Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy

Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy

How’s this for a doozy of a first paragraph?

“There are three things, once one’s basic needs are satisfied, that academic literature points to as the ingredients for happiness: having meaningful social relationships, being good at whatever it is one spends one’s days doing, and having the freedom to make life decisions independently.

But research into happiness has also yielded something a little less obvious: Being better educated, richer, or more accomplished doesn’t do much to predict whether someone will be happy. In fact, it might mean someone is less likely to be satisfied with life.”

Now this may not come as a huge surprise to anyone with eyes and a bit of life experience, but it still remains counterintuitive. How can someone appear to “have everything” and yet be so unhappy…especially as others are striving to also “have everything.”

Raj Raghunathan, a professor of marketing at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, tries to make sense of in his recent book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?

How can someone appear to “have everything” and yet be so unhappy…especially as others are striving to also “have everything.”

In it, he claims that striving for achievement is the equivalent of a big dopamine hit. It’ll feel good when you get it – like a raise, a new title, a new car, a bigger house – but eventually, the thrill wears off and you need something new. That’s a recipe for unhappiness.

Says Raghunathan, “If you were to go back to the three things that people need—mastery, belonging, and autonomy—I’d add a fourth, after basic necessities have been met. It’s the attitude or the worldview that you bring to life. And that worldview can be characterized, just for simplicity, in one of two fashions: One extreme is a kind of scarcity-minded approach, that my win is going to come at somebody else’s loss, which makes you engage in social comparisons. And the other view is what I would call a more abundance-oriented approach, that there’s room for everybody to grow.”

Sounds a lot like what I’ve been preaching here for a decade. You can see it in the comments section. Men who think American women are selfish and would rather fly to Thailand for a bride. Women who are disgusted by men’s willingness to separate sex and love and have convinced themselves that no men are kind and commitment-oriented. This type of scarcity is not only untrue, but unhealthy as well.

So what does the professor recommend? A shift in focus – not unlike the one I try to provide in my blogs, newsletters and podcasts. I call it “short-term pessimism/long-term optimism. Raghunathan calls it “the dispassionate pursuit of passion”.

Life is benign; it is what you make of it.

“Basically the concept boils down to not tethering your happiness to the achievement of outcomes. The reason why it’s important to not tie happiness to outcomes is that outcomes by themselves don’t really have an unambiguously positive or negative effect on your happiness…Everybody’s got some kind of a belief about whether good things are going to happen or bad things are going to happen. There’s no way to scientifically prove that one of these beliefs is more accurate than another. But if you believe life is benign, you’re going to see lots of evidence for it. If you think life is malign, you’re going to see lots of evidence for it. It’s kind of like a placebo effect. Given that all of these beliefs are all equally valid, why not adopt the belief that is going to be more useful to you in your life as you go along?”

Thus, men aren’t bad. Online dating isn’t horrible. Marriage isn’t dead.

Life is benign; it is what you make of it.

I hope you’re having a great day and are starting to see how much power and control you have over your own romantic destiny.

Your thoughts below are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    ScottH

    So many relationship and happiness issues seem to me to boil down to one thing:  are you secure (in your attachment style).  If you are, and have financial security, then the world is a place of abundance and happiness naturally follows.  I think security is the fundamental and all the higher order derivatives naturally follow.  You can’t start with the higher order derivatives and work backwards.  Energy only flows one way.

    1. 1.1
      Rocky

      One caveat here. Not everyone can be secure, so this position, stated too strongly, sets many people up to fail.

      You are who you are. Fortunately, it’s a continuum and you can move towards more secure territory. But an anxious person who becomes more secure is probably still going to have some anxious tendencies and I think we should recognize that.

      1. 1.1.1
        Marsupilami

        I am very smart, very happy and extraordinarily free.

    2. 1.2
      Sabrina

      Personally understanding your own adult attachment style can provide great understanding & comfort (especially if one is anxious). However the author is on target with his premise that happiness shouldn’t be tied to outcomes. No matter how I play out the scenario in my head, tying happiness to outcomes to happiness only provides a short term high. It’s more about attitude & appreciating the smaller, daily occurences in life.

      1. 1.2.1
        ScotttH

        If happiness or other reward isn’t tied to a successful outcome and disappointment isn’t tied to failure, what incentive is there to achieve success?  What’s wrong with wanting a series of short term highs?

  2. 2
    GoWiththeFlow

    Three thoughts:

    Maybe people who are process oriented are happier than people who are goal oriented?

    It’s not necessarily having what you want, but wanting what you have.

    Blaming everything on biology (or eve psych) as a way to not act or take responsibility for your own happiness.  We see this in medicine every day.  A patient says both my parents have diabetes, that’s why I have it:  It’s biology. Instead of focusing on the role their behaviors have on their health and what they can do to change it.  It’s the path of least resistance.

    1. 2.1
      ScottH

      Why does blaming mean that someone isn’t taking responsibility?  Blaming and taking responsibility are two different things.  I blame my mother for me being the mess I am but I also take responsibility for my mess and have been working feverishly at it for decades.

      Likewise, I take the blame for messing up my kids but I hope they take responsibility for growing out of it.

      Laziness and ignorance are paths of least resistance.

      1. 2.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Scott,

        It’s when someone blames biology or another person, but doesn’t take on the responsibility to change or work with what they inherited or had placed upon them.  For instance, it would be like me saying that I went through the trauma of my mom dying when I was a kid, therefore that’s why I have problems as an adult.  Instead of doing the hard work of examining and adjusting my own mindset and behavior, I can absolve myself of responsibility by saying, not my fault.  It’s the immediate easy way out, but it prevents you from growing past your hurts.

    2. 2.2
      Caroline

      Absolutely agree with your “diabetes” analogy.  I know for me personally, it’s about taking responsibility in your own life. I think no matter what your gender, an important quality is not that you’re perfect but always improving. It’s all about the process. And as far as health, I think way too many folks are looking for the magic pill or magic bullet. I’ve been making a lifestyle change myself since last year. Once again, it’s about the process. The more you do, the more you learn and improve. You really gotta start somewhere and it takes time.. It gets to where more is just on auto pilot now. Now, if I just could get over my craving for icecream!

  3. 3
    Stacy2

    “striving for achievement is the equivalent of a big dopamine hit. It’ll feel good when you get it – like a raise, a new title, a new car, a bigger house – but eventually, the thrill wears off and you need something new. That’s a recipe for unhappiness.”

    Huh? I agree with the premise, I disagree with the conclusion. If you’re a generally happy/content individual, you can definitely get high on achievement, only to return to your normal base-level happiness level after it wears off. That describes me perfectly. I get something I was striving for, I feel elevated for like a week, reward myself with a new designer bag to enhance the impact, read my credit card bill, and come back to earth. Kidding. Sort of. Setting goals and consistently achieving them is not a recipe for unhappiness.

    Also, when it comes to money, a credible study (to which i can’t be bothered to find a link but inquiring minds can google) found that there actually is a direct link between money and happiness (which is completely intuitive) but it seems to be maxing out at a certain income amount. I read it about 10 years ago and at that time they said $70K or so. I guess we should index that for inflation.

    Lastly, even if you agree with the premise and the conclusion, this is hardly a concept that can be applied to relationships, or at least i don’t see how. If you de-link your happiness from achievement (in this context, i am assuming achievement would be actually being in a relationship), then why would you make any effort to find a relationship in the first place? Seems like a faulty logic to me.

     

     

     

     

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That study points out that the big leap in happiness goes from $25K to $75K, where you start off trying to survive and can finally breathe easier at $75K. After $75K, there’s incremental increases in happiness, from like a 7.1 to a 7.4, but the big one is getting out of survival mode to stability mode.

      As for your other points, Stacy, I’m not even going to respond to you, since we rarely seem to be on the same page with this stuff. But as long as you’re happy, my friend, keep doing what you’re doing.

  4. 4
    AAORK

    It’s inaccurate to say that “all American women are selfish”. However, it is accurate to say that it has become extremely difficult for a quality, marriage-minded man in America to find an unselfish woman who is also marriage material and not already married. Not impossible, just much more difficult than it should be.  And it’s completely inaccurate to say that men “would rather fly to Thailand for a bride”. For so many obvious reasons, these men would very much prefer to find a good woman here. But, considering the (increasing) rate at which this expensive and laborious activity is occurring gives compelling evidence not only to the genuine struggles American men are experiencing today but also to the perseverance of these same men to accomplish a life goal that is important (to them at least).

    1. 4.1
      Stacy2

      it has become extremely difficult for a quality, marriage-minded man in America to find an unselfish woman who is also marriage material and not already married

      No, not really. It all depends on your definition of “a quality man”. Unfortunately for most men, the standards have risen over the last few decades. It used to be that if you had a job (any sort of average job with income) and were somewhat decent looking and lacked homicidal tendencies you were considered “a quality man”  – since women needed to get married.

      Now women don’t need to get married. Literally everything a man can do, a woman can do better: make money, maintain a home, have own biological children. As far as companionship and emotional support goes? Most men are not emotionally intelligent and aware enough to be providing those. And most men are not good lovers either.

      So, Aarok, you are correct that it is more difficult for average men to get married, and that is because average is over, if you are not at the top you are in the bottom. On the other hand, men that do meet the new standard of “quality man” are awash in female attention and have no issues getting married if they’re so inclined.

      I kind of feel for average Joes out there…I can see how this totally sucks for them.

      1. 4.1.1
        Chance

        I think when one considers that it’s still women who typically push for marriage, one sees the evidence that women still need to be married.  Also, while women can choose to have biological children on their own, those children really need a father.  Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well, and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.

        1. Stacy2

          oh no-no. Women want to get married, but they don’t need to. There’s a huge difference.

          Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well,

          Meaning, becoming the POTUS for example?

          and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children

          Give me a break with this BS pls.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s not BS. It’s statistics. Just because our President didn’t have a father doesn’t mean there’s not ABUNDANT evidence that kids born out of wedlock are more prone to violence, drugs, jail, and further kids out of wedlock. By your logic, if 5% of children with no Dad make good, then there’s no difference between their chances and other kids’ chances. Except it’s not true. Kids with two parents, in general, fare much better in life. You can look it up.

        3. Stacy2

          Evan, actually it is BS and it is for the most part BS statistics. You should really reflect on this subject before you jump on Jeb Bush’ wagon on shaming single mothers. Most of the times, the differences in substance abuse rates, etc. are very small and these studies can hardly be controlled for other variables such as I don’t know … the socioeconomic status of said single mother? Do I really need to say what that really was for most single mothers  over 20 years ago?

        4. Evan Marc Katz

          Don’t fuck with me on statistics, Stacy. From the liberal Atlantic:

          “The bottom line is that there is a large body of literature showing that children of single mothers are more likely to commit crimes than children who grow up with their married parents. This is true not just in the United States, but wherever the issue has been researched. Few experts, including Cohen, dispute this. Studies cannot prove conclusively that fatherlessness—or any other factor—actually causes people to commit crimes. For that, you’d have to do the impossible: take a large group of infants and raise each of them simultaneously in two precisely equivalent households—except one would be headed by a father and mother and the other by a lone mother. But by comparing criminals of the same race, education, income, and mother’s education whose primary observable difference is family structure, social scientists have come as close as they can to making the causal case with the methodological tools available.”

        5. Shaukat

          Kids with two parents, in general, fare much better in life. You can look it up.

          Errr, I hate to say it, but I actually agree with Stacy2 on this issue. We all know what Mark Twain said about statistics.

          First, the article in the Atlantic that Evan linked to relies heavily on a study by Cynthia Harper and Sara Mclanahan which utilized a longitudinal data set. However, the findings of these authors are far from conclusive on this point. This is from their study’s abstract:

          “Results from longitudinal event-history analysis showed that although a sizable portion of the risk that appeared to be due to father absence could actually be attributed to other factors, such as teen motherhood, low parent education, racial inequalities, and poverty, adolescents in father-absent households still faced elevated incarceration risks. The adolescents who faced the highest incarceration risks, however, were those in stepparent families, including father–stepmother families.”

          Moreover, it is now recognized that the crime rate in the 1990s began to decline even as single parent families were increasing. It should also be noted that while regression analyses is a useful tool, it is often only as good as the assumptions of the authors. For instance, the authors of the Bell Curve excluded education as an independent variable, and thus were able to conclude that race was the significant factor responsible for IQ and success. Finally, it should be noted that regression analyses conducted by the economist Steven Levitt, popularized in his book Freakonomics, employing a data set of thousands of adolescents, found that there was no statistically significant association between family structure  and the success rates of the subjects.

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          “Moreover, it is now recognized that the crime rate in the 1990s began to decline even as single parent families were increasing.”

          Completely elides the point by pivoting to a different statistic. You assume that there’s something transitive: if there are more children of single parents, crime should go up. Crime has gone down, ergo, there’s no difference in outcomes between children of single parents.

          The problem, of course, is that – per the quote and study cited – children of single parents, on the whole, fare worse than children of married parents – not just in the US, but everywhere in the world. This seems to be some sort of confirmation bias. It’s like you don’t want the study to be true because maybe you were the child of a single mother, so you try to find ways to shoot holes in it.

          I really have no horse in the race other than truth and logic. My beliefs are formed by facts, not feelings. Show me the study that illustrates that out of wedlock kids fare as well as children from in tact nuclear families and you may have a point. Until then, you just sound like birthers who don’t want to believe that Barack Obama is American.

          More: http://nydivorcefirm.com/single-parent-households-does-affect-children/

          Varied research shows that children in single-parent homes fare worse than those with two parents. There is a prevalence of lower birth-rates and higher death rates among infants in one-parent homes. The number of children aged 15 to 17 years in school and in good health is much lower in children from single-parent homes as compared to two-parent homes. The number of children becoming pregnant at these ages is also increasing.

          In addition, children who have gone through a divorce are more likely to suffer from depression, emotional stress and difficulties in school. Adolescents from single parent families were found to be three times more likely to be depressed than those living with two parents. Criminal activity is also more associated with single parent homes. Children from single-parent households account for 72% of teenage murderers and 60% rape crimes. Children from single-parent homes are eleven times more likely to exhibit violent behavior.

          This does not mean that problems found in single-parent homes are because of the parent who raises the children. It can be related to things other than single parenting. Single-parent households are generally less well-off financially and this may be a major reason for family problems. Low income families face issues of lower education levels and lower economic achievement which can often leave the child feeling lonely and isolated. Also, children in single-parent households are generally less supervised and there is also less communication between the child and the parent.

          As already mentioned, single-mother households are the most common types of one parent family. Compared to single fathers, single mothers face different challenges. Nearly 70% of single parent mothers live in poverty and earn less than $13,000 annually. They have a tough time providing for their families because they usually have lower paying jobs.

        7. Shaukat

          First, in response to your personal attack, I grew up in a two parent household until I was fifteen, so I really have no vested interest in defending single mothers/parents. I’m interested in the data, the underlying assumptions behind the data, and how it’s interpreted. I could just as easily say that you have confirmation bias since your business is based on promoting marriage. Not that I ever would have, but you threw down the gauntlet for some reason.

          Regarding the studies, you linked to a law firm specializing in divorce cases, hardly a scientific source. There are studies, on the other hand, that support my position. For example, a meta-analysis by Petrosino, Derzon and Lavenberg (2009), published in the Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, concluded the following:

          “Contrary to common notions, family factors may have a role to play in criminal offending but are not the major reason why most persons become criminal . For those meta-analyses that examined a range of variables and their association with the onset and continuation of crime, family factors were never the largest correlation; in fact, the average correlation across family factors never surpassed the average correlation across all predictors. ”

          https://web.archive.org/web/20150906004802/http://swacj.org/swjcj/archives/6.2/3%20Petrosino%20et%20al.pdf

          My point was not that there are no studies illustrating that family structure has a significant impact on the  well-being of children, but rather that the latter variable is often bound up with other hidden variables that are not tested.

        8. GoWiththeFlow

          Evan,

          If you are interested in studies and statistics on the effects of family structure on kids please consider reading  Single Parents and Their Children:  The Good News No One Ever Tells You. By Bella DePaulo.  She is a professor and researcher at UCSB (Ph.D. from Harvard) and the book contains essays on current research that she wrote on her “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today and her “Single at Heart” blog at PsychCentral.

          The overall impression of what she presents, single parent families are not all created equal, nor are all two parent families.  There are many confounding factors that affect how kids will do, including conflict within the home, the presence of grandparents in the home, socioeconomic status, and social support to name a few.  And overall, the kids from single parent homes are doing just fine.  From the first essay of the book which appeared in Psychology Today:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201507/10-ways-the-children-single-parents-defy-all-stereotypes

          “On any particular measure, the vast majority of the children of single parents are doing just fine. For example, in a national survey of substance abuse among more than 22,000 adolescents from many different kinds of households, the rate of substance abuse among the children of single parents was 5.7%. That means that more than 94% of the adolescent children of single mothers did not have substance abuse problems.”

          “When the children of single mothers have higher rates of certain problems than do the children of married parents, often the difference is very small. In the same substance abuse study, for example, the rate for the children of married parents was 4.5%. If a study such as this one made it into the media, the headlines would probably shout, “Children of single mothers abuse drugs and alcohol.” But look at the actual numbers: 5.7% for the children of single mothers, compared to 4.5% for the children of married parents. That’s a difference of just a tad more than 1%.”

           

        9. Evan Marc Katz

          Bella DePaulo is just about the best example of walking confirmation bias there is. She starts with an agenda and works backwards to find evidence to support her point of view. She’s publicly attacked friends of mine who are pro-marriage because she’s anti-marriage. I think she’s far more suspect as a source than you believe her to be. Anyone can cherry pick a number: I’ve reported that EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD, there has proven to be a stubborn correlation between lesser outcomes in life and single parenthood. This is not an attack on you if you’re a single parent or the child of a single parent. I am just perpetually surprised at people’s inability to accept news that may be less than flattering. I’ll bet if you did a study about Jews and argumentativeness, you’d find a high correlation. That’s been my anecdotal experience, anyway. Why would I be surprised that a larger study pointed out what we observe to be true? Why, indeed, would we assume that children without present fathers, few male role models, no second incomes, with unstable families, with less money, in less educated areas have the same outcomes in life?

        10. Stacy2

          I think others have presented compelling arguments against flawed “single mothers studies”. It should be intuitively clear to everyone that most single mothers were in fact disadvantaged – economically, racially and socially. As somebody mentioned – 70% lived below poverty line. And, as one can surmise, these women were raising their children in crime-ridden neighborhoods with poor schools and were racially disadvantaged. I can’t find another word for linking life outcomes to single parenthood given this backdrop, other than total BS. It’s like saying that 100% of people who ate cucumbers have died. Duh.

          Moreover, considering this socioeconomic composition, it is actually quite remarkable that the difference in outcomes is so small. One could make an argument that these mothers as a group have done a phenomenal job overcoming the adversities they faced and had an excellent track record.

          Lastly, taking these numbers, which reflect the realities of economically disadvantaged demographics from 30-40 years ago (when today’s adults were growing up) and extrapolate it forward to imply that an educated, economically stable single mother today runs the risk of raising a child with worse life outcomes, is simply foolish. And this is basically the premise from which this discussion started in the first place – that a woman today can do everything a man can better. I will rest my case here.

        11. Evan Marc Katz

          Actually, Stacy, “foolish” is ignoring the facts because they don’t confirm your feelings about how things should be. You’re trying to separate single motherhood from poverty; but it IS linked. People with less education, fewer role models, less impulse control, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, with religious upbringings – have sex, accidentally conceive, choose to keep the child – and bring a baby into an unstable situation. Those babies – not surprisingly – turn out to be more likely to do drugs, commit crimes, sire kids out of wedlock, etc. As such, I have no idea what you’re actually arguing. That it’s not fair to point this out? That Barack Obama and Bill Clinton came from broken homes so it’s really not a disadvantage to be raised by a single mother alone? That men provide so little in terms of emotional and economic support that there’s virtually no difference between kids with in-tact families and kids who have no fathers? None of it holds up to logical scrutiny, or larger statistical scrutiny. So you can believe whatever you want. But it’s not “conservative” to point out facts that contradict the all-options-are-equal narrative: people who have NSA sex are, on the whole, less happy (even though I did it myself), people who get married in a year are more likely to get divorced than people who wait 3 years. People who are college educated and over 30 have a much lower divorce rate than under thirty and high school educated. And children with two married parents, a steady home environment, masculine and feminine energy, and dual incomes are more likely to succeed than out of wedlock children. The fact that you know a bunch of 40 year old rich single moms who got some Ivy League sperm or made a killing in a divorce settlement doesn’t change the underlying facts on the ground.

        12. GoWiththeFlow

          Evan,

          I believe you when you say you are not trying to attack anyone specifically.  I would, however, like to point out that this sub-thread began when Chance @4.1.1 wrote this doozy:

          “Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well, and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.”

          If I had written that motherless children typically don’t fare well, and single fathers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children, I expect that I would have been on the receiving end of a written tirade by every man on this site for noxious and untrue generalizations about single dads.

          If your position is that children of some single parents are at greater risk in life for certain bad outcomes, I agree with that statement.  But what is the degree of risk?  In the survey of adolescent drug use, kids of single parents had a 1.2% greater rate of substance abuse that kids of married parents.  Here in this thread the language used implies that the risk is HUGE.  According to Chance ALL single mothers are doing a bad job of raising kids, and it’s the moms’ fault that the fathers aren’t there.

          What this whole thread is missing (and that Shaukat makes a good argument for) is that there is huge variance in the economic resources, social support system, and stability in the many forms single parent households take on.  A teenage mom that lives in poverty in a crime ridden neighborhood is very different from a 32 year old college educated mom who’s husband was killed by a drunk driver.  And they are both very different from the 39 year old single mom who adopted a girl from an orphanage in Russia and the 45 year old divorced mom who’s ex-husband has the kids alternating weeks.

           

        13. Chance

          GWTF,

           

          “Here in this thread the language used implies that the risk is HUGE.”

           

          I’ll take responsibility for the lack of clarification in my original comment as I was quickly responding to Stacy2’s comment.  I was trying to say that children of single mothers typically do not fare well, relatively speaking, when compared to children with two parents.  (On a side note, GWTF, how would you respond if I said that men can do everything better than women?  No offense taken there?).

           

          I would still argue that the risk is huge that fatherless kids don’t typically fare well.  When having these types of discussions, I think people focus too much on the worst possible outcomes of childhood.  However, just because a kid doesn’t drop out of school, get involved in crime, get into drugs, or has a kid when he/she is a teenager doesn’t mean the kid fared well.

           

          When I was growing up, the kids who were raised in a single-parent household almost always had much less time and money available to him/her to ensure that he/she was effectively prepared to be successful as an adult.  As a result, often it was the case that no one was looking over them to ensure that they kept their grades up, and they were often left unsupervised.  It was much more likely that their parent didn’t have the money to set them up in extracurricular activities, which carried over into high school.  The vast majority of them simply hoped to tread water, and perhaps, attend a local community college (on their own dime).  As they moved on into adulthood, the vast majority of them are just working class people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

           

          On the contrary, virtually all of the kids who did well in school, and moved on to live in conditions that are above working class, came from two-parent households.  Forget about the most extreme negative outcomes of childhood, most people – almost regardless of background – don’t encounter them.  One has to look at the relative outcomes.  Who dreams of having their child scrape by as an adult?

           

           

          According to Chance ALL single mothers are doing a bad job of raising kids, and it’s the moms’ fault that the fathers aren’t there.”

           

          I think anyone who has an adequate command of the English language, and who isn’t trying to prop up a straw man, could understand that I was speaking general terms as opposed to saying that “ALL” single mothers are doing a bad job of raising kids.  More often than not, a woman becomes a single mother due to some very poor choices, and more often than not, the woman wants someone else to pay for it.  If the father can provide her with more money than the government, she wants him to pay without regard for whether or not he wanted the child in the first place (once again, she made the choice to raise the child in such bad circumstances, which were laid out before her before the child was born).  If the father has no real means to support the child, it’s common that she wants him to stay away because the government can provide more money.  Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society.  A woman who knowingly brings a fatherless child into the world under the conditions that I discussed above is no better than a man who recklessly spreads his seed with no intent to ever pay child support.  I didn’t say it was all the mother’s fault, but they have a lot of the responsibility – probably the majority of the responsibility – since they have sole access to the rights that allow them to make the decisions to avoid such an outcome.

        14. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          “On a side note, GWTF, how would you respond if I said that men can do everything better than women?  No offense taken there?”

          Then why didn’t you respond to Stacy about how this statement offended you?  Instead when she said, “Men are losers!” you answered tit for tat with “Oh yeah, well women are losers too!”

          “When I was growing up, the kids who were raised in a single-parent household almost always had much less time and money available to him/her to ensure that he/she was effectively prepared to be successful as an adult.  As a result, often it was the case that no one was looking over them to ensure that they kept their grades up, and they were often left unsupervised.”

          Goes to the point that socioeconomic status and social support can have a great impact on how well a kid will do.  Outside of having moms who were single for part of their childhood (and that’s another point, single moms can get married and married moms can wind up divorced or widowed) Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s mothers were able to complete advanced educations that led to good paying jobs, and they had very involved extended family networks, namely their grandparents.  BTW there was one study that looked at how kids fared in 10 different family structures.  The one with the best outcomes?  Multigenerational households, including homes with a single parent, their child(ren), and one or two grandparents.

          As far as your classmates that you say didn’t do well, the assumption that you are making is that their adult lives would have been better if they had married parents.  If these kids were from divorced families living in a home where there was high conflict prior to the divorce, that’s a very damaging environment.  They could have been worse off in their intact two parent home than in a low conflict single parent household.

          “. . .virtually all of the kids who did well in school, and moved on to live in conditions that are above working class, came from two-parent households.  Forget about the most extreme negative outcomes of childhood, most people – almost regardless of background – don’t encounter them.  One has to look at the relative outcomes.  Who dreams of having their child scrape by as an adult?”

          If this means you grew up in a working class community it’s not shocking there is little upward mobility.  Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in part, was about the class divisions we have in this society and the lack of upward mobility.  If the parents, married or single, are just scraping by, the majority of their kids will follow the same script.

          “Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society.”

          Bull sh*t.  Where is your economic data to support this statement?  Do single mothers not pay sales, property, and income taxes?  Are they exempt from government user fees to register their cars or get a driver’s license?  Do the large majority of single moms not pay rent or make mortgage payments?  Do they not have jobs and use their wages to buy food and clothing and pay utility bills?  It seems that you have relabelled the 1980s era welfare queen caricature a single mom and want to blame all of societies ills on them.

          “I didn’t say it was all the mother’s fault, but they have a lot of the responsibility – probably the majority of the responsibility – since they have sole access to the rights that allow them to make the decisions to avoid such an outcome.”

          Women do not have “sole access” to birth control or responsible informed decisions about who they have sex with.

           

        15. Chance

          First, I wasn’t offended by Stacy2’s comment.  I just found it fascinating that you took exception with my observation while you didn’t take exception with her proclamation.  Also, my comment to her didn’t have anything to do with women being losers.  I was pointing out where she was wrong.

           

          Second, you’re either missing or ignoring the main issue surrounding socioeconomic conditions, which is that socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood.  Evan already addressed this, and it clearly had no influence on your viewpoint so it’s pointless for me to discuss it any further.

           

          Bull sh*t.  Where is your economic data to support this statement?  Do single mothers not pay sales, property, and income taxes?  Are they exempt from government user fees to register their cars or get a driver’s license?  Do the large majority of single moms not pay rent or make mortgage payments?  Do they not have jobs and use their wages to buy food and clothing and pay utility bills?  It seems that you have relabelled the 1980s era welfare queen caricature a single mom and want to blame all of societies ills on them.

           

          While I don’t know if there is any study out there that specifically examines the median amount of financial support that single mothers receive from sources outside of their occupations (e.g., money from the government, child support, etc), and compares that figure to the median amount of money that they pay to the government, there is a lot of data out there that points to the fact that they are typically net takers.  (Also, I’m talking about women who chose to bear a child without a father, btw.  I think it’s a questionable practice to refer to all divorced mothers as single mothers.).  I believe I read that the median income for single mothers is around $26k.  Women earning that kind of money aren’t paying very much at all in income taxes, aren’t paying that much in sales taxes, and are likely paying $0 in property taxes.  The money they make doesn’t contribute much to the economy, and the money they spend is often driven by wealth re-distribution.  Finally, I never blamed all of society’s ills on single mothers.  I just find it fascinating how much people push back against idea that these women aren’t victims of some kind of societal ill, but are more often than not the primary cause of the problem.

           

          “Women do not have “sole access” to birth control or responsible informed decisions about who they have sex with.”

           

          I’m talking about after conception (i.e., after the mistake was made).  Women do, in fact, have sole access to the rights that allow them to avoid the outcome of a fatherless child.  Again, I did not say that men are not responsible.

        16. Shaukat

          Second, you’re either missing or ignoring the main issue surrounding socioeconomic conditions, which is that socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood. 

          The acknowledgment that ‘socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood’ does not establish anything except for a simple correlation. To take another example, for centuries (and even now) certain theorists and political economists believed that overpopulation within a specific geographical area was responsible for poverty. The correlation was there, and still is, but they had misidentified the causal variable. We now know that fertility rates decline as national income increases.

          In other words, the only way to show that single parenthood is responsible for family dysfunction is if you can establish that the former is in fact the independent variable responsible for impoverishment. While this is certainly the party line among right wing ideologies like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, it is not something that is taken seriously by credible economists, who recognize that poverty is caused by labour market and economic variables, such as interest rates, housing availability, fixed capital formation, employment opportunities, etc. These variables don’t change just because someone who makes 20k a year decides to marry someone who might make less or the same.

          The economist Steven Levitt has argued that upward mobility is influenced by genetics and one’s social and economic environment, and his regression tests found that there was no statistically significant association between family structure and the performance of adolescents in school tests, grades, etc. I was accused in a post above of being anti-science, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s what would change my mind on this issue: a study that controls for socio-economic status (not just income, which can fluctuate mildly within a specific band) and other relevant variables such as geographical crime rates, and which illustrates that single parenthood still has significant negative material effects on the well-being of a child.

          On a side note Chance, in a previous thread ( I don’t remember which one, or else I’d link to it) I recall that in response to one of EMK’s pro-marriage comments you responded by stating that the stats on single parents on their offspring were simply illustrating a correlation, not causation. I even remember that I responded to defend your viewpoint. You now seem to have changed your mind, and I would be interested to know why.

        17. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          “Second, you’re either missing or ignoring the main issue surrounding socioeconomic conditions, which is that socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood. “

          No they are not.  A teen single mother in an impoverished area is in a completely different situation than a woman with a professional level salary in her late 30s who has IVF.

          What you seem to be doing is taking single mothers who live in poverty, have low education and work skill levels, poor employment prospects, poor marriage prospects, and who are often racial and ethnic minorities who face discrimination, and assuming that their single status is THE major determinant of their children’s lot in life.  Then you apply the greater risk these kids face (that isn’t solely determined by their parent’s marital status) and assume ALL single mom households have the same risk profile.  The meta-analysis study that Shaukat linked to finds that family structure (single parent vs. TMC households) has no effect on adolescent criminality, which is linked to poverty and other social ills.

          “I’m talking about women who chose to bear a child without a father, btw.  I think it’s a questionable practice to refer to all divorced mothers as single mothers.”

          While you may want to give a goodwill exemption to divorced moms and not group them in with those bad, bad never-married single moms, most studies place both groups of women in the same single mom category.  Because whether a parent is single via divorce or was never married, many function very similarly and there is overlap between the groups.  A divorced woman’s ex could be completely out of the picture while a never married mom, and her child, could be in an ongoing supportive and loving relationship with the kid’s father.

          “While I don’t know if there is any study out there that specifically examines the median amount of financial support that single mothers receive from sources outside of their occupations (e.g., money from the government, child support, etc), and compares that figure to the median amount of money that they pay to the government, there is a lot of data out there that points to the fact that they are typically net takers.”

          You are correct:  There are no studies that support your assumption that single moms are “net takers.”

          “I never blamed all of society’s ills on single mothers.  I just find it fascinating how much people push back against idea that these women aren’t victims of some kind of societal ill, but are more often than not the primary cause of the problem.”

          The issue here is that the subset of single mothers you want to focus on as being representative of all single moms are born into circumstances that they did not cause;  poverty, family dysfunction, failing public schools, high crime and violence prone communities, and extremely limited access to upper mobility.  Marina Ashdale and others have economic models that show that women born into such circumstances have no incentive to delay having sex since there is no long term payoff–a college degree, a husband, a future high paying job–to protect.  They also have little incentive to marry a spouse who is experiencing the same poverty,  employment insecurity, and very limited opportunities for upward mobility that the women are.  Marriage won’t make her life better.

          Now coming full circle to the issue of confirmations bias, I will freely acknowledge that I like the fact that there are studies that show that kids of single moms will turn out alright.  What’s more, the research does suggest and sometimes shows that there are actions that single moms (and those that love them) can take to improve outcomes for their kids.  For instance having grandma and grandpa live with mom and grandkids or at least be very nearby.

          Chance, what I want you to ask yourself is whether you have a confirmation bias thing of your own going on.  The disdain you have for single moms just rolls off the words in your comments.  You use all inclusive statements, it’s never some moms, or a subset of moms, or a few moms.

          “. . . single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.”

          “. . . fatherless kids don’t typically fare well.”

          “Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society.”

          There is no appreciation of the wide range of circumstances and experiences.  No acknowledgment of other factors that worsen outcomes for kids that coexist in some single parent homes but are independent of marital status.  And no mention that there are situations where a single parent household is preferable to what the alternative would be.  When it comes to single moms it’s all black and white which suggests that this is more on the level of a religious belief for you than a reasoned set of tentative conclusions that are open to modification.

