Category: Dating/Sex

Update on Advice-Giving Activities at AskMen and HeTexted

So, I’ve been busy lately, in a good way. “Man to Man” over at AskMen is doing pretty well. The questions have gotten more interesting, both for me and for the readers. I’m bummed that they don’t yet have comments up and running, because it would be great to get feedback and be able to interact with readers. I guess if you want to join in the discussion, for now you can like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter. If you missed the previous three installments, Links are below:

Why do people change?

Ian, I like your commentary. Riddle me this:

Why do people change? It seems that when I get involved with a woman and it turns into a long-term relationship (1+ year), they change! Either they get comfortable, gain weight, become tired all the time (leading to less sex), become more curt,or sensitive to things that I do or say, etc. I feel like I stay pretty stable in body/mind in the long term, but many women I have been involved with long term change on me. Is it my perception? Do you notice this in yourself or others? Is it a natural human evolution over a period of years or lifetime?

Thanks!

Yeah, that guy had an air of douche about him, but I go over it in pretty good detail.

Being the last Man on Earth

Ian,

My buddy and I were talking about what would happen if you were the last man on earth. Like, one day you wake up and you’re the only one. He thinks it would be tedious and exhausting because you’d be the biggest celebrity in the world. I think having the “responsibility” of repopulating the world would make it worth it. What do you think?

Matt

This was a fun one. I liked working through a hypothetical like that. I wish I got more of those questions.

Why can’t I produce restaurant-quality food at home?

Hey Ian,

So I’ve recently been living on my own and trying to save some cash by taking your advice and cooking more of my own food. The problem is, I can’t seem to touch the flavor of anything I get in a restaurant. I follow recipes to the letter, I have some decent gear, and I’ve even looked up “copycat” recipes for dishes I love. Still, I’m falling short. Any ideas? Am I just not good enough of a cook yet? I don’t know anyone in the restaurant business to ask. There’s no reason why I can’t produce something equally as delicious, right?

-Ryan

This was another fun one, and something I think a lot of people wonder themselves (I know I used to). Anyway, keep ’em coming. Send all questions to me at theianlang@gmail.com

In other fun news, there have been some changes over at HeTexted. The site got a huge facelift, for one, and they’ve also added some new features. Now, when you ask me or another bro a question, you have the option to make it public. I tentatively discourage this, as my experience so far has been that the peanut gallery gives pretty horrible advice. They’s also started a blog, where I’m featured every Wednesday. My latest post is here, where I talk about having friends of the opposite sex. If you want to get in on the conversation, you can comment in there using facebook. I think that’s a great feature.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably try to get back into regular blogging later this week.

Introducing “Man to Man,” an Ok Advice Column at AskMen

Started doing the advice column thing this week, and the first one is up at AskMen. They’re calling it “Man to Man,” which keeps with AskMen’s heavy-handed “better man” theme, but isn’t bad as far as advice column names go, I guess. The formula for any good advice column is a balance of seriousness and silliness, which is what I went for here. A sample:

Hi Ian Lang,

Here’s my question: How can I let a woman know that I’m only interested in having a sexual relationship with her without coming across as cold and insensitive?

Thanks,
Michael

As you can probably tell, this is the “silly” part. A snippet of my response:

If she were interested in this arrangement, that would probably be clear, so you must be talking about a scenario in which she wants a real relationship and you do not. If that’s the case, why do you think this is an OK thing to vocalize? No matter how you word it, you’re essentially telling this person that while you think her sex parts are dynamite, you’re less enthusiastic about her personality.  That’s a pretty sh*tty thing to say to someone’s face. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, and a woman told you that she appreciates your personality but doesn’t find you attractive enough to screw. Chances are you’d deny her invitation altogether, and maybe buy a fedora and grow a neck beard and start yelling about “the friend zone.”

So yea, that’s fun. Read the rest over at AskMen. Hopefully it takes off and I get more and more interesting questions to answer every week. It will be good for the readers, and good for the people who write in. So share, share, share and get me some more submissions, people.

How To: Never Get Laid

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Generally, I love and encourage commenters, both good and bad. As a writer, it keeps you honest. Sometimes they offer valuable, critical input. Other times, they don’t. For example, a comment from my latest article about advice:

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He caught me red-handed. Here I was, thinking I was positing helpful advice acquired through years of experience, when all I was really doing was tossing another log onto feminism’s testicle consuming fire.

