Archive for category The Eternal Solipsism of the Female Mind
As a smoker, I take my smoke breaks with the few other smokers in this fairly large office building. My compatriots in nicotine are mostly ordinary people working white-collar jobs, just like me. There are two 40-plus single dames who I chat with regularly, albeit briefly. They both know that I give attraction and dating advice to the post-divorce crowd.
Because they know I have a blog and I run into them regularly, I am going to be extremely diplomatic with my words. Both women are over 40 and to a 50-something guy, they are not unattractive. One has a teen-aged son, the other is never-married (I think) and without kids. So have we have Mom and Non-Mom. Non-Mom is actively looking for a male romantic interest in her life. Mom would probably date a guy if he fell in her lap.
Non-Mom is frustrated with the whole dating process. She’s making many of the classic mistakes that women make in the search for romance. But Non-Mom is actively looking. She’s doing the online dating thing and does get out of the house with yoga and walking. Recently, she gave out her phone to a guy she met on the street (think city street, not suburbia). So Non-Mom is doing that part right. She also dresses in a very feminine manner. That alone will get attention from men.
Mom, on the other hand, is more circumspect about her romantic endeavors. “I’m just so busy for dating.” My readers will know exactly that actually means. I just looked at her and stated simply, “then you’re not ready for dating.” Her reaction was expected, she back-peddled a bit and changed her approach to the conversation. Again, as expected. Her back story is all about being attracted to the wrong types of men after her divorce. Good for excitement, poor for relationships, hence, her circumspection. Mom does dress well, just not as feminine as Non-Mom.
I do talk about some Red Pill subjects with these two women while we smoke. The listen patiently but I don’t expect it to sink in very much. It takes an incredible amount of effort to be introspective enough to adjust attitudes. My readers know the process. Non-Mom will likely meet her relationship goal. She’ll be most disappointed in the whole dating scene until she meets her version of Prince Charming. This is because she’s actively working at meeting men.
Mom is receptive but too passive in her quest for romance. Her challenge is that few men in this age range actively approach women. I will wager that mostly men over 60 years old will approach her while she’s out and about. I sense she’ll take it well but wistfully wonder why aren’t guys her own age aren’t approaching her. It’s because men her age with the confidence and charisma to approach women will be approaching younger women.
Attraction and dating changes a great deal once a certain age is reached. It’s hard to understand and accept that the attraction balance shifts towards the men. A lot of guys my age don’t understand that and this keeps them from working on self-improvement to be even more attractive to the opposite sex. These same guys don’t understand that single women want to approached, even if just for validation purposes. This is the generation of men who came of age in the 1980s and were taught to be Sensitive New Age Guys (SNAGS). This is also the generation when herpes and AIDS burst into the sexual marketplace. It affected us and reprogramming is a tough process.
To my commenters, exercise diplomacy please, I see these two women almost every day. And no, no photos of them.
This is about men and women over a certain age. When women are no longer noticed, usually because of age, there is great verbal consternation. Many words go into the ‘Net ether that bemoan the great invisibility of a certain demographic. It’s good copy and results in many page clicks. There is a great collective wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst the estrogen gang.
When men become invisible, they either buy the trappings of status – I live in south Florida and see it constantly – or they completely retreat from the dating marketplace through social isolation. Such men don’t express their deepening frustration. Rather, they unhappily accept it. It’s an awful scenario.
For men and women alike, it doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is simple: be noticed, stand out, don’t blend in with the miasma of social mediocrity.
Standing out is not easy. It’s also not the same for men and women. Three of the noble rules of attraction must be reinforced now:
1. Men and women are different.
While obvious on the surface, this is a revolutionary notion given the current landscape of social expectations. The great, and wildly unrealistic, slow-moving tsunami of “equality” ‘twixt the genders has our generation somehow convinced that men and women are the same above the shoulders. That’s a the worst lie ever foisted on western civilization. That lie is ruining attraction, dating, and relationships.
2. The feminine attracts the masculine.
Ladies, if you look and act in a feminine manner, men will notice you. The first is appearance. Men are visual (and how many times must you be told that?) Here’s a great quote: “When I was young and clever, I tried to change the world. When I was older and wiser, I simply changed myself.” Please keep that in mind. The world will not bend to your opinion.
Whether 25 or 65, looking feminine can happen. It does take work. The term “descernable waist” is your friend. Long hair is a serious bonus. If your “friends” tell you that you shouldn’t work on yourself, please find new friends. They don’t want to see you happy with your appearance because they are unhappy with their own appearance. Femininity also means behaving in a feminine manner. Those are natural gender behaviors. What, being happy, pleasant, and nurturing is offensive? Insert eye-roll and forehead slap here.
3. The masculine attracts the feminine.
Gentlemen, you are failing. Let’s say it again: Confidence, competence, charisma, and leadership. It’s hard to stand out because it’s been beaten into your heads to keep those heads down and fit in. That’s understandable. Fitting in means being invisible. The easiest way to stand out is to dress better and working seriously on your charisma. By the way, charisma can be learned, regardless of age.
For you guys in colder climes, you’ll have to wait a bit to take off the parkas and wear better clothes. No matter, standing out visually is an act of serious confidence. Shut up and do it – just don’t be a clown about it. Dress one level up from the guys you normally associate with. It will work.