        18. Chance

          Hi Shaukat,

           

          First, I appreciate the rational debate.  I can tell you are coming from a place where you have sincerely tried to correctly interpret my stance.  Now, to a couple of your points:

           

          “The acknowledgment that ‘socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood’ does not establish anything except for a simple correlation.”

           

          You are absolutely right.  Indeed, I was not implying causation.  When I told Stacy2 that single mothers do not have a very good track record, the reason I believe this is the case is because a disproportionate percentage of them are below the poverty line or have generally lower income levels.  As a result, they often cannot support these children in a manner that they need to be supported.  These women are often bringing the child into the world knowing that the father isn’t willing and able to take care of the child.  If the majority of single mothers followed a more responsible path to single motherhood (e.g., a woman who makes a lot more money who chooses to adopt or opts for IVF, and has ensured that the child will have a good support system), then I believe the track record for single mothers would undoubtedly be better.  However, my second point to Stacy2 is that children still need their fathers.  I don’t see how anyone could debate that the additional time and money that can be provided by a second parent (assuming that the parent is employed and doesn’t neglect the child – a fair assumption in most cases) doesn’t benefit a child.  That’s the primary issue with so many single mothers:  they are choosing to mate with men who aren’t willing and able to do both, and then subsequently choosing to bring the child into substandard conditions despite other options that are available to them that could spare the child from such an outcome.

           

           

          “On a side note Chance, in a previous thread ( I don’t remember which one, or else I’d link to it) I recall that in response to one of EMK’s pro-marriage comments you responded by stating that the stats on single parents on their offspring were simply illustrating a correlation, not causation. I even remember that I responded to defend your viewpoint. You now seem to have changed your mind, and I would be interested to know why.

           

          I think you might be referring this blog post on Dateonomics:  http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/dateonomics-by-jon-birger-book-review-by-evan-marc-katz/comment-page-2/#comments

           

          I wasn’t arguing the same point in that thread that I am arguing here, although I can certainly understand why you thought that I was.  In the Dateonomics post, I was arguing that if two parents are loving and committed to raising their child, then it doesn’t matter if they are married or not.  I wasn’t arguing that children didn’t benefit from having a second parent in their lives.  You will see that my last comment in that thread is consistent with my stance here.

           

        19. Chance

          GWTF,

           

          I wasn’t going to reply to your post because it is against my better judgment, but I feel compelled:

           

          “No they are not.”    (as it relates to single motherhood being linked to low income)

           

          Yes, they are.  Unless you are arguing that there isn’t a causal link, I cannot see how anyone could say that the two aren’t linked unless that person is willfully ignoring reality.

           

          “What you seem to be doing is taking single mothers who live in poverty, have low education and work skill levels, poor employment prospects, poor marriage prospects, and who are often racial and ethnic minorities who face discrimination, and assuming that their single status is THE major determinant of their children’s lot in life. “

           

          Not even remotely.  I’m saying there is a notable correlation between people from this kind of background and the incidence of single motherhood.  There is no statistical method  that can prove causality.  It often can only be proven in a controlled experiment.

           

          “While you may want to give a goodwill exemption to divorced moms and not group them in with those bad, bad never-married single moms, most studies place both groups of women in the same single mom category.”

           

          The reason that I think it is a questionable practice to include divorced mothers in the stats for single mothers is because, often times, it is merely a technicality (i.e., they are single and they are mothers).  The father is often very involved in the child’s life.  When people talk about the struggles that single mothers face, it is implied that they aren’t getting any (or getting very little) assistance from the father, but that often isn’t the case with divorced mothers.

           

           

          “You are correct:  There are no studies that support your assumption that single moms are “net takers.””

           

          I said that I didn’t know if there is any study out there that specifically examines the median amount of financial support that single mothers receive from sources outside of their occupations (e.g., money from the government, child support, etc), and compares that figure to the median amount of money that they pay to the government.  Therefore, I am similarly unaware of any studies that indicate that single mothers are net contributors.  However, I noted that there is data out there that certainly indicates that, on average, they are taking more from society than they are giving back, financially speaking.  You are supremely confident that I am wrong, which leads me to believe that you have data to back up your stance.  Could you please provide the evidence?

           

          “There is no appreciation of the wide range of circumstances and experiences.”

           

          You and I are doing the same thing, GWTF.  We are focusing on a subset of single mothers to support our respective stances.  The difference between you and me is that I am focusing on the majority (mothers who make very little and who made the choice to bring a child into a bad situation), while you are focusing in the minority (more financially stable mothers who choose IVF, adoption, etc., or widowed mothers).

           

          “No acknowledgment of other factors that worsen outcomes for kids that coexist in some single parent homes but are independent of marital status.”

           

          I have been acknowledging them:  women should consider the conditions they live in before they choose to bring a child into those conditions.

           

          “And no mention that there are situations where a single parent household is preferable to what the alternative would be.”  

           

          This is a painfully ironic comment coming from someone who has yet to acknowledge that children need their fathers.  Is there evidence to suggest that this is the case in the majority of situations?  Are most single mothers better off without the father around?  Please provide evidence.

        20. Shaukat

          Hi Chance,

          Thanks for providing that link. You are correct, you were discussing a separate, though related, issue. Since you’ve now clarified that you do agree that we are looking at a correlation when it comes to poverty and single motherhood, then I think our remaining disagreements can probably be reduced to these two points:

          1). Single mothers are net takers;

          2). The offspring of single mothers would, in general, be better off having their fathers in the picture.

          Regarding the first point, I think we would both agree that we lack the data to reach a definitive conclusion, and quite frankly I’m not motivated enough to check to see if there are any studies that examine this topic in depth. I will say this though: In order to make this determination it would be necessary to not just look at how much single mothers contribute in terms of rent/property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, social security contributions, their own sources of income, but also whether they work jobs that the majority of citizens are not willing to do, etc.

          Regarding the second point, there are a of couple things to say here. First, if we hold variables such as income, socio-economic status, and geographical area constant, then it would seem to me that in order to reach this conclusion you would have to argue that the primary benefit to having two parents in the equation would be related to the emotional development/health of the child. This could be true, but such a study would be very difficult to design since such intangible indicators are, by their nature, very difficult to measure.

          Moreover, we should keep in mind that the nuclear family is a fairly recent institution and phenomena, and even today in other cultural contexts children are raised by extended family and kinship. In my mind what is important is that the child has access to a wide social network of various role models making up  a tight support system. Also, as GWTF mentioned, in certain situations (abuse, neglect) the child would be better off being raised by one parent, but that’s only assuming all else isn’t equal, which goes without saying. Hope this clarifies my position a little.

        21. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          I said:

          “And no mention that there are situations where a single parent household is preferable to what the alternative would be.”  

          You replied:

          ” Is there evidence to suggest that this is the case in the majority of situations?  Are most single mothers better off without the father around?  Please provide evidence.”

          Listen to the podcast of Evan’s interview with Rhonda Britten.  Her father shot and killed her mother then turned the gun on himself when she was 14.  She witnessed the whole thing.  Some two parent families are not safe places for children to be.  Caroline in 4.1.5 said the alternative option of staying in her marriage would have been worse for her kids than divorcing and being a single mom.

          When one parent is abusive, an addict, or involved in criminal activity, you bet it’s in the kids’ best interests to be safely away from the parent who is the bad actor whether they are then being raised by a single mother or a single father.  In Evan’s post Should Men Be Forced to Pay For Children They Didn’t Want, a researcher quoted in the linked article said that by forcing an unwilling, abusive dad to pay support, it opens up the mother and the child to danger from him.

          Hopefully these situations are rare, but they are out there.  (And no I DID NOT say most single mothers would be better off without the father around.)

          “This is a painfully ironic comment coming from someone who has yet to acknowledge that children need their fathers.”

          Go back and read over the comment thread you and I engaged in from the above mentioned post.

          Should Men Be Forced to Pay For Children They Didn’t Want?

          I saw a poignant comment written by a now grown woman who grew up without her father.  You can feel the pain of her father’s rejection in her words.  Against MY better judgement I replied in support of her position.  (And it was against my better judgement because I knew someone would get the howitzer out and start firing away and my nature is to avoid conflict especially when I know I’m not changing anyone’s mind.)

          In multiple comments, I explained how my son not having his dad for the first part of his childhood affected him, even though two uncles and a family friend were, and still are, a big part of his life.  I also explained that part of the reason that I was against allowing dads to legally be excused from paying child support is because kids need to be important to their dads, and no child should ever be on the receiving end of a court ruling that says their biological dad doesn’t think they are worth even a check in the mail.  (Not to mention a policy like this might throw more kids into poverty.)

          “You and I are doing the same thing, GWTF.  We are focusing on a subset of single mothers to support our respective stances.  The difference between you and me is that I am focusing on the majority (mothers who make very little and who made the choice to bring a child into a bad situation), while you are focusing in the minority (more financially stable mothers who choose IVF, adoption, etc., or widowed mothers).”

          Where are your statistics to support your claim that this subset of mothers constitutes a majority of single mothers?  You are making assumptions.  You are also assuming that unmarried fathers are not involved with their kids in any meaningful way.  I don’t hold men, especially poor young men, in such low regard that I would assume they just all up and walk away.

          As for why I responded on this thread, it’s not because I think you can be persuaded that a lot, if not most single moms are very aware of their limitations and are consciously doing every thing they can to raise productive well-adjusted kids.  It’s because no single mom reading this blog because she believes in love, marriage, and the positive force a good man can be in her and her kids’ life deserves to be condemned by your gross mischaracterizations:

          “Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well, and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.”

          “More often than not, a woman becomes a single mother due to some very poor choices, and more often than not, the woman wants someone else to pay for it.”

          “Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society”  (And p.s. receiving child support from the father makes the mom a “taker.”)

          Lastly Chance (and I do mean lastly because put a fork in me, I am done with this sub-thread) IMO the reason you have such a need to point out what a horrible scourge single motherhood is is because the thought that a single mom can raise a happy, well-adjusted child makes you feel on a very deep level that that means men don’t matter, that you may not matter.  Instead of lashing out at a group of women, live your life so that you DO matter to the people around you.

           

        22. Evan Marc Katz

          GoWithTheFlow – I’m not done with this thread because you’re too bright and valued here to leave without a better understanding of what’s really going on.

          Broad studies ALWAYS show that, in general, two parent families produce healthier, happier kids. That is like saying that, in general, men are taller than women. Which is true. So you can come back with any number of anecdotes – I’m 5’11” – lots of men are shorter than I am! That doesn’t change that, on the whole, men are taller than women.

          So it goes with studies. No one is saying (not even Chance) that ALL children of ALL single mothers are fucked up. No one is saying that there aren’t really bad marriages with really bad men who really mess up their kids. We are merely stating that – on the whole, in general, when you consider hundreds of thousands of families around the world, a child is more likely to turn to drugs and crime, etc, if he comes from a single parent household. That doesn’t mean that mother is doing something evil or wrong. It means that raising a child by yourself on one income is a lot HARDER than having a stable, two income family. Acknowledge that, and this thread can finally be over.

        23. Chance

          GWTF, IMO the reason you have taken such offense at my rather innocuous comment to Stacy2 is because, on a deep level, you are questioning whether you have done the right thing by choosing to raise children without a father.  Like Evan, I am not judging you as I don’t know your circumstances.  Do the things you need to do to give yourself the comfort that you are making the right choice.

        24. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          I am at peace and comfortable with my life decisions.  I took offense because your initial comment and subsequent ones are not innocuous, they ARE offensive.

          If I made an exaggerated blanket statement about how a subgroup of men were societal failures, I don’t get to decide if they should be offended by my comments or not.  The target of my unfair comments has every right to be offended.

        25. Chance

          GWTF, let’s put it this way:  your threshold for what is considered “offensive” is apparently much lower when someone says something that indirectly relates to you.  More offensive comments are thrown around here all the time, and I don’t hear a peep from you – especially when the comments are directed towards men (again, I’m not saying that I’m offended by those comments).  Why do you think that is?  Peace.

      2. 4.1.2
        Sarah

        Stacy2: I agree with your general overall point. What do you think about the magnitude of “relationship” that some women expect  from men? I tend to think women want way too much in the form of , you need to be nurturing and compassionate like my women friends (on top of everything else)I think more women would be happier if they realize men cannot bring everything to the table. Women need women in their lives for a lot of stuff that is just not in a man’s radar. And that is not a dig on men either. But I do get hot under the collar when I am told we are too independent! We have to be independent to have the freedom to choose an SO appropriately ,and not because we need someone to help us pay the bills. My mom went through 2 bad marriages …and all of those thinking that is my problem… you may be right but I have no problems being alone ,when needed , because that helps me NOT choose the psycho down the road. (Well, I learned my lesson on that one too.)  And I also  don’t hold men hostage because they don’t want to watch Downton Abbey with me…or don’t  know what to say, when our women friends know exactly what to say when we need that “nurturing” voice. I just don’t think most men have it, but I may be warped. Anyway I was just thinking about the definition of “a quality man” and it got me thinking…

        1. Buck25

          “…men cannot bring everything to the table”

          Sarah,

          Absolutely spot on, and I wish more women realized this; many do not. and end up disappointed with men who are doing their best.

          Most men simply are not geared to be as sensitive to feelings and as nurturing as women. It’s not as if we can choose to be otherwise; most of us simply don’t develop that level of empathy, and even if we did, we still wouldn’t understand a woman’s emotions well enough. We’re simply not that nuanced, and in most cases, we can’t even talk about feelings the same way women do; don’t even have the vocabulary for it, usually. It’s not just that we come at a relationship differently; our same-sex friendships aren’t like yours either. Our lives just don’t have the same emotional content yours do. As I’ve said repeatedly here, women sometimes act as if they think men are simply women with different plumbing… and we aren’t.

          Actually I’m with you on the independence issue. Yes it makes it harder for us men, because women have more choices; they no longer have to choose between a life of economic hardship and settling for any average guy who will have them; we’re punished far more for mediocrity in the dating/mating marketplace because of that, than used to be the case. I still think this is actually a change for the better, in that it makes it more likely that a woman will be with me because she wants to be, not because she has to be, and I prefer that. Doesn’t say much for a man,  in my book, if the only reason a woman will have him is out of hard-pan necessity. Damned if I want to be any woman’s port of last resort in a storm; there’s no honor or dignity in that, for either party. That’s not even a relationship, or a marriage; just an exercise in mutual using. If there’s much real difference between that, and a “sugar-daddy” / “sugar-baby” relationship with a woman trading sex and companionship for economic support, I don’t know what it might be. All I know, is I don’t want any woman in my bed, who silently resents having to be there.

        2. Emily, the original

          Hi Buck25,

          I wish more women realized this; many do not. and end up disappointed with men who are doing their best. Most men simply are not geared to be as sensitive to feelings and as nurturing as women.

          You wrote that women have unrealistic expectations for men in terms of their ability to be emotionally evolved, sensitive and intelligent. What do you think men expect of women that is unrealistic? I don’t mean “likes to play video games” but maybe qualities that men don’t seem to understand that most women don’t have.

           

        3. Caroline

          Sarah-you are so right about needing to be independent so you can make better choices in a partner. And yes, we all need lives full with people we love like family and friends.

          Buck-you nailed it with “being punished for mediocrity in the dating marketplace”. There’s a big difference between average and mediocre. Men expect better of women also and why shouldn’t they?! As I get older, I realize how much a man’s outlook on life and his temperament are of such value. His playfulness, his serious side and how he balances both. I love a man who can find joy not just in those big events but the everyday stuff. Caring and loving your partner isn’t reserved for those romantic candlelit dinners and tropical vacations but also just a morning hug in the kitchen while pouring coffee.

        4. Buck25

          “What do you think men expect of women that’s unrealistic”

          Emily,

          Fair question, even if it does further open up this can of worms.

          One obvious one is that men, who can easily separate sex from most of its emotional content, just don’t understand that most women can’t do the same. For men, sex is a primary goal; relationships and love are byproducts, when and if they happen. For a woman, some sort of committed relationship is the goal; sex is either a potential stepping stone to that, or an adjunct that naturally is associated with commitment/love,  not the primary object of the exercise.

          Another, is that the world is a far more threatening place to most women than it is to men. Social conditioning, being raised to be more cautious, sensational news stories, smaller physical size, less physical strength, less aggression, all combine with some very real dangers to make life more fearful to many women than it is to men. Is some of this exaggerated? Sure, but it’s no less real from the perspective of the woman experiencing it, and if she’s had some real trauma, or even a near miss, that makes it worse. Overcautious, defensive, on guard? Yeah, happens a lot, and sometimes we guys find that annoying; we know we’re not bad guys, rapists, abusers, cheats or con men, and if anything, our instinct is to protect a woman, not harm her, so why doesn’t she see that…but the woman we met just doesn’t know that; all she knows in the beginning is that we’re generally bigger, stronger, and she’s vulnerable. That’s easy to forget, when we want her to show a little more courage than she may feel at the moment.

          I think the biggest and dumbest, though, is expecting a woman to choose a boyfriend, or a life partner, by the same logic and values a man would use, and that..well, it’s just not going to happen! When we complain of a woman being “too emotional”, what we often mean is, she operates off how we make her feel, in a way that confounds us, instead of doing what men’s values and logic say she “should” do. This makes no sense to us, but to a woman, it makes perfect sense; she’s operating from a different perspective, and a thinking and emotional process that values things we don’t think important, while ignoring other things we think “should” be important.

          I’m sure there are some others, but those are the first that come to mind.

           

        5. Emily, the original

          Hi Buck25,

          For men, sex is a primary goal; relationships and love are byproducts, when and if they happen. For a woman, some sort of committed relationship is the goal.

          Thanks for answering. But how does that explain the large number of men who really want/like to be in a committed relationship? I am assuming that some men date with the objective of being in a committed relationship. Isn’t a committed relationship then their goal? I’m not saying they don’t want sex, but I know a lot of men who do not do well on their own.

          I think the biggest and dumbest, though, is expecting a woman to choose a boyfriend, or a life partner, by the same logic and values a man would use …  When we complain of a woman being “too emotional”, what we often mean is, she operates off how we make her feel, in a way that confounds us.

          From what I’ve read on this site, don’t men also choose women based on how they make them feel? Wouldn’t that be using the same logic and the same values a woman uses? For some women, I think there is more “logic” and less “emotion” in picking a  partner. They are asking — does he have a good job? Can he provide for children? Does he want children? Do we have things in common? Is he responsible? etc.  …

           

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          Men look for sex and find love. And if we’re looking for love, we’re glad to have sex with many women we don’t along the way. Not sure what’s hard to follow.

      3. 4.1.3
        AAORK

        It does seem that over recent decades, the definition of a “quality man” has indeed changed. It wasn’t long ago that our culture defined this as someone who had gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions. Today, this type of man is virtually invisible (“boring” being most popular catch all descriptor) if not outright ridiculed by the women he might otherwise consider marriage material (more on that in a moment). Instead, he witnesses what women really go after. This “new standard of quality man awash in female attention” you refer to (otherwise known as the top 10%-ers) do indeed have no issues getting married, but what you fail to realize is that they simply have no incentive to do so. And as these guys roll through scores of women, they no doubt reinforce the idea that there really are no good men left.

        Now, given that women’s standards have increased, what do we see of these same women over that same time? From my perspective and that of the countless other men I’ve read and had conversations with (family included), the phrase ‘disappointing’ stands out. Aside from the widespread adoption of a narcissistic/entitlement mind-think along with relative abandonment of femininity in general, health agencies also report some sobering statistics: over two-thirds overweight or obese and over one-third currently prescribed some form of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. It is a great irony to men when these same women never ask themselves what makes them so deserving of these newly-defined “quality” men they believe they should have. Marriage material indeed.

        I am fortunate to have found a great (Lebanese) woman so at this point I am able to reside on the sidelines and observe the lions den instead of being inside of it. But I do not pity the “average Joe”; he will either respond to the new incentive structure (btw, this is where most ‘players’ come from) or simply disengage and instead leverage the freedom he gains (from not having to support a family) to focus his energies on things that make him happy (and this where most online gamers come from). No, I pity the 30 and 40 something women who eventually realize that they’ve been sold the false “empowerment” meme that they don’t need a man. And this is born out by the endless online articles produced by these very same women writing about their anxiety of being 30-ish and having no man or family to show for it (all the while rarely questioning the life decisions they made to get them there). Some seek out people like Evan, but most just declare (here and to anyone else nearby) that all men fall short and they can do better than them anyways. Whatever. You can’t help those that don’t want it.

        A final point: regarding your assertion that most men “are not emotionally intelligent” and “not good lovers either”, assuming that you have not had relationships with most men, this can only be a reflection of the men you have chosen, not men in general.

         

        1. Stacy2

          Lol AAROK, defensive much? Classic. I am not inclined to respond to your erroneous statements and conclusions, just one thing:

          I hope you and your foreign bride are very happy together, but I also hope you and other guys here realize that you are nothing but a meal ticket to a green card. As a foreign-born woman myself, I find it really hilarious that any American average Joe would think orherwise and believe in these stereotypes about what women are like in Asia or Eastern Europe or what not. If you actually spoke their native language and could read dedicated message boards on the Internet, you would be up for a rude awakening, my friends.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          AAORK,

          “Aside from the widespread adoption of a narcissistic/entitlement mind-think along with relative abandonment of femininity in general. . .”

          We hear this complaint a lot from the red-pill men who frequent this blog.  The problem is, these are generalizations.  It’s akin to women saying “where have all the good men gone?” or “all men suck.”  So please guys, if you’re going to opine, give specifics.

          HOW have women abandoned femininity?

          WHAT behavior do you think is narcissistic?

          WHY do you think women have a sense of entitlement?

          As for this statement:

          “. . . over two-thirds overweight or obese. . .”

          Do you believe this statistic only applies to adult women?  I remember once in a comment here Obsidian said that this was a common complaint he heard from his white male followers.

          For caucasian men in the U.S., 71.4% are overweight or obese.

          For caucasian women, 63.2% are overweight or obese.

          http://stateofobesity.org/disparities/

           

          On this subject, the saying people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones seems to apply.

        3. Buck25

          “…you are nothing but a mealticket and a green card”

          @stacy2,

          You sure are quick to generalize, given that you don’t know AAROK or his wife, and don’t know how he met her – I don’t believe he’s told us that (or what his own ancestry is)., but here you are again, going for the jugular, when you don’t like what someone (especially a man) has to  say here. Foreign-born or not (and I’m not sure what that has to do with anything), no one will ever accuse you of not being argumentative and confrontational; this is the latest in a long stream of examples you’re posted here.

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          Buck,

          I understand your frustration when generalizations are thrown about.  Especially when they are accusations of bad behavior directed towards the opposite sex.  You do take the time to give specifics in a way that is understandable and free of flaming and I and other blog readers really appreciate it as we are here to learn.

          So I am going to ask you and any of the other men who contribute regularly here to please expand upon some of the generalizations that get thrown about repeatedly in the comments here, where we’re told women are doing “something wrong” but the nature of the infraction isn’t being disclosed.  It’s like your mom sending you to your room for punishment but you aren’t told what you did wrong.  Was it because I ate mom’s (supposedly) secret stash of candy or because I’m getting a D in math?

          Women today have  a “sense of entitlement.”— What do men think women feel entitled to?  What do women say or do that gives men this impression?

          Women don’t want “average Joe’s.”  AAORK describes an average Joe as a man who has “gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.”  Well I’m thinking that sounds really damn good!  And since 80-90% of people will wind up getting married, statistically that’s going to include a whole bunch of average people, the 4s, 5s, and 6s out there.  So where is the disconnect?  Do “average Joes” really struggle with women as AAORK and John @6 have said?  Or could it be that the average Joes don’t want an average Jane, their equal in SMV?  Did John’s average Joe friend travel abroad to get a 9 because he was rejected by average Janes here, or because he was rejected by 9 & 10 SMV women here?

          Women aren’t feminine–This HAS been touched on, but often specifics are lacking.  What is missing?  Not feeling nurtured?  What are nurturing acts or behaviors you want?  Not viewing women as being warm?  What conveys warmth to you;  a smile when you enter a room, a hug once or twice a day;  terms of endearment?

          Independent is a dirty word— Why is “independent” such a pejorative adjective?  If single women don’t rent their own housing, purchase their own cars, clothe themselves, and contribute to their 401ks while dating and looking for love, what are they supposed to do?  Live with their parents and bury the money they earn at work in a coffee can in the back yard?  If independent=bad does that mean dependent=good?

          Sorry I’m picking on you here Buck!  I appreciate anything you can give me!

           

           

        5. Rocky

          GWTF-

          I am not Buck, but I want to step in to offer a levelheaded defense of the one generalization on that list I semi-agree with (only to a point): the “women don’t want average Joes” one.

          To me, it comes from the way many women talk here. How they are attracted to very few men. How they decide within 30 seconds of a man is do-able or not. Evan has published letters about women who find no or almost no men attractive. Women post it in the comments. Suffice it to say that the famous OK Cupid study is not the only evidence for the point that women generally want the best of the best from a physical standpoint.

          When this is brought up, these women respond that no one expects men to date someone they are not attracted to. What they fail to understand is that a man can date only those he immediately finds attractive, but have a MUCH larger dating pool than the woman. If I go on the subway during the morning rush, I will find at least 60-70 percent of the women in my age range attractive. For many of them, it’s more like 1 percent of the guys — at leas the way many of them talk here.

          I part company from the generalization in that I believe this is about looks, not status or character. To me, an “average guy” is an average looking guy. People’s minds tend to be made up long before they have a clear picture of someone’s character. And as a lawyer who attended an elite law school (but only brings it up if asked, “where did you go to law school?” Which I would say only happens on about half my first dates), I’m not convinced that credentials or even income really matter much either.

          I also part company in that you won’t get anywhere by complaining incessantly. I complain to my friends to get it out of my system, then move on to look for the next opportunity.

        6. Caroline

          Hi Rocky-I think many of we ladies get what you’re saying. I’d like to point out that many of us who have had relative “success” in dating know it’s not all about looks (I’ve personally found many a man to be much more attractive after getting to know him).

        7. Adreana

          AAORK-I’m glad you find a great woman. But as a Lebanese woman myself, I can tell you that most of us are taught to have very high standards when it comes to men. Men are expected to finish their education, have a well-paying job, open doors for women, ask them out/make plans, pay on dates….etc.  The “entitled ” American women you guys complain about look like angels compared us.  I don’t know what your girlfriend is like, but most Lebanese women are just as “independent” and “feminist” as American women, yet for some reason men  with similar ethnic backgrounds or even European men don’t use that as an excuse to why they can’t or shouldn’t step up to the plate and become a modern “quality man”. Just someyhing I observed.

          It doesn’t matter if the women is foreign or not, if she’s sought after and she can take care of herself she will almost always have high standards.  I’ve been hit on by many much older average Joes who thought I was easy because I look exotic. I think they assume all of us worship American men no matter who they are or what they are about.

           

        8. ScottH

          @GWTF-  I think it’s easy to generalize when most of the people you meet are not the right person for you.  There’s always going to be something wrong with the wrong person and with the catalyst of frustration, it’s easy to extrapolate and generalize.  Also consider that in mid-life, most of the good ones really are taken (as explained in the book Attached and others), it’s real easy for these generalizations to happen.  I personally think the tendency to generalize is gender neutral.  We just need to keep looking for the lid to our pot.

          From one of those books:  “As you age past 40, the percentage of the dating pool that is able to form a secure, stable relationship drops to less than 30%” – Bad Boyfriends Attachment Theory Partner

        9. Emily, the original

          Rocky,

          If I go on the subway during the morning rush, I will find at least 60-70 percent of the women in my age range attractive. For many of them, it’s more like 1 percent of the guys — at least the way many of them talk here.

          How old are you? And how many women are in your age range on the subway? In any given day, how many women do you see and/or interact with who you find attractive enough to ask out?

           

           

           

           

        10. AAORK

          @Adreana – Having had exposure to numerous cultures across Europe and Asia, I value the special qualities my Lebanese Queen brings to the table (most of which you noted). She does have very high standards which include requiring those traits I had described in a previous post about what used to be the primary qualities valued by American women as a whole. She has dated many very wealthy men and even at my wealth position in the upper five/six-percentile group (relative to American averages), I’m certain that I must be the least wealthiest man she’s ever dated.

          As to your comments about comparisons to American women, I’m not sure what point you were trying to make, especially while painting with such a large brush. Except to point out specific cultural contrasts, I don’t make a habit of diving into the “foreign vs domestic woman” discussion but whenever I (or any man here) does, it always seems to elicit such an immediate negative reaction from women in general. The irony in this is that these women would not even want the men they complain are going elsewhere to find happiness! And a side note to all the ladies: using the phrase ‘mail order bride’ (or quoting from a source that does) just robs you of any credibility in the eyes of anyone who is actually educated in that space. There’s just no such term outside of Western-centric gender discussions. In fact, the expression doesn’t even make sense in most other languages.

          Regarding entitlement, personal experiences vary but anyone who has had extensive exposure across multiple cultures would easily conclude that the Westernized culture promotes a distinct brand of entitlement, and it’s not confined to just Americans but any other culture that adopts Westernized traits (and yes this even includes some Lebanese women).

           

           

        11. Rocky

          Hi Emily,

          I am 32. So, the solid majority of the people on the subway are in my age range. (For purposes of this discussion, I’m referring to 20s and 30s. If you’re curious, online, I set my age range at 25-36 but almost always end up going out with women in their early 30s.)

          numbers, I would say I see an average of 10 or more attractive strangers. I see them on my commute, I see them going out to get lunch, and if applicable, I see them going out to get dinner. I will see more if I get out a lot, fewer if I do nothing that day but work and go home. These women are not all equal; some are absolute knockouts, while others are just cute. But I know I’m not going to get one of the former, and we are just discussing women who I find attractive enough to date. (I am one of those people who can elevate someone from “cute” to “hot” over time.)

          one caveat to this in the interest of full disclosure.  I’m not really an approacher in these situations. It isn’t my personality. So these are women I find attractive enough to date, not women I actually ask out. However, I think the same truths hold online: the solid majority of women in my age range are attractive enough to date. Some of them even have decent profiles. I email a range of them who I have something in common with. On the whole, I am happy with what I am getting from a looks standpoint. But I get passed over by many, many women on the same level. And most of the time, it is the woman’s decision to decline a second date.

        12. Buck25

          GWTF,

          Thank you; now, let me see if I can answer your questions about men’s generalizations about women. You’ve put these in a good form to respond to; but I think at least a couple of these have more than one dimension, so it may take more than one post. Let me start from the easiest.

          “Women aren’t feminine”

          Here, I believe the thought is that women are “not as feminine as they used to be”. I think guys are speaking not of women as a whole, but of a certain type of  aggressive woman, often found in corporate executive offices across America. Bright, intelligent, driven, competitive… and hellbent on proving “I can do anything better than men!” I believe it might have been you who commented about knowing a couple of examples. These usually have a chip on their shoulder, a heart full of grudges, and a rather ruthless mean streak, expressed on the slightest provocation as “Boys, I’m Taking Charge Here!”. Prickly as a porcupine, cold as a feeding shark, and as purposeful as a Black Widow spider, the type efficiently poisons and eats her competitors,  and her prey…as well as her mate, and occasionally her own young, should they get in her way. They’ve become a sort of caricature of the educated, high-achieving modern woman. I think it gets more conflated with the attitude of women as a group, when women come into a forum like this, forget that it’s not the ladies locker room, and start venting their frustrations with men in an angry and not especially feminine tone. Men, who’ve usually had some experience with the aforementioned “corporate executive bitch, pick up on the tone, and decide that high-achieving women must all be like that; after all, here’s a number of them here, screeching like harpies (from a male point of view, that’s how some of the more strident women here come across). The fact that most of the same women probably wouldn’t be nearly so nasty in the real world, especially in her relationships, is lost in “See, Joe, what did I tell you? There’s another one!”Add in the fact that most of the guys here are out there in the dating game, experiencing a lot of frustration and rejection themselves, come here looking for answers, and find this (it really gets pretty hateful, at times). The stereotyping and over-generalization that follows, obscures one very real problem; the woman who is out there in the executive and professional workplace and NOT trying to be a man, but having to exert masculine energy along with her feminine self, often needs (and wants) a relationship that allows her to really express her feminine side at home; something she can have a hard time finding. I think that side of the coin is under-appreciated by most of us guys, honestly. A woman works hard to build a career, is proud of her accomplishments, and the independence these have brought her…and then finds that this is not what men really value in a woman; and on top of that, many seem to be repelled by it. Perhaps it’s not too dissimilar to a man discovering that the career success he’s been led to believe was the key to an abundance of women…really isn’t, after all.It’s easy to forget, that a lot of success, like a lot of anything really tends to make one an outlier. Be enough of one, in enough areas, and you have trouble finding dates, let alone a mate.

          “Women are too independent”

          This one can be tied right back to  the “women don’t want average guys”. Reality is, the dating/mating game has become a lot tougher for guys in their twenties/early thirties today. Women ARE more independent; they Do have more options. It’s longer “either find a guy to marry while you’re young and at your peak, or be consigned to a miserable life in the secretarial or steno pool at slave wages, or as the spinster schoolteacher or librarian.” Women back in the bad old days HAD to settle for whatever they could get, if Mr. Right wasn’t available. What’s easy for younger guys to overlook is what happened later, which was not an unmitigated blessing for the men involved. I remember being a kid in the fifties, and it was easy for even a boy to see. Those women seethed with resentment at the mediocre men they had to marry. I remember some of my parents’ friends. The women were marginal to downright homely, their husbands were …well, the best word that comes to mind is nebbishes; drab, colorless, insipid beta drones with mediocre  white collar jobs they could never rise above; corporate wage slaves, about as dynamic and exciting as a concrete post, and utterly emasculated; these lived in abject fear of the rage of their wives, most of whom cordially resented them for not being the fairy tale prince they thought they’d been promised. I shudder to think of what their sex life (if they even had one after she pumped out a couple of kids) must have been like.A disapproving scowl from wifey, and even a boy could watch them cringe and wilt like a whipped, beaten dog, crawling on his belly and sniveling before his mistress; these men were everything I never wanted to be when I grew up! They are probably the reason I still struggle with being a little too macho even today (but I’d rather be that, than ever be the least bit like them!).

