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Just goes to show arranged marriages rock
April 13, 2004 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Joelogon's Foolproof Guide to Making Any Woman Your Platonic Friend. An oldie, but a goodie. Including the care and feeding of - very important stuff.
posted by Mossy (47 comments total)

 
NiceGuy says it funnier
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:18 PM on April 13, 2004


Because it's a classic rcade comment: "We now return you to SpaceCadet's ongoing seminar, 'Women: Threat or Menace?'"

Not that I have no sense of humor about the thread. It's fine. Just not amused by SpaceCadet anymore.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:25 PM on April 13, 2004


While we're at it, we should discuss Dr. Love's "System". A friend and I have been discussing the merits/problems with this (or any) "system" for months, often changing views...
posted by weston at 4:37 PM on April 13, 2004


No one linked to ladder theory yet?
posted by rafter at 4:58 PM on April 13, 2004


You know, as I opened this thread, I thought to myself, "SpaceCadet assholery in 5...4...3..." Then I thought, "I bet somebody brings up ladder theory." Am I prescient or what?

The link in the FPP is okay, as far as it goes. It's just kind of the same old, though, you know?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:14 PM on April 13, 2004


It's just kind of the same old, though, you know?

Yup. "Gurrls are weird! You never know what they're thinking, and if you like them, they don't like you! And they don't even tell you straight out—they try to be nice about it! Bitches!!"

A strange combination of eight-year-old boy's club, teenage social awkwardness, and timeless misogyny. Sometimes it amazes me that women put up with men at all.
posted by languagehat at 5:41 PM on April 13, 2004


but...

what if a girl tells you that she likes you and you confess your own withheld crush -- and then for the next week she avoids/ignores you?
posted by Satapher at 5:46 PM on April 13, 2004


"Gurrls are weird!"

Well, they are.

Loving women is easy, but understanding them is impossible.

Although, I imagine they think the same of us. So that's what makes for the endless go 'round. But then again I've been "platonic freinds" with most of the east coast's female population, so I may not know much.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on April 13, 2004


what if a girl tells you that she likes you and you confess your own withheld crush -- and then for the next week she avoids/ignores you?

Nearly this very scenario occured for me in January, and the relationship has not recovered. This led to the discussion of the afforementioned "system" and other game-playing.... when you strike out in a way that where the game-related explanations seem to fit the facts, it's hard not to take a second look.
posted by weston at 5:53 PM on April 13, 2004


# DO become trapped in a shallow, meaningless, lifeless relationship.
# DO NOT actually seek out a secure, quality, lasting relationship, as this would interfere with your fantasizing about her
# DO complain bitterly about this awful relationship to all your friends and to her.


*ouch* All the rest is stuff we've all seen before, but on its own still not a bad effort.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:03 PM on April 13, 2004


I'm disappointed by the lack of flames in this discussion.
posted by trharlan at 6:37 PM on April 13, 2004


I liked the Ladder Theory post. Anyone out there (male) had a "friend" who later turned into a sex partner for a time, a few times, a serious relationship?
posted by Postroad at 6:44 PM on April 13, 2004


I'm disappointed by the lack of flames in this discussion.

Well, I would get all hot about it...but I just want us to be friends. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 6:54 PM on April 13, 2004


Anyone out there (male) had a "friend" who later turned into a sex partner for a time, a few times, a serious relationship?

Yeah, almost all of my sexual partners were freinds beforehand. I think it's in men's nature to a degree. If we meet someone attractive and we grow freindly with them, we'll want to have sex with them. We can certainly handle it if they say no, but if they're up for it, we're certainly gonna go for it. I dunno if it's the same for women.
posted by jonmc at 6:58 PM on April 13, 2004


Well, in my case, my criteria for "person I am willing to sleep with" are more stringent than "person I consider to be a friend", so the friend thing is kind of a pre-requisite.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:43 PM on April 13, 2004


"person I am willing to sleep with"

That choice of words points up one of the differences between men and womens sex drives right there. With us, it's "want to sleep with." For a single available guy "willing to sleep with" covers just about everything. I'm not exaggerating.
posted by jonmc at 7:48 PM on April 13, 2004


Not that I have no sense of humor about the thread. It's fine. Just not amused by SpaceCadet anymore

Awwww!!
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:24 PM on April 13, 2004


onlyconnect, check this out. (NSF Femmunists)
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:30 PM on April 13, 2004


Just checking here, is there anyone in this thread who would argue that there's something fundamentally untrue about the contents of this FPP, or even the rather cynical child links below them?