Being invisible is the death of attraction and dating. It does not matter what the gender. Don’t be invisible.
I read many different Internet forums that deal with men’s issues as they relate to attraction and dating. I was over at the A Voice for Men forum and found a devastatingly perceptive observation regarding why so many men don’t approach women. Here’s the post, in italics, that started the thread (in the Relations & Dating section of the forum). My inline comments are in bold. I have some additional comments are under it.
I have a theory that the notion that “men fear rejection” is horribly misguided.
I was exploring my fears almost a year ago, and I realized: “Wait! I don’t fear rejection. I fear punishment!”
Fear of Rejection:
- The fear that she might say “no,” and not be interested in having a sexual relationship with me.
Fear of Punishment:
- The fear that she will express disgust or shaming or laughing towards me. That’s right girls, punish his ego.
- The fear that she might tell her friends that I am a “creep,” and that the women will start spreading the word amongst themselves. This is good motivation to learn better social skills.
- The fear that my advance will be felt to be dangerous, or that my interactions with women will be felt as potentially dangerous, because I did not observe some cautionary signal that women are looking for but I don’t happen to know. More motivation to learn better social skills.
- The fear that I will show up on the radar of white knights, who will then signal that I am “under watch,” warn women of my approach, interrupt future approaches, what have you. I loathe white knights.
- The fear that I will lose social status, be laughed at, or shamed before the local community. This is huge and I have more comments on this below.
- The fear that she will make up in her mind that not only is she not interested now, but that she will decide that she will NEVER be interested. The writer of this thread post doesn’t yet understand that there are few, if any, second chances.
When I inventoried my fears, I realized that by far, the fear of punishment dramatically dwarfs the fear of rejection. Yet, we’re always hearing talk about how men “fear rejection,” and how it’s viewed as almost an insult to women: “You can’t handle that she might say no. You feel entitled to a yes, basically.” But that’s ridiculous.
Imagine that you had telepathic powers, and you could read a woman’s mind, to see if she would say “yes” or “no.” There would be no punishments issued, because she wouldn’t even know that you asked. Would you check to see her interest? I can’t speak for you, but for myself, I’d do it in a heartbeat! I’d be constantly scanning most every woman around me, in order to find out, “Are you interested?” (..!) If I were afraid of the rejection itself, my answer should be “no.” But it’s NOT the rejection I’m afraid of. It’s the punishment.
I don’t hear anybody really talking about this, but I think that we should be talking about this more loudly.
I think we should be talking about all the ways that men are punished for doing the task that is assigned to men ANYWAYS. I am meaning how men are forced to be the ones to initiate, or else nothing’s ever happening for you. What sense does it make to force a person do a job, refuse to tell them how to do it “right,” and then dole out powerful punishments for doing it “wrong” ..? This is the most important paragraph in the thread post. Women won’t correctly tell a man how to approach a woman, that’s the Manosphere’s job.
I want us to be vigilant about making it safe for men to make sexual requests of women. And I want to get the word out that we need to be compassionate for boys and men who are making sexual requests. There’s this whole thing about shaming socially awkward men, especially socially awkward men who are making sexual requests. Yet these are the people who MOST need to make awkward sexual requests, so that they can develop to the point where they can make skilled sexual requests. I somewhat disagree. A man must learn better general social skills before he starts trying to be more assertive with his relationship goals.
My experience from talking with women is that they have simply NO CONCEPT of what the punishments are like for men. Norah Vincent wrote about this in “Self-Made Man,” and trying to explain to women what the situation was. I know a feminist woman who goes to bars in order to compete to make men cry with her friends. I want men to go out there, and talk about the punishments. (I told several feminist women about this, and they said, “That’s not feminist! That’s not what a feminist would do!”, but… …they were all friends with the feminist who does this. They just weren’t aware that it was her.)
At the very least, whenever you hear the phrase “fear of rejection,” consider replacing the phrase with: “Fear of Punishment,” and think about what exactly are the things you are fearing having happened.
I think men are being made to take on too much crap from women, and I think men are too often serving as the servants of women in dishing out punishment and shame. I want us to push for more sensitive women. Me, too.
Us gents in the world of masculine self-improvement are continually extolling guys to have incredibly thick skins when it comes to approaching women. That makes sense when it’s only a simple rejection. Frankly, I had never considered these various punishments that might accompany a simple, polite rejection. Women – and girls, especially – do judge ferociously should the “wrong” guy approach. The thermonuclear rejection, “ewwww, as if!” is a form of emotional punishment meant to belittle a man’s ego.
For a guy established in the community and re-entering dating without adequate social skills and charisma is running a huge risk when he approaches a woman to see if there is a mutual attraction. She will likely be nice about the rejection but if she’s also part of the community and is social, she very well might assassinate his character to her friends, male and female. To me, this is the biggest punishment because it greatly reduces the man’s future chances to successfully approach other women. Likely, he won’t know why he is presumptively rejected without even a chance.
Fear of punishment is a huge reason for the popularity of online dating. If the approach can be made from the relative safety of the computer, the rejection can have far fewer punishments for the man. There’s a big caveat here. In smaller communities, there is a still the risk of punishment because women will communicate with each other. This applies to small geographical communities and/or online dating niche communities, like JDate (trust me, I know this from personal experience).
