Monthly Archives: June 2012

Don’t Get Jealous, Part II: Everyone Feels Unsatisfied About Something

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that there’s a tendency to get envious of other people’s love lives without really knowing the full story, and to compare ourselves to others based on a false and distorted perception of their partners. In particular, this can be a real killer to a man fresh into the game, as he’ll be constantly discouraged thinking everyone else around him is slaying poon like a hair-metal musician, OR that everyone else is landing perfect relationship partners with ease, and that anxiety will cause bad game to leak out.

I just came across a Mark Manson post that that develops this idea, using the environment of a Rio beach’s cross-section of people:

On the boardwalk at Ipanema Beach, it’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro. Skateboarders, rollerbladers, joggers, surfers, bikers, juicers, tanners, vacationers, staffers — they all pass by, skin shiny and mildly naked. Sand and salt and vanity fill the air.

And the man with the four hot girls with him is annoyed at how loud and obnoxious his sisters and their friends are and wishes he could hang out with his guy friends instead. Not far away, a man at the beach with his guy friends ignores their games and jokes and looks longingly at the girls laying out tanning topless and wonders how one would go about meeting them.

And the girl laying out tanning wishes her boyfriend were around so the men would stop staring at her. And her boyfriend, wading into the water alone for hours on end, wishes his girlfriend would stop crowding him and demanding his attention all the time. He envies the single men who are able to roam free and do what they want whenever they’d like.

The skinny girls wish they had hips and the girls with hips want to be skinnier. The brunettes dye their hair blond and the blond girls wish they were darker like the brunettes. The men playing volleyball wish they could surf and the surfers wish they had the time and money to buy drinks and a nice umbrella to sit under and the men with drinks and the nice umbrellas wish they were young and healthy and playing volleyball again.

Read the whole thing, it’s really good.

A bit of dissatisfaction is not a bad thing; it keeps us striving for more. But when dissatisfaction means cursing your lot for not having this or that, and thinking that someone else who does has got it made, you’re on the first step to an endless cycle of chasing “happiness” or “contentment” like it was something you could catch, clean and mount on the wall.

To add a personal note to this, before I got into the game field I was working hard on honing my happiness and my acceptance of the regular yet unpredictable changes that were evolving my life from high school to college through grad school and then the working world. I’m proud of how I’ve been able to roll with it and successfully accommodate job changes, cross-country moves, and single and coupled periods. My work on that composure has paid off quite well, and it’s the key to my sense of groundedness and outcome-independent demeanor, which in turn has obviously enhanced my game.

 

12 Comments

Filed under la dolce vita

Learn To Take A Compliment With Pride

One of the self-destructive patterns that beta males are socialized into is polite modesty. Men are taught to be gracious and self-effacing, to back away from it to avoid appearing arrogant or overconfident.

I’ve noticed an overall trend of knee-jerk deference among the educated communities in which I run – more than once I have complimented someone on their cooking, only to have them sheepishly accept it before immediately noting something that they think is substandard (“I overdid it a little,” “I didn’t have enough curry powder” or whatever). It’s like the onus is on them to show they aren’t full of themselves, so they’re not allowed to take praise in stride. Frankly, it’s a very feminized way of communicating, maintaining through loaded communication the illusion of social equality. These people need to learn the first rule of public interaction: never interrupt someone who is complimenting you.

There’s a degree to which this game is actually insulting to the complimenter – by contradicting my compliment, you’re telling me I lack good taste and judgment. Someone is trying to put you in a frame of power and prestige, and you refuse it? A beta move for sure. If you do this to, say, your boss, you undermine your boss’ image of you as confident and capable. If you do it to your boss in front of other people, you make the both of you look bad (you as unable to assume the authority you’ve been given, the boss as a poor judge of talent).

For guys, this false moedsty ties into the cultural conditioning of “because you’re male, you have all this privilege and power so you need to bend over backwards to not abuse it.” Which is bogus if you’re a beta male. Still other guys, I think, are deeply appreciative of being praised rather than criticized and take it as a license to go vulnerable, spewing out their perceived faults in what they think is a judgment-free environment.

Anyway, it’s really easy to take a compliment:

  • Don’t deny it – a lack of confidence in qualities others are recognizing in you is a mark of bad frame or pathological low self-esteem. This is not just a tingle-killer, it’s a bad way to go about life.
  • Don’t get overexcited – being hooked on the praise and approval of others is first-order neediness and irritating to everyone

When you receive a compliment (especially from a woman) your response should be really simple: be cool. You want to act as if whatever people are praising is self-evident. You can do this in a number of ways.

