Savage Love Letter of the Day: Man 4 Woman Annoyed @ Men 4 Men


Potentially worth noting as it relates to certain other gendered phenomenon: Responding to an ad that isn't applicable is a male impulse - and not based on the gender of the recipient.
So if craigslist personals isn't a dating site, what is it?
"you're not a mouther (like a truther but for blowjobs),"

Love it.
Treat it like the time wasters who post "I work from home and earn $xxx per week" all the time on comments columns. It's annoying, spammy and against the rules, but that doesn't stop people from doing it.
@4: And similarly, they wouldn't do it if people didn't bite from time to time.

I bet there are many more curious straight-identifying dudes than there are Savage Love readers needing the skills of a witch doctor. (Though in the latter case, I'm sure they get a few respondents and fully clean out their bank accounts to the tune of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, like all phony psychics.)
Welcome to being a woman. This is basically what most women have to put up with from men all the goddamned time, so I'm not feeling a ton of sympathy.

Oh, and have we stopped using "trade" as the term to describe straight dudes who are open to oral from gay dudes?
@1, Sportlandia
Indeed. it seems M4W has a encountered a situation that can be resumed as: "male entitlement meets male entitlement."
This is pretty par for the course in my experience with online dating. There's a real range-from a spammy annoyance to the genuinely disturbing. Ignore, delete, and block if necessary.
@2/Alison Cummins: CL is more aptly termed an online classifieds.

Dating sites and online classifieds can make it infinitely easier for people to connect, especially for people who are busy, not in their twenties, or like LW have a restrictive set of circumstances which make other conventional ways of meeting dating/sex partners more difficult. The draw back can be unsolicited messages from people outside your stated preferences. Does it make certain sites less useful? Certainly, but does the headache of unwanted messages outweigh the ease with which you can find someone who actually does meet your state preferences. No, I do not believe that it does.
FWIW I'm enormously heartened by men who notice behavior like this, identify it as fucked up, and speak up about it.
actually, I'll correct myself: it's male privilege meets male entitlement.
LW had always, so far, had the privilege of never being on the receiving end of unwanted advances, until he found some gay men on Craigslist do feel entitled to get some sort of attention from a straight dude.
As a woman who, like most of us, deals with unwanted attention daily merely for existing in public, I can't muster much sympathy for this LW. Sorry, dude.
This is why Straight Chasers need to be a Separate Orientation.
@6 You're right when you say, 'Welcome to being a woman.'

And from now on, Dan's advice will work for every woman who complains about unwanted advances--
But don't waste your time getting mad, and don't think you're the only one who has to slog through unwelcome responses.

Hear that, women? Don't worry your pretty little heads anymore about those "unwelcome responses"! You're not the only ones who have to deal with it. Suck it up, put on your big girl pants, and stop complaining.
Normally I'd agree with JJB @8 about gently confronting and challenging bad actors, if you happen to be in a safe position to do so. But when dealing with obnoxious posters on CL, I'd go with the solid advice provided by Al Gore back when he invented the Internet: PLEASE DON'T FEED THE TROLLS. In my part of the country, there's a proverb: never get in a mud-wrestling match with a pig. You'll just get frustrated and covered with slime...and the pig enjoys it.
Sorry, I meant @10. Did the numbers switch?
Men do it because they're hoping they'll get lucky some day? I always figured it was because they get off on knowing they're making their target sexually uncomfortable in a bad reaction is better than no reaction sort of way. It's like catcalls. It's not that they figure a woman might some day walk by that construction site, ask who whistled, and tell the guy she wants to sleep with him. It's that it's a sexually aggressive act, one that's based on asserting power. So yeah, nothing to be done about it on craigslist, but don't pretend the general idea behind it is innocuous.
Jesus, dude, Craigslist? You just answered your own question. And yes, it was a viable quickie site many moons ago. It hasn't been for a very long time.
So the morality bar is so low in the world of online dating that we shouldn't call out bad, deceitful, behavior and unwelcome advances because so many people do it.

It is this kind of attitude why Rome fell.
In regards to straight guys trying to get with lesbians, I just gotta refer you to this old cartoon by queer artist Erika Moen:…
(caution, poorly-drawn weiner, not really safe for work)

Huh? I read the question & Dan's seemingly spot-on reply and can't find mention of anyone suggesting craigslist's personals isn't a dating site. It's a dating site with pre-determined categories. Do I need to re-read?
Men are aggressive because we're raised and trained from birth to be so. We have it driven into us that women are waiting for you to ask them out and you have to be bold and fearless and do it.

Women are raised to sit on the sidelines and wait for the man to make the move. Women are trained to admire and desire the "confident" man... which is a razor thin line from an aggressive man.

Sucks but that's the way society trains us all. Maybe it would help if, for a few decades, men were trained to stop asking women out and women were trained to make the first moves? It'd be an interesting experiment in any case.
@20: "We're both cool with other people, but we're discreet about it, and we've agreed to a rule of "nobody from our small city, and no dating sites/apps." And I completely agree with those terms—our little city is one of those rather religious, southern places where if someone doesn't know you, they know someone who knows you. We want people out of our business.

