Monday, 15 February 2010

Roissy in DC

There are few times I've read or heard something and thought: what are you doing inside my head? One is Rands' essay on Nerds. Another and more recently was looking at the Roissy in DC blog. I'm a little less proud of this one, as Roissy, who is at a guess a decently good-looking thirty-something DC-based professional, has an attitude towards women and the dating / mating game that resembles an earlier me at my more bitter. The guy has had a lot of bad experiences and it shows.

When I was a young lad back in the 1970's, girls were looking for two things: husband material, and quick flings. Here comes a perverse piece of girl logic that I've had confirmed several times: girls choose bastards or losers to have quick flings with because then they don't need an excuse for the early exit. If they choose a nice guy, they have to explain why they left him. "Because he was a cute fuck but not husband material" is not an acceptable answer - nice guys are supposed to be husband material. As a result, "nice guys" tend to get short shrift in the dating market - and all those unrelieved hormones turn bitter after a while. Bitterness is never gracious, so it never reads well.

Roissy and I have something in common. Both of us from an early age decided that we were not doing marriage. There are many reasons why not, but my favourite is that a perceptive boy looks at how much fun Dad seems to be having being married and draws the appropriate conclusion. This is the sort of thing that comes out in body language and behaviour. Well-balanced girls looking for marriage take one look and don't see the body language they saw in their father (who liked his marriage) and so no more approach us than a vegetarian would a butcher shop. This leaves us with the girls whose Daddies didn't get much fun out of their marriage: they recognise our body language and it's familiar, so they come our way. But the whole thing is doomed to failure from the start. The girls get upset because we're not up for commitment, but we're all they can get, because the well-balanced boys who want marriage don't see in those girls the body language they saw in their mothers (who liked their marriages).

The harsh truth is this: people from happy marriages marry people from happy marriages, the rest are left with each other: a rag-bag of girls and boys with various hang-ups, fears, traumas, resentments and suspicions. The girls don't want to be miserable like Mom, and the boys don't want to be trapped like Dad; maybe there was some sexual abuse in childhood; maybe you were the misfit and teased by the normals in Junior school; maybe you fell in love with whoever and they laughed at you; maybe you just weren't born with confidence the way most people aren't born able to do double somersaults and five years of peak adolescence left you with bitter hormones. In one of the rare denial-free brain zones, the boy knows this and the girl knows this and neither of them like it: they have a choice of being single, or settling, or divorce.

There is one thing Roissy gets right without saying it. Adults have sex with each other because they want to, not because it's a way of getting someone to marry you or fix the plumbing. Those women who make their sexual favours conditional upon the man doing this or that or whatever else give the rest of their sex a bad, bad name. He's right to resent it but wrong to express it.

The next time a woman runs a number on you, Mr Roissy, don't play the game: say something polite but meaningless (and I mean as empty as "I really don't know what to say to that, but, Sandra, it's been really nice meeting you, and have a good day tomorrow"), excuse yourself and leave. Right then, right there. Women who play games are not happy people and you don't need them, anymore than they really need you. This doesn't make the bitter hormones any easier to take, but nothing does that.

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