Sincere: “Thank you, I really appreciate that.”

Non-plussed: “All in a day’s work.”

Teasing: “Oh listen to you buttering me up!”

PHYSICAL COMPLIMENTS ARE EVIDENCE OF TINGLE

When a woman gives a man a direct compliment about his physical appearance or sensual presentation, that’s her body agenda talking straight out of her mouth. Of late, I’ve received several well-placed compliments on my natural scent. Being the game-aware gentleman that I am, I recognized it as a strong indicator of interest with an option clause for escalation, and played accordingly.

Flyfreshandyoung had a recent post that covered this topic (emphasis mine):

Another potential problem I’ve been asked about from time to time is-

“What do I do if a girl tells me I’m hot/cute/sexy/etc…”

Yeah, yeah, cry me fucking river, right? But seriously, this can be a pitfall for dudes who don’t experience this regularly, because while this isn’t a shit test or anything like that you can still lose points with a dumb response. Downplaying it, getting excited, or being self effacing will get you nowhere.

Whenever a girl tells me I’m hot, I do one of two things-

If she is looking standard-issue interested (90% of the time), I look her in the eye, smile, and say thank you. And then I go back to whatever I was talking about with her, or if that was her opener, I ask her her name.

If she looks really nervous like it took her a lot of courage to say that, I shrug and smirk, telling her she doesn’t look too bad herself. I’ve found it helps put her at ease and stops her from clamming up or thinking I’m too far out of her league.

She’s giving you an open lane – are you going to take it? Are you man enough to take it? A lot of guys aren’t. A winner doesn’t apologize for his quality.

16 Comments

Filed under beta guide, dating and field game

The Body Agenda Doesn’t Lie

One of the major keys to my game-fueled understanding of women and mating is the concept of the Body Agenda. I have to give a hat tip to Athol Kay for articulating it in a way that resonated with me:

“Body Agenda: It’s very common to think of the “real you” as living inside your body, and your body as some sort of a transportation system for the “real you.” The reality though is that your body has its own agenda that it’s pursuing… it wants to make babies… and your highly intelligent homo sapiens brain is in fact a tool it uses to get that job done. To be sure, we can think logically and make decisions, but we’re not nearly as in control of ourselves as we’d like to think we are. Hormones and neurotransmitters are our bodies’ way of telling us what to do.”

Contrary to overwrought romantic ideas that love “just happens,” our brains have very specially evolved (or designed if that’s your bag) neural hardware dedicated to determining the fitness of any potential mates and driving our behavior towards mixing those genes with our own. This hardware is constantly checking a candidate’s physical fitness, pheremones, gait, voice, speech patterns, parenting ability, social framing, all manner of characteristics inside and out that your body needs to make a decision as to whether you should want to mate with that person.

One level up, our rational minds have further mechanisms to evaluate the best genes and influence our behavior, as well as acting as a diplomatic proxy for our visceral systems – convincing ourselves and others that we’re justified in our actions in ways other than naked self-interest. This papering over our subrational motivations in the name of social niceties is the major workload of the Rationalization Hamster (thank you Roissy), one of the most powerful metaphors in the last wave of game writing.

As I see it, there’s a bit of a paradox in the Body Agenda. Genes tend to want to mate with strong genes – because offspring will be more fit – but also with genes different than themselves, because this genetic diversity helps insure broader survivability – not putting all your genetic eggs in one chromosomal basket. However, if the target genes are too strong, they will dominate your genes in the final product, and genetic diversity undermines the primacy of your own genes. So it’s a matter of seeking fitness and hedging your bet, but not so much that your own genes recede to the background.

ATTRACTION CAN’T BE FAKED

In my last post, we debated Vox Day’s assertion that “a man can’t fake an erection,” by which he meant to tell women that if their husbands were coming at them with sex on their minds and boners in their pants, they were still attractive to their husbands.

On the other side, the Body Agenda that drives the limbic system’s attraction process can’t be reasoned with. You can’t talk yourself into being attracted to someone no matter how much as all the other positive factors of a person line up.

This lesson is most often told from the female side (“he’s a great catch, I know, but I’m just not into him/there’s no SPARK!!”) but it goes for men, too. I recently had a few dates with a woman who seemed like a very good prospect. She was a PhD scientist, similar sense of humor, very interesting, hard-working, low-entitlement, high-energy but also easy to get along with. I really enjoyed spending time with her.

