December 19th, 2012
So, you got friend zoned. Chances are, that’s why you’re reading this article. In fact, the #1 topic of e-mails that Well Cultured gets from our contact form involves the “friend zone” in some form or fashion — so chances are, even if you are simply on this website, you’re on here because you got friend zoned. After all, to be honest, few guys seek self-improvement without an impetus (usually female) for doing so.
There’s no shame in that. But it’s time for some tough love. After polling a selection of women and collecting an insane number of answers, we’ve come up with a realistic list of the five major reasons why women “friend zone” men. This list is gonna hurt, but it’s necessary, because it explains a lot about how women view potential suitors, why a lot of men screw up their opportunities, and, most importantly, it teaches ways in which you can avoid being friend zoned in the future.
Two Preliminary Disclaimers
1: We don’t like the term “friend zone” in any form or fashion. In colloquial use, the “friend zone” refers to a “place” where women put men that they want to be friends with, but not date or have sex with. Though this sounds innocuous on its face, this whole terminology tends to imply some pretty stupid things: namely, that the idiotic “ladder theory” is at all viable, that women do this stuff consciously, that men are always shoved into a “zone,” and that (implicitly) men should do anything to avoid being a friend of a women. All of our polling of women did use this term, but we explained it to contextualize it. Suffice to say, we use “friend zoned” here only because it’s familiar to most of our readers, not because it implies we think it’s an actual thing. This article is more about the reasons why men fail with women generally.
2: The polling base for this article was a selection of approximately 40 women between the ages of 18 and 27. This age range was selected in order to best match our readerbase. These women live all across the country, are generally college educated (or better), and voluntarily responded to the poll. That being said, our results are very much limited by our polling base — so don’t take this as absolute gospel truth. There’s a specific issue with this demographic that I’m particularly concerned about, which I address below when it becomes relevant.
Reason #5: You are/were not readily available.
About 10% of girls that responded indicated that guys they would have normally dated were put in the friend zone because they were not “available” – meaning, as far as we can tell, that they were not easily dated. Often, this appears to be an issue when the guy lives far away (long drives make for infrequent meetings), when the guy is very busy, or when he tends to hang out with other people to the detriment of his availability. Somewhat ironically, this can sometimes mean that a very successful guy with a job is less preferable than a guy with a crappy part-time job and lots of disposable time.
What you can learn:
Be available, but don’t be too available. On one hand, you should be available in the sense that you can realistically date the girl you want to date — after all, if you can’t date her, she’ll obviously not consider you a candidate to date anyway. On the other hand, sacrificing your life — be it work, social, or otherwise — to make yourself “available” is stupid and creepy. This standard also varies based on the girl, so needier girls will demand more time, whereas more independent (and usually more career-focused) girls will be happier with less of your time. Adjust accordingly.
Reason #4: You pushed too hard.
No, really. At least 20% of the girls we polled indicated that, in addition to other reasons (listed above/below), the guy they friend zoned tried too hard to get their attention. This seems a bit backwards (it’s like saying “I liked you and wanted to date you until you hit on me”), but it reveals something important about the whole dynamic between suitors and women:
Girls are not oblivious to the fact that you like them. This is not an amazing revelation, but simply a statement of fact: if you’ve been pining after a girl for a while, unless you’ve had zero social contact with her, chances are she is fully aware that you like her, and she is intentionally staying away from you. The reason most women indicated that a guy “pushed too hard” probably had little to do with why a girl friend zoned a guy, but rather seems to indicate that his pushiness helped solidify her decision to avoid him. In essence, the harder you push with a girl with no interest in you, the worse it will get.
What you can learn:
If it doesn’t come naturally and the girl puts up a lot of brick walls, don’t try to break them down to see if she’s “interested.” If she’s pushing back, she’s not interested.
Reason #3: You had/have no future.
Along with the “pushing too hard” comment, a substantial number of girls (nearly 20%) indicated that the men they put in the friend zone had no future. This was often lumped into a man’s attractiveness (see below), but it seemed a pretty dominant factor in their thought processes independent of looks.
