What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

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What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:40 am

OK, this is going to be a rant, so I understand if people don't want to read it.

I'm also going to vent my frustrations at another person's success, which I understand isn't healthy, so if you want to tell me to stop comparing myself to this person, go ahead and do it, although I don't think it'll be very effective.

Anyway, I'm talking about my roommate, and his incredible rates of romantic and sexual success, especially when I compare him to me.

I'm probably not the most objective person to judge my roommate's life, since I don't like the guy too much, but one thing always baffles me, and that's just how easily he gets dates and sex.

He's not very good looking. He has a beer belly, a receding hairline, and an average build and face.

He's also a boor, a huge (and loud) misogynist and a serial cheater. He frequently acts obnoxiously to people just to get a reaction out of them and troll them. He loves to argue and I have to admit that he's pretty good at it. He frequently defends indefensible ideas just for the sake of the argument, and he's able to trap anyone who tries to argue with him into contradictions by using various rhetorical tricks.

He's currently dating/having sex with three women at the same time, all of them good looking and clever. Granted, one of them is an insufferable perfectionist (which make me wonder why she's into him, since he's everything she claims to despise in a man) and another one has huge alcohol issues, but the third one is actually very nice and with an attractive personality.

He's also constantly getting phone numbers and dates with other women. Hell, he frequently complains about how much success he gets, since he says that he has too many women, too much sex and no time to study. He says that getting dates and sex is the easiest thing in the world, and for him, apparently, it's true. For me, however, dating is a confusing, hard field where I need help and things get frequently awkward.

Why does this guy has so much success? And why do I have so little success? Am I so much worse than him? While I'm not exactly a male model, I don't think I'm worse-looking than him, so this isn't about looks. I also like to think that I have a less boorish and more polite personality.

I know I'm not very confident, I apparently come off as "non-sexual" (whatever this means) and I'm not hitting on as many women as him.

So is his success all about confidence and a numbers' game? Or is there something about him or me that I can't see because I'm not being objective enough?

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by reboot on Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:02 am

There is probably a lot you cannot see about him or the women he is meeting because you are not objective enough.
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:58 am

reboot wrote:There is probably a lot you cannot see about him or the women he is meeting because you are not objective enough.

Yes, this is probably also true.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Werel on Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:18 pm

From what you describe, I agree with reboot; I also think your roommate might just be one of those common cases where a certain kind of antagonism can appeal to some people in the short term. What you're saying about arguing just to argue, and having rhetorical skill at it, can be both infuriating and relentlessly attractive. For a lot of people, tension is hot. Mild antagonism is hot. A bit of competition is hot. When a dude can step into the verbal ring with me and last a few rounds, it is hot. Friction is a type of connection, after all--there is a reason "hatefuck" is a word, but "apathyfuck" is not--and maybe your roommate is good at generating that kind of connection. From what you're describing, maybe he is just plain more charismatic than you (in a pushy-jerkoff kind of way), and charisma is a pretty big advantage in getting dates and having casual sex with people you don't know well. Sorry. Shrug

Also, on the physical front, I have found that hetero guys are sometimes kind of bad at judging how attractive other men are to women at large (maybe because they have off ideas about what women can find attractive, or they assume all women are into mainstream beauty, or because they miss those nebulous je-ne-sais-quoi hotness vibes that some people have). Receding hairlines and beer bellies pale in the face of a mischievous grin or good eye-game; charisma can easily trump conventional physical shortcomings for lots of folks, me included.

BUT: it also doesn't sound like the people he dates stick around that long. If he is indeed a misogynistic boor, a lot of people probably ditch out after that either becomes apparent, or the novelty/appeal of his initial charisma wears off. His model doesn't sound like anything to emulate if you want to form durable human connections with the people you're fucking. You can generate tension and connection and excitement in a non-antagonistic/competitive way, if that's not your style.

FINAL THOUGHT: looking at other dudes and going "why them and not me" is a thing that most folks are not good at hiding, and that kind of jealous resentment tends to repel anyone who's paying attention. I have never really interacted with a guy who went the "is he so much better than me??" route who I would have wanted to date or sleep with, largely because a) complaining about unfairness as a grown-ass adult indicates that you are not quite an adult yet, and b) if you're still comparing people using blanket terms like "better" or "worse," see "not quite an adult yet." Your dating life might be better served by focusing on ideas like "wow, I sure am glad I'm not a misogynistic boor!" and "it's so cool how many different flirting styles people can enjoy." A welcoming, self-assured, thoughtful vibe from a less aggressively charismatic/attention-grabbing guy can be really attractive; "bitter" is the polar opposite of welcoming, so just be mindful of that.
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by reboot on Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:34 pm

