The 1585 Sets Out to Make Fun of Dating Advice
and Ends Up Uncovering a Massive Christian Media Conspiracy


The project as planned was to respond point-by-point to each item in a stupid mainstream list of dating pointers.  How stupid and mainstream?  I found it in a link off the AOL homepage. That’s how stupid and mainstream.

It was pretty fun, as these things go.  Oh, and I possibly uncovered an extensive plot by Christians to infiltrate and take over the lifestyle-advice industry.  Or not.  Judge for yourself.

As always, text by the people I'm making fun of is in red, and my responses are in black.

12 Things Women Should Never Say to Men
    by KAREN ASP

Whether you’re married or dating, you’re in a relationship with a great guy, and you’ll do anything to stay on his good side.  How?  Watch your words.  “There are certain red-button phrases for men that they just don’t like to hear,” says April Masini, the dating-advice expert behind and author of Think & Date Like a Man. We also tapped Nicholas Aretakis, author of Ditching Mr. Wrong, to get a guy’s perspective.  Take their advice and keep those lips zipped when it comes to these touchy phrases.

1. Do you love me (especially if it’s too soon in a relationship)?  Guys love their freedom, and for many single guys, the idea of making a serious commitment can be scary.  Say this too early in a relationship, even if you’ve been intimate, and the guy might slam on the brakes, says Aretakis.  If you’re married, it’s okay to ask this, but if you want to get the kind of answer you deserve, do it when there are no distractions around you.

I keep hearing legends about this problem, but I have never experienced it myself.  With every “I love you” relationship I’ve ever been in, there just came a moment when it was obvious, and then we both said it, and that was that.  Then again, I'm an artist, and I've usually dated other artists, and we tend to be more romantic and impetuous by nature, so maybe it is different for normal people.  But even so, why is it presented here as something the woman worries about and needs to ask the man?  And who says “Do you love me?” without saying “I love you” first?  And why does “I love you” even mean a “serious commitment?”  You can be in love with someone and not have to marry them the next day.  And what’s with “even if you’ve been intimate?”  First of all, who calls it that, and second, who still thinks having sex necessarily means the person loves you?  Oh, and I am not the world’s biggest fan of marriage, but even I am pretty sure that if you are married to somebody, it is reasonable for you to expect that they can tell you they love you even when there are “distractions around.”  What does that even mean — they are in the middle of trying to swat a mosquito, or firecrackers are going off outside?  Ugh, the poor people this makes sense to.  I feel so sorry for them.  Not so sorry that I'm going to stop making fun of them or anything, but you know, a little bit sorry.

2. I'm thinking about having some plastic surgery.  “Men like women to look naturally beautiful,” Masini says.  That means no plastic surgery; no fake anything, not even any make-up.  Of course, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, or you.  So if you put on lip gloss, concealer and mascara to get this “natural look,” just make sure you don’t look like you’re wearing a mask, and you’ll be good to go.  This can be true for plastic surgery too—as long as it looks real, you might be able to get away with it.

First of all, I went to April Masini’s website, and she has had an absurd amount of plastic surgery, and it does not, in even the slightest way, look real.  So if this tip was hers, I guess she’s insane, and if it was the guy’s then that conversation must have been really awkward. 

Plus, this is complete bullshit.  Yes, there are certainly guys who don’t like fake boobs, or who don’t like too much botox, but where the hell are these supposed guys who don’t even like make-up?  Women wear the stuff for a reason, and it’s not because it makes them look worse.  This just sounds like some shit that lame guys tell stupid women to try and look sensitive, because they don’t know what the hell “sensitive” actually means.

April Masini
Sometimes "really fake looking" is hot.  This isn't one of them.

3. You used to take me out more often — now we don't do anything.  Men love to hang out, watch TV and veg.  Even if you’re doing nothing, he’s thinking that at least you’re doing nothing together.  So to him, this doing nothing really is doing something, Masini says.  Plus, realize that cash flow could be low, especially during these hard economic times.  If you want a change, plan low-cost things you both enjoy doing together.  If the only thing you do together is have sex, that’s a huge red flag, signaling that the guy’s not really interested in doing anything else with you.

