Men are picky about dating, too

Disgruntled comment trolls frequently drop by here and leave complaints about how cruelly picky women are about the men they’re willing to date and, by contrast, how pathetically easy men are.

Sad-looking guy

No! I am the most saddest!

Let’s just put this myth to bed without its supper, shall we?

Some people are very picky about who they will date, while some are not picky at all. By people, I mean “humans of all genders.” It is true that society counsels men to shoot at everything that moves and women to be choosy, but despite this conditioning, it doesn’t actually work out this way nearly as often as you might suppose. If you are a man who thinks women are picky and men are so easy, here is where you’re confused:

…men imagine themselves to be less picky about looks because they don’t even see the women they reject.

See, if you’re a guy who asks a woman out and she says no, you have been rejected. But if you’re a woman who is hoping a man will ask you out (sadly, most men can’t handle a woman doing the asking, even these days) and he doesn’t, she has been rejected. You go out to a bar and ask ten women for their numbers or some promise of future contact and they all turn you down. Ouch – you’ve been rejected by ten people! A woman goes out to a bar and ninety-three men walk past her, glance her over, don’t see what they’re looking for and move on. She’s just been rejected by ninety-three people.

If you’re one of the ninety-three who tripped over that woman and loads more like her in your stampede toward the supermodel lookalike in the corner, you don’t feel like you’ve rejected that other woman. In five seconds, you won’t even remember all the women you glanced over who didn’t meet your criteria. But they exist. And in not hitting on them, you have demonstrated that you have – gasp – standards for choosing who you will and won’t date!

If you have ever passed over a woman who was available at a time when you wanted to be with someone, you have standards for who you will date. Don’t feel bad – it means your brain is functioning, which is important for your overall health and well-being. You may need some time to adjust to not feeling sorry for yourself, but this too should help your dating life. Self-pity is not a turn-on.

Comments

  1. Maria says

    Pet peeve: perenially single nerdy guys bemoaning the bitchyness and selectivity of women while only approaching “hot” girls and ignoring other nerdy girls. It’s an example of male entitlement to me because of the assumption that having a penis means you deserve a “hottie.”

    • Demonhype says

      Second on the RIGHT ON! I used to only like the nerdy, ugly boys because I actually liked them, but they would not only trample me in the proverbial stampede to court the supermodel lookalike in the corner, they would go out of their way to spit on me publicly. All of them, in fact, not just the ones I liked.

      Then they would whine and moan about how “women are bitches” and how “women just like money” and “women should love me for who I am, even if I’m not handsome”. Well, no, little boy. There are women that like you for who you are, but you are judging them entirely on how they look. You want to be loved for who you are to the exclusion of how you look or how much money you make, even as you reject loving women for who they are in exclusive favor of how they look–and those “looks” standards are infinitely more extreme for women than men and the pursuit of such “looks” result in much more physical damage and death.

      It’s because of that that I refuse to date any ugly nerdy guys. I’m a good looking girl and once this weight’s off I’m a knockout! And I’m just not interested in the guys who made me suicidal as a teenager. The handsome boys treated me decently–in that they spoke to me politely when the opportunities came up and did not make a public spectacle of their contempt for me–so I don’t have the same psychological damage about a good-looking guy.

      You were too good for me when I wasn’t “pretty”? Well, guess what. I’m too good for you now. Beat it.

  2. says

    Damn straight!

    I am picky. I am picky about minor things in my life, so of course I’m picky about who I am going to have sex with, especially since I’m not so much into casual sex.

    However, I have always fashioned myself not to be picky about physical appearance until I was recently proven wrong, and I did have a small problem accepting the reason why I didn’t click with the woman. And of course, I don’t find most supermodel types to be that attractive, so that’s being picky, as well.

    That said, my last serious girlfriend asked me out, and my most recent date also came about on her initiative (but sadly, it didn’t turn out so well).

  3. says

    Maria: I can’t understand that. Nerdy girls are awesome!

    Also, I don’t like the suicide girls because they portray a very white mainstream beauty – despite all those tattoos and stuff.

  4. SarahSyna says

    @ Maria: Ah yes. The Nice Guy. One of the more common creatures to be seen in the wilds. It can be identified by it’s repetitive cry of ‘Girls only like jerks! That slut, she’s dating guys that bother to take care of themselves and get a job instead of letting me have a pityfuck! What a bitch!” and a mating call of ‘I’m your friend. We’re friend. By the way, me? Friend.’
    Many hope that Darwin will utilise his Chainsaw of Natural Selection.

    Ahem. Pardon. >>

  5. says

    Ugh, yes.

    Sorry: you got two hands, you get zero sympathy. More sympathy if you’re dealing with things that aren’t your fault and are hard for people to look past, but still, not having a SO is not a cosmic tragedy.

    While I will have casual sex, I’m ludicrously picky, myself, both in terms of abstract qualities and in general, because…well, I’m generally quite happy being single. I mean, if I lowered my standards, I’d get to spend time with a guy who doesn’t really do it for me instead of chilling out with friends or reading a good book. Y…ay?

  6. AmyMcCabe says

    This is why women need to be encouraged to be proactive and society needs to let go of the “only guys ask” rule. I’ve always asked men out. I’ve been turned down and I’ve gotten dates. I’m sure a few turned me down because I was being forward but you know what, I wouldn’t want to be with a guy like that anyway.

    Sadly, however, society tends to label women like that too “forward” instead of empowered. :(

  7. sbg says

    I mean, if I lowered my standards, I’d get to spend time with a guy who doesn’t really do it for me instead of chilling out with friends or reading a good book. Y…ay?

