Dating advice really pisses me off. Whether it is the stupid manipulative bullshit aimed at men like ‘the game’ or the ‘how men think’ shit aimed at women. It all really really sucks. So I am going to do something about it and provide an alternative to the stupidity.
Disclaimer I am currently in a stable long term relationship and have not actually dated for some time. You can either take that as my approach to dating works or take the following with a grain of salt its up to you :p
First things first. Women, men and people who identify as neither or both are not monoliths. There is no ‘what women really want’ there is what this particular woman wants. To treat people as though their gender identity can tell you how they will behave in any given situation is EXTREMELY problematic. This one fact alone renders pretty much all mainstream dating advice useless.
So. Think about what you want out of dating. A relationship? Casual Sex? A summer romance that isn’t long term? Some fun? Of course in the process of dating what you want may change and that is fine but it is important to evaluate what you want so that you can ask for it. (now isn’t that a revolutionary thought?)
At the end of the day dating is going to be a numbers game. I personally believe that if you want to date then you have to be comfortable with rejection, learn to understand that rejection does not mean there is anything wrong with YOU but that you are probably not the right fit and that is OK! Statistically lots of people will probably reject you and some won’t. Changing who you are to fit what you think another person wants does not up those odds. Everyone wants different things. Just try and remember it is not really about you as a person. This is the single thing that probably revolutionised how I thought about dating.
So in essence here is how I believe is the best way to date.
1) Communicate honestly. Don’t try and be manipulative and play games. In the long run this never works and it makes dating much more frustrating and stressful then it ever has to be. Be upfront. If someone likes you they will like you and if someone doesn’t there is very little that you can do to make them like you. The worst that can happen is that they will say no. Yes that will suck but you will get over it.
2) Check that you are both on the same page. Yes you may both like each other but that doesn’t mean you want the same things out of life or this particular relationship (whatever form it may take) you might agree to see how things go anyway but it is important to know where you both stand.
3)Relationships (of all kinds) end sometimes. Just like rejection this is a part of life. Something that is hard to accept but we all have to do it. Human relationships are innately messy and hard work. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to try not to be assholes to each other and also ourselves.
Anyway I hope that helps.
I said in my previous post that I had been spending some time traveling, I had a short but fantastic trip to Laos which is an excellent country to visit on a tight budget and is incredibly beautiful.
Part of my trip involved a two day long boat trip down the Mekong river. Sitting behind me was a group of back packers from Australia, Italy and Holland. At one point there discussion turned to the ‘problem’ of immigration. I was trying really hard not to listen because I find it almost impossible to disengage from political conversations even if I am not participating and other people’s ignorance can make me really pissed off.
It was the usual fare of ZOMG the immigrants are flooding in there have to be controls! They must assimilate into society and be good immigrants and then it is OK. I understand that there are many practical considerations with immigration but for the love of pete can we step back and look at the big picture?
The key reason that people immigrate from the global south to the global north (I use these terms loosely) is the search for a better life. Not because they think western society is way more awesome than their own and they want a piece of it, but because the vast majority of the worlds money sits in the west. In my experience the vast majority of immigrants do not choose to go through the myriad and very real difficulties of immigration including becoming a marginalised group just for the hell of it.
If you are really worried about the ‘immigration issue’ then how about lets talk about fixing global inequality – much of which has been caused by the pillage of colonialism and subsequent imposed economic systems (this when you think about it is the white supremacists ultimate fear of what immigration will turn into). Lets do that instead of whinging and moaning about how immigrants (like yours truly) don’t like to integrate, that we clump together in our ghettoes hoarding money and political power to try and change the social fabric and cultural values of ‘your’ society.
What makes these arguments about immigration even more ludicrous is that it is exactly what happens when white people immigrate to the global south. We don’t call them immigrants though, we call them expats and its ok for them to clump together in private housing estates, never learn to speak the local language, and send their kids to special schools that spout only their own values. I see this a lot now that I live in Asia and it makes me laugh hysterically considering the content of the immigration debates where I come from.
It of course comes down to where power lies and what people in power consider valuable. This is obviously their own language, culture and values – wherever they may live in the world. At least we can try to be honest about it.
When you side with someone who says quite literally that I can never be a real ‘New Zealander’ you help to create this radical. When you dismiss the many small and large hurts I suffer as over-reactions or claim that someone didn’t mean it ‘that way’ you help to create this radical. When you act as though marginalisation and discrimination is my fault for not trying hard enough to ‘assimilate’ or ‘integrate’ you create this radical.
I am angry. It is not a flash in the pan anger that burns itself out quickly. My anger is a slow burning molten rage that cannot be extinguished. It exists because of all the little things people do, even those closest to me – my friends my family, that re-create in microcosm the society and institutions that deem me unworthy, underserving and unattractive. People who talk about ‘jungle fever’ when they find themselves attracted to a person of colour – as though it is a form of illness. Those who wonder how anyone could ever date a bisexual person because – they would never feel like they were enough for that person – as though bisexual people are greedy and disgusting. Those who make snide remarks about people not practicing monogamy or engage in kink to any degree – as though these people are deviant and disgusting – as though it is any of their business. The lack of thought that around accessibility and the claim that it is too much effort as though disabled people are undeserving of the basic accommodations that they require to engage with the world and live comfortable Those who happily engage in fat phobia regarding their own bodies and other peoples never once thinking about how their comments affect those around them. These casual remarks, said with the assumption that what they say is appropriate and acceptable. Said without any clear evaluation of privilege.
These types of casual comments and many others are the kindling for my rage. This is all it takes to create a radical. One who is tired of trying to engage with the system which has no time for me, that doesn’t really give a shit about me or people like me. That uses us only as a way of scoring political points, or a way of seeming edgy and cool. So when you are tired of my anger, when you get annoyed with my tone, when you feel as though I ruin everything by turning it into a ‘big issue’. Remember that you created me. Remember this is how I feel every day, minute, second of my life as I am bombarded with all the shit that cuts me to the core that I am not meant to care about.
Maybe then you can shut the fuck up and listen.