Columns Apr 23, 2009 at 4:00 am

Hump! 5


1 that I have been first, I must say that I was a bit disappointed that the porn-promotion at the end of the column cut into the regular format. Come on. Give us our fix of amusing/enlightening advice.
first comment? Also, are there no conditions to this year's entries, (like last year having to include a jack-o-lantern somewhere?)
- Makenna
Damn. I need to be quicker on the draw. The question still stands, though. I need to know if my entry needs a weird theme or a funny 'easter egg' somewhere.
Come on Dan!! All week to come up with one lousy response to one question? Is this why you make the big bucks?
aww i'd been looking forward to this all week. cop-out column.
In m experience, guys who peg themselves as 'romantic' or 'old-fashioned' have sexist leanings and outdated ideas about women's sexuality. They're going to woo you like a 19th century literary hero and you're going to like it, dammit!
i've never understood people who approach dating as some chore to be enthusiastically completed. its supposed to be fun right? and if you're not having fun then something needs to change. also, c'mon people, "first comment!" are you proud of yourselves? how about some substance. and yeah, there should always be at least 3 questions that are answered with only the amusing poignant wit that dan savage can provide.
I march to the beat of my own drum.

This could be a euphemism for 'weirdo'.

Friends tell me that my personality is intense.

This is definitely a euphemism for 'weirdo', or at least difficult to get along with (I think 'asshole' may be a bit extreme, but also possible.)

I'm extremely idealistic, and I count myself as a romantic. I'm interested in an intense and consuming love affair with a woman.

I'm a young single woman and your letter alone is setting off all kinds of warning bells. You need to get a woman to like and trust you before you can get into an intense and consuming love affair. If you are giving off weird, overly intense or obsessive/desperate vibes, women will read this as creepy and avoid you, no matter how good you look (remember Ted Bundy was fit and attractive too.) I think counseling is probably a good idea, to figure out why your personality is so extreme and what in your past may have put you in this position. You deserve love like everyone does, but I think it will elude you when you're looking *so* hard.

(And there's nothing wrong with not liking the bar scene, Dan! I was a bartender for several years and saw very few people find "love" - although I did see plenty of injuries, regretful one night stands and a few date rape attempts.)
You should never date someone who calls himself a romantic. He won't treat you like a real person, but like a prop in his romantic fantasy.
Regarding the intense SWM:

Speaking from experience, the "intense and consuming" approach can raise red flags in the minds of many women as warnings of a potentially abusive partner. Even if this SWM is not and would never be abusive, the ladies he courts (and their friends) might interpret his behavior as a precursor to increasingly controlling, isolating, manipulative and abusive behavior.

While a therapist may be a bit extreme, he should probably reexamine his ideas about the kind of relationship he desires - and take the advice of his friends in a more relaxed approach to "courtship."
Sorry, spinal's post came up while I was writing mine. Didn't mean to repeat already covered material.
Hehe... guys who peg themselves...
I've also had people tell me that it's the person with the balls that is necessarily the teabagger, but that's never made any sense to me, because, in my experience, the person with the balls is the passive party. It's the person doing the actual mouth action that is actually performing the act. If a guys balls are in my mouth, it's because I put them there. It's always sounded more correct to me to refer to myself as teabagging the guy.
Dan got it exactly backwards... "intense" is usually code for "not enough of an asshole". On a scale from "creepy stalker" to "asshole frat boy", "intense" is way closer to the creepy stalker. Like a lot of us guys trying to figure out the dating scene, WHDMA needs to learn to lighten up, not care so much, have more fun, and be less emotional.
Another strange language quirk: in dick-in-mouth sex, the person with the dick is "receiving" a blowjob, but in dick-in-ass sex, the person with the dick is "giving" and the person with the ass is "receiving" anal.
Also, I agree with Kiki and Spinal and I am also a young, single woman. There's nothing wrong with a man being intense and romantic but those qualities have to emerge organically in their own time as a relationship develops. When a guy uses those terms to describe himself, I definitely get a needy and obsessive vibe. Also guys like that tend to put women on pedestals instead of seeing them as real people.
not first!

i love the idea of being a porn star for the weekend. just one clarification, must all the props be in one movie?
...and it was disappointing to only read two letters. humph.
First, WHDMA's letter makes him sound not only like an asshole, but like a CREEPY asshole.

