Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy

Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your thoughts below are greatly appreciated.

Join our conversation (268 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 21

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

  2. 22


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

    Your snarky comments reveal your true feelings, not mine.

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

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

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

    1. 22.1

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

  3. 23
    Karmic Equation

    @GWTF @ 4.1.3

    Buck gave answers from a man’s perspective.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. 23.1


      I have to disagree on a few points.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. 23.1.1

        Flow- I really do enjoy reading your comments.

      2. 23.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        Hi GWTF,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Chris Hemsworth – Definitely ONS material

        James Spader – probably in 2-3 dates

        TLJ – only if he’s my bf

        Sean Penn – friendzoned

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

        1. Chance

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

        2. Emily, the original

          Karmic Equation,

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

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

    2. 23.2

      Excellent post KE. So true.

    3. 23.3

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

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

  4. 24

    Hi GoWithTheFlow and Karmic Equation,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    …    …    …

    Hi Buck25,

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

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

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

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

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

    …    …    …

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

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


    1. 24.1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


      1. 24.1.1
        Emily, the original


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

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

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

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

        1. Mrs Happy

          Get in line behind me for Tommy Lee, ladies.

    2. 24.2

      Hi Adrian,

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

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

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

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

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

  5. 25

    I have a question for all the guys,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    …    …    …

    Karmic Equation

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

    1. 25.1


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

      1. 25.1.1

        Very well stated!

      2. 25.1.2

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

    2. 25.2

      KE is right on the money.

    3. 25.3


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

    4. 25.4
      Karmic Equation

      Hi Adrian,

      Here’s my counterargument:

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

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

      Let’s extend this to marriage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. 25.4.1
        Emily, the original

        Karmic Equation

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

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

        1. Reality man

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


        2. Emily, the original

          Reality man,

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

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

  6. 26

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

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

    1. 26.1

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


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

  7. 27

    Hi to all the female commenters,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    …    …    …

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

    1. 27.1
      Mrs Happy


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

      The 8 and 2 may not overlap.

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

      1. 27.1.1

        Mrs Happy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

      2. 27.1.2

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


        From the study:

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


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


        The medical term for this is male pattern madness.



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

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

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

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

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

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

        1. Shaukat

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

          Hi SparklingEmerald,

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

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

        2. D_M


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

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



        3. Chance

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

        4. Christine

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

        5. Buck25


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

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

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

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

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

        6. SparklingEmerald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    2. 27.2
      Karl R

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

      You’re all mistaken.


      Adrian said:

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

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


      Mrs Happy said:

      “The 8 and 2 may not overlap.”

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


      It’s Game Theory, Not Statistics

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

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



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

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


      Why the most attractive women are not doing equally well:

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

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


      Taking this to the real world:

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

      1. 27.2.1

        Hi Karl,

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

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

        1. Adrian

          Hi GoWithTheFlow,

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

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

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

          …    …    …

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

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

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

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

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

      2. 27.2.2

        Hi Karl R,

        I agree with you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          Hey Adrian,

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

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

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

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

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

      3. 27.2.3
        Karl R

        Adrian and GoWiththeFlow,

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

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


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

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

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

        The Trade-off:

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


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

        1. k

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

        2. Karl R

          k asked:

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

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


          Gaming the System – My Wife:

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

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


          Gaming the System – Me:

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

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

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

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

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

  8. 28


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

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

    1. 28.1

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

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

      1. 28.1.1

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

        1. Buck25


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

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

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

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

        2. Tom10

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

    2. 28.2

      D_M #28

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


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





      1. 28.2.1


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

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

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

      2. 28.2.2

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

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

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

        1. Tom10

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

        2. sandra

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

        3. Shaukat


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

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

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

        4. Emily, the original


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

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

        5. Selena

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




      3. 28.2.3

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


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


        1. Tom10

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

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

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

          *Logic fail*. Lol.

        2. Jordan

          @ Tom

          No Logic fail here.

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

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

      4. 28.2.4


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

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

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

    3. 28.3
      Emily, the original


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

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

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

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

      Prince, Under the Cherry Moon

  9. 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. 29.1

      What a great post!

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

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




      1. 29.1.1

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


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


        1. ScottH

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

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

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

        2. Adreana


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

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


    2. 29.2
      Mrs Happy

      Dear S @ 29,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. 29.2.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    3. 29.3


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

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

      1. 29.3.1


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

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

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

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

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


        (the comma was a typo)

  10. 30

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


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

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

    So do understand that I can only speak to the male experience you’re discussing from the perspective of what I’ve experienced more recently, and conversations I’ve had with younger men. Taking the latter first, I suspect most of the bitterness you mention is fueled and maintained primarily by continuing frustration with the current dating universe. I would expect younger men’s experience with that feels different from both the experience I had earlier, and my own experience now. How it feels to be a forty year old guy on the single scene today, I can only imagine; my guess is it’s both better (in terms of more opportunities, and more time to experiment with self-improvement and/or different strategies) and worse (in terms of greater expectations, peer pressure, etc.), than my own.

