Category Archives: junk culture

Reciprocal Scarcity: A Treatise in Two Parts (Part II)

On Friday I discussed a Wall Street Journal article about workplace perks and riffed about how two parties in a market can both be chasing a high-quality/non-fungible and thus scarce resource the other possesses, and that this “reciprocal scarcity” produces a paradox where both sides perceive a critical shortage despite their being, by the numbers, a lot of supply in the field.

The thing is, if you look like the rest of the field…you’re in the “presenter” role, and you have to try to get employers’ attention. You avoid mistakes that bounce people out of interviews, and hope that someone in the process liked you enough to give you the job above a bunch of other cookie-cutter candidates, because when they have more suitors than spots, they start making decisions on ever more petty criteria.

However, if you have some trait that makes you desirable for a particular niche…you will be more of a selector, and employers will fight over you. Those who need someone to do, say, international tax law, or arcane circuit design, or precision welding, or to close deals that couldn’t otherwise be closed, will find themselves adapting to the applicants more than the other way around, lest they be caught entirely without someone to do essential work for their business.

It should be pretty clear to regular readers that this mutual asymmetry also exists in the sexual and mating marketplace. It’s a fascinating analogy, as mates are not fungible commodities either – some people are more desireable than others, which changes people’s negotiating behavior, IOW what they are willing to give for what they get. When you feel your options for mates are scarce, you will instinctively put yourself in a submissive bargaining position, accepting poor mate quality and bad behavior out of fear that you will never convince another person to to love you.

(Sidebar: The “romantics,” as you might call them, are deeply disturbed by this model and reject it. Their concept is of a special, individualized “life force” that matches you lock and key with a soulmate, and that the dating culture is a large-scale randomization that enables soulmates to match up. They see the idea of a mating “marketplace” to be crass and dehumanizing. The truth is, though, that there are physical, structural and contextual factors that predict attraction between the genders, and these can leveraged and modulated by individuals to improve their results. You do not have to be an evo-psych true believer to buy this; The Selfish Gene is pretty well-accepted in the popular scientific community.)

The incidence of reciprocal scarcity in the SMP, obviously, is that the most desirable mates of either gender have strong bargaining power and wide choice. This came up in the Introverted Playboy’s recent post “Women are not the selectors, hot people are”:

“Both hot men and hot women–in other words, the most sexually desirable members of each gender–are the sexual selectors because a large number of people want to date or sleep with them…

If we look at the hottest men, the men who are the most attractive to the female gender, they do not have an issue when it comes to sexual access. They can either generate sexual opportunities for themselves relatively easily, or they have opportunities coming to them with less effort…The least attractive men are the most sexually driven–because they have so few options–and this is what makes them overeager whenever a hot woman gives them a little interest. This creates the illusion that women are the selectors, but what is really happening is that one person is more eager than the other, and as a result, the less eager person has leverage in the relationship. If the man is less eager (i.e. by being outcome independent, living a powerful life that is more interesting to him than getting the next lay, etc), then suddenly the tables start to turn.”

(Cross-blog plug: I really like the IP’s stuff, Badger Hut regulars would probably enjoy his style.)

A key note on the idea of “selection” is needed here. In today’s American society, outside of a sliver of religious sects, sexual selection is the predecessor to relationship selection. The vast majority of men are not interested in dating/having a relationship with a woman they aren’t attracted to. The same goes for women, excepting those who are trying to snag the beta-provider security in their SMP twilight, so let’s say no woman with options is going to date a man she’s not attracted to. In the vast majority of cases, some kind of sexual activity that goes beyond first base is going happen before the relationship is sealed.

So the sexual and so-called “marital” marketplaces are not operating in parallel as much as some kind of success in the SMP is a prerequisite to enter the MMP.

Now, let’s analyze the dual scarcities.

The dominance-and-status basis for male attraction, the strong influence of preselection and female hypergamy, and the horrifically inadequate social training provided to young men in today’s society put only a small cohort of men in the “desireable” category. These men are either nailed down by partners or “unavailable” by virtue of pluralistic availability (i.e. playing the field), and so to a woman seeking such a mate, they are perpetually scarce targets.

This is exactly the source of the feminist Apex Fallacy the manosphere is repeatedly citing (hat tip to Bernard Chapin for coining the term): if you are a woman who is not at the top of her food chain, you are a presenter and the men you desire are the selectors, and their behavior dominates your perception of what men and their lives are like. And select they will. Early on, the Manosphere get behind the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule – a longtime male proverb that “80% of the girls are sleeping with 20% of the guys.” This was never intended to be an absolute numerical description but expressed a Thompsonian verisimilitude of the sexual marketplace that resonated with most men – that the trend of women’s interest went to a small sliver of guys, while the rest are to be rejected with prejudice or tolerated as a secondary strategy when the music is stopping and there’s no handsome hunk offering her a seat on his lap.

Recent statistics that there are more male than female virgins in American colleges seems to back up the idea. (A corollary of the 80/20 rule was “you just have to get into that 20% and you’re set,” reflecting preselection’s power to make a sexually successful male even more desired.)

On the other side of the seesaw, you have reams of indistinguishibly drab beta males, whose mating fields run fallow in one season after another. They have meager means to attract and retain women, and are desperate for female attention and approval. These men are presenters, and the women they desire the selectors (and often the women they desire are of modest SMP “resources”). The results are predictably disastrous; they are the SMP equivalent of fresh college graduates begging employers for that first boost up the staircase, hoping someone will take a chance on them. They will have infinite, and corrosively self-destructive, loyalty and dedication because they are existentially scared of being cast out, of losing their newfound font of romantic attention and sexual access. The female reactions to this behavior are, to put it mildly, extremely negative.

We in the Manosphere are continually warning and coaching men to develop a mindset of abundance and avoid the mindset of scarcity. By a quirk of psychology, if a man acts in a manner congruent with having a lot of options, enough women will see him (and treat him) as a man with options for him to level up his bargaining position and have a chance at some success. It is truly amazing to watch a humble, mild-mannered man assume an affected posture of social dominance and outcome independence and see his fortunes with women improve. (Again, the romantics would say he’s tapping into some kind of core value buried deep inside him that people are responding to – but no, he’s simply exhibiting behaviors that are known to increase his perceived social value.)

As I once noted in a comment, the overall selection auction goes something like this:

  1. The top men take whom they want (who are happy to go along)
  2. The remaining top women pick the best greater-betas
  3. The middle betas and below then take the women they can get (who go along grudgingly)

So there’s a scarcity mindset at every rung relative to the rung above it. Even the men at the top perceive some scarcity, because their personalities and tastes for variety are insatiable (that’s part of why they are up there). Note that the women in step 2 are put in a position of relationship leadership that the empirical evidence suggests women are not very keen on.

In other words, just like in the job market, the mindset of sexual-marketplace scarcity can and does go in both directions. It’s easy to get wrapped up in cognitive bias by telling yourself, if you’re a woman for instance, that men have it easy. Men don’t have it easy, the small subset of highly-desired men have it easy (the apex fallacy lives), as do the most desired women.

My friend Captain Capitalism has undertaken some original research to determine the exact terms of the SMP’s interpersonal bargaining: he polled his male readership for their age and approximately how much time they spent pursuing women. The results were predictable but useful – guys in their mid-20’s to early 30’s spent almost a quarter of their free time pursuing women, with the results falling off such that by age 50 or so, guys were putting in almost no effort.

The numbers suggest that the age at which men perceive the most benefit from female pursuit is in the young adult years, however it also suggests that they are relatively weak bargainers at that age which itself motivates the intense effort to meet and date girls.

FURTHER READING

I penned two earlier posts that overlap with this Treatise, and rather than stuff their hyperlinks into the new text, I figured they were worth outboard citations in their own right.

Reflections on Frost’s Analysis of the Sexual Revolution

Decoupling Intimacy and Commitment

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Filed under dating and field game, junk culture, original research

How The Game Saved Christmas

Merry Christmas Badger Hut readers (and Badgerettes).

Vox Day, Roissy and Athol Kay all had brilliant posts recently about surviving the machinations your woman might put you through this holiday season. For those who might be non-North American or otherwise not in the know (can’t speak to this in other countries), the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays can be times of enormous pressure and backbiting for American women – there’s a considerable cultural and media expectation that holidays be over-decoated, over-fed and over-friendlied, and that you are failing as a modern woman if you don’t measure up to the obsessive-compulsive mommy down the street who had her Christmas lights up the moment the last trick-or-treater left her porch on Halloween night. They’re fighting not only the airbrushed scenes they see on commercial TV, but also the memories of their own childhoods (and good memories tend to underrate the negatives and create un-meetable expectations by comparison).