          So I’m actually glad to see that women do have a choice today, that they are independent enough to get a man they want instead of having to settle for a nonentity; the nonentity will be punished for it anyway. I said it before, I’ll say it again; after seeing how things were back when, I never want a woman in my bed who doesn’t actively desire to be there! If that means I have to be better at the game, or do without, so be it. I think I’ll leave the whining about “women not needing us anymore”, to those so desperate to get married, laid, or whatever, that they don’t care if that’s the only way they can get it. I’d add the caveat that a man who gets a woman that way, usually gets what he deserves.

          That brings us to “women feel entitled”

          Entitled to what, exactly? Well, a lot feel entitled to the storybook partner and romance of Hollywood RomCom movies, and bodice-ripper romance novels. Young women especially; and of course, few if any real life men are like that; but hey, a twenty something attractive woman has a lot of options, which have only been increased by online dating, and apps like Tinder, and the corresponding illusion of infinite choice. The problem comes, after she spends those peak years being maybe a little too picky, ends up alone, and her biological clock starts ticking; her SMV to the men in her typically desired age group is either declining precipitously, or about to; but she still wants her fairy tale prince. The only thing that’s really new, is that woman today are a lot more vocal about this, and became indignant when the massive advantage she once had in the process begins to wane. That draws little sympathy from most men in her age group, who have spent the last decade or so having a lot fewer dates and a lot less fun than she had, and frankly, resent the hell out of it; after all, she got what they wanted (sex); doesn’t matter that she ultimately didn’t get what she wanted (commitment). From her perspective, all the men she chose (mostly players/alpha jerks) used her, therefore all men are assholes, and round and round we go, all playing the blame game. Reality is, the average looking guy spends his early adult life getting rejected, even by rather average girls who get the message early on that they need to set their sights as high as possible so they can have it all. Society encourage it, her friends all encourage it, the women’s magazines encourage it; even past the point where what began as a harmless fantasy becomes a futile dream. And this is where “Women don’t want average Joes” comes from.

          Remember where we left the average looking, 20 to early thirties guy? Mostly out in the cold getting whatever sex he can from other men’s rejects, frequently dateless and rejected by hot women and those a little less hot as well; (Remember that less hot woman still can get attention and even occasional sex, from super handsome guys who are slumming a bit. The average guy never gets anything approaching that from a hot woman, as women don’t slum. Tell me again who’s more likely to get an inflated sense of their own SMV?) Now, let’s look at his options. He can (a)give up and drop out (b) remake himself in the image of the guys he watched have success (if he can’t look like a social alpha hunk, he can act like one) or (c)settle for the dregs he’s getting, while resenting both women and the hand he was dealt. Option (a)  is MGTOW, (b)  can eventually became anything from a PUA player,  to an evolved alpha (given enough basic ability, time, and intelligence), while (c) lies to himself, lies to woman, and becomes the stereotypical “nice guy” who isn’t really so nice at all, and is actually more a manipulator than any PUA  ever thought of being; frequently he hates himself as much as he despises women (he will rarely admit this). Of course, option b requires massive self-confidence, and to pull that off, a man simply has to internalize the idea that he’s at least as much of a prize as the woman he’s pursuing; so this guy will hit on any woman, in or out of his league, (won’t apologize for doing so either) and he will usually not invest anything emotionally early on; his goal in any interaction is to be totally independent of the outcome, so that repeated rejection doesn’t faze him. He turns it into a simple numbers game, one that gives him a decent chance in the long run. Bottom line, the “average Joe”( looks wise), really does struggle early, and maybe later too, unless he finds a way to turn whatever strengths he has or can acquire into a package that can attract a woman he actually wants. This usually means he gets into a relationship or marries later, rather than sooner.How much later, depends upon what he can feel attracted to. A note here; women speak of “learning to be physically attracted to a partner”. That is not a part of my experience, or that of any other man I’ve ever known, in that if we’re not attracted to a woman initially, we never will be, not in a hundred years, no matter how nice she is! Whatever the initial chemistry level, it doesn’t increase, not for a man. EVER! Once a woman goes in my friend zone, that’s permanent and irreversible. Whether that’s different with a woman’s attraction to a man (some women say it is) I wouldn’t know; I have exactly nothing to relate that to.

          That’s long, I know, and a lot to digest, but it does give you a bit of the view from the other side, so to speak.

        13. Evan Marc Katz

          I may quibble with a little bit of this, Buck, but it’s largely well said and valid. Thanks for doing my job of explaining what real guys are thinking.

        14. Adreana

          AAROK, I appreciate your response. As to your last comment about Westernized culture being entitled, I hope u realize that very much includes the American men who complain about western women. Many seem to think if a woman has a  career and isn’t submissive, she shouldn’t be expected to being treated like a lady… “Hey, she wants equality right? Why should I pay for the first few dates and open the door? Why should I ask women out and take initiative  if they  also have a job? I paid for dinner and we didn’t have sex so she must be a goldigger”.Some even take as far as not stepping-in to help a woman if she’s in a dangerous situation, because she’s an independent “feminazi” and she can defend herself. They also promote the belief that women “hit the wall” after 30, when in other cultures beautiful is beautiful no matter what the age.

          I don’t intend to generalize and this may sound harsh, but American men need to look in the mirror before blaming American women. I’ve dated men from several cultures, and almost always American men seem to have the hardest time with women. Overall, they seem to lack confidence and I don’t know why. Maybe they are too isolated and they don’t spend enough time with friends and family ,and thus they lack the “emotional intelligence” as another person said.  But, if they think attracting  sought-after, quality “foreign ” women is any easier, they  must understand they will be competing with men from other cultures who already know how balance their masculine role with today’s modern dating.

           

           

        15. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          Three things:

          1.) Remember that less hot woman still can get attention and even occasional sex, from super handsome guys who are slumming a bit. The average guy never gets anything approaching that from a hot woman, as women don’t slum.

          Yes, they do. I’ve done it. I would bet (though don’t know for sure) that a big portion of other women have, too. Sometimes it’s been forever since you’ve had sex and you think — Why not?

          2.) A note here; women speak of “learning to be physically attracted to a partner”. That is not a part of my experience, or that of any other man I’ve ever known.

          Not a part of my experience, either. You either get them “‘gina” tingles or you don’t.

          3.) Have you thought about writing some of these thoughts down on a blog? You are very eloquent. 🙂

           

           

        16. Emily, the original

          Hi Rocky,

          One caveat to this in the interest of full disclosure.  I’m not really an approacher in these situations.

          That’s understandable. A cold approach is hard for anyone. Maybe if you ride a certain subway train every morning and see a woman repeatedly and strike up a rapport over time, that could be a way to do it.

          As a whole, I do think women are pickier, but certainly not all women. I will admit that I find it difficult to understand the sheer volume of women men find attractive. I think most women want to feel singled out and special to the man they are with, not the tenth woman in line who finally said yes.

           

        17. Caroline

          Hi Buck and Emily-for me it’s not “learning to be more attracted” to a guy. Sure, there’s obviously men who I absolutely know by looking at them I’m attracted (sometimes though when they open their mouths it can evaporate-am sure this can happen to men too).  It’s more like I’m on the fence about them. I guess looking back I’ve dated quite a variety of looks/types of men. Sometimes, some guys just can floor you with their charm, wit and intelligence. They might not read anything but flat in an online profile but in person, well they can make it sizzle. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit guarded and I have to let it unfold? Attraction can definitely build for me as I learn more about them, observe their body language, enjoy their sense of humor, flirt with them…

        18. Henriette

          This “new standard of quality man awash in female attention” you refer to (otherwise known as the top 10%-ers) do indeed have no issues getting married, but what you fail to realize is that they simply have no incentive to do so. And as these guys roll through scores of women, they no doubt reinforce the idea that there really are no good men left.

          @AAORK You make an interesting point here.  But, thanks to EMK’s help (or, his rather hard shove), I’ve come to see that for “the Top 10%er men,” settling down with a good mate isn’t necessarily easy, either.   They indeed might be awash in female attention (although not necessarily, bc reaching and remaining Top 10 %er status often requires long days at the office followed by, if lucky, trips to the gym to keep up that Top 10% body) but that doesn’t mean it’s simple to find an attractive-enough, kind, feminine, mentally-stable women.

          And I’m only acquainted with one Top 10%er man who rolls through scores of women (although many Manosphere blogs like to explain that every Alpha is systematically humping and dumping its readers’ future wives). The rest of the 10%ers I know want to find wives but in the meantime work hard; are swamped by women whom they realise are also throwing themselves at every other successful, handsome guy they meet; date the occasional woman only to be put off by the neediness or materialism or anger they see.

          Long story (comment), short: 1)Top 10%ers do tend to marry and settle down even if they have the opportunity to bed lots of women and 2) finding and maintaining a great relationship isn’t a piece of cake for anyone.

           

        19. Emily, the original

          Hi Caroline,

          They might not read anything but flat in an online profile but in person, well they can make it sizzle.

          That I definitely agree with. And, like you wrote, I have been on the fence about some men, but “on the fence,” at least for me, implies there’s at least a possibility and I feel some attraction. If I meet someone and there’s no attraction (and I know that pretty quickly), there’s not much point in a second date. For me it won’t grow from nothing.

        20. Stacy2

          Rocky:

          one caveat to this in the interest of full disclosure.  I’m not really an approacher in these situations. It isn’t my personality. So these are women I find attractive enough to date, not omen I actually ask out.

          Why not? I am almost the same age as you and it always baffles me. Why not strike a conversation? Seriously, man, I guarantee you that a lot of those women would want to go out with you. I have a friend who met his girlfriend on the subway (though in all honesty their train was stuck in the tunnel for an hour so it helped). I myself was approached by a guy on the subway once, and had I not been wearing an engagement ring at that time, I would have gone out with him. Forget the subway, a guy approached me yesterday on the street (again, would have totally gone out with him). Seriously, this is what separates men with balls from men without.

           

           

           

        21. GoWiththeFlow

          Buck,

          Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to answer my questions.  I’ve read through your response 3 times and am sure I will re-read it many more.  🙂 <3

        22. GoWiththeFlow

          AAORK,

          You said about your girlfriend/wife:

          “She does have very high standards which include requiring those traits I had described in a previous post about what used to be the primary qualities valued by American women as a whole.

          The traits and qualities you say American women don’t value you list as:

          “. . .gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.”

          Au contraire!  Evan’s blog is full of posts about women asking for advice on assessing and choosing a man for kindness, stability, honesty, integrity and character.

        23. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,

          Au contraire!  Evan’s blog is full of posts about women asking for advice on assessing and choosing a man for kindness, stability, honesty, integrity and character.

          The problem can be finding a man with those qualities who you also want to go to bed with. No, as per this post, he doesn’t have to a “top ten-percenter” in looks and income. An average-looking guy is fine, but sometimes you can really like a man as a friend and admire him as a person but feel little to no attraction. What works in the “real world” — humility, a sense of balance and fairness, etc. — doesn’t work in the “seduction world,” where boldness reigns.

        24. Nissa

          the definition of a “quality man” = someone who had gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions

          I just wanted to speak to this because as a single woman, those are qualities I look for in a man. What I wanted to point out is that those qualities don’t exist in a vacuum. When I was younger, I had a few male friends (who wanted to be more than friends) lament that women did not appreciate those very qualities in them. What I observed, and why I myself did not find them attractive in spite of those fine qualities, was that those qualities were accompanied by a consistent lack of confidence, lack of initiative, lack of self awareness, poor physical presentation, and often almost textbook ‘Nice-guy syndrome’ a la Robert Glover.

          This lack of confidence and initiative was insurmountable. It also did not allow for the expression of my feminine qualities, because I had no male initiative to which I could respond.

          For men who do have those qualities, looks matter much, much less. That is why men like Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Bruce Willis, Eddie Redmayne, Hugh Grant, Justin Long and Yul Brenner have inspired scores of admiring sighs.

      4. 4.1.4
        JB

        Stacy is right about one thing………….

        I kind of feel for average Joes out there…I can see how this totally sucks for them.

        An “average Joe” has very little value and basically no chance on an online dating site. Even an “average or below average Jane” won’t respond to them.

        Thank god I’m an “above average JB”. 🙂

        1. Buck25

          JB,

          True. Think about the nature of OLD; primarily age and photo driven. If the average guy can’t stand out on those, he simply gets lost in the noise. What else could make him stand out? Well (if he has it), in the real world, confidence, charisma, intelligence, humor, and perhaps material success. The first two are hard to project online (even for a really good writer); and the last is taken by most women online as lying at worst (even if true) and pretentious at best. All that leaves is intelligence and humor, which in turn makes a lot of us feel online, like we’re having to compete with one hand tied behind our back; I know I have felt that way. I think this is why a lot of guys with “big” personalities and active social lives pull a far better group of woman in real life, compared to what they can pull online. Oddly enough, a guy with a more introverted personality, who can still write well, may actually do better online; showcases what he does have, puts less emphasis on what he doesn’t.

      5. 4.1.5
        Caroline

        This is a reply to GWTF, Chance, Stacy and Evan-about the single parent stats. The stats overwhelmingly about women below the poverty line. I wonder if there is a more comprehensive(perhaps in the works) which pulls the numbers our in regard to economics? It’s quite disrespectful to lump all divorced/single moms together. The stats as all stats don’t put a face to the situation. Overwhelmingly , the stats reflect a socioeconomic phenomenon. Not ladies/moms who read evans dating blog.  I personally believe it’s terribly hard fir mom alternating weekends too. My ex actually never paid close to 30k in support. But although the circumstances were not ideal, the alternative was absolutely the worst case scenario. Btw-Chance we heard it loud and clear-women must responsible no matter what because men in your thinking bear no responsibility. Ain’t that convenient?

        1. Chance

          No one is lumping all single/divorced moms together.  Also, no one said that men don’t bear any responsibility.

      6. 4.1.6
        Karmic Equation

        I’m a relatively high-income earner who have friends from all over the socio-economic scale.

        So I’m with Stacy2 and GWTF on this one.

        The ex-girlfriend of one of my friends has 4 children, all DELIBERATELY out of wedlock cuz my friend couldn’t afford to be a dad. The state pays her a better living than he could ever have provided her. She and her mother have been on the welfare rolls forever. In fact my friend said something along the lines of “she and her family had brochures and stuff on how to live off welfare.” Their children have now had children out of wedlock. So the cycle continues. I don’t know the children personally, nor the ex-gf, but I’m pretty sure that they all struggle and they’re all probably living at the poverty line. However, they seem to be decent kids in terms of not being drug addicts or criminals.

        The cousin of an ex-boyfriend, she’s a welfare mom also. Her kids are definitely NOT well off  because she’s a bad mom.

        I have four female friends who are single moms; one separated; one (recently) divorced; one widowed (technically they were not married, but in an LTR); one by artificial insemination (AI). None were on welfare that I’m aware of. Except for the AI friend, they were all in committed relationships when they had children. They all worked hard and instilled a strong work ethic in their children. And their college-age children have gone or are going off to college. And from their FB posts, they all seem happy and well-adjusted.

        Since the majority of the demographic that participate on this blog are the “smart, strong, successful” women who are not in any danger of ever going on welfare, I don’t think the study Evan writes about applies.

        If the there is a study that normalized for welfare/well-off single parent homes, the data would be more significant and meaningful.

        JM2C

         

      7. 4.1.7
        ScottH

        Scott wants to throw his confirmation bias in here to and I have only experience and observation, and no studies.

        There are so many factors that determine how well adjusted a kid becomes and whether the parents are married is just one, and probably not the major factor.
        Kids need at least one competent adult in their lives, parent or otherwise.  Having two parents increases the chances of that happening but in no way guarantees it.  A single parent just isn’t going to be around as much and that makes it harder but a determined single parent with a good support system of family and friends increases his/her chances of having that competent adult around for the kid(s).  There are plenty of contiguous families, even middle and upper class ones, where both parents are flamingly incompetent and the kid(s) turn out to be disasters.  Just watch Dr Phil every once in a while.

        That’s it, plain and simple.  I know this topic has been beaten to death here but these are my thoughts and I felt like throwing them into the ring.  Most of the studies I come across are by academics who are under immense pressure to publish any kind of fodder they can.

  5. 5
    Erin

    I like the idea of the triad, but the economic freedom portion for me is paramount.  Five years ago I was incredibly unhappy.  Money – or rather, fear of not having it – consumed all my days and turned me into a horrible workaholic.  I told friends that once I paid off my student loans and had a certain “magic number” in savings, I would shed all that baggage.  Two different boyfriends said “no way, you’ll just keep revising your magic number upward and you’ll never be happy.”  Then they dumped me.

    I’m pleased to report that aspect of my life has worked out exactly as I said it would.  As soon as I hit that number, all my stress and anxiety started to melt.  I have perhaps 4x my magic number in savings now, not including my home equity..but I don’t keep track anymore and no I have NO desire to “adjust my lifestyle upward” since that would just put me back onto the mental hamsterwheel that I worked so hard to step off!  I also do not stress about work and do not care if I ever get promoted, or anything else – heck, if I made a huge mistake and got fired, I would view it as a once-in-lifetime chance for a yearlong vacation! 🙂

    In retrospect, I wasn’t able to be a good friend or partner to anybody when fear of economic insecurity was eating me alive, which contributed to more insecurity about my abilities in my career.  So I think the “freedom” element is essentially necessary before you can make any real progress on the other two.

  6. 6
    John

    I would agree that once you make $75k or more all money concerns evaporate if, you are not leading an extravagant lifestyle.

    I’ve never had a problem getting women, but most of my buddies are average guys and they struggle to get women.

    The reason average guys are going to developing nations to find wives is because they automatically have a higher financial status. My friend, who is an average guy, married a beautiful woman from Eastern Europe. He is very happy. She is 20 years his junior and is definitely a 9 in the looks department. They’ve been happily married for 10 years. Her lifestyle was upgraded and he has a beautiful woman by his side. Some women in his family gave him a hard time about it. They asked him why he couldn’t find an American woman. Who cares as long as they are happy? The reason average Joes are marrying women abroad is they have a better chance of getting a good looking woman than in the USA. Should an average guy stay here and have a limited selection? Why do women care? If women in the USA don’t want the average guy, why shame him for bettering his odds to find an attractive woman by going elsewhere?

    1. 6.1
      Caroline

      @John-I totally respect your friend’s decision. If one desires having a marriage/relationship that boils down to be a business transaction and both parties are happy in their situation-good for them. I learned a long time ago that isn’t what I desire. I’d never find fault with what makes someone else happy. I also know there are plenty men who want what I desire and I will look for them.

      1. 6.1.1
        Caroline

        I loved this quote from HRF about mail order bride stats. “When it comes to the online side of the business, the women tend to see the men as egotistical and slightly unintelligent”.

        it also noted that there was 1000 women (nonAmerican) for I think every 65 men. It appears from the article the women were looking for American men.

        I’d also like to note that the average income for the male seeking was $100k-average joe?  I personally think a dating blog as here tends to reflect those struggling with dating. Therefore, there tend to be folks who are struggling with the reality if their SMV. Overwhelmingly the majority of folks marry or find a ltr.

        1. Caroline

          @Aaork-hello, in reference to the term “mail order bride” -I am from the US. I certainly was only using this term to describe something mostly American in nature. Young women came to the US in colonial times in a similar fashion. They also went to Canada (New France) in the 1600’s. Then later,  after our civil war many women went west answering ads for brides. Our southern states were particularly hit hard. There were 4-5 women per every man left after the war. The term didnt have it’s derisive quality until I believe the NY Times ran a story in 1929 about such a bride killing her new husband. I believe I used the term correctly when I referred to John’s post. I wrote that because he said it was his American friend who exchanged his wealth (her “lifestyle upgrade”) for her beauty. Maybe you’d prefer “international dating”?  I have no problem with any of it if they are both happy. You’re absolutely correct in that I wouldn’t want a man who only valued me for my beauty. It’s like the men searching for someone decades younger. Why would I subject myself to wanting a man who didn’t want me because I’m not young enough or pretty enough. There’s absolutely enough good men my age who will desire me because I’m attractive enough, I won’t micromanage him, I’ll encourage him in his endeavors and he in mine, we will support each other in good times and bad.

  7. 7
    Noquay

    One definitely needs to be secure in many ways before one can focus on being a good spouse/partner/parent. A  secure job with a salary commensurate with the cost of living, ability to save for emergencies, access to health care, ability to maintain a vehicle, look and dress appropriately are all necessary before looking to date/marry/start a family. Otherwise, not only are you one illness/accident from total ruin but anxiety over making ends meet makes one a very poor partner plus you’ll attract only the bottom of the dating barrel. Took a break from all socialization when my income was low, my job insecure, focussing my efforts instead on finding a better job elsewhere. True, there were events where an educated, outdoors chick like myself could meet like minded men, but most everything was beyond my means if I wanted to budget responsibly. Sometimes the fix is to leave if you can.

    Was following the arguments about biology/upbringing etc. As someone who was raised in multiple abusive family settings, my take is that it’s not your fault how you were raised, who you were born to but it is very much your fault if you fail to get insight into the situation, fail to break away, and repeat the cycles of abuse and dysfunction. When you start out at the very bottom, you just have to work that much harder to rise above. Life ain’t fair and doesn’t owe you squat.

    Happiness is possible when the following are met:

    some degree of financial security as described above

    a like minded, age appropriate peers, true sense of community; we all need folk to talk to, confide in, relate to. This may or may not include family, depending on circumstance.

    Living where the environment suits you, the city, near wilderness, all places in between; you need to like where you live

    Hope for the future

    A dynamic, varied life, no robotic routines around waking up, work, eat, watch TV, sleep

    As to the issue of average Joes/Janes not faring well in this country it’s kind of surprising. In my age group anyway, on line is mainly average Joe/Janes; White, average looks, height, weights, income, interests. What you don’t see online are us outliers as to race, income, education, activity level, and so on. What average means is highly variable; the average Joe described by other writers would do well here where the average local is barely/unemployed, a ski bum, living in substandard rentals, often with drug/alcohol issues. Theoretically, average folk should have tons of choices similar to themselves. Most folk statistically are average, right? Thing is, folks want to date only up, not equal or down. Heavy men want thin women, short men want taller women, poor men want well off women, drop outs want PhDs and so on, a desire for attributes in others you yourself do not possess. I assume women do the same. You truly have to BE the person you want to date or adjust your standards accordingly.

     

    1. 7.1
      Henriette

      Happiness is possible when the following are met:

      some degree of financial security as described above

      a like minded, age appropriate peers, true sense of community; we all need folk to talk to, confide in, relate to. This may or may not include family, depending on circumstance.

      Living where the environment suits you, the city, near wilderness, all places in between; you need to like where you live

      Hope for the future

      A dynamic, varied life, no robotic routines around waking up, work, eat, watch TV, sleep

      If all of these are necessary prerequisites for finding happiness, I’m surprised that I  know any happy people at all.  I would suggest that, in fact, happiness comes from being content with what one has in life.

       

      1. 7.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Henriette,

        Anyone who has taken care of young kids knows that they find comfort and security in predictable routines.  Adults are much the same.  I think they key is adding in new experiences and novelty–getting the adrenaline/dopamine hit–to keep the brain happy while still having baseline comfort and security needs met.

      2. 7.1.2
        Noquay

        Henriette

        With all due respect, I cannot think of a single person of my acquaintance that was truly happy and content when they didn’t know whether they could pay the bills, disliked where they lived, felt isolated and alone, or lived life on an unchanging treadmill or had zero hope. Note I said nothing about material stuff or whether or not they were in a relationship.

        1. Henriette

          Noquay, I’m sorry you don’t know anyone who is happy under these circumstances and hope you will have the honour of meeting at least a few, some day.  I know many, and am awed by their humility and grace.   Eg. people who live a life of drudgery of unchanging treadmill but are proud that their boring routines allow them to support their cherished family.  Or an elderly relative who knew she was dying of an aggressive cancer (and did not believe in heaven, so “zero hope for the future”) after wonderful life.  Or a friend who lives in a city she loathes because it has the best services for her special-needs son.  These individuals were/ are truly happy.  Please note I said nothing about material goods or whether or not they were in a relationship.

  8. 8
    John

    Hi GWTF,

    My friend who married the Eastern European woman couldn’t get a date in the USA. He happened to score a 9 without really having an idea that he would get one. He just went to EE because he could not get a decent woman here and got lucky. I have a lot of average looking guy friends that are lonely and miserable. They tell me they get shot down all of the time. Some choose to go to other countries because women will give them a shot over there. We could argue many reasons why, but if a guy can’t get a woman here, he is going to solve his problem. Men are extremely practical. if they can’t get their needs met here,  they will go somewhere else. My male friends don’t endlessly wonder why they can’t get a woman here. They just want to solve the problem.  I have women friends who say it is difficult to find a good man. I tell them good men are all around and they want to be in a relationship with you. The problem is that my women friends dismiss these guys before they take the time to get to know them. Why do they do it? They don’t want to settle for good guys. They want great guys. When I tell my women friends this, they roll there eyes and tell me I don’t get it.

    1. 8.1
      Caroline

      John-please explain what is in your opinion a “decent” woman for the average “Joe”?

      1. 8.1.1
        John

        Hi Caroline,

        The way Evan describes his wife is an illustration of what women should aspire to be. She sounds like a good woman. He describes it better than I could.

         

        1. Kristyn

          Evan is not the “Average Joe”; not in any way.

           

           

        2. Caroline

          Hi John-maybe you meant “high quality”? Decent is defined as an acceptable standard; satisfactory. By writing “he just went to EE because he could not get a decent woman here”. Then you go on to talk about your women friends “They don’t want to settle for good guys. They want great guys.”  Do you see the disconnect? You’re criticizing the ” average Jane” for desiring exactly what your “average Joe” friend wants. Perhaps the problem is that some “average” folks (both genders) are unrealistic. This ties into the thought of a “new standard of quality man awash in female attention”. This idea of the top 10% is hardly new but perhaps our connectedness with media has somewhat permeated our 20 somethings. I find it comical how some not very aware young people (and perhaps older) follow the life of celebrity (Kardashian etc) and somehow after being constantly exposed to unrealistic lifestyles by tv, instagram, internet and even pinterest seem to jump to the idea that that is how life should be and they want it and even deserve it without considering the factors to achieving it. I believe there are some men who fall into this trap by concentrating on this highly desirable 20 something demographic of woman. They have the youthful bodies, faces, disposition, etc but many times also the unrealistic idea of what they want and even deserve. I recall a thread on this blog where a young woman expounded on how she “needed” a million dollar home, and a man who could make a certain amount of money if she was to raise children because they needed to go to expensive private schools so that they could ultimately go to an ivy league school and thus implying that was the route to happiness. Whew, that was an extreme load to digest. Hey, I’m all for education and being your best but that’s extreme. Most folks eventually get “real” on this when the reality of life sets in and age a bit and get realistic. If they do n t, they tend to be lonely and disconnected from life. I absolutely don’t think these people are “average Joe’s or Janes”. These are the people who have  not tried or succeeded in improving the true root cause of their perceived problems.

           

    2. 8.2
      GoWiththeFlow

      Hi John,

      While this thread has been evolving, my brother is visiting from out of state.  We have had some interesting conversations about a very good friend of his who will be getting married to woman from southeast Asia next month.

      I know this friend too.  He is mid-late 40’s, is hysterically funny, intelligent, outgoing, has a solid job, with average looks. My brother says that his friend “so wants to be in love and have a wife and kids.”  The downside is he had an extended partying period–well into his 30s–the result of which is he wound up in AA 10 years ago and he is about 15 years behind his peers financially.  By that I mean he is able to get credit and handle a car loan, rent, and his expenses just fine, and absorb life’s money emergencies, but he has very little saved for either the purchase of a house or retirement.  He was blowing all of his money at the bar.  He is also well below average height for a man, which isn’t a thing for me since I’m 5’2′ but my brother says it does limit his appeal.

      Anyway, our friend has had 2 LTRs that got to the engagement stage before they fell apart.  My brother says his friend has consistently put himself out there and has gotten shot down a lot, but he is also been very picky and will write off a woman for what my brother says are minor things, to the point that friends of theirs wouldn’t set him up because he would invariably find something wrong with the girl.  He is also really into the cultural aspects of his religion (he certainly doesn’t practice the celibacy thing!) and wants a woman with similar views.

      He met his soon to be bride on a large, established OLD site based on their religion (no Evan, not JDate).  He has been on this site off and on for years and has met other women through it.  The couple have been messaging and talking on the phone for six months and he recently went to visit her for two weeks.  My brother and his friends were initially alarmed at the thought he might be getting taken.  Turns out the bride is a high educated professional in her country and it sounds like our friend will likely move there to live with her since she can’t easily practice her profession here due to licensing issues.

      So what brought this man we’ve know for over 25 years to the point where he is taking both a huge risk and a huge leap of faith in marrying a person from another country and culture with very limited pre-marital interaction is a combination of factors that were both in his control and out of his control.  Sure he has the disadvantage of being a shorter man, and a less financially successful man in the dating market and some women undoubtedly took a pass on him because of it.  But he also passed up many women along the way for minor imperfections.  I wonder if this scenario is true for your friend as well.

      1. 8.2.1
        John

        Hi GWTF

        My friend who married the woman from Eastern Europe is a guy who has no major addictions and owns a million dollar business. He is under six feet tall and very average looking. His wife died suddenly after they were married for about 20 years. He re-entered the dating scene after a long absence and was in his forties and found that the dating scene had changed. He tried online dating for a year and got zero responses to his profile or the many emails he sent out. He dated off line and had one bad experience after another. He said that one woman he dated said he called her too soon after the first date. She said she wasn’t interested in dating a desperate loser who doesn’t know the rules. He went on a business trip overseas and started to date. He had 4 dates in a week. He realized that women over there would give him a shot. He was marriage minded and so were these foreign ladies. My fiend also mentioned that many women he dated in the USA didn’t know if they wanted kids or to be married. He never dated overseas and didn’t know how to deal with such a long distance scenario, so he just let go of the women he met there when he returned home. He realized how he got dates so easily from women who were serious about marriage and so he went to EE determined to find his woman. He met his future wife and courted her for a year. They got married and they are truly in love with each other.

        Your brother’s friend sounds like he had some issues and he has dealt with them. If he is dumping women because he is too picky, then he is foolish. He sounds a bit like a 40 year old adolescent.

        I have been in a relationship with two foreign women and dated a few more and they lived in the USA.

        The reason I didn’t marry one of them was because I dated all of them before I was 25 years old. I was immature and not financially established enough to marry any of them. It was heart breaking.

        These women wanted marriage above all else. Their careers were in second place. I couldn’t give them marriage so they left. I don’t blame them.

        I have a few friends married to ladies from overseas. I asked them why they went so far away to find a woman. They all say basically the same thing. They said they preferred a woman who was focused more on family than on their career.

         

        1. Caroline

          Oh man! According to John-average guys own million dollar businesses! Dang, our economy really is on the upswing!!😂

        2. Caroline

          Hello John, I’m really not trying to give you a hard time; but in actuality my posts are. I think there is an overall disconnect of opinions here. I think if you would have just started your 40s American friend was searching for a woman who was very traditional, wanting to have babies and maybe no career since he is financially successful and since he found nobody in his eyes that fit the bill; he looked abroad I’d have gotten it from the start. I’m glad they’re happy but please don’t try to  imply American women are not marriage minded, loving and nurturing by saying no “decent” woman would give him a chance. Just because a woman doesn’t want those things doesn’t make her a “high quality” or “decent” woman. I think if you polled all adult American women you would find a staggering majority who say family is what is most important. Even though I love my career, my family, friends and relationships are what are of utmost importance. In fact, I wouldn’t have the privilege to enjoy my work if my family didn’t support me emotionally. When my son’s are struggling I find it hard to throw myself into my work even. Even as they are truly becoming adults I still worry. They are now  becoming self sufficient and happy souls which allows me to experience the next chapters in my life and experience new things. I would have never believed how all encompassing it is to be a mom until I had my sons. It’s definitely a 24/7, 365 day thing. It’s life changing to be a parent. On the flip side, if a woman doesn’t want to be a mom; it doesn’t make her less of a partner in marriage just as it wouldn’t a man who didn’t want kids. I find the idea that a guy in his 40s who is average looking, financially successful and wanting kids odd. Sounds like if he was early/mid 40s there’d be quite a lot of 30 somethings/early 40s still wanting a fAmily. It perhaps is  he was searching for someone much younger as he was able to find abroad? No problem, once again. Glad  he had the means and they’re happy.  Saying he could find no “decent” woman in America is just like the women who say there are “no guys” left.

           

           

        3. Caroline

          Sorry I meant so say it would be odd he couldn’t find a decent or high quality women wanting the same thing.

  9. 9
    John

    Buck 25,

    You articulated the bullet points that GWTF asked you to answer brilliantly. Thanks for saying so concisely what many men do not know how to say.

