Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sexy Music: “The Girl From Ipanema”

I don’t want to write much and take away from the power of the piece, but when I happened upon “The Girl From Ipanema” in my buddy’s mp3 collection, I knew I had found an all-time classic. Describing the daily stroll of a real-life teenage beauty in Rio de Janeiro, “The Girl From Ipanema” instantly earned its place as one of the timeless standards from the short-lived but well-remembered 1960’s heydey of the bossa nova sound.

The song’s sparse arrangement – a rhythmic classical guitar and a subtle jazz drum kit with accents of piano – builds gradually to accommodate male (Joao Gilberto) and female (Astrud Gilberto) vocal performances in Portuguese and English respectively and a soaring saxophone solo by Stan Getz.

(This is the long-form, bilingual album version.)

As a personal aside, thanks in part to this YouTube, I recently learned to play the song on the guitar.

It’s not a novice piece, but oddly enough, thanks to my long-time scholarship of the music of the Police and their harmonically expressive guitar work, the chordal subtleties came easily to me.

I was actually playing it this morning before I went to work. I’m telling you right now, just playing that song makes you feel sexy.

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Alpha Move: Do Everything Slower

Part of building my game over the past year or two has been developing a bold, deliberate physical style. The number one way I have done this is making an effort to slow down my gait and my physical gestures. I’ve found, even, that slowing down physically helps slow down my limbic system reactions, giving my rational side more time to work in high-pressure situations (more on that later).

Part of this project comes from a pair of anecdotal lessons.

The first was a college roommate of mine. He was very tall with a husky frame, but he had a dynamic and almost spastic physical mode. It was incongruent with his body, which was a good match for a strong silent type act, and sometimes threw off the “creepy” vibes.

The second was my mentor from my first real job. A middle-aged man who moonlighted as a preacher, he was the type of guy who would listen quietly during an hour-long meeting, render his considered opinion in less than two minutes and walk out with everybody thinking he had owned the room. The comfort and trust he engendered by not being overbearing, and the gravity of his pithy observations, allowed him to exert considerable soft power around the team.

Like these men, I am a tall figure with a deep resonant voice, and from their examples I learned that I filled frame-space naturally, and had less of a need to express dominance with words and our gestures. Another coworker of mine who was 5’3″ had women chasing him around the office thanks to his latent-asshole Danny DeVito shtick. He needed a complicated social persona because his body didn’t provide it for him.

The irony of this is that I didn’t realize until much later than I should have that my height and voice were great gifts, and so spent much of my beta days slouched over and modulating my voice to avoid what I perceived as the awkwardness of my baritonic pipes. Most critically, I was always working to gain status by other means (by talking up my personality or my intelligence or accomplishments), which in retrospect came off as insecure and try-hard.

I work this skill by focusing on standing tall and taking slow strides with long steps. When I’m asked to do something, I do it without looking as though I’m in a hurry to snap to their attention, and when I’m conversing I move my head and my facial reactions with marked relaxation. Being non-reactive is a proxy for outcome independence, which introduces contrast when you actually do act with great haste. If people see me really excited or walking (or talking) quickly, they know it must be serious.

As I mentioned above, moving slower helps my reaction time slow down. This sounds bad – you don’t want your mind to slow down, do you? – but it’s actually useful. What you’re doing is slowing down your visceral response system, so your rational mind has more space. If you find yourself getting quickly angry or sad or butthurt or whatever, it’s good to be able to suspend that so it doesn’t cloud the rest of the conversation. As your now-better-employed mind learns the right touch, you can reintroduce fast reaction where appropriate, but you can be confident you’re always a step ahead of others because they’re reacting while you’re thinking, and you have a much better idea of what they’re about than the other way around.

One way you can practice a non-plussed demeanor is to rehearse the lines in this post, in which radio host Tom Leykis teases and eggs on a drunken caller.

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Metric’s “Combat Baby”: Anthem for a Dominance-Seeking Dopamine Addict

I have been all over the Canadian band Metric for the past couple of weeks, and their frenetic track “Combat Baby” hit home for me in a few ways.

I recall clearly the first time I heard this song years ago. I was driving back to MadTown from Iowa City where I had visited some friends at the U of I. I tuned into the campus radio station and heard this fireball of energy. I called up the station and being a college station my call went direct right to the DJ, who told me who it was.

I later rang up a Canadian friend who told me “oh yeah, I know all aboot them. Metric is great. They’re huge up here in Toronto.” Eh.

If you want a, ahem, better look at Metric frontwoman Emily Haines, check this live video out (whatever you do, don’t skip to 3:02):

It’s a rather sophisticated song, highlighting lyrical syncopation, liberal slant rhyme (“combat” and “come back,” “baby”/”lethargy”/”easy”), blending of figurative and literal language (“they try to kick it, their feet fall asleep”) and the use of blue notes.

