Thursday, June 20, 2013

Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can't, Advise

I hate a lot of things in this world. Fox News. The University of Alabama. Facebook moms. Well inside my top-10, though? Women who write dating advice columns.

There was a time some years ago when every few hours I seemed to come across an aspiring female columnist’s ham-fisted attempt at grasping the social interactions between the sexes. I had to train myself to stay away from giving these spewers of mind-numbingly stupid “journalism” the satisfaction of my page hits, for the betterment of my sanity.

The “advice” they give to women is the blind leading the blind—and, in fact, quite possibly the purest example of the cliché that exists in the physical form. These girls (and I don’t use that term pejoratively; quite often these are young women only a few months removed from college) know absolutely nothing about how men think or feel, but still feel unfounded confidence in their ability to coach their peers on the subject.

Sometimes, though, they’ll turn their attention to male readers. And sometimes, this is actually a good thing. A woman who knows nothing about men preaching to other women is just promoting ignorance; but, odds are, she knows something about women, and so offering men a glimpse into her own mind is actually helpful. But the worst manifestation of this shell game is the advice columnist who tries to explain men’s thoughts and feelings to men.

Case in point: “The 10 mixed messages women will hate you for,” by some woman (I’m not even going to give her the SEO advantages of printing her name on our page. But I will direct the rest of this post towards her, for the benefit of others headed down her path...)

*clears throat*

Are you clinically insane? Or are you just so naively narcissistic that you can’t see the absurdity of your plan? You’ve spent at least half of your 20something years on this planet misreading men’s signals, and now you’re going to wag your finger at us from the mountaintop? [ok, it’s Thrillist…it’s more like a hilltop in the suburbs.] Let’s break down this drivel piece-by-piece (pink shading added for my own enjoyment):
Generally, well-adjusted women are cool with keeping things breezy. What we're not on board with is being jerked around (also, socks with sandals.) Here're the 10 things that will mislead and lure her into a relationship neither of you want.
Would it come off as snarky if I were to point out that people who refer to themselves as “well-adjusted” typically aren’t? It would? Okay then…
  • Concern. Did you help her when she got locked out of her apartment? Text her to see if she got home OK? You're nicing your way into being a jerk.
Yup, fellas, she shot herself in the foot before she even drew her gun from her holster. Showing concern is being a “jerk”? I can’t even… Okay, being a decent HUMAN BEING is out the window. What else you got?
  • 2-or-10. Rip two months off your Family Guy calendar or surpass 10 things-that-might-resemble-dates -- whichever comes first -- and you've lost the right to casually end things.
If you’re dealing with a guy who doesn’t already realize this, then he probably picked you up at the bar with the help of Buzzfeed. And he’s probably an even bigger fan of Jersey Shore than you are. Newsflash, Ms. Columnista: All non-‘roid-raging guys know this. Hell, we time each other’s affairs. It’s like a shot clock; it doesn’t have to be flashing red for everyone on the court to know it’s ticking.
  • Digital imprint. If she was listed as anything other than "(Bar where you met) Amy" in your phone, or if her picture came up when she called you, you're probably leading her to think you really care.
I really might quit already. Because now I feel like you’re not 20something, you’re 70something. And I don’t have the heart to rant against someone’s grandmother.

But I’ll press on. First, 90% of men on the planet don’t actually use the “(Bar where you met) name” technique, because (A.) we don’t keep a “Rolodex o’slores” and (B.) we’re not Nicholas Sparks characters. Second, have your grandkid show you how a smartphone works. If we’re connected through Facebook, Twitter, Black People Meet, whatever, the phone is going to add a profile picture to the number itself. #science
  • Just because. If you texted or called to see how her day went. Don't do it.
If we’re trying to stay cas’, we’re only sending texts when we want sex. If you get that text at 2 a.m., we want sex. If you get it at 2 p.m., we want sex. If you got it and interpreted it as, “He really wants to know how my day went,”…we wanted sex.
  • Associations. Telling her that you saw (fill in the blank thing) and it made you think of her is sweet. Now she has something to associate with her future hatred of you, awwww.
Again, no man uses this unwittingly. Your article was supposedly aimed at informing guys of their mistakes, but this is never a mistake. This is now clearly a case of a jilted lover venting her frustrations over her personal life. And you appear to be dealing with professional dickheads in your personal life.

But I suppose I should have figured that out from your very first bullet point. Fair enough…
  • Biographical details. Meeting her at a place where her friends happen to be is one thing. Knowing that Megan's the one in Ad Sales and what year her brother is at Fordham's another.
I get the feeling we’re going to be hovering around the same point for a while here. Professional hitmen; not naïve dolts. Also, if we’ve learned details about your friend, it’s because we want to have sex with her, too. Either a threesome, or just on the low, after you’ve filled her ear with enough bragging about our sex.
  • Future plans. Worse than hanging out with her mid-week or in daylight hours is making plans for anything more than 48hrs away. If you talked about what you guys'd do "this weekend", that's on you, brotha.
  • Artifacts. Property transfer -- be it clothing left at each others' places or gifts exchanged -- insinuates commitment.
  • Affection. Spooning when you're done could be construed as casual. Forehead kisses and hand-holding can not.
  • Familiarity. If your buddies, roommates, or doorman could recognize her without you, your casual relationship is more relationship than casual.
Yeah, you’ve lost your focus in entirety. None of these are things a guy who doesn’t want to be with you does by accident. Either he’s doing it because he likes you, or he’s doing it because he’s systematically playing you. If it’s the latter, none of these “tips” matter to him. He knows he’s doing them. He’s doing them to three other girls simultaneously, and your friend Megan is one of them. And if he truly liked you, well these musings of yours still don't apply to him. And the fact that the relationship wasn’t casual anymore isn't what made him stop liking you.

Maybe you should spend some time thinking about that before you go bestowing "wisdom" on others?

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