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Dr. Helen

Dating Is War

June 16th, 2014 - 6:13 am

goodmannersbookcover

At least that’s what Amy Alkon says in her new book Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck. I have been reading and re-reading the book this week and her chapter on dating was particularly interesting.

In a section called “Dating is War,” Amy describes dating rudeness and perceived rudeness. She makes a good point: “The truth is, in dating, a good bit of the hurt and anger people feel is caused not by rude behavior but by misconceptions about the opposite sex and the way things ‘should’ work as opposed to the ways they actually do.” The war between the sexes, according to the book, is one that goes back millions of years and has to do with the ensuing differences in what sex can end up costing us. Women want men who can provide if they get pregnant and men like the sight of a good-looking woman. Well, it’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

She says we need to accept that men act like men and women act like women when it comes to dating and that it is evolutionary. Perhaps, but then, many things are “evolutionary” but we strive to be better than that or to change our response to something that may have served us well as cave men but now, not so much.

That said, Amy has great advice for those who are dating, for example: Don’t date people you aren’t attracted to, assume that everyone you meet on the Internet is lying their ass off until proven otherwise, and politely tell a potential sexual partner that you have an STD (prior to having sex is the first step). Luckily, she provides good advice on how to deal with each of these areas so that you come out of the dating experience with some dignity!

The book is loads of fun and very entertaining. If you want to learn manners on anything from dealing with a bad neighbor to eating, drinking and socializing in modern times, read it.

*****

cross-posted at PJ Lifestyle

Top Rated Comments   
Amy Alkon is like most women, where she wants to pick and choose traditional vs modern gender roles based on whatever pleases her more.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oops, my fault in the way I phrased that! Thanks for letting me know.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... and tell a potential sexual partner that you have an STD prior to having sex."

------------

Well, alright, if Amy says so. I don't have an STD, so I think it's kind of silly to tell a potential sexual partner that prior to having sex, but I'll do it.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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Women also make the mistake of imbuing the act of sex with a whole raft of emotional hopes and dreams,

That's not a "mistake." That's female "normal." The mistake is either (1) pretending that most women don't or aren't going to do this, and/or (2) pretending that most men do/will.

What our contemporary culture has contemptuously labeled the "double standard" of old evolved from observation of the above. Promiscuous women who pursued sex like a man (which is to say, without developing emotional attachments to their sexual partners and desiring long-term secure arrangements) were indeed "not normal" and were in some sense "unnatural" (acting against what we now call normative sexual neurochemistry).

Promiscuous women were distrusted by both other women and men for quite valid reasons (husband-stealing and cuckolding). The potential impact of widespread female promiscuity on familial cohesion and social stability was perceived to be so highly negative that all sorts of carrot & stick rules about female sexual behavior evolved -- the elevation and celebration of female modesty, the excoriation of temptresses and slVts, etc.

As we have done with so much else where cultural rules and traditions were evolved over long, long periods of time, we never bothered to really investigate whether there might have been some valid reasons for the evolution of the traditions of sexual roles and mating behavior before we threw tradition aside. We believed the "evil patriarchy" explanation as the only explanation.

And now we have to learn all over again, via social chaos and at the very real cost in tens of millions of lives, all the DUH stuff about men, women, children, families, and their contribution to the destinies of entire societies and nations.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dating used to be clear. Everyone knew the rules. Then the Pill came along and confused it all, by making sex commonplace in relationships. Sex complicates it. The rules are gone, and folks are having to make it up as they go along.

Take sex out of it, though, and the rules become clear again.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gee, I have an idea. Don't have sex with people you don't know! If the purpose of dating is just to have sex with someone, hire a prostitute and then protect yourself with whatever you feel you need to protect yourself. If people weren't so busy jumping into bed with anyone who is willing, there would be a whole lot less unhappy men and women. Don't want illegitimate kids? Don't have sex with someone you're not married to. Men, don't want to be stuck with child support payments for a kid you didn't want in the first place? Don't jump into bed with anyone who's willing, and when you DO have sex, PROTECT YOURSELF! Or have a vasectomy if you really don't want kids.

Dating is not war, but people MAKE it into a war by their selfish, self-serving behavior. Men have sex just because they get the urge, which, quite frankly, most men get several times a day. So if a woman is willing and available, many men will go for it. Women have sex because they think it will make a guy love them. Guess what ladies, it DOESN'T!!! So if you're having sex with a guy just because he bought you dinner, or you think he's cute and you want to see more of him, don't be surprised when he's not around in the morning - or any time after. Even if he continues to date you and have sex with you, try cutting him off and see if he still comes around.

Women also make the mistake of imbuing the act of sex with a whole raft of emotional hopes and dreams, and are then devastated when, time after time, for the guy it was just sex.