Secondly, you dip a tea bag INTO a cup of hot water, much like someone dips their balls into a willing mouth. Thusly, a man teabags someone, he is not teabagged. If he is not an active participant of the teabagging, i.e. he did not put them in your mouth, you just moved to his balls from his cock, then you are not participating in teabagging, you are just licking balls. Either way, good times had all around, am I right?
Dan, why did the the third, very short letter make the cut for the Onion/A.V. Club version of the column, but not the Stranger version?
"Teabagging" also means to touch your sack onto something (that something being, 99% of the time, someone else's head). This was memorably demonstrated in the John Waters' movie "Pecker", where one character lowered his balls onto another's forehead. Teabagging also possible in many current multiplayer videogames (eg: "Halo 3"). When a player falls down dead, another player stands above him and kneels, simulating a teabagging.
"very attractive, very fit SWM living in NYC. I'm well-read and well-spoken."

A guy with this inflated an ego is probably not meeting women because he comes off as an arrogant douche!

"march to the beat of my own drum" = i disagree with people a lot

"intense" = impossible to be around
I recommend that WHDMA take introductory improv workshops. The rules of improv are the same rules as positive communication. Learn the rules, think about the rules, apply the rules.
I agree with the single ladies on this board -- nothing is worse than being a symbol to a dude and not a person. In fact, it's one of my points in my dating manifesto, "Things Nice Guys Can Learn From Assholes".
Regarding the first letter: there is something enticing about an attractive person who doesn't know they're attractive (or at least pretends not to know). Maybe this person should pretend he doesn't know he's such a catch and maybe his luck will change.
@Teabagged Laura: Exactly. It's in the wording. Let's just look to actual teabags and it all makes sense. You dip teabags. Nobody puts them in their mouth and sucks them. I hope.
I'll say why "Wild Horses" is having a hard time forming an "intense" relationship with a woman: he's much too in love with himself. I bet he goes on and on about his feelings and his views, and doesn't realize that dating is about more than finding someone to adore him. He needs to temper his ego if he wants to stop scaring women away.
Oh, yeah, and "Wild Horses": women don't generally want to date men who are more emotional than they are.
savage love was better when it was a sex-and-relationships advice column...
The Onion AV Club leaves out all of the Hump nonsense, and includes more sex advice:…

"Wild Horses" sounds narcissistic. When he goes on a date, I bet he talks on and on about his views and his feelings. I wonder how long it'll take him to figure out that most women aren't interested in dating men who are more emotional then they are.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who waits for this all week. :) But yeah, it's a little disappointing to only have two questions answered.
Who the hell "recoils" when a female friend offers to go out with you to a bar and help you get laid?

My impression is this guy is a self absorbed douche bag without a sense of humor covering up deep insecurities with posturing. Yay run on sentence!
A guy can peg himself now? Hold on, I need to amend a Wikipedia article...
TY DAN!! I used to be friends with a woman who *could not comprehend* that my relationship (sexual) was different than her platonic relationship with the same guy. Her conclusion was that because he had tons of friends he must therefore be a great guy and not the POS womanizer I remembered him being. TY TY TY!! for actually putting this no-brainer in writing.
When folks refer to someone as "too intense" it typically means that they never shut up, and/or that they and talk too much about him or herself. i think rather than therapy, ask a friend that you trust, or better yet, someone that you don't get along with, what might be the problem with your personality. ask someone that can't stand you! that is one way to get an honest answer.
Disappointed that there were only 2 questions. Like many others commented, I love me some Dan Savage, and this week's column is a tease.

I'm thinking therapy is definitely the answer for the first guy. Friends won't tell you what they really think. Girlfriends probably let this guy down easy, because if he's really as intense as he says he is, then they're probably afraid to be honest. What I'm hearing about this guy is not so much stalker, more like inexperienced in relationships and unrealistic, overly romantic expectations.

Than again, if you haven't gotten laid for months, who wouldn't be a little "intense?"

Besides, what's so wrong with wanting to fall madly and passionately in love with someone else? Or wanting to be the type of person whom someone else falls passionately and madly in love with?

I don't know what the LW's problem and/or hurdles might be but maybe we should cut him some slack.
Well, I am off to defeat the Somali pirates!!!
Translations for 'wild horses':

"intense personality": exhausting to be around, due to being too vocal with one's opinions, too stubborn, or both. Can also be a code word for being high-maintenance and fussy.

"romantic": can be a positive trait in a partner, but the self-labeled romantics are often a pain in the ass. Romantic tendencies/personalities should emerge naturally as part of getting to know someone.

"march to the beat of my own drum": by itself, not necessarily a bad thing. When connected to all the aforementioned qualities, could easily be connected to the stubbornness that goes with being 'intense'.

