"Neanderthals" [DISC]

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Post by Werel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:42 pm

Edit: whoops most of this got said, that's what I get for taking too long to write a post

nearly_takuan wrote:
So after all that, does this seem like a plausible explanation for why someone who thinks things through even less than I do might arrive at a "neanderthals" mindset? Was there any point in me going through my life story? Razz

Yes and yes. Razz

Mel wrote:2. The girlfriend may be into that kind of behavior (because she enjoys drinking, smoking, bad puns, etc.) and see it as harmless, and isn't noticing other people who are being made uncomfortable by it, and so isn't recognizing anything jerkish is going on.

This seems pretty plausible. It's hard work to facilitate hangouts between people with different interactional styles and social norms, and sometimes discomfort will go unnoticed or untended. A lot of the time, the needs of the least squeaky wheel get overlooked-- and takuan, I might take a wild guess that you're a wheel who's essentially good-natured (or averse to being burdensome) enough to shut up after a couple of squeaks.

OneTrueGuest wrote:As to the rest of it, I dunno, have you ever considered that maybe these girls aren't the ones you should be pursuing in the first place?

I got the impression that these were friends whose choices you were annoyed with, not romantic interests-- is that right? I've certainly been pissy at friends for choosing to date people with personality types I disliked, and I think it's just human (rather than a particular failure of empathy, or underlying jealousy).

eselle28 wrote:That part I do sympathize with. Where I tend to lose the feeling is at the point where the person departs from distinguishing personal dislike and disappointment and heads toward systematizing it into an alternate moral system and then pointing it at other people, whether they be the supposed Neanderthals or women who may prefer dating them.

Yes. Confusing differing preferences for moral failings is so scary.

Re: failure of empathy towards people with different personalities/lifestyles: none of takuan's annoyance at repeatedly being offered substances seemed like a judgment of those who chose to partake (which I'm sensitive to, so I'd probably ferret it out if it were there Razz)-- rather, it sounds like annoyance at having a boundary crossed again and again, and not having your choices about your body respected (which I can also sympathize with, having been a straightedge kid who constantly got offered drugs). I do wonder whether use or non-use of substances is one of those tropes which is so pervasive that it's become almost integral to the "Neanderthal" narrative, though; seems like "drunken" is a common descriptor in the "cocky alpha jock asshole" vein. Because that's an easy one to transmute from "preference" into "moral failing."
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:55 pm

Mel wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:But I am the guy who can't help feeling just a tiny bit vindicated when I make the observation: "Dude is a guy who either has no sense of other people's boundaries or enjoys pushing them, and Friend has some pretty firm boundaries and for good reason," and four to six months later I never see Dude again.

Doesn't that indicate, though, that being respectful of boundaries is a baseline (for that woman) for dating, and that it just took her time to figure out that this guy was disrespectful of boundaries for whatever reason (because he came across as respectful in other ways/she chalked it up to cluelessness rather than disrespect/???)? I mean, if she was perfectly happy with everything about him, then presumably she wouldn't have broken up with him. It's always easier to notice the flaws in someone when you're watching from outside the relationship.

I definitely get that it's frustrating to feel that he's being given at least a chance to date despite his flaws whereas yours seem to be stopping you completely, but giving someone a chance/the benefit of the doubt is different from not valuing a characteristic at all.

Yes. Exactly. All of that. Not just the bit I bolded.

I think the best sides of my own character aren't really visible until the other person has spent a certain amount of time in my company. I suspect if I was the kind of person that the kind of person I am calls an asshole, I wouldn't think twice about coercing (or what I see as coercing) another person to spend that amount of time in my company. I suspect there exists a nontrivial subset of my would-be "targets" who would thence decide my good qualities are worth dating, if only for a short time. I suspect people like Aaronson feel more or less the same way. I suspect he and I are both a bit misguided, and I haven't done a good enough job red-teaming myself on all this. Wink

Put yet another way: it's hard to get a job when nobody will call you for a brief screen, let alone an interview, and that's all the more frustrating when you feel like you've already applied to every job posting on the planet and nobody you know can think of (or is willing to point out) a good reason why your current resume wouldn't be competitive. (Having also been in that situation in a literal sense until a couple months ago when suddenly invitations to interview came flooding through my inbox, I can attest that of course there is also a significant element of luck involved.)
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:59 pm

I guess I just come at it from a different perspective because as the teen who did absolutely no drugs and didn't drink a drop of alcohol at parties, when people pushed that stuff on me I wasn't offended by it.  I think it depends on the pushing.  Yeah people really would try time and time again but it was all good natured, it wasn't a diss, they didn't call me names when I said no, they just could not understand why on earth I'd say no.  They truly thought I was having a miserable time at the party without using substances and wanted to make me have a fun time.  And because they were never aggressive, because they never teased me, because they never did other negative things, the pushing never got to me.  And see that's what to me is missing from NT's story.  From the facts as laid out yes they kept repeatedly pushing at his boundaries, and we are all allowed to have them and if for him that is annoying in and of itself then that is his right to feel that way.  But for me I kept waiting for the part where the dudebros were mocking him, were putting him down for his lack of participation were essentially saying any of the things to him that he has been saying about them to us.  He said nothing but bad things about these guys and to me out of the two groups, he's the one jumping to the bigger negative conclusion about people than they are.  And I think that that's pretty ironic since evidently he's supposed to be the good one and they're the guys he doesn't understand why his friends date due to no redeemable characteristics.

