Monthly Archives: March 2011
I was working my ass off before joining Zeppelin. A lady I really dearly loved said, “Right. It’s me or your fans.” Not that I had fans, but I said, “I can’t stop, I’ve got to keep going.” She’s quite content these days, I imagine. She’s got a washing machine that works by itself and a little sports car. We wouldn’t have anything to say anymore. I could probably relate to her, but she couldn’t relate to me. I’d be smiling too much. Ten years gone, I’m afraid. Anyway, there’s a gamble for you.
Plant added lyrics to a then-instrumental track that became “Ten Years Gone,” a swirling vortex of guitar overdubs to rival the guitar-layering gold standard “Hotel California.”
In 1965, Plant’s future success was far from certain but his talent had begun to become an open secret in the musical underground. It’s never a good idea to issue an ultimatum, and anybody who receives one should walk on the spot, but it’s especially bad to give one when you have more to lose than the other person. In the lady’s defense, there are many, many musicians hoping to become the next Buddy Holly, Mick Jagger or Axl Rose, many of them just as talented as the chart-topping artists, who never come close to making it.
I think it’s best illustrated by an analogy. Social prestige is like a book that everybody thinks is “important.” It may not be a book that you would actually want to read. It may not be a book that anyone wants to read, or in fact that anyone has read. It simply has an extrinsic value that society has assigned to it that keeps it selling and gives some status to those who read it. (In my personal opinion, William Faulkner comes to mind.)
Social dominance is like a book that is actually enjoyable to read. It tickles your mind, gives you the and makes you empathize with its characters. The book or its genre may have a poor reputation among those who keep score in popular culture, and it may in some cases actually be an unredeeming piece of writing, but the entertainment value to the reader can’t be denied.
You can also run the analogy with music. Guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen is widely regarded as the most simultaneously technically proficient and unlistenable musician in rock and roll. (Eric Clapton has suffered a similar reputation.) Plenty of high-value recording artists release absolute tripe, I’m looking at you Christina Aguilera. Meanwhile lots of garage bands can produce wonderful and spirited records as long as you can get them in front of a recording engineer before they break up or sell out.
Social prestige is a function of social value systems - rank, royalty, salary, expertise in a given skill or sphere – and can basically be communicated on paper. Social dominance is tactical – it’s experienced as a part of someone’s personality up close. It’s almost impossible to gauge without seeing someone in action, whether in person or on screen, thus it’s very difficult to communicate to third parties.
HAS THE TRUTH HAS BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY HIDDEN FROM THE CULTURE?
The first sentence of Susan Walsh’s post begins, “It’s been less than two years since I was first introduced to the concept of female hypergamy…” This is an astounding statement, one that should raise eyebrows – and not for any failure on her part. Susan is an MBA-educated former management consultant, certainly no stranger to understanding and motivating people, and her daughter had reached marriageable age before she had been clued in on one of the key factors in female mate choice. Shirley it’s not a simple misunderstanding, that she was sick the day they taught hypergamy in psychology class? I’m afraid that’s desperate wishful thinking.
Men (and women) of knowledge recoil in disgust at realizing the massive cultural denial of the reality of the sexual marketplace. Almost every reformed or reforming beta male can locate the point at which he understood the magnitude of the disinformation campaign practiced by mass media and its water-cooler acolytes. The bitter beta turned resolute, amoral player has its roots not in making up for lost trips to the sexual buffet table, but in the backlash against cultural programming aligned squarely against the truth.
Not for no reason is Roissy’s slogan “where pretty lies perish.”
It’s a shame too, because there’s no excuse for it. Not only are we in an age where ideas can be exchanged, debated, evaluated and tested more readily than ever, in today’s over-commercialized socially lawless era, the evidence for hypergamy, the male variety instinct, and other principles of self-interest has never been more stark and under our very noses.
Yahoo!’s celebrity-interest blog posted a video-article combo entitled “Why do men hate these popular trends women love?” hosted by a less-endowed simulacrum of Katy Perry. The question of “why” is not well discussed, but one commenter summed it up hilariously with “cuz they are straight?”
1. Ugg boots
The on-set footwear of choice for celebrities (how many times have we seen photos of the “Gossip Girl” crew in gowns and Uggs?) is admittedly hard on the eyes. But in the right situation and when worn with jeans (NOT jean shorts), they’re worth it. If more guys tried on a pair, they’d understand. It’s the shoe equivalent of comfort food.
