DSR701.

Online dating plus a heaping dose of real life.

The Bogeyman’s Little Sister: Faux Outrage About Online Dating, And Finding The Fairy Tale’s Real Dark Side

Recall our pop quiz from the first entry in this series:

Question: now that you can see how women are already negging you in various ways, why do they whip themselves into fake moral outrage when guys use negging as well?

You’ve come up with your answer to the pop quiz above?

Great. Here’s how the story fits:

As the story illustrates, she was obviously an unusually attracive-looking woman. There is no doubt that — at least as a matter of self-defense — she knew every tactic in the Little Black Book of Girl Game that every young woman is taught by her mother, her peers and society.

How could she accuse me of being some kind of Internet Pickup Artist when she was the one wielding the bizarre PUA terminology? I was somewhat surprised that she even knew the word, much less that she would describe mild teasing as the evil Bogeyman’s tactic of “negging”.

An innocent woman is subjected to pitiless harangue until her spirits are broken and her will is utterly usurped. She follows him to his dark chambers and falls, helpless, defeated and somehow voluntarily nude, into his bed. There, the Evil Negger ravishes and defiles her as such craven modern incarnations of the Bogeymen are wont to do.

Come to think of it, the ridiculousness of being “outraged” over negging makes for a fairly decent politically incorrect joke.

It’s A Woman’s Game, After All

This points up two issues:

Do Unto Others…

Many women will react in completely inappropriate ways to anything that resembles a tactic she would have used (and probably still will use) against you.

At least some of the time, she’s probably using her Girl Game tactics far below conscious awareness. As with riding a bicycle, once you learn, it no longer feels like a “skill”. It’s just something you do.

This means that she may have no idea that she is applying any significant amount of social skill at all. It also explains why the idea of learning how Girl Game works strikes so many women as appalling. You’re taking the most effective social weaponry from her arsenal and using those weapons “against” her (to create attraction, of course).

In a sense, it’s like telling a great story with a humorous ending that inverts everything you believed at the beginning — and makes you laugh at the cleverness of the tale. If you can anticipate the ending, it ruins the joke and makes the plot feel contrived and mechanical.

It All Felt So Natural…

Women love being properly seduced (see: every romance novel and romantic comedy ever written), but if she feels like you’re “doing a seduction thingy” to her, she’ll get creeped out and run away.

The “creepy” reaction is at least in part a recognition of how choreographed the entire mating dance really is, and partly because she sees a reflection of her own manipulative behavior that would paint her in a bad light if she were to consciously acknowledge it. Instead, if the gears and spokes are in any way exposed, she blames you.

the true dark side of negging

What is negging, then?

Negging is nothing more than teasing a woman in a flirtatious (read: playfully sexual and innocently provocative) way. Some guys seem to believe that negging is more than just teasing in a sensual context. Some use negging as a form of bullying, as if they’ll somehow induce a kind of Stockholm Syndrome in a woman where she’ll thank him for emotionally abusing her.

He’s Probably More An Idiot Than a Psychopath

This type of bullying, I can only imagine, is largely because many men are awkward, believe that beauty is power (therefore he has to hide his weakness under false bravado), and have rarely if ever had a comfortably sexy interaction with an attractive-looking woman.

A guy may unintentionally find that a pretty woman became attracted to him — after they started out as “just friends”, and he teased her in a way similar to poking fun at his bratty little sister.

Oops! He accidentally “negged” her. Now she wants him and he has no idea why, or what to do next.

If a guy either doesn’t have female sibs or has never been real friends with cute girls, he most likely cannot fathom that women are just ordinary people underneath all the pretenses of gender. After stumbling upon The Little Black Book of Girl Game (translated for men), he’ll likely become a bit fixated on playing “catch-up” with all the tricks and tactics that girls have been learning since puberty.

The final part in this series will go deeper into the dark side of negging and come out the other side: how to attract someone who isn’t damaged and won’t try to damage you, either.

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Body Size Matters In Online Dating: Level Up Now Or Regret It Later

A possible missed opportunity with a picture-perfect online dater (“Dater X”) gave me reason to ponder for a bit.

Could it have been a good match?
Did I miss out on a rare chance with a really compatible person?

We exchanged email addresses and parted ways in a sort of not-really-mad-at-each-you manner. Dater X even emailed me a few months ago — although I suspect it was a virus hijacking the address to message anyone in the Contacts list.

(Side note: if someone you barely know emails you “hey, what’s been happening” or the like, don’t open up with your life story. Challenge the message by asking the sender to tell you something that only he or she could know by memory; otherwise, you risk getting phished, hacked, or worse.)

Why didn’t I say “yes” when Dater X was practically pleading to meet with me?

There were a couple of reasons.

Reason Number One: The Tailspin

The first is typical: Dater X’s life was in a tailspin. Drinking in the morning, hooking up with random guys, and even letting vegetables rot in the fridge. Not a pretty picture.

Most online daters don’t really have their lives together. That’s why they’re on a dating site instead of meeting new people in the real world. From “young, upwardly mobile” workaholics with zero social skills to “pop culture junkies” babysitting their TVs every weekend, online dating is undoubtedly the junkyard of the sex-and-relationships world.

Dater X was an example of an unusually attractive person with enough problems to raise red flags about what deeper issues lurked in the background.

Reason Number Two: Size Matters

The second reason: Dater X was overweight, and spoke about how much of a chore going to the gym had become.

In the past, I might have brushed off a few extra pounds and said it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, if it’s just a random hookup and I have too much time on my hands, I probably still wouldn’t say no. The problem is that this is online dating. There are thousands of online daters who fit the “person with issues” definition in Reason Number One. If your life is empty to the point that hookups are a worthwhile form of entertainment and online dating connects you with prospects, it’s not hard to find someone suitable for nearly anonymous sex.

If you’re using online dating because you want to waste less time finding a compatible partner, then you’ll save yourself hours of wasted first dates by being more selective (not “picky”) and straightforward upfront. If you’re a gold-digger, have a minimum salary or net worth requirement. If you love geeks, make it clear that you don’t want jocked-up “bros” filling your inbox.