    About the best I can do, I think, is to share with you my own experience in dating over the last 4 years, since I became single again. Online dating proved a decidedly mixed bag. It didn’t take me 6 months to quit trying to date women under 50 (and eventually under 55). I was left with the distinct minority of women in my age group who are still somewhat attractive. I did get a number of dates, most of whom I was glad to part company with by the time the date was over; decent enough personalities (mostly) but physically repulsive ( not unlike the experiences reported by a number of women here, with the guys they meet.) I tried to find something to be attracted to but polite friendly conversation was the best I could do; I couldn’t bring myself to even think of kissing 90% of them, much less anything else. Those I thought I might be attracted to, rarely responded to emails. I came here, hoping to learn a little more about what women, particularly older women, think, and what they’re looking for. As it happened some of the first posts I encountered were blanket condemnations of men in my age group; these described in brutal detail the deficiencies of older men as seen by women; everything from physical appearance to sexuality (or the lack of it), written in language which could not have been more calculated to insult, inflame, belittle, and emasculate; older men, from the point of view of these women, weren’t even to be considered men at all, not anymore; just washed up, sexless, useless, sub-human garbage, fit only to be tossed on the scrap heap. I think it’s fair to say that there was not an ugly, offensive stereotype left unspoken, and I don’t recall a single woman speaking up, even once, to say that maybe this was going too far. Am I wrong for being hurt at being assumed to be a bunch of negative things I am not, just because of my age? From the point of view of a man coming here after experiencing the inevitable rejection of online dating, this was pure, unadulterated hatred, and reading those sentiments DID make me very angry, resentful and bitter; after reading a steady diet of this for a while, honestly, my first instinct was to use my wealth to go out, get a young mistress, and throw her in the (I imagined) hateful, contemptuous face of every woman over 50 I encountered. My next instinct was to lash back verbally here, and I did. It wasn’t long before I began to despise women; they seemed to all be lying, cold-hearted, angry, vengeful, man hating bitches. After a while, I didn’t like either the women here, the ones I encountered in online dating, or even myself very much; hate is like that. Finally I decided to just step away, try to do some introspection, get some help, and see if I could build a single life that I could enjoy, whether there was a woman in it or not.

    Fast forward a few months, to the present. I’ve let go of a lot. I’ve quit internalizing and personalizing the hate that gets thrown around here. I’ve learned to just chalk that up to the insecurities and anger of the individual women writing it; happy people don’t need to belittle, degrade or demean others. Now, I come here, discuss the issues, and try to decide whether I want to get back in the dating game again. I have a feeling I will, at least in the real world, eventually. Online, I’m not so sure. Is it ever too late for love?   I don’t know the answer to that yet; not for me anyway. It sure looks like I’ll have to overcome a lot of stereotypes and negative perceptions (justified or not, they’re out there) to get an opportunity to find it.

    1. 30.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Buck25,

      Wouldn’t you say, though, at the end of the day, the resentment and bitterness felt on both sides of the gender aisle stem from one thing — not being able to attract the people each side wants? That if we all (I’m including myself in this) took our nails out of the wall and fell back, accepted who wants us, stopped trying to dance around and get the attention of those whose interest is marginal, at best, all our dating problems would be solved.

      1. 30.1.1

        “Wouldn’t you say …the resentment and bitterness felt on both sides of the gender aisle stem from one thing-not being able to attract the people each side wants?”


        That’s one of the big causes, of course. Then again, some of it comes from someone having gotten what they thought they wanted…only to find that it came with a heaping helping of misery, instead of the bliss they anticipated. Then there are the ones who settled; settled for what they could get, (or thought they could get), told themselves they could make do with half a relationship (“any port in a storm”, “something’s better than nothing”) and wound up more unhappy then they could have imagined.

        Would it be nice if we could just date the ones who really want us? Maybe, but then, that includes people from the best we can attract, to well, the bottom of the barrel, especially online. Umm, no. Bottom fishing may work in the stock market (I’ve made a lot of money that way) but it’s not such a good idea in the dating market. For instance, it just happens that I cannot feel any attraction to an overweight woman (not 10-15 lbs. worth, but 30, 40 or more). To me, that body type is repulsive to look at, no matter that to another they may not be. In my age group I get a lot of interest from the type (fat or not, they want a man to be fit). Believe me, I’ve tried, and just like some women can’t be attracted to a man who’s bald, or too short, I can’t be attracted to fat; not today, not tomorrow, not ever. It’s just a complete turn-off for me.   There has to be some chemistry; otherwise, why bother?

        1. Nissa

          What’s funny is, women as a group don’t seem to realize that. As an older women, I know I have to be at least average weight to attract the caliber of men I want. But I regularly get told by my female friends that it doesn’t matter.  It’s possible that they don’t want me to feel unwanted or discouraged  because of weight.  But I’ve heard it from so many I’m starting to believe that most women are completely unaware of this as a pivotal point for men. I’ve observed that for men, body/fitness is paramount. They will be flexible up to about 20 pounds overweight, but  when a woman’s over that,  in general their desire just isn’t there (whether it’s politically correct or not).