     

  10. 10
    Annie

    Buck25,
    Thank you for the long and detailed explanation. What I find curious about your comments, however, is that they very much apply to men, too:
    “Men aren’t masculine.”
    Of course, we can argue back and forth about what words like “feminine” and “masculine” mean. I did notice that you define un-feminine women as the go-getter types in business. Have you perhaps considered that women feel pressured to act in certain ways to get ahead professionally? Women who are too “feminine” in business (not aggressive enough) may be dismissed as emotional or not as motivated. Yet when they try harder, they get pegged as unfeminine. It’s a tough position to be in.
    As for men, I notice men whining all over this blog and indeed all over other sites about how awful women are, how women take men for a financial ride and so on. Do you think all the whining is masculine and attractive? It’s not. Neither are the Peter Pan men who don’t commit and never quite seem like adult men at all…
    “Men are too independent.”
    I see some men giving up dating entirely – and completely flouncing off  because of a few bad dates seems un-masculine and independent  to a ludicrous degree to me.
    “Men feel entitled.”
    Your explanation about women being entitled made me laugh—thank you for that. In reality, I see examples of men acting entitled all the time. I see men rating women on 1-10 scales and refusing to date below a 9, feeling they somehow are owed sex and a beautiful partner, no matter what they themselves look like or how poorly they are aging. I see men who feel entitled having an affair and then fuming because their ex-wives get child support and half the marital assets after raising the children for years.
    While we’re discussing unfairness and entitlement, I’d also like to point out that when women over 30 ask Evan for advice (as is the case with this post) I notice he asks them to consider men 10+ years older. Fair enough…expect that the advice given to men is very different (http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/how-come-older-men-cant-get-younger-women/). In fact, in the link I just posted in the last sentence, Evan tells a 56-year old man looking to date someone 20 years his junior to consider “older” women – as a third resort after he has considered reverse matches and sugar daddy sites. Hmmm.  That makes no sense, especially given the fact that women statistically die later than men and reach their sexual peak later. But of course, some men feel entitled to a much younger partner…and then complain about women’s entitlement.
     
    I don’t disagree that some women treat men terribly. I have seen it for myself. I have also seen women used for sex, emotionally and verbally abused, strung along, and dismissed solely on the basis of looks and age. Some men treat women terribly and as a whole, I think they are much harsher in the dating game (http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/if-men-like-hot-women-where-does-that-leave-an-average-woman/). Human beings in general treat other human beings badly (hence…wars and inequality). I think we all think we are the exception. We think we are a good partner, without always taking the time to put aside anger and really checking to see whether we are as kind and loving as we should be…and whether we’re the type of partner we want to attract. I think that applies to both men and women, BTW.

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re mistaken about my take on older men but I don’t have the patience to find the post from a guy in his 40s complaining that younger women don’t want him and I tell him to suck it up because women in their 20s have better options. Don’t cherry pick lines to make me look like a hypocrite. I’m many things, but that is not one of them. I’ve repeatedly told men to date their own age and pointed out that only 5% of marriages have a 10 year age gap, not to mention the higher divorce rate. So please don’t distort my views on my own blog.

      -The man with a wife who is three years older

    2. 10.2
      Buck25

      Annie,

      I see I must have struck a nerve. Well, first of all, I wasn’t addressing the myriad of female complaints about men on this blog; that’s a separate issue, and one I’ll be happy to discuss ( on a rational, nonjudgmental, and civil basis) with you or anyone else here. I don’t run and hide from tough questions. In this instance, GWTF specifically asked four questions about why men make certain generalizations about women, and I endeavored to answer these, as honestly possible, and without attacking or judging anyone. I definitely did not take a “Men good, women bad” slant on this. I did not, however, pull any punches to be politically correct or appease anyone either; I simply related what I’ve observed and experienced, and, since the question was about men’s attitudes, what I’ve heard from other men.

      Your response, I note, was an immediate, “Yes, but men….” followed by an entirely predictable attack on everything you don’t like about the male gender. Excuse me for finding this a rather transparent attempt to deflect, dismiss, discount, denigrate and deny the validity of a point of view and perspective different from your own. I don’t see, in either your tone or content, any attempt to better understand why men feel and act as they do; what I see, is a desire to justify your own continuing attitude and behavior, and highlight women’s feelings and problems, while belittling the feelings and problems of men as insignificant and unjustified. It’s natural enough, but I have to ask how productive that is.

      Here, I’m going to bring up a word very popular among the distaff set on this very blog: EMPATHY. You appear a little short of this commodity, so frequently described here as something women have and display in abundance, and men should have but almost universally do not. I don’t know what you think the word means, but to me, it means a willingness to try to look at an issue from the point of view of someone whose experiences, perspectives, and objectives may be quite different, even diametrically opposite, from my own, and understand that the feelings they have as a result are as real and valid to them, as mine are to me. That’s not so hard in the abstract, but it can be a little difficult, when we feel our own emotional toes getting stepped on in the process. Now, for a moment, let’s leave the whys, the wherefores and the justifications aside, and ask one simple little question: Do you like being told what to feel? Do you like to be told that you have no right to feel as you do? Do you like being judged for expressing how you feel? No? I didn’t think so. Why then, would you believe that men like that any better? We don’t, Annie. Suppose you go through one dating relationship after another, and you get sex from the men you want to get it from…but none of them commit to you. You feel cheated, used and rejected, you didn’t get your dream, and it hurts. Now, consider the men you rejected along the way. Some of them got the same treatment from one woman after another; maybe they rarely even got a date from the women they desired. They didn’t get their dream either, and they feel as frustrated and confused and rejected as you do. Now judgment says, if they had been more realistic in choosing which women they approached, in the first place, and you had been a bit more realistic about which men you selected, the outcome might have been different. Emotion says, “I really tried, men are dogs!” or “I really tried, women are stuck up!”. Empathy says “Hey, they (the opposite sex) have feelings; I might not understand why they hurt/feel disappointed/ feel confused…but they do…and I do know how that feels; maybe even the devil needs a little sympathy. Maybe, I’d resent them less, and understand them better, if I tried to see that warped reality of theirs through their eyes; it might look different.” You know, now that I think on it, maybe that recognition that the feelings and perceptions of those we sometimes see as adversaries are as real, as valid, and as important to them as our own feelings and perceptions are to us, is a greater gift to  ourselves, than to the ones we’re so often quick to judge and condemn.

      Seems to me that might be better than continuing to ride the carousel of blaming and shaming, which somehow never appears to have much effect in altering the attitudes and behavior of the gender being thus attacked.  We’re not going to solve all the world’s dating/mating problems here. No one’s going to be pleased with everything they hear or read from the other side of the fence; in fact, sometimes, some observations might sting, because they cut a little near the bone for us personally.  About the best we’re going to accomplish, is that occasionally someone gets a little insight, or finds a glimmer of understanding, in the midst of the tempest. I think the best I can do here, is offer some honest observations, with the occasional bit of good advice sprinkled in; I am getting a bit old, after all, and don’t have quite as many opportunities for setting a bad example as I once did. 🙂

  11. 11
    Caroline

    Buck-I gained insight from your reply to get-thAnks.  I do think dating is evolving for and it may be hard for some to “catch up”. But I’d also like to add that in my own personal world I don’t see millenials having such polarity of views between the genders. I’m in NO way saying your points aren’t valid for some but I see people finding loving relationships everyday without such angst. I have 3 sisters and between our 9 kids (ranging in age from 18-34)- 5 are married (3 with kids), my two (the youngest) have steady girlfriends, and 2 nephews who are in late 20s who both have never had a date in their lives (brothers who socially awkward). My guy has two daughters, both married, one with a kid. Two nieces in fact make much more than their husbands but apparently their husbands feel they possess enough femininity they make great wives. I see young people at work finding partners. While I’m sure there have been dating struggles for indeed most everyone who as ever dated; I find it hard to grasp that the average guy or gal struggles to the degree painted on this blog. We all make our way usually at a one step forward two steps back pace until we break through to success. While I’ve personally known or met women who possess the negative aspects pointed out; they are just a small snapshot that doesn’t reflect the majority of folks I come across in life. Maybe I’m just a glass half full gal but it seems to me that most people manage to find happiness in their own backyard.

  12. 12
    Sarah

    ScottH:

    I am in the older 40’s market. Thanks for the link to the book. It looks very good and I just ordered it. I love to read anyway.  I  think I need to learn to read signs, better, regarding men that just can’t commit. I know its not perfect science but I would like to increase my odds on choosing correctly.

    Thanks again!

    Re: Bad Boyfriends Attachment Theory Partner

     

    1. 12.1
      ScottH

      Sarah- disclaimer- I haven’t read that book, just the synopsis.  the book Attached is one of my bibles along with all the Steven Carter books.  I hope that book serves you well.

      1. 12.1.1
        Sarah

        Hi ScottH: Was there supposed to be an attachment or link via your reply to me?  I did not see one.

        1. ScottH

          Sarah- I didn’t intend on attaching a link but I will this time on the Attached book:  http://www.attachedthebook.com/qa/

    2. 12.2
      Sarah

      ScottH: Thanks, I got it! Will read this too. Have a good week.

  13. 13
    GoWiththeFlow

    Buck, Rocky, ScottH, John, and JB,

    Thank you for the insights!  What struck me the most was the responses to “women don’t want average Joes” statement.  That average Joes’ internal experience of relating to women and dating is often one of rejection and  powerlessness, and possibly resentment and hopelessness.

    @Buck:  “Remember where we left the average looking, 20 to early thirties guy? Mostly out in the cold getting whatever sex he can from other men’s rejects, frequently dateless and rejected by hot women and those a little less hot as well”

    @JB:  “An ‘average Joe’ has very little value and basically no chance on an online dating site. Even an “average or below average Jane” won’t respond to them.”

    @Rocky:  “To me, it comes from the way many women talk here. How they are attracted to very few men. How they decide within 30 seconds of a man is do-able or not. Evan has published letters about women who find no or almost no men attractive. Women post it in the comments. Suffice it to say that the famous OK Cupid study is not the only evidence for the point that women generally want the best of the best from a physical standpoint.”

    @John:  “I have a lot of average looking guy friends that are lonely and miserable. They tell me they get shot down all of the time.”

    I also think I see where the disconnect is:  Average Joes experience women as being powerful in the dating and mating world, when in reality, many women’s experience is one of being invisible, overlooked, and powerless.

    Many women, even young ones, will go weeks or even months between the times when a man expresses interest in them (flirting, dating).  In between those times a woman will spend time in the friend zone, and the closet they will ever get to the “bad boy” experience is silently pining away for the school quarterback or the cute guy in accounting who doesn’t know they exist.  And for many the idea that she can score a hottie for a ONS isn’t appealing because 1) casual sex isn’t what she wants 2) not many want to be in a situation where it’s apparent they are the dreg, the slumee, or the beer-goggle consolation prize.  As I mentioned in a comment thread on another post, for women that want or need a relationship with a man as a basis for sex, they may feel deprived of sex to the extent that they are “deprived” of a relationship.  Vibrators aren’t called Battery Operated Boyfriends (BOB) for nothing!  😉

    Susan Walsh at Hooking Up Smart has a great post about how it’s 10-15% of college students that get the most sex.  Despite the view that hookup culture is rampant on campus, the average student will have 3 “hookups” in their college career, less than 1 a year!  In the book Erotic Capital, the author presents the results of national sex behavior surveys (which started to be done in the wake of the AIDS epidemic to target public health resources) that shows that 15% of the population is responsible for 80% of all sexual activity.

    So I wonder if single men and single women are focusing on the 15% of the opposite sex that seems to have no problem “getting it” and deriving their assumptions of what is and what should be based off of the narrow experience of the few.  Especially given that, as Evan says, the default setting for dating is failure.  If you wind up with one (okay maybe two or three) spouse(s) in a lifetime, then the chances that any one person you talk to online will be IT are slim to none.  I guess the key is to figure out a way to remain optimistic about dating and the opposite sex given that short term dating failure in the norm.

    1. 13.1
      Buck25

      GWTF,

      First of all it would be interesting to know how that 15 % overall breaks down; is it about even male to female, more male than female, or more female than male? Any stats on that? If not what would be your guess? I have a guess of my own, but I’m going to withhold it, for now. 🙂

      My guess is that the group of young women you’re talking about would be average-to-below average in looks (by the prevailing standards of most guys); either that, or the attention they’re getting is not from the guys they want it from. I have a little evidence for that, anecdotal  though it is. When my youngest little girl (stepdaughter) was in college, she had several girlfriends who would come over to our house and hang out. A couple of these girls were just a bit above average, objectively; most guys would have considered them cute, but not all that hot. My youngest was actively dating around; she attracted a lot of guys, but at the time hadn’t met one she wanted to date more than casually. One night these two came over; and I overheard part of the conversation. GF #1, to my child, “You dropped____/? And you already have a date for Saturday night? Seriously? Girl, you are so lucky; I’d have hung onto him anyway; I haven’t had a date in two whole months!” GF #2, “No kidding! Oh my god, I’ve forgotten what having a date is like!” Now, I have to tell you, GWTF, I thought this was kinda sad, because these two seemed to be ok personalities, and I would have thought the average college guy would be happy to date them (average guys when I was in college often dated worse). I asked mine about it later. She laughed, “Oh, both of them have had several guys ask them out; it’s just that the guys were, well, kinda geeks and dorks, if you know what I mean.” “Real losers, huh?” “Oh, I wouldn’t say that, just… well, just ordinary and kinda boring, is all.”

      Now, I took this to indicate, that these two young ladies, while bemoaning the fact that no one asked them out, had in fact been approached for dates more than once during the time they were whining about; but since the guys didn’t particularly excite them, those didn’t even count; they were, in effect, invisible, as far as these two girls were concerned. And you know, over the years, I’ve known a lot of younger women who could find all sorts of ways to make facts inconvenient to their personal narrative somehow magically disappear; like slightly tipsy sex that “never happened”, rationalized with, “Y’all, I was sooooo wasted, I don’t remember what I did….did I really go home with him??? EEEEWW!” The girl involved was nevertheless able to correct the girlfriends who were with her in the bar on their recollections of the earlier phase of the encounter…in exquisite detail!  Oh well...it never happened, all the same! I think there’s a reason the Southern sorority girl’s mating call is “Y’all, I am soooo drunk!!”, but I digress 🙂 I could tell you a few other stories, ( like the several girls who literally went through every guy in the frat house, but once “pinned” to a brother…Shazam!!! Instant, retroactive, and unquestionable virginity!!), but let’s just say I’m a little skeptical of the self-reported romantic activities (or lack thereof) of college girls and other twenty something year old women-in both directions!

      With all that said, I know there is nothing more powerless, alone and invisible in the mating/dating world than a really homely woman. I want to touch on that for a moment because it brings up a real dilemma, for me, anyway.

      I had a woman friend, many years ago; bright, funny, extremely intelligent, great personality… trapped in a face and body that was well, misshapen and grotesque by almost any standard. She was born with a number of birth defects; the numerous surgeries to fix her face enough so she could eat and breathe left her face a twisted mass of scars; her body was distorted, and she walked with a painful limp. The only place it didn’t affect her was in the water; she could swim like a fish, was a certified SCUBA instructor and rescue diver (that’s how I met her). She never had a boyfriend, or a date, just a little house she shared with a bunch of stray cats. She’d come home from work, fix something to eat, feed the cats, read, and then drink herself to sleep. I’ve heard it said here, rather often, that any man will screw anything that’s vaguely female. I beg to differ. I still remember sitting at her house one night, drinking beer and talking, and the subject of sex came up; she looked at me, and with that twisted smile, said “You know, I’ve never had sex with a man…ever…”. She didn’t say anything else for a while, and then she said, “I don’t suppose you could…” I looked in her eyes, and I think to this day that was the worst, most rotten feeling I’ve ever had in my life, because I knew what she was asking, and there was no way, not with the best will in the world, that I could make myself make love to her; and yet, she was my friend, and she was hurting so much…and honestly, in that moment, I felt like such a complete jerk, and lower than the lowest piece of whale feces in the Mariana Trench. All I could come up with was some beggarly story about having some problems right now, and I just couldn’t: but she knew; all she said was, “It’s the scars…isn’t it?”. There was something in the way she said that, and the look on her face; I couldn’t even look at her when I left,  a few minutes later. The subject never came up again, and about a year later, she found a job out of state; I never heard from her again after that. After all these years, sometimes, I still remember that moment. What the hell do you do with that? Damned if I know; but maybe, I understand all too well what it can be like to have to reject somebody really nice, because there’s no way you can be physically attracted to that person. It’s a piece of knowledge I’d rather not have. Well, now I’ve gone and done it, and I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this one, but the truth is the truth…

      1. 13.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Buck25,

        Your story about your friend was very moving and very sad. I didn’t respond to your post last night because the story weighed on me. I’m not really sure how to respond to it, other than I wanted to tell you the story didn’t go unnoticed.

        These two young ladies, while bemoaning the fact that no one asked them out, had in fact been approached for dates more than once during the time they were whining about; but since the guys didn’t particularly excite them, those didn’t even count.

        It’s that horrible joke that it’s only sexual harassment if you don’t like the person (but there is some truth to it!). We all what we want. Doesn’t make it right. It just is what it is.

        I’ve known a lot of younger women who could find all sorts of ways to make facts inconvenient to their personal narrative somehow magically disappear; like slightly tipsy sex that “never happened”, rationalized with, “Y’all, I was sooooo wasted, I don’t remember what I did….did I really go home with him??? EEEEWW!”

        You are allowed to rewrite your own narrative. It’s the only one you have any control over. You don’t have experiences you’d rather forget or interactions with women that didn’t make a dent in you psyche but maybe really had an impact on them?

        1. Buck25

          Hi Emily,

          Thanks. As for that little story, sometimes, life just presents us with situations that just don’t have any good alternative solutions, and I think this may have been one. Doesn’t make them feel any better, though.

          Maybe that ties into your last question. Sure, I’ve had experiences I’d rather forget (or sure would have liked to in the immediate aftermath). Some, in retrospect, are kind of funny; others, not so much; and then there are the ones where I’m left to wonder what I might have done inadvertently. I expect we all do some evil, (and maybe a little good, too) that we just don’t notice in the moment.

          I think, as far as rewriting the narrative, I see your point; it’s just that for me, I think it’s best to remember even the cringe-worthy moments. For better or worse, I did it, I own it; the question is, what did I learn from it. I’ve done a lot of reflecting, in the journey I’ve been on lately, and one result is that I’ve come to terms with some experiences I had nearly buried for a long time; if that process hasn’t been entirely pleasant, it’s been enlightening, and if/when I get back in the dating game, or even I never do, I’ll be better for it.

          A lot of things have become clearer recently, though I still have questions to resolve before I try dating again. Re-examining everything has left me still trying to figure out what my  objectives are, and what I could be open to, should the opportunity arise. I think I need to have a better handle on that, before stepping back into the game. One thought troubles me in particular-at this age, how many good years do I have, realistically, to offer someone in a potential relationship, before the inevitable decline? Is that time enough? Legitimate question I think, and not to be glossed over, much as I don’t like thinking about it. Any thoughts?

        2. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          One thought troubles me in particular-at this age, how many good years do I have, realistically, to offer someone in a potential relationship, before the inevitable decline? Is that time enough?

          No one knows how many “good years” they have left, as trite as that sounds. I don’t remember exactly how old you said you were, but I have a good friend in her mid-70s who met a great guy on match.com. Both are widowed. They are now very committed to each other and are having a great time together. To be honest, she went through a lot of duds to get to him, but it was well worth it.

          I think it’s great you are doing a lot of internal work now. If you do decide to date again, there will be women out there who appreciate that. A lot of people take no time to self-reflect. I’m doing a bit of that myself.  Hope it pays off.

      2. 13.1.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        Hi Buck,

        In regards to personal narrative revision:  It does happen!  I don’t know if this is a uniquely female thing or if men revise their history as well.  A few years back I mentally and emotionally owned ALL of my history.  For myself, and I think for many women, there is an element of shame in having sex.  I was raised in a religion that really fetishized chastity and purity in women, and on top of that I came of age in the era of resurgent conservatism under Reagan and the specter of HIV/AIDS when being a born-again virgin was very popular.  So what I had to do was let go of the shame and own that I’m a sexual being who wants to feel good.

        The biggest type of history revision I see these days are young women who have blown ten guys, had anal sex with two of them, but call themselves a virgin.  Um, well you may technically have an intact hymen, but I don’t think you can say you are sexually inexperienced!

        As for the whole “women don’t give regular guys a chance” issue, as your story about your friend illustrates, sometimes you can get to know someone very well, recognize their inner beauty, but still not have the attraction required to have a sexual interaction/relationship with them.  So when a man says “she didn’t give me a chance” would it be easier for you to be turned down at the beginning or would you rather have her spend time with you, and then still say, “Sorry, but I’m not feeling it.”?

        Also, sometimes women do have very good reasons for turning down a man even though it’s not apparent on the surface.  When I was in college, I had a boyfriend from about 8 weeks into my freshman year until the beginning of my senior year.  We had broken up and gotten back together twice before that last break up when I was determined to make it permanent since our issues were unresolvable.

        Right after the break up, a guy started to chat me up and do the “we should hang out” thing.  I sidestepped when he tried to ask me out directly, and I did nothing to encourage him.  I was still grieving and figuring out how to manage having friends in common with my ex, and running into him on campus and at parties.  I was in no mood to date, period.  On top of that this guy was in the same fraternity as my ex (Yes I was in a sorority and am familiar with the mating call:  “OMG, I’m sooooo drunk!) and I found that to be awkward.

        One weekend, a bunch of the guys from the fraternity went down to Tijuana to party.  Early the next week, I was hanging out with some girlfriends/sorority sisters and one of them, who was dating a guy from that fraternity, said “OMG, you know M (my pursuer)?  You will never guess what G told me he did down in Mexico!!!”  Let’s just say it involved public debauchery with a beer bottle, a prostitute, and oral sex (him on her) in the middle of a nightclub.  The very next day I run into M and the dude asks me out.  With a rather disturbing vision running through my head, I said, “No! And don’t you ever ask me out again!”  Now M may have thought I was being an uppity b*tch for “not giving him a chance.”  I maintain I had reasons.

        “One thought troubles me in particular-at this age, how many good years do I have, realistically, to offer someone in a potential relationship, before the inevitable decline? Is that time enough?”

        Buck, if you have taken care of your health, and continue to do do, there is no reason why you can’t live into your 80s and 90s and be active.  Many times I, and other people I work with, nurses, doctors, aides, have all commented that compared to 15-20 years ago, we are seeing many exponentially more patients who are in their 80s and 90s, who are active and have no or only minor health issues.  You have plenty of time 😉

        1. Buck25

          GWTF,

          I expect a lot of the “personal narrative revision” I’ve seen women do, resulted from just the sort of sexual shaming of girls and women you described (still too common in this society, IMO). It’s not that young men don’t get some of that too, mostly from the same purveyors; we do, but our high aggression level and higher sex drive usually leads more of us to either ignore most of it, or rebel and turn hostile to those who promote it. (One big reason, (though not the only one) why I parted company with organized religion). I decided years ago, that I’d be damned if I’d let a bunch of eunuchs in clerical robes, their guilt-ridden, shame-filled flocks of dysfunctional weaklings, and other assorted busybodies and bluenoses tell me I couldn’t act like a man. I don’t like their company, I don’t need their permission or their approval, and on the off chance there is a hell, at least if I go there, I don’t suppose I’ll have to put up with their noxious species there (according to them, anyway). 🙂 I like sex, I won’t apologize for wanting it, or chasing it, and so long as I do that openly and honestly, and don’t use or mistreat anyone in the process, I see nothing to be ashamed of. Frankly, I think women should be just as free to enjoy their own sexuality, and perhaps society is finally evolving in that direction, albeit slowly.

          Thanks for the encouragement on the age issue. It occurs to me that at this age (68), I wouldn’t have to worry, if I had reached the point where one is primarily seeking companionship, and physical attraction matters little, if  at all. However, I’m not there yet; I’m not ready to give up that part of being a man, and that part of a relationship, while I’m still fully able to enjoy it. The implication of that, is that I want and need a partner who has (at least to me) some modicum of sensuality and physical attraction left. That reduces the pool to a small percentage of women over 65, or a somewhat larger pool of women a few years younger who are still willing to consider a man my age. The alternative is a “relationship” with zero chemistry, and to me that’s not a relationship at all; better to remain as I am, than try to fake what I just can’t feel for a woman I have no physical attraction to. In effect, where I used to be comfortable dating just slightly above average women, I now find myself trying to date the most attractive 5-10% of my age group. Those women, however, can date, and prefer to date (according to online profiles), men 5-10 years younger. On top of that, since I’ve been reading here, I have learned what women (including women over 55) think of men my age, and it’s not flattering. Even though I don’t fit the stereotypes, at least not yet, I am left with the feeling that many consider a man over 60 or 65 a bad bet and a poor investment (“He may be fine for now, but what about ten years from now?”), and much as I hate to admit it, there’s at least some valid reason for the concern. After all, I’m sure a woman wants her last great adventure to be an exciting one, that lasts as long as possible, too, and “ten years from now” is 78, for me. That does pose a bit of a dilemma, when you think about it like that; go for what I want, one last time, and maybe cheat a woman of what she wants, or go for what I can right now, and let fate decide the rest? We try so hard to sell ourselves in the dating and mating game, and we have to; but… at what point is it overselling, maybe irresponsible, even if it’s true? I hadn’t thought so much about that until recently…but maybe I need to; I’m not sure.

           

      3. 13.1.3
        Caroline

        Buck-nobody is going to “flame” you. Hopefully we all learn from life’s experiences- some good some not and those heart wrenching ones for me personally are the ones which impacted me the most. Maybe that interaction was put at your feet to help you reflect upon how you will react and gracefully accept to being rejected or how you will deliver rejection?

        Enjoyed your story about the young college students. I think many of us (male or female) were pretty full ourselves at that age.

        Reflecting on finding love at our respective ages- I recall the first time I met the elderly couple across the street from my employer. I had observed them several times hand in hand during their early morning walk. Upon introduction one day the Mrs.  told me they were newlyweds! She absolutely beamed as her husband told the story about how he “convinced” her to be her bride. They had met at church and started eating lunch together after Sunday services. Apparently he “proposed” the idea that they would both save on gas and car expenses each Sunday if they just rode together! And then it was they’d both save on household utilities, etc, etc..well he finally fessed up that he really cared and couldn’t imagine anything better than living out the rest of his years with her😊

        1. Buck25

          “Maybe that interaction was put at your feet to help you reflect upon how you will react to and graceful accept being rejected, or how you will deliver rejection”

          Caroline,

          I don’t know. As an adult, long I’ve known that there’s only one way for a gentleman to accept rejection; calmly, quietly, and with few words; if  I need to say anything, “I wish it might have been different” will suffice. Acting angry/upset is for adolescent boys. If I have anything else to say, I vent it to a blank wall; no one else cares anyway. If I’m angry, there’s a speed bag and a body bag in my exercise room to take it out on.

          I will have to say that the cold impersonality of online dating made me inclined to be a little mean handing out rejection in that venue for a while, mostly out of frustration with some of the nasty rejection I experienced there. I don’t do that in the real world, though.

          That said, I think the main takeaway from that particular experience was a feeling for how hard it can be to reject someone you think a lot of but just can’t be attracted to, for whatever reason. In that instance, it was compounded by the fact that the woman involved had been a good and true friend at a very difficult time in my own life; although, I can’t think of anything else I could have done that would have been any better, in that individual situation.

      4. 13.1.4
        ScottH

        Interesting that you mentioned narratives.  I was reading this article that mentions narratives,  http://www.psychalive.org/anxious-avoidant-attachment/
        “The key to “making sense” of your life experiences is to write a coherent narrative, which helps you understand how your childhood experiences are still affecting you in your life today. In PsychAlive’s online course with Drs. Dan Siegel and Lisa Firestone, they will walk you through the process of creating a coherent narrative to help you to build healthier, more secure attachments and strengthen your own personal sense of emotional resilience.When you create a coherent narrative, you actually rewire your brain to cultivate more security within yourself and your relationships.”

        Boy, I’m chatty on this topic…

      5. 13.1.5
        Erin

        Hi Buck.  You once replied very kindly to a post of mine, and I’m pleased to respond to your query below about having good years to offer somebody at your age…

        My grandmother was widowed at 76 and started dating her most recent beau at 78.  He was a touch younger.  She passed away a few months shy of her 100th birthday with him at her side.  They had over 20 good years together, and were playing golf together right up until the month before her death!

    2. 13.2
      ScottH

      GWTF- the average joe comment struck me between the eyes.  Many times I feel like one, especially after being dumped by an alpha woman i believe because she needed someone who earns more than I do and that made me feel very inadequate.  Two other gf’s didn’t seem to mind my status.  All have told me what a great guy I am.  Then again, I’m probably somewhat-above-average-joe but it FEELS like most women on OLD are looking for the charismatic alpha high earning guy and that’s not me.   Just gotta keep plugging along.  I do get a fair amount of action from the dating sites and I have had a lot of meetings and follow-up dates.  I’m also wondering if I’ve become as damaged as the women I complain about.  quite possible.  mid-life dating is tough and I thank Evan for his newsletters and blog where he helps us to keep things in perspective.  We all want instant gratification, especially when it seems like the clock is running down.

    3. 13.3
      Stacy2

      This discussion has indeed been very helpful. I had no idea men internalize so much angst in dating. I honestly always thought that men have an upper hand in dating. They’re the one who’re doing all the asking, and they have a great deal of control over their overall attractiveness.

      I am going to go out on  limb and say, that few women are holding out for George Clonney’s look alike, and very few men are so physically unattractive that you can’t dress them up. I mean, a guy would need to be physically disfigured somehow to be in that territory, short of that – good physical shape, good haircut, stylish clothes and proper hygiene will do the trick – and all controllable.  And so are other aspects of male attractiveness.

      One of the most impressive guys I’ve ever dated, for example, spoke 5 languages, played several instruments, had an ivy  PhD and was very successful financially (as in top 0.5% earner). He was also in no way geeky – very stylish, cultured, world traveler and had a lot of interests. We belonged to the same yacht club and this is how we met. He was tall but not conventionally super attractive – and it didn’t matter. None of these things that he was were innate. He made himself into that exceptional person – and that made him extremely attractive to women. I was crazy about that guy.

      On the other hand, most “average Joes” I encounter in life can only be described as a “warm body with a penis and a mediocre job that paid for their Ikea-furnished apartments”.  I think I rejected advances from hundreds of them in the last 10 years during the periods when I was not married, and may be it left a lot of them hurt, but I honestly do not regret any of those rejections at all. Not only were they boring and unimpressive, but more importantly they lacked emotional depth, life experiences and intelligence needed to successfully connect with someone like me. I would much rather be alone than with any of those guys.

      But the thing is, it was their own making. I think it would behoove them to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves how they can better themselves. Not just for the sake of their romantic lives- but because there’s gotta be more to life than a boring job, bbq and football? Very few people will have the ability and motivation to become the kind of person in my example above – but even if they did 10% of that, the outcomes would be so much better for them. This isn’t about collecting diplomas and triathlon medals on the walls. It’s about collecting life experiences that make you grow, make you able to relate better to others, make you a better person.  If that is something they are not willing/able to do, there are actually a lot of women in the same range of shallowness and mediocracy – just don’t go for the 8s and 10s. Life is about trade-offs.

      I don’t think expecting your date/mate to be more than a “warm body” is entitled. I also think, I have probably never dated a conventionally attractive person, and I am a solid 9. That said, I have dated some very impressive and accomplished men.

      1. 13.3.1
        Chance

        You’re making the flawed assumption that these men are only asking out women who are as impressive as you dubiously claim to be, or at the very least, are more impressive than they are.

      2. 13.3.2
        ScottH

        Hi Stacy- I agree that this has been a very interesting discussion.  I’d like to challenge you on the concept that men get to do the asking.  Yes, we do the asking but women have equal control in deciding whether to accept or reject.  We get rejected as many times as women don’t get asked when they want to get asked.

        Also, this impressive guy you mentioned does sound impressive.  I don’t come close to him.  However, as Evan keeps repeating, a good partner doesn’t have to be as impressive as your example.  A regular guy can be a better (or worse) partner than your impressive guy and many times these impressive guys are bad partners.  Were you crazy about his accomplishments or the way he treated you and the way you connected with him?  I agree that a warm body (male or female) won’t make much of a good partner, at least not for very long.  When your impressive guy was amassing his credentials, I was raising a family with an incredibly difficult partner and going to a corporate job making a decent salary.  I didn’t have time or resources to do what he did but I’m back in the dating pool much more experienced and i think I’d make a great partner to some lucky woman.  On the outside, I look like just a regular guy.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear ScottH @ 13.3.2,

          I think the gender who gets to ask, has the advantage.

          Say I go to a dance, and there are 100 single men there, and I would go have an initial coffee date with say 40 of them (given my age ranges and racial preferences). I have to wait until one of the 40 asks me. If nobody asks me, no coffee date for me.

          But imagine I am a guy, at the same dance.  Say there are 100 single women and I’d go drink coffee with 80 of them.  All I have to do is ask enough of those 80, and surely eventually the maths is, I’m likely to be drinking coffee with one of them pretty soon.

          Having the power to ask must be freeing. Waiting feels powerless. I only have any power once asked. You have power before any move is made.

        2. ScottH

          Mrs Happy-  I think we could turn that around and come to the same conclusion that women have the advantage.

          The chances of someone attractive to me accepting my offer is the same as someone attractive asking you to coffee. And to Buck’s comment below, he’s right about us getting slammed.  So often I’ll make initial contact and the woman will just outright BLOCK me like I have leprosy or something.  Or we might exchange an email or two and then she BLOCKS me.  Like, wtf???  That sure makes it feel like women have the power.

