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07/22/2013

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Knave Murdok

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KatM

Personal attacks are a last resort when folks are unprepared or just plain wrong. Perhaps you can console yourself about their rudeness by picturing Schneider and Fein as beings from another planet, or from an old-timey era (which they are, along with a hefty chunk of our society).
I'm pushing sixty--chronologically also from that old era--but unlike the people writing and following The Rules, I feel that I have evolved to a higher way of thinking. It's a thinking that disregards supposed gender differences/roles while treasuring the individual. A mindset that absolutely knows how women can want sex for its own pleasure and beauty, and therefore not play games around it. A higher morality, which values honesty and self-actualization.
This is a place from which we may pity those who misrepresent themselves to get a piece of metal, a piece of paper, and a lifetime of regret.

Lara

Whoa.. what a post.

I think something the Rules authors don't understand is that guys maybe approched a lot back then, but they aren't approaching now. There are a lot of causes for this - access to porn is easy, masculine behaviour is penalised, women don't need providers so they only accept the most attractive men, parents overprotect their children and they become less assertive. The point is that the situation has changed and women have to adapt. If you don't like casual, chasing guys is counter-productive. But you have to give them CLEAR permission to approach you. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, it's even ok to initiate a little, as long as you give him space to pursue you back. And yes, you might not be his type, but: signs of interest from you + still making him work for it -> he might end up falling for you.

Initiating is a grey area - but the Rules advice on responding to the guy's moves (the whole "don't answer his calls, be elusive, say no to dates") is wrong on an epic scale, and it's wrong in a black-and-white way. If he makes a move, respond. Preferably enthusiastically. Not so enthusiastically that he thinks you're desperate, but enthusiastically nonetheless.

Something else I dislike in The Rules is that they make it all about the chase. Making the guy invest is a sound strategy - but the guy who insists even after I reject him time after time is not the guy I want. The authors claim that The Rules are the path to marriage - but The Rules will land me a guy who wants to CONQUER me, not a guy who wants to BE WITH me and HAVE me. I want someone who will make me feel safe, not someone who will leave me the moment I show I care for him.

Re: non-/monogamy, I think both lust and territorial-ness (audacious word formation here :P) are natural impulses. Some people indulge the former and some the latter. Just as I don't want to be shamed for wanting exclusivity, you shouldn't be shamed for not wanting monogamy. Most girls I know never tried casual (in my social circle, nonexclusive= casual, though I'm aware that a relationship can be both open and serious), and most of those who tried were damaged by it. But a minority is just not made for LTRs or they have a genuine need for variety and I don't think they should be pressured into monogamy.

I'm a long time lurker in many blogs about relationship advice for women, game-pua, manosphere etc. Your description of yourself before PUA remind me a lot of myself- nerdy girl, old virgin, can't get a boyfriend. I started reading all this material after getting the "I don't want a relationship" line by a guy I really liked - fortunately, we hadn't slept together, and the moment he dropped the line, I immediately cut off all contact with him. But it hurt a lot, and I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent it from happening in the future, so I read, and read, and read. I'm highly restricted and I don't aspire to be an FPUA; I want to sleep with as few people as possible, and I wouldn't mind marrying my first real boyfriend, if he turns out to be worthwhile. But Game can help a lot in building attraction and connection, and understanding the opposite sex. I like your advice because it advocates agency. I don’t want to sleep around, but I don’t want to sit and look pretty either.

I admire all the hard work you've done on yourself. Most people just CAN'T change, and you did. Also, I remember an older interview of yours where you talked about Mystery and I had thought "seriously, why aren't they dating?" and I think it's kinda heartwarming that you are actually dating now.

Vandershlut

Ha ha I hope those closed minded bitches read this!! Well done!

Erin

You're awesome! I love everything about this article. I'm in a monogamous relationship, but I would NEVER shame or judge someone for choosing differently - we all have different needs and desires, so why should we all hop in the cookie cutter?

In my relationship, I was always very forward, and we're both happy and are getting married in just a couple weeks. I was always very responsive and engaged in conversations and planning, I initiated sex, I initiated the discussion about being exclusive, and I'm now in an amazing relationship with an amazing man and we're both happy and secure with ourselves and each other because of our honesty and forwardness. In fact, I would put money on it that if I'd followed "the Rules" I would be single right now and would never have had the joy of the amazing relationship I currently have.

