November 18, 2020

Sweet girls are not online, but they are getting more flirty in public IRL (to power-pop music)

[An intermission from the interminable election season]

I was running some errands yesterday afternoon, driving around with the windows all the way down in 30-something degree weather, blasting a Matthew Sweet greatest hits CD (especially "I've Been Waiting" and "Sick of Myself").

Nothing more invigorating than 25-mph winds whipping around you, carrying the jangly power-pop tunes for miles in all directions.

Pedestrians are always pleasantly surprised since they expect everyone's windows to be hermetically sealed in cold weather, and here some crazy bastard is cruising around like it's summertime. (I'm covered in wool, so the chill never feels biting.)

Who is going to resonate with Matthew Sweet, though? Not exactly adrenaline-pumping dude rock, nor is it booty-bumping music for party people looking for an early start to a night of dancing. I'm not always in a power-pop mood, but I just go with the flow and observe who resonates with each different style of music.

For power-pop it was the feminine, maternal, shy, pining, nervous-fingertips-emoji girls. Not the Type A career women out parading their status-dogs. Not the high-T bruh-girls either. They were all teenagers, although I'm sure there are some older counterparts who would've resonated as well, they were just indoors doing domestic wifey activities instead. The young ones are more restless and yearning, so they're more out and about, looking out for signs of something happening, hoping to be invited or otherwise drawn into the fun.

One was stopped at a light on her bike, something I'm noticing a lot each time I conduct these natural experiments. Girls on bikes -- for leisure, not because no one in their circle has a car -- always get a kick out of good music streaming out of car windows. But this one was fixated, like it wasn't just any old enjoyable-enough song. Cute bike-riding girls are the audience for Beatlemania and Cheap Trick.

Another was a babysitter playfully wrangling her two little charges, and when I turned the corner toward her, she got swept up in the moment, tilting her head back, eyes wide opened to the side, mouth gaping open in a laugh, just like a model for an album cover by the Cars. If her maternal instinct is strong enough to want to indulge it before she can even get married, and she's playful enough to act as a jungle gym for rascally children, she's definitely a power-pop girl. So wholesome and fun-loving.

It lasted even after I was no longer driving or playing the music, but taking a stroll around the park, still possessed by the power-pop energy, which I was apparently still radiating. A high school girls' soccer team was practicing on the field next to the walkway, and as I approached, one of them softly kicked the ball in my direction, and the two or three other girls in its path who could've intercepted it before it went out of bounds, just stood back and let it roll along the grass toward random hot power-pop vibe guy.

They didn't just strut right over, start making eyes and dropping innuendo, etc. Not the typical Type A female athlete behavior. It was one of those plausibly deniable oopsies that, tee-hee, happened to make me connect with them. Being in a pack helped them take risks they would never take alone, when sole responsibility would lie with the individual. Shy yet impulsive, nervous yet hormonal, letting their emotions out when they've melted into a crowd -- Beatlemaniacs in a nutshell.

By the way, when the ball actually reached me, their fellow high school guy assistant had sprinted nervously over, so that I ended up kicking it back over to him rather than them. It was so funny how protective and jealous he got, like a eunuch guarding a harem. Like, dude, I'm not going to steal away every babe from your school. Guys, too, at that age can't hide their hormones, although I'm sure the girls took his white-knighting in good humor since he was already their friend.

Reflecting on it all during the end of my stroll, I was struck by how you never see this kind of girl online. I'm sure they have social media accounts that they use to communicate with their friends, or to fave viral content, like the social "networks" of the MySpace and early Facebook era. But they'll never get hundreds, let alone thousands or tens of thousands, of followers by being a social "media" persona.

It's the shyness, mainly, but also the wholesomeness and fun-loving spirit. The media -- no matter what platform -- attracts and promotes girls who are depressed, anhedonic, either sky-high body count or reclusive virgins, and who need their fantasy lover to give them a bloody lip before they can get turned on. It could not be a more unrepresentative and unnatural slice of the female sex.

Everyone rightly worries about the effects on guys from there being so many porno women on the internet -- how it will warp their expectations of what sex and relationships in general are like. But that's nothing compared to the warping effects of their exposure to Reddit girls, Twitter girls, Tumblr girls, and YouTuber girls, which makes up a far greater share of their time and emotional / parasocial investment online.

Guys are going to start thinking that the average girl is an urbanite degenerate who's already taken dozens of dicks during her 20s, and whose ideal date is listening to rap or metal while getting ritualistically beaten up to re-enact her early abuse (beyond the normal pattern of male dominance and female submission). Or who swings toward the other extreme of a ball-busting killjoy man-hater.

Not that such girls are only a tiny minority -- they're definitely out there, but if young generations spend so much time online, they're going to think it's the vast majority. Unless they get out there IRL, the guys would have no idea there are tons of normal, wholesome, fun-loving girls who are shy-yet-impulsive, yearning for the guy to make a move (without giving them a black eye). I just ran into a bunch of them IRL without even trying, and they not only didn't get turned off by earnest infatuation / courtship anthems, they got weak in the knees for it!