Much of this expectation is organized around the party/dinner events on Thanksgiving and Christmas nights, but it also concerns giving and receiving gifts, managing extended-family squabbles and decorating the house. Men of good game reading this can already predict this mixture is a huge time-bomb for a relational explosion, a sort of high-stakes short-order test of a man’s domestic relationship game skills. It’s a classic instance of the wife’s priority no longer being about the marriage/family per se, and instead becoming about measuring herself against a materialistic or cultural script. Guys with “supermom” wives know how this can separate a husband and wife; the characteristic symptom is when she begins to view the husband as an annoying blocker in the middle of her plans. The solution, in short, is to view it like a supercharged fitness test she doesn’t even know she’s throwing: enforce your own frame and expectations over hers at some points, and at other points just don’t even bother getting into an argument about it.

If I had gotten the better of time, I might have posted this before the holiday when it might have been more useful to the readership; however I’m never one to let good advice go uncited.

First, Athol gives tips for the Thanksgiving dinner (which apply just as well to the Christmas meal):

once Thanksgiving was moved to our house, Jennifer has a DNA sequence that kicked in and made her totally responsible for the perfection that shall be Thanksgiving Dinner for everyone. Which is a polite way of saying she became Batshit Crazy on a short term basis related to this one meal.

Normally I advise medication or running when faced with a Batshit Crazy wife, in this case though, I recommend assistance and letting it all wash over you.

Some basic tips about the meal itself: [abridged and with comments by the Badger]

(1)  Arrange whatever seating pattern to enable both you and her to sit together, closest to the kitchen. This is so either one of you can get up and get something. Also it means you can put one hand on her thigh to direct her not to get up yet again. [also you can kino her during the meal to keep the romantic dynamic in play, and also shows that you two are a unit.]

(2)  It’s your job to Alpha her into at some point sitting the hell down and actually eating dinner. [realize that if someone doesn't give her an order she won't sit down and enjoy herself, and if you want her to keep respecting you that person had better be you and not her mother/sister/best friend.]

(4) You carve the turkey. [the man of the house carves the turkey. remember that episode of the Cosby Show when Cliff had Sondra's boyfriend Elvin cut the turkey?]

(7)  House cleaning happens the day before Thanksgiving. Direct everyone in the family to help with this. [you don't have to clean the entire house - put all the crap in a room no one is allowed to go into and lock it.]
(8)  Thanksgiving morning, the turkey goes in the oven…. and you both go get some exercise. [exercise does seem to lower the tension hormones. why not have a good romp before any guests arrive?]

(10) Before the meal. Nuts, cheese, crackers, spicy salami and shrimp. Leave it out, watch the hordes come. [and put some bottles of booze out so they can make some cocktails.]

(unnumbered) get a set of new plastic containers and just load them up with the leftovers and make sure everyone one on the way out. [brilliant!]

I also second Athol and Jennifer’s endorsement of Alton Brown’s turkey-brining method. Link is here, youtubes are here:

Vox Day on The Meal

Vox concurs with Athol’s advice to just “let her do her thing,” but for a more calculated reason in the game-theory sense:

Don’t bother offering to help with anything.  You’re not going to be able to do anything her way or to her standards.  Besides, she’s going to be judged on her performance, so even if you are a competent cook or gift wrapper, any assistance on your part will not count and thereby is rendered invalid on its face.

He then advises to take it upon yourself to do the dishes, thus relieving yourself of the burden of having to listen to half-drunken chatter amongst a captive audience as the meal winds down. Brilliant guy, that Vox.

Vox Day on Gift-Giving

The Boss of Alpha Game penned a pair of posts regarding presents as another possible fitness-test trap for men who want nothing more than to make their girl haaaappy on Christmas morning. First, he discussed a process by which women might denigrate the value of the gift they received so as to reduce the sense of obligation felt as a result of accepting the gift. Just read the whole thing here.

Allow me to riff for a moment: I’ve been working on a theory about why women hate beta-supplication game…the theory is that the totality of beta behavior triggers this uncomfortable feeling of obligation in the woman. Every favor, gift gift, dinner out, even times he forgives her for bitchy, crass or cruel behavior, inures her into a feeling she owes him something. And if there’s one thing I’ve found can kill a tingle with consistency, it’s the suggestion she owes some romantic debt (be it sex or love) to a man. (Just read the responses of women who say they want a better sex life but refuse ideas like committing themselves to say yes, or to go on a “sex streak.”) Women seem to trade in emotional currencies far more than men (who trade in rational currencies), and emotional currencies can’t be subject to obligatory reciprocity the way rational currencies can.

Additionally, gifts, favors etc signal to a woman that you think her to be high value, which she might react negatively to if she secretly believes she’s not high value. Men respond to this kind of situation with gratitude, women seem to respond to it with contempt for the giver as a rube. So you get a double-whammy of annoyance that she is under social expectation to repay the favor, and lack of respect for the gift-giver who has shown his foolishness by presuming her to be higher value than she herself believes.

Now, as to the real plan for giving gifts, Vox also cites various blue-pill cultural nonsense that has served to mislead men down the pedestalizing path for decades:

Here are several “helpful” suggestions offered by the experts on women in the mainstream media:

  • Anything that suggests that the recipient is anything less than perfect will go down worse than Frankie Boyle at a kid’s Christmas party.
  •  Never buy a woman an iron for Christmas unless you want to get hit over the head with it.
  •  Guys, this is 50 shades of WRONG. Don’t even think about it – or anything else tenuously linked to 50 Shades of Grey for that matter.
  • Nothing says “I don’t really think that much of you” quite like a handbag by ‘Louis Vilton’. If you can’t stretch to a designer bag, better to opt for the (genuine) perfume.

Translation: don’t buy a woman anything that might be sexy, affordable, useful, improving, or popular.  Only gifts that are rare, expensive, and useless will be appreciated.  Except, as we already know, buying the perfect gift is the worst thing you can possibly do since it will create an unwanted sense of obligation.

So, ignore the experts.  If she said she wanted X at some point during the year, then buy X.  Don’t overthink these things and stop striving for the nonexistent perfect gift.  Remember that presents don’t fix relationship problems.

For f&%$’s sake, especially don’t fall for those stupid jewelry ads that say “love is priceless, so you should show it by spending $1,000 or more on our product.” This is where a sort of soft-PUA approach is called for: be judicious in your gift-giving, never equate dollars spent with love expressed, seek gifts with uniqueness and emotional power that cultivate the “secret world” between lovers and not a mass-marketed consumerism, and steadfastly refused to be judged by the standards of her rat-race girlfriends. Staying low on the expense ladder also reduces the sense of obligation; if she likes the gift, it contains emotional power, which will cause her to want to reciprocate, and then it’s no longer an obligation.

If she complains about the money, she’s a brat, and you better game that shit out of her or find another woman.

Did Someone Ask For PUA Gift Tips?

Fear not, as Roissy is here to say it much better than I ever could:

One time, I recorded myself singing a song I wrote for a girl. I used a hand-held recorder, so the quality wasn’t good. You can hear a dog barking in the background and rain falling outside on the patio. We eventually broke up from intractable circumstances, but keep in friendly contact occasionally, and she tells me that to this day my recording is the only item of love she has from any man that she refuses to discard.

Cost of this gift to me: zero dollars.

Psychological value of this gift to both me and her: priceless.

Ability to leverage this gift against future girlfriends who know about it: infinity priceless.

The alpha male gifts that women love are never what Kay Jewelers, Zales or VisaMastercard tell you they are. The gifts women love the most are not those gifts that by virtue (or vice) of their cost demonstrate the extent of your beta provider resource pool. No, the gifts women love the most are those gifts that demonstrate the personality traits of the alpha male, a man with romance in his heart despite carrying the burden of multitudinous options with women in his groin.

One of the challenges of LTR/marriage life is maintaining that emotionally intense, carefree “lover” side of the lover-provider dynamic. It’s easy to get into a reciprocating-obligations gameplan where you treat each other as co-employees of a small business instead of as singular emotional fonts from which you each draw from the other’s power. If done wrong, Christmas may be the worst time of the year for this, as a holiday that is supposed to be about the love of the Good Lord for his people for so many degenerates into a insurmountable set of challenges where people as they are are discarded as cannon fodder into the fire of outsized self-destructive cultural expectations.

Hopefully the men reading this have already begun to employ these lessons in their relationships; if not, you can start getting ready early for next year.