However, something was off. Every time I touched her things felt amiss. Whenever I kissed her, she tasted funny…not like smoke or gum or bourbon or something tangible, just a weird trace of something unpleasant. It wasn’t like she had an unusually fleshy, doughy body. It wasn’t a case of high standards, as other women of her sex rank had previously lit my fire.

It was just that, for whatever reason, my Body Agenda rejected her. My subrational instincts judged her an unfit mate and told the rest of me to stay away from her. What was weird about the whole thing was that from as close as three feet away, I found her aesthetically pleasing and attractive. It was only when actual sexualized contact was made that my Body Agenda cast its vote.

At first I felt a little bad about this whole deal. But then I snapped out of it and realized that this was a feature, not a bug – why was I trying to shame myself for not being attracted to someone my body didn’t like? She eventually LJBF’d herself, overtly recognizing and citing my lack of escalation and (thankfully) not wanting to have a conversation that ended in me declaring my lack of attraction.

Now that I’ve deployed my example, let’s cross-check sex rank against individual preference.

SEX RANK IS ONLY PART OF THE MATING EQUATION

There’s a lot of talk in the Manosphere about sex rank, usually punctuated by the scoring of attractiveness on the old-school 1-10 scale. One of the main tenets of theoretical Game is that there are prototypical traits that each gender finds sexually attractive about the other in the aggregate, and that how an individual stacks up against the overall market preferences (a demand matrix, if you will) can be codified, to first order, in a Sex Rank or Sexual Market Value. Big boobs, curvy hips, long hair for women; physical strength, social dominance, access to power for men.

However, sex rank doesn’t tell the whole story, because even when you’re screening a series of mates of more or less equal sex rank, some are a lot more attractive to you than others. Within the sex rank, there’s an extra element of Body Agenda match that has veto power over the whole operation.

I’ve had plenty of experiences where a conventionally “hot” girl, or my buddy’s girl who he’s crazy about, is just meh to me. It’s a bit like a sports team that gets a really talented player who doesn’t fit in the team’s system and winds up not being as productive as his skill (or salary) would suggest.

Or it’s like buying albums by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who and Led Zeppelin. All great bands, but odds are you’re going to like one of them a lot more than the rest – and your equally musically astute buddy is liable to have a different preference.

SOCIAL PRESSURE INFLUENCES DECISIONS THAT MAY GO AGAINST THE BODY AGENDA

Also in my last post, some discussion came up about sleeping with girls low on the sexual totem pole, including a remark from the great Kane:

“I don’t know a single man who hasn’t bagged a fatty or two in his day. Do fatties have it? I don’t think so, but every now and then desperation combines with cheap gin to make it seem like they do.”

Kane has a good point – desperation and deprivation can cause a man to do unusual things – however Rock Throwing Peasant (who has started a promising paratropper-themed blog) countered:

“As far as fatties or whatever, you were sexually aroused by the situation. Own up to it, for Pete’s sake. You may never be aroused by the same situation again, but you’re not going to sustain wood without having some sick part of your mind saying, “This is so nasty, it’s arousing.””

They can certainly both be right. It’s hard to read much into drunk and desperately horny guys taking a number at the local watering hole, but shirley there’s a subset of men who are turned on enough by their conquests, but for social reasons, can’t and won’t be seen with them in public.

Radio host Tom Leykis had a hilarious episode about “fat booty calls” where he and many callers talked about hot sexcapadaes they had experienced with women who were conventionally unattractive. Though their Body Agenda approved, their social engines couldn’t have them be seen with someone of such low sex rank in public.

(Because of the effects of preselection, I wager that women will judge such a man much more harshly than men will.)

On the other side of the coin (also mentioned in a previous post here), sometimes guys stay with the wrong woman because the social cachet of having a “hot” girlfriend or being the envy of the other guys is powerful in its own right. They don’t want to admit it’s not working out, because they’d have to face questioning from the guys about how they let such a great girl go.

NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT IT

In a sort of interesting irony, the primacy of the “body agenda” offends two key yet conflicting tenets of our modern mindset:

1. The conviction that we are highly rational beings by virtue of living in a modern, technological society. The fact is that we are 90% animals and a large portion of our rational energy goes toward satisfying our subrational needs or rationalizing already-performed actions whose true motivations are visceral in nature.

2. The romanticized notion that love “just happens” between two people who meet by the grace of the heavens, and that any speedbumps can be rationally negotiated or mitigated if everybody just tries hard enough. The fact is that one’s base attractiveness and Body Agenda matchup have a lot to do with “falling in love,” and the tenets of game and transactional analysis dictate behaviors and habits that are conducive (or destructive) to a relationship no matter how long it’s been going.

