Atheist Dating Advice for Women?

Now that we know how to meet and woo the atheist women, people are asking me for the list of how to woo the men.

I didn’t realize we needed one of those.

If you breathe and have estrogen, we’re already into you. (I speak for straight guys.)

But if you have suggestions for where to find atheist guys, how to get their attention, and what to look for when seeking one, please leave them in the comments and I’ll try to compile the list!

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    The one thing I’d offer is that smart is sexy. Don’t be afraid to be yourself because intelligence is a turn on. Seriously.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.net Veritas

    What vjack said. Ladies, feel free to be yourself…but speak up. Most secularists I know are always willing to accept the quirks of others, so don’t fear to be out and about.

  • http://supercheetah.livejournal.com Rene Horn

    Definitely speak up. Even if you’re not the prettiest girl in the room, knowing that you’re an atheist gives you an advantage. You get points for being smart.

  • Thomas

    Be into science, politics and technology. Your brain is more attractive than any body part could ever even aspire to be.

  • Sackbut

    Um, shouldn’t that be “atheist dating advice for women” or “how to meet and woo atheist men”? I presume the previous entry was dating advice for (straight) men.

  • http://defiantskeptic.wordpress.com/ Alex

    Definitely be yourself. Intelligence is indeed sexy.

    Speak up, or be reading The God Delusion or another atheist book, or hell, any philosophy, science, or technology-related book. Yes, that works for men too.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Um, shouldn’t that be “atheist dating advice for women” or “how to meet and woo atheist men”? I presume the previous entry was dating advice for (straight) men.

    That could be confusing… I updated the title to make more sense.

    Thanks :)

  • DSimon

    If you breathe and have estrogen, we’re already into you. (I speak for straight guys.)

    Are you sure you’re speaking for straight guys and not bisexual guys? I’m a straight guy, but am unattracted to other guys despite the fact that they’ve got the same kind of estrogen as women have got. Human beings regardless of sex generally have both estrogen and testosterone in their systems, though the relative levels differ.

  • MeagD

    Guys are always touting this “be intelligent – be yourself!” bullshit, but as a young women who prides herself on being independent and critical (ok, and a bit nerdy too), I don’t buy it.

    Why’s that? Because I am always being told by friends/family etc that my intelligence, sense of humour, and independence “intimidates” men. What’s that all about?

    Are you men really intimidated by a woman who will kick your ass at calculus? Or one who doesn’t need constant reassurance to stand on her own feet? Because to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have to initiate a conversation or the last time a man had the nerve to actually ask me out. I don’t mind being the “asker”, but come on guys! :)

  • Andrew

    MeagD,

    Well when women stop sending so many mixed signals and confusing the hell out of us, we’ll get our confidence back again and start asking. :)
    Approaching women was so much easier when I was in my twenties. There seemed to be no ambiguity at all. Nowawdays (I’m 41), I find myself at times absolutely CERTAIN I’ve made a connection, only to find out I’ve misread the situation entirely. Very embarrassing. I’m pretty much done with the approaching unless she’s waving semaphore flags at me (not that that’s any guarantee). Blame the sisters you never met for that. :)

    As for the intelligence your friends and family are advising you to keep under wraps, I’d say press on as yourself. Each individual’s perception is generally their reality, so if THEY are intimidated by your intelligence, then they’re likely to assume everyone else is as well (I get told the same thing). Some men *are* intimidated by intelligence (usually the point-and-grunt types), but the good ones aren’t.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.net Veritas

    I generally don’t find intelligence and independence intimidating, rather, I find it liberating. I enjoy talking with people, long, intelligent conversations, and I think that it is very intimate to do so with someone you are in a relationship with.

    Regardless, I think people who can do calculus rock, because I can’t, so…I dunno. Maybe you’re not hanging around with the right guys!

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com Jennifurret

    MeagD, good to know I’m not alone! I’ve had the same exact problem. I’m *always* the one to make the first move and ask the guy out, go in for the first kiss, etc. My best relationship with a guy was one who was as smart as me on avearage, though he basked in the moments where he knew something I didn’t. I’ve even been told by past boyfriends that they didn’t like dating a girl smarter than them, that it annoyed them that my grades were so much better than theirs, etc

    I don’t want to stereotype, but I’ve noticed a trend that most guys who are geeky/nerdy/appreciate intelligent women are also extremely shy. So ditto what MeagD said: if you really think intelligence is so hot, freaking ask us out!

  • J. J. Ramsey

    MeagD, I think a lot depends on the guy, how he was brought up, etc. When I was growing up, my mother didn’t hide her brains, and it was pretty clear that my parents liked being intellectual equals. I highly doubt that I’m even remotely the only guy who grew up in such an environment.

    As for whether intelligence is intimidating, well, there’s intimidating and intimidating. One can be intimidated by someone else to the point where one can’t stand being near that person. One can also be intimidated in a way where one feels a little scared but finds that feeling kind of fun, sort of the way being scared by a movie or a thrill ride is fun. Intelligence can be intimidating in that latter way.

  • http://www.myspace.com/deadjerusalem Brian’s A Wild Downer

    my advice is: don’t smoke

  • Jodie

    MeagD — I feel you….Where-ever I go, I am my nerdy, smarty, good looking self. The problem with with preferring our type of guys is they NEVER can work up the nerve to make a move. Seriously, guys — do you enjoy the celibacy?

  • Epistaxis

    Dsimon:

    Human beings regardless of sex generally have both estrogen and testosterone in their systems, though the relative levels differ.

    If anything, I think it’s the oxytocin that men find attractive.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    I recommend casting off the antiquated, patriarchal view that the male is the one that’s supposed to initiate communication. Don’t just sit there, waiting for him to talk to you — if you’re interested in him, then go fucking talk to him!

    BTW, I like the idea of those electronic devices (from about a decade ago) that would alert you when in the vicinity of another device that’s set with similar parameters. They didn’t seem to take off in the U.S., though. I usually just let my t-shirts deliver my general views.

  • Amber

    I couldn’t agree with MeagD more. I’ve scared away two guys this year alone because they felt intimidated by me, and one was even an atheist. The second I bring up a subject that interests me (religion, biology, music) the “You’re too smart for me”‘s start to fly and their tails go between their legs. Guys, if you’re into a smart girl and know you’re not particularly nerdy yourself, don’t pretend to be. There’s still a good chance of me liking you even if you don’t have an idea who Christopher Hitchens is, if you’re funny and sweet.

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com Jennifurret

    «bønez_brigade», all of us said that we *do* make the first move with men. If we were all old fashioned none of us would have ever gone on a date or had a kiss. Maybe we just…oh, I don’t know, like it when we meet a guy who actually has the balls to make the first move every once in a while. Overconfidence is annoying, but some level of self esteem and confidence is necessary.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    As a geeky guy i’d like to put forward my two pennies worth.

    Going through school, many geeky guys get picked on by high testosterone, low IQ types. The pretty girls love an easy target and would also enjoy making ones life hell. This is, as far as my geeky friends tell me, not an isolated experience.

    So when we’ve hit adulthood, many of us geeks and nerds face years of humiliation at the hands of pretty women.

    When we find a smart (and yes, brains = sexy), sassy, independant woman that we like, even though we may be successful adults ourselves, a little voice in the back of our heads is reminding us of the shame of failure at the hands of pretty girls.

