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How the Hell Does [Asking People Out] Work, Actually?

Lord_AsmodeusLord_Asmodeus goeticSobriquet:Here is your magical cryptic riddle-tumour: I AM A TIME MACHINERegistered User regular
So, it was suggested in the Incel thread but never made so I've taken it upon myself, hopefully reasonably, to create this thread. What exactly is this thread about? Discussing specifically the do's and do not's of engaging in social activities geared towards a romantic goal and relative topics. This is where, if I were someone who had any experience I would post about my own suggestions and what is and is not the right way to approach someone of potential romantic interest, when to know if doing so is appropriate etc.

However, and I feel like this should establish my own interest in the topic at hand, I have no such personal experience to add to this thread. I am a 27 year old man who has never had a long or short term romantic relationship, never been on a date of any kind, never asked anyone out, never flirted or been flirted with (to my knowledge) and no idea how any of that sort of thing is supposed to work in the meatspace, and only a vague understanding of how to go about it in the cyberrealm. I would describe myself as being an otherwise fairly well adjusted and sociable individual.

So hopefully this thread will provide a place for useful suggestions for people like me, as well as discussion of the topic at hand in general.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Being comfortable in your own skin is pretty important.

    Don't ask someone out who is in a position where declining your invitation puts their job, education or safety in a position to be negatively impacted. So no asking out people who are on the clock that you don't have some connection with, no trying to date someone you're in a position of authority over.

    Most of the "how" is figuring out everything else about social interaction and then treating the person as a person you want to hang out with. Whether someone has a penis or vagina, asking if they want to go out for a movie or something else you enjoy doesn't have to be complicated.


    Edit: If you don't have a pool of people you are in casual contact with or locations/activity groups/clubs you go to be social at, find one of those first before you worry about a romantic match.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    One thing I found to be true 163 years ago, when I was in the dating pool, was that it helps to accept the facts that a) any given invitation has a strong likelihood of being denied, and b) the absolute worst case scenario is that you don't get to go on a date. And since b) is the case whether you ask someone out or not, it's not even really a downside.

    This is assuming you don't ask out someone in a situation that will make things inherently awkward. Like, don't ask out the person you work with every day unless you're really sure you're in a Jim and Pam situation. (Hint: you're probably not.)

    But if you have the skills necessary to have a conversation, you have the skills necessary to ask someone out. Make sure you're doing it respectfully, don't worry too much about rejection, and then just... do it. Eventually, someone will say yes.

    (Personal history: I was never good at dating. I asked a bunch of women out, was politely rejected most of the time, scored one date with a girl with whom there was little chemistry, then had a mutual friend introduce me to me future wife. The point, though, is that the actual mechanics of asking girls out were not hard to master once i just decided to do it.)

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Reposting this from the Incel thread. This article is EXTREMELY relevant (spoilered for length, but it's still an abridged version of a very long and in-depth new article):
    -From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent.
    - People now in their early 20s are two and a half times as likely to be abstinent as Gen Xers were at that age; 15 percent report having had no sex since they reached adulthood.
    - Most of us still think that other people are having a lot more sex than they actually are.
    - "Every year the whole Match company is rather staggered at how little sex Americans are having—including the Millennials.”
    - In the Netherlands, the median age at which people first have intercourse rose from 17.1 in 2012 to 18.6 in 2017, and other types of physical contact also got pushed back, even kissing.
    - There is scant evidence of an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among young men. And no researcher I spoke with had seen compelling evidence that porn is addictive.
    - As one 24-year-old man emailed me:
    The internet has made it so easy to gratify basic social and sexual needs that there’s far less incentive to go out into the “meatworld” and chase those things. This isn’t to say that the internet can give you more satisfaction than sex or relationships, because it doesn’t … [But it can] supply you with just enough satisfaction to placate those imperatives … I think it’s healthy to ask yourself: “If I didn’t have any of this, would I be going out more? Would I be having sex more?” For a lot of people my age, I think the answer is probably yes.[/b]
    - In more recent decades teen romantic relationships appear to have grown less common. In 1995, the large longitudinal study known as “Add Health” found that 66 percent of 17-year-old men and 74 percent of 17-year-old women had experienced “a special romantic relationship” in the past 18 months. In 2014, when the Pew Research Center asked 17-year-olds whether they had “ever dated, hooked up with or otherwise had a romantic relationship with another person”—seemingly a broader category than the earlier one—only 46 percent said yes.[/b]
    - As Jean Twenge wrote in The Atlantic last year, the percentage of teens who report going on dates has decreased alongside the percentage who report other activities associated with entering adulthood, like drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without one’s parents, and getting a driver’s license.
    - Addressing the desexing of the American teenager, Malcom Harris writes:
    A decline in unsupervised free time probably contributes a lot. At a basic level, sex at its best is unstructured play with friends, a category of experience that … time diaries … tell us has been decreasing for American adolescents. It takes idle hands to get past first base, and today’s kids have a lot to do.
    - Over the course of numerous conversations, Alexandra Solomon has come to various conclusions about hookup culture, or what might more accurately be described as lack-of-relationship culture. For one thing, she believes it is both a cause and an effect of social stunting. Or, as one of her students put it to her: “We hook up because we have no social skills. We have no social skills because we hook up.”
    - For another, insofar as her students find themselves choosing between casual sex and no sex, they are doing so because an obvious third option—relationship sex—strikes many of them as not only unattainable but potentially irresponsible. Most Marriage 101 students have had at least one romantic relationship over the course of their college career; the class naturally attracts relationship-oriented students, she points out. Nonetheless, she believes that many students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success—or, at any rate, is best delayed until those other things have been secured.
    - Simon had better luck with Tinder than the other apps, but it was hardly efficient. He figures he swiped right—indicating that he was interested—up to 30 times for every woman who also swiped right on him, thereby triggering a match. But matching was only the beginning; then it was time to start messaging. “I was up to over 10 messages sent for a single message received,” he said. In other words: Nine out of 10 women who matched with Simon after swiping right on him didn’t go on to exchange messages with him. This means that for every 300 women he swiped right on, he had a conversation with just one.
    - As of 2014, when Tinder last released such data, the average user logged in 11 times a day. Men spent 7.2 minutes per session and women spent 8.5 minutes, for a total of about an hour and a half a day. Yet they didn’t get much in return. Today, the company says it logs 1.6 billion swipes a day, and just 26 million matches. And, if Simon’s experience is any indication, the overwhelming majority of matches don’t lead to so much as a two-way text exchange, much less a date, much less sex.
    - So why do people continue to use dating apps? Why not boycott them all? “No one approaches anyone in public anymore,” said a teacher in Northern Virginia. “The dating landscape has changed. People are less likely to ask you out in real life now, or even talk to begin with,” said a 28-year-old woman in Los Angeles who volunteered that she had been single for three years.
    - This shift seems to be accelerating amid the national reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, and a concomitant shifting of boundaries. According to a November 2017 Economist/YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 now believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink “always” or “usually” constitutes sexual harassment.
    - Laurie Mintz, who teaches a popular undergraduate class on the psychology of sexuality at the University of Florida, told me that the #MeToo movement has made her students much more aware of issues surrounding consent. She has heard from many young men who are productively reexamining their past actions and working diligently to learn from the experiences of friends and partners. But others have described less healthy reactions, like avoiding romantic overtures for fear that they might be unwelcome. In my own conversations, men and women alike spoke of a new tentativeness and hesitancy. One woman who described herself as a passionate feminist said she felt empathy for the pressure that heterosexual dating puts on men. “I think I owe it to them, in this current cultural moment particularly, to try to treat them like they’re human beings taking a risk talking to a stranger,” she wrote me. “There are a lot of lonely, confused people out there, who have no idea what to do or how to date.”
    - I mentioned to several of the people I interviewed for this piece that I’d met my husband in an elevator, in 2001. (We worked on different floors of the same institution, and over the months that followed struck up many more conversations—in the elevator, in the break room, on the walk to the subway.) I was fascinated by the extent to which this prompted other women to sigh and say that they’d just love to meet someone that way. And yet quite a few of them suggested that if a random guy started talking to them in an elevator, they would be weirded out. “Creeper! Get away from me,” one woman imagined thinking. “Anytime we’re in silence, we look at our phones,” explained her friend, nodding. Another woman fantasized to me about what it would be like to have a man hit on her in a bookstore. (She’d be holding a copy of her favorite book. “What’s that book?” he’d say.) But then she seemed to snap out of her reverie, and changed the subject to Sex and the City reruns and how hopelessly dated they seem. “Miranda meets Steve at a bar,” she said, in a tone suggesting that the scenario might as well be out of a Jane Austen novel, for all the relevance it had to her life.
    - ...online dating continues to attract users, in part because many people consider apps less stressful than the alternatives. Lisa Wade suspects that graduates of high-school or college hookup culture may welcome the fact that online dating takes some of the ambiguity out of pairing up (We’ve each opted in; I’m at least a little bit interested in you).
    - As a 27-year-old woman in Philadelphia put it: “I have insecurities that make fun bar flirtation very stressful. I don’t like the Is he into me? moment. I use dating apps because I want it to be clear that this is a date and we are sexually interested in one another. If it doesn’t work out, fine, but there’s never a Is he asking me to hang as a friend or as a date? feeling.” Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward.
    - Anna, who graduated from college three years ago, told me that in school, she struggled to “read” people. Dating apps have been a helpful crutch. “There’s just no ambiguity,” she explained. “This person is interested in me to some extent.” The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them. “I never really learned how to meet people in real life,” she said. She then proceeded to tell me about a guy she knew slightly from college, whom she’d recently bumped into a few times. She found him attractive and wanted to register her interest, but wasn’t sure how to do that outside the context of a college party. Then she remembered that she’d seen his profile on Tinder. “Maybe next time I sign in,” she said, musing aloud, “I’ll just swipe right so I don’t have to do this awkward thing and get rejected.”
    - Michael Rosenfeld—whose survey deliberately oversampled gays and lesbians in an effort to compensate for the dearth of research on their dating experiences—finds that “unpartnered gay men and unpartnered lesbians seem to have substantially more active dating lives than do heterosexuals,” a fact he attributes partly to their successful use of apps. This disparity raises the possibility that the sex recession may be a mostly heterosexual phenomenon.
    - Christian Rudder, a co-founder of OkCupid (one of the less appearance-centric dating services, in that it encourages detailed written profiles), reported in 2009 that the male users who were rated most physically attractive by female users got 11 times as many messages as the lowest-rated men did; medium-rated men received about four times as many messages. The disparity was starker for women: About two-thirds of messages went to the one-third of women who were rated most physically attractive. A more recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Santa Fe Institute found that online daters of both genders tend to pursue prospective mates who are on average 25 percent more desirable than they are—presumably not a winning strategy.
    - An even bigger problem may be the extent to which romantic pursuit is now being cordoned off into a predictable, prearranged online venue, the very existence of which makes it harder for anyone, even those not using the apps, to extend an overture in person without seeming inappropriate.
    - Debby Herbernick told me about new data suggesting that, compared with previous generations, young people today are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors prevalent in porn, like the ones she warns her students against springing on a partner. All of this might be scaring some people off, she thought, and contributing to the sex decline.
    - Painful sex is not new, but there’s reason to think that porn may be contributing to some particularly unpleasant early sexual experiences. Studies show that, in the absence of high-quality sex education, teen boys look to porn for help understanding sex—anal sex and other acts women can find painful are ubiquitous in mainstream porn.
    - Iris observed that her female friends, who were mostly single, were finding more and more value in their friendships. “I’m 33, I’ve been dating forever, and, you know, women are better,” she said. “They’re just better.” She hastened to add that men weren’t bad; in fact, she hated how anti-male the conversations around her had grown. She wasn’t ready to swear off men entirely. But, she said, “I want good sex.” Or at least, she added, “pretty good sex.”
    - “Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” Jonah Disend, the founder of the branding consultancy Redscout, told Bloomberglast year.
    - "...people may also be newly worried about what they look like naked. A large and growing body of research reports that for both men and women, social-media use is correlated with body dissatisfaction. And a major Dutch study found that among men, frequency of pornography viewing was associated with concern about penis size. I heard much the same from quite a few men (“too hairy, not fit enough, not big enough in terms of penis size,” went one morose litany).
    - In my interviews, inhibition seemed a constant companion to many people who’d been abstinent for a long time. Most of them described abstinence not as something they had embraced (due to religious belief, say) so much as something they’d found themselves backed into as a result of trauma, anxiety, or depression. Dispiritingly but unsurprisingly, sexual assault was invoked by many of the women who said they’d opted out of sex. The other two factors come as no great shock either: Rates of anxiety and depression have been rising among Americans for decades now, and by some accounts have risen quite sharply of late among people in their teens and 20s. Anxiety suppresses desire for most people.
    - ... what research we have on sexually inactive adults suggests that, for those who desire a sex life, there may be such a thing as waiting too long. Among people who are sexually inexperienced at age 18, about 80 percent will become sexually active by the time they are 25. But those who haven’t gained sexual experience by their mid-20s are much less likely to ever do so. The authors of a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine speculated that “if a man or woman has not had intercourse by age 25, there is a reasonable chance [he or she] will remain a virgin at least until age 45.” Research by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld confirms that, in adulthood, true singledom is a far more stable category than most of us have imagined. Over the course of a year, he reports, only 50 percent of heterosexual single women in their 20s go on any dates—and older women are even less likely to do so.
    - A more immediate concern involves the political consequences of loneliness and alienation. Take for example the online hate and real-life violence waged by the so-called incels—men who claim to be “involuntarily celibate.” Their grievances, which are illegitimate and vile, offer a timely reminder that isolated young people are vulnerable to extremism of every sort. See also the populist discontent roiling Europe, driven in part by adults who have so far failed to achieve the milestones of adulthood: In Italy, half of 25-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents.
    - Not having a partner—sexual or romantic—can be both a cause and an effect of discontent. Moreover, as American social institutions have withered, having a life partner has become a stronger predictor than ever of well-being.
    - Sex seems more fraught now. This problem has no single source; the world has changed in so many ways, so quickly. In time, maybe, we will rethink some things: The abysmal state of sex education, which was once a joke but is now, in the age of porn, a disgrace. The dysfunctional relationships so many of us have with our phones and social media, to the detriment of our relationships with humans. Efforts to “protect” teenagers from most everything, including romance, leaving them ill-equipped for both the miseries and the joys of adulthood.

