Dating Don’ts: Just Say No To Negging

Jessica Wakeman / May 8, 2012

His teeny little profile picture was cute. He was the right age range and city. But when I opened the online dating message from this random dude, this is what he said:

Isn’t feminism a little obsolete? Men and women are equal nowadays. In fact, the balance is tipped in your favor.

Of all the things for a man to comment upon in my profile, he chose to kinda-insulted me by calling my belief system “obsolete”? I rolled my eyes. I hit delete. Another one bites the dust.

I’d been “negged.” 

Negging is the herpes of the dating world, a pickup artist tactic that’s spread far and wide due to the popularity of books like The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists and TV shows like VH1’s “The Pickup Artist.”  Simply put, negging is when a man gently insults a woman as a way to undermine a woman’s self-esteem and get her to engage with him by defending herself.

Julie was negged by a dude online who messaged her, “I’m calling you out on traveling. I see no evidence for it other than you like it A LOT.”  Frisky contributer Megan Carpentier was negged in person by a dude at a bar once. The guy approached her and asked her height; when she told him the truth — both in-heels and out-of-heels measurements! — he responded that she was “lying” and there was absolutely no way she was as tall as she claimed. And Frisky contributer Rachel Kramer Bussel wrote a whole essay for us about getting negged by a some douchebag.

Apparently there’s women that stick around after this “seduction tactic” bullshit? But I would never — which is why I ignored that chucklehead who suggested feminism was “obsolete.” It’s possible that this man thought he was provoking a debate, which is risky in an online dating setting but not necessarily douchey. Yet the way he did so was by implying that a way I described myself in my profile was wrong.  That’s like messaging someone to tell them their religion or political affiliation is stupid. It’s off-putting. It’s not romantic.

And, guys, ladies are onto you when you do this.

I’ll have to agree with Rachel Kramer Bussel and the way she succinctly put it: “The only positive thing, as far as I can tell, about guys like that is that they let you know what they’re like right off the bat.” Hear, hear!

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