    Added to which, many guys (and i’m really bad for this) are clueless at telling when a girl is into them. Subtly might not work, be blatant. I don’t mean rip off your clothes and throw yourself at them (although i always appreciate that too) but just let them know. Best bet, get a mutual friend to tell them. I know it sounds very teeny but it at least clues your hopeless love interest in.

    Finally, be yourself, be smart, be educated, be independant, be strong willed and be confident in your own sauciness and the geek guys will flock to you.

    Honestly, i used to be such a wallflower myself and it was only through a couple of brave girls throwing themselves at me at uni that i got the confidence to believe that some women might not find me repellant. So don’t be afraid to make the first move.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I’m not sure that the advice for women needs to be different than for men. It’s not as if we’re difference species or some from different planets….well most of us.

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    Smart does equal sexy – no doubt about it, but I’ll come out as the lone neanderthal in the room and say that a pretty face and a curvy figure doesn’t hurt either… :-)

    Also, if you’re in the south, “wide birthin hips what for makin lots of babies” is a plus.

    :-)

    Of course, I’m married, so I’m pretty sure my opinion doesn’t count in this matter.

  • http://www.geardiary.com Judie

    When all else fails? Sites like Yahoo Personals can help expand your dating pool. List exactly what you are and what you want, and you might get lucky.

    I did. :-)

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    As a fellow male geek, I can tell you that gribblethemunchkin definitely has great advice.

    MeagD and Jennifurret and Amber, you have no idea how many times most guys have been humiliated in front of women.

    Why don’t we ask you out? Because we’re scared shitless. Yes, sometimes you’re going to have to make the first move. Sorry, but there’s not much we can freaking do about it.

    Like gribblethemunchkin said, quite a few of us are piss f’ing poor at reading signals from women. Really.

    And you have no idea how many times I’ve tried to approach a smart, confident, self-assured women only for her to have absolutely no interest in me. Because it’s been my experience that usually women who have all of these qualities don’t actively seek out men or relationships in the first place.

    So yes, some of us like you…some of us like you a lot. Just because we have no f’ing clue what we’re doing doesn’t mean we don’t like you.

    And maybe the reason that a lot of nerdy/geeky guys appreciate shy women is because…

    we may also be shy???

    Did you ever think of that?

    Maybe we’re shy because we’re scared shitless…it’s a vicious cycle.

    So please, give us a break about how being smart and being yourself is bullshit. Because it’s not. It’s just as difficult for us as it is for you.

    What’s even worse…is that I am not even a shy person. At all. It’s just difficult because a lot of us have never actually seen these smart, confident women reciprocate our feelings. It’s hard to know what to do when we find them.

  • K

    As a happily married, atheist, nerdy lady I can offer up the few things that helped me catch my super-awesome, atheist, nerdy mister:

    * If you (you, the female in this situation) are interested in him, then ask him out. HOWEVER, don’t plan a dinner-and-a-movie date, make it a casual social event such as an art fair, sci-fi convention, group picnic, fiesta, concert, etc. Use this opportunity to show what you’re into, what you like to do for fun, how amazingly cool you are, and how much fun you are to hang out with. This should give you the opportunity to see how you interact and if there’s any “spark”. There’s also no pressure to force engaging conversation immediately. If there’s no immediate connection you can at least enjoy your outing. (This strategy would also work for the men-folk.)

    * DON’T TALK NON-STOP. Sometimes, it’s not that the guy is intimidated by your stunning intellect, he just can’t get a word in edgewise! So take a breath, ask him what his opinions are, actually LISTEN to him and respond thoughtfully. This makes conversation far more engaging and satisfying to both parties. Be honest, learn about him, and try your best not to be scary/weird/awkward/annoying.

    * Be open-minded and non-judgmental. His opinions or views might not be exactly the same but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong or the wrong guy for you. You might very well have the same core values and beliefs or non-beliefs. In fact, conversations are often more interesting if you don’t think the same way about everything.

    * Manage your expectations. He won’t be perfect and you aren’t either, but you might be perfect for each other.

    And most of all, be the reasonable, rational person that you are and try not to get too carried away with love, starry eyed romance, and pheromones.

  • jemand

    Ok, so about that “intelligence intimidates” stuff. It does. Only, in my case, it intimidated a really jerky boyfriend, and it was really good for me to get rid of him. The DECENT guys out there AREN’T intimidated by intelligence. So for you smart women out there… think of it as having an additional compass for sniffing out the losers and control freaks and jerks– if he doesn’t like that you are smart, RUN.

    There ARE guys out there who find intelligence sexy (my current boyfriend is one of them) and they are just INFINITELY more awesome boyfriend material than the insecure intimidated jerks.

    That says nothing about shy guys though. Shy guys can also be awesome.

  • Mark

    What about dating advice for gay atheists?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Also, k has great advice.

    Sometimes, I find myself with certain women and I can’t get a word in edge-wise; yes, that is very intimidating and very awkward.

    Additionally, I strongly believe this:

    Manage your expectations. He won’t be perfect and you aren’t either, but you might be perfect for each other.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.net Veritas

    I can only draw on my personal dating experience, which isn’t the greatest. But I remember being very, very shy when I was a hint younger (not that I am old now!), and this stemmed primarily from the dreaded high school experience. I don’t know what age groups we’re dealing with, but in the 17-21 age, I’d guess many atheist fellas are still feeling that after-effect.

    Are all atheist guys geeky? Probably not, though most of my secular friends are fairly nerdy (I’m the biggest geek of them all!), but a lot of them are pretty easy to talk to. So, it comes to this…where are you ladies trying to meet guys? Because if you’re going to sci-fi conventions, you’re probably getting a larger selection of shy, withdrawn dudes. I can’t speak for secularist conventions, because I’ve never been to one (as much as I’d love to), but I somehow doubt the ratio is much higher.

    So, persevere, ladies, because there are a plethora of atheists gents out there who are looking for partners. I wish there was better advice. Hah, maybe we need another column for dating advice here.

  • Dan

    For me (age 20), the best ways to grab my attention are:

    1. Read. Doesn’t matter if it’s an atheist book or not, but I find it very attractive if I see a girl reading something outside of class books.

    2. Have something you’re fanatically passionate about. Again, doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t have to be something typically associated with women, but it really helps to have something you can always talk about. One of my first girlfriends was really into military aviation, not a typically girly interest in the least. I didn’t really know much about it, but it was always interesting to hear her go on about why the nose cones on an SR-71 are shaped the way they are.

    That’s not to say that you need a non-girly interest. I dated a girl majoring in fashion that always had interesting things to talk about with clothing design, and it didn’t hurt that I had a fairly steady stream of hand-made clothes custom fit to me whenever she finished an asignment.

    3. Have your own style. There are literally thousands of girls on any college campus dressed in A&F/Hollister/Gap clothes. Even if it’s just a single item that stands out, it’s still something that stands out, and that’s usually a good thing. Something as simple as a cool-looking necklace can be a good way to catch my interest and start a conversation.

    4. If I don’t approach you, doesn’t mean I’m not interested. Plenty of guys are shy around women, especially ones we find attractive. If you like a guy, and he doesn’t approach you, approach him. Worst he can do is say no, and if he does, that’s his loss.