(People seem really hooked on the “if you love someone hard enough it will work out” even though all the leads in the romantic comedy movies are stunningly handsome and gorgeous.)

Any way you look at it, our society doesn’t want to suborn the raw self-interested drive of our natures. This is all well and good when it comes to putting aside our natural drives to build a cooperative society, but ignorance of the truth is a real threat to the proper care and feeding of interpersonal relationships. There, because you can’t fake attraction and bonding, the Body Agenda still rules.

25 Comments

Filed under science+technology

Vox Day on The First Rule of Detecting Sexual Attraction

The man speaks:

There is only one fundamental rule of sexual attraction. No man can fake an erection. If he’s got one, you’ve still got it.

There are so many angles I could take this one, but I’m going to open it to the readership for commentary.

32 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Steve Jobs, Alpha Male

It’s a little late coming here at the Hut (I sketched this post out late last year, but it lost its immediacy and I moved on to other topics), but Steve Jobs’ passing late last year was a sad (if not unexpected) event for almost anyone with a kick for technology.

Very few people are so intimately identified not just with their company, but with the company’s products themselves. Jobs’ shadow over his field was unlike any other in the western world. Politicians get identified with policies and programs – the New Deal, Reaganomics, Obamacare. CEOs might get identified with campaigns, slogans and overall brands – the Choice of a New Generation comes to mind, as does Lee Iacocca’s leadership of Chrysler. But even good technology is so often esoteric and impersonal, no human stamp can be done justice associated with a lump of plastic and silicon. But Steve Jobs was so instrumental in the development of his company’s flagship products (the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad), and so personally identified with the life and times of his creations, he carried a cult of personality into mainstream technology that has rarely been approached by other inventor/designer/manager/entrepreneur personalities.

Now you might say that it was all an image job, a media manipulation to buy him lo-fi geek cred in an otherwise buttoned-up and socially awkward industry.

You might be partially right. But that’s part of my point. Jobs cultivated a public persona that itself sustained his influence and gravitas in a field where it’s very easy to get typecast as a geek (whose products are too difficult to use for average customers) or as a pointy-headed bean-counter out of touch with the needs of customers (who is unresponsive to customer’s desires). People in business and technology know who Larry Ellison is, the founder of database giant Oracle. But people on the street know Steve Jobs, and they don’t see him as a businessman, his public image is that of a 21-st century Thomas Edison, creating new things that make the average person’s life easier and better.

Jobs has already gone down as one the most influential personalities of two eras – Generation X (whose technology revolution he fueled) and Generation Y (whose icons he designed) – and will probably wind up the most historically recognized technology figure of the information age, with the possible exception of Microsoft founder Bill Gates (more on him later).

THE REALITY DISTORTION FIELD

Even in his early 20’s, Jobs was renowned for his “reality distortion field” – the ability to impress his own viewpoint on anyone in his vicinity, no matter how insane it was with regard to feasibility, cost or time. The broad shadow of his personality could pull the most logical person out of their mind.

One of the stories that went around about Jobs was that the worst place to be in Apple was in an elevator with him. He would start interrogating employees about their work, and if he felt you weren’t adding value you might be fired before the ride was over. Whether it was true or not, it served a purpose – everyone at the Infinite Loop worked under his vision, and wouldn’t be allowed to forget it.

Another story went that Jobs and an underling were interviewing a candidate when Jobs asked “when did you lose your virginity?”

“Excuse me?”

“How many women have you had sex with?”

The interview ended abruptly.

VISION

Real vision, and the discipline to carry it out, is what separates a business leader from your average middle-management douchebag.

Did Steve Jobs lay out the circuit boards and glue the cases together? Hell no, he had thousands of people working under him to do that (prime among them the great Steve Wozniak and Jef Raskin). But they wouldn’t have been working on it had he not brought the concept to the fore. Jobs knew where he wanted the company to go, kept everyone focused and their spirits up, and got rid of people who stood in the way of the prize. He won respect because he didn’t court it – he was great with people, but he wasn’t afraid to cross people in pursuit of the goal.

The most lucid parable of his vision came in the mid-80’s when he was courting Pepsi president John Sculley to join Apple. Sculley protested that he had a great gig going. Jobs replied “you can sell sugar water to kids for the rest of your life…or you can come with me and change the world.”

That’s a ballsy thing to say. It’s ballsier to follow through. Jobs did. So did Sculley (a good leader knows another leader when he sees one).

