I almost always decline offers to guest-post on my blog, usually because the writers are either too sleazy, too inexperienced or simply too unskilled. That’s right, Simon Cowell has nothing on me when it comes to being harsh on talent.

But from reading his growing catalog of articles, I actually like what this kid has to say. And especially because he’s giving, not selling his advice, I’m happy to share some of his thoughts with you.

His name is Alex Matlock, he lives in London, and he’s both a gentleman and a scholar — he’s been enjoying the life of a ladies’ man while pursuing his Ph.D in social psychology. His focus is on male-female relationships.

As we know, dating gets expensive for a guy, and a small number of women will exploit men for their money by dating them. Here’s Alex’s take on how to screen out the right women:

(This is a guest post by Alex Matlock, an expert in “dating” and woman psychology)

I approached Greg a couple of days ago and asked about a guest post on his blog. He replied that he liked my articles, but he wanted to see some more information about my philosophy on NOT dating.

I’ll be very honest here because there’s no other way to put this. Dates should be an exclusive privilege to girls that actually deserve it. Their worth is established by a number of things:

1.       She is having sex with you.

2.       The sex is good.

3.       You have feelings for her.

4.       She’s interested in you, not your money/friends/influence etc.

When a girl ticks all of these points, you can take her out on dates as she now deserves it.

leia han solo dating

Did Han take Leia on a date? Absolutely not.

So, let’s see why you shouldn’t take them on dates and what to do instead:

The most important reason would be the fact that EVERYONE else takes her on dates. How are you any different from all the other douchebags that are buying her dinner/drinks/whatever?

Exactly, you’re not different.

I’ve met many girls who kept going on dates because some guy was paying for her dinner or buying her drinks. I’m sure you have at least one female friend that exploits a guy. Don’t be him — show her that you’re different, and show her that from the start.

The other reason would be money … why should you spend 50 pounds (here in the UK) on a dinner date when you won’t even know if she’s going to have sex with you? We all know that taking her out and paying for dinner doesn’t necessarily result in sex … it all bows down to how you make her feel.

So then I ask you: Why should you buy her dinner to make her feel good when you could choose any other activity?

You might ask, “But girls want to go on dates, so how do we get around that?” It’s very simple, you don’t go on dates — you get together!

Call her up/text her/send her an email and tell her you want to get together. She might think it’s a date or whatever she wants to think, but you don’t care because you know exactly what’s going to happen. When you ask her to “get together” rather than ask her out on a date, it increase her positive response rate for two very important reasons: it’s different and she’s not obligated to do anything since it’s not a date.

In these circumstances, there’s no pressure. If there’s no pressure, she’s more likely to feel good and if she feels good, you’ve got her!

So, what sort of activities fall into get togethers?

Some examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Take her out for a walk in the park: To this day this is one of my favorite activities. You walk around the park, talk, make her feel good, even grab an ice cream/coffee from the closest shop (don’t pay for her). There’s absolutely no pressure on this activity and that instantly loosens her up.
  • Rent bikes and go cycling together.
  • Do sports together.
  • Take her to free events: Your location is probably full of them. Do a Google search and find out. Not only will you be cost free on this but you will also be doing something she’s probably never done before. These are things like art galleries, amateur theatre, live bands, etc. She will enjoy this more than you can imagine.

(Side note: Always end whatever it is that you’re doing before she does. If you end it while she’s feeling good, she had a good time. If you let it drag on until she ends it (when she’s no longer feeling good), she’ll have a bitter taste in her mouth and it’s all downhill from there.)

Make her part of your world: This is another one of my favorites. This is actually how you can make a girl fall in love with you. It’s a simple process that many of us men do without realizing, but here are the details.

After you do a couple of the activities above, it’s probably a good time to have sex with her. It should work, and usually works if you kept her feeling good. With that sorted, it’s time to make her part of your world.

This is so good, I’m getting exited writing about it. Bear in mind you never took her on a date yet, and make sure you take her to your place when you have sex.

Now that you’ve finished (sex), you can either throw her out of your house or, let her stay the night.

What I usually do is give her a pair of my boxers and a T-shirt and get her into the living room. I’ve got some wine and a nice shaggy white carpet we can sit on. I put a movie in, let’s say “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and we sit there talking and watching.

