“Why do men take it as a personal judgment when they’re turned down? We’re ALL dealing with this.”

This is a comment by Lucy Montrose on the post “Nice Guys Again“.

Lucy Montrose said:

“Why do men take it as a personal judgment when they’re turned down? Because ALL of us, men and women, are getting the message every day from society, media, and especially pop health and pop psychology, about how vitally important relationships are. Because we’re being told, constantly, that without relationships we will not only be lonely; we’ll be sicker, may die younger, are more prone to cardiovascular disease, more prone to poverty, less employable, more likely to have our character called into question, more likely to be listened to and taken seriously compared to the not-so-well connected … I think even that organ transplant recipients are knocked further down the list if they have few social or family connections.

“That’s a lot of serious pressure.

“And most of us DO, subconsciously, take the presence or absence of relationships (especially romantic ones) as a referendum on that person’s likability and social skills. That may be one of the reasons married men still make more money than single men; we feel, deep down, they’re more ‘inter-personally qualified.’

“Certainly, we think less of our public figures if they’re not coupled up or family-ed. Which makes me wonder; how many unhappy marriages and dysfunctional families begin only because someone wanted to be a politician and felt they had to do whatever it took to ‘connect’ with constituents? Or wanted to prove to a boss that they could be responsible, dependable and sociable?

“With all this pressure today to be good at relationships, a lot of us can’t help but crack, and go to ever-more desperate lengths to get favor from others. But it is not by any means restricted to men. ALL of us are having this fuckery shoved down our throats.” 

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  1. So, I guess there’s two things here. One is how we react to an individual “no”. It’s never nice when you desire someone and learn the feeling is not mutual. Hard to swallow. However, it’s important to remember it’s not a judgement about you as a person; if someone is not attracted to me, it’s about how attraction works for them, what turns them on. I can still feel good about who I am even if I’m not what they want.

    The other thing is the social pressure that we must all be coupled, all have a family with 1 dog and 2.3 children, etc. It’s unfortunate that social standards are in many ways so normative, that we as a group tend to prescribe a single model for a “successful” life, a good relationship. The only way forward there is to listen to what you want yourself, and not give in the temptation to do what the norm asks if it’s contrary to what is right for you.

  2. Only one problem with this. It’s nearly always men that get rejected, as women rarely ever approach men.

    • Exactly. Getting rejected is basically a novelty for women. “Hey, I asked a guy out once and got rejected!” I’ve probably been rejected more times in the past month than most women have in their ENTIRE lives. It is, unfortunately, the only way that I will perhaps one day find myself in a relationship, but women have the luxury of avoiding it almost completely.

      Let’s say I live off of food stamps for a week to see how difficult it is to be impoverished and on food stamps. After a week I decide that it sucks, and I go back to living my life of relative comfort and being able to afford food. The person on food stamps doesn’t have that luxury. Congratulations to the women who asked men out, and I applaud you for doing so. But please do not think for a second that you can appreciate what it is like to struggle endlessly asking women out and getting rejected endlessly… also known as the story of life for most men. I’d say the average man has been rejected at least 100 times, and I suspect that the average woman is probably closer to 3 times. There are also many MANY men for whom 100 rejections would be a dream; I’m many times beyond that, and I’m only 23.

      • Right. Our social construct (for relationships as well as many other things) have men as the active part, women as passive. This puts the burden of asking / initiating on men, but it also gives men the power to *do something*. Women who live by the norm do not even have that power; instead, they have to make themselves attractive, wear sexy clothes, smile pretty, and hope a man they are interested in approaches them. This is not a nice situation (and – before you dismiss this observation, take your own advise and do not dismiss an experience before you have tried it).

        It’s a bad dynamic. Nobody wins. Complaining about men (or women) being disadvantaged won’t help. If you don’t like it, changing the social construct for gender roles is the way ahead (and, no – you can’t change *just* the “who asks” part).

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          Here’s the thing.

          Most women can easily get a date, and can expect to find love just by showing up. Obviously, their mileage varies, and attractive women get way more opportunities than unattractive ones.

          However, women have the option of sitting back and hoping to get a date. Men are doomed to a lifetime of loneliness and involuntary celibacy unless they make all the moves.

          • Lucy Montrose says:

            What’s important there is, neither option is very good. Neither sitting back and hoping your attractiveness work its magic, nor a lot of hard, fruitless work trying to curry favor. Because both options hinge on bending someone else’s favor toward you; and ultimately, that is out of your control. And even if you are able to influence the outcome, you usually can’t without a LOT of coercion and boundary-busting on your part.

            Relationships may be one of the best things about humanity. That is true. However, why does the process for attaining something so vital have to be so completely devoid of joy? In the process of attracting relationships, we do a lot of wrongheaded, stereotypical, and expensive things; which may have an insignificant effect on whether we get the guy/girl. We believe they will increase our chances, so we keep on doing them. Meanwhile, we waste a lot of time and energy, and find ourselves acting complicit in our society favoring the privileged. Because the privileged CAN purchase more of that which makes them attractive; and that includes the trappings of style and charisma. Not to mention, all the compromises we make to our core values in order to keep our loved ones loving us. Just ask any smart, independent woman who happens to be married to, or in love with, a conservative religious man. Quite literally, him continuing to love her demands that she continue to betray herself; to sacrifice her optimum self-determination for the prospect of a happy relationship and well-behaved kids.

            Love should not have to require that we act unlovely.

            • Mike Russo says:

              Your argument that dating roles and what is socially expected of men and women dating is hard for both is like a person who makes 100 million dollars a year complaining about a 50% personal income tax vs my 40,000 getting taxed at 20%. I’m sorry, but that still leaves you with 50 million dollars a year, and me with 32,000. As far as I’m concerned, you have no right to complain.

            • I LOVE that analogy Mike, and I think it is spot on!

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              why does the process for attaining something so vital have to be so completely devoid of joy?

              Blame American culture.

              When you combine this country’s unique blend of puritanical social norms, shallow capitalism, dog-eat-dog individualism, and more recent feminist norms that treat all men as potential rapists and shames them for expressing sexual desires (which now complements traditional views regarding female chastity and disdain for “sluts”), you have the clusterf*ck known as the American dating scene.

              If you think about it, it’s little wonder that dating and sex are so often discussed in adversarial and transactional terms.

              Simply put, this country sucks to be an average guy trying to strike it rich in the dating market.

              I don’t blame the growing number of American men who are looking for love abroad.

            • Shane Murphy says:

              Speaking as a neutral observer ( a gay male who lived in the US for over a decade) it does seem that the strange puritanical loathing of natural sexuality and attraction has tainted the whole process. As soon as you can openly admit that sex is natural and fun most of these issues will diminish. The whole process of dating will improve (yes women like sex and relationships too) and I bet relationships will be more honest and likely to last.

              I do think the puritanism is reducing, but it is changing at a glacial pace.

            • How thoughtful Lucy.
              Almost brought tears to my eyes.

        • @Lars and Lucy:The difference is that women can if they choose to have it both ways. a man can’t. Choice is a powerful thing.Why I or anyone else feel sympathy for someone who can, if they have the courage, have what they want. When I hear a woman complain that she has it bad too I can’t see that because she has choice. She doesn’t have to wear sexy clothes, many women don’t, to get a man. That”s just not true as can be scene everywhere in society. If a woman is married to someone she feels she has to be inauthentic with she should leave him, that’s not every one’s fault when she doesn’t. This comparison is unequal and increasingly, men are sick and tired of being told that they have to eat rejection while those who don’t can complain about not getting asked out. I would much rather be in her position of being able to pick and choose suitors who approach me. Is it the best case scenario, No,but jimminy, the idea that these problems are the same or are even is a joke.

      • Lucy Montrose says:

        Rejection would be a lot easier to deal with if we didn’t constantly have society and the media saying now we are flawed, sick individuals failing at THE most important task at mankind, if not enough people make the free choice to be part of our lives.

        And that’s always been the fatal flaw of this line of thinking: we are assumed to be 100% responsible. for how other people react to us. If we don’t get what we want from people, it is always made our fault. Our personality, our character, our sense of timing is held completely responsible. Never is rejection framed as a mutual moment of free choice that just didn’t align. Even saying “the chemistry wasn’t there” subtly blames the relationship-pursuer for not being able to generate chemistry.