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Filed under junk culture, living a good life, relationships

Educated Women’s Contempt For Men

The Atlantic, which appears to be doubling down monthly on its “End of Men” memes, has struck again with professional victim-whiner Sandra Tsing Loh’s latest piece “The Weaker Sex” (in this case, “weaker” referring to men who can’t keep above their wives’ hypergamous expectations).

She cites Liza Mundy, author of a book on female-breadwinner relationships.

“Instead of being a castrating, unmarriageable harpy, today’s reproductively and economically free female, Mundy asserts, is the trigger for a challenging but exciting new social order.”

Loh then spends the rest of the article contradicting Mundy by relaying anecdotes from her high-powered but entitled girlfriends about the frustrations of their kitchen-bitch househusbands.

I’m not going to dwell on explicating the details of the article because frankly, we’ve read it all before. But I will draw attention to two details.

First, the drawing accompanying the article is of a miniature man sitting atop a woman’s forlorn face, lowering a bunch of grapes into his mouth. Supine grape-eating is a longtime artistic shorthand for the idle classes. In this case, it’s hypergamy illustrated – to Loh and the other women in the story, a man who isn’t stomping his way up the career ladder in excess of her own workplace achievement is not just a smaller man, but a weaker one. (To sharpen the obvious double standard, check out the hysterics at any blog where the question is even asked if housewives are pulling their weight.) Gender feminists have long contended that male achievement and drive are actually signals of insecurity, that men have “fragile egos” that are damaged when they don’t achieve to their expectations (cue up the “compensation for a small penis” meme when you’re at it). In that light, it’s interesting to note how fragile women’s egos get when their men don’t achieve to their expectations.

Second, Loh reveals women’s compartmentalized desires, and to her (vague) credit, she admits that they are fantastic and wildly contradictory. STL insists that the high-powered women in her life secretly yearn for an untenable combination of “Four Husbands of the Apocalypse” (a seemingly-cute but grossly misused turn of phrase):

Mr. X: the financial partner. Not necessarily the financial provider—he’s more that calm, intelligent partner with whom to navigate the tedious finan­cial technicalities of life—the 401(k)s, the 529s, the various faintly conflicting health-insurance plans. If you are a mother in our economic class (we all married sensitive, intelligent, professional men, rather than barflies), this man will typically be the father of your children. You will feel that you chose correctly, never mind that you are no longer married (hence the name: “Mr. Ex”).

Mr. Y: the feelings guy. He is all about the glass of chardonnay proffered with soulful active listening at the end of the day. “Pampering”—a vague enough word—may ensue, but the DPMs decide this needn’t include “massage” (as some “date night” guidelines arduously insist). We agree that any sensible human would prefer a massage from a professional. When your “mate” rubs your back, it’s impossible to relax while you anticipate what reciprocation will be required—five minutes of sex or, worse, a 20-­minute massage back. This is a complex role; while it falls to Mr. Y to provide amorous rela­tions if needed, for some—most?—women, it would be enough, or even preferred, for Mr. Y to function as the gentlemanly squire (Maurice Tempelsman holding umbrella aloft as Jackie O steps out of Doubleday into the rain). Or he could even be (or appear to be, although he says he’s not) gay. (David Gest, to the staff: “Liza will be home at 7 o’clock. Ready the Vosges chocolates, draw the bath!”—although of course, that ended, after 16 months, in lawsuits and allegations of beatings, herpes, etc.) (Doesn’t Sir Elton John have a Mr. Y?) (I’ll Google this.)

Mr. Z: The Brawny paper-towel man. This Mr. Fix-It wheels out the garbage cans, repairs the electronic garage-door opener, resets the computerized and (why?) tankless water heater.

Mr. Q: the cheerful intern. Mr. Q executes whatever tiny tasks you assign, without argument—he accepts a stack of envelopes and addresses them, picks up the dry cleaning before noon, is on call for 24/7 emergency carpooling, and, best of all, when handed a grocery list, returns with—get this—that grocery list’s exact items (“not Tropicana carton orange juice but fresh-squeezed Naked Orange Mango”).

The problem, of course, is that no one man can possibly be all four of these people. Mr. X is notoriously bad at processing feelings, Mr. Y is notoriously bad at fixing things, macho Mr. Z hates to be micromanaged, and Mr. Q does not actually exist in real life, although in modern marriages, husbands and wives often do treat each other as interns (“You pick up the dry cleaning!” “No, YOU should, by 5 o’clock! And put it on the United miles card, NOT Bank of America!”).

There are so many manosphere memes here you could write a graduate thesis. It recalls stitch-and-bitch meetings of the overpampered housewives known as “the noopsies” in the Fox series “The O.C.”

What I find bizarre here is that these women don’t seem to take any real joy or pride in their work – all of their kvetching is about how the home life is a failure. There’s no discussion of “I’m really proud of what I’m doing, but it makes it tough to have a good work-life balance.” There’s not even a whiff of “he just couldn’t handle that career was my first priority.” Just amorphous, unalloyed anger. This alone suggests the daytime emptiness of the career track, a grind that is ultimately unfulfilling and unrewarding to these people, except for the status and prestige they can use to demand higher-value men. Welcome, women, to the world we men have lived in for time immemorial.

(It is an interesting and ironic aside that even though we men so often define our self-concept by what we DO, as a group we’ve never sought to extract some overt “fulfillment” or “happiness” from our work the way today’s middle-upper class women have. Work is like marriage for them – its benefits are overpromised, and when the not-a-series-of-smiles reality of the daily grind comes clear, they complain they’re not haaaappy.)

THE TIDE IS TURNING, AND NOT THE WAY THEY WANT

There is one silver lining to this latest tripe from The Atlantic – the comments are absolutely eviscerating.

When men tore apart Kay Hymowitz’s WSJ piece almost two years ago, I knew we were getting somewhere. People also turned up their noses at that stupid “why women can’t have it all” piece a few months back. The worm is really turning, guys are tired of this women-can’t-make-up-their-minds bullshit.

Whether it’s the Manosphere influence or we’re just riding atop a nascent wave of disgust (probably somewhere in between), people are waking up.

For any man to stay married to any of the women portrayed in this article, the women would have to be the equivalent of the “best hooker in Bangkok” in the bedroom. The net negatives of spending your days with such unpleasant witches could only be offset (and even then not indefinitely) by regular, on-demand sex that rivaled the Sultans of ancient Eastern empires. No women can make enough money and provide enough golf opportunities to possibly offset the sheer annoyance of having to spend your days with the type of women the author describes (or the author herself, for that matter). No wonder “financially dependent men” tend to cheat more. If you were shackled with any of these women, who wouldn’t cheat?

How about these?

I can’t believe the Atlantic prints this type of sexism. That’s all this is, a sexist rant by a sexist woman, with little relevant to say except for attacking men. Reverse the genders and this would never be printed. It’s a sad state of the world when you only have to be aware of sexism when it’s against women.

This stuff really does need to be printed. I am a young male working on a professional degree and I am quite unprepared for the women I have been meeting. This article has helped me to make my mind up about one woman I have been on the fence about and has exposed the thought process for many women I will be encountering. We males need this information.

There’s even a comment about r/K selection, classic evo-psych (not going to quote it but it’s there).

Men don’t want what they’re selling. As one Nils Meyer puts it:

Yeah I think if you shack up with a woman like this, your whole life is a competition. First you gotta compete at work, then you go home and you gotta compete against your wife, and against the husbands/boyfriends of all her friends, against Don Draper, Edward Whatshisface, the dude from 50 shades of Grey, a selection of sex toys and the four husbands of the Gynocalypse.

Reminds me of one of Bruce Springsteen’s best live performances: “all day long you gotta prove it your boss, at night you gotta go home and prove it to your wife, on the weekend you gotta prove it to your kids…it just seems the joke’s on you, it never lets up.” (Monologue begins at 1:20)

There’s one factor in this I dislike: there seems to be an attitude that these women should shut up and appreciate how good they have it. I don’t entirely agree. These women have such contempt for men, such blinding hatred for the paeons who have dared displease them, that I think we should encourage them to speak their minds more. Educated men, the target mates for these women, need to know what women really think of them when we don’t live up to the gender roles expected of us, even as they protest that they shouldn’t held to gendered expectations themselves and as they subtly and overtly shittest us into helpmeet-househusband roles we’re destined to be resented for. (Not that they really need any encouragement to print more of this junk, have you browsed a bookstore lately?)

I’ve heard rumblings that the pendulum is swinging in another direction, that the youth of the Millenial era are eschewing the models of their parents and will usher in a new era of intersexual cooperation and collaboration. I’m not buying it one bit – Boomers had that same youthful idealism and look at how they turned into greedy, self-indulgent beasts in their collective middle age. And I still go out to bars and pubs and concerts and see Millenial kids playing the same failed hookup script in their late 20’s, with no real concept of how to relate to one another. However, I don’t think a tide of fem-dom relationships is upon us, firstly for the reason that the piece itself tells us that the women doing it really don’t like it.

