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 almost definitely 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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Advice Roundup 2

Here is another round of questions and answers that have come through my inbox recently:

1 ----------------

Andrew,

I have a question for you. I read your blog, really value your opinion, and would so much appreciate your input.

Do men ever feel a sense of obligation to keep in touch with a girl? I have been seeing my older brothers best friend (age 28, i am 24) for a few months, and get the feeling he may now just be keeping in touch out of politeness, to avoid a situation with my brother - do guys do this?

Is it ever right to wait for a guy you really like, if he is moving slower than you want to? I feel as if the waiting for a relationship to form drives women absolutely crazy - is it right for the beginnings of relationships to feel like this?

Thank you in advance, very much.
Sandra

Sandra,

Probably he isn't doing it out of politeness. He probably likes you, and enjoys being in touch with you because he likes flirting with the idea of something happening between you, but he is probably too worried about the fact that he's friends with your brother to actually make a move. Or maybe he just wants to talk casually to decide if his attraction to you is enough to risk his friendship with your brother.

There is no reason (other than the strain on your patience...) why you can't continue talking to him, and seeing where things go. If this goes on for several months and you are talking regularly - say, a few times a week - but he isn't doing anything, you might bring it up by telling him that, while you are interested in dating, you understand the situation is complicated by your brother, but you also don't want to keep talking endlessly if he is never going to decide it's worth a shot. Of course, this is just a soft way of telling him to grow some balls and make a decision, and it's likely to bring the whole thing to an end, but if that is what happens, you'd be fooling yourself in believing that the "whole thing" would ever have worked out anyway.

Good luck,
Andrew

2 ----------------

Hi Andrew, your blog is awesome!

My question is, would a man ever want a non-sexual friendship with a woman just to get emotional support? I had a sexual relationship with this guy for six months last year. We met through a community project. We ended it mutually... We wanted to try to keep our friendship intact because we will continue to have community interaction, and we care about each other.

We have both tried hard to keep the friendship. He is a natural alpha guy, man of few words, but has always made the effort to text me and call and we've stayed in pretty close contact like this for months. He has taken some big personal hits over the last couple years and I give him a lot of support and praise (not that he'd ever ask) which I think he likes and maybe even needs. The problem? I feel like he avoids seeing me in public. We have mutual friends and opportunities to be out together and socialize, and he doesn't pursue it. It feels weird to me to have just a phone relationship. It's always drummed in girls' heads that guys never want to be friends with women. Is it possible this is just an ego feed for him and he doesn't actually want to be friends? Despite all the texts and calls it's hard not to take it personally that he never wants to get together face to face in a platonic setting... which is what I do with all my other friends.

Thanks for your help!
Majda

Majda,

His willingness to stay in touch is definitely motivated in part by the fact that he enjoys the personal chemistry between you and the conversations, etc. - but for sure there is an element of ego there too. He likes knowing you like him. Incidentally, this means that he must have some level of sexual attraction to you also (otherwise his ego wouldn't value your attraction to him); but his unwillingness to take it any further is a much stronger indication that the level of attraction isn't high enough to get back together. I'd tell him you are interested in getting back together, but you realize that he isn't on the same page, and that because you see things differently, you think it's better not to talk. Then cut him off.

Good luck,
Andrew

3 ----------------

Hi Andrew,

I have a very quick wit and use natural puns, double meanings, subtle references in conversation--people laugh a lot around me. I've cut my playful, though sarcastic, banter but kept wondering this: Do masculine guys like girls with great situational humor or not? Do I "lose points?" I am otherwise extremely feminine. Still stepping on Mr. Alpha's toes?

Thanks!
Rebecca

Rebecca,

I realize I am reading between the lines a lot here, but I have a hunch that your sense of humor is a way you've subconsciously attempted to make yourself stand out to men, i.e. to make them notice you. And if I am right about that, it isn't your success (or even failure) at being funny that is turning men off, it's the fact that men can recognize your discomfort with who you are shining through your attempts at being funny. I think you've made the right move by scaling back your wit a little bit, since I suspect you were using humor as a crutch for garnering male attention. As you probably have realized, good and bad attention are sometimes difficult to distinguish, and the desire to be recognized can very easily blur the lines between the two. I suggest recognizing that (a) you don't need to be the most beautiful girl in the world to find a man that you love and who loves you back, (b) being comfortable with who you are is way more attractive than humor - in fact it rivals physical beauty for the most attractive female quality, and (c) just because there are other girls who are prettier doesn't mean that you can't be noticed for your looks too.

Good Luck,
Andrew

4 ----------------

Hi Andrew,

In your blog, you say that a woman should never tell a man when she will sleep with him. However, you also advise women who want a high-quality boyfriend not sleep with a man until he has demonstrated commitment. In most cases, demonstrating commitment = agreeing to date exclusively.

These two bits of advice seem to contradict each other. For example, let's say you like a guy, you've been dating for a while, and you haven't had sex yet. You want to let him know that you are willing to have sex eventually (so that he doesn't give up in despair), but only after you're exclusive. But if you say "I want to be exclusive before sex," you're essentially saying, "I'll have sex with you when we're exclusive." So by communicating that exclusivity is necessary before sex, you're breaking the rule about never telling a man when you'll sleep with him.

