Ethics of approaching women

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Post by Olmajor on Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:43 am

I recently read this blogpost called Feminism Doesn’t Want To Stop You Finding A Girlfriend, and thought it could raise some discussion here, because its message seems to go against a lot of dating advice I've heard. I found this quote important:

Assuming that it’s unreasonable for a woman to find it irritating that you see her trip to the bookshop, or the art gallery, or the laundry, as an opportunity for you to find a girlfriend, involves taking her life less seriously than yours.

I get what she basically means: every person is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, and it is selfish to consider the women you meet as merely targets to advances, also that it is irritating and awkward to be part of an unwanted interaction. I agree with this, and I believe women have the right to this as any human being has.

But the quote also got me thinking. I have received dating advice from women, on where to meet singles if you don't like drinking, that I could try bookshops, art galleries or other culture events. There's a contradiction here. Couldn't you also say that "Assuming that it’s unreasonable for a woman to find it irritating that you see her trip to the bar, the night club, or the house party as an opportunity for you to find a girlfriend"? Does she mean that hitting on is never suitable, or only Day Game?

What I believe is that it depends on context: how social and relaxed the situation is. Striking up a conversation with an interesting stranger in an art gallery would be OK, if it's an opening of a new exhibition or some kind of event. I admit that it would feel awkward to do that on a regular night. But there's a chance that we share some interests, if we are both visitors on a special night.

What about bookstores? I don't think every bookstore suits for meeting people. But what about a big Barnes & Noble kind of place? Where you can go to leisurely browse the shelfs, sit on a couch and read some and then maybe go for coffee in the store café. (I'm European, I don't know if Barnes & Noble is like that, but I'm assuming on bookstores we have here). I do think that not all would object to talking with someone who approaches them there, especially if it's early Saturday for example.

Am I missing something here? What do you think about men approaching women, and could it be proper in some situations and improper in others?

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Post by reboundstudent on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:05 am

Just for myself, I feel like Barnes and Noble is an okay place, so long as it's not a "heavy" hit on. For example, if a guy sees me browsing and says with a smile "Oh you like <genre>? You should check out <book>, it's one of my favorites."

If I say thanks (aka a non-successful pick up), and he respectfully wanders off, I don't consider that impeding on my life or making me a "target" in the way being bothered at the gym or at the grocery store is.

I think men approaching women is proper in some situations and improper in others. I'd say places like bookshops, art galleries, and culture events are fine places so long as the guy is respectful, friendly, and brief. Places I'd say are off-limits are places that are not catered to specific interests and are visited as part of a daily routine: grocery stores, the gym, the street, etc. Maybe a rule of thumb is save approaching women for "special occasion" locations?
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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:10 am

it does make you wonder just where you're supposed to find a girlfriend doesn't it? It can't be the same as just making friends, since plenty of other advice sites specially tell you to be upfront about what you want from the outset, since if you try to just be friends with her then you have no one but yourself to blame when she isn't receptive to being anything more than friends.

It almost seems like it leads to the only conclusions of either never ask anyone out, or become the guy who ignores her boundaries and desires (and seems to invariably get all the women) and then be hated on online forever. And then you are also that guy which is bad...


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Post by Olmajor on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:15 am

nopenoperson wrote:it does make you wonder just where you're supposed to find a girlfriend doesn't it? It can't be the same as just making friends, since plenty of other advice sites specially tell you to be upfront about what you want from the outset, since if you try to just be friends with her then you have no one but yourself to blame when she isn't receptive to being anything more than friends.

It almost seems like it leads to the only conclusions of either never ask anyone out, or become the guy who ignores her boundaries and desires (and seems to invariably get all the women) and then be hated on online forever. And then you are also that guy which is bad...


It isn't that hopeless though. There's always meeting a potential girlfriend through friends or a hobby. But I just think that it is passive. If you don't like going to bars there is online dating and little alternatives, if you want to be proactive.

Great point about being upfront, though. Smile When you think about it, that's what hitting on is supposed to be like.


