Thought Catalog

12 Ways To Win A Man’s Heart That Have Absolutely Nothing To Do With Sex

Posted: 17 Sep 2015 10:55 AM PDT

Twenty20, freemanlafleur
Twenty20, freemanlafleur

1. Tell him a secret. Confess an unpopular opinion or reveal something about your past that you wouldn't share with just anyone. By unveiling one of your innermost layers to describe a formative experience or a private thought, however shocking, unpleasant, or unremarkable, you will demonstrate trust. Trust, when reciprocated, breeds closeness. If you can muster the courage to lead the way in establishing mutual trust, you will also lay the groundwork for a strong relationship.

2. Let yourself be vulnerable. Don't be afraid to cry during a sad movie, to admit when you've had a terrible day, or to state that you're in a crummy mood for no apparent reason. There's beauty in every single human emotion, and in those brave enough to let themselves feel things in front of another person.

3. Encourage him to be vulnerable. Ask him questions about how he feels and what he really thinks. Transcend the typical mundane dialogue while reserving judgment no matter what he says. Don't be afraid to pry, every so gently, into his mind and heart—to connect on a deeper and deeper level. Soon enough, you’ll be his go-to confidante.

4. Get weird. Don't hide beyond formalities or conventional wisdom surrounding “good behavior” when hanging out. Instead, be your weirdest self. Break out into dance spontaneously, sing a bizarre song you make up on the spot, or explain the logic beyond your strangest fixation, hobby, or habit. Any man worth your time will be wowed by your individuality and self-confidence rather than intimidated by it.

5. Urge him to get weird too. Create an environment in which he feels free to let loose by radiating warmth and openness (and, of course, by being weird yourself). The weirder he gets in your presence, the less pressure he'll feel to keep up any macho appearances when you’re around, and the more grateful he'll be for finding a woman who respects and appreciates the true him.

6. Make him laugh. Tell a dumb joke or make a fool of yourself. Do whatever it takes! Laughter is the root of good memories. It also tends to make people feel better instantaneously. Getting a man to crack up regularly is a powerful way to instill in him that you're a key ingredient in Life’s recipe for happiness.

7. Cross an item off his To Do list. We all keep running lists of the irksome tasks we have to accomplish outside of school or work to function in the adult world. Sometimes, tackling a household chore or running an annoying errand is the best gift you can give a person. Nothing says "I love you" like relieving someone of a nagging to-do by picking up their dry-cleaning or unloading the dishwasher so they don't have to.

8. Cook for him. Because the old adage about winning a man over through his stomach is kind of true, and also because cooking can be extremely intimate. To cook for someone is to cater to one of their most basic human needs. It requires hard work and careful thought. And if you curate the menu carefully, you can prove just how willing you are to place their personal tastes above your own.

9. Make room for his friends. It's important to get to know your significant other's friends since they represent a solid portion of who he is. Ask about the people you know he holds dearest, and suggest group get-togethers so you can win his buddies over by impressing them with your awesomeness. It’s always helpful to have a man’s squad on your side.

10. Make space for his family, too. It's important to be polite to your boyfriend’s parents and siblings, but there's so much more to do. Take it upon yourself to write his family members’ birthdays down so you can wish them well and remind him to do the same. Help him figure out what to do when they come to town. Remind him to send thank you notes when relevant. The more positive an influence you have on a man in the eyes of his relatives, the more likely they are to support your coupledom.

11. Give him a present for no particular reason. A gift given randomly is more special than one received on any holiday or birthday. When you present someone a token of your love and appreciation for no specific reason, the gesture translates as pure kindness. It says that you care every single day and not just on special occasions. Plus, everyone responds well to a pleasant surprise.

12. Change his mind about something. We all have opinions about music and movies and politics. If you can make a man appreciate a certain band he's hesitant to listen to or enjoy a movie or TV program he's skeptical about or consider a social issue from a different perspective, you will make a lasting impression. He's bound to associate you with his new line of thinking, and to admire you for steering him down a path he wouldn’t have found without you. TC mark

8 Reasons The Smartest People You Know Are The Ones Who Don’t Seem Confident All The Time

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 07:05 PM PDT


1. Insecurity is often confused for humility. Insecurity is not always a crippling disease that needs to be overcome. Having a healthy dose of uncertainty isn't a bad thing, a sign of being self-aware is realizing that you don't know what you don't know, and there's always room to better yourself. Feeling "insecure" is only a problem when it's taken to an extreme (but that doesn't make the other extreme isn't better by default.)

2. People who are truly confident are the ones that accept they may always, in some way, be insecure. The truth is that nobody is certain of anything. We don't know. We could all be insane. Nothing is safe. The only way to truly surpass this (terrifying) reality is to accept it, and carry on, knowing that the only real security is in how much you can accept this, and work with – not against – it.

3. Being confident all the time is not inner strength, it's delusion. It's a façade that we think makes us less susceptible to other people's judgments. People who are confident all the time are not seeing themselves with clarity. They're hiding their fears by trying to convince themselves they're fine.

4. It's out of insecurity that people are usually pushed to grow. People who are confident and certain all the time never get much farther than where they are in the first place. Even when feeling insecure is a problem, that doesn't mean it has to be forever. It just means there's space (and opportunity) to grow.

5. There aren't only two ways to be: overly-confident or cripplingly insecure. Insecurity isn't always a bad thing, confidence isn't always good. There's a healthy middle ground. It's not all-or-nothing, one or the other, you're a confident person or an insecure person, with nothing in-between.

6. The problem with the world isn't that people aren't confident, it's that they're unsure of their inherent worth, and those are two separate issues. Overconfidence is usually a projection of what people fear isn't true of them. It's what happens when people are so unsure of their worth, they create a shield, a persona, who is certain. Confidence is knowing you're capable, worthiness is knowing you're deserving.

