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The Toad Less Traveled The guy I’m dating has a habit of putting himself down -- making cracks about his chubby face, what’s wrong with his body, or how he’d better get some “male-enhancement” pills. We’ve gone out five times in six weeks, and he has yet to make moves on me. We do flirt, and yesterday he kissed me sweetly, then smacked me on the butt as I was leaving, which made me smile. Is his insecurity what’s making the relationship progress so slowly? And do you see reason for me to worry or pull back?

--Not Digging The Digs

Interspecies dating isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. You’ve heard the one about the girl who kisses the toad? In real life, the toad stays a toad and the girl comes down with a nasty case of amoebic dysentery.

It seems you missed the giant arrow flashing the words “mouth-breathing loser” hovering over this guy’s head. He’s just trying to bring it to your attention before somebody (like him) gets hurt. What happened, you were on the list for a bad boy, but in lieu of naked and nasty with the Prince of Darkness you settled for Dungeons & Dragons with the Prince of Dorkiness? Maybe that isn’t how you see him, but from the way he rags on himself, he probably assumes when a woman points in his direction it’s only because she wants her girlfriends to know who she’s laughing at. Of course, he probably is handed his share of apartment keys by women hot for sex, as in, “Be a dear and unclog my toilet while I’m out getting used by my cruel Adonis.” (Serf’s up, dude!)

Losers are not born but sentenced by a jury of their mean little peers. Once high school ends and the “cool” kids are busy getting hired and fired by 7-11 or making bail, what keeps somebody a loser is simply believing he is one and acting accordingly. Last month, I got a slew of e-mails from a male reader whose back had seen more stiletto action than the carpet at Jimmy Choo shoes. I responded time and again with detailed directions off Planet Loser, but the guy couldn’t help himself, and each story of his use and abuse was more pathetic than the last. Finally, patience not being one of my several virtues, I wrote, “Just go to a bar tonight and pretend you have dignity!” He did. The next morning, he e-mailed: “YOU! CHANGED! MY! LIFE!” All it took was a slight change in message: “I want to be your date” instead of “I want to be your dog.”

Pathetic is easy. In fact, it can be a form of sloth. Take your guy. Unlike all those other men, sweating to be what women want, he just curls up in his trusty old fetal position, resigned to the fact that it isn’t him. Now, maybe you can tunnel him out of Dudville by telling him to kill the hard un-sell and hammering into him that whatever he’s got, that’s what you want. Somebody’s gotta do all the work, why not you? Speaking of which, he’s probably one of those guys who waits for a woman to jump him. Taking charge is a great idea -- unless you’re a woman who’s looking to land a man. In that case, your best bet is flirting yourself dizzy to let him know it’s safe to make a move. In time, say by date eleven, when you’ve worked your way up to an erotically charged hug, it might become clearer whether you’ve got a man on your hands or just a big girl’s blouse with men’s bathroom privileges.

Posted by aalkon at February 5, 2006 7:31 AM

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OTOH, we're only hearing one side here. What was the context of the remarks about himself? How did he say them? And what was her reaction afterwards?


I can see a self respecting guy with a large organ joking about it being too small in the right context. If it were in reaction to her saying she wished he was a porn star, it would have been an effective joke. The same could be said of his other remarks; what was the context?

Yeah, the guy probably did have low self esteem, but we can't know that without actually meeting him.

As for the "gone out five times and he didn't make a move," well, it takes two to tango and it also takes two to do the species' mating dance. If I'm out with a lady and start to put my arm around her and she pulls away, well, no matter how badly she may wish for it it's not going to happen.


When only one person does the "making moves" it's called rape. Most guys aren't going to blindly wade in and keep going without SOME positive feedback. What was her reaction to his grabbing her ass? Did she melt into his arms, or stiffen up and move away?


And why the hell can't I make a paragraph, even with the HTML "<p>" tag?

Posted by: steve at February 8, 2006 3:29 PM

All you have to do is double return in your typing - the comments auto-format. I gotta say the PARAGRAPH thing is annoying ;-)

Amy, I think you're right. This guy sounds like his self-esteem is down in the dirt. That's probably going to be hard to get around, and may end up being extremely tiring, too. Regarding the lack of physical stuff, it's possible that he's shy, or maybe he's trying to be a gentleman by not putting the moves on her.

As for myself, I'd be okay (maybe) with the shyness, but the constant self-degradation would work my nerves. It would be annoying, and then there's also the feeling that you've got to constantly refute his nasty comments. Not something I'd want to deal with, personally.