Last edited by Olmajor on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : a word)

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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:22 am

Well I mean my issue isn't so much meeting them it's that I constantly feel like a creep for talking to them because I suffer from severe impostor syndrome and feel I'm too old to be here and am invading their space. But I want to go back to something on that blog you linked, it talked a lot about recognizing them as being more than just potential girlfriends.. and I'm sure I'll get a lot of flack for this.. but if I didn't view them as potential girlfriends I wouldn't be talking to them at all.. I'm not looking to have hundreds of women-friends, But I am looking for a girlfriend. if I'm not currently looking for a girlfriend I don't tend to talk to women all that much. It's not that they aren't good people or that they have nothing to say.. but I'm not going to go up and bother her just for the hell of it since I already *have* friends.


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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:29 am

No, I don't think that stopping for a moment to think about an interaction from the woman's point of view and remembering that potential date locations exist on a spectrum ranging from "holy shit, no, don't hit on that person" to "yeah, go for it, that personal almost certainly wants to talk to you" have to lead to either never asking anyone out or ignoring boundaries and desires.

The article you linked to expressly gave the a-okay to looking for a girlfriend in public. All it asked you to do is think about the other side of the interaction. To me, what that primarily suggests is letting go of anger toward women who wear headphones and sunglasses whenever they're in public and make themselves appear unapproachable, and maybe also toward ones who respond to what you thought of as polite approaches with brusqueness rather than graciousness.

Maybe this is one way to approach it: I'm sure your actions in public have annoyed others at some point or in some way. I know mine have. The usual response from decent people who realize they've been unintentionally standing in a doorway or talking too loud on their cell phone or taking up too much space on public transportation is to apologize, fix the problem, and then not dwell on it so much that it prevents them from going out in public again. I think the current cultural standard is to portray women as being unreasonable for finding romantic approaches to be similar minor annoyances, and I think the article is suggesting that men might benefit from trying to imagine how they might be and then react accordingly if they have unintentionally annoyed women who interest them.

But I want to go back to something on that blog you linked, it talked a lot about recognizing them as being more than just potential girlfriends.. and I'm sure I'll get a lot of flack for this.. but if I didn't view them as potential girlfriends I wouldn't be talking to them at all.. I'm not looking to have hundreds of women-friends, But I am looking for a girlfriend.  if I'm not currently looking for a girlfriend I don't tend to talk to women all that much.  It's not that they aren't good people or that they have nothing to say.. but I'm not going to go up and bother her just for the hell of it since I already *have* friends.

The article didn't ask you to not view women as potential girlfriends. It asked you to view them as more than potential girlfriends. The woman at the bookstore who you approach may be a potential girlfriend. You can believe that while also remembering that she's probably a worker and a daughter and a friend, that she might also be a wife or a girlfriend or not sexually attracted to men or not sexually attracted to anyone, and that maybe also she's a person who suffers from depression or back pain or one who just got bad news about a job interview or who simply overslept this morning and then woke up to her cat vomiting on the floor and has no time to deal with strangers while she looks for a present for her brother. All that's being asked is for you to remember that the reason she's at the book store is not necessarily to be your potential girlfriend, and that some of the time when you approach women there, you're going to run into ones who are more annoyed than flattered.
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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:26 pm

The Mikey wrote:
eselle28 wrote:No, I don't think that stopping for a moment to think about an interaction from the woman's point of view and remembering that potential date locations exist on a spectrum ranging from "holy shit, no, don't hit on that person" to "yeah, go for it, that personal almost certainly wants to talk to you" have to lead to either never asking anyone out or ignoring boundaries and desires.

Then how is anyone supposed to get anywhere? scratch

Well, if you want to cold approach women, avoid the places most likely to be "holy shit, no, don't hit on that person" zones, back off quickly if the answer appears to be no, and understand that even if you're polite and in some sort of medium zone you will sometimes hit on a woman who really could have done without interacting with you today. Alternately, if all this just seems too difficult and vague, stick to warm approaches, online and speed dating, and waiting for women to approach you. The answer that aren't okay are going around pushing boundaries or going around making reasonable approaches but complaining that women don't make it easier for you to cold approach or enjoy it more when you do.

