It's just that as far as I'm concerned, Nerdlove's website is generally a good resource for helping (mostly male) nerds snap out of negative thinking and misconceptions about the opposite sex, but every time he touches on the subject of entitlement or nice guys he manages to make unwarranted, sweeping generalizations about men, often attributing a lot of negative behaviors to a larger group than he probably should.

            Quite frankly, it pisses me off when a blogger and his followers on one hand do a great job helping men understand the nature of their social conditioning and that they can't project their insecurities onto women, but on the other hand parrot a bunch of generalizations that are just as bad, biased and unwarranted as the generalizations that they're trying to crack down on in the first place.

            I simply felt a need to comment on this after having seen this happen in multiple articles, and don't think I should need a reason beyond hat.

          • typo correction: beyond that^

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      What we've got here is a sort of disconnect. A lot of the details have already been discussed in the thread, so I'll try not to rehash too badly. Doc does present certain tropes based on the observed behavior of subsets of geek. These include the Nice Guy who tries to ply friendship into romance without having to make a move and put himself on the line, the geek who thinks that the girl is what you deserve if you beat the final boss (or whatever). Yes, they're broad generalizations and stereotypes but they're also attitudes that you can find examples of in the comments of these articles. They're attitudes I see frequently on here, online, at cons and among my own friends. They do exist. What you'll find if you dig back, though, is that Doc has addressed each of these behaviors in terms of why its not productive. He's also presented why its counter-productive, how it makes women feel and most importantly what you can do about it to make yourself a better person.

      If you're fairly socially competent, capable of treating women with kindness and respect because you treat all people that way and are looking to level up your dating game, Doc's got articles for that. Some people are starting a little farther down the social interaction totem pole. I'm not sure how much articles like this get through to the people who really need them but i appreciate that someone is making the effort.

    • FinalDragon says:

      I think it's a partial truth that Dr Nerd Love has exaggerated. I don't think men think they're entitled to a "hot girl" or a model or whatever, but I do think guys generally want a girl they consider attractive. But then there are people who say that's asking for too much …

  13. Animated madness says:

    Well I’ve been on here for a while. Some of the doc’s advice can be applied to different cases.

    While its been somewhat helpful, I’ve yet to find anyone who wants to hang out, much less have a drink with me. I’ve had no dates since I started taking the docs advice, and for the record, I didn’t have much luck before meeting Doc in the first place. Might as well face the music. If there’s a woman interested in me, I’d probably never find out. Every woman I talk to of which I think I’d have a chance with, I end up finding out that she’s already taken or she just doesn’t want to meet me period. Women want a man who has a career. A college education. They don’t want a semi chubby dork who falls asleep watching old episodes of Simpsons or Venture Bros. they don’t want a guy who is broke on a weekly basis. I’m done. I’m throwing in the towel. I don’t care what the myths say, from my experience, they’re fact. I’m tired of the rejection. I’m tired of the bullshit. I give up.

    • I really empathize, man. I think you're mistaken in part, though.

      Take it from a guy who is not chubby, and who has a career, college education, and a six figure salary right out of college: NONE OF THAT MATTERS. Not very much, anyway. It matters a little. A tiny handful of girls might think that these things make you more desirable, but in my experience, that's all it is.

      • Animated madness says:

        Synco, the city I’m currently living in just happens to be a college town. All the women I’ve tried to start a conversation with, the talk leads up to “what major are you going for?” and when I inform them that college is financially impossible for me, they get awkward and silent. Dating sites (okcupid included) are all the same too. I write a lot of people, hardly any response. When I’m at work at one of the two jobs I have ( a rarity in today’s economy) the passion I have for what I do shines, but everyone there seems to have the mentality of “get what I need and get out.” I could be grilling a restaurant quality prime steak and tons of people pass me by like I’m non existent. And in the end, I end up home, alone, and a little more dead on the inside.

        • Could it be your attitude? If you go around thinking "no one will ever want me," that comes out in your body language. I get that the cycle of depression and loneliness can be really hard to break out of, though (I've certainly been there).