In essence, it appears that girls, after determining whether or not they find a guy attractive (again, see below), tend to do a lot of calculations regarding a guy’s social and economic worth. Where a guy seems to have a “future” — and I mean “future” usually in the future where “he’ll do ______ like I imagine my future husband will do” — a girl is more likely to date him. Consequently, where a guy is clearly a sort of stereotypical loser — no job, no prospects, no social worth, etc — his social value is lessened and, thus, his desirability lowers.
What you can learn:
Work hard on yourself before you jump into the dating pool. While a lot of womens’ responses regarding a man’s “future” were somewhat vague or stupid (sorry, girls, but they were difficult to parse), the message is fairly clear: the more you improve yourself and your social/economic standing, the more desirable you are. Succeed at work and you’ll succeed at women.
Incidentally, this should also mean that you should be realistic about the kind of women you can date. If you are content with living in a small town and not doing much, don’t expect to date a cosmopolitan millionaire baby who wants to travel the world. Attraction plays a lot of a part in romance, but rational compatibility is also a pretty important component to the calculus of love.
Reason #2: You were creepy.
At LEAST 50% of women we polled indicated that “creepiness” was a major factor in our poll. This, in other words, means that chances are creepiness played a part in why you were friend zoned, if you ever have been friend zoned at all.
So far as we can tell from parsing the results we acquired, being “creepy” takes on a lot of forms. On one hand, a lot of women polled indicated that the word “creepy” referred to how overtly sexual and awkward the guy was towards her — treating her differently, being overly serious with her, overly dramatic showings of favoritism, etc. On the other hand, other women defined “creepy” as things like being a social recluse, only being able to talk about anime pornography, and the like.
What you can learn:
Don’t be creepy. Unfortunately, creepiness — like mental insanity — is somewhat difficult to self-diagnose. Have a close female friend honestly give you pointers. If she mentions anything close to the word “creepy” — including but not limited to comments about you being “tryhard,” pushy, awkward, etc — fix it, immediately.
There’s also something else to note here: a lot of the behavior women associate with “creepiness” is often the result of a guy expecting a vending machine relationship. By a “vending machine relationship,” I mean the attitude a guy takes in a relationship where he feels as if things he does (being nice, helping a girl with homework, etc) should immediately and directly translate into benefits (dating, sex, etc). Where a guy is frustrated in this scenario, he often comes across as awkward, unnecessarily “nice,” or just weird. Thus, even if you aren’t a greasy basement dweller wearing anime t-shirts, you can be “creepy” by being a vending machine sort of guy — so don’t do it.
Reason #1: You aren’t attractive/her “type.”
So, this is the part where I feel guilty for writing this article.
A full one hundred percent of women we polled indicated, in one way or another, that attractiveness was a reason for friend zoning a guy. Most of those polled – over 75% – indicated that this was the dispositive or sole reason that they friend zoned a guy. In other words, assuming that the women we polled fairly represent a cross-section of women (though see the limitations above), attractiveness is pretty much the core reason why men get friend zoned.
Admittedly, this isn’t the kind of result we wanted to get. It’s highly vain, unrealistic, and pretty damn mean. And, perhaps worse, it reflects really poorly on the women we polled. But it’s the result we got.
So what does this mean? Chances are, if you got friend zoned, your attractiveness played a part in it.
For those of you who are curious, women polled indicated that the following things fell into their definition of a man’s attractiveness: his overall facial structure, his smile, his hair, how he was dressed, his musculature (especially shoulders, biceps, and forearms, but sometimes including abs), his posture, and his penis size (don’t ask me how that can be determined from a “friend”). They also indicated that, much like men, they evaluate these things very early on when meeting a guy.
What you can learn:
While this result seems like a dead end, in reality, there’s a lot that can be done about your appearance, and you should probably do them. While certain things cannot be changed without plastic surgery (see: facial structure, etc), a lot of other things can be changed with effort. With braces (if necessary), a new haircut, a good exercise routine, a new wardrobe, and the like, chances are you can fix a lot about yourself that was messed up before.
