Friday, March 2, 2012

Friendly or fresh? Fascinating or forward?

I saw this post on The Private Man which attracted my interest.
In it, TPM describes a scenario in which an elderly woman compliments his beautiful brown eyes.
He was genuinely touched by that.

I would too, if I had been in his place.
It is such a nice thing to be complimented in this way, especially by a total stranger. As a woman, I love to be validated. Much more than a man, as my sources of self-importance usually come from outside of me and are to a large extent based on my appearance rather than what I do. But I can and should learn to live without these if I don't get it (invaluable piece of wisdom from Just Visiting).

Therefore I so get it that TPM was so 'chuffed' when he was 'validated'.
But I felt uneasy about the takeaway advice to women that TPM gave, as a result of this encounter.
He was implying that it was a good thing, whatever the age of a woman, to do stuff like this.
Helen Andelin must be turning in her grave right now.

Now, several commenters on his blog already alluded to the point I am about to make.
But somehow I feel the need to add my own thoughts on this.

Many women will agree that as they get older, they become much more 'open' in the sense that they loosen up a bit. Not so uptight.
Like all toddlers go through a stage where they get all shy in the presence of strangers, although there are some girls who are naturally extrovert even from kindergarten, even they go through a 'reserved' stage.
That 'reserved' stage is maybe getting slightly lost in today's society.

But it is still there. It is perhaps manifesting itself differently from previous ages.

The Manosphere men say this:
'A woman is seeking to reject you within the first five minutes of meeting you'.

This is true, inasmuch as she puts up automatic barriers whilst she assesses whether you are friend or foe. This is normal behaviour. It is a huge part of the 'filter behaviour' I have touched on in previous posts. Nobody should be disputing its importance to women. A (young) woman without this automatic response is in trouble. Certainly in a social sense. But quite often even in a physical sense.

A woman in her sixties has 'done it all' already.
Figuratively and quite literally.
She is perhaps the most 'aggressive' she will ever be in her life, as her natural T:O (or T:E if you are American :-) is at its highest level ever.
She can compliment a man all she likes. Society won't bat an eyelid.
And she often does. She ain't shy.

A 20 year old woman is in quite a different place in her life.
She is at her most attractive in her life.
She is also at her most insecure.
She is at her lowest T:O ratio.
She, unlike her grandmother, has something to protect.
The wrong kind of attention, and she is on a train to some place she didn't want to go to.
She needs a shield to protect herself from unwanted attention.
Some Manosphere bloggers call this a 'b*tch shield'.
The 'b*tch shield' is massive when a woman is young. It gets smaller and smaller as she gets older.
At sixty, she doesn't have it anymore.
Because she doesn't really need it anymore.
With any luck she would have used it to good effect during her younger years.
Like 'fitness testing', a 'b*tch shield' is there to perform a certain function.

Is it often misused?
Yes. But how the 'b*tch shield' is applied is dependent on the level of maturity and character of the individual woman.
I am not referring here to the shield which has grown legs and has a mind of its own. That is outside the scope of this post. I am speaking here about the normal socially beneficial shield that has a useful purpose.

I wonder if the gradual loss of this 'b*tch shield' is what is termed 'external attractiveness' in this post of Andrew's. Interesting that in Andrew's definition, he chooses 'openness' as one of his criteria. Clearly, it is important to men, this 'openness'.
Is it possible for a woman to be pleasant without being too 'open'?
What about the shy, wallflower type of girl? Is she in possesion of an automatic 'b*tch shield' by virtue of her retiring nature?

If a 20 year old woman compliments a man on his beautiful brown eyes, unless that man is known to her, like a boy in school, or her brother's best friend, or someone like that, it would be considered a little 'strange' by society, and him. Certainly, if he is much older than her, it would be rather...odd. Perhaps society still judges women more than men in this type of situation, as has traditionally been the case for hundreds of years.

A 20 year old girl is supposed to be less 'forward' than a sixty year old woman.
Because of her natural lack of confidence, she often is less forward than a sixty year old woman.

She is supposed to be 'demure' for want of a better word.
Demure behaviour cannot be compatible with complimenting a (stranger) man's looks.
It is definitely not her job. No-one should expect her to do this.

