Occasionally, though rarely, I’ll watch a movie or TV show or read a book or article that has tremendous educational value without it actually meaning to. This just happened to me a few days ago when I watched a 2005 movie named Shopgirl, based on the novel written by Steve Martin.

If it sounds like a chick flick, that’s because it is, more or less. I watched it because it featured a relationship between a 60 year-old man and a 26 year-old girl and I was interested in how a mainstream movie would handle that kind of thing. It also featured a young guy in the mix, so I assumed the movie would be about a young beta vs. an older Alpha vying for an attractive young girl. I was surprised to find it was nothing like that at all.

The movie is not that good and I don’t recommend it. It’s actually boring as hell. But if you wanted to watch it strictly as an educational experience, you should do so. It is one of the best examples of how not to date a woman and how not to have an open relationship I’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s a movie, but all the mistakes the men and women make are precisely the ones men and women make in real life. I was very impressed at the accuracy  This is a testament to how well Steve Martin knows human behavior.

I will recap the important points here and the lessons they teach.

The movie is about a gal played by Claire Danes. The gal is skinny, plain, frumpy, very shy, lonely and bored. The first part of the movie is about how a dorky, horny, onetisy, beta with no money and around her age takes her out on a horrible date and fucks it all up. Despite this, she is so damn lonely she eventually fucks the guy, and the sex is horrible. So far, nothing unusual and it’s stuff we’ve seen many times, both in movies and in real life.

Then she meets Steve Martin, a 60 year-old divorced rich guy who splits his time between Seattle and Los Angeles (where the movie takes place) and this is where things get interesting. He meets her at her job (she’s a clerk at Saks Fifth Avenue). He asks her out on a date by buying her a $150 pair of gloves. She (reluctantly) agrees to the date and they go have a fancy dinner, which of course is a very bad idea when you’re a guy.

I was expecting the movie to portray Steve Martin as a confident, suave Alpha (especially considering he wrote the damn story) but that’s not how he is at all. He’s the kind of guy I categorize as “somewhat cool guy” or  “cool beta”. You know, a beta who is cool and has some confidence. A “cool beta” is between a beta and a needy Alpha, like I talk about on the Alpha test.

After the first date with Martin (they don’t have sex), she tells the beta guy (who is now traveling with a band) to go fuck off, because now she’s “seeing someone”. This is exactly what happens with online dating. Often I’ll have a first date scheduled with a chick who has another date scheduled with another guy that happens first, and the first date with this new guy will turn out well, so the gal then immediately cancels all the other first dates she has scheduled with all other men, because now she’s “met someone and wants to see where it goes”.  Women are so brainwashed with monogamy this is very common. I laughed when she told the beta the exact same thing I’ve been told many times by women I’ve never met.

Eventually she fucks Martin and the sex is nice. Not great, just nice. He’s older, been around the block, and knows how to make a woman feel better than the younger beta, but his attitude is still a little nervous and needy. He has her spend the night right after having sex for the first time (another mistake).

The very next morning, Martin really puts the pedal to the fuckup metal and really screws things up. As they’re having coffee he says, “Mind if I make a speech?” She’s a submissive, so she says “Sure”. He then lays out this huge speech about how he’s not ready for anything serious, but he still wants to see her, but they should both keep their “options open”.

In other words, he verbalizes that he wants her as an FB. Right after they have sex for the first time. Bad, bad, bad. One of the biggest things men do wrong is start defining and verbalizing relationship stuff, especially doing it too soon. Classic relationship mistake. Men need to SHUT UP about this stuff and enjoy women.

Despite the fact she’s just an FB, or perhaps a low-end MLTR, Martin proceeds to become wildly incongruent by smothering Danes with all kinds of provider-boyfriend behaviors. He takes her out to fancy dinners and pays for them. He sees her often, many times a week (when he’s in town). He constantly buys her fancy, romantic gifts. He buys her expensive dresses and takes her to get fitted. He takes her to the hospital whenever she needs to go. He cuddles her after sex and always has her spend the night. He buys plane tickets for her for cool trips. He kisses her ass and is constantly telling her she’s beautiful.

