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Robert Madewell

Yeah, the 'no cats rule' is taking it too far. My wife and I moved to an apartment and had to give up our cats. I miss them terribly. Besides, who decides that a cat is femanine? Look at an old lazy tomcat and you'll see the very embodiment of masculinity: sleep, eat.

susie bright

One weird con of this book is that it's ostensibly an advice book to me, but it's marketed to women, to laugh and snark and commiserate, one supposes. This book has no sales future with actual boys and men of any description.

The Beautiful Kind

I left a comment on this post when it was on blowfish a while back and it got deleted for some reason.

I love the concept of this book even if I don't agree with everything the authors say.

I hope to meet you in Nov, Greta!


I am so happy to have this website to go to, precisely for articles like this. Seeing that black man in the old spice deodorant commercials telling me that he's the epitome of what women want and to be any less than him is to be of no consequence is infuriating, but easily ignored. Radically reasonable voices like yours need to be heard way more.
The day I gave up participating in the "If I want girls to like me, I'd better do this and that and hide my interest in them and those," is the day that my relationships took a huge upswing. So now I can tell women with pride and enthusiasm, "Yes! Battlestar Galactica and Survivor are things I enjoy! Yes! Those are books about sex on my shelf, and you know what, they paid for themselves in fun!" and I've yet to have a single lady turn her nose up at me for it, regardless of background or class. Own who you are, and be clean is all I've really needed. But that would make for a boring book.


I think there might be a market for the "How To Get Nerdy, Kinky, Non-Monogamously Married Bi-Dyke Sex Freaks To Date You" book. I'd buy it! Care to take it on Susie?

Brad Hanon

I've been saying for a while that the next frontier of feminism is going to be using the techniques and vocabulary of feminism to take a good, long look at what our society is telling men about their gender roles. I was linked here by the immortal Susie Bright, and I'm now totally in love with your blog.


"...and now I'm totally in love with your blog." --It's so easy to fall in love with Greta, isn't it:)) As a commenter at Jerry Coyne's site remarked, "Her mind is so....mindly." And he's right:)

The second time reading through this essay, and I think perhaps I have divined the true intent of the authors in writing which appears to be an advice book.

It's not.

It's a very long personal ad.
SWF seeks... and the resulting acronym was so long they appeared to be seeking aliens. Hence, the book you hold in your hands. Or?

Kit Whitfield

On girlie drinks:

A good friend of mine went on a date some years ago, with a girl he was very eager to please, being that she was nice, funny smart and very pretty, a real catch. He's not much of a beer guy, though; what he really wanted that evening was a sweet cocktail - a Mai Tai, I think. But he wanted to impress her, and wasn't sure a Mai Tai would do it.

He considered his options for a moment. Then he turned and said to her, 'I'd like to order myself a Mai Tai. I'm a bit worried real men don't drink Mai Tais - but then I thought, real men drink whatever they want.'

Reader, she married him.


I've been saying for a long time that it takes more balls for a guy to look like Peter Gabriel* than Rob Halford. Not that they have much control over their apperance, but how is it considered"manlier"to be the epitome of what most would say a man "should" look like, but "girly" to look like the former and not care about appearing "girly"?

*youtube:Genesis-'the musical box'


I can't imagine dating someone who didn't like cats, though my cat would prefer I not move in with someone who came with competition for her (she's got a serious case of tortietude).

Yours is adorable, btw.

Poor Coco

Bravo, Greta! This is a brave and principled stand you've taken.

By the way, some of the best parties I have ever attended involved silly hats, croquet and "girl-drinks" involving juice and lots of gin. If that's not manly enough for someone I'm dating, I won't be dating them for long! :-)


It's so funny because I have always loved men with cats! It's a bit of litmus test for me. I don't even like cats that much - but if a man likes a cat I generally take it to mean he can handle a fair amount of moodiness, independence and mystery in another being... and he knows how to pet a pussy without making her mad.


Huh. One of the reasons I agreed to go out with my now-husband is that he had adopted a cat from the SPCA. I am a huge animal lover and it means a lot to me that he is too. He also likes Star Trek and all sorts of other sci-fi entertainment. And plays a lot of video games.

Does that mean there is something wrong with me? :-P

The Fuddler


I haven't had a chance to read all of your posting yet (and I will ASAP), but I've been waiting for someone to call "bullshit" on the whole "Undateable" thing. "Undateable" to me means someone who's disrespectful, dishonest or unsanitary. Everything else is a matter of one's own tastes, desires and intuition (I won't use the word "chemistry". I swear, I won't!)

Your posting's title pretty much sums it up. The whole business sounds to me like "The Rules", transcoded for men. I've got to wonder how many ruined love and sex lives the authors of this book have authored!


Women cannot demand equality and liberation, and then demand that men pay our way. At full price.

This attitude has bothered me since the '60s.


"But I think we're less familiar with how social programming guilt-trips and fear-mongers men into rigid and sexist gender roles"

Why is that?


I've never ever met a girl who listed cat-liking as deal-breakers, or a guy who dislikes cats for the sole reason of machoness. I know some very "metal" guys who still love cats.