But I do feel it's kind of unfortunate that the conversation immediately went down this path. I think the whole point of this article was that there's a whole lot more to life than men's complaint of, "Well, where do I meet women then?" that never gets discussed because women's desire to wake up, grab some coffee, and take the bus to work isn't given a lot of social value as compared to men's desires.


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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:29 pm

For a while, I was the kind of guy who didn't approach women in situations where it would have been successful (or at least OK) because I thought a stranger on the internet wouldn't approve. That meant that I didn't approach women at all.

The thing about feminist dating advice is that it is taken by men who otherwise have trouble approaching women for a variety of reasons, including the imposter syndrome mentioned above. After all, guys who are successful daters or really don't care whether they're weirding women out aren't searching for dating advice.

What they don't realize is that the people who write this stuff mean what they say. Have you never seen the phrase "we don't care about your boner"?  Feminist blogs are not giving men dating advice because they want you to be a successful dater. It's not their concern, nor should it be. That's up to you.

They are giving advice for two reasons. First, to re-assure men that they aren't anti-man. This shouldn't be necessary (and I don't believe they are), but this is the world we live in. The second reason is to get men they're not interested in from hitting on them. Many men could stand to learn a bit about appropriate behavior, but you have to keep in mind that they do not care about your love life. They also don't care about the love lives of women who would be receptive to your attention. First and foremost, the goal is to protect women who don't want to be hit on by guys they're not interested in.

Luckily, online dating made all that irrelevant for me. You can go back and forth with the online critics all you want, but in the end, it's up to you to align your behavior with what you think is right and to look out for yourself. Those strangers on the Internet sure aren't.

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Post by reboot on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:38 pm

eselle28 wrote:
The Mikey wrote:
eselle28 wrote:No, I don't think that stopping for a moment to think about an interaction from the woman's point of view and remembering that potential date locations exist on a spectrum ranging from "holy shit, no, don't hit on that person" to "yeah, go for it, that personal almost certainly wants to talk to you" have to lead to either never asking anyone out or ignoring boundaries and desires.

Then how is anyone supposed to get anywhere? scratch
.....

But I do feel it's kind of unfortunate that the conversation immediately went down this path. I think the whole point of this article was that there's a whole lot more to life than men's complaint of, "Well, where do I meet women then?" that never gets discussed because women's desire to wake up, grab some coffee, and take the bus to work aren't given a lot of social value as compared to men's desires.

I feel the same. I am so tired of every discussion of men giving a thought to how women might feel turns into, "Well how am I going to meet anyone?" as if cold approaching strangers is the only way to meet people.
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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:42 pm

rj3 wrote:
They are giving advice for two reasons. First, to re-assure men that they aren't anti-man. This shouldn't be necessary (and I don't believe they are), but this is the world we live in. The second reason is to get men they're not interested in from hitting on them. Many men could stand to learn a bit about appropriate behavior, but you have to keep in mind that they do not care about your love life. They also don't care about the love lives of women who would be receptive to your attention. First and foremost, the goal is to protect women who don't want to be hit on by guys they're not interested in.

I don't believe either of these claims is true, at least not most of the time. The second one strikes me as being particularly odd in the way it's personalized. These discussions are taking place in an online space, among people who don't know each other and who are unlikely to meet in person. Dissuading men in these spaces from hitting on women on the bus, for instance, isn't going to do a thing to stop the men in my community from behaving that way, let alone sort out the men who I don't want to be hitting on me from those whose approaches on the same bus would be magically more appealing (in my case, at least, that second group of men doesn't exist).

I would agree that feminist dating advice tends to privilege protecting people, and especially women, from unwanted approaches over ensuring that everyone has the maximum opportunity to approach and receives approaches from everyone who may potentially be interested in them. But it's not about screening out the nerds, and I would argue that it's a position that could use with at least a little more airtime in a society where it's assumed that women are always romantically and sexually available unless they're already in relationships.
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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:55 pm

eselle28 wrote:
I don't believe either of these claims is true, at least not most of the time. The second one strikes me as being particularly odd in the way it's personalized. These discussions are taking place in an online space, between people who don't know each other and who are unlikely to meet in person. Dissuading men in these spaces from hitting on women on the bus, for instance, isn't going to do a thing to stop the men in my community from behaving that way, let alone sort out the men who I don't want to be hitting on me from those whose approaches on the same bus would be magically more appealing (in my case, at least, that second group of men doesn't exist).