Forget these fools who say that tech entrepreneurs are betas. Those people don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ve been hanging around with too many flip-cupping frat guys who’ll spend the rest of their lives as circle-jerking brokers or shilling tires to suburban housewives, or they never knew what a real leader was in the first place.

Has Steve Jobs changed the world? That’s an unqualified yes. He’s an alpha male.

STEVE INVENTED HIPSTERS

Ever since the original Macintosh, Apple had aggressively marketed its graphics capabilities and rounded user interface to designers and other “creative” workers. They didn’t balk at the price tag and had a personal sensibility that appreciated the soft nature of the user interface.

In keeping with the Internet era’s trend of democratizing everything, in the early 2000’s a new niche sprung up not of graphic designers or semi-professional film editors, but of regular fledgling youth who wanted to entertain the self-concept of being in the creative class. This built on the popularity of the white iPod design scheme, and coincided with the switch to OS X (a stable, kickass operating system that leveraged large amounts of well-worn and highly efficient Unix software).

It quickly became a trend that to own a Mac and display it proudly was itself a signal to society that you were “creative” and “artistic.” You might never had even opened iMovie or Garage Band, but it didn’t matter – image is image, and Apple catered to the kids’ desire to finally make the A/V club cool. Then finally, Apple built up the iTunes store, enabling the granular distribution of indie music to warm the cockles of the young aesthetes’ hearts.

In other words, Steve Jobs opened the door to today’s modern hipsters.

THE PHOENIX OF THE VALLEY

Two-time success at the top is really not a common thing. Douglas MacArthur** vowed “I shall return” when he fled the Philippines – and he did, to final victory in the Pacific, but ultimately to ignominious censure and dismissal after his arrogant diplomatic actions in Korea. Then-vice president Richard Nixon lost a nail-biting race to Kennedy, and returned to the White House in 1968, only to be run out of town in the wake of Watergate.

Jobs founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in a garage, built the Apple II, rolled out the Macintosh, and was then fired by the CEO he himself had hired. After his technologically-notable but commercially-limited startup (NeXT)*, Jobs returned to the leadership of Apple in 1997 for the celebrated salary of $1. Thus began an aggressive program of simplifying Apple’s product line and image, and making long-term-oriented background investments to advance Apple’s core technologies which ultimately culminated in OS X, the switch to Intel processors and the horizontal unification of music players, computing and media distribution.

Roissy (or one of his commenters, I don’t exactly recall) witnessed countless women at bars and clubs glued to their iPhones, completely oblivious to the men who wanted to talk to them, and nominated Jobs as Cockblock of the Decade. That’s being at the top in my book.

*NeXT was notable for being the platform on which the first-ever web server was deployed.

**Edited – I had put George MacArthur, confusing the five-star with George McClellan, who also served as head of the Union Army twice only to be sacked both times and then get crushed by Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election.

COMMENTS ON MICROSOFT

In Robert X. Cringley’s excellent documentary “Triumph of the Nerds,” filmed during Jobs’ exodus from Apple, Jobs waxed on his former company’s bitter rival. “My problem with Microsoft is not their success. I have no problem with their success. It’s that…it’s that they have no taste.”

In an extraordinary side-by-side interview before Jobs’ death, Bill Gates repaid Jobs by saying he had always admired Steve’s aesthetic sense.

Such was the complementary dynamic of the two men’s companies – one guy eating up market share that no one could argue with, the other selling it better and cleaner than the other guy.

As long as we’re on the topic, I want to mention that I believe Bill Gates’ popular-culture image as a geeky computer programmer to be one of the greatest public relations hoodwinks in modern American history.

Only in the very beginning was Gates’ primary contribution that of code, of direct product. Gates’ value to Microsoft has overwhelmingly been his business acumen and willingness to make aggressive and even ruthless deals with other market players to acquire technology, dictate licensing terms or push competitors off the table. Gates, like Jobs, liked technology but ran on vision – the vision to have a computer on every person’s desk.

Vision is especially important in high technology because you’re marketing a product that literally didn’t exist before, a disruptive offering that requires fundamental changes in the way people go about their daily lives. Lots of people will say no, unable to imagine why they need it, only coming around when the product has caught on with more risk-tolerant, novelty-seeking citizens.

Although Gates apparently fancied himself a code expert (as alluded to in the opening sequence of Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs), he’s always been front and center anticipating the features and products average people would need and figuring out ways to get those products into schools, businesses and government offices where his dream of universal computing could come true.

