Monthly Archives: August 2012

Another Damn Girly Song About Game

Following on the heels of “Call Me Maybe,” which Vox correctly typed as an archetypal game motif of the unattainable woman driven wild by an unattainable man, comes “Give Your Heart A Break” by one smoky-voiced Demi Lovato.

I’ll just go through a few of the lines and the loyal Badger Hut readers can shirley fill in the rest of the analysis.

The day I first met you
You told me you’d never fall in love
But now that I get you
I know fear is what it really was

Game principles: solipsism, rationalization. The woman cannot bring herself to accept the man’s words at face value, and instead constructs an elaborate counter-narrative that he is insecure and afraid because it allows her to avoid the reality that he’s not going to get attached.

Now here we are
So close yet so far
Haven’t I passed the test
When will you realize
Baby, I’m not like the rest

Game principles: attraction to aloofness, snowflaking. Frustrated by his preternatural emotional distance (which she has tried to invalidate as per above), she attempts to argue that she is the one special woman who is not going to hurt him.

Don’t wanna break your heart
Wanna give your heart a break
I know you’re scared it’s wrong
Like you might make a mistake
There’s just one life to live
And there’s no time to wait, to waste

Game principle: living in the moment. It feels right right now and has to be capitalized on!

The world is ours if we want it
We can take it if you just take my hand
There’s no turning back now
Baby, try to understand

Game principle: projection. In her mind, his mental model is the one that is busted. If only he understood her – if only his brain worked like hers did and he did what she wanted – then everything would be perfect, life would be so cool.

Capturing the wild and unattentive man is one of the most powerful female fantasies beamed through our popular culture, inextricably entwined with the “women civilize men” narrative. (Dalrock wrote about it this week, a great complement to his early gem on the other primary female fantasy of the “choice” narrative). But any game-aware man or woman who has been paying attention to the evidence in the field knows that it’s not just songs and shows – the “I can change him” modus operandi is epidemic among women in real life. Yes, even among “smart girls” and “good girls.” Like Jeff Spicoli with Forest Whitaker’s sports car, she plaintively intones “I can fix him!” Even women writing in the Manosphere are absolutely obsessed with a panty-soaking fantasy of making the aloof hunk realize that he should let his guard down and give in to his feeeeelings because she just really loves him so much.

Despite all the hand-wringing about how much women want “relationships,” women tingle for unavailable and uncommitted men, for those traits specifically, and project all sorts of stuff onto those men that obfuscates the basic truth – he ain’t in love with you and he’s not going to be.

There was even a study a couple months ago that during ovulation, women think their bad-boy flings are great father material. If there was ever something that should disabuse every bootlicking white knight of his delusional fantasy that putting on the Fred MacMurray act was going to get him to the top of the sexual heap and win the heart of his damsel forever, this is it.

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Dominance and Femininity

In my last post I discussed dominance and its expression during sex. (It was quite a week, with myself, Roissy, Rollo Tomassi and the Private Man all posting on some factor of the dominance issue).

The earnest and lively discussion got me thinking about Athol Kay’s observation that when he gets down with the dominance, when he really rag-dolls his wife, she spends the next day or two being incredibly nuzzly and cuddly towards him (couldn’t find the exact post but he’s said it more than once). Like a lot of guys in the process of unplugging from the beta matrix, this was quizzical to me. I’m not one to have the good-feeling vibe of great sex carry over past the next morning’s breakfast. Wouldn’t the woman be sore and disinclined towards physical activity? Wouldn’t it be like post-coital lobsters, where after molting and fertilizing with the female of his choice, the male retreats to his in a posture of repose and the female retreats in a fecund humiliation?

Ah, but I had forgotten the key insight of analyzing male-female relationship – you can’t expect both sides to react the same way to the same stimulus; you have to account for complementarity.

To square this up, I had to go to Private Man’s principle that “the masculine attracts the feminine; the feminine attracts the masculine.” Mrs. Kay, and thousands of women like her, are responding to a man’s most primal expression of core masculinity with a primal expression of femininity.