Here’s an easily overlooked point that requires a little bit of foresight: whatever shape a person is in now, imagine them after the middle-aged “sprawl” when the average person has gained ten to twenty pounds (or more).

If Dater XYZ is…

…supermodel-skinny now? Then he or she will probably be slender later.

…toned and lean now? Probably will look five to ten years younger than his or her peers in middle age.

…athletic and/or muscular now? Probably will look fit, healthy and sexy for life.

…slim but not fit now? Probably average-sized and out of shape in middle age.

…chubby but not obese now? Borderline obese later.

…unhealthily overweight now? Obese and suffering later.

Essentially, above, you see a scale upon which you can rate your online dating prospects (and yourself). You can validate this yourself by looking at young people on the dating site, then searching for older people with otherwise similar criteria aside from their age.

Individuals do vary. Women tend to gain weight after having children; both genders tend to gain weight if they buy into the falsehood that you’re “supposed to” be overweight and do little more than sit on the couch beyond a certain age.

Look Harder

What does your potential mate look like now? Learn to see what their selfies try to hide (the second chin, the entire abdomen, etc.), and actually ask what they think about their bodies and their perspective on health. Never fall for the claim that someone is “trying hard to lose weight, and starting to see progress”. Choose someone who is already fit — and note how few people make it to that point.

You’re not looking for a perpetual dieter or someone who’s constantly mystified that the bathroom scale always adds ten more pounds? Then use the guidelines above every time you find someone new online. You’ll thank yourself for avoiding health-related relationship problems later.

There are few things less pleasant than trying to warp your mind to approve of your partner’s rationalizations and excuses for remaining overweight. Don’t try to change, improve, motivate or encourage someone who’s “almost perfect”. All you’ll end up doing is pushing someone to do something that, if it was really a top priority, they would do it themselves. At best, you’ll end up in a co-dependent relationship with someone who credits you for their success — and takes no responsibility for their failures (usually pointing the finger of blame at you instead).

You may mesh better with someone who isn’t your exact clone or “100% match”; in this instance, you’re guaranteed a most pleasant surprise if you find a person who shares your perspective and lifestyle from the outset.

“Ew… you’re not a negger, are you?” What to do when someone accuses you of ‘negging’ her on a dating site — and how to tell when she’s negging you.

If you’re a guy, you almost certainly have dealt the “hot/cold” game from women.

She’s attracted to you in one moment, then suddenly disinterested in the next.

Within that game, she may slide from “keenly interested” to “maybe interested” before (temporarily) freezing you out completely. That calculated ambivalent “in-between” period is when her version of negging begins.

Are You Weird?

For example, she may say that she’s not sure if you’re “weird” or “normal”.

The average woman’s worst fear is to be anything but socially flawless at all times. A “weird” person is one idiosyncracy away from being a social reject, also known as a “loner” or “creepy”. Her status as a woman in her social group is always at stake; she’ll likely assume that her worst social phobia must be yours, too. The word “weird” accordingly has a tinge of social control (“if you’re weird, I’ll reject you and you’ll be a nobody”) that is generally absent when said between two men.

Testing Your Chill Factor

Negging is one of her ways to find an answer for the question: do you take yourself too seriously?

She may use the typical bully tactic of hiding behind “just kidding” or “it was just a joke” after saying something rude. She may just try to get away with bitchy/entitled behavior outright, to see whether or not you respond appropriately. An appropriate response is firm and with a knowing sense of humour rather than passive-aggressive resentment or explosive rage.

She may playfully say something to people nearby about how you’re not as cool as you think you are. If you become embarrassed or angry, you’ve also proven her right. (This is called putting you in a bind, by the way. Learn to do this to her as well. More about that later, maybe.)

Given that the average man is larger and stronger than the average woman, her tendency to neg you often-and-early makes perfect sense (up to a point). She needs to know that you’re safe, and that when she (inevitably) acts like an emotionally immature brat once in a while, you can deal with it effectively without hurting her physically or using excessive emotional manipulation to get what you want.

A Double Standard That Leads to Fake Moral Outrage

Yes, it’s a double-standard: women are raised to be emotionally manipulative toward each other (since physical conflict is frowned upon between girls). She will, however, zealously accuse you of being manipulative if you’re too visibly good at playing her game.

This is where it can get tricky. Time for a pop quiz.

Question: now that you can see how women are already negging you, why do they whip themselves into fake moral outrage when guys use negging as well?

Here’s a quick online dating story:

On the dating site, I once found a woman who strongly resembled the actress Liz Hurley in her younger years (I may have told you this story before. It’s still relevant). We chatted for a bit and I found a cheeky way to mention that she looked unusually flawless, to the extent that I simply couldn’t believe the age stated on her profile. (The implication was that I was suspicious that she must have been lying about being older, rather than the other way around).

Was she flattered?

Nope. She completely freaked out, screeching in her next message about how she in fact does have wrinkles and even a grey hair or two.

Then she went straight to the gutter and asked if I was a “negger” (a headscratcher of a term for quite a few reasons, some of them fairly amusing in a different context).

And that was the end of that conversation. Hide and Block.

You’ve come up with your answer to the pop quiz above?
Great.

This entry turns out to be super long, so it will be posted in a few parts.
Keep your answer in mind for next time.

Violent Nice Guy, Soulless Good Girl: Two Common Types That You Might Meet In Online Dating At Least Once Per Day

We all know by now that women hate Nice Guys, and Nice Guys never learn.

We know this by the number of times men on dating sites are shamed by women for being “creepy” — when the guy was just trying to be Nice.

Naturally, the guy believes that he’s following his mother’s advice to be a “gentleman”. He may even read in her online dating profile that she feels bereft, crestfallen and forlorn: “is chivalry really dead…?” she whines romantically.

And yet, the moment he shows her his Nice side, she shows him the door. His next move: try harder.

Meet My Friend — She Has An Amazing ‘Personality’

On the other side, any guy who has met a sizeable group of women will have been targetted by a Nice Girl.

