How Dating Actually Works For Normal People – External Link: “So You’re Not Desirable …”

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/opinion/sunday/so-youre-not-desirable.html?_r=0

Many of us have long suspected that a lot of beautiful people quickly pick romantic partners based on looks alone and easily form such relationships. The question then is how does everyone else date?

This article answers that question: People start out as just friends without any expectation of dating. Over time, couples are formed when two people get to know each other’s unique personality and start perceiving each other’s specific uniqueness as attractive. At that point, physical beauty matters a lot less.

My takeaways from this article are:

1. It’s time to cut the political correctness: Whether you are hot or not is a real thing. Contrary to many wishful opinion pieces on the web, this article states that the concept of “mate value” actually exists in scientific literature. In the book Shyness & Love (see Resources), this is known as “social stimulus value”. Elsewhere on the internet, this is referred to as “sexual market value (SMV)” but unfortunately, this term is primarily used by misogynists.

2. Get to know people: Following on from the previous point, if you aren’t hot, don’t try to date the way hot people date – stop expecting people to instantly fall in love with you. Instead, get to know many people – even people who aren’t your “type” – and get to know people at a level that is more than just skin deep. Who you end up finding attractive may surprise you.

3. You don’t need to be “Alpha” to be successful at dating: In other words, you don’t need to be the hottest, richest, and most muscular guy in the world with the biggest car and the biggest waterfront property: You just need a unique personality that you are proud of and can confidently share with other people. The TV series The Big Bang Theory depicts the reality that even geeky physicists who are not considered conventionally attractive by any means eventually meet partners by being proud of who they are and by being different in their own ways.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

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Boundaries

Whenever a guy says “I’m so nice but women ignore me or treat me badly”, I commonly hear the retort that “being nice isn’t worth anything, because it’s the baseline for getting a relationship”. This is usually followed by an attack on how the guy has allegedly nothing going for them other than their niceness, and maybe even a further attack about how even their niceness is fake.

So let’s think for a moment about some guys who are in relationships – say Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. They’re married (three times in Gingrich’s case), and I’m sure they’re both fine and accomplished people, but is “nice” really the first adjective you’d use to describe either of them? My point is that while being nice is an admirable trait and generally leads to healthier relationships, it is not actually a requirement for dating (sadly).

The real problem isn’t that a guy is too nice – it’s that he’s too generous. Consider this scenario: Stewie tells my friend Leonard that he (Stewie) isn’t doing well and asks for $70,000 immediately to make ends meet. Stewie adds that if Leonard doesn’t help, Leonard would be complicit in destroying Stewie’s marriage and career, since Stewie wouldn’t be able to buy a pink Mercedes for his wife and golf games for potential corporate clients.

Here, Stewie is violating boundaries by manipulating Leonard into putting Stewie’s interests ahead of Leonard’s own interests. But Leonard shouldn’t be pressured to solve other people’s problems. Now, Leonard is entitled to help Stewie if Leonard wants to, but he shouldn’t feel guilty about refusing to do so. Leonard’s financial needs & wants are important, and Stewie’s needs & wants shouldn’t be placed ahead of Leonard’s, unless Leonard is actually OK with it.

Nice guys aren’t just unlucky – they are being specifically targeted!

Now it becomes clear why nice guys always end up being treated badly by people in general – women or men: there are predators in the world, like Stewie, who can spot over-generosity and target people like Leonard because they’re easy victims. Nice guys aren’t just unlucky – they are being specifically targeted!

We wouldn’t tell an assault or rape victim that they were attacked because they were weak. So we shouldn’t call victims like Leonard weak either. Instead, we should tell it like it is – that Leonard’s unfortunate experiences are both real and unfortunate. After that, we should encourage victims to develop firmer boundaries and be on the look out for predators exploiting their generosity.

But how does all this relate to dating? Well, some predatory women also smell Leonard as an easy target and string him along for money, favors, etc. Leonard might sense that these women are using him and don’t really like him. However, he fails to acknowledge his gut instinct or even clear evidence that something is wrong. Due to cognitive dissonance, he rationalizes his over-generosity instead of cutting these women out of his life e.g.:

* She needs his money to fly to Hawaii to meet her ex-boyfriend that she has “absolutely no feelings for”.

* Having just met, she demands that Leonard drive her to work at 5am every second morning, as if she – an adult – had not been capable of catching the bus before.

* She says that Leonard has to pay her college tuition because she has decided to stop asking her parents for money and because Leonard makes so much money that he would be cruel to not help her.

