Can a woman change? Of course. For example:
But can a woman change back? That’s the real question. And we’ll get to it, after a related digression.
And I answer – Yes, of course! Just last week, I got a haircut. The week before, I changed my sheets. And today I decided I really should start flossing more regularly.
But the real question is whether or not men can change in one very particular way: She wants to know if assholes can become nice guys. Specifically, if it’s possible that one of her former love interests has genuinely renounced his callous ways, and is now worth considering as relationship-material.
“…I’ve been talking to an old…erm…friend?…of mine, who at one point was the King of Tools, but now it seems the years have mellowed his douchemones (a scientifically recognized genus of hormones) and he’s not the guy he used to be. Well, not entirely anyway.”
“We became friends a couple years ago when we both worked in the same office. Because we worked together and he was/is at heart, an ass-bag, we had a complicated, sexually repressed, hard to define friendship…”
So what do we know at this point? Fact #1: Buddy used to be a douchebag, ass-bag, the King of Tools. And, our experimental subject was attracted to him. If we were to ask Lilly circa 2009 “Do you want this guy to change?” her answer would be yes. He has potential, she would say, but he needs to stop acting like an ass-bag, King of Tools, etc.
Now fast forward to May, 2011:
“So we started talking again recently. He now lives in Dallas, Texas, working at some various political organization, doing something similar to what I do. We spent a night chatting on the phone, catching up.
He’s been texting and calling me every day since. And like always, he’s made a plan to come out to Boston and visit me for Memorial Day weekend. Now, see, he’s made this promise twice before, failing miserably both times to actually show up. But this time I take him a little more seriously. Before, when he lived in DC and was a train ride away, the commitment wasn’t as huge. But now that he lives in Texas, once he buys that $600 plane ticket I can be pretty sure he’s coming. But I still had my reservations, and held little hope that he would actually buy a ticket.
But then came a turning point. We talked the other night for a long time. It was strange and unexpected, but I felt this really warm, happy feeling come over me. We talked politics, which granted is not the most romantic topic ever, but I felt myself really enjoying talking to someone who pays as much attention to it as I do. I have yet to find someone who can spend hours talking about politics and not get their feelings hurt in some way or another. And we actually agreed on more things than we’ve ever agreed on before (which was about ZERO). He admitted he was the worst boss ever, and that he’s since gotten better. For once, I knew he wasn’t full of bullshit. I felt like there was actually something there.
So my guard came down, just a little. I finally warmed up to the idea of him coming out to visit and actually put a little pressure on for him to do so. He said he would buy his ticket Monday.
And then, like magic, he disappeared. No calls, no texts, no Facebook, for like 3 days. I sent him a text just to say hey and got no response. And I’m sure he didn’t buy a plane ticket.
Typical, I thought. He’s the ultimate game-player. Men don’t change. They just get better at making you think they have.
But this morning, he texted me.
“Oh so there you are. I thought you fell off the face of the earth,” I wrote back.
“Sorry, you’re not that lucky. And for the record, phones go two ways,” he said.
“Yeah I know. I tried to text you two days ago and never heard anything back,” I said.Until I finally tell him I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to come and visit me. It was my fault for letting it happen for a third time, but I’m not going to do it to myself again.So then he apologizes, begs, pleads and says he didn’t realize it was such a big deal, and that if he knew it was, he would have booked the ticket immediately. To which I said, “Yeah. Right.” But all of his pleading and apologizing and texts that no self-respecting person would send, I started to feel like he genuinely meant it all.And then, at 4:30pm, I got the following text message: “If you change your mind I have a flight on hold and just have to click submit.”
First thought: Who spends an entire night talking to a girl on the phone? Answer: A desperate and smitten man, enthralled by a love powered by a lack of confidence in his ability to ever attract anyone else.
Next: What could possibly motivate someone to spend hundreds of dollars and tens of hours of travel time to visit a girl? Only the belief that the girl is way, way, way out of his league. And the belief creates the reality.
As for his aloofness in the three days (omg!) he went without texting, I can think of two possibilities.
Perhaps he had a moment of clarity. Maybe his friends talked some sense into him. Maybe he reads my blog. Whatever the case, he realized he was coming off like a creepy, desperate weirdo, so he switched gears. But he did it too abruptly, and set off her incongruence detector.
More likely, I think he perceived that Lilly had snubbed him. “And for the record, phones go two ways.” You can almost hear him pouting over his desk, writing angsty poetry.
Anyways. He sounds like a real winner. Men, would you want your daughter dating this guy? Ladies, does he make you moist? Rhetorical.
But let’s see what we can learn from this spectacle.
First, we can answer Lilly’s original question: Men can change. Today’s charming rogue can easily degenerate into tomorrow’s soft, sensitive, celibate, sweetheart.
