Judging the performance.

One of the things which strikes me when reading women’s accounts of dating is how completely unaware some of them are that they are a participant on a date and not just there to judge the man’s performance.

I’m sure many men do this too, but I think it is much more common for women to fall into for several reasons.  First, men are the chasers.  They are the ones expected to take the risk and ask women out.  If you aren’t the one taking the risk, it could become easy to forget that it isn’t always as easy as it looks.  Second, it is considered in bad form in our culture to point out bad manners in a woman.  Mention this and you are practically begging to be shamed, and maybe scolded a bit for good measure.  Expecting women to have good manners is just another way the patriarchy oppresses women after all.  Moreover, we wouldn’t mind bad manners in women if we were better men.  Real men don’t let little things like that bother them.  Besides, you just attacked a woman!  A helpless innocent victim who dispite her constant professions of girl power is so fragile she couldn’t possibly bear the pain of introspection you are suggesting she endure.  Bad man!  Bad, bad man!  Speak no more of this.

I think this is at the heart of the controversy over my post yesterday.  All was fun and games so long as the male dater was the one on the dock.  Every action was analyzed and reanalyzed to score his performance.  Dude, why did he fold under pressure like that?  There is something positive for men in looking at the world this way.  Demanding more of yourself means you will get better.  It is the only way.   Men need to not only know how to handle themselves around women who are polite, but also how to handle the situation when women are rude.

But only focusing on the failure of the man in the end isn’t fair to women.  We treat them like children so often.  And so often (some) women act that way.

Edit Sept 23: I’ve closed off comments on the Clueless Dater post.  Comments are still open on this post but I ask that you avoid further discussion of Casey and her Beta date as a courtesy to Susan.  Comments on the basic question of women (or men) seeing themselves as judges vs participants on a date are fair game, as are thoughts on the general issue of criticizing men vs women.

This entry was posted in Choice Addiction, Death of courtship, Finding a Spouse. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Judging the performance.

  1. Badger Nation says:

    Nothing worse in my dating life than when I feel like I am on display to get measured, as if I was on the stocks to get sold. Or as if it is my job to entertain the date. I usually don’t continue such dates.

  2. Anonymous age 68 says:

    >>All was fun and games so long as the male dater was the one on the dock.

    Exactly! That is normal in the US.

    >>Men need to not only know how to handle themselves around women who are polite, but also how to handle the situation when women are rude.

    Easy to say, but is there any way to teach it to most men?

  3. JKLC says:

    My main point the other day is that I thought your little satirical letter was pretty off base from the situation described in the original. The biggest problem was with your description of the dancing and your failing to mention that the woman flat out asked the man to dance with her and he refused. You were describing her dancing alone as some narcissistic tendency, which is way off base. Really, it just looked more like their personalities were on different wavelengths. Little details like that completely change the tone of the situation.

    Yes women make mistakes on dating. I think anyone who’s been on a good number of dates can describe things the woman did wrong. I personally can name lack of good conversation skills, lack of enthusiasm, lack of good manners, and attempting to assert dominance in the relationship just in the small amount that I’ve been on.

    Dating can be really cut-throat. The man is constantly evaluating the physical attraction of women, the woman is constantly evaluating the dominance hierarchy of men. Trying to intellectually argue against such behavior isn’t really going to change the nature of things.

    I like your blog, I think you’ve made some really good points, however you and your commentators do have a tendency from time to time to paint things as men vs. women. That’s really not constructive at all. You’re taking a single situation that received advice and taking it out of proportion.

    Susan’s blog contains plenty of criticism of female dating behavior, so really the thing you’re complaining about in this post isn’t an issue at all when considering the source material of your post yesterday.

  4. dalrock says:

    The biggest problem was with your description of the dancing and your failing to mention that the woman flat out asked the man to dance with her and he refused.

    That isn’t what she wrote. She wrote:

    There was music playing so naturally, I started dancing.

    That isn’t the way a grown up thinks. Granted I’m assuming she doesn’t have dancing tourrettes or some other dancing related condition which causes her to not be able to control her actions.

    She started dancing, and then she asked him to join. When he wasn’t interested, she continued dancing by herself for two songs. And this was immediately after she pulled out her clipboard while her date crashing friends grilled him on his lack of a job.

    All I was trying to do is show another perspective. As Susan said the letters are open to interpretation. I provided a man’s interpretation. I did so in an attempt to show how people can often be part of the same experience and have wildly different perspectives.

    If a guy had written They had an Xbox there, so of course I started playing world of warcraft, I would point out the problem with this as well. Even if the guy asked her to join in after he sat down. They were on a date. Together. Heading off unilaterally and then mentioning as an aside that your date can join is rude. Given his concerns about her lack of commitment, her decisions to start dancing (in the bar? party?) would have made him feel even less important to her. Should he have manned up and busted a move? Perhaps. Is it wrong for me to point out rude behavior? No.