The next time a woman mocks men for the fear of rejection, I’ll be the first to speak up so I can say, “It’s not fear of rejection, it’s fear of punishment”. I urge other guys to do the same.
I usually don’t criticize dating coaches directly. I support all successful dating coaches because they are performing a valuable social function, especially in regards to educating their clients about the essential truths regarding attraction and dating. A successful dating coach is an excellent counter-balance to the vast amounts of politically correct (and damaging) dating advice that permeates the media and Internet like a lethal virus.
Through the miracle of Twitter, I was alerted to the most recent blog post from Miss Solomon and her dating coach business, “The Dating Truth”. The title of the blog post says it all, “WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS IN DATING”. Her full post is here. Overall, the blog post is rather disjointed. The lengthy quote in the beginning of Miss Solomon’s blog post is simply feel-good stuff with the purpose of making the female readers, well, feel good. You go, grrl! It has little to do with the reality of attraction and dating.
For the rest of her blog post, my comments are in boldface. I’m keeping my tone as reasonable as possible because I’m sure Miss Solomon means well, she’s simply lost her focus on this one post because many of her other blog posts are truthful and reasonable.
In dating, women are incredibly apologetic. We’re sorry when we react emotionally, we’re ashamed when we’re single at a certain age and we compete for men who let us humiliate ourselves in the name of love.
There’s nothing wrong with being apologetic. That’s a sign of humility, a wonderfully attractive feminine characteristic. Sometimes, women do get too emotional and apologies are important. Practicing emotional self-control is the best tactic. Emotional self-control is the hallmark of a mature adult. Finally, women do compete for the most attractive men. This is a firm reality of Dating 2.0 and the nature of attraction. Not liking that is like not liking the sun rising in the East.
Women don’t see themselves as equal to men in dating. We have conditioned ourselves to believe that we are chosen by men and we have to do everything we can to be “his choice” and when we’re not we find ways to apologize to the world for it.
Women and men are so different that equality in the context of dating is pointless, frustrating, and self-defeating. There is no “conditioning” The attractive men certainly do the choosing in regards to relationship commitment. Men are the gatekeepers of commitment. This is biology. This is DNA. This is not “conditioning”.
Adding a little feminism in dating isn’t about the woman paying for the date. It doesn’t mean women should ask men out more often or have sex casually. Being a feminist in your love life means giving both sexes the right to want and participate in a loving relationship.
Miss Solomon needs to dial down the hypocrisy. She demands equality in one breath and then appeals to natural gender behaviors in the next breath. She must pick one. Men will find that consistency quite appealing. Better still, men will happily pay for the first few simple dates if the woman understands and embraces her femininity (call the PC police!).
Miss Solomon can either embrace feminism or repudiate it. Given that she is a business-person and her capitalistic endeavors are based on the profit-motive, she must repudiate (diplomatically) feminism. If not, she can write for XOJane and wallow in the filth of that website’s political correctness. That won’t be so good for business.
Start to view a man as a partner and not the master of your marital destiny. It’s not the complete responsibility of the woman to be good enough, or make the relationship work or to compromise more.
Let’s be honest, men are the deciders, the selectors, the choosers when it comes to relationship commitment. With that in mind, it is the woman’s responsibility to be good enough. It is she who must bring something to the dating and relationship table if she wants to fulfill her relationship goals. This becomes more and more important as men and women age.
I understand the nature of marketing. Every dating coach and PUA “systems” dude has to deal with it. This is why I cut a lot of slack regarding those marketing messages: “Three simple tricks to [make him commit... three simple tricks to get her into your bed]” I have signed up for many email marketing campaigns and such messages are common. This is business, nothing more.
I do hope that Miss Solomon is successful and that her blog post was an unfortunate exception. She has a business and she is financially bound to give successful attraction and dating advice. She might not like it. Her clients will not like it… but the truth always wins out.
I sometimes get amazing correspondence from my readers. Here is something from a woman about the nature of women. I’ve done some minor editing to make it a bit more readable.
I’m unfamiliar with this site. But the page on domineering women struck a nerve. As a battle-scarred woman, let me tell you about the three most domineering women I’ve ever known. I’m talking the ultimate, supreme, unrivaled, gold standards. Two of whom I’ve known since youth. The third I worked with for just two years but who scarred me badly.
The first two are rough, crude, battle-axe types who are so insufferable they eventually drive away everyone, including their husbands, who were so fed up that they both got out of control sexually and had numerous affairs (think Bill Clinton and his battle-axe). Now each of the women are raising three kids on their own. They have mostly themselves to blame.
The third was most dangerous. Unlike the others, she is well educated, refined, sophisticated, and who came across as lady-like. Upon first meeting her, no one would ever suspect that they were looking into the eyes of a lying, scheming, domineering, manipulative, self-serving, back-stabbing, greedy little witch. One who got ahead by shamelessly undermining those around her, one by one: male, female, young, old, higher ups and support staff alike. Sometimes it was subtle. Other times she would throw tantrums and tattle on people.