  • Mark

    I would like to announce that, for me, a LACK of intelligence is a major turn off.

    I’m so bothered by women who feel that being air-headed and giggly is going to help them at all. I actually WANT a woman who can challenge me academically. Someone who I can HAVE conversations about things with.

    If anything, I think I’d rather be the dumb one in the relationship. It will give ME something to aspire to!

    Secondly, I cannot stand it when women are passive and wait for the guy to make the first move. If this is a habit that they make for themselves, it tends to bleed over into other areas. When someone exhibits this behavior in a social setting, it usually is symptomatic of a lack of communication skills in other situations. (i.e. bedroom, discussion of general wants and needs)

    It always ends up that, because they refuse to talk about these things, entire relationships just blow up seemingly without warning.

  • AnonyMouse

    On a non-atheist-related note, do you guys have any advice on how us less attractive girls can make ourselves more visually appealing? (Slathering on makeup seems a little too touch-and-go.)

  • Veritas

    Makeup is always touch and go, and I’d never recommend it to make up for any perceived physical shortcomings. Instead, play to your strengths. If you want to send out a physical signal, figure out what part of your body you like most, and play it up. Trying not to be a sexist pig here, but different guys are attracted to different features and body parts. So, don’t try and hide anything, but try and show off what you want shown off. I think that’s generic “attractiveness” advice.

    Covering stuff up tends to make it more noticeable.

    Phew, now don’t have me drawn and quartered.

  • Drew

    Sure AnonyMouse:

    Smile more.

    Get a new haircut and highlight – you’ll feel better inside. Avoid mohawks, mullets.

    Update your wardrobe with clothes that are flattering to your style and shape. Have someone else dress you this time. You won’t be as willing to experiment if you shop alone. But whatever you do, DON’T dress for other women (most women do this without realizing it).

    If you smoke, quit immediately. Smoking is a major turn-off to most non-smokers, currently about 80% of the population. As atheists, we’ve already pared down our prospective candidates enormously – if you smoke, you’re down to about 2 or 3 people nationwide. ;)

    If you need to lose weight, start working on it, but do it for yourself first. You don’t need to be skinny!!!! I personally can’t stand skinny women; voluptuous/curvy wins every time. On the other hand, obesity is going too far. Healthy (regardless of the number on the scale) is key.

    “Less attractive” is a misleading descriptor. It’s all relative. I’ll ignore a room full of tens for a five if she’s intelligent, confident and witty. My best girlfriends historically have been blatantly average. :)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I’m happily married now for 14 years, but my 20s were a dating disaster for many of the same reasons gribblethemunchkin put forth. Things turned around for me about when I turned 30. I think it was a combination of me being a bit older and also the women being a bit older. I stopped viewing them as intimidating sexual creatures and more as just fellow human beings.

    So if you are 20 something and are having dating problems, remember that things might get a lot better in your 30′s.

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com advertisinglies

    AnonyMouse:

    I think Veritas’ advice was very good in regard to the physical presentation of things, but I think more importantly, the best way for someone who feels they aren’t attractive to be more attractive is to stop saying you’re not attractive! Everyone has different tastes but one thing that most people can agree on is that confidence is very sexy. A confident person can have definite flaws in regard to their looks and still be perceived as smoking hot because most people see the value in people that they themselves are aware of and are proud of. I don’t care if you’re 500 pounds, missing a nose, have a leg for an arm or conversely look traditionally beautiful, if you think you’re unattractive, most people you initially meet will pick up on that and write you off as insecure or emotionally high maintenance. That’s not to say that confidence will make every man want to bone you on sight, people have physical likes and dislikes and sometimes attraction simply doesn’t exist between two people, but I know from my experience at least that it’s far more difficult to try to get someone else’s interest when you already feel like you’re not attractive. You can show off your cleavage, butt, legs, whatever you choose till the cows come home, but if you honestly don’t like how you look, most perspective dates will shy away from you as well. And not necessarily because you’re physically unattractive, but because you allow your insecurities to take a front seat to the positive aspects of who you are.

  • Veritas

    Well, it’s a tough sell to give advice in this forum, too, because many of us really don’t know each other too well, so I suppose we are probably parroting a lot of advice most people have already seen. That said, advertisinglies, Jeff, and Drew all make quite good points too.

    Are we going to just have a “how to date an atheist” guide? Might sell…

  • Nicole C.

    I’ve never actually liked these kind of advice lists. Most of the time, they just end up being one group saying what they find atractive, and the other saying that it doesn’t actually work that way most of the time. For myself, I’d have to agree with MeagD and the others. All through high school, I could be found at lunch hour, before class and on the hour-long bus ride to and from school reading anything from The God Delusion to The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy to The Princess Bride and I was never approached by anyone I wasn’t already friends with until grad, and then it was only to say “nice dress” and walk away.

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    @Jeff, or I guess I can just start dating older men :D

  • N.I.K.

    My advice:

    -Don’t settle for less just because Dude X is an atheist/agnostic/nearest equivalent. Apply the same criteria you’d be applying otherwise and act accordingly.

    -B.S. excuses (“you’re too smart for me” etc.) are just indicators that he’s not really up for a relationship with you and can’t bring himself to say it. Look at this as one less coward for you to deal with longer than necessary.

    -Yeah, there’s the other kind of coward, and sorry, but you’ll have to make the first move sometimes. Lots of smart men can be lacking in social skills relevent to romantic pursuit due to having gotten later or less frequent practice than others. This is partially attributable to the social awkwardness phases described above, but also to other interests eating up time – many of us didn’t spend our early twenties going down to the bar and trying to get laid every night, but instead were ensconced in [name any detailed subject matter/area of interest here].

    -That said, many men (at least those who may be worth your time and are not boggged down in tradition) would be thrilled to have a woman straight-forwardly express interest in them. All that “game”/”thrill of the hunt”/”tv-style dating” is pretty well bull, and anyone who *isn’t* interested in approximating such a stupid process of mixed signals and such automatically becomes a much more interesting prospect.

    Hope that’s of some use. Personally, I’d second the “don’t dress for other women” stuff, but that’s more a matter of personal taste -I don’t have much interest in girlie-girls, as their frequent penchant for superficiality really rankles me. It’s ultimately up to *you* how you carry yourself in those regards, but keep in mind not everyone will necessarily be wanting what you wish to project!

  • AnonyMouse

    @Drew – Thank you so much. It feels much better to hear this kind of thing from an actual man instead of, say, my mother, who landed my dad via crash dieting.

    @advertisinglies – That’s true, of course, but after spending my entire teenhood focusing on my “good parts” and ignoring the parts of me I don’t really like I’m kind of fed up with it. Fortunately, I’ve managed to develop the ability to loosen up and ignore my weird bits when faced with social situations (at least when my parents aren’t watching… the fuddyduddies.)

    Oh, and I can add something from personal experience (advice to myself, heh heh): Don’t wear clothes you aren’t comfortable in. Wearing something that’s too loud or shows the wrong area of skin will make you self-conscious and hamper your social skillz.

  • Cyberguy

    gribblethemunchkin describes pretty-much what I experienced as a teenage science-focussed male. Bad experiences in teenage years leave their scars, and it often takes a while to recover.