What's the best way to manage this situation?

Thanks!!
Ana

Ana,

You are right in the sense that saying "I want to be exclusive before sex" implies that you'll sleep with him once he commits. But I don't recommend phrasing it that way, mainly because I don't recommend thinking about it that way.

The implication of such a statement is not only that you'll sleep with him once he commits, but that you have essentially already decided that you want commitment from him. But if you are in doubt about his willingness to commit - to the point that you are turning him down for sex - then you shouldn't be sure yet about what you want from him. This isn't because you should play hard to get; it is because, if you are self-confident and have a non-needy approach to dating, you shouldn't want commitment from anyone who doesn't like you enough to commit to you. Everything else about a guy might be great, but unless he desires you enough to be exclusive (and demonstrates that by pushing for exclusivity), one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is completely missing.

Instead, I suggest saying "I am not ready for that yet," or better yet, "I only sleep with my boyfriends." This frames the whole interaction in a healthier mindset, because there is no implication that you'll say "yes" if he asks you be to exclusive with him. There is therefore also no implication that you will sleep with him, let alone when.

Hope that helps,
Andrew

5 ----------------

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the great blog!

I am 32, female and single. I have an illness which does not have any effect on my daily life, but I don't have enough eggs and no periods without pills. Despite this I have 5-10 % to fall pregnant spontaneously, but doctors can't improve this percentage. I do want kids but I am also happy to adopt. My question is, when and how should I tell a guy? I am worried to death that a guy will be disgusted by my infertility.

Thanks a lot!
Anika

Anika,

You shouldn't tell a guy about your low fertility until you are sure that marriage is something he is considering. On the surface, that might seem like a long time to wait; but the flip side of that advice is that (assuming that marriage is what you want from dating) you shouldn't continue dating a guy more than 6 months without knowing that marriage is something he is at least starting to think about. If at 6 months you know that the guy isn't even asking himself whether or not you could be his wife someday, then he isn't on the same page as you, and you shouldn't continue dating him. If you are uncertain about whether or not he is considering it, then you should bring up the subject yourself sometime before 6 months. This isn't "pressuring" a guy; it's making sure that you are only dating men who have the same goals as you, and are on the same timeline. Yes that means that you won't be able to date a lot of men, but that's just part of the dating landscape for women interested in marriage.

So the short answer to your question is 6 months at the latest, and as soon as you know he is taking you seriously at the earliest. I am saying this not because I think you have some kind of moral obligation to tell him, but because you don't want to spend too much time with a guy for whom your fertility will be a deal-breaker. But of course, you also don't want a guy to write you off before they have a chance to really appreciate you.

Good luck,
Andrew

----------------

If you want to ask me for advice, please follow the guidelines here: How to Ask Me for Advice And if you liked this post, let me know in the comments; I have about 200 more e-mails I need to answer, so I should have plenty of material for additional posts like this.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Advice Roundup 1

I spent the last month without a computer, so I am way behind on posting and e-mails. In an effort to get back on track with both simultaneously, and because I haven't posted any reader Q&A in a while, the following are 5 that I thought might be of general interest - either because they are unique, or recurring, or not covered elsewhere on the blog.

1 ----------------

Hi Andrew....

My ex broke up with me he claims its because I have tattoos and different kids father but he has tattoos and 2 different kids mom.

In the beginning of the dating I asked if he mind if I have tattoos and he replied,  "So do I, why would I mind?" Two months into the relationship he says that at the rate our relationship is moving he had to step back and think about every thing and me having tattoos and kids by different men (my ex husband and another guy) he could no longer be with me. He said he really enjoyed me and was having a blast but couldn't get past those two factors.

We became a couple fast. He said he had never ask a girl to be his girlfriend as fast as he asked me. Could the fact that it was going too good for him scared him away? I never pressed the issue of us being together... It was all him. Your thoughts please

Thank you,
Janette

Janette,

The tattoos and even your kids are excuses to avoid telling you what he really dislikes about you - which he might not actually know definitively for himself. But if things were really going as well as they were in the beginning, he would still be able to look past those things. He is losing interest, and now he is latching onto the obvious "problems" - as I said, either because he wants to avoid telling you the truth, or because he just has a gut feeling that something is wrong but he can't pinpoint what it is. The tattoos and kids from other men are just easy scapegoats.

Keep in mind that the beginning of any relationship is always colored in a man's mind by the prospect (and if you sleep with him, the actuality) of sex with a new woman. He was able to look past the things about you that he dislikes - not just the tattoos and children - because he was partially distracted by the novelty. Now that the novelty has started to dissipate, he is looking at you and the relationship more critically. In the future, you need to treat with a heavy dose of skepticism anything a man says to you during the first, say, three months of being together.

And come on, you know as well as I do that no guy (or girl) has ever genuinely been scared away by something being "too good."

Good luck,
Andrew

2 ----------------

Dear Andrew!

