Monthly Archives: February 2011

Is peddling divorce fantasy?

Dalrock has posted twice this week (here and here) on a series discussing a suburban woman’s post-divorce dating life.

The events of the serial are wildly improbable:

  • The rugged handyman she is dating turns out to be a millionaire who was hiding his wealth
  • Her ex-husband, after boffing half the town, begs her to take him back

The story is not labeled as fiction, but Dalrock has uncovered evidence that the author writes relationship/romance fiction under two other names. In any case, – a site that makes money facilitating dating – is posting material the author admits has induced women to leave their husbands, after which they (conveniently) will jump into online dating. For a site that claims it produces more marriages than any other dating site, it sounds like a sick conflict of interest…Dalrock has done a lot of research on divorce statistics so I am inclined to take heed at his alarm, and I recommend you read his posts for full coverage.

One would think that a dating site would want to bank on the sanctity of relationships and not against it. As to why would do this, I can think of several reasons:

  1. Bait: they have market research showing an untapped (there’s a pun for ya) cohort of middle-aged single women they want to bring into their business.
  2. Customer flattery: by pumping success stories in one of the most barren dating environments in the SMP, encourages already-signed-up customers to continue using their product.
  3. Fluff: the content managers at just thought it’d be a swell idea to have a series on the dating lives of middle-aged divorcees, possibly motivated by first- or second-hand experience or the public awareness of the EPL and cougar phenomena.


Filed under junk culture

Get Over It

After the Eagles’ breakup in 1980, drummer and vocalist Don Henley was quoted as saying the band would reunite “when hell freezes over.” In 1994 the band released a live album and concert video entitled, you guessed it, “Hell Freezes Over.” (Vocalist Glenn Frey dismissed the hiatus as “a 14-year vacation”)

The opening track was a new song, “Get Over It,” attacking victimization in the media. The track may have formed a sort of ideological bookend to Henley’s 1982 hit “Dirty Laundry” about media sensationalism.

In any case, the song has some very good advice for a lot of rationalization hamsters out there. I especially like the way they refer to Shakespeare.

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin’ ’don’t blame me’
They point their crooked little fingers ar everybody else
Spend all their time feelin’ sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it

You say you haven’t been the same since you had your little crash
But you might feel better if I gave you some cash
The more I think about it, old billy was right
Let’s kill all the lawyers, kill ’em tonight
You don’t want to work, you want to live like a king
But the big, bad world doesn’t owe you a thing

Get over it
Get over it
If you don’t want to play, then you might as well split
Get over it, get over it

It’s like going to confession every time I hear you speak
You’re makin’ the most of your losin’ streak
Some call it sick, but I call it weak

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin’ everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I’d like to find your inner child and kick it’s little ass

Get over it
Get over it
All this bitchin’ and moanin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it

Get over it
Get over it
It’s gotta stop sometime, so why don’t you quit
Get over it, get over it

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Filed under junk culture, media

Kay Hymowitz, Round Two

“The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw

Yesterday I sliced and diced Kay Hymowitz and her “child-man” moral panic and got my single biggest day of readership to date (it got linked on Reddit, for one – party on). Heartfelt thanks to my loyal readers. A few items were just too juicy to leave on the cutting room floor.


In a Wednesday blog post at, Hymowitz tried to back away from 1,300 comments (and counting) blasting her sexist premise. She tries to argue she has unparalleled empathy for “lots of very angry young men.” Wait a minute – she never mentioned anger, I thought she said young men were living in a promised land of irresponsible bliss? She denies she is blaming men (who does she think she’s kidding?) and says the whole of the book is much more balanced, but sneers that said angry men should “drop the Darth Vader decor.”

This is old hat – she responded to Helen Smith’s criticism three years ago with similar crocodile tears for the “deep rage” of men, a rage she only discovered after she’d written her article in which she talked to no men.

It’s curious to note that this is the second time in a month (after Amy Chua’s Tiger Mother kerfuffle) that the Wall Street Journal has published a book excerpt to cacophonous criticism, only to backtrack and claim the quoted work is not representative of the book.

SCHEDULING NOTE: A glutton for punishment, Hymowitz will be participating in a WSJ online chat at 2pm ET Thursday, February 24. The stub notes that her article is one of the most commented on in the history of the website. The first comment on the chat room itself speaks well to the situation:

Travis wrote:

Why are women always in such a rush to “settle down”? Why can’t we just enjoy ourselves? Relax and have a beer on the couch with us ladies, and quit nagging. Or go find some wuss you can boss around. Good luck.


