Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places? Just Shut Up And Date.
February 13, 2007 10:32 PM   Subscribe

Shut Up And Date. Are you lonely this Valentine's Day? "Dating Expert Jean Singer" wants you to Shut Up And Date. Watch clips of her seminar, Internet Dating: Oh, The Mistakes Men Make! Check out her Ten Commandments Of A First Date. But, before you start, make sure you're worthy by taking the self-assessment quiz. Shut Up And Date offers helpful advice and affirmations for all the relationship-challenged men out there.
posted by amyms (114 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Many thanks to anyone who watches "Internet Dating: Oh The Mistakes Men Make" and can summarize it. I'm mildly interested but don't want to sink 10 minutes into watching a video.

Anyway a big thing missing from the commandments is "Thou shalt be an active listener and focus on her topics more than yours." I had a devil of a time staying in the "game" during my dating years, but I never failed to hit first base on the first or second date.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:46 PM on February 13, 2007




Exactly. You pay in the hope that she will feel obliged to put out, right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:53 PM on February 13, 2007


Infertility, all the sudden, don't seem so bad.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:54 PM on February 13, 2007


Being in a loving marriage, I can only look to these kinds of things like one who made the crossing over an impossibly wide and deep chasm to get to the side with fresh food and shelter. Turning around to look back at those on the other side (where there's no food or quarter) it seems there's no real way of communicating to them how to cross. It seems almost hopeless for them and part of me that I'm slightly ashamed of almost wishes they would just jump to their deaths into the chasm.

Happy Valentines Day!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:55 PM on February 13, 2007 [11 favorites]


Shouldn't this be titled:

Oh, the Mistakes Men Make:
Internet Dating

posted by milnak at 10:56 PM on February 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't get it.

I'll tell you right now, though, that men should never take dating advice from women. How much pussy has your average woman bagged, anyway? The answer is a great deal, but it was all while drunk and in college. Their skills are rusty, though, so take your advice from dudes who are still in the game. They obviously know how to get laid, while a female dating adviser might easily just be blowing hot air, for all we know.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:17 PM on February 13, 2007 [9 favorites]


How much pussy has your average woman bagged, anyway?

*winces*
posted by Wolof at 11:28 PM on February 13, 2007


I sure do love it when I log on to MetaFilter to find some random motherfucker expressing his heartfelt desire that I off myself, for apparently no reason at all!
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:33 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan writes "Turning around to look back at those on the other side (where there's no food or quarter) it seems there's no real way of communicating to them how to cross."

All the divorces happen on your side, dude. Meanwhile In-N-Out, booze, and my bachelor pad are quite comfortable. Oh, and there's porn.
posted by mullingitover at 11:45 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


How much pussy has your average woman bagged, anyway?

The average woman, between the ages of 18 to 30, has bagged 23 cats and 152 kittens. 82% of all bagged felines are drowned by women who have en-bagged them, while the remaining 18% were reportedly sold to gypsies for medical research. Therefore, it is safe to assume that that the average woman can securely opine on the subject of bagged pussy, except online, where it might hurt someone's feelings.
posted by maryh at 11:46 PM on February 13, 2007 [12 favorites]


"Thou shalt pay

You don't have to bear children. You make 30% more for the same work. You will never bleed monthly.

This is the price you pay for being a man. Suck it up."

What a bitch. I hope in the 10 commandments for women she reminds the females that if the man is contractually obligated to pay, they are contractually obligated to take it in the ass and LIKE it.
posted by Sukiari at 11:52 PM on February 13, 2007


Therefore, it is safe to assume that that the average woman can securely opine on the subject of bagged pussy, except online, where it might hurt someone's feelings.

Bwahahahahahaha *snort*... You tell 'em, maryh!
posted by amyms at 11:56 PM on February 13, 2007


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America and Sukiari sound very bitter... Perhaps they failed the self-assessment test?
posted by amyms at 12:01 AM on February 14, 2007


I'm actually happily married. I just think that this lady is pretty far off base. Suggesting that men pay because of societal obligation is really not much different than asking women to assfuck based on societal obligation.

It makes me sad that any man would listen to this 'dating expert'. What makes her a dating expert anyway? A lot of failed, short term relationships? Dating is what you do it you can't get laid or find a real relationship.
posted by Sukiari at 12:05 AM on February 14, 2007


Bitter? Not in the least. I think it's funny when women give advice on dating women, because the women giving the advice invariably have never dated women. It's all theory, no practice.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:07 AM on February 14, 2007


Sometimes I wonder if there's really no such thing as making a social gaffe when it comes to situations like these, and the problems that people have in dating are essentially the result of basic incompatibility.
posted by clockzero at 12:12 AM on February 14, 2007


Dating -- how to make things that should be natural very un-natural and awkward. I never dated.

Oh, not to derail: who's desperatly in love these days?

Am I, she's sooo cute, among other things. I think she's the one *blush*.

(and that's were it gets complicated and add to our torments.)
posted by NewBornHippy at 12:14 AM on February 14, 2007


Psst... Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America and Sukiari (and anyone else who has gotten riled up)... You need to adjust your satire meters... The site is played for laughs... Did you not notice the testimonials from "clients" on the home page? lol... Check out this page too.
posted by amyms at 12:19 AM on February 14, 2007


amyms, hence the "I don't get it" in my first post.

I never know how I'm supposed to comment on satire, though, so I decided to rant a bit.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:23 AM on February 14, 2007


I'm not really sure that I've ever really been out on a "date." I've been out with girls a million times but the idea of setting a time and place and having a formal interaction seems so victorian and rotten.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:34 AM on February 14, 2007


I'm beyond satire. In fact, I am finding it increasingly difficult to tell satire from the legitimate bullshit one discovers in the world.

However, whether or not this site in particular is satire, it reflects the same kind of bullshit that legitimate female dating experts spew.

Again, I insist that if the rule is "the man pays" then in kind, the rule is "the woman takes it in the pooper".
posted by Sukiari at 12:50 AM on February 14, 2007


At one time or another, each of us has looked for love in all the wrong places. The internet is one of them.