METRIC LESSONS

The song itself rather clearly describes a woman who digs the excitement of arguing and of lively personalities, and wants and to be dominated. (I take the term “fighting” as figurative).

We used to leave the blue lights on and there was a beat
Ever since you have been gone it’s all caffeine-free
Faux punk fatigues
Said it all before
They try to kick it, their feet fall asleep
Get no harm done no
None of them want to fight me

[chorus]
Combat baby come back baby
Fight off the lethargy
Don’t go quietly
Combat baby
Said you would never give up easy
Combat baby come back
[/chorus]

Get back in town, I wanna paint it black
Wanna get around
Easy living crowd so flat
Said it all before
They try to kick it, their feet fall asleep
I want to be wrong but
No one here wants to fight me like you do

[chorus]

I try to be so nice
Compromise
Who gets it good?
Every mighty mild seventies child
Every mighty mild seventies child
Beats me

Do doo doo doo

Combat baby come back baby
Combat baby come back
Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye baby
Combat baby come back

How I miss your ranting
Do you miss my all time lows

One-offs on this topic: Susan Walsh has more than once referenced “starting a fight just to get the makeup sex.” Athol Kay has translated a woman’s complaint of “I’m bored” as “I need some dopamine, can you give me some?” Brendan spoke to “mediocrity” in relationships in terms of lack of emotional intensity.

Back in my days as a musician, I was exposed to a few teenage punk-rocker-girl types. They were fascinating, and I was totally unable to handle them at the time, but there was also something really shallow about them. All flash and no bacon, able to cop an attitude and push against authority but lacking any alternate ethos in its place. The typical frame was that of Rayanne Graf from “My So-Called Life” – a world without walls, with lots of heat and light, but no constructive movement.

There’s a reason there are so few long-term-successful punks. It’s both rare to have that level of artistic talent to being with, and hard to balance the requisite angst with the discipline you need to write, record and tour (the downfall of countless garage bands). It’s a fundamentally self-limiting genre, as evidenced by the number of para-punk musicians that shifted to the nascent New Wave sound in the early 1980’s (John Lydon and the Police come to mind).

STRANGE TIMES

For a song that wasn’t written until most of it was over, “Combat Baby” clicked with more than one piece of my life (it’s such a great quirk of art and music that people we’ve never met can create things that speak to us so well).

As I’ve moved several times over my life, I resonated with the theme of missing a friend who really lit your fire, and as an out-of-the-closet Type A personality, I suffer when I don’t have equally intense people around me. (Revving down my engine has been a point of improvement for me for years, to much success, I’m proud to say.)

My first year of graduate school was very tough, so much so that I refer to it as “the lost year,” and I’ve come to understand that a large part of the angst was sheer boredom. I moved to graduate school straight out of undergrad, going from a tight-knit city college atmosphere to a hollow and mutually fearful enterprise of students who didn’t really know where they were going. The median level of social skills took a huge hit, shrinking my pool of possible friends, and we were spread all over town without the ability to centrally socialize. A lot of my classmates didn’t speak passable English and socialized in their own ethnic groups including professors. I went from a full academic schedule, plus labs and organized activities, to having less than eight hours of class a week, and there was certainly not enough homework to keep my mind occupied.

How desperate I was for someone to make it interesting, to care about what I had to say and to say something worth caring about. (I found her eventually, and then let her break my heart twice, but that’s another story.) “Combat Baby” speaks to my longing for someone to, for lack of a better term, fight me.

As it was, I gradually crept into a pool of friendships based on mutual but unacknowledged misery, which crescendoed with us all hitting bottom simultaneously that spring. In short, two girls both got dumped within a few weeks of each other, a guy broke up with his long-distance girlfriend to date one of the aforementioned women, I fell in love with an unavailable emotional basketcase and botched my chance to get her, one of the gals started smoking again to her deep disappointment, somebody got divorced, two of the alpha-type leaders of our social group graduated, and one guy got fired from his job due to a clerical issue just days before he started .

I self-styled myself as our cohort’s company medic, treating their emotional wounds but allowing them to infect me in the process, but that was a bunch of mental bravado – I was suffering just like they were and didn’t want to admit it, and talked myself into a story that made me both hero and victim. It was all a surreal experience. Most of us made it out OK eventually, but it was a very long year.

EMOTIONAL SPONGES

The ending couplet:

How I miss your ranting
Do you miss my all time lows

reminds me strongly of my first relationship – a literate but arrogant man (rants) and a spirited but depressive woman (lows). We were great complements and heartfelt outlets for each other’s emotional energy, and our relationship worked in part because we were the only ones the other felt comfortable enough around to share those sides of ourselves. So the intimacy was very deep but by the same token very unstable.

