Monday, October 29, 2007

The "Rules" Redux

In visiting the comments sections of number of blogs, I can't help noticing a certain pessimism among a number of the commentators who have shared their experiences in the dating scene. Some women have had bad experiences, and many have concluded that the bloggers are much too "optimistic" in their assessment of the availability of non-black dates to BW. Many sisters in particular have noted with disappointed that they have visited personals sites and noticed that many of the men whose profiles they have perused seem to make a specific point that they are interested in anything but a BW.

As an initial point, I would like to note that I have been careful not to suggest that any specific percentage of the non-BM population are interested in BW. Considering America's racial politics, I recognize that there is still a stigma attached to IRRs, and a stigma attached to dating BW in particular. As a result, I think there is still a social barrier to non-BM either seeing BW as viable dates/mates, or approaching them socially, so even when the attraction is there, it is not as likely to be acted on as other, more socially acceptable attractions.

However, I also believe, that considering the overall demographics of the U.S., that there are still more non-BM interested in BW than there are BW period, let alone BW interested in non-BM. So I still think focusing on the men who aren't interested probably isn't very constructive. As BW we should do everything in our power to defend our beauty and reputations so that our attractiveness as everything from employees to mates is improved--but if 1 woman has a pool of 100 men to choose from instead of 500 men, it isn't as if the odds are seriously against her even as things stand today.

Thus, reading these comments has made think back on my own adventures in the world of online dating and in the dating world in general. Many women, who like me, are happy, unashamed womanists who would never want a relationship based on game-playing or manipulation, will find the advice that I have culled (successfully) from tomes like "the Rules" and what sounds like the similar "He's Just Not That Into You" (which I haven't read) to be somewhat disheartening. If you find a man attractive, why not just approach him? If you want to call him, why not just call him? If you like him, why not just ask him out? Male friends and potential dates will almost always assure you that this is a wise path to take, and make it clear that they find it incredibly flattering when women do the pursuing, the calling and the asking, and take some of the undeniable burden off of their shoulders.

My only response to any of this is to note that I agree with it 100%--theoretically. I don't see any reason, on a philosophical basis, why a self-supporting adult can't ask a man out and pay for his dinner, or send him a first "wink" on a dating site. On a practical, experiential and real-world observational level, however, I can only acknowledge what I have repeatedly found to be true--when women approach and pursue men, it rarely leads to a happy relationship. Even typing these words is hard for me, because I wish they I had not found them to be true, but the reality is that I have found them to be true--again and again.

When I see sisters noting all the men on dating sites whose profiles exclude BW, I can't help but think "why do you even know what their profiles show"? I think the tried and true method for using such sites still stands: you put up a profile with a great, recent photo(s) of yourself, describe who you are and what you want in detail, and then choose your dates from the men who respond. I know many women will argue that this is passive, as if you are sitting in a tower waiting to be rescued by Prince Charming. I disagree. It is making it clear that you are available to Prince Charming, and then lets Prince Charming reveal his charm in order to win your favor. It's called courting. The question is would you rather choose from a pool of men who you find attractive, or from a pool of men who you find attractive and who also find you attractive?

That's the same reason why I've never been a big advocate of the initiating eye contact game. To me flirting starts with going out into the world looking your best with a friendly, happy demeanor. If a guy catches YOUR eye, and you're interested, you can hold his glance for an extra moment so he knows his approach wouldn't be entirely unwelcome; but searching out the cute guys at the library or museum just seems like asking for trouble. Sometimes women forget, but men can be cruel and predatory when it comes to the sexual pursuit of women.

Even the "nicest" guys can interpret even the mildest aggressive interest as desperation, which they will cheerfully exploit. Job #1 is always taking care of yourself, and that means letting him come to you, a process most men enjoy anyway. The same man who will sweet-talk the girl who does all the calling and goes dutch on dates only to dump her after the first time they have sex, will happily send flowers and pick up every check for the woman who makes it clear she likes him, but remains slightly elusive. This might smack of your grandmother's retrograde "buy the cow, milk for free" advice, but all people--male and female--tend to value what they have to work a little bit harder for.

In the end, all of us have to do what feels right for us and our personalities. A loud, blooming orchid can't be a shrinking violet, and some ladies will find this whole discussion ridiculously inapplicable to them. I always say, do it your way. But my whole purpose here is to share the benefit of my experience, both my own and what I have observed. I hope it can be of use.

69 comments:

EmergingPhoenix said...

Thanks for the incite Aimee. I think this is a great post, and great advice. I think this is applicable to every woman. There will always be exceptions.

I noticed when I was young, single, and dating like a mad woman, being more elusive to a guy definitely caused him to pursue much harder. I had my fair share of guys who just wouldn't give up.

Being in a new environment, and more eager to make connections, has allowed me to see, that a more aggressive approach definitely gets you relegated to FWB, very quickly and without mercy.

Felicia said...

Excellent new blog entry Aimee!

Lighthearted and positive as well. I've made the same observations - and have come to the same conclusions - that you have regarding the mating/courting dance that takes place between the sexes.

I think that sometimes BW - for various reasons - honestly believe that they have a different set of rules that apply to them. They need to realize that they are women FIRST and foremost and that they should have the freedom (and do) to relate to men in the same way non-black women are taught to relate to guys.

It's funny, but in my mothers generation (and certainly before) this common sense wisdom was the norm. That what she tells me. At least amongst her peers. It wasn't considered unusual, or being "white" or some other nonsense.

Anyway, to reiterate what you've already stated, it's best if they come to you. And YOU choose which man would make the fittest mate. Let them compete for your love and attention and prove themselves worthy of you. Not the other way around.

When you have your own house in order, and your confident about your worthiness and value - and you won't settle for less - the right man will see that and not let you go.

What's given away too easily is not respected and/or cherished.

Real men like a bit of a challenge. A little bit of mystery. They don't want instant access. That comes off as desperation (or worse) and it's a turn off.

Instant access - before a real relationship has been built - will lead to heartbreak in the end.

Because men respect, value, and think highly of what they have to work to get.

I know that may sound old fashioned and sexist and all, but it's certainly worked for me. I'm a happily married mom as are the majority of my female friends who have taken the same advice.

kara said...

On a practical, experiential and real-world observational level, however, I can only acknowledge what I have repeatedly found to be true--when women approach and pursue men, it rarely leads to a happy relationship. Even typing these words is hard for me, because I wish they I had not found them to be true, but the reality is that I have found them to be true--again and again.

I agree completely. I don't care how open-minded the man is, if the woman is doing the pursuing, he will "cheerfully" exploit her, at you put it so well.

This New York Times wedding announcement from last weekend is a great example of the man doing the pursuing.

Tamsen Fadal and Matt Titus

He asked her out daily. If she had other plans, he would ask to see her after. He bought her flowers and jewelry. He even showed up with an umbrella on a rainy night — and escorted her to a date with another guy.

Then he sent a text message to her: “Call me when you leave.” And she did.

In December 2004, Ms. Fadal was offered a freelance assignment at WCBS, and Mr. Titus volunteered to drive her from Philadelphia to her 3 a.m. shift. Five days a week. “She’d get out of the car, and I’d drive back to Philly,” he said. He would return to New York to pick her up at 1 p.m.


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/fashion/weddings/28Vows.html?_r=1&ref=weddings&oref=slogin

pinkydj said...

I know we want to keep it positive, but can I say how frustrated I am.

I feel like I'm the only one who's "playing the game" without a clue.

If I'm the "chaser" (which is not my personality and would be a HUGE stretch for me) I'll be perceived as desparate. If I sit on the "sidelines" waiting to be "chosen", I could be left to languish. UGH...I hate being single.

The whining out of the way, you did provide good guidance on "the dance."

pinky

Anonymous said...

Well, the women who've seen the men's profiles should be cut a little slack... when I was on True.com, I kept my "browsing" male profiles to a minimum to keep myself from becoming disheartened, but men who had "everything but black" profiles would contact me! I don't know if these guys contact everyone within a certain age range/location with the assumption that most won't be black, or what, but it happened a lot, and it was very, very annoying. My picture was up, and my ethnicity was prominently featured in my "tagline." Oh, and pinky, I'm in the same boat with the whole "look desperate or go unnoticed" thing. Right now, I'm "languishing."

Anonymous said...

Aimee,
Thanks for laying out the unvarnished truth. I wish it weren't true, but it is. As my mother used to say, "Even if you picked him, always let him think he picked you,".

Anon, I hear you about the anything but black profiles. Did you make a comment about that on another blog recently? I am suspicious of those guys also. On another forum one wm told me he did not select black on the list because he was "screening out for for lack of education."

Phoenix Sun said...