7. Confidence is something you build and choose, not something you just "try to feel" hard enough and then eventually adopt. In this case, "faking it until you make it" doesn't really work. Confidence and self-esteem are things you build by doing things you're proud of. It's something you choose because you decide what your life should be measured by.

8. Real confidence comes from a feeling, not an idea. Sure, ideas can lend themselves in creating that feeling, but confidence is going through daily life not feeling as though you're constantly comparing and placing yourself last because you aren't deserving of anything more. Real confidence isn't a choice as much as it is a 'knowing' because you've proved yourself to yourself… not to other people. TC mark

15 Modern Dating Trends Emotionally Intelligent People Wish Would Just Die Already

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 01:03 PM PDT


1. Taking days to respond to a simple text. Something as easy as asking you how you are or if you want to hang out goes intentionally ignored just because they want to appear calm and casual and like they’re not that excited.

2. Never talking on the phone, even though sometimes it’s actually quicker to have a simple phone call than texting everything out. It’s all about detached forms of communication via text, Facebook messenger, DMs, etc that can lead you to misconstrue what the person is saying underneath all the ‘lols’ and emoticons.

3. Instead of point blank asking someone if they’d like to go out to dinner or go on a date, people use vague phrasing like “Wanna hang out?” “Netflix and chill?” so that no one really knows if the one-on-one time is actually a date or just watching some low-key shitty movie with someone you think is cute but have no idea if they like you more than friends or a bootycall.

4. Ordering up people on Tinder, Grindr, and other apps as conveniently as you would a pizza and discarding them just as easily.

5.  No one wants to appear too interested, too attached, or too involved in anyone else. No one commits anymore because they don’t see the point. They keep relationships in vague states of limbo where no one really knows what their status is with the other person. Modern dating is easier for those who don’t want to take responsibility for the other person’s feelings by being able to say things like, “We were never a couple” or “You knew we were never official” when the almost-relationship ends.

6. Rating exes on apps like Lulu as if your relationship could be judged and scored by the same type of characteristics you’d leave on a Yelp review for a restaurant. “10/10 service was excellent! Answered my texts efficiently, always made me feel safe and warm, great sense of humor!”

7. Preferring a digital relationship over a real one. Texting you non-stop and asking you all the things about yourself that would usually be reserved for a first date. Texting you things like “good morning” every day and talking to you like they would a significant other. Then when you ask if they want to hang out or actually do something in person together they go cold and you don’t hear from them for days.

8. Feeling compelled to share every miniscule moment of your life. Dating has very few aspects that remain just between two people anymore and sometimes results in the person you’re dating sharing your personal photos or moments on social media you wished they had kept between the two of you.

9. Exes never seem to go away anymore. Even if you break up there’s always a digital reminder of their existence through social media, old photos popping up (TimeHop or Facebook reminding you of something that happened), mutual friends tagging them on statuses, etc.

10. And if you have an unstable ex that won’t accept the relationship is over they can now find ways to follow you on multiple social media accounts, even if you block them. We all joke about Facebook stalking and lurking on people’s profiles but when you just want an ex to go away and never want to hear from them again, they can come back to haunt you if they really want to.

11. Feelings are vaguely demonstrated through the posting of songs, book quotes, or idyllic images that are directly meant for one person but shared with their entire social network in hopes the person they like will see it and ‘get it’ anyway. Because God forbid you just send it to the person yourself and say, “Hey, this makes me think of you.”

12. Ending a relationship is now as easy as sending a text message. Instead of talking to you in person and showing genuine care for what you two had with each other, break ups are done as carelessly as possible.

13. Even if you’re in a happy relationship, there will always be some people have no respect for what you have. They’ll blatantly flirt with you or your partner through Instagram, Facebook likes and comments, Snapchat, etc.

14. How much you love or care for someone is no longer measured by the ways you’ve built your bond and trust, but by the amount of likes you can get over the moments you share on social media. It’s the couple that recreates their engagement for the pics they put on Facebook they know will rack up the likes. It’s showing off the engagement ring, the hashtagged wedding, the house, the Pinterest perfect moments where you’re both smiling – all these things to prove things in your life are good, great even, and ‘look how happy we both are’. And if you don’t participate in the social media relationship ritual of showing off your loved one or changing your relationship status, even when things actually are wonderful, people assume something must be wrong, you’re hiding something, or you don’t really love each other.

15. The rise in dating apps and fast dating culture give the illusion there are more choices. People are less likely to work on relationships when they have easy temptations to find new partners through technology. Instead of working on a problem within relationship or understanding things with a partner aren’t ever going to be perfect 24/7, they can download Tinder and find dozens of new, shiny matches.  TC mark

Explaining Diversity To Matt Damon (And Other People Who Don’t Get It)

Posted: 17 Sep 2015 04:16 PM PDT

Do you remember that famous America’s Next Top Model episode where Tyra Banks was visibly angry at one of the competitors named Tiffany? Tiffany did not meet Banks’s expectations and according to Banks’s interpretation, was not taking the competition seriously enough. The moment became a popular culture memory and event. Banks yells at Tiffany:

“I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!” 

I didn’t particular enjoy the way Banks handled the situation. One’s interpretation of another’s emotions doesn’t amount to fact. But I think we’ve all at some point felt like Tyra Banks toward our very own Tiffany. Watching that now (in)famous clip of Matt Damon whitesplaining diversity to Effie Brown stirred that sort of reaction in me, albeit with less fervor:

“I was rooting for you Matt Damon. We were all rooting for you!”

HBO / Project Greenlight

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more likeable (White) actor than Matt Damon in Hollywood. While some may disagree, I find him to be good at his job(s), an intelligent person, a socially aware individual, and from friends of friends who have interacted with him personally, I have heard he is as likeable off the camera as he (usually) is when the cameras are on.

That said, Matt Damon also wears many identities of a privileged person. In fact, he could be a poster child for privilege: White, male, American, a celebrity, and wealthy. The first two identities alone are enough for me to (not) hold my breath when one who sees the world from those perspectives, and divulges into sentiments of something as delicate as diversity.