It eventually did us in, as soon as the relationship tipped in the downward direction it quickly lost steam and burned out. Neither of us even mildly entertained the idea of getting back together, but we stayed in touch and continued to grate on each other’s nerves. Neither of us dated for a while. She had a few first-base hookups, and I flirted with oneitis for a couple of women I now know would have been horrible choices for the Badgerette, and also had a hilariously disastrous three-week fling with a fan of a rival college team.

It wasn’t until she started dating the man she eventually married, a guy who was able to sublimate her animus without bearing the brunt of it, that we became real friends again. So much so that she served as a personal advisor during the Lost Year, and I helped her through a brief breakup with her future husband. Even though it didn’t work out, I certainly am thankful for the experience, and she was too, eventually.

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Happy Birthday to the Badger Hut

I opened this blog a year ago today. By the time this goes live I will have had 320,000 views and over 4,000 comments.

More importantly, I’ve made a lot of good blog friends and if the comments and reader email are any guide helped a lot of people out.

HOW A WILL BECOMES A BLOG

This parallels advice I gave to a reader who asked for tips on starting his own blog, when I took him through my journey to the printed page.

1. Lots of commenting. I started blogging in earnest after about a year and a half of hanging around the Manosphere, reading everything I could and engaging with the very best writers and thinkers, debating, disagreeing and developing ideas. So when I finally hung out my own shingle, a lot of my growing pains as a thinker and writer in this space were worked out, and I had a whole bunch of people who already knew what I was about who became zero-day subscribers.

2. In tandem with commenting, I started writing down every time I had the thought “that would make a good blog post.” I did that for a month or so and before I knew it I had a spreadsheet of 250 would-be posts. That was when I knew I could do it, because I’d never run out of things to talk about. Interestingly, probably 10% of those topics at most have become published posts; I’ve been overwhelmed with topics to post on.

3. I already had a theme and a persona, and thankfully it didn’t bind me to any mindset. I’m not SingleGuy2011, BetaNoMore, PussyPounder or any other handle/theme that boxes me into a corner like all these single-girl blogs do. I’m just the Badger, a dude with an opinion – my credibility as a writer doesn’t depend on my age, life state or relationship status, and conversely I am not committed to an identity that might keep my real-life self from changing things up. (The power of psychological commitment is strong.)

3. I created a bullpen of posts to lessen the pressure of daily writing once I had gone live. I set a goal of having 20 posts written before I would launch the blog. I went to the library for a few days and wrote them all up from ideas I had percolated for months. (Admittedly I was on vacation for part of the time.) When I had all 20, I secured the blog domain and pasted one in.

4. Once I launched, I followed up point (1) – engaging with the readership and with like-minded blogs. I created conversations in the comments, traded email with other bloggers, used their comments as post fodder. I cultivated a good blogroll, linked to their posts, and comment at their place.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED IN THE LAST YEAR

I dig writing. I got into blogging because I had things I wanted to say. But I discovered the process of creating, proofing and publishing the ideas was as fulfilling to me as communicating the ideas themselves. I really enjoy arranging the paragraphs, coming up with little turns of phrase, and thinking about which reader will be touched by which concept I’ve elucidated. One of the most important things I’ve learned is letting go of and deleting a nicely-sculpted piece of prose that just doesn’t fit in the post I’m writing.

Despite being a longtime musician I am completely without muse when it comes to writing music. However, prose verily spills out of me every hour of the day. I used to avoid the writer tag, with thoughts of unemployed hipsters and barristos gallivanting around town telling people they were “writers” when what they were really doing was method-acting Ernest Hemingway’s alcohol-soaked lifestyle. But I’ve come around and even integrated it into my game. Now when a woman asks me about my work, I say “well I do _____, but what I really want to do is write.” This usually gets them asking more, and I lay on them my plan to become the first successful author of romance novels written for men.

Find the weak parts of your game and make them a priority. For me, my game was held back by not meeting enough women and not having enough things to do outside of work and home (so as to invite her into my life), so even though I had strong game and value, I lacked a platform on which to execute it. I eventually enlisted friends who were up for getting out of the house more and dedicated myself to approach count goals that got me moving.

Get enough sleep. This cannot be mis-overemphasized. When you don’t sleep consistently and enough, your performance for everything (work, sports, happiness, game) will suffer. Setting a time to get up in the morning every day seems to work better than having a standard bedtime; if you stick to it, your body will just make you tired when you need to hit the sack. Listen to it.

Have an accomplishment or vacation goal for the year. Pick a place you want to go, or something you want to check off your life list (climbing a mountain, a tour of whiskey distilleries, scuba diving, whatever). The people I socialize with, we rarely take vacations the way we should. Make plans to make sure you’re getting out of town if you can and experiencing big new things.

