The 21st century single man is confident, independent, and assured of his success by himself and his peers, but his sensitivity and vulnerability becomes apparent when any woman shows interest in him romantically. Note the following: the man, by default, is not concerned with sex. The life of the contemporary playboy is not one of tail-chasing and conquering, but of regrettable misunderstandings and the importance of trivial physical contact. It is the woman who sexualizes the conversation in a practical fashion; it is the male who sexualizes abstractly. The woman has been socially conditioned to know whether to have sex with a man within the first few minutes of speaking, while the male's perspective falls back on the ideas of "getting lucky" and "playing his cards right". Every male action is inherently a risk-assessment; every female motion is perceived by the male as intentional.

In this context, the man must put up arms for a kind of combat: the modern woman is not so much an enemy as an antagonist. The line is subtle, and the delicate dance between "playful banter" and "hiding affection with aggression" is the greatest source of confusion for the male, and similarly one of the most misunderstood. A boastful or marauding male may not be interested in romance at all, but rather with merely intense emotional contact with women, as he may see no other way of successfully achieving it. A sincere man will think in practical logic and not entirely be able to tell the difference between a woman who hates him and one who likes him, therefore he disregards it as any indication or importance. Here exists none of the old hard-to-get games or sex on the first date, nor does he tell all his friends about each encounter.

Real men are trying to make a revival of the notion of courtship: a woman is to be known, doted upon, and then coupled. Courtship in terms not as an earning of affection but rather a developed understanding between two parties. It is again important to note that the goal of a man in the presence of a woman is never sex; it is simply involvement. In the modern world sex is almost at commodity status. (This is not the woman's fault, and a gentleman will understand as much.) The sincere man's ultimate goal is to alter this perception, so that sex itself can be allowed a more basic instinct rather than a dominant meaning, affording sex the effort of exploration between two people without pretense.

Let me reiterate: this situation is not the singular woman's fault. The contemporary man is beset by the encroachment of culture's dwindling standards. The modern man is assaulted by images of women as deceptive, sex-driven animals. This illusion permeates culture to the point that his awareness of female hypersexuality through mediation begins shortly after birth. There is no way for an infant to avoid the images of ultrasexed femininity, and equally no way to dodge the struggle of comparing those images to their mother-figure. By the time the child reaches teenage years, the mythology of femininity is unavoidable, and it is the cause for insurmountable social panic. In these sexed spectacle-images men are not often shown together in a group, but when they are their presence is typically shown in opposition to a woman's plans, as if the men themselves are a mere trifle in the grand scheme of things. Young males then believe themselves to be objects who do not really need to impress the female in a Darwinian sense, but rather dress themselves up mentally to acquire a fortitude for a girl's games. For a man, romance is a labyrinth of contradiction and second-guessing. Recognize also that in the contemporary world, men tend to and are ready to fetishize technology more than they do women. (Men are led to believe it is easier to love and be understood by Google or a car than by a girlfriend.)

The modern man was raised by antifeminist mothers to be nurtured and to understand the value of affection in friendship and to regard love as a similarly nurturing act. Love itself is not so much a secret to be kept, but a story to share. The idea of brotherhood during adolescence is largely repressed thanks to the overwhelmingly competition-based aspects of early youth, but this invariably causes an explosion of an affectionate brotherly attitude among men when they believe they have passed into post-college "true" adulthood. It is at this point that there is a bonding between men about their general distrust of women, but it is not a camaraderie as much as it is a shared agony. Men, gathered together in brotherly congress, have no explanations for the wiles of feminine action, nor does their logic and reasoning provide solutions in practice.

Men create problems in during their own solving of existing ones, and polemic deliberation (though rare) only heightens the stress generated. When vexed by a female, or by the conclusions of kinsmen, the common faculties of the modern man (a cold, studied reasoning) provide no comfort, and systemically only further the aforementioned agony. The gentleman is trying to apologetically take back the overmasculine, doggish mentality of the 1990s male by being opposed to sensationalism and overt irrationality. Unfortunately, this means they are also in direct conflict with the culturally-propagated female collective emotionalism. The man is left alone, only remaining as an island of self-prescribed despair.

The gentleman's eventual answer to the problem of social dismissal or misdirection by a female is simple in form but complex in execution. Every action is deliberate from a man, his inexcusable goal is sincerity. Most frequently, he retreats physically and psychologically; he leaves himself to ponder a woman's words once he is sleepless in bed. He meditates on this, and must choose between accepting and living in a state of confusion until the lady decides to clarify things, or he must drop the subject but still live with a regret for that act of avoidance. The real man does not want to leave a problem unsolved, a situation not understood, or worse yet, believing himself misrepresented to the woman of his affection. The greatest lament of the gentleman is to conclude that they have been wrongly judged based on inaction or a woman's assumption.

The man very wryly avoids making assumptions about women, though he will faithfully follow the advice of his male friends, when it has been dialectically sorted-out. From the man's individualist perspective, the female form and mind is a pleasant mystery to be unraveled in due time. A man accepts what he does not know, but this is also his undoing: it is common for him to never make the first move in an encounter, confident in the belief that if she truly does wish his company she would request it. Just as the man was raised by a mother to be loving, he was also raised by a pro-feminist father to hold woman in authority by default, to respect her and let her decisions be paramount. The father says, "better check with her, she decides things." The male child learns that while he may have ideas of what to do, the female child always knows what they want, and is therefore afforded an authoritative advantage. Again, the downfall of man is that he will unknowingly allow an indecisive woman to slip away, when all he should have done was simply assert himself.

The man is simple and his choices obvious: he does not cheat, he does not steal, he always has a method and a reason (even if it has been led astray by his own circular logic; it can be an honestly flawed reasoning). When he does not have a reason, he says so, and is happier in admitting it. He is not necessarily humble, but is ready to accept his limits. The modern man is willing to be socially emasculated if it allows him to be made more accessible and humanized, while maintaining a definitive presence in a social circle. Most likely he has already felt broken down into parts by the female gaze. The modern man does not feel particularly intimidated or objectified by this gaze (as the old-school male gaze does to women), but rather he uses it as a basis for a relationship: woman sees the body, but he believes she needs to experience his mind. A 21st century gentleman merely desires to be known.

See also:

Turn Me Off Turn Me Off Turn Me Off (which this post is in response to)

St. Augustine's Confessions

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy

Weird Al - Angry White Boy Polka