  5. Justin says:

    “you and your commentators do have a tendency from time to time to paint things as men vs. women. That’s really not constructive at all. You’re taking a single situation that received advice and taking it out of proportion.”

    We are seeing the same patterns over and over again in our lives. We are not taking it out of proportion, we are putting it in perspective and noticing the patterns.

    I have known lots of girls just like the one in the letter. The supposedly beta guy in the letter obviously has as well. That is why he did not want to get physical right away and wanted exclusivity. You can only be the emotional plaything in some immature girl’s narcissistic psychodrama so many times before you get sick of it. I have also seen the exact same advice given by the “girl’s club”, always HIS FAULT, never ever ever look at yourself, the girl is always perfect etc etc etc… This is not a “single situation”, this is par for the course.

    What she and Susan both failed to note is that HIS game is obviously working. By using pull-push and DHV, she is the one obsessed with him.

  6. JG says:

    Justin wrote:

    “What she and Susan both failed to note is that HIS game is obviously working. By using pull-push and DHV, she is the one obsessed with him.”

    Actually, that’s an insightful observation Justin.

  7. J says:

    Ah, D, what can I tell ya? You open up your mouth on the internet and you take your lumps. That’s what you get for hoisting your sword in the battle of the sexes.😉

    But srsly, it’s very, very hard for men and women to see where each other is coming from. The fact that your faux-analysis from the guy’s POV drew so much flack, and especially so much hurt from Susan, shows how polarizing this stuff truly is and how it is for men and women to understand each other.

    One good thing my foray into the manosphere has done is to make me sensitive to my husband. I’m more on the look out to see if he feels screwed over than I ever would have expected to be. Happily, though he is unaware of why, he has also become a bit more considerate of me as well.

    But I’ll teel you D, it ain’t easy. Not by a longshot!

  8. dalrock says:

    But srsly, it’s very, very hard for men and women to see where each other is coming from. The fact that your faux-analysis from the guy’s POV drew so much flack, and especially so much hurt from Susan, shows how polarizing this stuff truly is and how it is for men and women to understand each other.

    This is so true. Often we can touch (or stomp) each other’s buttons without even knowing they are there. This is why it is so frustrating that meaningful discussion is always considered off limits. Warren Farrell writes about this in Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say. He goes into detail about how the man’s side simply isn’t considered either worthy or appropriate to discuss. At the same time the woman’s perspective is the constant topic of every form of media. While it might be unfamiliar and definitely uncomfortable, having the discussion will help men and women a great deal I think.

    One good thing my foray into the manosphere has done is to make me sensitive to my husband. I’m more on the look out to see if he feels screwed over than I ever would have expected to be. Happily, though he is unaware of why, he has also become a bit more considerate of me as well.

    Nice work.

  9. JackAmok says:

    Dalrock, I’m totally with you on the previous post, and this response to it. You wrote a great alternate perspective on the letters from Casey about her date, provided a great perspective that any serious woman ought to at least appreciate, if not agree with.

    And you got raked over the coals for it. As a commentor said in the previous threat, predictable.

    So, how should a man handle a rude woman? Easy.

    “Listen lady, I’m sure you can be a nice person, but right now you’re being damn rude and you need to knock it off. ”

    She’ll either get the message and correct her behavior, or else get all huffy. If she gets all huffy, you don’t want to socialize with her any longer. It’s really easy.

    Of course that assumes you’re being at least moderately well-behaved yourself.

  10. Badger Nation says:

    “What she and Susan both failed to note is that HIS game is obviously working. By using pull-push and DHV, she is the one obsessed with him.”

    Yes, and like many gamesters who get disillusioned with women once they get that look into their psychological machinery, he appears to be figuring out that he doesn’t really want what’s on the table after all. That’s a classic paradox I run into in my own gaming life – it’s like a male shit test, if you are that susceptible to game maybe you’re too flighty and pedestrian for me.

  11. JohnK says:

    A little science to flavor the pot? In her 2006 book, ‘The Female Brain’, author Louann Brizendin writes (p. 13) [emphasis mine]:

    “Males’ and females’ brains are different by nature. Think about this. What if the communication center is bigger in one brain than in the other? What if the emotional memory center is bigger in one than in the other? What if one brain develops a greater ability to read cues in people than does the other? In this case, you would have a person whose reality dictated that communication, connection, emotional sensitivity, and responsiveness were the primary values. This person would prize these qualities above all others and be baffled by a person with a brain that didn’t grasp the importance of these qualities. In essence, you would have someone with a female brain.”

    Louann Brizendin is a physician, and uses pretty solid cognitive science research to support the ideas in her book. I have my theories about why she never explicitly draws out the implications of the previous paragraph in her book, but that doesn’t matter, and we can do it here.

    Think about it: despite being much better able to read social cues and to communicate socially than males, female brains are no more equipped to understand, value, appreciate, and respect qualities important to males than male brains are equipped to appreciate qualities important to females.