I have a friend who was interested and liked me and thought I am beautiful, however, did not tell me directly recently, so, I was not 100% sure, if he still has feelings for me. Important point: he has never been in a relationship (we both are pretty inexperienced due to cultural things, and priorities for studies, etc.)
Recently, he asked me for a favor, I helped, he responded "thank you, you're the best!)", then i joked, and then he: "not only, in general you're the best",

My intuition is telling me, that this reply is a typical "friend-zoning" answer, do you think so? I helped him twice, when he asked me, probably I shouldn't have done that. However, I never called first, tried to show limited interest towards him, only responded when asked, never stalked him on facebook, since I liked him. Now I learnt that bitter lesson, that I even shouldn't have helped him eagerly... since men need to be ignored totally to like you (sorry).

Thanks,
Zeneb

Zeneb,

"My intuition is telling me, that this reply is a typical ‘friend-zoning’ answer, do you think so?"
No, a guy could say that in an attempt to hint at the fact that he really likes you.

The interesting part of your question is the second part. You didn't make a mistake in helping him. A lot of girls mistakenly believe that they need to be cold and distant to attract a guy. But you don't need to be cold; you just need to maintain your personal boundaries. So, for example, if he'd asked you to help him at a time when you already had plans to do something else, it wouldn't be smart to change those plans just to spend time with him (i.e. a guy who hasn't proved his genuine interest in you yet). But if you were free to help, you definitely should have helped him. It's a perfectly natural thing to do, and it provides an opportunity to get to know you better and ask you out. If you are constantly avoiding those opportunities, he will get the impression that asking you out will surely end in rejection, and he won’t even try.

Good Luck,
Andrew

3 ----------------

Andrew,

I've been with my boyfriend for 7 years. He's 29 years old, I am 25. We started dating when I was 17.

We fight a lot. However, we often speak about marriage and imagine a future together. He broke up with me a week ago and told me he can't trust me and can't be with someone who he will always doubt because of an incident that happened 6 years ago. I went to hang out with friends (guys and girls) from work and didn't want to answer his phone calls [mainly because] I felt like I couldn't do anything on my own. Even hang out with my friends because I felt like he was checking up on me.

I don't give him reasons to doubt me. Instead, he's the one who does that. For almost 2 years, he's been clubbing. When we first started dating, he NEVER did this and I don't know if that is the reason why he does this now. He goes out behind my back and I always find out because of Facebook or Instagram. He has girls who will leave comments on Facebook. I've seen pictures of him with girls (side hugging) and I get very jealous. I act like a crazy girlfriend. I feel the need to always be checking on things to find out what he's doing.

I know our relationship is not healthy and I'm sure you've read the "but I love him" sentence before. Yes, I know that is not enough BUT it's hard not to try and make things work after 7 years of a relationship. I don't know what to do. We were fine and suddenly he comes out with this. I'm heartbroken.

Thank you,
Cara

Cara,

There isn't an easy way to tell you this, but I am also sure that you know it already: your ex was just looking for an excuse to end the relationship. There are two ways I know this: first, the fact that he is citing an incident from years ago rather than something recent (i.e. relevant), but secondly - and this is the interesting part of your question - the clubbing.

Clubbing is inherently sexual in nature. Your ex might not be sleeping with the girls that he meets in clubs, but by indulging in the nightclub atmosphere, he is indulging in sex by proximity - he is getting "close" to sex. And of course it is possible that he is sleeping with the girls he meets; it might not just be proximate. Either way, his going to clubs is a clear sign that he doesn't feel sexually fulfilled in the relationship. That doesn't surprise me, because men crave sexual variety, and he's spent the vast majority of his 20s committed to you, while the social norm for a guy that age is to be having sex with lots of girls. He's probably been feeling that "deficit" for a while now - at least since he started going out, but probably before.

You are right that the relationship isn't healthy, and I understand that you feel like you are throwing away seven years by letting him go. But it should help to realize that the relationship has been dead for at least two of those years already. This will also help you to frame the situation (rightly) as letting go of something that's already dead, rather than (wrongly) thinking of it as holding on to something that still might have some life. It doesn't.

Good luck,
Andrew

4 ----------------

Hi Andrew

I am 27 years old. How can women best go about putting herself out there and go out to places like bars, cafes, events to potentially meet guys, when she has no single girl friends to be her wing women?
I have many friends, however, no single girlfriends. My girlfriends rarely go out these days, and when they do, they always have to go early like 8-9pm.

Kindest Regards.
Anne

Anne,

You aren't asking the right question. You shouldn't be asking how to meet guys on your own, you should be asking how to make more girl friends. If you were 40 and living in a small town, maybe I would understand, since a lot of the women your age would be married; but at 27, this really shouldn't be a problem.

Either your life situation isn't set up in such a way that allows you to meet other girls, or else you are closing yourself off to new female relationships. If the former, then move, or change jobs, or do whatever you need to change your life situation. If the latter, start making real efforts to open up to other women more. If a girl can't even relate to her own sex easily, she can't expect to be successful interacting with the opposite sex.

Incidentally, I think you'll find that as you make more girlfriends and expand your social circle, you will meet their guy acquaintances and might not even need the bar scene.

Good Luck,
Andrew

5 ----------------

Andrew,

I have a simple question and it is one you have not answered before on your blog. Why would a guy ask for your phone number and then not call?