We both travel for work, so that's where our opportunities are. I often rely on Craigslist"
UF @21, i like the way you think. Our society's cultural dysfunction with regard to outdated gender stereotypes is not working for men, women, transgender, or genderfluid, regardless of their sexual orientation. A radical change in mindset and a gender-neutral revamp of the public education curriculum would come as a great relief for everybody. Well, almost everybody.

Undead @22, I chuckled at that too. Like no one in their small, religious town could possibly have a CL account themselves, let alone recognize his profile. Wouldn't it be ironic if he arranged an out-of-town hook-up and it turned out to be his town's church choir director.
@6: You have no sympathy for someone who's suffering the same indignity as you? Curious. What did he do wrong? Complain about it?
@24: Think that his experience was somehow exceptional and out of the ordinary with men not taking the hint and getting rude, I guess.
@ 16 - I think you're overestimating the intelligence of men who make catcalls. Their logic is: it worked for that guy in the Penthouse letters, why wouldn't if work for me?

As a gay man who used to be on various dating/hookups sites (that's before apps came along), I'd say about 1 in 50 guys who contacted me actually fit the description I gave of the kind of guy I was looking for. So it's not necessarily about power dynamics; they do the same thing whether they're straight or gay. It's more that they figure it's a numbers game, and if they try with everyone, they might get some action sometimes.

In other words: there's a lot of desperate people in this world.
I suggest LW yells as loudly as possible, "NO! GO AWAY, BEAR!" while waving his arms about.
@11 "LW had always, so far, had the privilege of never being on the receiving end of unwanted advances,..."

What makes you think that? I think everyone has had to deal with unwanted advances. The LW even said he doesn't mind saying 'no thanks' to someone in public, because people in public don't know what he is looking for.
The LW's problem is with people responding to posts that aren't meant for them, like men who respond to W4W posts.
Dan is totally right. Dealing with assholes like that is the price we pay for the internet.

I realize that women deal with unwanted advances far more often than most men do, but men have to deal with them as well.
PM @24 This is the "gender war" rearing its ugly head again. I suppose @6 thinking is something like "you men are getting a dose of your own medicine, cry me a river". But there is no evidence at all that LW is someone who makes unwanted advances to women.
@16 I agree completely. It's not an innocent numbers game with most of these guys. If it were, a cordial rejection wouldn't be met so often with aggressive and abusive replies. I'm hesitant to say it because it sounds a bit dramatic but this is a great example of rape culture. The sheer number of these assholes can seem overwhelming and it's nice to hear from a man who has experienced a little taste of what it's like to be a woman dating through personal ads-whatever form that ad takes-and who realizes that what these dudes do is fucked up.
@21 I have to strongly disagree. The line between confident and aggressive is not razor thin. It's confident to approach someone and take a shot at starting a conversation/whatever. It's aggressive to turn ugly or not take no for an answer when rejected or ignored. I don't understand how this is difficult for people to grasp. The difference is asking for someone's attention and demanding it without regard for their preferences.
@26: Catcalls aren't about trying to pull so much as exert power over another.

@30/31: Absolutely. I can't believe anyone thinks street harassment is a. sincere invitation.… Not really the height of social science but a fun read.
@29: You misunderstand, there's a difference between whatever "you DESERVE THIS you MAN" grotesquery and "nowyou know how we feel, (yet you still don't feel sympathy)?"
30-- jujubbee-- I do find one reason to be optimistic in these sad state of affairs. The assholes stand out. The good guys don't. Play the numbers game. (My numbers are made up. I have no way of knowing what the real statistics are.) A woman walks by a construction site. 2 assholes whistle and make aggressive catcalls. The other 20 are doing their work and not being obnoxious. Because their asshole coworkers aren't breaking the law, they don't stand up for the woman (who is now around the corner) and make any effort to "rescue" her from what was merely an unpleasant experience anyway, not a dangerous one.

Same with dick pics and other unwarranted sexual messages on craigslist. It's easy to keep track of how many guys send the obnoxious messages. We don't know how many skipped over them.
@32 that is an interesting article and good comment thread. Typically there are a few seriously creepy dudes in the comments--anytime there is an article like that they really do come out of the woodwork--who quickly claim victim hood and exhibit exactly the kind of aggressive behavior that makes women so wary. The fact is, women really *don't* talk about the creepy, inappropriate, and abusive things that happen in public....maybe normal guys really don't understand how frequently these things happen--particularly to very young girls in public spaces.
@35: I didn't get to it, but I'm surprised that the comments there are decent, usually Vice articles draws the dumbest, more terrible commenters who like their drugs and guns and Terry Richardson spreads from the Gavin McInnes days.

@34: "A woman walks by a construction site. 2 assholes whistle and make aggressive catcalls. The other 20 are doing their work and not being obnoxious. Because their asshole coworkers aren't breaking the law, they don't stand up for the woman (who is now around the corner) and make any effort to "rescue" her from what was merely an unpleasant experience anyway, not a dangerous one."

I don't know if that's the best light for a fictional scenario, though it is fairly reflective of the problem.

It doesn't reflect well on the 20 guys reinforcing the 2's opinion that street harassment is acceptable behavior. They're still complicit.

