Why Women Don’t Approach

One of the most recurring complaints that I hear from men, both here and in my columns at Kotaku, is that women don’t approach enough. Many, many guys, especially ones who are more socially inexperienced or who deal with acute approach anxiety, regularly lament the fact that men are expected to do all the hard work when it comes to trying to start a relationship and wish women would help out by being willing to make the first move.

Of course, all too often this goes from simply wishing 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 go out and be the initiators like they should. Moreover – so the complaint goes –  women have the power to not just shut down but ruin someone by unfairly labeling him “creepy” and insist that women need to be more considerate of the feelings of the men they’re rejecting… maybe even stopping to give him lessons in how to get her to like him so he can do better next time.

Oh man that's a good one, that... oh shit, you're serious.

Oh man that’s a good one, that… oh shit, you’re serious.

The thing is: women do approach guys. All the time in fact. Women frequently message guys they’re interested in when it comes to online dating; it just seems less significant compared to the many men who will shotgun out messages. Other times they get brushed off by the men because they’re not the women those men want to approach them. Then, there are the times when guys don’t recognize that someone is trying to make the first move. More often than not the way women approach men they’re interested in doesn’t match up with how they picture the approach going. She may use proximity and body language to try to catch his attention and signal that she wants to talk to him,  she makes an observation about something or finds an excuse to talk with him about, say, a class they have in common, as a way of breaking the ice.

If some of these sound familiar, they should… these are many of the ways men approach women. Most forms of indirect openers and indirect “game” from PUA circles are variations of techniques that women have used to signal interest without being too overt.

But the fact of the matter is, more men make the approach than women do. However, once you understand the social dynamics of why women don’t approach, it becomes much easier to create an environment where women feel empowered to make the first move, too.

Many Women Aren’t Comfortable Making The First Move

Quick virtual show of hands. How many of the men reading this have had to deal with approach anxiety? If you’re like me – and I know I am – then you’re intimately familiar with the heart palpitations, the sweaty palms, the dry mouth and the infinite variations of “What’s Going To Go Wrong” that flash through your head when you’re trying to psych yourself up to make the approach.

"OK, going to go talk to her... now. Ok, maybe... now. Ok... NOW. Fuck, maybe I need another beer first."

“OK, going to go talk to her… now. Ok, maybe… now. Ok… NOW. Fuck, maybe I need another beer first.”

Guess what? Women feel the exact same way.

Guys often get too caught up in the idea of “woman as gatekeeper”, where women “control” the market on sex because they want it less than men do and therefore can afford to be pickier. Because they perceive women as the ones who ultimately control access to sex, they tend to miss out on a very fundamental issue: women hate getting rejected too.

One of the insidious issues of the idea that women are somehow in charge of dating and have it so much easier than men do is that it  invalidates and erases every woman who’s ever been rejected by somebody she’s attracted to. When guys insist that any woman could go out and get laid if she wanted, this actually makes it harder for women to make the first move by increasing the potential fear of rejection; after all, if any woman can get laid and she can’t get a guy to go out to dinner with her, what does that say about her?

Moreover, in order to make the first approach, women have to overcome generations of social programming that insist that women never make the first move. Everything in our culture drills “men make the first move” into women’s heads. The traditional gender roles of man-as-aggressor are continually reinforced by our culture and society; witness the slut-shaming that Miley Cyrus gets for being an active – rather than passive – sexual performer. Even in this day and age, the sexually-aggressive woman is a figure of ridicule (especially if she’s played by Rebel Wilson rather than Kim Cattrall) . The Rules may seem like a quaint relic of the 90s, but Ellen Fein and  Sherrie Schneider have published a new version just last year, which is doing well for itself over at Amazon.

So not only do women have your garden variety approach anxiety, but  also have the specter of generations of socialization and gender roles that says “men don’t like girls who are too forward” and “if you make the first move, they’ll think you’re a slut” being dropped on top of that like a 400 lb weight on a balloon full of shit. And recognizing that fact just makes it even more frustrating because theoretically they should be better than that.

But gender roles, no matter how outdated, are damned hard to overcome.  Don’t forget: guys freak out over something as innocuous as braiding hairBut as it turns out, women have a good reason to be extra nervous about flaunting gender roles because…

Some Men React Badly To Being Approached

A lot of what makes us react one way or another to somebody is unconscious. When we see somebody, we instinctively process many, many non-verbal clues as to the person’s inner character from the way they walk, the way they smell and the way they interact with other people. One of the benefits of being approached, rather than being the approacher, is that you have more time to get a read on somebody. The manner in which they approach you tells you a lot about their personality and their level of confidence or social intelligence1; this can make the difference between being attracted to someone or having them set off your creeper-sense.

"So you're sayin' maybe I shouldn't be tellin' em about my windowless van?"

“So you’re sayin’ maybe I shouldn’t be tellin’ em about my windowless van?”

When you’re making the approach, unless you’ve been scoping them for a while, you’ve got considerably less info to work with. And that lack of info can be especially important for women. Remember what I said about how some guys freak out over overturned gender roles? This includes when women do the approaching. There are many men who are profoundly uncomfortable with any sort of non-traditional forms of gender-expression whether it’s through looks or behavior, and by trying to make an overt move, women risk stepping squarely on that particular emotional landmine.

On the low end of the spectrum, some men will be profoundly turned off by a woman approaching them. They have issues with aggressive or strong women – women who don’t conform to the “traditional values” of being meek and subservient, and a woman who flouts convention in that way will repulse them. Yes, finding out early that a guy is threatened by assertive women is generally a good thing – it means he’s self-selected out of that woman’s dating pool and good riddance. However, those guys rarely do so quietly. For all the times guys have worried about the “eww no” reaction from women that they approach, women are more likely to be insulted loudly and very publicly. If they’re lucky. Because at the other end of the spectrum are the guys who will feel like she’s a pushy bitch who needs to be taught her place. Sometimes physically.

The “bad reaction” isn’t just about potential physical threats. Because women generally don’t approach men, there will be plenty of men who will assume that the woman has far more sexual interest than she actually does. After all, since the cultural narrative is that women don’t make the first move, she must be really into him by coming up to him. Or maybe she’s just extra slutty. Either way, they’ll take her being forward as license to be even more aggressive than they might be otherwise.

Amongst the less socially experienced, there are plenty of well-intentioned men who will assume that a woman who made the approach is in love with them – or something very close to it – and up attaching themselves onto her like a lost gosling. Less physically threatening but still painfully uncomfortable under the best of circumstances.

Now, are all guys like this? No. Are you like this? Hopefully not. Here’s the thing though: women can’t tell this from just looking at you. Not every Brohemian is a collar-popping date rapist and not every quiet geeky wallflower is a shy Prince Charming waiting to be discovered. Sometimes the bro is really cool. Sometimes the geek is the one who you have to be worried about. So on top of the cultural baggage and the approach anxiety, a woman who may want to approach a man has to roll on the singles bar random encounters table2 and hope she doesn’t roll low.

Let’s be honest: if every time a man approached a woman there was a not-insignificant chance that she was actually a gorgon, men would be a lot less likely to approach strangers.

(Well, with the exception of that one freakin’ munchkin min-maxer who’d be pulling the Monty Hall probability stunt every time. But I digress…)

They Often Don’t Know How 

Another issue that women often face when it comes to being the one to make the first move: they often don’t know howJust like guys don’t. 

Being female isn’t proof against social awkwardness, and trying to figure out how to “get a relationship” doesn’t get any easier just because you’re a womanJust ask my friend Arden Leigh, whose job is all about teaching women how to embrace their inner Catwoman and find the relationship they’ve been looking for.

“But why can’t she just come up and say ‘hi’?” I hear some of you ask. Well… for the exact same reasons a lot of socially awkward guys don’t, but with the added benefit of social expectations working against them. Not only does she have to figure out how to get over her own approach anxiety, but she has to convey her interest without seeming slutty or being too interested and coming across as a potential Overly Attached Girlfriend ((Incidentally, Laina Morris, the face of OAG is actually pretty damn cool).


Let’s not forget, if it was so easy for people to just make the first move and meet awesome single people, Match wouldn’t exist, Cosmo would lose half its pages and I wouldn’t have a job. 

Now, one of the things I’ve mentioned before is that women have more of a societally accepted support system for getting better at dating than men do (a reason why I write this blog). However, many of the flirting techniques women are taught and encouraged to use are to encourage men to approach them without being overt about it; approaching a guy is about as overt as it gets short of pouncing on them from a tree like a horny leopard, and very little of it is helpful when you’re taking the initiative. Just like many PUA techniques, women’s flirting advice is designed for a specific type of interaction; just as dating advice for picking up club girls doesn’t map to everyday life, knowing how to send approach invitations doesn’t help when you’re the one trying to do the approaching.

So the next time you’re sullenly wishing that women would do the work for you, remember that they’re having the same issues you are.

It’s Not About Who Has It Harder

Here’s something to keep in mind: dating and approaching isn’t about taking home the gold medal in the Who Has It Worse Olympics. It’s not about “women have it worse, so suck it up and make the move”, nor is it about whose “responsibility” it is for being the aggressor. It’s about understanding the reasons why more women don’t approach. Whether or not you agree that those issues are valid is ultimately irrelevant; the fact of the matter is that these are the pressures that women feel that discourage them from being more proactive on the dating scene. Yes, things are getting better as society slowly crawls towards greater social equality, but those pressures are still there.

Understanding these pressures makes it easier to relate, and when you’re not treating dating as an antagonistic process of gatekeepers and supplicants, you’ll find far more success… and in fact, this will help you learn how to create an environment where women do feel more empowered to approach as well.

(In fact… well, check back on Friday for more.)


  1. or that they’re good at faking it, which is another form of social intelligence, to be honest []
  2. For reference: you roll 2d10 and declare which die is your high integer before you get your results []

  • celette482

    Oh man 100x YES on the "they think you're in love with them and imprint themselves" thing. I was overtly *friendly* (not even asking him out, just… speaking to the guy) and suddenly I had a borderline stalker and frequent sexual harasser. Yay.

    It's all about risk-reward. If you want women to approach you, make it a habit of being the kind of person who represents less risk and more reward all the time. The women orbiting your social circles will notice that you're the guy who shuts down the rape jokes or the guy who doesn't drink to excess and makes sure the people you're with get cabs home or the guy who doesn't trash his exes and dismiss them as crazy. They notice this stuff. They are judging you, and that kind of behavior makes you more attractive, and importantly, a "more likely to be safe" approach.

    Here's something DNL missed: women tend to do recon on guys they like. We ask friends and mutual acquaintances, we watch you in group activities, we try to get as much information directly and indirectly as we can. It helps us decide whether we are actually in to you and it gives us information for our risk-reward data collection. Even women being approached do this to a certain extent, like DNL said, but for a woman deciding whether to approach or not, information is power.

    • etherealclarity

      The other risk of the "they think you're in love with them" reaction is that the non-imprinting types will be scared off. More than once I've been interested in a guy (read: NOT in love with him, just interested in getting to know him better and maybe see where things go) but if I would try to make a subtle move of some sort – the dude was immediately uncomfortable and scared off because he thought I was WAY more into him than he was into me. It's absurd when you think about it, but very common.

      • jvc

        Totally feel you on that one. I once mentioned I was going to an ice hockey game and the guy I was interested in said he wanted to do that soon as well. Thinking things were going well I suggested that he come to the game with me and this resulted in a total freak out on his part. He responded with 'uhhhh I dunno…maybe' then proceeded to be really awkward/ignore me for the next few weeks. That was especially great when we had to meet 1 on 1 for a group project and still had 2 weeks of class left…although I subsequently found out he was kind of a jerk anyway so it was for the best.

      • coolcono

        You creeped him out.

    • Bas Kleijweg

      Also take notice that these faux passes are not universal. Every dudette's personal radar of safe/unsafe is tailored by her individual experiences, hearsay and the personality she'll filter for anyway. One woman may regard you as safer because you drink less, dislike offensive jokes and keep quiet about your old SOs, while the next one will see you drinking less than the rest, being overbearingly protective without being requested to and hiding your dating history.

      Being able to have a convo about sex may come across as either a sign that you're communicating openly or as creating a sexually charged atmosphere. Asking for affirmation often may be seen as involving her in the conversation/putting emphasis on consent in the littlest of things, or it might come across as a painfully artificial manner of singling her out. Aware of your male privilege? Good, but you could also be a Schwyzer-style self-flagellating emotional timebomb who constantly represses and invalidates his own thoughts and feelings due to believing in that excessive SJW rhetoric.

      Trying to find a standard Mr. Safe approach is futile and often gives the impression of doing it for the cookies.

      • celette482

        That is true. No one gives you a prize for not being awful.

        But, I think what I'm getting at is that there are guys who realize that certain behavior would be a turn off for the women they are interested in, so refrain from doing it in front of them, not realizing that shit gets back to women.

        I should also add that I vet all my dates, even ones I didn't approach.

        • LTP

          Hm, I guess the vetting is one more reason to, as much as I loathe the advice, "be yourself", always. That is probably the most effective way to find good matches.

        • Bas Kleijweg

          Makes sense. I always temper it with some public/private sensibility and accounting for Fundamental Attribution Errors, but otherwise always try to put forward my most polarizing personality aspects as quickly as appropriate.

      • Stardrake

        I think there is a distinction between not trash-talking exes and not talking about them at all. If you simply cannot acknowledge that they existed without pouring on the vitriol… Well, maybe you’ve had bad luck, but it’s not a good sign. I’d imagine the best sign is being able to talk about them without rancor and generally being genuinely over them.

      • thathat

        Wouldn't you WANT to be the guy who shuts down rape jokes? I mean, whether or not it means Woman #1 will approach you, for the sake of being a decent human being, wouldn't you WANT to be That Guy?

        • dave

          Thatthat – Shutting down 'rape" jokes, being a decent human being? Just how fast does the "nice guy" want to get to the friendzone?

          • inertia

            I despise guys who use the term friend zone… being a decent human being and being the "nice guy TM" are two different things.

            Any guy that gives me the nice guy type of speech or post that niceguy tm type of speech looses so much points.

            The thing is…

            your spouse/ boyfriend/girlfriend…. or as I have been calling it more recently "Partner in Crime" should be your best friend…. Any guy who cant be an authentic friend first will never be my boyfriend… or husband…

            But I don't need one. I would like one, but I know I will be just fine with or without one.

            I don't need a guy who doesn't feel the need to be a decent human being…

          • inertia

            That excludes guys who stop using those terms and stop thinking along those lines

    • Kristine

      Oh man, I complimented a guy on his poetry once, and he followed me around for weeks after like a little lost puppy dog! I had to find a big, burly guy friend of mine to hang out with before he went away. A simple "no" just didn't cut it. *shudder*

      • Dammit. Ask some guys out. See how you like humble pie.

        • coolcono

          I am right too.

    • Mad_

      Equality irk: a guy doing recon is considered "creepy" because we should just be asking and making the approach.

      I'm also the kind of guy who has no interest in you being able to find out anything through recon (in a blunt way, it's none of your business), which also puts me in the "more likely to be creepy" category.

      • enail0_o

        Isn't a quick Googling considered pretty normal for both men and women? Only gets creepy if you're really getting in there and reading everything they've ever done, and I've seen that described as creepy stalking when it's a woman doing it too – this is actually one of the few situation where I consistently see women being called creepy in the same way as men.

        And for non-internet recon, I've definitely seen guys ask around "hey, do you know that girl, what's she like?" without it being creepy. Again, you don't want to be going around interviewing everyone they've ever met or following them from a distance for months, but it's about degree more than gender.

        • thathat

          Also worth mentioning that the girls doing recon are also doing it for their *safety.* Not that men never get abused by women, or that it can't turn out that the woman he's interested in will be an Overly Attached type as well, but for women interested in men, the risk is somewhat more significant.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Interesting. Guess its a good thing I'm usually very free with Facebook friending people, then because if you try and use my real name, I'm a ghost in the machine. That's about the extent of my "recon", though.

        • coolcono

          I don't google anybody. I think internet stalking is creepy.

    • phaedrusbrowne

      The women orbiting your social circles will notice that you're the guy who shuts down the rape jokes or the guy who doesn't drink to excess and makes sure the people you're with get cabs home or the guy who doesn't trash his exes and dismiss them as crazy. They notice this stuff. They are judging you, and that kind of behavior makes you more attractive, and importantly, a "more likely to be safe" approach. – Because most women are really really hot for the kind of guy their mom would choose…yeah right.

      • coolcono

        I bet a lot of women downvoted you.

    • starcrush21

      It's not a lot different from women who think every guy must be into them just because the guy says something to them non-related to sex or relationships. Women tend to be one-sided in their thinking: they only notice whatever it is that they perceive guys are doing, and not even being aware of what their own gender is doing.

      Like I said, it's still not much different than an arrogance in many women where they think guys must be into them just because a guy is being friendly and sweet to her, even if he really isn't into her. I think more often women have this notion than men because – again – women are taught that if a man is acting a certain way to her it must mean he's interested just because she's a female. What also makes this true is the way many women brag that this or that guy is into her or has been into her. A lot of females tell these stories like they're so annoyed by such guys – and they may be – but are actually just trying to brag to people about all the guys who like them/have liked them, even if those guys really don't. In other words, women have a tendency to exploit any interaction they have with men, and I even take the women's comments below with a grain of salt. I don't really think guys are thinking a woman is interested in them for how she acts as much as people say because we're taught that women either hide their interest or are never interested in the guy.

    • coolcono

      No. This is a gynocentric piece for women not having the responsibilities of men.

    • coolcono

      Have any guys described you as creepy or a stalker? Gender roles reversed. How would you respond?

      • eselle28

        I was described by a couple people as being creepy in high school (not for asking a couple of questions about someone, but for weird staring and hanging around fringes). I tried really hard not to interact with those people after that – after all, they obviously didn't care for my company, and it was clear that I'd need to start over again with different people.

        As for someone asking a friend a couple questions about me, I'd be somewhere on the spectrum of flattered to the sort of mild annoyance when I suspect someone whose interest I don't want to attract has noticed me. Hopefully, the friend can signal my level of interest. Someone googling me would be a non-event – doesn't everyone do that?

    • coolcono

      Sounds like fear. How many guys have you approached?

      • celette482

        My husband.

    • coolcono

      You do recon? That is creepy as heck.

    • coolcono

      Fear. Double standards which don't favor you.

      • eselle28

        This series of posts? It makes me less inclined to approach dudes I might be interested in, not more so.

        You've apparently been harping on this for at least 7 weeks. If I nagged guys who weren't inclined to ask women out to do it already, I'd be seen as creepy – especially if I aimed it at a broad group of men who weren't complaining about being single. And, hell, I'd certainly rather be single than end up asking out someone like you.

        • ezroz

          It is very creepy. No one wants to look creepy.

          But that's one of many reasons I don't date, so take that for what you will.

        • Yep. This.

          Also, coolcono, STFU about double standards. Fundamentally we do live in an unfair world. Ergo, duh, women who date men are gonna have different personal standards for safety than men who date women. Don't like it? Work to change the world so women no longer (rightly) fear being hurt or killed by men they see romantically.
          Or ya know, whine on the Internet about how unfair it is that women don't wanna touch your junk.

    • coolcono

      For being an advice column for nerds, I think the majority of the readers are female.

  • Makes me wonder about the times that i have been approached and did notice. To be completely honest, I was not i good head space for a long time, a lot family drama hanging over me head. I'm coming out though and releasing just how toxic some of my old mind sets where. And the anxiety is nasty mutha to deal with, cause you never really get over it. That nasty little thought or voice is in the back of your head always pointing out faults and flaws that only you see. You just learn how to manage it and mute for some time. One of the most toxic mentalities I have been training to de-program from myself is that very engrained .."Gatekeeper" Logic.

    • Stardrake

      I’m pretty sure I completely missed at least one in first year. Nice-looking girl, and seemed nice from brief interactions, but never got to know her better. It was well afterwards, when I started learning about these things, that I thought back and went “Ohhhhh…”

    • Shajenko

      Off topic – I hate the phrase "To be honest", or any variation. What it literally means is "I was lying before, and I'll lie later, but this one time I'll tell the truth." I know most people don't mean it that way, but still.

      • enail0_o

        I think of it more as an tag to signal greater-than-usual openness – a kind of a 'hey, folks, I'm going to get a touch confessional here,'. Not that everything else is dishonest, but that they're going a layer deeper in honesty.

        • hobbesian

          Oh good.. I'm glad I've at least been using that right.. that other guy had me in a bit of a panic because I'd been thinking "Oh no, I've been telling people that I was lying"… ugh..

          • WordyLibrarian

            No. The usual connotation of that phrase is that you're about to get (or have just gotten) a bit confessional or a bit blunt. Reading it as a statement that one is lying/will lie is uncommon.

  • I am very, very pleased to see this article, and Doc, you pretty much nailed it.

    But as pleased as I am to see it… I just can't scrape up enough enthusiasm to believe it will make even a *dent* in a lot of geek guys' beliefs. Why? Because I've been singing this song for *years*, and had guys completely ignore me or insist I'm lying. I've had friends who watched me approach a guy and get shot down, still insist that girls don't approach and that girls have it easy in dating. Hell, I've had one or two guys *who themselves rejected me* sigh longingly and say, TO MY FACE, they wish girls would approach them.

    ON that note, I would like to throw out a few personal stories that reinforce the Doc's points, just in case people here STILL feel like arguing.

    1) At least half the reason I think I'm unattractive is because of the narrative that "women have it easy" and that if a woman just approaches a guy, she will get laid. Well I've approached quite a lot of guys, in real life and online. And w'ere not talking jocks in a bar-we're talking Cons, or guys wearing Dr. Who t-shirts. Being a woman, and approaching, and getting rejected, is a HUGE hit on the self-esteem, because not only did you just get rejected, but now you have to wonder if you are even really a woman. After getting rejected enough, I started to really stare at myself in the mirror and think that I must not even register as female. I've been told for years by my male friends that women have it easy, that women can just snap their fingers and get a geek boyfriend because any guy would be *thrilled* to have a girl who loved WoW and fantasy novels… and yet that wasn't true for me. When approaching guys start to make you question your own gender identity, it becomes less and less likely that you will continue approaching.

    The thought goes… if I was an attractive woman, wouldn't it be easier than this?

    2) Quite a few guys that I approached argued with me. Yep, argued, usually about my nerd creds. Any time I was in a geek space, and considering using that geek interest (Batman, Magic, anime) to open a conversation, I had to deal with the very real probability that my credentials and interests would be called into question, and I would have to defend myself. Show of hands-when you are already nervous about approaching someone, when YOU are one making the first move, do you really also want to defend your own interests? Do you really want to sweat over the fact that you can't remember every tiny detail about the Batman universe, or that you might not know the name of every Gatecrash card off the top of your head?

    3) This is probably the most insidious one; the idea that by approaching, I am somehow proving I am down for sex, that exact moment, OR I'm desperately in love with you. So if I should ever change my mind down the line, I have somehow dealt your ego a mighty blow, because hey, I'm supposed to be a sure thing!

    I've had one or two guys that I only went on a few dates with become very upset with me when I declined to go out any further, *even though* the guys themselves admitted they didn't really dig me! Consider that; the guys didn't even like me, but because I had approached them, I wasn't allowed to reject them for any reason.

    This is a long tirade, but I really, really want to pound into people's heads why the "girls should approach me!" reaction to any discussion of geek dating is so tiresome and tedious. Girls ARE approaching, girls DO get rejected, and dating IS hard for women. Can we please, please, PLEASE just finally accept this?

    • celette482

      "Women don't approach" translate as "My psychic powers to get the woman I want to talk to but am too scared to do so are not working and she is not approaching me"

      • LTP

        Though I agree that that is often the case when men complain about not being approached, I do think there is a legitimate complaint on men's part.

        Many, dare I say most, women deal with a glut of sexual attention in their day-to-day lives. I think women are perfectly reasonable in disliking this. Men deal with the opposite problem (at least in my experience), they get almost no sexual attention. Yes, our culture is saturated with male sexual fantasies, but as far as day-to-day affirmation of yourself as a sexual being goes, men basically only have two avenues to receive said affirmation: one, be in a relationship that's going well sexually; two, be a social butterfly and attend many MANY social events and initiate flirtation with many women, many of whom will turn you down.

        I think it is hard for many women (yes, I know some women also deal with a lack of sexual attention, but for different reasons) to really grasp just how desexualized the life of a single and relatively socially passive man is. It is really dispiriting when the only time I feel sexual in ANY way is when I'm masturbating, and obviously all of that affirmation is self-affirmation.

        I realize that if women approached more, I would probably be approached by many women I wasn't attracted to. However, the validation as an attractive, sexual being (even… an object) would be really beneficial to my and other men's sexual and social well-being.

        • Delafina

          Harassment is not validating.

        • I can tell that you're trying to cover your bases and not be offensive here. And I do think there's something to how our culture can be very isolating for men, in a lot of ways.

          Just one thing to keep in mind: you THINK that being the recipient of constant sexual attention would make you feel better. You THINK you'd feel better and not objectified, scared, or dirty. But you're just thinking about hypotheticals.

          • Mad_

            I'd be completely fine with it

          • eselle28

            When it actually happened to you, you found it confusing and didn't really recognize it, though.

          • Mad_

            That's because it rarely happens to me

          • Then BiSian's comment stands. You /think/ you'd be okay with it.

          • Mad_

            Even then, it's better to have and figure out how to deal with it (wouldn't be as hard, being a guy) than to not have it in the first place

          • ourgirlfriday

            I just want to point out, that if it ever happens to you, and you find you don't like it and it makes you feel dirty and bad, having people say "but I'D like it!" really won't help.

          • Mad_

            But if I did have it, and I didn't like it, I'd do something about it to make it less likely to happen.

          • ourgirlfriday

            Care to share your ideas? Because so far the *only* thing that's worked for me has been not going out in public. I've been tempted to keep ill tempered attack lemurs in my purse but until my kickstarter works that's just a pipe dream.

            The thing is, there's not a lot that the people receiving this unwanted attention can do to make it stop. That's one of the problems. We have no say and no power in these interactions. If there is a magic way to make this stop, please share.

          • Mad_

            I've done it before. The ladies didn't and don't like them because it denies them the fun or other things they believe they're entitled to no matter what. They're not willing to accept the perceived negatives and make the trade-off to avoid as much attention as possible.

            You're also talking to someone who has no problem staying inside, so I'd already have a massive advantage in that situation. "Hm, I don't want to deal with people fawning over or staring or commenting on me today. Inside-day!"

            There's a Brad Pitt creeper beard picture that Doc likes to use as an example of someone famous and attractive who can be off-putting, and I kinda wonder if that's the reason he wears it, so more people will leave him alone.

          • ourgirlfriday

            I think we have to be talking about two different things, because I'm talking about walking home at night, in cold climates, wearing sweatpants, snow boots, a parka, and having people stop their cars to harrass me and ask me how much for a fuck. And people staring at my breasts/talking to my breasts at work. And being honked at and shouted at when I'm going about my day. And having people touch me without my consent. And corner me on the bus. And follow me out of a store yelling at me about what they wanted to do to my body, and wondering if they'd hurt me if I don't call my dad to pick me up or something. And all of this is happening when I am just doing things I need to do to survive, like work and buy groceries. None of it makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I am a set of pleasure holes with the unfortunate fate of having a person attached to them.

            And for the record, I'm not that good looking. It's not like I have some sort of Ellen Page-goddess-of-beauty thing going.

            I mean, it just gets so tiring.

          • Mad_

            Tazer. Gun. Threats to HR. Quit and get a new job. Carpool. No makeup. Sports bra. Whatever you do to keep whatever attractive shape you have, stop doing it. It may just be the area you live in or work in or whatever that draws a certain kind of trash male.

          • eselle28

            I think I would rather deal with a default state of not getting sexual attention than I would one where my choices are to put up with unwanted and sometimes frightening sexual attention or to quit my job and hide inside all the time.

          • Mad_

            I just gave you other ways to do it.

            If you want to avoid most sexual attention, you have to somehow be off-putting. Women hate that suggestion though, because that can realistically mean they don't get positive sexual attention that they want for their ego, or may miss out on a guy or a relationship because they weren't looking like enough of a catch.

            The way things are now, you have to either eat your cake or look at it, not both. The world's not going to deliver you both.

          • eselle28

            I already don't wear makeup or go to the gym. Sports bras don't generally even come in my size, and somehow I don't think my tits are what's attracting attention given that it's February. Tazers aren't legal where I live. I suppose I could get a conceal and carry permit, but if I drew a weapon every time I got catcalled, I'd be the one who got arrested.

            That seems to leave things like giving up my economic security or my ability to move freely throughout society. I'd much rather be in your shoes and be able to go through life unmolested, but without receiving sexual attention either.

          • Mad_

            Wear makeup badly, then. You just discovered a business that doesn't exist that you can make money on. Legal-shmegal, most of those dudes aren't smart enough to call the cops, and the ones who are would question whether they want to deal with sexual harrassment claims. You don't draw the tazer or whatever for catcallers, you draw for the followers or the cornerers.

            Trade you if I could, but things also don't work like that

          • eselle28

            I work in an office, Mad. Coming in wearing clown makeup isn't conducive to long term employment.

            The guys might not call the cops, but my neighbors probably would. "Sexual harassment" is not a crime, nor are most of the things that fall under the heading of "catcalling." If you actually think it's a realistic option for me to get a conceal and carry permit (an absolute shitload of work in and of itself), buy a handgun (do you know how much they cost?) and to regularly point it at people who make gross comments to me, I kind of question your perception of what goes on in daily life.

          • Mad_

            Followers or cornerers. Not the catcallers. They don't matter.

            Is it happening in the office? Because then the office environment is the problem and there's ways to fix it. Or find another office to work at.

          • eselle28

            Catcallers matter to me.

            It's not happening at the office, but I continue to be surprised at your blithe assumption that it's easy or even possible for people to change jobs on a whim.

          • Mad_

            Well, I think of this way: if it's really as horrible as you make it out to be, you'd leave, or you'd bust your ass to line up something else and then eventually leave.

            It's not just "OH, snap your finger and go get another job" it's "there's other jobs out there if this one is really that horrible. It may not be easy, but they're there."

            I mean, a regular chestnut of wisdom I've heard around here, said to guys, is that "Well, you should just move to where women will like you better." Which is even harder, but hey, snap your fingers, it's easy, everything will work out!

          • Devlin_Mor

            Except not being bullied is something people should be entitled to anywhere, whereas having people want to have sex with you is not.

            Also, moving to a new location where the lifestyle suits you better is not harder than ending millennia of oppressive relationships. Thousands of people move like this every year. Most gay rural kids move to the city, most people who want a specialised job move to the city. Lots of people who are just plain bored with rural life move to the city. I was a small town girl and I got out, like half the people I knew from my school.

          • Mad_

            "Should" is usually a nice idea, but expecting other human beings to not be shitty about things is asking too much of too many people.

            But you're not ending a millenia of oppression. That's not the goal. The goal is to make it easier for yourself, singular, to avoid the things you don't like. Moving somewhere else, especially a city, and not struggling is harder.

            Social justice can get fucked, it's a pie in the sky and you'll never live to see it and never benefit from it as much as the next generations will. Deal with what's going on now.

          • Devlin_Mor

            I disagree with you there. The changes my grandparents saw in their lifetimes were incredible. I already think I've seen attitudes change to lots of things and I'm only in my 30's. Not that I'd notice if I stayed in my house cowering of ,course.

          • Mad_

            They may have seen change, but the people who didn't grow up with it likely didn't adapt as well to it, or at all to it.

          • eselle28

            I'm 33. There were roughly a thousand kids in my high school 15 years ago, and not a single one was out. These days, there are not only a good number of teens who are out, same-sex couples can go to prom together.

            15 years is a long time, but it's not long enough for all the teenagers and adults I knew as a kid to die off. Some of the changes are generational, but some are because the same people who were biased back then have gotten a bit better.

          • Mad_

            That's the thing, though. It helped THE NEXT GENERATION.

            Your generation is still going to be dealing with the psychic bullshit from having grown up in that environment. A lot of them are not going to get over it.

            It's the racist grandparent thing.

          • eselle28

            The gay kids who grew up in my generation absolutely will have some scars from being in a toxic environment. However, it's not as if teenagers are the only people who have benefited from change – the community is also now a more accepting place for gay adults as well as gay teens.

            As for racist grandparents, yes, there is lingering bias. But a lot of those racist grandparents are a lot less racist than they used to be.

          • Mad_

            That sure helps the racism people put up with in their generation

          • eselle28

            It helps all of us to live in a nicer world for the time we have left here.

            Life doesn't end at 20. People go around inflicting pain on each other and having pain inflicted on them long afterwards. I expect to hang around for another 40 or 50 years, so I'd rather the world change slowly as opposed to never.

          • enail0_o

            Dude! My generation (same generation as Eselle's, slightly different place) is marrying their partners and getting all the many important legal rights and subtler but still surprisingly important social benefits that go with that. My generation considers itself very definitely helped!

          • Iris

            (This is really in reply to all the posts in this part of the thread about gay people, not just the one I am responding to.)

            Just like with improvements in women's rights, or racial inequality, "better than it used to be" still isn't really good enough. And how much better it is depends really heavily on where you live. It isn't true that gay kids in all high schools can go to prom together–just some of them. And frankly, I went to a little art magnet school for high school, and when our gay students took their dates to prom the response was mostly enthusiastic, and I am 34. So, there were some places and some schools where that was the case for our generation also. (Unfortunately, I was not out even to myself in high school.) These days, 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, (http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/safe-schools-and-youth/serving-our-youth-july-2012/) and they are homeless because their parents discovered their sexuality or gender identity and either kicked them out or home became unsafe. By "unsafe" I mean physically unsafe; they may be beaten or raped by family members if they remain at home.

            And not everyone is able to move. There is a reason that the out gay community is disproportionately white, mostly male, mostly educated, and mostly middle class or better–privilege makes it much easier and safer to come out. (But still not necessarily easy or safe.) And we don't have marriage equality where I live, although we are trying to get it on the ballot for November–we have to amend our constitution, because they outright banned by constitutional amendment a while back.

            I realize this is kind of tangential, but I just am not comfortable with narratives that seem to imply that everything's all better now because marriage. Support for marriage equality in the US is only at 54% for the 30-49 age range and 46% for the 50-64 age group (http://www.gallup.com/poll/162398/sex-marriage-support-solidifies-above.aspx ). So not only young people's grandparents, but their parents are opposed roughly half the time. Not to mention their teachers, potential employers, etc.

          • enail0_o

            Oh yeah, my point was that social change can have real benefits for the current generation, it's not just of use to future generations. Not trying to say that everything's perfect or that social change is quick, easy and absolute.

          • eselle28

            So if dating as a broke guy who lives at home is really as horrible as you make it out to be, I assume you'd bust your ass to line up something that pays a living wage and then eventually move out. Isn't that right?

            Changing jobs and locations is very challenging for most people. Moreover, I shouldn't have to move simply to be able to leave my house without being harassed.

            (As for the chestnut about moving to where women will like you better, I agree that it's advice that's more likely to frustrate than to help. Moving is fine as a long term goal, but most people with geographic challenges aren't able to relocate in anything like the short term.)

          • Devlin_Mor

            "As for the chestnut about moving to where women will like you better, I agree that it's advice that's more likely to frustrate than to help."

            I found it helped – nobody was out in my town, but you can't move away from your self.

          • eselle28

            I think it's helpful for people who have the ability to move. I think it's less so for people who for whatever reason aren't very mobile, or who are having trouble relocating.

          • Mad_

            I don't value the outcome.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Yes, sexual harassment is not so bad I am driven to hide myself in my basement, only going out in furtive groups of women. That does not mean it is OK, or that having my tits loudly commented on by random strangers is better than no sexual attention at all.

            Also, as to the be scary, carry a taser-and-gun escalate the violence approach, THIS IS NOT GOOD ADVICE – I once tried to kill a man who groped me in front of my brother. I pushed him down a flight of stairs and I wanted to break his neck. I am so so lucky that I did not actually kill him, and also a bit lucky that he was too hurt to retaliate. I could have ended a life, ruined mine, known a mother was grieving a son that hadn't had a chance to grow out of being an idiot. I don't want to think that I might have been carrying a gun.

          • Mad_

            It's not okay, but it's there. The people doing it don't care whether it's okay or not, they're doing it anyways. Pushing an idiot down the stairs teaches them to NOT BE AN IDIOT IN THE FIRST PLACE and is way more respectable than hoping he grows out of being an idiot. Pain is a better teacher than reason.

            Maybe a mother would grieve for her son, but if her son wasn't an idiot in the first place, she wouldn't be grieving. Maybe she had some control over that, maybe she didn't, but the idiot deserved it and got what was coming to him, and a problem got solved. That's how you deal with men.

          • Devlin_Mor

            This is not some boyish power fantasy. This is a real person, who got injured and could have got killed and I could have gone to jail for manslaughter. That is not a good ending and not a good way of dealing with anything.

            Also, you seem to be suggesting that women overreact to street harassment but you also think the appropriate way to deal with these men is try and kill them? I don't and I'm the one who did it.

          • Mad_

            Who said it's a power fantasy? You didn't end up in jail for manslaughter, just like you didn't end up in jail for assault (which, if what you did was wrong, you would've). This real person, even though they're a real person, was an idiot. Actions have consequences, and he deserved his, because he didn't think them through and reacted on his stupidity. Got what he deserved.

            I think you guys overreact like a woman instead of doing what will actually fix the situation. Pushing him down the stairs was the right thing to do, but emotionally, you felt or feel bad about that. Which you should, because you're not a shitty person in the first place, but shitty people have to be dealt with differently, even if it sucks.

            And no, just threaten potential pain if they're actually cornering you or something.

          • Shajenko

            "you didn't end up in jail for assault (which, if what you did was wrong, you would've)."

            You're adorable.

          • thathat

            Y'all, I think we've found out why women don't approach Mad_ and it's got nothing to do with looks…

          • reboot

            I have worked in Pakistan and Afghanistan in areas where burkhas are required. Women are still groped and harassed there. If a burkha will not eliminate negative attention I would be interested to hear what you think would.

          • Mad_

            You mean in places where they're still treated like property?

            You don't say

          • reboot

            And women in full hijab who have been groped on the New York subway and on Vancover buses by native born men.

          • Mad_

            Subway. Buses. Public transportation. Where any idiot or poor slob can get on.

            You don't say.

          • enail0_o

            So…your solution is that women should live in special, gated women-only communities??

          • reboot

            So your solution is that if women can not afford a car they should never leave the house?

          • Mad_

            Carpool. Travel with someone. Protect yourself.

            Or, I dunno, move and find a different job.

          • reboot

            Now you are being silly. If you have ever worked you would know how hard it is to find carpools especially in places like New York where people do not own cars. Finding someone to travel with you assumes you have friends or family who work the same areas as you. As for finding another job, as someone who is unemployed you know how hard that can be and the bills do not pay themselves and no one will let you live with them for free.

            Now I think you are just arguing for arguing's sake.

          • Mad_

            Not everyone lives in New York. New York not working for you? Move away from New York.

            It sounds silly because it's simple, but it's not sillier than any other "well just move" or "well just go to school" or whatever else that gets suggested.

          • eselle28

            Reboot works with refugees. People who are only very recently in the country often have even fewer options than people who are assimilated. This is particularly the case with women, who don't necessarily have work experience that translates well to the US economy. Additionally, in many of these cases, moving would involve leaving both families and the only communities where they're likely to meet people who speak their language and share their traditions. That's not simple.

          • Mad_

            Catcalls and feminism would be the least of those people's worries

          • eselle28

            Maybe we should ask them. I don't know either. But they might be problems for them – either because of feminism or because the behavior offends them for other reasons. Do you really know what's important to other people?

          • reboot

            This is a reply to Mad about my clients but things went skinny.

            Getting harassed (including groping and catcalls is an issue for my clients). Most of the women are rape survivors and almost all have PTSD. Getting packed up by men on a train has caused suicide attempts (because they need to work but are terrified of transit) and anxiety attacks that required hospitalization.

            It is not just new York either. Just last week I had a client who had an anxiety attack and flashbacks because the neighborhood men followed and harassed her to and from picking up her kids at the school bus stop.

          • Mad_

            So how do you stop it from happening to them?

          • WordyLibrarian

            … What on earth makes you think it's something they can stop? What makes you insist that "just moving and getting a new job" is a solution?? You seem to be under the mistaken impression that this is a purely localized phenomenon, and it's not a common thing for women to experience.

            I live in Arkansas. I'm not exactly packed into a giant city. Street harassment is a thing here and everywhere I've traveled, and I've traveled a fair bit. You can't just move away from it. Where is this magical place you imagine we should all be moving to?

            You seem to think that only conventionally attractive women receive this sort of attention, with your comments about makeup and such. That's absolutely ridiculous. I have been sexually harassed while I was wearing baggy pajamas, no makeup, rats' nest hair, and wasn't even wearing deodorant! (Don't judge me – I had spent several days miserably sick.)

            That's not a state I really want to live in, even if it actually worked to fend off unwanted attention. Actually, it only reinforces the idea that you, personally, REALLY don't have the right to have standards and reject the person harassing you because obviously you're so gross you must be desperate for anything. Women simply cannot stop the harassment by following any number of sexist, restrictive, impossible rules or by making themselves repulsive.

            You seem to think that you would find the attention validating. The thing is, that comes from the idea that this constant barrage is coming from men just so overcome with lust or admiration that they can't control themselves or don't bother. That's not what it comes from. It is meant to cause discomfort, to instill fear, and to humiliate. The man following you home calling out really graphic suggestions doesn't think you're pretty. He doesn't like you. He doesn't see you as a sexual being. He sees you as something less than human that can provide him with amusement. He doesn't actually believe that the woman he's following is going to magically turn around and declare that, yes, all she's ever wanted is to suck his dick. It's not ABOUT sex. It's not even about the target! Any other woman in the same place at the same time would have received the exact same repulsive treatment.

            It's not validating. It's not an ego boost. It doesn't remind you that you're a sexual being. It's scary, degrading, and disgusting. If you are in an unhealthy enough mindset that you think you would actually enjoy it, especially on a permanent twenty four hours a day, seven days a week basis, you really might want to consider seeking a professional therapist. I don't mean that snarky or dismissive or hateful. I mean that quite genuinely. To enjoy the kind of treatment the women here are speaking of as validation? That's intensely unhealthy.

          • Delafina

            I love how when men are doing something wrong to women, the "solution" is always even more restrictions on women's behavior.

            When rape in Israel was increasing, and male lawmakers suggested a curfew for women, Golda Meir pointed out that as men were the ones doing the raping, the curfew should be for them.

            Somehow, that statement is still treated as radical, but curfews for women are not.

          • Joy

            So your solutions are:
            1) Uproot yourself and go try living somewhere else, on the off chance it might be better;
            2) Quit your job and get a new one, on the off chance it might be better:
            3) Tuck a weapon in your purse and brandish it at people;
            4) Be less hot;
            5) Don't leave your house unless you have friend-bodyguards along.

          • enail0_o

            Ah, dude, the last time I was sexually harassed, I was wearing a full, puffy winter jacket, scarf up to my eyes and hat down to my eyebrows. No makeup, not that it would have been visible anyway. I was in a decent part of town, in a city that, from what I know, is relatively low in harassment. I was on crutches, so unable to hold a tazer or chase someone down with it, even if that was a reasonable option that wouldn't end with me getting arrested or beaten up. So, basically, your easy solutions are useless, and all you're saying is that I shouldn't leave the house.

            And yeah, I know, as little as I like it, this is the world we live in and it's just something people like me have to deal with. And I only do bring it up when people start saying that there's nothing wrong with catcalls, or that women are lucky to have that and it makes us feel sexually validated. Because it does not.

          • Mad_

            You were on crutches. I'd wager it had everything to do with that.

            It would for me.

          • Guest

            So you . . . only hit on the weak and the ones who can't escape? That ain't creepy at all . . .

            You do know, Mad, that you are victim blaming like crazy, right? You are basically saying "If you don't want attention, dress and behave differently." Just like those rape apologists say, "If you don't want to be raped, dress and behave differently."

            Of course you know it. You just don't care.

          • Mad_

            That read wayyyyyy wrong.

            The "It would for me" was meant to match up to her second paragraph. Maybe it doesn't feel validating for women to get outright sexual attention, but it certainly would for me, because it almost doesn't exist, and if it does, it's so quiet that you have to look hard for it.

          • reboot

            It is not sexual attention though it is bullying by using sexual terms because women fear sexual violence.

            Do you enjoy being bullied?

          • Mad_

            I can do something about it.

          • enail0_o

            But I'm guessing that even when you do, you don't like it. You feel angry, probably scared if they look like they could give you a run for your money, pissed off at yourself if you didn't react fast enough or didn't make that clever comeback you thought of later, frustrated that you can't just go about your day. It's a hassle.

            So when you say that you'd like catcalls, that's what you're saying you'd like. If you want us to understand what you'd mean, you've got to mention that it's a version of catcalls that doesn't exist for women either.

          • Mad_

            Of course you don't like it, but the alternative is that it keeps happening.

            I don't know if it does or not, women don't catcall me. I have no idea what it sounds like.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            It sounds a lot like this: http://markmanson.net/harassment

          • Mad_

            He's trying to keep the peace.

            Not a hard situation to handle if you put your foot down.

          • enail0_o

            It keeps happening anyway. Believe me, fighting back has been tried. As I said below, it's sometimes a good choice, but it most definitely doesn't stop it happening.

          • thathat

            Shoot, ladies, he's right, we could do something about it too–Let's all spontaneously grow a dick and lose our boobs. Stops the whole reason for harassment right there!

          • Joy

            Sexual harassment is to positive attention what assault is to consensual sex. They may have some surface similarities, but they are not even close to the same thing.

          • enail0_o

            Crutches are the new sexy??

            I also wager it had everything to do with that, because a really high percentage of catcallers do it to people they perceive to be vulnerable. Because they are bullies. But I'm really hoping that's not why it would for you?

            And, as far as a solution, being on crutches isn't exactly something I'm doing for fun. So again we're back to don't participate in regular daily life as the solution.

            Let's be clear, I'm not asking you for a solution, I'm only discussing street harassment at all because it came up as something enjoyable and I very strongly disagree with that interpretation, so it doesn't matter that your solutions aren't useful, and I will go back to not discussing that unpleasant part of my life as soon as the topic is not generally under discussion, so you don't actually need to find solutions to shut me up anyway.

          • Mad_

            Sexual harrassers are predators. Predators prey on those that can't defend themselves. Crutches means you can't chase them, can't fight them, etc.

            But there's the thing: Maybe it's not enjoyable for you, but it wouldn't bother me. Bad for you is not automatically bad for me. Woman's perspective is not automatic for men. Bullying is something you fix by scaring the shit out of your bullies among men. Among women, apparently not. The solution is to cry to men who don't do it anyways. Which is not a solution, that's just girl for "I want to feel better and for someone else to fix everything for me." Which it won't because the guys being complained to aren't the problem in the first place.

          • enail0_o

            Oh, whew. I thought you were saying you'd catcall women on crutches. Very relieved that's not what you were talking about.

            Now. How'sabout you leave off the patronizing comments about what women do. No one's crying to anyone, we're just saying it's annoying to have people claiming that something that's a shitty part of our lives is something we're lucky to get. And yes, if you're wondering, when I am in a position where I can fight back, I do in fact do that rather than crying to anyone. I hope you can imagine that that's always a pretty effin' risky thing for a 5ft 1, petite woman on crutches to do – I'm not sure you have any frame of reference for how it feels to have hostile people outweighing you by that much, but believe me it is a big size difference – but I do it. So please skip the insulting comments about how women just go around crying to men.

            Now, what you're saying in your last paragraph (other than the patronizing insults) makes some sense. If you started out by saying that you think it would be enjoyable for you because it wouldn't have the same accompanying power differential or threat potential that it does for women, I would have no argument with that, and would kind of see what you mean. But when people say they'd like it, what they're saying they'd like is not something that really exists all that much for women either, so it just sounds like living in a dream world while talking down to people who experience the version that does exist in the real world.

          • Mad_

            Swing the damn crutch, aim for something that hurts, if they can't breathe or can't see, the better. Or stab it forward.

            I mean, here's a thing. One of my big projects back in school was about serial killers, predators. Predators choose women and children because they're less likely to fight back. It doesn't mean you won't get serially murdered if you're a guy, it just means fighting back can make you not worth it. Fighting's definitely dangerous, but worth it on every level to protect yourself.

            And likewise, I get told that I'd hate it or that being sexually non-existent would be awesome, which is also both a dream world and being talked down.

