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DoNotWant: 7 Lessons Guys Can Learn From Edward Cullen.

January 7, 2009

Someday I’m going to quit looking at this stuff.  Really.  But in the meantime, it is my wont to look at this stuff, then to post about it here.

7 Lessons Guys Can Learn From Edward Cullen (On How To Become Irresistable To Women) is a two-part video on YouTube (well, not so much video as podcast with pictures) about what guys can do to make themselves attractive to the “98%” of women who want a guy just like Edward.  (The other 2%, she says, are either guys, or people who “don’t find that the books are for them”.  In other words, if you’re a woman who likes Twilight, you MUST love Edward.)  It is written by Aileen Santos, who wastes no time setting off alarm bells in my head: first by providing a URL to her website, ShyGirlGuide.com, then by admitting that she is a HUGE Twilight fan.

(The reason her URL alarms me is that, simply by the URL text, it indicates that most of the people she knows are bashful teenage girls – just the sort of people who would like Twilight.  This means that her earlier assertion – that since 98% of the girls she knows want a guy like Edward, 98% of all girls must want a guy like Edward – is based on the analysis of a single demographic, and therefore can not be reliably applied to every woman on Earth.)

Next, she talks about why she made this video.  Partially for girls (who apparently need to be told what it is that they like about Edward), but mainly for guys whose girlfriends are completely twitterpated over Twilight and wish to get their attention back.  (The correct way to do this, apparently, is not to dump the moron, but to make sweeping changes to yourself so that you fit in with her fantasy of what a man should be like.)

“You’ll be able to use these techniques,” says Aileen, “so that the eternal love that your girlfriend is giving to Edward right now will be redirected to you.”  I’m sorry, but spending most of your time raving about how gorgeous and perfect and wonderful someone is does not constitute eternal love.  At best, it is a phase; lust, infatuation, excitement.  It’s the kind of love that passes.  True love – or “eternal love”, as Aileen puts it – takes time to build up, lasts for years, and is not conditional on the behavior of the person whom you love.

Let’s move on to her lessons.  I admit, some of them describe behaviors that I would, indeed, appreciate in a man.  (Lessons #1, #2, #5, and #7, in particular.)  But some of them do NOT.  In fact, many of them are the polar opposite of what I really want in a man.  Let’s take a look at those:

Lesson #3: Be man enough to show her that you’ll protect her – really protect her – even at your own expense.  Put her best interests before your own.

While I am, to degree, interested in a man who can protect me, my relationship with a man is also not contingent on his ability to do this.  I require that he be competent enough to take care of himself, and to provide certain basics for our family, and yes, I may like him to stand up for me on occasion.  But I would also like him to have faith that I can protect myself, and while I wouldn’t want him going out of his way to prevent my best interests from being actualized, I would rather he stick to a more “supportive” degree and let me do my own dirty work.

The rest of this lesson is actually true.  Yes, we are impressed by guys with mad skillz, but we would rather that you refrain from showing them off needlessly.  I will be much more impressed with a man who uses his amazing technical knowledge to fix the car engine than one who builds interesting but fundamentally useless gadgets.

Lesson #4: Be man enough to take charge of your relationship, including your sexual boundaries.

“For a lot of women,” says Aileen, “it’s such a relief to have a male romantic character taking charge of every aspect of their romantic relationship.”  That’s bullcrap.  Yes, I do want my potential spouse to take initiative now and again.  It would be really dull for me to make all the cues, and it would leave me questioning his actual interest in me.  But what I really want is a man who is willing to compromise: who will express what he wants in the relationship, but will also take into account the things I want before making any major decisions.

A note on Lesson #5: Although I agree wholeheartedly with this one, I really feel that it contradicts both #4 on several levels.  How the heck are you supposed to take charge when you’re compromising all the time?

Lesson #6: The Biggest Secret Of All About Women: Women DREAM about being loved like Bella.  They want to be the most important thing in a man’s life – “to be so important, in fact, that she is his reason for living.”

What can I say about this except “wrong”?  Yes, I want to be loved.  I want to be an important part of a man’s life.  I do not want him to be so hung up on me that he couldn’t go on without me should we lose each other.  I want to enhance his life, not to dominate it.

However, I would definitely love the man’s family to view me with the same respect with which the Cullens view Bella: no matter what their opinion of me may be, I’d like them to appreciate that their son/brother loves me and take that into account when we spend time together.  So, yeah: Edward’s Family, you’re doin’ it right.

Strangely, this lesson ends with a summary that is completely irrelevant to everything that was said, but which I wholeheartedly agree with: Be the kind of man whose love is so consistent that the woman you love can always trust how important she is to you.

A note on #7: Knowing what she wants is good.  Knowing her best interests is good.  Knowing when to let go is good.  But please, please PLEASE ask her before you make decisions regarding these things.  If you feel that you need to let go, talk it over with her.  See if she agrees, and if not, what you can do to reach a solution.  (There are, of course, exceptions, particularly if she becomes needy/posessive.  But that’s not about her best interests, that’s about yours, which are something you should always take into account.  Treat her well, yes.  But never sacrifice your welfare for a woman’s petty desires.)

You may argue, of course, that I really cannot speak for all women, and that since I don’t care for Twilight I must belong to the “2%” who are different.  You may also be right.  But ask yourself this, guys: would you rather give yourself a complete overhaul to meet the shallow demands of 98% of the female population (still an inaccurately huge number, mind) or hold out for someone with a little more realistic taste in men?  (Unfortunately, you still have to be deep.  We’re not getting any prettier.)

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