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A Relationship is Not a Commitment

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.  “Pooh!” he whispered.  “Yes, Piglet?”  “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw.  “I just wanted to be sure of you.”  ~A.A. Milne

Dalrock wrote an interesting post last week about how commitment has changed since the Sexual Revolution. While conventional wisdom tells us that women want commitment and men drag their feet, the truth is that hookup culture, where commitment is on life support, was ushered in by women. Changing sexual mores in the 60s and the introduction of the Pill meant that women could embrace casual sex without fear of pregnancy or social stigma. That broke the time-honored exchange of sex for commitment. Many would say that is a good thing. Yet it has brought real changes to the sexual marketplace. Dalrock:

Early in the sexual revolution there was some level of stability for serial monogamy.  This was because there was still some inertia keeping women from feeling comfortable hopping from man to man.  But over time women have felt more and more free to enter and exit sexual relationships at will.

Women are now free to openly compete with one another for the most desirable males, often resorting to quick sex as bait. Those males have little incentive to restrict themselves to one woman. Meanwhile, all the other guys, who in a previous era would have been able to attract and hold a girlfriend, now find themselves being passed over as girls trip over themselves for a shot at walk of shaming in a lax jersey. And what of the girls who only want sex in a relationship? They’re now severely handicapped by a reputation for being a prude. They’re members of the No-Fun Crew.

We bemoan the lack of relationships, the absence of commitment, but what is the benefit of commitment in the hookup culture? Can it even exist?

Dalrock:

Is it fair for a man or a woman to have an expectation that their “Long Term Relationship” will be intact an hour from now, tomorrow, or next week?  Is either party judged for deciding at any moment in the relationship that it no longer exists?  If either party can terminate the relationship at will simply by voicing their preference, where exactly is the commitment?

Long Term Relationships actually have no term and no commitment.

I have to agree. Here’s a chart I put together last year. I call it the Holy Grail of Dating.


Does this look like relationship security to you? If you manage to get to Date, well, Dumped is always right next door. The commitment you seek is as changeable as the weather. Fake boyfriends, reluctant boyfriends, cheating girlfriends are all rewarded handsomely by hookup culture. If they get caught or called out, what is the terrible consequence? Proceed immediately back to Random Hookup Land! The elusive prize is actually pretty near worthless.

You’ll no doubt say this is harsh, and perhaps you’re right. Surely there is some value in having someone agree to be exclusive with you! Yes, there is. It means that person wants to be with you now, right this minute. Today you are the fan favorite, and the benefits of being exclusive outweigh the costs. That is enjoyable, but it is ephemeral.

Does this mean there’s no point in being in a relationship? Not at all. Relationships provide emotional intimacy and nurturing. They teach us how to be good to each other as we practice generosity, empathy, loyalty. Relationships are worth having, for as long as they are good. When they stop feeling good and being fun, all you have to do is say so and call a cab. It’s not complicated.

Learn everything you can from your relationships, so that when you have the rare opportunity to share a genuine commitment, you’ll be ready.

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  • Badger Nation

    What’s a “fake boyfriend”?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      What’s a “fake boyfriend”?

      From that font of knowledge Urban Dictionary:

      When you and a boy are hooking up, but it’s a complete secret and he sometimes acts like you’re not.
      “how long have you and him been hooking up?”
      “like… a month”
      “oh are you guys together?”
      “no he’s just my fake boyfriend”

      (Sic on the him.)

  • http://dalrock.wordpress.com/ Dalrock

    Thanks for the link Susan!
    .
    I had a different take in mind on my original post, but you make valid points (as always). I look forward to seeing your reader’s perspectives on this.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Dalrock
      Ha, I know your point was a very different one, but you never know what kind of riff you will inspire!

  • Badger Nation

    Discussions of “commitment” rankle me so that I’ve all but eliminated the word from my vocabulary. I have two prime objections:
    .
    1. “Fear of commitment” is cheap shaming language, portraying a man’s rational decision-making or lack of interest in a particular woman as an irrational fear. Almost every case of “fear of commitment” I have examined is either a spurious charge (he’s just not that into you), or the flip, unempathetic dismissal of a man’s reasonable justifications for not advancing his relationship.
    .
    2. The concept of “commitment” in popular discussion is entirely female-normative. Whatever the woman desires is the “commitment” the man should undertake. If she wants to be exclusive and he doesn’t, it’s “commitment” issues. If she wants to get married and he doesn’t, same deal. HOWEVAH, if SHE doesn’t want to go further and he does, he’s clingy, possessive, needy, a stalker, or whatever.
    .
    Dalrock and Susan have turned me on to a third problem:
    .
    3. Absent the legal and spiritual binding of marriage, commitment is a misnomer.
    .
    What people (i.e. women) really want with all this commitment talk is a social “buyout penalty.” If you go on one date and you don’t like it, you don’t even have to call the woman back. But if you’ve been dating for three years, it’s socially unacceptable to fall off the face of the earth, leave a Dear Jane, or show up in her favorite bar with your new girlfriend.
    .
    That’s what LTR “commitment” REALLY means. An optimist would say it sets up socially appropriate costs of leaving an LTR vis a vis the length and intensity of the relationship.
    .
    A cynic would say it’s guaranteeing the woman will have the opportunity to get her “pound of flesh” if the man decides to leave – the chance to rip him to his face.

  • SayWhaat

    Out of curiosity, how exactly are girls who have never been in relationships supposed to learn?

    I feel this is a segment of the SMP that is increasingly overlooked.

  • Hope

    @SayWhaat, I think one good way to learn is becoming platonic friends with guys and learning how to deal with men on a non-sexual basis. It is said that sex is only 10% of a full relationship, and that part is usually not that difficult. It’s the rest of getting along, communicating, compromising, and being able to be mutually respectful and responsible that make relationships “difficult.” Also it’s a good idea to find out who you are, what your values are, and how they clash or mesh with other people’s. A lot of relationship problems come from fundamental personality differences, and friendships are a safe and good way to start to get experience navigating these differences. Knowing how to really talk with guys (not in a flirtatious or argumentative manner) is a good relationship skill, perhaps one of the more important ones.

  • http://dalrock.wordpress.com/ Dalrock

    @Susan
    Ha, I know your point was a very different one, but you never know what kind of riff you will inspire!
    .
    That is the great thing about blogging. From the beginning I have been honest with myself that changing anyone’s mind on anything is an unrealistic expectation. What I hope to do is influence the conversation, so I’m delighted to see this occurring.

  • Joe

    You’re being a little cynical, Badger, but that’s exactly what “commitment” means. It doesn’t mean, that you’ll stick around until you decided not to, but that you offer up a loyalty to the other person or thing. Marriage has two functions: it makes the commitment official in a very public way and makes the cost of breaking it high, in emotional and real terms. (Okay, there is a third purpose of marriage, which is to establish official paternity and maternity of children.)

    Absent marriage doesn’t make the concept of commitment go away. If you agree to a long term, monogamous relationship, either explicitly or implicitly (unless you openly state you will be sleeping around, monogamy is expected) you have made a commitment. You seem to suggest that this is entirely feminine and while I would agree that women are still being given an unfair benefit of the doubt, it does cut both ways.

    (If a relationship is stressful, a single affair will generally be forgiven or at least understood. Multiple affairs, however, regardless of reason or sex indicate great disloyalty. Anyone who marries someone who has had multiple affairs with an expectation of monogamy is a complete fool.)

    All that said, commitment isn’t a relationship. Simply making a commitment, even in marriage, doesn’t make a relationship. This, I think, is a problem and may be relevant to some things Badger wrote.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Badger
    To be fair, guys are often very, very quick to label a girl a “Stage 5 Clinger” after she texts twice in a row. And it only takes one conversation about “What is this we are doing?” to get to “Psycho.” In fact, I wrote a post a while back calling Psycho the new Bitch. Yes, this is behavior primarily displayed by those cads who are doing all the hooking up. But it is very common, and I often hear women say they are reluctant to raise a completely legitimate issue for fear of being called a psycho and ridiculed.
    Similarly, women get punished for breaking up relationships too. The Bro Code ensures that a woman who dumps a guy will spend some period of time being persona non grata in his crowd.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @SayWhaat
    I was going to say that platonic friendships are a great place to learn but Hope beat me to it. In fact, let’s face it, many relationship skills are learned in same-sex friendships. But it’s very helpful to learn about male nature. How guys think, process information, respond to conflict, etc. For this you need guy friends. That can be tricky, and you may find yourself fending off advances, but you may also find yourself falling for a friend. Happens all the time. Befriending someone’s bf can work, if his gf is cool with it.
    .
    I agree with you that this is a largely overlooked group in the SMP. Although I would have some difficulty convincing some of the guys here, I know that many, many women in college are looking for a real relationship with meaningful sex, not random hookups. This blog would have no readers if that were not the case.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Joe
    That is profound – a commitment is not a relationship. So true! It’s just a promise to do all of the hard work, sacrifice and sharing that will create the relationship.

