There are a lot of great guys out there... who are disguised as thoughtless, rude or even creepy guys. There are a lot of great guys who have problems in their dating and relationships, and they're not quite sure why. And there are guys who are doing just fine... but are always looking for ways to improve.
Part of it has to do with the fact that there's a lot of misinformation about women out there. Today, I'm going to help out by discussing six myths men believe about women, that are actually completely wrong. If I missed any, share them in the comments!
Myth 1: Women "take forever" in the bathroom because they're obsessed with their hair, clothes and makeup -- plus, they love chatting, gossiping, fighting and bonding on the toilet.
If you spent any amount of time in a women's restroom, you'd realize that women aren't the vain, narcissistic chatterbugs you think they are. They spend the vast majority of their time in there... waiting. As per The REAL Reason Women "Spend So Much Time in the Restroom" :
In spite of THIS:
So there you go. Myth busted.
Myth 2: Women don't like men who come off as "desperate."
The myth here isn't that women don't like desperate -- for the most part, they don't. The problem is that many men wrongfully assume "desperate" and "explicitly expressing interest" mean the same thing.
Once upon a time, men were very clear about their intentions with a woman. They would say, "Can I take you out on a date on Friday night?"
"Can we go steady?"
But now, there's this weird myth that if you do things like, say, calling a date a "date" or texting her within three days of meeting her, you're going to come off as desperate.
Here's the thing: there's a huge difference between you texting me the very night we meet to tell me, "I had SO much fun debating about GMOs with you, and I hope we can continue the conversation soon -- perhaps over basketball!" ... And texting me several times, over several days, without me texting you back.
Here's the other thing! For me, personally, if I hit it off with a guy and he doesn't text me that very day (or possibly the very next morning) to tell me how great it was meeting me, I lose interest. Why would I want to date a guy who cares more about how others perceive him than... you know. Being honest and telling me he had a great time.
The problem with worrying about "looking desperate" is that you'll probably end up coming across as closed off, unavailable, or insecure. (See: These Specific Behaviors Will Make You More Charismatic, Starting RIGHT NOW.)
You're going to end up creating this weird purgatory-limbo thingy. She might not lose interest like I would... but chances are, she'll match the perceived interest level she's getting from you. So instead of feeling excited and happy about each other... you're going to feel anxious.
Do you want anxiety to be the feeling she associates with you?
Here's the other thing. Despite all this talk about "hookup culture" (which studies show is pretty mutually unsatisfying), women -- and men! and people! -- actually really like romance.
I love when a man invites me to dinner, and then says, "Great! I'll pick you up at seven!" (It's not an explicit way of saying "it's a date," but it definitely eliminates some of the guesswork.)
And what I love even more is when the date goes amazingly well -- dinner lasted hours! We talked. We confided. We learned. We laughed! And THEN! When he drops me off at home, he unabashedly says, "I want to see you again! Have dinner with me again tomorrow!"
It's a basic psychological principle: we like people who like us. Having a great evening together and knowing he had a great time, too, makes me excited!
Versus... we have a great night. He drops me off. I don't hear from him again for three days. At which point, I'm just kind of like, "Yeah, it was fun, but whatever."
You see the difference?
You be this guy. I'll be that girl.
Myth 3: She's a feminist, so she won't expect you to pay for the date.
As per FINALLY! An Easy Way to Know Who Pays for the Date, if you a) initiated the date, and b) didn't explicitly say how much you expected the date to cost, so she could plan accordingly, then you should probably pay for the date. It's basic human courtesy.
Before you go whining about this being some sort of "double standard," keep in mind: I'm a feminist, and I follow the exact same rule. When I initiate the date, I pay for the date. Because it's basic human courtesy.
BUT! Just because this is basic human courtesy doesn't mean that some women will still offer to or insist upon paying for themselves, or even for you. As I discuss below, not all women are exactly the same. There's some amount of subjectivity when it comes to manners. So just be polite and mindful and go with the flow.
If you're confused about this (which, you shouldn't be -- it's pretty straightforward), check out Emily Post: Manners and Etiquette. Oh, and speaking of feminism:
Myth 4: "Feminism" means "man hating."
Feminism means that you believe men and women should have equal rights; that consent is important; and that it's important to address inequality in society. Which probably means that if you are truly a "nice guy," you're also a feminist.
I am a feminist, and I love men. I love dating. I love relationships. I love being friends with men. I love working and playing sports with men. Men are amazing. Men are ridiculous. And they're so much fun to have a friendly competition with!
This is what a feminist looks like.
BUT! Some men -- either because they are confused or because they are self-handicapping -- think that the reason they're single (or whatever) is because feminism somehow makes women hate men. This is incorrect. If you truly believe that, you should check out Dear Dudes: If You Think Women Are The Problem, YOU Are The Problem. I know my tone is harsh, but my sincere intention is to help.
Side note: I'm the first to admit, there's feminism, and there's radical feminism. Just like there's Christianity, and there's radical Christianity. There's intersectionality, and there's "intersectionality," which I discuss more in "Intersectionality" is the OPPOSITE of Feminism.
Additional side note: If she's actually a feminist, she will understand that men's rights are important, too. There's a very real, and very frustrating, reason that women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men, but men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. We feminists care just as much about these issues as other, more traditional issues -- but, due to our own personal experiences, we may be less aware of the struggles you've faced as a man. So tell us! We're always interested in hearing new perspectives.