        Rejection is painful enough without all this indictment of our personhood. It’s far fairer to say it was just a meeting between people that didn’t happen to be serendipitous. But then, advertisers would lose b

        • Lucy Montrose says:

          Arrrrggghhh, the smartphone screen folded up on me. That should say, advertisers would lose billions of dollars from selling to us whatever they say we’ll make us attractive.

        • One need to look no further than this specific site, to find plenty examples of articles pointing fingers at men doing all the simple and stupid faults when trying to interact with other people…

      • One thing I can tell you from personal experience, women definately do NOT take rejection better than men. Let me start off by saying that in 37 years of marriage (even before when was engaged) I’ve never even hit on another woman. However (obviousley, when I was MUCH younger) I was hit on by women(some of which actually knew my wife) and when I politely declined, well lets just say it didn’t go well. Some trashed talked me and other even threatened me(as in to saying I persued THEM) Now understand, since these women knew I was married, this offer was about cheap sex ‘on the side’!

        • @bobbt: I can speak to that too. I have had the sister of someone I was dating offer me sex as well as a cousin of someone else I was dating, who was married, come into the bedroom while I was sleep and start rubbing my forehead. I have had the wife of someone I worked with introduce to her husband and say, “Honey when your out of town——– will come over and keep me company.” And, of course,I’ve been called —gay—- by women because I refused sex with them. Women can be a strange lot so many damned mixed messages about everything!

    • Lucy Montrose says:

      But the intense social pressure to never fail at relationships is something that both men and women deal with, which is my main point.
      Besides, not only are more women the initiators of dates and hookups than before (yes, still less than men, but an increasing number)… you could make the case that an employer who thinks your “fit” is more important than your skills is in effect asking you to be their soul mate. Which is really the most disturbing part about all this relationship pressure: because while we CAN, despite the Greek chorus from the media, live without romantic love; none of us can live without making a living

      • Lucy, I don’t think these whiners are hearing you. They don’t understand the concept that “never being chosen” ALSO means “being rejected”, as much as “actively being turned down” means it — not least because women are still judged predominantly in Western society (and most of Eastern society, for that matter) by their attractiveness to men. You can be a Nobel Prize nominee and a prize mother and/or foster mom, but if men don’t find you attractive, that same societal pressure you speak of in the main post basically deems you “nothing”.

        And these men commenting here are completely blind to that as a concept, with no empathy whatsoever for the women who suffer THAT kind of rejection.

        • Never being chosen does not mean being rejected. Sorry. Not even REMOTELY the same thing.

          • I didn’t SAY it was the same thing. I said it was a different KIND of rejection (if we must use ALLCAPS here to get our point across).

            What I also said, however, was that men like you who hold the position you hold as myopically and stubbornly as you hold it, are absolutely unwilling to even consider that.

            • It isn’t a rejection. It isn’t any kind of rejection. Just because you are a militant denier of female privilege doesn’t mean that I’m in any way wrong; I’m not.

            • M says.

              The myth that its more important for women to possess good looks in order to have dating/sexual opportunities, that men dont need to be good looking as women are more interested in other qualities etc has been debunked long ago. Even women accept that now. Looks are as important to women as they are to men, if not more.

              Never being chosen is also hard and yes I agree it can be considered a kind of rejection. But being completely blinded by the female perspective, you fail to even realize that (1) this is the ‘rejection’ that the overwhelming majority of men face (2) Women who are never chosen/approached still have the option to take the initiative themselves, just like men.

              You also forget that men are actually quite forgiving to women on their looks, much more than they are thought to be. Most women (more than 80%) can expect to be approached and therefore ‘be chosen’. Surveys reveal that on average, men find a much larger percentage of women attractive (80%) at least to some extent, while women only find a very small percentage of men with any physical appeal (20%)

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              But being completely blinded by the female perspective, you fail to even realize that (1) this is the ‘rejection’ that the overwhelming majority of men face (2) Women who are never chosen/approached still have the option to take the initiative themselves, just like men.

              Yes, excellent point, Keith.

              Not only do men have to face the kind of rejection that is unique to them, but they also deal with even more of the kind of “rejection” that women claim to face.

              All in all, it is waaaayyyy better to be female in the dating marketplace.

            • elementary_watson says:

              If “not getting asked out” is also kind of a rejection, then the rate of rejection men face goes up even more than it does for women. It’s just that men are scolded for taking this kind of rejection to heart (being told that they just should make the first step), while women are not (excepting some “weird guys on the internet” no one takes seriously anyways).

        • @m: You are right about one thing, there is little empathy and rightly so for the I’m fat I hat myself and it’s his fault narrative.
          The notion that women have to live up to a perfect standard of beauty in order to be asked out or get married couldn’t be based on reality because there are so many examples to the contrary. Maybe women should check their egos at the door and develop other aspects of attractiveness.

          Women depend way to much on their looks and blame men for doing so. Any man who has been married or in a long term relationship knows that his woman doesn’t just dress for him exclusively or because he puts pressure on her to do so. Women dress in competition with each other as much for any other reason. How do you explain why a 70 year old woman gets a facial lift and a tummy tuck, so she can catch a man?

          Women obsess over there looks because a good looking woman has power and gets attention and it doesn’t matter if that attention isn’t exclusively from their man, simple as that.

          • Fat average looking women get laid left and right and have more active and adventurous sex lives than most decent looking fit young men.

            Yet they have low self esteem and consider themselves undesirable at the same time. Its quite paradoxical.

            • PastorofMuppets says:

              Really?
              How could you possibly know “Fat average looking women get laid left and right and have more active and adventurous sex lives than most decent looking fit young men?”

        • m-
          Never being chosen is the standard for most men. thats why they approach.

        • m says

          An average looking woman has far more dating and sexual opportunities than an average looking man.

      • @Lucy: I do agree with your premise that relationships are artificially made more difficult because of cultural pressures. However, I fear we let ourselves off the hook when walk too far down this road. It is abundantly clear that there are a good portion of people in this country that are lonely and unhappy because of their loneliness

        But they apparently are not so unhappy that they are willingly to invest in the kind of selflessness that could greatly assist them in their quest for companionship and single wholeness.. This culture actually tells people that they can have it all, wow. That this is an excepted brand of logic to use in approaching life and relationships speaks tomes about what is really important to us. We want what we want AND the quality relationship too and we don’t see why that”s a problem.

  3. Imagine that men take it as personal judgement for the same reasons that women do. As others have said we are all hyped on the idea that having sucessful relationships (with the “right people”) so when that expectation falters it hits a sore spot. Well combine that will the usual, “men don’t have emotions” (which is obviously not true so it comes out more like, “men aren’t supposed to acknowledge emotion” which actually comes out more like “men only ackowledge/express emotions in unhealthy and dangerous ways because they have been denied the tools and teachings to deal with them in a healthy ways”).

    The result of such a collision is a train wreck of men thinking this stuff is exclusive to them.

    And it also doesn’t help that despite all this men are still told that they have some sort of power over these situations that women (with the assertion based on nothing more than they are male mind you).

  4. For the people who face so much rejection, I wonder what your relationships are like with other people: for example, your relatives, your co-workers, or your friends…

    I turned down my future husband in grad school when he first asked me out (i.e., bad timing)…but later, when things got better for me, I went back to him and chatted him up…well, and the rest is history…

    I was shocked when he first asked me out…I had no idea that he was interested in me that way….it took me a while to even consider thinking about him that way…one of the factors (and there were many) that was in his favor was his good relations with our other classmates (i.e., I could see he got along well with males and females alike)…later, when I met his family and other friends, I could see that he was somebody really worth getting to know on a deeper level…basically, his older sisters and mother raised him and clued him in on how to talk to the opposite sex and how to treat girls…

    He has been rejected, too, in the past, but you just have to move on and not take it too much to heart…it’s the other girl’s loss…

    • It’s funny you mention being raised in a house full of women, because I too was raised in a house full of women and every they told me I “should” do has been the very definition of epic fail.

    • Also, I think you discount how negatively repeated and continued rejection impacts the psyche. Sure, it can be “her loss” the first 5, 10, 15, or 20 times, but when you keep getting rejected you start internalizing the whole thing.