Something to keep in mind at the big-picture level, as the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year excitement cycle sees guys and girls coming out of their refractory-state cocoons of the vulnerable phase that ended in 2019. PUA discussion and practice is about to enjoy a renewal. Just remember that there are more girls out there than depressive sluts -- but the fun, wholesome ones have an invisible presence online. Certainly for social media platforms, but I assume for dating and hook-up apps as well (I don't use them).

Getting out there IRL also removes the guy's burden of constructing and maintaining his own social media persona, if the interactions were taking place online. People are much more chill and accepting of who you naturally are IRL, but are more irritable and fault-finding online, where they expect you to act out a persona's role -- to provide them with fan-service as they consume their parasocial online media content.

This is most true for the proverbial "nice guy" -- meaning, the sensitive type, not the bitter loser afflicted by a false sense of entitlement to endless hot snatch. There couldn't be a worse place for him than online, where the most visible and audible girls have achieved their status in virtue of being adversarial and confrontational, not to mention thick-skinned enough to deal with trolls, bullies, and so on. He won't find the nervous-fingertips-emoji girl whose dream date soundtrack is power-pop -- no way she could handle the pressure of being an internet-person.

Guys don't have any excuse for not logging off of social media, if they want to un-warp their perception of the opposite sex. Instead of, or in addition to, No Nut November, they need No Scroll September, No Feed February, etc., to regain their perspective and humanity.


  1. "Guys are going to start thinking that the average girl is an urbanite degenerate..."
    I lived in Santa Cruz and moved recently and many men would complain about how bad the girls are and I couldn't understand why because I met so many wholesome and sweet girls. There are Tons of quality girls out there.


  3. Do you like Teenage Fanclub? Love Matthew Sweet too, reminds me of them

  4. Loving the blog. That is all.

  5. Can't help thinking about Marina (@Shamshi_Adad), who was the only Twitter girl I knew of who represented this type. Her follower count was in the 1000s, pretty sure.

    But she just joined last year, and has already left. Social media is no place for fun-loving free-spirited sweethearts. She should start a blog instead. :)

    There could be others from the former HeatherHabsburg-sphere on Twitter, or cottage-core Tumblr, I don't know. The point remains: they generally avoid the online limelight.

    Yet they're still there IRL, and they have real-life dating needs... I was about to say "just like everyone else," but really they're not like other girls on the internet. They aren't argumentative, constantly shit-testing the guy, and requiring repeated negging because normal comments strike them as putting them on a pedestal.

    E.g., you can't say, "Hey how's your day going?" to the bruh girls. To them, that's pedestal material. You have to ask, "hey there dummie, how's your day going?"

    The nervous-fingertips-emoji girls would clam up if you kept negging them. As wholesome girls, they don't enjoy abasement rituals. And not being suicidally depressed, they have enough self-respect to keep away guys who would try to subject them to them.

    If not on social media, they do appear in entertainment as a fish-out-of-water heroine. Not the butt-kicking babe type (bruh-girls), not the go-getter (Type A), not the victim of circumstances (depressive). More like the final girl in a slasher movie, especially if she's protecting someone in her social circle or family (or she's a literal babysitter).

    Or like Sarah in Labyrinth (another babysitter).

    I can totally see Marina as the final girl in a slasher movie, or Sarah in a remake of Labyrinth.

    And I don't see either of those two roles being very-online types, even if the internet and social media platforms had existed back in the '80s. All that pining and yearning -- how are you supposed to indulge your imagination and fantasy through a timeline of takes? Borrrinnnggg.

    They would've been logged off, too -- though they may have kept a blog as a diary substitute.

  6. Social media weeds out even the girls who are half sweetie and half negging / adversarial. Especially if the shy, pining, sincere, earnest free spirit is their core, and the negging adversarial thing is a shield to protect them in an irony-laden, fault-finding environment.

    Alison Balsam (@foolinthelotus) being the best example. Also @HeatherHabsburg. Both RIP on Twitter. They do have a depressive streak, though, so their ideal music is more dream-pop / shoegaze, rather than power-pop -- but I'm sure every now and then they're also susceptible to jangly crush-on-you tunes.

    Alison would make a fine final girl in a slasher movie, like Marina. Only fitting for someone who imprinted on A Nightmare on Elm Street during her formative years.

  7. Real Tradwives of Strasser County. The upcoming group blog from Heather, Alison, Marina, and whoever else.

    Better yet -- "Nudes of the Mind," after Alison's metaphor for sincere-posts. (Where does she come up with this stuff?)

    I don't think it would be a podcast... come to think of it, the shy sweet type wouldn't be comfortable speaking ad lib for hours every week to the entire universe. Bite-sized TikToks, though, maybe.

    There's too many fucking podcasts anyway, and not enough blogs!

