What Do I Do If I’m Not Attracted to Any Men?

What Do I Do If I’m Not Attracted to Any Men?
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It’s been 2 years since my last relationship. I have been celibate since. I thought I was ready to date again but when I have been out I don’t have any men I meet attractive. I mean I am not attracted to them physically. I have not had this problem before. I don’t think I am a lesbian but this is a new experience and shocking for me. Is something wrong with me? I really want to find a new love but how do I even start if I don’t feel any attraction to a guy?
Please help.

-Lynne

I hear this question every single day. And I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer I can give you that everyone will agree with.

So let’s establish a few things as generally true.

  • Men are broadly attracted to most women, which is why women receive more emails than men on dating sites. Yes, the MOST attractive women receive the most emails, but there’s a pretty predictable bell curve that shows that even average/below average women get some attention online.
  • Women are mostly NOT attracted to most men. Studies show that women find 80% of men below average in physical attractiveness, and that’s before we evaluate their other qualities – intelligence, kindness, emotional availability. My personal experience shows that my clients find less than 10% of men attractive enough to even WRITE TO on a dating site.
  • Next, men are more generally able to separate sex from emotion – and will sleep with mostly whoever is willing if they’re in a sex drought. A few drinks and a little loneliness is all it takes for a man to have a one-night stand with a woman he wouldn’t necessarily find attractive in the light of day.
  • Women are less likely to separate sex from emotion – and even if they do, are unlikely to drink five beers and slum it with a man in the bottom 80%.
  • Most of us aren’t as attractive as we age. Our skin sags, our hair greys, our bodies thicken. That makes finding others attractive even more challenging over time.

Add it all together, Lynne, and what you have is your current state of affairs – one which defies any sort of advice. After all, attraction isn’t a choice. A man can’t negotiate with you to find him attractive. I can’t tell you to become attracted to someone against your will.

After all, attraction isn’t a choice. A man can’t negotiate with you to find him attractive.

What I would share is this handy anecdote that I trot out from time to time.

A dozen years ago, I was coaching a woman who found nobody attractive.

She went to a seminar with a “man panel.” Three men sitting on stage with microphones. My client is in the crowd, looking these men up and down and concluding that none of them are her type. Guy on the left looks too old, guy in the middle is too short, guy on the right is too heavy. Then, the men start talking.

Turns out that each of them was smart, funny, charismatic, self-aware and relationship-oriented. By the time they were done, my client came to the conclusion that she actually WOULD date any of these three men.

When she came to our next session, she told me this story and pointed out to me that THESE were the men she was passing up on Match every day.

Thus the answer is not to FORCE yourself to go out with unattractive men; it’s to give a chance to guys on the borderline – the 6’s, if you will. You may just discover, as most of my happily married clients do, that these men often turn into 9’s when he’s making you laugh, treating you right and pleasing you in bed.

Thanks for the question and remember, you’re not alone.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Maxine Brickner

    Yes. Definitely agree. I took Evans advice and it Happened to me and I found a great man and I am blissfully happy and living a life with him I never could have imagined.

  2. 2
    Selena

    Evan, question: why are recent reader comments no longer showing up on the side bar?

    Will that be fixed, or has it been dropped as a feature?

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      It’s been dropped.

  3. 3
    Adrian

    Hello Lynne,

    According to the research people are attracted to those who they think are on the same physical attractiveness level as themselves. So maybe it’s not that you no longer find men attractive but perhaps the current options you see before you are just lackluster men.

    Online dating offers quantity but with abundance of attractive men there will be an abundance of unattractive men; ultimately online dating is more of a game in patience, perseverance, and diligence…

    Also be careful as to not over rate yourself unrealistically and not to underrate (unfairly) all your male dating options. Once I started dating again I posted a few pics on the site Hot or Not to get a general idea of where I stood and I was rated an 8.6 which boasted my confidence but it also made me a little to picky so be-careful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzG0_aU_Fn0

    1. 3.1
      Allen

      Great video! I love when science contradicts dating hypocrisy. Especially the part when he said why so many people claim that personality is more important than beauty. They are projecting their own insecurities with Ad Hominem attacks on attractive people and on people who want to date attractive people by calling them all shallow or by making up B.S like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

      As far as people over rating their looks, I think both genders do this but women do it more however, it’s not solely their faults. Men are not as picky as women so a man regardless of his looks will date women from all levels above and below himself indiscriminately. If a women who is a 5 in looks gets a guy who is a 7 then she will no longer settle for dating men lower than 7 because in her mind she can gets 7’s so she must be a 7. It doesn’t matter if she only dated a 7 once. The irony is that if she does ultimately end up with a 5 then in her mind she settled.

      This never happens to men because most men have a more realistic view of where they stand on the dating hierarchy due to the fact that more men approach. After a couple dozen rejections a person knows who is more likely to accept their date offers. And if a guy who is a 5 in looks ends up with a women who is a 7 he doesn’t think he is a 7, nor does he now only go after 7’s. He treats that 7 like she is out of his league and if he ultimately ends up with a 5 he doesn’t feel that he settled.

      1. 3.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Actually, men overrate their looks more. Or at least overestimate them wildly. Online dating consists of a lot of male 3s reaching out to female 9s.

        1. Allen

          I can not argue with you on that since you have more access to female profiles than I do. Nevertheless, you bring up an excellent point; I should have distinguished online and offline in my comment.

          But I wonder if that is an example of men overrating themselves or is it just men being bold because they know they can hide behind the keyboard. Offline 99% of those male 3’s wouldn’t even have the balls to approach a female 4.

          Also didn’t you say women do this as well? So maybe your example is more of a online issue than an overrating one’s self issue. Kind of how a person will be an aggressively bold troll on someone’s website but be silent when in the actual person’s face.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Evan

          I honestly believe that male 3s reaching out to female 9s is more a case of nothing to lose instead of men overrating their looks. If a man is a 3, he knows that he is going to get rejected by almost all of the women on a dating site, so why not go big? Getting rejected by a much hotter woman stings less than getting rejected by a woman lower in the social hierarchy for most men. Allen is correct in that most male 3s would never approach a female 9 in person. I seriously doubt that a male 3 could get close enough to a female 9 to make a move in person before she would take steps to increase the distance.

    2. 3.2
      Seth

      @Adrian
      Read your comment below where you said this
      **************************************************************
      I’ll be the first to admit that looks matter but looks only gets you dates it doesn’t guarantee you a relationship-and that not even a guarantee because just as many women/men will avoid you if you are too good looking as those who come near you because of your looks. When people see me in person and then hear that I’m single they usually assume the reason is that I’m gay or that I am too picky, or something negative about my personality.

      Many people honestly believe that being athletic & attractive gives you the power to just walk into a room and the opposite sex will start jumping over each other to fall at your feet begging to be with you.

      I can’t speak for anyone else but for me what I’ve found is the opposite. People always assume that you already have a partner, people assume that you are arrogant, stuck-up & vain, and people assume that you are a cheater or will cheat. Oh and women assume that you are some kind of super-Alpha so not only will they not approach you but they intentionally make themselves aloof because they think to even give you a sign that they are open to be approached is somehow a sign of weakness that just feeds your “obvious” inflated ego or it ruins your Alpha need to hunt B.S.

      I get approached or flirted with by young girls all the time but women my age or a little older Ha!… It’s always some kind of game or female version of PUA/The Rules B.S. And due to my anxious personality I always see those type of tactics as signs she isn’t into me so I move on… Which is what leads to me finding out later that she was into me or really liked me and I’m the arrogant jerk leaving and hurting her…
      **************************************************************

      I don’t know your age or anything, but I am in a similar boat.
      I have an athletic physique, look younger than what I am…..
      But the times I have talked to women, its rather intriguing to hear what they say and how they view me.
      One of the constant things I have heard is “you are intimidating”.
      Even though I don’t know what it is that I am doing. I try to be friendly and inviting.

      So I am really at a loss at this point with how to approach women or how to look and see if a woman that I am interested in is interested in me.

      1. 3.2.1
        sylvana

        Seth, Adrian,

        Adrian, thanks for raising that point 🙂 Seth, you are both onto something. Most women I’ve ever met would not consider a very attractive man relationship material (sex is different). We women are well-aware that he has too many options. As Adrian has said, cheating is a big concern with that. Also, men have a habit of forever drooling over every hot woman out there. Bad enough to deal with when you know he likely wouldn’t stand a chance. Worse when women are drooling right back over him. (It also creates a sense of being in constant competition with other women). We do also instantly assume that his personality will be crap. Wrong of us, but many good-looking men are stuck up and conceited, just like many gorgeous women are. Although this is something you guys will have an easier time proving wrong.

        The intimidating does come from part cheating concerns, part the clear appearance of greater physical strength, part the subconscious association with greater aggression and dominance. And part of it might just be that your ARE naturally more dominant. No matter how friendly, nice, and inviting you are, people do pick up on that (and there isn’t a thing you can do to hide it).

        Women tend to look for comfort when it comes to a relationship partner. And a well-built, good looking man tends to cause more anxiety (for multiple reasons) than feelings of comfort. There was a funny video on youtube that asked women to rate men in order of which they would prefer to date. Various body styles were used. The men in the video as well as in all the comments were shocked when 80% of women chose the same number. A guy with an overall nice built, but a bit of extra cushion. All women answered the same when asked why: He seemed more approachable, more laid-back, not so intense, and overall emotionally and physically safer to them than the better-built guys, but still attractive enough (compared to the ones with chubbier bodies – who were actually still more preferred than the gym pretty ones).

        I’d say don’t change a thing. Just keep trying. You’ll find the right woman for you 🙂 And don’t get discouraged. Depending on what type of women you like, you might also have more luck with women who lean a little more toward submissive rather than just sweet, or even a little more toward dominant (not drastically, just not as easily intimidated). The pretty/beautiful/hot sweet and nice ones in the medium range might be a bit more of a problem to convince (although it can be done).

        1. Seth

          @sylvana
          Thank you for the insight and your input. Definitely sheds some light on things I suppose I have not considered
          I would say women assume that guys like us (me) have plenty of options, but in reality I know I don’t.
          I have come a long way with how I interact with women so I am more comfortable around them now….but put me in front of a person I am attracted to and would like to pursue a relationship with and I revert back to the introvert I used to be years ago….absolutely have no idea what to say to her. Or how to carry on a conversation, so of course I get lost in my head. And nothing ever happens or I refuse to walk over and talk to her.
          Really sucks at times.

        2. sylvana

          Seth,

          you sound like an awesome guy 🙂 And I believe you. I’ve never paid much attention to people’s looks. I focus only on the energy a person gives out. So I’ve learned early on that there are a lot of good-looking, even hot guys who are introverts, shy, or even men who maintain their bodies because they think they’re not good enough.

          I can completely relate to your problem, too. Not only with men I’m interested in, but with people in general, other women mostly. With 99% of women, I swear my brain just flatlines. I have absolutely no idea what to say to them, or what to talk to them about. Men are a bit easier, because I tend to at least have common interests with them which we can discuss.

          And then there are a few people I just click with, and I turn into a chatterbox. Or a few who piss me off…lol That’ll get me going too (as most on this comment board will happily attest to).

          Have you tried shyer women? Other introverts? You might think two introverts would not find anything to talk about, but you guys can always have a funny pity party, and lament about your common experiences. Laugh and bond about the fact that neither one of you can come up with anything to say. Take the awkwardness out of it. Sometimes I think you might be better off using being an introvert as a strength, rather than trying to suppress it. Who knows, you might just find a friendly, outgoing chatterbox who won’t care if you don’t have much to say. Or at least a woman who can understand you or relate to you. If you try to hide, mask, or overcome it, women might just think you just don’t click.

          But, as I said, I feel your pain. That totally blank, flatlined brain moment is one I experience on a regular basis.

          Best I can say is: Own it. Whether you approach women online or in person, just approach with: “Hi. I’m a total introvert. I’ll probably not come up with anything to say, let alone anything smart or witty. But I like you, and would like to get to know you better. And my fingers are crossed that you’ll be more than happy to tell me your whole life story, so you won’t notice I haven’t said much myself. On the upside, you’ll have a very attentive listener. And who knows, in the telling of your life story, some common interest will come up that’ll spark my brain into forming words.”

          Might not work, but what do you have to lose?

        3. Mike

          Hi sylvana,

          Very interesting! But anyways yeah, what you are saying is something I observed to be true. It seems to be the people whom most others would consider to be a “7”s and “8” who have the most natural success. (Forgive me for using the 0–10 rating scale, but in this instance it does provide a concise way to put what I’ve been observing.)

        4. Seth

          @sylvana
          Thank you for the well thought out response.
          The only problem with finding a “Shy Girl” is we would both never talk or approach each other. LOL
          But I do fine with women who like to chat away…it’s the getting to that point that is hard for me. 😀

          On a side note….I have met someone through Redditt of all places….and so far we have gotten along pretty good….so I am excited about this.
          Downside, she is about 2 hours from me. 🙁

  4. 4
    Shaukat

    Good post. Given this reality, as well as the new dynamic created by the swiping apps, I don’t see how it’s in men’s interest to traditionally court women anymore, but we can leave that debate alone I suppose.

    1. 4.1
      Marika

      There are some douchey women around who think they are too amazing for everyone.

      Equally, there are some douchey men around who’ll lie, cheat and use you.

      Why ‘this reality’ (bad daters are no new thing) means you should stop courting a woman you really like is beyond me. Feel free to text chicks at 10pm and ask them to drive to your house – some will – but is this really all you want? Do you think it’s in your best interests to find a partner that way? Up to you, of course.

      1. 4.1.1
        Shaukat

        @Marika,

        When I say “court” I’m referring to paying for them on the first date, not planning, or following up, or showing kindness. I’ve been going dutch for the last year and it’s never stopped a woman who was actually interested in me from showing excitement for a second date.

