Don’t Get Jealous Of Another Man’s Quarry Unless You Really Know The Score

The wise and mirthful Dogsquat (who I amazingly haven’t linked yet, welcome to the blogosphere amigo) riffed on the difference between what outsiders see in a relationship versus the actual reality, only experienced by the people inside.

Over about a two year period, I was involved with:

-A stripper
-An architect
-A cocktail waitress
-A psychology grad student
-A yoga instructor
-A semi-pro model/sommelier
-A professional modern dancer

All of these girls were attractive.  Most were fun.  Some were smart, a few were funny.  I had a reputation for dating beautiful women.  Once a week someone would say,”Dude, how do you do it?!” On the surface, I was doing great.  My acquaintances were envious.  My very close friends were ready to pack me off to a monastery.  Why?  Here’s a more accurate list:

-A stripper (‘nough said)
-An architect with an eating disorder
-An alcoholic cocktail waitress
-A psychology grad student with poorly controlled bipolar disorder.
-A yoga instructor with daddy issues and pronounced gold-digger tendencies – come to think about it, she had some issues with food, too.
-A cokehead semi-pro model/sommelier who’s abusive ex-boyfriend/dealer tried to stab me
-A professional modern dancer with sexual identity problems (weird, weird shit, man -  not suitable for children, the aged, or the infirm.)

The sequence reminded me of “The Cheerleader Effect,” coined by How I Met Your Mother‘s dashing ladies’ man Barney Stinson. In the episode “Not A Father’s Day” (in which Barney invents a holiday to celebrate the resolution of a pregnancy scare), Barney lectures the rest of the gang that a gaggle of women at McLaren’s are not actually attractive.

The Cheerleader Effect is when a group of women seems hot – but only as a group. Just like with cheerleaders – they seem hot, but take each one of them individually? Sled dogs.”

Barney notes other names for the phenomenon: “The Bridesmaid Paradox; Sorority Girl Syndrome; and for a brief window in the Nineties, the Spice Girls Conspiracy.”

This bit of sexual-marketplace wisdom was punctuated by a panning shot of the girls in question, revealing grievous faults in each of them which were invisible when seen as a group. The only clip of the scene I was able to find is in Italian, but it illustrates the point just fine.

DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS

It’s very tempting to get into comparisons when you’re sharpening your game. It’s easy to pat yourself on the back for your successes over your pals, or to mope that so-and-so has bagged more notches since he got into the game than you have.

I’m here to tell you, it’s a very self-destructive pattern, because it takes your focus off of improving your own game and moves it over to copying someone else’s. It’s also pointless, because as the above shows, there’s an inside story to every couple, and it’s often a lot less rosy than we want to believe.

Lots of men have had either or both sides of this experience: being jealous of another man only to find out later that the girl he was dating was batshit crazy, orbeing the envy of your friends with some hot or sweet or wicked thing on your arm, only to feel a growing pit in your stomach dreading the breakup because you’d get so much crap from your in-the-dark friends.

Sometimes, people get together with or even put off breaking up with toxic partners because of this social pressure. Sometimes, sadly, the participants themselves are blind to the pitfalls and neuroses of their partners.

SOMETIMES ENVY IS A JUSTIFIED RESPONSE

There are some moments where it’s OK to sit back and say, “that guy has it good.” So long as you understand that every pair has caveats, there are some couples you can look at and think their model is something to shoot for.

Like Athol Kay, for instance. His wife Jennifer joins with him in making a great home, enables him to act as a quality husband, abhors yelling and conflict, and (of course) indulges with him in a highly active sex life, which she’s OK having plastered across the Internet for the benefit of other couples. (Jennifer copyedits every MMSL post.)

If anything were to happen to him, his blog is a full-length advertisement for her fitness as a wife to another deserving man.

I’ve noticed that almost every guy I’ve known with a great wife has said he was lucky. I never took this as an indictment of his value, or as a sign of pedestalization that he thought his wife was better than him – rather, I saw it as an acknowledgement that it’s hard to find a good woman, and you have to be lucky as well as good to get one.

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “Don’t Get Jealous Of Another Man’s Quarry Unless You Really Know The Score

  1. FFY

    Regarding that last paragraph, it’s all about frame (and when isn’t it?)

    “i am lucky I found her, we’re a great match” or something like that sounds a hell of a lot better than “I’m lucky she is even with me”

  2. FFY,

    Notice our example guy isn’t thanking his woman for being great as much as he’s thanking the universe for his good fortune. So he’s not sucking up to her.