    The Atlantic: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

    According to this, heterosexual Millenials as a whole, male and female, have an extremely dysfuctional view of dating and relationships.

    People use online dating, despite how wildly ineffective it is and how the most conventionally attractive men and women get the vast majority of attention, because old-fashioned dating is too anxiety-provoking for people to handle. Men and women are less sure what is appropriate in flirting, dating and sex and less likely to act at all, which means online dating is increasingly seen as the only "appropriate" way to date.

    In this thread we've already heard the "don't ask someone out when they're at work" advice, which I believe is an example of shifting norms as to what is or isn't appropriate. I know I myself wouldn't have been born if my father hadn't asked the cashier at the local McDonalds' drive through (my mother and his then future wife) out on a date.

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  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    Is 'Asking Someone Out' or 'Going on A Date' even a thing?
    It seems like it is a thing in American media.
    Perhaps it should not be a thing?
    It is not a thing I've ever done.
    I just spent time with my wife because I liked her.

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  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular

    I thought that the article Hexmage linked is one of the most interesting articles that I've read all year. And with that said, I'm just going to highlight the part of that article that I found most surprising:
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    - This shift seems to be accelerating amid the national reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, and a concomitant shifting of boundaries. According to a November 2017 Economist/YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 now believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink “always” or “usually” constitutes sexual harassment.