        And this has nothing to do with “some women.” What Evan just named as the reality of Online dating is a general rule. And no offense Marika, but considering that you’re 5’10, blond, and look like Kirsten Dunst ( I think you said that once) it’s honestly a bit bewildering that you’re still single. From your posts you convey that you’re empathetic, grounded, fun, and playful, so really not sure what the issue might be.

        1. Marika

          Oh okay, yes, I’ve happily gone halves in dates. It’s not a big drama for me.

          Appreciate what you said, S. Why would I take offense – what you said was a compliment 😉 But…and I cleared this up once before, I said I ‘sort of’ look *a bit* like KD (I’ve been told). There’s a *vague* resemblance. And not so much now as I’ve grown my hair.

          The issue is mainly me and picking the wrong people. I’m also on the wrong side of the wall (oh and not Asian/Eastern European..haha, jokes!). I have no trouble getting dates…but relationships involve a lot more than being tall and thin, and are about two people. I do have to say that I find a real lack of empathy/support/thick & thin mentality/care and attention, certainly in the men I choose. My skin is not thick. That’s why some of the comments on the other thread are massively annoying me.

          Guys also push for sex way sooner than I’m comfortable with. It’s a problem I constantly face. Then I give the spiel Evan gave us but it doesn’t ring overly true because I am quite anxious about putting up boundaries…Anyway, there are lots of reasons my first dates don’t necessarily turn into anything. I also feel that guys take that as a rejection of them and their sex appeal. But it’s not that…

          I am grateful I have access to a lot of first dates, and I appreciate guys don’t really have that as easily (there are other things they don’t have to deal with though – there’s also a study saying 50 yo men at at their online peak !). I’m also dealing with a lot of divorced Dads and other guys who are a bit scarred by their exes/life experiences. And I’m having too much fun with my friends atm!!

        2. Adrian

          Hi Shaukat,

          You said, “it’s honestly a bit bewildering that you’re still single… so really not sure what the issue might be.”

          Not to intrude on your conversation with Marika but I’ve heard a version of this so many times since I started dating again; and usually it’s by men.

          I’ll be the first to admit that looks matter but looks only gets you dates it doesn’t guarantee you a relationship-and that not even a guarantee because just as many women/men will avoid you if you are too good looking as those who come near you because of your looks. When people see me in person and then hear that I’m single they usually assume the reason is that I’m gay or that I am too picky, or something negative about my personality.

          Many people honestly believe that being athletic & attractive gives you the power to just walk into a room and the opposite sex will start jumping over each other to fall at your feet begging to be with you.

          I can’t speak for anyone else but for me what I’ve found is the opposite. People always assume that you already have a partner, people assume that you are arrogant, stuck-up & vain, and people assume that you are a cheater or will cheat. Oh and women assume that you are some kind of super-Alpha so not only will they not approach you but they intentionally make themselves aloof because they think to even give you a sign that they are open to be approached is somehow a sign of weakness that just feeds your “obvious” inflated ego or it ruins your Alpha need to hunt B.S.

          I get approached or flirted with by young girls all the time but women my age or a little older Ha!… It’s always some kind of game or female version of PUA/The Rules B.S. And due to my anxious personality I always see those type of tactics as signs she isn’t into me so I move on… Which is what leads to me finding out later that she was into me or really liked me and I’m the arrogant jerk leaving and hurting her…

    2. 4.2
      Clare

      Shaukat,

      I also am failing to see the connection between the two. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

      Go ahead and put minimal effort into your dating prospects – the dating police is not going to stop you – quality women will stay far, far away from you.

      1. 4.2.1
        Shaukat

        @Clare,

        Again, by not courting I simply mean going dutch. In experience, South African women are fine with that, as are many empathetic North American women. One thing I’ve learned is that no matter how well a first date goes, there’s no guarantee of a second date, and I’m simply operating off that assumption. If you’re saying “quality” women won’t accept paying half, well that’s not my definition of quality anyways, so no loss on my end.

        1. Clare

          Shaukat,

          To my mind, “courting” encompasses more (a LOT more) than who pays on the date. I had no idea you were referring to only that. You need to be more specific.
          To me, courting refers to all the effort a man puts in – phoning, asking her out, picking her up, asking her to be his girlfriend, etc. Of course the woman puts in effort too, but “courting” is such an old-fashioned word, it generally refers to the man’s side of the equation.
          If you’re simply referring to going dutch, then sure, many modern women (myself included) don’t mind that.
          On the subject of South African women, you’re right most are perfectly easygoing about paying for themselves. But we very rarely have to in the beginning stages of dating.
          I’ve said this before, but I’ve been on maybe 60 or 70 first dates in the last 10 years and paid for myself on 2 of them, even though I always offer. My boyfriend to this day insists on paying for dates. In fact, I recently tried to put my foot down about treating him to dinner and he had paid the waitress before I even got my wallet out of my handbag. South African men are pretty traditional.

        2. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          I think we’ve talked repeatedly on here about no-cost or low-cost first dates. I would use those options before I’d go Dutch. The problem with asking the woman to go Dutch is that, whether you are or not, it could come across like you’re cheap or tight with your money. I have found people who are tight with their money tend to be tight with their emotions. So a woman you actually like could say no to a second date thinking “this guy is tight and dating him will be like trying to open a clam.”

        3. Clare

          Emily,

          Agree completely about the low cost/no cost date. In my opinion, a first date should not be a grand affair in any case. I feel the focus should be talking and feeling out how much you enjoy the other person’s company and whether the interest is there to spend more time together. For me personally, my best first dates have *never* consisted of three course meals. They’ve been dates where we’ve had a drink or two and enjoyed talking so much that we passionately made out in the car or back at my place. Or where we were in a lovely relaxed environment like walking on the beach or riding bikes on the promenade.

          I’m not a guy obviously so I don’t really know what it’s like for them, but I’ve always thought that if I was, I would probably pay for a woman if I thought the date had gone well and agree to go dutch if I thought it had not gone well. Can’t people usually tell these things?

        4. Emily, to

          Miss Clare,
          ” In my opinion, a first date should not be a grand affair in any case. … I feel the focus should be talking and feeling out how much you Or where we were in a lovely relaxed environment like walking on the beach or riding bikes on the promenade.”
          Totally agree. The bigger deal is made of the first date, the more nervous both parties feel. Meet at a state park and go for a hike. It can be something as simple as that.
          ” I would probably pay for a woman if I thought the date had gone well and agree to go dutch if I thought it had not gone well. Can’t people usually tell these things?”
          No. Some men will still make it a point of … for lack of a better description … “putting on a good date” even if they know they don’t want a second. Makes no sense to me. I guess he’s terrified she’ll tell her friends what happened ? I don’t see why he would care, but I’m not one of those people who has to have everyone like me. It’s an impossible goal, anyway. I mean, everyone should be polite and pleasant, but if it’s obvious it’s not going well or one party knows he/she doesn’t want a second date, I’d rather have the man call it a night and say “It’s been nice meeting you.” No need to say he’s going to call if he has no intention of doing so.

      2. 4.2.2
        shaukat

        ‘I would probably pay for a woman if I thought the date had gone well and agree to go dutch if I thought it had not gone well. Can’t people usually tell these things?’

        I’ve gone on amazing first dates that ended in full-blown make-out sessions only to have her decide, after processing her emotions I suppose, that she had a good time but it ‘just wasn’t what she was looking for.’ My new policy didn’t just come out of the blue. And I’m talking several drinks, not full-course meals.

        @Emily,

        Never heard of that correlation, and at any rate, I’m not at all tight with money when it comes to people I know well and care about. I’m talking about a first date, if a woman reaches that decision on a first date I’ll accept that (unfounded) conclusion on her end.

        1. Marika

          I tend to agree Shaukat.

          Unless it’s extreme. Eg a guy who spent most of our date talking about how he was independently wealthy and didn’t need to work, but just managed his investments, who them practically got out a calculator to split our 2 drinks down to the cent. I did feel he was quite cheap and generally clueless. I haven’t felt that way about everyone who splits bills though.

          I also agree you can never really know whether there will be a second date. I think just stick to one policy, whatever you feel comfortable with, whether it be to pay for no dates or the first x. For most Aussie guys the policy seems to be they will pay for the first drink or first date. I don’t think it’s ever been a turnoff for a woman to have that happen, but it’s certainly no guarantee of a second date.

        2. Shaukat

          @Marika,

          Yeah, that’s not my style at all. In fact, last date I recently went on it was clear we weren’t going to see each other again. However, when the bill came I paid it all because the conversation was pleasant and it was only $25. It would have been awkward on insisting to split that amount, and I agree it just comes across as petty.

        3. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “I’m talking about a first date, if a woman reaches that decision on a first date I’ll accept that (unfounded) conclusion on her end.”
          A man not offering to pay would give me pause. Now, if I was super into him, I probably let it slide but if I wasn’t or I was on the fence, that could knock me to the other side of saying no to a second date. I’d worry he’d be one of those egalitarian, modern dudes who don’t appeal to me.

        4. Clare

          Eminem,

          “I’d worry he’d be one of those egalitarian, modern dudes who don’t appeal to me.”

          These don’t appeal to me either. Or I worry he’d be stingy. Having grown up with a father who avoided paying his fair share of maintenance whenever humanly possible, I know I have an issue with stingy men, so I gravitate towards the generous ones (a therapist once told me this is healing for me).

          But context is important on a date. All other things being equal, I don’t mind paying for myself on a date, and if the guy is charming and excellent company and seems like he has potential, I won’t hold it against him. In some ways, each person paying for themselves makes things easier, although I still prefer the masculine/feminine dynamic where the guy pays for the first couple of dates.

          However – as I said, context is important – on both occasions that I did pay for myself on a first date, I had also driven quite far out of my way to meet the guy close to where he lived and spent more than the price of the date on fuel money. I felt the guys in these instances could at least have bought me a drink and to me it was indicative of selfishness. Someone I would want to be with is sensitive to these things. Needless to say, I did not see either of them again.

        5. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “They don’t appeal to me either.”
          Yeah, the “modern man” could be the type who expects the woman to lead. Or he wears a man bun! Not my thing. 🙂
          “But context is important on a date. All other things being equal, I don’t mind paying for myself on a date, and if the guy is charming and excellent company and seems like he has potential, I won’t hold it against him. … although I still prefer the masculine/feminine dynamic where the guy pays for the first couple of dates. … on both occasions that I did pay for myself on a first date, I had also driven quite far out of my way to meet the guy close to where he lived and spent more than the price of the date on fuel money. I felt the guys in these instances could at least have bought me a drink and to me it was indicative of selfishness.”
          Agree with everything you wrote here.

      3. 4.2.3
        shaukat

        ‘although I still prefer the masculine/feminine dynamic where the guy pays for the first couple of dates.’

        Interesting, Clare. You know what else conforms to a certain ‘masculine/feminine’ dynamic? You barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen with zero educational and employment opportunities. It’s funny that ‘modern and egalitarian’ are presumably no longer viewed as pejorative terms (Emily) when referring to the important social movements that did away with such unjust ‘masculine/feminine’ dynamics.

        1. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “It’s funny that ‘modern and egalitarian’ are presumably no longer viewed as pejorative terms (Emily) when referring to the important social movements that did away with such unjust ‘masculine/feminine’ dynamics.”
          You’re smart enough to know that what one likes in terms of sex, relationships and partners can be wildly contradictory with what one believes in intellectually. It happens for both men and women.

        2. Marika

          I think on a first date, ideally (and certainly no one is entitled to this), in addition to getting to know the guy, women love to feel excited and special. This is probably relatively universal.

          I’m not defending it, just explaining it.

          *One* of several ways we can feel special is to have a drink or snack paid for. You go to the bathroom, come back – it’s all sorted. It definitely doesn’t feel special or exciting at the end of a date to do maths and negotiate/ quibble over 5 cents.

          NONE of that means anything other than to explain. Now, I completely understand it’s all an illusion and really, you’re not special: he could have another date lined up for tomorrow, or even later that night. But it *feels* special. Other ways to handle it: sometimes I’ve thanked them for paying and they say, “you can get the next one”. I smile and say “deal”. Whether or not there ends up being a next one…sometimes it’s just a line…
          but I will pay if so, and it’s a cute, flirty, fun way to end the night.

          There are a million other ways of feeling special – choosing a venue near her place, for instance. Being early or at least on time is good (rare, too!!). Suggesting / organising something mentioned in her profile. For instance.

          And, of course, it’s not all about the woman and what feels good to her. And you probably won’t feel inclined to do any of the above if she’s nasty or bad company, or puts no effort in.

          I gurss I’m trying to say it’s what the gesture represents that feels good.

        3. Clare

          Not taking the bait, Shaukat. But nice try 😉

        4. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “Not taking the bait, Shaukat. But nice try”
          You nailed it. Posters tend to get mad if, for example, you write that women like a certain quality and they themselves don’t have that quality or don’t want to provide it. They try to tell you how ridiculous it is or try to disprove it as a concept. Sometimes with diversionary tactics, which is what’s happening here.

        5. Marika

          While I get what you’re saying, ladies, and there’s philosophy – then there’s what works – I think it’s reasonable to try to understand the male perspective here.

          As a guy, Shaukat probably gets a positive response from, say, 1/10 women he contacts online? He probably used to pay for first dates then found half the time there was no second date. Or they were nasty. Or bad company. Or didn’t even reach for their wallets. Etc.

          None of this means that it’s a good idea to lose your charm and not try to make a woman feel special; that’s counterproductive. But I can understand increasingly guys aren’t exactly cheering to buy lots of random women drinks.