I would agree that feminist dating advice tends to privilege protecting people, and especially women, from unwanted approaches over ensuring that everyone has the maximum opportunity to approach and receives approaches from everyone who may potentially be interested in them. But it's not about screening out the nerds, and I would argue that it's a position that could use with at least a little more airtime in a society where it's assumed that women are always romantically and sexually available unless they're already in relationships.

I didn't say anything about "screening out the nerds." Mainly, because I don't think it's true. What I was trying to point out is that the male dater and the advice giver in this case are not pulling in the same direction. Your success in dating is of absolutely zero concern to them. If their proposed restrictions on the times and places of approaches is overly broad, it is of no concern to them. That's the big grain of salt you need to take when reading advice from these sources.

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Post by Enail on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:00 pm

RJ3, I find myself unsure whether you're saying something I agree with or disagree with overall. I do very much agree that it's a mistake to turn discussions about harassment, inappropriate approaches or just the general fact that women do have lives outside of being a person one might date, into "but then how do I pick up women?" The whole point is to occasionally think about the idea of women going around being people without immediately jumping to the question of how that affects your dating prospects.

And I also agree, as Eselle said, that feminist dating advice tends to privilege protecting from unwanted approaches over maximizing approaches overall, as well as that helping people with dating is not really a high priority topic for feminism at large.

But it sort of sounds like you're extending that to say that even dating-specific advice from a feminist perspective is neutral towards or actively opposes helping men be successful at dating, which I would quite strongly disagree with. I'd say that people here, for example, often give advice with that very aim - it sometimes includes mentioning circumstances where asking women out is inappropriate, and encouraging men to think more deeply about whether a circumstance is appropriate, but people also often suggest good situations to approach in, ways to overcome fears that all approaches are inappropriate, and dating advice that does not focus on cold approaches

(and as a side note, I have to say, I find the frequent worry about the idea that if cold approaching may be unwanted, that means that there's no way men can date, rather bizarre. Cold approaches are not a major part of most peoples' dating life!)
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Post by Gman on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:05 pm

I would like to add my point of view, as somone who did try a bit of cold approaching recenty during recess in my local university. I talked to a few women who caught my eye, to which my goal was to see how the conversation "felt" and if I was getting a good vibe, ask for a number. I did this about 5 times and got 1 number from it (that flaked out in the end, but still). Out of those approaches - 3 initially felt like I was "breaking" some unwritten social rule, but in reality - they weren't a big deal at all. In 2 from these 3 approaches - I was given a polite excuse ("I'm kind of busy right now, can't talk" was one, can't remember the second).

The key point here is that the second I realized that the women isn't interested in interacting/talking - I left her alone. It's simple as that. I was sure that the women would curse at me or humiliate me somehow for being "rude" to them by approaching on my own to talk to them without them giving me any explicit signal - but in reality, approaching women, so long as you do it in a respectful manner and know when to back off, means that you can do it in A LOT of places where you initially thought it isn't appropriate/possible (examples from my case: coffee stands, main floor of the library, near class rooms). I am encouraged from these initial results. It really helped reframe some anxieties I had running in my brain about approaching in general, which caused me to be extremely avoidant of approaching, even when the social situation encourages people to do so.

Plus - I feel this is important that I clarify - the women that I approached were the kind that I thought anyway that I can potentially see a good conversation being built with them. That was my pure and only expectation. Anything else is like a bonus to me. I didn't hit on "every women within a 10 mile radius" or some "pickup" bullshit like that. I didn't hit on women that it was obvious they were in a hurry, looked annoyed/angry by something, talking on the phone or anything else that might suggest that the women will most likely NOT want to be approached.