    To me that's both shocking and fascinating. To me, the idea of inviting someone out for drinks is to suggest a casual, public setting with no commitment to anything. I would have thought that this was one of the most standard starts to a relationship. And I recognize that power dynamics can be a thing, that it's a different thing for a guy to suggest drinks to someone he meets at a party or event versus to his employee - the latter is obviously a scummy thing in most cases. And in fairness, I say all this as a teetotaler who has never asked anyone out for drinks. But yikes. I presume that for those people responding with the "always" or "usually" would prefer that initial relationship moves be made online, so that everyone can be 100% clear about everyone's intentions and preferences and desires.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Reposting this from the Incel thread. This article is EXTREMELY relevant (spoilered for length, but it's still an abridged version of a very long and in-depth new article):
    -From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent.
    - People now in their early 20s are two and a half times as likely to be abstinent as Gen Xers were at that age; 15 percent report having had no sex since they reached adulthood.
    - Most of us still think that other people are having a lot more sex than they actually are.
    - "Every year the whole Match company is rather staggered at how little sex Americans are having—including the Millennials.”
    - In the Netherlands, the median age at which people first have intercourse rose from 17.1 in 2012 to 18.6 in 2017, and other types of physical contact also got pushed back, even kissing.
    - There is scant evidence of an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among young men. And no researcher I spoke with had seen compelling evidence that porn is addictive.
    - As one 24-year-old man emailed me:
    The internet has made it so easy to gratify basic social and sexual needs that there’s far less incentive to go out into the “meatworld” and chase those things. This isn’t to say that the internet can give you more satisfaction than sex or relationships, because it doesn’t … [But it can] supply you with just enough satisfaction to placate those imperatives … I think it’s healthy to ask yourself: “If I didn’t have any of this, would I be going out more? Would I be having sex more?” For a lot of people my age, I think the answer is probably yes.[/b]
    - In more recent decades teen romantic relationships appear to have grown less common. In 1995, the large longitudinal study known as “Add Health” found that 66 percent of 17-year-old men and 74 percent of 17-year-old women had experienced “a special romantic relationship” in the past 18 months. In 2014, when the Pew Research Center asked 17-year-olds whether they had “ever dated, hooked up with or otherwise had a romantic relationship with another person”—seemingly a broader category than the earlier one—only 46 percent said yes.[/b]
    - As Jean Twenge wrote in The Atlantic last year, the percentage of teens who report going on dates has decreased alongside the percentage who report other activities associated with entering adulthood, like drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without one’s parents, and getting a driver’s license.
    - Addressing the desexing of the American teenager, Malcom Harris writes:
    A decline in unsupervised free time probably contributes a lot. At a basic level, sex at its best is unstructured play with friends, a category of experience that … time diaries … tell us has been decreasing for American adolescents. It takes idle hands to get past first base, and today’s kids have a lot to do.
    - Over the course of numerous conversations, Alexandra Solomon has come to various conclusions about hookup culture, or what might more accurately be described as lack-of-relationship culture. For one thing, she believes it is both a cause and an effect of social stunting. Or, as one of her students put it to her: “We hook up because we have no social skills. We have no social skills because we hook up.”
    - For another, insofar as her students find themselves choosing between casual sex and no sex, they are doing so because an obvious third option—relationship sex—strikes many of them as not only unattainable but potentially irresponsible. Most Marriage 101 students have had at least one romantic relationship over the course of their college career; the class naturally attracts relationship-oriented students, she points out. Nonetheless, she believes that many students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success—or, at any rate, is best delayed until those other things have been secured.
    - Simon had better luck with Tinder than the other apps, but it was hardly efficient. He figures he swiped right—indicating that he was interested—up to 30 times for every woman who also swiped right on him, thereby triggering a match. But matching was only the beginning; then it was time to start messaging. “I was up to over 10 messages sent for a single message received,” he said. In other words: Nine out of 10 women who matched with Simon after swiping right on him didn’t go on to exchange messages with him. This means that for every 300 women he swiped right on, he had a conversation with just one.
    - As of 2014, when Tinder last released such data, the average user logged in 11 times a day. Men spent 7.2 minutes per session and women spent 8.5 minutes, for a total of about an hour and a half a day. Yet they didn’t get much in return. Today, the company says it logs 1.6 billion swipes a day, and just 26 million matches. And, if Simon’s experience is any indication, the overwhelming majority of matches don’t lead to so much as a two-way text exchange, much less a date, much less sex.
    - So why do people continue to use dating apps? Why not boycott them all? “No one approaches anyone in public anymore,” said a teacher in Northern Virginia. “The dating landscape has changed. People are less likely to ask you out in real life now, or even talk to begin with,” said a 28-year-old woman in Los Angeles who volunteered that she had been single for three years.
    - This shift seems to be accelerating amid the national reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, and a concomitant shifting of boundaries. According to a November 2017 Economist/YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 now believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink “always” or “usually” constitutes sexual harassment.
    - Laurie Mintz, who teaches a popular undergraduate class on the psychology of sexuality at the University of Florida, told me that the #MeToo movement has made her students much more aware of issues surrounding consent. She has heard from many young men who are productively reexamining their past actions and working diligently to learn from the experiences of friends and partners. But others have described less healthy reactions, like avoiding romantic overtures for fear that they might be unwelcome. In my own conversations, men and women alike spoke of a new tentativeness and hesitancy. One woman who described herself as a passionate feminist said she felt empathy for the pressure that heterosexual dating puts on men. “I think I owe it to them, in this current cultural moment particularly, to try to treat them like they’re human beings taking a risk talking to a stranger,” she wrote me. “There are a lot of lonely, confused people out there, who have no idea what to do or how to date.”
    - I mentioned to several of the people I interviewed for this piece that I’d met my husband in an elevator, in 2001. (We worked on different floors of the same institution, and over the months that followed struck up many more conversations—in the elevator, in the break room, on the walk to the subway.) I was fascinated by the extent to which this prompted other women to sigh and say that they’d just love to meet someone that way. And yet quite a few of them suggested that if a random guy started talking to them in an elevator, they would be weirded out. “Creeper! Get away from me,” one woman imagined thinking. “Anytime we’re in silence, we look at our phones,” explained her friend, nodding. Another woman fantasized to me about what it would be like to have a man hit on her in a bookstore. (She’d be holding a copy of her favorite book. “What’s that book?” he’d say.) But then she seemed to snap out of her reverie, and changed the subject to Sex and the City reruns and how hopelessly dated they seem. “Miranda meets Steve at a bar,” she said, in a tone suggesting that the scenario might as well be out of a Jane Austen novel, for all the relevance it had to her life.
    - ...online dating continues to attract users, in part because many people consider apps less stressful than the alternatives. Lisa Wade suspects that graduates of high-school or college hookup culture may welcome the fact that online dating takes some of the ambiguity out of pairing up (We’ve each opted in; I’m at least a little bit interested in you).
    - As a 27-year-old woman in Philadelphia put it: “I have insecurities that make fun bar flirtation very stressful. I don’t like the Is he into me? moment. I use dating apps because I want it to be clear that this is a date and we are sexually interested in one another. If it doesn’t work out, fine, but there’s never a Is he asking me to hang as a friend or as a date? feeling.” Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward.
    - Anna, who graduated from college three years ago, told me that in school, she struggled to “read” people. Dating apps have been a helpful crutch. “There’s just no ambiguity,” she explained. “This person is interested in me to some extent.” The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them. “I never really learned how to meet people in real life,” she said. She then proceeded to tell me about a guy she knew slightly from college, whom she’d recently bumped into a few times. She found him attractive and wanted to register her interest, but wasn’t sure how to do that outside the context of a college party. Then she remembered that she’d seen his profile on Tinder. “Maybe next time I sign in,” she said, musing aloud, “I’ll just swipe right so I don’t have to do this awkward thing and get rejected.”
    - Michael Rosenfeld—whose survey deliberately oversampled gays and lesbians in an effort to compensate for the dearth of research on their dating experiences—finds that “unpartnered gay men and unpartnered lesbians seem to have substantially more active dating lives than do heterosexuals,” a fact he attributes partly to their successful use of apps. This disparity raises the possibility that the sex recession may be a mostly heterosexual phenomenon.
    - Christian Rudder, a co-founder of OkCupid (one of the less appearance-centric dating services, in that it encourages detailed written profiles), reported in 2009 that the male users who were rated most physically attractive by female users got 11 times as many messages as the lowest-rated men did; medium-rated men received about four times as many messages. The disparity was starker for women: About two-thirds of messages went to the one-third of women who were rated most physically attractive. A more recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Santa Fe Institute found that online daters of both genders tend to pursue prospective mates who are on average 25 percent more desirable than they are—presumably not a winning strategy.
    - An even bigger problem may be the extent to which romantic pursuit is now being cordoned off into a predictable, prearranged online venue, the very existence of which makes it harder for anyone, even those not using the apps, to extend an overture in person without seeming inappropriate.
    - Debby Herbernick told me about new data suggesting that, compared with previous generations, young people today are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors prevalent in porn, like the ones she warns her students against springing on a partner. All of this might be scaring some people off, she thought, and contributing to the sex decline.
    - Painful sex is not new, but there’s reason to think that porn may be contributing to some particularly unpleasant early sexual experiences. Studies show that, in the absence of high-quality sex education, teen boys look to porn for help understanding sex—anal sex and other acts women can find painful are ubiquitous in mainstream porn.
    - Iris observed that her female friends, who were mostly single, were finding more and more value in their friendships. “I’m 33, I’ve been dating forever, and, you know, women are better,” she said. “They’re just better.” She hastened to add that men weren’t bad; in fact, she hated how anti-male the conversations around her had grown. She wasn’t ready to swear off men entirely. But, she said, “I want good sex.” Or at least, she added, “pretty good sex.”
    - “Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” Jonah Disend, the founder of the branding consultancy Redscout, told Bloomberglast year.
    - "...people may also be newly worried about what they look like naked. A large and growing body of research reports that for both men and women, social-media use is correlated with body dissatisfaction. And a major Dutch study found that among men, frequency of pornography viewing was associated with concern about penis size. I heard much the same from quite a few men (“too hairy, not fit enough, not big enough in terms of penis size,” went one morose litany).
    - In my interviews, inhibition seemed a constant companion to many people who’d been abstinent for a long time. Most of them described abstinence not as something they had embraced (due to religious belief, say) so much as something they’d found themselves backed into as a result of trauma, anxiety, or depression. Dispiritingly but unsurprisingly, sexual assault was invoked by many of the women who said they’d opted out of sex. The other two factors come as no great shock either: Rates of anxiety and depression have been rising among Americans for decades now, and by some accounts have risen quite sharply of late among people in their teens and 20s. Anxiety suppresses desire for most people.
    - ... what research we have on sexually inactive adults suggests that, for those who desire a sex life, there may be such a thing as waiting too long. Among people who are sexually inexperienced at age 18, about 80 percent will become sexually active by the time they are 25. But those who haven’t gained sexual experience by their mid-20s are much less likely to ever do so. The authors of a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine speculated that “if a man or woman has not had intercourse by age 25, there is a reasonable chance [he or she] will remain a virgin at least until age 45.” Research by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld confirms that, in adulthood, true singledom is a far more stable category than most of us have imagined. Over the course of a year, he reports, only 50 percent of heterosexual single women in their 20s go on any dates—and older women are even less likely to do so.
    - A more immediate concern involves the political consequences of loneliness and alienation. Take for example the online hate and real-life violence waged by the so-called incels—men who claim to be “involuntarily celibate.” Their grievances, which are illegitimate and vile, offer a timely reminder that isolated young people are vulnerable to extremism of every sort. See also the populist discontent roiling Europe, driven in part by adults who have so far failed to achieve the milestones of adulthood: In Italy, half of 25-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents.
    - Not having a partner—sexual or romantic—can be both a cause and an effect of discontent. Moreover, as American social institutions have withered, having a life partner has become a stronger predictor than ever of well-being.
    - Sex seems more fraught now. This problem has no single source; the world has changed in so many ways, so quickly. In time, maybe, we will rethink some things: The abysmal state of sex education, which was once a joke but is now, in the age of porn, a disgrace. The dysfunctional relationships so many of us have with our phones and social media, to the detriment of our relationships with humans. Efforts to “protect” teenagers from most everything, including romance, leaving them ill-equipped for both the miseries and the joys of adulthood.

    The Atlantic: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

    According to this, heterosexual Millenials as a whole, male and female, have an extremely dysfuctional view of dating and relationships.

    People use online dating, despite how wildly ineffective it is and how the most conventionally attractive men and women get the vast majority of attention, because old-fashioned dating is too anxiety-provoking for people to handle. Men and women are less sure what is appropriate in flirting, dating and sex and less likely to act at all, which means online dating is increasingly seen as the only "appropriate" way to date.

    In this thread we've already heard the "don't ask someone out when they're at work" advice, which I believe is an example of shifting norms as to what is or isn't appropriate. I know I myself wouldn't have been born if my father hadn't asked the cashier at the local McDonalds' drive through (my mother and his then future wife) out on a date.

    I still don't know how I feel about "don't ask people out at work" because on the one hand it's kind of annoying and they're a captive audience, and on the other hand before the 2000s this was stupidly common and most people in my huge extended family met this way.

    It was either a coworker or someone they met while they were out shopping and the person worked at the store as a cashier or something.

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  • DerryckDerryck Registered User regular
    Opportunity makes love.

    Seriously, things just "happen" and people "fall" in love, it's no mystery. Every 100th female you interact with would love to be in a relationship with you. You just have to get to know 100 girls now. See, the only thing you have to work on is to create opportunities to make this happen.
    • Change your job or working place to somewhere with a higher female %.
    • Get engaged in a sports club. Choose a sport that is also attractive for the opposite gender. And/or choose one with mixed teams. Like squash, dancing or tennis.
    • Commit yourself for volunteer work, choose an organization that works for the environment, like Greenpeace. You'll never meet more women than there.
    • Go to the church, not only the worship service, I'm talking about bible study groups and stuff like that. Open-minded people and easy to get along with.
    • Get a dog and go out. Especially puppies are icebreakers and it shows that you can take care of something.

    Trust me. Do at least half of it and you will never ever be an "Incel" again.
    And in case people will laugh at my comment, be sure that they've never tried one of the above.

  • TarantioTarantio Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    I'm interested in how that always/usually split shakes down.

    I could see, for example, a "usually" being based on the idea that guys who harass women at bars do so with great frequency.

    My personal relationship experience is too atypical to draw many conclusions from, with about 3 months spent single, at age 23, between the ages of 15 my current age of 32.