        6. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “But I can understand increasingly guys aren’t exactly cheering to buy lots of random women drinks.”
          And Clare and I, not to mention other female posters, have REPEATEDLY suggested no-cost first dates. Particularly if it’s someone you met online but have never met face to face. I’d reserve anything that costs money for date 2.

        7. shaukat

          ‘Posters tend to get mad if, for example, you write that women like a certain quality and they themselves don’t have that quality or don’t want to provide it.’

          Works the other way around as well, Emily. I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve gotten upset because certain male posters have noted that older women simply lack value due to declining fertility, and that there must be something wrong with older single women if they couldn’t find a man when their SMV was peaking in their twenties.

          Also, this entire shaming tactic whereby women who don’t mind not being courted are cast as ‘low quality’ is a type of diversionary tactic as well, since quality, outside of objectively abusive behaviors, is entirely subjective. Suppose I meet a woman off tinder who agrees to meet at my place, we have some drinks, sleep together, and because I find that she checks all my boxes, we enter into an ltr. Do you think it would bother me for a second that some of you might consider her ‘low quality’ because of how she acted on our first meet-up?

          Of course not, just as it shouldn’t bother you that there are certain men who would call the chivalrous behaviors which you find attractive as being the hallmarks of a beta-chump, or that Western women in general are ‘low quality’ because they lack the feminine attributes of East Asian women. I’m not in the camp of men who would say those things btw, but they’re out there, and some even comment on this blog;).

        8. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “Works the other way around as well, Emily. I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve gotten upset because certain male posters have noted that older women simply lack value due to declining fertility, and that there must be something wrong with older single women if they couldn’t find a man when their SMV was peaking in their twenties.”
          I’m going to surprise you with this — I get it. Now that I’ve hit 48, I finally get the older man/younger women pairing. Intellectually, I still think it screams that the older man is insecure, but emotionally I know that middle age sucks and young people are free and unencumbered and of course look better. So why not?
          “Also, this entire shaming tactic whereby women who don’t mind not being courted are cast as ‘low quality’ is a type of diversionary tactic as well, since quality, outside of objectively abusive behaviors, is entirely subjective.”
          That’s projection on your part in terms of what you think. I never wrote anything of this kind. If a woman doesn’t require traditional courting, what do I care?

        9. Marika

          Low/no money dates are fine. I just think it’s important to see both sides of the dating equation; to have empathy and not to approach stuff in terms of a combative male v’s female situation (esp with the moderate male posters like Shaukat). Agree with Shaukat that shaming either gender for not having, or delighting in, traditional roles or attributes just makes everyone feel crap.

        10. Clare

          You know Marika, I feel that I do make a MUCH greater than normal effort to see both sides of the equation. I am fascinated by the male mind, and I also happen to love them as a group, so I put in a lot of time and effort trying to understand their point of view.

          That is why comments like Shaukat’s grate on me so much.

          I can’t tell you how many times (on this very thread!) I have said on this blog how perfectly fine I am paying for myself. Hell, I even told the story recently of how I tried to insist on buying my boyfriend dinner.

          It just so happens that the vast majority of the men I date don’t like to let the woman pay, for the first date at least. I always offer (I have said this repeatedly). Hell, I always reach for my wallet with my own boyfriend, even though he has shown repeatedly that he prefers to pay for our dates.
          Why is it wrong for me to enjoy this dynamic? I don’t enjoy it because of the “free stuff” I get. I enjoy it because I love masculine men. I love seeing how good they feel when they get to swoop in and be the hero of the date – and not just with paying. My boyfriend always insists on picking me up or us going to a place near me because he doesn’t like me driving at night. He likes to know when I’m home safely if I’ve been out. He always, *always* opens my car door for me. If other men and women don’t like this dynamic, that is their prerogative. I do.

          I, in turn, repay him in many feminine ways which I am not going to detail here. I am a more traditional woman. While Shaukat’s allusions to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen do not apply to me, I enjoy the feminine role in other ways. My boyfriend and I have lots of sex, for one thing, partly because there is this polarity between us. I make a huge effort with his family and I smooth things over for him emotionally in a way I think he would find more difficult to do by himself.

          If Shaukat wants to mock this kind of dynamic or imply that I somehow don’t understand traditional masculine/feminine roles, then from my point of view he simply doesn’t have enough insight. It’s pure bait and switch – and not looking at the complexities and many, many factors and nuances which go into a *real* relationship.

          He is free to continue feeling disillusioned with the idea of men having to pay for a first date. Personally, if it were me, at a certain point I would regard that as wasted energy and instead look for a different perspective and a different way of doing things. You can only resent the status quo for so long before it gets tiresome and you yourself have to change something in response.

          I am allowed to enjoy the dynamic I described above because it works for me and the guys I date. Other people’s preferences, opinions, and experiences are allowed to vary. But for God’s sake, this constant moaning about paying and trying to bait women into agreeing how unfair it is is just tiresome. If Shaukat doesn’t like it, no one is holding a gun to his head forcing him to pay. The ironic thing is that I have already said that I WOULD go out with a guy again if we went dutch if he was great company and had potential. Being a good date is more important. This business about who pays is missing the wood for the trees, in my opinion.

        11. Emily, to

          Marika,
          Two issues we’ve discussed before:
          Guess who’s going dancing tomorrow? I got invited out with a group of women, one of whom is in her SEVENTIES, (one of the women’s moms) and I’m looking forward to it. The mom is a man magnet. Young guys … in their 20s, waving at her, bringing her a chair, chatting her up. I am in awe. 🙂
          Also, I had a “come to Jesus” meeting with my roommate. The minute I set foot in the house last night she was right up on me, talking a mile a minute. I said, “I’m not trying to be rude, but I am usually not in a talkative mood when I get home from work.” She’s said about 10 words to me since, but she was not getting it after I said twice before that I often needed downtime. So I knew I was going to have to say something stronger. I don’t want to hurt her feelings but I am not her husband. I don’t need to be informed of everything she’s doing and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want quiet time alone to myself after a 10-hour shift.

        12. jo

          Clare, Emily, Marika – agree with most of what you write here. And this is something that may surprise some men (but is no surprise to us): even feminists love masculine men, and – more importantly to some men – all women RESPECT masculine men. The kind who is willing to show responsibility and thoughtfulness.

        13. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “And this is something that may surprise some men (but is no surprise to us): even feminists love masculine men, and – more importantly to some men – all women RESPECT masculine men. The kind who is willing to show responsibility and thoughtfulness.”
          Totally agree. Women may connect with less masculine men. They may like them. They may be attracted to them. But they respect the masculine ones.

        14. Marika

          How was the dancing night out, Em?? 😉

        15. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “How was the dancing night out, Em?? ”
          Thanks for asking. It was fun but I had too much to drink and am nursing a bad headache right now. I’m such a pathetic lightweight. 🙂

        16. Emily, to

          Marika,
          Question about dancing in Australia: I’m wondering if you’ve experienced this. Happened to my friend last night. The 7 of us ladies are dancing together, he starts dancing with my friend, starts to do a little bump n’ grind on her (blech), and then … he’s parked with us the whole night, which of course blocks other prospects (at least for her).

        17. sylvana

          Shaukat,

          masculine/feminine is about energies and certain traits. Barefoot and pregnant with zero educational and employment opportunities is abuse of power that wasn’t earned, bullying, oppression, total lack of trustworthiness, and fear of competition. They represent the worst of masculine AND feminine energies combined, but that’s where the masculine/feminine dynamic ends.

          The masculine/feminine Clare referred to was the masculine giving/providing vs. the feminine receiving (which applies to everything, not just money, and can also be applied by either partner, regardless of gender).

          For some reason, many men handily forget all the positive masculine traits and responsibilities of people who apply more masculine energy (regardless of gender). You do not want to offer the counterpart of what you want to receive from a woman. Worse yet, I often hear men like that complain that the women they meet are too “masculine”. Well, what did you expect when you are forcing her to use more masculine energy? If you want something more equal and neutral, you need to understand that the woman will be more like you, and less feminine or like a woman.

          That being said, receiving doesn’t equal taking. And there are quite a few women who will just take – and take advantage or use.

      4. 4.2.4
        Mike

        Hi Clare,

        As a guy, I can see where Shaukat is coming from. I do think that in general, our gender tends to chafe at that all-pervasive viewpoint that in the dating world, men are the ones auditioning and women are the ones choosing. We have more or less accepted it (well, sort of, see below) and even if we haven’t, we get that it is a bad look to talk about it anyway. Sometimes we do mention it on forums like these though. Anyway, I think that is what he is getting at. Of course @Shaukat you can correct me if I am wrong.

        Now, on the one hand, when we men meet someone who does really does it for us, we happily put in the extra effort anyway. But on the other hand, we as men have also found out that when something is right, things will feel more or less even right from the start anyway. As in, it is clear that at least, you are willing to make time in your schedule and make the effort to see us e.g., making the drive.

        The last girl whom I was with–about a month ago–was from out of town. Yes I approached her, yes I was the one who “wanted things to happen” before she did. BUT we took turns buying rounds of drinks. And we slept together that night. And YES if she were in town I would like to see her again. Anyways, it is experiences such as that, that women dating nowadays are in competition with.

        1. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “As a guy, I can see where Shaukat is coming from. I do think that in general, our gender tends to chafe at that all-pervasive viewpoint that in the dating world, men are the ones auditioning and women are the ones choosing. ”
          Women don’t choose. They wait and wait … and hope and hope the guy they like will notice them and start pursuing them. But if he doesn’t they have as much agency in the whole process as you do when you audition for someone and she says no.

        2. Clare

          Mike,

          I appreciate that. I am as fair as humanly possible to men I date. I make plenty of time in my schedule, I drive to see them, I hug, I kiss, I’m warm, I flirt, I offer to pay for myself, and if I don’t see potential, I let them down as quickly and gently as possible.

          With my boyfriend, I provide lots of sex, lots of emotional investment, lots of understanding, lots of time, and lots of social support. I take my role as girlfriend very seriously right from the beginning. Which is why I personally bristle at these angry rants about traditional masculine/feminine roles.

          Also, like Emily, I disagree with you, very strongly, that women are the choosers. Men and women have an identical choice about whether or not to participate, and continue to participate, in the relationship. The relationship cannot exist or continue without buy-in from both parties. Likewise, both men and women have agency, and outside of rape or abuse, there is no coercion to act. Both are free to behave in the relationship as they see fit and to take or leave the terms being offered. If you don’t like what the woman seems to expect from you, there are plenty of other women with lower expectations. The same is true for women.

          You see women as being the choosers because you *date* women and not men. I can assure you, if you dated men, as we do, your perspective would be quite different. You would be awakened to the myriad ways in which men choose us and we have to “audition” or wait to have it confirmed that they like us. I can absolutely promise you there is just as much of that on this side of the fence. If you could only be inside the mind of the average female dater for a day, you would find it a very humbling and eye-opening experience. I think you would have a whole new level of compassion for how difficult and painful it can be for us as well.

        3. Marika

          Well, I’m a woman and date men and I can still see where Shaukat is coming from.

          I hate the way these comments tend to become a male vs female competition. Putting aside for a second the struggles women have, I can put myself in the shoes of a man dating online. Most of their messages are ignored. Shaukat and Mike are probably self aware enough to write to women who are most likely to respond and response rates are still pretty low. Then when someone does engage with them, the first date is usually their responsibility, and then there’s maybe a 50/50 chance of never seeing the person again. A large proportion of women probably don’t even reach for their wallets. And on it goes.

          His initial wording in linking it to the BS 80% figure that gets thrown around thanks to one study, was odd. But then I understood when he explained further. I can understand the frustration. Then, tbh, it only became a bit nasty because he was insulted as a ‘non masculine’ man and there was very little empathy in the responses.

        4. Mike

          @Emily,

          Well, but we aren’t talking about a woman waiting around for a man she really likes to finally ask her out, though. We are talking about a man and a woman *already on* a date.

          Anyway, I disagree with what you are saying about you not having as much agency. You seem to be very much underestimating your ability to make something happen for yourself. I am assuming that you aren’t holding out for some super-rare guy who may not even exist that is. It is perfectly fine and acceptable for you to send the first email to the guy whose profile on Match intrigues you. If there is someone at work or in your social circle you click with, doesn’t the chemistry build mutually? Again I am assuming you aren’t holding out for that one guy in the office every woman is swooning over. The only way where guys have more agency is via cold approach, but even there….you go out to most bars on a weekend night and men WAY outnumber women. You may not approach, but you won’t have to.

        5. Mike

          @Clare,

          Your boyfriend sounds like a lucky guy!

          As I should have made even more clear in my response to Emily, NEITHER men nor women really have the monopoly on getting to be the choosers. And I think all of us, in moments of frustration, have felt that it is the other gender that does the choosing. With that said, the traditional dating roles where the man “courts” a woman who may not even be into him, *puts* women into the chooser role–and the man into the one auditioning. And as I said a couple of posts ago, it really is besides the point anyway, when things are on, you BOTH feel like the choosers. And you both feel that you got lucky.

          With the girl I wrote about, there were other women I could have gone up to talk to, but I CHOSE her. And then when she left the bar with me, I felt like a really lucky guy! So, who chose who here.

          Anyways, I think courting a woman is great, but wait until AFTER it is clear that you both like each other–and she is putting in lots of effort to win YOU over too–so you are both putting in lots of effort together.

          Anyways it looks like we are all in agreement on no-cost/low-cost dates to start with, right?

        6. Mike

          @Emily,

          My tone may not have come across right. My point is that you really do have a lot more agency than you think, just much agency as we do. My response to Clare about really both of us feeling like the choosers and the lucky ones chosen.

