My post “Assanova’s Four Moods” discussed the seductive power of a man remaining calm and unbowed in the face of rejection, implying a surfeit of options and experience with the opposite sex that may, and often does, act to trigger attraction and reverse her rejection. Blogger Cadence spoketh:
This is a fantastic post. I was doing this not necessarily on a conscious level. I always notice the reactions to rejection, whether it was a playful one to slow him down, or a REAL one.
The last reaction you wrote about, the calm, is incredibly appealing. It comes across confident & can make a woman feel like the guy really wants her (since he persists, despite her resistance) and he doesn’t give up that easily.
Related to both A & C – Needy and Angry, this is why as a guy I think it is imperative to follow Rollo’s “spinning plates” and pretty much at all times try to have at least one girl you are getting laid with regularly whether FWB, FB, new girl you are dating, whatever.
Any extended period of involuntary celibacy is likely to lead to a mental place of frustration, desperation, and neediness, and then you are going to pin all your hopes for sexual relief on the onenitis of the moment. It will nearly impossible to maintain a state of aloofness and indifference to the outcome. It would be like telling the man in the desert who hasn’t had anything to drink for a few days to not worry about drinking the glass of water on the table next to him. He has no idea if and when another glass of water might reappear.
I don’t find the plate theory controversial in the least; it encourages men to explore their dating options before solidifying into a exclusive relationship. But Cadence did not take well to this, calling Mike C’s comments “distasteful” and saying she had “no use” for men who do such a thing. This brought some pretty serious blowback from men on the thread who accused her of one-way monogamy. It’s easy to interpret Cadence’s statement as “I don’t want a man to date other women even if I’m not committed to him,” but it’s also easy to hear her words as “I’m not sleeping with a guy who is sleeping with other women.”
I think Cadence and Mike C may be talking past each other a bit; I doubt she expects a guy to drop all other women he may be dating when he goes on the first date with her. My experience is that women are put off by men who want to commit so early anyway. I hope she will join this thread and fill in some details on what it is she finds distasteful.
The key point is that until a couple has agreed on a monogamous committed arrangement, both of them are free to date other people. The plates theory (itself building on the wisdom Roissy expressed in a commandment to “always keep two in the kitty”) goes a step further and advocates that men actively seek to date multiple women. Rollo also encourages men to be honest and straightforward about their non-exclusivity, so no one can accuse them of being a cad.
As I see it, “spinning plates” is not about polyamory or cheating, it’s really about not committing until you’ve actually committed. This is a really key lesson for beta men to internalize. Sometimes it’s an active process of not allowing yourself to fall too hard. I can recall times in my life when I was pursuing someone as if they were my one and only, a do-or-die option, while they were fielding the advances of other men. And then I’d get butthurt about it, angry that I’d been more willing to forsake other options than they had been. But as I got older I realized how unfair that was on my part. I had not earned their commitment and we hadn’t discussed it; they had no obligation to me that restricted them from other people.
Nowadays I assume carte blanche that any woman I am dating is dating other men at the same time; until we’re exclusive, we’re not exclusive. Tact and class dictate that I don’t ask about their options nor tell them about mine, and I don’t frame myself as in direct competition with other men. But I always assume they are there, just to keep me from getting too invested until we’re both ready to invest. Even if I know they’re not, I make sure to remind myself that nothing’s stopping them. Contrary to cultural tropes that men are paralytically “afraid of commitment,” plenty of beta-type guys will make the decision early that they’re ready for it, or try to lock it down before the girl gets away from him. Avoiding this oneitis tendency is a serious key to achieving success.
I can tell you from my own life, the dating of two women at once does wonders for a man’s sense of romantic confidence and the willingness to take the sort of bold risks that earn a man the way into a woman’s heart. I’ve grokked this knowledge to the point that when I get a new prospect – from a grocery store, bookstore, bar or whatever – I make a serious effort to get a second one if only to play foil. Lest you think I’m just using someone, oftentimes the second girl wins out. (It’s amazing who you can find when you are open to it.) It’s easy to get the second one once you’ve got the first one, and after that it’s a huge relief to think “well, if Molly doesn’t respond to my text message, it’s ok because I’m working on Julie at the same time.” It’s the paradox of romance – to keep from losing her, you have to not care about losing her. And as the response to the Four Moods post shows, women can smell it.