ANXIOUS WOMEN ESCHEW FEMININITY

Much complaint in the Manosphere has centered on lowbrow, boorish and unfeminine behavior among American women. One of the lessons of game is, quite frankly, that a lot of these women haven’t had a real assertive man put his foot down and tell her to knock that shit off, and for a portion of same, a good dose of masculinity from a halfway-attractive guy brings them right into line as cooperative, sweet girls.*

(This is excepting the pocket of women who respond to male assertiveness with a combative, competitive pose of their own.)

It’s like their cop-an-attitude shtick is just a big macro-scale shit test, pre-weeding out guys who aren’t crafty or unmoved enough to see through it. There’s an anxiety element to the evolutionary foundations of the fitness test concept – the man must be tested if and when she detects a possible crack in the foundation, when she’s viscerally nervous that he may not have what it takes to protect her female imperatives. When she is confident and secure in his masculine capabilities, the testing abates (even then, sometimes she’ll throw some tests out just to feel him express it, to “rub up against his manhood”).

The same lesson is visible in the home life of married and long-term couples – as the complexities of domestic life grow with co-ownership of property and the rearing of children, the opportunities for existential anxiety grow, and along with them the urge for control and the the risk of mate rejection.

*A Public Service Notice:

I generally recommend that you don’t plan on gaming or asserting your way around a woman’s unpleasantness in the aim of sexual or romantic reward. Sure it’s great if you can tame a shrew with your Venusian Arts powers, but you’ve set a trap for yourself – the moment you slip back below whatever her bitch-shield attraction theshold is, she feels justified in being distasteful again.

You want to do your best to screen for a woman whose behavior is measured, nurturing and positive before you run any serious game. Such a woman already has her female beta traits deployed naturally without stimulus, which greatly simplifies your task at hand. You can use your game to get her alpha (attraction/attracted) side aligned with yours, instead of trying to trade your sex rank for her good behavior. You can’t expect to not have to pass any fitness tests at all, but any worthwhile Ladder 1 woman is not going to make you pay continuous tribute to her in the form of acting like a child and expecting you to act as her surrogate daddy. If she does she’s just voted herself off the ladder.

We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

This idea of putting out your masculine to bring on the feminine rings irksome to many; putting the onus on us dudes makes it sound like it’s our fault if women are acting up. (Fellow blogger Dalrock has made a killing exposing this inversion of accountability in Churchian marriage philosophy, so much so I can’t target just one post as an example.) As I just noted above, women who make a habit of acting out of line don’t deserve the calming, mediating power of a man who is in control of things.

In addition to documenting his dominance files, Athol Kay has also made the assertion that female sexuality is more or less reactive to male sexuality (in terms of seduction, sex rank changes, boundaries and other factors). You can view that as a burden or as an opportunity. We men have to take the first step in cooperating our way out of the SMP standoff. We have to work at-risk, as the business term goes; putting effort forth without any definite promise of reciprocation.

(I’ve found, by the way, that the less invested I become in reaping any kind of “reciprocation,” and the better I am at telegraphing that disinvestment, the better the reciprocation winds up being. It’s as if not feeling accountable for any under-the-table expectations makes the women feel more free to invest themselves. There’s some kind of comforting and empowering effect for women when they perceive a man is not angling for a proximal reward, even though it’s patently obvious he’s talking to her because he’s attracted to her – hamsters, start your engines.)

Now don’t get me wrong. Guys have to put the first step forward for our own self-interest, one woman at a time. As long as the risk of leading has the potential for reward attached, it’s a worthwhile trade to take some of that risk (I’ve noticed some women’s heads explode when I assert that it’s not my job to give free stuff to women simply because my genitals point outward).

By the same token, we can’t be white-knighting our way through a society-wide game of Captain Save-A-Ho. A man only needs one wife; it’s not our job to make them all give up their fem-dom act, and if women can’t provide enough seed material to draw out the masculinity of a man whom they can respond to, then that’s their problem.

