AAAH Round #5a: Obvious Failure

by Frost on July 13, 2011

The internet is littered with dating advice for men – blogs, forums, ebooks, Youtube channels – but single women are a relatively underserved market. Why is this?

One possibility is that women are naturally better equipped than men to navigate the rocky currents of the 21st-century meat market. Another is that mainstream sources of women’s dating advice – magazines, pop culture and such – already provide women with all the useful advice they need. Or maybe women’s romantic outcomes are simply independent of the actions they take, and working to improve them would be as futile as studying for an IQ test.

Predictably, I am skeptical of those answers. So the question remains: Why are women so much less likely than men to doubt the conventional wisdom on sex, dating and relationships? Simply, it’s because Sexual and romantic failure is much more obvious for young men.

Let’s consider two young, urban professionals in 21st-century America – Michael, and Michelle. Both are 28, healthy, decent-looking, and reasonably successful in their careers.

Michael hasn’t gotten laid in over a year. The thought of finding a girlfriend consumes him. Every solitary night is a fresh reminder of his failure to satisfy his primal yearning for sex and companionship. He dreams constantly of his ex-girlfriend, who seemed quite mediocre at the time they dated, but has since flowered into a titanic paragon of beauty and femininity in his mind’s eye. She was the 3rd woman Michael had slept with in his life, and she left him after a 4-year relationship because she “just wasn’t feeling it”. He was about 90% sure she had been cheating on him.

Every Friday, Michael goes out with his friends to a bar. Mostly, they just sit at their own table, pretending not to envy the men around them flirting with all the available women. Towards the end of each beer-fueled night, Michael will occasionally find the courage to clumsily approach a girl one could charitably describe as “attainable.” She invariably shoots him down, after the three minutes it takes Michael to say hello and buy her a drink.

Michael pays for an account at an online dating site, and he sends out thirty or so messages, several times per week

From these 100+ weekly messages, he eventually nails down one or two 100$ dinner dates. The only women who accept his offer for a second expensive dinner are the ones whose online pictures grossly exaggerated their attractiveness via creatively-angled and outdated shots.

Michael works 60 hour weeks as a sales rep for a mid-sized property management firm. After six months spent falling deeply in love with the new receptionist, Michael finally found the right moment to ask her out. She politely declined.

Tormented by his consistent failure, Michael has started demonstrating signs of clinical depression. He recently learned that a beer or six every evening makes it much easier to fall asleep at a decent hour. Still, he seems to always feel tired. Because of all the drinks and dinners he buys, not to mention the decent car, nice apartment and clothes that he feels are prerequisites to dating success, Michael has lived paycheck-to-paycheck his entire adult life.

*

Michelle, on the other hand, feels great!

Her job as an HR administrator for her state government can get boring, but the money and benefits are great and she’s out by four almost every day.

She loves her friends, and they hang out all the time – going out for coffee, drinks, shopping, the beach, concerts. They’re in their late twenties, and they still don’t know what they all want to be when they grow up. LOL!

Michelle has a boyfriend. Well, sort of. She’s learned that guys really, really don’t like to have “The Talk.” But the new guy she’s dating has been coming over 2-3 nights a week for a couple of months now – usually just for sex, but sometimes if it’s a weeknight they’ll watch a movie, and once he even took her out to his friend’s art show on a Saturday afternoon.

Michelle met her boyfriend when she was out with the girls to celebrate one of their birthdays (Jessica’s, maybe?) He was super-hot, and since she was still celebrating her breakup with a previous boyfriend, she felt no qualms about sleeping with him the night they met.

The boyfriend before was…

Well, he was really sweet. He and Michelle had dated for about six months, and at first, he seemed cute and smart and funny. But then he started to get all needy! Like, he always wanted to talk and hang out, and he got her a really nice bracelet and a weekend trip for her birthday. After only five months! I mean, it was nice. But ugh.

Once they broke up, Michelle went on a bit of a tear, sleeping with eight different guys in only a month and a half. It was fun, but she’s been content to settle down for the past little while.

Even though she has a boyfriend, Michelle still loves her weekly girl’s nights out. It’s a nice reminder that – even though she’s twenty-eight, has put on a few pounds since her undergraduate days, and perhaps has the hint of crow’s feet and a double chin besmirching her once-cute face – she’s still got it! Sure, she doesn’t turn as many heads on the beach as she did half a decade ago, but she still gets at least as much attention in the bar, owing to her vastly improved flirting skills.

