Have you ever gotten sucked into something that you were also ashamed to read? It happened to me yesterday. I was listlessly checking my email when I noticed a text ad that I must have seen more than 10,000 times. “How to catch and keep a man.” Those ads are as oddly ubiquitous as the text link ads for Acai Berry Wonder Diets, but I always assumed that ads with links like “Why Men Withdraw and What to Do About It” were for women who are more pathetic and malleable than me. Yesterday I joined the masses. And let me tell you. I became sickly fascinated. And angry.
I was vulnerable to that horrible ad because I recently heard something along the lines of “I’m just looking for something casual.” Somehow I find that impossible not to take personally. I clicked on the link–”The Ten Most Dangerous Mistakes Women Make”–and found myself swimming through simple, one-sentence direct-mail style paragraphs, like:
“Have you ever slept with a guy very quickly after meeting him, but as it started to happen you got that sinking feeling in your stomach? You knew it was a mistake, but you did it anyway. And then the thing you KNEW would happen actually happened: He unexplainably disappeared from your life. Honestly, have you ever had this happen?”
Of course, the worst part wasn’t that it happened, but that you KNEW you shouldn’t have done it in the first place… but you did it anyway.
Ummm, who hasn’t?
Christian Carter offers to tell women how to avoid the ten fatal mistakes most women make with men, or how to engage and attract a man right after you meet in person, if you are so good as to enter your credit card number to receive his e-book.
The worst mistake a woman can make is not seeking help. Because men are so hard to understand, and Christian Carter has spent years reading every relationship book ever published, and he has thought deeply about the psychology of men and women when they are dating. And he can help! So sign up and give him your credit card for his e-book at a price of $29.97 and his emails (interviews with relationship and dating experts) at a monthly charge of $19.97. The sickest thing is that for a moment I even considered typing my credit card address, until I awoke from the hallucination and realized it would be hell to get him to stop charging me money. His real name is David DeAngelo, and once I had the wherewithal to do a search-binge on him, I found numerous consumer complaints from women who claimed that he wouldn’t stop charging them after they asked to unsubscribe.
I could see this was a psychological master who knew how to manipulate an audience. The stock trade in any self-help e-book purchase is to tap into the reader’s insecurities and promise you have the long-sought-after answer. In this case, it’s about tapping into woman’s insecurities and confusion over male behavior, with the promise of understanding of learning what’s going on behind the scenes of a man’s mind.
WHEN A MAN SAYS…
“I don’t want a serious relationship right now.”
WHAT HE REALLY MEANS IS…
“I ONLY WANT A RELATIONSHIP with a woman who
already has her act together, is attractive,
healthy, independent, easy-going, confident, and
who is emotionally in control of herself and her
own life.. . . without trying to change me or turning our relationship
into MORE WORK and LESS FUN than I can have on my
Does this make sense?
Again, he’s NOT imagining a picture of an
overly-emotional, predictable, needy woman who is
trying to get him to connect with her and sharing
her feelings because she’s so worried about things
In my google-searching, I found a post by this woman, who pretty much summarized his point of view. She’s been reading him for longer than me, so I’ll let her do the heavy lifting of distilling his advice:
One of my friends suggested I register at his website. Since then, I’ve been getting extremely annoying emails about how to “CATCH and KEEP” a man, like he’s a freakin’ trout or something.
Pearls of wisdom have included:
1. Don’t sleep with a guy “too soon” (time frame not included–so just guess)
2. Don’t be “predictable”, or his attraction will magically end (must I be in a different country each time he calls…?)
3. Don’t discuss any emotional issues at all, ever, God forbid, or it’s all over, period
4. Don’t assume that just because you’ve been dating for months you’re in a “relationship” (WTF?)
5. Try to appear at all times to be a)selective b)unemotional c)hard-to-get d)a robot woman
6. In general, subvert any and all natural inclinations you may have as a woman, and pretend like nothing means really anything at all to you, or else any guy, anywhere, will run like the wind from you, because guys can’t stand a woman that harbors an actual emotion that might pertain to said guy.
All the mystery boils down to you, women. The problem is you. You are too emotional. The way to create a great emotional connection with a man is to never burden him with your emotions. It’s hard to imagine exactly what this great emotional connection consists of, except the idea that the man “feels great” when he’s with you, better than when he is single, and you as the woman are not constantly analyzing the relationship.
The whole thing consumed me for about 90 minutes and made me feel sick for several reasons. I’ll admit that my feelings were not altogether rational at the time, but they were a product of being brainwashed by his mind-sucking prose:
1) The feeling that men and women are so irreconcilably different that we can never truly be ourselves with each other; anything that promotes this idea is just depressing. It makes me wonder if pre-industrial societies had it right when men and women didn’t expect their mates to be their best friends, and instead found companionship with same-sex friends
2) The way that women get blamed simply for being women and having some emotional needs to–guess what?–be themselves. According to Carter, men want to be with a “cool girl” and a “cool girl is basically someone who is unpredictable, fun, emotionally balanced, has no insecurities, easygoing, and independent.” Ummm, is this true? Could it be? This marketing campaign is obviously aimed at a very mainstream, middle American audience. Are there really that many men who prefer not to deal with emotions at all?
3) At the same time, I hate sitting around with a group of women complaining that “All men are dogs,” etc. I know men are more complicated than that and that there are men who are out there who really want to connect with other men as friends and women as partners (or men if they are gay). It’s just that reading this stereotypical garbage, combined with the shitty and mystifying ways that some men act, make me and other women feel confused and despairing.
4) The preying on women’s insecurities then taking their credit card numbers for recurring charges. That just sucks. Period. It’s a very profitable enterprise to continually charge people $19.97 a month for emails, especially when you don’t honor their requests to unsubscribe.
Why am I writing about this and even giving this bozo any attention? Because people like him have influence. He seems more powerful than the authors of the Rules, because he’s a man, and supposedly offers an inside view. I am fascinated by how mystified we men and women seem to be with each other. So what is the antidote–ar the antidate to the dating breakdown in communication? I discussed this with one female roommate so far, who was equally horrified and livid when she read his stuff, and one male friend, who said, talk to your male friends. They’re much more similar in mindset to the men you are trying to date. What think you? Is there any validity to his advice and worldview, or is this just garbage? Let the quirkyalone version of this conversation begin in the comments.
Update: I wrote this post six years ago and I amazed how it has become the place to go for commentary on Christian Carter! Long live all the commenters who have shared their stories and analysis here. In the years since I have done an enormous amount of personal growth work myself and trained as a coach to help people enjoy being single as the foundation for a happy life–and a great relationship. I have a structured 3-month program Project Enjoy where I work with you one-on-one to create a transformation in this area of your life to be happy with or without a partner. I also offer coaching on other life issues, including taking bold life leaps and creative projects. Thanks again to all the amazing commenters. Keep em coming! And sign up for my email list so you can hear about other classes, coaching, and my new books.
Like this? Share it! Sign up for my mailinglist to get weekly inspiration for your quirky life. Read one of my books Quirkyalone or To-Do List and join us for the next session of my classes GetQuirky and Quirkytogether 101.