Every now and then I come across something that I wish I wrote. This piece from Craiglist’s “Best Of” section is a perfect example. It’s called “Myths and Truths,” and I’ve reproduced it in full below. I’m sure a few people will call it jaded and cynical, and it probably is, but that in no way negates how astute and accurate it is:
Myths and Truths
Date: 2006-04-18, 11:09PM PDT
Some rants and accumulated experience about women. Men in happy marriages or stable relationships don’t need to read this; neither do men who get laid every week (or even every month). The “truth” I’m putting out here is for all of those men who, like me, worship women and can’t figure out why they keep getting screwed over and dumped. The myths are things that I used to believe before I wised up.
MYTH: Women want love and affection. Women want to be treated well. If you treat a woman well, she’ll treat you well.
TRUTH: Young women want whatever other young women want. They’re herd creatures. If you lavish a woman with love and affection she’ll think you’re doing it because nobody else wants you (which may be true) and she’ll dump you. In fact, if you do anything that betrays that you’re a loser that other women won’t touch, she’ll dump you. Why? Because she wants to impress her friends with what a great catch she’s made, and if she thinks that they wouldn’t want you, then she doesn’t want you either.
There are only three exceptions to this rule. The first exception is psychos, otherwise known as “witches, bitches, and crazy ladies.” They’ll stay with you because nobody else wants them, or because you’re the only one who put up with their abuse. The second exception is women who like to “fix men up”: those women who like to take “broken” men and turn them into the man they want. These women are single because a mature man will recognize that these women don’t want him… they want to turn him into someone else. The third exception is that once in a long time you meet a woman who isn’t psycho, still wants to stay with you when she finds out that you’re not super stud, and doesn’t want to change you into someone else. This is the one you marry.
BITTER MYTH: Women are out for money.
TRUTH: Women are out for status and fun or for security, depending upon their age. A few women are out for cold cash, but not too many. Status-seeking women aren’t ready to settle down. They just wanna have fun, and they want their girlfriends to know it. They’re looking for a guy they can dangle in front of their friends and say, “Look what I got!” You don’t have to have money to be that guy, you just have to come across as desirable. Of course if you have money you don’t need to do anything else, but having no money isn’t the end of the world. The women who are out for security have had their wild fling and want to settle down. They want a guy who can provide a stable base for the future (and that includes finances).
All in all it’s sort of like what guys do (and women whine about endlessly): when you’re young you want some bright, bubbly thing with huge tits, a nice ass, and a trimmed bush who screams like a banshee in bed, although you’ll settle for much less; when you’re ready to get married you want a nice girl who isn’t going to break your balls. They’re usually different people unless you’re very, very lucky. Young women want bad boys who will show them a good time. When they’re ready to get married they want some guy who is going to be able to pay to keep them comfortable.
MYTH: Women are out for looks.
TRUTH: See above. Women are out for looks, after a fashion. A guy in good physical shape who wears decent-looking clothes is attractive because he looks after himself and probably isn’t a wimp or a whiner. She can convince her friends that he’s a “catch.” A guy who looks and smells like a laundry bin, or who can’t climb a few flights of stairs without a rest had better have some spectacular attribute to show off to her friends (like being a genius) or he’s not worth her time. Any guy can compensate for lack of looks or lack of money with showmanship. He doesn’t have to be a catch, just seem like one. All he has to do is make her friends think, “Damn, I wish I were going out with him instead of the loser I’m with.”
MYTH: I should find one woman I like who likes me, and stick with her through thick and thin.
TRUTH: This is the biggest mistake I ever made. I used to be loyal to whomever I was with, even when someone better came along. All that happened was that I missed out on some great opportunities while I hung on with losers that ended up dumping me anyway. Do this if the two of you are getting married; once you’ve tied the knot it’s a whole other can of worms. However, if you’re just dating, do exactly the opposite. In very subtle ways you have to let her know that although you like her, there are lots of other women out there and you still notice them. Glance at tits and legs. Smile at and chat with pretty ladies, even while she’s with you (you’re just being friendly, of course). This is the most important thing I’ve learned about dating in a decade. I even thought of dating WASP bitches again, so long as I could keep this in mind. Never, never let her know that she’s the only game in town. As soon as she believes that she’s your “everything,” she’ll start whining and bitching and making demands.