Preach, Aimee. I always feel like I'm reading a well-written social science essay when reading your blog postings.

You are absolutely right about the difference between theory and actual practice. My feminist politics inadvertently made me shoot myself in the foot time and time again when it came to men. I asked out men and all I got for my efforts were rejection. For example, suggesting a casual drink after work. I never heard from these men again. I felt humiliated and embarrassed. I finally had to do a self-evaluation and realized to my chagrin that I was being perceived as coming on too strong and desperate. However wrong these perceptions were of my character, this is how I was coming across and I stopped asking men out because I was tired of the rejection. It was emotionally painful.

I formulated a plan with the goal of men courting me. This past year I went out on dates from men who asked me out. I met my wonderful guy at Sotheby's in NYC. I felt him looking at me and I "happened" to make brief eye contact. I gave a subtle encouraging nod and when the auction was over he made his way towards me. We struck up a great conversation. I didn't go out on a date with him right away. We talked on the phone for over a month. At this time I was going out on dates with two other men that I met previously. I didn't make myself accessible 24/7. I have to thank wonderful women like you. These pro-black women blogs helped me cultivate a plan that actually worked.

Daphne said...

I appreciate your candor regarding this subject! I'm not a social butterfly, as they say, so approaching a man with interest isn't really my thing. Admittedly, I have to work on improving positive cues as it relates to reciprocation of interest, as I can be clueless, lol. At times, I'm too much in "my own head" to pick up on a man's interest in me, unless he is forthright about it.

Anyway, I recall being assertive twice - none of those ended up in a positive relationship. Well, I certainly learned my lesson from that. It may work for some women, but I've found that once you start doing the pursuing, you have to continue pursuing. Not a good look.

Nicole said...

Thanks Aimee for the breakdown of the rules. I too am clueless and often feel like Josephine from Little Women. *lol* I've always had good guy friends and consequently fail to pick up on the signs that a guy wants to be more than friends. So I always say something that makes it seem like I'm not interested when the truth is that I'm just clueless to the signs of romantic interest. Slowly but surely I'm trying to reprogram myself. With the help of your blog I hope to soon be an actively dating single woman :)

MystereDancer said...

I enjoyed reading your blogs for the down-to-earth common sense they reveal. Too many us operate in a fantasy world when it comes to dating. You've made some excellent points regarding the dating scene in the 21st century.
In terms of dating sites(general and IR), creating a good first impression is essential. Not only is having a flattering picture is a must, so is clearly stating your interests in a date. Check the spelling,grammar and sentence construction. I've read both male and female profiles, and what I've determined is that most female profiles indicate they are looking for LTR, marriage with an entire list of 'don'ts'!!! The first sounds desperate and the second equals inapproachability.
From my personal experience on the IRR, I enjoyed sending winks and flirts(because I am one:). many men responded, some didn't...I didn't let it get me down. I didn't waste time on men who did not meet the criteria on my "admirable quality" list. Ironically,Black men who wanted to date WW/AW, anything but BW, were the ones expressing the highest interest.Go figure!!

roslynholcomb said...

I think most of the women, at least the ones who've talked to me about it discover the 'anything but black profiles' when they respond to a 'wink' or inquiry from a guy. Most of them will then check his profile to see what he's about before responding. Interestingly enough, back when I did the online dating thing I never bothered to check the guy's profile. I'm sure I would have if it had occurred to me, but it never did.

Aimee said...

EmergingPhoenix said...

Being in a new environment, and more eager to make connections, has allowed me to see, that a more aggressive approach definitely gets you relegated to FWB, very quickly and without mercy.

Hey EP! You got this one figured out. Saddest of all is that most men don't even realize that they're doing this when they're doing it. I've always had male friends, and they always talk about how much they love it when women ask them out, pick up the check, are sexual aggessors. They claim they want women to be "real," which means to act like them and go for no-strings-attached "fun."

But I've seen that when women do that, not only don't men take them seriously as relationship material, they really don't even treat them as FRIENDS with benefits. They usually just plain disrespect them, without even realizing that's what they're doing, even guys who are usually of the "nice guys finish last" variety. Watching it from the outside, even when I would point it out, they would deny this dynamic was going on, even though it was clear as day, and claim it was something else about the woman that was wrong--they would usually call her "clingy," even if she seemed willing to keep on the FWB level. No matter what they say, it's clear that most men do NOT like it when women are the aggressors.

Like I said, I wish this wasn't the case, because I think some women are naturally aggressive, and some men are naturally passive, and if they could both act in accordance with their natures they would be much happier. But looking out for my sisters first, I gotta call it like I see it.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

Well, the women who've seen the men's profiles should be cut a little slack... when I was on True.com, I kept my "browsing" male profiles to a minimum to keep myself from becoming disheartened, but men who had "everything but black" profiles would contact me! I don't know if these guys contact everyone within a certain age range/location with the assumption that most won't be black, or what, but it happened a lot, and it was very, very annoying. My picture was up, and my ethnicity was prominently featured in my "tagline."

I hear you--I was thinking after I wrote my post that a woman could look through profiles just for fun to see what's out there, with no intention of initiating contact with anyone, or because guys who didn't include BW contacted them.

I guess just because I man doesn't include BW among those he's interested in seeking doesn't mean he categorically wouldn't date a BW, but I don't blame you for finding that suspicious. It's one thing not to include race at all if you just don't care, but to include everything but just seems weird. And to contact you and then say they aren't interested because you're black would SERIOUSLY piss me off!

Ruth LaMorena said...

Great post, Aimee. I really was clueless about courting until I read Surrendered Single. It is not my style to pursue any man... AND I used to watch my twin brother and his friends straight-up disrespect the women who chased them. The things they used to say about these women in front of me was outrageous.

I almost feel guilty about my posts regarding online dating. But like most of my posts, I try to make sure I am telling my experience without generalizing to all bw.

Keep up the good work!

arthur said...

Aimee;

You've described the basic male attitude very well, and I couldn't fault your advice on how to deal with men in the dating situation.

I guess that's my contribution:
"Hey everyone, what Aimee said!"

m (again) said...

I've been struggling with whether I should say something and be accused of sounding like one of those "defeatist black women" in light of all these gushing compliments.

Although I do agree with the assertion that if you start out doing the chasing, you end up doing the chasing, I also note that no one has really come up with a CONCRETE solution to what Pinky has described as "languishing".

You get the weave.
You get the teeth whitening.
You go to the image consultant to get your colors done.
You work out until you're the single digit size.
You give the "subtle eye contact" to everyone you see at Sotheby's (or Christie's, or wherever you go to get your auction on, or the polo match, or the symphony concert, so it's not like you're not "getting out there") and you smile.
YOU'RE STILL LANGUISHING.
YOU'RE STILL GETTING PASSED OVER.

What are you supposed to do ... sit there until you turn to dust????

I read "The Rules" when they first came out. I notice the authors didn't really address this either. I assumed that it was in part b/c they have a community/culture to back them up that takes partnering seriously.

I'm really hoping a Sister here can do better (and just because she's partnered doesn't back up into the smug stance of "tough luck" -- especially given the purported mission of the ring of blogs).

Suggestions?

m said...

Oh -- and happy Halloween, everyone.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

Well I can agree with Aime %100...chasing any man is a lose-lose proposition.

It has been my experience online that if you "wink"...he may find it amusing...and you may "chat" a bit...but I don't know that that is the best way to start a relationship.

No matter what the situation it is always best if the man pursues YOU!

My .02 is it seems to me...most BW I know and most on these blog circles...Halima, Aimee, C-1, Evia, etc...would be considered "exceptional" in our society.

Now when I say that...I am not saying we are "better" or that I feel "exceptional". I feel like every other BW or women of any race seraching for that right man for ME!

Yet, in terms of what the majority of American society looks like...the statistics say we are seeking a rare man indeed.

I say ...and many women I have met "in nature" :-) as well online all profess a preference for taller men. Yet the average height for an American male is 5'9 or 5'10 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Further only 15% of men are over 6 feet tall.

According to recent Census stats 27% of Americans 25 or older hold a college degree and in the BC we all know the numbers are lower overall...and lower still for AA men.

Culturally most BW I know are seeking a man who is open mineded yet our larger society is quite conservative. I would say they also are seeking a man who does not embrace racist notions about blacks, yet we live in a society where MOST people hold racist notions about blacks.

Then, most of the women I know are very cultural/art events within thier own cities...museums, galleries, theatre, etc. Now how rare is it to find a straight man interested in theatre? Certainly this is not a deal breaker, but if you've spent the last few years watching Japanese films...connecting with a man who likes films like "Beerfest", will be even harder.

