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Dating - Any Objective Guidelines?

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I was not sure where this topic belongs, so I put it here. I have been off the dating circuit for a long time - actually, to be more accurate, I never got on! I was in a serious relationship for nearly two years (the only relationship in my life), and since it ended, I think I have become very cautious and reserved about the women I allow into my mind and my life. I have been ready to move on for a long time, but there is a basic dilemma which stops me every time from asking someone out. How do I go about choosing a person to ask out on a date? This is very difficult for someone like me who doesn't want it be based on good looks alone (although that is important). I personally cannot tell a person's sense of life just by looking at their face. And if I randomly ask the first beautiful woman out, there is no gaurantee that I will not hate her during the first date, and I don't want to set myself up for such repeated dissapointments. So my question to this forum is - how do you decide who is a worthy candidate for making that all important first move? Is there an objective criterion for it?

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How do I go about choosing a person to ask out on a date?

eeeeeneeeemeeeeneeemiiineeeemooo

Seems like if she intrigues you, shows passion for life (i.e. has goals and tries to obtain them), has decent personality+looks, then she's a candidate for asking out.

Anyhoo, those are my standards

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There most certainly is an Objective criterion. You have to get to know someone a little before you can get a sense for whether or not you might want to ask them out.

Dating is the process of discovery, to answer the question "Is this the person with whom I can share my life?" You cannot discover the answer before you date -- you must date in order to discover it.

To get to that first step and beyond, you need a written list. Sit down, put your thinking cap on, and start writing down the values you hold most dear. Once you have enough of them, start prioritizing -- put the most important stuff at the top and things less important to you at the bottom.

When I did this, I wound up with four categories: Abstract deal-breakers, abstract optionals, concrete deal-breakers, concrete optionals. Abstractions are things like "selfish" and "honest". Concretes are things like "interest in computers" and "motorcycling". "Deal breakers" and "optionals" should be obvious.

It should also be obvious (hopefully) that the list is a list of your qualities that you are most proud of in yourself. For example, you cannot list "honest" if you yourself lie from time to time. The only things you are allowed to list that you don't have yourself are things which are specifically "feminine" or "masculine".

This list becomes a living document. As you grow your own character, and date and learn from it, it will be modified: things will be moved (usually from "optional" to "deal breaker"), added, deleted, and changed.

Do not share your list or its contents with your acquaintences, friends, or girlfriends. You must judge them without projecting, and without giving away what's on the list and allowing them an opportunity to deceive you.

In meeting new women, you begin to evaluate them. Compare what you know of them to the list. When you find one intriguing enough because enough things start to fit, you'll ask her out. Once you find the woman who has all of your "deal breaker" qualities, you've found the one (assuming you haven't overlooked anything!). :confused:

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Like Tom said, you should definitely start with a list. Writing down what you want helps to make it explicit. You'll also find it helpful when you're trying to evaluate whether someone meets your criteria. Of course, having a list doesn't mean you'll find your ideal mate right away. It took me 10 over years from the time I first wrote my list before I found him.

So say you've found a perspective mate. How do you judge them? Look and listen. If one of your criteria is honesty, you'll look for consistency. Judging honesty is something you can practice even outside of dating. The easiest way I've found to tell if someone is dishonest is that they contradict themselves frequently. When you ask them about the contradiction, they tell you that you're imagining things or that you're assuming. They try to convince you that you're the one with the problem. When I started talking to Tom, I found that he was refreshingly consistent. It was easy to judge him, and he earned my trust quickly. He could tell I was evaluating him, and was not defensive about it because he was confident that I would not find anything I didn't like. (If I had, he would have known that I wasn't the right girl, anyway.) He just waited. He did not demand instant trust (aka faith) from me, either - he knew it was something to be earned. Of course, he was evaluating me at the same time. We knew each other for 3 years before we got to the point of evaluation, and several months of evaluation before I invited him to date me.

Look and listen also implies that you don't rush into dating or a relationship. That's a good way to get disappointed and hurt. No rational woman will be offended if you take it slow and get to know her; on the contrary, she wants to make sure that you are able to appreciate her. This is really key for women. We want to be appreciated for our virtues. Objectivist women especially are rare treasures, and we know it. We don't put out for any guy who comes along and says "you're a hottie, wanna get frisky?" Eek. Judging from your post, you're not that kind of guy, but keep in mind that you're looking for your female complement and everything that entails. So ask her a lot of questions. Get to know her. It will make her feel valued, as well as allowing you to judge her. Ask open-ended questions, rather than yes/no questions, to elicit more information. Ask her what she thinks about whatever is important to you, and why she thinks that.