          And there are clear ways that women can take make things better for themselves by winking (online or in person) and letting the guy know that she’s receptive.  If we know that, we’re a LOT more apt to make an advance.  I did have one woman wink to me and then she blocked me after I wrote her (nothing obscene, no dick pix this time (kidding, I’ve NEVER sent one)).  It really is demoralizing to get outright blocked but then we have to tame our lizard brain and realize that it really isn’t personal.

          But I’ll tell you what… it sure feels to this somewhat-above-average guy that you women people have the distinct advantage .  I must admit that my Match account was on steroids on Sunday.  For some reason I had something like 7 women contact me.  Very unusual day.  The Gilligan’s Island references are pure gold.  I do think my profile is pretty awesome.

          Maybe since men think you have the advantage and you think men have the advantage, it really is a level playing field.  It would be good to hear from more fishies here.

        3. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

          It would be good to hear from more fishies here.

          Men have the power in dating. Women are the gatekeepers of sex, which isn’t that hard to find. Plus, men find a wide selection of women appealing so they shouldn’t have that much  trouble accessing sex.

          Men, however, are the gatekeepers of commitment, which is a rare commodity. Any time you have something the other side wants, something somewhat difficult to obtain, you have the power. If you want less from the relationship (meaning you don’t want commitment and the other side does), you have the power.

      3. 13.3.3
        KK

        Stacy said, ” Not only were they boring and unimpressive, but more importantly they lacked emotional depth, life experiences and intelligence needed to successfully connect with someone like me. I would much rather be alone than with any of those guys.”

        Did you really just say that THEY lacked emotional depth??? LOL.

        And then you said that these guys that don’t have impressive credentials are shallow???

        Thanks for the chuckle.

      4. 13.3.4
        Henriette

        Dear @Stacy2: It seems you’re missing (ignoring?) one of Evan’s key messages, that he preaches day in day out.  A man can be impressive ~ a high earner, speak multiple languages, stylish, member of a yacht club, even a “deep” person ~ and yet be a mediocre partner.  Traits that allow a person to be great partner include kindness, strong communication skills, a forgiving nature and integrity.  Even men with boring jobs who enjoy beer and bbqs can embody those characteristics.

        No one will tell you that you shouldn’t expect your date to be impressive and interested in self-improvement but with that focus, you will overlook some potentially wonderful partners.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear KK @ 13.3.3 and Henriette @ 13.3.4,

          if Stacy2 @ 13.3 needs or wants her man to be intelligent, have emotional depth, be able to relate to others, and have interesting life experiences, well those are her wants, and I can’t understand why she gets so attacked for wanting those.

          When dating I broke up with men because they didn’t have those, and I’m not a bad person, I just know what I want in a partner.

          Likewise Stacy2 is allowed to have those high on her list. The more she brings to the table, the longer her list can successfully be. I imagine Stacy2 is adding the above, to the basics of kindness, consideration, an easygoing nature, etc, that make for a good partner.

          If Stacy2 is smart and successful, she’d be irritated with a dumb boring man, and any relationship with such wouldn’t work. Thus she is being sensible. She doesn’t want to wallow in mediocrity.

      5. 13.3.5
        Buck25

        Stacy2,

        I believe you make some valid points here. I want to respond to is the idea that men have the upper hand in the initial phase of the dating game, as expressed by you, and Mrs Happy in her follow-on post. As you have discovered here, it’s almost an article of faith among men, that the opposite is true. Who’s right?

        Obviously, men do the vast majority of the approaching, inviting and chasing whether that’s approaching and sticking up a conversation in the real world, or sending an email online. It can be argued that they have the advantage of having the initiative, and it is a significant advantage. That advantage, however, comes at a cost measured in the effort it takes for the average man to first of all approach, and should he meet with any success, plan the dates, court, and otherwise do what he can to get past a female section process that is rigorous in real life, and frequently ruthless online. Do understand that the average Joe is not a hyperconfident social alpha, nor is he strikingly tall and handsome; by definition he’s more or less average-in intelligence, looks, achievement, etc. In short, as he is, he is NOT what any woman (yes, including those average and below) actually wants. So, when he summons up what confidence he actually has (usually less than he’d like to believe) and approaches, most of the time he’s rejected (sometimes politely, sometimes not) out of hand, whether he hits on an average Jane or a hot number. Direct rejection hits straight at his ego; being “good with women” is something every guy prizes as an affirmation of his manhood. Understand that Joe Average thinks the standard of “success” is what he’s always seen the “cool guys”, the social alphas, do with this. So far as he can see, they don’t struggle, they never lose, never get rejected. The fact that many of them will further promote that idea by embellishing their already considerable success in bragging about it only confirms this, in Joe’s mind. In truth, it’s rather like baseball; The very best hitters have a batting average somewhere in the .300 range; two thirds of the time, they don’t get a hit, much less a home run. Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron both had lifetime batting averages in the low .300s, and both struck out almost twice as often as they hit a home run. The most successful players in the dating game do about the same; strike out as often as they get a date. Joe Average doesn’t see their strikeouts, just their hits (dates) and home runs (dates with the hottest women). Just like looking at the great ballplayer; Joe Average sees the 714 home runs, and forgets the 1330 strikeouts that went with them. His confidence is quickly eroded; these guys, he reasons, must have something he can’t have. So he studies PUA techniques, usually executes those badly, and fails again. There’s no use telling him that it’s a numbers game; so long as all  he gets is failure he can’t see that. Like a hitter whose form and timing are off, the more and harder he swings, the worse it gets. He can’t see why, but eventually, the truth is that he can’t even hit a hanging curve over the middle of the plate, much less a 100mph fastball. and, since he can’t see the errors in his form…he assumes the pitcher (that would be women, in this case) must be putting something on the ball to gain an unfair advantage, so he cries foul! All that advantage he had(and he did) is wasted; he simply does not have the tools, the experience, and the confidence, to exploit it. He then assumes that he “just can’t play this game” because he’s not a “natural” at it…and thus discouraged, simply quits; and to save what’s left of his pride, blames his opponent (yep, you  again) for not playing fair, and Fate for not making him a “natural” who “has it easy”.

        What alternatives does he have? Actually he has plenty. What he needs is batting practice. Even a “natural” needs that; the difference is, they get it in the course of just playing the game and being in the starting lineup every day, not just occasionally pinch hitting. Joe Average needs more time in the batting cage, until he can crack the starting line-up. Maybe he needs more time in the gym, too. IF he does both, he’ll get stronger, and his  batting average will almost certainly improve; he’ll still strike out a lot, but he’ll get some hits, maybe even an occasional home run, and gain some confidence, He might not ever make the Hall of Fame, or even make it to the majors, but he can still be a star in his own league.. Of course, there’s one other key thing, that actually makes the game of dating  easier than baseball. In baseball, the number of at bats even the best player gets is determined by the flow of the game. The really great, really confident hitter will never get to the plate as often as he would like. In dating, even a chump who can’t hit a Little League change-up can step up to the plate and take his swings as ofter as he wants; he’ll usually strike out, and often look foolish doing it, but he’ll see a lot of different pitches, and a lot of different pitchers, and with time and patience he might actually learn how to hit.

        So in that regard, I think, on reflection, that we men do have an advantage; we just don’t see it, or use it, as often as we could. Something to think about.:)

        P.S. I hope you’ll forgive me, for writing this for us guys, under the guise of replying to you; but it seemed like a good opportunity to make a point and give myself a reminder or two.

        1. Kristyn

          I really like your analogy.

           

           

        2. Emily, the original

          Hi Buck25,

          There’s no use telling him that it’s a numbers game;

          On some level, it isn’t a numbers game. I emphathize with men having to do a lot of the approaching, but most men do not know how to read the signs and signals women give them. If they did, they would know who to approach/ask out and who to avoid.

          For example, there is an attractive guy who is a contractor who used to come out to where I work about once a week. I spoke with him at one point. He was friendly, pleasant … but I got nothing back. No energy, no flirtation, no “green light,” so to speak. I’ll never no why, but he wasn’t interested. I think, in that situation, if the roles were reversed, a lot of guys would have continued to try to engage me, even though I wasn’t throwing anything out at them.

          I don’t know how one is expected to read the signs online, but women who are interested irl will let you know. Better to target a few women who seem receptive than just throwing out attention/energy to a bunch of women with no strategy and no discretion.

        3. Buck25

          Emily,

          Yes and no on the numbers game. For a guy who’s pretty well socially calibrated, and not uncomfortable talking to any anyone he meets, you have a fair point. I’ll talk to anyone, male or female, because that’s what I naturally do in a social situation, but, it’s very, very neutral, unless I see eye contact, a sideways glance or two, or something else from a woman that indicates interest, in which case, I may send some flirtatious signals of my own early in the interaction.

          Joe Average, however, isn’t typically that extroverted; he needs practice just talking to women (not necessarily hitting on them, just polite friendly conversation) until he learns they don’t bite. Don’t laugh; a lot of average guys act like they think a woman will slap them just for saying hello. The only way I know of to develop some social calibration, including the ability to read the signs of interest women display, is to practice until it gradually becomes more comfortable, paying attention to how people react all the while. It’s a learned skill, and a lot of average guys don’t practice it enough, especially meeting and talking with women. There’s a lot of good advice on the subject, but it’s fundamentally useless,without repeated practice, trial and error. In the beginning, most guys will mess up, a lot; they’ll keep going too long, try too hard to impress, miss signals of interest/disinterest, etc. I’d tell any guy starting to do this, not to even worry about getting a phone number, much less a date; his job is just to meet, converse politely, and move on; batting practice, remember? Besides, if he learns to just give something (a smile, pleasant conversation, maybe even a moment of humor, and genuine interest in whatever the woman is saying), without expecting anything in return, that will become his default mode; he’ll not only not offend the women he talks to; eventually he’ll become interesting, if only for conversation. He can be open to possibilities, but expecting nothing more than a brief, pleasant interaction, he’ll worry less about the outcome, i.e. whether he gets a phone number or a date, and just enjoy the moment, and he won’t fear rejection so much. Just like a baseball player learning proper hitting technique (stance, balance, timing) his skills will improve, until he thinks about them less, and just enjoys swinging and making contact with the ball.

          Online is an entire separate universe, with its own separate skill set. Most of what we use in real life doesn’t translate there, except that a man can showcase whatever humor and intelligence he has to offer, (assuming he can write well). Confident, easy bantering and teasing doesn’t have the same effect; a little in an email, otherwise, pretty useless. I think this can work to the advantage of the less extroverted guys, in that it doesn’t show up  as much of the shyness that’s usually a weak point for them in the real world (provided they write well enough to showcase some wit and a modicum of intellect, of course). Sometimes an email is the guy’s best shot at getting his profile read, but what he writes in that profile has to be strong enough to hold any interest he captured in the email. It’s going to be mostly a visually driven game, basically a photo contest (as it is for women).  Other than that, a man can target his marketing to those women who appeal to him (not just looks, but interests, writing style, and most important, those whose criteria he mostly meets). This is where reading women’s profiles is key; no point emailing a woman when you cross one or more of her stated deal-breakers. Online is much more a numbers game than real world; comparatively, it’s low-effort, low (and usually infrequent) reward. Probably the most frustrating aspect for a guy who does reasonably well in real world dating, is the lack of the non-verbal cues we normally rely on for feedback; without those, it’s hard to know where exactly we’re missing the mark with our online marketing. It also helps to have a lot of women in one’s target geographic area, age group etc.). Aside from looks, the best things a man can have going for him are creativity, originality, a lot of imagination, some real writing skills, and sheer persistence enough to keep trying different approaches until he finds one that seems to resonate with his target audience

        4. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          Joe Average, however, isn’t typically that extroverted; he needs practice just talking to women

          I understand that and I think you gave some good suggestions about how the more introverted guy can learn to interact with women by taking the idea of dating and getting her number off the table and just practicing engaging with them.

          But I still stress that a woman will let a man know if she is interested. For example, there was a guy I work with who used to live in my apartment complex. Several times over the course of a few weeks, he came to my office and askes me if I was going to the apartment’s Christmas party.

          “No. I didn’t even know there was one,” I said.

          He said he was going.

          Let’s replay that: “Are you going to the Christmas party?”

          “No. I didn’t know there was one?
          “I plan on going.”

          Same conversation three times. If I had been interested, I’d have said … “Yes, I plan to go. What are you bringing? I hope to see you there.”

          He threw it out at me, and if i was interested, I would have picked up the que. Maybe I would have, at some point, gone to visit his office “just to say hi.” That’s showing interest.

          I then heard through a mutual friend that he was planning on asking me out. He had hesitated up until that point because I think he had a feeling I’d say no. It wasn’t just what I was saying. There was something in my manner that was putting the brakes on it. And I was doing that intentionally because I didn’t want to encourage him.

           

  14. 14
    Sabrina

    I’m blessed to be incredibly happy. Almost every single day.  Here are my secrets.

    1) Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! It sounds funny but when I started praying (in my 20’s) I thanked God for my washing machine every single day. Growing up without one, this was such a luxury. To this day I am still thankful for all the things our society takes for granted- electricity, safety, free speech, clean and freely available water. We can lose all of these in an instant (que recent active shooter events… now!).

    2) Attitude. Seriously. You choose whether the glass is half full or half empty. Mine is always half full. Not only is it full, it’s clean & I can drink it without getting sick!

    3) I don’t tie happiness to an outcome or material possessions. These are temporary, I can’t take them with me and the happiness that I get from them is short lived.

    4) A few people have talked about adult attachment theory in the comments. Whoa- learning about this also made me much happier because it helped me understand myself & other people much better. Not familiar with the theory? A good read is the book Attached. No, I am not affiliated with the book in any way, other than as an avid fan.

    5) I can’t believe that I’m about to confess this (not just to you, but to myself), but making more money than I need leads to less happiness. Why? It’s sets my expectations too high for my lifestyle, I spend it frivolously on stuff that is supposed to make me happy but ultimately just makes me feel guilty, and it gives me the false illusion that I am better than others, which makes me judgemental. Now, I can’t tell you the magic income number that maximizes happiness for you, but when this is a challenge for me, I allocate a large peon to savings, charity or something else that I’m passionate about.

    On the surface level, that’s it for my top 5 keys to happiness. I read a research study 2 years ago that people are most happy when they are challenging themselves. I DO believe in this also, so I am always setting goals, growing & stretching. I encourage you to do the same & I’d love to hear what makes you happy.

    1. 14.1
      ScottH

      I would agree with you on point #5.  After the alpha chick dumped me, I was thinking about the life she lives.  It’s all about big houses, fancy trips, fine dining, keeping appearances up, worrying about keeping her income.  NO THANKS!  If salary is a higher priority than a personal connection, I feel sorry for her.  I like my simple lifestyle.  I think those people are trying to make up for something that was missing.  I’m probably sounding like I think everybody should share my values.  To each their own.

      1. 14.1.1
        Sabrina

        That’s awesome that you recognize that. Having too much money makes keeping up with everyone else exhausting.

      2. 14.1.2
        Christine

        Scott, no disagreement here.  It’s the “alpha chick” I really pity. I don’t know her so it’s hard to speak for her, but I doubt she’s really happy.  I know because I once was her, all about appearances.  However, in hindsight, I really was trying to compensate for something missing.

        But after a financial scare with pay cuts at my job, I became more frugal.  I started living way below my means.  I also started making a habit of sticking more money into my savings account every month.  Um, to keep your income, you obviously need to spend less of it–and you know, keep it!

        I wonder if it’s a coincidence that that’s when I found love, and met my guy?  The frugality turned me into the type of partner he was looking for.  I doubt my guy would have been attracted to how I was back then.  His ex was a lot like yours (and dumped him when he was unable and unwilling to fund her lavish lifestyle).

        In hindsight, that financial scare was actually a blessing in disguise, in kicking me in the pants and forcing me to rearrange my priorities.  I’ve acquired a new peace of mind in knowing that with my savings, I can ride out any tough financial times that come my way. I can honestly say I don’t miss any of that fancy “stuff” I used to get.

        It also attracted a partner who is so compatible with me it’s downright eerie.  I am personally much happier with my personal connection and simple lifestyle, than I was alone with a fancy one.  To each their own but I think it’s her loss.

        1. ScottH

          Hi Christine-  money is a really hard thing to talk about, at least for me.  I wonder what other peoples’ experiences are.  I feel like if I have to consider cost when doing things with my partner, that it will be looked down upon and I do feel like less of a man.   I need to find someone that I don’t feel that way about but I’ll admit that it makes me very uncomfortable.  I do ok financially but I have a kid in college, another in private HS, and child support to pay.  I make ends meet just fine and have plenty of enjoyment but I do have to watch things.  I had another gf who mentioned my money concerns when she broke up with me.  She wasn’t anything like the alpha chick but she also can’t get a credit card because her credit is so bad.  My credit is nearly perfect.

        2. Christine

          Scott, you dodged a bullet by not being with those women any longer.  Being a man isn’t about how much money is spent.  I’ve had fantastic dates at low cost or free events, and awful ones at high end restaurants.  It doesn’t take a ton of money to have a good time with someone.

          Actually, I find it commendable that you’re careful about spending your money, in light of your children’s needs.  I’d think a lot less of you if you were spending money left and right, and taking money away from supporting your children.  Of course your children should be your priority, in terms of what to pay for first.

          I also can’t help thinking that other gf is mighty hypocritical to mention your money concerns, when she obviously has money concerns of her own!  Maybe she was looking to have someone bail her out of her credit problems (if so, you’re lucky she didn’t drag you down with her.  My guy’s ex wreaked havoc on his finances for a while and it took him years to recover)

    2. 14.2
      Caroline

      Sabrina- great post. I especially like the thoughts on gratitude. And while I also pray and thank God; one can also just note or write out or say out loud what they are grateful everyday (I like to start the day that way) and experience what I’ve noted as just an overall shift in my outlook. So much better😊

    3. 14.3
      GoWiththeFlow

      Sabrina,

      Excellent post.

      About #5, for the first 5 years of my career I worked in a very busy group practice and in my best year financially, I made more than I ever thought possible.  I was also chronically sleep deprived, could only exercise sporadically at most, ate poorly, and had my cable and power turned off because I was too busy and tired to go through the bills. Changes in the group and the nature of our practice prompted me to leave for a work situation where I don’t do call and have no nights or weekends.  I’m often done with work by 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I make about 40% of what I did before but I am much healthier and happier.  No one on their deathbed ever says, “Gee, I wish I had spent more time at work.”

      Also, appreciation and gratitude.  Also keeping in mind what’s really important.  I don’t know how many times when a situation sucks just saying to myself, “Calm down, nobody died here” can bring everything into perspective.

  15. 15
    John

    Kristyn

    I agree that Evan is not an Average Joe. That doesn’t change the fact that it would be wise for women to follow his wife’s way of being. What Evan’s wife does is not difficult but it is rarely done.  She chooses to love him with all of his flaws and he does that for her.

    1. 15.1
      Adreana

      She chooses to love him with all of his flaws and he does that for her.

      Yes. Now Evan isn’t “average” and nor is his wife, but how many average Joes do you know that are living in fantasyland? Hoping just one day the top 10% of women will notice and be in a LTR with them, and then calling them “entitled” when that bubble bursts?

      Sorry, but I cannot take the complaints of Average Joes seriously when there are plenty Average Janes available.

      1. 15.1.1
        John

        Adreana

        I see it different. I acknowledge both sexes can live in Fantasyland.

        Wouldn’t it be wise to treat below average, average and above average guys the way Evan’s wife treats him? Does a man have to be above average to receive love and respect from you?

        Your comments say you can’t feel sorry for Average Joes when there are plenty of Average Janes around. Well many Average Janes will NOT give Average Joes the time of day. That is why Average Joes go abroad and like my friend, are called losers. Average Janes, especially in online dating, will not even consider them. If you really want to know, make a fake profile with an average guy’s photo and send some emails. Step over to the guy’s side of online dating and you will learn what I already know. Average Joes finish behind Average Janes all day.

         

        1. Adreana

          “Wouldn’t it be wise to treat below average, average and above average guys the way Evan’s wife treats him?”

          I don’t understand this comment. Are you suggesting I behave the same way with all men as I would behave with a guy I’m in love with and attracted to?  I might be friends with average Joes and treat them nicely but no,  they wouldn’t receive any love or affection from me . I don’t feel desire towards them in that way and I wouldn’t date them.

          As for Average Janes not giving them a chance , this is not true. Average Joes don’t send them emails until they are frustrated from being rejected over and over again by  the top 10%.  In most cases, they just want to use average  Janes for sex. I’m curious though, when you hangout at local bars and social gatherings, who do you usually see the “average Joes” approaching?

           

      2. 15.1.2
        ScottH

        Evan might not be average but his many flaws are.  Are you suggesting that because he’s not average that his many flaws should be more tolerable?

        All women should do what Evan’s wife does, whether they are married to the CEO of GM or to the average Joe.  The world would be a better place if that was the case.

        1. Adreana

          “Are you suggesting that because he’s not average that his many flaws should be more tolerable?”

          No, I’m simply saying the average Joes need to humble themselves and give average Janes a chance. Perhaps then they wouldn’t be so miserable about dating. If you can’t tolerate a person’s flaws I don’t see why you should continue seeing them let alone marry them. lol

        2. Caroline

          I’m sure Evan’s above average wife has many average flaws that he also accepts. I think what it truly is, is that they both accept each other’s flaws, they listen to each other especially when they really need to be heard yet stand their ground when needed and compromise when they can. The world would be a better place if everyone behaved that way😊 …and forgive when the other doesn’t or makes a mistake knowing they can improve and have the best intention to behave that way

        3. Stacy2

          I’d like to point out that the CEO of GM is actually a woman. The fact that some men not only don’t know it, but automatically presume otherwise says volumes (… and that’s another reason why you are single LOL )

        4. scotth

          @Stacy.   Wrong… The reason I’m single is because i know the CEO is a woman but said what I did anyway.   She actually served me lunch last year.  I live in Detroit.

    2. 15.2
      Kristyn

      I totally agree.

       

      In truth, though, I don’t think women with the attributes of Evan’s wife are as rare as you think.  Every woman I personally know is the type to accept, love, and nurture in any relationship (this could be because I live it Utah, it is culturally the “norm”.) I only know one woman who could be described somewhat as the “high maintenance” type.  Interestingly, she is the one’s the guys swarm around.

       

      Evan has said many times that initially he looked past some of his “requirements” when he first met his wife.   But in doing so, he realized that some things that looked like they were necessary for a partner to have were really not important while other things (easygoing, accepting, etc) grew in value.  These are things that are important to everyone, not just men.  does any one enjoy constantly being criticized, nagged or made to  feel that they are “WRONG”?  I think everyone wants to be loved and accepted, flaws and all.

      Above average Evan snagged an amazing, above average wife.  I still think this is the Average Joes pursuing the above average women.

  16. 16
    FG

    Sifted through the comments. May have missed it, as the comments digressed from the smart/happy topic, but to be as pertinent as can be in the title’s context, the issue or dichotomy in the smart/happy or likelier smart/unhappy boils down to “unrealistic  expectations”.

    Cheers.

  17. 17
    Sarah

    Evan: These posts are interesting. Have you ever thought of having a National “Meetup” for all these posters? What an interesting couple of days/nights that could be. I bet you could make some money on setting this up.  It seems most are single  on these blogs and it would be fun to meet the people, we really don’t know here….JUST a crazy thought . Its really not much different than going on a singles cruise etc…(which I have never done). Anyway, I live in IL. You could be our keynote speaker and make fun of all of us…Haha.

    1. 17.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m always glad to speak if someone puts together an event, gets a crowd, and compensates me properly. I do not, however, see myself putting together an event and attempting to fill an auditorium in Illinois all by myself. If you build it, I will come.

    2. 17.2
      ScottH

      Sarah- I suggested that very same thing not too long ago.  At least Evan responded to your post.  And I live just around the lake from you.  well, in the big city on the SE side of the state just around the lake, if you know what I mean.  I would love to chat face to face with these people too.  do you live in a windy place?

      1. 17.2.1
        Emily, the original

        ScottH,

        Would you have us all wearing name tags with “Anxious,” “Secure” or “Avoidant”? C’mon… that was funny.   🙂

        1. ScottH

          How about big red hexagons with white borders for the avoidant people, green circles for the secures, and yellow triangles for anxious?  The question is:  in what proportion should we order each type???   funny!!!

        2. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

          The question is:  in what proportion should we order each type???

          Depends on the age of the participants. According to you, the older the group, the more Avoidants and Anxious types there are. Let’s face it: This is an advice site for dating. Probably not a lot of Secures reading it. They are probably at home, happy, with their partners or spouses!

        3. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

          I’m pulling your leg, of course, but I think there is some truth about what you’ve written on past posts in terms of what’s left in the dating pool past a certain age. I seem to run into two types of men: Those who come at me like a freight train or those playing dating hokey pokey. I am hoping that I just need more practice at recognizing the Secure types.

        4. Caroline

          @Scott and Emily-love that (need to find a yield sign to put my name:)

          I think there is a positive spin on this as to being was it 30% of the aging daters as “secure”. The fact that while it may usually remain at 30% but one has the ability to break into that 30% by owning their sh*t and improving. I like the idea about changing your personal narrative.  Most of us have this stream of thought of I’m single because x or for me personally it’s I’m divorced because my ex was an alcoholic. Well the truth is that we both made a mess of our marriage. The truth is very freeing.

        5. Emily, the original

          Hi Caroline,

          I didn’t realize the percentage was as high as 30 percent in terms of the number of Secure older daters. That’s not as bad as I thought.

          I am working on being able to identify the Secure people. I can usually tell when a man is too pushy/clingy or when he is not doing enough and not much is happening, but I still struggle with knowing what is a “normal” level of communication and togetherness, particularly in the beginning.

  18. 18
    Sarah

    Yep! That makes sense to me. Thanks for your reply. I can barely get friends to confirm a night out; can only imagine getting something like this together.

  19. 19
    Sarah

    ScottH:  I am not originally from IL, but have been here several years. I am sorry, I am not completely ignorant of what you mean but I am directionally challenged! I have lived in 4 states  and traveled alot in my career. I am not sure if that is the reason, but I don’t know what “around the lake” means but I am thinking Indiana..or OH? Well, is there a way we can exchange emails, privately?  I am always looking for another friend. I realize this is not a matching site or whatever…

     

    1. 19.1
      Scotth

      im in Detroit .   I guess there’s nothing wrong with saying that.   Yes, it would be nice to make private contact with others here if that’s possible.

  20. 20
    John

    Caroline

    It’s true that my friends was a millionaire and in reality, he wasn’t average. The funny thing is that the women who dated him never knew how much money he had, because they wouldn’t give him the time of day or hang in there long enough to find out. On the surface he was average. He didn’t whine and complain and blame the women for ignoring him or dismissing him. He went and got a good wife and you said in an earlier post you were happy for him. It seems to bother you that my friend found his happiness with an above average woman. How dare he get a woman who is above average. Yet if one of your women friends said she landed a good looking rich guy and she was an average woman, you would say she deserves it.

  21. 21
    Caroline

    John-as I’ve said ad nauseam. Your whole premise was that there are no “decent” women in America.  That is the problem. And I’m not sure why you would say if an average gal friend of mine found a rich guy I would say she “deserved” it. Now you’re just trying to say something I never said or implied. As I recall, I said I’m glad he had the means and found happiness abroad. Geez. Your rhetoric is quite tiring.

  22. 22
    John

    Caroline

    Oh man! According to John-average guys own million dollar businesses! Dang, our economy really is on the upswing!!😂

    Your snarky comments reveal your true feelings, not mine.

    This comment shows you are trying to blow holes in my story about my friend who is happily married to a good woman from Eastern Europe after he could not succeed in the USA. He didn’t succeed in dating in the USA, not because there are no decent women. He just couldn’t get one.

    John-as I’ve said ad nauseam. Your whole premise was that there are no “decent” women in America

    I never said there were no decent women in America. Go back and read what I wrote on the other posts I wrote before you make false accusations. My friend married a woman from Eastern Europe and I dated some cool foreign ladies. If you are going to be insulting, at least read what I wrote. I don’t have anything else to say to you regarding this topic unless you read what I have posted.

    1. 22.1
      sandra

      I think if there is anyone on this board who is never snarky, it is Caroline.

  23. 23
    Karmic Equation

    @GWTF @ 4.1.3

    Buck gave answers from a man’s perspective.

    I wanted to give you an answer from the perspective of what a woman feels when she’s exhibiting these behaviors.

    Disclaimer “you” = “generic you”, not you specifically, GWTF.

    Women today have  a “sense of entitlement.”— What do men think women feel entitled to?  What do women say or do that gives men this impression?

    You’ve probably read enough posts here to know, but a one sentence summary is that “if a woman feels that something is right or wrong, then she feels she is entitled to the man changing his behavior to match her sense of right or wrong.” How women express themselves about men watching porn is the classic example. She feels that it’s immoral or disrespectful or exploitative, so her man, or any man who is a “quality man” should not watch porn, to satisfy HER sense of morality, respect, etc.

    Does this mean that women have to put up with narcissistic or other jerkish behavior? No. What it means is that she makes her feelings known. If the man tries hard to stop the behavior, great. If he continues, she can certainly try to put up with what she feels is his jerkish behavior or she can end the relationship. In other words, a woman is not entitled to a man giving up what makes him happy so that SHE can be happy–if that behavior is not cheating or affects quality of life or can cause death (e.g., substance abuse, hoarding, and other addictions).

    Women don’t want “average Joe’s.”  AAORK describes an average Joe as a man who has “gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.”

    Left unsaid is “attractive”. For most women, the man has to be ATTRACTIVE plus “has gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.” Men, OTOH, only want attractive and the rest is negotiable. If you really are ok with “average joe’s” — you should become negotiable on the “attractive” aspect.

    How does that feel for most women? Again, not good, because if we’re supposed to have sex with him then we need to also be attracted to him. Well, in that case, perhaps we need to date like men. Since attraction is non-negotiable, then maybe we need to be more flexible on the other criteria.

    In other words, physically attractive men are, by definition, not average. Adding more criteria on top of that means that you need to admit you’re not looking for, nor would you accept, average joe’s.

    Women aren’t feminine–This HAS been touched on, but often specifics are lacking.  What is missing?  Not feeling nurtured?  What are nurturing acts or behaviors you want? 

    A lot of what men feel are “nurturing” behaviors feel like “slave” behaviors to women. Cooking and cleaning for him, if she can’t cook or don’t like cleaning, feels like being his servant. If you’re smart, strong, successful, then hiring a housekeeper and picking up take out or paying for meals out are the equivalent, but often women don’t want to “pay” for those equivalents.

    Sorry ladies, those are the simplest ways to nurture your man. If you can’t cook and don’t want to clean, then, by definition, you’re not nurturing, particularly if you’re unwilling to pay for their equivalents.

    For my guy, I do his laundry (cuz he’s got a physical job, not a desk job) and I pay more than my fare share of meals out, and usually pick up the take out as well as paying for it. I also keep Advil and Tums in my purse because he gets headaches and heartburn regularly.

    Men feel “nurtured” when they’re prioritized, fed, and picked up after; much like what little boys need to feel nurtured. Women feel “valued” when SHE’s prioritized. Men feel nurtured when you support (aka “agree with”) what they say and do. Women feel “valued” if a man DOES what she wants. This is the mars/venus equivalence when it comes to nurture.

    My suggestion is that if you disagree with your man, you need to do it privately and kindly, not in a henpecking, belittling, “he’s wrong, you’re right” kind of way. Men do NOT feel nurtured when they are made to feel wrong or stupid.

    This is another part a lot of women have trouble with doing, because if she disagrees and keeps silent, she feels that she’s “not being herself”; that she’s “catering” to his ego.

    If a woman disagrees with her man so much that she feels she must speak up publicly to correct him, then maybe she needs to evaluate if he’s the right man for her.

    To have a peaceful relationship, either both parties have to have similar views on issues; OR both parties care differently about the same issues. For example, if I’m a political activist, I should either date a man who is of the SAME political persuasion OR I should date a man who cares nothing about politics and just yesses me to death when I rant on politics. The worst thing I could do is date a passionate liberal if I’m a passionate conservative. If one of us is indifferent to their political ideology, that could work though.

    This is not about ego-catering or stopping being oneself. It’s about what we’re willing to GIVE to our partner to make HIM feel nurtured. If you can’t support him in public, he’s probably not the right man for you. If you’re constantly biting your tongue to keep the peace, it’s not the right relationship for you.

    Independent is a dirty word— Why is “independent” such a pejorative adjective?  If single women don’t rent their own housing, purchase their own cars, clothe themselves, and contribute to their 401ks while dating and looking for love, what are they supposed to do? 

    I’m very independent. However, that word has never came up in discussion with any of my bfs or even any of my friends. I think this is because I don’t wear independence as a badge of honor. It’s who I am.

    If you like the “independent” moniker and take pride in being so, that is the problem. People, not just women, should be independent and able to take care of themselves. There’s no need to take special pride in being so. It should  be everyone’s default. So no need to mention it, no need to blame it. OTOH, it’s not something you belittle other people for NOT being either. A person is either independent or they’re not. No extra credit, no extra blame. It’s just a state. Like being childless.

    If men you’ve dated have labeled you “too independent” and gave it as a reason as why he wasn’t interested in a relationship with you, it’s probably man-code for not being nurturing enough for him and not having given him as much time as he wants with you. Your “independent” activities kept your dance card too full and you’re not prioritizing him. It’s easier for a man to say you’re too independent, than go into the details of what he needs. Most of the time it’s because he doesn’t want the drama and third degree that comes with criticizing a woman to her face, even if solicited. Think of it as another way for man to say “It’s not you, it’s me” but with enough specificity that you won’t grill him anymore. Most women can live with being called “too independent”, but most women would verbally tear up a man for suggesting she’s not prioritizing him or is not nurturing enough for him.