Think of it like buying a car. If you let the salesman know that this is your dream car, that you’ve stayed awake nights thinking about buying exactly this car, do you think the price will go down? Of course not! He’ll jack the price up as high as he thinks he can go and still have you buy it. If you tell your girl that you’ve dreamed all of your life of going out with someone like her, do you think she’ll smile and kiss you and things will go on as before? Of course not! She’ll realize that you’ll put up with more of her bad habits, and that she can put up with fewer of yours, and the bitching will start. She’ll try to make the relationship as comfortable for her as possible and still keep it going. Remember the car salesman? Remember the attitude that “this is a nice car, but there are hundreds of other great ones, including that one across the street”, even as your heart is thumping and you’re practically drooling? If you’re just dating, this is the attitude to take.
MYTH: Having a girlfriend / fianc?e / wife means being able to tell someone my problems.
TRUTH: Nobody gives a shit about your problems. Nobody ever will. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the reality of being a man. Want to tell people about your problems? Get a sex change. Or join a men’s group; the flip side is that you have to listen to their problems, but it helps. I know of only two kinds of women who want to hear about your problems: ones with far more problems than you have, and ones who fancy themselves amateur psychiatrists and like “fixing” men. Neither is good company. Let’s face it: many women spend all day whining to their friends about how awful their lives are and listening to their neurotic friends responding in kind. The last thing they want to do is go out with you and hear more of the same.
To make matters worse, women simply don’t “get” many of men’s problems. Women have problems with things that don’t even bother us, but they expect us to be understanding or at least tolerant; we have problems with things that don’t even bother them, and no amount of explaining will cause the light to go on or elicit any sympathy.
So why not just commit hara-kiri now? Because it’s not that bad. You get over it. In particular, once you figure out how to handle women a lot of your problems seem smaller and more manageable.
MYTH: Having a girlfriend / fianc?e / wife means someone will finally understand me.
TRUTH: Understanding?true understanding?takes decades. If you spend most of your time with the love of your life trying to explain yourself, she will have nothing but contempt for you, for two reasons. First, because she doesn’t want to hear your whining (see above). Second, and more important, women want to maintain the self-delusion that they already understand men. Women everywhere claim that they understand men and that “men are simple creatures.” The truth is that women haven’t a clue where most men are coming from and furthermore they care only insofar as they want to control us. Nonetheless, they want to maintain the fiction that they have us figured out.
It’s a pride and status thing. A woman who doesn’t “understand” her man can’t control him, and a woman who can’t control her man is a loser. The more you try to explain yourself, the more complex and multi-dimensional you become (a.k.a. “difficult”), and the less she can claim to understand you.
Besides, most of the time you’re explaining yourself to her you’re really trying to figure yourself out. Go do it in a corner, hire a professional listener, or join a men’s group. She doesn’t want to hear it. If you master the art of keeping your problems to yourself she will complain bitterly about this. She will bitch and whine that you’re not open enough and that she has to drag things out of you. She will also secretly love this. It gives her one more thing to complain about to her friends.
MYTH: If only I could meet the right woman, my life would have meaning.
TRUTH: If your life doesn’t have meaning right now, when you’re single, then a relationship isn’t going to help. You’ll pile too much baggage on top of the delicate emotional bonds too early, and the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards. Want to see this in action? Watch women: they do this all the time. In particular, women who whine about men who can’t make a commitment are probably doing exactly this: looking to a man to make their life mean something. It doesn’t work.
The only way to have a happy life is to develop one for yourself, then leave an opening for someone else to come and share it with you. Neither of these two things is easy. In particular, it’s too easy once you’ve developed a life for yourself to end up with someone who was doing exactly what you were doing before?waiting for Prince Charming (or in your case Lady Love)?to come and rescue her life. People like this end up draining away all of that energy you’ve worked so hard to build up, leaving you exhausted and frustrated.
Take it from me: I waited for Lady Love for decades. Finally I gave up, got angry, got off my ass and tried to make a life for myself, and suddenly I was surrounded by women who wanted to date me. After a while I met someone who was very special to me and I married her. Now my life is about the same as before, but I have someone with whom to share it. As much as I prefer being with someone, I must tell you that having her with me doesn’t make my life any more or less meaningful. I’m pretty much where I was before, only now I have company, which is nice.
[P.S.: After two years she turned into one of those people who was waiting for her life to mean something, and she drained away all of my good energy. Oh well. Some things just don’t turn out as planned, no matter how hard you try. Rats.]