Again, all this is based on what NT has told us.  And I will concede bias in that I don't share the idea that pushing kindly at my boundaries, even if it is repeatedly, is that big a deal.  It's like a fly, annoying but harmless.  So I can concede that if for NT such kind of boundary pushing really is harmful to him, that in that case he would have such negative feelings about those guys.  But I guess I also ask myself if that is so harmful to him, why is he hanging out consistently with these guys, and has he had a real one on one sit down in a sober situation to explain that it really is a big deal for him with those guys.

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Post by eselle28 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:07 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
I think the best sides of my own character aren't really visible until the other person has spent a certain amount of time in my company. I suspect if I was the kind of person that the kind of person I am calls an asshole, I wouldn't think twice about coercing (or what I see as coercing) another person to spend that amount of time in my company. I suspect there exists a nontrivial subset of my would-be "targets" who would thence decide my good qualities are worth dating, if only for a short time. I suspect people like Aaronson feel more or less the same way. I suspect he and I are both a bit misguided, and I haven't done a good enough job red-teaming myself on all this. Wink

I'm glad you added that last sentence, because I shuddered when reading the others. Are your friends actually being coerced to spend time in the company of the men who become their future boyfriends? Because, to me, what it sounds like is that they're looking for men who have the combination of fairly brash personalities and an enjoyment of a certain kind of socializing but who don't bump against their boundaries, which strikes me as a valid set of preferences that probably requires some searching for people in their middle 20s to find. The first two traits are easy to see, while the third is harder. A man who has a different set of personality traits but who has good boundaries doesn't get a chance to show his good qualities because he doesn't have the specific good qualities they're looking for. This discussion is edging very close to talking about women as if they don't know what they want. I find this troublesome, particularly if we're using examples of women who are making very consistent choices.

EDIT: I think it's also worth considering that men who are quiet, introspective, nerdy, or pretty much whatever other trait you want to fill can also have poor boundaries or be assholes. Those men do sometimes coerce women into spending time with them. From both personal observation and the many complaints about creeping and Nice Guying, it doesn't seem as if these strategies work well at convincing women to change their minds.

Put yet another way: it's hard to get a job when nobody will call you for a brief screen, let alone an interview, and that's all the more frustrating when you feel like you've already applied to every job posting on the planet and nobody you know can think of (or is willing to point out) a good reason why your current resume wouldn't be competitive. (Having also been in that situation in a literal sense until a couple months ago when suddenly invitations to interview came flooding through my inbox, I can attest that of course there is also a significant element of luck involved.)

Can we not use this comparison? It goes to really bad places really quickly.


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Post by Enail on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:10 pm

<mod>Folks, whether or not a boundary-pushing act is well-meaning or generally socially accepted, I think we can all agree that it can be unpleasant. I hope we can also all agree that  there's a level of annoyance or dislike that one might reasonably decide is worth putting up with in order to participate in certain social situations without trying to change them, and not put people posting here in a position of having to defend that choice or their dislike of boundary-pushing behavior, especially when their complaints are in the context of trying to analyze and explain a mindset for the benefit of the thread. Thanks. </mod>
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:14 pm

What I also find interesting, NT, is that you admit that it takes people a long time to get to know the real you. Now for you (and honestly I'm pretty similar so I get it so I'll say and like me too) this means you might have an offputting exterior but a delightful interior. Can you not then use your own acknowledgment of the complexity of your outer self not matching your inner self with the men that maybe some women end up with who end up being not so great. Except they are the reverse. Such men often have a delightful exterior, they have qualities that make them seem fun and engaging, they seem to truly think the woman they are interested are just the bee's knees. But once the woman starts to date him and get to know him it's exactly the same as with you, they learn about who they really are. In this case, not so great guys who push too much at their boundaries.

Maybe you could have a bit more empathy for people in general who make decisions based on what they get to know surface level and then change their minds when they get a bit deeper. After all, these friends of yours eventually did end it with these guys. So it isn't like they actually liked those flaws. But just as people can't see the good in you at first, there are guys where people can't see the bad in them at first.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:19 pm

Enail - since that was aimed at me I can say absolutely yes I can drop it. I never meant to criticise people's boundaries, I guess I wanted to try to show the other side of things. Maybe because I've gotten to know a lot of awesome bro guys who I initially assumed pretty negative things about just in the same way NT does. These guys are not bad people, nor are they generally stupid people. They just have a completely different set of social values, and don't see where the harm is. I think sometimes the judgments made by nerds about jocks can be just as nasty and unkind as the stereotype judgments make of nerds. Kind of like that episode of the BIG BANG THEORY where Penny is dating that stupid but sweet jock (forget his name, he ends up dressing up as Superman with them) and all the guys start making fun of how stupid he is directly to his face and Penny calls them out on it.

