Category Archives: Men

OSC vs The Rules vs The Game

One of my favorite writers is Orson Scott Card. Hopefully you have read Ender’s Game, but if you have not, then you should run out immediately and buy it. Besides having written many wonderful books, for the last 12 years he has written a column about… everything. I started reading along at a tender age right when it first got going, so OSC is one of my greatest influences, in ways both small and great.

I’ve linked to his stuff on occasion, most recently his entertaining smack-down of the movie Think Like a Man. OSC did not like that the movie employed the tiresome trope about men always being in the wrong and women always being in the right. This movie is based on a popular self-help book by Steve Harvey that OSC mentions is not very good. OSC much prefers He’s Just Not That Into You, which is also a favorite here at Datingwise. In the essay OSC also gives a thumb down to The Rules, mentioning that it is based on “manipulation instead of candid conversation”.

Loyal readers hopefully know that here at Datingwise, I endorse The Rules, tho with reservations. I have never, ever found a man that will agree with them, and I don’t expect to. So I would advise ladies who follow them to avoid mentioning that to men.

Instead of manipulative, I prefer to view The Rules as an effort to regain a lost script for courtship.

As the writers of The Rules point out, men may say that they hate them but once you start following them, they work. Indeed, in another column, OSC mentions how his wife came to be Mrs Card.

 I had my years as a jerk of a single guy, who called — or didn’t — without any relationship to what I said I would do. But then I grew up. Suddenly, at the ripe old age of 24, I realized that I didn’t like the dating game. I didn’t like pursuing women till I got them and then wondering what in the world to do with them. I was ready to be a grownup.

So I went over to see the smartest, most independent, and — for me, at least — best woman I ever dated, whom I had broken up with about six months before, and I …

Proposed to her.

Yep. Because I knew that she would have to have some kind of proof that I had changed, and this time I was serious. She made me wait four-and-a-half months for an answer. And during the interim, she didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for me. All was not instantly forgiven.

Gee… that sounds familiar. What his wife did is right out of The Rules: OSC was attracted to the independent woman who didn’t make it easy for him… And by doing so, the suddenly serious OSC stuck around.

Was she manipulating him? It doesn’t sound like OSC thinks so! No, she did the right thing, letting him prove his worth to her.

I suppose there are women who could employ The Rules in order to get married and who don’t really care about who will play the role of husband. And I do think that if you blindly do The Rules, you could end up with someone you don’t really care about because he’s some sort of über hunter Alpha Male who does enjoy the chase and you have enjoyed being chased. But for the most part, that’s not what they are about. They contain some insight into male psychology that many post-feminism women have no clue about.

Let’s contrast that to The Game/Roissy, which is the opposite of The Rules. Never tell a decent woman you have read The Game or Roissy. She will get pissed or be horrified, because you wanna talk about manipulation? It’s here in spades.

Roissy has a famous post about how to treat attractive women:

What part of those rules has anything to do with friendship or love or affection? They are extremely condescending and misogynistic. Make her jealous. Date around in order not to be “too in” to her. Don’t be generous with her. Don’t be afraid to lose her.

If you don’t have a problem with these “commandments”, imagine that they are about your daughter, sister, niece, or any female you have affection for.

Those commandments are not a recipe for a good relationship or marriage. If you want a relationship based on psychodrama, be my guest.

You might point out that The Games isn’t about long-term relationships. But, I know guys who are good at getting women into bed but who look at their happily married friends with sadness and envy at what they have, and do not understand why that doesn’t happen to them. They don’t realize that treating women as sexual outlets is not how you treat women when you want to court them.

Now, just like The Rules, The Game has insight into female psychology. I can think of quite a few men who could use some pointers on how to flirt with women, quit putting them on a pedestal, and stop being doormats.  But the end game of The Game is to get a woman into bed; to exploit them. And in our promiscuous times, I think that happens much, much more often than women “manipulating” men into marrying them.

OSC understandably is against any advice that causes people to be deceitful with each other. I view the PUA advice as more destructive than The Rules.

What people ultimately want is to be with some they love and admire and who is with them for the same reasons. I hope that if women employ some of the tips in The Rules they can weed out the men who are in it for a fling.