    However I can talk about it having been through it and emerged the other side, stronger and wiser (hopefully). Now happily married for 14 years to a very intelligent woman, who early-on soundly and repeatedly beat me in 3D-TicTacToe despite my 100% best efforts! Proof that not all guys are scared off by intelligent women.

    The main secret to sexy, which applies to both men and women, is “confidence”. And, in case confidence is not your strong point, it is a relatively easy thing to fake. There are many books on this subject.

    About looks, accentute your best features and work on reducing the ones your are not so keen on. Update your hair and glasses, etc. But what you think is your best or worst feature may be different from what guys like. For example, lots of men *love* women with small busts, but to most women a small bust is a problem. Best to be proud of what nature has given you – it’s that confidence thing again.

    Another key point is to not have too strong a pre-conception of the “perfect” man for you. Your pre-conceptions will filter out guys who you would otherwise get to know and like.

    Finally it’s a numbers game. You have to find places where there are plenty of guys who you can talk to, in a relaxed, unpressured environment. Hobbies, clubs and some sports are good, such as photography or hiking clubs where there is a lot of casual talking as part of the activity. Sports such as swimming would usually be an ineffective way to meet people, for obvious reasons. Some drama clubs can be good as well.

    If you like a guy, make your signals very, very clear. Smile and talk to him. It is like being color-blind – woman’s signals may be there but the guy just can’t see them.

    Good luck.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    @Jennifurret,
    While it’s great that you and the few others here are making the first move, that’s just not typical of society — not even for godless/sci-tech femalez (i.e., my type).

    gribblethemunchkin, Teleprompter, and K all make good points, especially about problems with trying to “read” the other person. And, besides, some of us just aren’t all that extroverted; so, that said, don’t expect all of us to just storm right over (regardless of our confidence levels). That’s one reason I let the t-shirts do the ice-breaking.
    [BTW, I'm certainly not intimidated by intelligence (or calculus).]

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    For people out of school, one tip is to sign up for special interest classes where you might meet interesting people. For example, I met my wife in an oil painting studio class.

  • laterose

    Going through school, many geeky guys get picked on by high testosterone, low IQ types. The pretty girls love an easy target and would also enjoy making ones life hell. This is, as far as my geeky friends tell me, not an isolated experience.

    I’d like to point out that’s not limited to geeky guys. A lot of geeky girls had pretty much the same experiences with the popular types. And don’t assume that a woman who is pretty as an adult was one of those pretty girls who ridiculed you in school. A lot of us geeky girls spent our teen years in a long awkward phase, but have grown out of it to become reasonably attractive adults.

  • ethanol

    I agree that intelligence is sexy but it doesn’t just mean knowledge or academic ability. Artistic ability is a form of intelligence. The expression of intelligence I personally find most attractive is a sense of humor. Whatever it is that you’re good at and passionate about, don’t be afraid to show it off. If they don’t like you for that; well that’s good to figure out early on isn’t it?

  • Robin

    For all the girls who want guys to make the first move:

    It’ll go a lot better if you spend a few minutes prepping them from across the room. Most guys will screw up their courage if you give them enough indication that they will be treated kindly when they come over. Spend a few minutes catching his eye and smiling when you do. Try giving a little eye brow raise (subtle), it makes your face look more open and indicates that you are aware of what you are doing. He’s afarid to initiate the conversation because he views it as a crap shoot. Load the dice a little. This works 90% of the time.

  • K

    @AnonyMouse:
    There are a few *key* things I would recommend for keeping up appearances:
    1. Have at least one pair of jeans that fit you perfectly. Dark washes look better longer and make you look both slimmer and taller. Jeans shopping is a pain for everybody so be persistent. Remember, if they fit you perfectly everywhere but the waist gaps in the back or they are too long, get them tailored! If jeans just don’t look good on you, then find a great skirt or dress that makes you feel good and fits well. Dress well and don’t show too much skin or look overdone.
    2. Get your hair done. A good cut makes you look and feel better. Just don’t cut it too short or your might send the wrong signals.
    3. Paint your toenails. Sometimes it’s the small things that count. You can give yourself a pedi at home and it will always make your feet look cuter.
    4. Wear CUTE shoes! Believe it or not, guys take notice of our shoes as much as we take notice of theirs. It also gives a guy a chance to compliment you.
    5. SMILE! This is probably the most important and simplest thing you can do to improve your appearance. People like other people who are happy, smile, and laugh. It shows confidence, a good sense of humor, and a love of life. Make a habit of it and people will find you more approachable.
    6. Stand up straight. Good posture is a turn on and will benefit you in the long run.
    7. Have fun! Happy people are more attractive. When you see someone enjoying life, you want to get it on it. Do the things you like to do, enjoy them, and eventually you’ll meet someone of the same ilk.
    8. Be active. Getting your blood pumping gives you a glow that people find appealing. If you don’t like exercise, then try walking briskly. See if any of your friends would like to join you. Ride a bike, go hiking, take the dog for a walk, stroll through the park. Who knows, you might meet a good guy while out and about. And, as Jeff pointed out, attending a class of interest is a good way to meet people of similar tastes.
    9. Make-up. Make it look natural! Powder, mascara, and tinted lip gloss are the basics. Add a bit of foundation if you need to even out your skin-tone — just make sure it’s one shade lighter than your actual natural skin tone and only apply a little bit at a time. Add rouge if your face looks dull (just a tad and just on the parts where you blush naturally). Fill in your eyebrows (lightly!) if they are thin, splotchy, or lighter than your hair. Use eye shadow that’s closest to the natural color of your eyelids. If you are at a loss, go to the Clinique counter and ask for a makeover. This will give you a chance to learn a few things and find out what looks good on you. And practice! This is the best way to find your best look. Don’t be afraid to ask the attendant in the make-up aisle for help, they tend to have pretty good advice about products and colors and it’s always good to get a second opinion.
    10. Be honest with yourself and others. Don’t ever try to be anyone but you as it won’t get you anywhere. Feel good about being yourself and others will feel good about you, too!

    I hope this helps :)

  • InsertCotku

    This advice sounds amazing. I had great luck meeting cute, single, atheist men in my town for a while, but for some reason the well seems to have run dry.

    Living in the deep south in a town of only 52k people hurts a lot too.

  • SarahH

    I know the world isn’t a perfect place, and I know plenty of geeky guys who were left with PTSD from high school. Here’s my advice to the guys in that situation:

    Yes, pretty girls may have victimized you and helped to scar you. That doesn’t mean that it’s the responsibility of *completely different* pretty girls (or girls in general) to be your therapists and rehabilitate you. If your self-esteem is a serious issue for you, get counseling with a professional. Most college campuses have free counseling services, and working on your self-esteem is important for way more reasons than dating.

    I’m of the opinion that everyone should do their best to be a healthy, happy person *before* entering a relationship. It makes for stronger, healthier relationships and it’s generally a good policy even if you’re not looking to date.

    It’s fine if you’re a shy guy, but don’t resign yourself to being a perpetual victim of high school cruelty’s aftershocks. Most girls (atheists or not) aren’t looking for a guy to rehabilitate – they’re looking for a guy to enjoy life with. Everyone has baggage, and nobody’s perfect, but the important thing is being aware of your baggage and taking the steps to work towards a healthy place – and placing the burden for that on a significant other isn’t particularly ethical or attractive.