Wrong, that is, unless you have experienced the dynamic, targeted advice of Jean Singer, Certified Dating Expert.


Is it wrong that I want to slap her before I even get to her "targeted advice"?
posted by dreamsign at 12:54 AM on February 14, 2007


The site is played for laughs... Did you not notice the testimonials from "clients" on the home page? lol... Check out this page too.

Can I change that to "spank"? Grrrrr.
posted by dreamsign at 12:56 AM on February 14, 2007


/jumps
posted by chudder at 2:03 AM on February 14, 2007


Yet another thread dominated by shrieking harpies and their angry pink bits.

Down with them and their overblown invaginated rhetoric , I say! Ce sexe qui n'en est pas un wants to cisoux your junk off. That is the agenda right there.
posted by Wolof at 2:12 AM on February 14, 2007


Sometimes I wonder if there's really no such thing as making a social gaffe when it comes to situations like these, and the problems that people have in dating are essentially the result of basic incompatibility.
posted by clockzero

Nice point and I completely agree. I mean, sure, we should use a napkin to wipe the gravy from our chin instead of the sleeve to our jacket (that's a good general rule), but if you're hitting it off with someone the two of you pretty much make up you're own rules, including who pays and who takes it up the ars. If you're not hitting it off, you ain't getting laid, bro.
posted by sluglicker at 2:19 AM on February 14, 2007


I've never quite understood dating advice. It's mostly just general advice on how to behave, well, like a human being. And the rest is how to suppress your true self and lie as much as you can to make yourself more appealing. Like people are slaying, it's about chemistry and simply getting along. The surroundings are just a distraction from the main event.

Hell my first date with my current girlfriend (of more than a year) was me getting tattooed, seeing History of Violence in the cinema and then getting moderately wankered in a local pub. I have yet to see any of these three highly enjoyable activities mentioned in any dating how-tos.

In summary, more relationships should begin with Cronenberg.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:06 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Like people are slaying saying, it's about chemistry...

Good typo though.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:07 AM on February 14, 2007


IX. Thou shalt pay

Why, that is refreshingly honest. Can I get a discount on the second hour?
posted by dreamsign at 3:39 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Kalessin, I think the probelm is with her not having a degree in Men's Studies.

Or maybe most men really need to be talked down to like a little child.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:40 AM on February 14, 2007


Does having a Women's Studies minor qualify you somehow on dating?
posted by Sukiari at 4:04 AM on February 14, 2007


I wonder if there's really no such thing as making a social gaffe

A sufficient difference in degree can become a difference in kind.

I would have to suggest audible or otherwise ostentatious flatulence might constitute a social gaffe on a date, as might telling a really raunchy, vulgar sort of dirty joke or asking, "Spit or swallow?" But a quiet burp into a napkin or playful flirting probably would not.

You're in a social engagement with another human being you're hoping to mutually like and respect more deeply. A little understanding and considerate behavior goes a long way.

/my attempt to channel Miss Manners
posted by pax digita at 5:04 AM on February 14, 2007


I think it's funny when women give advice on dating women, because the women giving the advice invariably have never dated women.

So one can only be an experienced expert in the exact subject to give advice? Hetero women can offer advice on dating because they presumably have access to the thoughts and conversations on dating, of themselves and other hetero women. That is insight a man isn't likely to be privy to and which many men find useful.

Plus, it seems to me that a man who could get all this so-called superior advice from one of his myriad Experienced, Suave Trusted Male Friends wouldn't be at the site linked in the OP anyway.

I'm not saying whats-her-name is all that sharp... but I resent the idea that no hetero woman can possibly give good dating advice, by sheer dint of never having been in the exact shoes of the dater.
posted by pineapple at 5:49 AM on February 14, 2007


And here's some advice for the ladies.
posted by twsf at 6:03 AM on February 14, 2007


I think the best advice is to just be yourself and not try (too much) to be something you're not. If you are doing a whole lot of work just to impress someone, when she finds out that you're not the guy you presented yourself as, the relationship will not go well.

If she doesn't like you for who you are, you're better off not wasting your time.
posted by empath at 6:05 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think the key is just keep trying. Any formula is bound to end up pissing off someone at some point, leaving the person cursing the formula, or worse, the opposite sex in general.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:22 AM on February 14, 2007


Wow, Plane Jane sure doesn't know how to put on lipstick...
posted by miss lynnster at 6:39 AM on February 14, 2007


Huh. I believe I'd spot her the poor lipstick technique; I didn't think she was all that horrible as initially presented anyhow, and she washes up right well, as we used to say back home. (Wx has obliged me to work from home today, so I didn't shave, myself. Insert remarks abt reality vs. fantasy as appropriate.)
posted by pax digita at 7:04 AM on February 14, 2007


God, I hate this one. I wish I had a penny for everytime I've heard this:

I think the best advice is to just be yourself

OK, but what if you're an asshole?
posted by smoothvirus at 7:12 AM on February 14, 2007


Yet another thread dominated by shrieking harpies and their angry pink bits.

Down with them and their overblown invaginated rhetoric , I say! Ce sexe qui n'en est pas un wants to cisoux your junk off. That is the agenda right there.


Wow. Hit a nerve, maybe? Points for rhetoric, though.
posted by jokeefe at 7:27 AM on February 14, 2007


Sukiari writes "I'm beyond satire. In fact, I am finding it increasingly difficult to tell satire from the legitimate bullshit one discovers in the world."

You and me both, and on a wide range of subjects too!..
posted by clevershark at 7:32 AM on February 14, 2007


"Be yourself" is singularly unhelpful even if you're not an asshole (to which specifically I reply that we're all angels and assholes by turns, in varying proportions) -- "Be kind" is more useful two-word advice.
posted by pax digita at 7:34 AM on February 14, 2007


There's nothing natural about a first date between a man and a woman, just as there is nothing natural about a job interview. And let's face it it's always the man who's the applicant.