        7. Emily, to

          Mike,
          ” If there is someone at work or in your social circle you click with, doesn’t the chemistry build mutually?”
          Ah … not necessarily. Mutual chemistry is relatively rare.
          “Again I am assuming you aren’t holding out for that one guy in the office every woman is swooning over.”
          There is no such guy where I work. 🙂
          ” The only way where guys have more agency is via cold approach, but even there….you go out to most bars on a weekend night and men WAY outnumber women. ”
          Not where I live. I went out somewhere tonight. I’d say it was about 50/50, but (and I did a very cursory glance around the room) the only guys who appeared to be single looked like they were in college.

        8. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “My tone may not have come across right. My point is that you really do have a lot more agency than you think, just much agency as we do.”
          Your tone was fine. I just meant that neither side has more power in dating.

        9. Clare

          Marika,

          “Most of their messages are ignored. Shaukat and Mike are probably self aware enough to write to women who are most likely to respond and response rates are still pretty low. Then when someone does engage with them, the first date is usually their responsibility, and then there’s maybe a 50/50 chance of never seeing the person again. A large proportion of women probably don’t even reach for their wallets.”

          I certainly can empathise, but the strategy of constantly complaining is what I don’t agree with. If the status quo irks you (the general you), it is time to look for ways of tweaking your approach, or at least your attitude. What is the alternative? Giving up? Endlessly throwing up your hands in frustration at the universe?

          So the majority of women don’t write back. That is sad, but it is also life. You only need to really click with *one* person in order to achieve your goal, and that person is going to be the person who *is* going to write back. There is also no reason to feel rejected by people you do not know. That’s the attitude I cultivate in life, anyway, and it’s not as if women don’t know what rejection is. I certainly do. But I’ve trained myself to have the mindset that if someone doesn’t want to get to know me, I put them out of my head and never think of them again from that second on. I know what I have to offer, and the people who do take the time will be well-rewarded for doing so. That is my attitude to people. It’s called being thick skinned and it *is* possible for men and women alike to be that way, especially with people in whom they have no emotional investment.

          As far as the first date goes, and not seeing someone again 50% of the time, I think there is a consensus that a big deal should not be made of it. It’s just a meet and greet anyway, so expectations and emotional investment should be low. Although there are ways to drastically improve your chances of seeing the person again, and that is to become the best date possible. Funny, charming, flirtatious, a good listener, courteous – people love being around people like that.

          As for the women who never reach for their wallets, obviously I have no idea what this experience feels like. But, as I have repeatedly said, my solution to this would be to plan low cost or no cost first dates. I’m not sure how much a beer/glass of wine costs in everyone’s part of the world, but here it’s about 2 or 3 dollars, depending on the kind. If I were a man I think I could spring for a couple of bucks once a week for a date of an hour or so (I’m not sure how often the average guy goes on a first date). Or an ice cream to have while walking on the beach – again here, that is maybe 2 or 3 dollars. Like Mike said, gauge that the connection and interest is there from both sides before investing more. I think that is a very sensible approach. Give yourself the greatest possible chance of being liked by the woman you are dating, then gradually invest more as she shows more interest and effort as well.

          I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of the male dater. Not at all. But really, at a certain point, you have to put aside the moaning Minnie bit and get practical. Like Evan says, take small steps which take you closer towards your goal instead of getting mired in your present predicament.

        10. shaukat

          ‘You see women as being the choosers because you *date* women and not men.’

          Actually Clare, from a purely biological, evolutionary Darwinian standpoint, Mike is correct in terms of selectors. In most species (though not all) the male auditions/competes, and the female selects. Experiments and fieldwork have confirmed this fact. The fact that some females low on the hierarchy (I’m sorry to be using this type of wording, but it’s strictly from a scientific vantage point) have no males to select from doesn’t change this general dynamic. Men pursue, approach, etc, and women select. Btw, I agree with Mike that your BF is lucky:)

          @Marika,

          Your latest comments leave me even more bewildered as to why you’re still single:) Keep grinding!

        11. Clare

          Mike,

          “Your boyfriend sounds like a lucky guy!”

          You’re very kind 🙂 In our case at least, I think we both feel lucky and like the choosers and the chosen.

          “With that said, the traditional dating roles where the man “courts” a woman who may not even be into him, *puts* women into the chooser role–and the man into the one auditioning.”

          This is true, but I can assure you that, if she likes the guy, the woman is just as concerned about how she is being received. If she sees potential in him, she is kind of auditioning as well!

          “And as I said a couple of posts ago, it really is besides the point anyway, when things are on, you BOTH feel like the choosers. And you both feel that you got lucky.”

          This is great, and this is the crux of the matter for me. When feelings are not mutual, one person will feel like they are trying harder than the other. When you both like each other and want to be together, things feel mutual and none of this stuff really matters anyway.

        12. Clare

          Shaukat,

          That’s very kind 🙂

          Ok, I suppose strictly biologically speaking women *have* to be selective – they are the ones who stand to be impregnated and potentially have 9 months of their lives and a lot of personal resources taken up, not to mention a child to raise on their own if the man turns out not to be worthwhile. So, from a biological and evolutionary standpoint, I’ll give it to you. Women are far more likely to say no to sleeping with just anyone for the reasons outlined.

          But when it comes to modern dating, I only wish you could be a fly on the wall at most women’s coffees/brunches/girls nights out, when we are moping into our cappuccinos or crying over our cocktails about men becoming distant or pulling away when we saw such great potential. Whilst men may invest their financial resources, effort and time into a woman who might not pan out, women invest their hearts. Their emotions. Every woman you meet has had to counsel and comfort countless members of her sisterhood over a broken heart, and experienced such heartbreak herself. And these are not “low hierarchy” women, mind you. Gorgeous, fun, intelligent, kind women have all been victims of male emotional unavailability.
          Try telling them that they are the choosers.

          If only you could experience life from this side of the spectrum.

          This is not about who has it worse (what a depressing thought). I’m trying to tell you that BOTH men and women get pulverised in this game we call the search for love and it doesn’t much make sense to try and aportion which side carries the greatest burden. Because when it works, it’s awesome and it doesn’t matter. And when it doesn’t, both sides suffer, I assure you.

        13. shaukat

          ‘but the strategy of constantly complaining is what I don’t agree with…’

          Who’s constantly complaining? I made one comment related to the blog post and one aspect of courting, and a bunch of you jumped on me because it offended your concept of ‘quality’ and ‘generosity.’ It wasn’t me who was complaining in that context.

        14. Mike

          @Marika and @Clare, I really really appreciate how you both make a point of trying to see how dating looks from the male perspective. I absolutely agree that w Marika that this should NOT be a gender war. And I can understand how women have challenges that our gender may not have as much e.g., guys coming on really strong and then when you start to fall for them back, they suddenly pull away. Not cool at all.

          And even that is besides the point anyway. Your job in the dating world, besides treating people ethically, which it sounds that you both do, is to find the right person or experience, for YOU. It is NOT to rectify whatever MGTOW or the MRA’s may feel are injustices.

          I am with @Shaukat in that I am only just doing my best to describe dating from the male side. And for us it can be a jungle out there too. Yes first dates in general tend to be harder for our gender to get, and for that matter, so are second dates. And there were the first dates where we planned and paid, and then she just ghosted us completely. And the female gender does seem to express more expectations than our gender does…I mean how many men are expressing any expectation that the woman to pay for their first date? [laughs] That doesn’t mention the women from online who are going on dates with us but aren’t really available e.g., they are trying to get over someone, or are waiting on someone else.

          We as men love to be chivalrous to women. We like to save the day. We just don’t want to feel like we aren’t really being respected in the process.

          Again I really appreciate how you ladies seem to really like and respect our gender. It is that attitude that makes us quite happy to step up to the plate for you.

        15. Selena

          The turn this thread has taken reminds me of a post on another dating forum I read a few years ago.

          A guy writes in he met a woman at a bar and bought her a drink. They talk, and in the course of conversation he tells her he only pays when he really likes a woman. They part exchanging phone numbers.

          Several days later he calls and asks her if she would meet him in an hour to get some ice cream. She says, “Are you paying?”
          He says “No”.
          She declines to meet him.

          On the dating forum, he presents this exchange as an example of how ‘entitled’ women are. He gets feedback acknowledging that and some wondering why he would call a woman “last minute”, and why he wouldn’t cough up for a cheap ice cream anyway.

          *To me*, the fellow unwittingly described why some (many?) women prefer men to pay for dates. Correctly or not, they feel men who pay for the dates they ask for are more interested than those who don’t.

          The guy may have been trying to be ‘suave’- or whatever term is currently in vogue for that now- when he told her he only pays when he really likes someone. Or, it could be a truth he let slip out.

          The woman in the story may have had an “entitled princess” attitude. Or, she might have been flirty teasing him, because of what he had previously said.

          People tend do what they find is effective.
          The above example I would say wasn’t.

        16. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “Who’s constantly complaining? I made one comment related to the blog post and one aspect of courting, and a bunch of you jumped on me because it offended your concept of ‘quality’ and ‘generosity.”
          You’ve talked about who should pay extensively on other posts whenever the topic comes up.

        17. Mike

          @Emily,

          You should come to Maryland. Lots of single men here. You would get your pick!

        18. Marika

          Clare

          Sometimes the guys just want to have a whinge; as we do. I don’t think necessarily they are looking for advice or to be told they are wrong.

          Shaukat

          Thank you. Kind words :). I was out at a friend’s gig last night. We had drinks after and I saw in my peripheral vision that the bass player was looking at me. I was checking him out onstage too. I turned to smile and he turned away like a frightened turtle. I even overhead him say his age and he was just 2 years older. Perfect!
          Age appropriate, mutual attraction, but, unfortunately nothing will even happen..

          I was also supposed to have a date last night. The guy suggested Sunday night because he was snorkeling during the day. I.suggested he texted when he got home. Never heard from him. So it’s a range of things – but laziness and fear play a big role in dating never getting off the ground. My band friend is very flirty and confident with women (as were a few of my exes), but has 5 on the go at any one time. Similarly, a few of my exes couldn’t keep it in their pants. People *are* getting together, though, of course. I guess you just have to grind away.

        19. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “You should come to Maryland. Lots of single men here. You would get your pick!”
          I’ve have a fantasy that the men would be lined up for me — like I was a rock star like Mick Jagger making my selection from the after-show groupies. Is that in my future if I come to Maryland? 🙂

        20. sylvana

          Mike,

          I don’t think this is so much a man vs. woman thing. It’s a masculine vs. feminine thing. The 50/50 thing works rather well in a lot of European countries, for example. Splitting the bill is normal there. That being said, the men there also don’t expect their women to “give” or “display” more on the feminine side.

          Basically, if you want 50/50, realize that you’ll be going on a date with your equal, in terms of there not being that much of a gender difference. Not a woman who handily switches back and forth between more masculine energy and more feminine energy depending on which one pleases you most at the time – and only those masculine and feminine traits that you want her to display..

          And that’s the problem I often see with American men. They often want the woman to be their equal when it comes to paying and certain other things, but then also want her to be receptive, open, vulnerable, sweet and all those other cute little girly/feminine things. It doesn’t work that way.

          Same goes for the independent, more masculine energy woman who wants to land a more masculine energy man. She’ll have to learn to soften it up to provide him with the counterbalance to what he is. Or the regular woman who wants a more masculine man who is also emotionally more open, etc.

          We’d all be perfectly happy if we could choose exactly which masculine and which feminine traits our partners have, display, and use at any given time or in any given situation. But it doesn’t work that way.

          Care, although independent, obviously leans a bit more toward the feminine energy side. And she happily provides the feminine energy traits in her relationships. Therefore, she’ll need a man who is a bit more on the masculine energy side. Not a man who expects her to use the same amount of masculine energy as he while displaying more feminine traits (once again, that’s impossible).

          The best thing to do is to examine what you value most in a partner, then learn how those traits relate to masculine and feminine energy. Then realize that you will have to bring the healthy counterbalance to those traits, and pick your partners according to that. With other words, if you’re more neutral, don’t ask more feminine women on a date. Stick to the more neutral ones, and lower your expectations as to how many feminine traits she’ll display.

        21. Emily, to

          Sylvana,
          “And that’s the problem I often see with American men. They often want the woman to be their equal when it comes to paying and certain other things, but then also want her to be receptive, open, vulnerable, sweet and all those other cute little girly/feminine things. It doesn’t work that way.”
          Completely agree. They want a modern woman when it comes to paying and initiating but a traditional woman when it comes to how she presents herself. Its the equivalent of a woman wanting an alpha male with the emotional connection abilities of a beta man.

        22. Mike

          Hi @sylvana,

          This is interesting but it isn’t quite what I was getting at. My point is that between an interested man and an interested woman, the effort–including the paying–takes care of itself. The first few dates should be kept inexpensive so that the paying isn’t a big deal.

          And even then, as far as the whole paying thing, the chemistry tends to be already decided by the time the tab arrives anyway. I suppose a guy can take a great date to a screeching halt by asking to go dutch but most guys would rather just pay the hopefully inexpensive tab rather than ruin the moment–and that is smart.

          And I really believe, be it the USA, Europe, Australia, or wherever, men are men and women are women. The paying customs may be a bit different but the attraction process is really all the same.

        23. Marika

          I hear you, Mike.

          Some women seem to see reaching in the direction of their wallet as ‘masculine energy’. I don’t. I think you can be sweet and lovely and flirty and giggly, and all the rest and still try to contribute.

          I went on a date the other night with a guy whose second language is English, which has affected his career progression. He got us the first round of drinks. I thanked him. We’d established he’d already eaten but I hadn’t (I’d come straight from work). So I got up to get my food, but he insisted. So he got that too.

          When he’d nearly finished his drink, I insisted on getting him the next one and got up and got it – without letting him stop me. That didn’t change the dynamic of the date. I didn’t suddenly grow a penis in some hulk-like change in appearance. He still stood back at the door and walked me to my car and so on. It’s all good.