What Werel said. Especially on the short term nature of his relationships. Those relationships get into the visceral attraction thing where something like smell or gesture or hate fucking or any number of individual and quirky attractors come into play. You cannot predict what will catch someone's attention for a short term sexual relationship. I know a woman who had a fling with a guy she did not much like or respect because he had nice knuckles. Go figure?
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Guest on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:59 am

Werel wrote:
Also, on the physical front, I have found that hetero guys are sometimes kind of bad at judging how attractive other men are to women at large (maybe because they have off ideas about what women can find attractive, or they assume all women are into mainstream beauty, or because they miss those nebulous je-ne-sais-quoi hotness vibes that some people have).
Meh. Whose to say "women" don't have a tendency to overestimate the spectrum of what they're attracted to?

Werel wrote:a) complaining about unfairness as a grown-ass adult indicates that you are not quite an adult yet...
What's the line between complaining and acknowledging a disparity? I'm uncomfortable with framing this as a problem with a person's maturity because it's quite human/instinctual to express and feel discontent with lousy circumstances, without it having to be twisted into some kind of entitled, self-centered tantrum. Doubly so if you're been experiencing a dearth in positive romantic/sexual experiences over a lengthy duration. Unless you're suggesting (and I don't think you were) that people in general are fundamentally rational, and so don't/shouldn't complain full stop. It really only becomes a problem when it assumes some form of consistency from repetitiveness.

Werel wrote:b) if you're still comparing people using blanket terms like "better" or "worse," see "not quite an adult yet."
So there isn't a hierarchy when it comes to who is/isn't attractive? Those women who shack up with this guy for however long, do so because he is 'better'. For them.

[mod edit: fakely mctest]

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:54 am

Werel wrote:From what you describe, I agree with reboot; I also think your roommate might just be one of those common cases where a certain kind of antagonism can appeal to some people in the short term. What you're saying about arguing just to argue, and having rhetorical skill at it, can be both infuriating and relentlessly attractive. For a lot of people, tension is hot. Mild antagonism is hot. A bit of competition is hot. When a dude can step into the verbal ring with me and last a few rounds, it is hot. Friction is a type of connection, after all--there is a reason "hatefuck" is a word, but "apathyfuck" is not--and maybe your roommate is good at generating that kind of connection. From what you're describing, maybe he is just plain more charismatic than you (in a pushy-jerkoff kind of way), and charisma is a pretty big advantage in getting dates and having casual sex with people you don't know well. Sorry. Shrug

No need to be sorry. This is a legitimate opinion, and a rather reasonable one. The question then becomes: how can I become a little more charismatic, then? Should I do what he does and get into arguments for their argument's sake? I just don't like arguing, or creating friction and antagonism. I hate putting down people, or making anyone feel bad. Even when I want to offer criticism, I try to phrase it in a way which is encouraging and positive rather than harsh and negative. Maybe I'm too much of a people-pleaser, and that's what kills he attraction sometimes.

Also, on the physical front, I have found that hetero guys are sometimes kind of bad at judging how attractive other men are to women at large (maybe because they have off ideas about what women can find attractive, or they assume all women are into mainstream beauty, or because they miss those nebulous je-ne-sais-quoi hotness vibes that some people have). Receding hairlines and beer bellies pale in the face of a mischievous grin or good eye-game; charisma can easily trump conventional physical shortcomings for lots of folks, me included.

That's a fair assessment. As I said, I don't like the guy (in general, for many reasons, not just because he's more successful than me) so I probably don't see what other people see.

BUT: it also doesn't sound like the people he dates stick around that long. If he is indeed a misogynistic boor, a lot of people probably ditch out after that either becomes apparent, or the novelty/appeal of his initial charisma wears off. His model doesn't sound like anything to emulate if you want to form durable human connections with the people you're fucking. You can generate tension and connection and excitement in a non-antagonistic/competitive way, if that's not your style.

The question then is how. But that's probably a question best left for another thread.

FINAL THOUGHT: looking at other dudes and going "why them and not me" is a thing that most folks are not good at hiding, and that kind of jealous resentment tends to repel anyone who's paying attention. I have never really interacted with a guy who went the "is he so much better than me??" route who I would have wanted to date or sleep with, largely because a) complaining about unfairness as a grown-ass adult indicates that you are not quite an adult yet, and b) if you're still comparing people using blanket terms like "better" or "worse," see "not quite an adult yet." Your dating life might be better served by focusing on ideas like "wow, I sure am glad I'm not a misogynistic boor!" and "it's so cool how many different flirting styles people can enjoy." A welcoming, self-assured, thoughtful vibe from a less aggressively charismatic/attention-grabbing guy can be really attractive; "bitter" is the polar opposite of welcoming, so just be mindful of that.