    This totally made me LOL.

  8. Maria says

    The Other Patrick: Oh, nerdy girls ARE awesome — as long as they’re faux nerdy (teehee, glasses!) and not REALLY nerdy (I THINK YOUR PET THEORY FOR THE UNIVERSE IS WRONG. Here are my citations.).

    I have a lot of bitterness towards my nerdier exes, as you can see.

  9. says

    Yeah, I can see. I wish someone would disprove my pet theory of the universe with citations. That’s like a knowledge smackdown. But I hear you, “geek chic” or “nerd chic” only means you have to dress the part.

  10. ohcoya says

    I have had thought something similar for years. Only my conclusion is much cruder and involves profanity. Still, similar.

    The thing is men do not negotiate with themselves about their preferences. A woman (or man, or whatever) either makes a man’s dick hard or not. There is no debate in the man’s mind. He preselects based upon what form engages his penile erection. Period. Women negotiate out of obligation, social pressure, etc. Men don’t even entertain the thought of dating someone who they would not have sex with.

    That is neither negative nor positive; it just is. But men denying that is ridiculous. There isn’t a woman in the world cute or smart or cool or into sports enough to negate the dick=hard equation.

  11. Katran says

    Maria said:
    >>The Other Patrick: Oh, nerdy girls ARE awesome — as long as they’re faux nerdy (teehee, glasses!) and not REALLY nerdy (I THINK YOUR PET THEORY FOR THE UNIVERSE IS WRONG. Here are my citations.).

    I have a lot of bitterness towards my nerdier exes, as you can see.
    ——

    You just described, oh, my entire life? Luckily some of those guys who say they’re interested in nerdy women actually are interested in the nerdy part rather than the “women inhabiting the same space as me for my dating convenience” part.

  12. Charles RB says

    re Nice Guys: as always, when I hear mention of Nice Guys, I remember a friend of mine summing up one particular specimen with “yeah, why can’t those cunts appreciate nice guys like us?”. (The Nice Guy didn’t actually use that word, but he was not using it very loudly, if you get my drift.)

    re “nerdy” girls VS nerdy girls: this has mostly passed me by, but then I’m a guy. I have heard one or two girls expressing bemusement that they’ve been hit on at conventions, as they’re not conventionally attractive. I take it as read they mean they thought these guys were desperate and considered them an easy mark.

  13. says

    ohcoya: I’m trying to find out whether what you’re saying would be a bad thing. I mean, when I’m looking for a partner, I’m looking for a friend to also have sex with, so why shouldn’t my attraction be important? On the other hand, if you think guys decide based on looks, I would disagree because there are other things that make my dick hard.

    But yes, I’ve gone out with women where I was great friends with, where I thought they were smart, where on paper everything should have been great, but it just wasn’t there. You could say they didn’t make my dick hard, or that I didn’t fall for them. Either way, I didn’t end up in a relationship with them. And I’ve got a great, great friend who is female and who has lamented that she wasn’t feeling attracted to me because otherwise we’d be a great couple – so maybe women aren’t even that different?

  14. says

    OtherPatrick: I think what ohcoya is getting at (and please pardon me if I am off the mark) is that women are pressured socially to be involved with men they may not find attractive, and have sex with them…because women can be treated as passive vessels for male lust. Men are seldom pressured to act as living dildos or oral sex providers for women they aren’t particularly attracted to, just because “they have a great personality” or “they make a lot of money”.

    I’m going to admit that I use the “dick gets hard” criteria when deciding whether or not I’d like to date someone (in the strictly theoretical sense, since I’m in a monogamous marriage), and I expect women to use the same criteria. But society doesn’t.

    I don’t find it a bad criteria, though. Because if someone IS really cool/fun to be with/great personality/etc., there is nothing wrong with being friends with that person as opposed to having a “romantic relationship” with them. I love my wife, and we have a great relationship, but our relationship is not (particularly) more special because we also have sex. It is just special in different ways.

  15. says

    Re: the OP…one could interpret your data to indicate that EVERYBODY gets rejected on a regular basis (be it passively by being ignored or actively by being turned down), but that society sets men up for the active rejection more often, due to the nature of courtship traditions. Men seem to feel the sting of active rejection more acutely than passive…is this less true for women?

    As someone who literally never dated, I’d say my number one reason for not asking women out was fear of active rejection.

  16. says

    @The Other Patrick: I agree with Spartakos–the problem isn’t that men want to begin sexual or potentially sexual relationships with women who they’re attracted to. That’s perfectly reasonable. (For the sake of simplicity, I’ll temporarily set aside the fact that society encourages both men and women to consider only a small fraction of women ‘acceptable attractive,’ although I do think that’s also related.)

    The problem is that men are allowed or expected to only want to date (hit on, flirt with, sleep with, whatever) people they’re attracted to, but women are encouraged to believe that they should not use those same standards. Women are frequently told that they’re being too picky, to hard on a guy, if they actually admit that they didn’t want to go out with someone because they weren’t attracted to him. They’re told, “He’s a nice guy!” or “You should give him another chance,” or “Perhaps you need to wait for attraction to bloom between you.” Or, yes, “But he’s stable and has a good job.” And it does seem to me to be a gendered reaction: women get that reaction almost instantaneously and from both men and women if they admit to not seeing someone because they’re not attracted. (“Would you rather date someone who’s attractive and mean, huh?!?” is a more aggressive version of this–as though those were the only choices!)