THIS WILL NOT STAND

Articles like these are how I know Hannah Rosin’s “End of Men” meme is not really going to come true. Don’t get me wrong – we’re not going into some kind of pre-war trad-con throwback. Women will have careers – forget feminism, the economy demands it, and women who are good at it will find their rewards there. Some women will have quite high-powered careers. But as far as becoming partners and C-level execs, or owning your own practice, most women whatever their talents will not enjoy that lifestyle, both because it doesn’t leave time for other things women value (which has been acknowledged) and because it places them in a status position where very few men can satisfy the basic hypergamous instinct to look up to their mate (which in polite company has only been discussed fleetingly by James Taranto of the WSJ and is otherwise an unspeakable blasphemy against mainstream feminism).

Women still want to get married and have children, and they’re not going to sign up for jobs and career tracks that are, from the horse’s mouth, lots of bother and trouble and little personal fulfillment save for voluminous cheerleading from sheltered reporters and feminist writers and a vaguely envious look from other women who on balance are probably mostly jealous of the type of super-alpha men you get to mingle with.

You don’t need some angry article like this to show off the misery of that lifestyle, either. The popular culture has already been exposed, in meme, to this type of woman – Miranda, the homely attorney from “Sex And The City.” I’m thinking of that scene in the SATC movie where she indignantly tells her husband in mid-thrust, “just get it over with already!” so she can get back to her legal brief. (She later finds out her sexually desperate husband had a one-night stand to relieve himself, after which she inadvertently breaks up Carrie’s wedding by mouthing off to the already-reluctant Big about the unwisdom of marriage.)

Miranda and the author of this piece are what happen when Mary Tyler Moore and Murphy Brown meet reality.

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Splitsburgh on Why Nightclubs Blow

Adam Geddes at Splitsburgh (hat tip to Ferdinand Bardamu at In Bona Fide) lists 29 reasons nightclubs suck. Some highlights:

4. Doormen given the power to turn people away based upon fickle, largely ridiculous criteria. (That scene in Knocked Up comes to mind.)
5. Expensive cover even when a no-name DJ is “performing.”

7. Hollywood-level fakeness: silicone DD boobs, caked-on makeup, hair extensions, spray-on tans, faux-designer accessories, Rolexes, fat stacks of (mainly) low denomination bills, colored contacts, dental veneers.

8. Nothing really happens: options are limited to douche-watching, screaming over obscenely loud music, stupefying yourself with alcohol, or making half-assed attempts at “dancing.”

12. MMA wannabes: threatening others or fighting over inconsequential things.13. Self-paparazzi: Divas in training constantly photographing themselves and their friend group. On-site attention whoring is a platform for more attention-seeking via social media.

16. Primal behavior is rewarded while meaningful communication is largely impossible. (A journey beyond sight and sound, directly into the hindbrain.)

18. Cocky bartenders so fed up with dealing with drunks that they’re scarcely able to treat anyone with dignity. (Had never thought of this angle.)

22. Bottle (lack of) service is a monumental rip-off: markup ranges from 400 to 1,000%. (Bottle service is the ultimate nightclub beta game.)

23. Women feel entitled to free drinks. Men dumb enough to buy women drinks all night usually leave the club empty-handed and with a near-emptied wallet.

26. Club-culture encourages women to wear as little as possible. Feminism encourages them to act outraged when men notice. (Badger lol’d.)

27. Small, inadequate restrooms and stalls so disgusting you wish what was seen could be unseen. (God only knows how many heroin deals went down in one of those johns.)

28. Men proudly hold bottles of Grey Goose in an attempt to attract parasitic women.

The whole thing is worth a read, but essentially boils down to:

  • Capricious waitstaff
  • Over-entitled women
  • Guys posturing and blowing large amounts of money for no return
  • A superficial, unenjoyable environment

I really don’t enjoy nightclubs, am usually bored to death inside, and generally avoid them unless it’s, say, a friend’s birthday or some special event that justifies my presence. (One time I escorted some exchange students I had met that night to a high-end club, and wrote off the cover and coat fee as random fun and introducing visitors to my country.)

Young people in cities feel some kind of collective pressure to hit the nightclub scene as a behavioral marker that they are making an effort to be social, and in particular I find women view “going out” clubbing as a sort of essential lifestyle element to their ouevre – as if to say “see? I’m out in the world trying to meet guys, it’s not my fault I’m single, I’m not a crazy cat lady shut-in!” I frequently overhear women complain they have trouble meeting men, to responses of “OH well you should COME OUT with us this weekend!” so that they can go participate in the hookup culture they say they hate. As for the guys, Dane Cook said it – they go where the girls are.

Clubs are standard game training grounds because although they are difficult to hack it in, there’s constant turnover of prospects and it’s basically low risk: normally the worst that can happen is a drunk chick yells at you (or in Roosh’s case in Baltimore, slugs you once in a lifetime of game). I never went the club-game route to polish my skills, the environment was a total mismatch to my personality and I had little interest in Mystery’s style of befriending groups of clubgoers in batches.

The only kind of club game that produces any results for me is akin to an out-of-body experience – I abandon all expectations of anything happening at all (including having conversations with the guys I arrived with) and adopt a completely detached demeanor, entirely devoid of even the slightest shade of supplication or trying to impress anybody. On occasion this merits me a conversation with an equally-bored and out of place female who is ripe to be isolated outside the establishment. Usually, though, it just gets me a $20 tab for cover and a Manhattan they made wrong – who the F puts an orange in a Manhattan? – and an early exit to preserve my sanity. A late-night blog perusal never felt so good.

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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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Pressure-Free Fun, Received Boomerism and the Fear of Failure

Susan Walsh posted last week about the frozen margaritas she would make in her younger years, and how they complemented Friday nights with Mr HUS:

“we got in the habit of collapsing after a long work week with a pitcher of frozen margaritas and reggae on the stereo…We’d slurp our drinks and dance, and I always wanted to lead, but Mr. HUS would just stand still with his arms crossed until I stopped misbehaving.”

This is so charming and simple, and for some reason it feels so foreign and strange. I’m telling you, among the educated class in the Millenial generation there is so much damn pressure to be working and learning and growing and – here’s the kicker – being “cool,” that it’s almost bizarre to think a young couple would just drink and dance in their own house and enjoy it.

It’s like a cultural rat race pressing down on my generation. There’s this nonjudgmentalism fetish around the culture, but at the same time there’s so much pressure to not be a fuddy duddy. It even slips down to booze – instead of just drinking, we feel like we need to be drinking fine bourbon or top wine. There’s cultural cachet to watching heady HBO dramas or reading culturally-approved modern pop literature instead of enjoying classics.

Hipsters, of all people, have tried to make valor out of the pedestrian, and it’s not just about their clothes, it’s about their skinny-fit and intentionally-mismatched clothes, their consumption of offbeat culture and music and even their smoking, an intentionally self-destructive behavior that belies their epicurean subculture (it recalls one of Roissy’s later maxims that expendability is a DHV). All the hipsters I’ve met have been pretty nice guys, but on a macro level they are cultural badboys.

Someone at HUS recently mentioned Joan Holloway of Mad Men playing her accordion in an episode. Before the radio, housewives were venerated for their ability to play parlor instruments to entertain the family (creating the market for sheet music that WAS the pre-modern music industry). Today, learning band instruments is another activity of overscheduled kids packing their resumes for college applications.

I notice a lot of poker players in my generation (in a quest for socially-approved expressions of masculinity, with its attendant competitiveness and shit-talking), but also what seems to be a loss of more recreational card games like hearts, cribbage and euchre. My parents love to play cards with us kids and their own parents, it’s just a pastime with no greater meaning. No one laments the loss of time that could have gone into “classier” pursuits. But today card games and board games are seen as geeky and offbeat, a sort of countercultural statement. It’s like mindless fun isn’t OK, you have to put on an expensive wardrobe and buy expensive cocktails and have a soul-crushing night of forced socialization to feel like you’re having socially-approved fun.

I had lunch with a former boss last week, a late Boomer/early Gen X-er with a thoughtful eye towards social trends, and I mentioned what I saw as a pervasive fear of failure among my generation, which I believed was at least partly a fear of letting down our parents – who never let us forget what high hopes they had for us, nor the sense that they were relying on us to carry out and finish the dreams of their youth.