And lasty for me, I am an atheist in a largely Judeo-Christian society...just to pile on more road blocks. :-)

I think women are getting frustrated because the type of man they are looking for is quite unusual. Just to being with of course men and women are very different and often do not undertsnd each other. Throw in race, education, social background, interests, religion and it just gets rougher.

I know many men say, women are asking too much of men...and have a laundry list of expectattions. I don't kow if that is true, but it is the perception of most men I meet.

I don't think I have a "laundry list"...but I will admit I am SURE there are plenty of men of good character that I have turned down because they were too short. I know
it is biological in some way...but I am just not physically attarcted to men much shorter than me...and I am 5'10.

Well as some guys say....I guess that just my loss :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree that men should chase women- it's biology. Men, just like everyone else, don't appreciate things they don't have to work for. As a woman, by delaying gratification and not being readily available you're working too- thus you both appreciate eachother when you end up together.

But I also agree with m(again) and I see her frustration:

"You get the weave.
You get the teeth whitening.
You go to the image consultant to get your colors done.
You work out until you're the single digit size.
You give the "subtle eye contact" to everyone you see at Sotheby's (or Christie's, or wherever you go to get your auction on, or the polo match, or the symphony concert, so it's not like you're not "getting out there") and you smile.
YOU'RE STILL LANGUISHING.
YOU'RE STILL GETTING PASSED OVER."

I'm tired of looking inward and trying to fix me :-) LOL! I've read all the self help books on dating and have examined and re-examined myself again and again. I've come to accept that there's nothing wrong with me. It's time for some action and results. So what can we as women do when we're stuck between languishing and chasing men down? Who has the answer to that question.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

One more thing I find curious about dating. Again, as Aimee says it's best if men approach but the "fly" in the ointment is that many men seem uncomfortable to approach....especially across racial lines. But it seems true in general.

It certainly is hard to get together.

For instance, I have male friends who complain about not being able to meet women as well. Yet, not one of them will go to a place they KNOW is packed with women...and aks one out. They just sit home moaning...they can't find a woman. men say it is hard. NY women are tough. They are too shy too approach and so on.

Some male friends...even when I say to them...go to "X" there are single girls there...they are still "scuuured"..grown men...scared of women. It's amazing. I think that often that is why men may end up with women they are not truly well matched with...becuase they will pick the "easiest" or most readily available woman for sex...then maybe she gets pregnant...and then you all know the story from there...

As men are the pursurers, women often WAIT for them. But it seems so many men in our current society say them are "confused" about what to do in appraoching women....or threatened by a group of women particularly a group of proefssional women.

I always think ...Ewwwww, Lord, when I hear that.

Take foe instance a great restaurant bar I like, Pipa.
http://www.abchome.com/Restaurant1.aspx?DeptRowId=27

Pipa is PACKED with women...20s-40s, of all races, every night. You see some men there but mostly tables of women. Rare to see a single man or group of men.

Directly around the corner is Old Town Bar. It is ususally packed with men after work. I haven't been in lately, but that is how I remember it.
http://www.oldtownbar.com/
Guys would go in groups after work and have beers. You would almost never see a single woman sitting in Old Town by herself...or groups of women in a group UNLESS they came from work with the entire office.

So I am sure some of the guys at Old Town are single...but would they walk around the corner to Pipa and sit there and have a drink instead????? Probably not.

Now of course, most guys I know would not feel connected to the old chandeliers and pink and red pillows in Pipa. But the simple question is...do you want to go where the women are....or not????

So in the end...I know a lot of sinlge men...and a lot fo single women.

But I will add...any man I know that is truly great, tall, educated, smart, outgoing...doesn't stay single for long. No matter, how shy or socially inept..they eventually find women...or the women find them.

I can't say the same about the similarily desireable women though :-(

Sandra said...

Knockoutchick, I'm surprised groups of women don't start going to Old Town Bar! I wouldn't go there alone (because of the obvious implications), but I'd go as part of a group. Odd that the women at Pipa haven't done that.

JJ said...

Yep. You're right.

Chasing men is a bad idea.

Let them come to you.

You may not like it.

But it is true.

dottie said...

I agree, I'd rather be surprised when I meet the love of my life, not going out looking for the one. Men can smell desperation. They can either A.) Use you to his advantage or B.) Not be bothered with you.

...don't want that to be me.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

Hey Sandra,

I guess most women feel like it would appear they were "chasing guys".

Also I think Old Town Bar is a beautiful piece of history..but I just don't like pubs, they always smell like pee to me :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Aimee 100%

m said...

Hmmm.

And ...

Nothing.

No suggestions, just more nodding at the post's first premise.

Disappointed, but I guess not too surprised.

Aimee said...

m (again) said...

Although I do agree with the assertion that if you start out doing the chasing, you end up doing the chasing, I also note that no one has really come up with a CONCRETE solution to what Pinky has described as "languishing" . . . What are you supposed to do ... sit there until you turn to dust???? . . . Suggestions?

Well, happy belated Halloween to you too, M.

I'm far from smug, because for much of my single life, I wasn't especially sure that I would ever meet "the one" (or ANYone, for that matter).

But I can't point to someone that I don't know and have never met and say "THIS is why YOU'RE languishing," and frankly, I'm not sure it's my place to do that on an individual level.

I can say that frankly, when I look around me at the "available" quantity of young men today, I'm not only surprised that I found someone, I'm surprised that ANY woman can. I meet too many young women who really have it all together--bright, fit, attractive, warm, accomplished--and too many young men who just plain DON'T.

I know this may sound anti-male, but I have to be honest--as my male cousin said about the young men who he kept coming across in Detroit (which he and his wife just left) "I am NOT impressed."

I meet WAY too many porn-addicted, Wii-addicted, Internet-addicted, marginally-employed drop-outs living in their parents' basements, with no ambition, no vision for their futures and nothing to offer a woman but their exceedingly high standards for women's physical appearances and their equally delicate egos.

They complain bitterly about the "golddigging" of women who suggest that they'd like to get married and be stay-at-home mothers, but find any woman with career ambitions who actually makes more money than them utterly frightening and equally repulsive.

They're often pudgy and ill-groomed, but mock and revile any woman with a larger waist and smaller breasts than Jenna Jameson.

It's odd, because I just finished reading a book about modern-day slavery of all things (called "Nobodies," by John Bowe) and the Western men he described living on the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the U.S. that is overflowing with Asian female garment and sex-workers seeking men for green-cards, was surprisingly similar to what I just described--quote "Guys who to my reckoning sometimes seemed like abject losers became heady with their newfound power" unquote.

There's a pickiness and a rage that many men seem consumed with now--call it the "Superbad Syndrome" on steroids.

What was my solution? Personally, I've always preferred older men, and that was my salvation. My husband is actually only a few years older than me, and I often joke with him that he is really way to young for me, because I usually prefer them to have at least 10+ on me. It's hard to find a man in his late 30's/early 40's whose never married, childless, straight and not hopelessly embittered, but I still found the quality in that pool higher than among younger men.

I know that's not everyone's solution, especially since we all have different "bottom lines" in terms of what we absolutely must have in a mate. But the bigger point to me is the one I made in last blog, which was not about smugness, but about PEACE. By all means look, flirt, be available. But at the end of the day, be happy that you have yourself at the end of the day. It's really all that any of us can do.
___________________________________

Actually, I just noticed your last post as I was responding to you, and my message now M would be to feel free to disregard the above, as well as my original post and any "nodding" that has bothered you. Do what you think is best, and good luck to you.

Zabeth said...

Thank God I haven’t met too many of the men Aimee described! I do realize that they are out there though.

In terms of the “Superbad Syndrome,” I agree that there are men out there with unrealistic expectations for women. I think these unrealistic expectations can be a manifestation of their fear of intimacy. I bet these men will learn their lesson when they’re pushing 40 or 50 and in a hurry to start a family or are just plain alone. Men often forget that they have a biological clock too. It doesn’t quite work like a woman’s but men do face infertility issues as they age as well. It’s nothing new, it’s just not talked about like it is for women.

An argument can be made that women are afflicted with a form of the “Superbad Syndrome” too. Many women want a “baller,” or a man “who’s the whole package,” and are unwilling to settle for a nice normal guy. These women, just like their male counterparts, have little to offer a mate themselves and are probably just as insecure and just as afraid of intimacy.

Not to make this political but, those of you who are familiar with me know that I am a conservative and do not ascribe to the left wing feminist agenda; therefore, I think the argument that feminism and the women’s movement changed the dynamic between men and women does have legs. Women now have different expectations of men and relationships and we now couple for different reasons. Women now have more independence and are more capable of achieving on their own so they don’t “need” a husband in the old time sense. This isn’t necessarilly a bad thing but it is something that men are STILL learning to adapt too.

