Friday, July 26, 2013

Maybe Women Are Just Attracted To Guys Like Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner admitted on Tuesday that he had not given up his sexting hobby after his resignation from congress two years ago.

First and foremost I want to express my sympathy to Huma Abedin.   It must suck to be such an accomplished woman and be overshadowed by your spouse, not for anything he's actually done professionally, but because he sent pictures of his privates electronically to several women.  At least if you're Brett Favre's spouse, you can say he's most famous for his professional career, not his side show personal life.

I really have to wonder, how does a smart, attractive, accomplished woman end up with someone like Anthony Weiner?  I understand why she probably won't divorce him (barring any more serious allegations), being a high profile couple  and all of that.  But, guys like Weiner don't just spring the sexting out of nowhere.  There's a certain culture of behavior that goes hand in hand with something like this.  A way a guy acts that tells you he's going to be a jerk.

This situation plays itself out over and over again in various ways.  It's one of those things I've noticed.  It's not that all women like men who act like complete and utter assclowns, but rather the assclowns never seem to be hard up for dates or women clamoring to be with them (either sexually or in a committed relationship).  I can only conclude that there's something widely attractive about a guy like Anthony Weiner.  And it's not just about the sexting specifically: guys who cheat, or who are known players always leave a trail of heartbroken women in their wake.  They shouldn't, but they always do.  Weiner being the perfect example.

So I guess, what I'm asking is what is it about these type of men that women seem to find so attractive?  Why is it that women are usually repulsed by seemingly desperate or clingy men (even if these men tend to hide it) but aren't repulsed by men who cheat or sext?

I don't really want to hear that only "low quality" or "only young immature women" go after those types of men.  Because I'd use Ms. Abedin as exhibit A for why that assertion can't be true.  Ms. Abedin was a catch in every sense of the term: beautiful, smart, accomplished, and wasn't immature (she's in her 30s).  It just seems like if you want a safe and secure romantic life, you might as well become like Anthony Weiner.  Again, it's not that being a good guy will ensure a life of celibacy, but we're talking about playing the odds.  The odds are clearly not in the good guys favor.  At least from all the evidence I've seen.

On the other hand, I suppose we have just become so screwed up as a society that we have no idea how to properly handle relationships now.  Or what to really expect or look for in a romantic partner.  Maybe that's why people go for men and women who are less than admirable.

I'd like to think Ms. Abedin could do much better than Anthony Weiner.  But I'm scared that maybe men like Mr. Weiner are the "better men", and that's why she married him and is staying with him.

I really hope I'm wrong though.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hookup Culture Part II

Well, as it turns out, not everyone is keen on hookups.  The Guardian posted an article yesterday written by a woman who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania a few years ago.  It's an interesting read, and casts a critical eye on the hookup culture that was more or less celebrated in the New York Times piece.

As usual, I'm surprised.  This kind of thing is something I've really never encountered myself.  Perhaps I was out of the loop socially, or had friends who had a functioning moral compass (or, depending on your prerogative, were lame), but the scenes depicted in this article were not something I witnessed in the 5 years I went to college.  I'm not sure whether to feel like I missed out, or relieved that I didn't experience any of these shenanigans.

To clarify though: I went to a commuter school that had the campus life of a retirement home, and most of the students were looking to be big movers and shakers; internships and second and third jobs didn't really leave time for wild parties or getting smashed and having sex.  I'm willing to bet college life for me was a bit different than it was for other people.

I mean I know people who hooked up.  Well, a few people, not a lot, but a few.  A good friend of mine had a few hookups sandwiched between long term committed relationships.  He wasn't a drinker, nor did he go to many parties (if any) and the hookups took place at his house, not exactly the context Ms. Jalabi described in her article.  I'm not him, but from what he told me, these weren't all great experiences.  One girl changed her mind after they got started (but not too far), one girl was just horrible at "technique" (in his words), and another hook up permanently damaged a longtime friendship he and the girl had.

