How To Make Dating Easier

I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve known who’ve told me they hate dating. And to be perfectly honest, I thought they were crazy. Dating was awesome. I loved the thrill of the chase, the intoxicating nervousness and energy that came from getting to know somebody new, the flirting back and forth as we tried to feel each other out. First dates (and second and third, really) were things to look forward to.

Now, granted at the time I was only into dating casually, while several of my friends were looking to settle down, so I could understand – kinda – where they were coming from. They just wanted to find Mr. or Ms. Right and skip straight to the happy committed life, so of course the frustration of wanting to skip the entire courtship aspect made sense to me.

If you listen carefully, you can hear another piece of her soul wither away into nothing.

If you listen carefully, you can hear another piece of her soul wither away into nothing.

Except… that wasn’t the problem. Not exactly. The problem was that dating was exhausting to them. It was a constant repetition of putting in massive amounts of effort for a minimal reward… if they didn’t strike out entirely. They were spending most of their time and energy on the areas that would be the least productive and neglecting aspects where spending a little more time would produce huge results – small wonder they hated dating. Changing up your dating philosophy to make your efforts more efficient can make your dating life much easier… and much more rewarding.

Simplifying Dating Means Increasing Efficiency

I believe in efficiency when it comes to my social life – especially to dating. I’m a firm believer that life is too short and there’s too much to do to waste time when you’re looking for a partner, whether it’s for sex, companionship, or romance. Over the years, I made a lot of mistakes that ultimately meant I spent more time than I needed on aspects of dating and personal development that didn’t help me nearly as much as I’d assumed; the results simply weren’t worth the initial level of investment that I put in.

I’ve talked before about my belief in simplifying the dating process as much as possible by stripping out the extraneous and unnecessary. Part of this is understanding where and how to spend your energy and time. We have a tendency to focus our attention on areas that we assume make huge differences based on presuppositions about dating. In reality, however, these tend to be areas that aren’t nearly as important as we may think. As a result: we’ve wasted a lot of time with very little to show for it. Time we could have spent better elsewhere, on areas that actually helped.

An example: I spent a lot of time worrying about social status and value  when it came to women. At the time, I was mainly meeting women in bars and clubs and I had bought into the idea of social proof – that the more it seemed like I was a big shot at the bar, the better I was going to do with women. So, in order to keep up one’s social status – according to the theory – you wanted to be seen working the room. This meant you wanted to always be seen talking to lots of women – the better to inspire jealousy don’cha know – , making friends with the bartender so you could get free drinks, jumping the line at the door and so forth and so on. This could be exhausting… not to mention more than a little terrifying if you were even slightly shy or anxious in social situations. I kept feeling like every eye in the place was on me and I had to keep up the act, for fear that they might realize I was just some dork trying to occupy a cool guy’s body. If I wasn’t talking with a group of people or chatting up the bartender or the DJ or whomever, I had to have my crew of friends to fall back on, lest I look like a loser who was lost and alone.

Until one day, I came to a realization: nobody noticed. Unless somebody had been watching you specifically – which is usually a good sign that they’re interested in you already – they’re not going to be paying attention to you. Most people really aren’t going to worry about whether some stranger was talking with another stranger. Nobody is going to assume that you’re a loser if you’re not constantly surrounded by people because, frankly, they’re probably not aware of you in the first place. They’re more concerned with their immediate surroundings – the people they’re talking to, whether they need another drink, the song currently playing, or even whether their shoes are killing their feet.

I was spending a lot of time and energy trying to guard myself against a problem that didn’t exist. As a result, I was expending a lot of needless effort  that brought back minimal returns. It was one thing when it was just part of who I was – I had bars where I was a legitimate regular, so the bouncers would let me in because they knew me – and quite another to try to force myself into being the Life of the Party when I’d really rather just focus my attention on the people I wanted to meet.

Over the years, I’ve identified areas where men tend to waste their time… and the areas where a little effort does the most good.

I’ve Got 99 Problems But A Bitch Ain’t One.

The first rule of dating efficiency is that you can’t win them all. Rejection sucks, yes, but not only is it not the end of the world, it’s usually a sign that the two of you weren’t compatible in the first place. Unfortunately, our egos often get caught up in our dating lives and as a result… we tend to take rejection personally. Especially when we’re rejected by someone who we think is just being a bitch.

Sometimes she’ll freeze you out. Sometimes she’ll tell you she’s got a boyfriend  – only to later make out with a rando she met that night. Or perhaps she just gives you the withering stare that makes you wonder why you bothered to gestate in the first place, never mind have the temerity to approach her.

It’s tempting to want to want to take her down a peg. To break down her defenses and make her realize that no, you really are attractive and she should give you a chance. Or maybe you just want to make a point on behalf of every rejected and downtrodden nerd who was told he wasn’t good enough.

For example: I’ve had more than a few readers send me this video.

It’s an appealing fantasy – the idea that with the right combination of wit and piercing insight, you can take down a woman’s defenses, get revenge on the Mean Girl for your nerd brothers, and win her heart and squishy-bits in the process.

It’s also not worth your time.

There’s been a lot of ink spilled in dating advice on dealing with “bitchy” women – how to demolish her “bitch shields”, how to outwit manipulative game-players, dealing with shit-tests, how to pick up women who give you the boyfriend objection… and none of it is worth the effort that it takes. You’re letting your ego get in the way – you have something you want to prove, whether that you want to take the bitch down a notch or somehow be the avenging arm of Karma and getting her back in the name of all the OTHER people whose fee-fees she’s hurt. It’s not about actually getting to know her, it’s about proving you have the Magic Dick. Sometimes you might even manage to get a zinger out in riposte. But you know what? She doesn’t care what you think of her. To be insulted by someone, you have to give a damn about their opinion. You can call her a fat slor, a bitch, or whatever else you want and she’s going to forget you exist as soon as you exit her eye-line because you simply don’t matter to her.

In the end it doesn’t matter. Whether she was lying about having a boyfriend, enjoys stomping on the egos of innocent men, or simply was having a bad day and you happened to be the 14th dude to hit on her, the fact of the matter is she doesn’t like you.

You can spend a lot of time – and it’s going to take time… if she liked you, she wouldn’t have rejected you in the first place – to try to change “disinterested” to “interested”. Or you can shrug your shoulders, never give her another thought  and find someone who actually wants to talk to you.

Keep Up Your Appearances

There’s being good looking and then there’s being attractive. The two are different.

Good looking is a combination of an individual’s preference, cultural values, facial symmetry and body ratios.
Being attractive , on the other hand, is about appearance and presence.

Whether or not you’re good looking is a matter of perspective as much as anything else. You can’t account for individual preference and short of painful surgery, you can’t change how you look.

And the results are, shall we say, mixed...  (Photo credit: s_bukley /

And the results can be, shall we say, rather mixed…
(Photo credit: s_bukley /

Your appearance however, is easily fixable, and usually in a very short amount of time. It’s very simple: wear clothes that fit properly, get a flattering hair cut, maintain proper grooming and hygiene and work on your body language and posture. If it seems like I emphasize these factors often… well, it’s because they’re some of the most important parts of making yourself more attractive, and it’s all easy to fix. And yet it’s the area where men fall down the most… so much so that even a minimal effort to address these issues will make you stand out from the crowd.

Don’t believe me? Take a trip to the mall on a Saturday and do some people-watching. Almost every guy you see will be shuffling along in his oversized, badly fitting clothes, his lousy hair cut, shoulders hunched, chin tucked and back curved. The guys who look half-way decent will shine like a damned beacon in the night.

It takes very little effort – mostly a matter of research, especially if you’re looking to save money – to fix problems with your appearance. You can quite literally transform yourself overnight. 

Don’t make the classic mistake, though, of thinking that you just need some “going out” outfits and calling it done. Managing your appearance is a daily activity, and an important habit to cultivate. If you only pay attention to your appearance when you’re planning on going out and trying to meet people, then you’re missing the point. It needs to be part of your every day life. This doesn’t mean you need to be dressed to the nines every time you go to the gym, but if you’re leaving your house and you might be interacting with the general public? Take some time and dress well. You never know when you might run into the woman of your dreams; you don’t want to find Ms. Perfect at the grocery store when you’re in a stained pair of sweats and your hair looks like you’ve got a raccoon living in it.

Don’t Overthink It

I wish I had a nickel for every letter I’ve received where guys wanted me to read their crush’s mind for them. All too often, guys refuse to trust their own instincts when it comes to women. Instead, they try to analyze women’s behavior like conspiracy theorists studying grainy, low-rez YouTube videos of the Twin Towers, looking for the microexpressions and unconscious tells that will reveal THE TRVTH to them.

"Her left eye crinkled more than her right eye! She's planning on flaking on me tomorrow, isn't she?"

“Her left eye crinkled more than her right eye! She’s planning on flaking on me tomorrow, isn’t she?”

The thing is, women aren’t hard to read; in fact, most of the signs are pretty obvious. Women aren’t devious, manipulative chessmasters who screw with men’s heads for fun… and frankly the ones who are are easy to avoid. After all, it takes two to play games and you can short-circuit any games by simply walking away. While it is true that women are socialized to soften their answers for fear of causing offense or may try to let a guy down easy, a rejection is still pretty clearly a rejection. Similarly, a “yes, I’d like to go out with you” is a “yes, I’d like to go out with you,” not  “I will milk you for free meals and attention until something better comes along”.

The impulse to overthink dating is a reaction to uncertainty; you don’t like the feeling of being out of control, so trying to analyze everything is a way of reasserting a feeling of control over the subject. In fact, in many cases, you already know the answer, you just don’t like it. When you’re reading the tea leaves to find out if she likes you for example, you already know she doesn’t; you’re just looking for reasons to keep hoping.

Occam’s Razor should be applied to these issues. If she asks you to buy her a drink, she’s probably flirting, not shit-testing you. If she’s very slow to text you back or responds in short, monosyllabic answers (if she responds at all) then she’s just not interested in talking to you. If she keeps telling you she’s busy when you ask her out without suggesting another day, it’s a message that she’s not interested in going out with you.

The simplest answer is usually the correct one.

(I now await people over-thinking not overthinking in the comments.)

Build Chemistry

You want to know the difference between being “just friends” and a long night of squishy noises back at your place? Chemistry.

Except chemistry doesn’t “just happen”. You have to be willing to build it. This means being willing to own the fact that you’re interested in someone as more than friends but as a potential sexual and romantic partner. If you’re cloaking your interest in someone under the guise of “being a friend”, then your attempts to build sexual tension is going to be incongruous and uncomfortable for everyone involved. If you’re not willing to be physical – to actually touch her – then you’re going to be telling her you’re not actually interested. This doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to attempt to maul her with your mouth at the drop of a hat; there’s a difference between building tension by making physical contact (a hand on the lower back,  a light touch on her arm) and manhandling her or touching her inappropriately.

The key to chemistry is to keep things light and fun. It’s one thing to let her know you’re interested in her sexually – and believe me, if she’s on a date with you, she’s aware that you’re interested – and another to bludgeon her over the head with it. Flirty touching is about a tease and building interest through sexual tension and restrained desire. If she’s not interested, then trying to push it is only going to go from “not interested” to “leaving right then and there.”

But don’t think that you just focus on the physical; you have to engage her mind too. This means finding commonalities and connecting with her emotionally. What does she have going on in her life that you can relate to or that you find interesting? What sorts of things do you have in common? What sort of stories can you share? Are you asking questions, listening to what she has to say and then being able to springboard off of what she just said as a way of taking the conversation even deeper?  Can you two find the same wavelength and talk as though you were both old friends, even if you only just met that night? Can you make her feel and make her laugh? Then you’re more than half-way there.

If you want to get into a woman’s pants, first you need to get into her head… and let her into yours. 

Avoid Evo Psych (And Other Magic Bullets)

Every so often someone claims to have cracked the attraction code and has an easy, surefire way of generating instant, insane attraction in any woman at any time. Other times they will insist that the key to getting better with women is to trigger her “instincts” – whether this is by being more “alpha” or being “dominant” or other ways of supposedly appealing to her reptile hindbrain and taking advantage of  mating behavior that is supposedly hardwired into women via evolution because it helped insure healthy, genetically desirable offspring.

One problem with this is that a) it’s based on faulty presumptions of human sexuality and b) we don’t operate on instinct. Some aspects of sexuality – how long it takes men and women to become sexually aroused, for example – is biologically based. Others, like whether women are interested in short-term mating strategies (i.e. casual sex) are based far more on socialization, cultural adherence to gender roles and the risk of personal safety vs. the reward of pleasurable sex.

The other problem is that it’s trying to short-cut attraction by supplying placebos and trickery for actually engaging someone emotionally, not to mention having an actual life and, y’know. People skills.

Canned routines, for example, that many PUA schools advocate are supposed to create the illusion of being “high-status” while supposedly hitting other attraction switches like “leader of men” or “adored by women”. By using these routines, you’re substituting somebody else’s personality for your own and using their stories in place of yours. You’re essentially borrowing somebody else’s personality in order to fool others into thinking you’re cooler or more desirable than you are.

"... and I would've gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for you pesky bloggers!"

“… and I would’ve gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for you pesky bloggers!”

Similarly, being “alpha” is a way of rationalizing why women only seem to like “certain” men (a fallacy of composition) while buying into a false narrative about human reproductive behavior based on faulty assumptions about evolution and animal behavior (a naturallistic fallacy).

These are no substitute for doing the work: going out and learning how to interact with people by actually interacting with them. No amount of inner game workshops, routine manuals or evo-psych bullshit is going to teach you as much as actually talking with people. Want to be more attractive to women? Quit trying to learn how to flip switches and work on being an interesting and well rounded person with stories to tell.

Speaking of:

Get A Life

If you want to get better at dating, you have to get better as a person. This means having an active, full life. If your day-to-day activities consist of waking up, going to work, coming home to play XBox or watch TV until you pass out, you’re going to have a hard time finding people who are going to want to share that life with you.

“What do you have going for you besides your looks” is more than just a line to feed women: it’s a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis. Do you have passions in your life? Hobbies? What do you do that makes you unique and interesting? What do you do for fun? Do you engage your intellectual curiosity, or do you just drift through life aimlessly?

It’s important to have pursue your passions in life, even if it’s not necessarily your career – or even the driving force in your day to day existence. Pursuing your interests serves to make you a more interesting person – it means you lead a more active life than someone who just lives through and for his work. It means you’re more likely to have stories to tell and experiences to share, unlike so many other people out there whose day to day lives are just one blurring into another.

Just as importantly though: pursuing the things that you are passionate about means you are more likely to find people you’re compatible with. If you’re a music lover, you’re going to have a lot in common with the people you meet at concerts and performances. If you love animals, volunteering at an animal shelter is going to bring you in contact with people who also share your interests.

They bonded over their mutual love of fine wines and subtly mocking hipsters' mustaches.

They bonded over their mutual love of fine wines, 80s action comedies and subtly mocking hipsters’ mustaches.

It doesn’t take very much to turbo-charge your dating life. When you’re spending your time and energy wisely, you’ll find you actually enjoy the dating process far more… which will make the results all the sweeter.

  • Robjection

    I cracked up at the mouse-over text on the second-last image (the guy with the mask).

    • fakely_mctest

      The picture, however, is straight-up nightmare fuel for me. DDD:

      • Robjection

        The picture itself just made me think "What the crap?" But looking at it again, it's not hard to see the nightmare fuel angle too.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          I go to all sorts of masquerade and spooky events and that picture is still indescribably creepy.

  • Taimae

    Ooof, I am not a 'one-on-one dating with strangers' person. Honestly, it fills me with anxiety. It's hardly ever has to do with what the guy says or does, because for the most part, they're often fairly pleasant and enjoyable. I usually panic before a date (hear races, nearly ready to cry, etc). and have to talk to my gal pals to reassure that it is 'just' a date and that neither of us should be expecting anything. I'm glad that I've had them bring me back to reality.

    I have learned though, that I feel more comfortable in group settings. There's more people around, and while you can talk to the person, you can also talk to others and won't have to worry as much about awkward feelings and less expectation of "THIS IS A DATE. WE ARE DATING SO SEE IF WE ARE COMPATIBLE". Whereas I feel like group functions are just meeting new people, hanging out more for friends than for immediate dating partners (or one night stands?). You also usually have at least one person in your support system that you can talk to if you're feeling unsure or just need to have a 'normal' convo.

    Any other ladies (or fellas for that matter) just feel less stressed out by meeting people through just hanging out in groups?

    • SpiltCoffee5

      I feel I do better in one-to-one situations. In group situations, if a person I'm interested in is talking to someone else, for example, my brain tends to throw "THEY AREN'T TALKING TO YOU THEY DON'T LIKE YOU AHHHH" and smothers my frontal lobe with jealousy. In a one-to-one, the jealousy goes away and the simple anxiety of "DATING DATING ARE WE COMPATIBLE IM SCREWING THIS UP AHHHH" is the only thing I have to deal with then.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I wonder if the all caps effect has to do with the kind of dates you and Taimae go on. I mean, yeah, if I've talked to someone for a week online and then we go out to some really nice place for dinner, its going to magnify any awkwardness. On the other hand, if we meet at the pier where there's walking around, different things to do and an easy way to bow out, its a lot easier to enjoy the activities with someone. I think having a shared activity (emphasis on active, no movies) that you would enjoy as a solo activity makes dates a lot easier.

        • Taimae

          Yeah I do really have to agree with that. I've found that I've enjoyed activities with guys I don't know as well more than official 'dates', which may also be why I prefer the group thing. Maybe that's what I should be considering more when I eventually decide to date again.

    • zmd

      I have rarely met someone I liked at a bar or a "designated I come here to meet people for future dates!" place. I've met cool people at group activities like bike rides or game nights, karaoke, parties, happy hours, picnics, and so forth.

      Hey, everyone panics before dates, just like everyone is nervous before job interviews or the first day of school. There's nothing wrong with that. You can mitigate that feeling a little bit. I usually try to pick the date location and make it something I will enjoy regardless of how the date goes. In addition, since one of my anxiety triggers is being late, I get to my date early and bring a good book or some work (if it's an after work date). I've found that having a book with me is also a good conversation starter for when the guy gets there. My last first date was really where all of my techniques came together. I met my bf at a party and we exchanged numbers. I wanted to go to an art exhibit, and while The Rules would say I should have waited for him to call, I decided to text him and ask if he wanted to join me. It's a good thing I did too, because apparently, he had a specific place he took all his first dates. My invitation to a totally different place set me apart. I was also much less nervous, because regardless of how my date went, I would be glad that I got to see this exhibit. I brought a graphic novel with me and just waited for him outside, reading. I had plenty of time to calm down and collect myself. When he got there, we talked about the graphic novel I was reading, and that launched us into a conversation where we discovered we had a ton in common.

      If you really have trouble with people one on one, I would maybe try to go on some "friend" dates. Maybe you meet someone at a party or at work that you think is just a cool person you'd like to know better. Perhaps another person of your gender (or whichever gender you're not attracted to), or someone in a relationship, and just practice hanging out and getting to know a person one on one. Ask a girl from work if she wants to go shopping with you, or maybe ask you friend's boyfriend if he wants to catch a movie his girlfriend doesn't want to see and then get one drink and just chat. Really, that's what dating is. Not every person is going to be super easy to be friends with. In fact, most people are not. Dating is even more difficult. It is very frustrating, most of the time, but if you're just looking to learn more about a person, I've found that this makes things a little easier.