He replied that he had had the exact same discussion several times recently. He added that when he was young, it was understood that young people were going to make mistakes in work and life, that it was part of the growing process – but that today he saw a lot of people defined by their incidental failures with nary a chance to redeem themselves. Which I suppose validates my cohort’s concerns. I shouldn’t have to mention that politics – who know whom – is a big factor in escaping the scarlet letter.

Boomers are alternately lauded and mocked for their idealism, and for the failure of that idealism with divorce, war and economic strife that has followed them in adulthood. What the Boomers passed to my generation was the idealism, but stripped of the knowledge that idealism is messy, that it comes with failure and false starts and with suffering the consequences of your convictions (notice the trend of attachment parenting/helicopter parenting where parents take a direct role in shielding their children from the important lessons that failure and disappointment impart to young people).

Some of my cohortmates have responded to this subtle pressure of expectations with perfectionism, and the eventual neurosis that comes with it – spectacular burnout, depression, bitterness or self-harm.

Some of them, who never even tried to fake the perfectionism in the first place, turn the other way to a sort of primary fatalistic nhilism – a sequence of pornography, promiscuity, junk culture, lack of ambition or a belief that their work can contribute to society, self-medication,  profligacy in pursuit of achievable material comforts against unachievable philosophical ones.

Frost and Ferdinand Bardamu have dubbed the maturing crop of youth “Generation Zero.” Fly Fresh and Young (don’t know what’s with all these F’s) drops all pretense with “Generation Nihilism.”

This modern neurosis, the first-world problem, of being afraid to get your ego bumped around, has to be scrapped to accomplish things. The only way to go from good to great is to destroy your ego and accept failure as a necessary step on the path – otherwise your self-consciousness and self-flattery will hold you back from seeing the dull points that need to be polished. That means giving up the comfort of things being consistently OK.

When I’m out about town and get rejected or blown out of a set, I immediately turn to the next woman and open her. I process the failure and learn from it, but I don’t let it define me except to become part of the knowledge base I use as experience. Same with a screw-up in my career. Did I do that? OK, I wasn’t born with that knowledge, let’s figure out how to do it right next time. In this way, failing actually moves me ahead of where I was before it occurred.

If we’re not ready as a generation to break out of our control-freaking comfort zones, and not as a society to accept some bumps in the road as the price of a building a capable and well-drilled cohort of people to handle the reins for the next quarter-century, then we’ve devolved and are not much better than dogs or horses, emerging from the womb as miniaturized versions of our adult selves – growing quickly into a vapid, animalistic existence driven by little more than our atavistic instincts and the subconscious social-validation layer that sits atop it.

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A Low-Touch Culture Leads To Widespread Game Deficiency

Yet another epic thread at Hooking Up Smart has unearthed a gem. The always-insightful Dominican-born Stephenie Rowling responded to a comment on the thread thusly:

I also think that the reason there is so much sport-fu**ing going on is that overall the culture is very touch-negative and sexual intimacy became one of the ways to be close with someone.

I think you are onto something with this comment, is one of the big differences here about how people have “personal spaces” of the size of a small apartments and there is not kisses or hugs liberally given to people you meet, like in my culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if “touch deprivation” has to do with all the hook up culture being so prevalent. I wonder if ancient cultures were big on touching each other too…

I had never thought of it this way but it’s an accurate analysis. I lol’d at “personal spaces the size of small apartments.”

America is by and large a culture where people are walled off from each other. One of the big eye-openers when I started working to up my game was how hesitant I was to touch a woman I was interested in, even when she was giving signs it was welcome – and how effective it was at escalating the interaction. And because men raise their value when they stand out from the crowd, men who can use touch effectively (“kino” as the PUAs call it) massively differentiate themselves from average Joes afraid to put their paws on anybody.

As to why men in particular are generally poor at the touch game, it’s easy to figure out. It would repeat much work of the manosphere to discuss how male sexuality is criminalized from a very young age, and what Stephenie calls the “feelings-ocracy” has made a man “creepy” and/or worth a sexual harassment allegation if he uses in a way judged inappropriate. This promotes an overall feeling of anxiety and discomfort interacting with women entirely, and especially with romantic escalation.

Every culture has limits on what touching is deemed invasive, but Latin and Mediterranean cultures are well-known for being more tactile. A kiss on each cheek is de rigeur in some Spanish-speaking countries. My Belgian friends taught me that it’s three kisses on alternating cheeks (I am guessing this comes from both French and Spanish imperial influence; too bad the tradition of high-quality beer didn’t transfer the other way).

"This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine. You gotta hold the frame."

One of the most effective ways I learned about using touch effectively was from a ballroom dancing class. There’s a subtle line between sexual and non-sexual touching that takes place in partner dancing – how to be sensual while maintaining a literal “frame.”

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Further Thoughts on the Bereznak-Finkel Kerfuffle

Like much of the manosphere did, on Thursday I discussed hedge funder and Magic: The Gathering champion Jon Finkel’s unfitness to date blog intern Alyssa Bereznak. Thanks for making it the most-viewed day in Badger Hut history to date.

In a well-done summary of the incident with a personal bent, Chenda Ngak of CBS News’ Tech Talk blog calls Bereznak a “mean girl,” says the blog staff was “peeved” and likened Bereznak’s revelations of Finkel’s personal life to cyberbullying.

Finkel gave some very interesting answers in an email interview with Ngak, in which he handles the case with impressive aplomb:

CN: We know you felt your privacy was violated. Are there any tips that you’d like to pass on to anyone who might encounter this type of public exposure?

JF: My main advice would be to have an army of game-loving fans who remember you from your glory days 10 years ago. Probably also, and this is good generic life advice, “try not to be a [jerk].” If she’d posted about me being a real [jerk], things might have developed differently. But I suppose this sort of stuff could happen to anyone with a large enough Google footprint, even if they are a “Grade D Celebrity.”

Self-deprecating humor with a Groucho Marx-esque twist. I like.

CN: Do you think you were a victim of cyberbullying?

JF: I mean not really. 18-year-old Jon might have thought that, especially if it had been a girl that he had been really into, or had left himself vulnerable to, rather than just an uneventful, say goodbye forever kind of date.

He has enough detachment to be self-aware.

CN: As of today, has she contacted you to apologize?

JF: Nope.

Here’s guessing that within two months, Bereznak will be only a footnote in Finkel’s public image.

CN: On a lighter note. What are you looking for in a woman? Do you have a type?

JF: I always think people backwards rationalize their lists. My main criterion is, “When I wake up in the morning, do I want to see/call her?” That being said, I think I’ve devolved my list into two main things that I think everything else follows from: “Self awareness and intellectual curiosity.”

CN: Can you describe what a perfect date might be like?

JF: Someone smarter than me once said, “All good dates are the same but all bad dates are different.” You just know when it’s good – the details fade away. Oh, that and Jeffrey Dahmer-based One Man Shows.

Brilliant. She twice tries to bait Finkel into playing as shallow as Bereznak, and he deflects it both times with appeals to unmeasurable traits and nebulous metaphysics. He even discussed the rationalization hamster! (If not by name.)

CN: Playboy model Sara Jean Underwood asked you out on “Attack of the Show.” Are you going to take the date offer? Ha ha…sorry. I had to ask. I think the entire Internet wants to see that date happen.

JF: I definitely don’t want to let down the Internet. I would definitely be down to go on a date with her, but not if it’s televised (sorry everyone). Just not my thing.

CN: Good luck on your tournament! And have a good holiday weekend.

JF: Thanks. Here’s to hoping I make grandpa proud!

This guy is good. Admittedly, this exchange was over email, where you have time to come up with witty and charming responses, but even consider that, Finkel’s replies are excellent public relations – he shows little to no investment in Bereznak, plays down his fame and fanbase without denigrating them, and even negs a date invitation by a Playboy model.

Ngak also quoted from Finkel’s Ask Me Anything thread.

What was your first reaction upon reading her post about you? – Scarker

I felt a little, I dunno, violated. Even though the post itself didn’t make me look bad at all (at least I didn’t think). Still, it’s sort of like someone publishing emails you wrote to your girlfriend, or posting part of your diary – it just feels wrong

Are you upset that she revealed your identity in the article, or do you think that ultimately this is going to work out for you with the great publicity? – OilGuy13

It’s nice to know the Internet has my back, so in total it looks like it was a net positive, though I still feel oddly creeped out by it.

How many girls have asked you out since this all exploded? I noticed Felicia Day in your Twitter; did she say something to you? – kbilly

If you include Twitter messages from other continents saying ‘Id date you’, then a lot. As for Felicia Day, it appears she made a tweet or two about it, but I don’t really know much about her, except that she seems like a lovely woman who is apparently loved by gamers.

