Monthly Archives: January 2011

Beta Guide: Step One – Stop Sucking

“When you are in a hole…stop digging.”- Denis Healey, former British defense minister (attributed)

Much basic game instruction involves what to stop doing as much as what to actually do. Before you focus on things that will help you advance socially and close the deal, get rid of all the passive moves that kill your game before you even get in the door.

  • Don’t hesitate: spontaneity is the spice of social life; hop into a set because the perfect opportunity will never come.
  • Don’t abide oneitis: if a set goes bad, get into another one before you drive yourself crazy analyzing yourself and bemoaning your lost love.
  • Don’t be a suckup: resist the betatized urge to reflexively agree with a girl, to laugh at her jokes, praise her for her resume, compliment her interests; only then can you cultivate the aloof, smooth personality.
  • Don’t invade a woman’s space: avoid the lean-in, excessive eye contact, non-sequitur kino and interruption.
  • Don’t be a subordinate clinger: if a woman does not respond to your game or tries to dominate you, “punish” her by leaving the set.
  • Don’t be reactive: avoid expressions of frustration, anger, pettiness, jealousy or overt joy.
  • Don’t over-impose your presence: call/text her once and wait for her to get back to you. If she can’t be bothered, drop it and sharpen your game for the next one.
  • Don’t dress like a slob: for men this is not difficult, get clothes that fit well and get into reasonable shape.
  • Don’t be like every other guy.

There is absolutely nothing degrading or manipulative about any of these steps. They are simply ways to avoid alienating the women you are talking to – in fact, ways to better give them what they want. Once you’ve backed off on what not to do, you can take advantage of the opportunities you’ve created.

Roissy himself recently documented a list of beta foibles observed at a house party. It reads like an encyclopedia of cringeworthy social failure. To understand the degree of impairment among today’s men it’s important to recall Roissy’s annotation: “None of these men were socially awkward losers. They were all normal men with well-rounded lives…the kind of guys women claim to want to date.” Among their bungles:

  • Laser-like focus of his eyes on her eyes.
  • Leaning into her (in some cases the girl actually leaned back, like she was trying to escape his bad breath).
  • Constant smiling.
  • Rapid-fire talking.
  • Interrupting her to vociferously agree with whatever she was saying.
  • Too much laughing, and laughing too hard at ostensibly unfunny female jokes.
  • Telling long-winded stories.
  • Getting a laugh from her, and then repeating his brilliant joke for good measure.
  • Nervous body tics (rubbing of fingertips on glasses, shifting of feet, crossing and uncrossing of arms, scratching of ears and noses).
  • Relying too heavily on unsubtle sexual innuendo.
  • Constantly asking if she needed a new drink.
  • Excessive head nodding.
  • Asking a lot of questions.
  • Dutifully answering her questions.
  • Never touching her.

Take a real inventory of your social toolbox; if you do any of these things, you know who you are. Take the first step towards a better life and stop sucking.

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Props to the Award Winners

Congratulations are in order for some my muses. Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life, Susan Walsh’s Hooking Up Smart, Ferdinand Bardamu’s In Mala Fide, Dalrock and the inimitable Roissy (or “Citizen Renegade” for the Johnny Come Latelys) were all named to Brainz.org’s list of Top 100 Blogs of 2010.

I can only hope to live up to Ferd’s call: “kids, don’t ever let anyone tell you that being inflammatory and iconoclastic won’t get you anywhere.”

Keep up the good work!

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Hamster’s Razor

A razor is a philosophical tool for saving time and thought by “shaving away” unlikely explanations for phenomena. Frequently cited in scientific discussions, Occam’s Razor implores us to assume simplicity over complexity, to defer to a hypothesis based on what we already know and that introduces few new assumptions. Hanlon’s Razor, probably the most useful razor in today’s bureaucratic world, is “never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

With this backdrop, I present Hamster’s Razor:

Never ascribe to rational sense what can be explained by naked self-interest.

A more blunt way of putting it would be “if someone’s actions are consistent with pure selfishness, don’t believe a word of what comes out of their mouth.”

The Roissy-coined rationalization hamster is strong in some, spinning hard and spitting out excuses galore to make the selfish and base motives for one’s actions “make sense” in the modern structured world. Thus the razor helps us detect when the hamster is operating. In case you were wondering, badgers are good at hunting rodents.

