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Remind me to never make assumptions again...
November 29, 2010 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Steve Tucker met a woman at a nightclub in Canberra, made an extreme effort to find her, and was then ridiculed by the Australian media and most of the general public when his email went viral. But there's a backstory that gives a whole new perspective.

I guess the moral of the story is, don't email your entire government-department workforce of 4000 people to find a woman you like. But after reading his version of events, and the recapping of his life... who could blame him for giving it a shot?
posted by malibustacey9999 (167 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mr. Tucker wrote:

This was me saying: "Society you always have ripped my dignity away as soon as I attain it."

I believe I see your problem, Mr. Tucker. And it's not 'society'.

Arrogance != gutsiness. Deciding that all of your colleagues should take time out of their workday to help you find someone you thought was attractive in the bar--well, I know which one I think that is.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:14 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's a pretty interesting story and likewise inteersting how it played out in the media compared to how he recounts the feedback that he got. I enjoyed reading this.
posted by jessamyn at 5:15 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm glad he didn't get fired, though. That would have been far too draconian a response to causing his colleagues a minor inconvenience.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:19 PM on November 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Guys are so easily lead like puppies.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:23 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guys People are so easily lead like puppies.

Yep, still works.
posted by muddgirl at 5:27 PM on November 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


good for him. A little crazy but if the backstory is true, I know exactly how he felt.
posted by concreteforest at 5:27 PM on November 29, 2010


She's just not that into you.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:28 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Guys are so easily lead like puppies.

Well here's this one guy's problem. He grew up with a disability, was tormented and bullied most of his life, grappled to regain self-esteem and everything else. He's an adult now trying to figure out how to interact with people, women especially. He's never been on a date with a woman. His friends sort of tease him about this. He's caught between trying to take their word for how things work in social interactions and trying to do what he perceives as the right thing. He's feltt hat for too long he's been overly cautious, internalizing his bullies and not getting what he wants which is to feel better about himself and, among other things, meet women who want to interact with him.

It's a really tough place to be in, especially if you make one misstep that gets a lot of attention. You want to be assertive but you don't know where the line between assertive and aggressive is. You want to trust your friends but they're in a different place socially than you are. You have no idea what "normal" is and you're dying to have some human physical contact that isn't just a hug from your mom.

I was impressed that he was able to have that level of perspective on this whole mess that he was willing to share. I'm not sure what part of this you're referring to, but this story is so much more complex than that.
posted by jessamyn at 5:28 PM on November 29, 2010 [109 favorites]


Having not heard of the original story a whit, I find his story (from his words only) to be interesting and compelling. As if we didn't all have at least one epic fuck-up done for the right reasons in our backstory (although seldom so public.)
posted by davejay at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good for him. He saw something he wanted and went for it. He didn't break any laws, and if was a sack-able offense, then he would have been sacked. I'm sure he would have taken it with his head help up.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


thanks malibustacey, that's interesting. I ignored the whole original thing, that sort of crap doesn't interest me, but getting the story from the subject made it really human.
posted by wilful at 5:34 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


He saw something he wanted

Someone.
posted by muddgirl at 5:35 PM on November 29, 2010 [26 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Whenever somebody makes what he thinks is a grand romantic gesture like this, it just comes across to me like they're trying to get the audience to root for them. Reading his incredibly lengthy version of the story didn't change that feeling for me in this case.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad that he was able to overcome his personal demons and years of bullying through counseling and self-help stuff. But this story, even after reading his own words on it, comes across as nothing more than another chapter in his self-help saga. He practically says so in so many words: His quest to find Olivia was just a Thing he wanted to accomplish, for himself, just like the skydiving.

It's not romantic, it's just another self-absorbed dude whose ill-advised stunt got him more attention than he bargained for. I don't think he's a bad guy, just that he should've shown a little more restraint, because a woman is not an "I Have Overcome" trophy, and mass emails to strangers are rarely a good idea under any circumstances.
posted by Gator at 5:37 PM on November 29, 2010 [30 favorites]


Guys are so easily lead like puppies.

Lead puppies would be difficult to pick up, not at all cuddly, and would sink like stones if they jumped in the pool. Also, no matter how cute they were, it would be advisable to keep them away from children in order to prevent poisoning.

On the positive side, you could put a few in your trunk on snowy days to help with traction.
posted by coolguymichael at 5:38 PM on November 29, 2010 [27 favorites]


Well here's this one guy's problem. He grew up with a disability, was tormented and bullied most of his life, grappled to regain self-esteem and everything else. He's an adult now trying to figure out how to interact with people, women especially. He's never been on a date with a woman. His friends sort of tease him about this. He's caught between trying to take their word for how things work in social interactions and trying to do what he perceives as the right thing. He's feltt hat for too long he's been overly cautious, internalizing his bullies and not getting what he wants which is to feel better about himself and, among other things, meet women who want to interact with him.

Are we talking about the subject of the post...or most mefites?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:45 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


This whole story is obviously a hoax. There are no nightclubs in Canberra.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:49 PM on November 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


Poor guy. I've done dumber things for girls. Thankfully I didn't get the shit end of the 24 hour news cycle telling everyone about it.

The worst by far was the time I looked up the hottest girl in my class, probably the school, and called her the summer after I had graduated high school. I'd lost a bit of weight and was feeling similarly prepared to do battle as was Mr. Tucker.

(Having read this, I did talk to this girl on a near daily basis during class and helped her with practically all of her assignments. And yes, the class was the semester before summer.)

She picked up. I said, "Hey, this is Dean." She said hey! how are you! and we got off to a running start on a nice five minute conversation. And then she said, "Yeah, but you sound a little different from when I ran into you at the gym."

"Gym?" said my voice, as my inner fear engine poured coal into the fire and my machine cried louder, ohgodohgodOHGODOHGOD.

"Yeah, didn't I see you there a few weeks ago?"

"No... this is Dean. From your Office class?" And here, ladies and gentlemen, are the five loudest spine shriveling seconds of old fashioned phone silence I have ever been witness to. Not the period after the axe, when one has received bad news, but the period in which one is waiting for it. I heard her try and remember who I was, and upon inspection, decide to grind me into a fine paste.

"How did you get my number?" Well, the phone book. Your Swedish surname sticks right out. Without a hint of regret she said, "I have to go." The dial tone wrapped around my left ventricle, and ripped it out through my testicles.

The kicker? My best friend is staring at me the whole time. He fell over with vicarious embarrassment, laughed, and said, "Don't ever do that again."

I am glad I let him down.
posted by notion at 5:51 PM on November 29, 2010 [43 favorites]


He saw something he wanted

Someone
.

Semantics is fun. Is "a relationship" a person or a thing? Do you "want" a person in the same way you want a sandwich? Or do you "want to be" with a person. Is a "derail" something you only do with a thing actually on a rail? ;-)

I kid, I kid. I get your point.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:51 PM on November 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Below the "You must be this old to drink" sign there should be another one that says, "Hey, seeing a girl you've never met before? This is like a cold call, how often do you get a hit with a cold call, and what type of person gets a lot of hits on cold calls? I'm just saying if you can't score here, it is not a reflection on your sexual prowess or the fact you're some sort of dweeby loser who goes to bars in a Jedi Knight outfit (though seriously, don't do that again). Meet women and bring them here, meet women you know here, do not go in expecting to meet women you don't know here unless you're tall and handsome or incredibly charming ... oh sure I exaggerate somewhat, but really the only guys that consistently bring it in, in this kind of setting, are probably not you."

NB I still hold my theory that nightclubs are like high school where 20% of the guys get 80% of the women.
posted by geoff. at 5:53 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Time to fire the mail admin, not this silly guy. Maximum Recipients anyone?
posted by benzenedream at 5:53 PM on November 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't really see how the email is so bad. He's simply saying "Hey, anyone know this girl I met?" Frankly I'm kind of amazed. That this when viral. Seems pretty banal. It's hardly a "Grand romantic gesture" at all.
posted by delmoi at 6:01 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not impressed by a woman easily. Not at all.
...
I don't become impressed by a woman very easily. My self-worth does not hinge on their approval.
...
If you're threatening to totally cut off my balls, I'm fighting you tooth and nail for what's left.
...
My balls were on the guillotine and the blade was lowering ...


He sure does want people to know that women don't control or impress him, and that his balls are intact. If he's fetishizing masculinity as a way of combating his insecurities from being bullied for his disability, he's catapulting himself into a whole new set of insecurities about whether he's sufficiently masculine (a "real" man, or a "man's man").
posted by Marty Marx at 6:02 PM on November 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


Time to fire the mail admin, not this silly guy. Maximum Recipients anyone?

On that topic, time to link to the best Reply-All email story ever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:02 PM on November 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


Wow, this is a really interesting and complex story. Fascinating to read. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Forktine at 6:05 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting that story. I can see myself in it, not in scope or scale, but just in character.

Shame many of us feel like we need to judge his motives and his character. Sometimes the best advice we have for others is advice worth taking ourselves.
posted by salishsea at 6:07 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


But this story, even after reading his own words on it, comes across as nothing more than another chapter in his self-help saga. He practically says so in so many words: His quest to find Olivia was just a Thing he wanted to accomplish, for himself, just like the skydiving.

It's not romantic, it's just another self-absorbed dude whose ill-advised stunt got him more attention than he bargained for. I don't think he's a bad guy, just that he should've shown a little more restraint, because a woman is not an "I Have Overcome" trophy


Yes, yes, a thousand times.

"No... this is Dean. From your Office class?" And here, ladies and gentlemen, are the five loudest spine shriveling seconds of old fashioned phone silence I have ever been witness to. Not the period after the axe, when one has received bad news, but the period in which one is waiting for it. I heard her try and remember who I was, and upon inspection, decide to grind me into a fine paste.

"How did you get my number?" Well, the phone book. Your Swedish surname sticks right out. Without a hint of regret she said, "I have to go." The dial tone wrapped around my left ventricle, and ripped it out through my testicles.


Sorry that you were mortified, Dean, but it's kind of horrible finding out that you're talking to somebody completely different from who you thought you were, especially when you realize that you've kind of calibrated the conversation at a completely wrong level of intimacy. You might have considered introducing yourself as "Dean from class" in order to avoid this, instead of assuming that she would automatically know who you were, and especially as she never gave you her number in the first place. I've actually been on the receiving end of something similar, and it was a complete WTF moment for which I felt mortified over and somehow responsible for, as well. It's possible that Ms Swedish Surname had the same experience. I doubt she wanted to castrate you, really; she probably just wanted to get away from an embarrassment.
posted by jokeefe at 6:11 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are no nightclubs in Canberra.

I once heard DJ Solerous spinning a set in a night club in Canberra.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:17 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


That must be some strong acid you have there in Liverpool.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:22 PM on November 29, 2010


jokeefe,

I totally understand. The point is that it wasn't my intention to make her feel awkward, and I can hardly hold her responsible for freaking out, putting aside the fact that we were just kids. I'm just saying every person has made stupid mistakes chasing someone they're attracted to. However, not every person has this mistake televised as entertainment to the world. This guy has some issues, but I empathize with how he arrived in his situation.

If his Olivia had been overjoyed to get in touch with him again, it would be a romance story for the ages. Instead, the poor bastard fails and everyone laughs at him.

It's just like Costanza trying to imitate the guy who picked up Elaine. One guy grabs your material and he ends up taking you to dinner. The next guy does the same thing and he's a creep.

The difference is only in which person you are attracted to, and your particular personal boundaries. It's a jungle out there. Cut us some slack.
posted by notion at 6:25 PM on November 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's hardly a "Grand romantic gesture" at all.