    BUT — at least in recent years — it’s GUYS who ‘don’t understand’. It’s GUYS who aren’t ‘sensitive’, ‘aware’.

    Let me go out on a limb here. Let’s hypothesize — I emphasize, totally in the absence of actual scientific evidence, either pro or con — that there is something to the theory of ‘the eternal solipsism of the female mind.’ Which is to say, let’s hypothesize that men’s brains have more of the ‘whatever’ that it takes to conceive of the notion that somebody really does not think the same way that you do.

    That would lead to the idea that it is men who must, by nature as it were, lead the sexes back together. For on average, males would have a better chance of avoiding solipsism and genuinely be able to deal with the reality that men and women think differently and respond differently. That is, men should lead, get good at the kind of Game that both brings pleasure and does not leave men themselves disillusioned with women, but rather brings men and women together into fertile, strong, children-producing and children-rearing marriages.

    First, I reiterate: I’m just blowing smoke. I started with some actual science, but this last part is pure talking out of my — mouth.

    But pretend it’s on to something for a second. Yes, I think that a lot of modern women might — will — be repulsed by this whole line of thinking, and would fight it tooth and nail.

    Doesn’t matter. Game is stronger.

  12. dragnet says:

    “That isn’t what she wrote. She wrote…”

    I laughed out loud here. I bet she didn’t expect you to use, you know, actual quotes, facts, and evidence to support your contentions.

  13. dragnet says:

    “What she and Susan both failed to note is that HIS game is obviously working.”

    Exactly. If he’s looking for a girl who is LTR material, then it’s obvious that she fails by every reasonable standard.

    This is why letting his desire for exclusivity be known early was actually a rather shrewd move, considering his ultimate objective. When she didn’t acquiese, I’m pretty sure he immediately dimissed her as LTR material and just decided to ride the hook-up train until it ran out. This guy deserves way more credit than he’s been getting.

  14. dragnet says:

    “All was fun and games so long as the male dater was the one on the dock.”

    Exactly. I couldn’t help but notice Susan’s tone change quite a bit when we began examining Casey’s behavior.

  15. ExNewYorker says:

    I guess I can somewhat understand Susan’s reluctance to a more careful analysis of Casey’s behavior. She wants to provide advice but still remain as non-judgmental as possible.

    [While I do think there is a common double standard here, I also understand why Susan felt protective of Casey. I think she also felt blindsided by the other interpretation because it was so different than how she saw it.

    Note: I’ve asked commenters to avoid the Casey/Beta topic for future comments. This comment was held for moderation and is therefore the last word on the topic. Ed]

    Problem is, Casey, in her own words, admitted being at this stage of life: ” I am having fun dating”. She wasn’t really looking for a LTR. That, combined a lack of empathy at how some of her actions could be perceived, made it clear that all the fault wasn’t with the poor beta in question. And I think there was general agreement that the guy hadn’t helped himself, and I think he received criticism there as well. But when the critique moved to Casey, then the tone changed.

    In all fairness, I don’t think the criticism was all that harsh. It had a little bit of bite, as reality often does, but it was mostly done in the spirit of constructive criticism.

  16. JackAmok says:

    “let’s hypothesize that men’s brains have more of the ‘whatever’ that it takes to conceive of the notion that somebody really does not think the same way that you do.”

    In the primitive mating game, women are successful if they look healthy and fertile enough to attract a HMV man, and if they are able to correctly pick the HMV guy out from the imposters (hello PUAs). A woman’s actual social status is not terribly relevant to whether she has kids. Her husband/mate’s social status is important to whether those kids have enough resources to grow up and have kids themselves. So I think evolution has selected women for their ability to a) look good, and b) perceive social dynamics among men, but it has not selected them for their ability to achieve social status or navigate a social heirarchy themselves.

    A man’s reproductive success is highly dependant on his social status and his ability to function within a group dynamic. And not just fit in, but dominate. Estimates are that only 40% of men in a primitive setting manage to reproduce (as opposed ot 80% for women). Only the guys who could successfully maneuver within the group had kids and passed their genes on to us. Men are selected for their ability to navigate socially.

    So ultimately I think the male brain probably is better at understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, because that is imporant information in the male’s quest to navigate his way far enough up the ladder to attract a mate and give his kids the resources to survive and prosper. The female brain is good at recognizing the impact of social interactions (“he’s moving up in value – that other guy’s now a has-been”) but not so good at understanding the feelings and motivations those other people have.

    So yeah, I do think – contrary to stereotypes – men understand women better than women understand men. The human brain is however capable of rising above it’s primitive programming, and women are capable of understanding men if they try. But we’ve been told the opposite for so long, we’re all totally confused.

    I think men have been conditioned to believe that we don’t really understand women, so we dismiss our (largely correct) perceptions of them and substitute a bunch of bs nonsense instead, which just leaves them confused because none of it makes sense. And women have been conditioned to believe they intuitively understand men and so go with their (largely incorrect) perceptions and ignore any incongrueties with observed reality.

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