Yan said...

Aimee,
Thanks for the post. Again and again you hit the nail on the head when it comes to describing the situation that single women are dealing with. There are just too many jerks of all races. I wish this blog had been around ten years ago.

arthur said...

Zabeth said:

... This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it is something that men are STILL learning to adapt to.


I'd agree with that, but I think women are having an even harder time adapting. For a man, the situation is pretty clear-cut; the woman is bringing in a larger chunk of the income, and has a right to expect more say in things, and more help around the house. That kind of power equation is easy for a man to understand. Maybe not like, but understand.

A young woman today faces a more complicated world. It's not just economics; women generally want families and children with a much more conscious desire than men. And men are more reluctant to become husbands than they used to be.

Feminist theory says that women should be free to enjoy sex like men, as physical fun with no other meaning.

And men have taken that at face value. How many women on these blogs have lamented men that simply walk away from a relationship when the subject of commitment is raised?

In the area of relationships, I think feminism has definitely put women at a disadvantage, and the post-feminist era is much harder for women than men.

Anonymous said...

I meet WAY too many porn-addicted, Wii-addicted, Internet-addicted, marginally-employed drop-outs living in their parents' basements, with no ambition, no vision for their futures and nothing to offer a woman but their exceedingly high standards for women's physical appearances and their equally delicate egos.

------------------------------

I agree, with you. I'm a black male who works for a diverse company. Most of the guys I work with (30,40ish)are deep into porn ... they say they can't make love to their wives or girlfriends unless they act like porn stars.

Also, the fantasy football, basketball occupies most of their time as well. lol

classical one said...

anonymous said..

"I agree, with you. I'm a black male who works for a diverse company. Most of the guys I work with (30,40ish)are deep into porn ... they say they can't make love to their wives or girlfriends unless they act like porn stars.

Also, the fantasy football, basketball occupies most of their time as well. lol"


I've noticed this allot with guys in their twenties as well. The porn and Playstation phenomenon as we call it.

Yan said...

Please let's not turn this into a feminism-bashing session. Overall feminism has been good for women. I don't blame it for the glut of commitmentphobic men running around these days. The problem is that too many men have a very non-egalitarian "Girls Gone Wild" view of women and engage in predatory dating practices. What part of a "feminist agenda" was that?
Anyway, there was just an article last month about how feminists have higher satisfaction in their relationships.
http://www.livescience.com/health/071017-feminism-romance.html
As Aimee said in a previous entry, women have to realize how important it is for a man to actually like and respect women b/c a lot of men really just don't.

arthur said...

Hi Yan, don't know if you were talking to me or Zabeth, but for my part, I was remarking back to Zabeth. Didn't intend to start a larger discussion on contentious issues, way off Aimee's topic.

Certainly the feminists' struggle for women's rights has produced many positive changes. I graduated from high school in 1960; I have seen them happen.

I'll pick this up with her later, perhaps on her own blog. Thanks for your measured words. I sense the stronger feeling behind them, and appreciate your civility.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

Aimee, I have to say we must know a lot of the same guys. ;-)

I don't know what it is...but it seems women are just more motivated these days overall than men to succeed.

I meet a lot more women of all races who seem to have far reaching goals, who are highly motivated.

Yet as for men, I know quite a few men black and white in the 40s and not doing anything much with thier lives, like boys in long pants.

The WM I know like this are fortunate to have $$$ behind them, either they had finacial success very young or family money. So they are comfortably behaving like adolescents. I mean hanging out at bars every night, picking up girls, sitting around all day watching porn..no goals, not engaged in anything enlightenening. Particularly these guys ...there is so much they could be doing and contributing to.

The BM I know like this have less $$$ so they are not "out on the scene", yet they are home watching porn, living in small boxes or unpleasant places, struggling, living paycheck to paycheck with little motivation to change that. Angry that women they say "want too much" or "think they are better". But not real motivated to do ANYTHING to make thier lives better. Just bitter, but they will shape themselves up now and again to have sex for a bit...but then let that pass. because they are not willing to do the work it takes to sustain any relationship.

Here is a link to an article, I am sure many of you read or that may have been posted before about young WW earning more than thier male counterparts in large cities now.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/fashion/23whopays.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Most of the women I know are very driven, working to get thier first or second home. Trying to start businesses and so on. Even myself, though I have the time to post long messages online som days, I still work seven days a week. There seems to be more and more young women like this than men.

Another thing, I meet soooo many WM in thier 30s or 40s who are trying NOT to work. Certainly I think this society does not promote the value of hard work or achievement of goals....and that is a big part of our problem.

As for the white guys that are trying not to work, I mean I meet a lot of white guys with the SAME dream. Many of the corporate/working guys I meet seem to be dreaming of working less hours of course, but simply getting away from thier lives, opening up a bar or small business in the Caribbean or Florida. Second theme in their dreams seems to be....the fantasy of Caribbean women...how they are so much more accomodating,loving and accepting. Maybe this is just the dissatisfaction we all feel at times working in a corporate environment. But I rarely meet someone who tells me they are happy with thier jobs..unless its the guy who owns the company :-)

If you all have the time check out this NYT article, I was blown away when I read it last year and Aimee's post brought it back to my mind.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/06/us/06marry.html

I talk to a lot of guys who are single and looking and I also have a few close male friends that have been called a*** holes by many women :-) and I watch thier behaviour. What I see is a lot of guys lamenting the new position women have...and a bit angry about feminism. They long for the days when men were more in control. They want the respect and reverance from women...yet they are not doing any of the things those old school men did to deserve the respect and reverance.

As my grandmama says "You got to pay the cost to be the boss"

Peace

Aimee said...

knockoutchick says:

Aimee, I have to say we must know a lot of the same guys. ;-) . . . I meet soooo many WM in thier 30s or 40s who are trying NOT to work. Certainly I think this society does not promote the value of hard work or achievement of goals....and that is a big part of our problem.

As for the white guys that are trying not to work, I mean I meet a lot of white guys with the SAME dream . . . getting away from thier lives, opening up a bar or small business in the Caribbean or Florida. Second theme in their dreams seems to be....the fantasy of Caribbean women...how they are so much more accomodating,loving and accepting. Maybe this is just the dissatisfaction we all feel at times working in a corporate environment. But I rarely meet someone who tells me they are happy with thier jobs..unless its the guy who owns the company :-)


Clearly, we ARE encountering the same guys. LOL! I see this fantasy all the time, especially at the embittered lawyer sites like jdunderground--now, they're all on a daytrading kick--DAYTRADING, in 2007!

It's this constant fantasizing about getting rich quick, not having to work anymore, and then finding a very young, very non-demanding greencard-dependent foreign girl (or 3) to recreate "Me So Horny 4" in their living rooms.

The crux of the fantasy seems to be not having to meet demands--from jobs, from women, from life. They seem to experience a lot of frustration that the success they thought was their birthright hasn't materialized, and that anything is being demanded of them from anyone. And a lot of self-loathing as well, which is very sad to witness.

What I see is a lot of guys lamenting the new position women have...and a bit angry about feminism. They long for the days when men were more in control. They want the respect and reverance from women...yet they are not doing any of the things those old school men did to deserve the respect and reverance.

This is where so many young men are really getting lost. They have a tremendous resentment of feminisim and "ball-busting" women, coupled with a tremendous fear of female dependency. The idea of women in the workplace, expecting them to perform OR women in the home, expecting them to provide, is incredibly intimidating. I think that's why so many have retreated into game-playing, porn, and mail-order bride-type arrangements--anything that isn't quite real, where they can exercise complete control, where everything is to their liking--but where there are no standards for THEM to meet. The world around them has changed, and they're scared, and they aren't sure how to cope.

Aimee said...

I'm a black male who works for a diverse company. Most of the guys I work with (30,40ish)are deep into porn ... they say they can't make love to their wives or girlfriends unless they act like porn stars.

Also, the fantasy football, basketball occupies most of their time as well. lol


This is EXACTLY what my cousin has described. He works in a tech field, so he assumed that had something to do with it, that maybe it attracts a certain type of young man more than other fields. The worst part is they really don't seem happy about it--it's not as if they're having these great sexual experiences as a result of all this "virtual reality." He say's they're kind of like drug addicts describing dependency--after awhile, it becomes a need, not a pleasure.

And like addicts, they start upping the ante, getting into more off the wall stuff. It makes me wonder how many of those guys who end up on "Dateline--NBC" just started out looking at something relatively innocent involving consenting adults.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

Aimee,

I know a lot of white guys also who are just burnt up because they have not received the smooth road to success they imagined.