          Honestly, though, I think getting out of the dating game might actually be good for you; just don't think of it as "This will never work for me, might as well give up," think of it as "this isn't working for me right now, time to put my energy into something else." Dating is sort of counterintuitive; the more desperate you are, the less likely you are to get what you want, and vice-versa. Hone your steak-grilling technique. Work your way up in the kitchen. Find a hobby you enjoy. Make some art. Improve your life as best you can. It will be hard (like really, really hard) but you will feel so much better when you come home at night.

          • Animated madness says:


            Thanks for the tip, but I’ve been out of the dating game for over two years. And while my culinary skills improve, I feel they’re almost going to waste. I still get hundreds of people just passing me by like I’m a bump on a log. I know I’m not sounding desperate when trying to talk to them. Believe me, no one likes that at all. And I have hobbies I enjoy, I’m a huge fan of video games and animated films. And I know all about the histories of the companies that make this stuff. Theres a lot about me to love. But when you try to talk to someone and it looks like something might happen, BAM! The bitch known as rejection shows up to whip you senseless.

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          "what major are you going for?"
          1. Well, the cost of college these days is insane and the benefit in getting a job gets lower every year. So I prefer to work on (insert creative hobby here). Building a practical portfolio of work is puts me in a better position to land a job that actually fits my skills. What sort of creative outlets do you pursue in your spare time?

          2. You ever see Good Will Hunting? I prefer to learn more like that, a library card and an insatiable curiosity. I especially like studying (insert academic field here). What do you like to read when its not for class?

          Its all in the framing. You're not "too broke for college". You just have better uses of your time and money. Of course all of that presupposes that you do have better uses for your time and money. The truth is that in our current economy, practical work pays off more than education. Want a programming job? Write an iPhone ap. Want a journalism job? Start a youtube channel. If you can post to this forum, you already have the materials you need. Its just a matter of expending the effort. You'll feel better about yourself and have a good answer to "what's your major?"

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Almost forgot the ultimate geek example – want to work one makeup or costumes for film? Cosplay!

        • plotjunkie says:

          Ok, this is going to sound awful of me, but from the first initial description you gave of yourself did not seem at all appealing to someone looking for a potential long-term companion. The message you are giving me as a woman right off the bat is how much I would be settling for you. Look, people are allowed to have a set of standards (yes, even you though you don't seem to think you do). However have you thought about looking more for someone who is compatible with you than who is simply attractive to you?

          The way I see it is approaching a person you're interested should be as much of an opportunity for them to make an impression on you as you to them. Are you showing the real you? Are you showing what it is about you that sets you apart from the average guy? You have potential, it sounds. You like cooking? I'll tell you something now: Women love a guy who can cook. Talk passionately about what you do. Have some pride in yourself and what you do. Discover what it is about you that makes so freakin' awesome and shine.

          If the girl still isn't interested, don't take it too much to heart. There may be some other factors there you don't know about that make you not what she's looking for. Does that make you worthless? Heck no! If you're not what she's looking for, I promise you now she's not what you're looking for. But like I said, use the time for her to make an impression on you. Objectively observe her and get to know what her passions and values are. If you find a dealbreaker when you're not emotionally invested, you can save yourself (and her) a lot of wasted time and heartbreak.

    • I think it's cool as hell that you've had the guts to approach and talk to women despite your hardships. I used to be in a similar situation but didn't get the guts to even initiate conversation with women until AFTER I had undergone a conscious personality change to become a more attractive person.

      In other words, you're a very awesome man!

      I don't want to give you any suggestions because I don't know you personally, but I hope you manage to solve your problems. I know it sucks being in a place where you feel like you never get to win at life.

      Don't give up!

    • Of course women want a man with a career and an education. As a woman, with both those things, and a nerdy woman at that (I'm a programmer with a degree in Math), I can safely say I am not about to date a guy who has no drive or ambition no matter how nice he is. For one, it's boring, we won't be able to do a lot of activities unless I pay for everything, which I at my level, I can only afford to pay my own way. Second, it's boring, because no one wants to be with a person who doesn't have a life outside the relationship. I want a guy who has his own ambitions, and friends, and interests. Of course women don't want to date you, you don't bring anything to the table.

  14. Quoteth the Doc: "Men have equal ability to find sexual partners as women do… it just involves being willing to lower your standards to being willing to sleep with anyone who offers or shows an interest."