That all being said…in today’s equalist world where women have hair triggers for male “neediness” and “creep factor,” it doesn’t behoove men to take all that much risk (e.g. expensive dates, lots of time investment and opportunity cost) before expecting some cooperation. That’s not a statement of entitlement, just one of appropriate boundaries and the expectation of mutual value in a romantic exchange. In this way, you avoid chumpitude and filter out time-wasters who are never going to yield value.

ACCEPT YOU’LL TAKE THOSE FIRST STEPS ALONE

One of the things you have to accept in your quest to become a virile and desired man is that you’ll be doing a lot of work on yourself without marginal recognition at each step. Honing your game from an amorphous block of beta to a chiseled cockboxer is the 21st-century American vision quest, a trial of unbearable solitude punctuated by all the human comforts you could ever want.

I’m not going to lie: the road can get lonely. Even your friends will out themselves as haters and plugged-in manginas unwilling to make the mental leaps you are making. Women will mock you and spit in your face for daring to invite them into your life. Like a long-tenured quarterback throwing lots of interceptions, you’ll experience mounds of failure and rejection that will stick in your mind more than your growing successes. You’ll wonder if it’s all worth it. Even if you get to the point where women are hitting on you, you’re not going to get there without doing a lot of the gruntwork yourself.

Bringing it back to the top, you need to polish your own bona fides if you expect any woman of worth to follow you. It’s all about you being in control of your life, mastering its direction and ruling your world instead of letting your world rule you. That is, after all, what dominance entails; you’re in charge, and you’re inviting her along for the ride.

When you’ve mastered all that, THEN you can ragdoll your lady and then get a backrub from her while eating the eggs she scrambled the morning after you scrambled hers.

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On The Joys Of Dominance

Roissy posted this morning on dominance. I’ve obviously done a lot of thinking on the matter, and have found that this passage doesn’t resonate with me:

Men feel powerful lust from dominating attractive women, the same lust women feel from submitting to the domination of powerful men.

I’m saying this because I want other guys to know it’s OK, but I don’t get any intrinsic “powerful lust” from sexually dominant behavior. Maybe it’s my rearing, maybe it’s my natural personality. I enjoy leadership, in a secular sense; I enjoy leading a project or a group of friends or coaching a team. What I don’t get is an extra sexual kick in the bedroom. It doesn’t really arouse me.

I enjoy dominance in the sense that it gets women more into it, which has payoffs to me. Says RacerX:

One complaint I here from many of my lovers, both past and present, is that so many guys today are such pussies. They are too sensitive, too concerned about not upsetting a girl, about being correct in all they do, about not violating some unknown doctrine of feminism.

I DO get a kick out of the woman enjoying the experience. Maybe that’s beta. Shoot me. But the key is, I recognize that “enjoying the experience” doesn’t always mean soft candlelight and gentle lovemaking; there are much more energetic fantasy performances to be had. Guys need to know this, and to develop a diverse sexual toolbox. I realized early in my game studies that most women really DO dig being sexually dominated in one sense or another, and so I have embraced romantic dominance behaviors. Fortunately, it’s come very easily to me as I am big, athletic, decisive and goal-oriented.

I have friends who do get that arousal; some of them cross over into sadistic traits. I’m no bottom, but it’s just not me.

A SPRINKLE IS OFTEN ENOUGH OF THE SPICE

A note about execution: it’s my experience-plus-conjecture that MOST women need a bit of dominance, and some women need a LOT of it. That means that you can go far in the dominance game without having to go full-bore. In particular, giving a firm impression that you COULD be a total dominating badass is often enough to get their juices humming, without needing waivers or safewords or a talk about her daddy.

Athol Kay gave me the idea of “simulating” BDSM by having a woman hold a towel with both hands (perhaps weaved through the headboard). I’ve adapted that by tying a woman’s wrist to my nightstand with an elastic scarf, or with a tie leaving plenty of give. Absolutely nothing dangerous about it, she can easily shift position to untie herself and has her other hand free to boot. But it gives enough reality to her fantasy that her mind can do the rest.

Another thing I have found effective is to grasp her hair at the base of the roots, not pulling or twisting, just letting her know that I could be in total control if I wanted to. (I don’t really want to, but she doesn’t need to know that.)