Anyway, I sincerely did not mean to judge the boundaries people put up, nor force people into boundary defense. I apologise for doing so.

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Post by Enail on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:20 pm

OneTrueGuest wrote:
Maybe you could have a bit more empathy for people in general who make decisions based on what they get to know surface level and then change their minds when they get a bit deeper. After all, these friends of yours eventually did end it with these guys.  So it isn't like they actually liked those flaws.  But just as people can't see the good in you at first, there are guys where people can't see the bad in them at first.  

I'd actually say it makes more sense to unlink the two. The people who would appreciate those guys' good points can see those good points; maybe they can't see their flaws or maybe they think they're tolerable flaws (at first, at least). It sounds like the people who would appreciate NT's good points don't get to see them as easily - a common problem for quiet or reserved people! - but the people who would appreciate them may or may not be the same ones who appreciate those guys. When it comes down to it, those guys' successes likely don't have all that much to do with NT's difficulties.
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:26 pm

I think though we're talking about two different things.  My point was more simple, that he couldn't understand why a girl would date a guy who ended up treated her badly, a common issue that many nerd guys have.  Yet at the same time he acknowledges that it is hard for people to get to know the real him because that takes time.  So surely the idea that getting to know the real person and it taking time could be something he could use to be empathetic towards women who date guys who seem great on the surface but over time reveal themselves to be jerks.  Because getting to know people in general takes time. Whether you are getting to know the quiet guy you thought was judging you but it turns out he's just shy and really sweet, or the guy who you thought was super into you and funny and outrageous, but it turns out he's insecure and possessive.

It often feels as if women are blamed for not knowing what's under the surface right away.  Why don't they know I'm awesome?  Why don't they know he's a jerk?  The answer is simple, we know what we know with the information provided for us.  Now as we get older, we all learn certain tricks that are red flags (or go for it flags - whatever colour that is) for what is under the surface.  But we are flawed people and need to work with what we're given. And maybe a bit of empathy instead of "women just like guys who are bad for them" would be nice.


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Post by Enail on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:30 pm

Oh, yes, I see what you mean. I'd kind of lost the broader thread of the conversation there, so was looking at things from a different angle.
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Post by Mel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:33 pm

I agree with the point you're trying to make, OTG, and I also agree with enail that recognizing some of it comes down to different preferences as well is important. It seems likely both that these women are dating the guys because they like certain qualities they're seeing right off the bat and these temporarily either compensate for or mask the flaws (which seem to result in break-ups before too long), and that women who want those particular positive qualities aren't necessarily the same women who'd appreciate a reserved guy's differing even if equally or more positive qualities. So yes, there's a broad parallel that can be drawn and be useful, but at the same time in terms of specifics, they're probably not good examples to look to for a reserved guy trying to figure out how to appeal to women more.

As a reserved person whose personality even once uncovered doesn't seem to fit what the majority of guys are looking for in a partner (not saying the majority of guys are all looking for the same things, just that the different things the majority are looking for do not seem to line up with me Razz ), I've found there are two different problems. One is finding ways to let people see my positive qualities despite my introversion and social anxiety which leads to the reserve/standoffishness. The other is finding the people who will be most likely to appreciate my particular positive qualities. Both are quite difficult, and figuring out one doesn't guarantee you're set for the other.
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:44 pm

And I absolutely agree.  I just thought this thread was about providing some insight into the supposed headspace of a "Neanderthal" as well as the headspace of the women who might be attracted to them.

As far as opening up and showing your more positive qualities to the world, it's very difficult, I agree.  It's about being open and vulnerable in a way you have taught yourself not to be (there's a reason we've kept certain qualities to ourselves, over time we learned people could use them to their advantage - at least with me).  Not entirely sure what to suggest by way of practical advice. It happened so gradually with me.  I'll think about it.

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Post by LadyLuck on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:55 pm

On the original topic: I agree strongly with this bit -

So to them, it looks like these "Neanderthals" are just charging in blindly and winning, and rather than acknowledge that they're not as good at the game, they redefine the rules, mark the "Neanderthals" as bad at the new game, and then get angry when their preferred sexual partners insist on playing the old game with the people who are still good at it.

This plays into a post GJ made on DNL prime, that there are a lot of nerds have taken a course through life that dodges around any "real work" - that is, having to spend significant time on tasks they don't like, having to start from "the bottom" in a position of low prestige, or more generally, having to do anything unpleasant in the name of achieving their goals. Instead of buckling down and doing hard work, they often find work-arounds, or declare the "hard" stuff to be beneath them and not worth doing. I speak from experience on this; I used to be guilty of this type of thing myself (I would like to think I've gotten better). The Neanderthal Theory TM, is really just another such workaround; as our OP mentioned, re-writing the rules of the game so they don't have to change, so that they are the winners from the get-go simply by virtue of existing. But because dating involves human beings and feelings and things (as Mel described well), the rest of the world usually doesn't go along with this, and thus they often get angry.