Posted by: Anne at February 9, 2006 8:00 AM

No, when only one person does the making moves, it's called being a man, and it's the reason my boyfriend has a relationship with me. I met him the day he was going away for a few weeks. I did really think he was wonderful. We had coffee for three hours (because he asked me out, because he's a man), and then he walked me to my car, grabbed me and kissed me. We've been together ever since.

Steve, with all the excuses you make for the guy, just a guess, but you're yet another man who's been brainwashed by the feminists?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 9, 2006 8:05 AM

"Brainwashed by the feminists"! Amen. Men should be kind and honorable, yes, but this sensitivity BS is for the birds. Men need to act like men, and women need to act like women. The sexes are *not* the same, and I wish to hell people would quit trying to pretend that we are. Masculinity and femininity are things to be celebrated, not smothered.

PS: Amy, your BF sounds like a gem ;-)

Posted by: Anne at February 9, 2006 8:42 AM

He is. I'd like to write thank you notes and send presents to all the women who didn't appreciate him enough to hang onto him.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 9, 2006 1:29 PM

"brainwashed by the feminists?" How would one know if he were brainwashed?

I'm just saying that when I grab your ass and you pull away, it means you didn't want me grabbing your ass. And if not then fine, there are women who love getting their asses grabbed. Love is a two way dance; if you werent attracted to your boyfriend when he made his pass, you would have reacted differently to him. It's a dance, and most of us do it instinctively.

Sorry about the formatting thing, it's all squashed together in one bad paragraph in the preview pane (Firefox 1.5.0 Windows XP).

Posted by: steve at February 9, 2006 7:10 PM

Get a Mac, and you can just type and everything comes out fine.

Feminists of a certain ilk told women and men that they're all the same, and a bunch of other stuff, which led to women not flirting (to give men the signals) and men to act like weenies (even when a woman did give signals) instead of men. I get all these letters from guys whining that they can't get girlfriends. My first question, always: "Do you ask women out." "Um...no."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 9, 2006 10:02 PM

Not only do you have to ask women out, you have to be prepared to be turned down and stood up. But some woman are even bigger dummies thaan the men who won't ask them out.

There is a woman who worked in my building, not bad looking for a woman her age (perhaps two years younger than me). One day she showed up tending bar at my favorite tavern. I'd heard rumors she was a lesbian, but decided to ask her out anyway.

When she laughed in my face I knew for sure she was. Later on, talking about her with a friend, he said she'd laughed when he'd asked her out, too.

So one night I stopped by there for a beer (ok, beer's cheaper in the store, I stoipped by looking to meet new women) and she's talking to some old hag who's complaining that she can't find a decent man. "The ones older than me all need viagra and the ones my age are lookinmg for women your age." Being the nice guy I am I didn't say what I was thinking; I'd need viagra to get it up for her too, and there's nothing wrong with my tool.

But I was floored at the "lesbian's" answer - she not only can't find a decent man, she can't even get a date!

I hate it when I spit beer out of my nose. Talk about losers...

However, "not digging" said she'd been going out with "toad," somebody must have asked somebody out, right?

Tell "not digging" to loosen a few buttons. If that doesn't get a rise out of "toad," either she's butt-ugly or he's gay.

Posted by: steve at February 11, 2006 8:38 AM

I was going to bother ripping apart this IDIOT steve but you know what? He's just another LOSER who will NEVER understand why his brand of "charm" doesn't work. The answer is obvious when he speaks/types. Nuff said.

Posted by: wicked opinion at March 21, 2006 8:18 PM

It's the 90's, people. Playing hard to get was for grandma. Everyone is allowed to make moves.

Posted by: steve at March 30, 2006 3:58 PM

That's a popular point of view amongst the dateless, Steve. What matters isn't what's "feminist" or not, but what works. Women chasing men are always taking a risk - and not a wise one. Men and women have different biology, and what works is based largely on that. I don't have time for an evolutionary psych lesson, but if you'll go to my book links page, click on Buss' Evolution of Desire. He'll lay it out for you. Women who want men should flirt so the guy knows he won't be rejected if he makes a move. Then the guy needs to be enough of a man that he asks the girl out. I don't make the biology, I just report it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 30, 2006 6:17 PM

who's dateless?

Posted by: steve at April 1, 2006 12:49 AM

Hey, Steve, it still isn't the nineties -- that's twice now. CHECK YOUR CALENDAR!!

Posted by: Pussnboots [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2008 10:16 PM

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