Category Archives: media

Fisking The Hamster

I happened upon a YouTube video by one DeAnna Lorraine, a self-styled dating coach giving men pathetically blue-pilled romance advice. It was titled, “Mens [sic] Attraction Tips: 5 Tests that Hot Women Give You!”

Spoiler: you get through the video and it turns out there’s only three tests. (WTF?)

She opens with a breathless statement about how “beautiful, high-quality women are very volatile, and have a very difficult screening process” and promises to tell us about them so we can “spot them and pass them.” She continually refers to a whiteboard that is both off-camera and not written to at any point in the entire video.

First comes the “true confidence test.” You see, hot women are used to confident men wanting to date them, but lots of guys fake being confident and then become needy and clingy, so a woman needs to test for weaknesses in your confidence.

Her discussion of the test? “Remain 100% confident every time you see her.”

OK…where is the TEST? A test is a behavioral syllogism, a functional statement that “she exhibits behavior X, and she’s evaluating you on response Y or Z.”

What she is describing here is a quality, not behavior – a trait rather than a test. I should have stopped watching, but a turkey shoot was in the offing.

Next is the “assertiveness test.” Word is that hot women really don’t want a guy who is a “pleaser” or “agreeable” or who arranges his schedule or preferences around hers. The hamster speaks with a forked tongue when Lorraine says “we might want that for a hookup but not as a husband or a boyfriend.” Yeah, because the guys that girls are going home with for one-nighters are the whiny simps who can talk a good beta-game into their pants.

“Make sure you’re 100% assertive – be masculine, be the leader, and stand your ground.” This video was made in 2010, so her use of the term “stand your ground” is only unintentionally funny.

This is the same shit as “confidence” above. I thought she was going to separate them in the vein of confidence is a vibe, assertiveness is a behavior, but I was mistaken. She awkwardly tries to borrow from the PUAs by asserting “men are the alphas, women are the betas” which sounds even sillier than it reads.

Number three in the tests is the “neediness/clinginess test.” Wait, I thought she said neediness/clinginess was part of the confidence test? Whatever, she’s on a roll.

I’m impressed by her brazen admission that women are intentionally playing “mind games,” flaking and “disrespecting you” to ascertain whether a man has a full schedule. If he is too accommodating to her schedule, he’s “needy” and not enough of a racounteur with am active social calendar and thus isn’t deserving of her.

She drops a classic Freudian slip wen advising men to not put up with a woman’s (again, intentional) disrespect: “Don’t put up with our shit. If we’re late for a date, or if we’re flaky or wishy-washy, stand your ground. And say sorry, I can’t meet with you this week I guess, because you just flaked and I’ve got other plans, I’ve got people to do [grins], uh, people to see, places to go…”

Sounds like some preselection is going on in her mind there, she’s assuming any guy with the balls to shrug at a flaker must have other irons in the fire.

So at least she gave us one test – one in which you are supposed to assume that she is bargaining in bad faith and punish her for it (or at least react with nonplussed nonchalance).

The comments are hilariously critical, another comment thread suggesting that more and more men are simply checking out of the “what women want from men today” discussion entirely, and are not shy about going public to say so.

ADVICE TO “JUST BE _____” IS NOT ADVICE

When I was in college a friend had a poster of Tiger Woods giving golf tips. The tips were self-satiric; one of them said “try to hit the ball at least 300 yards.”

This video recalls the same sense of “yeah, thanks for nothing.” This isn’t even bad advice – it’s not advice. There’s nothing actionable in here that a guy can commit to doing that will improve his dating results. It’s simply an appeal to an aura, to a sense of “this is the kind of FEELING we want a guy to give us deep down.”

The “call to characteristic” is a frequent marker of female dating writers, and is as ineffective as it is predictable. I’m not sure if the women giving this kind of advice are just trolling the guys because they don’t want to get serious with their criticisms of men and what really turns them on, or if they honestly don’t understand that a dude can’t just get out of bed and say “I’m going to be more confident today. I’m going to be less needy today.”

It’s like waking up and saying “I’m going to bench 50 more pounds today.” How ridiculous does that sound? Personality traits cannot be switched on overnight like a new pair of socks. Behavaiors CAN be changed quickly, it’s just a matter of doing it the right way and then doing it enough to make it a habit. That was the genius of the original PUA/seduction gurus, and the open secret of the most successful modern game writers – they break down good game into behaviors that can be learned, practiced and habituated. Whether those behaviors are walking tall, approaching, or going to the gym, they become habits that become your future.

(Studies have demonstrated, BTW, that physical behaviors can change your psychological outlook, so as much as DeAnna would be shocked, you can indeed fake it till you make it.)