Thanks,
Jamie

Jamie,

Men do this to prove to themselves that they can get your phone number. In other words, they do it out of pride. This might be a shitty thing to do, but recognize that it is ultimately rooted in insecurity or narcissism: either he has a low enough opinion of himself that he needs the reminder that girls like him, or else he is so obsessed with the fact that women like him, that he cannot resist reminding himself of it. Either way, you should be glad that the guy didn't call you.

On rare occasions, a guy might have recently met another girl that he likes more than you, and be focusing on her instead.

Hope that helps,
Andrew

----------------

If you want to ask me for advice, please follow the guidelines here: How to Ask Me for Advice And if you liked this post, let me know in the comments; I have about 200 more e-mails I need to answer, so I should have plenty of material for additional posts like this one.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to Date as a Virgin

I didn't kiss a girl until I was 20 years old. Although that doesn't seem very odd to me in retrospect, it definitely made me feel awkward at the time. From about the age of 16 on, I vividly remember being paranoid of admitting to my friends that I'd never kissed a girl. The fear was so severe that I used to rehearse in my mind how I would equivocate if I were ever asked about it.

I was much less ashamed about being a virgin, because virginity was something I actively believed in at the time. Not having kissed a girl, on the other hand, was just a product of my inability to attract the kind of girl I wanted to kiss. But anyway, the point is that I know how much pressure a girl (or woman) can feel to live up to what she sees as the socially acceptable level of sexual experience for someone her age. And even though my beliefs have changed a lot since then, I can also identify with the belief that sex should be saved for marriage, or at least for some significant level of feeling or commitment.

There is no doubt in my mind that female virgins feel this pressure. One of the most common questions I get from readers is "what will he think if he finds out that I am a virgin?" I've already written a post answering this question, but I also want to discuss the best way to go about dating as a virgin. And I will do that by answering the next four most common questions that I receive from girls about virginity, namely:

  1. Should you tell the guys you date that you are a virgin?
  2. When should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?
  3. How should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?
  4. How do you know when to give your virginity to a guy?

I'll address each question separately. But first, I want to take a moment to highlight what is perhaps the important thing...

One of the biggest problems virgins face is that they don't know why they want to be virgins. Their parents told them not to sleep around, and it seemed like a good idea for a while, but it isn't something they've ever decided for themselves - or if they did at some point, they're now starting to doubt that decision. Meanwhile, the social pressure to do otherwise is starting to increase, as is their hormonal drive - both of which they were warned against by their parents. The result is an internal conflict that makes both paths seem "wrong" and incredibly difficult to reconcile.

Let me be clear: I am not going to tell you that virginity is right or wrong, and I am not going to tell you whether or not you should stay a virgin. That is a normative decision, and not mine to make for you. I will say that Western society has undeniably pushed the normal marriage age beyond the years at which are bodies are prime for sex and children (few people will dispute this). And while this doesn't mean that you should or shouldn't have sex, it does mean that if you want to stay a virgin until marriage, it's going to be tough.

Without having a clear idea in your mind about the circumstances in which you want to lose your virginity, there is no way that you are going to be able to resist the social and biological pressure to have sex; and as I will explain, neither is there any way that you will be confident in your dating life. So the first thing you need to do in order to start dating successfully as a virgin is to decide when or under what circumstances you want to stop dating as a virgin.

With that said, let's get into the questions...

1. Should you tell the guys you are date that you are a virgin?

This seems like a simple "yes" or "no" question, but it isn't. The very fact that you feel the need to ask it betrays a problem much deeper than your confusion about whether or not to tell a guy that you've never had sex before. The problem is that you are treating your virginity like something that you have to admit, which is another way of saying that you are treating it like something that you need to hide. So the far more important question is "why do I feel ashamed of my virginity?"

Usually, the answer is that you aren't sure of your reasons for being a virgin to begin with. If you were really sure of your life decisions, you wouldn't be worried about what the guys you date think of them. You'd (rightly) disqualify guys who disapproved of your virginity because their disapproval betrays their incompatibility with you.

Once you are comfortable with your decision, you won't need me to tell you the answer to your original question, which is that, yes, you should tell him you are a virgin, but only if the topic comes up naturally. And this brings us to the second question...

2.  When should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?

Telling a guy that you are a virgin should be no different than telling him who you voted for in the presidential elections, or whether or not you believe in god, or any other potentially divisive fact about yourself. You wouldn't feel a need to "confess" to him that you voted for Ron Paul on your first date; but you'd tell him if he asked - or if your political views came up in the course of conversation. Virginity, politics, religion, etc. - these are the kinds of things that you eventually need to know about each other because they reveal a person's values; but we don't immediately discuss them because a person's values aren't the only important thing about them. If you skipped the conversation about favorite movies, or family, or personal interests, you'd be missing a big piece of the picture. Likewise, if you only talked about how much you both love that one comedian, and never brought up those topics that make you a little nervous to discuss, you'd be missing out on important information about the other person.