The American economy is suffering, well paying tech jobs dwindling, things are rough.

I think it is easy to look at women and say "I don't have "X" position because of quotas or women".

On the other hand I understand that many men feel under a great deal of pressure in this changing society. Yet I see few of them willing to do the hard work it takes to deserve "the biggest piece of chicken" to reference Mr. Rock :-)

Yet when I look at all that is going on here in NYC.. I wonder what are things going to look like 30 years from know when all these people are in thier 60s and 70s???

I know we have all seen that 60 or 70 year old guy "in da club" and it is NOT cute! I wonder in the future will there now be women there as well? Because we all just can't get along. Ewwwww my Lord!

arthur said...

... I know we have all seen that 60 or 70 year old guy "in da club" ...

Please, tell me you made that up :(

Yan said...

Arthur,
No harm, no foul.

Knockoutchick,
Thanks for the links to those articles. Very interesting reading.

MystereDancer said...

Ok I'm back with some more thoughts on the subject. Aimee, girl, you got us talking!!! Is the problem related to what a woman wants and a man is willing to give AND what a man wants and a woman willing to give? To have any romantic relationship, there are two seemingly separate equations. If a woman wants love, marriage,fidelity and a man doesn't (whether he's Black White, Asian etc)then she really doesn't have much of a chance in reaching her goal. And of course this works both ways. Something, somewhere went screwy in our society in order for such disparities to exist.For some women it's not even an issue of giving the milk away for free if the bull won't come into the pasture!
Hey, I say Sistas, work on your needs, develop your spiritual, emotional and financial growth...be in position to share and not give....

Anonymous said...

Ladies, here is a great study which looks at attitudes of men toward marriage. Below is an excerpt and the link ... enjoy:)
http://marriage.rutgers.edu/
Publications/SOOU/TEXTSOOU20
04.htm

The Marrying Kind
Married Men: Background characteristics
Men who grew up with both biological parents, whose father was involved in their lives, and whose parents attended religious services regularly are more likely to be represented among the population of men who are currently married. Sixty-three percent of all marrieds were living with both of their biological parents at age fifteen, for example, compared to 55 percent of the unmarrieds. Thus the married men tend to come from more traditional family backgrounds.

Timing of marriage
A large majority (81 percent) of married men agree with the statement that "you decided to marry because it was the right time in your life to settle down." Contrary to some popular opinion, the majority of married men surveyed do not believe that they decided to marry under pressure or duress from their future wives. Only 15 percent agree with the statement "you got married sooner than you wanted because your wife was pushing for it." Of course, this finding does not tell us whether or not pressure was actually exerted. What it does suggest is that most married young men see their decision to wed as a choice and commitment they make freely and for their own reasons.

Among married men, readiness to have children does not figure prominently in their decision to marry. Only 35 percent agree that "you got married because you were ready to have children." Nonetheless, when currently married men were looking for a spouse, the majority apparently figured on having children sometime in the future. Seventy-five percent agree that in choosing a wife, they specifically looked for someone who would be a good mother.

Religious Behavior
Not surprisingly, the married men are more religiously active than the unmarrieds. Nearly half say that they go to religious services several times a month, versus less than a quarter of the unmarrieds. Compared to unmarried men, they are also significantly more likely to agree that "children should be raised in a religion" (75 percent v. 59 percent).

Satisfaction with marriage
The overwhelming majority of married men (94 percent) say that they are happier being married than being single. A large majority agree that marriage has improved their lives in two domains that are important to men: namely, sex and money. Seventy-three percent say that their sex life is better since getting married, and 68 percent say that marriage has helped them become more financially stable. Also, compared to unmarried men, married men are more optimistic about the institution itself. Less than half of married men (42 percent) agree with the statement "there are so many bad marriages today, it makes one question the value of marriage" compared to 58 percent of unmarried men.

Children
Most married men do not see children as the central purpose of marriage. In this respect, their opinion is virtually identical to unmarried men. Slightly more than two-thirds of all men disagree with the statement that "the main purpose of marriage is to have children."

However, 70 percent of married men surveyed live in households with children and, not surprisingly, they hold more child-centered attitudes than unmarried men. For example, married men are more likely to agree that "watching children grow up is life’s greatest joy" and they would feel as if they had "missed out on something important in life" if they did not have kids of their own. They are also more likely to want more than one child.

Married men are more disapproving of unwed childbearing. Less than half (47 percent) of married men agree with the view that "it’s okay for a woman to have a child on her own if she can afford it" compared to 63 percent of unmarried men. Also, they are more likely than unmarried men to say that "people should marry and not just live together if they have children" (64 percent v. 53 percent).

Anonymous said...

marrying type cont ... Discussion

What kind of men are the marrying kind? The findings of this national survey suggest that young men from more traditional backgrounds are significantly more likely to marry and to have positive views of marriage and family life than men from nontraditional backgrounds. Men who grow up with both biological parents in the household are more likely to be married than men who grow up in other kinds of family households. Conversely, among unmarried men, experiencing a nontraditional family structure in childhood is associated with greater ambivalence about marriage and greater propensity to delay marriage.4

A strong religious upbringing is another factor influencing men’s greater propensity to marry. Men who are reared by religiously observant parents and who are religiously observant themselves are more likely to be married and to have positive views of marriage and family life than men who have not had have religious upbringings and do not regularly attend religious services themselves.

Still, among all young men today, there have been a number of important changes in marrying attitudes and behavior. One such change is the delay of entry into marriage. The prime time for men to search for and marry their "soul mate" now occurs at a later point in the early adult life course, roughly during the years between ages 25 and 30. In addition to the later timing of marriage, the meaning of marriage has changed. Compared to earlier generations of men, young men today are less likely to equate marriage with becoming an adult. Nor do they regard marriage as closely connected to "building a family." Indeed, for the majority of male respondents in this survey, children are not an important reason for marriage. Thus, though marriage remains an important transitional event in men’s lives, it is increasingly disconnected from traditional notions of male adulthood or aspirations to fatherhood.

Another factor affecting men’s marrying behavior is the existence of attractive alternatives to marriage. Contemporary urban singles life provides many social outlets and sexual opportunities for unmarried males. Young men face little social disapproval of prolonged bachelorhood from their peers, parents, or employers. And in the consumer culture, men are encouraged to indulge themselves in their bachelorhood. Cohabitation is another recent factor influencing men’s propensity to marry. For some men, especially those over 30, cohabitation offers an appealing alternative to marriage as well as to bachelorhood. This is especially true for older male urbanites.5

Also, and most notably, men face few penalties for postponing marriage until older ages. Unlike peer women over thirty, they do not have to worry about a ticking biological clock. Nor do they have to obey a sociological "clock." Compared to earlier times, social pressures to marry are weak, even when young men father children out-of-wedlock. Men are more likely to time their entry into marriage according to a set of personal calculations rather than to a set of social expectations. As a huge majority of the married men in our sample stated, they decided to marry because it was "the right time in life to settle down."

Lastly, men are seeking a "soul-mate" relationship. According to a 2002 Gallup survey commissioned by the National Marriage Project, the vast majority of young men are looking for a soul mate who will fulfill their emotional, sexual, and spiritual desires and who will also share breadwinning responsibilities. More traditional aspirations – such as finding a wife who will stay home and care for children or who shares a similar religious faith or ethnic background – have receded in importance. However, as we have noted in earlier The State of Our Unions reports, the soul-mate ideal itself may contribute to the delay in marriage. Men who are searching for the perfect soul mate may be less satisfied with their real-life romantic partners. Even when they are satisfied with their current girlfriend, they may believe that they will find a "better one" out there if they just wait a bit longer. Further, a pornographic media culture may contribute to unrealistic expectations of what their future soul mate should look like. Influenced by the sexy images of young women on MTV, the Internet and on the runway in televised Victoria’s Secret specials, men may be putting off marriage to their current girlfriend in the hopes that they will eventually find a combination "soul mate/babe."

To conclude, the findings of this national survey support the view that, while there are many reasons why marriage today is being postponed, most young men are still "the marrying kind." Moreover, the men who are the best "marriage bets" are those who are more traditional in their family and religious background characteristics and in their attitudes toward marriage. However, a small but significant percentage of men might be considered poor "marriage bets." Slightly more than two out of ten unmarried men who responded to this survey hold substantially more negative attitudes about their own personal propensity to marry as well as more negative attitudes toward marriage, women and children. And they are far more likely to come from nontraditional and nonreligious backgrounds. No doubt, it is the presence of these men in the partner market that has led to the popular media stereotype of the commitmentphobic young male on the make but not on the path to marriage.

Anonymous said...

Apparently women in 1908 were going through the same dilemma

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9807E1DF1731E233A2575BC2A96F9C946997D6CF

Anonymous said...

