Re: Put Me In, Coach

1

I'd go a bit further and suggest that certain kinds of sharp people are more likely than less-sharp people to have dating problems. I have my own profile of the successful dater, and he / she would be someone who always knows the right thing to say or do -- i.e., a conventional person within that given social set. Being lucky in looks, physique, and money helps too.

Of course, dating is wrong, because in many cases it leads to relationships. The wild monkey sex is just the bait. Before you know it, you're making house payments and cleaning out the rain gutters.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:16 AM
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The idea that folks who need a bit of coaching or advice on these matters are painted as pathetic and weird has always struck me as deeply unfair.

I wonder if the belief that such people are pathetic is related somehow to a belief about the existence of an authentic person. That is, we like to believe that people want to date us because they like us--somehow, the true us--and if it's a coached us, perhaps it isn't the true us, or there is no true us.

Perhaps relatedly, there is something like a fetishization of the "natural" in many areas of American life. So people want to be seen as "naturally" smart or "naturally" athletic, etc. I don't think that's an authenticity thing, though. I'm not sure what that is, though I definitely suffer from it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:19 AM
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I'd date me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:20 AM
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I think, to a lesser degree, you even see this in people's reluctance to pay for dating services. Sure, part of it is penny-pinching but I think part of people not wanting to buy memberships to dating sites or packages of "pokes" or whatever they are is that it's one thing to deign to do online dating but it feels like another level of desperation to pay to meet people.

If you look at it from a strict utility standpoint (Is having a boyfriend/girlfriend worth more than $20 to you?) it seems that it would make sense to do it but there seems like some kind of other obstacle at work.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:26 AM
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as a bit of normative advice about how to make the world better, ek surely has his heart in the right place.

but it surely cannot be a matter for any great surprise that people who have trouble dating are considered to be "pathetic and weird". presumably, there are some general antecedent ideas about what being pathetic and weird looks like. and it's not too surprising that people who look like that will have trouble dating. (where 'looks' covers also behaves, thinks, talks, relates etc.)

i mean--doesn't ek's stance come down to "i've always thought it's horribly unfair that awkward social rejects are rejected for being socially awkward"?

i agree that when people have troubles, they should seek help to remedy them. if you're innumerate, get help with math. if you're not naturally musical, get guitar lessons. if you're irresponsible with money, get lessons in household finance.

but to ask "why do we label people who need help with dating as "pathetic and weird"?" is about like asking "why do we label people who have trouble with finance as financially irresponsible, or people who have trouble with math as innumerate?"

it's exactly the right label for that condition. which is not to say that people with that condition should be resigned to having it forever.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:28 AM
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So, Emerson, singlehood is like one of those screens that keeps leaves out of your rain gutters?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:33 AM
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But there's an additional penalty for trying to solve the problems. Someone who just hasn't gotten a date in an age comes off as less pathetic than someone who's reading a book or going to a coach to figure out how. That seems unfair.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:33 AM
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4: I think dating sites seem really unlikely to produce anything that even turns into a date, so it might also be a feeling that you don't want to get ripped off. This plays into the "pathetic" thing a little: if you buy snake oil while knowing that it's snake oil, it's because you feel desperate and at rope's end. And no one likes to confront that possibility.

This might vary by gender, though. I could imagine dating sites being more likely to result in dates, at least, for women. (That might be wrong, too.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:36 AM
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But to ask "why do we label people who need help with dating as "pathetic and weird"?" is about like asking "why do we label people who have trouble with finance as financially irresponsible, or people who have trouble with math as innumerate?"

Monday Bitzer, obviously I don't agree. To me people the problem with people who "have trouble with dating" is not that they're "pathetic and weird". It's that they're still trying. And people who do well in dating aren't 'impressive and normal". They're just generic Walmart human beings vending generic Walmart product.

Now, there are more modulated versions of the point I'm trying to make, but I'll just let the strong version stand for the moment.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:37 AM
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Without home-ownership, rain gutters are somebody else's problem.

Termites? Carpenter ants? No problem, if you don't have a wooden leg. Just ask for a rent reduction.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:38 AM
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But doesn't the dating coach have to turn into the life coach? Because most of the people I know who are too socially-awkward to get a date are too life-awkward to sustain a relationship.

That is, where "dating" is "meet an attractive stranger, ask him/her to dinner, have sex, repeat". Awkward people usually do better with the friends-first thing because there are fewer weird surprises.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:39 AM
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I'd date me.

I do date me. It's awesome, I'm such a gentleman. I hold doors for myself, always pay for dinner, listen when I'm having troubles, and even put out whenever (and I mean whenever).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:41 AM
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I can't read 3 without hearing "Goodbye Horses" in the background.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:42 AM
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I'd date me.

The cuddling would be no good.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:44 AM
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I'd agree with Tim here, and also say that part of the fetishization of the "well-adjusted person" assumes that people who exhibit competence in certain areas of social interaction are expected to have zero problems in other areas. Repeatedly, when I talk about the problems I have in dating, my friends tend to brush it off and point to ways in which I have high-status social skills, like professional confidence and sexual confidence. Or they assume I must have low self-esteem about my looks or something (which I don't, and which suggestion I have a hard time not finding mildly offensive).

I don't think I'd ever hire a dating coach, because I don't have problems getting to know nice, normal, good-looking people. I have problems communicating with the neurotic brilliant types I'm actually attracted to. I highly doubt that any kind of dating coach service would tell you that it's okay to shoot for someone quirkily compatible who doesn't respond to normal come-ons.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:44 AM
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But there's an additional penalty for trying to solve the problems. Someone who just hasn't gotten a date in an age comes off as less pathetic than someone who's reading a book or going to a coach to figure out how. That seems unfair.

There's a very strong investment in the belief that PUA moves don't work, or at least won't work on you or your friends. Who wants to think that just because some schmoe acts like they really aren't that interested and has some idea about the right time to laugh, they'll totally convince you to sleep with them?

Therefore people seeing dating coaches are not only losers who can't get dates, but are being scammed to boot.

Or so the theory goes.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:44 AM
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hmmmm although he rather ignores the fairly obvious slippery slope he's at the top of, which is that the process of "pay someone to give you hints and tips so that you can go out and persuade women to have sex with you" has a fairly obvious middleman in it who is crying out to be disintermediated. Perhaps everyone is OK with going down that slope but 'twould be well to have it out in the open, as the actress said to the bishop.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:48 AM
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It seems that a lot of these kinds of things are trying to teach non-generic people to seem generic. Whereas they should be teaching non-generic people to find other (high quality) non-generic people. (Some non-generic people are, indeed, pathetic and weird. Presumably they should be avoided.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:50 AM
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Some writing teachers are scam artists, too. But it does help a lot of writers to have someone tell them what an average reader would think. Someone who already knows what an average reader would think might be aiming for a different kind of audience, and getting a writing teacher at that point would probably not be beneficial.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:51 AM
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I don't mind pathetic and weird. That would be a big step up from boring and easily spooked.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:52 AM
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17: Of course, if you go down that road, you've got all the women in the bar saving the money they'd otherwise have spent on pretty clothes and makeup to instead be spent more directly, and suddenly Saturday night at your local nightspot starts looking like the floor at a commodities exchange.

I suppose it might be interesting for a bit, but I don't think most people would go for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:53 AM
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There's a very strong investment in the belief that PUA moves don't work

I feel terrible for saying this, but I think the moves actually *could* work. The problem is, they'd only work coming from people who had enough confidence to not really need the moves anyway.

Like, the other day, my boyfriend had been watching the show, and was recounting for me all the ridiculous tactics. When he did his impression of them, though, I could see how it might work (of course, I'm already into him, so maybe it's a bad example).

But I was just thinking that the "neg" makes sense, not because you want to put a girl down, but because straightforward compliments are often creepy. If I was talking to someone in a bar and they said "You have beautiful eyes", that would be creepy. However, saying "the gap between your teeth is pretty cute" is a compliment without being like "oh god i love you and want you to have my babies now." It's more light-hearted.

I'm not defending the whole PUA thing, but I think there are reasons why it might work, although not the stated ones (you have to make her feel lower value than you, etc.)


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:54 AM
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I do date me. It's awesome, I'm such a gentleman. I hold doors for myself, always pay for dinner, listen when I'm having troubles, and even put out whenever (and I mean whenever).

<tom waits>I'm not weird about it, I don't tie myself up first.</tom waits>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:54 AM
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I wonder if the belief that such people are pathetic is related somehow to a belief about the existence of an authentic person.

I suspect part of the stigma results from the fact that for most of us, dating isn't something we think of as having specific, teachable rules, and that someone who is openly thinking of dating as an analyzable real-time strategy game somehow is missing the point. The advice from your big brother or sister or friends probably took place while actually interacting with other human beings. It's something you're just supposed to pick up, goes the story, and if you haven't managed that, a Cliff's notes session isn't going to change that.

You might find a similar reaction hanging out with someone who's taken apart cars since they were a little kid and asking how one goes about learning that. Is there a course?

(I had an awesome joke about learning to finger a chord vs. learning to... you see.)

Also, I think there's a stigma because most of the advice, if the NYT article is accurate, is crap. Crap that you've just paid $500 an hour for.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:54 AM
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suddenly Saturday night at your local nightspot starts looking like the floor at a commodities exchange.

I thought you said there would be women there?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:55 AM
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Dammit. You win.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:56 AM
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It seems that a lot of these kinds of things are trying to teach non-generic people to seem generic. Whereas they should be teaching non-generic people to find other (high quality) non-generic people.

I don't agree with this. Absolutely everyone can net someone. You only go see a coach if you want to net some other kind of person than who you're capable of netting on your own.

It's ideal for those people who have some superficial obstacle preventing them from netting the type of person they'd be really compatible with. It's not going to change what someone is substantively like in a relationship.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:58 AM
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(trying out a return from self-imposed exile, seems like an easy pseud update to follow)

Is it really fair to assume that the only people who use these sorts of services are using them because they can't get a date? I know plenty of people who have absolutely no problem finding dates, they just seem to always fail in predictable ways to develop into anything that doesn't really suck.

Is a dating coach to try and fix an unbroken stream of losers fundamentally different than an unbroken stream of date-less fridays?

I don't know anyone who has gone to a dating coach (and told me, anyway) but I know several very attractive people who have turned to internet dating in hopes of better filters than they were managing other ways. Don't some of the snotty dating services pretty much set themselves up that way? `You're too busy and successful to filter out the losers, let us do that for you'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:01 AM
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I am so commenty! Someone tell me to go the fuck away and do my work.

although not the stated ones (you have to make her feel lower value than you, etc.)

I think that induction of insecurity and signaling that you have higher status can work just fine to get someone (male or female) into bed if skillfully executed. It won't work on everyone but you're supposed to be playing numbers, as I understand it. It's just that it's (a) morally bad and (b) won't lead to any kind of happy fulfilling connection.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:01 AM
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Soup!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:02 AM
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Mostly, I defend the idea of men getting dating advice because women have gotten dating advice since we were little tiny girls. One of the shitty things about growing up under Teh Patriarchy is feeling like your social value is entirely a construction of how girlfriendable you are, and there is a fuckload of advice we get about how to do our hair, how to show we're "ladies," when and how to talk to men, etc. Most of it is shit about how the man has to do all the work or else he'll find you too forward, but there's a script.