The clip was enough for me to ask, Et tu, Matt Damon? Partially because between Mark Wahlberg and his history of racist shenanigans, the Ben Affleck-Louis Henry Gates, Jr. debacle, and my general disdain for Boston sports teams – it’s getting harder to root for any Boston boys!

But also partially because it was yet another time I, as a Black (African) person living in the United States, would have to reconsider and navigate how I interact with a popular culture that engages in sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant racism (or lack of diversity).

Still, context is key. So I decided to watch the Project Greenlight episode in its entirety to get a better understanding of what was taking place in the setting, and the communications that led to that (not so) eye-opening moment. When you watch the episode in its entirety, it all makes sense. But I’ll come back to that.


My Master’s degree is in Multicultural and Organizational Communication, of which I devoted my time and attention to Multiculturalism theories and concepts, especially race. But the full experience qualifies me as a diversity trainer in the organizational realm. And in all likelihood if I didn’t decide to take the route of academia and public writing – I would probably be in diversity training/consulting in some capacity.

One reality is that people do not want to see what they do not want to see. And racial inequality is something many White Americans simply do not want to see.

I realized while in my program just how difficult racism (and all isms) are to overcome, and diversity and inclusion is to achieve in any capacity. Not just in the practical everyday sense where ordinary individuals don’t pay attention to their subconscious beliefs which ultimately manifest into words and actions. But even in individuals who have committed to learning about diversity and implementing structural changes – some, many, could still not see past their Whiteness or acceptance of Whiteness.

My classmates of Color and the very few White classmates who just got it would roll our eyes as we wondered how and why people could be in such a program and still not get it. But that was the reality – and it is testament to a few realities. One reality is that people do not want to see what they do not want to see. And racial inequality is something many White Americans simply do not want to see. So they would rather pretend it doesn’t exist or find a way to lessen its effects.

Another reality is that for all the accusations of being very liberal (which is wrongly synonymous with being pro- racial equity), and supposed commitments to diversity – academia – like every other institution in this country is not only racist, but far from diverse, and especially at the top.

Apply to Hollywood and specifically to Matt Damon’s confirming statement: “When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.”

To reiterate Effie Brown’s reaction: “Wow. Okay.”

HBO / Project Greenlight

Many people often think having one Person of Color (or any historically marginalized identity) to “represent” in any capacity, is the answer to diversity. And when you inform them that it’s not, it is often met with, “It’s better than nothing.” As if the only choices are to have one or a few representatives, or none at all.

Aside from the consequence of taking such an attitude to diversity often resulting in the person or people “representing” being nothing more than tokens, anyone who is committed to diversity knows that it is not solely about portraying representation. And where representation matters, it matters at every level.

Diversity is a deliberate affair.

The above is often misunderstood by the Matt Damons and other White decision-makers of the world in any professional capacity. Hiring one or two employees to showcase your diversity doesn’t make you diverse. How your company practices diversity from the top to the lowest levels in its representations, decisions, portrayals, goals, training, and ultimately how it approaches what it does – is what makes you diverse.

Diversity is a deliberate affair. And especially so in the professional context. It doesn’t occur naturally. And in an unequal environment, it certainly doesn’t occur through merit. Merit and meritocracy wrongly assumes an equality in access which simply is not true. But meritocracy is a myth that is difficult to end because it exists in the very imagination of what it means to be American.

In racialized spaces such as the United States, and by extension, the consequences of the organizations that are in the nation, diversity must involve measures and efforts that are centered in including communities (and perspectives) that one does not interact with personally.

Because the personal is intrinsically related to how one approaches their professional world. That is to say, the reality of people hiring people who look like them, the ignorance of communication differences across communities, the covert racism of skipping over a non-White sounding name on an application, etc. I could go on because the examples are indeed endless.

HBO / Project Greenlight

It’s important to note that Effie Brown being in the room and her presence in the room doesn’t necessarily make her an expert on diversity. And she shouldn’t be tokenized in that way. But her experience as a successful producer who is intentional in her representation of marginalized identities does make her an expert. And so does her understanding of the experiences of being a Black woman in the industry.

But I doubt there is a Black Woman or Person of Color in general, who engages in White spaces, who has not had something whitesplained to them; I doubt this is a rare occurrence. Her being the only person who is explicitly concerned with racial diversity and representation is disappointing but not at all surprising.

If you do not begin from the position of considering diversity (or lack thereof) and its implications, and are then tasked with it because someone or many someones point out its nonexistence, it then becomes an imposition.

Specifically in this context of Effie Brown – the only Black woman in the room – explaining the implications of the potential of the only Black woman in a film playing a role as a prostitute, and the representative and political implications of this, is ignored until she points it out. This is the consequence of a lack of authentic commitment to understanding diversity and inclusion in one’s field.

This is despite the fact that there has historically been, and there continues to be problematic stereotypical portrayals of Black women in film because of outright racism and sexism, ignorance, and a lack of understanding of the implications of text and media. The incident is really just a micro example of larger constructs that are ever-present in the country. Neither Hollywood nor Matt Damon is unique and special in this way.

Diversity, to many decision-makers is often an afterthought, as is portrayed in the documentary. Which is of course, the fundamental problem. If you do not begin from the position of considering diversity (or lack thereof) and its implications, and are then tasked with it because someone or many someones point out its nonexistence, it then becomes an imposition. And oftentimes such impositions lead to quick fixes – such as tokens – that not only do not solve the problem of (a lack of) diversity, but have the capacity to exacerbate it.


For what it’s worth, I am still rooting for Matt Damon. In the same way that I’m rooting for the nation, and for that matter, the world. Because if we don’t believe people can learn to be more inclusive, to alter their perspectives of diversity and inclusion in a way that achieves true racial equality if we educate and train, then what would be the point of working for progress?