    In other words, the problem isn’t that people are including attractiveness in the way they choose mates; the problem is that men are allowed to do so and women are strongly encouraged not to, and are often either pictured as picky or selfish if they do, or, worse, get dire predictions that they’ll date an abuser if they include physical attractiveness.

    • Demonhype says

      That is me! A guy in HS supposedly liked me all that time, and at one point one of his female friends approached me to tell me that. I said I wasn’t attracted to him, and I was immediately accused of not liking him because he was fat. No amount of “I have hardly spoken to him and what conversation we have had has made it clear we have nothing in common” could sway them. I was some shallow bitch because I’m supposed to just say “sure!” when a guy likes me and wants to date me, and if I didn’t it was because I just don’t appreciate a nice guy like him. And yes, I’m not particularly attracted to fat guys, especially not fat guys who were shaped a bit like a candy-corn, but the biggest issue was that there wasn’t anything there on any level for me to even find him interesting as a friend, much less appealing as a lover.

      Of course, any time the guys rejected a fat or ugly girl, the “dick gets hard” excuse came trotting out as a carte blanche and that was the end of the discussion. She’s gross therefore her value as a human being is nil, end of story. You females, on the other hand, are nothing more than vessels for our seed and objects of lust, so your physical attraction is meaningless. So when Men reject based on physical attraction, it should be treated as Unquestioned Gospel, but if there is even a suspicion that a Woman is rejecting a Man on a basis of physical attraction, she’s shallow and evil, a “bitch” or “cunt” who doesn’t appreciate men for who they are.

      And, of course, outside of the “the physical attraction of women does not matter” meme, there was also the way they’d use that as an out, to protect themselves against the possibility that maybe she just doesn’t like “You”. Which just perpetuates the Nice Guy syndrome even more, insulating them against any unpleasant self-truths.

      • Genevieve says

        Oy, I’ve seen this so much. A have a guy friend who has complained numerous times about how (perfectly blandly pretty) girls (who he barely knows and has little in common with) who he asks out (often after only talking with them once) don’t give him a chance and often blames it on his nerdiness/non-conventionally attractive looks (bigger dude, prematurely graying) and therefore on their shallowness. Yet, when he was recounting to me how another close friend of his (a bigger girl who didn’t pay much attention to fashion or makeup but who he had everything in common with) once asked him out, he literally shuddered/grimaced as he recounted turning her down. And yes–it is okay to say “no.” But how fucking rude to both not see the hypocrisy there and to shudder while you’re at it.

  17. lilacsigil says

    Seen at comics forums/shops/cons everywhere:

    Guys: Wow, I wish there were girls into comics
    Girls: Hi!
    Guys: …no, we meant *hot* girls.
    Subset of girls: You mean us?
    Guys:…who know just enough to agree with me.
    Girls: *sigh*

    Seriously, I’m glad I’m not straight.

  18. sbg says

    Men seem to feel the sting of active rejection more acutely than passive…is this less true for women?

    Active rejection at least allows for a sophomoric “well, you suck anyway!” mental rejoinder, whereas too much passive rejection can simply lead to depression if you’re too focused on it.

    I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed for years now, being the kind of hetero woman who apparently tickles a very minute number of pickles.

    (Sorry, I’m really punchy today.)

  19. says

    @Cora: Put this way, I totally agree. On all points.

    And while I’m not so much into comics, I have done my share of fantasy rpgs, so I recognize what lilacsigil describes. I distinctly remember when a girl joined our group and when I arrived at our creepy DM’s house, she’d been there for quite some time and greeted me with a face displaying pure elation that finally, someone else was there.

  20. says

    Active rejection at least allows for a sophomoric “well, you suck anyway!” mental rejoinder, whereas too much passive rejection can simply lead to depression if you’re too focused on it.

    I second this. In order to ask someone out, you just need to screw up your courage, do it, and cope with the sting of rejection if they say no. In order to get asked out, you’re supposed to engage in complex beautifying rituals, complex flirting rituals, send the “right signals” (and you’re on your own, figuring out what the hell that means), etc. If you don’t get asked out, you’re supposed to wonder what’s wrong with YOU that you didn’t, and where you should start over on all your complex rituals.

    I would much much much rather do the asking. Not that I’m typical or anything, I’m just giving my vote, based on experience both ways.

    Also: men rarely have to deal with the crushing awkwardness that is rejecting someone who asks YOU out without losing the Nice Girl status that society requires you to maintain at all times.

    Also, what Coraa said. I talked about something similar here.

  21. says

    @Jennifer Kesler

    Regarding asking someone out: yes, absolutely. And one of the most frustrating things is the fact that the response to that observation is often, “Well, then women should just ask men out!” Because some do, absolutely, so it is possible and it does sometimes work… but it’s a bit disingenuous to suggest that cultural conditioning can be thrown off that easily, or that women don’t face backlash when they do become more assertive. It becomes a double bind: if you ask and you get backlash for being too pushy or aggressive or a ballbreaker, then it’s your fault for not conforming; if you conform and go through the elaborate rituals of attempting to attract attention, you’re not trying hard enough.

    Also: men rarely have to deal with the crushing awkwardness that is rejecting someone who asks YOU out without losing the Nice Girl status that society requires you to maintain at all times.

    It’s really pretty frightening how often a man who is rejected, even very pleasantly, will respond with a sudden burst of aggression or insults or elaborate sulking, and/or that onlookers will say, geez, couldn’t you have given him a chance? So there’s an expectation there that when women feel bad about passive rejection, it’s the women’s problem; and when men feel bad about active rejection, it’s also the women’s problem.

