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The Fear of Being Alone Has Ruined Modern Dating

06/09/2015 01:04 EDT | Updated 06/09/2016 05:59 EDT
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Closeup portrait, worried young man in blue shirt talking on phone to someone, looking up, isolated outdoors outside background

S., one of my clients who prefers to remain unnamed, is a well-dressed, successful 40-year-old financial professional who owns his own house and car. In less than two years, he's worked hard with a personal trainer and lost 70 pounds. One might think he'd have luck with women with all of these things going for him but after a year of clubbing, he's still single and still looking.

On weekends, he goes to downtown clubs in the hopes of meeting women. Here, he says, women expect attention, free drinks, and ego validation with the option to brush the guy off. He told me horror stories of his and his friend's attempts to strike up conversations with women, often received with rudeness, humiliating responses, and in one case, a blood-splattering punch to the jaw.

Frustration

If men receive this kind of treatment from women just by speaking to them, it's understandable how they could grow bitter and frustrated, though some become downright hateful. Embittered by their experiences, a few have made businesses out of their hate-on for women and encourage other men to channel their anger and treat women as non-humans; commodities to be consumed -- but without taking stock in themselves.

The more well-known "pickup artists" include Julian Blanc, known to Emma Teitel in MacLean's as a "sophomoric ass" who incites violence against women in his teachings to awkward men to get them laid. Then there is Men Going Their Own Way, or MGTOW, an online men's community that supports "a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else." I was delighted to find this site until I read further and found that what began as masculine empowerment quickly turned vile. The founder, known as Sandman, sits safely behind his computer screen and proclaims his bitter, indiscriminate hate towards women, according to his videos I've watched. Sandman says that all women are manipulative whores and liars; he slut-shames, fat-shames, and age-shames women, and ironically complains about being single.

Though still feeding the feminine obsession, not all of these kinds of sites are about female manipulation. I came across a site that encourages men to examine who they are before attempting to approach women (what a concept!). The Attraction Institute says that men can still be free, still be themselves, and meet women who like men for who they really are, instead of pretending to be someone else worried about whether or not the thin façade can be maintained. Sounds more realistic but sites like these are few and far between.

Women's Social Pressures

It's important to consider perspective here. Men may not consider the tricky social position women find themselves in: we're the targets of constant male attention, desire, and sometimes aggression. This puts us into a state of defensiveness (self-preservation) or what Blanc calls the "bitch sheild."

We're not bragging, but we know that men will always want us and we usually have the choice whether to couple or not, especially if we're good-looking. Why? Because society is preoccupied with what women look like and this must have a massive influence on the human psyche. In the Kardashian-styled age of the egotistic selfie and the popularity contest that is social media, there is pressure and an expectation to be beautiful and sexy/self-absorbed and narcissistic. This, and the influence of media that seems to reward and normalize bitch behaviour can create legions of women who say, Yeah, I'm all that, and you have to work for it.

This is not natural, it is learned.

Bitterness and Reality

With a touch of bitterness, S. now takes satisfaction in rejecting women himself, to "give them a taste of their own medicine." Sounds like a war that no one will win.

In the end, like attracts like, so I say, imagine your equal; be realistic and take an objective look at yourself. What do you have going for you? Have you made an effort to look as good as she does? What could you improve? Ask yourself where your equal/cool, down-to-earth women would hang out -- would it be in a nightclub?

If society eased up on its pressure for people to couple, I don't think we'd be having this conversation. This social expectation keeps people frustrated and unhappy, so why do we allow it? If we ditch the idea and free ourselves from the pressure, maybe there will be fewer pickup artists, less gender violence, and fewer frustrated single men.

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