  • Bob

    Badger’s “female-normative” idea is pretty solid, but it falsely implies there aren’t Alphas out there benefiting from the idea of “I love you… right now.” What’s causing the conflict here is that everyone wants others to keep their word, yet understand that their own circumstances are somehow special and warrant an exception.

    The old rules at least made it clear what everyone owed.

    What needs to happen here is a change in the cultural incentive structure to push for behavior that makes things more predictable and accessible to people new to the game (predictability would help a lot of young betas avoid the bitterness of celibacy, and a lot of young girls avoid being pumped and dumped unless that’s what they wanted). The current incentive structure is already pretty well-explained here; introducing more predictability to the system would require a fairly substantial cultural shift.

    The problem with that would be that the information already exists, and people choose to ignore it. Leaving Game blogs aside, guys see girls’ behavior with their own eyes every day for years and fail to recognize it; girls hook up knowing that’s all their going to get and do it anyway. People still get married despite the divorce rate. Someone more people-savvy than I am will have to think of how to do it; something tells me the hookup scene isn’t exactly amenable to six-sigma compliance.

  • http://singleagainonlinediary.blogspot.com Yvette Francino

    Well, I don’t entirely agree with this one. I don’t think it’s easy for most people to just pick up and leave a relationship that has gotten to the “committed” stage. There’s an emotional attachment that forms when you get close to someone and it is deeper than sex. I believe both men and women enjoy the intimacy that comes from a committed relationship and are not quick to leave it at the first sign of trouble.

    But, I actually have another reason for posting a comment here. Your blog is so popular… I’m hoping you and/or your readers will come post a link to your (their) favorite blog post on this site. Check out: http://bit.ly/eZgbFZ and come participate!

  • http://FT.com VJ

    In other Unrelated news, here we can begin to suss out the reality of the situation today: that most women will have More partners than most of the men they’re likely to date. And this is evident from several OK Cupid blog posts on the Under 35-40 ‘crowd’.

    http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/dont-be-ugly-by-accident/

    Which may be slightly counter-intuitive, but eventually, given the circumstances prevailing? Pretty predictable too. Cheers, ‘VJ’

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @VJ
      Pretty interesting article from OK Trends, as always. Their sample for sexual history was <10,000 – I wonder how they even got that data. Are people telling OK Cupid how many partners they’ve had? Seems illogical to provide an online dating site with that info.

  • Badger Nation

    I liked Dalrock’s post, but I thought it was vaguely mis-titled. It’s not so much that women want to “avoid commitment,” it’s that culture treats women’s “commitments” as less binding than men’s.
    .
    Just like, as we have discussed here, women want to reserve the right of rejection for themselves, the “commitment” discussion, binding a man into nebulous promises to stay around for a while, just seems like a way for a lot of women to reserve the ability to be the first one to leave a relationship.
    .
    As I said on Dalrock’s blog, a breakup is the ultimate rejection because it comes after investment.

  • Badger Nation

    On the topic of “commitment,” I give you the “BIOLOGICAL CLOCK!!!” scene from My Cousin Vinny:
    .

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    What a nasty catch-22, eh? This is a great example of my life mantra — You can usually get anything you want, but you can never get everything you want.
    The reason long term commitment (marriage) meant real commitment for most of history was that there were severe negative sanctions for leaving. For women, it generally meant penury or worse. Women needed marriage for financial and social success, so once they were committed, they were more or less forced to stay that way.
    We as a society believe that individual freedom is more important than relationship stability. We have chosen, both consciously and unconsciously, to give up the “right” to real commitment in exchange for the “right” to stay or go if we so desire.
    So in a nutshell, I guess I’m agreeing with you and Dalrock. Any relationship, no matter how good we feel about it, is only as committed as our current feelings about commitment. There is no such thing as a real commitment, at least not one with any teeth.

  • http://FT.com VJ

    For SW on No’s#: My contention all along has been that people lie on these surveys. Especially about things that they think that might be either consequential or reflect poorly upon them. That’s a pretty natural ‘self reporting’ bias, and it screws with basically almost all the stats we have on this one measure alone. OK Cupid, with about as many respondents as the typical CDC survey, has seemingly managed to get a peek around our natural inherent self reporting bias here by asking different seeming innocuous questions that may actually get us much closer to reality.

    And If you do the ‘meta math’? There’s little reason to suspect that most marriage aged females today are ‘only’ ‘active’ with <4-5-6 lifetime partners (depending on the survey). There's the huge issue of age bias here (with pre-pill gals mostly biasing the data strongly downwards most likely), and of course the ever present self reporting 'I'm not a slut!' gendered biases being much stronger seemingly the older/more 'settled' you are & the more 'hazy' your memory. But as you've noted previously, women can get quite creative when trying to account for their prior history, as if this matters. And to most? Somehow they all think it does! Now why is that do we suppose?

    In any case, they show up now regularly in several OK Cupid surveys, and to my mind? They're a great research topic for anyone in the public health/epidemiology field. Because they seem to directly contradict most 'national accounting' surveys on the same question. Smaller more focused surveys have been strongly hinting at this truth for awhile now.

    But the central point on 'commitment' w/o marriage is a good one.

    And me, re-watching that lovely scene form My Cousin Vinny reminded me of the ever entertaining worthy gent Fred Gwynne, who was the 'Southern' Judge in his last role there. That, and living down here? I noted right away that the 'poor mouth' country cabin/fishing shack they're 'holed up in' happened to have very fresh chinking between the 'straight cut' logs. Naturally this was a custom built confection purpose built (or repaired) for the film. Something I had hardly noticed the 1st time I saw it. But now? It screams at me. Louder that the lovely Ms. Tomei. Who if she was a real 'goomba's' GF? Would be banished somewhere else as to not to be too distracting from the work that needed to be done. But hey, it's all Hollywierd. The South's actually less scary now. It's got more Yankees too! Cheers, 'VJ'

  • Badger Nation

    SayWhaat,
    .
    My only addendum to Hope’s comment is that you should become true platonic friends with men where there is no interest one party has for the other. No break-glass-in-case-of-emergency beta orbiters, and no friending up with guys you are crushing on. (If it gets weird, you’ll have to have the guts to drop it, which is another skill you’ll want to have when dating.)
    .
    Follow this, and you’ll (hopefully) get a great source of personal fulfillment, along with information about how men work, and an inside good source of advice. Just don’t ever take advice about another man from a man who’s interested in you.

  • SayWhaat

    Badger, you are making assumptions about my personal life. ; )

    At any rate, I agree that there is a lot to be learned from platonic and same-sex relationships, but (please don’t take this the wrong way) I think that at some point there becomes a limit. I have no dearth of platonic and same-sex friendships. That’s the problem. It happens when you go to a school where the female/male ratio is 60:40 (and of that 40, nearly 50% are rumored to be gay), lol. At some point girls have to learn how (and WANT to learn how) to handle being in a relationship with a straight member of the opposite sex, and that comes from, well, being in a relationship.

    No break-glass-in-case-of-emergency beta orbiters, and no friending up with guys you are crushing on. (If it gets weird, you’ll have to have the guts to drop it, which is another skill you’ll want to have when dating.)

    For what it’s worth, I would never have a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency kind of relationship with a guy. I think that’s unfairly taking advantage of someone else. If a guy is interested in me and I don’t reciprocate that interest, he most certainly gets the hint. I only flirt with men I am actually interested in. I think I’m an oddity in that respect.

    At some point most girls learn that friendship with a guy they are into just won’t work out. It happened to me early in my college career, and it was a lesson that helped me walk away from another recent similar situation.

    Having the guts to drop things that aren’t working out is probably the most crucial lesson and life skill one can have while growing up.

    Just don’t ever take advice about another man from a man who’s interested in you.

    Lol you have to admit, sometimes this is hard to tell! : p

  • http://FT.com VJ

    Again with the numbers: “That’s the problem. It happens when you go to a school where the female/male ratio is 60:40 (and of that 40, nearly 50% are rumored to be gay), lol. At some point girls have to learn how (and WANT to learn how) to handle being in a relationship with a straight member of the opposite sex, and that comes from, well, being in a relationship.”

    Rumors are one thing, but realistically & practically? Women can not simply & forever be so easily dismissive of better than half their ‘natural’ or typical options here. You’re just going to have to take the bull by the horns & dig in & find out. At most? About <10% of the population is gay. Perhaps a sliver more running to the Bi side of the equation. About half of that segment is actually at all interested in any sort or kind of 'marriage' arrangement. So that leaves? Yes, better than 35% of the Total school population. Of That One School. In the surrounding community? It's more or less a lot closer to 50%. There are a plethora of options for anyone to explore. Former students who are still in the area & region. Other 'civilians' doing 'work a day' jobs all over the place nearby. Sure it might be easier with someone more or less exactly your own age. But historically? That was not a 'normative' expectation either!