Also, on NT's story and everything: I actually feel like I've been in the same position, but from the other side. There's a certain ex-friend that was pretty much expelled from our social circle for being boorish, thoughtless and so on. I personally felt him to also have certain problematic and vaguely misogynistic attitudes. But he was married at one point, and when he was not he could usually find a girlfriend. While some may be exaggeration (he had obviously exaggerated other accomplishments), its pretty hard to fake talking over the phone with a significant other, and wedding pics, and so on. But like NT did with his other friends, I couldn't help but notice that his relationships never lasted. He did in fact get divorced after a relatively short time (only a year or so), and the girlfriend's name generally changed every 6-9 months.

Some people legitimately are better at spotting bullshit/red flags, and that might honestly be what was going on in the case of both this ex-friend, and NT's friends - we saw the red flags when the person in the relationship didn't. This is probably related to the fact Mel pointed out, that being on the outside looking in sometimes gives you an "unfair advantage" in the matter. The real important thing however, is that even if I, or NT, or anyone else somehow do in fact know better then our friend who he/she should be dating, *that doesn't make it our decision to make*. Just because I knew those women probably weren't going to have a happy relationship with my ex-friend, doesn't erase their right to date him anyway. People have the right to make decisions for themselves, to make their own mistakes. Dating is not an exception.

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Post by Mel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:57 pm

OneTrueGuest wrote:And I absolutely agree.  I just thought this thread was about providing some insight into the supposed headspace of a "Neanderthal" as well as the headspace of the women who might be attracted to them.

For sure! I am tangenting. Wink

Re: Opening up, for me it wasn't actually about consciously trying to keep people out or keep things to myself, but more that I don't seem to be able to control how I come across in person very easily--to make my body language and tone of voice convey the feelings and interest underneath my social anxiety. As soon as a person seems to be genuinely and enthusiastically engaging with me, which can take as little as a minute, I can respond in kind fairly easily. But I can't seem to turn that on without the other person taking that first step, and my initial demeanor seems to put guys off enough that essentially none ever did (I have been asked out in person exactly once--if we're going to call, "You want to get a coffee?" without any definite romantic overtures "asking out"--and asked for my contact info by a guy in person exactly once). What worked for that particular problem was meeting guys online, where there is no body language or tone of voice to work against me, and generally knowing that a guy liked what he knew of me from online to want to meet me gave me the confidence to be less reserved when we first met and make a decent first impression. But there are obviously lots of different ways of being reserved.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:00 pm

Werel wrote:This seems pretty plausible. It's hard work to facilitate hangouts between people with different interactional styles and social norms, and sometimes discomfort will go unnoticed or untended. A lot of the time, the needs of the least squeaky wheel get overlooked-- and takuan, I might take a wild guess that you're a wheel who's essentially good-natured (or averse to being burdensome) enough to shut up after a couple of squeaks.

I'm not sure about labeling it "good-natured"; I'd probably point to that tendency of mine as a potentially major deal-breaking long-term character flaw, because trying to tolerate a bunch of seemingly small "annoyances" without making a fuss can lead to resentment—as we've seen. But I don't think this particular flaw is really hurting me when it comes to dating stuffs, because it's this same reflex that helps prevent me from complaining loudly IRL about how nobody finds me attractive and so forth (which from Internet stories I think I can safely infer is generally considered way more of a turn-off than anything). Suffice to say, though, that I definitely reserve the vast majority of my griping and ranting for semi-anonymous Internet text dumps. Wink

Werel wrote:I got the impression that these were friends whose choices you were annoyed with, not romantic interests-- is that right? I've certainly been pissy at friends for choosing to date people with personality types I disliked, and I think it's just human (rather than a particular failure of empathy, or underlying jealousy).

More sorry for than annoyed with, really. I'm mostly annoyed with the more abstract idea that these boyfriends of theirs date people despite what to me is extremely off-putting behavior, and I don't date people because my behavior is off-putting in some different way.

Werel wrote:Re: failure of empathy towards people with different personalities/lifestyles: none of takuan's annoyance at repeatedly being offered substances seemed like a judgment of those who chose to partake (which I'm sensitive to, so I'd probably ferret it out if it were there Razz)-- rather, it sounds like annoyance at having a boundary crossed again and again, and not having your choices about your body respected (which I can also sympathize with, having been a straightedge kid who constantly got offered drugs). I do wonder whether use or non-use of substances is one of those tropes which is so pervasive that it's become almost integral to the "Neanderthal" narrative, though; seems like "drunken" is a common descriptor in the "cocky alpha jock asshole" vein. Because that's an easy one to transmute from "preference" into "moral failing."