  • AnonyMouse

    @K – Actually, I don’t pay a lot of attention to guys’ shoes… I’m more interested in their witty T-shirts.

  • Nathan

    Not only should you do all of the other things that have been mentioned, but the truth is men are attracted to appearance (as women are, too). Look good. I’m not saying you have to look like a model, but you should be able to dress *your* body, and try to appear healthy.

    If a man’s biology is telling him to reproduce, you better look like you can bear children.

    Again, just to be perfectly clear, everything else has been mentioned (be yourself, read, be smart, don’t hide your intelligence, etc.), but I didn’t become interested in my wife because I knew she was a smart, witty atheist with great parenting skills. She was tall, with dark hair, and a short skirt. I figured those other things out after a few years :)

    (you may have to fight off some believer boys, however)

  • Jen

    I would just like to point out that the girls who say that boys don’t like smart girls are backed up by studies. Men tend to marry women with less education, who make less than them, and have less awesome jobs- that’s why plenty of female lawyers and doctors lie about their jobs to get dates. Anyone care to explain away those stats? I don’t think this can be explained by “shyness”.

  • absent sway

    Hey Anonymouse, I just want to echo what some of the others have said and add my two cents. What helped me when I was feeling down about my appearance in the past was reminding myself how many different types of beauty there are to appreciate in this world, in both men and women, just like there are so many beautiful varieties of other life. A marigold loses none of its appeal just by failing to be a rose, and why should a hummingbird envy a swan? There are so many guys my friends would swoon over that I would consider just so-so, and vice-versa. You are somebody’s type, and probably more somebodies than you would imagine. Another helpful thought (and you may well have checked all this out before, of course) is how our perception of beauty changes over time and in different cultures. The history of beauty and fashion are fascinating; I used to check out books from the library about these things and marvel at how such contradictory characteristics all have their place (some obviously get more time than others but it’s not as uniform as we are led to believe in our popular culture). As far as practical suggestions, the best flirting is honest–allow yourself to smile and catch someone’s gaze if you’re into them and just test the waters. Don’t feel obligated to change your clothes and make-up routine too much but a little goes a long way and can occasionally boost your confidence, if you’re interested. When all else fails, keep in mind that you’re most beautiful when you’re taking care of yourself, spending time with people you love, and doing things that inspire you.

  • K

    @AnonyMouse: Ok, maybe that’s just me then :)

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Jen,

    I would just like to point out that the girls who say that boys don’t like smart girls are backed up by studies. Men tend to marry women with less education, who make less than them, and have less awesome jobs- that’s why plenty of female lawyers and doctors lie about their jobs to get dates. Anyone care to explain away those stats? I don’t think this can be explained by “shyness”.

    As a skeptic, may I remind you that just because a study demonstrates that there is an overall trend does not mean that there is a deterministic outcome for every piece of data?

    Yes, there are a lot of men who don’t like women who are more intelligent or make more than they do…AND there are a lot of men who ARE in those things AND are shy.

    The existence of the former does not logically exclude the existence of the latter.

    There, now I can exhale again.

  • WCLPeter

    Lots of good advice here, so I’ll try to not repeat much of it. But one I haven’t seen yet is very simple:

    Be Available…

    Let me explain. I meet plenty of attractive women. Its not hard, just go outside once in a while and you’re bound to run into plenty of attractive women: the mall, the bus stop, grocery shopping, books stores, etc…

    Whats difficult is finding an attractive woman I am actually attracted to! This just doesn’t happen often because a woman needs the right combination of factors for me to find her attractive:

    Physical – You can be tall, short, skinny, voluptuous, or chunky [not fat, chunky, there is a difference], but if I’m not attracted to your face I won’t find you attractive. If I am going to be looking at your face for, potentially, the next few years, I want yours to be one I enjoy looking at.

    Emotional – I’m attracted to strong, smart, intelligent, independent women who don’t constantly need a man to complete them. I want to share my time and interests, not become the sole activity source for another person. I enjoy time by myself and I enjoy time with my friends. I expect anyone I have a relationship with to feel that she can do the same. She should be able to be by herself, or with friends, and not feel the need to give up on that to spend all her time with me.

    Be independent, don’t be afraid to do things without me. Some things you like I am going to have no interest in, that’s what your friends are for!

    Personality – Being strong doesn’t mean being bitchy or domineering. I don’t want someone to argue constantly with, I have a sister for that ;-). I don’t want a new “boss” who feels she always needs to get her way. Be nice. Stand up for yourself, certainly, but do it while respecting me, I’ll reciprocate in kind.

    Bad Habits – We all have them. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to stop biting my nails. Its a bad habit, I know that, but not one that would be enough to prevent a relationship.

    Some habits though are simply “too bad” to ignore. If you smoke, drink heavily (I don’t mind the odd glass of wine at dinner, though I won’t have any. If you need a “buzz” to have a good time, instant fail.), or do illicit drugs (Immediate fail.), I certainly won’t find you attractive.

    Sex – Be honest. If you have no interest in sex, let the guy know early. Considering the kinds of shy, nerdy, geeky guys you ladies will be meeting, you can have some confidence our encounters have likely been infrequent. I know I’m certainly hoping, after I’ve gotten to know you better mentally, to make up for those lack of encounters with you!

    Just don’t pull a “bait and switch”. Don’t pretend to like sex when you don’t. Nothing is more frustrating, or demoralizing, than being emotionally committed to someone you desire physically and sexually, knowing they don’t have the same physical and sexual desires in return.

    Features – Certainly not necessary, but most men like a specific “feature” that can move a “meh” woman into the “attractive” category. For me its long dark hair and glasses, I know I’m not alone. Plenty of men have a fetish for long hair so it never ceases to amaze me when women with the most beautiful, luxurious, touchable, hair cut it! Don’t complain about how much work it is to keep it brushed and combed, if you go out with me I’ll gladly do it for you! ;-)

    Every man has his own preferred “feature”, so find one you like about yourself and go with that. Even if I don’t find you attractive, someone else certainly will!

    Be Available – It is so rare to find a woman I’m attracted to where I feel comfortable and confident right away. It does happen though.

    We’re having an incredible, free flowing, conversation. We’re laughing, flirting, and generally having a good time. She’s certainly giving me the, “I’m interested” vibe and I’m working hard to find the courage to ask her if she’d like to continue this conversation over coffee, or hoping she’ll ask me.

    Then she’ll mention her husband, fiance, or boyfriend.

    Ladies, don’t do this! If you’re not available, don’t pretend you are.

    Be Available

    *** If you want the story on the one time I found an available woman, see this comment I made on Slashdot a few years ago. Unfortunately, no happy ending. ;-(

  • Eliza

    WCLPeter wrote:

    We’re having an incredible, free flowing, conversation. We’re laughing, flirting, and generally having a good time. She’s certainly giving me the, “I’m interested” vibe and I’m working hard to find the courage to ask her if she’d like to continue this conversation over coffee, or hoping she’ll ask me.

    Then she’ll mention her husband, fiance, or boyfriend.

    Ladies, don’t do this! If you’re not available, don’t pretend you are.

    As several people have mentioned, it can be hard to tell whether you’re on the same wavelength as someone you’re interested in.

