Ethics of approaching women

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Post by reboundstudent on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:55 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...

You go online. You go to single events. You ask your friends if they have any single friends. You ask work mates if they have any single friends. You join clubs at your school. Like there are literally a good half a dozen or more options that don't involve cold approaching and thus worrying about all these feminist theories. Why are you doubling down so much on having to cold approach? Why is absolutely nothing else an option?
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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:59 pm

I'm not looking for that sort of permission, I very specifically don't want to bother people. Even on dating sites it takes me days to make up my mind if I'll be bothering her by sending her a message.. After all she is probably getting bombarded with dick pics constantly an likely has no time to read my message... So why bother sending it.

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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:00 pm

Because all those other things are already non starters

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Post by eselle28 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:07 pm

nopenoperson wrote:Because all those other things are already non starters

Part of the point of ethics is that they apply when things are difficult and when making decisions that could hurt others seems tempting. If they only applied when choices were easy, there wouldn't be much use for them.

Sometimes your life is in a place where dating is logistically difficult. I certainly have been there. I got laid off and had to move from a large, vibrant city to a small town where I suspect it's even harder for me to find educated, childless people than it has been for you, because there is no university here. Solutions that were offered to me were to adjust my expectations for a partner, to be patient and keep looking on the off chance I would find someone compatible who might be equally excited to date me, to take a long view and look toward arranging my life so that I could relocate to a place where there might be more available men who interest me, or some combination of those strategies. I rejected the first as unpalatable and pursued the second two.

Asking for permission to drop ethics concerns wasn't really a consideration, though. I don't know if it was even seriously suggested to me. Although I don't know that this should be a key component of ethical decisions, I would say that if you've been unsuccessful in explicit dating spaces and unwilling to learn how to navigate intermediate ones, I don't necessarily think that dropping all concerns about how women feel and approaching anyone you'd care to would necessarily improve things, either. It sounds like that's not really the issue.
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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:14 pm

As I said, I'm not looking to do that because I don't want to be fratty mcbroson. And if anyone thinks he cares about women and empathizes with them then I have a bridge to sell you. These guys shout sexist slurs t women through bullhorns and still get laid like crazy.

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Post by Enail on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:17 pm

I'd suggest that "but I really want to meet women that way," isn't really much of an ethical debate, even if the reason for that is "I haven't managed to meet women other ways." And neither is "but sometimes people who are unethical get what they want." If you don't care about ethics, you should probably stay out of a thread about ethics.

Maybe folks who are looking for pragmatic suggestions on either other ways they can meet women or ways to determine which cold approaches are broadly considered acceptable could start new threads for their questions, and this thread can stick to ethics?
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Post by nopenoperson on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:21 pm

I honestly don't see a point to that, it will just be the same suggestions that rebound just gave over and over and me and likely others saying over and over that those suggestions won't work for a variety of reasons. It's the same loggerheads I'm at with my therapist. Hell I'm so afraid of potentially upsetting people that I burned through my allotment of tinder tokens and now can't even use the app unless I get a new phone number or Facebook page because I would swipe right, freak out, and delete my account.

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Post by Enail on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:25 pm

<mod>Nopenoperson, whether or not you are frustrated with your dating options and the suggestions you're getting on this site, a general thread about ethics is not the place to discuss them. I didn't put my last comment as a mod request, but I am doing so now: If you want to talk about your personal issues, start a thread for it. If you want to argue that it's okay not to consider ethics at all when not doing so makes things easier, I don't think this forum is the right place for that. Unless you want to talk about ethics from the starting premise that they are valued for reasons other than making your life easier, please don't post in this thread.</mod>
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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:42 pm

Here's a little bit of hyperbole, courtesy of Anatone France:

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

I am well aware that you don't need a romantic relationship the same way you need food or shelter. A thousand thousand caveats that I did not use this quote to imply any of that.  The reason I picked it is to illustrate that there is often a problem when those who purport to hand down rules of behavior or ethics don't care about consequences they will never feel.

The blog post at the top of this thread was written by someone who is completely unconcerned with how men get dates. And that's her right. Not every blog has to be concerned with men. Men have most of the rest of the internet to discuss and set what they believe to be ethical boundaries. You can take into account people who speak only in "thou shalt nots," but in the end, they're not really writing posts like that for you.

Just because I'm a new poster doesn't mean that I'm a new reader. DNL writes about cold approaches. He often warns against using them in certain situations, and searching for clues signaling receptiveness. He is also a feminist and I believe he does sincerely care about women and how they feel. He is operating with the expressed goal of "helping nerds get the girl." The blogger in the post above does not write from that perspective, and what she says should be interpreted accordingly.

