Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"I'm Not Like Other Girls"

Dating and relationships are rife with cliche lines and expressions. People hear them in movies or on television, and then rehash them because they seem like the appropriate thing to say when the narrative of their relationship starts to vaguely resemble the script of their favorite romantic comedy. You know what I am talking about - things like "Let's just be friends," "I had a really great time tonight," "It's not you it's me," etc. But one of the most overused lines comes up when a man makes a sexual advance with a girl he just started seeing. Every guy knows the line I am talking about here:
"I can't do that... I'm... I'm not like other girls."
If girls had any idea how often guys hear that line, they'd cringe at the mere thought of using it. I cringe every time I hear it, just because I've heard it so many times before, and hate cliches. But most girls probably didn't realize how common it is, because it is always said in private, out of earshot of other girls. Now you know.

Of course, the irony is that, in the very act of saying she is different, the girl saying so is being exactly the opposite of different. Perhaps the greater irony still is that, from a guy's perspective, her saying so is actually a pretty good sign that she is about to say yes to sex. Some guys realize this more than others, but the ones that do know that the girls who really are different (in the sense that they don't have sex very quickly) don't feel the need to verbalize that fact in order to convince anyone.

Now, if you are a normal American girl, you've probably said this yourself at some point. And that's OK. I've said just as stupid and equally cliche shit to girls before. Most guys have, so I'm not pointing fingers. And actually, I'm not even accusing you of being like every other girl. For that matter, I'm not even saying that you shouldn't be like every other girl when it comes to sex. I am just pointing out that, if what you say is true, then you don't need to say it; and you actually undermine your credibility in the very act of doing so.

So if you really want to prove to a guy that you are different from other girls, just be different from other girls, and leave it at that.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Fat Women Look Hotter in Tight Clothes

I hear the following conversation regularly:
Guy 1: “Man, check out that girl in the yoga pants [or any tight article of clothing] over there.”
Guy 2: “Damn, she is hot. I love when girls wear yoga pants.”
Guy 1: “Yeah, me too… except fat girls, that is just disgusting.”
Guy 2: “Haha well yeah, not fat girls. That is just gross. They shouldn't be allowed to wear stuff like that.”
This line of thinking always bothers me. The implication is that, while tight clothes make fit women look more attractive, they make fat women look less attractive, and should therefore be avoided by any woman that is overweight. But this simply isn't true. Fat women, though unattractive, still look more attractive in tight clothes than they do in loose ones.

I know a lot of readers will initially disagree – men included. There was a time when I disagreed myself. In fact, I used to participate in the very kinds of conversation I am criticizing. But eventually I started paying attention to fat women rather than just dismissing them, and in doing so I realized that what we were saying wasn't true at all. What happened was that, on a few occasions when out with female friends or acquaintances, they started criticizing heavy-set girls for wearing tight clothes. They said things like “She shouldn't be wearing that, look at her stomach!” or "That girl needs to go home and lose 20 lbs before getting in a swimsuit like that!" But when I looked at the same girls they were criticizing, I found myself attracted to them, precisely because of their tight clothes. I had enough imagination to recognize that the very same girls in loose clothes would do absolutely nothing for me; but in a tight dress or yoga pants, I was checking them out.

Look, here is the thing: the female figure has evolved to be attractive to men, and it shines most when its natural curves can be seen. This holds true even when those natural curves are covered in fat; which makes sense, because (except in severe cases of obesity), the woman's proportions still exist. Loose clothes only serve to mask a woman’s figure. When a fat woman wears loose clothes, it makes her look like a mass of floating fabric. You not only still know that she is fat, but you also forget that she is a woman. True, a tight dress might show that a woman has a gut, but loose clothes don't hide it - they just hide her femininity.

Granted, there is probably a way in which an overweight woman can choose clothes very carefully in order to play down her weight while playing up her curves; but these clothes won't necessarily be loose. Anyway it is somewhat beside the point, which is that, on the whole, tight clothes still make fat women hotter, even if they don’t make fat women hot. You might be able to argue that fat women gain less attractiveness than fit women by wearing tight clothes - great, no problem; I am just saying that they don't lose it.