          • enail0_o

            Okay. Seriously. You need to stop telling me how to fight my battles or that I should fight them. I just told you I do that. I'd bet I have considerably more experience than you do figuring out how and where to hit someone twice my size while not putting any weight on one foot or being able to shift my weight or take steps, as one normally does while fighting, figuring out whether escalating will get them to back off or to double down, figuring out if it's worth it, if it's possible, if it will get me killed because I can't run and am very limited in what fighting I can do. Telling me what to do at this point is insulting, and I would like to you stop doing that.

            Fair enough on the reverse being bad too – and I would probably find it both interesting and perspective-changing (and thus probably changing the way I talk about it) if you would make the effort to explain why it's different (as I and others here have tried/are trying to do with my side) without telling us how easy it is for us to shut it down, just stop living a normal life like normal human beings. Seriously, I think I sound snarky here, b/c that first bit is really pissing me off – but if you can talk about this in a way that bridges that perspective gap in the future, as you've started doing now, I think we'll actually get what you mean and why it matters to you, a bit at least.

          • Mad_

            Huh, I thought I responded to this.

            Here's the difference:

            The only time a woman ever touches a man, it's because he's skilled or awesome or high status enough, or she wants his attention. Often the two go hand-inhand. Average and below average guys don't get this treatment, just the better men do, or someone she deems a better man, which can also be a ton of work.

            This thing that you hate my gender for is one of the highest rewards your gender can bestow on us.

          • Devlin_Mor

            There is not a single woman on this thread that has expressed hatred for men. Dislike of being bullied by certain men, yes. And
            I do much nicer things for men I like than bullying them.

            Also, what is this crap about women not touching average and below average men? Most adult men get touched by willing women at some point. Virginity is pretty rare in men over 25. Most men (by definition) are not above average. lt would be nice to think that everyone thought their sexual partners were awesome – sadly I think our society is not so happy. And what on earth is wrong with women touching men that they think are great and want the attention of? I touch someone who seems to want to spend a nice time with me, not someone who I think will ignore me. I don't think men who touch me are hoping I grunt and roll away from them.

          • Mad_

            I'm pretty rare then.

          • Devlin_Mor

            If you are an older virgin – yes, you are rare compared to men who have had sex. About 3% of the adult male population according to this study: http://www.livescience.com/13072-sex-stats-virgin…. This is not a reflection on you, but it does indicate that a lot of men are being touched, not just an elite minority. BTW, you would be significantly more likely to be a virgin if you were a homosexual man. http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscien

          • Mad_

            Awesome, I am the 3%.

          • Maximilian

            Watch out for the inevitable "Occupy…" campaign against you.

          • thathat

            Honey. Women aren't going near you because from the sound of it, you're a horrifying person who completely dismisses very valid problems that women universally share as being non-issues, who has expressed bitterness to the entire gender for not having given you sex (the problem isn't the ladies), and who has repeatedly indicated that you can't understand the difference between healthy sexual attention and sexual harassment, and furthermore, that you can't understand why the harassment is degrading, because surely if it was that harmful, in your learned opinion, women would change everything about themselves right down to their physical appearance and health and make sure never ever to be anywhere a man might be.

            You have basically indicated that you are an unpleasant and unsafe person. And you'd be amazed at how quickly women can pick up on that sort of thing.

            You want a date, a relationship, or anything else with a woman? Work on not being a dismissive, dangerous-minded person.

          • enail0_o

            I don't actually hate your gender at all.

            And I can assure you that men do not always enjoy being touched by women. Since we're talking about fighting, I can think of a few I've touched in ways that they didn't seem to appreciate at all. 😛

            I'm given to understand that things are quite different in your world from in mine, but I see women touching pretty average-seeming or below-average-seeming men all the time, both in sexual or romantic ways and in platonic ways. Very rarely in unasked-for, socially inappropriate ways, but I've certainly seen women touching men who have objected.

            Of course, again, in my world, average and below average women generally date average and below average men (for whatever definitions of average and below average), rather than all lining up for their crack at the small percentage of high status guys.

          • Devlin_Mor

            I would be very surprised if you've never been bullied – were you really tough and scary enough to stop it? That's not really how you read to me. Have you ever actually been in fight? Because this posturing can have consequences.

          • Mad_

            Sure I've been bullied. I held back from doing anything too. It was the wrong thing to do, because that didn't stop it.

            Now? I'm gonna posture, and make it known that you'd better get me good, because I'm gonna make sure it wasn't worth it, mentally and physically. But, adult-wise, it's more about the threat than actually carrying it out, and knowing scary-looking body language and how to cut someone deep with words, because everyone kinda gets that jail is a thing.

            Though… there was one dude in Grade 8 who was a lot bigger than me and pushed me around quite a bit. I clocked him one in the face, and he talked shit to me about beating me up and never did. It's a language that we get.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Oh. Well I spent my 20's not holding back, and I've got my own set of regrets, not always to do with me getting hurt. It doesn't always end with posturing I can promise you.

            Learning not to escalate a situation is a grown-up skill, not a female skill.

          • Mad_

            It' also a skill that gets drilled into guys that it's just a way of showing that you'll be walked all over every time.

          • enail0_o

            If you're a woman the threat generally isn't enough. So every time we do cut someone with words, or fight back physically, we know that it has a very good chance of it going way beyond talking shit about beating us up. Sometimes, it's the best choice anyway, or the best choice we can see at least, but it's not a choice to make cavalierly.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            I got to witness a very interesting response to street harassment last night.

            My improv team was heading out for a beer after the show. A car full of dudes — the only car on an otherwise empty street late at night — catcalled the two women in our group. The other guy in our group — six-feet-plus, gangly, long hair — offered to show cardudes HIS junk. Challenges were made, a brief pedestrian-chases-car scene ensued, and one moment of gay panic later, a car full of harassers was flooring it the fuck out of there.

            On the down side, it's not an option available to most women, unless they regularly travel with large dudes whose love of fucking with idiots outstrips any sense of modesty they still retain. On the plus side, it is hilarious.

          • enail0_o

            Awesome. But unless size or numbers are on their side, it can be a very dangerous option – gay panic has been used as a defense in more than one murder 🙁

          • WordyLibrarian

            Shame it's not an option more often. It does seem like this sort of step-in from men has pretty awesome results (assuming none of the non-skeeze people get injured).

            I was once at a party and there was also this guy who had been getting progressively LESS appealing in his eternal (every time he saw me for a few years, anyway) attempt to get in my pants. He had been "subtly" following me around the party all night. (Subtly like a hyperactive gorilla wearing hundreds of bells.) He was finally going home, and he made some particularly graphic comments about me giving him head and then HE WHISTLED AT ME AND PATTED HIS LEG LIKE CALLING A FUCKING DOG.

            I was so angry I was quite literally speechless. I will forever be grateful to the other guy at the party who, without missing a beat, jumped right in like the creeper had been propositioning him. Hilarity ensued, the creeper left in a huff, and eventually words came back but I still haven't found enough to fully express my disgust with that asshat. I mean, the guy who stepped in had his own issues with getting handsy, but at least he never whistled at anyone like they were Lassie with tits.

            And if anyone wants to talk about what I "should" have done on this occasion or previously… Psha. I tried everything that wouldn't invite charges of assault. I started with kindness. I tried firm, no-nonsense. I tried blatant irritation and general disgust. I tried avoidance and Ice Bitch Cold Shoulder. He would ALWAYS try again. Every. Single. Time. But when one of his dudebro friends stepped up and turned his nastiness around on him, he finally left me alone. It was awesome, but also infuriating, frustrating, and depressing.

            Long story short… As long as everyone is safe from psycho retaliation, please do this whenever possible. Also, if you're still in touch with this guy, let him know he's awesome.

          • SpiltCoffee5

            Holding tight to traditional roles of masculinity, I see.

            The real issue here is that the structure that is setup, which allows someone to bully someone else without repercussions in the first place, is flawed, not that an individual is bad at being a human being if they can't repel their harassers.

          • Mad_

            Traditional or existing?

            There is no "structure", it's shitty people doing what they want because nothing's otherwise going to be done about it.

          • SpiltCoffee5

            Traditional. Imagine, if you will, that it is a protocol on how to behave as the specified gender. Traditional roles exist, for sure, but they aren't the only stereotypical roles up for offer these days. I call them traditional because they're the ones we've subscribed to traditionally. Not that I subscribe to them now… 😛

            Shitty people doing shitty things to other people still exist as members of society, and if society is not properly punishing these people, then there is work we obviously need to achieve in order to iron out this inefficiency. Unless you're claiming they operate under the banner of anarchy? 😛

          • Mad_

            Shit no, anarchy doesn't make things better.

            Those people are hard to catch. Society has an inefficiency in punishing those they can't
            catch, so it ruins it for everyone else. Guys have to prove to girls that they're NOT A CRIMINAL just so a girl will get close to them.

            What the fuck? Should an African-American prove they're not ghetto gangsta just to have white friends or shop in certain places?

          • SpiltCoffee5

            "Those people are hard to catch. Society has an inefficiency in punishing those they can't
            catch, so it ruins it for everyone else."

            Exactly, so let's work at making the punishments more effective and work at making those punishments apply better to the people who are doing shitty things to others in the system! 😀

            "Guys have to prove to girls that they're NOT A CRIMINAL just so a girl will get close to them."

            *thinks for a second* mm, never experienced that. I dunno, is this a thing that really happens? I haven't heard of women asking for background checks on the men that they want to include in their lives. :/

          • WordyLibrarian

            I think he's referring to having to do things like respect boundaries so you don't inadvertently set off the creeper/shrodinger's rapist alarm bells? Apparently some men feel this is a huge and unfair burden.

            I could have misunderstood, though.

          • The solution is to cry to men who don't do it anyways. Which is not a solution, that's just girl for "I want to feel better and for someone else to fix everything for me." Which it won't because the guys being complained to aren't the problem in the first place.

            Um, wow.

            First. If you think women should be grateful for sexual harassment and women who speak out against assault are just "crying," you're part of the problem. It's odd that you seem to think you're one of the men women don't need to be wary of. It's also odd that you know harassment is about threatening and attacking people perceived as weak, but you still think it's harmless and would be fun if it happened to you.

            Second. Yes, yes, women suck compared to your manly-man self. Forgive me for doubting that in a real confrontation you would actually be as badass as you fantasize. Not many people are physically or emotionally equipped to throw folks down flights of stairs on a regular basis, nor should they be. That's not a thing outside of movies.

            Last. Changing things at an institutional level is a much more effective solution than beating up every predator one by one. I know the beating-up thing is a gratifying power fantasy, but in real life it doesn't accomplish much, and it gets old real fast. All that womanly "crying" is an effort to get at a real, long-term solution, hopefully a better one than "victims of abuse should all just turn into kung-fu action heroes, and screw the ones on crutches."

          • Mad_

            Guaranteed, the predators you're complaining to aren't listening.

          • shaenon

            You're here and listening.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Those predators don't spring into existence in a vacuum. We can at least try to change a society that condones and normalizes their predatory behavior.

          • enail0_o

            No, the ones on crutches are supposed to be kung-fu action heroes too!

          • enail0_o

            Say what? Don't you ever make fun of things that make you mad?

          • Mad_

            Ehhhhh, nevermind. No biggie

          • enail0_o


          • Mad_

            Not worth egetting into at this point

          • nonA

            Let's break your suggestions down into equivalents you might be more familiar with.

            The "be less attractive" suggestion is largely bull. It's like telling a kid being bullied that the best solution is to keep his head down and try to avoid attention. It may save a woman from some boring approaches, but won't stop the ones who get off on making her feel uncomfortable. Plus, there are a lot of guys who will harass a woman for daring to exist in public while not being attractive. Not a net gain.

            Threatening violent retaliation for any slight is basically saying "pick a fight with the biggest guy on your first day, so people know you're not afraid to throw down". There's a reason people say this about prison and not the boardroom.

          • Mad_er

            I just love how it is MY fault for getting unwanted sexual attention and therefore it is MY responsibility to sufficiently alter myself in impossible ways to ensure that I have done my required work to exist in a safe environment.
            I love how it is MY FAULT for being born noticeably female, because I obviously chose that state of being and I obviously have every reason in the world to prefer to be born a man, at least in terms of avoiding sexual harassment.
            Do you even realize how incredibly awful your assumptions are? I suggest you go back and break down all of your "matter of fact" solutions for the condemning underlying biases that they are.

          • JP-

            I've been reading through a lot of the argument between you and Mad_ and I just wanted to chime in some support for you. Not that I should have to, but I applaud your tenacity and insight. I have to caveat this with the recent realization that I had been socialized to be entitled, selfish, sexist, racist, and unable to take responsibility for myself, and that the journey to that realization is in now way a pleasant endeavor. My journey is incomplete, so I apologize for any obvious ignorance.

            I used to believe that I would like ample amounts of sexual attention, felt personally slighted when my approaches were rejected, and think that women have it easy. I have never considered myself a "nerd" as much as a nobody. I was out of shape, didn't take advantage of my intellect, and had no useful skills. In every sense of the word I was in fact inadequate, which fueled a lot of my resentment towards women. I could not get over the idea that the problem was with women, when the problem was really with me.

            The point that I want to make to Mad_ is that when I realized that I was a literal failure in life I took it upon myself to improve myself in every way that I felt deficient. I ended up enlisting in the Marine Corps, which did a lot of good for me in a lot of ways, but also reinforced a lot of harmful gender dynamics. I was ripped, and I could fight, but I still had a bad attitude. I was doing all the things that should "make girls wet" for me, and I was still getting rejected by the people I *longed* to be with. The girls that came on to me were people that I didn't want anything to do with because they only saw me as a ripped bulldog of a fighter.

            Fast forward a few years, I left the Marine Corps and pursued a degree in "Peace Studies, Social Justice, and Conflict Resolution". So, first of all, your claim that "social justice is a pie in the sky" is only true to the extent that YOU *INDIVIDUALLY* refuse to acknowledge social injustices. Secondly, I began to see more clearly the reasons why I wasn't keeping coming with the people I wanted to. I was not paying attention to important parts of who they are as people, and I was relegating them to fulfill one particular role in my life: wife, supporter, sex fiend.

            The moral of the whole story is that as I became more aware of the difficulties that other people faced, I understood my own difficulties better, healed from some injuries in my life, and started having a better social life. The further I develop my understanding of the complexity of social life, allow myself to relax, and be supportive of the women and other people around me, the more I find people naturally attracted to me. Within the last month I have

            (1) Been bought a drink by a girls father who I thought was the most amazing person under the sun but had a boyfriend. I treated her as a friend and we had a great night dancing and I got to listen to her passionately talk about her love of genetic biology.

            (1a) this is in stark contrast to my earlier life when I was being aggressively chased away from the girls I knew by their fathers because of my behavior

            (2) A woman I know recommended me to her sister as a potential partner and friend. She later messaged me and asked me out for coffee.

            (2a) This is in direct contrast to my earlier life when people would warn each other about me.

            (3) A woman I am studying with told me that she wishes her daughter were older so I could take her out because she knows I would treat her right

            (3a) I don't have a 3a, but I thought it was a good point.

            The last thing I want to add is that I *DON'T* like being catcalled. It's stressful and disappointing. Just yesterday I went for a 6 mile run, trying to soak up some sun with my shirt off (sorry to add this but I think it makes the point), and at least twice I was catcalled by people driving by. I didn't feel threatened, but I felt insulted. I am a highly intellectual and insightful person, just as the women who get catcalled are intrigued by things in life other than the fact that you are interested in their body. And yes, those women do still (generally) want to have sex. I know I do.

            The last thing I want to say to you is that the responsibility for men to not make women feel uncomfortable does not fall on the shoulders of women. Yes, there are awkward moments where we accidentally cross each other's boundaries because we don't know about them, but with respect and some communication they are easily resolved. I recently had this happen, but won't elaborate for sake of continuity. My point is that unless someone has presented themselves to you sexually, or you have somehow communicated a mutual sexual interest in each other, their sexuality is none of your business. If they have not dressed up to impress you, then they are not sexually provoking you. Make a nice complement. "You look nice" goes a long way. And then move on to the more important things about who they are as a person.

          • FormerlyShyGuy


          • OtherRoooToo

            FSG, I don't think I knew you were a Marine.
            Thank you for your service.

          • enail0_o

            You do recognize, though, that you're pretty unusual in that you consider staying inside all the time a reasonable and acceptable thing to do, right I mean, even you don't seem to actually be happy doing that. And most people don't actually have the option to do that anyway (most jobs, for example, require leaving the house). You can that if everyone basically never left the house, society would just stop functioning, right?

            Never leave the house ever isn't really something people should be expected to do just to not be subject to out-of-the-blue bullying. And that is literally the only thing that women can do that would guarantee they don't get harassed.

          • Mad_

            There is a reason I said I'd be fine with having it.

            As well, I make those suggestions so that shit can be avoided. The world is not going to alter itself for you, and growing up among guys, I can tell you that the quickest and easiest way to get them to stop is violence or the threat of something they like or want (like their job). If it's truly something that women want to avoid, there's ways to do it.

          • eselle28

            I notice that "stop complaining, the world isn't going to change to suit you" doesn't stop you from complaining about dating or women's mate selection. There are ways for you to adjust and conform so as to avoid these problems…but you don't want to, because they're lots of work and violate your sense of self. Why don't these things matter when women are having a problem?

          • Mad_

            I get minus'ed to hell with mine, you get plus'ed to high heaven for yours. And yet the message for both is the same: the world isn't gonna change for you, so you have to change for it, deal with it.

            Also as a counterpoint: mine would involve a ton of work for very little chance of gain. Yours involves a lack of work that has a pretty high chance of working in most situations if you really want it to.

          • eselle28

            Actually, no, I think almost everyone here has accepted that you've decided not to participate in the system and to avoid dating. People argue with you about the extent to which that's your choice and about the way you view human relationships, but I haven't seen many people encouraging you to go out and date whether you want to or not. It's fine for you to opt out if that's what you think is best. I wish I could opt out of sexual harassment.

            The options that you've left me are to carry a gun and to quit my job and stay inside. The former is lots of work. The latter isn't a long term solution. I don't have the financial option of being unemployed permanently.

          • Mad_

            But it's also the only option if I wanted something like that, which means having to become or work on things I don't value at all to trick people who overvalue those things into thinking I'm valuable enough for them.

            Then move somewhere else. Find a place where it doesn't happen as much. Find a job where it doesn't happen as much. If something's happening to you, that means you're successful at it whether you mean to be or not, so you have to self-sabotage if you want to avoid it.

            I mean, if so many of these foreveralone guys are really just sabotaging themselves by ignoring things that are really there, than surely, there is a way to sabotage yourself enough that you can avoid whatever kind of attention you're regularly getting that bothers you. Those guys aren't going to change their behaviour, so you have to change what sets off their behaviour in the first place. Dye your hair grey. Not platinum, grey. Resting-bitch face.

          • eselle28

            Perhaps I don't want to have to become or work on things I don't value at all to trick people who undervalue those things into thinking I'm worthless enough for them to stop harassing me.

            I would love to move, but beyond that, you've given me a much longer homework assignment than the doctor has ever given you…and the only potential reward is the ability to walk out of my door unmolested.

          • Devlin_Mor

            This is about bullying, not sexual attraction. I thought the abuse I got for being busty was bad until I heard what fat women get for not being attractive enough to the fuckwits yelling at them. Dying your hair weird colours is not going to stop this.

          • reboot

            Most people have to get to and from work and that means going outside because you have to support yourself (and in my case my parents at least by half). Age and bitchy resting face still draws harassment because the men and boys that do this want to scare you or make you uncomfortable not have sex with you. I have seen women in their 70s get told to suck cock or that they need to get laid as they wait for the bus or metro. You can not shoot these guys (and if you draw a gun you had better be planning to use it. It is not a toy or like in the movies where the bad guys just back down).

            So how exactly does one avoid this happening to one?

          • LTP

            It's true that it is mostly a hypothetical. One time, a woman in one of my classes who I wasn't physically attracted to at all, and whose personality I was indifferent towards, complimented my smile, and I'll tell you that made my day.

            Maybe is such comments were more common, and less "innocent", I would not feel good about them. You're right, I don't know.

            I will reiterate, though, that many women envy how we men don't have to deal with constant sexual attention without considering the trade-off. That's all. I have no judgement one way or the other which is "better". Ideally, both sexes would experience some sort of middle ground.

          • I think you underestimate how much work women have to do to be visible enough to get any kind of non-bullying sexual attention. It doesn't just magically happen. It just happens to be work that's invisible to you! But most women I know who get a lot of sexual validation are also putting in a ton of hours on how they look, how they act, where they go, who they talk to, etc.

            I agree that for a given amount of effort, women likely get more sexual attention than men do. I also agree that a lot of the time women put in is meant to be invisible – so women LOOK socially passive even when they are not. And finally I think more women put in effort, on average, because the costs to them of not doing so can be quite severe. But it's extraordinarily unfair to compare "a guy who puts in no effort" to "a woman who is putting in a lot of effort that you can't see." It's not fair to women, and it's also not fair to you.

          • LTP

            I recognize the effort that women put in, though I admit at times I probably underestimate it. What frustrates me as a man, though, is that I don't feel like I even have the *option* to put in that effort to get attention by being "passive". For instance, I dress about as well as any guy my age can without coming off as too formal or buying really really high-end clothes, but even that is pretty casual and leaves me with few options to signal anything beyond "I put in slightly more thought into my clothes than the average dude". There really isn't any option for me to dress "sexy" like women do (not that I'm actively looking to date right now, but in the (hopefully) near future, I wish I could have these options).

            I'm curious how, if what you say is true, you think it's unfair to me though?

          • enail0_o

            Not the one who said it, but it seems unfair to you in that you're comparing women, with the higher amount of effort women are expected to put into their appearance, with you, who has not (and in many ways cannot and be socially acceptable) put that level of effort in – how can you possibly have the same level of reaction? It's not about you! Like you say, you just don't have that option to dress "sexy."

          • Nailed it.

            (enailed it?)

          • LTP

            Hmm, interesting, that is a somewhat comforting way to think about it.

            Still, (now responding to kleenstar, more) that doesn't invalidate my original post. My complaint wasn't necessarily that women can get sexual validation without effort, my complaint was that women can get sexual validation outside of a relationship/hook-up culture where as I get absolutely zero sexual validation outside of myself. External validation shouldn't be a crutch, but it is important to the mental health of most people in the long run. That point still stands, even if I underestimated female effort.

          • LTP

            Note, also, that when I use "passive", I mean simply not initiating, not driving the interaction, not taking the social risk. I didn't mean to imply that they weren't working.

          • Actually, I think that's another way you're being unfair to yourself. You're assuming that you'd have to put in an enormous amount of effort to get any sexual validation, but I think you're making your effort estimates based on misconceptions. I'm not saying it isn't harder than it would be for a woman – I'm saying that I think there are ways to get some, or at least I've known many guys who don't fit your categories A or B who have done so.

            Actually, your comment makes me think that another big distinction is expertise. Women are taught what to do to get sexual validation (even if they don't always have the option to opt out). There are some things men can do, but they aren't taught how. So it looks like there's nothing you can do, because that's what complicated problems often look like to people who don't know where to start.

          • LTP

            I'd be interested in some examples. Not that I doubt you, it's just not something I've witnessed before.

          • Unfortunately I don't think I can go into detail in public. PM me on the forums?

          • LTP

            Sure, FYI, I have a different ID in the forums: TheWisp.

          • I'm mobile today but will try to respond tonight.

          • OtherRoooToo

            " There are some things men can do, but they aren't taught how."

            Even that is changing, but every man I know who coaches on that says he gets an enormous amount of pushback from the guys he works with. "Yes, but"s all day.

            (Kind of like what can be seen here.)

          • Delafina

            Men get sexual validation, though — they just don't necessarily recognize it. I mean, that was a big part of what this article was about: men don't necessarily *recognize* that women are flirting with them or expressing attraction.

            "External validation shouldn't be a crutch, but it is important to the mental health of most people in the long run."

            Good that you recognize that. Now take into account that oftentimes, sexual validation is the ONLY validation most women get as to their worth.

            *And* that comes with a cost. Men get angry at women if we're not sexy enough (see, for example, all the hate directed at female politicians such as Hilary Clinton or Janet Reno for not being pretty enough, or go to a support site for overweight women and read about the anger they're subjected to on a daily basis. Not just teasing, not just being ignored. Anger. Men get *angry* at us when we're not attractive enough for them.

            Meanwhile, they also get angry at us when we *are* attractive, especially if they perceive we're flaunting it or looking for attention. Just from the top of my news feed today: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/02/24/s

            The male collective cultural id (and I'm not talking about all men here, just the way our culture works overall) both views women as something that exist for his pleasure, and gets angry at those that fail to please him for not fulfilling their role AND resents the power that desire has over him, and gets angry at those women that evoke it for their perceived "control" over him.

            So, to review:

            1. Attractive men and attractive women both receive attention from men and women. The average woman may EXPRESS her attraction differently from the average man, and some men may not NOTICE when she's expressing it, but that doesn't change that it's happening. You want to feel validated by feminine desire? Learn to pay attention.

            2. Men and women who don't fit traditional paradigms of attractiveness may not get much sexual validation from men or women. If you're not a traditionally attractive guy, comparing the validation you don't get to what traditionally attractive women do and then making it a gendered thing is pretty absurd. Go read the writings or non-traditionally-attractive women, because their experience is a better comparison to yours.

            3. Women may receive overt sexual attention from men, but it's not necessarily validating, especially given that we're often told our sexual attractiveness (and MAYBE our fertility) is our ONLY value. Not only that, but it's not even directed at us as PEOPLE. There are studies out there about how people's brains process men's faces and bodies as a whole, but process women's bodies and faces as individual parts. (Check out how often women's faces (or entire faces) aren't shown on tv or in ads, for example, compared to men's.)

            Believe me, when you're trying to run a meeting, there is NOTHING sexy or "validating" about having a man tell you he's distracted by your tits.

            *I* am not the same as my chest. And there's nothing "validating" about that, any more than there would be if a woman told you you had a very nice thumbnail. It doesn't make you feel like a sexy or valuable human being. It makes you feel like an anatomical dummy.

          • LTP

            I don't deny that there is a lot of negative crap bundled with the positive attention, which you lay out in you post. I also acknowledge that women often have to work harder to get non-sexual validation.

            But, I'm not interested in "who has it worse" and I wasn't arguing "who has it worse". I'm just pointing out something that causes me pain and emptiness in my life and what I perceive to also cause pain in the lives of many other men and that I wish I had some of the tools and options women have to respond to it. I'm not saying women "have it better" or that I want to have the "package deal" of a woman's life. If a woman can wish she had some of the advantages afforded to men without arguing that being a man is always better 100% of the time, then I think I can do the inverse.

            I also don't believe that the positive validation must necessarily be bundled with disrespect and oversexualization. It *is* for many women but it doesn't have to be.

          • Delafina

            And what I'm saying is:

            1) You might be getting it and just not recognizing it.

            2) Sexual attention isn't automatically validating.

          • LTP

            1. Hm, I think in my case I'm actually NOT getting it, but then that takes us down another rabbit hole of my general social difficulties which I won't get into in this thread.

            2. Acknowledged.

          • Actually… I think it DOES kind of have to be. It's two sides of the same coin. I'm not really sure it is possible to live in a world where people notice an unknown women's looks in a way that isn't drenched in objectification. I mean, that kind of IS the point… they don't know the person, they only know her looks; they really are only responding to an object.

            I get that you feel emptiness, because you don't feel that you're a sexual creature. But… positive validation doesn't necessarily help with that, at least, not in the long run. It's still looking to others to fill your own needs.

            I get it, because I feel it *too.* Outside of my romantic relationship (when I'm single, which was frequently) I didn't feel like a sexual being. I felt invisible. But it's kind of not other people's job to fulfill that need of mine. Frankly, I don't think we SHOULD be sexual beings to anyone who we haven't invited for the opportunity. It's too quick a slippery slope to objectification and crossed boundaries.

            Instead, I try to make my own personal sex life as fulfilling as possible. I write a LOT of bad, awful, cheesy, scrumptious romance. I treat myself to compliments. I signed myself up for a burlesque class (and yes, they offer them for men in my area too!)

            Ya feel empty cause you're looking at others to fill you. Even we women don't necessarily have the tools to be recognized as sexual beings. So we gotta fill up that space ourselves. We *literally* need to love ourselves first.

            Take a page out of the Woman handbook. Buy yourself a slutty romance; I'm a big fan of the $3 Walmart ones with the red and black covers (or, Google and print off some erotic Universe-of-Your-Choice fanfiction.) Pour some wine, draw a nice hot bath. Put on "Sexy and I Know It", and pretend that in place of your mirror, there's a whole crowd of ladies/gents cheering for you like you are the Next Chippendale Messiah. Then light some candles, get in that bath, and you enjoy that smut, sir.

            That's probably the tool ladies have gotten that guys haven't; the advice on how to romance ourselves when other people won't. Try it, won't you?

          • enail0_o

            Plus a million!!!

          • LTP

            Hm, I hear you Marty, I guess that as much as that is genuinely appealing to me, I think I would feel rather ridiculous doing it in the moment.

          • Of course! If I actually stopped and analyzed what I was doing, I'd feel ridiculous too. Sensuality and seduction are sort of silly, when you think about it. You just gotta embrace it. Learning to cut loose and just enjoy whatever does end up turning your gears is a big way to extend out your identity as a sexual being beyond just sitting in front of a computer screen and passively getting off.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Thanks so much for this. I never heard this explained so well to women before, and never ever as advice for men but it makes so much sense.

          • Hey LTP, I just want to say how much I appreciate you keeping the focus on your own experience. It makes me really want to find a way to help you deal with your frustration and suffering. I hear that this is tough for you. If I can help you make it better, I will.

          • LTP


            I think I should also acknowledge right now that I have had a number of bad (platonic) social experiences in my life that have lead me to be particularly sensitive to "women don't approach" topic, so maybe I'm not looking at it with the clearest eyes.

          • enail0_o

            I think the reason you're getting a lot of pushback on this is that a lot of women don't actually get that positive validation you describe. I know some pretty conventionally attractive women that didn't actually know they were because they kept hearing that women always get compliments from guys, and other than a couple of instances of real bullying harassment, they'd never gotten any comments on their appearance at all, so they just assumed that meant they were ugly.

            I do think that women have ways of getting to feel like desirable sexual beings that men generally lack, and you're very right to notice that – but I think men tend to misattribute it too much to their being more sexualized and commened on. I think Marty's actually nailed it with self-validation. Women get encouraged to 'do it for themselves' in a way that men are not – women's magazines are full of 'make yourself feel sexy all day long by wearing sexy lingerie under your ordinary clothes' and 'relax and feel like a woman with a sensual bubble bath.' Women who feel unattractive get told to start by seeing themselves as sexy, to move like they're sexy, to find a sexy role model to emulate. Even the way we talk about masturbation for men vs. for women! How often is a vibrator talked about as a tool of empowerment, a way to take your sexuality into your own hands! No one ever discusses masturbation as a way for a man to feel connected with his sexuality or to love himself.

          • LTP

            To be honest, when I woke up this morning and thought about it, I was thinking similar things.

            I've read a handful of feminist sexuality blogs, and I'm taking a women's sexuality class at the moment, and what I've observed is a lot of talk about two things: one, how women have *a lot* of negative feelings about their sexuality almost as a default; two, all these ways they can feel sexy and feel sexually empowered and express their sexuality. So yeah, maybe I am confusing correlation with causation here (though I still don't believe I was *entirely* wrong, I acknowledge that it is much more nuanced than I originally stated).

            What I find frustrating is I feel like I have a lot of difficultly feeling sexual and accessing the sexual energy within myself and expressing that sexuality even in small ways, doubly frustrating given that I'm more sexual than even most young men. Women often seem to struggle more with feeling good about their sexuality, which I don't want to minimize, which is different than having difficulty accessing your sexuality (though I do acknowledge Marty's experiences here, clearly not all women automatically feel sexual).

            I wish that, as a man, I had ways to feel sexy and sexual without needing a sexual partner or brazenly flirting with strangers.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            I honestly sympathize with where you're coming from, man. I hope your ego doesn't feel TOO roughed-up by the education you've been receiving in this thread. 🙂

            I've referred to it as thinking the poo in somebody else's yard isn't as stinky. As guys, it's easy to wind up feeling completely cut-off from our own sexuality, and that's neither fun nor healthy. From there, it's a short step to looking at all the harassment women get in a variety of places and thinking "I sure wish I was at least getting some kind of attention like that!" But really, no we don't.

            Women have different challenges than we do. Doesn't mean they have it any easier. In fact, on the balance, we're usually the ones who get the better end of the deal. (Though it might not always feel like it.)

            Wish I had an easy way to help you feel connected with that part of yourself, man. This is a situation where I wish prostitution was both legal and well-regulated; a little full-contact make-believe can take the edge off that feeling of isolation. Just … one step at a time. The more comfortable you can become with yourself, the more likely people you're attracted to will respond positively to you. Which can in turn definitely help you feel more comfortable with yourself.

          • LTP_aka_TheWisp

            Ego not bruised at all. I've lurked here long enough that I knew what to expect!

            I agree that women usually have it harder, but it does frustrate me that some take that to mean "women *always* have it harder" or "men don't have *any* unique challenges".

          • Gentleman Horndog

            It's hard to talk about this stuff, because enough guys use it as a pivot point to "… and that's why women suck!!!" (and unfortunately, this comments section is not immune) that a lot of people will mentally fill-in the latter half even when it's actually absent.

            (Though to be fair, sometimes, you have to. I remember a lengthy comment-section-wide flamewar with a newcomer whose entire modus operandi was to post bullshit to which, if you believed it, the only rational response was "… and that's why women suck!!!" and then backpedal furiously when anybody tried to call him on it. "Hey, I never SAID all women suck! Draw your own conclusions! From the Science! Saying all women suck!" Thankfully, that asshat moved on.)

          • enail0_o

            I think you're doing a really great job of explaining the part of the men's side that often gets missed in these discussions, without downplaying womens' experiences, so thanks for that. What you're saying and what Marty said is something that I've really never seen acknowledged or discussed before. And now that it's out there, it seems so obvious, and I see why you'd feel deprived and frustrated!

          • It is totally possible to feel sexual without needing a sexual partner. It's just going to involve a little creativity and effort on your part.

            The place I started with is, what clothing makes me feel good. Is there a piece of clothing that you put on, and when you look in the mirror you go "Hmm why hello there." A shirt, even a slightly-tighter piece of underwear. Just something that makes you notice the nice details of your body (and yes, there are some nice details!)

            I find daydreaming really fun. I don't even necessarily mean fantasizing just the sex scene. Really try to build a story around the scene. Build a persona inside your head, inside just that scene. That's where fanfic and romance novels can come in handy, by giving you trope-tools. They're kind of kick-starters to your imagination.

            Essentially, you need to start focusing less on the sexual part, and more on the *sensual* part. Start exploring what makes you feel like a man. What trips your trigger that *isn't* outwardly focused?

          • LTP

            (Gah! I wish there was an edit button in this comments system)

            " Even the way we talk about masturbation for men vs. for women! How often is a vibrator talked about as a tool of empowerment, a way to take your sexuality into your own hands! No one ever discusses masturbation as a way for a man to feel connected with his sexuality or to love himself."

            Yeah, I've noticed this since my mid-teens, always been a huge pet-peeve of mine. Why can't male sexuality be sensual and complicated and empowering and beautiful? I don't know, but according to society it is just a base, animalistic, simplistic itch that I scratch. As much as I try to overcome this, I feel there really isn't much support out there for men like me (maybe few men actually feel this way though, who knows?).

          • Gentleman Horndog

            I'm with you. There's this societal message saying that, as men, we need nothing more than a warm dick-sized hole to be sexually satisfied. I wish to plant an elbow in that message's groin every time I encounter it.

          • Guest

            It's offensive for men and women.

            There was a gentleman in another thread who was going on and on about how since women have standards they therefore are the gatekeepers. And while the whole "woman have it easier because they are gatekeepers" is offensive enough, for me a big part of what offended me was that men are so desperate for any kind of sex that they really would just fuck a dick sized hole if they had to. The idea that men don't have standards is so insulting to men (and of course it is then insulting to women, because a lot of women would like to think we are unique and special and the man wants to be with us because he is attracted to all of us, not just our empty spaces). And yet so many men use the "I'll fuck anything" as a solid reason why women are the meaner gender. Men don't have standards so it's not fair that women do!

            Why is that something men want to perpetuate, that they are mindless fuck machines? It's so offensive towards men it makes me feel physically sick. Especially when I think of some of the amazing sensitive hilarious and brilliant men I know. Ugh.

          • LTP_aka_TheWisp

            Preach it!

            I think most men aren't socialized to think deeply about interpersonal dynamics outside of narrow fields like business or sports and so it is easier for them to perpetuate this myth so they don't have to think about it. That's my guess anyway.

          • Guest

            Oh for sure! I mean there is ample evidence even here that it's so much easier for certain people to put the onus of EVERYTHING on someone else, than to take responsibility for themselves. I get it. It's nice to blame others for your problems. And I guess it's easier to make yourself look like a horrible person than it is to actually take some of the blame for your lack of success in certain areas. Still, it's sad that that's the case.

          • enail0_o

            If you make an Intense Debate account, you can edit.

            Based on the comments on this blog, I'd say you're definitely not alone in feeling that way, but that people struggle to even articulate and identify this, let alone figure out what that would look like and find concrete support for doing it.

          • LTP_aka_TheWisp

            Done! Thanks for the tip on that. I tend to obsessively edit posts in the minutes after I edit them (so many mistakes don't become apparent until I click "post" dammit!).

            Yeah, (non-misogynistic) people don't talk about male sexuality in any deep way, which is the worst part and my biggest frustration. I went on a database to look for preliminary sources for a research paper in my women's sexuality class, and out of curiosity I put in "men's sexuality". All the scholarly journals were about two things: AIDS in gay men and how male sexuality effects women, even in the men's studies journal! Stuff on female sexuality was much more varied.

          • Delafina

            At the risk of getting overly academic — this always makes me think about Foucault's thing on how power is often invisible. It's why men's clothing isn't flashy, for example. And when masculinity is supposed to be this powerful thing that automatically commands respect, dissecting it — ESPECIALLY in the sense of providing instruction to men on how to understand their own sexuality or on masturbation and loving themselves — runs the risk of demystifying it, bringing it down to earth and therefore making it vulnerable. Which is probably why it took Dan Savage (a gay man, and therefore someone who's somewhat outside the boundaries of traditional masculinity, someone whose sexuality is suspect and perhaps dangerous, like a woman's) to popularize knowledge like the way the "death grip" can make it difficult for men to respond to other types of stimulation.

          • I think sex for both genders would be 1000% better if men's sexuality was looked at as sensual and complicated and empowering and beautiful. I love this comment.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            I'm very lucky in that one of my first partners taught me (by example) that the kissing/cuddling/stroking/etc. isn't something you get out of the way to get to the good stuff — it IS the good stuff.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Oh, honey, I hate that message too. It's ridiculous. It's hateful. It's damaging. It's deeply insulting. It HAS to suck receiving it. As a side note it's not particularly pleasant to hear and then meet a guy who, you know, has specific tastes and desires and instantly feel like a disgusting failure of anti-sex. I think it also contributes to more easily pleased men taking so long to learn that sex is about more than some perfunctory groping and thrusting. Never mind how much the "men are animals controlled by their hard-ons" mentality contributes to rape culture and victim blaming!

            Male sexuality CAN be sensual and complicated and empowering and beautiful, I think. You're just not encouraged to see it that way. And I will say, I'm loving this thread. I've never considered the issue quite from this angle before. It's fascinating, as said earlier it feels like it should be obvious now that it's being discussed, and frankly you guys are getting totally shafted in this department! Although it doesn't always come easily to us, even with the advice out there.

            Anyway… the previous suggestions to pamper and romance yourself… Oh yeah, it's going to feel silly. It's going to feel straight up ridiculous. Go ahead and make silly faces in the mirror and laugh at yourself and then do it anyway. You can always start small. I find that I'm more into me when I've put the same effort into bathing/shaving/lotion/perfume that I would for a date. As you get a little more used to treating yourself this way, it starts to get a bit easier and feel less silly. Although, I don't know if all the silliness ever goes away. I don't think I'll ever stop occasionally giggling at some of my vibrators. Just like sometimes, with a partner, there can be genuinely funny moments in sex.

            I think most of embracing one's sexuality comes from really getting to know it. Exploring what gets you sort of going in a ho-hum sort of way and what really makes you hot as all get out. When you masturbate, don't focus on finishing as quickly as possible. Focus on exploring specific sensations and how you feel about them. I would definitely agree with the suggestion to read erotica. It will help identify what turns you on beyond just the visual of porn.

            I highly recommend the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey if you're interested in an epic fantasy that has some hot bits. The first three books are from a female character's perspective, and the next three are from a male's. It gets quite kinky in places, but it also looks at sexual desire from many angles, and definitely presents men as varied sexual beings.

            Also, what comes to mind when I think about a man connected to his sexuality… I think of a few particularly charged tangos I've seen. Just one of the first images to come to mind. There was one on a recent episode of Lost Girl that was a bit distracting, actually.

            Now my brain is just buzzing like a colony of bees on crack. This has just spawned so many thoughts! And a desire to pay attention and notice portrayals of men being sexual in a way that doesn't buy into the "any hole's a goal" crap. Especially in instances where the man in question is being sexual without the immediate intention of actually having sex. Or actually explaining WHY he loves sex instead of just making jokes. I'm thinking poetry might be a decent source. I've read some really hot poetry from the male perspective. Also from the female perspective about men and the male form.

            I wonder how much of the reason men aren't encouraged to explore themselves sexually is tied in with homophobia and the fact that men are so actively discouraged from seeing each other as potentially attractive.

            And that makes me wonder… Is it possible that, in the meantime without a more comprehensive movement, you could learn some things from different, scattered but adjacent sources? It's certainly not ideal, but there are countless books about pleasing men sexually. They're just marketed to women. You could always try out some of the suggestions that could be adapted to solo experimentation. You might consider searching out descriptions of good sex with a partner from a woman's view. In most media today, the straight male view is definitely the default perspective, and that's the least likely perspective to show a man as sexually desirable. There may be some material for gay men that touches on this subject, but that's only a guess on my part. Maybe look into tantric sex practices. They at least consider male sexuality as more than thrust, grunt, and done.

            … Being concise is not one of my virtues when a topic is this interesting.

        • eselle28

          I can completely respect your belief that you'd feel validated by receiving sexual attention from women who you didn't find attractive. However, I'd suggest that just as women who receive sexual attention may not grasp how it feels to be in your shoes, you may not have a very accurate picture of how it would feel to be the recipient of unwanted attention. It's at least worth considering that you might not react in the way that you believe you would. (And maybe you'd feel exactly as you predict. My experience with guys receiving unwanted sexual attention is that they either refuse to acknowledge that they received it at all or have an "Ew, fat chicks!" reaction that's often quite a bit stronger than women have toward unwanted attention. But you're an individual and may not conform to that pattern.)

          • LTP

            I'm not saying that I would enjoy receiving the amount of unwanted attention that women receive, but rather that I'd like some. I think, ideally, women would receive less (though not zero) sexual attention while men would receive more (though not as much as women receive now).

          • LTP

            That last sentence should read "women should receive less (though not zero) sexual attention compared to what they actually do while men should receive more than they currently do (though not as much as women receive now)."

          • velveeta

            What you are saying here makes plenty of sense, LTP. It really is all a matter of perspective, and for what it's worth, I can sympathize with you.

          • The problem is, nobody gets to pick how much or what kind of attention they receive. If most women's experience of casual sexual attention was a guy saying "Hey, I just want you to know you look nice today" every once in a while, you wouldn't see all these ladies griping about it.

            But when you constantly have to deal with people grabbing your ass in a crowd and then pretending they didn't do it, or yelling slurs at you all the way down the street because you didn't stop and talk to them when they demanded it (both things that have happened to me), and you have no control over how and when these things happen, it's not at all flattering. It's mostly just tiring.

          • Stardrake

            *spit-takes, then thinks back to all the convention horror stories I’ve heard*

            Yes, unfortunately, I expect you’ve had to deal with that sort of quite a bit.

        • celette482

          Considering how men are responding on this page to the idea of unattractive women…. yeah. You just keep telling yourself that.

          • eselle28

            Yeah. This is just based on the men I know, but I've actually found guys react much more negatively to being approached by women they find inappropriate or unappealing than women do. Either they don't even acknowledge it's happened (even if it was something explicit like being asked on a date) or they react with extreme disgust that someone might possibly think that they'd consider dating that person. (And I guess it kind of makes sense, since men get approached less often and perhaps haven't gotten used to the idea that there are a lot of people who'd sleep with them who they find really unappealing the way lots of women have.)

          • I think that's why some guys get so angry about thinking women are judging them when they approach. They're going by how they'd react, not by how women actually do.

      • coolcono

        Good indicators a girl likes you. One.

    • MCSpanner

      "Fake" geek girls exist in the same way men lie about having a shared interest to get a cute girl's attention. It is the exaggeration in terms of the amount of those people and throwing the accusation at anyone and everyone that are the issue.

      • Gentleman Horndog

        I'm with you. Do "fake geek girls" exist? Probably. Sothefuckwhat?

        Either she's genuinely into something I dig, meaning we can geek-out together; or she's feigning interest in something I dig as a way of getting closer to me or into my social circle, meaning hey, a girl who I may potentially find attractive and interesting is interested in getting closer to me or getting into my social circle. Which one of these is somehow a losing scenario?

        • MCSpanner

          Because bullshit is bullshit.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Which generally becomes apparent quickly.

            So what if she's exaggerating a shared interest as an in? If she has nothing to offer, that's going to make itself clear soon enough. In the meanwhile, why shouldn't I offer her the benefit of any initial doubt?

          • celette482

            Plus, a willingness to explore a person's interests and fake-it-til-you-make-it demonstrates that you *really really* want to get to know this person. So much that you'll trawl wikipedia and sit through hours of Star trek just so you get what they love.

            Just because someone exaggerated their interest in something doesn't mean they are hostile to it in reality. It could mean that they've just never been exposed to it before, but if *you* like it, well then!

          • It could also just mean they do like it, but haven't had the time/inclination to indulge in it.

            I played a massive amount of Magic in middle school but fell out with it during high school because I just didn't have the money. I loved video games but could never afford my own consoles, so only knew the parts of games I could see friends play. I watched Star Trek religiously as a kid, but was busy with other things from ages 14-26ish.

            Does that mean I stopped loving those things? No! It just meant other priorities got put in their place. It is just not possible to be an adult with a non-fantastically-paying full-time job and have time for every legitimately cool nerd activity. LARP requires 6 hours a week, twice a month. I spent $40 one month just to make a halfway decent Standard Magic deck. Video games, to pull completion, now takes 30-40 hours. My Mary Poppins cosplay, which isn't even that intensive, is going to take about $200 and a good 30 hours of labor.

            There is just not enough time in the world to be a "true" Geek, it seems AND a functional adult.

            So if a girl is "faking" her interest, maybe it's not faking, but just her having other priorities but willing to indulge an interest she doesn't have time for, just for you.

          • eselle28

            Yup. Or she might be an Advanced Level Geek in something that the guy in question isn't as interested in, like cosplay or fantasy literature, and a Beginning Level Geek in most other areas. Geekdom isn't just time-intensive. It's also huge, and a lot of people who are just tiptoeing into it are probably going to be knowledgeable about one or two things that can be done alone and less aware of some of the more obscure interests or the ones that require a group of friends to do.

          • Aren't you forgetting? "Real" geeks AREN'T functioning adults… at least, that seems to be the case for all the guys that have the concept of "Real" geeks.

          • MCSpanner

            I'm not saying anything about the times where it isn't a lie I'm talking about the person lying from the get go.

            I don't understand what the conflict is here, if there is something a girl liked about me why couldn't or shouldn't she run with that as a reason to initiate something rather than making something up? All that does is, when I find out she isn't into something she said she was, make me wonder if she's said anything else that isn't true but what she thinks I'd like to hear.

          • MCSpanner

            Baffled, absolutely baffled.

          • BiSian

            Has this actually happened to you?

          • MCSpanner

            No, no girl has ever been interested in me ever. It happened to a friend of mine who once dated a girl who pretended to be into F1 racing to get his attention and kept it going right up until he spent the best part of £400 on a trip for them to see the British Grand Prix, then admitted she had no interest in it whatsoever but said it to "stand out" among potential suitors.

          • celette482

            Even worse than the fake geek girl! The Fake Sports Girl!

            /sarcasm slightly because I do know a few people like this, but generally they faked interest in sports because otherwise their SO would disappear for months at a time.

            Could it be… gasp…. that people who are interested in you might also want to be interested in what interests you… because you're interesting?