Yeah, but we're Australians. Most Aussie blokes still announce their romantic interest in a girl by running up to her and punching her on the arm.
posted by Ritchie at 6:34 PM on November 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


My best friend growing up had cerebral palsy. His body was contorted and he barely had control of his limbs. He was able to walk, and always was thankful for that, but every step was a labor, and as he grew taller and we grew up, just getting up from a chair became more and more difficult. Of course he never wanted pity -- he had pride, and he didn't need help unless he asked for it. But being 12 sucks anyway without having every prick shout, "Spaz!" while you walk down the halls. I watched him get spit on, teased, ridiculed, shoved into walls. Children are cruel, even more so to other children with disabilities. I wished I wasn't the smallest kid in our class so I could do more than yell at the bullies. He was such a fucking great friend, and the smartest guy you'd ever meet even though his cerebral palsy ended up forcing him to stay back a year because his teacher refused to accommodate his physical limitations.

A lot of people here seem intent on knocking Steve Turner for arrogance, self-absorption, a fetish for masculinity, for pursuing a woman as if she's just a trophy. Walk a mile in his shoes, then get back to me. Better yet, walk a block.
posted by incessant at 6:35 PM on November 29, 2010 [41 favorites]


Most Aussie blokes still announce their romantic interest in a girl by running up to her and punching her on the arm.

Yeah, they take the imported Americanism "I'd hit it" a bit too literally.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:38 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


That must be some strong acid you have there in Liverpool.

No wait! I lied. Neither I, nor anyone else have ever heard of DJ Smoldyface.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:39 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's possible that Ms Swedish Surname had the same experience. I doubt she wanted to castrate you, really; she probably just wanted to get away from an embarrassment."

c'mon jokeefe, at no point in his comment did notion indicate an inability to empathize with Ms Swedish Surname or assign the agency of his understandable feelings of humiliation to her. To lump his experience in with genuinely unsavory attention seeking objectivization of women aspect of this FPP is just rude.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:42 PM on November 29, 2010 [15 favorites]


hal_c_on: if this room's so square, why do you even bother showing up?
posted by jtron at 6:43 PM on November 29, 2010


Gator: It's not romantic, it's just another self-absorbed dude whose ill-advised stunt got him more attention than he bargained for. I don't think he's a bad guy, just that he should've shown a little more restraint, because a woman is not an "I Have Overcome" trophy, and mass emails to strangers are rarely a good idea under any circumstances.
First, everyone is self-absorbed, including "Gator". I'd hazard that if these were your problems you'd make sure we all heard every last goddamn detail of your life.

Second, the "little more restraint" line. This... this I don't get anymore, and it angers me when it's trotted out.

I think what I hate about this comment is that it kind of encapsulates the rock/hard place dilemma that modern single guys have to deal with. We're simultaneously told we should be bold, assertive, confident (oh, if I had a nickel for every "confidence is the most important thing!" I've heard, I'd have so many glistening porn starlets draped poolside to make the Gucciones and Hefners weep with impotent envy), "no guts no glory", etc or we deserve to be alone and loveless. Oh, but if we guess wrong, and she wasn't interested, then hey- should have shown more restraint, man!

What it really seems to suggest is that whichever side of the Ask/Guess culture we fall on... we're wrong. Ask culture guy? Well fuck you, you pushy arrogant prick, you "should've shown a little more restraint", what woman wants a loser like YOU coming up to them in a club/bar/anywhere human beings congregate? Next time read her mind, and stay well within the bounds of activity- make sure you know with 100% confidence what everyone expects of you and wants of you, and only choose that. Wait- you're a Guess culture guy? Well fuck you, you spineless wimp beta male, you gotta be more "confident" and just act like she'll say yes. Can't just be polite, well-behaved and respectful... that'll get you nowhere!

I can't find the comment, but some months ago another MeFite said it well: that modern men are burned by the equality efforts that tell them to be decent, kind, polite, to respect boundaries, to read women's minds and never ever ever ever ever give offense or suggest that you have any romantic or sexual intentions if she hasn't told you first that they are welcome, because well then you'd be a horrible sexist pig and potential rapist. And this left actually nice guys left in the cold, until the whole "nice guys are actually serial killing rapists" meme took off so we were fucked over either way. So we- so I- do nothing, say nothing, and I stay in a hole, and then I die. And when you talk of "self-absorbed" and "restraint", I think you want the same life for Steve Tucker that I have been cursed with. I think you believe his libido, his very conscious mind is an inconvenience, and that he should join in the destruction of his self, the nullification of every part of him until he dies. He is human and he needs to be loved, but you think he shouldn't be allowed out of his cage, shouldn't even try- because then he might mistake, and we can't have THAT.

But... why should he agree with you? Why should he die alone just so you're not inconvenienced?


I'm 35 years old, and at this point the only thing I think I know about women is that while they have no idea what they actually want (but they'll never admit it), they either like you or they don't- and however they came to that conclusion on a subconscious level, there is absolutely nothing you can do, either way, to change them. If they like you, your every flaw and shortcoming will be unique and interesting, your "grand romantic gestures" will be the stuff of gushing recountings, hell even abuse can be spun into some failing on their part. However, if a woman doesn't like you, you could be Jesus with six-pack abs, a private jet, and a Mediterranean villa and you'd still be ridiculed or mocked for every action you take- or don't take.
posted by hincandenza at 6:48 PM on November 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


I think it's a little short-sighted to assume that none of us have experienced a childhood and/or adult physical disability that led to getting teased and even beat up, followed by years of crippling shyness or social anxiety. Or maybe I'm missing exactly what this guy's shoes are.

Now, personally I try not to condemn people based on something that they admit is a mistake... on the other hand I probably wouldn't have posted this to Metafilter in the first place. "Socially awkward dude makes socially awkward mistake" isn't news in my corner of the world.
posted by muddgirl at 6:48 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


jokeefe: Sorry that you were mortified, Dean, but it's kind of horrible finding out that you're talking to somebody completely different from who you thought you were, especially when you realize that you've kind of calibrated the conversation at a completely wrong level of intimacy. You might have considered introducing yourself as "Dean from class" in order to avoid this, instead of assuming that she would automatically know who you were, and especially as she never gave you her number in the first place. I've actually been on the receiving end of something similar, and it was a complete WTF moment for which I felt mortified over and somehow responsible for, as well. It's possible that Ms Swedish Surname had the same experience. I doubt she wanted to castrate you, really; she probably just wanted to get away from an embarrassment.
Wow, moments after posting I caught up with the thread and this proves my point. How is this experience "horrible"? And why is the burden on Ms Swedish Surname to also handle the whole thing with grace and humor? Why did she have to basically hang up on the dude, rudely? He wasn't harassing her, he was being polite, but instead you have already framed it as notion bears the responsibility for... well, everything.

"You might have considered...". Do you not see how this paralysizes people who aren't already sociopaths? Now every word, every phrase, every gesture, every fucking moment has to be minutely analyzed and planned ahead like we were storming the beach at Normandy, just so Ms Swedish Surname, on her throne, has not one iota of discomfort of moment of confusion.

Notion sounds like a normal guy, and you've already painted it as entirely his fault, some horrible crime he committed which really, how unforgiveable that he didn't anticipate all possible outcomes like some hyperadvanced 5th-dimensional Bobby Fischer of dating.
posted by hincandenza at 6:57 PM on November 29, 2010 [24 favorites]


Why isn't the burden on... grrr
posted by hincandenza at 6:59 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just saying every person has made stupid mistakes chasing someone they're attracted to

I'm not even sure they're all mistakes per se so much as mismatches. There are things people have in common, preferences that may even be widely prevalent, and it's probably worthwhile to learn that for the culture you live in. But people simply have variation in what they prefer, including how they prefer to be approached and what lights them up and what forms a connection, and just because you didn't happen to present whatever fits for one specific person doesn't really mean you made a mistake.
posted by weston at 7:06 PM on November 29, 2010


hincandenza: There is no natural law which says human interaction must be rational, fair or easy. In comparison to changing society to make it better match our expectations, though, it's a piece of cake.
posted by topynate at 7:07 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


He played the physical disability card, and then, just when I was about to stop reading, he played the mental disabilty card!

What a catch.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:07 PM on November 29, 2010


And now that I've actually R'd the MFA I will be rooting for this guy every day. Not just because of the situational parallels between his life and mine, but because of his well-put-together public reply and explanation. Anyone calling this guy a fedora or whatever the pithy neologism the blue'd come up with for "pathological 'nice guys'" was is IMHO both wrong and a big sad ruiner.
posted by jtron at 7:08 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jesus fork!

Can't we all just agree that most people are not very good at reading other people, but this does not automatically make them evil, conceited, selfish, cowardly pricks; nor does it make them evil, conceited, selfish, shallow bitches.

...Counting down to someone taking umbrage with my use of non-gender-neutral curse-words.....
posted by JustAsItSounds at 7:08 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Pearls Among Swine on "Reply All"
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:11 PM on November 29, 2010


I believe it was Burgess Meredith that said; "I did `Batman` for two reasons, one of which was the salary. The other was that, after the first few episodes, `Batman` became the in-thing to do. Everybody...would either play a villain or appear as himself in that cameo showcase where a celebrity would poke his head through the window of a building that Batman and Robin were climbing...Actually, we didn`t get as much money from the show as you might think, although we were paid decent money for the feature film version. The main impetus to continue appearing on `Batman` - beyond the desire to get some TV work - was that it was fashionable."

Words of wisdom, B. Words of wisdom. What?
posted by nola at 7:13 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, moments after posting I caught up with the thread and this proves my point. How is this experience "horrible"?

I dunno. How does suggesting that someone might have better introduced themselves as "Dean from class" mean that "you believe that his libido, his very conscious mind is an inconvenience, and that he should join in the destruction of his self, the nullification of every part of him until he dies"?
posted by vorfeed at 7:14 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


FTA: Another guy who I had said 20 words to all night then gave me a 10-minute "pep talk" uninterrupted. It was during this time Olivia left the club area.

Her friends were still there so I thought she would come back. She did not. The level of disgust you likely felt at my not seizing [the] moment pales in comparison to what I felt on that night.


I'd be feeling pretty disgusted with unsolicited-uninterrupted-10-minute-pep-talk-man, myself.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:17 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think if you've already decided you're attracted to someone, you'll probably give them a lot more leeway if their approach was clumsy, and more inclined to forgive them if they trip up. Of course, from the other side, you'll never know in advance whether or not you have this kind of room of error, so you always need to put your best foot forward.
posted by Ritchie at 7:20 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry that you were mortified, Dean, but it's kind of horrible finding out that you're talking to somebody completely different from who you thought you were,

Horrible? I can see disorienting and maybe a little disappointing, but horrible? Unless you accidentally shared something deeply personal, I don't know about this.

(And this has happened to me on a couple of occasions. For example, in college I decided to ask out a roommate of one of my friends, Angela. Now, there was also an Angie who lived there, but she always went by Angie (and Angela always went by Angela) in order to keep things straight. Except this one time when I called and set up the date. It was an interesting moment when I got there to pick Angela up and Angie was clearly the one ready to go. Disappointing? You bet -- not what I wanted at all. Horrible? No.)
posted by weston at 7:22 PM on November 29, 2010


But after reading his version of events, and the recapping of his life... who could blame him for giving it a shot?