This is the "make fun of everything" school of humor...fine if it's lighthearted joking, but when it's taken seriously it gives me a headache. The author could elaborate on exactly what is acceptable for men, and that could easily be made fun of, too.

It also reminds me of "job interview tips" that list hundreds of ways you will be scrutinized, and then tells you to "just be yourself"! Bleh!


Thanks for this post. The dating scene in Los Angeles is pretty well packed with women who believe everything in this book and men who studiously try to live up to those ridiculous rules. It grossed me out enormously, and I was so happy to meet my tattooed geeky videogame-playing (and -making) hunk of a man who didn't fit the L.A. mold at all.

This review also makes me think of an ex-friend who wanted desperately to have a boyfriend, but had a list of "musts" a mile long. I totally agree with yokohamamama that this sounds a lot like one of those lists -- which is bad enough, but handing it out to guys and expecting them to act that way? Who'd even WANT a man who has to hide everything about himself in order to get some girl to like him?


Wow, that shall I say it, remarkable. You know, at first I was thinking "Well hey now, it's kinda fun trying to look nice while looking like you're not trying" (maybe I always figured that took the pressure off if I goofed up). Then I read on with amusement at the clothes, driving, etc.

A bit OT, I went to the bar after work with some coworkers one night and asked them who ordered the "girly drinks"--turned out the tray held manhattans, and my new coworkers insisted on buying me one and I ended up staying there kinda late sobering up so I could drive home...

But then you got into other stuff that really teed me off. I have to pay for everything? As you pointed out, wait a minute, I thought we were supposed to be equal--or does equality stop when it's no longer in your favor? I had the same attitude you probably did toward it: FTN (a phrase ending with "noise").

As for the D&D/Renfair thing, I'm a longtime member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and I met my (now) wife at an SCA event. I suppose that did eventually make me undateable, but not in the way they probably meant.


The authors of this book can go fuck themselves. Like men need any more rigid, stereotypical, contradictory advice about masculinity.


First time reading this blog, but a strong believer in not just being a feminist, but rather a humanist. (I will admit that I was a real jerk off guy to the feminisit movement until my last girlfriend helped me see the light, but that's the old me).

Anyway - I love this blog and look forward to reading the other entries.

Much love!


You know what smacks of lack of confidence? Buying a book where women tell you what to do, to be datable. Fuck them. I'm a fat, incredibly nerdy (Sci fi, fantasy, videogames, anime, comics, star trek, you name it. I'm even a game designer) dude with a huge beard. I have an awesome girlfriend. I have absolutely no desire to date women who would nod vigorously to this vapid bullshit. People who care about all this knife-edge management of their image care about IMAGE. You know the kind of people I don't respect? Ones who let their fears of how other people perceive them dictate choices in their lives. Those women might look at me and never consider dating me in a million years, but the feeling is mutual. I can't help but look down on people who are like that in the first place.


I guess Goldfinger shouldn't date.

David Colella

Is it possible that the authors of this book weren't serious? I remember making lists like this (50 ways to get a detention in study hall, 25 things men shouldn't do in a women's locker room, etc) back in high school, not because I believed they were right, but because I knew how absurd they were. These people just took it a step further and are making money off of it.

I've been trying to teach my cat to high-five when she wants food. Does that make me more masculine or more juvenile? Or does it not matter since I play D&D and thus am a lost cause anyway.

Thomas Billet

Your blog is amazing. Some of the best, most interesting, well reasoned posts I've read in quite a long time.

Unfortunately I can't say the same of myself, I just submitted the two author's pictures to their "undatable" site with a little rant about you know, being ugly on the inside for writing such hateful garbage. I doubt they'll show up though.

I know, I'm pathetic, petty, impetuous and immature and am now down at their level. Except I'm poor.

Anyway, thanks for the posts, keep them up! I'll be a regular reader here from now on.


I'm learning to be myself and what I like, I'm developing confidence being myself. That includes wearing black spandex shorts (because I like to show off my sexy legs and glutes), a nice shirt and I go for pedicures and get my nails painted, right now they are metallic blue and I enjoy it. I wear burkenstock sandals, no socks. I own a lovely cat or does she own me? I've had her for 9 years now and she is healthy and well taken care of. I don't like dogs! I'm definitly interested in women and consider myself masculin, I talk and interact with people like a man does, but there is also a stong feminine side to me too. I seem to fit the "Two Spirits" lable.
I am very different from other guys.

Valerie Keefe

As someone CAMAB, I gotta disagree with Ingrid, or at least add an important caveat. There are not a million ways to be a man where one can do so and not get their ass kicked. Male-presentation has a much lower margin of acceptable variance.

Of course my book would be much shorter, since I am a man-hating tryke: Don't have an androgenic hormonal mix or if you do, don't let it stay that way. But I understand that won't work for 100% of people currently read as men... a conservative lower bound based on orientation would presume 5.5%, but I think we can do better.

Anyway, if I ever wanted to read an argument on why to transition, it would be the book Undateable. Estrogen is way less effort and makes you way more datable than this shit. That and sensitive breasts. I can't say enough about them.

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