So, how do you find Objectivist women? Go to where the Objectivist women are. Forums and IRC are a good way to listen to what women have to say to judge whether they are worth pursuing. There aren't many, and several of us are taken, but like I said it won't happen overnight. I know of at least half a dozen couples who met online in IRC. Local Objectivist clubs are another place to look.

How do you avoid being disappointed on the first date? You can either screen women as I just described before dating them, or just prepare yourself for disappointment on the first date. Maybe you'll have a lot of first dates. If you're disappointed, you won't have a lot of second dates. As long as you don't get physically involved on your very first date, you won't feel anywhere near as disappointed as it sounds like you were before. You'll also learn to judge people better, which will benefit you in other areas of your life.

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Thank you for all your responses. It sounds like there is no shortcut, and I do have to set myself up for at least one dissapointment, but all your replies were pretty useful in that they gave me ways I can even minimize those first dissapointments, by casually getting to know someone before asking them out. What I was hoping for (unrealistically, I admit) was some way you can tell if a person is the one, at first sight! The reason I so frequently think about such a thing as this (love at first sight) is because Ayn Rand portrayed it in her novels (Roark and Dominique's instant attraction at first sight, in The Fountainhead).

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There is something about the Dominique type that really turns me on ... a shade of Schopenhauer ... the kind of one one wants to sex the malevolence out of ... the sense of life but the naivete ... the waiting but not waiting ... the reality that one doesn't have to wait as long as Howard Roark ... the philosophical talent required to seduce and conquer ... the dedication to one's work and his frustration at it ... and his attempt to attempt the same type of thing ... but his thing is flawed and thus doomed in the context of our love ...

I don't know--I just recently fell in love again with the Dominique type. And there are so many out there to explore.

Maybe it's because I'm a fiction writer.

When I do fall in love, I'll let you all know, which has never happened.

Americo.

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What about appearance? Over the last few months I've been talking with many others about this exact topic. To me, as far as I've thought this out, there is a difference between who you are attracted to, and who you find appealing to your eye (hot, cute, pretty, et al...). Has anyone ever experienced a time when you saw another individual and you just were instantly drawn to them, that they were just the most beautiful person you had seen in a while, and made everyone else disappear in the room? To me that is how I define attractive. Then you have others who are cute and good-looking, but by no means are you attracted to them. For me this would include women that most meny gawk over...Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Cameron Diaz....and so forth. And thus is how I decide who to date in a sense. It's given me a tierred system on how to 'start' analyzing a person in reference on whether or not I want to date them. This, of course, changes over time depending on a variety of factors based on my own values. SO, there are some girls who I think are cute which have this grand passion for life and has a driving desire to better herself...and I would date them OVER a girl who i found attractive yet believes that nothing is absolute, corporations are enslaving men, and so forth...

hope this made sense, and if possible, I would appreciate feedback.

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What about appearance? Over the last few months I've been talking with many others about this exact topic. To me, as far as I've thought this out, there is a difference between who you are attracted to, and who you find appealing to your eye (hot, cute, pretty, et al...). Has anyone ever experienced a time when you saw another individual and you just were instantly drawn to them, that they were just the most beautiful person you had seen in a while, and made everyone else disappear in the room? To me that is how I define attractive.

Have you ever experienced attraction to the intellect of a woman? If so, why would you confine the definition of "attractive" solely to the physical side? Perhaps you need to divide it into the concepts of intellectual and physical attraction.

Then you have others who are cute and good-looking, but by no means are you attracted to them. For me this would include women that most meny gawk over...Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Cameron Diaz....and so forth. And thus is how I decide who to date in a sense. It's given me a tierred system on how to 'start' analyzing a person in reference on whether or not I want to date them. This, of course, changes over time depending on a variety of factors based on my own values. SO, there are some girls who I think are cute which have this grand passion for life and has a driving desire to better herself...and I would date them OVER a girl who i found attractive yet believes that nothing is absolute, corporations are enslaving men, and so forth...

hope this made sense, and if possible, I would appreciate feedback.