  5. wellokaythen says:

    Treating a polite no as a deep, personal, worldshattering rejection of you as a person is a sign of a person who has really poor personal boundaries. It’s natural to feel sad when someone says no, but when one person politely declines and this leads to a plummet in self-esteem and an obsession to find out exactly why that person rejected you, now you’re talking about someone who has lost perspective. Can you not imagine what it’s like to be in the other person’s position? If you’ve never turned anyone down, still try to imagine being in that position.

    And, on the other side, when you have to say no to someone, try to put yourself in the position of someone who’s being told no.

    Good boundaries means you let other people have their opinions and make their own decisions, and you have to be able to put their response in a larger perspective. If someone says no, then THAT is the most important point, the “no.” The reasons are ultimately secondary, and trying to prove that the rejector is wrong or crazy is just a fundamentally bad idea. Of course, if you already behave like that, then this blog message will probably make no difference.

    If you turn down a stranger for a date, you are under no obligation to explain your reasons for saying no. If someone clearly turns you down, then that should be the end of the story. It’s polite and considerate to give some reason, no matter how vague, but asking someone out doesn’t give you the authority to demand an accounting of everything that person thinks or feels about you. If you’re demanding the full truth and nothing but the truth, you’ve probably already invaded that person’s space. You don’t actually have greater rights just because you asked a person out — they don’t owe you anything they didn’t owe you before.

    Just think practically for a moment. It’s extremely unlikely that you will get her to change her mind. So, once she says no, you are wasting more and more of your time in a pursuit that will only make you feel worse and worse. Don’t waste time trying to get with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. Then you’re just turning yourself into your own cockblocker. Besides, walking away on good terms with her could increase your chances with her friends or the other people in the room. Acting like an obsessive, clueless, clingy nutcase is not going to help your chances in the future.

    • wellokaythen:
      “If you turn down a stranger for a date, you are under no obligation to explain your reasons for saying no.”
      What do you mean by obligation? When are you obliged to do something for somebody else?
      Would you agree with the statement:
      “When you turn down your partner’s request for sex you are under no obligation to explain your reasons for saying no. If someone clearly turns you down, then that should be the end of the story.”?
      “Just think practically for a moment. It’s extremely unlikely that you will get her to change her mind.”
      I think this is the more important reason, self-interest.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Maybe I’m just splitting hairs, but I think there is a real difference between asking an existing sex partner for sex and asking someone you don’t know very well for a date. If there’s a sexual relationship already going on, then I think you do have a right to request more information about where your partner is coming from, and you have a right to request a conversation at some point about improving your sex life. I think that’s quite different from, for example, demanding your co-worker explain more fully _why_ she turned you down for a date.

        In either case, anyone has the right to say no without any more explanation. Saying no to your partner and refusing to talk about it at all, ever, is pretty inconsiderate and just plain bad for the relationship. But, it’s still that person’s right.

        What obligations do we have for other people? I tend to be a pretty extreme individualist, and I think the individual should have absolute sovereignty over himself/herself. I know I’m a pretty extreme outlier when it comes to this. I prefer to have giant, boldfaced boundaries between me and other people, and I like to think I allow other people the same space. So, as far as I’m concerned, a clear “no” when she means “no” is all my rejector is obligated to give me. The rest is my problem, or my choice for how to deal with it.

        • wellokaythen:
          ” If there’s a sexual relationship already going on, then I think you do have a right to request more information about where your partner is coming from, and you have a right to request a conversation at some point about improving your sex life.”
          Where does this right come from? How can I have sex with somebody and not grant them this right?
          “Saying no to your partner and refusing to talk about it at all, ever, is pretty inconsiderate and just plain bad for the relationship.”
          What is the difference to rejecting an enamored friend? Isn’t it inconsiderate to just say no to them? Isn’t it bad to the relationship with an enamored coworker if one refuses to talk to them about something that important about your mutual relationship?
          “So, as far as I’m concerned, a clear “no” when she means “no” is all my rejector is obligated to give me. The rest is my problem, or my choice for how to deal with it.”
          I agree with you, but I don’t think that this mature attitude is common. The thing is you don’t see people dealing poorly with rejection until they believe they are missing something fundamental. It seems to me that considering yourself unattractive and having a whole lot of experience in being rejected, helps in coping with rejection on ones own.

    • Lucy Montrose says:

      But that’s exactly my point: the messages we get from society and the media speak of grave consequences if we fail to get chosen for relationships. Moreover, in The Secretlike fashion, it’s made out to be totally, personally our fault if others’ free choice is not in our favor. This is a veritable prescription for taking every polite “no” as deeply personal and worldshattering.

      All this pressure to succeed with people is amplifying the pain and making any boundary problem we might have, much worse. Who is going to care about someone else’s personal space when they’re in the grips of an overwhelming fear for their own health, future and even employability?

      It is well-documented that fear overrides the higher-thinking functions of the brain. Seriously … if we want healthy boundaries, they need to STFU with the scary relationship messages.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I agree, the pressure to be in a “true love relationship” is relentless, maybe in America more than anywhere else.

        I guess my next question is, why are some people able to ignore these messages more easily than other people? This “couples culture” drives some insane and others pay almost no attention to it. So, how can we be more like the people unaffected by it?

        • Lucy Montrose says:

          I’m not sure I’m the best person to give advice on how to be less affected by this pressure. Primarily because I totally conflated this pressure with career concerns. And that means that relationship pressure has gotten under my skin in a way I’ve found particularly hard to shake.

          I have been worried that, in this hiring environment that seems to be the Hunger Games of likeability… (thank you Jessica Valenti for putting my frustration into eloquent words) every lifestyle choice I’ve made in my life would be put on trial every time I went looking for a new job. Particularly if my choices were insufficiently social for a prospective employer.

          I never used to be ashamed of my life before I became aware of the new rules of boss “dating” job hunting.

          I have feared I would be disadvantaged for A) not playing team sports when I was younger; B) not being married or coupled, C) not being on Facebook, D) not having enough friends for my employer’s personal sociability template. You may have five great friends who love you very much. All well and good. What if your boss thinks ten is the minimum standard?

          I confess to being guilty of the same fear I frequently criticize. I have worried about relationships as “proof” I’m a good, OK, emotionally healthy and sociable person. Hell, I worry about my doctor deciding that if I should ever find myself single, I now have a health risk factor, thank you pop health trumpeting the salubrious effects of love and sex.

          And therefore I have gotten a unique perspective on what makes some people so desperate. With all this weight on one side, I can see where boundaries are, at best, a nasty little inconvenience to the relationally anxious. Those evil boundaries are keeping me from true happiness and optimum health! Don’t you know humans are social creatures? Everybody says so! How dare you expect me to honor boundaries– that would be supporting that which tears me apart! Enthusiastic consent? That’s just too chancy and unreliable…

          I believe I am far from the only one who worries about this. Especially regarding the workplace. Because what’s the use of learning new skills and working hard for a career, if it all comes down to whether the boss thinks you’re a good fit? You’d technically be better off binge drinking (because of among other things, the Silicon Valley brogrammer booze culture, which makes drinking feel awfully compulsory), or reading up on your boss’ favorite hobby, and then copycatting them on it. Because, you know, similarity makes you relate better. Really disincentivizes learning for the love of it.

          And I say all this as a person who actually IS coupled. Happily. To a wonderful feminist, progressive, and dare I say it, nice man.

          Anxiety over sex strikes me as a little pedestrian next to anxiety about the workplace, thank you very much. Hook-ups may come and go, but working a job that really stimulates you, gives you meaning, makes you grow– which not too many Americans can say they work in today– gives you dividends that pay off for years to come. That is, if the corporate culture around that job thinks you’re fit enough for it.

          • Your comment here and earlier comments resonate with me. I’m not sure about your feeling, but I don’t really buy into the idea that being in a relationship or having great romantic (or career) prospects defines me in any significant way, but practically speaking I much prefer to have many options. However, knowing that so many others see me through the lens of my attractiveness as a romantic partner or an employee does give me pause. In other words, I choose not to define myself by my results in these areas, but I know many people do, and this annoys and worries me.