          • MCSpanner

            It is strange that when I posted on another article that I was going to indirectly ask a girl out because I wasn't sure if she saw me like that I was told in a number of replies to always be straight with someone yet it turns out lying about something is A-OK.

          • eselle28

            If someone came here and said that they were considering pretending to be Star Trek fan in order to attract someone, I'd advise them to play it straight and present themselves as new to Trekdom but interested in learning more. If someone came here and started complaining about being indirectly asked out, I'd sympathize but also suggest being somewhat merciful, especially if they were otherwise interested in the person in question.

            You can believe that there's a best way to go about things without condemning people who take a less optimal but ultimately harmless path.

          • MCSpanner

            What sort of lie to get someone's attention would edge towards being harmful?

          • eselle28

            In this case, I'd say it would be one you didn't intend on following through on (for instance, if you actually thought Star Trek was hideously boring and wouldn't watch it or accept your partner watching it once you were in a relationship).

          • MCSpanner

            So exactly like the one I referenced?

          • eselle28

            I don't think Fake Geek Girls exist in enormous numbers, but I would suspect there's a range, from women who are incredibly enthusiastic about picking up their crush's hobby to ones who hope to convince him to give it up, with a lot in between who are interested in learning and who'll stay involved with it to a lesser degree than the crush will – or at least that's what I've found to be the case with men who mimicked my interests to attract my attention.

            Your friend's girlfriend was being a jerk. That's one person.

          • MCSpanner

            Fine, I give up. There is no such thing as Fake Geek Girls and lying about liking something to try and get with someone is fine – unless it's being nice to try get with someone.

            I once was blind but now I see.

          • The Simple Man

            Maturity isn't your strong suit is it?

          • Maximilian

            In future I'll stick to calling people sexist, racist bigots. It seems to go on here completely unopposed so must be the height of mature debate.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            The problem is that in recent years, a lot of guys in traditionally male-dominated geek spaces have been using extreme outliers like your friend's Faux-1 girlfriend (and I agree, that WAS a dick move — she should have come clean on her lack of interest in what he thought was a shared passion long before he was spending that kind of money) as a way of excluding women from their club.

            Yes, liars with ulterior motives should be called-out. But the battle cry of "Fake Geek Girls!!!" has too often been used as a way of trying to push aside women with a more casual (but nevertheless sincere) interest, or who manifest their interest in ways a lot of guys don't necessarily pursue themselves (like cosplay).

            The problem with "Fake Geek Girls!!!" is it carries a lot of baggage. It suggests an environment and a mindset where self-identified geek women are guilty of being impostures until they prove otherwise. And that's where I think we're fundamentally on the same page.

            By all means, call out the liars when they show insincere ulterior motives. But I really feel like you need to assume they're on the level until they hand you serious reason to think differently; otherwise, you wind up contributing to a toxic and needlessly exclusionary atmosphere.

          • MCSpanner

            Finally, a comment that has some substance to it.

            I agree entirely.

          • chinchilla

            Amazing how the same words with a penis attached suddenly make so much more sense.


          • Delafina

            Well, women CAN'T actually be geeks, didn't you know? So, you know, you have to have a Y chromosome to speak knowledgeably about this stuff.

          • chinchilla

            I call it the Ladies Can't Be Right Phallusy.

            I am the subtlest.

          • Delafina

            That's beautiful. 😀

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Could be because I have a penis. Or, it could be that I acknowledged the guy had a valid point for situations where an extreme outlier is in play (such as his friend's F1 experience, where nobody emerged covered in glory), but also pointed out why strategies for dealing with those outliers make for dreadful and destructive default settings (that, as Delfina rightly pointed out, may well have ulterior motives of their own).

            Eh, whatevs. He flounced, and wasn't exactly bringing much of value to the conversation in the first place.

          • Maximilian

            For a conversation that was mostly based around how labelling people you don't know is a poor starting point in life where nobody wins, there isn't half a lot of accusations of sexism from those same people.

            Ah, double standards.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Hey MCSpanner, didn't you announce you were quitting the site forever?

            Changing your handle doesn't make you a different person y'know.

          • Maximilian

            I'd been politely informed by another commenter that, after a debate about the danger of throwing out baseless accusations, I'd been called a sexist bigot. Turns out I wasn't alone either.

            Awfully nice of you to leave those comments up too Doc by the way.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            So you came back pretending to be someone else in order to just throw shit around instead.

            Right. Bye now!

          • Maximilian

            Spoken like a true sexist and racist. (Lets see how long that comment stays up when equally as baselessly directed at you)

            FYI – The comment was automatically deleted when posted as "McSpanner" and there is already a Max (my name) posting on here.

          • coolcono

            There are a ton of women on the internet. They are downposting on Doctor Nerd Love.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            See, now you're making me feel really, really silly for trying to have a conversation with you. Enjoy your temper tantrum.

          • Delafina

            Well, not only that, but it sets up geekdom as something that men own. You guys DON'T own it. And we don't have to prove to male gatekeepers that our interest is genuine to be allowed to participate. Men do not have that authority, to stamp approval or disapproval on our geekdom.

            Moreover, the idea that there's some sort of epidemic of fake geek girls out there, learning enough geeky stuff to be able to "pass" long enough to fool a guy into (what, exactly?), and spending hours on detailed cosplay costumes to lure guys into (what, exactly?) all for nefarious gains of something or other…

            Is absurd.

            I mean, what exactly is the endgame supposed to be? An attractive girl (because it's usually attractive girls that get called out as "fake") puts in all this time and energy learning the lingo, and spends all that money (do any of these guys have any idea how EXPENSIVE cosplaying is?) putting together costumes (because a lot of the FAKE GEEK GIRL! animus seems to be directed at cosplayers) in order to…

            …get a guy with poor social skills and indifferent hygeine and a bank-breaking WoW habit to go out with them?



            I mean, if I'm a self-centered hot chick with the money to cosplay and I'm also a manipulative deceptive mastermind bent on wrapping men around my finger…

            No offense, geeky dudes of the world, but I'm going to spend my money on attractive street clothes instead, and I'm not going to hang out at comic book conventions. I'm going to take my skills to some marinas and country clubs and land me a rich dude with a heart problem.

            So yeah, maybe fake geek girls exist. In roughly same numbers as people whose fetish is having their teeth flossed by midgets in presidential masks. Which is to say, I'm sure that they're out there somewhere.

            But your average "fake geek girl" is either a straight-up geek who guys resent because they got a boner while watching her go about her business and want to brand her a whore (and that's the word lurking behind the "fake geek girl" label) because their lack of control is her fault (or just because they can't stand the idea that a girl is in "their" treehouse), or a girl who's curious about entertainment that falls under the "geek culture" umbrella and is exploring it, or possibly someone who has friends who wanted to go to WhateverCon and decided to go with them.

            Or, put another way, she's any woman who has the temerity to participate in geek culture, because insecure men must make her participation somehow ALL ABOUT THEM.

          • Maximilian

            "…get a guy with poor social skills and indifferent hygeine and a bank-breaking WoW habit to go out with them?"

            The hypocrisy of this coming in a "debate" where I was accused of making sweeping generalisations about people and relationships. Not to mention the comment rating implies it is something agreed upon by the majority.

          • Delafina

            It's called hyperbole, dude.

          • Delafina

            Oh, wait, you're Mcwhatever? Yeah, on ignore you go.

          • Bisian

            What eselle said.
            Also MCSPanner, it's not very helpful to get worried about Fake Geek Girls or potential people of interest feigning a higher interest in your hobbies. Yeah, the latter might happen–it sometimes does. (I don't believe FGGs actually exist) But until it does, well there's really a lot more profitable things to think about than the off chance that someone is Lying, Gasp, Lying about something as harmless as a shared interest.

          • MCSpanner

            When a lie ends up with someone forking out hard-earned money on something that you've said you like to get their attention, how is that harmless?

            Luckily for him, I had the money to buy her half of the package off him and we had a pretty fun lads' weekend.

          • eselle28

            That was crappy on the part of your friend's girlfriend. It was probably also unwise of him to book a vacation without talking to her about it first.

          • MCSpanner

            Wait, so he shouldn't have trusted her regarding her interest in the thing she'd used to initiate their first conversation?

            Thank god I got out of the dating game, the goalposts are a blur they're move so much.

          • eselle28

            Vacations are something both people should agree on regardless of their focus. Even someone who really was into F1 might not have wanted to spend her long weekend traveling to watch it. I genuinely do like science fiction and fantasy, but I'd be pretty cross if my boyfriend booked a trip to a Con for the two of us without talking about it with me.

          • Max

            Yeah, you don't put down $400 on a vacation with your girlfriend without talking to her first, unless you're very wealthy and $400 is nothing to you. She was probably put off by your friends spending habits.

          • enail0_o

            He wasn't wrong to trust her about her interest, and it was shitty of her to lie to him about that. I wouldn't trust someone again who had kept up a deception like that with me.

            I think what people are objecting to is the idea that it's her responsibility that he spent that money; that was his choice and is something that always has the risk of not being appreciated even by someone totally honest about their feelings, not a basic thing that people are expected to do for their SOs.

            It sucks that that happened to him, and it was shitty and manipulative of her to lie to him. But I don't think she can shoulder the blame for the money specifically. ETA: unless she knew he was planning to spend money on it for her and didn't let him know – that would be really lousy.

          • thomas dalton

            My God, are you seriously victim blaming here?

            And… it's being upvoted? Man, I knew you lot were hypocrites, but wow. This is a new high (or low).

            If I needed any more proof of double standards on these boards, this would be it.

          • Guest

            Uh no. Everyone has said what the girlfriend did was crappy. They are also pointing out that booking a holiday without consulting your significant other is also kind of crappy. To me, at least, it sounds like it was a crappy, uncommunicative, bad relationship. And it's likely best that it's over now.

            But considering you already believe a double standard exists here I hardly think my explanation is going to be of any interest to you.

          • To be honest, I don't think it was crappy so much as really stupid. I mean, how long was she planning to keep this up? Until they were living in Monaco with three kids named after F1 drivers?

            At the same time, giving someone an expensive and potentially life-altering present–a car, a house, a major vacation–without consulting them first is an equally bad idea. Both these behaviors should be restricted to wacky sitcom characters.

          • eselle28

            The girlfriend's lying was shitty, and I don't excuse her for that. The harm done (purchasing something it turned out his girlfriend didn't want) likely would have occurred with or without the lie, since even a passionate fan doesn't necessarily want her vacations planned for her. The final act here is the unwise and badly communicated spending. which is also kind of a crappy thing to do, not the lie. (In comparison, I wouldn't hold the boyfriend responsible for being easily lied to or for coming across as a person who'd be easy to mislead, since the final at there was the lie.)

          • "I booked a vacation for both of us without telling the other person first" is a HUGE red flag for me, no matter what the genders of the people involved or for that matter what their relationship is. I would be furious at anyone, male or female, friend or partner, who presumed that they had a right to allocate my very limited vacation time without asking me first.

            That said, I'm not convinced I'm getting the full human complexity of either the trip-booking or the F1-racing side of the story, given the source.

          • StarlightArcher

            Yeah, I'm really curious how much time elapsed between the initial F1 lie and the buying of a vacation package.

            If it was only a few dates, then that's way too soon to be planning a vacation like that without going dutch treat. If it was months or years, that's some serious commitment to a falsehood. I'm surprised anyone could keep up a pretense like that for so long.

            I mean sure I might tell a guy I like dice gaming, but the moment he starts talking about buying 1st edition box set of D&D manuals, I'm gone baby. That's way too much pressure.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            "My God, are you seriously victim blaming here?"

            Honestly, I caught a whiff of that myself.

            Nobody emerges from this story covered in glory. But I'm definitely more sympathetic to the party that was merely stupid than the one who was actively deceitful. I'm much more optimistic about the stupid person learning their way out of it, at least.

            "Man, I knew you lot were hypocrites, but wow. This is a new high (or low)."

            Y'know, valid but unpopular points don't get taken any more seriously when you pair them with broad, needless ad hominems against folks the community generally respects. Just saying.

          • eselle28

            There's been a lot of discussion about this. Having thought about it a bit, I don't feel that it's just stupidity that's at play here. I think there's something actively wrong with planning a vacation singlehandedly and then expecting that a specific person who wasn't consulted about the trip will accompany you. It's not just buying the wrong gift for someone because you had the wrong idea about their preferences. It's buying a gift that benefits you and that requires the recipient to invest time and money, which comes across as being controlling or at least very self-centered.

            Because of that, I don't have a very high opinion of either of these people, but I think that I find controlling behavior more worrisome.

          • celette482

            agreed. This seems really strange and red-flag to me.

          • BiSian

            The situation that you described seems like it went into the territory of unethical. Claiming to be a big fan of something you dislike isn't cool, especially if your partner starts talking about spending money on that thing. Though I am impressed that the woman in this situation was able to effectively pretend interest in a sport she disliked–that's a lot of acting and information that you have to research. Not that it's admirable, hardly, but it's impressive in a weird way.

            However, I do want to say that the way you've talked about the subject here suggests that you consider this something that happens in many relationships/approaches and is always unfair and unethical.

          • MCSpanner

            I haven't got a bloody clue what goes on in "many" relationships/approaches – I was referencing one example that I have from my friend group. That was it, no massive sweeping statement about every single woman on the planet while bitter lemony tears streamed down my face and onto the keyboard. One example.

          • Okay.
            But the way that you phrased your initial statement did imply that you were making an generalization, not just talking about one example.
            And your followup statement "bullshit is bullshit" also implies a generalized statement and hostile tone toward women/men who lie about their interests.

          • MCSpanner

            Was that the one where I commented that exaggerating the amount of these "fake" people was an issue or the one where I referenced my (again, one example) of posting on here and being told to do the exact opposite to what people are now saying is hunkydory? I'm struggling to see any comment I've made that could be perceived as a generalisation.

            Indeed, I have a hostile tone towards people who lie to weasel things out of people because of a perceived or real restriction on their ability to if they didn't.

          • OtherRoooToo

            "Though I am impressed that the woman in this situation was able to effectively pretend interest in a sport she disliked–that's a lot of acting and information that you have to research. Not that it's admirable, hardly, but it's impressive in a weird way. "

            I don't think anyone has brought up the possibility that she thought she "had" to do it in order to be thought of as a good girlfriend.

            I'm a … rather rabid tennis fan, LOL (which is another set of issues altogether — don't lay yourself open to accusations of "fake fandom", but don't *dare* to know more than a given XY about your fandom of choice *sigh*) .
            I've dated footballers & football fans, and I don't have the first clue what goes on on that field and am not afraid to admit it … but I've been acquainted with ladies who, to say it straight out, force themselves to learn about a sport that bores them silly because they feel it's "required" in order to gain or keep their bf's approval.

            But b/c of all the "Fake Geek Girl! WOE1!11" shouting going on, I feel like that's a possibility that's been deemed "Inconceivable!", let alone examined at all closely.

            This is an awesome comment.

            I do, however, also find it telling that it took an XY to sum up what other XXs had been saying in various places that had been argued with or ignored, in order for the POV to be accepted as valid.

            Rather reflective of the totality of the issue's facets, IMO.

            /things that make you go hmmm

          • I think the rule here is, don't spend your hard-earned money before you even truly know the person. I dig Star Trek, but a guy buying me a trip to a Star Trek con early on in the relationship would probably make me feel uncomfortable regardless of how much I liked it.

          • MCSpanner

            I'm going to take the moral of this story to be don't trust anybody.

          • eselle28

            I think, "Communicate! Especially before spending money!" would be a better lesson.

          • MCSpanner

            I disagree entirely. The whole reason for the story taking place is the girl's decision to lie repeatedly about her interest in something she knew he was passionate about to stand out of the crowd.

            By trusting her he wasted his time with her and his money on her. DTA.

          • Wait, she had no other admirable qualities except their shared passion for race car driving? I mean, her claiming to love it when she couldn't stand it isn't cool, but choosing a partner based entirely on their interests, even when you get to know them, seems kind of bizarre.

            I discovered years into a relationship that my boyfriend strongly disliked Whedon, when I genuinely thought he had a slightly dislike (say, +2 above neutral 0) interest in him. I make fun of him for it, but I'd never dump him for it. That seems kind of extreme.

          • Wondering

            I agree. My levels of Tolkien fannishness approach Stephen Colbert's. But if some guy I was dating paid for vacation plans for the two of us to go to the Tolkienest Tolkiening ever without talking to me about it beforehand, I would be pissed and not want to go. In fact, I might just break up with him. Because he's not communicating, and it's incredibly presumptive behavior.

          • kathrynmblair

            So one person lied to someone other than you and a friend lost $400 dollars, and the logical conclusion from that is never trust anyone?

            You are in for a life of crippling anxiety if you act on your word there.

          • eselle28

            I'm going to extend that way past knowing the person. A surprise trip is maybe something you could do for your wedding anniversary…and only then if you know for a fact that your partner adores surprises.

          • True that. I would be pissed about a surprise trip regardless of what it was about.

          • StarlightArcher

            I feel the same way! Even the brides who say "I have no idea where we're honey-mooning, he packed for me" always makes my back teeth lock. I just… I can't. I hate surprises like that. Maybe a surprise nice dinner at a respectable restaurant, but a trip? No, Nay, Never!

          • celette482

            I HATE surprises soooo much. Like, they are objectively the worst. I'm also bad at them, because I'm observant, so I'm rarely "actually" surprised, but then I have to fake it because they worked so hard and arrgh

            On the other hand, if fiance and I were actually getting a honeymoon (oh, time off you are so precious), I'd probably want him to plan it because I'm dealing with serious "decision fatigue" and simply do not want to be in charge of any other choices or plans for a while.

          • celette482

            If you're trying to argue that truth-telling is some sort of absolute necessity in all things and in all situations and that either I must support lying always or truth always… I'm refusing to bite

          • eselle28

            I've run into both Fake Geek Boys and Fake Sports Boys. One of the Fake Geek Boys played through Baldur's Gate II (all 60+ hours of it) to impress me. And, I mean, I was impressed. I took it as a sign that he trusted my taste and was open to learning about things that I found interesting. The only time it would be troubling would be if a guy suddenly decided that he didn't want to watch football or Game of Thrones anymore after we had started dating because he'd never really liked it in the first place.

          • Devlin_Mor

            I really really hurt my boyfriend's feelings a while ago being the Fake Geocaching Girl – I'd like to say I tried more than I lied. He was really into geocaching and I though the concept was really cool and was very enthusiastic to try it. We ended up spending hours in the drizzle by a muddy canal near Paris trying to decipher painfully obtuse clues in French (which only one of us could sort of read) looking for old tins of crap that had probably been thrown in the rubbish months previously, when I begged him to just turn it into a straight cycling holiday. He was so hurt that I hadn't just told him I wasn't interested from the start. But I really didn't know how completely uninterested I was until I tried it.

          • celette482

            I've been geocaching and I like it. That sounds miserable. No outdoor activity is fun in the drizzle and the mud.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Only a fairweather Geocacher would say that. Real Geocachers would enjoy it in a blizzard!

            I'm sure it can be fun – I though the concept was great, a quest mixed with long distance cycling which I already like, but I actually think the clues and the treasure hunting aspect didn't suit me as much as I'd expected, I found it slow and frustrating and interfering with the cycle – and the last day with the weather just confirmed it wasn't for me. And to him, when I'd been so keen to try it, I think it really felt like I'd been faking interest the whole time. Thats on him, of course, but I think it was a blow that I, the hitherto cool girlfriend, also found his hobby boring.

          • Mad_

            I've known a pretty toxic person or two who used interests like this to get their "in."

            It's not always as innocent as it seems. :/

          • enail0_o

            Depressingly, this is true of pretty much any friendly behavior. Toxic folk can turn pretty much anything into a manipulation tactic.

      • Delafina

        I'm curious as to the motivations of these "fake geek girls."

        I'm also curious as to what makes them "fake."

        • MCSpanner

          The dictionary definition of fake:
          a thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham

          They're lying, aka not being genuine about who they are in order to gain something. i.e. fake.

          • celette482

            Okay… so what is the meaning of "real geek"?

            I mean… I didn't get into comics until I was an adult because of access, so I missed a lot of things directly and have had to read up on the backstory on wikipedia. Does that mean that I'm not a real comicbook geek? And regardless of what you answer, you should realize that there are definitely members of the geek community who would say "YES." Some, not all but some, are very resistant to the invasion of n00bs, particularly women and particularly now that things like the Avengers movie earned all the money ever. There are many in the geek community who define themselves as an excluded and therefore exclusive group and are quite hostile to the invasion of the wommenz.

            And never mind that I've been a card-carrying geek girl since I was a child, just only in the fandoms (sci fi/fantasy literature and JRPGs) that were accessible to me.

          • MCSpanner

            Someone who is actually into the things you describe, rather than pretending to be.

            It really isn't that difficult. The definition of fake is quite a narrow one.

          • celette482


            So, when I was first thinking "Hmm, maybe I'd like to read these" would I be pretending to be into them when I went into a store and bought a few books?

            Anyone who follows through with their feigned interest is acting in good faith on that point.

          • MCSpanner

            Are you for real?

          • celette482


          • MCSpanner

            My apologies, I couldn't quite make it out behind the patronising comment.

          • celette482

            "It really isn't that difficult. The definition of fake is quite a narrow one."

            Yep. Patronizing comments are hard to see around.

          • MCSpanner

            Ask a ridiculous question about what the definition of fake is and get a ridiculous answer.

            Seemed like a good exchange myself.

          • celette482

            Actually I asked what a "real geek" was.

          • MCSpanner

            …and the comment you referred to was in reply to someone asking what fake meant. Which is why I said it in the comment you're not replying to.

          • Delafina

            YOU'RE calling HER patronizing?

            I can't tell if you just want to take your anger out on people here and don't care how you come across, or if you really lack the self-awareness to detect the condescension, contempt, and hostility you're radiating, but either way: not cool.

          • MCSpanner

            You try and use a stupid comment about the definition of a word in an attempt undermine my opinion and I'll assume that is the level you want to communicate under.

          • Delafina

            I was referring to all your comments, actually, not just that one.

            But we're done here. I don't engage with people who aren't willing to at least start from a position of basic courtesy and respect.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Actually, just as a point of interest, defining your terms is an essential part of every decent debate. You can, in fact, lose formal debates based purely on topicality arguments. This is because it's crucial that everyone is crystal clear on the terms being used to actually have a constructive debate.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Even in casual discussions, if you mean something different by a words than I do, then we're no longer imparting useful information to one another. So yeah, starting from a set of common definitions matters.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Oh, I thoroughly agree! I wasn't sure how to phrase the bridge to casual discussions since they're rarely ever "won" or "lost." I love when people articulate the stuff I'm flailing at. Thank you. 🙂

          • It must be, because I have at least average intelligence and I have no idea what measuring stick you're using for "fake" and "real".

            Here's an example: I love Batman, but confused which Robin was tortured/killed by the Joker. Oh and I've never read any Batman Year One. Am I "fake" fan, despite knowing most of the animated series' episodes by heart?

          • Mad_

            Hardcore/casual gets mixed up a lot with fake/real.

          • kathrynmblair

            Yeah, which really sucks, because it sucks to have being casually into something awesome held against you.

          • Mad_

            To a hardcore fan, it can be an insult that something they've spent years on is being treated as a passing fad for a casual fan. As well, most entertainment companies focus heavily on the casual fan to the detriment of what the hardcore fan wants (the hardcore fans consume either way, the casuals don't), so you also end up with a steadily built-up dislike for the people you're getting ignored for. The casual fan doesn't make the formerly nerdy shit cool, they still think you're weird, they just make exceptions for the things that "aren't weird" because everyone else is doing it. The Wii and Angry Birds or Farmville or Flappy Bird didn't make gamers seem less neckbeardy, it just meant non-gamers were playing a game or two that everyone else was playing whereas before they didn't.

            From a different perspective, it's hard to talk to casual fans about anything because you know a lot more than they do. I've watched pro wrestling off and on for over 20 years, currently watch six different federations, designs on watching a seventh, and have a decent grasp of 3-4 more. I know a lot of the tricks of the trade and mindsets of the people in charge, and just general knowledge about what goes into making things good and what happens when they end up bad. If you just started watching the WWE tomorrow, I wouldn't know how to talk to you or speculate about much of anything on it with you, because it would spoil your experience, and I'd spend trying to not let the knowledge damn explode because most of it may not be interesting or relevant to you (I even have that problem now, I know guys who have watched WWE and only WWE for 20 years)

            Experienced that while watching some of the Seattle Seahawks games this year: I don't know much about football tactics, strategies or positions, and I can't say I really care. I have a general sense of what's going on and player body language because of being a fan of other sports. Some games were fun, some I couldn't care less about. I wasn't a "real" fan to some of my other sports friends because I didn't watch every game and didn't know the names of all the players on the team, but it didn't matter too much to me either way, and I knew enough that I could needle them a bit with my lack of knowledge while still having fun bandwagoning onto a winning team; still, if I was serious about enjoying football, it could've been a turn-off if this was what I could expect from the hardened lifelong NFL fan, that I wasn't a REAL fan because I grew up in a hockey culture instead of a football one (Dear Americans: You are not true hockey fans, except Minnesota)

          • Joy

            Today's casual consumer may be tomorrow's utter fanatic, if the casual fan is welcomed (or at the very least politely tolerated) instead of being challenged and then shooed out of the clubhouse. It's happened to me with at least two different fandoms I can think of.

            On another note, I was about to object to the "not true hockey fans," but then I saw you made an exception for my state. 🙂

            (A quick check of Wikipedia also informs me we have our northern neighbors to thank for broomball, possibly the most fun sport ever and responsible for my only sprained ankle to date. So thank you, Canada, for fast games played on slippery surfaces when it's cold enough anybody with any sense would be elsewhere.)

          • Mad_

            It's just part of the joke: Canada cares the most about hockey, it's "our game", we should be catered to more, but that kind of thinking ignores the wider world of sports, economic trends, and things like the fact that the state of Minnesota cares more about hockey at every level than Canada does, which we're mostly about the NHL, a degree of Junior Hockey, and top-flight international tournaments like the Olympics. The NHL is also an extremely strange dynamic with being a part-Canadian league, and properly balancing it is probably harder than it looks. But we still tend to feel slighted because we devote tons more media time and eyeballs/ratings to it, while Americans only watch once football season is over if their team is winning (and maybe not even then), probably the Winter Classic, and stop paying attention to it if their baseball team is performing.

            I think the experience with most hardcore fans is that the casual consumer doesn't become tomorrow's fanatic, they're just in it for the ride and the crowd. Which, that's cool, but it also doesn't give you the level of interaction you want from most people. Like if you wanted to talk football formations or the impact of specific players on the offensive line in the NFL, I couldn't tell you shit, it looks like utter chaos to me and I don't really have the interest to learn the tactics behind what's going on, or really learn the names of players who aren't the QB, aren't handling the football regularly, or aren't cutting WWE-style promos after making the game-saving play in the end-zone on National Television. Best I can do is notice what the QB's doing well or not (Russell Wilson often takes a second too long to decide to run, and I think he gives up yardage because that second usually means the defense has partially adjusted to it) and maybe get a feel for how the game's flowing. I'm just not as into the technical and analytical side of things, and it's a barrier to socializing about it that I can understand.

          • Game research hat: it's flatly untrue that Angry Birds etc hasn't changed perceptions of gamers. To the extent which it hasn't, it's because of jerks policing the boundaries of who gets to be a Real Gamer in a way that just so happens to always exclude certain groups.

            tl;dr you are the problem

            Also, stop griping, hypocrite.

          • enail0_o

            OMG, yes! The advent of casual gaming has definitely made people more accepting of Real Gaming. An acquaintance got into Diner Dash, and suddenly we were able to have conversations about gaming mechanics! Bring out a Wii at a party with total non-gamers, and talking about playstation doesn't seem at all strange. And by the end of the evening, they're asking to borrow Persona and Dragon Age. It gives them a way into what was previously a mysterious world with no door.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            "Dear Americans: You are not true hockey fans, except Minnesota"

            The entire city of Penguins fanatics outside my door would beg to differ. 😉

            Fun ethical dilemma to pose to a Pittsburgh hockey fan: When Team USA played Team Canada (captained by Penguins star Sidney Crosby) in the Olympics, who did you cheer for?

          • vintagelydia

            Yes I've never seen more huge fans of hockey than the ones from Pittsburgh (and the Rust Belt in general. Other fans I know are from Detroit and Baltimore.) None of my MN friends care a bit for it.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Ooh, Detroit. Now THERE'S a hockey town.

            Curious to know how much of a hockey culture exists in Chicago. I'd suspect it's smaller than that of the other three major sports present in the city, but considering the Black Hawks are 1) one of the NHL's Original Six and 2) quite successful, I'm willing to bet they've got a hell of a contingent of Real Fans, too. (And I could say exactly the same of the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.)

          • celette482

            Boston's pretty Bruin-heavy from what I've seen.

            Then again, most of my friends are hockey fans of some team or another, so maybe I have a skewed perception. (We don't talk to the one Flyers fan.)

          • Gentleman Horndog

            "We don't talk to the one Flyers fan."

            Well that's just common sense. 😉

          • Ethyl

            Yeah that gave me all the feels. Sid! But….USA! But….Sid!

          • Draegaa

            It can get pretty wild here in Tampa, too. And no one else has Tesla coils. 😀

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Mad, not picking on you but this seemed the most pertinent place to throw it down – I'm basically a fake geek guy. Now bear with me here. . .
            I buy one-off graphic novels once or twice a month and sort of follow the GL, but only in the trades, so I'm at least six months behind and I didn't before new 52. The last AAA title I played was Bioshock Infinite (although I do know a disturbing amount of behind the scenes info about it), my next one is GTA V and I don't own my own console. I watch Game Of Thrones, Walking Dead but not much else geek TV. I saw Avengers but not Thor 2. I have a super expensive custom costume designed to show off my assets. It makes me feel sexy and larger than life. Swap my gender and I'm exactly the kind of person people complain about.

            There's nothing non-genuine about that, nothing fake. I don't have less right to pay for a ticket to a convention and wear my costume to it. I don't love the franchises I'm interested in less. I don't even put in less time, I just put that time into things other than building a concordance of every Marvel cross-over appearance in the last decade. When I order custom leather pants from Korea, I'm putting in my geek time. When I'm too sick to stand, so I run rehearsal laying on the couch under four layers of blankets, I'm putting in my geek time. When I'm meeting LARP organizers, con staff, bar owners and Burning man crews to line up a gig, I'm putting in my geek time. When I'm driving two hours each way to scout a location for a cosplay (is that still the term if you're not a pre-existing franchise?) photo shoot, I'm putting in my geek time. You could find hundreds of people of both genders int his town who could tell you more about the Court Of Owls than I can but I challenge you to find five who know more about ghost towns within two hours. No member of my crew spends less than eight hours a week on geek time and none of that is media consumption.

            There's more than one way to be a geek and that's a good thing. I remember the pre-Internet days of Otakon (now a national franchise, I understand). Back then, it was nerdvana. It was all about which titles you'd seen, how much you knew. You got neckbeard status based on which bootlegs you'd seen. We LARPers (hey, it was a long time ago) used to call it Odikon "from the word odious, meaning to smell bad". It was a strictly consumer culture and the media was the product.

            Somewhere in the late 90's, the Internet made it easier to find people in your area with similar interests. That's when the cosplayers started showing up. its worthwhile to note that once you get into that world, you become very body conscious regardless of gender. Cosplay became fight club, the reason you adopted good lifestyle habits like working out and eating right. Anyone can wear a Star Trek uniform but you've got to have the right figure to be an Orion girl or Legolas. Doing everything that involves takes a different sort of geek time.

            Ask the Batgirl in the latex suit about all the different Batgirls over the years and she might get stuck after Barbara Godron. Ask her where she sourced that much latex on the cheap and what kind of sewing machine she needed to punch through it and she can geek with the best of them. Ask me where to get a cool coat and I'll give you recommendations by city, style, custom vs off the rack, eyeball your size point you to one of half a dozen etsy designers based on the style you need. Ask a Silicon Valley steampunk how to make a prop you have in mind and you better pull up a chair. I swear those guys do everything but mine metal and chop down trees themselves.

          • WordyLibrarian

            GOD, YES, THIS. A million times, this. People display their geeky joys in different ways. People who lie about their interests to use people aren't "fake geeks." They're manipulative assholes. People who use their real interests to use people aren't any less gross. They, too, are manipulative assholes. When you start giving the very idea of "fake geeks" credence, you open up the gates to a whole horde of repugnant, ignorant judgments.

            I, personally, am a geek. Can we get cards so I can be a card-carrying geek? Does a replica iron coin of Braavos carried in my wallet count? If that doesn't work I can dual-wield my sonic screwdrivers (tenth and eleventh, so far). My next tattoo is going to be a quote from Doctor Who. I'm considering one from Firefly, as well. ThinkGeek is my favorite online store (although I'm having a friend knit me a Jeyne hat after they accidentally spawned issues for independent sellers). I own an embarrassing number of gaming dice sets and will give into blatant superstition without shame. I have, in fact, once set a d20 on fire with other dice arranged as an audience so they would learn what happens when you give me a critical failure at a crucial point in a boss battle. I also let the gaming dice watch while I drill their less fortunate friends to make into gaming jewelry. It seems to keep them rolling nicely. I've played every basic class, race, and alignment in D&D. I've played in several alternative gaming systems including a few home brews friends were making. I can hold my own in a game of Magic if someone loans me a deck, and I'm more than passingly familiar with Munchkin. I spent my high school years on the BEST team (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) where we made robots out of busted printers and competed with them. I turned 16 at debate camp and was captain of the team my junior year. I have worn Princess Leia hair and participated in more "who would win in a fight between superheroes" arguments than I can count. My favorite television channels are syfy, BBC America, and the science channel. I can sing Monty Python's Philosophers Drinking Song from memory, my current nail polish is TARDIS blue, I actually need my glasses to see, and I'm currently teaching myself basic electronics.

            I could go on, but I'm pretty sure I've made my point. I think my geek cred is pretty strong. I don't feel any hesitation or guilt about claiming the term. No reasonable person could look at that obnoxious list and think "fake geek fishing for a man." One would think such a description qualifies for whatever nebulous definition of geek is being used and we could all hug as geeks and get on with celebrating the stuff we love, right?

            Except that's not how it actually works in reality. This ridiculous "fake geek" specter is constantly sprung on me from nowhere. It's exhausting, it's hostile, and it's damaging to Geekdom as a whole. It happens to both men and women, although I can only speak personally about my experiences with it as a woman. It's bad enough to have your validity questioned because you don't share the same geeky interests as the person judging you. I have heard that I'm not a "real" geek or gamer because I'm not fond of FPS games more times than I like to recall. Never mind that I adore RPGs and can kick your ass in soul calibur. It's somehow even more odious when it happens with the interests you DO share. You'd think if I mention D&D, another D&D player could go with it. Unfortunately, not so much. I get treated to tests about my knowledge of various mechanics, most usually grappling. If I have failed to memorize something or simply forgotten that something I'm used to is actually a house rule, I am instantly and rudely dismissed as a "fake geek." It doesn't matter that I've written journals and letters for my characters' rich backstories, or spent hours on photoshop perfecting their portraits bc it needs to be just right and I can't draw. I am obviously LYING about loving these things that I love.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Geekness is just so broad that there will NEVER be ANYONE who identifies with all of it. It's simply not possible for there to be enough time in the world for anyone to devote themselves to all forms of geeky interest. That means no one is EVER safe from this stupid "fake geek" specter. There is literally no action anyone can take to avoid being a "fake geek." I can avoid being a manipulative asshole by not trying to manipulate people for my own gain. I can avoid being a murderer by not murdering people. I can avoid being a liar by being honest. I can avoid being a thief by respecting other peoples' property. I can avoid being ignorant about topic X by learning more about topic X. However, "fake geek" is a nonsense label. It doesn't actually identify anything useful about anyone's behavior. I can't avoid being a "fake geek" because there isn't even a solid definition of geek! I've only read a handful of comic books in my life. I haven't watched Star Trek. I haven't read the Star Wars books. I haven't read The Silmarillion. I don't speak Elvish. I've not participated in a LARP. This list, too, could continue forever and any one of them can trigger the cry of "fake geek!"

            It's gross! It's gross and it's stupid and it isn't good for ANYONE. It keeps potential geeks from pursuing their interests, thus helping the things we love do better financially, thus creating a market for more awesome things that we love. Not exactly a helpful attitude, when you think about it. It REALLY doesn't help the perception of geeks in dating. I know perfectly well that most geek guys are pretty awesome. That's why I hang out with them, after all. However, when 9/10 of the times you meet new groups you're greeted with hostility, interrogation, and demands to somehow prove your geekiness? Intellectual awareness can only go so far to combat that experience. It causes me to be a little wary about meeting new geeks. I'm certainly not interested in sleeping with any of the guys in my existing circle bc I've known them since cell phones were just becoming a Thing and all possibilities have either been explored or rejected long ago, in some cases multiple times.

            I can't imagine my situation is particularly unusual, especially given the number of geeky women I know with similar experiences. So… if you can't/won't sleep with anyone in your social circle, and people from other circles are being chased off with this "fake geek" specter… How does it help ANYONE have sex by keeping it around? Especially when the behavior you're supposedly complaining about fits FAR better under the umbrella of manipulative asshole?

            TL; DR Thank you. The entire "fake geek" idea is offensive nonsense no matter the gender it's aimed at. Everything we do to celebrate our geeky interests takes time, and none of us have an unlimited amount. The entire idea is just a way to be hateful.

          • Delafina

            So, you're saying they have zero interest in any geeky things, and are merely lying about them to…

            …what, exactly? Get in the pants of geek guys? I'm curious as to what makes geek guys such tempting targets, if you don't share their interests.

          • MCSpanner

            Breaking News: Geek stereotypes are not always accurate, they can actually be very good looking. More as we get it.

          • celette482

            So would you say that there are also Fake Artist Girls and Fake Band Girls and a Fake Whatever Girl for all hobbies? As in, someone might pretend to be into anything that a person they like does simply because that person is attractive?

          • MCSpanner

            Indeed, anything you can possibly think of that someone can be really into, someone can pretend to be into.

          • celette482

            Okay, so in relationships, you have two people with diverse interests. Maybe they have things they like together, but maybe their relationship is based on things other than hobbies. In any case, no one is going to like all the things you like to the equal amount that you like them and none of the things that you dislike and vice versa. So a big part of being in a relationship is compromising on things like hobbies. Maybe you give up some of your play time for couple time. Maybe you sit through a movie that isn't your cup of tea because your girlfriend wants to.

            A person hiding a vehement dislike of something and pretending to love it instead is not just acting immorally, they're acting illogically (that's the stuff of romcoms right there.) More often, you have the situation where a person likes YOU more than they dislike the Ramones or golf. Or where a person says "You know what, disco is your thing and while you do your thing, I'm gonna go get my nails done. See you tomorrow, sweetie!" Assuming bad motives for people who do this is counterproductive because seriously, every relationship has this to a certain extent.

          • MCSpanner

            "More often, you have the situation where a person likes YOU more than they dislike the Ramones or golf."

            Then say it! Don't hide behind some fake "shared interest" in order to try and distract their attention away from any number of equally or better looking people in their vicinity. Why is just saying that you like the person should an impossible act that everytime I mentioning doing it rather than basing everything on a lie gets thumbed down as if I was condoning taking them hostage?

          • celette482

            Because that is a very rare scenario in my experience. Most people do just say "I like you but i'm meh on the whole hobby thing" and aren't hiding behind some fake "shared interest." That's the point, that people aren't maintaining some sort of Alternate Persona Wherein They Are Actually Geeks (or whatever) just to get a boyfriend or a girlfriend. And assuming that it's more prevalent than it actually is is harmful to the people who genuinely do like Whatever Thing.

          • MCSpanner

            But the comment this all stems from is about people pretending to…

            Oh, this is going nowhere. People don't pretend to like stuff, the story between my friend and his then girlfriend never happened. I hate all women, but not men who are completely immune from making any errors regarding relationships or casual sex and I will die alone in a wheelchair with lemony bitter tears streaming down my face, relentlessly shouting about how much every woman who has ever lived (except my mother) is a whore and only after a man's money, when my illness begins to warp my legs and I'm unable to walk.

            Goodbye DNL.com and all who sail in her, you have prepared me to accept that dating is a world I shall never understand and that just as if getting kicked in the balls was a cure for hiccups, I can more than get used to the fact the cure is worse than the illness it is attempting to fix and spending my life incapable of entering that world myself is not that bad.

          • MCSpanner

            I do apologise, I forgot to mention that I'll be shouting about Fake Geek Girls ruining gaming expos.

          • Max

            Most people aren't defined by their hobbies either.

          • Mad_

            Geeks are

          • Max

            Defining yourself by the things you like is never healthy.

          • enail0_o

            Hmm…I don't know. IS it unhealthy? What are healthy ways to define yourself? I'd say defining yourself too strongly by your interests might be unhealthy, but isn't that true of defining yourself too strongly by any one thing? I'm just not sure!

          • Personally, I like defining myself by my hobbies because my liking of my hobby is a concrete thing. It's partially why fake geek girls is such a ridiculous concept; me not liking it "enough" by someone else's definition doesn't stop me, personally, from actually liking it. Someone else's description of me makes no impact.

            Compare that to, say, traits like "smart" or "pretty" or "funny." All subjective. I could define myself as smart, but what happens when ten people in a row disagree with me. I *could* still be smart, but I'm no longer smart to those people. If I'm smart, shouldn't I be smart all the time?

            Different people can define who I am outwardly, regardless of how I may actually feel. A person can call me bad names with me sometimes being powerless to prove otherwise. With enough social power, you can take away everything that I am.

            But you can never take away the things I love.

          • enail0_o

            I like that logic. By extension, I think values would be an even better thing to define oneself by – hobbies can change much more easily than values.

          • Mad_

            I think values can change with situations. It's easy to be an honest and upstanding person if things are going well, but if things go badly or have the chance to go badly, honest and upstanding may not keep you going in the direction you want. White lies keep peace where the more virtuous thing causes problems. The positive person staying positive when things go bad suddenly is the same person you knew, or not quite as strong as you thought they were. I've seen what valuing money does to people, or I've seen the kinds of things someone would do to get what they want, because they are their own biggest value.

            Hobbies, on the other hand, are there. They reflect you back at yourself, or teach you what kinds of things you really do value or can handle and what kinds of things are just a novelty. They can show your growth in what you like and don't like anymore, they can show what pings the depths of your soul, can reveal your darkest fears or deepest hurts, or your dreams for the world.

            Maybe I have a life that's too sheltered or some kind of brain-condition or something, but I don't get those kinds of things through other people. I get through them the Wyatt Family's entrance in the WWE, or trying to convince the Illusive Man that, though misguided, he can still do the right thing, or that maybe Tony Soprano or Walter White will finally do the right thing.

          • enail0_o

            You and Marty make good arguments. To some degree, you can't really be sure of your values till they're tested – though things like people not being as strong as you thought they were sound more like your assumptions were wrong rather than that values aren't a reliable way to define yourself. And someone whose top value is themselves, that's extremely revealing! I'd also say that it's not just the big crisis situations that count, what values you use to make your little day-to-day choices make up a big part of who someone is.

            But, it's true, values are variable and kind of…colourless. But at the same time, I feel like hobbies don't really distinguish people enough to be all that useful for defining oneself. If you listed all my hobbies, it wouldn't really say anything about how I'm me as opposed to any of the other hundreds of people with the same hobbies.

            So I'm going to change my answer to how I think. If you know how I like to overanalyze and the way I look at patterns and how I think of flavour in terms of shape and the way I approach confrontation and so forth, I think that would give a much better picture of who I am.

          • Ah, see, when you define it that way, I see that less as value and more as behavior. Behavior I think is a lot easier to identify yourself through and define yourself with than values. You can have all of the positive values in the world, but unless you ACT like it, your values are kind of meaningless. Know what I mean?

          • enail0_o

            Yes, good point. Somehow behavior seems kind of too detailed and broad a category to define yourself by, though. In a way, I think a lot of the labels we use to slot ourselves (our job, our hobby set) are kind of umbrella terms for our biggest group of behaviors. What do I do? I go to school – I'm a student. I go to work and design buildings – I'm an architect. What do I do? I play video games and write fanfiction – I'm a geek.

          • Mad_

            If you can't rely on someone in a crisis situation, whether to solve it, help it, or just get out of the way because they don't know what to do, then it's a waste of time to be around them day-to-day. Poor investment waiting to happen.

            The hobbies themselves may not distinguish, but how you approach them does.

          • enail0_o

            Eh, there are different kinds of crisis. Some people are great when you're sick, but will panic and get in the way when the house is on fire. Some people can roll up their sleeves and pitch in when you need to move on short notice, but won't have a clue what to do if you're having an anxiety attack. And some people are lousy in pretty much all crises, but can still make your life happier on a day-to-day basis. It's like, a screwdriver is useless when you need to sew a button on, but that doesn't mean it's a waste of space having a screwdriver.

            True, how you approach them distinguishes. I'm going to file that under 'how you think' and stick with my decision 🙂

          • Mad_

            You can't put people into a toolbox when you don't need them though.

          • enail0_o

            True, but you can pick what kinds of things you do with what people to minimize behaviors you don't like (for example, I have a friend who's always late, so I make sure we meet up in situations that won't inconvenience me when they're late), and only seek their help in the kinds of crises for which they'd be likely to be helpful. Sure, it would be better if you could count on them for crisis type A, but even if you can't, you're not behind where you would be if they weren't your friend at all, and it's nice to have someone you can count on for crisis type B.

            Of course, anyone whose bad side is so bad or so omnipresent that you get a lot of behaviors you don't like no matter what, they're probably not worth it.

          • Mad_

            See, I don't want to be a parent, and a lot of that just sounds like parenting.

            If mean, late happens, but if you can't make the effort to show up on time regularly, there's no value in showing up at all, because it shows where your head's not at.

          • enail0_o

            And in some cases, I have cut people off for that. But in other cases, it's worth it to me to find an easy solution that doesn't leave me wasting my time and feeling annoyed, because once they do show up, I have a good time with them.

          • WordyLibrarian

            "If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values – they're hobbies." – Jon Stewart

            That's the thing about values. They don't change with situations. They guide you through them. If you start lying because being honest does not benefit you, you are valuing your self interest more than you are valuing honesty.

            Hobbies? They can be forever. They can also come and go. What happens if you define yourself as a pencil and paper gamer, and eventually you just can't find the same passion for it that you used to?

            The truth is, I think it's healthy for people do define themselves in MANY ways. We aren't simple words that can be described in a dictionary definition! We are the sum total of our combined experiences. We are our loves and our fears and our triumphs and our losses. Like the TARDIS, human beings are bigger on the inside.

            Which touches on where I think hobbies fit in. In many ways, they bring nuance and vibrant life to our values. I adore Doctor Who for countless reasons. However, the things I love MOST about the show, from the quotes to the companions, says a great deal about my values. I love the show precisely because it takes the values I can't even express and puts them into words and stories. You don't learn much about me just hearing I'm a Doctor Who fan. There are an awful lot of Whovians, after all. However, if you learn that The Doctor's Wife is one of my favorite episodes? If you know that I feel like the TARDIS itself means as much to me as a character as any companion, that I think it's a perfect metaphor for some of the most beautiful things that are so difficult to express… That's definitely getting into my values. If you know that I want a Doctor Who tattoo, you only know that I'm a Whovian. If you know that I want that tattoo to be the Doctor's promise from the 50th anniversary, "never cruel or cowardly – never give up, never give in" because I think it's a truly beautiful standard to try to hold oneself to… You now know something about my values.

            These are just two examples from one of my personal geek obsessions. It can be true of any interest, in a way. It's not just WHAT you love. It's WHY you love it and HOW. This is what makes your perspective, your relationship to this interest, unique.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Ahem. . .YES! That is my favorite episode of the new run, hands down! After nearly fifty years we get one perfect moment where a voice is given to the character who is very nearly an extension of The Docrtor without ever having lost her independence, a true life partner. I got choked up by that one repeatedly, even if there was a bit of "I'm Neil Gaimian and I wrote this. Aren't I clever?" in it.

            As for the quote, there are times I could use a little more of that myself. . .

          • WordyLibrarian

            I know, right?! I absolutely adore it, and still tear up almost every single time. The first time I saw it there was straight up blubbering, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Some of the quotes from that episode… Oh, I just… :') There's too much emotion for words. Only happy-crying and flailing. I don't actually mind the Neil Gaiman cleverness, but I'm generally a fan of his writing. I will say I was not nearly as in love with his more recent episode. I totally enjoyed it, but it wasn't anywhere near as beautiful as The Doctor's Wife.