Perhaps, tellingly, the one she treated most viciously and unfairly was a beautiful young blonde woman. For the existence of beautiful women (as opposed to her plain Jane self) was an affront to her smug sense of superiority. That she would never consider herself dishonest or unethical was most outrageous. Everyone else she expected to toe the line. Otherwise she would nail them and squash them like a bug. If this were the behavior of a soap opera villainess it would be amusing. But in reality it’s truly disturbing.
Years later I actually saw her on the tv news, in a segment on working women with stay-at-home husbands. Not a surprise given that a) she’s narcissistic enough to seek publicity; and b) the poor shmuck is now totally under her control. Let’s see how long he lasts.
In conclusion, for me it took time, experience, and helpful insights by good folk like those on this site to piece it all together and see behind the curtain. God bless us everyone.
Note: All the names have been changed.
I had the opportunity to attend a beach wedding recently. It was in Key West and I was the official date of a female friend of mine. Logistically, the whole thing worked out well. The drive down was mostly uneventful except my friend’s expensive speeding ticket. We arrived in Key West and checked in to a nice bed and breakfast right on Duval Street. For those not in the know, Duval Street is the main drag where all the partying happens. It’s very serious partying.
The first evening we were there, my friend ran into a colleague from years ago. The colleague was a high powered career woman without kids who had married a decent guy over a decade ago. This was Kristen and Dave. The four of us are all roughly the same age, 40s and 50s, and got along well. I mentioned my blog in passing when asked about what I do.
The following day, the beach wedding went off without a hitch. We met up again with Kristen and Dave, this time at the wedding reception at a “rustic” waterfront bar. Think Buffet style, not Warren but Jimmy. It’s Key West, after all. Over drinks and copious food, Kristen asked me a question, “So what’s your blog about?”
“I help men become more attractive to women so these guys can meet their relationship goals”.
That’s my standard and consistent response when I am asked about my blog.
“What’s it called?”
“The Private Man, you can Google it.”
My friend nodded and smiled. She likes what I write. Kristen and Dave seemed intrigued. The conversation shifted for a few minutes where Kristen and my friend caught up on connections and people from the years past when they worked together. Then Dave piped up. He had been searching for my blog on his smart phone.
“I found it.” He then started reading my most recent post about the TV show audition.
The conversation soon started up about alimony. Kristen was of the mind that alimony was fundamentally wrong. I gave her credit for that. She recommended that I read a recent Time magazine article about alimony reform and the 2nd Wives Club. She didn’t know that I had been following this particular issue for years.
At some point soon after, Dave’s cell phone rang with a call from his adult son. He had to find a quiet place to talk on the phone, leaving Kristin, my friend, and me to talk during the busy reception. Kristen soon stood up to fetch another drink from the bar. Now things got interesting. Each time I went the bar, I asked my friend if she wanted anything. I noticed that Dave’s drink was empty and I said, “You should get your husband a drink.” The gesture she gave in return was disrespectful and rude.
She waved her hand away and gave a dismissive facial expression as she turned her back on me as she faced the closely available bartender.
“Give the guy some respect!” I said loudly at her back.
The whole scene took only seconds. To her, it was a throw-away gesture of casual disrespect towards her husband. It was the equivalent of an eye-roll. It was two seconds that vividly demonstrated the current state of relationships between wives and husbands in the realm of marriage 2.0.
Yes, I was being too sensitive. I was deciding to be too sensitive. I was putting on a lens of offensivity. But I didn’t know that until I said to my friend “I’m going to blog about this”. She witnessed the scene between Kristen and me.
“See what she does.”
Yes, actions over words. My friend gets it. Perhaps Kristen would get the drink (an open bar!) and the scene would be over without further and unnecessary drama. I watched. Kristen got her own drink and sat down without a drink for her husband.
This would need to go further.
A few moments later, it was time for me to get another drink. Dave had not returned as he was still talking to his son. I ordered my own drink and then ordered one for Dave because I knew what he was drinking. With both drinks in hand, I turned so I could get back to our table, a short few feet away. Just then, Dave showed up. As we were both standing, I gave him his drink. “Here’s a drink for you.” I made sure that both Kristen and my friend could see what was going on.
Kristen responded immediately. “So, are you dating my husband?!” (or, words to that effect.)
Boom! Shaming language*. Because she used shaming language, it was clear that Kristen was caught out in her disrespect for her husband when I gave him that drink. For Kristen to express humility was not an option. The social expectation forced her to make a useless attempt at shame towards me. She could have said “I’m sorry Dave, I should have gotten you a drink.” For any woman reading this, feminine humility is savagely attractive, even more so when a wife expresses it towards a husband. It will make a man melt. It will turn him into a gracious and delighted man.
Dave was appreciative. “Thank you!” His gratitude was honest. Perhaps he had never experienced such a gesture. I never looked at Kristen because she and I both knew how that interaction went down. It was not in her favor given her disrespect and selfishness. Later, my friend called it “just rude”.
This is the cultural miasma of misandry. Men are afforded little respect. We’re supposed to “man up and take it.” It’s worse for husbands. Kristen’s casual wave of dismissal is an example of it. She is committed to Dave yet the small act of getting a free drink was somehow beyond (beneath?) her. I don’t know the dynamics of their marriage so I don’t know if that’s a common pattern of behavior for them. I am focusing on that one gesture.