Hamster’s Razor is in full effect in Dalrock’s exposition of women entering and then ditching their loveless marriages:

“I think it’s unfair for me to stay married to him when I don’t completely love him because he would make an awesome husband for some lucky gal. “

“I wanted so badly for him to be that romantic hero of the Harlequin novels who loved and respected his woman so much he would never have sex with her before marriage. I wanted him to stop himself, but of course, he didn’t. So I did the only thing I could think of to clean up my own mess and that was to marry him. Even as I prepared for marriage, I knew I didn’t really love him, but I ignored it and made myself go through with it.”

“They became “friends with benefits”, and she got pregnant.  All of a sudden it struck this woman that wait, I’m a devout Catholic! So of course she had to marry him, even though she didn’t love him.  Then a few years later, she divorced him and took their young son because she didn’t love him any more.

It is also a frequent undercurrent to discussions at Hooking Up Smart regarding sexually-experienced women falsifying their numbers to avoid setting off men’s slut meters. (Susan Walsh specifically cites double digits as a line of demarcation women are loath to admit to men, in the same way that a speeder will fib and tell the officer they were only going a few miles per hour over the limit instead of the true ten or fifteen.)

It can also be seen in unfaithful or poly-curious men arguing to their wives that humans were not designed to be monogamous; this may be biologically true, but it is irrelevant to one’s vows of fidelity whose very purpose is to prevent sexual anarchy.

JUICY RATIONALIZATIONS

In The Big Chill, arrogant-geek character actor Jeff Goldblum waxes on the moral impacts of rationalization (be sure to listen all the way to the end):

You ever gone a week without one?

JUST SAY NO

It’s high time we started utilizing Hamster’s Razor and stopped tolerating rationalization. Since “I think that’s the hamster talking” will get you committed unless you’re addressing a mansophere reader, you may want to go with the longer but more clear “you’re just being self-centered and trying to rationalize it” (maybe with a good “come on” or “GMAFB” thrown in there for effect).

Since we only get the world we’re willing to ask for, it’s imperative we stand up for some standards of behavior.

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The Five Stages of Game

(Hat tip to Roissy and to the obvious)

1. Denial – “These game guys are a bunch of clowns, there’s no way this works on women.”

2. Anger – “This is ridiculous! Why should I have to jump through all these hoops for women? I just want to be myself. Why couldn’t I have been a natural alpha? Can I blame my parents/siblings/teachers/God?”

3. Bargaining – “Well maybe it does have some good points…forget the hot girls, I’ll give it a try if it can help me get around the bases with a plain Jane. Do I have to wear the fuzzy hat?”

4. Depression – “Wow, women really respond to this puffed-up act? And guys spend big bucks on it and wind up with more tail than a toilet seat? And I just joined up for this? The world is sad and so am I…”

5. Acceptance – “Maybe this IS the way things really work. I guess I should give up the gender relations mythology I’ve been holding onto…hey, what do you think of these negs I came up with?”

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Breaking Up Smart

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” – The Eagles, “Hotel California”

Perusal of the blogosphere (or a visit to a college campus) makes it clear that whatever structured dating mores existed “back in the day” have long since been blown apart, so much so that young adults today need a full training in how to date. Let’s begin with the end in mind and discuss the most painful part of the scene, the breakup.

The important thing to accept about breakups is that they are a part of dating and mating in a free society. The price of choosing our own partners is that someone may not choose us. Think of it as capitalism’s “creative destruction” applied to interpersonal relations.

(Let’s set some boundaries: this post does not apply to the dissolution of marriage, nor to relationships with serious infractions like infidelity, violence or theft.)

Step 0: Consider whether you really need to nuke it. Are you having problems that can be fixed you haven’t talked over yet, or is the fix not working and you just need to get out? Lots of relationships (marriages, even) benefit tremendously from backing off on the throttle and restating expectations and boundaries. But sometimes you just know you don’t want to be with this person anymore and there’s no sense in prolonging it.

Step 1: It’s OK to be hurt, angry and disappointed. Emotions are normal, and emotions are heated in breakups. It’s OK to have those feelings. What you do with those emotions is the subject of the rest of the post, and is the key factor in living a good life afterwards.

FOR THOSE RECEIVING THE BREAKUP

Get away from the revenge mindset. Breaking up is not an act of violence. Someone breaking up with you has not done anything wrong. You’re not required to show fault; we live in a “no fault breakup” world. A relationship is not a commitment, and they are only required to say “I don’t think we should date anymore” to fulfill their social responsibility. Don’t go Hotel California on them – keying their car, teepeeing their house or calling them a slut to their friends just shows they made the right choice dropping you before you crossed the borderline.