      • Taimae

        Yeah, I'm not really a bar or club preson myself. Karaoke and parties and the like, are certainly more my style, which I guess I should've clarified when I meant 'groups'.

        Friend dates is certainly a better idea for me. Making friends has never really been an issue with me. I enjoy getting to know more people and the like. For some reason whenever it's labeled as a 'date' then I start to panic and I think my brain goes in this sort of "This is what he'll expect from you" sort of deal. Odd, I know, something that I certainly have to get over!! 🙂

    • I'm on the other side of the fence: I feel far more pressure in a group setting than one-on-one. In those situations I have to divide my attention and my efforts between multiple people and I never feel like I'm really getting to know the person I'm attempting to date. My social skills are much better suited to being alone with the person I'm interested in and giving them my full attention as we get to know each other.

      This actually shapes who I date because I'm reluctant to go out with people who prefer a group setting. It's probably for the best — it's a pretty clear indication of incompatible social styles, but I also probably miss out on a few great people.

      • eselle28

        I'm kind of the same. I'm generally fine one on one. I know who I'm supposed to be talking to, and if it's labeled as a date, I don't do my internal mental gymnastics and talk myself into thinking this person couldn't possibly be interested in me.

        In groups, sometimes I have trouble figuring out who to focus on, and I have an unfortunate tendency to end up gravitating toward someone who's not a candidate for dating and talk to them all night (either because they're the most interesting person there or because the attractive guy is intimidating the hell out of me).

      • Taimae

        Ahaha, yeah that totally makes sense to me as well. I think that's where the small difference for me lies; if I don't get to know the person well enough, then if nothing happens, it won't be as big a deal to me whereas I feel like if I'm one on one with a person, everything feels like it's under a microscope. It's a bit different when I'm actually in a proper relationship of course, but it's always the "getting to know" part that always send me into a panic.

    • Bwmn

      I could not be more opposite.

      I think like many, dates make me nervous – but if I'm in a group situation (his friends, my friends, mutual – doesn't matter) I'm far more prone to be way more relaxed around everyone else and more uptight around my "date". Either I think that everyone else is watching us, or because with the other people 'everything' I say/do doesn't matter as much – I'll interact with them more. In the past I've found group situations to be a great way to put myself in the friend zone.

      Whereas one on one, no matter how initially awkward there's no immediate comparison ("Gee, she's so relaxed with A,B, and C – but freezes in front of me") to magnify any awkwardness.

  • "(I now await people over-thinking not overthinking in the comments.)"

    Your wish is my command!

    You ask a guy on a date. Guy says yes. Occam's Razor says they like you! Hurray! Only to discover, after a few dates when you've actually started to like them… oh, they are only after sex (or the politically correct term, "friends with benefits." See, they like you-just not enough to date you. Or ever see you in the daytime. Friends are like vampires, you see.) Wah wah.

    Try as I might, no matter how I comb apart the dates, I can't tell where it went from "hey he likes me" to "oh he only wants a bed fellowship." MY Occam's Razor has started to turn into "I ask a guy out > he is only interested in sex."

    How do you avoid over-thinking while also being on the look-out for signs that indicate troubled waters ahead?

    • Orv

      Look for chemistry while on the first couple dates? If the two of you have a lot to talk about and are enjoying spending time together that should make it more likely they really want a date, while if they seem agitated and spend the whole time trying to escalate towards sex it might be more likely they want an acquaintance with benefits situation. I don't think this is a solution that will work 100% of the time, but it should at least narrow down some of the more offensive outliers.

    • GeekAvenger

      Tough to tackle, but I will give it a shot…

      I think investing less emotionally in the first few dates is key. It isn't about finding out if this person is your "Soulmate, last chance for happiness savior" but just getting to know them and find out if they are going to be one of the compatible options you have… I am a fan of being direct and honest, so putting it on the table at some point early on that FWB is a deal breaker, is a good way to put the ball in his court.

      That is not to say that you won't run into assholes who will continue to lie and cheat there way into your bed… but weeding out liars is going to be a challenge no matter what because they aren't being honest… at least you have put them on the spot and forced them to lie directly…

      So basically lower the stakes increase the direct communication. If you are trying to be less forward or are afraid of "scaring him off", you could even couch it in context of other relationships… "Oh man, I had some friends who did FWB for a while and let me tell you, Drama central, no thanks!!!"

    • zmd

      People's feelings change. It is very rare that someone's feelings toward you stay constant. It is easy to like someone when you don't know much about them, and you can pretend that the parts you don't know are things you will like. Most likely, however, you will or they will discover something they cannot deal with in the long term. It is possible that they just discover that first. I find that women are socialized to look past a lot more than men. There were guys I really liked on the first date, then the next couple dates, and then the newness had worn off and there was nothing really there to keep me interested. Some of those guys, because they were good and friendly people that I generally liked, I was happy to stay friends with them. And because I liked sleeping with some of those guys, I wasn't against continuing to do that. I was always honest about that and let the guys make their decisions about how they wanted to continue. The thing is, there are things that I want to do in a relationship, that I did not want to do with those other guys and I knew it. I knew I did not want to spend the kind of time with them as I would want to spend with a partner. I knew that I was happier to walk away from a relationship with those people than to work at it. Those things don't immediately become clear, but when they do, you can't really pursue a relationship with someone.

      I wonder, are you really evaluating people as much as they are evaluating you? Are you really questioning whether those people are good for you? The thing is, very many people will not be. When I was dating, as much as I wanted to be with someone, I continued to build a life where a relationship would not be necessary to make me happy. I picked up new hobbies that I loved. I developed strong friendships. I worked on my career. One day, I looked at my life and said to myself "If I had a good relationship right now, I would have everything I want. Why should I get everything I want?" This thought really made me appreciate all the good things I had, and even made me value some of those guys who rejected a relationship with me in order to be friends with benefits or just friends. Some of those guys have become my closest and dearest friends.

      There is probably not a point where you went from a potential girl friend to a potential fuck buddy. It just kind of happens over time and you can't predict it. It will probably happen a lot, because meeting someone you really connect with on a level is rare.

      • Which is fine, but then continuing to hang out or go on dates with me when they are only interested in sex. That does piss me off. Or a few of the guys have told me relatively upfront that I not their type or not someone they are attracted to, but hey, they're desperate, and I asked them out. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

        • Mengsk

          I'd say this is the sort of thing that you can usually get a feel for. If it feels like you and your date are enjoying each other's company, you're doing something right. But I agree that there's nothing more tedious than hanging out with somebody who's not enthusiastic about it.

        • zmd

          This is one of the things I kind of like about dating/pick up advice. Your communication with someone (barring extreme circumstances) should generally be even. I once dated a first year medical resident who was working like 70 hour weeks and would up front tell me that there were days when I wouldn't hear from him. Someone who cares about spending time with you isn't going to take the risk of you getting offended or losing interest. It's ok to be forward, but being too forward can give you an inaccurate view of the situation (rather than scaring the guy off, which is the typical advice for why not to do that). Just continuously measure for enthusiasm. It should be about equal to yours.

          The thing is, whether you're forward or not (but just statistically when you're forward), you will get a lot of rejection. A lot of people will lose interest in you. Some will express this better than others. Try your best to not get caught up in people until they've shown similar enthusiasm.

          • I know this is 2 years old on some obscure little article, but you really seem like you have your stuff together zmd. I like your perspective on things.

    • thesurfmonkey

      It sounds to me like you're not forming an emotional connection with the guy. Without an emotional connection, he might still be interested in a physical connection (the old FWB thing) but if he doesn't start feeling some feelings for you then the dating and relationship part doesn't happen. That's what I would concentrate on in this case, being able to form an emotional connection.

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        "Without an emotional connection, he might still be interested in a physical connection (the old FWB thing)"

        Do people not have emotional connections with their friends?

        • enail

          Friends with benefits doesn't always mean actual friends. Sometimes it just means people who are reasonably friendly to each other and have an ongoing casual sex arrangement.

        • thesurfmonkey

          There can be friends with benefits who are real, close, emotionally connected friends, and there can be friends with benefits who only use the word "friends" within the overall term "friends with benefits" because it's a convenient cultural shorthand for the type of sex partner they are with that person at that time. It's a continuum. From what Marty said, it sounds like the situations she's describing are more in the convenient shorthand area of the continuum.

          Or, you know, what enail said.

    • Jenn

      The thing is that a date is just a date. It's not as if the other person is signing a contract saying they'll love you forever. It's about getting to know someone and seeing if the relationship you want is possible. It might not be and that's okay.

  • OldBrownSquirrel

    "It was a constant repetition of putting in massive amounts of effort for a minimal reward… if they didn’t strike out entirely."

    There's a metaphor for dating that I've had since my twenties, round about the time I was reading "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." It goes like this.

    There are two concentric circles. Along the outer circle are men. Along the inner circle are a like number of women, wearing black hoods and bearing large axes, with each woman standing in front of a block. In unison, like clockwork, the men put their heads on the blocks, the axes fall, and the men retrieve their heads and place them back on their shoulders. Then the outer circle rotates around the inner circle, each man proceeding to the next woman, and the cycle repeats.

    Reading Camus lends itself instead to a Sisyphean metaphor. Lately I've been reading Epictetus, trying to learn not to concern myself about things over which I have no control.

    • "In unison, like clockwork, the men put their heads on the blocks, the axes fall, and the men retrieve their heads and place them back on their shoulders."

      I'm feeling particularly sensitive this morning, but can we please, PLEASE, dispense with the tired ol' "Only men face rejection" BS?

      • Dr_NerdLove

        It takes a certain amount of willful blindness to not see that women get the fuzzy end of the lollypop as much as men do. Shit, there's been plenty of women WHOSE LETTERS I”VE FEATURED who have problems finding dates.

        • Well, I'd have thought that any community where I am as vocal as I am here would have realized women have problems finding dates too.

          • enail

            It's not just you, either. Plenty of the women here have discussed the rejections they've experienced, the lack of interest they've had; some people seem to always find a reason to dismiss every bit of evidence that women don't step out every morning into an adoring crowd of men competing for their attention.

          • Jenn

            Thank you. I really hate the belief that every single woman walks to her car on a carpet made of desperate dudes. That's just not what happens.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          "The fuzzy end of the lollipop" – I've not heard that before. I'm stealing it.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            I wish I could take credit for it. It's from Some Like It Hot, which is one of my favorite movies of all time.

          • hobbesian

            that is a good movie..

        • Shaj

          Fuzzy end of the lollypop? What the hell kind of lollypops are YOU eating?

          • Robjection

            My guess is: ones that have been dropped on the floor and then picked up by virtue of the five-second rule.

          • enail

            Ugh. Five-second rule does NOT apply to lollipops.

          • eselle28

            My tongue just flinched.

          • Salmiakki. A pocketful of lollipops on a night out is great for your energy level and once in a blue moon it'll net you a dudette who rips it straight out of your mitt/maw, which is always flattering.

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        I'll freely concede that lesbians also face rejection.

        In general, though, it's men who get rejected, because it's men who do the approaching in the vast majority of cases. Granted, there's a tiny fraction of men who get approached by women frequently (I'm picturing the eyelid invitation to Dr. Jones, and even he was a fictional character); most men will never get approached, except, perhaps, by other men. Women mostly get *ignored*, which is different from being rejected. It's a different phenomenon, requiring a different metaphor. I appreciate that getting ignored is also painful. I'm describing my experience, though.

        • Robjection

          So … what about heterosexual women who approach men and get rejected by them? Are you trying to suggest that they either don't exist or don't count?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I'm trying to suggest that they're focusing on a small number of exceptionally attractive men who get more such offers than they can accommodate. That being the case, their chances are slim. It has no effect on the dating experience of most men.


            Really? Really, is THAT what I'm doing? I had no idea I was such an Alpha Hag, going for those chubby, short, nerdy guys I love so much! (To be fair, I like tall and lean as well.) It is so very good to have all of my experiences summed up so sufficiently, and then ignored so efficiently.

            Seriously, do I have to be even MORE verbose on this site than I already am?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            You're an outlier. I think one of the reasons you're not having much luck with men is that you're so far outside their personal experience that you catch them off-balance, and they don't know how to respond.

          • I'm really not. The only way I am an outliner is that I am outspoken about it.

            I used to post on a dating forum about my experiences. I got the same tired BS from guys like you: "Oh, well, you only go for hot guys-stick to your leagues, and guys will fall all over you." "Oh, you're an outliner-girls aren't like you."

            Do you know how many PMs I got from female lurkers, telling me how glad they were to finally see women *like them* who tried to succeed with guys and failed? The only thing that makes me an outliner is 1) I talk about it and 2) I keep trying. Most women like me just give up, and content themselves with a single life, and discuss their failures only in hushed voices over giant tubs of ice cream.

            There is a huge risk of humiliation in being a woman who HAS to initiate with guys, in order to be successful. There is an even bigger humiliation in failing at that, and to top it off, having guys deny your experiences (calling you, essentially, a liar or a freak to your face.) Girls like me don't TALK about it publicly, but trust me, I am by no means alone.

            Also, how the fuck am I "outside someone's personal experience"?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            "Also, how the fuck am I "outside someone's personal experience"?"

            If a guy isn't used to being approached, he may not have a clear idea of how to handle it. They're not used to having the shoe be on the other foot.

          • And, oh gee, it couldn't possibly be that other women are also getting rejected for that same reason? Which would mean that women *also get rejected* just like men?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            If it's any consolation, and it might not be, you might be making life a little easier for the next woman to ask him out.

          • Orv

            I accidentally thumbs downed you. I'm sorry. That gif was perfect.

          • eselle28

            This morning I woke up to a message from a guy I've been messaging back and forth online, responding to my suggestion that we hang out with, "Oh, I'd love to but I'm so BUSY BUSY BUSY. I'll be busy all of next month and for the foreseeable future. But I'll let you know if my date with the girl I'm more interest— I mean, if it turns out I'm not so BUSY BUSY BUSY after all."

            Let's not go into this business about how women don't get rejected. I second Marty's gif.

          • Robjection

            Wait, was that just what he clearly meant or did he literally say that word for word?

          • eselle28

            Oh, no, it's a dramatic reinterpretation of it – like a Lifetime movie!

            But it was a very obvious blow off and a pretty thin lie (there's no way he's actually continuously busy for the rest of the month, especially given that he's a teacher). Which is fine, but I'm not in the mood to be told that people of my gender don't experience rejection.

          • Cat

            Considering the blatant inability to accept in a single syllable that is not part of this person's one-man pity party my impression is that a person with that kind of view on women only interacts with them through re-runs of Sex and the City.

          • Robjection

            So the people whose experience disagrees with your claims are outliers. How convenient.

          • StarlightArcher

            If I hear one more guy tell me I'm weird because I make the approach, I'm gonna tear his arms out of his sockets Wookie-style! In my decade of dating experience would you like to know how many men made the first approach? Two!! Count with me… one… two. Every other partner/boyfriend/fuckbuddy/fiance I've had I had to run down as though I were a starving lioness pouncing on a wounded baby gazelle.

            And those were the times I connected with someone. And those guys were actually pretty damn pleased I'd gone in for the kill, because they even said they were too scared to approach me. Would you like to sit with me while I tabulate the number of times I've leapt and eaten dirt for my effort?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            You're in a better mood today that Marty, so I'm going to give you a suitably friendly answer.

            If they were too scared to approach you, the starving lioness metaphor is completely wrong. Let's go back to my original metaphor, with the axes and the blocks. What you did was drop your ax, pull off your hood, go up to some guy who'd had his head cut off by someone else, pick up his head for him, put it back on his shoulders, and give him a hug. What you did was a blessing.

            And if I ever love again, it will be because someone chooses to do that for me.

            Thank you.

            P.S. I am literally in tears.

          • eselle28

            I think the chances of that happening might increase if you were willing to acknowledge that StarlightArcher has eaten her share of dirt and might be walking around headless as well. It's hard to attract compassion when you have so little of it for others.

          • enail

            Yes, this. Also, it's hard, but everyone's got to put their own damn head back on themselves. Who wants to date someone headless?

          • eselle28

            Aside from maybe Katrina Van Tassel, and even then only in certain versions of the story.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Point taken. I don't think I lack compassion, though perhaps I wasn't showing enough.

          • StarlightArcher

            Considering that I was the living embodiment of the specky nerd girl, you're who metaphor is invalid. No hyperbole, I was ugly-duckling personified, and that was before the cruel fist of puberty caught me. Huge glasses, gross acne, braces meant for pulverizing gravel, plus I was taller than almost every boy I ever met. Dude, I never had an axe or a hood. No boy called my house to talk to me. I had zero desirability, and any boy who even glanced at me did it with a pitying expression.

            If anything, I was the one who kept getting her head chopped off. Because I didn't want to be so soul-crushingly lonely anymore. We are all getting rejected, women as much as men. Please try to see this.

          • Yes, that's how I currently feel….. like any time I pursue a guy, I am chasing him around, and he's desperately looking for an axe to get me away.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Full credit to eselle28 for pointing out my failure to say this earlier:

            Thank you for having tried, even if sometimes you ate dirt, even if you walked around headless. I salute you.

            Dammit, I'm crying again.

          • Hey, do I get a thank-you too? What about Marty? Cait? cmcc?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I just got done apologizing to Marty. Thanks to you and to various others who helped me get my head on slightly more straight.

          • ThatDebra

            I don't know why, but it really is pissing me off that people keep calling her (and other women) an outlier on this blog. That's just dumping unneccessarily on a huge pile of crap that is certainly not some mystical, rare occurance.

            It's not even constructive, it doesn't help in any way. It's just saying "ah,well, you're weird, it's over and done, time to adopt a cat or 50". Ridiculous.

            Should I just start treating the very first stab-victim in my area all casually like "Well, to be honest, people don't generally get stabbed here. I mean, it happens, but you're really just an outlier in my Holy Book of statisticy statistics and so I must bid you farewell. The hospital is about 7 miles that way, but i wouldn't expect any sympathy. They already get stab victims from their own area, which is a priority."

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You know, we tried that whole treating the stab wound thing. It didn't go well.

          • hobbesian

            She's not an outlier. I read articles all the time in the local school paper, and the local alternative paper, which is basically the college women lamenting the fact there aren't enough guys, and especially that there aren't enough guys who want SERIOUS relationships.. Every week the letters & advice column has at least one such letter.. a particularly bright computer science major has even created a facebook app specifically for the school to help facilitate people getting dates and long term relationships rather than hookups.. it's gotten over 1500 likes in the 2 months it's been up.. and thats over summer break.. I imagine it will skyrocket when fall semester starts and all 40,000 some odd students are back on campus.

            Are all those women outliers too?

            I realize the reason why they are having trouble, and it's plain and simple demographics. 58% of the student body at the school is female, so thats nearly 24,000 women between the ages of 18 and 30 crammed into 800 acres.. vs 16,000 guys.. as the grades increase that 58% increases to nearly 70% for seniors, and 75% for grad students because the guys are partying too hard and dropping out.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Changing the subject here a bit, there's a reason I'm intimidated by talk of SERIOUS relationships.