What Ms. Jalabi is describing though is a different situation.  Namely that young people, together for four years in a closed environment, often fueled by drugs and alcohol, make decisions they regret (or were never sober enough to make in the first place).  And rather than being driven by female empowerment, is actually a trend that hurts women the most.

I don't know.  I think men and women don't make good decisions when drunk or high.  And certainly a bunch of men and women don't make good decisions collectively when not sober.  So I'm not sure how to allocate blame here.  College kids aren't going to stop going to parties, and they're not going to start taking relationships seriously at 18-20 years old either (in general of course, not talking about universally).  So I don't know what to say except to encourage people to make better decisions.  Probably lowering the drinking age to 18 would help, since young people would take their drinking to bars and clubs, rather than the confines of frat houses or other private and secluded venues.  I doubt that's an acceptable solution to anyone though.

I've come to the conclusion that the "hookup culture" is here to stay.  And it's probably good for some people and bad for others.

Please, feel free to leave a comment.  What do you think of the hookup culture?  Any direct experiences?  Third party observations?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thoughts on the "Hookup Culture"

The New York Times recently published a story on the "hookup culture".  I figure I'd go ahead and lend a critical eye on the entire concept, being a guy who doesn't participate in such a culture, nor benefit from it in any way.

For those who don't know, the "hookup culture" is basically a type of relationship between people that revolves entirely (or almost entirely) around sex.  Sometimes an ongoing relationship like a friends with benefits thing, sometimes a one night stand, and sometimes sex that one party or the other hopes is actually indicative of something more.

I've always been a relationship minded guy.  The idea of sleeping with someone I wouldn't otherwise want to be around never appealed to me.  I also grew up with the understanding that the best time to look for relationships was in college.  It was in college that women appreciated men who were smart and had a good future in front of them.  Plus, you were likely to meet women who had a good deal in common with you.  Unlike high school where everyone (men and women) were largely immature, short sighted, and had no idea what they really wanted in life.  All good points I think, I can't imagine anyone thinking that any of those last points are off base.

I also come from a part of the country where people pretty much stay in the area even after graduating.  Very few people move far away.  That's probably because this is one of the few parts of the country that didn't completely die after the recession of 2008-09.  Consequently, dating in college is a lot less risky since you'll probably have no problem staying together after graduation.  This is most likely why I know quite a few people my age who are married (and contrary to the stereotype, are college educated and working professionals).

So all of that said, I have a hard time relating to people who feel like hooking up is a great alternative to messy breakups or broken hearts.  Or even a detriment to your career.  Because for the married women I know, it's not in any way a detriment.

Again, sample size and selectivity bias.

There are some things, attitudes I guess, that concern me about this whole concept though.  For one, the idea that someone could spend their 20s hooking up, and that willing, appealing partners will be around when you get to your 30s and want to "settle down".  It goes for both genders I guess, but the difference is that older men can fairly easily settle down with younger women, whereas that's not generally a trend you see with women.  Beyond that, it seems, kind of presumptuous.  What if the marriage minded men in their 30s don't want to marry women who spent their 20s hooking up?  What if those men are already married?  What if the women who spent their 20s hooking up end up getting to their 30s and all the men who are single are either divorcees or inexperienced guys (virgins perhaps?) like myself?

College is probably the only time in your life that you will be around other people of similar age, background and life goals for a prolonged period of time.  I know it might be hard trying to figure out what you want out of a relationship when you're 18 or 19, or even that the prospect of dating someone for 3 or 4 years and having to figure out how to coordinate your lives will be hard, but you know what?  Life's tough.  There's no guarantee that it's going to be any easier in 8-10 years.  And there's no guarantee that life is going to sit and wait for you to be ready.

I'm not trying to say whether you should or shouldn't go for hookups.  I'm a live and let live kind of guy.  If you want to hook up, go hook up.  But don't do it because you think relationships are too hard or you're just going to wait for them become easier.  Because they don't get easier.  They probably get harder.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chloe Angyal's Not-So-Helpful Critique of PUA

I'm not an expert at dating.  Though I suppose like Earl Weaver's failed baseball playing career, that doesn't mean I can't deliver some insights.  Especially have the background that I have.