Thanks for the tip. I didn't mean to phrase the question as a matter of fairness or bitterness: to me the question is merely about a comparison between wildly different rates of dating success and trying to look into what could cause them in order to correct my mistakes. Kind of like what you do when you assess different rates of academic success, or of success in your job. "Better" and "worse" simply mean "better and worse at dating/casual sex" (which is a statement of facts that can be measured), not "better and worse as a whole" (which is a judgment of value).

However if you caught this vibe it's possible that there is some subconscious sense of bitterness, so I need to work on that.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:29 am

reboot wrote:What Werel said. Especially on the short term nature of his relationships. Those relationships get into the visceral attraction thing where something like smell or gesture or hate fucking or any number of individual and quirky attractors come into play. You cannot predict what will catch someone's attention for a short term sexual relationship. I know a woman who had a fling with a guy she did not much like or respect because he had nice knuckles. Go figure?

OK, I understand this. The problem is: why don't I seem to get people who are viscerally attracted to me? Dating is becoming a chore (or a job) to me as I'm trying to understand which issues I have and to fix them to become better. I'm OK with putting effort, but only if it's effective. My roommate doesn't seem to put much effort into it, and yet he has success. Should I just do what he does, even if it's something that doesn't come natural to me?

If visceral attraction is basically random, shouldn't I get some women who are viscerally attracted to me? Or am I doing something that prevents women from being viscerally attracted to me?

It's all so confusing and complicated. Isn't dating supposed to be fun?

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by reboot on Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:03 am

Not everyone gets those reactions or gets them from people where it is appropriate for the other person to act on them. They also tend to be relatively rare (has happened to me maybe 5-6 times and only once with someone I could actually act on it - I was rejected). It is also incredibly random, at least when it happens to me, none of these men had anything in common besides being men. You also have no idea if someone has felt this about you because it might have been someone who could not act on it for a variety of reasons (e.g. married, a teacher, is 40 years older and feared rejection). Do not fixate on this as something to work on because it cannot be manipulated.

Your roommate might be good at pinging on all the levels Werel mentioned and is out and about enough to run into women who might ping on him randomly. He, as Werel said, is probably good at building sexual tension and connection and reading those signs in others. Those are learnable skills but it is going to require you going out a lot, trying a lot, and failing a lot. My guess is your roommate has been practicing and using these skills for a while, possibly since junior high, and had (and continues to have) many failures along with his successful efforts to meet women. You are only seeing and hearing about the successes, though, and are not seeing the full picture.
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:08 am

reboot wrote:Not everyone gets those reactions or gets them from people where it is appropriate for the other person to act on them. They also tend to be relatively rare (has happened to me maybe 5-6 times and only once with someone I could actually act on it - I was rejected). It is also incredibly random, at least when it happens to me, none of these men had anything in common besides being men. You also have no idea if someone has felt this about you because it might have been someone who could not act on it for a variety of reasons (e.g. married, a teacher, is 40 years older and feared rejection). Do not fixate on this as something to work on because it cannot be manipulated.

OK, I won't.

Your roommate might be good at pinging on all the levels Werel mentioned and is out and about enough to run into women who might ping on him randomly. He, as Werel said, is probably good at building sexual tension and connection and reading those signs in others. Those are learnable skills but it is going to require you going out a lot, trying a lot, and failing a lot. My guess is your roommate has been practicing and using these skills for a while, possibly since junior high, and had (and continues to have) many failures along with his successful efforts to meet women. You are only seeing and hearing about the successes, though, and are not seeing the full picture.

Yes, you're probably right. If he's been practicing for a while it's natural that it comes easier to him, so I shouldn't fixate on this, either.

Thank you for your wise advice. I'll remind myself of this to stop comparing myself to him.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by fakely mctest on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:40 pm

[mod]

Hermit, the first part of your comment is straight up doing that thing where you're telling women that they're wrong/lying when they talk about what they want. Cut it out.

I've also edited your comment to take out the serial killer/pedophile reference and the snarky gif. There is a world of difference between what werel said and the place you took it. Joking about those two topics is not cool or acceptable and hyperbole along those lines is not helpful advice for the OP.