Before I even start the advice column thing, here’s some to get you started: talking shit about feminism will never, EVER get you laid. Not once, not ever. A woman doesn’t have to be a bra-burning, armpit combing feminazi for her to be turned off by your disdain for the movement that affords her just about all of the political and social freedoms she enjoys today. Yes, there are likely some “feminists” out there who would like to see men subjugated the way women once were, but those aren’t most feminists, and not even “real” feminists. Modern feminism is, above all, about equality. Things like not being talked down to in the workplace, or not having politicians tell them what to do with their bodies. Equality is not a zero-sum game. Men do not have to give up anything to afford the kind equality most women seek.

I don’t even consider myself a feminist, but most of the things they ask for just seem like common sense to me. If you, as a man, can’t see how AT THE VERY LEAST not taking offense to that benefits you as someone who wants to meet women and maybe touch their lady parts, then you’re blind.

No one’s saying you have to agree with my (or anyone else’s advice). Just don’t be a jerk about it.

AskMen is Making me an Advice Columnist. Please Solicit my Advice.

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So, AskMen decided they’re going to have a go of making my regular weekly column into an advice column, and I’m stoked. I’ve been providing advice in various corners of the internet for a couple of years now, so it will be nice to do it on a larger platform like AskMen. In order to introduce the idea, this week I shared a few things I’ve learned from giving dating advice (mostly women). Namely, behaviors that guys think give them an advantage, but actually turn girls off. Via AskMen:

The Behavior: Reluctance/refusal to DTR (define the relationship)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, amirite? You’re spending a lot of time together, you’re obviously exclusive, so what’s the problem? Even without the label, it should be obvious to her that she’s your girlfriend. I mean, why else would this still be going on if she wasn’t?

Why it drives girls nuts:
For all the progression we’ve seen in modern society, you’re still expected to be the one to make this overture. Sorry. In your mind, you’re thinking something similar to the above paragraph. In her’s, she’s thinking something more like, “OK if we’re so invested in one another, why wouldn’t he call me his girlfriend? If he’s comfortable enough to leave the bathroom door open while he poops, why is that so hard?” And, face it, fellas, she’s got a point. The funny part is that she essentially agrees with you that the label itself isn’t necessarily important. But, if you’re unwilling to do something simple and apply a meaningless label, she’s going to question whether or not you intend to apply further, more meaningful labels down the road. Would you want to live with that kind of uncertainty?

How to fix it:
There’s no denying that having a DTR conversation is up there with talking to your parents about sex in terms of discomfort. In fact, proposing marriage was the easiest DTR talk I’ve ever had, because at least the script is simple. That’s why it doesn’t have to be a drawn-out affair. When my wife and I were dating, I defined the relationship simply by referring to myself as her boyfriend in passing. I didn’t even really think about it, but it stuck. NInety-nine percent of the time, actions speak louder than words in relationships, but this is one case in which they matter, no matter how trivial they may seem. Have a drink or two and lay it out there for her. If by this point she hasn’t rejected you as a human being, she’s unlikely to reject the label.

So yeah, that’s what I’m doing now. Hopefully, it will be in the standard “Dear Abby” question and response format. I think it’ll be good for both the site and the readers, because one thing that AskMen lacks is any level of engagement and interaction with their consumers. Instead of reading fake questions answered by “Doc Love,” now you can send them in and see your real question answered by a real person (me).

Of course, that can’t happen if we don’t get a steady stream of questions. Send your questions to editorial@askmen.com, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, by no means does the question have to be about dating or sex. In fact, I’d prefer if at least some of them weren’t. Ask me about etiquette. Ask me about what to wear to the office. Ask me something hypothetical. Ask me a “would you rather…” type question that makes me cringe. Literally, ask me anything.

A Quasi-Academic Look at #Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”

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Since the song came out, Robin #Thicke has defended its questionable content by saying that the whole point of it is to make fun of the kind of guys who act/think this way. At first, I kind of figured it was a response meant to deflect the question and/or screw with people. But then I started thinking “is there a way this could actually be true?” Turns out, there is, or at least I think there is, and it’s simple: Imagine the falsetto parts of the verses as the “smooth” things this would-be lady killer wants to say to his intended, and the full-voice parts are what actually comes out.

Let’s set the scene. It’s Saturday night, and our protagonist is in “da club,” as they say, where he spied a lady he’d like to talk to. The problem: what the hell does he say to her? Pickup lines are old news, and with the loud music a simple “hey what’s up” isn’t going to lead to much. He needs something a little more… open ended.

