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So the recently resurrected topic entitled "Adolescent Relationships" came to my attention today, and it created a pressing enough question in my mind that I thought I would start a new topic (one that is more narrow in scope)... I'm not technilogically advanced enough to know how to link the two, so mods help me out if you think they need to be linked :P

So the question is: is being old-fashioned in one's behavior in a relationship un-objectivist?(and I am speaking of manners, gifts, etc - let's leave sex out of this one). In that previous topic, several members voiced their opinions that women don't like flowers, and don't want you to be polite, etc, and I was shocked. Has the world really come to that? Do all other rational people really believe that it is a bad idea to give a woman flowers as an expression of interest? Do all other rational people really believe that being cocky is the best approach for winning a woman over? Is that kind of early behavior really condusive to a successful relationship, or does it just successfully line up a long row of flings?

I'll address the cockiness factor first. Do other objectivist woman find cockiness attractive in a guy they are just getting to know? I am NOT attracted to cockiness, at all. Confidence and humor will catch my eye, but cockiness just screams something else to me: jerk. The character of Howard Roark, for example, is extremely attractive to me (well, as attractive as a fictional character can be anyway), but he doesn't strike me as cocky. COnfident and insightful, yes, but cocky, no. Even the whole "rape" scene seems to be more of a result of him having successfully assessed the situation, over the course of time, rather than a consequence of him being cocky. Am I reading that entirely wrong? Am I alone in that perception? The thought that some men out there still believe that woman say they want one thing and actually want another is frightening. I have had one experience with a guy who thought just that and it was SCARY, not enticing. I was frightened, not turned on. And to say that Dominique (again, to use the Fountainhead example) really wanted one thing but said she wanted another is pointless because her actions are what communicated her desires. Some women may not say what they really want, but their actions will tell you where their lines are. To presume that ALL women are hiding their true wants is DANGEROUS, and not likely to lead to a successful introduction, let alone a relationship. The thought of being with a cocky guy just seems like more work than its worth; just another dumb barrier an individual erects to supposedly "smooth out" the introduction process. If, as a guy, you're being cocky because you really are cocky, well then good for you: you're being honest from the start. But good luck finding someone patient enough to deal with that on a daily basis. If you're pretending to be cocky to make yourself more attractive, good luck with that. That certainly would not attract me: but tell me, fellow objevtivist girls, would that attract you?

As for gifts, I am saddened to hear so many objectivist men think that giving flowers is wussy. Really? Maybe I am not speaking for all girls out there, but I love flowers. I don't love them because they're traditional, I love them personally because I consider flowers to be one of the most beautiful things in existence on this earth, and the gift of them is an offering of beauty, not of need or emotional desperation. Granted, I will say that a lot of women expect flowers just because they are a traditional sign of romance, but even if we assume that they are just a traditional sign of romance, does that make them so bad? I have had two relationship in my life, and they both started extravagentlywith flowers and fun dates and I loved it. Had either of those indivuduals come to me as a cocky, over-assuming a**hole, they certainly would not have gotten very far!

So, while traditional romantic offerings and gentlemanly behavior from the start may not be NECESSARY for a successful introduction or relationship, I am unable to see how, if presented, they make a relationship unlikely. Guys that act like "jerks" may attract lots of women, but how many of those jerks end up having meaningful, serious relationships with those women? From what I've seen cocky guys may attract hot chicks, but they just end up having flings (for many reasons...).

Thus, my inquiry is two fold: are there any other objectivist women out there who do not find traditional romantic offerings to be a turn off? And two, are there actually any objectivist guys out there who have found this be a jerk and don't give a woman anything approach successful? Just curious how isolated I may be in my opinions on this one. :dough:

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You are on track with your thinking. My husband and I are/were very romantic -- because these gestures of "old-fashionedness" actually mean something. As real-life examples:

Letters through the mail: expressions of thoughts framed in creative and beautiful ways, while having the actual piece of paper your love wrote on in your hands while you read. Creates a form of intimacy not achievable with email or even phone calls.

Flowers: especially perfect red roses. If others don't understand what flowers represent, I suggest cultivating an imagination. Sensuality is key to creating an atmosphere of passion and vivaciousness.

Those are just two, but more imaginative men will get it -- those who find women worthy of the effort. I have known men who have no clue and are cocky, as you describe. They most often lack genuine self-esteem, and are out to "impress" women (and others) by acting the life of the party and best at everything. This is second-handedness through and through. I've even known one who considers himself a victim if he must think of a woman's context.

You are right to stay away from those types, Objectivist or not.

