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Real Talk, Straight Guys. - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
June 9th, 2017
09:55 am

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Real Talk, Straight Guys.

Dating is fucking rough on straight men, and anyone who denies that isn’t paying attention. Men are culturally expected to make the first move, which means they’re putting themselves up to be rejected before a date even happens, which means that even trying to land a date – let alone the potential heartbreak of a bad date – starts to feel like a series of job interviews that nobody much wants you for.

(And yes, women get that too to some extent, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it is with guys. If you’re a woman and you’re contacting dudes first to ask them out on dates instead of patiently waiting to be courted, thank you.)

So let me give you straight guys a piece of advice that it’s best to internalize right now, because it’ll make your life so much easier if you can genuinely come to realize this:

Nobody owes you a woman.

That is, honestly, not a message you’ve seen a lot of in the media. Because if you look at almost every action movie starring A Guy, if he’s really good at saving people he’ll get A Girl at the end of the film. If you look at comedies, there’s a schlubby guy with a good heart and nine times out of ten he’ll be rewarded with a really hot girl if he just learns the right lesson. Guys on sitcoms have hot wives, and their single friends are usually pathetically dysfunctional.

Your narratives have covertly conditioned you that if you do your job right, you’ll get a girl.

Which quietly trains you to believe that if you don’t have a girl, you haven’t done your job right.

And that conditioning creates a lot of side effects that actually make it harder for you to get the intimacy that you need. Because:

Some Guys Get Desperate To Prove Themselves.
Some men will be so determined to get the girl they think they should have – which is not the girl they actually like, but rather the prettiest one that proves their status in society. And they’ll hang around this woman who they have nothing in common with, feigning friendship because they’ve been trained that if they’re just “nice” the woman will eventually fall in love with them, pretending to like all sorts of things they hate like shopping and chick flicks and the wrong sports team…

And then that woman will frequently reject them because they’re not that interesting. Hey, all you do is nod and bob your head, why’s that compelling?

And when these guys are rejected after selling their soul to sniff the perfume, they get furious. I did so much for her!, they say.

Here’s the truth, my friend: If you’re hanging around anyone swallowing your pride in some desperate attempt to get laid, you are doing it wrong. Maybe you’re just so milquetoast that she doesn’t like you. Maybe she senses how you’re faking friendship to get into her pants. Maybe, hell, she really does like complete assholes.

Why are you hanging around someone you loathe? Why don’t you just find someone you do like? And the answer is often a subliminal “Because I was promised I’d get the woman of my dreams if I didn’t screw up too badly.”

Look. The woman of your dreams should be someone who you actually like, and likes you back. Shaving off pieces of your personality to achieve the Manly Aspiration of Getting The Right Girl is a mug’s game. Nobody’s worth that whether you’re a guy or a girl (and women who feign love in all the manly things to land the right guy are equally deluded).

But what you’re doing is this:

  • I like that girl
  • She’s supposed to be mine if I like her
  • So if I don’t get her, I’m failing – not just personally, but failing in my role as a dude.

Give that up, my man.  Try this:

  • I am physically attracted to this girl
  • Let’s see whether there’s a mutual interest
  • If I don’t get her, why would I want to pretend to be someone I wasn’t to land someone who didn’t like me?

Contemplate all the compromises you’d have to make to become what she wants – and if that bill is too much, you’re smarter to walk away.

Some Guys Get Lazy.
Here’s the truth, man: you dress for the job you want.

There’s nothing wrong with going for the hottest girl in the room, but you gotta be honest about what you’re bringing to the table. If you’re going for some model-quality blonde and you’re Mr. Balding Paunchy, then you have to ask, “If I’m not going to woo her through sheer physical spectacle, what do I have to offer?”

Smart men will say, “Okay, I’ll work on my personality.” Or they’ll develop a unique talent – hey, Meatloaf got laid as a rock star, you can too. Or they’ll hit the gym and work those abs.