Nice Girls are distinguishable by their unusual agreeableness and apparent pliability. She’ll go far beyond what the average person would do for you, simply because she’s a Nice Girl.

Eventually, a guy usually gets bored of his pet Nice Girl and cheats on her, or suddenly dumps her, or generally mistreats her until the relationship falls apart. The Nice Girl wails to the world about how she found yet another bad guy. She goes back to the dating site complaining about how chivalry is dead and how she really just wants a gentleman. And maybe the next time around, when she predictably finds a Nice Guy, she treats him like trash to take revenge on the previous boyfriend.

Thus, the cycle continues.

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Hiding Mister Hyde: Why Nice Guys Are Creepy

It’s what you don’t see that can keep you up at night.

The bogeyman in the closet. Skeletons rattling under the bed (hint: you forgot to feed your cat). The ghost that taunts you out of the corner of your eye in the dark after you finish watching a scary-perfect horror movie.

Is your mind playing tricks on you, or is the threat real?

The same issue arises with Nice Guys. Is he really a laid-back easygoing dude, or does he hide an emotional powderkeg whose fuse you might accidentally ignite with the wrong word, annoyingly “quirky” mannerism or occasionally bitchy behavior?

More importantly, why is he so goddamn Nice all the time? What’s he hiding?

That’s the question that leads to the downfall of many a man, especially in online dating. The screen is a barrier that allows all sorts of imaginary realities to flourish, both good and bad.

Enter The Nice Girl Sorority

“Women need to be constantly reassured.” We’ve all heard this bollocks a million times by the time we reach legal drinking age. Have you ever wondered why the typical woman is so neurotically insecure? The answer is the opposite of what Mummy told you, and the same reason why Nice Guys lose (or continually find the worst kind of women).

The typical woman has learned to be a social climber from the day she saw Suzy get more attention while growing boobs during puberty. Emotional manipulation and social gaming are simply part of life for the average woman. It’s how women fight against each other and create resilient social alliances. According to the Universal Handbook of Girl Game, if you don’t climb to the top, you’ll be left at the bottom with the Fat Loser Sluts who clearly aren’t trying hard enough to be one of the elite cool girls.

Be skinny! Be popular! Lie about wanting sex so that no one can call you a slut! Climb, climb, climb!

For a girl, puberty is the start of a sorority initiation that lasts a lifetime.

This means that most women are constantly calculating the probabilities in any situation. Her survival in the social world depends on it. “When Suzy said she liked my dress, did she really mean she likes how it might look on her, but not how it looks on me? Did she say it that way, as if she meant that she thinks I look like a Fat Loser Slut? Did Jenny smile in agreement, or is she secretly laughing at me in an inside joke with Suzy about the two pounds I gained last winter?”

The eternal question: What does it really mean?
“It” can be literally anything.

That’s why the average guy is continually frustrated by attempts at communicating with women. He might say something simple and straightforward. She’s so accustomed to manipulation that she will twist it to mean five other things — most of which are damaging to her imaginary Self-Esteem.

Amazingly Nice, or Extremely Insecure?

The Nice Girl is almost always a woman who:

1. Obsesses over any perceived threat to her (fictional) Self-Esteem.

The Nice Girl dies a little inside every time anyone disagrees or points out a flaw. The flaw doesn’t even have to be hers — it can be a flaw in someone who resembles her in any way, shape or form. She’ll get upset while hiding it from you, silently building a case file of grievances over time. Her self-absorption (must keep one eye on the Self-Esteem meter at all times!) prevents her from realizing that most people are just as narcissistically self-obsessed, and therefore, are only seeing her as a means of boosting their own distorted and faulty S.E. meter readings as well.

Notice the proliferation of the Cult of Positive Thinking.

Side note: In online dating, this type of woman probably knows enough about seduction to use jargon in accusative questions like “are you negging me?” More about that later; that entry is already written, so you’ll probably see it soon. (For now, ask yourself why she felt the need to memorize pickup-artist jargon at all.)

2. Sees herself as lower-status than you in the social pecking order, and therefore wants desperately to please you. For a while.

Note the three words at the end: “for a while.” It may seem fine and dandy to find a Nice Girl who wants desperately to please you, but it rarely lasts for long. Give six months at the least before expecting so see glimpses of her true form.

It’s true, too, that you may have found a nice person. More likely, though, you found an extremely insecure person who is eternally trying to validate herself and finally be a Winner in the Sorority of Life. The problem is that her neediness leads her to cling to your appearance of high status.

This is how you can spot a Soulless Nice Girl in online dating (or in the real world).

Spotting the Soulless Nice Girl in Online Dating

She will make your her “Soul-mate”.

A soulless Nice Girl wants to find her Charming Prince because her own life is empty. “Soul” here has nothing to do with religion or spirituality. “Soul” means a life full of vitally absorbing fascinations that have some sort of creative component. A soulful person has experienced the love of creating in all its incarnations: failure, struggle, success and the rigors of continual learning.

The average person runs from failure, due to their social circle’s probable attempts at shaming their early bumbling outcomes. The average person learns and creates nothing of any value in life, as failure almost always precedes success. The “school, work, reproduce, die” cycle is all that most people can see, since their terror of failure blinds them to anything more.

The Nice Girl will try to live vicariously through you by stealing your soul.

She will imitate you.

Have you noticed how a person might mirror your posture if they like you? You reach for a drinking glass and the other person unconsciously does the same. You smile and the other person’s lips tug upward even if they can’t quite hear your words. If you touch her, she instinctively touches you back.

These are good indicators — in small doses.

Observe this effect in action online, however. You write to her on the dating site about an interest of yours. She knows nothing, yet bluffs as if she does. For example, she “appreciates art” although she has never created anything and seems to only affect knowledge.

In the next conversation, she’s an expert.

This may seem flattering at first. Notice, though, that a person who lives a full life will most likely not absorb someone else’s hobbies and fascinations merely for the sake of “fitting in”. Someone who overtly plays the “imitation game” most likely has no life of her own.

You’ll have to find out whether or not she’s actually charismatic and truly does like learning new things. Charismatic people (not egotistical jerks) tend to look outward and are genuinely curious about others, so it may be more a question of what else she has (or hasn’t) got going on in the rest of her life.