It's been too long since I illustrated anything on here, so let's do so with a plot:

If you still aren't convinced, it might be worth pointing out that the mistake I am accusing people of making is actually a very common one in human reasoning. It’s easy to think that something is a certain way (i.e. unattractive) because of something rather than in spite of something. In other words, it is very easy to believe that a fat woman is unattractive because of her tight clothes, when the reality is that she is unattractive in spite of the tight clothes. The tight clothes make a woman's BMI a little more evident, so people are more prone to make this logical leap; but that doesn't mean they are right in doing so.

Conversations like the one above happen because men like to indulge in the idea that fat women are unattractive. It makes them feel better about their own sexual attractiveness to look down on someone else’s. If they have to slip through a logical loophole in order to do so, they aren't going to lose sleep over it. And the girls who mock fat girls for wearing tight clothes usually just aren't secure enough with their own bodies to wear something that tight. They aren't mad at what you are wearing, they are mad because it reminds them of their own insecurities. Of course, it is easier to mock the fat-but-confident girl than it is to face up to your own body issues, so that is exactly what they do.

Anyway, fat and overweight ladies: don’t be shy about wearing tight stuff to the gym, bikinis on the beach or tight dresses to the club. You can ignore the guys and girls that claim you should cover up, because their complaints say a lot more about their self-confidence (or lack thereof) than anything about how you look in spandex. And yoga pants might not make you look like a supermodel, or even thin, but they still turn guys on more than your baggy jeans.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Fantasy of Nightlife

When women go out, they are done up: they have makeup on, their hair is done, they are wearing heels, wearing their best clothes, etc. In addition, nightlife venues are almost always dimly lit, so that any cosmetic imperfections are hidden. In other words, they look their "best."

Men also get dressed up when they go out; but more importantly, they drink. The alcohol makes them more social and confident, more willing to go for what they want. And the magnum of Grey Goose they bought makes them look more important than they are. The loud music and bustling environment makes it unnecessary for them to lead a real conversation, so any lack of social skills is masked. In other words, they also look their "best."

Granted, men often over-drink, in the same way that girls often over-dress. Taking extra shots is the male equivalent of wearing too short of a skirt, or too much makeup. But the point is that, in nightlife, men and women lean on the crutch of added confidence or beauty (respectively) in order to appear more attractive to the opposite sex. The interesting thing is that, in addition to leaning on their own crutch, both sexes actually lean on the opposite sex’s crutch as well…

When men go out, they indulge in the belief that they can get girls who look like supermodels. The truth, of course, is that these guys can only get girls who look like supermodels in the club, and only when they themselves have liquid courage to assist, or loud music to mask their insecurity, or when they have the best table in the club to hide the fact that they are a run-of-the-mill manager in a medium-sized company.

When women go out, they indulge in the belief that they are attractive enough to get confident and powerful men to approach from across a room; but the reality is that they can only attract the men who can act confident after a couple drinks, or guys who know how to look powerful in a nightclub.

While this dynamic is far more exaggerated in nightclubs than it is in bars, it still exists in degrees wherever women are dressed up and men are drinking. Women lean on their appearance and sex appeal to be more attractive than they are normally, men lean on alcohol and status symbols to be more attractive than they are normally; and both sexes bask in the glow of the “results” they get in those circumstances.

This isn't necessarily a problem as long as you recognize what is going on, and enjoy it for the fantasy that it is. But it can be a problem if you let yourself slip into the mentality of “I get a lot of attention from the opposite sex,” when the reality is that you only get a lot of attention from the opposite sex when you go out – in other words, when you participate in the fiction of nightlife. This is significantly different from being able to attract someone in normal life, and assumptions to the contrary might be fueling your complacency.