Topics like politics and virginity make you nervous because they can be divisive, and you are afraid of losing him if you learn that each other have clashing values (e.g. if he doesn't value virginity, but you do). But by guarding this information about yourself, you are missing out. Not only will being open about yourself allow you to find a compatible man, it will be attractive because it will show that you are confident about who you are and how you choose to live your life. You need to be comfortable with the idea of losing a guy before you can be open enough to attract him. In fact, often when a man seems turned off by a girls virginity, it isn't her virginity that is the problem; it's her insecurity.

Since having confidence in your life decisions is more easily said than done, it can help to know that most guys won't think you are weird for being a virgin; and if a guy is put off by it, it is because he wasn't that into you to begin with.

3.  How should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?

In order to answer this question, we need to look more closely at what I mean by the topic "coming up naturally." This could happen fairly directly - for example, over dinner on a first date, if he is bold enough to bring up sex and the conversation takes a natural path towards sexual experience. But more than likely, it will happen when you are in bed together and you shut him down when tries to take things to a sexual level. The first few times this happens, he will probably just attribute it to you not being ready for sex. But eventually, he is going to start wondering and he will probably ask you about it. At that point, here is a good way to navigate the conversation that is likely to follow:
You: "No, that's going too far, we need to slow down."
Him: "Really? I mean, we've been through this several times, and we've been dating for three months now... Are you... are you a virgin?"
You: "Yeah"
Him: "I thought so."
You: "Yeah, I mean, getting close to having sex makes me a little uncomfortable, just because I've never had sex before, so I am not surprised that you noticed."
Him: "Wow, so you've never had sex before?"
You: "Haha nope."
Him: "Haha never?!? That's crazy - why not?"
You: "[insert your personal reasoning here and - if it is true- explain that you aren't opposed to having sex with the right guy]"
Him: "Yeah well I respect that" [Note: Almost every guy will say this. Yes, as you suspect, it's at least half bullshit. If he really respected, it, he'd still be a virgin himself. He says this to make you feel better about the situation, which he probably suspects is a little awkward for you.]
You: "So, umm... can we continue making out now? I was kind of enjoying that..."
Otherwise the conversation could come up somewhat randomly - say, while you are sitting on the couch together watching TV. If he brings up something related to sex, for example, the conversation might require you to point out that you are a virgin. In that case, go ahead and do so. I'll use a "tough" example. Assume that you are 23 and he is 24:
Him: "Haha today at work me and the guys were talking about sex, and this one guy, Paul - actually you know him, you met him at Jessica's party - anyway, he's kind of a ladies' man, but somehow it came up that he didn't lose his virginity until he was 23!"
You: "Wow, that's pretty late..." [your heart starts beating a little faster, sensing that the question might come up any moment now. The gears in your head start spinning, thinking about how you can avoid it. Try to ignore both reactions.]
Him: "Yeah, I couldn't believe it. I mean, I am pretty tame when it comes to sleeping with girls, and I lost mine when I was 19. Actually, I even thought that was late..." [your nerves kick in even more, knowing that he considers 19 "late." But this is also where you choose to engage the topic, in spite of your fear.]
You: "19 isn't that late, but 23 definitely is later than normal... Haha you don't know this about me, but I am actually still a virgin."
Him: "Wait, what - really? You're kidding. You're 23; how are you still a virgin??"
You: "Well, see... in my teens I was super horny and I didn't want STDs or a baby before getting married, so I had my doctor sew up my vagina."
Him: "Haha WTF?!?"
You: "I'm kidding! No, ok, I mean, I don't know, I guess most of the guys that have been interested in sex were clearly only interested in sex. I am not waiting for Mr. Perfect, but I am too proud to let a guy bang me when I know he is just going to take off afterwards. I mean come on... So yeah, my criteria are a little higher than most girls' and it just hasn't happened yet."
Him: "I guess that makes sense. I really respect that."
You: "Good. So anyway, what else happened today at work?"
The point is that, even if it feels like a big deal and you are nervous, just "jump in" and tell him. Even if he reacts as if it's a big deal, your reaction will set the tone more than his. No matter what he says, maintain a tone of voice that says "yeah, I am a virgin... So?" Also, if you need the motivation to "jump in," know that it's better to be the one to say it first (as in the example above) than to only "admit" it after he pries it out of you. This looks insecure, and as we discussed earlier: insecure < virgin.

4. How do you know when to give your virginity to a guy?

This is another question that betrays somewhat of the wrong attitude. If you have to ask it, it suggests that you don't know why you are a virgin. If you knew why you are a virgin, you would also know under what circumstances you are willing to stop being a virgin. The two go hand in hand. If you don't want to have sex until you fall in love, then have sex once you fall in love. If you don't want to have sex until marriage, then have sex after you get married. If you don't want to have sex until X happens, have sex only after X happens. Not having had sex until X happens might be a little counter-cultural, but it beats the hell out of losing your virginity before X happens and living with the knowledge that a culture bullied you into it.

