Match-making: competition vs choice


In another forum, I have raised the thesis that:

In the mate-finding process, it is important that the man should present himself truthfully instead of focusing totally on winning the woman.

The woman should make a conscious and informed choice, considering which man will be good for her, rather than merely which one wins a competition for her.

As is easily predictable, the very idea managed to offend many people.

Anyway, however, it is certainly important that people should put effort in any acquintance or friendship or family relation or any other relationship they care for. And sure, can’t jump into a relationship without some wooing. After all, common history builds and strengthens relationships. History is what builds people. The aspect of care, attention, making effort, is not to be neglected. Therefore, one may defend that it’s ultimately the “act of conquest” which makes the whole difference. What I have beef with is the idea that we necessarily have to fight and compete with others to get anything meaningful in life. Personally, I’d rather no one ever had to fight or compete with anyone and I disagree with the very concept of making internal fights within the human race into a noble thing. Plus, I believe in making the right choice rather than creating superfluities which should fall to Occam’s razor. :wink:

The way presented above, both positions are respectable within certain limits and each can be extrapolated into something bad - #1 being a male wallflower and somewhat slothful, #2 being non-rational and unnecessarily combative. Also, #1 tends towards complicating matters and sinking into formalities, while #2 tends to neglect the importance of reasonable decision-making. On the positive side, #1 focuses on complementing each other well, while #2 seems to play along with tradition and traditional male/female roles.

The choice is yours. :wink:


Where’s the ‘why do women have to be passive about the whole thing?’ option? :wink:


It has been said that women actually make the first move by giving the man an approachable look. Men however think they are making the first move by approaching… from personal experience, I think this is true in most cases.

Men seem to need to feel like they are making the move, which in their mind they are as men are action oriented and likely don’t consider the approachable look as an action. We women know how untrue that thought is… I can see a man across the room looking like he wants to come over, and if I don’t want him to, I know exactly what look to give that makes it clear I am not interested. But if I am, I know exactly how to convey that too…

Of course I am no longer interested beings I am married… but I guarantee I can still give the “look.”


Hehe. Right. But let’s assume we’re talking about a man being interested in a woman. :wink:

You can’t imagine… or you probably can, how much critique I scored for expressing the idea that whether the people complement each other well, get along, seem to fit etc, is more important than mating rituals and pick-up routines. Got a couple “nice” ad hominems for making it clear I wasn’t at all promoting a male wallflower scenario, too. :wink: People seem to think women should be conquered and men should be conquering, which matters more than any matching. I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle between what I originally proposed, which was a bit extrapolated, and what they said, though I can’t really stop thinking that the conquering approach leads to divorces, break-ups, unmatched relationships and the like. I think more accent should be put on good matching (being happy with each other) than deserving, the man shouldn’t insist on winning if a woman seems to be happier with someone else, and a woman shouldn’t expect to be conquered only but instead consider who she’s going to be happy with. But I don’t claim I’m 100% right. Feel free to try and convince me. :wink:

Using the same military analogy, I’d say it takes more than a successful conquest to ensure loyalty and cooperation and I’d rather have an alliance than a conquest-based relationship. On the other hand, can’t neglect the importance of trying and making the honest effort, showing the woman she’s cared, cherished for, perhaps worth competing for (though I’d rather show that in non-confrontational circumstances). What say ye?


In that case, sure, I agree – if anything, I’d just drop the ‘conquering’ aspect altogether. When did the masculine ideal become a gorilla?

‘Me Tarzan, you Jane, us unf unf’. Charming.


That is actually tricky and somewhat tearing. On the one hand, I’m socially conservative enough to be well attached to those old and respected patterns, the quaint and noble ones, on the other hand, I don’t buy into fundamentally unjust or unreasonable ideas just because they’re traditional. For example I will always doubt the validity of parentally chosen marriages, similarly, I will deny the necessity of asking the father’s consent, and so on and so forth. I don’t really like the idea of the man asking the woman to marry him like she’s reluctantly consenting and at any rate, as if she’s granting him something as opposed to the two forging an alliance. On the other hand I may be attached to the form enough actually to do it. But we aren’t talking about me. You nail the problem on the head: the whole conquering thing generally feels a bit tarzanesque. No offence to the knight-princess scheme I somewhat hold dear.


There’s nothing really wrong with the knight-princess thing. Notice how in Arthurian legend the damsel usually sends the knight off on a near-suicidal quest to make sure he’s marriage material! :wink:

It’s worlds different from the Tarzan school of romance. The knight and the princess are both on the market for a spouse, the knight decides he’d like to marry her, she figures out if he’s worthy of her hand. It’s much more the second of your two extremes than the first: she’s making an informed choice to marry the guy after he’s shown what he’s really like. The story of Sir Gareth is a wonderful example – although in that case, they were testing each other!

Chivalry isn’t dead, nor should it be – and Tarzan and Conan (probably a better example) are hardly paragons of that particular virtue.


I suppose she’s justified in her circumstances and actually does the reasonable thing, given as I said, the circumstances. Heck, I don’t want to be a relativist, but if the knight-times system of values were to rub off on us, we’d see it even more favourably.

Personally, I’m more in favour of the approach presented by the knight in Schiller’s “Glove”. That is, when she threw her glove among lions, pretending to lose it by accident, he did retrieve it but didn’t then take the woman as his wife. Similarly, an ancient Polish legend about the daughter of a duke in Silesia said she made the knights take rounds around her castle… some really narrow stuff in the mountains. The first one that made it declined her hand afterwards. If someone were to try me like that, I would be appalled by the cruelty of character and I wouldn’t be able to be with that person. I don’t mind stern people so long as they keep their own standards, but cruelty in any way, shape or form, frigthens me and scares me away. :wink:

The Gareth scenario isn’t bad. I really like the part about pretending to be junior than he really was. I sometimes do that kind of thing. However, similar scenarios (if not Gareth’s specifically) typically involve the notion the lady is a step or two higher than the gentleman, which I don’t quite like. It was substantiated in the middle ages by the customary practice of marrying into higher circles than one’s own. Sometimes a lord would give his daughter to an able knight, predicting a rise in rank on his part, as well as good protection for his daughter (and her being higher in rank, he would probably treat her well, too), rather than a fellow lord. But in a typical situation nowadays, while you do treat the lady like a princess, she shouldn’t assume to be of a higher class than you are, on her own end of things.

Another theme from mediaeval romances is the lady testing how much scolding the knight will take from her. Faced with that kind of situation, I generally get the person back in such a way that, while the boundaries of politeness are not crossed, the person really doesn’t want to try that again. Regardless of gender (just more careful with ladies). I don’t think it’s right. It may test whether the man is a wife-beater material or able to restrain his anger, but the act is materially wrong and the purpose doesn’t justify it IMHO.

Oh, and look at my nickname in case of doubt, hehe.


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