    My experience tells me that this is a lie. I don't feel entitled to a "10" or anything of the sort (and I can't imagine where Doc gets the idea that men think that way). In fact, I'll gladly lower my standards as much as I need to. The fact is, I can throw any semblance of standards out the window, and still not come up with so much as one girl who's interested.

    A girl in my position, however, would not have so much trouble. Forget bars — she could just contact one of the hundreds of guys who have expressed sentiments similar to this one on this site. Something tells me most of them would jump at the chance at a relationship! For that matter, she could contact *me*.

    Now before you ask "why would anyone want to date someone like you?", that is beside the point. Doc made a claim that, by lowering standards to 0, both genders will have an equally easy time finding a relationship. That's the claim I'm responding to.

    Things like this make me think that the Doc doesn't really understand his target audience, lonely nerdy guys. He thinks our mentality is "why won't any hot girls show interest?" when in fact it's closer to "why won't ANY girls show interest? I'll take anyone, honest!"

    • Except you won't take "anyone," not really.

    • I don't think I believe you when you say you'll take anyone. Come on, would you be interested in a woman two or three times your age? (Or four, if you're young enough?) Or your size, for that matter? What about someone with beliefs farthest from your own? Or disturbing fetishes? I think you're forgetting how unattractive and terrible people can be, and if you reflect, I'm sure there are some women you wouldn't want showing interest in you.

    • Yeah…"I can throw any semblance of standards out the window, and still not come up with so much as one girl who's interested." But the problem is…what girl is going to be interested when you've just announced that "anyone will do." I know you claim to be addressing the Doc's assertion that lowering standards to zero would theoretically help a man or woman find a date. But then you say this: "I'll take anyone, honest!" I think you need to re-read the doc's advice. FIND A WOMAN WHO IS INTERESTING TO YOU, AND SHARES YOUR INTERESTS. Saying lame stuff like "anyone will do" is pretty unattractive – it implies that you are so desperate, you're not interested in anyone as an individual person, more so just a warm body. Even if this is not what you're actually saying/what you actually think, do you realize how creepy it reads to a woman? Might be something to consider. You sound desperate, and a little bit angry. Truth: the world does not owe you anything, not even the ugliest woman imaginable on the planet is owed to you, let alone this "perfect 10" all Nice Guys supposedly want. As for your example that a woman's ad will get more replies than a man's…well yeah, but again, half those guys are probably psychos, the other half are not attractive to her in any way, so what exactly is your point? Both genders need to make effort to attract someone they actually want to be with, and having an "anyone will do" mentality is only going to send creepy vibes. End of story.

      • It sounds like you actually agree with me. Doc said anyone can find a relationship by lowering their standards to zero. I said that's not true, and explained why. Your response backs up my claim that, for me, it's not true. As I understand you, the reason is that lowering my standards to zero makes me creepy to a woman. So in fact, I CAN'T get someone by lowering my standards to zero. Doc was wrong on that point.

        • If you lower your standards to zero, you will meet women who also have zero standards. It's only a matter of time. But I doubt that is what you really want.

  15. FinalDragon says:

    Ghost and Max: I think he means "within reason".

  16. octagon64 says:

    I assume that part of what makes the oldfashioned "Men have to take all the risks" structure appealing for some men is that even if no one ever approaches you, there's still no need to suspect that no one is interested in you in the first place.

  17. hmm, no sources.

  18. Not any sources to back this up.

    This contradicts a lot of what you have wrote tbh

  19. I don't think I've ever disagreed and agreed so strongly with one article.

    First the disagreement. Post two ads to the Craigslist NSA section. One male. One female. Both of similar attractiveness. The chick's ad will get responses from guys with six packs. The dude will be lucky to get a single response. The Doc needs to stop denying that there are inherent differences between the sexes and start living in reality.

    But the part about asking a girl what else she has going for her besides her looks is pure gold. In fact, I'm pretty sure that used to be on of the PUA mystery's opening lines. An abundance mentality will help you level the playing field.

    • ICanFly, that doesn't fly.

      1. NSA ads on Craigslist =/= dating

      2. Women are FAR FAR FARRRRRRR less likely to even BE on NSA Craigslist type websites, nonetheless actually respond to a man that puts up an ad. Sites like that are made to give the male the false hope that he can easily get into a sexual relationship with doing little to no work. They don't know or are too socially awkward to know how to talk to women and create romantic/sexual relationships traditionally, so they head to the Internet thinking it's as easy as Reality Porn says it is.

