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I've wanted to write this column for quite some time, but I was afraid of coming off as some sort of spokesman for angry dudes everywhere. I'm not. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of most men, and I think women have every reason not to trust us, especially when it comes to sex. After all, most guys would cut their own dick off to get laid.

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Here's a visual to help with the sound you just heard in your head.

So yes, ladies, you're right. When it comes to sexual interactions, men are mostly awful. But now what? You think you'll avoid all the problems that come from interacting with half the human race just because you know we're not to be trusted? Clearly, that's not enough, because everyone knows that, and yet you keep stepping in it. Here are three of the biggest mistakes women make when it comes to men.

3
Playing Hard to Get Is a Good Idea

This technique is as old as it is pointless, but before we see why, let's get the terminology right. This entry is about playing hard to get. That doesn't mean being hard to get. Women of the world: Please go out and be every bit as picky as you think you deserve. No one --not even an incredibly sexy older man writing for a successful website -- has the right to tell you who you should be dating. Standards are great, and kudos to you for having them. What I'm talking about is women who are actually in the market for a specific man. They know who they want, they got him all picked out and their strategy for landing him is simply "playing hard to get." What a boring, useless waste of time.

Some of you disagree. "Bullshit," you say, while wearing your incredibly tight top of indifference and pretending to have no peripheral vision. "I'll play hard to get and distinguish myself!"

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This is you.

Distinguishing yourself. That's the whole point of playing hard to get. Instead of being like the other needy girls, you act super cool and uninterested to stand out. You know what else would distinguish you? Giving better head than everyone else.

Now, before you string me up for being crass, just hear me out. I'm proving a point (via an oral sex joke the way the good Lord intended). It makes sense to want to stand out from the crowd -- to do something to distinguish yourself. But why not actually do something? Be funnier, smarter, kinder, or, yes (even though it was a joke), better in bed. At least those are skills. Something tangible.

What's playing hard to get? The talent to do nothing: "Oh, I won't look at him. I won't laugh at his jokes. I won't tell him his video series is amazing."

But let's say I'm wrong. We'll pretend playing hard to get is like the most super way to get a guy ever. We'll pretend you did your trick and instead of finding you tedious and bland, your dude asked you out. (And you eventually accepted.) Just do me a favor and fast forward a little bit. Two weeks from now, what do you want your boyfriend to tell his friends about the relationship? "Oh, the way she just sat there and did nothing was amazing. I just had to have her. There she was, not talking to me too much and not making too much eye contact, and I was all, man, I would love to have a girlfriend that might not actually dig me."

Wouldn't you rather overhear him say, "I met this girl the other night and she was so funny I laughed the whole night." Or "This new girl, she gets things that no other woman gets. I can talk to her." Or lastly, wouldn't even praise for your sexual performance be more gratifying than how awesome you are at hiding your feelings and true desires?

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"And you know what she said? Nothing! Isn't that great?"

But there's a bigger problem. Which guys are most susceptible to the "playing hard to get" trick? Only the kind of dude who wants what he can't have. Exactly. If your trick gets you a prize, then congratulations, you just won a dick. Your new man doesn't actually want you. How could he? You didn't even show him you. You were too busy being cool. He just wanted a toy he didn't own yet. And guess what? Once he has you, you lose your only distinguishing characteristic. But I'm sure he won't resent you for it. After all, you just went fishing with super-smart bait -- the kind that only attracts assholes and disappears completely the moment they bite. Well played.

2
Guys Are All About "Negging"

Lately, I've been hearing a lot of women talk about "negging." Do you know about this? Supposedly it's a flirting technique where a guy insults a woman to lower her self-esteem, thereby making her more susceptible to being hit on. Some quick research tells me it's a technique championed by that d-bag "Mystery" who you might recall from the VH1 show The Pickup Artist. I didn't watch the show, and I assume you didn't either, unless you're having a smarter friend read this aloud for you while you stumble toward literacy.

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"Hi. My name's Mystery. My mother is petitioning Webster's to come up with a stronger word for 'shame.'"

I tend to think this negging phenomenon is complete bullshit. Most guys I know aren't exactly sexual Hannibal Lecters, capable of deconstructing and rebuilding a woman's psyche for sex. It's hard enough for us to keep the little things straight: "Smile, don't stare at her tits, don't stare at her tits, say she's pretty, smile, don't stare at her tits, you stared at her tits, stop staring at her tits, smile ..." And yet, I keep hearing about this and seeing it in Facebook statuses and Tweets, and I don't think it's because men won't stop negging. I think it's because women like the idea of negging.

