Hello all you beautiful urchins of impending doom, and welcome to Ask Dr NerdLove, the dating advice column with the skill of gymnastics and the kill of karate. This week, it's all about the setbacks and disappointments.
She's All That
When you're dealing with a dating slump, is it OK to do whatever it takes to break out of it? And what do you do when you're dating someone who's perfect… except for the whole "just revealed they're kind of a bigot" issue?
Just as a heads-up: One of this week's letters involves discussing transphobic behaviour, and the other one involves some pretty shitty attitudes toward women.
OK. It's time to get back on the (pommel) horse, spin-kick disaster in the face, and stick the dismount. Let's do this thing.
I recently got into a debate with a group of guys over the idea of "Dating/Fucking the ugly girl". I looked through your archive of articles and podcasts to see if you gave your opinion on this but I couldn't find one, or I missed it.
Basically, they found out that I'm 21 and have never kissed, let alone slept with a girl before and they are calling me out on it. (Side note: I have no problem approaching women, let alone asking them out. That being said, it's not like I'm desperately perusing women for the sake of a relationship either.)
Honestly, I view it as bad luck because most of the women I had active interest in the past few years were already in a relationship, weren't interested in me, or were strictly interested in another guy. That being said, I just went fuck it, and became friends while perusing my own endeavours.
The debate started when I mentioned that there were girls who were interested in me, but I personally did not find them physically attractive or I didn't like a couple of their personality traits. They could be a good person, but I didn't like them that way.
The group of guys responded roughly in a sense (pardon the language and feel free to tone it down): "It doesn't matter if how busted the girl is or if she is a bitch. Just date her and fuck her until you can find a woman you like. Just do it for the sake of doing it. Heck there is doggy style for a reason."
I completely disagree with this idea, but I would like your opinion on this because this isn't the first time guys have told me this in the past and I don't think it will be the last. The downside is that most of the time these guys tend to have had slept with a lot of girls already and technically dated some pretty cute girls. While I'm just here with no experience.
A different friend I asked agreed with the guys I mentioned above but added on his own reason. This friend basically said, "If you date the ugly girl, you put yourself on the radar of the other girls around you."
He basically mentioned how he dated this ugly girl and then suddenly because he was in a "relationship" girls would approach him. He told me how more of the girls around him found him desirable and started flirting with him. He also said put a shit load of social media posts showing how good/romantic of a partner he is. He said after a while he just broke it off with the ugly girl and started dating one of the cuter girls who approached him, and others would approach him just to hook up with him.
I just think that you shouldn't date/fuck a girl for the sake of just having a girl but given my luck I might just be tempted to.
- Thinking about Joining the Dark Side
P.S. They have cookies
Right, it's time for the Chair Leg of Truth. Your friends are arseholes, TaJDS.
There are a lot of terms for what your friends are suggesting, and a lot of variations on a theme: Slumpbusters, double-bagger (one for your dick, one for her head), going hogging (when the other person is overweight and thus "unattractive"), and they're all pretty fucking repulsive at the core. The idea is that because these people are less desirable to you for whatever reason, it's a) easier to hook up with them and b) more permissible to use them at your convenience. Instead of treating them like a person, they're objects to be used as needed and discarded when either you have your confidence back or something better comes along.
Ignoring the bullshit that's baked into the premise - which I'll get back to - this is a horrible thing to do to somebody. I'm a big fan of things such as flirting for practice, even with people you aren't necessarily into. I'm a fan of casual relationships, where everyone's just there to enjoy some no-strings thrills. This, on the other hand, is just straight up cruel. If you treat this exactly as it's implied - screwing or dating someone you see as beneath you just for practice, for confidence or whatever - then you're treating somebody like a Fleshlight.
Now sometimes, you'll find someone who's into that. People are complex; we aren't just people, we're also pieces of meat. Some folks are down with being used; if that's their thing, then more power to 'em. But your friends are suggesting that you lead someone on, lead them to believe that you like them, that you find them attractive, that you enjoy having sex with them… and then toss them away like a used Kleenex the moment you feel as though you can trade up.