On and on and on. Provider, provider, provider. Boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend.

Though he told her she’s an FB, then upgrades her to an MLTR, he treats her like a serious girlfriend. All the while he’s telling his shrink that he was “very clear” with her that the relationship was “casual” and “has no future”.

This is another classic guy mistake. They categorize a woman in their minds one way, then treat her a completely different way. Sometimes I’ll have men ask me questions like “So I have this FB. We went to see a movie last night, then I took her out to dinner, then she gave me all this drama. WTF?”

It’s called incongruence. Your external behaviors must 100% match your internal categories for women, or else you’re 100% guaranteed to have some major problems.

You might be able to predict what happens. On one of his business trips to Seattle, Martin fucks an ex-girlfriend. Why not? His relationship is “casual”. He told Danes just that. So why not fuck other chicks? He thinks it’s just fine.

Ah, but he’s a still beta. On the plane ride back to L.A. he’s suddenly wracked with guilt at what he did. When he meets up with Danes again, he tells her, in detail, what he did. More verbalization. He makes it clear that it “was just physical and “wasn’t intimate”, etc. Verbalization, verbalization, verbalization. Bad, bad, bad.

Over-verbalizing in relationships is another huge mistake men make. They talk and talk and talk, just like chicks. The more they talk, the more drama they get. And then they wonder why they have drama.

Of course, Danes bursts into tears, is horribly hurt, and runs out of his house. He feels terrible and apologizes all over the place, but of course it doesn’t help.

Women always react to the frame you give them. If you tell a woman she’s an MLTR, but you treat her like a girlfriend, she’ll be furious if you fuck other women, and it will be your fault.

Additionally, you need to SHUT UP about other women. Once you’ve made it clear you’re in a nonmonogamous relationship and that you are sexually careful (i.e. you use condoms, etc), you don’t need to verbalize anything about any other women, unless you like drama. All your women need to know is that you’re fucking other women. They don’t need details, and you don’t need to provide them. (Again, unless you like to be yelled at or like to make women cry.)

After a brief break from each other, he asks her to fly to New York with him. She reluctantly agrees. That’s what women do. No matter how pissed they get, they always come back, provided you don’t act like a pussy.

At New York they have a nice evening at a party and he tries to have sex with her afterwards at the hotel. She tells him no. She’s “not ready”. In pure oneitis, beta fashion he says that it’s perfectly fine, and that all he wants is to be with her.

Bad again. Now he’s setting a non-sexual frame for the relationship. Every time you meet up with a woman you’re dating, you need to have sex. Period, end of story. If you start hanging out with a woman without sex, regardless of the reason, she’s going to start expecting to not have sex with you. Women always follow a man’s frame.

This gets worse. Still not having sex, he surprises her one day by paying off her $35,000 student loan. She thanks him profusely and he says it’s no big deal because “financial things are no big deal” for him. More overwhelming provider frame. More heightened incongruence.

Eventually, after a long ass time, they fuck each other again. One day, as he’s talking about a new house he’s buying, he lets slip that he’s going to make sure to buy a “three bedroom house in case I meet someone and have kids.” Danes almost faints. He apologizes saying that he didn’t mean to say it. She starts angrily pelting him with questions about “Why aren’t we serious?” and “Why don’t you love me?”. Martin is confused. “I thought you understood,” he says. Again, he thinks she’s an FB or MLTR, while treating her like a monogamous girlfriend…so why is she acting this way? A very common male response. Finally she decides she’s had enough and breaks up with him for good.

The original beta young guy then shows back up. Having read a bunch of self-help books he shows up wearing much nicer clothes and a cleaner, cooler look, but he’s still a beta. He gets her to go out on another date with him, and asks her nicely to kiss him. When she does, he tells her thank you. Very, very beta. Soon, they start having sex once again, and get into a relationship. Beta-guy is ecstatic, bragging to everyone that she’s his “girlfriend”! Yay!

Dos that kind of pussy behavior sound familiar to you? Hmmmmmmm????