Of course progress cannot come quick enough for those who were formerly and are presently disenfranchised. So while we educate the Matt Damons of the world, let us not forget the work many of us need to do in our own professional and personal lives. Because diversity is difficult but it is not impossible. TC mark

I Was Terrified To Do The Long Distance Relationship Thing, But It’s Actually Really Liberating

Posted: 17 Sep 2015 08:00 AM PDT


I think I spent the whole summer wondering what we'd do. Quietly.

What would we do when it came time for me to go back to school? What would I want? How would I get it? What would he want? Would we compromise? Whose idea would it be?

We followed the uncertain—we decided to say “fuck it” to the fear of long distance and stay together.

I wasn't outwardly concerned about our impending future till summer's close was tapping on Our shoulder. Till we had to decide—for real this time—whether we were going to do that grotesque something everyone told me was bound to implode: long distance. Whether we were gonna do that something, or be smart instead.

So there we were, at the corner of Goodbye For Now and …Let's Give It A Shot?!

We turned right. Because while Goodbye For Now somehow seemed like the adult decision—the wise, mature move—it also seemed scared and sorry.

Almost two weeks ago, I quickly kissed him goodbye while my parents waited for me in the car outside of his apartment, ready to take me back to college one last time. I'd been panicked for the week or so that led up to that moment—the week or so I'd ruminated over the long distance play. And then I kissed him, I hopped in the car, and almost immediately, I felt OK.

I've been here—at school, in my senior year—for a week and a half. And I'm happy. I'm really happy, frankly. I feel light and present and important—this is my fucking senior year, after all. Why shouldn't I feel like the goddamn shit?

I snuck in a few minutes on the phone with him last night around 2 a.m. He was on his way home from work, and I was in the middle of binge-watching Luther (how am I only now discovering British crime drama, btw…that shit is waaaay harder than our spineless, "everyone you care about lives" American shit).

He asked me the same question he's asked every time we've talked since I got here: How's it feel to be a senior? I gave him my most definitive answer to date: It's fun…and honestly, it's kind of dope that you're not here.

He wasn't offended—he knows better. Because, see, he knows I miss him. I do. I miss him lots, and I wish I could sleep next to him every night. I wish he was here to see me in my damn prime, giving fewer shits than ever and reveling in my updated, unapologetic brand of self-possession.

I miss him lots, see, but I'm not sad. Not like I thought I'd be, at least. Because turns out, long-distance is liberating. Hella liberating. Because I'm making my own space for me here, without him. Doing my own shit, without him. Going out. Drinking, smoking, dancing. Without him. Without anyone. Without the crushing pressure of finding a guy. Of going home with someone.

It's fucking blissful, really. I miss him, but it's fun to miss him. It's fun to long for him. To count down the days till I get to see him for a long moment again. To remember all the reasons I love him, and to miss him twice over for each one.

It's fun to miss him. And it's fun to be without him, because it's fun to be with just me. TC mark

Teaching Men How To Mate: An Interview With Tucker Max

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 03:12 PM PDT

Instagram Photo

The name Tucker Max inspires either approving smirks or rolling eyes. Tucker is (in)famous for his hilariously written stories of drunken debauchery and philandering, graphically depicting both his epic failures and towering successes. He has amused many a man and woman who possess a raunchy sense of humor. Others scorn him because of his supposed misogyny.

Whether you love or hate him, Tucker—along with Maddox—pioneered the literary genre of “fratire.” After having his three books— I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, Assholes Finish First, and Hilarity Ensues—simultaneously on The New York Times bestsellers list, he retired from fratire.

He is one of my influences as a writer. In his retirement essay, he said something that got the juices in my mind flowing:

I'm the Dr. Dre of fratire. Which means that the Eminem and the Biggie and the Tupac and Jay-Z are all still out there, and I'm just as excited as anyone to read their stuff when they come along.

I read that and was like, "Fuck yeah."

Tucker Max has moved on from the entertainment realm to the self-help genre. In conjunction with the academic expertise of Dr. Geoff Miller, an Evolutionary Psychology Professor at the University of New Mexico and author of The Mating Mind, Tucker has written Mate: Become The Man Women Want. He says he hopes to teach men through science and empirical data—as opposed to biased religious, cultural, and political agendas—what traits women find attractive.

Raul Felix: Tucker, your new book started off from a conversation over dinner with Dr. Geoff Miller after you learned his nephews saw your books as some sort of manifesto with how to get women to sleep with them, then began mimicking your asshole behavior with probably lackluster results. I personally remember reading your books when I was nineteen and thinking that I needed to act like a dickhead in order to slay bitches also. Regardless, you still got laid. What things did young Tucker Max do right and what things did young Tucker Max do wrong that align with some of the things you teach in Mate?

Tucker Max: What young guys never understand is that my books were only a small slice of my life. I only put in the funny and ridiculous stuff, without a whole lot of other context, because that was the stuff that was entertaining to read. They were NEVER intended as instructions or even a guide at all. That’s absurd.

The reason young guys took them that way is because our culture does a terrible job honestly teaching young men how to effectively attract women, so in the void of instruction, they just use the only honest thing they see working—which was my writing. But they missed all the context.

“What young guys never understand is that my books were only a small slice of my life. I only put in the funny and ridiculous stuff, without a whole lot of other context, because that was the stuff that was entertaining to read.”

First off, I failed at getting women A LOT. Go actually read the books. I fail far more often than I succeed, and in most cases, I fail spectacularly. They never really thought about that, because it takes experience to understand that. They only focused on the successes.

But make no mistake, I was successful with a certain type of woman. The problem was that young guys didn’t even understand why. They thought it was BECAUSE I was a drunken asshole. That’s ridiculous. If anything, I succeeded IN SPITE of being a drunken asshole. No guy has ever been successful with women by JUST being a drunken asshole.

