How to get a date

“Women in 2017 are desperate for good, honorable, decent, and kind men to date,” Jordan McGillis recently wrote.

Thus began a post in response to this: “Somewhere in the world, there is a kind, decent person who can’t find a date. Richard Spencer has a beautiful wife. This is yet another reminder that the world isn’t fair.”

McGillis went on:

The writer implies being kind and decent is enough to deserve women’s attention. I disagree. Being kind and decent is necessary to being a good man and a worthy date, but it’s far from sufficient.

If you’re a kind, decent person “who can’t find a date,” it isn’t a matter of cosmic unfairness, but almost surely your own lack of initiative. Consider taking the following eight steps to make yourself date worthy:

1. Get a job.

One that challenges your faculties. One that allows you to feel pride in your performance. One that you’re excited to talk about.

An obvious benefit of your job will be the funds it provides. These will be necessary to pursue the lifestyle steps I’ll outline below. It will also, of course, allow you to pay for the dates themselves, a role which you will assume as the good, honorable, kind, decent man you’re striving to be.

The more important benefit will be the sense of purpose and structure your job will bring to your life. If you’re a student in pursuit of a meaningful degree, the purpose element of your job isn’t as important, but you still need some money if getting dates is something you want in your life. So get a job.

2. Lift weights.

In a post-industrial economy your brawn is of very little importance. Even in emergency situations such as the aftermath of natural disasters a quick mind is a far more valuable asset than a strong body. But lifting weights has benefits beyond the strength it will help you build.

Lifting weights gives you a sense of efficacy and develops a challenge-conquering mindset. No matter how little experience you have, it will help you build confidence in yourself because with any effort input whatsoever you will improve, mentally and physically. (In fact, the less experience you have, the more profound your growth will be.)

Perhaps most importantly, it will imbue your life with goal-directedness. (This is especially important if you haven’t yet secured a job that fills that need.) Along with the goals and achievements you’ll begin to crave, lifting weights will help to order your life and supply positive emotional momentum.

A secondary set of benefits from lifting weights is the physical changes you’ll undergo. It will improve your testosterone production, your ability to generate power, and your physique. Which leads to the next point…

3. Gain ten pounds or lose ten pounds.

Ninety nine percent of men need to do one of these two things. You know which end of the spectrum you’re on.

4. Cook your own food.

In addition to saving you money, this will help you with your weight gain/loss and your health generally. As a broad principle: increase your intake of vegetables, meats, fish, and eggs. Decrease your intake of grains. Be selective with your alcohol consumption.

On top of the savings and the body composition improvements, a man’s ability to cook seems to be attractive to women for some reason. Develop three go-to meals for your weekly consumption and learn one more complex recipe.

5. Comport yourself with dignity.

With the physical changes your cooking and lifting will yield, you’re well on your way. Your next step is to carry yourself in a gentlemanly fashion. Stand with your shoulders back and your trunk braced. Walk with a purposeful stride. Stop looking down at your phone in public. Consciously de-program any annoying tics you’ve developed. Ask someone to help you identify them if you don’t think you have any.

Get a haircut. A simple, traditional style that promotes the masculine elements of your face is best. If you have the requisite follicle density, consider growing a beard. If your facial hair is sparse, do not under any circumstances grow a beard.

Before leaving the house each morning, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and throw on some deodorant.

Once you’ve gained ten pounds or lost ten pounds, buy a few new articles of clothing that fit you appropriately, i.e., not long or baggy. If you don’t know what you should get, start with a dark pair of jeans and a sportcoat. This is a tried-and-true date-acquisition combo.

Lastly, learn to hold eye contact, be courteous, and smile.

6. Cultivate your interests.

People who are passionate valuers are attractive. Apathetic people are not. Pursue deeply the things you find interesting. Don’t worry about whether women find these same things interesting. First of all, some of them will, but whether they do or not, deep interest and expertise in literally any subject matter will make you a more attractive man. Few things can captivate a woman more fully than a man who knows what he’s talking about.

7. Join a club, team, or association.

If you’re struggling to find dates I think we can safely bet you aren’t the savviest operator on the bar and party circuits. Put yourself in situations where you feel more comfortable. Find a group of people who share the interest you’ve been cultivating and spend time with them regularly. If the group you join isn’t co-ed, the friendships you develop will help you find social circles in which you’ll feel at home and hopefully find those prospective dates.

(For optimal efficiency in this date-procuring process, join a CrossFit gym. This will fulfill your lifting requirement and put you in a co-ed, rapport and camaraderie-fostering environment several times a week. Within six months of starting CrossFit, sign up for one of the big regional competitions–here in DC, for example, sign up for Flex on the Mall. Not only will your looming competition motivate you to train with more focus, but the moment you walk into the venue you’ll recognize that CrossFit competitions are a date-procurement Holy Grail.)

8. Ask a woman on a date.

This is the simplest step, yet for many the most daunting. Men who complain about not being able to get dates all too often simply take no action to this end. As my friend Patricia suggested, “Ask a woman on a date, in person, or by phone and not in a text message. Plan the date, show up on time, and be present.” Amen.