Well, I could. Asking your whole workplace to keep an eye out for a co-worker's housemate so you can ask her out is creepy. That he feels empowered from having done it doesn't make it any less creepy. I'm very impressed that he's finding ways to liberate himself from the disadvantages conferred by an ableist world, but this particular step? Creepy.

Why is it creepy? Well, she didn't give him her last name or number, the conventional ways women indicate their interest in romantic follow-up from a new acquaintance. It would be a little creepy if he asked one of her friends for her number, much less asking 4000 people to keep an eye out.

Might as well link to an oldie-but-goodie from The Onion:Romantic-Comedy Behavior Gets Real-Life Man Arrested.
posted by gingerest at 7:28 PM on November 29, 2010


FTA: That photo leaked to the press is the "old" me.

I look totally different now.

This revolves around me living my life as honestly as I can.


Erm. You got a haircut.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:31 PM on November 29, 2010


Seems pretty banal. It's hardly a "Grand romantic gesture" at all.

It's not like he posted on Craigslist Missed Connections and his little ad went viral. He emailed FOUR THOUSAND strangers in order to find this woman he met fleetingly in a club. And he primarily did it in order to feel better about himself, to overcome his past hobbles and Go For The Girl, "baring his soul" to all those people in hopes they would help. And that's not me reading his mind, he SAYS so in his Treaty of Westphaliabackstory. It's not even in the same ballpark as just calling up the girl you have a crush on. When you deliberately involve spectators, you can't act surprised when you actually end up getting attention, and sometimes it won't be the kind you wanted or expected. For example, Exhibit B. I really don't think Steve Tucker is a creep like Andrew Cohen, but I think he still displays the same lack of awareness.

I also don't think having a disability, or overcoming disability, or overcoming [xyz childhood trauma] gives you a free pass on social consequences when you pull a boner like this. The guy has an "awesome counselor." He maybe should have run this idea by that counselor first.
posted by Gator at 7:33 PM on November 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've learned long ago not to call women even if they give me their number, saves embarassment all around.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:35 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


pull a boner

I can't believe I actually read that as it was intended. I must be getting old.

Thanks to that infamous boner-used-to-mean-something-else Batman comic.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:43 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've learned long ago not to call women even if they give me their number, saves embarassment all around.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:35 PM on November 29 [+] [!]


Eponysterical?
posted by salishsea at 7:48 PM on November 29, 2010


>I really don't think Steve Tucker is a creep like Andrew Cohen, but I think he still displays the same lack of awareness.

This is where you lose me. People who cannot handle social situations for perfectly legitimate physiological reasons are the only people who apparently cannot be forgiven for having faults. At what point does autism or asperger's get you a pass on pulling weird, creepy shit because you like someone? How about being emotionally damaged for your entire life?

No one rationally chooses to be a creep. It's counter productive to their goal of getting someone to like them. A little more sympathy and empathy would have gone a long way in this case.
posted by notion at 7:54 PM on November 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


hincandenza: from my experience most people are comfortable with limited expressed interest that slowly grows from there. So, if you buy into any pop culture about waiting years for someone, or going to the ends of the earth just to find out someone's name, you will be sorely disappointed and ridiculed.

Romance like that is dead, because everyone (in modern America at least) is a delicate paranoid wanker.
posted by notion at 8:01 PM on November 29, 2010


A lot of people here seem intent on knocking Steve Turner for arrogance, self-absorption, a fetish for masculinity, for pursuing a woman as if she's just a trophy. Walk a mile in his shoes, then get back to me. Better yet, walk a block.

Since I'm the one complaining about the fetish for masculinity, I suppose I can explain myself some. If you want to say that it's understandable that Turner fetishizes masculinity because of how he grew up, you'll get no argument from me. If you want to say that it is good that he does so, you'll get plenty of argument.

The least controversial argument, I think, is that being masculine is an achieved status that is always subject to revocation, and so makes a poor basis for fighting feelings of inferiority. You're not a real man if you ...; real men don't do ...; if you were a real man, you'd ...; and so on. Turner's friends are part of this, giving him ten minute "pep-talks," saying things like Oliva was a fish that jumped right into Turner's boat, and that they'd be upset if a girl treated them that way, all with an apparent goal of having Turner act in a certain way.

Turner seems to recognize some of this, and pushes back, but instead of rejecting the idea of needing to prove himself at all, he takes up the idea that he needs to prove he isn't afraid of/intimidated by/controlled by women. His ability to fight his feelings of inferiority are now riding on his ability to put himself above a set of other people. He's putting himself above women in this case, but distinguishing himself from less masculine men gets thrown into the mix (the identification of right action with having balls, the remark about the media "brainwashing males into submission" to some unnamed thing).

Setting aside the moral problems with this method, it still leaves Turner with a sense of self worth that could be taken away at any time. In fact, look how he describes his feelings about not pursuing Olivia in the bar as his friends insisted:
This was a night I should have been feeling chuffed about my skydiving achievement and my personal journey thus far. Instead, skydiving felt like it was worth nothing. I had been through the hardest time of my damn life and achieved something great. I gained 10 hours of inner peace from it. I felt ripped off.
Turner doesn't seem like a bad guy, but fetishizing masculinity won't get him what he wants, and even if it did get him what he wanted, his concerns about not being controlled by women or brainwashed into submission make me think that he ought not want it in the first place.
posted by Marty Marx at 8:04 PM on November 29, 2010 [22 favorites]


I've learned long ago not to call women people even if they give me their number, saves embarassment all around.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:35 PM on November 29 [+] [!]


FTFM
posted by Ad hominem at 8:05 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


People who cannot handle social situations for perfectly legitimate physiological reasons

That's only his side of the tale. One commenter on the site said it reeked of spin. The photo of him used by the MSM shows him at a fancy dress party, presumably holding an alcoholic drink. Not so sure on the "cannot handle social situations" angle.

Through mountain biking, I met a very able bodied guy who quickly let it be known that he had cerbral palsy, which came at a great surprise. All he had was a slightly withered hand cocked at a funny angle. So I'd also like to know the grade of this guy's CP.

I don't want to appear that I'm simply joining in on this guy's pile on, but I'm not falling for his story on face value.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:15 PM on November 29, 2010


notion wrote:"No one rationally chooses to be a creep. It's counter productive to their goal of getting someone to like them. A little more sympathy and empathy would have gone a long way in this case."

Flaw in your argument: the assumption that main goal is to have the target of the creepiness like the person with the damage.

The narrative here is that Mr. Tucker wanted his friends to admire him, and wanted to enjoy the sense of liberation and accomplishment in his skydiving experience. He says twice that he doesn't want to impress women, and that their approval is not what dictates his self-worth. This is his motivation, in his own words:

"This was me saying: 'Society you always have ripped my dignity away as soon as I attain it. I've had enough. If you're threatening to totally cut off my balls, I'm fighting you tooth and nail for what's left. I dare you. F---ing bring it on.' "

"I felt like I had to do what I did. Otherwise, skydiving would be forever tarnished and my mates would constantly refer back to Olivia and make me feel like shit. "

Being creepy to Olivia is not at all counter to having his mates admire him.
posted by gingerest at 8:22 PM on November 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


the identification of right action with having balls, the remark about the media "brainwashing males into submission" to some unnamed thing

It might be worth adding a bit of context here.

The Sydney Morning Herald - where both of the links in this post are found - has a pair of "his-n-hers" relationship blogs, both run by people coincidentally named Sam.

The female Sam's was called "Sam and the City" until recently (presumably forced to change its name because of copyright or trademark infringement). The male Sam's blog is "All Men are Liars", which is where this backstory was posted. Steve Tucker admits to being a fan of the blog, and gushes that Male Sam is the only journo he'd trust with the story. Suffice to say, he's a fan of the blog.

If you could imagine RelationshipFilter being done as drive-time talkback radio, that's about the calibre of discussion by the regular commenters, and the people in charge are hardly any better. Dan Savage, they are not.

Take a longer read of both blogs if you like; it's real trainwreck stuff. Because each one is pitched at a particular gender, the men & women sit around in their respective silos feeling sorry for themselves & hurling insults over the wall ("Women are all gold-diggers!" / "Men are all afraid of commitment!"). That is, when they're not showing up in each others' silos to troll directly.

Except, I don't think it's even trolling. Through years of echo-chamber whining, the stereotypes & other sexist crap have turned into a kind of assumed common knowledge for the denizens of these blogs.

Steve's framing of the situation would be heavily influenced by - and mainly addressing & seeking validation from - Male Sam & the other readers of the blog, so that'd be where the "having some balls" and "men are brainwashed by media, amirite?" concepts are coming from.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:41 PM on November 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


One thing that I think is easy to miss, which I think we should not ignore, is the ultimately pretty fucked up role we are all playing in this narrative. Had "Olivia" not been propositioned at, lets be honest it wasn't to, with a 4000 member and then global audience (us) she would not have felt what must be a massive and intensely creepy amount of pressure to make this a happy story, or at least not a sad one.

How free could she have really been to say she was creeped out by him? By us?
posted by Blasdelb at 8:44 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


heard that line: if i had a nickel every-time i enjoyed a company of the opposite sex and ended with only a slim clue on how to contact her in the future. this scenairo occurs quite often almost every weekend, from a Continent down under or the One between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
posted by tustinrick at 8:46 PM on November 29, 2010


I'm 35 years old, and at this point the only thing I think I know about women is that while they have no idea what they actually want (but they'll never admit it), they either like you or they don't- and however they came to that conclusion on a subconscious level, there is absolutely nothing you can do, either way, to change them.

You know why "nice guys" get the responses they do? Because they do exactly what you're doing right now: talk about women like they're space aliens.

I mean, seriously, reframe that sentence so that it's talking about men rather than women. Does that behavior really strike you as so unusual or remarkable? That's how people work.
posted by asterix at 8:55 PM on November 29, 2010 [41 favorites]


That's not how it works, asterix, although you're taking a page right from the "nice guys are actually mini-Hitlers" playbook. I'll note that you just dehumanized and generalized "nice guys" *exactly* as you claim "nice guys" do to women.

The other flaw in your thinking is that "bad boys" don't dehumanize as much or even more so than "nice guys", or that many women aren't doing the same thing, as UbuRoivas described above. Yet somehow that's not a mortal sin whose punishment is a social shunning and isolation; it's only men who are "nice" that deserve to be punished this way.

"Nice guys" can be actually nice, and still find themselves alone- which would be more tolerable if cruel people weren't happily in love. I've compared it to the Tragedy of the Commons: where every woman you meet thinks you're a) nice b) dateable c) a good catch and d) um, not really her type. At a certain point the frustration peaks when you begin to ask "How come you all think I'd be great... for someone else?"

"blaming the victim" by saying that these "nice guys" aren't actually nice, or that they view women as space aliens, is cruel and dismissive. And demanding that these "nice guys" be Perfect Ascendant Souls- infinitely compassionate mindreaders of galactic wisdom- just to get a date when everyone else has apparently forgivable flaws is inhumanly unfair, like setting up their entire life as a shifting game of romantic Calvinball.
posted by hincandenza at 9:31 PM on November 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


jokeefe You might have considered introducing yourself as "Dean from class" in order to avoid this

hincandenza "You might have considered...". Do you not see how this paralysizes people who aren't already sociopaths? Now every word, every phrase, every gesture, every fucking moment has to be minutely analyzed and planned ahead like we were storming the beach at Normandy, just so Ms Swedish Surname, on her throne, has not one iota of discomfort of moment of confusion.

I follow the jokeefe suggestion all the time when introducing myself to a former colleague or someone I went to school with, et cetera, whether it is a man or a women because providing some context is the polite thing to do.