Fuck no, fuck that, and fuck the people who suggested it. To paraphrase the sage, your friends are going to the special hell - the one reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theatre.
But what about the benefits? You'll have had sex, you'll be more confident, women will think you're a desirable partner! First of all, my eyes just rolled so hard I think I saw my own brain. Second of all:
This is what we in the dating advice biz call "a bullshit premise". To start with, let's forgo the idea that just because you (general you) think someone is below your standards that they're "easier" or that they'd be "grateful". There are damned few people out there who are so desperate that literally any attention is welcome; it's just another way of mocking and hating on women, especially women who are overweight.
But let's say that you find someone that you aren't into, and convince them that you think they hung the Sun and the Moon. Here's what you'll get from this: Jack and shit. You won't magically have more confidence because you will know this was all gained under false pretences. At best, the guilt of having lied to and misled someone will sap away positive feelings you'd had. At worst, your brain will be continually telling you that "this didn't count" because she was unattractive or that this is just confirmation that she was the best you could do.
And what about all those women upon whose radar you will suddenly appear like a sexual nuclear missile? That appeal you'll (supposedly) have is based on the idea that hey, look at what a cool, caring and awesome guy you are. What a great boyfriend you are. How sweet, how sensitive. And how full of shit.
The confidence that you display be a false front, and so will the relationship. When these women find out - and trust me, they will - what you did? That appeal you had will evaporate like an ice cube in Hell. And that's if you can deal with the sound your soul will make when it shrivels up and dies. (And before anyone asks, no being sociopathic enough to do this doesn't make you more appealing.)
The way you get a partner is that you become someone worth dating, TaJDS - not through sub Tucker-Max bullshit. You'll do far better to work on yourself and focus on being somebody that people would want to date.
All that having been said: We talk a lot about the way personality and looks intersect and how guys can date out of their league. It may well be worth interrogating just what you find attractive and why. A lot of times, especially when we're young, what we're attracted to can be different from what we think we're attracted to. Social pressure is a motherfucker, and a lot of guys will try to repress their attraction for fear of what their friends might say. It may well be worth asking yourself how you actually feel about the women you meet or whether there are aspects about them you find appealing besides what's on the surface.
But straight talk: Fucking or dating someone you don't like and aren't into is soul destroying for everyone involved. If you really aren't into someone, then leave them the hell alone and let them find someone who does want what they have to offer. And get better friends.
I met this girl off Tinder (let's call her S) and we immediately hit it off. We have a great first date and then proceed to hang out for a few weeks in the honeymoon phase where sex is still great, all our jokes are hilarious, and we can't get enough of each other.
One night, after hooking up, we start trading interesting personal sex stories. I tell her one that happens to involve a girl I dated who happened to be trans. I immediately feel S tense up after I tell her the story. I'm used to straight women not wanting to have sex with men who fuck anybody but cis het women, so I'm expecting her to freak out. But she calmly asks me some questions (How many trans women have you fucked? Are you gay? Are you a chaser? etc.). I answer them honestly, we fuck again, and I think we're cool.
Then I get a text the next day from S. She says that not telling her I've fucked trans women is a sin of omission. That, just like if I had a kid, I should have told her before we had sex. And that by not telling her, I put her at unnecessary health risk and robbed her of an opportunity to protect herself, sexually. She thought that because I grew up in in the south in church, I might be a secret, down low gay that fucks trans women as an outlet for my misogyny.
I wish I had kept my cool and explained to her how ridiculous I thought she was being, but I was tired of having to rationalise my sexuality to people and we ended up in a shouting match. After things settled, I tried to explain to her that if she was really doing this because she was concerned for her sexual health, she would have asked to see a copy of my last STI test results BEFORE fucking a stranger off the internet, and that her situational sexual paranoia was suspect because it only peaked AFTER it came up that I've dated trans women.
She said that me getting upset and yelling was proof that I couldn't be trusted and that I could be hiding something or misleading her and that we can't have sex again until after I get tested.