            As I see it, there's a conventional (distinct from "traditional") progression of SERIOUSNESS: dating, exclusivity, intimacy, cohabitation, betrothal, marriage, children. When you're in high school, anything beyond exclusivity is discouraged, though intimacy often happens on the sly. When you're in college, cohabitation is common, and betrothal is on the menu. Once you're past college, a guy is defined as "not SERIOUS" if he doesn't want to go "all the way," which in this context means kids; that definition gets relaxed slightly after menopause. Now, I'm divorced with kids, paying child support, and I'm not inclined to have any more. Moreover, I'm enjoying having my own place where I get to make unilateral decisions about e.g. decorating, and I'm not enthusiastic about sharing that authority. In short, I'm not inclined to pursue cohabitation, betrothal, or marriage, and more kids are completely off the menu. My dilemma is that, at my age, that excludes me from my cohort's current definition of "SERIOUS." A guy who isn't immediately interested in marrying, and ideally having (more) kids, may as well just be after casual sex for all the difference it makes.

            The demographic figures presumably come from a liberal arts school. A former co-worker went to an engineering school that didn't have a lot of other schools in the area, and she joked about how the women could get away with being unkind to the guys, since the guys didn't have a lot of other options, with women making up only about 10% of the student body.

          • I think that point about seriousness is a good one. I think your best bet is to aggressively reframe what seriousness means. What does a "serious" relationship look like to you after, say, you've been in it for five years? If you can describe it concretely, maybe we can help you find communities of people who share that model, or who can be persuaded to share it.

            For what it's worth, I don't know how old you are, but I have a couple of friends in their thirties to whom "he already has kids, doesn't want to move into my place, but wants a serious and passionate relationship" sounds like a dream. So these people really do exist – at least some of them.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I could imagine myself living with someone after a year or two, but I could just as easily imagine living separately based on inability to reach consensus on the details of cohabitation. If we could reach consensus on such details, I could imagine being engaged, though probably not married, in five years. That's assuming she wants to push the issue. I could just as easily imagine myself simply dating someone for five years and spending a fair bit of time in each other's homes.

            My experience with women in their thirties, many of whom are likely to dismiss me as too old, is that they typically fall into one of two categories:

            1) Wishing to continue living a carefree, childless lifestyle. Single fathers need not apply.
            2) Wishing to bear children. Serious candidates only.

            In theory, single mothers are a third category, and they're probably my best bet, but I don't see too many in their thirties in the dating pool.

            The only context in which I can imagine my having kids being a real plus is if a woman is involuntarily infertile, and her alternative is adoption, and most such women don't realize they have fertility problems until they're trying to have kids with an established partner, i.e. they're not in the dating pool.

            Dating with kids is a lot like polyamory, really: I already have two committed relationships, and they're going to take priority in many cases, at least in the short term. Most women don't seem interested under those terms; I'm "not what they're looking for." They'd just as soon consider candidates who can offer more of their time. In a way, it contributes to my not being seen as "serious." Also, I think a lot of people are still working with the prejudice from youth that people who are single with kids are irresponsible.

            (One major difference between polyamory and dating a single parent: it's less awkward explaining the latter case to family, since it's not so stigmatized.)

          • May I ask how old you are? And how old your kids are? And, broadly speaking, where are you located?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            43, 6 and 2, New England

          • enail

            Dude, you're only 43?? That's not that much older than at least one or two of the other regular commenters here, if I recall correctly. From the way you talk about yourself and your age peers, I figured you were around 60!

            Seriously, OBS, what's giving you problems is your attitude. You feel like you're impossibly much older than the people you're talking to, you're worried you've missed your chance, I get that. But that's your fear – interacting with the world like that's your fact is not only not useful, it's bordering on actual delusion.

          • That's helpful – thanks!

            So, here are some thoughts on finding other categories of women.

            The women I'm thinking of are having trouble finding a guy who doesn't expect to take the first place in their lives. They would love to be in a relationship and would be okay helping to raise kids, but they don't want to be a primary caregiver. In a world where we expect women to do the bulk of housework and childcare, it'll be hard for you to convince them that your young children won't become their primary responsibility. On the bright side, I asked one of my friends what it would take to persuade her that someone in your situation wasn't just looking for a housekeeper and mom; she said living apart would actually be a bonus.

            You've also mentioned that you had a hard time with your ex-wife's impressive pieces of paper, which I think is going to rule out a lot of women like my friends. They are extremely impressive on many levels, including the pieces-of-paper level. Maybe that is something to work out, because it could open up more dating avenues for you.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            It's not so much that I had a hard time with her impressive pieces of paper so much as that she gave me a hard time about my comparative lack thereof. Her piles of paper were higher and deeper than my piles of paper, if you will. You've heard the old joke about the definition of Jewish dropout? That's me.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            So, you want to date somebody who isn't inclined to belittle you? I'd say that's a requirement worth having. 🙂

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I'm thinking more about the idea that women might be put off by the implication that I'd expect them to assume caregiving responsibilities. Do you suppose it would help if I were to make it explicit in my profile that I expect no such thing? Really, as a single father, I'm mostly asking two things:

            1) Please understand that I'm going to be spending a lot of time with my kids
            2) Please understand that I'm still in regular contact with their mother

            Seriously, my kids wouldn't let me get away with dumping them on someone else during what they've come to see as their special time with me.

          • I don't know if your profile is the right place to do it, but I think that it will definitely help you to make that clear at some point early on. Doubly so if you do it as part of a pro-active, positive model of what your relationship would look like.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            "I'm a single dad NOT looking for my kids' new mom." Seriously, why wouldn't you put that in the profile?

          • ccmc

            My two cents: I think a clear statement that you are (happily) responsible for your kids and that you (happily) don't need a woman you're dating to help bear that responsibility makes you sound great. The trick is to make sure to frame it in a way that's positive.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            40, Pittsburgh. With lifestyle choices (child-free, polyamory) that make my dating pool so small it sometimes feels like a statistical error. I'd be worried about my chances of meeting anybody, save that I've met and had delightful relationships with a variety of fantastic women since my own marriage collapsed six years ago, including a wonderful live-in girlfriend who I seriously think I'm going to wind up marrying. (And not that it matters, but said girlfriend is fifteen years younger than me. Seriously, when you click with a fellow adult, the age really is just a number.)

            Faith, brother. There are women out there who want what you do and who will like what you have to offer. They may not be as numerous as women looking for a more traditional relationship path, but you only need to find one.

          • Hey! I'm about to move to Pittsburgh!

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Nice. Which area?

            If you (and our respective SO's, of course) would like to grab a beer sometime, I can recommend some great places.

          • I don't want to post information here, but if you DM me on Twitter, we can figure something out. 🙂

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Would you mind pinging me at

          • hobbesian

            well I was going to engage you in a conversation.. but now you're even being dismissive of 'Liberal arts' schools in order to not have to accept reality.

            theres a reason women make up less than 10% of the student body at Engineering and Technical schools.. culture and society tell women they suck at math and hammers that point home every chance it gets under the guise of 'Comedy'… there have already been tests done to prove, that if you take a woman who performs well on math tests.. and then remind her that society says she's supposed to suck at it.. she suddenly sucks at math.. All those engineers who whine about not being able to get dates should look for the actual source of the problem..

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            It's not that I'm dismissive of liberal arts schools; I attended several. My point is that the gender discrepancy isn't due solely to guys being drunken idiots; some of it's that there are other schools that are made up mostly of guys. Granted, there are women's colleges, too.

          • hobbesian

            We have a major Engineering school in the state too.. and it has 1/3rd of the student body is women.. which while not great is a lot better than 10%.

            The university is aggressively spending money on high school programs to encourage women to go into science and engineering.. they are in other words, engineering, a solution to their demographics problem.

            The point I made about the guys dropping out however can be confirmed in graduation rates.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            You have more options than you think. There's a huge space between one-night stand and Let's Have Kids. Who's to say you're not going to wind up meeting a female version of yourself? Somebody who wants something intimate, exclusive, and emotionally serious, but who likes having her own space and has no desire to have (more) kids?

            The conventional progression is only as rigid as you insist it is. Know what you're looking for, and communicate it clearly. Yes, this will exclude women who insist on a progression similar to the one you describe. This is a Good Thing, as you're not looking for the same thing they are.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I'm going to dial back and rephrase what I said earlier.

            The term "outlier" was needlessly dismissive, and I'm sorry for having phrased myself that way.

            I would encourage you to continue, and I would encourage others to follow your example. I hope you find someone who appreciates you. My chief complaint, really, is that there aren't yet enough women like you. I know I've been pissing you off today, but I really do like you, admire you, and wish you the best.

          • But you like me ONLY because I pursue. And frankly, that's what I hate about the whole affair (aside from the "woe is me, women are SO different and have it so lucky, women could never understand my pain!") I' HAVE had guys agree to go out with me, because they also liked the fact that I pursued them. But in the end, it turned out that was the only thing they liked about me, and once the relationship started to settle into a natural 50-50 give-and-take, they were no longer interested or engaged.

            Judging women who don't approach, or bemoaning the fact that women can't understand rejection because they never approach, is shooting yourself in the foot, and is offensive to pretty much every type of women…. the one who pursue, and are offended that their ONLY value to guys is "saving" the guys from actually having to stand up and declare an interest, and the women who don't pursue, who still deal with rejection that is every bit as painful.

          • eselle28

            So, basically they're behaving the same way that men do when they select which women to approach?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            There are a lot more guys approaching women, and a lot more women getting approached, than the other way around.

          • eselle28

            There are a lot more guys approaching women, but the distribution is very much weighted toward a small segment of young, conventionally attractive women. There are many, many, many other women who are never or only rarely hit on by men.

          • Amber

            Also, I'm fairly conventionally attractive and I do not get approached that often. I get *harassed* often but not approached by well meaning guys who just want a date (and yes the difference is super obvious). Some guys have this serious misconception that women just get approached all the time. Where does this come from??

          • enail

            One part might be I get the impression some guys don't quite understand just how different being harassed and being approached by someone well-meaning are. Like, they get that it's not quite the same, and that it's theoretically not a good thing, but they sort of think it's still something flattering that lets you know that you're a desirable human being, that if you've been harassed by some guys that means you'll be well aware that there are reasonable guys who will be interested in you as well.

            I don't know, maybe this isn't the case, but sometimes I get this impression. It seems like sexual harassment is a kind of hard thing to quite understand if you've never experienced it.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Having been the recipient of some bus-crazy myself, I can imagine. The difference is that they fly off the handle at me for no reason or for being snarky. They fly off the handle at you for being attractive.

          • Now, I grant you, this is only from reading the Internet, the giant echo-chamber of guys I would never hang out with in real life…. but it seems that they would STILL view harassment as a good thing because any kind of attention is good.

            I got into a big discussion the other day online about why guys would ever have sex with someone they don't find attractive… as in, they don't find her attractive in any way, physically OR emotionally… and a lot of the guys responded with "Well, it's better than my hand." It is literally a "Better than nothing" mentality.

            And do I even need to retell in detail how the guys insisted that if girls would just lower their standards they could easily get sex, but somehow guys aren't in the same position because guys just CAN'T get easy sex like women… while the same guys simultaneously complain about all the fat, ugly, and older women who they're "forced" to date?

            It's simultaneously disgusting and fascinating, because these guys are apparently so desperate for sex they will literally sleep with anything (by their own admission!) and yet seem angry about that fact.

          • eselle28

            I don't think they actually would if the encountered actual harassment. Or, at least, I went to school with a guy who felt like that about sexual harassment…until a few years later when he was harassed by his boss (a woman and not even that unattractive of one, but someone who harassed him in a way that was meant to be humiliating rather than sexy). He didn't like it one little bit and actually ended up apologizing to me for some of the past things he'd said.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I'm used to reading the accounts of women who conflate harassment with being approached, as well as the criticism of commenters who try to make such a distinction, to the point where I don't see the latter as any more welcome than the former. It's not that I don't see harassment as worse than approach but rather that I see approach as no better than harassment. This is reinforced by repeated rejection.

          • I think that approach occassionally feels awful in and of itself – meaning, if a woman is getting approached all the time in inappropriate contexts, even the best approach can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. But the vast majority of the time, there's nothing wrong with a polite, friendly, contextually appropriate, BRIEF approach. And if you get shot down without becoming verbally or physically abusive, you're helping fight the "approach = harassment" narrative too! Which I know is probably small consolation, but I hope it's some consolation?

            Obviously, just speaking from my experiences and the experiences of people I know.

          • eselle28

            Oh, yeah, to be fair, I get harassed very often. But I think that's more due to the fact that I live across the street from a construction site than anything else, and it is definitely not the same as being approached. If I actually went up and asked one of those disgusting guys for his phone number, I somehow don't think the result would be a nice date.

            I don't even think street harassment has much to do with desire. They yell at my mom when she comes to visit. According to my neighbor, they also yell at their daughter (who's 9 or 10, and not the early bloomer 9 or 10 that I was…she looks like a little kid).

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            It comes from reading accounts of women who complain that they're approached too much.

          • hobbesian

            Approached /= harassed, creeped on, intimidated, etc.. I know you're a smart enough guy to know the difference but not all those approaches are benign or made by socially awkward guys like us who were raised by wolves..

          • Mel_

            Yeah, I think guys underestimate how rejected a girl/woman can feel when, say, not one guy in an entire school dance/bar/club comes over to ask her to dance/flirt/whatever. Having someone say no to a direct request is a sharp and immediate sting, but feeling dozens of people are considering you not worth their time all at once can be a slow but massive crushing of the ego.

            Not to mention, even if the guy initiates, if he then decides he's not interested in seeing you/seeing you again after conversation/dates, that's still a rejection, and it's a rejection where you've gotten more emotionally invested.

            And I'll add one more data point to being a woman who's approached guys (not super hot "alpha" guys–generally geeky quiet guys) and been rebuffed, both online and off.

          • I made the first approach to my partner. ("Want to go get ice cream and watch the lunar eclipse?") I'm the first and only woman he's ever dated – it's not like he had women lining up for him left and right. We're coming up on our seventeenth anniversary in the fall.

            Oh, wait, you'll probably find a reason why I don't count. If you're wondering whether that pisses me off, it does.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'm actually unsure how you would define who approached in my current relationship. We met at a masquerade, kept our masks on and didn't say a word to one another all night. I know by about the halfway point, when I was on a break and incognito (ie I looked like me) someone said she was looking for me but I had been flirting with anything in a dress by that point (silently, without physical contact. . .I'm good at mime). By the end of the night we were making out in the corner with our masks still on. So. . .yeah. . .

            Oh yeah, AND I pulled a quick fade before the end of the night then spent like two weeks flirting with her via Myspace without ever sending her a picture. In retrospect, that's some powerful stuff right there but I still couldn't say who started it.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Bear in mind, I'm no spring chicken, and the dating pool is pretty shallow at my age. You've been with your partner for 16 years, which means you've been off the market for a long time. Moreover, I don't expect you were my age when you and your partner started dating. I'm not saying your experience isn't real, but it's not reflective of my dating pool; I've aged past the point where your account has personal relevance to me.

          • That's fair – I'm not saying it has personal relevance. On the other hand, I do think it has strong relevance for the "women don't approach men" narrative. I believe your particular dating pool has these characteristics. I just resent the generalization.

          • ccmc

            Nope. Just nope. I am a woman and I have been rejected by many men, and it wasn't because they couldn't handle the womanly tidal wave that was swamping their Adonis-like forms. It was because *we weren't compatible in the first place*. My experience matches Marty's to some extent in that most of the guys took the approach of going on a few dates, making out, "giving it a try" and then landing on the side of things not working, but it's still rejection, and it still isn't fun.

            Acknowledging that other people experience painful things too won't invalidate your pain.

          • Cait


            I approached my Fiancé, and while he is very attractive to me, he ain't Ryan Gosling.

          • isdzan

            OBS, isn’t there a chance that many men also tend to approach the same very attractive women, just as women approach the same attractive men?

            Oh yeah, and my first approach to a man for a one on one hang out (coffee) was to a geeky math major. It resulted in him laughing in my face and saying he “didn’t need a maid” (I was still in my housekeeper uniform because I just came off shift before class).

            It wasn’t a nice feeling, but it wasn’t the end of the world either. I just thought he was a jerk.

          • eselle28

            Holy shit. That guy does sound like a jerk.

          • isdzan

            Estelle, that he was and I am heartily happy he showed it then rather than going on a date with me and being a jerk. Can you imagine the classist BS bullet I dodged?

          • eselle28

            Yeah, as awful as he was, I say you dodged a bullet by not having to sit through a date with him. If that's how he behaves when he's just met someone, I'm sure there's lots of other bad stuff that comes out when he's in his comfort zone.

          • hobbesian

            why do I imagine this guy having a harvard lockjaw accent…

          • I wish! That would make the interaction funny. Instead he said it as if it was a joke and I was supposed to laugh too. Yeah

          • Oh hell yes, Eselle (got it right this time…stupid autocomplete). I shudder to think of what he would have said. It totally blindsided me, though, because he was just this nerdy cute, quiet guy in my number theory class. I was prepped for a no, but not an insult!

        • bespoke

          I would say that being ignored is actually worse than rejection in some way, because in rejection you get a confirmed answer. Being ignored means the person ignoring you doesn't even find you worth the time it takes to give them that "no."

          Women get rejected all the time, by men and women, in dating circles. There are plenty of articles here on DNL that prove it (the "Ask Dr. Nerdlove" column gets plenty of lady letters). Sounds like you could use a glance at them.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Sometimes a man preemptively accepts rejection. It's not that he doesn't find it worth the time it takes to ask but rather that he wants to spare her the uncomfortable experience of rejecting him. He's not so much ignoring her as giving her space. She is, of course, at liberty to misinterpret that.

          • eselle28

            Yes, men are absolutely ignoring all of the women who are older or heavier or less attractive because they're sparing them the pain of doing the rejecting. I'm assuming they think that the youngest, thinnest, and prettiest women in the dating pool have an easier time with this, which is why they ask them out so much more frequently?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I've been rejected by older women. I've been rejected by heavier women. I've been rejected by less attractive women.

            Also, thinking purely in terms of demographics, younger women are more likely to be single. I'd have to go to nursing homes to find significant numbers of older, single women.

          • eselle28

            But we're talking about broad trends here, aren't we, not just about your personal experience? If ignoring women because they seemed unreachable was a common phenomenon, wouldn't we be seeing women of variable attractiveness asked out at more even rates?

          • GeekAvenger

            I like how, to defend your larger imagined point that women are the only ones rejecting men, you use a comic with a man imagining himself getting rejected…

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Oh, men reject themselves. No question there.

          • Tiny Carl

            I hope that girl feels bad for what she did to that poor man, and apologizes for the awful things she never said or did.

          • Robjection

            I just want to double-check since I sometimes roll a natural 1 on sense motive checks: is that a joke/sarcasm or are you being serious?

          • CeeCee

            Isn't being ignored what the cliche male dating experience fundamentally is? The line being that men never get approached, that is, they are ignored all of the time so they have to be the ones to initiate.

            Like I said, that's only a cliche. I've been approached by more women than I've approached myself.

        • Again, feeling a bit sensitive today, so apologies if this comes across too harshly:

        • eselle28

          I've hit on men and been rejected.

          I've asked and been asked out on first dates and then had my suggestion for a second date turned down.

          I've been dumped.

          I think most women have had these experiences.