The Soulless Nice Girl will try to become you.

This is the final phase of relating to the Soulless Nice Girl. She starts showing up at places where she knows you’ll be — but she’s not a stalker. She just arrived early because she now does the things you do. If you have a blog, she’ll start one. If you’re an amateur horticulturist, she now loves shrubs and trees. If you love taxidermy, her house will be covered in fully poseable furry animals. She may give you thoughtful gifts that obviously required hours and hours of her time to find or create. Whatever you’ve told her about yourself, she will try to become it.

For a while.

We all know how that story ends: the guy gets bored and “breaks her heart” by finding other women on the side. Or the woman realizes that the guy isn’t Prince Charming after all and accuses him of “lying” in order to mask her own distorted expectations. Or worse, she clings on anyway and initiates a campaign of passive-aggressive behavior to justify her investment in him while avoiding outright confrontation. This forces the guy to eventually dump her over due to the insufferably subterranean nastiness of her behavior. And then she gets to blame him for being a bad guy, while pretending to have been a innocent, victimized angel the whole time.

She quite likely will use the Internet for revenge. This is why you need to know how to spot Soulless Nice Girls as early as you can. Resist the urge to tell random Internet People information that you intend to keep private, especially in the rush toward intimacy that is so easy to initiate in online dating.

The emotionally abusive tactics of the Nice Girl find their counterpart in the Violent Nice Guy, who completely lacks conflict-resolution skills and therefore is prone to explosion if pushed. Maybe I’ll write more about that next time; for now, know that most Nice Guys (like most people generally) are not violent; they’re just persistently clueless. The tag of “violent” (or “creepy”, “sociopath”, etc.) is usually used by women to voice her skeleton-under-the-bed exaggerated fear of an unlikely Mister Hyde. For a guy, it can be useful to understand the valid aspects of where her fear is rooted; that could span an entry of its own. Look back into previous entries for hints in the meantime. And watch for more about “negging” soon — what it is, isn’t, and how she’s already using such “pickup artist tactics” against you.

Is the average female online dater just another self-absorbed attention whore — or is there something more to it?

You’ve probably seen this situation before, and likely been trapped in it yourself as well.

Everything is going smoothly during a conversation on the dating site. The two of you share a couple of interests, and she unexpectedly LOLs at a couple of your jokes. The only problem is that she’s not taking any initiative to continue the conversation, so you start to feel pressured to keep those smiley icons coming. You start to get the feeling that she’s just using you as a distraction from whatever she’s doing besides online dating. Eventually, you run out of jokes and the interaction fades away. She may actually notice that you’re gone and write “where r u?”, but if you come back to chat, it’s the same routine: you’re doing 99.9% of the talking. You assume that she’s just another socially-deficient Internet Person and start messaging other people. Annoyed but sensing a missed connection that could have been great, it might puzzle you for a while — until it happens again. And again. And again.

Is your conversation failing to engage potential mates online, or are the women to blame?

You may not have any problem sustaining a conversation in real life. The problem might be that your style doesn’t translate well to the multitasking minefield of distractions that is the typical attractive-looking woman’s Internet dating experience.

Anywhere But Her

One of the ways that online dating (combined with chat apps, social networking, email, etc.) differs from real life is the sheer quantity of simultaneous stimuli. An attractive-looking woman’s OkCupid inbox might be completely full if left unattended for a few days. She gets messages and chat requests constantly during “prime time” every evening, and sometimes has to juggle multiple conversations at once.

Why are there so many women trying so amazingly (and obviously) hard to look their sexiest, when all they do is complain about the amount of attention they get?

Sex Sells, and Selfies Are Free

One reason is that it creates an illusion of popularity that the average woman probably doesn’t enjoy in real life.

“But why care so much about cheap, meaningless pings from random guys on a dating website?”, you ask.

Think for a moment about a time in your life when you had to “shut down” for a little while. Maybe for a day or even just a few hours with your phone turned off, to study for an exam perhaps. Totally incommunicado except for real life in front of you.

What was it like?

Pretty harrowing, right? Sort of like being trapped alone in a locked room with the lights turned off. You suddenly had to contend with your thoughts and nothing to save you from pondering those nagging little worries.

Now turn your phone on again. Relief… the chaotic oblivion of endless diversions is so much better than the fearsome imposed mindfulness of uninterrupted peace and quiet.

Drenched In Desperate Men

An attractive-looking woman is drenched in attention all day long. To and from her dorm room or doorstep, on the street, in stores, in class, at work, dealing with her eternally hopeful male orbiters/friends, and online where she met you, Mister Funnyjokes — amateur comedian number 1,289,324 who really just wants sex (yes, she knows, and if she wants you, she likes it).

Even though women know that a new guy’s attention is mostly just a play for her feminine favors, it’s practically impossible to be surrounded by suitors and not be affected by it. She can only hear about how smart and charming she is but so many times before the hype starts to affect her self-concept. By the time you, Mr. Funnyjokes, lie to her about how good a person her boobs are — I mean, how good a person she is — she hasn’t only heard it a million times. She’s long since started to believe it (her modesty is as false as her eyelashes, Mister Funnypants). She’s probably using her fabricated “picky Cinderella” persona, so now you have to work exponentially harder to get past the “popular girl” facade. Even an average-looking girl with an A-cup can fake awesome cleavage with the right lighting and camera angles, and that’s all a woman online needs to become drop-dead Internet Sexy.

No More Alone Time

Notice this dynamic seeping out into real life as well. Who have you noticed in your social circle living by the belief that “any attention is better than none at all?” One of the dangers of online dating is that it’s extremely easy to replace those disquieting moments of Alone Time with attention from people you’ll never meet, or even care particularly much about.

Are you getting attention for doing things that you feel are meaningful — or are you doing things that feel meaningful because they get you more attention?

It’s seductively simple to fall into the belief that Ms. Right or Mr. Perfect is just a click or tap away. It may be far more challenging to recognize that the time could be spent living life instead of waiting online for an unlikely soul mate. Ironically, real life may be the one place were the right kind of person is mostly likely to find you.