Note, you're welcome to continue being offended by the situation described herein. Most people are rather offended by the state of American politics, or the proliferation of nuclear weapons, or FOX Reality shows. But they do exist, and we have to operate within the framework of their existence, whether we're offended or not.
posted by effugas at 8:56 PM on April 13, 2004


I think the contents of the FPP is pretty true, but it's also posted by a guy aware of all the things he's done wrong. Or at least I assume so from the irony of the writing. Other than that, I think that many men who pride themselves on being 'nice' are really just pretty spineless. It's not that hard to ask someone out, I've done it. And if you lose them, you lose them. Move on. But being unwilling to take risks is just spineless.
posted by stoneegg21 at 9:00 PM on April 13, 2004


SpaceCadet, your oh-so-clever "femmunists" pun doesn't get funnier each time it's repeated. You're merely annoying the few female (and feminist) posters here who haven't already given up on you.
posted by web-goddess at 9:02 PM on April 13, 2004


haha I went to college with the author of this page
posted by mookieproof at 9:10 PM on April 13, 2004


Just checking here, is there anyone in this thread who would argue that there's something fundamentally untrue about the contents of this FPP, or even the rather cynical child links below them?

IMHO, men who play games like this with women will find themselves rewarded with women who play games right back at them (like "The Rules"). Why are you spending time on them if you think they're playing with you? Step back and free yourself up for a woman who isn't doing this and who is waiting for a guy with a similarly unjaded and straightforward approach to relationships. There are perfectly lovely people out there who just want to love and be loved, who are not broken. Don't spend so much time mooning over the broken ones simply because they're there.

So, yeah, for the record, there's someone on the thread who thinks the posts are fundamentally untrue. It's fine as a joke, but if you believe all women are really like this, then we run in different crowds.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:30 PM on April 13, 2004


"Gurrls are weird! You never know what they're thinking, and if you like them, they don't like you! And they don't even tell you straight out—they try to be nice about it! Bitches!!"

To the linked site's credit, it features some letters from women who've been similarly hurt, along with (occasionally) sympathetic responses from the author. But that was my initial impression of the page too.
posted by furiousthought at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2004


Let me get this straight, Onlyconnect...guys fall into platonic traps because they're aware platonic traps exist?

I don't think anyone's arguing about the nature of "all" women, as there's always exceptions. But it seems that you yourself are well aware that to "love and be loved" is by no means a universal metric, and at minimum, some sort of vigilance against "the broken" must be maintained.

The disagreement, then, would seem to be about the coping strategy -- not the nature of the world itself.
posted by effugas at 10:01 PM on April 13, 2004


Why are you spending time on them if you think they're playing with you? Step back and free yourself up for a woman who isn't doing this and who is waiting for a guy with a similarly unjaded and straightforward approach to relationships. There are perfectly lovely people out there who just want to love and be loved, who are not broken.

You're claiming there are people (male or female) who never act with ulterior motives, who never manipulate, who are always straightforward and rational? Any of them? Anywhere? We do, indeed, run in different crowds.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:27 PM on April 13, 2004


IMHO, men who play games like this with women will find themselves rewarded with women who play games right back at them (like "The Rules"). Why are you spending time on them if you think they're playing with you?

Because sometimes I suspect it's not just the players who wind up playing games. If I find that someone is intentionally toying with me, sure, it's time to shake hands and declare game over. But I also believe that there are probably people out there (perhaps even most people) who would never live "The Rules" but are susceptible to parts of human nature that end up making them play games. So you get the woman who confesses that for months she's been wondering if you're really as far into this as she is and if she should be letting out the throttle on her hopes, and you say "full steam" ... and then don't hear from her for a week, when she then mentions she thinks she was "a bit impetuous." I honestly don't think this event was planned toying, but it's hard not to think of behavioral psych, which says that people tend to prefer games that they can win but are still a challenge. Or the Tao of Steve. And once you've done that, it's hard not to think you shouldn't calculate and ration your expressions of acceptance.