"Be yourself" works quite well if you're rich, attractive, slim but muscular and over 6 feet tall, because if you're all these things you can be yourself in all walks of life and have women throw themselves at you (assuming you practice proper hygiene). The vast majority of us just don't get that sort of attention, so in a high-pressure situation like a date we have to try harder than that. Just like at a job interview.
posted by clevershark at 7:42 AM on February 14, 2007


Hah, I broke about half of those on my first date. Y'know, it didn't really matter either.
posted by Kudos at 7:52 AM on February 14, 2007


Yeah, I was going to mention "job interview" here as well -- I've said as much to co-workers. The "having fun" aspect is incidental to and sometimes inimical to the notion that you're trying each other on for size.
posted by pax digita at 8:03 AM on February 14, 2007


She really did touch a nerve. I'm surprised at some of the defensiveness and projection in these comments. While I don't like the flip, shallow tone of the site overall, the commandments aren't crazy. They're right on -- for the situation she's describing and the people she's targeting.

She may not have "bagged pussy" (though we don't know that), but this person is telling you exactly what is going to put a new dating acquaintance right off you. She's being quite honest about how a lot of women are evaluating a date, and, as pineapple says, summing up the content of many an all-female bitch session. At worst, what is she suggesting? That a man do everything in his power to make his date comfortable and to give them both a low-stress, pleasant experience? Why is that so terrible? It will never hurt you to be respectful, forgiving, calm, unassuming, or even offer to pay (she can turn you down if it's a point of pride or a point of power, after all. I and other women I know sometimes prefer sharing the costs of a first date, so there's no question of obligation, but I take it very well if the guy offers).

Men who construct dating as a psychological predator-prey relationship that requires manipulative tactics and is focused on bagging pussy deserve the women they end up with. What this woman is aiming to do is clue nice guys in to off-putting behaviors that they are not well enough attuned to. I wouldn't say she's any sort of relationship genius or that hers is the only way to find a partner, but I don't see how she's deserving of deep contempt. She's no more or less shallow than any other dating-advice guru or book or radio personality.

I think in our overeagerness to embrace the casual culture of the late 20th century, we threw a lot of good ideas out the window. Mutual respect and certain forms of scripted behavior are not entirely a bad thing. If you're dating to hang out, have fun, and get laid, no problem. If you're dating to find a serious relationship, then in many ways a formal date is an excellent situation in which to evaluate the long-term potential of your prospective partner. What a formal date does is give you the chance to see not only how your date acts, looks, dresses, and converses, but how they treat others (acquaintances you run into, service staff,); how able they are to pay attention to you, your tastes, and your comforts; how respectful they are; how they approach the planning of and communication about the date activities, how much personal space they give you; how they negotiate an intimate behavior like kissing, and more. I'm not trying to make it sound too intimidating, but a date -- particularly with someone you've never met, is both a mutual evaluation (is there chemistry, do you get a long) and a mutual display (these are the good qualities I have to offer).

Some people are lucky enough to skip this process or to find someone who also rejects it; some people have exhibited nothing but boorish behavior for their entire lives and still managed to find a partner who'll put up with them, for whatever reason. But others who are not so fortunate may find that formalized dating requires a set of behaviors and attitudes that our culture has not prepared us for. For those for whom this sort of thinking does not come naturally or as a result of ubringing, the best thing to do is go out and learn what the specific behaviors are that will improve your case.
posted by Miko at 8:14 AM on February 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


if you're rich, attractive, slim but muscular and over 6 feet tall, because if you're all these things you can be yourself in all walks of life and have women throw themselves at you

I know guys that have all those things but don't know bupkis when it comes to women so this doesn't apply either. Looks are a factor but women are more attracted to a solid personality. If a woman is attracted to a man because of his money, then if he has any sense that probably isn't the kind of woman he should be dating.

"Just be yourself" is useless. On the other hand, "have fun" is probably the most important thing of all.

Oh yeah, and those people that are like "Oh, I know everything about dating because I've been married for 10 years!" Please. You have no idea.
posted by smoothvirus at 8:15 AM on February 14, 2007


Does having a minor in anything somehow not qualify you to have an opinion on dating, wmst or otherwise??
posted by kalessin at 5:11 AM PST on February 14 [+] [!]


No, but no one else was waving a diploma around in the air for a sense of legitimacy.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:15 AM on February 14, 2007


By the way, it can be amusing when people make comments about dating that essentially say "I was a total oaf, and I got married anyway!" Glad that worked for you, but what are the rest of us meant to make of that? One possibility is that it's because you're magic, sparkly, God's gift, and fortunate.

Another is that you settled early.

Or she did.

Just a thought...
posted by Miko at 8:19 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Miko, for your (wise, imo) points.... I also thought the commandments were a good primer on how to think about dating.

Me: single for 20 adult years (not any longer).
posted by lathrop at 8:25 AM on February 14, 2007


It occurs to me that dating, at least the "formal" kind exists for one purpose only: to determine whether or not the woman really wants to sleep with the guy.

The Devil's Dictionary approach would be something like:

Dating: (day-ting): a social ritual wherein the virility of a man is decided upon in direct proportion to the size of his wallet and the expenditure of cash.

Just the cynic in me...
posted by elendil71 at 8:36 AM on February 14, 2007


elendil71: That's an extremely limited and unrealistic way of looking at the situation. What does that say about your own sense of worth?
posted by Miko at 8:39 AM on February 14, 2007


Dating: (day-ting): a social ritual wherein the virility of a man is decided upon in direct proportion to the size of his wallet and the expenditure of cash.

Sounds like Paris Hilton's "A woman needs three animals" schtick.

"A tiger in the bedroom, a Jag in the garage, and a jackass to pay for it all."
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:40 AM on February 14, 2007


Umm, Miko, apparently you missed the Ambrose Bierce Devil's Dictionary satire reference

It was meant as a jest.... sorta. There is much about the practice of dating not that is not only worthy of satire, but demands it.
posted by elendil71 at 8:51 AM on February 14, 2007


Er, ignore that first "not". Stupid fingers.
posted by elendil71 at 8:52 AM on February 14, 2007


Why is it so hard for so many to view members of the opposite sex as people instead of members of the opposite sex?