Related Posts
1. The Analogy Between Confidence and Beauty
2. Bars Are a Bad Place to Meet Women
3. Bars Are a Good Place to Meet Guys – Part 1
4. Nightlife Tip 1 – Create Space at the Bar

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nice Guys Don't Exist

Everyone adapts their behavior to the people around them, and in response to the situation at hand. We are nice to people we like and mean or bitchy to people we don’t. We are friendly and cheerful when things go well and short-tempered or depressed when they don’t. Yeah, sure, there are some people who are generally more disposed to (for example) mean or more egocentric behavior than others, just as there are some people who are more disposed to (for example) kind or generous behavior than others; but even they are more mean or kind to some people, and less egocentric or generous to others. And of course there are some people whose behavior is less affected by circumstance than others, but not to the point that it isn't affected at all – and not even to the point that it isn't affected significantly. We like to think of personality as static and constant, intrinsic to each person. But the reality is that personality is merely a name we give to a set of behaviors coming from an individual; and those behaviors are very much mood-driven, situational and dynamic.

This misconception plays into our perception of the opposite sex significantly. Consider how frequently you change your behavior towards the men in your life…

If I approach a girl in a bar awkwardly, and then speak to her in a low voice because I am nervous, she isn't going to be attracted, and isn't going to respond well. The fact that she is short with me, or excuses herself immediately to go to the bathroom doesn't mean that she is a "bitch;" it just means that I didn't attract her enough. The next guy who approaches her might approach her confidently and genuinely, and have her wrapped around his finger the rest of the night.

If I have a dead-end job and lack ambition, my girlfriend isn't going to respond to me in the same way as the guy she dates next (i.e. after she dumps me), who is intentional in his career and gainfully employed in a position he truly enjoys. I might tell my friends that she was “cold” or “distant” but they'll know as well as I will that her next boyfriend probably has none of the same problems. Or maybe she is the one complaining that he is cold and distant.

The same kind of girls that ignored me when I was young and lacked confidence now treat me entirely differently, because I am older and far more sure of myself. At twenty years old, it was tempting to view those girls as stuck-up or bitchy; but the reality is that they were probably acting like angels towards some 30-year-old who was much more attractive due to his age, maturity and position in life.

I am not saying all of this to make a point about women, but to make a point about men – because men work exactly the same way. It is easy to believe that a certain guy is an asshole because he dumps you without an explanation, or that another is an authentically nice guy because he treats you well. But I am telling you: those men behave in entirely different ways with different girls.

The guy who you think is a player because he hits on three other girls before taking you home, then never calls you the next day – I guarantee that he is genuine and respectful and serious with other girls he dates. I know this because I've been that guy plenty of times. Some women I treat well and with respect, and others I don’t. If I see a girl I'm attracted to and whom I respect, I change my game completely. My male friends do the same.

The guy who is a dismissive asshole to you is a babbling, nervous idiot with the girl he is crazy about, and the guy who is such a gentleman to you absolutely crushes the hopes of girls that he doesn't find attractive, or doesn't respect. Likewise, the guy who never calls you back isn't “flaky,” he just doesn't care that much about you. I am sure there is a girl out there who has complained that he was needy and contacted her too much. And I am equally sure that the guy you were dating who seems to have “commitment anxiety” has at some point in his life practically begged to be in a relationship with a girl.

The thing is, nice guys don’t exist. “Douchebags” don’t exist. The behaviors we describe with these terms are not innate and static characteristics of any given person; they are behaviors that change depending on the other person involved and the circumstances surrounding the interaction. Of course there are men out there who are more disposed to certain types of behavior than others; but the degree of attraction a man feels for you will affect his behavior towards you far more than anything intrinsic to his personality, and the degree of attraction he feels for you is significantly affected by the kind of behavior you'll accept from him.

So instead of complaining about the dearth of nice guys or the abundance of douchebags, start thinking about what you can do to make then men in your life treat you the way you want. Because that is what is going to make the difference – not finding some "perfect guy" with some supposed personality type. You don't find perfect men, you elicit perfection from men.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

How to Set Up Your Friends

Most women I've met like the idea of setting up the single men in their lives with the single girls in their lives. In other words, they like match-making. Mothers seem to love this more than most, presumably because it puts them back in touch with the romantic spark that is often dead in their own relationships. Perpetually single girls love this too, probably because having influence over someone else’s love life is the next best thing to having control over your own. But normal girls like it too, and this is understandable because it is only human to want to have an influence on other people's lives (it is human to want to have influence in general). In the same way that it is empowering to know that you were the one who got your friend the job that was the springboard for her career, it is empowering to know that you introduced her to the guy that finally gave her confidence in her dating life, or even the guy that she eventually married.

