Filtering for women's free will
My friend tells me he has a surefire way to get women to sleep with him. He made me swear to not reveal the tools of his trade, so I can't relay to you the specifics. I can give you some broad outlines, though. For a first date, or at least for the date on which he thinks there is potential, he has a set sequence of locations he takes her to. A particular restaurant for dinner, a particular way to walk afterward, a particular place to go. All of which happens near enough to his apartment so that at the right moment, all going well, he asks her back to his place.
Once in his place, she is now caught in his web. To be clear, he absolutely never does anything coercive or manipulative. His approach, his intention, is to be so smooth in his seduction that she is very much a willing and enthusiastic participant. Nonetheless, inside his apartment, he has a new sequence of smaller steps which are designed to put her at ease and encourage her desires, to take her from relaxing at his place to fucking on his bed.
The first series of steps, from first meeting her up to the door of his apartment, are essentially tests of her attraction to him. Or at least a filter to weed out the women who would be "wasting his time." He feels he has been burned in the past by women who led him on, to benefit from his attention without reciprocating. His response has been to hone his approach to this methodology. He says he is not just trying to fuck women and leave them having achieved another notch on his bedpost, he just doesn't want to go to any further steps with a woman he doesn't know for sure is at least serious about physical intimacy as a part of their relationship, and the only way to know for sure that she's serious about that option is to experience it.
By the way, I'm neither endorsing nor condemning any of his rationale. Everyone in this situation is just being vulnerably human, seeking authentic companionship, their current behaviours shaped by their past hurts and future hopes. People might not be living up to any ideals, but so long as everyone is a willing participant and there's no deception, then whatever.
Anyway, I agree with him that everything that happens up to his apartment door is a filter for women who may want to sleep with him. Where we disagreed is on what is happening after she enters his apartment. He proposes that he "makes" her sleep with him. Again, not in any coercive sense, but in a convincing sense. His starting assumption of the woman on this date is that she only planned to meet for dinner and then go home. She is, in his perception of her, a woman who in a stereotypical way is waiting until some future time when the relationship is much more emotionally involved before acquiescing to having sex. He believes he takes that archetype of a woman and "gets" her to sleep with him. In a sense, he believe he changes her mind about things, through his Amazing Seduction Techniques ™.
On the other hand, I believe that when a woman steps through his apartment door, she knows damn well that sex is a possible outcome, and she is considering it as something she wants to do, as evidenced by the fact that she's stepping through the door. Put another way, I think everything he does in the apartment is merely a continuation of the filtering process that he started from the moment he met her. It hasn't turned into a game that he can steer towards an outcome that was not already extant as a potential.
It's really common male thinking to believe they should control the universe. I see it happen expressed roughly once a minute every time I play ball hockey. When one guy has the ball checked off him, or his pass is intercepted, or the ball gets by him and goes into the net, he's as likely as not to tell the guys on the bench how he meant to zig when he accidentally zagged, and he "should" have made the play. In other words, the play was his to determine, it wasn't a matter of circumstance. The idea that the other guy bested him is acceptable in circumstances when it's known that the other guy has significantly more skills. But, in challenges where the two players involved are of roughly equal skill, the degree to which they admit to having been defeated is far less than fifty percent, and is more closely correlated with their individual degree of insecurity.
Similarly, this guy with the Amazing Seduction Techniques™ thinks of his path to success, in terms of fucking a woman, is his play to make. If she says yes, he made it happen. If she says no, he must have messed up somewhere along the way. That she decided he was not her type after all for no other reason than he was not her type is not among the options to consider when strategizing on how to tweak the game plan for next time.
"But," he tells me, "the women themselves have told me on a later date or whenever that they never expected it to happen." And, who am I to say that a woman shouldn't speak for themselves about what their expectations were? Except, I'm willing to look at any human's actions as being for more indicative of their inner motivations than their words. Humans have all sorts of reasons to contextualize their behaviours for self saving reasons. Just as men tend to believe they are or should be in control of everything, women have their own reputations to manage. Especially in a society that is quick to slut shame women, it's not hard to imagine that "I didn't think it was going to happen but I did it after all," is a better narrative than, "Oh yeah, I was open to fucking him the whole time."