How Exactly Do You “Act Like A Man?” Answer: It’s a trick question.

Masculinity is one of those topics that every man (and woman) thinks they instinctively understand, yet most people know practically nothing about.

Isn’t it fascinating to see how easy it is to control someone simply by demanding that he “act like a man!” If you’re a woman reading this, don’t bother hiding that guilty little smile… we know, already, honey. We know.

What exactly does it mean, then?

Here lies the “downward spiral of manhood” that dooms most men. This has nothing to do with “men’s rights” and everything to do with a man’s choices.

The Downward Spiral of Modern Shame-Based Masculinity

The spiral begins somewhere near the beginning of adolescence. The first boy in a peer group starts to show signs of sexual maturity: he has a growth spurt, perhaps, or his voice naturally deepens as the usual male sex hormones take their effect in his bloodstream.

He becomes taller, strong. and more muscular, maybe even more assertive or aggressive. Other boys (and girls) take note. Then other boys also hit puberty, and thus the race is on to Become A Man. As with other socialized aspects of our lives as animals, our physical attributes become conceptual: a man isn’t just a human with androgenic hormones and visibly male genitalia. A man is someone who has to walk, talk and behave a certain way. If you don’t measure up to the standards of masculinity as defined by your peer group, you’re not yet a man.

Are Rappers and Thugs “Real Men”?

One of the inspirations for this entry was randomly watching a series of rap battles by well-known street lyricists (what else to call them? They’re neither poets nor musicians, really). The vast majority of the rappers’ maybe-improvised rhymes were either bragging about themselves (my guns, my money, my “bitches”) or denigrating the opponent’s right to brag about his own manhood.

If you step back for a moment, you might recognize an incongruity. We can accept for a moment — one-trick pony popstars like Iggy Azalea notwithstanding — that rap music embodies a certain facet of African-American culture. That facet is essentially centered around poverty and criminality born from a background of systemic repression and lack of opportunity. Given these facts, “masculinity” in the rap music world means being poor, living in between prison sentences, and being denigrated, otherwise mistreated or outright ignored by everyone in mainstream society.

That’s what it means to “be a man”? That seems like the opposite message from all the hypermasculine, “Alpha ape” posturing so desperately glorified by rappers (and rapaciously marketed as an entertaining fantasy to the middle-class masses). The hip-hop version of a man is the opposite of what any intelligent person not trapped in the “thug life” would ever aspire to be.

Much of the interpersonal heckling that passes for humour in battle-rap centers around the combatant’s sexuality. If you want to insult a rapper, call him a “faggot”. Call him a “weirdo” (code for “faggot”). Tell the audience that his whole crew is gay.

Outside of rap music, being “outed” as gay can also lead to marginalization from one’s own family and in society at large.

In that case, is a real man inevitably also a proudly homophobic straight man?

Is heterosexuality the Gold Standard of Manhood?

In functional terms, manhood could likely be boiled down to two broad criteria: greed and lust. Lust is where we’ll find a clue to the “hetero male = real man” question.

Greed: If a guy gets rich, he automatically can wield a certain amount of power. Power is manly, right?

Interestingly, the stereotypical gay man is limp-wristed, effete, weak — he receives sex rather than gives it. He is essentially powerless, much like the stereotypical woman.

Well, unfortunately for worshippers at the Altar of Manliness, nowadays we see that women no longer need men to make millions. Women are perfectly capable of becoming CEOs of multinational corporations and making valuable (and profitable) contributions to science and society.

In other words, women are just as greedy as men. Greed is not a sexual or gendered trait.

Lust: If a guy has lots of sex, he must be a real man, right?

Women like sex just as much as men. Our species would have a major problem if one gender didn’t want to reproduce. And gay men may enjoy even more sex partners that straights do (think of what might happen in a room full of guys who all want sex — from each other. Answer: lots of sex. For every bottom, there is a top).

Lust (hetero-, homo-, or bisexual), then, also has nothing to do with being male, or being a man.

Do You Have To Act A Certain Way In Order To Be A Man?

Another fascinating attribute of “masculinity” is how it varies between cultures and across time. From ancient Greece to feudal Japan, athletes and warriors were known for both honor-bound culture and ritualized homosexuality. In some cases, a relationship between two men was seen as the purest form of love, and this was, for them, simply the normal way of things.

In modern-day world pop culture, you might still see a Japanese rock star and mistake him for a woman. The stadiums full of screaming fangirls have no such difficulties, though. As recently as the 1980s, American popular culture was full of cross-dressing musicians who personified the term, “get laid like a rockstar”. Boy-band members and emo guys wear eyeliner and hipster dudes sometimes sports girls’ jeans. Even male R&B stars pierce their ears and style their hair in flamboyantly colorful ways.

You might be amazed to peruse the back-catalog of greatest artists and musicians from the past hundred years and note how many of them were, in fact, either bisexual or gay. If you idolize Marlon Brando or James Dean as paragons of “toughness” or “rebelliousness”, then darling, there’s something about them you really ought to know…

Once again, the number of women swooning over sexually liberated cultural icons could point to some secret that women could share — if only you knew how to ask.

Do women know what it means to be a man better than you do?

In online dating (and elsewhere), women will almost immediately put your identity to the sharp end of this entry’s titular question: are you a real man?

The next in the mating dance is so predictable, it’s practically choreographed: So you say you’re a real man, huh? Okay. Prove it.

What do women seem to believe constitutes a real man?

A real man, as we know, is rich and powerful. An obvious example of the “expensive man” archetype has been brought to life in a massively popular novel-turned-movie. Although practically everyone agrees that Fifty Shades of Grey was trash in paperback form (derived from a Twilight fanfic, no less), it has also been a worldwide wreckingball at cash registers. Hollywood further capitalized on the phenomenon with a smash-hit movie that made instant global megastars of two relatively unknown actors as well.