But there’s also something else you can learn from this: chances are, if a girl puts you in the friend zone because she found you unattractive, you probably shouldn’t bother pursuing her, especially if you are taking care of yourself already. If you are putting forth every effort possible to make yourself look good — and by that I mean working out, maintaining a good hygiene routine, dressing well, etc — the girl is not for you. Not everyone will find you hot, and that’s perfectly fine, as even the most allegedly hot actors and actresses have their detractors.
As a side note, and on a more editorial side, this may just say a lot about young women. As noted above, the women we polled were young – usually barely out of college, if that. These girls are at their sexual and social peak, and many of them have the luxury of being arrogant about looks, oftentimes notwithstanding their own oddities, shortcomings, and problems. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this — no-one is faulting them for enjoying their power over men while they have it. But still, this result may have a lot to do with the fact that many of the women we polled have no desire to find a decent guy yet – a lot are admittedly just out to enjoy themselves, constantly pursuing their unrealistic image of the Ivy league educated Disney prince with a six-pack and a billion in the bank. In other words, our results may be limited to the demographic we polled - so don’t freak out about this too much.
Still, though, there’s nothing wrong with self improvement. That’s what this whole website is for, after all. Just do it for yourself — not for a girl who turns you down.
June 11th, 2011
im in a relationship with a women whom im deeply in love with, she is my first real Love… and we have been in the relationship for almost two years and have known each other for longer. But the relationship as of lately has turned for the WORST (really bad, chris brown bad!) and we had just been pulling apart lately, yet i still love her to no end! I dont know how to let her go and today we got into a huge fight, phone fight, and texting argument and i tried calling her a couple hours later only to find out that she blocked my number and im to presume that she broke up with me, now is the question, how to find the courage to let her go and move on?
In situations like this, courage predominantly comes from time and less from something you actively do. To be frank, there’s little you can do to magically make yourself feel better after any breakup — things will just get progressively easier over time.
With that being said, there are some things you can do that will help. First off, don’t keep her in your phone or otherwise keep stuff of hers — it won’t help, and it will only serve to remind you of her and encourage you to harass her. Second, don’t immediately jump in the dating game, but enjoy being a bachelor — there are benefits to being single, so enjoy them now that you have them. Third off, find something for you to do new that will keep your mind off her — try out a new hobby, video game, club, or the like.
The more you keep your mind off her (and refrain from contacting her) and the more you enjoy yourself, the better off you will be.
April 8th, 2011
The Heart Bandits is a couple-run company that works behind-the-scenes helping men and women plan romantic dates and proposals. The idea of hiring a company to help you plan a proposal or even just a romantic date has been making quite a splash recently, even though the best work they do is incognito. Recently, Well Cultured interviewed The Heart Bandits about their proposal services and their ideas on romantic dates:
What does your service offer that other services do not typically provide?
The Heart Bandits is the only Proposal Planning Service that is operated by a male and female. This enables us to have both perspectives on what a proposal should be. With all female proposal teams, the man who is actually proposing can sometimes lose his voice and be overpowered by what the women think is the best idea. Because we have a male on our team, he helps us remember that this is also a very special day to the male. Also, the male on my team has a degree in engineering from MIT so we add a lot of really cool technical flare to our proposals. It is great to have someone on staff that knows how to do amazing technical things which can really add to the proposal. Besides Proposal Planning, we also offer a full-service Romance Concierge package where we will run all romantic errands for the client for a full year. This service is utilized by jet setting business professionals who want to do romantic gestures but just do not have the time.
How do women tip men off that they are interested in a proposal/marriage?
A lot of women just come out and say they are ready. For the women who prefer to be a little more subtle, they will bring up their married friends a lot, talk about your future together, comment about what kind of wedding they would want, they will mention what kind of ring they would want in the future, and they will also drop hints about how they hoped to be proposed to. Unfortunately, sometimes they give ultimatums too.
Reversing that question, are there any signs that tell you that a guy shouldn’t propose?
A man shouldn’t propose if he is not ready. If he is only proposing to shut the girl up or because he is afraid of losing her then he should not do it. He should only propose because he is truly in love with the woman and cannot imagine his life without her.
What are some of the essential aspects of a romantic date?
The most essential aspect of a romantic date is sincerity. You can take a girl to eat at the most amazing restaurant with the best views in the city or you can make her the most modest home cooked meal at home. As long as you are doing it because you genuinely love her and want her to feel special, that is all that maters.