            Couldn't we all? Really, it covers just about everything it means to try to do the right thing. I can't think of a moral situation where truly applying that standard would result in making a poorer decision. The INSTANT I heard it there was a wordless mental squee of joy and possibly choirs of angels, and I thought "I'm getting that in TARDIS blue script." I had already decided I wanted a DW tattoo, but couldn't quite settle on what. Now it's just a matter of settling the exact font and placement.

          • I think values are… well, valuable, but I admit I have a tough time with them. Bravery so often is stupidity. Honesty so often is rudeness. Kindness so often is passivity. It just always seems that values are a double-edged sword that I use to hurt either myself or someone else accidentally.

            Sometimes the world just seems so big and complex that I really don't know what I should value anymore. I always seem to be pissing someone off…

          • Mad_

            So here's something: I used to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I used to expect the best out of them. Even when I was a small child.

            At best, 99.99% disappointment.

            So I started doing the opposite: I expect the worst or shallowest out of them, and instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt, I wondered "if this situation were committed by a child, what would that child have been trying to get out of it?" 99.99% of the time, I end up being right, now.

            I get criticized a lot for being so black and white/this or that about things, but at least it's not cutting yourself with that double-edged sword anymore. People generally aren't complex, you're just giving them more credit than they deserve, and then almost self-harming yourself when they don't live up to it.

          • enail0_o

            I dislike oversimplifying, because it leaves out all the nuance. Like, at their core, LOTR and Star Wars are both just another hero quest – it's the details that have the magic!

            I also don't really understand why assuming the best has to go with complexity. I can see that someone, say, cares about being kind, but also is so unhappy that they're too caught up in their unhappiness to realize when they're being self-centered and unkind, but also still is really caring when you trigger their protective instinct in the right way – and still conclude that they're likely to let me down in a crisis.

            Just because you see more sides to something doesn't mean everything's wonderful. It means that there's probably some good in the bad, and some bad in the good. And instead of deciding "I can trust this person 100% no matter what" or "I can't trust this person at all, period," you can know "this is how far I can trust them, I know not to trust them further than that." If you think black-and-white, you have no choice but to never trust anyone, because no one is 100% perfect and infallible. But if you use shades of grey, you can trust a little without trusting too far.

          • Mad_

            Yeah, but they're also not even trying to be infallible. The shade of grey just perpuates the ability of someone's shitty side getting away with whatever it is their shitty side is all about, and you're more likely to repeatedly hear about it that way if you still allow them to hang around and whatnot, and repeatedly get disappointed.

            The awesome part about a hobby or entertainment, you can explore their complexities or shades of grey without having to deal with it if you don't want to.

          • enail0_o

            But you don't have to let people get away with shitty things just b/c you can see their good side. You can still say "these are the things I can accept to get their good side, and "these are the things I won't put up with, so we can only hang out if you don't do that to me." Or, if they're actually not trying to be decent, or their bad side is bad enough that it's not worth it to you, you can cut them off, even while recognizing that there are qualities you like about them. You don't have to think someone doesn't have any redeeming features whatsoever to decide you don't want to spend your time on them.

          • Mad_

            But that's everyone. Dealing with a good side is not a trade-off for the bad side, it just means the person's been conditioned to get away with their bad side in exchange for or because of the good. Some people's bad-sides are way way way out in front of their good sides, those are easy. I think most people's bad side is a lot trickier to deal with and time's taught me it's never worth the trade-off

          • enail0_o

            I don't think so – if you don't let them get away with inflicting their bad side on you, then you're not conditioning them to get away with it, you're conditioning them to avoid those behaviors around you.

            You don't really seem to get much enjoyment out of peoples' good sides, though – if you liked the upside of social stuff more, it would probably be more worth the trade-off, no?

          • WordyLibrarian

            I think that's what's part of why the world is beautiful. It isn't a list of values. It's the infinite ways those values collide and intersect. When your dignity comes into conflict with your practicality. When your bravery intersects with your good sense. When your kindness clashes against your honesty. When your determination to be polite wedges up against your determination to speak against injustice.

            Honestly, these dilemmas are in some of the best stories. Doctor Who has them all over the place. Firefly is shining with them. Game of Thrones is pretty much made of them!

            "You can't please everyone, nor should you seek to, because then you won't please anyone, least of all yourself." – Dylan Moran
            I think we're all always going to be pissing someone off. I think it's important to know when it's worth it, to you.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            A quote from Steven Brust's character Vlad Taltos springs to mind, and I've used it in the past:
            "i'm building up a reputation for honesty so I can blow it on something big. This isn't it."

          • WordyLibrarian

            I absolutely love it! I feel I should read this, because I'm totally using that now.

          • Max

            I think defining yourself too strongly by any one thing is unhealthy. When people criticize that thing, it can make it feel like they're criticizing you, causing you to respond angrily and defensively (see every article about feminism and video games ever). This makes it hard to see the flaws in the things you like. It can also prevent you from being open to new experiences (I can never watch or enjoy Star Wars! I'm a Star Trek Fan!)

            Nerds tend define themselves too strongly by their hobbies and the things they like, in my opinion.

          • Mad_

            I agree that can happen, but there is a way to dismiss the opinions of others or dismiss them as people, or also recognize the flaws of your hobbies and shrug and go "But I still like it more than I do you."

          • enail0_o

            Yeah, that's true. Having an overly rigid self-definition can really restrict you.

          • Dredd

            I will never like you more than the Ramones. Sorry, you're just going to have to live with that.

          • Dredd

            I've heard Fake Band Girl a bunch, and I've pretended to be more into a girl's art than I am if I like her. And there are totally poseurs in the art scene.

            What if I act like I'm more into WoW than I am to talk to a girl who's a player? What if she pretends to care more about my comic collection while I pretend to care more about metal?

          • Mad_

            "Fake it until you make it XD"

          • Max

            It's funny, in all of these stories about "fake geek girls," there's always the "you might just be a sucker" element. Like "the woman selling Star Trek action figures was hot and wearing a low-cut shirt, so I had NO CHOICE but to buy her most expensive item!" Or "a cute girl who said she liked Firefly asked to borrow my friends car, and he had NO CHOICE but to give it to her even though he only just met her!" Or even "this girl acted like she liked F-1 racing, so my friend had NO CHOICE but to buy her a $400 vacation!"

            Maybe if nerdy guys didn't jump to lavish attention/money on a girl because she's attractive and likes nerdy things and might have sex with them, they wouldn't get "taken advantage of" so often by supposed "fake geek girls."

          • Hahhahaa straight to the point! I salute you good sir!

            I remember thinking after reading that god-awful piece on fake geek girls by Joe Peacock: "so, FGG are actually just self-employed booth babes?" Seriously, it's ok for an rich "alpha"* game producer to wave a naked ass in front of you to earn cash, but when a girl does it on her own, it's somehow the worst thing since the holocaust? Those poor defenceless geek boys, brainwashed by years of pop culture promising them their sexy girl-prize for just existing and being Nice(TM)!

            There was an good british show a while back about con artists (I think it was called "Hustle"), which had an amazingly true quote in it: "It's hard to con an honest man. You can only trick those who believe they can get something for nothing."

            * disclaimer: this is a bullshit term used for humorous purposes

          • Dredd

            This isn't just a geek thing – music nerds whine about 'fake punks' wearing band shirts of bands they don't see.
            But who cares? Half of geekdom is just spending money on crap.

        • OtherRoooToo

          "I'm curious as to the motivations of these "fake geek girls."

          A theory.

          "I'm also curious as to what makes them "fake.""

          Some insecure boy geek's cred testing, IMO.
          (That's just me though.)

      • Delafina

        I'm also unclear why, since it seems like what you're describing is two cases of people lying about shared interests to get the attention of people they find attractive, you need a different term for when women do it.

        • MCSpanner

          Fine. Men can be fake nerds/sportsfans too. One would hope the use of the word also to link the two parties would have done the work for me but I'm happy to explain every element of every comment I make if it is necessary.

    • StarlightArcher

      Preach on Preacher Lady! The number of guys I made eyes at during adolescence is only equal to the number of guys who told me "shove off troglodyte, you bother me" (Adolescence was a long miserable tunnel of awful). For the longest time I thought the shortest distance between two points (liking a guy and dating a guy) was one of you saying to the other "I fancy you, let's date." And since no one was beating down my door, I figured I had to be the one to get this circus moving.

      It's surprising how few times you have to endure the pain of rejection and the shame of public humiliation that follows before you get the message- "no one wants you!" Even then, I still didn't really know how to spark a guy's interest, and to this day my flirting technique is more antagonistic than most girls. I almost never approach strangers, and any friends I might be interested in have to show they're trustworthy before I start making glad-eyes at them. It's just better for my emotional health & safety that way.

      • velveeta

        It's surprising how few times you have to endure the pain of rejection and the shame of public humiliation that follows before you get the message- "no one wants you!"

        God I can relate, and I just love how your words evoke that emotion!

    • I pretty much lose all respect and patience with somebody who wants to complain to me that 'no women ever' approach him. Not only have I seen all kinds of ladies (including myself, back in the day) approach guys, but it always inevitably boils down to "but i wasn't attracted to -those- women". (It's always the same guys saying these things, too, like at one point I called someone out by naming people I knew had approached him.)

      Clearly you've been approached so not only have you just invalidated your entire argument but now you also look like a jerk (especially when one of those ladies you just claimed don't exist and then claimed wasn't attractive enough to count was one of my best friends).

      'Desperation' is already unattractive, but 'desperate and fickle' is even worse.

      These conversations were always tinged with the implication that I should feel guilty for being uninterested. Now they just make me angry enough to breath fire and apparently fire breathing isn't very attractive and most dudes are scared of me. (To which I respond with "Good. They should be.")

      I think this rant got off tangent.


      • I admit, I sometimes have no idea how to deal with the whole "but people approach you!" argument. I get it exclusively from male friends. Here's how the conversation usually goes:

        Me: Guys never approach me.
        Friend: That's not true! That one guy approached you that one time at that one thing.
        Me: …. He told me my cosplay wasn't accurate.
        Friend: So? Still counts. He was just nervous/awkward.

        So…. I can kind of understand the frustration of guys who feel they've never been approached because they don't recognize the signs (or, in my case, have friends that are super eager to shut me up so I'll stop whining and so use ANY example no matter how far-fetched.) But if you don't notice it, you can't really train yourself TO notice it, ya know?

        • I definitely get where you're coming from, and I've got a lot more sympathy for ladies stuck in the 'doesn't get approached much' situation because of all the reasons in this article for how hard it is to approach guys plus all of the implications that you aren't 'good enough' or something. (Those implications are a lie, you are -totally- good enough.) When dudes don't get approached they get to blame it on how women have it easy and while they are wrong it is a socially acceptable excuse. When ladies don't get approached they don't have that. (And I get how easy it is to turn it all on yourself and assume there is something wrong with you. It probably has a lot more to do with society downplaying how appealing people who deviate from a very specific look really are.)

          Also, someone being a jerk about your 'nerd cred' is so totally not getting approached. It's someone being a jackass. I'm sorry your dude-friends do not understand this. I would breath fire on them if I could.

          I lucked out somewhere along the way and ended up with the privilege of fitting society's narrow definition of beauty (you know, if I put effort into it.) If it's any consolation, when I get approached it's usually in really creepy and inappropriate ways?

          • raindancing

            I want to be friends with you just so I can watch you breathe fire on people.

          • Hahaha <3 If only. Sadly I'm not very confrontational outside the internet yet. Workin' towards toasty.

          • Joy

            I'll bring the marshmallows.

          • raindancing

            I will continue to picture you as a lady dragon, roasting the annoying and disrespectful.

          • Delafina


          • Stardrake

            Drake or linnorm? Wyrm or wyvern? Tien lung or shen lung? I expect you to know all of those distinctions by heart, or you’re clearly a FAKE!!!

            …Or you could just look them up at your convenience while I book an operation to extract my tongue from my cheek.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Sometimes, not often but sometimes, it bothers me that I know exactly what all of these are and how to tell the difference.

            (you forgot metallic, chromatic or jeweled…)

          • Draegaa

            Don't you mean gem dragon? 😉

        • zmd

          I think it helps when you stop thinking of approach as "goal = number/date/sex." The goal of your approach should just be to have a conversation with someone. Most approaches will not result in contact exchanges or dates, or getting laid. An overwhelming majority of approaches will not succeed in that goal. But, this guy approached you to talk about cosplay, did you end up having an enjoyable conversation? Yes? Then goal accomplished. Often, when you're applying for jobs or trying to gain a new skill, people suggest setting goals that are more like "I will send out 5 applications today" or "I will practice guitar for an hour three times a week," rather than "I will get a job in one month" or "I will be able to master this song by the end of the week."
          And actually that training yourself you talk about, noticing signs and such, that comes from many many interactions. Much like people who work with dogs, children, the elderly, or even therapists begin to notice patterns of behavior the more they interact with that group.

          The thing I personally think is ineffective about the "I don't approach" mantra, for everyone, is that you limit your practice time, so that when you are approached you don't have the same ease of conversation. It's kind of like saying "I'm only going to play guitar during my guitar lesson." It's great to practice with a teacher who can point things out to you, but you also need to practice outside of that environment. People really put a lot of weight on the approach and that's one of the things that make it so difficult. Also approach =/= pursuit. Just because you are the one to approach, in no way means you will be the one to pursue.

          • I see approach and pursuit as the same thing. *Shrugs* Just how my brain works. I did use to approach for friendship as well, striking up conversations with whomever came near me, but I've given up on that too. One of my particular struggles for the last few years is ending up with one-sided friendships…. Friendships where I don't exist unless I'm messaging/pursuing the other person. So I've given up approaching/pursuing even friendships all together, because it's the only concrete behavior I can see to break the pattern.

            If people want me, they can chase me for a change.

          • zmd

            It's not how your brain works, it's how you've convinced yourself the world works. An approach is simply the first step, the first conversation, maybe even the first suggestion of an activity. Pursuit is the constant reach out.
            I can say, hey if people want to hire me for a job, they can headhunt me (assuming we live in a world where jobs are equally as plentiful as people), but even if a headhunter calls me, he or she will still want to talk with me. The fact is, I am going to perfect my skill at selling myself and talking about my work professionally when I practice by applying to jobs and going to interviews. I don't have to take those jobs, but putting myself in situations where I have those conversations will make me better at the moment when it counts.

            Fine, you want people to chase you. They can chase you, but your skill level at handling that situation to your benefit will just not be as high as it would be if you had the practice in non-chasing, low-risk situations. If you look at people who are "chased," they do not sit in the middle of the room waiting for someone to talk to them. They are chased because they have a lot of practice communicating with people and playing to other people's naturally or not naturally occurring desire them for them. Someone might chase you, but if you don't know what to do with that you'll end up in the same place, but I guess you'll feel better at the end?

          • OtherRoooToo

            "I think it helps when you stop thinking of approach as "goal = number/date/sex." The goal of your approach should just be to have a conversation with someone."

            Aaaand … why do you have no upvotes? 🙂

            If I were answering my own question, I'd say the lack of upvotes actually points in some "indirect" ways (if you'll permit me to amuse myself here) to what some mens' true motivations might be for all the "WNA!!1!1!!" wailing and keening despite a fair amount of actual evidence to the contrary.

            They want instant, goal-oriented (their "goals", to heck with the "recipient of their attentions"s') results, and they want to expend as little effort as humanly possible to obtain those results.

            I … don't think human relationships — especially romantic ones (and though I can't say with certitude, I think even NSA relationships require a certain level of trust-building, you know? Really) — work like that.

          • Newsflash: generally when men approach women, they do so because they want number/dates/sex etc and they are aware of it.

            Just because someone is goal oriented with regards to romance/sex/etc does not imply that they wouldn't care whether the recipient of their approaching was open to it or not. People are not mind readers and not all social cues are actually so telling in all situations.

            Everyone in the world wants to expend as little energy as humanly possible to achieve their goals (this does not imply the actual energy that they're spending is small).

          • zmd

            Having a goal =/= to the best case scenario. Think about networking, your goal is to make a positive connection with someone, to learn more about the field, to maybe get connected to more people who can help you. It should not be THIS person will get me a job. THAT is a best case scenario. When you approach an attractive girl at a party, your goal should be "I want to have a pleasant conversation and leave with this person having a positive opinion of me." Your best case scenario is "This person and I will date/sleep together." Many years ago, I had a crush on a guy at a new job. I started talking to him and soon discovered he had a girlfriend (they are getting married in a few months!). However, because my goal was "I want to get to know this person better" rather than "I want this dude to be my boyfriend" my disappointment was pretty low. This guy became a good friend, and introduced me to my current group of friends. His fiance and I are also good friends now. This was one my most successful social interactions, but only because my measure of success wasn't "I'm going to bang this person."

          • 'Think about networking, your goal is to make a positive connection with someone, to learn more about the field, to maybe get connected to more people who can help you.'

            You and I have very different definitions about what successful networking is.

            You have some very general vague-ass way of approaching networking.

            The scare tactics and straw men also don't make your case, it is not THIS PERSON WILL GET ME MY JOB/THIS PERSON WILL BE MY NEW LOVER.

            'When you approach an attractive girl at a party, your goal should be "I want to have a pleasant conversation and leave with this person having a positive opinion of me."'

            That's ridiculous.

            That's ridiculous, when you approach a pretty girl at a party the goal is to create romantic attraction.

            Instilling a positive opinion can be one step to that but it doesn't always.

            Just because ones goal is romance/sex also doesn't imply that they will take rejection badly, but having a goal in mind is much better than relying on luck like your suggesting.

            I truly think people will experience more failure if they followed your suggestions to the extent I think you're suggesting.

          • Lemminkainen

            Another problematic thing about "goal=date/number/sex" is that it sets up some perverse behavioral incentives for the person doing the approaching. Ideally, one would want to do these things with somebody that one actually liked or enjoyed spending time with. If you're seeking a date or sex with somebody in the abstract (or alternatively, somebody who you want on the basis of evidence you can get from a simple glance), you're not going to be doing the vetting/weeding of potential dates that you should, and you're going to get shitty experiences (which will probably just supplement the misogyny that you already have if you're treating potential dating partners as interchangeable).

            I think that this points to an intriguing possibility: most guys who are desperately searching for dates are not suffering most from loneliness or sexual deprivation, but from some sort of status anxiety, and are seeking a girlfriend or sex to remedy it. Needless to say, treating people like status tokens is shitty for everyone…

          • 'Another problematic thing about "goal=date/number/sex" is that it sets up some perverse behavioral incentives for the person doing the approaching.'

            No it doesn't.

            'If you're seeking a date or sex with somebody in the abstract (or alternatively, somebody who you want on the basis of evidence you can get from a simple glance), you're not going to be doing the vetting/weeding of potential dates that you should, and you're going to get shitty experiences'

            Bullshit, that's not a forgone conclusion.

            No one is a mind reader, you can't tell who the attractive stranger on the street is as a person just by looking at them, that's why you go over and talk.

            The magic of the friend/social circle is not the be-all end-all of finding romantic partners.

            Also, just because one met someone else via an approach in no way, shape, or form suggest that the approacher is throwing out criteria such as actually liking the person they're dating.

            Your logic and your conclusions need a lot of work.

          • 'I think it helps when you stop thinking of approach as "goal = number/date/sex." The goal of your approach should just be to have a conversation with someone.'

            I think this is silly and people should really stop saying it. People 'approach' other people for the goal of number/date/sex, in order to make sure this is someone you actually want to interact with on a romantic/sexual level you need to converse and see if you connect. This isn't a mutually exclusive thing, when I approach women I'm not really looking for conversation with new friends, I have enough friends both male and female, I'm looking soley for dates/sex/etc with women I connect with. I have enjoyable and intellectual and stimulating conversations with my friends, if only wanted conversation than I wouldn't have bother to go out and approach in the first place.

          • zmd

            Good for you. Let me tell you something, as woman, I can smell you from a mile away and you make me uncomfortable. Any guy I have seriously considered dating or sleeping approached me in a way that made me feel like he would have been happy with my friendship or even a conversation, even if he hoped for more. A guy who approaches me because he clearly just wants to have sex with me (and it is clear, btw), will make me feel like I am not a person but a body. So go ahead, go with your approach. All I can tell you is that the men I know who are most successful with women often have women remain friends with them after the sex/dating is over. I wonder why that is? Probably because they actually treat women like people worth getting know, not just fuck.

            If your requirement for conversing with someone is reliant on the possibility of sex, then they are mutually exclusively and it shows.

          • It's still not mutually exclusive and it doesn't show, your logic needs work.

            I don't want to fuck inanimate objects, I'm well aware that when I'm approaching a women I'm approaching a person.

            Having the goal of romance/sex exclusively does not in any way, shape, or form imply that I'm taking away their personage.

            I am friends with women who I've broken up with. Your equivocating the ability to do that with success (and we both know what that means btw) with women is false.

      • eselle28

        Do we have some of the same acquaintances? Because I had exactly this same conversation with a dude I know last week, and the woman not counted was one of my best friends. Or maybe it is just dragons.

        • Haha, maybe? I honestly don't have a lot of guy friends anymore. Lots of reasons, but some moved, some just got too awkward, some were epic bridge burnings.

          Now that I'm single it seems like it's a lot harder to make new dude-friends, too, since I can't use the 'i have a boyfriend' excuse and I have zero patience for the relashionship-zone dance.

          Oh well, my lady friends are all badass wonderful people, so at least I'm not lonely.

          • Stardrake

            Sounds like you should be a little more careful about sneezing when crossing wooden bridges then. 😛

    • "…or that you might not know the name of every Gatecrash card off the top of your head? "

      Actually knowing all those should be a strike against that person – its a clear sign they drafted that set WAY too much, and thus have WAY too much tolerance for shitty draft formats (and god knows what else). If the guy in question is a remotely good MtG player, NOT knowing would be the point in your favor…

      Now, if he asked about Innistrad, then we might have something 😉

      • Gonna have to disagree with ya there, only because Standard is the only format I play; I do not have the stomach or the finances for Modern.

        • Ooooh what kind of deck?

          • A not nearly good enough one.

          • …that's not what I asked… D: Though I can understand why you're not to keen to discuss a homebrew deck if you've run into one too many uppity competitive players. Our community does have some people with the attitude "if it's not exactly like what won the last Pro Tour, its a pile of shit and you should feel bad for ever thinking of sleeving it up" Never mind that the winning players clearly don't have that mindset, since otherwise they never would have invented the winning deck in the first place… But I assure you, I am not such a person – I learned a while back that it's really not a particularly productive way of thinking 😉

            Honestly, "not very good" decks with extra constraints (theme, budget, etc) are usually more interesting to discuss and tinker with. Given that you mentioned not dumping a ton of $$$ into the matter, I can assume you're probably not playing the same boring top-tier netdecks everyone else is. Hence why I consider what you might be playing to be interesting 🙂 Not that there's anything wrong with top-tier decks, It just gets old to talk about the same 3 ones for the umpteenth time. There are other reasons in addition to these to be interested in not-top-tier stuff.

          • It's less that I don't have a top-tier deck, and more the friends I have who build their own decks trounce my butt every time we play. The one deck I'm marginally proud of is a Black/Blue built around 3 concepts: Pack Rat, Nighthowler, and Wingcrafter/depletion spells.

            Essentially, the strategy goes like this: Pack Rat's health and power are built on how many rats I have on the field. I can pay mana plus 1 card out of my hand to create another Pack Rat. So now I have 2 2/2 rats. Into this comes Nighthowler, an Enchantment Creature whose health and power is based on how many creatures there are in all grave yards. Since I'm discarding cards to make rats, I have "trash" creatures that built up Nighthowler, so I can quickly turn tiny creatures into big creatures.

            Since that strategy takes time, I also have a bunch of Black depletion spells or Blue control spells: creature gets -2/-2 and caster loses health each turn, creature cannot untap, just stuff like that.

            My big finisher cards are the Black God that means my opponents can't gain life, and an Ogre who gives all of my rats death-touch.

            I am proud of this deck, and I have won about half my games with it, but it still gets beat into the ground against several of my friends. It's a fun deck, but clearly I am not very good at building well-done decks.

          • Uhhmmm. Whut? Your deck is actually really freaking good…What you described is pretty close to the strategy used by a certain mono-black deck that's been taking down top-tier tournaments. Pack Rat's actually a dead busted card; once it found a home, it's price went up x5 (at least). In the context of draft, most expert think its the most busted card since Umezawa's Jitte… If you built a deck around Pack Rat, you're probably doing good… I think Zvi Mowshowitz, a big-shot Hall of Fame pro player, wrote an article on StarCityGames.com that was literally nothing but gushing about how BloodyFuckingBrokenAmazingHolyShit Pack Rat is.

            Now, granted, Pack Rat decks have weaknesses like any others. I'm going to take a wild guess and say the friends that beat you, assuming they also play standard decks, use some kind of UW control decks – it's actually the deck I play, oddly enough. Pack Rats hate cards like Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere, since they kill all the rats at once. Your Erebos is probably really helpful here – the deck REALLY needs the lifegain from Sphinx's Revelation. But UW Control is also 1. a top-tier deck and 2. Ridiculously expensive, even by competitive deck standards.

          • Interestingly, no one has actually used a strategy that targets a specific batch of creatures, like Rats. And I actually LOVE Supreme Verdict-because Nighthowler comes out as an enhancement, killing all creatures just "releases" it. So then it becomes a creature in its own right, and thanks to clearing the board, is probably at something insane like 15/15. (During one 4-person game, it came out as a 21/21.)

            What usually kills me are not control decks, but fast burn decks. My deck is medium speed, so if an opponent can deal fast damage to my rats early on, I have trouble catching up. Interestingly, what saves me a lot is my soul-bound Wingcrafter, because I can pair a Rat with it and turn my Rat into flying, which helps me score some early damage as I build up my Rat army. (Too bad Wingcrafter isn't Standard.)

            That article is actually what gave me the idea! The deck started out with a control-depletion strategy… player discards so many cards, player places cards in grave yards until they hit a land, stuff like that. It still has elements of that, cause the black spells are just so cheap, but once I noticed how handy Pack Rat was, I started hunting around for ways to use him.

            I'd really love to try the deck in Standard, but Wingcrafter would be out, and I have no idea what I'd replace it with.

          • It sounds like you just need a way to give one of your creatures an evasive ability – flying, intimidate, unblockable, something like that. There are a couple new enchantments in Born of the Gods that do the job – Stratus Walk, and Grisly Transformation. There's also Bestow creatures that accomplish the same thing; however, they're a bit more expensive but also give another bonus (usually +2/+2). Warchanter of Mogis does it via Inspired, and then there's Archetype of Imagination…hrmm. Maybe Zephyr Charge? That's the cheapest method I can think of. However, it not being a creature could have some downside (since you're looking to get dudes in the 'yard for Nighthowler).

            As a complete sidenote, Conley Woods published an article about this standard BG "Dredge" deck he played at an event once that abused Nighthowler and other graveyard synergies. He ultimately determined that it wasn't nearly at the level of the other top decks. It's still quite an interesting deck, reasonably cheap to build it or something close to it (because it's not a "top" deck), it looked fun to play, and its probably quite powerful. However, I don't think it ran Pack Rat; I think this came around before that card was "discovered". Worth looking at if you want to experiment a bit. Adding blue to the black might be better, or just more your style, but you never know 🙂

            Speaking of "style", have you ever done that "What Guild am I" thing? If so, what Guild do you identify with?

          • Sorry, I meant mill, not depletion. Gahh.

      • "Actually knowing all those should be a strike against that person – its a clear sign they drafted that set WAY too much, and thus have WAY too much tolerance for shitty draft formats (and god knows what else). If the guy in question is a remotely good MtG player, NOT knowing would be the point in your favor… "

        If Bloodrushing a Skarrg Goliath onto a Wrecking Ogre or killing someone with a Dutiful Thrull and five extort triggers is bad, I don't want to be good.

        • It's mostly the fact that 1-2 mana creature spells are better then everything else, no matter what other text is on the card. You could legitimately win a draft with almost no knowledge of the set by 1. Coin-flip pick between Boros or Gruul and then 2. Always pick on-color 2-drops in the pack above all else. Skarrg Goliath was actually considered to be kind of "bad" because of how fast the format was; your opponent could easily kill you while you were still 2-3 lands short of doing anything with it. Once you have a table full of experienced drafters who know the dynamics of the set, it quickly devolves into everyone fighting over the cheap creatures. While the cheap creatures are good for their mana cost, they're still fundamentally kind of shitty because they're cheap. Ergo games tend to be about flinging cheap (and thus bad) creatures at each other while hoping the other guy draws more land then you do.

          Contrast Innistrad where you can fling cheap dudes, mill yourself, mill them, make tons of tokens, do morbid tricks… alternatively Rise of the Eldrazi, where you can voltron a Kiln Fiend, play Walls.dec, do the token thing, ramp into Eldrazi monsters, and still have the option of flinging cheaper derps at the other guy with the leveler decks… Yeah, Gatecrash doesn't hold a candle. In Gatecrash there are only a couple viable strategies, all of which revolve around having a million cheap dudes. Good draft formats have several times that, and cover both aggro, control, the space in between, and sometimes even combo.

          • JP McBride

            "Once you have a table full of experienced drafters who know the dynamics of the set,"

            Sure, but if you're playing with a bunch of kids at your LGS, that doesn't matter.

          • Well it turns out you can do all kinds of things in a draft environment where everyone is much less skilled then you, or if you only draft the set a couple of times, no matter what's in the set. Every format is entertaining if either A) its the first few times, because novelty value, or B) you're winning a lot (what it sounds like for you). Neither is a very good metric for sorting out what formats are the most fun/interesting.

            To go back to the original proposition about "knowing every card in Gatecrash", if you've drafted the set often enough to memorize all the cards, then you'd probably be able to recognize that it's less strategically diverse then other draft formats. However it sounds like you're in the weird situation where you've drafted it 20 times, and you're the only one at FNM who learned anything or picked up any sort of strategy; I don't think it's unfair to claim such an experience is an outlier. Also, even if I figured out that I could win every time using the same strategy, I'd still get a bit bored with it, even if its a strategy I liked (M14 is a pretty good example of this for me).

          • JP McBride

            "Every format is entertaining if either A) its the first few times, because novelty value, or B) you're winning a lot (what it sounds like for you)."

            Actually, I'm more column A when it comes to drafting.

    • Mike2501

      Thanks very much for helping to add the female perspective to the conversation. I very much agree on the foolishness of the "it's hard for x because of ___" lament. I've often thought that comparing who has it harder in dating is like a fish telling a monkey he's a terrible swimmer, while the monkey bemoans the fish's inability to climb trees. It's different each of with it's pros and cons, though I'll argue there is an added difficulty for women in safety. It's always sad as DNL has addressed before how much geek/nerd culture can attempt to devour ourselves, many times the ones we proclaim to want to interact with. Again thanks for adding to the conversation and I hope things go/get/are better for ya.
      Best regards!

    • Guest 2

      What kinds of guys do you approach? Were any of them loosing their hair? Were any of them overweight? Were any of them blessed with unattractive facial features? What about approaching men who are older than you? What about approaching men who are not as coiffed as they could be?

      It's kind of like the advice I got from this website when I was trying to fix my dating woes- It did not work but maybe it will for you

      It looks like you are after a young, conventionally attractive man who shares your nerdy interest and finds you more attractive than a super model.

      • I approached a poorly groomed guy with significant facial asymmetry and a serious, visible health condition. Then I married him. Best decision I ever made.

      • BiSian

        I know you're not asking me, but I'm going to break into your pity party for a minute.

        I am a woman who regularly approaches men, both in warm (social groups where there's some vague connection) and cold settings.
        I have approached men who are losing their hair, who are overweight, who are older than me, who are unkempt (jesus, in my part of the country scruffy beards are everywhere!) I do not approach men I don't find attractive, but none of those qualities are turn offs for me. Don't assume things about people's preferences.

        Also, I doubt you were told to approach women who you don't find attractive. I'm pretty sure you were told to consider who you were approaching and that maybe approaching the 10% of women in a setting who gets lots of attention is not going to be the most successful.

      • eselle28

        I approach guys who are losing (or have completely lost) their hair and guys who are overweight. I mean, I'm over 30. At a certain point in life, those two things become pretty common characteristics, the latter more so among people who (like me) like to drink beer. I've also approached guys who had facial features that wouldn't be considered conventionally attractive, though only if I found them to be attractive in a subjective way.

        Grooming is something I notice. I don't approach guys who are unkempt, and in practice, I tend to lean toward guys who spend as much or more time grooming than I do. I tend to avoid much older men both because of attraction issues and because I haven't been happy with the way much older partners have treated me.

        No particular expectation that my partner finds me more attractive than a super model, though I expect him to find me subjectively attractive.

    • While I sympathize with your dilemma, I must say, some of it assumes that men don't have the exact same issues, except with the added bonus of being required to be the aggressor.

      Regarding not feeling attractive: OkCupid presents data that suggests that for most women, the most attractive man is a 6 or a 7, while for men women are 9s and 10s quite a lot. That attitude translates into a lot of men assuming they could never get a woman to think they were physically attractive; instead, they are lucky if they get a woman who isn't disgusted by them. This is reinforced by men's experience with women rejecting them on sight. And I get that this may be about "the approach" more than it is about appearance, but let's face it – we can't tell what we seem like when we approach. We usually assume it's about who we are, not how we act.

      What's more, women love to play the game with their male friends about how "lucky we are" to have gotten a certain girl to date us. Men sometimes do it too, and the combination usually takes the form of "you're not that attractive, how did you get her." These are friends, mind you, who ought to know better what kind of a person you are.

      Now, I've never had a woman yell at me for trying to approach her, but I have had the "really?" with her laughing to her friends thing happen a couple of times. I don't know about other guys, but it only takes a couple of those to happen to put me off the bar scene completely. I've also had the experience of a girl talking with me at length at a bar, only to find out she's the kind of woman who wants to make her man jealous. She fails to mention she's seeing anyone, and maybe he shows up to meet her. Depending on the kind of guy, it's either embarrassing, or threats are thrown around.

      In response to the testing of nerd cred, which is definitely limited to nerd jerks (jocks tend to be more willing to accept a woman talking to the poorly about sports), of course we realize that comes from a general defensiveness from nerds with regards to it suddenly being cool to be a nerd. Keep in mind that those jerk nerds treat other male nerds almost exactly the same, unless they already know them. It's one reason I tend not to go to certain nerd themed events that assume any kind of nerd-knowledge depth. But more to the point, in the wider world, there are a lot of women who will verbally (and non-verbally) judge a man in the moment. "Oh, c'mon, don't lose your confidence now" or "Almost, better luck next time" are definitely phrases I've heard aimed at me or other guys.

      The one area I so empathize with though is the "you must love me or are DTF because you approached me." I can totally see how that would be a problem, and I don't know what the solution to that is.

      That said, I've had experiences where I did something nice for a woman I went on one date with, and suddenly she thought we were a couple, when I was just being what I thought was a normal human being. I've learned from those instances, but it definitely does go the other way.

    • JJJ

      I am 41 years old man, I understand what you say and appreciate it. Women generally don't approach, women generally try to let men know with some low-risk gestures, but the man is the 1 who then has to speak the magic words. I insist, this is what generally happens. You say women approach, I say that approaching means GET CLOSE AND ASK OUT, not just let the man know that the light is green, because in my opinion the majority of times men don't notice what is what. WE ARE MEN NOT WIZARDS.
      So please, please PLEASE, my self-esteem is completely destroyed since 2011. Whenever I like a woman, i get depressed, because I know that I will have to wait my turn and COMPETE with a few PUA's to rescue the princess.
      Thus, HETEROSEXUALITY IS COMPLETELY POLARISED. Of course some women approach men (for what approaching really means), because that is what she has to if she had that emotion, e-motion, from the latin motere, meaning DO something about it, but they are a tiny minority. Men see they have to do it, yes or yes, and if I decide to relinquish sharing my sexuality because it is too hard, I better stay home, because many other women and from the anonymity of the street, will keep me sexually hungry at all times, so it's yes or yes. Heterosexuals are the ones remaining having to come out of the closet in this sense. Please, wake up and be honest for honesty you'll receive.

    • JJJ

      I am 41 years old man, I understand what you say and appreciate it. Women generally don't approach, women generally try to let men know with some low-risk gestures, but the man is the 1 who then has to speak the magic words. I insist, this is what generally happens. You say women approach, I say that approaching means GET CLOSE AND ASK OUT, not just let the man know that the light is green, because in my opinion the majority of times men don't notice what is what. WE ARE MEN NOT WIZARDS.
      So please, please PLEASE, my self-esteem is completely destroyed since 2011. Whenever I like a woman, i get depressed, because I know that I will have to wait my turn and COMPETE with a few PUA's to rescue the princess.
      Thus, HETEROSEXUALITY IS COMPLETELY POLARISED. Of course some women approach men (for what approaching really means), because that is what she has to if she had that emotion, e-motion, from the latin motere, meaning DO something about it, but they are a tiny minority. Men see they have to do it, yes or yes, and if I decide to relinquish sharing my sexuality because it is too hard, I better stay home, because many other women and from the anonymity of the street, will keep me sexually hungry at all times, so it's yes or yes. Heterosexuals are the ones remaining having to come out of the closet in this sense. Please, wake up and be honest for honesty you'll receive.

    • coolcono

      Being a woman, and approaching, and getting rejected, is a HUGE hit on the self-esteem, because not only did you just get rejected, but now you have to wonder if you are even really a woman.
      It doesn't affect a guy's self esteem at all. Nope. We are mindless drones.

    • Nickg222

      It is not going to kill you guys to take care of your bodies in fact you'll feel a lot better about yourself if you do.

      • eselle28

        Ah, the sort of dude who decides that his advice that women would feel a lot better if they lost weight is sorely needed, despite a discussion being nearly two years old. Surely, we're all missing out by not doing more to catch your eye.

  • Hobbesian

    Nope, totally right. If the woman looks like Wilson, of course I’m not going to be interested, and women who look like her seem to be the only ones who ever approach me. So yeah I’ve given up on having women I’m interested in approach, but I’ll never say they don’t approach.

    • celette482

      I think you mean Rebel Wilson, but I'm going to imagine that you mean Wilson the Volleyball from Cast Away, so that I can imagine you surrounded by floating volleyballs and shooting them all down. I mean, I understand. A volleyball with a blood-hand face is not going to provide you with any sort of emotional or sexual enjoyment.

      • Mengsk

        I was thinking Wilson from House MD. Not sure I've met many women who look like him though…

        • Hobbesian

          You clearly need to work on your reading comp then, perhaps if the doc hasn’t cited the actress in his article I could understand confusion, but you two are just being facetious or obtuse in order to undermine my point.

          I’m so sorry if my desire to have an attractive partner offends you, but I’m not denying that women approach, and I’m in full on agreement as to why more don’t do it. Because where as I will feel flattered and maybe even chat a bit if I’m approached by someone I don’t find hot, I will do my best to express disinterest without hurting her feelings because I recognize her making the effort which is more than I will do normally.

          • eselle28

            They're trying to lighten the mood a bit. Everyone understood your point that you're being approached by women who you don't find attractive, and I think everyone also understood what the specific feature that you don't find attractive is.

          • celette482

            …Yeah, I was trying to give you an out via humor. Way to double down though.

          • hobbesian

            Why would I need an Out? I didn't say anything wrong. I stated a personal preference in a way that some people took offense at, oh well, what else is new.

          • Christine

            The "of course" you're not attracted to her bothers me. Because there are plenty of men and women who find Rebel Wilson attractive. Not for nothing did she get her own TV show. So fine to say you don't like big women, but "of course" other people *do.*

          • hobbesian

            Which is awesome! I never said no one was interested in her, I said *I* wasn't.

          • kathrynmblair

            No, but you said "of course" like we would have a reason to expect you wouldn't be interested without knowing anything about you, which implies that you consider her No-One-Would-Ever-Think-She's-Attractive-Unattractive. If that's not what you meant, you could say the same thing, but something like "unfortunately the women who approach me don't tend to be women I'm attracted to" and not bring Rebel Wilson in particular into it, which wouldn't give people any reason to question your motives and is kind of beside the point, since your point is more that you don't get approached by women you find attractive, but you admire that they do it.

          • hobbesian

            I'm likely off base entirely, but it's possible the Doc mentioned her at all because I mentioned her in a previous thread when the discussion of andro looking guys came up.. and I said that most of the women I'd encountered who were looking for their personal Goblin King reminded me more of Rebel Wilson than they did of Jennifer Conolly. I needed a celebrity to use in my analogy and she happens to be one of the few to pick from who fit my writing needs.

            Doc then mentioned her in this article, hence why I referenced her specifically rather than structuring my sentence the way you did.

          • kath

            That makes it even worse, I think. It again takes your opinion that Rebel Wilson as unattractive vs Jennifer Connolly's attractiveness as writ and self-evident to all, otherwise the comparison doesn't make any sense and isn't going anywhere. I'm also not sure it's particularly true – it's your anecdata, most women I know, regardless of how they look, gush more over androgynous looks that burly manly-man ones, so you end up coming off as just being judgmental about people's weight when that wasn't really the point of the article.

            Actually what you are doing is really particularly offensive in the context of the article. What Doc said to reference her was:

            "Even in this day and age, the sexually-aggressive woman is a figure of ridicule (especially if she’s played by Rebel Wilson rather than Kim Cattrall) "

            You compared that to people who do approach you and, since you were referencing the part of the article where the Doc was discussing ridiculing women who take sexual initiative who are fat and pretty much did just that. The fact that that's where she was mentioned in the article makes the connection difficult to extract your comment from.

          • hobbesian

            I used Jennifer Conolly because she was in the movie with the Goblin king, that's it. I looked for a well known example of andro-guy and Jareth is a pretty well known example.. connolly just happens to be in the movie with him.

          • kath

            It doesn't really matter why you picked Jennifer Connolly specifically, and those reasons make sense – that was really not my point. Whoever you picked, they are the counter-example to Rebel Wilson with the implication that Rebel Wilson making sexual advances is worthy of ridicule (because of how Harris used the example in the article) and Jennifer Connolly doing it would presumably not be.

            Again, if this subtext isn't there, the sentence doesn't mean anything (not least, as I mentioned, because it's anecdata and a preference towards the androgynous seems to be pretty widespread in popularity among all women). People normally say things because they mean something, and they normally do mean something, which is why people look for meaning.

          • Max

            I feel like Hobbes just listens to the Batman song from the Lego Movie all day.

      • Hobbesian

        Neither would the actress.

        • eselle28

          Would it be possible for you to tone this down a bit? You're not attracted to this particular woman, but I'm guessing there are both people here who look like her and people who would be sexually attracted to her. I think it's possible for you to not be interested in people who look like that without being quite so harsh about it or talking about it in "of course" language.

          • Hobbesian

            I don’t see it as harsh at all, I’m happy to tone it down if you can explain why me saying i wouldn’t be interested is me being harsh? Because I made a statement about me, and now you seem to be saying I insulted people or told others what to do, when I did no such thing.

          • eselle28

            In your first statement, it was the "of course" that I found to be most inappropriate. You aren't attracted to Rebel Wilson. Some other guys with similar characteristics might very well be. In your second statement, it's…well…it's that it seems like it's piling on. Celette was trying to lighten the mood by making a joke, and it wasn't really necessary to say once again that you're not attracted to the actress. I mean, everyone got it.

            (Would it be helpful to imagine a woman talking about a man who was unemployed or short or who had some other characteristic that some people consider unappealing?)

          • enail0_o

            Yes, this is it. Using "of course," makes it sound like it's not just that you personally aren't attracted to her, but that you consider it obvious and universal that no one would be attracted to her.

          • Remember how people were saying that you come across as rude when you don't mean to, Hobbesian? This is a perfect example.

          • Rylan…

            Stating a personal preference is one thing. Stating that all women who fall outside that preference are useless to you is another (rather blatantly insulting) thing. Surely, you can see how such a statement is problematic.

          • hobbesian

            when did I say they were worthless? They might be great people, they could be great friends, they just aren't ever going to be girlfriends, and that's the reason why I never say stuff to be mean to them.. after all they are exposing themselves to rejection, and I am rejecting them, and so I try my best to never be mean about it.

            What I'm frustrated about is, essentially, a branding issue. I go out in the world, and I get approached, I'm a product that has people actively seeking purchase. That's a success. The problem arises when the consumer base that wishes to purchase said product, is not the consumer base that the product was intended to be purchased by, well clearly something has gone wrong in the marketing of said product, and it will be useful to figure out how to re-brand as it were so that you might have a better shot of being purchased by the intended consumer base.

          • eselle28

            I might endorse rebranding if you were attracting hordes of goth girls when what you really wanted was a proper lady who wears sundresses and pearls. In this case, I think it's probably wisest to focus on increasing your appeal overall. There is basically nothing you can do to decrease your appeal to people who you find physically unattractive that will not also alienate people who you find attractive.

          • hobbesian

            At this point I would settle to just lower the interest of those I don't find attractive to the level of those I do find attractive, EG non-existent, because I'm tired of beating myself up for turning them down and then ruining my own evening out of guilt.

          • eselle28

            Well, that would be the usual things about being less attractive to others – lower your grooming standards and so on.

            Though I think it might be more helpful for you to find a way to deal with the emotions than it would to purposefully try to scare others away.

          • hobbesian

            I've tried that, I don't think there are low enough depths I can go to short of just giving up showering entirely.

            I don't feel there is any problem with my emotions to be honest with you, I'm a horrible and worthless person, at least I recognize that fact and hate myself accordingly. It's much better than being a horrible and worthless person and believing otherwise.

          • enail0_o

            My vote (not that I get a vote) would be that you not believe you're a horrible and worthless person and not hate yourself accordingly. I don't think you are, for what it's worth.

          • Can I suggest a more productive alternative? You are clearly doing a great job being a guy women want to approach. Every time you turn a woman down in a kind and ethical way, you are making it more likely that she will feel comfortable approaching other guys in the future. That's your contribution to helping break down the gender role structures that are screwing everybody. If she never approaches you, she never learns that that act can go well – so a kind and gentle no is actually much better for the world than the interaction never happening. It's probably even better for her in the long run, even if it stings a bit in the short term.

          • OtherRoooToo

            " it will be useful to figure out how to re-brand as it were so that you might have a better shot of being purchased by the intended consumer base."

            It's in the article.

          • hobbesian

            I never saw it, and I've read it three times.

          • OtherRoooToo

            a) I'm thinking that's not the article's fault.

            b) If you're not finding what you are looking for there, there are untold numbers of others on the site (as I've also seen pointed out to you previously).

            c) I notice several other people have taken time and energy to reply to you at length downthread. Perhaps what you're looking for is also somewhere there.

          • hobbesian

            I've read, I think, every article on this site, and I find 90% of them to be less than helpful. They just keep re-iterating the same few things over and over again, and the problem is, those things are just as impossible after being told I need to do them for the 900th time as they were when i was told to do them the first time.

            The Article's fault is that it's just not that helpful at helping me. It is however very helpful in pointing out a problem in society, that is to say, women are discouraged from taking a proactive role in initiating communication because of reasons X, Y, and Z. as a Sociological treatise the article is good, it's just not a very good self help article, for me.

          • chinchilla

            Sooooooo I have to ask, why are you still here?

          • hobbesian

            cause the other 10% are really helpful.

          • chinchilla

            Makes sense, thanks for replying. I thought you were one of those people who just liked to complain in the comments.

          • hobbesian

            Don't get me wrong, I like to complain in the comments, but that's generally because I'm honestly trying to figure out solutions that work for me. Where as I often find the Doc's advice to be a bit.. lacking.. or perhaps too focused on certain aspects.. I find some of his articles to be great. I also find a LOT of the comments on his articles, and especially the forum, to be a great, safe place, to try and work through various issues while I am trying to find ways to implement his suggestions or something similar which might work better for me.

          • I hope you don't read this as hostile, but I think he's here because no better alternative exists, and because it's always possible that a future article, or the comments on it, or on the forums *could* help, and he hasn't given up hope on that
            I'm sorry if you feel like I'm speaking over you, Hobbesian, but I don't get the feeling from your words that you're one of those people who isn't trying.

          • chinchilla

            Not hostile at all! Thanks

          • Rylan…

            Well, perhaps it's your certainty–a phrase like "of course" is pretty damn absolute–that would lead one to believe such a woman would also be useless to as a friend, or even an acquaintance. If you find women who bear a resemblance to Rebel Wilson so unattractive, it's fair to say you're not going to be "great friends."

          • Drac

            Yeah, it's the old "for women, not hot is not human" crap. Not cool, Hobbesian.

          • hobbesian

            Which I never said, not once.