You tell me, what girl doesn’t want to sit on a white shaggy carpet drinking wine while watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? I’ve got some cool roommates too (all girls), so they sometimes hang with us.

What I’m doing here is making her part of my world. These are things she does with me that she will never have the chance to do with anyone else.

If she stays the night, even better, she’ll be part of my world in the morning. I wake up and, because I eat “healthy,” I cook eggs and bacon. Guess what? She gets the same; she’s literally experiencing part of my life. Girls die for stuff like this, and they just might fall in love with you as a result.

It gets even better. If I’ve got stuff to do and she’s got the day off, I take her with me. I nicely ask her to come with me to the car parts store to buy a new bulb for my car, we have a nice drive, we talk, we get the bulb, have a coffee somewhere and then I take her home.

And do you know the good part? I’ve never been on a date with this girl.

Actually, do you know the best part? Next time I want to see her, I just ask her if she wants to come to my place and because she had such a nice time…she WANTS to!

OK, so maybe I took this whole thing too far, but you must get the idea. Dates are bad, and I’ve just proved that NOT going on a date with a girl will actually make her fall in love with you.

This is the sort of mentality I discuss on my blog and in the free eBook I give out.  If you want to increase your success with women visit The Player Guide — a place where the “dating” mindset is thrown out the window in favor of more direct (and fruitful) methods of meeting and seducing women.

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I didn’t think it would take five episodes until I wrote about the new season of “Mad Men,” but I’m taking longer than usual to form my opinions about it. By the time I do, the 60s might already be over.

The big tease we’ve been given is the possibility that finally, Don Draper has become an honest, one-woman man. Even to the point of going all Wayne Brady and choking his lustiness away in an Episode 4 dream. And let’s face it, have we ever seen Don owned the way Megan owns him on the white carpet?

Becoming the happy husband would be a massive change for Don, and for the entire show, which is why I’m not totally buying it yet. But for now, I want to discuss a scene in the very awesome Episode 5 that perfectly sums up three men — Don Draper, Pete Campbell, and Ken Cosgrove — as an analogy to the different types of men they’ve become.

It’s the dinner-party scene (see above), where Pete Campbell’s sink goes wild. How a man reacts to a problem can say a lot about him, and here we see three different reactions.

Don: Or as Ken’s wife calls him, “Superman.” We can’t be surprised that of the three men in the room, it’s Don who quickly and effortlessly fixes the sink. He’s always been the man of action, whether it’s building Sally’s playhouse in Season 1, knocking out Bobbi Barrett’s husband in Season 2 or seducing a woman in, um, any season.

don draper mad menBut there’s something about seeing Don so comfortable in the role of domestic God here that illustrates the new phase he may be entering. Now that I think of it, fixing the sink is about the most assertive thing Don has done all season. No wonder he finally managed to turn Megan on this time.

At the office he’s been little more than window dressing, showing up late and leaving early. Where Peggy had her Bean Ballet (hey, it wasn’t a bad idea!), Pete had his Mohawk Airlines score and Ginsberg had his Stalking Cinderella ad, Don has been far from his prolific self.

Meanwhile he’s getting pushed around by women like never before — from Megan who, as Grantland’s Molly Lambert has pointed out, is negging Don to keep him wanting her. From teeny-boppers at a Rolling Stones concert who think he doesn’t look cool. And from Trudy Campbell, who twisted his arm into doing what he would never do before: visit Pete’s house.

But you know what interests me most about all this? Don doesn’t seem to care that he’s not the dashing ad exec these days. He cares about fixing that sink, and he still does that very well. If that’s what it takes to get laid in his car, I’m pretty sure Don will walk around with a tool belt wherever he goes. It’s a little weird to see Dick/Don so comfortable in his new skin.

Now, whether this will be enough to keep Megan from pulling a Don Draper on Don? We shall see.

Pete: While Don fixes, Pete fumbles. After digging through about 20 screwdrivers, he gets to watch Don get all the applause in his own house.

For a well-adjusted guy, this is nothing to be ashamed of. But Pete Campbell is about as well adjusted as the Tower of Pisa. The scene perfectly captures his insecurities with his manliness, and the humiliation he endures.