Overall, the guy sounds a bit humorless and high-maintenance. If he'd said what his typical courtship is like, it would be easier to tell what he needs to do. Talking to a counselor and accepting honest, loving feedback from friends will probably help. After all, sometimes it's your friends' job to tell you you're being an ass.
dearest dan,
as a confirmed asshole (on the mend, thanks to couples therapy) I would like to thank you so much for your no-nonsense response to WHDMA...I for one know that often what an "intense" personality CRAVES is someone to give it to them straight (no puns or double-entendre intended).
Props to WHDMA for writing in, props to you, the King of the Straight Answer.
good luck, WHDMA - take it like a man!

To see the full version of this column sans the HUMP 5 advert, go here:…
Hi Dan,

It sounds like the guy in the first letter has undiagnosed Asperger's or something along the Autism spectrum. It's VERY different from being an asshole, but it does require the people in their lives to be able to yell, "Hey, Calm Down, Refocus!!" until they do. That's not something you can really do on a first date with a guy.

People with Asperger's tend to be really intense about things that are important to them, but they're often genuinely sweet and good-natured about their interests. (Though, like every other population, some really are assholes, of course.)

Maybe something a trained psychologist could detect?
Me, Obama, teabagging? Can somebody say "hot, hot, hot" ?
WHDMA may be an asshole, Dan, but he sounds to me more like a creeper. If a man is willing to email you and tell you that he is "idealistic" and "romantic"...not to mention wants a "consuming love affair" with a woman...he probably tells every potential woman he meets that exact same line within 15 minutes of meeting her. His problem is probably coming on too strong and making every woman so suffocated by his bullshit of how he is the dreamy, poetic-type she can't stand him.
"First" comments are soooo elementary school. you're the asshole who had to rush to the front of every line. grow up. i hate you.
great advice to Wild Horses guy. he should totally take up the offer of a wing-lady, she will let him know what he's doing wrong and give him some ideas on how not to be an asshole.
No, you don't ask someone who can't stand you their opinion, as you won't get an honest answer. You ask someone who either gives it to you straight or has insufficient emotional investment to worry about offending you.

The guy's problem here isn't that he's an asshole - it's that he's too hard work and not as handsome as he thinks he is. If he was drop dead gorgeous, women would put up with his shit and shag him.

Most people don't want to work hard in a relationship, so when you mean someone who 'marches to the beat of their own drum' (read : approaches life differently from everyone else) there's straight away extra work.

Then there's 'intense' which most definitely means 'expects too much, too soon'

Add in 'idealistic' and 'romantic' - for that read 'unrealistic expectations' and probably 'picky'.

He's probably insecure, too, although that's difficult to be sure about.

To be incredibly sexist, some women can get away with this sort of crap (in the short term, at least), because they're usually more in demand in straight relationships. Men can't unless there's great sexual chemistry.

Dan's advice is pretty good though, dating *should* be a pleasure provided no games are played (which, sadly, they often are...). I definitely don't see the problem with being upset at searching for people in bars though - going out with the express aim of getting laid, rather than as a side effect of an activity/event you want to do, is a very sad existence.
No Dan, you were off on your first assessment. I have the same intensity problem. And it's not assholery, it's that god damn romantic comedy imagination out on a limb, that in the movies, get's you laid, but in the real world SCARES THE SHIT out of women. Not necessarily stalking, but out of the blue saying let's go to the bahamas, james bond chivalry etc. etc.

Sadly, all those great ideas of things you want to do and those romantic escapades are still good ideas, but there is a certain TRUST element that has to happen before you can reach that point. And if you want to build that trust, you have to put up with the trite convo and senseless unsensual banging to get that point.

In the meantime Dan almost kind of redeemed himself in the last part about dating being about pleasure and not intensity.

As for the wingman, the girl wants to do his friend a favor to get his friend layed SO HE WILL CALM THE FUCK DOWN. And in the meantime, she isn't offering her services because she is afraid to loser her identity and get attached to romantic dead weight. Women have intimacy/comitment issues too of a different sort.
The whole "intense=asshole" equation needs explaining. Some people really are intense, and while being with them is not painful, it is like drinking from a fire hose. I have one friend in particular that I'd never ever date for exactly this reason!

He's now happily married BTW and has calmed down considerably.

Not all intense people are egotistical, narcissistic, obtuse assholes who are completely oblivious to the reactions of those around them. Some of them are truly intense people, driven by their own creative impulses, and are completely oblivious to the reactions of those around them.

I realize this is a total oxy moron! Or something. Whether or not an intense person is an asshole really depends on their peripheral qualities and whether or not I perceive them to be caring underneath - do they help their friends, do they make amends when necessary, do they pay their debts, do they seem truly aware of their own foibles and are they making a sincere and constant effort to manage them, etc.