          • Orv

            But if women get rejected too that means that men who are rejected might be getting rejected for a reason… I mean a reason other than "wimminz are evil harpies who live solely on the energy they absorb when they reject men." That would mean that men who get rejected a lot might have to work on self improvement, and that the anger and blame they keep heaping on those evil wimminz is misplaced.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            As I said earlier, "Sometimes a man preemptively accepts rejection. It's not that he doesn't find it worth the time it takes to ask but rather that he wants to spare her the uncomfortable experience of rejecting him."

            If I ask a woman out, and she rejects me, I recognize that I was the one who decided to ask her out. It's not her fault that she's not attracted to me, and I never meant to imply otherwise. After a point, a guy figures out that he no longer needs to ask the question, since he already knows the answer, and everyone will be happier if the question goes unasked. Part of what makes rejection painful for me is that I approached someone I liked, and I made them uncomfortable, and I feel bad about that. Being ignored carries no such burden. Honestly, if I thought women were evil harpies, I'd be much more willing to ask them out. Isn't that how PUA works, after all?

          • Tiny Carl

            I want to be compassionate and considerate, so I want to phrase this in a constructive way:

            If you have come to believe that you "no longer need to ask the question" and because of that, you have chosen to stop asking women out, there is nothing wrong with that at all, and you're well within your rights to make that choice. This isn't rejection, though, and to hold anyone accountable for it, to any degree, other than yourself is misplaced.

            If you got rejected 53 times, then stopped asking women out because you finally "got the memo," and then declined to ask the next 47 attractive women out, your Rejection Number is still 53, not 100.

            Feeling as though you cannot ask a woman out is a wholly separate thing, and conflating it with being shot down isn't helpful.

          • ccmc

            I just want to say I find this to be an extremely insightful comment, and also a useful reminder to me that I can't know whether something is going to work out if I never take action. (I'm not dating right now, but I am on the job market, so dealing with rejection in a healthy way is a top priority!)

          • enail

            OBS, I've suggested this before, but I think it might bear repeating: you sound like you could use a break from dating. You're not going to have success while you feel terrible about yourself, freshly wounded from your divorce, and resentful and judged by women in general. Take some time off to let your wounds heal and build up your self-confidence, and go back to it when you're able to see the good points others might appreciate about you (as an example, I'd say your literary bent would be very appealing to many women) and ready to treat women as fellow people struggling along trying to find someone to love just like you.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            FWIW, when my marriage of about five and a half years tanked, it was about a year and change before I was ready to date again. That was not a happy time, but I was so embittered and wary that I would have been a wildly unsuitable romantic partner for anybody.

            Things got a hell of a lot better, though. Just needed the time to heal-up a bit.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I appreciate the advice. The thing that makes it most painful is a sense of having missed the boat, looking around and seeing that pretty much my entire cohort is coupled up at this stage of their lives. I'd be more content to wait if I weren't so concerned that time is working against me. I've said to my therapist that I feel like I jumped off a train in the middle of nowhere; there aren't any cities nearby, the trains come past without slowing down, and I have nothing to do but walk the rest of the way.

            As for my literary bent, I'm not convinced that works in my favor. I get the impression that most women don't know what to do with me, that they see a man who reads as unprecedented and therefore unpredictable and dangerous. "A man who reads books instead of watching the game on television like a normal guy? He could be capable of anything! Don't turn your back on that one!"

          • enail

            A LOT of women are into reading. A lot of them would LOVE someone they could talk about books, history, other intellectual interests with, rather than someone who only had the most stereotypical guy interests. Many hobbies and activity groups that cater to intellectual interests are chock-full of women of middle age and older; I'm sure there are plenty of single women there who would be happy to meet you.

          • Orv

            If your literary bent isn't working in your favor you might be targeting the wrong people. I've never had my own literary interests work against me in dating, my fiancee has remarked more than once that she should have known it wouldn't work with her first husband as soon as she learned that he didn't read. Obviously our respective mileages may vary, but I agree with enail that you may be missing a decent population of women your age who share your interests.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Unfortunately, John Waters isn't my type.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Women my age? Sure. Single women my age? At my last high school reunion, pretty much the only one of my friends who wasn't married introduced me to her girlfriend.

          • Robjection

            I don't know about you, but if I'm already not normal, then I would rather my partner at least accept my not-normalness instead of questioning it or shunning it (y'know, unless it's actually harmful or hurtful). If that makes my dating pool shrink (and it most definitely does), then so be it.

          • Delafina

            I'd say, among geeky women at least, it's uncommon to associate with men who *don't* read. But there's a difference between being a guy who reads, and a guy who seems to need to *prove* that he reads, which is sometimes how your posts come across. One can generally identify someone who loves reading simply by their language use, and their ability to evoke experiences; there's not some frequency of allusions or collection of authors to namecheck that serves as a shibboleth.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Yeah, that's a bad habit I picked up during my marriage. My ex has more impressive pieces of paper than I do, and I was never really able to live it down, try as I might.

          • Delafina

            You're not with your ex anymore. Stop letting her wreck your dating life.

          • bespoke

            The difference between the guy who reads and the guy who needs to *prove* that he reads is often the same difference between someone you can actually have a conversation with and someone who feels the need to prove themselves smarter/better/wittier than you at every turn. As someone who spent her dating life looking for someone who could converse with me on my level, I feel like I got very, very good at telling the difference. The "Need to prove it" talker-downers also tended to have huge, easily-bruised egos and short tempers, and a sense of entitlement (in that they couldn't *believe* someone would reject them, because look how big their brain is!)

            Shorthand for me became: if someone is telling me how smart they are, rather than showing me? They're likely not as smart as they think they are, and they are almost definitely going to be insufferable.

          • Dredd

            I'm usually the one being rejected, but even I've rejected women before and I've felt pretty bad about it. How is this an odd experiance for people?

        • enail

          Lesbian here, knows quite a few other lesbians. We experience about the same amount of rejection as the straight women I know.

        • Delafina

          And having been a woman, you of course know all about what the dating experience is like for women. Please, tell us some more about how often women get rejected.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Having been a man, I know how seldom I've been approached. It's not so much that women seldom get rejected as that they seldom ask.

          • Nope, what you know is that women seldom ask YOU out.

            Right now, that's not looking like a big surprise.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Fair enough. Back to Epictetus.

          • Delafina

            Women don't approach *you.* You don't get to pretend your experience is universal.

          • Cat

            But if the experience of The One True Human doesn't count, whose does? This is confusing.

          • ThatDebra

            I know how seldom I've been approached, too. Do I now have the authority to judge all men everywhere instead of looking at myself for an explanation?

          • Mel_

            As a woman, do you know how many times I've been approached in person by a not-unstable (like, seriously suggesting marriage within five minutes of talking) guy who showed any romantic interest in me? Zero. Even the unstable guys, I could count on one hand. By your reasoning, I can therefore conclude that regular guys *never* approach women. 😛

      • Jenn

        I think we should be more worried that these guys are now zombies and taking out the head won't kill them.

        • OldBrownSquirrel

          TWGS! (That's What Gawain Said)

    • LeeEsq

      This sort of thinking really doesn't help. Its a very tempting line of thought and I've indulged in it more times than I wish but it doesn't do a thing.

      Also, I believe that you were married and have children. You might not be having an easy time now but you experienced more than lots of people on this blog did.

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        "You might not be having an easy time now but you experienced more than lots of people on this blog did."

        I'll freely concede that. There's just a huge part of me that's frustrated at that part of my life being over, quite possibly for good.

    • This kind of reminds me of my friend who constantly praises Hemingway's zest for life, but keeps forgetting old Ernie blew his brains out.

      Don't believe everything you read in books – they're basically where people went to whine before we had LiveJournal. No one is going to deny the genius of the authors, but it's good to keep in mind they were often emotionally immature/insecure, maladjusted or falling victim to popular opinions of past times.

      I love your poems, lord Byron, but I fear that so does Edward Cullen.

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        I think Hemingway's zest for life was an ultimately futile effort to convince himself.

        I question everything I read. The Pearl poet wasn't offering advice, and in any case, I wouldn't be taking it. Camus's first major conclusion in "The Myth of Sisyphus" was the rejection of suicide, and I'll accept his conclusion, even if I don't always buy his reasoning. His later characterization of PUAs I'll take with a grain of salt. There are bits of Epictetus that I leave by the wayside, mostly those that involve natural history, but I find much of his advice good and useful. And there are quite a few authors whose works I liked despite, and very much not because of, their sexism, racism, antisemitism, etc. Some such authors I will not venture to defend, and I will ignore Facebook's repeated suggestions that I Like certain authors; I may own and have read nearly all their works, but I will not endorse them.

        • Splendid! Now start questioning dating advice from a 14th-century manuscript 😉

          • P.S. speed dating sure sucked in the middle ages

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Oh, the only thing I borrowed from that was the decapitation metaphor, and it's not like I'm getting shot down by Gawain. 😉 If I wanted bad medieval dating advice, I'd be reading Andreas Capellanus, granted that it's 12th-century. I'm more likely to re-read Plato's Symposium.

          • hobbesian

            Plato would be about as much help in dating women as reading Ovid.. Chase them and pursue them until you scare them so badly they would rather spend the rest of their life as a tree than sleep with you.. and then get so angry and misogynistic that your only recourse is to force young boys to have sex with you..

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Plato would be offering me not-dating advice.

          • hobbesian

            He'd probably invent an allegorical island to explain why your having so much trouble…

    • hobbesian

      as a for serious lover of that book.. methinks you are somewhat misinterpreting it…

      Camus is also perhaps not a great one to look for for life lessons…

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        I was mostly kidding around about Camus. The Sisyphus metaphor predates him by millennia, and that's more relevant to my metaphor.

    • vince

      i think it makes sense to say that men are worse off in dating. approaching is harder than any other attraction tactic, so even if we assume that both genders have equal shares of unattractive, clueless or otherwise undateable individuals, guys at large will still be the ones to face most of the rejection, much of which is demeaning (which would explain why there are so many angry guys).

      plus, since it's hard to approach without coming across as creepy, weird, intrusive or pathetic, many more guys will fail at attracting women than women do men, which means that there'll be fewer men on the market that are having relationships with a larger group of women.

      i think the reason why so many guys complain that women don't know what it's like is because it hurts having to force yourself to pretend that you like to approach, face rejections and keep pushing in face of the prospect of loneliness, and then have some article tell you to stop being so negative, and that girls get rejected too, which isn't quite the same thing.

      • I'm sorry that being rejected by women has been so difficult for you, and that you find it hard to approach women without coming across as creepy, weird, intrusive, or pathetic. I hope you can let go of your resentment and get better at dating!

        • vince

          making the case that approaching and seducing women is hard means you resent girls? o_O

          i sense more anger in your comment than mine!

          • So when I take away the unwarranted generalizations and make your emotional tone explicit, it sounds angry to you? That's awesome – now you can see how your comment came across to me (and, I suspect, to others).

            I am on board with you that approaching people you find attractive is hard – though I would guess that what makes it hard is a question of preferences and skill. Some people are really good at making the approach, and find it easy – I know because I am one of them!

            What makes you sound angry and resentful is your generalizing about how "men" have it so tough and how some dudes (implicitly: not you?) get all the hot girls. I am totally sympathetic with YOU and YOUR difficulties – but your personal troubles do not get to define how the world works.

          • vince

            well, if you are on board with me that approaching a romantic interest is hard, then i dont understand why you think that my suggestion is an unwarranted generalization. i also dont understand why you think i sound angry. im not using sarcasm, capitalized words for emphasis or unexplained accusations, but you do.

            maybe you are trolling, but if thats the case, then you should know right away that i dont get upset very easily. 😛

          • "Men are worse off in dating" is a huge, unwarranted generalization that makes you sound angry, entitled, and self-pitying. (Hint: those things are not very attractive.)

            "Men are often culturally expected to make the approach, and some men find that hard" is quite accurate and you'll find the community here supportive – both in changing that cultural expectation at large, and in helping you find ways to make it easier for you specifically.

            My theory is that "people who don't fit the relevant gender norms around approach" have the toughest time with approaching – namely men who don't like to approach, and women who do. But one way to deal with that is to smash those norms to bits, so that men like you and women like me can thrive.

            Also, trolling??? I guess maybe you do not get a lot of empathy. I really am sorry that you feel so frustrated and upset about your love life, and I hope this site helps you work out your issues!

          • vince

            "is a huge, unwarranted generalization that makes you sound angry"

            i provided a model to explain why old brown squirrel might be right. i dont understand how that makes me angry.

            "I really am sorry that you feel so frustrated and upset about your love life"

            i never said anything about my love life. but you are however sounding very condescending, and rude to be making such an assumption. thats why i think youre either angry or trolling.

            also you still havent provided a reason explaining why you disagree.

            O_O = my facial expression at your responses.

          • If this model you're inventing doesn't come from your life experience, where does it come from? Are you drawing it from popular culture? Are you basing it on specific people you know? Are you just making it up?

            You are the one proposing that your model is accurate and that it generalizes to "men" and "women" everywhere. I don't disagree that your model might be a reasonable way to make sense your own personal life and experiences – but you're the one who needs to provide a reason that I should consider your model as evidence of anything other than your own personal experience of the world.

            It sounds like you're telling me that this model isn't *even* about your own life and experiences – but in that case I'm very curious why this model is so important to you, and where you learned it.

          • vince

            well, the only two things we need to agree on for my model to be correct is that men are expected to be the initiators, and that its hard to walk up to a complete stranger and seduce them. we did agree on both of those points, so i dont understand exactly what your problem is.

            "You are the one proposing that your model is accurate and that it generalizes to "men" and "women" everywhere."

            i did not say this.. at all. what are you smoking over there. O_O

            "I'm very curious why this model is so important to you"

            same reason as why its important for you to respond to me?

            i saw a logical flaw in the arguments everyone used against old brown squirrel, so i felt compelled to point that out.

            i think youre getting a bit creepy now for the record, the way youre being aggressive and condescending and ignore my points so you can accuse me. im beginning to wonder why a person would act like that and i cant think of a good reason.

          • Hilarious.

            I'm done with this.

          • vince


            dances around arguments? check.
            attacks personal character? check
            escapes with a condescending five-worder? check.

            troll: confirmed. 😀

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Alternately, valued member of the community who's been here longer and contributed more than you have.Step carefully.

          • vince

            so… if you collect enough popularity points its a free pass to derail, accuse and do everything except respond directly to the argument? o_o

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Yes. It also comes with Protection From Trolling Accusations.Especially from folks who've changed their email addresses several times.

          • vince

            again attacking the person instead of the argument. O_O

            if my comment was in all caps and called women stupid.. then sure.. but it was a completely friendly/neutral idea in response to the discussion, and all i got for that was personal attacks based around my love life, and then you jump in to protect the person who does that…

            are you not interested in trying to find the truth through discussion?

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Amazingly enough, I really have no interest in your argument.

          • vince

            heres the way i see it:

            squirrel: men have it worse:
            nerdlove: no they dont because x.
            everyone: yeah they dont because x.
            me: well what about y.
            kleenestar: you fail with girls.
            nerdlove: dont care about your argument.

            even if you personally hate my guts, isnt it important to you to figure out if my argument is true, since it speaks against what you teach and what everyone has said?

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Not especially no.

          • vince

            if the truth isnt important, then what is?

            how can you have opinions about stuff or make statements if you dont try to stay in the forefront of the discourse by constantly updating yourself and replacing your views when they dont hold up?

          • Go whine somewhere else. Your lack of punctuation annoys me.

          • Mel_

            Vince, the logical flaw with *your* argument, and what makes it an unfair generalization, is that while most/all of us agree that men are generally expected to be the initiators, and approaching strangers is often hard, those two factors in themselves do not prove that men overall are worse off in dating. To make the latter statement assumes that nothing women have to deal with in dating is as hard as approaching. If that were true, why on earth do you think any women bother approaching, as many of us here have said we do? If approaching were worse than what we were dealing with not approaching, it would make no sense for us to do so.

            So Kleenestar took issue with your model of the world because you have failed to address, let alone adequately prove, that the sum total of what men overall experience in dating is significantly *harder* than the sum total of what women experience. The fact that you're accusing her of "ignoring your points" while pretending not to realize that something being hard does not = it being worse than all other things is ridiculous, as is your whining about her supposedly personally attacking you for telling you how you sound and expressing sympathy, while you call her a troll, creepy, and accuse her of smoking something. It is a strange reality you live in where the former is a personal attack but the latter I suppose you think is polite debate? *rolls eyes*

          • vince

            i never said it was proof, i just said that its a reasonable assumption.

            if we do assume that men and women have equal shares of attractive and unattractive people (as have been pointed out in the discussion with old brown squirrel), then men must by logic still be worse off since they still have to do all the approaching.

            "If that were true, why on earth do you think any women bother approaching"

            to me, this is kinda like saying that just because some men get harassed by women, then men and women must be equally harassed. it doesnt really disprove anything in my view. i still think that men can at large be much more disadvantaged due to the approaching requirement, even if theres a couple of women who have to do it as well.

            so in the end, i still dont understand what i fail to address, because i think i outlined my idea pretty clearly? i still think it shows that men are much more disadvantaged in general.

            why is it ridiculous that i am asking kleenestar to form a point instead of making a bunch of strange assumptions and accusation? how does this mean im whining? and how is that ridiculous?

            im not "pretending" not to realize anything either. do you think i can read your minds? :S why not just make your point logically and clearly instead? it wouldve saved us all the energy wasted arguing back and forth.

            in my opinion, if anyone disagrees with my original comment, they should just have told me what they disagreed with. im always interested in new facts, but the way i see it, both you and kleenestar have behaved badly in this discussion with some pretty farfetched points.. o_o

            and please dont claim that her accusations of my supposedly failed love life is "sympathy." and yes, i do think its creepy of her to argue that my personal romantic experiences must be failed ones, since this had absolutely nothing to do with the argument i was making.

            also, "what are you smoking" is not the same as bickering about how much someone else's love life must suck. the former is just an expression. the latter is a literal personal attack.

            so yes, i would prefer a polite discussion. im actually very interested in finding out if my idea has any merit. but i dont think anyone is acting very kind about this discussion. O_o

            very strange indeed… :S

      • hobbesian

        I mean.. how many threads and comments have you read here anyway? There are quite a lot of women who post here who are seriously cool, smart, funny, and cute added to the bargain who have plenty of trouble getting what they want.. sure they might be able to get dates, ons's, but if what they want is a LTR then what good is the ability to get ONS's going to do them!?

  • Amber

    The worst encounters I’ve had when dating or having guys message me OkCupid is when they’re acting like they’re trying to prove themselves to you either telling you all about themselves and how much they own or how great their job is and really not seaming at all interested in who I am or what I do because that doesn’t matter when you’re the woman because the woman is the decider in thier minds. ultimately it’s dehumanizing because it shows me that they don’t actually care who I am or if we have a connection and that women are viewed as interchangeable. I’m not saying this is all guys it’s a certain subset of guys that hit on me that I find very unattractive

    • LeeEsq

      This keeps coming up again and again. I understand that women do not like being viewed as generic, nobody really does. However, a date arranged online is only after a few messages back and forth. On-line dates are basically blind dates that you enter into with a bit more direct knowledge. The other person, regardless of the gender, is basically a stranger. There is only so much that a person can do to make a stranger feel unique and special on the first date. If people wanted to be seen as unique and special than they should give the other person a chance to get to know them rather than reject them after one date because its very hard and maybe impossible for most people to deliver this. Its a very high expectation.