So to me - saying that men should always be aware to what the women is feeling/thinking at that moment, is kind of redundant, as this is something that you should do with pretty much everyone you interact with. It's called being "socially aware". I remember that a lot of the feminst talk, caused a great fear inside me - that everytime I interact with a women, there is a great potential I am causing her a varying amount of discomfort/fear and thus I am a "bad person" for doing so. It took a lot of mental practice and courage to realize that while yes, some women might not like me approaching them (even if the setting encourages this kind behavior) - so long as I back off and be respectful - there is no reason to avoid approaching all together (which was a behavorial pattern I was stuck on for a very VERY long time).
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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:14 pm

Enail wrote:RJ3, I find myself unsure whether you're saying something I agree with or disagree with overall. I do very much agree that it's a mistake to turn discussions about harassment, inappropriate approaches or just the general fact that women do have lives outside of being a person one might date, into "but then how do I pick up women?" The whole point is to occasionally think about the idea of women going around being people without immediately jumping to the question of how that affects your dating prospects.

And I also agree, as Eselle said, that feminist dating advice tends to privilege protecting from unwanted approaches over maximizing approaches overall, as well as that helping people with dating is not really a high priority topic for feminism at large.

But it sort of sounds like you're extending that to say that even dating-specific advice from a feminist perspective is neutral towards or actively opposes helping men be successful at dating, which I would quite strongly disagree with. I'd say that people here, for example, often give advice with that very aim - it sometimes includes mentioning circumstances where asking women out is inappropriate, and encouraging men to think more deeply about whether a circumstance is appropriate, but people also often suggest good situations to approach in, ways to overcome fears that all approaches are inappropriate, and dating advice that does not focus on cold approaches

(and as a side note, I have to say, I find the frequent worry about the idea that if cold approaching may be unwanted, that means that there's no way men can date, rather bizarre. Cold approaches are not a major part of most peoples' dating life!)

I do not think that feminist dating advice "actively opposes" helping men who are seeking to improve their romantic life. It's just not a consideration. Over and over again, I read that women don't care about my boner. I read what they think of male opinions and "what about the menz?" as an out-of-bounds concern in their spaces. And I believe them. That doesn't mean that they hate men or are trying to kill the dating lives of shy men with a tendency toward scrupulosity. That just means that certain spaces are not meant to support men who go want support and advice.

If you want advice from a place that actually cares about your romantic success at all, don't get advice from these sources. That's not what they're here for.

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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:23 pm

I'm still really confused by this. People keep bringing up places that are no-zones and I get that means places like elevators, bus stops, etc.... Honestly I guess my confusion comes from the fact that nowhere seems to be a yes-zone where it is explicitly okay to do. If she's got on headphones and sunglasses obviously he does not want to be bothered... But is just sitting on the quad under a tree a no-zone? I don't want "well, you just have to know how to tell..." Since I flat out can't tell when someone is interested unless they are blatantly obvious or someone else tells me. That's why I quit going to bars, I got tired of aggressive drunk women coming on to me and me not being able to act on it since even if we are both drunk, I'll get in trouble if I take her home. So the only solution was to remove my self from those situations. Again, I don't want guidelines and mind reading, I want rules to follow.

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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:29 pm

The Mikey wrote:
eselle28 wrote:
Mikey, I think the whole point of this line of thinking is that, yeah, it doesn't guarantee that you'll find sex or love. To be fair, unethical behavior doesn't guarantee that you'll find sex or love, either. The idea is that there is more to social discussions of how people should behave in public and how other people should feel about that behavior than what dating strategies are most effective for men. It's quite possible that an ethical sweet spot that leads to the most happiness or at least the least misery will involve some men not finding girlfriends.

I understand that as a man I have to play nice, I get that. I know women aren't there for me to oogle at, though I've done my fair share of oogling. -ahem- I get that, I totally do.

So does this mean my romantic life is dead and done with before it even began? If so, that's a shitty way of starting my Tuesday. D:

It doesn't mean your romantic life is dead and done with. It doesn't mean your romantic life is promising and bound to work itself out. It means that discussions about ethics aren't just about your romantic life.