[/mod]

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by reboot on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:42 pm

Glad it was helpful, DazedandConfused. I know it is hard not to compare yourself to others, especially people you do not like who seem to succeed at things you struggle with.
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by fakely mctest on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:08 pm

Are you in college? I ask because you mentioned his complaints about his studies and also the fact that you have a roommate you don't like but moving out doesn't seem to be an option.

(BTW, moving out can totally be an option to explore if you're in college, you just have to talk to the housing people. If this guy is getting on your last nerve and creating a toxic home environment that is a thing that you can do!)

If you are in school, a few things to keep in mind that were my observations/experiences in Ye Olden Days when I was in school:

1. My dating/hookup choices in college were all over the place, including some people who, in retrospect, were pretty toxic. It would have been ill-advised for anyone to look at my choices with the purpose of divining What Women Want or even What Fakely Wants. College was a big, fat experiment that involved a lot of trial and error.

2. His dating/hookup experiences aren't a referendum on you. It's not like you knew/wanted to date these women, right? They didn't choose him OVER you, they just chose him. Very rarely (outside of movies!) do people even get into a situation where they have to choose one person instead of another.

3. I had a couple of friends who were roommates who were basically in this frenemy-like competition with each other (usually over women, but also over how much they could bench-press). They'd each go out of their way to hook up with women the other liked as a form of one-upmanship. They became increasingly obsessed with external validation and these stereotypical status markers and ended up making themselves kind of miserable in the process. When he complains about juggling SO MANY WOMEN OMG CAN'T STUDY I think your roommate may be trying to play that sort of game with you. The way you win that is not to play. Practice making noncommittal noises. He likely wants attention for his prowess because one of the cornerstones of toxic masculinity is that if other men aren't impressed/jealous then your achievements don't count. Make it a personal project to opt out of that nonsense.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:01 pm

fakely mctest wrote:Are you in college?  I ask because you mentioned his complaints about his studies and also the fact that you have a roommate you don't like but moving out doesn't seem to be an option.

(BTW, moving out can totally be an option to explore if you're in college, you just have to talk to the housing people.  If this guy is getting on your last nerve and creating a toxic home environment that is a thing that you can do!)

I signed a contract for the entire year. Moving out isn't an option unless I can afford to pay a huge fine. And I can't.

It's fine, though, I can survive the bad environment, I just have to learn how. I consider this a test for my patience, and a chance to deal better with my issues. In a weird way, if I can learn to deal with him and with my bad feelings I'm pretty sure I can use what I'm learning to deal with annoying colleagues/relatives/neighbors/acquaintances in the future.

2. His dating/hookup experiences aren't a referendum on you.  It's not like you knew/wanted to date these women, right?  They didn't choose him OVER you, they just chose him.  Very rarely (outside of movies!) do people even get into a situation where they have to choose one person instead of another.

You're right. But, see my answer to your next quote.

3. I had a couple of friends who were roommates who were basically in this frenemy-like competition with each other (usually over women, but also over how much they could bench-press).  They'd each go out of their way to hook up with women the other liked as a form of one-upmanship.  They became increasingly obsessed with external validation and these stereotypical status markers and ended up making themselves kind of miserable in the process.  When he complains about juggling SO MANY WOMEN OMG CAN'T STUDY I think your roommate may be trying to play that sort of game with you.  The way you win that is not to play.  Practice making noncommittal noises.  He likely wants attention for his prowess because one of the cornerstones of toxic masculinity is that if other men aren't impressed/jealous then your achievements don't count.  Make it a personal project to opt out of that nonsense.

Yeah that's the thing. I wish he'd just stop and mind his own business. I would only be very mildly envious of his success if he didn't go out of his way to show me how easy it is to hook up and get dates. The thing is that it's not so easy to me, and being repeatedly told how easy it is depresses me (because I keep thinking "how bad do I have to be to screw up something that's so easy?").

It's a very rude and boorish thing to do. I'm better than him at some things (chess, academia) but I don't go around telling him "Oh, playing chess is so incredibly easy!" or "Everyone can be a grade A student with very little effort". First because I don't think that those things are "easy", and second because I don't see the point in doing that, unless you want to get under someone's skin. Which is something that I don't like. I hate being teased, or mocked, or challenged, and I don't like teasing or mocking or challenging others. I like helping people, encouraging them, complimenting them, offering support if they want it, and appreciating one another.

I don't see the point in hitting each other in our vulnerable spots. When he asked for my help for an exam, I helped him gladly, even if I don't like him, and I wasn't condescending or snooty about it, because I know how obnoxious that behavior is. I don't think of myself as being better than him just because he needed my help. Everyone needs someone's help at times, nobody can be great at everything. People helping other people is what makes the world turn. Even geniuses needed help at times.

