While stumbling around the Internet the other day, I came across an article from “The Good Men Project”, a feminist blog with the title so patronizing it makes you wonder if it’s purpose is to just drive self-respecting men away (I challenge anyone to replace “man” in that title with any other category of human being and ask yourself if that would sound rude). I have written before about why women give bad dating advice, but here’s some real crappy dating advice in action.
Here’s what they had to say.
But I get it—opening conversations can be tough. So here is my secret tip: smile and say hi.
How stupid do you think men are, that “say hi” is actually something we need to be told? This advice is an excellent example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action – someone so clueless they have no idea they are clueless. Maybe she can do a post on how to play guitar: step one, pick up the guitar, and hit the strings with your hands, I’ve seen people do it a hundred times, it’s easy. This is not to say that “hi” is a bad opener, any opener can work with the right body-language and attitude, but the advice given here is so vague and general as to be completely useless to any man who isn’t already good with women.
It can be hard keeping a conversation going. My recommendation is to be in the moment—be spontaneous, not rehearsed. And be real—true to yourself and the things you care about.
After “Hi,” try some personal insight—it doesn’t have to be worked out all the way. Open with how strange life is instead of how weird the weather has been. The best conversations aren’t ones where you talk about movies and TV and books and music, but about your ideas and feelings in the moment—about what it’s like to experience this odd life. It’s about getting at the human experience. It’s about sparking empathy as well as interesting conversation. Finding yourself in one of these conversations feels like suddenly finding yourself stranded on an island with this person.
This paragraph here is actually decent dating advice. In my classes I talk a lot about how to create good conversations by talking about passions, values and your way of seeing the world. Talking about TV, books and music is usually a crutch – unless you are using those topics to launch a conversation about you, her, and the human condition.
The ConsentOften, women can’t say no to giving out the number when asked. Most of us are brought up from an early age to be cordial and accommodating. This is why my own cellphone is filled with multiple contacts named “Do Not Answer.”
It seems as though the author would rather men learn to read minds, then to have a single woman inconvenienced by a man calling her when she’s not interested. The correct way to do this is: if you’re having a nice conversation, ask for her number. If you get her number, call her. If she answers the phone, talk to her and invite her out. If she agrees to come out, show her a good time. If at any one of these points, she says no, or stops responding, you move on. It is ludicrous to suggest that the responsibility is on men to read women’s minds and conduct themselves in the fear that’s some woman somewhere might be slightly inconvenienced by their interest.
Dating advice needs to be tested by reality
Dating advice, like any other form of knowledge, needs to be tested by reality. The idea that you know something despite having no experience with it, and not taking advice or guidance from others who have experience with it is the kind of arrogant sophistry that is sadly the norm on American university campuses, and in American thought these days. In the game community, we have a good term for people like these: “Keyboard Jockies”. In the wider world, these people are called “Twenty-something Liberal Arts Graduates”.