If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page

“I like that. It’s poetic. Metaphorical, even. What is it I’m trying to say? From what page am I reading? Bitches love this artsy stuff. I bet she’ll respond with something flirty. Ok, let’s do this. Let’s blow her mind.”

MAYBE I’M GOING DEF,
MAYBE I’M GOING BLIND
MAYBE I’M OUT OF MY MIND

“Shit. That’s not what I meant to say at all. I’m not nearly drunk enough. Or too drunk, I can’t tell. Yeah, that’s probably not the best thing to say to a girl when you first meet her. ‘Hi, I’m only approaching you because I’m blind, can’t hear your voice, and am crazy.’ Good job. Oh well, next one.”

Our Protagonist moves around the bar until he finds another potential candidate. “She’s hot, but not, like, THAT hot,” he thinks to himself. Perfect. This time, maybe something a little more direct is in order. Nothing too obvious, but maybe not trying to be so abstract will keep him from tongue tying himself.

What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for

“This is PERFECT. Heavy on the innuendo, but nothing inappropriate. Solid gold brother, solid gold.”

YOU THE HOTTEST BITCH IN THIS PLACE

“SHIT. Why did I say that? There goes all the innuendo. That wasn’t subtle. That was the opposite of subtle. Wait… maybe she didn’t hear me? She’s into this. We’re dancing! Awesome!”

I feel so lucky
You wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me?

“I really hope I didn’t say that out loud. Shit, I did. Haha, she said ‘rub me.’ That doesn’t even rhyme, really. I think I’ve met my dream girl. Uh oh, we’re really grinding now. I wish I had some real gangster-type shit to say to her. That would be tits.”

One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it’s almost unbearable
Then, honey you’re not there when I’m
With my foresight bitch you pay me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn’t pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me

“Damn, what a sick rhyme. I’ve been working on that one for weeks. My bros say my flow’s improved A LOT. Time to field test it, as they say.”

Shake the vibe, get down, get up
DO YOU LIKE IT HURT, LIKE IT HURT?
WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE WORK?

“Christ, who am I, James Brown? Whatever, she liked the enthusiasm. I think she’s, like, really drunk. Or maybe I’m just that good. Yeah, I bet that’s it.”

As the night progresses, the duo decide on taking the party to his place for some post-club revelry, and maybe, if our protagonist is lucky, some sex (or at least under-the-shirt-but-over-the-bra boob touching.

“Whew, I still have some weed left. God, this stuff is shit. It’s like the stems grew their own stems and that’s what I’m left with. Hopefully she won’t notice if I play up the stickiness.”

Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur

“Perfect. I’ve never been to either of the Dakotas, and I don’t even know where Decatur is. But Jamaica’s a place with good weed, right? Saying I take it with me from Dakota to Decatur (which I’m pretty sure is in, like, Turkey or something) makes me sound like a world traveler who’s badass enough to not worry about the implications of transporting drugs across international boundaries. Ok, time to… Wh- What? She just took it and smoked it? No explanation needed? And now she wants me to go get a condom? THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!”

Later, as he’s in the bathroom searching for is long-expired box of condoms, he gives himself a pep talk…

No more pretending
Cause now you winning
Here’s our beginning

Yes, champ. Winning indeed.

____

From that perspective, the song’s explanation makes sense. These guys who think they’re master pickup artists don’t realize that their occasional success is usually just due to their finding a girl who was out to have fun and get laid herself. Not convinced? What would that same kind of douchebag say to himself if he saw a girl he wanted dancing with another man? Would it be something like… this?

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker

Yes, the guy (who is not you) with whom the lady is dancing is clearly holding her under some kind of spell against her will. If only you were there to “save” her, big guy.

What about before these guys go out for the night in their roving bro-packs? What kinds of things might they say to themselves in order to “hype themselves up?” You’d want to say something encouraging and affirmational, right? Something like…

And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

I rest my case. Never doubt Robin #Thicke

Last Week’s Article on AskMen: Hitting Your Late 20’s

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I wrote this last week, but it’s still super popular so I figured I’d share it here with the subset of people who follow my blog but don’t read AskMen, which I assume is around 2 people. I think people enjoy reading things they can relate to, and most of AskMen’s readers are either approaching their late 20’s themselves, or passed them by not so long ago. A snippet:

It’s great if your first real, adult relationship results in a lasting marriage, but if not? Welcome to your first real, adult breakup and everything that comes with that. Those pitfalls are also, I think, what makes the 20s so significant. You’ve gone from an age in which you had a lot of support to an age in which not only does life get harder, but you’re expected to handle it much more on your own. If you can limp across the finish line into your 30s, chances are you’re much better off than when you started. Your teens might be when you’re ushered into adulthood, but your 20s are when you lay the groundwork for the man you’ll eventually become.