I have to practice not caring, which is very hard for me because I care a lot about what others think of me and I take mocking and teasing very personally. I'm sure that my room mate doesn't care enough about me to deliberately hurt me, but every time he says "oooh, hooking up is so easy" all I hear is "and you, Dazed, are such a loser for having to deal with your dating problems".

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by fakely mctest on Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:04 pm

DazedAndConfused wrote:I signed a contract for the entire year. Moving out isn't an option unless I can afford to pay a huge fine. And I can't.

It's fine, though, I can survive the bad environment, I just have to learn how. I consider this a test for my patience, and a chance to deal better with my issues. In a weird way, if I can learn to deal with him and with my bad feelings I'm pretty sure I can use what I'm learning to deal with annoying colleagues/relatives/neighbors/acquaintances in the future.

That's a good way to think of it if you're stuck in a bad situation! I was just thinking you could use even the possibility of leaving as a pressure valve so even if it doesn't get bad enough to ACTUALLY leave you still know you COULD. Is subletting an option? I'd assumed you lived in campus housing (which is my bad, that's all there was because my school was teeny and rural).

DazedAndConfused wrote:Yeah that's the thing. I wish he'd just stop and mind his own business. I would only be very mildly envious of his success if he didn't go out of his way to show me how easy it is to hook up and get dates. The thing is that it's not so easy to me, and being repeatedly told how easy it is depresses me (because I keep thinking "how bad do I have to be to screw up something that's so easy?").

I don't know if it's helpful in reframing his behavior, but, most often with this type of behavior, it's not about making the other person feel bad per se (unless he's said something along those lines, in which case you're well within your rights to tell him to cut it out), it's about seeking validation from other dudes.

DazedAndConfused wrote:I don't see the point in hitting each other in our vulnerable spots. When he asked for my help for an exam, I helped him gladly, even if I don't like him, and I wasn't condescending or snooty about it, because I know how obnoxious that behavior is. I don't think of myself as being better than him just because he needed my help. Everyone needs someone's help at times, nobody can be great at everything. People helping other people is what makes the world turn. Even geniuses needed help at times.

This is an admirable impulse, it just might be misplaced with this guy. You're roommates, not buddies, and his behavior is hurtful to you. I used to go out of my way to help basically everyone; over time, I learned to distance myself from those who either gladly took my help without offering anything in return or had a habit of hurting me, whether purposefully or not. Once I started doing that: purposefully minimizing my interactions with people that made me feel crappy, I felt loads better about myself. When I realized I couldn't "niceness and helping" people into not acting like jerks to me the residual guilt I felt about being like, "Sorry, I can't," lessened bit by bit before it basically disappeared. There must be a friend who can help this guy with his work and if not, formal tutors are a thing that exists in the universe.

To me, there are a couple of potential solutions that you can implement right now: either have a conversation with him about how the way he talks about his lovelife is painful to you -- and this is scary because it requires you to be a bit vulnerable with this dude -- and ask him to tone it down or avoid the subject when he talks to you. OR you can just back way away from him: consider spending more time outside the apartment (bookstore? coffee shop? library? outside when it's nice? my school had lots of fun nooks and crannies that I liked to seek out) and make a conscious effort to reframe your relationship as one more akin to coworkers.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:42 pm

I don't know if it's helpful in reframing his behavior, but, most often with this type of behavior, it's not about making the other person feel bad per se (unless he's said something along those lines, in which case you're well within your rights to tell him to cut it out), it's about seeking validation from other dudes.

It's very helpful, actually. It helps me realize that I've been self-centered and assumed that he has it for me, while actually it's much more likely that he needs validation, as you said, so he doesn't really care about what's going on in my life but just wants to feel liked or admired. Which is something that I can understand, although since I'm not his personal psychological trainer I can't give him the validation that he wants.

People actually rarely care so much about what I think and what I'm going through. They're more likely to care more about what they think and what they're going through. That's not selfish, just human. Hell, I do it all the time (maybe even too much).

There must be a friend who can help this guy with his work and if not, formal tutors are a thing that exists in the universe.

Yes, it's not like I'm helping him again,not after he's been such a dick. I haven't signed a contract about helping him, so if he asks me for help again I'm just going to say to him that I'm busy.

After all just like I'm not entitled to other people's attention, neither are other people entitled to my attention. I can reject others, too, I don't need to be always there for everyone.

