Where Do I Join the Women Approach Men At Bars Feminist Coalition?

I was reading Roissy (the man Tyler Cowen has described as evil)'s blog entry about his vision of a feminist utopia, in which he takes the following dig at a feminist blog named Feministing:

I will now present to you a vision of hell as dreamed up in the minds of the man-hating women who litter internet toilets like Feministing and who live in countries like Sweden...

I thought I'd check the site out and see what all the fuss was about. The first post I encountered was a blogger named Samhita's list of dislikes about heteronormative dating (I was going to suggest our own Micha Ghertner give Samhita a ring, but since that's on the shit list, Sam, please contact Micha).

My thoughts were, heteronormative dating is a double-edged sword. The listed complaints and my thoughts follow:

1. You are expected to dress nice and act a certain way "waiting" to get asked out.

It also helps to dress well and act a certain way when doing the asking. If a noticable pattern on returns equates to an expectation, this is pretty universal. It's going to change with your setting and crowd, obviously. If I'm looking to meet women in black framed non-perscription glasses, tapered jeans and Weezer sweaters, I won't even bother showering before I leave the house in the direction of Grumpy's. If I decide I want to meet women in cocktail dresses and heels while I'm at Grumpy's (because while they have awesome hot dago sandwiches, I really hate when otherwise attractive women put spacers in their ears, as the lobes will only continue to stretch out over time and I can't imagine kissing the dangly part), I'm going to have to talk to the bouncer at Seven about how much I love the place as they're one of the few restaurants in town that will cook a steak blue before he'll let me enter the rooftop bar because I'd forgotten to switch shoes and still had my old pair of Chucks on that I'd worn to Grumpy's earlier. It's going to be harder to sustain a conversation with strangers wearing a blazer at Grumpys, just like it's going to be harder without at Seven.

2. You have to play by the rules which generally give men most of the power. (wait till he calls you, don't be too forward, be mysterious-you don't want to scare him off, etc)

I know a great number of men who would love to reliquish that power. You know what waiting for women to approach you at bars, and giving women your number instead of asking for theirs equates to for men? Celibacy.

There are positives and negatives for both sides in this type of power relationship. If I see an attractive woman across the bar, I've got to approach her, start the conversation, entertain her and her friends, and if I can't successfully do it, I'm labeled boring and will never get the chance to get to know her better to see if she is someone I'd like to be involved with romantically. The postitive is I've got more control over who I meet.

Women who passively wait around to be approached do suffer in that they give up control in who they meet. On the other hand, doing nothing but sitting back and waiting makes them the gatekeepers. If a man comes across the bar to talk to a woman, he's already tipped his hand. She then gets to be judge, as he's already conveyed his interest. This is the reason so many women, including our own mothers, tell men to, "Just go up and introduce yourself." That's pretty selfish to say if you're the one that gets to wait to reval your level of interest.

By all means, women, go approach men. If he's intimidated because you came over to him, it's no loss because that's a good way to screen callow, timid men.

3. If you show emotion too early on or too much of it, you are needy.

We're in complete agreement. It applies to both geneders. But where we differ as I read that as a neutral fact, instead of a complaint. Coming on too strong can scare romantic interests away and speaks to insecurity in anyone, regardless of gender.

4. If you don't show enough emotion, you are making the other party insecure forcing them to wield social privilege to silence your daring attempt at independence from self obliteration via coupling.

Same as my response to the previous numbered item. These are both just problems with two people wanting the other to share (and show) the same amount of interest in each other. When either a man or a woman feel their affection isn't being returned in kind, they get hurt, often angry and lash out at the other. This cuts both ways.

I have a friend who got dumped by his girlfriend. He then started to see other women. His ex-girlfriend then decided she wanted to get back together. He was immediately upfront with her, and let her know that he wasn't going to stop seeing the other women he had met since she broke the relationship off. She said she was okay with that. He later took a phone call from one of the other women in her car. She kicked him out on the spot and he walked a few miles back to his place, no biggie. He then found the next week that she'd e-mailed all the professors that work in the same lab he does (she's a recent graduate who used to work in the same lab, which is where they met) and had told them that while his work was good, he had character issues. That didn't do much, and all the professors thought it was strange, so she later sent the same professors an e-mail letting them all know he and she had consentual sex in the lab.

People do lots of terrible stuff when scorned.