Some time later, Danes and her new beta boyfriend are out and run into Martin with his new girlfriend, a classy doctor closer to his age. Martin and Danes briefly pull away from their respective partners and while out on the sidewalk they chat. Martin asks her if she’s happy. She responds by saying, “Uh…yeah. The lower intensity is nice.”

What is she saying? She’s done what so many women do…after being with a man who didn’t follow the program, she’s retreated to a beta who kisses her ass. It’s not nearly as fulfilling, but at least she has a guy who follows her female agenda now. Like most women, she has traded in her happiness in exchange for the female Disney plan.

Being a typical guy, Martin is filled with remorse and a little jealousy. He admits to her that when they were dating, he did love her.

The movie ends while showing Martin, alone on the sidewalk with a sad look on his face, as Danes goes back to her beta boyfriend who gives her a big hug. The narrator tells us that Martin made a huge mistake and is remorseful for his loss. “How could he now miss a woman whom he kept at arm’s length so that he wouldn’t miss her?”

This movie should be re-titled “How Not To Have A Relationship”. That’s how accurate it is.

11 Comments on “Men In Relationships – What They Do Wrong

  1. Anyone who is still convinced that traditional dinner dates are a good idea needs to watch this movie (or at least look up the dinner date scene on youtube). That was so painful I’m cringing just thinking about it…

  2. This was WAY too good. Have you considered a special section of your blog for reviews about this kind of movies? You could create a Jay Sherman-esque persona and post them under that name, haha. I suggest “Friends With Benefits” and “No Strings Attached”.

  3. Holy shit! No Strings Attached! I watched that movie and it almost sent me into hysterics. Rarely has a movie made me so angry.

    Anyway, yeah, if this post resonates I’ll do more of these.

  4. Lol good one Tony.

    I might check this movie out, but I would love to see movie and TV examples of good, funny, awesome alphas instead of needy alphas and betas. Hard to find. The first 30 minutes of Wedding Crashers is all I can think of.

  5. Might I make a suggestion. Watch Rampart.

    Has great themes around alpha-ness and non-monogamy in relation to family/children.

    Also, Woody Harrelson is cool as fuck.

  6. @ Tony – Hollywood will always portray the beta as “getting the girl in the end”. It can never be the Alpha as getting the girl “in the end”. Hollywood also avoids showing the inevitable breakup the beta will have with the girl once the girl gets bored with him and dumps his ass…for an Alpha.

    @ Matt – The “Wedding Crashers” model is to have a movie that spends the first half appealing to men and the second half appealing to women. So it starts with Alpha guys (or masculine guys, or funny guys, or irresponsible guys), then suddenly the guys do complete 180’s into responsible betas, then (usually) get married and live Happily Ever After. Soooo many movies these days follow that model. Stepbrothers, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, etc, I could list 100 movies that follow that model.

    @ Suidine – I’ll check it out.

  7. It is a romantic film aimed at a femal-public, that means a lot of drama with pussies beta-estrogenized lovers who mess all up but make therefore a credible story. Otherwise, with alpha-2-testosteronized men no chance at all to cast a dramatic story.
    The only story with an ALpha man as a heroe was composed by Mozart and Da Ponte, il Don Giovanni, Don Juan an opera, but at the end the alpha-heroe got damned to hell…

  8. Dear BD,
    I met this girl last saturday, had sex with her 6 days later. She told me, ‘u are not loving women…’, I said, ‘I like them. Like I said, I’m not looking for bfgf serious relationship now. You’re welcome to leave anytime. If u agree, we will meet less, cause you’ve a bf now.’

    We actually sleeping a night in motel, not buying her dinner, movie yet. Cool? Do u think any problem with this frame? She even helped me put on the belt and help me wearing my sock, treat me like a king/husband.

  9. Do u think any problem with this frame?

    If I understand your limited English correctly, no, I don’t see a problem with it.

  10. I never saw the movie.  The book was awesome and the plot in the book is a lot different.  Also, in the book, you get more access to the thoughts of the characters…something they can’t really do in a movie.  I agree with most of your analysis though.  The older guy character in the book isn’t nearly as much of a dipshit as the guy in the movie seems to be.

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