To me, there are a couple of potential solutions that you can implement right now: either have a conversation with him about how the way he talks about his lovelife is painful to you -- and this is scary because it requires you to be a bit vulnerable with this dude -- and ask him to tone it down or avoid the subject when he talks to you. OR you can just back way away from him: consider spending more time outside the apartment (bookstore? coffee shop? library? outside when it's nice? my school had lots of fun nooks and crannies that I liked to seek out) and make a conscious effort to reframe your relationship as one more akin to coworkers.

I think I'm going with the second choice. I don't like or trust this guy enough to be emotionally vulnerable with him. In general I don't like showing my weaknesses to people I don't like or trust: the world doesn't deserve to know everything about me. Some things are best kept secret except to close friends and loved ones. I'll try to get more out of the house and to be less of a buddy and more of an acquaintance/coworker to him.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Enail on Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:53 pm

As well as so as not to feel as much envy, another advantage to trying not to compare yourself to him too much is that there are lots of different ways to flirt and to attract people, and the way that comes naturally to him probably wouldn't be the right way for you. Of course it would be nice to have that mysterious out-of-nowhere-seeming ping, and it's frustrating to see someone doing easily something you struggle with, but the fact that you can't (and it sounds like wouldn't really want to) replicate his whatever-it-is, that doesn't mean that there isn't a way for you to be attractive, it just means that you'll need to find your own path. You are who you are, and your way of attracting people will probably come from who that is, some new way of bringing out your existing qualities or slightly shifting the ways of interacting that are authentic to you, rather than putting on someone else's suit.
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Werel on Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:24 pm

DazedAndConfused, I think fakely is probably spot-on about why your roommate is behaving that way and all her advice is awesome, but I also want to say that it sounds like you've got a pretty good attitude towards the whole situation with him; it's commendable that you've wanted to be helpful to him, but this is the guy who eats all your food, right? You're completely off the hook for being anything but civil. Laughing

As for this,
DazedAndConfused wrote:The question then becomes: how can I become a little more charismatic, then? Should I do what he does and get into arguments for their argument's sake? I just don't like arguing, or creating friction and antagonism. I hate putting down people, or making anyone feel bad. Even when I want to offer criticism, I try to phrase it in a way which is encouraging and positive rather than harsh and negative. Maybe I'm too much of a people-pleaser, and that's what kills he attraction sometimes.
I don't think you ought to try and lift his charisma style wholesale (that almost never works!); you'll probably just end up feeling like/being a mean jerk if you try antagonistic-flirting when it's entirely outside your skillset and comfort zone. As for what flirting style might work for you/how to become more charismatic to the people you're into: hm. I guess it depends very heavily on how you feel inclined to behave around women you're attracted to, and what type of people they are. Are the women your roommate dates and the women you'd like to date particularly similar, or do you find yourself drawn to really different archetypes? We can help brainstorm interaction styles that could be appealing to different kinds of folks, but it's hard to do that with a general "women."

HermitTheToad wrote:
Meh. Whose to say "women" don't have a tendency to overestimate the spectrum of what they're attracted to?
The mod comment here stands, but if you replace "women" with "people," that could be a reasonable question-- but what's the theoretical motivation to overestimate how many kinds of people you're attracted to? Sure, I've met the occasional person who claims they're into "all kinds of people" when they actually mean "all kinds of movie stars and models," but I don't know that there's enough social capital awarded for having diverse tastes that it's often worth lying about, even to oneself.

HermitTheToad wrote:
Werel wrote:a) complaining about unfairness as a grown-ass adult indicates that you are not quite an adult yet...
What's the line between complaining and acknowledging a disparity? I'm uncomfortable with framing this as a problem with a person's maturity because it's quite human/instinctual to express and feel discontent with lousy circumstances, without it having to be twisted into some kind of entitled, self-centered tantrum. Doubly so if you're been experiencing a dearth in positive romantic/sexual experiences over a lengthy duration. Unless you're suggesting (and I don't think you were) that people in general are fundamentally rational, and so don't/shouldn't complain full stop. It really only becomes a problem when it assumes some form of consistency from repetitiveness.
Sorry, could have been clearer in my phrasing-- I'm referring to lamenting fundamental, unchangeable unfairnesses like "she was born with prettier hair than me" or "he has great knuckles and I don't, IT'S NOT FAIR" (most hilarious rationale for a fling ever, reboot), with the implication that there is some injustice in the fact that people have different inborn advantages. I'm not talking about expressing sadness or frustration that your hair is less pretty or knuckles less great than you'd like, and certainly not saying that feeling lonely or romantically frustrated as a result of one's lousy knuckles is a sign of immaturity. It's framing these things in terms of fairness, as if there is some cosmic force overseeing everyone's genetic dice-rolls which is obligated to ensure equitable distribution, that comes off bratty. (Not that DazedAndConfused was necessarily doing this--just to answer your general question.)