      • enail

        I don't quite get this. I've never online dated, so this is based on platonic interest only, but for me, it doesn't seem that hard to get a sense of if a person is someone I'd like to meet specifically based on a few good message exchanges and some general information about themselves – by that point, you'd have a sense of their conversational style, probably their sense of humour, some of their interests, if you find it easy to talk to them or not. I wouldn't expect to be able to tell if I would like to be BFFs with them based on that, but I'd know if I found them interesting and would like learn more and see if we got on well.

        I think maybe using the word "special" makes it sound more difficult than it actually is. Maybe try thinking of 'specific' instead?

        • LeeEsq

          Yeah, well I do this already and apparently its not enough.

          • Amber

            You are not who I'm talking about. Really.

      • isdzan

        Unless the person decides they know enough about you to know that there isn’t a good match by the end of the first date. When I tried online dating, I made the mistake of going on second dates with men who didn’t interest me on the first date to see if it would go better. It never changed my first impression and usually made them less than happy for wasting their time

        • LeeEsq

          I disagree with this sentiment very strongly. Part of this is self-interest because I've constantly receive the "I don't think we'll be a good couple" line after but its also because chemistry isn't necessarily instantaneous for some people. There were very few dates I've had where I felt that the other person was amazing and I just had to be with her. The usual feeling has been more along the lines of, "I'm enjoying myself with this person, I can see things developing in a promising fashion. Lets give it two or three more tries and see what develops." There is nothing wrong with dating along these lines.

          I feel like an acquired taste in an age that demands instant gratification and it sucks.

          • eselle28

            "I'm enjoying myself with this person, I can see things developing in a promising fashion. Lets give it two or three more tries and see what develops," is what most people feel at the end of most good dates.

            When someone knows enough to know they won't be a good match, the evaluation is more like: "That was pretty boring and awkward. I suppose I could give it a try on the second date, but it really doesn't seem worth the time," or "Well, that person was nice enough, but isn't what I'm looking for in a partner," or "I guess it's good to remember that people aren't always the same in person as they are online."

            It isn't the age that demands instant gratification. It's your dating method. You're using it because you want to meet women now, but women on the site are also looking to find something quickly, so they're making their decisions more quickly.

          • LeeEsq

            If they're making decisions more quickly than I am than they are demanding more instant gratification than I am. Being willing to invest more in one person and go out on at least two or three dates before making a definite decision is not a demand for instant gratification, at least by modern standards. Can't it simply be possible that many, maybe even most people, have unrealistic standards for what to expect on a first date?

            I'm really failing to see what a lot of people want from a first date and what level of attraction is necessary to warrant a second date let alone more. All I can tell is that it seems unrealistic and that I seem very incapable of delivering it. On Saturday, I had a date that lasted three and half hours and was very a good. I thought we had good chemistry, I was able to get her to laugh a lot. She seemed to really enjoy herself and like me. On Sunday, I sent her a text saying that I really enjoyed her date and attempted to continue to the conversation. I did not ask for a second date because based on past experience, I did not want to pressure her into making a decision. So far, I have heard nothing.

          • eselle28

            But you do make decisions quickly, at least as far as some women go. Remember those dates with the boring woman who prattled on and on about work? You knew at the end of the date that you didn't want to see them again, right? Some of your dates might feel the same way.

            I think you might benefit from giving a very detailed (as in one or two full posts) post mortem of one of your dates and what your date said to you, using quotes if possible. At least once in the past, I felt you misinterpreted things. It's possible that there are some dates you're labeling as good that don't seem that way from your date's perspective (this happens to all of us sometimes) and you're not picking up on some bad signs.

            That being said, it's possible that the modern internet dater really is making decisions more quickly than you do and that you'd do better elsewhere. It's an impatient medium for impatient people, and if you're not playing the same game as everyone else, it's not necessarily because you're the only reasonable one. You're just trying to play soccer with people who are playing baseball. If that's the case, it would make more sense to try to change dating methods than to try to change all of or OkCupid or JDate. You're using online dating because you're impatient to meet someone, but perhaps you'll meet more patient women if you refocus on finding dates in other ways.

            I will just say that if I don't enjoy an internet date, it's unlikely I'll accept a second date with that same man. I'm generally more likely to give it a few more dates, sometimes up to five or six, if I met the man in person and had seen something I found interesting and attractive in him before going on a date. With internet people, there's not necessarily that same faith that the person on the other end of a dud date has hidden depths. From what I can tell,most men using internet dating behave similarly. When I've been "off" my requests for second dates are turned down, even in cases where guys I met other ways might tally it up to being nervous or silly.

          • Robjection

            "I think you might benefit from giving a very detailed (as in one or two full posts) post mortem of one of your dates and what your date said to you, using quotes if possible."

            Actually, doesn't the Doc do (or at least used to do) some Post Mortem articles? Maybe Lee could write it and send it directly to him?

          • Delafina

            "It's an impatient medium for impatient people, and if you're not playing the same game as everyone else, it's not necessarily because you're the only reasonable one. You're just trying to play soccer with people who are playing baseball. "

            Quoted for emphasis. Whether or not you get this is often the difference between coming across as an asshole and not coming across as an asshole.

          • Delafina

            "If they're making decisions more quickly than I am than they are demanding more instant gratification than I am. "

            Or they're just better at knowing what sort of personalities do and don't work with theirs than you are.

            "On Saturday, I had a date that lasted three and half hours and was very a good. I thought we had good chemistry, I was able to get her to laugh a lot. "

            I laugh a lot when I'm meeting someone for the first time, and they're trying to be funny, because I want them to relax and feel good about themselves so I can get to know them. It doesn't mean I like them enough to see them again — it just means I'm *open* to liking them enough.

          • isdzan

            It is less instant gratification and more, “Yeah, this isn’t going to work” because he shows something off-putting or incongruous with my personality. A second date tends to only produce more data points proving a bad match while also getting the guy’s hopes up. I made that mistake often enough when I tried online dating and it was a bad idea and really made the guys angry.

            I will give you an example. On one first date a guy made a crack about people that shop at Walmart. My family shops at Walmart. I worked there in college. When you are poor, Walmart is great. The guy showing a classist attitude was an instant incompatibility. My going on a second date with him would not have made that go away. I know, I went on a second date with him.

          • isdzan

            Sorry for over commenting but your post got me thinking. When I tried online dating I was the sort that felt you always had to go on a second (or even third date) to decide if you liked a person. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience because people react worse if you aren’t interested after you get to know them better and they “wasted time” on you.

            Some qualities that should have ruled out men that I ignored on the first date are:
            -Classism (see earlier post for example) It doesn’t have to be overt, but if there is a sense that the guy looks down on poor people he isn’t a good match for me

            -If I get the impression that they are not happy with who they are or how their life is going. My ex made me his manic pixie dream girl ( thank you DNL for giving me a way to describe this!) because he was overall dissatisfied with his existence. Even a whiff of this is enough to show a bad match.

            -This is related to the above, but if I get a sense that the man wants a relationship to prove something to the world it is a no go. With the same ex, he was more into the status of being a boyfriend than in actually being one. I sometimes felt that if he could have kept me in a closet and only taken me out when he wanted to show off or get laid he would have.

            -Doesn’t like animals. I don’t have pets now, but will when I buy a house. Animals are a very important part of existence to me for cultural and personal reasons. Someone who doesn’t like them will not suit me in the long run

            -Someone who seems to be putting on an act or a “game face” during the date. If I get any sense that someone is hiding their true nature I am not going on a second date. Maybe the true nature is worth knowing, but maybe it isn’t. I do not want to find out the hard way. I am not necessarily talking safety here, although it is a consideration. It is more feeling that I am not seeing the real person, just a persona. I am also not explaining this well. Sorry!

            Most of these no-goes (minus most classism and disliking animals) come across non-verbally. A guy can have good conversational skills and I can laugh and have a good time, but if one of those impression comes through I have learned not to go on a second date. It isn’t that he is a bad person, but he sure isn’t boyfriend material for me. A second date will just get hopes up, but not change the underlying mismatch.

            I just realized this is wordy and a little incoherent, but I am articulating most of this for the first time.

          • LeeEsq

            I understand that some people have things that they aren't attracted to but when we get into less physical and more metaphysical deal-breakers than they become something of what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. Lets take the first metaphyiscal deal breaker that you mention, not being happy with who they are or about how their life is going. What does this really mean? A person can be happy or content with themselves in some ways but deeply unsastified in other ways. I'm content with my social life and job but I'm deeply unhappy with my romance and sex life. Does this rule me out of the running if thats a deal breaker? The entire reason why I put myself through the ritual of dating is because I'm lonely, horny and really disastisfied with this aspect of my life. If you need a state of zen, dating without caring for the results, than its not something that I'm really that capable of achieving. If didn't mind being single, I wouldn't go through this in the first place.

          • LeeEsq

            This only really reinforces my belief that a lot of people have plainly unrealistic expecations for a first date. No matter how little experience you have, your not allowed to "want to make up for lost time", be needy, or horny or anything. You need to at least convey that you had enough success that the result never matters and that even a little of anything "bad" is an instant deal-breaker.

          • enail

            I don't think not wanting to date someone who comes across as "wanting to make up for lost time," needy or horny is an unrealistic expectation for a first date. Needy and intensely focused on wanting to make up for lost time are both likely to make someone unpleasant to date, and while horny is not, it's also not generally an appropriate thing to convey on a first date with a stranger, unless both parties express an interest in taking the conversation somewhere pretty sexual.

          • eselle28

            Nothing isdzan listed strikes me as being very unrealistic. The male version of me wouldn't meet some of her standards, either, because I dislike my job, but those standards are more than broad enough for lots of other people to meet them. That's really all that's required for standards to be reasonable – for them to be satisfactory for the person setting them.

            You're starting dating from a tough position, but you can't really expect that near-strangers will calibrate their expectations to your needs, wants, and past history. They're dating for their own reasons, not for benevolent reasons, and they will have set their expectations based on their needs, wants, and past history as well as their observations from other dates.

            It seems like what you want someone who's willing to be very patient and understanding with you, but who also doesn't make you feel like you're going through a training wheels phase. That's actually a pretty tough standard to meet, even though it probably is one that's necessary. Someone who you know in person and who has a bit of an investment in you may be up to that, as may someone who requires a lot of patience and understanding herself about some other issue. An appealing, well-educated, mostly issues-free woman who's just met you a few minutes ago is probably going to expect that you'll behave in the same way that most other men she's been on dates with do, though.

          • LeeEsq

            I'm not expecting strangers to caliberate their expectations to all of my needs, wants, and past history. What I am expecting them to do is to compromise and meet me at least part of the way. I'm going to be blunt but it seems to me that a lot of women want men to fulfill all their expectations, needs, and wants without having to meet any of the man's expectations, needs, and wants until much latter in the relationship. If a man has any expectations, needs, and wants he simply gets dismissed as wanting a "magic pixie dream girl."

          • eselle28

            Compromise is part of all relationships, but not all middle points are created equal. If all two people need to do to compromise is each move an inch to the middle, that's not such a big deal. If one of those people has needs that are fairly unusual – and unfortunately I think yours are – they may each have to move a foot or two to reach some kind of compromise. A woman who has other dates who only ask her to move an inch or two might not be up for that, especially if she's a stranger who doesn't even know how far she's going to be asked to compromise.

            I can understand that your experience with dating confirms that. I don't think everyone's does. I know many women who who cater more to their dates, FWBs, and early stage boyfriends than the men do to them. On that count, though, I have to say that I'm curious in what ways you are catering to these women. Most of your descriptions of your dates sound like you're trying fairly hard to build interest and that sometimes you like your dates more than they like you, but that's not really the same thing as being an exceptionally giving or understanding or patient date. Are there ways in which you feel you give women who are being awkward, or boring, or poor dates in some respect more of a break than other men might?

          • LeeEsq

            I have allowed my dates to use me as their therapist and spend the entire date complaining to me about their day and how horrible it was without complaint. I have had a date that spent a good twenty to thirty minutes being lied to, this was a date that I got through a dating agency. I have dealt with in person rejection gracefully and shrugged it off. I have not made any demands or indicated that I need compromise and done my best to come off like I had experience and that I'm not needy and looking for a magic pixie dream girl.

          • eselle28

            Did you ask those therapist dates out again, though? I've been under the impression you didn't – which is fine, but not really an example of a concession to other people's needs and awkwardness.

            Dealing with rejection gracefully isn't going above and beyond the call of duty. Putting up with a date that involves being lied to is (although I'm not clear as to whether the dating service deceived you or your date did…if it's the former, that's not really a reflection on the expectations of women who are actually in the dating pool).

            You might not have made your demands or requests for compromise in person, but you're stating that you want that in this discussion. If you want compromise from others, I think it's at least reasonable to discuss when you're willing to compromise and what you're willing to excuse.

          • LeeEsq

            Out of interest what do you think my are fairly unusual needs are and how are they unusual?

          • eselle28

            You're inexperienced with dating and apparently have some issues with making a good first impression (which sounds like it's your main problem), so you'll need someone who's willing to be stick around long enough to see the good qualities. You react to your inexperience by being frustrated and anxious and feeling you need to make up for lost time, so she'll also have to be understanding about that. You're not into the teacher dynamic, so most of this will have to be handled very, very subtly. And you're a bit scared by commitment, so there's not really a long term reward at the end for helping you get past this stuff. Each of those individually isn't so far from most online daters' expectations, but the combination of them is going to require a lot of compromise from most women.

            I'd say the best option for you would be to try to work on some of these things, since 1 and 2 particularly can be improved, but if you're tired of that then I think you need to specifically seek out someone who's up for filling that role. The best candidates seem to be someone who's in exactly the same position of you and who's had something holding her back from dating as well (which means you'll need to be equally patient and understanding with whatever her issues are), or someone who really cares about you as a person and for whom this doesn't sound like work at all (which I think means looking offline and on a slower timeframe).

          • Yup, and a lot of men want women to fulfill all their expectations, needs, and wants without having to meet any of the woman's expectations, needs, and wants. If a woman has any expectations, needs, and wants, she simply gets dismissed as being "crazy."

          • LeeEsq

            Have I ever said that I expect a woman to fulfill my expectations, needs, and wants without ever having to do anything in return?

          • eselle28

            Well…not in so many words. But you have a long list of things you want from your partner and things you expect her to be understanding about. I think it's worth at least considering what your future partner may need or want, what flaws you'd be able to tolerate, and what you could uniquely bring to a relationship – particularly how it would work if you were to date someone who wasn't just like you and whose needs would go beyond the teenagers exploring love and the world together concept you've described.

          • No, but you've implied that unwillingness to compromise is somehow a problem with women specifically. It's not. It's something that PEOPLE do.

            That said, it's not so clear to me what's so wonderful about the things you're doing for the women you go on dates with. You certainly expect a lot from them – what are YOU bringing to the table?

          • LeeEsq

            How much am I supposed to bring to the table on a first date? At this point I'm only looking for a second date and nothing more. At the table on the first date, I'm attempting to build interest and chemistry by keeping the focus in on them and finding out what makes them tick and whats important to them. I do not brag about myself. I do not make any demands for anything physical.

          • So, you feel that you are compromising by keeping the focus on the other person, not bragging, and not demanding anything physical? And that that means the other person needs to compromise by giving you a second date, regardless of what she wants?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I wonder whether it's possible to put *too much* of the focus on the other person, leaving yourself to appear as either an unsettling enigma or a bland nothing. "I never learned anything about *him* the whole time. Is he hiding something? Or is he just boring?"

            I'm inclined to think that balance is more important than keeping the focus on the other party.

          • Mad_

            You can put too much focus on people. If you give them nothing to go on, most of them aren't going to risk it.

          • enail

            Yes, I think most people want a balance. It's no fun interacting with someone who's not interested in you, but you also want a chance to get to know them.

          • LeeEsq

            Well then they should ask me questions or give me an opportunity to express myself.

          • Delafina

            Compromising and meeting someone partway is something you do for people you already care about, not strangers on a first date.

          • Of course you're *allowed* to do those things – and the person you're on a date with is allowed to be put off by them.

            That said, there's a huge difference between "I'm not happy with my love life, which is why I'm meeting people and going on dates with awesome folks like you" and "I NEED YOU TO FIX MY LIFE." The former seems reasonable to me, but very few women are going to want to sign up for the latter, especially on a first date.

          • LeeEsq

            What I'm arguing is that in reality the difference between the former and the latter often comes out practically nothing to many people and both effectively seem to work as deal-breakers. Both end up getting interpreted as a man wanting a "magic pixie dream girl." I'm certainly not looking for a woman to fix my life, I really don't think that my life needs that much fixing and I'd probably get annoyed at any such attempts. My main problem in my life is my romantic and sexual frustration and this is a problem that kind of does require another person to "fix" unless I develop perfect zen for the single life. However, it seems that merely desiring a girlfriend seems enough to fall into the wanting a woman to "fix" your life issue.

          • And what I'm arguing is that there's actually quite a significant difference between the two, and the fact that you are having such a hard time seeing the difference may be one of the things holding you back.

          • LeeEsq

            If there is a difference than I'm really failign to see it because on nearly every day I go on, I spend a lot time on the date at least attempting to make the other person feel awesome and make sure that their having a good time without making any demands in return and apparently I still come off as wanting a "magic pixie dream girl."

          • If multiple people have told you that's how you come off, then it's probably something about what you're doing. If I had to take a stab, I'd guess that you're resentful about feeling like you have to suppress your own needs and demands; not only do the needs show anyhow, but so does the resentment. But obviously that's just a guess.

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            "I spend a lot time on the date at least attempting to make the other person feel awesome and make sure that their having a good time without making any demands in return"

            I would like to propose an experiment, on the next few dates YOU have fun. Regardless of the second date situation you are out with a woman you are interested in and doing fun and interesting activities. I am not saying be a selfish dick by all means do your best that your date has fun to.

          • Delafina

            Having friends who fall into one or the other of those categories, no, there's a *giant* difference between the two. It's about accepting responsibility for fixing your own life. No one's completely happy with their lives, but the difference between healthy adults and damaged adults or people masquerading as adults is that the former don't place any responsibility for fixing what they don't like ON THEIR DATES.

          • ccmc

            Sure you're allowed to feel those things, but you're right that expressing them will basically guarantee no second date. If I meet a person for the first time and he presents me with a bunch of problems that are apparently my job to solve, why would I continue to get to know that person?

          • Delafina

            If you're coming across as needy, horny or desperate to make up for lost time on a first date, your issues are out of control and I'm not interested in being your mother/therapist.

          • Joy

            Someone who comes across as needy and "wanting to make up for lost time" would be a No for me for a second date, and I say this as someone without very much relationship experience (so it's not like I'm speaking from a place of Having All the Experiences You Didn't).

            And I don't know where this idea that "even a little of anything bad is an instant deal-breaker" comes from. That's a very offputting and uncharitable way of viewing women in general and the women on the other end of these dates in particular. Not to mention that for most people, it just isn't true. I don't know anyone who says, "Well, everything was going really well until this one tiny little thing I didn't like, so obviously I'm never going out with him/her again."

            I get that you are frustrated, and understandably so; but you sound more and more like you think women are basically unreasonable, uncompromising, and unfair, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of that is coming across to your dates.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            The dilemma for anyone who approaches is walking the narrow line between being interested and not being interested. If you're perceived as being too interested, then you're desperate and a creep. If you're perceived as having no romantic interest, you're stuck; if this perception then changes, then you're perceived as a Nice Guy, i.e. a creep.