    Maybe the “she” here was just enjoying a good conversation, and the mention of her current partner just happened to fit into that conversation. Or, she realized you were reading more into it than she intended, so she decided to mention him, to let you know she didn’t consider herself available.

    Should women not engage in lively conversations with persons-of-the-orientation-who-might-be-interested-in-them-sexually if they are not “available”? Or, should they make sure to mention the current partner right away & at every opportunity to make sure there’s no misunderstanding?

    I would hope not.

    Also, from the vantage point of someone who hasn’t dated for years, I’ll put in a big vote not to change yourself alot for dating purposes.

    Presumably you (e.g. all of us) want a long-term partner who likes YOU for yourself, not because you have the right haircut or your jeans fit just so. It’s pretty hard to keep up an image that’s not really you once you move in together, & wouldn’t it be a shame not to find out the “real” person your partner is until then?

  • absent sway

    While it’s true that one should avoid flirting while one is attached (if the object is to avoid confusion and/or preserve loyalty), it’s easy to misinterpret signals. I know I for one get really animated in a good conversation and it doesn’t particularly matter who it’s with; in fact, I am more at ease and fully myself if there’s not the awkward attraction factor. I don’t mean taking every opportunity to touch your arm, comment on your cute outfit and gaze into your eyes, but if you’re interesting enough to have my full attention, it could be misinterpreted and it would be nobody’s fault. Also, there’s always the possibility that an attached person is attracted to you but is not the sort to act on it and attempts to treat you normally (as opposed to avoiding all conversation with you, for instance).

  • laterose

    We’re having an incredible, free flowing, conversation. We’re laughing, flirting, and generally having a good time. She’s certainly giving me the, “I’m interested” vibe and I’m working hard to find the courage to ask her if she’d like to continue this conversation over coffee, or hoping she’ll ask me.

    Then she’ll mention her husband, fiance, or boyfriend.

    Ladies, don’t do this! If you’re not available, don’t pretend you are.

    The two commentors above covered this pretty well, but I’d like to add please don’t just disappear when this happens. I’ve been rejected by people I wanted to get with, and yes that hurts, but it doesn’t hurt quite as sharply as finding out that someone I’d totally be great friends with if he were a she was really only interested in me when he thought there was a possibility of sex later on. In one instance my sexuality is rejected, in the other my entire person is rejected. I know it might be embarrassing to have read the situation incorrectly, but I really don’t think most girls care all that much (I certainly don’t). As long as you accept her no gracefully you can become friends. If you don’t see the point of being just friends with a girl… then I really don’t think you’re ready for a girlfriend anyway.

  • WCLPeter

    Eliza, thank you for your reasoned response. I do appreciate your comments.

    Or, she realized you were reading more into it than she intended, so she decided to mention him, to let you know she didn’t consider herself available.

    I’m a realist so I certainly understand this will happen from time to time, not every woman I’m attracted to is going to be available and I get that. The issue I’m having, which I don’t think I’ve quite elucidated before, is this happens EVERY time I find a woman I’m attracted to!

    As hard as it might be to believe, I have yet to meet a woman with whom I’ve been attracted to, that also seemingly reflects the same vibe, that wasn’t already in a serious committed relationship. I would certainly understand this happening once in a while, but this is getting ridiculous.

    Or, should they make sure to mention the current partner right away & at every opportunity to make sure there’s no misunderstanding?

    Certainly not! I don’t think a woman should have to disclose her relationship status in order to have a casual conversation, that’s silly. But if she’s going to stand there for ten minutes flirting and sending all kinds of “I’m really attracted to you” vibes, it would certainly have been nice of her to let me know her availability status eight minutes before I start getting my hopes up. :-)

    Presumably you (e.g. all of us) want a long-term partner who likes YOU for yourself, not because you have the right haircut or your jeans fit just so.

    Oh, most definitely! I’m not naive, women get older, they develop wrinkles, grey hair, they gain weight. None of those things can be stopped. Only a fool would think they didn’t have to make allowances for aging, she’s not going to be a hot 25 year old forever. Of course having said that, I don’t think its at all possible to maintain a long term relationship with someone unless you are attracted to the entire person.

    In all the best long term relationships I’ve been witness to, both parties have taken it upon themselves to maintain a certain level of attractiveness, both mental and physical, for one another.

    Attraction is a funny thing, you either have it for the other person or you don’t. A relationship simply won’t last, at least one you would enjoy, if you’re not fully attracted to the other person.

    I’m certainly open to meeting women I find attractive and I often do meet plenty of attractive women, every day in fact. I’ve also had my share of attractive women give me the the “I’m interested” signal.

    That being said, I seldom meet woman with whom I feel a mutual, relaxed, confident, spark of connection with.

    I’m not a cretin, when I’m not attracted to the woman I’m talking to I don’t lead them on. I have enough respect for their feelings to let them know fairly quickly that I’m not interested or available.

    My problem, which is the basis for my advice on this topic, is with women who are obviously enjoying the mutual connective spark we’re sharing acting like they’re available, when they really aren’t.

  • SarahH

    My problem, which is the basis for my advice on this topic, is with women who are obviously enjoying the mutual connective spark we’re sharing acting like they’re available, when they really aren’t.

    Define, “acting like they’re available” for me, if you don’t mind. Are they licking their lips, playing with their hair, flashing ringless fingers obtrusively and/or doing a lot of winking? Are they making casual physical contact? Or is it something more subtle? Because if it’s much more subtle than that, it’s probably in your head and not in their actions.

  • laterose

    Define, “acting like they’re available” for me, if you don’t mind. Are they licking their lips, playing with their hair, flashing ringless fingers obtrusively and/or doing a lot of winking? Are they making casual physical contact? Or is it something more subtle? Because if it’s much more subtle than that, it’s probably in your head and not in their actions.

    Very much agreed. I’ve made friends with guys who suddenly disappeared after the first mention of my boyfriend, and in each case I was being very careful not to “lead them on”. Nonetheless they seem to have gotten the wrong idea. There was of course a mutual spark, but it wasn’t one that was any different from mutual sparks I’ve had with female friends. A connection with someone can in fact be purely platonic.

  • WCLPeter

    Laterose,

    Thank you for your comments.

    I’ve been rejected by people I wanted to get with, and yes that hurts, but it doesn’t hurt quite as sharply as finding out that someone I’d totally be great friends with if he were a she was really only interested in me when he thought there was a possibility of sex later on.

    For me its certainly not all about the sex, although I do strongly believe sexual compatibility is important for any long term relationship. For me its about making a long term connection with someone I can share my life with in a meaningful way that transcends simple friendship.

    While I know its in a woman’s nature to try and be everyone’s friend, let me tell you, being friends with someone you’re attracted to is the worst kind of hell. It doesn’t matter if she and I could be the best of friends, knowing she doesn’t feel the same intense attraction I do is a torturous pastime I’ve experienced before. I have absolutely no desire to repeat that.

    I simply won’t.

    Honestly, any woman who thinks she can somehow be friends with someone who is intensely attracted to them is deluding themselves. The temptation for her to keep that “ace in the hole”, for those times when her “real” relationships fall apart, is simply too great. Though she might not ever intend to use her friend that way, in the back of her mind she subconsciously knows her “smitten guy friend” will always be there. The fact he’s stuck in the “friend zone” won’t prevent him from developing real feelings for her, he can’t help but develop real feelings since he is attracted to her. Eventually the only reason he puts up with this particular brand of hell is his not so secret hope that “someday, she’ll come to her senses and fall in love with me.”