Dumb guys will, sadly, look at the hot girl and think, “Man, what a stuck-up bitch, she won’t even give me the time of day.” Well, you were walking over there to try to slide into her panties, so let’s not pretend you’re Gandhi in offering your magnificent friendship.

Alas, this “I shouldn’t have to offer anything” plan even applies to guys who are just casually dating. They inherit this List Of Things Women Want – a list made by equally inept guys – and blindly follow it, then get furious when women don’t actually desire the things on their imaginary list.

Truth: there are men with ten-inch dicks who can’t get laid because they come off as fakers, or stalkers, or both.

That “I am owed a woman” comes out very subtly, but it’s there in men thinking that women should flock to their feet by virtue of them, well, existing. And women who aren’t attracted to your immutable (and debatable) charm are just dumb, they can’t see your appeal, they’re stupid and insane and ingrateful….

And again, why the fuck do you want to date these women you hate so much?

Why are you spending energy to chase women you despise?

My advice is dress nice and learn a joke or two. But if you’re not gonna do that, why buy into the idea that women are something you have to have? You could just buy sex from a sex worker – except no, that’s pathetic, a real man should get a woman he loathes because again, you’re owed a woman.

You’re not. And when you stop thinking of women as something you should just have and start thinking of intimacy as something you have to cultivate, then you start actually paying attention to actual individual women, and see what they’re into, and decide whether you want to spruce up those aspects of yourself.

You may have to perform a bit.  That’s okay. Most women wear makeup, too.

Some Guys Settle.
Some guys, unfortunately, do find a woman who’ll sleep with them. She’s not a woman they have anything in common with – note the theme? – but she is willing to sporadically put his penis in their vagina, and hey, she’s not actively offensive.

And then these guys get committed, marrying women who might as well be alien creatures for all they understand and/or empathize with them, and they wind up in a relationship that’s equal parts frustration and working around the existence of their partner.

Dudes. Again. You can say no. Just because someone’s willing to sleep with you doesn’t mean they’re compatible with you. Hell, you might even want to turn down some sex because it comes with strings you’re not comfortable with.

Yet guys are, once again, conditioned to be less of a man if they reject sex. Sex is what all men want all the time, and if they don’t feast upon the sex whenever it’s offered they’re not real men.

Do not buy into this.

I tell women all the time that they’re right to reject men if they don’t want them. Remember that you also have the right to turn women down. Don’t be cruel, but you can break off any relationship that makes you antsy, you can refuse sex even if someone’s throwing themselves at you, you can make your own choices.

Don’t buy into this model of scarcity.

Some Guys Enter The Oppositional Stage And Never Exit It.
The larger truth is this:

Women aren’t all that mysterious. They have different priorities, but that’s often because they have different experiences (and, yes, different cultural conditioning, which is why you see an unfortunate number of women patiently waiting for their prince to arrive).

It’s not that women don’t want casual sex – it’s that they’re not convinced your casual sex will be any good (look up the number of women who come from first-time hookups and realize women have roughly a 50/50 shot of having it be good for them), and they don’t know that you’re not the guy who’s going to imprint on them like a duckling and waddle around after them for the next seven months.

Women often don’t give an emphatic “no,” instead leading you on – but that’s because while dating is psychologically dangerous to you, the danger of some asshole physically assaulting a woman if she comes off as too bitchy is real for them.   They may give you a quiet brush-off because they can’t be sure that you’re not the guy with the oversized ego and the roid rage.

There’s all sorts of distinctions like that.  If you can understand those differences, and account for them, your path to intimacy will be a lot easier. And you’ll also not be sleeping with people you secretly resent because HOW DARE THEY NOT SLEEP WITH ME I’M A NICE GUY AND AS A NICE GUY PUSSY IS MY BIRTHRIGHT.

Truth is, you’re not owed a woman, and you’re not less if you don’t manage to find one. Sometimes you’re not finding A Woman because you are, quite sanely, holding out for someone who’s actually compatible with you.  Sometimes you’re alone because you have standards, and that’s a good thing.

