#1: If you’re single, it’s your fault.
Seriously kids, I know that’s a hard pill to swallow, but if you’re single it’s on you and you alone.
Think of it this way, no one else wakes up in the morning and says, “I have to be that perfect special someone for Jeff Allen, and I’m going to go out of my way to find him, seduce him, etc.”
No, that’s your job.
OK, so enough of the blame–why aren’t people able to find that special someone? Why are we single?
The first thing to think about is if you’re meeting enough people. This sounds harsh, but dating is a numbers game–most people aren’t going to be right for you, and that’s true no matter what you’re looking for in terms of a relationship (aside from a one-night stand I guess).
Not sure there’s any perfect rule for this, but it seems to me that if you’re not going on at least one date per week, you’re probably stunting your chances of finding someone. One simple reason many people are single is that they’re just too busy to dedicate enough time to dating–so if that’s you, see my podcast on the busyness trap (link will be live once this is created).
Now, assuming you’re meeting enough people and going on dates regularly, the second reason why people are single is that they’re too picky–I should point out that this might be a reason why you’re not meeting enough people as well.
This is a bit tricky of course, because attraction cannot be negotiated: you’re either attracted to someone or you’re not. The point then is to figure out why you’re not attracted to the sort of people who are attracted to you. If this is the case, check out this blog/podcast on pickiness…
One thing to think about as an overarching concept when dating is: are you the best version of yourself? If not, it might be worthwhile to work toward that first, and then worry about dating.
Obviously it’s a bit of a choose your own adventure here, but the point is to take responsibility–if you’re single, it’s your fault. As I’ve pointed out, life isn’t fair or equal and no one is going to make your life great unless you do the work. Harsh, yes–but true.
#2: SOD (swipe/online dating) doesn’t work very well for most people.
For more on the dynamics of why, check out the blog/podcast I did on this specifically, but I’ll summarize and add a few things here.
The first point is that the basic dynamic of SOD means women match with men who are 10-20% more attractive than what they’re bringing to the table. I know it’s a bit vulgar to apply numbers to humans–and please understand I’m not suggesting our worth is based solely on our attractiveness to the opposite sex–but to illustrate the point, women who are 5’s or 6’s on SOD will tend to match with men who are 7’s and 8’s.
Men are attracted to beauty and women are attracted to power, so attraction works a bit differently depending on your sex, but the point is that while these men might be willing to have a drink and hookup with the women they match with on Tinder, they’re probably not willing to stick around and/or marry these women, because there’s a mismatch in value and they know it.
Another reason SOD doesn’t work very well is that neither party has much of an idea of who the other person is going in to the first date. Texting misses the 90% of communication that is body language, and as we all know, profiles and pictures on SOD are heavily curated–a guy could be a total fucking goon and yet have good enough pictures and a bio that women swipe right on, only to go on a date and realize he’s… a goon.
#3: Modern men are too feminine, modern women are too masculine.
A lot of people are going to be upset about this, but I don’t give a damn, because it’s true.
I’ll grant that gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum and everyone’s a little different; however, the vast majority of men (95%) are attracted to women, and the vast majority of women (93%) are attracted to men.
Additionally, sex/gender roles ARE NOT primarily predicated on sociocultural norms and expectations as some are now trying to argue–that is complete bullshit! Sorry, but much if not most of our behavior–especially when it comes to sex–is dictated by evolutionary biology.
If it wasn’t we’d be extinct. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So the message for dating is this…
Guys: most women don’t want to date an indecisive chickenshit who hides his dick, has no muscles, can’t make a move, doesn’t have any sort of direction, and overreacts to every little problem or insult in life.
Ladies: most men don’t want date a massive power-lifter with a shaved head who constantly bemoans the patriarchy while behaving, in all other ways, like a man.
Seriously, if I was attracted to masculinity, I’d be gay–and if women were attracted to femininity, they’d be lesbians. And those who are, are. No judgment.