This notion that it's a trope and that refusing to partake may come across as disdainful is something that hadn't fully occurred to me before, though, and is something I will try to be more mindful of in the future. I always do try to explain that I have a ludicrously low tolerance for alcohol, generally prefer not to drink anyway, and am not interested in other drugs, but I don't usually state explicitly that it's not a moral judgment and I'm not bothered by other people using recreational drugs. I think this is something I will end up writing a script for, because a detailed and reassuring explanation will only help if it doesn't come off sounding so cold and distant and carefully articulate that it seems like it really is judgmental after all. (Go figure, I sound less frigid when I follow a script.)

eselle28 wrote:I'm glad you added that last sentence, because I shuddered when reading the others. Are your friends actually being coerced to spend time in the company of the men who become their future boyfriends?

Beats me. I've never had a chance to watch one of those approaches in action. But my approach of "hey, you seem cool; wanna hang out again some time?" "no." "oh, okay then." doesn't work and their approach, whatever it may be, does apparently work at least sometimes, so I draw unkind inferences from that and the other known differences between our respective personalities. There also might be a bit of a gap between what I consider coercion and the way most other people see it? I don't know.

eselle28 wrote:A man who has a different set of personality traits but who has good boundaries doesn't get a chance to show his good qualities because he doesn't have the specific good qualities they're looking for.

Right; what always irks me about where these discussions end up leading, though, is that the "they" who are looking for whatever specific qualities I haven't got is apparently every single single woman in this city, because I am really not being at all choosy about whom I talk to or ask out.

eselle28 wrote:This discussion is edging very close to talking about women as if they don't know what they want. I find this troublesome, particularly if we're using examples of women who are making very consistent choices.
Can we not use this comparison? It goes to really bad places really quickly.
Fair enough.

OneTrueGuest wrote:What I also find interesting, NT, is that you admit that it takes people a long time to get to know the real you.  Now for you (and honestly I'm pretty similar so I get it so I'll say and like me too) this means you might have an offputting exterior but a delightful interior.  Can you not then use your own acknowledgment of the complexity of your outer self not matching your inner self with the men that maybe some women end up with who end up being not so great.  Except they are the reverse.  Such men often have a delightful exterior, they have qualities that make them seem fun and engaging, they seem to truly think the woman they are interested are just the bee's knees.  But once the woman starts to date him and get to know him it's exactly the same as with you, they learn about who they really are.  In this case, not so great guys who push too much at their boundaries.  

Maybe you could have a bit more empathy for people in general who make decisions based on what they get to know surface level and then change their minds when they get a bit deeper. After all, these friends of yours eventually did end it with these guys.  So it isn't like they actually liked those flaws.  But just as people can't see the good in you at first, there are guys where people can't see the bad in them at first.  

It's just...every time you say these kinds of things, I think of catcaller dudes and "where's my hug" guys and the people who defend them.

On the whole I agree with Enail that their success has nothing to do with my failure; again, I was hoping that by addressing and personalizing irrational thoughts like, "how much did she know about this jerk before she agreed to date him? how much does she (a different "she") know about me when she turns me down?" we might more thoroughly dissect the broader and in some ways simpler beliefs that seem to lie at the heart of the "Neanderthal" construct.

OneTrueGuest wrote:I think though we're talking about two different things.  My point was more simple, that he couldn't understand why a girl would date a guy who ended up treated her badly, a common issue that many nerd guys have.  Yet at the same time he acknowledges that it is hard for people to get to know the real him because that takes time.  So surely the idea that getting to know the real person and it taking time could be something he could use to be empathetic towards women who date guys who seem great on the surface but over time reveal themselves to be jerks.  Because getting to know people in general takes time. Whether you are getting to know the quiet guy you thought was judging you but it turns out he's just shy and really sweet, or the guy who you thought was super into you and funny and outrageous, but it turns out he's insecure and possessive.

It often feels as if women are blamed for not knowing what's under the surface right away.  Why don't they know I'm awesome?  Why don't they know he's a jerk?  The answer is simple, we know what we know with the information provided for us.  Now as we get older, we all learn certain tricks that are red flags (or go for it flags - whatever colour that is) for what is under the surface.  But we are flawed people and need to work with what we're given.  And maybe a bit of empathy instead of "women just like guys who are bad for them" would be nice.

I'm sorry there are so many guys who blame women for this stuff, and I'm sorry that at certain times I was one of them. I still feel like I need to point out—recognizing that it's not anyone's fault doesn't make it easier to deal with on either end, and if anything makes certain things more frustrating. Instead of a tangible Injustice that demands to be corrected, it's just an immutable fact. In many ways that idea is scarier than the alternative—which is maybe one more reason some nerddudes choose the more problematic view.

...And finally, I agree with what LadyLuck has said, and cite her final point as the exact reason I avoid meddling.


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Post by Guest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:06 pm

I can relate to the specific boundary issue NT raised of not taking joy in others insisting to try or do something. It rings the 'what the fuck is this person trying to do to me' alarm, to be honest, paranoid as that may sound.