Nobody goes out for comfort food, and you don’t see me wearing my fuzzy bearclaw slippers down to the neighborhood coffee shop.
When did dressing like a slob become a positive statement? Have we devolved from blue-collar-look hipsterism all the way down to dumpy chic? Two things guys don’t want in a girlfriend: slovenly dress habits (does he want to take that home to Mom?) and trend-following. By saying something like this is trendy, you are really giving yourself two strikes at the same time.
2. Oversized sunglasses
Guys think they make us look like bugs. I think they add glamour and drama. But, I’ll concede one point: It’s important to find a size and shape that actually fits your face.
I admit I don’t have any problem with big shades, just with the spoiled raconteurette culture they symbolize. I don’t think I’ve met a woman in big sunglasses who didn’t have an attitude to match.
Even stylish and svelte women like Blake Lively and Kourtney Kardashian can barely pull them off. I understand the retro appeal, but they’re awfully hard to look good in. Guys win this one.
The “jumpsuit” or romper of which they speak of is really a moo moo with a crotch. If you’re getting ready to bust some ghosts or fire up the DeLorean to go back to 1955, a jumpsuit is obligatory; why women want to wear them with most of the leg cut off I can’t fathom. It looks like you couldn’t be bothered to dress yourself properly, or a homemade-clothing experiment that ran out of material.
4. Red lipstick
This one was a surprise. Apparently, some guys find the un-kissability factor a turnoff. I think there’s nothing sexier than red lips, gold eyeshadow and extra long lashes.
I like red lips. I am flummoxed by this “un-kissability factor.” If I want to kiss a woman I do it, I don’t seek permission from her makeup artist. All the better if she gets some on my face and shirt – then I can pull out the old “I have it take it off and wash it, why don’t you wait with me in my apartment while my shirt dries?” Skin tone makes a big difference though, paler women with bright red lipstick look like cartoons.
5. Harem pants
Celebrities like Julianne Moore and Jessica Alba have tried their best to make them look halfway decent, but there’s no way anyone can honestly say there isn’t a more flattering option then a pair of pants that look like they come with a built-in diaper. Guys win this one, too.
Does anything need to be said about pants that, like prostiboots and fu%$-me pumps, literally say “I’m a slut” in the name of the article of clothing?
6. Socks with sandals
Respected indie fashionistas like Chloe Sevigny and Alexa Chung valiantly tested the trend but I say the sexiness of a strappy sandal is undercut by a wooly underlayer.
I must plead ignorance on this one. I’ve never heard of these “fashionistas,” and I’ve never run into this trend. Maybe I have a natural hipster-avoidance gene.
STRAIGHT TALK FROM A REGULAR DUDE
Here’s a newsflash for women from me, on behalf of men in general: we don’t give a shit about fashion. We don’t care what celebrities are wearing on the red carpet. (We do care about what’s under the dresses.) Heavy makeup does not make a woman prettier, although light makeup is tasteful. Fashionable clothing does not make a woman any hotter; Kate Middleton is pretty no matter what she’s wearing, though I understand that to women around the world she would just be Katie from the block if she didn’t have William’s nuclear preselection. (Speaking of which, I’ll never understand why Cammila Bowles wore a dead bird in her hair in her wedding to Prince Charles.)
When we have to go somewhere we don’t care if it’s the pink top or the blue top. Maybe your ass does look fat in those pants, but we’ll give your groin a tactile examination just to make sure.
SELLING YOURSELF THE WRONG WAY TO THE WRONG PEOPLE
Here’s the key long-term point: fashion obsession, flipping through vapid magazines, judging yourself against the standards of unimaginably wealthy people you’ll never meet, tittering from store to store stuffing bags full of overpriced labels spending money you probably don’t have is unbecoming of a woman we would want to take for a wife.
The most important thing you need to understand is that what YOU think looks good on a woman is probably not what we think. This topic underlies a major cultural divide – what women find “attractive” in other women, and what men actually find attractive in women. Even my pal Susan Walsh has said more than once that she is a terrible judge of which women men find attractive. (Then again, you don’t have to take my word for it…I’m helpless in the face of a woman in a pantsuit.)
This divide has a critical application – if you’re more concerned with looking good for your girlfriends than your husband, you need to think about upping your commitment to the marriage. (Lest you think I’m some kind of a chauvinist, I would say the same to husbands – your overall look and style has to serve the interests of your wife and family before that of your bros.)