    1. 23.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      KE,

      I have to disagree on a few points.

      “if a woman feels that something is right or wrong, then she feels she is entitled to the man changing his behavior to match her sense of right or wrong.”

      What I’m hearing from the guys is it has more to do with a woman wanting a top 10% guy when she isn’t exactly a top 10% woman.

      In the example you used to support your theory; women wanting men to not view porn because they find it objectionable, I’m sure my mom and grandmas, generations full of women, found any porn their men had laying around objectionable.  But this was also at a time that men didn’t feel women had a “sense of entitlement.”

      “Left unsaid is “attractive”. For most women, the man has to be ATTRACTIVE plus “has gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.” Men, OTOH, only want attractive and the rest is negotiable. If you really are ok with “average joe’s” — you should become negotiable on the “attractive” aspect.”

      My dad, uncles, and one grandpa (the 2nd was a clinical narcissist) were average Joes.  They did not have movie star looks and they had unremarkable job titles.  And yet they married attractive women (my mom and her mom were bona-fide beauties) and were considered solid members of society.  As Evan says, there’s a lid for every pot.  I myself have found men who would be conventionally considered ugly very attractive.  There is still a fabulous and mysterious element to attraction that means that one person’s “meh” is another’s hottie-patottie.  Some women have posted here that they find very few men attractive.  I find several men attractive, and most of my girlfriends do too.  Emily, TO and I could go out cruising for guys together easily because we have totally different tastes and we wouldn’t be competing with each other 😉

      I think this all ties back to the “sense of entitlement” thing.  If a woman automatically can only be attracted to a top 10 percenter then yes, she won’t be okay with an average Joe (a 4-5-6).  But that’s because she has a “sense of entitlement” or is just unrealistic.

      As far as men prioritizing attractiveness when dating:  They totally do.  But Evan has a podcast and a very popular post about how men marry a total package and their wives very often aren’t the most attractive woman they’ve dated.  At some point that crazy vs. hot matrix  (loved that video BTW) kicks in!  It just takes one good singeing from a crazy hot woman for a guy to learn how to prioritize sanity when dating 😉

      1. 23.1.1
        ScottH

        Flow- I really do enjoy reading your comments.

      2. 23.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        Hi GWTF,

        No doubt that there is a lid for every pot. Being attracted to Chris Hemsworth, for example, is not an “entitlement” but a fantasy. So you’re not using the word “entitled” in spirit in which we’re holding this debate.

        And, not sure you realize it, you’ve done it before, and one of the reasons why I find your debate with Chance quite entertaining—you both change the a nuance in the topic and all of a sudden the debate changes. But both of you think you’re arguing the same topic you started with.

        Everyone is entitled to their sense of right and wrong and what’s moral and immoral for HIM/HERself. What NO one has a right to is to DEMAND that someone else ascribe their sense of right/wrong/moral/immoral, as PROOF that person is a quality person. So in the context of porn, I’m sure plenty of women, and many of the moral majority, find it objectionable. However, if the partners of those women and of that moral majority do NOT find porn objectionable, then the objecting party cannot feel that their sense of morality trumps the other party’s and demand the other party to change.

        The only “right” thing to do is that the offended party can dump the offending party. Expecting a man to give up something because YOU find that something offensive when he believes it is harmless, is what creates the “entitlement” mentality.

        If TLJ were not a celebrity and he was only on a dating site where you only saw his picture and can’t hear his voice would you really find him attractive? On an objective scale, I think TLJ is a 6-7. His celebrity and the fact we can hear his voice give him a bump to 8, imo.

        IMO, Sean Penn is a 4. Like Joe Pesci is a 4. These guys few people would find attractive if they weren’t celebrities. We’d skip right over them on OLD.

        Agree on the hot/crazy singeing bringing men back down to earth to appreciate the attractive-and-sane 🙂 However, let’s not sugarcoat it. “Hot” is at the far extreme of the “attractive” continuum. When he settles down, even though he’s choosing someone who may not be THE most attractive he’s ever dated, she will still be someone he finds “quite” attractive.

        If we need a mars/venus equivalence on this aspect, I’d say that women will often “settle” for an “attractive enough” partner as long as he meets her other criteria; while men will “settle” only for “quite” attractive and “sane enough”.

        In the TLJ, Sean Penn, and James Spader debate.

        Instead of using the “numbers” scale that so many women object to, sometimes I use this scale for myself:

        Chris Hemsworth – Definitely ONS material

        James Spader – probably in 2-3 dates

        TLJ – only if he’s my bf

        Sean Penn – friendzoned

        I’m pretty sure that scale is easier for women to use.

        1. Chance

          No KE, you just don’t read closely enough a lot of the time.

        2. Emily, the original

          Karmic Equation,

          IMO, Sean Penn is a 4. Like Joe Pesci is a 4. These guys few people would find attractive if they weren’t celebrities. We’d skip right over them on OLD.

          I would never compare Sean Penn to Joe Pesci. Pesci is like a crazy, strange uncle who talks too much at Thanksgiving. Sean has an intensity that is very sexy, although, admittedly, Sean and TLJ are probably a bit rough looking in person. But I would take those two over either Hemsworth in a heartbeat. Pretty and buff do absolutely nothing for me. It’s like what Gertrude Stein said: “There there is no there” to either one … just blandness.

    2. 23.2
      John

      Excellent post KE. So true.

    3. 23.3
      Nissa

      I find your definitions of when men feel “nurtured” when they’re prioritized interesting. For example, when my father was sick and I tended to him, he felt very nurtured. My ex-husband, when sick, would not allow me into the bathroom with him to wipe his forehead with a cool cloth or rub his back when he vomited, and didn’t really want me in the same room with him. Huh? So I’m wondering if perhaps what makes a man feel nurtured is more personal. What say you, men of the blog?

      I know that men feel good when they are accepted as they are (instead of what the woman expected them to be), and appreciated for what they offered, but I’m not sure I’d call that nurturing. For me, nurturing calls up comfort of the physical kind – a soft touch, a warm blanket when he’s cold, remembering his favorite foods (even if you don’t cook them yourself but you provided it), doing thoughtful things that show you care about his wants.

  24. 24
    Adrian

    Hi GoWithTheFlow and Karmic Equation,

    I have a hypothesis about the average Joe issue that I want to run by you two (or any commenter) to see if it is a plausible explanation or not as to why there is hardship in dating as an average Joe or Jane and why we believe that the opposite sex only chases after the top percenters in looks.

    Using the infamous OKCupid study about women (on average) only finding 20% of men attractive verses men (on average) finding 80% of women attractive; in addition to what I have witnessed from the innumerable comments by women on this site, I came up with this model.

    Science tells us about the objective facial qualities of an attractive person and since 5 is right in the middle of the 1-10 SMV scale, lets use a man and women who are objectively 5 in looks for this model.

    If the female in our example was in a room with 10 men, then regardless of all those male’s objective SMV ratings she would still statically only find 2 men (20%) attractive. Lets say of the remaining 8 men (80% that she doesn’t find attractive),  at least 5 of the men she doesn’t find repulsive (repulsive means she wouldn’t even consider dating or giving them a chance-basically the thought of them kissing or touching her sexually would make her gag ). This means to win her over those 50% of men will have to court her strongly; this could explain why so many women say they are not sure about a guy even though they accepted his invitation for a date. This could also explain why so many men get upset when a women who accepted 2 dates from him reveals before date 3 that she is not attracted to him; in his mind a yes means she found him equally attractive, while in reality it just meant that she was unsure about being attracted to him so she gave him a chance to sway her opinion of him to the left (undatable) or to the right (datable-which leads to attraction).

    To women, unsure means he is not attractive but he is also not unattractive her opinions of him can be swayed to either side depending on his intangibles.

    As a side note: I have noticed that this is what separates older experienced women from young inexperienced women. Most 18-mid 30s women have going after attractive guys as their default choice (they date like men), while older women look at the overall value of the man; giving the kind of cute and kind of hot guy a chance unlike their 20 year old counter-part.

    This hypothesis also explains why many woman can say that they originally didn’t find the man whom they are now in love with attractive; she gave the “I’m not sure about him” guy a chance and ended up placing him in the attractive category. Take the same scenario but this time with the guy. In the room of 10 women regardless of their SMV ratings and he will only find 2 (20%) undatable -notice I did not use the word unattractive because men can look for sex but still find love and the SMV of a woman a guy is willing to sleep with is much lower than a woman he actively searches to date.

    Therefore here is my guess; a male and female who is scientifically an objective 5 in looks will be ranked higher or lower on the SMV scale depending on which gender they are being judged by. So when the guys on this post speak of “average Joe’s” they are using their male standards, but a woman may see the same guy and rate him a 3 in looks; likewise when said average Joe approaches average Jane, in his mind they are both 5s but in her mind, he is a 3 while she is a 7. The reversal is also true, to the average Jane in her mind she and the guy she likes are both 7s but in his mind she is a 4, yet the difference between men and women is that the guy will still sleep with her which re-enforces her belief that she is a 7.

    This is why we have the disconnect. Many women who say they are okay with average Joe’s (except Stacy2) are really speaking of guys who are objectively 7s, plus men focus primarily on looks (in the beginning) while most women just include looks in their overall initial judgement. This explains why a guy will still approach an attractive woman who is dressed like she is a bum, while a woman will reject an attractive guy who approaches her that is dressed like he is a bum, men focus just on the body and face, while women focus on body, face and his overall presentation.

    So for the male 5s looking at the female 5s, it seems like all women just want the top 10% of guys and for the female 5s looking at the male 5s, it seems like all men just want the top 10% of women.

    So what do you think? Is this a plausible explanation for the reason why so many men and women believe that the opposite sex is always chasing the top 10% in looks?

    If this is true, how can both sexes use this to become better in dating?

    …   …   …

    Hi Buck25,

    You are on fire in these comments, good job. I have learned a lot from reading your remarks, I am glad that you are more positive this time around compared to when you first started commenting on this site, and a lot of us are benefiting from your positive insight on dating.

    I just wanted to comment on your story regarding the woman with scars since no other male has done so. I have not dealt with any deformed women but I have turn down many propositions for sex.

    Not counting the married women or the women with boyfriends, I would say that the main reasons I turned down the single women was because morally I knew that it would mean more to them than it did to me, and I didn’t want to play with anyone’s emotions by giving them false hope (even if they are the one to suggest it). My guess it that subconsciously you may have realized the same thing, this woman would have wanted more sexual encounters between you two and eventually hoped for more than just sex from you.

    On a physical level, I agree that there are women who we men find just too unappealing to even want to touch. I had two separate encounters with two women, one was about average in looks, the other slightly above average (though she was so tanned that she literally looked orange). I just remember when they both smiled they had green teeth, the first approached me at a skating party and the second approached me in at an office party; both were drunk and both wanted me to go back to their place.

    I am not a one night stand guy so I would have said no anyway, but the reason I brought up those examples is that even if I were a ONS guy, I would not have agreed to sleep with either of them because I like to kiss during sex and the thought of my tongue or lips touching their green teeth is not pleasant. I know of guys who wouldn’t care and I know of guys who would still at least accept a blowjob from these women, but not me; so as you said, not all men place sex over everything.

    …   …   …

    This video (link below) reminds me of all the debates in this post. To sum it up, basically research shows that the people and environments that you are around re-enforce your views on things so much that you start to believe that they are truths.

    If you always hear children from single parent households don’t grow up as balanced, or children from single parent household grow up just find, or women in America aren’t attracted to average Joe’s, or average Joe’s reject average Jane’s, or men have it easier in dating, or women have it easier in dating etc.  Depending on what you are constantly exposed to will become your truth, your reality.

    1. 24.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      Adrian,

      First, regarding the OKCupid study, what wasn’t mentioned was that while men ranked women fairly, with a bell curve distribution, they spent the bulk of their efforts writing to top tier women.  So while a man will consider a 5 or 6 woman dateable, he is going to first concentrate his efforts on the 8s, 9s, and 10s.  So, I think it’s fair to say that both sexes, as a group, have a tendency to want to aim high 😉

      I think what is missing in your analysis is just how much a man’s behavior modulates his physical attractiveness.  I have very fond memories of two physically flawed men who I found wildly attractive (and I wasn’t the only woman who did).  They both literally would enter the room with a smile.  They were always fully engaged in a conversation with you and had great senses of humor.  Sure they had bad days and bad moments, but they were slow to anger, and never pointed fingers.  They treated all women this way, not just the young pretty ones. They truly LIKED women.

      Evan has talked about how women find confidence and initiative attractive qualities in men.  Regardless of his looks, if a man doesn’t believe in himself why would a woman buy what he is selling? (Same goes for women)  On the other hand being arrogant, or dare I say entitled, can knock a man with 6 pack abs and a handsome face down to the undateable level.

      So a 5 level guy can date a woman a few times and if he is confident, funny, makes her feel comfortable, and makes her feel attractive (and demonstrating you want to have sex with her is not necessarily the same as making her feel attractive) he has a good chance of seeing her attraction to him grow.  Now if he is unconfident and awkward, her attraction to him will go in the opposite direction.  There are also so many other variables; having a nice voice, or a man who’s smile goes all the way to his eyes, being well groomed and well mannered, that can add a lot to a man’s appeal.

      Lastly, there’s what I said above in reply to Karmic, “There is still a fabulous and mysterious element to attraction that means that one person’s “meh” is another’s hottie-patottie.”  Emily, TO is partial to Sean Penn and James Spader (both average looking guys).  If I’m out with Emily and we run into those two, Emily can have at it because I will be making a beeline for Tommy Lee Jones (average face, panty melting voice!)

      “I would not have agreed to sleep with either of them because I like to kiss during sex and the thought of my tongue or lips touching their green teeth is not pleasant.”

      LOL!  In my job, I’m in control of the airway in the OR and I see a lot of teeth.  It’s shocking how many people come in for plastic surgery, facelifts, boob jobs, liposuction, but their teeth are hideous.  First things first people:  Go to the dentist!

      BTW, my reaction to the debauchery in Tijuana guy mentioned above was similar:  I know where that mouth has recently been, ICK!!!

       

      1. 24.1.1
        Emily, the original

        GoWiththeFlow,

        Emily, TO is partial to Sean Penn and James Spader (both average looking guys).  If I’m out with Emily and we run into those two, Emily can have at it because I will be making a beeline for Tommy Lee Jones (average face, panty melting voice!)

        Sean Penn: Just give me 30 minutes with him alone. I’d get him to forget all about Madonna.  🙂

        James Spader: Very handsome in his youth and, in middle age, has retained the “panty melting” voice!

        Tommy Lee Jones: I might fight you for him.    🙂

        1. Mrs Happy

          Get in line behind me for Tommy Lee, ladies.

    2. 24.2
      Buck25

      Hi Adrian,

      “I’m glad you’re more positive this time around…”

      So am I! Finally being able to let go, and being free of the ghosts that haunted one’s life for over 40 years has a tendency to do that. It’s been a long, long way home. Everything still feels new, and it’s still evolving; it’s going to take a while yet, but life is much better!

      Re your analysis, I think you have a solid beginning there; this is an interesting hypothesis, which certainly would explain a lot of apparent disconnects. There’s quite a bit in there to digest; so I’d like to read some other comments on that, and think on it a bit myself before responding further. This has been quite an interesting thread, and a productive one, I think.

      Your comment re the situation in my story is spot on; as you surmised, I sensed this was about more than a one-time sexual experience; my take was that it could well lead to exactly the sort of expectations you describe, expectations I couldn’t (and did not want to) meet. As cruel as it felt to say no, I thought (and still believe), that to raise those expectations, only to have to dash them later, would have been more cruel yet. One of those sad life situations where the choice is between bad, and worse.

      As far as the “green teeth” stories, I’m pretty sure I would have turned those down myself. The mental image of kissing that…I’ve been drunk, but never that drunk! Makes you wonder what some of our fellow men have been up to, to cause so many women to think that all of us will sleep with anything remotely resembling a human female. At least, some of us have some minimal scruples…I think. Then again, I also read GWTF’s story about the Tijuana beer bottle/Mexican hooker/oral debauchery…some things, we just don’t want to know (or have anything to do with the offending party, if we do know)

  25. 25
    Adrian

    I have a question for all the guys,

    Do you agree or disagree with Karmic Equations hypothesis that it is better (for men) to get rejected in the beginning by a stranger than it is (for women) to get rejected by someone you are emotionally invested in?

    This question is based off the on going argument in this and many other post concerning who has more “power” initially between the sexes.

    To paraphrase, Karmic Equation postulates that there is usually a power shift after courting starts where the man and woman are no longer just random strangers that have no feelings for each other. So man go from having little power in the beginning to most of the power afterwards, which makes a few upfront rejections worth it.

    A caveat to this is that many women don’t believe in approaching (so I guess technically they are choosing to be powerless?) They say that it is the man’s job to approach, or displaying masculine energy and confidence is what they want in a man. Therefore these women believe men have all the power: the power to choose and approach as well as the power to veto the courtship (though I think it is that women are just as scared by the thought of initial rejection as men are, but they have the benefit of using the gender roll card).

    Anyway, in Karmic Equations hypothesis it is men who usually hold the keys to relationship (what women want) and women that hold the keys to sex (what men want). Therefore getting rejected upfront may sting for guys but it is not as bad as getting stung by a person whom you waited on and invested in emotionally, which is what she says most women encounter.

    I have mixed feelings on the issue. Getting rejected hundreds of dozens of times destroys your ego, self-esteem and confidence. Especially when afterwards you continue to hear that “real men” love approaching.

    But, falling for someone that goes out with you a lot and spends a lot of time with you, yet doesn’t love you back or that does not want to commit to you is extremely heart breaking; so I sympathize with women as well.

    …   …   …

    Karmic Equation

    What is your counterargument for men who say that after the initial approach women have just as much power to reject: entering into commitment, reciprocating love, or agreeing to marriage as the men? So men would seemingly have it worse initially as well as during courtship.

    1. 25.1
      D_M

      Adrian,

      I am in the Karmic camp. Early and out of the way is the way to go. You said you have mixed feeling about the rejection issue, but I believe that depending on when the rejection occurs factors into the internalization of the rebuff. Early rejections are made in the absence of information, so take solace in the fact that someone never really got to know who you truly are. That’s where the confidence thing comes in. They never got to know a great person.  Let’s assume that both parties are giving what they have to give in LTRs, so rejection at this stage really stings. Essentially, one person is saying that you don’t have what it takes for me to take it to the next level.

      1. 25.1.1
        Buck25

        Very well stated!

      2. 25.1.2
        Christine

        Very well stated!  Later rejections really do feel much more personal, after you’ve gotten to know each other on an intimate level.

    2. 25.2
      John

      KE is right on the money.

    3. 25.3
      Buck25

      Adrian,

      I agree with Karmic’s idea on this; I’d rather take the rejection up front, and move on, rather than after investing time effort and emotion; the latter feels too much like being strung along, (even if that wasn’t the intent).

    4. 25.4
      Karmic Equation

      Hi Adrian,

      Here’s my counterargument:

      Let’s say I really like a guy. I’ve been sleeping with him regularly without discussing commitment. After 3 months I say, “Now that we’ve been together for 3 months, I guess you’re my boyfriend.” (Pretty much what Evan said to his wife). Would most guys jump up and give her a hug and say “I’ve been wondering when we’d be official!” Or would he say “Hmmm…Whoa Nelly, we never discussed being exclusive”?

      So a girl announcing the guy she is sleeping with is her boyfriend does not often engender the same delirious happiness that a guy announcing to a woman she is his girlfriend does.

      Let’s extend this to marriage.

      A couple has been dating for two years and living together for the third year. She’s ready for marriage.

      One night she says to him, “Honey, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Would you do the honor of becoming my husband?”

      You think he’s going to call his mother and let her know he’s engaged? Or would he be like “Hmmmm…Honey, marriage is a big step. Let’s talk about this.”

      We know that most women would be calling her mom, announcing on FB, screaming from the rooftops.

      Guys control the escalation of relationships. Women would LOVE to create relationships on-demand. But can’t. Most men want freedom, not commitment.

      When a man is ready to “settle down”, he usually doesn’t have to worry about finding women who want commitment.

      And let’s not forget, once a woman is a girlfriend, she is expected to continue to provide him with sex, while he is deciding if he wants to marry her. If/when she decides she wants marriage, it’s not like she can give him MORE sex to make him marry her faster. And god-forbid she decides to withhold sex while he’s trying to decide. We all remember how men reacted to that…

      1. 25.4.1
        Emily, the original

        Karmic Equation

        When a man is ready to “settle down”, he usually doesn’t have to worry about finding women who want commitment.

        Agreed. And given that most men find a large number of women physically appealing, he won’t have to compromise on physical attraction to land someone who wants a relationship with him.

        1. Reality man

          Correction. Most men find a good number of women physically acceptable. Big difference from appealing, and definitely a big difference in who you would be with one night vs. dating vs a long-term commitment. Just because I may want to shag the girl it doesn’t mean that committing to her is not a compromise

           

        2. Emily, the original

          Reality man,

          Just because I may want to shag the girl it doesn’t mean that committing to her is not a compromise

          In what way is that the same kind of compromise I was referring to? If there are a large number of women you find appealing or acceptable or however you want to define it, you should be able to find one to commit to, if that’s what you want to do. A lot of the discussion on this post centered on the fact that some women find very few men appealing, with the added point that men control commitment. So if none of the men she finds appealing want to commit to her (and she’s looking for a committed relationship), she has two choices: Be alone or accept the men who want to commit to her. Thus, compromise.

  26. 26
    sandra

    A caveat to this is that many women don’t believe in approaching (so I guess technically they are choosing to be powerless?) They say that it is the man’s job to approach, or displaying masculine energy and confidence is what they want in a man. Therefore these women believe men have all the power: the power to choose and approach as well as the power to veto the courtship (though I think it is that women are just as scared by the thought of initial rejection as men are, but they have the benefit of using the gender roll card).

    Due to the differences in the male and female psyche, it is unwise for women to approach most men ( not all, but most).  A flat out rejection would be interpreted that she is too homely ( read-unfeminine), while an acceptable is likely to be merely  a ” what the hell, if she is game, who am I to refuse.”  Meaning, the woman is used by the man since she made the offer.  Of course, I am referring to a direct approach here, not subtle cues or hints.

    1. 26.1
      Selena

      Agree with sandra.  The common way women “approach” is by being receptive, friendly, showing interest, asking questions, perhaps flirting.  The risk of asking a man out directly is not only of rejection, but that he will take the offer as a flat out sexual invite. As in, he knows he is not interested in dating or a potential relationship with that woman, but “Hey, sex is sex and if she’s asking me out she knows the score, right?”

       

      She asks because she’s attracted and wants to get to know him. He accepts for the possibility (probability?) of an orgasm and nothing more.  I’m sure there are women who would like to be more proactive, but aren’t because of this practice on the part of men.

  27. 27
    Adrian

    Hi to all the female commenters,

    This is what I think the men on here are trying to say. The reason so many men don’t like or agree with the “women are the gatekeepers to sex, men are the gatekeepers to relationships” paradigm is because of quantity… which leads to more options of better quality.

    This is what I mean. On average, if a man is in a room with 10 women, than statically only 2 will be open to dating him, where as if a woman is in a room with 10 men then statically 8 will be open to dating her; on average.

    So yes men hold the keys to starting a relationship, but his chances of finding a woman who he finds attractive that actually wants a relationship from him is low, verses women who hold the keys to sex, have 4 times as many opportunities of finding a guy who she finds attractive that is willing to give her the relationship she wants in exchange for sex.

    In other words, finding someone who is willing to date you is easy, finding someone that you share mutual attraction for that is eager to date you is hard (as Emily as well as all the women on this blog can attest to).

    So having a higher quantity of men finding you attractive -> leads to more opportunities to meet and date more men -> which leads to having a larger selection to choose from -> which leads to a higher probability of finding a guy who you share mutual attraction, interest, and goals with.

    If I got it wrong, I am sure one of the guys will correct me, but I think this is what they mean when they argue against the gatekeeper archetype.

    …   …   …

    These are all generalizations of course. I understand that there are women below the average looks scale who struggle with dating just as there are men above the average looks scale who do not struggle with dating.

    1. 27.1
      Mrs Happy

      Adrian,

      I think, if you go on the OK Cupid study, though 8 of the 10 men will be open to dating her, she only wants to date 2 of the 10, as she only finds 2 attractive.

      The 8 and 2 may not overlap.

      But she doesn’t have 4 times as many opportunities of finding a guy she finds attractive. She still only finds 2 attractive.

      1. 27.1.1
        Buck25

        Mrs Happy,

        There may be a couple of place where your assumption could break down.

        First, we’re speaking of visual attraction only (in the OKCupid study); but we know that in the real world, that’s not the full story. With more mature women, those beyond their twenties/early thirties, (as evidenced by comments here),  there appears to be a shift in focus, more willingness to look beyond the purely visual ( and perhaps beyond the conventionally attractive. That’s likely to shrink their options in one direction, but expand them in another; it’s possible that now, 4 of the 8 men might be dateable (to that particular woman). Naturally, that expands the options (at least somewhat) for those 4 men as well, wouldn’t you agree?

        Second, note that the overlap zone is what’s really important, since that’s where male interest and female interest coincide, and those are the people who actually date each other. And that is precisely what the OK Cupid study doesn’t tell us. It shows us male and female visual preferences, but we know those preferences don’t entirely govern the actual dating behavior of either gender, especially as people age out of their twenties; clearly, there must be other factors at play, and we know what at least some of those might be. Now, you’re correct, that the two men out of ten a given woman finds “dateable”, may or may not overlap with the eight out of ten men who find her “dateable”, but (and this is the key here), while an individual woman might find one, two , or none of the eight men dateable, statistically speaking, Adrain is correct: the statistical odds are indeed 4 times better for her to find someone in the overlap zone, than the statistical odds for one of those men to find the same.  (I wish we had Karl R in this discussion, as he’s the expert on explaining statistics; but broadly, statistical odds predict overall outcomes, rather that any one individual outcome, and I believe you’re conflating the two.

        All this tells us really is that women are more selective, and men less so. It doesn’t tell us a lot of other things. Is the OK Cupid sample population representative of the dating population as a while, or is it possible that it’s skewed negative (perhaps because the best looking and more socially successful men and women in the real world may be less likely to be online in the first place)? That certainly seems possible. We also know that for men attraction is visual; for women, it’s visual, plus… , and the “plus” isn’t always the same. Further, as we’ve seen from comments here, while there are appearance commonalities in what most men find attractive, and in what most women find attractive, there is still considerable individual variance; as GWTF so eloquently put it, “There is still a fabulous and mysterious element to attraction, that means that one person’s ‘meh’ is another person’s ‘hottie-patottie’ ” 

        I think we just might be trying to oversimplify something very complex here…

        In any event though, while it’s fun to argue over which gender has it easier or harder; I’m not sure it’s productive; it’s not going to do much of anything to change the attitudes and behaviors that are out there. One point Evan continues to make (and I agree) is that the path to dating/mating success more likely lies in adapting our approach to the dating attitudes /behaviors of the opposite gender, so as to meet them where they are, not where we wish they might be.

      2. 27.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        About that OKC study, here is a link to the study and the part that most men on this blog NEVER mention:

         

        http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-looks-and-online-dating/

        From the study:

        When it comes down to actually choosing targets, men choose the modelesque. Someone like roomtodance above gets nearly 5 times as many messages as a typical woman and 28 times as many messages as a woman at the low end of our curve. Site-wide, two-thirds of male messages go to the best-looking third of women. So basically, guys are fighting each other 2-for-1 for the absolute best-rated females, while plenty of potentially charming, even cute, girls go unwritten.

         

        2/3 of male messages go to the top 1/3 of women.

         

        The medical term for this is male pattern madness.

         

        ********************************************************

        According to this study men might give women a “fair” rating, but while they might acknowledge a woman is above average in looks,  most of the men will only choose to date women who are FAR above average.  (2/3 of the men write to the top 1/3 of the women)

        Also I have read very many comments on this blog, and many men quite freely admit that they only want to date “9”s and “10”s. On this blog a very bitter poster stated that he wanted to date women who are prettier than he is handsome.  In the blog post about short men “getting laid” as often as tall men, one man asked the question “but are they getting laid by “9”s ?.  Very many men come on here to bemoan the fact that “average Joe’s” can not land a woman who is a “9” or a”10″, (why can’t an average Joe date an average Jane ?)  Men are constantly telling “average Joes’ to fly out of the country where an “average Joe” can land a hot “9” 20 years his junior.  I have RARELY seen a male poster advise the “average Joe” to chase an “average Jane” or even a “slightly above average Jane”.  What I find even more amazing is “average Joe” men will not even “settle” for a girl who is a little bit cute, as opposed to drop dead gorgeous, but fault women for not wanting to date average Joe’s.  Women aren’t much better either in their advise to each other.  Plenty of women on this blog chide women for wanting to find the men they date attractive.  Women often tell other women to stop being “so picky” and to give a guy a chance.  Women were advised on this blog by another woman to date men who “don’t repulse them”.  When I countered that I need more than a  lack of repulsion, that I actually need some attraction, the women were all over my case.

        So men who are “average looking” and women who are “average or only a little above average” in looks all struggle in romance.  It’s not just a male problem, it’s a problem both genders face, unless they are Hollywood beautiful.

        However, I don’t fault anyone for what they find attractive.  It doesn’t make sense to try and FORCE yourself to be attracted to someone, or to try and force a relationship with someone, just because they are a good person.   I have met men who intellectually I would rate them as attractive, but yet I wasn’t attracted to them.  I have also found myself attracted to average looking men, usually it was their persona or countenance that was the attractant.

        Attraction is an ESSENTIAL ingredient in a relationship, but not the ONLY essential.  Arguing about which is MORE important, attraction or compatibility, is like debating if oxygen or water is more is more important. They are BOTH essential.  I don’t think it is a mistake to rule someone out because of lack of attraction.  No amount of  “compatibility”  has ever made me become sufficiently attracted to someone I wasn’t attracted to.  The mistake is trying to force a relationship based on attraction alone, when there is no compatibility.

        Some people call it “shallow” to want attraction in a relationship.  I think it is shallow to enter into a relationship with no attraction with a person who looks good on paper.  And that usually ends in heartbreak for the person who was “settled for” and a guilty conscience for the person did the settling.

        1. Shaukat

          According to this study men might give women a “fair” rating, but while they might acknowledge a woman is above average in looks,  most of the men will only choose to date women who are FAR above average.  (2/3 of the men write to the top 1/3 of the women)

          Hi SparklingEmerald,

          IMO you’re conflating two different issues and actions. The fact that the majority of men will write to the best looking women on  dating site does not mean that “men will only choose to date women who are FAR above average.” In order to demonstrate that claim you would need longitudinal data illustrating who these men ended up settling with in a few months or years. A man has nothing lose from sending some messages to attractive women online, especially since the regular dynamics of approach anxiety that hold in real life don’t apply in the virtual space. Eventually he’ll adjust his standards down in order to find someone.

          Also, I don’t know where you were getting some of those quotes from Maybe a few MRAs come here and state that they will only “settle for a 9” or that “average joes should go overseas,” but that sentiment is not representative of most men here.

        2. D_M

          SparklingEmerald,

          I recall Evan making universal statements about not over playing one’s hand. I really don’t want to go digging for it, but he that shall not be named, was told indirectly that homely might be the lid for his pot. As Evan has alluded to many times, men tend to be hard headed, so offering suggestions to men are met with considerable resistance. Being that this is a blog primarily to help women better understand men, I think the measured among us focus on that. We see no point in offering another man an umbrella, when he passed one on the way out the door in search of another.

          I think what you might being hearing are some men internalizing the long held axiom that women are driven by the desire for LTRs, but include compatibility items on their respective list that have no qualitative bearing on whether I’ll take the day off from work to be your nursemaid.

           

           

        3. Chance

          Spot on, Shaukat.  I was about to say the same thing.

        4. Christine

          I’m just wondering, what are the demographics of OkCupid’s users?  My impression is that OkCupid tends to have younger users overall. If this study is filled with young men, can its results be extrapolated to all other men?  I would think that with greater life experience and maturity, older men would have learned to look for more than just “hot” (or at least hope so)

        5. Buck25

          SE,

          I just looked at the actual study. First of all the pictures confirm what I suspected. The sample population, based on the pictures (“hot” and “average”, both genders) is biased very young; I don’t see anyone who looks over 30, and I’d guess most are early to mid- twenties.I’d therefore guess the most men and women doing the rating were under 40 and most likely under 35. It’s not surprising that they are almost exclusively evaluating based completely on looks and everyone wants the ones at the very top. Now look at the first graph, and you’ll see something interesting; the percentage of men making initial contact shoots up sharply between the 2.5 mark (5, on a scale of ten), then actually drops a little beyond the 4 mark (roughly 8, on a scale of 10) Does that represent some guys being at least somewhat realistic, and contacting 8’s more than 9’s and 10’s?

          Now look at the women’s ratings of men, and you see something else; women rate most men below average, but initiate contact more often right in the middle of the range below 2.5. Could that mean that these young women are rating according to what they would like to have, but messaging according to what they think they can get?

          One thing we know, is that generally, men are bolder and more confident than their female counterparts, and as Shaukat says, online a guy has nothing to lose by messaging women he wouldn’t approach in real life; he might get lucky if he does; essentially no risk, potentially high reward. However, as Shaukat also pointed out, who guys message the most, and who they actually date, are not necessarily the same; the guy still has to get a woman interested him  in order to date her, and it’s simply not possible for two-thirds of the men to be dating only the upper one-third of the women. Instead, most of them likely wind up dating (surprise!), the women they can actually attract (the lower two-thirds). It may be that we’re simply seeing the wishful thinking of younger people of both genders, with the guys being more aggressive and the women a bit more cautious and pragmatic in acting on same (by initiating online contact). My guess would be that a lot of those “potentially charming, even cute” women who aren’t contacted at first, eventually are, and in fact get dates out of it, albeit not necessarily from the men they might most prefer. Whether these guys are willing to commit to them may be another matter, but these women clearly have dating opportunities.