          PS, he was very touched, as was I about the whole dynamic. He told me about 3 times that I was nice. Nope, not really, just being a non-entitled human.

        24. Mike

          Hey Marika,

          You get it. As a guy I really appreciate women who approach dating as you do.

          Sounds like a great date in the meanwhile! You will have to keep us posted 🙂

      5. 4.2.5
        Shaukat

        I get what you’re saying Clare, but I’d bet many of those friends of yours are going for the top 10 or 20% of men, and then they wonder why so many of them are emotionally unavailable. They’d do well to consider expanding their pool.

        It’s a bit like Emily, she finds less than 2% of men attractive, and it’s kept her single into her late forties (sorry Emily).

        1. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “It’s a bit like Emily, she finds less than 2% of men attractive, and it’s kept her single into her late forties (sorry Emily).”
          You’re single, too.

        2. Marika

          Shaukat

          I think we like to try to simplify things, there’s a comfort in that. ie., young = easy dating, hot = easy dating, the apparent international and *definitely factual* widely agreed ‘top 20% of men’ = emotionally unavailable daters.

          IME it’s not that straightforward. I briefly dated a guy who was from overseas and his qual’s weren’t recognised here, so he was working in quite a low level job, hated his job & didn’t have a lot of disposable cash. That aside, he was quite funny and good looking, but he definitely wasn’t being fawned all over by women. He was one of the most emotionally unavailable guys I’ve ever met. We met through mutual friends and I knew him initially as a funny and personable guy, but I’m not sure if we’d met in another way I could’ve stuck around for the 3 months I did. (He was quite negative, disappeared when he was stressed and would happily be on FB all weekend, but not respond to my texts for 3 days).

          My ex husband was also very emotionally unavailable – and yes he was good looking and women were drawn to him – but he also had 3 kids and really poor money management, so not exactly at the top of everyone’s lists.

        3. Clare

          Again, Shaukat, nice try, but this is a massive oversimplification of what is actually a complex world.

          I suppose it makes people (like you) feel better to explain things away in this quick and easy way, as if it’s NEVER occurred to those women not to chase men way out of their league. (You’ll excuse me, Shaukat, but this idea brings about a slight gag reflex in me.)

          Of course, it’s not that simple. People vary so widely that it is stunning to me that you can even make such an assertion. I described a few posts ago how I briefly dated a guy who would have been considered at the very top of the pile. He was gorgeous (Tom Welling from Smallville lookalike), 8 years younger than me (he was 28), had a Mensa IQ, a successful corporate job, and was independent. He was also incredibly kind and sweet – he volunteered at an animal shelter on the weekends, for the love of God. He’d had very few relationships and was largely unspoiled by past hurts. He was very emotionally available and open. AND, by some curious twist of fate, he thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. (Unfortunately I did not feel the same way about him, but that is a story for another time.)

          Another friend of mine has a habit of collecting guys from the wrong side of the tracks. They are usually guys that the other girls in our social group would not dream of dating (definitely not high caliber or top 20% by any stretch). These guys usually end up cheating or flaking out on her, and it’s definitely not as a result of their being top drawer men.

          In fact, the more I think back on my dating experiences, the more I realise there is no correlation whatsoever between the looks of the guys I dated and their emotional availability. Nor is there any earthly reason why there should be. Some of the best looking guys I’ve ever met are happily married to one woman with children, and some of the most plain are still trudging through the mire of their own issues. Emotional availability is determined by a complex array of factors – from personality, to childhood experiences and background, past relationship experiences, mental health issues, substance issues, etc.

          It is amazing to me how someone could suggest that a woman should be able to look at a man and say, “Oh yeah. He’s probably emotionally unavailable because he’s a top ten percenter. So I think I’ll stay away.” Such a person just has never dated an array of emotionally unavailable people. In a rare minority of cases it’s obvious, but most of the time it’s not.

          I am honestly stunned when apparently intelligent people think they can solve complex problems by saying to others, “Oh, you should just…”

        4. Shaukat

          Look ladies, I was simply pointing to an established fact that this very blog post touches on; the range of men that most women find attractive is smaller than the range of women men find attractive. Of course there are plenty of complexities, nuances, and anecdotes that go against this, and I never said otherwise (Clare).

          Also Emily, you’re right, except I don’t rule out 90% of women off the bat, hence I’m never short for dates and short term relationships. Plus I’m more than a decade away from forty eight.

        5. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “Also Emily, you’re right, except I don’t rule out 90% of women off the bat, hence I’m never short for dates and short term relationships. Plus I’m more than a decade away from forty eight.”
          I’m not going to get down in the muck with you, dude. Not because I don’t think you deserve it but because I don’t want the karma to bite me in the ass.

        6. Mike

          Well, I agree with @Shaukat that women feel attraction towards our gender far more rarely than ours does towards women, but as far as the set of men who are inspiring attraction from women, it is definitely NOT the set of “top 20%” men as defined on this forum.

          In fact, a big part of my own personal journey with women and dating was in understanding that looks and money matter rather little. MUCH more important for us as men was the vibe we put off, and how we lead things, from the first interaction, to sex, to the relationship.

          That truth can be really frustrating to guys, actually. For one thing, so much of what we have been taught about “what women want” is actually, IME, just not true. [The “effort we guys have to put into dating” is an example. If the attraction and interest is there, then the “effort” will be there from both parties. And if the attraction and interest is not there, then even lots of effort on the guy’s part is likely to change things.] And for another thing, there are plenty of good decent guys out there who consistently keep getting turned down, sometimes for some real jackazzes, because of “chemistry”.

          Now, I think the guys on here are just doing our best to describe how dating looks from our end. What that said I think we guys here have to realize what this is really for. Women are on here dating for their own sake. It is NOT on them to right whatever grievances the Manosphere brings up.

          HOWEVER, I will make one more point here. Most (80%) of the “dating advice” given to men is about *attracting women*, with the remaining 20% on leading a relationship. Most of the dating advice given to women seems to be about *picking the right guy*, with the remaining 20% on getting the right guy to stick around.

        7. Marika

          Well, no, not really, Shaukat, you kinda went all YAG on Clare and her friends there with the tired old ‘top 20%’ of men line. I was with you, as you know, but I’m not a fan of oversimplification nor extrapolation from one study to typecast women and their dating behaviour forever more. I’m over it. And that’s not usually your style.

          Em my groove sista

          Definitely had the bump and grind 😉 Have not had a hanger on who stuck around all night though! Did he come to the club alone?? What happened at the end of the night – did he try to jump in someone’s car like a stray cat?

        8. Shaukat

          @Emily,

          You’re right, my last comment was uncalled for and I apologize. I just don’t understand why you’re always argue in nearly every thread.

        9. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “…MUCH more important for us as men was the vibe we put off …”
          If only the same could be said of what initially attracts a man to a woman.

        10. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “Have not had a hanger on who stuck around all night though! Did he come to the club alone?? What happened at the end of the night – did he try to jump in someone’s car like a stray cat?”
          Idk. I left before they did but I think (I don’t know her super well) he was wasting his time if he thought she was going to go home with him.

        11. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “You’re right, my last comment was uncalled for and I apologize.”
          Apology accepted. I apologize as well if I got snarky.
          “I just don’t understand why you’re always argue in nearly every thread.”
          I don’t agree with what you write. 🙂 We have differences of opinion.

        12. Clare

          Mike,

          You’ve provided some really valuable insight here. Very balanced and perceptive.

          I, too, have often marveled that so much of dating advice is about attracting the right person (something I’ve never personally had a problem with, not to toot my own horn), and so little of it is about maintaining a healthy relationship and managing oneself (something which has presented a far greater challenge and which I have largely had to figure out on my own by trial and error and putting the pieces together).

          Both men and women could benefit from MUCH more help in the latter category, and a much lesser focus on the former.

        13. Clare

          Shaukat,

          “I was simply pointing to an established fact that this very blog post touches on; the range of men that most women find attractive is smaller than the range of women men find attractive.”

          This is not what you were saying, though 😉 You specifically said the men in the top 10 or 20 % were more likely to be emotionally unavailable. *That* is what I was disagreeing with.

          I also took issue with the idea that my friends who have experienced heartbreak are going for very good looking men. First of all, everyone experiences heartbreak – that was my original point. Neither men nor women have the market cornered on disappointment from the opposite sex.
          Second of all, I’m not going to argue with the results of the study which found that most women only find 20% of men physically attractive – I will only say that, in my experience and the experience of my friends, there is a wide variety of factors that attracts us to men, and it is by no means true that the men we date are in the top 20%. This is even less true for the men we have relationships with.

          Women who are evolved beyond a certain degree generally know that they need to start looking beyond looks for good partner material. In the realms I am talking about, there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between heartbreak and the physical appearance of the person inflicting it.

        14. Mike

          Hey @Clare,

          Thank you for the kind words! I love and learn a lot about women from reading your posts too.

          I mostly agree with you on how learning to manage our end of the relationship i.e., what to do after the attraction has been established, is so important for both genders. I can say from experience that my biggest heartbreaks have come from not leading the relationship properly.

          However, with that said, I do think many guys will disagree with the above paragraph. For men, “attracting the right person” means something different than “attracting the right person” does for women. For men, “attracting the right person” tends to mean carrying ourselves so that this awesome woman who could be right for us, will be *attracted* to us so that she is willing to see us again. For women, “attracting the right person” is about deciding which of the guys who are *already* attracted to you, to see again. So on that note, I’d say that much of the dating advice for our gender is about developing that ‘swag’ that women are drawn to, whereas much of the dating advice for your gender is about going a bit less on that swag, and more about whether he seems to be a decent guy who wants a relationship.

          So if you already are drawn to high-character commitment-oriented men and have a good idea of what works for you in someone, then chances are you don’t need advice in “attracting the right person”. However, many many men do indeed struggle with inspiring attraction and chemistry in the women we approach or are out on a first date with. And this is why so much of dating advice for our gender is about inspiring attraction and connection, as without that, nothing else will happen for us.

        15. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “For women, “attracting the right person” is about deciding which of the guys who are *already* attracted to you, to see again.”
          It isn’t that simple. For some women, they have to retrain themselves in terms of what they find appealing. The guys they find most appealing are like highly palatable foods — brownies, cakes, cookies, etc. Like that kind of food, these guys ding the reward systems in their brains but they are not necessarily a good relationship choice. It’s a matter of reprogramming their brains to like the medium palatable foods — satisfying yet not addictive, filling, nutritious. Thus, there is a definite need for some women for relationship advice in how to pick the right guy. Not all women, of course. Some don’t have this issue at all.

        16. sylvana

          Shaukat,

          and how is being single into her late forties worse than being in a relationship with a man you’re not attracted to? I’d say the relationship would be a lot worse.

        17. Mike

          @Emily,

          But, if most people are hungry, they crave a savory nutritious meal with protein, vitamins and minerals, as opposed to a bunch of quick-hitting empty calories. I know that when I am hungry, I’d rather have a hearty stew with flavorful broth and lots of meat and vegetables, instead of a piece of chocolate cake.

          You do have an interesting perspective on here overall. Compared to everyone else on here, you do seem to be much more about that fast chemistry even to the point of overlooking red flags. You even seem to be holding on to that approach as the right way to go for you. I kinda do admire how you are willing to keep going against the grain like that on here and keep posting, I am not seeing how an approach like that is likely to get you a good long-term relationship though–if that is what you want that is.

        18. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “But, if most people are hungry, they crave a savory nutritious meal with protein, vitamins and minerals,…, instead of a piece of chocolate cake.”
          Actually, we have a country full of unhealthy people who crave and consume very addictive junk food. I have to force myself to eat healthfully. I feel like I’m white-knuckling it every day, just one step away from going face forward in the brownie pan.
          ” I am not seeing how an approach like that is likely to get you a good long-term relationship though”
          It’s not. I did have a very sexually graphic conversation (about him and his past) with a male co-worker yesterday and that is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. 🙂 The more I asked, the more he talked. But relationship material he is not.

        19. Shaukat

          Hi Marika,

          The thing is though, if there’s a couple where a man enjoys paying for dates, and the woman enjoys that dynamic, I have no problem with that at all. I once had a friend who worked in finance and he would always look forward to paying for first dates because he felt that was one way he could convey his value and male a good first impression. That approach isn’t my cup of tea, but I have no problem with anyone else doing that. It’s the expectation that some women express, that men should always pay for first dates, that I take issue with.

          Also, I have no issue at all with women having a height preference. I’d say it’s more of a cultural than biological preference, but I wouldn’t try to talk anyone into changing that standard.

          So, if a man simply says that he prefers dating younger women, and he can, I don’t see the issue. On the other hand, if he were to say something offensive like older women all have baggage etc, then I would understand the anger, and it would be justified. I do understand that it lacks tact for anyone to openly state a preference along the lines of “I only date x, y, z…” but I wasn’t doing that.

          Anyway, I hope I clarified my position.

      6. 4.2.6
        shaukat

        @Clare,

        Sorry, I should have clarified my comments. There’s some confusion, which is my fault, since I used the word ‘top,’ which I shouldn’t have. When I say ’20 percent’ of men, I don’t mean it the way YAG normally uses the term, which is to refer to literally the few objectively model good looking 8/10 men. Subjective criteria matters, but often a woman’s subjective preferences lead her to exclude a large percentage of men (some conventionally attractive ones as well) which leads to a smaller pool. If many of those men are ’emotionally unavailable,’ then it would benefit you to expand your pool. I’m not suggesting anything I haven’t reflected on and applied to myself btw.

        @Marika,

        It’s actually not just the one study anymore. The OKCupid experiment has been replicated with tinder and other platforms, often with even more extreme results. Real life is often messier and more complex than online though.

