This post complements some stuff that came up in comments to Ozy’s post about objectification. The theme there was between the reception of catcalls vs. face-to-face conversation initiation. The theme here is about the difference between strong or repeated compliments and conversation initiation. –fl
Personal anecdote: When I was in fast-food management training many years ago we were taught during a section on dealing with job applications that unless you’re really desperate, if someone comes in and says “you’re not hiring are you” the answer should always be “no, we’re not.” The idea being that phrasing the question that way was a good hint that they didn’t think they were qualified, and whether it’s fair or not the instructor asked, who would be a better judge than the applicant him- or herself?
So a blogger I just stumbled across, the author of How to Date Little Miss Me Online, has an awesome title for a blog post: “She’s Not Out of Your League.”
The post addresses and eternal bubaboo of mine, the male worthiness trap, a manifestation of the bogus Two Rules of Desire that leads a lot of men to apologize, grovel, or otherwise dismiss themselves when they approach a woman they’ve decided is “out of my league.”
For instance a would-be suitor contacted Little Miss Me with the following message (converted from text-ese to standard writing)
“Heya! Alright! How are ya! Sorry to bother you but I had to message you. I do have to say you are, well, attractive. Sorry for the cheesy start. I don’t really know what to say. … How come you are single? I don’t believe you! LOL! Well, it would be great to hear from ya.”
She say she also gets notes like this:
Hey, you ok? I know you probably get loads of messages, some nice, some just plain weird, but I’m nice and normal!! I just think you are so, so beautiful, naturally pretty, gorgeous smile, and a genuine profile… absolute <em>princess!</em>
She quotes several others that follow the same patterns: you are so hot, how can you be single, you’re too good looking to be looking for dates online, you need someone better than me, even though you must be swamped with offers please, please, please give me a try, and so on.
She says, correctly I think, that while this approach superficially inflates her ego…
It’s true I am all those things, damn I fucking awesome! And you are just nice and normal? Perlease, I need someone better than that! See the point I’m getting at?…
Exactly! It’s all well and good to be admired from afar by someone who’s insisting he’s not someone you’d want to date… but he’s not someone you’d want to date! I mean, there are always exceptions to everything but for the most part people — women or men — don’t really want to go out with people who say all they ever want to do is worship them. For one thing it’s not true — they usually want something else and what they often want even more than sex or a relationship is status, affirmation, a self-esteem boost, or something else that the mere fact of her beauty isn’t going to give them. For another thing there’s the feet-of-clay business that follows the disappointed suitor’s inevitable discovery that beauty alone, like wealth alone, can’t satisfy insecurity or anxiety.
Anyway, she passes along a quote from another blogger (“Riff Dog the blogging king of online female seduction” according to her) that I think could easily be misconstrued by victims of the worthiness trap but which, when read and not just skimmed, hits the nail on the head.
“Not only does a dopey “OMG UR hawwwwwt!” message bore you and show no wit, it has an even worse consequence:
Subconsciously when a girl like you reads that, it’s the equivalent of you being head cheerleader and some dweeb saying, “Omygod she’s hot!” The guy has basically defined, with a single sentence, what the social strata is for each of you. The head cheerleader doesn’t date the dweeb. She’s dates the quarterback. The quarterback doesn’t say, “Omygod you’re so hot!” He might say “You look nice” or some other understated compliment, but he won’t gush.
I think a general rule of thumb for any messages a guy sends should be – Is this something the dweeb would say to the cheerleader? Or is this what the quarterback would say?”
Note that Riff Dog isn’t saying cheerleaders will automatically say yes because quarterbacks just automatically earn or deserve dates with cheerleaders (“entitlement”) or that they don’t have to gush because, hey, they’re quarterbacks (“hypergamy.”) In fact it’s the exact opposite. Instead he’s just saying that the “magic” is that they treat each other as peers instead of as supplicants (him) and gatekeepers (her.) And, in my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-hand experience, it explains about 98% of real-life (vs. “alpha” vs. “beta” vs. “hypergamy”) dating preferences.