The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

The Perils of Propinquity

Propinquity is just a fancy way of saying that something is close by. When we were at school, having lots of single young women around was quite the blessing. Being in close proximity meant a target rich environment. Parties were within walking distance and opportunities to interact with the opposite sex many. For a younger man, propinquity is a wonderful thing.

As single men move ahead in life or find themselves single well after the halcyon days of college, close proximity starts to present issues. Certainly this is true at work. Women in the workplace are verboten. Sexual harassment laws are unyielding and a minefield for men. A wrong glance, a mis-perceived compliment, even a seemingly innocent photo on a computer monitor can too easily lead to a call from human resources and an order to attend “sensitivity training”. No, that’s never happened to me. But it’s happened to men that I know and I was baffled by the accusation of sexual harassment.

For men of a certain age, propinquity is not necessarily a good thing. Social circle propinquity is wonderful for meeting women. I recommend such connections over online dating but with a massive caveat. Be warned, if a man doesn’t have the right frame, meeting women through social circles is almost a denser minefield than meeting women through work. Consider this scenario – a man becomes familiar with a woman via a social circle. He and the woman “date briefly” (my favorite euphemism for a few sexual encounters that don’t result in a relationship). The woman then reports to the social circle(s) that the man is a cad and a bounder. It requires a solid frame for a man to turn such an accusation to his favor with other single women in the same or related social circles.

Geographic propinquity can be even more problematic. The dated briefly scenario can get college-wierd when the well-over-35 woman is always at the local supermarket or consistently walking her dog in the neighborhood. If she’s not motivated by drama, it doesn’t have to be awkward. It can actually be quite pleasant and lead to meeting more single women. Now, find me a woman who is not motivated by drama and I’ll make that scenario work.

Geographic propinquity can also lead to the unexpected knock at the door. Hey, it’s nice if a woman stops by looking for companionship. It’s not nice when another woman is already at the house in the process of giving companionship. “Oh, you’ll have to stop sucking my peener, there’s another woman at the door”. That’s the game of younger men or the game of women into three-way sex. Frankly, an accomplished and mature fellow needn’t be dealing with such stress. Well, except for the sex part.

Personal story time: There’s a woman in my neighborhood – shit, she lives about 100 feet away – and she does walk her dog and I do cross paths with her somewhat frequently. She’s actually a lovely woman and is always quite friendly with me. Just tonight we met while dog walking and she offered her cheek for an air kiss. She sends out mixed signals to be sure but I’m going to be immune to any signals. I’ve subsequently learned that she’s an emotional mess with more baggage than a Pullman coach (that’s an old school analogy, look it up). I’m even reluctant to meet her women friends. Imagine if I poked her or one of her friends and yet she lives so close as almost to be in the same dorm. Shit, I’m almost 50 and have neither the time nor the energy to deal with that.

Here are the take-away lessons:

If possible, make sure they live close enough for you to visit on relatively short notice but not so close where they could show up unannounced. Easy availability mitigates aloofness and mystery. This also includes digital propinquity such as Facebook and online chatting. The man has quite the control of her narrative of him. With too much availability, a man loses control of that narrative.

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15 thoughts on “The Perils of Propinquity

  1. flyfreshandyoung on said:

    Interesting take PM.

    Propinquity= good at school.

    Pullman couches= huh?

    Can we put one on your lawn?

  2. The Lurker on said:

    Poor prolific Privateman protests that the propinquity of the poontang in Pullmanesque proportions places in probable peril the pleasurable possibilities presented to Privateman’s promiscuous peener to persistently pound punani in private. Pooh!

  3. Women want men _without_ a social circle so that they become the only influence in his life.
    That way he also has more to lose if the relationship doesn’t work out: she gets to tell the story, he gets the bad reputation.
    It only works well on men who think that she’s worth the investment, _at her age_.
    After all, respect and loyalty, are _earned_, as women like to tell us.
    So be free and not too serious, after all, until a woman says you are in a relationship with her (and to avoid her nonsense of “You thought this was more than it was”), keep dating around – you are not exclusive with her.

  4. You will find your standard of what is attractive to you, drops, the more you are around people not attractive by your standards.
    It’s a lot easier for a man to marry down, usually because those he marries down to, “know” they cannot hold down an alpha, so keep themselves around those they can manipulate.
    On the other hand, women are terrified of the man they’re with getting ahead in life because it makes him more attractive to other women (along with being attached). So they try to keep him either busy or off-balance with all kinds of domestic situations or henpecking.

    • This is also the reason why women are aggressive, snippy and dismissive towards men that don’t meet their standards. They understand that idea that if you smile (even at someone you dislike) too many times, the positive vibes will be reinforced.
      They don’t want that to happen. So the pre-emptive strike is to be nasty and curt. Once a man understands that, he knows what to expect. Never take back such a woman; as I’ve observed happen to too many forgiving men, they suffer for it.

  5. AnonymousDog on said:


    You have put your finger on something which does not, in my opinion, get discussed as much as it should be: A guy has a massively greater amount of social opportunities with women while he is a student, than he ever will in the adult world of working for a living.
    And nobody is willing to tell a guy that when he is 19 or 20, he gets told, “Don’t worry about not meeting women, you’re young.”

  6. Wrote a post-wouldn’t take.

  7. Senior Manchild on said:


    Do your longer comment writing on a word-processing package; saving frequently. Or just use Notebook that is included in a computers basic software package; again saving frequently. No sense in losing some wisdom.

  8. Thanks Senior-it was a good one. I hate being so computer challenged.

  9. It kept telling me I had duplicated it too.

  10. Margaret Heekin on said:

    It is true that availiblity and proximity are positives in meeting people. This extends beyond the dating scene. What I caution against is dating or marrying down. Now before you label me, let me explain.
    First of all one should date and marry with honorable intentions. It has always bothered me when people use other people for shallow and selfish purposes. Maybe I am old fashioned but I have seen. as a therapist, tremendous wreckage from the “hooking up” mentality. Unless both people are fully aware and in agreement, broken hearts will be the result. Second, dating a person from a vastly less advantaged circumstance can have serious relercussions. I am not being elitist, or a snob. The “social language” of a solidly ” middle class” two parent college educated family, speaks a different language from say a single parent immigrant household. It is not simply economics. It is not ethnic, racial or religious. It is not to say it can not or does not work but it will take a lot more work. Work which can result in a lot more trouble than one has bargained for. So be forewarned from a veteran of the marriage ” wars”. There is much more to a human being than ” meets the eye” and it is my goal to improve dating and marital happiness. Good.Luck and I hope this helps someone.

  11. Thank you for your very well worded comment! I just happened on this site while trying to understand the general usage of the word propinquity. I had not noticed it before until my 16 year old grandson used it in a conversation with me. I was mesmerized.

    Yes, I too have the belief that one should date within one’s social structure and that “hooking up” spoils the relationship until a real understanding of the other party’s intentions are made clear. This understanding takes time.

    I married out of my social structure but my husband was very intelligent and realizing a difference he worked on achieving the same social status so to speak as he moved up in his employment status. We have been married 48 years now and I am just beginning to understand him and our relationship has become easier. We raised 6 children together and now have 11 grandchildren.

    So, like you so succinctly stated “it can be done” if one cares to persevere but it is difficult, but it is ultimately very rewarding.

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