What are some of the biggest flaws men make when it comes to the dating/proposing process?
The biggest flaw that men make in proposals is proposing in a way THEY think is cool. If a man thinks that proposing at a Dodger game would be so amazing because he is a huge fan, he isn’t taking her desires in to consideration. Also, men use too many generic ideas. He should propose in a way that is special and meaningful to the girl, not to someone else’s girl. The biggest flaw that they make in dating is similar. Once in a while it is ok to take her to a poker tournament and let her in on your interests. But to win her heart and make her feel really special, invest in HER interests.
Some guys may understandably feel that a flashy proposal risks embarrassing a date as well as the potential for rejection. How do you help mitigate these worries?
The fist thing you need to do is know the person you are proposing to. If you are at the stage where you are considering marrying someone, you should already know if they like to be at the center of attention. If your girlfriend is shy or hates being in the public eye, then a flashy proposal wouldn’t be a good idea. If she is on the fence, send her a youtube video of a flashmob proposal and see what her response is. Also, no matter how you propose, you should always be confident she will say yes.
We’ve all seen the boring Google search proposal ideas. How does one avoid being stereotypical with a proposal (or even a date) without balking tradition?
As I mentioned before, all proposals should be personalized. I don’t believe in using ideas off of the Internet. If you met at The Met, incorporate that in the proposal. If you had your first kiss on a boat, incorporate that. Nothing should be generic. The proposal should be based off of your interests, your memories, and your relationship.
You’ve displayed some ideas for engagement rings on your website. Do you have any tips for those interested in purchasing an engagement ring (or any jewelry, for that matter)?
Do your research! There are a ton of places that will scam you and take you to the cleaners. Make sure you find a trusted, reputable jeweler that you can trust. Yelp.com is a great resource.
A number of our readers are students and young professionals, many of which find themselves strapped for cash. Any advice on how to propose on a budget?
Proposals don’t have to cost a lot. As I said, just make it personal. Also, tap in to your resources. That is what Facebook is for! If you want to pull of a musical proposal, ask your friends to play for you. If you can’t hire a photographer, have a friend take shots from a distance.
You can learn more about The Heart Bandits at their website, www.theheartbandits.com
March 19th, 2011
I need your help! I have a girl I know who is stalking me. What should I do?
First off, if things get too serious, you need to contact a lawyer and look into the anti-stalking laws of your state/country. To my knowledge, every US state has some form of anti-stalking law — while it may not be of use to you in your particular situation, consulting with someone doesn’t hurt. Naturally, if the stalking is dangerous/severe enough to require a lawyer, I’d recommend taking defensive actions — don’t hang around idly and open yourself up to anything you don’t have to. Though stereotypically women who stalk men are considered to be less dangerous/problematic than men who stalk women, stereotypes like that rarely reflect reality, and you don’t want to chance any sort of dangerous situations.
As for more everyday stalking, there are a few things you can do. Because most “stalkers” are merely very confused people with good intentions, one of the best things you can do with someone is take a stand and make your position on their behavior unequivocally clear — responding to a creepy e-mail or text or something with “Please stop contacting me, I’m not interested” usually works. If you want to be kinder and more subtle about it, talk to the stalker’s friends and acquaintances. Often, such friends and acquaintances are in a better position to convince the stalker of their errant ways. If you really want to be subtle and kind, just make yourself scarce and unavailable — being short and cold in conversation usually helps.
A final note: for men, it is often very difficult to handle such situations because of the underlying sexual element of stalking like this. Even if you have had sex with someone like this at some point, do not have sex with this girl again. What you may interpret as a fling or a one-night-stand may be interpreted by another as some sort of budding relationship. Avoid causing such confusion.
September 6th, 2010
Why is my fat, ugly, stupid friend getting all the girls when I can’t get a single one?
The problem is simple: you’re looking at things from the wrong perspective.
