Wednesday, May 28, 2014

About "Baggage"

One of the interesting things you read about when you go online looking for women's opinions of inexperienced men is that a lot of women look at such a man as someone "without baggage".  The thing is, I have to disagree.

According to the dictionary, "baggage" is defined as: past experiences or long held ideas regarded as burdens and impediments.  Since we're obviously not talking about the kind of baggage you take with you when you travel.

The idea being that someone who has had a lot (or a few) of previous experiences has a potential to bring elements of those past experiences and relationships into their new one.  This is mostly concerning when dealing with negative aspects such as cheating (that person or their partner), unhealthy dependencies, bad habits and the like.  Someone without those experiences won't have them because they won't have any experiences from which to conjure up baggage.

This is incorrect though.  Inexperienced people, especially those who are inexperienced involuntarily do have baggage.  They just have different kinds of baggage.

I have no idea how it feels to be an older inexperienced woman (though I imagine it's a similar experience to that of a man) but most inexperienced men have gone their entire lives feeling like their advances or interests are unwelcome.  Not just you shouldn't hit on a girl when she has her head turned away from you and earphones in her ears, but that even if a girl is smiling at you and giving you all kinds of positive body language she's really not interested.  Because that's all most of these guys have ever known.  Every time they'd try to hold a girl's hand or ask a girl out or give a girl a hug, sometimes even just try to have a friendly conversation it's met with a mortified look or avoidance in addition to rejection.

Granted everyone experiences rejection.  Just like everyone who has ever played basketball has missed a shot, everyone who has played baseball has struck out and everyone who has ever played quarterback has thrown an interception.  It's the nature of the game (or of life).  But if that's all you have ever experienced without any positive feedback that kind of thing takes a toll on your psyche.

So here's a list of the kind of baggage you're likely to see in an older inexperienced guy:

-Falling head over heels for a girl because she shows even the smallest interest in you.
-Being convinced a girl really doesn't like you even if she says or acts like she does.
-Being afraid of trying to hold a girl's hand or going in for a kiss when you're on a date.
-Being afraid to initiate anything physical (including but not limited to sex).
-Being afraid of having any kind of independent opinion out of worry it will make the person break up with you.

These are just a handful of the things you could expect.

My guess is that most women find these kinds of things to be turnoffs (as well they should).  So if you're thinking some shy, inexperienced guy is going to be some kind blank slate for you to imprint all of your personal tastes and preferences, you're mistaken.  You're probably better off running away like your pants are on fire.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Slut Shaming and a Helpful Way to Look at Sex

I'm someone who cares about sexual history.  But I'm also someone who doesn't want to know.  Ignorance is bliss when it comes to this topic.

It's not that I'll judge you, it's more like this: I'm a virgin, if you've had sex with 25 guys in your life there's really no way I'm going to be able to satisfy you sexually.  Just trying is going to be an exercise in futility because I'm going to psyche myself out of it and screw everything up by being self conscious about it.  So, better if I just don't know anything about your romantic or sexual history.  I probably won't share my (lack of) sexual history either.  It's not something you want to know.  Nothing like finding out your potential boyfriend is a virgin who has never even kissed a girl to kill all the romance.

So I've come to view people's decisions to have sex in this way: have sex with whoever you want, don't have sex with whoever you don't want.  It's all up to you.  It's your life, live it how you want.  The caveat: I don't want to hear any complaining.

I don't want to hear how you slept with some guy and now he won't call you back.  I don't want to hear any complaining about being stuck in a "friends with benefits" situation when you really want a relationship.  I don't want to hear about how some guy is a jerk or he's not the guy you thought he was or any other variation of these complaints.  You chose to sleep with the guy, deal with it like an adult, not a pampered child.

And before anyone accuses me of being sexist, this goes for guys too.  I don't want to hear complaints about how some girl you met at a party slept with you and now wants a relationship and you only wanted some quick sex.  I don't want to hear about how some girl is clingy or whatever.  You chose to sleep with her, deal with it.

That's all I ask.  Sleep with whomever you want.  Just stop the damn complaining.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Talk about Elliot Rodgers and How Not to

I swear, I don't like having to continually talk about this topic because the media is going to be overly saturated with it.  But there are some prevailing narratives coming out of this tragedy that I really don't feel captures the reality.

The first really irritating narrative is about misogyny.  That this incident is indicative of the continuing sexism in our society.  Rodgers was probably a sexist, there's very little doubt in my mind about that.  But, the underlying root of this is the continued reliance on violence.  Violence of one form or another is still looked at as a reliable solution to problems.  You can try to tackle sexism all the live long day but until you confront the reality of violence you'll never get anywhere.