That isn't to say that most guys do this, but there is an implicit tolerance for it among some men that wouldn't do it themselves, but have little desire or ability to change the attitudes of the people they know.
@36 exactly

I, for one, was rather glad of this letter. It showed the lw to be frustrated at something that it genuinely frustrating and the fact that he was mystified spoke to his character and former behavior in a way I liked. I do have sympathy for him. For the lesbians who get men responding to them. For the atheists who get the fundamentalists. And the rest.

As for unsolicited dick pics vs. street harassment ("catcalling"), I think they originate from different impulses. And I think Dan is generally wrong about them (which again, puts him favorably in the same category as the lw--someone who doesn't get it because it wouldn't occur to him to do it).

Catcalling in its most benign (a whistle or a "hey pretty lady" spoken in front of other men at a construction site as the woman passes by) is about male entitlement and privilege and the objectification of women: she looks good; he feels entitled to comment and to "compliment" something he would like.

Street harassment that is creepier--more graphic, more sustained, perpetuated by a lone guy--seems to me to be about exerting power. I think it comes from a place of insecurity and a need to prove oneself stronger or more in control. The goal is to disturb the woman as well as to give voice to things people might feel as but which are unacceptable to say aloud (especially to someone who hasn't given you permission to talk that way to her) in polite society.

Unsolicited dick pics, in my opinion, spring from men's love of their own dicks and the inability to understand that what would be desirable to you may not be so desirable to someone who's not you. I think dick-pic senders think, " I would love to see a strange woman's tits or pussy; I'll send her a photo of my goods--isn't my hard-on awesome?" or they hope that if they show theirs someone will reciprocate. Given how many times and in how many forums women have complained about getting unsolicited dick pics, I think those who send out a photo without first ascertaining that it would be welcome are not really thinking when they do it. It must come from some more primal source.
@ 38 - "It must come from some more primal source"

It all comes from a very primal source: male stupidity.
@38: Exactly, it's horrible that it happens to anyone.

But since it DID happen, hopefully he can channel it into something more positive.

@39: This sort of callousness isn't stupidity, it's entitlement. They're not thinking about the results because they don't have to empathize. It's a form of willful ignorance, but ignorance itself isn't really an excuse.
@17. Agree. Craigslist is not the place to go to look for sane hook ups. Hasn't he heard of swipe left swipe right.
My internet dating is close to zero, so can't add my experience.
Are men still being socialised to pursue and women to wait. I'd have thought feminism has shifted that a bit for younger men. It is something to do with how we socialize males, this insensitivity around interpersonal signals and behaviours. Culturally males are constantly fed the image of the guy forcing his way thru, guns blaring.
@42: There is something fucked-up in your head.
And right on cue! @42 you are a disturbed individual.
50 bucks Sargon is a 'nice guy'
And it seems that whenever I post a m4w ad, 80% of responses are spam, 5% are from actual women, and the remaining 15% are from men.

Due to his use of "m4w", I'm sure he's using the m4w option in the "Casual Encounters" section because the "Men Seeking Women" section doesn't have a "m4w" option. And that would explain the percentages, especially the 80% spam and 5% from actual women (I'm surprised the percentage of actual women responding to a m4w ad in "Casual Encounters" is that high. I would think it would be more like 1%.)

I used the "Men Seeking Women" section about ten years ago. Being a (sometimes) contrarian, I used it precisely because people said that Craiglist was a terrible place to try to meet someone. My spam percentage there was very low and I don't recall getting any emails from guys. (After meeting numerous women, I finally met a woman I really fell for but, alas, she didn't feel the same way about me.)

Never used the "Casual Encounters" section. Not because I wasn't interested in one but because I assumed actual women seldom, if ever, reply to them. (One the other hand, I'm sure any woman posting a w4m ad in that section gets flooded with responses from men.)

Also never considered responding to a w4w ad. Sure, maybe guys who do that get lucky in one out of one hundred tries but why annoy the other ninety-nine women?
Out of frustration, I've started replying, asking why they think it's okay to respond to my ad,

P.S. when you get a response you don't like, for whatever reason, don't engage with that person. You're not going to accomplish anything by doing that.
@48: "When I respond and give a person attention, they assume I want their attention and think I'm interested in taking things further and actually talk to me... what's the deal?!"

True, true.
@47: Then simply use a service that does not involve giving out your email address to potential suitors.
@50: What a useless, utterly stupid reply.
But it often takes a long time for people (both men and women) to learn the difference between aggressiveness and confidence.

Like I said. Men have it beaten into them that you have to keep going and going in trying to attract women. To never give up. That women play hard to get. That if you just keep at it, eventually she'll like you. E.g., see every disney movie ever made.

Women have it the same. Don't let guys know you like them. Let them prove it. Don't give in too early.

What does that translate to? Lots and lots of young people doing exactly the wrong thing, thinking that's the way it's supposed to be done. Consequence? Everyone ends up hurt and confused. Some people are able to learn positively from that, some people aren't. Regardless, men are not taught to be "confident," they're taught to be aggressive. I can't say exactly what women are taught, but I would guess they're taught to choose someone who will "protect" them... that could very easily translate to choosing the bully. That kind of teaching needs to be obliterated permanently.
@50: OkCupid doesn't give your email address to potential suitors and women still get responses from men they have explicitly said they weren't interested in.

@19 I lolled.

