The Art of Repackaging
The problem with most men nowadays is not that they are not interesting. When you think of it, most people have at least one hobby or passion, and have done at least some notable things in their lives. Most are not couch potatoes who hole up in their basements to play video games and watch porn (even though that could be repackaged too). Here is what the average man has to work with:
- Age around 30
- Income decent enough to live frugally on his own, but not luxuriously
- Enough cooking and homemaking skills to pull through
- Goes to the gym or plays a sport with friends once a week
- Listens to at least one style of music that can be said to define his tastes
- Has traveled within the country a bit, and maybe a bit outside
- Goes out every weekend to get buzzed
- Average height, weight and looks; neither ugly nor pretty
- Has had 3-4 sexual partners
And yet, even though he has no notable flaws—he is not a basement dweller, his teeth are not rotting, he doesn’t live in poverty, he is not a virgin—he still comes across as boring. It is a paradoxical thought that can be said to describe most modern men – objectively, they have plenty of interesting things going for them. However, spend an hour with them and they certainly seem boring, as if there was nothing about them could make them stand out in a crowd.
How can that be? While we could rightfully blame women for placing excessive demands from their potential partners, I also believe it is because the average man lacks the art of repackaging. He doesn’t know how to present himself in the best possible light so that his weaknesses are minimized and his strengths maximized.
Worse, even if he does know how to do it, he often chooses to forgo it out of some insane sense of romance that he has been taught. While presenting yourself in the best possible light at a job interview would seem natural to everyone, doing the same would often be branded “not being yourself” or even “being deceitful” when at a date. There seems to be some sort of underlying expectation that we should always present our “honest self” for examination by women that appeal to us, even though we understand that “honest self” does not actually exist.
What are these attributes that are subject to repackaging? I will give several examples for attributes that might traditionally be considered positive or negative, but are actually completely relative:
1. You’re a construction worker
Bad: You are having a monologue about cement bags, what a pain it is to haul cement bags around the site, and you insist that the other person understand how much you “hate those f***ing bags”
Average: You simply say that you are a construction worker, but sheepishly add that you are looking for a better job
Good: “I didn’t like working there at first because it’s a demanding job but hey, it steels you. There really is something about walking down the street after a few years and know that you built that. “
2. You don’t have a car
Bad: You apologize in advance for not being able to drive her somewhere. You ask her if she could ever date someone without a personal vehicle.
Average: You say that you don’t have a car, but that you are trying to save up for it.
Good: You don’t mention cars. If it comes up in the conversation, you are open about the fact that you’re preparing to buy a sportbike
3. You’re overweight
Bad: You talk about how much you want to lose weight but no diet works for you, or you express your admiration about her thin figure
Average: You don’t mention it at all, but it shows up in your poor body language and general awkwardness
Good: Some people carry their weight as a burden. Some carry it as a sign of power. To which group would you like to belong? You carry yourself with power and confidence of a sumo wrestler, and make no secret about being a great cook, wine expert or epicurean.
4. You’re divorced
Bad: You talk about how much you miss your ex, or what a bitch she was
Average: You talk about the previous marriage in as much detail as she wants, or mention how difficult it is to be single again
Good: “It’s complicated.”
5. You have traveled around Europe for a month
Bad: You enthusiastically describe the occasion when you got shit faced with your buddies in Amsterdam and visited a brothel
Average: You provide technical, boring details of the journey, such as how much a ticket cost or what you ate for breakfast, and finish up with “there’s not much to say, really”
Good: You draw her in with an emotional description of a historical site from WWII, talk about interesting people you’ve met, discuss peculiarities of foreign languages (particularly words that sound like your language or mean something in your language), show her a few photos on your phone and finally invite her to see some souvenirs back at your place.
6. You have not traveled outside the country at all
Bad: You express your hatred of foreigners, other countries, and engage in sour grapes about not being able to travel
Average: You admit that you have never traveled and say that you are saving up to go somewhere
Good: You know that you don’t need to personally visit a country to know interesting things about it (especially weird customs) or have knowledge of its panoramas and sights. You also comment on her travels with a focus on how something made her feel.
7. Your height is average or below average
Bad: You ask her if she minds the fact you are shorter than her/only 5, 10 or 15 cm taller than her (i.e. your height difference is less than what women would expect from a tall guy), and immediately inquire if she has ever dated someone of your height.
Average: You don’t mention it, but your poor body language and general awkwardness betray your anxiety about not living up to her expectations.
Good: You know that Bruce Lee was 167 cm tall and have a confident body language and/or a toned body. You are fearless about the fact that you might have to stand on your toes to kiss her and don’t let that stop you from escalating and touching her as usual. If she mentions your height, you add “Don’t worry, I’m tall where it matters” and wink.
8. You’re a virgin or sexually inexperienced
Bad: You whine and moralize over guys who have had many sexual partners to make it clear that you are not like them, or spin a sob story about how no woman wants to be with you
Average: You state that you have no experience and are then defensive about the matter, with explanations like “I’m just waiting for the right one”, “Yeah, but I know enough” and “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Good: You just don’t talk about it and behave as if you were experienced. She is not likely to be able to tell the difference. This is an area where only irrational self- confidence is going to work. If she forces you to talk about it, use the agree & amplify technique and jump on her thought with something funnily exaggerated like: “As you can see, it’s because I have no sense of humor and no personality whatsoever.”
9. You’re too young/old (the age gap between you is higher than socially acceptable)
Bad: You apologize for being of wrong age and ask her to still consider you
Average: You suck up to her with phrases like “Love can overcome any difference”, or do weird things to show her how young at heart or mature you are.
Good: You tease her about being too young and inexperienced for you (if she’s younger), or not being able to keep up with you (if she’s older). You deflect her hesitation with humor. For example, you’re 29 and she’s 22 and he says “I have never dated anyone older than 25”, smile and add: “Yeah, neither have I.”
10. You have a geeky or unusual hobby
Bad: You apologize for collecting model airplanes/leaves/insects/postal stamps/coins/video games/comics, and promise that you don’t spend that much time on it. You strangle the conversation with technical details about the hobby and emphasize that you could give it up if she minded.
Average: You talk moderately about the hobby, indulging her interest, and allow her to qualify you with questions like “how many hours a week you spend that way”. See the famous Magic the Gathering champion Jon Finkel’s incident for an example.
Good: You qualify her to see if she is open-minded or awesome enough to keep up with your hobby or understand the passion behind partaking in it. There is no hobby in the world that cannot be spun in a positive light… well, except Satanic child sacrifice. On second thought, Charles Manson had lovers and groupies so even that doesn’t seem to be beyond the power of repackaging.
The contents of the package are subject to point of view
Now, notice this important fact: in 90% of the repackaging cases I described here, there is no cover-up, misdirection or lying. Instead, how each attribute is perceived depends only on how the man chooses to present it. An average and insignificant attribute – such as being slightly overweight – can come across as either endearing or creepy. Is the jovial man who carries his weight with confidence less overweight than the lazy slob who talks about dieting? Of course not! If you measure both, you will find that they both have the same BMI. There is no objective difference between them, yet how they are perceived is worlds apart.
Realizing this truth is like understanding the green waterfall code of the Matrix – it is the realization that many facts do not exist until they are actually presented. They exist in all potential states at once and their outcome depends only on the way in which the man deals with them. We might call it “Schroedinger’s fact”.
Other than being relaxed cheerful about your shortcomings (and strengths) right from the start, remember to always repackage things in a positive way. Positive emotion usually trumps negative. While “just be positive” is usually just an empty phrase, this is one of the rare occasions where it actually can do a lot of good for you. And remember: what is inside your package depends on you alone.