And I'm going on nothing more than assumption, but I highly doubt numbers three and four are confinded to heteronormative dating. I'm sure it's just as easy to come on too strong or not return someone's affection in same-sex romance, or any romance. The thing is, my friend thinks his ex is now coming on way too strong, and she thinks he isn't returning her affection.

5. It fetishizes unequal power relations between women. He'll get the tab, he'll get the door as long as he gets the vagina, and that is considered "romance."

There seem to be two groups of people in this respect, and I think they deserve each other. There are the people who believe in the aformentioned power relation, namely men who think they're entitled to sex because they paid for dinner and drinks and women who go out to dinner with or ask to have drinks purchased for them by men they aren't interested in. Then there are the folks that split checks and tabs, pay their own way, or assume that whomever proposed the outing should pay regardless of gender (although given the double standards this translates into men almost always paying, at least during the start of any relationship).

I've learned a great line that works wonders at bars. Whenever a woman asks me to buy her a drink, I pause, survey the room, pickout the least attractive man in the bar, and suggest she go talk to him, as he seems like the kind of person who buys strangers drinks. I think the inverse could work just as well for women. When a man offers you a drink, pause, look around the room, find the most unattractive woman in the bar, and suggest he go talk to her, as she looks like the kind of person who accepts drinks from strangers. As always, most of communication is non-verbal. Do this lightly, and while wearing a smile, throw in a soft, playful elbow and you can establish the let's-pay-our-own way vibe even with people you find attractive.

6. It makes same sex couples feel "less than."

Never been in one. But if this heteronormative stuff is so bad, why does it bother folks who are lucky enough to date outside the confines of such horrid social conventions?

7. It dictates your interaction in most social settings and social circles, whether you are single or coupled. It is either/or, there is no 3rd identity or in-between.

A lot of couples in these social circles have already invested a lot in heteronormative dating. Cut them some slack.

8. If you have sex too early you ruined it.

9. If you don't have sex early on you are a prude.

This seems like one of those digs aimed specifically at men that are worded gender neutral to deflect opposition. Kind of like how men are legally responsible for their actions when intoxicated and women are not (I'm not talking about forcable rape, but that regret after the fact can translate into grey rape).

The slut-versus-stud double standard is stupid, and men should come down hard on any of their own kind they catch calling a woman a slut because he's only making it harder on everyone, in both genders, to get laid, and what's worse, just to momentarily prop up his own ego (but to be honest, I see woman-on-woman crime more frequently when it comes to branding women as sluts). But in the end, isn't this all personal preference between two people? Early and late are relative terms. Neither party is wrong with regards to their preferred timing, and both parties deserve a sexual relationship they find rewarding. Neither side should be forced to wait, or forced to hurry up. They should go off and find new partners that share their views on how soon to have sex.

10. It is expected to lead to marriage (and if you don't have a ring on your finger you are "on the market.")

Enjoy your cats?

It's hundreds of millions of sprem versus 1.5 million eggs. Supply and demand says that forcable rape is the only time women don't control sex. Women have the power to change whatever dating norms they wish. Next time a woman sees an attractive man at a bar she should just, "just go up, introduce herself, and say hello."

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correct me if I'm wrong, but

It seems like you largely agree with her basic argument. For some reason, I get the impression that you feel like you wanted to refute her when you write this, but that doesn't seem to be the case when you actually look at what you say.

You list a number of male complaints about heteronormative dating, which is supportive of her point--just from a male perspective. (She actually asks for such feedback in her post.)

For example, you seem more frustrated with the asymmetry of who asks who out than she is.

I'm Lazy, You're Perceptive

Yeah, I was going to rip it, but I think I'm just a combo of cranky and lazy, thus sick of men shouldering all the risk of rejection when meeting a new romantic interest for the very first time.

I know that very attractive women have to develop a bitch shield, because they get approached so often and they don't have time to listen to every guy that makes his move. Perhaps this gets lessened if norms change and women take some responsibility for initiating the human mating ritual?

However, I don't think a lot of this stuff is confined to heterosexuals. As far as gender roles and who approaches who, I bet it does get a bit easier if those are dissolved. But as far as your partner finding you clingy or cold, I don't believe that's a specific hetero trait for a second. Heck, you can run into those problems in platonic relationships. Even business relationships. Everyone wants to feel both wanted, but safe and unburdened, which means showing everyone the right amount of interest, and because that amount is different for everyone, it's tricky.