BAD FRAME, BAD GAME

Why would any man take social advice from this woman? Her public speaking skills are shitty.

She keeps grinning at her own phrases like “look at me, I’m on camera!!!”She stutters and trips over her words, when it’s a damn YouTube video you can film again and again. Or you could go dual-shot (maybe using some actual visual aids), giving you the freedom to splice together different takes for the best final quality. I don’t even work in the A/V industry and I know how to make this 100% better. I feel like I’m at a Toastmasters meeting with noobs. (For those who don’t know, Toastmasters is a public-speaking skills organization that operates small clubs where people meet to practice and drill communications skills. I was in the club at one of my old jobs. TM can teach some really good core skills in the context of a sympathetic support group, but from what I’ve seen tends to top out at the start of intermediate public speaking. I certainly don’t criticize anybody who is trying to improve but your basic TMer is not ready to make YouTube videos purporting expertise in romantic social skills.)

Another credibility gap in the discussion her constant bleating of the phrase “beautiful, high-quality women.” (Also her use of the first-person “we” to presumptively include herself in that group.) The fact is that lots of beautiful women can be and are very low-quality women. Quality is not sexual market value, it is relationship value.

For me at least, the idea of a “quality woman” is one that has some sense of character going on, NOT one who is really hot. That means someone who cares about your comfort and pleasure, who’s going to build some kind of a mutual life with you, the woman who’s holding your hand as you’re wheeled into surgery – not strategizing about how to employ the best subterfuge in smoking out your true frame and cackling about how many other guys she has on order. It’s not that a quality woman won’t fitness test you or will stick around no matter what, but she’s not going to be on such a hair trigger that a failed test (not “being 100% confident”) is going to be the end of things. Her traits are those that fundamentally trend the relationship towards keeping together and not breaking apart. Someone who is only committed when the water is still and the trail is clear is not committed.

I have to say it’s very interesting to read the Jezebel-type pieces that insist a woman’s physical shape has nothing to do with her value as a person or a prospective partner, and then hear this woman reflexively equate genetic gifts with quality and what kind of man she “needs” and deserves.

An aside: for women reading this, you can take heart – if you’re a quality woman involved with a man who’s looking for a quality woman, you do not have to be the most beautiful woman he can get. You don’t even have to be beautiful, per se. (What you have to do is pass his boner test. As a caveat, this is true of a man who is in the relationship market in some way or another. If he’s in the hookup/casual market, he’s optimizing on some combination of the hottest and easiest girls he can get.)

Vox Day alluded to this in his post this weekend. “Very few alphas settle down with the most attractive woman with whom they’ve ever been, because as those men who have actually spent sufficient time with women know, the amount of time you spend looking at them or having sex with them is not going to be the majority of the time.”

LISTEN FOR WHAT IS BEING COMMUNICATED

Having pointed out all this ridiculousness, I’d be remiss not to note that there is plenty men can learn from this video. The rhetoric and the logic are terrible, but once you strip those away, she’s actually communicating some very good signal.

Her tips boil down to:

  • Be confident
  • Be assertive
  • Don’t be needy or clingy

Her tone is the unactionable and content-free “how to be a hot guy: just BE hot, in these 3 different ways.” But her material is textbook PUA game.

However, you need to listen even deeper and pick up the truths of frame she asserts:

  • Attractive women want men to be irrationally self-confident
  • Attractive women want men to overrule them and to pay little heed to their stated opinions and desires
  • Attractive women employ flakiness and intentional disrespect as fitness tests; the responses they want to see emulate the behaviors of a plate-spinning player

I didn’t write it, that’s exactly what she is saying.

Allow me to translate into instructional phrasing more familiar with the Manosphere.

When you know what to listen for, her words are very clear. It’s just not the signal she expects us to hear. She’s not training boyfriend-type men to be more attractive in that role; she’s training them to turn away from the boyfriend-type role entirely, and embrace the player-type role that she and her compatriots desperately crave. To whatever degree DeAnna and women like her actually want to have relationships, the joke is ultimately on them. (This last question was discussed in Just Four Guys’ excellent recent post “Are Men Really the Primary Gatekeepers of Commitment?“)

Women like this videographess aren’t testing men for commitment traits – his loyalty, dependability, good decision-making, long-term orientation, sense of fairness and balance, and desire to maintain a relationship. They are testing for how much does he exhibit – or at least emulate – the relationship-averse traits of the elusive and noncommittal alpha male they tingle for.

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Negotiating the Afternoon Delight

One of the strangely fascinating subplots of Mad Men has been the courtship of secretary-cum-copywriter Peggy Olson by a number of figures in the ad-man universe. Despite her plain figure and combative personality, Peggy managed to take up with account executives Pete Campbell (in a one-night stand) and Duck Phillips (after his ouster from the firm), a dweeb she dumps on her own birthday (whom she falsely told she was a virgin), a rando here and there, a hippie who disapproves of her capitalistic career, and a quick smooch with Ted at CGC.

