Monthly Archives: February 2011

Is match.com peddling divorce fantasy?

Dalrock has posted twice this week (here and here) on a match.com series discussing a suburban woman’s post-divorce dating life.

The events of the serial are wildly improbable:

  • The rugged handyman she is dating turns out to be a millionaire who was hiding his wealth
  • Her ex-husband, after boffing half the town, begs her to take him back

The story is not labeled as fiction, but Dalrock has uncovered evidence that the author writes relationship/romance fiction under two other names. In any case, match.com – a site that makes money facilitating dating – is posting material the author admits has induced women to leave their husbands, after which they (conveniently) will jump into online dating. For a site that claims it produces more marriages than any other dating site, it sounds like a sick conflict of interest…Dalrock has done a lot of research on divorce statistics so I am inclined to take heed at his alarm, and I recommend you read his posts for full coverage.

One would think that a dating site would want to bank on the sanctity of relationships and not against it. As to why match.com would do this, I can think of several reasons:

  1. Bait: they have market research showing an untapped (there’s a pun for ya) cohort of middle-aged single women they want to bring into their business.
  2. Customer flattery: by pumping success stories in one of the most barren dating environments in the SMP, match.com encourages already-signed-up customers to continue using their product.
  3. Fluff: the content managers at match.com just thought it’d be a swell idea to have a series on the dating lives of middle-aged divorcees, possibly motivated by first- or second-hand experience or the public awareness of the EPL and cougar phenomena.

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Get Over It

After the Eagles’ breakup in 1980, drummer and vocalist Don Henley was quoted as saying the band would reunite “when hell freezes over.” In 1994 the band released a live album and concert video entitled, you guessed it, “Hell Freezes Over.” (Vocalist Glenn Frey dismissed the hiatus as “a 14-year vacation”)

The opening track was a new song, “Get Over It,” attacking victimization in the media. The track may have formed a sort of ideological bookend to Henley’s 1982 hit “Dirty Laundry” about media sensationalism.

In any case, the song has some very good advice for a lot of rationalization hamsters out there. I especially like the way they refer to Shakespeare.

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin’ ’don’t blame me’
They point their crooked little fingers ar everybody else
Spend all their time feelin’ sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it

You say you haven’t been the same since you had your little crash
But you might feel better if I gave you some cash
The more I think about it, old billy was right
Let’s kill all the lawyers, kill ’em tonight
You don’t want to work, you want to live like a king
But the big, bad world doesn’t owe you a thing

Get over it
Get over it
If you don’t want to play, then you might as well split
Get over it, get over it

It’s like going to confession every time I hear you speak
You’re makin’ the most of your losin’ streak
Some call it sick, but I call it weak

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin’ everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I’d like to find your inner child and kick it’s little ass

Get over it
Get over it
All this bitchin’ and moanin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it

Get over it
Get over it
It’s gotta stop sometime, so why don’t you quit
Get over it, get over it

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Kay Hymowitz, Round Two

“The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw

Yesterday I sliced and diced Kay Hymowitz and her “child-man” moral panic and got my single biggest day of readership to date (it got linked on Reddit, for one – party on). Heartfelt thanks to my loyal readers. A few items were just too juicy to leave on the cutting room floor.

THANK YOU MEN, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER

In a Wednesday blog post at wsj.com, Hymowitz tried to back away from 1,300 comments (and counting) blasting her sexist premise. She tries to argue she has unparalleled empathy for “lots of very angry young men.” Wait a minute – she never mentioned anger, I thought she said young men were living in a promised land of irresponsible bliss? She denies she is blaming men (who does she think she’s kidding?) and says the whole of the book is much more balanced, but sneers that said angry men should “drop the Darth Vader decor.”

This is old hat – she responded to Helen Smith’s criticism three years ago with similar crocodile tears for the “deep rage” of men, a rage she only discovered after she’d written her article in which she talked to no men.

It’s curious to note that this is the second time in a month (after Amy Chua’s Tiger Mother kerfuffle) that the Wall Street Journal has published a book excerpt to cacophonous criticism, only to backtrack and claim the quoted work is not representative of the book.

SCHEDULING NOTE: A glutton for punishment, Hymowitz will be participating in a WSJ online chat at 2pm ET Thursday, February 24. The stub notes that her article is one of the most commented on in the history of the website. The first comment on the chat room itself speaks well to the situation:

Travis wrote:

Why are women always in such a rush to “settle down”? Why can’t we just enjoy ourselves? Relax and have a beer on the couch with us ladies, and quit nagging. Or go find some wuss you can boss around. Good luck.