Read the rest at AskMen.

#Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is not About Rape

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Unless you are dead and/or def, you’ve probably heard Robin #Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines.” If you are a sane, well-adjusted person, you agree that it’s the greatest gift to music since the invention of the major chord. But for some people, getting offended and complaining is as intoxicating as any drug. Because these people hate all things that are good, they’ve set their sites on the best song since the Star Spangled Banner. The reason? It promotes “rape culture.”

Has anyone heard Robin Thicke’s new rape song?” blogger Lisa Huyne wrote in a post in April. “Basically, the majority of the song…has the R&B singer murmuring ‘I know you want it’ over and over into a girl’s ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity … Seriously, this song is disgusting

Oh for Chrissakes, go comb your armpit hair elsewhere and shut up. Just because you took a Womyn’s Studies class one time, that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to say what is and what isn’t a “rape song.” Her main issue with it is that #Thicke repeats the phrase “I know you want it” over and over. Ok, that could be considered a little rape-y, in the context of, I don’t know, an actual rape situation. But have you ever had consensual sex? By definition, both parties “want it,” and if you’re having the sex you know, in fact, that the other person “wants it.”

If anything, the idea of taking offense to something like “I know you want it” and dismissing it as rape undermines women. What if she does want it? Are you trying to say that women aren’t capable of wanting sex, so that when a man declares he “knows you want it,” it can only be an unwelcome advance? Sure, contextually that kind of thing could be negative, but this is just about a man trying to have some swagger, some bravado. I wasn’t aware that wasn’t allowed anymore.

DON’T WORRY, the video (which is fantastic and features beautiful women in various stages of undress) is under plenty of scrutiny too. I know, the gall of someone to hire women who look sexy for a living to look sexy in a music video. For his part, this is what #Thicke had to say about it:

We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, “We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.”

People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.”

Hmm. That sounds like an answer from a man who a) knows what’s up and understands the purpose of the thing he created and b) is probably sick and tired of people asking him if his music video is “rapey.” Of course it is, he made it that way on purpose. It’s not as though someone caught them with a hidden camera and leaked it to the web. It doesn’t matter, though, because we live in a world where art is dead, primarily because we’re all incapable of deciding what things we take seriously. Like, listen to this lady:

“[T]he fact that they are all married with kids does not make it OK for him to say these things or depict them in a song. Because songs like this are dangerous,” wrote blogger Liz Terry earlier this month.

Yes, this song is super dangerous. Here’s a tip – if your son or daughter grows up to be a rapist, it’s not because he saw and heard “Blurred Lines” by Robin #Thicke. It’s because they have a screw loose, or you’re a lousy parent, or both. If it’s too inconvenient for you to have a conversation with your child wherein you explain that things like music videos and video games are not real and should not be taken seriously, then you deserve for your child to grow up to become a rapist. You know the easiest way to take something like a music video and turn it into a big deal that can influence children? You incessantly blog and talk about how it’s a big deal that can influence children.

In breaking news, people are still idiots who get great big boners from complaining about otherwise innocuous things.

New Article at AskMen: Launching a Startup

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If you follow me on twitter, facebook, or this blog, you’re aware that I’ve been peppering the interwebs with news of my new startup, datesocial. This week at AskMen, I talked about some of the perceived roadblocks to starting a business, and hopefully motivated some people with ideas to get up off their asses and actually execute them. A snippet:

You don’t need (much) money

The biggest barrier to entry in the startup world is the perception of cost, and at one time that was a very real barrier. If you wanted to open a store, you needed retail space and product to sell. If you wanted to manufacture something, you needed materials and equipment. Thanks to the internet, that cost barrier has morphed into more of a cost speed bump, especially if you’re looking to provide a service rather than a good of some kind. Datesocial’s landing page is hosted by launchrock, a free service for startups. Customers will register and pay for events through eventbrite, which is free to use and allows you to pass on its (incredibly modest) service fees to your customers. Facebook and Twitter are where we’ve done most of our marketing, and those are, of course, free. I’ve paid for a domain name, a logo design, some business cards and a few traffic pushes on fiverr. Our gross investment at this point is right around $100. That’s a weekend’s worth of dinner and drinks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you read about tech startups raising millions of dollars in funding, but if you’re willing to hack it at the start, you simply don’t need that.

