That Overused Comic About "Double Standards" Actually Means the OPPOSITE Of What Dudes Think It Does
This stupid comic! Three different people posted this on my social media this morning in unrelated discussions about "unfair double standards."
Which is why I feel morally obligated to inform you: if you actually look at it, this comic means the opposite of what you think it does.
What you think it means, after a quick and sloppy glance, is that "it's only creepy if the guy isn't hot."
However, if you actually look at the comic, the message is quite clear:
FLIRTING IS ONLY FUN WHEN IT IS RECIPROCATED.
In the first image, Susan is delighted that the man is flirting with her. They have a great energy. They're making great eye contact and smiling at each other. Her shoulders are squared more towards him, and less towards her computer.
In the second image, Susan looks disgusted and horrified. Her body is squared to her computer, because she is working and clearly doesn't want to be interrupted. And some dude that she clearly isn't into is complimenting her body.
The comic clearly and accurately points out, if you continue flirting with a coworker who isn't interested in you, it is sexual harassment.
This isn't a "double standard" — it's common sense. Flirting is only fun when it is mutual and reciprocated. Otherwise, it's creepy at best.
Moreover, as I wrote in "Creepy" Isn't About Attractiveness. It's About Reciprocity, anyone who claims that "the exact same same behavior" is acceptable when an attractive man does it, but is "creepy" or "harassment" when an unattractive man does it, is completely ignoring the woman's agency in this interction.
Women aren't chatbots. They don't have programmed responses for identical phrases. They have agency. They have preferences. They have situational awareness. They are not the passive recipients of male action.
If a woman finds a man attractive, then his flirting behavior is NOT identical to that of a man the woman doesn't find attractive. The attractive man is engaging in a mutual and fun flirtation. The unattractive man is creepily hitting on someone who isn't interested.
(And, as a side note: If a Girl You Were Hitting On Was Rude to You, It's Probably Your Fault.)
I mean — look at poor Susan!
Imagine if you made that face at someone and he just kept gushing about your body and hitting on you — almost as though he didn't give a shit he was making you uncomfortable.
So what is an unattractive man to do? Here is some advice I shared in What Men Don't Understand When They Complain, "It's Only Creepy If The Guy Isn't Hot":
A decent rule of thumb is, "If you're not SURE the answer is yes, don't ask her out."
Here is more advice, shared by Joe in the comments of the aforementioned post:
Obviously flirting is more likely to be mutual when a man is attractive — especially when it comes to someone you've just met or don't know well.
If all I know about you is what you look like, what can I judge you by except what you look like?
So if you consider yourself to be unattractive, then obviously your approach to flirting needs to be different from that of a man who is considered attractive.
Is life fair? No.
But are women attracted to men who constantly whine about how life isn't fair?
Women are not attracted to men who feel like helpless victims. Women are not attracted to men who feel less control over the world around them than a child. If you're not getting anywhere with women, there's a decent chance that your helpless attitude — which is going to show, whether you discuss it with her or not — is the real reason why.
So accept that you look how you look — then take control. (Again, no woman is attracted to helplessness.) Work on your social skills. Work on paying attention to women's social cues and responses to your flirting. Take the time to get to know someone before you compliment her body or indicate you want to have sex with her. Be patient. You might want to check out The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, as it will help you learn some of the charisma other people use in social situations.
And remember: the idea that women are chatbots who are obligated to treat you a certain way, whether they find you attractive or not, is, itself, a very creepy idea. Obliterate it from your mind and remember that women are people, just like men.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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