Men, on the other hand, get advice about how to get rock-hard abs and how to give good head, but no one tells them how to talk to women without being creepazoids.

I think better dating advice for men goes hand-in-hand with the increase in fashion advice for men. Women are no longer commodities to be bought and sold, whose value is determined by her clothes. We're all looking to invest and be invested in, to show and perceive value, to create a dialogue about desire instead of what might essentially be a cash-for-sex exchange.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:02 AM
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"Absolutely everyone can net someone"

yeah, there are market-clearing theorems like this.
but they may depend on fungibilities, which people are reluctant to accept in their own case.
(i'll find a price, when used as a doorstop).
that you believe them in the case of dating tells me you have been lucky.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:02 AM
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We're all looking to invest and be invested in

hmmm, reminds me of the definition of a "long term investment"


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:07 AM
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Well, people who need dating coaches *are* weird--most people don't, after all.

That said, the obvious problem with the whole "dating coach" thing is precisely what D2 gets at in 17: sure, in theory there's nothing wrong with it, but in practice it's usually about some kind of sexist b.s. about how to get women into bed or about how to play The Rules and get a man to propose.

So for instance, re. this:

I know plenty of people who have absolutely no problem finding dates, they just seem to always fail in predictable ways to develop into anything that doesn't really suck.

I think the obvious answer is therapy. If "dating coaches" were therapists who taught people social skills and some self-awareness, that would be awesome. But as long as they're people who give a set of Rules for how to attract Men as a class, or Women as a class, then they're going to be worthy of disdain.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:08 AM
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that you believe them in the case of dating tells me you have been lucky.

Emerson once called me terrifyingly lucky, which made me suspect I've got a bolt of lightning coming my way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:08 AM
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I'm not weird about it, I don't tie myself up first.

I once shared a house with someone who did. Occasionally you had to go in and undo him.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:08 AM
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27: I think I'd like the advice more if it said 'Lower your expectations' or 'Actually leave your apartment' rather than 'Don't bother with the blonde, she won't be intellectual enough.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:09 AM
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34: You're probably right, therapist vs. `dating coach' (which I don't really understand what they are, but you make it sound pretty bleak). I suspect some people would much rather see the latter, for reasons that make it more likely they should see the former, if you follow.

35: I'm absolutely convinced I've got one looking for me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:10 AM
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The PUA stuff just seems like a prepackaged and marketed form of the stuff guys have always talked about with one another. There's a level of dating where it works fine.

As for confidence, coaching probably teaches people to have confidence. Part of confidence is not caring too much if you fail, and I bet the coaches teach that too.

Long ago a teacher tried to explain to me that naturalness and the direct approach make relationships difficult, and that all kinds of old fashioned social mediators such as cotillions and etiquette and matchmakers make things easier. The Jane Austen thing. Maybe these coaches etc. are a contemporary form.

At the same time, if you also put a romantic load on relationships and want a soulmate, mediation doesn't seem right and probably won't work.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:11 AM
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Who needs to pay for this stuff when you can just ask the mineshaft?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:12 AM
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40: "ask" s/b "date."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:13 AM
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Absolutely everyone can net someone
= Heebie has always had suitors up the yinyang.

Well, people who need dating coaches *are* weird--most people don't, after all.

= B's wholesome qualities drive men wild.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:14 AM
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42--
right. whereas i was just arguing in 5 for my god-given
right to be considered pathetic and weird, without having to
suffer in addition the condescension of cute kids like klein.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:17 AM
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If dating coaches work, I don't see why people shouldn't use them. They might not be perfect, but surely getting a date by means you'd rather not go into is better than not dating. I'm just not sure that they work.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:17 AM
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John, for $500 I'll teach you how to get a date.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:17 AM
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27: I think I'd like the advice more if it said 'Lower your expectations' or 'Actually leave your apartment' rather than 'Don't bother with the blonde, she won't be intellectual enough.'

You mean, the advice from the dating coaches? Yeah, I benevolently assumed them to coach people on how to widen the net one casts with one's first impression, not to how to dismiss other people out of hand.

Of course, Mystery is the douchiest douchebag that ever douched, so I don't know why that was my working assumption.

Hi Soupy!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:18 AM
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45: And for $1000 she'll refrain from doing so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:19 AM
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Hi HBGB!


Bitch, re 45: I bet John can find more than advice for $500.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:19 AM
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47--
for $1500, a date that is guaranteed not to lead to a relationship.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:20 AM
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48: Not from me he can't.

47: Now *there's* a money-making opportunity. Thanks, LB!

Also, I want to curse Becks for putting that goddamn song in my head with her post title. Becks, I curse you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:21 AM
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48--
i dunno--a lot of that $500. would have to be spent on a bus-ride to the nearest big city.
they don't have that sort of thing in wobegon, you know.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:21 AM
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Heebie has always had suitors up the yinyang.

If only the sailors would stay with me for more than one night, I wouldn't have this high turnover problem. But their life, their love and their lady is the sea.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:21 AM
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I'll bid $2000.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:22 AM
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52--
what a good wife you would be!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:23 AM
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Nah, B., you're just after my ass. You cunning though wholesome little vixen!

My dating problems were 1965-1984. I was able to get dates then but nothing ever worked very well. Since then when I've relapsed into flirting I've been well-received. But by then the no-relationship policy was in effect, though I wavered.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:23 AM
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they don't have that sort of thing in wobegon, you know

was the film "Purple Rain" totally misleading on this point???


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:23 AM
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A local barmaid is starting to matchmake. The one with the movie start / model daughter.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:27 AM
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57--
way to misread 48, j.e.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:28 AM
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Hi, soup brisket!


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:30 AM
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55.1


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:30 AM
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50: Wasn't specifying from whom. Just that it was likely.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:31 AM
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"Purple Rain" was in the big city.

The three things that I brought away from "Purple Rain" were:
1. Prince's hockeyskates hanging on a peg in one scene.
2. The incongruity of Appolonia migrating from New Orleans to Minneapolis to make the big time.
3. Prince Rogers Nelson? Is Prince a Swede after all?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:32 AM
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Why support the development and expansion of a service class that preys upon the hapless, as EK does, when there are plenty of free traditions that might be worth returning to and modernizing, such as matchmakers?


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:33 AM
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Did anyone mention the work of the whole "You're fucked up but we can fix you" industrial complex?

There's tremendous amount of money pouring into creating insecurities of all sorts so they can sell you the cures, and there's much less support available from family and community to counteract that influence.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:33 AM
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63--
the attempt to keep traditionally female spheres of labor out of the monetarized economy may look like a valorizing of them, but in fact amounts to depriving them of power. instead of being above the market, female labor is kept below the market.

you sexist pig.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:36 AM
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I'm don't think you create insecurities, so much as mine for them. Like tin.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:36 AM
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...and, as long as I'm commenting, this

I don't agree with this. Absolutely everyone can net someone. You only go see a coach if you want to net some other kind of person than who you're capable of netting on your own.

It's ideal for those people who have some superficial obstacle preventing them from netting the type of person they'd be really compatible with. It's not going to change what someone is substantively like in a relationship.

seems wrong to me. Speaking only from my own experience, I've had periods of my adult life where I've gone two years with only ex-boyfriend sex at six month intervals, but now, in the same city, I never want for prospects (meeting the right person is another question, but that just takes persistence). In some relevant ways I'm a different person, but in another sense I just found channels that drummed up a lot of business. Admittedly, during most of that two years I just wasn't trying, so maybe most of what I'm saying is bullshit, but I think you can be bad at negotiating the channels to meeting people in ways that don't necessarily relate to who you might be compatible with. I am shy and avoid eye contact with strangers if I think it could be taken as romantic interest, which now doesn't matter because I exclusively internet date. But say the internet didn't work for me. The times I've steeled myself and forced myself to eye flirt, in bars and on trains, I've had not inconsiderable success with it. If I'd paid someone to come with me a bar and instruct me to stare at the boys I liked, I don't think I'd be an importantly different person from the one who couldn't bear to look at them for fear looking would be accurately taken as romantic interest.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:36 AM
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64, 66--
somehow i think this could take us back into cackle territory.

how much are the insecurities already there to be mined for, and how much are they magnified by conscious fixation?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:37 AM
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66: Indeed, the tin mines of Cornwall played a major role in English prehistory.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:37 AM
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I don't think the issue is "getting dates" at all. The great majority of people, awkward or no, will get at least some action by the time they are 30. I think it's about maximizing how attracted you are to the partner you get (to be all crude and business-school-y about it). Not having your choices limited to people who approach you or the subset of people you get to know through work, family or whatever.

Anyone who can't approach a total stranger they're attracted to and make a passable sort of romantic pass is missing out on opportunities. Since a lot of people (even people who do get dates) can't do that, many people could probably benefit from at least learning and practicing more about it.

In other words, it's not about dating, but about who you "settle" for. Of course, overly high expectations are probably one of the biggest enemies of real romance and committment. I think seeing romance in terms of "maximizing" vs. "settling" is a big problem for committment, which probably has more to do with loving the inescapably arbitrary one you're with. But, it's still true that most people could probably benefit by having enough technique to approach the full range of people they find initially most attractive.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:38 AM
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65: You say "traditionally female sphere of labor," I say Michaleen Oge Flynn.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:39 AM
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I don't think I'd be an importantly different person from the one who couldn't bear to look at them for fear looking would be accurately taken as romantic interest.

I think this is the same as what I'm saying, right? That it's not going to change the deep stuff that makes someone who they are, but it will help them get a foot in the door with more people?

And the stretches when you only had ex-boyfriend sex, you might not have been actively rejecting people, but I'm sure there were people where you were on their radar but they weren't on your radar. (That's kind of a catch-22 to argue against, but I really do believe it.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:42 AM
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71--
so *that's* where ogged got his handle from.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:43 AM
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The idea that people get dates by approaching total strangers is vastly overemphasized. Most people date within their social circles, not based on bar pickups.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:44 AM
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70: Most of the things I'm looking for don't really have any indicators that you can see at a glance, besides physical attractiveness. If the return rate on stranger-dates is low enough, then it's not worth it to try through such an unfiltered channel. (And yes, maybe my expectations are too high. But maybe not.)