They were missing all the other things I was doing well, because they didn’t know what to look for, and I didn’t talk about them in the book—things like my humor, my extraversion, my quick wit, my body language, my social intelligence, my singular focus on certain types of women looking for the same things as me (short-term relationships)—these things are invisible to inexperienced young guys, because no one explained them.

That’s what Mate is about: making invisible into the visible so that guys can understand what works and what doesn’t, and then focus on doing the things that work for them. It’s not about acting like I did in my books. No way. It’s about understanding the core fundamentals of attraction, and then improving them so you can have the success you want with women.

Raul Felix: Yeah, I remember you saying in an interview that no one wants to hear about a time you saved a puppy because that isn’t funny. You said time and again that your books are for entertainment. A consistently recurring theme in Mate is the need to be physically fit as a display of masculinity, health, willpower, etc. As a man who has been consistently in shape my entire life, I can attest that women love how strong I am. Yet there is a point of diminishing returns with how in-shape you have to be, like bodybuilder status. Why do you believe that stereotypically, being buff equals brainless meathead and being book-smart is correlated with being fragile and weak?

Tucker Max: Yes, definitely. We say this in the book: You need to be in shape, but you do NOT need to be an elite athlete. In fact, being too in shape—think of a bodybuilder, for example—can often be a negative sign to women and hurt you. Most women look at guys who focus an extreme amount of time on appearance as being narcissistic and self-involved. This is very unattractive. The best bet is being in good shape—think of the body of a swimmer, or a CrossFitter, or decathlete.

The question you ask about perceptions of men is a complicated one. The idea that strong = dumb, and smart = weak is very modern. If you look at ancient Greeks and Romans, or Mongolians, or almost any preindustrial culture, strength and intelligence were not seen as conflicting. In fact, they were seen as helping each other.

I think this split happened in the higher social classes in the industrial age. Essentially, if you were rich, you could afford to not do manual labor and [to not] be brawny. For a while, it was seen as a marker of high status. This is an old idea and has shifted, though. There are very, very few women under 50 who like scrawny men.

Raul Felix: One the most enlightening things I read in the book was the need to see it from a woman’s perspective. I honestly never thought of that before. Some huge guy trying to get into her panties that could easily overpower and have her way with her if he wanted. The fact that she’s been dealing with creepers, losers, stalkers, and potential rapists ever since she took on real feminine features. How can a man show he is not a threat, but still sexually attracted to a woman without give off those negative vibes she’s used to getting from window-licking mouth-breathers?

Tucker Max: A lot of guys have said this—that they never thought about looking at dating from a woman’s perspective. Think about how absurd that is! I was the same way too for a long time. It just goes to show how broken our dating notions are—we don’t even think about the most important thing to think about—the perspective of the other person!

“A lot of guys have said this—that they never thought about looking at dating from a woman's perspective. Think about how absurd that is!”

The most important thing a guy needs to understand is that women see men as a threat, because they are. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person; it means that she’s had to deal with awful men her whole life, and until she knows you aren’t one of those guys, she doesn’t know. This does not mean you should be an apologetic coward. It means you need to be respectful and not aggressive at first, and not do things that set off her danger alarms. We go into this in-depth in the book; it’s actually very simple. In short, it boils down to, “Approach her like a human and not a sex object.”

Raul Felix: A big limiting factor for men is their Mating Market. I saw this a lot while I was in the Army. The local community would have an overabundance of young, in-shape men with a steady paycheck—more than there were women of equal quality. Many a Joe will get have to settle for sloppy seconds on subpar women because that’s all there really was. In my hometown of Huntington Beach, CA, it was tough to stand out even as in-shape guy because people take having a beach body very seriously and Latinos are everywhere. Now that I live in Central New York, where both my buffness and my ethnicity is way more rare, I have more options than I’ve ever had in my life. What are some of the key things a young man needs to know about Mating Markets and what are some of the best places to be a single man in the US?

Tucker Max: This is possibly the MOST important thing in mating, and very few people have any idea about it. This is a stark fact we hope to drill into the head of every man: If you don’t live in a place where there are a lot of single women, you are drastically hurting your chances of dating success. This is very simple math that economists and biologists have understood for years, yet no one gets it when applied to dating.

Think of it this way: There are two bars next door to each other, each with 100 people in them. Bar #1 has 60 women (and thus 40 men), and Bar 2 has 40 women in it (and thus 60 men). Which do you go in? OF COURSE you go in Bar #1, because your odds are way better.

Well, you should apply this logic to EVERYTHING in life. How you pick your school, your job, what city you live in, where you live in that city, what activities you do, and where you spend your time. But very few guys do this.

Raul Felix: Thanks, Tucker. Any last bit of random advice for your typical male who really hasn’t accomplished much but wants to get started?

Tucker Max: The big thing is to not see this as a big hard thing. Start with what you want, then figure out what you have to offer, then work through how to show that what you want is what you have to offer. We walk our readers through this process and break it down into simple and actionable steps. You can do this. Every guy can find at least some success with women if he works the process. TC mark

image –Tucker Max

5 Ghosts From My Past I’ve Learned To Overcome

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 11:01 AM PDT

Twenty20 / peternunnery
Twenty20 / peternunnery

1. When I was eight, my mother would praise every piece of art I brought home. It didn't matter whether I spent hours gluing macaroni on cardboard tubes or seconds slashing paint across construction paper.

My mother proudly attached each to the fridge. By the age of nine, it must have been clear even to her that I was half-assing it. On some pieces, the macaroni and glitter were so poorly glued that it would fall off on the school bus, leaving behind a plain milk jug. But she displayed each artwork as if it were proof that I was special, perhaps one day hoping I'd live up to the praise.

2. In college, I had relations with a young woman from Nepal. She lived on the same floor and asked for my address so we could write letters to each other during the summer. The internet had just been invented, so no one had email.

She returned to her exotic mountain homeland and wrote me letters once a week. When I didn't reply, her letters grew sadder and more plaintive.