Okay, I don’t think this is a gender thing at all.  There are some relationships where the girl likes going out and the guy likes staying home, and some relationships where it is the other way around (I mean, if this were true, it would mean lesbians go out every night and gay guys stay home all the time, which isn’t the case).  And the person who likes going out and the person who likes staying in need to find a compromise, or just part ways if it’s too big a deal to them.  I was once in a relationship that ended largely for this reason (and I was the one who wanted to go out more).  And I don’t get the end, that “red flag” bit about “only” having sex.  What are the other things that count as “doing” something — does it have to involve leaving the house?  Does a hotly contested game of Stratego count as doing something?  And what is with “take me” out?  What year is this, that the guy is paying for everything?

If it's not Scottish, it's CROP!
See?  Quiet evening at home.

4. Don’t you like my [hairdo, weight loss, new outfit]?  If your guy hasn’t noticed your new outfit or haircut, it’s easy to let this slip, while calling him on it puts him on the defensive, says Aretakis.  In response he may lie, develop a testy attitude or decide to spend less time with you, because he feels like you’re asking him to work too hard.  If you want to get him to notice, do it tactfully.  Aretakis suggests saying something like, “Maybe you haven't noticed, but do you like my new hairdo?”  Or, if you’ve lost some weight, bring it to his attention by saying, “Have you noticed I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last six weeks?  My goal is to lose five more.”  He should respond to that.

Once again, this is a problem that I have heard of but never experienced.  Are there really guys who wouldn’t even notice if their girlfriend came home with a different haircut?  If you see someone every day, you would notice if they look different, whether it’s your girlfriend, your friend, or whatever.  Granted, I might not notice if a girl has new clothes, because I don’t necessarily have all the clothes she owns memorized, but in this case why does the girl even care?  Are there really women who would be bent out of shape if they have a pair of jeans on and the guy doesn’t notice that they are different from her other jeans?  I certainly wouldn’t care if a woman didn’t notice that.  This seems like one of those things that could only start a fight if someone is looking for an excuse to start a fight, and if that’s the case, then the problem is that you’re looking for an excuse to start a fight, not the thing about the haircut itself.

5. Don't you want to go shopping?  Aretakis says this is how guys interpret this: “You hate my favorite T-shirt and ripped jeans, and next, you’ll be wanting me to get a new hairstyle.”  It’s even worse if you’re trying to make him wear clothes he doesn’t like, as it tells him he has to change for you to love him.  True, some guys won’t be bothered by this, especially once you’re married, but it could make others think twice about you.

There are guys who don’t like to get new clothes?  Don’t all human beings like to get new clothes?  It is inherently fun.  I guess it is boring if you just have to go buy a shitload of identical white dress shirts and khakis for work or something, but presumably that is not the kind of shopping the girl is trying to get you to do.  The root here is that most guys’ clothes are boring, and I definitely agree that this is a problem.  Girls get to be aware that their clothes make them sexy, and thus it is fun to buy them, but as a guy you don’t have as much of a sense of what you’re supposed to be shooting for.  If there are girls who need help getting their guys to go shopping, try to emphasize the sexy angle.  Don’t just tell him the pants look “nice for work” or something; tell him they make his ass look hot, or show him what styles will make him look like he’s good in bed or something.  If your guy does not actually have a nice ass, then dump him for a guy who does.  And “once you’re married?”  Who thinks that being married suddenly fixes everything?  I am starting to have my suspicions about these “dating experts.”

6. Can we talk (while he's attempting to watch a football game, work out or unwind from a hectic business trip)?  It’s not so much the question as the timing here, explains Aretakis.  Any strong relationship needs good communication skills, so this is certainly a valid question.  But ask it when he’s not occupied with other things.

“Watch a football game?”  “Unwind from a hectic business trip?”  Be sure also not to bug him while he is hunting big game, punching giant robots, or trying on fedoras.  I guess I agree that, in general, people should not try to initiate some big discussion with their partners while they are in the middle of something that is important to them — e.g., if your girlfriend is really into LOST, then don’t present her with your fourteen points about why she should do anal right in the middle of LOST — but, as with many of the items on this list, it is just common courtesy, so I don’t get why it is presented as a one-way thing about how women should act or not act in relation to men.  I guess there is just more money in phrasing it that way, since women are probably more likely than men to click on a link to a list of stuff you should do or not do in a relationship.  That, or Masini and Aretakis just specialize in giving advice to people who are dating the ghost of Frank Sinatra.  Also, I don’t get how “Can we talk?” itself can be either “valid” or “invalid.”  Isn’t what the conversation is about the issue, not whether you are allowed to have a conversation at all?

7. I only slept with [insert number] guys before you.  Do you want to know how many women he slept with?  We didn’t think so — which is why you should never, ever let this cat out of its bag, Masini says.