        @Sylvana,

        For sure it’s better to be alone than in a relationship with someone you’re not attracted to. However, if a woman makes it to nearly 50 without ever having been married or in a very long common law relationship, then either:

        1). She consciously made that choice to prioritize other things like her career, which is perfectly fair and fine;

        2). She was, and is, unrealistic in terms of her own sexual/physical appeal and has unreasonable standards (it’s a free country though).

        3). She has personality/emotional issues.

        A woman who is even semi-attractive should be able to snag a good mate in her late twenties or early-to mid thirties, when her SMV is peaking. I realize this sounds very manosphere like, and I’m sure there are many exceptions, but there does seem to be some truth to this claim.

        1. Marika

          Shaukat

          I can’t believe I’m going here, yet again, but I am…

          Okay, that study has been replicated, yawn. So? Does that help you in life? If you’re so inclined, Karl R who does some sort of statistical / demography job breaks the original study down and explains the conclusions properly (rather than the sound bite version you guys love quoting) in the Is Online Dating Different For Men and Women post. Makes for interesting reading…but unfortunately the facts can get in the way of a good story(/bias).

          I’m also sure you’re aware of the tendency of people to fixate on the couple of studies which fit with their own worldwide and completely ignore all the multitude of studies which don’t. Galilee for instance quotes that study as gospel..then goes on, I think in the same thread, to say it’s easier for him in his late 30s to get a 24 yo than when he was 24. No. You don’t even need studies for that one – peek at some census data from time to time.

          I’ve noticed (apart from Karl R who tries to inject some reality into debates) that people on here who quote studies and statistics over and over, are the ones who understand them the least…

          Don’t know about you, but I’m not a data point. I don’t get my dating playlist from Psychlit.

        2. Shaukat

          @Marika,

          A few points:

          1). I work with statistics and regression analysis on a regular basis. I’ve published peer reviewed academic articles utilizing such methods. This wouldn’t even be relevant except that you questioned my competency on the topic.

          2). Without even going back to that thread, I guarantee you I can recall Karl R’ s post on the study with greater accuracy than you. He pointed out (correctly) that some of the data needed to be standardized, and that while men rated females according to a bell curve, they nonetheless tended to message the most highly rated women with greater frequency, while women’s messaging was more dispersed. However, he also pointed out (correctly again) that men’s response rate to women’s messages across the distribution was higher than the female response rate. I haven’t read tbe study in awhile, but this is what I recall, and im I’m not sure if the raw data is still available. I’m not an idiot.

          3). Finally, you asked if the study helps me in real life. Not now, because I’m experienced enough, but it could have helped me way back when I was strategizing in terms of Online dating.

          Also, I have no idea who this Galillee poster is and I’m not even interested.

        3. Marika

          Shaukat

          If you work with data and statistics you should know better than anyone how people like to pick and choose which studies they pay attention to. Conveniently ignoring ones that don’t back up the points they want to make. Academics included. And how studies don’t always acurately predict the complexities of human behaviour.

          Remember how this thread started. You drew some pretty bizarre conclusions about how based on this study men shouldn’t bother courting women. Then back pedaling to say actually you just meant not pay. Then you assumed emotionlly unavailable men are ‘top 20%ers’. Pretty long bows you’re drawing from a study about male & female tendencies in a particular group of online daters.

          Generally in this thread, as you know, I’ve been very supportive of you. I’m a fair person who doesn’t blindly support women and disagree with men. I do disagree with people who draw completely unsupported conclusions from a study.

        4. shaukat

          Hi Marika,

          I agree completely with the first and third paragraphs of your latest reply. Regarding the second paragraph, I don’t believe I back peddled at all, simply clarified what I meant. I have never advocated that men should text women to come over and chill on the first date, especially since it wouldn’t even be effective for most guys. Most of my responses in this thread were in fact directed at posters (not you) who claimed that ‘modern and egalitarian’ men are a turn off, though apparently only in certain convenient respects.

          Finally, I never claimed that any of these online studies/experiments represent a fully accurate or complete picture of human behavior (See my last comment). I think we can leave things here, unless there’s something else that really irks you.

        5. sylvana

          Shaukat,

          for forgot 4) She’s not attracted to people in her own sexual/physical appeal class. Knowing that she’s ugly won’t make her any more attracted to ugly men, to put it in plain terms. That doesn’t mean she has unrealistic expectations. Because nothing says she expects to land a man who is better looking than her. It just means she knows her options, and none of her options appeal to her, so she chose to remain single.

          If I only have the choice between broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach, guess what? I’ll starve. That doesn’t mean I think I’m prime rib, or am expecting to get prime rib.

          So again, I ask you, why should she be in a relationship with someone she is not attracted to instead of staying single? Especially seeing how he’ll demand sex in exchange for said relationship.

        6. jo

          Sylvana, I think it’s that some (many?) men assume that all women are desperate to be in relationships. In fact, times are changing, and women around the world are choosing singleness more than ever, but men’s beliefs are not changing at the same clip.

          That’s why Shaukat’s ‘single shaming’ of Emily was weak. I think some men are really uncomfortable with women choosing singleness over relationships. Whereas we don’t care as much about those men that belong to MRA or MGTOW.

        7. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “That’s why Shaukat’s ‘single shaming’ of Emily was weak. I think some men are really uncomfortable with women choosing singleness over relationships.”
          He can shame me all he wants to. I’m not trying to court his approval, but I do agree with you about some men being uncomfortable with women who aren’t jumping at every dating opportunity. I once had a male friend get mad at me when I turned down a guy for a second date. He seemed to take my rejection of some guy he didn’t know personally. It was very strange.

        8. Shaukat

          Wasn’t shaming you at all, Emily. Just find it odd that you’re always disagreeing with advice/dating strategies given your own standards.

        9. Clare

          Jo,

          “Sylvana, I think it’s that some (many?) men assume that all women are desperate to be in relationships…. That’s why Shaukat’s ‘single shaming’ of Emily was weak. I think some men are really uncomfortable with women choosing singleness over relationships.”

          I don’t want to get into what Shaukat did or didn’t mean (I’m a little over it), but you do raise an interesting point.
          When I was dating a lot, and specifically during periods when I was going on a lot of first dates, I had the following comment a lot from men (and in fact, if I’m not mistaken, Shaukat said a version of this to Marika on this very post):
          “Why is a woman like you still single in her 30s? You’re beautiful, intelligent, kind, feminine… How has some guy not snapped you up?”
          It was said with a note of skepticism, as though there must be fatal flaw in my make-up that they had yet to uncover.
          I got very frustrated with this comment, as though the only reason I could be single was that some man hadn’t chosen me. I would answer, without irony, that it was not for lack of options or guys who wanted to be with me, that many of those guys were great, but that I was after someone very special to suit me. They always seemed to have trouble wrapping their heads around that one, and I don’t think they quite believed me.
          But it was quite true. I have enough experience now to know that I would choose being single a million times over someone who didn’t suit me or make me happy in the way I want to be happy. I have met and dated plenty of guys who were great, nothing wrong with them, but they weren’t for me, and so my answer is always a polite no thanks.
          Other people, and particularly men in my experience, struggle to understand this. The right relationship is worth waiting for, I know that now, and until then, being single is a great and perfectly valid choice.

        10. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “I would answer, without irony, that it was not for lack of options or guys who wanted to be with me, that many of those guys were great, but that I was after someone very special to suit me. They always seemed to have trouble wrapping their heads around that one, and I don’t think they quite believed me.”
          I spoke to a guy friend of mine the other day. This is of course one person’s opinion, but he said some men get married/pair up because they are tired of being lonely and celibate. So if you are a woman turning down options, they are irritated by that. They can’t understand it because they would either pick the best option in front of them or the only option, if they had just one. I’m not sure how to put this, but … how do you avoid guys like that? Nobody wants to win by default.

        11. Mike

          @Clare and @Emily,

          Guys of a certain age get the “Why you are you still single” question a good deal too though. The implication is part compliment but part probing—the idea that if you [as a guy] have reached say your late 30s without having gotten married [and divorced otherwise you wouldn’t be dating–hopefully], then ‘there is something wrong’ with you.

          It is a jungle out there for both genders!

        12. shaukat

          ‘I would answer, without irony, that it was not for lack of options or guys who wanted to be with me, that many of those guys were great, but that I was after someone very special to suit me.’

          Yeah, except if you’re still saying that in your late forties early fifties and you’ve never been married/in a common law relationship, you’re simply using a coping mechanism and, with exceptions of course, fall into one of those categories I mentioned (another possibility is that she’s one of those very rare women who prefer casual and never found relationships appealing–more power to them).

          And this has nothing to do with any irritation I might have about women ‘not settling,’ that’s ridiculous. I’m simply saying that I wouldn’t take dating etiquette advice from those women, so if they say that a guy splitting on the first date ‘sends the wrong message, is too modern and egalitarian…,’ well, now, should I be listening to you..”;)

        13. Clare

          Shaukat,

          “Yeah, except if you’re still saying that in your late forties early fifties and you’ve never been married/in a common law relationship, you’re simply using a coping mechanism”

          What coping mechanism? And why should that be the case, simply because a woman hits a specific age milestone in her time on this earth?

        14. Emily, to

          Mike,
          “Guys of a certain age get the “Why you are you still single” question a good deal too though. The implication is part compliment but part probing—the idea that if you [as a guy] have reached say your late 30s without having gotten married [and divorced otherwise you wouldn’t be dating–hopefully], then ‘there is something wrong’ with you.”
          Yes. Late 30s is the cut-off for guys. NOT late 40s. 🙂 Actually, you just have to get to a point where you are living how you want to and not feeling the need to explain yourself to other people.

        15. Mike

          @Shaukat, I am a guy who has given my perspective–good and not-so-good–on dating women. I don’t hold anything back.

          Now with all that said…I am wondering what you are trying to do by saying that a woman “should” be able to get a “good” mate by the time she is 30. What do you mean by “good” anyway? And besides that, most of here are past 30, and I guess according to the stats, we ALL–male or female as most men get married by 30 as well–are going against the odds in finding a great relationship–or for some of us I suppose a terrific dating and sex life.

          And last but not least….OLD is not real life. Sure there may be positive correlation, but even still, getting a lot of emails on a dating site is not the same as being able to get into a great relationship with the right person. So those studies need to be taken with a grain of salt.

        16. Shaukat

          Hi Mike,

          I never said a woman should be able to get a good mate or be married by 30. I said that if a woman who is even semi-attractive makes it to her late forties or early fifties without ever having been married or in a common law style ltr, there’s usually a reason for that which goes beyond her simply waiting for the right match. I’m basing this on my own life experience. I agree completely with your last paragraph btw.

          @Clare,

          See what I wrote to Mike. I’d say the same about a man in his mid-forties, though there is some truth to the notion that a man’s SMV (sorry, but the term does have some utility in certain contexts) does operate according to a slightly different time line.

        17. Marika

          Mike

          Thank you. Finally!!

          When I was working on my thesis, I asked a colleague, who was an ex-university lecturer with a PhD in my field to read over it. She had worked in my university in the animal lab. She said words to the effect: Okay, but I’m used to reviewing research involving animals. In labs. Controlled environments. Only one variable changing at a time. Etc. This (human research) isn’t the same.

          Some people act as though human research is precise. It isn’t. It’s very, very messy. You need *very* well designed studies, very large sample sizes, representative samples, ideally longitudinal research, multiple replicating studies. Ideally not self-selecting samples. Someone very knowledgeable to clean the data. Ideally some form of control group and blind raters.

          Without all that, it’s like a Cosmo quiz. It’s interesting, it’s a fun talking point. But, as you say, take it with a grain of salt.

          I also dislike this idea of interpreting female dating behaviour as though we are some simplistic, easily predictable rats in a lab. We aren’t. And if you (the general male you) see us that way, don’t be surprised if you’re not getting the results you want in dating.

        18. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “I’d say the same about a man in his mid-forties, though there is some truth to the notion that a man’s SMV”
          There are some women who would find the fact that a man hadn’t been married by his mid- to late 30s as a red flag. A common law ltr wouldn’t mean anything to them. In fact, that might be a bigger red flag for some women in that he didn’t marry the woman and possibly wasted her time. Women are often advised to date a widow or a divorced man because at least they know he can commit.

        19. shaukat

          ‘There are some women who would find the fact that a man hadn’t been married by his mid- to late 30s as a red flag.’

          Yup, I know, been asked that a few times on first dates;).

          Here’s the thing though (which I’m sure you know), all else being equal, a woman is more likely than a man to overlook a significant age difference than vice-versa. I’ve come across quite a few couples (both attractive) where the man is in his early forties and the woman is in her early thirties (so about a ten year difference). Very rarely have I seen it the other way around. And no, I’m not saying that I think this means it’s easy for men in their forties to date hot twenty-somethings.

        20. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “Here’s the thing though (which I’m sure you know), all else being equal, a woman is more likely than a man to overlook a significant age difference than vice-versa.”
          I’m not sure really sure what you’re getting at. Maybe I’m missing the point, but a 30-something woman who is going to be put off by a 30-something man never having been married will be even more put off by a 40-something man having never been married.
          Plus, I don’t know too many women looking for a man 10 years older.

        21. Mike

          @Shaukat, where your reasoning is running into problems here, is that you seem to be trying to pigeonhole people, at least, people when it comes to dating behaviors, based on this study or that study. That causes problems as is. But another issue is that the studies themselves as @Marika pointed out quite well, have their faults for all sorts of reasons.

          I mean, think about it.

          1. When a guy is thinking of approaching a woman–either on Match or in person, would it do ANYONE any good for him to be thinking ‘well The Study says that women think 80% of men are Below Average and I don’t see myself as Top 20% so why should I even bother’.