People are complicated, and the path from first meeting to first fucking is narrow and winding, with steep drop off on either side. A lot of people have heard Chris Rock say, "a woman knows if she's gonna fuck you within the first five minutes of meeting you." The part people don't often quote is when he follows up by revealing the hypothetical woman's thoughts, "I hope he doesn't say anything too stupid."
It's too reductive to think of any human as just being committed or not to one idea or another until circumstances switch it. We're not binary computers or amoebas with fixed response to stimuli. The word "potential" should be allowed it's fuzzy boundaries when we say a woman sees the potential to fuck a guy when she first meets him, and then from that point on, she may or may not realize that potential, depending not only on what she's exposed to, such as Amazing Seduction Techniques ™, but also the ebbs and flows of the identity within her.
The filtering process is never ending. It continues up to, goes through, and extends past having sex. If my friend brings a woman to his apartment, she knows damn well that being in his apartment is a prelude to sex, but, if he turns around and shows her his collection of human heads, she may reverse course. One time, I was with a woman who was so motionless in bed, so inactive, that I got so bored I just stopped right in the middle and abandoned it. I had a friend tell me that after she had sex with a guy one time, his lack of attentiveness in terms of not providing her with adequate sheet cover or offering her a glass of water made her decide at that moment that she regretted having had sex with him, and all future potential was cancelled. We all have different criteria, litmus tests continually laid out one after the other from an automatic dispenser within our id.
Anyone can think anything at any time, and so long as we're not crossing some lines that should never be crossed, all we're ever doing is filtering for other people's potentials.
So does that mean no one is ever convinced of doing something? Isn't it possible some of the women my friend applied his Amazing Seduction Techniques ™ to were sincere when they reviewed their past behaviour and said they didn't intend it, they weren't expecting it? Sure. It's all about where you draw the boundaries on what is choice and free will.
Think of it like going out for food. I may declare that I want to go get a pizza. I am pretty much always in the mood for pizza. But, all the pizza places are closed. There's a sushi place open. I didn't particularly want sushi that night, I didn't expect to have sushi, but, I'm open to sushi in general, so, I'll have that.
One food I don't really like is ramen. To me it's just a pile of flavourless carbs sitting in a greasy bowl of oil. Blech. If the only restaurant open is ramen, I may opt to just go home. If I were dying of hunger, then maybe.
You may feel differently about pizza, sushi, and ramen, but, don't get distracted by your own culinary preferences. It's an analogy, so the point is there are some foods that we will always desire, some we'll take, and some we'll avoid.
I think what's uncomfortable for us to admit to ourselves is that for most of us for most people, we are the equivelent of sushi in the analogy above. When my friend takes a woman home, he thinks he's convinced her to try ramen in spite of her intentions, and he feels a sense of victory when she decides it was pretty good in spite of her expectations. But I think it's like he offered sushi, and she may have been hoping for pizza, but decided she was okay with what was on offer. The point is, though, that she was open to having something, and that desire was not created in her by him, it was merely exposed. Which, could still be considered a victory, in a sense, but only if you assume women are playing defense.
In essence, he and I have different base lines for what we consider a choice she made as opposed to a situation he managed. I tend to think it's more about her choice to go along with options presented to suit her tastes, he thinks it's more about his ability to sell her more than she was shopping for. I find it very hard to believe in any methodology that claims control over other people's choices, but hey, maybe I'd be fucking more women if I accepted the potential to win people over with some Amazing Seduction Techniques ™.
But do I want to? Not really. When I was twenty, I would have taken a woman who thought of me as ramen, the option one better than starving to death. As long as I was having sex, who cared why she's in it? I never even asked that question. At this point in my life, though, I'm more about filtering for the people who think of me as the pizza they really wanted. That means less selection, but it also means less regrets.