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  • BogartBogart Because I hate you Registered User, Moderator mod
    17% of one age bracket saying something either "always or usually" means something isn't massively compelling. It's undoubtedly more than it used to be, but even withing that 17% you can imagine a gulf of difference for some values of 'usually'.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Reposting this from the Incel thread. This article is EXTREMELY relevant (spoilered for length, but it's still an abridged version of a very long and in-depth new article):
    -From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent.
    - People now in their early 20s are two and a half times as likely to be abstinent as Gen Xers were at that age; 15 percent report having had no sex since they reached adulthood.
    - Most of us still think that other people are having a lot more sex than they actually are.
    - "Every year the whole Match company is rather staggered at how little sex Americans are having—including the Millennials.”
    - In the Netherlands, the median age at which people first have intercourse rose from 17.1 in 2012 to 18.6 in 2017, and other types of physical contact also got pushed back, even kissing.
    - There is scant evidence of an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among young men. And no researcher I spoke with had seen compelling evidence that porn is addictive.
    - As one 24-year-old man emailed me:
    The internet has made it so easy to gratify basic social and sexual needs that there’s far less incentive to go out into the “meatworld” and chase those things. This isn’t to say that the internet can give you more satisfaction than sex or relationships, because it doesn’t … [But it can] supply you with just enough satisfaction to placate those imperatives … I think it’s healthy to ask yourself: “If I didn’t have any of this, would I be going out more? Would I be having sex more?” For a lot of people my age, I think the answer is probably yes.[/b]
    - In more recent decades teen romantic relationships appear to have grown less common. In 1995, the large longitudinal study known as “Add Health” found that 66 percent of 17-year-old men and 74 percent of 17-year-old women had experienced “a special romantic relationship” in the past 18 months. In 2014, when the Pew Research Center asked 17-year-olds whether they had “ever dated, hooked up with or otherwise had a romantic relationship with another person”—seemingly a broader category than the earlier one—only 46 percent said yes.[/b]
    - As Jean Twenge wrote in The Atlantic last year, the percentage of teens who report going on dates has decreased alongside the percentage who report other activities associated with entering adulthood, like drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without one’s parents, and getting a driver’s license.
    - Addressing the desexing of the American teenager, Malcom Harris writes:
    A decline in unsupervised free time probably contributes a lot. At a basic level, sex at its best is unstructured play with friends, a category of experience that … time diaries … tell us has been decreasing for American adolescents. It takes idle hands to get past first base, and today’s kids have a lot to do.
    - Over the course of numerous conversations, Alexandra Solomon has come to various conclusions about hookup culture, or what might more accurately be described as lack-of-relationship culture. For one thing, she believes it is both a cause and an effect of social stunting. Or, as one of her students put it to her: “We hook up because we have no social skills. We have no social skills because we hook up.”
    - For another, insofar as her students find themselves choosing between casual sex and no sex, they are doing so because an obvious third option—relationship sex—strikes many of them as not only unattainable but potentially irresponsible. Most Marriage 101 students have had at least one romantic relationship over the course of their college career; the class naturally attracts relationship-oriented students, she points out. Nonetheless, she believes that many students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success—or, at any rate, is best delayed until those other things have been secured.
    - Simon had better luck with Tinder than the other apps, but it was hardly efficient. He figures he swiped right—indicating that he was interested—up to 30 times for every woman who also swiped right on him, thereby triggering a match. But matching was only the beginning; then it was time to start messaging. “I was up to over 10 messages sent for a single message received,” he said. In other words: Nine out of 10 women who matched with Simon after swiping right on him didn’t go on to exchange messages with him. This means that for every 300 women he swiped right on, he had a conversation with just one.
    - As of 2014, when Tinder last released such data, the average user logged in 11 times a day. Men spent 7.2 minutes per session and women spent 8.5 minutes, for a total of about an hour and a half a day. Yet they didn’t get much in return. Today, the company says it logs 1.6 billion swipes a day, and just 26 million matches. And, if Simon’s experience is any indication, the overwhelming majority of matches don’t lead to so much as a two-way text exchange, much less a date, much less sex.
    - So why do people continue to use dating apps? Why not boycott them all? “No one approaches anyone in public anymore,” said a teacher in Northern Virginia. “The dating landscape has changed. People are less likely to ask you out in real life now, or even talk to begin with,” said a 28-year-old woman in Los Angeles who volunteered that she had been single for three years.
    - This shift seems to be accelerating amid the national reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, and a concomitant shifting of boundaries. According to a November 2017 Economist/YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 now believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink “always” or “usually” constitutes sexual harassment.
    - Laurie Mintz, who teaches a popular undergraduate class on the psychology of sexuality at the University of Florida, told me that the #MeToo movement has made her students much more aware of issues surrounding consent. She has heard from many young men who are productively reexamining their past actions and working diligently to learn from the experiences of friends and partners. But others have described less healthy reactions, like avoiding romantic overtures for fear that they might be unwelcome. In my own conversations, men and women alike spoke of a new tentativeness and hesitancy. One woman who described herself as a passionate feminist said she felt empathy for the pressure that heterosexual dating puts on men. “I think I owe it to them, in this current cultural moment particularly, to try to treat them like they’re human beings taking a risk talking to a stranger,” she wrote me. “There are a lot of lonely, confused people out there, who have no idea what to do or how to date.”
    - I mentioned to several of the people I interviewed for this piece that I’d met my husband in an elevator, in 2001. (We worked on different floors of the same institution, and over the months that followed struck up many more conversations—in the elevator, in the break room, on the walk to the subway.) I was fascinated by the extent to which this prompted other women to sigh and say that they’d just love to meet someone that way. And yet quite a few of them suggested that if a random guy started talking to them in an elevator, they would be weirded out. “Creeper! Get away from me,” one woman imagined thinking. “Anytime we’re in silence, we look at our phones,” explained her friend, nodding. Another woman fantasized to me about what it would be like to have a man hit on her in a bookstore. (She’d be holding a copy of her favorite book. “What’s that book?” he’d say.) But then she seemed to snap out of her reverie, and changed the subject to Sex and the City reruns and how hopelessly dated they seem. “Miranda meets Steve at a bar,” she said, in a tone suggesting that the scenario might as well be out of a Jane Austen novel, for all the relevance it had to her life.
    - ...online dating continues to attract users, in part because many people consider apps less stressful than the alternatives. Lisa Wade suspects that graduates of high-school or college hookup culture may welcome the fact that online dating takes some of the ambiguity out of pairing up (We’ve each opted in; I’m at least a little bit interested in you).
    - As a 27-year-old woman in Philadelphia put it: “I have insecurities that make fun bar flirtation very stressful. I don’t like the Is he into me? moment. I use dating apps because I want it to be clear that this is a date and we are sexually interested in one another. If it doesn’t work out, fine, but there’s never a Is he asking me to hang as a friend or as a date? feeling.” Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward.
    - Anna, who graduated from college three years ago, told me that in school, she struggled to “read” people. Dating apps have been a helpful crutch. “There’s just no ambiguity,” she explained. “This person is interested in me to some extent.” The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them. “I never really learned how to meet people in real life,” she said. She then proceeded to tell me about a guy she knew slightly from college, whom she’d recently bumped into a few times. She found him attractive and wanted to register her interest, but wasn’t sure how to do that outside the context of a college party. Then she remembered that she’d seen his profile on Tinder. “Maybe next time I sign in,” she said, musing aloud, “I’ll just swipe right so I don’t have to do this awkward thing and get rejected.”
    - Michael Rosenfeld—whose survey deliberately oversampled gays and lesbians in an effort to compensate for the dearth of research on their dating experiences—finds that “unpartnered gay men and unpartnered lesbians seem to have substantially more active dating lives than do heterosexuals,” a fact he attributes partly to their successful use of apps. This disparity raises the possibility that the sex recession may be a mostly heterosexual phenomenon.
    - Christian Rudder, a co-founder of OkCupid (one of the less appearance-centric dating services, in that it encourages detailed written profiles), reported in 2009 that the male users who were rated most physically attractive by female users got 11 times as many messages as the lowest-rated men did; medium-rated men received about four times as many messages. The disparity was starker for women: About two-thirds of messages went to the one-third of women who were rated most physically attractive. A more recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Santa Fe Institute found that online daters of both genders tend to pursue prospective mates who are on average 25 percent more desirable than they are—presumably not a winning strategy.
    - An even bigger problem may be the extent to which romantic pursuit is now being cordoned off into a predictable, prearranged online venue, the very existence of which makes it harder for anyone, even those not using the apps, to extend an overture in person without seeming inappropriate.
    - Debby Herbernick told me about new data suggesting that, compared with previous generations, young people today are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors prevalent in porn, like the ones she warns her students against springing on a partner. All of this might be scaring some people off, she thought, and contributing to the sex decline.
    - Painful sex is not new, but there’s reason to think that porn may be contributing to some particularly unpleasant early sexual experiences. Studies show that, in the absence of high-quality sex education, teen boys look to porn for help understanding sex—anal sex and other acts women can find painful are ubiquitous in mainstream porn.
    - Iris observed that her female friends, who were mostly single, were finding more and more value in their friendships. “I’m 33, I’ve been dating forever, and, you know, women are better,” she said. “They’re just better.” She hastened to add that men weren’t bad; in fact, she hated how anti-male the conversations around her had grown. She wasn’t ready to swear off men entirely. But, she said, “I want good sex.” Or at least, she added, “pretty good sex.”
    - “Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” Jonah Disend, the founder of the branding consultancy Redscout, told Bloomberglast year.
    - "...people may also be newly worried about what they look like naked. A large and growing body of research reports that for both men and women, social-media use is correlated with body dissatisfaction. And a major Dutch study found that among men, frequency of pornography viewing was associated with concern about penis size. I heard much the same from quite a few men (“too hairy, not fit enough, not big enough in terms of penis size,” went one morose litany).
    - In my interviews, inhibition seemed a constant companion to many people who’d been abstinent for a long time. Most of them described abstinence not as something they had embraced (due to religious belief, say) so much as something they’d found themselves backed into as a result of trauma, anxiety, or depression. Dispiritingly but unsurprisingly, sexual assault was invoked by many of the women who said they’d opted out of sex. The other two factors come as no great shock either: Rates of anxiety and depression have been rising among Americans for decades now, and by some accounts have risen quite sharply of late among people in their teens and 20s. Anxiety suppresses desire for most people.
    - ... what research we have on sexually inactive adults suggests that, for those who desire a sex life, there may be such a thing as waiting too long. Among people who are sexually inexperienced at age 18, about 80 percent will become sexually active by the time they are 25. But those who haven’t gained sexual experience by their mid-20s are much less likely to ever do so. The authors of a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine speculated that “if a man or woman has not had intercourse by age 25, there is a reasonable chance [he or she] will remain a virgin at least until age 45.” Research by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld confirms that, in adulthood, true singledom is a far more stable category than most of us have imagined. Over the course of a year, he reports, only 50 percent of heterosexual single women in their 20s go on any dates—and older women are even less likely to do so.
    - A more immediate concern involves the political consequences of loneliness and alienation. Take for example the online hate and real-life violence waged by the so-called incels—men who claim to be “involuntarily celibate.” Their grievances, which are illegitimate and vile, offer a timely reminder that isolated young people are vulnerable to extremism of every sort. See also the populist discontent roiling Europe, driven in part by adults who have so far failed to achieve the milestones of adulthood: In Italy, half of 25-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents.
    - Not having a partner—sexual or romantic—can be both a cause and an effect of discontent. Moreover, as American social institutions have withered, having a life partner has become a stronger predictor than ever of well-being.
    - Sex seems more fraught now. This problem has no single source; the world has changed in so many ways, so quickly. In time, maybe, we will rethink some things: The abysmal state of sex education, which was once a joke but is now, in the age of porn, a disgrace. The dysfunctional relationships so many of us have with our phones and social media, to the detriment of our relationships with humans. Efforts to “protect” teenagers from most everything, including romance, leaving them ill-equipped for both the miseries and the joys of adulthood.