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Filed under Dating, Female dignity, Men, Relationships, The Rules

Women’s need to give

Aunt Haley links to another misanthropic Heartiste piece that nevertheless contains kernels of truth about male-female relationships. If you can stand it to read it, go here and click on the article, read and come back here.


I am particularly struck by his description of women giving themselves over to certain men (alpha males) when the opportunity presents itself. Yes, of course women are influenced by the men they sleep with and of course the more a woman is into a man the harder it is to keep herself from throwing herself at him. But the danger is that women can and will lose themselves, their individuality, to these men, and while Hearste seems to think that’s what relationships should be like, I think that sounds pretty unhealthy. It’s the whole narcissist/borderline scenario and that is simply not real love.

Serendipitously, Auntie Seraphic has begun a discussion on women’s need to give themselves to a man, so check that out and read the comments. But, if you’re a guy, don’t comment please, as her blog is For Girls (but you can comment here if you’re a guy ;)).


Filed under Female dignity, Men, Relationships

Manliness and the mating game

A friend who has lived in Mexico says that Mexican men are extremely romantic; poetry recitations and serenades are common ways to woo ladies. American culture largely does not allow for such actions lest one’s friends wonder about the manliness of the love-struck friend.

There must be something about Mexican culture that instills a sense of security in one’s manliness. Mexican men have no doubts about their standing as men; men are men and women are women.

To serenade well, one must be an accomplished singer or musician, so in some sense this is a peacocking activity that shows off skills and confidence, two qualities that women find attractive in men.

Contrast the US where men often are insecure in their manhood. If men can’t convey confidence, women loose interest.

I suspect that the problem many American men face is that they want to convince others that they are men, instead of being men. They have no idea what the 2nd means.

Instead of properly defining manhood as adulthood, some men believe that by buying the right products, wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, or having the right chick on their arm is what will define them as men.

Even if they manage to acquire A, B, and C but can’t get D, they tend to get whiny. “I did everything right, why can’t I still get a girlfriend?” The hard truth is that a lot of time it’s because women can smell the desperation behind the advances. The desperation need not stem from loneliness; it may stem from men using women as props for their attempt to convince themselves and others that they are men.

When courting fails, they end up blame their inability to connect with women on the women instead of seeking the advice of men they look up to, doing some introspecting, and learning what women really want from men.

But whatever the reasons for courtship failure, nice guys, and I use that term to talk about decent men who are not bitter at women but do not do well in the romance department, could use some pointers.  In order to make themselves more attractive to women, men should:

– Stop treating a woman like a friend when you have feelings for her. She can probably tell that you have a crush on her and thinks you’re lame for not manning up and asking her out already. (And if she shoots you down, you foolishly continue to hang out with her, even tho it’s torturing your heart.)

– Stop flattering women.

Flirtatious teasing is the opposite of flattery. Flattery is telling a woman that she’s a 10, that she’s your ideal, that’s she the most beautiful and smart woman in the world. Worshipfulness has its place but it’s only effective coming from a man that the woman already admires. For most men this will be after the relationship has already been established. And the hotter a woman is, the more the flattery strategy is going to backfire, because the more she’ll think that you just want something from her. She doesn’t need your approval, why do you need hers?

Teasing (not the mean kind) shows that you are interested in her but aren’t sold on her. This keeps her interest piqued.

– Examine your life situation.

So you’re looking to woo a wife? In the circles I’ve run around in, there are many smart young men in grad school. They are also horribly in debt, their conversations revolve around esoteric knowledge, they are often unable to relate to average people partially because they are so intent on impressing them with their intelligence and knowledge, and they take themselves far, far too seriously. No wonder many women do not go for them.  So if a life goal is to have a family and all that entails, young men should think twice about whether going to grad school is a good next step (here’s 100 more reasons to avoid grad school).

Men who excel at something (law, engineering, carpentry) that also gives them social standing are much more attractive than men who are still in school at 28. The former are in the adult world, supporting themselves. If they are trying to woo a traditionalist girl who would love to stay home when the kids are young, they will have better success than the grad student.

Never, ever tell a traditionalist girl that you “wouldn’t mind being a house husband”.

You can’t find the right person for you until you know who you are. So pick a career. Pursue something. Build a business. You might fail but you’ll be a better man for having tried.