Plus, I'm one of those people who really need to do the "friends first, romance later" thing. And it seems like the expectation on picking people up isn't really compatible with that.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:44 AM
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Damn, Heebie, you went earnest on us.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:44 AM
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72: E.g., the Year of Yes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:44 AM
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74: I have no social circles. Sucks for me.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:45 AM
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78: Indeed. The inability to make friends tends to be an indicator of the inability to make dates.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:46 AM
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oh, I reread your comment, hg, and see that I misunderstood it. And actually, I really might not have been on anyone's radar. I was in small confined work environments and I saw the same three or four friends all the time.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:46 AM
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The idea of a "dating coach" just sounds to me like another label for "therapist." I agree with SCMT way up top that part of what makes a "dating coach" seem odd is that it comes off as someone who is rehearsing a part rather than relating genuinely. I'd probably hesitate to date someone who told me he'd used a coach because I would have a hard time getting over the sneaking suspicion that I was being subjected to a constant performance. I would not have the same sort of problem dating someone who told me he was in therapy because then I would read that as self-awareness and willingness to explore his issues. Really, though, I'm not sure there'd truly be much difference between a good dating coach and a good therapist.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:46 AM
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74: Totally true, but my point is exactly that most people don't approach attractive strangers, hence miss out on opportunities. "Total strangers" might be an exaggeration, but even "near-strangers".

BTW, there's a whole branch of the pickup stuff that seems to be designed around insinuating yourself into someone's social circle rapidly in order to meet them romantically.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:48 AM
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72: E.g., the Year of Yes.

Which was interesting when the experiment was conducted by an attractive woman. The corresponding book written by a shy-ish and physically undistinctive man would be short and boring.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:48 AM
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"There's a very strong investment in the belief that PUA moves don't work, or at least won't work on you or your friends. Who wants to think that just because some schmoe acts like they really aren't that interested and has some idea about the right time to laugh, they'll totally convince you to sleep with them?"

YEah, i think this is a lot of it. Hence if you google feminist+"pick up artist" you get lots of diatribes on how its teaching mean to trick women into bed and be patriarchal assholes.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:48 AM
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HBGB is right on both counts, I think.

Fundamental changes in a person are difficult, but I'm sure superficial behaviour affects a lot of possible interactions. Of course, if that superficial behaviour is too scripted or coached, you'll just come across as an ass. On the other end though, shyness is a good example or something that can be overcome to a degree, and hugely effects the number of people you can meet. Whether or not some hypothetical `dating coach' could help with that, I have no idea.

Also, I know I've had stretches where for whatever reason, I really wasn't paying attention. Months/years later, someone would tell me `I had the biggest crush on you' or something and I'd be all confused.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:49 AM
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72: E.g., the Year of Yes.

Even more subtly than just accepting every invitation that comes your way. In a college class, you can see how a student arranges themself in their chair that they're subtly rejecting people if their back is turned.

(A girl today turned in a list of names of students who attended her study session. She pointed to one name and said, "I think he's from the other class," and I was like, "Mmm, no, he sits diagonally behind you.") (Just to mess with her. He really is from the other class.) (Just kidding, he does sit diagonally behind her.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:50 AM
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re: 74

Heh, I met my wife by walking up to her in a pub.

But, yeah, most people, I'm sure, meet people through friends or friends of friends. Both of my immediately previous long term girlfriends were people on the periphery of a social circle I was already in [although, crucially, they weren't people I actually knew before we starting going out*]. I don't think I've ever known anyone where the majority of their partners weren't already people they were linked to in some way already ['that girl their friends brought to that party', 'that cute guy that so-and-so brought, who was at that thing at the place'].

* pretty much the exact opposite of the 'friends first' people. You meet, you get off with each other, you have sex, become friends later. Becoming friends first is teh kiss of death.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:50 AM
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83: Right, because shy men who don't look like adonis never get dates.

Hands up, all the other women here who have dated shy average-looking guys.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:51 AM
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Hand is up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:52 AM
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87: Yeah, but that's the UK. You people spend your entire lives in pubs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:52 AM
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"Months/years later, someone would tell me `I had the biggest crush on you' or something and I'd be all confused."

yeah, that happens to me too.
but the confusion usually abates when i realize they're talking to someone else.

fuck, you young kids just don't know how lucky you are.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:53 AM
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87: Yeah, but that's the UK. You people spend your entire lives in pubs.

They're a dank people.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:53 AM
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In my experience, body language, carriage, tone of voice, and facial expression are all-important when initially meeting people. Maybe even more so for men, where raw looks don't seem to be quite as important. I can totally believe any training course that improved these things would have a social payoff. Of course, cognitive learning alone will have only a limited effect on those indicators, that's why they are such accurate signals of emotional state.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:53 AM
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re: 90

Heh. Some people do. I haven't been to the pub for [thinks] ... nearly 3 weeks.

Although, admittedly, until I was thirty I probably spend 4 or 5 nights a week in the pub.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:54 AM
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Yeah, there's a difference between a complete stranger in a bar and a friend of a friend who you've never met before you end up at the same social event, and most people date the latter rather than the former, but in both cases you're talking to someone you've never met before. So not so different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:54 AM
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money pouring into creating insecurities

There is a chicken-and-egg problem here. Every time I see TV news, I am struck by how strongly the infotainment peddles anxiety to the viewers, who are as free to turn off the blowdried anchorpersons as they are to ignore say Jim Lehrer. Nobody forces diet books or fashion ads on anyone else, people want to be told that their problems can be partitioned and fixed by someone else.

Part of the appeal of mate-attraction algorithms for both sexes is that they free the customer from having to consider that being selfish and boring from core to fingertips might be the problem; the packages offer an escape from a particular kind of freedom. But if the advice is to stand up straight, keep trying, and have a laugh once in a while, that can't hurt.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:56 AM
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there is a fuckload of advice [women] get about how to do our hair, how to show we're "ladies," when and how to talk to men, etc

Really? Apparently, I've been a terrible listener all my life. I mean, Mom always told me to brush my hair and keep my knees together, and quit slouching, but as far as "dating" advice, I can't recall anything beyond maybe "be yourself."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:56 AM
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"That it's not going to change the deep stuff that makes someone who they are"

I think this is totally wrong. I'm very different than the person i was in high school, and i think most of that was due to conscious effort to make myself funnier and more interesting. I think that could have occured a lot quicker if i had someone's help.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:57 AM
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98 is getting back to the idea of therapy, really. It's not that people don't change, but it's a difficult and usually long process. There really aren't any quick fixes that hold (excepting some particularly traumatic ones).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:59 AM
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95: But people in your social circle are much more strongly filtered for compatibility than a random stranger would be. (At least, if you like your friends.)


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:01 PM
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97: I think the advice women get while growing up, like the advice men get, is going to vary a lot by gawd-knows what factors.

Also, I think the distinction between superficial changes and deep changes is, in at least some cases, fictive. It's more like an ordering problem. You can't sort out "deep" differences until you've first sorted out how to meet the person that will point out all of your flaws. Once you've done that, it's not clear to me that it takes more energy to be have "deep" changes made.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:01 PM
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Do many therapists actually accompany you out to social situations to help you work on shit? Besides, i don't think most therapists have excellent social skills based of the sort needed for being sexually attractive. I don't remember any courses on that topic when i was looking through courselists.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:02 PM
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100: Sure, sticking with friends of friends of friends is probably generally a better idea than strangers in bars for that reason, but you still need to be able to start a conversation with someone you don't know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:03 PM
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Things like "make your hair pretty" are also a lot more important for getting dates for girls than for guys.

Also, i'm skeptical that most people are all that compatible/similar to the people they go out with. Mostly its just the first person they interact with who also fancies them.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:04 PM
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103--
you mean, even off the internets?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:04 PM
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102: It's more like: Free your mind, and your ass will follow.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:04 PM
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106 2nd your s/b the


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:05 PM
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dammit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:06 PM
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I was being subjected to a constant performance

To what extant is putting one's best foot forward a performance? What if one is self-deluded about some aspect of personality, but capable of putting up a succesful front fiegning, say, generosity or cheerfulness? This is standard operating procedure for careerists, isn't it? Training manuals for all sorts of "systems" emphasize system over individual perception. It's a grotesque exaggeration of a common social impulse, which makes it hard to criticise in a generic way.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:06 PM
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15-
I don't think I'd ever hire a dating coach, because I don't have problems getting to know nice, normal, good-looking people. I have problems communicating with the neurotic brilliant types I'm actually attracted to.

Oh, hells yeah.


Posted by: DAG | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:06 PM
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97: Parents aren't the only sources of advice, though. I mean, every woman knows somehow that you're "supposed" to smile, put makeup on when you go out (even if you don't do that), talk to people who talk to you, ignore men on the street, etc., and that you're not supposed to hold eye contact with a strange guy, get drunk in a bar by yourself, etc.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:07 PM
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Hands up, all the other women here who have dated shy average-looking guys.

"But I like fat chicks."

Now if you want to say that a shy average looking guy could probably find someone to be with if he'd be more realistic and ask out the women who were crushing on him in a non-blindingly-obvious sort of way, then of course you're right.

But if your typical shy average looking guy decided to say "Yes" to everyone who asked him on a date over the course of a year and then write a book about it, that book would be very short and boring.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:07 PM
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I wonder how much of the disdain for people who use dating coaches is a function of American love for carefully managed hypocrisy. Like, oh, the attitude most people have towards recreational pot usage compared to the general attitude towards people who talk publically and unabashedly about recreational pot usage a great deal. It's not that you use them, it's that you're so clueless you [i]let people know[/i].


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:10 PM
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, that book would be very short and boring.

As, most likely, would be the author.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:10 PM
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Also, some of the shy guys probably want to date some of the girls who are dieting. Self-improvement is masturbation, but i'm pro-masterbation.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:12 PM
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112: Yes, most women don't ask men out; men are still supposed to do the asking. But the point is even simpler than "ask out the women who are crushing on you" ("but how can you tell???"); it's that if a shy, average-looking guy were to ask out his women acquaintances, he would probably get a lot of dates. Not all of them would turn into "relationships," but it would be better than sitting around talking about how women don't seem to like shy, average-looking guys. (Which isn't what you were doing, but a lot of people do.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:12 PM
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113: No, people who talk a great deal about using pot are just boring.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:14 PM
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Putting together a few thoughts from the thread:

Does anyone who has disdain for paid dating coaches also have disdain for pain matchmakers?

A matchmaker seems much more appealing to me, because she has the interests of both parties at heart. The thing that bothers me about dating coaches is that, as someone mentioned upthread, they seem to be about landing you a better date than you would have otherwise, in other words, someone who is too good for you.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:18 PM
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B, i don't know why you think great advice is evil because decent advice can sometimes work.

Plus, going around asking all your friends out just makes you look desperate and creepy. Also, i tried that in high school and it was a failure, and also cost me some friends. Pick-up artist advice would have made things better for everyone.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:18 PM
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117 Hey man......You people saying pot makes you stupid and shit?..... You don't know nothin, man.... let me tell you how it is..... Man, you're just fucked.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:19 PM
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Heebie has always had suitors up the yinyang.

That's AWB you were thinking of.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:20 PM
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Y'all are really making the No Relationship Policy sound appealing, what with the picture that emerges of everyone angling for utility-maximization and the recurrent subtext of "learn these tricks and you will be able to do as you should want to do, ie date people more physically-attractive than you are, unless you are a woman, in which case you should want to date men less attractive than you who have polished their social skills."