Does Michelle want to have a family some day?

Well sure, she would respond – I guess. But that’s something she’ll do when it’s time. Also, it’s supposed to just happen. In the meantime, she is 100% happy to continue living her awesome life – great job, great friends, a hot boyfriend, and a constant stream of male attention re-affirming her desirability and wealth of options in the sexual marketplace.

*

Michael and Michelle are both very common archtypes in the cast of characters acting out the tragedy that is Generation Zero. The second half of this post will be published later this week, to give our live studio audience a chance to weigh in. For now though, ladies and gentlemen of the Commentariat, I put it to you:

Which of Michael and Michelle has a brighter future?

Edit: As Elliot points out, the question is a softball. Feel free to ignore it, and riff on anything you like.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Kaushik Chatterjee July 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Hi Frost,
I am writing from India. I had earlier also commented on one of your posts. I would be happy if someone in the Manosphere wrote on this –
The advantages of arranged marriages.
In India, a lot of ‘modern, westernised’ men and increasingly women, tend to think that ‘love marriages’ are better and arranged marriages are like ‘slavery’ etc etc. A lot of western women also say the same. The more I read about game, the dating (LoL, but not mating) market, I find it laughable. Some western women complain that how can one sleep with strangers, only to sleep with one on the first/second/third day itself. They and their versions in India say that they need love etc etc only to say after a few years that “I love my bf/husband and not in love with him.” I ask, is it love or lust? May of the senior generation had arranged marriages here, including my parents. I can never imagine my mother telling — I love your father, but I am not in love with him. Our society would laugh at it. On a personal note, I realised the value of marriage only when I saw my mother take care of my father (both are elderly). They had an arranged marriage. My mother wept when she heard about my father’s illness. I have seen my parents fight like cats and dogs, only to see my parents express concern about each other’s health. I have also had an arranged marriage myself. The best thing that I can say about myself is that I am content. As an Indian I find it funny that Americans no longer speak of marriage but relationships, LTRs, STRS, ONS. At 28 years old, both persons should be thinking of a spouse and not BF/GF. At their age, if any woman or man said the same in my society, he would be laughed at. People would tell both of them to get married. To the brother searching for a husband for his sister, try something similar to the arranged marriage system. Introduce her your friends, circle, to people who may be compatible. Look for qualities of a husband. While marriage does involve a gina tingle, it also goes beyond that. The benefit is that your sister does not have much experience, so she still is suitable. Tell her Brad Pitt is not going to marry her, so she should get married to the Brad next door.
To both men and women in the west — There is nothing wrong in settling. Millions of people do it in Asia and most lead content, satisfied lives. But there’s a catch– You cant make a player a patriarch and a ho a housewife. If you are used to Alphas and Veronicas, a regular Joe or a Plain Betty would never appeal to you.
A long rant.
I wrote

wayne July 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

please don’t let your culture become like ours. please.

Richard July 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for the non-Western perspective. You make a lot of good points worth pondering. I too would be interested in hearing honest stories from those in arranged marriages – pros and cons both.

Rollory July 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

My sister’s 28. She is no Michelle, she wants to get married and be a housewife, far as I know she’s a virgin. Not fat. Not a stunner either. She works as a tutor right now and is pretty good at it. Hates the bar scene.

I have no idea what to tell her to do.

Frost July 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Tell her to hurry up!

As for where to meet guys… church? Online?

anon July 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Michelle could have a brighter future if she settles down with someone within then next 4 years. Michael seems like he’s about to head down the dark path of becoming an alpha male P.U.A., which just seems like a soulless and empty future to me. However, perhaps he too could sort himself out and settle down with some equally desperate woman.

Either way, they both need a good helping of luck on their side.

Frost July 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

Dark path?

A thirty year old man who has always been a failure with women will probably never let go of his bitterness and anger. But if he learns game, at least he can get laid while feeling angry… and maybe even eventually rediscover the ability to have normal relationships.

The man who doesn’t go down that dark path will die alone in his basement from a cheetos and dr pepper overdose.

dave July 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Michael seems like an exaggeration. Nobody drops $100 on dinner for a girl they just met, even if you’ve got it.

“and he got her a really nice bracelet and a weekend trip for her birthday. After only five months!”