          For women, an attractive face, clothing, intelligence, confidence, humor, etc are at least as, or even more importance than looks. But men in general need at least an averagely fit body before they look to the rest of the package.

          I think if women got more fit and men  improved their presentation (hair, clothing, skin care), we would all find one another much more attractive.

        2. Emily, the original


          If I remember correctly, you wrote in one of the posts that you had previously dated women who were slightly above average but now you were targeting the top 5 percent. That will really limit your options. The top 5 percent has to be targeting you. I’m not saying they aren’t, but they are probably getting a lot of attention online and irl, from men both younger and older than they are.

        3. S.

          I honestly think you don’t have to compromise on attraction.   But I do think one has to compromise on something.   Maybe you’ll find a fit woman but maybe she’s 75?   But she looks 60, you know? Maybe she’s fit but has a odd family situation.   Maybe she’s fit and beautiful, but you have to search the next five years to find her.   I truly believe our lids are out there.   But we may not find them how and where we want.   It may take a long, long time the more requirements we have.   Like I said, these are real people.   You get older and life has . . . happened.

          I’m okay with that because I’m seriously aiming to live until 90.   🙂   The task is just to keep looking and not be bitter.   I may not find my match until I’m 60.   That’s a while from where I am now.   I’d be disappointed.   But what if he really was everything I wanted and I had another 30 years with him?     Or what if I missed on him because I was so pissed off it took me so long to find him? (Sometimes I do get pissed off. I am not naturally a patient person. Which is why I take dating breaks.)

          I hope I’m able to remain hopeful and optimistic.   We all acquire some baggage along the way, but I hope mine will just be an overnight, rather than the whole complete set. 🙂

        4. D_M


          This comment combined with your other statement about your previously preferred dating range, appears to have severely limited your choices. Hopefully you live in a city with a vibrant active lifestyle. How do even determine what a woman’s baseline is suppose to be inorder to apply your 30lb rule? We all want what we want, but a woman that has maintained fighting trim, usually have guys 10 years her junior vying for her attention. Youth is one hell of an exlixir, not many of us can resist.

          Based on your age range, whether wrong or right, I suspect that the undisclosed elephant in the room is the length of perceived quality of life. You are essential competing against men that are 18 years your junior as well. The best athletes in the world can’t compete against younger versions of themselves. We sure do a fine job of boxing ourselves in.

        5. Buck25

          @ Nissa,

          I think you’ve got something there. I’ve observed that women (especially older women) often don’t recognize that excess weight is often a deal breaker for men. Whether that’s because of peer reinforcement, wishful thinking, being in denial, or simply believing that men will compromise more than they will (or have to) really doesn’t matter. They do what they do; and many don’t care or don’t believe they should have to care. The point is, that whatever the reason, they are not going to make an effort to change; make excuses and whine about men’s preferences, maybe, but that’s about it. I can’t do anything about that; all I can do, is focus on the comparative few who do care, and try to stay reasonably fit. At least I’m not asking anything I don’t do myself, so I think that’s totally fair.


          “How do you   even determine what a woman’s baseline is, to apply your 30 lbs. rule?”

          Same way anyone else does-I look. I think most of us know the difference between “curvy” and obese. ANYONE, male or female with that much extra body fat, is obvious. So is the difference between fat, and muscle, on either gender. And no, I’m not PC, when it comes to discussing that. If you’re slovenly, and don’t care about your appearance, (male or female), then either you have a medical problem (in which case I’m sympathetic) or you simply don’t give a damn, in which case, you’re on your own, with both the consequences to your own health and energy level, and the social consequences as well  One more time; letting yourself go, is a lifestyle choice and an attitude, at  any age,  period   And yes, I think it speaks volumes about the character and attitude of the individual in question (of either gender).   Now, I understand the none of us after 55 or so look like we did at 30, and that’s ok. An extra 10 t0 20 lbs. is to be expected on most people. Twice that, not so much. It’s pretty hard to have defined muscles and washboard abs at 65 (unless one is using questionable substances, which I don’t recommend); having a relatively flat stomach   is doable, however. Now, to the real matter at hand.

          “…a woman who has maintained fighting trim usually has guys 10 years her junior vying for her attention”

          “I suspect the undisclosed elephant in the room is the length of perceived quality of life.  You are  essentially competing against men 18 years your junior”

          I’d say that about covers it, yes. The question then becomes, how do I counter that? Appears to me, I have to outwork outthink, and outdo my competition. So let’s see what I’ve got to work with. Unlike a lot of them, I’m not financially crippled by alimony and child support payments; I’ve got a top 1% income. I’ve got an intellectual advantage; an intellect in the top .5%, so I should be able to outthink the vast majority of them. I don’t have ED, which a lot of them do.   I’ve done a lot of emotional work, so I know myself; my strengths and my weaknesses. I have a lot of social contacts, and an active social life even when not dating. I have most of my hair, a lot don’t. I know how to dress well; a lot of them do not. I’m fit, and self-disciplined; a lot of the competition, isn’t. I’ve learned to be a pretty good, and very considerate, lover, from what women I’ve been with have told me( a lot of my competition, again, from what women have told me, are neither). So I am not without weapons in the fight, or the capacity to forge some additional ones, IF I can find ways to showcase what I can bring to the table. I’m working on some lifestyle tweaks, that may help me do just that. I can usually hold interest when I get it, so my chief challenge is to get my foot in the door. I should be able to do that, even online; I’ve got the writing skills; now I have to use them to hook women’s imaginations.