      I'm just getting surface level too; That's a horrendous example.

  20. A man’s job in finding a relationship is to be charming, funny, tall, not poor, make all the first moves, and pay for the first date.
    A woman’s job in finding a relationship is to be slender, have big boobs, spend hours on her hair and makeup, and not get raped.

    Although it’s not the fun side of things, I really don't think that you can talk about the female dating experience without talking about rape and our society’s ideas of rape. A lot of my female friends in college were sent to college with the idea that they’re main objective in college was Not Being Raped. I had one friend whose father told her that if she didn’t take a self-defense course during her first semester of college, he wouldn’t pay for subsequent semesters. Sadly, since our society refuses to acknowledge that most rape is acquaintance rape, a lot of the advice my friends received had to do with never, ever leaving the house by yourself after dark; always wearing shoes you can run in; and always checking your car before entering it. 10 years later, I still feel irresponsible when I go to the grocery store after dark. Grocery stores: the gateway drug to walking down dark alleys by yourself.

    Another friend of mine in college accepted an offer for a date from a pizza delivery guy, and her friends practically held an intervention. “You can’t go on a date with this guy! We don’t know him! You could DIE!!!” She wasn’t even intending on going somewhere private with this guy—just meeting a strange man in public who knew that she was unaccompanied was enough to scare them. Admittedly, this was in Texas, which is pretty conservative; I’m sure the attitude is different in other places.

    But the idea that I have some kind of unfair 1%er advantage because I could walk into a bar, find a stranger who is most likely stronger than me, and then take him to a secluded place where it would be difficult for me to get help if I needed it, is dumb.

  21. I would respectfully submit that married couples should be excluded when talking about attraction and dating. In general, both men and women make all sorts of compromises when it comes to getting married. A woman in her early twenties isn't really going to care about financial stability of her boyfriend or his suitability as a father. The same qualities become far more important when she hits thirties. So, when you say that you have many friends with awesome wives, it means nothing. Did these men have awesome girlfriends in their early twenties? If not, they are simply being used for their money.

  22. Notice how women distort the fact that they can obtain sex much more easily than men. into "Women can get laid anytime, anywhere they want" and then refute it. The latter is obviously impossible if only due to physical and logistical limitations.

    It is a straw man logical fallacy no one seems to detect; to take a claim to its logical extreme and make the the maker of the claim feel stupid.

    So for the millionth time, no one is saying that women can get laid anytime, anywhere they want, with whomever they want (yep that's also added sometimes)
    Its only being said that, all other things equal, women can obtain CASUAL SEX much more easily than men. It is a fucking comparison that's being made rather than an absolute statement.


    Dr nerdlove is conveniently defining CASUAL SEX as only 'one night stands with complete strangers'

    NEWSFLASH : Casual sex ALSO includes booty calls, Friends with Benefits, flings and 'adult' online dating. And women can obtain all these forms of casual sex much more easily than men. Just stop trying to perpetuate the false dichotomy of random one night stands and relationships on opposite ends.

    • Casual sex as multi-night stands with any acquaintance suffer the same problems that one-night stands with complete strangers do. Perhaps it suffers them to a lesser degree than the one-night stand with a stranger scenario, but that hardly changes the core argument.

  23. Arzor Sharn says:

    Alan Moore isn’t ugly. And he has very pretty hair and pretty beard.