And ironically, giving up the resentment usually clears the path for more intimacy. Drop the rose-tinted goggles to see what women actually desire, and what you actually desire, and it’s much better when you work to make that happen.  (Plus, when you stop seeing women as some trophy to be had, you can approach the concept of genuine platonic friendships with women – and as a dating tip, there’s no better way to be introduced to women than by having enthusiastic female friends who’ll vouch for you.  You may not get that woman, but you get a friend and the potential connection with all her friends.)

Or you could unthinkingly approach dating like it’s  The Great Prophecy Of A Woman Will Arrive If I’m Not Particularly Bad At My Job.  In which case you may eventually find a woman but by the time you get there you’ll be enraged, desperate, and not particularly good for each other.

Not gonna lie. It’s tough out there.

But you can do better.

Good luck.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/583081.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(28 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
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From:edgehopper
Date:June 9th, 2017 02:54 pm (UTC)
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There's one more I'd add, that helped me back in my dating phase:

Most people will not make good close friends for you, and that includes women.

Think about the number of men you encounter on a regular basis. Co-workers, people at hobbies, random people you meet, etc. I'll bet you think a lot of them are assholes--and even among the non-assholes, there are a lot that you just don't have much in common with. You probably have at most 1-3 male friends close enough to discuss serious personal issues.

Why would you expect the percentages of women you'd want to be that close to to be any better? If you saw a random guy at a bar, what do you think the odds are you'd want to be his friend? Well, why would the odds be any better for a random girl?

You will date women who you just don't connect with. You will also date women who are absolutely terrible for you. You will date women who are objectively horrible people, if you're not too selective. This does not mean women are terrible, it means that women are a subset of "people." It's OK to be a misanthrope, just don't let yourself become a misogynist.
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From:finding_helena
Date:June 10th, 2017 03:23 am (UTC)
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This one took me a long time. A lot of people just aren't really my people and a lot of guys just aren't really my type dating-wise. When I was younger I would glom on to anyone who would give me attention. And it was rough. Sadly, as well, an even lower percentage of people in my professional field are my kind of person, versus those in the general population.
From:anonymousalex
Date:June 9th, 2017 04:43 pm (UTC)
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"Smart and funny. That's how guys who, no offense, don't look like Jude Law or Denzel Washington get babes." -The West Wing

-Alex


Edited at 2017-06-09 07:58 pm (UTC)
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From:cynic51
Date:June 9th, 2017 11:33 pm (UTC)
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>>You could just buy sex from a sex worker – except no, that’s
>>pathetic, a real man should get a woman he loathes because
>>again, you’re owed a woman.
Until such time as there is some extremely accurate way to determine which sex worker is being forced into it (either by the pimp and strongly arguably by simple economics) from the sex worker who is actively choosing this job as a good healthy viable option - then yes, I will consider a man to be pathetic if he is buying sex. Masturbation is free, doesn't hurt anyone, and in a lot of cases probably has about 95% of the value of random hook up sex with someone you barely know. Note: masturbation is certainly not a substitute for many kinds of intimacy - but that's not what you're talking about at that point.

Edited at 2017-06-09 11:34 pm (UTC)
From:noumignon
Date:June 10th, 2017 02:27 am (UTC)
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"Pathetic" reveals that your "until such time" is not your real objection. "Until such time as they stop using slave labor, I will consider anyone who buys a Volkswagen..." ...Callous? Exploitative? Immoral? But not 'pathetic'. That makes no sense. You started with pathetic and went looking for a reason to justify how you felt.
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From:cynic51
Date:June 10th, 2017 12:21 pm (UTC)
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I was mirroring his word choice, but you raise a good point. Exploitative would be a better word. There are certainly many other activities that make the labor force work in equally problematic ways, and in a better world we'd have ways to identify them accurately and choose not to use them. However, sex work is somewhat worse in that the buyer pretty much has to be right there directly "consuming" the "product", which is well known to typically be exploitative in most cases. I feel (perhaps unjustly) that this is worse than buying a phone built by people with poor economic choices in a Chinese factory.