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Post by Caffeinated on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:48 pm

rj3 wrote:The blog post at the top of this thread was written by someone who is completely unconcerned with how men get dates. And that's her right. Not every blog has to be concerned with men. Men have most of the rest of the internet to discuss and set what they believe to be ethical boundaries. You can take into account people who speak only in "thou shalt nots," but in the end, they're not really writing posts like that for you.

Just because I'm a new poster doesn't mean that I'm a new reader. DNL writes about cold approaches. He often warns against using them in certain situations, and searching for clues signaling receptiveness. He is also a feminist and I believe he does sincerely care about women and how they feel. He is operating with the expressed goal of "helping nerds get the girl." The blogger in the post above does not write from that perspective, and what she says should be interpreted accordingly.

I just have to point out that the blogger who wrote the blog post at the start of this thread is a man. https://quiteirregular.wordpress.com/about/ Just FYI.
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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:58 pm

Caffeinated wrote:I just have to point out that the blogger who wrote the blog post at the start of this thread is a man. https://quiteirregular.wordpress.com/about/ Just FYI.

Thanks for pointing that out. Cartoons on TV when I was of an impressionable age cause me to assume Jem is a woman's name. Headsmack

I don't really think that changes my argument. Mr. Bloomfield doesn't care about your boner, either. Skipping around his gender related posts, he doesn't really speak about men except insofar as they harm women. This is his prerogative and he's right about many things. I just believe that his view is severely limited and the lens through which he views these interactions is unhelpful to a man actually out there in the dating world.

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Post by reboot on Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:53 pm

rj3 wrote:
Caffeinated wrote:I just have to point out that the blogger who wrote the blog post at the start of this thread is a man. https://quiteirregular.wordpress.com/about/ Just FYI.

Thanks for pointing that out. Cartoons on TV when I was of an impressionable age cause me to assume Jem is a woman's name.  Headsmack

I don't really think that changes my argument. Mr. Bloomfield doesn't care about your boner, either. Skipping around his gender related posts, he doesn't really speak about men except insofar as they harm women. This is his prerogative and he's right about many things. I just believe that his view is severely limited and the lens through which he views these interactions is unhelpful to a man actually out there in the dating world.

Mr. Bloomfield does not care about dating experience because his post is not dating advice and should not be treated as such. This is akin to reading about macroeconomics and treating it as personal financial advice.
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Post by rj3 on Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:04 pm

reboot wrote:
Mr. Bloomfield does not care about dating experience because his post is not dating advice and should not be treated as such. This is akin to reading about macroeconomics and treating it as personal financial advice.

Agreed. It seemed like the OP was trying to square Bloomfield with actual advice he had received from people in his life.

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Post by reboot on Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:15 am

This thread is kind of a mess since we have tangented a lot, including one I started, so I am going to split this.

Please continue the discussion of Mr. Bloomfield's article in this thread (I think it is weird the OP thought he was a she since he clearly says he is male more than once)

EDIT:
Mikey an jcorozza, your discussion of Mikey's dating difficulties is here Let me know is you want me to add the posts from the OLD thread as well

The tangent on flirting in different subcultures is here
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Post by Olmajor on Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:15 am

Please continue the discussion of Mr. Bloomfield's article in this thread (I think it is weird the OP thought he was a she since he clearly says he is male more than once)

I didn't pay attention while reading it, it seems. When I was writing my post I did a quick check, and settled with the fact that his name was Jem. Not that the writer's gender means anything here.

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Post by reboot on Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:47 am

Olmajor wrote:
Please continue the discussion of Mr. Bloomfield's article in this thread (I think it is weird the OP thought he was a she since he clearly says he is male more than once)

I didn't pay attention while reading it, it seems. When I was writing my post I did a quick check, and settled with the fact that his name was Jem. Not that the writer's gender means anything here.

True because it is a very macro level, societal/cultural article, but your calling him "she" baffled me for a bit and then made me wonder what I had missed. Probably because every Jem I know is a guy Smile

One issue he brought up that really resonated to me is this one:

Part of that making sure involves looking at how gendered our behaviour is. To use a trivial example: how often do men randomly strike up conversations with other men in bookshops, coffee houses, bus queues, etc? I spend a lot of time hanging around places that sell books, and I don’t think another man has ever stopped me and remarked on what I’m buying, or exclaimed that we’ve picked the same volume, or any similarly casual interaction. From various casual remarks by female friends, I gather being a woman in a bookshop may lead to exactly this sort of conversation. And there’s nothing wrong with talking about books (a view I definitely have to hold in order to justify collecting my salary every month…!) But if only women are addressed in this way, then it’s reflecting a gendered dynamic. Probably an assumption that women in public are available for men’s purposes, even if that purpose if only to while away some time and maybe end up with a phone number. And that’s a pretty sexist assumption.