  24. That Game of Thrones reference though.

  25. This is a very bad and wrong article, and it all could be resolved by changing the title to: "The First Steps to Achieving Power in Dating".
    Reframing one's ideas about the myths about dating are great steps to attaining power in the dating game; but it absolutely does NOT bring you to the realization that power is equal between men & women in dating, or completely up to perception and self limiting beliefs. All reframing your thinking does as this article explains is start you off from a more empowering perspective rather than a defeatist one which gets you in your own way. So kudos on that note, but if you don't know how to hold a conversation, keep one going, be engaging & appealing all that's going to happen is you're going to get tons of women flaking on you. Tons of dates that go nowhere. Tons of money being spent leading to nothing.
    The reality is once a man shows interest in a female the majority of the power is hers. The Game of Approaching & Interacting with potential mates may possibly be nothing more than re-attaining power relinquished when initiating by teasing, misdirecting, humor, wit, prosperity, credibility, etc.
    This author spent so much time trying to disprove women have more power that he/she actually provided evidence that they do. A woman not having to or being expected to approach puts power on her side. If she doesn't approach its not held against her, and if she's strong willed enough to approach she has the element of surprise on her side. Women can use the crutch of expecting a man to be the aggressor as an opportunity to sit back and pass judgement. Not to mention all women are working with the knowledge that men generally want them for sex in some significant capacity if he approached her.
    Does this mean men are powerless? Definitely No. But lets not fool ourselves into believing its all just in our heads.
    This article has to have been written by a woman.

    • "Not to mention all women are working with the knowledge that men generally want them for sex in some significant capacity if he approached her. "

      Speak for yourself, mate. Tattoo this on your forehead: WOMEN ARE PEOPLE.

  26. Mr. Jay – You still do not get it! Women do not EVER want to discuss the suggestion that they should be approaching
    men.You will hear ALL kinds of bogus explanations ( men are natural hunters; it is the man's "job" to approach; women, not men are entitled to know first that the man is REALLY interested; women give birth and men do not) so that the women will ALWAYS say that it is "best for everyone" if men approach first. So get ready for the insults!

    • Dave,

      If a woman desires a man to approach her that's her desire and should be respected. Many women approach. If you want women to approach you, get off here and become a guy women want to approach.

  27. John Smith says:

    This article gives all the excuses in the world to women and justify their worse acts.

    1- It is a fact that any girl can get any date AND SEX, not just sex, but dates as well with almost any guy any time. The dating scene gives women power over men, just like Nazie Germany gave Aryans power over the Jews. It is the system that needs to be changed. Adjusting to the unfair system and fixing a problem with another, by giving it excuses and telling men to just get over it, doesnt do any good. Two wrongs dont make a right. If women can get sex any time she wants, then how come men cant ? Because there is ALWAYS shortage of women in every social gathering.

    2- The risk should be on both sides. But currently the risk is all on men. If women want equal rights, then they should have equal responsibilities. Women get the best out of the traditionism and modernism . They are whiney over-privileged group.

    • Godwin's Law in 3 lines. Impressive.

      I should note that there are slightly more women than men in the world, and that women outnumber men in every adult age group. The fact that there's a shortage of women at social gatherings may have more to do with the social gatherings you attend and the people who flock to them.

      • It's the reverse , there are a lot more men in the world , especially in the younger age groups , a lot more boys are born than girls , the only age group in which women outnumber men is the seniors ( 60 + age groups ) due to shorter male lifespans.

    • I sense that arguing with you on your points would be pretty pointless considering you seem very attached to your beliefs and our nursing a persecution complex. If you're hurting, I'm sorry but here is not a good place to vent aggressive nonsense.

    • Funny, last time I checked, I have never invaded Poland. Not even ONCE.

  28. Some interesting points, but not all of them line up with my experience. In Vancouver, women don't approach period, they are so passive and lack the basic skills of flirting that it's damned near impossible to tell if they are interested. So, you must approach, but it's just a crap shoot since you won't be getting any feedback.

    Men are generally more reasonable than women, none of my guy friends are looking to hit it out of the park with a 10, in fact most of us agree that your average 10 in the looks department, is going to be a world of hurt because of the massive attitude. We are all quite reasonable and merely want cute, nice women. I get told all the time by women colleagues that I'm handsome with nice eyes, and I'm 6'2" and muscular. I'm bookish and nerdy with a quirky sense of humour, so definitely not an alpha male douche. So, you'd think that I'd be not too badly off in the dating pool, and yet I spend most of my time alone. It's gotten to the point where my friends and I can't even be bothered to go out to try and meet women and I've done my share of nutting up and approaching, but even when I've gotten numbers women always flake on me. Online dating is useless as the women definitely have unreasonable standards judging by the late 40s fatties with 3 kids who message me.