Did you see how that hooker flirted with him? Even she could smell the inadequacy and exploit it. She fondles Pete’s biceps and says, “I knew it. You’re one of those guys who’s stronger than he looks.” I have to hand it to that pro: she’s good at her work.

Meanwhile, Pete’s latest creepy pickup of a teenage girl gets spoiled by a guy much younger and stronger than him. Anmad men lane pryced in perhaps the most orgasmic moment of the season so far, he gets his ass kicked by the new lightweight champion of SCDP, Lane Pryce. You grimy little pimp!

“I have nothing,” Pete whines to Don in the elevator before going back to his beautiful wife, baby and big house. For any man who’s focused on who he isn’t rather than who he is, this is a great cautionary tale.

Ken: I would definitely be the Ken of this scene. I’d also give Don some minor help when the sink bursts, then stand back and chuckle with my date as he does the dirty work. We writers are shitty with our hands, after all.

Almost since “Mad Men” began, Ken has been the anti-Pete, and this is exactly why he’s one of the show’s few happy characters. Ken is devoted to his wife, appreciates everything he has and doesn’t really care what others think about him.

If Roger had scolded Pete for moonlighting as a writer, Pete would probably have pouted all night and stared longingly into his rifle. But Ken? Dude just agreed with Roger, changed his pen name and kept on writing. Just like with the sink, he had nothing to prove, so he just smiled and went with the flow (no pun intended).

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GK’s Official Supplement List

by GK on April 3, 2012

My dad didn’t teach me a lot about life, except when it came to preserving it. After suffering a stroke about 15 years ago and getting little help from his doctor, he learned to heal himself, and supplementation was a big part of that. He’s now 80 and walking around better than many 50-year-olds.

I started taking supplements about 10 years ago because of him, but in recent years I’ve become more serious about it. I’ve talked to a couple of guys recently about the supplements I take, and their interest made me want to share them with you here.

While any of these would be good for you, don’t just take my word for it. Find a nutritionist who really knows their stuff and can test your body’s chemical balances to find out where you need specific help. The sooner in life you get this stuff handled, the better. If you’ve ever dated a woman over 30 and wondered why she was crazy, it’s probably because her chemicals got out of whack through poor nutrition.

You don’t want to be a crazy chick, do you?

My buddy Tre Tre, who is big on supplementation, referred me to Carla Heiser of the Avellino Group in Chicago, and all I had to do was mail some samples to their lab (the first time I ever put my urine in the mail!). The help someone like her can give you might save your life someday.

On her advice, which also included eliminating gluten and sugar from my diet, I’ve been taking all but one of these for over a year now, and I can say I’m definitely better off with them. I don’t get sick as often (and when I do I’m better in a day or two), my asthma is less bothersome and I’m sleeping better. Also, at 35 my joints are pain free and I move as well as I did at 25 (my Dougie Dance is proof of this).

isotonix multivitaminYou’ll notice that this list is expensive, but you get what you pay for and you’ll end up paying a lot less in hospital bills. Here goes:

Isotonix Multivitamin ($51.95 for a three-month supply): This is one of three Isotonix products that I take, and they’re simply superior to the pills you’ll get at Walgreen’s. The multivitamin, like the other two, comes in powder form, and it becomes isotonic when mixed with a little water. This makes your body absorb it more quickly and efficiently (most multivitamins just get pissed back out). It also tastes good (kinda like Flintstones Vitamins) and won’t upset your stomach.

Isotonix OPC-3 ($69.95 for a three-month supply): The purple grandaddy of antioxidant supplements. The benefits here are many, from elimination of cancer-causing free radicals to shorter duration of colds (I can especially vouch for this) to less inflammation to better joint and heart health. Highly recommended.

Isotonix Activated B-complex ($49.95 for a three-month supply): This gives you all the necessary B vitamins, which among other things, help your adrenal gland maintain healthy levels of the stress chemical cortisol. The Incredible Hulk could have used this. The B-complex is great for energy levels and cognitive functions.

Biotics Bio-D Mulsion ($12 for a 1 oz bottle): This comes in liquid drops, and again, it’s a powerhouse of nutritional goodness. Unless you’re tanning daily in Florida, you’re probably not getting enough Vitamin D, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps in the absorption of other vitamins.

