I’ll Be Your Mirror? No, Thanks!

This weekend, we posted an excerpt from a YourTango piece called “How To Tell If A Guy Likes You,” written by Evan Mark Katz, a self-proclaimed “dating coach” for “smart, strong, successful women.” The thesis of his piece — which he advocates in his book, Why He Disappeared — is that women would have much more success in dating and love if they practiced “mirroring.”

Basically, it means you don’t do anything unless he does it first. You don’t call. You don’t text. You don’t make plans. If he doesn’t make an effort, that just means he’s not very motivated to be your partner. Case closed.

Katz claims that though nothing is perfect, he has found that mirroring is next to “foolproof,” but he doesn’t specify what he considers success in this scenario, nor does he provide quantifiable evidence that it does work and that another method would not have worked just as well. Katz can only call his mirroring method “foolproof” if the woman who used it would not have had the same level of success using another method. So, yes, I’m sure that Katz’s method does indeed work 99 percent of the time in terms of it helping a woman weed out guys who are either A) not interested to begin with or B) guys who are but not aggressive enough to play the pursuer role full-time.

Katz’s advice likely works especially well in terms of romantic success for those who are content with adhering to traditional gender roles — men who are confident hunters and women who are secure in being their prey in the beginning of a relationship. Eventually, one of Katz’s “smart, strong, successful women” will be pursued by a man she would like to get to know and she will mirror him and he will keep pursuing her until ultimately they decide they’re a good match. If she keeps up the mirroring throughout their relationship, she will eventually get the ultimate sign of his commitment — a ring. You see, Katz’s method isn’t just for those first couple of weeks, when a man and woman are just getting to know each other. No, mirroring should ideally continue up until the man throws up the ultimate sign that he’s in it for the long haul — a ring. Katz brags, “I dated my wife for a year and a half before proposing and I don’t think she initiated contact with me once in that time. It’s not because she was playing games. It’s because she knew that if I wanted to talk to her, I’d call her.”

But what about those times she really wanted to talk to you? She couldn’t initiate contact because it would violate the rules of mirroring? I have to wonder if, following their engagement, Katz’s soon-to-be wife finally felt secure enough in his interest in her that she allowed herself to call him sometimes because she wanted to talk, or if she kept up the mirroring until their union was solidified by the law.

Katz’s contention that guys who desire more than passive reciprocity in a relationship aren’t real men and are, in fact, “like women themselves,” writes off any guy with the slightest hint of insecurity or sensitivity as not worth a woman’s time or effort. I mean, why would any woman want to date a guy who’s, eww, like a chick? But guess what? A lot of awesome men are sensitive. A lot of awesome men have insecurities. A lot of awesome men are shy. A lot of awesome men are complicated. A lot of awesome men are not Neanderthals. Follow Katz’s rules for mirroring and you’ll never know how awesome those guys are because in his world there are only two types of men.

Katz’s approach puts men into two categories: 1.) the Aggressive Hunter Type he assumes whom all women dream about and 2.) the Totally Wussy Gaylord who might as well have a vagina. Mirroring gives men almost all of the control in dating and takes away almost all of a woman’s agency. Women aren’t allowed to pursue, only to react. And if a guy doesn’t pursue and doesn’t give her anything to mirror/react to, well, then he wasn’t interest in her anyway and nothing was lost. But what was she at risk of even losing?

The implication is that if a woman pursues a guy and he’s not interested, she’s somehow shamed. If she doesn’t pursue him, however, and he doesn’t pursue her, her pride is intact — she didn’t go after someone who didn’t want her; there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But how messed-up is that notion, that somehow women have more to lose by pursing someone who isn’t interested, that our egos are more easily damaged than a man’s? But is Katz implying that a woman might actually miss out on a guy who would have been interested in her if she does pursue him and doesn’t allow him to be the sole aggressor?

I’m sorry, if not being completely passive in a relationship drives away a guy who would otherwise be into me, then he wasn’t the guy for me and I wasn’t the woman for him. Maybe I’m being idealistic, but it would be nice for men and women to approach dating as equals. The most thrilling dating experiences I’ve had — and my longest lasting relationships — have come out of both of us conveying an equal enthusiasm for seeing the other person, not me keeping notes on who texted who last. Ultimately, mirroring does help you figure out where you stand with a guy — but so does behaving just as you normally would.

That brings me to a little method I’ve developed and honed over time. While I’m no “dating coach” (so take it with a grain of salt if you must), I want to share it with you. It’s called the “Do What You F**king Want Method” and I believe it ultimately yields similar results for women as mirroring does, in terms of eliminating guys who weren’t interested in the first place or just not right in the long term. In fact, it may have even worked for the eventual Mrs. Katz, not that we’ll ever know for sure.

So, what is the “Do What You F**king Want Method,” you ask? That’s where a woman initiates contact with a guy she’s interested in if she f**king feels like it, instead of waiting around for him to do it. It is basically foolproof as well — the Do What You F**king Want Method weeds out: A) men who were not interested to begin with and B) men who are turned off by women who are comfortable sharing the role of pursuer. Both my method and Katz’s method eliminate guys who either weren’t interested or weren’t a match from a woman’s pool of potential mates, but only the Do What You F**king Want Method allows women to be who they are, not who antiquated gender stereotypes and big-eared dating coaches tell them they should be. The Do What You F**king Want Method allows men and women of all sorts a fair shot at finding love and happiness, because being true to yourself and true to your instincts, and expressing interest and appreciation for a member of the opposite sex, is something deserved by both genders.