    Even in the book, "Marry Him: Settling for Mr Good Enough" the female author admits that a lot of woman are insanely picky choosing a mate and blow guys off for asinine reasons like his belt and shoes don't match. She admits that most men are content, with slim, cute and nice.

    I agree that women don't have all the power and I could get laid if I chose to go home with a woman I wasn't attracted to in the least, but it's not my experience with my peers that any of us are going for the lingerie model type and are trying to date out of our league.

  29. As a woman, I've always believed that with our emotions (and consequently, our "mind-reading abilities"), we have more power in actually guiding the relationship. Maybe it'd been because I never struggled for power the way I do now, but I'd see a guy's insecurities and do things that'd naturally make myself more powerful, because he'd feel more confident. I used to be the one to make the first few moves, show I liked guys through the way I smiled or looked at them or patted them on the arm. I'd be the one to chat them up first, and with one or a few more conversations the "power" would shift and they'd end up chasing me, even when I wasn't as "attractive" (but much more open) as I am now. Any of the "rules" about not chasing guys flies out when you have a clear, unshakeable core of self-respect.

    I'm a huge overanalyzer and I have too many walls about being perfectly assertive or sweet at the right times, but every guy I've dated sees that and likes me because of the way I make him feel. That's it! Most people are lead by feelings. See them, and you have access to the source of your power.

  30. What about in places where there *is* actually a sex imbalance? For instance, my therapist says I'd benefit a lot from dating a scientist or a fellow engineer. The only problem with that is that I'm straight and male. (Or is that what this newfangled polyamory thing is for? If there are only 0.4 girls per guy in my stripe of geekdom, then I'll be happier taking my 0.4 girlfriends than making a rounding error.)

  31. Marilyn Manson is a superb example of an "ugly" guy who almost constantly dates gorgeous, talented, incredible women such as Evan Rachel Wood, Dita von Teese, Rose McGowan and Lindsay Usich. Solid, inescapable proof right there that high-quality women aren't only interested in "lantern-jawed alpha males." The Doctor should seriously write an article about MM…………… there is so much that men could learn from him about dating.

    So how is it that such an outwardly weird (even creepy) dude hooks in women the way he does? Well for one thing, he is charming as hell and has a wicked sense of humor. His twisted, quirky, adventurous spirit is infectious; people who know him have said that he can show them a great time in a way that is 100% unique to him. And unlike all these tiresome pickup-artists and Nice Guys, HE'S NOT SHALLOW. He is totally and utterly self-possessed, unafraid of his humanity. Could you ever picture him talking about women as "5's" or "10's"? He has a keen, incisive, original mind. Watch any interview with him, he can put the most interesting and unexpected spin on things. He sees the world in a completely fascinating way, and that is one of the sexiest qualities a person can have.

    From the mouth of Marilyn Manson himself:

    "Don't ever empty the bucket of mystery. Never let people define what you do. It's not about zigging when you should zag. It's not about doing something unprecedented and unpredictable. It's just about never being a word, or something that is not in the process of transformation."

  32. LokiTetch says:

    When a woman approaches me it's super flattering but at the same time, I'm kind of assuming that she's approaching me because I'm not handsome, she wasn't being approached by the hot guys, and she figures I'd have low standards. I wish it was common and encouraged. Approaching sucks but it would suck a lot less if it was something everyone did and experienced. There is a power to being able to approach whoever you want, it's just not as powerful a position as what women have. Knowing when she's just being smiley and friendly or when she actually wants you to flirt is impossible. A man has to just start flirting and hope that she's into it or flirts back. Otherwise he's embarrassed himself, told her that he finds her attractive, forced her to say she doesn't find him attractive back and then he'll have to avoid her from now on. The ability to never have to put yourself out there is immense, it's getting to make the second move instead of the first move when trying to figure out if someone likes you. A man can approach a woman and try to win her over but 9 times out of 10, he'll be rejected and have to learn to not care. A woman will be approached (and can also approach if she wants but may or may not come across negatively, depending on how attractive she is) by a man and will either be impressed enough to go on a date or have to reject them. Being the rejecter is inherently more powerful than being the rejectee.

  33. dizzy1691 says:

    I think you're being kind of dishonest in your post, or misrepresenting facts. You didn't specify for age, which is a huge factor. Young men, which I imagine to be your primary demographic have it harder to find partners because everyone from 18-80 find the women in their demographic attractive. This coupled with the fact that women are more comfortable dating up(age wise) than down means they have more options.