Your reaction is extreme.
posted by mlis at 9:36 PM on November 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


Horrible? I can see disorienting and maybe a little disappointing, but horrible? Unless you accidentally shared something deeply personal, I don't know about this.

But thought it was horrible - don't you think it crosses a line to imply that he's wrong for feeling that? I think it counts as sexism to police male expression of emotion and vulnerability in public.
posted by AlsoMike at 9:43 PM on November 29, 2010


c'mon jokeefe, at no point in his comment did notion indicate an inability to empathize with Ms Swedish Surname or assign the agency of his understandable feelings of humiliation to her. To lump his experience in with genuinely unsavory attention seeking objectivization of women aspect of this FPP is just rude.

I may have been projecting a bit, but remember how notion framed his comment; he described her actions and premeditated and deliberate:

I heard her try and remember who I was, and upon inspection, decide to grind me into a fine paste.

"How did you get my number?" Well, the phone book. Your Swedish surname sticks right out. Without a hint of regret she said, "I have to go." The dial tone wrapped around my left ventricle, and ripped it out through my testicles.


But whatever. Sorry if I offended, notion.
posted by jokeefe at 9:44 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, I'd rather not be responsible for a derail, but I did say "kind of horrible", not flat-out horrible. A degree of horribleness was implied, a lesser level of horrible. Just to be picky and stuff.
posted by jokeefe at 9:49 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll note that you just dehumanized and generalized "nice guys" *exactly* as you claim "nice guys" do to women.

One small difference: "nice guys" are people who act a particular way. Women are humans who happen to have two X chromosomes. (For one particular definition of "women". Yes, I realize there are others.)

The other flaw in your thinking is that "bad boys" don't dehumanize as much or even more so than "nice guys", or that many women aren't doing the same thing, as UbuRoivas described above. Yet somehow that's not a mortal sin whose punishment is a social shunning and isolation; it's only men who are "nice" that deserve to be punished this way.

Are you joking? Of course "bad boys" do the same thing. But here's the crucial bit: people don't think being a "bad boy" is a good thing. I mean, it's kinda right there in the name.

"Nice guys" can be actually nice, and still find themselves alone- which would be more tolerable if cruel people weren't happily in love. I've compared it to the Tragedy of the Commons: where every woman you meet thinks you're a) nice b) dateable c) a good catch and d) um, not really her type. At a certain point the frustration peaks when you begin to ask "How come you all think I'd be great... for someone else?"

At a certain point, it's worth stepping back and asking what all those situations have in common. Maybe you're trying to find dates in the wrong pool of candidates. Or maybe there's another reason every woman you meet gives you the same response.
posted by asterix at 9:53 PM on November 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


I've compared it to the Tragedy of the Commons: where every woman you meet thinks you're a) nice b) dateable c) a good catch and d) um, not really her type. At a certain point the frustration peaks when you begin to ask "How come you all think I'd be great... for someone else?"

Tragedy of the Commons is not the example you want. The tragedy of the commons occurs when someone has to care for a shared resource or everyone loses out, but caring for the shared resource is too expensive for any individual beneficiary, so everyone loses. The commons are overgrazed, the litter doesn't get picked up, whatever. There's no commons here, because nice guys (and Nice Guys) aren't a shared resource that someone must date to maintain for the benefit of all. (That's a non-trivial point: no one is owed a relationship).

I think you might be more motivated by frustration at cruel people in love. Nobody likes to see wicked people succeed in any arena, be it business, love, or even checkers. It might not be as bad as all that, though. Are these deeply cruel people, or people who fall within the normal range of cruelty, people with bad moments, regrettable lapses, narrow categories of circumstances that elicit vice, etc.? If it's the latter, I don't think we need to worry much since most folks are in just this normal range. And if they're deeply cruel, are there really very many of them? They aren't, after all, within the normal range and so can't be a large portion of the population to begin with, and I doubt they have more success in forming relationships that others would envy. But even if they are, I'm still not convinced that it is possible to be deeply cruel and truly happy, since cruel people must sacrifice certain joys that come from friendship, generosity, kindness, and so on. Things may not be so bad for the genuinely nice folks after all.

All that said, it's pretty common for people to find others nice but not romantically appealing. It's also common for people to make vague compliments when turning someone down in an attempt to soften the blow. No big deal there, nor harm done.
posted by Marty Marx at 10:02 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think we've reached the point where it doesn't make sense to try and ask a girl out anymore.
posted by tehloki at 10:04 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


No offense, jokeefe. Upon a rewrite I may have revised that to portray the grinding as an emotion I felt, and not a premeditated action on her part.

I have been victim to that sort of behavior, and the Swede was certainly a saint in comparison. One of my longterm girlfriends convinced me to move away so she could break up with me about a month later. Thank God for the Magnetic Fields.
posted by notion at 10:10 PM on November 29, 2010


Social shunning? Isolation? Really? Because you're nice?

Here's my protest.

I'm a cis-woman, I'm married to an awesome guy who is great to me, and I had a couple serious relationships before that, always with people I thought were super-excellent people. Not just "nice" but actually good. I would never date anyone cruel. For that matter, I wouldn't even spend social time with someone cruel, much less date such a person. I'm just a little older than you, and I know lots of happily married people, many of whom are straight women. I grant some of them can be difficult sometimes, but the happy marriages have in common that the people in them are kind to each other. "Bad boys" who cheat on or hurt their partners? No, people like that don't belong in my social circle.

I recognize that on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog - but I wanted to cast my protest vote against this Only Bad Guys Win concept.
posted by gingerest at 10:12 PM on November 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have to agree with gingerest, while I have a small subset of friends who will admit to being primarily attracted to "bad boys" they are definitely in the minority, a small minority. And there are just as many men out there who are primarily attracted to women who also treat them like crap.

It gets really tiresome to see this subset of women trotted out as the example, over and over, that all women like assholes and that's why the "nice" guys never win. When in reality, the nice guys aren't generally all that nice, just a little nicer than the "bad boys," but usually lack the confidence (or sometimes arrogance) and charisma of the "bad boys."

It's very easy to look at the girl with the asshole who rejected you and decide all women are like that, while ignoring the other 10 girls in the room with boyfriends who are perfectly good guys.
posted by whoaali at 10:25 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]



"Nice guys" can be actually nice, and still find themselves alone- which would be more tolerable if cruel people weren't happily in love. I've compared it to the Tragedy of the Commons: where every woman you meet thinks you're a) nice b) dateable c) a good catch and d) um, not really her type. At a certain point the frustration peaks when you begin to ask "How come you all think I'd be great... for someone else?"


Hmm yes, if only there were some common factor in all of these bad relationships you have with different people.

MEANWHILE, ON TOPIC: The blog post mostly made me uncomfortable. I'm glad he's getting his shit together but it was a pretty huge non-apology for doing something kind of skeevy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:29 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Heh. I'm glad I'm not Olivia. Who wants that kind of attention? But of course, who cares about her? Certainly not Steve. This is All About Him.
He still needs a lot of work before becoming an even remotely pleasant potential lover. Right now his self-involvement and oversharing in his attempts to Improve Steve are eclipsing out any genuine interest he might have felt in the other person.
The good thing is, he seems to have lots of friends. He'll get there some day.
posted by Omnomnom at 10:51 PM on November 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


That said, considering where he came from, it sounds like a very necessary step for Steve. I just hope he grows out of it again.
posted by Omnomnom at 10:54 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Walk a mile in his shoes, then get back to me. Better yet, walk a block.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

Jack Handey
posted by MuffinMan at 11:59 PM on November 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


Whatever. This is perhaps callous, but the fact that he has a sad backstory doesn't mean he didn't act like a tool.

Seriously, if she had been into him at all, she wouldn't have left without giving him her number.

I still don't get why he couldn't have made a few discreet calls, rather than email everyone in the department. Did he really think that the DIAC executive would give a flying fuck about his love life, or the depth of his feelings? Why not just start with the people he knew were at the nightclub?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:34 AM on November 30, 2010


One small difference: "nice guys" are people who act a particular way.

"Nice guys" might be a lot of things (including, btw, women, if some select recent facebook posts I've read are any indication). Here's the problem, the truth that seems hard for both the "nice guys" feeling sorry for themselves and some apparently empathy-challenged simplifiers who'd lay everything at their feet and theirs alone:

There is no way to guarantee success in many areas of your life, including relationships. There are things you can do to court it, and you can try to avoid things that will all but guarantee failure, but there isn't a guarantee. And it's also true that some people start with handicaps, some with gifts.

It follows from all of this that you can indeed be genuinely nice -- no, not even just nice but actually cool -- and still lose. I know people in this situation. And that's to say nothing of whether you're different in some way, saddled with a problem that cuts you off from a large chunk of the population, or just still growing up for whatever reason.

"Nice guys" might be creepy people, they might be people with victim complexes, they might just be someone who's on the unlucky side of a normal distribution, they might just be frustrated that they've been generally decent human beings and tried to follow the ostensible rules of social interaction as they understood them and things haven't worked out for them, just because sometimes things don't work out. Maybe there's good advice to be given some of 'em, but unless they're violent or otherwise unacceptably abusive or invasive, I don't see a lot of good in mocking or coming down hard on them.
posted by weston at 12:43 AM on November 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


There is no way to guarantee success in many areas of your life, including relationships. There are things you can do to court it, and you can try to avoid things that will all but guarantee failure, but there isn't a guarantee.

This reminds me of a truism that I read, probably in AskMe: "Just because you are worthy of being loved, doesn't mean you are entitled to be. It's an important difference"

Seems to me that the cliched "nice guy" has forgotten this distinction, and is resentful from the frustrated sense of entitlement.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:44 AM on November 30, 2010 [17 favorites]


What weston said. Some of us are just on the wrong end of a bell curve, we're just unlucky and alone because of it. And we don't deserve it- we didn't do anything wrong, we never hurt anyone, but somehow it just... we're alone, and it doesn't come from some just or fair place. And as an abstract mathematical concept it's one thing, but to life your life there, to be so alone for so long... to watch as other people have so easily- can take for granted- the one thing you've always wanted: to connect to someone, to be wanted, to be needed, to be special to someone...

And with all that, it just feels like salt in the wound to then be told by strangers who don't even know me that it's because somehow I must be creepy, or given to dehumanizing, or not actually nice, or I'm not following some rule- a rule that doesn't even matter because it's like a cargo cult... well it hurts.

There's some logical fallacy, I don't recall the name, that says people will look at the outcome and decide a person must have done something to deserve it- you look at a homeless person and think, "Well, they must have done something to deserve this life", as if it's an alien thought that bad things can happen to good people, or vice versa. And similarly, when someone is chronically alone, everyone's quick to offer advice- advice born out of whatever random cause they pulled out of thin air to explain their own good fortune. This is why Steve Tucker could have guys giving him 10-minute pep talks- even though the talker has no actually idea why he has had good fortune, even though he thinks he does.

Some people are just unlucky, and it wouldn't hurt to remember that before you heap on scorn, mockery, or judgment.
posted by hincandenza at 1:46 AM on November 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


UbuRoivas: Seems to me that the cliched "nice guy" has forgotten this distinction, and is resentful from the frustrated sense of entitlement.
I find it odd you consider love and belonging to be about "entitlement". We're not talking about a 7-series Beemer in the driveway, here.

Which is the cruel dishonesty I see: people who have love, who find it easily, are as privileged as the rich, and of course will make up stories about how hard they worked for what they got, and how other people are just freeloaders with a sense of entitlement, and it's all because you aren't doing or saying the right things- you don't have the "millionaire mindset".