It's funny--all my relationships have been a muddle of sorrow, obsession, crushes, non-stop talking, intellectual competition and general emo-ness, and I'd always assumed that this was a deficiency based on my inability to get "real" dates. Feature, not bug, clearly.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:20 PM
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"too good for you" implies static social position; the point of a lot of advice is to improve your social position.

I don't have any problems with matchmakers; if they included makeovers and couples therapy they'd probably be even better.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:20 PM
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112: There is a built in asymmetry there --- the guys book should be about the year he decided to just ask out every single woman he found attractive.

For what it's worth: I probably didn't go on `a date' until ten years or so after I became sexually active. I started off in social circles that didn't date. Later I got in the (probably common, here) pattern of every few years moving to a city where I didn't know anyone. All my old social patterns were lost --- anything based on large interwoven social groups falls on it's face when the total number of people you know is 0.

I'm no great catch, but it didn't take me long to figure out that if you ask, they will go. Not all of them, certainly, but lots. Or maybe they'll be nice about telling you they aren't interested but setting you up with their friends... or just talking about being new in town will lead peopel at work to try and set you up (not always a good thing!). You have to do *some* signalling that you are looking, I guess, but it really isn't so terribly hard a thing to negotiate.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:21 PM
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Two other things:

1:
Enough people out there have low enough self esteem to make all those PUA tactics about putting people down work often enough to give the PUA a payoff. Is this even controversial? Someone said that people are invested in the idea that PUA doesn't work, but how could they be? Is it so hard to think that preying on the weak often gets you prey?

2: Soup!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:23 PM
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A young woman once began a relationship with me by climbing on to a counter stool next to me and more-or-less grinning until I noticed her. She was a regular in the restaurant I ate in every night, when except for a small breakfast I ate one meal a day, and had overheard the free-wheeling discussions I had on a nightly basis with an older black guy who was also a regular. She'd occasionally been drawn in, and I'd noticed her sense of humor and very deep voice for such a small woman, but I must say I was surprised.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:23 PM
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Have I mentioned that I once vaguely knew the dating coach featured in the NYT article? We lived in fairly close proximity. From what I knew of her then, this turn in her career trajectory is both very surprising and, at some level, not surprising at all.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:24 PM
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121--
i'd go easy there, kr.
can't speak for awb, but i had the impression this datum was borderline presidential, and might not be welcome joke material.

i could be way wrong about that, but it might be worth thinking about.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:26 PM
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what? she mentions it all the time.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:27 PM
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129--
so i'm way wrong. not the first time.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:28 PM
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121: I think you mean the commenter that uses the level two pseudonym Eleanor Roosevelt.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:28 PM
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111 -- Oh, I wasn't saying parents are the only source of advice. Just that the "how to be a lady" stuff referred to brought back memories of mom advice and little else.

Every woman really doesn't know all those things you refer to. I've gotten the "wear make-up" message (probably from t.v.) long enough, but then you get the counter message -- Ogged being the big proponent here, my ex being a similar proponent irl -- that at least some men are repelled by make-up. Talk to people who talk to you seems like pretty much common knowledge that guys know just as well as girls. Get drunk alon in a bar is advice I'd not heard -- though effective for some things, probably not for getting an actual "date."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:31 PM
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Or maybe Martha Washington. This site is so hard to keep up with. Perhaps we need a list of first ladies into anal.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:35 PM
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132--
meta-advice, di:
if you're going to follow advice, pay attention to the presence of the word "not".
that was "not supposed to" get drunk alone in bars.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:35 PM
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132: I meant that getting drunk in a bar alone is something you're *not* supposed to do--you know, lest you "get raped."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:37 PM
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then you get the counter message -- Ogged being the big proponent here, my ex being a similar proponent irl -- that at least some men are repelled by make-up.

I used to think I belonged to the category of men that is repelled by makeup / attracted by the makeup-free look.

Eventually I realized that what I find most attractive is not the absence of makeup, but makeup applied with such an expert touch that it doesn't call attention to itself, the best example of this being the tv commercials for cleansing cream where you look at some model's purportedly just washed face that is, in fact, heavily made up, just in a very subtle way.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:38 PM
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135--

right, or wake up the next morning covered with inappropriate scare-quotes.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:38 PM
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134:

Ah yes, an error in reading the scope of the negation. Clearly this is one of the cases where we'd all be better off if we spoke in first order predicate logic.

Supposed to(smile, put makeup on when you go out, talk to people who talk to you, ignore men on the street) & ~Supposed to(hold eye contact with a strange guy, get drunk in a bar by yourself)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:39 PM
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138--
more dating advice, rhc:
never mention first-order predicate logic.
in fact--don't quantify over predicates, either.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:40 PM
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135: Ah, that makes better sense as advice, but I don't know that I'd call it "dating" advice.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:42 PM
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139: It all depends on whether you think of Ben w-lfs-n as a "catch"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:45 PM
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Sort of on topic, sort of not. There was a message on voicemail this weekend from a little boy (one whom Rory has referred to as her crush) asking Rory if she wanted to come over to watch a movie. It is thus official: my 8-year-old now has a more active love life than I. (She never bothers with her hair, does smile alot, and -- to the best of my knowledge -- never gets drunk by herself in a bar.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:46 PM
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Actually, what I wrote won't make sense in any FOL, because the predicate "Supposedto" doesn't have a fixed number of arguments.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:46 PM
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133 - Please, for the love of God, don't give Frank Rich any more column ideas.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:48 PM
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143--
you're either intent on not taking my advice, or you are really angling to get into w-lfs-n's pants.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:50 PM
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It is thus official: my 8-year-old now has a more active love life than I.

This is known in dating coach parlance as "turning on the cab light".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 12:58 PM
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111, 135, etc. Anyway, my only point was to quibble with the theory that girls grow up getting more dating advice than boys to. Girls are told to wear make-up (but not too much) and to smile; boys are told to hold doors and pay for dinner. I think we all pretty much get equal amounts of crap advice.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:01 PM
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Helpy-chalk wants deontic logic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:10 PM
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147: Yeah, who's attracted to people who smile anyway? Not me. (Seriously, I like serious people.)


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:14 PM
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121 and 36 are very funny.

If we restrict "dating coach" to "meeting strangers in public places coach", can we agree that this is, in fact, a relatively rare skill? I'm extroverted enough to have tried it a couple of times, but I certainly didn't intuitively know how to do it. As many men know how to play three chords on the guitar; Ezra makes an apt comparison.

I have had two encounters with Ne/l Stra/ss, author of The Game. In both cases, we were going to see a mutual friend, a woman who was visiting town.

The first time, I didn't know who he was, and I thought he was on a date with the man he was in fact taking on a practice run. Certain practices of the homosocial just come off gay.

The second time, I offered my friend a place to stay; again, Ne/l had a trainee in tow, and the trainee thought I was trying to pick her up, and started deploying his mad ninja skills to try to get me out of the game.

First, the trainee engaged me in a conversation to take me away from his target. Then he started moving into my personal space to try to gay-panic me into vexation. This was the point at which I realized he was pulling a move on me, and so I leaned back into his space; it was very nearly mad frottage, right there in the bar.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:22 PM
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trainee thought I was trying to pick her up, and started deploying his mad ninja skills to try to get me out of the game

First I've heard that "blocking" is part of the game.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:25 PM
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Wongshore is obviously an intuitive master of this shit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:25 PM
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150: that story rules.

I'm almost sure I've told this story before, but I got asked to DJ at a party full of PUA wannabes (I think it had specifically been organized so they could try out their moves). I got a girl's number by pointing out all the ridiculous moves the guys were trying ("see how he's wearing that stupid hat, making lots of incidental physical contact, and constantly steering the conversation towards sex?").

Meta-game is the best game.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:28 PM
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Mad frottage! Awesome.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:29 PM
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This thread has led me to realize that I have never dated anyone shy, possibly on account of the fact that I would likely alarm any such person into a jelly. I do have shy friends I would probably have dated if I'd known them when I was single, but I also suspect that I would then have promptly made them utterly wretched.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:31 PM
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OK, I got voted up. Now I'm off to central processing to have my brain frozen in place, and then I can start harassing undergrads or whatever it is I'm supposed to do.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:42 PM
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All of this dating advice places too much emphasis on leaving the Festung Flippanter and talking to people. There has to be another way, perhaps involving an elaborate contraption of twine, thimbles and silver spoons.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:42 PM
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hooray!


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:44 PM
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156: So you got tenure? Yipppeeee! Party at Gonerill's! Hurry, before the Missus gets back.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:44 PM
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congrats Gonerill!

And `hi' back to everyone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:46 PM
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152: I have long been willing to send mixed signals about my sexuality in order to make ridiculous men uncomfortable. There was a jock in my German class who used a discussion of "little villages" to suggest that I could be found in the very gay little village near our high school. "Are you calling me gay, Bill?" I asked. "Do you think I have a picture of you? On my ceiling?" He turned red.

Of course, they kill people for that sort of thing on the Jenny Jones show, and it's more of a jock-baiting technique than a showing-solidarity-with-actual-gay-people technique, which I didn't do a whole lot of in my youth. So there.

As for being intuitive about pick-up technique -- I'm extroverted and confident enough to incorporate Standard Advice into my game, but I did have to deliberately learn them. So I touch a lot when I flirt, and I tease too (the nice version of the "neg").

The sexual revolution seems to have come far enough that there's not that much deception involved; it's about catching someone's attention and letting them know that you're sexually available. The people who promote this advertise that they are casting a spell over hapless ladies, but it's just a matter of getting the chase started. The kill goes both ways.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:46 PM
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Hurry, before the Missus gets back

Reminds me of a cartoon my wife's had on the fridge for 15 years:

"The kids are asleep. Let's go to Europe!"


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:47 PM
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156: I know you expected it, but still: congratulations! Now try not to kill the kids.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:48 PM
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Congrats, Gonerill.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:48 PM
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Congratulations. The sea squirt has a brief mobile phase in its youth, then in maturity settles on a rock and digests all of its own nervous tissue, which it no longer needs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:48 PM
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(Leans in, touches hand.) I'm really happy for you, Goneril. (Releases.) You teach gym, right?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:51 PM
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I do not understand why someone would be mocked for seeking dating help. Dating is often a matter of going outside your normal circle of friends and acquaintances.

An online dating services is certainly better than a bar.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:52 PM
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possibly on account of the fact that I would likely alarm any such person into a jelly

Because you think of yourself as overbearing, "too much?"


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:52 PM
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You teach gym, right?

I teach things to people who'll likely end up teaching gym.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 1:56 PM
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168: Little bit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:00 PM
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Gonerill teaches sex ed or abstinence?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:00 PM
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likely alarm any such person into a jelly

does this often happen outside of comedies set in the Smuckers (or KY, I guess) factory?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:03 PM
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156: Woohoo! When do they issue you the research assistants tasked with feeding you grapes whilst you recline on a couch? You get those with tenure, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:04 PM
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No one has a greater need for coaching than the pathetic and weird.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:05 PM
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Are our employee benefits experts around? How does the IRS compute the tax implications of sex with undergraduates? Or is that an under-the-table benefit?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:06 PM
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When do they issue you the research assistants tasked with feeding you grapes whilst you recline on a couch?

