Through with platonic friendship!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2003
Through with platonic friendship!
9
Sun, 09-14-2003 - 6:32pm
As much as I hate to reinaugurate a conversation that feels so much like a retread (the whole "nice guys vs. jerks" topic has been an enduring controversy on this message board), I guess now is as good a time as any to declare my own emancipation from "niceguyhood." Like so many other men, I've arrived at a place where I've just about embraced the idea that so-called "players" do some things right when it comes to attracting women, and grimly accept that there are situations in the dating game where NOT being so damned nice can pay dividends.

Take, for example, my friendship with an interesting young woman named Leah. The last several months of this relationship have essentially been an exercise in experimenting with a slightly more aggressive, even jerkier, persona than I have tended to exhibit throughout my life. This has meant, among other things, not putting her on a pedestal (sometimes dissing her outright), making it clear that I'm only interested in sex with her, trashing the men she likes--all because these are things I think a "typical guy" would do. Most importantly, I've declared a moratorium on platonic friendship, and heartily invite other men to do the same. God bless you men who are truly happy being "just friends," but I can't be the only one among you who has had musings about how much simpler the dating game would be if "friendship" were simply taken off the table as an option, and if men had the discipline to immediately recognize offers of friendship from women as the dead-ends they usually are.

Leah and I are friends, and there is often a tongue-in-cheek quality to my anti-friendship rantings, but I also discern in our relationship many of those things about platonic friendship in general that bedevil and frustrate men. I enjoy my friendship with her, but it's not the sort of relationship I want to make a habit of getting into. Thank god I'm not really in love with her and am actively pursuing other women--or else being forced to listen to her crowing about other men would be even more unbearable than it already is. For the sake of my sanity I had to give up any thought of ever having something with her, but that doesn't mean that I don't reach my boiling point with her bragging about her latest acquisition of beefcake.

So, have I finally turned into a Real Man? Hardly. I've just become somewhat more adept at behaving in conventionally masculine ways for the sake of you women who are most comfortable with that. Truth be told, I've rarely been impressed by manly men, and don't relish the idea of turning myself into one. Because I've always been something of a non-conformist with a pungent sense of irony, if I try too hard to be Mr. Confident it only comes off as parody. Besides, too much havoc is caused in the world by men who are sure of themselves (G.W., I'm talking to YOU) for me to be wild about joining their ranks. But if a pretty face insists on it, I'm more willing to meet her halfway now than I was a few years ago. That's some sort of progress, I suppose.

Imani

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 8:42am
I do not and have not put up with jerks or the type of treatment you described likely since I was 16 or 17 (I am 37) - your behavior sounds so silly and phony - I can always tell when it is put on and beneath it is insecurity (I want someone assertive and confident - not "nice" as in overly accomodating or trying too hard) - some people command respect just by their presence - there is a vibe that they will not let people walk all over them, that they are comfortable in their own skin and like themselves - those people naturally know how to act in front of other people so that they are rarely, if ever taken advantage of. You have more than platonic feelings for Leah so of course you couldn't just be friends.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 10:44am
Of course my behavior is silly and phony--I worded my post in such a way as to leave no doubt about that. My point was that for a certain kind of guy, discovering his "jerk" side can be a revelation of sorts. Pontificate all you want about how it isn't jerks, just "confident" guys that you women really want--it's always been the case that what you women call "confidence" often overlaps with jerkiness, so part of confidence just MIGHT be acting like a jerk when the woman has earned it. You must also have glossed over the part where I said that there's often a tongue-in-cheek aspect to my behaving this way.

Imani

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 11:28am
You sound arrogant and patronizing so it is no surprise that your strategies aren't working. Confident to me is very different from cocky - a man gets one chance with me as far as cancelling a date or being unreliable without an excellent excuse - and any disrespectful comments - particularly early on before he knows me well - another deal breaker/death knell. I am confident that I don't put up with jerks - have I ever been attracted to one- of course - I am also attracted to Rob Loew, for that matter - but will I date one or have a relationship with one - never ever and it's been 21 years of dating so I can make that statement with confidence.

Your chip on your shoulder and negativity will be what shines through - and that is a huge turn off at least to me and the women I know.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 12:23pm
While I'm touched by your heart-felt concern for my emotional well-being, it seems to me that in this era of psychobabble it's just too tempting to fall back on "he must not be a happy guy" rather than actually deal with a person's arguments. If I advance a position, it's because I happen to think it's correct--my state of mind has nothing to do with it. You have no way of knowing what my state of mind is at this very moment--it could be happy, depressed, or all points in-between. I don't think I've given you enough clues to venture a guess one way or the other. Besides, even if I were loads more successful with the opposite sex (and for the record, I feel that my level of success with women is APPROPRIATE given who I am and what I know about myself), I would still have a rather cynical attitude towards the dating game. Indeed, it's when I actually DO succeed with a female that the whole game gets exposed for what it is.