    The Atlantic: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

    According to this, heterosexual Millenials as a whole, male and female, have an extremely dysfuctional view of dating and relationships.

    People use online dating, despite how wildly ineffective it is and how the most conventionally attractive men and women get the vast majority of attention, because old-fashioned dating is too anxiety-provoking for people to handle. Men and women are less sure what is appropriate in flirting, dating and sex and less likely to act at all, which means online dating is increasingly seen as the only "appropriate" way to date.

    In this thread we've already heard the "don't ask someone out when they're at work" advice, which I believe is an example of shifting norms as to what is or isn't appropriate. I know I myself wouldn't have been born if my father hadn't asked the cashier at the local McDonalds' drive through (my mother and his then future wife) out on a date.

    I still don't know how I feel about "don't ask people out at work" because on the one hand it's kind of annoying and they're a captive audience, and on the other hand before the 2000s this was stupidly common and most people in my huge extended family met this way.

    It was either a coworker or someone they met while they were out shopping and the person worked at the store as a cashier or something.

    I think one of the main problems now is that men are still expected to be the pursuers and women are still expected to be passive even as the commonly accepted appropriate times and places for a man to pursue shrink (for justifiable reasons). Even in online dating men are usually expected to send the first message after a match (Bumble prohibits men from sending the first message; I'm personally very curious how the number of text conversations started on Bumble compare to the number started on Tinder).

    The only good solution I can think of is to encourage women to be more active in pursuing men they're interested in, because I think they would have more leeway as to when it is appropriate to pursue.

    I know I don't see men suddenly kissing women in the media anymore, but I have seen more instances of women suddenly kissing men, which implies it's okay (or less bad) for them to do it.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Bumble responses are usually what you'd expect "hi" or something equally light and still very passive so that the guy can "start" the conversation.

    Some are not, though, obviously.

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  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric An angel made of sapphires each more flawlessly cut than the last Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    (Start by not referring to women as Females :P Heh.)

    Anyway, I know I'm coming at it from the opposite direction, but I've been turned down a lot and have also turned a lot of people down. Mostly it's as Jeffe says, the worst thing that can happen is someone tells you no, and it's really not personal! People are into what they're into and not being into you isn't really a personal judgement ime.

    That said, I really liked online dating for creating situations where the Rules were Clear, as someone who really really struggles with that kind of thing and hates parties and crowds. Also being up front about my anxieties with myself and asking more experienced friends for help practicing was helpful. I often ask my friends to help me figure out if someone was flirting with me in a situation, and they understand that I have trouble reading people and are happy to help! Over time I've gotten a lot better at it.

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Bumble responses are usually what you'd expect "hi" or something equally light and still very passive so that the guy can "start" the conversation.

    Some are not, though, obviously.

    I never heard of Bumble (I've been out of the dating game a while) and a coworker at lunch was demonstrating what it was by showing me the screen and randomly sweeping left/right. A couple of minutes later he gets messaged by one of the girls he randomly swiped.

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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Typically speaking I tend to find that if you flirt a bit and they flirt back and you get along great then you can swap numbers of just hang out a bit... Like it's not a science, it's just socially engaging with people and reading the cues.

    Kind of like, when do you go in for the kiss? When it feels right. When does it feel right? I dunno it just... does. When you're there you're there. You know. Usually you're standing close to each other, the body language is inviting for both people etc

    I get for some people I might as well be saying "use telepathy"

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    Typically speaking I tend to find that if you flirt a bit and they flirt back and you get along great then you can swap numbers of just hang out a bit... Like it's not a science, it's just socially engaging with people and reading the cues.

    Kind of like, when do you go in for the kiss? When it feels right. When does it feel right? I dunno it just... does. When you're there you're there. You know. Usually you're standing close to each other, the body language is inviting for both people etc

    I get for some people I might as well be saying "use telepathy"

    I don't "get" flirting. Like, I was just now trying to read an advice article on how to flirt and could feel myself getting stressed out like I was in a college class and trying very hard to understand the material the professor just said will be on the final exam.

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  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Bogart wrote: »
    17% of one age bracket saying something either "always or usually" means something isn't massively compelling. It's undoubtedly more than it used to be, but even withing that 17% you can imagine a gulf of difference for some values of 'usually'.

    I think that it's is very significant, in part because it's the age bracket that's probably most likely to be dating.

    Basically, for 1 in 5 people between 18 and 29, "Hey, would you like to go get some drinks?" has a pretty good chance at being sexual harassment. I mean, say someone walking out of a class asks that to a fellow student. My thought had been that that would be that that's fine, the person being asked can just decline, and no harm no foul. But if the person being asked or one of the witnesses is one of those 1 in 5 who thinks that that's harassment, then things get awkward. If you take the position that sexual harassment should be reported when it occurs (I think that it should), and you take the position that sexual harassment should be investigated when reported (again, I think that it should), then the logical conclusion is that the person doing the asking should be investigated for sexual harassment.

    At that point, I assume that the investigation would probably find that the asking party hasn't done anything beyond the pale, and at worst they would get sternly told to not make overtures like that on school property. Probably. But what I'm getting at is that I don't think that 17% is too small a a group to be dismissed. For something that could lead to a sexual harassment complaint, 17% is huge. If it had said that 17% of people think that people who ask to hug coworkers are always or usually sexually harassing them, that wouldn't shock me or concern me. I'd be like "Yep, totally, I get that." But asking someone out for drinks? Again, it's basically 1 in 5.

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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Really nobody can give you advice on how to flirt because it's mostly just a combination of ease with oneself, confidence, casual but not irreverent interest in that person and the ability to genuinely put them at ease because you seem likeable and trustable (ideally because you are). It is a social art and I understand that for people who don't do that well, it's probably very frustrating when the description is so vague. But I will say that the more agitated and intense you are, the less good you'll be at it! So if something is stressing you out, then that's the opposite of it working.

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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Shadowhope wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    17% of one age bracket saying something either "always or usually" means something isn't massively compelling. It's undoubtedly more than it used to be, but even withing that 17% you can imagine a gulf of difference for some values of 'usually'.

    I think that it's is very significant, in part because it's the age bracket that's probably most likely to be dating.

    Basically, for 1 in 5 people between 18 and 29, "Hey, would you like to go get some drinks?" has a pretty good chance at being sexual harassment. I mean, say someone walking out of a class asks that to a fellow student. My thought had been that that would be that that's fine, the person being asked can just decline, and no harm no foul. But if the person being asked or one of the witnesses is one of those 1 in 5 who thinks that that's harassment, then things get awkward. If you take the position that sexual harassment should be reported when it occurs (I think that it should), and you take the position that sexual harassment should be investigated when reported (again, I think that it should), then the logical conclusion is that the person doing the asking should be investigated for sexual harassment.

    At that point, I assume that the investigation would probably find that the asking party hasn't done anything beyond the pale, and at worst they would get sternly told to not make overtures like that on school property. Probably. But what I'm getting at is that I don't think that 17% is too small a a group to be dismissed. For something that could lead to a sexual harassment complaint, 17% is huge. If it had said that 17% of people think that people who ask to hug coworkers are always or usually sexually harassing them, that wouldn't shock me or concern me. I'd be like "Yep, totally, I get that." But asking someone out for drinks? Again, it's basically 1 in 5.

    Legal issues or authority figures' involvement entirely aside, I don't like making people feel uncomfortable.

    I'm a big guy (6'3" and rather broad-shouldered) and I was once hired as a security guard because, I was told, "You loom really well". I also have a heavy brow line and resting expression that I have been told really frequently make me look angry. I recognize that my mere physical presence can be intimidating and make women feel unsafe. I try to keep my eyes down and my attention on my phone or something if I'm alone with a woman on an elevator and try to walk obviously "not after them" if I'm walking alone somewhere and a woman happens to be there. I've read and been told that these sorts of situations make women uncomfortable when men are there and I honestly try to take things like that into consideration. I also try to avoid saying things that can be taken the wrong way or considered an overture that would then make the other person feel like they need to respond a certain way lest the big, angry-looking man react poorly.

    Maybe I'm too far inside my own head, but I really don't want to accidentally make someone feel harassed so the idea that if I meet someone out at boardgame night or an event or something that saying, "Hey, you want to get a drink sometime?" is harassment for 1 in 5 people would be rather disconcerting.

    Luckily I'm old enough that asking out people between 18 and 29 is going to be a little weird in itself, but if I were ten years younger I can see where that knowledge would have significantly impacted my dating life.