Peggy is clearly written as a sort of container for the motivations and conflicts of 60′s feminism. She eschews the soft-power (and sexed-up) path of Joan Holloway, notwithstanding her regrettable soiree with the unctuous Campbell, and begins a climb up the ladder laced with counterculture. Later, her contrast with Megan Draper nee Calvet, who can’t decide if she wants to be a kept woman or a working girl, provides further unspoken irony.

Duck, the onetime Sterling Cooper account manager, is in several ways the anti-Don – a recovering alcoholic in his unhidden past, aggressive, outwardly petulant, athletically gifted, a real war hero against Don’s assumed identity, and a socially-weak but cheerful suave against Don’s effective devilish charm. At the end of season 2, Duck’s political maneuvering got Sterling Cooper sold out of financial trouble and got him fired at the same time. He then tried to recruit Pete and Peggy to his new gig, but only succeeding in recruiting Peggy into a discreet affair.

300-duck-peggy

In the season 3 episode “The Grown-Ups,” Duck puts on a short game clinic when he phones Peggy during the workday while she is discussing work in her office with Paul Kinsey.

Bzzzt. “Mr. Herman on line 1.” (Herman is Duck’s real first name)

“Hello?”

Duck doesn’t introduce himself, instead leading with alpha by making a demand. “I’m right around the corner at the Elysee. Room 531.”

Peggy takes an exasperated breath and offers a refusal. “I’m in the middle of something.” Duck is unfazed.

“Peewee, sweetheart – it’s been three weeks. You can get room service. I think they have a Monte Cristo sandwich, you loooove that.” First he whines and appeals to her sense of obligation to her lover, then throws a bone to her sensuous side – not only is sex on offer, but I’LL make YOU a sandwich!

“I’m having lunch with Kurt and Smitty.” Peggy digs in on her logistical excuse.

“They’re a couple of homos. Tell them you have plans.” Still unmoved by her rejections, Duck decries the manhood of her coworkers and offers her a way out. Peggy blushes, and Paul notices and grins at her.

Peggy says reluctantly, “it’s kind of short notice.” Now the excuses are getting weaker; she’s hooked and turning things more into a test of “if you’re such a stud, give me a reason to say yes.” Duck is up to the challenge.

“Come on, creative – be creative.” Duck hangs up. (Here “creative” is a term for the staff that generates ad content.)

This is the slickest line in the rap. He’s successfully played her most important identity against her – her position as an ad copywriter. He implies that if she doesn’t weasel her way out of work to bang him at the hotel, she’s not only disappointing him, but failing in the definition of her job: to persuade people with carefully-crafted words.

“…I have to go to the printer,” Peggy tells Paul, who is not fooled.

“I know a nooner when I hear one…” he intones suggestively.

“You’re disgusting!” Peggy says with shame.

Her final shot is clearly laced with solipsism. Here she is, about to play hooky from work for a quickie, and she dares to talk down to a coworker who’s figured out the game she’s playing.

In a certain point of view, Paul has committed an error on the female chessboard. Athol Kay noted in his first book that one of the elements of earning that special romantic bond with a woman was “keeping her secrets” – specifically her sexual secrets, creating a safe-space environment for her to be the sexual woman she wants to be. It’s part alpha, part beta, but a very effective signal that you’ve earned a woman’s trust. I have certainly found that when it comes to communicating with women (whether you are hot and heavy or not), discretion is the rule of the day. Paul broke that discretion.

On the other hand, though, Peggy’s pearl-clutching outrage may be a bit of a fitness test in its own right. Paul’s not going to tell anybody else, and he’s practically winking at her when he says it, as if to communicate “have a good time, you naughty girl!” He’s smart enough to figure things out, and smart enough to tease her about it without confrontation. Peggy is embarrassed, but certainly not shamed.

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Reframing The “Man Up” Directive As A Male-Anxiety Problem – Very Slick, Wall Street Journal

Dalrock recently posted on a series of works by foul-mouthed professional divorcee Susan Gregory Thomas, who burst onto the scene with an article about how divorce was so bad for her and her generation that she did it to her kids too. Her most recent offering is another man-up shaming article examining households in which the woman earns most of the money. Stories like these are nothing new (I wrote about one last month), and usually focus on female frustration in “feeling like the man in the relationship.” However, every one of these articles is met with loads of dismissive comments by men, and some earnest confusion on their part that feminism was supposed to be about women who wanted to be high achievers and backing away from outdated male-headship structures, so what are they upset about? Every time they get less angry and more dismissive, indicative of men simply leaving the building and not caring about women’s protestations at all.