          Is it a daunting challenge? You bet it is! But, as long as I can enjoy the effort, I can’t totally lose, so the goal for now, is to learn to embrace the challenge, and enjoy the game. I’m working on it, every day.

      2. 30.1.2

        Hi Emily:   “not being able to attract the people each side wants?…   if we all (I’m including myself in this) took our nails out of the wall and fell back, accepted who wants us”

        I’ve thought the same thing when there was someone interesting I wanted to meet, only to find that I wasn’t giving that same opportunity to someone who was interested in me but it wasn’t mutual.   It’s just the way the online dating game is set up and there’s no way around it, as far as I can tell.   Mutual interest and then the stars aligning is a longshot.

        1. Emily, the original


            only to find that I wasn’t giving that same opportunity to someone who was interested in me but it wasn’t mutual.

          I’ve done that also with people I wasn’t interested in. The fact that they were interested in me didn’t even register. Didn’t make a dent in my psyche, as terrible as that sounds. It just didn’t count.

            Mutual interest and then the stars aligning is a longshot.


    2. 30.2

      Wow, Buck.   Thanks for sharing.   Your experiences with dating on and off line have been particularly difficult.   I’m especially surprised and dismayed that you’ve found such hostility against men your age here on Evan’s blog.     As Evan says, happily married people don’t usually write in here.     And when they do, people accuse them of why they are on a dating blog anyway!

      I value hearing people’s experiences.   I’ve been reading Evan’s blog for years but I rarely post due to time.   I will say that reading dating blogs, the people who post do sometimes seem bitter. This is a blog that I see less of that but reading it before work can still put the day in a less optimistic light sometimes. I guess people need to vent?

      I think you were right on earlier when you said both men and women who are struggling in the dating world are both confused and frustrated.   You seem to have gotten the brunt of that frustration here (which wasn’t really about you, but did affect you) and I observed the frustration of men in the 30 – 50 group which I knew wasn’t about me but couldn’t for the life of me figure out which women that was for.

      I think I am a positive person so I try my best to shake off negatively and glean what positive things I can from here.   Last week I found an old post linked from a newer one with many, many comments from women who married men whom they weren’t attracted to but were good men.   They all sounded so sad and dispirited.     The other women who’d been there cautioned them to get out, that they deserved happiness.     I was struck how they just said how decent the men were and these women married young, they had other options.   What I took from that is that women will date men because they are good men.     Not having any attraction to the man at all, well, it doesn’t work out.   But the instincts of the women to be with someone with a good personality is very strong.     It was one post and of course doesn’t represent, well, and stats or a majority or anything really other than anecdotal experiences, but despite how sad those women had become the post and its comments made me feel better.   These were good women who married good men.   That wasn’t enough, of course, but they had done their best.

      I’m not saying that people should date people they feel no attraction to whatsoever. I do believe, though, most people start as good people and are trying to figure this out the best way they can.   I don’t know if this is true, but it’s what I choose to believe.

      I’m glad that you personally let go of the experiences that left you angry and frustrated. You did say many of the women you dated from the sites did have good personalities.   So maybe it’s just a matter of meeting women like that until you do find one you find attractive.   I wish it was easier out there but it just isn’t.   I, too, have found a lot of very nice men online that I haven’t been attracted to. I never found any of them what you would call ‘physically repulsive’.   Most of them were of average to slightly above average attractiveness.   But the was no spark for me so it didn’t really matter what they looked like if I wasn’t feeling it.   The few where we had mutual attraction has some character flaws or our long-term goals weren’t aligned.

      It’s not easy!   But I’m meeting folks that are living to age 90 (!).   Those are usually pretty happy people, even though their spouses have passed or they never married.   So, Buck, you with your newfound perspective could still meet someone and have twenty years maybe with them.   You certainly deserve a good experience and I truly hope you find that.

    3. 30.3

      Wow, so interesting reading your experience.   I also do not have dating experiences, until recently (mid 40s).   This website, engenders the same feelings about men in me that it does for women in you.   I actually go and read elsewhere when I feel my viewpoint being skewed too far into negativity about the human race in general on here.   Luckily, I work with young men who are just the bees knees and also have my son who is the loveliest guy alive.   I would be disappointed if he spent his lifetime sleeping with over 300 women like Evan has. Luckily, he has different values in life than getting the end knocked off with anyone who offers!!   I implore you to find another blog to go to when this one gets too much and starts making you have a skewed view of humanity in general when it comes to interpersonal dating and relationships.   It will help keep your balance because despite this blog and the comments by men here making me want to live in a cave, I still believe that for the most part, humans are mostly good and that most people are just trying to do their best.   I’m staying single until I die but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love. Although, in all my years and when peering behind the curtains, I do not know of one single happy marriage over five years – my own was an abusive, perpetual misery in which I was trapped for over 20 years. I am in no hurry to repeat that experience. I certainly don’t know of any equal marriages where both are equally happy. One always has more power than the other. One is always happier than the other. One is usually living in silent resentment or desperation or cheating or being unknowingly cheated on.

