Thursday, May 08, 2008

How to Cope with the Modern Dating Debacle

The time has come. Trench warfare has gone on long enough. The Rules have been thrown out the window, the handbook burned, and the rape and pillage is far advanced. And stories like this one are no longer the exception, but the norm.
He sat down and asked what I was reading and did I have a boyfriend because he was asking me out. He smelled like incense and clean linen, and I was overwhelmingly and instantaneously smitten. Among other things, I liked his indifference, confidence and knowledge of foreign film directors. On our first date he explained his theory of exclusive relationships, which was that they shouldn’t exist. We talked about our (and all of our friends’) divorced parents, about how marriage was nothing but a pragmatic financial venture, and about the last time we cheated on someone. He said that his disregard for monogamy wasn’t a chauvinistic throwback, but quite the opposite: the ultimate nod to feminism.
All right, girls. This is how you cope.

First of all, the above 'feminist' speech by the above male is garbage. Garbage, garbage, garbage. It is most important that you all understand, in the core of your being, that it is so. It is crass, manipulative, pseudo-intellectual, selfish bullshit. It is a speech explicitly designed to deny your basic human need for trust, fidelity, and unconditional acceptance. It is intended to keep you disempowered, off-balance, insecure and out of touch with your own emotions. It is a blanket license for a man to behave in a completely selfish, untrustworthy, inconsiderate and irresponsible manner for as long as he knows you. Any man who showers you with this tripe, particularly in a charged 'dating' (Pretty Lady uses the term loosely in this context, for reasons which ought to be clear) scenario, may not ACTUALLY be a jackass, but he is certainly ACTING like one.

It is important that you thoroughly recognize the jackassery of this line of reasoning, because your future happiness and tranquility depend upon it. It does not matter if you are a feminist, progressive, intellectual, agnostic, atheist, or a conservative Christian virgin; it is enough that you are female. And as a female, you will be forced to address predatory tactics advanced by libidinous males, whatever sociocultural ideology you profess. This is a fact of life. You will not be able to form any sort of genuine connection with a male person until you get this clear.

So what do you do? You call him on his bullshit.

It is important that you do not get upset; this gives the male grounds to dismiss you as an insane, irrational, hysterical female. When confronted by crass, manipulative bullshit from a man whom one is dating, or considering dating, or mildly attracted to, or not unattracted to, or absolutely smitten with, your response should always be, "That's bullshit. It's shallow, immature, selfish reasoning. People need commitment and fidelity; it's a fact of life. Get used to it." Then you change the subject to something pleasantly trivial; soon after you make your excuses and depart. You do not contact him again.

One of two things will now happen.

If the fellow is, indeed, a selfish, manipulative loser, you will never hear from him again. It is important for you to understand that THIS IS A GOOD THING. The purpose of the Rules has never been to turn losers into winners by keeping them around; it is to get rid of them as quickly and efficiently as possible, before they do any serious damage. And it is crucial that you understand that losers do very serious damage.

Please trust Pretty Lady on this one.

However. If the fellow is NOT a jackass and a loser, and IF he genuinely likes you, and IF he has a fundamental instinct for decency which has been only temporarily occluded by immersion in modern society, he will be Brought Up Short. He will go into shock; he will be forced to think. It will take him a bit of time to think. This is one of the many reasons that you must not contact him; he needs to understand that you mean it, and that if he's ever going to see you again, he needs to reconsider his philosophy.

If you hear from him again, then, you may proceed to get to know him. You may ultimately decide to date him, sleep with him, marry him, or not; this is entirely up to your discretion. What you do NOT have to do is play a number of tedious, manipulative, exhausting games in order to get him to stick around. You do not have to pretend to agree with his 'progressive' attitude, all the while crossing your fingers that he doesn't go through with it. This is lethal.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

As a former cad I can confirm that PL is correct in her statements here regarding this particular type of emotional con artist.