I'm happily married, and I have had a lot of good and bad relationships over the years. I can look back at almost every bad relationship and clearly see that the problems were a result of our incompatibilities as people, not because one of us didn't understand our proper gender dating role.

The only sort-of exception to that was the woman I dated just before I met my wife. She had a fixation on "appropriate" dating behavior, and if I didn't fulfill some unspoken expectation during our dates, she would sulk for a while, then apropos of nothing awkwardly blurt out "Why haven't you [this]" or "Why didn't you [that] yet?" I guess I should have seen that coming, though, as on our first date we were having (I thought) a really nice time getting to know each other intellectually -- then she said (in a not-at-all-seductive or smooth way) "Why haven't you made a pass at me yet?"

Even that one, though, is about incompatibilities between two people -- it's just that one of the biggest incompatibilities was between her desire to have a guy that played by her view of the dating rules, versus my desire to be a guy that was a person instead of a gender role.
posted by davejay at 8:55 AM on February 14, 2007


...the virility of a man is decided upon in direct proportion to the size of his wallet...

Awesome. My wallet laid flat is 5"x7", and contains one hundred dollars in singles, so is several inches thick -- TEH MOST VIRILE FOR TEH WIN!

plus carrying it around builds up my muscles, yo
posted by davejay at 8:58 AM on February 14, 2007


No, I got the reference, I just feel sad when I see those sorts of sentiments expressed because I think they're based on deep misunderstanding. I'm not trying to be snarky, but I really do wonder when men express those ideas.

First, is dating really about access to sex? Not really, because sex can easily be had by either gender without going to the trouble of dating. If you're just dating for access to sex, why not choose a more efficient way of just skipping to the sex? There are a lot of ways to do that. If you see money as the means by which you get access to sex, why not visit a prostitute -- it's a simple transaction.

But if you're dating for the sake of finding a real partner, money plays a different role than that stereotype suggests. Men sometimes get confused about dating and money. They sometimes seem to think they're being accepted or rejected on the basis of money, their occupation, their car, etc. I'd suggest that those concrete elements are very rarely the real reasons for acceptance or rejection. (I'm aware that some fraction of women - legitimate golddiggers - respond to these things, but there not very many women like that, and none among people that I call friends. Again, if a man is willing to play that game, then he deserves the type of woman he attracts, because they're speaking the same language and it's a clear transaction for both of them).

Typically, money comes into play only where there is a visible concern. Money is shorthand for security and stability in life, something we all seek. Women are not especially willing to expose themselves to the financial risk of becoming involved with someone who has money issues. If a man can't support himself, is obsessed or overly focused on money to the point of nickel-and-diming, or seems to place a lot of value on the power he believes he gains by throwing money around, those are red flags for a woman seeking a partner. And a woman who has those behaviors should be equally frightening to men -- I can think offhand of a couple marriages I know which have suffered from the female's money troubles.

No one should be expected to choose someone as a new partner who is highly compromised with regard to money; therapists say that it's financial issues, not infidelity or sexual incompatibility, that create the greatest number of marital problems and contribute most to divorces. It's a given that in a long life together with someone, you're going to make financial decisions together which will impact your shared quality of life. There are going to be hard times as well as good. That's why it makes sense to pay attention to your partner's attitude toward money. A man's sense of money is important to me not because I want diamonds and furs, but because I want a relatively stable life without bad debt, and the opportunity to raise children and retire. In fact, like many women, I have generally paid my own way in life and contribute 50% to shared costs in relationships; I don't seek a sugar daddy and have tended to date non-profit artsy guys who don't have a lot of extra cash. But they managed the money they did have without compromising security -- that's the important thing.

But those sorts of evaluations are very far from the oversimplified equation that if he spends money, she'll have sex.
posted by Miko at 8:59 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


When I was dating, guys often objected if I attempted to pay. And tried to keep me from walking on the outside when we were on the sidewalk, or tried to prevent me from opening doors for them or getting out of cars on my own. Some of them even objected to my cigar-smoking.

Lucky I've been married for over thirty years now. I'd never make it out there these days. I prefer paying for dinner over anal sex, especially with the hemorrhoids being the way they are.
posted by Peach at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2007


a person instead of a gender role

I actually think that's what happens on a good date. A lot of the advice in the commandments is about letting go of perceived gender roles.
posted by Miko at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2007


dating is a sham. if you're already well liked, you'll do ok as long as you're not a complete dullard and you don't talk about feces or the holocaust. if you're not in good standing with the lady to begin with, she's probably just humoring you in the first place.
posted by breakfast_yeti at 9:05 AM on February 14, 2007


From her affirmations:

One moment at a time, I will not act on the violent feelings I have because I lack sex.

That's incredibly insulting.
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:07 AM on February 14, 2007


I hope this doesn't siphon audiences away from my program for daters: Just Shut Up and Fuck.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:09 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


er...[I can't shut up today, it seems] just wanted to add that I still do agree with davejay. I'm not a big fan of prescribed gender roles at all, but these behaviors are really ones of mutual respect that, sadly, many folks (many men, really) have just failed to learn. Those commandments really would help someone who's giving off all the wrong signals and setting off all the red flags and alarms and not knowing why do better. Each of them refers to a behavior that would scream 'You and I are incompatible' to a lot of decent potential partners.

I mean, these behaviors are simply those of respect and politeness regardless of gender. It's sad that they have to be spelled out for anyone. They can be quite simply translated:

  • Confirm the day before? This shows respect for your date's schedule.
  • Let your date choose how s/he gets there? This shows respect for your date's independence, sense of personal safety, and boundaries.
  • Be respectful, forgiving? Should be obvious. This shows respect for your common humanity, if nothing else.
  • Be polite and graceful if it isn't going well? This shows respect for your date's feelings and the value of his or her time.
  • Don't get drunk? This shows respect for your date's company (and also saves potential embarrassment).
  • Don't kiss? Not assuming intimacy shows respect for your own feelings, your date's feelings, and the role of physical intimacy.