Funnily enough, I don't think I really judge jock-like men very differently for being sexually successful. Anybody who's sexually successful is leaps and bounds ahead of me so it's splitting hairs.

But thanks to less than stellar experiences in the past, I do have a lot of trouble trusting jock-like men. Yes, yes, it's not high school anymore and people aren't out to get me but those beliefs - those truths - don't change what has happened. I can change my perspective on what has happened, but given I can also chose just to avoid jock/bro-like people as well, I think I'll just do that. For now anyway.

On the topic of referring to them as 'neanderthals', that's needlessly cruel. I don't even like being referred to as a nerd - I only do so when it helps simplify discussions like the ones on this site. On a base level, I don't think anyone likes being called something that is typical taken as derogatory - neanderthal fits that bill, so using it is indeed mean-spirited.

That said, everyone else has covered the 'why' of the use of terms like cavemen and neanderthal pretty well. Not much I can think of to add to any of it.

OneTrueGuest wrote:Now for you (and honestly I'm pretty similar so I get it so I'll say and like me too) this means you might have an offputting exterior but a delightful interior.  ...  Except they are the reverse.  Such men often have a delightful exterior, they have qualities that make them seem fun and engaging...

This is interesting. In general, this can be a lot of shy, retiring types issues sometimes. I remember one time someone perceived my quietness and tendency to stay out of the way of things and hold back in conversations as myself having high confidence in myself and, therefore, on the intimidating side of things. To which I almost immediately replied "Are you fucking serious?" I was wise enough to hold my tongue and just kind of default to "Oh... Okay."

I mean, they perceived my social anxiety and confidence, which is wrong, but they were still put off by the fact I just kind of sit on the edge of conversation that I have been specifically including in and I just don't speak up all that much. If some people can be put off by that then it's reasonable to expect that other reserved behaviour can do the same and have a polar opposite effect to that of the loud, brash types. Because, personally, they frustrate me a little, so I have to put my 'don't be judgy' cap on before I interact with them or I'll just get fed up within minutes and want peace and quiet.

So, I think this distinct between people with immediately 'in-your-face' or exciting personalities and those who are quieter and more reserved is a big part of why the latter can be pissed off with the former, because it's like a train riding right through social situations and picking up anybody along the way while you're struggle in your wee Mini Cooper.

But, of course, if you're quiet you need to focus on learning how to be heard to get by and you also need to not hold it against people who simply have more effervescent personalities.

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Post by Mel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:31 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:Beats me. I've never had a chance to watch one of those approaches in action. But my approach of "hey, you seem cool, wanna hang out again some time?" "no." "oh, okay then." doesn't work and their approach, whatever it may be, does apparently work at least sometimes, so I draw unkind inferences from that and the other known differences between our respective personalities. There also might be a bit of a gap between what I consider coercion and the way most other people see it? I don't know.

Just a minor point, but I'm almost certain that the difference between you and the guys getting dates is not the approach you shared above. From everything I've heard, "Hey, you seem cool, wanna hang out again some time?" is an approach used with some frequency successful guys too. I highly, highly doubt that the average woman is saying "no" because of the way you worded the question or because you didn't then badger her into saying "yes", or even necessarily anything at all about your approach to asking (but rather other factors that have come up prior to asking), and I think it's unfair to the average guy-who-dates to assume that he's getting dates because he asks in a more coercive way (and not good for you either, since it leads toward a path of thinking maybe a little coercion is necessary).

Which is not to say it doesn't make sense for you to be frustrated about what other differences are causing you to get "no"s and them at least some "yes"es, of course. I really do sympathize with you on that. I spent a large portion of my dating years agonizing over why no guys seemed to find me appealing enough to show even a hint of interest or reciprocate mine when I pursued. It sucks that there's no easy way to determine that for sure, and it sucks to be trying to work on the things people suggest it might be and have that not change anything, and all the rest. Sad
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:37 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Beats me. I've never had a chance to watch one of those approaches in action. But my approach of "hey, you seem cool, wanna hang out again some time?" "no." "oh, okay then." doesn't work and their approach, whatever it may be, does apparently work at least sometimes, so I draw unkind inferences from that and the other known differences between our respective personalities. There also might be a bit of a gap between what I consider coercion and the way most other people see it? I don't know.
...

Right; what always irks me about where these discussions end up leading, though, is that the "they" who are looking for whatever specific qualities I haven't got is apparently every single single woman in this city, because I am really not being at all choosy about whom I talk to or ask out.