Easy talk when you're not one of the losers, easy to cast blame. And apparently easy to say that another human soul's desire to love and be loved is the problem itself, that even desiring this is unbecoming of these losers. How dare they *want* such things- when clearly it is above their station in life!

If that's not what you're saying, then what do you mean by "entitlement"?
posted by hincandenza at 1:56 AM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


I still don't get why he couldn't have made a few discreet calls

Because he needs to share his dramatic gestures with the whole world as part of his therapy?

Man, the more I think of it...I liked the guy better when he was just some determined dweeb who overshot the mark by emailing 4000 employees. At least that was the kind of "stupid thing I am glad I did once in my life" that I can identify with.

This way he comes off as someone undateable because of the giant chip in his shoulder he's still working on.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:57 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which is the cruel dishonesty I see: people who have love, who find it easily, are as privileged as the rich,

Well, some people worked hard at being rich. Other people are born into it.
Some people work hard at staying slim. Other people eat chocolate every day and never gain weight.
I imagine some people were brought up to a confident yet fun disposition, good looks and moderate wealth that makes it easy for them to seek and find love. The gross majority has to work for it.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:08 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


hincandenza: that's Just World Theory you're looking for.

"Some of us are just on the wrong end of a bell curve, we're just unlucky and alone because of it."

In my experience, many people (both male and female) who are on the wrong end of a bell curve aren't alone because of their less-than-average looks or social skills, but because they refuse to give members of the target gender who are ALSO on the wrong end of a bell curve a chance.

Maybe not seeing "glistening porn starlets" as your target demographic would lead you to have more success.
posted by parrot_person at 2:57 AM on November 30, 2010 [17 favorites]


If you were stuck in Canberra, you'd probably do some pretty desperate things too.

I knew someone who moved from Melbourne to Canberra, having gotten a job with the government. By her accounts, it's somewhat of a hardship posting, much like an embassy in some developing-world hellhole, and those stuck there cope by becoming alcoholics.
posted by acb at 3:08 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it odd you consider love and belonging to be about "entitlement". We're not talking about a 7-series Beemer in the driveway, here.

Eh, no, not at all.

It was just a pat quote that, to me, seemed to express how people can fall foul from believing in a Just World (thanks to parrot_person for the reminder on that, because that's exactly the key here).

Just World adherent: "I'm a nice guy/gal; why on earth aren't I getting what should be coming my way?" That's the sense of "entitlement" I was referring to.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:17 AM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


In my experience, many people (both male and female) who are on the wrong end of a bell curve aren't alone because of their less-than-average looks or social skills, but because they refuse to give members of the target gender who are ALSO on the wrong end of a bell curve a chance.

I wonder how much the rise of the electronic media (and the print media, photography, celebrity culture and such) has increased this alienation by giving people images of attractive people to compare themselves and the people around them to and subconsciously nudging them to raise their standards of what is acceptable in a mate. I.e., if television, movies and glossy magazines didn't exist, would more people around the bottom of the attractiveness bell curve (or, indeed, elsewhere on it) have paired up?
posted by acb at 4:02 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think we've reached the point where it doesn't make sense to try and ask a girl out anymore.

Ya, more for me!!!
posted by nomadicink at 4:11 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, he's lucky that Steve Tucker is not a particularly uncommon or memorable name. If he plays his cards right, in a year's time no-one will remember his claim to fame, and he'll be just another guy named Steve. Or if they do remember him, they might give him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that it was another Steve Tucker. Googling his name will draw a blank.

(Or so says one of the few people in the world with his surname.)
posted by acb at 4:12 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas, thank you for the link, which I had forgotten. Bookmarked and lol'd again.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:13 AM on November 30, 2010


You know why "nice guys" get the responses they do? Because they do exactly what you're doing right now: talk about women like they're space aliens.

I think possibly more like a different mammal species - one subject to incomprehensible attractions and instinctual desires, with no means to control, understand or explain them. In this model, men like Steve Tucker have and are punished for having conscious minds. Women make decisions on a subconscious level, without any idea of what they truly want.

Which sort of brings it ontopic; to Steve Tucker's credit, he doesn't seem to complain that he was being given mixed signals, and as far as I can tell wasn't asking people to supply her personal details - just to tell her that he'd like to see her again. If something like that email had been sent to a group of friends saying "I met a girl at the party we went to last night and I think we made a connection - if you know her, could you sound her out about whether she'd like to see me again?", I don't think it would be very controversial. It was the use of the office email system and the size of the group being canvassed that made it news rather than the content of the message.

That said, I've generally assumed that if you go to a club and have a nice conversation with a man/woman you think you might have a chance with, and then they leave while you are otherwise engaged, that probably means they don't want an LTR. There will be fresh men/women the following week, and the process can happen again. If you aren't Peter Gatien, clubs are the wipe-clean slate of meeting people. It doesn't make it a bad evening, or that they didn't enjoy your company, but it does mean that the other party's rating of the evening doesn't necessarily depend on whether they see you again.

That's not a mixed signal, it's just a signal, and that's where having a huge weight of expectation - whether that is "my success or failure to get a date with you is a yes/no switch on whether I have reinvented myself successfully" or "you're going to reject me for the same subconscious reasons as all the other women who have rejected me" - might get in the way of getting that signal.
posted by DNye at 4:27 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because they do exactly what you're doing right now: talk about women like they're space aliens.

Uh yeah, that's because we are all space aliens. The sooner you realize that, the sooner Carl Sagan will stop spinning in his grave.

And the only lesson here for men is the following:

Your behavior will be seen as irritating unless she fancies you. Then it will be seen as endearing. But since there's no way to know ahead of time if she fancies you or not, you must first determine this. Ergo, you are destined to either:
  1. irritate women throughout your mortal life because you are not a mind-reader, or…
  2. live a very lonely life
What no one likes to talk about is the giant corollary to this theory: if you know the sheer act of discovery is going to cause some women irritation (the ones that don't fancy you anyway) then the only people that will be successful are the sadists or the sociopaths—the ones that don't care about other people's annoyances or petty grievances.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:56 AM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


I thought that the whole point of annoyances and grievances being "petty" is that you don't have to care about them. Aren't you just bad at social interaction in a different way if you care overmuch about things that aren't that important?
posted by topynate at 5:04 AM on November 30, 2010


In many ways this is the expected outcome of bullying and ostracization. The teenage years are when you learn the acceptable bounds of social interaction, and they are pretty much the only time in your life when you are given the leeway to test and find those bounds. If you don't talk to anyone during that time, you are pretty much screwed. After a certain age it becomes very difficult to gain the skills everyone else was working on at 16, because crossing the lines of acceptable social interaction as an adult is pretty much the definition of creepy*. Creepy, unfortunately, is the cardinal sin of social interaction, and even a hint of it will color every interaction you have. It becomes nearly impossible to get positive feedback from the world. All you know is that nothing you try works, so you withdraw most of the time, coming out of your shell on occasion to crash and burn. You don't talk about it, because as you can see in this thread, social failure is something most people agree you deserve to suffer for.

Actually, that is too harsh. I don't think most people want to inflict suffering. Instead, they see it as reminding you of the rules they think you know. But you can't laugh off a mistake if you have no idea where you went wrong or how to succeed in the future.

As for the whole "nice guy" thing, I think it's pretty easy to see how that figures in. It's not that they think every guy is an asshole, or that all women only like jerks. It's just that every day you see things like some jerk who hits his girlfriend, or some douche on youtube who shaves his girlfriend's eyebrows while she's sleeping, or Jersey Shore, and you can't help but think "whatever I am, it must be even worse than those guys."

*Note: I am not claiming that all creepy people were bullied, just that many bullied people end up being seen as creepy.
posted by Nothing at 5:11 AM on November 30, 2010 [27 favorites]


(Also of note: the reaction most people have to a socially awkward person is, from their perspective, pretty much indistinguishable from the bullying and ostracization they are used to.)
posted by Nothing at 5:16 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Your behavior will be seen as irritating unless she fancies you. Then it will be seen as endearing. But since there's no way to know ahead of time if she fancies you or not, you must first determine this."

This is exactly right. The best that anyone can do in this situation if the interest isn't mutual is for her to act like a lady and turn him down as politely as she can (assuming he's not a psycho and needing much more forceful of a response), and for him to act like a gentleman and take the "no" for an answer as pleasantly as possible. I wish more people would do that.

I'd like to point out that unless she's a real asshole, most women DO NOT ENJOY turning men down. Believe me, we feel pretty bad about turning down a Perfectly Nice Guy Who Everyone Should Want because for whatever chemical reason, he's not grilling our cheese. It is not shiny good times for us to know that we're running the risk of (at best?) being called a bitch who didn't give him a chance, or as has been pointed out in other threads over the years, he may go psycho stalker (at worst). I really, really loathe turning a guy down, but it beats going out with him a bunch of times knowing I'm not interested, and him then thinking I am. Because let me tell you, I gave THAT a chance--too many chances-- and that ends up being worse for everyone involved.

I have sympathy for this dude, but I also feel sorry for Olivia because right now she gets to be "the bitch." It's so much fun. Not.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:37 AM on November 30, 2010 [22 favorites]


And with all that, it just feels like salt in the wound to then be told by strangers who don't even know me that it's because somehow I must be creepy, or given to dehumanizing, or not actually nice, or I'm not following some rule- a rule that doesn't even matter because it's like a cargo cult... well it hurts.

Maybe it's a result of the loneliness, rather than what caused it originally, but your bitterness (both in general and towards women in specific) is really palpable in what you write here. If you show even one tenth of this bitterness in person, I have no problem understanding why women might not come running.

I also find the "nice boy/bad boy" thing kind of tiresome. I mean, sure, many women aren't all that into super passive, Sensitive-with-a-capital-s, ultra-"nice" guy. But it's not genuine niceness that's repelling them, it's the passivity and treacly-sweet pseudo-niceness that's leavened with a good dose of entitlement. But neither are most women into genuinely bad guys, who give them the clap and smack them and empty their bank accounts. People -- not just women -- mostly like people who are somewhere in the happy middle, with enough backbone and energy to have a fun personality, but who also exhibit a lot of caring behavior and whom you can bring home and introduce to Mom.

I've been hearing dudes whining about being alone because of being too nice for about twenty years now (longer if you count high school, but I'll leave that alone as its own separate version of hell) and I just haven't seen it that way. The same guys I've known who have spent the most time complaining about it have been the ones fixated on absurdly high "standards" or whatever you call it when you won't ask out a normal woman because you have a fixation on an actress or porn star. And they didn't seem able to engage in the same recursive "oops, that didn't work, let me try it again a different way" adjustment of one's behavior that everyone else goes through in order to figure out what actually works.

So yeah, I'm blaming the pseudo-victims, because they seem to me to have fixated on the wrong thing (the niceness) rather than the actual reasons for romantic failure. In contrast, the dude in this FPP screwed up, understands that he screwed up, and presumably will do better next time.
posted by Forktine at 6:21 AM on November 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


they have no idea what they actually want (but they'll never admit it)

This sentence right here is a big problem for you, hincandenza. You think all women are the same and that their common trait is either complete idiocy or else deliberate obfuscation. Women will pick up on your condescending view of them and run for the hills. Be kinder in your assessments and perhaps you'll be able to make a connection with someone who's just right for you. I wish you luck.


It is not shiny good times for us to know that we're running the risk of (at best?) being called a bitch who didn't give him a chance, or as has been pointed out in other threads over the years, he may go psycho stalker. . . .