Get the right people around you. The folks you surround yourself with influence your worldview and behavior. Their behaviors get normalized in your mind. The time you spend with them is time you can’t use elsewhere, so make it count.

Are your friends not on the same page as you with regard to lifestyle and goals? Maybe they want to loaf while you’re up for more, or you want relaxation time and they are too type-A go-go-go. Do you have a roommate who’s slutty, or insufferably omega, or hates your significant other or plays passive-aggressive power games like leaving a half-serving of milk in the jug so they don’t have to throw it out?

Consider toning it down with these people or bagging them entirely. I have noticed especially among women there is this misplaced concept of loyalty based on past relationship, that because you and Stacy grew up on the same block you’re ethically required to show up to her girls’ nights out when you’re 25.

Life is really too short for this crap. There are always new friends to be made, but you can’t do that until you make some time for it. Moving several times has done a good job of excising bad friends from my day-to-day life, but I’ve also just come to accept that I can’t keep constant contact with all of my friends from elementary school on up to right now; Facebook et al is deceptive that way in making us believe we’re managing real friendships instead of prosaic status updates.

Aggressively inventory your time. I am naturally frugal, so money mis-spending has never been a big problem. I have found, however, that time is always scarce, and that I am adept at mismanaging it. Is that hour watching SportsCenter contributing to your life more than an hour of reading a classic book? How about the time you spend reading and commenting on blogs? (Gulp.) Is that particular blog adding enough to your mental life, or is it time to bump it off the RSS reader?

You can play this with all sorts of things – driving versus public transit (and the time versus relaxation factor), how and when you get food, your shopping habits (lots of time can be saved by optimizing trips or ordering online). When you start doing one of those things you declared a waste of time, stop yourself and say “I have better uses for my time.”

Decide where “good enough” is, and stop there. I have cultivated the skill of managing my own expectations and deciding when I’ve reached an adequate point of accomplishment on a hobby or task. I am one of those people who compulsively wants to be the best at everything he does, so it’s been a many-years process of accepting the point of diminishing returns, and realizing that I don’t have 10,000 hours many times over to become an expert in everything I do.

One example is exercise. I’d like to be in better health, but trial and error found that two to three half-hour workouts a week, plus a weekend bike ride and some discipline in my (paleo) diet, got me where I wanted to be healthwise.

Consume good media. There’s plenty of junk culture out there, and plenty of good stuff for your melon. Optimize the latter. “Veronica Mars” was an excellent use of my media-watching time (and it will be for yours too). I’ve been watching the “Mad Men” series a few episodes at a time. The entirety of “Friday Night Lights” is next.

I’ve finally read some of the classic fiction works I’ve been hoping to get to, with more on the way.

Think of the kind of place where the people you want to be around would go, and go there. Tying this all together is spending the time you have doing things you want to do at a level you’re comfortable with, with people you want to be around.

Since I was in college these have included townie bars, coffee shops, high school football games (a great way to meet coaches scouting the opponent), independent theaters, libraries, bike shops and gyms, more than one church, historical society events, meetups for various intellectual niches, even blogs.

Thank you, readers, for all your support.

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Happy Birthday to the Badger Hut, Part 2: Best Posts

Continuing from here, I’ve listed the posts of the past year I think are especially interesting or worthwhile. Enjoy.