I love you (and your boobs, which are nice, by the way, so f the haters)! Thank you for being an inspiration and a positive voice for women's sexuality!

Ardensirens

Vandershlut - They did. They even RTed it. All they had to say was that it was mean of me to put their book in cat litter and that they would never do that to my book. I was like, You didn't even BUY my book, let alone READ it! You just judged. Buy my book and put it in cat litter all you want; a sale's a sale.

Bex

"(don't text back for four hours; don't propose any plans to hang out; don't accept the first three dates he proposes but also don't give him a date when you're available, just make him hunt for one til he finds it!)"

I don't get it. How on earth does this ever get anyone any dates ever? Like, ever. Seriously, this sounds like advice on how to be the loneliest woman ever. Are "The Rules" ladies just trying to keep all the dudes for themselves or something?

aimee

There are so many things I want to say about this but the one that stands out right now (and I have to confess I have never read any of The Rules) is that it seems their ideas do nothing but feed off of women's fear and shame, and in turn, fan that fire. And when someone like Arden comes along, who refuses to be afraid or ashamed, the only thing they can do is try to make her feel insecure about her relationship or feel inferior for her choices and her values. Fear and shame are they only cards they've dealt themselves, whereas Arden has the whole deck, and they know it. The cheap, below-the-belt shots are the only ones they have. And they needed to quickly make her into yet another thing for their readers to be afraid of, because they can't have them listening to her, or reading her book, because that might lead to questioning their ideas. It was a public stoning for a reason - they wanted to send the message that women shouldn't read TNROA because it means they must be desperate, have low-self worth, or have issues.

Dasade

I think that one of the many flaws in the rules, which I believe has many, is it demeans both women AND men.

It presupposes that when a man sees a pretty girl that he can't help but approach her. If he is an introvert, then something MUST be wrong with him, and he needs to be fixed.

Alex

I prefer monogamy. Knowing that you can trust another human being to have your back, even at a substantial cost to themselves, is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. It beats touching the softest skin or experiencing the most intense orgasm at the hands of someone who means less. There isn't even a contest.

But I'd be a fool to believe everyone else feels the same way, and I'd be a fool to believe what works for me will necessarily work for someone who has had a life filled with entirely different experiences.

The worst part about Arden's post isn't the ad hominem attacks from her detractors, although they're weak and deplorable, it's the blindness and supreme arrogance of people assigning morality to their personal preferences:

"If I made a choice, it must be moral, because I made it and I am a moral person. People who make choices I would not make must therefore be amoral, since I am moral."

This is the basket-case logic that divides communities and breeds conflict where it simply isn't necessary.

I may not be primary-oriented non-monogamist, but that doesn't mean that isn't a great choice for Arden, nor does the fact we're different stop me admiring her guts and will to succeed on her own terms.

Arden is trying give women the freedom to choose for themselves who they want to be with. In a world where we value human rights and human freedoms what could be more moral?

Arden Leigh

For the record though, I also want a partner whom I can trust to have my back at all costs, whose back I have in return, who knows me inside out and whom I know inside out as well, like that ridiculously deep kind of intimacy where there are moments that you're so close you feel like you're in a hivemind for two. (Nerdiest description of intimacy ever.) That's honestly my deepest priority -- hence "primary-oriented," meaning I want a primary partner. I just know that the minute people lay down rules (e.g., don't fuck anyone but me!) that there's a natural bucking against that, definitely for myself but also for others as well in my experience.

In my last primary-oriented non-monogamous relationship, which lasted roughly a year, I had sex with two other men. And for the most part it was to satisfy a lustful curiosity, and then it was back to my primary, with whom I had way better sex anyway. So it's not like I'm out to be super-promiscuous - though I wouldn't judge anyone who was, either, and nor do I think that number of external partners need have an effect on degree of intimacy... I'm just clarifying my own preferences for any who may be curious.

I would consider monogamy for the right partner if it were really important to him, although I would probably warn him that I'd give it my best shot but that if it ended up not working for me then we'd sit down and have a talk about either adjusting parameters or parting ways if necessary. But like, that could go for any aspect of anyone's relationship, like what city a couple chooses to live in or whether they want kids, or who's the breadwinner, or whatever. People's needs change all the time. The more comfortable we get with the constant of change, the more adaptable we learn to become, the better off all our relationships are.

