Why Reality Sucks, Fantasy Rules, and My Advice May Make You Upset

I get lots of emails from readers. They generally fall into three types:

1) Praise – easily my favorite kind of note.

Just wanted to say that yours is the first love advice column I have read on Yahoo that didn’t seem shallow…It actually makes sense and seems right on target to me!

2) Hate mail – very entertaining, especially when I read them aloud to Mom.

I hope you know that your dating advice is such fucking garbage. Get a real job, prick.

3) Frustrated dating questions – heart-wrenching and all-too common.

I always meet men who are womanizers no matter how hard I screen them.  I am so attractive and classy and don’t know why they humiliate me in public but they ALL do it. Are all men just like this?

Not surprisingly, it’s the final category that I spend the most time on.

Now, despite what you may think, I don’t have an axe to grind against anyone. If men tell me I’m too harsh on men and women tell me I’m too harsh on women, I’m pretty sure I’m doing something right.

As a dating coach, it would be easy to simply validate every reader who asks a question. Tell her exactly what she wants to hear. I could write to the woman above that, yes, she’s an attractive, classy woman and that, yes, she deserves a lot better than these womanizing jerks. I’d add that there are definitely some nice guys out there, so she should keep on looking. Good luck and Godspeed!

Did you learn anything from that?

I didn’t think so.

Clearly not ALL men can be scum. But some men will always be bastards.

My real advice to her would be to assess why she keeps on choosing womanizers. That’s her big problem. Lots of women end up with monogamous men, so clearly not ALL men can be scum. But some men will always be bastards. So why does she end up with them? That’s for HER to figure out, not the womanizer.

If you feel your blood pressure rising, and you think that if only “experts” like me placed the proper blame on men, this would all go away, I respectfully disagree. Jackass men don’t read my blog. Only people who are looking for a dose of truth, humor, and insight do.

Yes, I get it: Men are wrong. Men lie for sex. Men string women along. No argument here. But there is no power in pointing out the obvious. You know why? Because YOU CAN’T CHANGE MEN!

We can complain to the high heavens about guys and their immoral behavior, and guess what? Tomorrow, some douchebag is going to sleep with a woman he doesn’t care about and then never call her again. And around and around we go.

So…since you can’t change men and I can’t change men, how can we make sure that a) You don’t keep dating womanizers, and b) You understand that this is the way some men are, no matter how much we wish they weren’t.

If you’re a reader who has had it up to here with the opposite sex, I see my job as pointing the other side of the story. I don’t TAKE the other side. I just observe it.

Unfortunately, this approach tends to incite anger. The proverbial “shooting of the messenger”….

Let’s say I observe that a significant number of people lie in their online dating profiles. My advice, therefore, becomes “Don’t expect people to tell the truth in their online dating profiles.” I’m not telling people TO lie in their profiles. I’m not defending people who ARE lying in their profiles. I’m saying that people DO lie in their profiles. And if most people are insecure about their height, weight, age or photo, don’t be too upset or surprised when you see this happen again and again.

Instead of being perpetually outraged that men hurt women and women hurt men, how can we try to rise above it?

This applies to any way in which you’ve been wronged. And believe me, I hear it all.

“Tell women that we’re not just wallets who escort them all over town!”

“Tell men that they shouldn’t sleep with us if they don’t have long-term intentions!”

“Tell women that they should just stop playing games!”

“Tell men to stop being so superficial!”

Are you seeing a pattern here? Blame. Blame. Blame. Blame.

And what good does it do?

Do you actually think that it would make a difference if I said, “Men, you should start preferring full-figured women!”? Or “Women, you should start preferring short men. And guys who make less than $50,000/year. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”

That’s not advice. It’s wishful thinking.

Saying: “Women generally prefer taller men” or “Men generally prefer thinner women,” is not a value judgment against short men or curvy women. It’s an observation about the world. It acknowledges how tough and unfair it is.

Yeah, the negativity can get you down. The bad experiences can pile up. The lack of trust can be pretty staggering. Still, what choice to we have but to soldier on and make the best of things? So instead of being perpetually outraged that men hurt women and women hurt men, how can we try to rise above it? How can we see the world a little clearer? How can we navigate these choppy waters a little safer, as opposed to dreaming that they’ll magically turn placid?


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  1. 1

    I actually agree with you 100%, Evan. People like to vent in frustrating situations, myself included. Your advice is some of the best out there.

  2. 2

    Please tell these readers–especially the ones who keep making the same mistakes over and over again–to get some therapy.

    You give great advice for those who are able to hear it. But some of these folks are deep denial about their problems and that’s why they react defensively.

  3. 3

    Thank you for your complete honestly. Dating can be very tough, but being real with oneself about why they are single or not finding luck in love is the bottom line. I feel like you are able to draw this out of people, whether they are willing to accept or not. Tough love is necessary when giving dating advice, since too many want to sugar coat.
    I have put a lot of your advice to use. No success yet, but I’m patient. I’ll keep reading on.
    Thanks Evan!