I can't say I didn't understand it, but nor can I see what your main point was.

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What about appearance?

Philosophy includes the branch of aesthetics, it is not apart from philosophy.

A woman who dresses smartly, wears her hair appropriately for her face, and applies her makeup in the most flattering way possible for herself is saying something about how she values herself. Conversely, a slob in a sweat suit with no makeup and her hair in a rubber band says something about how she values herself at well.

For fitness: same thing. A woman who is fit, has curves where she should and none where she shouldn't, is that way because she made herself that way. A blob with rolls poking out here and there made herself that way (or allowed herself to be that way) as well. Yes: even women who have a lower metabolism can still diet and excercise properly if they choose to do it! There is no reason why anyone must remain overweight, even if they are genetically predisposed to be that way. That is why it is said to be predisposition and not a necessity.

So men who are attracted to certain women are attracted to them because of value-judgements they have formed -- for most men these value-judgements are implicit, but they are value-judgements nonetheless.

To summarize: there is no dichotomy between philosophic values and appearance, because one's appearance is a philosophic value (either positive or negative).

Edited by TomL
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What about appearance? Over the last few months I've been talking with many others about this exact topic. To me, as far as I've thought this out, there is a difference between who you are attracted to, and who you find appealing to your eye (hot, cute, pretty, et al...). Has anyone ever experienced a time when you saw another individual and you just were instantly drawn to them, that they were just the most beautiful person you had seen in a while, and made everyone else disappear in the room? To me that is how I define attractive. Then you have others who are cute and good-looking, but by no means are you attracted to them. For me this would include women that most meny gawk over...Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Cameron Diaz....and so forth. And thus is how I decide who to date in a sense. It's given me a tierred system on how to 'start' analyzing a person in reference on whether or not I want to date them. This, of course, changes over time depending on a variety of factors based on my own values. SO, there are some girls who I think are cute which have this grand passion for life and has a driving desire to better herself...and I would date them OVER a girl who i found attractive yet believes that nothing is absolute, corporations are enslaving men, and so forth...

hope this made sense, and if possible, I would appreciate feedback.

yes, I have. In fact, I work for her. I never was physically attracted to her, but over time, my perception of her positively changed because of her unparalleled intellect (she's a judge, btw), so that there was this attraction, but not a physical one.

TomL....I know exactly what you're saying, and that is something I often point out. Appearance in the sense of clothing and presence is a very important aspect. But I'm going a bit further than just clothing...particularly I'm talking about the face and the body (in general). How the person values his or her appearance is very important, and it does play a role, like other values, in how one would percieve that person, but it is not the only one. Paris Hilton, for example, still is pleasing to look at even if she is wearing tattered clothes, because her face is very symmetrical (and well taken care of, i'm sure). Discussing the topic of how one analyzes the face of others, and how that affects the person taking in this raw physical appearance of another, a friend began suggesting that this may have much to do with psychology...particularly how a child learns what is beautiful, attractive, dull, ugly....during childhood. I hope this puts you both on the right track of what I'm talking about....and apologies for not having made the clarification in the first post.

edit:

To summarize: there is no dichotomy between philosophic values and appearance, because one's appearance is a philosophic value (either positive or negative).

right, there is no dichotomy whatsoever. better, this would include the body features of that person....but what about facial structure/composite?

Edited by Colonel Rebel
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this would include the body features of that person....but what about facial structure/composite?

They are also included; they are value-judgements. Much of the time, implicit ones starting from childhood. Unforutnately, in our culture this means much of this is done rather second-handedly :sorcerer:

Edited by TomL
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  • 2 weeks later...
So my question to this forum is - how do you decide who is a worthy candidate for making that all important first move? Is there an objective criterion for it?

I think you're making much too big a deal about dating.

A lot of men think that to ask a woman out on a date is some enormously important honor — that, in effect, a man first falls in love with a woman, decides that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her, then works up the courage to ask her out. (See the character of Ross on the first season of Friends for a painful dramatization of this.) Consequently, in the minds of many men, to ask a woman out on a date is tantamount to confessing powerful romantic feelings for her.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, to ask a woman out usually communicates at least some romantic interest (and for this reason, it can be a confident, unambiguous, highly masculine move). But in the mind of a truly romantic man, dating is really just the opportunity for a man and a woman to get together, to have an enjoyable time out, and get to know one another better. Maybe the relationship will grow into something serious, maybe not. The romantic man is present in the moment; he's not super-invested in the outcome of a date — and consequently, he's also not paralyzed by the fear of rejection.