But if you’re heterosexual, part of what’s attractive about the opposite sex is the polarity: where men are hard and utilitarian, women are soft and beautiful; where men are large and muscular, women are small and lithe. And so to whatever extent you’re downplaying or ignoring aspects of your gender, you’re decreasing your attraction to the opposite sex. Be true to yourself, always, but for most of us that means being in touch with your sexuality/gender.
I’ll give a shallow example, which is that it’s almost never true that a woman looks better with short hair than she would with long hair. That doesn’t mean some men don’t prefer short hair or that some women don’t give a shit what men think, but it’s just a general fact because long hair is feminine. It’s the same reason that most, or at least many women, don’t care if a guy is bald and/or has a beard–because being bald or having facial hair is masculine.
BTW, this is one of the reasons modern relationships can be confusing–because people don’t know what role they’re playing.
At some point I’ll try to dive into what positive masculinity (1–footnote) looks like, and I’ll find some ladies who want to talk about what positive femininity looks like.
#4: If you start with the end in mind, you’re going to have a rough time getting there. Rules and expectations are counter-productive.
One thing I’ve encountered since re-entering the world of dating is that people often bring some pretty hefty expectations with them.
The worst is: “so, where exactly is this going” AKA do you eventually want to get serious and/or married? If we’re honest, it’s usually females asking this question, but I’m sure it sometimes happens in reverse.
Here’s the thing though: in the beginning, you can’t really know. That’s the whole point of dating–to figure out if it’s going to work or not. However, if you place huge expectations on the whole thing from the get go, the strength of the whatever bond you have with that person can’t hold all the weight.
A good analogy anyone who drinks wine will understand is this: imagine you open an old bottle of California Cab, pour a little in the glass, swirl, taste, and note that it’s a bit skunky. Do you declare that it’s corked and pour it down the drain, or do you give it some time to breathe, possibly decant it?
The answer is the latter, and relationships are the same way: they need time to breath and develop.
To use myself as an example, I’m not necessarily looking to get married again–but if I met the right woman and the chemistry was there, who knows? I might be open to it. I’m certainly not going to rule it out.
But after three dates? Sorry, no.
Now I know a lot of women out there are going to say: but Jeff, a lot of guys just want sex and I don’t want to get used.
Totally fair. But here’s the thing: the reason “hookups” and “fuckbois” have become a thing is primarily because of SOD, where again, because of the dynamic, means women are regularly matching with guys 10-20% more attractive than they are. And as I mention in that blog/podcast, no, that guy isn’t sticking around, and that shouldn’t be all that surprising.
In other words, I’d argue that fewer people are getting married and women are having a hard time finding a guy to marry, not because guys are significantly more afraid of commitment than we ever have been, but because guys don’t want to commit to a woman they only feel so-so about.
People have successful, long term relationships and marriages because they’re a good match for each other. The dynamics of SOD don’t lead to good matches, and I’m not going to say any more about that here. Listen to the podcast or read the damn blog already.
The point is that if you’re a woman looking for something more than casual sex, you’ll have a much better chance of finding someone serious who’s a good match IRL.
#5: Women are attracted to power, men are attracted to beauty, and there’s an inverse relationship to when/how those happen.
Consider a young man and a young woman: they’re both 24 and very good looking. So who has more options when it comes to dating?
The woman, and it’s not close. Because if we’re honest, women tend to be at the peak of their beauty in their 20’s and early 30’s–obviously that’s a generalization, and I’m not saying women can’t be very attractive in their 40’s or 50’s, but there’s a reason men go to clubs and bars and festivals instead of retirement homes to meet women.
Because men are attracted to beauty.
The 24 year-old dude, however, though very good looking, is going to have fewer options, because women are attracted to power. Why?
- It’s likely he’s quite poor.
- Immaturity–he’s not going to carry himself with the same gravity or confidence as a 30-year-old guy.
- Direction: he probably isn’t 100% sure what his goal or mission is in life.
- Experience: with life, with women, with the world–he simply lacks the reference experience old men have.
- He’s probably invisible to women much over 26, whereas his counterpart can date men up to 40 and older if she wants to.
However, fast forward 10 years and the reverse is true: now the guy has more options.