Myth 5: Women prefer comfortable / indoor activities to playing sports and/or the outdoors.
I have this friend -- he's so important to me! Whenever I do something fun, whether it's a party or a surf trip or a bike ride, I invite him along, because I think he would enjoy it. But I recently realized... he has literally never invited me to do something crazy fun with him.
"I invite you to all the fun things, but all you ever invite me to do is talk and eat. What gives?" I asked him.
"Well, the thing is... I associate certain activities with certain friends. I associate snowboarding with (Guy Friend #1). I associate surfing with (Guy Friend #2). I associate rock climbing with (Guy Friend #3)."
"Are there any girls you associate with fun things?" I asked.
The answer... was no.
Clearly, my sorta-BFF is kind of a dick... but it's not entirely his fault. As I wrote in The Dark Side of Family Gatherings, a lot of us -- especially those of us with sisters -- have learned from a young age that it's totally cool for dudes to go outside and play sports while the women bake pies and clean up before dinner. In fact, the more sisters we have, the more likely we are to be sexist, and the less likely we are to help with household chores. Somewhere in there, we develop this idea that women prefer comfortable, indoor activities. It's true that some women do. Others... really don't.
In fact, as I wrote in I Judge Guys Who Ask Me Out For Coffee,
A first date is a chance for you to show me your best you. It's a chance for you to show me what a life with you could be like. I'm sure there are plenty of girls out there who would love to drink coffee with you. There are plenty of girls who will stay home and cook you breakfast while you go surfing with your buddies -- and that's fine, if that's her choice! But when you ask me out for coffee, I can't help but wonder, Is that the sort of girl you're looking for?
Maybe part of the reason you have trouble connecting with women... is because you're underestimating them physically. Meaning they don't have fun with you. Meaning... why would they want to spend more time with you? After all, as I wrote in Why A Terrifying First Date is Better Than a "Nice" One, couples that play together, stay together.
Myth 6: Learning a set of if-then statements will help you understand and connect with women.
Here's the truth: any if-then statements you've heard about women are most likely sexist, and almost certainly wrong.
Anyone who says otherwise must mistakenly believe that women's values, beliefs, goals and emotions are all identical. But, believe it or not! Our values, just like our breast size and hair color, differ dramatically.
Here's one example:
You read online that you you're "supposed" to kiss after the first/third/nth date. Wrong. You should initiate a kiss if and only if the woman wants to kiss you, too (here are some pretty great indicators -- but remember: all women are different). The absolute best way to make sure the kiss is mutually wanted? Follow Will Smith's 90-10 rule. You go up to 90% of the way to her face, and let her go the last 10%. And, you know, "never, ever, EVER go the full 100!" (Fast-forward to 3:06 in the following clip from Hitch:)
It almost seems silly that I would have to explicitly say this... but believe me. Enough men think that there is a universal "right time" to kiss a woman that I wrote Dear Confused Dude: If You Had to Grab Her By The Back of the Head and Force Your Faces Together, It Wasn't a Kiss. If you try to force the kiss before she's ready, you're going to end up like Albert, with an angry partner leaving you alone on the doorstep.
Myth 6.1: <If> she smiled at you/gave you her number/talked to you/made eye contact with you/laughed at your joke/whatever, <then> she is interested in dating you.
Kind of an extension of Myth 6, but I think this one deserves its own heading.
Yes, it could mean she's interested. I certainly smile at, give my number to and talk to guys I'm interested in dating. I also do that with guys I'm interested in being friends or playing sports with. I also smile, talk and joke with guys I happen to be in the proximity of right now, even if I'm not interested in ever seeing them again.
I suspect the same is true for a lot of women.
But you know what? It could also just mean that, due to the way way our society tends to treat women, many women are afraid to be "rude" or "direct," even/especially when they're feeling uninterested or uncomfortable.
And before you scoff and say, "Oh, women should just be more clear about their intentions," keep in mind that it's extremely difficult to change (or even necessarily recognize) aspects of our behavior that have been so socially ingrained. Also, consider this:
Many women are afraid of being "rude" not because of ingrained gender norms... but out of fear. As I wrote in The Secret "Catcalls" of Educated White Dudes,
Here's what happened to a young girl in in Shanghai when she ignored the advances of a man in a bar:
“Basically it happened after I said I wouldn't dance with him. He kept coming after me, and then he poured champagne over me. When I asked him to go away, he did it again. The next thing I knew, he'd come back with the bottle and hit me in the face with it, and it smashed as he did that.”
So next time you're feeling peeved that a woman "was a tease" or "led you on," think about the fact that ^ THAT ^ is something that happens. She doesn't know you, so it's obviously not a personal affront to you.
Because sure, #NotAllMen rape, harass and assault women. But #YesAllWomen have been targeted or discriminated against because of their gender.
I say this not to guilt you or tell you that you are a potential rapist. I'm simply trying to help you understand why a woman who isn't interested in you might be polite to you, anyway. (Though I have also written posts for women, challenging them to examine their use of this behavior.) This is yet another example of why if-then statements won't work when applied to humans, rather than machines.
That's my far-from-comprehensive list of Myths Men Have About Women. Surely I've missed some -- share yours in the comments!
3/31/2016 01:24:25 pm
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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