You can understand why it's attractive. Now a man can't criticize a woman without being accused of wanting to have sex with her. Look, maybe some sad, misguided men are negging, but ladies, let me ask you this: Have you ever considered that perhaps some of you just suck? Like for real? I mean, I can't give you exact statistics, but there's got to be a fairly large percentage of women going on about negging who are just legitimately awful. And now they're bulletproof in their little negging sanctuaries.

Man: You white supremacist bitch. You just set fire to that black Baptist church!

Woman: ... Are you negging? You're so negging.

Man: My God, no! I just hate you.

Woman: NEEEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGINNNNNNNG.

Man: No seriously. I don't even understand how you exist. It's like the ghost of Josef Mengele raped Pol Pot's stem cells. You're just evil.

Woman: Maybe, but you'd still fuck me.

Man: Well, yeah?

Most men want to have sex with women, but you can't disqualify an opinion just because it has a penis attached to it. Personally, if I weren't allowed to critique women I wanted to jump, I never would have made it through my 18th Century Feminist Theory class. (Mary Wollstonecraft FTW!)

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Yes, I'm still wildly attracted to you, but your prose is a little stilted, baby.

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1
Being Slutty Is Empowering

Although it might upset some commenters, I still believe it's harder to be a woman than a man, and, even today, women are legitimately oppressed in many ways. So enter feminism to address those inequities. The dictionary will tell you that feminism is a doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Women will tell you feminism is ... well, it depends on the decade, because like all important things, feminism is always evolving. But with all of feminism's changes, there seems to be two constants: 1) it confuses the hell out of women who don't have a strong sense of themselves, and 2) it pisses off asshole men.

I went to college in the '90s. That was the height of Naomi Wolf Beauty Myth feminism. My peers were women who liked Ani DiFranco and wanted to run with the wolves. The '90s were fun, but they were filled with lots and lots of awful sex. I can't tell you how many women I met whose idea of whether or not they were empowered was all tied up in how they liked to screw. And "tied up" could not be a more inappropriate phrase, because restraining a woman in bed only happened on liberal arts campuses in the '90s during an exorcism.

Mayce Hodges
Please get possessed soon.

It saddened me, because I thought feminism was the freedom to have sex any dirty, filthy way you wanted without worrying about the psycho-sociological ramifications of being on your knees or having "property of Gladstone" written on your ass in lipstick. Personally, I never felt like any less of a man because of any particular kind of sex I was having, so why should a woman? Regardless of the sexual act, I was still a man, fully capable of driving a stick, hitting a baseball or getting into a fistfight. (Unless I was wearing that thing that did the thing to my thing, but that was just physics.) I thought women should have the same freedom and the same right to degrade and be degraded in any way that got them hot without having Naomi Wolf's babble filling their heads, ruining their orgasms.

In time, however, the 21st century happened, and a new era of Sex and the City feminism entered. Suddenly, women were saying, yeah, we can be slutty, just like guys. After all, guys go out and try to get laid and brag about it, and society encourages them to do so. I'm going to do that too! Suddenly, you had college girls tweeting about blowjobs and wearing their sexuality on their sleeves, thinking that they were supposed to go out and ride the world for the sisters or they were somehow being oppressed. And though I would imagine this brand of feminism is a lot better for guys looking to get laid, it still makes me sad. It's still putting a pressure on women that shouldn't be there.

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Aww, you're better than this, ma'am. Also, what bar?

The whole premise is wrong. Yes, men are jealous of guys who get a lot of women, but women are wrong to think it's a trait that garners much respect. No one says, "We need to calm corporate unrest -- be sure to tell the shareholders how much tang our new CEO is getting." It might surprise women, but do you know what we call guys who go out and try to screw everything? Whores. Know what we call the guy who's always going on and on about all the women he's landed? An asshole. And in my experience, even guys who are legitimately good at having a bunch of promiscuous sex wouldn't make a big show of it.

It's a subtle distinction. Yes, feminism is about women having the same right as men to be irresponsible, brash and slutty, I'll agree. But being brash, irresponsible and slutty doesn't make you a feminist. It doesn't make you empowered. It just makes you as irresponsible, brash and slutty as some of the dudes we don't like. Think of it this way: It was completely unjust to deny black citizens the right to vote, but having gained that right, would a black man be empowering his race by voting for a segregationist?

Both women and men are free to watch new episodes of HATE BY NUMBERS. Also follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

For more of Gladstone's insight, check out The Trials of Gladstone (as told by Franz Kafka) and The 6 Best College Majors (For Filling You With Regret).

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