Thomas Pluck reflects on how economic security affects the dating game.
Maybe it was my early exposure to the Leisure Suit Larry games, but I’ve always found Pick-Up Artists to be kind of pathetic. I feel the same way about women who have tried to ‘vamp’ me to get what they want. I take it as a personal insult that it’s assumed that I can’t control my throbbing hormonal urges. In Katie J.M. Baker’s article in Dissent, she has a lot of fun skewering Pick-Up Artist ‘Roosh’ after his attempted sex tour of Denmark left him shot down in flames. Roosh blamed it on the country’s strong social safety net.
In Denmark, women get a year of maternity leave, and more if the father takes time off as well. You get university and health care paid by your taxes, and no one sees the need to marry for financial reasons. The taxes are the highest in the world, but they have low unemployment and steady economic growth. I visited Denmark several years ago. Like Vincent says in Pulp Fiction, it’s the little differences.
The country has a deep egalitarian streak, so much that as an American, I thought my waiters were slow. Actually it’s because people are more relaxed and there’s no tipping, so there’s no reason to rush and kiss my ass for an extra 5%. My fried eel arrived piping hot, and no one died. It’s a bit of a culture shock, being among people who aren’t terrified of losing their job, but things still get done. The trains were on time, and very clean and cheap. The roads were in good shape, and there were punks squatting in a building and rioting with the police who were trying to eject them. It’s not utopia, it’s reality.
According to his book Don’t Bang Denmark, Roost found the women very “unfeminine” because they didn’t see him as a possible financial benefactor. That really struck me, and it reminded me of the woman gifted with a hot body who thinks it entitles her to anything. When I wrote about engagement rings, a lot of guys liked when I said that men are “objectified as a breadwinner.” Many of us don’t like being looked at as Mister Moneybags, though apparently some do. I don’t see a problem with having pride in your career and ability to provide, but once you start thinking you deserve better treatment than everyone else, the temptation from the dark side gets stronger.
Just like the hot woman at the office who tries to baby-talk you into helping her move from a fifth floor walk up after suddenly acknowledging your existence, the successful guy who thinks his money clip should work like Funky Cold Medina and get him respect from strange women has an attitude problem. And it comes to light in countries like Denmark, where few citizens lose sleep over waking up without a job, or going hungry or homeless if they do lose their job. While there is certainly still a class system in Denmark, and plenty of billionaires poking their yachts around, the working class isn’t stressed out and on edge thanks to their safety net. And the effect on the dating pool is apparently profound.
Roosh’s alpha male schtick flops like the scam it is. He claims to have bedded an 18-year old to “save” his trip, which puts the so-called alpha on par with the old creep parking his Corvette outside the high school. There’s a sense of schadenfreude, there. Same as when the woman who can’t remember your name asks you to move her out of that apartment, and has to hire movers. Because they are furthering their own objectification. You can call this blaming the victim if you like, and perhaps it is. I don’t hate anyone because they are beautiful, or if they are successful. But I do hate if they’re a jerk, and think their looks or money makes up for it, or in fact matters more than how they treat other people. It goes to show how much of what we perceive as “the natural order” is an artificial construct imposed by our economics and culture.
–Photo Ran Yaniv Hartstein/Flickr