HermitTheToad wrote:So there isn't a hierarchy when it comes to who is/isn't attractive? Those women who shack up with this guy for however long, do so because he is 'better'. For them.
Right-- "better" and "worse" as overarching, universally applicable terms is the silly thing. Like OP said, he just meant "better at casual sex/dating," whereas I was objecting to comparing people using "better"/"worse" on the whole. The roommate may be "better [at being initially appealing to a given subset of women around him]", but he's not "better [as a person overall]". There's also definitely a hierarchy of who's attractive in any one person's eyes, but that hierarchy rarely transfers perfectly to other folks-- if e.g. I ranked the 5 most attractive people in one of my classes, then asked any straight female classmate to do the same, I doubt our lists would be the same.
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by fakely mctest on Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:37 pm

Werel wrote:this is the guy who eats all your food, right?

If so he has certainly violated the first and most sacrosanct rule of roommating and you should burn him to the ground. Grin

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:00 pm

Werel wrote:DazedAndConfused, I think fakely is probably spot-on about why your roommate is behaving that way and all her advice is awesome, but I also want to say that it sounds like you've got a pretty good attitude towards the whole situation with him; it's commendable that you've wanted to be helpful to him, but this is the guy who eats all your food, right? You're completely off the hook for being anything but civil. Laughing

I've helped him before he ate my food. Laughing He's stopped doing that after I started labeling all my stuff with my name ("Dazed's milk", "Dazed's Eggs", etc.) and I've put up a "list of Dazed's stuff" on the fridge. In case he asked, I'd have said to him that it's a helpful list to plan my grocery shopping and not to get confused and accidentally eat his stuff. He didn't ask, just stopped eating my stuff. I think he got the hint.

I don't think you ought to try and lift his charisma style wholesale (that almost never works!); you'll probably just end up feeling like/being a mean jerk if you try antagonistic-flirting when it's entirely outside your skillset and comfort zone. As for what flirting style might work for you/how to become more charismatic to the people you're into: hm. I guess it depends very heavily on how you feel inclined to behave around women you're attracted to, and what type of people they are. Are the women your roommate dates and the women you'd like to date particularly similar, or do you find yourself drawn to really different archetypes? We can help brainstorm interaction styles that could be appealing to different kinds of folks, but it's hard to do that with a general "women."

Most of them aren't. He likes party girls or girls who are very sophisticated and stylish. There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm more into people who are more approachable and nerdy/bookish. There's a huge overlap between those two broad categories, though. I don't mind going to parties or drinking, and most women we know aren't completely one way or the other.

In general what I seem to find attractive, personality-wise, is a woman who is down to earth but who is either a nerdy/bookish type or has a strong passion for some kind of art or music, or for some kind of political/social cause. I like to party but I'm not big on getting drunk every night or going club golfing.

I prefer a woman who is comfortable talking about art, movies or music in a quiet Irish pub before we can go out for a karaoke night or (why not?) some dancing or a concert to a woman who is ready to hit the dance floor from the start. I'm also not big on drugs. I don't judge people who use them or used them but I'm not interesting in trying them, or in spending time with people when they're high.

I also find a sarcastic and slightly biting sense of humor very attractive in a woman. I love women who love black humor and/or surrealist humor.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Prajnaparamita on Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:23 pm

Hey Dazed, I have another interpretation for why this dude might be able to attract the sexual partners he does, that comes from my own experiences hooking up with and being attracted to some just objectively terrible men. (That I'm really not proud of, so be prepared for some cringe here lol)

We humans, just in general, really like to be right, and it's well demonstrated that we're quite good at going along with cognitive biases that reinforce our sense of rightness. It just feels damn good, you know, to be right about stuff! Even when... What you like to think you're right about isn't actually true and it's actively harming you.

See, I always saw myself as the ugly, unlovable nerd who no man would ever be interested it. That's the identity I formed in middle school and high school. It came from a mix of being a bit of a late bloomer, socially awkward, and struggling with shame about my diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum. And, because I took that to be a truth about myself, it's something that I would continuously work to make true, something that I would try, time and time again, to prove myself right about. And you know what's a really great way to prove yourself right that "no man will ever be interested in you"? Go after men that are emotionally unavailable and uninterested in you, (and anyone or anything other than themselves,) and then continue the exercise by rubbing salt in your wounds by continuing to sleep with them long after you've realized that they really don't give a shit about you and are never going to change. Rinse and repeat while your friends make a chorus of "Really Prajna?! Again?!"