Aunt Kay made a really big deal of Seth Rogen’s character in the 2007 film “Knocked Up” as prototypical of today’s “child-man” epidemic. She’s giddy about contrasting the dope-smoking layabout with the upwardly-mobile young woman, but her analysis is so shallow and backwards I’m fairly certain she never actually saw the movie.

To review, cable anchor Alison (Katherine Heigl, a character actress who plays hot neurotic women) celebrates a promotion by getting hammered and bringing home Ben (Seth Rogen) for a good rogering. Living off an injury settlement as an illegal immigrant from Canada, Ben is a true omega –  working with his housemates to assemble a porn taxonomy website and crush many bongs of quality hash.

Sure enough, Alison turns up pregnant and regretfully contacts Ben. Contrary to what Hymowitz would have us believe, Ben accepts his responsibilities immediately; implementing those responsibilities is the source of comedy and drama throughout the film, but there’s never any question his heart is squarely in the right place. Thinking it’s the right thing to do, Ben attempts to forge a relationship with Alison, accompanies her on baby-shopping trips and ingratiates himself to her family. He goes so far as to propose to Alison and tell her nieces about it. Meanwhile, although Alison can be excused for being high-strung at the situation, her first concern is herself and her career and at one point she tries to drive the father of her child out of her life. She feigns the trappings of careerist independence (Hymowitz glowingly cites her “clean sheets and towels” – are her standards really that low?) but in fact lives in the poolhouse of her sister’s property and apparently earns her room on family goodwill and occasional nanny services.

In other words, Hymowitz has it completely reversed – Alison’s “got it together” appearance is illusory, and when faced with an existential life challenge Ben doesn’t question stepping up to the job.

The film is pockmarked with classic Apatovian bit characters, including a child-phobic female producer, a wacky on-call obstetrician, assorted stoners, a self-conscious club bouncer and Harold Ramis as Ben’s fancy-free father.

The key supporting characters are Debbie and Pete, Alison’s sister and brother-in-law. Pete is flummoxed and betatized by Debbie’s bitchy, humorless and controlling demeanor. He hoaxes work travel to get away from his wife, using the time to see Spiderman and attend his fantasy baseball draft. Debbie’s view of love is “you tell someone everything that’s wrong with them, and then later they thank you for it.” Pete has a more cynical opinion: “marriage is like that show Everybody Loves Raymond, except it’s not funny.” (In the interest of full disclosure, this portrayal of a dysfunctional marriage was one of the first things that got me really thinking about what’s wrong with today’s SMP.)

While the men go to Vegas to decompress from their respective life pressures, the women are refused entry to a nightclub due to age and pregnancy status by the apologetic doorman who laments he has been made the enforcer of racial quotas.

I laughed my ass off at this movie. I never felt “Knocked Up” was misandrist, sexist or in any other way unfair to its characters. It is a pretty typical coming-of-age type of plot with formulaic contrast against a seemingly-perfect but dysfunctional “normal lifestyle.” It does not speak any better of the power chick or her ball-busting sister than it does of the pothead (it does treat Pete as an innocent man). Hymowitz reads in her own “man bad, woman good” message – the movie is designed to show two people who are really not ready for a situation and how they get through it without winding up like the miserable couple in their midst. Her use of a movie as proof of a phenomenon is silly; by her rationale, the Twilight films are evidence of a plague of vampires infesting our forests.


As long as we’re on the topic, let’s review “Knocked Up” writer Judd Apatow, the most visible producer of the latter-day “bromance” genre.  Apatow’s first piece was the single-season high school dramedy series “Freaks and Geeks” whose subject matter should be self-explanatory. It captured the heart of anyone who listened to Rush, refused to wear designer clothing or expected their girlfriend to feed their mind as well as their libido.

After the successful “Anchorman,” Apatow broke into auteur status with 2005’s The 40-Year Old Virgin. Andy (Steve Carrell) bikes to his job at a consumer electronics store and seems content to live anonymously. It is revealed that he is in fact a virgin, whose few efforts to play his V-card have been rebuffed. He shares his working life with a compulsive philanderer, a schlubby pickup artist, a pathetic chronic-oneitis basket case and a nymphomaniac boss (Jane Lynch).

Andy is the only fully decent soul in the pack. What has been his reward? Three decades of utter failure with women to the point he has been turned into a non-combatant. Hymowitz would call him a child-man with his fondness for poker, Halo and painting miniatures, but he’s responding to society, not dictating to it. He IS “where all the good men have gone.”