            One thing I take issue with. Perhaps I misunderstand your last paragraph, but It seems to me that your anxiety and the means you contemplate to relieve that anxiety regarding your employability mirrors the sentiments many men have expressed here regarding their datability or f—kability. For you, a person in a relationship you apparently value, getting the thing you already have an ample supply of seems “pedestrian”. Could you see that a person who is quite successfully employed but lonely might find your career preoccupation “pedestrian” compared to his or her romantic challenges? And aren’t your considered options, like aping the bosses interests, similar to the overly calculated recipe following approach some men want explained to them in this thread or any thread that relates to men’s dating and relationship challenges?

            Maybe you’re just stating your priorities (work first) but it seems more like you’re discounting the feelings men here have shared by claiming that your concerns are more significant.

            • Lucy Montrose says:

              Good points, especially putting the two types of anxieties on equal footing side-by-side. I can see where I might sound both self-focused and like a “career TFLer “. But the fact remains that as long as we have friendship and some community, or we’re happy being alone, we CAN live without romantic love. We cannot live without making a living.

              I brought up binge drinking and aping the boss’ interests to be snarky. Because my “what’s the use?” sentiment is very real. No wonder our economy is in trouble of that’s the way people get hired now.
              This emphasis on “fit” goes well beyond just getting along with people and being friendly.

            • You’re right that one needs some way to make a living. I’d say that a bad romantic relationship isn’t worth the effort, but an unrewarding job typically is, at least until a better one can be found.

              In either case, arriving at “what’s the use” can be very painful. Maybe all one can hope for is that “what’s the use” is an existential question, the answer for which is within our control.

  6. Lucy.
    Deep down men feel that they are the class of people that are not allowed to set their own standards in sex or love. Mainly because it might hurt women if we do. There is little space for Me, as a person, there only space for me the performer

    We should respect each other! But only if She sets the terms for what respect is.
    We should look for equality in a relationship! Yet I always feel like I neeed to perform like a traditional man when she likes it and she can remove herself from whatever role that she doesn’t.
    The sex need to be good! But it only need to be for her. Or she is the only one that can say what good sex is.

    Women, as a cultural class, can judge. We as men cannot. Women say what a man is supposed to be: What a REAL man is supposed to do. These feelings of being judged have made me feel like the only thing a man can inevitably do is to fail. I am constantly on the brink of being a: monster, creep, weakling a weirdo. This has made me feel like I am isolated from other men. We can’t talk about this with each other. We can’t set our own standards. Make up our own ideal women or at least the skeleton of a woman that Does Not Hurt Men In General. Because if we do the ghost of patriarchy comes up or the “old boys club”

    A lot of times it feels like women only uses us as accessories. If the old cliché is that we men use women as a wet hole. Then women use us as a Ken doll Which have two ways of being: perfect or defective. We can be dressed up as the adventurer, the rocker, the brave and the bold. But if we start to become just a little three dimensional we are suddenly defective. It feels like we never are allowed to be who we are.

    The thing that really hurts is the lie about our choices. Who we chose as a partner is linked to the culture. But we only ever talk about who or what I choose. Do I like women that are promiscuous? Do I have sex with women on their periods? Do I listen to what she says?
    Whenever she has made a choice we can’t question it.

    Basically whatever she does or thinks about a man is OK because that is protected behind her being a Person. I he does or thinks something about a woman that need to be reviewed and looked at, because he have no barrier between himself and the greater culture around himself.
    This explains why women can write about the “end of eligible men”. And men are not allowed to say the same thing back. This is probably the reason why a lot of guys seem to become more and more discontent. We all say that the dating world is becoming more equal. But we guys just can’t see it from our end.

    Sorry for the long post.

    • You, sir, just held up a mirror to my feelings.
      I’d give this post 13 stars on a 10-star scale.

    • Very accurate and beautifully stated, Nistan. Whenever I hear “Where are all the good men these days?” I always want to ask “What have you done to deserve one?” The notion that men might have standards is flat-out laughable and totally unacceptable in today’s society.

  7. “Why do men take it as a personal judgment when they’re turned down? Because ALL of us, men and women, are getting the message every day from society, media, and especially pop health and pop psychology,…
    Is it that hard to imagine that people have an inherent need to be loved and desired? Your romantic and your sexual identity are an important part of your persona, if nobody desires those sides, you are not complete as a person. This sounds kind of mean, but I think that mot people who were never sexually or romantically validated, feel this hole. And our pretending they don’t lack anything doesn’t acomplish anything but further invalidate their basic human needs.

    • Lucy Montrose says:

      The need to be loved is probably the only basic need that, at the end of the day, we have little control over. That is the sad part: that we are so dependent on something ultimately so unreliable. We cannot “behave” our way to the relationships we want, and we cannot make ourselves into someone another person loves. Besides, even if our performance of femininity or our best PUA skills actually did get is the date, what does that say? That they got attracted to us because we were willing to spend money and act like a stereotype. Kind of a hollow victory.

      Does anyone else think it’s fucked up that something we can do very little about is held up as something we must have? That’s where pop health and pop psych need to STFU. We already have enough to deal with this fundamental flaw of humanity without the media making of worse.

      • Lucy Montrose
        “Does anyone else think it’s fucked up that something we can do very little about is held up as something we must have?”
        Your choice of words “held up as something we must have”, implies doubt if we actually must have romantic and sexual success. But if we agree that it is an essential need to be loved and desired, then we are not far from ” we must have romantic and sexual validation”.
        I agree with you, that it is problematic and sometimes outright wrong to tell somebody what they emotionally need or must have, but in this case even if society wouldn’t prescribe romantic and sexual success for everybody, most people would still feel a primal need for these things and would take a lack of validation in these areas as a personal judgement.
        The world is imperfect.

      • You are absolutely right BUT the grievance of men is why are men worse off in this realm of life?

        I dont think men have a right to expect a change in womens preferences. But why cant they even try to understand the reasons behind this phenomenon?

        Do you agree that men have it worse than women?

        • Keith,
          I don’t understand your point. What do you mean by “men are worse off”? Some men are worse off than some women, but also some men are better off than some women. Now we could compare the group of all men with the group of all women, but neither men nor women think or act as a goup. So why should anybody care about the comparison of groups?


          • So why should anybody care about the comparison of groups?

            Because they think that by having it established that their group suffers more it shows that they should get help first or perhaps even show that the other group shouldn’t get any help at all.

            I’ve seen this too many times with women that quite literally cannot talk about men and body image issues without declaring that “women have it worse” (which is funny because the fact that men commit suicide way more often than women seems to slip their minds when talking about suicide).

            What gets real hairy is when people call themselves trying to put the “who has it worse” argument aside to focus on the actual topic. They do so by saying it doesn’t matter who has it worse, but for the record their group actually does have it worse. People like that don’t want to end the “who has it worse” argument because the topic is more important than the numbers. People like that just want others to stop disagreeing with them.

            They claim to be saying, “Come on folks it doesn’t matter who has it worse, let’s get to gether and work on this.”

            What they are actually saying is, “Would you all stop disagreeing with me when I say my group has it worse?”

            Also be on the look out for use of the term Oppression Olympics.

  8. Why do women forget that they have BOTH OPTIONS ?

    They can expect to be approached by men
    AND They can approach men themselves AS WELL !

    Women are so blinded by their perspective, its nauseating.

    • Well, so do men. If women have the option to approach, then men, by definition, have the option to be approached. You may reply that, if men waited to be approached, they’d be waiting forever, but then…that’s exactly what many women are doing, as we speak. Taking the passive position in the exchange is no more a bed of roses than taking the active position. Both suck, for different reasons.

      That nausea may be caused by your own perspective problem.

  9. Maybe, just maybe, men make a big deal out of rejection because it IS a big deal. It’s a direct shot to our very humanity, a body blow to the soul. Again I see the cluelessness that accompanies female privilege; they get to worry about the QUALITY of sexual attention they will choose from. They don’t have to worry about being flat-out rejected dozens or even hundreds of times in a row, winding up with NO prospect of ANY contact whatsoever. For them, it’s a question of standards; for us, it’s whether we’ll find a scrap of food or continue to starve to death.