I just don't see even the most publicly supportive of equality heterosexual feminist women approaching men in bars, bookstores, coffee shops and on the street in increased numbers if it means their egos shouldering the initial risk of rejection. Even if the reward is a greater degree of control in their romantic relationships.

by the way,

It's hundreds of millions of sprem versus 1.5 million eggs. Supply and demand says that forcable rape is the only time women don't control sex.

That was a joke, right?

How Many Men

Have you heard complain that a woman was pressuring them into having sex too soon or that a woman was just using them for sex? I think feminism weights nurture too heavily when compared to nature, but that's to be expected if you place equality of outcome on a pedestal and start denying that obvious natural difference exist because they don't jive with your Marxist offshoot from the Frankfurt school.

Up until the second wavers swung the pendulum so far back the other way that divorce and paternity laws can force a man to keep paying for children even if he later learns and can prove they're not his, women used to pay the costs of pregnancy almost exclusively. It makes sense they're more cautious about who they sleep with. And I don't think that's a social construct (funny, you can rip the right wing Christian fundies for rejecting evolution, but it all has to stop in the 10th century BCE and you can't examine any human biodiversity, but I do have to tip my hat to the American left, at least they agree there was a 10th century BCE).

It doesn't seem to me that

It doesn't seem to me that the actual *number* of sperm and eggs creates these issues. I think you are trying to apply an economic concept to a biological situation at which it doesn't apply. Individual eggs don't bid for sperm or vice versa.

The fact that women are responsible for gestation and practically speaking are responsible for most of child-rearing does have economic consequences, that is a level at which you can claim an interface between economics and biology. Eggs and sperm don't have their own little stock exchanges where they meet each other though.

Right. In response to your

Right. In response to your first question: yes.

Re your last point, from

Re your last point, from http://therawness.com/why-its-worse-for-women-to-sleep-around/ :

"You often hear women, especially feminists and sluts, complaining about how it’s such an unfair double standard that men are called studs when they sleep around, yet women are called sluts. It’s really not a double standard though, because both scenarios are pretty different in terms of circumstances and consequences. I can think of at least three crucial differences.

First, sleeping around is easier for women. It’s challenging for men to rack up partners, even for men with low standards. It requires a certain amount of social intelligence, interpersonal skills, persistence, thick skin, and plain old dumb luck. For women to rack up a lot of partners, however, it pretty much only requires a vagina and a pulse.

Second, women do more harm by sleeping around than men do.
Say a man sleeps around with a bunch of different women. He is definitely doing harm to these women if he pretends to be monogamous while sleeping around with these multiple partners. When women sleep around, however, they can cause not only these same ill effects but one additional crucial ill effect: the risk of unknown parentage. If one woman sleeps around with five men and gets pregnant, it could be anybody’s baby. And if a man is tricked into raising a baby that isn’t his, he is basically investing his time, money, estate and property to provide for a child that is not carrying on his DNA into the next generations, which is a costly mistake from an evolutionary standpoint.

Third, men have evolutionary reasons to be programmed to sleep around. If the two primal drives of humans are to survive and to reproduce, nothing leads to maximum reproduction like one man sleeping with multiple women. If one women slept with many men, in a nine month period, she would still only get pregnant just once. Nine months of rampant promiscuity would give the same result as nine months of highly sexed monogamy: one pregnancy.

Women do more harm?

"Second, women do more harm by sleeping around than men do."

I guess that depends on your perspective.

"When women sleep around, however, they can cause not only these same ill effects but one additional crucial ill effect: the risk of unknown parentage."

A man can have the same effect merely by not giving his name to his one night stands. The woman can at most do this once per year or so. The man can father many bastards thus multiplying the problem. The slut sleeping around with ten men produces at most one bastard whereas the man sleeping around the same amount can produce ten.

"And if a man is tricked into raising a baby that isn’t his, he is basically investing his time, money, estate and property to provide for a child that is not carrying on his DNA into the next generations, which is a costly mistake from an evolutionary standpoint."

That's not a costly mistake from an evolutionary perspective. On the contrary it's the neccesary weeding out of the "sucker" gene from the gene pool. It's a natural part of the process. ;)

Natural selection is a trial and error process. Without the elimination of error there can be no progress. Thus the elimination of error is a benefit not a cost. At least from the perspective of the process as a whole. Sure it would be nice to eliminate the errors without the costs of building the bodies that exhibit those errors but that is an impossibility.


Correctly stated: it was beneficial for men to sleep around with as many taken women as possible. I stress the word WAS. Having someone father your child, while you go make more seemed to be quite a nice strategy nature came up with.