A common issue that many guys (especially techy guys) have is that they tend to look at relationships in terms of numbers and statistics, like dating is a big RPG or accounting sheet. They measure things that they find important — looks, style, athleticism, intelligence, etc — and tend to consider these reflective of someone’s “dateability”. Most guys will judge themselves in this matter, and then get really pissed off when some guy they consider “lower” than them on their own arbitrary scale gets to date a very attractive/interesting girl. Incidentally, when this happens, a lot of guys tend to blame it on money — “she’s a gold digger”, “he must be loaded”, etc.
The problem is, the world isn’t quite that logical, and for every one measurable “stat”, there are about a hundred intangible ones.
Take, for example, your friend. While he may fail in every way you can measure him, something else about him (such as a tweak of his personality, etc) may endear him to certain girls. He may be ridiculously similar to an old boyfriend of theirs from college. He may have had the luck of being in the right place at the right time. The girl may be specifically attracted to “fixer” guys. He may have personality traits you cannot detect but she adores. Numerous small factors play into his ability to date a girl, even if you may not be able to identify/quantify them.
Don’t worry if some good looking girl gets a loser guy — she may not be exactly worth your time. Just because the girl happens to be attractive does not mean she is worth your time or effort — remember, she may be a loser in many respects as well. Just like some guys can be really good looking and complete losers, lots of girls can be ridiculously hot and still completely worthless.
So the long story short? Calm down. Don’t concern yourself with who/what other people are dating. Focus on improving yourself and be more social.
July 23rd, 2010
Buried in the many news tabloid magazines at any given grocery store or department store is a little magazine called Cosmopolitan. A women’s interest magazine that makes Maxim look like The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan is the ultimate in trashy, low-brow reading, and its harebrained attempts at teaching women about sex and dating are so cringe-worthy that they make Double your Dating look academic. With no further ado, here are some direct quotes from Cosmopolitan (straight from their magazine, with links) that you wouldn’t believe women are believing.
Okay Sign – When a guy is happy with how things are going, he’ll often make this sign of approval without realizing it. For example, he may rest his hand on the table this way if he feels a date is going well.
Love Signal - Even if your guy hasn’t dropped those three little words yet, his fingers might have. When a man feels a strong connection, he’ll subconsciously create the love sign-language gesture while doing random things
For the former, he could just be picking his nails, or making the Japanese hand symbol for okane [money], as in “pay the bill yourself and stop looking at my hands”. For the latter, he could just be messing around, or trying to figure out if you’re into Star Trek. While there is some general validity to interpretations of the way someone physically behaves, no normal person runs around subconsciously making the “I love you” hand gesture (I had to look it up too) if they like someone. If applied logically, the “hands indicate the heart” supposition falls apart quickly. If he forms an “OK” sign with one hand and thrusts in the hole with the other hand, does that mean he wants to screw? If he forms a gun, does he want to kill you and/or rob a bank?
Guy Gallery: Decoding His Sleep and Sex Positions
Missionary – Men who prefer missionary tend to do things by the book, making them faithful, loving boyfriends who won’t let you down, says body-language expert Jan Hargrave. [...]
From Behind – You’ll always feel looked after by this confident, take-charge stud. Still, he can be standoffish at times. “In this position, you can’t make eye contact, so he won’t feel like he’s exposing himself emotionally,” Hargrave explains.
… or he could just have a fetish. Or, in the case of cowgirl, he could just be lazy or tired. There is some general validity to interpreting emotions in sexual positions (men generally connect certain positions to certain types of sex), but in all honesty, inferring someone’s entire personality based upon their favorite sex position is ridiculous. This article also goes on to explain the details of his position afterward — something that means very little, because typically the guy is too tired to care what position he sleeps in, just so long as you don’t crush his arm.
7 Sex Toys That Are Already in Your Bedroom
Bobby Pins - These seemingly innocent hair tools can give some serious pleasure to his ultra-sensitive nipples (and they work on you, too). [...] Then take his tingly sensations up a notch and use the bobby pins as mini-nipple clamps—since the area is already primed for action, the slight pinching will actually feel good and intensify his pleasure.
No. No. No. No. No.
Decode How He Handles His Drink
If he grips his long-neck loosely… Lightly encircling the top of his beer bottle with his thumb and index finger reveals that he’s confident. Not only does the relaxed gesture indicate he feels in control of the situation, but it’s also a bit of cocky posturing — it gives off the vibe that he’s too cool to be concerned with the risk of dropping his beer.