If you want more on that, check out the blog/podcast on power and beauty, but the point here is simply to understand that for women, dating and relationships start off pretty easy and then get progressively harder, while the reverse is true for men–obviously to a point, because at some point age catches up with the boys too.
#6: In the short run, attraction is based primarily on physical appearance and, “do I like you/are you fun?” not the deep and meaningful person you truly are.
That’s a hard pill to swallow, but let’s face it: dating is, by definition, a shallow enterprise. It’s about your looks and your surface level personality, ability to banter, flirt, etc.
Yes, who you are as a human matters, but only once you’re deeper in a relationship.
I say this because I want to disavow people of the idea that your sweet record collection matters, or the fact you’re a Rhodes Scholar, or any of the other awards, accolades, or medals you’ve won in archery. Sorry, but if I’m honest I think people who say they’re sapiosexuals are liars who are projecting what they’ve found lacking in past relationships–which ironically means those people are actually attracted to humans who aren’t very smart.
The point then is to be the best version of yourself you can be, both in terms of physical appearance and conversation skills.
#7: Having a unique look is a huge advantage.
Because of this, having a unique look or archetype can make you stand out. I’m not saying you should fake who you are, but it pays to accentuate whatever makes you different or special (just like your mother told you).
Am I saying be fashionable? Sure. One of the changes I made was to ditch the polos and khakis for fitted T-shirts and skinny jeans. Rule 1 is to wear clothes that look good and fit well.
However, the danger is that if you follow the crowd too closely, you’ll fail to stand out. It’s funny because I see so many girls these days brag about being the basic bitch, but the problem with that is that they look the same as every other girl, which means they don’t stand out to guys, on top of sending an implicit signal they’re shallow and materialistic.
So again, I’m not saying you should be fake or artificially flamboyant in how you dress, but to whatever extent you can, develop a unique personal style that sets you apart from others. Play to your strengths; mask your weaknesses.
Going back to changes I made, in addition to changing my fashion, I got my ears pierced and wear gauges, got some tattoos (that I wanted and have personal meaning), and I wear a necklace and two rings. Now my fashion is congruent with who I am AND I stand out (lmao maybe not in Portland).
Oh, a final point here: if you dress either too informally or too formally, you’re cutting off a segment of the market. For example, I’m not going to talk to a woman wearing a super fancy power suit in a Starbucks, because she’s implicitly suggesting a level of power/wealth that I don’t possess nor care to engage with. I guess I see this most often with women, where it’s quite common to see ladies dressed so formally and fashionably that only a guy who’s exceedingly wealthy and crowned up would ever think of approaching her. Yeah, she looks good for sure, but 99% of guys are going to be too intimidated to say what’s up.
Obviously the reverse is true if you’re wearing a burlap sack.
#8: Be high energy, adventurous, sexy. And ditch the negative attitude.
Not just on dates, but in life.
Especially, however, on dates… I honestly don’t know if much more needs to be said about that, but no one likes a wet blanket. So no, I don’t want to talk about how you think guys are shitty, or why dating sucks, or why your job is crushing your soul.
Those things may be true, but it’s a date, not a therapy session. I want to find out about the woman I’m with–who she is, what she likes/dislikes, what makes her tick, etc.
And remember (guys are you paying attention), this isn’t a job interview. Don’t bombard her with questions like:
- What do you do for work?
- Where’d you go to college?
- Where’d you grow up?
- How many brothers or sisters do you have?
Instead, get creative and more metaphorical:
- What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
- Mountains or beach? Another permutation is tropical beach vacation, European tour, or Asian/African adventure?
- What’s your spirit animal? One girl I dated refused to answer this question on the grounds that it was disrespectful to native Americans… *sigh* don’t we have bigger problems? I’d also point out that European whites were at one time pagan… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- What famous or historical figures would you want at a dinner party?
The point is to have fun, be playful, and make things interesting.
Oh, and the last point: you need to break the touch barrier and be sexual. That can start with a playful push of the shoulder, a hand on a knee, holding hands, whatever–and you don’t necessarily have to kiss on the first date (although I generally think you should), but if it’s a date there should be a sexual rather than a friendly vibe.