WHAT IS DOMINANCE?

It’s easy for women to get twisted up in hamsterbation when the topic of dominance comes up. The first things that happens is a control-frek strawman warning about “you can’t just boss your woman around the house.” Then come anecdotes about their experiences with insecure guys who would snoop on them, insisted on paying for dates, and other behaviors that passive-aggressively created uncomfortable senses of obligation. Next are anecdotes about how they really liked it when a guy did this or that dominant thing that depended on him being clairvoyant and picking the thing that she really wanted him to do.

When the smoke clears, the definition of dominance has morphed into a solipsistic, female-imperative-centric expression of a woman’s own self-interest expressed through the social labor of a man. In other words, “it only counts as dominance if it’s what I want to do, or what I want him to do.” A man leading a woman to what she doesn’t want is intellectually frowned upon and viscerally feared, as she asserts the right to have the man do what she wants but to give her impression that he thought it up himself. My travails at Married Man Sex Life and other sites with a mixed audience have led me to a somewhat degenerate conclusion – dominance contains the fundamental element that you are doing, on your own initiative, what she wants done (whether that’s sexual in nature, domestic, or some other form of behavior.)

In effect, it becomes “dominance is when the guy does something that I want to do but am too lazy to do myself.”

(As a universal anecdote: even with an advanced understanding of game and gender psychology, I still find downright ludicrous the phenomenon that women are driven crazy by a man being unable to assert an answer to “where should we go for dinner.” It’s like it’s some character flaw reflecting a deep-seated male brokenness that he has more important things to worry about. Blowing up your relationship because you don’t want to pick what you want to eat is a first-class First World Problem and a sign that you are way too coddled in your overly-comfortable life.)

Like anything produced by the rationalization hamster, this riff on dominance is full of contradiction and so caveated as to be practically useless. Dominance is not “doing what a woman wants before she asks you to.” A dominant attitude and behavior reflects a man who is conscious of his own power and status, who is comfortable in owning his world, and has the balls to assert what he wants and needs (the phrase in sales is “ask for the money”), not a guy who is wrapped up with concern about how to predict what she wants before she has to verbalize it so he can get the Mind-Reader Of The Year award.

Now go out there and be your own man.

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The Cliff Revisited: Flirting versus Being Flirted With

In this post here, I elucidated a concept I dubbed “The Cliff,” and the basic idea was this: women see great distinctions based on differences in male behavior that, to men, appear to be very subtle or even meaningless.

In other words, a woman’s opinion of a man can swing wildly based on very small factors. Nothing new about that.

On several occasions, Athol Kay has discussed leveraging preselection and sometimes overtly letting your woman know that a younger, hotter woman has made eyes at you – bringing into stark relief the threat that if you were to split up, you’d have no trouble finding a new mate.

The topic has come up again and again in this corner of the net, to endless consternation. Most of the women discussing it alternate between two forms of argument. One is a moral argument based on emotional pain: “my boyfriend/husband/dad hit on other women and it always made me really upset.”

The other is the “pink whip,” arguing that flirting with other women will cause your current woman to lose interest in you.

My point here is not to debate morality. It is to note that these discussions are always laced with an instance of The Cliff. Women consistently note that they are offended when their man hits on another woman – only to turn around and say they are proud and attracted when another woman hits on him.

The trouble here, from a man’s perspective, is that every flirtation is a two-way street. Somebody initiates, then the other person escalates, and on and on it goes. The idea of trying to determine whether he’s flirting with her or she’s flirting with him is a fool’s errand. Only in cases of a cold approach can a real judgment be made, and with women exhibiting the more indirect style of sexual pursuit, if a man’s gal has it in her head that he initiated the set with the third party, it’s going to be all but impossible to convince her otherwise no matter what the actual truth is.

So while I advise men not to approach or open women when they are out with a paramour (who by being out with you has earned at least a bit of standing as your squeeze for the night), The Cliff means that you’ll often be held to account for an encounter that’s primarily carried by the woman. (There’s an example of Vox Day’s “carte blanche” imperative – if you’re going to get crap for it either way, might as well choose the route most beneficial to you.)