If chatting with strangers were more gender neutral for men, the chatting with strangers who are women would be less fraught. After all, women chat with each other and men, but men tend to only strike up conversations with women and those are usually women they see as potential romantic/sexual partners. If this could be changed it would be easier to talk to strangers.
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Post by kath on Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:52 am

And also easier to talk to strangers you did actually want to get the number of, because both of you would be more comfortable about it (and hopefully more comfortable saying "no, but have a good day" - "yeah, you too, enjoy that book!")

And, women wouldn't have this sort of knee-jerk conclusion that any man who talks to one of us MIGHT be angling for something, which I think we try to not have (I try not to, anyway), but it's definitely a very odd dynamic. And certainly isn't actually true in all cases!
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:02 pm

I think something that could make caveats about cold approaching seem less like "never ever try this at all" would be to think of the mistakes you can make as sitting on a spectrum. In one end is the "oh, shouldn't have done that, now I know better next time", with the addition of a fuzzless apology if the other person seems open to receive one. On the other end is the grievous ethical breach, and those should be avoided at all cost. And somewhere in between... are many of the situations we run into when we navigate the messy, ever changing, context dependent social world.

At least, that's how I've come to understand it, after dealing for a while with these questions, and I have a thread about it here.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:47 am

Enail wrote:Cold approaches are not a major part of most peoples' dating life!

Being unable to get a date is also not a major part of most people's dating life, with appropriate adjustments for the magnitudes of "unable" and "major part". These conversations tend to make a big deal about cold approaching mainly because that's already all that's left*. I'd wager most of us dislike doing the cold approaching almost as much as our victims dislike being approached. But the alternatives are by definition only possible with a very narrow set of people, and that set only shrinks over time unless you're constantly cycling through your friend-groups (dunno about anyone else but I would see that as the reddest flag).

To more generally address some of the rhetorical questions floating around: if it's true that society privileges men's desire for romance over women's feelings, privacy, and safety—I'm not saying that it isn't, but if it is—then there is something severely wrong with me/us—and I'm not saying that there isn't. I can't really fault the Dudes for taking issue with that implication, though, nor have any difficulty seeing why they do; it's a pretty normal/human thing to want to strongly disagree with ideas you don't like.

*Personally, I've pretty much just given up on that idea too, since several months ago and through the foreseeable future.
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Post by reboot on Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:50 am

nearly_takuan wrote:
Enail wrote:Cold approaches are not a major part of most peoples' dating life!

Being unable to get a date is also not a major part of most people's dating life, with appropriate adjustments for the magnitudes of "unable" and "major part". These conversations tend to make a big deal about cold approaching mainly because that's already all that's left*. I'd wager most of us dislike doing the cold approaching almost as much as our victims dislike being approached. But the alternatives are by definition only possible with a very narrow set of people, and that set only shrinks over time unless you're constantly cycling through your friend-groups (dunno about anyone else but I would see that as the reddest flag).

To more generally address some of the rhetorical questions floating around: if it's true that society privileges men's desire for romance over women's feelings, privacy, and safety—I'm not saying that it isn't, but if it is—then there is something severely wrong with me/us—and I'm not saying that there isn't. I can't really fault the Dudes for taking issue with that implication, though, nor have any difficulty seeing why they do; it's a pretty normal/human thing to want to strongly disagree with ideas you don't like.

*Personally, I've pretty much just given up on that idea too, since several months ago and through the foreseeable future.

Everyone struggles with some part of relationships. Getting dates, meeting someone who wants what they want in a relationship, maintaining a relationship. You may not see someone who gets dates but never meets someone who wants what they want as struggling, but they are in the same spot as you: alone and frustrated. Only difference is they had a few dates that went nowhere.

I was going to respond to the rest of your post, but Dr. Bloomberg field (sorry about the Mr, Dr.) responded to the OP and others, so I will let him speak

Edit: Additionally sorry for getting your name wrong. Autocorrect and early morning got me again


Last edited by reboot on Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:51 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:17 am

reboot wrote:I was going to respond to the rest of your post, but Dr. Bloomberg (sorry about the Mr, Dr.) responded to the OP and others, so I will let him speak

Well, that was hilariously more literal than I thought. Laughing

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Post by reboundstudent on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:26 am

reboot wrote:
Everyone struggles with some part of relationships. Getting dates, meeting someone who wants what they want in a relationship, maintaining a relationship. You may not see someone who gets dates but never meets someone who wants what they want as struggling, but they are in the same spot as you: alone and frustrated. Only difference is they had a few dates that went nowhere.

I was going to respond to the rest of your post, but Dr. Bloomberg (sorry about the Mr, Dr.) responded to the OP and others, so I will let him speak

I'll also point out that there is a heavy assumption that people who don't cold approach don't face the same potential troubles of dating. I've brought it up before that it really, really bothers me when guys (not necessarily guys here, but guys I've encountered in other places) assume that they are the only ones that struggle with dating, that they are the only ones with difficult love lives, and that everyone else is just constantly hopping into bed with a rotating round of partners or settled with their True Love(s). I think ditching the assumption that everyone else has an easy time with love except "me" (and thus how dare other people set down rules or boundaries that make it even harder from my point of view) would go a LONG way towards helping.