Make no mistake: the customers who ate up the (not really) sadomasochistic “mummy porn” (that’s “mommy porn” for you Americans — porn for plain-vanilla bored moms) were women, women and more women. Their clueless boyfriends and husbands came in a distant second as soon-to-be-misused “kinky” sex toys flew off the shelves after every midnight showing of Fifty Shades.

For the millions — perhaps billions — of women who devour romance novels that are really instruction manuals on how to find a rich guy, “stacking paper” (as a battle rapper might say to mean “making money”) is the shortcut to manhood, and the easy way to a woman’s gold-digging heart.

There’s only one problem with that requirement, though.

Reaching the Deep-End of Masculinity’s Downward Spiral

The vast majority of men, are not, and will never be, rich and/or powerful. The nature of scarcity-driven societies throughout time is essentially this: the ruling few sit at the top, and the masses suffer in ignominy below. When machines replace humans as slaves to the elite, the common man and woman will surely not benefit much more than they do now.

In other words, if you’re a guy who relies on becoming anything like Christian Grey, note also that you’ll almost certainly be living a lie. A woman doesn’t need superhuman “empathic intuition” to tell a real rich guy from a fake. She can take a quick look at the labels on your expensive-looking shirts while you sleep. She can inspect your social circle and check the zip codes of your closest mates. She’ll immediately slot you by your parents’ social status just by asking what they do for a living. Innocent-seeming “getting to know you” chat almost always has a deeper meaning when you’re dealing with a “significant other”.

An easy way to see this is to test her in return. Give silly answers to her “Twenty Questions” interrogation game. See if she gets upset, or rolls with it and engages you in role-play. A woman who demands “serious” answers is probably both a bore and a social climber of the lowest order. Note that if you fall into her trap by giving real answers, you’ll have failed for reasons that I may tell you more about some other time. Suffice to say that if you’re a man of average means, you’re more likely to go broke chasing tail as a “pickup artist” (in terms of both time and money thrown away) than find true love with a female player.

The Shame Game

If you’ve ever been in an argument with a woman, what’s the first card she’ll probably pull? Yes, of course. It’s the “act like a real man” card. But if you’re not a super-rich member of the falsely-named “upper class”, you’ve already lost. I’m glad you’re reading carefully so you guessed it already — this is the Shame Game at work. The fact that most men never clearly examine the definition of masculinity means that they’ll forever be manipulated by anyone who has something that they want. The essence of Girl Game is that men want sex and love from women. The entire game is gendered, hence it’s also a tangle of stereotypes and ever-shifting demands based on acting like your desired mate’s version of “man” or “woman”.

This is why “How Exactly Do You ‘Act Like A Man?'” is a trick question. Gender is physically nonexistent. Gender is a socially constructed consensual fantasy engaged in by two or more people in a particular place, at a given time.

From Shame to Freedom

If you allow someone else to define the meaning of gender for you, you’ll be a slave to other peoples’ definitions for the rest of your life. In that light, “be a man” means exactly the opposite of what you probably thought prior to reading this entry. Finally, then, what is a real man? A real man can at any moment make his own choice to define the word for himself, and live by that definition without fear of anyone else’s attempts to shame or limit his intrinsic value as a human being.

Until you internalize this understanding, you are not yet a man (or a woman, for that matter). To the extent that you do, you have earned one more degree of social freedom.

Reverse your thinking about age and online dating: no women over 30, if you want babies.

This is a quick one with a few facts that you need to know.

I read a statistic that brought me back to DSR701 as it ties directly into this entry’s title and topic.

A woman’s most fertile years are somewhere after puberty and before age 34. So we can say 18 to 34 is her “fertile corridor”.

You may have thought, “a woman in her twenties shouldn’t have kids. Most girls that age aren’t nearly ready for children.” Psychologically, it’s probably true. Society is more complex than ever. Women are being told that they should delay childbirth to enhance their earning potential with ever-increasing amounts of student loan debt, euphemistically referred to as “higher education”. Lifestyle magazines, TV shows and movies extoll the virtues of the single older woman.

Unfortunately, none of the social influences have any effect on biology.

The fascinating starting point here is that 70% of pregnancies during the prime period of a woman’s “fertile corridor” (i.e. age 20-29) are unplanned.

This effectively means that a woman’s biology commandeers her body to make babies even though society signals that she’s probably not ready. If you’re a guy, you need to be very clear about whether or not you’re ready to become some baby’s daddy, because you cannot trust her to make a smart choice — even though she’s the one who might sacrifice her life giving birth.

Many women are appallingly ignorant about their own reproductive biology. Don’t fall for the media-driven illusion that women aren’t just as clueless as you might have been before reading this blog entry.

Why you might think twice before search for any woman over 30 in online dating

Here’s the math:

Imagine that you meet a woman who’s 30 years old. She’s fit and looks like she could be 25. You think, “I’m so lucky: she’s hot, smart, and just starting to have that thirtysomething woman’s super sex drive“.

Are you really lucky, though? Here’s a typical dating timeline that may be familiar to you.

0. Six months pass. The sex is great; you get along famously.
1. Over the next six months, you start to get to know each other as individuals. She stops faking it (hopefully) and you stop worrying about whether or not she’s secretly a porn-star dominatrix in her spare time (unless you’re a kinkster yourself). The sex is still amazing, and you enjoy each intimacy as well as smashing it with wild abandon.
2. Year two begins. Everything is settling in and feeling peachy. You can argue without fear of breaking up. You might start thinking, “it’s time to start spicing things up a bit in the bedroom”.

You might also notice that she’s now 32 years old. She may even be nagging you about the the m-word, or even the f-word. Is it time to get married and start a family?

Fertility is a woman’s dwindling superpower

We’ve established in previous entries that women start to lose fertility — meaning the ability to make healthy babies — around age 34. By age 36, it’s becoming risky: congenital diseases, autism and other problems plague childbirth with increasing frequency beyond that age.

So if you start dating when she’s 30, you’ll have to be very careful not to reach the end of her fertile corridor before it’s too late to start a family.

The key factor here is that a woman shouldn’t give birth less than one year after the previous baby was born. The optimal spacing is between eighteen months and three years, so we can say two years for simplicity’s sake.