This obviously creates a real problem in the whining world – how to reframe female frustration so it’s more palatable and less susceptible to attack and derision? How are these women going to get societal comfort and validation from being unhaaaappy if their own words keep exposing the logical fallacies of their solipsistic philosophy? Thomas has found the answer: you dispense with the female testimonials and frame each anecdote as a male-anxiety problem, thus employing men as ventriloquist dummies for hard-charging women’s hypergamous anxiety. The key syllogism in the story comes here:

Perhaps because men of this generation were raised in the wake of the women’s movement, a culture that introduced values of equality, many of them don’t seem to have a problem with their wives earning more than they do.

There’s one caveat, though: The men want their own salaries alone to be enough, in theory, to float the family. When they can’t meet this standard, they can feel enraged, shamed, explosive. And their wives often feel resentful and pressured.

All the examples flow from this thesis, that men are insecure about their wives’ achievements (more “you can’t handle a strong woman!”) and being the abusive beasts they are, they project their anxiety onto their wives who then become neurotic in turn. There’s no discussion about the females’ core feelings about carrying the financial load (many articles have revealed that generally speaking, they don’t like it), only their reactions to the “pressures” put on them by men who feel inadequate.

I have to say that is some brilliant rhetoric. If you only quote the men (and a select group of white-knightey men to boot), you don’t have to confront the decidedly negative true feelings of women in fem-dom relationships where men are either on a much lower pay scale, are unemployed or have dropped out of the workforce entirely to be househusbands. Such confrontations expose feminist falsehoods that men and women are the same and undercut the key feminist mythology that men are insecure about their dicks and that’s why they are threatened by an empowered woman.

There’s a couple things going on with men’s concern for “providing.” First is that men are generally aware of hypergamy at least on a subconscious level, and so they can sense that falling back professionally will destabilize their relationships. Second is that men are brought up with a whole lot of white-knight indoctrination about giving stuff to women as a mating strategy, from picking up the check on elaborate dates to saving multiple months’ salary for an engagement ring to buying houses and luxury cars for their wives, so it becomes an ingrained part of a man’s identity. This is what produces perverse extremes like men who think their manhood is measured by their wives staying at home – “no wife of MINE is going to work!” (To which the quippy response is “I got news for you – your ex-wife isn’t going to work, either.”)

It’s important to note that these “I gotta provide for the family” types tend to represent the more conservative/traditional social outlook. This provides a critical rhetorical shiv. If you can slip it past the goalie that female hypergamy creates instability in fem-dom relationships, you can hit personal and political points simultaneously by presenting the argument that it’s not women’s fault that their feminist reams aren’t coming true, and instead fall back on blaming those evil judgmental “conservative, traditional” communities that are pumping out men programmed to “oppress women.”

I’m surprised they are just catching on now, though – it’s long been a feminist rhetorical tack to project female-induced preference as pernicious male pathology. For example, framing the missionary position (widely preferred by women as an intimate and softly-submissive arrangment) as an unholy instrument of a male need for dominance. Or complaining that women are saddled with housework that men refuse to do when in fact women are the ones who want fastidiously tidy houses in the first place. You’ll notice that in light of the articles quoted, the latter appears to be a big fitness test – she asks you to take on more domestic tasks, then resents you for being too domestic.

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A New Spin On “Man Up” Marketing

One of the more irritating and clueless cultural nexuses (nexi?) of the last couple of years has been the surfeit of “men need to man up” articles.

I spoke about this at length in two articles about City Journal writer Kay Hymowitz in response to her hysterical and anecdotally-driven Wall Street Journal piece. She has since been joined in the Pantheon of Man-Up Shaming by Peggy Nance, Bill Bennett and Spinster In Chief Kate Bolick.

Hymowitz is one of a class of commentators who claim to be concerned about the lot of men, but are only concerned to the degree that men’s issues affect the ability of women to get what they want – that is, men to finance and forward their dreams of status and comfort. This assertion is self-demonstrating: despite a generation of evidence that the effete, femcentric society rising in the upper classes was dramatically stunting the development of males, these commentators have only seen fit to bring attention to the problem now that the young women they spend their lives around have begun to complain that there aren’t any men they want to marry or who want to marry them. (Hymowitz uses the Judd Apatow film Knocked Up as an bookend fable to her argument, which really shows how empty her concept is of what young men’s lives are actually like.)

While it began as a male-to-male appeal to teamwork, the “Man Up” concept has long been a cultural default for women to exert leverage on men to do something not in their direct interest, via a dose of shaming. Shaming is an appeal to someone’s sense of being, suggesting that their actions cost them value as a person (or in this case, as a male person). [Double-hat tip to Ricky Raw, whose explicatory work on the human psychological system is without equal.]