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA — this one isn’t even so stupid it’s funny; it’s so stupid it’s dangerous.  What happened to that thing where everyone is supposed to ask their partner up front about their sexual history and answer honestly when the same is asked of them?  Fucking dating divas just decided that being socially responsible isn’t the best way to get him to put a ring on it?  Fuck you, you still have to.  What is the next piece of advice going to be — never get tested for STDs because someone might see you going into the clinic?  Who declared this retard an expert on anything?  This is analogous to a personal trainer telling you to always lift with your back instead of your knees.  Actually, wait, the worst that can happen from that is you hurt your back, so I guess it is more analogous to a personal trainer telling you to lift with a box full of cobras instead of your knees.  Anyway, I don’t see why people care about how many people their partner slept with before.  I am fine with a girl telling me how many people she has slept with before.  In great detail.  And about how much she liked it, and what they all said to her about how much she liked it.  Because that’s, you know, the responsible thing to do.    

8. You care more about your friends than you do about me.  What your guy will hear is that you don’t like him spending time with his friends because you don’t trust him.  “Just remember that, unlike women, when guys get into serious relationships, they hold onto their friends and find ways to involve them in their lives,” Aretakis says.  Of course, if he really does care more about his friends, maybe it’s time to ditch the relationship.

Don’t people who are dating just have the same friends after a while?  I mean, how else are you supposed to have three-ways with them?  And if you’re not having three-ways, then your problem isn’t how much your partner cares about their friends, it’s that you’re not having three-ways.  So go have some three-ways, loser.  Anyway, there’s no reason why friend pools have to be segregated.  I appreciate the dig this guy made about how women ditch their friends, but I appreciate it because it should be made clear to women that they should stop doing that — obviously not all women do this, but some definitely do, and it's sad.   And who someone “cares more” about is a stupid concern.  I love my girlfriend, and I love my friends, and my girlfriend loves me and loves her friends.  The only problem is people seeing it as a competition.  The love you have for your friends is a different kind, just like the love you have for your parents or siblings is.  Anyone who feels like they have to “win” about this is retarded.

9. Why don’t you go to the gym?  If you want your man to exercise, nagging him won’t make it happen.  In fact, your nagging could make him more determined not to.  Plus, by asking this, you’re telling him you think he’s lazy, out of shape or both, according to Aretakis.  There’s nothing wrong with getting him to be more active — just do it tactfully by suggesting some fun physical activity you could do together, like taking a hike and then sharing a bottle of wine.

No, sorry, this is a perfectly legitimate thing to say.  For straight women, straight men, gays, lesbians, furries, Morrissey, everybody.  People should work out.  And not with that “hiking and wine” bullshit.  Your man should pump iron.  I realize going to the gym is a pain, but it is not that expensive to buy a bench and a curl bar and some dumb-bells.  Especially secondhand.  Tons of people buy workout stuff and and then don’t use it and end up selling it, so you can always find very lightly used equipment priced to move on Craigslist or whatever.  And if you have workout equipment at home, then you can make working out into a sex thing, where you work out together in sexy gear, or do that thing where while the guy is working out the girl gets dressed up and watches him and masturbates in front of him but he’s not allowed to touch her until he’s finished.  Suggest this, and odds are he won’t consider it “nagging.”  And male or female, gay or straight, if your suggestions about getting in shape make your partner “more determined not to,” you should dump them, because they’re retarded.

I'm beginning to sense a theme here.  A retarded theme.

10. Does this make me look fat?  Unless you want the truth, don’t go there.  Repeat: Do not use this phrase.  Not only do men get sick of hearing it, it also puts them in a sticky situation.  After all, men tend to be more logical in their thought patterns while women are more emotional, according to Aretakis.  Their initial response may not be what you’re hoping to hear, and when it comes down to it, do you really want him to lie to you?

“Don’t go there” in the first sentence, and the “Repeat” device in the second?  Wow, these people are really hip and sassy.  I sure wish I were cool like them.  Anyway, yet again, this is something I have heard legends about but never experienced in real life.  Despite the fact that all media my whole life have bombarded me with the idea that all women say this to all men every day, no woman has ever actually asked me those exact words in that order.  Sure, women have asked me “Do I look okay in this?” or “How does this look?” or “Do you like this?” or “Which of these do you like better?”, but you know what?  Any human being could ask these questions of any other human being.  Shit, you can ask your buddy which jacket he thinks is cooler before you go to the bar — what is the big deal?  I am losing my patience with this list.  It was funny for a while, but now it is just making me depressed.  If one person in the relationship could be in better shape, then they probably know that and should be making an effort to get in better shape (see #9).  Making it about what the other partner does or doesn’t say is stupid.

