Women no longer need men. If guys want to find a partner, they must focus on being wanted. But they also can’t desperately need women, as this only reverses the dynamic. Instead, we should seek balance and use becoming wanted as an opportunity to grow.
Let’s start with a metaphor
A few years ago I moved to Germany and found that all the amazing cultural and party scene of Berlin has its price. And no, I am not talking about hangovers.
I mean the German Bureaucracy.
Germany’s reputation for being very efficient was obviously earned in times before the Internet. Now, they continue to push papers, send faxes and request piles of physical documents to do anything.
Thus, when I had to register a car, technically I should have been able to do it online. But in practice, the website is so dysfunctional I decided it’s easier to just go to the Registration Office.
The grey concrete Soviet block of a building was depressing enough from the outside. Inside, a Kafkaesque maze of corridors, all painted the same oil magnolia, concrete floors, oppressively bright lights, cheapest, most uncomfortable seats… There, I had to wait. And wait. And wait some more.
The clerk who finally saw me made it very clear that I’m a nuisance messing up his busy nose-picking schedule. Nearly 20% of Berlin’s population are immigrants, but he spoke no English. And made no effort to speak slowly and clearly to help my fledging German keep up.
It turned out that I was missing some documents, so I had to get another appointment with another person who seemed to revel in making my life difficult. I didn’t dare complain, because it was clear that if I annoy her, she can make this whole thing infinitely more complicated.
Fortunately, this was it. I got off lightly. But I know this is just a tiny preview of what people applying for visas or benefits go through. And I’m sure you have similar experiences, too.
Anyway, I went for dinner to celebrate and then it struck me. How different are your experiences when you need something and when you want something!
Imagine you went to a restaurant and the staff gave you the same service I got in the Car Registration Office. How long would you stay?
Needing and Wanting
There is a world of difference between how people behave when they feel you need them, and when they know you might want to stay, but you might not.
The Registration Office I went to had a 1.6-star review on Google. So what? They don’t give a damn. It’s not like I had a choice, I’d come anyway. The clerks don’t need to offer anything beyond the bare minimum, they don’t need to be nice, helpful, or give me a good experience.
They have all the power and they use it to make life better for themselves, not for me.
But would I ever go to a 1.6-star restaurant? Absolutely not! Why? Because I have a choice. I don’t need to. Here, I have the power to choose where I go, and so it’s the restaurants that need to make me want to choose them.
And they do! In fact, they do a great job, I’m always impressed with the variety of options, how imaginatively they can set up the space, how well they make the food, how many new creative options they come up with, how fun they can make the experience.
Men are no longer needed
For centuries, women needed men, because societies were set up in a way that made it really hard for a woman to provide for and protect herself. Many were stuck in marriages they didn’t want to be in, simply because this was still better than living as a single divorced woman.
But the world has changed. Women can provide for themselves just fine, while safe cities, better law enforcement and a general lack of Vikings raiding our villages means the need for male protection is at all-time low. In consequence, women generally don’t need men to perform those roles.
Predictably, this leads to a change in attitude. If I could choose to not register my car, damn me if I would be spending ages dancing to the tune of some annoying clerks! I’d complain the living shit out of them and go to a restaurant where people are nice to me!
And this is what many women are opting for now. They don’t need a man, so if they feel like they can’t get the deal they want, they’d rather have no deal at all. Indeed, it looks like the tides have shifted — it’s men who (act as if) they need women more, effectively giving them the power.
But enough with describing the bare facts. Let’s get to what we should do about this.
As guys can’t rely on being needed anymore, they must focus on becoming wanted. They must be like the restaurants — treat women well, listen and effectively respond to needs, offer something special, inspire interest, deliver a great experience.
Anyone who claims that guys need to continue excelling at protecting and providing, or worse — that this is all we need to do — is giving you outdated advice which will get you nowhere. This is simply no longer the world we live in. If you don’t like it, go write a complaint letter to History.
But what exactly would be the complaint? That you’d rather not be interesting or create great experiences? That you don’t want to treat others well? Don’t want to respond to other people’s needs? Don’t want to have anything special about you?
That you would rather be like a grey concrete post-Soviet block filled with sad unhelpful clerks, than a cool, imaginatively arranged restaurant offering great experiences?
Is that really what we want for ourselves?
Women want guys who are fun, interesting, respectful, kind, and all sorts of good things. Why wouldn’t we want to be like that? And even if it doesn’t guarantee you anything, isn’t it good to be that for your own sake? What, will you say: Damn, I’ve become more fun, interesting, etc. for nothing?
Stop being desperate
The only real reasons why heterosexual men and women need each other these days is to form relationships and have sex. And it seems that in this respect, it is men who need women more than the other way around.
That’s not to say that women love being single, but on average it does seem like they are less upset about it. They generally don’t organise themselves in online groups commiserating their singledom and making up all sorts of theories to ease the pain. Nor do they demand state-mandated husbands.
And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s caused by different genes and reproductive strategies or cultural conditioning and social pressures, but at this point in time, on average, men need sex more often than women.
This creates a local power imbalance. In dating, it is increasingly the women who call the shots.
For many men, this is the first time they feel what it is like to be the one with no power in a gendered situation and they do not like it, quite like women don’t like it in all other cases. No wonder — who likes feeling disempowered?
But guys often forget where this power comes from. They complain that women don’t have to try as hard because guys will come anyway. But they also keep coming anyway.
They complain that some women have ridiculous expectations and feel that without being able to juggle six figures in cash using only their six-pack muscles, they have no chance. But they still swipe right on anything with boobs.
If you don’t like it when women have this sort of power over you and can afford to treat you poorly, then don’t give them this power. Its source is men’s needy desperation. Stop running after every skirt like a starving dog, and you won’t be treated like a starving dog.
Re-balancing the wants and needs
I have shown you how the power we have over each other can come from our needs: if A needs B more than B needs A, then B gains effective power over A.
For centuries, men had that power over women. And they have certainly used this power to get what they wanted without having to offer much beyond the bare minimum in return. But increasingly this is no longer the case, as women no longer need male protectors and providers.
Right now, we see this beginning to reverse as men start to need women more. Naturally, women’s power in dating is hardly comparable to the all-encompassing power men used to have over them. It would be utterly inappropriate to suggest those cancel each other out.
But most dating-age guys today have never lived in times when women needed men and men had this power. They might hear or read about it, but their personal experience is that of feeling pushed about as a subject to the power women have on the dating scene.
I don’t want to get into pointless discussions on who is right and who is to blame. They never lead anywhere anyway. We need to stop looking at the past and focus on the future.
And thus the question is: what should a good social and dating life be like?
I think the answer is clear. It should be balanced. Nobody should have significantly more power than anybody else.
This way, nobody has a license to mistreat others and we all have an incentive to become better, more interesting people who treat each other well and offer each other great experiences, support and respect.
Because the changing world in which men are no longer needed but can be wanted is not a problem. It’s an opportunity. It’s an invitation to become better, cooler, kinder, more interesting, more respectful, and all sorts of good things.
I took this invitation and it was the best thing I did in my life. I invite everyone to do the same.