Long hair and staying in reasonable shape are by far the most effective “fashion” tools you can deploy for your LTR/marriage. Short of any fetishes your husband might have; if he digs you eating breakfast wearing a shower curtain then by all means think it over.
FREEDOM AIN’T FREE
It’s not that I’m telling anybody what to do. I’m all for freedom – but the definition of freedom includes consequences (in fact that’s part of the thrill of freedom) and young women need to be aware of the messages they are sending as they seek mates. If Uggs and a hoody or low-rise jeans and a bedazzled tank top are your look, I think it’s a fair deal: how about I don’t complain about your wardrobe, and you don’t complain that you can’t find a man who’s not a player or a layabout – the harvests of slutwear and dressing down, respectively.
Comments on the Yahoo! article were mixed but with a healthy component of skeptical women denouncing said fashion trends. The pro-trendy comments were along the lines of this one:
Women wear trends for themselves, not men. So men need to get over it!!
There’s something contradictory about conforming to a trend “for yourself,” but in any case, men don’t need to get over it. Your average man has innumerable ways to fill his time – work, family, hobbies, friends, other women, porn. He’s got plenty of options besides a materialistic woman whose self-worth is wrapped up in wearing what a marketing department told her to.
Further reading: grerp’s Piece of Advice #10: Toss your women’s magazines
Do you even have to read this article? It’s simple!
- First base
- Second base
- Third base
Why does pop culture have to overthink everything?
(image modified from http://www.signsbyyou.com/decals/graphic_colordecal_2577.htm)
You may have done a double take when you read the post title. “Shirley you mean that parenting is part of marriage?” Parenting is a part of marriage, for most couples. But when the opportunity exists, a successful marriage is a critical component of good parenting.
I bring this up because of a Yahoo! Shine post entitled “Mom Confession: I’m a Terrible Wife.” In it, an unnamed mother describes her shift in focus from her husband to her son (hat tip to commenter Dex at Dalrock). I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but the photo on the post shows a mother and a son, with the father cut almost entirely out of the frame (only his mouth is visible).
“I’m a very good mother. But I’m a terrible wife.”
Her “confession” is a contradiction. If you’re doing a poor job as a spouse, you are failing your child.
She’s operating from a paradigm that equates “good parenting” with “the amount of time and resources delivered to the child, no matter what sacrifice is necessary.” It’s of a piece with the modern cult of the child that has taken over middle-upper class suburbia, where parents are not vessels of authority but “best friends” with their kids. (For non-American readers, let me know if this is happening in your country – it’s this style of parenting that his given us the insufferable “Millenial” phenomenon).
The trouble with that paradigm is that it neglects the responsibility of parents to model social behavior for their kids to emulate – social behavior that sometimes puts the kids themselves second. As children age, their parents have to demonstrate that the world does not revolve around them. They need to learn why mommy and daddy go to work, to clear their dishes and clean their rooms, how to be polite and thankful, how to show remorse when they cross somebody and how to be good teammates and good friends. They need to know that sometimes parents curse, drink alcohol and watch Nightline or mature programs.
But it goes even further than social mores – husband or wife, you need to model marriage for your children. If you expect them to deal with the procreative instinct that most of us feel deeply, they need to see firsthand how to do it right. They need to see a healthy balance of focus on yourself, focus on your spouse, and focus on your other life responsibilities. Your sons need to see how to be a good man and what he should expect from a wife, and daughters need to know how to be a good wife and how she should expect to be treated by a man who loves her.
If are a “terrible wife” (or husband), I dare say you are missing a significant chunk of being a “very good parent.” To go with a quote I read somewhere and can’t recall the source of – “the best gift a child can get is a mom and a dad who love each other.”
Don’t get me wrong – very young children require 24/7 attention, anything less is neglect. It should not be news to anybody that infants are totally dependent on their parents for food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, mental stimulation, language development, tactile development. Almost every couple can talk about an extended period in the childbearing years where sleep and sanity took a back seat to mollifying tears and changing nappies and sex (unless scheduled for the purpose of procreation) was decidedly on the back burner or even off the stove. In that stage of life, marital maintenance becomes a matter of quality, not quantity. It’s not easy, but it doesn’t have to kill your marriage.
And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying spending time with your kids, taking them places, getting them nice things and making them smile. (If you DON’T plan on enjoying these things, kids may not be for you. Which is fine as long as you are sure that’s what you want.) But when it becomes a compulsion at the expense of other things, including your health, your sense of self and your spouse, you’ve gone overboard.