THE REAL LESSON OF KNOCKED UP

Aunt Kay made a really big deal of Seth Rogen’s character in the 2007 film “Knocked Up” as prototypical of today’s “child-man” epidemic. She’s giddy about contrasting the dope-smoking layabout with the upwardly-mobile young woman, but her analysis is so shallow and backwards I’m fairly certain she never actually saw the movie.

To review, cable anchor Alison (Katherine Heigl, a character actress who plays hot neurotic women) celebrates a promotion by getting hammered and bringing home Ben (Seth Rogen) for a good rogering. Living off an injury settlement as an illegal immigrant from Canada, Ben is a true omega –  working with his housemates to assemble a porn taxonomy website and crush many bongs of quality hash.

Sure enough, Alison turns up pregnant and regretfully contacts Ben. Contrary to what Hymowitz would have us believe, Ben accepts his responsibilities immediately; implementing those responsibilities is the source of comedy and drama throughout the film, but there’s never any question his heart is squarely in the right place. Thinking it’s the right thing to do, Ben attempts to forge a relationship with Alison, accompanies her on baby-shopping trips and ingratiates himself to her family. He goes so far as to propose to Alison and tell her nieces about it. Meanwhile, although Alison can be excused for being high-strung at the situation, her first concern is herself and her career and at one point she tries to drive the father of her child out of her life. She feigns the trappings of careerist independence (Hymowitz glowingly cites her “clean sheets and towels” – are her standards really that low?) but in fact lives in the poolhouse of her sister’s property and apparently earns her room on family goodwill and occasional nanny services.

In other words, Hymowitz has it completely reversed – Alison’s “got it together” appearance is illusory, and when faced with an existential life challenge Ben doesn’t question stepping up to the job.

The film is pockmarked with classic Apatovian bit characters, including a child-phobic female producer, a wacky on-call obstetrician, assorted stoners, a self-conscious club bouncer and Harold Ramis as Ben’s fancy-free father.

The key supporting characters are Debbie and Pete, Alison’s sister and brother-in-law. Pete is flummoxed and betatized by Debbie’s bitchy, humorless and controlling demeanor. He hoaxes work travel to get away from his wife, using the time to see Spiderman and attend his fantasy baseball draft. Debbie’s view of love is “you tell someone everything that’s wrong with them, and then later they thank you for it.” Pete has a more cynical opinion: “marriage is like that show Everybody Loves Raymond, except it’s not funny.” (In the interest of full disclosure, this portrayal of a dysfunctional marriage was one of the first things that got me really thinking about what’s wrong with today’s SMP.)

While the men go to Vegas to decompress from their respective life pressures, the women are refused entry to a nightclub due to age and pregnancy status by the apologetic doorman who laments he has been made the enforcer of racial quotas.

I laughed my ass off at this movie. I never felt “Knocked Up” was misandrist, sexist or in any other way unfair to its characters. It is a pretty typical coming-of-age type of plot with formulaic contrast against a seemingly-perfect but dysfunctional “normal lifestyle.” It does not speak any better of the power chick or her ball-busting sister than it does of the pothead (it does treat Pete as an innocent man). Hymowitz reads in her own “man bad, woman good” message – the movie is designed to show two people who are really not ready for a situation and how they get through it without winding up like the miserable couple in their midst. Her use of a movie as proof of a phenomenon is silly; by her rationale, the Twilight films are evidence of a plague of vampires infesting our forests.

JUDD APATOW’S HISTORY

As long as we’re on the topic, let’s review “Knocked Up” writer Judd Apatow, the most visible producer of the latter-day “bromance” genre.  Apatow’s first piece was the single-season high school dramedy series “Freaks and Geeks” whose subject matter should be self-explanatory. It captured the heart of anyone who listened to Rush, refused to wear designer clothing or expected their girlfriend to feed their mind as well as their libido.

After the successful “Anchorman,” Apatow broke into auteur status with 2005’s The 40-Year Old Virgin. Andy (Steve Carrell) bikes to his job at a consumer electronics store and seems content to live anonymously. It is revealed that he is in fact a virgin, whose few efforts to play his V-card have been rebuffed. He shares his working life with a compulsive philanderer, a schlubby pickup artist, a pathetic chronic-oneitis basket case and a nymphomaniac boss (Jane Lynch).

Andy is the only fully decent soul in the pack. What has been his reward? Three decades of utter failure with women to the point he has been turned into a non-combatant. Hymowitz would call him a child-man with his fondness for poker, Halo and painting miniatures, but he’s responding to society, not dictating to it. He IS “where all the good men have gone.”

GIVING FEMINISM ITS DUE

Any discussion of gender roles is going to involve feminism, but I do think there’s a place to give feminism a bit of a break as a scapegoat.