Life Extension Super Omega-3 ($24 for a two-month supply): This is one my dad and I have been taking for years, and with good reason. Omega-3 fatty acids, also prevalent in seafood, are great for your heart and metabolism, and they prevent inflammation. This particular brand comes with an olive fruit extract that removes the fishy aftertaste.

probioticsnutraMetrix Nutriclean Probiotics ($35 for a one-month supply): Expensive, I know. But you will poop more often, and who doesn’t want that? Probiotics are healthy bacteria that improve your digestion and help your body evict toxins more quickly.

 5-HTP ($15.95 for a four-month supply): This is an amino acid that is the direct precursor to seratonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood. It’s been known to improve sleep, and for some people it’s an effective anti-depressant. (Note: If you’re already taking an anti-depressant, check with your doctor before taking this).

Stay healthy, my friends.

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As promised, here’s Part II of Gal’s online-dating primer. Part I is here.

Third, Who Are You?

For a guy, the Internet is no different from a club. It will still be up to you to make the first move and you will still need to impress your target.  With online dating you have three tools: the picture, the message and the profile.

  • Picture: Looks matter, even online.  This is the first thing a girl will look at when she gets your message, so get a picture that makes you look good.  Do NOT post idiotic pictures of you looking like a douchebag. Do not post pictures of your genitals (yes, some guys do this).  Do post pictures of yourself doing something interesting.  OKCupid did an amazing study of online dating pictures which you should really read: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/.  My most popular pic was of me running through the snow with my dog.  Second popular was hiking. Neither showed my six-pack abs.

    online dating profile

    Tell her about the real "Hunger Games."

  • Message: Authenticity counts.  After checking out your picture, the girl will check out the message you sent her. Remember, these girls are getting dozens and sometimes hundreds of messages a day, so you need to stand out. Don’t just send a picture that says “hello” or a “wink.” Spend some time and show her you actually read her profile and didn’t just check out her cleavage. Pick out something from her profile that you have in common and comment on it.  Compliment her smile in that picture of her with her puppy and take the time to say something about yourself in this message that isn’t in your profile.  When I sent out messages, I would always be upfront and tell the recipient why I sent her a message. For example: “I noticed that you loved ‘Firefly,’ that’s my favorite show! I’m still waiting for the second season…” or “Love your smile in that pic of you hiking. Is that Yosemite?”  And yes, always ask questions. You want to give them a reason to respond back and not just forget about your message.
  • Profile: If your pic and message are good, she’ll now be checking out your profile. Again, be honest and have a sense of humor. Don’t go for cheesy stuff like “love to travel and enjoy long walks on the beach.” Girls can spot bullshit like that a mile away. Tell them what you’re really like, be funny, say something unique and don’t be afraid to share something a bit embarrassing (On my profile, I stated that I had a horrible taste in movies and mentioned that I just saw “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.” You’d be amazed how well that works).

Fourth, Take It Slow but Go For The Close

Don’t rush things. Exchange a few e-mails first before taking it offline but do move it offline sooner rather than later. If you’ve been writing e-mails back and forth for the last four weeks, you’re building this up to be something more than it is and you’re going to be disappointed. My usual rule is three messages. If she’s not meeting me after the third message, I’m polite but I move on.

A few tips

  • On your second exchange of messages, ask if you can send a message to her personal e-mail instead of her dating site inbox.  If she’s not willing to do that, she’ll never actually go out with you.
  • If she responds and tells you to check out her hot pictures on her personal site, don’t do it.  To quote Admiral Ackbar, IT’S A TRAP!!!  (I’m assuming most people aren’t this dumb but it still needs to be said).
  • Don’t suggest something high pressure. A fancy dinner on the first date is bad. Suggest something public and low pressure like coffee. I met my wife for our first date at the farmer’s market, by the way.

Finally, Set Your Expectations Correctly

You’re a guy on a website full of guys trying to land a date. The average response rate I got was around 20% and that’s considered really good. It’s just like a bar where sometimes you’ll strike out and sometimes you’ll hit a home run. Just enjoy yourself and the experience.

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I would have written my own post this week, but I’m on “Mad Men” lockdown for Sunday’s two-hour premiere. My glass of water looks like an Old Fashioned, my office co-workers suddenly resemble Joan and Roger, and I’m introducing myself as “Don” without even realizing it. This is what waiting two years between episodes does to you. I can barely speak.