    And yes, count me as one of those maniacs who believe that sometimes friendships can work out. Not everything needs to be reduced to the hunter & the hunted game, at least not immediately either. But that's something for a longer post. But again, friendship is nothing to sneeze at either. It is a good, and is usually a 'good thing' Regardless if it ever gets you laid in or as the first order of action or circle of activities. Cheers, 'VJ'

  • Sox

    @SayWhaat
    Are you in school in DC? My alma mater was rumored to be the exact same way. And believe me, even if it’s not 50% of the male population, it sure felt like a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually somewhere around 30%. If I got hit on by nearly as many women as I was by gay men that year, I’d have been set.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @VJ
    The reality is that some colleges do attract a large population of gay men. A young woman I know when to Vassar, and knew very few straight guys during her time there, but was blessed with more gay BFFs than she knew what to do with. Come to think of it, a straight guy could do worse than go there. As Sox points out, being a scarce commodity can do wonders for your sex life.
    And it’s not realistic to think that college students are going to meet up with aging civil servants in the area, haha. College is a very insular experience, for better or worse. Once kids graduate, that is a different story, and I do advise young women to make a real effort to get out and meet as many new people as possible. Not just for dating purposes either.

  • Badger Nation

    “The reality is that some colleges do attract a large population of gay men. A young woman I know when to Vassar”
    .
    No one who goes to Vassar has the right to be surprised a lot of men there are gay!
    .
    “Come to think of it, a straight guy could do worse than go there. As Sox points out, being a scarce commodity can do wonders for your sex life.”
    .
    I think this is a fail. As the UNC article showed (they still reject half the guys), being in the male minority will not make you attractive unless you are already attractive. In fact being “scarce” could actually hurt your chances, because in my experience, nothing generates and feeds false, unrealistic expectations in women like a complete dearth of dating experience, which many women at an insular, majority-female college will have. Not to mention that even if you are attractive, your frame will have to be very strong – if being “in demand” exposes you to most of the female population, you will have to have very good skills to be able to manage it, softly reject them and avoid getting a rep as a mean guy.

  • Abbot

    “most women will have More partners than most of the men they’re likely to date”
    .
    As more survey evidence comes out about this, how will men react? how will women react? or will anyone react? Of course, this I think only applies to certain cultures.

  • Anonymous

    @VJ and Susan,

    Wha you join OkCupid, you take a Myers-Brigg type test that is focused on your “dating” persona, and one of the questions is how many people you’ve been with/your relaitonship history. The answers stay private, but they do help the test determine if you palce a higher priority on sex or on relationships..

  • SayWhaat

    @ Sox and VJ:

    I go to NYU. The #4 most gay-friendly campus in the nation.

    Kthx.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Badger:

    As the UNC article showed (they still reject half the guys), being in the male minority will not make you attractive unless you are already attractive.

    Again, people keeping citing the opinions of sorority sisters as representative of the wider female college population. There are plenty of guys who go to my school who get tail they probably otherwise wouldn’t get if they didn’t go here.

  • http://Ft.com VJ

    Yeah. It’s all the gays fault that everyone has no dates. Again, the math. At best we’ve got a ‘background’ population of ~10% gay OR Bi (but strongly biased one direction). It’s literally very difficult to get that to around 15%+ of the population of the school in question. I’d say ~ getting to 20% of the ‘average’/typical school’s population is a virtual impossibility, given the logistical & logical limitations here. Now true, some schools may be an exception & Vassar & a few others here come to mind. (NYU may be one, given the location). But your ‘standard run of the mill’ state school? No, getting to 15-20% gay identified is just not very likely, given the absolute numbers needed to maintain that level of err…gayness. (Or whatever).

    So again, realistically? We’re still talking about women searching out for that ‘cream of the crop’ of the top 10-5% of the Alpha dogs in height, status, wealth, (or prospects of same), all in order to satisfy the needs of their ‘natural’ hypergamy seeking mating function. And once again we still wind up with about half or better of the population of males being outright ignored & overlooked. And then women vehemently denying this, sometimes to these guys faces too! And they’ll do that weekly or however often it’s required of them to maintain their reflective preferred stance of ‘innocence’ or ‘ignorance’.

    Me? I saw the folly of chasing after some of the exquisitely entitled quite silly lasses while in school & did in fact date some of the staff. Those ‘aging civil servants’? We’re then in their 30′s. I did fine, and they were mature enough to understand what was going on & what they wanted. Me? I rarely wanted for company. Precisely because I put no prejudiced limits on who might ‘apply’ to accompany me to a movie or a concert. I never waited around for the phone to ring from the flighty college women who never called back and expected to be waited on hand & foot for much of anything to ‘happen’. The older gals? Never had much time for such silly games. Ditto for the wife when I finally started dating her too. (Happily we’re also the same age too). Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    people keeping citing the opinions of sorority sisters as representative of the wider female college population.

    I’ve been saying this about that UNC article from day one. Of course the Times would print that remark by that girl, because it is inflammatory. When one does the math, one sees that the overwhelming majority of women at UNC don’t even have access to those guys. Hooking up at college may be standard, but there is a lot of segmentation and variability among subsets of the population.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @VJ
    I completely agree that the gay population overall does not dramatically affect the SMP, but it certainly does in some markets. San Francisco is an obvious example. I wouldn’t encourage a young single woman to live in a gay part of her city if she hopes to bump into lots of eligible guys at the bus stop and in Starbucks. Not to mention that all the bars are gay! It is true in some schools, and I don’t think SayWhaat was implying it’s true at all schools, and certainly not big state schools.

  • http://Ft.com VJ

    And if you’re living by choice in the very expensive & overpriced SF area? You likely share your similarly inclined Gay/Bi BF. Big deal! Passage of life & all. You might pick up some valuable pointers you might be able to use in later life. And since he’s not hertero, it might not count against your ‘number’ either! Many games are still possible, no matter the niche. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Abbot

    “And then women vehemently denying this, sometimes to these guys faces too! And they’ll do that weekly or however often it’s required of them to maintain their reflective preferred stance of ‘innocence’ or ‘ignorance’.”
    .
    What is the point of all that?

  • http://FT.com VJ

    Very simply, I too am pretty exhausted from the MSM depictions of all those poor dearies in college & out who have ‘dwindling choices’ in mates/BF/hubbys. I think this is more errant nonsense, and always was. And there’s this pretty self defeating viscous feedback loop here too with the media harping on this, and yet the stats show that strangely enough Most women have been married by age 40. Like 85- 90%. So where’s the fire, Mr. Fireman? For All the hype and media coverage about a Perceived lack of choices for those ever so select college educated women, and yet few actually do the real in depth research to examine the issue. We can get any college educated woman married, should she want to. All she has to do is widen the aperture of those who are ‘acceptable’ to her ‘screen’! It’s as simple as that. And I know happy families all over my neck of the woods were this is abundantly & even joyously apparent. Former Grad student gals married to sturdy on line deployed soldiers. High power corporate lawyer gals married to general contractors. Retired gents married to lawyers with their own practices. Uni School teachers married to artist dudes. It’s everywhere you care to look & examine. All you have to do is open your eyes & ask.

    But when In school? And sometimes for years & decades afterward? Somehow some women develop these hypergamous ‘blinders’. They demand that their guy must be this tall, making this amount of money, having (or likely to have) that much higher status, this much higher education, that degree of family status. Folks, this is America. We left the confines of European aristocracy for some very good reasons. But now we somehow want & deeply desire to recapitulate their ancient & crassly class based social system here, especially when women seek out mates? That’s as counterproductive as it is ultimately destructive to their own desires & the usual betterment of society at large. Mating as social climbing is & always has been done. But it’s a specialized game that not everyone can or should play. But this is clearly not recognized by too many. Again here I blame the media for their damnable lying images of easy wealth & grandiosity. It’s just a fantasy sold to the rubes to keep them quiet mainly.

    So the point of all that? There’s probably dozens of guys on this board & more who’ve essentially been told the same thing. For one reason or another? They’re not really considered seriously when many women are looking for BF/mates/whatever. For whatever silly reason. Despite their real world accomplishments, and sometimes even their wealth & reasonable ‘good looks’. And usually all for & because of some indefinable small personality quirks or lack of social skills or looks/height. On height alone? Most women are ignoring about half the population if the most popular demand everywhere is for that ‘Tall… dark & handsome’, ….college educated wunderkind, who’s as kind & loving as he is just, and handsomely paid with a good bene package in a safe & secure job…etc. [Sorta like daddy, only 20+ years younger. Without the skills, contacts & experience the old man built up over a lifetime of working].