In all these cases, the woman is asking that Leonard put her interests ahead of his own. Unless Leonard really wants to do these things, he should maintain firm boundaries and say no. Consider these three possibilities:

1. The woman is actually giving Leonard a “shit test” to see he is “weak”: While she is a master manipulator and drama queen who needs to be dumped, she actually wants Leonard to say no anyway.

2. Leonard says yes: This is like giving a mouse a cookie. The predatory woman will make increasingly unreasonable demands until Leonard has to finally say no, at which point she will dump him.

3. Leonard says no: The woman dumps him because he’s a “jerk”. He might well be lonely for a while, but his firm boundaries mean that he’s actually dodged the bullet of an unreasonable woman. He can now spend time looking for someone better, because he deserves someone better.

The good news is that predators are the minority regardless of what The Red Pill or the right-wing might tell you. Most people are just living their lives and aren’t out to get you or Leonard. It’s only predators who are out to specifically target overly-generous people / nice guys. Simply put, the way to beat predators is to say no. They won’t stick around and you’ll eventually meet someone who respects your boundaries.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

External Link: “To Text or Not to Text: A Dating Conundrum” by The New York Times

This is an amusing article highlighting the importance of being straightforward with dating – don’t expect men or women to read your mind, just ask for what you want:

During the week, as our text volleys continued in that conversational way, I kept expecting that he would ask me out again, but not once did he mention another date.

I never initiated this texting because that seemed too forward.

I made a decision [some time later]. He either had to ask me out on a real date, in person, or I would put an end to this silliness. I gave him a deadline (only in my mind, of course) of that Friday.

Entitlement

My friend Sam recently met Simone, Gabby, and Madison at a freshmen “Welcome to College” party at their dorm. Sam felt that they really hit it off and looked forward to hanging out with them again.

A week later, Sam was walking through the cafeteria with a meal tray, looking for a place to sit. Sam was excited to see the three women and a number of potential new friends sitting at a table in the center, and said “hi!”. Gabby turned to Sam, responded with a bored “hi”, and then immediately turned back to the group conversation. No one made room around the table so Sam stood there awkwardly for about 10 seconds, before leaving due to the lack of a welcome.

Upset at this apparent rejection, Sam asked me why it was so hard to make friends and why women were being so cold. As a good friend, I realized that I had to tell Sam “The Truth”: People like Sam are entitled assholes who expect they should be able to walk up to women, rattle off a few clever lines, and demand that those same women entertain them in the future. These people see women as objects to be “picked up” or trophies to be won. And worst of all, they get angry when women see through their put-on “Nice” persona and rightfully reject them for the scumbags they are. Maybe if they stopped being such misogynists, women would actually like them.

There is only one problem with this story: Sam is not a heterosexual man looking for a date. My friend Samantha (Sam) is a feminist heterosexual woman looking for platonic friends. And of course I didn’t say all those mean things to her!

The point I’m making is that too often people who say these kinds of mean things are jumping to conclusions about the motives of others they don’t like (and/or don’t find attractive). These mean people engage in intellectual gymnastics by inventing a narrative that those others are despicable, without necessarily knowing much about them – all while they are cheered on by armchair Social Justice Warriors on Tumblr.

Now, make no mistake. There are entitled misogynistic men. Sometimes, we encounter men who who have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. But some, I assume, are just good people — people who might just not be particularly popular or attractive. And while no one is entitled to be anyone’s friend or lover, do we need to impugn their reputation just because they dared to ask?

The flip side is that sometimes people who bring forward the asshole and “fake nice” accusations are simply projecting the fact that they themselves are assholes. And they get away with it because they are attractive and/or popular assholes. Let me give you an example. Madison posted this on the freshman Facebook page for her degree:

Madison: SUPER IMPORTANT.

I have a friend who needs a ride up from New Jersey to New York City on the 17th at lunchtime. Would anyone be willing to do that?

Person: That’s pretty far. I think it’s going to be hard to find someone 😦 Good luck my friend!

Madison: I don’t need luck or unhelpful commentary. I need someone who will drive him.

And the crazy thing is that many people actually jump through hoops to appease people like Madison no matter how obnoxious she is. People might bend over backwards, doing favor after favor that Madison twists their arm for but at any point in the future, Madison could flip around and accuse them of having ulterior motives.

So my advice is that there is no point trying to befriend or date people who don’t respect you. Instead, associate yourself with kind people, try not to take rejections so deeply, and ignore the background noise of any mean things that are said.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

Rewinding to Rochelle: Part 3 – The GPS

This is part of my “Rewinding to Rochelle” series that sheds light on what an abusive relationship can look like.

Trigger Warning: This contains content that may be upsetting to some readers. While the incidents are real, all names are fictitious.