I'm not so cynical as to subscribe to that direction entirely, because I can see that once you've done so you've effectively given up on real intimacy entirely. However, there's a biblical phrase that goes something to the effect "be ye wise as serpents but harmless as doves" and I can't help but wonder if there's some wisdom in behavioral psych, Dr. Love's "system", evolutionary biology, blah blah.
posted by weston at 10:27 PM on April 13, 2004


I think the main site isn't so much about game playing as it is about unrequited love, and I bet you really agree with me, effugas, that men have not cornered the market on that. Do you really think women are setting "platonic traps" for men to fall into, or vice versa? I think it just happens and both parties try to deal. See languagehat, furiousthought.

The thing I'm really reacting against above is the game playing of the other two sites:

Games with feelings During the first 60 days of dating, she doesn't lose points by saying "I love you" but you do! Yes, that's right. It's politically incorrect and it's called a double standard. So Brett, when she says it again, you should answer humorously with a DeNiro impression; "What, you talkin to me?"

Games for sex: Special message to the American 'ladies': This might sound mean, but the harsh reality is that if it wasn't for the possibility of having sex with you, half of all men wouldn't even bother talking to you much less put-up with all the crap that you dish-out. What, you really think men endure your shit because you're such a brilliant conversationalist and awesome companion? (Laugh!) Remember when your parents told you that you were so wonderful and so precious? Well, they lied. Sorry. The sad truth is: most of the time you're a prejudiced absurdity in mascara- and totally oblivious to it.

Actually the second one is just icky. But I just mean that if you are trying to deal honestly with someone and they're playing games like that with you, why settle for that? Find someone else.

You're claiming there are people (male or female) who never act with ulterior motives, who never manipulate, who are always straightforward and rational? Any of them? Anywhere?

I'm saying that there are both women and men who do not adhere to underground dating rules in order to "catch" a mate, but say "I love you" back if they feel it, or have sex either before or after the third date if that's what feels right to them. That's all I mean.

weston, you're harder to answer, because I feel like everyone has been through that, possibly even on both sides of it, though I think it happens especially in youth when people are less sure of who they are and what they want. I do think this, though:

I'm not so cynical as to subscribe to that direction entirely, because I can see that once you've done so you've effectively given up on real intimacy entirely.

is very wise, and real intimacy is the real goal, and worth the wait.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:11 PM on April 13, 2004


My solution is to introduce the platonic friend to as many of my single guy friends as I can as quickly as possible then fade into the background, never doing anything with them unless it's in a group.
Usually, I'll have a enough time to get over it without going through "the talk" which is the fuckin' worst!
posted by black8 at 12:15 AM on April 14, 2004


There's something incredibly sad about this.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:52 AM on April 14, 2004


Well, I hope we're now clear on why women might be at a disadvantage in business environments where networking and social support are important.
posted by transona5 at 12:58 AM on April 14, 2004


OnlyConnect: I think the main site isn't so much about game playing as it is about unrequited love.

I agree. It seems that this is all about people concluding, because they can't find relationships, that the world is embroiled in a strange game with counterintuitive rules ... when actually they themselves are subtly undermining their chances. 'Niceness', for instance, can be a rationalisation for unassertive or avoidant behaviour.

But on no particular evidence, I think the major killer is being 'needy' - too obviously desperate for a relationship. I sympathise, having been there (and at heart, I still think "Goddammit, why should it matter? Doesn't everyone want a relationship? Why quibble about the fine detail of why?"). But intellectually, I've come to see that 'neediness' is something that women, particularly, are wary of.
posted by raygirvan at 5:16 AM on April 14, 2004


As a card-carrying faggot, I just gotta say that you straight people are really fucked up.
posted by yesster at 6:44 AM on April 14, 2004


It seems that this is all about people concluding, because they can't find relationships, that the world is embroiled in a strange game with counterintuitive rules ... when actually they themselves are subtly undermining their chances.