      Most men I meet or know seem to spend an inordinate amount of time, trying to convince me that relationships can be ‘fun’ and ‘uncomplicated – ha! And that relationship are worth it for the companionship and affection.   I tend to disagree.   I’m actually perplexed at the amount of men who try to ‘sell’ the concept of a relationship to me. If I was cynical, I may be tempted to believe they are only saying this to get into my pants and then would promptly dump me but I genuinely don’t think so.   I think they really do want relationships, it’s just that from my end, I get so little out of them and seem to give so much, the companionship and affection aren’t really worth the compromises.   These are nice men too – however, just like you, I cannot find them attractive at all and also can’t even think of kissing them – bummer, right? I have tried to kiss one and YUCK! It’s simply impossible to force attraction. These men should be able to find a nice woman to love them. There is a serious disconnect out there in ‘love’ and relationship world where both seem to want the same thing but both are missing the mark wildly.   I have no idea why.   I hope you do meet a lovely lady that isn’t repulsive and you do feel like kissing and she feels the same for you.   I think that’s rare indeed. Good luck!

      1. 30.3.1

        Hi Bronze,

        I just want to say that Evan hasn’t sleep with 300 women nor does he endorse that. He actually advises women to wait until a man offers commitment before she has sex with him.

        Secondly I am curious about these men on here who are really negative. We have a mixed bag of both genders but for the most part, the regular male and female commenters are positive on this blog.

        1. Callie

          I think I can answer that part, Adrian. I think Bronze was responding to Buck in that she has felt similarly to him with regards to the male posters here. Buck said that all he saw were negative women here and that upset him, Bronze said likewise about  the male posters. I don’t think either are actually accurately representing the posters here but I think it’s important to acknowledge the bias that people have in approaching any site.

          Both Buck and Bronze could have taken a step back and noticed that their  same  gender was also behaving badly in the comments and that maybe that was a sign that maybe they were being a little biased when it came to the opposite gender, they could have noticed also all the kind people here of both genders, but their own frustrations made it so that they only saw what they wanted to see in a way.

          Kind of like how you only commented to Bronze’s comment about how negative the men here are and not Buck’s for saying the exact same thing about the women. You are a man, you know you aren’t bad, so you reacted specifically to her comment and felt only compelled to comment when it referenced men.

          We all have biases, we all see specific things. The  things that matter in particular to us shine the brightest and compel us most of all to action usually.

          So yeah, maybe that helps? There are certainly men here who say the most horrendous things about women on this site, you have to acknowledge that, you see that right? You can understand how women would be astonished to see such hate right? At the same time this doesn’t negate the hateful women who post here nor the kind men and women. It’s just hard not to see the negative talk about one’s own gender as brightest and most glaring is all. Just as you noticed it yourself about yours 🙂

        2. Adrian


          Hi Callie,

          Thanks for your comment, I always enjoy your insight on matters.

          …    …    …

          The reason I commented to Bronze instead of Buck was because Buck already acknowledged that he was in a dark place and he acknowledged that he had to work on himself to see the positive as well as the negative of this site.

          Bronze on the other hand made it seem as if Evan was glorifying sleeping with as many women as he could. Also Bronze unlike Buck was promoting getting away from this site to escape the negativity. But as “S” and many other commenters through the years have said, compared to other comments forms, this one is an Eden of civility-perfect no! But better than a lot out there as far as I have seen.

          …    …    …

          As far as your comment about negative men on this site, that is true, but I am wondering how long have you been reading this blog? Because besides Evan, I have also (along with Karl R and a few others) went toe-to-toe with many male commenters who have said some horrible things about women. Likewise many women have stood up (though as you have said many guys don’t acknowledge it) when a female commenter makes a horrible statement about all men.

      2. 30.3.2

        This is to Callie, though it won’t let me reply directly to her response; nor has it a number to refer to. Partly to Bronze’s reply as well.

        I’m sure Buck will chime in, but from his post he said “As it happened some of the first posts I encountered were blanket condemnations of men in my age group.”   But he doesn’t say when he first came to Evan’s blogs.   I came here in 2012 and I just usually read.   Didn’t comment.   I bought Why He Disappeared in 2012 which helps me remember the year. I’ve posted a few times but it’s so rare I forget what name I originally used.   I think there is another S. on here too which doesn’t surprise me, since I rarely post.

        In my four years here, I think it really depends on the post.   I was just rereading the post about Why Women in their 30s 0s Don’t want to Date Men in their 40.   1496 comments.   Most not very flattering to women over 40.   I wasn’t even 40 when I first read it, but even so I could have taken that personally.     I mean hopefully we’ll all turn 40, right? Even though men wrote in, it again is so at odds with what men (both men I date and friends) I know express in real life. I know these three or four commenters are actual men, but I don’t extrapolate that to mean all men feel the way they do in the words they put it. Maybe men do; I dunno.   But it’s just said so nastily and most people I know are far more careful in how they say things, even online.   My experience here also differs because this is the first time anyone has responded to a post of mine, other than Evan (which I appreciated).   Bitter comments may sting more if it’s in response to your own words.