Now, let me preface what I am about to say by pointing out that setups are usually a bad idea. In the vast majority of cases, the very fact that your friend needs help finding love is a good indication that your attempt to help is going to fail. This is because the problem is never one of "just not having met the right person yet." It always runs deeper. Maybe she is insecure, or too introverted, or overweight. Maybe she is trying to be masculine, or makes herself unapproachable. Whatever the case, her inability to take charge of her own romantic life isn't merely a matter of bad luck; it is a symptom of a deeper problem, which your attempt to introduce her to someone new isn't doing anything to solve. It's like giving another book to a child with a learning disability, and thinking "this time he'll get it." Exactly. It isn't going to happen.

So with that background, let's take a look at what most people do when they try to set up their friends (because this blog is for women I am going to use the example of a girl, but guys make the same mistake). Once a girl sees a potential match in her social circle, she goes to the girl and guy separately, and tells each of them that she knows "someone that they have to meet." She might tell each person a few things about the other, maybe show them some photos, and she gets them to agree to the setup. Then she arranges some kind of event at which the two people have the opportunity to meet each other. She's "really good at this" because she never lets either person know that the other one knows it's a set up. That way it won't feel forced or awkward. Perfect, right? Wrong.

The problem isn't that the person thinks that the other knows about the setup. The problem is that the person themselves knows they are being set up. And they knew this the very moment the girl told them there was "someone that they had to meet." This does two things: first, it generates expectations and makes both parties feel like they have to perform, which of course results in an encounter more awkward than a new graduate's first job interview. More importantly, however, and what I want to point out here, is that it destroys the single most important thing for someone who struggles with their dating life: autonomy.

Let's look at this from a the guy's perspective...

One of the hallmarks of masculinity is self-control: men want to be in control of their lives, and by extension, they want to be in control of their dating lives. A man will never feel good about himself if he can't initiate and perpetuate his own relationships. (Remember that his inability to do so is the reason his friends want to set him up in the first place.) By setting a guy up, you are essentially stepping in and putting training wheels on his bike - reminding him that he cannot handle himself. Yes, it might be true that he rides poorly (or not at all) without those training wheels; but by taking control of his dating life you are making him feel like a child, and he won't respect himself for any girl he "gets" with your help. He also won't respect any girl that he needs help to meet, because men know instinctively that women are attracted to men who don't need help: men who are in control and confident with their own capabilities. In other words, he knows he can get a better girl if he gets his shit together and deals with his lack of options himself.

You might argue that without some initial help, a guy (or girl) will never date anyone at all. To use the bike analogy, you might argue that, yes, a guy might not respect himself for using training wheels, but without training wheels he will never learn how to ride. But this argument assumes that his problem is balance. In real terms, your insistence on setting him up assumes that his problem is meeting girls. But as I pointed out at the beginning, this is never the case. His problem isn't one of balance, it is the fear of crashing. His problem isn't one of meeting girls, it is the fear of rejection; and setups do nothing to help him overcome that fear.

There is a feminine perspective on this too. When it comes to match-making, the feminine problem is that a girl will not respect a man who needed the help of a friend (i.e. you) to meet and attract her. This isn't only a matter of judging the man's courage, or the social abilities needed to make a connection with her. Women know that if a man is motivated enough, he will dig down and find that courage, and make something happen - or at least he will try. You want a man who desires you enough to push through a crowd to meet you, or takes some kind of initiative. At very least, you want a guy who does more than accept dates that are handed to him because his friends think he has no other options. A girl who finds herself in a relationship that started that way won't respect him, won't respect the relationship, and won't respect herself. So deep down, girls doesn't like being set up any more than guys do. They might like being single even less, but they'll be even less enthusiastic still about being dumped once their boyfriends wake up, and realize that they are only with those girls because they never had the balls to go for what they really wanted.

I am sure many readers know people who have had successful relationships after being set up, some of which might have even lead to marriage. My parents were set up, and they've been married more than 30 years. Maybe you were set up and are still with your boyfriend. And that's fine. But it doesn't mean that those cases are ideal or likely, or that they do anything to strengthen the inner core of the relationship.