While I regain coherency, I have a special two-part guest post for you. I’ve been critical of online dating recently, including the algorithms that go with them. But Gal, a friend of this blog, actually found his wife that way.

So here he is with a sweet, simple primer on finding your own success online, especially if you’re looking for something long term. Part I helps you screen out the women, and Part II will cover getting your game where it needs to be.

Gal Josefsberg is a blogger, author, dog owner, husband and entrepreneur. He blogs about personal fitness at 60 in 3self improvement at Equally Happy and he recently launched a website dedicated to helping men and women find good present ideas for each other called Diamonds or Dogs. He’s not a professional anything, nor does he wish to be. He also met his wife online, which makes him at least somewhat qualified to speak about online dating.

A while back I remember being ashamed of telling people I was using online dating sites. There was a stigma associated with it back then that said, “Oh yeah, I do this because I suck at meeting people outside the Internet.”

Fast-forward a few years and that stigma is rapidly disappearing. These days, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t at least tried online dating and finding a friend’s profile is no longer a cause for giggles and cheap jokes (unless their profile is that bad). Online dating is now just another tool for people to meet each other and, like all other tools, it should be used with care by people who know how to use it. Here’s how:

First, What Are You Looking For?

All dating sites are not the same and before you invest the time, effort and money into one of these sites I would urge you to pay attention to what you’re getting.

Seeking the Trekkie of your dreams? There's a site for that.

General sites: These are the most popular sort.  They’re filled with people looking to meet each other for anything from casual dating to serious relationships.  These sites include Match, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid and others.

Niche sites: Like the general sites but catering to a specific sort of person. For example, jDate is for Jewish people. There are sites for Mac fans, Trekkies, Goths and pretty much any other subculture. If you’re not from this subculture, you’re unlikely to be successful meeting people on these sites.

Special-interest sites: These are for folks who are looking for something more than just meeting up. For example eHarmony caters to those looking for a serious relationship while AdultFriendFinder is for people looking to hook up and not much else.

As for me, I played around on Match and Plenty of Fish at first. Both are nice, although I think PoF is better because it’s free. Eventually, I decided that what I was looking for was a serious relationship, so I switched to eHarmony. It has more of a matchmaker vibe and presents you with a few preselected matches each day as opposed to making you search through hundreds of profiles.

It’s a more structured approach but it works. My future wife was the fifth woman I met off of that site, and the first four were all great. Come to think of it, I never had a bad experience meeting someone from any of these sites, which is a lot better than my experiences with women I met offline.

Second, Who Are You Looking For?

I was very upfront with what I was looking for. I specified age (I was looking for someone in her early 30’s since I was 35 at the time), education (I wanted someone with a college degree), religious beliefs (I wanted agnostic or atheist), preference on kids (I wanted someone who was interested in having them) and so on. That’s one of the best things about online dating – you can ask for exactly what you want and there are plenty of people out there who match it.

However, you will usually end up with a ton of profiles to look through, even if your criteria are narrow. So here are a few tips to help you not be overwhelmed: (By the way, don’t expect women to do this. It’s your job as a guy on one of these sites to do the searching and contact initiation. Sorry fellas, that’s life.)

  • Profiles with no pictures are out – These girls are trying to hide something or they’re too shy to bother with. Sorry, I put my pic out there and I expect the girl to do the same.
  • Profiles with only pictures are also out – They’re either fake or someone was bored. Odds of getting a reply from someone who couldn’t even answer a few questions about herself are too low to waste my time on.
  • If it’s too good to be true … If she says she’s a bisexual 19 year old looking for fun, it’s probably a scam.
  • Everyone lies – Men add 2 inches to their height, women subtract 15lbs from their weight. Count on it and act accordingly.
  • Most of these sites will allow you to search by how recently people logged in. Use this option every time. If they haven’t logged in for more than 1 week, they’re probably not going to do so just to answer your message.
  • Be honest with yourself – Are you really a good match for this girl?  While it’s awesome to picture myself with that free-spirited guitar player who posted a pic of herself on the beach, she’d probably drive me insane with her hippy crap within the first two weeks.  Don’t waste your time and go for the girls you can really see yourself with.