    So what’s the point? At some point as an adult you’ve got to be responsible for your choices in life. One of those is who you choose to be with & who you choose to spend time with & how. That’s pretty critical. If you’re constantly bemoaning your ‘lack of good choices’? You’re not really looking. You’re not seeing all the available options all around you. It’s like following around one of those large armored cars servicing the big banks. The doors somehow blow open and the truck is spilling out cash & coins all over the road. You? You’re only interested in the big bags of coins ’cause their shiny & more ‘substantial’ seeming, (weighing more) than the bundles of cash lying about. Worse you also missed the small bundles of gold bars & diamonds being transported too. (We can dream here, right?) A basic rookie mistake. And yet people in general will yes, miss the ‘diamonds in the rough’ most of the time. This is fortunate for the few of us who are paying better attention. There are diamonds all around us. Some of them are not much to look at at first. Some quite dirty & crude. But they’re diamonds still. And they’ll change your life for the better. Count on it. Cheers, ‘VJ’

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Great comment, VJ. Like you, I see people marrying and carrying on with their lives all around me. I think all the media attention boils down to the squeaky wheels getting all the ink. The women who are 40+, smart, good-looking, successful and can’t find mates are the ones writing their tales of woe and finding agents and publishers. Some of them even get their own TV shows! The rest of don’t have time to worry about their plight, and we are living our lives and not making anyone listen to our stories.

  • http://FT.com VJ

    I also forgot a good friend of mine, yet another lovely lawyer lass who’s in a LTR with a telephone lineman. She’s often really busy at work & hey, him too! Works out fine for them. But again, you’d never be able to predict it either. But literally one of the most ‘eligible’ young ladies I know still ‘unmarried’. Traditional enough to yeah, also call me ‘sir’, but that’s how she rolls too. Fairly conservative, but very well turned out, even after all these years. She hears the singing in the wires… Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Badger Nation

    “I’ve been saying this about that UNC article from day one. Of course the Times would print that remark by that girl, because it is inflammatory. When one does the math, one sees that the overwhelming majority of women at UNC don’t even have access to those guys. Hooking up at college may be standard, but there is a lot of segmentation and variability among subsets of the population.”
    .
    Susan, I think your haranguing on this is irrelevant. Quite simply it just doesn’t matter that the quote comes from a sorority girl, or who is going to have access to “those guys.” MOST college women I knew or know have this attitude that a bunch of the guys are not even worth considering. It’s classic entitlement – they have no concept of their “league.” It doesn’t matter how bitchy, chubby or homely they are, “he’s not GOOD enough for me!!!” I still hear it from late-20′s women in my area who have never even HAD a boyfriend! Without being in even cursory, short-term relationships over their 20′s, their unrealistic expectations are unmitigated by the sort of self-evaluation that dating usually engenders. (In effect, they’ve never advanced past the adolescent dreaming about a heartthrob phase.)
    .
    SayWhaat complains that nulli-relationship women are “increasingly overlooked.” What about guys who have never had the opportunity to be in an LTR because they’re in the piece of the pie that’s been written off? There are NEVER New York Times expose’s asking where the mates are for STEM guys, like there was for the princesses of Chapel Hill.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Susan, I think your haranguing on this is irrelevant.

      Haranguing? As in long, pompous tirade? That’s one of the meanest things anyone has ever said to me.
      .

      Quite simply it just doesn’t matter that the quote comes from a sorority girl, or who is going to have access to “those guys.” MOST college women I knew or know have this attitude that a bunch of the guys are not even worth considering.

      Of course it matters. A quote from one person cannot possibly represent the experience of all women on campus. She is in a subset of women who choose to associate only with fellow Greeks. Someone of orthodox faith would say that most people on campus are not worth considering, and it would mean something completely different. Since many of the “alphas” on campus will be Greeks, and since non-Greek women rarely affiliate with Greek men, then the sex and relationship experiences of non-Greek women must exclude many of the alphas. Similarly, most colleges have groupies that follow the athletes where the same basic rules apply. Of course, at many schools, all the jocks are in frats, so women not in that sub-population have virtually no exposure to alpha males.
      ======> There are many women on campus who have no sex or relationship life.
      .
      What’s irrelevant is any conversation where one sex is try to trump the misery index of the other. Suffice to say that there’s plenty of misery to go around. I agree that the MSM treats women with far more sympathy than they treat men. That is hardly surprising – the MSM is extremely liberal, and liberals are feminist. Where there is real attention to male concerns, it’s nearly always in the conservative media.
      .
      I’ll suggest again (though hopefully not pompously or too forcefully) that the primary opportunity for change and improvement lies in connecting the dissatisfied male and female populations. This will require both men and women seeking out people who have previously not been on their radar. FWIW, I agree with SayWhaat about hypergamy. It does not mean that women will automatically drop panties for a douchebag with status on campus. It has much more to do with women seeking a long-term partner/provider and using status as a predictor for future success. If you read about hypergamy in the academic literature (away from Game) it is a much, much milder definition than Roissy peddles.
      .
      VJ knows half a dozen women who have overridden hypergamous impulses to choose men of good character. I know many women, aged 30-50, who have satisfied hypergamous impulses by marrying intelligent men with successful careers and good character. I’m one of them, and am surrounded by them in my own community, where I can count the number of divorces in the last 10 years on one hand.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Badger:

    MOST college women I knew or know have this attitude that a bunch of the guys are not even worth considering.

    Please re-read Susan’s quote:

    there is a lot of segmentation and variability among subsets of the population.

    I’m not denying your experience, but perhaps that attitude is just characteristic of the area you are in. Just saying.

    Without being in even cursory, short-term relationships over their 20′s

    Can you define what a cursory, short-term relationship is, please?

    SayWhaat complains that nulli-relationship women are “increasingly overlooked.” What about guys who have never had the opportunity to be in an LTR because they’re in the piece of the pie that’s been written off?

    I think this goes back to the whole “who has it easier?” gender-war pissing contest that people like to get into on these threads. Not gonna jump into it now, but we’ve been bemoaning the sad fate of both these relationship-oriented girls and boys who are unable to get what they want in this SMP. Not just one vs. the other.

  • Badger Nation

    “I’m not denying your experience, but perhaps that attitude is just characteristic of the area you are in. Just saying.”
    .
    WADR I’ve picked this up in three cities on both coasts over the last ten years – I think I have a pretty good grasp of middle/middle-upper class young adults.
    .
    “Can you define what a cursory, short-term relationship is, please?”
    .
    An exclusive relationship between “we went on a few dates” and a true LTR. You meet each other’s friends, maybe you meet the parents, maybe there’s sex, but it breaks up before it hits five or six months. Too short to start planning your lives around each other, but enough to get the feel of a real partner experience.
    .
    “I think this goes back to the whole “who has it easier?” gender-war pissing contest that people like to get into on these threads.”
    .
    My point still stands – who is going to get sympathetic press articles written about “why can’t these great people find partners?” and who is going to get articles telling them to “man up?”

  • SayWhaat

    @ Badger:

    An exclusive relationship between “we went on a few dates” and a true LTR. You meet each other’s friends, maybe you meet the parents, maybe there’s sex, but it breaks up before it hits five or six months. Too short to start planning your lives around each other, but enough to get the feel of a real partner experience.

    This made me laugh out loud. I think we’ve been talking past each other for a while. Badger, this type of relationship is EXACTLY the type of relationship that myself and other college girls have been looking for, and it is EXACTLY what we are not getting. I’m not looking for an LTR–> marriage, I am looking for the kind of relationship that you have just described. And for whatever reason, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get it! That’s the whole point!

    .

    Re: sympathetic press articles about women not getting relationships…I think this could probably also be due to the fact that women in general simply select from the options they are presented with, while men have the options of pursuing whomever they want. In that respect, men have more agency, which is why it’s unusual for a group of otherwise attractive, educated women to be saying, “we can’t get boyfriends.”

  • Badger Nation

    “I’m not looking for an LTR–> marriage, I am looking for the kind of relationship that you have just described. And for whatever reason, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get it!”
    .
    I understand that at your age it’s hard to think of long-term personal-life planning. I had the same feeling back then. But stick with me on this riff…this appears to be the female version of “why buy the cow when you get the (relationship) milk for free.” You are saying you want the investment/commitment/comforts of an LTR, but for a much more limited period of performance. A gal going for the emotional and social comforts of an LTR without having to “invest” herself in the long-term commitment (i.e. expectation of long term partnership or marriage, career sacrifices etc).
    .
    Remember that men no longer invest in LTRs for sex, because sex is available for free. Men now invest in LTRs for other long-term rewards. Thus the MTR is a losing bet for a mature man…guys can get casual sex if that’s what they want. Meanwhile, if they want the rewards of an LTR, they can get one. But it’s not really in a man’s playbook to go MTR, because he’s going to invest but not be around long enough to get the real benefits of an LTR (the long-term bonding and life/career support).
    .
    As with many economic goods, the mid-level product has been squeezed out of the market due to divergent demands for quality (i.e. the low-end product commoditized and got real cheap). Like an FWB, a MTR is an unsustainable arrangement – metastable, we would say in engineering – easily upset by life changes for either person.
    .
    “Re: sympathetic press articles about women not getting relationships…I think this could probably also be due to the fact that women in general simply select from the options they are presented with, while men have the options of pursuing whomever they want.”
    .
    Women have never had more social power to “pursue whomever they want,” not to mention the ability to meet people thanks to social technology. This idea being pumped that women are “stuck with” the guys in their immediate proximity has gone from silly to asinine. Not to mention young women are attractive to a MUCH larger pool of men than young men are to women.
    .
    “In that respect, men have more agency, which is why it’s unusual for a group of otherwise attractive, educated women to be saying, “we can’t get boyfriends.””
    .
    This sounds dangerously close to victimization language. Apology for harshness, but a large fraction of attractive educated American women I’ve met are spoiled, entitled whiners, and that’s why they don’t have the huevas to go meet men outside their comfort zones. You may not fit into that group, but that’s the reality I’ve lived in since I entered college.