It isn't complicated. In fact, it is too simple to be the real issue behind the question. The danger, and the real reason girls ask the question, is that after several months or years of holding on to a principle (whether that be meeting an ideal lover or a moral code), you become frustrated at your inability to meet the criteria you set out for yourself. Maybe you haven't met the kind of guy you're willing to give your virginity to, or maybe you haven't gotten married yet. When this happens, the temptation is to either 
(a) blame that inability on the fact that you are a virgin, or
(b) convince yourself that your requirements for sex were exaggerated, and then sleep with the next guy who comes along to prove to yourself that you really believe it. 
Both are weak attempts to hide from the truth, which is that you failed to reach the situation in which you'd be comfortable having sex. That failure might not have been your fault, but it is the disappointing reality nonetheless, and this is where questions about "how do you know when..." creep in. So my advice is this: don't compromise your ideal; figure out what you have to do to live up to that ideal, and start working towards it. Rise to the challenge. Yes, there is such a thing as having unrealistic expectations, and you should give some thought to this, but be careful of falling into situation (b), above.


Related Posts
1. What Men Think About Your Virginity
2. What Men Think About Your Sexual History
3. Never Tell a Guy When You'll Have Sex With Him

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stop Lying to Your Friends

Girls are famous for complimenting each other and supporting each other with their words. On the surface, this seems like a good thing. Telling your girl friend that she looks hot before a night out will boost her ego; telling her that the guy who just dumped her wasn't worth her time will help her get over him faster; and telling her that she has a "Beyonce butt" will make her feel more comfortable about her body... right? Wrong.

When you do these things, you are letting your girlfriend wallow in her mediocrity. If you tell your friend that she looks good when she doesn't, she isn't going to make an effort to look better next time. If you tell your friend that the guy wasn't worth her time, when the truth is that he definitely was worth her time, you are only going to prevent her from doing what she needs to do to make herself more attractive to the next guy of that caliber. And if you tell her that her big ass is sexy, she isn't going to lose the weight she needs to make it look better. 

Granted, your girl friend probably isn't naive enough or dishonest enough with herself to completely believe you when you say these things; but I am willing to bet that neither is she wise enough nor honest enough with herself to disbelieve them completely. By telling her anything less than the complete truth, you are placing a Band-Aid over the wound; you aren't substantially helping her. Or worse, you are cowering from your fear of telling her the harsh truth, only because you want to avoid the confrontation that it might cause. Even your excuse about making her feel good about herself falls flat, because a girl's "need to feel beautiful" cannot be satisfied by empty or equivocated compliments.

The problem with this kind of "support" is deeper than just the effect that you have on your friend. Not only are you wrong about the fact that you are helping her, you are probably also wrong in believing that your motive was to help her in the first place. You tell her that she looks hot because you think she needs to hear that she looks hot. But that is just a symptom of the fact that, if you were in her situation, you would feel the need to hear that you look hot - precisely because you wouldn't believe it. And you tell her that her ex wasn't worth her time mainly because, if you were in her situation, you wouldn't be comfortable with accepting the harsh reality that he was absolutely worth your time, but you lost him. And if you had an ass that size, you'd want to believe that the shape compensated for the size, because you'd hate having to face the reality that your ass is huge, and that you actually need to start a real workout, rather than just reading magazines on the treadmill three times a week. In other words, your inability to be honest with your friend is a reflection of your discomfort being honest with yourself.

Granted, there are right ways and wrong ways to break the news to your friend that she is fat, or looks bad, or just lost the man of her dreams - or any other news she isn't going to want to hear. I am not suggesting that when she asks "doesn't my ass look big in this?" you reply "yeah, like huge!" There are ways to get the truth across tactfully, one of which is not embarrassing her in front of others. For example, in that situation (assuming there were others present), you could say something like "It's probably not the right dress for you" and then later - in person - tell her that she should throw it away.

Also, pointing out problems without solutions is the hallmark of un-helpfulness. So the other important thing to do is to help her find a way to improve whatever it is you are giving her honest feedback about. After you tell her that you actually thing she lost a great guy, for example, don't just stop there and let her believe (wrongly) that she has an inherent lack of ability to get a quality man; tell her that you think you know a couple reasons he might have left, and offer to help her improve in those areas.

By starting to be more honest with your girl friends, you aren't going to start a revolution in the way that women give each other feedback and advice. This is something rooted in female nature, in the same way that the male inability to engage each other emotionally is rooted in theirs (and neither is a strength). But you could do something far more important, in the sense that it affects you a lot more: you could change the culture in your group of friends. If one or two of you start breaking the insincere compliment cycle, the others will catch on, and soon realize that yours is a better course of action. The more you foster that culture among your group of friends, the more you all will benefit from the mutual honesty, the more you will improve yourselves and your chances with the opposite sex.


Related Posts

Thursday, March 20, 2014

CLEO Magazine Interview

I was contacted a few months ago by an editor from the Australian women's magazine, CLEO, asking if I could answer a few questions for an article that would be in their March 2014 issue. I agreed, and we exchanged the questions by e-mail.

In the end, my answers were quoted considerably in the article, as was the post Men Don't Fall in Love the Same Way Women Do. The editor was kind enough to send me a hard copy of the magazine, as well as an electronic copy of the article, so I've included it in full as images in this post (you can click on the images to enlarge them, or open them in a new tab or window to zoom in and read the text).