In addition to that, the "more traditional men" the prior anon's article mentioned may be less willing, due to tradition, to date IR and more likely to believe and be averse to stereotypes of the unfeminine, overbearing BF.

Too much dating bs said...

Anonymous,
Thank you for posting the info from that study. The insights about men holding out for "something better" or just not being interested in commitment period rang all too true. To be perfectly honest, I pretty much gave up on dating for several years because of this. No flirting, no internet profiles, nada. Being alone is better and easier than trying to wade through all the dating bs.

What really ticks me off is that I feel like women aren't even allowed to articulate what they are seeking. If you mention that you are interested in marriage or an LTR a horrible taboo is broken. You are pressuring the man into something before he is ready. But it's not moving too fast for men feel entitled to sex on the third date or sooner!

I want to share my life with someone and marriage is more than "just a piece of paper" to me. I'm in my early thirties and I'm not desperate, but let's face it. There was not a surplus of commitment-minded men to begin with and the supply of them in my age range is dwindling. I'm not looking to marry the first guy who comes along nor do I want to get married 48 hours after finding "Mr. Right". But I don't want to waste my time with a guy who has no interest in the kind of future I want for myself either. That would just be a barrier to me meeting someone who does want that. But I feel like my hands are tied unless a guy volunteers information about what he's looking for.

I guess all this is just pointless ranting. I don't have any answers. I really wish I did.

Anonymous with the 1908 article. I don't need to read the article to now that the difference between then and now is that now there is a far larger percentage of women who want to marry but haven't and might not ever marry.

Aimee said...

I can't stop laughing at knockoutchick saying that "60 or 70 year old guy 'in da club is NOT cute!" and Arthur's frown at the same image. LOL!

I've always had a certain soft spot for the 70 year old in da club--it does show a certain spunk after all! But I agree, it is NOT cute, and it won't be cute if 70 year old women have to start resorting to that. Clearly, when you're 70 years old still trying to seriously hang with 20 year olds, nothing about that is cute or pleasant--it's just sad.

Even when I was 20, I found people who had nothing better to do with their time than spend every other night in a club kind of pathetic, so to have multiple decades of life experience behind you and STILL have come up with nothing better to do, brings whole new meaning to the word "pathetic."

I think we're seeing a fragmenting in our society. Relationships with family and friends are pulling apart as people focus on their narrow self-interest, and that makes maintaining romantic relationships incredibly difficult. Why not keep trading "up" to younger, tauter models year after year, until you're still in the club at age 60-70?

There's no community around you to support the establishment and continuance of your initial relationship, no internal compass other than what you want to guide you for the short term in seeking out a companion. I think we are going to see more people dying alone, just as we are seeing more people living alone.

roslynholcomb said...

Interestingly enough, Rabbi Boteach, and Orthodox Jew, has written several articles on this same phenomenon.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1177251160825

http://www.shmuley.com/articles.php?id=250

pinkydj said...

Big *cyber hug* to Roslyn for those two articles. You have NO idea how helpful they were for me.



pinky

Anonymous said...

It's amazing ... Google, "husband addicted to porn" and you'll see countless web pages and stories of women devastated by their man's predilection for porn.

As a man I certainly understand how men become ensnared by this insidious vice. My advice to you ladies is to confront your men and ask them to be the strong men you know them to be and break the bondage this vice has on them.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

Hey Ros....

Just read your articles...whew my Lord!!! Thx

Aimee and Arthur,
You all know you've seen the 70 year old guy "in da club" doing the "funky chicken" in a matching three piece suit and hat :-)

And Aimee you are spot on...not to just call out the men. I am seeing older and older women out too...as you said we are a truly fragmented society.

I think we can also see Western society and Eurocentric society will diminsh in coming years and evolve into something quite different...as we know there will be fewer and fewer both black and white Americans in this country, as well we see the rapidly dropping numbers of births among "white" Europeans.

All the above being true, I can say I still find great guys to talk to and hang out with. It's just not easy.

Sandra said...

Roslyn, I read the articles by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and I also thank you for referring them. They are "must reads". So much wisdom.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

It's amazing ... Google, "husband addicted to porn" and you'll see countless web pages and stories of women devastated by their man's predilection for porn.

I think many women have no idea how serious a problem this can be. I've seen Rabbi Shmuley speak on this and other issues (thanks for posting the links Roslyn!), and Pamela Paul's book "Pornified," (which I include in my profile) discusses it in depth as well. The Internet has really produced a serious explosion in porn addiction among a certain segment of the population, and women do have to take some responsibility for enabling it.

I'm not making a moral judgment of pornography users, but too many women are so eager to be the cool, non-P.C., "hot chick" that they go along with their men seeing women generally, and eventually seeing them, in a very degraded, objectified light. Often, what ends up happening is that their men have no use for living breathing human women at all. They retreat entirely into the world of fantasy. And since, as I noted before, human beings need each other, that's when you witness the human personality really being to disintegrate.

Westerners have confused sexual liberation with the idea that commodifying the bodies of themselves and others = "freedom." Many people are surprised to learn that a number of the key figures in the sex industry are laissez-faire conservatives, but I'm not--they profit nicely from the idea that sex is something filthy and dirty to keep hidden and separate from people you actually care about, and from the idea that the human body is just another "thing" to trade on the "free market." As Rabbi Shmuley points out it, it makes an orgasm just another "product" that men purchase and other men market, rather than an experience that two people share.

roslynholcomb said...

This is the first article I read by Rabbi Boteach his comment that many males today are barely heterosexual really rang true with me.

http://www.shmuley.com/articles.php?id=265

Anonymous said...

Um... so what do we do about it?

Anonymous said...

As I started reading through this (a week ago), through the first few paragraphs I was wondering "where's she going with this?"...

And in the fourth paragraph, I thought I had it figured out.

And I agreed.

As in "...and take some of the undeniable burden off of their shoulders".

The key word being some.

As a man, if I want to have a fighting chance of finding and keeping a wonderful woman in my life... where the relationship unfolds naturally, and goes the distance... it's obvious that I have to initiate to some degree, and be proactive, and show interest. It's built into some differences between how men and women think, and built into our culture. If I don't make the first move, I at least have to make the second and third.

In my idea of a perfect relationship, this 'burden' settles out somewhere around 55/45.

Something interesting... if you take 55 and divide it by 45... common sense does NOT apply... it is NOT skewed just 5 percent... a man would 'initiate' 22% more than a woman. The bottom line is I appreciate and desire a woman who knows what she wants, and strives to get it, and I feel we, as a couple, are more of a force to be reckoned with if both do a share of the initiation.

Now, if you bump the difference in those percentage up one point at a time until the split is 67/33... again, common sense does not apply... it would seem as if the relationship has gotten more skewed by only 12%... but this is not true at all... in that case, the man would initiate twice as much as the woman.

My left brain popped open Excel and did a quick spreadsheet to calculate all that stuff in about twenty seconds... and my right brain said "uh-huh", and saw in the numbers the same thing I've seen over and over through my life. And that is that as the balance of initiation slides away from 50/50, it gets "out of balance" A LOT quicker than you would think.

I appreciate that "being a man" means I need to have opinions about things, and I need to go after what I want... but I also think that's a quality that is sexy in a woman.

I've seen relationships that are out of balance both ways... where women have pulled their man around like he's on a leash, and where women have subverted all their dreams and desires to the preferences of their man. In both cases, an instant and uncontrollable thought goes through my head something like "that's just sad".

And in my 7 1/2 year marriage (before "the rules" was written), my ex played by those manipulative rules, and played both sides of the street... expecting the benefits of her man initiating, but constantly playing a passive-aggressive battle for "real" control.

So what do I think of "The Rules"? I know it works. But I think it's crap. In my mind, the perfect relationship is pretty darn close to a balance of power. Both a man and the woman have input and effort, and hopefully toward the same goals and dreams.

I know gender roles are what they are... and I've had to pass up more than a few chances at relationships because of it. I wouldn't mind at all being the husband of the first female President. And even if my wife was President of the United States, we would both "wear the pants", figuratively.

So........ I respectfully disagree. "The Rules" is a book of passive-agressive manipulation and unnecessary intrigue. There are many points made where I say "yeah, that's true"... but I disagree with the subtly implied suggested use of that knowledge, i.e. one person trying to control another.

To look at this from a perspective I heard once from a very cynical person... they said that the person who cares less in a relationship is in control. Since I heard that, I've observed it over and over and over again through the years... and it's true. HOWEVER... it's a pretty sad relationship when a person plays these games just to get the upper hand. And all too common.