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This is very interesting topic that i'd love to dig deeper into when I have the time. However, a couple of quick points that hopefully will help the discussion along:

What I think some have reffered to earlier is not just about being cocky, but being cocky and funny - which is an entierly different thing. The idea is teasing, flirting and making the woman laugh(not roll her eyes and sigh). It's supposed to be funny, but with a hint of confidence/cockiness. Do a quick google search on "cocky and funny" and take a look at a few of the links to get a better idea(it's a rather well known concept).

I personally don't like the cocky and funny that much, it's not my style, but it does not have to be that bad(applied right it can sometimes be hilarious). I just thought i'd mention it to avoid people talking past each other, I think it becomes much clearer if you add emphasis on the funny part.

Now, regarding being a gentleman I think the biggest problem is that it's so misunderstood by most guys. They use flowers, gifts and being nice as means to attract a woman. That's probably just as attractive as kissing up to your boss to get a promotion, and that's why it backfires so often. How many women here would feel more attracted to a guy they don't respect if he started doing nice things for you? Am I right in assuming that you would find it sweet at best, and pathetic at worst? What I think, correct me if i'm wrong here, is that women want this from guys who they already like, based on more fundamental values. That is, a man worthy of womens respect and admiration can very sucessfully be a gentleman, but it's not a good thing if it comes from a lack of self-esteem.

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Now, regarding being a gentleman I think the biggest problem is that it's so misunderstood by most guys. They use flowers, gifts and being nice as means to attract a woman. That's probably just as attractive as kissing up to your boss to get a promotion, and that's why it backfires so often. How many women here would feel more attracted to a guy they don't respect if he started doing nice things for you? Am I right in assuming that you would find it sweet at best, and pathetic at worst? What I think, correct me if i'm wrong here, is that women want this from guys who they already like, based on more fundamental values. That is, a man worthy of womens respect and admiration can very sucessfully be a gentleman, but it's not a good thing if it comes from a lack of self-esteem.

True, some guys do mis-use flowers (kind of like parents who try to buy their kids' love by spoiling them with an abundance of toys). If the flowers are coming from someone you don't respect, whether it is a loved one who's done wrong or someone you entirely don't know at all, then yes I agree they could be confusing and their purpose may be missed. If, however, flowers are presented to someone who have already begun to get to know, or someone you already love, then their meaning is clear. Perhaps I should have clarified that above. My extravagent, gift-ridden dates were not with strangers: they were both with individuals I had been in email exchange for sometime (thank you match.com!). If you love someone, the fact that they do nice things for you should not make you respect them less: it should make you repsect them more because they are indicating by such action that they understand you and know what you want, need, and desire. If however, as you say, the flowers are coming from soem sort of lack of self-esteem, then no, they would not be considered romantic (though there are a lot of women who accept them all the same...). The cause behind the flowers is essential to their romantic meaning.

So yes, women do want gifts like flowers from someone they already like. I laugh when I think of how in high school, student government would sell single roses for guys to send to girls in class on valentines day. Sometimes girls would get one from a guy that they not only did nto like, but had no idea that they like them, and they would throw them away. I guess that proves the point. But, when you got a flower from a guy that you may have secretly had a crush on yourself - I can imagine that must have been a good feeling (no one ever sent me flowers in high school :dough: ) There does need to be some kind of a hint of mutual interest between two people for gifts to be appreciated in the right way. Without mutual interest, they ar ejust flowers and are meaningless, in a way. With the right kind of motivation driving the urge to give, and to receive the flowers, however, they can be amazing.

Edited by 4reason
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There is nothing inherently valuable in cockiness. There is nothing attractive about irrational confidence. From personal experience, I can say that it is very annoying. Rational confidence is always a good thing.

I love receiving flowers. If given for the right reason, such as you described, they should be rightfully appreciated.

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While I am not an Objectivist woman, since my bride has taken a moment to reply to your query, I too will offer my opinion, based on experience.

" ... is being old-fashioned in one's behavior in a relationship un-objectivist?"

No. Not by a country mile.

" ... several members voiced their opinions that women don't like flowers, and don't want you to be polite, etc."

To the extent that this can be generalized, they are wrong.

"Has the world really come to that?"

The world? Nope. The majority? Un-uh. A large number of "guys", including a gaggle of young Objectivist bucks on some forum? Perhaps.

"Do all other rational people really believe that it is a bad idea to give a woman flowers as an expression of interest?"

No. Substitute "most" for "all" and it's still "no". Try "some" and I'm still doubtful. "A few knuckle-draggers"? Maybe so.

"Do all other rational people really believe that being cocky is the best approach for winning a woman over?"

That one practically answers itself. Does a really good woman find "Clever" attractive? Yes. How about "Charming"? Yes'm. "Humorous"? Ditto. "Self-confident"? Oh, hell, yes!

But "Cocky?" What? Are you serious?

