In the same way that “He’s Just Not That Into You” and other ‘dating advice’ books from authors who, through their biting use of quips, sarcasm and bloated similes (“he’ll be all up on you like two catty bitches at a Manolo Sample Sale”, etc.), certain types of men have found a profitable business catering to hard-luck guys in the romance department. Books about how to ‘pick up’, what women want, making connections, the right things to say, etc. etc. etc. have been immersed into the “literature” spectrum in the Chapters self-help section. Books like these boast the implementation of life changes and they’ll say things on the back cover like “take my advice and any woman you want will be falling at your feet!”
I have a stance on self-help; first of all, people are immaculately and intricately assembled into case-by-case individuals; we’re not like gazelles. Watching us for days at time doesn’t mean you can develop patterns necessarily outside of “she takes the same route to work everyday” or “he orders a bagel for lunch every Tuesday”. In romance, life and in times of personal turmoil, the complex-ness of people is on a case-by-case basis. That is, the advice from Douchebag Author A may not (and probably WILL not) work for Potential Douchebag Reader B.
What’s worse than self-help BOOKS however, is when (un-licensed) people take it upon themselves to claim they are “experts” in… something… usually dating, romance or the like. And then they thrust themselves out there on the web and in the backs of free trashy rags saying “call ME, and I will better your life!” Such is the case with dating coaches. Are they licensed exposure therapists? Usually not. Are they psychologists or behavioral specialists? Probably not. What they are, gentlemen who are considering seeking this type of help, are hacks; social, charismatic butterflies with enormous egos who think that they’ve pulled the wool over every woman’s eyes, who take it upon themselves to teach others the “tricks” they’ve learned. They prey upon desperation, loneliness and social pressure to make a buck and meanwhile, rot the minds of single men by telling them all kinds of crap about women, themselves, courtship, and the nature of women that are observed through beer goggles on some idle Friday night after a shift at Tim Hortons with “the boys” where all they do is mack on chicks sitting together and ask them to white-boy dance with them. I’m not saying this scenario is the gospel truth; maybe for all I know, they go home and read Proust and examine the DSM and come up with intellectually-provoked approaches to women and dating. However, personally, I don’t get my advice from complete strangers when I don’t really know if what they’re telling me about their life experience which renders them an “expert” is indeed the truth.
Gentlemen, I’m gonna tell you right now: women can spot a ‘coached’ man a mile away. And while I can’t speak for all women, for better or for worse, we’d rather you just be yourself. Even if ‘yourself’ is a shy awkward mouse who has a hard time talking to women, we prefer it. Because let’s put it this way: at least we can see what kind of person you are from the onset. I mean, coaching only goes so far. Lest we forget Cyrano? You can’t keep that façade forever. Eventually when it comes down to the wire… it’s still just that: a façade. It’s an unconfident person pretending to be confident; it’s someone without game pretending they have game. It’s someone who, by all accounts might be shy and reserved and unable to speak around women, who is pretending they can and thus, not doing themselves any favours because what they’re projecting is, “I AM a douche – just like that loud guy over there at the other side of the bar arguing with that girl and insulting her because he was told that’s what a guy ‘should’ do to pick up because women love that!”
I hear a lot of men say this, to the point of mythology; “women are so hard to figure out.” I’m a girl; so maybe I’m biased, but we’re not. We’re just not. We are simple. Pay attention to us; be honest to us; appreciate our time, efforts and company; even a compliment doesn’t hurt (albeit, an honest one that actually means something and NOT something you read in a book or learned from some hackneyed life coach). If you were honest with us, that passive-aggressive anger you sense from us that you always attribute to craziness or PMS would go away because we’d have no reason to hide what we’re feeling; expressing ourselves would come naturally. Rather, here I am pleading a case for women. Basically, we’re not stupid. We see through you, Dating Coach Product.
To me, dating coaches and dating self-help books are like the ‘Crossing Over with John Edward’ of courtship. These authors, these self-proclaimed experts… they’re playing you. They claim that they have something to offer you that will help you get over your ‘fear’ of women (are we really that scary? I always thought we were soft, round, fluffy, sweet, etc). Really though, they are saying, “look how many desperate men I can wrangle up? Cha-ching!” And ladies… you’re not innocent in this either. EVERY DAY I see at book stores, books on how to meet rich men, how to ‘win him back’, tips to get ‘any man you want’… the world is sick. What ever happened to chivalry, courtship rituals and a bouquet of flowers?