11. Can't you do anything better than watch TV?  You may think your guy is a little too fond of the sports channel, but saying this makes it sound like you think he’s not doing anything productive with his life, explains Aretakis.  “For health reasons, you want to discourage couch-potato syndrome, but if he’s watching only a few hours of TV a week, give him a break or entice him away from the TV with fun activities.”

You know, seriously half the shit on this list just boils down to “men like to watch sports.”  I’m starting to think that my responses are just going to be useless to like 99% of the human race, because I am not at all interested in watching sports, so apparently I’m just not representative of what guys are like.  But regardless, if one partner watches too much TV, what is the difference whether it is sports or something else?  And who says this partner is necessarily the guy?  Repeated studies over the last several years suggest that women actually watch more TV than men, so why is a guy glued to ESPN any different from a woman glued to Dancing with the Stars?  And why did they say “the sports channel?”  Do you have to pay if you say “ESPN” or something?  Or did they just forget what it was called?  Anyway, fuck this.  If you are reading this website, then odds are the only TV shows you watch are House and 30 Rock (plus Stewart and Colbert if you have cable, and Bill Maher if you have HBO), and you and your partner watch them all together.  I’m getting kind of tired here of pointing out that stupid people have stupid problems.  We already know that.  That’s why we call them stupid people. 

12. Why can’t you be as successful as my sister’s (or other’s) husband?  Can you insult your guy any more?  “Comparing your partner to somebody else is demeaning and belittling and will hurt your relationship,” Aretakis says.  It’ll also make your man less willing to spend time with your sister and her husband.  Instead, be supportive of your partner’s career and establish reasonable expectations — and no higher than he has of himself or else you’ll both be disappointed.

No.  Just no.  That’s it, I’m done.  Do you really want some advice about this?  Here’s some goddamn advice:  if you are genuinely the type of person (person, not woman) who would say this, kill yourself.  There’s my advice.  Look at me, I am a dating expert!  Wheeeeee!  Delicious!  Don’t go there!  Honey!  Diva!  Here’s how many days you should wait to call him!  Here’s the type of relationship he should have with his mother!  YOU ARE AN IDIOT.  THERE IS IPSO FACTO NO “GOOD ADVICE” THAT CAN BE GIVEN TO YOU, BECAUSE THE FACT THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THE THINGS YOU CARE ABOUT MEANS THAT YOU SUCK.

In conclusion, I regret that this piece became a very different animal than was intended at the outset.  My goal was to give legitimate dating advice that was superior to mainstream dating advice.  Over the course of attempting to do so, however, I discovered that mainstream dating advice is aimed at people so utterly pathetic that my trying to do this was analogous to a sperm whale's trying to teach a raccoon to hunt giant squid.

Further perusal of the websites of the initial advice-givers confirmed the hypothesis that their advice and my advice are simply non-overlapping magisteria.  April Masini’s site, for example, offers tips on “How to Know Your Dating a Loser,” but I guess her tips must be different from my tips, because my #1 way of knowing I'm dating a loser is that she doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

By project’s end, the primary concern was that my Jeebus Sense was tingling big-time with both of these clowns.  My research could not uncover either of them saying anything overtly Christ-y, but virtually everything on both of their websites (especially his) has that icky Christian-prose feel to it.  You know what I'm talking about:  lame attempts to sound “with it,” too much emphasis on marriage and silly gender stereotypes, the complete absence of any language that even borders on the salty or ribaldrous…  It’s like in a sci-fi movie when someone’s an alien, and you can just tell they’re an alien.  (As for the actual author of this piece, one Karen Asp, we checked her out and she seems just to be an agendaless freelance writer of light mainstream chick stuff about ice cream and cats and the like.)

I also move to introduce this transcript of Masini’s appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, which — puzzlingly, for the author of How to Date Like a Man — focused on how women these days are “out of control.”  As for Aretakis, his dating advice website is rife with out-of-left-field references to spirituality, and his other website, featuring advice for young people about the “real world” or some shit, has links on the main page to stats about divorce going down and a vid of his appearance on — you guessed it — FOX News.  Googling him also reveals that he is frequently linked to off something with the suspicious name of “Blisstree,” allegedly a confederation of advice with no specific agenda… and the first link I clicked on not only features spazzy warnings for parents about which movies have cursing in them, but also does th-t st-pid th-ng wh-re the c-rse w-rds are fill-d in w-th hyph-ns, even h-ll and d-mn.  Blisstree itself is in turn controlled by an even larger web entity called b5media, which also runs Blisstree’s male counterpart, EveryJoe, the only men's-advice website in the universe that has articles about everything under the sun except sex.