        I have gone to other blogs were both men and women are pretty bitter.   I’ve actually stopped visiting such blogs.   By comparison to those other blogs, this one is sunshine and light!   Maybe happy people just stay away from negativity and then you’re left with very unhappy, but vocal commenters.   I myself may have found what I’ve needed from this blog.   Evan says the same things, year after year, month after month.   After awhile, it either sinks in or it doesn’t.

        The disconnect between men and women isn’t being bridged.   Not with Evan’s advice, not with comments, not with real life experiences.   I can’t put my finger on why that is. I feel like both men and women feel they have to compromise on attraction when Evan hasn’t said that.   There seems to be this intense rush to find someone, even in people who don’t want kids.   Men seem to really, really want sex, sometimes only sex. Women really want commitment.   From the comments, there is no sense of compromise, unless it’s of important things like some attraction, compatibility, and things that actually make a relationship worthwhile.   I think frustrated folks need to do as Buck did.   Chill, take a step, back and focus on making yourself happy.   Alone.   You can be alone and happy.   It doesn’t mean you have alone forever or have to be celibate forever.   It’s just a break.   But the post originally was about being happy and about life being what you make of it.   I can’t see how the people who are so angry and bitter can possibly be happy and open to love.   It’s really difficult to see how love would blossom that way.
        I appreciate everyone’s comments.   I take them to reinforce that there are positive people on this blog and I’ll continue to believe that.

        1. Callie

          I agree with all of this. Totally. I was merely pointing out why a woman will come here and notice the negative things men say about women more likely than women  saying negative things about men, and vice versa with men seeing the negative things women say  about men but not what men are saying about women. That people have biases, and people are invested in themselves and can sometimes not notice everything else around them.

          That being said I wasn’t condoning such actions. But rather I was hoping in an attempt to draw attention to how we all have biases we can learn and grow and recognize at times when those biases come into play and in doing so not fall prey to them. Buck did something so so so rare and something so admirable. He realised his own biases, realised what issues he was bringing to the table that was causing his particular outlook and took a step back to work on those. I wish more of us, men and women alike, would follow his example. I really do.

  11. 31

    I have to admit, I get stuck on the idea that it is essential for happiness to “hav[e] the freedom to make life decisions independently”. Mostly because it seems that once you couple up, and especially so after one marries, that most of your life decisions are no longer independent. They profoundly affect someone else. Even more so if   have chosen someone who differs in  core values, either by indifference or lack of awareness.

    Ideally, each of us could love the other unconditionally, accept them just as they are, and practice finding dreams in conflict. I love the concept of this, but confess it has never been my experience. I do believe that if you have a partner who shares your  core values 90% (things like integrity, compassion, accountability), then the mechanics of how that is done is not  such a big deal. For me, even with the intention to practice that ideal, I genuinely don’t know how well I could  achieve that goal.

  12. 32

    Thanks Ladies,

    Of course, I notice that there are some thoughtful men here, just as I notice that some women are not in a great space when they write. But, as S. so wonderfully says if you are over 40 and female here, it is downright cruel!!   It makes me feel like I’m a drooling, decrepit, disgusting piece of nothing when the feedback I get from the general population of both men and women, is that I have a lot to offer and surprise, surprise!!! – some people actually even seek my company out!! Shock Horror!! As really I’m due to be a bitter, cat owning, no agency, manless loser – well, yesterday!!That is not my experience – I can get a date any time I want – all I have to do is stand somewhere longer than half an hour, lol… That is hardly an endorsement but rather a condemnation on most men these days.

    ScottH – I am under the impression that Marc Katz actually brags about how many women he has bedded as an endorsement of his credentials as a dating expert. He himself states that men look for sex and I’m assuming he is basing that from his own experience and studies with his own confirmation bias built in.   I know for a fact, my brother, father, son and many other men I know   have not thought that the more women they f***ed the better man that made them.   They have something internal, built into them that doesn’t need sex with multiple women to confer their soul , esteem and masculinity into them. I find that inner quality that is quite rare in men, VERY attractive.   It also shows in women, I might add.

    I can tell you that my ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to relationships has had many men perplexed and actually makes them chase me more (so weird).   Being whole and happy is an inside job and I’m of the impression that when that finally happens there are not many people of the opposite sex who can actually take that level of independence/ self containment from another.   BUT, I will NEVER allow myself to be second to anyone ever again, I will NEVER give up an income or independence nor will I ever allow myself to count on a man.   Most people take advantage of being in a power position, especially in interpersonal relations and THAT is the saddest fact of all.

    I always advise young women to NEVER give up their jobs or careers lest they be left high and dry and taken advantage of. Despite mens insistence – they do NOT respect stay at home mums who give up their lives and careers to keep everything on track – they RESENT them and then fuck them over.