In today’s world, everyone just wants instant gratification; they see something they want, and come up with the easiest possible way to obtain it. Want a girlfriend? Go on Lavalife. Want to pick up at bars? Read this book. And people wonder why divorce rates are so high these days. Everywhere you look our culture seems fixated, centred, on dating. Which celebrities are dating each other; who is The Bachelor(ette) going to choose for the big proposal? Look at the happy marriages of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Their husbands are so rich. I’m watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and so much fetishism is placed on the object of this dress; women try on dresses and say things like, “I feel like a QUEEN” or “I was MADE to wear this!” On Millionaire Matchmaker, dating tips are tossed around like pizza dough and the idea of the men being rich and the idea of them hooking up immediately following their one date is heavily emphasized. Grey’s Anatomy stopped being about a hospital and started being about doctor/nurse/med student/patient romances that spin around in cyclical motions that are momentous and revolving enough that you’re going to hurl. Or wait… maybe that’s NOT the reason you’re going to hurl. Romance, men, women, couples, babies, weddings, ‘living in sin’, marrying into wealth, romantic comedies, people who are M.F.E.O…. all of these are very 21st century ideals that have forced people into a frenzy of peer pressure, immediacy and incompleteness. You know what’s attractive, gentlemen? A man who already feels complete. You know what an indicator of incompleteness is? HIRING A DATING COACH! And most women – good women – the kind of women you see on TV shows and in movies and think, ‘that’s the girl I want to marry’ – can smell desperation the same way my cat can smell tuna; only the tuna is appealing. The desperation, not so much.
If I were a dating coach, I would pay you to not come talk to me. But if you insisted you’d rather have help from me, who rants and raves and has a blog for the sole purpose of perhaps attracting the public in hopes of reading my rants and raves but actually knows really virtually nothing about dating, then here is my advice on ‘how to talk to women’ straight from the horse’s mouth:
-Never take advice from another guy on this subject. Guys think they know women. And they might, very very well. They might have the happiest marriage, have found their soulmate, expecting triplets and have a white fucking picket fence. But they do NOT know women as well as women know themselves. Talk to any woman on earth and she will be able to tell you the most HORRIFIC courting stories you’ve ever heard. If there’s anyone who knows what NOT to do during courtship… it’s women. Any woman. Your mother, even. Anyone but another guy.
-Don’t watch garbage like Grey’s Anatomy or Twilight and swoon over the types of romance portrayed by these caricatures. The term ‘escapist’ works for a reason. In your life, there will be MOMENTS of romance that take you to that special realm of fairy tale fantasy. But they’ll be just moments. All-consuming love is unhealthy. Don’t go that road, or want it. It’s like eating at Denny’s; a whole entire plate of sugar and syrup-coated French toast with eggs, meat, coffee, juice and pie for dessert. Afterwards, you feel overwhelmed and a bit ill having experienced all that so soon. And then you never want to eat there again.
-Understand and appreciate that courtship takes WORK! Ask your grandparents how THEY courted back in their day. You’ll be both impressed and maybe even a little guilty. In our society, it takes very little effort to achieve the KIND of dating you want. Different dating sites are for people of certain professions, races, gender orientation, religions, fetishes, long-term, short-term and “intimate” dating, etc. etc. etc. You name what you want into a Google search, and presto: there’s your dating site. And if you put up a few bucks (arguably less fundage than it would take to go on a date to La Ronde), you’ll find someone. For cheap thrills, for marriage, you can do it. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that at all. But… it’s not the same. Something is missing from this whole process that is integral to the reality (or fantasy, I guess) of romance. The best things in life are worth fighting for; everything worth having is worth some sacrifice… dig?
-Don’t get shit-faced and sit on a girl’s lap while she’s singing karaoke. Or don’t insinuate out loud, when you’re a mechanic, that “you girls are just here to pick up mechanics, aren’t you?” That’s not cool. Seriously.
And the fundamental, EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, 100% SUREFIRE, ALWAYS-OBEY RULE TO END ALL RULES EVER IS………
ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH!!!!
This one is SO important, I can’t even put into words its crucial nature.
If you say, “I’ll call you”, do it. If you say, “I’ll pick you up at 6”, do it. If you say, “I’ll be in touch later this week,” do it. If you say, oh, I dunno… mack on someone for a couple of months then take that to the next level, maybe keep that momentum going? So you don’t make someone feel like an idiot for trusting you. *breath* Rewind.
An accompanying crucial rule to this is, NEVER SAY THINGS YOU DON’T MEAN. Flip and reverse: if you don’t want to call, don’t say you will. If you don’t want to date someone, don’t play the situation out. If you don’t want to go out with someone, don’t make plans. Easy. So easy. That’s all there is to it.
The saddest part of all this is that despite the simplicity of the aforementioned there are STILL men who feel the need to pay someone for dating advice. To those men I ask, are you really THAT lacking in self-confidence that you don’t think you’re capable of doing the right thing and making the right calls? If that IS the case… a book or a life coach won’t help you, okay? Just throwin’ it out there. And if there is something in you, even the smallest little piece of the equation… that allows you to show women who you really are, and allows you to showcase your interests, even just a TEENSY bit? You’re much better off that way than with a dating coach. With the latter, you’re picking up someone else’s bad habits; you’re a pack member trailing the leader and ending up with discarded food scraps of what used to be a deer. You get the idea.
If anyone decided to read this and take it to heart, even just one person, I’ll tell you right now again: I’m not a ‘dating coach’; I never wrote a book on this subject, nor do I plan to. I don’t charge for dispensing my advice. So if I said anything of value that you use one day and get lucky with, then I’m giving myself a pat on the back for my charitable donation to you of $500.00.