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Of Peter Pan and Marriage

by GK on February 24, 2012 · 11 comments

So, remember when I said in my last post that I’m often inspired to kick sand at academics in matters of sex and relationships? Yeah, that’s what I’m about to do.

A few days ago I came across a Wall Street Journal article called, “Where Have The Good Men Gone?” I thought the author, Kay S. Hymowitz, was the smug-looking brunette below the byline, but it turns out she’s a middle-aged wife and mom who has written a book telling young men that they need to grow up, get married, have kids and clean their room.

Oops, never mind the cleaning part. That was just my mom calling.

My mother, for all her superhuman feats as a single parent, did little to explain relationships or women to me. And though I’m sure she means well, Ms. Hymowitz seems no more qualified despite her scholarly credentials. She takes a legit issue — the economic and social struggles of modern men — and looks for lessons in all the wrong places.

Peter Pan Syndrome

"Not so fast, Wendy! I still need to find investors for my Android app!"

In explaining what’s wrong with men, she paints us with so broad a brush that she might as well be dipping the top of her head on the canvas. In particular, she advances a point that I find dangerous and archaic: that a man isn’t truly a man until he marries and starts a family.

Hymowitz uses the term “pre-adulthood” in reference to a person who isn’t married — as if marriage should be inevitable as we age, like menopause — and cites very real stats that show people are waiting longer to get married. She says this of our extended singlehood: “It’s time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn’t bring out the best in men.”

To prove her point, she blames our malaise on too much “Star Wars.” I find her lack of faith disturbing.

I’ll go into what hogwash all of this is in a minute, but I’ll backtrack and point out where she’s right: many American men are getting their asses kicked — by economic forces, by women and by themselves. Men are being outnumbered in college, graduate school and the workplace.

Almost 75 percent of the jobs lost in the Great Recession were by men. Women are proving more successful and more confident than us, and this is upsetting the traditional order of men as providers. This is a big reason why fewer women are marrying and more are raising kids by themselves, which has negative consequences for all of us.

I can also sympathize with those single women who put in their dues with school and work, are hearing their biological clocks tick, and are experiencing the “Peter Pan Syndrome” so many of them complain about with men.

Although this syndrome may be exaggerated, I can see what they mean. Have I encountered some overwhelming immaturity among the ranks of the pickup-artist community? Hellz yeah. Are there 20-somethings mooching off mom, or 30-something stoners wasting their talents? One trip to the Marina or a hipster bar tells me those guys exist too.

But she loses me entirely here:

(Men) watched movies with overgrown boy actors like Steve Carell, Luke and Owen Wilson, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Will Farrell and Seth Rogen, cheering their awesome car crashes, fart jokes, breast and crotch shots, beer pong competitions and other frat-boy pranks. Americans had always struck foreigners as youthful, even childlike, in their energy and optimism. But this was too much.

I can almost hear Naggy McNaggerton pounding her fist on a table as she wrote that last sentence. But wait, there’s more:

Single men have never been civilization’s most responsible actors; they continue to be more troubled and less successful than men who deliberately choose to become husbands and fathers. So we can be disgusted if some of them continue to live in rooms decorated with “Star Wars” posters and crushed beer cans and to treat women like disposable estrogen toys, but we shouldn’t be surprised.

I have two thoughts on this:

  1. I am never going to the movies with this woman.
  2. She may be mistaking “40-Year-Old Virgin” with a documentary rather than a comedy.

I won’t even bother with the myopia displayed here when perfectly normal women watch brainless drivel like “The Bachelor” and “Sex and the City” while dreaming of their 300th pair of shoes. We all seek an escape in frivolity sometimes. And I won’t get into my vintage Transformer collection, because that’s just too personal.

marriage young adultsI know men — married, successful, homeowners, dads, you name it — who can quote “Star Wars” all night. I also have met women who love Will Ferrell movies (thank God for them). But hey, when the author grew up with such serious entertainers as Jerry Lewis,  I guess we should presume she knows best.

If only us men spent all our time reading classic literature. You know, mature works such as Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with lines such as this fruit metaphor: “O Romeo, that she were … an open-arse and thou a popp’rin’pear.”

But far more serious than pop-culture digs is her assertion that single men must be worse off than married ones. That marriage and kids are the necessary part of a “life script” that is “deeply rooted in our biological nature,” and that straying from that script is leaving us confused and aimless.