This letter's a nice illustration for guys of how some things women deal with are collective problems. If just one guy did this, I don't think it's a problem (unless he said not to). Because it's so. fucking. common it becomes exhausting, alienating, and not okay. And each guy doing it might be an asshole, or he might just not understand the collective effect.

Dan tried to get the LW to be conscious of the whole problem. If the LW refuses, then it's time to roll eyes.
@54: Absolutely check out Oh Joy Sex Toy if you enjoyed that one.
I'm not being serious here, but perhaps guys who respond to a "m4w" are dyslexic or have other problems with reading comprehension and simply think the poster made a spelling error. Even I'm more used to seeing the palindromic "m4m" in print.

My serious proposal is that I wish these sites required a contract (even an electronic one) wherein anybody who does make an unwarranted contact would be fined, with the fine being split by the site and the poster. Hey, if you're going to get pestered, at least the money might soften the irritation factor and eventually reduce the stupidity factor. Well, one can only hope.
@56: I would love there to be a tax on stupid, but Tim Eyman is stupid and would do his damnedest to fight it.
Raindrop @50: I've done the closest thing possible. I've hidden my OKCupid profile from straight people.
Unfortunately, this is not an option for most women who are indeed interested in meeting straight men.

This comment isn't as stupid as it seems at first glance. I understand that with Tinder, no one can contact you unless you've swiped them in a positive direction. And I remember hearing about a dating site that only allowed women to contact men and not vice versa, though I can't remember its name, and I honestly doubt it would last very long since many women inexplicably prefer to be contacted than to do the contacting.

But with dating sites generally, the whole point is you put up a profile and people contact you.

@16 etc: Sometimes it's the simplest explanations. I asked a straight guy why some guys catcall, send dick pics, and otherwise make unwanted advances that every reasonable human would know have zero hope of working. He said, "They're bored and horny."
Ms Cute seems largely on target. It has occurred to me to suspect that, when one side in the gendre wars applies something only to members of the other side, the other side interprets the application as all.
Ms Fan - As someone whose idea of approaching would be the Broadway Damage tactic of sending a footman with a note (or a French novel), I always thought it would be almost unpardonably rude of me to approach anyone. It would seem an outlandish assumption to presume anybody would be interested. Shades of the Red Queen, perhaps, and speaking only when spoken to, but I don't recall any of my relationships beginning with what was a recognizable and unambiguous Approach from either side.
Capricornius@23 - yes to that curriculum transformation! UF@52 - I think these trends are changing more than you observe.

I've been pleased to see movies like "brave" and "frozen", which are not perfect but promote individual growth over traditional gender roles. Also, pleased to observe innovative preschools unhesitatingly shift pronouns for transgender and questioning children who want to be recognized for the gender they really are. Raising children must be a constant re-evaluation of the ex/implicit biases with which we were raised.

I do want to support LW in his experience of the responses. If some responses genuinely felt *like* harassment to him -- we were not there -- let him use that word to describe his experience. He's probably getting a mix of "may as well give it a shot" responses and unwanted power-play responses, and he's accurately recognizing that the power plays feel aggressive and unwanted.
58/BiDanFan: And I remember hearing about a dating site that only allowed women to contact men and not vice versa, though I can't remember its name, and I honestly doubt it would last very long since many women inexplicably prefer to be contacted than to do the contacting.

BDF, it's not inexplicable to me. You know that old saying "man proposes, woman disposes"? Well, many women are just fine with that arrangement. They don't want to propose and risk being disposed of. They want to do all the disposing.

I do think that women are more likely to initiate things online than in other ways because being rejected for an online "proposal" isn't as bad as being rejected in person.

I've never heard that saying Roma.
I'm sure my young pre Internet romance moves were equal to the males. I initiated as often as they did. At least verbally.
Seeing this situation as males being socialized as the assertive one doesn't explain it adequately. Overriding others wishes, ie man here looking for a woman, is more than just misplaced assertiveness.

Roma, I know "Man proposes, God disposes," meaning "We can make all the plans and preparation we want; we can work and sweat to achieve a goal; but our desired outcome is never guaranteed."

Robert Burns' version was longer:

To a Mouse On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss ’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

*** *** ***
key relevant lines rendered in modern english:

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That small heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
Roma, it's "man proposes, God disposes". I've never heard your version!
Nope, I've never heard it either. Have you got a link? Otherwise I think you may be confused.

Yes I know the explanation is "outdated gender roles" but that's exactly why it is also inexplicable.
Years ago, a friend's favorite cruising spot was a nearby straight biker bar. He'd go in close to closing, and would often end up going home with a "straight" hot guy for sex.

Women's sexuality does seem to be different from men's sexuality, and I don't think that would have happened if the sexes were reversed, but a LOT of men are open to sex with other men even if they identify as "straight".

So yes, it's frustrating if most of the people responding to your ad don't fit it - but there are enough men around who's requirements sometimes get very flexible to ensure that it will continue.
66/BiDanFan, I heard (or read) that saying decades ago. I think there were sufficient decades to make it avant links.

OK, I can see that you see "outdated gender roles" as inexplicable. We obviously differ on that. When a particular "outdated" role works to the benefit** of one gender or another, then I don't see it as inexplicable that the gender continues to embrace it. I see it as perfectly reasonable.