Whenever I’ve seen this mentioned to women, it’s been waved off with the “real men don’t need game” explanation: “real naturals don’t have to flirt – the women come to them, because their very BEING is so attractive.” And so it’s OK for these guys to be surrounded by a brood of women, because it’s somehow not their fault.

But we guys who have studied game and practiced it understand that this explanation is almost an entirely false distinction – men are not just dropped into social environments like sculptures and immediately surrounded by adoring women. Men who are approached by women are exhibiting attractive traits, dozens of verbal, physical and behavioral cues that trip women’s body agendas into wanting to escalate the conversation. Men who are naturals are often themselves unaware what these cues are, and can hide behind a veil of ignorance and insist they aren’t doing anything to bring these women around.

Just to use a straightforward example that doesn’t even involve any conversation: it’s well-understood that getting in better physical shape will raise a man’s attraction value and might cause women to approach him without any apparent tactical effort on his part. In other words, his being is attractive ipso facto. However, to leverage this value, a man has to dress and carry himself in a way that shows off his fitness. So he’s still taking an active part in displaying his value to the world, even if it appears that he’s not making any special effort at the moment the woman approaches him. So the very idea that makes The Cliff exegesis possible, that the guy is just so attractive that he’s attracting attention without doing anything, is fallacious.

I hold men and women to the same standard here. If you’re constantly being approached by the opposite sex, you are attracting that attention in some overt way, whether it be your dress, your posture, your social demeanor or the places you hang out. You are accountable for that – it may not be entirely conscious on your part, but don’t try to tell me you don’t know it’s there.

I understand why women want to draw this distinction – a man who is approached by flirty women has immense preselection value, while a man approaching women raises the paradox that nothing is less attractive than a man trying to be attractive. It’s another strain of “it just happened,” the framing of sexual marketplace events as completely spontaneous. But as we guys know, it never “just happens” – when “it just happens,” the man has normally done a dual job of flirting, escalating and seducing a good opportunity while at the same time covering his tracks with little breadcrumbs of plausible deniability.

So women have a lot of investment in framing who’s actually doing the flirting. But to guys, trying to figure out “who started it” is an almost meaningless conundrum. Besides, putting on blinders to the attentions of women around you is liable to get you tagged by the woman you’re with as clueless and socially awkward, or unable to own your virile masculinity.

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Field Guide: Don’t Ask A Lot Of Direct Questions and Don’t Talk About Work

When I was in graduate school I began to be subjected to work as a core conversational topic. What department you were in, what research you were doing and when you planned to finish became regular banter topics. This pattern was actually an unwitting form of systematic humiliation; almost no graduate student finishes as quickly as they like nor are as pleased with the content of their work as they hoped. I sum it up with a strip from PhD Comics:

In school this game took on a sort of existential purpose, filling the space of polite discussion but at the same time lacking any significant meaning. None of us were all that concerned with other people’s work, and with the rampant impostor syndrome infecting our subculture, we didn’t want to face our own work either. It was a bit like the joke that “in Communism we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.” Put more simply, it also meant that we had run out of genuinely interesting things to talk about.

It was a perverse sort of prisoner’s dilemma, we all had an incentive to confederate in propping up what bit of meaning the system could provide us, and you couldn’t afford to defect unless you were guaranteed to compensate for the loss of social cachet (in effect, the only option was leaving school entirely where your collegial social value no longer mattered); meanwhile you along with everyone else knew everybody was doing it wrong.

When I left grad school and entered the working world, I was disappointed to find that the “what do you do” question had taken on a whole new level of conversational meaning in afternoon happy hours and genteel dinner parties. It was no longer a mutual backscratching, a collective acquiescence to the shared ennui; rather it was more likely a passive aggressive invitation to show your cards early, laced with the air of cutthroat competition and status jockeying, of subtle plays to one’s superior income or “juice” (social proximity to important figures).

Fortunately, when still in school I had formulated a simple personal policy to deal with the situation: don’t talk about work. It was very simple and easy to implement; once on a ride to a picnic with a student group, another student turned to me and opened conversation with “so what are you doing for your research?” I told him on the spot that I was sorry but I had to go to sleep, and instantly napped it up with my head against the window.