This is very true, as jenfullmoon writes. But it should be noted that not all women are so self-involved that we only see the way in which the rejection reflects on us. Some of us also hate that we're hurting someone or lowering someone's self-esteem when we reject him and feel a great deal of empathy for the man we're rejecting. (I'm not saying that jenfullmoon doesn't dislike hurting a person's feelings; she probably felt that it was perfectly obvious women don't like doing such a thing and therefore didn't need to include that point in her post, but some of the viewpoints in this thread made me feel as though it might not be obvious to all people.)
posted by pineappleheart at 6:25 AM on November 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


being gay is so awesome, you guys...
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:48 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah the Nice Guy/Bad Bot dichotomy is kind of trite but this is is how I see it:

Nice Guy: why didn't I get her number , there must be something wrong with me.
Bad Boy: why didn't I get her number, there must be something wrong with her.

For nice guys each interaction with a woman is a potential trap door to a gaping pit of self loathing.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:57 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]



being gay is so awesome, you guys...
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:48 PM on November 30 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by acb at 7:01 AM on November 30, 2010


This dynamic is so fascinating to me. The best description I have found is that women would like to be more invisible, and men would like to be more visible. There are parallels with racial issues and I have found great comfort in reading about DuBois's concept of a veil or more specifically about African American masculinity and how society has simultaneously fetishized and chastised it.
posted by yaymukund at 7:19 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nice Guy: why didn't I get her number , there must be something wrong with me. But her love could make me better. WHY WON'T SHE FIX WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Bitch.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:21 AM on November 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


they have no idea what they actually want (but they'll never admit it)

We want someone who turns us on and fits in our vision of what we want our lives to be like. And everyone has a different view of what kind of life they want to live. When I fell head over heels for someone I wanted to get to know, I let him know I was interested. I was pretty obvious.
posted by anniecat at 7:37 AM on November 30, 2010


It is not shiny good times for us to know that we're running the risk of (at best?) being called a bitch who didn't give him a chance, or as has been pointed out in other threads over the years, he may go psycho stalker. . . .

I liked your comment jenfullmoon, and this wasn't your central point, so this is nitpicking. But to answer the question, this is not the "best" that can be expected, nor is it the "best" that actually happens. There are guys who can take rejection with dignity, continue to recognize whatever positive personality traits made him interested in the first place, and leave it at that. I try really hard to do that, personally. It's hard, because getting rejected is hard and can be emotional. But I know people who move on from unrequited love interests to platonic friends, and I imagine that you do too.

Not to take away from your point that a lot of guys do have the "bitch" reaction, and others are stalkers, or that it might sometimes seem like all of us respond really negatively. Just to remind us all, especially rejected parties, what the best reaction is, which is to suck it up, realize it's not that astounding that not everyone is interested in us in that way, and be the best person we can be so that other people will be interested in all kinds of ways. For what it's worth, it sounds kind of like that's what Steve's doing, so good for him.
posted by the thing about it at 7:40 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nice Guy: why didn't I get her number , there must be something wrong with me. But her love could make me better. WHY WON'T SHE FIX WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Bitch.

Ah yes, the nice guy gone over to the dark side. There is nothing worse.
Nobody wants to be a character in somebody elses psychodrama.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:02 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, fuckers, do you think we could maybe call these guys something other than 'nice guys', if we're going to have the customary 60 Seconds of Demonstrative Loathing that apparently these threads always bring out?

signed, a nice guy
posted by felix at 8:16 AM on November 30, 2010


What no one likes to talk about is the giant corollary to this theory: if you know the sheer act of discovery is going to cause some women irritation (the ones that don't fancy you anyway) then the only people that will be successful are the sadists or the sociopaths—the ones that don't care about other people's annoyances or petty grievances.

So how do you explain the vast majority of people who aren't sadists or sociopaths ending up in relationships?
posted by asterix at 8:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


being gay is so awesome, you guys...

Quoted for the Truth!
posted by ericb at 8:30 AM on November 30, 2010


I realise that the link here is about a chap pursuing a ladychap, but given the turn of the discussion we probably shouldn't forget that women feel attraction to men (among others) as well, and sometimes have to risk rejection, frustration and loneliness. It isn't purely a gatekeeper situation, where the ladies have the gold (for which substitute whatever you wish) and the men have to try to charm or trick their way to it, and thus it was, and thus it ever will be.

Although the woman who told me that may have been trying to let me down gently.
posted by DNye at 8:33 AM on November 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have really mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I sympathize with him because I was also bullied for my disabilities and frequently called "cripple" in junior high. My worst memory of that period was writing a "I have a crush on you" letter to a boy, who then mockingly read it aloud to his friends. I didn't date at all in high school, and barely in college, because I had zero self-confidence that anyone would want me. So I understand that feeling, and I understand his efforts to overcome his past and develop his identity. I understand grasping at anyone who shows you the barest signs of affection. I fell for a lot of unsuitable guys that way. Fortunately, most of the stupid things I did took place before Facebook and Twitter and viral sites.

On the other hand, as a woman I find this kind of gesture irritating and objectifying. His social difficulties don't excuse the inappropriateness of his actions. I would be thoroughly skeeved out if I were Olivia; she only talked to him for a few minutes in a bar and now it's some huge public scene. He doesn't sound like he has the proper perspective on this, and his framing of "me against society" is way overdramatic.

P.S. I am married to a very nice guy.
posted by desjardins at 8:50 AM on November 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


"At a certain point the frustration peaks when you begin to ask "How come you all think I'd be great... for someone else?" "

I dunno, because you come across as an endlessly bitter griper any time male-female relationships come up, always bitching that you're a "nice guy" and seriously not seeming to understand how to interact with women at all, yet you always put that on them?

By saying that you'd be a great guy for someone else, they both dodge the bullet of having to date you and deal with who knows what crazy-ass assumptions you have on how adult relationships work and avoid hurting your feelings by delving in with a scalpel to all the deal-breaker shit that you're pretty open with all over MetaFilter, and I assume are equally free with in your offline life.

They're too polite to tell you that you're acting like a martyred asshole under the pretext of being a "nice guy," and that, yeah, you fit the "nice guys are repressed serial killers" stereotype pretty well.

I'm not a woman, but I don't think you have to be to pick up that vibe pretty damn easily.
posted by klangklangston at 9:40 AM on November 30, 2010 [28 favorites]


I realise that the link here is about a chap pursuing a ladychap, but given the turn of the discussion we probably shouldn't forget that women feel attraction to men (among others) as well, and sometimes have to risk rejection, frustration and loneliness.

I can't imagine a woman doing what he did, somehow.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:55 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was actually going to remark on the gay perspective of all this.

Because, hincandenza, one of the reasons people are reacting negatively to the things you're saying is that you're talking about women as if they're not people just like you. I can assure you that they are.

I have a friend that's gorgeous and sweet and smart and well educated (most of the way to her MLIS degree) and she has a lot of nerdy interests: videogames of various sorts, joss wheedon shows, tabletop RPGs. She is single and has been for as long as I've known her, so far as I'm aware, and this is one of the world's great mysteries to me. If I were straight, I'd've asked her out aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages ago.

I also have a lesbian friend with somewhat similar history, although she's currently in a relationship. She's had her share of loneliness and more, though, as well as some medical issues relating to a congenital birth defect in her heart.

My boyfriend has said all of the same things about men that straight guys frequently say about women, in terms of being distracted by them or walking into things staring at them, being unable to understand them, etc.

My libido works differently from his, but finding and keeping love hasn't been easy for me either. Especially because, as a gay male, I'm supposed to:

a) Want to meet and sleep with lots of guys I don't know very well at bars
b) Actually do so

I've always been too scared of gay bars to wander into one alone and I've come to the realization that a lot of partners isn't something I've ever particularly wanted. I still feel, though, like I'm - I'm not sure how to put this. I'm not a fabulous twinky club kid and therefore I'm not a real gay guy, if that makes sense?

Anyway.

Women are people. Some know what they want, some do not. Pretty much everything is a continuum. There is no strict ask/guess dichotomy, there is just people. As jen says, turning someone down sucks too. It's sticky and messy and tough for everyone else, not just you. Not just the men, not just the women, not just the singles. We all have a hard time with it. And getting bitter and angry about it and blaming women is kind of fucked up. The reality is that there's not actually anything or anyone to blame or to be angry at. As you point out, to think there is is to appeal to just world theory. It is not any particular woman's fault - nor the gender's fault as a whole, because how could it be? - that you are lonely.

I do hope you meet someone soon and are able to ask her out because you're interested in her as a person in her own right. And I hope it works out.

And there's really no truth to the "nice guys finish last" thing. There are some friends of the family - my parents' college friends - that are a married couple. Have been nearly as long as my parents, who just this weekend celebrated their 40th anniversary. The husband is the sweetest, gentlest man. He teaches elementary school and is just a very caring, nurturing individual. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer guy.

I think desjardins has a good interpretation of the OP's story as far as we know from what's been posted. He has CP and has been doing some things to work on mental health: that's great! But neither Olivia nor anyone else signed up to be a goalpost for him. It is not ok if a condition of his regaining some self esteem is that he treats his fellow humans conquests to be made.

I can't imagine a woman doing what he did, somehow.

Stuff and nonsense.
posted by kavasa at 10:14 AM on November 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


To be rejected and deflected by women is what men are born for, in part.

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative-- genetically.

Whining about it can lead to some bad, bad things.
posted by jamjam at 10:23 AM on November 30, 2010


To be rejected and deflected by women is what men are born for, in part.

But I just..

But -

Sigh.

Do not know why I bother.
posted by kavasa at 10:25 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


To be rejected and deflected by women is what men are born for, in part.

This is an interesting... ahem... theory. We could also say "to be jealously guarded by men is what women are born for," but thankfully we're trying to change that.
posted by muddgirl at 10:26 AM on November 30, 2010


As someone with two X chromosones, it's really odd to hear my fellow XXs (and variants) constantly described as some kind of natural resource that men "get" amounts of in proportion to some algorithm, one that baffles and confuses men who aren't "getting" any.
posted by jokeefe at 10:28 AM on November 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


Seriously, could we maybe put to bed the unspoken fiction that there's nothing wrong with first acting as though women (and any one at that! as long as she's pretty and nice and so on) are some kind of fucking prize you get if you're pleasant and inoffensive for a long enough time, and then not understanding why most of them seem not to want to pair off with you?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:49 AM on November 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


it's really odd to hear my fellow XXs (and variants) constantly described as some kind of natural resource that men "get" amounts of in proportion to some algorithm

You really don't know about the experience point system? Thanks to my last craigslist date, I'm now a Level 3 Dwarf.
posted by benzenedream at 10:59 AM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Seriously, could we maybe put to bed the unspoken fiction that there's nothing wrong with first acting as though women (and any one at that! as long as she's pretty and nice and so on) are some kind of fucking prize you get if you're pleasant and inoffensive for a long enough time, and then not understanding why most of them seem not to want to pair off with you?

if we could also stop pretending that the lessons of sexual politics don't have to be clumsily relearned by every young person through personal experience and maturity. few nice guys come that way; they more often are made after trying on a variety of perspectives--not all of them necessarily noble and pure.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 11:01 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not a fabulous twinky club kid and therefore I'm not a real gay guy, if that makes sense?

A Handy Guide to All Gay Men.
posted by ericb at 11:02 AM on November 30, 2010


Ladies. Gentlemen. You're both right; it just depends on whose perspective you're taking.