    M3’s recent article was brutally, even painfully honest, about the male experience as a good man who did as he was taught and paid the price. Take the time to read it all the way through–don’t just skim over it looking for anger and stripper references. Read the parts about despair, betrayal, and even a brush with suicidal thoughts. THAT’s the male experience with rejection. That’s a real story from a real man.

    http://whoism3.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/confessions-of-a-reformed-incel/

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      Again I see the cluelessness that accompanies female privilege; they get to worry about the QUALITY of sexual attention they will choose from. They don’t have to worry about being flat-out rejected dozens or even hundreds of times in a row, winding up with NO prospect of ANY contact whatsoever. For them, it’s a question of standards; for us, it’s whether we’ll find a scrap of food or continue to starve to death.

      Exactly.

      To quote male feminist Hugo Schwyzer, “privilege is invisible to those who possess it.”

      • Do you think it would be better for men to zero in on a few women they really like, rather than approaching so many?

        • Alice,

          “Do you think it would be better for men to zero in on a few women they really like, rather than approaching so many?”

          Men start out doing this. but after a lot of faliures they change their MO. it’s not like they start out hitting on everything that moves. They are forced to think in grey. meaning they start to screen for whats positive and dateable in a woman. While women screen for negatives

        • This is not a luxury men have. Let’s say you do this, and all the women you’ve spent time getting to know and see if you click with all say no. You’re now out a great deal of time and effort with nothing to show for it. You spent 6 months on 4 women and it was all no. For men, dating is largely a numbers game. We do not have the luxury of taking this sort of approach. If a man wants to be dating, potentially finding a relationship, and, yes, getting laid, he MUST pursue many different options.

          The key difference between men and women in dating is for women there is an excess of options and for men there is a scarcity of options.

          • You know, I’d like to see attribution for this claim, which I see so often, that “for women there is an excess of options and for men there is a scarcity of options.” Prove it.

            I’m a reasonably attractive woman, I’ve been single for a decade, and in that time I have not once been approached for a date, or even just for sex. Most average women, despite your beliefs, do NOT live in a world of unlimited options. We live with involuntary celibacy just like men do. I’m not going to try to say that we deal with it better, or don’t complain about it, or don’t blame others for our situation, because I don’t know what other women do, and am not going to make unsupported claims about them. I do know, however, that I, personally, have not been approached, have made approaches and been rejected by men I though interesting, and have even been rejected by men that I *didn’t* approach and had no intention of approaching (I’m sure you’ve seen this – the women who give you the side-eye as soon as you enter the room, before you even have a chance the *think* about approaching them.)

            Yes, your experiences are painful and soul-killing, but don’t you try to tell me that my experiences, and the experiences of other women, are non-existent because you, personally, or men in general, aren’t the one(s) having them.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              You know, I’d like to see attribution for this claim, which I see so often, that “for women there is an excess of options and for men there is a scarcity of options.” Prove it.

              http://jonmillward.com/blog/attraction-dating/cupid-on-trial-a-4-month-online-dating-experiment/

              The most physically unattractive woman got about as many messages as the most physically attractive man. And for attractive women, they received an abundance of messages.

              At least in the world of online dating, there certainly isn’t a dearth of options for women.

              I’m sure this translates into the dating marketplace in real life as well.

              I’m a reasonably attractive woman, I’ve been single for a decade, and in that time I have not once been approached for a date, or even just for sex.

              Interesting…

              I am curious as to what your everyday routine is like. Perhaps you haven’t been in enough social situations. Because from what I’ve observed, as long as an attractive woman places herself in enough social situations, she is bound to have opportunities.

              Although I don’t want to pry into your personal life.

              We live with involuntary celibacy just like men do.

              Yeah, I get that. If anything, pop culture tends to focus more on female involuntary celibacy than male celibacy. Think of Ms. Krabappel or Selma Bouvier from The Simpsons.

              But I believe that incel takes a greater toll on men, by virtue of the fact that they tend to have higher sex drives.

            • I do have a fair amount of social exposure, though it is sporadic (and rather spectacularly nerdy, which is a whole other issue.) I’m inclined to think you are right, though, that celibacy, at least from a sexual standpoint, may be harder on men than on women. But, that just leads me back to my contention that its fundamentally ridiculous to try to compare romantic war wounds, because we’re fighting different battles.

              When (and, I’m not proposing this as a universal truth, or anything) you have men looking for a sexual connection first and a psychological/emotional connection second (based purely on the posts in this thread, that seem to be mostly about how hard it is for men to get laid, as compared to women) and on the other hand, women looking for a psychological/emotional connection followed by sex (which is just as flimsy a generalization as that about men), then men crying “women can get laid easier!” and women crying “men can find a relationship more easily!” looks pretty silly. What does it matter to you if I can get more of something I don’t want? What does it matter to me if you else can get more of something you don’t want?

              Yeah, I know…in reality, you do want a psychological/emotional relationship, and I do want sex. But, telling me that the fact that I can (purportedly) go out and find someone to have sex with me any night of the week, regardless of what I look like, is meaningless if that’s not what I’m looking for. Its basically blaming women for the fact that men have no standards, when in fact men, as a class, do have standards, and women, as a class, don’t actually have it as easy as some men seem to think.

              And, to throw in the kitchen sink, yes, *people* are dishonest about what they want in a partner. Both sexes tailor their published list of “wants” to present the best possible image to their target audience. They may say, “looks don’t matter,” but what they mean may be more along the lines of “I don’t have a specific ‘type’ in mind'” or possibly, “I’m just cool, that way, but really, you needn’t apply if you don’t look like a Calvin Klein model.” Of course, looks matter! They just don’t always matter in the way one might think they matter. That’s why Jeff Goldblum, Edward James Olmos, and the last three incarnations of the Doctor are dead sexy, while Channing Tatum (or is it Tatum Channing?) and George Clooney are just nice enough looking guys, but nothing special. In my opinion. End digression.

            • But men can’t find a relationship more easily. This is the sort of centrist stuff you hear in politics where “both sides are equal” and it simply isn’t true. Women have a far easier time getting into a relationship AND a far easier time getting laid. It all comes from the fact that men are going and applying for the job of boyfriend/lover and women sit there and either say “Yes, you’re good” or they say, “No. NEXT!”

            • How many men have you gone up to and said “I want to have sex with you, no strings attached. I just want to have sex and leave when it is finished. You don’t have to call me, you don’t have to buy me anything. I want to have sex and never see you again” and then been turned down? It’s telling you say you approached guys you thought were “interesting” and not that you approached guys you wanted to have sex with and asked if they wanted to have sex.

              Your celibacy is not voluntary.

            • By that standard, you’re telling me you can’t even get a hooker to have sex with you, in which case, Yes, you clearly have it worse than anyone else.

              Do you really want to argue that in order to have your celibacy be involuntary, you have to have absolutely NO standards? Have you tried a horny 80 year old? Have you tried men? If not, then yours isn’t involuntary, either.

            • You are suggesting a heterosexual man can pay for a prostitute/escort (an illegal act that risks arrest and legal action), try to have sex with an elderly woman, or have a homosexual relationship just for the sake of having sex.

              You think this is exactly the same a heterosexual woman having the ability to walk up to a man roughly around her age, and tell him she wants to have sex and just sex where no money changes hands and have that work the majority of the time?

              If you cannot see how this isn’t even close to being the same not only are you unable to understand what men go through, you also don’t want to understand what men go through.

            • Yes, that is in fact what we’re saying, Jam. You can afford to have standards, a level you will not stoop to in order to get intimate contact; many, many men cannot.

              As M3’s article points out, we’ll believe women have it ‘just as bad’ when we see a thriving male-prostitute and male-escort industry (for hetero women clients) that rivals the size of the female version.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              we’ll believe women have it ‘just as bad’ when we see a thriving male-prostitute and male-escort industry (for hetero women clients) that rivals the size of the female version.

              Yes!

              There are countless books, articles, PUA’s, etc, all designed for teaching men how to win women over.

              How many female equivalents of that are there? Sure, there are some people like Susan Walsh of Hooking Up Smart, but they probably pale in comparison to the number of gurus and dating coaches geared towards men.

            • I don’t think that particular parity is ever going to happen. Women appear to be less stressed by lack of sexual opportunities (if this board is anything to go by) and aren’t likely to create enough demand to make such an industry economically feasible. But, its ridiculous to blame Women, or individual women, for something that is basically a biological fact. I’m perfectly happy to admit that it may be harder for men, but “harder for men” doesn’t imply “easy for women.” It’s not women’s fault if men (reputedly) have lower standards, for instance. I’m not saying it’s men’s fault, either, you are what your biology makes you, just like I am. I’m saying it’s no one’s fault that men and women are different, and to blame either side is pointless. And, to insiste that ONLY your side has problems is also pointless.