...by playing a straightforward game with plainly obvious rules. :-)
posted by effugas at 6:45 AM on April 14, 2004


It seems that this is all about people concluding, because they can't find relationships, that the world is embroiled in a strange game with counterintuitive rules ... when actually they themselves are subtly undermining their chances. 'Niceness', for instance, can be a rationalisation for unassertive or avoidant behaviour. But on no particular evidence, I think the major killer is being 'needy' - too obviously desperate for a relationship. ... But intellectually, I've come to see that 'neediness' is something that women, particularly, are wary of.

There ya go. All you paranoid guys, read and repeat until you absorb the lesson. Most women are not looking for guys with shining, desperate eyes and hangdog, uncertain approaches, they're looking for confident men with whom they can be themselves. I sympathize with guys who feel bruised and put-upon; it took me a long time to figure out how it works, and I hung out with some mighty unsuitable women (I had to get over a desire to be a shining knight and rescue fucked-up women who—surprise!—were still fucked-up with me), but I observed and learned, and so can you.

Look, it's not easy for men and women to get to know each other. They come from different cultures, even though they inhabit the same territory. They expect unlikely things from each other and have no clue what the other expects from them. This does not make the situation impossible, it just means people need to work at it. Think of it as getting to know someone from a foreign country. When Americans and Asians (to pick an example with which I happen to have experience) meet, they have all sorts of unconscious expectations and prejudices that can wreck things unless they're exposed and dealt with. But if you can get past those things, you get to the actual person behind the "cloud of unknowing," and then you find out if you're truly compatible or not. Same for men and women in general. Guys need to learn how gals think and react, and vice versa. Images picked up from dumb movies/porno/romance novels (check all that apply) need to be discarded. Beneath the masks, we're all people.
posted by languagehat at 7:43 AM on April 14, 2004


languagehat, it's a pleasure to discover that I admire not only your erudition, but your interpersonal politics.

[smak]
posted by clever sheep at 8:26 AM on April 14, 2004


You're claiming there are people (male or female) who never act with ulterior motives, who never manipulate, who are always straightforward and rational? Any of them? Anywhere? We do, indeed, run in different crowds.

Short answer: Yep, both my bf and I.

Long answer: Always rational? No. But straightforward and honest. Even when what we we feel is irrational and fucked up, we say "I know this doesn't make sense, but I feel X . . ." Then the other person knows where to begin. We go on to argue and struggle, but it doesn't suck so much once you realize you're both on the same side.

Strangely enough, being honest and straightforward avoids situations wherein one plays abovementioned games. Sure, it makes you kind of vulnerable, but do you think you're going to win the great prize of intimacy without risking anything?
posted by dame at 8:27 AM on April 14, 2004


Most women are not looking for guys with shining, desperate eyes and hangdog, uncertain approaches, they're looking for confident men with whom they can be themselves.

What languagehat said. I remember reading some op-ed thing that was written by a woman eviscerating the BS behind the "nice guys finish last" idea. I think it may have even been posted to MeFi, but I couldn't find it. I did find this, though, which says the more or less the same thing with less tact. "Nice guy" is usually a euphemism for "insecure wimp with no self-esteem".
posted by tirade at 9:01 AM on April 14, 2004


well, not only does a "nice guy" tend to be an "insecure wimp with no self-esteem", he also tends to be a geek with both the imagination and rationalization capacities that go along with being a geek, hence this elaborate conspiracy theory style approach to relationships.
posted by badstone at 9:58 AM on April 14, 2004


onlyconnect, thanks for your comments.

Guys need to learn how gals think and react, and vice versa.

I think most of the people who either find the links here amusing or even take them seriously, though, are basing either kind of reaction on exactly your idea. Saying that "guys need to learn how gals think and react" is very near to saying that "the world is embroiled in a strange game with counterintuitive rules".... ie, the rules of how a woman thinks may be highly counterintuitive to a man.

I actually don't like to buy into that at all -- for most of my life I've been of the opinion that differences between individuals of one gender are as marked as differences between differences across gender. But it's in my more vulnerable moments (you know, the kind joelogon wrote his site in :) that I wonder if I missed something -- if, in addition to those differences under which I value individual women, there are important commonalities among women that I should be noticing, absorbing, and accounting for.