- A nice guy makes his feelings known to an incredible woman who proceeds to grind his heart into a forlorn pulp.

- A creepy guy makes unsolicited, awkward advances to an unsuspecting woman who had to take extraordinary steps when he wouldn't take "no" for an answer.

Yes.
posted by LordSludge at 11:14 AM on November 30, 2010


I think a lot of the endlessly circling conversation in these threads comes up because some people hear "nice guy" and think of, you know, a pleasant person who is a male, and some people hear "nice guy" and think of Nice Guys™ instead.

People in the first group get confused at all the vitriol being aimed at a group that is, by definition, undeserving of it, and people in the second group get angry that someone would actually defend those hateful assholes. Some background reading might help get us all on the same page.

(I'm giving everyone the benefit of the doubt in assuming that we don't have any Nice Guys™ here because they're all busy upvoting misogynistic jokes on Reddit, but feel free to start talking about an entire gender as a monolithic, homogeneous group of frigid castrating bitches and prove me wrong.)
posted by Zozo at 11:17 AM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


"As someone with two X chromosones, it's really odd to hear my fellow XXs (and variants) constantly described as some kind of natural resource that men "get" amounts of in proportion to some algorithm, one that baffles and confuses men who aren't "getting" any."

But, but, but I've been hard at work all day in the pussy mines, and if I keep digging I'm sure it'll all pay off!
posted by klangklangston at 11:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've always been too scared of gay bars to wander into one alone and I've come to the realization that a lot of partners isn't something I've ever particularly wanted. I still feel, though, like I'm - I'm not sure how to put this. I'm not a fabulous twinky club kid and therefore I'm not a real gay guy, if that makes sense?

the most interesting gay people you will ever meet are ones who mold their sexuality to fit who they are, rather than trying to change themselves to fit their sexuality. not that i don't think that those who are what i would call professionally gay aren't adorable as they are, but in my experience, straight people who define themselves primarily in terms of sexuality aren't all that interesting, unless it fits them in some unique way. it's not that i have a preference for straight-acting guys, but i've always been most turned on by guys who are interesting for other reasons and who happen to turn out to be gay.

more succinctly, being a real gay guy seems a lot more appealing than being a real gay guy, if that makes sense.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 11:29 AM on November 30, 2010


But, but, but I've been hard at work all day in the pussy mines, and if I keep digging I'm sure it'll all pay off!

Hey! This is not the Minecraft thread.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:30 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


What drives me insane about this whole "nice guy" syndrome is that there seems to be all these men who think that just being "nice" should be enough for any woman of their choosing. Or at least some percentage of the women of their choosing.

Speaking for myself, being nice is necessary, but not sufficient to dating me. I am looking for nice + a whole lot of other characteristics. Nice, alone, is never going to be enough for anyone with any standards.

You don't hear of women sitting around complaining that hot men won't date them despite the fact that they are nice because women know perfectly well that most men aren't looking for merely nice women. Most men are looking for nice women who they are also attracted to + a whole bunch of other characteristics, depending upon the guy. Sure, women might call men shallow, but I just don't know a lot of women who feel entitled to have a guy just because they happen to be super duper nice people.

Here's the thing, nice guys are not looking for "nice" girls. They are looking for nice, pretty girls. However, for some reason girls are held to a high ethical standard than the nice guys themselves, and any woman looking for a guy better looking than the "nice" guy is shallow. Average and below average looking girls are basically invisible to most guys, but average and below average looking guys feel entitled to their own personal pretty princess regardless of what they are bringing to the table.

I can feel a lot of empathy for the nice guys, because for a long time I was similarly bitter towards men and felt like they were all shallow assholes, but then one day I realized that even though I was *absolutely positive* that my bitterness was not affecting my interaction with men, it was. And that I wasn't some angel who didn't have my own fair share of shallow requirements when it came to the opposite sex, so maybe I should give guys a bit of a break and stop being so judgmental. If I wanted a guy that looked a certain way, I had to get to the gym a lot more regularly and just generally put a lot more daily effort into my looks. And you know what, I may not have yet found my soul mate, but I have dated WAY more guys since. Generally speaking, if you want some characteristic in a mate, you need to have that characteristic yourself.
posted by whoaali at 11:39 AM on November 30, 2010 [19 favorites]


At a certain point the frustration peaks when you begin to ask "How come you all think I'd be great... for someone else?"
klangklangston: I dunno, because you come across as an endlessly bitter griper any time male-female relationships come up, always bitching that you're a "nice guy" and seriously not seeming to understand how to interact with women at all, yet you always put that on them?

By saying that you'd be a great guy for someone else, they both dodge the bullet of having to date you and deal with who knows what crazy-ass assumptions you have on how adult relationships work and avoid hurting your feelings by delving in with a scalpel to all the deal-breaker shit that you're pretty open with all over MetaFilter, and I assume are equally free with in your offline life.
Why do you assume that the venting of personal frustrations and bafflement under an anonymous name equates to how I am in real life? Would you judge someone based on the things they said to their therapist- understanding that venting here is like a form of therapy, a release valve?

What I can say is I'm very very lonely, and have been for a long time, and how can I honestly be expected to be happy, chipper, and Pollyanaesque when I'm missing something so many other people have? "Just World Theory" or not, it fucking hurts, and it's incredibly frustrating to be told by men, and women, by gay people and straight, by friends, co-workers and acquaintances how "great" I am and how much I should be happy and glad to be alive... when the facts and history of my life stand starkly in the way.

I've made my peace with the fact that I will be alone until I die, whenever that happens, but that doesn't mean I won't feel hurt and angry that that's my fate- or is it required that not only do I have to be a fucking loser at life, but I'm not allowed to even be sad or upset about it? Stiff upper lip and all that.
They're too polite to tell you that you're acting like a martyred asshole under the pretext of being a "nice guy," and that, yeah, you fit the "nice guys are repressed serial killers" stereotype pretty well.
So... yeah, how the fuck am I supposed to even respond to that? That's going even a step beyond ad hominem.

What you don't see is how I interact with people in "real life", and how they react to me. I'm not a bad person, contrary to your implied claim that I'm the next Bundy and should probably just off myself.
 
kavasa: I have a friend that's gorgeous and sweet and smart and well educated (most of the way to her MLIS degree) and she has a lot of nerdy interests: videogames of various sorts, joss wheedon shows, tabletop RPGs. She is single and has been for as long as I've known her, so far as I'm aware, and this is one of the world's great mysteries to me. If I were straight, I'd've asked her out aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages ago.
See, I get that too: "If I were straight/single, I'd totally date you". Except the only people saying that aren't in a position to do so.

The logical conclusion if we are to take klangklangston at face value is your great friend is in fact a repressed Aileen Wuornos; surely that's the only explanation for how she's still single. The Filter hath spoken.


Fuck it, now I'm just shitting on the thread. I'm outta here.
posted by hincandenza at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't take klang's comment at face value - it read to me like a hyperbolic way of saying that some of that evident bitterness probably shows through in real life, and it may be scaring people off. It wasn't a kind way of saying it, though, and unnecessarily aggressive.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:11 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


this story reminds me of movie, "SIRENDIPTY" and this searching my even last for 9 years.
posted by tustinrick at 12:14 PM on November 30, 2010


Fuck it, now I'm just shitting on the thread. I'm outta here.

You know, I'm not going to pretend that I don't cringe a bit when I read the other posts you've made in this thread, but look. This seems to be a thing for you, it's bugging you, it hurts. I get it.

I don't personally suppose you're a bad person, or a serial killer. I'm hearing some resentment and maybe some lady issues in what you write, but it's only what you write, so really who knows.

So I want to be clear that I'm saying this from a place of genuine sympathy and concern: You don't have to be alone your whole life. Really, you don't. I know it seems like you do, but you don't. A life so much better than the one you're imagining awaits you out there, but it will not come to you without work. You may find that a lot of the attitudes you currently have about the way the world works need some tuning. Look, really, if your insurance covers it, please look into therapy. If you already have, do it again, and if you felt like you were getting nowhere, try someone else.

That is all. Good luck to you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:18 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't remember the scene in Serendipity where the woman walked out on the guy during their first meeting because she obviously wasn't interested in continuing the conversation or getting to know him better.

But who knows? Maybe Olivia wrote her phone number on a banknote, hoping it may find its way back to him one day...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:23 PM on November 30, 2010


Isn't the whole nice guy discussion a massive derail?

Steve isn't a Nice Guy TM just because he has problems dating and some inappropriate ways of trying to score. He's not blaming Olivia, he's not asking impossible things of her and according to him reacted graciously when she turned him down.

He's a bit eyerolley at the moment and seems to have been doing some projection and blaming in the past but it seems like he's working on that, too.

Not every shy guy with problems is a Nice Guy. It's like some people break out the Nice Guy discussion whenever there's a topic remotely relating to shy guy dating problems. And then it all turns into "men have it bad!" "women have it bad, too!".

At least Steve's not complaining about his problems as being wholly gender related!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:35 PM on November 30, 2010


Not every shy guy with problems is a Nice Guy.

Exactly! There's nothing evil about being unable to work up the nerve to tell a friend exactly how you really feel about them... that's human nature. The important thing is to realize it's your problem to solve, not a failing of an entire gender.

Maybe the difference between nice guys and Nice GuysTM is that the former don't tend to self-proclaim their niceness? Isn't that the kind of thing that is best left for others to determine?
posted by Crane Shot at 12:46 PM on November 30, 2010


I can't remember the scene in Serendipity where the woman walked out on the guy during their first meeting because she obviously wasn't interested in continuing the conversation or getting to know him better.

Wasn't that because Kate Beckinsale already had a hot boyfriend?
posted by anniecat at 12:53 PM on November 30, 2010


Should the world mock Mr. Tucker for having made a mistake by emailing all of his co-workers to find the contact info for someone he thought was cute in a bar? No.

But does that mean it's OK or even admirable to email all of your co-workers to find the contact info for someone you think is cute in a bar? No. And the best case scenario is pretty much always going to be what happened to Mr. Tucker: the person isn't going to be interested, but will gently tease you for being so quixotic. (Olivia sounds like a very generous soul, so go, her!)

Here's the other thing: you know how the person hanging up when some random stranger calls her on a pretext makes the random stranger "feel like their heart is ripped out"? Think about how the person on the other end of the line feels. If that person, like me, like many women, has experienced stalking and physical violence, realizing that she just got a call from a random stranger who lied to get her to speak with them, and who has been watching her, might make her feel like she might as well die, because she would never be safe anywhere.

I could give you chapter and verse of a dozen stories from my own life where I am sure the person on the other end felt "OMG I AM JOHN CUSACK IN 'SAY ANYTHING' FOLLOWING THIS INTERESTING WOMAN DOWN THE STREET TO HER GYM/HER APARTMENT/HER WORKPLACE, EVEN IF IT DIDN'T WORK OUT I AM A HERO FOR BUCKING THE ODDS AND TAKING A CHANCE" and on my end I felt like I wanted to die and that I would never be safe in my gym, or in my apartment, or in my workplace.

How did I meet my husband? How did I meet my boyfriends and my fuckbuddies and the guys I dated with whom it didn't work out? They started a conversation with me in an appropriate setting, like a party, and I encouraged them to follow up by giving them my contact information and/or asking for theirs; they did't follow me into my gym or stand around outside my apartment building or keep coming into my workplace to ask me out or email all of their co-workers to find out who I was. They certainly weren't the guys who pretended to be my friends for months or years before they pounced on me one night when I was vulnerable.