When the four of us got to chatting after that small scene, I was very determined about sticking up for men. At one point in the conversation I actually stood up and spread my arms loudly stating “I always stand up for men, I’m a masculinist!” I got some dirty looks. With such bombast, I knew I was running a social risk and might piss off my friend. I took that risk and there were no consequences except some interesting talk between us later in the evening.
As a writer who supports masculinity, I don’t take well to disrespect to men. I know that women are apt to slander men and I urge all my readers to speak up when men are being bashed merely for the act of being a man. Simply “Manning up and taking it” can’t work anymore. It’s time for push back.
A direct note to “Kristen” and “Dave”: You will likely read this blog post because you know about my blog. This post will likely cause you discomfort. You might even get offended and defensive. That’s the price I pay for the candor and honesty of my observations and advice. Before you read the comments, be aware that some of my commenters have very strong views on topics like this and their language will not be so measured. Am I overreacting? Perhaps. Know that I am very keenly aware and very sensitive to the dynamics between men and women, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends.
* Shaming language is simply an insult that is used to deflect focus away from a particular discussion/debate topic. When it is used, it almost always means that the person doing the shaming is in the wrong and doesn’t want to deal with it logically or rationally. It is a verbal tactic used by both genders constantly.
I’ve seen this commercial several times. It’s not for the American market because it’s too long. It’s an advertisement for the international market and this makes it worse given its potential reach.
I can imagine the scene at Samsung’s marketing department. A group of women are reviewing potential advertising spots submitted by their advertising agency. This commercial is run. Once ended, the accolades are delivered by the marketing cupcakes…
“Oh, my husband really needs to evolve, this is a great video!”
“My boyfriend does exactly that, I wish I could get him to do more in the house.”
“Men are such neanderthals.”
So, the video is approved with little discussion. Fine, Samsung is a business and its very essence is to increase profits. I can live with that provided that Samsung understands that the consumer can make purchasing decisions independently. More importantly, consumers can talk amongst themselves to influence other consumers. As a blogger, I urge my readers to avoid Samsung products. When it’s time to upgrade my phone, I’ll make a point to select a brand that doesn’t take such a dim view of men.
However, if Samsung were truly clever, there would be a follow-up video where this happens: “…a put-upon husband tired of the rolling-pin treatment can magically morph his bon-bon chomping, soap-opera addicted, bitchy shrew-in-curlers wife into a physically fit & active sex-pot who fixes doors, pours cement driveways, replaces garbage disposals, hunts wild game, and earns a paycheck.”*
That would be hilarious and then I’d be happy to buy outright a spiffy new Samsung smart phone should this happen.
* From a comment on the Youtube video.
Note: This is combination of two posts from last year that proved to be very popular. This dialog is a mash-up of all the conversations I’ve had with women this age in the past two years or so. I put it in this format because my normal posts can be too abstract. Many people learn from the dialog approach just as many people require pictures.
A middle-aged fellow is having a libation at an upscale bar and restaurant in a big city. It’s about an hour or so after work and the place is rather full with a white collar, professional crowd in attendance. The protagonist is sitting at the corner of the bar.
A reasonably attractive, early 40s-looking woman sits next to the protagonist but as the bar has a corner, she’s 90 degrees to him. She orders a cosmopolitan and then proceeds to dig her cell phone from her purse to look at it with a hopeful expression on her face. Then a brief and darker look crosses her face.
Our protagonist, an observant fellow, notices that the woman isn’t wearing a wedding or engagement ring. He also notices that her hair is down and her very red lipstick is quite fresh. He glances down and sees high heels that are too tall for work and a skirt that ends just above the knee. Her well-cut jacket covers her blouse so he can’t see what she might be wearing there.
The woman looks up from her cell phone and sips her pink drink and then sighs almost imperceptibly while looking away from the protagonist. She looks back to her drink and the phone.
He finally speaks to her.
The woman looks up at him, almost puzzled.
“Oh… cheers” She raises her drink glass and has a sip.
“Pity about your date being cancelled.” He says flatly.
“Do I know you?” The woman has an expression of surprise and wariness.
“Not at all, but I can tell your date cancelled.”
The woman regards him carefully for just a moment, as if assessing a threat.
“How did you know I was even supposed to have a date?”
The protagonist sips his drink – an imported draft beer – as a way of pausing. He then looks at her directly.
“Your heels and skirt are too high for work, your lipstick is also too red for work and it’s fresh. You’re not wearing a wedding or engagement ring, that means you’re single. You were supposed to have a date.”
The woman leans back to look at the protagonist. She raises one eyebrow.
“I could be here to pick up men, did you ever think of that?”
The protagonist smiles wryly.
“We both know there are better places in town for that.”
The woman crosses her arms in front of her and almost glares at the protagonist.
“OK smart guy, how did you know my date was cancelled?”
The protagonist continues.
“You checked your phone as soon as you got here. You had a hopeful look at your face and then you saw something you didn’t like. Probably you got a text just as you entered this place and waited to sit down before you checked it. Also, it’s five minutes past 7:00 so it’s likely you had plans to meet at 7:00. He’s not standing you up because you would be looking like you were anticipating something.”