Apparently she hasn’t been to San Francisco or Silicon Valley. This is a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship, and while women play an important part, many (if not most) of the risks in creating companies and products are being taken by men.

As the author herself says, succeeding in this economy takes more time and effort than it used to. So doesn’t it stand to reason that men who delay marriage (or don’t marry at all) so they can establish themselves and experience life are showing, um, what’s that word — responsibility? That’s a trait Tiger Woods could have used while he was married.

Hymowitz seems upset that we’re not marrying as young as we did in 1970. But I’m very glad that we’re not divorcing like we were in 1980. Our divorce rate has fallen steadily since then. Do the math, and it suggests that while fewer people are marrying, those who do marry know what they’re getting into.

As much as women like this one might want men to settle down in our 20s, for many of us this just isn’t practical. This was true even for Theodore Roosevelt — maybe the manliest man in American history. He married at 22, but his drive to explore was so strong that he left his pregnant wife alone in Manhattan while he roamed the Wild West. He was guilt-stricken when she died in childbirth soon after.

I don’t know what golden age of husbandry Hymowitz is thinking about, but Roosevelt was born in 1858. And the great H.L. Mencken, never one for modesty, wrote this in 1918:

“The marriage of a first-rate man, when it takes place at all, commonly takes place relatively late. He may succumb in the end, but he is almost always able to postpone the disaster a good deal longer than the average poor clodpate, or normal man.”

Mencken, one of America’s greatest writers, didn’t marry until he was 49.

Maybe Peter Pan is smarter than we think. Here are some other men who found success while single or who never married at all:

  • U.S. President Grover Cleveland (married at 49 while in the White House)
  • Bill Gates (38 when he married)
  • Mark Cuban (44 when he married)
  • Jerry Seinfeld (45 when he married)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven (never married)
  • Sir Isaac Newton (never married)

Men have some catching up to do, that’s for sure. And maybe it’s already happening: we are seeing gains in construction and manufacturing jobs. But for those who are single and feeling pressured into relationships they’re not ready for, I will only say this:

To hell with scripts. Write your own script and do what feels right. When people throwing criticism at you are so high up their ivory towers, they’re likely to miss.

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Regarding the study of attraction and dating, I’ve always been one to play Biff and push around the George McFlys of the academic world. But sometimes, those Buttheads get my attention, and nowhere are their virginal-yet-exact methods more useful than for online dating.

Perhaps I like this particular dissection of online dating because, in a way, it contradicts science. Or, at least, the half-assed science of online-dating algorithms.

online datingYou can read a much shorter explanation in the New York Times, but I took one for the team and read the entire 64-page article written by Eli J. Finkel and four others, which is to be published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

Finkel and the gang examine the validity of online dating, and I was especially interested in its critique of matching sites — namely eHarmony — that use algorithms to predict not just compatibility with another partner, but also long-term relationship success with a “soulmate.” (Sorry, I can’t help but put quotations marks around the word, since I consider the idea of the perfect partner one of mankind’s worst and most harmful inventions. But that’s for another post.)

In short, the authors don’t conclude that mathematical matching sites are any worse at producing lasting relationships than the old-fashioned way of saying hello to that honey in the bar. But after examining the facts, they don’t consider them any better, either, even though users are paying a lot more for those sites than $10 for a vodka gimlet, and spending many hours chained to their desks.

The article’s reasoning includes the following:

  • Although nobody knows exactly how the sites’ algorithms work — something the authors also object to — we do know that they can’t possibly measure how two people get along after they meet each other (such as resolving disagreements), as well as what external forces (finances, stress, etc.) will arise. Yet these latter factors have far more effect on how a relationship ends up.
  • The algorithms use similarities in personality and attitude to match people. And while such similarities do appear to foster attraction, their effect on long-term relationships is practically zero. Introverts do just as well with extroverts, for example.

But there is a twist: the authors suggest that to succeed at online dating, singles are better off with a screening site like eHarmony over a feeding-frenzy site like OK Cupid, just because of the illusion of greater compatibility:

A second process that may emerge as a result of users’ faith in the validity of a site’s algorithm is the placebo effect … A user’s belief in the validity of the algorithm used by a dating site may cause him or her to view a match as compatible.