"Is that kind of early behavior really condusive to a successful relationship, or does it just successfully line up a long row of flings?"

C. Nope of the above.

"I am NOT attracted to cockiness, at all."

If, by cockiness, you mean an exaggerated and/or false show of confidence, or braggadocio, you are well served by your distaste for the trait.

"The thought of being with a cocky guy just seems like more work than its worth; just another dumb barrier an individual erects to supposedly "smooth out" the introduction process."

Very insightful.

"Guys that act like 'jerks' may attract lots of women..."

Generally untrue ... but to the extent that this does play out, it's not of great value to the "guys" ... and it is sad that there are guys ... including some Objectivist guys ... who don't seem to know better. Of course, as you say, it will hinder their happiness in the long run. Not to mention the happiness of the women who deal with them.

"And two, are there actually any objectivist guys out there who have found this 'be a jerk and don't give a woman anything' approach successful?"

Sure - except that what you get isn't worth getting.

"Just curious how isolated I may be in my opinions on this one."

Though you may be uniquely perceptive on these issues, you may trust that your general understanding and evaluation are not unusual at all.

All the best to you!

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I think giving a girl gifts is a wonderful idea - not right off the bat, but after you've gotten to know each other somewhat, and only after you have some evidence that she's interested in you. Receiving a gift from someone I'd never shown interest in would creep me out a bit. While I've never been particularly enamored by flowers, they are certainly NOT a turn-off. Personally, I prefer gifts that have more permanence.

I first met my husband at an Objectivist conference, and we were long-distance email/phone friends before we started dating. Even when we were just friends, we would send each other gifts - like our favorite CDs or DVDs. After we started dating, he bought jewelry for me because he knew that I love jewelry. Gifts like these mean a lot to me, because he cared enough to discover my values and act on that knowledge.

As for cockiness, I also find it completely unattractive. Being confident, on the other hand, is very attractive. A confident man doesn't care who else thinks he's great - a cocky man does. I agree with KindredAmy: cockiness is thoroughly second-handed. I wouldn't have given my husband the time of day if he'd followed the advice given by some of the guys in the older thread you referenced.

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"Thus, my inquiry is two fold: are there any other objectivist women out there who do not find traditional romantic offerings to be a turn off? And two, are there actually any objectivist guys out there who have found this be a jerk and don't give a woman anything approach successful? Just curious how isolated I may be in my opinions on this one."

I can only answer that latter. Yes I have used being a jerk to a girl to get the girl. I have used this tactic multiple times. There honestly are girls out there that like to be with jerks. I am not a jerk in everyday life, and am not a jerk to the current female I'm interested in as she is not attracted to jerks.

On another note, I do not believe girls honestly are attracted to rudeness or jerks. I think it is actually an attraction to dominance/submissiveness.

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4Reason: I think it's a case of omission. I think I, and many others, just couldn't be bothered to post in that thread or get into an argument with EC over it. It's just not worth it. I would say most people do think that women like being offered virtues, not the sham pretense of virtue such as this kind of cockiness and false-pride you speak of. I know I and every guy I know thinks that.

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True, some guys do mis-use flowers (kind of like parents who try to buy their kids' love by spoiling them with an abundance of toys). If the flowers are coming from someone you don't respect, whether it is a loved one who's done wrong or someone you entirely don't know at all, then yes I agree they could be confusing and their purpose may be missed. If, however, flowers are presented to someone who have already begun to get to know, or someone you already love, then their meaning is clear. Perhaps I should have clarified that above. My extravagent, gift-ridden dates were not with strangers: they were both with individuals I had been in email exchange for sometime (thank you match.com!). If you love someone, the fact that they do nice things for you should not make you respect them less: it should make you repsect them more because they are indicating by such action that they understand you and know what you want, need, and desire. If however, as you say, the flowers are coming from soem sort of lack of self-esteem, then no, they would not be considered romantic (though there are a lot of women who accept them all the same...). The cause behind the flowers is essential to their romantic meaning.

So yes, women do want gifts like flowers from someone they already like. I laugh when I think of how in high school, student government would sell single roses for guys to send to girls in class on valentines day. Sometimes girls would get one from a guy that they not only did nto like, but had no idea that they like them, and they would throw them away. I guess that proves the point. But, when you got a flower from a guy that you may have secretly had a crush on yourself - I can imagine that must have been a good feeling (no one ever sent me flowers in high school :( ) There does need to be some kind of a hint of mutual interest between two people for gifts to be appreciated in the right way. Without mutual interest, they ar ejust flowers and are meaningless, in a way. With the right kind of motivation driving the urge to give, and to receive the flowers, however, they can be amazing.

Yes, exactly, it's about the context; from whom, why and in what situation.