In fact, whether or not anyone's an asshole, regardless of their intensity, might depend on the above.
WHDMA is creepy. Any guy who said even half of what this guy spilled in his letter to Dan would have me running the other way. And you can't even have a beer with a woman in a bar because it's not "romantic" enough? Maybe no women want to be around you because your expectations are completely unrealistic: a guy who thinks going for a beer is not an option because it isn't romantic enough is probably also the kind of guy who thinks you roll out of bed looking beautiful, and will be shattered when you don't. Women are real people, and we're not waiting around like distressed damsels for you to sweep us off our feet into a "consuming love affair." Barf.
Fun Bj Fact blow job is a prostitute term from the twenties. Job being slang for an illegal activity. (bank job, etc) She is the recipient of the "Blow" meaning cum. Although men can blow in any hole in the mouth is the slimiest.
quoth Kiki: "In m experience, guys who peg themselves as 'romantic' or 'old-fashioned' have sexist leanings and outdated ideas about women's sexuality. They're going to woo you like a 19th century literary hero and you're going to like it, dammit!"

this was once me, and is spot on. I didn't used to get many dates, and my more "romantic" friends continue to fail at getting dates (while rejecting the idea of a "meaningless" "fling"). I'm in a happy open LTR now and capable of getting many dates. now more honest with myself in introspection (step 1? rooting out that pesky implicit misogyny thing...), he needs to ask himself what's worse: having a few personality flaws, or being COMPLETELY oblivious--and therefore powerless to compensate for them?

I'm still an asshole though--in balance it can be an asset.
Wow, Wild Horses sounds like my ex, who used words like "thrice" and "henceforth" and also had big mommy issues; and will probably be found dead at age 40 in somebody's dungeon (if not his parents' basement), dressed in a diaper. Tip #1: if you want to get a girl, don't talk like an escaped romance novel character.
I posit that, as with hand-clapping games, pub songs, and other regionally developed means of communication, the definition of "teabagging" varies depending on where you are. Before this tax day silliness, I was only familiar with the definition that involved the sack being applied, in the manner of Head On, directly to the forehead. Watch John Waters' movie "Pecker" for this definition in use.
Kiki--like teabagging, pegging can be done to someone, but not to oneself. But if you can do it to someone romantically, Danny Boy might give you credit for that.
Not sure I agree with the advice for WHDMA he may not be an asshole, he could just be taking it too seriously. Few people want to be on a first date with someone who's acting like they're about to marry you. Just chill out dude. You can date women you're not going to marry. Just go out and have some fun dates. One of them will work out eventually and turn into more dates. One of those, if you're really lucky, may last a lifetime, but take it one step at a time.
I fear that one man's "intense" is another woman's creepy, and indicative of future stalker behavior. I mean, a guy who comes across all intense in the beginning can seem at best desperate, and at worst like he may end up passing lotion down to you in a bucket.
And intense relationships are like mind-blowing s3ex. They're more rare than they should be, and they can't be achieved just by requesting them.
Exactly, everyone here more or less gets it but Dan. Intense is not necessarily asshole, intense is perceived as creepy, obsessive, etc. etc. Right or wrong, the guy will come across as having a lot of baggage even if his intentions are genuine and good.

Sometimes I marvel at HORRIBLY WRONG men and women sometimes read each other.

He just needs to chill out, and yes getting laid does help. If the guy truely is intense and NOT an asshole, he will most likely need an intense woman to play with. Intense women however, can chew through men like toilet paper and are turned off by desperation like a flash light in a black hole. He's in New York, he needs to shut up, let his good looks do the talking and sleep with some people. I would imagine that for this guy, the sex is going to come before the trust, and that in turn will bring out the good relationship.

Don't lower your physical standards too much. GET LAID! Keep it as superficial as possible. Parties are better than bars.
I think Wild Horses is my brother. And if that is the case then he is no stalker. The best advice on here is of the "have fun" sentiment. Most of the comments here have sure made a ton of assumptions - that letter doesn't have that much information. It's really general and not very personal at all. I realize I am saying this while making my own assumption. But really so many of you have jumped to some weird conclusions. I realize most commenters aren't actually trying to give advice here. People like to be anonymously mean - anyone can make that generalization by reading comments on just about any website. At least when Dan is an asshole he usually gives good advice. HAVE FUN WILD HORSES! HAVE SO MUCH FUN! LIFE IS SHORT! and if you are my brother: YOU ARE WONDERFUL!
When friends say "your personality is intense," what they typically mean're obsessive and clingy and consequently scare women away.
but lettuce, would you say the best cure for obsessive and clingy behavior without being all demeaning about it, is to have nonclingy and nonobsessive sex?

Why do you have to be all hating? What he really needs is someone to spell it out for him ...

1) Get drunk
2) Have a nonexistential non heavy emotional conversation.
3) Have sex
4) Accept that they may or may not call each other back

uhm ...