            • From what you’ve stated, you’re an older women. Mid 40’s? The tables start to turn later on into something more equitable, but I’m in my 20’s and of my female friends, and I have many, the vast majority of them get chatted up EVERY time they go out to a bar and even very often in places like the supermarket, home depot, etc. Granted, most of them are pretty attractive but still, they get dozens of guys trying to get their number every single week.

              Sure, women may not get approached as much when they’re older and I won’t say that you have been approached, but I know without any doubt that in their 20’s and early 30’s, women get approached ALL the time and could have a date every single night if they were so inclined. We just need to compare the HUNDREDS of messages women get on dating sites to the ZERO messages that men generally get on dating sites. I’ve been on a dating site for over a year and I have received a grand total of 2 messages. That’s it.

    • I’ve been saying the same thing for a time now, that Women misrepresent their preferences in men which causes a great deal of confusion.

      If you survey 1 million women today, asking them what they want in a man, the overwhelming majority of them will say “I want a nice guy, who treats me with respect, listens to me and so on”…..No mention of appearance, height, build, face or sexual prowess. Infact they will even go on to assert that those things arent important.

      Boys grow up listening to the same B.S only to slowly and painfully realize through observation and experience, that nothing can be further from the truth. I think men atleast deserve to live in a society that doesn’t lie to them. The truth, no matter how bitter, is much better than confusion.

    • Thank you so much for posting that. It was like staring into my future on my current trajectory. I think that may be the thing that pushes me to abandon the useless “be the good guy” approach that I’ve been trying and stop taking advice from women on women and start taking advice on women from men pulling tons of women. I do not want that fate, and it is the fate I’ve had so far. I will say that I’m looking really good these days, now all I need to do is stop worrying about what women will think if I hit on them and start hitting on them. I should have today on the subway when this gorgeous girl kept looking at me and smiling.

      • Colin bro, don’t even take advice from women on dating. My wife has two younger brothers and three older sisters so the brothers grew up getting all kinds of advice on how to treat women from their four older sisters. Predictably they lead miserable dating lives while their a-hole friends do great.

        My wife has said on more than one occasion that they totally told their brothers all the wrong things when it comes to dating and women (respect them, listen to them, care about what they have to say, compliment them, etc..). She knows it was all terrible advice and regrets it.

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          Predictably they lead miserable dating lives while their a-hole friends do great.

          Yeah, I was likewise raised in a liberal household that instilled in me feminist values. Don’t objectify women, treat them with respect, love them, not just make love, blah blah blah.

          There have been times in the past when I was bantering with a cute girl, and I was afraid to compliment her on her looks because I didn’t want to be seen as “objectifying” her. Meanwhile, my more outgoing Latino friend (who didn’t come from a feminist upbringing) openly and confidently complimented the legs of a girl wearing a miniskirt, and he got a great response for it.

          So yeah, I think most dating advice that women give men is worthless. I’m not saying it’s maliciousness on the part of those women. Their hearts are probably in the right place.

          They’re just too idealistic or naive.

        • Thing is, I don’t even blame women for giving bad dating advice. I don’t think they’re lying; I think, like all of us, they get programmed by our culture to simply ‘say’ certain things and even believe them, in all sincerity, despite the fact that it’s crap.

          “Just be yourself,” “Confidence comes from within,” “Women don’t care about looks or status,” “We just want a sweet, funny, considerate guy”… they’re not lying. They’re not telling the truth either, but they’re not deliberately lying. Such advice is useless, but I can’t believe that it’s malicious.


          • I don’t think they’re lying; I think, like all of us, they get programmed by our culture to simply ‘say’ certain things and even believe them, in all sincerity, despite the fact that it’s crap.

            As in asking how can men know what women want when women don’t know what women want (for reasons that are at least partly beyond their control)?

  10. This discussion reminds me of an experience I once had. I’d just started dating a woman who’d recently broken off a long-term relationship. I’d been suffering through one of my many prolonged dry spells. She and I were casual acquaintances at work and I’d been hoping for a while for an opportunity to get to know her better, so I was very happy when she agreed to go out with me.

    One night, after we’d been dating for a couple of weeks, we went back to my place and started getting romantic. We hadn’t had sex yet and she started moving things in that direction, but I didn’t feel ready and I told her so. She gave me a shocked look, then jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom to throw up. I was stunned. When she came back, I asked her what happened and she told me, “No one’s ever told me ‘no’ before.”

    If I’d thrown up every time a woman told me “no” my health would’ve been seriously impaired a long time ago. So yeah, I think the weight of the rejection dynamic tends to land quite a bit heavier on the male side of the equation, and I’m not convinced most women really understand what that can be like for a man when it goes on for years and years and years.

  11. Bay Area Guy says:

    Wow, that was a very painful account of involuntary celibacy.

    From now on, every time I hear a woman complain about how the quality of casual sex didn’t leave her satisfied, and tries to equate that with being an incel, I’m going to have to suppress the urge to vomit in disgust.

  12. wellokaythen says:

    Women are mean and make me feel bad about myself. Boo, women!

    Seriously, though, If you go into dating with the assumption that the universe *owes* you dates or sex or a relationship, then you’re going to set yourself up for a lot anger spilling out all over the place. The message “there’s someone out there for everyone” very easily morphs into “why aren’t you giving me what I want?” Add to that the pressure of getting everything done immediately and winning the race to get the most by the time you die, and it’s no wonder people go ballistic. When you put enormous energy into an outcome you have very little control over, you are setting yourself up to be basically a martyr to your own expectations.

    The myth is that everyone is supposed to be in a couple and can only be fulfilled if part of a couple, and that’s the biggest, most destructive myth of all. This blind faith is what drives people crazy and causes “gender wars” over relationship roles in the first place. It’s what inspires people to engage in this recurring conversation about men and women:

    A: “Your side is mean and exploitative.”
    B: “Yeah, well you started it.”
    A: ”Stop complaining.”
    B: “No, you stop complaining.”
    A: “Asshole.”
    B: “Bitch.”

    So, that’s not very helpful. (I know what some of you are thinking – why is he taking THEIR side in all this? Whose side is he on? Doesn’t he understand the reality of what life is like for us? And, how dare this guy ignore the millions of people in category C. What about C’s pain?)

    • You mention something that I think is of primary importance, in navigating the current dating milieu – outcome independence. Its taken me a long time to get to this point, but I’ve finally realised that the only healthy way to approach the dating game is to go into it with no attachment to an outcome. I can ask a guy out for coffee, or a meal, and maybe we click, or more likely we don’t, but either way, its fine. Eventually (I hope), I’ll meet one and the spark will be there, but until then, I’ve met some genuinely nice men, learned a bit about myself, and even gained a couple platonic friends with whom, though we aren’t romantically interested in one another, I have some common interests.

      For me, this works, and I think its because A) I select men who I know are interested in dating (or else, why would they be on Craigslist?), B) I am very clear about qualities I’m looking for and don’t ask out those respondents who don’t meet my criteria (which don’t include fuzzy things like “nice”, or value judgments like “fit”), and C) when I ask someone out, state clearly that this is a no-fault meeting with a time limit. The time limit is so we don’t get stuck in an open-ended situation with someone we really don’t like, but is not a hard limit, should we be enjoying the conversation. At the end, we go home, and decide whether we want to meet again. If either party say “No,” then that’s the end of it (that’s the no-fault part.) But, this only works if both parties are outcome-independent, and can walk away without hurt feelings if they other person isn’t interested.

      I used to feel diminished by rejection, because I would become attached to the idea of a relationship with someone before even asking them out, so each “no” was like a little heartbreak. Now, I’ve learned to postpone attachment until there’s someone who wants to be attached to, and and I’m much happier!

      • jam-today:
        “I used to feel diminished by rejection, because I would become attached to the idea of a relationship with someone before even asking them out, so each “no” was like a little heartbreak. Now, I’ve learned to postpone attachment until there’s someone who wants to be attached to, and and I’m much happier!”
        Sometimes people fall in love with their friends, then your way is no longer feasible.

