For the TL:DR crowd, my take boils down to this: Women often live together in their opaque bubbles, and guys often live alone at sea, swimming in misconceptions and self delusions. It has been said many times over that men and women do not fully understand each other, and this couldn't be more right when it comes to dating. There are a lot of misconceptions about what men and women want, and how men and women act. There are only a few occasions however where we get to really see a person from one side of the fence actually attempt to put on the shoes of the people on the other side, and challenge their own conceptions of the experiences the other gender faces. Today however, we are fortunate to have one such example of "crossing the isle" with a woman named Norah Vincent who identifies herself as a lesbian, who underwent a full makeover to make herself look like a fairly convincing man. She did this as a social experiement to really see what it was like to be a guy. This take will be based on her findings in the video. It's a brilliant video and well worth the watch!
How Men Treat Other Men - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Lets begin with the first experiment Norah did, which was to infeltrate a male space at a bowling alley (starts around 3 minutes in), where she tried to see if men would be nice and accept her into their circle as a complete nobody as women often do with other women, or would they shun "him" as an unknown element of their club. So the good of what she found wasn't really surprising to me. The men accepted her with open arms, and what she learned is that we guys have a different way of showing affection for fellow guys than girls do. We are way more into banter and putting people in our circle down, not because we hate each other, but its just our way of having a laugh, destressing from all the bullcrap that's out there, not taking life or ourselves too seriously, etc. In some ways, you could say its a bit of unconscious social grooming that we do in order to prepare us for the real world when it comes to approaching women (a subject we are going to get into quite soon here), dealing with rejection, and simply not having the same kind of support networks that our female counterparts often have when they have feelings they need expressing. I liken it to the way monkeys will groom other monkey's in the wild. I find that girls often don't understand this side of men, and think we are just mean for the sake of being mean. That's often not the case. What else she found however, the more ugly side, was that men really lacked a sense of intimacy towards each other. Within male circles, there really isn't much when it comes to finding comfort in other men. Unless we know a guy VERY well, its a very uncomfortable experience going to guys when things are bothering us emotionally, which I find is an area that girls are historically better than us at. Even worse is simply the lack of attention this often gets in the media, and the way men are often perceived, as people with little emotion, or lacking intimate feelings. The sad truth is, we often do, but no one cares to ask, and so no one cares to tell.
Men and Sex - Why do we seemingly crave it so much in the dating world?
So the next part of the video, at around 7 minutes in, Norah goes to a strip club to experience what it was that guys got out of it. Now this was a very interesting part for me, because as a lesbian, you would think that Norah would at least be a little turned on by it. Not so. She wasn't aroused AT ALL. From her perspective, she saw the whole thing as guys trying to fullfill an urge that they just had to do, almost biologically so. Now, I do think times have changed somewhat since the early 2000's, as very few guys i know of actually go to strip clubs. Today, its all about porn and escorts, but the point isn't lost. Norah believes that at the core of things, male sexuality is more of a bodily function, whereas for women its more mental. What i gather from this part of the video is that despite what seems to be a biological imperative amongst men, we still have a longing for intimacy, except that our biology makes us equate sexual experiences more with intimacy than women do. Norah believes its due to the fact that guys have so much more testosterone coursing through our bodies, the urge to have more sex is so much harder for us to resist than it is for women.
Funny enough, I recently answered a question by a friend of mine on here named @Queen_naki5 and she was questioning why all the guys, even the nice ones, always seem so interested in having sex. To quote her,
I'm sick of it! I haven't really met much genuine people so far. I feel like most guys that I meet are after sex, even if they appear to be genuine, kind and educated. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING SEX, my thing is, I can't have meaningless sex with just anyone. I can't just sleep with a guy on the 2nd/3rd date.
When I look at the views and complaints by women, and juxtapose them with the views of men, I come to the conclusion that women may not fully understand the way men view intimacy and vice versa. It's almost impossible for a woman to understand the male perspective on this fully without being a man, but my advice would be to look at your need for a mental connection with men in order to like them. Look at it seriously, and remind yourself why its very necessary for you to have this in order to feel like you've connected with a guy. Now take that thought, and replace "mental connection" with "sexual connection". Imagine that instead of that mental connection you needed before, you now have this desire for sexual intimacy so deep that nothing else really comes close to it. It's not that you aren't a loving and genuine person....its just that you have this imprint within your mind, almost biologically stamped, to now equate love with sex. It's hard to understand a man's biology if you aren't a man, but if you look at the issue of sex in dating from this new perspective, it really shines a whole new light on the matter. In some ways, women who look down on men for being highly sexual in nature are like the kid, who after inheriting and living off of millions of dollars from his parents that he never earned, makes the statement that the poor are poor because they are lazy and should learn to work for a living. Easy for him to say, correct? Its a deeply-seeded misconception of a real biological drive within men, not a malicious drive, to have sexual intimacy. It's a misconception born out of the fact that women don't have as strong a biological drive for sex. They are born with an almost resistance to this biological urge, similar to the way that some kids are born into a wealthy family. They did nothing to earn it. It just is. But those who lack the ability to introspectively think, will look at men and expect them to behave exactly as women do, just as my hypothetical kid will look at the poor and expect them to take care of themselves exactly as he takes care of himself, even though they weren't born with the same advantages. What's worse is that there are actually two driving forces that make men want to be more sexual. There is the natural, biologically-induced drive to have sex and then there's the artificial, socially-driven force that makes men feel like "less of a man" for not having many sex partners. This is the reason why choosing to insult a man by calling him a virigin has far more impact on him than it would on a girl. Different biological urges, different social pressures.