Feminism didn’t send American manufacturing jobs offshore, undercutting the blue-collar earning power of the average man. It didn’t (at least at first) co-opt the allegedly conservative churches into a pernicious man-shaming cult, with self-flagellating promise keeper types pledging that they’ll be better betas at home (though this scene is an ugly parallel to college campus DV activism).

Unless you believe Great Books for Men and his Bernankification Theory (lozl), feminism doesn’t control Federal Reserve decisions and trade policies which have a lot to say about which industries (and demographics) are going to be favored in the American economy.

Finally, though reflexively misandrist feminists have their special place in the fiery depths, it’s capitalism as much if not more than feminism that causes marketeers to run sitcoms and consumer ads portraying men as hopeless idiots.

THE COW AND THE MILK – OVERRATED

A considerable portion of responses to Hymowitz’s article are along the lines of “men were better when people didn’t have sex until they were married – why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” This is a typical obligation-masculinity syllogism – “if only men had to WORK for it they’d be better men! We need women to hold out until men ‘commit’ and act the way we want!” It conveniently allows conservative commentators to call for a return to sexual puritanism.

The cow and the milk are a red herring. The issue is not sex per se. It’s sexual attention, and who women choose to give that attention to. The highest level of permissible sex could be caressing a woman’s ankle and we’d still have the conflict of dads versus cads.

That we live in a society that suborns unmarried sexual intercourse is incidental – the freedom of sexual choice, not of sex itself, is what has driven good men to the sidelines of the marketplace in favor of tingle-generating bad boys. So locking up the panties is pointless unless young women are going to change their preferences to men of good character; and if they did that, it wouldn’t matter when they consummated it.

While getting too sexual too early can kill a woman’s image in a man’s eyes, the practice of sexual restraint doesn’t change men’s behavior as much as it screens it, causing fast-lane players to leave the scene in favor of men who prefer sex in the relationship context.

ADVICE FOR WOMEN: WHINING ABOUT COMMITMENT MEANS YOU ARE OVER-INVESTED

In Hymowitz’s debate with Tom Leykis (linked in yesterday’s post) she twice complains about young men’s “unwillingness to commit.” Whether “commitment” means monogamy, marriage, or Sunday brunches is not defined, but we can pretty safely assume she simply means “unwillingness to undertake whatever level of relationship the woman wants” (with the counterpoint that a man who wants more of a relationship than the woman is a controlling stalker).

She is going at the problem backwards.

First, if you are sleeping with a man without monogamy (the lowest level of “commitment”), you’re slutting it up. Period.

Secondly, if you are whining about “commitment,” it’s a sign you are too invested. You are expecting a deeper level of relationship than the man in question is comfortable with, and you are resenting him for it. That doesn’t make him “afraid of commitment,” it simply means he’s choosing to do other things with his time. You need to stop blaming him for a difference of opinion, and get out.

This is another huge contradiction in Hymowitz’s case – if women are unhappy with the quality of men in their dating pool, why are they so hung up on getting the men to “commit” to them? If they’re so miserable with these “child-men,” aren’t the men doing them a favor by giving them a pretext to get out? Sounds like her claim that women today don’t “need” men is empirically false.

QED.

I should have been a trial attorney.

A FALSE ECONOMY

The underlying premise of Hymowitz’s case is that if there were more “good men,” women would choose them. As any pickup artist can tell you, the problem is not the supply of the product – it’s that the product is not in demand. More supply would simply drive down the value of the good man even more.

There are cases where a woman dating a cad is operating from a subconscious program to “tame” a man, to make a feral alpha civilized. This plays on the cultural expectation, propagated by girls-first education and consumer advertising, for women to be “better” than the men they are with.

It doesn’t take a forensic psychologist to understand that it’s a fool’s errand, quite dangerous and deeply misinformed.

It is a pretty lie that “women civilize men.” The promises of patriarchal monogamy civilize men, promises of an equally-ranked sexual partner and the chance to be head of your own filial empire in exchange for enthusiastic contribution to the labor force. The promises are upheld by the approval, threat and shame of other men, not of women. The emasculation and removal of fathers from the home – first in black America, then across the board – has shown that women alone cannot raise boys into men.

People like Hymowitz and Hanna Rosin don’t care about men, they only care what men can do for women. So they cheer when women take the pole position in the workplace and earn more degrees. They don’t get worried about the status of men until incentives (there’s those pesky economics again) ensure that there aren’t enough good mates signing up to be with their pretty little sisters, and even then they only “care” about men’s needs for as long as they need to to get men to do what they want, and then they go back to their victimization or cheerleading (their money or their vast carelessness, to appropriate F. Scott Fitzgerald) depending on the scenario.

