Reading Tea Leaves

Here’s a post I came across via @Urwingman.

The author, Nick, poses the question of whether or not porn is interfering with men’s/people’s dating success.

Almost every guy I talked to had the same reason for their dating struggles — they weren’t meeting enough girls. They gave excuses like “I don’t have the time,” or “I just don’t feel like it.” So, I pried further to determine where this lack of motivation stemmed from.

I found out that these men do have the time and energy to socialize with more women. This includes their lunch breaks, after work, on the weekends, and during errands. The glaring problem was that their daily routine included going home, pleasing themselves to porn, and then relaxing to play video games or surf the net…..

Consistent masturbation to pornography stops men from meeting women.

I don’t know. I’m not so sure that porn really has anything to do with it. Doesn’t this speak more to the possibility that these guys just don’t have an overwhelming desire to date anyone? I mean, if masturbating sates a person’s desire for companionship, doesn’t that really speak to the importance they place upon a need for companionship more than anything else? Therefore, it’s not the porn that is the problem. Nor is it the accessibility and ease of wanking it. I would think it’s the person’s desire to interact and form connections with other people that is the issue. Maybe it stems from a fear of rejection or a simple lack of interest in dealing with the hassle of dating. I don’t know. But I highly doubt that porn is the problem. It might be an outlier, but it’s not the root cause of why these guys aren’t going out and meeting people. Personally, I think that if guys consider masturbation to be better than a real live person from time to time, there are much deeper issues at work. You can get off and have no desire to meet anyone in those few hours after, but that typically fades, doesn’t it? Sure, if you’re sitting at home pleasuring yourself every 4-6 hours on the clock, then that might be a problem. What’s keeping people from going on dates or meeting people isn’t that they’ve relieved a sexual urge. It’s that they’re probably depressed. Porn or no porn, that would still be a factor. The correlation being drawn here doesn’t really work for me. But then, I think most of the correlations we draw between certain behavior and an outcome are sometimes faulty and our a result of us projecting our insecurities or fears on to other people .

Take that post we discussed last month about the woman who wrote out a tutorial for other single women about how to find a boyfriend via online dating. She did all these things, like post a photo sans make up, and drew the conclusion that those very things are what attracted the guy she was dating. Yet she and this man had only been dating a few months, and he ended up breaking up with her not too long after her story went live on her site. (Mind you, one of them was how she liked to be spanked. So in that regard she might have a point.) Maybe if she had 3 or 4 relationships that came about due to this profile, then her theory might be true. But one instance does not indicate a pattern.

I was reading another story the other day about a woman who had been set up on a date by a matchmaker. From the minute the matchmaker informed her of the date, she went looking for clues to help her determine the guy’s level of interest. She followed the matchmaker’s instructions and placed an introductory phone call, then she sent him and email and he replied to that and they set up the date. But he didn’t contact her in the time between when they set up the date and the day of the date. So she show’s up at the restaurant and it’s pouring rain outside. She sends him a text to let him know she is there just in case he doesn’t know who she is. (Side note: the matchmaker didn’t send either of them photos of the other.) So 10-15 minutes go by and the guy shows up and she’s sitting at the bar. He finds her and she offers to go to the hostess to see if their table is ready. When she leaves he pulls out his phone, and he’s still checking messages when she gets back to their spot at the bar. Of course, she’s miffed that he “couldn’t wait” to pull out his phone then, yet didn’t manage to reply to her text just 15 minutes before. Never considering that, um, it was pouring rain outside and he was either walking in the rain and didn’t want his phone to get wet or just rushing to get to the place on time to meet her. Then she goes on to share that he kept stabbing his lemon and was pleasant enough, but…

So she offers to drive him to his car at the end of the date. She drops him off and they hug good bye and she says something to him about seeing him again. He gives a vague reply. He never calls her again.