At one point, she even wrote, "Why don't you write back?" I didn't know.

I told myself I was too busy, although I wasn't. I made the time to read each letter, sometimes more than once. Even in August, they arrived each week, like clockwork.

I still keep them in a shoebox, as a reminder. I know these aren't the worst things I've done, but these tiny ghosts won't go away.

3. When I was in eighth grade, I took Spanish because the class supposedly took a trip to Chili's. We were from a small town and were drawn in by the promise of neon lights and exotic Tex-Mex food. A few months into the class, we asked about it and the teacher, Señor Argento, became evasive. Despite the bait-and-switch, we liked him. Señor had an earnestness for his subject that somehow felt noble. He cared.

Despite this, one day, feeling embittered about Chili's and lazy, I made a cheat sheet for a vocabulary test.

Halfway through it, I looked up and saw Señor Argento's disappointed gaze fixed on me.

He didn't say anything and I passed, but I never cheated again.

4. After grad school, I moved into a basement apartment in Pittsburgh. The walls were thin and my room was freezing. You had to walk down an alley filled with trashcans to get to the entrance.

Since I didn't plan on staying there long, I didn't buy a mattress. I was younger then, and while sleeping on towels on the floor wasn't comfortable, it was bearable.

Then there were the flies. They weren't flies, really—more like gnats. I didn't know where they came from. All I knew was that they were attracted to moisture. During that winter, I recall lying shivering on my towels, staring into space and thinking about karma and when enough would be enough—and then a bumbling little gnat would alight onto my warm moist eyeball.

It wasn't all bad. I brought a few dates home. An optimist might say this is proof of generosity—that a woman was willing see something redeemable in me, enough to risk a walk down a dark trash alley. A pessimist might say this is more of a reflection on the caliber of women I was dating at the time.

Regardless, we stumbled through the living room, kissing and pulling at each others' clothes. When we reached my bedroom, she flipped on the light and stared in amazement.

"Where's your bed?" she asked. I gestured to the towels on the floor and she shook her head, as if to say "This does not compute." She carefully nudged the towels with her toe.

Trying to kindle the romance, I said, "Think of this as an opportunity: we can do it standing up!" I was an optimist.

5. Mr. K was my high school gym teacher. He was a ruddy, pink-faced bastard with watery blue eyes. A couple years before he had me as a student, his son committed suicide. Keeping his job meant that he had to teach cruel, healthy children his son's age, doing things his son never would.

I should have more empathy, but even now, I can't conjure enough (another small haunt). I dreaded Mr. K's class because all he did open the supply room and retreat to watch us with his million-yard-stare as we played dodgeball. Back then, dodgeballs were red and made of hard, weaponized rubber. They had ridged lines for a better grip.

Calling it "dodge ball" is generous. Mostly, the athletic kids would try to give the smaller ones concussions. They'd actually herd us and try to knock our heads into the bleachers, or off walls. Every day. The whole time, Mr. K just stared. I hated that the only things we learned in that class were was the worst lessons about power and cruelty. Which is why, one day, when he wasn't looking, I hurled one of those red balls with all my strength at Mr K's head.

Even as I write this, I'm watching and urging the ball off its perfect path—if the small shitty things I've done in life don't have weight and dimension, that must mean all the small moments of kindness are equally meaningless: my mother's patience and unconditional faith. Señor's dedication to teaching. The fact that my Pittsburgh girlfriend waited a week, until after my birthday, to break up with me.

Try as I might, I can't change that ball's trajectory. I don't want it to hurt him, but I want consequences.

I want change. I'm recalling my awful teenage hope as that ball arcs and he turns to look directly at me and then tilts his head at a perfect, safe angle. The sound of rubber striking tile, that unmistakable hollow sound, must have rung in his ears, but he never showed it. TC mark

Why Everyone And Their Mother Is Now Identifying As An Introvert

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 11:26 AM PDT


Earlier this summer, one of the most extroverted people I've ever met in my life told me earnestly, "I'm an introvert." When I asked her to explain her reasoning, she replied, "Well, after a few days of constantly being around people I need to spend some time alone to recoup."

I had a good chuckle to myself over her confession. While introverts certainly can masquerade as gregarious extroverted types, there are certain times when an individual's personality orientation is undeniable. This particular friend was a lively socialite. She fought shamelessly for every spotlight. She visibly gained energy the longer she interacted with others and she was regularly the last person left out at night, being reluctantly dragged home by a group of exhausted friends.

And yet, somewhere along the line, someone had informed this friend that the only qualification for being an introvert was occasionally requiring alone time to recharge.

Except here's the thing – needing alone time doesn't make you an introvert. It makes you a human.

We seem to have a warped idea of what introversion means these days. It is trendy to be an introvert right now – Susan Cain wrote 'Quiet' and suddenly everyone was clamouring to prove that they were actually one of the deep, misunderstood introverts of the world. We created a cultural dichotomy that implied introverts are deep and complex and extroverts are shallow and thoughtless. We told everyone that the only qualification for being an introvert is being intelligent and requiring alone time – two traits that every human being on earth is quick to identify with.

But the idea that introversion is extended to anyone who needs alone time to recharge is laughable.

I'm as extroverted as they come and yet I absolutely require and relish in alone time. I'm a writer by profession, which means I spend the majority of my time alone. And yet I don't question my social orientation – I feel the most alive around others. I'm energized by groups. There is an eternal thrum in the back of my mind that urges me to go, do, see, interact, alter and connect with the world that surrounds me. I feel the most alive around others, when I'm out interacting with the world.

And yet I am most creative when alone. I am the truest and most authentic version of myself when I am in my own company. Of course I am. We all are.

Because here's the thing – at the end of the day, nobody's ever going to understand us as well as we understand ourselves. Nobody's ever going to be fully capable of delving into our internal world of complex thoughts and emotions and accessing them with the clarity and intensity with which we do ourselves. But simply having that rich inner world doesn't make you an introvert. Needing to spend time alone to access it also doesn't make you an introvert. Both of those things only make you human.