    I’ve done this, trying to be friends with a woman I’ve been attracted to. I figured I could bury the attraction. Simply be her friend. I couldn’t, I don’t think anyone can. The whole situation screws with a person emotionally and physically, it was utterly horrible of her to ask it of me.

    When she goes on dates, you have to smile and be the “good friend” while you’re dying inside. When she tells you how much fun she had, you have to laugh and tell her how happy you are to hear it when all you really want to do is slam your fist into the wall and wail in frustration. When the hated competition, as you come to think of her boyfriends even though you know you have no shot, later makes her cry, you want to console her and then kick his ass; meanwhile you’re giddy with the hope she will finally see you as the one she’s really looking for, yet knowing you’ll never act on it because you love and respect her far too much to take advantage of her like that.

    You don’t date. You don’t keep yourself open for other relationships because you know she’ll wake up any day now.

    Every day, this “friendship” kills a tiny bit of your sanity.

    Hopefully you’ll eventually realize what you’re doing to yourself and leave; I know I did. While she is understandably upset over the loss of a friend, she won’t listen when you explain your desperate need for a clean break. She’ll keep calling and e-mailing, reopening those old wounds again and again, in a futile attempt to salvage the friendship. Meanwhile you’re drained emotionally and physically, just wishing she’ll leave you alone and stop calling. Yes, she’s lost a friend. But you’ve lost not just a friend, you’ve lost half of an unrequited relationship that that could have been a full one but, because there wasn’t a mutual attraction, wasn’t.

    So please, don’t feel bad about yourself when a guy who shows interest in you walks away after he finds out you’re unavailable.

    While it certainly could be true that some of those guys are going to walk away because of the lack of a sexual opportunity, and you’re right to look upon them with scorn, I’m willing to bet a good many more are walking away because they don’t want to live the special brand of hell that being “friends” with a woman their attracted to creates.

  • absent sway

    I agree that nobody is obligated to be close friends with someone they’re strongly attracted to and that it’s better to cut things off sooner rather than later. WCLPeter, your experience does sound like it would be excruciating and I’m glad to hear that you’re protecting your heart now; it’s perfectly understandable. I just want to reassure you that this kind of scenario need not happen again. You know now that you can’t change someone’s feelings about you, so as long as you aren’t waiting for her to change, you have the power. No matter what kind of signals women are or aren’t sending (because hell, there’s a lot for everyone to sort through and misunderstandings enough to go around), when you get the announcement that they’re attached or when you find yourself rapidly progressing toward the friendship zone, by all means, keep it casual and start pursuing others. If the attached women in question aren’t meaning to lead you on, they could be allies in finding some good dates, too. “So, where are all the single women who are as fun to talk to as you are?” I hope I haven’t been overly solicitous here, but since you took the time to share something so personal, I just want to say that I wish you the best!

  • SarahH

    While I know its in a woman’s nature to try and be everyone’s friend [...]

    Okay, so now you’re really starting to sound sexist. You’re making some pretty broad, damning statements about women here – generalizing what you suppose their motives to be, and essentially accusing women of somehow being predisposed to using guys who are attracted to them.

    My blunt advice: Keep staying out of friendships with taken/uninterested women you’re at all attracted to, since it’s clear that you can’t handle them, and seek some counseling. It doesn’t sound like you’re likely to end up in a healthy relationship, because you don’t seem healthy yourself.

    Sure, there are some bad apples out there, but you’ve clearly judged an entire gender based on some combination of bad luck and your own interpretations of events. Your bad experiences don’t have to color the rest of your life, but it sounds like you’ll need professional help in order to deal with some emotional problems you’ve developed.

    Have you considered the possibility that you have some sort of fetish/obsession with women who are unavailable? Maybe you pick up on subtle (or not-so-subtle) clues that a woman is already taken, and this is what draws you to her. It’s something to consider.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    WCLPeter,

    The only cure for unrequited love is requited love with someone else.

  • WCLPeter

    Okay, so now you’re really starting to sound sexist.

    I am very attracted to vibrant, intelligent, smart, independent, strong willed women. When I’m looking for a woman I don’t want some frumpy housewife, I’m yearning to find an equal, a partner, someone with whom I wish to share my life with and knowing that she has the desire to do the same. I always encourage women to chase their dreams and live the lives they choose, to take pride in their intelligence and passion. That giving up those parts that make them unique, and desirable, that make them who they are in an attempt to make their significant other happy won’t make them happy. That her career is just as important as mine, and if my future wife wanted to focus on her career and provide for our family, I would wholeheartedly accept her decision and be the househusband.

    Yet because I made the minor literary mistake of not using the some qualifier in my statements, it somehow makes me sexist?

    So please, let me take this moment to clarify my statements:

    Some women are socialized to create friendships. It is important for both parties involved to understand that, for some men, engaging in a friendship with an unequal attraction can potentially create severe emotional stress and trauma. Even when both parties have sufficient shared interest to foster a friendship under normal circumstances, when one party doesn’t reciprocate with the same level of attraction as the other, strong feelings of anxiety are often the norm. Those who have experienced this particular form of trauma are often hesitant to repeat it. For more information on the emotional ramifications of this situation, please refer to the itemized personal account below:

    It appears that in my desire to provide a personal account of why I, and I’m certain some other men, would choose not to be Laterose’s friend when finding out she was otherwise involved, was misconstrued as an attack on women in general.

    My honest intention was to provide some personal insight to Laterose’s comments. I agree that, in my heightened emotional state, I had made some literary faux pas by making broad generalizations. I certainly didn’t intend to offend anyone and I offer my sincere apologies if I have.

    My blunt advice: Keep staying out of friendships with taken/uninterested women you’re at all attracted to, since it’s clear that you can’t handle them, and seek some counseling.

    Why do you consider this blunt? I consider this advice sound and reasonable. People shouldn’t attempt friendships with those they have an attraction to. The unrequited feelings that often develop will eventually create a situation that is emotionally disastrous for both parties.

    I don’t understand why you would see this as blunt.

    What I don’t appreciate is the dig at my mental state. You made a valid point by taking me to task on the general statements I made about women, but then you somehow felt it was okay to proceed and make a generalized personal statement about me.

    Do you somehow feel it wrong for a man to be passionate and emotional when discussing an obviously traumatic experience?

    Sure, there are some bad apples out there, but you’ve clearly judged an entire gender based on some combination of bad luck and your own interpretations of events.

    Again, I probably used some bad word choices, but my intention was to provide a personal account and insight on the pitfalls unrequited attachments in a friendship situation often create.

    I didn’t mean to imply a judgment on all women.

    Your bad experiences don’t have to color the rest of your life, but it sounds like you’ll need professional help in order to deal with some emotional problems you’ve developed.

    All experiences, good or bad, will colour your life as every experience plays a part in your development as a person. It is through those experiences you learn and grow to be the person you are. What lessons, the colour, you take from those experiences determines the kind of life you’re going to lead.

    I have excellent friends. I have an excellent family. I enjoy those relationships tremendously but I’m also open to finding a new, deeper, more personal relationship that can only be had with a woman I care deeply for.

