Thursday, August 25, 2011


One reason some people are lonely is that their dates don't live up to their standards.    So lets talk about perfection.

Is anything perfect?  Is everything perfect?   Consider the best hammer in the world.  It is ideally crafted to push any nail into a piece of wood, plastic, or even concrete.   With the slightest effort it can insert (or remove with the claw head) the smallest nail or the biggest one.

Now I give you a screw.  Is your tool perfect?  Or rather crappy?

When you say an item is 'perfect' you are actually defining it's purpose, or at least claiming to define it.   By stating it is perfect you are stating you know what the item or person's purpose is.

I look out my window and see a very gray, cloudy day.  Is the sky perfect?   Yes, if god wanted to provide shade on this summer day. Yesterday it was blue without a cloud in the sky.  That also could be perfect.

So, when talking about a potential date,  if you call them perfect, you really mean they are perfect for you.    But certain qualities are on almost EVERYONE'S  list.  Tall/thin, wealth/beauty, are good examples.  That means Mr. Perfect-for-you is also Mr. Almost-Perfect for most other people.  Chances are Ms. Competitor has already snapped up your Mr. Perfect and is willing to live with the one thing he does that she doesn't like (even if you wouldn't care.)   Why did Ms. Comeptitor do that?  Well, in a world of 7 billion people, she gave up looking for Mr. Perfect and decided to go with Mr. Right.  
The real question is, why do we obsess about looking for Mr./Ms. Perfect instead of looking for Mr./Ms. Right?

Part of the reason is we are cynical. We have been burned before - often by people who seemed really nice.   In fact they seemed too good to be true, but turned out to be Mr./Ms. Wrong.   So we don't just accept everyone at face value, instead we discount everyone.   But instead of distrusting people that seem too good to be true, this encourages us to look for someone that appears BETTER than Mr./Ms. Wrong seemed to be.  That way, even it turns out they lied, their lie will still be 'acceptable'.

Another reason why we prefer looking for Mr./Ms. Perfect instead of Mr./Ms. Right, is our culture.  We grow up with stories of True Love.  Worse, we pay more attention to the Princess Bride, then we do to Romeo & Juliet.   That is, we like stories with happy endings and for a romantic story, that is usually a wedding.   But a wedding is a beginning, not an ending.       Our fiction leads us to look for Mr./Ms. Perfect, instead of Mr./Ms. Right.

It's not just fiction either.  People usually hide the problems in their relationships, presenting a happy front to all.  So when we look around we see all these happy couples - until those happy couples suddenly break up because they never were happy in the first place.

We need to stop looking for Mr./Ms. Perfect and look for Mr./Mrs. Right.  They will have flaws, things we don't want in them.   But that's OK, because honestly, so do we.

The trick is making sure the flaws ARE something we can live with.   That decision is far more important than whether they are tall enough, pretty enough, rich, enough, etc.    Don't try to marry the Perfects, but don't accept the Wrongs either.  Look fro Mr./Mrs. Right.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I never learned my lesson

Many years ago I met a woman dancing.   Her name was Jennifer and she was just starting out, while I had been dancing for a year or two already.   I spent about a month dancing with her, enjoying myself.  I got her phone number and called her a few times.  It may have been too much, I am not sure - it's been a while.    Then suddenly she stopped dancing with me.  She never said why, she never even said she was stopping.  She just stopped accepting my offers to dance.

I stopped calling her,  as she wasn't calling me back.   For a month I kept asking her to dance every time I saw her.  I slowly began to ask her less often.  Once a week instead of every time, then once a month, and eventually I just stopped asking her to dance.  A couple years went by and I stopped even seeing her.  Perhaps we went to different places to dance, maybe she stopped dancing, I don't know.

Then about four years after I first met her,  I saw Jennifer again.  Someone mentioned that she was leaving New York, so I asked her to dance once more time.  She said:

"Yeah, it's been long enough, I guess you learned your lesson."