          • Max

            Here's what you do when you aren't attracted to someone:

            1. Don't have sex with them.
            2. Don't ask them out on a date.
            3. If they ask you out, politely turn them down.

            Here's what you don't do:

            1. Announce to everyone that you are not attracted to them, and continue to defend your position against imagined attackers.

          • hobbesian

            So.. you just described exactly what I do already.. and then tacked on a straw man argument of something I would never do.

            This place here, is a discussion forum. Last I checked, it was meant for discussing things. It's all academic.

            But I don't think you understand what "attackers" means either, considering, ANY time I state a personal preference here, basically the entire place comes together to "correct" my opinion. It happens ALL the time. Some posters are nice about it, they explain why they are unhappy with my opinion, they offer differing opinions. Some posters however simply get Ragey about how dare I not like X thing about X person or X show that they do. This is EXACTLY the same thing I've talked about in the past with people getting all kinds of nutted up over the fact I don't like certain shows, certain directors, etc.

            Apparently though from what I'm being repeatedly told, It's due to the way I say it.. however if that is the case then I can't think of any way to fix the issue, since to me, I'm not saying it in any particularly offensive way, and if other people want to get offended about it.. it isn't my problem.

          • Here's how you fix this particular issue:
            Reread what eselle and enail said about the "of course" phrase. That is exactly what the problem started with.
            Realize that this is one of those times where you've misspoken (misstyped?) and implied something you did not intend.
            Maybe take a deep breath and try to step back from wanting to defend yourself at all costs. This isn't a battle.

          • hobbesian

            I covered this in my reply to Enail a bit further down, I feel that my use of the 1st person pronoun "I" should have conveyed the sufficient information that I was speaking only for myself and that therefore anything I said from that point on would be properly interpreted as personal opinion.

          • "I feel that my use of the 1st person pronoun "I" should have conveyed the sufficient information that I was speaking only for myself"
            … but it didn't, and for multiple people. As the speaker, the onus is on you to communicate in a way that expresses what you mean. If people keep misunderstanding what you mean, then it's perfectly valid to want to defend yourself, and perfectly natural to feel like others are the problem, but….

          • Delafina

            If most of your target audience is not understanding what you're saying, or taking it differently than you meant it, the reasonable thing to do is consider that perhaps you didn't communicate effectively.

          • hobbesian

            If they can't understand what I'm saying, then they would likely be a poor fit regardless.

          • Delafina

            I'm not talking about your dating prospects, I'm talking about *here.*

          • Guest

            Women proudly state their disdain for guys who they are un-attracted to approaching them; why don't you give hobbes the same lee-way you would give your own girlfriends?

          • eselle28

            I am not friends with everyone who falls into the category of "women," and I would not give a female friend leeway if she were making a big deal about how she "of course" wouldn't be attracted to Seth Rogan or Andy Milonakis. (That wouldn't fly with most people in my social circle, as there are quite a few women there who are attracted to and/or involved with fat guys.)

          • Agreed! I have female friends with specific physical preferences, but a woman who was casually dismissive of fat men or non-white men would not even last five minutes in my social circle. Hobbesian is actually getting an enormous amount more slack from me than most people in my life would, because I know he's in a lot of pain.

          • Iris

            Yes, in every social circle I've ever been in, "disdain" is an unacceptable response to being approached. One can refuse without being disdainful.

            And I'm a lesbian, and would prefer not to be approached by men at all. But even among lesbians, disdain is reserved for men who won't accept the first refusal.

            Of course, I've never been part of social circles where social climbing was approved of. Women who care a lot about status (and who therefore invest a lot of time, money, and energy into status markers in their appearance–time at the gym, waxing their eyebrows, an hour or more on hair and make-up before leaving the house, etc.) will naturally care about the status of their potential partners as well. But women like that tend to play lots of status games and social dominance games with their friends, too, which I don't like. They treat other women with disdain, not just men.

            It always seems to me like a lot of men select for traits that correlate heavily with the most status-concerned women and then complain that women like status and only want "alpha males."

            It's not all women, dudes; it's just the one's you're picking.

          • ccmc

            I'm not sure whether you were intending to imply this, Iris, but I do want to say that spending a lot of time at the gym or on one's hair/makeup/nails doesn't necessarily mean one is interested in social climbing or "high-status males". I am a person who finds exercise and body care really enjoyable, creative, and meditative, and it has nothing to do with status. It's nice when my friends notice a new hairstyle, but more often than not when I'm experimenting with hair and makeup, it's just for me and I may not even leave the house. Again, I don't know if you were intending to, but I have seen a lot of people here conflate physical fitness/lots of makeup with unkind treatment of other people, and I think that's pretty unfair.

          • That's why I liked the word Iris used – it correlates. It's a reasonably good signal that this person may be status-oriented, without being completely predictive. But you're right that without careful thinking and reading, that quickly goes to the conflation place … which sucks.

          • ccmc

            Yes, and I do recognize the correlation. Honestly, when you think about it, being really status-oriented is pretty unkind treatment of oneself (I have to do/say/wear all the right things or nobody will ever like me!) so it stands to reason that someone with that rationale would also be unkind to other people.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Can I just say that after reading the rest of this thread, this was just a really lovely example of "you probably didn't mean to, but that could be offensive." "I didn't read it that way, but I see what you mean."

            Seriously. It's so polite and reasonable it just makes me want to hug people. 🙂

      • OtherRoooToo

        "I'm going to imagine that you mean Wilson the Volleyball from Cast Away"

        This was the "person" that jumped into my head.

        • I thought Wilson from "House"…

          • OtherRoooToo

            LOL. Those seem to be the two big choices.

          • Delafina

            No love for Wilson from Home Improvement?

          • OtherRoooToo

            LOL. We have not been introduced. 🙂

          • kathrynmblair

            Wilson from House will always be Neil Perry (Dead Poet's Society) to me. I think I hear a plaintive "Neil!" that someone says every time he comes onscreen as Wilson.

            Neil and Claudio.

          • hobbesian

            that movie gives me the sad every time…

          • kath

            Me too, but in a delicious way. I also manage not to find it to emotionally manipulative to put up with, it totally works for me.

          • hobbesian

            I just find neil to be incredibly brave because he actually had the nerve to do something about how miserable he was.

      • MermaidMage

        I am SO glad I'm not the only one who thought of that.

    • eselle28

      This is Being Approached 101. A huge proportion of the people who are sexually or romantically interested in you are going to be unappealing. No need to get hung up on it.

      • celette482

        As long as they aren't dangerous or threatening in their methods.

        • eselle28

          Oh, absolutely. If someone's being creepy, someone's being creepy. I just mean that there's no reason to feel bad about yourself just because you've been approached by someone you wouldn't consider dating. It's not any kind of signal about who you are or who you should be dating.

          • celette482

            I know you know that, eselle. Just clarifying for those playing along at home.

            It's best generally to not take whether or not and who approaches you as some referendum on your self worth- people approach for their own reasons.

      • hobbesian

        See, I understand that what happens with me is hardly that peculiar, especially if I were a woman, I'm sure I'd be complaining about all the schlubby guys who were approaching me…

        • eselle28

          I complain when I'm approached in a rude way and sometimes when I'm approached by men online who are obviously bad matches or outside my stated age range, but I don't really see there being much grounds for complaint about being approached politely by someone who you don't think is attractive enough. You don't know if someone's interested until you ask, and strictly enforcing leagues would mean a lot of people who'd be fine dating each other would never meet.

          • I think that's true for most women. I don't think I know anyone* who *complains* about being approached by someone respectful. If I'm approached by someone that I'm not attracted to, but who's friendly and respectful, I feel flattered. It's only a problem if he won't back off, tries to neg me, is obnoxious to my friends or tries it at a really inappropriate time. *That's* when I start complaining.

            *This is true for both women and men, so I can't speak for whether men are worse than women for complaining about being approached by people they find unattractive, or not…

          • eselle28

            I know some women who complain if unattractive men hit on them. But they're not among the most pleasant people I know.

          • hobbesian

            I understand that, what I don't understand, and what is at the heart of my frustration, is the fact that only two types of women have (notice the past tense, so far) approached me: Those who are, by my standards, not attractive (so, this covers the fact that the two largest groups [no pun intended] who approach me on a regular basis are African American women of any weight, and Overweight Women of any ethnicity. Both of these groups are, unflinchingly on my part, as a rule, lovely people and I want nothing but the best for them, I do not make a point of making any sort of deal out of it, I chat for a few minutes and then excuse myself, or introduce them to my friends, or whatever to diffuse the situation..) and women who I do consider to be attractive who turned out to be emotionally abusive and have a history of substance abuse and body dysmorphia leading to HUGE self esteem issues. It does start to make me question my own value as a human being, and is the reason why I am willing to put up with what I've stated in the past.. if the only way I can have a partner I find attractive, is to deal with her emotional issues, then I'm willing to do that.

          • hobbesian

            i should also note that all rules have exceptions and I have had my share of run ins with the sterotypical overweight "You just can't handle all this woman" type who then proceeds to insult my masculinity because I'm not interested.. I imagine she is the counterpart to the guy who would call you a lesbian for whatever perceived offense he feels you committed against him.. She's rare, but she does exist.

          • eselle28

            I think what you should try to keep in mind is that these women aren't being interested in you at you. They have no idea that their attention causes you stress and dismay. They're just doing what geek guys everyone encourage them to do – making the first move toward someone who they find attractive.

            The ones who react badly are assholes, and I'm sorry you have to deal with them. As for the rest, I think you might do better to remind yourself that it's really nothing to do with you.

          • This link might be more then a coincidence, and it doesn't necessarily have that much to do with you, per se. Something like 80% of the men in this country have a preference for slimmer women, and are not attracted to overweight ones. Ergo your preference on this front is hardly unusual or revolutionary. The problem is what constitutes "overweight" in a medical sense is not the same as "overweight" in a visual appeal sense. The lines between "annorexic", "attractive-looking weight", "healthy weight", "unattractive weight", and "obese" are often thin or non-existent.

            As such, women who try to lose weight often go overboard. But, because a lot of the available food in this country is so awful, people who don't specifically try to stay slim will usually end up fat in short order. It is a genuinely rare thing to find a person who can maintain their weight in a healthy way. Chances are, a huge chunk of those people have abnormally good metabolism (my boyfriend, /jelly) or already like exercise-intense hobbies (biking, rock climbing, whatever). Furthermore, there are a number of people for whom their "healthy weight" visually appears "over-weight", particularly if you're picky on what constitutes the latter. Thus there might be a (hopefully small) subset of women for whom it is literally impossible to not appear "overweight" to you without being unhealthy.

            As far as what you could do about this? You could in theory loosen your standards, but that's probably not going to work (for reasons that have already been discussed to death elsewhere). Since the whole "good metabolism" thing you can't really select for, the next best thing would be to target the "exercise-intensive hobby" group. Find other people who like your exercise activity of choice. If any women from that group happen to approach you, you can have some assurance that they are probably not 1. Overweight and 2. Not as likely to have that substance abuse/body dysmorphia stuff (since its really hard to beat the crap out of your body and maintain a physically active hobby)

          • hobbesian

            That would be great, except it would require me to actually be pro-active and intensely interested in exercise.. something I am loathe to admit that I really am not up for right now, and I'm not into trying to compete with the swimmer crowd at school since I am 10 years older than most of them.. in terms of swimming I am not merely a dinosaur, but I am in fact a fossil.

          • Welp, when you feel like investing more energy/effort into these things, at least its a strategy you can try. It does take a lot more effort to stay in shape once you get older, since the human body's metabolism naturally slows down with time. I think that's at least part of why we have this stigma where women have an "expiration date" – some of the things that can make one conventionally attractive (like being thin) get progressively harder as you age. Granted though, this is also a good argument to start doing aggressive body-maintenance stuff sooner rather then later.

            The good news is though, you don't necessarily HAVE to compete with the 20-something swimmer crowd. While it's easier to be fit when you're young, its simultaneously harder to be other things – experienced, mature, knowledgeable, and so on. I know that if for some reason my boyfriend dumped me out of the blue, I wouldn't WANT to date 99% of men at or below my age range. The average level of maturity/intelligence/intellectual development is just so low in my age range that if I dated within it, I'd almost certainly end up being expected to be a surrogate mother for some man-child.

          • hobbesian

            see part of the problem is I have a hip problem which means that I basically cannot run, I can walk, but no running, no soccer, and nothing that requires me to put all my weight on my left leg for long periods of time, so I can do some martial arts, but not all of them. Swimming is low impact enough that I can do it for long periods of time where as biking, running, etc I cannot. I knew I had some sort of issue for a while now, around 3-4 years, but it was only recently when i got access to my universities health center that I found out it was not going to simply go away on it's own.

            As far as the developmental thing.. I'm sort of stuck in a weird position on that.. I have marginally more in common with women in the 22-25 range than i do with the 26-29 range. I have basically nothing in common with anyone older than me, because as i keep being reminded since I don't own a house or have a 40hour a week job I don't "have my shit together".. and at the same time I have absolutely nothing in common with people between 18-21 yet they are who I spend most of my time surrounded by.

          • Yeah in which case /agree with everyone else on the site saying you should find new social venues 🙁 That would explain why all your anecdotes of relationships seem toxic, and why the stuff you see women do in relationships seems unreasonable and assholish – most of the women you're observing are probably very immature. Personally, I feel that a big part of growing up is learning that most of what society tells you is bullshit, and figuring out what works for you instead. That being said, the 18-21 year olds around you (who haven't quite figured things out yet) are far more likely to buy into traditional societal narratives. That's probably at least part of why women around you play emotionally abusive games; they probably believe that's what they're "supposed" to do in a relationship, that it's "normal".

            But that's a bit besides the point since you're not currently dating (if I'm not mistaken). Hanging with an older crowd still has other ancillary benefits. For one, they provide better role-models and can help you learn more mature behavioral modes. Also, who do you think is actually going to be in a better position to help you get a 40hr/wk job and get "your shit together"? The 18-21 year olds, or the 30+ people? Most of the 18-21 year olds don't have jobs either, and if they do, they usually aren't high-paying ones. A 30+ year old mentor is far more likely to give you useful career advice, job referrals, and more.

            So yeah, I'd stop hanging around 18-21 year olds since they really don't have much to offer you. Work on trying to fit in to an older crowd. It might be difficult at first, since older people have higher standards of behavior, and it will take some time to learn what the norms are. But I think you'd be much happier for it in the long run, and not just in one's dating life.

          • hobbesian

            I haven't got much choice in that regard, they make up around 95% of my classes.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Unfortunately I think the fact that you yourself do not do regular exercise (for whatever good reason) will probably be a big factor in you not being approached by women who do regular exercise, because people tend to like people who seem to have similar tastes and lifestyles to them. Goth chicks don't usually go for cowboys, gym bunnies probably aren't going to approach you. You'll either have to work on expanding your tastes for women you aren't currently attracted (which is actually something that is possible to do to some extent), or learn to accept that your own tastes are the limiting factor.

          • hobbesian

            well to be fair, I never said I was looking for gym bunnies. and I am far from out of shape, I do excercise, and I do eat right, and I'm actually at the perfect weight for my height and have a very low body fat percentage.

          • vessna

            It's nice to know that you find all African-American women unattractive even though we are not a monolith. What about Afro-Latinas? Are they unattractive too? And people wonder why black women are often brittle and cold–we're all, the millions of us, unattractive at any weight.

          • hobbesian

            Objectively unattractive? Nope. Sexually unattractive to me? Yes. But I'm allowed to have my personal preferences, I'm sorry that it doesn't please you that those preferences don't include you.

          • Of course you're allowed to have them. But as far as I'm concerned, those particular preferences don't get to go unexamined. "It's just what I like" isn't the end of the story – it's the beginning.

          • hobbesian

            for me it's the end. You're free to examine them as much as you like, obviously, but I won't be participating. I have no desire to be cross examined on what I find attractive.

          • That's fair. But be aware that the degree to which you are willing to examine your own preferences will be one of the factors I take into account when deciding how much time and effort to invest in you.

          • hobbesian

            That's fine.

          • OtherRoooToo

            Thank you for underscoring the thought that it might be nice generally if men interrogated their own "preferences" a little more frequently (and in a little more depth than just "I like what I like" with the frequent accompanying shrug).

            It's always puzzled me more than a little that men who immerse themselves in media — as part of their identity, even — generally seem to be some of the most oblivious WRT the possibility that said media might have a subconscious influence on their "preferences" of which they're not necessarily aware.

            Thanks for that very much.

          • hobbesian

            You're free to think that.

          • vessna

            I don't care that they don't include me. I care that you discount millions of women so easily. As if all black women look alike. It's strange. Do all white women look alike? All Asian women? I just find it weird to choose something so arbitrary.

          • hobbesian

            nope, sure don't. I also never said they all look alike. But I don't even find all "white" women attractive. I've said it many times before that I have *very* narrow parameters that give pants feels. let me re-phrase so you don't think I'm only excluding people of african decent, I also do not find latino women, asian women, or indian women to be attractive. I find most european women (north of the alps, west of the Urals, east of Iceland and south of the arctic circle) to be attractive, and I find some mediteranean women (levantine, north african, middle eastern, italian, spanish, etc ) women attractive.

          • Not looking less like a bigot, dude.

          • Devlin_Mor

            You do realise this inability to examine your own tastes (to put this politely) is going to be a huge turn off for very many women you might be attracted to. I think this would be a big red flag for all the women I know, including the slender white ones.

            I know some men and women who are really into redheads, or pale skin, but don't conceptualise it racially – they are attracted to a specific aesthetic feature, not a social construct like race. Also, I think they are unlikely to immediately ever rule out being attracted to brunettes or darker skinned people in some fetishistic way (where the hair colour or skin colour must always outweigh the rest of the person).

            You are really the one keeping yourself out of healthy relationships here.

          • celette482

            Yes. Yes. Yes. As a white skinny woman of Germanic heritage and coloring, I would not be flattered by your essentialism of me or by your attitudes towards non-Northern Europeans. Not because you have no right to be attracted to whoever you're attracted to, but because it betrays a really shitty attitude that I wouldn't want to be associated with.

          • hobbesian

            No, I'm really not. Since any woman who would get bent out of shape about that kind of thing isn't one who would be a good fit anyway.

          • This is another way in which you're driving away healthy people and selecting yourself into a shitty dating pool – since women who don't care if you sound like an enormous bigot (whether or not you intend to) are probably not the kindest or most sensitive human beings themselves.

          • hobbesian

            if "healthy" people are all post structuralist PC concern trolls then I don't want to know them anyway.

          • Glad to hear you're happy with your love life, then!

          • hobbesian

            As I said, if "healthy" people would require me to walk on eggshells all the time like the people on this site, I'd rather have the unhealthy ones, but I've said that dozens of times already anyway, and that too is wrong and incorrect.

          • If you think I'm asking you to walk on eggshells, then your perceptions are seriously distorted. I already cut you an enormous amount of slack and read you as charitably as I can manage. But it sounds like you experience anything other than unconditional acceptance of even your most toxic jerkbrain beliefs as "having to walk on eggshells."

          • hobbesian

            It's not you specifically, it's the whole place, it's basically every place on the entire internet that offers help.. it turns into nothing except picking apart how mean and evil and horrible I am until I just give up and quit trying.

            I want to know why everything that I believe, everything that I hold to be important, everything that I know to be factually correct, is CONSTANTLY viewed as wrong, yet things which I don't believe in, know to be factually inaccurate, and that I do not identify with at all, are supposedly such great alternatives.

          • Do you actually want an answer to this question? Because I think there are very specific reasons rooted in your perceptions and your behaviors that you feel this way. But if you are actually just expressing frustration, I don't want to argue with you.

          • Guest

            The answer is that these things you hold to be factually correct/incorrect aren't. But you insist they are despite much evidence to the contrary. So round and round and round we go.

            But that is the fundamental problem. Until you realise that you don't have access to some objective truth, nothing will change for you. Until you can admit when you are wrong (which isn't all the time, but it more often than not quite frankly), nothing will change for you.

            But you don't want to change. And you don't want to let go of these beliefs you hold to be self evident (when really all they are are beliefs). So you live a self fulfilling prophecy of things never changing. You become your truth. YOUR truth. Not some objective universal truth.

          • hobbesian

            it's called fate, it exists as an external force acting upon us all, and we cannot do anything about it.

            But I've had this discussion before, no one cared then, no one will care now. All they will do is find fault and get angry at me because I'm not playing along with their happy little world of "free will" and 'choice'…

          • Delafina

            No, not believing in free will and choice is the coward's way out.

            If you believe that fate controls everything, you get a free pass on all the consequences of your actions, because well, what happened was just *fate*, of course.

            Rather than being an adult, and dealing with consequences, you can just blame circumstances beyond your control, whine about it, and blame everyone and everything but yourself for your own unhappiness.

          • hobbesian

            ahh nice, well I hope you can disprove determinism then.. many better than you have tried…

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            Tell us again how you disagree with and despise the attitudes of the south?

          • hobbesian

            So.. there's no difference in your mind between actually *hating* another group of people, and simply not finding that group of people *attractive* in a sexual way?

            Do you find every single human being on earth attractive? You don't have preferences? seriously?

          • It's not the preferences. It's you getting so hostile when asked to think about why they so conveniently line up with the worst prejudices of the region in which you live. No one is telling you to date someone you aren't attracted to – just to try to find a more ethical way to grapple with the fact that whether you like it or not, you are playing into some very toxic systems. You can't make an ethical choice until you recognize that an ethical choice needs to be made in the first place.

          • hobbesian

            So if I didn't live in the south, you wouldn't be questioning it? If I lived in Nevada say, or Utah, a place that isn't automatically coded to the rest of the country as racist and horrible, you wouldn't be connecting my preferences to my geographic region?

            Good to know that I'm also getting tarred by the legacy of a group of people with whom I have no connections except being forced to occupy the same geographical location…

          • I was actually thinking "the United States," but I think you are so caught up in the idea of "I'm not like THOSE SOUTHERN PEOPLE" that it's hard for you to see the ways in which you have in fact been influenced by their preferences and values.

          • hobbesian

            no, I have been influenced by *My* preferences and values.

          • Devlin_Mor

            And I think this idea that you are apart from society and somehow immune to the influence of other people is a big part of why you don't understand yourself and your relations with other people. You avoid any self-knowledge even while you indulge in undiscerning unconstructive dislike of yourself.

          • hobbesian

            I believe that personality is inherent from conception. It is an inherent me-ness.

            I mean, why shouldn't I dislike myself? But that doesn't mean theres anything that can be done about it. I can't change "me".

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            Because fate right?

            So once again what do you think you can learn here? You have said you like the grooming tips right…. and why exactly does your skin have more free will than your mind? You are willing to try thing to improve your skin but not your mind?

            If you can't change what gain can you hope to have from reading and commenting here? I personally disagree with you and think you can change and that it will do you good if you working on doing so. Unless you try changing what point is reading a bunch of advice from a person that changed written for people that want to change for the better?

          • Maximilian

            It is quite amazing how, on an article where a enormous argument started about labelling someone as "fake" has resulted in the very people so anti-labels in that "debate" throwing out accusations of racism, sexism and/or being bigoted in this one.

          • Devlin_Mor

            I don't think anyone argued that the problem was using words to describe certain behaviours – its an argument about whether those descriptions are accurate or fair. So I'm failing to see how describing a behaviour with a word is particularly hypocritical.

          • anannymouse

            Just wondering but do your potential girlfriends have to be "racially pure" too?
            Sorry to be rude but the fact that you actually break down the women you prefer by region. (nordic), has piqued my curiosity as to how deep this rabbit hole goes.

          • Dredd

            Wait, you don't find ANY African American women attractive? Not even, say, Beyonce?

            And I gotta say, as a dude who only knows you from this site, its not your looks turning people off. It's your generally abrasive personality.

          • hobbesian

            I'm struggling with how to explain this. yes, I find her attractive, in the objective sense that she is attractive. The world is filled with women who are Beautiful, but beauty isn't the be all end all of what turns me on.

          • Devlin_Mor

            But this is where examining your own preferences will help. Are you not attracted to Beyonce because you are maybe a white guy who has grown up in a really racist community and are scared of what your friends might think about a black girlfriend, or are you a black guy who liked a white actress on some kids TV show when your sexuality was forming and her race was the thing that you most consciously associate with that.. there are a multitude of things that shape our sexual preferences and once we have a good look at them sometimes we can better articulate to ourselves what it is that we actually want and do something about it.

            Trying to expand on this – its common for women to be disturbed by having masochistic fantasies, but they are actually helped by examining and working out what turns them on about the fantasy. The examination might not change their sexuality, but knowing what's going on can help them know their own sexuality more and find ways to engage with it safely and without feeling ashamed. Given your tastes are a bit more socially edgy than plain old BDSM fantasies these days, you might want to really take a good look at whats going on in your libido.

          • hobbesian

            My friends wouldn't care, I would care. because I'm not attracted to people who don't fit the type I laid out. Don't like it, fine, It's the one area of my life that is not open to discussion. It's an area of life which wouldn't even be in question if this was 20 years ago.

            It's the whole thing, I'm a white male of northern European extraction seeking female of same, preferably one who has also grown up in a similar socio-economic grouping as me. It's not even something I care about you being upset over, any of you.

          • Devlin_Mor

            At this point, if I knew you in real life, I'd warn everyone I knew away from you. But good luck finding a conventionally pretty and mentally stable woman who is into misanthropes who don't give a shit if they come across as rude and racist.

          • hobbesian

            again, oh well. Most people aren't as uptight PC concern troll as the people on this website seem to be..

          • hobbesian

            Why should I be concerned that I'm "Coming Across" as anything? I'm neither rude, nor a racist. You're labeling me with those labels, because you're choosing to get offended by things I say. The fault lies with you, not with me.

            All I see is a lot of people who are trying to police my likes and dislikes, and everything I like is unacceptable, and it's unacceptable that I dislike anything.

            I mean, why not just come right out and say it "well.. you could probably get a date if you'd just quit being such a homophobe and date guys".. I'm sure I would.. but I'm not wired that way. I like what I like, It's not a problem, or shouldn't be. all of the people getting bent out of shape about it on here are the ones making it a problem.

            I never once said that non white women are ugly, I said I am not sexually attracted to them. I never once insulted, demeaned, or otherwise slandered any non white people, I simply said I was not sexually attracted to them, in exactly the same way that I am not sexually attracted to men, or to children. They are people, they just happen to be people I'm not sexually attracted to.

            If you want to date someone, anyone, so long as they are a consenting adult, I don't care, that's none of my business. But stop policing what I'm allowed to like or not. Since that is ALL this is.

          • Hobbesian, just in general you should worry about how you "come across" because no one can magically see into your head and know that you're not really rude/racist/whatever. All anyone can go on is your outward behavior. And yes they will judge you on what you do, not what your intentions are.

            And I'd suggest that people are "policing" your likes and dislikes because of how strongly and yes rudely you come across. I do understand that you think you're just stating a personal, honest preference. But that's not what you're communicating.

          • hobbesian

            So for some reason I'm 100% responsible for how everyone else chooses to interpret my words? And I'm 100% responsible for how I present my words?

            How is that remotely fair?

          • It is fair because everyone around you has the exact same responsibility with *their* words. If you misinterpret something I say, then it's on me to clarify it, and to not put it on the other person in the process. But every time you are misinterpreted here, you repeatedly and vehemently claim that it is someone else's fault, and THAT'S what makes lots of people think negatively of you.

            Stating that it's always someone else's fault when something goes wrong in a conversation carries so many negative implications it's not even funny. It means you clearly don't think you could have possibly done anything wrong, ergo you clearly believe that you're perfect and infallible on the matter. If you always expect someone else to fix it when things go wrong, that generally ends up meaning you expect everyone else to do more work then you. You can claim that you aren't the self-centered person that all of this implies, but in which case *why do you insist on engaging in that behavior in the first place*?

          • hobbesian

            You're the ones labeling me as self centered.. it's really weird.. since here I'm supposed to allow it and allow everyone to label me.. yet when people label me with things which are obviously accurate.. I'm supposed to ignore them and look for internal validation or something.

            So when someone labels me with something false, I'm supposed to accept it and move on. But when someone labels me with something accurate, like I'm stupid, or I'm worthless, etc.. that is actually backed by evidence.. I'm supposed to refuse to accept it..

          • What labels do you believe are false? And what are these ones you believe are accurate?

            Again, it's all well and good to claim you aren't self-centered, but if that's the case, why do you insist on doing things that come across as self-centered?

          • hobbesian

            well people in real life label me as stupid, or worthless, or any iteration there of.. and these are obviously right.. But yet I'm supposed to not accept those external labels..

            Well I'm choosing not to accept your external labels.

            I'm not doing anything more self centered than what anyone else does on a day to day basis. The world runs on self centeredness. The only way to get anything is to take care of yourself. I'm finding that to be lamentably true, and after years and years of looking out for everyone else before I take care of myself I'm tired of it.

          • Delafina

            In a medium that is based solely on written words, yes, you are responsible for how your words come across.

            If you say something in a written medium that would come across as mild if you said it in person because you'd be smiling and saying it in a gentle tone of voice, and you don't add any disclaimers to make up for those cues that it's not meant as starkly or as nastily as it might come across without them, then YES, when people take the literal meaning of your words as what you're saying, and get offended, pissed, or hurt because it reads as nasty, it is your fault, not theirs.

          • hobbesian

            They can chose not to get offended. People tell me not to get offended about stuff all the time. yet if I get offended about something it's just my tough luck.. well if they get offended by something I say it's just their tough luck.

          • Delafina

            Unlike you, especially when it comes to some of the racist crap you say, people who are the target of that crap are dealing with a metric fuckton of daily aggression based on their race. You are not qualified to decide whether they should be offended.

          • hobbesian

            Those people are not my concern, only *I* am my concern. I've been told that here dozens of times, maybe even hundreds of times.

            "You can't control other people, don't worry about other people, Just worry about how you react and your actions etc"

          • There is a difference between "act rightly and ethically, even though you can't control the outcome" and "act selfishly and callously, because who cares about others." If you really can't tell the difference, I worry about you.

          • Devlin_Mor

            I didn't say you were racist. I said that you don't care that you come across as racist. Every time anyone said that you sounded like a bigot, or might put off women with your views on race, you said you didn't care.

            This is not about thinking you should find women of colour attractive. Given you are insensitive to how you come across on these matters I think it is a good thing that you turn them down early. I gave a specific and common example of another preference that seems very non-PC at least on the surface (masochistic fantasies in women) and said that examining these fantasies in a healthy way did not necessarily stop that preference. Its not about policing your tastes, its telling you should query why you have those tastes because at the moment you express them in a way that may repulse your preferred audience and hurt others.

            You do realise though, that when you seem to be harking back to the good old days of 20 years ago when nobody cared if you sounded like a racist, you sound even more like a racist.

          • hobbesian

            Again, Oh. The. Fuck. Well.

          • hobbesian

            I don't see any reason to question things which, if it hadn't have been for the invention of the Sail, would have been SOP for where my ancestors lived.

            They lived in the area I demarcated, I would have married someone from the area I demarcated (a lot smaller in reality, probably the same county/town I was born into, or just one or two over) Just because humans have chosen to move (and to move other humans) doesn't require any sort of reflection on my part, since generally speaking, I consider it to be a rather bad idea.

          • Devlin_Mor

            If humans had never moved you'd be moaning about how everyone else in your overcrowded corner of West Africa misunderstands you.

            If you have to pick an arbitrary point in human history, why must it be one that lines up with modern racist bullshit fantasies of when races were separate? They never actually have been.

          • Delafina

            OMG, did you honestly just imply that people of African descent should go back to Africa and justify anti-miscegenation attitudes?

            Not helping your case, dude.

          • hobbesian

            What the fuck are you talking about? I never did any such thing. This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. You're finding the WORST possible conclusion and LEAPING towards it at warp speed.

            Think about it, I just said 1) If the sail had never been invented, and 2) I think that forcibly moving people from their homeland is a rather bad idea. If the Sail hadn't have been invented, I wouldn't be here either.

          • Delafina

            In the CONTEXT of whether or not you find women of color attractive, the CONCLUSION of those two assertions is that it is a bad thing that people of African descent ever came to the U.S., and that racial intermarriage (the inevitable result of people using that sail) is also a bad thing.

            It's sort of like saying, "well, I think it would be better if people were only allowed to marry for procreative purposes," and then being all "WHAT WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME ANTI-GAY?"

          • hobbesian

            So you admit, it, you are MAKING SHIT UP that I never said!

          • Devlin_Mor

            You said, regarding your inability to find non-white women attractive, that:
            1. This isn't worth questioning because your ancestors lived without having contact with non-white people (which is not true, by the way)
            2. You don't think humans should have moved since then.

            If you weren't saying that the races being segregated was a good thing, what the fuck were you trying to say?

          • hobbesian


          • Delafina

            I'm not sure how to make this clearer:


            If you say racist things here, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary (save your unsupported protestations that of course you're not a racist!), the logical conclusion is that you are racist.

          • hobbesian

            Then you're wrong, because I'm not saying anything racist.

          • Delafina

            If it's even possible that you're so completely ignorant as to not see how that statement is racist (which I don't believe for a minute), that still doesn't make it not racist.

          • hobbesian

            ooooohh weeeeelllll I don't want their approval, or yours. So it doesn't really matter what you think.

          • WordyLibrarian

            You might find more sympathy for your lack of concern about offending people in groups that "don't care" about offending people, which usually translates for the groups into actively trying, but that's another topic.

            If you say things that SOUND racist, even if you're not racist, most women are going to be put off by that. The exception will be white supremacist, racist groups. Pretty much everyone else is either horrified by racism, or at least horrified by the poor social skills being displayed by accidentally sounding racist and then not even caring.

            Seriously. My grandmother is totally racist, but she'd still be repulsed by the statements you're making because she wouldn't be able to take you anywhere in public. You're kind of shooting yourself in the foot from several different angles here.

    • enail0_o

      I think the narrative of "If the woman looks like X (for whatever definition of X), of course I'm not going to be interested,' contributes to the idea that women shouldn't approach. Many women are not so confident in their looks that they would be sure that they don't fall into the category of X, so if the dominant message going around is that it's just plain fact that no one would be interested in someone who looks like X (as opposed to "I personally am not attracted to X"), that's a message that their approach is definitely unwanted unless they are 100% not X.

      Naturally, there's nothing wrong with not being interested in someone who looks like X, and there's nothing wrong with rejecting their approach. And I'm sure you're not so mean as to say that to their faces, (which is a really mean reaction that people of all genders sometimes get and would be very personally discouraging) – but it's a general message that affects the way we interpret women approaching. I think we'd get a lot more women approaching if it wasn't treated as straight-up fact that some women are totally undesirable.

      • hobbesian

        Yes but I'm still fuzzy on how people are getting this idea that I'm saying this as a blanket thing about All Women.

        I could totally understand if I had said "of course NO GUY would be interested…" but I used the 1st person personal pronoun I, I'm only speaking for myself. It is none of my business what other people find attractive.

        • Guest

          I'll try to explain it.

          This is what you said: "If the woman looks like Wilson, of course I'm not going to be interested".

          To you this is what you meant: "If the woman looks like Wilson, of course because that isn't my type I'm not going to be interested"

          This is what others thought you meant: "If the woman looks like Wilson, of course I'm not going to be interested because no one is interested in large women".

          The reason people thought the latter is because there is a very huge stigma against larger women that goes: "Larger women are ugly and unattractive". This is why all Hollywood actresses are size 0. This is why there are so many women with that body dismorphic disorder you have experienced with previous girlfriends. Fat = Ugly. It is reinforced time and time again to the point where it has become to many, a universal truth.

          Thus when you use the words "Of course" about a larger woman, it is more likely people are going to think you are saying "of course" to mean it's obvious no one would be attracted to larger women. Because that's what OTHER people mean, when they say of course.

          You didn't mean it that way. And that's okay. You aren't evil for writing something that came across the wrong way. I'd suggest that instead of arguing the point, it might help people if you went, "Okay, I see how I was misinterpreted, I in no way meant to say that all larger women are ugly. I just meant that for me since I don't like larger women, of course I wouldn't be attracted to one. I am sorry that I caused offence. I didn't mean to."

          And then we could move onto the issue you were actually writing about before things go sidetracked with this discussion.

          At any rate, I hope this is helpful, and I hope you don't get upset with me. I am really trying to help. Sincerely.

          • hobbesian

            I do appreciate you breaking it down so thoroughly.. This is all just such a weird situation because it's starting to explain a lot about how and why I have so many problems talking to people.. but I just can't think of any way to avoid it short of simply never speaking to anyone.

            I mean, I'm not going to apologize for something I didn't do wrong in the first place, in this case you state that the reason some people are purposefully reading words into my statement which are not there is because of societal stigmas and constructs which have NOTHING to do with me, and I am in no way responsible for. I'm sorry that people are offended by what I said, but I am not sorry for having said it, and I would state it exactly the same way now because it confers exactly what I intended it to confer. I'm not responsible for other people's interpretation of my writing, but I can state that 99% of them seem to get it wrong. I'm starting to understand why Pynchon is a recluse.

          • Guest

            Well I'm glad you appreciate it 🙂 .

            Still . . . Does that sentence confer exactly what you intended to confer though? What purpose does the "of course" particularly serve? Why is this: "If the woman looks like Wilson, I'm not going to be interested" not good enough to express your thought?

            You have spoken about authorial intent before, how it is the most important thing, beyond the interpretation of the reader. But you are aware that authors edit, right? That when we write our books, we work hard to make sure that the words we choose are precise and will be interpreted as we want them to be. And that if our test readers read something different into those words, we work to change them so they get the point we want them to get. You are consistently misinterpreted, but you insist that it is everyone else to blame. And yet . . . This next sentence I want to mean "I like tomatoes": "In whence of Thursday, yesterday was naught". Does my intent supersede the complete gibberish I wrote? Should I blame you for not understanding that I meant "I like tomatoes"?

            If authorial intent was all that mattered, I could write a book of nonsense words and insist it was a profound treatise on existentialism.

            I am not saying what you write is gibberish, far from it. But what you write doesn't come across clearly. I know that you have been told this before. I know there is a futility in me attempting to explain it again. But what you mean to say doesn't matter more than how you say it. It simply doesn't. I know you want it to. It makes it a lot easier for it to be everyone else's fault. And I know how frustrated this particular instance made you. You could not see how "of course" was offensive. You understand now, in a theoretical way, but you still are confused. The fact that you could miss that "of course" was offensive, means that you could miss that other things are offensive. And you simply don't know what they are. And not knowing which words will offend is an extremely stressful situation to be in.

            So I can understand wanting to become a hermit when you sincerely have no idea what words are good and what words are bad. And that is one option. I think the reason people here give you so much of their time and energy is they see something good in you, something worthwhile, and they think it would be a shame for you to hide yourself from society. They think it is worth the effort for you to learn which words are good and which are bad. To learn how social interactions work. Because they think you would be happier with that knowledge. Imagine what it feels like to know when you might offend? Imagine that. Imagine knowing the right thing to say. The right facial expression to make. Wouldn't that be a freeing feeling? I think it would. I think it would be worth the effort to feel that free.

            But it's hard. It's extra hard for you and when I put myself in your position I am exhausted thinking about the challenges you face. And it doesn't help you have barely any support system in the "real" world.

            At any rate. I wish that you could see that anger isn't helpful and that no one is trying to hurt you. And that conceding once in a while isn't going against values and morals, but is showing that you understand and have empathy. But I also understand where the anger comes from. I'd be angry too. I really would.

            Wow. Rambling post here. Anyway. Just my messy thoughts 🙂 .

          • enail0_o


          • hobbesian

            And normally I would at least attempt to edit my words later to make them better able to convey what I wanted, but this platform limits my ability to do that. It's the reason I edit so much on the forums. I think your analogy breaks down precisely because I'm not writing gibberish and expecting people to interpret it.. I'm not writing the voynich manuscript and then getting angry with people for not understanding. Of course was chosen for that sentence because I wanted it to be emphatic. I wanted an Exhausted, or a Yawp.. not a very tired, or a shouted loudly.

            What I don't believe is that EVERYONE in the entire world is this conscientious about their speech as I am being expected to be, and yet TONS of them are far more successful in virtually every aspect of life than I am. That's what is so particularly frustrating about all of this to me. I feel as if I'm going out of my way to at least try and couch everything I write in the guise of personal opinion, or anecdote, or speculation rather than fact, or generalization, or what have you. I know I have a number of writing quirks, I generally write exactly the way I would speak, which is the reason why I have so many ellipses in my writing. They represent pauses in speaking because basically I'm writing out what my brain is "speaking" to me as I'm writing..

          • I have a lot of sympathy for this. It is incredibly hard to feel like you're trying and trying and nothing is going right. I'm sorry that it's so hard. But it is hard for all of us, to an extent. Not everyone makes the effort not to put their foot in their mouth, and there's a certain element of luck involved – sometimes people find other people whose unconscious signals are identical, who can seem to always know what the other is thinking – but everyone has moments of doing just that: saying the wrong thing, that you didn't realize would be offensive. (God knows how many times I've offended someone without meaning to)
            The key is how you react. It really is. If you double down and try to make it the other person's problem and responsibility, it becomes that much harder to have clear and honest communication with that/those people. Because your intent doesn't negate the effect of your actions. But if you apologize, straight up and right away – for having hurt/offended the other person, and explain that you didn't mean to (it's even okay to say that you aren't sure how you hurt/offended them, so long as you're not shifting the blame), it becomes a lot easier to communicate, not only in the moment, since the person will be more likely to want to help you understand the nuances, but in the future, because they'll be more likely to take your words in good faith.
            In a sense, it may not be true that everyone is that conscientious, because you're working with several disadvantages that others don't. I have a lot of sympathy for that, and I'm glad that you feel comfortable enough to post here. I hope that helps a little, unsolicited advice though it be.

          • enail0_o

            If you're looking for some general rules so that you can try to get your thoughts across more successfully without having to obsess over every word, I'd suggest that you focus on the emphatics. When you're stating your opinions (especially negative ones), they generally come across quite strongly, so I think you could err more on the side of leaving off some emphatic words and still have your opinions come across, but without the side of being interpreted as hostile.

          • Guest

            Prepare for something really annoying/frustrating said by a complete stranger who doesn't even have an anonymous handle:

            . . . The thing is Hobbesian, you ARE going out of your way more than other people. It's harder for you to communicate for whatever reason. You've discussed you find it difficult to read social cues and gestures and facial expressions, that you don't know when you are being offensive in your writing. This is why I said above that when I try to place myself in your shoes I get so frustrated on your behalf. Because while we all work on being people who can exist in this society, and work to fix our mistakes when we make them (and boy do we make them), many of us don't have the same fundamental difficulties you do. So yes, it's true, you are in some ways very different from many people in the world.

            And that sucks balls.

            And it means you have to work harder than many people in the world. And when I try to imagine what that's like, I guess I imagine myself in a foreign country where I don't speak the language and where their cultural traditions are so the opposite of North American ones. Maybe I'm a literal alien on another planet. And in that situation I would feel isolated, lonely, sometimes stupid even though I knew I wasn't stupid. And if every time I tried to speak the language, or interpret a body movement and someone told me I was being offensive? Oh boy, that would make me want to scream really fucking loudly.

            I think that's what is going on for you. I think. But it's almost worse because you aren't a foreigner. You were born and raised here. So you feel you ought to be able to speak the language. That's an added level of frustration to a steaming pile of frustration.

            Anyway. My point is. You have to work harder than most people. It's true. My other point (that I made above) is, I think if you really put in hard mother fucking work right now, you would reap the rewards and it would get easier. You would eventually be able to be one of those people who doesn't have to think about every little word and action and facial expression. But it's scary to do. And I know that you don't believe you can change, and I know that you don't believe that if you do work you will succeed. And I don't want to force your hand. I'm just saying what I believe. The way you say what you believe 🙂 .

            I hope, again, I haven't offended. I certainly don't think because you have this particular issue with communicating you are bad or worthless. I think you are very smart. And from everything you've been saying up thread about how you gently turn down women who hit on you, I think that also shows you have empathy and kindness to you. Basically I think you are a good person. A good person dealing with a very complicated obnoxious as fuck problem. No judgment, btw, in case it wasn't obvious. I might be pretty good with the communicating (generally, not all the time – I can seriously screw up sometimes), but I suck at other things. We all have our . . . things.

            Oh, and btw, I too like ellipses 🙂 . I don't care what any grammar police say, they are awesome.

          • Christine

            Thank you, dear Guest. Your comments make my day.

          • Guest

            And thank you! 🙂

          • SarahGryph

            I'm not sure here, but would it help to think of "Hey, sorry; I actually meant this other thing" as *not* admitting to something you did "wrong"? I can see why that idea bothers you, no one wants to say they did something wrong when it wasn't their intent to do so. But to me, when I say "Damn, sorry, no that's not how I meant it" I don't feel like I'm…hmmm….conceding a victory? It's just that the same way no one knows what the words sound like in my head, I can't guarentee how the words will sound in someone else's head. Especially online, with no inflection. So it's more "I'm sorry human interaction can be tough and that I picked words that didn't make my intent clear and upset you, let me try to explain another way." No fault to either party, just a misunderstanding.

            I should note that the above? That was a learned skill for me, if you want the truth. I try to be careful with my words and when I was younger I'd argue someone to a standstill why what I said made perfect sense. I chose to learn how to approach things differently partly because…well, that and my sarcasm – I realized if I needed to always be right and clever I'd end up hurting people I didn't want to hurt and probably not having any friends. I chose to learn different ways to interact that still are "me." I basically started injecting more compassion/empathy into my interactions (not that you don't, I'm talking about myself here) and using that as my guide a bit more than the "I need to be right" feelings.

          • I mean, I'm not going to apologize for something I didn't do wrong in the first place, in this case you state that the reason some people are purposefully reading words into my statement which are not there is because of societal stigmas and constructs which have NOTHING to do with me, and I am in no way responsible for.

            No, that's not what they said, People are not deliberately misreading you. They're honestly misunderstanding you because you're not expressing yourself clearly. Or, possibly, you're expressing yourself clearly and they understand you just fine, but you don't like the reaction you get. Either way, it's on you. You don't have to change your behavior–you can do whatever you want, it's a free country–but you don't get to blame it on other people.

            What you said was rude. I mean, come on. If I said, "If a guy who looks like Hobbesian approaches me, of course I'm not going to be interested," would you like that? Would you accept my explanation that you shouldn't be insulted because it wasn't meant as a personal attack, just an objective statement of my feelings about how ugly you are, and you're stupid for not liking it?

            Thomas Pynchon expresses himself clearly and generally has more interesting thoughts to share with the world than "no fat chicks."

          • hobbesian

            no, I expressed myself just fine. When everyone else is wrong, they don't magically become correct just because of them being the majority. I can, and will, continue to blame it on people who get it wrong. If I get it wrong, and I get many many things wrong, I blame myself just as harshly. Believe it or not, not everything is solely up to the individual to fix or be responsible for, regardless of what is envogue right now.

            You just don't like what I said, because you interpreted the words incorrectly, because you were looking for something to get offended about.

            If you said that, I'd guess you were write, it's obvious that people don't like it when I approach, you'd be confirming my feelings I already have about myself.. why would I get upset at the truth?

          • You are not good at actually writing words that reflect your intent. You're giving me shitty tools with which to interpret your intent. That's insulting and a waste of my time, as well as unlikely to help me interpret you accurately. It doesn't even matter what you actually intended – even though I think you also have some pretty gross attitudes that could use examining. You being a bad writer has nothing to do with the content of what you are trying to convey.

          • hobbesian

            I think considering my grades, I'm a just fine writer.

            You keep threatening to stop being my friend, and now you're insulting me because I don't find someone attractive, just like everyone was doing to that guy who wouldn't date trannies on the forum a few weeks ago, I would hate to lose you as a friend, but I'm not going to change this specific thing, it is the one and only thing that I absolutely refuse to budge on.

          • Grades don't mean much of anything in this context. The writing you are graded on in school is usually in an essay format in which you essentially write out a lecture of ideas on a pre-determined topic. You are encouraged to do multiple re-writes, and thus have multiple opportunities to figure out what "works" and what doesn't. Most importantly, that writing is NOT conversational. You don't use a conversational tone in essays; one typically uses a much more formal style. Thus, one's ability to obtain good writing grades in a formal classroom setting does not directly correlate with one's ability to communicate in a casual conversation. It is possible to be good at one and bad at the other.

            Incidentally, it is "conversational" constructs that tend to obscure your meaning around here, like the tacked on "of course" – you'd almost never see that phrase in a A-grade English paper, and most teachers will mark down for using it, since it's usually a superfluous phrase used to pad up word-count.

          • hobbesian

            The statement was that I was a bad writer, I was providing evidence counter to that claim.