That said, I'd feel weird being with a guy who wasn't even comfortable letting me make out with girls or having threesomes with me and my girlfriends. Who doesn't want a threesome with two girls! ;) So someone who's not at least a little bit flexible, open, and creative with their sexuality is probably not the right partner for me.

Which is part of the reason I have naked photos on the internet. If you google me and you're scared off by that, then you're probably doing me a favor by not wasting my time.

TVJackieM

They are just jealous because they are post-menopausal and aren't getting enough.

Alex

There's something else actually. It was bothering me before but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Arden's response above reminded me, less for the words themselves than for what they illustrate.

Honesty.

What makes me most uncomfortable about the authors of The Rules is that their book puts dishonesty forward as an ideal. Women aren't encouraged to be true to themselves or their own desires (whatever those may be),or to improve themselves until they're an undeniably interesting and attractive person - they're told to be a cookie cutter outline of what the authors think will allow them to 'snare' a man.

This is not trickery in the nice way. The nice way is demanding he be home at a certain time to do the taxes, then surprising him in midnight-black agent provocateur lingerie with the word 'taxes' scrawled in red lipstick across the soft skin under your collarbone. This is trickery up the other end of the scale, edging closer to Glenn's rabbits and pots of boiling water or the rump end of the PUA community that targets women with low self-esteem.

That's the shiver that was bothering me. The Rules is creepy.

Not that it really matters given the quality of their advice.

Sunny

Wow. I just had to tell my boss, "Hold on a few minutes... I have to rant about something!" so I could read this whole post and comment. I haven't cringed this much from a read in a long time. If I had been listening to the forum you describe, I would have been squirming with embarrassment... for the Rules women. I'm in the most amazing, satisfying, exciting, deep, and stable relationship of my life, and it would never have come about if men really were the pigs those women seem to think they are or if I had acted like the vapid LIAR they advocate as a model for women. It would never have come about if my partner (who is so attractive that he was, literally, a runway and magazine model for much of his 20's) was so shallow as to judge me by my acceptable-but-decidedly-not-hot appearance; if either of us gave a single good gosh-darn about age (I'm 18 years older... and he's 31.. do THAT math!); if either of us worried about our Gender Roles (we’re both kinda skewed in that department), orientation (he’s straight; I’m not), race (he’s Asian, I’m your average Heinz 57 American girl), or if we had played the kind of mind games these women seem to be brainwashing women into learning or worried about whether or not we were the right "type." Ok, so I probably seemed like I was playing hard to get at first, but I swear, it was only because I had NO IDEA my now-partner was actually pursuing me for a relationship! I was too busy getting to know an awesome person who seemed to be such a kindred spirit, enjoying and accepting our (daily, then hourly, then more frequent) emails and texts and conversations for the gifts they were to ration them out in four hour increments or pretend to ignore them! It took a dear friend finally sitting me down and saying, "Um, he's totally into you," before I realized that his interest was actually deeper than just friendship, and I didn’t have to lie, “act,” or twist myself into contortions in order to “snag” him… we just grew into the love that we now share.

So I babbled all that to say this: You’re right to live your life in a way that makes you happy, and I don’t see that you’re hurting anyone else by doing so. My partner and I have been doing that despite the haters and nay-sayers, and tomorrow we’ll celebrate four years of having proved them all dead WRONG. Those women are just jealous of you, and for some reason want to bring you down to their level of misery by trying to make you feel bad about yourself. Good for you for not buying into their crap! I wish you continued joy and authenticity, which is certainly more than they can ever hope for!

Tysonr77

Bravo, keep fighting the good fight! When someone responds with personal attacks, just remember it's because they know you're right and can't humbly accept being wrong.

Kav

I think I have a new hero.

As a borderline-asexual man, I'm in the unusual position of being both: (a) sorely in need of impassioned yet erudite discourse on all matters sexual if I'm ever going to have a damn clue as to how a significant portion of the human experience actually works, and; (b) sufficiently unburdened by personal baggage simply to accept exceptional examples of such discourse when they are presented to me.

So thank you for a truly invigorating and enlightening read.