If this was a TV show or a movie, I would have instantly processed the situation and either rejected her or at least asked her what lesson she foolishly thought I had learned.  Instead I went with the socially acceptable answer and danced a tanda with her.  (Tandas are a set of about 3 songs, it is considered polite to dance the full set with someone.)

I had not learned anything.  I could not possibly have learned something because she never told me what I had done wrong.  I am sure in her mind I knew - or should have known.   Most woman fantasize about a telepathic man, but they don't exist.   In order for us to know what we did to piss you off, you have to tell us.

Now, I am going to be the first to say that I have stopped dancing with people without telling them why.  One woman, lets call her April, had this horrible perfume.  If I had truly enjoyed dancing with her, it might have been different, but April was only OK..  So I stopped dancing with her without explaining why.  But I never thought they were being punished or that she might "learn a lesson".   I knew she would remain forever clue-less as to why I stopped dancing with her.

I honestly don't know if I actually did anything wrong with Jennifer.  Perhaps she heard some false rumor, or misunderstood something I said.   Or maybe I really did do something wrong.  Perhaps I stepped on her toes, or my hands slipped and touched something inappropriately.   Maybe I asked her frien-emy to dance and not her.   I don't know and never will. 

I wish I had the presence of mind to have asked Jennifer why she was upset with me.   But most of all, I wish she had the brains and courage to actually TELL me the first time, instead of just ignoring me.

Look ladies, maybe us guys are clueless.  Maybe we need extreme remedial listening classes.  But you know that.  If you want a relationship with us half-deaf creatures, it becomes your responsibility to make up for our poor communication skills.  Similarly, it is not acceptable for men to use passive-aggressive "pretend agreement" just because we want to avoid a fight.   When we disagree with you, we have to actually say it ( I have seen too many men agree to things they don't believe in just because they don't want to argue - then find ways to get around it/lie to the women. - but that is another story)

And just maybe it is not us.  Maybe the reason we don't read you as well as your girlfriends do is that you don't talk to us like you talk to them.   You keep things bottled up inside and expect us to pry things loose.    You don't have the courage to say "If you step on my feet one more time I will grind my stiletto into your insole."

Because if you actually tell us what is wrong, then there is chance we might learn our lesson.   If you don't, we never will.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Bravery and Confidence are very similar characteristics.   They both involve the capability of doing what others are psychologically unwilling to do.  The main difference is that bravery involves overcoming a more dangerous task.

Women are attracted to Bravery as much, if not more so, than they think they are attracted to Confidence.   But they are actually pretty good at detecting Bravery.  Mainly because faking Bravery is harder.   If you ask a pretty girl out and are visibly nervous, most women won't realize how confident you are.  This is despite the fact that your nervousness clearly meant you had MORE confidence than the smooth guy.   If you rescue a baby from a burning car, people will know how brave you are - even if you are weeping and screaming in terror while you do it.   Even if you act like a complete nincompoop, repeating "Am I on fire?  Is my pants on fire, are my shoes burning?  Check my hair!".  They will still realize you rushed into the burning fire and know how brave you are.   If a calm fireman is right next to you, they understand that his calm came from experience, not from greater bravery.

Many little boys figure this out rather early - or have it evolutionary built into their genes.  Hence the daring-do on skateboards/mountain bikes, the climbing, extreme sports, etc.

Advice for men:

If you participate in rock climbing or extreme sports, they are good topics to bring up when picking up a woman.  It is NOT a good idea to lie about them.  You will get caught in that lie.    When it comes to bravery women are less concerned with the surface and more about the facts.  So give parachuting a try and talk about how scared you were the first time you jumped.  Parachuting is a good choice mainly because everyone knows how scary it is, so you don't have to explain it.

It doesn't have to be sports.   Many of us have had at least one close call with death and talking about it can be better than an extreme sport.  An incident where you displayed courage/bravery is a very good topic for an early communication.    Again, it is a good idea to talk UP how scared you were.  Without you talking about how scared you were, the women may not know how dangerous the situation really was.    Lying about this kind of thing is very likely to backfire.  Stick to the truth - or take a parachuting class to get some truth.