Guys tend to think in terms of all-or-nothing when it comes to romantic love. They're either cross-eyed with desire for a girl, or they see her as their kid brother. A guy won't ask a girl out for coffee, on the grounds that he's not 100% certain that she could be his top human value — yet he'll start talking about marriage to a girl he does like on the second date.

Women, on the other hand, tend to be much more aware of the process of love; they tend to be more in touch with, and able to enjoy, the experience of getting to know someone across time, and of discovering what are their feelings for him. Consequently, women tend to love dating — they see it as exciting and romantic — while men tend to despise dating and view it with a mixture of terror and dread.

This is one area where men need to be more like women. Guys need to learn how to lighten up, and enjoy the process.

Romantic love is a serious issue, and it is a major value in human life. But too serious an attitude toward the dating process kills romance. A man has to learn to enjoy talking to women and making them smile — to enjoy asking a woman for her phone number, asking her out, and taking her out for a fun, enjoyable time, free of pressure and without any fear of rejection.

To be with a man who exhibits this kind of confidence and internal security is enormously psychologically liberating for a woman. It allows her to relax and be feminine — for once in her harried, hectic life — which in turn allows her to be the most open and responsive toward him.

How do I go about choosing a person to ask out on a date?

Easy. You follow your feelings. Haven't you ever heard of being attracted to someone?

Contrary to what some people on these boards would have you believe, romantic love is, at root, an emotion. This isn't to say that love is only an emotion, or that feelings are ever to have the final word on one's choices and actions. But it is to say that one cannot operate in the field of romantic love without near-constant reference to one's feelings; that we don't fall in love by conscious decision or evaluation; that no matter how much you may intellectually assess a person as noble or attractive or desirable — no matter how closely they may match a literal inventory of virtues and values — if it isn't felt, it isn't love.

Of course, you're not going to feel full-blown love for someone right off the bat. Love is a process, and love takes time to develop. But the process of love cannot grow out of a zero; if you don't feel at least some significant attraction to a person very shortly after meeting them, the odds of you ever having strong romantic feelings for them are virtually nil.

I need to point out that although this is true for both sexes, the kind of attraction men and women feel in the beginning tends to be somewhat different. As a man, you have it real easy: your initial attractions will be primarily sexual — meaning that you can be attracted to a woman based solely on her physical appearance, and that alone can draw you to her and make you want to get to know her better. (A woman's initial attraction is usually a little more complicated, consisting of physical attraction combined with a very special kind of admiration.)

What can be tricky is learning how to honor your attractions, while seeing them for what they are, and assigning to them no more and no less significance than they deserve. Emotions are not tools of cognition — feelings, as we know, are not knowledge. In a case such as this, though, feelings serve as critical data in the acquisition of knowledge. An initial sexual attraction is a sign that this is someone you might be able to fall in love with; it's your indication that you need to get over there and get talking to her.

How do you know when you should ask a girl out on a date? Responding specifically to you and your current situation, I think you should be asking out every available woman who you find yourself at all attracted to. Again, don't make too big a deal about this; no doubt you're anxious to meet the girl of your dreams, but first you need to get lots of practice talking to women, asking them for their phone numbers, asking them out, and taking them out on fun dates. In fact, I hope you don't meet Miss Perfect anytime soon; you're not ready for that yet. Only once you're extremely comfortable around women — only once women are no longer a mystery to you — are you finally ready to meet the one that you can have a serious, long-term relationship with. Until then, you're just going to blow it.

One last thing, because I can see a disaster epic in pre-production in your post: Although it may sound odd coming from an Objectivist, I think you're too wrapped up in yourself. You're too focused inward, when you need to be more focused outward. Let me explain:

You acknowledge that you have little experience in romantic love, and almost no idea what you're doing in the realm of dating. Yet your first question and central concern is not what is the nature of woman, and what are a woman's uniquely feminine needs, but rather what you should do — how can you tell whether a woman is right for you, your fears of rejection, your concerns about making a wrong choice, etc. It's all you, you, you. But romantic love has nothing to do with you. As a man, romantic love is all about the woman's feelings for you. Your feelings don't matter — they don't count. At all. Only hers do.