Any discussion of gender roles is going to involve feminism, but I do think there’s a place to give feminism a bit of a break as a scapegoat.

Feminism didn’t send American manufacturing jobs offshore, undercutting the blue-collar earning power of the average man. It didn’t (at least at first) co-opt the allegedly conservative churches into a pernicious man-shaming cult, with self-flagellating promise keeper types pledging that they’ll be better betas at home (though this scene is an ugly parallel to college campus DV activism).

Unless you believe Great Books for Men and his Bernankification Theory (lozl), feminism doesn’t control Federal Reserve decisions and trade policies which have a lot to say about which industries (and demographics) are going to be favored in the American economy.

Finally, though reflexively misandrist feminists have their special place in the fiery depths, it’s capitalism as much if not more than feminism that causes marketeers to run sitcoms and consumer ads portraying men as hopeless idiots.


A considerable portion of responses to Hymowitz’s article are along the lines of “men were better when people didn’t have sex until they were married – why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” This is a typical obligation-masculinity syllogism – “if only men had to WORK for it they’d be better men! We need women to hold out until men ‘commit’ and act the way we want!” It conveniently allows conservative commentators to call for a return to sexual puritanism.

The cow and the milk are a red herring. The issue is not sex per se. It’s sexual attention, and who women choose to give that attention to. The highest level of permissible sex could be caressing a woman’s ankle and we’d still have the conflict of dads versus cads.

That we live in a society that suborns unmarried sexual intercourse is incidental – the freedom of sexual choice, not of sex itself, is what has driven good men to the sidelines of the marketplace in favor of tingle-generating bad boys. So locking up the panties is pointless unless young women are going to change their preferences to men of good character; and if they did that, it wouldn’t matter when they consummated it.

While getting too sexual too early can kill a woman’s image in a man’s eyes, the practice of sexual restraint doesn’t change men’s behavior as much as it screens it, causing fast-lane players to leave the scene in favor of men who prefer sex in the relationship context.


In Hymowitz’s debate with Tom Leykis (linked in yesterday’s post) she twice complains about young men’s “unwillingness to commit.” Whether “commitment” means monogamy, marriage, or Sunday brunches is not defined, but we can pretty safely assume she simply means “unwillingness to undertake whatever level of relationship the woman wants” (with the counterpoint that a man who wants more of a relationship than the woman is a controlling stalker).

She is going at the problem backwards.

First, if you are sleeping with a man without monogamy (the lowest level of “commitment”), you’re slutting it up. Period.

Secondly, if you are whining about “commitment,” it’s a sign you are too invested. You are expecting a deeper level of relationship than the man in question is comfortable with, and you are resenting him for it. That doesn’t make him “afraid of commitment,” it simply means he’s choosing to do other things with his time. You need to stop blaming him for a difference of opinion, and get out.

This is another huge contradiction in Hymowitz’s case – if women are unhappy with the quality of men in their dating pool, why are they so hung up on getting the men to “commit” to them? If they’re so miserable with these “child-men,” aren’t the men doing them a favor by giving them a pretext to get out? Sounds like her claim that women today don’t “need” men is empirically false.


I should have been a trial attorney.


The underlying premise of Hymowitz’s case is that if there were more “good men,” women would choose them. As any pickup artist can tell you, the problem is not the supply of the product – it’s that the product is not in demand. More supply would simply drive down the value of the good man even more.

There are cases where a woman dating a cad is operating from a subconscious program to “tame” a man, to make a feral alpha civilized. This plays on the cultural expectation, propagated by girls-first education and consumer advertising, for women to be “better” than the men they are with.

It doesn’t take a forensic psychologist to understand that it’s a fool’s errand, quite dangerous and deeply misinformed.

It is a pretty lie that “women civilize men.” The promises of patriarchal monogamy civilize men, promises of an equally-ranked sexual partner and the chance to be head of your own filial empire in exchange for enthusiastic contribution to the labor force. The promises are upheld by the approval, threat and shame of other men, not of women. The emasculation and removal of fathers from the home – first in black America, then across the board – has shown that women alone cannot raise boys into men.

People like Hymowitz and Hanna Rosin don’t care about men, they only care what men can do for women. So they cheer when women take the pole position in the workplace and earn more degrees. They don’t get worried about the status of men until incentives (there’s those pesky economics again) ensure that there aren’t enough good mates signing up to be with their pretty little sisters, and even then they only “care” about men’s needs for as long as they need to to get men to do what they want, and then they go back to their victimization or cheerleading (their money or their vast carelessness, to appropriate F. Scott Fitzgerald) depending on the scenario.