I guess I'd nudge toward the second of the two possibilities, that both you and the other men we're discussing are asking women out in appropriate ways and that there's a variable beyond Neanderthal coercion that's at work. I can see how that can be the less pleasant possibility in many ways, since it's the one that doesn't have an obvious solution, but it's also the one that leads toward the better person side of things. This is just spit-balling and I'll cut it out if it's unwanted exploration of a topic, but it sounds like some of your friends are either coupled or are drinkers/smokers who are seeking guys who aren't you. Do you have another set of close friends who socialize a bit differently, or have your approaches to women of other types mostly been online? I was just wondering in passing if this might be a case of you being someone who might do better with warm approaches but whose circle doesn't include quite the right type of people.

nearly_takuan wrote:I'm sorry there are so many guys who blame women for this stuff, and I'm sorry that at certain times I was one of them. I still feel like I need to point out—recognizing that it's not anyone's fault doesn't make it easier to deal with on either end, and if anything makes certain things more frustrating. Instead of a tangible Injustice that demands to be corrected, it's just an immutable fact. In many ways that idea is scarier than the alternative—which is maybe one more reason some nerddudes choose the more problematic view.

I can understand that. I'm probably more used to the idea because I think that's the picture that women are presented of men's preferences from very early in life, but it is one that I know from personal experience can cause a great deal of pain, as it leaves much narrower solutions.

On the other side of things, as a woman who's more tolerant of some Neanderthal flaws than some of comparable moral turpitude that are common to men Aaronson would approve of, I'd ask that guys who are feeling frustrated at least consider how terrifying the idea of correcting this particular injustice might sound. It's frustrating to read theories that presume that your choices are so easily influenced that tweaking society can lead to you not only changing your preferences but doing so willingly and happily, and it's scary when willingly and happily aren't so much considered in the particular theory.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:55 pm

It's a bit off-topic so I'll let it rest after this, but that's probably an accurate read of my present situation: my current friend-groups contain only men, partnered women, and single women looking for partners who aren't me. (And most of us aren't super comfortable inviting people we aren't already close with to gatherings/parties.) That rules out warm approaches, unless I go wrangle up additional friend-groups—which sounds like a pretty draining task and presently doesn't seem particularly worthwhile since just having more Platonic friends wouldn't do much for me and might just put additional demands on my time/energy; I'm a bit too loyal a creature to part ways with existing friend-groups just because they aren't currently benefiting me. (All in all, looking for additional Platonic friends in hopes that one of them will eventually turn out to have connections that lead me to a potential romantic partner seems ill-advised at best, but really also kind of icky.) So then I'm left with cold/"lukewarm" approaches, which historically have never worked, and OLD, which historically has never worked. And in both cases, I feel rather like a lost child looking for his parents in a large store—I never know if I'll be better off trying a new tactic, or if I just should have held myself in place a little longer. Would this person have reacted better to the style I decided wasn't working? Or am I just really bad at everything I'm trying?
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Post by The Wisp on Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:03 pm

I can totally relate to that feeling, eselle. I get pretty upset when I see people say things that even implicitly critique my romantic/sexual preferences.
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Post by reboot on Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:49 pm

My four favorite men are probably the types that get labelled Neanderthals solely based on their appearance and some aspects of their behavior.

Brother: thick necked, burly, wrestled in high school. Wears sports gear. Is not quiet, especially when drinking. However, he also taught himself programming in elementary school with no training other than library books and no home computer until he built his own. He's a loving husband and father, but more than a few ex girlfriends probably think he is a jerk, partially due to being bad matches and partially due to being a clueless HS guy who decided to cancel his prom date at the last minute.

Best friend from college: Tall, blonde, incredibly attractive. Lacrosse player and astrophysics major who was recruited to a hedge fund. Charismatic but very sharp tongued and cutting if he thinks someone is showing their ass. Reckless and daredevil (hence why we are friends) and the type who draws all eyes when he walks in a room. Women pick him up all the time. He used to think he could do long term commitment which led to many heartbreaks after about two years, but has learned he is all about the casual and informal. He is the type of person that drops everything if you need help and are one of the people he cares about. And he will stick with you through everything.

Cousin: Redneck to the bone. Not articulate, not intellectual. Not cultured. He is always the one everyone goes to with problems and he always listens to you. His ex wife thinks he is a jerk, but he would not enable her meth habit, so there is cause for that. She was his only relationship (they married the summer after high school) up until his current girlfriend.

My roommate: Battle scarred veteran. Still keeps the military look going, so very muscular. Dresses kind of dude bro. Sounds kind of dude bro. Would look like a stereotypical dude bro if he was not Japanese. Rather popular with women of the club/party woman set, which unfortunately is not the type that interests him. Was a jerk to his ex wife since when he came back from the war he decided he could not only never become the man she married again, he did not want to be that man because he did not like him, and she wanted him to change back to who she loved. They divorced. Thoughtful, considerate friend to me. Best damned roommate ever.

Sometimes what looks like a Neanderthal from the outside is not and sometimes otherwise good people are jerks in a relationship or the relationship is just a bad match that causes friction. Also, people can be jerks while they are figuring out what they want in relationships or trying to fit themselves in a role that does not suit, but it is not necessarily a permanent state.

