AAAH: Round #2

Welcome to Round #2 of Ask An Asshole, in which I offer advice, solicited or otherwise, to the blogospheres chick-literati.

In our last episode, I eviscerated the fairy-tale narcissism of Date Me DC author Katie, a 30-year-old barrel of sassy sarcasm who considers her failure to find love and commitment a reflection on the woeful inadequacy of Men These Days and our man-childish ways. Since the only response I got from her was a confused email implying that quoting and linking to her blog was in violation of her copyright, I don’t think I got through.

But, young women of the world, that doesn’t mean YOU can’t learn from Katie’s experience. Says Bismarck: “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” And it’s true. The world’s fools are not just entertaining and good for our self-esteem. They’re full of teachable moments.

So ladies. Spend a few hours perusing Date Me DC. Soak in the bitterness. Note Katie’s fear, poorly masked by a faux-hard exterior, that her ability to win male attention is in rapid decline. Do you aspire to be Katie in five or ten years? No? Then learn from her example, and use her footprints to guide you away from at least one false path.

Today’s Ask An Asshole reaches out to another target student. Using the magic of the blogosphere, we’re going to travel backwards in time, and read a post written by Katie’s younger self. We’re going to visit the Ghost of Cougar’s Past.

Lilly, who some of you may remember from our first post in this series, recently wrote:

“Some Girls Are Too Nice

…it seems like a lot of women are just not honest enough about what they like and don’t like, or are afraid to hurt a man’s feelings, or don’t take a second to honestly ask themselves if they are interested in him (i.e. too nice)…

…I think I surprised and offended several males with my last post, in which I described how I (politely) rejected a guy on a first date because there was no chemistry and he wasn’t what I was looking for. It’s shocking to a lot of men because they are used to having it the other way around.

And just because the man bought me dinner didn’t mean he bought rights to my feelings. Sadly, I think a lot of men think this is the way it should be (or the way they wish it would be). No, I’m not going to like you because you bought me dinner. Nor will I put out, give you any sort of “job,” pick you up from the airport at 5am (a girlfriend of mine was asked this by a guy she just met) or anything of the sort….

…Anyway, ladies, I’m just tired of women not thinking enough about themselves and spending all their energy focusing on “him.” I wish more women would stop worrying so much about him and more about “her.” It works out for both men and women–you don’t waste the guy’s time and you don’t waste your own. He may feel like you’ve kicked him in the balls when you reject him, but who cares? Do what’s best for you.”

Can you not picture the jaded, cynical Date Me DC author writing this five years ago when she was twenty-six? In fact, she commented on Lilly’s post:

“I’ve discovered they don’t give a flying fuck about whether or not they’re hurting our feelings. So why should we tiptoe around hurting theirs?”

Yikes. Maybe she’s been following my testosterone-enhancing diet and lifestyle plan?

But while there are similarities between Katie and Lilly’s attitudes, here’s the key difference: Lilly’s cynicism has only started to bud, while Katie’s is in its full-blown malignant reproductive phase. Cheesy though it sounds, I think there’s still time for the former to save herself from the latter’s fate.

Ladies, do you know what men really want in a girl? It is not jaded realism and a sharp, sarcastic tongue. We want soft, sweet, feminine women. We want nurturers. We want girls with a fresh, positive, happy outlook on life. We want girls who smile a lot, assume the best in everyone, and get hurt easily because they are genuinely surprised when other people are petty and mean. Maybe this sounds like an unrealistic worldview, but it’s the one we’re all born with, until experience robs it from us.

The problem with the modern dating scene is that it turns sweet, fun, good girls into authors of blogs like Date Me DC. (It also creates guys like me, but that’s a different post entirely.)