I think some of Ayn Rand's words are very applicable here: "To say 'I love you' you must first pronounce the I" (hope I got the quote right btw). So here it's a case of "I am a gentleman", "I like you" etc. One must establish the I first, then communicate and act according to ones values.

I can only answer that latter. Yes I have used being a jerk to a girl to get the girl. I have used this tactic multiple times. There honestly are girls out there that like to be with jerks. I am not a jerk in everyday life, and am not a jerk to the current female I'm interested in as she is not attracted to jerks.

On another note, I do not believe girls honestly are attracted to rudeness or jerks. I think it is actually an attraction to dominance/submissiveness.

I think dominance is one factor, another one is insecurity and second-handedness. For example, in a lot of material by pick-up artists you'll find the concept of demonstrating higher/lower value and social status. Many women respond to demonstrations of high value(or if their value gets lowered) and high social status by trying to qualify themselves to the man. This works great on a lot of women, but a lot of women are also insecure(just like a lot of guys are). I can't imagine a rational woman of high self-esteem responding in the same way.

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Many women respond to demonstrations of high value(or if their value gets lowered) and high social status by trying to qualify themselves to the man. This works great on a lot of women, but a lot of women are also insecure(just like a lot of guys are).

Insecure or can not tell the difference between pretense and real virtue (at least at first).

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What I think, correct me if I'm wrong here, is that women want this from guys who they already like, based on more fundamental values. That is, a man worthy of woman's respect and admiration can very successfully be a gentleman, but it's not a good thing if it comes from a lack of self-esteem.

Yes. Plus it also helps if he selfishly enjoys it (like Hank enjoying seeing Dagny wearing that expensive jewel he purchased for her).

This was very glamorous but even a simple almost nothing can achieve a status of something very sensual between the two people. We give meaning to things. The most pleasure is available to those who are the most rational.

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I don't think there is anything wrong with being "old fashioned romantic" in the sense this thread started out with; in fact, I prefer to be that way when I am interested in a girl. Part of the problem I have run into, however, is that a lot of woman think that the guy is doing this just to get in her pants, and then she rejects it. So, I think the problem goes both ways.

I love to write love poetry, and giving flowers and gifts; and yes I will occasionally do this as an apology. But the real reason for me doing it is to show the woman that I have a mind and that I am romantic. I don't do it to impress her any more than Howard Roark built beautiful buildings in order to impress Dominique; it's just my personalized way of saying, "I love you."

Real romanticism in relationships is not an easy thing to accomplish, because even though the man is expressing what he likes about her in his own personal way, he has to show that he really appreciates her for being her -- and that she is his highest value contextually. When I write a love poem it is always very personalized, and women tend to love getting these poems from me. But a problem I have run into is that they are not willing to be romantic "all the way" and by that I don't means sexual intercourse. What I mean is that romanticism in art can be reflected in everyday romantic relationships, but many women do not know how to react to that; at least some of the ones I have dated. So, for me,this type of non-romantic woman is not the one for me. If she feels trapped into having sex with me because I wrote her a poem, instead of enjoying it and being romantic with me, then she is not getting me, and the relationship generally ends with her saying no more.

But one thing I'd like to point out is that romanticism in relationships comes from knowing the other person intimately. It cannot work if the girl does not want to say anything about herself or communicate with the guy. I suppose a rejection of this comes from being manipulated by guys, and they are afraid of being hurt once again by opening up to a jerk who has borrowed everything he aims at a woman instead of using his own best judgment -- i.e. he is being a second-hander. But I love to show that she means something to me, and the way I show it requires her to likewise think it through and make her best judgment and not be a second-hander.

So, I think in a sense, romanticism in a loving relationship is on a thin thread -- from both men and women, because they don't know how to be intimate with each other both mentally and physically, and that the physical intimacy must come from the mental appraisal of the woman, which means he needs to know enough about her to be romantic with her.

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One more aspect, which I want to mention as relevant, is that any signs of affection should be expressed in proportion to values presented (so that they are perceived by the other person as earned) and to the intensity of the bond (on both sides) already established. This is true for both the pursuer and the pursued. Otherwise it could be (and usually is) a turn off.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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I, personally, have found that most of the guys who claim that women are attracted to jerks are "nice guys" who have no discernible personality, so I theorized that these women were taking the jerks as mildly preferable to the damp lumps of clay they were otherwise confronted with. The only other people I've found making this claim are jerks whose criteria for "successful" relationship seems to be three dates or sex, whichever comes first.

Anyway, pretty much anything can be romantic in the proper context, it's knowing or figuring out the right context and acting appropriately that makes the big difference. So I think the proper rational answer to such questions as: "do women like flowers?" is "well, yes, but not when they're tossed in as the obligatory thing or overly extravagant given your existing relationship or given as a bribe or a dozen other situational variables".