The other troubling narrative is his "entitlement" issue.  Apparently Rodgers never approached any women but still hoped to have sex or have a relationship or whatever.  I don't know what this is supposed to mean for people.  Lots of men do not approach women and yet still yearn for romance in their life.  Why?  Because we often assume (based on our perceptions of unspoken communication) that women aren't interested.  Why am I going to approach a woman and ask her on a date if I know for a fact she's going to say no?  Now, I will concede the fact that I don't know for a fact that this what went through Rodgers' mind as he went through life.  I don't think any of us will ever know.  I'm just pointing out the fact that you can't point to one aspect of his life and make wide sweeping conclusions.

People want to point at online rants and say things like online forums and Reddit communities foment violent tendencies among people.  Maybe, but I'm not convinced.  There's a difference between being angry and annoyed and being violent.  Everyone who has ever struggled to get a date has wondered why they're sitting at home every night and other people are enjoying spending time with their significant others.  It doesn't mean that they're going to turn violent.

It's always the case in the wake of something like this to want to psychoanalyze the perpetrator.  Find out why he did what he did.  And usually what happens is people point to superficial things that justify their previously held beliefs.  So society's underlying misogyny causes this to happen, or America's gun laws, or women who date jerks, or whatever hobby horse or pet cause you have can be trotted out to explain what happened.  Sort of like a shaman claiming his rain dance ended the drought.  Yeah, okay.

What I want to know is where his family and friends (if he had any) were during all of this.  Why did no one try to talk to him when he started down this dark path?  Everybody points to the fact that they called the cops after seeing his Youtube videos.  That's pretty late in the game, where were they for years?  I'm not trying to blame them I'm just wondering how this was allowed to go unchecked for so long.  He's not 40 some odd years old like Sodini, this was a college student we're talking about.

There are clearly things that should be talked about and things that should be paid attention to.  But there are also clearly things that are germane to the topic and distract from the real issues.

Stick to the fact that he was a scumbag in more ways than one.  Stick to the fact that he posted racist stuff online.  Stick to the truly nasty things he said.  But don't dwell on things that prove nothing. Stop assuming that because he was involuntarily celibate he was automatically on this path (or vice versa).  And stop assuming that something could have been done to prevent it.  Maybe something could have, but don't take that as a given.  There's always a chance someone could flip out.  Sometimes you can stop it, sometimes you can't.  It's important that we have a discussion about this, but only in a way that is useful.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Virginity, Rejection, and Violence: The Story of Elliot Rodgers

Just a disclaimer: I don't know Elliot Rodgers.  I don't know why he did the things he did other than what all of you have probably seen or read by now.  I have no special insight to this other than the fact that both he and I are romantically inexperienced and in our 20s.  So take everything written here with a grain of salt.

As most of you probably know, Elliot Rodgers, 22, of Southern California gunned down six people on Friday and wounded several others in what was most likely a pre-meditated murderous rampage.  What caused this to happen: his apparent history of rejection by women he liked.  He was just a younger, more high profile (sort of) version of George Sodini.

I hope it goes without saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted and their loved ones.  Anyone who knows me knows I abhor violence of any kind.  It's a sad relic of our evolutionary past and the sooner we shed it the better.  Whatever Mr. Rodgers problems were, they surely were not solved by opening fire on a group of random women (aside from the fact that it's just plain wrong to kill people, period).

Here's the part where I might get some hate mail.  Maybe.

I'm concerned how this will play out going forward.  How people will react and what they think should be done.  There's always a jump to conclusions whenever something like this happens.  Someone blows a building up and people say Islam caused it.  College student shoots up his campus and people blame it on him being a quiet Asian guy.  A 22 year old kissless virgin kills a bunch of people and suddenly we have to be suspicious of anyone who can't get laid.

To be perfectly honest with you, I like having the internet as a place to vent.  And, there's a lot to vent about.  I often wonder why some guys get girls easily and I don't, or why some women are so hung up on the wrong kinds of guys.  You wonder what the hell is wrong with you, or conversely what's wrong with everyone else.  If we start scrutinizing everything someone writes or says in frustration as a potential danger to society then we lose something.  The overwhelming majority of people who post on the internet about how they can't get a date or the last girl they thought was interested stood them up at a restaurant, are not violent people.  They should be allowed to be sad or angry about their disposition, so long as they don't cross the line into physical violence.