Most women do not want to be responsible for their man’s stability. I guarantee you that every woman you are wooing is going to be wondering, consciously or unconsciously, what kind of life you can give her and her (future) children. If you live at home with ma and dad at 33 and hope to woo the hottest girl you know, good luck with that.

Women want to be proud of their man. So do something worthy of respect and admiration.

– Stop looking in the wrong places. If you want a nice Catholic girl, stop dating non-practicing Muslims. If you want a witty liberal who is indifferent to religion, stop asking out the girls who go to church every Sunday. Too many nice men waste their time on OK Cupid, trying to date women who identify as “bi”. Yeah, that’s the kind of girl you want, sure.

– Learn basic dating etiquette. It’s really not that hard. Schedule dates at least 4 days in advance. Pay for all dates. Ask her about her interests. Tell amusing stories. Don’t try to make her feel bad when she doesn’t want to hold your hand/kiss you/go to bed with you.

Read “He’s Just Not That In To You“. Then do the opposite of what those guys in there do.  (h/t: OSC).


Filed under Dating, Men, Single

The Pick-up Artist

Loved this comic from xkcd today.

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March 9, 2012 · 09:26

Rule #5 Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls

This rule falls squarely under the “don’t chase men” premise. If he’s not calling you, he’s not that interested. Don’t call him to talk or to ask him out.

If you make things really easy for a guy, you’re never going to know if you’re with someone who really cares about you, or if he’s with you because he’s too lazy or apathetic to seek a mate. Better to be alone than in a relationship like that.

He has to learn that if he doesn’t ask you out when he sees you he might not reach you on the phone so soon and not see you for a week or two. It’s not that you’re impossible to get, you’re just hard to get. Remember, you’re very busy with activities and other dates and you make plans ahead of time. But don’t reprimand him for not calling sooner by saying, “If you had called earlier…” Just say, “Really, I’d love to, but I can’t”.

(He’ll figure out he’ll have to call sooner.)

You’re not supposed to call men after dates that went well, either. Don’t call “just to see how he’s doing” or with some other silly excuse. If he likes you, he’ll call again for a date. If not, his loss.

Edited: I’m getting a lot of the same comments complaining about the manipulative aspect of this advice, with which I concur. Check the comments section before posting. Thanks!


Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Female dignity, Men, The Rules

Rule #4 – Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date

Who pays for the date gets to the core of the loss of the script and can elicit uncomfortable feelings. Some men get offended when women offer to pay for their meal, others are offended when they don’t. What’s a girl to do?

The Rules say that women should not pay for anything on the first three dates. The Rules would definitely disagree, but 0n the first date I reach for my purse when the bill arrives. If he is OK with spliting, I loose any interest in seeing him again (tho typically I’ve already come to that conclusion anyway). It’s not a matter of entitlement or punishment, it’s just a natural reaction that means “this guy is lame”.

Men, if you’re wondering why you should pay for dates, here’s why:

1. It shows that you have financial resources and that you are willing to share those with a lady.

2. It makes the woman feel special and taken care of.

3. Friends split the bill. If you’re interested in being something more, going dutch sends the wrong signal.

4. If you feel resentful of the money you spend on dates, that shows that you’re probably Just Not That Into Her.

5. If she doesn’t express appreciation, that’s a good indication of her character; that she feels entitled.

Consider also that to prep for dates, women will spend money on makeup, manicures, pedicures, dresses, skirts, hair removal, and the salon. Women spend money on one or more of these things because if they are into you, they want you to be attracted to her. (Doing these things also make women feel better about themselves which will help their confidence during the date.)

If women spend money to impress men by the way they look, then it’s really not fair to expect women to pay for their meal or ticket to a show. That means that they ends up spending more money than the guy for dates.

Once the relationship is established, it’s OK for women to pay for coffee, or pay for the meal or cook on special occasions. But whereas women feel special and taken care of when a man pays, when women take upon the role of spending money on men, it doesn’t make them feel the same way. When men are really into you, they’re going to enjoy making you happy by taking you out. And when women have to play the role of treating men they become resentful of having to chase men and spending their finances to court him.

A lot of women make more money than men, especially in their 20s. What to do about this imbalance? I think it depends. If the guy is poorer because he’s in a low-paying job that he loves or he’s in school, the fact that she makes more shouldn’t necessarily make her pause, but she shouldn’t expect fancy dates very often. If he’s poorer because of lack of ambition, that’s a red flag.