  22. says

    Coraa, it’s my pet theory that the whole reason we developed civilization was on the mistaken belief that male violent tendencies can be reined in by providing them plenty of sex. Everything seems to be arranged around assuring that even the least desirable (and human) male will receive sex from women.

    Got a better idea: give ‘em all Valium and let us get on with our shit. ;)

  23. amymccabe says

    And one of the most frustrating things is the fact that the response to that observation is often, “Well, then women should just ask men out!” Because some do, absolutely, so it is possible and it does sometimes work… but it’s a bit disingenuous to suggest that cultural conditioning can be thrown off that easily, or that women don’t face backlash when they do become more assertive.

    Exactly! It is against everything we are trained to do from day one and I know it will make people uncomfortable.

  24. says

    Great discussion and I agree with most of it (especially the bit about how some men like intelligent women as long as they’re not TOO intelligenet – for which read, more intelligent than them).

    I do, however, have one major major quibble with the original post and a large number of the comments.

    It’s “criterion”. “A criterion”, to be exact.

    “Criteria” is plural. Dick hardness is just one of the many criteria that you could have, which would make it a crietrion in amongst all your other, erm, criteria. You get the picture.

    I now return you to your normal programming.

  25. says

    I thought “a criteria” referred to a set of criterion(s). No matter – I dropped the “a” since what I’m actually referring to is a set of standards. Then I realized “standards” was a better word because everyone knows what it means and that women are being mean ol’ bitches when we have them. ;)

  26. Lampdevil says

    Maria: Oh, nerdy girls ARE awesome — as long as they’re faux nerdy (teehee, glasses!) and not REALLY nerdy (I THINK YOUR PET THEORY FOR THE UNIVERSE IS WRONG. Here are my citations.).

    Oh MAAAAN do some nerdy boys get upset when you provide ‘em with citations. Or when you keep asserting that you already know what they’re condesendingly lecturing to you about.

    My nerdy boyfriend, meanwhile, got this wonderfully enamored look in his eyes this one time when I was holding forth on a topic with… let’s call it passionate expertise. THAT’S LOVE, FOLKS. Nerdy love.

    Also: The passive sitting around and waiting to be asked out thing was never something I considered to be a reasonable romantic strategy. One, I had been firmly convinced of my ugliness and undesirablity from a young age. Two, from the same young age I had always been presented with the message of ‘women can TOTALLY ask guys on dates. It’s modern and it’s what cool women do.’ So I asked guys on dates! With oftentimes mixed results! And sometimes (much to my surprise) guys would ask me out! With equally mixed results! (Who said that turning a guy down is REALLY HARD if you’ve got a considerable investment in your Nice Girl Let’s Be A Huge Doormat status? Kudos to you! Hit the nail right on the head.)

    It’s all kind of confusing and not a very good anecdote and I forget where I was going with this. Um, sorry.

  27. says

    Actually, one doesn’t need to have a “huge investment” in one’s Nice Girl status if one has repeatedly been punished anytime one stood up for herself since an early age. Yep, it still happens. ;) Just sayin’.

  28. Lampdevil says

    Aaah, I’ve spent my life having people try to smack me down every time I stand up for myself. My initial reaction was indeed to put a bigass investment in Being Really Damn Nice.

    Then I got fed up and snapped and started yelling and people and I haven’t looked back. It’s quite liberating! (And much more complex than that. But I do get what you’re saying, Jennifer. A whole lot of work goes into getting us to buy into Nice Girl BS.)

  29. Robin says

    @MarinaS — Latin nerds FTW!

    I don’t have a whole lot to add to the discussion at this late point, but I am loving what’s here. :)

  30. Quib says

    In theory, I wouldn’t mind being the one to ask a dude out. However, I am shy, and do I really want to pursue a guy who folds his arms at me when I go over to maybe dance with him, or pushes past me to dance closer to my friends, or grunts at me when I ask him what the back of his Dethklok t-shirt says, etc. ? Not so much. Admittedly, part of that is probably just me and my difficulties properly engaging in public activity. Sooner or later tho’, I will have to work up to something more extroverted, if only to call people out “Oh, what’s this? A woman partaking of your video games, and you are showing no interest. how fascinating”

  31. JMS says

    It’s really pretty frightening how often a man who is rejected, even very pleasantly, will respond with a sudden burst of aggression or insults or elaborate sulking, and/or that onlookers will say, geez, couldn’t you have given him a chance? So there’s an expectation there that when women feel bad about passive rejection, it’s the women’s problem; and when men feel bad about active rejection, it’s also the women’s problem.

    Sometimes said man will respond with actual physical violence, or threats of same. As in this story, which surprised me not because it happened, but because the media bothered to cover it.

  32. Palaverer says

    I get tired of guys who complain about being overlooked by women. These guys are usually chubby and nerdy. I love chubby and nerdy. Lots of women do. You know what I don’t like? The fact that they haven’t showered in three days or shaved in five. Their shirt is covered in stains and holes. And their social skills are . . . lacking. Maybe you can’t do much with your weight or receding hairline or general image (i.e. nerd vs. jock) but if you can’t be bothered to perform simple routine maintenance on yourself don’t blame me for not looking twice.

  33. Charles RB says

    I’m not sure why facial hair’s being counted alongside not washing: the former’s a subjective preference with various styles and/or people who can/can’t pull them off, the other is bad hygiene.

  34. says

    I thought Palaverer was referring to someone who isn’t intentionally sporting a beard, but rather just can’t be bothered to shave daily. There’s certainly nothing wrong with decently-groomed facial hair.