Seemingly in keeping with the “Man Up” pop-sociology, there’s been a new surge of ads leveraging the concept. I’ve seen three campaigns in particular that employ the

Weight Watchers

  • Tagline: “Lose like a man”
  • Masculine concept: Using a pun to link sportmanship and competition with a program to drop pounds.
  • Endorser: Former NBA player and “round mound of rebound” Charles Barkley

Dove (the moisturizer)

  • Tagline: “I’m comfortable in my own skin”
  • Masculine concept: Adapting the alpha-male values of confidence and congruence to literally making your skin comfortable.
  • Endorsers: Charismatic retired hoopster Shaquille O’Neal, retired NFL quarterback and confirmed philanderer John Elway, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III

One-A-Day Men’s Vitacraves (vitmains)

  • Tagline: “Chew like a man”
  • Masculine concept: feats of strength and gluttony
  • No endorsers, just a dweeby white guy

Obviously, these are strong doses of manliness to counter the stigma of female-oriented products. What’s interesting about these is that there is a distinct absence of invective about a man’s “duty” to others (save for a quip about taking out the garbage). Barkley directly engages his own competitive personality – “I hated losing, until now.” Elway is adorned with images of his football accomplishments, when he was one of the game’s best. Thompson tells a story about becoming like his father. Shaq simply shows off his larger-than-life persona.

Thus the key to the spots: buy this and you’ll feel good about being a man – your intrinsic masculinity will be flattered, not your “obligation masculinity” defined by serving others’ interests. We’re being asked to fork over the cash for our own sake, not because we owe it to our wives or children or girlfriends or whatever.

I realized that this motif was pioneered by another very well-received campaign. Most beer ads promote a sort of “drink this beer and women will have sex with you” concept. There’s a notable exception – Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man In The World spots. The Most Interesting Man is surrounded by women – not because he’s a crazy party animal at the time of the swilling, but because he is the end product of an interesting and well-lived life. The women are an extra benefit to his lifestyle of boating rescues, fencing, and lecturing a tiger while cooking. The spots appeal to a high-concept masculinity, like an aging James Bond, rather than a hangin’ with your bros diorama. It ain’t a Viagra ad with Bob Dole talking to other old men, it’s a older man addressing a younger man about how to be like him when he’s grown old.

There’s a context that people need to understand – marketers don’t know how to reach young men. Radio host Tom Leykis regularly emphasized that young men were his core listener base, and after a silly caller he would satirically intone “advertisers, you too can reach this prime demographic.”

Marketers know how to sell to young women…they can make women feel good about themselves by buying an expensive handbag, a pair of uncomfortable shoes, or a poorly-written book about an abortive BDSM experiment (I’m talking about The Hunger Games). But the most elusive consumer dollar is that in the hands of the 18- to 34-year old pre-middle aged male. They buy plenty of stuff, but the advertisers can’t figure out how to influence them.

I suppose it’s another way of saying men are a lot less susceptible to social pressure and social proof in their preferences. And in keeping with what’s been covered already, they are the least susceptible when they are young and single, and have neither a wife and kids they are expected to provide for (the shaming angle), nor a midlife crisis to cause them to hunt for masculine meaning they can no longer capture on their own.

Lots of male-centric advertising appeals directly to the married-father role, suggesting it is his “manly duty” to the family to buy whatever product in on the make. Cf. ads where Daddy is shuttling the family around, or fixing the family’s gutters, or cutting the lawn or something. Subtextual is the idea that his time and pleasures should be sacrificed for the nebulous “good of the family” – more extreme examples were a guy selling his season tickets because they had a new baby, or a guy being browbeaten by his wife and realtor into buying a house he couldn’t afford.

In what is probably a more effective campaign, companies also market products TO wives that are intended to be consumed BY their husbands. With women controlling something like 80% of a couple’s spending, it’s probably a lot more efficient of a pitch in the boardroom.

However, with the marriage rate going down and the age of marriage going up, maybe the marketers are getting ahead of the game and going directly to the large pocket of single men who don’t (and for some, won’t) have wives to buy their vitamins for them.

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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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Bad Game Is Really Difficult To Watch

For most guys, it’s tough to watch another guy get rejected. It’s another matter, however, to come to an advanced understanding of game and thus be able to predict epic disasters on sight, and have to live through powerlessly watching the trainwreck.

It’s a bit like when I saw “Apollo 13,” and despite knowing no real details of the mission, I knew there was going to be a disaster somewhere. Thus the opening of the film was forty-five hellish minutes in which I tried to ignore the general tone of glee and waited for the other shoe to drop. Once the oxygen tanks blew off the side of the spacecraft, I relaxed, able to finally enjoy the sci-fact thriller I knew I had lined up to see.