And his experience isn’t rare. The vast majority of men who spend their early twenties frolicking in the uncommitted Elysium of drunken casual sex will eventually settle down in one way or another. Most of my friends transitioned from one-night stands and casual hookups into real, Facebook-enshrined, moving-in-together-just-made-a-lot-of-financial-sense Relationships. Most of them didn’t even become complete pussies, and are actually pretty happy. Even the most incorrigible of rapscallions will usually desire more stability and consistency in his love life as time marches on, if for no other reason than that most adult men no longer have time to juggle a girl for every day of the week.
But let’s return to the real question, and the title of this post: Can a Woman Change?
Lilly, I have some bad news for you. The inside of your skull is home to a very common parasite, the Cricetidae Cricetinae Rationalus or, Rationalization Hamster. What he does is, whenever you find yourself thinking about boys, dates, sex and romance, this little critter hops on his wheel and starts spinning it until your interpretation of reality is fully in line with your ego and self-image.
In today’s example, you find yourself wondering if it’s possible for this guy to change. Actually, the question answered itself when he did a complete personality 180 on you. He went from douchebag, to sensitive, needy, lovey-dovey sap. The true sequence of events is painfully obvious to an experienced
womanizer student of human nature such as myself. As I wrote in the comments:
“Here’s my guess as to what actually happened.
1) You were charmed by buddy’s antics when he was a young rogue.
2) Over time, he mellowed out and got in touch with his sensitive side, as most guys do in their mid-twenties.
3) You recoiled from his desperation when he called to beg and plead you to let him visit you, and nixed the plans.
4) Your self-image does not allow you to reject this guy for being too nice, so you convince yourself that the problem is his failure to text you regularly.
I mean really, cold water to the face. This guy BEGGED you to let him drop half a G to visit you for a weekend. That’s creepy and desperate. Reject him on those grounds. But don’t lie to yourself that it’s about something else.”
But, that narrative did not sync with your self-conception as a girl who wants guys who treat her well. You are embarrassed to admit that you are turned off by nice guys, and attracted to assholes, so you lie. And not just to your readers, but to yourself. You’re living according to a false version of reality. As are most women your age.
Your challenge today is to recognize the false consciousness in which you live, and escape. Realize that if you only ever seem to date assholes, its because you’re seeking them out. If none of the men you date want to commit, it’s because you’re driving off the ones who do. If you’re consistently having problems finding stability and happiness in your love life, it’s probably because of bad decisions that YOU are making.
Girls, have you heard of this crazy new Game phenomenon? I almost guarantee the guys you’re dating have, whether they admit it or not. The essence of the study of Game is that some behaviours are more effective at earning a woman’s attraction than others. Practitioners are not interested in which methods are Right and Wrong – only what works, and what doesn’t.
You can read for ten minutes or ten hours. But I guarantee you that every man alive who is successful with women will agree: Chicks Dig Assholes. Quality girls prefer guys who have only a few asshole traits – i.e, an edge – while those lower down on the self-esteem ladder respond best to unhesitant, double-barreled, scorched-earth asshole game in all it’s brutal glory.
You see, men, we really don’t give a fuck. Put us in a world where the best way to get laid is to be a kind, decent guy who works hard and commits to one girl, and we’ll do that. Put us in a world where girls naturally gravitate toward guys who treat them like crap, and are creeped out by “needy” guys who want to hang out sober – and you get men like me. The men you asked for.
And if you think that we’re assholes NOW…
Despite the easy availability of simple truths like Chicks Dig Assholes, most men still try to attract women with nauseatingly ineffective niceness. They buy dinners, presents, hold doors, pay compliments, and offer to spend six hundred dollars to fly in for a friggin weekend visit.
But every minute of every day, another man finds a website like mine, or just notices that his dickhead friends are getting laid while he jerks off. If he’s man enough to try and change himself for the better, he’ll alter his behaviour to become more successful with women. He will become a disrespectful, flaky, aloof asshole. And once he starts getting laid, he’ll never go back.
Fast forward a few months, and our nice guy is now a cold, cynical pick-up machine. He breaks hearts left and right. After a given girl goes through a few dozen mini-heartbreaks and perhaps a few big ones, she is left a hardened, callous, angry shell of her former self. Repeat this scenario several million times, and you’ve got the modern North American urban sexual marketplace. Women are disillusioned by their failure to win hearts, men by their success.
So that’s the world we live in, folks. Carl and Ellie no longer exist. Leave it to Beaver isn’t even in re-runs. Marriage is rare, divorce is common, and birth rates are plummeting. A greater percentage of men and women of my generation will lead loveless, childless lives than any in recent history. The beasts of male and female cynicism feed off each other, and both are fat and happy in 2011.