In any case I don’t buy the young-child explanation here. If her son is old enough to ask for pizza and a movie he’s old enough to spend some time with a sitter, or at a friend’s house, while mom and dad grab some them-time. (We haven’t even discussed how cloying mothering might make the boy’s Freudian release from mommy an unnecessarily traumatic experience for both of them.)
“I no longer have the energy to connect with my husband on the level that we connected before we became parents.”
The most cynical interpretation is that this woman pulled a classic bait-and-switch – she gave love and attention and pledged eternal vows to her husband, but once she extracted sperm and resources from him (resources he will be required to keep paying whether she stays with him or not) she simply stopped investing in him or their relationship after she found something more interesting.
The good news for the confessing mommy is that there’s still time to turn it around.
“In spite of his frequently asking “What about me?” I sense that he is somehow OK with all of this. The problem is, I don’t know if I am.“
I would be hard-pressed to think he was OK with being ignored in favor of his progeny. In fact she states that he has made clear his frustrations, so we can tell her hamster is trying to talk her into believing he’s the selfish one. As a matter of fact a comment by MichelleK took the words out of my mouth:
If he’s saying “what about me,” then you must have imagined that he’s “somehow okay with all of this” to make yourself feel less guilty. Who would be okay with their spouse placing somone else as higher priority over them??? He is making an effort to STATE his feelings and you’re just imagining them away. Nice…
In all truth, he’s probably resorted to begging because he hasn’t been taught the social tools necessary to make himself the center of your attention again. (Shameless plug for Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life.)
Hamsters aside, I’m encouraged by her faint admission that she’s not cool with the situation. That means there’s still time to save the marriage before she makes the mental decision to give up, or he decides to seek emotional or sexual comfort elsewhere. (As she tells it, it’s hard for me to even describe this as a marriage – it’s just a statutory framework within which they live in the same house and take care of the same child.)
If I can speculate, this woman’s post has a bit of a fitness-test smell to it – I bet she is secretly hoping someone will give her the straight story and tell her to get things in gear post haste. Not to mention that SHE has a wonderful tool for pulling at his heart – she has HIS child. A few well-placed “I’m so glad my boy has such a studly father” might work wonders.
Another comment didn’t mince words about what’s at stake:
“You’ve made your choice, now allow him to make his. You decided that you don’t need adult companionship, but perhaps he does. As long as you allow him to find what your relationship lacks where he can (with reasonable rules, of course), you can keep your family together. Don’t make him leave you and your family to find it.”
One undergound mammal’s opinion.
A man wants…
…to be happy.
…his woman to be happy.
…his woman to be happy being with him.
Let’s go over those again.
- To be happy: he gets to lead the life he wants, that makes him feel like a man and not a cog in the system, respected by his wife and children and with time for hobbies and R&R that maintain his self-image.
- His woman to be happy: she is proud of and content with the life she has, without endless haranguing about what she doesn’t have.
- His woman to be happy being with him: she is proud to be by his side, and proud of what they have built together.
A while back I read a good way to frame a piece of advice that centered around a discussion between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio:
“As a child, I was overweight and I was very chubby and I was always the wrong kid at the audition because my hair was wrong and the shoes didn’t fit. I did lose weight very sensibly when I was younger but those days are very much behind me.”
Turning to DiCaprio, she adds, “I remember you saying to me one day, ‘You’ve really got to let the whole fat girl thing go’. And that’s the truth, you’re right.”
Replace “fat girl” with “beta guy” and it works for men too. Almost nobody can’t cite a period in life when they were less than impressive.
Seriously, life is long. People change. if you’re dedicated to fixing your problems, you will at least make a significant dent. If you can’t give yourself credit for that, if you insist on semi-consciously falling back into the fat girl guys didn’t want, or the nerdy kid who got bullied, or Zit Guy or whatever cross you bore at some point in your youth, you’re really just chopping yourself off at the knees without help from anybody else. You’ve done the work of your opponents for them.
I didn’t say it was easy. There’s a little person in most of us who wants to remind us of our old, since-dispatched flaws. This psychological homunculus sits on our shoulder and tells us we’re reliving our old ways decades later, that we’ll never get to where we want to go because we used to be whatever it was that held us back. Sometimes we want to listen to this person, because at least the expectation of achievement would dissipate and we could accept failure.
Fire that person.
