DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Oftentimes, people on the Internet give advice about where to meet women, and one of the places is activity groups. However, this comes with the caveat that you can’t just do it because you want to meet women, or else no one there would like you. My question to that is why? Why is looking to meet women a bad motivation for joining an activity group or trying something new?
I’m at the level of dissatisfaction with my dating and sex life that my priorities are going to be different than someone who feels better about theirs. Combine that with the fact that if I didn’t care about meeting women, I would basically never leave my apartment except to go to work, go shopping for stuff I need, and go get food. But since I do want to meet women, I do other things, join different activity groups, and try new things.
Now, it has turned out that I genuinely enjoyed the thing I’ve tried, even if one of my major motivations was to just meet women (and if I didn’t like the activity itself, I’d stop it), but because I’m told that meeting women is a bad reason to try new things, and it’s creepy to try to hit on women if that’s a reason you tried it, I never do. But I have no idea why it’s bad and creepy to try something new because you want to meet women.
So why is it?
On The Lookout
DEAR ON THE LOOKOUT: This is all about the differences in people’s experiences, OTL. One of the things about being a guy — or visibly presenting as male — is that we move through the world in ways that women don’t. As I mentioned to Innocent Bystander yesterday, the experiences women have as they go through their lives can be night and day different from the experiences that men have. That difference leads to the accepted wisdom that you’re tripping over right now.
It’s also one of those times where it’s important to recognize that people talk in generalities — generalities that may also include you on a superficial level. And while I know “a hit dog hollers” and all, it’s important to recognize that if people aren’t describing something you’re doing, they’re not talking about you, even though it sounds like it. In this case, the people saying that doing X JUST to meet women is bad aren’t necessarily talking about you; they’re talking about specific behaviors from folks that can be annoyingly common.
So, here’s what’s going on. One of the reasons why dating and meeting people can be a trial is because some folks’ s--tty behavior f--ks things up for everyone else. Like I said earlier, for a lot of women, the act of merely existing in public is seen as an invitation for men to hit on them. A lot of men see a woman’s presence at anything as a sign that she exists for their consumption. This is one of the reasons why, for example, a lot of folks will treat a woman cosplaying a character with a skimpy or sexy costume as an invitation to be crude or gropey; they see this as something being done for them, not a woman expressing her love for the character and interacting with her fandom in a way she enjoys. The same goes with women who may join a TTRPG campaign or who becomes a regular at their local comic shop — there’re folks who treat her as a potential date, not a fellow player or comic fan.
That dynamic is also why so-called “day game” — approaching women going about their business during the day — tends to be seen as intrusive and obnoxious; most of the time the women walking down the street, waiting for the bus or otherwise doing their own thing aren’t in the mood for being hit on by guys who think that her mere presence is an invitation to talk.
This why people will tell you “don’t try X/ go to Y/ join Z JUST to meet women”. This can happen in many different spaces, whether dance classes, fandom groups, amateur sports leagues… you name it. To give an example, let’s say that there’s a MeetUp group for… I dunno, since the latest campaign just ended, let’s say fans of Critical Role. People who are members of this group come to talk D&D and other RPG systems, share fan art, talk about their favorite episodes, geek out over news about the upcoming animated series and so-on. A guy who rolls in and starts cruising the event like a horny shark — someone who’s there specifically because he’s looking to meet nerdy women — is being disruptive to everyone else. He’s not there because he wants to show off his Fjord cosplay or make bets about the Vox Machina/Mighty Nein showdown, he’s there just to hit on people. Bouncing around the room trying to flirt with people interrupts their enjoyment and frequently makes folks uncomfortable. His actions are making it clear that he sees other people as props an NPCs in his personal quest to get laid. That feeling is dehumanizing at best. New people who happen to come on the same day he does are more likely to be squicked out and leave, never to return. His continued presence means that people — mostly women, but men and non-binary pals too — are likely to quit going because that’s not why they’re there. So he’s making people uncomfortable, potentially chasing away new members and driving off regulars and damaging the event itself.
Needless to say, the regulars hate this, the newbies dislike it and it just contributes to the sort of culture that makes it harder for folks who are looking to meet, mingle, date and hook up. And, in the name of enlightened self-interest… it’s also shockingly inefficient. The ratio of effort-to-return is completely out of whack.
(The obvious exception are events or groups that are specifically created with meeting/dating in mind. These, however, tend to be very clearly labeled, usually as “for singles”.)
This is why I — and others — will say “don’t go to/join X JUST to meet women”. It works against everyone — both the folks who want to enjoy X and the folks who’re looking to date.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t meet, flirt with or date awesome women at these events or in these groups. Relationships can and do start in groups like this.But the key to threading that particular needle is not to go to meet women or date, it’s to meet people. You want to go because you enjoy or are interested in the activity and meet like-minded folks and expand your social circle. By becoming a regular, getting to know folks and showing that you’re an awesome guy who’s worth getting to know, you make connections. You form friendships. You become someone who’s part of the community. As you get to know people, you might well meet someone who’s your particular flavor of awesome. If the two of you happen to spark while talking, there’s nothing wrong with saying “hey, I’m really enjoying talking to you. Would you like to get coffee after this?” and move from there if she says yes. The difference between this and going just to meet women is that you’re there specifically for the activity and connection/attraction grew organically, instead of someone showing up and disrupting the whole thing in the name of “but how does this benefit my penis?”
If that doesn’t sound like you… well, that’s not you they’re talking about. Now personally, I think you’d be happier going out and trying new things just because new experiences are awesome and potentially life-changing. But hey, you’ve got to do your thing; if you’re cool with the status quo of your daily activities, then more power to you. If you’re happy, then keep on keeping on and it’s all good. But if you’re telling people your only motivation for going out and trying new things is just to meet women, they’re likely to assume you’re more like the douchebags who ruin it for everyone.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com