This means that:

If she’s aged 30 at first birth, she can have another at 32, and one more at 34. Age 36 is too late to have a reliably healthy baby, and it’s not worth it to harm your child instead of adopting a kid who needs smart parents.

If she’s 31, she can have another go at age 33, and again at 35.
If she’s 32 at first birth, then 34 is her last stop at the baby-making factory.
Starting at age 33, she can have one more at age 35.
If she’s 34, she can only healthily make one baby.

In short:
– age 30 and 31 = 3 kids
– age 32 and 33 = 2 kids
– age 34 and 35 = 1 kid
– age 36 and up = consider adoption.

Beyond the hype, reproductive technologies are in a somewhat medieval state as of 2015. Unless you’ve traveled to the future and the savior of humankind has your last name, don’t rely on a test-tube for procreation.

Think about the implications. If a woman is 32 when you meet her (assuming two years before the first baby), she can only safely have one child.

“But 32 isn’t that old!” I hear you protest. “She could easily pass for her late twenties!” Sorry mate — aside from the fact that she’ll look different tomorrow morning with her makeup washed off, reproductive biology is not a question of how young you think she looks.

What’s the ideal age to look for in online dating?

First of all, this doesn’t apply to men, for various reasons that I’ll mention in a different entry. Estrogen is the obvious difference, but women also have different priorities in terms of choosing a mate.

For a man choosing a woman, her “golden age” may be somewhere near twenty-eight.

A twenty-eight year-old woman is still young. She’s still in the ecstatic time when women can be “picky” and most guys are clueless enough to play her game. (Note: if you just want a fling, date an older woman instead, but beware that she may try to trap you into relationship.) At age 29, she’s starting to feel the heat of social pressure about hitting the big 3-0.

Her mum is on your side from that moment on, as she wants grandbabies. Her friends are dropping off one-by-one as well, get hitched and heading to the Baby Bakery to make their first little warm bundles of joy.

If you meet her at age 28, you don’t have to worry about the traps set by older women who are in a hurry to marry and become moms. She’s still dating around and figuring out her options, so you’ll have a relatively stress-free two-year early relationship. When she hits thirty, she’ll naturally get the oven ready for baby-baking (okay, so that analogy does get weird beyond a certain point).

Now you know the facts beyond the “independent modern woman” hype. If you’re not thinking about having kids anytime soon, note that eventually, you probably will. Make sure that by then it’s not already too late. If the online daters you’re meeting don’t fit your fancy, resist the urge to bump up the age limit. Age, for a man considering female mates, is far more than just another number.

True Soulmates: Finally Find the Real Fake You Through Online Dating

Everyone goes through a period of disproportionate popularity in their lives.

“Not me,” you say? “Nobody cares about me!” you opine? “If I’m so popular, why haven’t I been able to find my Prince Charming or the Cinderella of my dreams?”

You probably weren’t looking for the ones who found you, so those poor saps just “didn’t count”.

Wherefore Art Thou Means “Why”, By The Way

Wherefore art though, romance-object of my dreams? Many an OkCupid user is simply answering the wrong question.

It may be a very short period of pique, or a modest one in which only a few people take a romantic or social interest in you.

Still, whilst reviewing your sordid history of romantic warfare and dating woe, you probably noticed a specific time. In that time, there elapsed a spike of interest in your existence by members of your peer group: kids in school, coworkers at your office, or anywhere that you might endure sustained contact with others.

Social Proof In Online Dating: Instant Popularity Is Just A Belfie Away

If the popularity spike was romantic in nature, it was probably in part due to the principle called “social proof”. Popular things (and people) become more popular because other people form a herd, lusting after what socially valuable members of the group seem to see as worthy of attention. Attention-getting attains momentum and soon becomes an obsessive mindless rage of popularity feeding popularity.

For many women (and, if you look expensive enough, for men as well), online dating offers a constant barrage of egoistic validation. If you post an innocently-taken bathroom belfie (that is, a selfie that prominently features your bum, of course), you’ll immediately experience the herd-rush of men complimenting your amazing… personality.

The Really Real Neuroscience of Message-Writing in Online Dating

Now transport your brain from its natural resting place between the dual hemispheres of a woman’s brilliant derriere. Imagine as if you were a man for a moment, writing the first message to any femme of your choice.

Regardless of what you write, she has already age-regressed to her teenage self, pretending to be the hottest girl at the prom while all the clueless boys drool compliments about her “pretty eyes” (meaning: boobs) and “nice smile” (meaning: turn around so that I can get a better view).

Essentially, then, a guy in online dating has to deal with the bratty eighteen-year-old version of any given woman he might message. Worse, most women have no idea what it means to truly be popular and cool. Instead, they substitute the convenient shortcut of “ice-cold bitchy and pretending to be too busy unless you’re properly expensive-looking in your profile photos”. Hint: if she was so busy living her awesome life, she wouldn’t be sitting on a dating site pretending to be massively popular and inaccessibly cool.

Princess Abominable, Meet Prince Desperate?

In short, the unfortunate Guy in the scenario has found the fake “Cinderella” version (in “Picky Princess” mode) of a woman he might otherwise have wanted to meet in real life.

We all know that, when pressed, the average person performs a mildly abominable job of self-presentation via Internet. On social media sites, everyone’s life is “awesome, bro, awesome!” (replete with strategically-taken #belfies that cleverly Hide The Abdomen At All Costs). In online dating, most people are so poor at writing about themselves that we now have apps like Tindr and Grindr where hook-ups are arranged almost solely by the unnervingly ape-like swiping at photos.

Realize then, that the fellow primates you meet in real life will most likely bear little resemblance to the delectable hindquarters (I mean, brilliant minds) that you’ll find at their most pert-and-perky online.

This was just a warm-up for the (sort of) new year here at DSR701.

In the next entry, I might show you the math behind exactly why you should steer clear of women over 30 in online dating. Or we can veer back to deconstructing Zoe Quinn (she’s the perfect example of how online dating can unearth a manipulative troll who appears to be the Perfect Nerd Girl at first ape-like finger swipe).