OK, so I'm exaggerating slightly. But it's only because the majority of men are virtual solipsists in romantic love. Most men, when it comes to relationships, are trapped in a Matrix of unreality — ensconced in their own feelings, ignoring, downplaying, or entirely misrepresenting to themselves the feelings of the woman they're interested in. A guy meets a girl and immediately feels an attraction to her; he becomes bowled over by his feelings — he's on Cloud Nine, beside himself with joy over his lucky find, utterly obvlivious to the fact that his "find" is romantically indifferent to him. He has no idea how to read a woman's signals. To whatever extent he thinks about it at all, he assumes that she feels the same way — she must, after all, since for such powerful feelings not to be reciprocated is something too terrible to contemplate. Consequently, he often invests a great deal of time and emotional energy in wooing and pursuing her, only to eventually hear the dreaded line about wanting to be "friends" — the sign of a woman at her wits' end, who simply cannot take a man's advances a moment longer.

If you're still dying to have someone tell you the magic trait or characteristic you should observe during your first conversation with a woman, I would say that the most crucial thing you should look for in a potential romantic partner is romantic interest in you. Whatever else you put on your "list," this has to be #1. It's not a guarantee, of course, and it's certainly far from the only trait that must be present in order for a relationship to happen and succeed. But without it, nothing else — and I mean nothing else — matters.

If you learn this, and you take the time to become skillful in reading women's emotional signals and responding appropriately to them, you'll be way ahead of the vast majority of guys out there, and be well on your way to becoming an aware, sensitive, successful, truly romantic man.

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Kevin,

I just want to say thanks for that post - you made several excellent points! Would you mind if I printed it for my own reference?

I would like to add one thing - the "right" time to ask a woman for a date is when I realize that I like her enough to want to know more. (Assuming she's available.)

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I think you're making much too big a deal about dating.

If its not a big deal, then why are you writing a book about it?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, to ask a woman out usually communicates at least some romantic interest

How much interest is enough to ask a woman out? I would contend that there must be serious interest before asking a woman out. Dating for dating itself isn't going to lead anywhere real except by blind fortune.

One must introspect, identify one's highest virtues -- practice them first-handedly (thereby programming one's emotional mechanism properly) and learn to identify those virtues in another person.

dating is really just the opportunity for a man and a woman to get together, to have an enjoyable time out, and get to know one another better.
If there is sufficient cause to warrant romantic involvement. Otherwise its hedonism.

The romantic man is present in the moment; he's not super-invested in the outcome of a date — and consequently, he's also not paralyzed by the fear of rejection.

Oh ... my ... goodness. The lack of investment is not what should give a man confidence, but his own surety in his own efficacy, and in the consistency that his emotions have with reality.

But too serious an attitude toward the dating process kills romance.
Not for a man whose emotions are consistent with reality.

A man has to learn to enjoy talking to women and making them smile — to enjoy asking a woman for her phone number, asking her out, and taking her out for a fun, enjoyable time, free of pressure and without any fear of rejection.

And he must do this by knowing that if he is rejected, it is either because the woman cannot evaluate him properly, or she doesn't hold the same values he does. Thus, it is not a loss.

To be with a man who exhibits this kind of confidence and internal security is enormously psychologically liberating for a woman.
But if he's only confident because he doesn't care about her (his "lack of investment"), then its a pretext.

Easy. You follow your feelings. Haven't you ever heard of being attracted to someone?  ....  no matter how closely they may match a literal inventory of virtues and values — if it isn't felt, it isn't love.

Absolutely. But attracted to them why? The main issue here is programming your subconscious through a chosen, explicit process with chosen, explicit premises that are consistent with reality. So that when the emotion is felt, you can depend on it. If you don't do that first, your emotions aren't worth spit.

The reason that most men are blubbering idiots around gorgeous women is that they have no confidence that their emotions are valid with respect to reality, and for good reason. They don't bother to program their subconsciouses properly first.