I am a happily married woman who doesn't need to worry about STDs. I dated my hubby for a long time and was in a very committed relationship with him before sex. I also have a LOT of single male and female friends who confide in me, as well as the friends of my children. These are recurring themes. Even if you watched "Sex and the City," jumping into bed with strangers never made those women happy. NEVER!!! Made them annoying and neurotic, but never happy. Those women weren't happy until they got married. And that was a show that was supposed to be glorifying uncommitted sexual relationships!
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
My experience with dating was that it was a game where no one would tell you the rules, and the rules were subject to change without notice. I refuse to play such a game.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Understandable, seeing as how what was initially labeled "female empowerment" has become (whether through corruption or unmasking, take your pick) "female infantilization."

Way back in the stone age of the mid-20th century, young American women were discouraged from having premarital sex.

Then they got "liberated." They were encouraged to have premarital sex if they wanted to, but cautioned to not be idiots about it (Don't get so drunk you end up sleeping with someone you wouldn't have slept with while sober, for example. Sleeping with the entire football team, another example).

Then they got even more "liberated." They were encouraged to have as much premarital sex as possible, and to talk about that sex as much as possible, in order to demonstrate their liberated status. Any young woman who was not out there having as much sex as possible and talking about it to all and sundry, was made to feel like a neurotic prude.

Then women got super-dooper "liberated." They were encouraged to have as much sex as possible, to talk about it as much as possible, and to never feel guilty or regretful or doubtful about any of it. Ever. Women's bad feelings about sex were men's fault.

All of which set the stage for the ultimate in "liberated." If alcohol passes her lips & she has sex, she ain't responsible for nuttin & he's a rapist. If she changes her mind about the sex four minutes, four hours, four days, four weeks later, she ain't responsible for nuttin & he's a rapist.

I'm shocked, shocked, that people could be confused about what the rules are. I thought it was very clear these days: She ain't responsible for nuttin, and he's a rapist.
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10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Never saw dating as war, but rather something more tedious, like an extended job interview which, if initially successful, led to an internship (boyfriend/girlfriend), followed by the transition to journeyman status (marriage). Glad I'll never have to do it again.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like Amy Alkon, but for exactly the reason that the title of the book disappoints me. Someone with manners wouldn't put that word on the cover (even with asterisks). That's kinda the point. Sigh.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would have been more clever and less disappointing/crude, at least IMO, if the title had been "... For People Who Sometimes Say Fork." With a giant fork (no middle finger) on the cover.

I realize even this allusion/pun would be considered too vulgar by some (many?), too mincey/cutesy, by others, but hey, you can't please everyone.

To me, the asterisk thing is pretty much at the point of "why did you even bother?" when it comes to a formal public presentation such as a book or TV show title. Like pasties on a stripper. That 1% assertion of "modesty" or "restraint" isn't really going to persuade anyone.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Better yet -- don't date to have sex! Date in order to go out with the person you love!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amy Alkon is another woman who takes a balanced view of gender and relationships, and sometimes takes the side of the man. Beware of the trolls who go around trying to shoot her down with vague and unsubstantiated accusations. It is not the women in the middle who are the foes of men. Let's be thankful for them, not snarky.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't look for depth in her writing. She dismisses religion, calling "childish thinking", and when you press her on it, she responds, "Sigh... religion is childish thinking".

Why should we care about manners if they're just the conventions of a successful animal species on Earth? Some people are fascinated by manners, others are fascinated by the mating dances of jumping spiders, still others by the displays of birds attracting a mate. It's easy to see why manners are interesting, less easy to understand why we should bother following them if we don't care to.

However, if I'm convinced there is an ethos that transcends man, and its primary commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, then all of a sudden manners come into focus: we cultivate manners as a sign of the love and respect we should feel for our neighbors.

In other words, if there is some absolute setting for morality, then all of a sudden I care about the things she cares about.

Otherwise, why bother?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amy Alkon is like most women, where she wants to pick and choose traditional vs modern gender roles based on whatever pleases her more.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... and tell a potential sexual partner that you have an STD prior to having sex."

------------

Well, alright, if Amy says so. I don't have an STD, so I think it's kind of silly to tell a potential sexual partner that prior to having sex, but I'll do it.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had a date ask me, in advance, for proof of my HIV-negative status, in writing. I brought my test results to the date... and she read the paper, then confiscated it. (No doubt she had a small collection of such... I found myself wondering what she did with them. Wallpaper her bathroom, perhaps?)

Let's just say it was not a match.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess if they're into it you found a real live wire.
ew!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oops, my fault in the way I phrased that! Thanks for letting me know.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
...and here I thought that was your subtle way of encouraging abstinence! :)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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