  35. Palaverer says

    Jennifer has understood me correctly. A man can sport any manner of well-groomed facial hair. But to allow even part of his face to go to scruff for a day or two is visually and texturally unappealing. While some women are attracted to that look, it gives an implication of laziness and inattention to personal appearance to the rest of us.

    • Folwart says

      I’m not saying this is every case, but I often don’t shave more than once or twice a week. Shaving every day is too hard on my skin which causes irritation (it’s not the method, looked into that). Unless I have a date, some event or I’m going out on the town I shave when I feel like shaving. It’s not extremely expensive, but why waste the razor when it’s completely irrelevant if I’m clean shaven or not? This is why assumptions are so untrustworthy, especially the strong, judgmental variety.

      In reality it’s facial hair. It’s a fact of life. To say that it somehow gives an implication as to a persons character is a loose correlation at best. Statistically speaking, correlation is not causation. Dots don’t consistently connect that way, so there’s a reasonable chance that assumption is incorrect every time you have it. It’s classic conditioning from a time long gone. For us to be judging people on such miniscule details, people that could very possibly be a good match in virtually every other area, is a sad state of affairs indeed. Have we become too picky? Perhaps, or maybe we’ve just become picky in the wrong areas.

  36. Raeka says

    I don’t mind the unshaven look quite so much –a day or two without shaving is fine by me, it’s only when it starts to look like you haven’t shaved all week that I get a bit iffy…

    But I’ve kind of trained this into myself, since I hate to shave my legs :) I figure if I want a break from people about my fuzzy legs, the least I could do is try to give guys a break about their fuzzy face. Not like they can wear long pants to hide that, either…

  37. Palaverer says

    Agreed Raeka. I cut my BF slack for not shaving just as he does for me. No one should be expected to look pristine at all times. Some guys sport the sloppy look all the time and can’t understand why women aren’t interested.

  38. says

    Yeah. I mean, I’m on the opposite end–I put a fair amount of effort into my appearance, and I’m only interested in guys who do the same–and I think a good general principle is that you probably should put in the same amount of effort as the people you want to date.

    The problem is, a lot of guys–especially geek guys, ye gods, and this is why I don’t go to cons alone–learn that they should be able to neglect things like hygiene, any attempt to keep in shape, social skills, basic fashion sense, etc, and still date fit, well-groomed, socially adept women because They’re Such Nice Guys.

    Gag me.

  39. says

    On a side note, the Hollywood/modeling version of the “few days’ stubble” look is NOT what a few days of stubble actually looks like. Most beards get scraggly after a few days of growing and don’t look well-kempt. The La La Land version is trimmed carefully with a beard trimmer.

  40. Chris says

    Very interesting article. Definitely an eye-opener.

    I must admit that I’m probably one of those guys who thinks he’s doing worse in dating than he really is because he’s too focused on the “hot girls” he can’t get, and ignores the less-than-hot girls that are interested in him.

    It certainly pisses me off as well when unattractive guys think they’re entitled to girls who are way more attractive than they are, yet they themselves wouldn’t even give the time of day to a girl who wasn’t hot.

    It’s confusing for guys though because there’s this idea that women either don’t care about looks, or don’t value it nearly as much as men do. Therefore, many men who don’t look like Hugh Jackman think that they can score hot women by making up for it in other qualities (for example, a sense of humour).

    I think women encourage this idea because:

    A) it is at least somewhat true
    B) they feel socially pressured to play down the importance of physical attraction in order to seem like good wife material and not some horny slut
    C) It gives them a sense of superiority to feel like they are more cerebral and comprehensive in dealing with attraction, whereas men are motivated by primitive urges

    So while I too am irritated by picky men who have standards that are way too high, I think women should understand why that is so. Sure, some men are just horny jerks with huge senses of entitlement. But our culture also tells men that looks don’t really matter with women, or that as long as you don’t look like Frankenstein, you can make up for your unBeckham-like looks with personality, wealth, sincerity, etc.

  41. says

    Chris,

    Well, short answer: your culture is lying to you. :)

    Long answer: women are heavily socially conditioned to put a man’s other qualities ahead of looks, but I’ve never known a woman who didn’t appreciate good looks. So while we’re being conditioned to believe we care more about other traits, and you’re being told we’re hard-wired to care more about other traits, the fact is: women are interested in looks, probably as much as men are.

    So I kind of disagree with your idea that women encourage the idea for those three reasons. You’re not way way off the mark, but I’d say it’s society trying to brainwash both men and women into thinking women don’t care about looks, when in fact we seem to be hardwired with ideas about attractiveness. Beyond that, some of us prioritize looks higher than others, but I’d say that’s true of men. Surely there are some men who realize beautiful women who have nasty personalities aren’t preferably to okay-looking women who are worth knowing in other ways.

    So I would say that Item A is absolutely untrue, except insofar as social conditioning has worked on some women (i.e., it’s not a hardwired preference), and Item B has some truth due to the gender roles we’re assigned. Item C, I dunno. No one’s ever expressed a sense of superiority to men on that note to me, while some have told me women are superior to men for various other reasons.

    • Charles RB says

      “Surely there are some men who realize beautiful women who have nasty personalities aren’t preferably to okay-looking women who are worth knowing in other ways.”

      Ah, well – for long-term stuff, a large number of blokes do know that. For short-term things, like random sex and/or bragging rights, many would go with the one with nasty personalities because hey, that’s not what they’re after there. AFAIK women do the same thing but it’s frowned on more by society than when men do it.