MYTH: If I treat a woman well and listen to what she says, she’ll stop complaining
TRUTH: Women never stop complaining. For them, it’s a sport. Some complain more than others, but none of them will ever stop, any more than one day men will stop discussing football. Men have built civilizations, created law, invented husbandry (that’s keeping domestic animals by the way, not marriage; women invented marriage), built skyscrapers, invented cars, washing machines, antibiotics, toilets, computers, and microwave ovens, and generally dragged us out of caves and into condos. Don’t kid yourself: men did it all. If it were up to women we’d still be living in caves and dying at 20. I know that men did it all because I know why they did it: they hoped that it would stop women complaining. It didn’t.
If you listen to your girlfriend’s bitching and try to make everything better, you’ll suffer the same fate as all the men who came before: you’ll run yourself ragged, and at the end of it all she’ll still be bitching. If you ignore all but the most important complaints, she’ll bitch about that, too, but you’ll feel far better about your life.
MYTH: Men don’t listen to women because men don’t care about women.
TRUTH: Men ignore women because women normally have nothing worthwhile to say. This is not a condemnation of women, but rather a difference in what talking is for. This is one of the few areas where John Gray has something useful to say. Men mull things over, organize things in their heads, then speak. Men have to do this because they have to get things done, and if they blabbered all day long about nothing in particular then eventually other men would pay them no attention. Men talk to communicate ideas, negotiate compromises, and secure cooperation. Life and experience has taught men to be brief and pithy.
Women talk to organize their thoughts. It’s the difference between doing the math problem in your head and writing the answer at the top of the page, and scribbling all over the page in order to arrive at the answer in the bottom corner. Women want men to listen to them. Women want men to follow along as they scribble all over the page, not just wait for the answer. Quite frankly, who cares? As I mentioned above, there are lots of things that women don’t want to hear from men. If you want to talk about these things, you’ll have to find some other men who want to listen, because she sure as hell won’t. If she wants to attach her mouth to her brain and vocalize all of her mental processes then she should find someone who cares to listen, in other words another woman.
MYTH: She said she loves me. She must think I’m really special.
TRUTH: When women say, “I love you” it can mean almost anything. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” “I’m desperate to get married and have babies and you’re the best thing I’ve come across so far,” “You’re better than the last jerk I went out with,” “You’re the best guy I’ve come across this week,” “All my girlfriends are in love and I want to be too,” “I have a million problems and I want you to feel obliged to listen to them,” “I want another date and I want you to feel like you have to ask me out again,” “It’s time I put my foot down and started controlling you,” and any number of other things. OK, most women think they mean it when they say, “I love you.” However, remember the old saying, “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind”? She loves you this minute. Maybe today. Maybe this week. Maybe even this month. However, this says nothing about how she will feel next month, next week, or tomorrow.
One of the biggest problems men like me have is that when we say, “I love you” to a woman we want to really mean it. Like “I love you forever.” Men don’t understand that a woman can say, “I love you forever” and change her mind next week. All she does is convinces herself that in hindsight, and despite everything you’ve ever said or done, you never really loved her, so all the times she said, “I love you” didn’t really count. You have to learn to use the same language. Go ahead and say, “I love you,” but inside your head say, “I love you right now. Tomorrow may be a different story.” When you break up and she screams that you said you loved her, tell her that you did, but she did this and that and now you don’t love her any more. When women say, “I love you” they aren’t promising eternal devotion, so why should you be? One day you’ll meet a woman who says, “I love you” and it’ll really hit home. You’ll test her love a bit and it will hold up. That’s the one you marry.
MYTH: Women understand relationships; men don’t.
TRUTH: This myth is perpetuated by women, pussy-whipped men, and psychiatrists. If women truly understood relationships… that is, if they understood relationships with men… then we wouldn’t have a 45% divorce rate. Maybe back in the pioneer days women understood relationships. These days, they have coffee with their girlfriends, talk about “men”, examine and dissect relationships, study interpersonal dynamics, talk, talk, talk about what works and what doesn’t, then go out and perfectly screw up their next relationship. I know. I’ve watched it happen from the sidelines.