Imagine a typical girl in her mid-twenties, heading out into the grown-up world full of dreams, hope, and the idea that dating is fun, love is beautiful, and men are just regular people out there looking for a connection too. This is the kind of girl men want to date. She gets called back for second dates, third dates, fourth dates – even if she doesn’t put out. She gets a promise of exclusivity and the “girlfriend” title without having to spend a year working her way up to the top of a guy’s speed dial. She gets to meet his friends and family. Perhaps one day, she gets to be a wife and mother.

But after a half decade or more in the 21st-century urban singles scene, what will become of her? She will be older and less attractive. She will have expanded her partner count into the mid-double digits and beyond. Her expectations will have inflated to arbitrarily unrealistic proportions.

Worst of all, her disposition will have been shaped by the endless parade of bad dates, bad mini-relationships, one-night stands that she had hoped would be more, boyfriends who were actually just booty calls, rejections, heartbreaks, loneliness, and the weekly changing of cat litter. She will start viewing men with caution, dating as a chore, marriage as an inevitably cold and calculated business arrangement. As a result, she will become the girl who must all but declare that she will put out, in order to get a second date. She will not get the girlfriend title. She will not get invited to brunches, ski weekends, vacations, and summer ultimate frisbee leagues with his college friends. Her future is one of perpetual loneliness, or settling for whatever poor excuse for a man will still settle for a life with her.

Here’s Lilly’s first post, written in 2009 when she was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed twenty-four year old:

“Once upon a time I went to this magical place called “college.” It’s kind of like Disneyland but for older kids, with keg stands and cesspools of promiscuity. As a parting gift, I was given a thin piece of paper that I was told would be my golden ticket to my dream job, personal fulfillment, and a plentiful salary. So with my goodie bag of golden tickets, false assumptions, mountains of debt and a caffeine addiction in tow, I forged into the “real world.” Which greeted me, appropriately, with a serious slap in the face.

And so is life—my life. I’m 24, live in Boston, Massachusetts (originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico), single for the first time in a long time, working at my first real job and not really loving it, but too confused—and admittedly frightened—by all of the other options that lay out there. There are a lot of things I am passionate about, and would like to do, but in the midst of trying to find my true loves, it seems like I’ve lost sight of them all. In an effort to reclaim at least one of them (writing), and ideally carve out the others, I’m starting a blog. Wow, me writing that makes it sound even more annoying than when other people say it.

I guess my angst has to go somewhere, and since it’s not getting me a better job or a second date, I figure I will share it with the others, and hopefully learn a thing or two.”

Maybe it’s just me. But I find the tone markedly different from “Some Girls Are Just Too Nice”

Was she not, once upon a time, just a little bit more down-to-earth, self-effacing, positive, good-humoured? A little fresher, a little happier?

Even if you can’t see the difference now, how do you think “A Pre-Life Crisis” is going to read if the subject matter doesn’t change over the next half-decade? Answer: Probably a lot more like Date Me DC than present-day Lilly would feel comfortable with.

So I have two pieces of advice for young women today.

First, shut off the endless yammering of pop culture and mainstream media that not only teaches self-destructive dating behaviours, but also convinces you that clothes, shoes, jewellery and toys are the keys to happiness and self-confidence. Instead, spend your money on experiences that make you a better person – classes, sports and hobbies, travel, books.

Second, take a hard look at what you really want out of your life. If part of the answer is “a family” then you need to take steps to make that a reality, and soon. Every year you wait is going to make finding a quality husband a little bit harder, and the eventual man you wind up with, a little bit shabbier. Get off the three-dates-a-week carousel, let your bar-star fade, and narrow your search to husband material.

Or, if you decide that, deep in your heart, you truly are a “Samantha” and have no aspirations to marriage and kids – there’s nothing wrong with that. Have a blast. You can find my contact info in the Freedom 101 Tab.

But for the 95% of girls who feel otherwise, life is unfortunately fraught with choices and trade-offs. You are not Carrie Bradshaw, and you can’t have her life. Your heart can only take so much, and every failed experiment in your twenties will chip off a piece of it that never grows back.