  • Hope

    “but it breaks up before it hits five or six months. Too short to start planning your lives around each other, but enough to get the feel of a real partner experience.”

    Wow, even back in high school I had one relationship last a year, and another last a year and half. Do people college age and older really plan and look for relationships that last a maximum of 6 months?

    “Remember that men no longer invest in LTRs for sex, because sex is available for free. Men now invest in LTRs for other long-term rewards.”

    Men don’t really think this way, at least not in my experience. The LTR-minded guys are looking for a girl to really fall head over heels in love with, and only then will they want the LTR. The guys who aren’t looking for a LTR at all are the ones who don’t care about love.

    “it’s not really in a man’s playbook to go MTR, because he’s going to invest but not be around long enough to get the real benefits of an LTR (the long-term bonding and life/career support).”

    Most guys can get life and career support much more readily from parents and mentor figures, and there are no tangible rewards to most LTRs besides “regular access to sex,” for a guy who doesn’t get a lot of hook up opportunities.

    Plus, I hate to say it, but most girls have huge expectations for relationships, and often demand more out of the guy than they ever give. How many girls refuse jewelry/expensive gifts, cook and clean, and give daily backrubs to their boyfriends and have sex any time he wants? If guys everywhere could expect this kind of treatment 99% of the time, they’d be signing up for relationships in droves. ;)

  • SayWhaat

    @Badger:

    A gal going for the emotional and social comforts of an LTR without having to “invest” herself in the long-term commitment (i.e. expectation of long term partnership or marriage, career sacrifices etc)

    The thing is, if an MTR did morph into a possible LTR, I suspect very few girls would reject it. And realistically, the only way to achieve an LTR is by starting out as an MTR.

    As with many economic goods, the mid-level product has been squeezed out of the market due to divergent demands for quality (i.e. the low-end product commoditized and got real cheap). Like an FWB, a MTR is an unsustainable arrangement – metastable, we would say in engineering – easily upset by life changes for either person.

    This description of MTRs as a mid-level product makes sense. However, I don’t think that MTRs and FWBs fall under the same category (if anything, FWB is a lesser product than an MTR). And again, MTRs evolve into LTRs, so they’re still required. FWB is not, and I think that as my generation gets older, it’s the FWB that will probably be phased out as the mid-level product.

    Women have never had more social power to “pursue whomever they want,” not to mention the ability to meet people thanks to social technology.

    This is true–but there is a difference in how women pursue men. And honestly, I blame some of this newfound “social power” on why women can’t get MTRs. The women pursuing men for MTRs/LTRs are not usually the same as the women who pursue men who are obviously out of their league. And yes, I do blame the latter women (if they’re exchanging sex for that validation) because they’re the ones ruining the game for the rest of us.

    .

    Not to mention, I know very few men who like to be pursued by women. They might say they do, but really, they don’t. So pursuing men doesn’t really work in our favor anyway.

  • Esau

    “women in general simply select from the options they are presented with, while men have the options of pursuing whomever they want. In that respect, men have more agency,…”

    .

    Note to SayWhaat: Freedom to bang your head into a brick wall does not count as “agency” in any rational way. It doesn’t matter if men are “free” to pursue whomever they want if all those women simply reject their advances reflexively and out of hand. Note also, that women choosing to limit themselves to “the options they are presented with” is exactly, that a choice.

    .

    This is not a case where false even-handedness can slip by unnoticed; the “pissing contest” is really no contest at all. Think: a person who has agency, or power, is that person who, if they change their mind and course of action, can cause a different outcome to occur; can we agree on this? With this in mind, we can see that the typical mid-pack young male has virtually no power at all: he’s already trying to make time with any and all women who meet a minimal level of attractiveness and who seem like likely enough prospects to be worth the time, effort and risk, and he’s getting shot down and rejected preemptorially 99% of the time. There’s nothing he can really do to change this outcome, other than raise his miniscule odds to slightly less miniscule by lining up for even more rejection opportunities. (Note: self-improvement, such as learning Game, is not a choice if it’s not something he knows about, or is beyond his abilities.)

    .

    The mid-pack young woman, by contrast, has tremendous latitude; all she has to do is be less picky and less rejecting of her mid-pack counterpart. I don’t think there’s any real question that young women are more picky than young men: ask yourself, if the woman at the median level of attractiveness meets the man at the median level of attractiveness, which of them would take the opportunity to pursue any kind of interaction with the other? I think it’s pretty much indisputable that the man would be up for a date or at least a hookup, while the woman would reject the man immediately and completely. (This is the very definition of hypergamy as applied to dating: a woman finding her “natural” percentile counterpart unacceptable, and insisting on capturing a man from further up the scale.) Further, beyond simply being willing to say “yes” a little more often, the mid-pack young woman can do a lot more to make herself inviting and approachable, as well as taking more of the initiative more of the time.

    .

    So, no, I think SayWhaat is simply blatantly, obviously wrong here (lack of sugar coating is a sign of respect). Between young men and young women in the middle of the pack, there is no question that it’s the women who have relatively more agency and latitude. Things change at the top and at the bottom, but in the great middle range there’s really no question about it.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Esau:

    Note also, that women choosing to limit themselves to “the options they are presented with” is exactly, that a choice.

    And men have a choice in deciding whom to pursue as well: the girl who would be able to fulfill their emotional and physical needs, or the psychoslut who could care less? Your choice.
    .

    Like I said, this is a pissing contest. And if it seems like I’m sympathizing with the females–well, duh. I’m a woman.

    With this in mind, we can see that the typical mid-pack young male has virtually no power at all: he’s already trying to make time with any and all women who meet a minimal level of attractiveness and who seem like likely enough prospects to be worth the time, effort and risk, and he’s getting shot down and rejected preemptorially 99% of the time.

    And I’m going to counter this with the typical mid-pack young woman who would be happy to “settle”, only all the guys she meets are only interested in short-term intimacy and don’t care/don’t want an actual relationship. Investment + Rejection > Outright Rejection.

    I think it’s pretty much indisputable that the man would be up for a date or at least a hookup, while the woman would reject the man immediately and completely.

    It is absolutely not indisputable. The man would be up for a hookup. The women would be up for a date. If they communicate their preferences, both parties would most certainly be up for it.

    As for your conviction that women at the median level of (I’m assuming physical) attractiveness would reject males at equivalent level of attractiveness–well, that’s just BS. I’m well above the median level of attractiveness and I have dated (and mostly pined for) men well below my level of attractiveness.

    (This is the very definition of hypergamy as applied to dating: a woman finding her “natural” percentile counterpart unacceptable, and insisting on capturing a man from further up the scale.)

    I think I’ve seen you raise this issue repeatedly on other threads (and if it wasn’t you then I apologize for the misattribution), but Susan has already addressed this. Hypergamy is a matter of a female 5 going for a male 5 who probably has a little more financial success. Or a female 5 going for a male 5.5 (’cause, y’know, he has better hair).

    It’s really nothing outrageous. We all want people who we perceive are just a bit better than we are. It’s a happy coincidence when we match someone by excelling in something they lack, and vice versa.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Hope:

    Do people college age and older really plan and look for relationships that last a maximum of 6 months?

    To put it simply (because I’m a jackass for staying up this late), no.

  • http://FT.com VJ

    Again, for SW & others, I give oh about half a dozen specific examples of some folks I know, mostly married, where the woman just sort of Suspended her hypergamous instincts for awhile, or even just on a select Few characteristics, and the result was a happy LTR/Union/Marriage. Usually in very short order.

    And this? Is just errant nonsense: “Re: sympathetic press articles about women not getting relationships…I think this could probably also be due to the fact that women in general simply select from the options they are presented with, while men have the options of pursuing whomever they want. In that respect, men have more agency, which is why it’s [not?] unusual for a group of otherwise attractive, educated women to be saying, “we can’t get boyfriends.”