** to be more specific, in the case of women -- as you put it above -- "prefer to be contacted than to do the contacting", it's a cost/benefit calculation. They would certainly benefit by discarding the "outdated" gender role -- they'd increase their potential pool of dates by contacting men as well as waiting to be contacted -- but there's also a cost to this: the risk of rejection, and they don't incur this risk by only waiting to be contacted. So the "outdated" role, on cost/benefit balance, works for them.
64/Alison, the "man proposes/woman disposes" saying I heard/read decades ago fits perfectly with that. "A man can make all the plans and preparation he wants; he can work and sweat to get a date with (or a phone number from) a woman; but his desired outcome is never guaranteed."
Roma @68: Have you seen some of the Tumblrs with some of the horrific messages women get, like OKStupid et al? Clearly "waiting to be contacted" does not work to the benefit of most of the women on online dating sites. One could put up with a century of ungrammatical, lewd or just plain pointless copypasted messages or one could *look for what one wants in a man* (if women are so famously picky, right?) and skip all the bullshit. As you say, there is not much of a cost to being rejected online, compared to the benefit of seriously raising the quality of one's contacts by seeking them out oneself. Women in the 21st century know that we have options. If a woman isn't willing to utilise those options, then she really has no one to blame but herself if she has no luck with dating online.

Roma @69: And a WOMAN'S desired outcome is guaranteed? Good grief. To counter sexist tropes with sexist tropes, what about the "men won't commit" cliché or the bride who's left at the altar? These tropes wouldn't exist if it wasn't women doing the working and sweating and men doing the disposing at least some of the time.

God, I am glad I'm not straight.
@58 @BiDanFan - I think you're referring to Bumble. I haven't used it but it's my understanding that it works just like Tinder (both people must swipe in a positive direction before messaging can occur) but the the woman must message first and has a 24 hour limit to do so before the match expires.

I feel for the LW. That's annoying and the no dating apps rule is very limiting. But regarding Dan's advice, I have heard of many, many instances of straight dudes accepting blow jobs from gay dudes. I have heard of ZERO instances of a woman reacting positively to an unsolicited dick pic prior to at least establishing some sort of mutual flirtation. If these dudes are really thinking it might turn a woman on, I agree with @nocutename that it is because they are projecting their own desires onto the women, not because it has EVER worked. I have NEVER heard of that working.
@58 @BiDanFan I will add that I use Tinder instead of OKC for this very reason. On OKC, all my time was spent reading and deleting hundreds of messages from people of no interest to me, as guys are more likely to work on volume. It left no time for me to proactively review profiles that might interest me. Tinder is much more efficient. Some guys swipe right on 100% of profiles because they take the numbers game approach, but because they can only message mutual matches, that action doesn't result in a huge time suck for women.
70/BiDanFan, I'm one of the few human beings in the Western world who doesn't possess -- and is mesmerized by -- a smart phone so I have no experience with Tumblr or other such dating/hookup apps. But, even without that experience, I can imagine that women get a lot of horrific (or creepy) messages from guys.

I'm not saying there's not a cost to women to waiting to be contacted. There is. It's not all benefit. But what matters is the overall cost vs. overall benefit. And I maintain that those women who don't contact men do that because, to them the cost of rejection is greater than the benefit-less-cost of waiting to be contacted.

Women who are not as risk-averse, who are more capable of handling rejection, are likely more willing to contact men,

Women in the 21st century know that we have options. If a woman isn't willing to utilise those options, then she really has no one to blame but herself if she has no luck with dating online.

I completely agree with you there. You reminded of a dating article in the Seattle Times about ten years ago. It was about women complaining that men in Seattle were "too wimpy" to ask them out. Most of the men who commented said that, instead of being passive and complaining, the women might consider being active and ask men out (the author of the article, a woman, had actually addressed this in the article but did so in an ludicrously-biased way.)

Roma @69: And a WOMAN'S desired outcome is guaranteed?

No...and yes. In my statement above, I was referring to the initial outcome.

A woman's eventual outcome is not guaranteed. Once a relationship has begun -- or even once there's been a first date -- then either party is open to being rejected. And, even before that, if a woman agrees to give a guy her phone number or agrees to go out with him, there's no guarantee he'll call her or ask her out. However, she does have complete control over the initial outcome: whether or not the guy gets her phone number or consent to go out with him. That's the outcome that's guaranteed. For the guy, it's not. He makes a proposal and hopes it's accepted. For him, the outcome is never guaranteed (although if he's tall and very good-looking, it's probably pretty close to being guaranteed.)

A woman can guarantee that a man will get her phone number by giving it to her.

A man can guarantee that a woman will get his phone number by giving it to her.