DON’T TALK ABOUT WORK

When you’re out meeting people or flexing your game against the ladies about town, work discussions are a sure way to get put in the “cubicle drone” box instead of the “mysterious dashing fellow” box.

If someone drops in the “so what do you do,” they’ve probably run out of interesting things to talk about and have decided to play a beta-bait “let’s get to know each other” script. However, don’t sleep on the other, more nefarious purpose of interrogating you about your work: to investigate your social status and probable income. You can see where I’m going with this, that with what seems like an innocent question, a crafty woman might be asking you to save her the effort by disqualifying yourself from her potential mating pool.

Fortunately, you don’t have to assume the worst to motivate yourself to find other conversation topics. You just have to realize that talking about work is boring, and lends itself to an encyclopedic discourse that is either value-neutral or negative.

Besides, you shouldn’t want to discuss it at length; if you’ve been doing it right, you work your workday so you can go home and enjoy yourself, unburdened by the stresses of the day until you come back to the office in the morning.

In the same way that you avoid paying for women’s dinners by not going on dinner dates, the key factor here is to, quite simply, not talk about work. This can be easier said than done, and when you find someone who is REALLY concerned about what you “do,” you’ve got someone you’re better off walking away from. If it’s a deep concern of hers on the first meeting, you can be damn sure that you’ll be subjected to an unbroken sequence of lifestyle fitness testing and status pressures throughout the life of whatever relationship is possible with someone with that kind of either rocket-powered hypergamy or (conversely) strictly work-based life values.

Anyway, the best way to deal with this question is to treat it like a fitness test, and respond innocently with an answer so ridiculous and over-the-top they can’t help but tingle.

Give them a bullshit job title and description. Remain in character as long as possible. Options to riff on include:

  • You’re an agent in a semipro midget football league (talk about how hard it is to find enough talented players to fill rosters)
  • You’re in a Gordon Lightfoot cover band (talk about the difficulty of maintaining authenticity over decades of changing vocals and styles)
  • You’re a security consultant for Wolfgang Puck restaurants (discuss the challenges of keeping the recipes safe from wannabe-Slugworths who slip into the kitchen offices on the way to the bathroom)
  • You were involved in constructing the world’s largest guitar (“luckily we found someone who could play it, but on condition of absolute secrecy”)

You want to channel Owen Wilson’s dinner speech in Wedding Crashers where he convinces Christopher Walken and the rest of the well-to-do hosts that he and Vince Vaughan operated a charity where homeless people spun yarn into thread for other homeless people to make marketable garments out of.

(Notice the fitness-test trap question: “so is it just about the money?” Also does anybody else think this scene was ab libbed?)

If bold mendacity doesn’t get people off the scent, provide a concise, unapologetic description of your work, without expecting anyone to be impressed by it, and then change the subject. You don’t want to get on the topic long enough for people to ask follow up questions or to start poking fun at you and put you on the defensive.

Notice that I haven’t said anything about whether your job is cool or not. That’s because it’s immaterial to whether you should talk about it or not. If your job is menial, boring or low-status (let’s not kid ourselves; most jobs, even well-paying ones, are at least one of these), you definitely don’t want to lay that out in social company. In close friend groups or more intimate moments, sure. But even if your job is cool, you don’t want to lead with high status and value first. You can cultivate a mysterious edge and be different, the guy who DOESN’T want to talk about his job; and then when people find out you really are a badass, the effects of the understatement will ripple through the group like a shockwave.

DON’T ASK DIRECT QUESTIONS

Going again in the direction of providing the emotional adventure: you don’t want to get in the position of being asked interrogative questions (see above), and you certainly don’t want to be the one asking said questions. Nothing can dry up somebody’s social juices like the feeling she’s on the spot.

Here are some questions that can get you started. (I keep a few of these phrases ready in my mental pocket in case the conversation lags and I need to jump-start it.)

