Responding to the call from ‘nice guys’ for ethical pickup advice, Amanda Marcotte offers six tips for sustainable dating success.
Recently, Clarisse Thorn admirably tried to pick through the sewage strewn all over “pickup artist” (PUA) communities and find a handful of gems that could be plucked out and proffered to the socially awkward man who finds that he’s not getting laid as often as he’d like. (To which I say, who is?) Clarisse is less cynical than I am on this issue; I think the PUA mentality is too toxic to be polished into something non-misogynist. Even in its best forms, it’s still based on the sexist model of dating where women are selling and men are buying, an inherently sexist model that poisons even the occasional glimpses of common sense.
Still, Clarisse is right to say feminists haven’t really responded to the plaintive cries of self-described “nice guys” who claim they want non-sexist dating advice that works, but are forced to look to PUAs because there is no one else speaking to them. So, in the interest of good faith, I have concocted dating advice for men who swear up and down they are only drawn to misogynist PUA forums and seminars out of desperation and not sexism. Fair warning: this isn’t dating advice for everyone, but aimed at those who claim that they have to use tricks and traps to get laid, because they’re too socially awkward to get laid honestly.
Be generous about women’s motivations.
PUA communities spend a lot of time disparaging women with words like “shallow,” “gold-digger,” and “childish,” for having what they deem to be incorrect desires. But often, women’s choices make much more sense if you assume women date for fun and companionship, just as men do. If you don’t judge men for wanting sexiness, fun, and ego-boosting from women, then don’t judge women for wanting the same.
Believe that sex is not a battle.
The PUA model of dating is one where men are buying and women are selling, and therefore men’s job is to try to get as much sex out of women for as little a “price” as possible. This is not only sexist, but exhausting. You have more fun when your friends are having fun, right? Apply the same attitude towards dating, and you’ll become immediately hotter.
Make a list of traits you’re looking for in a woman.
This doesn’t have to be just for a long-term partner, though you might want different lists for different occasions. Be excruciatingly honest, even if it means writing down embarrassing things like “submissive” or “sexually inexperienced.” Physical characteristics are OK, but it’s more important to talk about stuff she can control, like her self-presentation. Be as specific as possible. If the ideal woman in your mind has a job in a creative profession and knows how to cook, write that down.