I had a hunch she fell for me hard and fast (I did for her) and that she was afraid that I was going to hurt her like previous boyfriends may have. I press her on it, and she reveals that she does have strong feelings for me, that she is afraid I'm going to lie and cheat and give her a bunch of UTIs and physically abuse her like her last boyfriends did, and that she doesn't know any gay or trans people personally.
I have no idea what to do. When I challenge her on what I think is transphobia and homophobia, she claims I'm minimising her genuine concerns. I think her concerns for her health are genuine, but I think her logic and the conditions around it are wholly trans and homophobic. I would have had no problem taking a test if she asked, but I feel offended that she didn't even think to ask until after she found out that I don't only fuck cis women. Any thoughts?
And here I was about to put the Chair Leg of Truth back on the wall.
Y'know, US, I've known a lot of folks who'd been cheated on or hurt by previous partners and who were afraid of getting hurt again. Some of them reacted with insecurity and treated their new partners poorly because of it. Some of them just needed a little reassurance and worked through their shit. None of them exploded into a ball of transphobic bullshit like your S did.
The fact that you've dated trans women is just that: A data point. It tells her that you dated someone who was trans. What can someone reasonably extrapolate from this? Well, one could extrapolate that your concept of gender is more flexible than some and that you're attracted to the holistic person, not just chromosomes or what they were assigned at birth.
It sure as shit doesn't correlate to higher rates of STIs, cheating, hating women, or being on the down low. Neither trans people nor the folks who sleep with them are more prone to hatred, sexually transmitted diseases, or any of the rest of the weirdness you were accused of. (And incidentally, the number of gay-identified men who are into trans women is pretty damn small; the guys who are into trans women are almost entirely straight.)
But here's the thing: In ira, veritas. The way we respond during heightened emotion is generally a great indicator of what we believe or feel. Just as one doesn't accidentally drop N-bombs when they're angry during a Twitch stream, one doesn't usually accuse their partner of being a closeted gay misogynist because they're suddenly afraid of being hurt. Especially when the inciting incident is learning about your sexual past.
So… yeah. I don't think the problem is that S fell for you and is having a poor reaction because she's afraid. Nor do I think this was just about being afraid for her sexual health. I think the problem is that S is an arsehole who believes some fucked up and untrue things about LGBTQ people.
I agree: You could've handled things slightly better, and yelling wasn't the best option when you were having the follow-up discussion. And to be honest, I'm not surprised that you want to downplay this a little; things had been great up until, y'know, she dropped the bigot-ball. It's natural to want to believe the best about someone, especially someone with whom you've been having a great time.
But there are dealbreakers, and then there are dealbreakers, and frankly, I think that the transphobia, the homophobia, and the way that she lashed out at you are all signs that this is a relationship that is banjaxed from the jump. This is someone who took one part of your past and immediately decided that you were the worst of the worst, a liar and a scoundrel who threatened her life, her health and reproductive future, all because you'd been involved with a trans person. This, in my professional opinion, is one of the indicators that it's best to dump someone so hard their parents divorce retroactively.
Now, could she improve? Possibly, if she were to actually meet some LGBTQ people and recognise that they're, y'know, people. Getting to actually know gay and trans people is one of the fastest ways to end homophobia and transphobia. It would also require her to be willing to actually put in effort to unlearn the shit she spewed at you. But that isn't your job. You aren't the Arsehole Whisperer and you can't fuck the hate out of someone.
I get that you dug her and the sex was great and all. But one of my rules is "try to not stick it in the bigot", and S definitely qualifies. So my thoughts are: She's done you a favour. She let you see who she was relatively early on and now you're free to drop her like a hot rock and move on to find someone who isn't a giant arsehat.
Have you dated out of your league? Did you have a partner suddenly reveal a hidden ugly side? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. We'll be back with more of your questions in two weeks.
Ask Dr Nerdlove is Kotaku's fortnightly advice column for matters of the heart, hosted by the one and only Harris O'Malley, AKA Dr Nerdlove.
Harris O'Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove and the Dr NerdLove podcast. He is also a regular guest at One Of Us. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNerdLove. Dr Nerdlove is not really a doctor.