So why did the men listed above get chances when others did not? A variety of reasons. Personality (e.g. outgoing), opportunity (e.g. heavy community and church involvement), luck, living in a place with an abundance of your "type", being able to convey the best parts of your personality quickly and easily, etc with some things usually working together in combination.
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Post by Guest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:18 pm

reboot wrote:Sometimes what looks like a Neanderthal from the outside is not and sometimes otherwise good people are jerks in a relationship or the relationship is just a bad match that causes friction. Also, people can be jerks while they are figuring out what they want in relationships or trying to fit themselves in a role that does not suit, but it is not necessarily a permanent state.
I just imagined some kinnd of social network feature where you could set your relationship or personal status as 'Jerk in Transience' Razz

It's certainly impermanent on a variety of levels. I'd say most of the bullies that used to pick on my cooled off in the 5th year of high school and never gave me trouble again. I'm assuming it was a change they made and not something I did because I was puzzled when I realised it was happening.

reboot wrote:So why did the men listed above get chances when others did not? A variety of reasons. Personality (e.g. outgoing), opportunity (e.g. heavy community and church involvement), luck, living in a place with an abundance of your "type", being able to convey the best parts of your personality quickly and easily, etc with some things usually working together in combination.
Heavy community involvement seems to be pretty key with most every relationships I've seen form lately. They've mostly sprouted from not only meeting over a shared interest but at some kind of meeting. Anime / Pop culture cons, trade shows, various club meetings etc. Hell, even food and wine tastings.

It something I certainly don't really involve myself with much, which explains a lot.

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Post by eselle28 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:39 pm

Yeah, reboot, this topic is kind of sensitive to me because very few of the men who I know who I really like fit squarely into either the shy, nerdy guy or the Neanderthal category and I suspect that Aaronson would place most of them in the latter. I can see how someone who's feeling very frustrated might create a dichotomy, but it doesn't seem true to me and the concept insults a lot of the men (and by extension a lot of the women) I know.

My gaming guild members, none of whom I've dated or would want to date, are disproportionately veterans. Some of them were geeks before, and some got interested in video games, anime, and comics while they were in the military. Most of them have retained some of that aesthetic, and almost all of them at least enjoy watching sports. Some are charming and some are physically attractive, while others are more average on either or both counts. They're all smart, feminist-friendly, and good friends. Some of them excel at art or writing. One is better at the emotional work type stuff than pretty much anyone of any gender I know. All of them have romantic lives, varying from happily married but still friends with everyone he's dating to happily single with mixed reviews depending on compatibility.

Of the ex-boyfriends who I like enough to keep into contact with, one of them is the sort of shy, nerdy guy who'd be endorsed. Another is what happens when that one popular athlete who gets good grades and is nice to everyone grows up. I wouldn't recommend that one for a serious partner due to some adultchildish tendencies, but he's not malicious or immoral. The third one is another veteran (it's a common choice among lower-middle class guys in my area) who played football in high school but who's also a movie geek who rescues abandoned animals and spends a lot of time looking after his family members. As for the ones who I don't like, thought treated me badly, or more seriously think are bad people, they include both shy, nerdy guys and men of other types.

And, no, I don't have a lot of insight into what makes me feel like I click with one personality rather than another beyond the cliche "oh, that guy's cute" and "he seems pretty smart" and "oh, that's an interesting thought." That might be the bit of things where guys who've moved from not dating to being more successful have more insight.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:18 am

Eselle, a lot of advice in this area does seem to come from women trying to figure out the differences between the types of guys they liked and the types of guys they didn't like. But I'm thinking all those guys have something in common that I don't, and that's what I should be interested in figuring out how to emulate. Again it seems like Step One comes so naturally to everyone else that the things that go into Step Two are what get to be called "baseline".

It's like Dan's analogy to his nephew, which I liked a lot. In a way we are all the nephew.

I think it is also like being the kid who can't cross the monkey bars.
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Post by reboot on Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:03 am

These men may have nothing in common and different women may be responding to different aspects of their personalities/lifestyles because different women value different things to a different degree at different times in their lives.

For the men in my life there is nothing they have in common. They are not even kind in the same manner (although all are kind), smart in the same way (although all have some level of smartness), all offer different qualities in relationships, all want or are in different types of relationships (e.g. cousin is wired more for a traditional gender role relationship, others are not; brother and cousin want LTR, friend and roommate do not), etc.

One thing that I think might be doing you a disservice is comparing yourself to men who are allosexual and who wish to have sexual relationships. Now this kind of sucks because it leaves you with few examples, but it does not make much sense to look to people who want very different types of relationships than you do. Some of the men who are successful with gaining the interest of women are gaining primarily sexual interest or the sex is good enough to overlook some flaws for a time (If I had a dollar for every time I have heard, "He is kind of a jerk, but whatever. He is great in bed and it is not like I want this to be a forever thing"). There is not much you can learn from these relationships and not much you can do to distinguish them from more romantically oriented relationships which you might learn something from - but even there it is hard to determine the degree that sexual attraction and compatibility play in their staying power.
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