    I’ve also made bad choices. I’ve learned from those mistakes, made the necessary corrections, and moved on.

    For the most part, I am happy, fulfilled, and content with the way my life has worked out. Not that I don’t want to change things, I certainly do and I work hard to make those changes.

    I’ll take your advice for “professional help” in the spirit I’m hoping you’d intended, with respect. I can see how, after reading my personal account, you would feel I was in need of a therapist; one isn’t really necessary. I’ve dealt with the emotional fallout from that experience and taken away valuable lessons about myself.

    Don’t mistake my passion and desire to not see others make the same foolish mistake I did as an ongoing emotional problem. I seldom think of those events anymore, its water under the bridge. I came away stronger, more sure of myself, who I was, and have a greater degree of self confidence.

    But just because I came away relatively okay doesn’t mean I want anyone else to experience it either, hence the emotional passion.

    Have you considered the possibility that you have some sort of fetish/obsession with women who are unavailable?

    It might shock you, but I actually have considered this. More than once really, but I don’t give it any merit. I do look for signs of availability before I approach a woman: does she have a ring on her ring finger, is she age appropriate, is there a significant other obviously close by, etc…

    Once I make the determination that she’s “good to go”, I’ll start up with some casual conversation; what that is depends on where we are. If I’ve successfully broken the ice, the next few minutes are crucial. Keep it light and relaxed, no controversial topics right away unless she brings them up. If, after a few minutes, we’re both feeling relaxed enough to make some funny comments that get her laughing, with some free flowing non-strained verbal by-play, its good. If she starts flipping her hair, giving me the eye coupled with the coy smiles, moving into my personal space, or keeps finding some reason to “accidentally” bump into me on dry pavement, I know we’re both feeling something.

    Its right around here, when I’m gathering the nerve to take this situation to the nearest coffee shop for the “proving I’m not a crazy stalker” phase, that she’ll mention her significant other. I’m getting the signals, I have read those “understanding women” books and websites, I’ve done my due diligence going in, yet for some reason they’re always attached.

    Now it certainly could be me, I’m not going to discount that. I could just be unattractive to these women and, because I’ve made them laugh and given them some interesting conversation for a time, they’re trying to let me down easy. But that is hard to believe because why would I then be getting all those “interested” signals. I know I’m at least somewhat physically attractive, despite the beach ball under the shirt, because I’ve had so many women over the years flirt with me by saying, “You know, you look a lot like Tom Hanks!” Personally, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see it but it certainly does give me an ego boost knowing some women think I’m on par with a famous movie star. :-)

    Who knows, maybe I’m subconsciously attracted to women who can’t stand guys that look like Tom Hanks. Those good looks I apparently have certainly aren’t helping me land the women I’m attracted to, so its as good a theory as any. ;-)

  • SarahH

    @WCLPeter

    I wasn’t trying to make a “dig” at your mental state – from the combination of the vehemence of your post and some of your word choices regarding women (which, as you admit, were poor, resulting in the misunderstanding), I thought you sounded like someone with in need of emotional help. I described my advice as “blunt” because I wanted you to know that it was meant seriously and not mockingly.

    Earlier in this same comment thread I suggested that guys who have been seriously victimized by cruel girls in high school seek counseling as well. Pretty much everyone needs therapy for something at some point in their life, and I’m a big fan of mental health. Plus, back on topic, being sane is an even bigger turn-on than being confident!

    I hope you find happiness with someone eventually – maybe someone who looks like Meg Ryan? ;-)

  • WCLPeter

    Meg Ryan? Meh, I’ve never really found her all that attractive. Catherine Zeta Jones from “The Terminal”? Definitely sign me up. ;-)

    Plus, back on topic, being sane is an even bigger turn-on than being confident!

    I don’t know… Being just a little crazy in all the right ways could certainly be fun!

    Seriously though, thank you for clarifying your comments. I happen to agree with you that people who have had overly traumatic high-school experiences should seek help. Whether its good friends / family, or a seasoned professional, everyone needs someone to vent to, or confide in, once in a while.

    Not being crazy is definitely a major plus. ;-)

    I hope you find happiness with someone eventually

    Thank you, I’m certain I will. Granted it might take me a long time, but if I keep looking, and don’t get discouraged, I’ll eventually find someone by random chance!

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Not being crazy is definitely a major plus. ;-)

    So that’s what my problem is.

  • http://terrierchica.blogspot.com erica

    So there’s a lot of guys that are complaining they were burned in high school and after. But, guys, please consider this: Some of we ladies who aren’t afraid to ask guys out have been turned down, led on, and humiliated, too. This has happened to me a number of times — so don’t complain about girls playing games when guys do the same thing.

  • seabhag

    I’ll second what some of the other guys here have said about the bad experiences. But for me it wasn’t till recently that I realized that I can’t read body language to the extent that other people can. This translates into my bad experiences having simply been ‘misunderstood’ signals from the girl I was interested in at the time.

    However, because I can’t read body language (okay, except for the ‘crap I can’t stand this guy I wish he’d quit talking to me’ and ‘you are in my personal space buster’) it means most people are as closed to me as Fort Knox.

    Just because a guy doesn’t ask you out doesn’t mean that he’s been scarred by past relationships, or that he’s particularly shy. It might mean that he doesn’t have a clue. If you notice that he tends to be pretty clueless about other people being interested in him? It’s probably a good indication he’s as blind as a mole when it comes to that type of interest. So, if you really are interested in him, you might need to expressly tell him.

  • MeagD

    I know it’s been a while, but since I sparked such a lively discussion on the topic I thought I would include a few last thoughts after reading all your advice.

    1 A) A lot of us – smart, independent women – do make the first move. Sometimes we’re lucky and meet great guys who are shy but have a lot to offer once you get to know them. But sometimes, we get turned down too. We are humiliated and embarrassed. And what can we do but pick ourselves up and try again? To use that as an excuse for never approaching women is a cop-out, in my opinion.

    1 B) Assuming I was a mathlete in highschool, how popular do you think I was? Many of the other women that read this blog probably spent their adolescence being “not good enough” for the boys at school, simply because they spent their time doing maths or reading sci-fi and not cheerleading. So it’s not only young men that have suffered a watered-down PTSD in their 20s. Seems like many of the guys on this site don’t realize that we face the same difficulties trying to find a decent guy to date.

    2)A lot of the advice that was provided on this site was helpful, but some of it just sounded like bitter complaints coming from guys who were burned by the type of woman who has no problem “picking up”. The woman who pretends she’s available? That’s not us. The woman who acts bitchy or superior? Also not us. While I might be independent and self-aware, I’m certainly not over-confident or cocky, and definitely still single!

    3) Lastly – I’ve tried many of these tips and I’m sure that some of them work, some of the time, but for the most part I think we’re just doomed to meet a potentially partner through awkward friend set-ups and online dating sites (at least in this day and age). And not that I really have a problem with those options (although I’m holding out on internet dating for now), I would much prefer if people in general – myself included – took more time to talk to people they meet every day. Seems like everyone is “creeped out” when I’m polite, smile and start a conversation with someone while waiting in line or sitting at a café.

    So take off your headphones and try not to look like a dear in headlights when a woman starts a conversation. Or start one for yourself. Even if she’s reading a book.


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