If he pushes the drink near you… Your guy will do this over dinner or at a bar when he’s feeling the urge to bond. Men subconsciously put their stuff in your space when they’re trying to get closer to you.
According to Cosmo, even the way men drink a beer matters. This comes as a surprise to me, as I have yet to determine what would be a normative way to drink a beer, except for possibly just chugging it immediately to avoid being analyzed by a Cosmopolitan-reading date. I’d need the buzz anyway.
First-Date Red Flags
“I never move this fast on the first date.” – Yeah, right! Truth be told: He can’t believe you’re letting him move that fast. “It’s the woman who dictates how far things go,” says Anthony, 23. “I’m always up for action, but I’ll play the prude card just so my date doesn’t think I’m a player.” Bottom line: If you hand a guy a piece of ass on a silver platter, he’s going to take it.
This was inevitable: a comment regarding men being basically sex fiends and taking anything they can get. This, of course, is complete and utter crap. Men turn down sex for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to actually taking a date seriously, not finding the date in question attractive, being hyper-careful about not being too assertive about sex, and simply not wanting sex. Reducing all men to a generalization like “they take sex when handed to them” is just as bad as saying something like “women belong in the kitchen”, and it belies an attempt on the author’s part to reduce men to a compartmentalized, controllable, and ultimately submissive role in male-female relations.
5 Annoying Things Guys Do on Facebook
They Hide Their Relationship Status - The beauty of Facebook is that we can instantly find out if a guy is available or off-limits. No 30-minute talk in a bar, trying to suss out if he has a girlfriend waiting for him at home. But if that info is kept a secret, we’re forced to look through and analyze his photos and wall posts to figure it out — which makes us feel like stalkers. Guys: If you’re single, do us both a favor and make that info public knowledge. And if you’re part of a twosome, own up to it. Especially when we’re one of the two.
They Block Their Photos - We can understand a guy wanting to keep certain people from viewing his pictures. But seeing as how we’re not his mom, boss, or pastor, it bugs us when we can’t see a dude’s photos. Here’s the thing: We always imagine the worst. So when we’re kept in the dark and can’t click through a guy’s albums, we imagine he’s blowing lines, hooking up with two girls at once, or running around naked at a party. Unfair, but true. He’s not saving his reputation by blocking his photos. In fact, not being able to click on them makes us think a little less of him.
I had to keep these in their full text to properly show how absolutely stupid these statements are. Spoiler: Facebook is a massive security risk, and a crappy social networking nightmare. There are very legitimate reasons other than hookers and blow to hide pictures and relationship information online — I personally hide information (or rather, simply do not post it) because I have absolutely no desire to have people I work with sift through images of my personal life. It’s much more efficient to ask anyway. If I or any other guy was doing blow and sleeping with lots of girls, do you really think we’d post pictures of it on Facebook?
What can we learn?
Here’s the moral story of bad Cosmo advice: much like men’s advice in books like Double your Dating and The Pickup Artist, women get bad advice too, and they act on it. The realm of sex columns and sex tabloids has been predominantly ruled by women, but this does not somehow grant them expertise in the field whatsoever. Veritable Carrie Bradshaw wannabe readers of Cosmopolitan are being taught a lot of really dumb, outright ridiculous ideas that give them wild misconceptions about the dating and sex world — and while some of the advice in Cosmopolitan seems perfectly innocuous and reasonable, a good portion of advice in Cosmo and similar magazines (not to mention similar blogs) is just pop psychology half-baked crap.
Thus, like I have always said, be careful what you read, advice-wise. It’s not hard to write articles giving wild advice about dating and sex — it’s a topic most people are interested in that few know enough about to really critique properly. Critique me. Critique other men’s interest magazines. Critique what girls read. Don’t ever just accept what you are told: critically evaluate it and challenge it before you adopt it as fact. Otherwise, you might do some equivalent of using a bobby pin to clip a guy’s nipples.