I have the couch in the office already. I have two RAs. Now I just need me some grapes.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:08 PM
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No one has a greater need for coaching than the pathetic and weird.

Says the guy who conned a marriage acceptance from some girl who could barely speak English and was desperate to escape germany.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:08 PM
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156: Congratulations!

I find the dating "coach" concept a little bit off-putting because it reminds me of "life coach." But still. This thread is harsh.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:08 PM
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175: I think that's excluded from tax as a working condition fringe under section 132(d).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:09 PM
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comedies set in the Smuckers (or KY, I guess) factory?

If God is good, there is a Kentucky Jelly Factory somewhere.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:10 PM
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Or is that an under-the-table benefit?

Depends on your office layout.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:12 PM
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Yes, most women don't ask men out; men are still supposed to do the asking. But the point is even simpler than "ask out the women who are crushing on you" ("but how can you tell???"); it's that if a shy, average-looking guy were to ask out his women acquaintances, he would probably get a lot of dates. Not all of them would turn into "relationships," but it would be better than sitting around talking about how women don't seem to like shy, average-looking guys. (Which isn't what you were doing, but a lot of people do.)

Yeah, and he'd lose a bunch of female friends who were creeped out by being asked out on dates in what they thought were platonic relationships.

Sorry if someone else has responded to this, but I was really bugged by it.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:13 PM
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Congrats, Gonerill.

In my outfit, we say that the next step after the big one-time promotion is to 'take the stupid pill.' This causes you to be unable to conceive of subordinates as actual human beings with thoughts, hopes and dreams. Instead, they become numbers on sheets of paper (and damn unsatisfactory numbers at that: Why are we paying so much? Why haven't they worked longer hours? And why aren't they as good as I was at that age?).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:14 PM
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" But still. This thread is harsh.

Eh? Maybe I haven't been reading very carefully. I thought most people were supportive of the idea, contingent on dating coaches actually helping.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:14 PM
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I find the dating "coach" concept a little bit off-putting because it reminds me of "life coach."

The comparison actually redeems dating coaches for me, just a bit. A friend of a friend is a "life coach" and is really a pretty neat person with some really neat ways of challenging people to think about what they want out of life. I don't know that I'd ever be willing to pay her, but I do enjoy having landed on the mailing list for her newsletter, which now that I think about it often reads an awful lot like some Unfogged threads.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:16 PM
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damn unsatisfactory numbers at that: Why are we paying so much? Why haven't they worked longer hours? And why aren't they as good as I was at that age?

This reminds me alot of my last performance review...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:17 PM
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165: I wish I said that.

I probably will at some point.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:18 PM
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possibly on account of the fact that I would likely alarm any such person into a jelly

Because you think of yourself as overbearing, "too much?"

168: Little bit

Might not play out as you expect; the brazen are often adored, and very attractive to the shyguy. And once their interest is clear, can bring him out of his shell like no one else, because he need not fear—absurd, but that's how he thinks—he'll crush her.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:18 PM
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Anyway, my only point was to quibble with the theory that girls grow up getting more dating advice than boys to. Girls are told to wear make-up (but not too much) and to smile; boys are told to hold doors and pay for dinner. I think we all pretty much get equal amounts of crap advice.

Girls seem to get a lot of advice about how to manipulate men, bend them to her will and change their behavior. For boys the idea that they can do these things to girls is laughable so the advice is never brought up except in the narrow category of "how to get her to have sex with you".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:18 PM
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Woot! Congrats, Gonerill. I hope the next Ask The Mineshaft is about how to subtly abuse tenure.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:19 PM
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Girls seem to get a lot of advice about how to manipulate men, bend them to her will and change their behavior. For boys the idea that they can do these things to girls is laughable so the advice is never brought up except in the narrow category of "how to get her to have sex with you".

I feel totally like I must be living in a parallel universe or something.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:24 PM
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There are an infinite number of parallel universes.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:25 PM
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Yeah, and he'd lose a bunch of female friends who were creeped out by being asked out on dates in what they thought were platonic relationships

Cryptic Ned subscribes to ladder theory.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:25 PM
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I feel totally like I must be living in a parallel universe or something.

My experience of what females say to other females in all-female company is at best second-hand and largely based on fictional portrayals, so I may be wrong about this.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:26 PM
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No, for reals, all the time that you thought your sisters were out shopping with your mom for training bras or whatnot? They were going to zombie hypnotist training school, learning to manipulate men and bend them to our will.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:32 PM
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largely based on fictional portrayals

That would be She, right?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:34 PM
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What?!?!? Ayesha had lots of male followers.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:35 PM
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Di, I'd file a parental malpractice lawsuit.

This goes back to the "telling girls they're beautiful" thread, but my parents never told my sisters that they were beautiful. Neither did the stonefaced guys around here, but they were always hanging around and trying to get introductions. To this day my younger, more-beautiful sister does not know how physically attractive (specifically in the shallow blonde sense, though she's also capable, nice, and funny) she is and was. She also never was taught how to manipulate men, and in the end she was manipulated by a MOA who also happened to be a sociopath.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:36 PM
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No, for reals, all the time that you thought your sisters were out shopping with your mom for training bras or whatnot? They were going to zombie hypnotist training school, learning to manipulate men and bend them to our will.

Ah ha!! Now we know what Clinton was doing by showing her cleavage!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:36 PM
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I totally went shopping for whatnot. MORE WHATNOT! I cried, and they piled our arms full.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:36 PM
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You know, if Ladder Theory has a Wiki page it seems to me that the No-Relationship Policy should. Apparently they're both equally scientific.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:39 PM
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What's an MOA?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:40 PM
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Di, I'd file a parental malpractice lawsuit.

I'll amend to add an additional count. Unfortunately, I suspect they will have some good defenses and we'll wind up just settling. No one ever comes out ahead in these things except the lawyers. Hey, wait....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:41 PM
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Sorry, I meant PUA.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:43 PM
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Damn. I missed the mind-control lessons too.

To take it a little more seriously, girls on average probably get more more pressure to be sensitive to how other people are feeling and be kind about it than boys do, which involves a probably somewhat higher level, on average, of skill at figuring out what someone else is feeling and doing something to affect that as adults.

I don't think I, personally, am on the high end of that average, or that it's a huge difference, but there's at least a stereotype there. Isn't it pretty much the same stereotype Ogged was talking about with the little video of the girl and the boy and the knock-knock joke? She's very aware of him and what he's saying; he's just kind of in his own weird little world?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:44 PM
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Take them for everything they've got. Watch the other heirs screaming in anguish.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:45 PM
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just click here if you don't want the surprise ruind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC7ucvAAVvw


..


..


speaking of Ne/il Stra/uss, he and jack black are in the begining of this (enjoyable) music video


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:49 PM
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198: All the more reason to tell your daughters early and often that they are beautiful. And smart. And funny. And overall worthy. Girls who think they can't do better probably won't.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:50 PM
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Many women, think of Amy Sedaris, can be very funny about the lameness of the life lessons they got, particularly from their mothers. My sister, a notably aggressive woman, has a whole routine about my mother's attempts.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:51 PM
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She's very aware of him and what he's saying; he's just kind of in his own weird little world?

exactly.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 2:53 PM
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And smart.

Actually, this is a bad idea.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:02 PM
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211: ?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:04 PM
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You know the whole thing where praising intelligence instead of effort sets up kids for failure? There was a post on it awhile back.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:05 PM
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pdf23ds is a guy, right?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:06 PM
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Not a parent, in any case. Any comment on parenting style has got to be couched in impersonal terms, or preceded by perceptive remarks about the kid.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:08 PM
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Praising results would seem most effective.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:08 PM
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All the more reason to tell your daughters early and often that they are beautiful. And smart. And funny. And overall worthy. Girls who think they can't do better probably won't.


Like:
"You are so beautiful and way too smart to eat that dessert because it will make your butt big. Then, people will not like you nearly as much."??


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:13 PM
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213: Ah, I do remember the discussion now that you mentioned it, and found it very convincing at the time, too. Still, I'm uncomfortable saying we should never tell kids they are smart, even if their effort and perseverance should take priority. But I have no science to back me, just a mother's conviction in the smartness of her kid.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:16 PM
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Praising enjoyment of challenging oneself is the most effective.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:16 PM
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217: No, like "You're too smart to put up with that bullshit. Also, you are hot and out of his sorry ass league."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:18 PM
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Not thinking one is smart is not why people put up with bullshit. Not thinking one is pretty is not why people put up with bullshit. People do not get into abusive relationships out of a sense that they're unattractive or dumb.

Please, don't assume that victims of domestic abuse are lacking in self-esteem.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:22 PM
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Maybe I'm reading "bullshit" too strongly. But even with less-awful bullshit than abuse, I highly doubt that "settling" is about poor self-image. Most of the people I know who are dating people they know are not good-looking/smart enough for them are huge egotists, and prefer to feel comfortably superior.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:24 PM
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No, like "You're too smart to put up with that bullshit. Also, you are hot and out of his sorry ass league."

Di, the poor kid is only 8 years old!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:24 PM
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158: I realized that was what I needed, but I didn't want to post about it again.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:24 PM
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Congrats Gonerill


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:34 PM
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7

"But there's an additional penalty for trying to solve the problems. Someone who just hasn't gotten a date in an age comes off as less pathetic than someone who's reading a book or going to a coach to figure out how. That seems unfair."

That's because you aren't failing if you aren't trying. It is better to flunk out of college because you are a party animal than because you are a moron.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:37 PM
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221, 22: Actually, I'll try to respond later. But I'm late for a very important date!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:40 PM
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Where are the coaches for the people who like being pathetic and weird, but don't think they're meeting their potential? On a hot dog?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:41 PM
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Wow, 222 is so right it's scary.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:42 PM
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Actually, I think people who don't try to date come across as the most pathetic, because it demonstrates a coldness that is foreign to me. I may bomb, but I bomb out of an excess of desire, one that won't let me stay at home by myself.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:43 PM
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228: They're called "debate coaches".


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:43 PM
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11

"But doesn't the dating coach have to turn into the life coach? Because most of the people I know who are too socially-awkward to get a date are too life-awkward to sustain a relationship."

It depends on the problem. If you are a guy, being very shy is crippling when it comes to getting dates but is not that big a problem in sustaining relationships.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:43 PM
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230: So where do intensely lonely agoraphobics fit in there?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:45 PM
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Actually, I think people who don't try to date come across as the most pathetic, because it demonstrates a coldness that is foreign to me. I may bomb, but I bomb out of an excess of desire, one that won't let me stay at home by myself.

"coldness" s/b "awkardness" or "shyness"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:46 PM
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Pathetic is the wrong word in 230. That is, I fully respect and understand the sadsack losers who fall flat on their faces while trying to get love. Libido and loneliness are powerful motivators to even disastrous action. People who are not motivated to do something about libido and loneliness, I don't understand, unless they're heavy pot-smokers, who seem to mind dry spells a lot less.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:46 PM
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Agoraphobia is slightly outside the bounds of what I'm talking about in 230, though maybe it's more rampant than we'd like to think.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:47 PM
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People who are not motivated to do something about libido and loneliness, I don't understand.