  4. 4

    You are so right on!! The blame game is just an excuse… and an excuse, is just that…

    Keep up the good work! I’ve learned more about men and dating in the last few months reading your blog than I had in the last 10 years of dating men!


  5. 5
    tom pandolfo

    Reality can suck, fantasy occasionally rules, but your article makes sense.

  6. 6

    Paraphrased from a Stephen King short story titled “Quitters, Inc.”:

    When a romantic tries and fails, he is praised. When a pragmaticist tries and succeeds, he is scorned.

    Keep succeeding.

  7. 7


    What you say is SOO true. I have come to the same conclusions and observations from my own personal life, discussions with both men and women, and experiences with online dating (and reading profiles). Many do need to change expectations, face themselves fully (with humor would help), and just take a chance. Learning ones own preferences and communicating them, learning how to read cues from others, and developing better judgement leads to more chance for success. Also just plain luck!

    Good luck to all, and Evan keep writing!


  8. 8

    Bravo! Very well said. As Boz Skaggs once sang, “check out your own backyard, before you go checking someone else’s …”

  9. 9

    Well here’s another easy to read response – Way to go, Evan! I love your approach – you are clear, concise, and open about what you think – with out being condescending to women or men. I hate the “how to nab him or her” advice columns that do nothing but put down people. They seem to assume that all women and/ or men are doing the same thing, and that none of us are level headed and can listen to advice, and deem to talk like we are nerdy adolescents. We all make mistakes and sometimes need someone else to point them out. Its like how I never realize ive gained or lost weight until i look at pics of myself- an extra lens can add focus.

  10. 10


    I just wanted to share with you that you have a really great website. All your advice is straightforward makes a lot of sense,

    I read your dating advice on a regular basis and I admit that I really feel that I learned a lot from it. I even referred it to a friend who thanked me for it.
    Even though I am over 40… I believe you should always be open to learn and willing to make changes in your life. If that change is your outlook on dating, relationships. Why not!

    Thank you

  11. 11

    Well I will say it this way: Evan your advice/observations are clear, concise, and I do appreciate how you get to the bottom line of things. I believe it works for people who are really serious and motivated to find the right person.

  12. 12

    I’m a tall man who likes curvy/fuller figured women. And still have no luck in dating. Does that confound any of your theories…?

    1. 12.1

      I am somewhat similar, only 5’8″ though, so not tall.
      I prefer average/plain women with smaller breasts and breeding hips.

      I have recently met a woman through online dating that I hope turns into something serious.  For now I am enjoying the relationship and getting to know her better.

  13. 13
    Parker Lee | howtomingle.com

    wow. good stuff Evan, I seriously respect your advice. very legit.

  14. 14
    Denver Julie

    I have been following your blog for about a month now and I find that I find my dates seem more interesting, attractive, fun, and (quite honestly) men I would like to get to know better and possibly date long term.  So, that’s an improvement and I thank you.  Where I’m still struggling is that I’m having a hard time getting out of the starting gate.  I can attract men I like and they do take me out once or twice but then they go ghost on me.  I wish I knew what I was doing on those first few dates that keep me stuck in the mud. 

  15. 15

    Reality is harder for women to find than men.  Women get flattering attention given to them by most men, including desired men who would never consider a long term relationship with them.  The very few men women find attractive define women’s experience.  If you are an attractive male, a one night stand with a fatty or a smoker or high maintenance fashionista with self esteem issues is fine.  A lifetime no?  So 60% of women sometimes score with 5% of men and think that they can do it all the time.  As per my occasional landlady’s little sister who once dated the lead singer of a death metal band but it wasn’t very successful.  Now he operates a capstan (unskilled varient of lathe) lathe.  But now no ordinary boy will do (she’s 26: the term boy applies these days, albeit he’s 42).

  16. 16

    It can be hard to wrap our heads around the fact that these disappointing experiences aren’t just randomly happening to us. We choose them or contribute.  I get that anyone can be unlucky but not month after month or year after year. “Take responsibility” is easily misread as “the other person is not responsible” or “it’s your fault”, hence the defensiveness.

  17. 17
    Very Serious

    well there are certainly just too many Very High Maintenance Women out there nowadays, and they are without a doubt such Losers.