Like Jobs, Gates’ image serves as self-reinforcing for his business needs. While Jobs’ artistic shtick opened customers’ hearts, the geek image is disarming, and hides the spectre of the one-sided deal that is about to unfold. To get an insight into the feisty nature of the management team, consider that Microsoft president Steve Ballmer’s Harvard roommate was none other than manic financial journalist Jim Cramer (maybe baldness is contagious?)

It has been discussed in several arenas that Gates has no game and may be horrifically awkward around women. This has led to some pronouncements that Gates is a hardcore beta, a true geekboy. I think it’s better to view Gates as a corner case – a high achiever who has changed the world with his ability to navigate business and society from the top, who was never good with women but nonetheless never felt the need to leverage his success to bag chicks with supercharged beta-provider/rich-guy game. Not a paper alpha, a guy who is superficially successful but lacks the ability to take advantage of it, but a guy who was probably not that interested in the game in the first place, and with the demands of his enterprise never had time to develop the skills that would make the game worthwhile (or to taste enough success to motivate getting more of it).

13 Comments

Filed under history, science+technology

Don’t Get Jealous Of Another Man’s Quarry Unless You Really Know The Score

The wise and mirthful Dogsquat (who I amazingly haven’t linked yet, welcome to the blogosphere amigo) riffed on the difference between what outsiders see in a relationship versus the actual reality, only experienced by the people inside.

Over about a two year period, I was involved with:

-A stripper
-An architect
-A cocktail waitress
-A psychology grad student
-A yoga instructor
-A semi-pro model/sommelier
-A professional modern dancer

All of these girls were attractive.  Most were fun.  Some were smart, a few were funny.  I had a reputation for dating beautiful women.  Once a week someone would say,”Dude, how do you do it?!” On the surface, I was doing great.  My acquaintances were envious.  My very close friends were ready to pack me off to a monastery.  Why?  Here’s a more accurate list:

-A stripper (‘nough said)
-An architect with an eating disorder
-An alcoholic cocktail waitress
-A psychology grad student with poorly controlled bipolar disorder.
-A yoga instructor with daddy issues and pronounced gold-digger tendencies – come to think about it, she had some issues with food, too.
-A cokehead semi-pro model/sommelier who’s abusive ex-boyfriend/dealer tried to stab me
-A professional modern dancer with sexual identity problems (weird, weird shit, man –  not suitable for children, the aged, or the infirm.)

The sequence reminded me of “The Cheerleader Effect,” coined by How I Met Your Mother‘s dashing ladies’ man Barney Stinson. In the episode “Not A Father’s Day” (in which Barney invents a holiday to celebrate the resolution of a pregnancy scare), Barney lectures the rest of the gang that a gaggle of women at McLaren’s are not actually attractive.

The Cheerleader Effect is when a group of women seems hot – but only as a group. Just like with cheerleaders – they seem hot, but take each one of them individually? Sled dogs.”

Barney notes other names for the phenomenon: “The Bridesmaid Paradox; Sorority Girl Syndrome; and for a brief window in the Nineties, the Spice Girls Conspiracy.”

This bit of sexual-marketplace wisdom was punctuated by a panning shot of the girls in question, revealing grievous faults in each of them which were invisible when seen as a group. The only clip of the scene I was able to find is in Italian, but it illustrates the point just fine.

DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS

It’s very tempting to get into comparisons when you’re sharpening your game. It’s easy to pat yourself on the back for your successes over your pals, or to mope that so-and-so has bagged more notches since he got into the game than you have.

I’m here to tell you, it’s a very self-destructive pattern, because it takes your focus off of improving your own game and moves it over to copying someone else’s. It’s also pointless, because as the above shows, there’s an inside story to every couple, and it’s often a lot less rosy than we want to believe.

Lots of men have had either or both sides of this experience: being jealous of another man only to find out later that the girl he was dating was batshit crazy, orbeing the envy of your friends with some hot or sweet or wicked thing on your arm, only to feel a growing pit in your stomach dreading the breakup because you’d get so much crap from your in-the-dark friends.

Sometimes, people get together with or even put off breaking up with toxic partners because of this social pressure. Sometimes, sadly, the participants themselves are blind to the pitfalls and neuroses of their partners.

SOMETIMES ENVY IS A JUSTIFIED RESPONSE

There are some moments where it’s OK to sit back and say, “that guy has it good.” So long as you understand that every pair has caveats, there are some couples you can look at and think their model is something to shoot for.

Like Athol Kay, for instance. His wife Jennifer joins with him in making a great home, enables him to act as a quality husband, abhors yelling and conflict, and (of course) indulges with him in a highly active sex life, which she’s OK having plastered across the Internet for the benefit of other couples. (Jennifer copyedits every MMSL post.)

