Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Arrogantly, Ambiguous Cockblock

For much of my life, I've had more female friends than male friends.

Note: I'm talking about actual female friends, not chicks I hang around with the hope that I'll get to smash in their moment of weakness. There is a massive difference.

As a male friend, I have of course been asked to give my female friends advice on relationships, and I've also voluntarily supplied my infinite wisdom without prompting. But, giving advice to women dating other men is a tricky business, and I have always lived by two rules.

1. Never speak bad on another man, unless he has done unequivocally evil things. Always be the cat that's encouraging women to give dudes a second change.

I mean, you never know when you might need a second chance.

Plus, I've always believed that there is nothing lamer than a dude who bad mouths other dudes to chicks. So, I have rarely volunteered my opinion on the behavior of another man to a female friend, and I when I have asked a direct question I have tried to be as charitable as possible. Now, this rule can be bent if the dude and your female friend have an extensive and troubled history, but those occasions should be rare.

2. Never tell a chick that another man isn't "good enough" for her, or try to tell a woman her standards are not up to par.

This second rule is a serious one. Yes, I have sometimes felt that the women I know were wasting their time with certain men. Yes, this caused them heartache and pain.

But, I've always felt that when a man is telling a woman she shouldn't be with another man, he's actually trying to ease his way into that woman's pants.

Seems like what he's really saying is "That dude is wack, how did he get he draws instead of me?"

Now, one of my best friends told me I was reaching with this topic. She said that when you're friends with people you want the best for them. She compared it to a woman telling another woman that the guy she was dealing with is a loser. It's not about easing your way into the drawers, it's about protecting someone you care about from harm.

Honestly, she almost swayed me. I mean, there have been times when a female has suggested doing something for a man that I find ridiculous, and I've taken it upon myself to point out how stupid she sounds.

However, I usually point this out by asking loaded questions designed to make the person work through their stupidity on their own. There's nothing like having to defend an idiotic position or action to make you realize just how stupid you look. I have rarely, very rarely, just come out and said "That dude is scum and you're stupid for even dealing with him." It just feels wrong to me.

I guess in my heart of hearts, I've never wanted to be that lame dude on the sidelines throwing salt and cockblocking.

Plus, it's a bit arrogant to assume that I have a better idea of what's "good" for another adult than they do themselves. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but saying it feels a tad arrogant. So, I almost always err on the side of letting folks make whatever mistakes they want to make in relationships.

I read this blog the other day where a woman wrote about how she was talking to a male friend about a potential suitor, and the male friend said "Nah, he ain't up to your standards." Then I had somebody else tell me how one of their male friends, well technically an ex-boyfriend, told her that a new dude she was considering was a "downgrade."

Seems like telling somebody a suitor isn't "up to their standards" is a backhanded compliment at best, (After all, it's basically saying you lack the ability to see who is compatible with you) and an egregious cockblock at worst. Now, the situation may not be as bad when it's a woman speaking to another woman, or a man talking to another man, but it still rubs me the wrong way.

So, am I wrong, is this really just an innocent and helpful practice, or is it an arrogantly, ambiguous cockblock?



Deacon Blue said...

Can't say that I've ever had the strong urge nor even the opportunity with my many female friends over the years to warn them away or dissuade them from some guy.

I would if the guy were clearly and overwhelmingly toxic (emotionally speaking) or dangerous, but I've never really had such circumstances.

Besides, having seen so many girls and women I've known make such horrendous choices (sometimes that choice having been to pass me by), I wouldn't even expect my advice to be taken.

As the wife tells me every so often, "There's nothing like bought experience."

(And, as you point out, some guys also deserve time to prove themselves and/or improve)

I do think that this probably comes more often from a position of arrogance than trying to get into a woman's panties, though there's certainly a significant share of the latter motivation out there, too.

Milo said...


Seems like you've found the "middle way", to satisfy all involved parties to a certain extent. But I also find your opinion to be mildly self-centered, as the focus presented here is not on the quality of advice, but on how it makes you look (or feel) afterwards. I think you would reach a very rock-solid opinion on the matter if you imagined yourself giving relationship advice to your daughter.

I'd say son, but that's a different ball game, and this post is about the female friend.

I've always been a big fan of your wording, "backhanded compliment at best, and an egregious cockblock at worst." Well-crafted!

Big Man said...

Thanks Milo.

And, the dynamic would be different if it was my daughter, compared to another adult.

Like I said in the post, I had this discussion with a friend, and she thought I was totally off-base, and I'll admit that my main reason for writing this was a personal "feeling" but I just wanted to put it out there to see what folks thought.

Thanks for commenting.

mint julep said...

great post! so i'm the woman who got the "Nah, he ain't up to your standards" advice on a potential suitor from my male friend.

i found your post interesting as i'd never really thought about it from the perspective you present. for context, my male friend is a true "friend" not one trying to smash and i think he was genuinely looking out for my best interest, given he knows some of my more recent dating history.

but i think it was a backhanded compliment for the reason you suggest, he prolly didn't think i knew how to assess the potential. i would say i can assess but i usually disregard the assessment to my own detriment.

Big Man said...

Thanks for coming through Mint Julep. I thought about linking your spot, but I didn't want you to feel like I was randomly criticizing your or your friend. Just wanted to use what I read as a jumping off point.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

This was good and made me chuckle, especially the "he's not up to your standards" or "he's a downgrade".

I think a lot of straight guys play by your rules, and one reason gay men can be or often are a woman's favorite shoulder to lean on in times of doubt.

Raving Black Lunatic