  3. Obstinance Works

    All of this just seems like common sense to me. I don’t understand how some people are just not realistic about the craziness of women. I also think “the good wife or woman” legend is a myth. Maybe they are more submissive to a man’s display of strength.

  4. Obstinance Works

    And how does one go about trying to stab someone without connecting?

  5. It seems like the best variation on the ‘got lucky’ phrase is ‘We got lucky.’
    As far as the post proper is concerned, if one makes beating so-and-so at X the only goal, that becomes the best you can do. As soon as you do beat that one individual, complacency sets in and growth grinds to a halt.

  6. I agree with Obstinance Works on the good wife/ good woman as a myth. Is there really such a thing as a “sane” woman? If so, what would she act like?

  7. Rhino Tingley

    I would also apply the moral of your title to Athol Kay. I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of a man whose business depends on the apparent success of his marriage.

  8. Rhino,

    Thanks for commenting. I understand your point, but I like to look at the other side of it – he’s got it good when he can build a small business on the subject of his marriage itself.

    At least Athol is still married with no signs of trouble, unlike one of the authors of The Rules who got divorced (then insisted it wasn’t her system’s fault and said she was using The Rules again to find another sucker to marry her miserable ass).

  9. “[The] good wife/ good woman as a myth. Is there really such a thing as a “sane” woman? If so, what would she act like?

    They aren’t a myth. But they aren’t necessarily sane, either. As Mrs. Ironwood says, “all dem bitches be crazy.” Herself included.

    That doesn’t mean she isn’t an exemplary wife and mother, it just means that she acknowledges her own capacity for madcap hysteria upon occasion, and has worked with me for years to mitigate it or actually make it work for the family.

    What a “good wife” is is going to be highly dependent upon what kind of man you are. In my case, a “good wife” met my high criteria for the mother of my children and a partner in steering my boat into the sunset on peaceful waters. But then I was a hell of a lot more practical at an earlier age than most men. It turned out that my “good wife” was the younger sister to one of my High School friends, grew up in my town, and has the same nerdy tastes I do — but when I go back and look over the “wife selection criteria” I wrote down when I was 19, she still fits the bill by over 90%.

    I’m not going to say that luck isn’t involved, but for those OMGs like Athol and myself, a much larger factor is a determination to pick a wife who isn’t going to figuratively suck . . . but is open to the literal kind. I’m also not going to promise you that the “perfect woman” is out there, because that’s bullshit, too.

    But are there attractive women out there who you can live with in a state of mutual, sexually-fulfilling happiness without the danger of a complete batshit-nuts hypergamous meltdown? Sure. The key is know ‘em when you see ‘em and not settle for less.

  10. @Rhino in re: Athol

    Yes, Athol has put his marriage in the spotlight and made it his career. And yes, if it fails, then that’s going to suck for his career. But somehow I think Athol wouldn’t be nearly as bothered by losing his career than he would by loosing his marriage. It takes a tremendous amount of masculine bravery to be willing to do what Athol does, and I see it as high Alpha. He’s got big balls, and I’ve got the utmost respect for what he’s doing.

  11. The concern over Athol’s occupation relying on his marriage is a bit like being concerned that a millionaire has to be on watch for swindlers.

  12. Joe Commenter

    Awesome post Badger. And like Ian, my wife is as sane as I could ever hope for, fucks me like I’m Brad Pitt, and still has her young face and ass. The curse of being a man tho, is knowing that other hotties are attracted to you, they act semi sane but you can’t have them.

    I wouldn’t trade my wife for the others – ever. But my penis has not been attending my staff meetings and still has another agenda. Dammit

  13. Actually I agree with Rhino. I’m in a win big or go home situation. Thus my attempt to win big.

    It’s also a statement of extreme trust in Jennifer that I went this route.

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  16. TFH

    A cokehead semi-pro model/sommelier who’s abusive ex-boyfriend/dealer tried to stab me

    Wait,….. what?

    That sort of risk makes the hard work of honing one’s Game……not really worth it, IMO.

    Hotties will usually have some violent/criminal ex-boyfriend.

    I usually dismiss MRA paranoia about false-rape accusations or STDs, which they seem to think happen from 50% of all pickups..

    But being successful with attractive women certainly can make a man at risk of physical harm…

  17. rockthrowingpeasant

    From the outside, my marriage was enviable. My wife was 40, but looked mid 20s. She ran marathons. We never fought. We worked together in Cub Scouts, Track and Field, etc. I heard from almost all my guy friends how lucky I was and, yes, some (who were really good friends) would say that they’d tap her if I died. We both made a great living.