I got that same feeling of nauseous anticipation when I saw “Alpha Male vs Beta Male,” a short clip commissioned by Roosh illustrating the contrast of chumpism and game. In each clip I knew the beta male was going to humiliate himself. It was all I could do to keep from covering my eyes.

The same feeling happens to me at a bar when an inveterate beta is at the next stool in vicinity of a lady, or when I see a pair on an obviously awkward “date” at the next table in a restaurant. Bad game is really difficult to watch for a number of reasons, one being that it reminds me of a bygone era of my own abject failures and not the least of which being that bad game is largely avoidable and preventable.

It is fun and interesting to hear Roosh’s exact lines from his book “Bang” said out loud by a guy on camera.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS

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

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

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

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

SOMETIMES ENVY IS A JUSTIFIED RESPONSE

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

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

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

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

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Don’t Pay Attention To Psych Surveys That Amount To Self-Fortune Telling

Frequently, news stories herald the results of “studies” that involve asking people to discern:

  • How they would act or react to certain situations
  • Rational reasons why they made certain decisions which are most likely made emotionally and subconsciously and then rationalized after the fact

“Study: 41% of men would lie to get sex”

“88% of Millenials would rather be respected than wealthy”

“Women say they prefer equalist marriage to male-leadership model

(These are made up from my head but analogous to what you’ll see in media headlines.)

I have completely stopped paying attention to these studies that query people with hypotheticals. Their theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, their methods are sloppy and their conclusions are highly questionable.

Context: In reviewing this Dalrock piece for my last post, I came across a comment from “Lily” that linked to the summary of a book entitled “Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others.” The book had the provocative (to women) but rather simple (to men) thesis that there are strategies women can employ to increase their likelihood of becoming married, and behavioral traits a woman can exhibit that will greatly increase the chance that a man will want to make her his wife. In other words, girl-game for ladies-in-waiting.

(It’s funny how much crap women at large give the idea of game, when in fact guys teaching other men how to be attractive to the opposite sex is simply copying the blueprint that women have used for generations.)

Dalrock found the piece interesting, but reminded us that “he is going on surveys which have the problem of people answering why they think they did something.”

I have three major objections to this kind of junk science.

1. People can’t predict with their minds how their gut instinct will react to a choice; only when the choice is put in front of them can they be sure what they’ll choose.

As I have commented several times around the Internet: if people could accurately predict their responses to decisions and stimuli, the entire field of research psychology would not exist at all. We wouldn’t have to run experiments to examine how our minds operate if we could just trust people to ascertain and then reveal the exact mechanisms of their operation.

Salesmen understand this as a core aspect of their trade – that customers can be influenced through social traits like reciprocation, likability or social proof to make decisions against their rational self-interest in a dollars-and-cents way. They walk onto the lot to buy one thing, or “just to browse,” and walk out with a purchase. Whether we want to admit it or not, we make decisions with our right brains far more than with our left brains. Rationalization is the art of convincing oneself that you’ve made a left-brain decision when in reality your limbic system did all the work.

Much of research psychology concerns itself with constructing creative head-fake experiments to keep the participants from catching on to what is actually being studied, and thus invoking their rationalization engines. I’m convinced that this focus on actually performing the science is part of the reason so many psychology majors seem wholly clueless as to the actual imperatives of human behavior.

One very famous study, the Milgram experiment, involved telling subjects they were participating in a study of memory when in fact the researchers were examining the response of people to authority when asked to abuse other human beings.

This experiment was spoofed in the opening sequence of Ghostbusters, in which the cynical and opportunistic Peter Venkman hit on a woman while giving electric shocks to examining “the effects of negative reinforcement on ESP ability.” The effects according to the male subject, was “pissing him off.”

His colleague Dr. Egon Spengler performed more sadistically absurdist research in Ghostbusters II, inviting a couple to “marriage counseling” and then forcing them to sit in a waiting room for hours while steadily increasing the temperature in the room.

2. There’s never a true binary choice to be made, the choices are among people with a range of traits we are trying to balance.

A major failure mode of popular studies is trying to examine a trait or a tradeoff in isolation.

Guys get asked stuff like “would you rather have a girlfriend who is sexually attractive or very intelligent?”

I don’t care what your teachers told you, there are stupid questions and this is one of them. People just don’t make decisions based on an isolated factor or pair of factors to the exclusion of everything else. Anybody in the sexual marketplace is looking at a range of traits in each potential partner and trying to balance them to get the optimal combination that’s gettable.