Not all of the interview was quoted, of course, but as it touched on some interesting points about men and women, and gives a nice "meta" view of the blog, I thought it might be of general interest. The full text of the interview follows.
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1. How did ‘The Rules Revisited’ come about?

I’d say The Rules Revisited was conceived out of the convergence of three factors in my life. The first was the process that I went through myself in learning how to attract women. This started soon after I graduated from college, and in many ways is still on-going; but it showed me that self-improvement is a very real possibility – even for someone like me, who at first felt utterly powerless with the opposite sex. The second was my love of writing and the need for a substantial way to exercise it. Initially I considered starting a blog for men, but most of the ideas that I found engaging and useful had already been pretty well articulated by others. The third factor was the recognition that, in spite of there being this vast network of men producing material to help each other improve their chances with women, there really wasn't anything out there for women trying to improve their chances with men. It felt a bit one-sided, especially because I knew from my own dating experience how badly the advice was needed. With that realization, the concept of the blog was obvious, and I immediately sat down to write the first few posts. I haven’t stopped since.

2. Your advice is quite blunt and to-the-point – what was the initial response like from readers?

It was very positive, actually. To this date, I've never received a single complaint about the tone of the blog being too harsh or too blunt; but I've received hundreds of e-mails from readers expressing their appreciation for the bluntness specifically. In hindsight this doesn't surprise me. Women today are absolutely starved of honesty. Less-attractive women are constantly told that “inner beauty is all that matters” (yet their experience tells them exactly the opposite), while more-attractive women are plagued by the insincerity of men trying to get them into bed, or being transparently nice to them just because they are pretty. If a girl asks a male friend for dating advice, she knows that it is liable to be skewed by his attraction to her; and her girlfriends can sometimes be too nice, or even jealous. The tone of the blog was never something premeditated; it is just the way I think and write. But I understand why it is appreciated.

(Right-click and choose "Open link in new tab," then you can zoom in on the text)
I do get a lot of readers telling me that they are initially shocked or turned-off by the blog; but they say that they were intrigued. So they continued… and continued… until finally they realized that they agreed – at least with most things. And this is good, because it is exactly the type of reaction you expect when you are giving advice that is somewhat counter-cultural, yet true. Of course, I have to assume that some readers never get passed the “shocked” phase; I just never hear from them because they close their browser and move on. But that is expected also. Not everyone has an attention span and an open mind.

Ultimately, I understand that my readers appreciate my blog because they can trust it. They’d rather read a blog that they disagree with occasionally but trust completely, than a book or website that is trying to sell them something – even if it sounds good every time.

3. Has that response changed at all over time? How so?

It hasn't really, no. The number of people giving feedback has increased dramatically, but the types of responses (and the relative percentages of each type) haven’t changed.

4. What have been some of your most popular topics/posts?

One of the most popular has definitely been The Importance of Silence After a Breakup. Even though I wrote it fairly recently, it has already accumulated the second highest amount of traffic, and has by far the highest number of comments, which are overwhelmingly positive. I am in the final stages of writing a book that expands considerably on this topic, and how to handle breaking up with a man in general.

The post with the highest number of hits is Men Don’t Fall In Love The Same Way Women Do. The comments aren't all positive, but it has the largest number of and +1s on Google by far. I suspect its popularity is partially driven by the number of girls searching the internet for “how men fall in love,” (which is the number one search term leading to my blog) and the absolute absence of other material trying to explain it. I am in the process of writing a better post on the same topic at the moment.

A few others that have been very popular are:
What Men Think of You Without Makeup (this gets shared a lot on beauty forums)
What Men Think About Older Women (fairly controversial, as judged by the comments)

Some of my best posts are the newer ones, which dig a little deeper:

5. Your blog tagline says that, in your experience, women understand very little about men and the male mindset. Why do you think this is?

Well, for starters, it definitely isn't just women who are confused about the male mindset; men are equally confused about the female mindset – I just happen to write for women. There is a notion floating around that it has “always been this way,” but I absolutely disagree. A hundred years ago in Western societies, men knew what women wanted and women knew what men wanted. Even if they weren't happy with the rules of the game, and even if the rules were wrong, everyone knew them and played by them. But all that has recently changed, because we've rejected the old script. We live in a hugely tumultuous time for male-female relations. Men and women are “equal” now, but no one knows what to do anymore to attract the opposite sex. In the absence of any authority telling us how to behave, both sexes hear the word “equal,” shrug their shoulders in confusion, and assume that it means “the same.” We conclude that men want from women the same things that women want from men, and we act accordingly. But it isn't true. Social evolution (let alone biological evolution, which I think plays a part) doesn't occur that quickly. Both sexes still want significantly different things, but no one is telling us this anymore. And even though there is some overlap in our desires, this actually makes things more confusing, because it just serves to further mask the differences. Both sexes are currently standing in the rubble of a social battlefield, each trying to give the other what it doesn't want – mainly because we just don’t know any better.