So what do you do? How do you help facilitate a match that you think has potential? Well, you let both the guy and the girl ride without training wheels. You encourage them to take control of their own dating lives, and then you let them do so. This doesn't mean that you can't set them up, but it does mean that you can't tell either of them you are setting them up. Here is what you do: you invite them both to whatever event you've organized, then you sit back and see if they connect. Nothing more, nothing less. If he doesn't take the initiative on his own, nothing happens, and that's OK - or at least, it isn't something you can correct by stepping in and facilitating the connection any more than you already have.

Of course, it isn't always the case that the person you are trying to set up has any problems dating or attracting the opposite sex. Maybe they have plenty of options, and you just happen to know someone who would be a great match for them. But in these cases, you won't need to do anything other than introduce the two people anyway; they will be perfectly fine on their own if there is an attraction, so the strategy is the same: introduce, step back, and let it happen. Nothing more.

Related Posts
1. You Are Responsible For Your Own Romantic Happiness

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bars Are a Bad Place to Meet Women

I've met the majority of the women I've dated in bars. There have been plenty of girls that I've met through friends or randomly in public, but in bars, the sheer density of attractive, young, single women is enormously greater than it is on the street or beach or office (or anywhere else); and my dating history reflects that. I've made the point previously that the higher concentration of the opposite sex in nightlife venues is a good thing, and I stand by what I said. But as I've gotten older and come to know myself better, I've recognized two serious disadvantages to meeting women in this way.

1. Randomness

The first thing I've realized is that I don't value the way that I meet women I meet in bars – that is, I don’t value the process itself. I was telling this recently to a girl that I know, and she suggested that it was because meeting girls in bars is "too random." I think this is the common supposition - namely, that because you don't have any history or connection with the people that you meet in bars, there is no foundation for a relationship, and so any attempt at one is doomed. But this isn't the problem. A strong foundation for a relationship is just as much a function of personal compatibility as it is a function of common history or connections. Meeting the opposite sex in a bar isn't unsuccessful for lack of foundation, and it isn't unsuccessful because it is random. It is unsuccessful precisely because it isn't random.

Randomness is actually what we all want, in the sense that we all want our "how we met" story to be unique and unexpected. The more random it is that you met someone to whom you find yourself deeply attracted, the more special it feels, because you know that you were incredibly lucky for it to happen. It's the same phenomenon that makes people appreciate life so much after a near-death experience. You value what you have because you know that you almost didn't have it. As absurd as most romantic comedies are, it says something about our ideals of romance that so many of them start with some permutation of a girl hitting a guy on a bike with her car - randomly - and then falling in love with him. Things are romantic at least partially because they are unexpected, that is, seemingly impossible or unreal. I probably don't need to explain to most women how un-romantic it is to receive flowers on Valentine's Day. It might be nice, and it might be better than never receiving flowers, but it isn't romantic because it is too predictable. It isn't random at all.

Being picked up in a bar also isn't random at all. In fact, it is exactly the opposite of random; it is boring because it is too mechanical, too planned. Guys know that they want to meet girls, they know where to find them, and they go there to do so. Girls know that they want to meet men, they know where they will be hit on, and they go there for that reason. The encounter might take place in an exciting, fast-paced and sexually-charged atmosphere, but that's just superficial ornamentation. Underneath, those meetings are absolutely bland, because they are absolutely intentional.

Yes, obviously, not everyone in a bar is there with the conscious intention of meeting the opposite sex, but the percentage of people who are is infinitely higher in nightlife environments than it is in, say, a shopping mall. And following the train of thought described above, we project that intention onto every person we meet in a nightlife environment, then down-rate the value of those encounters accordingly. I don't value the women I meet in bars because there is nothing special about the way we met.

2. Difficulty

The second thing I realized is that I don't value the effort I make to meet girls in bars. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with the girls themselves, but I don't respect my relationships with them because I didn't have to work very hard to make those relationships happen. Men are very keenly aware that things of low value are easy to obtain, and so we assume (and in most cases are right) that things that are easy to obtain are low in value. A man might have the best job in the world, but he'll never feel good about it as long as he knows that he only got it because his father pulled strings with his professional contacts to make it happen. The same mentality applies in dating.

