My post on intimacy and commitment produced a rush of activity (thanks guys) and a number of comments that provide fodder for more writing.
Prime among the discussion items was the difference between being emotionally active and open, and “talking about your feelings.” One of the aspects of intimacy that gets people is the (correct) rejoinder that women don’t want men to “talk about their feelings.” This is true – arguing from emotions is something women don’t expect men to do and find foreign and disruptive, and is usually a one-way ticket to a journey beyond sight and sound to The Beta Zone. Sensitive New Age Guyism taught men to be kinder and gentler and to show “vulnerability” via verbal upchuck. Extensive, multi-generational field testing has shown this approach to be a complete and utter failure.
A significant skill in the gaming man’s toolbox is learning to be emotionally alive without making it about filling some emotional gap or need you have – you can be giving and evocative and intense and passionate without being needy and a sink of psychological resources. I concur with Xsplat that when done right it’s a more effective game strategy, if harder to pull off than straight aloofness.
If I may quote the inimitable Roissy, Commandment 9:
IX. Connect with her emotions
Set yourself apart from other men and connect with a woman’s emotional landscape. Her mind is an alien world that requires deft navigation to reach your rendevous. Frolic in the surf of emotions rather than the arid desert of logic. Be playful. Employ all your senses. Describe in lush detail scenarios to set her heart afire. Give your feelings freedom to roam. ROAM. Yes, that is a good word. You’re not on a linear path with her. You are ROAMING all over, taking her on an adventure. In this world, there is no need to finish thoughts or draw conclusions. There is only need to EXPERIENCE. You’re grabbing her hand and running with her down an infinite, labyrinthine alleyway with no end, laughing and letting your fingers glide on the cobblestone walls along the way.
You need to SHOW her where you are by taking her there with you, instead of “talking” about it and killing it in the process. It has to be not about your “needs” but about staking out psychological space and inviting her into it. When you make it a psychological dividend, a bounty you share with her, you raise it from a need to a pleasure in which she will be glad to partake.
An analogy I came up with is that you can have good food and drink as a regular part of your life, without making it all about filling your hunger need. You don’t say “please feed me because I am hungry;” you say “let’s make a huge ribeye steak and some buttered steamed asparagus, mmmm.” You’re excited not because you’re about to scratch the hunger itch but because you are on the precipice of a rich tapestry of sensation (As you might guess, I tend to eat slowly so as to savor the flavor).
Some writers in our corner of the net have portrayed emotion-inducing men as beta males, under the idea that emotion=beta and alphas are boorish frat guys. That’s a bunch of hooey. People who can make us feel strong emotions are highly valued and given access to key positions in music, acting, sports, ministry and politics. That’s an alpha trait, alpha=social influence and charting your own course. If you can induce emotional resonance in a crowd (or even a small group), you can be a leader and hold great sway over society.
I discussed this in one of my early posts, about blues musicians. I noticed that bluesmen were always singing about some woman who had done them wrong, about the miseries of their lives and their existential hard-luck pain. Their characters were whining up and down the register. Yet the singers themselves got laid like tile. So what was it – what made these guys, assuming the role of a second-rate tramp, so irresistible to women?
After some thought, it was easy: the song and the stage experience were an emotional adventure. The content was beta, but the execution was alpha – they were connecting with the audience, making them feel tantalizing things they didn’t feel in the cafeteria at work.
EMOTIONAL CONTROL IS KEY
Yohami and Deti went back and forth on the idea that modern women want a man to construct an “emotional amusement park” where she can experience the feeling of thrilling danger, but without real risk. I don’t quite concur with this analysis, in that I don’t gather that women want a pain-free emotional experience or for the man to not have any emotions, but rather that they want a man to be in control of his emotions and they interpret a man trying to work through his feelings to be on the brink of losing it.
Men are on the whole are bigger and stronger than women, so a man whose emotions are out of control is quite dangerous to a female. Because of this danger, society has developed ways to shame and denigrate men into keeping their emotions in check. The cheap knocks women throw at men that they are “creepy” and “angry” are attempts to leverage this reflexive shame hook for a quick shutdown of the conversation (as we know, the ladies often doth protest too much).
MALE SOCIAL BONDING PROVIDES A DISAPPEARING OUTLET
Candide had a brilliant comment about how the decline of male-only spaces has led men to disgorge their emotional lives onto their wives and girlfriends, instead of in the same single-sex environs which used to be safe havens.
Previously, it was expected and socially encouraged, men had their own space and dealt with each other in their own way. Now, male spaces have been all but destroyed, mentorship is a thing of the past, and men are saving the motherload of emotional vulnerabilities for women they have a relationship with.
This is part and parcel of social mothballing of the masculinity ladder. Male social dynamics have two major parts: the first in which men are tested for their fitness for membership, and the second in which having passed the test they are accepted into the group almost wholesale. I don’t see this in female social groups (in fact I see the opposite – immediate superficial acceptance, followed by an undercurrent of obfuscated and passive-aggressive challenges from the inside).
Within this tested and socially proofed environment (homosocial is the term feminists like to use for this, with the intentionally uncanny allusion to latent homosexuality), men are finally free to express themselves emotionally, confident that everyone has paid the price for exclusivity and wouldn’t dare violate the boundaries of the group.
As Candide notes, many of these male spaces have been diluted or eliminated entirely. One place they still exist for young men where they can learn emotional continence is in sports, where it’s OK to celebrate each other’s successes and weep together in your failures. There’s a reason the “locker room” is a linguistic meme for a protected inner circle of male social order.
One place young men learn this is in sports, where it’s OK to celebrate each other’s successes and weep together in your failures. There’s a reason the “locker room” is a linguistic meme for a protected inner circle of male social order.
Wise men of influence acting as coaches know how to cultivate and shape this test-accept sequence for the greater good. When done right it produces teams that are internally accountable and suppress selfishness, narcissism and sloth. When done wrong, with members endowed with too much power, you get hazing and froshing that serve as nothing more than systematic humiliation.
Likewise, if you lower the price of entry too much (as our “trophies for everybody” culture is wont to do), you get people who don’t care because they don’t have to, another group that is over-reliant/codependent, and others who have paid the price who want no part of counseling them.
RIDE THE WAVE
Candide followed up with a riff on the emotional bifurcation I spoke of in the original post.
Regarding culture, I think the modern mainstream urban WASP culture produces very timid, emotionally weak people with intimacy issues over the last few generations (tail end of X, whole of Y and Millenials). It shows in very basic social situations like meeting & talking to strangers at social events. They can’t manage their own emotions, so they either stay completely closed off, or way too open too soon (binary switch).
I think it takes more to run Xsplat game and go high-affect early in the seduction, because of the careful adjustment and balance required. It’s schematically simpler to just shut down your emotional system and play aloof, but the reward for creating primary emotional responses can be so much higher – in her mind and in yours.