Many men now believe that this recent subgenre of feminism must have been invented by a male, this destructive philosophy where the primary road to feminine self-actualization consists of sleeping with as many different men as possible. It has the dual effect of completely absolving the man of any post-coital responsibility, and guarantees that he will get in your pants and out the door with minimal effort.

He gets laid, you get empowered. Right ladies?

Pretty Lady said...

The philosophy has never been that 'the primary road to self-actualization is sleeping with as many men as possible;' it is never couched so baldly as that. Instead, it is a much subtler, and thus more destructive, meme. It goes, "Since women and men are equal, they must be the same. Since men like to sleep around without commitment, women must like it too, and if they say they don't, they've just internalized the pressure of a sexist society."

This is, as I said, pure bullshit. Equal does not mean, and has never meant, the same. It is perfectly consistent for women to stand up for our equality in a spiritual, social, economic and political context, while insisting that our biological and emotional needs be honored.

In fact, equality in these contexts is essential to our ability to stand up for our needs. Our needs are not to be trumped by the desires, impulses, fantasies or manipulations of the male. They are non-negotiable.

Anonymous said...


I would be very interested in your thoughts on these pieces... they take more than a minute to read each, but they do tend to relay some info which I think does build a certain hostility in the 'decent' man out there. There is something inherently discouraging about feeling like you are being retired on at the point when a woman feels that her looks are fading... and the expectation is that you will now pay a lifetime for what was given away for mere words before... Obviously women can have gripes too, but as a man I, in a polite way, wish to put forth some of mine...

Chris Rywalt said...

Isn't it possible that monogamy just sucks?

Anonymous said...

One can go all over the place with this topic... for all the talk of 'family' there is no real societal model that everyone buys into. With everything being ok and strictly dependent on how the people within the relationship feel about their situation it is hard to promote any set of ideals for a specific type. We moved away from the idea of growing a life together and 2 can live for the price of 1 to trying to join two separate lives and 2 can live twice as well as 1. The latter has presented difficulties both culturally and economically .

I agree with PL in so far as her opinion that 'equality' did not need to mean the same. It was insane to ever relate 'my desire to be an engineer' to 'I need to desire as many sexual partners as the average man'. However, reality is that people respond to incentives in one way or another. When the incentive for marriage and commitment is at this point is a huge legal gamble and in effect paying for companionship that is available in so many other avenues it is going to deter men. As reasoned in the links I provided... women have a much greater role in establishing societal mores (particularly in sex) than do men.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse the extra is in the line 5 up from the bottom there... I just woke up.

Unknown said...

There is an interesting documentary about this subjectFlying: Confessions of a Free Woman, which I watched on Sundance channel that dwells about the modern female life, a real “Sex in the City” serial about a 40 something New Yorker struggling to comprehend her “free” lifestyle. The director not only turns the camera on herself, but also passes the camera to various women facing the same issues around the globe. This is a really intriguing take on culture expectations and other female topics. The movie will continue to air on May 12, and May 15.

Pretty Lady said...

jSin, I have discussed the issues raised in those articles at various times, in various ways. The short answer is that women do not have to fall for bullshit, but we do--particularly in our younger years, particularly when we have been raised to have no real understanding of the nature of our own power or how to wield it.

This is why I have now taken to writing about how to nip manipulative tactics in the bud. Once you have bought into the line, it is impossible to untangle yourself.

And the answer for single nice guys would seem to be simple; avoid the bitter divorcées. You don't need to be appealing to All Women; you just need to pick one nice one.

Doom said...


In truth, bravo. Sincerely, and in my humble estimation, I am proud to know someone, especially a modern woman, who states so plainly what is so true. I am a bit amazed, and sometimes surprised by you this way.

However, and without cynicism so just listen then answer as I am not attacking merely asking and trying to understand, is not what the "gentleman" in question suggested exactly what the advance of feminism has evinced? It is certainly how I have come to understand it and it's objectives. Aren't you, in truth, via socialism, a feminist?