The thing that I see a lot of guys doing, however, is ignoring the context and assuming that since their inappropriate flowers were rejected, women just don't like flowers any more. It's like women, in their minds, are a list of switches or check boxes that have to be hit in order to secure nooky and either something is "good to get women" or "bad to get women".

Ugh.

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I, personally, have found that most of the guys who claim that women are attracted to jerks are "nice guys" who have no discernible personality, so I theorized that these women were taking the jerks as mildly preferable to the damp lumps of clay they were otherwise confronted with.

This is entirely accurate. On a similar note, and I forget where it is, but I remember seeing a webcomic that skewered the subject perfectly once, only in the opposite direction. It's this supposedly nice guy, talking to his friend about how girls are only attracted to the lying, manipulative jerks that want to get in their pants. He then describes his situation with this girl he likes, about how he's always there to be a shoulder for her to lean on, how he always talks down whoever has upset her, how he takes her side in things, how he, basically, tries to infilitrate her friend-zone, so that eventually, she'll think he's a good enough person for her to date. His friend then points out that what he's doing is being the manipulative liar; it's not that he's really 'nice', but instead, he's putting on the front of beng nice, trying to be there when she's all insecure, taking advantage of her weak-points, so that he can eventually get in her panties.

Since reading that, I never tried to be the 'nice' guy ever again. I just tried to be me. :lol:

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I, personally, have found that most of the guys who claim that women are attracted to jerks are "nice guys" who have no discernible personality, so I theorized that these women were taking the jerks as mildly preferable to the damp lumps of clay they were otherwise confronted with. The only other people I've found making this claim are jerks whose criteria for "successful" relationship seems to be three dates or sex, whichever comes first.

I think both the jerks and wussbags suffer from the same problem, which is that they need to grow up and be more mature. The difference is that the jerks can get laid, because for atleast some women the jerks appear strong and masculine. Then there are also some women who go for jerks, or "badboys", because they feel safe and protected around them. Being a wussy though is probably the worst thing in the world if you want to attract women.

Psychologically jerks tend to suffer from repression. They cannot control their emotions and they are afraid to leave themselves open and vunerable so they set up this thick wall called: "I don't give a...". Now, while they may get laid more often than the wussies they have the same potential for deep and meaningfull romantic relationships, which is none.

Wussies tend to have the opposite problem. They have no boundaries and are controled by their emotions, and very easily controled by others. They are nice because they fear conflict and rejection, and their emotions are often way out of proportion(just like Sophia pointed out).

A mature man however, can be a genuinley nice guy, but only to those who deserve it and only in proportion to what he gets from the other person. He is in control and can choose to leave the door open. There are no repressed emotions, but he does not let his emotions rule him.

I might add that becoming a mature man is a process everyone has to go through(of course the same thing goes for becoming a mature woman), and it's not an easy thing(some people never manage to do that). That's probably why you have so many frustrated guys and lonely women out there.

Insecure or can not tell the difference between pretense and real virtue (at least at first).

Yes, very good point there.

This is actually what a lot of pick-up artists live on. They project some sort of false virtue, and women who can't tell the difference respond very strongly to that. Later though when the PUA tries to build a relationship, and i've noticed this in several cases, they complain that they cannot get really close to the woman. It's like once they start showing who they really are that "spell" is gone.

I remember seeing one really sad example, I think it was on youtube, where they interviewed a PUA. They followed him out when he picked up a girl and he, quite sucessfully, used every trick in the book; backhanded compliments, cocky & funny and whatnot. Anyway, regarding false virtue... this same guy had quit his job and moved into his mothers basement so he could pick up women on a pretty much full time basis. I mean, his skills may have gotten him laid more times than anyone cares to count, but any woman with half a brain would run for her life when she found out what a complete looser she just dated.

A rather extreme example, but you know the old cliché of just being yourself is the only way that really works.

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but you know the old cliché of just being yourself is the only way that really works

Actually, given what's been said in this discussion, I think this deserves some questioning. For the nice guy wuss, being 'himself' is being passive, acquiescing, always worried about offending, etc. I disagree with the comments that suggest this is some kind of 'strategy' to get into women's pants, for the too nice guy the emotional feelings are sincere, they are just not checked by enough reason or moderation. I also disagree that 'nice guys' always agree, always take their partners side, etc, being nice is different from being 2nd handed. I also disagree that most 'jerks' are actually using the 'jerk strategy' to get into women's pants, they are just actually jerks, and the nice guy wusses are just actually nice guy wusses. Most 'jerks' I have observed are usually very physically attractive, and are jerks partly because they can be, and still get women, but also because they harbor a sense of self worth based on the quantity of sexual conquests. The wuss nice guys base their self worth on sexual conquests as well, but i'd say they base theirs on the quality of sexual conquests, if they get that one good woman they like alot into a LTR, they feel good about themselves, if they don't get that one women, they feel pretty bad about themselves.