What makes you an extrovert or an introvert is simply which sphere you remain most energized by over time – an introvert can thrive in social situations and an extrovert can enjoy time alone, but each will feel more naturally stimulated by extensive engagement with one of the two realms.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts don't solely recharge through alone time and extroverts don't solely recharge through social time – we all recharge through a mixture of alone and social time.

Your social orientation is simply a matter of which realm recharges you more naturally and which realm you can bear for longer periods of time.

We need to squelch the inaccurate perception that extroverts and introverts are so immeasurably different from one another, or that either trait manifests in a black and white way. Extroverts need alone time. Introverts need social time. Exhibiting eight out of ten extroverted traits but two out of ten introverted traits doesn't make you an introvert, or vice versa – in either case, you’re just a regular human being with a mixed need for social and alone time. We are all inherently ambiverted. It's just a matter of which side of that ambiverted scale you lean towards. TC mark

This Is The Comprehensive List Of Secret Menu Items At Panera

Posted: 17 Sep 2015 07:05 AM PDT

Flickr / Mike Mozart
Flickr / Mike Mozart

Producer's note: Someone on Quora asked: What are some good Panera Bread secret menu items/hacks? Here is one of the best answers that's been pulled from the thread.


Here’s what my personal reconnaissance efforts have unearthed:

  • You can add avocado to anything. This upped the enjoyment factor of several menu items for me exponentially, especially the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, which is somewhat lacking in its natural state. There is officially an upcharge for it — but if you’re in the store often enough, I have seen them waive it.
  • The “rapid pickup” shelf makes it easy to grab your online order without ever interacting with a single human being. One of the things I dislike about my local Panera is that the crowds are insane. I was grateful enough that it’s possible to order online through their website for 10-minute pickup at my local store, but it wasn’t immediately clear that I didn’t have to talk to the person behind the counter to actually receive my order. The first time I ordered online, I stood around dumbly near the Phone/Fax Order sign (haha…fax) until someone took pity on me and pointed me towards the rapid pickup shelf. I have never seen any other orders on this shelf besides mine, despite the fact that there’s often a line out the door.
  • There’s a secret breadless menu. While I reserve the right to be suspicious of someone who would voluntarily eat at Panera without partaking in their assortment of simple carbohydrates at their best, I acknowledge that there are plenty of people out there who are gluten-free or carb-free or calorie conscious. Panera offers sizeable “power” bowls that consist of various combinations of protein options (steak, chicken, turkey, or egg), vegetables, and/or hummus.
  • You can order from your table through the app. This is another great and underused line-beating hack that will save you precious minutes in scoring prime real estate for your party as far as seating is concerned.

These are the things I’ve observed independently. However, I cannot overstate my obsession with Panera, so I actually decided to do some investigative journalism. Some really hard-hitting research. Okay, I really just clicked their “media contact” link and emailed a very nice lady, who passed my question on to Panera’s resident registered dietitian Katie Bengston. Katie had some good advice for Panera patrons looking specifically for ways to make healthier choices from their available menu selections:

  • You can apparently substitute quinoa for protein on a salad. I won’t pretend that I have ever eaten quinoa or that I even know what quinoa is. But if Panera’s registered dietician pitched it to me, it’s probably pretty great.
  • For Panera’s salads and sandwiches, you can often reduce total calories, fat and sodium by omitting or having sauces, condiments and dressing served on the side. You can always customize your order to substitute or omit ingredients that don’t fit into your diet. Also, some of the sandwiches receive salt and pepper when hand crafted, so be sure to ask to have the salt left off when you order if that’s a concern for you.
  • Many of the common-sense healthy eating habits you’d use elsewhere in your life can be easily adapted at Panera; order a half portion of the sandwiches, panini, salads, soups to watch your portion sizes. Trade out2% milk for skim milk to save on calories and fat. Trade out regular eggs for egg whites to save on calories and fat. Trade regular milk for almond milk if you have a milk allergy.
  • And of course, Bengston recommends adding the all-natural turkey raised without antibiotics to a classic cafe salad for a boost of protein.

I won’t lie; I was hoping for juicier trade secrets than those. Nevertheless, I feel a bit happier knowing that there is a secret vat of quinoa (it does come in vats, right?) that lies in wait in the kitchen at Panera, just waiting for that pivotal moment when you, the customer, might pull the trigger on that adventurous food substitution. TC mark

This answer originally appeared at Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge.

From Someone Who Travels A Lot: 42 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Stress And Being Rude While Flying

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 06:31 PM PDT


Any reasonable person who has ever stepped foot on a plane has probably spent at least a few seconds completely puzzled by the behavior of their fellow passengers. People are strange, rude, ridiculous, selfish, inefficient, and sadly, often stressed out of their minds.

The last couple are easy to solve. It's like that scene in Up in the Air where George Clooney and Anna Kendrick show up at the airport. He knows exactly what to do and she's a total mess. But with a few simple rules it all becomes incredibly easy.

The rude part? That's harder. But even so, I tend to think that most people are rude because they don't know any better. At least, I try to remind myself of that to avoid getting upset myself.

In any case, here are some rules and tricks to follow for your next trip:

1. No one is going to steal your seat on the plane. Relax.

2. As you walk off the jetway and enter the airport after a flight, for the love of god, don't just stop randomly as though you've arrived at the pearly gates. Have you ever seen how football players run out of the tunnel? They all step to the side so, you know, they don't create a 20 player pile up. Step to the side lady, there are people behind you. Step to the side!

3. If you happen to be flying in first class and know someone who is in coach, you are morally obligated to steal and bring them as many snacks as you can get away with. Morally obligated.

4. Take a quick second. Are you and your seatmate basically the only two people talking right now? Then Shhhhhhhhh…

5. Here's a courteous rule of thumb: talking is perfectly fine during the first and final 30 minutes of the flight. The rest is more or less quiet time.