    Why? This is the meat of that sentiment, as noted by others: “…due to the fact that women in general simply select from the options they are presented with…”. If you sadly, ruefully & truly think this is true? That you sit back and must select from the limited options on the ‘relationship menu of life? In & for Any venue or activity & endeavor?! Run don’t walk to your college Bursars office and Demand a Full refund due to the compete & utter failure to understand or comprehend the basics & fundamentals of either Education, or the Development of adult agency & choice with regard to common but otherwise vital life decisions. They have very possibly failed you quite miserably here if you’ve come away with this highly troubling simplistic impression. Women & men might have slightly more or less agency during certain aspects of the game, and in the timing of same? But folks? This is the bottom line: You’re responsible for your life & making the best of All the choices you can Create, imagine or manifest in your life. And you know this is true.

    How do we know that Most women know this is true Despite what they mouth to the papers & whine to the media whenever the opportunity presents itself? Because they somehow still always Can & do imagine better for themselves! And Simply because they’re ever willing, now & forever to yes, continue to blithely ignore better than half the male population. I gave a very simple example, and one that’s been well studied in both economics & human biology actually. Most women want & demand tall or taller partners. This outweighs almost every other ‘mating & dating’ preference Combined. Height is pretty much fairly normally distributed. About half of the population will be ‘less than tall’. Ergo on any given day? Most females searching for mates have already unconsciously or consciously Rejected half the male population without so much as thinking about it typically. And again, they’ll deny this vehemently too. Or be utterly unaware of their own prejudices yet defend them just the same as ‘natural or normal’. Which BTW? Is their prefect right! But please don’t imagine this entitles anyone to whine incessantly everywhere & to everyone about this mythical lack of ‘decent men’ or ‘quality boyfriends’! Again the real Character issue here is being to finally recognize that all these Desirable & Favorable characteristics you’re seeking might not come exactly in the wonderful looking/size package of your dreams or fantasizes. (Yes, in many dimensions too!) Or be so immediately apparent to the hypergamous instincts of many young & older gals as to cause the immediate ‘tingle’ down below. But those ever elusive ‘men & women of character’ are the ones to bet on for the long run. And sadly & tragically, this simple fact takes oh so many perhaps a decade or more just to imagine & ‘figure out’ for themselves.

    Again I imagine we’re talking past each other here. And no one reads these things closely either. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • http://FT.com VJ

    This needs some clarification in the last full paragraph I posted above. It should now read: “Again the real Character issue here is beginning to finally recognize that all these Desirable & Favorable characteristics you’re seeking might not come exactly in the wonderful looking/size package of your dreams or fantasizes”.

    Sorry for the confusion there. But again a point I’ve made often here & elsewhere often.

    BTW? Hope? I’ve got one of these: “How many girls refuse jewelry/expensive gifts…” Mine does regularly. On yes even one of a kind commissioned jewelry pieces she suggested! She kind of likes them, but never/rarely wears them! (Most of the other ‘stuff is mostly true too). And I appreciate that. Like I said. Character counts. Everywhere & at all times too. Cheers, ‘VJ’

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  • Badger Nation

    Hope,
    .
    “Do people college age and older really plan and look for relationships that last a maximum of 6 months?”
    .
    It’s not so much a conscious plan as it is an outcome of the adolescent, convenience-based attitude lots of college kids take towards everything.
    .
    By the time you meet someone and get to know them enough to go full-on relationship,
    you hit Christmas break or summer break. By the time you come back, you’re in different classes, different dorms, different day to day paths, etc. Your lives which may have fit so well together no longer do. For a lot of young people, the sudden lack of coincidence is enough to psychologically purge that person out of your life plan. I saw it a bunch of times in college and went through it myself. All of a sudden it takes more work and proaction to keep it up, and you ask yourself “is this worth the time and trouble?” For a lot of kids in college, it’s no – the relationship ran its course, you learn from it and move on. There’s a built-in low maintenance trial period, after which you can decide if you want to make the extra effort to get serious. It’s actually not a bad thing a lot of the time.
    .
    I also think this is a reason so many young women (and a lot of men) I know are not dating after college – you don’t have those easy-come easy-go life-schedule groupings. The only place that can happen is the workplace and workplace dating is an absolute no-no, I don’t care how hot you are for each other or how tight your game is. It’s hard to date within your long-term young adult social group because of fallout – for example, date in your church group and everyone gets alienated if it goes bad. You have to like, you know, make an effort to meet people instead of them just showing up in your life in class or parties or dorm lounges (it was actually this challenge that led me to Game – not so much sex as just looking for better ways to be social and make good friends).
    .
    Susan is correct that young men as a cohort are just not that interested in LTRs. Men use their social status to get women; women more often use relationships to boost their social status (that’s hypergamy in action). Thus young men are not going to cash in their chips on LTRs if they think a few more years of self-investment are going to reap them better status and better rewards. It’s like stock options at a startup; do you exercise them now, or keep working and bank on them being worth more later? For both genders there is a sweet spot where you can get a quality product without waiting too long and seeing your assets depreciate.
    .
    “Plus, I hate to say it, but most girls have huge expectations for relationships, and often demand more out of the guy than they ever give.”
    .
    SW and I discussed this on an earlier thread, and she poo-poohed it as “what’s the big deal, how much time can it really be.” In her analysis, men who wanted to do other things with their time were dissed as “afraid of commitment.” It’s not a fear, it’s actually quite rational. Hope is right. The second-hand image of LTRs for many men is that their friend gets a girlfriend and disappears from their life; she begins dictating where he eats, what movies he watches. He begins to defer to her in absentia when making plans with the guys – “can’t play poker, I’m sure we have something else planned.” There’s even an urban dictionary word for it – “hiberdating” (pun on hibernating).
    .
    Now SayWhaat may not want that – it sounds like her expectations for the LTR are fairly reasonable – but it’s a deeply pervasive phenomenon among men. Almost every guy knows more than one guy who’s gone through it, if he hasn’t himself. I go through that in my LTR right now.
    .
    SW, “I think we’ve been talking past each other for a while.”
    .
    I agree, and I said in the beginning I empathize with your situation as I went through it myself. At the end of the day, I think two factors stand out:
    .
    1. The environment: you go to a gay-friendly college in Manhattan, the most skewed female-over-male young adult city in the country. The market incentives for men are towards casual sex (you can get it for cheap) or LTRs (you have your pick of a female mate) and not much in between…
    .
    2. You’ve said you don’t feel you can actualize without that relationship. I think that’s a defeatist attitude, and in any case is going to come off as desperation.
    .
    Believe me – you’re spending some of your most intellectually and imaginistically fertile years in a great metropolis. It would be a shame if you looked back on that time as a time of resentment because you couldn’t find a guy instead of making the best of the opportunities you did have. Aaaaand, it sounds like a rom-com cliche, but the more you show you can be comfortable with yourself as a single person, the more impressive you’ll be to potential partners.

  • Lavazza

    Nobody aims for a MTR. MTRs is what happens when two people who are interested in having a LTR make an honest attempt but fail.

  • Lavazza

    Regarding height I would say the average or median man is about 10 % taller than the average or median female. In a bell curve I guess that means that about 10 % of all women are taller than 50 % of the men. Lottery pairings would therefor give about 5-10 % couplings where the woman is taller than the man. Nevertheless in much less than 1 % of all real couples the woman is taller than the man.

    http://drjon.livejournal.com/1335860.html

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    An MTR is really just a LTR for a shorter time frame. I’d say it’s anything where two people are exclusive but are pretty sure they’re never going to marry. This applies to nearly all relationships between the ages of 18 and the mid-20s for the college-educated. There are exceptions of course, e.g. the college “marrieds.” There’s also plenty of denial, usually by women, indulging in the fantasy that a relationship formed in college will survive separate cities after graduation, different grad schools, etc. A few do, but it’s rare.
    .
    Of course, this is all moot, because it’s all just faux commitment as I wrote in the post. For most young people today, there are two basic options:
    1. no strings
    2. exclusive
    Everything else is just semantics.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Esau: I think it’s pretty much indisputable that the man would be up for a date or at least a hookup, while the woman would reject the man immediately and completely.
    .
    SayWhaat: It is absolutely not indisputable. The man would be up for a hookup. The woman would be up for a date.

    I cosign this. The sexes have different sexual objectives, reflecting the woman’s selectivity and the man’s lack thereof when mating. Any conversation that seeks to increase understanding must acknowledge the difference in male and female mating strategies. (And refrain from blaming the other sex for their biological imperatives.)
    .
    SayWhaat: As for your conviction that women at the median level of (I’m assuming physical) attractiveness would reject males at equivalent level of attractiveness–well, that’s just BS. I’m well above the median level of attractiveness and I have dated (and mostly pined for) men well below my level of attractiveness.
    .
    I hear (and see) this all the time. I just read an article that discussed how beautiful people have more daughters. Over time, women are expected to get better looking, and men less good looking, as a natural byproduct of evolution. This is because men prioritize beauty while women do not prioritize looks to nearly the same degree. An ugly man has several other ways of attracting a beautiful woman. The reverse is virtually never true.