It hasn't always been this way for me. In my early twenties, approaching a random girl in a bar and attracting her enough to get her phone number took balls and felt like a real accomplishment - because at the time, for me, it was. I was able to have genuine relationships with girls that I met in bars because I respected myself for meeting girls in bars. But I don't anymore, because it has become too easy, too boring. Without the challenges that my adolescent social anxiety used to pose, all I see in bars is a social scene hugely facilitated by dark lighting, loud music, commotion and alcohol. They’re still a great place to have fun and get laid, but they’re not the kind of place where I expect to find a relationship anymore.

Now, does this mean that bars are a bad place to meet guys, or that you should stop going out?

Not necessarily. Despite the fairly categorical nature of this post's title, what I am really saying here is that bars are a bad place for me to meet women at this point in my life. I am no relativist, but the reasons explained above don’t apply to every guy, and they don't apply in every situation. If you meet a guy tomorrow who is the way I was at 22, for whom it is a big deal to meet a girl in a bar, then this isn't going to be an issue at all. And even if the guy you meet in a bar is exactly like me in the sense that it isn't a challenge for him, there is still the possibility of something working out; it just means that you are getting off on the wrong foot. If there is a strong enough connection, "how you met" probably won't be enough to prevent or disrupt it.

There is also the chance that there will be some other coincidence that makes the encounter incredibly random, despite the environment – maybe you find out that you both come from the same town on the other side of the country, or that you have identical ancestry, or that you are both obsessed with the same nerdy sci-fi movie, even though you met in a nightclub. And as I explained in previous posts, you still have to consider the disadvantages posed by what I've explained above, along-side the low probability of getting off on the right foot somewhere less intentional, like a shopping mall or at work.

No, I am not saying that you shouldn't go to bars. I am saying that you should be cognizant of the fact that men – just like women – will not respect or value what comes too easily, whether it comes too easily because (a) it is too mechanical or (b) because it requires very little effort. The converse of this is that men will value their encounter with you in proportion to how (a) unlikely or (b) difficult it was. While this doesn't mean that you should lock yourself in a steel cage and only accept men who are willing to tear it down to get to you, it does mean that you should avoid situations in which every man has easy access to you.

Incidentally, this post could also have been written about online dating, or anything else that dramatically facilitates meeting the opposite sex. You might think of bars and online dating as completely different – even opposites – but they share the strong similarity of taking the difficulty out of approaching (and therefore, being approached by) the opposite sex. Even though it seems like an ideal situation on the surface, the reality is that, for many men and women, bars and online dating are shortcuts. And no one wants to know that they got something important to them by taking a shortcut. Even if online dating or going to bars isn't a shortcut for you, be aware that it might be a shortcut for the guy, and that he is liable to respect himself and the relationship less because of it.

Related Posts
1. Bars Are a Good Place to Meet Guys – Part 1
2. How "Hard to Get" Should You Play?
3. Don’t Initiate Contact
4. Why You Don’t Get Approached by Men

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Announcement

I am sure everyone who reads this blog regularly has noticed the decline in post frequency in the last several months. What's probably not as evident is the reason, which is that I have been working on a book. In fact, since December, more than 100 % of the time that I typically devote to the blog has instead been focused on writing it. So while it might seem like my output has declined in recent months, the reality is that it has increased significantly - you just haven't seen the output yet.

I've mentioned the book a few times in the blog comments, and in replies to some readers' e-mails; but I've largely kept quiet about it - mostly because I didn't want to announce the book and then wait months or years for its release, but also because I didn't want to announce something before I was absolutely sure it would actually happen. But as of last week, the manuscript is finally finished, and it's mostly downhill (at least in terms of my commitment to the project) to the point of publishing; so this is a good time to make the announcement.