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Obligation Masculinity: Kay Hymowitz and Her Clueless Brethren

“Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.” – George Bernard Shaw

The manosphere has fired on all cylinders this week concerning Kay Hymowitz’s forthcoming book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys and Sunday Wall Street Journal article entitled “Where Have All The Good Men Gone?

I first saw discussion of the issue at Dr Helen late last week, and by the time Monday rolled around it had been posted on by Whiskey, Captain Capitalism, Crime & Federalism and Ferdinand Bardamu (the latter in spectacular fashion) and obliquely referenced by Roissy.

It is not what you would call a well-constructed argument. Hymowitz complains that young women are having difficulty finding “quality” men to date and marry – hasn’t this topic been done, I don’t know, every generation since Christ? – and that the solution is that men need to change themselves into something the women want, because otherwise the women will be unhappy. There’s an imperative for men to “man up,” but there’s a seemingly-intentional obfuscation of the underlying issues and there’s no concrete advice for what anybody is supposed to do about it – least of all the men at the center of it. To her, manhood is defined as doing what a woman wants.

I hesitated to even respond to the piece, thinking that not giving such nonsense any attention at all might be the best policy; I have decided that such a misguided work deserved a first-class fisking, the mother of all digital examinations.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: MISANDRIST MENDACITY, AND SLOPPY AT THAT

Hymowitz’s “Real Man” shtick is unabashed shaming, highly solipsistic and a case study in collective projection. If you don’t have time to read the rest of the post you can really stop here. It’s Hannah Rosin’s “The End of Men” with extra shaming and some extremely flimsy cultural commentary mixed in, and is completely oriented towards the interests of women with zero concern for what men might want. Continue reading

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Whiteknighting Beatles

Whiteknighting is really annoying and usually a major Bro Code violation. But I guess when you’re in the most famous band in the world, you can get away with some whiteknight behavior. Hell, getting whiteknighted by the Beatles might actually be a DHV (Eric Clapton might have an interesting perspective on this).

She Loves You

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind.
But now she said she knows
You’re not the hurting kind.

[Sounds like the protagonist is kind of a bad-boy type.]

You know it’s up to you,
I think it’s only fair,
Pride can hurt you, too,
Apologize to her

Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad.
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad. Ooh!

You’re Gonna Lose That Girl

If you don’t take her out tonight,
She’s gonna change her mind,
And I will take her out tonight,
And I will treat her kind.

You’re gonna lose that girl.
You’re gonna lose that girl.

If you don’t treat her right, my friend,
You’re gonna find her gone,
’cause I will treat her right, and then
You’ll be the lonely one.

I’ll make a point
Of taking her away from you, yeah,
(watch what you do)
The way you treat her what else can I do?

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More on Frame and Fitness Testing

SIRENS FROM THE ISLANDS

In a major honor for me, Dave from Hawaii left a comment on yesterday’s post (in which I quoted his “inviting her into my life” elucidation of frame). Part of his comment is a great jumping-off point to the topic of shit testing or fitness testing.

While people refer to shit tests as fitness tests or congruence tests…another good way to think about it is a FRAME test.

She’s testing to see if you are going to maintain your frame – the one she wants to be a part of – of if you’re gonna lose your perspective and get caught up in her frame.

FIT OR BETA

The pathology of fitness testing is oft discussed in the manosphere. (For his part, Roissy has asserted that shit testing is a hardwired biological imperative, part of a woman’s DNA.) A critical realization for men trying to understand female communication is that the fitness test is not about the verbal request – it’s about the subliminal play for dominance and how you respond to it.

Fitness testing as a real test, in the early dating process, is easy to understand – both genders have semi-subconscious ways of evaluating their partner’s biological quality. What makes less sense is why a woman would continue the testing throughout a relationship or a marriage, as innumerable men will attest. Shirley it’s enough to run the tests a few times early, and go on with your mutual life in peace?

Well don’t call me Shirley, I struggled with this question for a while – perhaps a majority of women were irrational and paranoid and insisted on re-qualifying their men more often than you’d change oil? – until I saw a blog post by stagetwo entitled “Rubbing Up Against Your Manhood” that simply and clearly spelled out what’s going on.

The concept of shittest suggests a probing and information-gathering function. Once you’ve passed a sequence of such tests, your manhood should be accepted (or rejected), and the shittesting should end. However, to the extent that the relationship remains sexual in nature, her shittesting, though it might become milder, may never end.

This is because what we call a shittest is not just a test. It is rubbing up against your manhood, and it serves not only to test but also to feel and just enjoy your manhood.

Recall that porn is about physical encounters that reveal the female object’s physical beauty. And romance novels, the female equivalent of porn, are about story, dialogue, emotion, in short: dramatic interactions that reveal the male object’s dominance and power.