          • …hence why I then provided evidence to show that evidence isn't very relevant. You do realize Hemmingway and other famous authors would probably flunk English 101 for not staying "in the box" with their style, right? English grades are not an indicator of general writing ability. They are an indicator of your ability to write about certain topics and in a certain style, each of which is selected by someone else (your professor). That's just not how every-day writing works.

          • hobbesian

            yes, Hemingway was a terrible writer.

          • reboot

            The hallmark of a good writer is one who can convey their meaning in their writing and never have to explain to readers what they really meant.

          • hobbesian

            I used to think that, then I realized most readers are morons and don't understand what they are looking at. In order to write to cater to such an audience, you have to be stephany myer.

          • Delafina

            1) Learn how to spell.
            2) Arrogance doesn't make you a better writer; it makes you a worse one.
            3) Stephenie Meyer may not be a good writer, but she's a great marketer. And the idea that Twilight is somehow worse than the thousands of absolutely execrable movie and videogame tie-in novels marketed to (and eagerly consumed by) teenage boys is absurd. Not to mention comic books. There are certainly good comic books out there, but the vast majority of them are combinations of hackneyed stories, undeveloped characters, and generally terrible plotting. Sort of like YA romances. The only difference is that one is primarily marketed to boys while the other's primarily marketed to girls. (Reminds me of the mockery directed at romance novels. Can anyone seriously make the claim that they're worse-written than *porn*? Because that's their analogue.)

            And given that books like Eco's The Prague Cemetery also regularly make best seller lists, pointing to Stephenie Meyer as representative of the comprehension levels of the reading public is cherry-picking pretty hard.

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            So you are saying to be clear, most reading including most readers here? Are morons?

          • reboot

            Yet somehow everyone except you in this comment thread can write without being misunderstood. So either everyone is a moron writing for morons or you are not as good at writing for nonacademic** purposes as you would like to believe.

            **Academic writing is so easy that as long as you know what the professor wants to hear you can actually write the papers without reading the source materials. Something I did a time or two during my English lit degree days

          • I don't want you to change what you find attractive. I just want you to be more conscious of the ways in which your preferences don't exist in a vacuum. If you can't tell the difference between those things, then I'm happy to try to explain better. You see, I don't magically expect you to understand my intent, so when you seem to be unclear, I offer to try to explain better or to communicate in a different way. Note that I am being a good deal more generous to you than you are to anyone else.

            Also, I agree with Colleen – your grades are irrelevant. But if it helps you to see that there's a problem, you should know that your writing would absolutely not pass muster in any of my classes.

          • hobbesian

            Considering it seems just fine for professors who have graduated from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale.. I'm not too worried.

          • Oh, man, you understand very little about the realities of academia.

            Also, where do you think I trained? Not impressed.

          • hobbesian

            And since you aren't in a field I particularly respect, I'm not impressed by you, regardless of where you went to school.

            You know.. actually.. I've decided I really don't like you.. so since you've threatened to stop being my friend a few dozen times, I'm going to just say it, Throw down. I don't need your friendship.


          • Ok. I'm sorry you feel that way.

          • Max

            Haha wow.

            Exhibit A for "Hobbes constantly rejects good people who want to help him."

            This is why you're alone.

          • I'm actually wondering whether I accidentally communicated "these are my boundaries" as "this is a threat." I hope I didn't – boundaries are good, and I have them, but I don't think I'm so awesome that me not being in someone's life is much of a threat.

          • Delafina

            You didn't.

          • hobbesian

            Actually it is a loss, but at the same time, I'm tired of feeling guilty for wasting your time. I figured it was better to just tell you I didn't want your help so you could stop wasting time on me. and as much as it pains me, I still say the same. I don't want you to waste your time trying to help me because I don't think I can be helped.

          • What I want is for you to tell me the truth. If you don't think you can be helped, that's okay. I can use that information to decide for myself how to treat you. But I'd far rather you said that out loud, than that you lashed out or said nasty things. For me, it's an energy issue – I only have so much resilience to take shit from you, and eventually it will get used up. But I don't like it when you behave this way for much more important reasons. It's an unethical and cruel way to treat other people. If you really want me to go away, you can ask – and if you're really worried about whether I can help you, I promise you that I will make a decision that is wise for me as well as for you. But I really, really don't want you to be cruel to others because you are concerned about me. I want you to learn to be kinder, and if I'm making you crueler, then I"m doing something wrong.

            Thank you for having the courage to tell me what's really going on with you.

          • hobbesian

            I'm alone because the world is a shitty place and it's either filled with judgemental people who concern troll in order to be holier than thou about it, or it's filled with people who want to stab you in the back and rob you blind while you're bleeding.

          • Devlin_Mor

            No, you are not alone because everyone else is a bad person.

            You make yourself alone because you are immature, obnoxious and self-centred, and don't care how you hurt other people. You only dislike yourself as far as it allows you to wallow in self-pity – when it comes to actual behaviour you are completely arrogant and feel like everyone else has to change for you and accept whatever insults you dish out. You regularly express repulsive, hurtful ideas such as the ones above about race, or that you will never respect a girlfriend that leaves you. And then you have the gall to suggest the fact that people who are offended by you must be trolling, because we couldn't possibly be sincere about finding your views distasteful.

            You have not been marked out by the fates to be a social outcast. You are putting a lot of effort into doing it to yourself. As for concern trolling, the limit of my concern is that I really hope that you have no further sexual or romantic interactions until you grow up emotionally.

          • hobbesian

            Why should I care if I hurt other people? No one cares if they hurt me. I'm not willing to put for any extra effort that everyone else isn't required to put forth also.

          • It's a cycle. There are people out there who DO care if they hurt you. For example, I care! But people who care feel the same way you do. They're only going to continue caring if they feel that you are also putting effort and care into the relationship. They may have energy reserves that let them keep caring for a while without any positive feedback from you, but if you never replenish their reserves then they will eventually burn out. If you want caring people in your life, then you need to learn how to cultivate caring people – and at the same time to distinguish between caring people and non-caring people, so that you know who to invest your time in.

            If it would be helpful to you, I can tell you a bit about the strategies I use to do this in my own life.

          • I'm going to challenge your black-and-white thinking. Am I a judgmental person who is concern trolling you? Am I holier than thou? Do I want to stab you in the back and rob you blind? I exist; do I fit into these absolute categories?

          • hobbesian

            Not the same thing.. people online are different from people in real life..

          • I have real-life friends. Do you think that I judgmentally concern troll them? Do I stab them in the back and rob them blind? If you don't think I do those things, why not?

          • hobbesian

            they don't interact with me on a daily basis.. hat seems to be the big differentiating factor..

          • But I do interact with my real-life friends on a daily basis. So which one is it? How do you think I treat them? If it's not one of those two categories, then what do you think our relationship is like?

          • hobbesian

            No what I'm saying is, they don't interact with *me* on a daily basis, therefore I have no idea what they are like.

            When I say "everyone" I mean "Everyone who i interact with on a daily basis" you, and your friends aren't among that group of people.

          • Okay! So this is helpful. It seems like you recognize that people can treat each other well – just not people you interact with. What is your hypothesis about why this happens?

            (I have a couple, but I want to hear your perspective first.)

          • hobbesian

            And yes, you clearly do want me to change what I find attractive, since you are insistent that THIS issue of internal and authentic choice making on my part is in fact the opposite and is the ONE AND ONLY TIME that external forces have some control over me.

            Do you not see how this inconsistency is problematic for me?

            Every other time the idea of Internal vs. external anything comes up, I'm consistently told that there is NO way that ANYTHING is due to external pressures and it is all internal. The one time I try to talk about something that is 100% internal, you're all trying to tell me it's all the ebul media brainwashing me.

          • No, the problem is that you take complex issues with both internal and external factors and reduce them to ridiculous, inaccurate, unhelpful caricatures. The problems you call entirely external are also part internal. The desires you think of as completely internal are also part external. But when confronted with nuance or ambiguity, you reliably fly off the handle and insist things are entirely one or the other. This pattern of black and white thinking is a major part of your problem. So is the fact that you get hostile and aggressive when it is pointed out. Finally, your misreading (to be charitable) or mischaracterization of what I say to you is both infuriating and disheartening. What's the point of talking to you if all you ever hear is what you already believe, no matter how much effort I put in? Especially when you are very clear that I can never expect any reciprocal effort from you?

          • hobbesian

            that's because the world *is* black and white.

            People needlessly complicate it by introducing ambiguity that doesn't need to exist.

          • Max

            How are you still single

          • hobbesian

            i guess cause there are a lot of judgemental assholes like you in the world.

          • Steve

            That is absolutely unambiguously objectively black-and-whitely 100% NOT TRUE.

          • Delafina

            Grades mean nothing in this context. This isn't a forum for simply regurgitating your reading material "in your own words." This is about actually communicating about yourself with other people.

            I'm a professional editor, and what I get paid (generally pretty well) to do is fix people's writing. I see nothing to suggest that you are a good writer. (I don't see anything, for what it's worth, to suggest that you'd necessarily be a bad writer in certain contexts, but given that effective writing is, in essence, about understanding, empathizing with, and teaching your audience to understand your point of view, three things that you continually fail spectacularly at here, I'd say you have a long way to go to be a *good* writer. In real life, the criteria and audience aren't as carefully controlled to make success easy as they are in school.)

          • kath

            But if Hobbes put in the effort to follow some of the rules people have given him about communicating here, as he has presumably followed the rules of essay writing with no problem about whether they are authentic or fair, he probably could improve in this as he has apparently succeeded in essay writing.

            (I haven't found that his writing style here would be appropriate for essays, so I'm assuming there was some learning curve to get the essay-writing correct*)

            *This is also how I learned how to write essays and what I hated about high school science courses – all they teach you is how to follow rules, not how to understand things.

          • hobbesian

            following rules is easy.

            The rules of writing an essay are arbitrary, yes, but all you have to do is follow them, step by step, and answer the professor's questions, and you will get a good (ish) grade.

            The 'Rules' on here however aren't simply arbitrary, I actually find them to be incorrect and not helpful, the key difference is, I can't find fault with the rules for essay writing at school because it is either their way or no way.. here though I'm not beholden to any such thing.. if I disagree with something I'm free to ignore it and not bother with it.

          • Here's something you may find helpful. Part of why the rules here seem confusing is because it's a community. Many people are telling you many different things. They're not all equally skilled, equally insightful, or equally trustworthy. I'd advise you to put together a "council" of people you trust and ask them for advice that you intend to follow – and ignore advice that comes from anyone else. I think that will help you sort out some of your confusion … since not all advice is created equal.

          • shaenon

            I must be deliberately misinterpreting your words just to be a jerk again, because at this point I don't get what you're trying to argue. You keep switching between three different claims:

            1. You didn't express yourself clearly, and people misunderstood you as saying "nobody likes being hit on by a fat lady" when you didn't mean to say anything like that.

            2. You expressed yourself clearly, and the problem is that people aren't willing to accept the truth of your observation that nobody likes being hit on by a fat lady.

            3. You expressed yourself clearly BUT ALSO you didn't mean to say that nobody likes being hit on by a fat lady. People are deliberately misunderstanding you and lying about it so they can argue with you for no reason.

            Which is it? They can't all be true.

            And spare me the self-pity. You don't get to insult me, accuse me of lying because I can't handle your amazing truth bombs re: fat chicks, and then whine about how nobody likes you. Of course they don't like you if this is the way you talk to them.

          • hobbesian

            I've been arguing from the 3rd position the entire time.

            People are upset over my specific choice of words, and they are lashing out over my choice of words. Oh well, what else is new.

            It's not me that's the problem, it's the fact that so many people on this website seem to get offended by EVERYTHING that isn't straight out of a women's studies class 101 class.

          • If the problem is your choice of words, then you're arguing #1, not #3. You chose the wrong words and expressed yourself poorly. If you want to express yourself more clearly in the future, you can listen to what people say about why your comments confused and/or angered them.

            But you know this already. You just don't like having it pointed out, so you're looking for excuses to be offended. I'm very smart and I got As in all my writing classes, so I can't possibly make mistakes and if you say you disagree with me you're lying.

          • hobbesian

            Why did you even include #3 if I wasn't to be allowed to pick it? You asked which I was arguing, and I told you.

            And yes, You are getting offended over nothing because you are choosing to get offended about something innocuous.

          • While you are totally right to be offended? Hilarious.

          • hobbesian


          • hobbesian

            I'm offended because all of a sudden for some reason, when people are labeling me with offensive labels, I'm supposed to respect those labels. Yet, when people label me with labels which are factually correct, which by the way you just confirmed, repeatedly, by calling me stupid) everyone on here is constantly telling me to ignore and find "internal validation"…

          • Maximilian

            Thumbed this up before the Comment Vote Clique come along and hammer it

            You should ignore everyone else's labels but take their's at face value…but *you're* the self centered one. Answers on a postcard.

          • Max

            Exhibit B in "Hobbes rejects good people trying to help him in favor of toxic people with crappy attitudes"

            Only person who's taken Hobbes's side is Maximilian aka MCSpanner aka Mr. "I'm not a bigot! You're a bigot!"

          • hobbesian

            I've decided that "Toxic attitudes" is code word for "correct".

          • Devlin_Mor

            I'm interested in your criteria for judging "factually correct" given you are applying it to something as subjective as people's opinion of you.

            You are not the only one of the miserable group on the comments who will willingly state that they are worthless or stupid or a horrible person, as long as the labels are abstract and useless enough that they can't do anything about it apart from complain that fate made them a misfit or unattractive forever. At soon as your problems are broken down into something you could possibly work on – like poor communication instead of stupidity, or coming across as rude and offensive rather than vaguely horrible – you resist all the criticism.

            Ok – you think you are a horrible and worthless person, but I've seen you disagree that you are rude, narrow-minded, present as bigoted, that you are self-centred or misanthropic, or that your views on relationships are pretty toxic. And that's fair enough, you don't have to agree with the criticism – but you keep on with these *pitiful plaints about how horrible you are, without anything that might actually make horrible a meaningful term. So why do you think you are horrible and what will you do about it?

          • hobbesian

            I can't do anything about it. It's an inherent state of being, I exist, therefore I am horrible.

          • Devlin_Mor

            You do know thats a confirmation of what I just said, rather than an argument against it.

          • hobbesian

            You asked, "why do you think you are horrible, and what will you do about it?"

            I answered your question.

            If you were looking for a "Oh well, my personality and my attitudes are to blame and I'm going to suddenly wake up tomorrow and be a social justice warrior who's dating a gay paraplegic black nun and loooooveeee everyone", I don't recommend holding your breath.

            The difference is, I'm not horrible because of my attitudes or my opinions or beliefs, I'm horrible because I'm inherently horrible and have been, so far, set aside by fate to be in the position I am in. There isn't anything that I can do about it.

          • Devlin_Mor

            If "horrible" is a term that has nothing to do with your personality, your attitudes, opinions or beliefs, that really only leaves your behaviour. Which is under your control.

            You say you are horrible, but don't seem to accept that you think, say or do anything horrible. Which makes no sense.
            Unless by "horrible" you actually mean unfairly marked out by the universe to be Hated By All and incomprehensibly unattractive to slender white girls through no fault of your own?

          • hobbesian

            If I wasn't specifically set out to be dumped on by the universe it wouldn't have seen fit to put me in such a shitty place as where I'm living now, or to torment me by continually taking everything good in my life away from me.

            So yeah, my only real conclusion is I must have done something REALLY REALLY horrible in a past life and this is my hell.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Hobbes, when I asked you that question I was being deliberately cruel. This was not because the promptings of fate sent me to attack you, this is because I find a lot of what you write here offensive and was indulging my anger.

            When I suggested that by "horrible" you meant completely innocent of all wrong-doing but singled out by the universe for pain, that was sarcasm. It was suggesting that you were incredibly narcissistic.

            The universe does not revolve around any of us, for good or ill.

          • Why in a past life? Why can't it be related to things you are doing right now?

            I know you believe in fate, but here's the thing: you don't know what your fated story is. It could be the story of "guy gets put in shitty situation and never changes." It could be "guy gets put in shitty situation and becomes a really good person even if it can't help him practically, which is really noble even if it's hard." It could be "guy gets put in shitty situation and overcomes it through luck" or "through hard work" or "through meeting someone wonderful." I think you are assuming you know the end of the story because you know the beginning – but that's the thing about fate. Even if you believe that everything is fated, you do not have special information that lets you know what your fate should be. The only way you can ever know that is by looking backward. So why not explore whether you're wrong about what kind of story you're fated to have?

          • hobbesian

            It's because to me, the end doesn't matter. The end happens in the future, it only matters in the future. Only the present and the past matters in the present..

            At this risk of re-igniting another different argument.. I don't care what my life is like in 10 years from now because all the chance of having a fun life will be gone.

          • I understand that you believe that. All I can say is that I am having far more fun than I did a decade ago … and, frankly, it's hard for me to imagine you having LESS fun than you are having right now.

          • hobbesian

            As much as I appreciate your relently optimistic and helpful attitude.. I just cannot agree with it. I cannot see my life ever getting better than it is now. I mean, if it was going to get better, why wait until I'm too old to enjoy it unless it's just another "oh hey, yeah I'll hold the football. *moves the football* hah, hah you block head" moment.

          • Well, yes, if you continue to drive away people who want to help you and refuse to make small changes that might have a large pay-off, then I don't expect your life will be much different. But given how unhappy you are, I don't see that you have much to lose – and you have an enormous amount to gain.

          • hobbesian

            I don't see "being happy when I'm too old to enjoy it" as being much to gain.. I need it right this minute, I needed it 10 years ago. I don't need it in 10 years, or even 5 years.

            As far as I'm concerned my life is already basically over. I missed out on all the stuff I was supposed to do when I was younger because I was too scared to do it then, and now it's too late.

          • I don't understand what you mean by "happy when you are too old to enjoy it." To me, the definition of being happy is "I am currently feeling happy with my situation and experiences." It sounds like you mean something like "I will have the things that I currently think will make me happy, but I don't think I can enjoy those things when I am older." Would you say that is accurate?

          • hobbesian

            Right, I won't be able to enjoy those things because I will be old.

            having a job that pays all the bills, leaves a bit extra, and gives me 2 weeks of vacation and all my weekends and holidays free is great.. provided I'm young enough to be able to work 40 hour weeks and not be so tired that all i do is sit around the house on the weekend and do nothing..

            having a partner is great.. but only so long as we are both in good enough physical shape to enjoy each other when we are intimate.. I get it.. this is going to be another really unpopular thing, but I already *hate* my own body because I *hate* men's bodies, but at least as far as men's bodies go I try to keep mine in good shape. But, and here's the super not popular part, I also don't like women's bodies when they get older. I'm sorry, I just don't.

            So with that bit of information in mind.. what would you say would be the point in me continueing to look for a partner when I'm 40? or 45? All the years that i would have been actually sexually interested in her, or interested in being sexual myself, will all basically be gone. If I already can't stand to look at myself without thinking how disgusting I am.. then i don't want to put anyone else through that.

          • I think that you are making a lot of assumptions about future-hobbesian. You don't know how you will feel in a year, let alone ten years. I understand that these are things you currently think you couldn't enjoy when you are older. But I'm going to say something that I hope isn't too harsh. Given your current mental state, I don't think you could enjoy those things if you had them right now, either.

            You can also think about putting yourself in a situation where you can solve those problems in other ways. For example, I know people who work four days a week, and have three-day weekends to do fun stuff, and still make enough to pay the bills. It was a cruise-ship problem … but if you're seriously worrying about how you'll be ten years out, you can contemplate some pretty radical possibilities. Unfortunately, that will require you to develop some new skills, and it doesn't seem like you're particularly willing to do that.

          • shaenon

            You can pick it, but you didn't. You said your choice of words was the problem. That's #1. This is what I'm talking about when I say you keep shifting your argument.

            If you're arguing #3, I'd like to hear your theory as to why everyone in the world is constantly pretending to misunderstand you just to pick fights. What do they get out of it?

            And I can't possibly be getting offended over nothing. Like I said before, I'm very smart and got good grades in college (and I actually attended a fancy-pants college, as opposed to just having some instructors from one), so everything I think is objective fact.

          • Delafina

            No, you didn't express yourself just fine, or you wouldn't be claiming that everyone is misunderstanding what you're saying.

          • hobbesian

            That makes no sense at all. I'm explaining myself just fine, You're all misunderstanding, willfully so. You did it yourself and I called you on it. You jumped to a conclusion which was TOTALLY impossible to make with the evidence provided in my comment, and you did it SOLELY in order to have something to get upset about.

        • eselle28

          Like I said above, it's the "of course." That implies that it's obvious. People's tastes generally aren't obvious to others, and implying that yours should be suggests that there is something universal that goes beyond your particular taste in women.

          (This goes a bit further, but I would say that if you're not interested in someone for reasons other than character or behavior, it's often not necessary to specify exactly what about the person you find unattractive. It doesn't really add any information to your statement to specify that it's fat women in particular who are turning you off, rather than just some vague sort of not physically appealing to you women.)

          • hobbesian

            If it helps, I also find her personality to be attrocious in the same way I find Janene Garafalo's to be..

          • eselle28

            Well, not really, because presumably the women who are approaching you have a range of personalities.

            Anyway, as a broad, overarching principle it's sometimes helpful not to go into detail about what you find physically unattractive. I think most people (here at least) are willing to accept "not attracted to them" as a pretty damn good reason not to date someone without going into detail.

          • Christine

            If you have not met Rebel Wilson (same for any other person in the public eye), then you do not know what her personality is. performance =/= personality

          • hobbesian

            I've seen interviews, that was sufficient.

          • Christine

            No. Interviews are part of the performance. Just ask anyone in the public eye.

          • hobbesian

            I don't know about you, but I neither know, nor care to know, anyone in the public eye.. oh well.

        • It's the "of course I wouldn't be interested" bit that's problematic. "of course", in the english language, generally marks the attached clause as an obvious conclusion. So you're essentially saying that everyone should know you wouldn't find that person attractive – *regardless of their knowledge of your preferences*. As such, it follows that your personal preferences don't really matter, and aren't the real focus of the conversation, because all the things we're talking about are so obvious that such knowledge is superfluous. That thereby transforms the statement from one about what you personally think, to one about what everyone should consider obvious.

          Yes, the English language is ridiculously nuanced, even in text form where there's no tone/body language cues. As such, yes, it takes a ridiculous amount of effort to say exactly what you mean, and no more (or less). If you aren't prepared to put in this effort, then you need to prepare to be misunderstood a lot.

          • hobbesian

            Oh well.

    • thomas dalton

      Alternatively, I'm only approached by men. Who don't take "Sorry, I'm straight" for an answer.
      They are, however, refreshingly honest, to be sure.

      • hobbesian

        I've had that happen a time or two also.

  • l k

    On a similar vein, my ex used to complain I never initiated sex. I had to remind him that when I was flirty– I MEANT IT — and he needed to stop laughing it off.

    • raindancing

      I had an ex that complained about the same thing! Even though I initiated heavy makeout sessions on the couch, and I would eventually whisper "let's take this into the bedroom," he never recognized that as initiating sex.

      • celette482

        Okay. Anyone who is THAT dense should feel like he's on a dry spell. Good. Grief. I got mad at fiance once when I cheekily suggested that we were going to need breath mints and he got up, brushed his teeth, and sat down to read. I was being more subtle than "Let's take this into the bedroom" though.

        Pillow to the face!

        • coolcono

          He is creepy if he wants sex and you don't. You aren't creepy if you want sex and he doesn't. Double standard much?

          • enail0_o

            Sigh. No one has ever said that it's creepy if he wants sex and you don't.

            It's creepy if he expresses his desire to have sex in a way that's inappropriate to your relationship (eg. if you're the clerk at the grocery store and he's the customer, yeah, it's going to be creepy.), if he is pushy, whiny or keeps giving indicators of interest after you've indicated you're not interested. And same if you do it to him.

            It's not creepy to hint subtly that you'd like to have sex with someone who has indicated they would like to have sex with you regularly (such as, in most cases, a fiance), and it's not creepy to clarify that you were trying to initiate sex if they don't take a hint in that case. It would become creepy if you continued hinting after multiple signs of lack of interest (as opposed to lack of awareness -the more established a relationship, the more likely a partner is to be able to tell the difference between not interested and not understanding the question). It would become worse than creepy if you clarified, they indicated they weren't interested, and you kept hinting, asking or badgering to have sex.

      • OtherRoooToo

        Wait a minute.


    • WordyLibrarian

      THIS, a thousand times. According to one ex, I "never initiated anything" because he always took it as a joke when I'd start escalating anything by unfastening pants and assorted make-outs. However I was also "never interested in anything" b/c I was supposed to read grabbing my tits and literally honking as a genuine attempt to pique my interest in sex. Once it occurred after some not-as-clever-as-he-thinks mention of melons, and all I could think of was Mrs. Doubtfire going on about "a run by fruiting."

      Pro-tip: If I'm thinking about Mrs. Doubtfire, my panties are dry. I also will assume you are not actually attempting to moisten them, because if I have ever allowed you into my bed, I am operating under the firm belief that you are nowhere near that stupid or misguided.

  • MCSpanner

    There is a definite lack of recognition that just because women aren't approaching THEM doesn't mean they're not approaching anyone.

    Took me a bit longer than it should to separate the two but it was an important step in reaching the dating "promised land"

    • celette482

      Also true. It's easy to ignore facts outside the dominant social narrative, and it's especially easy to ignore the potential if you have no personal experience to the contrary. But DNL is right. Guys aren't conditioned to expect approaches. Women are. Women realize that subtle behavior (he's pulling your pigtails because he likes you!) are signs of approaches and tend to pick up on the signals. Women when they approach use the same techniques, because there are good reasons to. No one wants to put all their cards on the table from the get-go. But guys aren't necessarily good at recognizing the signals because they aren't conditioned to expect approaches. In other words, guys might be getting approached and don't even realize it. So it could be all around a guy and happening to him and he still doesn't see it.

      ETA: ESPECIALLY if it happens within the context of a friend group.

      • MCSpanner

        Unless complete and utter boredom is a sign, I can safely say I've never been approached, ever, but yeah I'm sure there is a case of some guys missing the signs/signals.

        • I had a huge, massive crush on this guy named Paul in high school. Yet any time I got anywhere near him, I either pretended he didn't exist, or was horribly mean to him. I mean, glaring, sniffing angrily whenever he talked, looking everywhere but AT him. Looking back, it was probably super obvious to any girl paying the slightest attention that I liked him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he genuinely thought I hated him.

          In some really weird, twisted way, that was my inexperienced way of hitting on him-because if I'm not obvious about liking him, then he won't think I like him, and he'll work harder to make me like him, which means he'll give me attention! (Oh, high school Marty. *Pats on head*)

          In short… you'd be surprised.

          • MCSpanner

            I'm no expert on body language but I'm fairly sure I know when someone is hoping the conversation ends soon and I walk away so they don't have to. When responses are prefixed with a 2 or 3 second pause followed by "erm…" like a news correspondent on the end of a satellite phone, it's time to walk away – preferably whistling and rolling your eyes like the whole thing didn't even happen.

          • embertine

            Haha, high school Marty and high school ember would either have been friends or deadly enemies, because I did the exactly the same thing. Who am I kidding, I did the same thing to a guy I worked with about five years ago and I'm in my thirties. Oh, me.

          • StarlightArcher

            Even now (in my 30's) I still have the hardest time looking at guys I'm attracted to. Especially when they come into close proximity. I'll look everywhere else, even the bottom of my shoes, but not at them. Cuz they'll know…. they'll know! Then I'll be the sad girl with the moon eyes, and naturally he'll be married/engaged/in a relationship/gay/completely repulsed by me and it'll just be a giant garden party of awful, like it usually is. In short, my strategy, if you like'em, never look at them!

          • AstralDazzle

            I also think it's important to note how we develop these reactions. I have a good memory. I remember very well that I started crushing on some boys while they were still scared of "girls." And of course I didn't crush on the boys who already liked girls because they were "mean." I liked the quieter smarter ones. And they were rejecting in an awful way. And then the mean guys made fun of both of us. So there were so many reasons never to let anyone know I liiiked them. Any wonder that later I started dating the more rebellious guys who initiated, often by making obvious sexual innuendos (Why do women go for the assholes, you ask?).

            Later, it is often really difficult to tell the difference between a guy being shy and not sure if he should make a move, a guy being ambivalent and not wanting to make a move for reasons, and a guy not being interested. Usually if I have to initiate, it turns out they were ambivalent for one (albeit good) reason or another, but they've all turned me down nicely, at least!

            There are even adult guys who have flirted with me first in a way that anyone would file under "flirting behavior" and on a subsequent day I approach them and they totally brush me off or ignore me. It's kinda like if it doesn't go according to their script or their doing something else they consider important (got to be in control?) than it's not happening. Or they're flustered and get mad because they're not mentally prepared? I don't know, but I always assume my approach is being read and rejected and they decided they don't like me after all, and then I get confused (sometimes comically, sometimes crankily) the next time they initiate flirty times.

  • thomas dalton

    About half the article gives excellent reasons not to approach in general, not limited to women being the initiator.

    I thank you for those, because it reminds me why I make the choices I make.

    Oh, and by the way, I was approached by two girls on OLD. They both lived, say, five hours of travel further away than they said on their profile.

    But hey, props to them for initiating.

    • celette482

      That's kinda the point. Women aren't mysterious otherworldly beings with secret agendas. They are humans who have the same fears and insecurities of men. So, yeah. women don't approach for the same reasons men don't approach. Magic!

    • MCSpanner

      Unintentionally DNL articles, accompanied by the horrors of OLD, led me to take the decision I did as well.

      It is weird how the world works sometimes.

    • eselle28

      If that's the choice that makes you happiest, that's just fine.

      • thomas dalton

        Hah, good one XD

        It's the choice that makes me the least miserable, that's for sure!

        • MCSpanner


  • Xexyz

    I'll admit, when I've been approached I have not reacted well. I didn't make a scene or generally be nasty or anything; I either walked away from her or [subconsciously on purpose] acted creepy/awkwardly so she'd go away. Sorry ladies =(

    • Guest

      May I ask why? Sincere question.

      • Xexyz

        In those cases I was in a situation/surroundings where I was already uncomfortable and not receptive to any sort of interaction with strangers at all.

        In other cases, I have no issues with casual interaction, but my mind's on other things and I'm not really paying attention to the possiblity that I'm being hit on.

        • enail0_o

          Heh, I think this is pretty common! A lot of people don't realize that being approached can be confusing and awkward, and happen at times when you're really not ready for it, and that it's kind of hard to respond well.

          • Xexyz

            What's worse is when you realize it after the fact and want to kick yourself for missing an opportunity to connect with someone.

          • Niteynite

            It always seems so obvious after it happens. I'm still kicking myself in the teeth for all those missed opportunities.

    • Thanks for owning this. 😀

    • coolcono

      Awesome. 🙂

  • Paul Rivers

    Women **are** in the gatekeeper role in our society:
    – What would someone in the gatekeeper role do if they were interested? They couldn't actually be direct, they'd have to use indirect means – hanging around near someone, making an observation while trying to appear as indirect as possible, et etc. Which is exactly how women act – because they're in the gatekeeper role.
    – How would someone in the gatekeeper role feel about making the first move? They'd be very uncomfortable with it – exactly how the article describes women feel.
    – What's the difference between what the pursuer and the gatekeeper are told about hating getting rejected? The pursuer is told they need to get over it, the gatekeeper is never told this. And once again, men are told they need to get over their approach anxiety, while are told that it's fine, it's understandable, don't worry about it – because they're in the gatekeeper role.
    – How would culture reinforce the pursuer vs the gatekeeper role? By encouraging men to be the pursuer, and discouraging women from doing it. You know – just like it does.
    – The article itself perpetuates these social mores when it says "some men act badly when approached" by women – perpetuating the idea that a woman approaching and dealing with a negative reaction is a horrible crime she couldn't possibly handle, while a man is just expected to deal with exactly the same reactions. If you really believe the assertion that men are "more likely" to publicly mock someone who asked them out than women are, you have never had any large group of friends – anyone who's had female friends has been on the end of at least some of them repeatedly telling everyone they know how some guy a total loser for asking them out and thinking he had a shot with her.
    – The article describes how the cultural narrative is that women don't make the first move – which is what it is, because the cultural narrative is that women are in the gatekeeper role so they don't make a first move.
    – The fact that most women just don't know how to approach, and can't just come up and say "hi" – again, is because she's in the gatekeeper role. The difference is, men are expected to get over it. Women get articles like this one describing how there's really no reason for her to learn how to do it, etc etc – because the woman is in the gatekeeper role.
    – Women are taught flirting techniques to encourage men to approach them without being overt about it? Yeah – that's what you'd expect from the gender in the gatekeeping role!

    Let me sum up the article:
    1. Declares that women are **not** in the gatekeeper role
    2. Describes repeated points illustrating how women *are* in the gatekeeping role
    3. Reinforces women's fears about moving out of the gatekeeper role by saying that men won't like it, will react badly, etc etc
    4. Declares that you can help women feel more comfortable stepping out of their gatekeeping role – that it previously insisted doesn't exist and women aren't in

    If society really wanted people to be better at dating and sex, it would stop trying to send these contradictory messages. Whether the roles were the same, or whether one gender pursued and the other was the gatekeeper, we'd all be a lot less angsty if people just knew what was expected of them and could expect the other gender to act accordingly. So if a women (in the gatekeeper role) wanted the guy to pursue she'd act enthusiastic or at least friendly, if she wanted him to not pursue her she'd be able to say that and expect that he'd stop pursuing her.

    • A lot of geek guys act in the exact same ways to hit on someone…. hanging around near someone, making small talk, striking up a conversation. Isn't nearly every PUA approach indirect in its intention?

      So… are you claiming geek guys are gate keepers too?

      And no I don't think this article was somehow excusing women from approaching guys. The intended audience is not women, it's geek guys. This website is geared towards giving advice to MALE nerds. And male nerds need to hear that their perception (that women never approach, never get rejected, and never feel anxiety or nerves in dating and "have it easy") are WRONG.

      • Paul Rivers

        "A lot of geek guys act in the exact same ways to hit on someone…. hanging around near someone, making small talk, striking up a conversation…So… are you claiming geek guys are gate keepers too?"

        The question isn't whether they do it – it's whether they're effective when they do do it. Are they seen as attractive guys? Or are they endless hated on as "the supposed 'Nice Guy' is a liar from start to finish" – a creepy weirdo who's trying to "trick" her by being friendly to her?

        "Isn't nearly every PUA approach indirect in its intention?"

        No, not at all, almost all PUA approaches (not all, but almost all) are about being as direct as you can get away with. "be direct in your intentions" is a common refrain.

        "And no I don't think this article was somehow excusing women from approaching guys. The intended audience is not women, it's geek guys. This website is geared towards giving advice to MALE nerds. And male nerds need to hear that their perception (that women never approach, never get rejected, and never feel anxiety or nerves in dating and "have it easy") are WRONG."

        I'm pretty sure the intended audience is generally women. That's why the majority of commenters are women, the majority of people sharing the article are women, etc etc – and they never, ever, ever ask women to change anything they do – ever.

        Articles that tell men that everything men do is fine, and everything that's the problem is women are aimed at men. Likewise, articles that tell women that everything women do is fine, and everything that's the problem is men – are generally aimed at women.

        • enail0_o

          Howsabout you don't say things about us that are flat-out untrue and easily verified? When women come here seeking advice or discussing problematic attitudes, the women here do in fact suggest changing things they do, just like they do for men.

          Of course, fewer women come here seeking advice, because the target of most of DNL's articles is men. Lots of women come here because they find it an interesting place and would like to give advice, but unless you think that DNL's intended audience is married, monogamous women, I'm not sure you could really say that many of the women here are a good indication of his intended audience. Whether the fact that his site attracts lots of people outside of his target audience is a good thing or a bad thing is certainly a matter of opinion, but it seems a bit silly to say they're the main intended audience.

          • Paul Rivers

            1. What you're saying is irrelevant to what I wrote. I wasn't discussing what women do or not do, I was saying that certain kinds of articles cater to a certain kind of audience, which is somewhat unrelated to what women actually do, or even the comments on some of those articles.

            2. Like I said, for the reasons I mentioned, I disagree, I think they're targetted at women. Like a romance novel with lots of male characters isn't targetted at men, neither is are these articles actually targetted at men. If a movie draws in a 75% female audience, is it "targetted" at men? You wouldn't say so.

          • Devlin_Mor

            Just because there are many very articulate women writing in the comments does not mean that the bulk of the blog readers are women, or even that the majority of the commenters are women (possibly a slight majority, but I doubt its a 75% majority).. It just means that you are noticing women more when they argue with you.

          • enail0_o

            1. "That's why the majority of commenters are women, the majority of people sharing the article are women, etc etc – and they never, ever, ever ask women to change anything they do – ever"

            How is that not discussing what the women here do or do not do??

            2. The articles are clearly (mostly) addressed to heterosexual men, to the point where I don't really see how that's even debatable – almost all the parts that are specific to one gender are addressing men, assuming the reader dresses like a man, is interested in dating women, has concerns about masculinity, might be perceived as creepy by women due to the reader's gender, etc. etc. The majority of people seeking advice here are men. Unless you have some pretty solid reason to think that he doesn't actually get a lot of men reading his columns for advice, buying his book on simplifying dating and so forth, it seems self-evident the women here are just a significant and vocal secondary audience

          • Mad_

            I'd object to the idea that you're the secondary audience. You're as much the primary audience as we are.

          • enail0_o

            I think DNL is very aware of his female audience, and he does tailor his message to meet our approval, not just for his men-seeking-advice audience. But his articles are rarely addressing us directly or giving us advice, so I think that makes us secondary. When he borrows things from the comments for articles, he's usually addressing issues male commenters have brought up.

          • Mad_

            I'd point to the continuing problem of his that he doesn't know how to address the geek girl's problems in a way that the ladies around here react positively to, either through his own experiences with them, with disclaimers that he's not a woman anyway, or through networking with lady gurus.

            It's easy to say things that the geek guys won't like when you're feminist leaning, there's always more "open-minded" guys, guilt-ridden guys, guys just looking to agree with what the ladies are agreeing with for you-know-why, and guys looking to vehemently disagree, but you don't want to tip the boat too much when the feminist ladies are a big chunk of your audience.

          • enail0_o

            Well, I think that's one reason why women aren't his primary audience. He seems to value our presence enough that it's worth the balancing act, but he still seems to have a good-sized not particularly feminist male audience who stick around despite all us icky feminists, and I'd imagine those are the ones that are buying his book and suchlike, so I'm not sure it's hurting him any.

          • Mad_

            We're male geeks, we're more likely to fight, and the only way we know how, with biting logic. So, activity :p

            Women will just leave if they don't like what they're seeing from the top on down

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Well ain't that an impressive bit of mind-reading, Kreskin!

            Allow me to present an alternate explanation: I don't address geek women's issues because a) I'm not a woman and b) I'm not going to try to speak for them or pretend I'm some sort of authority on experiences I don't share and pressures and concerns that don't affect me the same way. Hugo Schwyzer I ain't, on many levels.

            When I want to post about issues affecting women specifically, I go to people who have far more authority and experience than I do, and who might not have the same platform that I do to get their voice out there.

            When I talk about issues touching on feminism, I'm explaining them to a predominantly male audience who may not otherwise be exposed to the ideas or or even receptive if they came from someone else. Fair or not, I get more attention for talking about it as a man and if I can use that to get these ideas out to more people, so be it.

            My dating advice comes from my experiences as a cis-gendered hetero man who's trying to attract and sleep with women. I touch on feminism because one of the keys to a more successful dating life is not being a huge flaming asshole to women.

            But hey, keep on insisting that if I wasn't pandering to da wimminz, I'd be totally toeing the PUA line. Which isn't insulting at all.

          • Devlin_Mor

            You know, I think there are really two audiences in the comments and its not really divided into men and women.

            The first main group is often in a relationship though maybe not a traditional one but frustrated with traditional gender roles and attitudes to sexuality, and really likes having a place to talk about this. This is a mixed gender group.

            The second group are having long term troubles finding relationships and sex, tend to be a lot more conservative in their views on gender and sex, and often sound very frustrated and misanthropic. Its true there are hardly any women like this here, but I meet them in real life sometimes.

            The first group is more likely to agree with the Dr and talk around that. The second group needs the advice a lot more but tends to disagree with it. Its not a male/female divide with women being soft on women.

          • That's a very good summary of the commenters.

          • WordyLibrarian

            Or just maybe, possibly, a lot of women like the articles because they are giving men good advice about what we really like?! *gasp*

            Seriously. I don't understand why this is a confusing concept. I LOVE that the Doc is teaching men how to approach women in ways that don't set off massive alarm bells. I don't like having to awkwardly extricate myself from uncomfortable conversations because some guy hasn't learned that whining about his inability to get dates is thoroughly unattractive. I'm not going to halt my world to educate every dude who approaches me and give him a constructive critique for free, even if I didn't have reason to believe it would end badly. However, I'm thrilled that someone is out there doing that educating!

            You see, I like the idea of there being MORE people in the world that I would enjoy interacting with. I LOVE the idea of getting less false alarms from my personal safety sensors! Seriously. It gives the actual predators so much less camouflage. It means I'm less likely to risk passing up a good guy because I can't quite tell if he's nervous or deliberately hovering around my drink. It's much less exhausting in general. I have a special soft-spot for the Doc helping educate men to be better in bed because I really love good sex.

            If you're looking to attract women, and women are enthusiastically praising these articles… isn't it just possible that the articles actually contain advice that will help you attract women? I assure you, I am quite thoroughly in touch with my personal tastes and what I find attractive. I'm certainly not out praising the advice that makes men act in ways I find odious. That seems a little self-defeating and insane to me.

            Many things draw audiences outside of the target demographic. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic appeals to a significant number of 30 year old men and women. Its target audience is still little girls. Dr. Nerdlove addresses most of his articles to men. He gives advice to men about getting better with women. Yeah, a lot of of that advice will probably talk about what women find attractive. When there are lots of women saying, "yes, this advice is what I wish all men would learn," the most reasonable conclusion is that the advice is, in fact, accurate and likely to be helpful for men interested in attracting women.

            I'm really confused that you seem to be sure you know what women respond to better than the women who are saying plainly what we, personally, respond to.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            "Whether the fact that his site attracts lots of people outside of his target audience is a good thing or a bad thing is certainly a matter of opinion"

            If you're a guy interested in having relationships with women, I'd say having smart, articulate women around here who are sympathetic to guys wanting relationships with women is a very good thing indeed. 🙂

          • WordyLibrarian

            This is what I was trying to say, but far more succinct. I should have kept reading before responding.

        • "The question isn't whether they do it " Actually, it is. You made that the question right here: "What would someone in the gatekeeper role do if they were interested? They couldn't actually be direct, they'd have to use indirect means – hanging around near someone, making an observation while trying to appear as indirect as possible, et etc. Which is exactly how women act – because they're in the gatekeeper role. "

          Q: "how would a gate keeper act?"
          A: hanging around, making an observation indirectly (i.e. /conversation/, just to tie in what Marty says)

          That's what you asked. That is the first question. The second part of the logic you don't seem to be getting is,

          1: Women act in this way,
          2: Women must be gate keepers.

          But Marty and DNL (and now me, you wouldn't believe the number of times I've been hit on by men who don't address it directly. One tried to hit on me by telling me how much hotter I'd be if I stopped drinking cola and drank only [whatever brand] tea instead. And no, I'd don't think that I was imagining it at all, given how he was working his way one-by-one through every woman on campus. This is but one example, btw) have pointed out that men aren't always direct, and hang around. Therefore, by your logic

          1: Men act in this way,
          2: Men must be gate keepers.
          3: Women and men are both gate keepers.

          That… got a bit long winded, but the point is, you logic is flawed and yes, whether men "gate keep" /was/ the question.

          • Paul Rivers

            What makes someone a gatekeeper is not that they observe indirectly, or hang around, etc. What makes them a gatekeeper is that they generally expect the other person to take the initiative, then decide if they want to follow it or not.

            I'm not going to side track onto another different topic – my point was that the above article tries to have it both ways, initially claiming that it's a bunch of made up crap that women mostly take the gatekeeper role, then writing reason after reason (whether I agree with whether those reasons are accurate is irrelevant) with a long list of reasons describing why supposedly how when women try to initiate, it's much more difficult for them than men.

            It's either one way or the other – either women *aren't* in the gatekeeper role. Or they are in the gatekeeper role, and trying to change to the initiator role is more difficult for them than it is for men. But it's impossible for it to be both at the same time.

          • "What makes them a gatekeeper is that they generally expect the other person to take the initiative, then decide if they want to follow it or not. "

            So all those guys who whine about how women need to approach men more, because approaching is /ha~ard/, and/or decide they'll never approach women ever because they might be labelled a creep, and instead will wait for as long as it takes for any women who are interested to approach them …. would be gatekeepers, then, wouldn't they?

            But you're right, let's stay on point: the fact it, you're mis-characterizing what DNL says. So how about we look at this without assigning labels, okay? stick strictly to behaviour.
            In the first paragraphs, DNL only claims that people who believe that women who [ generally expect the other person to take the initiative, then decide if they want to follow it or not"] are not doing so because they "generally like being in charge, thus feel no need to go out and be the initiators like they should" , and especially those who go on to imply that any women who then decides not to follow the initiative of the initiator – even dares to suggest that his approach was off-putting, are doing so because they are cruel.
            DNL's not saying that (some) women don't expect men to take the initiative. He's saying that the stereotypical woman who gets off on the power trip (which are the implications behind the use of the word "gatekeeper") are (*gasp!*) in fact, complex human beings who have a variety of justified reasons for asking others other be the initiators.
            not "women aren't gatekeepers", but "women have good reasons for what they do, and calling them "gatekeepers", with all the negative connotations behind that, is a mischaracterization and vilification of their motives".

          • Paul Rivers

            "So all those guys who whine about how women need to approach men more, because approaching is /ha~ard/, and/or decide they'll never approach women ever because they might be labelled a creep, and instead will wait for as long as it takes for any women who are interested to approach them …. would be gatekeepers, then, wouldn't they?"

            This is what I meant exactly – you quickly taunt and make fun of men who don't want go through the risk of approaching because you are deeply ingrained yourself with the idea that the man is supposed to initiate, and the women is supposed to do the gatekeeping. Thus a man who doesn't want to approach is someone you immediately make fun of, whereas a woman who doesn't is someone you sympathize with.

            Those men would only actually "be" gatekeepers if you responded with something more like "You're right! I can't believe those women aren't approaching men either!". Men wishing they were the gatekeepers, and people being totally being comfortable making fun of them for wanting, is a great example is how clearly they're role is **not** being the gatekeeper (because if it was, they'd get sympathy like women do, not insults).

            "are (*gasp!*) in fact, complex human beings who have a variety of justified reasons for asking others other be the initiators. "

            And once again – you mention those reasons being "justified" when it's a women – you don't make fun of them like you would if the person was a man. And once again:
            – Man complains about how he doesn't want to approach and make the first move – you make fun of him.
            – Woman complains about how she doesn't want to approach and make the first move – she has "a variety of justified reasons".

            I get what you're trying to say about "villication" – but I don't agree with you. "gatekeeping" is not an inherently vilifying word. And this article definitely does not try to limit itself to only people who are using it that way. The most common use of the word I see is in more of a "women are in the gatekeeping role, that's why you need to approach them" context, just like job advice says you need to be applying for jobs, etc.

          • I don't understand who you think mocks guys for not approaching. The women I know do exactly what you think indicates a non-gatekeeper approach, namely talk about how women should approach too. In fact that's a major theme of the contributions by women on this very site. The mockery is reserved for guys who think they should neither have to do the work of approaching nor of being approachable, and for the (vanishingly few, for some reason) women who think the same.

            Is this something you have had bad experiences with?

          • (And to clarify: I don't actually think anyone deserves to be mocked, but I do think the people I describe need their ideas significantly challenged.)

          • Paul Rivers

            "I don't understand who you think mocks guys for not approaching."

            Uh…it's right there above –

            "So all those guys who whine about how women need to approach men more, because approaching is /ha~ard/"

            It's not a matter of if someone is being "mean" or something – it doesn't matter for my point. It's a matter that clearly even women who claim that both genders are initiators or gatekeepers actually believe that men are expected to initiate and women are not. It's deeply embedded – that's why they mock men who complain about how hard initiating is, while giving sympathy and "here are logical reasons why" to women who do the same thing.

          • I think you're misreading here, though obviously the OP could tell you for sure.