If anything were to happen to him, his blog is a full-length advertisement for her fitness as a wife to another deserving man.

I’ve noticed that almost every guy I’ve known with a great wife has said he was lucky. I never took this as an indictment of his value, or as a sign of pedestalization that he thought his wife was better than him – rather, I saw it as an acknowledgement that it’s hard to find a good woman, and you have to be lucky as well as good to get one.

31 Comments

Filed under media

Goodbye Ferdinand Bardamu

It is with a heavy heart that I pen this. Most of the readers know first- or second-hand that Ferdinand Bardamu has decided to take down his online shingle and shut down his blog In Mala Fide (subtitled “the blog that shouted Love at the heart of the world.”) If mine is the only blog in this scene that you read, now you know.

Ferd explained his situation bluntly last Monday:

I can’t tell you exactly what’s happened to me, beyond saying that I’ve been given an incredible opportunity that most people would kill to have. It’s an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for the better part of twenty years, but I never thought I’d actually get there. I’ve spent the past month unbelievably busy as a result, reflected in the infrequency of my posts, and I’ll be leaving the U.S. in a few weeks to seal the deal. Simply put, I don’t have the time to run this blog anymore.

But it’s more than that. Frankly, I’m worn out.

My problem is that In Mala Fide no longer reflects who I am. I’m no longer subject to the conditions that led me to start blogging to begin with. I’m not in the same state of mind, and I’m tired of keeping up the charade. I’m tired of logging in twice a week and punching up articles in a voice that is no longer mine. I’m tired of the negativity and the bleakness of it all. Writing under a pen name was once liberating and freeing — now it feels confining, a straitjacket asphyxiating me and preventing me from spreading my wings.

To put it simply, I no longer want to be “Ferdinand Bardamu.”

I can empathize; more on that below.

INSIDE THE MADNESS

Ferd’s explosive entry in 2009 onto the nascent scene of men writing on male issues, and his ability to touch many other extant blogs with his material, quickly established In Mala Fide as a sort of younger, more fiery counterpart to Welmer Price’s MRA ezine The Spearhead. He had something to say and the talent to say it well, which brought readers and contributors to the flame.

The man himself was a journalistic tour de force, an erudite, well-read, pissed-off rebel a la Christopher Hitchens or Mark Steyn – mixing passionate anger with contemptuous black humor. Ferd consistently produced a tenuous but successful balance between current events commentary, cultural and sociosexual theory, and personal stories giving perspective and depth to his persona. While he alluded to game frequently, he almost never wrote on game techniques or field reports, which gave his ouevre a meta quality to it that lifted him above the practical to the status of an oracle of the issues.

I tip my hat to him, because Ferd lived the dream:

When I first started blogging on that blisteringly hot July day, I was an underworked cubicle drone with nothing to look forward to but high blood pressure and pawing at drunken co-eds on the weekend. I had escaped the hell of post-college underemployment, a familiar hell to white guys in their twenties, into a new hell of ennui and listlessness. I was miserable and cranky, which was reflected both in the name of the blog and my pseudonym. I imagined myself a daring anti-hero, a ruthless teller of uncomfortable truths, a rebel sniggering at the status quo.

His best-known feature was the Sunday “Linkage Is Good For You” series, which cemented IMF’s status as the Manosphere water cooler. A nice touch was his heading every Sunday links post with a different old-school pinup or erotic photo.

The yeoman’s work of compiling a weekly digest of writing exposed me to untold wonders around the blogosphere – some of the people I wouldn’t have met without LIGFY include Susan Walsh, Aoefe, Frost, Sofia, Bronan the Barbarian and MikeCF. There were scores more who either hung it up abruptly or just posted less until their blog was cobwebbed, or who I never had much ideological nexus with.

However, Linkage was remarkable for the spread of ideas it logged. If you wanted straight game advice and field reports, it was there. Theoretical riffs on evopsych, macroeconomics and intercultural warfare, you could get it. Hard-boiled psychological and social analysis was in there too. My Sundays were feasts of new ideas.

Ferd also started a news aggregation site fittingly dubbed In Bona Fide (where he linked among other things my post about the Irish breakfast) and marketed two provocative Kindle pamphlets, “The Age of Onanism” and “How To Stop Masturbating.”

The fact he was able to run all of that stuff while playing music, having a sex life and holding down an ostensibly full-time job blew my mind. There’s a tremendous amount of discipline involved in pumping out posts and managing content (comments, email, cross-linking, guest posts), and Ferdinand Bardamu really made it go.