I’m not seeing a gender bias in divine powers here.
@73: Complete control over everything but not being approached and hit on by randos.
@73 @Roma I'm a woman who often makes the first move. Always have been that way, since my youth. If I meet a guy in real life and I'm interested, I will make a move fairly immediately. And yet, on Tinder, I would estimate I only message first about 10-20% of the time. There are three reasons for this. First, I know that some men swipe right on everyone and then read profiles *after* the match occurs, so I prefer to allow time for that part of the process to occur before engaging in conversation. Second, most young dudes message so quickly after the match occurs, I couldn't beat them if I tried. Way more aggressive than the older dudes. One unfortunate result of this is that I often get caught up messaging young dudes and not being able to multitask well enough to get to the guys my own age, but some of the young guys are great, so I shouldn't complain about that. Anyway, third reason is that many guys know that once they engage you, they should maintain tight contact because you are likely getting a lot of messages from other guys. They are correct and their strategy is often effective because there are only so many hours in a day. So at that point I literally have no brain space left to message additional matches. Just giving some insight into why a woman might not message first, even if she has been socialized to have no problem being the aggressor.
74/Alison, there's no inherent "gender" bias. The same thing applies to any situation where there's a person who makes a proposal and a person who decides whether or not to accept the proposal. The person making the proposal could be a buyer (as in the case of someone making an offer on a house) or a seller (as in the case of a salesman offering to sell a product or service.) The only reason there's a "gender" bias is because, traditionally, men have been the ones making the proposal.

The person making the proposal can do things to influence the outcome, but they can't control the outcome. The person considering the proposal decides what the outcome will be. (And, let me stress again, this is the initial outcome. A home seller could decide to accept a buyer's offer and then the buyer could decide they don't want the house after all.)


75/chi_type, I'm sure it sucks to be hit on by people you find to be creepy and/or unattractive. That's the downside, of course, of the traditional man-approaches-woman arrangement for women. With women (supposedly) now doing more of the initiating, I'm sure there are now men who get hit on by women they find to be creepy and/or unattractive and they don't like that either.
76/futurecatlady, thanks for your comment.

I initially responded to BiDanFan's comment @ 58: I honestly doubt [a dating site that only allowed women to contact men and not vice versa] would last very long since many women inexplicably prefer to be contacted than to do the contacting.

So she was talking about a site where only one-way contact was allowed. I don't know much about the mechanics of Tinder, but your your explanation makes sense for the way that app works.


There’s a strong bias toward God inherently having divine powers and not people.

So I don’t see the parallel at all.

Rather than “Man proposes and God disposes,” the old saw that seems more applicable to what you’re getting at seems to be, “if you don’t ask you don’t get.”
“if you don’t ask you don’t get.”

So women never get to go out on dates if they don't ask men?
P.S. Please allow me to modify what I said above, the "man proposes/woman disposes" saying I heard/read decades ago fits perfectly with that [saying about man & God], eliminating the word "perfectly" because I'm sure most people would concur with you, that women do not have the divine powers ascribed to God.

I, however, am not so sure. Many years ago, while on a chairlift at Stevens Pass with my then-girlfriend, I had pulled a small pipe out of my pocket so we could get high. I fumbled it and it plummeted down to the snow. "No worries!" my gf cheerfully said, "I'll find it!" And damned if she didn't ski right to the precise spot where it fell and found it. That seemed pretty divine to me.
FutureCat @71: Bumble ... has a 24 hour limit to do so before the match expires
Oh, that's terrible! I might not have time to craft a good message within 24 hours. I prefer to "like" a few people, then message the person I liked the most, and if they don't get back to me within a few days, I'll message the person I liked second best. I guess Bumble is not for me.

Roma @73: Tumblr is not a dating site, it is an image-upload social network of sorts. You don't need a smartphone for it. (I don't use a smartphone for dating sites.) Check out OKStupid here:
"In my statement above, I was referring to the initial outcome." Ah, I interpreted "disposes" as "dumps" rather than "declines." I can't dispose of something that is not mine in the first place. Turning down a sales pitch is not "disposing," to my vocabulary.
And women who do approach men (or other women, or trans people etc) are not guaranteed an initial yes either. Rejection is a human risk, not a male one.

Roma @77: 74/Alison, there's no inherent "gender" bias. Thank you.
I'm sure there are now men who get hit on by women they find to be ... unattractive and they don't like that either. Actually, "creepy" is a turn-off, but "unattractive" not so much, for either (any) gender. Being approached by someone who is a nice, respectful person, just not your type, most people take as a compliment. Men in particular, since, you're right, being approached is a much rarer occurrence for them.

Roma @80: Women never get to go out on dates with the men they want if they don't ask. They only get the men who want them. Which may be an entirely different subset of men.
Ms Fan - Very Jane Eyre in reverse.
@Roma, regarding gender bias, I'm not so sure. It's hard to say what life is really like for most people based on your own experience, but I've found that in the real world, men and women just initiate DIFFERENTLY - not that one does it more or less than another.

It sounds like you are talking to hitting on someone cold, and yes I think men tend to do it more. Like if you are sitting at a cafe reading a book or if you are walking down the street or riding the bus or if you are serving him at work or if you are walking your dog at the park or whatever. In situations that are not inherently social, men tend to go up and start encounters more frequently than women.

But usually, most people don't meet each other this way (at least in my experience of the world). Usually, people meet in social settings (parties, mutual friends, shared hobby events) and in those situations, women tend to initiate conversations and arrange a second encounter just as often as men. This just isn't thought of as "hitting on" in the same way since the whole thing has a mutual feel to it and not a I-took-a-risk-and-put-myself-out-there feel.

This is just my opinion, but if every man in the whole world completely stopped hitting on strangers in public, I don't think it would have much effect on the dating and hookup world.