    The one I really wish were rephrased is "Thou Shalt Pay." I do think it's retro to assume that the man will pay. I'd rather she had said 'Be prepared to pay". Offering to pay for your date shows respect for the gift of time and attention your date is giving you. But at this point in history, the issue of paying and power is so complicated that it should really just be whatever you and your date are both comfortable with. Ideally, each person should be prepared to pay if that's the decision. In general, I think the inviter should pay; but on a first date it's often not really clear who's pursuing who, so Dutch makes sense, though it's still good manners for one person to offer to pay, for the other to refuse, and for the first to insist if they really, really want to, though without expectation of repayment in any form.

  • posted by Miko at 9:16 AM on February 14, 2007


    those things will hurt you all the way to the bank. You're trying to make a good impression, not a boring one.

    It scares me that anyone would think those things are boring.
    posted by Miko at 9:18 AM on February 14, 2007


    Miko: Well spoken.

    I think however that you are perhaps missing the point. I chose the Devil's Advocate/Dictionary approach because not only is it amusing as a satire, but because, like all satire, it has a grain (or a bread loaf) of truth to it. Scroll up and read. Dating, at least from the perspective of those of us who have the experience of decades, is an odious endeavor, and idealism aside, it is extraordinarily stressful activity fraught with the weight of social and cultural expectations.

    Everything you wrote is also valid, but I rather think that stems from an education in the trenches that many of us have learned the hard way. I sure as hell didnt know such things in my 20's.

    I also think the "paying for sex" comment was a bit disingenuous - I presume that was a bit of sarcasm on your own part.

    Echoing those above, I can honestly say I have never actually been on a "formal" date (well a blind date once, but that's another story). My pattern was to befriend my potential lovers/GF and make sure they know me as well, long before the "dating" begins.

    And first dates are all about sex, or the potential of such. Sorry but true.
    posted by elendil71 at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2007


    first dates are all about sex, or the potential of such. Sorry but true.
    Actually, they're also all about avoiding danger, STDs, creeps, and fatal entanglements, too.
    posted by Peach at 9:28 AM on February 14, 2007


    I'm sure a lot of the discrepancy in attitudes toward dating has to do with age and experience. Some of you will likely see it differently as you get older and develop a strong independent identity, and dating becomes about more than who you're hanging out with for the next few months.

    In sum, I think this advice is pretty good for people who are using online dating and are looking for a potential long-term partner. If they aren't doing these things already, they should, because otherwise they may just appear rude and never get the second chance that would allow them to reveal more of their personality.

    Probably the single most important thing about dating is knowing why you're doing it. Mismatched expectations are ugly.

    Anyway, best of luck to all. Happy Valentine's Day!
    posted by Miko at 9:28 AM on February 14, 2007


    Actually, they're also all about avoiding danger, STDs, creeps, and fatal entanglements, too.

    All of which wouldnt be an issue if you weren't considering sex ;-)
    posted by elendil71 at 9:33 AM on February 14, 2007


    :D Though the general motive is sex and/or relationships, "dating" is also being alone for the first time with a relative stranger--and that carries with it a whole lot of other unattractive options as well, by definition. Somewhat like getting onto an elevator is for getting to another floor, but if the only other passenger is holding an axe or is bleeding from the eyeballs, you have other worries besides transportation.
    posted by Peach at 9:39 AM on February 14, 2007


    And first dates are all about sex, or the potential of such. Sorry but true.

    I appreciate your expanded comments, but this statement is not really true for everyone - it's just one perscpective on dating. I also didn't say that first dates weren't at least in part about sex (you use a first date to judge sexual chemistry, after all), just that they weren't only about sex. If all someone wants is sex, dating is the most laborious and roundabout way to get it. Much better to just post on Adult Friend Finder or Craigslist such - plain old sex is easily available in a few short hours thanks to the magic of the internet. That was my point.

    The first date is a filtering mechanism, that's all. It may lead to sex once, never, or for a long time. Sex is definitely on the table, but it's not what the date is all about.

    I have heard the phrase "he's too nice" from female friends

    That's female shorthand, feeling-sparing talk. They don't actually mean he's too nice, they mean that niceness was the only good quality they could see in him. They mean he's boring or needy and lacks any strong, interesting qualities other than generic niceness.

    It's very possible - desired, in fact - to be forgiving, calm, unassuming, and respectful and still be interesting, funny, unpredictable, charming, affectionate, smart, creative, and many other extremely attractive qualities. Guys sometimes assume that hearing 'too nice is bad' means 'therefore, acting like an asshole is good'.

    Successful couples tend to think their partner is pretty nice.
    posted by Miko at 9:45 AM on February 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


    You all do realize that the site is a fake, right?

    It's not a "fake" so much as it is a satire/parody of professional dating advice (hence my "satire" tag for those who didn't clue in right away)...

    By the time I went to bed last night, I was surprised that people were getting riled up and taking it seriously... But now I'm impressed by the well-thought-out comments it has spawned...

    As several people pointed out upthread, every work of satire is based on truth, and I think there are a lot of truths in the "advice" the site dispenses.
    posted by amyms at 9:50 AM on February 14, 2007


    "Again, I insist that if the rule is "the man pays" then in kind, the rule is "the woman takes it in the pooper"."

    Ah, another one in the "surprise buttsecks!!?!" camp.

    heh.
    posted by drstein at 10:01 AM on February 14, 2007


    Guys sometimes assume that hearing 'too nice is bad' means 'therefore, acting like an asshole is good'.

    miko, what's likely also coloring guys' (mis)perception that acting nice is bad is more likely being frustrated by repeated instances of finding otherwise desirable women unattainable because, perversely, they're fixated on obvious jerks, often self-destructively so -- as in "Sorry to turn you down, but I'm dating this wild ex-con biker who Fs my brains out even though I'd be embarrassed to have my friends or family meet him." In fact, I 'spect that personal experience of that phenomenon is more likely to cause guys to assume that assholery is somehow attractive to women than misunderstanding a mere phrase like "too nice is bad."
    posted by pax digita at 10:11 AM on February 14, 2007


    An actual company full of 'dating experts.'