Similarly, the female equivalent of rubbing up against your sex [where the male version is sensual touch] is not touching your prick, but creating dramatic interactions that reveal your dominance and power.

So the act of “testing” is not just testing for a resource, it’s utilizing the resource for what she sees as its intended purpose – affirming, comforting and exciting her in a frame in which she feels comfortable.

This explanation is so brilliant and yet so intuitive I don’t know why I had never seen it laid out like this before. What’s the point of testing if you’re not going to use the skills you test for? (Bio-focused people would probably say that the resource is “cashed in” when the woman bears the man’s progeny, genetic fitness being the motivation for the test in the first place. However, humans are interesting and complex creatures, and a single action often underwrites biological, social AND intellectual motivations.)

For the sake of re-emphasis, it might help to re-frame the issue, no pun intended. Have you ever had a friend who had an animus about a benign topic? And have you ever intentionally teased or provoked this person, just to see them launch into a tirade about Sam Bowie being drafted ahead of Michael Jordan, or the cable company, or their least favorite airline, or Carrie Bradshaw’s shoes? (That last one was for the women reading.) And you chuckle and give them an understanding wink for bringing some humor to your day, even if they had to be goaded into it.

That, my friends, is exactly what’s going on with shit testing. Failing one is like refusing to tell a funny joke when set up, it disappoints the audience and they (she) will lose faith in you.

Of course, if you’re funny on a regular basis, people won’t ask you to tell jokes – you’ve done it before they have time to ask. That goes for shit testing too.

LOOK AT ME

I’d be remiss if I closed out the topic without this clip. The cultivation of frame was a major plot point in the 1995 crime farce Get Shorty.

 

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Beta Guide: Inviting Her Into Your Life

The concept of the frame is a key one in the world of game. Frame is the conviction of one’s value, the assertion of your confidence. Because so much of attractiveness and social dominance flow from this conviction, it could be argued that frame is the One Truth of Game. A good frame can cover up a lot of tactical mistakes. (Both the psychological and the physical frame are equally crucial, because humans have specialized hardware designed to infer one from the other.)

Perhaps the best ever description of frame came from the pseudonymous commenter Dave from Hawaii, featured in Roissy’s “Relationship Game Week” two years ago (emphasis mine):

She has always been sweet and feminine the entire time we were dating…but than, when we were dating, I was a young man with goals, ambitions, direction. I had a mission, and I put it first. I went to school full time, I worked full time to support myself, and I trained martial arts and was an avid hunter. My time was full, and when I fit her into my schedule, I would invite her into my world, and take the lead and I was anything but “beta” when we were dating. I was decisive, confident, and a little bit cocky. Call it “subconscious game.” I always took the lead and she willingly and happily followed.

“Dave” became a minor sensation in the manosphere as one of the first men to publicize his use of game to rescue his marriage, which he said had “teetered towards divorce more than a few times.” Predictably, “Dave” had abandoned his frame as his married life went on in favor of supplicating people-pleasing and outsourcing day-to-day decisions to his wife who clearly had no interest in making them. She responded with fitness testing, a pointed lack of enthusiasm and trash-talking the marriage around town. After red-pilling and applying some frame, he’s a marital success story. His story may be the single most important post ever issued by Roissy.

The thing about frame, aside from having it, is that when you let someone in, it’s clear you are doing them a favor of sorts. You are giving them a piece of your high-value time and attention. Forget what type of frame you are actually projecting; simply HAVING the frame makes you a higher-value item. Confidence is deeply attractive, and even with game spreading in society, there are not that many men with good frame. Lots of people are followers, and beyond that you’ve got insufferable white knights who fake frame when they have social top cover.

“Inviting her into your world” is exactly what a good frame is about. You aren’t bossing anybody around (Dave dealt with haters arguing this straw man). You aren’t imposing your will against anybody else’s. You are just not going to be sacrificing who you are for the pleasure of some other person’s company.

Don’t lose your frame.

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Valentine’s Day Follow-Up

Friday’s post on the cultural vacuity of Valentine’s Day drew a number of very good comments and pingbacks and pointed me to a few more factors worth discussing.

ADVICE FOR THE LADIES

lifeinlonglegs penned a great list of do’s and don’ts for treating your man on V-Day. Her ideas ran from go kart outings and shooting ranges to tasty steak and a massage from his lady, but all shared the context of playing to his alpha side – telling him it’s OK to be a man and that she loves him for it. Her list of don’ts included chocolate, flowers, clothing or watches (giving personal appearance items can come across as a passive-aggressive nag), passing off cooking as a romantic gift, forced couple-building or proposal pressure.