Knowing Objectivism is one thing. Using it, practicing it, doing it, will change how you feel, and you can't short-circuit that process by simply dismissing one's bad emotions with "well, I'm not super-invested". What does "super-invested" mean that "invested" doesn't?

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There seems to be two type of women of the same type of moral sense of life. There is the one who knows what she wants. There is the one who is still figuring out who she is at the deepest level. For the former, if I had taken the time and effort to woo her in various ways, and suddenly she hit me with "let's be friends," I wouldn't want a woman who took that long to let me know, if I were straight.

Kevin, you seem to start from the premise that most men are fools. Maybe they are--but one of the best things I look for is brutal honesty. This is very sexy. Sure tests are fine. But if there is not sufficient honesty then the woman suffers from some sort of fear.

People tend to be afraid to be honest. Certainly I want honesty in regards to me not being appealing. Granted that if a woman is interested in me, then part of the fun is not knowing all her intentions.

It may be rare, but I don't think that the status quo should be that woman have to wait to be pursued. It would be extremely appealing, the idea of a woman actively pursuing a man.

Then there is the woman who is conflicted and doesn't know what she wants. There can be much fulfillment in bringing this woman into one's value system. This type of woman will usually reject the deserving man. But the man shouldn't stop. Sure, he should stand back and strategize. But to turn this woman around should be one of his top priorities.

There is a certain uniqueness that one wants in a romantic partner. If the conflicted woman has this uniqueness then she is worth conquering.

There is much good advice you give, Kevin. But I don't like the way you make men seem, i.e., clumsy. I'm gay but most people are surprised. Women are not hard to get to know even before they know I'm gay, at all. The key is to be yourself (once one is comfortable with oneself) and to be honest. The response from women has been very promising in my experience.

Maybe I have a special aura. But there is much in Objectivism that can provide men with that aura. Look at Francisco, Ragnar, even Roark. Look at Rostand's Cyrano. Look at some of Hugo's heroes. Look at Ayn Rand on video. Understand where the personal confidence comes from and your aura will shine.

Americo.

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Kevin, you seem to start from the premise that most men are fools.

We certainly start out that way. (At least us heterosexual guys do.)

One of the major premises of my book is that an understanding of romance does not come naturally to men in the way that it does for women. When a woman is very young, she's able to introspect, examine her own nature for about five seconds, and immediately the entire issue of romantic love becomes abundantly clear to her. Consequently, the average woman likely spent a great deal of time in her adolescence dreaming about romance.

Men don't have any such access to instant knowledge; we never went through any comparable period where we fantasized about being the hero on the white horse, sweeping the woman off her feet. Not surprisingly, most boys grow up to be terribly confused about romance, and often very unsuccessful in their relationships with women — with little more than their feelings, the bromides of their culture, and the advice of their older brothers to guide them. We're expected to be experts in a field that we know very little about, that we really can't know much about, at least not without some serious study and life experience.

The issue of romance may be obvious to women, but men have to LEARN it.

If I had taken the time and effort to woo [a woman] in various ways, and suddenly she hit me with "let's be friends," I wouldn't want a woman who took that long to let me know. . . .

[O]ne of the best things I look for is brutal honesty. This is very sexy. Sure tests are fine. But if there is not sufficient honesty then the woman suffers from some sort of fear. People tend to be afraid to be honest. Certainly I want honesty in regards to me not being appealing.

I want to make emphatically clear that this is not an issue of a woman's honesty, nor does it mean that she is suffering from a neurotic fear. It's a matter of men and women speaking different languages.

When it comes to romantic love, women do not want to have to communicate directly — at least not what a man would consider to be direct communication.

This is doubly true when it comes to negatives, such as the kind you mention. A woman will generally not say to a guy, "I don't find you appealing," unless: 1. He's a total pig, on the order of Larry Flynt or this idiot, or 2. She has exhausted every other indirect means of letting him know she's not interested that she can think of. Even the "let's just be friends" line is a euphemism — not dishonesty, but an sincere attempt let a man down easy; a gesture intended to spare his feelings and allow him to save face.

While I do think that most women would do well to learn to be a little more direct with men (especially in communicating negatives), it's still mostly up to men to learn how to be more aware of and sensitive to these indirect feminine signals. To do so not only has immediate practical value for a man, but it also makes him more attractive in a woman's eyes.