Filed under junk culture, media, original research

Obligation Masculinity: Kay Hymowitz and Her Clueless Brethren

“Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.” – George Bernard Shaw

The manosphere has fired on all cylinders this week concerning Kay Hymowitz’s forthcoming book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys and Sunday Wall Street Journal article entitled “Where Have All The Good Men Gone?

I first saw discussion of the issue at Dr Helen late last week, and by the time Monday rolled around it had been posted on by Whiskey, Captain Capitalism, Crime & Federalism and Ferdinand Bardamu (the latter in spectacular fashion) and obliquely referenced by Roissy.

It is not what you would call a well-constructed argument. Hymowitz complains that young women are having difficulty finding “quality” men to date and marry – hasn’t this topic been done, I don’t know, every generation since Christ? – and that the solution is that men need to change themselves into something the women want, because otherwise the women will be unhappy. There’s an imperative for men to “man up,” but there’s a seemingly-intentional obfuscation of the underlying issues and there’s no concrete advice for what anybody is supposed to do about it – least of all the men at the center of it. To her, manhood is defined as doing what a woman wants.

I hesitated to even respond to the piece, thinking that not giving such nonsense any attention at all might be the best policy; I have decided that such a misguided work deserved a first-class fisking, the mother of all digital examinations.


Hymowitz’s “Real Man” shtick is unabashed shaming, highly solipsistic and a case study in collective projection. If you don’t have time to read the rest of the post you can really stop here. It’s Hannah Rosin’s “The End of Men” with extra shaming and some extremely flimsy cultural commentary mixed in, and is completely oriented towards the interests of women with zero concern for what men might want. Continue reading


Filed under junk culture, media, original research

Whiteknighting Beatles

Whiteknighting is really annoying and usually a major Bro Code violation. But I guess when you’re in the most famous band in the world, you can get away with some whiteknight behavior. Hell, getting whiteknighted by the Beatles might actually be a DHV (Eric Clapton might have an interesting perspective on this).

She Loves You

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind.
But now she said she knows
You’re not the hurting kind.

[Sounds like the protagonist is kind of a bad-boy type.]

You know it’s up to you,
I think it’s only fair,
Pride can hurt you, too,
Apologize to her

Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad.
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad. Ooh!

You’re Gonna Lose That Girl

If you don’t take her out tonight,
She’s gonna change her mind,
And I will take her out tonight,
And I will treat her kind.

You’re gonna lose that girl.
You’re gonna lose that girl.

If you don’t treat her right, my friend,
You’re gonna find her gone,
’cause I will treat her right, and then
You’ll be the lonely one.

I’ll make a point
Of taking her away from you, yeah,
(watch what you do)
The way you treat her what else can I do?


Filed under history, original research

More on Frame and Fitness Testing


In a major honor for me, Dave from Hawaii left a comment on yesterday’s post (in which I quoted his “inviting her into my life” elucidation of frame). Part of his comment is a great jumping-off point to the topic of shit testing or fitness testing.

While people refer to shit tests as fitness tests or congruence tests…another good way to think about it is a FRAME test.

She’s testing to see if you are going to maintain your frame – the one she wants to be a part of – of if you’re gonna lose your perspective and get caught up in her frame.


The pathology of fitness testing is oft discussed in the manosphere. (For his part, Roissy has asserted that shit testing is a hardwired biological imperative, part of a woman’s DNA.) A critical realization for men trying to understand female communication is that the fitness test is not about the verbal request – it’s about the subliminal play for dominance and how you respond to it.

Fitness testing as a real test, in the early dating process, is easy to understand – both genders have semi-subconscious ways of evaluating their partner’s biological quality. What makes less sense is why a woman would continue the testing throughout a relationship or a marriage, as innumerable men will attest. Shirley it’s enough to run the tests a few times early, and go on with your mutual life in peace?

Well don’t call me Shirley, I struggled with this question for a while – perhaps a majority of women were irrational and paranoid and insisted on re-qualifying their men more often than you’d change oil? – until I saw a blog post by stagetwo entitled “Rubbing Up Against Your Manhood” that simply and clearly spelled out what’s going on.