            As I see it, there are only two ways around this:

            1) PUA nonsense like DHV, which seems primarily intended as a solution to this specific dilemma but mostly leads to a lot of drama with unlikable people.
            2) Write off the game players as bad news and recognize that not everyone is going to make people jump through impossible hoops in order to date.

            Caveat: my advice typically sucks.

          • LeeEsq

            The first paragraph seems about right. Not so sure about the solutions though.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Just to be clear, I'm not advocating the first solution. 😉

            Whether there's a bona fide dilemma depends on how narrowly the other party defines the line one needs to walk. For reasonable people, there's a broad zone, and subsequently no true dilemma. @kleenestar makes a valuable distinction between "I'm not happy with my love life, which is why I'm meeting people and going on dates with awesome folks like you" and "I NEED YOU TO FIX MY LIFE." So long as you stick close to the former, reasonable people won't have an issue. Unreasonable people? You didn't want to date them anyway.

          • enail

            I do not think this advice sucks 🙂

          • Dredd

            Wow, all those rule me out.

          • isdzan

            If the dissatisfaction came through on a first date, yes it would be a rule out for me due to my history of being in a relationship with someone who thought having a girlfriend would solve all the other problems/unhappiness he had. I am not the way for someone to complete themselves or patch existential wounds. Been there, done that and have the failed MPDG T-shirt

            Someone can be single and horny, but overall happy and satisfied, and looking for someone to enhance their life, not complete it. That is the type for me because that is what I also want. Happily it is not an uncommon quality.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            "Someone can be single and horny, but overall happy and satisfied, and looking for someone to enhance their life, not complete it."

            Yup. Scratch the "single" and that's pretty much my A-game. 🙂

          • isdzan

            Also, let me qualify my not happy with the job statement, Eselle. I am completely OK with not happy with a job but staying in it to gain X, Y, and Z so that in the future you can move on to A, B, and C. Or that the job is a means to an end (e.g. waiter that is a painter). It is in a job that makes the you miserable but there is no intention to change it or view it as a means to support other interests that doesn’t work for me. And this is only for me due to my experience with someone like that. The misery leaked into all other aspects of his life.

          • eselle28

            Oh, no need to qualify! That's kind of how I understood it. I would say I probably still have a little more work angst than you might be looking for in a partner – or at least that men I've met who are more like you than me are generally looking for someone who's more satisfied with things. That's something I'd like to get worked out eventually, and I might be more compatible with someone who's a little bit confused like I am in the meantime.

            I think it's just an example of how standards can be perfectly reasonable while still ruling out some people who aren't psychopaths and serial killers.

          • isdzan

            Gotcha 🙂 And had I not had my last relationship I might be less gun shy on the job thing, but given how it played out I am cautious.

            CCMC summed it up nicely. I am not the solution to anyone’s problems and they are not a solution to mine. I don’t exist to for you to make up for lost time or validate you as a man (very much the attitudes of my ex) and my partner doesn’t exist for those purposes either (and I have “lost time” to academics if you choose to view it that way).

            Other women may be OK with this. Not meeting any of my standards doesn’t make someone a bad person or a creep or anything. It just makes them a bad fit for me, no more, no less.

          • Delafina

            Eh, an hour-long dinner or coffee is usually enough time to tell if you *don't* want to see a person again, and that should be that. It's not enough time to recognize whether someone will be an important part of your life, but it's enough time to know whether you want to spend more time with them.

            If we've spent an hour together and I'm not feeling like I want to spend more time with someone, I don't see any purpose in giving them more of my time.

          • isdzan

            Lee, you may have nailed your problem. If you focus only on her and don’t shine the light on yourself then she won’t get to know you. It should be a little like tennis. A date that is going well usually involves her asking as much about you and your interests/activities as you do about hers. It probably won’t be 50-50, but if the interaction is too skewed one way of the other there is a problem.

            Do your dates ask you questions and engage you on topics that interest you?

          • LeeEsq

            Most of my dates have at least asked some questions about me, some more than others.

          • Ethyl

            I agree with this. From what I've been reading, it really sounds like Lee is making a big effort to ask them about themselves, taking an interest in them, letting them talk, etc., but that frankly is giving me hives to imagine sitting through. It would make me feel interrogated and put on the spot, not like we're involved in an interaction. Add that to the fact that Lee has stated previously that he has trouble being interested in a person at first, and you get a weird, impersonal interrogation over dinner with a relative stranger. I can see why that is maybe unappealing.

      • Amber

        OK this is kind of an extreme example, but here's a message I got that I would never respond to:

        I offer romance, respect, and never ending friendship. I have deep experience in many explorations that may interest you. I have lived in Europe and Asia as well as North America. I have virtually explored Mars with a camera I built that landed there. I have invented technology that has touched your life. I hope you will find my combination of attributes attractive. Please let us meet in person so my passion for life can elevate our conversation to a captivating level!

        Here's a message I did respond to:
        If you like good beer and love Star Trek then you must try the Geordi. 1/2 Smithwick's and 1/2 Kilkenny. Its the favorite drink of Mr. Lavar Burton himself. Of course, you don't have to take my word for it. (Ok, sorry. Bad reading rainbow joke)

        Another example, I went on a date with a guy who was obviously really nervous, so I can sympathize with that. I just got the trying to "prove" himself to me vibe. He also talked the entire time really fast and displayed almost no interest in what I had to say, which could have been the nervousness, but I didn't go on a second date with him.

        • CaseyXavier

          That first one… wow hahahahah. It looks like a horrible template. Even IF every single thing on there was true, he sounds completely insufferable.

          • Amber

            Yeah he was also 30 years older than me. aren't there datings sites where older rich guys can specifically look for younger women to "support"? I wish guys like this one would go there and stay off of Ok cupid.

          • eselle28

            That type isn't looking for someone to "support." They want young women who have a thing for older guys, or who don't have a thing for older guys but who are impressed enough with them in particular to change their minds. The bragging doesn't come with an offer of financial support, though.

            Obviously there are way more guys who think this sounds like a good idea than women, so they end up kind of being the bane of dating sites.

          • Amber

            You're right. Humph. I'm really tempted to message him back and ask him if this has ever actually worked, but I don't want to actually initiate contact.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Here's my thing with the first guy, why the hell is he offering romance and never ending friendship to someone he never met? I mean forget that he's a world travelling super-genius who helped build a Mars probe for a second. His first sentence basically says "I will fall madly in love with the first woman who accepts me" because he's promising that to someone he doesn't know.

            Also, why can't his passion for life elevate your conversation online?

          • Amber

            "I will fall madly in love with the first woman who accepts me" is basically the attitude I was describing in my original post. This is an extreme example, but it's also something I've encountered with guys my own age.

          • LeeEsq

            Falling madly in love with the first person that accepts you seems like a recipe for disaster and exploitation. You need to guard yourself.

        • LeeEsq

          My messages are more of the second type than than the first type but a bit longer. I try to comment on something in her profile that intrigues me and goes from there. I avoid using the first person or talking about myself as much as possible. I definitely avoid bragging.

          • Amber

            Hey LeeEsq?

            I know you're not going to want to hear this, but you live in New York City, right? I think this is part of your problem. Dating in New York SUCKS. I lived there in college, and I was a young attractive college age girl. I had ZERO luck in dating and I wanted to badly. Unfortunately, New York very much has the culture of instant gratification, very superficial, no commitments kind of approach to dating and sex, and its so so hard to find the needle in the haystack with all of the many people.

            I've now lived a couple of more chill cities and dating is SO much easier. People really aren't that judgy in other places, and its a lot easier to meet people and find friendly people in return.

            Also, I would never ever internet date in New York because of the massive number of people equals many more creepers. I internet date now a lot, so many its also filtering out the kind of more shy or just more guarded women you might like to meet.

            Maybe this isn't helpful, but I think the cultural differences between New York and other places might also explain why so many commenters here don't quite understand what you're describing.

          • Mad_

            Ya know, from a strictly "what you have to offer" thing… it occurs to me that being a lawyer in NYC probably isn't too impressive because there's zillions of businessmen and famous people and rich people in and out of the city at all times, whereas being a lawyer in other parts of the country would get you a ton more second dates.

          • LeeEsq

            There are 85,000 registered lawyers in Manhattan alone. If you had the other boroughs, your getting into probably 200,000 lawyers in the five boroughs. If you had the suburban countries than your getting hundreds of thousands more.

          • Mad_

            Yeah, that. Holy fuck.

          • LeeEsq

            The funny thing is that I have a friend who spent most of his life in Miami and his complaint about dating in NYC is that people take it too seriously, aren't enough into instant gratification, are too deep, and want too much commitment. This isn't really making Miami that appealing. There are plenty of people who are less successful than me in material terms, who seem to do alright in the NYC dating market.

            Also, as a lawyer, my job isn't very portable since I'll need to take the bar again in order to be able to have a job in another state. This means taking about six weeks off of work to study for another bar exam, going to another state to take the test, and waiting for the results than looking for a job.

          • Amber

            OK but. I think Miami and LA would really be the only other cities in the US more superficial than New York, so I don't think that's much of a comparison.

          • Mad_

            This. Miami and Florida in general is where NYCers go to retire, and LA is the mirror image of NYC.

          • LeeEsq

            His exact complaint were that New Yorkers aren't perverted enough and that we are too uptight while in Miami everybody is bleeping everybody. He is very disappointed that there weren't any scandals in New York like they were in Miami like the criminal trial where two of the government witnesses, a male and female FBI agent, were caught in a delicate situation in the witness waiting area.

          • eselle28

            Eh. I've moved around enough that I'm a little skeptical about there being objectively good and bad places to date. Everywhere you live, there's something that people complain about. Either everyone settles down too early and no one's single or everyone stays single forever and no one's willing to commit. Either there's no one worth meeting or there are so many people that you always have lots of competition. And it's seemingly universal for straight people to claim that the people of their gender in that area are generally pretty attractive and together, while those of the opposite gender are ugly, tacky, badly-behaved, and unreasonably picky.

            Ultimately, I think it's more about fit than about some places being objectively better than others. I did a lot better at finding partners, both long term and short term, when I lived in New York.

      • isdzan

        Lee, please don’t take the “MPDG” references as something directed at you. You asked about reasons women might not go on a second date even if the first date went fine. I listed my reasons for not doing a second date. I am in no way saying this is why your dates are not interested in second dates. They were just my examples of why I would decide someone was a bad match for me even though they were perfectly pleasant people on a first date. It isn’t a need for instant gratification but being self-aware enough to know what is right for me.

        I am not saying *you* are looking for a manic pixie dream girl. I am saying that if I felt during a first date that a guy might want that it would be a no-go.

        • eselle28

          That's actually come up in the past – it's not just your reference that's brought it into the discussion.

          • isdzan

            Ahhh. Good. I didn’t want him thinking my comments were specifically in reference to his dates’ experiences. I wanted to be sure he knew it wasn’t a personal attack, just me and my own baggage:)

      • Delafina

        One of the things almost everyone I know who met Clinton in person has said about him is that when you're talking to him, he makes you feel like the most fascinating, wonderful person he's ever met, even if it's only for a few seconds.

        If someone as busy, with as much on his mind, as a presidential candidate/president can do that for the thousands of people he shakes hands with, I don't think it's too much to ask that I leave a dinner with someone not feeling like Internet Date #342.

        • Mad_

          That's almost necessary to be a top politician.

        • hobbesian

          met him twice actually as a little kid/teenager and I can vouch for that. never actually met any other presidents/candidates.. but I've had the misfortune to meet some of my state and congressional officials and theres a reason none of them will ever be president.. they don't care about you unless you voted for them.. which I didn't.. (serious, stfu paul broun!) and make sure you know it.

    • OldBrownSquirrel

      Do the guys messaging you on OkCupid pass a Turing test, at least?

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I'd like to see that put to the test. Machines aren't appreciably better at passing the test but people are getting better at failing.

        • Hazel

          This comment made my day.

    • Cait

      When you go through the trouble of putting out personal, specific details in your profile, I think it's perfectly legit to expect some reference to one of those details.

      I once got a 7 paragraph form letter.

  • The Mikey

    Hell yeah, hobbies and passion!

    I’m a big film afficionado; I wanna be a filmmaker and I have taken a few courses in that field, it’s great, I love it. Gimme some actor names and i can prolly find out the movies they may have been in together. And it’s helpful to have a love for your passion, right? (mine being movies & stuff)

    I noticed out of all the film courses/classes I’ve taken, most of them have had little to no women (in my Television Studio class there was quite literally ONE woman in that entire class).

    Uhhh…. Have I made a mistake somewhere in my current life?

    • It could just be that there are women interested in film, that don't take classes or courses in them. Or maybe the women graduated/took classes ahead or behind you. For example, I've always loved technology, but I am only now going back to school for it (at age 28.) True, most of my classmates are male, but they're also all married. Sometimes it's a matter of timing if you're looking at ONLY your courses to find partners.

      Maybe instead seek out places that encourage a love of cinema without needing a diploma-like independent art theater events or film festivals.

      • The Mikey

        You’re prolly right, actually. There probably are indeed ladies who don’t dig taking classes or courses. Inversely, in all the courses I’ve taken regarding film and audio, most of the students have been young (18 to 25 maybe) single guys. I think you’re right though, a lot of it maybe has to do with timing. Something I’ve learned I’m awful with.

        Art theatre events sound like a good idea, actually.

      • ITCrowdGuy

        Hah, I find myself in a similar situation. I'm back at school myself (31), and the few women in my program are married/in a relationship or WAY too young for me. Given that my love of computer technology, and general interest in science and technology, I'm trying to think of other venues, activities or groups I can get involved with to meet people of similar interests.

        • My gut feeling is that despite what movies and romance stories tell us, college classes are actually NOT a good place to meet potential partners. Friends, absolutely. And college as a general place is a good way to meet potential mates…. but the classes themselves don't seem like a winner. You spend most of the semester never directly talking to the person, but building them up in your mind as this Great Love…. when for all you know, they are just taking the course for general credit and have no interest in it whatsoever.

          • enail

            I think you've got to talk to them directly up front, and then only ask them out if you find you like them. Classes make it relatively easy to do, because you have a common topic to talk about and a chance to see them regularly for a little while so you can get to know them a bit over time.

          • The Mikey

            I can definitely vouch for Marty's thought process because, in a lot of classes I've taken, they are indeed for general credit and every now and again I'll find someone I find physically attractive, but never get to talk to them because either they drop the course, are in their own little circle of friends or I'm just too shy to say anything and mind my own business. After all, I'm there to earn a degree, not look at girls (which is nice, but not necessary).

            HOWEVER, enail, you're right too. A girl in my English class two semesters ago I asked out after sitting by her and talking to her throughout the semester. I made the mistake of doing so the last day of class, though. Didn't go anywhere, but I asked anyways.

        • eselle28

          I'd say that dual or multi-classing is a good move for most people, especially if the things they like tend to attract people who aren't dating candidates. Besides, I think being well-rounded is appealing to most people.

    • WendyLady

      Nope! While there may not be many women around right now, the film industry is a HUGE place. Once you start really working and getting to know people on all sides of the equation (yes, talent included) it will become much easier to meet women who are just as passionate about film as you are. I’m a theater actress, and my boyfriend is a sound tech. We never would have had classes together, but we work in the same field now and it’s easy for us to understand how each other’s schedules and lives work. Don’t give up hope! 🙂

      • The Mikey

        Well, I guess I didn’t have another dating/romantic blunder.

        But you make a lot sense! I’ll keep trudging through then. 😀

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I'm a producer/director (live, not film), occasional MC and stilt walker. My girlfriend was a theater tech and a go-go dancer. Each of us has shifted slightly in what we do so that we can work more with the other. I was the first person to trust her with stage managing years before we started dating and we've built matching costumes so that she could be my spotter when I'm on stilts.

    • Robjection

      I don't know, but in my you-can't-get-more-anecdotal-than-this experience, foreign languages classes are more skewed towards women.

      On a more serious note, not all hobbies and passions are going to be frothing with women, which is why it helps to have more than one. And even for those passions that are, there are multiple different kinds of venues for some of them, and again, some of them probably will be more populated with women than others, especially if different kinds of venues focus on different aspects.

      • The Mikey

        Aside from movies and moviemaking, I’m pretty big into art. Anything from Renaissance work to modernist works (although I’m not a big fan of cubist or abstract expressionist work). I took a digital art class and the ladies out numbered the fellas in the class. Drawback was they were mostly older (twenty-something to like 45-ish?) and married or had a boyfriend.

        I should prolly look into a basic culinary course; God knows how much I love food. :3

        • Oh God you'd get swamped at a culinary class.

          Now, I grant you that I seem to live in a city crammed with far more single women than men, but I take cooking classes at a local little organic food store, and there are always far more men than women. The men that ARE there are usually taking the course with their wives or girlfriends. I bet if you take at least a few cooking classes, you'd meet quite a few women.

          PS: Don't discount a woman just because she's married. Not saying you can get her to cheat, but if she's in your age range, it's nearly guaranteed she'll have single girlfriends she could hook you up with. Make friends with the young married women! A lot of the women I've met (including myself) adore match-making, planning double dates and things like that.

          • eselle28

            I second the recommendation to take cooking classes. I've taken a handful over the years, and while some of the women are single and some aren't, there are usually quite a few more of them there than men.

            Plus, even if you don't end up meeting anyone, you still learn something that's useful.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Don't discount a woman just because she's married. Not saying you can get her to cheat, but if she's in your age range, it's nearly guaranteed she'll have single girlfriends she could hook you up with. Make friends with the young married women! A lot of the women I've met (including myself) adore match-making, planning double dates and things like that.

            THIS.This is also why having women who “just” want to be friends isn't the worst thing in the world either! They can be cool people! Who introduce you to OTHER cool people!

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            "They can be cool people! Who introduce you to OTHER cool people!"

            I have plenty of friends who are unavailable, but I've made a conscious decision *not* to ask my friends to set me up until more time has passed since my divorce. I figure that's a card I won't have many chances to play, and I want to save it for a time when I'm not so messed up.

          • eselle28

            I think that's wise. I'd agree you can only play that card so many times (at least if you're asking for set ups and not having them pushed on you…MOM AND DAD…) and that it's best to ask for them at a time when you're able to make the most of it.

            That being said, there's not quite so much risk with brand new people, and it's possible you might just end up meeting their friends organically.

          • Cait

            In fact, there's a whole cohort of women who are basically only accessible through their friends. When you're sick of the bar scene/ introverted/ whatever, when you've been burned before, maybe you limit yourself to men who comes with recommendations from your best friends.

      • Also, language classes by definition encourage conversation! Bonus!

        • OldBrownSquirrel

          This is more true of living vernacular languages than it is for dead or archaic languages. With that qualification, I completely agree.

    • Gentleman Horndog

      If you can converse intelligently and passionately on the subject, that's going to be very appealing to women who dig film as fans but not enough to actually take classes. And I'm willing to bet there are more than a few of those in your local dating pool. 🙂

      • The Mikey

        Excellent point! Next step from there is finding them. 🙂

      • Cait

        Exactly! Sometimes it isn't about sharing passions but having a passion TO share. Film is one of those things that you can really guide a person who's interested but overwhelmed. It's a great one to share

    • Gentleman Johnny

      If you're excited about it, you didn't make a mistake, even if no women were into it. Don't narrow your focus too much either. There are lots of women in entertainment who you'd have interests in common with even if there aren't in film making.