        • I have never had the experience of suddenly falling for a long-time friend, so I can’t speak to that. I have had the experience of falling for relatively new friends, and have managed to work through the “I must have him!” stage, when it was clear that he wasn’t interested in anything more, and come out the other side, still friends. It works just fine, because the love is there whether the relationship is romantic or platonic: its the lust that makes things wonky, and that can be set aside, if necessary. It’s not fun, but it can be done.

      • Lucy Montrose says:

        The principle of non-attachment would work great for coupling up as well as friendship, with one glaring exception: raising children. That pretty much does require the people who want to be parents stay attached for long periods of time.

        One reason it’s been easier for me to deal with romantic frustration is because I happily ignore my biological clock. Yes, the drive to have kids does kind of put urgency and even desperation into one’s pursuit of sex and coupledom. I’ve always said to myself that raising children is the one thing that throws a monkey wrench into everything: egalitarian partnerships, time spent doing housework, and of course whether or not someone can afford, emotionally, to practice non-attachment. But then again, I think that as a staunch childfree; I applaud Amy Richards and others who act as examples of how to raise kids without slipped into default gender stereotypes.

        In fact, I think non-attachment will profoundly change family life and composition, a lot more so than marriages of the same sex. Because enthusiastic consent is so important, romantic and sexual relationships will take longer to form and develop. Which means that, because of the finite time we have to reproduce, a lot more creativity is required in raising children.
        I foresee single parenthood and extended family parenting jumping relative to today, as well as a lot fewer kids being raised by their bio-parents in general. A lot more adoption. These will all be great trends if we do them right. We will have the chance to really have love and family relationships governed by love and true choice, rather than obligation and Hobson’s choices.

        Which means, of course, that we have to really build up our social safety nets. Especially in red states, where they have been deliberately thinned in order to promote the nuclear family. The same nuclear family that makes so many of us feel romantically inadequate and puts pressure on us to bust boundaries… hey, time’s running out when you want to have kids, and since boundaries delay our progress there, they are evil.

        Enthusiastic consent can be tough to do, despite the “enthusiasm” involved. It requires a lot more “waiting and seeing” on our part for the other person’s response than we’d like. It requires, in a way, that we cede even more control of our lives to other people than already has been.
        And that may be one reason why some otherwise reasonable people have a problem with it. It feels like self-imposed paralysis and inaction, and life is short and nobody likes to spend it waiting, often for something that may never come.

        So yes, in a world of enthusiastic consent we may end up having less sex altogether. But we’d be trading quantity for quality.

    • wellokaythen
      “The myth is that everyone is supposed to be in a couple and can only be fulfilled if part of a couple, and that’s the biggest, most destructive myth of all.
      This is indeed a myth, but it is also a strawman. The actual statement relevant to this discussion would be:
      “Many people suffer if their needs for emotional and physical intimacy aren’t met.”
      I would say this is true even if we replace “many” with “most”.
      “This blind faith is what drives people crazy and causes “gender wars” over relationship roles in the first place.”
      The “gender wars” are caused by the gendered dating script and the gendered expectations of society. The lignes of disagreement are between people with sympathy for the suffering of involuntarily lonely people and people who are bothered by this “whining”.
      “Seriously, though, If you go into dating with the assumption that the universe *owes* you dates or sex or a relationship, then you’re going to set yourself up for a lot anger spilling out all over the place.”
      The universe doesn’t owe you anything. It doesn’t owe you a working kidney, even though you need one to survive.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    When the object of your interest tells you, “I don’t want you,” she’s saying, “I don’t want YOU.” Not that she doesn’t want a relationship at this moment, or thinks men are icky. She’s saying she doesn’t want YOU, at this moment in this place.
    Hard not to take that personally. Unless you think she’s talking to the guy behind you or something. And she’d want you if you had what it takes to be wanted by her. And, since she’s a person who interests you, presumably there’s nothing about what she wants in a guy that seems horribleawful. What she wants in a guy is probably pretty normal. But you don’t have it. Whatever it is.

    Not going to be walking away whistling after that.

  14. I guess I must be “privilaged” as a female because the guys here say I am. Case closed.

    But I never felt anything close to “privilaged” when it came to anything concerning men. Maybe I would have felt that way if I was really beautiful with an amazing body. But I’m not and my experience hasn’t been anything cloes to that.

    I’ve been rejected. There are more then one way to be rejected. Rejection isn’t just a matter of a man approaching someone and being turned down. But perhaps those experiences are just worth less then the things men go through. I guess my experiences as a female just aren’t worthy of being considered because compared to men, clearly men suffer more in trying to engage with women then women suffer when they try to engage with men…except….except maybe that’s not true at all and we all got our trials out there. But if men say I have privilage then I must. That must be the end of the story and the only story out there.

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      Rejection isn’t just a matter of a man approaching someone and being turned down.

      Yes, and I’ve heard female commenters say that being ignored or overlooked is their equivalent of being rejected.

      However, even if that’s true, then men suffer even more of that kind of “rejection” than women do.

      • Firstly, you dismiss being overlooked or ignored because it doesn’t fit into your own personal idea of what rejection means. The thing is, everyone defines rejections differently. Who are you to say that only your idea of rejection is the correct one?

        Secondly, I’m not talking about being ignored or overlooked. Although that has happened to me plenty when out with one of my friends that is very beautiful. She one time was stopped on the street and asked to model for Ralph Lauren. When I’ve gone out with her, the men gravitated toward her and didn’t say anything much to me. But, rejection simply doesn’t just happen through being overlooked or ignored.

        • Erin:
          Would you like to elaborate on your view of rejection?
          I’d be interested to hear about what it is, in these kind of situations, that desn’t include being overlooked or ignored.

        • Even if we accept your definition that being ignored is being rejected then men suffer even MORE rejection than women because men walk through the world completely and totally invisible. COMPLETELY.

    • I guess I must be “privilaged” as a female because the guys here say I am. Case closed.
      You wouldn’t believe how many claims of male privilege are defended with the same “because I said so” prooof.

      But I never felt anything close to “privilaged” when it came to anything concerning men. Maybe I would have felt that way if I was really beautiful with an amazing body. But I’m not and my experience hasn’t been anything cloes to that.
      And that’s the odd thing about privilege in the realm of gender. As a man I’m told that even when I don’t feel privilege it is still there (and the assertion is usually backed by nothing more than the recognition that I am male).

      I’m not trying to be snippy with you Erin I just saw this as a chance to point out just how out of hand claims of privilege can get.


      Rejection isn’t just a matter of a man approaching someone and being turned down.

      The odd thing about rejection is that it seems to change definition based on who is talking about it. I’ve seen some say that when a man chooses to not approach a particular woman it’s an act of rejection (and then go on to argue that this meant that it’s men, not women that are overly picky when it comes to dating/relationships/sex). But then turn around and refuse to extend that same courtesy the other way (meaning that when a woman chooses not to approach a particular man it is not an act of rejection).

      …except maybe that’s not true at all and we all got our trials out there.
      I think what you’re hearing and feeling is the frustration of men who have been told that by virtue of being male their trials are either nonexistent, aren’t as harsh as the trials that women go through, or some other minimizing thought process.

      In retaliation those frustrated guys are now firing back saying that it’s not men that don’t have any trials but instead women that are free of trials. Mind you I’m not saying that having one’s experiences minimized justifies striking back by minimizing in return but when one has their experiences minimized by people who specifically are speaking up because their own experiences are minimized I’m sure you can see how that frustration builds.

      • Danny: “You wouldn’t believe how many claims of male privilege are defended with the same “because I said so” prooof.”

        Then naturally, you should keep doing the same thing in return. I don’t really know what you want me to say other then this. Your defense is that because there have been claims that said you had “male privilege” as a man, that it’s naturally justifiable to do the same in return. There’s nothing more to be said then.

        Danny: “But I never felt anything close to “privilaged” when it came to anything concerning men. Maybe I would have felt that way if I was really beautiful with an amazing body. But I’m not and my experience hasn’t been anything cloes to that. ”

        Well unfortunetly, in both our own desires to be “heard”, neither oen of us really listening and infact are pretty closed off from listening to one another. You certainly don’t feel open to listening to me considering what you came back with and honestly, I don’t feel very open to listening to you because your response to my experiences was to talk about yourself. So not sure where to go from here. But that’s realistically what we are both doing.