Hamster’s Razor
Beta Guide: Inviting Her Into Your Life
Obligation Masculinity: Kay Hymowitz and Her Clueless Brethren / Kay Hymowitz, Round Two
What Men Want
Marriage Is Part Of Parenting
Social Prestige Versus Social Dominance
It’s OK To Please Your Man
Just Be (A Better Version of) Yourself: An Addendum to Friday’s Pep Talk
“The Married Man Sex Life Primer” And Its Use For The Unmarried Man
Moving On And When To Do It / On Modern Manhood, and Updates to Yesterday’s Post
Michelle Langley and “Women’s Infidelity” on the Tom Leykis Show
A Long-Overdue Reply to Bb Re: Entitled Wives
Ladder Theory For Men
Room To Breathe
Guest Post: Forks in the Road
Young Life Advice From Roosh
Two Encounters This Week
What Modern Men Need To Hear
Just Go After Whoever You’re Interested in
150 Years of the Civil War
Real Men Of Alpha: The Moon Landings
First World Problems (an ongoing series)
Defining Ballbusters, And In Defense Of A Woman’s “Accomplishments”
Reflections on Frost’s Analysis of the Sexual Revolution
The #1 Game Question for Guys
Primary Source Material: The Hot-Crazy Scale (my most frequent search term)
Limey
Cattiness and the Un-Selected Man / Further Thoughts on the Bereznak-Finkel Kerfuffle
Has The Term “Game” Jumped The Shark?
A Low-Touch Culture Leads To Widespread Game Deficiency
Scientific Evidence for the Game Effectiveness of Kino
Possession
Spinster Math
Mini-Field Report: When She Isolates
The Mathematics of Love Are Mysterious
An Elder’s Wisdom on Mediocrity and Marriage
Faking An Affair With Your Spouse For Fun And Profit
“How Do You Like Being Married?”
The Funniest Search Term Yet
Clueless SoCons, Redux
Date Bombs
AMOGing and Apples
How To Find Good Men
Caring For Your Introvert
Rivelino on Male Guilt
Hot Geeks of Television
Stop Denying the Alpha-Beta Paradigm
I’m Just Sayin’
Gaming the Group
Pressure-Free Fun, Received Boomerism and the Fear of Failure
Rock and Roll Dreams
The Bro Zone
You Are Cleared For Approach
The Path Forward for the Sexual Marketplace
Irish Breakfast
Breaking Out Of His Conversation Cave
Travel Encounter
A Christmas Wish: Correct Use of Terminology
Damn You SnorgTees
Should You Change Your Scenery To Up Your Game?
Bizarre Encounter With A Married Over-Sharer / Exegesis on the Married Over-Sharer
Elle Woods Works The Preselection
Haley on Titanic, and Alpha and Beta
Assanova’s Four Moods
A Reply To Cadence on Sex, Commitment and Spinning Plates
Read “Bankrupt,” And Also This New Blogger
Sexy Move: Use The Minty Body Wash

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Sexy Move: Use The Minty Body Wash

I got as a gift a bottle of Bigelow mint body wash, with peppermint oil and a bit of some kind of silica abrasive. It’s fantastic stuff. The feeling of tension-relieving chill is like coming out of a sauna. I especially like it after I’ve worked out, when my muscles are rippling from the stress of the weights and I need the sensation of cooling off.

You can buy some here. One bottle is $12 and will last you three months or more.

Good grooming is one of Mystery’s six characteristics of an alpha male (note that it’s more of a beta trait a strong alpha needs in his toolbox), and using good grooming products gets you in a mindset that you’re taking good care of your body, which itself will make you carry yourself better and build nonverbal attraction. Forget about the scent, you won’t get laid with stuff that comes out of a bottle anyway. Actually, don’t worry about whether it will help you with girls – do it for YOU.

Take a cue from women. Women love exfoliating cleansers, fragrances, massages, pedicures, steam rooms – things that enhance the sensual pleasure of grooming and health. It doesn’t make you gay or unmasucline to be well-groomed and to enjoy the process, any more than it compromises your manhood to pay attention to the fit, style and quality of your suits and casual clothes.

Unless you’re getting cucumber facials and having your nails painted, it pays off with women to look, feel and smell good.

 

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Must-See: Denis Leary Sings About The Kennedys

This goes out to all my Bay State readers.

An incisive and very literate anthology. Check out the bass player dressed as a priest.

I remember when Denis Leary was first getting exposure, delivering his cynical and bitter rapid-fire monologues during MTV commercial breaks. He was an unmistakably low-brow comedian in a climate that was coming out of a very unmasculine, Alan Alda-like era in popular culture. Leary was a bit like a Northeastern version of the grunting Tim Allen, unabashed in his gruff crudity. He once made literal mention of “Cindy Crawford naked eating an eskimo pie on the top of the Empire State Building.” He was one of those guys that everyone hated, but most of them loved that they did so. I bet Camille Paglia adored him.

I drink, and I drive
I’m the only one in my car who gets out alive
Ted Kennedy

You vote, and I win
The bishop says carousing is a cardinal sin
But the cardinal’s on the payroll so I’ll do it again
Ted Kennedy…

I’m dead, and I’m gone
I used to play football on the White House lawn
Bobby Kennedy

Big smile, big hair
Jackie married Ari and I really don’t care
I had sex with Marilyn in my rocking chair
Jack Kennedy, whoa oh, Mr President

I’m Joe, you don’t know,
I was supposed to be the president but died in the war
Joseph P. Kennedy…Junior

I’m Dad, and I’m bad
I was a liquor bootlegger and a genuine cad
I didn’t that Hitler was really so bad
Master Kennedy

I was born to immigrant parents back in 1937
I played Bobby in a TV movie, then I got to play JFK
My name’s Martin Sheen, my name’s Martin Sheen’s my naaaame…

I’m rich, and it’s great
I hang around Hyannis Port and wake up late
I’m a Kennedy

Ich bin ein,
Ich bin ein Berliner and we’re doin’ fine
Seven thousand relatives are waiting in line
It’s the Kennedys, whoa oh, it’s the Kennedys

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Read “Bankrupt,” And Also This New Blogger

WHAT ELSE YA GOT?