- Look in the mirror before peering through a window
- Men and women are from Earth; never accept or tolerate a woman from any other planet
- Make only those demands on a woman that you place on yourself
- Accept only those demands from a woman that she places on herself
- If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results
- Always obey your instincts; always update your instincts
- When meeting a woman, what you see is what you get. If you don’t like it, move on. Never:
a. Be on a mission to change her
b. Fall in love with her potential—–what you think she could/should become
- A relationship’s future must be gauged by its heartbeat, not its history or its potential
- Remember that life is short—–happiness, loneliness, and dysfunction are choices
- Never stay in a relationship where you spend a lot of time avoiding pain.
Marc closes with: “How many of these commandments have you kept?” I would add that you can change all the female nouns to male ones and the advice still works 100%.
Monday’s Scientific Evidence for the Rationalization Hamster incited a flurry of activity in the comments and quality pingbacks from Paige and Captain Capitalism. Musing responses follow, in no particular order. (I am not a neuroscientist so unless someone does some journal searches this discussion is all speculation.)
Congratulations to jack, who noticed and commented on the phallic subtext of the hamster photo (couldn’t believe I found that photograph). Lozl.
Samson told the story of a friend who has a big ol’ hamster running wild:
I have a friend similar to the guy in the bottom example. He asks for woman advice 24/7 and when I try to hit him with some good game, he always vetoes it and opts for some lame attempt. As a matter of fact, a text he sent me today said he e-mailed this girl he’s been going through some turbulent situations with (they aren’t officially “together” though) asking if she loved him. He didn’t get a response so he e-mailed back chewing her out for not responding. Come on guy… Sometimes I wonder if he ever listens to me, ha.
Oh, facepalm. The manosphere usually references women but men have hamsters too – the Paradigm Shift post quoted in my original post alluded to the female hamster, but focused on a male one. Rationalization is a human property, and you won’t find a stronger hamster than that of a pedestalizing beta for whom the very idea of abandoning his failed belief in the supplication system is too much to bear. ‘Tis a shame that people who really need the red pill are the most resistant to taking it.
Workshy Joe, CSPB and Paige all riffed on sex differences in the corpus callosum which connects the left and right brain, and its impact on the rationalization hamster. Check out wikipedia’s article on the corpus callosum for more background and discussion with regard to gender differences, gender identity disorder and musical ability. Over to you CSPB:
That was my thought too. Let me expand on this theory. Since women have a larger corpus callosum, their left and right sides of the brain are better integrated. Thus the left interpreter has a greater influence over factual beliefs in women and the “sense of self” is therefore more closely policed. In a male brain, the left interpreter has less influence so a man may be able to consider contrary things more readily without threatening his “sense of self.” This should reduce the tendency to discard or reform discordant information in males.
I understand where he’s going with the hypothesis, but I don’t particularly buy it. The idea is something like “with stronger cross-hemisphere communication, the hamster is forced to rationalize faster to avoid puncturing the sense of self in the face of a rapid input stream.” Recall the original experiment I quoted – a man with a split brain was given a command to walk in his right brain (presumably by flashing the word to his left eye, since I believe the senses cross over when entering the brain). Because of the separation, his left brain had literally no idea why he was walking down the hall. When asked, the left brain made up a reason out of thin air – “I wanted to get a Coke.”
It’s clear that the left interpreter (our putative hamster) makes stuff up whether it gets it across the corpus callosum or not. In fact, the experiment suggests that the less data the left interpreter is getting from the brain at large, the more it will tend to substitute its home-rolled synthetic reality. The hamster can always choose to simply ignore the data on hand, including the fact that it has no data at all regarding why the body it commands is walking down the hall.
My best guess is that female hamsterism is culturally driven – women are beamed messages that contradict each other from family, friends, school and the media, and are given messages that contradict their visceral desires. Rationalization is a key tool to bridge those contradictions while avoiding social ostracism.
Amateur anthropology: I understand that on the whole women have better proximal senses – the volume on their sensory hardware “goes to 11″ – and endurance to material privation, while men have, among other things, superior long-range vision and spatial cognition abilities. One simple explanation is that women’s brains are tuned to the demands of managing gatherer social groups, surviving pregnancy and tending to small children, while men are optimized for hunting, building and dominating the natural environment (One could also ask if the larger female corpus callosum is a neural booster for the sensory hardware.)
These are not destinies, just tendencies, the result of hundreds of generations of evolution that by definition have passed on the traits more likely to allow human organisms survive. (Let me say that again: these are biological tendencies, not social destinies. I am not interested in neuropsych explanations as to why men or women should or shouldn’t do this or that in modern society based on the statistical distributions of neural wiring.)