          I think it also is worth noting, that the attraction preferences we see in that one study might not be etched in stone. We see right here on this blog, in accounts from older people of both genders, some hints that many people do age out of some of the extremes of this, and begin to choose at least partially based on factors they might have ignored/discounted earlier. This would be more evident in real world dating, than in the online variety, where at least in the beginning, the visual is most of what we have to go on

          I do think you make a very important point about the necessity for attraction in a relationship, and I agree with your observation that trying to force a relationship based on compatibility alone, or based on physical attraction alone, are equally exercises in futility. Compromise is one thing; “settling” (in the sense of trying to force fit oneself into  a relationship where there is little to no attraction) amounts to trying to have a relationship simply for the sake of having a relationship. In that regard, I wish we could declare a moratorium on use of the word “shallow”, in this context. It’s become little more that a cheap form of emotional blackmail that both genders aim at anyone they’re attracted to, who isn’t attracted to them (as if we could shame someone into being attracted to us; what nonsense!)

        6. SparklingEmerald

          To all regarding this study:  I don’t give much credence to this OKC “study”, and I only brought up about what this study showed about MEN, because men keep citing this study as PROOF that women consider most men unattractive, but are highly skeptical, demand “longitudinal studies” on the male side of the equation, and say, “well that doesn’t count” because yada, yada, yada.

          I jusy don’t fathom how someone can say that the half of the study that “proves” how shallow women are, is the gospel truth, but the other half of the study that shows “male pattern madness” is a flawed study that should be discounted.

          Buck Said ” It’s not surprising that they are almost exclusively evaluating based completely on looks”  Well, no, it’s not surprising that they were evaluation based on looks alone, because that’s what the survey asked them to do, rate people based on their looks.  So in answer to the narrow question asked, men did not fare well, but women still messaged me that they found “below average”.

          Buck I must say that I like you overall response, so I am not picking on you with the above comment.  Just pointing out the limitations of the study, and I think this particular study didn’t tell us much useful info about ANY gender.

          I actually found 3 of the guys VERY attractive and one I would say is pleasantly average looking.  If asked, I would not have rated ONE of those men as “below average”.  But I wouldn’t have dated any of them, because I am way to old for them.  So the answer to do “Is he attractive” and “Would you date him” aren’t always going to match.

          I don’t feel like I can accurately guage someone’s looks from most still pictures. I need to see how someone animates their face and body, hear their voice, and interact with them in person, before I can truly evaluate how attracted I am to them.  I can often rule someone OUT, based on a picture, but if someone passes the “picture test”, that just means I haven’t ruled them out.  I suspect this is true for both genders.  And then, there is that whole “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing.  I have seen the disappointment on some men’s faces the first time they see me IRL, and I have seen some men’s faces light up like a tree when they meet me IRL.  I used current up close and full length photos, and would show up for initial meet and greets with as similar hair, dress and make up style as my pictures.  I’m the same girl, why do some guys think I’m a 10 and most think I’m insufficiently attractive ?  Rhetorical question, no need to answer.

          Buck I also like what you said about attraction preferences not being set in stone.  I had the longest running high school crush in recorded history in high school.  In my young adult life I met a man who could have been his IDENTICAL twin !  I couldn’t get over the striking resemblance between this man and my HS crush. Same facial features, hair, build and voice.  But I felt no attraction to him what so ever.    I chalked it up to pheremones.

          And I agree with you about not trying to shame people into attraction, it is really nonsense.  I wouldn’t want to be the girl some guy was trying to force an attraction to.  I would rather have what I have now, a relationship with a high level of mutual attraction and compatibility.

           

          OK, back to the OKC study, another reason I am skeptical, is I was on there for a short time, and suddenly a tab popped up on my profile that claimed to be a “personality anaylsis”.  I did not answer any psyche quizzes (some other websites offered them), so I couldn’t figure out where they came up with this pseudo BS.  Then I realized they analyzed my answers to questions that other OKC participants had made up.  I put as much credence in the OKC psyche eval, as I do those FaceBook quizzes that will answer the question “What will be your drunk idea” or “Which of your FB friends will be in your army ?”.   Fun to do, but just a novelty.

          Also, there is a lot of lying going on in OLD.  People who conduct their own little “social experiments”, posting their profile with a picture of a better looking person to prove a point. Lying about their height, weight, age, job or marital status.  I wouldn’t put it beyond people to give fake ratings for whatever bizarre reason.

          To me, the proof that average Joe’s and Jane’s fall in love everyday is in the real world.  Everyday I see couples of various levels of attractiveness, holding hands, smiling, nuzzling in public, or I meet them through friends.  I see men under 6 feet tall, with an adoring woman on his arm  (my fiance is about 5’6″ or 5’7″),  I see women who are a little to moderately overweight with devoted partners.

    2. 27.2
      Karl R

      Adrian (#27), Buck25 (#27.1.1) and Mrs Happy (#27.1)

      You’re all mistaken.

       

      Adrian said:

      “On average, if a man is in a room with 10 women, than statically only 2 will be open to dating him, where as if a woman is in a room with 10 men then statically 8 will be open to dating her; on average.”

      In this hypothetical example, the men and women are (on average) equally screwed.

       

      Mrs Happy said:

      “The 8 and 2 may not overlap.”

      That’s not the reason the women are screwed. For most of the women, the overlap is fine … but another woman got to the attractive man first.

       

      It’s Game Theory, Not Statistics

      Given an equal number of men and women (and sometimes even when there’s an unequal number) the big winners are the most attractive members of the least picky sex, and the least picky members of the most picky sex.

      So in Adrian’s example, you either want to be the most attractive men, or the least picky women.

       

      Explanation:

      So let’s make one modification to Adrian’s example. Let’s say that the 8th most attractive woman in the room (otherwise known as the 3rd ugliest) is interested in 4 men, instead of 2. She has pretty much guaranteed that she gets a man, probably a man that’s far more attractive, and if things don’t work out, she has other options. (This may even work for the ugliest woman in this hypothetical room, depending on how uniformly the men agree on standards of female beauty.)

      Clearly the most attractive men are doing well. (And the more uniformly the women agree on standards of male beauty, the better the top two guys do. They could end up with all 10 women fighting over them.)

       

      Why the most attractive women are not doing equally well:

      What if the most attractive man decides that he wants two girlfriends? If his first choice disagrees, she runs the risk of ending up with a less attractive boyfriend, or none at all. Out of his other 7 choices, he can probably find 2 or 3 who would prefer a non-exclusive relationship over one with an unattractive man.

      We see real world examples of this all the time: non-committal men, booty calls, etc.

       

      Taking this to the real world:

      This gets insanely more complicated when you have massive populations, less uniform standards of beauty, and varying degrees of pickiness. But the principle scales up in the real world. The biggest benefits are seen by the most attractive members of the less picky sex, and by the least picky members of the more picky sex.

      1. 27.2.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Hi Karl,

        There is a big survey study I read in the past year or two that interviewed thousands of people, and one of the conclusions was that the best looking people of both sexes ARE the pickiest when it comes to the looks of their prospective partners.  Beautiful people want and hold out for other beautiful people.  (I just did a quick google search and didn’t find the study.  I look more in-depth tonight and post it when i find it.)

        Also add in that one of the options is to not choose.  So if you find two of the ten people attractive, and another two acceptable–but they want you, if your top two take a pass on you, you can go with one of the acceptable choices, or say “no thanks” and exit the room.

        1. Adrian

          Hi GoWithTheFlow,

          I don’t disagree with the study but I will just interject that from personal observation;

          One of the main reasons many men and women struggle in dating is because they over-estimate their own attractiveness.

          Which causes them to think they deserve a better looking partner.

          …   …   …

          Karmic Equation had a great hypothesis on why many women were like this (I don’t know why men think like this).

          Her reasoning was that when a hot guy who just wants sex and therefore he is willing to fake court a less attractive girl to bed her.

          The girl believes that the guy chose her because of her looks (as you know many women can’t have sex with a guy they feel is unattractive so the can’t fathom that men can).

          So after he gets what he wants and then dumps her, she believes that she can get men on his attraction level because she is of the same level.

          Just look at many of the comments her with women who always say “I am always told I am____.” Whenever I hear that I always think, so you expect people to say they think you are unattractive or that you look 10 older than you age?

      2. 27.2.2
        Adrian

        Hi Karl R,

        I agree with you.

        However, just for clarification, my hypothesis focused on pickiness/standards in general.

        I can look for the link if you want me to but Helen Fisher did a study and concluded that generally men are less picky than women.

        So whereas most women would want a guy that has at least an average level of looks, height, weight, money, intelligence, morals, charm, and character, and ethnic & socio-economic background.

        Most men are okay with just looks, weight and character.

        This is why I theorized that if given the choice between a less attractive girl (though still close to average looks and weight) or no girl and man would choose the less attractive girl.

        Verse women (and this is a big generalization) when having to choose between a less “qualified” man or no man, they choose no man like GoWithTheFlow suggested.

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          Hey Adrian,

          I agree that some women overestimate their looks, whatever the reason will be.  Maybe because they got attention from a good looking guy looking for sexes you said.

          Maybe it’s where you live since your # in part depends upon the pool of competition you are in.  For example my son’s dad married a woman who is ~15 years younger than him.  They live in a rural area in a rural state.  Most young men leave to go into the military or to the nearest big city for work.  So there are more women in their 20s and early 30s then men in the same age range.  She is a very nice person.  She is slender with an average face, was a single mom, and is considered a great catch where they live.  But if she moved down to Scottsdale/Tempe AZ (much less LA or NYC) she would have to really invest in hair, clothes, makeup, etc to be in the 5 range.  BTW this is something my son says.

          As far as guys are concerned, I would say the biggest reason they overestimate their SMV is because they buy into the line that money, status, and even being older (more “stable” and mature) makes up for lack of looks.  There was another study done that is presented in “Dollars and Sex”  by Dr.  Marina Adshade that shows in reality, it would take $100k to 200k in earnings to compensate for poor looks.  I can’t tell you the number of times where, in a social gathering situation, I and girlfriends I’m with will over hear a conversation amongst average and even below average men throwing shade at some of the women who are comparatively better looking than them.  The only thing we can figure is that they think their Rolex and BMW gets them big SMV points.

          I think for a one night stand situation, women are way more likely than man to choose no sex than to have sex with someone who is unattractive.  Whereas when considering a relationship, I think there is a tendency for both sexes to hold out for someone who is at least at the same level as they are.

          P.S.  The study about what people consider important when pairing up in an LTR was done by Chapman University in 2015 or 16.  I found several brief writeup on google but not the actual study.

      3. 27.2.3
        Karl R

        Adrian and GoWiththeFlow,

        I agree with the points you brought up. When I ran my game theory models a few years back, I incorporated each of those elements into the model, provided it actually changed the behavior of the model. (Some of those points explain the behavior in the model, rather than change it … like Karmic Equation’s hypothesis.)

        While I specifically tested for varying levels of pickiness (particularly with less attractive members of the hypothetical populations), I would like to point out that this behavior in the real world serves as evidence that my claim has merit. (There’s another game theory reason that it occurs in both males and females.)

         

        A Real-World Variant on Karmic Equation’s Hypothesis:

        Let’s say that women (on average) consider me to be a 5, but the opinions actually range from 3 to 7. If I’m willing to restrict my pool to the segment for whom I’m “their type” (the ones who see me  as a 7), then I can potentially get a partner who is above me in attractiveness. Taking the segment where I’m “their type”, I can look at the sub-segment of women who are specifically “my type”. Maybe it’s a cute nerd who averages a 7, but she’s easily a 9 in my eyes.

        This allows an objective 5 to end up in a relationship with a subjective 9. (I’m actually using a real example from my dating history. It ended up being a lousy relationship with an amazing woman.)

        The Trade-off:

        By restricting my search in this way, I can get someone who is much better than me. But by restricting my search in this way, I also make my search much longer.

         

        From a game theory perspective, my wife and I both gamed the system in our favor. It can be done. That’s part of why I find this so fascinating.

        1. k

          Can you explain how both you and your wife gamed the system?  That sounds really interesting…

        2. Karl R

          k asked:

          “Can you explain how both you and your wife gamed the system?”

          I’m fairly certain that both of us were doing it in multiple ways. But I can give you one quick example for each of us.

           

          Gaming the System – My Wife:

          My wife doesn’t place a lot of importance on physical attractiveness. Instead, she places extreme importance on intelligence. Her 9 or 10 is a genius, even if he would generally be considered of average attractiveness (or even below). Most geniuses are less attractive than my wife, so most would find it challenging to get a more attractive girlfriend than her. On an objective level, she was more attractive than the men she dated (though not a 10 in looks). But subjectively, she was getting her 10 (or at least a 9), because she was always able to get a man who was that bright.

          It also helped that her job put her in contact with lots of brilliant people. She had a target-rich environment.

           

          Gaming the System – Me:

          There have been studies demonstrating the women prefer “pre-approved” men … men who are already taken, men who women fight over, men who have in some way already been approved of by other women. That approval causes the men to seem more appealing.

          I met a large portion of my girlfriends through the dance  community. Not only am I a better-than-average dancer, but I’m also an outgoing, friendly member of the dance community. A casual observer can tell that a lot of women (including attractive women) enjoy my company, both on and off the dance floor.

          Many of those attractive women were taken, or they had no interest in dating me, but that wasn’t important, because I was creating a first impression. Those first impressions endure.

          If a new woman showed up, and I wanted to meet her, I’d make a point of being seen dancing with a few attractive women … before I even made eye-contact with the lady. It was remarkably effective.

          Alternatively, the women dancers would often provide more direct introductions. If one of their friends started dancing, I was one of the men they trusted to take care of their friend on the dance floor. That was a very clear stamp of approval from a woman they personally trusted. (My wife was one of the women introduced in this way.)

  28. 28
    D_M

    Ladies,

    Please, oh please, I beg you. Stop with the “he’ll  want sex if I ask him out”, red herring. Every guy thinks if I play my cards right, “I’ll get some of that”, regardless of how the date was initiated. The reason I walked up to you is because I find you sexually attractive. I didn’t somehow peer into your soul and discern your character. Don’t kid yourselves, we’ll use language like, “I thought you were cool”, “you seemed to be outgoing”, “you had a pleasant demeanor”, ….etc. By all means, don’t ask your current guy why he approached you, we never want to put the he wanted me for sex thought in your heads. I just felt the need to set the record straight. If I didn’t find you sexually desirable, I wouldn’t have approach you.

    I have no evidence, but I strongly suspect that the lack of sexual fulfillment that some women complain about  is linked to the fact that you never asked that guy out. You know, the guy that stirs those animalistic instincts in you. This idea of I’ll let him grow on me, is a recipe for mediocrity and mismatched libidos. I don’t think it’s just the testosterone thing. Guys for the most part, go after women that excite them. Women have been bludgeoned for so long with societal expectations of female sexuality, that some can’t see that being sexually drawn to someone is not a bad thing. Take off those societal chastity belts and go forth and have an enjoyable love life!!!!

    1. 28.1
      sandra

      No one said that a man will want sex more or less if a woman asks him out.  Men want it regardless of who does the asking.  The point is that men will often take a woman up on the offer of going out, even if he is only marginally attracted to her, because he assumes she is ripe for the taking.  And women very often find themselves tossed away, used, and deeply hurt.

      I agree with you that settling for a man that never stirred those animal instincts is a recipe for sadness, bitterness, and the regret of lost opportunities.  And a “meh” partner never grows on you.  In fact, you grow to eventually hate them  It is a dilemma many women, and possibly men, struggle with their entire lives.

      1. 28.1.1
        Tom10

         
        @ D_M
         
        I’m going to agree with the ladies on this one; it has been well documented and scientifically proved (I can post evidence if you don’t believe me) that male sexuality is far more indiscriminate than female sexuality. So when a woman asks a man out the odds of him accepting some perceived “sex on a plate” is far higher than vice-versa. For this reason I agree that women asking men out is, in general, a poor dating strategy (this is predicated on the assumption that said woman is looking for more than “just sex”).
         

        1. Buck25

          Tom,

          I can hear both D_M and Sandra on this one. Now, you’re correct that men’s sexuality is indeed more indiscriminate than women’s (on the whole), but the operative word is “more”, not “entirely”.

          D_M is right, in that whether we or a woman initiates the approach doesn’t change whether we have sex in mind or not, or how much. If we approach, we do; if we accept a woman’s approach, we do.

          Sandra is expressing  what is a real concern for women; it’s not just that we want sex (she knows that); Her fear is, if we get sex, we’ll then leave. To a woman that’s rejection, just like being rejected up front is to us. The real difference is, she’s being rejected after (not before) she made the considerable emotional investment that having sex typically is for a woman. To Sandra (and most women), that probably looks like a far greater hurt than men risk in approaching and being shot down. I think it’s a fair point. Sandra feels that if we approach it may be more likely that we’re really interested enough to consider something more than just sex; if she approaches, we may simply take the sexual opportunity without ever having even considered wanting more. I’m not sure that proposition is true (there’s always a risk of any man not wanting any more than sex, no matter who approaches first, as D_M says); but, there’s no question that Sandra (and probably a lot of women) perceive it that way. That part is an understandable fear, and I see that D_M actually acknowledged it, in discussing rejection up front vs. later: “really stings” he said. Well it stings for men too, but because we get rejected so much in approaching, we get somewhat used to it. I get the feeling that that “rejection after sex” is the main way women experience rejection, and they don’t have the same protective emotional calluses we build up; no wonder they fear that so.

          So, I think women’s fear of approaching first, is exactly what ours is; rejection, just in a different way. So is approaching a man first really a “poor strategy”, as you suggest, or just a strategy that exchanges high risk  (rejection) for higher reward (potentially a partner to whom she is more strongly attracted). I’m not sure it’s really clear cut; depends on how daring/ risk averse a woman is.

        2. Tom10

          @ Buck
          “So, I think women’s fear of approaching first, is exactly what ours is; rejection, just in a different way. So is approaching a man first really a “poor strategy”, as you suggest, or just a strategy that exchanges high risk  (rejection) for higher reward”
           
          Okay good response Buck (I agree with Adrian; you’ve been writing some fine comments as of late).
           
          One could make a point that were a particular woman able to overcome the sting of rejection (either before, or more particularly, after) sex as successfully as (some) men manage to do then, conceivably, pursuing men could be a better “dating strategy” as she might then meet a guy she’s very attracted to, who might actually want to stick around afterwards.
           
          However, it would take a girl with balls of steel to approach guys she’s very attracted to, sleep with them, risk them disappearing after the sex and then still manage to retain the same confidence she had before that encounter if he disappears afterwards. Of course, if said guy sticks around then this situation doesn’t arise; she gets the guy she was very attracted to and thus wins big.
           
          However, as we all know, probably the most attractive quality in dating is confidence. And what, exactly, *is* confidence in dating? Well, I guess it’s the belief that one will have future success, which is usually generated by past success.
           
          Now, as guys *usually* receive a boost to their confidence from sex (regardless of whether the woman sticks around or not), and women *usually* receive a blow to their confidence when dumped after sex, women are taking a “high risk for higher reward” strategy whereas the guy isn’t.
           
          Therefore, I agree to an extent that, ultimately, it comes down to managing risk. However, I think the risk is tilted in the man’s favour (as he can’t really lose in such a scenario) and against the woman’s.
           
          So, in conclusion, as male sexuality is inherently more biologically indiscriminate than female sexuality, I believe that women not asking a guy out first is a better management of risk, and therefore, is a better dating strategy.

    2. 28.2
      Selena

      D_M #28

      “If I didn’t find you sexually desirable, I wouldn’t have approach you.”

       

      Yes,  exactly.  So if a man is NOT approaching it follows that he does not find that particular woman sexually desirable.  So what is there to be gained by HER approaching and asking him out?  Would you want women you didn’t find sexually desirable asking you out on a regular basis?

       

       

       

       

      1. 28.2.1
        D_M

        Selena,

        The human companionship game is so nuanced, that it’s a wonder that we find each other. My statement was meant to highlight that sex runs through the male mind whether you approached me or I approached you. I am assuming in the approach scenario that tactical discretion is employed. We make eye contact and exchange a smile, which can be indicative of someone being open to a simple, “Hello, I am Selena”. A guy that is interested will take it from there. If not, you simple say, I just wanted to introduce myself, enjoy the rest of whatever preoccupation that is occurring. I am not advocating for women to approach men who have not smiled back at them.

        I accept and have no problem with men pursuing women, or that it feels very unnatural for women. What I have a hard time wrapping my brain around, is the implied notion that men are more likely to use and abuse when a woman approaches. There is no way for bloomers to end up over my bed post without a woman accepting my proposition. It’s like, some how women’s LTR radars get short circuited in one instance and not the other. The same LTR criteria apply, if you don’t feel like I prioritize you, don’t let me into your emotional space.

        Doesn’t it stand to reason that the more people that you say hello to, the more likely you are to find a meaningful relationship? Selena, you come away with the knowledge of knowing whether that guy was simply eye candy as that interaction related to you, or it turned into something more meaningful. I don’t think the crux of the discussion is about people on the tail ends of the attractiveness curve. The running debate seems to be that the area under the male 5 curve is larger than the female 5 curve. I guess the short answer to your sexually desirability question is no, but it is highly unlikely that none of the hypothetical females would not have a single physical attribute that I would not be drawn to. I’m a half full personality type. I focus on what attributes you do have.

      2. 28.2.2
        Shaukat

        Yes,  exactly.  So if a man is NOT approaching it follows that he does not find that particular woman sexually desirable.  So what is there to be gained by HER approaching and asking him out?  Would you want women you didn’t find sexually desirable asking you out on a regular basis?

        Not necessarily. A man might be attracted to a woman but not approach because he’s shy, beta, suffers from approach anxiety (as many guys do), didn’t properly interpret the signals, etc. That doesn’t mean that women should be doing random cold approaches on the street or in bars (unless, of course, you are just looking for sex). But if you like a guy and he seems shy or a little clueless in this area, just help him out a bit.

        It always amuses me that certain female posters will bend over backwards trying to rationalize their behavior by pointing to the alleged preferences of the other gender. You don’t approach for the same reason you don’t pay for first dates-you don’t have to. That’s ok, just be honest with yourselves.

        1. Tom10

          @ Shaukat #28.2.2
          “Not necessarily. A man might be attracted to a woman but not approach because he’s shy, beta, suffers from approach anxiety (as many guys do), didn’t properly interpret the signals, etc…
           
          But if you like a guy and he seems shy or a little clueless in this area, just help him out a bit.”
           
          I dunno, if a guy is so shy or beta that he can’t even ask a girl out then most likely she *won’t* be attracted to that guy. So *why* would she “help him out a bit” if she has no attraction to him?
           
          Ultimately his shyness is his problem; therefore, it’s on him to do the necessary introspective work to overcome his shyness/anxiety/inability to interpret signals.
           
          Therefore, I agree with Selena that if a guy doesn’t approach a girl it’s reasonable for her to assume that either 1) he’s not attracted to her or 2) he’s a beta, in which case she won’t be attracted to him anyway.
           
          Either way, she still loses by approaching first.

        2. sandra

          If a woman is interested in a shy/beta guy she happens to be around frequently or knows via acquaintances, then sure, a little nudge , or even more, is fine.  But let`s be honest, the odd’s of a woman approaching an unknown man at a bar or even singles event are very low.  And it is the rare bold, charismatic woman who can pull off the ” hey handsome, how about buying the lady a drink.”  That would be a woman who knows her power.

        3. Shaukat

          @Tom10

          Ultimately his shyness is his problem; therefore, it’s on him to do the necessary introspective work to overcome his shyness/anxiety/inability to interpret signals.

          A couple points here. First, I absolutely agree that if a guy is shy or a little awkward it’s his responsibility to work on himself and make improvements in order to overcome those limitations. Context, however, is important. Recall that I wasn’t suggesting that a woman should approach a guy in a coffee shop or on the street on the assumption that he might be into her but is too shy (though if she wants to take a chance I wouldn’t judge her for it). My suggestion applies more to those situations where she already knows the guy, might have spoken to him a few times, likes him, but can sense that he has some difficulty being assertive in that area.

          Regarding your other point about shyness/beta killing attraction, that is certainly true for a subset of women who would be turned off by such traits. I don’t believe, however, that such qualities would be a deal breaker for all, or even most, women under all circumstances. However, if a woman states that she doesn’t approach because she would not be attracted to a guy who can’t take the initiative, then that’s perfectly fine and fair. What I was objecting to was the tendency among certain women to try and rationalize their reluctance to approach by claiming that it would either be counterproductive because all men who are interested approach right away, or because such behavior would turn men off. In my view, those rationalizations are dishonest.

        4. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          I dunno, if a guy is so shy or beta that he can’t even ask a girl out then most likely she *won’t* be attracted to that guy. So *why* would she “help him out a bit” if she has no attraction to him?

          She’s helping him out because she is attracted to him. Maybe she crosses the room and introduces herself or, sometime during their conversation, hands her phone number. She’s letting him know she’s interested. She’s telling him she doesn’t expect him to do everything and be the only one jumping over the cliff naked while she stands watching, fully dressed.

        5. Selena

          Giving him signals, “helping him out a bit”, is what most women do. Engaging him in conversation, asking questions, showing interest in what he says, laughing, bantering,  flirting, body language are all “green lights” for the male to approach, ask for her number, suggest a date.  So why wouldn’t he?

           

          Just because a guy is shy doesn’t mean he is otherwise interested in a particular woman. He might think her not his type. He might have someone, he just doesn’t talk about it. He might be gay. He might be the kind of person who never takes initiative for whatever reason.

           

          There are women who are comfortable being the “driver” in a relationship.  Someone who doesn’t take initiative might work for them. They don’t mind being the decision maker in most/all things.

           

          Other women want a leader. They want a “take charge” kind of guy. A man who makes them feel like a woman. They don’t want the non-initiative fellow –  the masculine-feminine dynamic  is off and it makes them uncomfortable even  if they can’t articulate why.

           

          A larger group I suspect, are women who want an equal partner. They want a man who can lead, be decisive and strong if need be, but will include them in decision making, and be willing to acquiesce  at times.

           

          A woman may nudge a man, but if he still shows no initiative she will give up. And go with the next man who comes along WHO DOES show initiative.

           

          When men lament about having to take initiative, asking/ planning/paying for dates and blame women for that state of affairs…I always think, how do they not realize their competition isn’t women, IT’S OTHER MEN?

           

          If a man wants a woman, it’s in his own best interest to emulate what men who are successful with women do.

           

          Hint: it’s not sitting on the internet trying to convince women to ask men out.

           

           

           

      3. 28.2.3
        Jordan

        So if a man is NOT approaching it follows that he does not find that particular woman sexually desirable.  So what is there to be gained by HER approaching and asking him out?  Would you want women you didn’t find sexually desirable asking you out on a regular basis?

        Selena,

        This is faulty logic.  A man can find a woman desirable and not approach her.  Maybe she fails his cost/benefits analysis.

         

        1. Tom10

          @ Jordan #28.2.3
          “This is faulty logic.  A man can find a woman desirable and not approach her.  Maybe she fails his cost/benefits analysis.”

          Oh the irony. If she fails his cost/benefits analysis then, by definition, he doesn’t find her desirable enough to approach her.

          So why would any woman approach a guy who has already decided that the effort involved in approaching her doesn’t exceed the potential benefit of dating her? That’s right, she’d be mad to.

          *Logic fail*. Lol.

        2. Jordan

          @ Tom

          No Logic fail here.

          By approaching a man, a woman could demonstrate that she is confident,  friendly, not high maintenance, doesn’t slavishly follow outdated gender roles, etc.

          In other words, after getting to know her a bit, her negatives could take a nose-dive and then she could easily pass his cost/benefits analysis.

      4. 28.2.4
        Shaukat

        @Selena

        Just because a guy is shy doesn’t mean he is otherwise interested in a particular woman. He might think her not his type. He might have someone, he just doesn’t talk about it. He might be gay. He might be the kind of person who never takes initiative for whatever reason.

        You do realize, don’t you, that a similar thought process could be taking place in a guy’s mind when you’re flirting and being friendly? Your argument is essentially that guys need to man up if they like someone. I agree with that. I wasn’t trying to convince you or anyone else to do anything, and I certainly don’t wait for a woman to take the initiative if I’m interested.  I was simply responding to what I considered to be an illogical and fallacious argument, which set up a premise that didn’t support the conclusion (the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, as Jordan indicated below and you seem to concede in your response).

        At any rate, in your comment above you basically acknowledged that you don’t approach because, a). You don’t have to, since most men already do; and b). You’re afraid of rejection. That was the entire point of my initial post.

    3. 28.3
      Emily, the original

      D_M,

      I have no evidence, but I strongly suspect that the lack of sexual fulfillment that some women complain about  is linked to the fact that you never asked that guy out. You know, the guy that stirs those animalistic instincts in you.

      Bingo. If you want him, go after him. Who cares who does the initial approach or asking out? If, on subsequent dates, the woman is still doing all the work, then it’s time to re-evaluate.

       Take off those societal chastity belts and go forth and have an enjoyable love life!!!!

      — “Maybe if you took off your chastity belt, you could breathe a little mo’ betta!”

      Prince, Under the Cherry Moon

  29. 29
    S,

    I’d like to respond to one thing that seems to be a misconception or generalization.  I think it does go to the fact that men (in general, not all men) don’t always realize fully how a lot of women, at least those I’ve know see men.

    Who are those women who ‘had their pick’ of men in their twenties? I don’t know them.  Most women I’ve known in my life both personally and professionally have been Plain Janes. You’d think they’d go perfectly with the Average Joes, wouldn’t they?  But I wonder if Average Joes even look at Plain Janes.  Because believe me, they were not surrounded by men in their, what men here would call ‘best’ years.  That makes an assumption that most women look their best when the are young. That’s not true for all women.

    It’s like men think women wasted their best years and then in their 30s and 40s come looking for good men and tough cookie ladies, you blew it.

    It doesn’t account for the woman who may have been young but had the mind of a little girl and shouldn’t have been settling down with anyone at that time.  Or the girl who was socially awkward and had no idea how to interact with people, let alone men. Or the girl who was overweight or not traditionally attractive even at her youngest, or was painfully shy, addicted to drugs, figuring out her bi-polar meds, etc.  This is real life, people. Real women. Those years are ‘best’ from a man’s point of view because they are looking at youth and looks. But from that woman’s point of view she was living a confusing time or a nightmare. Some women did marry young and it didn’t work out.  Some Average Joes didn’t find these Janes attractive and lumped them in the friend zone, forever. Things happen.

    So I just want to speak on behalf of women I’ve known and those I’ve met in the primarily female-centered careers I’ve had–no, there wasn’t a feeding frenzy of men surrounding every woman in her 20s and 30s.  And even if there were, maybe she simply wasn’t ready.  So it wouldn’t have worked out for her anyway.  I just had to say that.  Some women want to be whole and complete women before they get married and sometimes that growth takes years. Not for every woman, but some.  They weren’t all squandering their youth with bad boys.  They were growing up.  And yes, some may miss the window for kids.  That’s life. You can’t force yourself to be ready for something if you’re not. So I think look at the whole picture and not just a woman’s youth, beauty, or ovaries.  There is a whole person who has to grow and develop.  Some take time.  Not everyone was throwing away good men.  Some good women got overlooked too.

    In a way, by focusing only on the experience of young, traditionally attractive women’s experiences, men are doing the same thing.  They are passing these other women by not even including them in the comments!  I keep hope alive.  There is a lid for every pot and according to Evan’s stats, most folks marry.

    Another note: a less attractive woman doesn’t always want sex with a handsome man. I know, blasphemy! But we’re talking about women.  Attraction matters but personality feeds attraction in women.  I won’t say personality matters more than looks, but they are pretty even with the women I know.  For less attractive women, they develop other traits, usually in personality to be attractive.  And they want those traits in a man.  A woman may have sex with a handsome man to feed her ego but for people I know, well, they don’t do that.  But even if they did, it would be short-lived.  Women I know aren’t one-night stand people. Hell, maybe I’m living in some bubble (in a city with millions) but what men seem annoyed a woman can get–sex with someone more attractive than her–isn’t why most women even date.  It’s hard for me to write because it’s so not what women I know would even think, let alone do.  Yes, they CAN. I can call a handsome man tonight and have sex tonight if I want. He wouldn’t care why or what I look like. But I care.  I just couldn’t do that and neither would my friends.  It’s not a hangup about sex, it’s just . . . it’s really hot out and I’ve had a long week.  Sex isn’t going to do much for me right now.   Not all women feel this way.  But some do!  Some would rather a long bath or a great pedicure than meaningless sex with a stranger.  I know men (and some women) feel differently.  But I rarely hear from others who feel this way and we are out there.

    There is such a disconnect here and I’m having difficulty articulating it without sounding like I’m from another planet.  But I read these comments and I’m like who are these women men are writing about?  I’ve never met any women like that.

    1. 29.1
      Adreana

      What a great post!

      Sometimes men tend to forget young women ( whether drop dead gorgeous or average ) are human too. They have to get a job,  pay the bills, move out of their parent’s house, balance being independent with being “feminine”, work on any self-esteem/awakwardness issues, make mistakes, get heartbroken, go through periods of loneliness …etc.  They are really not the “best years” for everyone except for the very lucky.