Women spend more time analyzing relationships; they talk about them incessantly, and in doing so discover more truths than men know. However, all of this talk in a vacuum also means that their heads are filled with more bullshit and myth than are men’s. The combination of superior insight and copious nonsense puts them right back where we are. Men tend to see what’s going on in a relationship more clearly, but have no idea how to express what they see or what to do about it. Women would probably know what to do about it if they could only see it as it truly is, instead of through a fog of preconception.
The other big difference between the sexes is that women are absolutely certain that they know what is going on, whereas men make no such claim. The last man who claimed to have his own radical theories about relationships was Freud, and nobody pays any attention to him any more. It is women’s ideas about relationships and why they do or don’t work that have been imported lock, stock, and barrel into the field of psychiatry. Most male therapists you’ll meet are basically honorary women with university degrees, and as such they don’t really understand relationships either.
MYTH: Women are fairer and more even-handed than men
TRUTH: Nothing could be further from the truth. Traditionally men have favoured the same rules for everyone: “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Women on the other hand make up the rules as they go along. Although women’s approach is patently unfair, it was valuable when they had to be the ones to point out that the rules needed to be changed, or that the rules should be bent in some cases. Back then they did this for the good of everyone. These days men still feel bound by rules, but women are in a conflict of interest. They still keep watch over the rules and break them as they always have, but now they modify and break the rules in their own favour.
Men’s justice is often harsh, but it’s fair. Women’s justice is arbitrary and these days often self-serving. (Liberal “situational ethics” are essentially the same as women’s ethics.) You’ll find this out quickly in a relationship. The joke going around about “The Rules” and how women change them all the time isn’t such a joke. It’s a documentary. If you doubt this, think of it this way. A man caught breaking or bending the rules of good behaviour will become either defensive or repentant; his wife will beat him over the head with his transgression for months, if not years. A woman caught modifying the rules of good behaviour to suit herself will giggle and freely admit it. She thinks it’s a game.
MYTH: Women do a lot for the relationship; men do a lot for themselves
TRUTH: My ex-girlfriend invented a little ditty that made her puff up with smug, self-satisfied pride. It went like this, “Women think of ‘we’; men think of ‘me’.” OK, so e.e. cummings she wasn’t. The point is that she actually believed this, and a lot of other women do, too. She thought that she was living and breathing our “relationship,” while I was just kind of hanging around and taking up space. Meanwhile, I drove her everywhere (she couldn’t drive), I spent hours making her gifts and writing her notes, and I spent hours thinking about what was going on with us and where we were going.
The truth of the matter is that women don’t think of ‘we’ any more or less often than men do. Women think of their own needs most of the time, too. The difference is that women redefine their own needs as being those of “the relationship”. For example, when a man needs to talk to his belle about something, he says, “I need to talk to you.” When a woman needs to talk to her beau about something, she says, “We need to talk.” Notice the difference? Suddenly what she needs becomes what we need. Women do this all the time, and then pout and whine that they work so hard at the relationship and you don’t. In fact they’re just playing with words.
The other truth is that there are two relationships: the one you’re really in?the one that exists between you and her?and the one in her head. Remember how women are always talking and theorizing about “relationships”? Well, much of what she defines as “our relationship” is really just a collection of theories and prejudices from past conversations with her girlfriends, and has nothing to do with what’s going on between the two of you. In that sense, even if she is doing more for “the relationship,” it isn’t necessarily anything that concerns her real relationship with you.
MYTH: Women are more involved in the relationship; men are more aloof.
TRUTH: Finally one that’s true. The false part is the assumption that being deeply involved in the relationship is always a good thing, and that aloofness is fatal to relationships. If you doubt this, look around you and find a couple in which both people do little else but sit around with each other and talk, and watch how fast the relationship blows itself apart. Every relationship has to have a balance between looking inward and looking outward. Most women who complain that their men don’t pay enough attention to “the relationship” aren’t seeing the relationship clearly and/or are buried in “the relationship” up to their necks and so are creating more problems than they solve. Recently I was skimming a book by Dr. Laura and saw a chapter that gets this one right. Where is it written that when a man wants to go back to college and a woman wants to get married, and she gets angry that he’s “not thinking of the relationship” that she’s automatically right? Maybe the right thing to do at that moment is for both of them to go back to college for a couple of years. Women confuse obsessing about “the relationship” with healthy involvement, particularly considering that half the time they’re seeing stuff that isn’t even there. Sometimes your relationship needs more attention than you’re giving it; other times she’s smothering it. The assumption that more involvement equals more love simply isn’t true.