Cheap or expensive: the key thing is that whatever gift you choose is something manly [think adventurous, dangerous, rare, powerful, sexy, intellectual, strong] and something that reflects his tastes and interests rather than yours.

Amen.

THE V-DAY GUILT COMPLEX

Somewhere amidst the Take Back the Night marches that have become de rigueur for activism across college campuses was the re-branding of Valentine’s Day as “V-Day,” an anti-domestic violence movement spearheaded by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler. In a 2001 Salon piece, contrarian feminist Camille Paglia blasted Ensler’s work as “a reactionary piece of victim-obsessed paleofeminism” and went on to deride V-Day as a massive collective guilt exercise that would harm young women at their most crucial moments of sexual identification. Paglia quotes at length Betty Dodson, an early sex-pozzie who alleges that Ensler stole her Bodysex Workshop concept and twisted it into a cheap and destructive pep rally.

The format for “The Vagina Monologues” had dramatically changed. The audience was brought to a delirious high during the first half only to be dashed into hopeless despair during the second half. We were plunged down, drowning in a sea filled with the horrors of sexual violence against women…

“V” no longer stood for vagina. It stood for violence. Sex and violence, never sex and pleasure. Talking about sexual pleasure when there is so much sexual violence against women would be inappropriate, insensitive and politically incorrect. And who is to blame for all the sexual violence against women? According to Ms. and other fundamentalist feminists, it’s still the patriarchy…. That night I wondered how men in the audience felt after being nailed as “the enemy.” It’s my bet that the men attending V-Day were all staunch supporters of equal rights for women. But here they were, faced with the same old male-bashing of the sixties and seventies.

It’s very difficult to criticize V-Day without sounding anti-woman or pro-violence. Dare we ask why so many feminists think women have cornered the market on being victimized by violence? Will we sound too insensitive in mentioning the violence caused by poverty, hunger, and wars that affect women, men and children of both genders? Are we to ignore all the wives who verbally abuse and dominate husbands? Shall we pretend there are no mothers who all too frequently raise a hand to punish their children?

Eve is no longer the disarming young woman delivering her monologues. She has become an evangelical minister shouting and gesturing and admonishing us to demand an end to violence against women, as the crowd roars in agreement. Toward the end of the evening, Eve asked everyone who’d ever been raped to stand up. There was a smattering of women standing where I was sitting. Then she asked for those women who had been beaten to stand. Many more stood up. Finally she asked all those to stand who knew any woman who’d been raped or beaten, which included most of the audience. I refused to stand as an insignificant protest, knowing she would never ask those of us who had never been raped or beaten and who loved having orgasms to stand.

That’s the main problem with V-Day. Women end up celebrating sexual violence and not the creative or regenerative pleasures of erotic love. Ending violence is a worthy cause, and I’m all for it. But consistently equating sex with violence offers no solution.

GAMING THE HOLIDAY

I put forth two strategies against Valentine’s Day nonsense in the original post, collaboration and resistance. I guess protest is beta – the inimitable Roissy printed a reader email advocating insurgency tactics to use the romantic hype of the holiday against itself:

1. Ditch the cologne, a tiny bit of ladies’ perfume on the neck is the way to go. (Make sure you hug her close!) You could also put lipstick on your collar, but less is more- it has to be barely perceptible to work.

2. If you’ll be with her in a not-too-noisy venue and it’s late at night (after 11pm or so) have your phone’s alarm feature  set up to ring several times at random. The hamster will wonder who the fuck is trying to get a hold you at this hour. Change the subject when she asks who’s calling.

9. And finally – My all time super duper favorite-ist opener in the whoooole wide world:

“Did you just grab my ass?”

And no, she doesn’t have to be standing behind you for it to work, you can walk clear across the room and spit this.

He does note that #1 and #2 are high-risk alpha-only moves not for LTR use. Said reader also penned the most mindblowing thing I read over the weekend:

3. When your body language, eye contact, etc. is solid, you can get away with ANYTHING. I’ve closed a girl having inviting her to a Warcraft LAN party…

…not including the NSFW emoticon introduced in item #7, possibly the most alpha nuclear response to an electronic fitness test ever developed. (One wonders what might have been had the Egyptian protesters mass-texted to Mubarak instead of going Woodstock in Tahrir Square.)

Profit idea: I would pay serious money – like Super Bowl ticket prices – to watch Paglia and Roissy have a three-martini lunch over closed circuit television.

META

Heartfelt thanks to the readership and link referrals, which pushed the number of daily hits to a Badger-record 343 on Sunday Feb 13th. I could say I wasn’t counting, but as long as the numbers keep going up I know I’m reaching people.