It's horrible, I know. And it's something I'm working on with my therapist, trying to stop the cycle of self loathing and the seeking out of asshole men who seem to prove the self loathing right. But that's one reason I could think of for why he manages to attract women (who, from the sounds of it, all likely deal with self-esteem or mental health issues of their own, what with the perfectionism and the alcohol abuse). Anyway Dazed, you seem like a kind person, so I just want to say... What he's doing--it's not worth it. You really, really don't want to replicate the kind of relationships he's having, if this is what's really going on. And, if it's any comfort, if what I've described is in any way accurate to what's going on with him, these woman probably aren't really attracted to him. I mean for me, when I seek out those asshole men, I'm not really attracted to them per se (though I do have a pretty damn good Pavlovian response down  where I respond to arrogance, aloofness, combativeness, total lack of empathy and disrespect with pantsfeels and romantic sighs) I'm just using them as walking, talking manifestations of my jerkbrain, and they're actually pretty interchangeable. As soon as I swear off one, I just find another self-absorbed to project my self esteem issues onto and wait for the inevitable fallout. That's not real connection or attraction, and you deserve better than that, I hope you know that.

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Werel on Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:52 pm

DazedAndConfused wrote:He didn't ask, just stopped eating my stuff. I think he got the hint.
Oh good, glad that approach worked out!

DazedAndConfused wrote:In general what I seem to find attractive, personality-wise, is a woman who is down to earth but who is either a nerdy/bookish type or has a strong passion for some kind of art or music, or for some kind of political/social cause. I like to party but I'm not big on getting drunk every night or going club golfing.

I prefer a woman who is comfortable talking about art, movies or music in a quiet Irish pub before we can go out for a karaoke night or (why not?) some dancing or a concert to a woman who is ready to hit the dance floor from the start.
Those are some good starting points! Presumably you've already gone the route of joining movie clubs/political orgs/drawing groups/whatever stuff you most enjoy, where you might meet like-minded women? Or is the problem not meeting the right people, but trouble taking it to the flirting level once you meet someone you're into?

BTW, karaoke: this is very much a thing you can turn into sexual energy. Find Your Song and do a few practice runs putting your heart into it (either goofy or serious, both can work, though a kind of performative fake earnestness can cover both bases effectively). I had a buddy who was not a great singer or dancer but had a whole faux-80s-suave choreographed bit for New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle," and the couple of times I saw him do it at karaoke, he melted everybody in the room.

DazedAndConfused wrote:I also find a sarcastic and slightly biting sense of humor very attractive in a woman. I love women who love black humor and/or surrealist humor.
Do you have a similar sense of humor? Can you do dueling-jokes banter? That can be a good way to build tension sans antagonism, if it's about co-constructing a really absurd hypothetical, or riffing off each other's jokes. Or do you just appreciate those qualities without sharing them?
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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by fakely mctest on Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:03 pm

Oh, Prajna, your post reminded me immediately of the excellent Toast humor piece/slice of realness from a couple days ago: Things I Have Mistaken For A Personality Trait Or Love Over The Years, Both In Others And In Myself, Usually To My Own Detriment

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Prajnaparamita on Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:08 pm

fakely mctest wrote:Oh, Prajna, your post reminded me immediately of the excellent Toast humor piece/slice of realness from a couple days ago: Things I Have Mistaken For A Personality Trait Or Love Over The Years, Both In Others And In Myself, Usually To My Own Detriment

Haha that was great, and pretty damn true! I imagine that might have been the reason for why my therapist seemed to be at the verge of giggles when I started describing to her my taste in men--I'm basically the cliche of going after bad boys for bad reason it's almost hilarious! Oh well, all the better to make a joke of it then!

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Re: What's so special about my roommate? (rant)

Post by Wondering on Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:30 pm

DazedAndConfused wrote:I've helped him before he ate my food.  Laughing He's stopped doing that after I started labeling all my stuff with my name ("Dazed's milk", "Dazed's Eggs", etc.) and I've put up a "list of Dazed's stuff" on the fridge. In case he asked, I'd have said to him that it's a helpful list to plan my grocery shopping and not to get confused and accidentally eat his stuff. He didn't ask, just stopped eating my stuff. I think he got the hint.

Oh, good. I'm sooo glad that worked. Yay!

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