I’ll come out and say it. Dating advice for men is horrible. I recently came across an example of some very horrible advice for a 35 year old guy who really wants a girlfriend, but has never had one. I linked to an archived version of the original page, because I cannot support the column by linking to it. It’s just another in a long string of examples of guys getting awful, untruthful, unactionable advice that will make them even more single.
So, in this column, a 35 year old guy asks an “advice columnist” how to get a girlfriend, because he is desperate and feels like his life is lacking in this area. Also, he understands quite rightly that his options are dwindling for future relationships since he is getting older.
The response the columnist gives can be boiled down to: you don’t really need a girlfriend, be yourself, and try online dating. I’m not joking. Read it yourself. And let’s not just blame the columnist; it’s probably similar to advice that guy has gotten his entire life.
So, we have a guy who, if we assume he started becoming interested in girls around 15, has spent the last twenty years (7300+ days) unable to fulfill the most basic need a human being can have, and that is the stellar advice he gets from an “expert.”
He is told to suppress his most basic desires, continue being his same old self (which hasn’t been able to get a girl for two decades) and go online, since clearly if you can’t get a date in twenty years offline, then magically you’ll be able to suddenly get one online.
In fairness to her, the columnist does suggest using online dating as a “test area” for developing social skills like talking to women. However, she must be unaware how competitive online dating is for men, and the horrible experience unattractive men have with online dating. So what she is basically telling the guy is to get online where he can “practice” by competing with hundreds of other men, most more attractive than he is, who are messaging the same girl.
This advice is a part of much broader trend, in which “experts” (along with family and friends) provide guys with horrible, ineffective dating advice, usually while also summarily dismissing any frustration or sadness they may have over their lack of a meaningful romantic relationship.
Let’s use as another example, a 30 year old guy who really wants a girlfriend, but has never even gotten a date. He spends most of the day working a draining, crappy, job and then he goes home, watches TV, and plays video games. He has the charm of a wooden beam, and is carrying an extra 50 pounds. His hygiene sucks, and he hasn’t bought new clothes in five years, minus maybe a T-shirt that doesn’t fit.
His family, friends, and “experts” tell him things like “just be yourself,” “join a club,” and “take up salsa dancing, because women like dancing.”
Yet, not one of his female friends or family members giving that advice would ever date a similarly unattractive guy simply because they met him at a salsa dancing event. And if they met a guy like that while attending an event, they may say “be yourself” as a pleasantry, but they would be creeped out if that guy attempted anything even slightly romantically with them.
And, none of his male friends who actually get dates would ever suggest that their success is because they went to a salsa dance. I guarantee the guys who get dates at salsa dances are the same guys who get dates most every other place.
And yet, this is the level of advice a lot of guys are getting. And, what happens is that guys who are sick of being single stay single based on all the bad advice they get.
Yet, there are scientifically proven things a guy can do to become more attractive, like for example changing your body language. That isn’t the point of this article, but this site is constantly updated based on the many recent studies related to attraction. However, most people are reluctant to give advice that actually works for a few reasons.
First, many people assume (incorrectly) you can’t change your personality, even though science says you can rewire your brain even as an adult. This “fixed mindset” is a huge contributing factor to many guys being dateless.
Second, they are often uncomfortable admitting what actually works, especially if it runs contrary to their particular life philosophy, whether it be their religion, political views, or a particular movement they adhere to that likely ends with an “-ism.”
Third, many people simply “lucked into” relationships because someone else did all the work for them (like a married couple who got set up by friends at work), so they may literally have no idea how to attract someone.
Finally, most people may simply be unaware of the subconscious factors going into attraction. Even though a girl may have really chosen every one of her boyfriends based on his facial structure, athletic build, and social status, she will explain it as “we liked the same books” and “we went to the same school,” because she is more consciously aware of those factors, even though she knew fifty guys who liked the same books and who went to her school she never would have dated.
For example, let’s take the female advice columnist who is reluctant to acknowledge that the last five guys she dated were handsome and charming, and that she rejected ten guys who were ugly and boring in favor of them. In her mind, she may have convinced herself that she just happened to have things in common with all the handsome and charming guys, and not the ugly and boring guys, so instead of facing up to reality, suggesting that a perpetually dateless guy could go to the gym and revamp his personality, she says “find someone who likes Harry Potter as much as you do” instead.
Or let’s take the Christian minister handing out dating advice. He can’t say to his parishioner, “you’re out of shape, boring, and socially awkward, with a job that is going nowhere,” because obviously that isn’t exactly Christ-centered advice, even though the pastor himself gets interest from a lot of women (and became the leader of the church) precisely because he looks good, and is charming and exciting with a high-status job.
Or what about the parent? Most parents quite rightly love their kids “as is,” and want to protect their kids from the emotional rollercoaster of love and romance. So even though a guy’s mom fell for the rebellious bad boy who was dominant in the bedroom, she isn’t likely to tell her thirty year old son to become that type of guy, so instead she continues to enable her son to be a frustrated man-child who still plays video games in her basement (even if she can’t name a single friend who would have fallen for that type of guy).
So, it’s time to get real and stop giving frustrated guys who need real and actionable advice pointless and ineffective advice that the advice-givers themselves would never try.