I ended the article by saying I could go on for another 2,000 words, and that wasn’t an exaggeration. One thought that I did want to share, however, is the notion of technology and the role it plays in the startup world. Everyone, so it seems, wants to create a “tech startup”, a new app, a new website, etc. It’s all you read about at Valleywag, TechCrunch and whatnot, and it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea that a new business has to be cutting edge or rely on some kind of new technology. It doesn’t. The core concept of a business is finding a void with your consumers and then filling that void. You can do that by offering something that no one’s ever seen before, or you can take an existing model that’s broken and perfect it. It’s very rarely a tech problem.

When my wife and I were conceiving datesocial, our first thought was “Oh shit, we need a website and neither of us know how to design or build one.” We built a landing page at launchrock, but we were still focused on tech, tech, tech. We were building a startup, so we assumed it had to be a “tech startup.” It didn’t, and it isn’t. I had an epiphany when I was talking with my friend Ryan Melogy, co-founder of faithstreet. He said something to the effect of “Dude, you’re essentially trying to throw a party. Your first step is throwing that party and getting the word out.” That’s when it kind of clicked. Datesocial isn’t a tech company. In fact, it’s the opposite of a tech company. It’s real life, it’s on the ground, and it’s about interacting with real people and helping them interact with each other. Sure, we rely on tech to facilitate things, but it’s a vehicle, not the core concept. That’s why I don’t understand sites like Grouper, who purports to match people based on some kind of algorithm that examines their facebook data. It sounds like a cool science project, but I believe in people’s ability to do their own matchmaking. When you start a company that claims to connect people using something as detached as a computer program, you’re either way too deep in the weeds or unwilling to get out there and mix with your customers.

If you have an idea for a business, provided it’s not an actual tech product, tech should not be your first concern. Your first priority should be creating a prototype and testing it. There are so, so many free or cheap tech products out there that will get you where you need to be, or at least get you to where you can launch a beta product. You can (and should) hack it at the start. Why sink thousands of dollars into a web designer and developer when there are sites like facebook, twitter, and eventbrite that can serve essentially the same purpose (and make it easier to tap into social media to boot)? Unless you’re running a true “tech startup”, it’s not a tech problem. It’s an execution problem, or a motivation problem.

Read the full article at AskMen

Introducing Datesocial: A New Way to Meet People in DC

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The other week, my wife and I were having outdoor drinks at a local restaurant, and the bar next door was hosting some kind of speed dating event. It looked lame as hell, but it also seemed like it was serving its purpose: against all odds, scores of singles were awkwardly meeting other singles. We half-jokingly said that we could come up with something better. Well, now we are: introducing datesocial, a fun, casual way to meet people in the Washington, DC area.

The problem with speed dating is that it’s awkward as hell. You’re lined up shoulder to shoulder, and you have, what, 4 minutes tops to make an impression on someone (and vice versa)? If you don’t hit it off, you’re stuck with that one person for what feels like an eternity. If you do hit it off, when the bell rings and everyone plays musical chairs, you’re forced to watch and listen while a new guy or gal hits on the object of your desire. No thank you. Online dating is even worse. If your profile sucks, you could be Ryan Gosling and not get any hits. Even if your profile game is solid, with so many people it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack made exclusively of needles. Datesocial is here to fix all that. Our official blurb:

No awkward speed dating, and no online profiles. Datesocial brings groups of guys and girls together to make meeting people fun and laid back, the way it should be.

At datesocial events, 20 guys and 20 girls are split into groups of four each. Register with up to three friends, or come stag (we’ll make sure you have a group). Each group of guys spends about 12 minutes talking to each group of girls – long enough to make an impression, but not so long as to make things awkward. At the end, turn in your card with up to 5 people you’d like to see again. If there’s a mutual match, we’ll re-introduce you via email within 24 hours.

Right now we’re working with bars in the DC area to secure fun venues and awesome drink specials. Enter your email address now at datesocial.co, and you’ll be among the first to know when we launch with our first event.