Added to the blogroll are the excellent Keoni Galt (Hawaiian Libertarian), nobody’s beta, and Aunt Haley (Haley’s Halo), a woman who gets it. I’ll have more of them to talk about in later posts.

Now, if you have somebody to love today, forget the hype – and simply love them.

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Filed under beta guide, girl guide, junk culture

Beta Guide: Observe From Afar

[PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Beta Guide series advises men on strategy and tactics to improve their SMP value and help them live better, more fulfilling lives.]

If you are looking to improve your natural social ability, a great compliment to actual social interaction and “field work” is observing other people in their natural habitat and taking note of their social cues and body language – without the benefit of hearing the words they speak. It doesn’t take long before you can watch a man approach and know she’s going to shoot him down before he even says a word.

Watching a TV program with the sound off is a great way to develop this skill, and it’s amazing how quickly you can pick up the body cues when your brain is no longer inundated with constant chatter. It makes sense we’d have specialized hardware for it, we humans almost certainly inherited primate social structures and cues long before we developed communicative language abilities.

You know, why don’t you try it with meekakitty’s encore message following her “Star Trek Girl” music video (I happened to see it when my computer was muted). Skip past the music to 3:39 and watch her address with the sound off.

Notice the welcoming eye contact, firm but relaxed posture, tactical head movements, bold arm and hand motions and expressive facial moves. You don’t even have to hear what she’s saying to know it’s exciting, inviting and high-energy. (Watch for her break in character at 4:33 that almost undoes the whole sequence.)

It’s a general tendency to vastly underestimate nonverbal communication and focus on words, but we are deeply programmed to read and present with body language; those who develop good people skills understand when to leverage words and when speaking is just a pretext to perform a social valuation ritual.

For another way to look at it, consider a dog (or its ancestor the wolf). Dogs are experts at ascertaining pack structures from posture and arrangement. It’s critical for their survival – a dog needs to be able to tell if he’s in danger from another dog, and if it’s safe to approach he needs to know where he’s going to fit in the pack when he gets there.

Modern society has culturally “bred” a lot of that ability out of us, so it’s no surprise the gamers immediately picked up on the smile, the touch and the physical frame as much as openers and negs as key tools in a skilled man’s arsenal.

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Filed under beta guide, media

Reflections on Valentine’s Day

I could go on at great length about the manifold dynamics of Valentine’s Day, but I’m going to stick to a few basic points.

1. Without a doubt, American Valentine’s Day marketing both drives and reflects sexist entitlement. Women are expected to expect – to expect material goods, expensive dinners, surprise getaways and pedestalizing deference. Like snotty kids on Christmas morning, they are told to compare their hauls against their girlfriends’, and if theirs does not measure up they are entitled to be angry and exasperated at their men.

If you think that’s bad, the images sent to and about men are breathtaking:

  • Men are not to expect any gifts or expressions of love; if a man does a good job putting on a show, his woman (can’t call this type of woman a lady) might consider reciprocating.
  • Men must express their love through the spending of money
  • Men are constitutionally defective and unable to “romantically communicate” to their women.
  • Men should feel lucky a woman has allowed him to spend time with her, and they should show it by lavishing supplication.
  • For those ads that suggest a woman deign to show her love through the act of sex, it’s communicated that strategically-utilized money will get a man good sex.

A hypothesis: Belief in an entitled, one-sided view of Valentine’s Day correlates with future Bridezilla tendencies; likewise a man’s gamey ability to assert himself against such a pervasive a one-sided caricature of romance correlates with his chance of having a rewarding long-term relationship.

2. Valentine’s Day should be unnecessary. If your relationship is reasonably romantic throughout the year, a day of expected “romance” should be superfluous. You can have a “Valentine’s Day” any day you want! And it will be even more meaningful because it wasn’t placed on the calendar by a stationery printer. Not to mention that it’s not realistic to expect to turn on the sexy moves one day a year after going ghost the other 364. Besides, every couple has an anniversary which provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate your togetherness.

3. There is nothing romantic about an obligatory, non-mutual “romantic” holiday. If your heart is warmed by expressions of “love” that are the result of social coercion, you’re not really accepting love – it’s more like a power trip where you derive satisfaction from being groveled at. (You might be the type to wear a tshirt like this.) A voluntary shower of thoughtful, romantic attention can be a sexy move because a high-status guy has other things to do with his day, and the minor sacrifice he makes to show you extra attention shows he judges you to be of high value. But obligated “romance” enjoins none of the thoughtfulness or sacrifice – it’s just the cost of doing business. (When’s the last time you heard an MBA say that sunk costs were romantic?) And a guy who experiences one-sided expectations, who puts in the effort and doesn’t get any appreciation for it but is told “you’re just SUPPOSED to do that ’cause you’re the man!” is with a woman who wants to kill her own libido since women don’t find chumps attractive.