Women get asked stuff like “would you rather date a doctor or an accountant?” It’s impossible to answer the question without considering the other traits of the two men (not that the answer would be expected to be accurate, see point #1 above). What if Bradley Cooper wants to do her taxes and the doctor is C. Everett Koop?

Another silly variant of this binary-choice idea is “all else being equal, would you prefer X or Y?” There aren’t two men of exactly the same personality and job status except one is bald and the other has a mullet, or two women with the same nurturing traits and chocolate addictions but one has big boobs and the other has great legs. You’re going to get bad data if you ask people to choose in the frame of non-existent option spaces.

The one caveat to this is that almost no one will date someone who doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of attractiveness, so that trait absolutely has to be met.

However, the bar for attraction in men is not that high; once you meet that standard, it becomes a battle of relationship fitness. In other words, if you want a relationship with a guy, you don’t have to be hotter than the other girls he’s considering; you just have to be hotter than the least attractive woman he’s willing to be with. Which unless he’s a guy with a lot of options, is usually pretty meager. Hungry men gotta eat and all that.

In short, I’ve very rarely heard of a man who picked the hotter girl for a relationship on that basis. Commitment is earned by others means (see that book about who men want to marry).

On the other hand, modern young women seem to mentally separate men into hopeless betas and dashing alphas at a moment’s notice. Roosh actually just tweeted to that effect tonight: “The game is so fucked up in USA that if you push the wrong button on your phone and accidentally call her, she may write you off completely.” (I have many thoughts on this issue that are better suited to another post – TL;DR: an entire generation with daddy issues.)  This means they price themselves out of the opportunity to take advantage of the wide spread of alpha-beta balance options. So women are often observed to date men of poor long-term fitness, because by the time she’s found a man who meets her attractiveness standards she’s committed herself to sacrificing almost all other considerations. There are men who exhibit a range of tradeoffs between core attraction and comfort traits but most of them are invisible to the Millenial girl.

3. People tell pollsters what they think they should say, and what flatters their own sensibilities and self-concept

Finally, there’s the problem that we don’t want to admit our wicked thoughts to other people. We instinctively want to give answers that fit our egos, that flatter the pollster so we can please them and avoid upturned eyebrows and dirty looks. I’m such a noble person!

Interestingly, I’ve noticed personally that this effect doesn’t disappear when you take away the in-your-face questioner. Even on anonymized Internet surveys or work feedback sheets with no names, I find myself asking “is this how I want to answer this? Am I the type of guy who would say this?”

My experience is backed up by a celebrated study (analysis liked here) that suggested that women dissemble about their partner counts even in anonymous surveys. (The differences in men’s counts were concluded to not be significant.) It appears this effect can be mitigated by introducing the spectre of objective truth via a polygraph or something like it.

JUST SAY NO

So those are three reasons to not put a lot of stock in these person-on-the-street style of surveys, even the ones done in labs under the guidance of PhDs. They don’t qualify as anything close to scientific or even informative; all you get with these studies is a good idea of what people will say when asked questions about a particular topic, not what they really think or how they will truly act.

It’s interesting to note that while we in the Manosphere are quick to criticize women who give rationalized, face-saving and bogus answers to these sorts of surveys or to classic questions like “what do you find attractive in a man,”  in the case above case Dalrock (and me) are calling the veracity of men’s answers into question. (The cheap joke here would be to posit that married men are habituated into saying what women want to hear.) The fact is, however, that there’s only a limited amount of rank dishonesty going on; seriously, what is the overt incentive to lie on a survey? Rather, the nature of the study itself intrinsically taints the results with cognitive biases that are almost unavoidable.  It’s like driving in the snow without chains – it doesn’t matter if you’re a Rain Man level of excellent driver, it’s just a fundamentally flawed setup.

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MCA Is Dead, or The Genius Of Sabotage

Word went out Friday that Adam Yauch, of the persona “MCA” in the New York-based white hip-hop-rock trio Beastie Boys, had died after a three-year fight with cancer.

As I discussed in detail in this post and again in this one, I came of musical age in the alternative fever swamp of 1994, an incredible time of musical development and variety, both on the radio and on MTV (which at the time was still playing music videos as a primary service offering). The Beastie Boys were a big part of that, bringing the notoriety of hip-hop to the mainstream in a way that was palatable to rebellious suburban white kids who were more interested in pissing off their parents than idolizing gun-toting drug dealers.

I want to draw some attention to one of the iconic videos of that time, the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Directed by Spike Jonze, the video matched the angry punk-funk-rock energy of the song with a campy pastiche of 70′s cop-shop images billed as a show called Sabotage. The band wigged their hair, put on sunglasses and acted out classic scenes of car chases, violent interrogations, disguises and chasing a target into a swimming pool.