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  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    so im usually against critiques of stuff that go "because capitalism", but the interesting thing about dating and workplaces does reveal a sort of structual oddity in our social arrangements:

    the average adult only has one major source of social contact with a significantly sized group of other humans, and that is their workplace. now it is true that in principle work is for work, and so we can see how people end up with the idea that it should be very much its own place with its own set of rules and perhaps we separate out certain kinds of personal interactions that complicate it or make it a place that feels dangerous to some people.

    however

    if we have a society where most people go through these various stages of having access to large pools of other people - school, university, work - and then at the final stage we make it difficult for people to engage in one of the most basic human desires to seek romantic connections, we are going to put a lot of strain on how we have designed it. the advice up the thread to seek other groups is, i think, not wrong; but the fact that we dont have cultural or social arrangements that simply make meeting other humans, feeling a sense of connection, group membership etc outside work easy means we are going to end up in this strange, lonely place.

    this is partly why i support absolutely free and universal access to further training and education at any age for any reason - simply letting people back into those kinds of weird mixed social groups that people so enjoy at universities seems to me a good thing in and of itself even beyond the educational purpose!

    the effects of social isolation and lack of contact on social animals arent really a mystery. we should probably take that a little bit more seriously in social policy and as a cultural question

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    Really nobody can give you advice on how to flirt because it's mostly just a combination of ease with oneself, confidence, casual but not irreverent interest in that person and the ability to genuinely put them at ease because you seem likeable and trustable (ideally because you are). It is a social art and I understand that for people who don't do that well, it's probably very frustrating when the description is so vague. But I will say that the more agitated and intense you are, the less good you'll be at it! So if something is stressing you out, then that's the opposite of it working.

    Like, I mean, what are some examples of people flirting? What kind of things are said? Compliments I get, but "I like your hair/smile/eyes/etc" probably gets old after a while.

    Also, I heard an example of a man taking a woman's hand and kissing it; she said she liked it, but would it have been harassment if he misread the signals?

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  • TarantioTarantio Registered User regular
    17% is a lot closer to one in 6 than one in 5.
    Being a horrible pedant is an example of how not to ask someone out.

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  • BethrynBethryn Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Like, I mean, what are some examples of people flirting? What kind of things are said? Compliments I get, but "I like your hair/smile/eyes/etc" probably gets old after a while.


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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Solar wrote: »
    Really nobody can give you advice on how to flirt because it's mostly just a combination of ease with oneself, confidence, casual but not irreverent interest in that person and the ability to genuinely put them at ease because you seem likeable and trustable (ideally because you are). It is a social art and I understand that for people who don't do that well, it's probably very frustrating when the description is so vague. But I will say that the more agitated and intense you are, the less good you'll be at it! So if something is stressing you out, then that's the opposite of it working.

    Like, I mean, what are some examples of people flirting? What kind of things are said? Compliments I get, but "I like your hair/smile/eyes/etc" probably gets old after a while.

    Also, I heard an example of a man taking a woman's hand and kissing it; she said she liked it, but would it have been harassment if he misread the signals?

    It's really hard to give an example because it needs to naturally flow from a conversation, and a lot of it is just the inflection, humour, body language, so on.

    My advice would be that it is smart to never initiate physical contact as a guy. There are exceptions but typically I wouldn't go down that route until it's clearly okay and even then that particular example... I wouldn't go for that. Personally.

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  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    I'm not in a position to contribute, but I've been following the Dating, Incel, and now this Asking Out threads with rapt attention. Thanks for everyone's contributions; maybe someday this robot poster can figure out what this thing you humans call "love" is.

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  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric An angel made of sapphires each more flawlessly cut than the last Registered User regular
    I guess age group stuff varies (I am about to be 23) but if someone I didn't know well kissed me on the hand or anywhere else (except maybe on the cheek when saying goodbye if they were like, European) I would probably stomp on their foot!!

    What are the other circumstances of that person liking that hand kissing interaction. Did she know the man well? Were they already out on a date? Had they discussed interactions like that before (like maybe they had a conversation where she said, I love romance novels and I know it's cheesy but being kissed on the hand seems so romantic)?

    I think never, ever physically touching someone you don't know well outside of like, a handshake or a hug goodbye in a casual setting (and in this case I still ask - a quick 'are you a hugger? It was great to meet you!' works fine and isn't awkward), is probably the way to go.


    ....

    Here are examples of ways I have flirted with people and been flirted with and enjoyed it, and also some do's/don'ts, which are subjective:

    1. Catching someone's eye across the room - not staring, just catching their eye occasionally and maybe smiling a bit. In my experience this works best if the person is doing something in a cafe and not obviously focused/busy/wearing earbuds. So, one time I made eyes with some dude across a Starbucks who seemed to be relaxing and reading, while I was also relaxing and reading. After catching him looking back at me, I raised my book a bit so the title was visible, and gave a questioning look, he did the same, after a bit when he was leaving he came by my table and we chatted about books and art a bit, then he told me that my scarf was very beautiful and left! Nothing came of it, but it was still flirty and fun! You can flirt with people without any intention of follow up, it can just be a fun thing that brightens your day and the other person's and gives you some practice

    2. Giving compliments that are about something someone does, rather than something someone is, can be a great way to not come off awkward in a flirting interaction. 9/10 times, in my experience, "wow you're beautiful", or variations on that theme, from a stranger comes off in an unpleasant way (I've experienced exceptions but they're rare). "Wow, your hair looks great!" Or "That's an amazing outfit" or "your eye makeup is amazing" or "whoa, the way you draw hands is great, how do you do that?" almost never comes off badly to me! It's complimenting me on my choices, on the effort I've obviously made to look nice, or on a skill I've worked hard to learn! Also those compliments are more likely to start a conversation because it gives me a chance to say, like, "thanks! I spent like an hour on it (my outfit/hair/makeup)" and you could say, like, "oh haha, well it's effort well spent! I spend forever picking the right shades of paint when I paint miniatures" or whatever and then hey presto we can talk about Hobbies!

    3. Ok this is a Don't but, I think one of the important things is to never do something you think might be gross and never EVER joke about what you're doing being creepy. The other day a friend of mine got the compliment - "wow, your whole outfit is so put together, you must have put a lot of effort into that!" from a man, and it was really flattering -- until he said "I'm from an older generation, so I can get away with saying things like that!!"

    Then it was instantly GROSS and really upset every woman in the room and we all talked about it after he left. If you think you're getting away with an interaction, if you act like the thing you're doing should be considered unpleasant, then it will suddenly become something icky even if it was benign.

    4. Asking isn't bad! I've had interactions where I wasn't sure if I was being flirted with, and I have just asked, "hey so, was that like, flirting???" and generally people have thought that this was funny and cute and either said "no! Haha sorry" or "yes! Is that ok?". The couple of times that people have asked that to me it's gone the same way!

    5. When someone says no or isn't into the flirting, I find that best practice is to push through the awkward feeling and return to a neutral subject in as casual and calm a way as is possible, and then the awkward tension gradually dissolves

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  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    No asking out co-workers is an odd one to put as a hard forbidden. Like people in your immediate team you work with every day could be awkward, and people within your line management structure are out due to clear ethical issues, but the workplace is where most adults get their social interaction these days and in a large workplace like mine (government research facility) workplace relationships/marriages/children at the work nursery are fairly common.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    It seems like, absent additional context, that 17% figure is meaningless. Does it mean 17% feel that asking someone for drinks is just inherently harassment, and it should never be done? Does it just mean that 17% believe that the people doing the asking are usually doing it in an inappropriate way? It could mean they have no issue with asking out in general, but they usually observe it happening in problematic ways (asking out your waiter, asking out your employee, etc) and hence it's "usually" not okay.

    I am hard pressed to believe that a sixth of young adults just think trying to get a date is sexual harassment by definition.

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  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric An angel made of sapphires each more flawlessly cut than the last Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    It seems like, absent additional context, that 17% figure is meaningless. Does it mean 17% feel that asking someone for drinks is just inherently harassment, and it should never be done? Does it just mean that 17% believe that the people doing the asking are usually doing it in an inappropriate way? It could mean they have no issue with asking out in general, but they usually observe it happening in problematic ways (asking out your waiter, asking out your employee, etc) and hence it's "usually" not okay.

    I am hard pressed to believe that a sixth of young adults just think trying to get a date is sexual harassment by definition.

    I deeply suspect that this is the case

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    I think that 17% number is being stretched to conclusions far beyond what it actually means. It’s not far above the crazification factor and semantically people could be taking both the question and answer options in a lot of different ways. It goes not mean that 1 in 6 people will observe a drink invite and believe it was harassment. You can’t jump straight from self-reported data to broad conclusions as a general rule.

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    Really nobody can give you advice on how to flirt because it's mostly just a combination of ease with oneself, confidence, casual but not irreverent interest in that person and the ability to genuinely put them at ease because you seem likeable and trustable (ideally because you are). It is a social art and I understand that for people who don't do that well, it's probably very frustrating when the description is so vague. But I will say that the more agitated and intense you are, the less good you'll be at it! So if something is stressing you out, then that's the opposite of it working.

    This is going to be the problem. Most of the things we are talking about in this thread require the basic social toolbox be already in place: reading body language and other non-verbal communication, making subjective judgments based on context.

    The subset of the population most frustrated by dating norms are also likely to not have that toolbox fully in place either due to lack of experience or innate brain function (or a combination) and outlining simple rules isn’t going to bypass all that.

    Shadowhope
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I'd say a boss asking out his assistant is icky as fuck.

    But asking out the receptionist if you're in billing is probably not a big deal.

    I don't agree that asking out coworkers is wrong or bad on any level. But I think a lot of that plays into everyone really needs to act like adults and treat it like no big deal if someone says no instead of acting like a 3 year old and throwing a tantrum or making everyone's lives hell because of it too.

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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    People who are not socially adept or find it hard and tiring to be socially adept are definitely going to struggle with arguably the most social of tasks, and I genuinely can't think of ways to get past that. I do think that being more relaxed and happy with yourself will absolutely help though.

