The Backlash! - What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues - Lines & Signals
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Lines & Signals
By Rod Van Mechelen
When women's consciousness was raised, women ended up seeing housework as their "shit work"; when men's consciousness is raised, sexual initiatives will be seen as male "shit work." - Warren Farrell, Farrell: Why Men Are the Way They Are
The Lines
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - In Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, Shere Hite provides a list of lines men use to pick up women. All of them demean both women and men, but men use them for two reasons: they work, and they protect.
"I'm X years old. I can't believe I'm X years old and still a virgin!" -- quoted in Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 199
A man who doesn't use lines is like a car dealer who doesn't advertise -- if you don't advertise, you're out of business. Like a sales pitch, lines work, so men use them.

A good line has to do three things. First, it has to sound catchy and spontaneous. Second, it has to tell the woman being "pitched" exactly why she should "buy." Finally, it must have an ego-protecting wrapper.

A line, like a sales pitch, is meant to be addressed to lots of people. It's a method of processing a large volume of prospects. Women don't like that. They feel diminished and demeaned by it. The problem is, men who don't prospect usually end up single, celibate and alone because women don't prospect. Or do they?

From eleven to seventeen years old, a girl learns in a million ways to "look natural by being artificial." A boy is learning, subconsciously, that her makeup is the female "line" -- what she "says" doesn't ring true. Makeup is her lie, her deception, the equivalent of his bragging or exaggerating. -- Farrell: Why Men Are the Way They Are, Berkley edition/September 1988, Warren Farrell, Ph.D., pp 71 - 72
Men use verbal lines, women use makeup and provocative dress. ssentially, they are the same. But women's lines are significantly different from men's in two ways. First, they don't stop. If a man tries a line on a woman, he pitches her once (or, if he's obnoxious, a few times), and then goes away. But a woman's makeup and provocative clothing keep on going and going like a Duracell Bunny, obnoxiously advertising her femininity as being better than anyone else's. Second, makeup and provocative dress are only one of many signals women use to attract men.

The Signals
To the extent women rely on signals, they give men the right to push for sex. Pop-feminists disagree, of course. (Women and Love, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 205) But men have little choice because most women indicate sexual interest with signals. If women wonder why some men use lines, most men wonder why most women rely on signals.

A signal is a subtle behavior women use, like a smile or a coy glance, to let men know they're interested. The major problem with this is that signals can be easily misunderstood, leading to accusations of sexual harassment or, worse, date rape. Strong incentives for men to choose celibacy.

If, as women say, they truly are more interested in deep lasting love than money and status, then the right signal to attract true love is no signal at all. Men view signals the same way women view lines, and most men are turned off by them. Honesty, as the saying goes, is the best policy.


Rod Van Mechelen


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