  • When did you last sing to yourself?
  • Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  • Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

My high school English teacher was all about “assertions” in our essays. “Don’t just write facts down on the page, make assertions, and use facts to support them!” She taught me, after much roughness, how to stick to a point and make the argument not just in the topic sentence or the thesis statement but in every phrase in the work.

Likewise, you don’t want to be in a “conversation” that is like a mutual information drop. Instead you want to be leading someone through your affective assertions, with soft leading questions instead of direct pointed ones. Don’t stay on one topic too long, and don’t apologize for changing the subject. Factual exchange is not the aim (nor is coming out right in an argument), it’s the opening of interpersonal boundaries - using little nuggets of her own personality as anchors, as markers on the path through a vibrant, sensual trail.

As Roissy has said:

You are ROAMING all over, taking her on an adventure. In this world, there is no need to finish thoughts or draw conclusions. There is only need to EXPERIENCE. You’re grabbing her hand and running with her down an infinite, labyrinthine alleyway with no end, laughing and letting your fingers glide on the cobblestone walls along the way.

When you can make her feel something, the piddly details of your job or what neighborhood you live in fade to the background – you occupy a pole position in giving her that most distinctive experience, an emotional rush.

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Being An Emotional Man Does Not Equal “Talking About Your Feelings”

My post on intimacy and commitment produced a rush of activity (thanks guys) and a number of comments that provide fodder for more writing.

Prime among the discussion items was the difference between being emotionally active and open, and “talking about your feelings.” One of the aspects of intimacy that gets people is the (correct) rejoinder that women don’t want men to “talk about their feelings.” This is true – arguing from emotions is something women don’t expect men to do and find foreign and disruptive, and is usually a one-way ticket to a journey beyond sight and sound to The Beta Zone. Sensitive New Age Guyism taught men to be kinder and gentler and to show “vulnerability” via verbal upchuck. Extensive, multi-generational field testing has shown this approach to be a complete and utter failure.

A significant skill in the gaming man’s toolbox is learning to be emotionally alive without making it about filling some emotional gap or need you have – you can be giving and evocative and intense and passionate without being needy and a sink of psychological resources. I concur with Xsplat that when done right it’s a more effective game strategy, if harder to pull off than straight aloofness.

If I may quote the inimitable Roissy, Commandment 9:

IX. Connect with her emotions

Set yourself apart from other men and connect with a woman’s emotional landscape. Her mind is an alien world that requires deft navigation to reach your rendevous. Frolic in the surf of emotions rather than the arid desert of logic. Be playful. Employ all your senses. Describe in lush detail scenarios to set her heart afire. Give your feelings freedom to roam. ROAM. Yes, that is a good word. You’re not on a linear path with her. You are ROAMING all over, taking her on an adventure. In this world, there is no need to finish thoughts or draw conclusions. There is only need to EXPERIENCE. You’re grabbing her hand and running with her down an infinite, labyrinthine alleyway with no end, laughing and letting your fingers glide on the cobblestone walls along the way.

You need to SHOW her where you are by taking her there with you, instead of “talking” about it and killing it in the process. It has to be not about your “needs” but about staking out psychological space and inviting her into it. When you make it a psychological dividend, a bounty you share with her, you raise it from a need to a pleasure in which she will be glad to partake.

An analogy I came up with is that you can have good food and drink as a regular part of your life, without making it all about filling your hunger need. You don’t say “please feed me because I am hungry;” you say “let’s make a huge ribeye steak and some buttered steamed asparagus, mmmm.” You’re excited not because you’re about to scratch the hunger itch but because you are on the precipice of a rich tapestry of sensation (As you might guess, I tend to eat slowly so as to savor the flavor).

Some writers in our corner of the net have portrayed emotion-inducing men as beta males, under the idea that emotion=beta and alphas are boorish frat guys. That’s a bunch of hooey. People who can make us feel strong emotions are highly valued and given access to key positions in music, acting, sports, ministry and politics. That’s an alpha trait, alpha=social influence and charting your own course. If you can induce emotional resonance in a crowd (or even a small group), you can be a leader and hold great sway over society.