Ferd’s expansion into a magazine format with other writers illustrated the extreme difficulty in marshaling a consistent variety of viewpoints under the blog publication style. He assembled somewhere between 15 and 30 adjunct writers on his masthead; within a few months, the number of regular weekly contributors had dwindled to a handful. Part of the freedom of blogging is the freedom to post when you want on what you want, including not posting at all when the muse doesn’t strike or when you burn out – something Ferd eventually found out for himself.

MY MANOSPHERE JOURNEY

I was aware of IMF pretty much from the beginning. I had been gradually absorbing the red-pill mindset over the course of a few years when I stumbled upon Dr. Helen and Roissy, the first two sources I read who were really looking out for the interests of males consistently and as a rule.

From there I voraciously consumed the growing spread of writers jumping into the breach as the Roissysphere became the Manosphere. I came into the game scene in mid-2009, which put me completely outside the pro-con debates regarding the monetized “Seduction Community” profiled in Neil Strauss’ book The Game, and fully into the post-Strauss community of freestyle bloggers mixing seduction and game with economics, politics and policy, feminism, biology, popular culture, history and literature.

I was in a relationship at the time, so I could only put this game knowledge into practice in indirect ways (this was before Athol Kay and the maturation of Relationship Game) but IMF, as I said before, provided a generous spread of the issues to chomp on.

I could tell it was only a matter of time before I decided to join the chorus, and I was welcomed to the fold with open arms from many of the bloggers I looked up to. It always tickled me to get a pingback or two on Sunday mornings showing that I had made the IMF Linkage post. It was a real honor to become a weekly entry pretty much as soon as I started blogging, and on weeks when that didn’t happen I questioned myself like a child whose father had ignored his finger painting hung on the refrigerator. Did he not see my posts, or did he see them and judge them not good enough to publicize? Was he playing a mind game or did he just forget me in favor of other posts? Since I considered (and still do) the rest of the linkage recipients my unqualified peers, not getting a seat at the table was a real blow. I learned to roll with it, but mostly it drove me to put out more and better stuff.

CHANGE IS PART OF LIFE

Ferd cannot be replaced, but nonetheless, the community we’ve built will go on.

My mother’s father worked on a bomber crew in World War II, and she told me a story he told her. “We’d be playing cards in the mess hall, and a guy would stand up and walk out of the door to go on a mission, and he’d never come back – you would never see him again. Just like that. Such was life.”

Such is life in the blogging world for sure. Some of the more memorable disappearances in my time around these parts include:

  • The two-man show Seasons of Tumult and Discord shutting it down without notice (although Alkibiades is back baby)
  • The Man Who Is Thursday getting discovered by a member of his church group
  • The incomparable Roissy getting hounded in a story I don’t want to go into which either coincided or presaged major changes in his blog
  • Solomon II getting hacked on the eve of his final (never-published) post
  • The great female advisor grerp getting a bit skittish and removing most of her cultural commentaries (keeping the numbered advice pieces)
  • Johnny Milfquest (nee Workshy Joe) vanishing without a trace

Lots of other people have trickled out of the scene as well; some lose interest and fade away, many just say what they need to say and go on to other pursuits.

I recall very fondly those salad days, when there wasn’t any central repository for all of these writers and we island-hopped from link to link. That was before game got a writeup in the Weekly Standard, before Roissy/Citizen Renegade/Heartiste had become a team blog under a composite personality. This was when society’s (and thus most men’s) base impression of sexually successful young men was either the overgrown frat guy of Tucker Max or the uber-emo shtick of Mystery.

Last summer there was a torrid sequence of events that involved Rivelino cloaking himself, dannyfrom504 starting his blog (happy bloggiversary amigo), and the highly respected personality known as “Brendan” or “Novaseeker” retire himself from this corner of the Internet. The latter still makes the occasional appearance in comments, but has shuttered his blogs and their archival brilliance.

I am going to be honest, I thought seriously about hanging it up. I hadn’t been blogging that long, and wondered if I had what it took to generate my own energy instead of relying on the community to boost me.

Ultimately (obviously) I decided to stay in the game. I had more to say, more that I wanted to say. And still do. But blogging well is a major effort, and there comes a watershed moment for every writer when it’s just not the best use of your time. Ferd says he’s overdue to act on that feeling, and I respect his decision without prejudice. Life’s too short to do something you don’t want to do.

So Ferd, here’s to you for a great three years – all the best.

I’ll miss you.

16 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized