Monthly Archives: May 2011

Hey there Captain Awkward!  I found your blog a couple months ago and have been reading it religiously ever since!  Thanks for all the great advice!

I’m a fellow feminist blogger, writing on my blog, and I have a question for you on dating that I was pondering a bit on my blog.  I’m a self-identified cis, straight, feminist dude, and to quote from my post:

But perhaps a “problem” as it were specific to dating is that simply stated: people who self-identify as feminists are a minority, so if you’re going to be out there dating and you’re a self-identified feminist, chances are you might be dating a non-feminist (or even an anti-feminist!).  How do you do that?  Should you bring it out on the first date?  Second?  Not at all and just let it come organically?


As a feminist man, when I find I’m with someone (either just socially or on a date) and a discussion of feminism comes up with a non-feminist, I frequently get something like, “You’re a lot more feminist than I am!”  It’s a peculiar position to be in, and not one that any of my prior feminist experiences really prepared me for.  After all, when you’re a feminist talking in a safe space with other feminists, you usually aren’t confronted with a lot of people being “more feminist” than others in the same way.  Of course, you have debates within feminist communities with more radical feminists on one side and less so on the others — there is a spectrum, but everyone in the room is still feminist.  My admittedly limited prior feminist outreach and activities was often in sexual assault prevention type stuff, and well, that’s obviously not dating.

So, I guess my question is this: what advice would you give a feminist dude who’s trying to date?  I don’t particularly want to be in a relationship with someone wants to adhere to traditional gender roles, but that be a tricky thing to suss out on a first date.  I also recognize it can also be pretty limiting to say, “I won’t date anyone who doesn’t share so-and-so beliefs.”  Thoughts?

Dear Jeff:
My rules of dating are the same for all people.  Let’s review:
  1. The other person is just a human
  2. Ask the person out sooner rather than later, before you get too caught up in a fantasy or invested in the outcome.
  3. Nobody owes you time or affection, so don’t approach dating with a sense of entitlement.
  4. Be cool with rejection.
  5. You can’t control whether someone will like you.
  6. Listen to the other person – pay attention to the actual interaction that is taking place and not the one in your head.
  7. Don’t date anyone who isn’t as cool as your friends.
  8. Acknowledge the awkward. Don’t try to be smooth if you’re not smooth.  It’s okay to say “I feel shy about asking you out, but I like you.”

These apply to the very early stages of dating where you’re just getting to know someone.  Obviously in those early stages you’re also probably finding out how the other person feels about books, music, movies, food, family, work,  alone-time vs. together-time, sex, and politics. Read More

And he’s still a dipshit. When last we saw our hero, he was comparing confident women who are hard to control  to “dirty snow.”  On the subject of rejecting strangers who want your number in bars, he says this:

The best way for a girl to avoid that awkward first date is to not give her number out in the first place. As a guy, I know the ins and outs of the phone number game. If a cute girl is giving me any sign of hope, I’m going to try for those digits. I never assume she’s just having fun meeting people — I always think she’s out to find a date like I am.

Okay, Rich, you’re right, it would be good if women didn’t give their numbers to men they aren’t really interested in, but even if they do give the number out, there are still ways to avoid awkward first dates, like saying “No thanks” when the person asks you on a date.   Also, the whole thing where you assume that women are all trying to find dates just like you are? That’s an example of a bad initial assumption that jeopardizes the integrity of the entire experiment.  But…okay. Imagine you get the number, or, the my-number-is-111-111-1111-now-can-I-go-back-to-talking-with-my-friends number. Is this really what you do?

The common move among guys (I’m guilty of this one too), after getting a girl’s number, is calling her phone to confirm that that it’s real and that his number is now registered in her phone. Most guys will watch the girl’s phone as they call it to make sure there’s no funny business going on.

Hi, it’s me, the guy from the bar, just checking to see if you’re a big lying liarpants who is rejecting me while we’re both here so I can go back to pressuring you!”  I’m trying to think of how I would react to having someone call me immediately to check if the number I gave them is a real one.  I’m thinking:  Not well. “Hey, thanks for instantly making me regret giving you my phone number.  Now kindly fuck off and go fuck yourself, in whatever order is most convenient to you.”

Now, to be fair, Rich does eventually get around to saying “Or, you could just tell them no, you don’t want to give out your number,” which risks hurting their fee-fees, but ultimately earns their respect. But not before these self-serving gems about giving the cold shoulder treatment and avoiding dark corners:

If you don’t ask questions, avoid eye contact, and maintain the general appearance of someone who is trying to escape, even the most confident guy will probably give up hope.…Getting trapped anywhere private with the dude you’re trying to avoid will encourage him to try to get your number. He’ll read it as you wanting to be alone with him,even though it’s accidental.

You know what?  I am capable of giving the Coldest Shoulder in Recorded History and I really do my best not to get trapped in dark corners by pushy dudes I’m not interested in.   But it would also be really, really cool if dudes didn’t separate women from their friends, “trap” them in dark corners, and then assume that they want to be alone with you, like “Now that we’re all trapped in this Dark Corner together, I will just assume that you’re into whatever comes next!”  Also, if you’re getting the cold shoulder treatment, give up hope sooner rather than later.  Immediately would be good.
He ends with the most hilarious and surreal piece of advice of all. You should invent a phantom boyfriend.

While most dudes want proof that your phone number is real, they probably won’t need proof that a boyfriend is real. They may try to make you feel stupid by saying they wanted your number “as a friend,” but they’ll back off.

Translation:  While most dudes will not take no for an answer about getting your phone number, and will immediately act like controlling assholes by checking to make sure it’s a real number, they will (sort of) accept that your pussy might already be owned by other some man and (sort of) back off.  Your feelings and opinions are not important, but the thought that they might accidentally be approaching some other man’s property?  Faux pas!

Well played, if self-serving sexist bullshit is your thing.

Social Anxiety Comic by Natalie Dee

Toothpaste for Dinner feels your pain.

Dear Captain Awkward,

This weekend I’m attending a housewarming party for which I’m incredibly anxious. Some background: I am a first year graduate student in a phd program, and I am going to a housewarming party hosted by one of my professors and her new husband. I’ve always been shy, have some confidence/insecurity issues, and I have struggled with mild to medium social anxiety on and off over the past couple of years. I can handle most lower-stress social situations without much problem thanks to some therapy, but high-stress situation still give me problems. 

The situations that cause the most anxiety for me is a social setting where I don’t know most of the people, and I perceive it as high-pressure. This party will fit both of those conditions. There may be a couple of fellow students, but primarily people I don’t know. It is high-pressure for me because some of the guests will be well-known academics and journalists, and thus ‘intimidating.’ Also, unfortunately, these kinds of events are an overly important component of one’s ‘professional’ academic career. It is my first time at one of these more important kind of events, but it is something I need to be good at (and I’ve been told this by a couple of professors, including the one hosting the party). 

Do you have any advice you can give to me, or links to previous posts of yours? I really like the way you approach giving advice and writing, I would appreciate the help!

Thank you,
Already Anxious

That is a high pressure situation, and I understand your anxiety, but the good news is?  You’re going to be fine.

Read More

Anyone got big plans for the weekend?  This Craigslister does. (h/t to SexyTypewriter)

Is it wrong to make fun of The Rapture?  Because if The Rapture comes on schedule, I’m pretty sure I’ll need my sense of humor to get through the resulting reign of blood and fire. My other Girl Scout skills are rusty, so I’m pretty much bringing “not afraid of bandaging gross wounds” and “sassy wisecracking” to the survivalist table.

Which reminds me, here’s one of my favorite short films, Ray Tintori’s Death to the Tinman.