The woman glares at him.
“What are you, Sherlock Holmes? I don’t think I like this conversation and I think you’re kind of rude.”
She looks around the bar and sees that no empty seats are available. The protagonist calmly takes a sip of his beer.
“I know I’m rude, I’m actually rather good at it.”
“You know you’re rude?” This remark surprises her. “I can’t believe you just said that.”
“Should I continue?”
“You might as well.” The woman lets out an exasperated breath of air.
“OK…you’re not here to meet friends or colleagues because you would have tried to get a table or they would have already been here. I’ll even go out on a limb here… this was supposed to have been your fourth, no, your fifth date with this guy.”
As the protagonist talks, the woman leans in and opens her mouth slightly. Her stare at him is unblinking.
“Fifth date and have you been following me or something? This is really creepy.”
The protagonist sips his drink again.
“Nope, not following you. I have better things to do.”
The woman leans back and opens her eyes widely. The protagonist doesn’t react to her expression. He reaches his hand towards her.
The woman reluctantly extends her hand.
“Well, now that we’re not total strangers, should I go on?”
“No, I think you should stop.”
“Fair enough. Pity about your date.”
“Yeah, I know.” Claire turned and sipped at her drink and then turned back to Douglas. “He didn’t even say he’d contact me later, just said he couldn’t make it tonight. He didn’t even apologize. I was about to text him back.”
“It won’t do any good.”
“No? Why is that?” She looks both surprised and crestfallen.
“If he were serious about seeing you again, he would have texted that he would call later or for you to call him, or something like that.”
Clair looks at her drink pensively.
“I had high hopes.”
Douglas smiles thinly.
“We all do, even at our age.”
“Why do men do that?”
“Because we can.”
At this, Claire looks almost angry.
“This conversation is making me uncomfortable. I don’t even know you except for your name.”
Douglas leans back on his bar stool. He crosses his arms.
“Do you want the truth about men and women? I figured out your situation in about minute, I have more to say.”
Claire looks away. Then she looks back at Douglas.
“This is going to be uncomfortable.”
Douglas doesn’t smile.
Claire takes a gulp of her drink, finishing it. She quickly signals the bartender for another.
“You should buy me that drink, you know. It’s what men are supposed to do.”
Douglas smiles wanly.
“It’s what men do who are unsuccessful with women. My beer is almost empty, by the way.”
Claire looks very surprised.
“Wait, you want me to buy you a drink?”
Douglas nods his head slowly with a small smirk outlining his mouth. Claire shakes her head.
“I can’t believe this.” Still, she signals the bartender and points to Doug’s beer.
“Thank you. You’ve never bought a drink for a man before?”
Claire appears thoughtful for a moment.
“Well, I actually bought drinks on the first date with the guy who cancelled tonight’s date.”
Doug continues his questions.
“Has a man ever bought you a drink?”
“Sure, every time I go out with my girlfriends, there’s always some guy buying me and my friends drinks.”
“Have you or your girlfriends ever gone out with a guy who’s bought you a drink?”
“No, not that I know of…” Claire catches herself. “I don’t get your point.”
Douglas leans back.
“You just made my point for me. Guys who buy drinks for women don’t usually go out with those women.”
Claire makes a skeptical face while sipping her drink that the bartender has just brought over. Douglas’s beer is now fresh.
“So Mister smarty-pants, you were going to tell me about men and women.”
Douglas replies quickly.
“Not the younger generation, only people in our generation.”
“That makes sense. So what about people in our generation?”
Douglas takes a long drink of his beer before he responds.
“Dating is different than when we were young.”
Claire is not impressed and her face shows it.
“Tell me something I don’t already know.”
Douglas looks at her as he puts down his beer.’
“You’ve been divorced for about four years now, right?”
Claire doesn’t appear surprised.
“You’ve had at least one boyfriend and several short-term relationships since you started dating again.”
Claire puts an annoyed look her face.
“I really think you’re a private investigator or something.
“I know probabilities and demographics. People are shockingly predictable if you know their age, where they live, and their education.”
Claire leans back and crosses her arms in front of her.
“So where do I live and how many kids do I have?”
Douglas names a suburban community. “And you have three kids, all teenagers. The oldest is applying for college.”
“Fuck, it’s uncanny what you know about me.”
Douglas smirks broadly.
“Nice girls don’t curse.”
“Now you’re being rude again.” Claire is smiling, but not showing any teeth.
“Like I said, I’m good at that.” Douglas continues his smirk and drinks his beer.
“OK, back to this dating thing, you’ve got me intrigued.” Claire tells him.
“Let me ask you a question, where do you get your dating advice?”
Claire looks thoughtful for a moment.
“Well, in the beginning, I didn’t really ask anyone and I didn’t get any dates. Then I started talking to my single girlfriends and then started to get set up on dates through them.”
“How did that go?”
“I don’t know… it was good it was bad… the men seemed so lost and I was so uncomfortable…” Her voices trails off.
“What were you looking for?”
“What my friends told me, for chemistry, whatever that is.”
Douglas laughs softly.
“We both know what chemistry is.”
Claire looks puzzled.
“I really don’t know. I think it’s supposed to be love at first sight or something.”