"Cynical" doesn't mean depressed or angry--it just means CYNICAL. I'm perfectly capable of enjoying the company of women while still taking what they say (and what I say back) with a grain of salt. Since you've been kind enough to call me on it, I guess I can say that what I aspire to is a sort of joyful pessimism, and to me it is this--not blithe "confidence"--that is the true alternative to despair.

And about your claim that confidence is some ineffable quality that can't possibly be faked--WHATEVER. Whenever I go to a club, all I see are men at various levels of "pretending to be confident." Most of them just look lost. Also, the line between confidence and cockiness isn't so clear-cut (weirdo though I be, I cannot be the first to ever make this observation), and what seems like the former to one female might appear to be the latter to another. Now, if you happen to be that rare female who has an infallible ability to distinguish the two, that makes you valuable to the female species indeed. But to suggest that ALL women have that ability (or the inclination to use it if they do) just doesn't ring true to me.

Imani





Avatar for cl_shywon
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 1:05pm
It's perfectly fine if you want to write off women as friends. That's your perogative. However, my opinion is that a woman will be much more attracted to a guy who is being "himself"- whatever that is- instead of pretending to be a "jerk" because he thinks it'll catch the girl. The problem with pretending is that when the right one comes along, she won't notice because you'll be pretending to be someone she probably dumped a few months ago.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 1:39pm
You cannot possibly hope to get truly close to a woman if you have all this cynicism or take everything said or done with a grain of salt - it just doesn't work that way. I do very much appreciate men like you because typically in a blind date situation that cynicsm shines through within the first five minutes of the phone call whether we're talking about relationships, pop tarts, movies, scuba diving or his grandmother - and then I can politely get off the phone and smile that I only wasted 5 minutes of my time. I am sorry you have so much hostility towards women when it comes to dating and I guess otherwise - after 21 years of dating I very much like men, enjoy their company both platonically and otherwise, believe I have been treated properly and with respect in general, and can distinguish confidence from cockiness - they just smell differently - quite easily. I don't meet men in clubs or bars so maybe that makes my experiences different and yes I do expect a man to do the majority of the pursuing in the beginning and that has always worked out naturally and smoothly with the men that I have gone out with more than a few times.



Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 2:35pm
I don't understand how acting more like a jerk to Leah proves *anything* other than that SHE (one woman) prefers men who act that way. Are you trying to extrapolate from your one-woman experiment that all or most women prefer jerks? Because that's emphatically not true.

It sounds like you might be equating "nice guy" and "doormat", which is definitely not the case. Also, "confident" and "arrogant" are not synonomous.

Finally, *yes*, offers of platonic friendship ARE deadends, if you want more!!! If you're hanging on to a friendship with a woman for any reason other than you truly want to be her friend, you're making a mistake!

Sheri

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2003
Tue, 09-16-2003 - 4:28am
I think women are delightful creatures--except when they're not. Sure, there's a chance that just saying THAT might cost me with this or that female, but for the most part I seem to get by. It's almost as if you're saying that my attitude is TOO realistic, and in order to succeed in romance a certain amount of faith is required. Well, I'm not a dating apostle, nor do I have "21 years" of experience that I can point to. I'm just not convinced that the subject of dating is really worth me racking my brain over, since there seems to be so little substance to it. I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, however.

To Sheri: I agree with you. My friend Leah happens to be a complete flake (and a pothead to boot), and I have no illusions about her being LTR-material. Unfortunately, I'm not in the habit of dumping friends already made, and she's simply too interesting for me to let go of at this point. It's almost amusing, watching her careen from one overheated affair to the next. I realize that I have to be careful about generalizing from her to all women, but that doesn't make her any less interesting a case study.

This is going to have to be my last posting on this subject. My thanks to those, especially Deena, who felt it worth their time to try and set me straight!

Imani

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-16-2003 - 8:14am
I would hope that none of my friiends would describe me in derogatory terms and keep me around for amusement. I have a ew people in my life that are in my life because I feel sorry for them and am not sure how to extricate myself, but I don't refer to them as friends - maybe acquaintances, if that.