'just be yourself' can, unfortunately, be a mixed bag of whim worshiping, idealizing genetic behavioral influences, or acting on incorrect premises and values and the emotional reactions from those. Human behavior is a complicated interaction of randomness, genetic influences, environmental influences, and choice. Who are you is who you choose to be, but if you don't make clear informed choices, who you are is what those other things make you out to be. And when you choose who you want to be, WHAT do you base that choice on, what is the standard your compare it against, or the idealized goal of yourself you strive for? In Rand's "The Art of Fiction" she talks about the common psychological narratives, where one's character is fixed, but they struggle to change it hopelessly, or where one's character grows, but they struggle against predetermined events hopelessly, contrasted to the very rarely portrayed person whose character changes and changes the major course of events.

For example, I received an email from a girl I'm interested in, in response to one I had sent a few weeks prior. How long do I wait to reply? If i were to 'just be myself' I would have instantly sat down and wrote a lengthy reply and shot it off to her. How long should my reply by? The same length as hers? a little longer? a little shorter? I'm an easily excited, extremely inquisitive, and wordy person with a whole lot of interests, if I were to just 'be myself' I would probably write a reply about 4 or 5 times longer than her email to me. I'm not sure what 'myself' should be, and if we can choose over the long run the kind of person we are, it's something we should be mindful of. Generally, for lack of any better clarifying rule, I follow a proportionate response that Sophia regularly suggests is appropriate. I also adopt a little bit of the best game strategy, tit for tat with an occasional co-operate. I try to keep my responses proportionate to not only the extent of what the other person expresses but also it's depth and emotional intimacy, but I throw in a little more once in a while (the occasional co-operate) to see if they are comfortable with a higher level of expression and if so they would respond in kind and if not I don't throw in so much extra as to be overwhelming or overbearing.

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Actually, given what's been said in this discussion, I think this deserves some questioning. For the nice guy wuss, being 'himself' is being passive, acquiescing, always worried about offending, etc. ...

'just be yourself' can, unfortunately, be a mixed bag of whim worshiping, idealizing genetic behavioral influences, or acting on incorrect premises and values and the emotional reactions from those. Human behavior is a complicated interaction of randomness, genetic influences, environmental influences, and choice. Who are you is who you choose to be, but if you don't make clear informed choices, who you are is what those other things make you out to be.

Being yourself does offer a mixed bag of potential responses by the person you are interested in, but I think it is important to be yourself from the start. If the other person cannot handle it at the beginning, then that should be an indication that this might not be the most desirable of romantic combinations. I don't think someone striking up a little more confidence to approach someone of interest means you are being untrue to who you are; it means you're taking a little more confidence in yourself and showing growth. Now, if one puts on too much confidence and starts pretending they are all sorts of things they are not, well, that's beyond cocky: it's just plain stupid and dishonest. Be yourself to the extent that you are not feigning anything; being a little more confident isn't faking it so much as it is finally finding it.

But I believe flowers can help the shy guy along just as easily as they can help the astutely confident one, and Sophia was wise to highlight the fact that the proportion of the exchange has to be considered. I think we can all agree that romantic gifts offered to a complete stranger will produce no good effect (or maybe there are a few women out there who would accept gifts from strangers with delight, but we can question the values of those kind of women in another thread :lol: ) And when the guy gets pleasure out of the offering, like Rearden's bracelet to Dagny, that is amazing. When a guy gives you something he knows you like because he knows you will like it, that speaks volumes about his feeling for you. For example: my favorite bouquet to receive has always been daisies. Yes, I prefer daisies to roses because they remind me of the backyard full of daisies were I spent my summers as a child. When someone understands that, then I know they understand me. ANd that they like to bring back happy memories for me... well, that's just love plain and simple. But there has to be that understanding of what the gift means between two people: that's why gifts to strangers don't work and that's why over-extravagent gifts may also fail to produce the desired result (though sadly there are just as many 2nd-handed women who love these kinds of sugar-daddy type gifts from men who don't really love them in the right sort of way). Wasn't there some kind of nasty looking shop clerk in Atlas Shrugged who fit this bill? But hey, to all those wealthy men out there who can shower their women they love in the right way with nice gifts, more power to you!

Alfa hit the nail on the head though when he said the gift has to be a demonstration of value; if it is nothing more than a false pretension or a display for others about the kind of gifts you can buy, well, then it's not really a gift for someone else because you value them is it? It's a gift for you to maintain your own secondhandedness. There's no romance in that. But Rearden didn't give Dagny the bracelet so others would know; he did it becuase he took pleasure in offering something of value to someone of value to him. That's how gifts should work; whether it's a simple bouquet to someone who have only thus far exchanged conversations with or an extravagent piece of jewlery offered in proposal to someone you have known and loved for some time.