A nice touch was the use of fictional fictional characters, where band members didn’t portray the characters directly but actors playing the characters (“Alasandro Alegre as the Chief…Fred Kelly as Bunny.”) MCA played two of them.

One of the funniest bits in the film was the cops stopping for donuts during the song’s tacit break.

The song (along with Sure Shot and Get It Together) was one of the crown jewels of the band’s 1994 album Ill Communication, easily one of the best records of the era. “Sabotage” is notable for exemplifying several key factors of the alternative breakthrough – the allusion to classic popular culture and past musical styles, the carefully-tweaked and intentional eschewing of production values and pedagogy in favor of lo-fi rawness and fusional music, the lack of self-consciousness, and the willingness to push the envelope. They were guys having fun making music, just like my early-teen band was, and it was easy to feed off of their vibe.

Apropos of nothing, the video formed a visual bookend with the summer blockbuster Pulp Fiction which also featured a campy retro kick.

Fifteen years after getting snubbed in five categories at the MTV Video Music Awards, “Sabotage” was the first winner in the new category of “Best Video (That Should Have Won A Moonman).”

RIP MCA. Thanks for the memories.

Now one more time, MCA come and rock the sure shot:

 

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Female-Directed Adult Films Feature More Aggressive Women

Eric Barker muses on a study of male- and female-directed pornography (emphasis his):

We conducted a quantitative analysis of 122 randomly selected scenes from 44 top-renting adult videos in 2005 (half male- and half female-directed). Findings revealed that all films shared similar depictions: Verbal and physical aggression was common, women were the primary targets of aggression, and negative responses to aggression were extremely rare. Compared to male-directed films, female-directed films were significantly more likely to portray women-only scenes and sexual acts. Even when controlling for main characters’ gender, female-directed films showed significantly more female perpetrators aggressing against female targets and significantly more depictions of women as perpetrators of aggression.

To restate the most salient point:

  • Even when controlling for the gender of the participants, female-directed porn features significantly more instances of women initiating and escalating.

I take this to mean that in male-female scenes, women are more featured as logistical escalators and sexual perpetrators, and in threesome/group scenes, women are more featured as escalating against each other rather than simply responding to male sexual aggression.

Even with all of my red-pill reading and writing, these results surprised me…I had bought the “conventional wisdom” that female involvement in porn would skew the content towards soft lovemaking, non-aggression, emotional support, relationship commitment, pillow talk, tasty omelettes, you get the idea. I had blocked out the ideas taught to me by the Internet, conversations with women and my own personal experience – that many women want to have dynamic, high-energy sexual experiences, that they often seek playful dominance in the bedroom (disregarding how they conduct themselves in “real life”) and that they will exhibit aggression if there’s enough comfort or lack of judgment to make it safe to do so.

(Incidentally, I think that is what a lot of this cheap alpha hookup sex we’ve been talking so much about provides – when it’s with a guy who is semi-anonymous, and you’re being cheered on by your friends, and there aren’t all these personal commitment expectations swirling around, it’s a lot easier to push your boundaries without being nervous he’s going to judge you or smear your reputation around your social circle.)

One layer of the onion here is the last bit of the abstract:

We highlight the importance of economic forces, rather than director gender, in dictating the content of popular pornography.

I take that to mean “directors give the market what sells, not what they think should sell.” Remember we’re talking about “top-rented” films here, so ipso facto the study results are taken from what the market wants.

We also have to consider that there’s a difference between female-marketed pornography and female-produced pornography. A woman behind the camera isn’t necessarily only seeking to address female interests in her craft. We do have to note selection bias…the type of woman who wants to direct an overtly pornographic film is herself more interested in graphic depictions of sex than in the romance-novel style of emotional pornography through the written word. And there’s probably a sex-poz feminist streak in those directors as well, which motivates them to portray women as sexually alive and assertive rather than following a man’s lead. In this way, some of these films are sexually political in nature.

Another question: are these results a matter of director gender itself, or are there underground factors that indirectly link director gender to other factors which themselves correlate to the artistic and character style of the movie? Perhaps certain movie houses that happen to cater to certain tastes also happen to have a gender skew on their film staff? It could also be the case that women engaging in girl-on-girl or fem-dom roles on film are more comfortable working with female directors, and the director gender is instead a proxy for the preferences of the actors and the needs of the script rather than being a determiner of those things.

There’s also the matter of how much influence the director has on what goes on in the movie. Is the director an auteur of sorts who controls all creative aspects of the film? Or is the director simply blocking and filming the scenes that a separate producer and screenwriter have already planned out, like a high school theater teacher bringing Guys and Dolls to the local stage? My knowledge of the operations of the porn industry is slim, so I’m guessing this varies by studio, size of project, and the director in question.

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