Let’s rewind for a moment. So he did all these things that apparently annoyed her…yet she still wanted to see him again? Okay. Here comes the part where we play what my friend M. calls the “reading tea leaves” game. That is when we review the dates in our heads and pick out things that serve as “evidence” to support our rationalizations. Her findings? He was unavailable. Based on the things he did that I mentions above, he was an unavailable guy. It wasn’t as simple as the guy just wasn’t into her. It became about all the negative things he did that proved that the outcome had absolutely nothing to do with her.

We do this, thought, don’t we? We look for causes and effects and correlations? We do all kinds of what some people refer to as “unethical research” in order to come up with definitive explanations. I think we do this because we need to connect  a bunch of insignificant and innocuous dots rather than face the truth.



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10 Responses to “Reading Tea Leaves”

  1. Reader Says:

    Many men are so burnt out and tired (as a result of constant rejections in their 20s) that they withdraw from the market and don’t have a lot of motivation to go on dates, particularly if the woman’s interest isn’t guaranteed.

    It’s a question of costs outweighing the benefits. Young guys (20s) have so much energy and are so eager to meet women that they’ll stop at nothing to approach girls and court them — only to crash into a brick wall, as we all know. As years go by, these constant humiliations and rejections pile up. The supply of energy that men have is not inexhaustible.

    I’m speaking from my own experience. As a 30-something guy, I’ve lost all my motivation and energy to court women (although this is also probably somewhat hormone-driven). Nowadays, I’m content to stay home and surf the web. But in my 20s, I would go out on a daily basis, trying to meet women, I was so excited that I was prepared to invest a lot effort, even though it never paid off; the lengths to which I went to impress women, and make a good impression on them, were incredible.

    Recently, my family tried to introduce me to a 20-something girl, and gave me her #. When I called, I got the usual arrogant attitude that girls typically have at that age, so I cut my losses and immediately stopped all contact. My family was shocked. They expected me to pursue the girl, despite her arrogance, and to keep persuading her, as I would in my 20s, and I had to explain to them that men in their 30s are a little different from men in their 20s: they’re so cynical and exhausted that there’s no way they’re gonna be making any effort at all anymore. The effort now has to be made by the women.

    • Howard Says:

      If only we men had the same testosterone levels we had at 18, we might continue to be just as predictable. As testosterone levels drop, so does the willingness to deal with entitled behavior from women.

      As women embrace equality, they should embrace the abandonment of outmoded ideas that place too much of the onus for relationship initiation on men. It’s the insistence on demanding equality, but demanding a continuation of old privileges or inequities, that flamoxes men.

      The key issue is getting what we want, especially when it’s all achievable. I am still convinced that women are primarily not getting what they want because they are stuck in outmoded frames, always right frames, argumentative frames, unfriendly frames, unadaptive frames, and most importantly lack of urgency frames.

      Let me give an example. My current girlfriend got upset at me a couple of times early in our relationship over trivial things that were assumptions on her part, and she later came back and apologized for getting upset like that. Things could have gone very differently, if I hadn’t remained levelheaded. Whatever happened to giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

    • DC Phil Says:

      I knew about the cost vs. benefits when I was in my 20s, too, though I chose to focus on other things after two very bad dating experiences left me burned regarding what I wanted and what the girls were wanting. Besides, there was the world to see and many attractive Korean girls who were very happy to be with me. :)

      In addition, I realized in my 20s that, if I didn’t learn how to make myself happy and content, then I’d be miserable because I’d be doing the same thing that many of my peers were doing at that age: seeking validation from others who obviously weren’t interested in giving validation. I still think that women are more prone to doing this than men.

  2. Charlie Says:

    “What’s keeping people from going on dates or meeting people isn’t that they’ve relieved a sexual urge. It’s that they’re probably depressed.”