Also - a lot of Jews won't ever buy VWs or Mercedes to this day because they used slave labor in WWII. I'm not sure how long the statute of limitations on that will run.
From:noumignon
Date:June 10th, 2017 07:42 pm (UTC)
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That's very reasonable, and I'm sorry I reacted to that word by calling you a bad-faith arguer.
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From:cynic51
Date:June 11th, 2017 03:02 am (UTC)
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No worries, I'm not easily offended and there's value to your line about wording.

Upon considering it further, I think my point is strengthened in that I need to eat, so in a world without perfect information I am likely to eat something that was grown in part by exploited farm workers. In most of the U.S., people need to drive to function in society, so they are more likely to have to purchase a car built by exploited labor (if such a thing exists today). Nobody has to have sex (although lord it does seem like it sometimes), so the decision to purchase it is always something that could be avoided, as difficult as it might seem at the time.
From:noumignon
Date:June 10th, 2017 02:34 am (UTC)
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Honestly, I'd rather be lied to about the world owing me a woman. The advice above boils down to "Zero chance you'll get a woman you want, 50% chance the relationship you get won't be worth having (settle, resent or whatever), and way, way too much work." There's no hope and no prize in a realistic world, you're better off with Men Going Their Own Way.
From:anonymousalex
Date:June 10th, 2017 02:37 pm (UTC)
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I think you'll find that the boiled-down version is a lot closer to: the woman you think you want probably isn't the woman you really want, if you really stop and think about it.

If you're stuck on I want this supermodel, notwithstanding the fact that you and she have nothing in common and you have nothing to offer her other than the fact that you like the way her body looks today, then yeah, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. But thinking about it that way, it seems pretty obvious, doesn't it?

On the flip side, Ferrett is a living example that someone can have (multiple) successful relationships with the actually right people. Step one being treating women like people, and not objects. (Cf. "Evil is when you treat people as things." -Granny Weatherwax)

-Alex


Edited at 2017-06-10 02:38 pm (UTC)
From:noumignon
Date:June 10th, 2017 07:40 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I'm great at treating women as people, the problem is that I want an object, and also I perceive that treating them as people reduces my chances.

I would just prefer takes of the sort "The real world has a terrible design compared to novels and video games, suck it up you must" to "Oh, the real world is just fine if you accept this realistic perspective of mine." The realistic world sucks.
From:anonymousalex
Date:June 10th, 2017 11:16 pm (UTC)
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I'm more than a bit unsure how to interpret this. It sounds a lot like you're saying you are looking for a Real Doll™, in which case I suppose you should just buy one?

If you're saying you want a real person who would be interested in being treated like an object from time to time, I can assure you there are such people out there. But one generally is expected to treat them like people the rest of the time, so you're still starting from the same place.

-Alex
From:noumignon
Date:June 15th, 2017 03:15 pm (UTC)
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I'm saying that I have never fantasized about having great emotional support from someone, and I never go to Pornhub looking for videos where I can imagine having fun and laughing while being intimate. If the real world requires all this social effort for very uncertain payoff, that's a bad thing, not something to celebrate like this post does.

Even a RealDoll suffers from having to commit to just one thing at a noticeable cost. If I balk at that of course the much greater commitment and much higher cost of a real relationship are not for me.
From:anonymousalex
Date:June 15th, 2017 05:47 pm (UTC)
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And now I'm even less clear on what you want, though I have more of an idea of what you don't want (emotional support, fun, laughter, commitment, cost). So about the best I can offer is to suggest you look at what it is you do want, and seek that out.

Also I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that you're an outlier in this area.

-Alex
From:noumignon
Date:June 19th, 2017 03:05 am (UTC)
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This is irritating because I can think of very few men who would admit to wanting this stuff. The reason they sign up for it is the same thing we all want but you claim you can't figure it out: pussy. I feel like my outlierness is in either laziness, introversion, risk aversion, or perfectionism, but the stuff I listed above is perfectly normal.
From:anonymousalex
Date:June 19th, 2017 02:25 pm (UTC)
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In my experience (and recognizing that always implies at least the possibility that my sample set is skewed), these are not mutually exclusive desires. Most, if not all, of the (straight) men I know have an interest in "pussy" (i.e., sex with attractive women qua attractive women) but also want love, fun, laughter, commitment, etc. etc.

