I want to start off by saying that if you are a woman who has to date men in 2023, I am so goddamn sorry.
This article might not make you feel better about the state of modern dating culture, but it will definitely keep you on your toes. THERE WILL BE NO BLINDSIDING IN 2024, LADIES.
In today's episode of "Reasons to be Scared of Men," we have something called "The Penny Method." I was introduced to this horrifying manipulation tactic through a TikTok by Erika Tham, a 23-year-old singer and songwriter based in Toronto:
erikatham / Via tiktok.com
In the video, Erika recalls a conversation she had with a guy friend who told her about this disturbing dating technique. "Imagine a girl is a piggy bank," she said. "In order to get her interested, obviously at first you have to be feeding her $100 bills. But putting in $100 bills is a lot of work. And you don't always wanna be doing that, so eventually you decrease it to $90. Now she's gonna feel the decrease in effort, but it's only 10%, so if she tries to bring it up, she's gonna sound crazy at this point."
"Now here's where it gets sick. The next thing you do is you bump it back up to $95. Now instead of feeling like she lost $5, which is how she would feel if you went directly from $100 to $95, suddenly she feels like she's gained $5. But you are still putting 5% less effort. Basically, you just keep repeating the cycle and weaning her off your effort until you get to the point where you're giving her pennies, and she's excited to receive a nickel."
"This idea that men might actually think like this makes me so afraid. Like is this boy math? Because I don't like it. Anyway, be safe out there, ladies. I think the takeaway message in all of this is that we should never be accepting anything less than $100 bills."
WOW. Wow, wow, wow. That's basically all I could say after hearing all this. I mean, I knew dating could be toxic, but this is next-level conniving. I had to know more about this "methodology," so I reached out to Erika. First off, was this friend of hers guilty of penny-ing? And how do we know this is a trend? "Hahaha I hate to call him out but yes, he admitted to doing it in the past, but he now realizes it’s wrong," Erika told BuzzFeed. "He said he definitely knows guys who do it, and also knows guys who do it but aren’t aware that what they’re doing has a name."
I was curious how Erika — who admitted to having been penny'd before — would advise women on protecting themselves from "The Penny Method." She said, "I think what’s so terrifying about 'The Penny Method' is how subtle it is. It’s the type of thing that can make you question whether your gut feeling is correct, or if you’re just overthinking. Once I had learned of the method though, it made recognizing the signs a lot easier. That’s why I made the TikTok, I wanted other women to know about it, too!"
This may have added a whole new anxiety to my ever-growing list, but I am very grateful to Erika for clueing us in on what the fuckboys are scheming these days. Follow @erikatham on Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat for more insightful content.