Longtime Badger Hut admiree (and the guy I took the “apex fallacy” concept from*) the Elusive Wapiti was inspired by the annual New Year’s “fleshcapade” to pen a post called “Bankrupt.” I can’t say I disagree with his assessment of unbridled sexuality on the streets of winter – this past New Year’s I was the object of more than one unprovoked groping, and was often driven to wonder “isn’t she cold in that outfit?” His post centers on the shifting of value display among young women from dignified traits to base ones:

Used to be, other women, “good” girls, who realized that a portion of their value pivoted around virtue, didn’t want to be mistaken for a slut, whose value as a wife was steeply diminished. Yes, they wanted to signal their beauty, but they didn’t want their comeliness to overshadow the other qualities that made her attractive to a potential husband. Not today. “Pretty”, as this author calls it, is dead. Enter hotness”:

Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different. When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well. Pretty is cherished. Hotness, on the other hand, is a commodity. Its value is temporary and must be used. It is a consumable…

Most girls don’t want to be pretty anymore even if they understand what it is. It is ironic that 40 years of women’s liberation has succeeded only in turning women into a commodity. Something to be used up and thrown out.

What happened in Manchester over New Year’s Eve, and repeated in several other cities across England and doubtless here in the States, is what you get when an entire generation of young women, when asked “what else you got?”, look at the empty cupboard of their life, only to realize they had little else to offer. So they double and triple-down on the only attribute of value they have left, cheapening all in a sexual signalling arms race to the bottom..

Hotness is more than signalling. It’s a state of mind. It’s an environment, it’s surroundings, it is a climate of trust and safety and intimacy. It’s not simply just dressing like a streetwalker. For the latter is rude, off-putting, disrespectful, and transparent in its naked attempt to manipulate.

EW narrates his prose with a series of photos of dubiously-attractive women wearing little more than their drunked-up smiles for the cameras. If I didn’t know better I’d think it was a Slutwalk.

His idea ties into what I said in my post on male ladder theory:

  • The male psyche proffers separate mating marketplaces women sell into, one for relationships and another for sexual satisfaction (Ladder 1 and Ladder 2, also covered here).
  • Many women in the marketplace are unaware of this distinction, due to mis-education, hamsterwheeling, apathy, short-term orientation or narcissism.
  • The relationship ladder tolerates lower sexual value, and in fact often requires that you are less sexual, in exchange for enhanced commitment value (a reason you often see men marry women who are less hot than their hottest fling or one-night stand).

*Sourcing: In this post, EW linked an interview by Bernard Chapin of Dr Helen Smith, in which she quoted esteemed psychologist Roy Baumeister describing the selection bias in the feminist worldview. It appears that Chapin himself coined the term “apex fallacy.” Thanks, bro.

BE A SURVIVOR

I was recently pointed to nascent blog JustBeAManAboutIt, and was impressed by his discussion of the evolutionary explanations* of female sexual preference. He dubs it the “Toba Selection Syndrome” after the catastrophic volcanic supereruption 70,000 years ago, and posits that the scientifically-validated female preference for dark triad traits resulted from massive selection pressures during the hypothesized population bottleneck.

In a wonderful narrative, he brings the pressures of the extinction-level event into a modern parable. He then notes that research “seems to indicate that these Dark Triad traits are merely a means of extracting resources from ones environment without invoking the retaliation of those who are exploited.” He augments a follow-up post with a visual flowchart of sexual selection:

I’m looking forward to more interesting analysis from him.

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A Reply To Cadence on Sex, Commitment and Spinning Plates

My post “Assanova’s Four Moods” discussed the seductive power of a man remaining calm and unbowed in the face of rejection, implying a surfeit of options and experience with the opposite sex that may, and often does, act to trigger attraction and reverse her rejection. Blogger Cadence spoketh:

This is a fantastic post. I was doing this not necessarily on a conscious level. I always notice the reactions to rejection, whether it was a playful one to slow him down, or a REAL one.

The last reaction you wrote about, the calm, is incredibly appealing. It comes across confident & can make a woman feel like the guy really wants her (since he persists, despite her resistance) and he doesn’t give up that easily.

Regular reader Mike C (not to be confused with MikeCF) chimed in with a reference to blogger Rollo Tomassi’s “plate theory,” a process of non-exclusive dating or “spinning plates.”

Related to both A & C – Needy and Angry, this is why as a guy I think it is imperative to follow Rollo’s “spinning plates” and pretty much at all times try to have at least one girl you are getting laid with regularly whether FWB, FB, new girl you are dating, whatever.