    So it seems the great divide is really about resentment and holding ones boundaries?   But in the end all I ever wanted is someone who was nice to me and accepted me faults and all and I was more than willing to be nice to him and accept all of his faults without complaint and nagging and allow him his career   aspirations as well.   I’ve not been able to gain that in a relationship, although, I know many men who have.

    We are in a time a great change and both sexes are going to need to a. take a step back, b. reassess how WE aren’t perfect, c. take a step back up without prejudice.. Unfortunately, my gut feels that females have been doing this for at least the last ten years and it is time for MEN to change the PARADIGM they have in their head of what a woman actually is and why she should be the one doing all the damn relationship and emotional giving… She’s got her own money and house – what have men got to offer then?

    I have never seen a happy relationship once I delved into the nitty gritty BUT my job is on a research trial where one side is given a rather extreme intervention – EVERY single person randomised onto the extreme intervention and also everyone else who thinks about it declares it is TOO extreme and dangerous EXCEPT 100% of people who have gone through it so far would take that back and say it is the BEST thing they’ve ever done no matter how shitty is was – it changed their lives for the better and they can live with the downsides because the upsides are just so great!

    I’d like to thing the right relationship was like that – yeah, it’s hard, yeah, it can get boring but boy the up sides make everything else pale… So far, I’ve not met one married person living this nor have I experienced it myself despite meeting a man whom I could have stared at forever – even then I had to let him go for self preservation.   I already have children so a relationship has to give me something spiritually tangible and I have not met a man who can give that.

    Especially considering reading comments on this page, I’m washed up, ugly, fat, old, useless and just generally disgusting as a woman when compared to my own nubile daughters the men who are my age want to fuck. That paradigm makes me want to punch every single man in the face repeatedly, as it would if is was his own 20 something daughter, I’m sure.   That is what I meant by losing faith in humanity on this site.   The absolute desire of old shitty creepers wanting girls the age of my daughters.. I have actually had an altercation with a man trying to dance with my 19 year old daughter when he was at least 40.   That stuff makes me want to spew my guts out but I let him have it but I bet he tries to sleep with the next young inexperienced lovely he can get drunk.

    The morals of most men leave me speechless and make me want to never speak to them.   If it wasn’t for the actual lovely men in my life, I’d never speak to another one because reading ‘We want to fuck young girls, it’s biology, get over it you old hags’ over and over on here makes me want to avoid men and protect my daughters.   They do NOT have the mental and emotional capability to discern that these old men are treating them like blow up dolls – they do it and then we have every generation of women damaged from fuckers and it is never ending perpetuation of women distrusting men because of their experiences and men wondering why women can’t get over it!!!   MEN teach your sons it’s not OK to use young girls as holes!! OLD MEN – stop going for young naive young women who don’t have the ability to stand up to your manipulations!!   There I said it….. Here comes the flaming.   Bring it ON.

    1. 32.1

      I think Bronze brought up a valid concern. Most divorced moms are very careful about bringing men around their kids and this is one of the reasons. And it is disgusting hearing about men who regularly chase women 20 years younger. Is it because I and other women are jealous? I don’t think so. It does seem predatory to me. I have a gorgeous 16 year old and I regularly catch men of all ages (including the 40+ crowd) ogling at her. Nothing brings out a mother’s protective instincts more. So, if anyone wants to bash Raven, I think the bashing needs to be saved for men who have some kind of child sex fetish. It really is disturbing. Do I believe all men are this way? Nope, absolutely not. But I will do my best to steer clear of anyone like that.

      1. 32.1.1

        There is a big difference between staring at a young female and actually chasing after a young female.

        1. KK


          Did I say otherwise?

          There is also a big difference between an older man glancing at a young girl or giving a polite smile or friendly hello and staring her up and down. It’s down right creepy. If you don’t think so, please check back with me when you have a preteen daughter. If she’s even remotely cute, SOME grown men will openly ogle her.

    2. 32.2


      It’s ok. I hear you, and I know (as much as a man can) where you’re coming from right now, and it isn’t a pleasant place to be. There’s more I want to say to you about that, because it doesn’t have to be that way, as I’ve been learning recently. I want to respond to some things you said when I have more time, though.

      In the meantime, I hope that this, and some of the things I’ve mentioned might encourage all of us to consider what we say when we come on here angry and frustrated. Words DO matter; the way we say things, matters; and we don’t know when someone is going to read what we’ve said, and maybe take it for more than it’s worth, or more than we intended. One problem with emotion-loaded attacks, is that they can produce a lot of collateral damage to people other than the intended target(s). Something for all of us to think about.

    3. 32.3

      Hmmm, not sure why you singled me out here but I doubt that Evan brags about how many women he’s slept with.   The only thing he’s done that comes close to bragging is how good his relationship is with his wife and I think he’s entitled to that.   And that’s not bragging.   He’s happy and shouting it from the tree tops.   I hope to aspire to that too one day very soon.