6. Here's another rule: Ask yourself, "Who is making more noise, me or the babies on the flight?" If the answer to that question is you, then pause and reflect.

7. There is no reason to yell at anyone who works at an airport. None of these people can do anything for you anyway (not to mention how you look in that moment). Just call customer service and calmly explain whatever the problem is. You'll get better results. And you'll feel better.

8. And by the way, you can't get mad at another human being over the weather. It's preposterous. (That being said: My theory is that 80% of the anger would go away if these employees just communicated regularly and honestly with the passengers instead of treating us like idiots who can't do math)

9. Gate anxiety is a real but silly thing. Understand it, don't let it stress you out.

10. No matter how mad you get or how frustrating your trip is, remind yourself of Louis C.K.'s line: "Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going 'Oh my God! Wow!' You're flying! You're sitting in a chair, in the sky!"

11. If you're checking a bag, you've probably packed too much stuff (some exceptions: you're moving, you're bringing camera/golf/ski equipment, you're traveling with a whole family etc). A backpack and small suitcase should be enough (here's what I carry).

12. If you need to use one of those carts, well, you probably need to reevaluate your life.

13. Ahh, thank you for bringing a smelly, disgusting meal with you onto the flight. How nice of you to eat Popeyes Chicken, Panda Express, Burger King or a tuna fish sandwich in a tiny sealed tube packed with other people (and let's not pretend this doesn't tie into the bathroom rule below).

14. Walk in a straight line. This should not need to be said, but here I am having to say it. Don't text while walking either.

15. Not going to get into a whole thing about it, but don't recline your seat. All your excuses for doing this are selfish and illogical. Just stop.

16. By the way, if you do want another inch of space that doesn't come at the expense of anyone else just grab all those ridiculous magazines stuffed in the seatback pocket and put them in the overhead compartment.

17. You know that screen on the seat you're playing a touchscreen game on? Right behind it is somebody's head. Are you stupid? Use the remote. Or better, do something useful with your time.

18. People complain they don't have enough time to read. Then they get on a plane and watch crappy movies for 6 hours.

19. Quick question: Do you notice many other people bringing a full bed pillow with them? Probably not, because that's ridiculous.

20. Ok, when the plane is disembarking. Everyone in the aisle seats should get up and get their bag down. You can even help the other people in your row if their bags are small. If it comes time for your row to go and you're just now standing up and opening the overhead compartment, you've been selfish and rude (some exceptions apply for tiny planes). You needlessly held up the rest of the plane.

21. Bring an empty water bottle with you. Then you won't feel ripped off paying $4 for a 16 oz bottle…oh and you won't be dehydrated and exhausted either.

22. Try to remember: You have no idea how long this person has been traveling. You have no idea how many delays or bad experiences they've had in the last few days.

23. This whole 'I sat next to a fat person' pity routine is really old. I fly all the time and this hardly ever happens. More important, it's not any ruder than any of the other things we're talking about here and we're all guilty of them at one point or another.

24. The only real problem is the flight attendants (and people) who can't maneuver down the aisle and ram into sleeping or eating passengers.

25. If you can afford it, buy Global Entry and Pre-Check. They're amazing.

26. The middle seat gets both armrests (if they decide to share, good for them but it's optional.) Not only because the aisle and window seats each of their own benefits but there is no other equitable way for it to work. Otherwise, aisle and window would each get one and a half total armrests while the middle seat would only get one cumulative armrest.

27. As Ben Casnocha pointed out, taking a photo of your complimentary champagne in first class and posting it on Instagram is incredibly lame.

28. What's the difference between first class and coach? The chair, the food and the service are slightly better. That's it. It says nothing about you as a person.

29. Be courteous and considerate when opening the window on a dark plane.

30. If you're spending serious time in an airplane bathroom, it's time for you to make some diet and lifestyle changes. Good lord.

31. Keep your shoes on. This is not your living room.

32. Oh yeah, and keep your feet off the armrest in front of you. C'mon.

33. When you get to the security checkpoint, have your ticket and ID out already. Don't make everyone wait for you to do now what you could have done in line.

34. Personally, I print my boarding pass at check in. The stupid barcode thing never works, the flight attendants always have try moving the phone around like 5 times. If everyone did that, the plane would take forever to board.

35. Sitting next to people is not that important. You and your husband have been together for 30 years and you have the audacity to ask a total stranger to give up their aisle seat so you're not apart for 90 minutes? Are you kidding?

36. However, if you decide to ask for a trade, the trade must be a net positive for the person you're asking. Otherwise, you're putting them on the spot and that's not fair.

37. So you've been delayed. You can rant and rave or you can say: Ok, here's what I am going to do with this extra time. Which one do you think will feel better?

38. When the gate attendant asks guests to volunteer to check their bags and people immediately do it, I always think: Man, I hope these people don't have a job that involves any negotiating or risk management. Hold on to your bag and see, they have no idea whether they'll all fit or not.

39. When you are forced to gate check, waiting to pick up your bags is not an excuse to hover around. Everyone just needs to stand up against the same wall of the jetway and wait until their bag is brought up.

40. Airplanes are a private sound zone. That means no playing games with the sound on, no watching YouTube videos without headphones, no blaring the music so loud that it bleeds through the earbuds. It's up to you to inform your kids of this rule too.

41. You know what's almost as bad as rude kids? Parents who are shitty to their kids. You're an adult. You're in public. Be kind. Get a handle on yourself.

42. Oh and relax. It's going to be OK!

We're all stuck in the same metal tube together. We all wish this was over faster so we could get on with our lives (or enjoy our vacation or honeymoon or get to the funeral we're traveling to). So try to take an extra minute to actually think about what you're doing. Try to handle yourself.

But if the rules above are too hard to remember, then just use this one simple question: Ask what would it be like if everyone did this?

Let that guide your travel etiquette. TC mark