Lets be absolutely clear though....What we've done here is stripped all the nuance away from this issue, and brought it down to a barebones understanding of what is going on. In reality, men are not slaves to biology, just as women aren't (similar to how not every poor person is simply a vicitim of circumstance). So as a man, you can't hide behind your biology to excuse certain behaviours, like sending dick picks to girls you don't even know, manipulating girls into sleeping with you, cheating on your girlfriend, etc. We live in a nuanced world, and because we live in a nuanced world, it often requires us to have a nuanced point of view. So when some women look at guys and their sex drives, I think they need to look at it from a different, more nuanced perspective. Remember that you are not a guy, and you don't fully understand how difficult both the natural and artificial impulse to be sexually active is to supress. It's not an on or off switch that men have....its more like a dial that we constantly train ourselves to tone down or ramp up when we need to...but its rarely ever completely gone. Understand the male perspective on sex in a similar way to how you would attempt to understand a poor woman who steals diapers and food from a corner store for her 8 month old child. What she did, at least in my opinion, was both wrong and right simultaneously. She has a biological need to protect and care for her child, but she might have went about satisfying that need in the wrong way. Norah came to the same conclusion that I did from this particular experiment. To quote her, "It [sex] is such a powerful drive, and because we [women] don't have testosterone in our systems, we don't understand how hard it is."
Men and the Approach - Do women understand how difficult it actually is?
The next thing Norah tried, was actually picking up girls in the same fashion that men do (@ around nine and a half minutes in), which is by making the first move, having a thick skin, and an affinity for adversity. This part of the video had me floored when I first watched it. Norah was immediately reminded of how women had all the power here, and she further commented on how easy it was to feel so crushed by a simple action a girl does to blow you off. I respected her so much for her commentary on this, as really not a lot of women are willing to approach guys regularly (not just for a day or two), and even fewer are willing to do approaches pretending to be a guy in order to see what its like for men. I won't reiterate everything she said here because her words speak for itself (which again, i encourage you to watch) but what really fascinated me was not how frequently she was blown off (rejection is just a part of life after all) but the attitude of the girls she received, just for approaching them and saying hi. It was almost as if she was doing something wrong just by showing even low level interest in them. I know some women like to blow off the difficulty in approaching women, especially women who approach guys and think that the two are the same thing. We've already established that men and women are very different biologically, and a half decent looking woman isn't going to get the same sort of consistent responses that a half decent guy will get approaching women. We're dealing with two very different games here...two very different sports you could say, and Norah's venture into our arena was pleasing to watch. What i gathered is that some women, because they haven't actually spent much time at all thinking about the matter, think that a guy approaching a girl he's attracted to and knowing the right thing to say to get things started is an easy feat. Because they think that way, they may feel like blowing guys off anyhow is quite alright, because they'll dust themselves off easily and approach someone who is more interested.
I think this part of the video is especially important for all those girls out there, and especially here on GaG who question why their crush, or guys in general won't approach them. When i answer these questions, i get the sense that a lot of these girls have no clue how much guts it takes to be someone who regularly approaches women you're attracted to but have never interacted with prior. Because of this lack of understanding, they think that simply showing up is enough of an impetus for guys to act on to approach them. The woman who has enough introspective intelligence to understand the difficulty in approaching themselves, is the woman smart enough to make certain changes in the way she communicates through body language (amongst other things) to actually get guys to notice and approach her.
Are guys unaware of what women REALLY want?