“Don’t believe the fairy tale, we both too old for that. Chemistry is sexual arousal, nothing more.”
“Hmm, I don’t know about that…”
Douglas puts on a determined look.
“Look at it this way, if you didn’t feel some sort of physical attraction for a guy and very quickly, would you sleep with him?”
Clair almost scoffs
“Of course, I wouldn’t, that’s kind of a stupid question.”
“Welcome to chemistry.”
Claire still looks puzzled. Douglas moves on.
“We’ll get back to that later. I’m curious about how you met the men you have dated.”
“Well, a few were setups from friends, divorced guys my age. Most of them wouldn’t shut up about their exes and the shitty deal they got in their divorces. I didn’t feel like a date, I felt like a psychologist.”
Douglas rolls his eyes.
“Guys shouldn’t do that, but they’re told to do that.”
Claire again looks puzzled.
“They’re told to bitch and moan about their ex-wives? They don’t know how off-putting that is?”
Douglas leans in.
“Do you remember the late 70s and early 80s?”
“I was pretty young, but yes.”
“Well, that was a time when men were expected to be more in touch with their feelings, to be more sensitive, to be more emotional and less macho.”
Clair laughs a bit and sips her drink.
“Yeah, don’t be macho, I remember that. But men should be more in touch with their feelings and be willing to open up.”
Douglas wears a satisfied look on his face.
“You’ve proved my point again. Those pissed off divorced men you dated? Yah, they were simply being in touch with their feelings and being more emotional. They were doing what was expected of them as they were growing up.”
Claire looks a bit dubious.
“I guess I see your point.”
“I know you see my point.
“You’re kind of arrogant, do you know that?” Claire doesn’t sound insulting, her voice sounds almost bemused.
“I’m rude and arrogant… one more insult and I’ll get a hat trick.”
Clair smiles and turns to signal to the bartender for another round of drinks for both of them.
“I thought this was going to be uncomfortable, but it’s not.”
Douglas looks serious.
“We’ll get to that part.”
Clair looks equally serious.
“If you’re trying to pick me up, it’s not working.”
Douglas leans in as closely to her as the corner of the bar will allow.
“I’m not trying to pick you up. I’m not even going to ask for your phone number.”
Clair looks surprised.
“What if I gave you my phone number?”
Douglas is still leaning in closely and almost whispers.
“I wouldn’t call you.”
Claire is taken aback.
“You’re a jerk!”
Douglas leans back quickly and throws up his hands.
“Insult hat track! The crowd goes wild!” Several bar patrons turn to look at him.
Clair looks exasperated.
“OK, can we move on here? You were going to tell me about men and women and dating… because you’re so smart and all.”
Douglas swiftly changes his mood to be more serious.
“Before I do, I want to ask you some more questions.”
“OK, go ahead.”
“After you dealt with those burnt out divorced guys, how did you meet your dates?”
Claire lowers her voice.
“I tried online dating. A couple of friends recommended it… but I was really hesitant.”
Douglas sounds reassuring.
“Online dating can work and there’s no need to be embarrassed with doing that.”
“Well, I was kind of embarrassed, but I did meet men.”
“See? It can work.”
“I guess you’re right, I met my ex-boyfriend that way, that was just over a year ago.”
“But it didn’t work out, right?”
“Yeah, we were together about three months. I guess it was good but he was a single father and always busy with his kids and I was really busy at work so it just sort of fizzled…”
“Sorry to hear it, but this is the age for dealing with kids and careers, it’s tough for mothers and fathers.”
Douglas shifts the conversation a bit.
“So tell me more about your online dating experience.”
“It was real hit or miss. The emails I sent out, I never got a response. The emails I received were from totally unsuitable guys, my ex-boyfriend and a few others were the exceptions. I haven’t gone back to online dating since we broke up.”
Douglas has a disappointed look.
“That’s a fairly common experience for women, especially after about 40 or so.”
Claire has an almost pleading expression.
“Why is that?”
“This is where it gets uncomfortable. I fully expect you to throw your drink in my face.”
Claire looks serious.
“I promise I won’t do that.”
“I’ll take you at your word. The reason those guys never responded to your online dating messages is that they are attractive to most women. They have options. So, they date younger women. Women in their 40s have the hardest time dating because they expect to get the same kind of guys they could get when they were younger.”
Claire takes on an odd expression that’s part defensive, part sad.
“Women in their 40s are fabulous. They’ve accomplished so much, they’re beautiful, they have so much to offer. I don’t understand why men don’t find them attractive.”
Douglas looks away briefly and then addresses Claire.
“You mean why don’t the tall, attractive, confident, and successful men find you attractive.”
Claire crosses her arms defensively and stares at Douglas.
“Now this is uncomfortable. Are you telling me I’m not attractive?”
Douglas lets out a sigh.
“The guys you want? Those are guys that most 40-something woman wants. Compared to the 20-somethings and 30-somethings they could easily date, you’re not attractive enough.”
Claire is visibly upset and takes a big swallow of her drink.
“That’s bullshit and you know it. Women get better with age. Men should know that.”
Douglas doesn’t retreat.
Claire throws up her arms.
“Everyone! I’ve even heard a lot of men say it.”
