There is a part of me that sparks a gag reflex when I think about writing dating advice claptrap. And while I am still not going to sink into such pablum, some responses to a meme I recently made reminded me of a theme I have seen echoed through parts of what some would call the manosphere for years.
The best explanation would be to show you the meme I placed on facebook, highlighting one of the early comments to it:
And now the comment:
Too bad women have the uncanny ability to completely fake everything about them until they are married. But I like your point.
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I have heard and seen this sentiment many, many times before. It is, with all respect to the man commenting, what I consider to be a copout on personal accountability.
Before anyone rages, I get it. Women (and men) tend to enter relationships careful to always have their best foot forward. In the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, what you see is almost never what you really get.
I know too that many personality disordered women have especially honed skills at “fooling” their target into thinking they are something they are not. They have refined expertise in figuring out what makes you tick and indeed an uncanny ability to project precisely what they know you want to see and hear.
They are the master of the Love Bomb and will pile on adulation and admiration from the earliest moments in the relationship, almost smothering you in unconditional approval.
So, it is easy to nod my head in agreement with the well-meaning commenter who apparently feels like he is at the mercy of women with ill-intents because he has no way of knowing better.
It is also even easier to not nod my head in agreement because I pretty much think all this is bullshit. It is a copout designed for men to absolve themselves of their responsibilities when choosing women with which they will be vulnerable.
With some rare exceptions, men can screen out high-conflict, high-maintenance, high-frustration and high-danger women with a relatively small amount of consciousness and the willingness to accept responsibility for their own choices.
For some men that means taking a rather bitter dose of medicine in the form of the truth.
One, if you are sucked in by anyone in life saying all the right things at all the right times, you are what carnies call a “mark.” That is the carnival crowd’s term of endearment for a sucker who is just begging to part with his money.
On the heels of that is the reality that what people say is generally meaningless in assessing them as a human being. Sure, some crazies out there can’t talk for more than 30 seconds without revealing a bunting of crimson flags on full display.
Most women who turn out to be bad choices are somewhat more subtle, at least till you have an opportunity to see how they operate when stressed or disappointed.
And there’s the rub. People almost never show you who they are with words. They do it with actions. If you are like so, so many men and you are just listening for the right words and getting all tingly when you hear them, then you are the one with the problem.
I have long suggested that men pick a point early in a relationship to issue a firm NO to something relatively inconsequential that she wants, and then to watch her reaction like it was the most important psychodrama in your life. That is not a stretch because it actually could be. Add a few more years, a few more noes and a lawyer and you have 100% assurance of being in a living hell.
If her reaction is an immature level of disappointment; if she becomes cold and aloof, withholds sex and affection; if she responds with that ubiquitous female “fine” in a tone that promises retribution for not getting her way, then she is showing you everything you need to know.
One step further toward her after a demonstration like that and you have just elected to become the architect of your own misery. Telling yourself you had no way of knowing is a bit of self-delusion most men cannot afford in the long run, though there are millions of men every day who do just that – writing checks with their desire for love and sex which their bodies ultimately cannot cash.
You don’t even need to create a test scenario to find out. Modifying behavior completely, even in the do-good early days of relationship infatuation, is nearly impossible. There are tells in your line of vision at all times.
Does she shower you with buckets of, “You’re the most remarkable man I have ever met,” on the third date? That is not a sign that you have stumbled on Ms. Right. That is a sign that you are walking into a minefield and you need to quickly backtrack out of it.
Is she putting you up as some sort of savior for her physical or emotional life, before she knows how you take your coffee or how you like your eggs cooked? If that is the case, and you are buying it, you might want to consider that the only thing in you gullible enough to fall for it is your ego.
Healthy men don’t just not need a pedestal to stand on, they avoid standing on pedestals like the plague. And they cast a very, very wary eye at anyone who tries to elevate them to that level after spending a collective 8 hours or so getting to know them.
Here’s the deal, guys. Crazy women are NOT that skilled at hiding their crazy. Anyone actually looking for it can see it. In almost all cases it is only hidden from men who refuse to quit wearing blinders. That is the real, and I wager only problem here.
You may point out, and quite correctly, that it is easier to suck in a man who has very damaging and unresolved family of origin issues. It is indeed easier with men who have those problems. They were trained to seek abuse, and they are good at it. Crazy women, the destructive, high-conflict variety, have a great deal of cold empathy and have an expansive set of tools with which to manipulate and control their mark. If the mark has family issues, it paints a bigger target on his back.
The answer to it is just the same as it is for anyone else. Stay out of relationships until you are conscious of how you are manipulated and controlled. Family of origin issues can be very tough and time consuming to fully process, but it does not stop you from taking appropriate action when it is called for. As they say, “Fake it till you make it,” and, “If you bring your mind, your ass will follow.”
Feminism has brought us 50 years of women digging a chasm between themselves and men. Their path is one of mistrust, distance and separatism (except from men’s wallets and the occasional desire for proxy violence). It is an ideology not of healthy bonding between men and women, but rather it is a poisoning of the ground.
Men who believe they are hapless victims of evil women, but who make no effort to screen them out based on character or values, are following right into the feminist mindset of a hostile-dependent relationship with the enemy.
It is the worst model for male-female relations in human history and it thrives because it only demands a victim mentality, fertilized with a lack of agency and accountability.
Is this an endorsement for marriage to “the right woman”? No. Refusing to participate in marriage is wise because it reduces the chances that the state will wind up governing your life, and it removes the temptation for women to play that trump card, no matter how carefully screened, should the opportunity arise.
It still remains that human beings are a pair-bonding species. Marriage or not, most people choose not to fly solo. With that in mind, every human individual has a choice about who they are with. In short, there are no victims, only volunteers.
The more men that understand that, the fewer men will end up searching pathetically for help that is most likely not there.
Paul Elam is the author of Men. Women. Relationships. – Surviving the Plague of Modern Masculinity. He also offers fee-for-service life coaching through his website.