#9: No long dinner dates. Coffee or drinks aren’t great either, unless…
I’ll eventually do a post on different kinds of dates–especially first dates–that are fun and active, but if you’re still going on long dinner dates, that needs to stop.
There are several reasons.
- It’s confrontational, as you are likely facing directly across from each other.
- It’s long. Dinner is usually going to take at least an hour, often longer on a date. That means having a long, drawn out conversation with someone you don’t know very well where the only thing to comment on is the food and/or drinks.
- It’s expensive. Maybe that’s OK if you split it, but as any single guy out there can tell you, no matter how woke and modern they claim to be, many women still expect the man to pay. And honestly, I don’t really care–remember how we talked about gender roles? On the other hand, I don’t really want to dish out $100 for a date with someone I barely know.
- There’s no movement. Humans aren’t meant to be stationary, and yet that’s exactly what a dinner date demands.
I’m not a fan of coffee or drinks either, even though they are less expensive and if there’s not a connection you can eject a lot faster. But if it’s carried out in the same manner, 1 and 4 still apply.
So instead of a sit down coffee, get your drink and then go for a walk. And if you’re getting drinks, go somewhere you can move around, play games, or at the very least bar hop and go to a few places. The movement breaks up the monotony of the date, and there’s evidence that it also leads to greater attraction because pheromones or something like that.
Other quick ideas: go for ice cream, attend an event, go to a museum… like I said I’ll have a whole blog/podcast at some point on this, but ditch the dinner date.
#10: Stop flaking and ghosting.
Another topic I have an entire blog and podcast on, but seriously, stop it.
Maybe the date didn’t go well and you don’t want to see that other person again. How about being a decent person and instead of ghosting them, just send a text that says, “hey, it was cool meeting you but I didn’t feel a strong connection (or insert whatever excuse it is), good luck out there and no hard feelings.”
Yeah, I’m sure some people will text back something dickish (especially guys–seriously dudes, that needs to stop… such a bad look), but if you ghost them it’s not any different. People like getting ignored even less than being disappointed, so if it’s fear of a negative response that makes you ghost people, it’s dumb and ineffective. It also robs you of the opportunity to think about why it was you weren’t attracted to that person because you never have to go through that thought exercise, and that is valuable in and of itself.
As far as flaking, it’s even worse, because in that case you don’t even know if there’s a connection. Seriously, some of the best dates I’ve gone on and some of the coolest women I’ve met were times when I thought long and hard about flaking. And look, I get it: maybe it’s been a long day, maybe you’re tired, maybe you’re in a shitty mood, maybe you’re just not feeling it–the thing is, if that person turns out to be fun and attractive, all those things are immediately erased.
On the other hand, if you flake, chances are that connection is dead. Because that person is probably moving on–whether they find someone else, don’t trust you’ll show up the second time, or just don’t like flaky people.
Also, on both of these points, it’s bad fucking karma. The world is a funny place and I won’t pretend to understand how it works, but what goes around comes around. Ghosting and flaking on people is shitty, and if you’re doing that regularly, soon enough it’s going to happen to you. And now that this is officially a thing in our society, studies show that people who behave this way have fewer and less meaningful relationships.
So do the right thing. It really isn’t that hard. If you don’t like someone or aren’t interested, just fucking say so–most of the time they’ll appreciate the honesty. And if you have a date at 7 and it’s 5:30, keep it. Just show up.
Because who knows? Maybe that person is the person.
(1) In my own experience this has been one of the biggest differences in dating and what most of the women I’ve dated say they find attractive about me: I’m assertive, dominant, powerful, decisive, and calm/stoic–not dickish or disrespectful, mind you, but manly.
I understand that may seem problematic in the era of #metoo, but here’s the thing–if I’m direct with my intentions there’s never any ambiguity, which means that women who aren’t interested say no far before there’s ever a problem. The other thing I’d add is that #metoo and the issue of sexual assault in modern society is more about men who abuse their power with women who work for or with them than it is about two people going on a date.