    Yep, that’s certainly a big part of it. But at the same time I think another big part is disillusionment. After a long enough “losing” streak it’s really hard to muster up any interest in trying again. I hate to admit it, but I generally refuse to interact with women in my general age range nowadays, aside from a few long time friends. I’ve just been burned way too many times with too few positive interactions to counterbalance. Outside that range, sure I’ll chat and am happy to be friends, but inside that range I just don’t really see the point anymore. I’m content with the number of female friends I have and what I’d like at this point in life is a girlfriend I can connect with, but at this point I don’t think it’s going to happen anymore. So I guess in my personal experience it can be chocked up to a combination of depression and disillusionment.

  3. VJ Says:

    From listening to singe guys I know the entire ‘disillusionment meme’ is a strong & very real one. Most guys (and plenty of gals) are just sick & tired of all the overly complicated games. Worse, the economy has upended many dreams and plans for the future. For all too many guys, ‘romance without finance’ is worse than a nuisance, it’s damn near impossible. So unless there’s some new realistic expectations by everyone in this age of diminished expectations? There’s no dating, just ‘hanging out’ & doing ‘whatever’.

    There’s yes plenty of other simpler, much cheaper ‘entertainment’ options to pursue. This includes more p0rn, & erotic images and fantastic fantasies to be played out on the web as have ever existed in the mind of men.

    So again the eternal question is ever, ‘What value added options might you add to the mix?’ What do you bring to the table? Instead of the ever present demands and expectations of hypergamy by and from women, what might someone expect from your company? A half formed petulant child always demanding ever more ‘inputs’ and constant entertainment’? A deeply cynical player who’s always working all the angles, with a perpetual ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude? A persistent ‘date stacker’ who’s the party gal/boy of the block? A hard line careerist drone, with little sense of humor, fewer outside interests, and a massive sense of their own sense of self worth? Yet another young run of the mill, self involved, unenlightened, unself-aware, entitled princess/prince of whatever ethnicity?

    Finding someone decent of any real maturity or responsibility while in their 20’s is seemingly getting more rare all the time. Why go through all the bother of searching the haystacks for that one needle? By the time they’re 30 something, more will have figured it out better, but at the tremendous cost of time and lost opportunities. Families & marriages get delayed, and some never started or entered into. Those are the clear costs for everyone. Many gals are just searching for different things in their 20’s, more ‘excitement’, more dramas, self discovery, more ‘churn & burn’. When they’re finally exhausted from this prolonged ‘experimental’ period, many of them look to finally ‘settle down’ with someone. The many ‘stable’ ‘hard working’/decent/average guys are simply largely an after thought until many hit their 30’s and start thinking about marriage. Then they’re picking over the leftovers of those remain.

    Yet it’s never been easier to find and contact someone from around the globe and well outside your state or city. And there’s much more of those ‘discoveries’ and connections going on today than ever before. Look around you, there’s more mixed race couples, more cross ethnic couples than ever in our history. Somehow it’s just the ‘white folks w/ white folks’ that seems to be falling behind for some reason. (There’s also significant ‘outmarriage’ for Asian groups as well, according to the Census).

    There’s just contrasting expectations by too many on either side of this divide. Neither seems to be all to ready to supply the other with many of those today, absent some significant qualifiers and exceptions. There’s always the persistent baggage issues. The trailing kids & former spouses, gf/bf/parents. It gets complicated very fast, and more so every year. The more many remain ‘single’ the higher probability that they’ll be come someone’s ‘significant ex’ or a parent, or disabled & unemployed or unemployable. Everything is simpler at the ‘right time’. Past 35+ it only gets more difficult, not impossible, just ever more problematic. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  4. offensivedan Says:

    Jesus, reading these posts is depressing, but I will give credence to a few of the points made. Yes, it’s true that some guys would rather watch porn or go to a strip club rather than deal with the dating scene and the women who inhabit same. Yes, most potentinoal relationships get smothered in the cradle before they being because of both genders’ stupidity, unrealistic epxectations and stuntted communication skills. Yes, dating is such a pain and demoralizing after you reach a certain age when you wtiness the cynicism, materialism and offensive behavior that myself and others are witnesses to. Yes, it sucks to meet someone, finally, and then realize they are not into you. Yes, there are so many women that will use a man for entertainment and a bank for their own selfish reasons.

