I read an excellent article today entitled, A Self-Made Man .
There is not really much to say about it other than: Read it!
I thought it was a very enlightening article and researched very well and in a very brave way. I commend the effort put in to the preparation such as voice lessons and the attention to detail such as putting on a five-o’clock shadow. I also thought well that she didn’t just stick to a single group of men, but sought diversity in different situations and cliques. I give her special commendation for even trying to chat up women and keeping at it.
I thought that the conclusions she came to were very accurate and have no issue with any of it. If she wants to see where the stereotypical image of men comes from though, she’d have to go infiltrate an entirely different subculture – one that I wouldn’t recommend she try and one that I personally have stayed well clear of and find completely abhorrent: Fraternities.
The particular subject that I’d like to comment on is he one I commend her most on: Approaching women.
Having watched the interactions at bars, clubs, parties and anywhere else that people get together, I have held the opinion since my school years that women hold all the power in romantic social situations. I was pleasantly surprised to see that validated by her experiences.
Having a physique that is labelled as “meat” in the gay community, I can say how it feels to be approached by men and quite contrary to a lot I’ve heard from female friends, I think it’s generally very flattering. True, there are some weird ones that won’t take no for an answer, but they’re rare and precisely the ones that I warn my female friends away from… which they then often proceed to hook up with.
For me, it’s a very nice change to be approached. In my whole life, I have only ever been approached by a woman once. It was wonderful and we coupled immediately. On the other hand I’ve often heard from female friends that someone or some others are interested, but I couldn’t detect the slightest bit of interest from anyone – not even simple gestures to open an approach like eye contact. Even worse than that is when an approach is rejected and I find out later that actually, she was interested, but disappointed that I took the rejection at face value and left her alone instead of continuing anyway.
Yes, that’s right. The very behavior that is most often complained about is precisely the behavior that is encouraged, i.e. rewarding only the men who don’t take no for an answer with attention or chance at a relationship. I wrote a post before about negative reinforcement, but to put it succinctly… If you don’t like a particular behavior, then the last thing you should do is encourage it!
If you think that stereotype is unfair, consider this: How many pick-up artists are there? How many women are there that passively wait for approaches and or reject until the man perseveres enough to prove he’s interested enough to deserve attention?
In this particular case, I think that the primary drivers of this undesirable behavior are the victims themselves.
Now to clarify: I am not blaming the victim. I am blaming the general culture of the victims. I’d find it very refreshing if I ever heard – just once – a woman express disapproval to a friend who behaves that way. I cannot encourage men to not play that game because most don’t already anyway. It’s the undesirable few that give the rest of us such a bad rep – especially guys like me who are very confident and extrovert, but who refuse to play the game. It comes to everyone as a surprise when I tell them how few partners I’ve had, how I have years of no-sex breaks between partners and while all that nothing is happening, I get rejected before I even try to approach with lines like, “you’re too dangerous. You just pick up any woman you want, then throw them away.” – Now that is a lot of assumption and judgment going on without any evidence at all.