The concept of shittest suggests a probing and information-gathering function. Once you’ve passed a sequence of such tests, your manhood should be accepted (or rejected), and the shittesting should end. However, to the extent that the relationship remains sexual in nature, her shittesting, though it might become milder, may never end.

This is because what we call a shittest is not just a test. It is rubbing up against your manhood, and it serves not only to test but also to feel and just enjoy your manhood.

Recall that porn is about physical encounters that reveal the female object’s physical beauty. And romance novels, the female equivalent of porn, are about story, dialogue, emotion, in short: dramatic interactions that reveal the male object’s dominance and power.

Similarly, the female equivalent of rubbing up against your sex [where the male version is sensual touch] is not touching your prick, but creating dramatic interactions that reveal your dominance and power.

So the act of “testing” is not just testing for a resource, it’s utilizing the resource for what she sees as its intended purpose – affirming, comforting and exciting her in a frame in which she feels comfortable.

This explanation is so brilliant and yet so intuitive I don’t know why I had never seen it laid out like this before. What’s the point of testing if you’re not going to use the skills you test for? (Bio-focused people would probably say that the resource is “cashed in” when the woman bears the man’s progeny, genetic fitness being the motivation for the test in the first place. However, humans are interesting and complex creatures, and a single action often underwrites biological, social AND intellectual motivations.)

For the sake of re-emphasis, it might help to re-frame the issue, no pun intended. Have you ever had a friend who had an animus about a benign topic? And have you ever intentionally teased or provoked this person, just to see them launch into a tirade about Sam Bowie being drafted ahead of Michael Jordan, or the cable company, or their least favorite airline, or Carrie Bradshaw’s shoes? (That last one was for the women reading.) And you chuckle and give them an understanding wink for bringing some humor to your day, even if they had to be goaded into it.

That, my friends, is exactly what’s going on with shit testing. Failing one is like refusing to tell a funny joke when set up, it disappoints the audience and they (she) will lose faith in you.

Of course, if you’re funny on a regular basis, people won’t ask you to tell jokes – you’ve done it before they have time to ask. That goes for shit testing too.


I’d be remiss if I closed out the topic without this clip. The cultivation of frame was a major plot point in the 1995 crime farce Get Shorty.



Filed under beta guide, primary sources

Beta Guide: Inviting Her Into Your Life

The concept of the frame is a key one in the world of game. Frame is the conviction of one’s value, the assertion of your confidence. Because so much of attractiveness and social dominance flow from this conviction, it could be argued that frame is the One Truth of Game. A good frame can cover up a lot of tactical mistakes. (Both the psychological and the physical frame are equally crucial, because humans have specialized hardware designed to infer one from the other.)

Perhaps the best ever description of frame came from the pseudonymous commenter Dave from Hawaii, featured in Roissy’s “Relationship Game Week” two years ago (emphasis mine):

She has always been sweet and feminine the entire time we were dating…but than, when we were dating, I was a young man with goals, ambitions, direction. I had a mission, and I put it first. I went to school full time, I worked full time to support myself, and I trained martial arts and was an avid hunter. My time was full, and when I fit her into my schedule, I would invite her into my world, and take the lead and I was anything but “beta” when we were dating. I was decisive, confident, and a little bit cocky. Call it “subconscious game.” I always took the lead and she willingly and happily followed.

“Dave” became a minor sensation in the manosphere as one of the first men to publicize his use of game to rescue his marriage, which he said had “teetered towards divorce more than a few times.” Predictably, “Dave” had abandoned his frame as his married life went on in favor of supplicating people-pleasing and outsourcing day-to-day decisions to his wife who clearly had no interest in making them. She responded with fitness testing, a pointed lack of enthusiasm and trash-talking the marriage around town. After red-pilling and applying some frame, he’s a marital success story. His story may be the single most important post ever issued by Roissy.

The thing about frame, aside from having it, is that when you let someone in, it’s clear you are doing them a favor of sorts. You are giving them a piece of your high-value time and attention. Forget what type of frame you are actually projecting; simply HAVING the frame makes you a higher-value item. Confidence is deeply attractive, and even with game spreading in society, there are not that many men with good frame. Lots of people are followers, and beyond that you’ve got insufferable white knights who fake frame when they have social top cover.

“Inviting her into your world” is exactly what a good frame is about. You aren’t bossing anybody around (Dave dealt with haters arguing this straw man). You aren’t imposing your will against anybody else’s. You are just not going to be sacrificing who you are for the pleasure of some other person’s company.

Don’t lose your frame.


Filed under beta guide, primary sources