Any extended period of involuntary celibacy is likely to lead to a mental place of frustration, desperation, and neediness, and then you are going to pin all your hopes for sexual relief on the onenitis of the moment. It will nearly impossible to maintain a state of aloofness and indifference to the outcome. It would be like telling the man in the desert who hasn’t had anything to drink for a few days to not worry about drinking the glass of water on the table next to him. He has no idea if and when another glass of water might reappear.

I don’t find the plate theory controversial in the least; it encourages men to explore their dating options before solidifying into a exclusive relationship. But Cadence did not take well to this, calling Mike C’s comments “distasteful” and saying she had “no use” for men who do such a thing. This brought some pretty serious blowback from men on the thread who accused her of one-way monogamy. It’s easy to interpret Cadence’s statement as “I don’t want a man to date other women even if I’m not committed to him,” but it’s also easy to hear her words as “I’m not sleeping with a guy who is sleeping with other women.”

I think Cadence and Mike C may be talking past each other a bit; I doubt she expects a guy to drop all other women he may be dating when he goes on the first date with her. My experience is that women are put off by men who want to commit so early anyway. I hope she will join this thread and fill in some details on what it is she finds distasteful.

The key point is that until a couple has agreed on a monogamous committed arrangement, both of them are free to date other people. The plates theory (itself building on the wisdom Roissy expressed in a commandment to “always keep two in the kitty”) goes a step further and advocates that men actively seek to date multiple women. Rollo also encourages men to be honest and straightforward about their non-exclusivity, so no one can accuse them of being a cad.

As I see it, “spinning plates” is not about polyamory or cheating, it’s really about not committing until you’ve actually committed. This is a really key lesson for beta men to internalize. Sometimes it’s an active process of not allowing yourself to fall too hard. I can recall times in my life when I was pursuing someone as if they were my one and only, a do-or-die option, while they were fielding the advances of other men. And then I’d get butthurt about it, angry that I’d been more willing to forsake other options than they had been. But as I got older I realized how unfair that was on my part. I had not earned their commitment and we hadn’t discussed it; they had no obligation to me that restricted them from other people.

Nowadays I assume carte blanche that any woman I am dating is dating other men at the same time; until we’re exclusive, we’re not exclusive. Tact and class dictate that I don’t ask about their options nor tell them about mine, and I don’t frame myself as in direct competition with other men. But I always assume they are there, just to keep me from getting too invested until we’re both ready to invest. Even if I know they’re not, I make sure to remind myself that nothing’s stopping them. Contrary to cultural tropes that men are paralytically “afraid of commitment,” plenty of beta-type guys will make the decision early that they’re ready for it, or try to lock it down before the girl gets away from him. Avoiding this oneitis tendency is a serious key to achieving success.

I can tell you from my own life, the dating of two women at once does wonders for a man’s sense of romantic confidence and the willingness to take the sort of bold risks that earn a man the way into a woman’s heart. I’ve grokked this knowledge to the point that when I get a new prospect – from a grocery store, bookstore, bar or whatever – I make a serious effort to get a second one if only to play foil. Lest you think I’m just using someone, oftentimes the second girl wins out. (It’s amazing who you can find when you are open to it.) It’s easy to get the second one once you’ve got the first one, and after that it’s a huge relief to think “well, if Molly doesn’t respond to my text message, it’s ok because I’m working on Julie at the same time.” It’s the paradox of romance – to keep from losing her, you have to not care about losing her. And as the response to the Four Moods post shows, women can smell it.

Rollo also makes the point that women have long reserved the right to entertain the simultaneous overtures of multiple men. Here’s another source that riffs on this, and Dalrock points out that the “choice” between multiple suitors is a cliche theme in media marketed to women.

Since female dating is more of a passive process on its face (respond to the man’s escalation rather than doing the escalation yourself), and because women are generally far more circumspect in displaying their interest in men, it is easy, but wrong, to see a woman “keeping her options open” as a fundamentally different process than a man doing the same thing.

To quote Athol Kay, don’t make someone a priority if they’re only making you an option.

SEX VERANDERT ALLES

Now this whole non-committed dating thing gets complicated when sex gets involved. Our minds do weird things after sex, and it’s an unfortunately typical experience that once a woman sleeps with a man, she feels he owes her something, and will hold his lack of commitment against him even though no commitment or exclusivity was discussed. Likewise men will sometimes take sex as a signature on an annuity, where he can depend on her companionship and availability, whether or not she was interested in anything more than a good romp to wake the neighbors.

A generation of women have (or should have) learned that sex for commitment is an unsuccessful exchange strategy. Men by and large HAVE learned that commitment for sex is also a losing strategy (whether they find a new strategy is a matter of how long it takes them to find blogs like this one). It seems that more and more women are viewing a man offering commitment as a mark of the beta, a signal of neediness and lack of options. This is certainly the experience of the under-30 crowd; no matter how much women complain that guys don’t want to commit, it’s clear that they don’t want guys who will commit per se; they want the (attractive) guys (with options) who won’t commit to them to commit to them. It’s classic scarcity psychology…people want the thing that is held out as unavailable.