Truly, I do not understand. I would like to understand. Though too, in truth, I know I can never actually fully know. Still, with your skills in word and thought, I suspect you might have some capacity to shed light for a brother.

Anonymous said...


"is not what the "gentleman" in question suggested exactly what the advance of feminism has evinced?"

Are you referring to the "gentleman" in PL's original post, this one - "On our first date he explained his theory of exclusive relationships, which was that they shouldn’t exist. "?

I'm not throwing insults here, I know you are genuinely asking a sincere question, but it sounds to me like you've gotten the wrong idea about what feminism is. (Lightbulb! This must be why so many people think it's a bad thing.) You aren't accepting a definition of feminism from self-proclaimed anti-feminists, are you? Just as people who are against democracy, or socialism, or any other ism, tend to portray the object of their scorn in a bad light, so do anti-feminists. I appreciate that you are asking PL's opinion, so, again, I'm not accusing you, and it seems that if you did get the wrong idea, you are now trying to rectify that, for which I applaud you. I will let PL answer your question for yourself. I appreciate your interest and the fact that you are seeking elucidation before judging.


Pretty Lady said...

Yes, Doom, I will answer your question in full, just as soon as I return from work, probably later this evening.

Doom said...


I cannot speak for anti-feminists, or those of which you speak. I can only speak from my experience, personally, with feminists. What is spoken of, by the "gentleman" in question, is what I was lead to believe was acceptable to the feminists I have known, to varying degrees. As for socialism, communism, and the other ism's, being against those is merely a matter of a love of life, reasonable liberties, an understanding of genuine economics, and a realistic and whole (non-deconstructed) grasp of history.

Now, I am still trying to be decent, civil, and open. And I am not choosing to fight, only expressing my understandings and evaluations to a query. I am curious still, and quite interested in your thoughts, PL, and anonymous as well.

Chris Rywalt said...

I wish I'd met more feminists like the ones you knew, Doom.

Chris Rywalt said...

This is interesting: The Sexy Son Hypothesis.

Doom said...


Somehow, I don't think that is true. I have eschewed feminism completely because of what I have encountered from it, and for some while, eschewed the woman who had any connection with this notion. I had even considered disposing of any notion of intimate female companionship (which, because of my nature, means no intimate relationships... I don't swing, click, or tick off kilter, in this sense).

However, I have reordered my life. I now may have feminists as friends, though generally I check their egalitarian natures at a point I deem necessary. And, I may never again take one as a lover or more. Nor may I merely allow a lady love, in any case. I have been celibate for four years or so, attempting to reclaim a clean living as a sacrifice to the right woman, and life long mate (if somewhat hoping my life can be a shorter one if I choose poorly *laughs*).

I would recommend no woman see me solely as a child nurturer (I will pretty much only tend my boys, and only once they need to start becoming men), nor completely as the rugged type, I like domesticity so long as I have non-fluff space to myself. Just some thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Brava, Pretty Lady. "Monogamy is a contraint" is a statement that applies only and exclusively to the man making it.

It took me years to understand that equality does not mean that people's needs are the same. It means that their needs, whatever they might be, are met to an equal degree.

Dear "monogamy sucks" people: find others who feel the same, rather than try to convince women who DO NOT feel this way that their own stance on the matter is illegitimate. If you can't find other "monogamy sucks" people, hump a sofa.

Dear girls, women, wymmyn, chicks, broads, and ladies: "I don't want to be faithful, but I do want to fuck you regularly" comes from a person who wants all the benefits of closeness without having to live up to emotional investment and obligations (Oh noes! Obligations!) such closeness requires.

This level of immaturity borders on pathological, and the only way to deal with it is to run. You don't want an emotional toddler as a one-night-stand, let alone as a boyfriend, or god forbid, a baby daddy.

I wouldn't even bother with benefit of the doubt, even if it is an ok-ish person misled by seductions of societal horseshit. Let his parents worry about his re-education.