6. In your opinion, what are the main differences in how men and women give each other dating advice?

That is a great question, because there are enormous differences. One of the largest symptoms of this difference, as I explained before, is actually one of the reasons that I started The Rules Revisited, and that is the complete lack of dating advice available for women on the internet – or in the media in general, for that matter. In the last 15 years, men have generated thousands upon thousands of books, blogs, websites, videos, businesses, etc. – each picking apart a different aspect of attracting women: overcoming approach anxiety, being authentic in a woman’s presence, mastering one-night stands, attracting women online, and so on. The sheer volume is impressive, and actually a huge testament to how much the male world revolves around the pursuit of women. But when you search for similar books or websites for women, you find very few – and many of them are actually written by men.

In my experience, women tend to seek dating advice mostly from friends. For example, my female acquaintances often ask me for dating advice; and I know that girls discuss it amongst themselves all the time. They love discussing it. They love telling their friends about what “he” said or did, gauging their friends’ reactions, and comparing related stories. Such a discussion is an event, to be enjoyed in-and-of-itself, whereas for men it is brief and purely practical – if it occurs at all.

There obviously are some women turning to the internet for dating advice, otherwise The Rules Revisited wouldn't have an audience. Probably this number is increasing, as people in general become more familiar with the power of the internet, realizing what lies at their fingertips. But there is no question that women lag men significantly in their use of written and internet-based dating advice.

In any case, we can say that the female approach to dating advice tends to be more social and discursive, while the male approach tends to be more individual and analytic.

7. Why do you think men and women approach dating advice so differently?

The sexes approach dating advice differently because the sexes think differently. The male mind is more inclined towards the kind of obsessive focus one needs in order to scrutinize even the tiniest of social interactions and break it down into usable rules. This is what we know how to do best, so this is the kind of advice we know how to follow.

Women are much more interactive, social and emotional thinkers. So they do what they do best: they bounce ideas or situations off of a number of different friends before drawing any conclusions. They feel their way through their questions, focusing on their gut instincts more. I also suspect that they are much more in tune with their friends’ and family’s emotional reaction to their dating situation, which is something that many men would never even consider.

I think it is important to point out that both approaches have certain strengths, but also certain flaws. The masculine ability to analyze is impressive, but men can get too easily trapped in a single problem, losing sight of the forest for the trees. For example, a man might perfect his online dating profile to the point that he has cute girls messaging him daily, or learn exactly how to react when his girlfriend tests his honesty or courage, only to realize – years later – that he still doesn't know how to keep a girl interested for more than three months.

The female strategy, on the other hand, gives women this incredible ability to capture the big picture and keep all of the various aspects of a relationship in the proper perspective; but I think women sometimes lack the depth of insight into specific problems that is sometimes needed to fix what’s wrong. So a girl might have 17 discussions with various friends about her dating life – and learn valuable things in the process – but never pinpoint that it is her short hair that’s turning men off, or her living situation that is preventing her from meeting new guys.

To borrow from the adage: a man is liable to forget the forest for the trees, while a woman is liable to forget the trees for the forest.

8.  Do you read other dating/relationship blogs? If so, which ones?

I read HookingUpSmart.com, written and run by Susan Walsh, which I very highly recommend for both sexes. For men I very highly recommend the sections of AnimusEmpire.com that are dedicated to “Manliness” and “Dating.”

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Economics of Sex

A reader recently posted a link to a video that captures, in extremely clear terms, a phenomenon that has been implicit (and at times, explicit) in everything I write on this blog. It is a video that discusses sexual economics, and more importantly, their implications for dating and relationships. Here it is:


I cannot recommend this video highly enough. Especially for anyone encountering this blog or its ideas for the first time, it gives an important insight into one of the biggest differences between men and women in dating and relationships (I believe bigger ones exist, but this is a great starting point for discovering them). Even regular readers can benefit by watching this video, because it articulates clearly and concisely ideas that are well-worth solidifying in your mind; and hearing them in such clear and concise terms will do exactly that.


With that said, I do want to point out two minor disagreements I have with the video, though I only feel the need to do so because I agree so completely with the rest:

(a) I think the video focuses too much on the pill as the source of the disparity between supply and demand, rather than on certain philosophical undercurrents in Western society, or mans' access to pornography - both of which are at least as responsible (if not more so) for the phenomena the video describes.

(b) It suggests that "affirming desirability" is a sexual motivation for women, but not for men (1:28). This is simply untrue. Yes, men bang women because an orgasm feels better in a vagina than in their hand; but a big part of that "better feeling" is actually pride: it is either the satisfaction of the woman's affirmation, or the affirmation from their guy friends upon sharing the story with them. I do, however, agree with their point that women tend to be motivated by the intimacy of sex more than men; and as I've suggested before, I also think that feeling desired is a greater sexual motivation for women than it is for men.* So I don't think this criticism detracts from the video's larger point that men and women have different motivations for sex.

To give credit where credit is due, the video was made by the Austin Institute for The Study of Family and Culture. I don't know anything more about their organization than what they have written on their "About Us" page, but I also don't care. I am just glad someone made the video.

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* I don't think this is because women are more emotionally needy than men (as one might infer). I am convinced that it is because men are more desirous of carnal sexual pleasure. So as a woman, there is simply more sexual desire to be received.


Related Posts
1. The Analogy Between Sex and Commitment
2. Women Get to Play Out of Their League
3. Men and Sexual Variety
4. 5 Ways Men Misunderstand Women