My neighbor, James, is a good guy. He’s in his 30s, works a full-time, labor intensive, skilled job. He’s pleasant and friendly to me and my ugly dog. He refers to her as “killer”. He’s never spoken to me about his love life and I have never asked. He’s never mentioned a girlfriend or going on dates. It’s not my business and I would never, ever pry. That’s guy code, right there.
Some weeks ago I ran into him in the village. In much of his spare time, James takes his fishing gear to the local pier and does pitched battle with the local swimming sea life. Sometimes he wins (thanks for the fish, James!) and sometimes he loses. Regardless, it’s his enthusiasm and he clearly enjoys it. I give him major respect for that.
When I ran into him, I had just put up a new blog post and was feeling proud of myself. James asked what I had been doing recently.
“I just put up a new blog post.”
“What’s your blog about?”
“I help men be more attractive to women so they can reach their relationship goals.” It’s my standard go-to response when questioned about my blog.
“I don’t understand.”
“Men can learn how to be more attractive to women and I help them with that.”
James looked shocked and then quickly got angry.
“That’s cheating!” He was emphatic. He was pissed off. He was not attacking me, just my message. Again, the guy code applied.
This reaction did not surprise me. James is of the “be yourself and the right woman will magically appear” school of thought. I know where this comes from. For years I held the same point of view. I didn’t back down.
“A man can learn new things to make himself more attractive to women so he can meet his relationship goals.”
James was stubborn.
“I want a woman to love me for exactly who I am.”
That’s a noble sentiment based on an idealized view of attraction, dating, and relationships. It’s the standard response borne of shitty social expectations. But as I deal in the sometimes difficult realities of the situation, I had to be honest with James.
“If a guy isn’t meeting his relationship goals, then he has to change.”
The look on his face softened as he quickly figured it out. I also assumed he was considering his own relationship goals and the fact he was not likely meeting them himself.
“Well, I can see your point…”
I do feel a sense of pride in men when they apply logic and reason to a situation and don’t stubbornly cling to lying social expectations.
I have read and heard women become scorchingly angry (Hi Jezebel!) at the thought of a man improving himself so he can meet his relationship goals. James’s reaction was similar. The prevailing social expectation is that when it comes to being attractive to women, a man must remain essentially static, especially regarding his behaviors and attitude. A man increasing his value in the sexual/relationship market is a very real social taboo. Improving the external things – fashion, hair, hygiene, health, etc – doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for society.
It’s even worse should a man learn from the seduction community. Those opposed to pick up artistry (PUA) make many accusations, mostly charges that men are learning how to manipulate women. That’s a shallow interpretation based on the fear that a woman might be attracted to something “artificial” such as faux confidence.
I can’t do anything about a person’s negative reaction to the concept of male self-improvement. What I can do is educate both men and women about this.
Men, if you’re not getting your relationship goals met, you simply have to change. There is no option. It’s not cheating. It’s not learning to be manipulative. It’s working on your attitude and behaviors so you can deal with women on your terms, not theirs. Consider the confidence sub-routine (link below) as your start. Here’s the zen-like element to self- improvement: You’re doing it for you, not for women. That’s a hard concept to grasp and one of the reasons many guys fail at attracting women. If a woman senses that a man’s self-improvement is merely to be more attractive to women, she’ll blow him off romantically. I can’t stress that enough. The most important person a man must impress is himself.
Women, with so much male self-improvement material out on the Interwebz, you’re anger is useless. Guys are going to learn this stuff, there is no way to stop it. That confident, Charismatic fellow who boldly stated that you and he will be having a date this weekend might have been a meek, insecure NiceGuy™ just a few short years ago. He’s attractive to you now, that’s all that matters. Enjoy it. Be thankful that he had the sense to improve himself. You can hate on PUA all you want. Dole out mockery, snark, and insults until your fingers bleed. The guys who understand have heard it all before and it means absolutely nothing to them. Rather, each insult is seen as proof that PUA and male self- improvement actually works.
Perhaps my neighbor will take a closer look at himself and accept that some change might be necessary in his life. I’ll be supportive and encouraging. Besides, I don’t want to piss him off. He’s a professional meatcutter.
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