            What's being mocked is not the unwillingness to approach. It's the whining ("I want to give up control by not approaching, but I'm unwilling to accept lack of control over the results.") and the selfishness ("This is too hard for me, so someone else should do all the hard work"), combined with an ignorance of all the invisible work that gets done by people who try to be approachable ("So women should just approach me and I shouldn't have to do anything differently.") If you don't want to approach, and you also don't want to sound like an ignorant, entitled baby, then all you have to do is develop the skills of being approachable, accept the consequences of not approaching, or both.

            I think there are very good, logical reasons why men might not want to approach. But women get plenty of articles aimed at them about why men might not approach them. They're usually shitty articles about how you're not pretty enough and acting too smart, but at least they're not blaming men any more than this article blames the women who find approaching difficult.

            I understand that you read something very different in the comment, but I think you are not reading carefully because you already know what you expect people to be saying.

          • +1
            excellent mind-reading, kleene (if I can call you that :p)

            It is mostly the whining that I object to, since I tend to find that the whining betrays an entitled attitude at best. At worst, they vilify the women who dare not to be interested in them enough to defy social norms. When guys complain about how difficult it is to be an initiator without doing either of those, I can be – and am – very sympathetic, because, yes. I too have approached people I am interested in and felt crushed when they were not interested back.

            But the entitlement and the vilification are not worthy of my respect and I won't respect those kinds of attitudes. A good example is Bazzaz' post down below :

            "This article is just an excuse for women not to put work into gender equality for the dating game. It's an enabler for awful you can see in the comments too."

            [he?] clearly does not appreciate how much work goes into being approachable, and is not interested in finding out. This is an example of entitlement, because he expects women to not only meet the amount of work men put into approaching, but also expects to have to put not effort in himself :
            "Also, don't try to flip the roles by saying "Here's MY number call ME", that's cowardice. You're putting the initiative on the guy all over again."

            Ah yes, because calling the phone number of someone you *know* is interested is so much more work than making them want to. Also, he doesn't seem to appreciate that to a woman, "call me" is a lot less threatening and controlling than "give me your number so I can call you". There is a reason women tend to give out fake numbers when men ask for them. Because we want our interest (or lack of it) to matter.

            Also, the hostility in that quote dings my 'vilification meter' by proxy.

            "The onus is on women to change that but this article just tells them to keep it exactly the same."

            +1 entitlement (because you know, men have no place in creating new social norms. Women need to /force/ meant to change, because they're completely incapable of doing it themselves)

            "The comments are terrible too. Please flip the genders on these comments so you can see how horrible they are."

            Ah yes, because men and women are treated /exactly the same/ by society so /no one/ should act as though they aren't and that some actions and words disproportionately affect one gender more than the other.

            "At the top you have a reply from a woman claiming that she KNOWS exactly why men don't want her and it's CLEARLY because they THINK she's too into them. If a man said this about a woman not reciprocating you guys would be all over this nonsense. She's completely placating herself with made up reasons and you guys are encouraging it with this article and these comments."

            +1 villification

            these are the attitudes I have a problem with. This, I have no problem mocking, because this is a guy so mired in hostility for those darn wimmin who just want to be lazy and make men run around doing backflips (I guess for our amusement) and hostility for anyone who dares to suggest that actually, social norms make it /more/ difficult for women to approach than for men. That there are even better reasons for women not to approach.

            No, he says, screw all that, it's too difficult for him, so women need to do *everything*, in fact, they even need to do *his* part of reciprocating interest, in spite of the more numerous challenges and potential-to-likely harmful outcomes, because it's too hard for him.

            Well f* that, with that kind of an attitude, I don't want him anyway. So how's about I be an initiator, and signal my lack of interest by not touching him with a ten-foot pole. Like an initiator does.

          • Also, men are totally justified for not wanting to approach. They're just not justified in thinking that being approached is not its own skill set, or in thinking that if more women approached it would mean the women they are interested in would approach them specifically. The former is ignorant and the latter is just silly.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Articles that tell men that everything men do is fine, and everything that's the problem is women are aimed at men. Likewise, articles that tell women that everything women do is fine, and everything that's the problem is men – are generally aimed at women.

          So Cosmo, which tells women about how they're doing it all wrong and offers "17 shocking secrets" to get more men is aimed at. . .men? Women's fashion, makeup, diet. . .anything ads are aimed at. . .men? After all those are all about telling women if they just do this thing or that thing, it will get guys to approach them. Sometimes, Paul, self-help really is about self-help. I suppose you could make the argument that Doc should present "just game" if its all about effectiveness but I'd argue that long term self-interest looks a lot like short-term altruism. Not being a douchebag today means more options tomorrow. In that light it makes sense to have a certain amount of moral compass attached to your game.

          • Paul Rivers

            So you're saying that you think Cosmo either:
            1. tell men that everything men do is fine, and everything that's the problem is women are aimed at men.
            2. tell women that everything women do is fine, and everything that's the problem is men

            Cosmo doesn't do either of those things.

          • I think that is the point.

          • Paul Rivers

            Then it's an irrelevant comment to my point.

    • Waddles

      And yet, to extend your analogy, even if women are gatekeepers, men still have to want to go through the gate (OK this is a dirtier analogy than I thought before I started writing this). When Peter on Mad Men asked why it's women that get to choose, I wanted to punch his smug little face in – clearly both parties get to choose, otherwise it's assault. Often when I read this idea, it comes with the subtext that women get to choose from a wave of suitors battering down their door, that sex and romance is a fungible resource that is somehow desired by men but not by women, and that this is somehow desirable (personally, I find it stressful to reject someone, especially since I've never been directly asked on a date so it takes a while for interested people to figure out that I'm friendzoning them and that the Schrodinger's Date is already dead in the box).

      If someone doesn't want to approach, that's fine, it's a personal choice, and the pursuit of happiness in the constitution isn't mandated if you don't want to pursue it. Personally I'm less aggressive about approaching than I probably should be, but then I'm bad at reading signs and want to avoid giving off lech vibes. I don't think the article is arguing that women *should* be passive (which, personally, I think removes a lot of personal agency because you're relying on people "noticing" you, and the problem with women approaching is not whether they should but that society should grant them equal license to approach as men if they want it as individuals, and chastise people who are jerks about that), but simply that there might be good reasons why they're more hesitant to ask someone out than a man. And like the article says, it can often be down to personal attributes unrelated to gender; women can be shy nerds who are bad at emoting, too.

      • Paul Rivers

        Since I don't really watch Mad Men, I cannot speak to that particular scene, unfortunately.

        Just last week a girl was complaining to me about how she hated how she'd go out, and she'd always get approached by guys she wasn't interested in. Lots of guys would approach her, but the guys she was interested in wouldn't approach her, and she found this extremely frustrating. (And in her particular case I got the feeling it was not the "alpha" dudes she was trying to get to approach her, it was actually more the shy guys who didn't do it.)

        What I'm saying is – I really don't disagree with what you wrote above at all.

        What's absurd though, is trying claim "Women are **not** in the gatekeeping role! And also, here's a list of reasons why women are societally kept in the gatekeeping role!".

        I mean it's one or the other – other women are usually expected to be in that role so it's difficult for them to be the initiator, or women **aren't** in that role so it's not a problem.

    • Max

      I've started just skipping Paul Rivers threads and I've found I've generally been happier because of it.

      • When I feel up to remaining detached and uninvested, I find Paul's responses generally amusing.

      • SpiltCoffee5

        As I was scrolling down the comments, I had a feeling something was missing, but I couldn't quite figure out what. Then I saw Paul's novel of a comment.

    • SpiltCoffee5

      The circular reasoning is strong in this one.

    • Mad_

      I have a hard time disagreeing with this guy.

      While I think there are women where this system doesn't help them or do them any favours, there's a lot of advantages here that's either too hard or too painful to go against for most ladies.

      I mean, for all the real-or-theoretical change Doc writes about Men and the male problems the blog is based around, a lot of the female change in this blog comes down to stroking them softly and telling them it's okay not to change. Kinda feels like the privilege of the underprivileged.

      • Paul Rivers

        Yeah, that's what I mean. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

    • Why would the gatekeepers need to be indirect? They have all the power. They're basically the bouncers at the door of Club Sex-Having. Bouncers aren't coy and passive-aggressive. If women have as much sexual power as you say they do, they should have no problem giving a clear yes or no, and they should certainly feel free to ask guys out. They should be like Patrick Swayze in "Roadhouse": nice, until it's time not to be nice.

      Actually that sounds like a pretty good approach to dating.

      • Mad_

        Bouncers also don't go up and down the line asking people to please enter the club, the idea of the club being cool is that you're cool enough to be in the club. It means a loss of power because asking people to enter the gate means putting the power of acceptance or rejection in someone else's hands.

        • Paul Rivers

          Right, and they don't go around the city trying to convince people to come to their club. The most they're going to do is make the club appear to be a place you want to go into. They might leave fliers on your car, or put up billboards advertising the club.

          But they're in a very different role than initiator, who chooses to try to get into one of 16 different clubs they could be going to.

          "should" have no problems giving a clear yes or no, or that they "should" feel free to ask guys out is something I agree "should" be the case. Societally, it usually isn't, though.

          Initiator/gatekeeper is not the *only* model one could use for dating. But it seems to be fairly common.

          • eselle28

            I hesitate to enter this conversation, but hasn't anyone here had the misfortune of meeting a club promoter?

          • Mad_

            Does that alter their clientele or which club is cool at all?

          • eselle28

            It definitely alters the clientele. Promoters don't promote to everyone equally – they target the kinds of people they'd like to show up (with heavy biases toward young/white/female/conventionally attractive), and will offer perks like waiving the entry fee or the line or free drink cards to people they'd particularly like to come.

            I don't know if it changes which clubs are perceived as cool. I'd say it goes the other way around. It's kind of the middling bunch of clubs that seem to rely heavily on these tactics – really exclusive ones don't need to market much and places that let anyone in advertise more generally.

          • Mad_

            If a woman is a gatekeeper in this model, than she's trying to attract to the best into the club. Maybe she can't always, so she'll have to lower the standard a bit, but there's a still a kind of cool quality to enter. Regardless if they're a shitty person or not, if they're considered in demand, people are going to be lining up.

            Does this really sound much different from how things are currently for women?

          • enail0_o

            Yes. Although you don't believe it, so there's perhaps not much point in saying it again, women in general aren't in demand, that's a relatively small subsection of women.

          • eselle28

            Yes, it sounds quite a bit different from the dating I usually see. I know a few people who behave like that, but I also know lots of people who date in different ways. Most women I know don't have multiple men interested in them at the same time, period.

            Also, the club in the promoter example is the one doing the approaching. It's not a gatekeeper in that scenario. It's an initiator. Of course, it chooses who it initiates with just like people who walk up to clubs choose which ones they might like to patronize, but it also faces rejection and sometimes the promoter learns the customers would rather go elsewhere or don't like clubbing.

    • I think men are the sexual gatekeepers. Look at the evidence:

      – What would someone in the gatekeeper role do if they were interested? They would be confident and clear, safe in their cushy gatekeeper position. Which is exactly what men do – because men are the gatekeepers.
      – How would someone in the gatekeeper role feel about making the first move? They'd be totally cool with it – exactly how men feel. Don't tell me you're a man and you feel otherwise. You're obviously trying to trick me.
      – What's the difference between what the pursuer and the gatekeeper are told about getting rejected? The pursuer is told she did something wrong and has to go buy a push-up bra and study back issues of Cosmo, the gatekeeper is never told this. Everyone knows only people of one gender are ever criticized about their love life.
      – I think men laugh at me behind my back. This proves that they're gatekeepers. It is total gatekeeper behavior.
      – Man, this is tiring. Have some sitcom stereotypes that don't seem to have anything to do with gatekeeping, but prove men are gatekeepers. I don't have to explain. It's logic. Women are better than men at logic, so I must be right.
      – Wait, I thought of another one! Don't you hate it when men leave the toilet seat up? They do that because they're gatekeepers. THE TOILET IS THE GATE.
      – Men are taught "direct as you can get away with" pickup techniques to encourage women to approach them without being overt about it? Yeah – that's what you'd expect from the gender in the gatekeeping role!

      My logic is so solid. No man could logic on this level.

      • Delafina


        You totally made me spit-take my tea.

    • phaedrusbrowne

      'The thing is: women do approach guys. All the time in fact. Women frequently message guys they’re interested in when it comes to online dating' What a terrible example. Online where there are feck all risk of losing face and the woman can have her pick of guys based on their looks and profile.

      'Other times they get brushed off by the men because they’re not the women those men want to approach them. ' Well yeah, presumably men get to decide if they want to be sexual with a woman or not?

      'She may use proximity and body language to try to catch his attention and signal that she wants to talk to him, she makes an observation about something or finds an excuse to talk with him about, say, a class they have in common, as a way of breaking the ice.' I.e. she uses proximity to get him to approach.

      'Everything in our culture drills “men make the first move” into women’s heads. ' and yet many men dont. The difference is, men who dont make the first move simply have no relationships or sex.

      The 'creeper sense' comment juxtaposed with a balding middle aged man..god, if you juxtaposed creep with an obese middle aged woman there would be uproar.

      'They have issues with aggressive or strong women – women who don’t conform to the “traditional values” of being meek and subservient, and a woman who flouts convention in that way will repulse them' ehhhh many shy men have issues with ALL aggressive and strong people, not just women.

      'Yes, finding out early that a guy is threatened by assertive women is generally a good thing – it means he’s self-selected out of that woman’s dating pool and good riddance. ' Not really, there are plenty of passive women out there that go for that. Do you think Tom Cruise was 'weeded out'?? Besides, yes some men are threatened by strong women, its called being vulnerable and insecure, presumably plenty of women are threatened by weak, vlunrable or passive men..in fact we know they are from the repeated creep mongering.

      'For all the times guys have worried about the “eww no” reaction from women that they approach, women are more likely to be insulted loudly and very publicly. If they’re lucky. Because at the other end of the spectrum are the guys who will feel like she’s a pushy bitch who needs to be taught her place. Sometimes physically.' This is just bullshit speculation.

      'Now, are all guys like this? No. Are you like this? Hopefully not' When was the last time you read an article about women that 'hoped they were not like attitude X'

      'Here’s the thing though: women can’t tell this from just looking at you. Not every Brohemian is a collar-popping date rapist and not every quiet geeky wallflower is a shy Prince Charming waiting to be discovered.' The amusing thing about this advice is, in other contexts men are told to adust their behaviour because they ought to know not all women are like X…in teh reverse situation it is still men who are supposed to be sacrificial.

      'a woman who may want to approach a man has to roll on the singles bar random encounters table2 and hope she doesn’t roll low.' Again almost impossible to imagine an article about women aimed at men, comparing women to a dice roll…that would pass muster for decency.

      'So the next time you’re sullenly wishing that women would do the work for you, remember that they’re having the same issues you are.' Right like the way I show up at a bar and a queue of girls form all trying to talk me into bed, yeah man, that issue weighs heavily on me.

    • Paul is absolutely correct with consistent logic. What really baffles me is, women keep complaining about getting their hearts broken by the smooth taking, 'Game' slinging player types yet they won't just get off of their asses and go talk to the guys they really want who may be a bit shy or quiet types but at least you know these guys aren't master bullshitters and more than likely are decent nice guys.

      • eselle28

        As a woman who does approach men, I know the answer to this: Quiet, shy men who aren't good at talking to women and wish women would approach them instead aren't any more (or any less) likely to be decent or nice than loud, outgoing men who are good at talking to women and comfortable approaching them. They don't even seem to be less likely to cheat, at least not in the long term, because even shy and quiet people have old friends or at least coworkers milling around (and, in any case, the fidelity of someone who declines to cheat only because he has no other options isn't worth much).

        So, women go on dating men whose looks or personalities they like and finding out whether they're nice or decent as they get to know them. Women who like shy, quiet personalities (and some certainly do) or who find a particular shy, quiet man attractive should certainly approach, but I'd warn them against assuming that those men are somehow saints because they're introverts.

  • eselle28

    I think it might also be worth mentioning that women who stick to their traditional wait-to-be-approached role aren't completely passive – or at least the ones who actually get approached aren't completely passive. If you want people to approach you, there are some things you can do to make that more likely to happen.

    – Be in places where people approach each other. This one sounds obvious, but a lot of people of both genders who complain that no one ever approaches them don't go anywhere except work, home, their best friend's house, and maybe one bar or coffee shop that's full of people of the same gender. If you want to be approached, mimic single women and convince a friend or two to go to a place where people are socializing and the gender ratio is in your favor.
    – Appearances matter. This is the case regardless of the role you take in dating, but if you're looking to be approached by people you don't already know well, it increases in importance. After all, people don't know that you're smart or funny or that you have an encyclopedia knowledge of 90s era animation just by looking at you. Try to look your best, and consider wearing something that's both attractive and a potential conversation piece. If you're using online dating, get a couple of friends to give you honest feedback about the quality of your profile picture. This is an area where "good enough" isn't really – you should try to make sure it's a really great picture of you.
    – Let people know you're open to approaches. Most guys don't hit on women who have closed off body language and who haven't looked in their direction once all night. The same is going to be true of women. Make eye contact with people around you, try to have a pleasant-looking expression, keep your body angled so that it's a bit open, and detach yourself from your friends every once in awhile, and it will be more inviting to approach you. For online dating, update your profile frequently, leave visitor tracks on women's profiles, and use the passive rating tools to let women know you might be open to being approached.
    – It's not a sure thing once you've been approached. Have you ever approached a woman, found she was willing to talk to you, but then completely lost interest because she was a terrible conversationalist or let things end on a confusing note because you couldn't tell if she was interested or just being polite? This happens to women who approach too. It's less common for women to approach, but when they do, it's usually not because they've already decided they're going to go home with you that night. Most expect some kind of relatively even conversation and some indication that you're actually enjoying the conversation. A lot of women have experience with politely putting off people who don't interest them, so I'd say we're actually likely to be more skittish than guys in that respect. Keep an eye on how the conversation is going and make sure you're being an active participant and not just answering questions put to you.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      Shhh! Don't give away friday's article! Sheesh!

      • eselle28

        Think of it as a teaser!

        • celette482

          It's the 6-second Vine version.

      • OtherRoooToo
  • Gman

    I read this post and all I could do is laugh, because the woman I am dating right now was the one who took the initiative. But that only happened because when I got her phone number and tried calling, I got a dialing tone and everything, but no response. Thought she wasn't interested because she didn't return my call, so I was just about to give up and move on, when she decided to text me.

    After I asked her later on why did she text me after not returning my call for so long, she said "What call are you talking about?! I didn't get any call from you at all! So I texted you so that you will take me out on a date already!"


    • Marco Pura

      Texting really irritates me when it comes to setting up the initial dates. I can understand when people are in a long term relationship and are bored at work, exchanging quick messages under the meeting table when a call is not feasible. But when it comes to the logistics of the first meetings it's easier just to have it done with a five minute conversation instead of spending hours exchanging texts.

      • eselle28

        Hmm. I think that there's a wide variation in preferences about this. I kind of like texting to set up dates, because then I know that both of us have a written record of when and where we're meeting, which at least in theory reduces the potential for mistakes.

        • Paul Rivers

          Yeah, if you're just working out logistics, rather than whether you're going to go out or not, texting is often easier for those reasons.

      • LeeEsq

        I don't know about this. I've recently had a woman request that I call her to arrange a date. Even gave me a good time to call. She sounded more than a little surprised and shocked when I actually called like I got her off-guard.

        • OtherRoooToo

          Maybe because other men don't ordinarily do what she asks.

          Just because she was surprised, it doesn't necessarily follow from that you did something problematic.

          You're doing great. Don't muck it up. 🙂

    • OtherRoooToo

      "Conclusion: BLAME MODERN TECHNOLOGY!"

      LOL. I will admit I've been totally guilty of the one-two punch of wondering why someone to whom I've reached out isn't getting back to me when it takes him longer than I think it "should", and wondering why someone who's reached out to me repeatedly during what I think is a short period seems to be demanding an instant response.


    • GuestGuest

      That sounds like manipulation to me.

  • LTP

    First of all, that woman in the last picture really creeps me out! Maybe because I was reading this on my phone, in the dark, but she stares into my soul, man.

    As to the article, I think DNL missed one of the main reasons women don't approach: women are socialized to be passive, as he said, but also many — not all — are socialized to be attracted to active and assertive men. Don't misinterpret me, this isn't a "girls all go for the jerks" argument. Many active and assertive guys are sweet and feminist and intelligent and respectful and all the rest. I think significant number of women (particularly younger women) view socially passive men in a desexualized manner. They think that "If he was REALLY attracted to me he would have approached".

    I do have one big pet peeve, though. There have been two times in my life that a women has "approached" me (sadly, neither was even remotely my type). I put "approached" in quotation marks because what they really did was just be slightly more friendly and giggly with me than with others, but otherwise treated me just like everybody else. Only in hindsight did I see their attraction. Granted, both of these happened in high school, when people are really REALLY bad at signalling attraction and where I was in no position to connect with anyone on even a platonic level due to mental illness, but I still think I'm not alone in having such experiences with female "initiation".

    • "I think significant number of women (particularly younger women) view socially passive men in a desexualized manner. They think that "If he was REALLY attracted to me he would have approached"."

      I don't know if desexualized is the term. I can fully admit that I no longer like passive men. It's less that I see them as not sexy, and more I see them as…. well, lazy.

      Just existing in a relationship is not enough. A healthy relationship is made up of two active participants. I've mentioned before that the pattern I see is men being active in the beginning (chasing, pursuing, courting) and then women being active for the long-term (doing the emotional work of support and communication, still usually doing the majority of the household work, etc.)

      In my experience, when I pursued a guy, I found I was literally doing ALL the work. I was doing the work at the beginning (planning the date, doing the asking/pursuing, striving to make him like me) and then ALSO doing the work once we settled into a relationship (trying to keep the romance alive, making sure he felt supported and nurtured, etc.) It was *exhausting.*

      Even more, I never had any indication besides the guy's passiveness that he dug me. His lack of "no" (no enthusiastic Yes) is literally all I had. My friends used to say "Well he's sleeping with you, so that should be enough." But it really isn't… As last week's discussion shows, there are guys (far too many in the geek world) who will have sex with women they do not otherwise like or find that attractive, because hey, "doesn't matter-had sex." Some guys are so desperate for female validation or sex that they will take ANYTHING.

      Too often I've found those two groups overlap. Dating passive guys meant I never had any idea if they liked me-and as it turned out, they didn't! They were just too lazy and desperate to say no. It left a giant black hole in my self-esteem, and I wouldn't wish a passive boyfriend on my worst lady enemy.

      Passiveness, in either gender, doesn't lead to a healthy relationship. Why men have tolerated it up to this point, I can't say…. but I think wanting an active guy who puts equal energy into a relationship does not mean women automatically label things as "unsexy." It literally just means they wanted to be loved in equal measures, and know they have a partner who will support them in equal amounts.

      • StarlightArcher

        Reminds me of a guy I was in a "thing" with once. He said he only dated girls who approached him. At the time I remember thinking that was a rather selfish expectation to place on the world. Of course, I also approached him, so hey it must've worked to a certain degree.

        But you're spot on, I did most of the heavy lifting in that whatever-it-was. I had to be the one to call him, I had to prove I was good enough for him by losing a bunch of weight, I had to make payments for his Porsche (but he was totally gonna pay me back… can you see how hard I'm rolling my eyes?), I had to take all his manipulative bullshit and not speak for my emotional needs because hey he was gorgeous and I was easily replaceable (but that's another rant for a different thread). Anyway, yeah after that experience, I was very suspicious about men who expected women to shoulder all the risk.

        • LTP

          It's funny, but, as a man, one of my biggest fears when it comes to relationships is getting stuck in the exact kind of situation you described. I guess I have weird life experiences and personality for a man.

          BTW, when I said "socially passive" I was referring to passivity in group settings, like bars or parties, rather than withing friendships/relationships. Though if there is a correlation in your experience, I won't deny it.

          • LTP

            To clarify, I fear being the one "doing all the work".

          • v3rmili0n

            Oh, I thought you meant the opposite. That's what I would hate; being the one not doing anything. Maybe that's why I always like the more matronly… onee-san types, for lack of a better, less potentially offsetting term. I'm bad at being concerned for my own well-being, so I guess I idealize having somebody to help me work hard for them.

            Otherwise I'm cool with just doing whatever. There's something romantic about loneliness and wasted potential.

            Passivity for me is just a deep-seated social anxiety. I don't even like ordering food at McDonald's. I feel like I'm bothering the cashier. It is literally their job to listen to what I want to eat, and I get anxious walking to the counter to tell them. I'm uncomfortable taking initiative and potentially undermining someone else's own preferences. I'd much rather be stabbed in a mugging than stab a mugger, you know? I don't know if that's weird or not.

          • celette482

            Not to invalidate anyone experiences, but I do want to point out that people (non-gendered here) have a certain amount of bias in the realm of "who does the most work." In anything, whether it's a relationship or a group project or whatever, we tend to think that "we're" the ones doing the most work. Is it because we only see what we're doing? Is it because we're blind to the work that other people have to do to make our work possible? No idea. But, in my experience, people usually think they're doing at least a wee bit more than the other people.

            So, yeah, you might very well feel like you are doing more of the work, or even all the work. The way to address that within a relationship is to talk about it and be willing to listen. Once you start listing everything you do and she lists everything she does, you won't be operating on conceptions but on facts. (In the realm of approach, you're on your own, I'm afraid. We can't agree as a society when we can start calling years by their last two numbers again (Fourteen), so I'm skeptical that we'll figure out how to pair off without major miscommunication.)

    • eselle28

      I wouldn't say that I view socially passive men as desexualized. I think it's more that I don't necessarily notice them at all. I think a lot of women are socialized to play the same boys-ask-out-girls game that's standard in our society, and as a result, have some training in ways to attract attention to themselves and to signal interest without initiating. I've found that a lot of socially passive guys aren't playing the assertive male role but also aren't really playing the female one, either. They're just kind of over in the corner, not playing at all, which makes it easy to miss them. I do initiate with men (meaning that I start conversations with them in bars, write them messages online, and sometimes ask them on dates), and of the guys I've initiated with, most weren't all that passive. They had already made eye contact with me, or I saw them hanging out with their friends and being social and happy. Of those who were pretty passive, the unfortunate truth is that they were the kind of guys who were attractive enough to be able to attract attention without doing much to encourage it. I think socially passive guys who don't benefit from this kind of perk, it would probably be beneficial to practice signaling interest and attracting attention.

      I would agree that someone hanging around you and giggling a bit is not actually initiation. I would characterize that as women sending signals that they would like you to initiate (and it's something you could perhaps incorporate into your interactions with women if you'd like to encourage actual initiation).

      • LTP

        "Of those who were pretty passive, the unfortunate truth is that they were the kind of guys who were attractive enough to be able to attract attention without doing much to encourage it."

        Heh, well I'm a conventionally attractive male (save the long hair), and I don't get attention. Though largely that may be because I don't get out enough.

        • eselle28

          That last one is a big factor. There's been a couple of discussions – one here and one in the forums – lately where I've talked about some of the women I know who are involuntarily celibate and the general response has been, "Well, where are all those desperate women?" In most cases, the answer is that they're at home or hanging out with a few friends of the incompatible gender for them or with a mixed social circle where none of the guys are interested. As far as I can tell, that's a pretty common problem among guys who have trouble dating as well.

          • LTP

            Oh yeah, and I'm completely aware of it. I am in no position psychologically to have a healthy relationship, but I still wish I could feel like a sexual being at times, if that makes sense.

          • rbailey211

            This is a big one for me. I'm 27 and I've befriended or more very few young women since adolescence. I've mostly got on with other things and avoided the minefield that is dating/relationships till now, apart from an occasional attempt (and I think 1 or 2 missed approaches by women). I currently have a few female friends from childhood, probably because we've always understood each other like that. But certainly since high school, I've met very few women who want to open up even as friends. Outside of bars, or jerky environments, which aren't usually my thing, there's very few places/chances to meet and interact with women who'd probably be my type. That said, when I do get the chance, which is about 3 times a year, I love interacting with cool/open/intelligent women the most, no awkwardness whoever approaches, and no worries whether or not we're into each other.

      • nonA

        Incidentally, this is why I wish the anti-creep faction were a little more proactive pointers and a lot less "AVOID ANYTHING LIKE THIS AT ALL".

        Signaling openness can be a finesse operation, and especially as a guy it's easy for a misstep to be read as creepiness. Doubly so in the "girls don't approach" paradigm, where even the best execution is often a crapshoot (and thus lacks feedback). Too many guys are told to avoid such broad swaths of behavior that they wind up avoiding any sort of signaling behaviors as well. More "how to signal intelligently" would be a very nice thing.

        • eselle28

          In fairness, I'm part of the anti-creep faction and I also wrote a post of suggestions on being approachable. Granted, most of it's 101 or even remedial level, but I agree it's a topic that's worth discussing. It gives guys who are confused a more proactive direction for their energy, and I think it at least partially helps to decrease the impression that a typical woman can just go about her daily life without making any efforts to meet men or encourage their attention and still have lots of romantic options. I'm looking forward to the article on the topic.

    • KMR

      I generally like shy, introverted men (because I'm a shy, introverted woman and can very much relate), but the issue I've had with men like this who also happen to be very passive in dating is that I cannot tell the difference between passivity/nervousness and apathy/disinterest. I tend to assume the latter, because it's usually more productive for me to just move on than to invest extra time and energy on someone who may not be all that interested. And the other issue is the one that Marty described: dating someone who is very passive can easily turn into a very one-sided interaction.

      For example, there was a guy who messaged me first on OkCupid, but who then would take days or weeks to reply to any subsequent messages, even though I made sure to reply to each of his within a day at the most. I eventually suggested switching to instant messaging in the hopes of having some better conversations, but even then he contacted me very infrequently, so if I didn't initiate a conversation, we would just go weeks without speaking at all. I assumed this meant he wasn't interested, so eventually stopped bothering to message him and we fell out of contact. Something like 6 months later, he sends me a message on OkC saying that he's sorry for losing touch, but he was just too nervous to ask me out on a date. I replied saying I'd be willing to start talking again and that I'd be interested to meet up in person sometime. However, very quickly we fell into the same pattern where he wouldn't reply or initiate contact with me for days or weeks at a time, at which point I just gave up. Even learning that his behavior was (supposedly) the result of nerves rather than disinterest didn't help at this point; I didn't want to date someone who was so unresponsive. I just couldn't help but think, "If you're going weeks at a time without talking to me, do you even care that we're talking at all? And is this how our interactions would continue to be if we actually did start dating?"

      • celette482

        Yeah. My fiance is very shy and introverted (slow to get to know, he describes himself) and I initiated contact on OKC. But once we started talking, we basically didn't stop. We would text each other random things (not necessarily lovey-messages, just jokes and other observations) because we didn't want to stop talking, and he initiated as much as I did.

        In other words, nerves and shyness can be overcome if a connection is there.

  • Baffled

    Do some women approach? Of course. Do any women approach me? No, and while I don't blame them, I still think it's a valid reason to be frustrated.

    • enail0_o

      It totally is!

      • OtherRoooToo

        I think it's a valid reason to be frustrated if and only if – and I use that phrase deliberately – that person is doing all s/he can to be attractive and approachable.

        That does not mean I don't believe some people are incredibly shallow. (AMOF, I do believe that).

        But it does mean exactly what I wrote it means. 🙂

        • Baffled

          I agree, to a point. I think it depends on where one draws the line. To take an extreme example, getting cosmetic surgery would absolutely make me more attractive and approachable, and it is hypothetically something I could do, but haven't. I don't think I have to take that extreme step before I'm justified in my frustration in this regard, though.

          • OtherRoooToo

            I did say "attractive and approachable". I didn't say "cosmetically perfect as our society currently defines it".

            I would also say that women are pushed much much harder to see something like cosmetic surgery as a "totally reasonable" thing to do to increase their attractiveness & approachability — despite its physical risks, its exorbitant cost, and the fact that women actually earn less money (yet and still, and despite the POTUS addressing it in the SOTU) but are still all but expected to put a percentage of that allegedly disposable income toward such an "improvement", as we are judged much more harshly on our looks (that's right, even by our fellow geeks, and sometimes you all can even be worse, since you feel you've been "denied" the Kunis/Berry/Klum/Vergara lookalikes your whole lives).

            Finally, I'd say — and this may be even more important WRT this specific subject of "attractiveness" — that a guy can be a Marcus Schenkenberg or Tyson Beckford lookalike, and if he's aggressively argumentative and/or dismissive and rude and/or sexist, that's an automatic turnoff and he can go from "attractive and approachable" to "Ugh! Blech!" in a matter of seconds as a result.

            And when he is genuinely nice — and I will deliberately define it here as "considerate and engaged with what I have to say, and offering indicators that what is important to me is also important to him" to deflect confusion as to that much-mangled adjective — the reverse can also be true. 🙂

          • Baffled

            I think I agree with all of the above, OtherRoooToo. I do think it stands though, that for some people (men or women), surgery would make them more "attractive and approachable." I absolutely believe it would in my case. And I (justifiably, I believe) think that sucks, for myself and anyone else whom it would apply to. It's an option I'm unwilling to take now and I find it upsetting to think about, but despite that, I still think it's frustrating that nobody approaches me.

          • OtherRoooToo

            As someone who would also “benefit” from plastic surgery if she wanted to look more like Halle Berry — who has also had her share, as have Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss, and which trio I find somewhat disturbingly overrepresented in geek guys exhortations on “natural beauty” (e.g., “Why can’t you look like X with no makeup/when you roll out of bed in the morning”) — I find it … interesting … the degree to which you have appeared to hyperfocus on the “plastic surgery” portion of the conversation …

            … as opposed to, say, the “personality” portion, on which I purposefully focused approximately 2/3 of my reply.

            Sometimes it's just about getting to the gym more (which is also, incidentally, good for the disposition) and looking friendly.

            Protip: If you're hunched over? If you frown at everyone? If you refuse to smile ever?

            No one is going to approach you, no matter how much surgery you get.

            However, if your point is "I'm going to change nothing and continue to be miserable, no matter what anyone says" — then by all means, knock yourself out.

            As challenging as I sometimes find the relationship struggle, I try not to engage too much with folks who are determined not to do anything whatsoever — and I'm not talking about surgery here, in case you missed it — to change circumstances they've claimed they're unhappy with.

            So I'll be moving along from the conversation now.

          • Baffled

            I find this reply fascinating. It seems to me either OtherRooToo is projecting issues she has with others onto me, or I have failed catastrophically at conveying my meaning. Those points you are attributing to me are not my points as all. I focused on the surgery thing because I was elaborating on my original point, which was about the said topic. (For the record, I don't find Kate Moss attractive, no do I expect cosmetic surgery out of anyone. I have no idea who Gisele Bundchen is. This seems really odd to throw these traits at me as if it was something I actually said.) As someone who's been trying to improve for years with zero success, it truly feels like my appearance is the brick wall I can't get over.

            As OtherRoo has left the conversation, can anyone else chime in here? Did I fail at communication here enough to scare someone off? Did I do something wrong, and if so, what? I don't feel like I did, but I could certainly be wrong.

          • enail0_o

            I think she was interpreting you as saying that having a valid reason to be frustrated meant being justified in blaming others, without yourself making any effort. I can't say what people in general understood from your post, but I didn't have the same interpretation as OtherRoo.

          • Baffled

            Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate the outside perspective. Another question, if you or anyone else would be so kind: Am I justified in feeling a little insulted at OtherRoos last message? It's clear she's upset (or at least annoyed) but she comes off, to me anyway, as quite condescending by assuming (incorrectly, I might add) several things about my history, mannerisms, and personality that I've never spoken about and she'd have no way of knowing. Is that fair? Perhaps she thought I was arguing with her or being hostile, and responded in kind? I never wrote any assumptions about her person.

          • OtherRoooToo

            Dude, you could ask me directly. The triangulating is … not a good look.

            There are points being made elsewhere in the thread, to other people by other people, about not assuming you (universal "you") are communicating clearly in writing just because what you think you are communicating to others in writing is clear to you in your head.

            (You can read the thread itself for the links. There are … a few too many for me to post here, especially since given the fact that you've decided to try to slander me instead of communicating to me directly is … not exactly inclining me to rouse myself to make the effort.)

            Put another way — just because you are assuming you meant one thing before putting fingers to keys, that doesn't mean what actually ends up on the page is not open to more than one interpretation.

            And, to go to the main point?

            All this —

            "It's clear she's upset (or at least annoyed) but she comes off, to me anyway, as quite condescending by assuming (incorrectly, I might add) several things about my history, mannerisms, and personality that I've never spoken about and she'd have no way of knowing. Is that fair? Perhaps she thought I was arguing with her or being hostile, and responded in kind? I never wrote any assumptions about her person."

            — the whining, the triangulating, the fingerpointing, the namecalling, the arguing?

            If you ran out right now and got plastic surgery, it would not make any of that stuff any more attractive.

            Which is what I was getting at.

            I'd find it amusing, if it *weren't* so annoying, that you're so focused on my being annoyed — which you clearly find unattractive; that's fine — without what looks like *even one second's reflection* on what it is in your communication that I might have cause to be annoyed about.

            If what you are doing here, right here, as far as how you communicate, is reflective of your real life personality?

            The reason you are not getting approached IRL has far less to do with your lack of plastic surgery than you think.

            If you've been attacking and criticizing me here because you feel I haven't been clear, have I been a little more clear this time?

          • Baffled

            You said you were done, I took you at your word and therefore was asking for input. This sight is about self improvement, right? Our conversation went wrong, and I didn't know why, and since you were done, I wanted more input so I could learn from this. To quote what I wrote earlier, "Did I do something wrong, and if so, what? I don't feel like I did, but I could certainly be wrong."

            I did indeed find what you said condescending, is saying so slandering you? Do you see how what you wrote can be seen as condescending? Where did I namecall? Where did I argue? I've reread what you quoted several times and I can find none of that. I can see what you interpret as whining if read in a certain light, and for that, I thank you for your input.

  • "Remember what I said about how some guys freak out over overturned gender roles? This includes when women do the approaching. There are many men who are profoundly uncomfortable with any sort of non-traditional forms of gender-expression whether it’s through looks or behavior, and by trying to make an overt move, women risk stepping squarely on that particular emotional landmine."

    To be fair, I got some fairly hostile responses from a few women when I suggested that I would be open to going out and having coffee with pretty much any woman who asked me out.

    • eselle28

      As with a lot of things in the forums, the negative reaction wasn't so much with that as with how you expressed it.

      • It felt like gender policing to me.

        • eselle28

          I'm sorry you felt gender policed. However, I think it's worth pointing out that many of the women who reacted negatively to your statements are themselves willing to initiate with men, so I don't think you should conclude that the negative reaction is against men who are willing to accept women's offers if they do the initiating.

          I suspect what triggered the negative reaction is that you made those comments in response to someone who said that she felt uncomfortable when she received online dating messages from men who hadn't actually read her profile and that she was suspicious of men who approached everyone. In expressing your opinion, you (probably unintentionally) devalued someone else's. You also expressed the opinion in fairly strong and somewhat sarcastic terms ("Does this make me a bad person?" "I'm just picturing a bunch of society women sitting around and saying, "Oooooh that JP, he'll go for coffee and have a conversation with aaaaannnyone with tits and a pulse"), which is more likely to lead to negative reactions that stating how you feel and honestly seeking to understand other points of view.

          • I'm sure all of that is true, but the discussion immediately focused on my violation of male gender norms.

          • eselle28

            Can you quote the posts that made you feel that way? I just looked at that conversation. You had several people express skepticism that you'd be interested in going to coffee with any woman, a couple of requests for clarification, some of the usual discussion that happens in your threads about the way you phrase things, and someone asking if you'd go to coffee with any man who asked.

          • "You had several people express skepticism that you'd be interested in going to coffee with any woman, a couple of requests for clarification, some of the usual discussion that happens in your threads about the way you phrase things, and someone asking if you'd go to coffee with any man who asked."

            That's what gender policing often looks like.

          • eselle28

            In what way do you feel that those responses related to your gender? To me, it appeared that the conversation focused far more strongly on the claimed lack of selectivity than the fact that you were hypothetically the approachee rather than the approacher (especially since you introduced the statement in a discussion that was about people's reaction to men who approached everyone, rather than men who were open to being approached by everyone). I strongly suspect that people would question a female forum member if she said that she would go to coffee with any man who asked her. It's an unusual attitude and is going to incite curiosity. If presented in a sarcastic way, I think it's likely to incite more than that.

          • "In what way do you feel that those responses related to your gender?"

            Why do you think it isn't?

          • eselle28

            Because I was one of the people who responded, and my focus was purely on your claimed lack of selectivity (I ask men out, and I have no problem with men who enjoy being asked out).

          • You and enail were pretty good, which is why I ended up talking with the two of you.

          • enail0_o

            I hesitate to ask this, because I know it feels shitty to have your experience of gender policing questioned and I can't figure out how to ask without sounding like I'm doing that, but I'm asking genuinely to find out more so I can understand and figure out how not to gender police guys in the future, so I hope it doesn't feel like I'm trying to make you justify yourself but: Would you be at all able to explain what about the responses made it gender policing-y? What gender role expectations was it reinforcing? Would there have been other ways how to present the idea that you're open to coffee with any women as a positive rather than accidently giving negative impressions, that wouldn't have felt like gender policing?

            Again, I'm not trying to ask you to justify, and apologies if it comes off that way, just wanting to understand your perspective.

          • "What gender role expectations was it reinforcing?"

            It's complicated, but I think the simplest way of putting it is that as a man, I am expected to sort women based on how fuckable I think they are.

            "Would there have been other ways how to present the idea that you're open to coffee with any women as a positive rather than accidently giving negative impressions, that wouldn't have felt like gender policing? "

            Take the Geek Girls discussion above. It's like asking how women should say they like comic books without giving the impression that they're just looking for a guy to fuck. You shouldn't just assume that the speaker is the source of the miscommunication.

          • enail0_o

            Hm, I see what you mean, thanks. It's being looked at through the lens of a negative stereotype.

            Given that you were talking about dating specifically, though, I'd think it would be normal and reasonable to assume that a person's attraction (to use a somewhat less loaded term than estimate of fuckability, and however they do determine that)would be a factor in who you'd want to meet up with, whether they're male or female, no?

            I would think not doing that is fairly unusual, and therefore stands out a bit, which I think is why you got a closer examination – and I see why you felt this was gender policing and being held accountable for unpleasant gender stereotypes. But at the same time, I, and I suspect the other people in that discussion, thought that your words would be likely to trigger assumptions you didn't intend and that was information you'd want to know (most of the posts noted that they didn't think those assumptions were true for you). I sort of thought of it as more equivalent to telling a woman that mentioning sex a lot in her profile is likely to attract a lot of inappropriate comments. It's unfortunate that that's the case, but if an advice-giver thought she might not know that, it would probably be best to let her know so she can make her choice how to deal with that(though there are definitely good and bad ways to do that without policing gender roles).

            Is it your feeling that it would have been better in cases like that to not say it, and assume that you're aware of the assumptions and will make your own decisions on how to navigate them, or that it was more that the way of telling you was what made it gender police-y?

          • "Given that you were talking about dating specifically, though"

            Doesn't matter.

          • enail0_o

            Meaning that it doesn't make a difference to the unusualness, or that the unusualness is irrelevant and you don't think it merits question regardless?

          • The later.

          • Iris

            I wasn't part of the original conversation, so there may be something I'm missing. But the only reason I can think of to go on dates with anyone of the preferred gender who asks is if the person doesn't know whether they are interested until they have given the potential date some consideration in a dating context. Going on a date with someone you know you aren't interested in doesn't make any sense for anyone.

            I think the feeling of it being gender policing is because of the underlying assumption that men must necessarily know whether they are interested in a woman based solely on her appearance, and must have already considered every woman he knows in the context of determining whether he would be interested in her romantically or sexually.

            Some people often find that they are interested in someone they would not have initially been attracted to (based only on appearance) after going on a date or getting to know them a little–or after the other person expresses interest in them. Someone who finds that this happens often is likely to accept most offers of first dates. This idea is fairly well established for women, but appears not to have come up as even a possibility for him as a man.

            I think what he is referring to when he says that men are supposed to rate women based on how "fuckable" they are, is that men are expected to determine their interest in a woman based solely on her physical appearance,

            Obviously, I could be grossly misinterpreting everything, especially since I didn't see the other conversation. But that is what it seems like to me, just based on these comments.

          • JP McBride

            Original discussion:

            "Some people often find that they are interested in someone they would not have initially been attracted to (based only on appearance) after going on a date or getting to know them a little–or after the other person expresses interest in them. Someone who finds that this happens often is likely to accept most offers of first dates. This idea is fairly well established for women, but appears not to have come up as even a possibility for him as a man. "

            This is half of it. The other half is that I just like to have conversations with women. Yeah, I'm single and I would like a romantic partner, but that doesn't mean my desire to have conversations any less real.

          • Delafina

            How Orwellian. I guess women having opinions about when men devalue their experiences is misandry, by your standards.

          • Your guess is wrong.

  • Lemminkainen

    So, I actually think that the "No Women Ever Approach Me" narrative is often self-serving. If you believe that you have superficial traits which immediately leave you out of contention in the dating market, it's easy to just complain about it and not do the much harder work of changing your behavior to make yourself more attractive.

    For example, when I was in high school, I thought that I was too scrawny/clumsy/awkward to ever be attractive to anybody, so I never really tried to improve skills that might lead to a romantic relationship. I didn't start to reconsider my position until the end of my senior year of high school/beginning of my freshman year of college, when a bunch of countervailing evidence poured in. (I won a couple of national academic competitions my senior year, and multiple girls who I didn't know wrote to me and told me that they thought I was cute. At the start of my freshman year of college, when I went to parties, plenty of cute girls wanted to dance with me and make out with me. Etc, etc). I came to realize that my lack of success probably wasn't because of my appearance, but despite it. I recognized that in some ways, I was kind of an asshole, and I had a few other behaviors which weren't malicious but certainly offputting. It took me a few months to figure out how to actually ask people out effectively, a year or so to understand how to mitigate a bunch of the tendencies that I described, and a few years to learn how to manage relationships with people well. But in the past year, I've met the two women who I've loved most in my life, and both of them loved me right back.

    Abandoning the laziness-serving self-narrative is hard, and actually understanding the problems with your behavior and changing them is harder. But it's so, so worth it.

    • MCSpanner

      For some people the lack of success IS because of their appearance. Luckily for you it was down to something you COULD fix and you went out and did it. Good for you – some of us "lazy self-servers" are born to turn into (for want of a better word) cripples and would happily swap with you.

      • Lemminkainen

        Have you ever gone to a Wal-Mart in a small American town (or really, any major shopping location frequented by not-rich people)? You'll see lots of couples who have a member who's fat, bald, missing a limb, poorly dressed, asymmetrical, scarred, or otherwise conventionally unattractive. People with lots of different sorts of appearances succeed in finding love, usually because they have other things to offer their partners. Appearance is only very rarely a total disqualifier.

        I also suspect from the way that you post here that your limiting reagent is your behavior, not your appearance. Even if you are on the uglier side, you can put in extra effort on clothing and personal grooming to catch up. Most men are shitty dressers, and well-chosen clothes that fit you well will make you stand out in comparison. This is relatively low-hanging fruit.

        A case in point: a friend of mine is a relatively short, skinny guy who started balding at nineteen. He took shit into his own hands, shaved his head, and picked out a kickass wardrobe. Because he picks clothes that make him look damn good and because he's a warm, charming, mature and smart guy, he tends to be pretty successful with the ladies. Once, when he was 20, he successfully started a relationship with a 29-year-old architect.

        • 'Appearance is only very rarely a total disqualifier.'

          I don't think you know what you're talking about, and your example with the architect doesn't prove your point either.

          • eselle28

            I think my opinion on it would depend on whether it's referring to appearance being a total disqualifier with any one given partner (that happens frequently) or a total disqualifier from dating at all (I'd agree with the statement in that case).

          • Lemminkainen

            I was aiming for the latter.

        • I get where you're saying, but I think it is important to be respectful and careful about people's experiences in regards to their looks. I, on the female side of the coin, often get told the same thing: "Looks aren't an automatic disqualify, just dress better/be smarter/funnier! Look at all the other ugly people who found love!"

          And frankly, it kind of hurts. It hurts because 1) it presumes I *don't* put effort into my appearance. For all you know, people who are referring to themselves as ugly are already doing the "dress well, groom well" standard. I wear make-up every day, I try to pick clothes that are considered at least base-line acceptable, and I still struggle with my looks when it comes to social standards.

          As far as being told that ugly people have found love…. well, yeah, and unqualified people have found fantastic jobs. I know folks who dropped out of college and founded their own successful companies. But modeling my own life on theirs would probably be foolish, I would guess, as they probably have quite a few qualities that I lack.