To repeat a few sentences as to end on a postive note -- In my mind, the perfect relationship is pretty darn close to a balance of power. Both a man and the woman have input and effort, and hopefully toward the same goals and dreams.

And it may take me a while, but I'll wait until I find it.

D

Let Love Rule said...

To D,

I think each couple must define the nature of the relationship for themselves. The balance of power in what ever areas must in essence be negotiated.

To Aimee,

This whole discussion on porn is interesting and I really appreciate that article by the Rabbi.

I just wanted to add that a large proportion of porn is actually purchased by women for THEIR enjoyment and women also comprise a significant number of producers.

Anonymous said...

Hey, LLR...

I was actually thinking that as I wrote my post... I tried to figure out how to fit it in, but would have had to re-write the whole thing to make it flow.

Maybe it's coincidence, or a Pisces "pre-cog" moment, but I actually guessed somebody was going to say what you said in response : )

My parents' relationship is a perfect example... not very close to 50/50... but they have decided what works for them... and obviously it's been working for 40 years, so who am I to second guess.

D

arthur said...

.. his comment that many males today are barely heterosexual really rang true with me..

I read the article and his points are well taken.

And I'm not sure where this came from. I grew up in a time when women were respected; men carried things and held doors and all of that.

Then societies' rules changed, and it became Ok to let a woman fend for herself in all kinds of ways, to help promote equality. Fair enough, but how does that turn into out-and-out misogyny? Why are so many young men not interested in being 'masculine', for lack of a better word?

Anonymous said...

Arthur said...
"...Why are so many young men not interested in being 'masculine', for lack of a better word?"

http://www.newsweek.com/id/47522

To take the conventional wisdom of the last 30-something years at face value, masculinity is bad. And "men" are suffering as a result.

Anonymous said...

knockoutchick says:

Wow...good articles.

I'll submit another!

I think this article about high achieving girls sets up one of the last articles I posted about young women now earning more than thier male counterparts in large urban cities.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/education/01girls.html?pagewanted=1

When you read these articles about middle class girls pushed towards some idea of "perfection"....it makes you wonder who will these girls seek as partners? As we see in the BC male college enrollment numbers are continuing to drop.

We are seeing growing dissatisfaction among both men and women in regards to relationships.

Yan said...

Anonymous 11/6/07 9:52pm

I don't think this is about game-playing and not having equality in the relationship. This is only about initiating the relationship, not about being a "surrendered wife" or girlfriend after the relationship begins. We can talk about equality and reciprocity and a host of other lofty ideals but that doesn't change the fact that the woman who initiates contact, pursues, or otherwise shows she is the more interested party at the beginning is more likely than not to end up with the short end of the stick. Dating is brutal.

Anonymous said...

yan said...
"...the woman who initiates contact, pursues, or otherwise shows she is the more interested party at the beginning is more likely than not to end up with the short end of the stick."


That is what I call a blanket statement. And blanket statements are almost always (in my opinion) too blanket-ish, and allow for no exceptions, and close (or appear to close) doors which should not be closed.

I'll admit straight up that a larger part of the burden of getting the ball rolling falls on men, for various reasons... but to take your post at face value... as if almost ANY initiation of contact, pursuit, or showing of interest automatically leads to bad results -- in order to not do those things, a woman would have to play "hard to get", as most people describe it... which many women do...

I know there are many macho guys out there who aggressively pursue women they find attractive, and when they "get a bite", they buy flowers and pay for every date.

If this goes too far, though, I think it shows the flip side of Aimee's coin, that I've observed more than a few times... five years into a relationship with that aggressive up front kind of guy, the romance is dead for the most part (well, a little bit now and then for show)... and they're cheating with a blonde or plastic bimbo.

For anyone, guy or girl... if you don't directly advocate for what you want, if you really do want to get it, you have to indirectly advocate for it. There are no free lunches. "Old school" gender rules mean that women have to do a lot of indirect things to get what they want, and men are more direct. Some people see that as a game, some don't.

I'll agree that the old school rules are still predominant when it comes to flirting and dating... the sixties didn't sway the average very much.

BUT I think... it's possible to play the games on an equal or pretty close to equal footing, between two people who want it that way.

I think there's things you have to be careful about when two people play by the old school rules, and things to watch out for when playing by equality rules...

First of all, I'm not advocating that a woman must carry the burden of initiation... I think that swings things too far the other way (which does happen), and I don't like those results, either.

Second of all... for those of you who want to play by the old school rules and let the guy do most of the work up front... not my cup 'o tea, but it's good for you to know your preference.

There's a couple of things that are necessary when looking for a relationship using an 'equal' approach to flirting and dating. First, a person must have good personal boundaries, and must be able to detect good personal boundaries in a prospective date. You must be able to hear no, and say no, and tell if the other person can hear no, and say no. As for saying yes... the best relationships are built like a pyramid... solid at the bottom based on a foundation of friendship, trust, and mutual attraction... and that something like a proposal of marriage has to be built on top of that solid foundation. Since I've had a preference for this equality through my dating life... I've also noticed that I seem to run into the best dating chances when I'm not looking. At a train station, at school, and in a spirituality blog are the three situations in my life that have led to almost forever. This approach works the best if I'm curious and open in everyday life... talking to strangers... but not expecting a certain outcome... what will be, will be. If something is meant to happen, it will happen. If I'm attracted to her, and she's attracted to me... we'll end up in a fairly deep conversation in ten minutes, starting with a comment like "nice shoes", or locked eyes for three seconds.

Now there's one thing I agree with most of the comments above... what is earned is most appreciated. I think this concept can easily be taken too far... but, for example, I don't tell a girl I like her, until I've decided I like at least something about her.

If a woman is consciously thinking about not showing too much interest, I can tell... and since I appreciate a more equal back and forth right from the beginning, I'll walk away. Probably the biggest reason is I can't tell what she's really like if she's only reacting cautiously to me.

I think there's a misconception that a girl can't keep the pace slow if she shows interest, or that gives all the power to a guy. If a girl remembers that no always means no (and makes that clear to a guy), and that she can control how much she opens the gate, and she can tell how a guy reacts to what limits she does set... and that she retains the freedom to make her own decisions, and to only let someone fully into her world after she's decided they're going in the same direction...

Yan implied if you're too proactive as a woman, you'll get the short end of the stick... but I think that if you know what you're doing, and know where to draw the lines, that the opposite is true. Sure, you'll have to kiss a few frogs before you find me... but it's the same your way, too ;-)

D

Yan said...

D,
I talked about this with a friend of mine who is very open-minded and has egalitarian ideals. He admitted that looking back he has also relegated women who initiated things with him to the fb category because, "it's hard to say no when a women approaches you, even if you don't like her." He then added that he still thinks women should approach men and it would not have had a negative impact if any of the women he really liked had approached him first. That was exactly my point, the women that he liked never had to make the first move because he'd already decided he liked them first and made the approach. If you have to make him notice you, he (probably)just ain't that into you.

D, perhaps what you say is correct, for some women and for some men. It's just not the way for me. As Aimee said, "The question is would you rather choose from a pool of men who you find attractive, or from a pool of men who you find attractive and who also find you attractive?"

Anonymous said...

Hey, Yan ~

IMHO, the facts/realities, and how we respond to them, are two different things.

For me, the response of the old school rules is more skewed than the reality, for someone who can read between the lines.

With that said, playing on a more level playing field takes a different set of skills than playing within the old school rules.

The first thing is that both sides have to figure out ways to figure out if they REALLY like each other... but in my experience, between two people comfortable with themselves, who are open and honest... if there's mutual attraction, it's more than a spark, it's a damn bonfire, and no mystery. (Or for the very cautious, it's good enough not to say no when you usually would.)

At that point, the biggest concern is slowing things down because both she and he want to go too far, too fast. In this case, taking time (and mutually admitting it) is a good thing.

But truly mutual experiences like that don't happen unless both a man and woman are invested at pretty close to the same level. And I'd like to think that MUTUAL love at first sight (I wouldn't call it that at first, but that's okay in hindsight) might be in the cards for me because... it would be a hell of a story for the grandkids. But more important, it would be a hell of a story for US. For she and I.

But it's also possible for a very deep love to grow more slowly. Abigail and John Adams are a great example.

It's possible to interact with somebody... and/or to allow them to interact with you... but at the same time not letting them too far into your personal space. If you don't know them enough to let them in, then don't let them in. Or if you initially like them, but change your mind, just politely excuse yourself or quit holding up your end of the conversation, or ask them to stop calling. So that's the second skill required for level playing-field flirting and dating... still being able to draw boundaries, and decide who you want in your life, and who you don't, and to make that stick, even if you're more open in your interactions.