    • hobbesian

      Yeah thats basically it. It seems as if the advice to have passion and hobbies and stuff is great.. so long as your passion and hobbies coincide with the passions and hobbies of a large number of the opposite sex… otherwise they don't really seem to do you much good.

      Not that having as a hobby, say, dancing, seems to help out everyone either as I know a number of posters on this forum are into dancing, which is pretty overwhelmingly female…

      to me it does really feel as though not every passion, hobby, or pastime is created equally. My big two are reading and writing.. that's what I spend almost all of my time doing… but it's a very solitary passion… in order for me to actually go out and meet new people I'm having to start engaging in things which I'm only sort of interested in.. and then having to try and build up a bit of passion for them. i tried going to a book club once.. but it was all older women in their late 30's – 50's and they were basically all reading whatever books Oprah had put on her book club.. I never went back.

      • isdzan

        Try volunteering for mentoring kids in reading and writing at your local library or school district. This wasn’t something I did to meet men, but I met some super cool bookish people of both genderd around my age (27) and you get to help kids learn how cool reading and writing can be.

        • hobbesian

          "Are there many writing groups in your area? Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo-that event seems to draw people from all age ranges who don't usually write in their spare time, but enjoy the comradery of a challenge.

          I also wouldn't discount book clubs. I mean, try to find a club that actually reads books that interest you, but those older women probably have daughters or nieces or coworkers they'd be happy to set you up with, if you demonstrated grace and manners and intelligence. "

          i don't write fiction, mainly I'm writing papers on subjects that interest me in order to pad my portfolio and keep my skills up for school. But I've checked out a few writers groups, and they tend to skew heavily male and rather heavily neck-beard at that.. And yeah that's a point about the book clubs too, there is a "Current events' book club in town too, it also skewed heavily middle age male, but I quit going to that when the book of the month was one of Glen Beck's.. it's not as though the books on oprahs book club are bad either.. I liked The Reader and a few others.. I just couldn't discuss them in the same way they wanted to and felt kind of out of place.

          "Try volunteering for mentoring kids in reading and writing at your local library or school district. This wasn't something I did to meet men, but I met some super cool bookish people of both genderd around my age (27) and you get to help kids learn how cool reading and writing can be." I've tried this actually as there are a couple of groups in town that do this sort of thing, but because i can't tutor kids in math, and can't tutor the hispanic-spanish as primary language kids in english ( I don't speak spanish, so I can't really help them) they told me they didn't really need any extra help just teaching reading or spelling.

          All good ideas and maybe something there is an extension from my school that I could be put in place with.. the thing is I even tried to volunteer at one of those Big brother type places and got turned down because.. drumroll.. wait for it.. i didn't have a girlfriend/wasn't married.. "Which makes the parents uncomfortable"…

          • isdzan

            Oh yeah that happens to guys a lot, but the bigger classroom/group mentor organizations tend to be more OK with single men because there isn’t 1:1 as much.

            Personally I find such bias horrible and bigoted and a disservice to kids (male role model anyone?), but no one ever asks my opinion on this. Now if I ruled the world….

          • hobbesian

            Yeah I mean.. I may not be a perfect man.. but I've learned how to do a few things.. and if I could help even one introverted little kid with no male role model learn some of the stuff I learned the hardway.. the easy way.. then i'd consider myself having done a good job.

            the YMCA wouldn't even let me volunteer to help with youth soccer.. and then they wonder why they can't get any guys to help.. I got a letter from one of the frats on campus inviting me to join because of my GPA (it's an academic, community service, & leadership frat it seems.. I had no idea any such thing existed) and they do that sort of thing in the local community.. but i dunno.. that would require me to shell out more money for dues and all that.. I haven't made up my mind yet.. and don't really know anyone who's ever been in one to ask..

          • ccmc

            I have a friend who was in the co-ed community service "frat" at our college, and she credits it with half her social circle, meeting her boyfriend, and getting her first job out of college. Probably she would have gotten one or all of those results without the frat, but it was a great starting point for her. Perhaps you could go to a couple (free) events or have coffee with one/several of the members to get a feel for the vibe and exactly how expensive it would be?

          • hobbesian

            that's not a bad idea..

      • The Mikey

        It's not that simple or cut & dry, I think. Yeah, there will be women that DO enjoy certain hobbies over others and that's normal. I may not be into taxidermy (just as an example), but others certainly are, including women maybe (I'm not really sure).

        With my chosen career path, it WILL intersect with all kinds of people now that I think about it. What I love about filmmaking is it's a collaborative effort and THAT is a great way to meet/connect people, I think.

        I think with just about any hobby you'll find people that delve into you hobby a little bit so they can understand part of their own hobby and vice-versa. Reading and writing can be a solo effort, but it could also be a collaborative effort!

        tl;dr people have their own individual hobbies and I try to share mine with everyone (ladies especially).

      • Are there many writing groups in your area? Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo-that event seems to draw people from all age ranges who don't usually write in their spare time, but enjoy the comradery of a challenge.

        I also wouldn't discount book clubs. I mean, try to find a club that actually reads books that interest you, but those older women probably have daughters or nieces or coworkers they'd be happy to set you up with, if you demonstrated grace and manners and intelligence.

        I think it's also important to remember the whole "no magic bullet" thing. Yes, having hobbies is important, but it isn't going to be THE thing that cures your dating woes. Dating issues probably go deeper than that. It's important to have hobbies because they might *expose* the issues to work on (for example, having no hobbies means you have nothing to talk about because you live a very static life, which is not necessarily attractive and could be infected other areas of your mind-set.)

  • Biscuit

    Great. Now I’m gonna go watch Get a Life.

  • What about if your job is one of your passions? I have degrees in engineering and physics and my day to day work involves, wait for it, engineering and physics! I do them because I'm passionate about them, and want to get a PhD in applied physics so that I can do both in a professional setting either in industry or academia till I die.

    • eselle28

      I think being passionate about your job is something that's appealing to most people, since so many other people dislike theirs, but I think it's also important to switch it up a bit in your free time so that you have some other things you can connect with people over or talk about.

      • I'm a martial artist and I teach children that as well, I've done weightlifting competitions, I also have an interest in philosophy, I've done a public debate about the reasonableness about the belief in god for the atheist side, not to toot my own horn but I think I've got fairly varied interests on top of all the nerdy stuff I'm into like anime and manga and video games.

        • eselle28

          Sounds like you're doing just fine then.

          • Maybe in terms of varied interests, I still need to work on asking more women out thing and putting my best face forward in public, I have lots of passions but I would say I'm a home body too so I'm not exactly wallowing in women who want to date me.

          • eselle28

            Oh, yeah, I meant on the not being a one-track person kind of thing. I think most people have a bunch of aspects that contribute to their dating success, and that's just one of them.

          • hobbesian

            yeah that's what me and my CBT person have been discussing.. she had me doing all these worksheets about time management.. and basically found out that I spent 8 hours on sleep, fewer than 6 hours on average out of the house on days that I had to go to class, and then often as many as 16 hours a day sitting at home leading completely solitary pursuits except for when I occasionally go out to eat.. which also makes sense when you consider both of my previous relationships were with waitresses. Basically while my hobbies engage me, I do them at home because home is where I feel the most comfortable. The first step was basically getting me to space my classes out more (something I had no choice but to do due to the size of my new campus) and spend more time on campus.. starting in the fall I'll be on campus 5 days a week from 8am till 5pm with clubs on m/w, kickboxing on t/r, and swimming at the aquatics center on friday. totalling to me spending 12-14 hours a day outside of the house… and an increase of opportunities to have stuff to do on weekends also.

            that was always something that got me.. for the whole time I was working, 10 years, I never had a weekend off unless I practically begged for it or used a vacation day.. but then when i got laid off i suddenly had every weekend free.. but had no idea what to do on them.. because basically all my social circle still worked retail or foodservice and never had weekends free.

        • hobbesian

          Aren't you going to the UK soon to work on one of their research reactors?

          Would probably be a totally BA time to start fresh and pick up some new pastimes and stuff.. the whole "When in rome" thing..

          • Yeah, end of July I"m going to CCFE to do work on an experiment with the MAST Tokomak. I'm only staying there for 3 weeks though so I don't know how many past times I could pick up over there.

          • hobbesian

            well.. Bill Bryson went over there as a tourist for a few weeks and wound up getting married and living there for 20 years.. soooo not saying that's super common or anything but it does have a precedent and I can tell you from experience that going to a different country and being something of a novelty in a smaller town can net you some extra attention..

            I mean even if all you do is find a local pub and go to it every night after work for a drink or something you could meet new people..

          • Well I'm going with a group and we do something like a three day weekend so I'm interested in the pubs and trying new beers! Not sure how much of a novelty my group and myself would be but I've no idea what to expect from the people over there. I only know my collaborators and they're all nice people.

          • hobbesian

            This is just my personal opinion, be sure to try some of the CAMRA labeled Ales.. it's unlikely to gain you too many ways to talk to the ladies (it seems to be an older and very male organization) but still good beer.. much better than being like every other lager lout and just downing a pint of stella.. or worse ordering an american macro-brew.

            i wish i could advise you more but I'm sure that country has changed a lot since I was last there 10 years ago.

          • trixnix

            Born and bred in the UK. Happy to answer any questions.

          • How's Oxfordshire?

          • Shazbat

            I live in Oxfordshire! It's great – come to Oxford, if you want a tour guide, I'd be happy to show you round, I love doing that stuff. It's close to London, really beautiful, really historic. I'm guessing you'll be based near Didcot which… has great transport links.

            As for CAMRA being an older, 'pale male' organisation – that's very definitely changing. Loads of women are well into their craft beers (source: am woman, like beer, went to the last CAMRA festival in Oxford and was pleasantly surprised at the roughly 50/50 gender split of attendees. Seriously, everyone likes beer, it's not really a gendered thing here)

          • trixnix

            Agree with Shazbat. I have more experience of cities such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham etc. But I hear good things about Oxford and my cousin went to university there and still won't stop going on about the good time he had there 🙂

            I'm glad to hear CAMRA's changing for the better. I went to one of their beer festivals a few years back and the organizers attitude to women was certainly dodgy. Though I acknowledge that was one beer festival and one group of CAMRA members.

            Anywhere in the UK with a major university (or university in general) tends to be welcoming to visits from overseas. We're a friendly country on a high from the Olympics. And no, I don't work for the UK Tourist board. 🙂

          • Shazbat

            Yeah, I think because it's only fairly recently become more egalitarian, there are still sexist hangovers (see what I did there) from some of the older members… A few years ago, I was working in a pub, and my girlfriend at the time ordered a pint. My boss muttered something about 'not liking to see ladies with a pint glass', which was hilarious on two counts – one, my boss was a woman who liked a pint herself, and two, my girlfriend at the time was *extremely* butch. One organiser can set the tone for the whole event, and organisers tend to be people who have been involved longer. My own anecdotal evidence suggests that most organisers are delighted about the resurgence of interest, but that there are a few hold-outs who miss the 'garden shed' aspect of it – i.e. somewhere they go to get *away* from women! They don't tend to talk to me though, so I don't really mind.

            But no matter, it's changing because people my age are getting into the delights of beer with flavour!

          • hobbesian

            thats great about CAMRA..

          • Thanks for the info from everyone! Actually my group and myself are still waiting on stipend money so we can pay for flights and were still looking for lodging that arounds the Culham Center for Fusion Energy, we found a few places that look nice but heard replies about our inquiries there. Any links or recomendations for cheap(ish) lodging for 3-4 people for 3 weeks around Oxfordshire? lol We hadn't checked out Didcot yet, will look into that, and the CAMRA looks very interesting! Does that happen in August?

          • hobbesian

            well CAMRA is an organization that has meetings and stuff but generally you can try CAMRA rated ales year round.. It's usually if I'm rememebering right a sticker on the window or door of the pub that they sell cask ales.

          • Shazbat

            Yeah, if you don't have to, don't bother with Didcot – there are much nicer places around. Your best bet for a place to stay is probably Abingdon – small town just south of Oxford. There's a PremierInn, which is a chain hotel, decent and basic, or Four Pillars which is independent: has a good rep but is more expensive. Oxford's a bus ride away (or about 20 mnutes in the car), and London's only an hour's train ride from Oxford, or 1 hr 40 mins on the bus (which goes 24/7. It's a really international city, so you won't get raised eyebrows for your accent (dunno about Abingdon though). I love it here, I think you guys are going to have a brilliant time. As for pubs – you can look for the CAMRA sign, or ask people in pubs about decent breweries – most people are pretty friendly, happy to share info and tips… My own tip is… go for the pint with the most interesting name/beer tap 😀 It's a risky game, but generally pays off! Most bar staff will give you a taster of a guest ale or two – on the understanding that you will buy a pint of the one you like. Tipping is not expected in pubs.

    • isdzan

      I will only date people that are either passionate about their current job or passionate about their career, even if the current job isn’t something that inspires them. If someone hates, is unhappy with or is indifferent to what they spend 8 hours or more doing, I have found it really effects their mood in off work times. I definitely can’t be with someone who hates their job and has no plans or ideas to change it. Been there. Not good.

    • zmd

      Eh, as long as you have things you're passionate about and your job isn't emotionally toxic to you, I think that's fine. You can be passionate about a lot of things in life. I think it's wrong that we think that unless you want to climb to the top of your field, you're somehow unmotivated or in the wrong career.

  • Mephisto

    I am a bit insulted by the “get a life” section of this article. You seem to be saying that if another person’s lifestyle is different from your own then that necessarily makes it inferior to your own. Maybe there are some of us who enjoy watching TV and playing video games. Maybe some of us would rather spend a quiet evening at home reading a book then going club-hopping and getting wasted. Do I really need to live an exciting and adventurous life in order to be dateable? Do I need to spend my free time rock-climbing or skydiving or trekking through the Amazon in order to be an interesting person? There is a reason why I don’t do any of those things. Because I don’t want to do them. Just because you don’t share my interests does not mean that my life is empty and meaningless. My life is plenty meaningful to me just the way it is.

    • eselle28

      Hmm. I can understand life seeming perfectly meaningful when most of someone's recreation consists of watching TV and playing video games, but I do think it tends to get people into a trap where they spend all their time alone, don't meet any new people, and don't have much to talk about with people who aren't gamers or fans of their favorite shows. It also makes it a bit hard to stand out from the crowd, since many people like video games and almost everyone enjoys television.

      I don't think the answer to that is trekking through the Amazon, but I think it's good to have at least a couple of interests that occasionally get you out of the house and that aren't purely related to consumption of entertainment. They don't necessarily need to be exciting, just a bit more active.

      (I'm as guilty of this as anyone can be, but I do see how it's a problem for me.)

    • I second Eselle. I am an introvert, and spend most of my time doing solitary things, like reading, sewing, writing and what not. Trust me, I completely relate to being a home body.

      However, just like it's a good idea for people who constantly party to have a night in once in a while, it's mentally healthy to get OUT of a solitary mind-space occasionally. Being a home-body is fine and good, so long as that isn't ALL you do. The more well-rounded you are, the easier time you will have relating to more people, and more people means a better chance of meeting someone.

      If video games are your passion, you can use your "get out of the house" opportunity to go places where people who also like video games congregate. Go to gaming shops, go to Cons, go to video-game based meet-ups. It's a way to still enjoy your solitary hobby, and yet use it to connect with more people than you would in your living room.

      I'm not sure if Dr. NL was saying such a life is meaningless, but it IS kind of monotonous. No harm in switching it up occasionally, right?

    • I wouldn't say the Doc was saying this lifestyle is necessarily inferior, but I do think you raise an interesting point. Hm…
      *personal opinion alert*
      1) As long as you're establishing contact with actual people (either via hobbies, job or whatever), it's ok to enjoy more solitary activities. It's ok to enjoy them either way, but if you're looking for a relationship it makes sense you also need some way of coming in contact with other people.
      2) Grow through your hobbies – don't just veg out in front of the telly and mindlessly watch whatever is on. I've met people who could tell me about all the interesting details that made them like a particular video game, and those who just explain it as "You, em, shoot stuff. That's about it."
      3) Great experiences don't necessarily make for great stories. You can tell a captivating story about the time the ATM ate your debit card, and yet make rock climbing look as exciting as cleaning the loo. I would say the passion about which you talk about an activity can often be more important than the activity itself. Yes, if you're trying to reach a broad audience, a story about skydiving is probably going to trump a book review, but if that's what you're looking for just give up dating and start a blog.
      4) Similars attract. Miss. Couch Potato is probably going to roll her eyes at your daring jungle adventure anyway 🙂

    • OldBrownSquirrel

      If your idea of a good time is partying every night, or attending a major sporting event, or otherwise being part of a large crowd, it's fairly easy to find someone else whose idea of a good time involves doing those same things in the middle of a large crowd. If that isn't your idea of a good time, then you can still go to those crowded places and meet someone with whom you are completely incompatible. How introverts with solitary hobbies can most easily meet other introverts with solitary hobbies remains an open research problem.

      As for the Mountain Dew sports that seem to be so popular with so many people on dating sites, the "Lara Croft seeks Indiana Jones for death-defying thrills" type, the places they go aren't necessarily crowded, unless you count hospital emergency rooms or cemeteries. I can see why online dating appeals to them.

      (I used to know a guy who was into skydiving. Used to. Past tense. I've never known anyone who died playing a video game.)

    • Laura D

      I wouldn't be happy club-hopping, so it's unlikely that I'd find a compatible mate at a club. If you're really into a TV show, try to find a discussion group about it. If you like to read, try a book club or find a gaming group. Even if you don't meet a mate there, you're expanding your social circle which makes it more likely that you'll meet someone in the future.

      I mostly sew and read, but I've recently forced myself to go to a Meetup group in my area. People there are mostly gamers, Dr. Who nerds, and anime or comic fans. We get together and have a fabulously geeky time discussing things that we're passionate about. They're great people, I get out of the house pretty regularly and I've made more friends. I know we mostly discuss dating here, but there's nothing wrong with just being friends with people.

    • Dredd

      I enjoy videogames and movies, but if I do it all the time I feel bloated and depressed. You need to get out and do SOMETHING, even if its just going to a gig.

  • AnimatedMadness

    Certainly Marley! I also can relate to the homebody lifestyle. I have been fighting to get out of it for sometime without breaking the bank and amazingly, things have improved. I hosted a game night at my house last weekend (I have a friend teaching me how to be a DM for Pathfinder) of which turned out to be a great success. We are having another game night this Sunday.

    I got to take someone out on a picnic last week! She's an incredibly lovely woman. We braved the 100+ degree heat and enjoyed finger sandwiches in the shade (Bourbon Pineapple ham with Chipotle Cheddar). As far as I can tell we are friends right now (though I'm a bit illiterate in the body language department), but no complaints here. I haven't heard from her in a few days, but it's ok. 🙂 I'm sure she's fine.

    • I am SO EXCITED to hear this.

    • Gentleman Horndog

      Dude. What recipe are you proudest of being able to cook? Because I think you need to prepare it for your new friend. Soon. 😉

    • isdzan

      Yay! 🙂 So good to hear (although now I want chipotle cheddar)

  • eselle28

    Congrats on the improvements in your social life!

    • AnimatedMadness

      Thanks eselle28!

