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Dating Tips from the Pros (but not from me!)

Sometimes I read sites with dating tips. I always find them fascinating.  One subtext of these male-centered sites is that it is ok for a man to hook up with strangers once in a while. It’s a necessary part of growing up (so the argument goes).   Once you lose your naiveté about romance and detach yourself emotionally from the outcome, it will be easier to find a healthy and long-lasting relationship.

Here’s Roosh V’s maxim’s about dating. Highlights: Always let a girl ask you for your name first.  Sometimes the best way to get into a girl’s place is to say nothing and just follow her in. It’s easier to pick up when you are the exotic one. If you look around and all the guys look like you, you might want to try somewhere else. The less educated she is, the more direct you can be. The more educated you are, the harder it is to believe that game works.

Here’s another piece about why coffee dates suck. That is something I have observed on my own. 7 Things Men can do to improve their game. (See also a compendium of links by relationship coaches about meeting women . And  Ovid’s Art of Love which is an extraordinary and entertaining guide).

I recently finished the Mystery Method book. Despite the prurient subtitle, I found the book’s suggestion subtle, flexible and not formulaic with the more modest goal  of trying to explain the sociology of dating.   Highly recommended (Ovid couldn’t have done better).  It’s amazing how many male sites have coopted the language and the acronyms (LJBF, etc) from Mystery.  Of course, by now Mystery is a commercial empire, with DVDs and seminars. But more power to them. (Here’s more links to the fast seduction community).

Roissy in DC (warning semi-NSFW) . He expounds a philosophy about how men can have more success with women by behaving more dominantly.  Roissy is a  great writer with great insights into dating psychology. He represents one of the leading thinkers  of the neo-chauvinists (the social movement that unapologetically seeks to restore some more control in the romantic relationship.  Roissy harps on beta males too much  (as though simply strutting around like an alpha would make him one). But he is correct about how some males take themselves out of the dating game by being too willing to live up to the woman’s ground rules.  Unfortunately, his writing is  hyper-obsessed with putting women in their place that it begins to resemble misogyny. Also, he seems a little too obsessed with both social status (and how to attain it) and  physical attractiveness. Yes, both are important (especially the latter), but  I don’t think you can explain all the sexual hangups of the world merely by saying that women are too fat. Highlights: 16 Commandments of Poon, a long discussion about an offensive JC Penny sales campaign (see the video here).  Roissy posts regularly and at length, but don’t view the stuff at work; many of his commenters use a lot of NSFW vulgar remarks.

Finally, and more obscurely, here’s a geek who wrote a philosophical treatise about male-female relations. Here’s the meat of his ladder theory. It’s a cynical paradigm, but at least coherent. In fact, I think Mystery Method and ladder paradigm share the same  assumptions and goal: to disabuse men of  conventional romantic notions about how to court a woman. Unfortunately, with Intellectual Whores, the answer seems only for the man to achieve higher status. With Mystery at least, there is the hope that a well-schooled man can use biological/evolutionary tricks to game the system. Update Dec 26: Here’s a wiki dedicated to fleshing out the ladder theory.  The main purpose of the ladder theory as presented here is to help the man avoid no-win situations and recognize them when they come. Ironically the key to success (they argue) is  to avoid becoming too fixated on any one woman and to detach themselves quickly from no win situations.

(A question for the ladies: is there any equivalent method about  mate-seeking for women? I’m only familiar with the trivial book The Rules and Sex and the City (which has a tremendous influence on woman’s attitudes toward dating).

The more I read these kinds of texts, the more I see that how strongly I identify with the Romantic school of thought. We are supposed to think that the Romantics had it all wrong by putting women on a pedestal; but it was a way of showing respect as well as a way of acknowledging the abstract qualities we see and admire in people of the opposite sex. I don’t think one needs to be super-serious about matters of the heart, but one can go the other extreme and treat everything as a kind of game  where the winner is the one who extracts pleasure from the other without needing to reciprocate.  Romanticism is about saying: we don’t have to keep score because we trust one another. The problem with these dating guides is that they spend too much  time focusing on how to maneuver in a social atmosphere. Now that I have read Mystery Method, i will certainly keep it in the back of my mind when talking with a woman, but I don’t think I will behave that much differently. The aim of these writers  seems less to change your behavior than to help you see the unspoken mechanics of desire (and possibly to derive advantage from this knowledge).

Of course, most pick-up artists talk about the need to spend hundreds of hours perfecting one’s  craft, as though the ability to pick up woman was something akin to a football play or video game maneuver.   Seriously, who has the time for all that?  And wouldn’t your time be better spent reading a good book (I say this seriously).

Because of my own inexperience, I don’t have much advice to offer except two obvious points: try to relate to the other person as  an equal (don’t think that one person is entitled to any feeling of superiority for any reason). Don’t denigrate your partner’s ambitions or feelings. Love is about sharing; if you or the partner are unwilling to share freely, then there is a problem.  A small amount of subterfuge is needed to preserve at least the appearance of harmony, but about the big things there should be no reason to lie. The joys of passionate  love have their place in any relationship (never forget that), but ultimately they pale before commitment and honesty and respect. We use the word “love” to describe lots of relationships and friendships.  Partly this is semantics, but I also think it reflects the fact that  nonromantic relationships have just as many emotional resonances as a romantic one.   If the way you treat a romantic partner is significantly different from how you treat a parent or child or good friend, what does love really matter?  I remember reading a simple but profound book by a nun about how to be happy. One point she made, “Think about nuns” was revealing. People (she said) often viewed a nun’s life as one of deprivation, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nun’s have an active circle of friends and family; their position may even afford certain intimacies not normally granted to a friend. Yes, her commitment to the nun’s lifestyle interfered with her normal and natural desire for romantic relationships. On the other hand, it simplified her life and made it easier to win friends. Ponder this choice: Would you rather have  a)have a gorgeous and loyal  girlfriend who would love you unconditionally  or b)the ability to make instant friends with any person on the planet?  Not wrong with satisfying those passions, but will it sustain contentment with your life over time?

One point I took away from this book was that solving the romantic problem won’t automatically make your other problems  go away. Would the love for a beautiful woman still be awesome if you were 1)sick or 2)estranged from the rest of your family or friends. If the only way for you to succeed in sleeping with a beautiful woman was 1)to treat her horribly 2)ignore your other obligations 3)abandon your dreams, would that make you  happier in the long run? If the supermodel was in love with you, but treated you like crap, would that future make you happy?

(Keep in mind I am saying this as a single unattached man).

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mark 12/28/2008, 4:10 pm

    Great post. The philosophy of the folks at Events and Adventures which has a branch in Houston is that you have to do something interesting to meet someone interesting. The rest just falls into place, at least for me. Check them out.

  • steve 1/7/2009, 12:48 pm

    Good post. Big thing is to go out there and meet people! Don’t shy away from public events & activities.. :0) Well done!

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