4) yeah it was a lot of fun, but guess what at the end of the day you are a guy just like all the others.

Repeat as long as necesary and one way or another it will work itself out.

It would most certainly ground everyone's expectations
I'm a self-descibed romantic guy and I feel the need to defend that characterization, which WHDMA is clearly not helping with. While I have no problem meeting women and enjoy dating, the thing I live for is having an "intense and consuming love affair". But, judging by the urge to punch myself in the face after writing "intense and consuming love affair", I think the problem here is the presentation (in addition to some other character flaws).

For example, I just spent a lovely weekend in Madrid with a girl I've known for a couple of months. We were talking about some expectations in our developing relationship, but instead of using words like "intense" and "consuming", I just told her how much I enjoy the honeymoon phase of dating - that period in a relationship where you just want to spend all of your time in bed together. Not only did she not visibly cring, I actually got a laugh out of her.

My advice to WHDMA - from one romantic to another - is not to take yourself, or your expectations, so seriously. And don't try for anything more than some good conversation and laughs when you first meet a girl. Either that or kidnap her and take her to a charming city in Europe. Good luck man.
I agree with intense nonasshole. I'm not that intense, but in lots of ways this guy sounds like me - I've definitely given a 'desperate' vibe even when I wasn't actually being desperate.

I'd say it's due to expecting too much too soon, and having high expectations. Doesn't help that I am a pretty unusual person. All of this has limited the involvements I've had over the last several years.

I have a girlfriend now, mainly as a result of lightening up, not taking it so seriously, not being so damn stuck on a certain way of meeting someone (like WHDMA avoiding bars).

Idealism is probably his enemy.
i disagree with "Not a romantic".

Some of us who consider ourselves to be romantics want equal pleasure for our mates AND ourselves.
'I'm interested in an intense and consuming love affair with a woman.'

See, that right there is a turn-off, even to women who consider themselves romantic. It's not a personality trait, really, it's something he wants. Something he's likely planned in his head, based on scenes from novels and Jon Cusack movies. He's just looking for someone to slot into the (likely underdeveloped, one-dimensional) leading lady role, Romantic Conquest #1, someone who will follow his direction. He might try to force them into a role that doesn't suit them, or fire them if they stray from the script.
Dan: "But I can do a little decoding for you: When friends say "your personality is intense," what they typically mean is "you are an asshole.""

Sometimes, yes. But I'm not so sure about typically. This reminds me of a word women frequently use to describe themselves: sassy. I've met sassy women where the sassy was bitchy (bad), but others where the sassy was more smartassy (good!), so I couldn't say sassy was usually code for bitchy.

PersonInUK: "The guy's problem here isn't that he's an asshole - it's that he's too hard work and not as handsome as he thinks he is. If he was drop dead gorgeous, women would put up with his shit and shag him.

I have to agree. Not every woman is going to want to fuck a "very attractive, very fit" guy who is (for the sake of argument) a jerk, but some women certainly would. Hot guys who are assholes get laid much more than non-assholes who aren't hot.

"To be incredibly sexist, some women can get away with this sort of crap (in the short term, at least), because they're usually more in demand in straight relationships. Men can't unless there's great sexual chemistry."

That's not sexist. That's reality. While some women will put up with shit from a guy if he's hot in order to fuck him, a LOT of men will put up with a LOT of shit from a hot woman just to fuck her. As you alluded to, it's all about supply and demand. Women are far more in demand sexually by men than men are by women so women can get away with a lot more shit and still get laid.

Let's keep these comments concise. I sense that someone is going to the gym in 26 minutes.
I actually dated a guy who described himself as "intense & romantic." He treated me like a delicate little flower, tried to keep track of me all the time, and was so "intense" that when I broke up with him, he stalked me--but only because of his "intense" neeeeeed to be near me. It was my fault. I made him follow me around by being so unromantic! Men like this are deeply unhealthy people, and SHOULD BE romantically avoided.
There are so many people longing for a love that belongs on the big screen. Trouble is they are not spontaneous or truly open. As soon as they meet someone who passes the initial "screening" they spend all their time asking is "she the one?" Will she be stepping into the jumpsuit of my fantasy?
Besides he sounds too in love with himself to give lesser mortals a shot at his prime. Too bad.
eh - my whole family is "intense" and "marches to the beat of our own drums", each of us respectively to a a different drum. It's a bit much for most people, but . . . I'm in a wonderful, loving, satisfying relationship with my exact opposite. He gets intensity and excitement with me and I get stability, sympathy when I've had an 'intense' day, as well as someone who'll say "if it makes you happy" to my next crazy proposal. Our friends actually had bets, real money-exchanging bets, that we wouldn't last and we're together after their relationships have mostly died out.