Well, I must say, it is reassuring to see there are still others out there who appreciate the traditional offerings of romance. There are people out there, male and female, objectivist and non-objectivist, who misuse and misunderstand these gifts, it's true. But the fact that there are still people out there who see the value and the pleasure of them is pleasing indeed.

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I don't think someone striking up a little more confidence to approach someone of interest means you are being untrue to who you are; it means you're taking a little more confidence in yourself and showing growth. ... Be yourself to the extent that you are not feigning anything; being a little more confident isn't faking it so much as it is finally finding it.

Actually that was my point, and this is a good example of it. If you force yourself to be a little more confident, than, technically, you are not being 'yourself' you are being someone else, someone exactly like you, but a little more confident than you are. When you say it's 'finally finding it' I read that as adopting an attitude that is more proper. If someone forces themselves to be a little more confident, than that means that they have a little less confidence than they feel they should, and doing that enough utlimately internalizes the new found confidence and the more confident behavior becomes your normal. When you are showing growth, you are changing, and you are choosing to change, but ultimately you must choose which direction you change in, and what your ultimate destination is. Saying something like 'just be yourself' is a little too close to 'living in the moment', just focusing on the immediacy of that very instance. I would say one should always strive for, or try to be, the person that they most want to be - having that right level of confidence, the right level of courage, the right level of deliberation, the right extent of an emotional reaction, etc. Determining WHAT is that right level is very difficult, and is no doubt different for every person, and could possibly shift through the contexts of various stages of your life.

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To elaborate on what's already been said, I think that in order to have confidence of the sort needed to attract another, a person has to already have found value within themselves. I think this is one of the reasons that dating was much harder for me as a teenager than it is now in my late twenties. When you're young and just beginning your life you are still in the process of forming your own identity and therefore may have doubts as to who you are and what you'll ultimately become. As I have become older I've noticed a shift in my own mental approach to dating. My biggest concern in trying to land a great relationship used to be, "Does she like me?" and that line of thinking lead me to commit quite a few blunders when it came to dating. I would worry about enacting the kind of gestures that I thought were romantic (giving flowers, jewelry, holding doors, etc.) only to discover in retrospect that when I performed such actions they probably weren't wanted.

After so much failure, I focused on what I wanted to do with my life and my work and figured that I'd rather be alone and happy with myself than miserable trying to make someone else love me. I realized that the whole point of dating is simply to get to know the other person (instead of trying to make them forever mine) and that made me able to authentically respond to the woman in question. Nowadays, my biggest concern with dating a woman is, "Do I like her and why/why not?" I no longer worry about when to enact such romantic gestures as the context of the relationship in progress naturally suggests what is appropriate at what time. Naturally, I enjoy the idea of love and romance more than I used to yet it is not as big of a concern to me as it used to be either. That sense of needing to bolster my confidence in order to approach a woman faded away when I changed my priorities when it came to dating. I didn't have to change who I was, act cocky, act sensitive, or act on confidence I didn't have. What I did was build my life into something valuable and realize that the right woman will understand that value for what it is. Learn how to say the 'I' and everything else follows.

[EDIT 11:07 Changed wording in first sentence.]

[EDIT 11:22 Fixed grammar error in second paragraph]

Edited by Pianoman83
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I'm not sure what 'myself' should be, and if we can choose over the long run the kind of person we are, it's something we should be mindful of.

"Should" be? What do you mean, "should" be? Should be by what standards?

Being yourself means behaving in the way that lives up to *your own* standards without taking reference to anyone else's standards, real or imagined. Saying that you don't know what yourself should be means you don't know what your standards should be--i.e. that you, at present, have no standards. And if you have no standards, then you probably shouldn't be pursuing romantic relationships, because you have no clue what you want.

I have found that once you have your own standards for how *you* behave, it's a lot easier to understand what other people are communicating. You're not obsessing over "what am I presenting?! how will they take it?!", because you *know* the face that you're presenting--it's *your face*.

My "face" is pretty simple: I say what I think. I've actually become quite friendly and outgoing over the past few years and can happily converse with just about anyone. I don't worry any more about committing social faux pas because I realized that I don't *care* about most of what other people consider a faux pas--I wouldn't be offended if they said the same thing to me, and I assume everyone is rational and benevolent. Amazingly, I've found that people stop interpreting my faux pas as mean-spirited and *don't* get offended, because my personality is now very consistent and obvious.