We’ll see.

Behavior Versus Biology: Are Women Really Inferior (or Superior) to Men?

Controversy arose recently over a certain political figure’s declaration that women are not equal to men.

“You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different.”

Turkish president Erdogan: Women are not equal to men, should accept motherhood as societal role (click here)

In modern Western societies, women are also often thought of as the “emotional” gender. Many women embrace the label, claiming to be more empathic and “intuitive” than men because of the specialness of being she rather than he.

The line of reasoning typically goes: “I’m a woman, and women are naturally more emotional than men, so the things I do don’t have to make sense to you.”

Even better, she might accuse a man of being “too logical” if he calmly deconstructs a wrongheaded argument of hers instead of getting caught up in meaningless drama.

Question: Are women inferior to men?

If so, the reasons might also be related to the excuses women make for engaging in psychologically/emotionally abusive behavior.

It’s Not All In Your Head: Hips, Boobs, Bums and the Dreaded Monthly Period

The main differences in the male and female human body are centered around reproduction. This is clear by looking at post-menopausal women. Their bodies become less “feminine” with the age-related decrease of female sex hormones such as estrogen [voice, body shape and emotional tone are three readily discernible distinctions].

The main difference between men and women of prime childbearing age (age 18-36) comes about due to the menstrual cycle.

For a twenty-four hour period each month (called the “fertile window”), a reproductively healthy woman’s uterus produces an egg. Her body also hormonally compels her to look for a reproductive partner. This can influence everything from her style of dress to her decisions about what a sexually attractive man looks like (men also choose ovulating women over menstruating ones).

If the egg is not fertilized (i.e. she doesn’t find a guy to inseminate her), the lining of the uterus containing the egg sloughs off and is ejected via the all-too-familiar route (the vagina). That approximately seven-day period is appropriately called a woman’s “period” and is often cited as the main reason why women act strangely some of the time.

Can a woman’s “period” be to blame for her strange behavior?

During ovulation, a woman’s hormones are, in a sense, on “overdrive”. They prepare her body for insemination and compel her mind to find a sex partner (even to cheat on her current mate with a sexy “bad boy” if necessary and a bad boy happens to be accessible at that moment). Her behavior depends on her particular biology and psychological responses to it. This varies from person to person.

What makes a person “superior” or “inferior”, anyway?

Very briefly, humans do better when they are able to attain the following outcomes:

  1. The ability to make achievable long-term plans;
  2. Emotional range that is neither over-active (example: anxiety or depression) or under-active (example: contentment or apathy);
  3. Short- and long-term impulse control.

Excessive emotional reactivity of any kind is undesirable because it can…

…reduce our focus, leading a person to disproportionately seek present-moment escapes and pleasures at the expense of longer-term purpose;
…lead to anxiety/depression (unsurprisingly suffered by women up to twice as often as men)
…lead to impulsive behavior that can be destructive to self and relationships.

Women Aren’t The Only “Emotional” Ones

Humans, like all mammals, are primarily emotional creatures. Gendered examples of emotional behavior include:

For women: given a woman’s emotional fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of the world consumer economy (over eighty percent) is driven by women’s spending habits.

Modern consumerist society constantly cajoles and incites us to think more like our ape ancestors than like humans — to turn off our relatively fragile thinking minds in order to make impulsively emotional buying decisions. Listen to your favorite song lyrics. Hear the hyper-urgent tone of television news and commentary. Watch the dramatic arc of your favorite film and prose fiction characters; the common thread is almost always “emotion overrules reason”.

Is it any surprise that the advertising, marketing and public relations of consumerism are so tenaciously directed toward those who would be most naturally amenable to emotional influence?

For men: jealous rage is one example. Jodi Arias may be the world’s most adorable homicidal maniac, but the majority of mate-murderers are men. This is often due to idiotic machismo leading to fatally damaged “male pride” (usually jealousy).

Females made up 70% of victims killed by an intimate partner in 2007, a proportion that has changed very little since 1993. Intimate partners were responsible for 3% of all violence against males and 23% of all violence against females in 2008.

Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being (click here)

Men are also more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior generally.

For men and women: couples can often be duped into entrusting their retirement to stock brokers (how’s that 401k coming along? the stock market always goes up!) or mortgage specialists (how about a big, juicy mortgage to trap you in the house of your dreams for the next thirty years?).

Men and women also tend to believe much of what society tells them about dating, sex and relationships (DSR). This leads people to make hasty emotional decisions about finding a mate (“I need a ‘soulmate’ to ‘complete’ me”, “my partner should be as close to a ‘perfect match’ as possible”, etc.). Soon enough they end up back on the dating site with yet another sob story.

From Inferior to Superior: Somewhat Useful Overgeneralizations

An “inferior” person “buys in” (figuratively and literally) to the hype, drama, marketing and advertising that attempts to build a “lifestyle” from impulsive behavior. That person is considered “normal”: overfed on junk and overstimulated into numb passivity by mass media. The “normal” person is unwilling to do any more critical or creative thinking than the minimum necessary to get rich and get laid — quite often failing even in those areas.

A “superior” person does the opposite of the inferior one. You can read more about this in the literature of psychology and philosophy. One word of encouragement and warning: go the hard way and learn to think for yourself. Take a few university-level courses if necessary. At all costs, do not trade one set of bad ideas for another by becoming a self-help junkie. Life is too short to go searching for daily nourishment in an endless sea of bestselling trash. Religion (as we saw in the opening quote from the Turkish president in regard to a Muslim woman’s proper place in society) is also no shortcut to anything but the most pale imitations of wisdom. Every holy book is awash in self-contradictions; the wisdom you may draw from religion depends on the perspective and motivations that on brought you to it in the first place.

Note also that these are sweeping overgeneralizations. There are no “superior” or “inferior” people — only people who perform a wide range of daily activities in a wide variety of ways. We improve most in the areas that we give the majority of our time and effort.

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Stay tuned for the second half of this post; you’ll soon see how all this directly relates to online dating.

I have to remind myself to send you the next bit from the Zoe Quinn story, too…