I'm still really confused by this. People keep bringing up places that are no-zones and I get that means places like elevators, bus stops, etc.... Honestly I guess my confusion comes from the fact that nowhere seems to be a yes-zone where it is explicitly okay to do. If she's got on headphones and sunglasses obviously he does not want to be bothered... But is just sitting on the quad under a tree a no-zone? I don't want "well, you just have to know how to tell..." Since I flat out can't tell when someone is interested unless they are blatantly obvious or someone else tells me. That's why I quit going to bars, I got tired of aggressive drunk women coming on to me and me not being able to act on it since even if we are both drunk, I'll get in trouble if I take her home. So the only solution was to remove my self from those situations. Again, I don't want guidelines and mind reading, I want rules to follow.

If you want strict rules to follow, the yes zones where it's explicitly okay to approach women and where there's no need for grey area analysis are speed dating, online dating, singles mixers, blind dates, and anything else that's explicitly set up for single people to meet each other. I know you've said these aren't the easiest spaces for you to find compatible women, but they are the ones where you have a green light. The woman who's sitting under the tree is in a yellow light zone. If you want to approach her, you'll need to learn how to navigate the grey areas and deal with things like reading body language and accepting that you might have misjudged.
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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:33 pm

rj3 wrote:
I do not think that feminist dating advice "actively opposes" helping men who are seeking to improve their romantic life. It's just not a consideration. Over and over again, I read that women don't care about my boner. I read what they think of male opinions and "what about the menz?" as an out-of-bounds concern in their spaces. And I believe them. That doesn't mean that they hate men or are trying to kill the dating lives of shy men with a tendency toward scrupulosity. That just means that certain spaces are not meant to support men who go want support and advice.

If you want advice from a place that actually cares about your romantic success at all, don't get advice from these sources. That's not what they're here for.

<mod>You know, rj3, you're on a forum that both explicitly identifies as being a feminist-friendly space and one that has a fairly strong focus on advice-giving. It's not "they" and "there." It's "you" (or "we") and "here," and I think you may run into a lot of disagreement from people who do give such advice as to what their specific attitudes are. Not all feminist and feminist-friendly spaces are the same, and not all feminists offering advice are doing so from the same perspective.

Since you're new, you may want to check out our Guidelines, not because you've violated them but because they do give a bit of an overview of what we're trying to do here.</mod>
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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:36 pm

eselle28 wrote:
rj3 wrote:
I do not think that feminist dating advice "actively opposes" helping men who are seeking to improve their romantic life. It's just not a consideration. Over and over again, I read that women don't care about my boner. I read what they think of male opinions and "what about the menz?" as an out-of-bounds concern in their spaces. And I believe them. That doesn't mean that they hate men or are trying to kill the dating lives of shy men with a tendency toward scrupulosity. That just means that certain spaces are not meant to support men who go want support and advice.

If you want advice from a place that actually cares about your romantic success at all, don't get advice from these sources. That's not what they're here for.

<mod>You know, rj3, you're on a forum that both explicitly identifies as being a feminist-friendly space and one that has a fairly strong focus on advice-giving. It's not "they" and "there." It's "you" and "here," and I think you may run into a lot of disagreement from people who do give such advice as to what their specific attitudes are. Not all feminist and feminist-friendly spaces are the same, and not all feminists offering advice are doing so from the same perspective.

Since you're new, you may want to check out our Guidelines, not because you've violated them but because they do give a bit of an overview of what we're trying to do here.</mod>

Apologies for the confusion. "They" refers to feminist bloggers. I am not a blogger.

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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:40 pm

So basically return to sop; fratty mcbroson will continue to get what he wants because he ignores your zone system and approaches whenever he feels like and isn't concerned over consent laws. It's the suckers payoff from game theory.

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Post by The Wisp on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:46 pm

I rarely fully appreciate the tone of such pieces are written in--I dont really know why--but the message to me is simple and should be uncontroversial. All it is saying is to emapthize with a woman when you want to approach her.

There seem to be tiers of places where you can approach women for romantic purposes, from the highest where you can assume with almost 100% certainty she will be cool with your approach to the lowest where she will almost certainly not be okay with it. Most public spaces are in middle tiers. In middle tiers context matters, and the lower the tier the more cautious you need to be. It'll generally be okay to approach at a party, unless she's in a very intense discussion with another person. It will generally be best to not approach at a coffee shop, unless she gives clear nonverbal signals that she's open to talking to strangers or you already know her from something else.