          2. Men and women are single for different reasons. No matter what The Studies say. There is a difference between the 45-year-old guy who hasn’t met anyone because he moved to a small town where everyone age-appropriate there seems to be married, versus the 45-year-old guy who hasn’t met anyone because his idea of an effective dating strategy is going to Hooters and throwing money at the waitresses there [for those who aren’t in the States Hooters is a chain where the main attraction is physically attractive scantily-clad servers, most are college-age].

          3. There are plenty of women who have big issues and who are married, and there are plenty of kind, wonderful women with their stuff more or less sorted out [no one has their stuff ALL sorted out] who are single.Women who have been posting here.

          Any argument that starts with “well this study” or “well that study…” is just going to be a really tough sell. I think when we post about our actual experiences trying to make connections with women, even the more frustrating experiences, we get much better response.

        22. shaukat

          ‘I’m missing the point, but a 30-something woman who is going to be put off by a 30-something man never having been married will be even more put off by a 40-something man having never been married.
          Plus, I don’t know too many women looking for a man 10 years older.’

          I’ve never once come across a 30 year-old woman turned off by the fact that a 30 something man has never been married. If anything I’ve seen the opposite, they would consider a divorced man in his thirties to have baggage.

          You’re right, my last comment wasn’t very clear. I was simply alluding to the difference in male/female SMV. A forty something woman who has never been married will have fewer options and will signal certain red flags. In general, a man’s options within his age range increase as he gets older (assuming he takes care of himself and is slightly above average).

          Also, I never said that women are consciously looking for men ten years younger than them. I said all else being equal, a woman in her thirties won’t really care about an age difference of around ten years, whereas the opposite isn’t true, especially if the man wants kids. I’ve seen the male/female 40/30 pairing several times, what I haven’t seen is the 40/25 pairing.

        23. shaukat

          Hi Mike,

          Regarding your points:

          1). I have stated several times now that I agree that those studies have flaws and are not the entirety of attraction. Yes, there are limitations to them, the most important one being that attraction goes beyond a picture often times, and these studies look at online trends. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have value though. Should a man dwell on those studies when thinking of approaching or writing a message? No, confidence is a good thing, but if a man is repeatedly failing it would be wise to maybe look at those trends to figure out how to improve his chances.

          2). I agree people are single for different reasons. I don’t believe in pre-judging. I was referring to very specific categories of people who make it to a certain age. Self-reflection and honesty are good qualities to have. If someone makes it to a certain age still single, without ever having been in a very long ltr or marriage, and they have always wanted one, simply saying ‘I haven’t found my perfect match’ is a bit of a cop out.

          3). I have never suggested that people in marriages don’t have problems or that their marriages are always happy marriages. I didn’t even imply such a thing, you simply read into that. Better to be perpetually single than in a miserable marriage.

        24. Marika

          Shaukat

          Typically I find you to be an interesting and thoughtful, self-aware commenter…but I think this thread has gotten away from you.

          Why are you continuing to flog this dead (single) horse?

          So you can make 40s single women feel bad about themselves? So you can make yourself feel better that if you’re single in your 40s as a man you won’t be judged the same way?

          There are multiple letters and comments Evan has responded to where 40+ men want kids and are targeting early 30s women. Who generally don’t want them. And he tells them to look for women closer to their own age. Wise advice. Much wiser than assuming when you’re 40, 30 yo women will consider you their peer. Your anecdotal evidence aside.

          People mid 30s plus and never married will get judged and questioned no matter their gender. So what? Can we move on?

        25. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “In general, a man’s options within his age range increase as he gets older (assuming he takes care of himself and is slightly above average).”
          I don’t agree. A man in his 40s is just that — a man in his 40s. He may be further along in his career than a guy in his 20s but he doesn’t look as good. If a 40-something man is expecting to pull a woman 10 years younger than he is, he’d better have money or be the kind of man who is confident and naturally draws women to him.
          “I said all else being equal, a woman in her thirties won’t really care about an age difference of around ten years,”
          Yes they will. They may not care about it as much now (although look at the stats, most people marry someone within a few years of their own age). But they most definitely will care about in when she’s 55 and he’s 65 and he’s retiring … and they’re at 2 totally different life stages. And she’ll care about it when she’s 70 and he’s 80. There can be a huge disparity in life quality between those 2 decades.

        26. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “I was referring to very specific categories of people who make it to a certain age. If someone makes it to a certain age still single, without ever having been in a very long ltr or marriage, and they have always wanted one, simply saying ‘I haven’t found my perfect match’ is a bit of a cop out.”
          I agree with you. For me, personally, I have come to the conclusion that I currently don’t want a serious partner badly enough. Not really, or I’d get off my butt and do something about it. When it comes to guys, my attitude of late is: If it happens, fine. If it doesn’t, fine. And that’s my decision. I’m not blaming anyone. I could change my mind or I could meet someone who changes my mind, but that’s taking a more passive, laissez-faire attitude and I would need to be more proactive if I became more serious about it.

        27. Shaukat

          @Marika,

          You’re right, this thread is bringing out a rather negative side from me. Best if I stop at this point, sorry if anyone felt judged.

        28. Marika

          Hope all is okay, big S-kat? Virtual hug

          Jeremy: I’m 3 hours away from Friday. I think we could all use a bad good Friday joke to round off the week. Bring it…aye!!

        29. shaukat

          Uh, Emily, the lifestyle difference between 55 and 65 is hardly drastic. The type of pairing I mentioned is really not that uncommon.

        30. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “Uh, Emily, the lifestyle difference between 55 and 65 is hardly drastic. The type of pairing I mentioned is really not that uncommon.”
          How old are you? 38? Would you date a 48-year-old woman? Whenever a man rambles on about pairing up with younger women, he NEVER flips the equation to consider her perspective by adding however many years separate them to his own age. I’m sure there are exceptions. I’ve seen 2 younger woman-older man pairings of late but they were both very conservative and very religious couples, so finding a religiously-minded man was the #1 priority for the woman, second only to getting married, followed by having children, followed by marrying a man who could provide for a family. I believe Jeremy’s written extensively about these kinds of marriages.

        31. Jeremy

          Very well, Marika. I thought of this one while reading some recent comments on the blog
          :
          Question – Why do you never see elephants hiding up the trees in the park?
          Answer – Because they’re so good at it!

        32. shaukat

          ‘How old are you? 38? Would you date a 48-year-old woman?’

          I was going to bow out Emily, but, with respect, my entire point was that you can’t compare men and women in this area, because for whatever reason, cultural, biological, or both, women are less likely to care about that type of an age gap, if all else is equal in terms of what they’re looking for. Men do care, especially if they want kids.

          Yes, I’m 37. I still match and go on dates with women in their late twenties. Not saying it will always happen, but it does, and I’ve seen the long-term pairing irl. The only time I’ve seen the older woman/younger man dynamic was in a purely casual sexual scenario.

          I’m not even making the case that this age difference is even necessarily good, or that men should seek it out, or that most men can easily do it, simply that it’s more common than the other way around. And maybe your experience and observations are completely different, which is fair.

        33. Marika

          Sorry, have to disagree, again, S. I think when you get towards 50, you might see things differently. There are 2 guys in my social circle who are around 52, 53. Their lives are much like mine. My Mum is in her late 60s and her life couldn’t be more different. The 50-something guys would be massively offended if I saw them as I did my mother.

          I know that’s one example – but in general 55 year olds aren’t retired, whereas many 65 year olds are. Big lifestyle differences. Again, I’m not sure why this is so.important to you – do you want the option of being with someone much younger. Why?

        34. Marika

          Ah, now I understand why this is important to you – didn’t realize you were dating much younger women, shaukat.

          Do you also date women in their late 30s? If not, I would keep that to yourself. Many women, myself included, see it as a big red flag when men won’t date women their own age.

          Targeting much younger women may also be the reason the never married thing hasn’t been a big deal – most 27 yo women haven’t been married either. If you were dating in your own age group that would come up a lot more as a question, I think. Personally, with my life experience, I couldn’t relate to most people in their 20s enough to make a relationship work.

        35. Shaukat

          Hi Marika,

          No, last woman I dated was two years younger, I’ve gone a couple years older, as well as five to eight years younger. It’s not that important to me, especially since I’m not sure if kids are something I want. I was simply making this point, because I’ve noticed that for some reason a lot of female posters take it personally when the issue is brought up. I don’t think it should be viewed as a value judgment as to who would make a better partner. I’m sure in many ways age matched couples are more compatible.

        36. Adrian

          Hi Shaukat,

          Just out of curiosity I am wondering if you see why you are getting so much push back on this issue?

          Evan just posted a blog stating that his average reader is within my age group 25-35 yet his average client (and I dare say commentor) is within the 45-65 age group… The very group that you are implying has issues if they are still single, never married or never in a long-term relationship by that age. That their options decrease compared to men in the same age group, etc…

          I asking out of sincerity, do you see how your argument can be perceived as an insult? Because if not then I think Emily, Marika, Clare, and others are wasting their time going back and forth with you. You see it as a discussion while they see it as you throwing mud in the faces of the the over 45 crowd.

        37. Shaukat

          Hi Adrian,

          Yes, I do understand how some could find what I wrote insulting. That’s why I apologized up-thread, because it’s not my intention to male others feel like they’re being judged.

        38. Marika

          Hi Adrian

          I’m not insulted. I’m not over 45 and I did marry, at the *right* age, so I won’t get judged for being never-married no matter how long I stay single (the marriage was a mess, but it’s all perception, right?).

          Emily was originally just making the point that Shaukat as a single, never married guy, was judging her for being a single never married woman. Huh?

          And he and I are in the same dating pool, and have the benefit of Evan’s wisdom. So I can give him honest feedback on how women his age react to middle aged men online who chase much younger women. The average guy isn’t reading this blog. My ex husband didn’t know or care that in my 20s I wasn’t ready for his middle aged problems. But an intelligent, mature 37 yo reader of this blog could stand to hear that he is much more likely to find his match in, say, the 35-40 age group than 25-30. If he does want kids, he wants them soon. Does a 27 yo? Should she have to deal with his ticking clock? Are they a match in any other way or is she just a fertility machine? Etc..

          Shaukat is happy to point out where, say, Emily needs to give thought to her dating strategies. Hopefully he’s just as receptive to feedback on his. If not, that’s fine too but these comments go both ways.

        39. Marika

          shaukat

          That’s like asking you why it bothers you that a lot of women want men to pay for dates, or why it bothers YAG that a lot of women care about height (if height even comes up even in passing we get three paragraphs about the average height of the US male! And this whole thread started with you having an issue with paying for dates..).

          Men chasing much younger women and women chasing height and money are nothing new – widespread practices amongst daters who know no better. But it’s not the most useful approach to be so myopic and superficial, and if you/they/she/him talk about it on this blog, you will get questioned (particularly if you judge others for their status and dating strategies).

        40. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “Emily was originally just making the point that Shaukat as a single, never married guy, was judging her for being a single never married woman. Huh?”
          That’s exactly what I was saying. And then all the comments about a woman’s age and declining SMV, when he is far from a spring chicken. Don’t tell me your SMV is going up as you age if you won’t even pay for a date. Where do you think that supposed SMV increase is coming from?
          “Men chasing much younger women and women chasing height and money are nothing new – widespread practices amongst daters who know no better. But it’s not the most useful approach to be so myopic and superficial”
          Yep. Don’t get mad at women for objectifying a man’s height, income or social status if you are going to objectify her youth and beauty.

        41. shaukat

          “Emily was originally just making the point that Shaukat as a single, never married guy, was judging her for being a single never married woman. Huh?”

          @Marika,

          I’m not 48 yet. My point was that there’s a difference in options (for men and women) within those age ranges. I’m sure you’re aware of that. Plus, like it or not, there is a subtle difference in male/female SMV.

          “That’s exactly what I was saying. And then all the comments about a woman’s age and declining SMV, when he is far from a spring chicken. Don’t tell me your SMV is going up as you age if you won’t even pay for a date. Where do you think that supposed SMV increase is coming from?”

          @Emily,

          It comes from working out regularly, staying fit (low body fat/muscle ratio), and being interesting/funny on dates. I’ll let you in on a secret Em, aside from the gold diggers, women in their late twenties and even mid-thirties don’t care if you paid for their date (though I sometimes still do depending on mood and vibe) if they’re attracted aroused. There were several occasions where I hooked up on the first or second dates, and it never made a difference that we went Dutch. Also, I couldn’t care less if women have a height preference (I’m 5’11 in shoes) or a money preference (though the latter doesn’t align with my values, so I’d just avoid them–in fact, going Dutch is a good way to weed them out).

          Lol, I actually apologized and said I would bow out, but you guys keep drawing me back in with new points and subtle (or not so subtle) digs, so if you want we can keep going. The “spring chicken” comment was actually pretty funny, I laughed out loud:)

        42. Marika

          It’s fine, shaukat, I’m bowing out.

          You know, for a while there, I was sympathetic to you. I thought the men and paying and masculinity comments weren’t very nice or fair. But all the stuff you keep going on about with age and men and how much easier it is for you to get younger chicks…and you’re so much younger than Emily – good for you!! – is *just* as unfair and rude. If things are so much better and easier for you, why do you feel the need to rub it in?

          And you drew yourself back in. You can claim no moral superiority here.

        43. Adrian

          Hi Shaukat, Marika, and Emily,

          Emily

          If you google it I’m sure you could probably find an old interview Evan had where he talked about how man also have a expiration date; if I remember correctly it was 37.

          The point is that the whole thing about men’s SMV’s going up while women’s go down is B.S… I see so many men my age, younger, and definitely older who don’t take care of themselves physically, financially, or emotionally. I’m sure there are old guys swimming in young women but as Evan often says a few exceptions don’t negate the rule. From what I’ve seen it’s not a conscious thing that women turn on and off at will, it is just natural for a 20 year old to go eww at the thought of dating a 30, 40, and 50+ year old.