The issue is thinking that things (like chemistry or a complete understanding of a person) appear in a day, or that only two intense people work together, or writing off anyone you meet in a bar.

My theory is that TV teaches people to be perfectly 'involved seeming' without actually being involved - friendly but not a true friend, excited but not intense. It teaches people that there's a 2-inch strip that is acceptable behavior; anything else is 'weird', 'intense', strange, not normal. According to this theory, anything else should be constrained and destroyed, removed from a person's personality.

People in the US seem to mistake 'normal' behavior for proper, well-mannered, or appropriate behavior; generally it is none of those things. It's amazing how people believe it is 'normal' to call someone a 'weirdo' because they don't act like everyone else (and know it).

Keep in mind 10 or 15 years ago, this site would have been considered only for "weirdos"! As each group becomes more mainstream (believing itself to be immune from judging others as harshly as they themselves have been judged), the group will try to convince others to change themselves, to fit into the 'norms' of behavior. I don't contest that being told to change from gay to straight would be horribly difficult, but I do present that being told to "be less intense" or "mellow out" is even more damaging - there are no "intense people of the world" pride clubs; personalities are generally very fixed for aspects such as this; and our society is no more accepting (see comments above) of intensity and abnormality in personalities than it is of alternative lifestyles. I would make the case that it is even less accepting, in general, of people because people feel they can just say "oh, just change yourself so you fit in better" or "because most people aren't like that", even people that should be assumed to be a bit more enlightened than that!
WHDMA may have read a few too many Jane Austen novels, but I do not see the "red flags" of abuse nor do I see any evidence of him being an asshole. I do see pretension, quixotism, and troubling idealism, which may not be the best combination when seeking a mate (or advice )in a postmodern society.
Like a few others here, I identify as an "intense" man- and I really think that no euphemisms apply in my case (and I have discussed it with reasonably dispassionate- - direct at the least- friends)- I'm just intense.

I've never stalked before. I've let go of women many times, and haven't fallen for many.

However, I do like honesty- and intensely (intentional word use there) dislike mind games played by some women. To this end I am direct, and I don't think unduly, although my friends have had quibbles here and there. I have a fairly large vocabulary that I like to use. I am interested in lots of scholarly subjects and like to discuss them- sometimes to the point that one might think I'm orgasming on them. I always look people in the eye, but mind my own business and try to give people space in public.

I certainly have a sense of humour.

Yeah, I could lighten up on the vocabulary. I could avoid eye contact, or I could let mind games be played on me, and women play passive aggressive, but I'd rather show them how willing I am NOT to stalk them.

Maybe it's the ongoing stereotype that men are not or ought not to be as overtly intelligent and/or deeply conversational as women, or as direct, or sensitive, or just INTENSE (no euphemism), but being as I am does not make me creepy or a stalker. I just doesn't necessarily follow, like many of the euphemisms confidently suggested in this thread.

Maybe, collectively we have become a little too wed to conventional portrayals of "intensity" in the media and movies, or something along those lines.

I fully agree with your comment having fully read it now.

With regards to Dan's diagnosis, I think he completely misinterpreted "intense" in this setting.

I would not think that I would labeled an "asshole" by anyone, and I think that I am "intense" in a similar regard to WHDMA. i am not socially backward or perverse, or unpleasant. I am certainly intellectually forward, as well as emotionally forward like WHDMA, but of course still rational.

I merely appear to have an sex life made from intellectual conversation... unusual I know, but it's really nothing more alarming than that.

I've had conversations before of startling depth with women, even those I've just met. They're out there.

For women, or men, that read my two comments so far and read "alarm bells" into them, I freely invite you to, but I must point out that the alarms are ringing in your head only, that you can't know that you are right, and that I would challenge you to know where your notions come from, from media absorption or personal observation, and whether they are logical and reasonable, or merely emotional.
"extremely idealistic" sounds like he's looking for the "perfect" woman and no real woman would fit this ideal, nor want to, which is what turns them off.
As a hetro woman I read WHDMA and thought, "Dwight from The Office" perhaps?
The whole teabagging Q & A = hilarious + informative! Thanks! lol
WHDMA is totally my former roommate. While he might not actually be the same person, they have really similar characteristics, at least self-admittedly.

P——— was definitely intense; he had one of the most manic personalities I've ever encountered (I remember helping him reupholster furniture at 3:30 am); and he was definitely an intensely (read: hopelessly) romantic person.

Consequently he had a lot of the same problems dating that WHDMA describes. But I would never say he was an asshole. Oddball, maybe.

Dan, you might have read a bit too much from his letter.