    If you come off as calm and self-assured, even if you are shit at flirting and couldn't tell if someone was flirting if they wrote it on their forehead, you'll definitely do better than trying, struggling, and getting agitated by it.

  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Asking someone out at work is one of those heavily contextual areas.

    Anyone who directly reports to you or is anywhere under your chain of command is rights out. Anyone whose career path could be influenced by your judgment is very shaky ground even if they don’t report to you.

    After that, read the vibe. Is this a heavily social office where there is already an ecosystem of outside-of-work connections taking place. How much contact have you had with this person that would take your relationship into a more familiar place? How confident are you that they are interested versus how awkward or problematic would it be if they aren’t?

    Cold-asking the cute co-worker four floors away who has no idea who you are but caught your eye: probably a bad idea.

    Asking out the person who has spent some extra time flirting with you at each of the last three post-work bar meetups your department holds weekly? Probably ok.

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2018
    bowen wrote: »
    I don't agree that asking out coworkers is wrong or bad on any level. But I think a lot of that plays into everyone really needs to act like adults and treat it like no big deal if someone says no instead of acting like a 3 year old and throwing a tantrum or making everyone's lives hell because of it too.

    Unfortunately the fact this is is more common than not means that women are disproportionately in the position to feel like saying no might have repercussions in work environments where its a large company and you don't know this seemingly nice guy very well. The circumstances can vary wildly, but companies can be huge and a coworker can essentially be a stranger. It might be a bit terrifying for both parties, really, so I think that the generally advice is pretty sound. Even if you are on an even playing field hierarchy wise, you have no idea what a guy at work feels it might be appropriate to say to his other coworkers while they are just hanging out, particularly if things go bad. Will he try to tell your boss that you are crazy, unstable, a huge bitch? Is your boss the kinda guy that will thing that's inappropriate for him to share, or will he internalize it just a little bit and hurt your chances for promotion?

    I've disproportionately dated people I already knew to some degree, I had a platonic and friendly relationship with my fiance a few years before we started working together at a small business and then dating. I still regard the situation as a red flag and wouldn't recommend it. We were, at least, highly willing to talk about the risks of it not working out. In my opinion it worked because he was basically a friend more than a coworker, and the job was pretty low fucking impact on our lives (food service), and communication was extremely high. Advising people not to ask out coworkers I think instills the appropriate amount of caution, not having a job or hurting your career is a harsh condition of a rejection/breakup.

    I work in a corporate environment and basically would never consider it now, and my relationship would allow me to do so If I wanted to. I'd just rather leave the risks alone and be patient within what online dating and meeting folks in the wild provides me.

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    People who are not socially adept or find it hard and tiring to be socially adept are definitely going to struggle with arguably the most social of tasks, and I genuinely can't think of ways to get past that.

    1) therapy and professional help. Social dysfunction is a valid problem and nobody need be ashamed if they need professional help removing their barriers.

    2) experience. 20 year old me found it mystifying when a woman was or wasn’t interested, but 36-year-old me can see the difference in body language like night and day

    3) online dating. It comes with its own set of challenges to be sure, but it completely bypasses the “is it ok to ask this person out” problem which can be a huge barrier for some people.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I don't agree that asking out coworkers is wrong or bad on any level. But I think a lot of that plays into everyone really needs to act like adults and treat it like no big deal if someone says no instead of acting like a 3 year old and throwing a tantrum or making everyone's lives hell because of it too.

    Unfortunately the fact this is is more common than not means that women are disproportionately in the position to feel like saying no might have repercussions in work environments where its a large company and you don't know this seemingly nice guy very well. The circumstances can vary wildly, but companies can be huge and a coworker can essentially be a stranger. It might be a bit terrifying for both parties, really, so I think that the generally advice is pretty sound. Even if you are on an even playing field hierarchy wise, you have no idea what a guy at work feels it might be appropriate to say to his other coworkers while they are just hanging out, particularly if things go bad. Will he try to tell your boss that you are crazy, unstable, a huge bitch? Is your boss the kinda guy that will thing that's inappropriate for him to share, or will he internalize it just a little bit and hurt your chances for promotion?

    I've disproportionately dated people I already knew to some degree, I had a platonic and friendly relationship with my fiance a few years before we started working together at a small business and then dating. I still regard the situation as a red flag and wouldnt recommend it, but we were highly willing to talk about the risks of it not working out. In my opinion it worked because he was basically a friend more than a coworker, and the job was pretty low fucking impact on our lives (food service).

    I work in a corporate environment and basically would never consider it now, and my relationship would allow me to do so If I wanted to. I'd just rather leave the risks alone and be patient and work withing what online dating and meeting folks in the wild provides me.

    That's the thing though, "meeting people in the wild" gets hit with the same rule from everyone I've talked to. "If I'm out running errands I don't want to be stopped and propositioned"

    Online dating is not without its own pitfalls too. Unattractive people get hit the hardest, yes, but it skews even further if you're male on top of that (OKCupid had a lot of blog posts on this phenomenon that they've since taken down).

    This is why the group of people who make up incels are so easy to radicalize. There's no good way for them to fill the social needs they have because it's extremely difficult to approach people they do have at least some tangential rapport with, and when they do try with the things that are supposed to be the acceptable avenues it's like screaming into a void for the most part. I think a good first step is legalizing and removing a lot of the stigma around sex work because even just the ability for them to fill a need is going to be a huge boon. I know this doesn't remove a lot of the problems they face, but I honest to god think it's a good first step.

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  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    A large part of the proliferation of online dating that doesn't get mentioned a lot I think, is time.

    Online dating takes a fraction of the time investment that other, in-person methods require. And younger people tend to work a lot more than previous generations.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Dating for the sake of not being single is weird to me. It seems a lot of online dating has a focus on not being alone.

    You should be satisfied with yourself enough that being alone is okay. No other person is going to make someone not okay happy in an equitable relationship.

    Fully admitting online dating can be good and it's great we have moved away from the notion of there only being one perfect match. Online dating has been pretty good overall for humanity.

    dispatch.o on
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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    I'm glad I'm out of the "game" as it were because the rules or guidelines seem a lot like calvinball and its not a huge shock this leaves people out in the cold, primarily men who are told "be assertive, but not too assertive, listen, but don't talk, but don't be passive."

    I mean I met my wife at work. Prior to that I'd been stood up several times from online dating sites and this was the early oughts.