Lady Spider

You were completely attacked. The only reason they attacked you personally is because they could not defend "the Rules". The Rules are as archaic and backward as 1980 DOS language. I am a member of the Indo-Pak culture and as straightforward and assertive with my sexuality as I can be. I see the Rules as outdated as "traditional Indian courtship rituals". This is a new world. Women must take their romantic lives as responsibly and aggressively as possible. There is a new paradigm for women. If old buddies can't handle it, they must get out if the way. The debut sounded like a nonproductive event. Spend your time in higher, more evolved circles. NYC is not the intellectual Mecca it once was- now it's a cesspool.

Crystal

What a wonderful post, Arden! I've always suspected that the Rules were for people who had to lie to themselves to tolerate their low self-esteem. I've done parts of it before to test theories out, and it made me feel worse when I inadvertently hurt people, because guys have actual feelings too! I mean, if a guy approaches you without you having to do anything, it makes you feel good about your superficial appearance. Then, if he at any point in the relationship leaves you because of your personality and inability to be genuinely caring, it's the easiest thing in the world to "next" him and wait for another other guy. All of it is based on a certain internal indifference that isn't satisfying to the soul at all. Giving love is the only thing that makes me feel wonderful, and I find it especially useful that I'm the type who can genuinely move on...perhaps far too easily though. I have one question - how do I recognize an obligation to care from feeling love for someone when giving doesn't exhaust me at all, even out of obligation?

Arden Leigh


Crystal - not sure I entirely understand your last question.

Sent from my iPhone

OG

I wouldnt take an opinion for granted of someone who suggests to not text a guy back for strictly 4 hours. C'mon there, ladies. I am all about the mystery and not overtexting and being cool, but this standard feels too pathetic. Also, I don't think I have ever had a problem with men because I responded to them too soon...
I prefer to be the one who SETS UP my own RULES and not FOLLOW someone elses.
Arden. High five for another great blog post, as usual

Chris London

ARDEN LEIGH - you are both before and ahead of your time. To be perfectly candid I have for slong been SO SICK and tired of many of the Chic Litsers that are trying to be the next Candace Bushnell writing about their version of Sex and the City et al etc dispensing their version of advice from the position of the pseudo angst filled life of a trust fund baby looking to ween themselves off daddy while looking for Daddy Warbucks. In blog land there are simply too many cliches. Then I discoved you and it is clear that you are cut from a different cloth. You can not and will not be CARICATURIZED by simpletons, fools and folks following the typical lamestream narrative that anyone with an Independent non-traditional sensual or sexual perspective must somehow be a SLUT. Men would ONLY be so LUCKY if all the "SLUTS" had your looks and brains. BEFORE anyone labels me a KISS ASS, I am a 51 Year Old New Yorker who has no delusions about the possibility of getting with the Goddess Arden Leigh

TRUTH is that women and men would be better off if more women were disciples of your vantage point in romantic relationships whether they be MONOGAMOUS or POLYAMOROUS. IRONIC but having grown up myself in a more traditional background, I never saw myself as the Polymourous type and aspects of it make me INSECURE admittedly. I have, however, had earnest and legitimate dialogues with women I am close to about the concept of having LOVE & COMMITMENT without the SOCIETAL CHAINS binding us. And this is not because I am all eager for an extra piece on the side or because I fancy myself a CUCKOLD but more because given my life, experience and the type of COMPANION I enjoy the company of both in and outside the bedroom said person would more likely be a greater independent spirit and have needs that I cannot always fulfill.Why should she be less fulfilled if I cannot give her ALL?

When you grow close to women emotionally and intellectually in an honest way you learn that the more you do not attempt to pigeon hole them into an outdated societal construct that you may suit your agenda rather than her happiness,that by opening up you may grow with them on a deeper level. This is true, if you can handle a more nuanced relationship. Hence, at this juncture of my life, were I to get seriously involved with a woman, I could be devoted to her without seeking to shut down her LIBERTY & HAPPINESS to still experience LIFE and SENSUAL LIFE for her own personal growth. I do not want a lover or partner who is with me out of obligation or entrapment. I do not want to be with a woman that I have successfully trapped but one I am close with intellectually, emotionally and sensually who returns for my companionship, spirit, love and sex because I and all of it make her HAPPY. Yet, I recognize that this may make me terribly vulnerable but I am willing to deal with that. When folks like these argue with you and your logic they are merely illustrating that they are not on your wave length.

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