      • AnimatedMadness

        Hey, just curious, isn't there a forum for OKCupid profile reviews?

        • eselle28

          Yup. You can get to it by clicking the forum link at the top of the page. There's a thread in the Meeting People and Dating Advice section.

  • Thereal McCoy

    You can call her a fat slor [sic], a bitch, or whatever else you want and she’s going to forget you exist as soon as you exit her eye-line because you simply don’t matter to her.

    You've never been female, have you?

    • eselle28

      Yeah, those comments do hurt. But I don't think they hurt in the way that the guys dishing them out think they will. The lesson isn't, "Gosh, I should stop being so snobby and give someone a chance next time." It's more like, "Guys can be scary and aggressive when they're rejected, so I'm going to try to reject them in more subtle or passive-aggressive ways next time.

      • MordsithJ

        Yes, exactly. A guy who loses his temper and yells at me because I rejected him isn't disturbing because of the things he's saying, he's disturbing because HE'S LOSING HIS TEMPER AND YELLING AT ME. He could be screaming my favorite Shakespeare sonnet and it would still be fucking scary.

        • Cat

          I would pay money to see someone react to rejection by starting to scream poetry.

    • Yeah. She isn't going to forget you, but she will be damned happy she rejected you

  • CeeCee

    I'm just going to assume that the Dr. spent all his time slowly building up nerd trust on this website just to eventually be able to zing nerds with the ultimate dating advice of "Get a Life". You magnificent bastard, I'd read your book!

    • hobbesian

      well to continue the apocryphal world war 2 references.. I just hope it's not a bridge too far.

  • Meyer N Gaines

    Yeah, that section really bothered me. My whole life, people (including my friends and parents) have been telling me that I was some sort of subhuman for enjoying a good game of Halo or League of Legends. I internalized a lot of the shaming I received, and spent years trying to pick up hobbies that society (and women!) found attractive, such as guitar and weightlifting. I hated them, but I tried to keep working at them, in the hope that people (and women!) might accept me, but of course that never happened.

    Only recently, and through the help of this forum, I accepted that it was totally fine to love gaming as a hobby. Maybe that means I won't be getting VIP tables at a club or seducing HB10s. And that's fine. Because when I play League of Legends, I feel alive, and I feel like a man. And I've never felt like that in any other aspect of my life.

    I'm not going to lie, it hurt to read that section, because it just reinforced what everyone else has been telling me all along.

    • Meyer N Gaines

      Oops, meant to respond to CeeCee's post on "Get a life."

    • hobbesian

      Question, does your town have anything like this place? Cause if nothing else.. and maybe it might cost a little bit.. go out one night a week and play games in a public setting potentially with other people.. if nothing else you might make some new friends who replace the rather horrendously dire sounding ones you've talked about on here..

      I know I keep bringing this bar up.. but I think it's a cool idea (you can rent all kinds of vintage consoles too) and I'm sure it cannot be the only one.. Maybe even find out if there is a Dave & Busters or some place that has a ladies night and start going to it.

      • Meyer N Gaines

        It's a massive city, so I'm pretty sure it will.

        I don't mind spending money on stuff I enjoy.

    • eselle28

      I think he was far too harsh, but I do think there's a happy medium between being the person who feels like a subhuman for enjoying gaming and who throws himself into hobbies he dislikes, and on the other hand a person who does nothing but play LoL and then wonders why he isn't meeting any women.

      Is there a possible middle zone where you can enjoy Halo and LoL and love the way they make you feel, find some school activities or volunteer organizations that also make you happy or expose you to new things, and enjoy both those aspects of yourself? Because from what I know of you, gamer is one part of your personality, but there is more to you – I've seen it. Being able to embrace all or most of the parts of you is kind of the ideal.

      • Meyer N Gaines

        Well, I don't actually play Halo anymore, it was just an example.

        I think there definitely will be new organizations, clubs, and activities I will participate in when I start medical school. Also, I've never had that much fun in nightclubs/bars/parties, but I will probably go to some anyways.

        • eselle28

          I think that's all that's being suggested – that you do some social things and try to keep yourself open to new interests. The Meyer who does nothing but play LoL might be a bit hard to relate to if a woman doesn't play the game herself. The Meyer who enjoys playing LoL, is excited about going into emergency medicine, has lots of interesting thoughts on social issues, and who's a member of Clubs X and Y at school sounds like a pretty cool guy.

          As for nightclubs/bars/parties, I think there's a certain amount of going along that's involved if you make good friends who enjoy those things – going sometimes and passing sometimes is a good strategy. I would also say that some of those things might be more enjoyable once you've found a different group of friends. It sounds like your current crowd is sort of the clubbing set? That's not for everyone. But, at least when I was in grad school, it was also fairly popular for people to have pot luck house parties where they showed movies or played games or smallish cocktail parties (my school attracted lots of rich kids, but most of them didn't feel that way after taking out student loans, and bars in the area tended to close early enough to make hanging out at home more appealing). Those might not end up being your style, either, but it's possible that evening socializing will end up being a little more to your liking than it used to be.

          • Meyer N Gaines

            Yeah, I used to define myself as a "nerd" just because I played videogames, but compared to a lot of people here it seems like I don't know anything about being a nerd. Come to think of it, I don't even think that gaming is the most salient part of my life, it's just one interest among many (including nature, exercise, my dog, current affairs, and my future career).

            The crowd in med school is mostly upper middle class, but hopefully it will have more racial diversity than what I'm used to seeing. Honestly, I prefer house parties to going clubbing. But perhaps clubbing is an acquired taste, like beer.

          • Mad_

            I kinda think of it this way, it can apply to a lot of other things I guess…

            If you think of the specific club you're going to, the friends you're going with, and the people and environment you'll be around, and it doesn't bring a charge or a smile to your face… probably shouldn't bother forcing it.

    • Mad_

      There's girls out there who are fine with playing video games all day too, it's just they're hard to find because both people are inside all the time instead of out finding eachother.

    • I think the problem is our culture is very set in what it considers an "attractive lifestyle". Basically, you have to be James Bond, leaping from building to building, treading through jungles and seducing supermodels while at it. I think the appeal of this lifestyle is that it completely unattainable for 99% of people, and even if it were attainable it is likely it would also be unenjoyable.

      I have a friend who travels all around the globe, and for every amazing Buddha statue there is story about a parasite he almost died from. And the thing is, while I enjoy his stories immensely and consider him a very interesting person, I do not feel anything beyond friendship for him. Neither do I want his lifestyle. I'll stick to the couch thank-you-very-much.

      I think the point of your interests/hobbies/lifestyle is that they should make you grow and not be used as escape from real life problems. But unfortunately due to our culture of blogs, twitters, and instagrams, we are taught that an attractive lifestyle is one that will get you most "likes" from a broad audience.

      • *continued*

        For example, when I was younger, people expected me to be an artist because I could draw and everybody has this idea that being an artist is a very rewarding and creative job. Thanks, but no thanks. Most artists I know work from home 90% of the time, and spend their time arguing with clients (when they have them) about how much boobs'n'butt they want on their mascot. Being and artist is f-ing hard, frustrating and demanding (or at least it would be for me).

        So I became an engineer! Yeah, it's not easy either, but I have a job I love, and I work from an office where I'm surrounded by awesome like minded people. Yes, it's probably not as generally appealing as saying "oh I'm an ARTIST!" but hey, my life is not a blog. The people I admire appreciate my lifestyle, and for the rest – who cares!

        • Gentleman Johnny

          I've always thought that genuine art, or creativity of any type, is more of a biological process. Its something you do because if you don't get your ideas out, they clog up and you get brain constipation.

          Also, yes, I think we have this idea that romantic life should be like a Heineken commercial and while that's cool sometimes, I wouldn't want it to be my all day, every day.

    • It's not about whether you love gaming. It's about *how* you love gaming.

      I have two friends. These are not even fictional friends, but they make a pretty good example. They both play similar games and play with about the same frequency, but their attitudes and choices are very different.

      One of them hosts a weekly game night with a half-dozen friends, male and female. He goes out of his way to maintain gaming friendships with women, and encourages them to invite their friends into his gaming community. He talks about games when invited, and connects his play to the interests of the other person he's talking to. He also can talk about lots of things besides games – it's not the only thing in his life. This guy literally has women lining up to date him – I don't think he's been single for more than a couple of months in the last decade.

      The other talks at you, not to you, about gaming. Instead of including the people he's talking to, he calibrates the conversation to his own interests and expertise, and if you can't keep up or don't care, too bad. He's only interested in dating women who are "into gaming," but spends most of his time complaining about how he never meets girls who game – often in front of the actual girls in his life who actually game. He can't hold up his end of a conversation when it's not about games, and sometimes even looks bored when you're talking about the things that interest you. Our social circle barely tolerates this guy as a friend. Let's just say he doesn't have a lot of success with dating.

      So basically, be awesome about games.

      I hope that helps!

      • AnimatedMadness

        Agreed kleenestar, that second friend you mentioned was kind of how I was for the longest time. All I could talk about were video games, animated movies/tv shows, and the occasional news blurb (I don't watch the news anymore because it's depressing as hell). I'm going to the library today to get some material printed out for a gamer/movie night group of which we can get together and talk various topics AND kill orcs via d20s. Excelsior!

      • Mad_

        I think the other guy just doesn't know how to narrow-focus into his people.

        I know a good number of gamers/nerd hobby people who otherwise don't care too much about "other" things, or maybe have one major "other" thing that they like.

        "and sometimes even looks bored when you're talking about the things that interest you."

        You and the others might be boring at putting it forward, too, or it might be a boring subject to him no matter how you put it forward.

        • There's "maybe we're boring," and there's "completely uninterested in engaging with anything that is not focused on him and his narrow interests." This guy is the latter. The problem isn't that he's not broad – it's that he's self-centered about it.

          • Mad_

            I think that's fine, he's just gotta find someone similar.

            There are times I've regretted faking interest because it encourages people to go on about things that I just don't understand.

        • eselle28

          That may be a viable strategy for people who have a very large pool of friends and romantic partners to choose from. I suspect that people who don't live in the very largest cities are going to have trouble meeting people who both share their specific hobby and who don't care too much about anything else, though. People who are looking for someone to date and who have some standards related to looks, age, family, and so on are going to have it even harder. I suppose it's fine if those folks are willing to only interact with a select group of people online, but it doesn't seem like kleenestar's friend is doing that.

          There are some topics I find pretty intolerable, too, and where it's going to be hard for me not to zone out. I do think that there's something to be said for being at least a little bit flexible, though. My gaming guild has some people who are pretty seriously into games in it – people for whom it's a primary interest, someone who's studying to be a game designer, someone else who aspires to do so. Our conversation last night had lots of video game goodness, but it also veered off into cooking, boot camp, and cosplay. I'm only moderately interested in cooking and cosplay, but talking about them for awhile was fun. Boot camp isn't ever a subject I'd bring up, but I was a bit interested because it was an experience that my friends had gone through. And maybe that last bit's the key. Sometimes things are interesting not because of the subject but because of how they affected the person talking about the subject. I'm probably never going to be able to have a conversation about Real Housewives or rodeo, but there are some areas where I can be flexible. At some point, there's only so much in a given day that you can say about games.

          • Mad_

            "Sometimes things are interesting not because of the subject but because of how they affected the person talking about the subject."

            Yep. That's what makes boring shit interesting. I just find that, especially among nerds, you're more likely to get a fact-dump and autistic excitement over something, and if you're not into it in the same way, say hello to Boredom.

          • eselle28

            Well, and I think that's kind of what kleenestar might have been describing. It's not a great choice for a communication style, since the only people who will even tolerate it will be fellow nerds who share your hobby, and even many of them won't be all that fascinated by the fact-dump. It's great if people can find someone they can fact-dump back and forth with all night, but I think that's maybe setting hopes too high (also, people who fact-dump at each other about the same thing often end up disliking each other due to silly fannish quarrels).

          • Mad_

            I know people who define those "fannish quarrels" as showing passion for what you love. :p

          • If it were working for this guy – in our social group or in any other – I'd be less skeptical that this is a good dating strategy. 😛

          • Mad_

            I agree, I just think this guy hasn't figured out the right strategies yet.

            "Fake interest" wouldn't be a good one for him either.

          • enail

            Fake interest, no. But learn how to be interested in more things, that's a big one.

          • Mad_

            Sounds almost like the same thing.

          • eselle28

            Not really. You can learn how to be interested in more things by trying new ones and watching for aspects of them you like.

          • enail

            No, of course not. One's pretending and one's genuine.

            It's easy for someone to get into a very narrow rut of interest even though they're perfectly capable of having much wider interests and appreciating more things. Sometimes it takes a change of perspective, or practice, but it's possible to become more interested in stuff.

          • Mad_

            Now some of that sounds like forcing it.

            I see it more that some people are just in denial about things they'd otherwise like because of [social conditioning of some kind]. The boring isn't going to become interesting as much as you'll admit to yourself the interesting you're trying to hide isn't boring.

          • enail

            I'm thinking more that people get into ruts where they define themselves and their interests very narrowly and kind of stop being able to see the parts of themselves that are already reaching out in all different directions. They are looking so hard down one tunnel that they miss all the other paths they've got open, and forget how to even travel a new path if they found one.

            It's like…everyone has a million alternate universe versions of themselves, and if you lose sight of all the different other yous you could land up being, you get to thinking you're static and one-dimensional and shut down the possibilities you have of being interested in other things. I've done this at various times in my life.

          • Mad_

            If I grew a beard and become evil Me, does evil me in the alternate universe shave and become good me?

            Am I already evil me?

          • enail

            Depends. Do you have a goatee?

          • Mad_

            Small one. So only kinda evil.

          • enail

            Hm. Try adding a twirlable mustache and I think you can make it work.

          • eselle28

            I don't mean fannish quarrels in a mean way. If people like engaging in them, more power to them. But it doesn't add to your friends list if you can find someone who likes the same thing you do and shares your info dumping style if the two of you are mortal enemies because you disagree about certain aspects of your hobby.

          • Mad_

            This is strange, but I've found that more often than not, unless it's in an anonymous internet fashion, people will bond over the arguing about fanboy/fangirl shit than push eachother away.

      • Meyer N Gaines

        This post is great. I don't think I'm as interested in gaming as these guys are, but it's a good example of what to do and what not to do.

        Gaming is not the only thing I do…I don't even think it's the most important thing I do. I take care of a dog, I exercise regularly, I love nature, reading stuff, etc. But just because I also enjoy games, that immediately sets me apart from others for some reason.

    • Delafina

      Like almost everything else, it's a spectrum, not a binary. Does loving games make you subhuman? Absolutely not. On the other hand, do I want to hang out with someone who doesn't have any other hobbies? No. Sounds boring.

      Someone who loves games and also is willing to go exploring with me, can cook, and/or has interesting stories about places they've been, though, sounds really good.

  • BritterSweet

    I'm a little hesitant to watch that "Hot B*tchy Girls" video. Is it a parody, or is it something that will make me want to start my own Amazon Lily Island?

    • Mad_

      It's a parody. You don't have to kick puppies or worry about love being a hurricane.

  • While I do t disagree at all with what the good doctor has stated in his article I can see how a lot of people see the get a life section as being a bit harsh. I know for me I can way over analize things or think about things way before I should and its a hard habit to kick. But back to my point of getting a life I also think a lot of it has to do with where you live. In my city the big things to do are gamble, drink, go to a club and do drugs. Nerd culture is hard to find and if you can find things outside to do with other geeks. It’s pretty much always guys. Now I’ve gone out to video game events in my area and even hosted an all ages rock band night for three years at a place by our college here in town but the big events are hosted by the casinos and I’m not big on the gambling or drinking so it’s a tough thing to find in some areas. One of my favorite things to do is go to watch and support our local roller derby team and I’ve met a lot of them and became friends with a lot of people through going to the bouts but the culture there is about the drinking and partying. This article and reading a lot of the replys to it have me thinking is there not something I could or should be doing?

    • There's nothing you 'should' be doing, but if you're looking for more stuff to do, plunder local zines, community websites, bulletin boards and FB's Recommended Events. Also, parties can be plenty of fun while sober: look for stuff that caters to your musical taste/has a fun theme that includes more than getting wasted but with different decorations and costumes.

  • Farenheit

    come on people, just stop having those bad feelings that you're having. theyre no good anyway!
    – the answer to all your problems (courtesy of the nerd community's very own tony robbins)

  • Dredd

    I followed the Doctor's advice about going for the kiss on the first date, and I don't think it worked out for me… the girl ditched after the 2nd date.

    • eselle28

      She went on a second date, though? If that's the case, I don't think it was the first date kiss.

      • Gentleman Horndog

        Yup. If that kiss had skeeved her out, the second date would not have happened. (Unless this girl has some issues she needs to be sorting through.)

  • Akai

    I'm sure I've said it before, but touching a woman on the lower back is much more presumptuous than touching an arm or hand, possibly even a clothed leg. It's close enough to one's butt to make them nervous, especially when it's coming from someone relatively unknown. It's also a gesture of control, often and easily used to steer someone somewhere. While it doesn't have much actual power to it, the implication of leading someone is there.

    • eselle28

      Sounds right. I wouldn't recommend the lower back touch unless there's already been some reciprocal touching going on. Back of the neck and hair are even worse, though.

      • Ethyl

        Ugh yes. I also had a friend who used to grab me by my upper arm, just above my elbow, and attempt to "steer" me (usually as we were looking for seats in a theater or bar or something). Yuck.

      • Akai

        Ugh, yes, I didn't even think of those. It's pretty common for people to touch the ends of my hair, which doesn't get me in the same way, but the close to one's head part? Ugh.

        • hobbesian

          It's one of the the bits of advice DNL puts up a lot that kind of bugs me.. I don't like being touched, and I won't touch others without them saying it's okay. Personally I never touch people anywhere. At all. unless they invite me to. I'd prefer if they did the same. I don't "go in for the first kiss " either. I might offer my arm, then its up to her. But I totally disagree with the idea of 'Flirtatious touching'..

          • ccmc

            Oh, I find the offering of the arm thing deadly charming, especially if done with a smile and maybe a cheeky "madame"! That would be the perfect way to initiate touching on a date with me. Behind my back where I can't see your hand? Nosirree.

          • enail

            Touching me unexpectedly will get you hit. Possibly a 1-2-3 punch, if you really startle me. But offering your arm? Especially with a bit of humour in it, playful not some kind of serious chivalry thing. That's seriously charming!

          • hobbesian

            That's exactly it, I often react like that if someone touches me unexpectedly and so I just.. kind of try to extend the courtesy.

            And yeah generally when i offer my arm it results in us skipping or doing something silly.. though it is the south so some women do expect all the traditional serious chivalry stuff.. even the younger ones.. it just mainly depends on their upbringing..

  • Niteynite

    Not really that hard to understand about people who hate dating.

    If you are good at socializing with women (or men) that you are attracted to, then you are going to like something that is naturally easier for you. Hence, you like "the chase".

    If you are like me, and struggle just getting a first date, then you hate dating because it makes you a nervous wreck, namely because in your head you are saying "I better get this right or I'll be Forever Alone".

    And speaking of the thrill of the chase, I am personally disgusted at the idea of "chasing" someone. If you are just trying to get to know someone a little bit more, then fine, but if they start playing hard to get, then fuck them. I'll go find someone who wants to be with me and not make me "chase" them. Ugh.

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