Did she tell you she was a blogger? Did she hint maybe she would post about the date? – sweetgreggo

Yes and No.

Did Gizmodo contact you at all about disclosing your name? – clifwith1f

Nope, although it looks like one of their editors just sent me an email 15 minutes ago, but I haven’t really had time to sift through all my emails. This is already cutting into valuable [Pro Tour] Philly test time – which is the initial reason I took off work today.

For good measure, Ngak interviewed an empathetic psychologist on public shaming (emphases mine).

What can you do if you’ve been bashed publicly?

We asked clinical psychologist Dr. Leah Lagos, Psy.D, to advise anyone who has experienced a public bashing and violation of privacy.

“Online dating, particularly for men, can test their self-esteem. Because it’s often the men who do the asking it is often the men who are more vulnerable to rejection. The key here is to remain detached from the outcome,” Dr. Lagos stated. “Strong emotional reactions on a first date, like love or hate, are likely to reflect the most about the person experiencing them. People sometimes forget that making oneself vulnerable is an inherently anxiety provoking experience.”

OTHER ADDENDA

A New Nadir Of Nasty

Michael Tresca of examiner.com has uncovered a different version of Bereznak’s post on the Australian version of Gizmodo, which puts the reprehension of her writing in even starker relief. It appears that her ire is stoked by two factors.

1. She was expecting a “normal finance guy” (it’s not hard to read between the line: a rich, handsome, charming banker)

I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing… if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.

Amazing. In her world, Finkel is engaging in malicious dishonesty for not being the man she imagined he would be. This tone is intensely narcissistic.  Also note the hypergamy in play: even though she’s employed by a geek plublication, geeks aren’t good enough for her.

But it doesn’t stop there – by using OkCupid for its advertised purpose of meeting dates, Finkel engaged in predatory behavior as well!

I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers… Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.

Note again the self-absorbed tone – “infiltrated,” and threats of revenge for the crime of trying to go on a date. As soon as he was “un-selected” as a suitable mate, which again was due to his not living up to whatever stereotype she expected for her perfect man, he was no longer even human and deserved a public lashing. She’s basically accusing him of being a stalker.

She wishes. One of the most interesting exigeses to come out of the comments on my original post was the theory that homely women loudly publicize their advances by and rejections of men so as to publicize that somebody, anybody, was interested in them.

At What Price Clicks?

The point has been made that Gizmodo parent site gawker (which also owns the first-class hamster farm Jezebel) pays writers by number of hits per story. OK, that partially explains notorious content posted to the site. But there are additional long-term spillover effects to such intellectual pollution. Maybe you’d call them externalities, or self-externalities as they affect the parties involved in the exchange (I’m not an economist so maybe there’s a proper term I’m missing).

Gawker will probably be fine – it has a business strategy, and nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people. The biggest damage is likely to Bereznak herself. Maybe she has a future at a snark site or a bloodless boiler room, but most businesses in this country want to get down to business, which means hiring an army of the least notorious people possible, people who can put their heads down and produce without needing to get their rocks off creating drama and launching personal attacks on other individuals. It’s one thing to write a screed or a strong, uninformed opinion in say a college newspaper – professional courtesy dictates that most of what you do in college is firewalled from professional judgment. It’s quite another to publish under the masthead of a fully-functioning technology publication and oh by the way alienate a key segment of the technology community in the process. (I would be remiss if I didn’t criticize Gizmodo’s editorship for allowing her to commit such a massive professional misstep.)

I’d like to say I’ll be curious where Bereznak ends up, but in reality I’m looking forward to forgetting about her as soon as I pen my next post.

Poker? But I Just Met Her!

Finally, Finkel was asked at AMA about similarities between MTG and poker, and came up with this gem that expresses a key life truth:

I think the biggest thing is the deep seeded emotional understanding that the right play is the right play regardless of outcomes. The ability to make a decision 5 straight times, lose 5 times because of it, and still make it the 6th time if it’s the right play. Magic players have been developing that since their teens, and its just so applicable to poker, gambling, and life in general.

I read a cracked article about online poker where they talked about it making you “immune to bad luck”. You just take the bad beats in every area of your life in stride and move on.

What he’s saying is to override your emotional impulse by relying on your academic knowledge that you are playing the best strategy. I can say from experience that eventually you gain so much confidence from being in the right strategy that it becomes your emotional impulse; it starts to feel natural.

You’re not always going to win. Guys who practice their game know this in spades (no pun intended). No scheme works every time; the question is, are you maximizing your chances with the best strategy? It is typical in relationship discussions, especially among women, to attribute a failed attempt to a bad strategy and change it instead of running the same move again. (The most common I hear is “I/my friend approached a guy and initiated and he turned me down, so it doesn’t work and I am never going to initiate again,” or “I dated a beta guy and it was too stressful to do all that relationship work so back to alphas it is for me.”)

Sample sizes of 1 are for silly people. It’s the difference between knowing when to quit, when you remove your investment to protect opportunity cost, and flat-out quitting, where you lose tolerance for the failures that precede flashes of success.

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Cattiness and the Un-Selected Man

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” – William Congreve

“Hell hath no fury like a woman’s for an unattractive man.” – Manosphere wisdom, captured by Badger

[pre-emptive hat tip to In Mala Fide and BbSezMore, whose posts turned me onto this issue.]

It seems a brouhaha has erupted across the Internets concerning one Alyssa Bereznak, an intern (until this week) at technology blog Gizmodo, and her date with Jon Finkel whom she met on OkCupid. Finkel revealed he had a thing for the card game Magic: The Gathering. Upon returning from the date, she googled Finkel and found that he didn’t just play Magic – he was a patriarch of the game, a former world champion with his own Wikipedia page.

Here’s where it gets weird. Sufficiently turned off by this revelation (keep in mind this woman works at a technology blog), she decided instead of saying uncle to go on a second date with the man, apparently with the aim of collecting further information she could use for the snarky Gizmodo post she vomited to the world Monday. She asked him pointed questions about his continued involvement in Magic, as if he were a recalcitrant heroin user. She tried to re-frame the situation as one in which he had failed to be sufficiently forthcoming about his, er, habit in his online dating profile, calling it a “must-disclose” trait akin to one’s status as a divorcee or single parent.

PARADIGM

There are two very juicy ironies to this story, apparently lost on Bereznak:

  1. She complains that OkCupid set her up with a nerdy guy…on a tech blog. So it appears that geekitude is good enough to pay her bills but not grace her dating life.
  2. It appears that he only mentioned MTG after she noted that her brother was a gamer (either a RPGer or a video game aficionado). I’m guessing his thought process was “oh OK, gaming has now been socially proofed, so I can talk about it without being thought of as weird.”

Their relative sexual and dating marketplace values are of no concern to me. I’ve only seen one inconclusive photo of Bereznak and know nothing of her personal history. I don’t have feelings either way about Finkel’s hobby. I’ve never played MTG and don’t find it interesting, but if he enjoys it and can make money off of it, and it doesn’t harm children or animals, then more power to him.

I don’t expect many women to see MTG as a DHV, but on the other hand I don’t see how it is any different than poker games which are a guys-night staple across America.

JUST ANOTHER SPOILED WOMAN

The ostensible context of the piece is that of the travails of online dating, but that’s just a pretext to slip it by the blog editors (more on them later). The real motivation of the piece is public humiliation and shaming of a man who dares take pride in a hobby judged uncool by a young woman who awesomeness is apparently supposed to be self-evident.

That’s the only explanation I can think of to explain the catty, gossipy, bitchy tone, and the clear expectation she had that the readership would nod in mindless sympathy with her, the brilliant high-class woman who tried to give this geeky guy a chance and doggone it he just couldn’t help but disqualify himself.

Bereznak is nothing special; by that I do not refer to her apperance or writing but to her attitude, which is sadly typical among a significant segment of young women. As I stated in the quote above, there really is no end to the calumny heaped on rejected men who don’t make their 437-point checklists. If you spend enough time at tables adjacent to gaggles of girls, you will hear this repeatedly, the rank dismissal of unworthy men that really belies a deep anxiety about their own worth. You can almost hear the thought balloons emanating from their heads – “Is this really the best I can do? What does that say about ME?”