In other words, just because you smile at a guy doesn't mean you have to kiss him. Each step is it's own decision, and you can say no any time. And the same goes for a guy.

The thing with the traditional approach placing so much weight on the initiative of the guy is that the "players" are the guys who are making 60% of that initial first and second and third effort. The regular guys, having been rejected quite a bit and not liking it, pick their battles... so making a mutual connection is much more of an accident. It's great that you all want to hold out for the confident starting quarterback who's not a player, and who only has eyes for you. But the real result of that is that the ladies' men make the rounds, and whether they're successful or not, it further raises your guard... and the decent, good looking guy who tries to start a conversation (that dies slowly because you don't want to show too much interest) ends up in a relationship three months from now with another girl who's sick of waiting and lowers her standards, and it's not the right relationship for either of them.

In my mind, it's not a big surprise that such a large percentage of relationships don't last the distance... there's so many roadblocks to men and women finding out who each other REALLY are.

Your/Aimee's "would you rather choose from a pool of men..." thing reminds me of something -- there have been a few times where I felt compelled to explain how this "it's a man's job to make the first move" thing works to another guy... and that rejection is part of the game (she wasn't the right one anyway), and "you gotta just keep on trying until the right fish bites". I've told them it might seem like the guy "has the power" because he's making the first move... but in reality, women reject a fairly high percentage of first moves, and initiate most breakups, so women have more power than men in choosing relationships.

But for me, personally... I'm waiting for a woman who can draw boundaries and take things slow by choice instead of pretending to be less interested than she is. If she and I can have that level of honesty right from the beginning, I see the relationship and both of us going farther and higher than if we played the standard game.

: )

D

Yan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clarice said...

m (again) said...

"You get the weave.
You get the teeth whitening.
You go to the image consultant to get your colors done.
You work out until you're the single digit size.
You give the "subtle eye contact" to everyone you see at Sotheby's (or Christie's, or wherever you go to get your auction on, or the polo match, or the symphony concert, so it's not like you're not "getting out there") and you smile.
YOU'RE STILL LANGUISHING.
YOU'RE STILL GETTING PASSED OVER.

What are you supposed to do ... sit there until you turn to dust????

I read "The Rules" when they first came out. I notice the authors didn't really address this either. I assumed that it was in part b/c they have a community/culture to back them up that takes partnering seriously.

I'm really hoping a Sister here can do better (and just because she's partnered doesn't back up into the smug stance of "tough luck" -- especially given the purported mission of the ring of blogs).

Suggestions?"

Whew! That was exhausting and that is from just reading it! As for suggestions - for what it is worth - RELAX! Breathe - exhale. Doing all of the above and more if the maintenance required is included is exhausting. It also smacks of anxiety, stress and tension. Do anything that makes you feel good and enhances who you are and how you feel from the inside out.

1) However pay attention to how you feel when it is all said and done

If you do not feel calm, centered, relaxed i.e. happy and comfortable in your own skin with yourself and your uniqueness then it will come off as desperate - trying too hard, anxious, eager to please and men will pick upon that never mind the message you are trying to send which will only frustrate you further. If you are doing something and not enjoying it ask yourself why am I doing it if it is not making me happy?

As far as languishing -

2) Think of it as time to do things that interest you. Languishing implies - waiting for something to happen - waiting until something happens. Frankly waiting is boring and going on the prowl is not my style - so what is a girl to do - anything and everything that interests her.


Photography, writing, rollerblading - auto repair - just get out there and get busy being your happy - enjoying life self. After putting in all that work above show it off, celebrate it. If people see you having fun, absorbed in something and fully engaged - they are going to want to join in and know more about it. People are inherently curious if not downright nosey. Besides staying busy keeps your mind from jumping to silly conclusions and keeps you from doing something you'll regret once you think about it. Busy keeps you from over thinking and keeps frustration from setting in and setting up housekeeping.

3) Once you've done serious self analysis and made peace with who and what you are and where you are let it go. Know yourself and what works for you and work it to the max.


No one is perfect - however there is nothing wrong w. who you are if you are not self destructive or harmful to others or totally self absorbed and so conclude that you are who you are your doing what you can where you which means there is nothing wrong with that and roll out. There is nothing to fix - stop tampering w. the mix. Perfection is not about an absence of flaws - but a harmonious blend of light and dark - good and not so good working together in a fully functioning whole.


4) Once you have done all you can to be your best inside and out and accept yourself and know what you want and do not want i.e. what works for you - Do something else other than think about men, women and relationships. Let go and let the energy that has been put in motion work think of it as letting go and letting (Divine Intervention, Karma) it work

It can drive a person nuts if you think about it too much. Grab your to do list and get on the Arsenio Hall show and get busy!


Oft times when the focus of attention is shifted a good idea or a comes along because you were open to it and focused on something else. Like when I write I have to walk away do something else and often a solution will pop in to my head while I am doing something else unrelated.

There you have it for what it is worth 4 suggestions.

V/r


Clarice

Gigi said...

I know this is an old post but if I'm reading this, other women are too :-)

Courtship is not the only way that leads to commitment, but it is the easiest and most enjoyable way.

When you have a boyfriend who is attracted enough to have taken the initiative and regularly asking you out over the months, dating is fun, you feel relaxed and cherished and you have an easy time being a good girlfriend.

Men enjoy being asked out because it is easy and flattering, but what men enjoy and what works with men are not always the same thing.

"If I'm the "chaser" (which is not my personality and would be a HUGE stretch for me) I'll be perceived as desparate. If I sit on the "sidelines" waiting to be "chosen", I could be left to languish. UGH...I hate being single."

I understand it is frustrating, and I too have felt frustrated, but all you can do is be patient, try to look your best, go where men are and enjoy your single life.

If there are things in your appearance you feel insecure about that you can fix, fix them. Accept your other quirks. Make sure your body language is open, elegant and soft.

Go where men are, not in backyards or barbershops, but have a few drinks with your male colleages and one of two female ones at the bars the guys frequent. If you have male relatives or friends that are in good circles, visit them on their birthdays, go to a sport event with them. Most people get asked out by friends of friends, not strangers. Go to a variety of places and repeat the good ones.

Date online, and try out a variety of sites for a month or two each. Men there are single, plentyful and looking for women to date.

Do all the things you want to do that you may not have much time for when you are married. Read, travel, take dance class, sewing class, karate class. Experiment with interests. Be happy. It is fun to be happy and it is attractive too.

"1) However pay attention to how you feel when it is all said and done

If you do not feel calm, centered, relaxed i.e. happy and comfortable in your own skin with yourself and your uniqueness then it will come off as desperate

2) Think of it as time to do things that interest you. Languishing implies - waiting for something to happen - waiting until something happens. Frankly waiting is boring and going on the prowl is not my style - so what is a girl to do - anything and everything that interests her.

3) Once you've done serious self analysis and made peace with who and what you are and where you are let it go. Know yourself and what works for you and work it to the max.

4) Once you have done all you can to be your best inside and out and accept yourself and know what you want and do not want i.e. what works for you - Do something else other than think about men, women and relationships. Let go and let the energy that has been put in motion work think of it as letting go and letting (Divine Intervention, Karma) it work"

This. All of this.

Gigi said...



Let a man be a man and take the initiative; all of it in the beginning, most of it later on.

Accept dates from men who you are happy to spend a few hours with. Don't worry if he is the One until you have met him and dated for a while.

Reject guys that talk about sex before meeting or who push for it in the first few dates. Any mention of drugs, crime or cheating means exit. Don't decline first dates because a guy is a bit short, spells imperfectly, has a bald spot, an ugly car or glasses. You may not mind after a first date and the guy can grow on you.

Remember that you are under no obligation to kiss a guy on a first date. If you are not attracted after 3 dates, a guy is not the one for you.

If you want to be asked out again, accept invitations with enthusiasm and show how much you enjoyed the date. A good man wants to make you happy, show him that he can.

If you have been asked out regularly for a few weeks and you like a guy, it is okay to occasionally send an email or tell him you would like to see a film or walk in nature.

After a few months of dating it is perfectly fine to ask him for dinner when you plan to cook something nice, or ask him to look at your broken computer or come take the big spider out of your shed. If a guy has been taking out out for a while, he obviously likes you and a it of initiative from your side would not lessen that.

Look for a guy's character. Is he basically a good person? Does he do his best to make something of his life? Do you honestly admire him? What values do the two of you share?

The time to have sex is when you have received what you will feel you need after sex has taken place. Have you had romantic dates whose memory you can cherish? Do you feel loved and secure? Do you have the commitment you want? Have you met people who are important to him? All these things contribute to you feeling secure and respected in the morning and not going crazy if it takes him a while to call afterwards.