That said, I'll defend my confusion: I thought it was implied in the subject of our discussion that you were interested in sex of some sort, and with a woman or women involved somehow. So if you want to use the synechdoche "pussy," I think we're on the same page thus far.

However, you seem to have conditions or specifications that are the source of my confusion. For example, you say you don't want a relationship, are you interested in transactional sex (i.e., with sex worker(s))? I didn't ask, but since you rejected the idea of a Real Doll on financial grounds, I'm guessing that'd be an issue there, as well.

In other words, it seems that you don't just want pussy, you want pussy without certain strings attached (e.g., cost, relationship, etc.), and I don't get what all your dealbreakers are and, perhaps more importantly, what's left that you're so interested in.

Moreover, you seem to think it's obvious, whereas I think enough people have enough interest in the other aspects that you reject, that it's not. But I'm not your therapist; I don't need to understand your desires or help you achieve them. You, on the other hand, have that cross to bear.

-Alex
From:noumignon
Date:June 25th, 2017 06:08 pm (UTC)
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You're partly my therapist, anyway; it's been interesting for me to analyze the defensive statements I dream up in response. Like how I treat men less like people when they profess to like things like commitment, when I would just respect that in women. Maybe I don't seem to see men having those softer desires because they know I'd scorn them if they revealed them, or maybe I just ruled out the idea they want them by applying "typical mind" fallacy to my own motivations.

(By the way, "fun and laughter" is in the context of sex specifically; I like them when I'm playing with kids, I don't like them when I poop or masturbate.)

My deal is that I've got a certain drive, unaccompanied by the other drives. Kind of like hunger for sugar without any desire for fiber, restaurant presentation, or sharing meals. It might even be a broken motivation, like pica, where the thing you want to eat doesn't really exist as food. So I have metaphorically chosen to live on only sugar, and that's working OK for me. Then here the Ferrett brings up all the things that I think suck about real-life food (cooking, having to wait for mealtime, having to eat vegetables) and comes to just the opposite conclusion: "No one owes you a sweet diet, you should learn to live in the real world where a lot of food is spoiled, you're going to need to learn to go without food some days, etc, etc..."

My metaphor is turning on me because I did retrain my taste buds to want real food, and I wouldn't agree with someone piping up like I did to say "Hey, if real food is that much worse than sugar, stop promoting it!"

However, I still think porn is way more attractive in theory than the real thing. And I wouldn't say "you don't really want sugar if you also have dealbreakers like not wanting to get diabetes and have your teeth fall out". I want sugar and only sugar, but real life won't let me have it.

Thanks for listening. I've been working through this stuff lately because of a rare real-world crush that had me re-evaluating whether I might be interested in an actual live woman or not. (Spoiler: no.)
From:anonymousalex
Date:June 25th, 2017 08:11 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome. I'm not sure how far I've gotten, but if you got something out of the discussion, I guess it wasn't wasted time.

-Alex
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From:jojomojo
Date:June 10th, 2017 04:35 pm (UTC)
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Hello hi I am happily married to a woman I rather like, this can happen to you too :)
From:noumignon
Date:June 10th, 2017 07:42 pm (UTC)
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That's good to hear, thanks for inviting me to your open marriage.
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From:emo_snal
Date:August 3rd, 2017 12:33 pm (UTC)
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lol!
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From:supergee
Date:June 10th, 2017 09:32 am (UTC)
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Blogging this. Thanx
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From:acelightning
Date:June 10th, 2017 12:19 pm (UTC)
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First... have you noticed that there have been a number of mass-murder incidents in the past few years in which the perpetrator's excuse explanation for his murderous rage was that women wouldn't have sex with him? He'd been fed that myth of "all men deserve sex on demand, from any woman at all" since puberty (or earlier), and when it didn't come true for him, he lashed out at women in general.