  42. CosmosStars says

    If women on average are less picky about male attractiveness than vice versa, how come there are more involuntarily celibate men than there are women? Shouldn’t the numbers be about even?

    Similarly, explain the following situation to me:
    There are two persons.
    Person a is me: A 24 year old male with deformed face, excess weight (180 lbs and not particularly muscular) and some degree of social maladjustment (My conversations are usually plagued by awkward silences and are generally characterized as boring). I am obviously not conventionally attractive. Despite having spent years on trying to improve myself and expand my social circles, I am still a virgin and still haven’t received a single positive reaction from a woman.

    Person b is a girl who takes several classes that I also take in university: She is 22 years old, obese (can’t tell the exact weight, but she requires two chairs to sit, so it’s quite a bit more than me) and socially maladjusted to a high degree (she only ever talks about herself, and her favorite topics are the various health complications that her obesity has resulted in). I suppose everybody here will agree that just like me, she is not conventionally attractive. And yet, she is currenty in her third long-term relationship. Her boyfriend is a conventionally attractive reasonably fit male. In addition, on multiple occasions this girl has mocked me for my appearance and lack of social skills.

    Unless this is some kind of unque occurence, does this not invalidate the contents of the article? If women are not pickier than men, shouldn’t my years of active socializing, showing interest in women and asking them out yielded me at least some degree of success in the form of positive attention from women?

    • says

      how come there are more involuntarily celibate men than there are women?

      There aren’t. There are far more involuntarily celibate women than men. They just don’t whine online about it as much.

      If women are not pickier than men, shouldn’t my years of active socializing, showing interest in women and asking them out yielded me at least some degree of success in the form of positive attention from women?

      Not at all. Like the article said, there are probably a number of women who’d be interested in dating you, but they are invisible to you because they aren’t conventionally attractive. That’s usually the problem.

      Another possibility is that you’re one of these guys to whom women are pretty much interchangeable. We do pick up on that.

      • says

        I’d also add that just because one person asks more people out doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re statistically more likely to get more results. If you take two equally (un)attractive people, one who only asks a few people but has social skills and the other who asks lots of people but has no social skills, I’d expect the person with social skills to get more results. Plus, people can smell desperation and it’s not attractive. The person who isn’t invested in their identity as a sexual being will likely get better results than the person who’s panicking about still being a virgin.

    • Keith says

      “how come there are more involuntarily celibate men than there are women?”
      Please provide scientific data to support this statement. And just so you know, “data” is not the plural of “anecdote”.

  43. sannanina says

    Sylvia Sybil
    I agree with the original post. I really wish, however, that people would be a little less quick to say things along the lines of “just don’t appear so desperate”. I am 32 years old, female, have never had sexual intercourse and/or a partner, and yes, I admit, I do feel somewhat desperate and hopeless about that. Sure, not having those things is not a “cosmic tragedy” as someone put it earlier – it impacts my life in really negative ways that go beyond “simply” not having a partner, though. For example, since all my friends have partners, and since at least the people in my social circle tend to bond more closely with people that have lives similar to theirs I am somewhat out of the loop. So not being in a relationship actually does not only mean that I do not experience the kind of intimacy people usually do experience with their partner (which, to be clear, is something I miss a lot), it also negatively impacts at least some of my friendships. Apart from that, having had very few people express any interest in me over the years (and for the record: pretty much all the ones that did express any interest were either drunk or more than twice times my age and hit on me in the street in really creepy ways) kind of does make me question my worth as a person. I do not blame anyone for my situation, I know that certain traits about me (that go beyond my physical appearance although I am sure that plays into it) make me less attractive to a lot of people. In addition, I am certainly am not angry with any of the men I have fallen in love with who were not interested in me – most of them are or were good friends and wondeful people, after all, and that did not suddenly change because they don’t find me attractive. But I really wish people would stop pretending that it is just a question of “stopping to be desperate” or “being more confident”. Congratulations if you have control over your feeling to a degree that allows you not to feel desperation and/or serious self-doubt if you have been rejected for years and years. I do not have that kind of self-control, however, and I do think that a lot of people in my situation wouldn’t have it either.

  44. says

    sannanina,

    Hmm. I have mixed feelings about your response. I think what I said could be interpreted problematically, but I also think you missed my point.

    For starters, I didn’t mean to imply that lack of confidence was a personal failing or something that can be fixed with rainbows and sunshine. It can be beyond control (especially when we get into introvert/extrovert dynamics) and it can be damaging. What I said earlier could sound like “just get over it” and that would be a bad thing to say.

    However. I’m also uncomfortable around people, sometimes to the point of anxiety. I’m a geek, I hang out with a lot of geeks, I’m very familiar with varying levels of social insecurity, especially in regards to romantic/sexual interrelations (being queer doesn’t help me there, either. Flirting without fear of gay-bashing? What’s that look like?). This isn’t what I was talking about.

    My “desperate” comment was directed at the people who alternatively latch on to someone and cling like there’s no tomorrow, and complain about how everybody focuses on their bad qualities and they “should” be focusing on the good. I’ve encountered many of these people; mostly but not exclusively in geek circles. That is a failing of basic social etiquette that borders on creepy. People like this act like they’re entitled to other people’s time and attention, rather than a give and take system from which all parties are free to walk away.

    CosmosStars appeared to me to be exhibiting some of these symptoms (speaking of “Person B” as she were obviously below him on a social hierarchy and assuming that her gender was the reason she had more social success than he). My advice was directed at him in hopes he was genuinely asking for some possible reasons for his lack of success, rather than just looking for someone or something (gender) to blame.