Advice for Women:

If you like brave men, then try some brave sports.   You are very likely to meet a brave man taking the right kind of sports class.  You don't have to take the advanced, levels, the beginner one works too.   Rock Climbing is one of the better choices.  It has clear levels, so you can start off easy and work your way up to the harder stuff.  If you have issues with heights (and are not brave enough to overcome them), then you might try Scuba Diving.   It is more expensive and is much more restrictive about where you can do it, but you will meet some brave men.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Numbers Game

There is a myth that dating is just a numbers game - ask out enough people and you will get a yes.

I disagree with that myth.   It works very well for attractive people who can ask out 5 people and get one yes.  It works reasonably well for the average person, asking out 10 people to get one yes.  But if you are asking out 20 people to get one yes, that is a problem.  19 'no's in a row can hurt your self-esteem.  Would you tell an overweight woman that before she can get weight loss medication she must be told she is fat by 19 different doctors?  No.  It is cruel and unusual punishment.

Yes, you have to ask a lot of people out/get asked out a lot, but saying it's all about the numbers is bad advice.   It ignores a lot of other issues.

One thing that people asking others out (men are generally the "Askers") have to do is ask out a range of people.  You can't just ask out the people that you think you can get.  Nor can you just ask out people that are 'out of your league'.  Nor should you just ask out people that you think should be "easy yes's".    As a man, you need to ask out some of each.  

This is very different from someone being asked out (women are generally the "Askies"), that has the luxury of setting a constant standard and only dating above that standard.   Askers have to ask out a wide range of people, from the "I WANT!" to the "If I am drunk enough".

There are several reasons for this:
  1. Askers have a limited number of people they can ask out.  Time, ego, courage, (and sometimes money) all get used up while frustration rises.
  2. Askers don't know who would accept or reject them without making the attempt - and each crowd may be different.  So they have to make a wide range of attempts.
  3. Asker's "Maybe" (as in they get the phone number but may not call) takes as much effort as a yes.
  4. Askies gain ego and courage for each rejection (and possibly drinks), but their frustration also rises.
  5. Askies can put themselves out and consider all those that ask them.  They don't have to 'expand' their potential pool.
  6. Askie does not have to say yes/not.  They can always use a "Maybe" without losing any effort.
A guy has to ask out the overweight, homely girl sitting in the corner.  She might have more Buffy the Vampire memorabilia than he does.  OK, he might have to ignore the Twilight vampire books, but she can forgive his obsession with Leela and Amy Futurama figurine dolls.

He also has to ask out the hottie dancing with all the men.  She might be an SCA princess that teachs old English country dances.

You can exchange out my Sci-Fi references for whatever your hobby is, whether it be sports, extended game shows (whoops they prefer to be called 'reality' tv shows) , money, politics, or what have you.  The point is that you can't really judge a book by it's cover.

Which reminds me, ladies - you can't judge a book by it's cover.  

As an Askie, it is very tempting to simply take the best of the lot that asked you out any particular day.  The problem with that is chances are you did not spend more than 5 minutes with the guy.   That means you are judging based on fairly shallow characteristics.   You may have the luxury of setting a high 'shallow' standard, but it is not always a good idea.

My best advice is to stop being an Askie and do the asking.  Men are far less likely to reject you than you are to reject us, and you get what you want, rather than what wants you.

But most of you don't have the courage to be an Asker and that's OK.   I still have some advice if you have to be the Askie.

The simplest advice I can give you is to admit the problem with selecting men based on just what you know in the first 5 minutes.  That means if a guy is tall/rich/handsome, use a stricter set of rules for personality before you give out your phone number - he should be VERY interesting before you date him.   If a guy is not that tall/stylish/wealthy accept a date if he is only a little bit interesting.

Yes, you will date some less attractive people.   But you might be pleasantly surprised when you find out what they were doing instead of going to the gym.    They might be serving food to the homeless, or into extreme skiing/biking/scuba diving even if they are overweight (those are three sports where the overweight can still be very good.)