Rollo also makes the point that women have long reserved the right to entertain the simultaneous overtures of multiple men. Here’s another source that riffs on this, and Dalrock points out that the “choice” between multiple suitors is a cliche theme in media marketed to women.
Since female dating is more of a passive process on its face (respond to the man’s escalation rather than doing the escalation yourself), and because women are generally far more circumspect in displaying their interest in men, it is easy, but wrong, to see a woman “keeping her options open” as a fundamentally different process than a man doing the same thing.
To quote Athol Kay, don’t make someone a priority if they’re only making you an option.
SEX VERANDERT ALLES
Now this whole non-committed dating thing gets complicated when sex gets involved. Our minds do weird things after sex, and it’s an unfortunately typical experience that once a woman sleeps with a man, she feels he owes her something, and will hold his lack of commitment against him even though no commitment or exclusivity was discussed. Likewise men will sometimes take sex as a signature on an annuity, where he can depend on her companionship and availability, whether or not she was interested in anything more than a good romp to wake the neighbors.
A generation of women have (or should have) learned that sex for commitment is an unsuccessful exchange strategy. Men by and large HAVE learned that commitment for sex is also a losing strategy (whether they find a new strategy is a matter of how long it takes them to find blogs like this one). It seems that more and more women are viewing a man offering commitment as a mark of the beta, a signal of neediness and lack of options. This is certainly the experience of the under-30 crowd; no matter how much women complain that guys don’t want to commit, it’s clear that they don’t want guys who will commit per se; they want the (attractive) guys (with options) who won’t commit to them to commit to them. It’s classic scarcity psychology…people want the thing that is held out as unavailable.
The post-sexual revolution world is one in which sex is to be exchanged for sex, and commitment exchanged for commitment. No one, male or female, should EVER accept a lack of sexual reciprocation or reciprocation of commitment. But likewise, they should be wary of trying to trade one for the other. It’s simply an invitation to get played, one way or another, either as a bed-buddy or a chump. A related point is that it is critical a woman not assume that a man who goes to bed with her is marketing himself as a relationship partner.
Until marriage is discussed, the ideas of commitment and exclusivity are de facto synonymous in today’s SMP, as technically speaking, the only step to getting out of the commitment is to alert the other person that you are going back on the market. (In light of this, nonmarital relationships and FWBs are almost indistinguishable.)
Now, for women who want a monogamous relationship, I advise they execute the “no sex before monogamy” strategy. This solves the erroneous sex-for-commitment problem by encapsulating sex as an intrinsic part of a committed relationship, not as a parallel process that is bargained against commitment.
In today’s largely free-sex society, that means that monogamy and sex have to happen more or less in tandem – it’s just unrealistic to expect a man to make a show of commitment and then wait more time for sexual release.
Of course there is the chance either of you could decide, after the sex, that you made a terrible mistake, or this person just wasn’t your cup of tea, or something was really off about the sex, or whatever, and break it off (or give it a few more tries, then get out). To the outside it might look like a pump-and-dump, a false show of commitment to get sex followed by a quick exit. Things are not always as they seem; every stage of escalation of a relationship has the risk that one or the other party will decide they’ve gone too far and want to get out. I’m sure many readers have dated someone, been into them, and then finally kissed them or groped their curvy bits and found something just didn’t feel right, the chemistry wasn’t there and you couldn’t imagine touching this person again. That’s to be expected – part of the instinctual reason for kissing is to test out the hormonal chemistry and see if the other person pushes your sexual buttons.
So someone might be driven to get out after any point of sexual escalation, including full-on intercourse. That’s just the risk we we take in today’s world; the only way to have seriously binding “commitments” is to have a hard-monogamy system, where sex doesn’t happen until after you’re bonded in a marriage that is very difficult to get out of, and that’s just not a credible policy in today’s world.