          When you have one extraordinary ability, it's easy to compensate for lacking in other areas. But if you are average in all areas, then the one area where you fail is going to really harm you. Sure, if I had a fantastic personality/an amazing brain/a whip-smart sense of humor, then maybe my looks wouldn't matter. But I don't…. and cultivating those things is no easier than grooming. So far as I can tell, I've done what I can to improve, but I am still always going to be on the Average side of things.

          I'm sorry but when it comes to dating, appearance can really be a huge disqualifier. If you've never experienced it as an adult, then I'm not really sure it's helpful to hand-wave it away. Being far outside of society's norms for attractiveness can have a very deep and profound effect, and it just hurts to hear someone who might not have experienced to the same degree try to downplay it.

          • Mask

            I agree with Marty. I'm glad Lemminkainen and his friends are having success. Not everyone does,

          • Lemminkainen

            I'm sorry if I communicated poorly and came across as trying to be disrespectful of your experience. I'm not trying to say that looks don't make a difference– as you say, it would be quite unfair to deny that they have a lot of impact on people's prospects. I'm just trying to suggest that they rarely determine a person's romantic outcomes all by themselves, and that in a significant fraction of cases, people attribute problems to looks when their real biggest problem areas are something else.

            I should have been more clear with the point on clothes/grooming. My observation there was quite gendered. I'm aware that because of socialization, most women make a lot of effort on these things. By the same token, most men (especially outside of major metropolitan areas and certain educated/professional socioeconomic groups) really don't, so the reward on investment for picking actually good clothes is really high. One need only take a look at the members of any computer science or engineering department at a major university and observe the preponderence of unwashed, unkempt long hair, ill-conceived beards, poorly-fitting t-shirts, and cargo pants to understand how these men could improve their prospects dramatically with a trip to H&M and a little use of the razor.

            As for the appearance/experience issue: it seems like in day-to-day life, my looks have historically been pretty divisive. I've heard everything from "gorgeous" to "you know, you must have a lot of confidence to be shirtless in public with a body like that." As for other stuff, people around me have always reckoned me very smart, and recently, it seems like "friendly," "funny," "adorably enthusiastic," and "emotionally open" have joined them as descriptors. I had to work very hard over a span of about eight years to develop all of those, though, and they're what's made the difference in my dating life– I'm certainly not claiming that it's easy.

          • I'll absolutely agree looks aren't the only factor. It's kind of like rolling character points. Your lowest stat might be looks, but maybe you rolled a natural 20 on both intelligence and charisma. Well then hot damn, you're gonna do just fine! Or you rolled high for looks, but low for intelligence and wisdom, and you made yourself a spell caster… you're probably going to have a bumpy road despite your looks.

            I'm also not trying to suggest that the argument should rest on gaining intelligence/charisma is hard/easy. It's more…. I see these things as a range, and you could dedicate lots and lots of time to them and still not get very ahead.

            All of us have limitations, determined either by our genes, our life circumstance, our personality, what have you. Hard work is an important component, but it's not the *sole* component. I could spend hours and hours exercising, which would change my weight…. but isn't going to change the actual shape of my body. I'm never going to be able to reverse-engineer a butt, for example. I could have a toned butt, but it ain't ever gonna be a booty. I have some control, but I am also limited.

            So when I talk about other traits compensating for looks, I mean that a person could dedicate a lot of their free time to working on A particular trait…. but there's a chance they're gonna bump up against their range. Their range might be "average" and there might be no getting past it.

            I spend every lunch hour in my car reading. Reading whatever book I can get my hands on. I sneak looks at scholarly articles in between projects at work. But I'm kinda… stuck, at my current intelligence level. I could raise my IQ by a point or two with some very dedicated, intensive work, but I'm never going to be super smart. It just isn't in my code.

            I think when "ugly folks" opine about being ugly, they're probably opining about much more than that. At least I am. I'm opiniong about being ugly AND being average everywhere else. In a way, I kind of resent my Midwestern Lutheran upbringing-the idea that hard work will get you everywhere, when it turns out hard work can only get you to the top of your range.

            So if your range for your looks is "ugly to below average", and your range for social skills is "I don't creep people out to I have a few friends", well, self-improvement can kind of be a touchy subject.

          • Devlin_Mor

            " I could raise my IQ by a point or two with some very dedicated, intensive work, but I'm never going to be super smart. It just isn't in my code"

            Ah, but on the other hand, you come across to me as a lot more intelligent and articulate than people I have heard give high ratings to themselves on this trait. There is always going to be someone smarter than you, of course, but there are also going to be a hell of a lot of people who aren't. The world is so big and our traits so varied that an average person will always have someone who looks up to them in some areas.

    • ourgirlfriday

      I bet getting the Sampo back helped too. (Sorry, you deserve a better response but..Sampo!)

      • enail0_o

        Plus a million! I've been trying to figure out a place to stick a Kalevala reference for AGES!

    • phaedrusbrowne

      the point is that women can do none of that self improvement and still get better results than you at the height of your self impriovement

  • MCSpanner

    Who on earth poses for the stock photos in these articles by the way and isn't the cliché of the smoking hot girl going after the model clearly dressed up as the stereotype nerd to disguise the fact he's good looking a little stale?

    • nonA


      (Incidentally, since something really cool happened with them recently, google "getty lean in". Gotta give props for trying to change the state of stock image collections instead of just complaining about them.)

      • "Complaining" is what gets institutions to provide support for change. I'm involved in such a process right now and one of the ways we can convince stakeholders to make the change is to show how many people have spoken up about it.

        If you're reading this: please speak up more. You are giving valuable ammunition and support to people like me who are dirty-fighting in the trenches. 😛

    • Max

      FYI this isn't as comprehensible as you think it is.

      • Maximilian

        Even with people who can't fly and aren't vulnerable to kryptonite?

  • Guest

    I'm sorry, but I feel as though any guy who feels "intimidated" or uncomfortable about a woman showing interest and approaching them needs to step themselves up. Some people (including myself) would kill to have that opportunity happen for them. A girl having her intentions known would surely put some good points under my book. I won't deny that girls approaching doesn't happen; I've seen it occur with some of my good buddies. However, at least in my experience, it's rarely presented and I can't count one time where it has happened for me.

    I understand why it rarely happens, but that can go into context for why some guys don't approach either, much to what DNL mentioned. It just boils down to constant frustration for both sexes to commit to doing so, because of so much anxiety/fear of rejection and this unnecessary stigma that remains. People in general should work to resolve this kind of dilemma if they want to achieve some success in dating, I feel. Regardless of gender, you should be able to try and approach/garner noticeable attention towards the person of interest, but sadly, this is something that is no where near being commonplace.

    • coolcono

      Sounds like a cop out for emotional risks.

  • chiGrkMan

    Frankly, if women took on approaching, it'll only mean the top tier of men will get most women approaching them. "Top tier" as in very good looking and/or wealthy and/or the "X factor".

    I'd also toss in that many men and women get approached by their respective opposite sex, but too many dismiss those for valid or silly reasons. Even in OLD the men or women who complain that no one emails them will more often than not later admit they had some emails…but from people they were totally not into.

    Frankly, I still stand by the notion that you can't dress like a slob and hide in your home playing video games and eating frozen pizza if you want to find potential girlfriends. You need to go out, make friends, know people, do stuff…be interesting.

    • eselle28

      I don't know if it would be such a tiny segment of men, since taste varies and I don't think women's expectations are any more or less unrealistic than men's are, but I'd agree that more women approaching doesn't necessarily mean that men who are struggling the most with dating would get approached often or would get approached by women they'd be interested in dating.

      • chiGrkMan

        You got it….that was my big point. 😉

    • phaedrusbrowne

      Frankly, I still stand by the notion that you can't dress like a slob and hide in your home playing video games and eating frozen pizza if you want to find potential girlfriends. You need to go out, make friends, know people, do stuff…be interesting.

      You can if you are female.

      • Mel_

        Sorry, I know this guy's been kicked out, but I just have to sporfle at this comment. I wonder where the slobby women hiding in their homes playing video games are finding all these potential boyfriends? Guys psychically detect the presence of a woman in the building and break into her home to ask her out? That sounds rather terrifying! 😛

        For anyone reading, please note that yes, women do actually have to leave the house to meet people, just like men do, due to the laws of physics and such like.

        • No, no, you just call the Man Delivery hotline and have a dude waiting at your front door within thirty minutes!

        • SarahGryph

          Ah, this is what happens when I respond to something in my inbox and *then* go to the site to see if it was someone on their way to getting kicked or an honest question. Serves me right for checking my email while half asleep.

  • SarahGryph

    Thank you for this article. I don't mind conversations about how dating can be hard for men and women – I don't even mind that it can be difficult in different ways that may be gender related. That's a great conversation, people can learn and share.

    I mind very much when the conversation turns to "women have it easy, women are the gatekeepers, women are always getting approached." >.< I'd be just as upset if it turned into "men have it easy"…but that's not often what I see happening. How I often see the conversation go is more…

    "God, women have it so easy and are always getting approached."

    "Not really, some women have an easier time than others, but so do some men."

    "Hey, it's hard to be a man dating and it really sucks."

    "Yeah, it totally is hard for both sometimes."

    "Stop telling me it's easy for men."


    There's a bit of hyperbole there, but some conversations just make me want to headdesk. Because when I look at my dating life, my response isn't "men are mean and unfair and it's all their fault." (Well…I'm bi so it wouldn't be anyway, but to make the point easier.) I see "It's an awkward thing that's partly luck and partly learning about people. No one side has it harder, and it's not about "sides." Things do go better when I understand and respect how other people are feeling, WITHOUT laying blame or making false assumptions about a group as a whole."

    Sucks if it's making people "rawr" but DNL nailed it pretty well, here. I do approach, and it can be hard, and I don't do it from "a position of power" anymore than anyone else. I worry about coming off too strong or not strong enough, about if I'm going to make a friendship weird, or if I'm going to push something that will make the other person feel happier just not being around me. I worry that if we're friends after I'll put them in a bad spot because they know I'm interested or put myself in a bad spot by being Uber Supportive of someone who, very fairly, does not have that kind of investment. I hate the embarrassment of "Hey, you're really awesome but I just don't see you that way" or the "Aww, sorry but see I'm with someone right now. Didn't mean to give you the wrong impression." I hate the vague no's and have to work to remember not to read into things as "omg I suck" but just that the other person wasn't feeling it. And I sometimes get rejected, and I sometimes get responses that are vague or don't match up to how I was reading the other person, and sometimes I get a yes that I feel like is just to humor me or be nice to me. It's been a while (heh) but other times the other person is also interested and available.

    The point is not "poor me" because…that's the price of approaching for *people*, men and women. I do also have the added "Aw hell, some guys specifically don't like this but some guys really wish more women would." The pic DNL used there of overattached gf? Yes, that is a real worry to come off like that. I mean, it is a "thing," the thought is there.

    I feel like I have more compassion for people and beat up on myself less when I remember everyone has issues and a lot of them are pretty similar. It has never helped me or anyone around me to assume "the other side" has it better or easier…or even that there's sides in this at all. >.<

    • phaedrusbrowne

      Since your bi perhaps you can explain why online bi girls say 'Hey Im bi, no guys please' i.e. when its a guy only i can pick, but women are all good.

      • SarahGryph

        The problem with that logic, though, is I really can't tell you for certain anymore than you could tell me why any particular guy said he wanted or didn't want something in his own profile. I mean, there's not a bisexual women rulebook to follow or else they take your bi card away. 😛 So the best I can do is list some reasons I've heard from different women over time.

        I've known some women to do that when they feel safer meeting women at that point in time, or because they've had bad experiences with men either through online dating or their personal life. If someone had just come out of a bad relationship with a man, they might not be ready to date men again yet but would still like to see women. I know a few women who'd be more likely to look for women because they were in an open relationship with a man already and didn't feel like seeing more than one guy at a time. Perhaps they're new to dating and feel more comfortable with women. And there's a lot of different ways to be bi – some folks are sexually bi, but have a preference romantically, or vice versa.

        Short version is they say that because for whatever reason, that's what they're looking for at that point in time. Might sound trite, but that's the easiest answer. If it's something you find frustrating, it might help to see it like anything else folks list on online profiles – just a personal preference that's important to them right now, for whatever reason?

  • trixnix

    Went to a club Saturday night with some friends. A bit risky for me considering my muscles have been healing these past months and being knocked about by large groups of people poses a risk for me. But I realized not pushing myself meant that fear was winning too much. There was looking out for real risks and being daft. So I went. Had a lot of fun dancing very badly with some friends. My muscles screamed "what do you think you're doing?" a few times and my left knee went a bit weird for a bit but I was otherwise fine.

    There were two women dancing in the corner behind us. My friend had approached them earlier. He went for the touch far, far too early and from behind as well. I felt like shouting "no!" at him across the dance floor but was way too late. They "blew him out" and he didn't seem as a confident in the club later on which was a real shame as he had lots of women looking to hook up all around him.

    I won't lie. I considered approaching the two women in the corner but my mate had tried and got a "no" and I'd just look like yet another guy who couldn't take a hint. Plus these women clearly looked like they just wanted to dance with each other as friends and not get hit on. Which is cool. Still got some attention for my very, very bad dancing mind.,

    I didn't want to approach because it was a group outing and there's been a lot of talk about the women in the group feeling uncomfortable with the whole dating element that has crept in. I've decided that if I'm out with my friends then it's my friends I socialize with.

    Couple of times this woman behind me bumped me into me and I thought "you've done that maybe once too often for it to be an accident" but I didn't want to flatter myself that it was an approach.

    If a woman approaches me, I'm very flattered whether I'm interested in her back or not. I don't expect it so it might take me ages to realize but it's a wonderful gift for someone to give me.

    I have changed my attitude and feelings about approaching women recently. I've been out with a mentality of "let's see how many times I can get rejected and be okay with it". It's a fun way to play with the frames you put around doing an activity and what that activity means.

    Scarcity mentality combined with an ego that was too big for it's box combined in me to mean I was very scared to approach women I liked. Not now though. It's interesting how our thoughts and feelings about an activity and what i means affect whether we do or enjoy that activity or not. My previous frame attached to approaching women was: "this is really scary. I'm ugly and don't have many chances in this world to find someone. If she says "no" it's going to make me lose my confidence, hurt my ego and really hurt".

    The new frame is: "Dude, you almost died. Who the Flip cares anymore?"

    I bad mouth PUA guys a lot but one of the better ones I've met taught me the frame of: "imagine that loads of women have an envelope for you. One of those envelopes contains ten thousands dollars. Discovering the woman you've met doesn't have the envelope with the money in it doesn't mean you're bad, ugly or she's horrible. It just means she's not the one and you're now closer to finding the woman with the right envelope for you".

    Of course the money part of that frame is a bit problematic but I hope the proper meaning comes across.

    Trixnix: now working on getting over a nasty case of the flu so his next approach doesn't involve sneezing fits.

    • Christine

      "Dude, you almost died. Who the Flip cares anymore?"
      Yea for you, Trixnix!
      Hope you feel better soon.

    • SpiltCoffee5

      That's a weird thought: "I'm sorry, I'm allergic to approaching people. *aaachoo!*"


  • Ron Ritzman

    Like I once pointed out in the forums, one of the drawbacks of women approaching men is the different ways that men and women respond to attention from members of the opposite sex that they aren't "that much into". A woman will blow off (or friendzone) a guy that she isn't that interested in but a man, if he's not involved with anybody at the time and currently has no better options, might say "hell, why not". Date her, sleep with her, and then toss her over his shoulder like an empty beer can when he gets a shot at the woman he really wants. She becomes a "stop gap girl" to fill the slot marked "girlfriend" until he meets someone "hotter".

    • enail0_o

      Isn't this something that women do too sometimes? I've heard the phrase 'placeholder boyfriend.'

      • hobbesian

        I'd put my vote in for yes, for what it's worth.

      • eselle28

        Yes. Women do this too, either with the placeholder boyfriend thing or by going on first and second dates that they're very half-hearted about.

    • *Sigh* Yeah, that's pretty much 90% of my dating experience. I never did figure out how to stop being that girl.

    • Uh.. newsflash – women like flings, too.

  • The first and only sexual and label relationship I ever had was through girl a taking the initiative. That's right, I was 'deflowered'. It was very long time ago, almost a decade, and ever since then, I've never come close to replicating that level of closeness with someone i liked from the opposite sex. To this day, I'm curious if I'd still be a virgin had that not happened. These days, the main reason I do not approach, and this just my personal experience, is, I got tired of the mantra 'guys need to approach' without girls ever really reciprocating interest. By that, I don't mean sex, I just mean responding definitely as to whether or not a date may happen. When I did approach, the best thing it ever lead to was making out. Phone numbers, rarely if ever, lead to a meet up, or even a returned call/text. Too many girls giving me their number and silence lead me to stop trying and did have a significant effect on my confidence. Moreso when I felt the interaction went well. Ironically, I did go out with a girl last week who asked me out, and we did not hit it off, but I was very flattered she actually went out of her way to meet me up. I made sure to pay for dinner and drive close to where she lived so it was real convenient for her to come and leave. I am ok with approaching, not ok with mixed messages on meeting up, and where I have to play games just to meet up. I wish there were more articles, maybe not from DNL, but in women's magazines, that called out this behavior. One of my girl relatives openly told me she will not ever call a guy, will only reply by text message, and will never make it easy for him to meet up with her, even if she likes him. She also said 'i dont have to do anything else, its the guys role to approach'. She never seemed to think that she would leave a guy wondering by acting this way. That's the part of dating I despise – trying, and in response, just either mixed messages, or getting ignored. Rejections never bothered me as much as girls who acted like they were interested in the beginning, and they never really were. I really wish 'you are the girl, its your job to reciprocate, or not' was preached as much as 'you are a guy, its your job to approach'. If you google 'flaking' on the internet, you will see so many articles and strategies structured around getting past it, you can't deny it has really changed the dating scene alot. I think thats one of the reason I don't like approaching, because this is the process that plays out in my head: 1) have a great interaction, 2) get the number, 3) actually meet up. Step 3 is a challenge in itself because getting a number doesn't really signify anything. Making out with a girl one night also doesn't signify anything. There were a few times in the beginning I was really having fun with approaching, but the more I noticed it wasn't going anywhere, as in meeting up for a date, the more girls I encountered who openly told me its the guys job to approach, with very little or no personal reflection on what their role was, and usually, they felt being reactive, whether in a passive or more direct manner, was awesome, the more I stopped caring about approaching. The biggest thing I started to feel as well is "I am a guy, and I constantly read about guys being committment-phobic, but I can't even get a girl to commit a Friday night to me for a harmless date'. I also thought, if i can't do that, chances are, I'll never get a girl to fully commit to me, ever. What is inteesting to, is in movies and media, guys are constantly the ones who approach, but you never see them go through a dry spell, a slump in dating, or a series of interactions that lead to meeting up with a girl on date. Sucks, but that's life I guess. Oh, and the part about guys acting badly if they get approached? That's a stupid , gross generalization about guys, as if we do that as a whole. If we lived in a society where women did approach men more often (in safe environments), I don't see any problem with that. I've never made a girl feel bad about approaching me or showing interest.

    • Ron Ritzman

      Sounds like your female relative is either a "rules girl" or follows a similar playbook. Woman do this to keep from becoming a "back pocket girl", "stop gap girl", "placeholder girlfriend" (or whatever term you want to use) the idea being that a guy who is truly into you will be willing to wait you out (Steve Harvey's 90 day rule comes to mind) and bust through all your firewalls.

      • that may be true and there may be some merit to that approach, but the flipside is a guy chasing a girl who completely has no interest and will not make that clear, but likes the attention for the sake of an ego boost. There's an upside and a downside to the rules or playbook you speak of. I have firsthand, experiencing the downside many times. MY rule is ask once, don't ask twice. A wise girl once told me 'if a girl likes you, there will be zero issues about meeting up. It's not going to be IF you meet up, its when and where.' I think if that was the case more often, approaching would be much, much easier for some guys. I don't do it because I am afraid of rejection, I don't do it because I dislike games built around meeting up because its puts more pressure on whether or not I meet up with a girl when I don't really want to be thinking about that, and instead just be relaxed and chill about the whole process. I think girls who like the idea of being chased without reciprocating, or definitively not reciprocating, does no good for me or the girl in question.

        • Ron Ritzman

          Another downside is if the "playbook" being used requires her to stray too far from her baseline personality, then it's going to come across as phoney. (ditto for different forms of PUA game) Example, "The Rules" requires her to "fill up her social schedule" in order to get her "target" to compete for her time but doing that is going to drive an introvert bat shit crazy.

          • google 'why girls flake' sometime, read messageboards, and you will see the sheer amount of overthinking, insecurity, and overanalyzation that comes with a person who expresses interest in meeting up, hands out their contact info, and is silent when contacted. This IS NOT meant to address girls who give out numbers for fear of a guy getting angry or dangerous situations, but when a girl would feel totally safe not too. This comment IS intended to also call out guys who exhibit this shitty behavior.

  • SpiltCoffee5

    This article makes me think that I must be getting something right. Of the… *counts fingers* 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8? relationships/flings/fwb/whatevers I've been a part of in my life, only one of them involved asking them out as being the first indication from either of us that someone was interested. The rest were initiated by the other person showing interest in me.

    I mean, the last thing I was involved in, the other person indicated their interest by spontaneously snuggling up to me while we were all watching a movie at 2am in the morning at a party.

    • Mad_

      "Why do you even come here?"

      • SpiltCoffee5

        Are you asking that as an actual question?

        The quotes have confused me.

        Fuck it, I will assume you have, in which case… because I like the Doc's advice.

        That or I just like reading advice blogs.

        • Mad_

          The quotes were to parody something that people do get around here for the opposite reasons.

          But yeah, it doesn't sound like you need much help or advice

          • SpiltCoffee5

            Perhaps not as much advice from a "how to meet people" perspective. But considering that none of my relationships thus far have lasted for more than a month or two before falling over, I feel I have much that I can improve on in myself.

          • Mad_

            Where are you meeting these girls?

          • SpiltCoffee5

            Down here in Melbourne in Australia, there was a bar called the Mana Bar. It was this awesome video game themed cocktail bar with TVs on the walls setup with consoles.

            It was awesome for making nerdy friends and meeting awesome geeky women, but sadly it closed down late last year due to a stupid decision by the council when opening the bar – they revoked the 1pm liquor license the bar originally had just before it was due to open and replaced it with an 11pm one.

          • Mad_

            Eh, if it's mostly from a bar, you should just change up the environment where you let women latch on to you, and maybe somewhere that has a little less "more likely to end up in an ONS than not" one

          • SpiltCoffee5

            I don't want a ONS though. Tried the causal sex stuff, figured it's not what I'm interested in.

            Snuggling up to someone for whole weekend, though, damn, that's where it's at.

          • Mad_

            That's what I mean. You're more likely to run into that stuff at a bar. Especially if it's the same bar and you were any good, those girls just spread the word amongst eachother.

            You have to look somewhere that isn't a bar.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Mana Bar? Isn't that Yahtzee's place?

            Dude. Nice geek cred. 🙂

          • SpiltCoffee5

            Indeed it is. Started out as a bar up in Brisbane, and it was so successful there they opened another in Melbourne.

            The Brisbane one is still running, but the Melbourne one is gone now :(. BUT, the staff of the Melbourne one are planning on opening a new bar with the same theme (but not under the Mana Bar name) sometime again in the future. Just gotta wait for the council to stop being dickheads with the liquor licensing laws.

            Never got to meet Yahtzee, but I can say that I've met Davey Wreden, the guy who made the Stanley Parable, because he was a bartender at the Melbourne bar for a period of time.

  • bazazz

    This article is just an excuse for women not to put work into gender equality for the dating game. It’s an enabler for awful you can see in the comments too.

    First of all, approaching is asking someone out on a date or for their number. You can’t just hang around someone like a gnat and call is “approaching.” If that person doesn’t ask for your number or ask you out, it’s not a rejection. If a “man doesn’t notice you”, that’s not his fault that’s YOUR fault. Men aren’t things you put nice tokens into until you’re asked on a date Nice Girl™. Also, don’t try to flip the roles by saying “Here’s MY number call ME”, that’s cowardice. You’re putting the initiative on the guy all over again.

    If you want the gender roles of dating to change women have to ask more guys out. If they did there would be less “freak out” and less “oh she’s completely in love with me.” The onus is on women to change that but this article just tells them to keep it exactly the same.

    The comments are terrible too. Please flip the genders on these comments so you can see how horrible they are. At the top you have a reply from a woman claiming that she KNOWS exactly why men don’t want her and it’s CLEARLY because they THINK she’s too into them. If a man said this about a woman not reciprocating you guys would be all over this nonsense. She’s completely placating herself with made up reasons and you guys are encouraging it with this article and these comments.

    • trixnix

      "If you want the gender roles of dating to change women have to ask more guys out. If they did there would be less "freak out" and less "oh she's completely in love with me." The onus is on women to change that but this article just tells them to keep it exactly the same."

      Ah, the "it's up to other people to change to make my life better!" attitude. A strange mix of fear and ego.

      Approaching is, by definition, going up to someone. Be that to ask them out or get their attention. It's about movement. Hence the term "approaching".

      The massive amount of mind reading comments by people you don't know is disturbing and broadcasts that you may be a troll looking to start pointless arguments with people. If you are hurting, fair enough. I am sorry that is happening but your emotions are your responsibility not the responsibility of the people here.

      • bazazz

        >Ah, the “it’s up to other people to change to make my life better!” attitude. A strange mix of fear and ego.
        Somehow I doubt this is your response to any other calls for change.

        It’ll make all women’s lives better, not just mine. Complaining about an issue without doing ANYTHING to change it is vapid. If more women actually asked dudes out it wouldn’t be viewed as such a rare occurrence and therefore no man would think she’d have to be totally in love with him to put herself out there.

        >Approaching is, by definition, going up to someone. Be that to ask them out or get their attention. It’s about movement. Hence the term “approaching”.
        We’re talking about dating here. If all men did was simply approach a woman there would be dramatically less relationships out there. Stop playing dumb, and recognize that courtship is much more than that. If all you’re doing is approaching then you’re not doing nearly as much as men do in the traditional situation.

        Either way, when you’re done projecting your awful attitude maybe you can actually address my points.

        • No, it wouldn't automatically make "all women's" lives better. I was the approacher for most of my dating life, and I would rather be single forever than do it again. It wasn't *just* about a guy thinking a girl is totally into him or *just* about guys not knowing how to gently let someone down.

          It's also about trapping women into a no-win scenario, in which they are labeled as either too passive (not approaching "enough"; your own comment is proof enough of this. If it isn't this exact X behavior, then it doesn't count, regardless of how the woman actually feels and the actual situation…. I can tell pretty instantly when a girl is hitting on a guy just from observing them across the room even without her directly asking the guy out) or too aggressive (witness the dozens of films of unattractive women being viewed with mean humor and disgust when they dare to actively approach a guy.)

          Women also have absolutely no control over the fact that guys themselves don't seem to care or want to be approached. If they did, they'd start adopting "approach-able" behaviors like eye contact, non-verbal body language, proximity…. all those things you hand-wave away as not meaning anything when women do it. Men, when being given approaching advice, are told what to look for to have a chance of success…. women have no such signals to look for.

          Asking women to approach, without any understanding or compromise on the part of men, when 1) gender norms and attitudes make approaching a Huge Lose for women by painting them as either desperate, or overly aggressive (a reaction they have no control over) and 2) absolutely NO sign that it would even work, in addition to all of the other reasons listed in the article, is just refusing to even bother trying to see another side of an argument.

          But here's the real question: I constantly see guys that claim women do not get to CARE about gender equality until women take a more "active" hand by approaching guys. Why, exactly, is this SUCH a big deal? It isn't enough that women are lesser and fighting for equal rights in nearly every single other arena of society… but somehow women not approaching is such a huge sticking point that it invalidates all of feminism? *Why*? Why is women approaching guys SUCH a huge trigger point?

        • Devlin_Mor

          I think it would be better if more women approached, its something that I try and do, and I hope that I'm helping build a society where other women can feel safer and more confident in doing so. Women are already noticeably more confident in this than they were twenty years ago.

          I also would like equal pay and treatment for women in tech industries – but that doesn't mean I get to sit on my hands and refuse to apply for jobs till the men sort it out. We live in an unequal world, and we have to deal with our circumstances even while we try and improve them.

        • eselle28

          I think women doing more approaching would make life better overall for both men and women, but I don't think you need to paint it as making all women's lives better. Realistically speaking, it would make many women's lives better and some women's lives worse – women who aren't especially desirable will still not be approached and will find their approaches generally rejected, and may prefer the current system to one in which they do more work and still don't find partners.

          • Devlin_Mor

            In a very abstract and idealistic way I think a world in which both men and women approached would only come about through being less gender essentialist and less judgemental about sexualities than the current one, which would be better for everyone. In a world where everyone can approach and everyone can reject, people would probably be more mature about both situations. I hope that it would make it socially easier on people who are less successful at finding partners they want, even if it doesn't actually help them find those partners.

          • eselle28

            I'd definitely agree that being less gender essentialist and judgmental about sexuality would be positive for everyone. I'm rather cynical about whether it would make people more mature. I think it might provide people with some empathy for the person approaching/being approached by them, having been in their shoes, but I think there would be some lingering unpleasant aspects that aren't related to that. (I wonder if a valid model for comparison might be dating among same sex couples?)

          • Devlin_Mor

            Yeah, that's interesting. I haven't dated women for a long time, but I found that there were similar problems although mostly in a weird replication of gender essentialism in heterosexual relationships. Where I lived the butch/femme dynamic was dying out of popularity, but where it existed there was kind of a performance almost of traditional roles about approacher/approached, and everyone else just followed the local heterosexual tradition for young people, which was to flirt shyly, get really drunk and then somehow end up in bed. Not a great replacement for the traditional dynamic.

          • reboot

            I resemble that remark. I have never been approached and have been various flavors of rejected about 80% of the time when I approached (which is the only way I was able to meet men). If the system changed it would be the same for me (although with a higher failure rate than when I was young….I was not particularly desirable then and that probably has not changed for the better with age)

        • trixnix

          "Either way, when you're done projecting your awful attitude maybe you can actually address my points. "


          "It'll make all women's lives better, not just mine. Complaining about an issue without doing ANYTHING to change it is vapid. If more women actually asked dudes out it wouldn't be viewed as such a rare occurrence and therefore no man would think she'd have to be totally in love with him to put herself out there."

          That simply doesn't follow. Men would be quite capable of assuming the woman approaching him was in love with him whether loads of women approached guys or only a few women approached guys.

    • SarahGryph

      Huh, I read the article as "Lots of people ask why women don't approach more often, here are some reasons that may be true." I also did not get the impression he was trying to say women should just stop trying or that men are horrible – just that "these are the social constructs people are dealing with, in case that explains better and helps you understand." I'm also very interested in the fact that you grouped everyone in all the comments together, since I've seen a lot of different responses here. In my case – as someone who does approach even by your listed standards there – I read it as a pretty accurate description of what I had to slog through to get to that point and a reminder why I can sympathize with women (and men!) who are titchy about the approaching part since it's not easy for everyone. *shrugs* 90% of my culture tells me I better not approach men because I'm devaluing myself by doing so – that doesn't make it ok or mean I have to go with it…it just means "Hey, this issue exists and is a thing to consider."

      –> "Here’s something to keep in mind: dating and approaching isn’t about taking home the gold medal in the Who Has It Worse Olympics. It’s not about “women have it worse, so suck it up and make the move”, nor is it about whose “responsibility” it is for being the aggressor. It’s about understanding the reasons why more women don’t approach. Whether or not you agree that those issues are valid is ultimately irrelevant; the fact of the matter is that these are the pressures that women feel that discourage them from being more proactive on the dating scene. Yes, things are getting better as society slowly crawls towards greater social equality, but those pressures are still there.

      Understanding these pressures makes it easier to relate, and when you’re not treating dating as an antagonistic process of gatekeepers and supplicants, you’ll find far more success… and in fact, this will help you learn how to create an environment where women do feel more empowered to approach as well."

    • nonA

      First, girls do approach. Please don't equate "they don't approach me" with "they don't approach at all". Using the latter to try and guilt trip the former isn't going to work out.

      Second, question for both sides of the gender war. When you try to browbeat people into sacrificing themselves in the name of some greater good, does that ever actually work? Or is it a way to have pissing matches while never taking any actual responsibility?

    • coolcono

      You are entirely right. Preaching to the choir here.

    • coolcono

      Spot on.

  • Mad_


    ["Guys have to prove to girls that they're NOT A CRIMINAL just so a girl will get close to them."

    *thinks for a second* mm, never experienced that. I dunno, is this a thing that really happens? I haven't heard of women asking for background checks on the men that they want to include in their lives. :/ ]

    You're taking it a bit literally. Everyone man is a potential future sexual assault/murder that can happen (because they just don't know), so you start from a position of having to prove a negative. And oftentimes, proving that negative requires A LOT of social calibration, because they still want you to be bold, and still react positively to traditional male qualities. Don't have it? Then you're being lumped in with the real criminals.

    There's a middle ground here, one that doesn't involve screening every new man as a potential criminal (because people love being treated like potential criminals) and having something be done about the predators, and I don't think what's going on now is it.

    • I look forward to seeing your anti-rape activism. Until then, stop griping, hypocrite.

      • Mad_

        Are we on speaking terms again? I haven't had this privilege revoked in like a week now.

        • Whine, whine, whine.

          • Mad_

            1. Get angry
            2. Never speak to them again
            3. Eventually speak to them again
            4. Repeat

            I'm sure this works with your activist and social justice lifestyle quite a bit.

          • I never said I wasn't going to speak to you, only that I wasn't interested in helping you anymore. I'm quite interested in making sure other people recognize your ongoing pattern of selfish, hypocritical, toxic behavior. If some of them have the generosity to help you anyhow, good for them – but you've burned me out. Nice job, dude.

          • Mad_

            Not the first time I've heard that from you either. I'll look forward to next week.

    • SpiltCoffee5

      The background check comment was an attempt at a joke, sorry.

      "Everyone man is a potential future sexual assault/murder that can happen (because they just don't know)…"

      They are? First I've heard of that being the case.

      • Mad_

        No worries @ the joke.

        As for the rest, it's all over the site.

        • SpiltCoffee5

          Would you be able to quote some specific examples? Our perspectives of what this site provides clearly differ, so if you are able to point to specific things (articles, quotes from articles) that reinforce the idea that men are criminals and must disprove that to women, that would be rather helpful.

          • BiSian

            Mad's just pissy because women won't throw themselves at him as he's going to the grocery store. He's decided that women's justifiable fear of assault or abuse by a complete stranger is the reason he doesn't have women beating down his door.

          • No, no, see, he shouldn't HAVE to go to the grocery store for women to throw themselves at him. Too much effort.

          • Mad_

            Taking my ball and going home seems to work for you, why not me?

          • If only you would.

          • Mad_

            Just complain about it enough, you'll get your wish.

            I'll let you connect the dots and figure out why it'll work.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Because someone's acting like a child throwing a tantrum and has run out of the considerable leeway I've given him?

            Time out for you. Come back when you can act like an adult and maybe I'll give you your posting rights back.

          • Because treating you like a reasonable person has failed miserably. So yeah, I'm going to make fun of you.

            Didn't you give up on dating and interacting with anyone outside of your apartment because people are all horrible? You've definitely stated that you refuse to ever trust ANYONE. For reasons.

            And yet women are terrible for being cautious around men.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            I can help you with that!

          • Mad_

            Most men don't rape.

            "BUT WE DON'T KNOW."

            True. Most black people don't steal. But racial profiling means they're gonna be either removed, or at least watched closer. I'm sure this makes them feel awesome. Because, you know, justifiably, you just don't know.

          • Mel_

            The difference is that black people have less societal power than whites (so this is essentially kicking them while they're down), whereas men have more societal power than women. A truer analogy would be PoC being cautious around white people because they never know who is going to say or do something racist… which is a totally valid caution.

            Yes, the downside of having societal power is that those with less power will realize you might abuse it and back away if you show signs of doing so. Where's that tiny violin? 😛

            (I highly suspect you also are more cautious of and quicker to judge people with more power than you–e.g., the wealthy, the more socially adept. In fact, I've seen you do so. But of course it's only a problem to you when it results in it being not quite as easy for men to get dates/sex?)

          • 'The difference is that black people have less societal power than whites (so this is essentially kicking them while they're down), whereas men have more societal power than women.'

            That's not really a defeater to what he said though.

          • Mel_

            He was suggesting women being cautious around men they don't know is on par with racial profiling of minorities. I pointed out that it isn't, because the power dynamics are completely opposite. Not sure how I can get any clearer. Unless you're suggesting it's also problematic for PoC to treat white folks they don't know with a little extra caution? In which case we just disagree in principle.

            (Which isn't even getting into the fact that the vast majority of women don't go around watching for signs a man's going to outright rape them, the way Mad oversimplified it. We're cautious about boundary pushing/ignoring behaviors toward women in general, and rape is only one of the most extreme and thankfully less common concerns.)

      • You might want to google the Schrodingers Rapist article, the thing is ridiculous (IMO) but you'd get where Mad is coming from.

    • LeeEsq

      This is over the top but he does have a bit of a point. Dating can be potentially dangerous for women in a way that it isn't for men from both a physical safety standpoint and a social standpoint, commonly called slut-shamming. Men are supposed to not come across as dangerous on dates. DNL referred to this himself in previous posts. At the same time, most of the work in building chemistry is on the man to in the early part of dating as we talked about here in this thread for various reasons. The Dual Mandate of Safety and Chemistry isn't really that easy to pull off for a lot of men including myself because getting a step in chemistry building could read either as creepy at best or dangerous at worse. I tend to err on the side of safety but coming across too safe isn't that good for building a relationship either or at least for generating interest.

      • trixnix

        I am not a rapist or a potential rapist. I've worked with victims of rape and abuse. I know who I am and need not prove myself to anyone. That said, conducting myself in a way that doesn't come across as scary, creepy or "uncomfortable" to people is common sense. I'd never do it but I probably do look to most women who do not know me like it would not take much for me to overpower them and hurt them if I was that kind of guy. My pride or ego being hurt is not more important than a woman knowing for sure that she is safe. In fact, I'd rather my pride was hurt than someone got raped or hurt. My pride would heal very quickly. The scars of rape or abuse, I have noticed, don't heal anywhere near as quickly.

        There is a huge difference between "dominant, powerful man" and "rapist". A rapist is a violent, aggressive thug of a person and if they happen to be male then, as far as I am concerned, they can hand their "man card" in because what they are is not what being a man is all about. Or what being a decent person of any gender is all about.

        With her consent, I can take a woman out on the town and show her a fantastic time. I can make sure she's safe if needs be (she might not feel the need for that but if she does it's there) and with her consent, we can experiment in the bedroom. There's a huge difference between that and what the rapist has in their mind. The rapist is all about themselves, violence and control to get what they want. An aggressive insecurity frantically trying to justify itself by hurting others to gain power. And, in many cases, betraying trust, love and loyalty since many victims have been raped by people they knew and trusted.

        The dominant, powerful man listens to the woman he is with and her desires. The idea is she goes home not scared out of her wits but feeling fantastic.

        All of that has to begin with trust. Trying to make a woman feel sexy when she doesn't feel safe and secure is not going to work. Turning her on is not going to work if she doesn't feel safe and secure.

        • Wow, now I want to go on a date with you. 😀

        • celette482

          I'm applauding over here. That is an incredible way of putting it.

        • WordyLibrarian

          Can you please repeat this EXACT speech to every man you know, please? Because this is hot.

        • Georgia_D

          You've made my day. Thank you : )

  • HLM

    I think this mostly misses the main and crucial point. Each individual, man or woman, is responsible for realizing their wants, desires, and dreams. If you are interested in someone, it is up to you to own that and decide how best to honor or realize that interest. Regardless of how difficult it may be, or how comparably difficult it may be, it is still on you. The question is whether you did all you could to realize and honor who you are and what you want to be. You are responsible for attending to your hunger whether or not the environment you are currently in makes that more or less difficult.

  • samwel

    i am Sammy .from Kenya i am athlete here along time .i have big ploblem i am single i need only one Doctor woman to love me and help me to go marathon .yees yeeeeeeeeeees.

  • Tuon

    "One of the insidious issues of the idea that women are somehow in charge of dating and have it so much easier than men do is that it invalidates and erases every woman who’s ever been rejected by somebody she’s attracted to. When guys insist that any woman could go out and get laid if she wanted, this actually makes it harder for women to make the first move by increasing the potential fear of rejection; after all, if any woman can get laid and she can’t get a guy to go out to dinner with her, what does that say about her?"

    This is the issue in a nutshell. Forget everything else. Forget even just "I don't want to be rejected." It's the fact that when a woman get's rejected, it reflects a LOT more on her (in a negative way) than it does for a guy. Guys are expected to try and fail many times before they get a date. If it happens to a woman, the reaction is, "Wow, something must be really wrong with her."

    • I've seen women be shamed for having been in (*gasp*!) multiple relationships that didn't last for more than a month! Shame! Scorn! There must be something terrible about her!

  • Rosealice

    I have approached guys for ONS and a couple of times the guy couldn't get an erection, and that has made more cautious about approaching visibly nervous men (now I'm more likely to go up and talk to him, but wait longer and see if he's interested/can get the clue and not be so direct as I have been in the past.)

    Personally I hope Dr. NerdLove will cover helping women overcome dealing with rejection — as women we are taught things that make it harder to get over being rejected. I have been rejected a few times and each time it's really hard to get over and is a hard blow to the self-esteem. I end up thinking I need to lose weight or buy a new dress. Another reason many men haven't been approached, is because women try it only a few times, find it awkward/doesn't work, and so stop doing it. Really teaching us how to do it better, might help. Yes, some of the advice men get about this might work for women as well, some of it doesn't really.

    • dave

      Ms. Rosealice – Thank you for being so honest ( are you REALLY a female?) as you seem to understand the double standard forcing men to do the approaching. There are many men who found approaching awkward and that it does not work and they also stopped doing it.

  • Rosealice

    One other thing I have noticed with approaching guys — guys often don't know how to say no or aren't comfortable saying no. So I have had to look more carefully for the signs of a yes that really means a no or not really interested.

  • JasonW1979

    This whole thing is horseshit. Ive NEVER been approached and if I approach I get the look like i’m the lowest form of scum possible. Women hold all the keys and unfortunately, guys like me will NEVER be good enough. Im getting used to that. I know now that nothing I do will matter so I wont even try amymore. And if you people say “If you dont try, you wont succeed” whats the point of trying and STILL never succeeding? I figure if it doesnt work after trying over and over again, its not worth the hurt.

    • Niteynite

      First off, calm the hell down. So you've never been approached? Welcome to the club.

      If you get scumbag looks when you approach, then I suggest you read DNL's article on cold approaches. It's a very detailed point by point guide on how to improve your game.

      Also, these self limiting beliefs you have about yourself are your biggest downfall. Of course no one will like you if you don't like yourself. Go to Walmart and check out the fat guys with girlfriends and understand your negative attitude is your worst enemy.

    • Niteynite

      In the end if you don't want to try anymore, then you'll still be miserable because you'll be lonely. Unless you find something else to fill that void. And I mean having true acceptance for your situation. That means finding happiness elsewhere. Don't just sit and drown in your own misery.

      One last thing, on your comment about "Women hold all the keys". Men typically don't have to worry about their personal safety when it comes to dating. Women don't have that luxury. That alone proves they don't have it easier. Being able to make a woman feel safe and secure while showing her what a great guy you are is the best thing you can do for your situation.

      • phaedrusbrowne

        Oh cut the crap. That safety thing is wheeled out as a smokescreen emotional blackmail every time. Id trade the risk of being raped if it also came with unlimited approaches where I have to do nothing to invite approach and can reject and select at will.

        • Dr_NerdLove

          And we're done here.

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  • Tifa

    Personally, as a woman, I am COMPLETELY uncomfortable approaching a man I like. So I go the indirect route, try to stand nearby, make eye contact, smile shyly…and that's it. I'm letting the guy know it's time for him to make a move. If he doesn't, I assume he has a girlfriend.

    Dating is way too complicated. I wish we could all go back to the days of arranged marriages. Just shut up, deal with who you get and – unless it's horrible and/or abusive – make it work.

  • Heather

    OK, so I'm a woman. 5'9". 140 pounds. Mixed black/Japanese. Long straight black hair. Very big breasts, narrow waist, bubble butt, long legs, smooth cafe au lait, glowing skin, very large almond eyes, photo quality cupid's bow lips. Pretty much the genetic Trifecta.

    Nerd men TARGET THEN HATE me.

    I'm not aggressive. I'm wealthy, so that can't be the problem. I have an excellent career nerd guys would kill and die to get into. I'm soft spoken, feminine and kind, and I attended an Ivy League college. And men chase me, follow me, catcall me, send gifts to me, buy me things, etc., show me attention all the time and become obsessed — but they are never the men I want to do that stuff. Instead, I consistently attract alphas and jocks.

    However – I am unfortunately into beta guys, soft nerds.

    I learned early I was expected to approach the nerd male instead of wait ten years for him to vaguely send up a dry, subtle hint of a smoke signal to approach me after him sulking when I had boyfriends, staring at me longingly for months, and loudly condemning any non-nerd man who approached me in front of him. So, I began approaching nerd guys.

    Here were the results.

    – "Oh, you completely misread me. I wasn't interested in you at all. I just stare at, follow, stalk, sigh over, hug/cop a feel/grope women and try to kiss them at random. Sike! Sucks to be you. (10 years later…) PS, I'm actually gay. Will you be my beard?"

    – "Awesome, completely hot girl just approached me. This means I am hotter than she is. OK, let's now dump her and launch brand new relationship with many girl less than her league was. Because obviously I can. Because if Japanese Barbie here likes me, ALL women do! Suddenly! Yay me! Ego boost from Japanese Barbie! Thank you!"

    – "What is Girl? Does not compute. Run scared. She phoned me once. Call police and tell them she is a stalker. Oh, the cops are here now. Now tell all our mutual friends. Mmmmmm. Attention."

    – "What is Girl? Rude Response. Turn away." (2 years later) "Remember me? I'm gay now. Will you be my beard?"

    – "Hot girl approaching me. Hmm. Time to make up sudden relationship with fake Canadian girlfriend I've never mentioned before until now. Then Photoshop fake pictures of me and this always fatter and less attractive Canadian girlfriend, show them to hot girl, and describe me and Canadian gf as So. In. Love. And call her 'my love' and 'my dear' in front of hot girl. Then treat hot girl like best male buddy. And then 10 years later, tell her, oh yeah, those were lies. I DID like you after all. Oops for you back then. Bye"

    I will NEVER approach men again, and nerd men are firmly off my list forever.

  • Grahav

    So basically there are Nice Gals and Nice Guys…

    Should we hate them both equally or help them both equally?

  • Anonymous

    Fight the patriarchy!

    Just not too hard, we don’t want to make things harder on ourselves.

  • Guestino

    Women dont approach because they have a limitless supply of men…and you know it bro

  • Lisa

    Society and men. They believe that women who approach random men in public and grab them are creepy whores. It's dangerous for women to approach random men and grab them in public. They can get raped back because men are physically stronger and very intimidating and plus, when women do that, they are seen as emasculating men. Men still have an arrogant, masculinist, self-entitled, superiority complex that they want to be the ones approaching women only and there are men like that who hate for random women to approach them because they think these women are creepy whores emasculating them.

  • I think its more about sex hormones. testosterone makes one aggressive and horny. estrogen makes one needing attention and a softy. In my experience in my whole life, even after Ive made the first move and made her comfortable and she admits shes attracted to me, she is still very weak at wanting to hang out with me, or talking sexually, or even touching me. You'll meet that very rare girl with a bit of courage, but most of them are like timid mice and you have to do everything even if they feel totally safe with you and feel totally attracted to you. But men on the other hand jump right into the sexual talk and touching and the asking out. I like men's style better, I wish women would adopt it. But women will always have ovaries that make estrogen, so it'll never happen. It sucks being straight.

  • I happen to this think this article is complete nonsense. Maybe it's because I live in the city of Seattle, where everyone is extremely passive and where men hugely outnumber women, but this idea that a man would ever reject a woman in public in some very dramatic fashion seems completely incomprehensible to me. I've never ever seen that. But it may be due to skewed male/female ratio, resulting in men feeling lucky just to have a woman's attention.

  • DividedLine

    Humans are miserable.

  • thelonepalmtree

    It's probably good for all of us "manipulative" ladies that you're opting out of the pool. I don't see many of us taking the news too hard.

  • starcrush21

    Well, I do agree with SOME of what you're saying, especially the myth about how easy it is for women to get laid and how much guys think it, that is a social-psyc