    They'll pair Silicon Valley men with San Francisco women!
    posted by drstein at 10:14 AM on February 14, 2007


    But I guess that's why I have the Women's Studies minor and you all presumably don't.

    See this shit here? This is me not giving it.
    posted by Snyder at 10:16 AM on February 14, 2007


    Dad used to snicker that "an expert is a man with a briefcase at least 50 miles from home."
    posted by pax digita at 10:17 AM on February 14, 2007


    As a guy who spent highschool as a virgin and every girl's 'friend', more often than not, dating advice, especially from women is "this is the shit I wish my jerk boyfriend would do"
    posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:23 AM on February 14, 2007


    UB, that's what's known as "if you can't be a good example, you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning" (w/ tip o' the not to Catherine Aird, wherever she may be).
    posted by pax digita at 10:35 AM on February 14, 2007


    (Oops, that's tip o' the chapeau -- trying to type in two windows at once...)
    posted by pax digita at 10:36 AM on February 14, 2007


    > I have heard the phrase "he's too nice" from female friends

    That's female shorthand, feeling-sparing talk. They don't actually mean he's too nice, they mean that niceness was the only good quality they could see in him. They mean he's boring or needy and lacks any strong, interesting qualities other than generic niceness.


    Or, put simply, he's a pussy. It's one thing to be polite and kind. It's another to be subserviant.

    Again, I insist that if the rule is "the man pays" then in kind, the rule is "the woman takes it in the pooper".

    Now that's a rule I can get behind!
    posted by LordSludge at 10:38 AM on February 14, 2007


    Suggesting that men pay because of societal obligation is really not much different than asking women to assfuck based on societal obligation.

    Shudder.

    As a gay man, I sometimes wonder if my female friends who date men exaggerate the creep factor on the dating scene. How naive of me.
    posted by treepour at 10:45 AM on February 14, 2007


    I actually took some courses on understanding men & understanding women.

    A problem women have is that most of the time when they're putting a man's actions down in their brain, or having nutso expectations of them (a la Prince Charming), is that they are actually comparing a man to what the perfect woman would do in a scenario. Their perfect man is actually a perfect version of themselves, but umm... hairier & stuff.

    Men are completely different evolved (yes, evolved) creatures and the genders are obviously wired way differently, though. They do not, by nature, react the same way or see things the same. The men who DO have often been trained by women to do that stuff. Or they're our gay best friend.

    Those classes actually helped me a lot with understanding why/how women are so frustrating to men (and vice versa). Because duh, sometimes we are. Now I don't get half as annoyed by stuff that men do, I think some of it's pretty freaking cute. I'm a lot less demanding/disappointed & a lot more understanding & mellow.
    posted by miss lynnster at 10:47 AM on February 14, 2007


    The question isn't necessarily what to do to impress your date. It could be more about how to go about getting a date in the first place. People are all different (and this goes, I think, for men and women no matter what their preference) and some like using the date as a way to get to know the other, but some don't. There are plenty of folks who get to know each other long before a first date in all sorts of other situations.

    Lists of rules or guidebooks for dating, or attracting the opposite sex, might be perfect for some, but ridiculously reductionist for others. Many people say dating is how to meet your match in todays society, and many will tell you the opposite. Some will tell you it's all about sex, some will tell you it's all about connections, some all about fear, some all about planning a family; they're all right. Some people will even go so far as to say "even if you think it's about yaddayadda, it's really all about sex." I don't know if they're right, but I don't know if they're wrong, either.

    People are satisfied by different things, and people are motivated by different things. Maybe it's all about finding someone whose motivations and satisfactions work well with yours (I won't say "match," because that implies similarity, and that's not necessarily what's being sought, either).

    It's a great mystery, for which there is no failsafe advice. Being nice or natural or yourself may "work," but knowing how different the aims of any two people might be, well, who's to say for sure what's right?

    Falling in love, however it may come to pass, is great, and finding satisfaction and joy in someone else rules. Knowing what your own right reasons are is great too, but it doesn't matter if you don't.

    It doesn't matter what you do. You won't be able to explain it to anyone else. Nobody can explain it to you. You don't have to search, but you can if you want, and there's nothing stopping you from being happy or sad or whatever, unless you want something to stop you.

    People get really caught up in this stuff, and they'll want you to listen as much as you want to listen to them. Maybe a lot more, maybe a lot less.

    Don't take my word for it.
    posted by breezeway at 10:49 AM on February 14, 2007


    On preview: all of that said, yes treepour a giant creep factor does unfortunately exist... I just try to pretend that I possess a fantasy fairy dust that renders them invisible. Then I go back to liking men.
    posted by miss lynnster at 10:51 AM on February 14, 2007


    The men who DO have often been trained by women to do that stuff. Or they're our gay best friend.

    Let's let that comment stew for a moment, shall we? And return to this one:

    forgiving, calm, unassuming, and respectful

    One thing that seems to hold true across the sexes is that people rarely have any fucking clue what they actually want. And since that is the case, rule #1 is forget about what people say they want and pay attention to what they actually do.

    When my spouse and I were getting to know each other, I told a particularly aware and sensible female friend of mine about two women I had met at work. One was very nice, smart, interesting, and attractive. The other bugged the hell out of me. "Uh-oh," she said. Uh-oh what I replied. "Uh-oh looks like something could happen with girl #2." Well no way, I said. I bug the hell out of her, too.

    People tend to forget this (but pick-up artists never do). Interesting, and challenging, is better than bland any day of the week. And yes, nice = bland when so many guys try to be that way as an insincere means of getting close. That laundry list of "nice and unassuming (!) plus funny and charming and a great ass" etc is great in theory, and you may feel that the person you have now has all that, but how easy it is to forget what initially sets us off, makes us take notice. And of course there is the potential for change. I'm reminded of this old gem once again.
    posted by dreamsign at 11:22 AM on February 14, 2007


    I didn't say I worded everything perfectly. I'm not perfect either.
    Anyone who's read my posts knows that.
    posted by miss lynnster at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2007


    But wait... on second read... who's comment was the second one? 'Cuz that one wasn't mine.
    And I was partly kidding with the first one. Because I word things flippantly sometimes. See previous post.
    posted by miss lynnster at 11:26 AM on February 14, 2007


    On the "be yourself" advice: correct, but terribly misleading.