Complimenting a (stranger) man on his achievements is a different thing. Like he just scored the final 3 points that won his team the coveted know, like Jeremy Lin :-)
It will lead to the same result, i.e. the man feeling good about himself, as indeed TPM did, but it is less 'fresh' for a woman to do this.

It is a very fine line for a woman to tread.
Even at forty, a woman who is too 'brazen' in her approach to men could be seen in the 'wrong' way.
Of course, she may indeed be sexually aggressive and forward. I have no doubt that this is often true, and not just in the imagination of men, but there are also certain behaviours that may give off vibes which can easily be misinterpreted.

Flirting is good.
But when there is a risk of misinterpretation, it is time to stop or do it differently.

Maybe sometimes it is best to leave it to the (older) women who really do know what they are doing. And who can live with the consequences, or at least navigate their way out of trouble.


just visiting said...

Casual flirting and complimenting by a young woman is an art that requires a social contract that doesn't immediately jump to sexual conclusions.More headaches are produced by a careless compliment than most women want to deal with. I dare say Scarlett O'Hara would be rethinking her charms in the present era.

Re: Openess. True, it's attractive. A man doesn't fall in love by connecting with a woman's mind or vagina. He falls in love by connecting with her heart. This requires openess and vulnerability on her part. Since we live in a predatory world, a certain amount of shielding is required.

Re: Demure. ExACTly!

dannyfrom504 said...

JV is a smart woman ST.

You linked TPM, countdown til he shows up.....

Remember what paw-paw told the 22 year old girl sitting in his lap at the parade?

Spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,

"JV is a smart woman ST."
I may be slow sometimes, but even I can recognise brilliance when I see it.

Paw-paw said and I quote:
“i might be too old to cut the mustard, but i can still lick the jar.”


Cracks me up everytime.

"You linked TPM, countdown til he shows up....."

Did you ever watch 'Tom and Jerry' the cartoon as a kid?

This kinda reminds me of when Jerry the mouse would poke Tom the cat when he was asleep, and then run like mad when Tom went after him.

I feel like this right now.


Spacetraveller said...

Incidentally, Danny,

I forgot to add in my previous comment.
There is a vast difference between a 30 or even a 50 year old man and a 90 year old man when it comes to a woman deciding whether or not she will drop her shield. I know you know that. This is why Paw-paw is a great 'wing-man' for you ;-)

Because a 22 year old woman will very quickly see a 90 year old man as 'friend' and never 'foe' (unless he is known to be a paedophile or something). In which case she can flirt all she wants because it is defnitely 'safe'.

So she can safely sit on his lap.

Notice that no-one was sitting in your lap, Danny :-)

As you know, a woman will make quick calculations in her head before she will 'sit on your lap'. Your alpha-ness could shorten this 'calculation' time but sometimes it could also prolong it. The point is, the shield is always there, unless weakened by: extreme youth (in which case the shield hasn't even been built yet - we are talking pre-puberty), alcohol, drugs or other such disabler.

Grasshopper said...

Like TPM I would enjoy that unsolicited type of compliment from a woman as he got that day. I hate to think that I have to wait until I am old and frail until those start coming my way more frequently.

But men too are faced with a ‘taking it the wrong way’ dilemma.

If I assumed this was an expression of interest and it really was just a casual in passing type of thing for sure my response would scare her off and I will get the permanent b*tch shield treatment.

On the other hand, if I made the safe assumption that it was a casual didn’t mean anything by it compliment and she really was interested then there is a very good chance she may take my response as a rejection.

So no matter how the man responds to something like this he is taking a risk also. C’est la vie.


Spacetraveller said...


"I hate to think that I have to wait until I am old and frail until those start coming my way more frequently."
Ha ha ha!
No, I think you perhaps get those now, but just from women your mother's age, so those don't count :-P

"So no matter how the man responds to something like this he is taking a risk also."
Of course you are right.

Men and women who misread the signs get into trouble. In the same way that it can get very serious for a woman because her personal safety is compromised, it can get nasty for a man too, as in the example of sexual harrassment charges.
Murky territory, for sure.

just visiting said...

ST and Danny - Thank you! The wisdom and insights that you put into your blogs are appreciated more than you know.