      They weren’t all squandering their youth with bad boys”. I completely agree with this. Most young women I know want the “good guys” but lets face it-even the good ones aren’t interested in a commitment until they reach a certain age ( 30+). I find it hypocritical when older men  paint young women as “party girls” wasting their lives on  bad boys , when I bet MANY of these men ran away from commitments in their younger years ( as they  partied away with the “bad girls”). Also, your point about Average Janes being ignored is spot on! I want to add that it isn’t enough for Average Joes to approach Plain Janes online-they need to approach them  organically and see what happens. I think they are using being rejected online as an excuse to why they can’t be with an average Jane.

       

       

       

      1. 29.1.1
        Buck25

        “…it isn’t enough for average Joes to approach Plain Janes online-they need to approach them organically and see what happens. I think they are using being rejected online as an excuse…”

        Adreana,

        It may be that a lot of these guys are online, precisely because they lack the confidence level to approach in real life. Maybe they never had it; maybe, they’re trying to find it again after years of being married and out of the dating market. They go online, usually don’t have the best skillset for it, and get nothing but rejection-not exactly a confidence builder. Then they come here, and listen to women blast them, and virtually all men, over and over, for things they may or may not ever have done themselves. I won’t say there’s no empathy for men here, there is some; but it’s the exception, not the rule. It can be pretty difficult to maintain, much less build, a decent level of confidence and self-esteem in that environment, even for a natural extrovert. I know, because the combination of online dating and some pretty savage commentary here tore me down for quite a while; and I had a pretty good confidence level for a recently divorced man my age when I started. It’s been a pretty brutal lesson in growing and becoming stronger through adversity. What I’m trying to say is that the average guy may have to really dig deep, after taking the beating of running that gauntlet, to find enough confidence to go out there in a real world that may have not been so kind to him in the first place, and try again.

         

        1. ScottH

          Buck-   “some pretty savage commentary here tore me down for quite a while”

          I’m surprised you gave an anonymous internet person(s) the power to shake you up.

          I got into it once here with someone.  We disagreed vehemently on something.  I could see why she felt the way she did and it was because of an experience long ago that shaped her world.  I wasn’t going to let it shape my world.

        2. Adreana

          Buck,

          I’ve read many of your comments before and you always struck me as thoughtful, intelligent, and respectful…so I’m not sure why they would tear you down on purpose. I think some of  the men and women on this blog are frustrated/hurting in one way or the other and they are taking it out on each other ( I’ve been guilty of it too, though I’ve try not be too harsh).  As far as online dating, I think we’re more likely to feel chemistry with people who aren’t our “type” in person than online.That’s why I think it’s more effective for average guys/gals but I could be wrong.

          I appreciate you telling me  how some of the comments have been hurtful and I think it’s a lesson for all of us to be more aware. I feel there are some negative/provoking guys on here who get a rise out of us, and unfortunately we try to “stick it to them” by blaming all men or taking it out on good guys like yourself. I hope you dust it off your shoulder and your confidence keeps growing! .)

           

    2. 29.2
      Mrs Happy

      Dear S @ 29,

      I’m here in the bubble with you. I agree with you on so much of the above. I feel like an alien who has never seen some of the world the people on this blog discuss, including the apparent ubiquity of casual sex without commitment. I’ve also never seen a man angry that a women could theoretically get sex with someone.

      Likewise I don’t know women who were surrounded by hoardes of men during their 20’s, and I have known hundreds of young women, some very attractive. I had pretty constant boyfriends during my 20’s but the men were inexperienced, shy and unsure of themselves in their 20’s while we all studied, and they certainly weren’t pushing for casual sex as a routine. During my 20’s I dated men 20’s-40’s. I wanted commitment and the men I knew wanted/provided the same. But I didn’t want marriage, and I was not ready for marriage during my 20’s. During my 20’s I was studying, building a career and travelling.

      I have been on a lot, a lot, of dates from the age of 14-15 till marrying at 36, and on only 1 date do I recall the man suggesting on the 1st date we return to my home together (we’d driven separately). I was shocked into silence, sort of surprised he’d even imagine I’d have him over after knowing him for only a few hours over our 1st dinner together, it was so unfamiliar an experience to me. But to read this blog, it’s a routine experience on dates 1-3. Really? Where are women finding the men that expect sex after 1-6 hours of knowing someone? Is there some sort of call sign that I (thankfully) obliviously missed?

      Unless I have a fantastic unconscious ability to screen for and attract men who are wanting long term relationships, or I move in conservative circles (my job is somewhat conservative but I’m not very conservative or religious or attracted to those types), or the world has changed a lot in the last decade, I have to conclude there is a lot of talk, about a minority of people (the male players and avoidants). Maybe because such men annoy women, and then the women come to this blog to debrief?

      Likewise sex. I would never have sex with a stranger. What the..? The risk benefit is so negatively skewed for me as a woman. Similarly handsome men are in general not very attractive people to me, I dislike the narcissism which so often accompanies good looks.

      The big thing: most people marry. The couples I see walking around are all fairly average looking. Thus most “average Joe’s” marry “average Jane’s”.

      And most men aren’t perpetually angry, that most women now or when younger, have/had access to sex. Most men just want more sex. Like I want more chocolate.

      1. 29.2.1
        S.

        Thanks, Adreana and Mrs. Happy for replying.   It’s sometimes hard to know what, or if there even is, a ‘normal’ experience out there.   I think we are all having different experiences and I am glad to just speak to our experience so men know that not all women were partying and throwing away good men for bad boys in their 20s.  It’s such a persistent commentary on this blog and I hadn’t really read many women differ on it.

        the men were inexperienced, shy and unsure of themselves in their 20’s

        That is most people in their 20s. Young people by their nature are inexperienced and that’s okay.  I did know some confident young men in my twenties but even they weren’t getting lots of women.  They were nice men with integrity.  Confidence and good looks, sometimes does lead to a degree of narcissism or arrogance, but even the good looking men I knew still tried their best to be good people with women.  Most people I know weren’t really ‘bad’ boys.  Just at that age, they were . . . boys. 🙂

        Where are women finding the men that expect sex after 1-6 hours of knowing someone? Is there some sort of call sign that I (thankfully) obliviously missed?

        I think this is a result of online dating?  There is this . . . sometimes real, sometimes psuedo intimacy that develops through e-mails and phone calls, and it’s easy to substitute or mistake that for true or more time-tested intimacy.  And some people just want to hook up, even if you meet them offline.  Nothing wrong with that if they are upfront about it.  Just some people aren’t. Hey, if you could easily get free chocolate at request without hurting anyone . . . 🙂 The interesting thing in the other thread about casual sex relationships is how some women seemed to grow tired of it after a time or conversely just decide that’s all they want.   It’s not what most women I know do, even women way over 40.  But I understand that a little intimacy with someone they know and is safe (STD-free), can be better for some folks than years of celibacy.

        My comment wasn’t to judge, just to balance the commentary with another perspective, that’s all.  And for all the comments about 9s, 10s, and 7s, I do agree, from my observation, most people are of average looks and marry average looking folks.  And they are happy.  They are both attracted to one another and can make it work.

        We all get older (if we’re lucky!) and dating gets harder.  Even married folks sometimes have issues after 15 years.  You’d think it’d be easier then but not always.  So I don’t think large groups of either sex squander their youth.  You do the best you can with what you know then.  One thing I like about being older is people while still being attracted to youth, also know well the benefits of dating a person who has life experience and a little wisdom. Combine that with someone you find really attractive and is on the same page with you values and goals-wise, and you have a potential winner!  As long as one is still alive, it’s never too late for love.  🙂

    3. 29.3
      Buck25

      S,

      Let me answer you this way. First of all,  these guys were NOT the handsome alphabet boys who got most of the action in their twenties; they were on the outside looking in.  Why don’t they see that the average woman their age wasn’t necessarily having a cakewalk herself during those years? Several reasons. They (the guys) were struggling with their own social awkwardness and their own adjustment to the real adult world. Many of them rarely got dates even with the Average Jane, who often was neither dating at all (too shy, too awkward herself), or having sex with the alpha bad boys who would “slum it” with her. The guys don’t see that this hurt her more than helped; all they see is that she got sex with a far more attractive partner, a experience that would be the Holy Grail to them (and one they NEVER got). From the male perspective, sex is the prize, and she got it.  Commitment? So what; not important (from the male point of view); she got what they wanted, therefore she won, they lost; and from where many of them sit, she still has the advantage of being able to do that, while they can’t (never mind that this is not what she wants in most cases). Of course, they’re projecting their own desires and thought process onto her (women, of course, often project their thought process/desires onto men in a similar way, resulting in a similar misunderstanding). The end result is a bunch of frustrated guys, venting their frustration at women who are just as confused and frustrated as they are, albeit for different reasons.

      At least, that’s what I think is going on.

      1. 29.3.1
        S.

        Buck,

        Thanks too for responding.  I understand the male point of view well since it’s been expressed here so many times.  Everyone sees things from their perspective, I guess.  It would be so transformative if folks on both sides of this issue could step outside of their own experience to see the others’ perspective.

        I do understand men who felt this way. I’ve dated mostly men who felt this way!  (And some of them do get the holy grail eventually, lol, though I never thought until this moment if they thought I was more attractive than they were.  They said I was pretty and seemed happy, so I guess that answer is yes.)

        But in those early years it may very well be that neither side was getting sex.  No Grail for anyone when they were at their physically youngest.  Maybe they both ‘lost’ as you put it.  But it’s different now, isn’t it?  Isn’t the point that men are older now and women are looking at them, for them?  So I remember Evan’s advice to the woman who lost weight.  Does one remain resentful over previous rejections or let that go and start with people who want you now?

        Hmm.  For me, I don’t know.  If those rejections change who you are inside, then it’s difficult to let go.  But people have their preferences.  If we spend time resenting that, then we are spending even more of our precious time not finding our person.  But I do truly understand the difficulty.  I sure hope we as a people, especially the average people who finally come into their own, are able to let the past go and be happy with what is, not what everyone would want it to be.  It’s so difficult, but necessary.  Because that person is out there.

        What say you, Buck? From what you know of men, are they generally able to let the past go or do they remain resentful indefinitely?

        S.

        (the comma was a typo)

  30. 30
    Buck25

    “What say you Buck? From what you know of men, are they generally able to let go of the past, or do they remain resentful indefinitely?”

    S,

    That’s a rather big question. Before I try to answer it, I need to tell you where I’m coming from, because I’m 68, and thus not in the primary  male age group (roughly 30 to 50) that accounts for the bulk of the discussion here. There’s that, and also, I didn’t spend my twenties in the dating game. I spent that decade of my life fighting a war (Vietnam) and getting over the aftermath here at home, while in an abusive marriage to a woman who became progressively more violent; basically I went from one combat zone to another; PTSD and a homicidal wife. I won’t bore you with the details, but it took several years, before the system finally locked her up,  I got a divorce, and my two kids and I were finally safe. Suffice it to say that dating in my twenties is an experience I never had, so I don’t know how it feels; the closest thing I can relate that to is my experience in high school and college.

    My adult dating experience really started in my early thirties. As I recall it wasn’t so bad; so long as I didn’t try to date the hottest women, I had a fairly steady stream of dates and relationships until I remarried, despite being pretty numb emotionally as a result of the previous experiences I mentioned.

    So do understand that I can only speak to the male experience you’re discussing from the perspective of what I’ve experienced more recently, and conversations I’ve had with younger men. Taking the latter first, I suspect most of the bitterness you mention is fueled and maintained primarily by continuing frustration with the current dating universe. I would expect younger men’s experience with that feels different from both the experience I had earlier, and my own experience now. How it feels to be a forty year old guy on the single scene today, I can only imagine; my guess is it’s both better (in terms of more opportunities, and more time to experiment with self-improvement and/or different strategies) and worse (in terms of greater expectations, peer pressure, etc.), than my own.

    About the best I can do, I think, is to share with you my own experience in dating over the last 4 years, since I became single again. Online dating proved a decidedly mixed bag. It didn’t take me 6 months to quit trying to date women under 50 (and eventually under 55). I was left with the distinct minority of women in my age group who are still somewhat attractive. I did get a number of dates, most of whom I was glad to part company with by the time the date was over; decent enough personalities (mostly) but physically repulsive ( not unlike the experiences reported by a number of women here, with the guys they meet.) I tried to find something to be attracted to but polite friendly conversation was the best I could do; I couldn’t bring myself to even think of kissing 90% of them, much less anything else. Those I thought I might be attracted to, rarely responded to emails. I came here, hoping to learn a little more about what women, particularly older women, think, and what they’re looking for. As it happened some of the first posts I encountered were blanket condemnations of men in my age group; these described in brutal detail the deficiencies of older men as seen by women; everything from physical appearance to sexuality (or the lack of it), written in language which could not have been more calculated to insult, inflame, belittle, and emasculate; older men, from the point of view of these women, weren’t even to be considered men at all, not anymore; just washed up, sexless, useless, sub-human garbage, fit only to be tossed on the scrap heap. I think it’s fair to say that there was not an ugly, offensive stereotype left unspoken, and I don’t recall a single woman speaking up, even once, to say that maybe this was going too far. Am I wrong for being hurt at being assumed to be a bunch of negative things I am not, just because of my age? From the point of view of a man coming here after experiencing the inevitable rejection of online dating, this was pure, unadulterated hatred, and reading those sentiments DID make me very angry, resentful and bitter; after reading a steady diet of this for a while, honestly, my first instinct was to use my wealth to go out, get a young mistress, and throw her in the (I imagined) hateful, contemptuous face of every woman over 50 I encountered. My next instinct was to lash back verbally here, and I did. It wasn’t long before I began to despise women; they seemed to all be lying, cold-hearted, angry, vengeful, man hating bitches. After a while, I didn’t like either the women here, the ones I encountered in online dating, or even myself very much; hate is like that. Finally I decided to just step away, try to do some introspection, get some help, and see if I could build a single life that I could enjoy, whether there was a woman in it or not.

    Fast forward a few months, to the present. I’ve let go of a lot. I’ve quit internalizing and personalizing the hate that gets thrown around here. I’ve learned to just chalk that up to the insecurities and anger of the individual women writing it; happy people don’t need to belittle, degrade or demean others. Now, I come here, discuss the issues, and try to decide whether I want to get back in the dating game again. I have a feeling I will, at least in the real world, eventually. Online, I’m not so sure. Is it ever too late for love?  I don’t know the answer to that yet; not for me anyway. It sure looks like I’ll have to overcome a lot of stereotypes and negative perceptions (justified or not, they’re out there) to get an opportunity to find it.

    1. 30.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Buck25,

      Wouldn’t you say, though, at the end of the day, the resentment and bitterness felt on both sides of the gender aisle stem from one thing — not being able to attract the people each side wants? That if we all (I’m including myself in this) took our nails out of the wall and fell back, accepted who wants us, stopped trying to dance around and get the attention of those whose interest is marginal, at best, all our dating problems would be solved.

      1. 30.1.1
        Buck25

        “Wouldn’t you say …the resentment and bitterness felt on both sides of the gender aisle stem from one thing-not being able to attract the people each side wants?”

        Emily,

        That’s one of the big causes, of course. Then again, some of it comes from someone having gotten what they thought they wanted…only to find that it came with a heaping helping of misery, instead of the bliss they anticipated. Then there are the ones who settled; settled for what they could get, (or thought they could get), told themselves they could make do with half a relationship (“any port in a storm”, “something’s better than nothing”) and wound up more unhappy then they could have imagined.

        Would it be nice if we could just date the ones who really want us? Maybe, but then, that includes people from the best we can attract, to well, the bottom of the barrel, especially online. Umm, no. Bottom fishing may work in the stock market (I’ve made a lot of money that way) but it’s not such a good idea in the dating market. For instance, it just happens that I cannot feel any attraction to an overweight woman (not 10-15 lbs. worth, but 30, 40 or more). To me, that body type is repulsive to look at, no matter that to another they may not be. In my age group I get a lot of interest from the type (fat or not, they want a man to be fit). Believe me, I’ve tried, and just like some women can’t be attracted to a man who’s bald, or too short, I can’t be attracted to fat; not today, not tomorrow, not ever. It’s just a complete turn-off for me.  There has to be some chemistry; otherwise, why bother?

        1. Nissa

          What’s funny is, women as a group don’t seem to realize that. As an older women, I know I have to be at least average weight to attract the caliber of men I want. But I regularly get told by my female friends that it doesn’t matter. It’s possible that they don’t want me to feel unwanted or discouraged because of weight. But I’ve heard it from so many I’m starting to believe that most women are completely unaware of this as a pivotal point for men. I’ve observed that for men, body/fitness is paramount. They will be flexible up to about 20 pounds overweight, but when a woman’s over that, in general their desire just isn’t there (whether it’s politically correct or not).

          For women, an attractive face, clothing, intelligence, confidence, humor, etc are at least as, or even more importance than looks. But men in general need at least an averagely fit body before they look to the rest of the package.

          I think if women got more fit and men improved their presentation (hair, clothing, skin care), we would all find one another much more attractive.

        2. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          If I remember correctly, you wrote in one of the posts that you had previously dated women who were slightly above average but now you were targeting the top 5 percent. That will really limit your options. The top 5 percent has to be targeting you. I’m not saying they aren’t, but they are probably getting a lot of attention online and irl, from men both younger and older than they are.

        3. S.

          I honestly think you don’t have to compromise on attraction.  But I do think one has to compromise on something.  Maybe you’ll find a fit woman but maybe she’s 75?  But she looks 60, you know? Maybe she’s fit but has a odd family situation.  Maybe she’s fit and beautiful, but you have to search the next five years to find her.  I truly believe our lids are out there.  But we may not find them how and where we want.  It may take a long, long time the more requirements we have.  Like I said, these are real people.  You get older and life has . . . happened.

          I’m okay with that because I’m seriously aiming to live until 90.  🙂  The task is just to keep looking and not be bitter.  I may not find my match until I’m 60.  That’s a while from where I am now.  I’d be disappointed.  But what if he really was everything I wanted and I had another 30 years with him?   Or what if I missed on him because I was so pissed off it took me so long to find him? (Sometimes I do get pissed off. I am not naturally a patient person. Which is why I take dating breaks.)

          I hope I’m able to remain hopeful and optimistic.  We all acquire some baggage along the way, but I hope mine will just be an overnight, rather than the whole complete set. 🙂

        4. D_M

          Buck25,

          This comment combined with your other statement about your previously preferred dating range, appears to have severely limited your choices. Hopefully you live in a city with a vibrant active lifestyle. How do even determine what a woman’s baseline is suppose to be inorder to apply your 30lb rule? We all want what we want, but a woman that has maintained fighting trim, usually have guys 10 years her junior vying for her attention. Youth is one hell of an exlixir, not many of us can resist.

          Based on your age range, whether wrong or right, I suspect that the undisclosed elephant in the room is the length of perceived quality of life. You are essential competing against men that are 18 years your junior as well. The best athletes in the world can’t compete against younger versions of themselves. We sure do a fine job of boxing ourselves in.

        5. Buck25

          @ Nissa,

          I think you’ve got something there. I’ve observed that women (especially older women) often don’t recognize that excess weight is often a deal breaker for men. Whether that’s because of peer reinforcement, wishful thinking, being in denial, or simply believing that men will compromise more than they will (or have to) really doesn’t matter. They do what they do; and many don’t care or don’t believe they should have to care. The point is, that whatever the reason, they are not going to make an effort to change; make excuses and whine about men’s preferences, maybe, but that’s about it. I can’t do anything about that; all I can do, is focus on the comparative few who do care, and try to stay reasonably fit. At least I’m not asking anything I don’t do myself, so I think that’s totally fair.

          @D_M,

          “How do you  even determine what a woman’s baseline is, to apply your 30 lbs. rule?”

          Same way anyone else does-I look. I think most of us know the difference between “curvy” and obese. ANYONE, male or female with that much extra body fat, is obvious. So is the difference between fat, and muscle, on either gender. And no, I’m not PC, when it comes to discussing that. If you’re slovenly, and don’t care about your appearance, (male or female), then either you have a medical problem (in which case I’m sympathetic) or you simply don’t give a damn, in which case, you’re on your own, with both the consequences to your own health and energy level, and the social consequences as well One more time; letting yourself go, is a lifestyle choice and an attitude, at any age, period  And yes, I think it speaks volumes about the character and attitude of the individual in question (of either gender).  Now, I understand the none of us after 55 or so look like we did at 30, and that’s ok. An extra 10 t0 20 lbs. is to be expected on most people. Twice that, not so much. It’s pretty hard to have defined muscles and washboard abs at 65 (unless one is using questionable substances, which I don’t recommend); having a relatively flat stomach  is doable, however. Now, to the real matter at hand.

          “…a woman who has maintained fighting trim usually has guys 10 years her junior vying for her attention”

          “I suspect the undisclosed elephant in the room is the length of perceived quality of life. You are essentially competing against men 18 years your junior”

          I’d say that about covers it, yes. The question then becomes, how do I counter that? Appears to me, I have to outwork outthink, and outdo my competition. So let’s see what I’ve got to work with. Unlike a lot of them, I’m not financially crippled by alimony and child support payments; I’ve got a top 1% income. I’ve got an intellectual advantage; an intellect in the top .5%, so I should be able to outthink the vast majority of them. I don’t have ED, which a lot of them do.  I’ve done a lot of emotional work, so I know myself; my strengths and my weaknesses. I have a lot of social contacts, and an active social life even when not dating. I have most of my hair, a lot don’t. I know how to dress well; a lot of them do not. I’m fit, and self-disciplined; a lot of the competition, isn’t. I’ve learned to be a pretty good, and very considerate, lover, from what women I’ve been with have told me( a lot of my competition, again, from what women have told me, are neither). So I am not without weapons in the fight, or the capacity to forge some additional ones, IF I can find ways to showcase what I can bring to the table. I’m working on some lifestyle tweaks, that may help me do just that. I can usually hold interest when I get it, so my chief challenge is to get my foot in the door. I should be able to do that, even online; I’ve got the writing skills; now I have to use them to hook women’s imaginations.

          Is it a daunting challenge? You bet it is! But, as long as I can enjoy the effort, I can’t totally lose, so the goal for now, is to learn to embrace the challenge, and enjoy the game. I’m working on it, every day.

      2. 30.1.2
        ScottH

        Hi Emily:  “not being able to attract the people each side wants?…  if we all (I’m including myself in this) took our nails out of the wall and fell back, accepted who wants us”

        I’ve thought the same thing when there was someone interesting I wanted to meet, only to find that I wasn’t giving that same opportunity to someone who was interested in me but it wasn’t mutual.  It’s just the way the online dating game is set up and there’s no way around it, as far as I can tell.  Mutual interest and then the stars aligning is a longshot.

        1. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

           only to find that I wasn’t giving that same opportunity to someone who was interested in me but it wasn’t mutual.

          I’ve done that also with people I wasn’t interested in. The fact that they were interested in me didn’t even register. Didn’t make a dent in my psyche, as terrible as that sounds. It just didn’t count.

           Mutual interest and then the stars aligning is a longshot.

          Agreed.

    2. 30.2
      S.

      Wow, Buck.  Thanks for sharing.  Your experiences with dating on and off line have been particularly difficult.  I’m especially surprised and dismayed that you’ve found such hostility against men your age here on Evan’s blog.   As Evan says, happily married people don’t usually write in here.   And when they do, people accuse them of why they are on a dating blog anyway!

      I value hearing people’s experiences.  I’ve been reading Evan’s blog for years but I rarely post due to time.  I will say that reading dating blogs, the people who post do sometimes seem bitter. This is a blog that I see less of that but reading it before work can still put the day in a less optimistic light sometimes. I guess people need to vent?

      I think you were right on earlier when you said both men and women who are struggling in the dating world are both confused and frustrated.  You seem to have gotten the brunt of that frustration here (which wasn’t really about you, but did affect you) and I observed the frustration of men in the 30 – 50 group which I knew wasn’t about me but couldn’t for the life of me figure out which women that was for.

      I think I am a positive person so I try my best to shake off negatively and glean what positive things I can from here.  Last week I found an old post linked from a newer one with many, many comments from women who married men whom they weren’t attracted to but were good men.  They all sounded so sad and dispirited.   The other women who’d been there cautioned them to get out, that they deserved happiness.   I was struck how they just said how decent the men were and these women married young, they had other options.  What I took from that is that women will date men because they are good men.   Not having any attraction to the man at all, well, it doesn’t work out.  But the instincts of the women to be with someone with a good personality is very strong.   It was one post and of course doesn’t represent, well, and stats or a majority or anything really other than anecdotal experiences, but despite how sad those women had become the post and its comments made me feel better.  These were good women who married good men.  That wasn’t enough, of course, but they had done their best.

      I’m not saying that people should date people they feel no attraction to whatsoever. I do believe, though, most people start as good people and are trying to figure this out the best way they can.  I don’t know if this is true, but it’s what I choose to believe.

      I’m glad that you personally let go of the experiences that left you angry and frustrated. You did say many of the women you dated from the sites did have good personalities.  So maybe it’s just a matter of meeting women like that until you do find one you find attractive.  I wish it was easier out there but it just isn’t.  I, too, have found a lot of very nice men online that I haven’t been attracted to. I never found any of them what you would call ‘physically repulsive’.  Most of them were of average to slightly above average attractiveness.  But the was no spark for me so it didn’t really matter what they looked like if I wasn’t feeling it.  The few where we had mutual attraction has some character flaws or our long-term goals weren’t aligned.

      It’s not easy!  But I’m meeting folks that are living to age 90 (!).  Those are usually pretty happy people, even though their spouses have passed or they never married.  So, Buck, you with your newfound perspective could still meet someone and have twenty years maybe with them.  You certainly deserve a good experience and I truly hope you find that.

    3. 30.3
      Bronze

      Wow, so interesting reading your experience.  I also do not have dating experiences, until recently (mid 40s).  This website, engenders the same feelings about men in me that it does for women in you.  I actually go and read elsewhere when I feel my viewpoint being skewed too far into negativity about the human race in general on here.  Luckily, I work with young men who are just the bees knees and also have my son who is the loveliest guy alive.  I would be disappointed if he spent his lifetime sleeping with over 300 women like Evan has. Luckily, he has different values in life than getting the end knocked off with anyone who offers!!  I implore you to find another blog to go to when this one gets too much and starts making you have a skewed view of humanity in general when it comes to interpersonal dating and relationships.  It will help keep your balance because despite this blog and the comments by men here making me want to live in a cave, I still believe that for the most part, humans are mostly good and that most people are just trying to do their best.  I’m staying single until I die but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love. Although, in all my years and when peering behind the curtains, I do not know of one single happy marriage over five years – my own was an abusive, perpetual misery in which I was trapped for over 20 years. I am in no hurry to repeat that experience. I certainly don’t know of any equal marriages where both are equally happy. One always has more power than the other. One is always happier than the other. One is usually living in silent resentment or desperation or cheating or being unknowingly cheated on.

      Most men I meet or know seem to spend an inordinate amount of time, trying to convince me that relationships can be ‘fun’ and ‘uncomplicated – ha! And that relationship are worth it for the companionship and affection.  I tend to disagree.  I’m actually perplexed at the amount of men who try to ‘sell’ the concept of a relationship to me. If I was cynical, I may be tempted to believe they are only saying this to get into my pants and then would promptly dump me but I genuinely don’t think so.  I think they really do want relationships, it’s just that from my end, I get so little out of them and seem to give so much, the companionship and affection aren’t really worth the compromises.  These are nice men too – however, just like you, I cannot find them attractive at all and also can’t even think of kissing them – bummer, right? I have tried to kiss one and YUCK! It’s simply impossible to force attraction. These men should be able to find a nice woman to love them. There is a serious disconnect out there in ‘love’ and relationship world where both seem to want the same thing but both are missing the mark wildly.  I have no idea why.  I hope you do meet a lovely lady that isn’t repulsive and you do feel like kissing and she feels the same for you.  I think that’s rare indeed. Good luck!

      1. 30.3.1
        Adrian

        Hi Bronze,

        I just want to say that Evan hasn’t sleep with 300 women nor does he endorse that. He actually advises women to wait until a man offers commitment before she has sex with him.

        Secondly I am curious about these men on here who are really negative. We have a mixed bag of both genders but for the most part, the regular male and female commenters are positive on this blog.

        1. Callie

          I think I can answer that part, Adrian. I think Bronze was responding to Buck in that she has felt similarly to him with regards to the male posters here. Buck said that all he saw were negative women here and that upset him, Bronze said likewise about the male posters. I don’t think either are actually accurately representing the posters here but I think it’s important to acknowledge the bias that people have in approaching any site.

          Both Buck and Bronze could have taken a step back and noticed that their same gender was also behaving badly in the comments and that maybe that was a sign that maybe they were being a little biased when it came to the opposite gender, they could have noticed also all the kind people here of both genders, but their own frustrations made it so that they only saw what they wanted to see in a way.

          Kind of like how you only commented to Bronze’s comment about how negative the men here are and not Buck’s for saying the exact same thing about the women. You are a man, you know you aren’t bad, so you reacted specifically to her comment and felt only compelled to comment when it referenced men.

          We all have biases, we all see specific things. The things that matter in particular to us shine the brightest and compel us most of all to action usually.

          So yeah, maybe that helps? There are certainly men here who say the most horrendous things about women on this site, you have to acknowledge that, you see that right? You can understand how women would be astonished to see such hate right? At the same time this doesn’t negate the hateful women who post here nor the kind men and women. It’s just hard not to see the negative talk about one’s own gender as brightest and most glaring is all. Just as you noticed it yourself about yours 🙂

        2. Adrian

           

          Hi Callie,

          Thanks for your comment, I always enjoy your insight on matters.

          …   …   …

          The reason I commented to Bronze instead of Buck was because Buck already acknowledged that he was in a dark place and he acknowledged that he had to work on himself to see the positive as well as the negative of this site.

          Bronze on the other hand made it seem as if Evan was glorifying sleeping with as many women as he could. Also Bronze unlike Buck was promoting getting away from this site to escape the negativity. But as “S” and many other commenters through the years have said, compared to other comments forms, this one is an Eden of civility-perfect no! But better than a lot out there as far as I have seen.

          …   …   …

          As far as your comment about negative men on this site, that is true, but I am wondering how long have you been reading this blog? Because besides Evan, I have also (along with Karl R and a few others) went toe-to-toe with many male commenters who have said some horrible things about women. Likewise many women have stood up (though as you have said many guys don’t acknowledge it) when a female commenter makes a horrible statement about all men.

      2. 30.3.2
        S.

        This is to Callie, though it won’t let me reply directly to her response; nor has it a number to refer to. Partly to Bronze’s reply as well.

        I’m sure Buck will chime in, but from his post he said “As it happened some of the first posts I encountered were blanket condemnations of men in my age group.”  But he doesn’t say when he first came to Evan’s blogs.  I came here in 2012 and I just usually read.  Didn’t comment.  I bought Why He Disappeared in 2012 which helps me remember the year. I’ve posted a few times but it’s so rare I forget what name I originally used.  I think there is another S. on here too which doesn’t surprise me, since I rarely post.

        In my four years here, I think it really depends on the post.  I was just rereading the post about Why Women in their 30s 0s Don’t want to Date Men in their 40.  1496 comments.  Most not very flattering to women over 40.  I wasn’t even 40 when I first read it, but even so I could have taken that personally.   I mean hopefully we’ll all turn 40, right? Even though men wrote in, it again is so at odds with what men (both men I date and friends) I know express in real life. I know these three or four commenters are actual men, but I don’t extrapolate that to mean all men feel the way they do in the words they put it. Maybe men do; I dunno.  But it’s just said so nastily and most people I know are far more careful in how they say things, even online.  My experience here also differs because this is the first time anyone has responded to a post of mine, other than Evan (which I appreciated).  Bitter comments may sting more if it’s in response to your own words.

        I have gone to other blogs were both men and women are pretty bitter.  I’ve actually stopped visiting such blogs.  By comparison to those other blogs, this one is sunshine and light!  Maybe happy people just stay away from negativity and then you’re left with very unhappy, but vocal commenters.  I myself may have found what I’ve needed from this blog.  Evan says the same things, year after year, month after month.  After awhile, it either sinks in or it doesn’t.

        The disconnect between men and women isn’t being bridged.  Not with Evan’s advice, not with comments, not with real life experiences.  I can’t put my finger on why that is. I feel like both men and women feel they have to compromise on attraction when Evan hasn’t said that.  There seems to be this intense rush to find someone, even in people who don’t want kids.  Men seem to really, really want sex, sometimes only sex. Women really want commitment.  From the comments, there is no sense of compromise, unless it’s of important things like some attraction, compatibility, and things that actually make a relationship worthwhile.  I think frustrated folks need to do as Buck did.  Chill, take a step, back and focus on making yourself happy.  Alone.  You can be alone and happy.  It doesn’t mean you have alone forever or have to be celibate forever.  It’s just a break.  But the post originally was about being happy and about life being what you make of it.  I can’t see how the people who are so angry and bitter can possibly be happy and open to love.  It’s really difficult to see how love would blossom that way.
        I appreciate everyone’s comments.  I take them to reinforce that there are positive people on this blog and I’ll continue to believe that.

        1. Callie

          I agree with all of this. Totally. I was merely pointing out why a woman will come here and notice the negative things men say about women more likely than women saying negative things about men, and vice versa with men seeing the negative things women say about men but not what men are saying about women. That people have biases, and people are invested in themselves and can sometimes not notice everything else around them.

          That being said I wasn’t condoning such actions. But rather I was hoping in an attempt to draw attention to how we all have biases we can learn and grow and recognize at times when those biases come into play and in doing so not fall prey to them. Buck did something so so so rare and something so admirable. He realised his own biases, realised what issues he was bringing to the table that was causing his particular outlook and took a step back to work on those. I wish more of us, men and women alike, would follow his example. I really do.

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