I don’t want to belabor the point, but further killing the true romance factor is the fact that Valentine’s Day is a high holy day of female intrasexual competition and petty envy – from who woke up to a special breakfast, to who got something delivered at the office, to who went to what restaurant or picnic spot in the evening, to who got the hottest jewelry or lingerie. (I’d like to know if women compete the day after regarding whose husband gave her the most mind-blowing orgasm.)

4. The degree to which the media onslaught has brainwashed people is epidemic. I clicked on a link about Valentine’s Day that took me to a personal banking website – “What Women Really Want on Valentine’s Day.” Why a site that collates loan rates and writes how-tos on mortgage refinancing felt the need to post on romance I don’t know, but it was a harbinger of un-wisdom. It began with warnings about thoughtless and “gift-challenged” men (a big reason men kowtow to this stuff is they don’t want to be judged as brutes) and was the same predictable boilerplate about how men have to “make her feel special.” It’s not that the advice itself was all that bad, but notably absent (manosphere readers will know exactly what’s coming) was any discussion AT ALL of what women could do to show love for their men, or any implication that a man should expect any romantic gestures on her part.

Hoping I had simply missed a link to the post’s counterpart, I emailed the editor to ask if they had a balanced viewpoint:

Hello,

I was wondering where your story was on what women can get men for Valentine’s Day? It’s not linked from the “What Women Really Want on Valentine’s Day” post.

-The Badger
http://badgerhut.wordpress.com/

The editor was kind enough to reply, which I quite appreciated:
Hi there,
Maybe we’ve got a broken link somewhere. Where is the link that you’re trying to click on? Let me know as soon as you can so I can let the right people know what the problem is so it can get resolved.
Thanks for letting us know,
Clark Palmer
Editorial content
In the meantime, here’s the story: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20060206a1.asp
As you can see he either misread my email, or it never occured to him that I might actually be looking for a post giving Valentine’s Day advice to women. I never heard back after this reply:
Clark,
Thanks for the reply. The link I’m looking for doesn’t appear to be on the site at all. The post on “what women really want on Valentine’s Day” has links below it to:
-“Valentine’s Day do’s and don’ts for guys,” a post by a man lecturing other men on how dumb they are
-“Readers reminisce: my romantic gift,” a compendium of eleven Valentine’s Day anecdotes – only one of which concerned a man receiving something from his lady
Surely you’ve posted at least one story about what women can do on Valentine’s Day for the men in their lives?
Thanks,

Fortunately, another money blog has a much sounder view. Valentine’s Day heads Erik Folgate’s “10 Dates to Remember That Will Save You Money.” Not only is it arguing for good financial sense, but save for a quick paeon to women’s Valentine’s Day dreams (which is good writing to play to the audience before challenging their worldview) there’s no implication that one side is doing all the spending, or loving.

February 14th: Skip it, and you’ll save a lot of money.  Ladies, before you take my head off, hear me out.  If you want to go out and celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, just do it a few days before or after the actual date.  On the actual day, Valentine’s Day has ridiculously overpriced flowers and restaurants love to pin you down to an all-inclusive 4 course meal for a flat price.  If you want to celebrate, there’s no need to do it on the 14th.

COLLABORATION AND RESISTANCE

As readers can tell, I have a decidedly negative view of the idea that one can be coerced and shamed into love and generosity. It’s not just that supplication is a bad relationship strategy. It’s that I feel as though I am collaborating with the Matrix by giving in to social pressures of obligation – buying into a deeply destructive cultural mythology, that men are dim and cold and lack the ability to express their emotions or communicate to women, that they are lucky to have a woman who wants to be with them and that they have to make recompense to their women on Valentine’s Day for putting up with them the rest of the year.

NOMANCE DAY

Leader of the resistance is the outspoken activist Marc Rudov, the self-styled “No Nonsense Man.” Rudov has garnered significant publicity for his “Nomance Day” boycott. His arguments for mutual, sponatenous, voluntary romance have spawned a predictable phalanx of unhinged haters saying he is an incorrigible sexist, a loser or just doesn’t want to spend any money. Rudov hasn’t gone so far as to advocate skittling (discussed for LTR here), but he’s still building his brand.

I would be curious to hear from stateside non-Americans (paging Athol Kay) about whether this exists elsewhere, and if not, how they have reacted to the idea of a hyper-commercialized mandatory romance day. Someone who didn’t grow up in the USA certainly has a lot more credibilty to say “what?? I’m not participating in this madness!”

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Filed under junk culture, original research