I don’t understand why public trashing of unworthy men (or men who spurned them) is such an intense passion of young female blogresses; the orgasms of anger and seeking of support from the echo-chamber comments was/is the most pathetic element of whiny Ally McBeal-esque blogs like Lilly, DateMeDC and Diary of Why. My theory is that they were raised to think they would have it all, and commitment from worthy men is the final frontier they haven’t crossed, the one thing that no one can mandate they receive, that no Reviving Ophelia movement or special workplace initiative can give them. I’m loath to scapegoat feminism when Occam’s Razor gives us closer, simpler causes – our increasingly narcissistic, status-obssessed society, and Millenial helicopter parenting that sought to ensure nothing bad would ever happen to them.

In any case, the need to broadcast men’s unworthiness is a weird, vindictive part of the You Go Girl culture – the collective Princess Complex that demands men pedestalize them and grovel to their every whim. It’s not enough for a man to be politely rejected and sent on his way; you have to be humiliated, placed in the virtual stocks so that the world knows the insufferable wrong you’ve inflicted on her by not being good enough for her dreams.

Like the guy on the train, it only has to happen once before a guy replays the movie in his head every time he considers approaching a woman, and oftentimes decides not to even when he might be slated for success.

Bereznak’s dismissive judgment of men with geeky hobbies is no different than Kay Hymowitz, whose prototyped complaint against young men is that they enjoy video games and Star Wars films (I could get behind the latter if we were only talking about Jar Jar Binks).

WHAT OF GIZMODO?

I’m stumped on why Gizmodo let this story run.

The obvious first-order analysis says that it gets page views (800,000 and counting), so it’s good for business. But there is such a thing as bad publicity, if said publicity damages the credibility of the overall product.

The first question is why an intern’s stream-of-consciousness personal dating journal was fodder for publication in the first place. To pretend the story is about online dating is akin to saying the Gettysburg Address is about a cemetery in Pennsylvania. Maybe her editor is a cat lady herself and can’t say no to exposes of unworthy men, or they were looking for an edgier format. Maybe they’re all tired of the socially-awkward geeks they meet at trade shows and conferences and this is some kind of release of pent-up institutional rage.

The next question is why they wanted to alienate a core piece of the technology product market, that being geeky guys who like gadgets, by allowing their intern to publicly insult, for no good reason, an extremely well-regarded man in a massively popular geek hobby.

Whatever the reasons the piece ran, it was really stupid, and calls the wisdom of the entire organization into question. I’m not advocating a boycott or anything but I don’t plan on clicking any Gizmodo links in the forseeable future. There are too many quality content sites on the Internet for me to waste time at a site that thinks a puerile rejection diary is good web journalism.

As long as we’re on the topic of good editing, I have long been bemusedly critical of young-woman-marketed blog The Frisky for some of the same reasons I’ve outlined just above. However, I have to give credit where credit is due – the finest, most complete response (other than here of course) I’ve seen comes from The Frisky’s Amelia McDonell-Parry. Among many good points, she pointedly touches on the fact that her dating commentary is always anonymized to protect those involved, as most are not bad people but just poor matches, whereas Bereznak insists on heavy personal details and the use of full names, seemingly to inflict the maximum amount of vengeful damage to Finkel.

THE MACRO EFFECT

The kind of petty cruelty perpetrated by Bereznak damages the relationship market in systemic ways. McDonnell-Parry notes in a heartwarming display of empathy:

“See, it finally clicked for me that dating can be just as soul-sucking and disheartening for men as it is for women. That encountering women like Alyssa could easily take the wind out of even the most confident man’s sails and make him distrustful that he won’t be judged so harshly by future dates. It made me think that perhaps some of the guys I’ve met through online dating, who frustrated me because they weren’t more clear about their intentions, were wary of taking the lead, and whose interest I questioned, might have had a few Alyssas in their recent dating past and damn if I don’t blame them for being guarded with me as a result.”

Think about it…as a man in the marketplace, you really have two choices (I’m going to guess that MGTOW is not a palatable alternative to most men):

DOOR #1: Trade innumerable emails (or get set up by friends), have the awkward “I didn’t expect her voice to sound like that” introductory phone call, take the initiative to set up a date doing something you hope she might enjoy, go on the actual date (hope she doesn’t flake), talk to her, try to figure out what she’s like and whether you’d be interested in a long-term partnership (and oh by the way pick up the bill with no expectation of her investment), and hope you don’t slip up and say something she’ll sneer at and have to start all over with somebody else. Then do the whole thing all over again two, three, four times until you no longer have to convince her every time you want to go on a date with her. She might hold off on sex saying “I don’t want to rush it because you’re so special,” when you suspect she had a one-night stand with an Axl Rose impersonator a month before she met you.

At best, you’ll suffer a long series of rejections – mostly silent ones, where your online messages go mostly unread and unreturned, your texts and phone calls fall on deaf ears and your invitations for follow-up dates go into the aether never to be accepted, never really knowing what straw broke her back.

At worst, you wind up the victim of a high-tech lynching by an over-privileged young woman with an Internet connection who wouldn’t know a quality man if he sniffed her packets up close. If it’s not a blog post, it’s twitter, facebook or a girls’ night out where they exchange exclamations of “You won’t believe the last date I went on…OMG, as if!!!” while they try to drop their hankies for the next alpha badboy they see making his way to the club bathroom.

DOOR #2: Pursue a pump-and-dump lifestyle. Go hard into PUA game praxis, building a toolbox of seductive skills in accordance with your God-given personality while you emotionally firewall yourself from the betatizing effects of romance. Pluses of this strategy:

Within five minutes, you’ll know if she has rejected you out of hand.

Within thirty minutes you’ll have a pretty good idea if she finds you attractive.

Within two or three meetings (Mystery posits a seven-hour acculturation period) she’ll sleep with you, if she’s going to sleep with you at all.

Rinse and repeat until you get laid, then assemble a sexual Ponzi scheme using your notches as preselection “pivots” to attract even more women.

Rejections are soft, because little has been invested when they occur and because your skills at attracting women make them, in a sense, fungible.

There are consequences. Disease risk, obviously, and eventually you’ll bang one or two crazy girls you’ll have to work around. You’ll even learn to be a little bit paranoid, as you’ll be taught to navigate the most base and disturbing motivations of human psychology.

But at least you won’t get played for a chump. And if you wind up in a blog post by someone like Bereznak, it will be titled “the sexy alluring heartthrob I couldn’t manage to keep” instead of “the creepy geek I dated – I mean, srsly?”

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Reflections on Frost’s Analysis of the Sexual Revolution

I promised Frost of Freedom Twenty-Five I would post my thoughts on his brilliant pair of posts on the spoils of the sexual revolution:

Frost’s thesis is the following: “The Sexual Revolution harms attractive women, and unattractive men. It benefits unattractive women, and attractive men.”

Frost was responding to a Bostonian blogress named Lilly with whom he has been trading posts recently, who had posited simply “it seems like the women’s sexual revolution has done more for men than it has for women…it’s kind of a man’s dream come true: easier access to sex. Which then means it’s harder for a girl to find a guy willing to stick around.”

Susan Walsh followed up with an epic thread on the topic (861 comments to date). Since I can’t hope to re-state their judgments in better words, I will instead add my own.

1. You Can Never Over-Emphasize The Apex Fallacy

The Apex Fallacy (which I first heard of at Elusive Wapiti) is a phenomenon in social analysis where a group sees the success of the top of another group (the apex) and assumes that the entire group is leading a life of undue privilege.

The apex fallacy is what is going on in Lilly’s treatise. Most men don’t have anything resembling easy access to sex (more on that below). But because Lilly and millions of young educated women only consort with – that is to say date and sleep with – attractive men, who DO have access to sex essentially on their terms, the women they are seeing can only fathom “it must be great to be a man.” Without realizing the massive selection bias they are operating under.

At some point, the apex fallacy infected feminism and caused the movement to believe that men writ large were collectively responsible for the actions of those few men who killed, beat, raped, and abused corporations and politics for their own self-enrichment. Regular Manosphere readers understand that most men are beta or omega types, and thus almost wholly incapable of the sociopathic sexual, violent and relational crimes feminism sought to pin on the Y chromosome.

(Sidebar: I was not alive for most of this, but it’s clear feminism is deeply confused. We’re at a point where stay-at-home-momism is lauded as feminist, careerism is feminist, divorcing is feminist…instead of a movement with concrete goals, anything that aggrandizes a particular woman’s ego will be spun as a feminist act – which literally defines modern feminism as a movement of narcissism. What we have now in American society is a large number of people, like me, who are generally friendly to reasonable accommodations for women’s issues like reproductive health, workplace access, maternity leave and flex work, and a small number of very loud and obnoxious activists who we’d rather not listen to but they know a lot of lawyers.)

The AF also distorts perceptions in the sexual marketplace, as Lilly so glibly yet unawarely illustrates. Sexual liberation has gotten top men better access and variety than ever before.