  • Badger Nation

    “An ugly man has several other ways of attracting a beautiful woman. The reverse is virtually never true.”
    .
    This is a fact, but it needs context to be the real truth…a young ugly man has virtually no options unless he has REALLY tight game. An established (i.e. older) ugly man has more options, including the many women younger than him. But a young beautiful woman has options among all adult men of all ages. Meanwhile her pool shrinks as she gets older.

  • SayWhaat

    @ VJ:

    This is the meat of that sentiment, as noted by others: “…due to the fact that women in general simply select from the options they are presented with…”. If you sadly, ruefully & truly think this is true?

    I was making a general observation. Obviously it’s somewhat reductionist. Chill out.

    Height is pretty much fairly normally distributed. About half of the population will be ‘less than tall’. Ergo on any given day? Most females searching for mates have already unconsciously or consciously Rejected half the male population without so much as thinking about it typically.

    Right because a 4-foot tall woman is going to outright reject a 5-foot man who is still taller than her. Of course. -__-

    Again the real Character issue here is beginning to finally recognize that all these Desirable & Favorable characteristics you’re seeking might not come exactly in the wonderful looking/size package of your dreams or fantasizes

    I am going to stop you right there and let you know that you’re wasting your time ranting to me about this, because I’m going to ignore it. I know my dating past and I’ve already mentioned that I date well below my attractiveness level. I already appreciate good character, I exhibit it myself, and I have reasonable standards. I know what qualities are important to me and which ones are dealbreakers. Telling me I’m still doing it wrong is bullshit. I’m doing my part. I’m not going to date the hobo down the street because he shared his crackers with the neighborhood pigeons and I’m not going home with the next idiot at a bar who thinks “you’re a sexy piece and you can straddle my face anytime” is an effective pickup line.
    So quit yo’ bitchin’.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Badger:

    It would be a shame if you looked back on that time as a time of resentment because you couldn’t find a guy instead of making the best of the opportunities you did have.

    Hah. Don’t think for a minute that I don’t have other ambitions and things going for me right now. There’s a reason I’m in this city. This is an area of the interwebz where I’m allowed to vent and discuss this particular facet of my life. Don’t think that this consumes me. It doesn’t. But I have legitimate complaints and I damn well will air them here if I want to.

    .

    OT: your handle reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIyixC9NsLI

    …. :D

  • SayWhaat

    (Also side note, I got really confused when people started referring to me as “SW”. I thought this was “Susan Walsh.” Maybe “SWh” is a better shorthand?)

  • SayWhaat

    I know many women, aged 30-50, who have satisfied hypergamous impulses by marrying intelligent men with successful careers and good character. I’m one of them, and am surrounded by them in my own community

    These are not fairytale stories. These happen, more often than people think. And there is nothing wrong with me for aspiring for this. Nothing wrong at all.

    And screw you if you think otherwise.

  • http://sexypterodactyl.wordpress.com Sexy Pterodactyl

    Aunt Enid (aka Susan Walsh), I have a question for you? If you care about girls having good dating experiences, why do you specifically (and tacitcly) support stuff like the following? Perhaps its that women are inherently worthless/class enemies once they’re past say age 27?

    ——

    Surely the manosphere (MRA PUAs, or even the “nice happily-married ones like Dalrock”) is not about belligerence, just justice/righting wrongs? Au contraire. Consider this post and the associated comments at Dalrock……
    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/men-stop-tricking-women-into-loveless-marriages/
    …celebrating guys that put up a nice front (including via Internet dating, and including showing marriage interest), but are actually purposely “using”/taking up the time of the women they are dating (they target women in their late 20s and 30s) – as revenge for the crime of said women (not necessarily even the specific women in question, but their age group) not dating them when they were younger.

    Consider also the nice nerdy “Pro-Male Anti-Feminist Tech” blogger whose attitude towards his girlfriend Sabrina is basically that of a serial killer observing a specimen for how best to prey. He’s trying to figure out how/when to dump her to avoid having to be nice at holidays, meet her family and such – but to still get Sexytime/a threesome (not so much for enjoyment, but because that way he “wins”) and the associated ego-feed goodies in the meantime. Aunt Enid (ahem, Susan Walsh of Hooking Up Smart) and the like duly submissive-helpmeet-squadron him in his comments section.

  • http://sexypterodactyl.wordpress.com Sexy Pterodactyl

    @Aunt Enid

    Do you have any tips for how I can attain the marriage-free love of foreign trad-babe Amy Winehouse?

    (if not, tasty small animal snacks will suffice)

  • Esau

    SWh — As for your conviction that women at the median level of (I’m assuming physical) attractiveness would reject males at equivalent level of attractiveness

    .

    No, this isn’t “assuming physical”. Sorry if this wasn’t perfectly clear, possibly my fault (though it was clearer on previous threads). When I say “median level of attractiveness” I mean full-spectrum generalized attractiveness, including a person’s looks, charm, grooming, money, body language, Game habits, etc. etc.; basically including all factors that would — or wouldn’t — make a person likely to agree to a date or other starting point.

    .

    Now, with that straight, do you still disagree that, when the woman who’s at the 50th percentile in generalized attractiveness meets the man at the same percentile in generalized attractiveness, he will (most likely) accept her but she will (most likely) reject him? [Note that it's a logical fail to say that the man would do better if he acted in a more charming way; if he acted more charming then he'd already be in a higher percentile. Just as it makes absolutely no sense to say "I'd date a poor person, just if they had more money". Is this clear?] Certainly every iota of my experience and all that I’ve ever heard, read or seen from others indicates this is the case; if you dispute it, then I’m afraid our realities have no overlap and nothing you say has any relevance for me (and the same for me to you, of course).

  • Esau

    SWh: “And men have a choice in deciding whom to pursue as well: the girl who would be able to fulfill their emotional and physical needs, or the psychoslut who could care less? Your choice.”

    .

    See above under “banging head on brick wall”. If neither of these girls is going to agree even to a first date, then having the “choice” between them is meaningless. What part of “to be a typical male is to be constantly rejected” didn’t you understand? Don’t make the mistake of confusing “men” or “all men” or “most men” with the few, the top cream of men who do have this kind of choice.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Badger
    I was not suggesting that men have it better than women because they can employ Game. There’s no question that is Advantage Female when young, Advantage Male when older. It sucks for many guys under 24 or so, and for many women over 30.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Susan: I know many women, aged 30-50, who have satisfied hypergamous impulses by marrying intelligent men with successful careers and good character. I’m one of them, and am surrounded by them in my own community
    .
    SayWhaat: These are not fairytale stories. These happen, more often than people think.

    .
    What I have described is the norm, but only for the college educated. Here the divorce rate is only 17% or so. Of the divorces I’ve witnessed in my own community, all but one involved a man dumping his 40+ yo wife for a younger model.
    .
    And there is nothing wrong with me for aspiring for this. Nothing wrong at all.
    .
    Hypergamy is not a dirty word. It is nature. Women who follow it do better than women who don’t, historically speaking. We should by all means judge people by the content of their character, but there is nothing wrong with a woman seeking a mate of higher rather than lower status.
    .
    As a side note, some women will find that they must marry men of lower status or stay single, due to the shrinking M/F ratio in college enrollment.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Sexy P
    I confess I am completely bewildered by your question. Let’s take this one post at a time:
    1. Dalrock. Do you not see what’s wrong with the woman who wrote in to Salon? I was horrified when I read her letter, days before Dalrock wrote about it. Do you really empathize with this?

    I think it’s unfair for me to stay married to him when I don’t completely love him because he would make an awesome husband for some lucky gal.

    .
    You don’t see the entitlement, the absolute selfishness, the faux concern for a man she’s about to throw under the bus? For another guy? One doesn’t need to be a MRA to recognize there are issues of basic fairness here. I assume you’re young and have never been married, Sexy P, so let me let you in on a secret: It is a sign of poor character to divorce a man who is intelligent, handsome, wonderful, everything a woman could want, because some other guy is making you wet. The honorable solution to this woman’s problem is to stop being friends with the guy who is ruining her marriage.
    .
    2. PMAFT
    He and I have never been on speaking terms, and I banned him from this blog a long time ago. I do not read his blog, so I’m not sure why you claim I’ve commented there. I actually went over and read the posts you mention, and I’ll go on record as saying that he disgusts me. I do not support him or his tactics, either blatantly or tacitly.
    .
    Or are you calling me out because Ferdinand links to me and links to him at the same time? Do you really believe that I am responsible for the company Ferdinand keeps?

  • http://FT.com VJ

    SWh: No, really. To a very large degree? Especially for the fortunate few who are college educated & reasonably ‘well off’? You make your own luck. You may ‘choose’ among perceived favorable options, but by in main? If you’re not all about trying to make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in presently? It’s never going to happen. So yeah. I’m deadly serious about that ‘choices’ deal & all!