  18. 18

    I see your point, and, it’s a fair one, Mark. I DO get frustrated when people (not just you) make observations about guys. Why? Because, well, there are a lot of good, well-meaning guys out there today, but, not a lot of men. I for one am sick of it. I am personally to the point where I don’t even see the point of the male species anymore as I have basically rendered them useless except for reproduction purposes. Seriously. They are lazy, they don’t know how to treat women, they don’t know what they want, they have no social skills or passion, they’re insecure, they don’t know how to plan a damn date or make a woman feel special, they don’t even know how to ask for a phone number, and, even if they do, they don’t even call, they don’t have jobs half the time, they don’t pursue you, they are self-centered, and, completely useless. On the other hand, they think they deserve a woman in her 20’s with a great body…and really, that’s it. That’s all they care about because they are THAT stupid. It doesn’t matter how fleeting beauty actually is…that’s all they actually care about because somehow it validates their tiny little penises that they are a man if they get a “hottie.” Oh, and, she has to fawn over him and make him feel like a king, and stay beautiful (better not gain too much weight or get too old)…and she’s supposed to do all of this even though he has literally NOTHING to bring to the table. And, you know what, when I was in my 20’s, I was stupid enough to exhibit that kind of behavior because I had a much different perspective of men and relationships back then. I used to think guys were honorable men back then. I used to have a fairy tale mindset towards love and romance, until I realized just how unbelievably disappointing the guys of my generation are. My dad set the standard for how men are supposed to treat women. I see how he treats my mom and myself. Likewise, my brother treats his wife with the same care and attention. Guys today clearly didn’t have the same upbringing because the very basics of chivalry and courtship are lost on them. I’m not a lesbian by any means, but, I also don’t see how any point in relationships with “men” anymore. The ones who do pursue are completely needy and insecure and I’m far too independent for that now. Facts are facts, yes. And, I can’t argue with you, Mark, for observing the facts about men. It’s true, men are scumbags. But, you can’t argue with women for being completely underwhelmed with these guys, either. Your true observations offends us not because of the messenger, as you put it, but, because of the message we all know deep down inside to be true…we find “men” today offensive. They aren’t honorable…most of the time they aren’t even nice! And, if they are, they’re a complete pussy. They don’t represent someone we’d be interested in having in our lives. And, that sucks for us because at our core, we had higher hopes for our love lives. But, hey, we’re only half of the equation. As long as men’s magazines and the media are giving men advice on what women want, we’re pretty much screwed. Seriously, I’ve read that shit they feed men about what women want and I’ve seen how they objectify women as nothing more than sex objects. There is nothing in those magazines about respecting women or how to thrill her during a first date or how to act like a man so she’ll respect you. It’s all about how to get into her panties, how to please her in bed, how to put her down so she’ll want you more. If that’s the direction they keep going, we’re pretty much screwed if we had any hope left for a love life. Men look for sex only now and not love/commitment because that’s what they are taught. They aren’t taught respect or chivalry. They are taught to fight women who don’t put up with their shit or run from her. Unfortunately, women also aren’t taught how to respect themselves, so, they allow themselves to get hurt because they don’t know any better. They think if they give their bodies for sex, they will get love, and men know how gullible these women are and so they prey on them like the cowards they are. Once again, they are completely useless and void of respect. You show me a man I can respect and I will show you a man I would fall in love with. Unfortunately, the ones I respect are few and far between and the ones who are are married and/or related to me.

    1. 18.1

      goldielox, there are so many things to address in your comments that I will only mention a few points.
      1. You definitely sound bitter, which will color your view and make most good men not want anything to do with you.
      2. There are a lot of good men out there, how many of them are you ruling out due to their looks, age, height, income, etc.?
      3. You can thank women’s lib, feminism, and the destruction of the family (ie. no good male role models for most boys) for a lot of the reason why many men don’t act like “traditional men”.
      4. It sounds like you are looking for a man who is your dad.  I have bad news for you, only your dad is your dad.  Don’t expect any other man to be him.

  19. 19

    Not With That Attitude your not goldielox

    And that’s a fact

    The Fact Is that man are very much fine with ultimately marrying a women thats a 5 out of 10.
    No that’s NOT a low score that literally means Average. It’s not settling. Men don’t want fat women
    but most not fat women have at least average faces (at least half Do).

    The truth is that most men don’t want to marry a 10. Not because they don’t want a very attractive women but because those women Usually have very different lifestyles. There usally dependent on the men because men who only go for those 10’s do everything for them.

    Everyone else though doesn’t Not only want to compete with those men but they don’t want those quality of women .There horrible Wives.

    What most men actually want in terms of marrying a women is there Complacency lifestly.e
    So if men expect the women to do certain activities whether its cooking, cleaning, laundy, dishes, looking after the kids, or working, whatever it is they EXPECT that to continue after they get married. The problem is it usually doesn’t.

    So If a man doesn’t work and you don’t like those men Don’t date them because you think he may decide to work. Also if a men expects you to cook, don’t just cook for him so he get;s married and then leave him with that burden. That’s Never ends well.

    Both Women and Men want Complacency from before you met them. They want to maintain everything they had before they meet you Unless they wanted to actually change it. If you wanted them to change it then that won’t go well.

  20. 20

    Well I’m one of the women writing to tell you thank you! Your blog has helped me so much. It hurt to hear what I did wrong but I absolutely needed to hear the truth. Now I’m with a man who is excited to meet me, plans our trips, and wants to see me as often as he can. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us!

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