Frost and Susan both make this point, so I won’t belabor it.

The AF is closely related to another phenomenon I don’t have a name for that might simply be called grass-is-greener syndrome. It’s the tendency of an ostensibly aggrieved group that if another group doesn’t have their particular problem, then they have life easier.

One example is the cubicle monkey who comes home to a housewife irate and exhausted from childcare. Papa can’t figure out what she’s so unhappy about – he has to deal with petty office politics and the pressure of bringing home the bread. But because he didn’t have to deal with a baby with diarrhea that day, she thinks his life is easier and it’s not fair.

Another example is the frequent complaint among men that women are not expected to approach and thus don’t risk the pain of rejection that men are expected to deal with. Women who are active agents in the dating market (not princesses who expect men to do all the work) experience their own challenges – trying to signal attraction and encourage men to escalate.

2. There Are Two Sexual Marketplaces

There is a dating marketplace, where commitment and relationships are bargained, and a true sexual marketplace where sex itself is bargained without relationships on the table. One’s MMV (marital market value so we don’t have to use the initials DMV) and SMV are not to be confused.

They correspond to Ladder 1 and Ladder 2 in the Male Ladder Theory.

3. Maybe Pretty Girls Do Have It Harder

As I see it, the revolution hurts top women in two ways.

First, the top women no longer have monopoly access to top men and their exponentially advanced power and resources; top men can now seek sexual satisfaction from lower-ranking women and get more variety and quantity in the process (there are more mates in the fatter part of the bell curve). All of this without substantially risking their time and resources in a relationship or a marriage.

Second, and this is a more subtle point, the short-term sexual market normalizes hardcore hypergamy. Women can get their short-term fling fix from a man who would never date them long-term. The result of this normalization is that 7’s and 8’s expect Seven Minutes in Heaven with a guy who’s a 9, and 9’s and 10’s may pine for a guy who literally doesn’t exist. A true 10 man is not going to be as attractive to a 10 as he is to a 7, so a top woman’s possible satisfaction will be lower than a woman in the second tier.

The man himself might be less satisfied with a woman at his rank. To a point, the tradeoff of her being less attractive but more into him is a positive benefit for a man’s relationship (although men do not exhibit such “hypogamy” as a primary mating strategy).

It warps the collective mindset of the sexual marketplace, and efficiency suffers at edge cases.

4. The Revolution Was Not Televised

The title of Susan’s post was a bit funny to me, because for a lot of young men today the sexual revolution never really happened.

The revolution has given less-attractive men marginally improved access to sex. (If you believe premarital sex didn’t exist before the pill, I have a subscription to Life Magazine to sell you.) It hasn’t really given the beta-male pool any real freedom of sexual congress, Haight-Ashbury notwithstanding.

It’s a bit like airport security, with one line for the gold members and airline crews and another line for the riff raff.

So a lot of guys can read this and consider whether the sexual revolution benefited men in general, but looking over their personal histories wonder what the F women like Lilly are talking about since they’ve never been invited to saddle up on her carousel. They are like people who didn’t have cable during Shark Week – they just flat missed out the hotness.

Exacerbating this split outcome is the increasing dichotomy of attractive and unattractive men. The breakwater against expanding sexual access has been the enervation of boys and men, and thus a concentration of virility in a smaller pack of males – natural alphas, guys who from boyhood resisted the kinder, gentler programming of society. This is a complex issue whose causes go way beyond the sexual revolution itself, from the emasculation of fathers in popular culture to the removal of dodgeball from PE class.

The upshot is that those who did what they were told all through the years by and large wound up sex-starved and clueless with regard to women; their mothers and their teachers helped neuter them while Dad stood by trepidatiously saying “if Mom’s not happy nobody’s happy.”

5. Mass Media Culture Globalizes Hypergamy

This is where I give Dalrock his long-promised response as well. During an intense debate at Haley’s Halo about whether it was immoral today for a woman to marry a man she wasn’t in love with (I believe it is), at least one woman made the comment that, hypothetically, a guy she doesn’t love might be her only shot at marriage and motherhood, things she “had to have,” and so he would just have to deal with it. I found this line of argument to be breathtakingly selfish. My opinion was backed up by a commenter who claimed to be stably married to a woman who fit with him but wasn’t really into him and had lived a life of unbearable sexual frustration.

Comments in response argued that because of hypergamy, most women are only attracted to a small subset of top men, and thus most men would just have to accept marrying women who are not really that limerant or turned on by them. I for one invoked Hamster’s Razor, which says to never accept rhetoric that supports one’s naked self-interest as anything other than a rationalization.

For his part, Dalrock responded with a post on the limits of hypergamy, asking if hypergamy really universally means that a large chunk of men won’t be able to mate with women who are into them.

Dalrock expressed skepticism, and I am inclined to agree. We both ascribe this line of argument to an abuse of the concept of hypergamy, and a simple case of unrealistic expectations that prevent someone from feeling an appropriate sense of love because they’ve become habituated to a bunch of silly conviction about “the man I deserve” based on whatever delusions of grandeur she was feeling the day she came up with her date-and-mate checklist.

Dalrock prescribed a deflation of ego. I suppose that’s too much to ask in our increasingly self-absorbed and self-justifying popular culture.

As to where these expectations are coming from, hypergamy is by its nature a localized phenomenon. A man’s status is going to be judged by a woman in the environment in which they both live. There is no collective unconscious repository of sexual status where women can check in and see if they’ve gotten a good deal compared to all the other girls.

At least there didn’t used to be. Now there is movies, TV, gossip rags and YouTwitFace, all of which provide ever-increasing forums for the conspicuous display of sexual value. This mass media explosion has collectivized sexual value by breaching walls between mating communities, such that all classes and ranks now have at least visual access to one another. In particular, the broadcasting of attractive men and of material lifestyles shirley have a dramatic effect on the expectations of women in the dating marketplace.

I must admit I stole this idea from the famous Roger Devlin, the academic muse of the Manosphere as it were. In Sexual Utopia In Power, Devlin noted the constant comparisons of modern women’s lives against unrealistic media-induced standards:

Formerly, most people lived parochial lives in a world where even photography did not exist. Their notions of sexual attractiveness were limited by their experience. Back in my own family tree, for example, there was a family with three daughters who grew up on a farm adjoining three others. As each girl came of age, she married a boy from one of the neighboring farms. They did not expect much in a husband. It is probable all three went through life without ever seeing a man who looked like Cary Grant.

But by the 1930s millions of women were watching Cary Grant two hours a week and silently comparing their husbands with him. For several decades since then the entertainment industry has continued to grow and coarsen. Finally the point has been reached that many women are simply not interested in meeting any man who does not look like a movie star. While it is not possible to make all men look like movie stars, it is possible to encourage women to throw themselves at or hold out for the few who do, i.e., to become sluts or spinsters, respectively. Helen Gurley Brown raked in millions doing precisely this. The brevity of a woman’s youthful bloom, combined with a mind not yet fully formed at that stage of life, always renders her vulnerable to unrealistic expectations. The sexual revolution is in part a large-scale commercial exploitation of this vulnerability.

5b. Cosmo Sells Apex Expectations To Young Women

An interesting follow-up to this point would be Cosmopolitan magazine (Helen Gurley Brown edited the magazine for over thirty years). Last time I checked, this pile of inane dreck was the best-selling periodical among young adults.  Cosmo pairs girl talk with graphic sex talk, although as a learned red pill man I know these are often one and the same.

Cosmo transparently sells the apex fallacy that your guy is going to be really hot and in demand, so you need to be well-versed in beauty, fashion, lifestyle and – most importantly – techniques for sexual variety. It presumes all its readers are going to date men with freakish sexual tastes. This closely ties into a subtle form of intrasexual competition – “These tips will make you better at sex than any woman you know. Meanwhile, everyone else is reading, it so get to work.”

The fact is that most women will never have access to the sort of strapping male model physiques that are idolized on romance novel covers and GQ, let alone access to a true alpha male with his bevy of attraction markers. As a general rule, a woman needs to emulate sexual variety during a long-term relationship, but it’s damaging to women’s self-image to give them the idea that they are never going to be good enough in the sack. I’m no sex pozzie but this idea of standing sexual inadequacy being germinated in the minds of teenage women disturbs me.

I suppose it’s no different from cosmetics, fashion and household products marketing, which all serve to constantly chip away at a woman’s security in her own domestic state.

I was still a teenager when I noticed that Cosmo thought the worst of both men and women – that men were easily-manipulated, sex-obsessed boors and that women’s highest purpose on this Earth was to look hot and serve the needs of a man better than the next girl.

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