    Again, the on height dimension alone, we’ve proved our point. You may belittle it (there’s not a whole lot 4′ women & 5′ men, whether or not they’re looking to be with one another)! We’re still talking about normative expectations. With 5’6-5’7 men literally being considered the ‘bottom of the barrel’ by missing the North American female screening bar by some secret indefinable amount, but the Average male height by only 2-3″. Now this is variable & personalized for each case depending on the mileage of hypergamy seen. But make no mistake about it. Again, this one dimension alone has been better studied & proven time & time again.

    Now none of this may apply to you specifically or particularly. If this is indeed the case, do keep keeping on. But overall? Most folks really are not wholly honest or realistic about assessing their own situations. And this is true not just for romantic situations but financial ones as well! It’s very hard to assess some of these dimensions while you’re still in them. And again, that’s perfectly natural too. I’m not saying anyone is ‘doing it wrong’, just reacting to what you’ve written & described here. And no, I’m not telling anyone how to live their lives, but just offering some suggestions that might be useful. Or not. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Abbot

    Wow! I came upon this yesterday. It is quite the rant. I think it is mainly about the US scene. What true and what is not?
    .
    http://eternalbachelor.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/us-men-didnt-agree-to-feminism/

  • Höllenhund

    “Unless a woman spends the best 20 years of her life bonding with a man, he won’t stick around for the worst 40.

    And no, the “best 20″ are NOT from 38 to 58.”

    This comment from that blog is brilliant, Abbot.

  • Abbot

    Yes, yes, I noted that comment as well. Quite brilliant. Below are some sections that are very educational. Essentially, it seems that men take action more than they speak. I traveled through Argentina, Bolivia and Uraguay about five years ago and was surprised to see so many Americans living there, some married, most not. Taxes, better costs, better weather, easy going life I thought. Now I can add women to that list. As noted below, media is part of the problem in the US and then the women act out the fantasy and then more media supports it – like a feedback loop. Like Sex and City show. I was in US last year and as a man there for a few days, I was put off on the behavior of women just by watching TV! So men there must already be on high alert when going on a date.
    .
    From that site:
    .
    many women take Soap Operas incredibly seriously, as if they are an accurate reflection of real life. This is why many women happily sleep around, whelp bastards and generally ruin themselves and yet still think it realistic to expect to be happily married some day; many seem to believe that, in real life, just as in soap operas and chick-flicks, dishy and wealthy bachelors are just falling over themselves to marry neurotic twice-divorced thirty-something single mothers.
    .
    It’s quite insane to witness, but there are so many women ruining themselves in their youths, thinking that just because there are quite a few younger men willing to jump through hoops to get a shag, then that means these guys will still be there when the women are older, saggier, used up and bitter. Furthermore, if any guy who is still willing to get married wants a wife, not a whore, and many women cannot tell the difference, or foolishly think they can suddenly switch from being a cum-leaking slut to a nice traditional lady. They can’t. A woman who spends her 20s sleeping around, boozing away and maybe getting a tattoo or an abortion, or maybe whelping a bastard, cannot declare she’s a respectable lady her 30s. There’s no such thing as a born again virgin.
    .
    Yet on and on women go, ruining themselves, spending their younger years whoring around, getting tattoos, drinking and partying, and are rather surprised when they discover that no guys want them anymore. And then we have to listen to the endless whining and complaints that men are “intimidated” or “scared of commitment”, when really us men, quite simply, just didn’t agree to all this liberated slut-fest revolution women kicked off, and we would like a traditional woman.
    .
    Still, us men didn’t agree to it. We tried to warn them, but hey, what did we know, we’re only men. Sexist Neanderthal pigs, I believe the term was, to describe any guy who tried to speak out against this feminist rubbish at the outset. Oh well, at least us men are stoic and resourceful enough to make the best of things, to largely cut ourselves off from mainstream society or perhaps move abroad and find a traditional woman.

  • Abbot

    Boy, I am learning here about this corner of the global dating scene. See this article
    .
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/world/europe/01iht-letter.html?_r=1&ref=europe
    .
    This gets to the nail on the head, as it were. Women attempting to change how men think and create new models for living. Same thing for the “sex is no big deal” female crowd. If men have no choices and want to get married, well, stay single or accept or leave. How did this sad state of affairs come about?

  • Badger Nation

    Abbot,
    .
    That story is a hoot! You’d think people would chill out. I stopped taking it even half-seriously at this: “The male ego can be a more fragile thing than the female ego, which is used to a regular battering and has hence developed a sense of humor!”
    .
    The author is quick to slam male shallowness and vanity, but totally ignores the other side of the discussion: the vast number of couples that never GOT together because the lady wasn’t attracted to a guy who made less than her in the first place.
    .
    She also missed another point: we’re talking about an exceedingly slim cohort -high-powered upper managers. These are people who, male or female, are working WAY above 40 hours a week and have major, MAJOR responsibilities. Serious work-till-you-drop expectations. Their career lifestyles are incompatible with standard relationship models. It’s malpractice to sell their stories as if they were representative of your average middle-upper class woman looking to balance a modest career and an LTR.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Esau:

    Now, with that straight, do you still disagree that, when the woman who’s at the 50th percentile in generalized attractiveness meets the man at the same percentile in generalized attractiveness, he will (most likely) accept her but she will (most likely) reject him?

    I gave myself some time to think about this. On the one hand, I agree and acknowledge that hypergamy will come into play with respect to a woman’s choices. On the other, I feel that (and have experience with) women who happily accept an evenly-matched partner. So, how to reconcile these two opposing scenarios?
    .
    The conclusion I came to was that it varies along the scale. Yes, a woman at the 50th percentile will reject a male at the equivalent percentile. The range of women in the middle will want to satisfy their hypergamy by accepting advances from men who are at least a little bit higher up the scale than they are.
    .
    However, the story is different as you get to women further along the scale. A female 8 will happily accept a male 8′s advances–as you get to higher percentiles, you will find that more women at these higher percentiles will accept evenly-matched males. Same story at the lower end–a female 2 will probably accept advances from anyone.
    .
    But that’s if you’re looking at everything in a vacuum, which we are. Assuming that the stars align and that general attractiveness is even for both sexes, you can expect the above results. The truth is that there’s a plethora of factors that influence acceptance/rejection in dating, for men and women alike.

  • SayWhaat

    What part of “to be a typical male is to be constantly rejected” didn’t you understand?

    FYI, women experience rejection, probably as much as men do. It’s just more subtle.

  • Esau

    SWh: “I gave myself some time to think about this.”

    .

    Wow, stopping to think before writing a comment; this alone may make you unique on the Internet. But don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

    .

    SWh: “However, the story is different as you get to women further along the scale. “
    Yes, I agree with this; e.g. “Things change at the top and at the bottom,” from my original comment.

    .

    One numerical note: I don’t think one can trivially translate between percentile ranks and the famous 1-10 attractiveness scale, even when restricting yourself just to physical appearance: ie the person at the 50th percentile is not necessarily a 5. Personally I hold to the “6-7″ rule, which is that 60-70% of women are at least a 6-7 or above; YMMV, of course, and I’m not at all sure how to rank men (pretty boys never did anything for me, you know).

    .

    SWh: “FYI, women experience rejection, probably as much as men do. It’s just more subtle.”

    A useful notation is to distinguish between “acute rejection” that happens at one moment after a definite, explicit move, and “diffuse rejection” that happens over time if no one in a group responds to your subtle signals.

  • Abbot
  • Florence

    @ Susan

    I was wondering if you have any tips on how to end up in “dating” rather than “dumped” if you are at the stage of having a ‘fake bf ‘and took the middle path according to the “Holy Grail of Dating”. That means that you’ve waited for some time, he is your official bf, and now you want to hook up with him.

    My experience suggests that sleeping with him for a first time is an important landmark in your relationship. If you do or say anything after that event which may change the dynamics of the relationship in his eyes or signal more expectations, he will often get scared and pull away. I’ve learned to pretend as if nothing happened after I sleep with a new bf. The “nothing has changed” strategy seems to work for me.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Florence
    I’m confused. I have to say I can’t support the idea that it’s wise to pretend that the sex meant nothing. I understand not wanting to scare a guy away, but if that’s the case, then holding off on sex makes sense.
    .
    It depends on your own goals. If you want a relationship, and you’re clear about that, then having sex with no strings is high risk, unless you know that he is open to a relationship too, and just doesn’t want to rush the commitment. That is very common. If you have gotten even a hint that he isn’t looking for anything serious, doesn’t want a gf, etc. then don’t go there. The chances of heartbreak for you are too high.
    .
    A guy who wants a relationship, and likes you will wait. Period. It’s the opposite of scaring him away. It’s encouraging his investment.

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