I recently read a neat little send-up of how some men use feminism or the appearance of sensitivity and allegiance to women’s concerns as a sexual strategy, using a character “Dylan” as a concrete stereotype. While it was cleverly written, and certainly describes a thing, there was something slightly… off… about it.
“Oh, woe is women’s lot! All these different evil men are always trying different evil strategies to get them into bed! How could they despoil these helpless creatures who have no will or judgment of their own? How dare they pursue their own objectives in life, rather than making sure women get what they want instead? How dare they coerce women into deviant sex acts by making noises with their mouths?”
Now, some women who object to Chad and Dylan may need a fainting couch and some ammonia salts, while others may just be a bit disapproving, but they would both be making the same mistake.
What mistake? Sorting men into “good” and “bad” men, and believing that their lives will be made happy by seeking out the former and shunning the latter.
Women, however, are not endowed with any special powers of moral perception, nor with any sort of divine ability to sort the evil men from the good ones. And even were they equipped to do so, there are plenty of good men who make terrible relationship partners.
In order to be successful in love, a women must understand the difference between the concepts of “good” and “good for me”, and realize that only one is in play in relationships.
Any man you date will appear bad or good to you depending on how closely the way he treats you aligns with your goals for the relationship. But since the way he treats you will always align with his own relationship goals, a man will appear bad or good to you depending upon how closely his relationship goals align with yours.
If you are left-leaning college girl who wants to party, have fun, get a lot of attention, and have a lot of orgasms, then Dylan will be a godsend. If you are a Christian-with-capital-C girl who wants to be in a committed relationship before she graduates, get married right afterwards, then stay at home raising four children while her husband supports her, then Dylan will appear to be the devil himself.
And that girl’s ideal mate (let’s call him Alan) will appear to another girl to be a raging asshole because he wants to take away her career, turn her into a brood mare, trap her at home with a herd of brats, and prevent her from wearing skirts that show her (gasp!) ankles.
The most saintly man in the world might be a terrible partner for you if you’re into rough kinky sex and he absolutely refuses to choke a bitch. A complete cad to others might be a wonderful husband if he wants the same things out of life you do, and you are Bonnie to his Clyde.
The same thing is true for men. The same sentence might sound to two different men like “I love you so much that I want to bear your heirs and care for them with all my love” … or “I love you so much that I want to create a screaming, expensive homunculus, and prioritize it above you in all things for the rest of your life”.
Depending on whether or not he wants kids.
Shared goals are one of the three elements of a successful relationship (along with mutual attraction and shared values), and so, to be successful in relationships, you need to know what your real relationship goals are, and to be able to figure out what those of the men you date are.
This is less simple than it sounds, because people lie all the time, both to themselves and others, about what they want, and what will make them happy. You can’t just take his word for it, or even your own.
But the task is made possible at all when you realize that goal alignment is not the same as morality, and that the second is not necessary or even sufficient for the first. Analyzing someone's morality is idle coffee-shop chatter; analyzing his goals tells you if he is right for you.