Interesting.  Almost...  retardedly interesting. 

Anyway, if this is the case, then people need to watch out.  It may mean that Christianity is deploying agents to pose as relationship experts, in an attempt to Jeebus up the dating world.  Now that I think about it, there have been an awful lot of back-to-the-old-school dating books coming out in the last few years — if you’re the type of person who reads dating advice, you might want to start looking into whether the author constantly has a freaky smile on their face and went to one of those colleges that makes you sign a contract saying you won’t watch any R-rated movies.

And if you’re the type of person who doesn’t read dating advice because it’s all so stupid, but has wondered on occasion why it’s all so stupid, you may finally have your answer — it is secretly all being written by Christians.  In some cases, Christians who have had ludicrous amounts of third-rate-porn-star plastic surgery merely to throw people off the trail of the fact that they are Christians.  Or had the surgery first, because they used to be a stripper or something, and then flipped and became Christian afterwards.  I don’t really care.  I tried to suss it out from her Wikipedia page, but all I learned is that she used to be married to the guy who created Star Search and that she is “widely credited with bringing the television show Baywatch to Hawaii.”  I'm not sure how a specific person can be “credited” with making a particular state aware of a TV show, but anyway, they subsequently declared a holiday in her honor.

So if 1585 flops, my back-up plan is to bring Numb3rs to American Samoa.

Anyway, the punchline is, as far as I can tell, there’s not even anything directly Christian about any of this crap.  What the hell is Christianity’s compelling interest in women not bugging men to go shopping?  It’s as if at this point they just want people to act like it is 50 years ago purely for the sake of acting like it is 50 years ago.  I guess we should be happy that their shit is coming off the rails so hard, but it is just sad and confusing more than anything else.  Plus, Christianity or no Christianity, it is still all terrible advice!

But maybe this is the path towards some kind of rapprochement.  If all Christians want is for women to act like it’s the past, I could totally get behind that.  It’s just that I have way cooler ideas for how women could act like it’s the past, such as wearing garter belts and those hats with weird shit on the top, and talking in that fucked-up Katharine Hepburn voice.  That would be awesome.

Also, those bras that make your tits pointy.  It’s what Jesus would do.

And that line would have been a funny way to end the piece, but an irresponsible one, because the fact is, I know the reason — the reason why, even with respect to things that have no perceptible connection to its views on morality, organized Christianity has a compelling interest in perpetuating stereotypes about the monolithic, insurmountable differences between the genders.

The reason is the giant stupid boner it has for marriage.  No-one who isn’t retarded needs religion to explain anything about the natural world anymore, so all religion’s eggs need to be in the basket of the social cohesion for which it is supposedly responsible.  And if it’s possible for two people to choose to spend their lives together and raise a stable family just because they, you know, happen to like each other, then who needs the religious view of marriage? 

Marriage as a religious concept (i.e., the point is to obey God, not to celebrate human desire) only has a point if people think that the only way a man and a woman could ever stand to spend their lives together without fleeing or killing each other is if they believe God will punish them for doing otherwise.  (This also helps explain Christianity’s problem with gay marriage — if straight couples had models of gay life-partnerships to examine, they might wake up and realize that the gender gap is actually just the any-two-people gap.)

So for all its talk of harmony, religion actually has just as much of a stake in fomenting gender discord and perpetuating legends of opposite-sex inscrutability as the extended Stupid-Shit-Aimed-At-Women Industry does, which is why they make such snug — if bizarre — bedfellows.

Did you know this was originally a Byrds song? I'm serious.

So the next time you come across some dating advice that is even more retarded than normal dating advice — especially if it is of the “Trick The First Poor Bastard You Can Get Your Grimy Hooves On Into Marrying You Purely For The Sake Of Getting Married” variety, rather than the “Try To Actually Be Happy” variety — consider the possibility that it was written by Christians.

Actually, you might want to start considering the possibility that everything was written by Christians, just to be on the safe side.  Remember the three principal warning signs:  grammatical errors, the absence of profanity, and no mention of sex, at least not as something positive or fun.

Needless to say, this website is therefore above suspicion.

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