Tucked into this chapter are a few paragraphs telling women that men will go out of their way to see them if they are in to you. This has very much been my experience. Even if you live in an inconvenient part of town, he will come pick you up. If he doesn’t or he complains, He Just Not That Into You.


P.S. If you’re dating a woman and she doesn’t make an effort to doll herself up, she’s Just Not That Into You.


Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Female dignity, Men, The Rules

The Mating/Marriage Dance amongst young, educated Americans

The Institute for American Values did a very interesting talk titled “The Mating/Marriage Dance: Is the Prolonged Search for a Mate by Young College Graduates a Problem for American Society?” with Kay S Hymowitz and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. If you want to watch it, you may do so here.

Here are my notes:

Kay Hymowitz wrote her book after she noticed romantic discontent and despair, amongst  education 20-something females. That’s when women start to feel really anxious about finding a good man to marry. They were great catches, so why were they worried? For women, the romantic despair comes from not knowing.

In doing research for the book she found that there was an upheaval in the system of courtship that had been in place for certuries. In its place came the “relationship system”.  We went from romantic courtship with a clear destination to marriage to some call “relationships”.

The differences are huge. In the romantic courtship system (RCS), the population that is involved almost exclusively is young, never married men and women. The destination is marriage. The relationship system includes just about anybody under the sun who is looking for a partner (young, old, single, divorced, married people who want “something on the side”). With the RCS, there’s a series of clearly defined steps, the “ladder of commitment”. In the relationship system, people are constantly moving in and out of relationships which are of varying duration and commitment.

Young women go through many of these relationships that have no destination in mind.

Now we have a new stage in development, pre-adulthood. This lasts from early 20s to mid 30s. It has lead to a different set of problems for men than from women.

Women have a clock in the back of their heads going “tick-tock tick-tock”. Even if they haven’t decided by 25 whether they want to get married and have kids, they know that the decision needs to be made within the next few years. Men don’t have this same sense and when they do think about that same decision, it’s typically way down the line. They don’t see a problem with waiting until 35 or 40. So women hit 25, 27, are ready to get married but men are in no rush to commit. Disillusioned, women assumed it would unfold naturally.

We have the reverse problem today than previous generations. It used to be easy to pair off during college while the career path (for women) was harder to discern. But today it’s hard to find someone who wants to commitment but easy to find a career path. How do you meet the right man to marry? This is a great puzzle for women today.

Growing up, men were taught that women could do anything men could do and that women should be treated with respect. Gender-neutral society was the ideal. But they found that women didn’t like that when it came to dating. The complaint of the nice guy was that they treat women well but then they go for the jerks instead.

The loss of the script, no one knows how you’re supposed to behave, unless you naturally have a great deal of social skill, you’re going to have a hard time. A lot of guys don’t get what you’re supposed to be doing.

Women respond to confidence but these guys had no idea how to project confidence.

With the loss of the classic courtship model, we’ve lost a lot of male initiative. In fact, in order to get married, the burden is on the woman to push the guy that she’s been in a long-term relationship with to get there. She sees her job as turning a live-in boyfriend into a husband.

If females and males are equals as we have been told since childhood, then why is it up to the guy to take initiative to ask women out? So they don’t, and women become frustrated.

Who pays for dinner? A lot of single, childless women make more than men, but then still want men to pay for the meal.

Institutions are no longer vested in getting people to meet each other and get married. Onus used to fall on families, schools, religious institutions. On a larger scale, today young people are not rooted anywhere; they live their lives very autonomously.

Young women, 5-10 years out of college and having had a few relationships that ended badly tend to become suspicious, leery of men and romance. (Harden their hearts). It adds to the gender conflict.

For a few of these women, they are not going to be able to overcome this; they will chose to have children alone. A number of women are going to remain single and a number of men as well. They will be disconnected from family life. In the grand scheme of things, this is not a huge social problem. It’s the people without a college education (read: lower classes) that are not getting married. Most college-educated people in America get married (about 80%).

There is no prescription by Kay S Hymowitz and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead to help create a modern courtship script; that is something that will have to develop naturally.


Filed under Dating, Female dignity, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Single