Men can hurt women, too. Emotionally as well as physically. The old saw that "Men are afraid of women they don't know, because they might laugh at them; women are afraid of men they don't know, because they might kill them" is gender-essentialist nonsense, but there is a kernel of truth there, except that women also hate it when men laugh at them.

"Oh, I called a stranger and she hung up on me when she realized I didn't know her" might feel sad, but what about "Oh, someone called me and lied to me about who he was and made it clear he'd been watching me, and I hung up because that triggered the fuck out of my PTSD" should also feel sad, yes?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:57 PM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wasn't that because Kate Beckinsale already had a hot boyfriend?

That would make it more like this situation. Also, Olivia would have to carry around a Magic Marker in her handbag, because our banknotes are plastic & it's hard to write on them with normal ballpoints.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:57 PM on November 30, 2010


tl;dr version of the above: My brother (who is wise) says to his friends, "Look, do you want a date, or a restraining order? Because I can tell you which one you're going to get based on what you're planning."
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:00 PM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


" Would you judge someone based on the things they said to their therapist- understanding that venting here is like a form of therapy, a release valve?"

I'd tell them to get a real therapist, because otherwise, you're putting the burden on other anonymous strangers to deal with your emotional problems.
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sidhedevil: according to his account, notion didn't lie on the phone call. He told her his name. It's not his fault that she knew someone else with the same first name, and she confused the two people. As soon as he realized that she thought she was talking to someone else, he told her who he was. It might be understandable that she hung up, but it was not notion's fault in the least. So I'm not sure what you're talking about.
posted by desjardins at 1:15 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd tell them to get a real therapist, because otherwise, you're putting the burden on other anonymous strangers to deal with your emotional problems.

Isn't that what AskMe is for?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


As soon as he realized that she thought she was talking to someone else, he told her who he was. It might be understandable that she hung up, but it was not notion's fault in the least. So I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Thanks, desjardins. notion, sorry that I misunderstood your post in that respect.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:32 PM on November 30, 2010


Upon more thought, notion, I realize I was projecting an experience I had onto the one you described. I'm really sorry that I miscontrued your words so radically.

Obviously, it would have been much more polite for her to say, "Well, okay, Dean! Good luck with the typing! Gotta run now" than just hanging up, but sometimes people are nonplussed. Or maybe she's just a rude jerk, who knows.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


FWIW, blowing off unwanted advances gracefully is a skill, too. Doesn't mean she was (is) a jerk.
posted by LordSludge at 2:06 PM on November 30, 2010


if you know the sheer act of discovery is going to cause some women irritation (the ones that don't fancy you anyway) then the only people that will be successful are the sadists or the sociopaths—the ones that don't care about other people's annoyances or petty grievances.

I suspect you're right that people with thicker skins absolutely do better, and that sadists and sociopaths can do quite well. But don't you think that a lot of people simple decide to accept a certain amount of incidental irritation and annoyance as part of the whole process? The tensions that come when you're either shot down or have to shoot someone down aren't any fun, but you accept them for the sake of the hoped for reward, maybe they're OK, as long as you stay away from harassment and abuse.

And in fact... you'll probably periodically irritate and annoy anyone you're successful at forming a relationship with. :)

The other thing... I think some people in the non-sociopath category are a lot better than some of us at reading signs of interest from others or minimizing the annoyance of the approach. Maybe they're naturally gifted, maybe they practiced while they were being annoying and irritating, or maybe everybody is and I'm just imagining these people. But I can think of some relationships that seem to have had fairly smooth starts where people just recognized a certain amount of mutual interest more or less simultaneously.
posted by weston at 2:07 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the perhaps vain hope that this will distract all of us -- including hincandenza himself -- from hincandenza's woes, allow me to remind old-timey mefites about this, which worked out awfully well for those concerned.
posted by tangerine at 2:16 PM on November 30, 2010


I think some people in the non-sociopath category are a lot better than some of us at reading signs of interest from others or minimizing the annoyance of the approach. Maybe they're naturally gifted, maybe they practiced while they were being annoying and irritating, or maybe everybody is and I'm just imagining these people. But I can think of some relationships that seem to have had fairly smooth starts where people just recognized a certain amount of mutual interest more or less simultaneously.

And, of course, a woman person is much more receptive to an approach from an attractive** person than an un-attractive one.

But yes, it's a two-way street, or it should be. Reading signs of interest is definitely a skill that can be developed. I, for one, don't see any point in pursuing somebody who isn't interested in me. It's a waste of time, creepy, and pathetic.


** however the approachee defines "attractive"
posted by LordSludge at 2:29 PM on November 30, 2010


could we maybe put to bed the unspoken fiction that there's nothing wrong with first acting as though women (and any one at that! as long as she's pretty and nice and so on) are some kind of fucking prize you get if you're pleasant and inoffensive for a long enough time

Hopefully around the same time we put to bed this particular reading of the complaints of the vexed, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
posted by weston at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2010


I think some people in the non-sociopath category are a lot better than some of us at reading signs of interest from others or minimizing the annoyance of the approach.

Not to mention using a style of approach that, in itself, is also a feeler for signs of interest.

For example, a few times that (I think) I've turned people down, the request was phrased like "Hey, me & my friends are going to [band or bar or club] this Friday - wanna join us?"

"Ah, [I don't like that band much / don't feel up for it / am really craving a quiet night at home] but thanks for the offer anyway."

I have to say "I think I turned them down" because it's not even certain that the offer was romantically motivated, which is the key skill: it offers both parties an easy-out. But if I *was* really keen on the person making the invitation, I'd skip my own mother's funeral to be there, right? (sorry, mum - it was just a rhetorical point; of course i don't mean it)

Anyway, that kind of approach is not even in the same ballpark as putting somebody on the spot with "O hai, you left halfway through a conversation at a club, so I emailed 4,000 people to get your contact details. Wanna hang out?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:50 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmmm.

I really think what's harming both sides is the expectation of perfection. It's causing an enormous amount of neuroses on both sides of the dating fence, regardless of gender. If you think you have a shot with someone, take it, and try not to be a douchebag. If you get rejected, it's not the world rejecting you. It's one person answering your question honestly.

Modern culture raises these insane expectations about how perfect everyone should be, and how one false slip will lead to failure and embarrassment. Well, that makes life pretty fucking boring if you ask me. It leads to people loving each other as functions or ideas, and not as fallible human beings whose attempts to overcome their own shortcomings range from comic to tragic. It's turned dating services into what my friend calls "Relationship Resumes." There's a dropdown box for income, for chrissakes. My personal view on abortion has been reduced to Yes or No answer.

Out of all of the evil in this world, we have decided that slightly creepy and misguided advances by a single individual in Australia is somehow worthy of above-the-fold coverage. That says it all right there.

And we wonder why the tapestry of human emotion is turning into such a wasteland of jaded, bitter adolescence?

(I'm not directing this at anyone in the thread. Really. And for fuck's sake, that's not sarcasm.)
posted by notion at 3:23 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Long thread, haven't read it all - and yet I feel compelled to add my 2¢: It's taken me 40 years to identify my arsenal:
1) meditation upon the meaning of the dictum "honi soit qui mal y pense", and
2) a sense of humour, the unattained pinnacle of which is the ability to laugh at myself.
I don't think anyone really has it easy, apart from perhaps the sociopaths, so good luck to this guy, and good luck to all the rest of us as well.
Thanks for the story, made me come over all sentimental-like.
posted by labberdasher at 3:48 PM on November 30, 2010


Also, he's lucky that Steve Tucker is not a particularly uncommon or memorable name. If he plays his cards right, in a year's time no-one will remember his claim to fame, and he'll be just another guy named Steve. Or if they do remember him, they might give him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that it was another Steve Tucker. Googling his name will draw a blank.

For the first couple of times I almost read his name as Tucker Max. Everone on Metafilter loves Tucker Max.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:35 PM on November 30, 2010


I would be thoroughly skeeved out if I were Olivia; she only talked to him for a few minutes in a bar

FTA: Olivia came up to me and started talking. We got along easily. She has a mind as well as being attractive. This caught my attention. And her attention flattered me greatly. She told me I was lovely. She was tactile. She seemed in control and not overly drunk.

Original take as I was reading that paragraph: She was half cocked. Sees a disabled guy and, in her tipsy state, decides to go up and flirt with him. Then I started to wonder if this was a one-off, or if she has form in this kind of thing.

As I said above, I'm still not sure how disabled this guy is and how noticeable it would be in a club. My original take contains lots of icky generalizations and assumptions and me-taking-his-word-for-it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:04 PM on November 30, 2010


Long thread, haven't read it all - and yet I feel compelled to add my 2¢:

Work on that.
posted by mlis at 10:50 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Upthread I mentioned the his-n-hers dating blogs on the Sydney Morning Herald site, but omitted to paste any links.

For anybody in the mood for a bit of recreational slumming, I present to you:

Female Sam: What makes a man undateable? Dating dealbreakers exposed - in which she doesn't talk about dating dealbreakers at all, promptly forgets that topic altogether & instead uses a book called Toxic Men as a springboard for a further segue against players, rather than covering the supposed 11 kinds of toxic men that the book describes.

Male Sam: Men have blamed women for their desire since the days of witch burning - in which he draws together Mein Kampf, the Communist Manifesto, Malleus Maleficarum, victim-blaming in rapes, and the evil power of temptresses.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:44 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Male Sam: Men have blamed women for their desire since the days of witch burning.

Male Sam, the Sirens pre date witch burning by a few thousand years.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:08 PM on December 1, 2010


Helen of Troy, too, who he also mentions.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:15 PM on December 1, 2010


Jeeezus fucking Christ.

This guy is not arrogant and isn't any more self-absorbed than any of you. He's a human being. Take a pill.

Yeah, the mass e-mail was an error of judgment, but it sure as hell isn't grounds for dismissal. If it is evidence of anything, it is inexperience, which would make sense if he struggled with a disability. (The embarrassment is punishment enough.)

This thing is not news. The fact that it became news just shows how desperate the press are for a story. The overanalysis in the comments is equally unbelievable. A testament to how overwrought social interaction has become.

How very English!

If this were Italy --

- Olivia would have been one of dozens if not hundreds
- the guy would never have felt the need to send the e-mail
- the e-mail wouldn't have made it to the bosses inbox, let alone the newspapers

I say: good for him.

In six months, nobody will remember this.
posted by rhombus at 2:18 PM on December 2, 2010


A testament to how overwrought social interaction has become.

WTF does this even mean?

150 years ago, Steve wouldn't have been able to write Olivia a letter unless they were already engaged. They wouldn't be able to spend a minute alone together without a chaperone. And social interaction has become more overwrought?
posted by muddgirl at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2010


Funny, just about every woman I've ever heard talking about Italy has HATED the sleaziness & constant unwanted attention from the guys there. Real virgin/whore complex going on, apparently: good local Catholic girls won't put out, so it's all systems go for the widest possible scatter-gun approach on foreign women.

Maybe the local women are also subjected to this ceaseless bombardment of propositions, but they're more used to it & either ignore it altogether, or tell the sleazeballs where to shove it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:08 PM on December 2, 2010


Thanks for that, MLIS, I will.

Probably a dead thread by now, but how come my post is the only one that does mention humour? From far enough away the situation is at least a bit funny as it is right now, and if Steve Tucker is ever to get over the mortification he must be feeling at the moment, it will be by not taking himself too seriously, and discovering how to point back at himself and laugh.

All so serious? Jessica Rabbit anyone?
posted by labberdasher at 4:41 PM on December 5, 2010


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