To those of you familiar with the seduction community, this is online dating’s version of social proof. And I can see their point, the same way I know that a beautiful woman is more likely to choose one of two guys at a private party than one of 20 dudes at a bar. When we’re loaded with options, as on many dating sites, we’re less likely to pick one. Or we pick one for the wrong reasons.

I can’t deny that I have a bias in all this, considering how much time I’ve spent teaching guys how to meet women in person. And the report only confirms what I found in my experiment with online dating: the one advantage to it is easy, low-risk access to singles, which puts me at a disadvantage. Offline, I’m one of the few guys with the guts to approach an attractive woman.

That said, I am an emo-boy romantic, and if computers could match us all with someone uniquely meant to last with us, I would be all for that. It’s just that it won’t happen anytime soon. So I’d rather spend my leisure time in the analog glory of the outdoors.

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I’m excited to share this two-part guest post with you, because I’ve been badgering (heck, honey badgering) this guy into sharing his insights on this blog. It’s from my good friend Tre Tre.

Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, like me you’re familiar with some of the pickup-artist theories and techniques out there. Even if, like me, you’ve realized so much of them as incomplete and misleading. Or maybe you’re a fan of them, and if so, that’s your right.

But for anyone who’s learning to overcome his social fears, I urge you to heed what Tre Tre says about the downfall of pickup techniques in pursuit of women. I can’t think of anyone I know who lives a more genuine, purposeful and adventurous life than him, and he’s the friendliest guy you’ll meet.  He’s hardly a pickup artist when we’re out, yet he attracts hot women with minimal effort, and he’s earned the nickname Tre Tre by enjoying more threesomes than your average rock musician. I should add that he’s 5-foot-9, balding and low in cash.

You can also read about how he once taught a famous local athlete about game. Take it away, Tre:

“Since its inception, pickup has been centered around various theories,  broken down into a series of techniques for their application. In the vast, open space of learning how to meet women, pickup gurus make their cash in giving you, the novice, techniques on how to make that woman fall for you.

While the logic they base their theories on is often completely reasonable, they don’t address the core problem. Nor do they provide the individual with a way to reconcile his personality to the actions he’s delivering.  Many well-meaning guys become frustrated by a saturation of technique.  It is almost as if you are a B actor given a B script and you now have to give the performance of your life in front of a woman who’s looking for an Academy Award-winning performance.  You’ve lost before you even began.

pickup artiest pua

This style may not be for you.

Pickup today is devoid of strategy; it is almost entirely tactics and frameworks.  The tactics may be interesting, but as we collect knowledge and theory, the reality of their everyday application is often very different.  The accumulation of all this knowledge can become paralyzing because, in the heat of battle, your emotions kick in, your mind becomes cluttered and you can’t summon the right technique at the right time.  You fail and often don’t think of the right thing to say or do until after the interaction is well over.

This doesn’t mean that analysis and ideas don’t matter – far from it.  It is all about marrying the RIGHT ideas and applying the RIGHT lessons to actual experience in a way that allows us to connect with who we are to the world as it actually is.

It is about being so cognizant in the present moment that you are sensitive to everything that is happening around you.  You are pulled out of the present moment when you are stuck with your own thoughts, trying to apply a series of theories and techniques that happened in the past to an entirely different problem.

Forget your PUA techniques and focus on winning the battle of your mind.  All the knowledge, experience and techniques have limitations, as no amount of thinking in advance can prepare you for the chaos of life and the infinite possibilities of the current moment.  To win the battle of your mind, you have to do three things:

  1. Become aware of your weaknesses and fears.
  2. Develop Presence of Mind.
  3. Commit to continual movement: put yourself into your most fearful situations and redefine yourself every day.

Your emotions are much stronger than your mind.  If you haven’t prepared your mind for the moments where your emotions grow in intensity, your emotions will win every time.  You need strength, not more knowledge or techniques.

You can’t win by reading this article.  You can only do it by practicing, experiencing and suffering through it as you gain strength. You will fail at first, but you will rule at staying calm in the midst of chaos, to the point where you will always be finding a way to win.  If you let it slide for a moment, you’ll slide back into letting your emotions control you.

Exercises for developing these skills will be discussed in Part 2.”

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