I recently read a blog post on thoughcatalog by a woman named Chloe Angyal on the topic of picking up women.  I think she's has some points, but more or less misses a lot in her critique of Pick Up Artist Ken Hoinsky (and by extension the pickup community in general).

I'm going to quote the relevant parts and give my response.

"Don’t follow the advice of pickup artists.
Seriously, don’t. Unless you like handing over your hard-earned money to hucksters who are profiting from your totally reasonable apprehension about interacting with the opposite sex. In which case, be my guest. What’s the worst that could happen? (You could rape someone. That’s the worst that could happen)."

Well, yes.  PUAs are usually in it for the money.  And like most "self-help" books and publications (and college essays I might add) they're usually filled with mindless bullshit.  I think we can agree on that.

"Make eye contact. Listen. Nod, smile, ask and answer questions. You know, like you would in a regular conversation with a fellow human.
Be yourself. If you’re shy and nerdy, be shy and nerdy. If you’re outgoing and brash, be outgoing and brash. Very few people naturally have the instinct to insult or belittle fellow humans (pickup artists euphemistically call this “negging,” but let’s call it what it actually is), so if that’s not who you are, do not do it. And if you are one of those few people for whom “being yourself” means “insulting and belittling fellow humans,” finding someone to have sex with should not be your top priority right now."

I think there are two separate issues here.  One, is the topic of "negging".  Like going up to a gorgeous woman who says she models for a living and asking her if she models gloves or Halloween masks.  It's a backhanded compliment designed to make the other person think you're not trying to kiss their ass.  From what I've seen this doesn't really work unless a) the person thinks you're trying to be funny and insults you right back or b) they have really low self esteem and are susceptible to those kinds of tactics.

The second part, I think is totally wrong.  For shy, unsuccessful, and/or inexperienced men (like myself) talking to a girl like you would anyone else, and "being yourself" is going to get you nowhere.  Well, it might get you some acquaintances, but you won't get many (if any) dates.  If it did, this blog wouldn't exist.

"Similarly, they might be apprehensive because they, too, find it difficult and scary to talk to members of the opposite sex. Pickup artists often make women out to be all-knowing and highly discriminating sex-dispensers who reject guys for fun and entertainment. Generally speaking, we are not. On the contrary, we are shy or nerdy or outgoing or brash people, just like you, who enjoy spending time with and sometimes having sex with people we find engaging and attractive. We get nervous about talking to you, too."

Actually, I've mostly seen women describe themselves that way, especially on online forums.  Women often assert that they can tell if a guy is "desperate" or "clingy" or "awkward and inexperienced".  Like almost a sixth sense.

Women do feel nervous, however it's usually around men they are attracted to, not around men they aren't.  I have personally never interacted with a woman and got the impression she was nervous.  Disinterested?  Yes.  Nervous?  Never.  I have seen women interact with other men and knew immediately that they were nervous or shy.  So I do know the difference.

"Don’t make “getting laid” your number one priority. Women are brought up believing that men only want one thing from them, and we’re pleasantly surprised when men contradict that conventional wisdom. Be pleasantly surprising and unconventional. If you’re simply looking to get off, stay home with your porn; if you’re looking to interact with other human beings, don’t put “come inside them” at the top of your to-do list."

Well, no one should make anything a top priority.  You don't want to force things since they rarely end up well that way.  You want to be patient and relaxed in pretty much every facet of life.

But, let's be honest, women are "pleasantly surprised" when a man who they think is interested in only sex turns out to want something more.  That guy with charisma and charm, and good looks, cool hobbies (and sometimes a good job though I think that's not as important nowadays) who can get any girl to sleep with him?  That's the guy you want to be seeking something more.  Not the shy inexperienced loser who'd marry the first girl who would agree to go on a date with him.

I'm not saying women are shallow, since I'm sure men have equal proclivities towards shallowness.  However, no one wants something they can easily obtain, they want something a little more challenging.