I recommend that you ease up on your search for a partner for 2 reasons.

1. You are unique and the odds that you find someone similar are slim.

It's sad but to find a parther, you may need to sacrifice some of your idealism and conform.

As Dan often says, "To settle down, you have to settle for."

2. I bet that even if you do find someone, you will be dissatisfied.

I bet you have a vivid imagination that reality can never match.
What exactly is a "wingman"? And how can a woman be one? Shouldn't she be a "wingwoman", whatever the hell that means? I'm guessing from the context it's similar to pimp or procurer. Shtupping is so complex these days.
Intensity is not just a way of being, it's also a method of control. That's the "creepy stalker" scenario.

However, even if he's just an innocent manic, dating bipolar guys can be almost as bad as a real asshole. The emotional roller coaster rides were too much for me. It was like being swept out to sea, without a life raft.
what happened to the clue in phrase for straight acting gay metal dudes?
That Wild Horses New Yorker just sounds like a douchebag
Waynester: "Wingman" can be used for either / all gender combinations. Basically, the person is there to run interference if someone seems interested but is too shy to approach directly, to repel the creeps, and to make sure the "pilot" gets home safely (ideally with someone attractive and free of obvious psychoses).

For my $.02 - guys who think they're a phenomenal catch generally aren't. And yeah, a lot of times "intense and romantic" guys aren't necessarily assholes, but they do tend to be clingly and/or obsessive and/or *always* wanting to talk about heavy shit. Lighten up already!
To Intense, with Marbles Intact - my guess is that most of the posters who mention alarm bells with respect to WHDMA are speaking from personal experience. Women, even today, are generally expected to be accommodating and pliant relative to men. Unfortunately, that means many of us ignore our alarm bells the first time they go off and end up in a bad situation. After that, the smart ones start listening to those bells. You would be amazed at how many of your female friends and acquaintances have been creeped, stalked, or worse. So don't be dismissive of something you can't hear.
People who describe themselves as "very intense" and "very romantic" in the same sentence, are often seen as "stalkers" by more objective observers.

I bet he's the type to shower a girl with flowers - not just once, but every day for weeks after their first date. And to phone her and text her and FB her and Twitter about how great she is, as often as he can get to the computer. And he probably wants to tell her his whole life story, and meet her mom, and introduce him to his whole family, and have The Talk about getting married and having lots of babies - all before they have reached their one-month anniversary. (Which he will commemorate in high style, of course.)

Because this is what very intense! very romantic! guys generally do - they go way overboard with the romantic gestures, often before the woman is ready. And if she tells him she's not ready, or not interested, his response is to up the romance, because clearly, that's the way to win over a woman.

I'm reading a lot into those two little words, I know. But I've dated this guy before - or if not him, then plenty of others like him. Most women see those two words together as a big red flag. What he sees as "intense and romantic," women see as "crazy and stalkerish." I don't know about counselling, but certainly a little bit of restraint is never a bad thing when you're trying to get a date.
One more thing ... and maybe some of the women will agree with this.

If he truely was an asshole, he probably wouldn't be writing the letter. He would be doing just fine.

If he actually could lighten up and let go of things, he would probably get everything he ever wanted.

And someone, and perhaps many more than one, would actually appreciate his intensity.

I guess, it's kind of weird that most women in this thread will identify the problem but not propose a solution. They give the "oh god creepy stalker get away from me" speech. But I don't think he's a lost cause. As many guys point out, intensity can be an asset. Don't expect the woman to feel as deeply about things as you do and learn to lighten up and let go.
this week's column- LAME
this week's column- LAME
First poster competition. Wow! Here’s an idea, try to be the LAST poster, eh?
can a cup of tea teabag the drinker? or does the drinker teabag the cup of hot water. simple, people. durr.
So thats it huh? A column half filed with a promotion to a festival that most of your readers won't be able to see? I usually love your column but this one seemed incredibly phoned in. Run a best of rather than doing something like this. Or at least put in a rant about Miss Ca.

I've said many times to friends what a travesty it is that so many women are abused (something like 1 in 4).

I also don't think some women's choice to be indirect, or avoid hurting feelings in any way, does not help. In other words the compliance and accomodation you speak of, should stop. Not only is it disrespectful, but when normal guys like myself know to leave someone alone, an actual stalker may not. Would you expect them to first pick up the signal, second interpret it correctly (maybe interpret it for weakness instead of kindness?) or even thirdly to care?

I am not dismissive. If I were dismissive, I would not be asking you to examine your motives for rejection of intense people, and suggesting, knowing full well I may be wrong, where your motives come from.

However, the ARE stereotypes in this world, there is lots of fear mongering, and the pliance and accomodation of women towards men has to stop in my opinion, and directness and openess used as often as possible.