Well, this was me for most of my life. I wanted to go out on dates and get involved in romantic situations, but didn't know what to say or where to begin or who to talk to. And my desire to not make an ass of myself or embarrass myself was stronger than my desire to fail lots of times before eventually getting anywhere. I guess I am kind of unemotional most of the time.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:49 PM
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218

"... Still, I'm uncomfortable saying we should never tell kids they are smart, even if their effort and perseverance should take priority. ..."

Well you shouldn't tell kids they are smart if they aren't but assuming they are smart I don't think it is argued that they shouldn't be told. But they shouldn't be praised for being smart, they should be praised for things within their control like effort and perseverance.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:52 PM
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I guess what I can't understand about it is, if one actually is feeling the pain of unfulfilled desire, which hurts so fucking much all the time, how does that (plus all the fear of regret at chances lost) not outweigh a little anxiety about getting rejected? We're all going to die one day. That's a big part of why I'm so klutzily bold; I really don't want to die having sat at home being afraid of meeting people.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:52 PM
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Basically I did not have the belief that by failing over and over again I would learn by experience and trial and error and eventually succeed. I just saw every potential experience as a near-certain chance of failure, so why bother? This turned out to be the wrong way to look at it, since I did in fact learn by trial and error. Having always been good in school, and never pursued any physical activity from the point where I sucked at it to the point where I was good, I hadn't had the experience of trial and error before, so it seemed like there must be an easier route to success.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:55 PM
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(Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained. -- wm blake)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:55 PM
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239: Asking people with social anxiety why they don't get over it is like asking the same of depressives.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:55 PM
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Not all the anxiety about dating that would lead someone hypothetically to not try for some period of time is about getting rejected.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:56 PM
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That makes sense, Ned. I see that attitude a lot in my college students, that they have no idea that it is possible to learn skills; they think you're just born good or bad at stuff.

I was such a miserable, unhappy kid until I was 12 or 13, and watched myself develop social skills in high school, so I at least had evidence that I could always change my social relationship to the world. I still have that hope.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:57 PM
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243: Correct, it's also about fear of the unknown.

(Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained. -- wm blake)

So, some people have stronger sexual desire than others, I guess, in comparison with the other forces that influence their decisionmaking. Is William Blake dissing some of us? That seems unfair.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:58 PM
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242: Again, I mean a little anxiety, not clinical agoraphobia or social anxiety disorder.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:59 PM
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235

"... People who are not motivated to do something about libido and loneliness, I don't understand, unless they're heavy pot-smokers, who seem to mind dry spells a lot less."

Most people are only capable of enduring a limited amount of failure and rejection.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 3:59 PM
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241.---Dude. That's one of the proverbs of Hell. Quoting out of context---Tweet!---twenty yards penalty.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:00 PM
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Blake's an asshole. I try not to be that big of an asshole. Some of us are blown about by desire, and so we're pretty unmoored people, and we look down on more ethical types by constructing romantic notions of the passions. But this makes us assholes, it's true.

I'm on my way out.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:00 PM
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248: We've had this discussion before.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:01 PM
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Wait, doesn't Blake suck? La Rochefoucauld is good for maxims.
(We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.)


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:05 PM
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It does bother me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:05 PM
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People who are not motivated to do something about libido and loneliness, I don't understand.

"All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone." -- Blaise Pascal


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:07 PM
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People who are not motivated to do something about libido and loneliness, I don't understand.....

Since we fail to understand each other already, AWB, we might as well get married.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:11 PM
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More seriously, as an strong introvert, there's a vicious cycle that's easy to fall into:

1) Interacting with people drains energy
2a) I am unhappy and don't have the energy to interact with other people
2b) I am unhappy, and know that the easist way to deal with that is to do something that I am good at.
3) Doing something that I am good at both takes energy and, most likely doesn't involve interacting with people.

Repeat.

Thankfully I don't, generally, have a tendency toward depression, or my inclinations toward isolation would be even stronger.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:15 PM
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Basically I did not have the belief that by failing over and over again I would learn by experience and trial and error and eventually succeed

My personal experience is this coupled with if you put off dating long enough it just gets harder to start since you are trying to figure out the social rules that most people fuddled through when they were 15-16 years old. Finally after a while you just get into a rut. You know how to be alone and you have your routines. You don't know how to interact with other people on an intimate level.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:16 PM
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1.) Sort of off-topic, but I think that my doctor friend John gets asked out a lot. He's kind of cute but not particularly hot, and he's starting to bald. He's pretty introverted but very friendly once you know him, so I think that a lot of women feel that they have to draw him out. Some of the nurses at his hospital seem to have taken him on as a project. At a party at his place, one of his co-workers said (because the place is so sparsely furnished), "He'll never get a girl if he doesn't get some more furniture."

Plus, you know, he's a doctor. His Cu/ban barber tried to set him up with his Venez/uelan niece.

2.) I kind of suck at a lot of this stuff. I'm often shy around strangers, so even though I'm reasonably cute, I don't get asked out all that often. My social circle is not that wide, and I had such a crappy schedule for a while that I wasn't really able to get out much. (I do get asked out by some creepy types on whom I've taken pity.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:38 PM
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I had such a crappy schedule for a while that I wasn't really able to get out much.

This is a remarkably powerful effect, and it can be hard to notice without getting a lot of perspective on the relevant period.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:48 PM
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241 irritated me, but 249 made it so much better.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 4:55 PM
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248: Yes, but Blake was pro-Hell and pro-Satan.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:02 PM
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I wish I'd realized how much ordinary scheduling can affect me before going to grad school. As comfortable as I can be on my own, I'm much better off when I see (a not too small amount of) people regularly on a daily or near-daily basis. I hated my old job, but in a lot of ways it was great socially; it's too bad I still haven't developed the ordinary social skills - which I'd distinguish from specifically dating skills - of building friendships through appointment rather than through everyday interaction. I suppose it's like learning a foreign language for me in that I need to keep using it to avoid having to relearn it. I suspect that if I were to take a course in dating I'd do quite well without becoming fluent.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:08 PM
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I still haven't developed the ordinary social skills ... of building friendships through appointment rather than through everyday interaction.

Yeah, I'm shit at this too. I have reasonably sized social circles in 2 different cities [but not the one I live in] so meeting up with old friends takes work, and I suck at that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:11 PM
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Also, that Pascal quote rocks.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:11 PM
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Also, avoiding rejection at least lets you cling to the idea that you just don't want to get a girlfriend right now. Real actual failure isn't so easily bullshitted away.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:17 PM
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260.---In fits and spurts.

As it were.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:29 PM
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This was before he became a killer of white men, of course.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 5:32 PM
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I just left a restaurant where I observed a first internet date of the "Superman--on a hot dog!" variety. The girl was amazing, really adorable and smart and talkative, and the boy kept interrupting her to say completely pointless and unconnected things, which the girl would then skillfully respond to. It made me kind of sad.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:12 PM
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267:
and one wonders: what sort of date-coaching would have helped him?
"okay, jack: this week we're going to work on not be so. fucking. obtuse!!"


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:19 PM
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267: that's some pretty good restaurant observing, snoopy.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:32 PM
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Were you thinking, "Dear adorable girl: Please scootch away!"

?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:34 PM
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Superman--on a hot dog!

??? Is this a reference I'm missing?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:37 PM
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Sometimes people choose not to "date," by which I mean engage in sexual relationships, because they'd really prefer to be by themselves for a while. Has nothing to do with fear of failure or rejection, a lack of social skills, or weak or suppressed desire.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:38 PM
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271: Scroll down the page to the post with a video of two little kids telling jokes -- the girl is all engaged with her audience and telling a comprehensible joke, and the boy is generating Dada weirdness, including the phrase "Superman on a hotdog."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:41 PM
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Ooh ooh, is this the spot where I can tell my obtuse guy on an internet date story? First, the guy starts lecturing me about Germans. He is the expert on Germany! Though he's never been there! Great start, dude. Then he shifts into lecturing me about Holocaust memorials, and starts referring to very specific articles he has read about the topic. At some point I ask him if he had read all these articles on the website of a PBS documentary, and he says why yes, he did. Thing is, even after I revealed to him that I had selected and translated all the articles for that website, he continued holding forth in expert-mode, ignoring anything I tried to say.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:43 PM
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274: thanks. A useful phrase.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:44 PM
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274: Classic. But presumably he did have a penis, which some regard as necessary for true expertise.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:47 PM
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274--
look, it's not obtuse, it's perfectly rational.
you're a girl, right?
ergo, incapable of having selected and translated those articles.
ergo, lying for some inexplicable, girl reason.
so he was just trying to cover up for your socially embarrassing fabulism.
it was actually a very sensitive and agile response to what could have been an awkward situation.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:49 PM
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274: Oh, God, yuck. That's a really lovely coincidence, though!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:50 PM
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274: Oh MAN. That is great/horrible.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:53 PM
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William Blake and I have the same birthday. Different years, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:56 PM
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Blume, 274 is fantastic. I'm going to be telling that story forever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:58 PM
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Blume, you're six kinds of wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:59 PM
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Oh, forgot to add that if you need any help with the German stuff, I did take it for a few years in college.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 6:59 PM
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That's about five times as funny as the (already pretty funny) Marshall McLuhan gag.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:02 PM
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the boy is generating Dada weirdness

You say that like it's a bad thing.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:02 PM
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Ogged, I've got 26 second-year German essays you could grade for me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:06 PM
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What's that saying about a little knowledge?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:06 PM
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It goes a long way?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:07 PM
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Chicks dig it?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:10 PM
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It's not nice to call someone's bluff immediately, Blume. Geez.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:11 PM
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It's worth a lot of knowledge in the bush?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:11 PM
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Whenever I'm talking in a public place about some topic I'm not so solid on, I often think of how awesome it would be if the McLuhan thing would happen in real life, even if it were at my expense. I think I just have the fantasy that everyone around me knows a lot more about a lot of interesting stuff than they actually do.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:11 PM
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In college, some political theory bigwig was giving a very well-attended guest lecture and quoted something from Nietzsche in support of her point. During the Q&A, one prof (who really was brilliant) started "But in that same paragraph, Nietzsche says...."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:14 PM
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No, no. I think it was from a children's story, but all I remember is one of the characters saying "I think I know. I think I know."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:15 PM
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Professor ConLaw loved to tell a story about being on a panel where somebody was expounding an elaborate theory about some Supreme Court case, which ConLaw then challenges. "Oh yeah," says the other guy. " What makes you so sure?"

"Well I was clerking for Jusice Whoever at the time, and I wrote every word of that opinion."

Professor ConLaw was kind of an asshole.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:23 PM
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What's that saying about a little knowledge?