"Stop saying the words “friend zone.” Stop believing in the existence of a “friend zone.” Stop acting as though being friends with women is some kind of hellish existence you wouldn’t have to endure if only you had game. That’s insulting as hell, and it sorts women into two categories: friends and people you fuck. You know what a girlfriend is? A really good friend who you also have sex with."

I've seen this before, and it's total bullshit.  The problem with the "friend zone" isn't that you're forced into being friends with a girl, it's that someone you have a romantic or sexual feeling towards does not want the same and likely never will.  Sometimes that person offers genuine friendship, not as a consolation prize, but out of a genuine desire to be friends.  Sometimes, however, the "friendship" is really one party using the other for favors, gifts, or a shoulder to cry on with no intention on reciprocating.  In other words, you don't want to date Frank, but you know he really likes you and would do anything for you so you ask him to help you move furniture, but when he needs you to watch his cat one night you're nowhere to be found (intentionally I might add).

People don't like having their feelings manipulated and they don't usually like spending time with someone they like romantically who doesn't share those feelings.  It's like being on a diet on going to a cake shop.

Now, maybe you've met some men that think being friends with women is the worst thing ever.  But I haven't.  Most men I know have female friends.  I have female friends.  Some good friends, some minor friends.  One thing all of my female friends have in common though is that I'm not interested in them romantically or sexually.  If I were, I wouldn't be friends with them.  It would be too difficult.  That's the essence of the friend zone.  As far as I'm aware.

"Stop saying the words 'alpha male.' Stop believing in the existence of “alpha males.” This is not the Sahara or the tundra. You are not a lion or a stag. You are not competing with other men for the right to have sex with the best women. If you act like you are, neither men nor women are going to want to hang out with you."
 I don't know.  I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.  I think there is something to the alpha vs beta vs omega stuff, though I think much of the literature surrounding it is permeated by people trying to make a quick buck (like PUAs) rather than people trying to do real research on the matter.

"But if you walk around thinking of women at stereotypes, you’re going to be a stereotype yourself — the desperate guy who can’t get laid."

I think the "desperate guy who can't get laid" is already known and stereotyped.

"Pickup artistry is attractive because it promises to protect you from rejection, in part because (allegedly) it makes you less likely to be rejected and in part because (in reality) it encourages you to view women who reject you as sluts and bitches and who wants to sleep with them anyway? But rejection is part of interacting with other humans, so you should be prepared to experience it. It hurts, but it isn’t fatal."

I disagree.  In part.

Pickup artistry exists primarily because there is a market for it.  I'm sure it would take an entire book or series of them to figure out exactly why, but it's a fact that there's a market for PUAs that didn't exist before.

From what I can tell, PUAs are attractive to primarily two types of men: a) the men who want to have sex with many different types of physically attractive women and b) shy, inexperienced, late bloomers.

Type a) men are usually older (say late 30s or 40s) who either never married or married the first woman they could get to say yes.  As a result they feel resentment that they never got to experience the so called "frat boy" lifestyle in which you could have sex with lots of women and have an existing and fulfilling sex life (according to them).

Type b) men are usually post college aged men (say age 22 or so) who have reached an age when most of their peers have girlfriends or marriages and they still have never kissed or had sex or really dated.  Being a male virgin (let alone a guy who's never kissed a girl) is a shameful thing to admit.  And honestly, not many women are interested in dating a guy who is inexperienced.  When I look on Okcupid profiles or online message boards, or even among women I know, I have rarely ever heard a woman say she would be ok dating a guy who had never seriously dated before.  This puts late bloomers in a bit of a bind.

Let me be clear: PUA is not in any way the answer to the problems that these types of guys have.  However, it is an answer, and one of the few out there, especially for inexperienced guys.  Inexperienced guys got to the place they are precisely because they are "themselves" and "talk to women like anyone else". Along comes PUA saying "here's the solution" and like bloodletting in the 18th century, people eat it up.

It's easy to say "blood letting is stupid and doesn't work", but it's not helpful to someone who has no idea of any other options, because those options don't exist yet.

So yeah, PUA is not constructive.  But neither are Disney movie imperatives to "be yourself".