      This is the 2nd time in the recent past where bashing was mentioned and I feel kind of confused about that.   Buck made a comment last week about it and here you do too.   Sure, there’s lots of generalizations and probably a lot of those are true.   But as Evan keeps preaching, don’t waste your time on the bad ones and focus on the good ones.    Yes, there are perverted men out that who will stick their appendage in anything that moves, just like there are some overly emotional women (ok, crazy women) out there.   Pass them up or report them to the cops.

      I was recently mocked for appearing to not know the gender of a CEO.   Did I take that personally?   Hell no!   I’m sure she knows a lot of things that I don’t and CEO trivia doesn’t matter to me.   I’m also sure that there’s a whole lot that I know that she doesn’t know so she can just keep her LOL to herself and I’ll ROTFLMAO.

      This conversation makes me think of a bunch of things I’ve heard in therapy and elsewhere, particularly the 18/45/60 rule which is that at 18, we worry a lot about what people think of us.   At 45, we don’t care what people think of us.   At 60, we realize that people don’t think about us nearly as much as we think they do.   I’m between 45 and 60.

      Also, I spent lots of time with my shrink talking about giving people certain power to make us feel bad (or any other way).   I’m certainly not giving some random internet person the power to make me feel bad.   If someone disagrees with me, even vehemently, I’ll listen and decide if there’s merit.   If not, thanks for your time.   if so, thanks for expanding my world view.

      Have a nice Dream Cruise day.

  13. 33

    Well, I’m not going to flame you.   I think? I hope. But I do want to respond to this.   The first thing is that Adrian pointed out on the other page is that Evan didn’t sleep with 300 women and he advocates that women who get attached during sex not have sex until a man is their boyfriend.     He dated 300 women.   He didn’t have sex with all of them.   I don’t know if he’s said how many he’s had sex with but I don’t feel it’s any of my business. He tried to be the best man he could with them.   He told the ones he didn’t want relationships with that or broke up with them. That’s what matters to me.   There is nothing wrong with men who want casual sex.   There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as they don’t lie about it or stay in a relationship leading someone on that they want more.

    Now, you and I know lovely men who don’t do casual sex. It doesn’t make them better men. It’s a choice.   No judgment on it.   It’s simply a choice.

    Are men cruel here?   Some men are frustrated and angry and they take it out on the commenters here or not even just the commenters but random anonymous women out there.     I don’t feel this blog is a cruel place.   I don’t feel the world is a cruel place for women over 40.   We all value youth.   Men and women.   We just don’t all act on that desire for youth.

    So it seems the great divide is really about resentment and holding ones boundaries?   But in the end all I ever wanted is someone who was nice to me and accepted me faults and all and I was more than willing to be nice to him and accept all of his faults without complaint and nagging and allow him his career   aspirations as well.   I’ve not been able to gain that in a relationship, although, I know many men who have.

    The great divide is not necessarily about resentment and boundaries. It’s about compromise. No one wants to compromise on anything. Including myself.   And some things you have to compromise on.     But no one could force me or argue me or advice me into it.   Not even Evan.   I made a compromise and it came organically from personal development in me, not because I was trying to attract more men. Now it did attract more men I realize now with some surprise.   But that’s not why I originally compromised.   I also glow now because I make myself happy.   That’s attractive too, men are now telling me in words.

    Bronze, you sound angry in your post. I wasn’t sure how to say that.

    That stuff makes me want to spew my guts out but I let him have it but I bet he tries to sleep with the next young inexperienced lovely he can get drunk.

    Yeah, this doesn’t sound very happy even though you say you can get a date anytime you want.   Then what does it matter what these other men do?     And I beg to differ than young women don’t have the mental and emotional capability to know what older men want of them.   You and I were younger once and we knew. My sister knew.   Your daughters know.

    The world is the world. I’m sure you raised your daughters well.   Women are strong.   Men will continue to want youth and pursue sex.     (So will a lot of women.)   Maybe the real compromise is just accepting that without judgment. It was hard for me to do but like you said there are so many lovely men out there.   They want sex and love too.   Yup.   I focus on those men.   Because I really believe the men we know? Are most men.   And I don’t want to judge them for wanting intimacy with someone they are attracted to.

    Not sure if that was a flame.   But for a moment you sounded as bitter as some men who have posted here and I’m not sure if you intended that, but it’s how it read to me.

    1. 33.1

      Hi S,

      You said that you post rarely, but I just want to say that from what I have read, those few comments that you do post are powerful.

      So thank you for adding such positivity, honesty, and enlightenment to this site. It always amazes me how so many people wish to stumble upon Utopia, Shangri-La, or a garden of Eden; yet few want to do the actual laborious work of building it.

      If more of us purposely tried to comment more positively on this site, I know it could become more uplifting and encouraging in the comments sections. Even debating if done in a respectful manner can produce healthy mental and emotional growth.

      1. 33.1.1

        Thanks Adrian, for this reply.   I’d have replied sooner but I had been late to work in the mornings writing comments here! 🙂

        You are so right in that even though it’s Evan’s blog, we the commenters can help lift people up, or discourage them with our words. It’s not our obligation or responsibility, but it happens.

        Your comment certainly lifted me the day I read it and reinforces for me that this is mostly an informative and positive place to read most days.   🙂

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