Perhaps something like the Dr. Love link. Or perhaps someting similar like this:

Most women are not looking for guys with shining, desperate eyes and hangdog, uncertain approaches, they're looking for confident men with whom they can be themselves.

And perhaps the real issue is -- for a while after being shot down, it's simply hard to be confident. I know if I wait and live my life in a manner that I'm mostly satisfied with, this will come back. I just don't like the waiting. :)
posted by weston at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2004


It amazes me how many guys agonize over this when they really are just a gym membership and a decent haircut and wardrobe away from doing just fine with women.

In the real world, attractive single women vastly outnumber men who cross even a moderate threshhold of suitability in terms of presentation and income. It's just not that hard!
posted by MattD at 10:34 AM on April 14, 2004


It's just not that hard!

Yes, it is. It's only easy to those who don't have, or appreciate, the syndrome that makes it difficult. We're talking about trying to over-ride your personality and basic perception of the world; to function as confident and cheerful in situations where you feel neither; to pretend you think a relationship is no big deal when you feel you'll die without one. If only it were as simple as a matter as appearance and income.
posted by raygirvan at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2004


tyrade: I think it may have even been posted to MeFi, but I couldn't find it. I did find this, though, which says the more or less the same thing with less tact. "Nice guy" is usually a euphemism for "insecure wimp with no self-esteem".

Or the "other" form of nice guy who uses the nice guy backrub bit to try to get touchy feely with women. Most women I know see through this in an instant.

raygirvan: I think it may have even been posted to MeFi, but I couldn't find it. I did find this, though, which says the more or less the same thing with less tact. "Nice guy" is usually a euphemism for "insecure wimp with no self-esteem".

You know, I'm no poster-kid for high self-esteem or stability of income, but I've never really found it to be that hard. Yeah, I've gotten my heart stomped on a few times, (the worst has put me off of valentines day for most of the last 12 years) but looking back over my history, it is amazing how just having a conversation over a common interest works.

I think the last thing you mention is the most critical. My strongest relationships were happy accidents during periods that I was single and not looking. Quite honestly, I think a large chunk of the problem is that men my age have not figured out that they really don't NEED a woman. To twist a phrase, a man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle.

Yeah, I've been there and done that (really what helped was starting to sleep with a stuffed animal toy, people may laugh, but it was better to look like an idiot in the privacy of my own bed than the bad sex one-nighters I was having.) But my sympathy only goes so far.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2004


Damn, I hate it when I go from XFree86 to Macintosh and forget how cut and paste works. The second part of my post is in response to this:

We're talking about trying to over-ride your personality and basic perception of the world; to function as confident and cheerful in situations where you feel neither; to pretend you think a relationship is no big deal when you feel you'll die without one.

I really don't think that confidance, cheer, or income are really that critical. You can be shy, moody, and insecure and get into a relationship. My partner and I started dating when I was making 50c above minimum wage doing dishes to pay for college.

Most of the women I know can deal with the fact that their partners are imperfect. What they don't like is having those imperfections dumped on their lap like a bunch of laundry to clean.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:40 PM on April 14, 2004


All I'm saying is that there are situations where the mindset is pathological and you don't realise that it is - and that's where people who build massive conspiracy theories are coming from. I'm sorry to say I've been there.
posted by raygirvan at 4:46 PM on April 14, 2004


I just have to say that to me this discussion, springing from a humor site, seems just as disjointed and full of misconceptions, misapprehensions and misunderstandings as most actual relationships between men and women.

Of course, not to detract from those who've posted who are in relationships that work well... but you're obviously in the minority. Count yourself lucky.

KJS: I agree with your fish/bicycle analogy, and must add to it that not NEEDING a woman in your life takes a man a loooong way toward the confidence he needs to exude in order to attract one who's going to be a good and lasting partner in life.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:49 PM on April 15, 2004


For the record, I'd just like to note it's entirely possible that I had no idea what I was talking about above. Perhaps it is better to hold things in sometimes so your partner will not be so sure of you. I believe in and practice honesty on principle, but in truth have absolutely no idea whether it really works out better in the long run.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:01 PM on April 29, 2004


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