Enough with the dating rules already

People of my age and generation have all sorts of ideas about life. And for the most part I like hearing what my contemporaries think about the various aspects of life. But there’s one thing some men my age and I disagree on: how to attract a woman.

I have vastly different ideas and approaches when it comes to dating than a lot of guys out there. I guess the best way to sum up the popular belief out there would be “follow the rules” or perhaps “the psychology of dating.” There are MANY guys who believe all interactions with the opposite sex can be distilled to discrete and concrete rules or ideas that can broadly be applied to any person in any situation.

You’re probably familiar with this crap in some form or another. Women’s magazines are filled with articles with titles like, Five things you MUST do to land a man! For men, there are all kinds of dumb ideas about “peacocking” (dressing in a boisterous way to draw attention to yourself) and “negging” (saying negative things to a woman to show her you’re in control–you know how the ladies love to be insulted). This kind of stupid drivel is usually peddled by people like this asshole:

Mystery (yes, he actually calls himself that…) from VH1’s “The Pickup Artist”

Because apparently all women really want is a guy with a furry hat and douchy facial hair.

There are all of these dumb “rules” about dating or attracting the opposite sex. Don’t be too available. Wait three days to call. Blah blah blah. Fine, at the end of the day minutia like this won’t really hurt your chances of finding some real happiness or having a successful relationship. But I really start to become offended as a human being when it comes down to the “psychology” of dating. And that’s where things like negging and peacocking come into play.

But, as per usual, the people who market this kind of stuff can sink even lower. For example, did you know, guys, that all (and I do mean ALL) of your relationships failed because you’re a beta male? In other words, you don’t act like an alpha male. What does an alpha male act like, you might be asking yourself? Well, according to one book on how to pick up women, think about what James Bond would do. If it isn’t something he’d do, then don’t do it. You know, James Bond, that great misogynist figure of male cinema, the guy who treats women as mere sex objects or things to be disposed of after awhile.

But the fact that these morons are telling you to act more misogynistic is only part of the reason that this is insulting. The other half of the fury that this causes within me is that it’s advertising that women actually want to be treated like an object. Seriously? Well, a lot of guys will claim that being an alpha is really just about being more direct and assertive. Fine. I can buy that confidence and directness can go a long way in the dating scene. I’ll even buy that we as a culture see those traits as more “masculine.” But what I won’t buy is the conflation of these traits with the other behaviors that describe an alpha male.

You can be an assertive and confident man without dressing like you’re the love child of Liberace and Lady Gaga. You can be direct and confident without putting a woman down (negging). You can be a confident person without controlling everything in the relationship. And that’s ultimately what it comes down to with guys who peddle this stuff: control. To men like this, every relationship isn’t a partnership, it’s a power struggle. Women are reduced to things that have to be amused, placated, or outright lied to in order to maintain control over.

Of course, women have the equivalent of this. Usually this advice runs contrary to everything that men are told. Heaven help you if you’re an alpha female. Don’t you know that all men are looking for a beta? I’m willing to bet that at some point in their lives, most women are told by someone or read somewhere that if they want to bag a man, they’d better be submissive. Don’t be too strong–men are threatened by a strong woman. They can’t handle her because it threatens their masculinity.

And of course the flip side of the idea that men view women as sexual objects is the sexual objectification of women. Men are reduced to horny creatures ruled by their dicks with only one thing on their minds, and if you want to bag a man, ladies, you gotta bring the sexy. For men, it’s pretty simple: if you want to look “good” all you have to do is not look like a slob, which usually means wearing a shirt with buttons and combing your hair. But for women? Think of how much bullshit is marketed to women in order to make them look attractive to men: make up, shoes, clothing, hair coloring, hair extensions, bras, underwear, perfume.

All of this is severely insulting and destined to result in poor relationships. Why? Well first of all it’s incredibly shallow and superficial. But it’s also a dichotomy, it’s a black and white world with these people. And in this concrete world, everyone gets a label, everyone is put into a box. This problem with that, of course, is that everyone is different. Everyone is unique. Everyone is attracted to different things. Why let someone else tell you what you should find attractive? And why is it that all these books on how to attract women are written by men? What does a man know about what it’s like to be a woman? Jack shit.

There’s a confirmation bias here. Guys my age and younger read dopey shit from these pickup artist douches and go, “Yeah! That has to be right! How many times do I see girls going out with jerks!” And they then conclude that these guys are right, women love to be treated like shit and if they want a woman they better treat them like shit, too! Except that I’m willing to wager that most women who stay with men who treat them like garbage only do so because they’ve been told that this is what to expect from men, and that “masculine men” act this way.

The truth of the matter is that interacting with the opposite sex and forming successful relationships with them rests on two simple things: being interesting and being able to communicate. Have things to talk about, have your own life, have your own hobbies, stories, goals, dreams–things people will be interested in and want to share with you. Part of being interesting is having a certain level of confidence and assertiveness–but about your own life, not over someone else. You don’t have be an asshole in order to not be a push-over. And be able to communicate well. You have to be able to communicate your thoughts and feelings, as well as be able to pick up on the thoughts and feelings of others. That’s it. That’s the secret to interacting with the opposite sex. Ta-da!


6 thoughts on “Enough with the dating rules already

  1. The gal for me will dump her beer on the kind of guys you mentioned here.

    I can’t believe negging is a thing. I have seen guys that do that unconciously, and always found it distasteful. I don’t see how women would be attracted to such douchebaggery, but admittedly I have a hard time understanding a lot about the way people interact.

    What does not make sense to me, and what I would never do, often works for other guys, and I have been constistantly surprised over the years as to how women seem to be attracted to guys that to me, act like total assholes.

    I don’t know how many times I have seen a girl with a total dick, and walk away shaking my head thinking ‘whodathunkit?”

    1. I’m absolutely convinced that that phenomenon is due to the fact that women are socially conditioned to expect men to behave that way. Being an asshole is culturally synonymous with being “manly.” So if you don’t act like a total dick, the logic goes that you must be a total pushover. “Nice guys finish last.”

      Personally, I don’t get this whole idea, and I have no idea why it succeeded or continues to propagate.

      1. I am somewhat of a misplaced monkey. I have the manly man thing going for me, but I also have a confidence in me where I am unafraid to do unmanly things for fear of “real man” retributions or scorn.

        For over 30 years I worked a high risk manly job among manly men. I am not afraid to admit I will do the dishes, laundry, vacuum, make the bed, or cook. I see no reason not to treat a woman as an equal, in fact I’d not have it any other way. It is no threat to me to do these things. I have no fear of getting my man card revoked.

        If the guy that wants to take away my man card has the balls to come for it, let them come 🙂 I’ll let em know real quick, there still plenty of manly man left. There is simply no good reason to demean women, or exclude oneself from household chores, based upon the fact that we are men.

        Hell, I even figured out how to run the sewing machine once or twice…

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