    Nobody is obligated to put up with antisocial and creepy behavior from other people. Not even if you have a really good reason for your behavior. If you come on to people really strong, they’re absolutely entitled to get the hell away from you. Even if your intentions are pure, even if you’re just socially awkward, no one is obligated to be your friend or your lover.

    This is the part of your statement that makes me think you missed my point:

    sannanina: Congratulations if you have control over your feeling to a degree that allows you not to feel desperation and/or serious self-doubt if you have been rejected for years and years. I do not have that kind of self-control, however, and I do think that a lot of people in my situation wouldn’t have it either.

    Because what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China? I was never talking about what one is allowed to feel. I was talking about behavior and the results it is likely to elicit. If you’re panicking over sex and hitting on someone with the visible expectation that they must solve your problem, they are entitled to find that creepy. In fact, I submit that if they don’t find indiscriminate desperation to be a turn-off, they’re likely to be predators*.

    Basically, humans are social creatures and we need social skills to get along with each other. Not having social skills isn’t a moral failing, but it is an individual problem and no one else is required to fix it or compensate for it for you**. It sucks having self-doubt where your social skills are supposed to be. I am right there with you. But so what? Whose problem is that? If you want help, you’re free to ask, but nobody is obligated to help you, and they’re definitely not obligated to offer the type of help you want. Nobody is obligated to put up with behavior they find unacceptable.

    * “likely” is not the same word as “guaranteed”

    ** I’m not talking about ableism in which people treat the mentally disabled / neuro-diverse as if they were subhuman. Everyone is entitled to basic human respect.

    • Maria says

      FYI: The comment by CosmosStars is in violation of our comment policy. Because it went through before we started enforcing the policy, and has spurred an interesting conversation, I’m leaving it up.

  45. says

    sannanina,

    I think you missed her point, too. The commenter she and I were responding to was basically saying “Here are two women in my life who are even more repulsive than I am, how DARE they not fall in love with me! Clearly, they are nasty people!” You OTOH say good things about the men who haven’t requited your feelings for them. Cosmostars isn’t sad that he’s unable to find a healthy relationship of some sort; he’s angry that women aren’t providing him the bedpost notches he needs to maintain social status with his friends.

    And SS was trying to point out that guys who are hung up on “scoring” or “losing it” aren’t really interacting with women; they’re just looking to use women to achieve status with their male pals, and women pick up on that. Hence the “desperate” remarks. Maybe “desperate” wasn’t the best possible word choice, but what we’re talking about here is not feeling lonely and desperate within yourself, which everyone feels sometimes (yes, including your friends who are all in relationships), but putting off the vibe that someone OWES you sex/love just because you feel you need it so badly. Which is pretty much the opposite of some of what you said.

  46. sannanina says

    Jennifer Kesler,
    Sylvia Sybil,

    I got defensive, and I apologize for that. Some of the things that I said were not really a reply to what you said, but a reaction to things that I have heard from other people.
    I have a bit of a problem with this statement, though:
    Maybe “desperate” wasn’t the best possible word choice, but what we’re talking about here is not feeling lonely and desperate within yourself, which everyone feels sometimes (yes, including your friends who are all in relationships)
    I am aware that everyone feels desperate or lonely at times. But ongoing loneliness is quite a different beast. It is a bit like telling a woman (or man) who genuinely is physically unattractive in the eyes most people that “everyone feels insecure about their appearance at times” or that “no one is attractive to everybody”. That is true, sure. And I do not want to minimize other people’s pain/problems. But things do not suck equally for everyone. And the problem with ongoing loneliness is that being lonely can result in even worse social skills/ social anxiety over time, which of course is not exactly helpful for overcoming loneliness.
    Also, I would never think that someone “owes” me sex or companionship, and I agree that people who think that they have a “right” to those things need to engage in some major self-reflection. I think, however, that continuous rejection can lead to feelings of bitterness, irrespective of if you are a man or a woman. I have come pretty close to becoming bitter and I have thought that things are damn unfair, and it took a lot of energy and effort to fight those thoughts and feelings. In the end I kind of accepted that things are indeed unfair to some degree but that this is nobody’s (or at least no individual’s) fault – not the fault of the people that rejected me, and not my fault either.
    Sure, I can work on my social skills (and I do), but as a socially anxious, not conventionally attractive, fat woman who on top of that has no relationship experience whatsoever at the age of 32 (which is not exactly a plus in the eyes of a lot of people) it might very well happen that I will never have a partner. This is partially the result of cultural standards of attractiveness that I cannot influence as well as simply bad luck. And while I loathe it if guys behave as if women “owe” them sex or a relationship or whatever, I also think that similar dynamics ARE at play for at least some of these guys as well.

  47. Maria says

    sannanina,

    Your comments are violating some pretty big aspects of our discussion guidelines, handily linked above the comment box where you write your text. Here are the specific guidelines:

    Do not make “But what about the menz?” arguments. Yes, bad things happen to men, too. We know this, we often acknowledge this, and we care. It just isn’t relevant to a site about bad things that happen to women.

    There are more than two sides to an issue, so don’t assume binaries. For example, arguing a defendant didn’t get a fair trial does not equal arguing the defendant is innocent of all charges.

    Don’t attempt to dominate a conversation or demand replies from certain individuals because you think they owe you the discussion of your choice. They don’t.

    Don’t question the entire purpose of the site, or someone’s motive for writing an article or comment.