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

          Shaukat,

          Thanks for answering. I use to say that You, Chance, and YAG all had good points but it was your delivery that offended women on this blog. That is until I saw how women reacted to Jeremy and then I realized that you can say certain things as kindly as possible and if people don’t like it you will still get attacked. So now I say “if it’s your truth, then fight for it my friend!”

          I actually do believe in the results from dating research studies; especially the one’s published by OkCupid because of the ridiculously big sample size they have (600,000,000 according to the book Dataclysm) and the access to what people truly are attracted to when they think no one is watching instead of what they say they want publicly because it makes them look like a good person. But I do agree with Mike and Marika about being careful with studies. There are a lot of crap studies out there that just pandor to people but if it is a quality study then even if what it reveals is hard to swallow I’ll listen.

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

          Marika

          I’m kind of bummed that you are so much older than me. First I find out Emily is older than me and now you; I thought we all promised to go through pubity together and yet you two left me behind (-_-). Oh well my birthday is in 3 days I’m turning the BIG 33, so I’m catching up to you all (^_^).

          Anyway here is my question for you as an anxious attachment style dater like myself. If you could give your 32 year old self some dating advice what would it be?

          What are some things you thought were important but turned out not to be?

          What are some things that you did NOT think was important but they turned out to be?

  5. 5
    Malika with an L

    When you first start dating again after a hiatus or the end of a relationship, two things can happen. You can find either a great many people attractive, or none at all! It’s never been anything in between for me.

    I don’t know how long you have been back in the dating game, but a possibility is that you need to give yourself some time to be receptive to other men. When i was on OKC i gave myself permission to browse profiles for an evening for weeks and to bookmark men i found attractive and interesting. No pressure to take it further, just see who did it for me and who did not. As i got used to being (back again) on the site, i started to make a shortlist who to contact and took it from there. I noticed that left me with about 5-10% of profiles i had clicked on, and i thought that was plenty enough to take a punt on. The last attempt led me to the boyfriend i have now been with for a year, and it helped that i hadn’t put myself under pressure to HAVE to date someone/anyone but had kept an open mind who would come along on my path.

    You are under no obligation to find anyone attractive. That is wonderfully freeing to realize and once you attain the realization, you start to open up to possibilities.

    1. 5.1
      Marika

      That’s typically very wise advice, Malika.

      If I’m online and I find myself saying (to myself) ‘no’ to profile after profile, I know I’m not in the right frame of mind for online dating that night. It’s funny how you can return to the exact same site later in a better frame of mind and suddenly you’re saying ‘yes, yes, yes’!

      What you wrote is one of the many reasons to be gentle with each other during a break up. Tearing down a person’s self-esteem during a break up can have far reaching implications, and colour our view of the opposite sex. In one extreme case a friend of mine was relentlessly cheated on by her ex (with one of her friends), then lied to about it and gaslighted and he’s never once admitted it to this day (even though he is now married to the person he cheated with). She is still affected by the experience, and it’s been something like 5/6 years (that’s extreme, of course). Obviously I have no idea if something similar happened to the LW, but taking 2 years to feel ready to date again suggests some level of scarring.

      1. 5.1.1
        Malika With an L

        I know, right? Sometimes you need to take a step back and give yourself a little break from the feeling that you HAVE to go on a date with someone. Especially in the situation you just described, your emotions and self esteem are all over the shop and you need to prep for the idea of going on a date with someone else. There is nothing wrong with taking it slow, sometimes we need time to heal before we move on.
        Off topic: I was watching the virgin suicides last week and kept thinking of you whenever Kirsten Dunst entered view. I hope your dates are behaving better than Trip Fontaine!

  6. 6
    Mary

    Years ago, I found myself in a sort of similar situation. The only men I found physically attractive were men I felt were out of my league physically (or socially or financially). Way. Out. So I challenged myself to find something physically attractive about EVERY man who crossed my path. The more I did it, the easier it was. And, soon I was finding men attractive I never would have found attractive before. And, in doing so, I felt more attractive myself to those men I previously thought were out of my league. It’s an interesting exercise for sure.

  7. 7
    Selena

    When I was in my 20’s I was convinced that if “the spark” wasn’t there early on it never would be. As I got older, I realized that wasn’t always true. A few times I met someone I did not think was particularly attractive, but I found I enjoyed talking to him. The more we talked, the more I liked him, the more I liked him, the physical attraction grew. I came to understand a big factor in attraction for me was rapport.

    Think about what you find attractive in people beyond the way they look. Interesting job? What they do for fun? Involvement with a charity or in their community? Their sense of humor? It could be anything and probably many things.

    I think Malika with an L is spot on about taking the pressure off yourself to find a new *boyfriend* and shift your mindset to being open to meeting new men who come along your path and see what happens.

    I haven’t tried Mary’s exercise consciously, but there have been times when I didn’t find someone attractive initially, I did start noticing an attractive feature as I got to know them, and it was a start toward attraction growing.

  8. 8
    Michelle

    Agree with Evan and a few others here. You need to start with realistic assessment of your own marketability; human nature is we tend to overestimate our marketability and attractiveness. “The heart wants what the heart wants” doesn’t always translate to the opposite sex feeling the same way about you. Not getting this is a recipe for lonely nights. Looking holistically at the whole person; confidence, kindness, intelligence and other important traits is a good plan. You have to be attracted and that is a non-negotiable, but you can’t determine that after one or two dates. Chemistry is complicated and sometimes can come from unexpected places or people, people we would never have imagined. So maybe give some latitude and open up your criteria a bit. Doesn’t mean you have to “settle” but be open. And it’s a part time job to find someone online. You have to be willing to put in the time to weed through the dogs to get to the prize. That is the nature of online dating, it is a perfect venue for less than desireable dating partners (married, fake or doctored profiles, liers, etc.). That is the nature of the medium. You have to accept that and be willing to do the work to weed them out but the gems are in there.

  9. 9
    Noone45

    Odd how that happens, isn’t it? It’s happened to me, and I’m happy about it. I did quite a bit of work to get to where I felt no longing for romantic love. Once that set in, I didn’t find men attractive. I don’t even want to have sex. I didn’t think I’d hit that at my old age of 37, but it happened thank goodness.

    See, I don’t think this is about broadening horizons or settling. There’s a psychological reason for the lack of attraction. It’s not superficial “all men are ugly ” reasoning. There’s likely something within that makes the LW hesitant about dating. I wonder what it really might be.

  10. 10
    Nissa

    I always think that personality makes a huge difference. I wish dating sites would allow daters to provide a 30 second clip of themselves. I notice that once I see someone move and speak, they often become much more attractive to me. Static photos don’t reveal enough personality for me.

  11. 11
    M. LaVora

    @Maxine, same here. It’s been over a year of relationship bliss and personal and shared growth for me and my significant other. I’ve never had a happy relationship last this long.

    My boyfriend is a dream come true for me. He often tells me our relationship is the most fulfilling one he’s ever had and that I make his life richer every day in every way. All this, and I would have never dated him had it not been for following Evan’s advice.

    1. 11.1
      Lurking

      Which advice did you follow specifically? Mirroring? Online dating? Did you feel meh at first and then concentrate on comfort and not being single? Were you ever a picky dater- high school or college?

      1. 11.1.1
        M. LaVora Perry

        @Lurking, the answer to your question has a nutshell version and a more in depth one.

        Nutshell: I followed Evan’s advice in his ebooks “Why He Disappeared” and “Finding the One Online.” It took me four years from the time I started online dating to the time I met my boyfriend.

        More in depth: I’m black and my boyfriend is white. Evan taught me to either accept a man like he is or leave. Six times over the year-long course of our relationship, I told my boyfriend I was done. Each time it was for the same two reasons:

        I felt he was unable to connect to me emotionally when I was sad or hurt — that is, he lacked empathy.

        The other related reason was that he would not acknowledge his complicity, as a “good” white man in the oppression of black people or feel he should do anything about it. Whenever I told him about a racist incident I experienced he didn’t want to “agree” with my version of events because he didn’t want to take sides since he didn’t know the “intention” of the offending party.

        It was this behavior that made me tell him to stop calling me after we’d been dating less than two weeks. I felt, and rightly so, that he just didn’t get it regarding racism and wasn’t interested in examining his personal complicity in its perpetuation.

        Each time I was at the end of my rope with my boyfriend, the reasons I agreed with his request that I give him another chance are pretty simple. He is kind, gentle, and continually shows and tells me how much he loves me and how much I’ve enriched his life beyond what he ever imagined a relationship could do. He often says “You’re so good to me” because, just as he tries as hard as he can to make me happy, I do the same for him. We both fully enjoy pleasing each other.

        The last time I told him I was done was over his lack of empathy. He just had no experience of what it meant to comfort someone who was suffering. So he had no idea that his lack of appropriate responses — soothing responses — to me telling him about a painful experience I was having hurt me.

        Faced with the reality that I was truly done, that I’d rather be alone than with someone who was emotionally tone deaf — even if, in every other way, he was an incredible human being and the best man I’d ever been with — my boyfriend opened up like a flower. Specifically, when I broke down in tears and lay curled up in the fetal position over a particularly stressful series if events that had all crashed down on me at once, my boyfriend did something he would have never known to do a year ago. He did what I’d told him I needed him to do many times before. He got down in the trenches with me. He laid down beside me, held me, and allowed me to cry in his arms until I was done. Even writing this now makes me tear up.

        That’s when I knew without a doubt that I could, in fact, spend the rest of my life with him. Before he did that, I wasn’t sure.

        Still, there was the issue of his racial blind spot. His other tone deaf thing. Finally, however, he is open to hearing me about that. Currently, he’s started reading interviews with Robin D’Angelo, author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.” D’Angelo challenges white liberals, like my boyfriend, to recognize that their whiteness has meaning and that they are, not “probably are” but ABSOLUTELY ARE, harming black people all the time — even though they don’t “intend” to.

        Like the average basically good-hearted white person, my boyfriend wanted to believe that a white person’s intentions were all that mattered, that if they meant no harm, the harm they did to people of color didn’t count. She posits that intention is intangible, immeasurable, and irrelevant. She says that all that matters is the impact of the action and what the white person will do about that impact once they become aware of it.

        My boyfriend is a very typical liberal white man who thinks he “gets it” about race. But he didn’t want to accept the fact that his whiteness meant something, that I knew a lot about him simply because he was white, that he belonged to the white group. So when I suggested this to him, he reacted in what is a typical white liberal way according to my experience with white people and according to D’Angelo — he got defensive, angry, and hurt over being seen as a member of the white community instead of simply as a good-hearted individual.

        There’s so much more I could say but I’ll leave it at: Because my boyfriend has finally demonstrated an openness to examining his everpresent complicity in racism, not only am I certain I can spend the rest of my life with him, I’m certain I’ll be able to do that without feeling like there is a huge aspect of my life that I will never be able to fully reveal to him because he doesn’t want to know about it.

        My boyfriend tells me I’ve made him grow in so many ways. He’s done the same for me. The journey with him has been profound and made me a better human being. I believe, together, we are making the world a better place.

      2. 11.1.2
        M. LaVora Perry

        @Lurking, to add to my previous comment: I’ve practiced Nichiren Buddhism for over 30 years. Buddhism teaches that there is no separateness, that we are all one with everything, that what we see in others is a reflection of our selves.

        So when I said my boyfriend has made me better human being, I meant so based on the Buddhist world-view. I knew that the shortcut to solving my problems with him was for me to see the ways in which I behaved the way I experienced his behavior

        I had to get to the root cause of what was going on with him, and that cause was within me. And, because I wanted to be with him, I would always return to meditating on the thought that any difficult interactions we had would lead to us growing closer.

        I believed he lacked empathy and compassion. So, ultimately, I had to examine the ways he did the same. I believed he refused to acknowledge the suffering he caused others. I had to look at how I did the same.

        We are both committed to self-reflection. In addition, we made a promise to each other early in our relationship to make communication a cornerstone of our relationship. My boyfriend reminds me of this when I want to shut down because I feel like he’s not hearing me. If he weren’t as open to personal growth as he is, I would never have dated him in the first place.

        My main point is, however, that I meant it when I said my boyfriend has made me a better person. I’m now committed to spending the rest of my life deepening my compassion toward myself and all others. My relationship with my boyfriend led me to see that I need to do this.

        1. M. LaVora Perry

          Correction:

          I said “I believed [my boyfriend] lacked empathy and compassion. So, ultimately, I had to examine the ways he did the same.”

          I meant “I had to examine the ways I did the same.”

  12. 12
    Marika

    shaukat

    When you write it all out calmly, yes, I get your position – I think we all do. I just think it’s odd to be irked at the male expectation around paying for dates, annoyed that some women make the connection between paying and masculinity… but then wonder why women might get irked by all your comments about age differences and age discrepancies and smv and blah blah… It came across like you had an axe to grind from the start. Anyway, we just keep going around in circles.

  13. 13
    k

    Shauket,

    If as a 37 yo man you are finding women who are in late 20s, who you hink are a catch, compatible w you, and you don’t pay on dates—great. My late 30s friends absolutely pay when dating much younger. Maybe w a peer they feel like they may not have to, but w younger women they know the SMV thing is at least partially based on them being successful/provider. But if it’s okay to acknowledge that it’s easier for men to date younger and harder for women, why gripe about paying. We can also say it’s much easier for women to never pay for first dates. I don’t know many women who do. I always offer, but at best paid once or twice a year. I’m in my early 40s and my bf is your age, so I don’t have any bitterness here. I’m just saying if you are okay with one advantage why care so much about where others have an advantage. I’m sure there are many high earning women who’d gladly pay for a date to take your SMV (assuming it exists). Just saying we all focus more on our disadvantage, but don’t flip it around.

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