The book is about how to understand and handle breakups and rejections. It explains in detail why they happen, what the guy is thinking, how to maximize your chances of getting him back, and how to move on. I will rely on an excerpt from the introduction to explain my choice of topic:
"It might seem a little strange to write a relationship advice book that deals exclusively with break-ups and rejection. After all, if the break-up has already occurred, it is a little late for the kind of advice that could have made a difference...
"...[But] it has been my experience that, for most girls, a painful break-up or rejection is actually the beginning, not the end. It isn't the beginning of a relationship, obviously, but it is the turning point at which they start to question their approach to dating and relationships – the beginning of their efforts to make a change... 
"It is only after a painful or repeated loss that a woman begins to think twice about her approach to the opposite sex, and it is precisely then that she has the interest and motivation to learn why things didn't work... It also happens to be the time when she is most in need of advice about how to forget about him and move on – even if it isn't the advice she is most interested in receiving."
An additional consideration was that I get hundreds of e-mails every month asking for advice, and 95 % of them are questions about breakups. Although writing this book was a fairly big undertaking, it's a hell of a lot easier than re-writing the same 30 e-mails over and over again for the next ten or twenty years.

The topic is ostensibly narrow, but the reality is that you can't navigate a breakup properly without a pretty comprehensive understanding of male-female dynamics; so the book covers just about everything: what makes a man fall for a woman, the mindset with which men approach relationships, the model you should use for your expectations in relationships, what pulls relationships apart, the nature of your relationship with your boyfriends' family, the importance of emotional honesty, etc. - not to mention all the practical stuff like what to say, when to say it, how long to wait before contacting him again, and all the rest. I will post a full chapter list prior to publishing; but the point is that the book's topic is more of a framework for the discussion of much larger issues in dating and relationships than it is the theme of a purely practice guidebook. So the book will be extremely relevant to anyone who has been broken-up with or rejected, and probably even helpful to those who haven't. While I won't say that I'll never write another book, I don't have any plans to write a second one, so I didn't hold back any topics that might be more appropriate for future publications; I addressed everything here.

Originally, my plan was to simply publish a compilation of previous posts from the blog that were loosely related to the topic of breakups, with some additional wording weaving them all together. But the more I wrote, the more I realized was missing in order to cover the topic comprehensively; and the book soon grew into something far greater than just the existing material. I estimate that the re-used parts from the blog account for only 20 % of the book; and even those parts have been significantly expanded and improved. They also benefit from being placed in the wider context of the surrounding chapters. 

In total, the manuscript is just over 15,300 words, so it will probably be about 200 pages printed. Unless I receive an attractive book deal, the book will be self-published, in both paperback and electronic formats. It will also be available for purchase worldwide. I am not sure of the release date yet, but if I do go down the self-publishing route, it shouldn't take more than a few months to at least publish in electronic format, and the printed version will follow soon after. This might be a good point to mention that I am a complete rookie in self-publishing, and I know I have readers with experience of not expertise. So please e-mail me if you have any advice. I am very open to ideas, and I am also looking for one or two more (experienced) copy editors.

I want to end by pointing out that I am very proud of this book. Around the time that I started writing it, there were a few comments on the blog about the decline in post quality. That didn't surprise me, because - having started the book - my mind and energy was entirely dedicated to the topic of breakups and rejection, which meant that every new and insightful thought I had went into the book rather than the blog. Only the remnants ended up on the blog, which is why you only saw posts about jeans and sports for the last several months. But the book contains my best material to date, and I hope you will look forward to reading it as much as I am to publishing it.

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Importance of Variety in Your Appearance

There is a girl in my office that is extremely attractive. She is good-looking, but she is much more than that. She has great posture, always fixes her hair well, smiles frequently, is confident, and she generally radiates an air of femininity that is painfully lacking in many girls’ demeanor.

One thing that always stands out about this girl is the way that she dresses – specifically, the variety of clothes she wears. Every day she wears something completely different. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen her wearing the same thing twice. I am not making a statement about the quantity of outfits she owns or the size of her wardrobe; I know plenty of girls who wear different outfits every day but still look boring. This girl actually looks different every day. One day she will be wearing jeans and a blouse, the next day she will be wearing a long, close-fitting dress, the next day cotton dress-pants with a loose, flowing top, and the day after that a pencil skirt. I've seen this girl wear clothes and dress types that I didn't even know existed. I realize that might not be saying much coming from a guy, but the point is that she is very clearly an outlier relative to other girls when it comes to the variety of clothes she wears.