    I know personally, there are many different "myselves" I can be. They're all mine, but only one of them is being used at any given time. On a date, you need to pull out the suavest, most polite, charming, interesting, and sexiest "yourself" and use that. And if that version of yourself isn't doing the trick, try making that version even more suave, polite, charming, interesting, and sexy. Being yourself doesn't mean acting the same way you always do when not on a date, and it doesn't mean you don't need to improve yourself.

    And similarly, on the "women don't like nice guys" meme, it's also not true. They do. They particularly like nice guys that are energetic, assertive, hung, have some money, and know what they're doing in bed. They don't like nice guys that are so concerned with respecting women that they're uptight in bed or reluctant to make a first move. They definitely don't like nice guys that obsess over their "nice guy" status. Being nice almost never hurts. It's that other stuff that "nice" is a euphemism for: timid, overly emotional, needy, not independent, sexually disinterested, naive, etc. Be nice. Don't be those other things.
    posted by SBMike at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


    "Be on your best behavior" is typically Mom-ish advice, but it applies, certainly. Be confident, attentive, considerate, and like I said, kind. The other stuff will typically click into place, or it won't, but if it doesn't, take a glance outside the restaurant window: You'll note that the rest of the world evidently still is there and is going on as usual.
    posted by pax digita at 11:37 AM on February 14, 2007


    There are really no rules. No secrets. I could never understand why so many of my friends had problems finding women. Except. Most were unwilling to punch their weight.

    Me? I'm not bragging. Just stating fact. I never had a single problem finding a date. Ever. Lord knows it's not 'cause I'm a hunk. And I broke most of these rules.

    Except for the common courtesy rules. And the sacred "have fun" and "be charming" creed.

    FI: Rarely paid for a date when I was single. Usually went dutch. Unless she was broke. In fact due to the fact when I was in my twenties I often dated women who made more money than me THEY paid after the first few dates.

    Pretty much got laid with in five dates or sooner. There were only hard feeling maybe twice when the women made up expectations that I had not set. I was clear right up front that sex is a big deal to me, I am a big believer in passion and if it's there it's there and I'd like to just get it out of the way so we both know. If a woman is not with that. That's fine. No hard feelings. No pressure. No judgment. But usually it's "See ya later." I want you to want me. YOU should want me to want you. We should lose our heads for each other. If not? It's all a waste of time, AFAIC.

    Left in the middle of a date before when it was clear the person wasn't into it. Why waste her or my time? Why sit through a farce? The person in question she kept going on about this on and off again fiancé? What the fuck? Why you dating? Got up right in the middle of dinner and said "Look. Nothing personal but there is obviously nothing here. I got shit to do and so do you. Thanks, bye." Put some money on the table and called a cab. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact I'd of appreciate similar honesty from from a couple of women early on. I'm busy.

    Don't get drunk? Ok. Don't get so stupid drunk your an idiot boor. But getting kind of drunk sure make things more fun. My wife and I on our first day got smashed and had a ball.

    Don't be forward? BULLSHIT. My wife. On our first date she looked at me in the middle of dinner and said:

    "So. You got an alarm clock?"

    Being a man, we are a little thick on these things, it took me a couple of seconds to hone in on that. But that was awesome right there. Just the risk she took to come out and say that. How could you not love that?
    posted by tkchrist at 11:54 AM on February 14, 2007


    tk, if that doesn't win the thread, nothing's gonna.
    posted by pax digita at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2007


    If all someone wants is sex, dating is the most laborious and roundabout way to get it. Much better to just post on Adult Friend Finder or Craigslist such - plain old sex is easily available in a few short hours thanks to the magic of the internet. That was my point.

    Oh. You kooky kids these days. There was no such thing for the majority of human history. And not when your mother and I were dating.

    So hence the modern dating ritual evolved that is almost certainly centered on sex. To one degree or another we layer various pretenses on top. But ultimately sex is what dating is about, nearly exclusively. At least certainly learning about our sexuality. We don't date to find friends.

    Some people are not very sexual, true. But these people are a distinct minority. Others have religious notions or hang ups or the duplicitous puritanical baggage our society seems heap on sex above any other human state. Much of this is the source of relationship problems.

    And when we finally admit the sex thing is the base property of our quest, whether we are that into it or not, our search for meaningful relationships goes smoother and with far less tension and absurd expectations.
    posted by tkchrist at 12:15 PM on February 14, 2007


    BTW. I hope all of you get properly laid today. If not with a person you care deeply about then with a certain someone who make your nether regions squishy-tingle-wingle just picturing them shopping for jeans. Even if that person is you.

    Happy Valentines Day all of you. Now. Go. Get to the nasty and fuck each other stupid. I command it.
    posted by tkchrist at 12:24 PM on February 14, 2007


    "Offering to pay for your date shows respect for the gift of time and attention your date is giving you."

    Thus, we read that the asker (generally male) needs to pay the askee (generally female) for their time and attention. And you wonder how some men wind up bitter about the whole process?

    "...why not visit a prostitute -- it's a simple transaction."

    I have heard prostitution described in many ways, but never as "a simple transaction".
    posted by Irontom at 12:33 PM on February 14, 2007


    [tangential]Dating. What a strange, strange thing. The only time I've ever been on dates in my life has been as a necessary hoop to jump through with somebody I was already interested in pursuing a relationship with. Why would I want to go to dinner/movie with somebody when I don't already know that I like them? Life's too short. [/tangential]
    posted by jokeefe at 12:35 PM on February 14, 2007


    tk: Aye aye, sir.
    posted by pax digita at 12:36 PM on February 14, 2007


    Women's studies isn't.
    posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:36 PM on February 14, 2007


    Again, I insist that if the rule is "the man pays" then in kind, the rule is "the woman takes it in the pooper".

