Why Reality Sucks, Fantasy Rules, and My Advice May Make You Upset
I get lots of emails from readers. They generally fall into three types:
1) Praise — easily my favorite kind of note.
Just wanted to say that yours is the first love advice column I have read on Yahoo that didn’t seem shallow…It actually makes sense and seems right on target to me!
2) Hate mail — very entertaining, especially when I read them aloud to Mom.
I hope you know that your dating advice is such fucking garbage. Get a real job, prick.
3) Frustrated dating questions — heart-wrenching and all-too common.
I always meet men who are womanizers no matter how hard I screen them. I am so attractive and classy and don’t know why they humiliate me in public but they ALL do it. Are all men just like this?
Not surprisingly, it’s the final category that I spend the most time on.
Now, despite what you may think, I don’t have an axe to grind against anyone. If men tell me I’m too harsh on men and women tell me I’m too harsh on women, I’m pretty sure I’m doing something right.
As a dating coach, it would be easy to simply validate every reader who asks a question. Tell her exactly what she wants to hear. I could write to the woman above that, yes, she’s an attractive, classy woman and that, yes, she deserves a lot better than these womanizing jerks. I’d add that there are definitely some nice guys out there, so she should keep on looking. Good luck and Godspeed!
Did you learn anything from that?
I didn’t think so.
Clearly not ALL men can be scum. But some men will always be bastards.
My real advice to her would be to assess why she keeps on choosing womanizers. That’s her big problem. Lots of women end up with monogamous men, so clearly not ALL men can be scum. But some men will always be bastards. So why does she end up with them? That’s for HER to figure out, not the womanizer.
If you feel your blood pressure rising, and you think that if only “experts” like me placed the proper blame on men, this would all go away, I respectfully disagree. Jackass men don’t read my blog. Only people who are looking for a dose of truth, humor, and insight do.
Yes, I get it: Men are wrong. Men lie for sex. Men string women along. No argument here. But there is no power in pointing out the obvious. You know why? Because YOU CAN’T CHANGE MEN!
We can complain to the high heavens about guys and their immoral behavior, and guess what? Tomorrow, some douchebag is going to sleep with a woman he doesn’t care about and then never call her again. And around and around we go.
So…since you can’t change men and I can’t change men, how can we make sure that a) You don’t keep dating womanizers, and b) You understand that this is the way some men are, no matter how much we wish they weren’t.
If you’re a reader who has had it up to here with the opposite sex, I see my job as pointing the other side of the story. I don’t TAKE the other side. I just observe it.
Unfortunately, this approach tends to incite anger. The proverbial “shooting of the messenger”….
Let’s say I observe that a significant number of people lie in their online dating profiles. My advice, therefore, becomes “Don’t expect people to tell the truth in their online dating profiles.” I’m not telling people TO lie in their profiles. I’m not defending people who ARE lying in their profiles. I’m saying that people DO lie in their profiles. And if most people are insecure about their height, weight, age or photo, don’t be too upset or surprised when you see this happen again and again.
Instead of being perpetually outraged that men hurt women and women hurt men, how can we try to rise above it?
This applies to any way in which you’ve been wronged. And believe me, I hear it all.
“Tell women that we’re not just wallets who escort them all over town!”
“Tell men that they shouldn’t sleep with us if they don’t have long-term intentions!”
“Tell women that they should just stop playing games!”
“Tell men to stop being so superficial!”
Are you seeing a pattern here? Blame. Blame. Blame. Blame.
And what good does it do?
Do you actually think that it would make a difference if I said, “Men, you should start preferring full-figured women!”? Or “Women, you should start preferring short men. And guys who make less than $50,000/year. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
That’s not advice. It’s wishful thinking.
Saying: “Women generally prefer taller men” or “Men generally prefer thinner women,” is not a value judgment against short men or curvy women. It’s an observation about the world. It acknowledges how tough and unfair it is.
Yeah, the negativity can get you down. The bad experiences can pile up. The lack of trust can be pretty staggering. Still, what choice do we have but to soldier on and make the best of things? So instead of being perpetually outraged that men hurt women and women hurt men, how can we try to rise above it? How can we see the world a little clearer? How can we navigate these choppy waters a little safer, as opposed to dreaming that they’ll magically turn placid?