Oh, I've thought that it might be cool to be this fearsome ice-chick who sits in silence with the sardonic raised eyebrow, but that isn't me. I can write characters like that, but I can't *be* like that and don't want to--or, at least, not when I remember that it means I have to stop talking.

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Actually that was my point, and this is a good example of it. If you force yourself to be a little more confident, than, technically, you are not being 'yourself' you are being someone else, someone exactly like you, but a little more confident than you are. When you say it's 'finally finding it' I read that as adopting an attitude that is more proper. If someone forces themselves to be a little more confident, than that means that they have a little less confidence than they feel they should, and doing that enough utlimately internalizes the new found confidence and the more confident behavior becomes your normal. When you are showing growth, you are changing, and you are choosing to change, but ultimately you must choose which direction you change in, and what your ultimate destination is. Saying something like 'just be yourself' is a little too close to 'living in the moment', just focusing on the immediacy of that very instance. I would say one should always strive for, or try to be, the person that they most want to be - having that right level of confidence, the right level of courage, the right level of deliberation, the right extent of an emotional reaction, etc. Determining WHAT is that right level is very difficult, and is no doubt different for every person, and could possibly shift through the contexts of various stages of your life.

If someone acts to develop the confidence he thinks he should have, i'd say he actally acts more in line with himself. That is, he acts more according to the ideas and the standards that he holds. If, however, someone puts on an act like some poorly fitted clothes that he really does not like and is rather uncomfortable with, just to attract some female, then i'd say that person is faking it.

For example, I consider myself a nice guy, sometimes a little too nice. However, I value honesty, integrity and self-esteem and for that reason I try to set boundaries, act more assertive when I have to and set a high value on myself. Sometimes I do have to push myself, but I do so according to the ideas I hold to be true and according to my standards.

I could probably get more chicks if I decided to start acting like a "player"; throw in a few negs(backhanded compliments), cocky & funny, demonstrations of higher value etc. I could, but that's really not me, it's not who I want to be and I really don't like the idea of that. I much rather act like a gentleman, because I enjoy it and it's an honest display of my values. So I just remind myself not to go into wussyland and make sure my actions are congruent with the ideas I hold.

So, in the first case I would be acting more myself while the other case is a matter of trying to fake it. Granted though, there's also a third option - I could change my ideas. Say if I notice that i've accepted and acted on false ideas, I made a mistake and I was wrong. Then, of course, it's time to change the false ideas and integrate the right ones. This can mean a long process of change and one can come out of it very different indeed.

However, as far as pursuing romance is concerned one should be pretty well set before attempting such things. There is of course room for a little trial and error and it can provide valuable experience, but to be really sucessfull you need to know yourself and be a well integrated person. You must be able to be yourself as the kind of person you want to be and like to be(and of course, according to rational standards - not just some arbitrary whims).

I hope this makes sense, I feel this could be dealt with a little more thoroughly but I wanted to give a little outline of my thinking. I'm glad you questioned my previous statement because the whole idea deserves a little more serious examination.

Edited by Alfa
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I think it's not "be yourself" exactly, for the reasons Matus1976 describes -- sometimes people use "being yourself" as an excuse to be lazy. After all, James Taggart just wanted to "be himself" with Cherryl -- but "himself" was a conglomeration of bad premises and malevolent motives. He wanted someone who would love him without his having to deserve that love. When people use "I just want someone I can be myself with" in THAT sense, they don't deserve real romantic companionship.

I think it's more "Be the person you want to be, and not the person you think you need to be in order to get this woman." That is, if a man takes a hard look at himself and realize that he has a lot of work to do in order to be a better person, he should do that work and not content himself with the lazy "I just want to be myself and find someone who loves me for who I am." Otherwise, the only romantic partner he has a chance of ending up with is the kind who would accept all comers -- hardly the "highest type of woman he can find." But he should not make the mistake of acting in a way counter to his normal self only to attract women -- that's second-handed. If he works out at the gym because he knows his pot belly could use a few crunches, that's good; if he thinks his body is fine, and only works out because he thinks doing arm curls with the heaviest barbells he can find will help him pick up women at the gym, that is second-handed. Any woman he meets that way will, if she sticks around long enough, figure out that what she thought attracted her to him (an interest in fitness) was a sham.

As for the original post, I agree that romantic gestures should be proportional to the value of the relationship, and the more they demonstrate how highly the man values the woman (or vice versa), the better. My fiance doesn't just bring me flowers; he brings me irises, because he knows I like purple and that purple flowers make me smile. He doesn't just bring chocolates; he brings my favorite chocolates. I love that he knows what I like and that it gives him selfish pleasure to see me enjoying something he has brought me. If he had just handed me a bouquet of red roses on our second date, I would have been put off, because he didn't know me well enough at that point to value me highly or to know what I liked.

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