    Men in their 20's have sex less frequently than their female counterparts. Young men in their 20's have sex less frequently than women in almost every survey. Source 1 http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html… Source 2: http://www.nationalsexstudy.indiana.edu/graph.htm

    Women tend to like things about men that are hard to change: Income, height( he has to be tall objectively not just taller than her) Race( with few exceptions white men get more response on dating websites than men from every race group. Even when they are messaging minority women they receive more messages than men from the same racial group). http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affec

    On top of all these things men must be infinitely charismatic, charming, funny, talented, more interesting than European travel writer.

  34. Men still outnumber women in college campuses on average because women either don't attend or they drop out immediately because men are raised to be educated and be providers while women are to be home makers and mothers.


  1. […] Originally appeared at Doctor NerdLove […]

  2. […] women hold all of the power in dating. They are The Choosers, the gatekeepers to the Promised Land1, cruel temptresses who taunt men by being attractive and yet unavailable. Because sex is so much […]

  3. […] We love the idea that there’s some sort of impossible wall between men and women and ascribe all sorts of motivations to it – that men only are friends with women because they want to sleep with them or that women know that their male friends want them and string them along because they enjoy the ego boost or because they get their jollies over the power they wield. […]

  4. […] only want rich men, they’re puppet masters who make men jump through their hoops because it’s easier for them to get laid… the list goes on and […]

  5. […] Re: Guys, how often did/do you date multiple women? Who Has The Power In Dating? | Paging Dr. NerdLove […]

  6. […] feeling just as free to go out and find themselves a no-strings attached hook-up (which isn’t as easy as many men like to say it is…) and wondering when leaving her underwear behind is worth trying […]

  7. […] This is something that trips up a lot of well-meaning-but-otherwise-awkward guys: they let the fear of being a creeper overwhelm them. They may freak out and over-compensate by fearing to approach anyone while some become so obsessed with not making any mistakes that they fall back on pre-scripted routines and can’t handle any interaction that doesn’t go 100% smoothly. Many become convinced that women are actively looking for reasons to refuse them and come into every interaction with the assumption that they’ve been rejected in advance. […]

  8. […] that women would approach more to folks explaining ((By which I mean: people making shit up)) that women are the sexual gatekeepers – especially in the short-term – and generally like being in charge, thus feel no need to […]

  9. […] that women would approach more to folks explaining ((By which I mean: people making shit up)) that women are the sexual gatekeepers – especially in the short-term – and generally like being in charge, thus feel no need […]

  10. […] Hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack here. This is a layered question, FaC, because it’s getting fairly deep into gender roles and their effects on communication styles and socialization and compounds the issue by dealing with questions of jealousy, insecurity, hypergamy and making a turn into the age-old issue of "who has an easier time in dating". […]

  11. […] Hoo boy, there’s a lot to empty here. This is a layered question, FaC, given it’s removing sincerely low into gender roles and their effects on communication styles and socialization and compounds a emanate by traffic with questions of jealousy, insecurity, hypergamy and creation a spin into a age-old emanate of “who has an easier time in dating“. […]

  12. […] Hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack here. This is a layered question, FaC, because it’s getting fairly deep into gender roles and their effects on communication styles and socialization and compounds the issue by dealing with questions of jealousy, insecurity, hypergamy and making a turn into the age-old issue of “who has an easier time in dating“. […]

  13. […] Hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack here. This is a layered question, FaC, because it’s getting fairly deep into gender roles and their effects on communication styles and socialisation and compounds the issue by dealing with questions of jealousy, insecurity, hypergamy and making a turn into the age-old issue of “who has an easier time in dating“. […]

  14. […] Hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack here. This is a layered question, FaC, because it’s getting fairly deep into gender roles and their effects on communication styles and socialization and compounds the issue by dealing with questions of jealousy, insecurity, hypergamy and making a turn into the age-old issue of “who has an easier time in dating“. […]

  15. […] to such a violation of the social narrative. When women make the first move, they’re often seen as being slutty or overly-aggressive. Those men who don’t respond with immediate distaste tend to overestimate the women’s […]