There are so many places/websites available to find people who are seeking hookups. There are so many social opportunities available to find people who are interested in hanging out. And there are dating sites/events for people who aren't having luck in their own social circle and who can't (for whatever reason) get out there and meet others in normal social encounters (go out with friends, go to parties, join a class, take up a hobby, hang at your local bar, volunteer at community events, etc).

So in my opinion, if someone takes the extra step to approach someone cold- while they are by themselves minding their own business- they have to accept that they are more likely to be rejected. It's like talking to someone sitting next to you on an airplane vs at a bar. You might meet cool people in either situation, but chances are low that the person on the plane wants to talk to you but high that the person in the bar wants to.

Therefore, to me, this gender bias idea just stinks. I mean, what is really happening is that men are more likely to hit on women in a variety of situations, including those in which there is a very low likelihood that the woman will be uninterested, meanwhile women are more likely to only initiate in situations in which it is socially expected and appropriate. And I don't think it's OFFENSIVE for a man to politely approach a woman cold, but I think the idea that they are somehow taking more chances or taking on more of a burden in the dating world is pretty unfair.
"I mean, what is really happening is that men are more likely to hit on women in a variety of situations, including those in which there is a very low likelihood that the woman will be uninterested, meanwhile women are more likely to only initiate in situations in which it is socially expected and appropriate."

Shouldve been:

"in which there is a very low likelihood that the woman will be INTERESTED"

Last night I dreamed that someone invented a vaccine against Teh Stupid. The anti-vaxxers said it breached their constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness, and started a Brexit-like movement to vote against it. They narrowly won, 52-48. People voted to be stupid. That was just a dream. Americans vote in reality to be stupid every four years in November.
@84: It'd have a great response on not talking to idiots on public transportation, though.

*mimes someone taking off their headphones then yells at a person*
@84-85 Emma Liz. Yes, the kindness in the approach would make it less offensive, not necessarily less annoying. Nice posts.
@88 Seconded. Well said, EmmaLiz (even with the initial oops, I understood what you meant!).

"Woe is us, we're expected to approach women who've given no indication they want to be approached!" No, you're not.
18 - Rome fell due to over-expansion, as usually happens with empires. Stop repeating the" moral" fallacy.
Hmmnnn......protesting a little bit loudly about something inconsequential. Why does it bother him so? The possibilities it suggests?
"I'm well aware that if a woman places an ad looking for another woman, she's not interested in my cock."

Duh. They're clearly interested in mine.

Sorry. Dan's advice is obviously right and I sympathize with all those women who have written to say this happens to them all the time, but while I jest, there is a nugget of truth that at some level, I'm inclined to believe that anyone I find attractive must be interested in me.

I'm pretty sure it's a guy thing and, no, I don't respond to w4w ads and don't think I ever have.
Fichu @14, I don't respond to w4w ads and can't really speak for those who do, but men believing that women must want to sleep with them despite all evidence to the contrary is a real thing in my experience. For me, I can overcome the belief and act based on subtle signals like the fact that someone says they're a lesbian, but it's always been hard to disbelieve the idea that they must want me.

Even if that isn't really true for the guys responding to w4w ads, you might go through life less infuriated if you just chose to believe that they were poor idiots confused by testosterone. I don't have this particular annoying behavior to respond to, but I generally try to assume the best about people who, say, cut me off in traffic and find it lowers my stress level.

Feel free to ignore my male-privilege influenced opinions if they don't work for you.
That should say Fichu @16. Sorry.
Venomlash @19, getting with a lesbian was never a big fantasy of mine and the one time it happened for me made that comic strip look hot by comparison. She was a semi-closeted friend who claimed to be going through a "bisexual" "phase" out of guilt about disappointing her parents. I'm pretty sure she is, always has been and always will be 100% lesbian. We got drunk together and decided to have sex. It was every bit as bad as a rational person would expect under the circumstances.
DCP @93: men believing that women must want to sleep with them despite all evidence to the contrary is a real thing in my experience

Wow. I find this fascinating and wonder where it comes from. It's been stated (@1) that this applies in other situations, for instance men will apply for jobs they meet some of the qualifications for while women only apply if they meet all of the qualifications. Men reply to personals even if they are outside of the stated age/height/apparently even gender preferences; women generally do not. This is well known but this is the first time I have read that guys do this because they actually, literally believe the rules don't apply to them. Can you shed any light on why? You mention privilege; do you think boys are socialised to believe rules and preferences don't apply to them personally? And is there a point, do you think, that men actually learn from all that evidence to the contrary and accept that this assumption is bullshit?

I am fascinated because I have always assumed these guys must know they have no chance, and there's some other factor at play ("bored and horny" made the most sense. I don't actually believe most men send lewd messages or dick pics because they want to make women feel awful; I don't think they actually consider what effect it will have on the recipient, it never crosses their hormone-addled minds). Your theory that they do think they have a chance is eye opening. They're not jerks; they're delusional. Huh.
BiDanFan, we have, as a society, been trained to believe in scrappy underdogs with bigger cojones than cerebellums. If only these men realized that their million-to-one chances are meaningless without a training montage...