Haven’t you ever gone on a trip with someone your in a relationship with? Hell, I flew to Cancun with a girl two weeks after we started dating (yes, she paid he half). Don’t you ever date girls you enjoy spending time with?

Frost July 14, 2011 at 11:11 am

I think you underestimate the beta depravity of American men.

One of my favourite 1st/2nd date conversations to have with girls is to talk about her dating experiences. 100$ dinners are pretty common – wine, coffee, dessert, tip – it all adds up.

Completely agree with you re: trips. I took a girl with me on my month-long Europe trip last year (she paid her way, of course) and I’m definitely at my happiest when there’s at least one girl in my life who I want to do things like that with. In this post, the trip/bracelet was just one part of the larger super-beta picture.

Rob July 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm

how many dui’s does michael already have? has to be at least one, right?

i’m surprised michael hasn’t started up with cocaine yet: a sales job, 60 plus hours a week, hangs out regularly at bars where coke is readily available. i see michael being introduced or stepping up his consumption of coke within 18 months. at that point he either a) won’t have the money for 100 dollar dates, b) will realize he doesn’t like coke and start drinking more, or c) will max out a few credit cards.

if (a) see (c), if (b) see multiple in-patient rehabs, if (c) see the arrival of crack, jail, and halfway houses into michaels life.

as for michele, whatever happens, some kind of eating diorder qill be involved (obesity or the opposite).

Frost July 14, 2011 at 10:59 am

Michael is probably not cool enough to know anyone who can score him coke. And if he did, the confidence, long nights out, cool stories and new friends would result in him getting laid in no time. In 21st century north america, stable, conscientious office drone < cokehead for getting laid.

1lettuce July 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Honestly, if both continue on the same track, neither has a good future. Michael will continue to waste time and money on failed dates, continue to drink, stay mired in depression. Michelle will hit the big 3-0, lose the hot casual boyfriend, and remain a carousel rider a few years longer. After a few years, she’ll get plump, lose the alpha ‘pump-n-dumps’, and try to find a “good man” because “she’s tired of bad boys”.

…oh shit.

Frost, do Michael and Michelle end up married? By christ, how horrifying!

But, if both people see the path they’re headed, things can easily improve. Michael can learn some game, stop drinking, sleep with a few gals, and lose the oneitis. At that, point he’d be solid.

Michelle could also wise up, but father time doesn’t treat women as well as men – she’d be at a serious disadvantaged compared to her younger female peers.

Frost July 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

Sadly, even though they are roughly on par in terms of sexual marketplace value, a marriage between the two would be unworkable.

Michelle’s self image has been inflated by a decade of being hawt, so she will see Michael as beneath her. Even if her mind acknowledges the cold truth of her dismal prospects, her soul will scream at the thought of “settling” after a lifetime of the carousel.

Michael will grow bitter after a lifetime of rejection, and will – probably quite wisely – choose a solitary life over marriage to a fat, harping shrew.

That is, unless either or both makes some changes…

Jack Dublin July 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Michael also has the advantage of time. He could spend several years improving himself. Then in his mid-late thirties the lad would be a force off nature.

Michelle, although she appears to be having more fun with a good job and a boyfriend, is playing a losing game. Based on her description she has 2 years, maybe 4 if we’re generous and she makes some improvements.

Reminds me of a song I heard once or twice: time is on my side.

Frost July 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

True, although I think a bucket of cold water to Michelle’s face today could still salvage her life. The problem is that once Michael decides his current approach isn’t working, he will quickly learn to correct the lies in his worldview. There is no “girl game” alternative blogosphere for her.

red July 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Why would women help other women to get a better man? Women do not function like male groups do.

Frost July 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

Really? You don’t think groups of female friends try to help each other succeed in their relationships?

Most of the girls I know spent many hours nattering about boys. They’re trying to help each other, but just failing miserably as they regurgitate the crap advice they all got from cosmo, hollywood, and their bra-burning baby boomer mothers.

Aurini July 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

My own experience would suggest that women are more likely to sabotage each other. Men openly acknowledge that they are in competition with one another, and this openness allows them to form alliances with one another. Men have explicit goals (nice house, nice car, hot wife) which don’t necessarily conflict with one another, and which can even benefit one another through cooperation.