The post-sexual revolution world is one in which sex is to be exchanged for sex, and commitment exchanged for commitment. No one, male or female, should EVER accept a lack of sexual reciprocation or reciprocation of commitment. But likewise, they should be wary of trying to trade one for the other. It’s simply an invitation to get played, one way or another, either as a bed-buddy or a chump. A related point is that it is critical a woman not assume that a man who goes to bed with her is marketing himself as a relationship partner.

Until marriage is discussed, the ideas of commitment and exclusivity are de facto synonymous in today’s SMP, as technically speaking, the only step to getting out of the commitment is to alert the other person that you are going back on the market. (In light of this, nonmarital relationships and FWBs are almost indistinguishable.)

Now, for women who want a monogamous relationship, I advise they execute the “no sex before monogamy” strategy. This solves the erroneous sex-for-commitment problem by encapsulating sex as an intrinsic part of a committed relationship, not as a parallel process that is bargained against commitment.

In today’s largely free-sex society, that means that monogamy and sex have to happen more or less in tandem – it’s just unrealistic to expect a man to make a show of commitment and then wait more time for sexual release.

Of course there is the chance either of you could decide, after the sex, that you made a terrible mistake, or this person just wasn’t your cup of tea, or something was really off about the sex, or whatever, and break it off (or give it a few more tries, then get out). To the outside it might look like a pump-and-dump, a false show of commitment to get sex followed by a quick exit. Things are not always as they seem; every stage of escalation of a relationship has the risk that one or the other party will decide they’ve gone too far and want to get out. I’m sure many readers have dated someone, been into them, and then finally kissed them or groped their curvy bits and found something just didn’t feel right, the chemistry wasn’t there and you couldn’t imagine touching this person again. That’s to be expected – part of the instinctual reason for kissing is to test out the hormonal chemistry and see if the other person pushes your sexual buttons.

So someone might be driven to get out after any point of sexual escalation, including full-on intercourse. That’s just the risk we we take in today’s world; the only way to have seriously binding “commitments” is to have a hard-monogamy system, where sex doesn’t happen until after you’re bonded in a marriage that is very difficult to get out of, and that’s just not a credible policy in today’s world.

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“Slut Shaming” and Fat Shaming in Monogamous and Free-Sex Societies

A recent comment from one WarmWoman (#432) at Susan’s place got me thinking.

+1. Some of the posters here say that men don’t slut shame, but I think young Indian men can sense how conscious Indian women are about being labeled sluts. They know that if they want to make an Indian woman feel bad, they can use the slut-shaming card. Just like an American man can tell a girl that she’s fat. He knows it’s an easy weapon to hurt her.

First, as to whether men like sluts, it’s a questions of ladders – men aren’t going to say no to slutty women for Ladder 2, but they’ll almost never put her on Ladder 1.

I can’t speak to the marketplace incentives in Indian culture. But I will speak in general terms of old society vs new society in America.

It stands to reason that a “hard monogamy” system, one in which basically everybody is expected to partner up for life and long-term mate value is of primary importance, is going to view sluttitude as a major negative. In such a society, being slutty does two things – it hurts a woman’s chance at snagging commitment from a high-value man (high-value relative to her SMV and station in life), and it lowers the price of sex on the market, threatening the sexual carte and thus negatively affecting other women. So “slut shaming” serves as a simultaneous protection of the interest of the woman in question and women at large. (I really hate that term, by the way, if only because it’s so laced with sex-poz feminist connotations of patriarchal oppression). In any case, the shaming is the lesser of two discomforts, as it attempts to prevent the larger problem of a loose woman not attracting any man that she feels is qualified to be her husband.

Let’s consider another arrangement, a “free-sex” society in which commitment bonds are weak, people are free and encouraged to have multiple partners of short- or long-term duration as they see fit. This is something like today’s urban America with its hookups and young adult flings, and breaking of “commitment” via no-fault divorce. In such a society, sexual attractiveness is of primary import – the culture exalts sexual satisfaction, even in long-term relationships, so sexual chemistry, compatibility and pleasure are the first hurdles to clear before most people even begin thinking about serious long-term commitment. In such a society, there will be fat shaming aimed at women, and along with it there will beta shaming of unattractive men. And as in the hard-monogamy society, the “shaming” serves as the lesser of two evils; unattractive people will be told their behavior is hurting them in the marketplace. Those who make no effort to move up the ladder are in fact already shamed by being ignored and unfulfilled in the sexual marketplace.

The contrasting parallel actually line up really well.

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