    It's a good job that the converse of this rule isn't operative. I would have been pegged so often I'd look like goatse man.
    posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:42 PM on February 14, 2007


    I'm with tkchrist on this one.

    Why should men be the ones auditioning for the part? I've always looked at women as prospective clients, if anything.
    posted by Mach3avelli at 12:45 PM on February 14, 2007


    I very rarely see women with the sort of men they say they want, and I've had male friends who very much resemble this stated ideal who didn't have very much luck on the romantic scene at all.

    Call me cynical, but I put very little weight in the advise of female "dating experts." Their advice is all too often an expression of idle fantasy rather than reality.

    Personally, I'm a cad, and I've never had any trouble finding longer-term relationships when I wanted.
    posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:15 PM on February 14, 2007


    And first dates are all about sex, or the potential of such. Sorry but true.

    My first date with my wife was dutch, casual, and we actually didn't hit it off as a potential couple; we both left feeling that we'd found a great new friend, but not a lover. Plus, we bonded over the fact that we had a mutual enemy*, which is better for chumminess than sex.

    The SECOND date, on the other hand, quickly led to a mutual sexual attraction, possibly in part because we assumed we'd be friends and so both had our guard down.

    *we have more in common than this, but it was a fun place to start
    posted by davejay at 1:47 PM on February 14, 2007


    I'm almost a carbon copy of the host on Really Big Things on Discovery. The only difference is that I'm not as loud and I like math.

    Is that why I haven't had a date for 2 years?
    posted by The Power Nap at 2:03 PM on February 14, 2007


    Not really about dating per se, but what's up with CNN reporting that 22% of Valentine's Day florist orders are women sending flowers to themselves?
    posted by pax digita at 2:17 PM on February 14, 2007


    reading black text on yellow background makes metafilter look funny afterward
    posted by headless at 8:29 PM on February 14, 2007


    If I'm paying for her periods do I get a receipt?
    posted by vbfg at 12:37 AM on February 15, 2007


    I hope in the 10 commandments for women she reminds the females that if the man is contractually obligated to pay, they are contractually obligated to take it in the ass and LIKE it.

    The problem with this is that a big part of the appeal/mystique of anal is that the majority of women don't/claim not to do it. I think you'd find the appeal to the general male populace would decrease significantly without that "forbidden fruit" aspect. But that's just my guess - maybe I'm full of shit.

    I'd have a lot more respect for that list if it had more useful generalities like "consider her needs and concerns in transportation and location" rather than "let your date choose the mode of transportation" or "Be on time - she's going to assume that you're on your best behavior today so 10 minutes late indicated future nights out without calling" rather than "Thou shalt not have more than two drinks"

    But, as others said upstream, perhaps I'm not the target audience here.
    posted by phearlez at 9:27 AM on February 15, 2007


    It's not the actual anal I am talking about. It's the fact that there's prescribed duty for men, with no wiggle room allowed. If we have this duty assigned to us, what's the problem with assigning one to the women?

    Nobody wants to seem to address my point, but would rather pretend to be shocked and indignant. That's usually a good sign that there is no address to be made.
    posted by Sukiari at 11:23 PM on February 16, 2007


    Nah, it's a good sign you overstated your point by a few powers of ten. If you equate buying dinner with anal sex, your economics are skewed or you are implying all orifices and all objects inserted therein are alike to you.
    posted by Peach at 7:13 PM on February 19, 2007


    Another person who pretends not to understand my point. I guess it's easier than thinking about it, right?
    posted by Sukiari at 8:17 PM on February 19, 2007


    I guess it's easier than thinking about it, right?

    I thought about your point, and what I thought was that it was facile, juvenile, and not worthy of comment. How's that for thinking?

    Any woman who lets you buy her dinner and then sits politely through disingenous conversation like that has already more than settled her debt to you. If you're not getting anal sex (or any sex, for that matter), somehow I doubt your lack of cash outlay at the restaurant is to blame.

    Anyway, the funny part is that nobody in this thread was really asserting that the guy should always pay, so you're not arguing against much of anything. If you want to talk about anal sex, there are plenty of alternative locations for you to do just that on this here internet. The conversation we were having about dating, though, seems to be pretty much over.
    posted by Miko at 6:47 AM on February 20, 2007


    I guess it's easier than thinking about it, right?

    I thought about your point, and what I thought was that it was facile, juvenile, and not worthy of comment. How's that for thinking?

    Any woman who lets you buy her dinner and then sits politely through disingenous conversation like that has already more than settled her debt to you. If you're not getting anal sex (or any sex, for that matter), somehow I doubt your lack of cash outlay at the restaurant is to blame.

    Anyway, the funny part is that nobody in this thread was really asserting that the guy should always pay, so you're not arguing against much of anything. If you want to talk about anal sex, there are plenty of alternative locations for you to do just that on this here internet. The conversation we were having about dating, though, seems to be pretty much over.
    posted by Miko at 6:47 AM on February 20, 2007


    "I thought about your point, and what I thought was that it was facile, juvenile, and not worthy of comment. How's that for thinking?

    Any woman who lets you buy her dinner and then sits politely through disingenous conversation like that has already more than settled her debt to you. If you're not getting anal sex (or any sex, for that matter), somehow I doubt your lack of cash outlay at the restaurant is to blame."

    See, that's the problem. If I must always pay for the privilege of having a woman's company, what's the difference between that woman and a whore?

    Being a couple is not about forcing the man to pay because blood leaks out of your snatch every month. And I was never talking about actual anal sex, as you have carefully misunderstood me to be. It's about the 'duty' of a man to buy the woman dinner. If that's my duty, what's hers?

    I have been married for years and I get plenty of sex. My wife thinks this thread is just as funny as I do.

    My point has elicited two kinds of responses. The typical huffy female one (clearly not shared with all vagina wielding humans) "We are goddesses who need to be sacrificed to in order to grace us with your presence. You will never get laid!" and the more reasonable "Is the second hour free?"

    You may think that human females are worth more than human males. It sure sounds like it!
    posted by Sukiari at 8:18 PM on February 20, 2007


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