Also that is super hilarious that he found our forum. :-D I know this sounds strange, but sometimes I feel so used to and comfortable with this community that I forget other people can wander in and read stuff.
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Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:30 am

reboundstudent wrote:Also that is super hilarious that he found our forum. :-D I know this sounds strange, but sometimes I feel so used to and comfortable with this community that I forget other people can wander in and read stuff.

I actually suspect he's a regular reader. (Hi, Dr. Bloomberg!) He's referenced Dr. Nerdlove before in his articles.

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Post by reboundstudent on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:34 am

ElizaJane wrote:
reboundstudent wrote:Also that is super hilarious that he found our forum. :-D I know this sounds strange, but sometimes I feel so used to and comfortable with this community that I forget other people can wander in and read stuff.

I actually suspect he's a regular reader.  (Hi, Dr. Bloomberg!)  He's referenced Dr. Nerdlove before in his articles.

Uh-oh.... It's like when someone I know IRL mentions something I said only on the forum in passing.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:46 am

reboot wrote:Everyone struggles with some part of relationships. Getting dates, meeting someone who wants what they want in a relationship, maintaining a relationship. You may not see someone who gets dates but never meets someone who wants what they want as struggling, but they are in the same spot as you: alone and frustrated. Only difference is they had a few dates that went nowhere.

Actually, I suspect I would see them as struggling if they got to a point where they found themselves trying to get all their dates via cold approach, still couldn't find a partner, couldn't figure out what the hell they'd been doing wrong (or even hadn't been doing right), and wound up asking total strangers over unsecured channels about it just in case any of them had something insightful to say. So I was a little too specific, but I think you are being much, much too general. Because that hypothetical person is still not most people. As Enail has already observed, most people don't make cold approaching a major part of their dating lives. All I was trying to point out was that most people don't get to the point where they see that as the only possibility for having a dating life.

reboot wrote:I was going to respond to the rest of your post, but Dr. Bloomberg (sorry about the Mr, Dr.) responded to the OP and others, so I will let him speak

This seems almost like a non-sequitur to what I wrote. Fine. Now that I've got a mouse, it's much easier to just quote what I was referring to directly.

eselle28 wrote: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.

reboot wrote: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.

Enail wrote: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!)

reboundstudent wrote: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??

eselle28 wrote:
nopenoperson wrote:Because all those other things are already non starters

Part of the point of ethics is that they apply when things are difficult and when making decisions that could hurt others seems tempting. If they only applied when choices were easy, there wouldn't be much use for them.

jcorozza wrote:I don't understand why this is a specifically male problem that always come up. Women can only meet men in the same spaces that men can meet women, except that many of us don't approach

Basically I've been reading a whole lot of "why is this a topic that keeps coming up here, on these dating advice sites, where people who don't need dating advice and don't want to give dating advice don't post?"

It seems to me we keep responding to what is said instead of what is meant, and that kind of frustrates me too because it makes these things even more circular and stagnant than they already are.

Jem Bloomberg wrote:This is still whizzing around on the same track of male solipsism: the viewpoint is always centred around what might make a man feel good or bad about interacting with women.

Solipsism? Maybe, but I don't think women are immune. I think women don't have to confront the same exact issue in the same exact way because there aren't as many of these articles and conversations discussing what is or isn't ethical behavior on the part of a woman. Hurray for traditionalist bullshit: there's no demonstrably "unethical" way to show up at a bar and wait for people to talk to you. There's no narrative in these sorts of spaces that Society privileges women's desires over men's safety, or that women are playing on the Easiest Difficulty Setting, with cheat codes. And so there is no subtext to instinctively reject on the basis of "okay but surely I don't suck that much?".

And again, I say: this is instinct. Most people would feel that way, I think; it's just that most people don't find themselves in the exact same position. Most people do at some point in their lives find themselves in the position of receiving harsh criticism, and the knee-jerk reaction (for them and for anyone else who may give a tiny shit about them) is to raise objections, even if those objections don't make any sense.

These are not rational discussions about rational things. I don't think this thread has ever really been about ethics. From the start it has been about the almost totally unrelated premises of an argument about ethical behavior, and the implications of such. Premises which directly imply that I (and many others here) am in some cosmic sense a worse less valuable person than the overwhelming majority of the people around me. I'm not arguing against that point or trying to show that the argument is wrong by contrapositive; but I'm pretty sure most people would at least start out wanting to. Is there a way to get people past that more efficiently? Hell if I know; this is a field where I find it consistently impossible for me to solve the most trivial problems.
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