“OK, I know everyone says that. But those are just words.”
Claire quickly takes on a more questioning mien.
“Just words? I don’t understand.”
“It’s the whole words versus actions thing. A confident, good-looking guy might say he finds 40-something women attractive but his actions are different in that he only dates younger women.”
“Then he’s being stupid.”
“And he’s also keeping the peace and getting what he wants.”
“Men are so stupid.”
“From your point of view and because you’re not getting what you want from certain men, yes, they’re stupid. But let’s move on. I want to know about the other guys you met online.”
Claire is still in defense mode.
“Look, I’m answering all these questions about me and I know nothing about you, just your name. I don’t think that’s fair.”
Douglas is conciliatory.
“I’ll tell you anything you want to know but first tell me more about your online dating experiences.”
Claire is not completely satisfied yet she acquiesces.
“OK, I did respond to some messages and went out with a few guys. They were all pretty nice but not serious long term potential.”
“I don’t know, they just didn’t feel right to me.”
“It’s that chemistry thing.”
Clair looks surprised and relieved.
“Yes! That’s it! There was no chemistry!”
“Not uncommon. How many messages did you get from guys?”
Claire changes her expression to mild sadness.
“I got a couple a day. Mostly from older guys or really younger guys. The messages were either really long like they were desperate or they were really short like they didn’t care that much. I got some messages from married guys who said they weren’t happy. It was so frustrating.”
“That’s a common experience.”
“You seem to know an awful lot about this.”
“I do a lot of online dating.”
Claire looks almost triumphant
“Finally, I get to learn something about you… you’re single!” She pauses and regards him more closely. “Oh… shit… I remember. Is that why you wouldn’t call me if I gave you my number?”
Douglas laughs loudly and honestly.
“You didn’t respond to my message back then, did you. Don’t worry it took a while for me to remember your profile and match you with the photo. I look at a lot of female profiles.”
Claire is obviously embarrassed and swallows a large gulp of her drink, emptying it.
“I need another drink. You do too. It’s on me again.”
She signals the bartender. Drinks are delivered.
Douglas mollifies her embarrassment.
“Don’t worry, most women didn’t respond. I’m not going to ask you why you didn’t respond, that was last year.
Clair still remains embarrassed.
“I just… well… “
Douglas leans in.
“Stop it, I’m an adult. I don’t take it personally. I send out so many messages and get so few responses. I’m used to it.
Claire’s voice is soft.
Douglas laughs again.
“Good Lord, woman, don’t worry about it! But if you’re ashamed and sorry, so be it. You can do me a favor. Consider it an educational exercise.”
Claire’s face brightens and she nods her head.
“OK, what do I have to do?”
Douglas looks around the bar until he sees what he needs.
“Look over you left shoulder. Do you see those three guys standing around the high-top table?
Claire does what she’s asked.
“I see them.”
“Good. Assume they are single tell me about their dating potential for you.”
Claire looks at them a bit surreptitiously.
“Hmmmm, the guy with the long hair has a pony tail so forget him. The middle guy, he’s got a weak chin and I think his eyes are too close together so he’s out. The last guy… way too short.”
Douglas puts on a subtle smirk.
“OK, did you know what you just did?”
“I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”
“You rejected three guys without even hearing their voices, just on their appearance.”
Claire looks confused.
“I don’t understand.”
“It’s a matter of mindset. A woman usually finds a reason to reject a guy before she’s intimate with him. This is especially true with online dating. There’s always a reason to reject a guy and there’s always another profile to look at or message to read. So, after awhile, there are practically no guys left.”
Claire is unconvinced.
“I still don’t understand.”
Douglas is not fazed but this.
“I want you to look at those three guys again but this time I want you find something positive about them.”
Claire doesn’t look convinced.
“I don’t know about this…” She turns again to regard the three men. “Ok… the long-haired guy, he has nice blue eyes…”
Douglas is pleased.
“Good, now the other two?”
Claire looks again, taking her time.
“The middle guy… hmmmm… actually, he has really nice hair… and the short guy, that’s easy, he’s really well dressed.” She turns back to face Douglas who was smiling.
“See that wasn’t so hard, was it?”
“I don’t see your point.”
“When you look for something good, you usually find it.”
Claire is still unconvinced.
“Platitudes… just platitudes… I’m not going to date any of those guys, after all.”
“I know, but when you start doing online dating again, you need to be able to see guys in a different light.”
“Who says I’m going to start online dating again?”
Douglas looks pleased with himself.
“I do because it’s inevitable. After your cancelled date, your conversation with me, and that little learning exercise, you’ll be re-writing your profile and looking at guy’s profiles, but differently.”
Claire takes on a coy look.
“If I put up my profile again, are you going to send me a message?”
Douglas smirks broadly.
“Would you respond to a message from a rude, arrogant, jerk?”
Claire laughs lightly.
Douglas shifts in his seat.
“It’s time for me to leave.”
Claire is a little disappointed.
“This is the best conversation I’ve had in a long time.”
“It’s been interesting to say the least.”
“And you’re not going to give me your phone number and you won’t call me if I gave you mine.”
Douglas is firm.
“I’m a man, I am bound by my word. Thanks for the drinks.”
Claire watches him leave.