I'm led to believe it's the girth of your knowledge that counts.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:29 PM
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Be sure to jab the laydeez repeatedly with your knowledge. They love that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:33 PM
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A little knowledge helps the medicine go down.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:33 PM
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I hear they also like being called "laydeez."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:34 PM
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295 is the kind of story you tell to a lecture hall if you're the one who got the comeuppance. If you're the one delivering it, you save it for drinks with the lads.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:34 PM
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So true.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:35 PM
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The institution of "girth requirements" was responsible for a decline in male college graduation rates.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:36 PM
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even after I revealed to him that I had selected and translated all the articles for that website, he continued holding forth in expert-mode, ignoring anything I tried to say.

Blume clearly has big boobs and therefore cannot be smart.



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:37 PM
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How much do we have to know before we are safe?


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:40 PM
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Depends what your girth requirements are.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:41 PM
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trevor:

Are there any website you can recommend for someone who wants to learn some waterpolo moves?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:42 PM
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I dunno. I never did see a lot of water polo websites. I'd just be googling.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:46 PM
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Here you go, will.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:47 PM
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How the hell did you find that, apo?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:49 PM
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site:unfogged.com "different color" pool water


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:50 PM
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Re: 274. Blume rocks, as usual.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:50 PM
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The site really needs a concordance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:52 PM
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"different color" pool water

Ah. You remembered your comment. Ok.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:53 PM
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300 is dead on.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 7:56 PM
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The site really needs a concordance

I'm thinking more along the lines of a religion where the adherents have to memorize and recite the archives like the suras.

I expect the devotees of St. Apo will be particularly dogged defenders of the One True Faith.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:10 PM
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I expect the devotees of St. Apo will be particularly dogged defenders of the One True Faith.

I don't look forward to seeing which relics end up getting embalmed.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:13 PM
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315: Suras or sutras? (I don't know.)


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:15 PM
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The Kama Sura will take up 95% of the Qu'postrophan.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:19 PM
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In re matters germanical: I've been having weekly 1-2 hour conversations in german with a friend of mine, and periodically I tell her that she should correct me when I make mistakes, to which she tends to respond that she thinks it's more important that one simply talk. I tried objecting that in that case one simply becomes used to the errors, and she said, basically, do you really want me to correct you? Now I'm certain I've been making far, far more mistakes than I myself catch and try to correct.

In other news, pork bellies.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:24 PM
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Blake's an asshole.

Can you imagine? ‹Mrs. Blake›"Now you go on, Mr. Blake and give my respects to Mr. Milton when you see him. I'll just tidy up around here a bit."‹/Mrs. Blake›

Still love him though.

All this talk of repressed desire makes me think of this passage from Lautréamont:

"When [the hermaphrodite] sees a man and a woman walking along a path shaded by plane-trees, he feels his body splitting from top to bottom into two parts, and each new part going to embrace one of the walkers; but it is only a hallucination, and reason soon takes over again. That is why he mixes neither with men not with women; for his excessively strong sense of shame, which arose with the idea that he was only a monster, prevents him from giving his burning love to anyone. He would consider it self-profanation, and profanation of others. His pride repeats this axiom to him 'Let each remain among his own kind.' His pride, I say, because he fears that by sharing his life with a man or a woman, he will sooner of later be reproached, as if it were a dreadful crime, for the confirmation of his body. So he shelters behind his self-esteem, offended by this impious supposition, which comes from him alone, and he persists in remaining alone and without consolation amidst his torments."

How emo.

Some of us are blown about by desire, and so we're pretty unmoored people

As one unmoored person to another, I'd go on a date with you, AWB.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:24 PM
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The site really needs a concordance.

One the one hand, we couldn't even come through with a grant to read all the comments. On the other, a concordance might be of more obvious scholarly value.

Degree candidates aren't allowed to submit NEH grants, but if one of the professors in the crowd is willing to sign the documents (and, er, share the shekels), I'll do the work.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:26 PM
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You're going to need to fill out that thesis committee as well, ben. I nominate my dad. He's an expert on the historical Jesus as well as Indian film music and canned fish.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:30 PM
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319: Pork belly is delicious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:32 PM
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Aw, shucks, Populuxe.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:33 PM
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323 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:34 PM
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jab the laydeez repeatedly with your knowledge

It seems like every time I go to a nice-ish restaurant in Park Slope I overhear some couple or other on a first date undergoing a "Superman on a hot dog"/Blume's German expert-type experience. The guy goes on and on about predicate logic or whatever to a girl whose boredom is clear to all in the room except her date. So painful to watch.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:39 PM
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What's boring about predicate logic, anyway???


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:44 PM
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Is your dad actually an expert on the historical Jesus, Neddy?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:47 PM
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jab the laydeez repeatedly with your knowledge

I used to work at this restaurant called The Va/t and To/nsure (kind of a long story, but the name was inspired by a print depicting winemaking monks). One night this woman asks her date, "What's a tonsure?" and without missing a beat he replies, "It's a kind of salmon." Total dick, obviously, but I admired him for his confidence.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:48 PM
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During the Q&A, one prof (who really was brilliant) started "But in that same paragraph, Nietzsche says...."

One of the formative experiences of my life--he says, really and truly imagining for a moment that anyone cares--was reading Brave New World in, like, the 9th grade or so and thinking that the Savage's ability to quote Shakespeare on cue was amazingly, amazingly cool and desperately wanting to be able to do the same thing one day.

Still can't quote Shakespeare on cue (but I am a little clearer on just how nerdy that dream was).


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:48 PM
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I wish someone would talk dirty about predicate logic to me. I would just need for them to know what they're talking about. It would be very distracting if he kept fucking up whatever eruditish thing he was lecturing me on.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:49 PM
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It's easy enough, Populuxe, so long as you don't care whether the Shakespeare you quote is relevant to the situation in which you quote.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:49 PM
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--he says, really and truly imagining for a moment that anyone cares--

(yawn)
Really? No way!
(wondering what I should have for breakfast tomorrow)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:49 PM
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328, yes. If that is somehow relevant to your life I can send you an email.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:50 PM
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As Macduff's son says: "He has killed me, mother."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:51 PM
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The only Shax I can quote on cue is "In fair Verona where we lay our scene." Of course, it's useless; it was pointed out as an example of iambic pentameter, selected because it's one of the first lines in Romeo & Juliet, and I've never forgotten it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:51 PM
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My dad can deliver the entire St. Crispin's Day monologue on cue, as well as various other bits.

Ned: it's not relevant.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:53 PM
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My students all look amazed at me when I recite poems. I remember being amazed by my profs when they did it. For me, it's just functional; I can't analyze poems I haven't memorized.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:53 PM
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It's easy enough, Populuxe, so long as you don't care whether the Shakespeare you quote is relevant to the situation in which you quote.

To quote the Swan of Avon, "The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait", IYKWIM, heh heh.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:53 PM
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Now could I drink hot blood!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:54 PM
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Syuck byood!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:55 PM
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"Ma-ma!"

I prefer the early work.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:56 PM
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Now like a lot of women I've gone out with, I bet you're thinking "I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve."
But bear with me. "Put not yourself into amazement how these things should be: all difficulties are but easy when they are known."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:57 PM
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221, 222: Ack! I keep trying to respond, and getting swallowed up somehow! Longer rambling response at my place. Quick bullet points here rather than get all serious off-topic.

1. Yeah, you read way more into "bullshit" than I consciously intended. Really, I just meant to poke a little at Will's "girls shouldn't eat desserts" jest.

2. But, now that you bring up domestic abuse... I think it's a mistake to assume (to the extent that's what you meant) that domestic abuse takes no toll on self-esteem. Absolutely, people don't become victims simply because they have low self-esteem. People do, however, take a serious blow to their self-esteem when subjected to ongoing abuse.

3. On "settling": I agree that people who themselves believe they are "settling" are massive egotists -- you can't think you're settling unless you think you are better than your mate. I do think people with self-esteem often settle without realizing it. But then, I'm not talking about shit like looks or smarts or finances. I'm talking about the people who settle for someone who is not respectful or gentle or kind because they are convinced they don't deserve those things.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:57 PM
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Full of clichés, etc.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:59 PM
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Yeah, you read way more into "bullshit" than I consciously intended.

That seems to happen a lot around here.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 8:59 PM
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I once went on a blind date with a medieval studies major, and asked her if she knew about Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog. Turned out she knows the guy who writes it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:00 PM
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This shirt is fantastic.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:04 PM
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344(1): Yes, probably. I just wanted to push on it a little.

344(2): Agreed. Self-image issues didn't get me into an abusive situation, but being in an abusive situation definitely fucked with my self-image.

344(3): Comity.

I wasn't actually trying to disagree with anything that you said, but I was tempted to show that there's not necessarily a causal relationship between self-esteem and dealing with bullshit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:06 PM
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Also, I find I've been rather feistier than usual of late. It's not my usual tone. I'm a little frustrated/stressed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:08 PM
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What's on your mind, lil bear?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:09 PM
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351: Cerebrospinal fluid.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:11 PM
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I got observed today, on an awkward day. My mom lost the job I was so proud of her for getting (though I am even more proud of her for telling the guy who fired her what a mistake he was making). I have a few big trips I have to make, a conference paper to write, classes to teach, dissertation committee-member illness issues, and, lest we forget, I haven't gotten laid since June. I'm a little frustrated. But I will be fine, especially in November, when some of this is past.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:13 PM
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There will be no ice. How is AWB to find seals to eat if there is no ice? How could she not be stressed?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:13 PM
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Plus, no seals. Thanks for reminding me, NPH!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:14 PM
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352 just happened to my sister. she had a headache for a week and a half. They finally got rid of it with an operation where they used her blood to clot up a hole in her spine. I wish I could explain it better.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:14 PM
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I was one of those who wanted to grow up to be someone who could and did quote things. Fortunately, it became clear before I really tried it how out of place that is in regular conversation and I decided to memorize things only if I wanted simply to know them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:14 PM
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I was one of those who wanted to grow up to be someone who could and did quote things. Fortunately, it became clear before I really tried it how out of place that is in regular conversation and I decided to memorize things only if I wanted simply to know them.

Well, as the Swan of Avon put it, "He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:17 PM
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Fortunately, it became clear before I really tried it how out of place that is in regular conversation

My position on this is "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:18 PM
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On Sunday I watched Dream A Little Dream, the weirdest movie starring The Coreys. Jason Robards has an annoying tic of shouting quotes at people and then following it up with "Ralph Waldo Stevenson, 1836!" It's even funnier when Corey Feldman starts doing it.

Much more interesting movie than I expected, too.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:19 PM
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350 -- Yeah, I can relate.

On other news, not only does Rory have a more active love-life than me, but she seems to have given these things an awful lot of thought. After watching a sitcom where a girl creates conflict by pursuing two brothers at the same time, I asked Rory how she'd handle it if she liked two boys at the same time.

"I'd talk to both of them, tell them that I couldn't decide which one I liked better, and that I wanted to date them both."

"Well, what if one of them says, 'No, if you want to date me, I don't want you dating anybody else'?"

"I'd tell him, 'Then we are done.'"