Second... you say, "Shaving off pieces of your personality to achieve the Manly Aspiration of Getting The Right Girl is a mug’s game. Nobody’s worth that whether you’re a guy or a girl (and women who feign love in all the manly things to land the right guy are equally deluded)." You are SO right about this! But, just as men are fed the myth that the Universe owes them unlimited pussy, women are fed the myth that they have to pretend to fit some imaginary feminine ideal. Makeup and "shapewear" are only part of it - when I was a young girl, my female relatives kept telling me, "Boys don't like smart girls - don't let them see how smart you are!" (I could no more hide my natural intelligence than I could hide an elephant in my book bag.)

So you're proposing the radical concept that men and women should just take each other as human beings? Hooray! :-)

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From:tapati
Date:June 14th, 2017 05:31 am (UTC)
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And I see these guys that feel they deserved women and went on shooting rampages showed no awareness that women in fact do get rejected. It's just not obvious to men because for women, getting rejected simply means not being asked out (unless, like me, they do the asking some of the time).

It may be difficult for men to appreciate what the old-fashioned standard that you waited to be asked out did to women. While it's not like a man being directly rejected when he asks, it's a silent, passive rejection where you are supposed to do all of these indirect things in the hopes that he will NOTICE, and that he feels the same way. If he wants to reject you he has to pretend to be oblivious to your hints. That doesn't mean that it isn't intensely painful when someone you were really interested in pretends not to notice your overtures. You know you've been rejected.

The inherent flaw is how do you know your hints were received? You're assuming so but what if this person is just young and not aware? It's all so passive and indirect that the odds may be against you ever getting the person you are interested in to be interested in you.

And that's on top of everything you are taught from childhood about what you have to look like, act like and be like to attract a man and how you have to be very careful of his feelings so you find ways to issue your rejection that are also indirect if you're a "nice girl." Sometimes you are so careful that the message isn't quite received. (I grew up in the '60s and it shows in my frustration.)

The whole system was a set up for miscommunication or worse. I like it that people are experimenting with other ways, like speed-dating and online dating services, to meet people and express interest in getting to know them better.

I married someone I asked out who said yes and we're together 20 years later. If men want to see more women get up their nerve to do the asking, be kind if you turn us down. :)
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From:acelightning
Date:June 14th, 2017 08:29 am (UTC)
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I grew up in the mid-1950s to early 1960s. I failed miserably at all the girly things girls were "supposed" to do (hairdos, makeup, fashion, being shallow and vapid, having no mind of my own...). I always had a couple of male friends, but they treated me like "just one of the guys". While I cultivated this, because I wanted to be taken seriously as a technician, sometimes I wished there were a little romance in my life (hey, almost everybody is clueless when they're 14 or 15). When I was 23, one of my male friends introduced me to his housemate, for the express ulterior motive of matchmaking. It worked; we just celebrated our 44th anniversary. And I'm still not girly in any way. But it's a shame it took the world so long to get even this far!
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From:tapati
Date:June 14th, 2017 09:19 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad things worked out for you!

We have come a long way from those days and I try to remember that when I get discouraged about how far we still have to go.
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From:acelightning
Date:June 15th, 2017 07:34 am (UTC)
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I still haven't figured out why it isn't blazingly obvious to everyone that WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS, and nothing other than that matters. But I look backward and see how we've gotten closer to that over time: When I was a little girl, I went looking for the restrooms in a place in South Carolina, and was appalled when I saw signs saying "Men", "Women", and "Colored". And I saw that state of affairs changed by law when I was in high school.

There is always hope!

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From:radiumhead
Date:June 12th, 2017 01:46 pm (UTC)
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I wonder about the "settling" thing all the time. And what "settle" means, exactly.
I wonder, am i settling, or have i just stopped being ridiculously picky because im older and more realistic? Im kind of over that mindset where, for instance, i could never be with a woman who doesnt like "rick & morty", etc.
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