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

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  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Reposting this from the Incel thread. This article is EXTREMELY relevant (spoilered for length, but it's still an abridged version of a very long and in-depth new article):
    -From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent.
    - People now in their early 20s are two and a half times as likely to be abstinent as Gen Xers were at that age; 15 percent report having had no sex since they reached adulthood.
    - Most of us still think that other people are having a lot more sex than they actually are.
    - "Every year the whole Match company is rather staggered at how little sex Americans are having—including the Millennials.”
    - In the Netherlands, the median age at which people first have intercourse rose from 17.1 in 2012 to 18.6 in 2017, and other types of physical contact also got pushed back, even kissing.
    - There is scant evidence of an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among young men. And no researcher I spoke with had seen compelling evidence that porn is addictive.
    - As one 24-year-old man emailed me:
    The internet has made it so easy to gratify basic social and sexual needs that there’s far less incentive to go out into the “meatworld” and chase those things. This isn’t to say that the internet can give you more satisfaction than sex or relationships, because it doesn’t … [But it can] supply you with just enough satisfaction to placate those imperatives … I think it’s healthy to ask yourself: “If I didn’t have any of this, would I be going out more? Would I be having sex more?” For a lot of people my age, I think the answer is probably yes.[/b]
    - In more recent decades teen romantic relationships appear to have grown less common. In 1995, the large longitudinal study known as “Add Health” found that 66 percent of 17-year-old men and 74 percent of 17-year-old women had experienced “a special romantic relationship” in the past 18 months. In 2014, when the Pew Research Center asked 17-year-olds whether they had “ever dated, hooked up with or otherwise had a romantic relationship with another person”—seemingly a broader category than the earlier one—only 46 percent said yes.[/b]
    - As Jean Twenge wrote in The Atlantic last year, the percentage of teens who report going on dates has decreased alongside the percentage who report other activities associated with entering adulthood, like drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without one’s parents, and getting a driver’s license.
    - Addressing the desexing of the American teenager, Malcom Harris writes:
    A decline in unsupervised free time probably contributes a lot. At a basic level, sex at its best is unstructured play with friends, a category of experience that … time diaries … tell us has been decreasing for American adolescents. It takes idle hands to get past first base, and today’s kids have a lot to do.
    - Over the course of numerous conversations, Alexandra Solomon has come to various conclusions about hookup culture, or what might more accurately be described as lack-of-relationship culture. For one thing, she believes it is both a cause and an effect of social stunting. Or, as one of her students put it to her: “We hook up because we have no social skills. We have no social skills because we hook up.”
    - For another, insofar as her students find themselves choosing between casual sex and no sex, they are doing so because an obvious third option—relationship sex—strikes many of them as not only unattainable but potentially irresponsible. Most Marriage 101 students have had at least one romantic relationship over the course of their college career; the class naturally attracts relationship-oriented students, she points out. Nonetheless, she believes that many students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success—or, at any rate, is best delayed until those other things have been secured.
    - Simon had better luck with Tinder than the other apps, but it was hardly efficient. He figures he swiped right—indicating that he was interested—up to 30 times for every woman who also swiped right on him, thereby triggering a match. But matching was only the beginning; then it was time to start messaging. “I was up to over 10 messages sent for a single message received,” he said. In other words: Nine out of 10 women who matched with Simon after swiping right on him didn’t go on to exchange messages with him. This means that for every 300 women he swiped right on, he had a conversation with just one.
    - As of 2014, when Tinder last released such data, the average user logged in 11 times a day. Men spent 7.2 minutes per session and women spent 8.5 minutes, for a total of about an hour and a half a day. Yet they didn’t get much in return. Today, the company says it logs 1.6 billion swipes a day, and just 26 million matches. And, if Simon’s experience is any indication, the overwhelming majority of matches don’t lead to so much as a two-way text exchange, much less a date, much less sex.
    - So why do people continue to use dating apps? Why not boycott them all? “No one approaches anyone in public anymore,” said a teacher in Northern Virginia. “The dating landscape has changed. People are less likely to ask you out in real life now, or even talk to begin with,” said a 28-year-old woman in Los Angeles who volunteered that she had been single for three years.
    - This shift seems to be accelerating amid the national reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, and a concomitant shifting of boundaries. According to a November 2017 Economist/YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 now believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink “always” or “usually” constitutes sexual harassment.
    - Laurie Mintz, who teaches a popular undergraduate class on the psychology of sexuality at the University of Florida, told me that the #MeToo movement has made her students much more aware of issues surrounding consent. She has heard from many young men who are productively reexamining their past actions and working diligently to learn from the experiences of friends and partners. But others have described less healthy reactions, like avoiding romantic overtures for fear that they might be unwelcome. In my own conversations, men and women alike spoke of a new tentativeness and hesitancy. One woman who described herself as a passionate feminist said she felt empathy for the pressure that heterosexual dating puts on men. “I think I owe it to them, in this current cultural moment particularly, to try to treat them like they’re human beings taking a risk talking to a stranger,” she wrote me. “There are a lot of lonely, confused people out there, who have no idea what to do or how to date.”
    - I mentioned to several of the people I interviewed for this piece that I’d met my husband in an elevator, in 2001. (We worked on different floors of the same institution, and over the months that followed struck up many more conversations—in the elevator, in the break room, on the walk to the subway.) I was fascinated by the extent to which this prompted other women to sigh and say that they’d just love to meet someone that way. And yet quite a few of them suggested that if a random guy started talking to them in an elevator, they would be weirded out. “Creeper! Get away from me,” one woman imagined thinking. “Anytime we’re in silence, we look at our phones,” explained her friend, nodding. Another woman fantasized to me about what it would be like to have a man hit on her in a bookstore. (She’d be holding a copy of her favorite book. “What’s that book?” he’d say.) But then she seemed to snap out of her reverie, and changed the subject to Sex and the City reruns and how hopelessly dated they seem. “Miranda meets Steve at a bar,” she said, in a tone suggesting that the scenario might as well be out of a Jane Austen novel, for all the relevance it had to her life.
    - ...online dating continues to attract users, in part because many people consider apps less stressful than the alternatives. Lisa Wade suspects that graduates of high-school or college hookup culture may welcome the fact that online dating takes some of the ambiguity out of pairing up (We’ve each opted in; I’m at least a little bit interested in you).
    - As a 27-year-old woman in Philadelphia put it: “I have insecurities that make fun bar flirtation very stressful. I don’t like the Is he into me? moment. I use dating apps because I want it to be clear that this is a date and we are sexually interested in one another. If it doesn’t work out, fine, but there’s never a Is he asking me to hang as a friend or as a date? feeling.” Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward.
    - Anna, who graduated from college three years ago, told me that in school, she struggled to “read” people. Dating apps have been a helpful crutch. “There’s just no ambiguity,” she explained. “This person is interested in me to some extent.” The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them. “I never really learned how to meet people in real life,” she said. She then proceeded to tell me about a guy she knew slightly from college, whom she’d recently bumped into a few times. She found him attractive and wanted to register her interest, but wasn’t sure how to do that outside the context of a college party. Then she remembered that she’d seen his profile on Tinder. “Maybe next time I sign in,” she said, musing aloud, “I’ll just swipe right so I don’t have to do this awkward thing and get rejected.”
    - Michael Rosenfeld—whose survey deliberately oversampled gays and lesbians in an effort to compensate for the dearth of research on their dating experiences—finds that “unpartnered gay men and unpartnered lesbians seem to have substantially more active dating lives than do heterosexuals,” a fact he attributes partly to their successful use of apps. This disparity raises the possibility that the sex recession may be a mostly heterosexual phenomenon.
    - Christian Rudder, a co-founder of OkCupid (one of the less appearance-centric dating services, in that it encourages detailed written profiles), reported in 2009 that the male users who were rated most physically attractive by female users got 11 times as many messages as the lowest-rated men did; medium-rated men received about four times as many messages. The disparity was starker for women: About two-thirds of messages went to the one-third of women who were rated most physically attractive. A more recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Santa Fe Institute found that online daters of both genders tend to pursue prospective mates who are on average 25 percent more desirable than they are—presumably not a winning strategy.
    - An even bigger problem may be the extent to which romantic pursuit is now being cordoned off into a predictable, prearranged online venue, the very existence of which makes it harder for anyone, even those not using the apps, to extend an overture in person without seeming inappropriate.
    - Debby Herbernick told me about new data suggesting that, compared with previous generations, young people today are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors prevalent in porn, like the ones she warns her students against springing on a partner. All of this might be scaring some people off, she thought, and contributing to the sex decline.
    - Painful sex is not new, but there’s reason to think that porn may be contributing to some particularly unpleasant early sexual experiences. Studies show that, in the absence of high-quality sex education, teen boys look to porn for help understanding sex—anal sex and other acts women can find painful are ubiquitous in mainstream porn.
    - Iris observed that her female friends, who were mostly single, were finding more and more value in their friendships. “I’m 33, I’ve been dating forever, and, you know, women are better,” she said. “They’re just better.” She hastened to add that men weren’t bad; in fact, she hated how anti-male the conversations around her had grown. She wasn’t ready to swear off men entirely. But, she said, “I want good sex.” Or at least, she added, “pretty good sex.”
    - “Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” Jonah Disend, the founder of the branding consultancy Redscout, told Bloomberglast year.
    - "...people may also be newly worried about what they look like naked. A large and growing body of research reports that for both men and women, social-media use is correlated with body dissatisfaction. And a major Dutch study found that among men, frequency of pornography viewing was associated with concern about penis size. I heard much the same from quite a few men (“too hairy, not fit enough, not big enough in terms of penis size,” went one morose litany).
    - In my interviews, inhibition seemed a constant companion to many people who’d been abstinent for a long time. Most of them described abstinence not as something they had embraced (due to religious belief, say) so much as something they’d found themselves backed into as a result of trauma, anxiety, or depression. Dispiritingly but unsurprisingly, sexual assault was invoked by many of the women who said they’d opted out of sex. The other two factors come as no great shock either: Rates of anxiety and depression have been rising among Americans for decades now, and by some accounts have risen quite sharply of late among people in their teens and 20s. Anxiety suppresses desire for most people.
    - ... what research we have on sexually inactive adults suggests that, for those who desire a sex life, there may be such a thing as waiting too long. Among people who are sexually inexperienced at age 18, about 80 percent will become sexually active by the time they are 25. But those who haven’t gained sexual experience by their mid-20s are much less likely to ever do so. The authors of a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine speculated that “if a man or woman has not had intercourse by age 25, there is a reasonable chance [he or she] will remain a virgin at least until age 45.” Research by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld confirms that, in adulthood, true singledom is a far more stable category than most of us have imagined. Over the course of a year, he reports, only 50 percent of heterosexual single women in their 20s go on any dates—and older women are even less likely to do so.
    - A more immediate concern involves the political consequences of loneliness and alienation. Take for example the online hate and real-life violence waged by the so-called incels—men who claim to be “involuntarily celibate.” Their grievances, which are illegitimate and vile, offer a timely reminder that isolated young people are vulnerable to extremism of every sort. See also the populist discontent roiling Europe, driven in part by adults who have so far failed to achieve the milestones of adulthood: In Italy, half of 25-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents.
    - Not having a partner—sexual or romantic—can be both a cause and an effect of discontent. Moreover, as American social institutions have withered, having a life partner has become a stronger predictor than ever of well-being.
    - Sex seems more fraught now. This problem has no single source; the world has changed in so many ways, so quickly. In time, maybe, we will rethink some things: The abysmal state of sex education, which was once a joke but is now, in the age of porn, a disgrace. The dysfunctional relationships so many of us have with our phones and social media, to the detriment of our relationships with humans. Efforts to “protect” teenagers from most everything, including romance, leaving them ill-equipped for both the miseries and the joys of adulthood.

    The Atlantic: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

    According to this, heterosexual Millenials as a whole, male and female, have an extremely dysfuctional view of dating and relationships.

    People use online dating, despite how wildly ineffective it is and how the most conventionally attractive men and women get the vast majority of attention, because old-fashioned dating is too anxiety-provoking for people to handle. Men and women are less sure what is appropriate in flirting, dating and sex and less likely to act at all, which means online dating is increasingly seen as the only "appropriate" way to date.

    In this thread we've already heard the "don't ask someone out when they're at work" advice, which I believe is an example of shifting norms as to what is or isn't appropriate. I know I myself wouldn't have been born if my father hadn't asked the cashier at the local McDonalds' drive through (my mother and his then future wife) out on a date.

    I still don't know how I feel about "don't ask people out at work" because on the one hand it's kind of annoying and they're a captive audience, and on the other hand before the 2000s this was stupidly common and most people in my huge extended family met this way.

    It was either a coworker or someone they met while they were out shopping and the person worked at the store as a cashier or something.

    As is often the case, all advice really depends on chemistry between the people involved. Two people that manage to hit it off is a very different situation from a cold open approach. Unfortunately reading the presence of that kind of chemistry is not easy and frankly something a lot of people are not going to have experience with when young.
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Solar wrote: »
    Really nobody can give you advice on how to flirt because it's mostly just a combination of ease with oneself, confidence, casual but not irreverent interest in that person and the ability to genuinely put them at ease because you seem likeable and trustable (ideally because you are). It is a social art and I understand that for people who don't do that well, it's probably very frustrating when the description is so vague. But I will say that the more agitated and intense you are, the less good you'll be at it! So if something is stressing you out, then that's the opposite of it working.

    Like, I mean, what are some examples of people flirting? What kind of things are said? Compliments I get, but "I like your hair/smile/eyes/etc" probably gets old after a while.

    You might think that because in most cases comments like that are true in your daily interactions with people. I got a hair cut a few weeks ago. A number of friends and acquaintances mentioned it or complemented it and I usually brushed it off with "Yeah, it was starting to get a bit distracting" and the like. One night a woman who moved to the area recently and I have a crush on and immensely enjoy talking to and dancing with mentioned it despite us not having seen each other in a few weeks and my brain went into "Senpai noticed me!" mode. A lot of normally mundane actions have a different effect when attraction is in play.

    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

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