(She also explained that the difference between friends and dating is that you want to make out.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:21 PM
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Being able to quote is also a generational thing. My dad and others his age I've known could quote long poems they'd learned decades before, because rote memorization of verse was a part of their education. I don't know anyone my age with the same experience.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:22 PM
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361: That's adorable. I love asking kids how they deal with love-life problems. They're so practical! And mature!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:24 PM
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I haven't gotten laid since June.

Assuming you're talking 2007, quit your bitching already. Some of us have no pity. [Grumble, grumble, mutter, snark.]


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:24 PM
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When I was four, I had a boyfriend (Josh) and a best friend (Michael). Josh was always cheating on me with a dumb girl named Amy. I don't remember what constituted cheating at the time. Anyhow, Michael and I had a long talk in which I confessed that sometimes I thought marrying Josh might be a bad idea. Michael said that if Josh and I broke up before it was time to get married, and if he wasn't in love with someone else, he would marry me.

I told my mom about this, and she was kind of horrified.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:26 PM
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Totally, Di. Isn't it sickening?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:27 PM
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Maybe June is a name, IYKWIM.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:28 PM
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Poor bear. (for 353)

That bitch Amy. (for 365)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:28 PM
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I didn't ask her for her name.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:29 PM
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You poor dears, however do you survive without the weekly boinking?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:31 PM
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I didn't ask her for her name.

That comment just managed to get this lyric stuck in my head:

I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said lola / L-o-l-a lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola

Thanks a lot, AWB.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:33 PM
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I simultaneously feel bad for Di, and wish her ex-husband had a blog, so we could hear his side of things.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:34 PM
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He did at one point...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:37 PM
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374

Dude!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:39 PM
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375

Ogged, you can read a synopsis of his career here.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:42 PM
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375 is the new leader in the Unfogged Limbo Contest.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:44 PM
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Oh, and you just can't know the temptation I have to give up a link here. I think it highlights very nicely what a schmuck he is. But then he might suddenly realize he'd gotten a dozen or more hits, and then trace the traffic back here, and then he'd read all my comments here. That's private stuff, man, just between me and all of you...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:47 PM
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Yay Vat and Tonsure! Super-great place I only went to a few times, with wonderful passive-aggressive waitpersons who were often musicians.

The good thing about "settling" is that a considerable prportion of people either overvalue themselves, or else insist on doing better than they really deserve (even they know it). So 7s think they're 9s, or people who know they're 7s will only be satisfied with 9s.

And no, it's not subjective. Most people know where they rank on the scale, and most rankings agree within a point or so.

And yes, some people don't play the one-to-ten game, but I was talkign about most people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:49 PM
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Damn, that would be a fun read.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:50 PM
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375 is the new leader in the Unfogged Limbo Contest.

What?!? The linked article is a hagiography if ever I read one.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:50 PM
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361: Rory's method would totally work. She's gonna be good.

people who talk a great deal about using pot are just boring.

nonsense. They're the best people to watch bad TV with.



Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:51 PM
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I'm a six! And a half!


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:52 PM
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377: Put a vaguely topical link under a one-time-only pseud on some other blog, then tell us where to find it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:52 PM
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381: I fear for the little boys.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:54 PM
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383: Interesting idea, NPH. Whether 'tis to be or not remains the question...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:55 PM
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It's embarrassing to admit, but I can't date two people at once. I know everyone else does it, and it's not a moral thing at all. It's just that I'm really easily confused.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:58 PM
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Dating one person at a time seriously taxes my organizational skills.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 9:59 PM
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A date coach could prep you before you go out: interests, past conversations, name.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:00 PM
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319: Ben, I agree with your conversation partner that a lot of times keeping talking is better for learning than stopping to correct. And getting a feel for what is useful to correct and what to let slide can be really difficult. Some people are really good at the trick of repeating what you just said, but now correctly-- when done subtly, it's magic.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:00 PM
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386 is why I'm monogamous as hell despite having my doubts about monogamy.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:01 PM
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My best girlfriend and her husband are devoted polygamists, and they're always trying to convince me that most of my actual-boyfriend anxiety is secretly a product of my inner polygamist having problems adjusting to a monogamous world. I keep insisting, no, really, I can barely imagine handling one relationship well! Trying to orchestrate more than that would freak me out.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:05 PM
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386 and 387: I've had multiple relationships sort of overlap for a week or two before. It's always been so trying that I was relieved to settle into one.

In other news, I saw "The Kingdom" and it was, ummm, really good in a weird, morally repulsive WOT sort of way. Kind of like a version of "Team America" that took itself really seriously and had no puppet sex.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:09 PM
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Yeah, polygamy sounds appealing in the abstract. Then I remember what a pain in the ass monogamy was and envision that time two or more... Rory's been talking that way for a while now, though. Her friends (or rather, their parents) will likely be scandalized.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:12 PM
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AWB, I can totally see you as a polygamist for some reason. And I have a sense for these things -- polygamy's in my blood!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:12 PM
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The polygamist AWB would do an awful lot of processing with all her lovers. Punctuated by occasional wild threesomes! Requiring further processing afterwards.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:17 PM
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All the polygamists I know are either really amazingly sensitive and aware of feelings in themselves and others, or else they really totally are comfortable with letting everyone sort out their own feelings. I am neither of these. I don't understand people's feelings very well, but I feel really guilty about it, and so try to be all sensitive and shit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:19 PM
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That's funny, marcus. I am not at all a processor in sexual relationships. Everyone I've slept with has kind of freaked out about my complete lack of desire to talk about things. I'll listen to them talk if they want, but I'm thinking, "Yay! I got what I want!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:20 PM
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Now that the 1990s New York Times archives are open, I can link to this article on "the polygamous bourgeoisie".


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:22 PM
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Yeah, I actually don't know any real-life polygamists, I think. So I ain't got shit. My great-great grandfather, on the other hand...


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:24 PM
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Yay Vat and Tonsure! Super-great place I only went to a few times, with wonderful passive-aggressive waitpersons who were often musicians.

The more interesting subject of AWB's polygamous tendencies aside, John, I'm delighted to think that I may have waited on you. Incidentally, we preferred to characterize our style of service not as 'passive-aggressive' so much as 'professionally distant.' My own motto was 'They also serve who only stand and wait.' Were you aware that the last booth on the mezzanine was a frequent site of sexual congress?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:26 PM
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When I was dating I determined that dating required a healthy triangular undergirding of ethics, desire, and logistics.

I found that the logistical questions were vexing, the ethical ones unintuitive, and the two together tended to crowd out desire.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:39 PM
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My poly friend was once describing a circle of her friends, and how she liked to imagine them all as a bunch of squirmy, happy rodents in an underground nest together, and that this was her ideal social environment, with everyone loving and being loved together. This sounds like a perfect hell to me. But she was raised on a commune for her formative years.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:46 PM
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you wouldn't even process your lack of desire to process? Oh well, I'll have to adjust my stereotype of you. Maybe to intimacy-avoidant. (Stereotypes always need to swing between extremes).


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 10:55 PM
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and how she liked to imagine them all as a bunch of squirmy, happy rodents in an underground nest together

On a hotdog.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:01 PM
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No, I heavily process dating stuff, because I can't read new people well in social situations. But I'm good at reading people in bed, and sex doesn't change how I feel about people. So I've never really understood what's the point of a conversation about "What does this mean?" even though it seems like everyone else wants to have one. What does sex "mean," anyway? Why does it have to "mean"? Can't it be about desire, which is self-explanatory?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:05 PM
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First of all, I haven't gotten laid since June? Total Mirthless L.

Second, I don't understand people's feelings very well. Bullshit. You understand people's feelings just fine. Not only that, but you understand them well enough to vividly recapitulate them here. I was reading waiting for a train the other day, and after reading a particularly evocative passage I thought, 'Wow, that was awesome, like a particularly good AWB comment." You need both input and output skills to pull of some of the stuff you post.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:13 PM
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That's sweet, fm, but to the community's credit, this is an especially self-aware and articulate bunch. Most people IRL are not as uniformly clear and expressive about themselves and their intentions.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-07 11:23 PM
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Can't it be about desire, which is self-explanatory?

But desire isn't self-explanatory. There are all sorts of levels of desire, from "you're pretty" to "I love you", and it's not always obvious (even to oneself) which it is.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 12:17 AM
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returning to 274 et seq., I have to boast on my husband's having accomplished the ultimate in real-life pwnage. a student had come to him in office hours for an intro phil class (when he was in grad school), and was bitterly complaining about his barren, machine-like logico-philosophical turn of mind, and generally about the wrong-headedness of philosophy. she was carrying a dog-eared copy of pale fire around and shook it at him, saying something like you couldn't even understand the greatness of this art due to your narrow-minded analytic nature, at which point he began to recite: "I was the shadow of the waxwing slain/By the falls azure in the windowpane/I was the smudge of ashen fluff..." etc. I've never been able to elicit exactly what her reaction was. I don't know that I would even be able to muster slinking away and might have died of inanition in the TA lounge.


Posted by: belle waring | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 3:33 AM
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They finally got rid of it with an operation where they used her blood to clot up a hole in her spine. I wish I could explain it better.

It's called a lumbar headache. It comes from having a leak in the spinal dura that spinal fluid leaks out of, leaving you with a low fluid level at the top of your skull and your brain sloshing around and banging against the inside of your head.

It hurts like hell, and the only relief comes from lying down with your head depressed so that the spinal fluid flows to your cranial cavity. Absolutely incapaciting pain.

I got this from having an unskilled resident give me a spinal tap. A cure worse than the disease, indeed.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 6:40 AM
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So I've never really understood what's the point of a conversation about "What does this mean?" even though it seems like everyone else wants to have one.

I'm pretty sure when I've had that conversation, it was often a proxy for "So, you wanna do this again sometime?"


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 7:55 AM
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Right, I understand that as "Are we going to do this again; just this once but we're fine with each other; or are we planning on the 'avoiding each other in vaguely hostile embarrassment' route?" It's kind of an obnoxious question, though -- a decent person signals what answer they're hoping for, rather than just asking blind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 7:58 AM
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410: It sounds like an auto mechanic problem. "You were a quart low on the spinal fluid, sir. We fixed a little leak and you should be OK now."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 8:23 AM
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It's kind of an obnoxious question, though -- a decent person signals what answer they're hoping for, rather than just asking blind.

"decent" s/b "socially graceful"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 8:27 AM
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414: Sure, but it's not just grace. A real insensitive clod (and I say this as one) would come out with what they wanted directly. Asking the question without tipping your own hand is being sensitive enough to the emotional issues to be afraid of disagreement, but trying to put all the risk on the other person. It's not just ungraceful, it's cowardly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 8:31 AM
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It sounds like an auto mechanic problem. "You were a quart low on the spinal fluid, sir. We fixed a little leak and you should be OK now."

That is precisely the analogy the doctor used when she explained the condition to me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 8:56 AM
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But desire isn't self-explanatory.

Desire is the foundation on which empirical knowledge is based.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 2-07 12:27 PM
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