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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Part Two: The Arrangement

In a previous posting I wrote:

I feel the Arrangement empowers all parties. The Arrangement makes expectations clear. I will write more about it. About what it’s like to live through it. And about some of the woman who have shared Arrangements with me.

But before the stories, I want to start with some background. I want to suggest some history to my approach to arrangements. Why mentoring? Why the economic support? Why the contracts? Why the need for a project? Hopefully this part will illuminate the answers to some of these questions.

Case One: Mentoring

My first experience was an accident.

I consulted for a well-known company. It had a reputation for hiring brilliant young graduates. Most of them were male. Adele was one of the few, the proud, the female. She was bright and on a fast track. She had suitors all around. Young men, peers to her. Older managers easily disregarding company policy against inter-office relationships. Even the occasional “big fish” who liked to practice a little “catch and release” every new season. Nobody would have the guts to tell the big fish otherwise. But Adele was savvy. She flirted but stayed neutral.

Adele was known to almost never accept first dates from co-workers. She was even better known to never take a second date. We flirted without shame, but nothing serious. So I was surprised when she asked me out.

Knowing the second date percentages I calculated two conflicting strategies: get as much as I can on the first date assuming there would be no second date, or give as much as I can to maximize the chances for a second date. Being the kind of person who has never felt comfortable with the first strategy, I opted for door number two.

It did not take long to find out the rationale behind the date. Adele was looking for a mentor. She was ambitious and on a fast track, but underneath she was a bundle of insecurities. One would need a diamond drill to penetrate her outer surface, but underneath was marshmallow. I was a safe bet, an outsider, a consultant guaranteed to disappear soon. Even better, I was from out of town.

This was an unexpected but welcome development. I found the relationship very challenging and interesting. Adele was a bright young woman. She was a only a few years younger than I but far less experienced. This made up for any insecurities I may have felt due to her, shall we say, “complete hotness.” This experience more than any other helped build my self confidence in dating. There were always safe topics to discuss when I felt uncomfortable. It defuses a common relationship problem with men: ego and pride.

This introduced me to the concept of mentoring. I took to it avidly, perhaps too avidly. After some time I discovered how much bandwidth I could expend safely. I found I could mentor one to three persons at most. I mentored men and women at a variety of different ages. I mentored students and adults. I found I enjoyed mentoring kids and women most of all. Kids because of their vast potential that few adults could recognize. And because few people bothered to really talk to kids seriously. They are wickedly smart. And women for a different reason. Because there seemed to be an underlying perhaps evolutionary connection when mentoring a woman, particularly a younger and less experienced woman. The way in which they appreciated the mentoring was different from kids or adults (although sometimes with female students I would see the occasional crush, which I would never encourage or follow up upon.)

So hold this thought: mentoring.

Case Two: Contracted Economic support

The most cynical view of economic support is that it gives me the ability to walk away. This is reminiscent of the joke about why you pay a prostitute. Not to come to your room, but to leave. You pay for a guarantee of no long-term attachments and related complications.

But for me the contracted economic support removes any question as to motivations. A woman might be in a relationship because of economic support. If such support is given month to month it creates a pressure to maintain a relationship. It may erode purer motivations over time. So it’s best to remove that factor entirely by setting a support level that is independent of the relationship. Even if a woman breaks up with me, the support is maintained for the duration of the contract.

Renewing the contract forces some thought to be given about mutual motivations for continuing the relationship. I find this helpful.

I observed many acquaintances with lovers or mistresses. My analysis indicated that the lack of a contracted economic support often led to insecurities, misunderstandings, arguments, and unintended consequences in behavior. The result of this analysis suggested I should either not provide any economic support or that it should be contracted.

I found that in cases where the woman was in solid economic position there was indeed no need for economic support. Women in this set either had their own economic security or were provided for by a third party, for example by parents or divorce settlement. The latter case often were the most demanding of economic support, curiously. But the former case were some of the best balanced woman I had met. Unfortunately it also often came with a lack of scheduling flexibility. This made it difficult to pursue a relationship given my schedule.

This tended to drive options toward contracted economic support.

Case Four: Projects

There is a mathematical technique called proof by contradiction. The case for having a Project uses a similar technique. Arrangements without Projects have so far had a nearly 100% failure rate. I noted this in the update post back in February.

Projects also dovetail very nicely with contracted economic support. Support given toward a project can also help support a woman in a more constructive manner than handouts or gifts. Moreover a contract with a project can define concrete milestones and performance metrics. A relationship alone is difficult to parameterize in a similar manner. So making the contracted economic support based on a project is much simpler and effective. It also forces a greater separation between the relationship and support, a goal mentioned above.

The combination of these factors, contracted economic support, projects and mentoring seems now so natural to me. My explanations here thus may not be effective. Please leave feedback so I may improve these explanations if they are unclear.

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