Is this list exhaustive? Of course not. But a man who has a job, who lifts and cooks, who comports himself with dignity and cultivates his interests AND is kind and decent is a man worthy of a date. And if he’s joining or forming social groups of likeminded people I think he’s done his part.

What I have not commented upon at length here are the interpersonal habits, practices, and tactics that are undoubtedly a critical component of achieving any objective that entails other people. It’s quite possible that these are the only elements that any given dateless man is missing; though important, I don’t think they’re germane to the original fairness and moral worthiness question. After all, many a man has secured date after date without a hint of goodness, honor, kindness, or decency. While date-capable and skilled, I would hardly consider such a man date-worthy.

So then Grant Babcock responded with this article in which Scott Alexander gets defensive about women’s angry reaction to men acting like shitbags while mostly ignoring the shitbag behavior from men because it’s not aimed at Scott Alexander.

In this case the shitbag behavior is being unwilling to do the work to be at all romantically attractive and also being openly angry at women for not wanting to fuck them anyway because men feel entitled to women’s bodies regardless of what they bring to the table.

“Making fun of people for being unattractive and unhappy is its own reward,” Alexander writes. Except the women are not making fun of men for being unattractive and unhappy. If Alexander had actually read the posts he excerpted, he’d find women making fun of/complaining about men for being unattractive and unhappy and unwilling to either get more attractive through self-improvement, accept their singledom, or lower than arbitrary standards and also being openly angry at women for not fucking them. “I don’t think I ever claimed to be, or felt, entitled to anything,” Alexander writes. THEN THE FEMINISTS AREN’T TALKING ABOUT YOU NOW ARE THEY?

First Alexander admits that women are making fun of/complaining about men not for being unattractive and unhappy but for being entitled assholes by citing the Nice Guy vs nice guy distinction. Which is to say there are genuinely well-meaning but clueless unattractive and unhappy guys who are not entitled or angry. Those are nice guys. Then there are Nice Guys, who are angry and entitled. Just because you, Scott Alexander, aren’t entitled doesn’t mean these men aren’t out there making women’s lives more difficult in great numbers. But then later in the post he goes right back to straw-manning feminists, saying they “mock and despise men who were sad about not being in relationships.” Uh, again, no.

Then Alexander tries to compare capitalizing Nice Guys with capitalizing Poor Minorities. Because shitting on men who are angry and entitled is like shitting on people who have been marginalized through no fault of their own. It’s amazing how hard it is for some men to wrap their minds around the fact that some men *choose* to be entitled asshats, even when women are explaining in great detail how, when, and where they are doing so.

The truth is that I very much empathize with people who have trouble finding dates. Reading came way more naturally to me than socializing.

Learning that I could, and should, learn how to people was also a turning point in my life.

I agree with McGillis in that the “laundry list” he details above certainly matters. Shit that you can only do so much about — your height, your attractiveness, your muscle composition, your intelligence, your employment — unfortunately people do care about those things. Having more of them makes you more attractive, all else equal. That’s why you should do what you can with what you have. That’s his point.

However, I think he gives short shrift to the fact that all else is hella not equal. I’ve come to learn that when it comes to finding dates, how pretty and young and smart and high-earning I am pales in comparison to something as simple as learning how to smile at men. Watching women much less all of those things than me get dates when I couldn’t was extremely instructive. Being nice is really way more important.

Shit you can learn, how to be genuinely interested in and genuinely affectionate towards other people, how to look for ways to meet their needs, how to show you care, all these things matter much more to “soul mate finding” than the laundry list. 99% of people, basically anyone who is not a celebrity of some sort, and most of them probably too, are absolutely desperate for anyone to take a genuine interest in their inner lives. When it comes to supply and demand (and that’s what dating is; they call it a dating market for a reason) people with fit bodies and high paychecks are in way more abundance than people who are able to really listen.

Becoming genuinely interested in and genuinely affectionate towards other people is something that is simple, but hard. It’s hard because we’re all naturally self-absorbed. Anxiety makes me self-absorbed. Being prone to feeling rejected, any kind of pain really, makes me self-absorbed. Being tired makes me self-absorbed. Being intimidated, feeling like I need to prove I’m worthy so looking for ways to make myself look good, these are all things I find myself doing instead of actively listening. If I had to summarize the one thing that’s keeping everyone more lonely than they need to be is that we’re all so much more focused on being accepted than accepting others. We want to be approved of more than we are working on approving of others. The thing is, it’s very difficult to accept and approve of others if you haven’t accepted and approved of yourself. That’s really where the laundry list comes in. The laundry list helps you feel good enough about yourself to not be self-absorbed with insecurity when you’re trying to connect with someone else.

As long as you’re not eliminating potential partners because of your expectation that they meet the laundry list, and as long as you can accept and love yourself for who you are, the laundry list isn’t necessary. It’s just a tool.

“A man who is kind and decent, but has done nothing to develop himself into a man worthy of admiration and attraction is not date-worthy,” McGillis wrote. But that’s the thing. Being kind and decent, by which I mean cultivating a genuine interest in and affection for others, is itself worthy of admiration and attraction. It is in fact more valuable than anything else you can possibly do. If you can manage it, you will not lack for dates.

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