Unlike dating sites or quasi-dating services like Grouper, we don’t have the audacity to say that an algorithm can predict who you’ll hit it off with. Instead, we believe that people know themselves well enough to choose their own matches. If you find a match, great! If not, chances are you made some new friends, business contacts, etc. There’s always next time.

Right now we’re building a list of interested people prior to our first event. The best way you can help is a) sign up at http://www.datesocial.co if you’re in the DC area. There’s no cost or account to create, it’s just a mailing list for when we launch. b) share us with your friends. We’re on twitter and facebook, so follow us, give us a like, and share, share, share!

There’s nothing else like this out there, so we’re doing something big. We hope everyone’s as excited as we are.

Taylor Swift is Dating Another Teenage Boy; Predictable

If I were a betting man, I would wager that Taylor Swift, the nation’s favorite 22 year old bubblegum-country crooner, has more attention cast on her love life than literally any other celebrity. This is for a couple of reasons, one of which being her choice of men, but the other is more simple – she asks for it. Demands it, even.

Taylor has a much-publicized habit of writing songs about her relationships; more specifically, her breakups. Not only is she not shy about it, but it’s almost a point of pride for her, as though having a pop song that vaguely references how shitty of a boyfriend you were is a penance worse than death. I’ve read interviews where she speaks to the effect of “if we go out and you’re a jerk to me, it’s not my fault if you wind up in a song”. Oh no Taylor, anything but a saccharine pseudo-country jam about how mean I am! Let’s look at a sample of some of these blacklisting lyrics. These are taken from her song “Dear John”, presumably written about her stint with the much older and so-notoriously-douchey-you-should-have-known-better John Mayer:

Dear John, I see it all now it was wrong
Don’t you think nineteen’s too young
To be played by your dark, twisted games
When I loved you so, I should’ve known.

That’s pretty much the whole song, her trying to paint him as an asshole for apparently taking advantage of a then-19 year old Taylor’s naiveté. And sure, I guess you could read into it that way and think “man, that John Mayer guy sure is an asshole”. The problem is that literally anyone who follows the news or music has known that for the better part of a decade. He’s many things, including a talented musician, but a “settle down type of guy” isn’t one of them. What Swift doesn’t understand, as she walks around feeling smug and vindicated through the magic of song, is that all I see in those lyrics is an anecdote about how John Mayer, being the sweet bro that he is, successfully nailed and bailed on a gullible 19 year old super star. If I were him, every time I heard that song I would think “goddamn right I did”. He’s not pathetic for doing what he did; she’s pathetic for whining to the world about it in the standard pop verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format.

Other than the John Mayer fiasco and some time spent playing a beard for the obviously gay Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor tends to date men closer to her own age, most recently high school junior Connor Kennedy and now 18 year old One Direction member Harry Styles. You might wonder why as teenage boys are usually at the bottom of every woman over the age of 16’s dating list. Sure, the Kennedy name is an alluring one (if you’re here via a time warp from the 1980’s), and I’m sure Styles is charming enough, but Swift is pretty, blond, and built like a model – she could ostensibly have a go with any man she wanted. If you’re a more astute reader you’re thinking “Wait, those guys aren’t her age at all. She’s 22.” You’d be correct, kind of.

The reason she dates the guys she dates, and really the reason for everything she does, is that Taylor Swift is neither capable of nor allowed to be anything other than a perpetually 16 year old girl. Her first album, released in 2006, was a runaway hit, and because she writes her own songs her financial gains were massive. It figures then that that was the precise moment when her real-life experiences and personal development were allowed to stop, and why wouldn’t it? As gifted a songwriter as she is, she’s incapable of writing about anything other than high school puppy love, because that’s all she knows. That works out well for her from a business perspective, because that’s all her audience wants to hear. Ask any girl in her mid-20’s about her favorite T-Swift songs, and while preferences vary, one constant is that no grown woman points to any tracks from her latest album. That’s because the songs they do like, the songs that still resonate with them, were released years ago, when they teenagers themselves and related to the material. Throw in 9-5 jobs, mature relationships, and adult woes, and suddenly lyrics about sneaking out your bedroom window or going against your father’s wishes don’t really hit home. If Swift wants to continue her success, she must remain a 16 year old girl, because those are the only people buying her music.

If she wants to find love, she’ll have to grow into it, and that will be hard for her. Partly because no one wants her to, but also because that would require work, risk, and uncertainty on her part. If my options were continued financial success or forcing myself to grow as a person, I’d probably stick to boinking teenage boys too. Never stop being you, Taylor.