I discussed this in one of my early posts, about blues musicians. I noticed that bluesmen were always singing about some woman who had done them wrong, about the miseries of their lives and their existential hard-luck pain. Their characters were whining up and down the register. Yet the singers themselves got laid like tile. So what was it – what made these guys, assuming the role of a second-rate tramp, so irresistible to women?

After some thought, it was easy: the song and the stage experience were an emotional adventure. The content was beta, but the execution was alpha – they were connecting with the audience, making them feel tantalizing things they didn’t feel in the cafeteria at work.

EMOTIONAL CONTROL IS KEY

Yohami and Deti went back and forth on the idea that modern women want a man to construct an “emotional amusement park” where she can experience the feeling of thrilling danger, but without real risk. I don’t quite concur with this analysis, in that I don’t gather that women want a pain-free emotional experience or for the man to not have any emotions, but rather that they want a man to be in control of his emotions and they interpret a man trying to work through his feelings to be on the brink of losing it.

Men are on the whole are bigger and stronger than women, so a man whose emotions are out of control is quite dangerous to a female. Because of this danger, society has developed ways to shame and denigrate men into keeping their emotions in check. The cheap knocks women throw at men that they are “creepy” and “angry” are attempts to leverage this reflexive shame hook for a quick shutdown of the conversation (as we know, the ladies often doth protest too much).

MALE SOCIAL BONDING PROVIDES A DISAPPEARING OUTLET

Candide had a brilliant comment about how the decline of male-only spaces has led men to disgorge their emotional lives onto their wives and girlfriends, instead of in the same single-sex environs which used to be safe havens.

Previously, it was expected and socially encouraged, men had their own space and dealt with each other in their own way. Now, male spaces have been all but destroyed, mentorship is a thing of the past, and men are saving the motherload of emotional vulnerabilities for women they have a relationship with.

This is part and parcel of social mothballing of the masculinity ladder. Male social dynamics have two major parts: the first in which men are tested for their fitness for membership, and the second in which having passed the test they are accepted into the group almost wholesale. I don’t see this in female social groups (in fact I see the opposite – immediate superficial acceptance, followed by an undercurrent of obfuscated and passive-aggressive challenges from the inside).

Within this tested and socially proofed environment (homosocial is the term feminists like to use for this, with the intentionally uncanny allusion to latent homosexuality), men are finally free to express themselves emotionally, confident that everyone has paid the price for exclusivity and wouldn’t dare violate the boundaries of the group.

As Candide notes, many of these male spaces have been diluted or eliminated entirely. One place they still exist for young men where they can learn emotional continence is in sports, where it’s OK to celebrate each other’s successes and weep together in your failures. There’s a reason the “locker room” is a linguistic meme for a protected inner circle of male social order.

One place young men learn this is in sports, where it’s OK to celebrate each other’s successes and weep together in your failures. There’s a reason the “locker room” is a linguistic meme for a protected inner circle of male social order.

Wise men of influence acting as coaches know how to cultivate and shape this test-accept sequence for the greater good. When done right it produces teams that are internally accountable and suppress selfishness, narcissism and sloth. When done wrong, with members endowed with too much power, you get hazing and froshing that serve as nothing more than systematic humiliation.

Likewise, if you lower the price of entry too much (as our “trophies for everybody” culture is wont to do), you get people who don’t care because they don’t have to, another group that is over-reliant/codependent, and others who have paid the price who want no part of counseling them.

RIDE THE WAVE

Candide followed up with a riff on the emotional bifurcation I spoke of in the original post.

Regarding culture, I think the modern mainstream urban WASP culture produces very timid, emotionally weak people with intimacy issues over the last few generations (tail end of X, whole of Y and Millenials). It shows in very basic social situations like meeting & talking to strangers at social events. They can’t manage their own emotions, so they either stay completely closed off, or way too open too soon (binary switch).

I think it takes more to run Xsplat game and go high-affect early in the seduction, because of the careful adjustment and balance required. It’s schematically simpler to just shut down your emotional system and play aloof, but the reward for creating primary emotional responses can be so much higher - in her mind and in yours.

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