    However, you have to try. You can’t just say “f** it” to the rest of womankind. Man, if I would have quit I can think of all the good looking women I have dated that I would not have. And, even though I have taken a beating from women, I’m not quitting–it’s not in my nature. Like WInston CHurchill remarked, never, never,never quit.” I just need to be smarter about dating and not put myself in “bad” situations.”

    My advice to men, such as the above, is turn the tables on women and don’t spend money on a dame till she porves herself to you.. If they give you crap, such as going out with you even though they are not interested and show it on your date, confront them ON THE DATE. Tell her you are offended and to not waste your time. Then, take her home. It’s hard to do when you like the person but I think, sometimes, people need to be jolted. (Of course, try to get some before you tell her off.)

    Also, even though I have been against this forever, don’t be afraid to ask a woman who won’t return your calls if you did something to offend her. I learned this the last time I went out with this dame a few eeks ago. She said something that I did not like and I did not talk to her again. However, she wrote me asking if she had offended me. Well, I chose to reply because she made the effort to find out what went wrong. So, I told her and she explained what she meant. Now, I don’t know if I will go out again with this dame, but I give her credit for giving a shit and trying to find out what went offended me rather than just “moving on.” It’s called communication and I appreciated it. too bad, most women don’t do this and just move on to the next guy

    • M Says:

      Wow, a lot of truth being spoken by all sides on this post. I’d like to call out Offensivedan when he says “most potentinoal relationships get smothered in the cradle before they being because of both genders’ stupidity, unrealistic epxectations and stuntted communication skills.

      Absolutely. I look at my own dating history, and its not so much that I get shot down all that much, as much as I meet a girl Im interested in, and I can just tell from her body language or whatever that she’s just not interested, so I dont even bother asking her out. Why should I? She’s making it clear what her answer would be. I get the impression there’s not many girls who are willing to give a guy a chance because their expectations are so high. As a guy, I give every girl that shows me she’s interested in me a chance unless I see something about her that, from my point of view, would prevent anything from happening between us.

  5. Joey Giraud Says:

    A well known problem that zoo-keepers have; many caged animals refuse to mate and reproduce.

    Wonder if there’s any relationship between that problem and this one.

  6. Reader Says:

    I was actually myself thinking just the other day about the problem of animals refusing to mate, as the previous poster alluded to.

    It really does look like this is very similar to the conflict between the human sexes that’s going on right now. A recent article in “Psychology Today” claims, “We are in a very difficult time in history right now. It is a social flux period, where many men (and women) are not satisfied socially and biologically… They are caught between conflicting social demands and biological motivations.”

    I really feel that women shoulder most of the blame for this current conflict, because it is they who are currently delaying marriage, staying voluntarily childless, and consigning 80% of eligible men to bachelorhood (at the expense of the 20% who are alpha males). Men are simply reacting to women’s decisions. They are on the receiving end of what women choose to do; in the past, they were valued for their resources, but not so much anymore. There’s not a lot men can do, which is exactly why porn is so alluring. It’s not because men don’t want relationships, family, or children — they actually want them even more than women do now, but, as many females like Susan Walsh at acknowledge themselves, their own gender is creating the problems.

    Importantly, the current gender conflict (delayed marriage, etc.) is mostly playing out among whites. Other races seem to have more harmony in their relationship rituals. I believe this is why birth rates among whites are falling much more drastically than among other races.

  7. Mark Says:

    The opening premise may be part of it. It might be a fairly large part. But I believe that a larger issue is that technology has opened up a large pool of potential prospects that even a short time ago may have been unavailable. The search has gotten both genders into a flip the page of a catalog/ladder theory treadmill which is difficult to get off of in any real sense.

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