And as far as rejection goes personally, I can and have accepted it. It comes with the territory of who I am, and how women and society currently are. I'm not sure how many women are really interested in what I'm interested in, and whether or not the visible number of them would change if they knew whether or not their alarm bells were false or correct. But I do know that I prefer directness and honesty from women, and knowing that, I am not going to false advertise.

If I am misapprehended by women as a potential stalker, without having done any previous stalking to their knowledge (and I've said already that I have never stalked), I feel my best defence is not to be one.

Thank you for responding though, and for the record I don't think you were wrong in any of your points, save for suggesting that I was dismissive.
"Not a Romantic" is right on - any guy wanting "intense and consuming" is going to define those words (and emotions) on his own terms. Reminds me of an ex boyfriend who was consistently disappointed in the "intensity" of my orgasms - as measured by his standards, of course. No one is going to date this narcissistic freak.
Ooops, there's a double negative in my last post.

I meant to say, "I also don't think some women's decision to be indirect, or avoid hurting feelings, helps."

I think I've written too much on this thread (maybe due to my intensity, and maybe not). But here I go again...

I feel I should admit that at one point, due to inexperience and emotional immaturity, I mishandled a few relationships. They ended (most often by my explicit doing) due to my being uncomfortable, which had a lot to do with not knowing what my partner was feeling.

I was also insecure about being a nerd, and being interested in various obscure and non-mainstream things.

After contributing on here, I've had time to reflect on these experiences, and specifiocally I wondered if things would be different if I met these women again, and I took seriously the thought that screwing up was worth more then than succeeding now.

In a way, I am succeeding now. I am comfortable with who I am comfortable, if occasionally not delighted, with the level of communication I get from women, and understand then even if I disagree.

My roomate from last year, also now a good friend, went through the same process of change before me.

I would wager, now, after reflection (but granted we don't know how old he is), that he just needs time, and maybe the screw ups he's had or is having, to emotionally mature, calm down and be comfortable- with himself, most importantly, if he's anything like me.
@ intense and occassionally gets some;
@ Intense, with Marbles Intact:

I feel like most women on this thread have been saying that Wild Horses is sending the signals of being creepy, not that he actually is creepy. That in itself suggests a solution: relax a bit and stop projecting a need for intensity.

From his letter, I don't necessarily feel that WHDMA is an asshole or creepy or abusive or stalkerish. I do feel, however, that based on the way he described himself, it is likely that the signals he sends come off as such. If he is a decent guy and these messages are coming from a poor presentation of himself and not from any inherent creepiness, the obvious solution would be to take the advice of his friends and modify what he communicates about himself to the ladies he pursues.

This has nothing to do with prejudice or fear-mongering. Most people who have had bad relationship experiences develop a hyper-awareness of what they consider to be warnings of a similar experience as a protection mechanism. The coming on really fast really strong that usually goes along with self described intense romantics feels similar to the coming on really fast really strong that usually goes with creepers.

He'll have more luck beginning a relationship that eventually develops into something intensely romantic if he doesn't scare off all potential partners by approaching relationships in a way that many women have learned from experience to respond to with trepidation.
Man, I thought teabagging meant that a guy surprised someone by putting his balls on that person. Like snuck up behind someone who was watching TV and set his balls on that person's head. I didn't know it was a sexual act!
Sounds like WHDMA might be kinky. Maybe he's not an asshole, but more of a "dominant personality" (it's a fine line, but it does exist). He should go on FetLife and meet some submissive women and see if it might be a good fit.
Agreed, Not A Romantic!! I dated a really cool and talented writer once, but I felt like with me he stopped being himself and started playing a script. And wasn't interested in me, but in my playing along with his script. It lasted two weeks. My current boyfriend doesn't do romantic gestures - but he does things that show he loves and appreciates ME, not a generic woman. To me, that's romance.
You were amazing on This American Life tonight. I was very touched by your story.
JMegan: I'm reading a lot into those two little words, I know. But I've dated this guy before - or if not him, then plenty of others like him. Most women see those two words together as a big red flag. What he sees as "intense and romantic," women see as "crazy and stalkerish."

It's not just a question of "he sees/she sees." To a large extent, how you and many other women view a man depends on how you feel about him, or how attracted you are to him. If an intense and romantic guy is really into you and you're also really into him, you'll see him and describe him to your friends as "intense and romantic." But if he's really into you and you're not into him, then he becomes "crazy and stalkerish."
There's nothing "extreme" about trying therapy. That would be the ideal for someone who wants to improve his relationships and get some self understanding.

    Please wait...

    Comments are closed.

    Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

    Add a comment

    By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.