Basically, think to yourself "how open are normal people to be approached to socialize in this space in general?" That is your baseline, but you must also adjust based on her signals. If you're not sure what the signals mean, err on the side of caution.

Besides, as enail said, most people's dating lives dont revolve around cold approaches in gnenral, especially in lower to kid tier public spaces. There are plenty of other ways to get dates!


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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:49 pm

nopenoperson wrote:So basically return to sop; fratty mcbroson will continue to get what he wants because he ignores your zone system and approaches whenever he feels like and isn't concerned over consent laws. It's the  suckers payoff from game theory.

You asked an ethics question. Sometimes the right thing to do is not the quickest, easiest way to get what you want. That's not how ethics work. I'd further note that you limited the question so that answers excluded all the intermediate areas in life where approaches take a little more nuance and care but are ethical.

Beyond all that, Fratty McBroson may very well approach women in ethical ways because he's willing to learn how to tell when it's a good time to talk to women sitting under trees or because he mostly is involved with women who are his friends, and that some men who do not meet that description are very unethical about how they look for romantic and sexual partners.


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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:51 pm

That's all true, but how do you meet people explicitly for dating purposes when all the typical venues are not available? The closest thing I come to for a social life is occasionally going out with my group of friends, some of whom are women, and the rest of the time it's either at work, at home, or in class. I hear what is being said, and I do this, it's precisely the problem. I can't tell if she's okay with me talking to her, so I default to the no position (hence the screen name) and don't talk to her, or anyone else...

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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:52 pm

Ethics are subjective.

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Post by reboundstudent on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:54 pm

eselle28 wrote:
nopenoperson wrote:So basically return to sop; fratty mcbroson will continue to get what he wants because he ignores your zone system and approaches whenever he feels like and isn't concerned over consent laws. It's the  suckers payoff from game theory.

You asked an ethics question. Sometimes the right thing to do is not the quickest, easiest way to get what you want. That's not how ethics work. I'd further note that you limited the question so that answers excluded all the intermediate areas in life where approaches take a little more nuance and care but are ethical.

I'd further note that Fratty McBroson may very well approach women in ethical ways because he's willing to learn how to tell when it's a good time to talk to women sitting under trees or because he mostly is involved with women who are his friends, and that some men who do not meet that description are very unethical about how they look for romantic and sexual partners.

That's what kind of confuses me about drawing such strong parallels between "Women don't want to be approached" and "Thus I can never have a girlfriend." Haven't there been tons of studies and stories that cold approaching is the LEAST used way that people get together? Like, even if every single woman was open to be approached 24/7, it still seems that humans meet and mate through common social groups (work, friends, clubs) or networking (online, single-specific events, venues that encounter mating)? Why in the world is there so much pain and railing around the possible exclusion* of an option that doesn't even seem to be that widely used anyway??

* I say possible because it is not a common opinion men shouldn't approach women. Why such black and white thinking??
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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:54 pm

nopenoperson wrote:That's all true, but how do you meet people explicitly for dating purposes when all the typical venues are not available? The closest thing I come to for a social life is occasionally going out with my group of friends, some of whom are women, and the rest of the time it's either at work, at home, or in class. I hear what is being said, and I do this, it's precisely the problem. I can't tell if she's okay with me talking to her, so I default to the no position (hence the screen name) and don't talk to her, or anyone else...

That's a logistics problem, not an ethics one. I'd say that the most obvious ethical solutions that present themselves are to ask your female friends if they could introduce you to women, to continue to be patient using the explicit dating spaces that are available and understanding that it may require a great deal of patience, or to brace yourself and decide that you'll learn how to navigate intermediate social zones.

Deciding that it's all too hard, so you should just feel free to approach any woman anywhere isn't an ethical solution, though. To the extent you may want others to give you that sort of permission by setting this up as a black and white problem, I don't think you're going to find many people who will go along with it.
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