June 19th, 2010
I can’t possibly show my friends your articles on how PUA books suck, they won’t read em. Can you give me just the cliffs notes version so they stop paying cash on classes?
I’ll try to keep this as humanly short as possible:
PUA books work for two reasons: they get you trying and they get you confident. The actual material in them is useless. PUA books, be they “Double your Dating”, “The Game”, or anything similar, all usually have advice that only works for clubs, and even then only rarely. What they are effective at doing is, in a nutshell, convincing you that you can pick up women so you go out and try a lot. Trying is 99% of the game, for the most part, especially since the books convince you failures are just learning experiences. You don’t need to have special lines, graphs, the ability to “peacock”, or any of that crap to get women. You are much better not deluding yourself, developing real confidence, and ignoring $300+/wk seminar classes designed to profit off of your insecurities.
May 24th, 2010
What do you think of “yellow fever” (the stereotypical attraction of guys to Asian girls)? Is it okay?
I wouldn’t say it’s “okay” or not per se, but I will try to explain what I personally think it is, and the difference between normative attraction to Asian women and obsessive fetishistic creepiness.
The best way to understand “yellow fever” is to understand it as an amalgamation of the following in the Western context: the natural inclination of guys to certain types of women, and Western stereotypes of the East (that is, Orientalism, and a few other things).
First off, Asian women are stereotypically viewed as attractive, mainly because of their exoticism and subservience. In the physical realm, Asian women tend to be smaller and, as some would argue, more fragile — something many men find attractive to assert their own masculinity. In a somewhat similar vein, the typical Asian household tends to place women in a position of subservience, which many men find attractive for dominance reasons. Some argue that Asian woman also have a higher rate of being educated and having better skin and all manner of other things — baseless assertions in my mind, but still running stereotypes in Western culture. While these don’t really manifest themselves much in reality, one can see these really present in photoshoots of Asian women, of all places — it’s very clear that the message of Asian women to Western men is one of exotic subservience, sexual availability, and weakness. In the total Said-esque sense, the West views the East in a variety of stereotypical ways that can make it both subservient and attractive — which not only boosts the West’s view of its own power, but also provides it illusory justification for taking control over Eastern culture (via military force or, in this case, dating). In dating terms, this often manifests itself along the lines of the aforementioned presumptions about Asian woman — the assumption that they are subservient and beautiful, tied with the implication of exoticism, makes them highly desirable by men. The sheer fact that Asian women happen to be (relatively) unique in Western culture even plays a part in it — it makes Asian woman a kind of rare breed, a unique exotic object that many men seek to attain. These stereotypes are usually entirely false, but they contribute to a kind of mindset that guys pick up that fuels the kind of “yellow fever” you speak of.
On top of that, I’d personally argue there’s a positive psychological component to it — that is to say, men actually can excuse some of their attraction on psychological grounds. Consider it an extreme application of the Westermarck effect — men may have a psychological imperative to go after Asian (or otherwise “exotic”) women to avoid inbreeding.
But let me stop ranting here and address a perhaps bigger point: the difference between normal attraction and obsessive fetishism. The former, normal attraction, is something normal that you can feel free to foster nicely — for example, some guys prefer girls with blond hair, others brunettes. However, the latter category differs from the former in that it is obsessive, demanding, and unyielding — it is not “I prefer blond but I’ll be open for anything”, but rather “I must have ____”. Put simply, it’s perfectly fine to be attracted to certain kinds of women, pending you don’t take it to an extreme.
So there you have it. So long as you can have “yellow fever” and still behave healthily, do so without guilt. Just don’t let it dominate you.
May 15th, 2010
My girlfriend really wants to do a sex tape together. I’m not up for it. Should I give in?
No. No no no no no no no no no.
If the internet has taught you anything, it should have taught you that sex tapes of anybody anywhere do not remain private, no matter how boring or un-sexy. Opening yourself up to potential ridicule (at minimum) is really, really stupid. I’m not entirely sure why she would want to make such a tape (blackmailing you? a misplaced desire for excitement?), but you need to put your foot down — that’s just a bad idea, period. That being said, if she’s looking for excitement or something different, try to provide it in another way. Just don’t do anything like that — no pictures, no videos, nothing.
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