Seriously, I think the narrative arc expected in our culture says the viewpoint character gets awarded a hottie... and that men think their erections are as fascinating and unique to us when they are new to us as they were when they were new to them....
Bi #96 – I think DCP's point is maybe overstated, if extrapolated to 'most men.' Being part of 'most men,' I can tell you that any guy in his teens hypnotized by movies/media that he can pull any/most chicks will be quickly disillusioned. The thought that he might have a shot likely comes from a combo of

-aforesaid media, which as ADM mentions loves a scrappy underdog who believes in himself, and who always gets the hot (brunette) girl.
- (sound of large can of worms opening) the extremely powerful sex drive of younger men as compared to younger women, which IMO can be likened to an addict's search for his drugs. Desperate people doing desperate things.
- Re scoring with a lesbian – podcasts like Dan's, which regularly cite lesbians either having an occasional hunger for dick or changing sides completely, whereas gay males never do. What is that thing he says, something like 'I knew X number of gay men, they're all still with men, I knew X number of lesbians, most of them are with guys now.' I'm not saying hitting on lesbians is a thing to do, I'm saying the idea that there might possibly be a chance doesn't come from nowhere, take it up with Dan before you flame me, everybody.
- Since it’s a day that ends with ‘y,’ I feel compelled to note that pretty much everyone, male and female, tends to try to punch a couple numbers above their weight in dating, largely (I believe) as a function of knowing all these great things about ourselves that others don’t, that we’re sure would get us a 7 from our 5-dom, or whatever.

As far as sending out flurries of dick pics/dirty emails, I think it's seen like playing a video game at home, where you have infinite replays, vs in an arcade where you have to keep feeding those quarters. This guy just thinks, “Hey, it's free, and it might work, and she's not sleeping with me anyway...” The fact that his chances would increase exponentially if he bent these energies towards self-improvement (much like a lonely bachelor who forgoes learning to cook vs buying blocks of ramen, then complains how he looks and feels) doesn't occur to him, or is quashed down.
So, 'bored, horny, and unwilling to make more effort than that' I think is a more complete description. And of course, this guy knows, on some level, that he can't pull all, or even most girls, same way he knows, or is brutally taught by experience, that no matter how many times he watches The Karate Kid, the real-life Johnny who outweighs him by 50 pounds and has much better skills will still beat him like he stole something, no matter how underdoggy he is.
This whiplash between what we're expecting/expected to be and how we end up is at the heart of a lot of stories, Fight Club comes to mind. In Mark Ames' essay Spite the Vote, always good reading in an election year, he explicitly names white males' sexual frustration and the resultant fury as crucial to why they so often vote against their own interests, if it means someone else is a little less happy. Money quote -

“...–a desperation far more common than is admitted. If you didn’t know anything about how America’s propaganda worked, you’d think that every citizen here experienced four-dimensional multiple orgasms with beautiful, creative, equally satisfied partners, morning, noon and night.” These guys see happy liberals on TV, who look to be getting tons of ass, and they get really sore.

So, as to your question, is there a point where men see the evidence and figure out what's bullshit, and change? Well, how many people keep drinking to the point of having hangovers, after the first couple, when that there's a mechanism that's much easier to understand and predict, not to mention avoid? Or paying for lottery tickets?
Like anything, I guess, male and female, we often know what we should and shouldn't do, but magical thinking is a hell of a drug. As is testosterone, as dcp notes in #93 – guys pull crap with other guys over the internet, or from the safety of their cars, they'd never do in person, as many have noted. You accept that some people are jerks, get on with your day.
@93: " you might go through life less infuriated if you just chose to believe that they were poor idiots confused by testosterone"

Oh, so they're not entitled dicks, they're just entitled dicks with control over their behavior they refuse to engage.
Cat @98: I think DCP's point is maybe overstated, if extrapolated to 'most men.'
Oh yes. I know LOTS of men with low self-esteem, who don't recognise a girl is flirting with them until three of their buddies point it out.
Thinking on the question of why send dick pics/come-ons to people who've pre-emptively declared themselves uninterested, when alternate approaches would be much more effective, as well as the Ames article cited, I think of a passage from Name of the Rose where Brother William discusses why peasants join in revolts that almost always leave them worse off than before, if not slaughtered by the nobles or their armies :
"The life of the simple, Abo, is not illuminated by learning and the lively sense of distinctions that make us wise. And it is haunted by illness and poverty, tongue-tied by ignorance. Joining a heretical group, for many of them, is often only another way of shouting their own despair."
A guy who has no love interest, and is starting to think that he never will even though by his own lights he's played by the rules, may send out a barrage of penis pictures as a way of saying 'fuck it, maybe this will at least get a reaction,' much like a pending diabetic working at a Jiffy Lube with a boss who yells at him, in flyover country, paying child support and living in a crappy apartment, largely considered white trash by the media, might think 'Donald Trump will at least shake things up, and boy, those Hollywood liberals who look so happy, they really seem to hate and fear him...'
Both these people are acting against their self-interest, but they (falsely, I would argue) have a large dose of helplessness/disinclination to work harder to change their circumstances, resulting in that feeling of 'if I can't rise, let's bring everyone else down.'
Or, y'know, some guys are dumbasses who think dick pics work. As someone noted above, send out enough Nigerian prince emails, you'll get a few bites.