[Please Read: This has obviously become an incendiary post, to the point of going viral. If you are a #MGTOW and wish to take me to task for having a happy, fulfilling relationship to a wonderful woman, I've already responded to similar comments more than enough times below. Going forward, I'll only be approving well-articulated comments that add something new to the conversation. Please read this other post before commenting to gain clarity on my gender-neutral position on human behavior.]
A while back I was on a coaching call with a woman who happens to be smart, successful and beautiful. We were actively discussing creative ways she might encourage the kind of man she deserves to introduce himself, start a conversation and sweep her off of her feet.
Out of the blue, she posed one of the most poignant questions I’d been asked in quite some time:
“Scot, do men even LOOK at women anymore? I mean, do they even NOTICE us out there?”
My knee-jerk response, had I not stopped to ponder the issue, may have been something to the effect of, “Well, of course. Men have been making it a point to stop and admire women they happen to see when they’re out and about since the dawn of recorded time. And probably before that as well.”
But instead I paused. The question wasn’t a mere throwaway…some miscellaneous rant from a woman who couldn’t understand why she couldn’t even catch a man looking, let alone get him to approach her.
So we talked about it some. And since I was on a road trip and passing through South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, I decided to do somewhat of a field study.
Myrtle Beach. Savannah. Daytona Beach. South Beach Miami. All places where there’s no shortage of attractive women wandering the sidewalks in sundresses or catching rays on the beach in bikinis. At each stop I made it a point to stop and observe what happened whenever men and women were in close proximity to each other.
Time and again what I observed was…nothing. NOTHING happened. Ever. Not even one time out of maybe two hundred.
Granted, knowing how “approach anxiety” has a death grip on most mortal men, it’s not even like I was expecting to witness guys stopping bikini-clad hotties and getting their numbers. The odds of seeing a jaguar in the wild in Florida are probably greater than that.
But these guys were apparently oblivious that there were sexy women within the scope of their radar. They weren’t even bothering to look at them…at all.
Now, I know what you might be thinking, but give me some credit here. I completely get the importance of subtlety. Anyone who’s smoother than, say, Steve Urkel knows the value of waiting until about four or five seconds after you pass a woman on the street to take a look back at her.
And yes, most of us as guys know that it’s better when food shopping to perpetrate like you forgot something in the same aisle that hottie is on, just so you can justify backtracking to verify how sexy she really is.
At least in principle we understand all that stuff. But by God, these guys were seriously NOT LOOKING at women. EVER. AT ALL.
Time after time dudes were strolling by fantastically hot women with virtually nothing on, apparently without even having noticed.
To be sure, in case you’re wondering the women weren’t stealing a glimpse of a guy here and there either.
These people weren’t just not noticing each other, they weren’t even trying. They weren’t even tuned in to the “hottie radar” frequency.
I was, and remain, astonished by what I saw repeat itself over and over again. I mean, when I was in college and living at the beach during the summer, I’m fairly sure my friends and I didn’t miss ANY of the girls who came within 200 yards of us.
Back at school, if a girl dared wear red underwear beneath white pants our entire dormitory new about it by lunchtime.
Hell, I remember guys in pickup trucks hanging out of windows and hollering at my MOM when I was about four or five years old.
Historically speaking, noticing women hasn’t only been a treasured pastime for men everywhere, it’s been a way of life.
So what gives nowadays? Sure, the stereotypical idea of construction workers wolf whistling at women seems preposterously rude in today’s world (although I’m sure it still happens…somewhere). We’ve all watched the early seasons of Mad Men and been appalled. So nobody is suggesting we revert to real, genuine sexual harassment.
But not even NOTICING women at all? What’s the world coming to? How are we to ever continue the cycle of procreation to perpetuate the human race?
In my completely random opinion—which is pure conjecture, mind you—I can think of at least three factors that may be conspiring here.
1) Fear Of Seeming Predatory
The subtle (or at times blatant) message presented to men in the 21st century is that any display of sexual interest in a woman is considered “sexual harassment”. We’ve all been to a corporate seminar that warned us as such. The result is that we as men have been successfully conditioned to leave women the hell alone. In other words, it’s not just “don’t touch”, it’s “don’t even LOOK”.
The sobering thought that comes to mind here is that this factor alone is moving our culture from an epidemic fear of approaching women to an equally pandemic state of being afraid to even LOOK at them.
Consider this. When was the first time you remember encountering the adjective “rapey” to describe certain male behavior? For me it was just a couple of years ago.
2) The Ubiquity Of Porn
This one is about as simple to throw on the table as it gets. Given the sheer abundance of videos and images of whatever kind of woman you’d like buck naked and having sex online—and the on-demand availability of it, for free—have we as guys really just become immune to anything less?
Perhaps the more interesting question is this: Have we actually gotten to the point where an image on our computer screen is a more potent stimulus than a real, live woman? That is, assuming the latter has clothes on and isn’t performing a sexual act, of course.
3) Insulation From Real People In General
For years it has been theorized that the advent of the Walkman back in the early ‘80s heralded the beginning of the end for common, face-to-face social interaction. And indeed, as people tuned in to their headphones they tuned out all else around them, including other humans.
So there’s that, which is clearly significant.
But what about social media? Nowadays people are rapidly feeling less compelled to actually interact with people in person. We type at each other on Facebook and Twitter, look at the pictures and watch the videos. That’s the new definition of “social”.
Let me be the first to raise my hand and admit that I most certainly pick up the phone less often and attend fewer social gatherings these days. And yes, I can make a clear, conscious connection between that and the fact that I’ve already seen what all of those people are up to on Facebook this week.
Add it all up and it could very well be that we’re all being brainwashed into flat-out ignoring people in real life.
So what do you think? I made sure to make this a blog post instead of a regular newsletter because I really, seriously would love to hear your opinion. And I want to hear from both men and women on this.
Do you agree that we don’t even notice each other anymore? Or is it that we’re simply a lot more subtle about it, whether that be due to sophistication or plain old fear?
Or have I been reading my data all wrong? Do you see men admiring women all the time where you live?
P.S. This may shock you, given what you’ve just read, but did you know that women are probably noticing YOU all the time? They’re even sending you signals that are clear as a bell. Here are ten phrases that you should be listening for that are dead giveaways.
P.S.S. If you’re one of the guys reading this post who is extremely bitter toward women and would genuinely like to transform your mindset, you’ll love Episode 107 of The Mountain Top Podcast.