Oh we all would like to know for sure, wouldn't we! Well Norah covered that too, at least somewhat, starting at around 11 minutes in. This is a queue for guys, at least some of you, to get a pen and paper out because this one is more for you than it is for women. Now what I think will come to the surprise of many girls here (but not us men) is that Norah rarely enjoyed any of the dates she went on. Why? Because as a guy, she constantly felt this pressure that she had to prove herself, and if she didn't the girls may not show any interest. Basically she was saying that it was a one-way street....with most of the effort being done by her to make the girl feel like Norah was worth her time. Honestly, this is the experience of many guys, although I'm not sure about who's fault that really is. Without a doubt though, its at least a societal expecation that guys have to impress the girl in one way or another, whether it be through words or actions...and after just a handful of dates, Norah got tired of it. What was more interesting however was when she revealed that she was really a girl to these women. Those who made a connection with her were STILL interested in dating her more, even after being told that Norah was not a man. Mind you, these are self proclaimed heterosexual women. This was probably the most fascinating part of the video for me, because it spits in the face of what so many guys, especially here on GaG like to believe. This belief that the way you look is the be-all-end-all for women, and if you don't look a certain way (tall, dark and handsome) girls will not like you. It's such a lazy analysis of the female mind, and in my opinion, its often used by guys looking for an excuse as to why they suck with women. It's easier to say that women only want rich guys or model-looking guys, than it is to say that women want guys who are mentally stimulating. The latter cannot feasibly be changed on the guys part, whereas the truth requires you to actually consider the possibility that the way you think is incorrect and needs to be worked on. Norah was neither rich, nor all that great looking (I mean she was a girl dressed as a guy for goodness sake -_-) and even though she lied, the connection she made with some of these girls was so strong that these women were able to forgive all that and continue dating her. The guys who continue to believe that the way you think and act can never outweigh the way you look with women are beyond retarded my eyes...because the empircal evidence to the contrary is just too readily available nowadays to continue having this view. Looks matter, but what comes out of your mouth matters just as much. Sometimes moreso.
Another interesting thing I took away from this was that Norah's belief of what women wanted did a complete 180. Her view now is that many girls actually want a manly man versus the "woman in a man's body". Now she's just one person, but I do find it interesting nonetheless that her view of what women seemed to want did a total change once she actually went into the dating world as a guy. There's a lot of talk today about girls and their apparent "double speak"...how they say they want a sweet, sensitive guy who does a, b and c, but in reality they end up sleeping with a jerkoff who does x, y and z. I won't get too deep into that here, but its an interesting coincidence that what she thought women wanted turned out to be the complete opposite when she really sat down and started to pick women's brains.
My Conclusion - There are very real differences between the way men and women operate socially...but the problem is that despite this fact being obvious, we continue to act as if it isn't
What I learned from this is that many men still have no idea what women want, and are often too self deluded to learn what is and what isn't true. Norah's experiences in dating was really just a reminder for me of something that I and at least some other men already know, which is that if you're looking for something real and meaningful in the dating world, it is less bad to be an unattractive man, than it is to be an unattractive woman. Do note that i bolded "less bad". I do not mean that dating is a breeze for an unattractive guy. What I am saying is that you probably would not survive as an unattractive girl trying to pick up the opposite sex, because for all women's faults, they are undeniably more forgiving than men are where looks are concerned. Men today are still largely valued for our utility value, whereas women are largely valued for thier looks. A man who looks bad can still fullfill his societal role, and women recognize this. A woman who looks bad fails her societal role automatically at birth, and men recognize this too....which is why you won't often see an amazing looking guy with an unattractive woman. You'll see the reverse however, much more often than not.
I also learned (or should i say was reminded) that many girls still live in a bubble when it comes to dating and social dynamics. Some of them lack almost complete understanding of the male perspective in this area, and many seem to not care. I've been trying to figure out the right word for this mentality. It's not really an entitled mentality, as some guys would put it. It's more of an elitist mentality, where some women have an artificially high value of themselves, so much so that they are prompted to look down on a guy who had the ordasity to say hi to them (which partly explains why some women clung so strongly to that viral video a while back of the model walking through new york who apparently associated "harassment" with guys simply saying hello to her), or to come to a date expecting the guy to entertain and prove themselves as if they were vying for a lucrative position at a prestigous law firm. If one were to ask me, the cause of this has mostly to do with social conditioning. Women are pursued so often (especially online) that for some, it gives them an artificially high ego, allowing them to feel empowered enough to act any way they want because at the end of the day, guys will still pursue them. I think Bill Burr, one of the great comedians of our time said it best, "no one corrects them because they all want to fuck 'em." Part of the problem is that some women lack that introspective intelligence, the part of ones brain that allows a person to look at themselves and ask "Am I really so important...so valuable...that I can harshly blow a guy off in this manner for having the balls to approach me, or is there a happy medium to rejection which allows me to be both soft and direct at the same time?"
There's a lot here for both guys and girls to learn. I skipped a couple other experiments she did due to lack of space, but i hope all of you watch the video to its entirety. I hope the experience, if not educational, was at least intersting enough to have you asking more questions by the end of it. This experience of coarse is one sided, as I have yet to see a man able to pull something like this off and try being in a woman's shoes. That's a video I'd love to watch. But for now, this will have to do. The last interesting thing I got from Norah's experience was actually her final words, which I'll post for those who have not watched the video. Here was her response:
I am so much closer to myself than I ever was. I really like me. I really like being me, and i really love being a woman. I like it [being a woman] more now, because I think its more of a privilege