Women are primarily motivated by status, which is a zero-sum game. Rather than cheering each other on for finding a high-status boyfriend, the cackling hen circle is more apt to feel jealous, and will plant the seeds of sabotage.

There are exceptions to both – narcissistic men, and loyal woman friends – but they’re the exceptions, rather than the rule.

Frost July 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Maybe I’m just lucky to have some pretty cool female friends.

Women and men are both highly motivated by status, but what separates good friends from shitty ones is whether they focus on increasing their own status relative to the group’s, or on raising the status of the group relative to other groups. Status is a positive sum game *within the group* because if you’ve all got each other’s backs, you’ll scoop up a larger slice of the finite global status pie.

b-nasty July 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Well, from a transactional standpoint, both are equal in their romantic failures. Women desire commitment, and they use sex (or promise of) to obtain it. Men desire sex, and they will promise (or falsify) commitment to obtain it. Neither is obtaining their primary want, though (girl) has the ability to delude herself much easier. Having sex is pretty binary, but commitment can be imagined.

The key thing here is for (guy) to let go of societal pressures to couple/marry and learn how to be truly happy without needing other people. Granted this is a hypothetical example, but 28 is starting to get to the age where most men can obtain sex with relative ease. Now, these sexual partners may not be gf/wife material, but who cares.

I’m 31 and I gave the marriage thing a shot, but it wasn’t for me. Since then, and probably for the rest of my life, I make do with F-w-B and short-term relationships. I can enjoy the company (or just sex) of a woman, but when the situation gets too heavy or annoying, see ya. On the other hand, I pursue activities and hobbies that interest me: working out/nutrition, outdoor shit, programming, etc. and spend time with friends (largely male) with whom I can discuss topics of importance.

Long story short: to any Michaels out there, don’t beat yourself up about your current love issues. It keeps getting better/easier for guys, and I guarantee that if you can keep your relationships low-key and non-committal, at 40 you’ll be way happier than your (once) married, (every other weekend) father, overweight, unhealthy, poor, and soul-crushed peers.

Frost July 14, 2011 at 10:43 am

Disagree with the black and white transactional analysis of male-female relationships.

Women, like men, occasionally seek out casual sex for its own sake, and the majority of men would like to have some sort of relationship with at least a few of the women they bang. A more accurate model is that women are motivated by two desires: commitment/resources from beta men, sex and genes from alpha men. If she can snag the best of both worlds (see, Cosmo’s monthly aritcles on How To Make Him Commit. Also, cuckoldry.) She will. Meanwhile, men are wired to chase casual sex whenever the opportunity presents itself, but when we come across a fine genetic specimen of a woman who also seems like good matriarchal material, we usually can’t help but take an interest in her health and well-being, as long as we’re banging her on the reg.

b-nasty July 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm

“but when we come across a fine genetic specimen of a woman who also seems like good matriarchal material, we usually can’t help but take an interest in her health and well-being, as long as we’re banging her on the reg.”

Maybe, but that mindset can quickly lead to a very beta approach to life/relationships. Also, the way you framed Mike’s situation, he wants a ‘girlfriend’ merely because he believes it will give him uninterrupted access to vag. If he could step up his game enough to have a few regular f-buddies, I doubt his yearning for a girlfriend would be as strong.

My main point is that ‘Mike’ needs to learn how to be — and it sounds cliched — happy with himself w/ or w/o a romantic partner. That is a position of strength — the much touted ‘inner game’. Without that, he may find a gf, but it will likely not change his happiness, and he will be devastated when she inevitably leaves him for being a needy, boring loser.

dave July 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

Chicken and egg. One can’t be happy without women until one has banged enough that one is confident they could if they wanted too.

The best thing that ever happened to my inner game was getting vag in the first place. The rich get richer in the world of vag.

Frost July 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Absolutely.

Though traditional-minded guys might argue that they can achieve the same effect just by demonstrating to themselves that they can get vag if they want it.

Elliott July 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Easy question. Both have problems, but Michael has the better future because he realizes that he has a problem and can therefore take steps to solve it. Michelle, who is “100% happy to continue living her awesome life,” has no idea that within a few short years, the things that make her life “awesome” will begin to vanish one by one, leaving her desperate and lonely.

Frost July 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Exactly. Although it’s certainly possible for Michelle to wake up and snatch happiness from the jaws of her future cats, Michael has the advantage of viscerally feeling the immediate consequences of his delusions.

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