  8. Matthew Yglesias has recently returned to blogging:

  9. I am a heavy Instagram user and noticed something intetesting about European girls. They have a different dichotomy than the U.S. Girls can be all over social media there yet ooze sweetness and wholesomeness in their pictures and even make it look sexy. I am especially impressed with young French women. They present themselves as so sweet and pleasant. Denmark too...imagine barbie dolls come to life doing wholesome activities..that's Denmark.

    Italian women are the exception.They really play up their sexiness and seem to all be party girls. They are like American girls dressing sexy for club night, except they seem to be that way all day every day. They have much more of a sexy/fun/stuck up vibe, not sweet. Perhaps like the U.S the sweet Italian girls are underrepresented on social media.

    While sweetness is a good quality in real life interactions, on social media the Italian girls are my favorite. They know how to work the medium as well as anyone.

  10. Spanish girls are the sweet ones within the Mediterranean (perhaps Portuguese too). The Western Med is more introverted than in the East, although they're just as neurotic. So Iberia is melancholic, while the Levant is choleric, in the Four Humors typology.

    But unlike other melancholic groups like the Northern Slavs and the Balts, Iberians are more agreeable than anti-social. And unlike other agreeable melancholics, like the English, Iberians are lower in conscientiousness (it's the languid Med, not the workaholic North).

    They're the pinnacle of pining and yearning sweethearts, with Mediterranean exotitude to boot. Imagine the Cure's fanbase, only olive-skinned and lithe.

    An entire race of "tfw no goth gf".

    Probably something similar in various parts of Latin America with higher Iberian genetic and cultural origins. I know goth / emo / scene music was huge in Chile, and I'm sure in Brazil too.

  11. Awww, a sweet little e-girl teen was following me around a thrift store today, and eventually worked up the courage to pass right by me in a narrow aisle.

    I was about 6 feet into the aisle, and I saw her hesitate at the entrance for a good five seconds. Then she bites the bullet, and glides on by in black Doc Martens, black leggings, and an oversized denim shirt, nearly brushing against my butt on her way. On her way over, she says in a singsong tone:

    ^_^ i like your outfittt...

    I wonder if that was the first time she'd made a move on a boy before, it was so innocent and cute! But also charged with adolescent hormones -- no way a MILF is going to be that bold, even if she's also following me around a store.

    Shy yet impulsive -- I'm telling you guys, they're out there IRL, not online. I can easily imagine her having a TikTok, though, or a Twitter account that no one knows about. But not a persona on social media.

    ...hmmm, I should have asked her if she listens to Red Scare, hehe.

    So, add "calling you / your look hot, to your face" to the list of coming-out-of-their-shell behaviors that are coming roaring back in this restless warm-up phase. I remember that very well from the last one in the late 2000s, and the manic phase of the early 2010s. But not during the late 2010s.

    But now the #MeToo era is dead, and babes are back to their flirtatious ways. Yes, even the teens toward a 40 y.o. guy (in fairness to her, I still look like I'm in my 20s). Nervous yet hormonal -- who's groomin' who?

  12. During the late 2010s vulnerable refractory phase, I did get compliments about particular accessories -- glasses, hat, fur collar, etc., now that I think more about it.

    But never a holistic appraisal about "your look" or "your outfit". Like, "I've examined you head to toe, and you look good all over." That kind of overall statement I only recall from the last restless and manic phases. And the tone was more excited and flirtatious, whereas the tone for "I like that hat" from the past 5 years was more pleasant and friendly, like "hey, look at that, that's pretty neat".

    One girl who worked at the supermarket, around 2018, *was* being flirtatious when she complimented my glasses, but that is the only exception I can think of. She'd been looking at me during that visit, then when she passed across the end of the aisle that I was near, she doubled back just to say, smiling, "I really like your glasses".

    Why do girls have to do and say such cute things?

    I know how they feel about the types of compliments and pick-up lines they prefer. In a dance club, it's just a point-blank "you're so cute" or "my friend over there thinks you're really hot".

    Being a guy, I don't mind hearing that at all. But I'd still rather hear something less objectifying, even if I can tell that their feelings are solely objectifying. Something more specific to me, that day, that place, like "your outfit" or whatever -- rather than a statement about any old interchangeable random hot guy.

    It's rare that a guy would actually want to be thought of, and talked about to his face, like he's just a walking dick-appointment. Especially if he has options and already knows he's desirable.

    Maybe if he's not, and feels like he's won the lottery on the one time a girl pays him an unsolicited compliment about his appearance.

    Otherwise, girls need to at least keep up appearances and go through the mating-dance rituals, like dancing with him in the club, touching his shirt sleeve while talking in a store, etc. Not just a bland, utilitarian statement about "my brain's inner algorithm / this dating app's algorithm has crunched the stats, and determined you match the preferences of this girl".

    Wow, so much passion, getting really hot and heavy in here...

    I'll take the melodious "i like your outfittt" from the shy-yet-impulsive e-girl in the thrift store any day. :)


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