It would be hard to underestimate how much men love this – and I say that with confidence because I've talked about it with several other guys and they agree categorically. Her daily choice of clothes is the topic of our lunch conversation more often than is probably healthy. It’s worth pointing out that this attention isn't the wrong kind of attention. Plenty of girls could work their way into our conversation by wearing short dresses, small tops or tight skirts. In fact, plenty do, and we talk about them too. But we come back to this girl way more than the others because we are constantly surprised and impressed with the variety. It’s hugely refreshing to see her every day in a different outfit.

While I am sure that women can appreciate variety in male fashion also, I am convinced that this is something men appreciate much more than women. I've explained before how strongly men crave sexual variety, and I've explained the importance of visual stimulation. By varying her appearance, a woman appeals to both of those masculine desires. Of course she can’t actually be someone else; but by looking different every day, she can come close enough. I don’t have a huge amount of evidence to support that claim, but when I think about how tempted I would be to cheat on the girl I am describing versus other girls that are equally attractive, there isn't much of a competition.

Having thought about it a bit recently, I can break down this girl’s fashion success into three factors:
  1. She takes risks. This girl doesn't always look good. In fact, I've seen her look downright horrible at times. One day she came in wearing these shitty gypsy-looking baggy pants and an ugly shirt, and I almost cried. A couple times she's worn colors that washed her out completely. I’d say that roughly 5-10 % of the time, she looks bad. But I realize that no one can pull off the kind of variety I am advocating without fucking up occasionally; besides, the variety and successes are both well-worth the mistakes. In fact, I would even be fine with more mistakes if it meant I’d get a girl who was equally dynamic in her wardrobe.
  2. She doesn't pay attention to office fashion norms. In other words, she doesn't think “this is a professional environment; a sun dress is inappropriate.” She might not always be wearing clothes that are “appropriate,” in the sense that they play down or divert attention from her looks, but neither is she dressing overly sexy or provocatively. Trying to bring women into the workplace and expecting them to dress like men is about as ridiculous as asking men to stay home with the kids and forcing them to dress like women. Women need to be allowed to be women, and “appropriate” has unfortunately been defined largely by a society that doesn't fully understand that.
  3. She enjoys looking good. There is no way that a girl will be able to force herself to dress in such a varied manner if she doesn't enjoy doing it. And although you shouldn't try to force yourself to enjoy it, you can let yourself enjoy it to whatever degree you naturally do. I said a lot about this in the post Femininity, Authenticity and Compatibility, so I won’t repeat myself here; but I want to make one additional point in that regard: you don’t need to be a supermodel to enjoy looking great, and you don’t even need to be hot for men to appreciate how you dress. Let yourself enjoy looking your best in as many ways as possible.
Of course, these principles apply to make-up and hair also. The important principle is appearance variety, not just wardrobe variety - but you can draw the analogies.

For the record, I recognize that having a wide variety of clothes can be expensive. And I am not going to pretend that women with less income are without a disadvantage here. That's life. If it helps stomach that fact, you can remind yourself that wealth disparities affect men in their dating lives far more than they affect women. But anyway there are plenty of ways to work the concept of variety into your wardrobe without breaking your bank, and there are plenty of girls reading this post right now who spend all kinds of money on wardrobes bigger and more boring than this girl’s. Make the most with what you have.

Now, all this being said, there is some value in the adage “looking good every day is more important than looking different every day.” While I suspect this statement was popularized more more with men’s fashion in mind than women’s, I also want to make it clear that I am not advocating wearing ugly clothes or crazy make-up only for the sake of variety. You need to indulge in variety wisely, choosing colors and cuts that look good on you. But within the limits of what you know suspect makes you look good, don’t be intimidated by the pressures of “what is acceptable” or what feels safe at the expense of what is different. Different counts for a lot.

Related Posts:
1. The Most Important Time to Dress Well
2. Feminine Beauty is Highly Controllable
3. Men and Sexual Variety
4. The Importance of Taking Fashion Risks