    If your comment demonstrates you haven’t read the article and/or you’re creating straw arguments rather than addressing the points actually being made, your comment will not be posted (or will be deleted if you’re on auto-approve).

    ——-

    I let this comment go through because I feel like we’re having an interesting discussion. However, you’re still not engaging with the arguments Jen and Sylvia are making AND you’re refusing to acknowledge that those “dynamics” for the men you keep referring to are also deeply influenced by sexism and privilege.

  48. says

    sannanina,

    I’m sorry, but…I really don’t get your point.

    You’re basically saying that you, as a conventionally unattractive and lonely person, have trouble getting dates. And this spirals into a self-fulfilling prophecy where the longer you are without dates, the harder it is to get one. Correct me if I’m wrong?

    So…what does this have to do with men feeling entitled to a girlfriend?

  49. says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Precisely. I’m also having trouble with the Suffering Olympics in her comment – that HER ongoing loneliness is worse than the ongoing loneliness of a woman trapped in a miserable relationship because her parents would never forgive her if she didn’t whip ‘em up some grandkids. That being 32 and a virgin is clearly a world record, when I’m pretty sure we’ve got some regulars around here who are very close to that age, if not past it, and have the same lack of sexual experience. (We also have several asexuals, who may or may not feel her frustration with a lack of relationships, but probably relate to her problems with friends who are in relationships.)

    None of which has anything to do with the original article. But even getting back to that quote of yours that she objected to, you were never saying “Be less desperate, and then loads of people will fall in love with you”, unless I really missed something. I thought you were saying that coming at the opposite sex like you’ve got to get laid in two hours or else you’ll turn into a pumpkin is not really a turn-on.

    I mean, we DO have several involuntary celibates here, and none of them seemed to take what you said that way.

  50. Lika says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Sylvia, I want to give you hug for this comment:

    Nobody is obligated to put up with antisocial and creepy behavior from other people. Not even if you have a really good reason for your behavior. If you come on to people really strong, they’re absolutely entitled to get the hell away from you. Even if your intentions are pure, even if you’re just socially awkward, no one is obligated to be your friend or your lover.

    THANK-YOU.

    And especially about this line: People like this act like they’re entitled to other people’s time and attention, rather than a give and take system from which all parties are free to walk away.

    Thank you for adding that part about being free to walk away. I get an iffy feeling when people act like someone is a such a abandoning two-faced passive aggressive jerk for either deciding not to continue in a relationship, whether that person decides not to either after a first date or 30 years later.

  51. JT says

    UGh, CosmosStars.

    Adults come to realize that sometimes the world is not fair. Sometimes, ugly and obnoxious people (to us) seem to get what we want. Having the mindset that “if I do good, good things will happen and if bad things happen, I must be bad!” well…it’s childish. Teenage crap. Sometimes, things just HAPPEN. It’s tied in with the “vending machine” mentality some men pick up in romantic situations: if I simply input the correct code, I get sex dispensed! No sex means I got the code wrong!”

    There’s plenty of single gals who cannot take their “pick of the litter” so to speak. Where men and women seem to differ, generally speaking, is that men feel ENTITLED and BLAME WOMEN for their lack of Good Things/Secret Code for the Vending Machine of Sex. Women tend not to blame men as a whole (actually they tend to hate themselves ever more), and when they do, this attitude is rarely encouraged en masse. Just look online! Are there female equivalents of PUAs whining about how men are all lying teases and here’s all the Secret Codes to Unlocking ALL men, ladies! And if they don’t work it’s not YOU, it’s MEN, they’re all WHORES! Whores who are all laughing at you while denying you the thing you are OWED.

    No. No there aren’t.

  52. says

    Jennifer Kesler: I thought you were saying that coming at the opposite sex like you’ve got to get laid in two hours or else you’ll turn into a pumpkin is not really a turn-on.

    Exactly. And you’re right that “desperation” doesn’t carry all the connotations I want, but I still can’t think of a word or short phrase that does, without spelling it all out.

    What I mean to say is, when you’re coming at someone and you’re putting the burden of your years of loneliness or your need to prove your manhood or whatever else you have invested into this sudden and shallow relationship…what are they supposed to get out of it? What are you offering in exchange for the relief they will bring you from your pain? Because yeah, pain sucks, but you can’t demand other people fix it for you for free. Nobody owes you anything just because you want it.

    Lika,

    I totally agree. I think if someone doesn’t feel free to walk away, they’re probably feeling coerced and that’s not healthy to say the least.

    Which isn’t to say it’s cool to walk away with debts still owed or abandon a mutual commitment like childcare – that’s using, and taking, and not balanced. But in that case the problem isn’t the leaving, it’s the deception/stealing. So…yeah. :)

  53. sannanina says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Basically, yes, that was my point. And I made it in reaction to one little word in the comment I orignially reacted to – I just have been told too many times that either things will turn out just fine if I am patient or that it is basically my fault that I do not have a partner by people in other places. The word “desperate” pushed my buttons – however, I can see that this somewhat derailed the conversation.

  54. says

    sannanina,

    Somewhat? Let me direct you to an article that shows you just how much a problem this is on this site, because people cannot be bothered to read, but feel entitled to mouth off. Honestly, all your comments should not have been approved.

    http://thehathorlegacy.com/if-your-comment-is-not-approved/

    From now on, people, seriously. If another mod approves a comment like that, then even if someone has left a reasonable comment in response to it, BOTH COMMENTS GO. This kind of derailment based on people assuming everything is directed at them personally is just not advancing the plot.

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