Accept it for what it is and nothing more. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It doesn’t mean they are a selfish jerk. It doesn’t mean you are unloveable or a social failure. It doesn’t mean it if you’d done things differently it would have lasted.

Don’t bargain to keep the relationship together. First, it puts you in a supplicating position, which lowers your partner’s respect for you. And a relationship is supposed to be about two people in love or something like it. Do you want to break that down to cajoling and negotiation? Do you want to be with someone who has made up their mind to leave you but flip-flops on your emotional pressure?

Don’t push for “reasons” for the breakup. More often than not, they’ll just cite minor and irrelevant issues in the hopes you’ll be intellectually sated. The fact is that the decision to break up is emotional and intuitive, can’t be listed on a T chart and often plays into a false narrative in your own head. You’re not doing yourself any good telling yourself a story that may not have any basis in reality like “he couldn’t accept my sexuality” or “she dumped me because my job isn’t cool enough for her” or “he just wants to sleep around with hos.” Besides, reasoning for a breakup often provides an excuse for a tit-for-tat redaction of annoying cofactors. “You don’t like my taste in music? Well your wardrobe is ugly, how do you like them apples!”

Take your lessons and then let it go. Neither people nor their relationships are perfect. Think about things you enjoyed, what you might do differently next time, ways you treated your partner well or didn’t, whether you might have been too invested or not invested enough, whether you’ve uncovered any dealmakers or dealbreakers for yourself. Then with self-knowledge in hand, live a better life for having dated them.

FOR THOSE DELIVERING THE BREAKUP

Be kind and firm. Everyone deserves a breakup in polite good faith. Out with it – don’t be wishy washy, don’t make an elaborate production. You can only soften the blow so much; if they can’t take it that’s their problem. If you don’t project confidence and finality in your decision you’re going to invite bargaining and arguing. And if you’re not polite about it, you will invite endless pain and revenge stunts into your life. (To this end, I think it’s advisable to not break up right after a deal-breaking fight but wait a day so that it doesn’t commingle with the emotional charge of the fight itself).

Don’t rationalize. If you don’t want to date somebody anymore, it’s unlikely the reason is the weird sound they make when they’re swallowing or that they wouldn’t go see Swan Lake or the rodeo with you. It takes away from your case; to borrow from Athol Kay, it has to come from an emotional state and not a logical one.

The real problem with rationalizing your breakup is that it leads the other person on. What if you lay out the things you don’t like, and the person “fixes” them and comes back asking for another chance? Now you’ve humiliated them and have to change your story.

FOR BOTH SIDES

Don’t let them live in your head. Don’t make your next relationship political by dating somebody unlike your ex, or someone like your ex, or facebook stalking them and judging their future partners, or badmouthing them around town. Living well is the best cure, and you owe that to both of you. Don’t become Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift or Robert Smith from The Cure, endlessly pimping you relationship pain for attention.

Don’t flaunt yourself to your ex. Have a little grace by not gloating when you bump into them, planting stories with mutual friends or graffiti-ing their facebook wall. It’s easy to get jealous and resentful when it seems like the other person is just moving on without a care, but unless one of you is a sociopath the act of breaking up is emotionally tough for both sides, even when they feel it’s ultimately the right decision. Reopening the power play is a bad idea.

Make new habits. Even if you didn’t date that long, it’s often surprising to find out how much of your life was integrated with your partner’s. You need to replace that with your own habits and restart your lifestyle. If you don’t want to be friends or stay in touch, that’s perfectly acceptable, and don’t let anybody call you bitter or cruel for it.

If your LTR was built around your social circle or vice versa and you are going through the “friend divorce” this is not going to easy, but life will go on – you’ll find new friends (and new partners) if you’re willing to do the legwork.

The general theme here is deal with your pain, accept that it’s over and move on. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.

Don’t take my word for it, though…

Three important rules for breaking up
Don’t put off breaking up when you know you want to
Prolonging the situation only makes it worse
Tell him honestly, simply, kindly, but firmly
Don’t make a big production
Don’t make up an elaborate story
This will help you avoid a big tear jerking scene
If you wanna date other people say so
Be prepared for the boy to feel hurt and rejected
Even if you’ve gone together for only a short time,
And haven’t been too serious,
There’s still a feeling of rejection
When someone says she prefers the company of others
To your exclusive company,
But if you’re honest, and direct,
And avoid making a flowery emotional speech when you break the news,
The boy will respect you for your frankness,
And honestly he’ll appreciate the kind of straight forward manner
In which you told him your decision
Unless he’s a real jerk or a cry baby you’ll remain friends

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