It's an extremely positive experience for a woman to be with a man who "gets it" — who demonstrates that he understands her language, and can respond appropriately to her messages. It allows her to relax, to tap most fully into her femininity, and thus to respond most fully and most positively to him.

Edited by Kevin Delaney
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Easy. You follow your feelings. Haven't you ever heard of being attracted to someone?

Contrary to what some people on these boards would have you believe, romantic love is, at root, an emotion. This isn't to say that love is only an emotion, or that feelings are ever to have the final word on one's choices and actions. But it is to say that one cannot operate in the field of romantic love without near-constant reference to one's feelings; that we don't fall in love by conscious decision or evaluation; that no matter how much you may intellectually assess a person as noble or attractive or desirable — no matter how closely they may match a literal inventory of virtues and values — if it isn't felt, it isn't love.

That was not only an unnecessary thing to say, but it calls only for confusion. First of all, one should NEVER “follow one’s feelings” as they are not tools of cognition; they are neither means of perception, nor of conception, nor are they irreducible primaries; they are only the means of reacting to, or evaluating one’s perceptions—and conceptions (and they don’t say anything about the validity of those evaluations). Which means that they are always secondary, not primary. One should always follow one’s rationally formed convictions—especially in the field of romantic love; feelings are only our means of enjoying existence.

This is not all however. One implicit premise in that quoted paragraph is that cognition is possible without evaluation--a false premise.

You are certainly right—(or “half-right”, if one may say such a thing)—in saying that “we don’t fall in love by [direct] conscious decision or evaluation”, but that is true not only of love, but of all emotions—as they are automatic, i.e.: not under our conscious control—they are automatic reactions to conceptions or perceived existents.

Now you go on to say: “no matter how much you may intellectually assess a person as noble or attractive or desirable—no matter how closely they match a literal inventory or virtues and values—if it isn’t felt, it isn’t love.” That would be true, if such a thing were possible, but it is NOT. There is no cognition-evaluation dichotomy. You simply cannot intellectually assess a person as being noble, attractive, desirable, BECAUSE they possess a literal inventory of [your] virtues and values without evaluating that person according to your accepted standard of value, i.e.: without feeling it. An evaluation would necessarily and automatically follow—as that is the way of human nature. One may ignore that feeling, or refuse to act on it, but that would only be repression as the feeling wouldn’t disappear.

Men don't have any such access to instant knowledge.

No one has access to “instant knowledge”. Or are women mystical creatures of some sort?

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How do I go about choosing a person to ask out on a date?

Two easy steps:

1. Find a woman that you find attractive.

She doesn't have to be a goddess, but you personally should find her physically attractive.

2. Talk to her.

Introduce yourself. Ask her some basic questions first: name, occupation, interests. DO NOT ask whether she has a boyfriend. At this point you don't care if she has one. That's her problem right now. Not yours.

Now you may need to have multiple conversations with her before you know whether you want to date her. Arrange future meetings where you can talk further. Get her phone number and call her. Ask her more difficult questions. Is she religious? Does she have political beliefs? Has she read Ayn Rand? Ask her exactly what you want to know about her. If you disagree about something very important to you, then settle the matter before asking her out.

Keep talking to her until the idea of buying her a present pops into your head. At that point, don't actually buy her a gift. Ask her out on a date!

Edited by MisterSwig
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Two easy steps:

1. Find a woman that you find attractive.

She doesn't have to be a goddess, but you personally should find her physically attractive.

2. Talk to her.

...

MisterSwig and Kevin - Thanks for your advice. There is something that both of you suggested which I am not able to follow.

You say - if you find a woman physically attractive, then that is a cue that you need to get out there and talk to her.

But is it possible to feel physical attraction for someone even before you know anything about them personally? I am not talking about instinctive, one-night-stand attraction here, but real, sensual attraction which you feel for a person who embodies your highest values.

Now, there's no denying that there are women who I will think of as sexy in the conventional sense, but that is certainly not a sign that I need to go talk to every woman who I feel turned on by. I categorically believe that emotions are not tools of cognition. I admit I do see women everyday who I think are physically attractive, but I guess that is because my body has not yet caught up with my new belief system that physical attraction is something that should morally be linked only to mental attraction, and not, for instance, how curvaceous a woman's body happens to be.

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