    Then, she got a wild hair up her ass last Columbus Day (thanks to her bi-polar swing and two man-hater friends), filed a PFA on me, kicked me from the house, and blew apart our marriage. People were STUNNED, especially at the abuse allegation. No one would dispute I was a jerk, at times. But abusive?

    So, yeah, outside appearances can be very deceiving. Women are capable of flaking at any point, no matter how “alpha” you are (and I’m not really claiming any such status, but the truth is that there is no man who is flake-proof). When they flake in a marriage, it usually goes very, very badly.

  18. Zac

    Jealousy and envy happen to everyone. It’s crazy when you compare yourself to other people how easy it is to fall into these traps. Everyone has things about them that are different. It’s better when you can focus inward on what is good about you. I recently read this article about how everyone spends a lot of time looking at other people and being jealous or envious and I think this is a good place to share.

  19. Anonymous

    Eh, I was with a women who was sixteen years older than me whom I met while she was dancing topless (at 38) to pay her way through school… raised by a clinical psychopath, divorced after being married to a seriously abusive husband and clearly bent, but she was hot and great in bed so what’s the problem? (Hey, they’re all nuts… )

  20. P Ray

    Imagine what it must be like to be one of those hot women that never manage to get relationships right. And then goes on to call men “losers”.
    Sometimes, things balance out :)

  21. I read a quote somewhere that said “Show me the hottest girl in the world and I’ll show you a guy who’s sick of fucking her.”

  22. Rhino Tingley

    @Athol marriedmansexlife

    Well said, and I wish you the best in your endeavours.

  23. Bianca

    I recall one of my boyfriend’s friends asking me something like this: “You’re smart, hot, funny and interesting, why are you with him?, is he really that good in bed?” My boyfriend smirked and I just blushed and brushed off the question.

    The truth is, I’m a rather demanding person emotionally and tend to have childlish tantrums and short temper. His friends wouldn’t know, since I tend to hide it in public with good manners, but just shows you how you should never judge without knowing what’s really going on.

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  25. P Ray

    @Bianca:
    His friends wouldn’t know, since I tend to hide it in public with good manners.
    For me I always take it that a person who never lets things slip is trying to fool me.
    I’ve found that manners are a passive-aggressive way for people to try to use social pressure to get others to do things for them.

  26. Joe Commenter,

    “But my penis has not been attending my staff meetings and still has another agenda”

    Is that a pun?

    rockthrowingpeasant,

    This is belated but so sorry to hear about your situation.

    Bianca,

    “The truth is, I’m a rather demanding person emotionally and tend to have childlish tantrums and short temper. His friends wouldn’t know, since I tend to hide it in public with good manners, but just shows you how you should never judge without knowing what’s really going on.”

    Out of pure curiosity, what exactly are you saying? Are you saying that your bf’s friends think you could get a hotter man, but he has a special ability to handle your volatility – a la the Body Agenda matching people together? Or are you saying your volatility costs you a couple points in SMV to the point he is your optimal SMV/DMV match?

    PRay,

    “Imagine what it must be like to be one of those hot women that never manage to get relationships right. And then goes on to call men “losers”.”

    I’d say 50% of the time the women are just plain messed up and need a total overhaul to get a quality man to even consider committing to her. But another 50% of the time, those girls are doing it wrong and would benefit tremendously from a touch-up in their girl game. The problem with the latter group is that they lack either the humility or discipline to make real changes. Another problem is that they won’t listen to men’s good advice for them (the opposite of men’s problem, which is that women give them bad advice and they listen anyway).

    On manners: I do find overly-mannered people seem creepy to me, like perpetual suckups who have something to hide.

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  28. Bianca

    @P Ray, that’s a bit harsh, but I respect your opinion. I’m not trying to fool anybody, I’ve just have been taught that there’s a way to deal with things that doesn’t involve knee jerk reactions and could lead to embarrassment.

    For example, once, at a dinner with a past boyfriend, one of his female friends called me a whore in front of everyone on the table. I left my share of the check in the table and I silently stood up and left home. Later on, I had quite a fight with my boyfriend, but I wasn’t going to embarrass him or myself in front of a packed restaurant because of someone else’s misbehaviour.

    I consider manners as a way to control your character, would you say that I used my politeness for people to do things for me?

    @Badger. I believe it’s a bit of both. His friends think I could get a hotter man, but the chemistry we have is pretty amazing. The way he handles my volatility is rather impressive. With the right mix of empathy and understanding but with a strong “don’t be a baby ‘cause I won’t put up with immaturity” frame.

    I also acknowledge that I could be dating a more handsome man if I hid my character flaws all the time, but finding somebody which complements you greatly doesn’t feel like “trading down” when the empathy, attraction and fun is all there.

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