        Danny: “And that’s the odd thing about privilege in the realm of gender. As a man I’m told that even when I don’t feel privilege it is still there (and the assertion is usually backed by nothing more than the recognition that I am male).”

        Then by all means, do the same to women in return.

        Danny: “I’m not trying to be snippy with you Erin I just saw this as a chance to point out just how out of hand claims of privilege can get.”

        That’s part of the problems with these conversations. All of us are so eager to point out our own experiences in an attempt to try and get the other side to understand but because we are so wrapped up in ourselves and our own issues, there isn’t much room to listen to the other. You thought the correct oppurtunity to talk about your experiences was to override my comments about mine. And I am guilty of the same behavior so again, there isn’t much more to say here. Neither one of us is open to really listening.

        Danny: “The odd thing about rejection is that it seems to change definition based on who is talking about it. ”

        That is why it’s not fair to say that because of your specific idea of rejection, someone else is unable to experience it ouside the lines of what you may have already designed. Those perimeters might be fine for *you* when you are defining how you receive rejection. But to force someone else to adopt that same defintion of rejection isn’t fair.

        Danny: “I’ve seen some say that when a man chooses to not approach a particular woman it’s an act of rejection (and then go on to argue that this meant that it’s men, not women that are overly picky when it comes to dating/relationships/sex). But then turn around and refuse to extend that same courtesy the other way (meaning that when a woman chooses not to approach a particular man it is not an act of rejection).”

        I’m not one that really agrees that all male behavior and female behavior are simply mirror images of one another. I think it’s because I tend to be more traditional. However, if a man is out with his friend and a woman comes over and focuses on a friend of his and not him, I totally think that can be rejection.

        Danny: “I think what you’re hearing and feeling is the frustration of men who have been told that by virtue of being male their trials are either nonexistent, aren’t as harsh as the trials that women go through, or some other minimizing thought process.”

        I think minimizing and frustration is actually happening from both sides and that men do not have this coined anymore then women do.

        Danny: “In retaliation those frustrated guys are now firing back saying that it’s not men that don’t have any trials but instead women that are free of trials. Mind you I’m not saying that having one’s experiences minimized justifies striking back by minimizing in return but when one has their experiences minimized by people who specifically are speaking up because their own experiences are minimized I’m sure you can see how that frustration builds.”

        I actually do think you are justifying it on some level. I think a lot of what you’ve talked about actually happens on both sides. And I think that’s hard for both men and women to remember.

        Read more at http://goodmenproject.com/comment-of-the-day/why-do-men-take-it-as-a-personal-judgment-when-theyre-turned-down/#eccU2sbmcXQBm568.99

        • Then naturally, you should keep doing the same thing in return. I don’t really know what you want me to say other then this. Your defense is that because there have been claims that said you had “male privilege” as a man, that it’s naturally justifiable to do the same in return. There’s nothing more to be said then.
          Actually I said that this was a chance to say how out of hand claims of privilege get. Not trying to say that its right. Just that it’s out of hand.

          Well unfortunetly, in both our own desires to be “heard”, neither oen of us really listening and infact are pretty closed off from listening to one another. You certainly don’t feel open to listening to me considering what you came back with and honestly, I don’t feel very open to listening to you because your response to my experiences was to talk about yourself. So not sure where to go from here. But that’s realistically what we are both doing.
          The hope was to try to relate to your experience and again, show how out of hand claims of privilege are.

          That’s part of the problems with these conversations. All of us are so eager to point out our own experiences in an attempt to try and get the other side to understand but because we are so wrapped up in ourselves and our own issues, there isn’t much room to listen to the other. You thought the correct oppurtunity to talk about your experiences was to override my comments about mine. And I am guilty of the same behavior so again, there isn’t much more to say here. Neither one of us is open to really listening.
          Not override. You have your experiences, I have mine.

          That is why it’s not fair to say that because of your specific idea of rejection, someone else is unable to experience it ouside the lines of what you may have already designed. Those perimeters might be fine for *you* when you are defining how you receive rejection. But to force someone else to adopt that same defintion of rejection isn’t fair.
          But I haven’t said that you as a woman are unable to experience rejection.

          I’m not one that really agrees that all male behavior and female behavior are simply mirror images of one another. I think it’s because I tend to be more traditional. However, if a man is out with his friend and a woman comes over and focuses on a friend of his and not him, I totally think that can be rejection.
          Oh I’ll agree that such a mirror effect will not always happen.

          I think minimizing and frustration is actually happening from both sides and that men do not have this coined anymore then women do.
          Agreed. I’m sure it’s coming from all sides. I was just specifically talking about the minimizing of your experiences that some guys are doing and the frustration that guys are aiming at you.

          I actually do think you are justifying it on some level.
          By chance what level do you mean here?

          I think a lot of what you’ve talked about actually happens on both sides. And I think that’s hard for both men and women to remember.
          Oh yes. When it comes to the gender discourse I think one thing that is hurting people on all sides is the existence of old wounds. These wounds don’t heal properly and they fester. Just like the way an infection prevents a wound from healing proper these old wounds become a major roadblock in the peaceful resolution that most of us want.

  15. Here’s a simple question: “With your current resources, appearance, lifestyle, etc. … COULD you manage to get laid tonight if your life depended on it? If standards and safety and relationships didn’t matter–if your life literally hung in the balance–COULD YOU get some action?”

    Women can always answer “yes.” Many men would be in fear of impending death in that scenario.

    • Not all women could answer “Yes.” You’re being dishonest, if you claim they could.

      That said, I will agree with you that, under those circumstances, it would be easier for women than for men. But, does it matter? That condition doesn’t prevail.

      Here’s a simple question: “With your current resources, appearance, lifestyle, etc. … COULD you manage to write your name in the snow using your urine flow if your life depended on it? If standards and safety and relationships didn’t matter–if your life literally hung in the balance–COULD YOU pee your name in the snow?”

      Men can (mostly) always answer “yes.” (Most) women would be in fear of impending death in that scenario.

      It’s a ridiculous hypothetical. Its like complaining that you can’t make orange juice out of apples, and blaming the apples for being uncooperative.

      • “But, does it matter? That condition doesn’t prevail.”

        Actually, it does matter, because that condition DOES prevail. Starving people tend to be kind of obsessive on the subject of food; women are telling men to quit pestering them for food all the time and talk about other things because food is ‘no big deal.’ But then, they’re not the ones starving, are they?

        Yes, it really is that simple and stark a contrast. Paris Hilton is lecturing the malnourished population of Rwanda on how dehumanized she feels when people keep coming up to her and begging for a scrap of food. That’s how men feel when we’re lectured by women on how inappropriate and unseemly our ‘sex obsession’ comes across them.

  16. Richard Aubrey says:

    When a guy does not approach a woman who is, logistically speaking, approachable–not saying anything about her mood or interests but just that she is someplace nearby and not otherwise occupied–there are plenty of reasons.
    He may be exclusive.
    He may be intimidated. This is a biggy.
    He may judge–see intimidated–that she doesn’t want to be approached.
    It could be that she doesn’t meet his standards.
    Point is, he’s not telling her the last. She has no idea.
    When she, on the other hand, tells him she’s not interested, she made it clear just exactly what the situation is. No ambiguity.

  17. Everyone gets rejected. It is a way of life. Some people get rejected more than others. Welcome to the real world. The world is not always fair and nice.

  18. Chicago-JSO says:

    Women love to claim that since they don’t just judge men on looks alone, but on “personality” they are less shallow than men. Wheather you believe this or not, the fact is that, thanks to pop culture, most men believe this . Therefore when a women rejects a man she’s not just saying he doesn’t look “hot” something that can be fixed with cosemtics and a few trips to the gym. Rather she is judging his “personality” or character and worthyness as a man; this is why men take rejection so personally. When a women rejects a man she’s not just saying you don’t look good, go fix your hair, she’s saying your not a worthy human being your “personality” is not attractive. No matter how you cut it, judging and rejecting someones entire personality (personality being made up of all of a mans experiences, feelings, oppinions, and ideas, basically everthing that makes him a unique individual) is far more personal than not liking their hair, or their figure.

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