It was a dark and cloudy evening in Rochelle’s hometown. We had just spent the afternoon with her family and I was beginning the hour drive back to the city.

Rochelle: Why are you using the GPS? You’ve been here before.
The Dating Introvert: Yeah, but I’ve only been here twice before and I’m not sure about the route.
Rochelle: You should be able to get to places without relying on the GPS.
The Dating Introvert: It’s dark and I’m not familiar enough with this area.

At that point, she pulled the power cable out of the GPS unit.

Now, I’ve never claimed to be a great driver. It’s hard for me to drive on a poorly-lit road at 40mph and need to suddenly choose between two closely-positioned freeway entrances – one going north, one going south. Given how dark it was, it was unclear whether the entrance to the north was before or after the “North” sign. As luck would have it, I picked the wrong one.

“God!” she cursed.

I took the next exit but there was no easy turnaround to get me onto the north freeway, so I had to take side streets. Sometime later I saw a different “North” sign but I was too late and blew past it.

“God! Now we’re going to be wasting 10 minutes because you can’t read street signs,” she complained.

Rochelle displayed a pattern of complaining about my allegedly incompetent automobile skills. For instance, she had previously implied that I was not a “Real Man” for not knowing how to change the oil in a car. For the record, I actually know how to change the oil in a single engine prop airplane. I just never got around to learning how to do it for a car.

Why was she so obsessed with ensuring that I drive in a particular way? She didn’t work at the DMV.

And what was the point of turning off the GPS? What does it prove?

With the benefit of hindsight, I now realize that she was obsessed with finding men who embodied the stereotype of (toxic) masculinity. And part of that is being able to drive recklessly and fearlessly. I’m not that man and I don’t want to become him.

 

Loneliness

I sat in my high-rise apartment staring at the sunset and the city below me, drinking Pepsi and eating a microwave dinner. Normally, I would follow my own advice of doing an activity to meet people, distract myself from my singleness, and hopefully even have some fun.

But tonight, I was tired and wanted to be alone – physically tired from a long day at work. And mentally tired from the emptiness of lacking someone to share my life with. And I felt some sadness for not feeling loved.

Sometimes, people in long-term relationships forget what it’s like to be single. They badger us with otherwise well-meaning advice, micro-analyze the things we said on a first date, and wonder out loud how we can still be single in a city of millions.

They tell us how we should be happy being single. But let’s face it, almost no one who is single for extended periods of time is truly happy, because they are missing a connectedness that is part of human evolution.

They tell us that having friends will fill the void. But they don’t. They can be too busy to hang out or too flakey, and they can come and go. And more importantly, they don’t share the same long-term hopes and dreams of a life together.

They tell us that “to be loved, you must first love yourself.” Obviously, it helps to have a positive self-image, but there are still so many people who don’t truly love themselves yet are in stable, long-term relationships. So I thought “why am I still single”? I’ve got a degree. I’ve got a job. I have interests. I’m nice. And my friends tell me I’m a catch – supposedly anyway. But dating is random, sometimes unfair, and not entirely rational.

I wanted to stop thinking about this. I wanted to have a night to myself where I stopped focusing on my singleness. So I inserted a Netflix DVD, sat back, and took another swig of Pepsi. And for the first time, I felt at peace. I finally understood that sometimes it’s ok to be single for a while.

Rewinding to Rochelle: Part 2 – The Restaurant Menu

This is part of my “Rewinding to Rochelle” series that sheds light on what an abusive relationship can look like.

Trigger Warning: This contains content that may be upsetting to some readers. While the incidents are real, all names are fictitious.

Rochelle and I sat down at restaurant. I don’t even remember which one.

Rochelle: What should I eat?
The Dating Introvert: I’m not sure. I haven’t been here before.
Rochelle: I want to date a guy who knows what’s good on the menu and can tell me what to pick.

There are only two possibilities here. Either:

  • Rochelle wanted me to have visited all restaurants beforehand, to prepare for a date with her: This was obviously unreasonable.
  • Or, she wanted a guy who could “take charge” – the kind of guy who would order the steak for himself and then tell the waiter that “she’ll be having the salad”, without even giving her a chance to speak.

In hindsight, the conversation was disrespectful as she was putting me down, by basically saying that I wasn’t good enough. This was just another example of the abuse I dealt with throughout the relationship.

As for wanting the kind of guy who could “take charge”, she was seeking a toxically masculine figure. She wanted a sexist man who would dominate her and put himself first, because she confused misogyny with confidence and power.

In the years since, I’ve realized that she always sought out uneven relationships, where either she abused her partner, or her partner would abuse her. I wish I were making this up – in a future post, I will write about the violent man she dated next. I hope she gets help and breaks out of this cycle.