MYTH: When she says no, she means no (so why am I so confused)?
TRUTH: Nobody means no every time they say “no.” Think about it: do you? You’ve never said no when you were too shy to say yes? You’ve never said no because you were nervous, didn’t know what you were getting into, and didn’t really have time to think about your answer? You’ve never said no because you thought that was the right thing to do even though you really wanted to say yes? You’ve never said no and then changed your mind? You’ve never said no as a joke, just to get a rise out of someone, when you really meant yes?
I’ve done all of these things at one time or another; most men I know have, and most women I know have as well. However, for men there’s a catch. If she’s prone to saying no when she really means yes, then you should dump her. Immediately. Especially if she’s told you in no uncertain terms “no” and then starts dropping huge hints that you’re supposed to ignore this and go for it anyway. Dump the bitch. This is just far too dangerous. If you doubt this, imagine sitting in court, accused of rape. “Did she tell you no, Mr. Smith?” “Yeah, but afterward she tried to rip my pants off, then stripped naked and sat on my face!” “But did she say no, Mr. Smith?” “Umm… yes she did.” “Case closed.”
I once went out with a woman who told me, on our second date, that there was no way she would sleep with me, that her ex-boyfriend was coming to visit and that it would be “too complicated” if she were sleeping with me when he came to stay. On our third date she did everything to let me know that she wanted me, including lying on my bed, making comments about removing her clothes for a nude massage. Spooked, I drove her home, dropped her off, and never went out with her again. I consider it one of the smartest things I’ve done in my dating life. (Incidentally, apparently so does she. Every time I meet her she asks why I don’t call her any more.)
MYTH: Women are social geniuses; all women get along well with each other, while men just fight
TRUTH: I lived in a mixed-sex dorm for two years in university where each floor was segregated by sex. It alternated: one floor men, one floor women, one floor men, etc. A few nearby residences were completely mixed. A couple of the men’s floors looked much the worse for wear at the end of the year. You know, men are so destructive. The women’s floors all looked perfect. All the girls were smiling and friendly. Talk to any of them, however, and they’d tell you that they hated living on an all-female floor, and every last damned one of them was moving to the mixed dorms the very next year, and not with each other. According to them, underneath the tidy rooms and smiles were claws and forked tongues. Every day was a quiet, mannerly, pitched social battle. The men, on the other hand, got along just fine with only a few exceptions. Most of us were quite happy where we were, the only complaint being that we didn’t see the ladies enough.
One thing that is true along the lines of this myth is that any woman will defend another woman against a man, even a woman that she doesn’t know. Start bad-mouthing women, even a particular woman that isn’t known to “present company,” and you’ll find women defending her even though they have no idea what’s going on. If anyone?a woman or another man?verbally attacks a man, other men will not jump in and defend him. Why? Men assume that other men can look after themselves and, after all, they’re competition. Women assume that an attack on one woman is an attack on all women.
BITTER MYTH: Women are all the same.
TRUTH: Women are not all the same, and in particular women change with age. A woman who wouldn’t give you a second look at 15 may be asking you out at 35. In part this is the dreaded “biological clock” at work, but in part it’s also changing priorities. At 15 she wants to impress all of her friends with her “catch” and she is starting to learn to control men. She wants variety and excitement. At 25 she wants to have fun with no strings attached and wants to hone her controlling skills. She wants more stability but she doesn’t want Ward Cleaver or Bill Gates. At 35 she realizes that the fun days are over and it’s time to settle down and get serious.
Boring, nerdy guys who were dog meat at 15 can be studs at 35. The guys grow up and mature, they learn to need women less, and they settle into a life of resigned solitude, which means that they cheer up because they’re no longer striving for something they can’t have. The field narrows, and there are fewer single guys with no divorce history. Finally, her priorities have changed. She’s no longer impressed by “bad boys” on motorcycles with a few convictions for petty crime. She knows that her friends aren’t impressed by flashy, fast-living rogues any longer, any more than they’re still impressed by fashions from Suzy Creamcheese. She’s more interested in building a nest than impressing her friends anyway (and she knows that building a nest is what will impress them). So, just because you can’t get anywhere now doesn’t mean that your whole life will be a write-off. Take a clue from me: I never had a single date in high school. I had one girlfriend for a year in University. Ten years later I was beating women off with a stick.