The other upsetting thing I see is how this justifies certain prior beliefs people have.  There's an implicit opinion in some circles that men who can't get laid are only in that position because women are picking up on their sexism, either implicit or explicit.  That "Forever Aloners" or "Incels" or "Love-Shy" people have no right to complain and really deserve their lot in life.  That kind of attitude does not help, and I don't want that to be our response.  Yes, Elliot Rodgers was probably a creep but that doesn't mean that every guy who has a hard time with his romantic life is too.

I don't know if things would have been different if Elliot Rodgers had managed to find himself a girlfriend.  Maybe, maybe not.  I can't make that assessment given what we know and are likely to ever know.  What I do know is that this isn't a cause to start demonizing people who happen to share his lack of experience.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Two Special Women

I really debated writing this.  I'm not sure if I want to put these things down in writing and have people read it, especially the people of whom it speaks of.

There are two women right now who I very much like.  One is the girl from "Becky" from this post.  We lost touch for a few years but have recently reconnected via the internet.  She's still very far away to the extent that unless she travels somewhere else I'll likely not see her in person.  She has a bad internet connection so we'll likely not talk on Skype or anything either.  A few months ago I did let her know how I felt and she rebuffed me rather bluntly (which I much prefer to being strung along).  Nevertheless I still feel the same way about her.  She's the most intellectually curious person I've ever met, the way she thinks about things just I don't know, I find it downright sexy.  Yes she's good looking, but it's her personality that really draws me to her.  If I were honest, I'd actually marry her if she accepted.  It's the only woman I can honestly say that about.  I'd gladly spend the rest of my life with her.

The other girl is someone I've never met in person.  She lives far away, but not so far that it would be impossible to visit her hometown.  She's smart, but not necessarily intellectual in the same way "Becky" is (at least not that I know of).  But we have a lot of other stuff in common like sports and entertainment.  We talk online, though not everyday and since she's knows the side of me that you see on this blog, I think I annoy her a little bit.  Things aren't as light and fun as I'd like them to be.  Unlike "Becky", I've never actually told this girl that I like her.  I don't think she'd take it the same way since we don't have the in person rapport that "Becky" and I had.  I can tell though from our interactions that she almost certainly doesn't feel the same way about me.  And that's ok.  She's young, she's got a good future ahead of her and despite what she says I am 100% certain she has a number of men who would love to date her.

So why am I writing this?  Well, partly out of a need for catharsis.  But also, because I wonder why I can't get over these two women or meet these type of women in real life.

The obvious answer to the first question is because I don't talk to many women in real life.  So any who pay even the least bit of attention to me are likely to elicit this kind of response.  But, I'm not satisfied with the "obvious" answer.  I actually think that in an objective sense these two women are indeed special.  Both are pretty, smart, have great personalities and are wonderful in general.  I wouldn't be surprised if both women had a slew of men with crushes on them.

The answer to the second question is much related to the first.  On the one hand, I don't meet these type of women because I don't meet very many women in general.  But, at the same time, I think it's quite possible (even likely) that these women are so unique that I'm not likely to meet women like them even if I tried really hard to do so.

So I don't know.  I hope I haven't freaked anyone out by writing this.  The last think I need is to be some kind of creeper.  I just needed to get this off my chest and hope that it's not too inappropriate.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nice Guys: Fact and Fiction

According to the dictionary, "nice" is defined as "pleasant, agreeable, or satisfactory".  A "guy" is defined as "a man".  So, together a "nice guy" is a "pleasant/agreeable/satisfactory man".  There doesn't seem to be anything terrible or loaded in that definition, at least in my opinion.

Why am I going through this whole exercise?  Well, to their great credit The Good Men Project published an article on their site written by a self proclaimed "nice guy" who had decided to become less than "nice" because he was dissatisfied with his life as said nice guy.  It's a well written article, and if you're someone who doesn't mind reading about someone else's heartbreak and pain, I highly recommend giving it a read.

My usual take on nice guys vs bad boys (or however you wish to call the dichotomy) is that I've met quite a few seemingly nice guys who have had no problems getting into relationships with women.  These guys generally run the gamut of looks, money, and style so it's not like they're compensating for their niceness with some other quality.  But while some nice guys do struggle to get dates and get into relationships, very few "bad boys" struggle to do so.  If you really were sitting on the fence as to whether or not to be nice or bad, it makes much more sense to be bad.  I know it sounds terrible but I think reality bears that out.

Some of the responses though, both in the comments and in other articles online (like this one on the same website) seem to fundamentally misunderstand the nice guy lament.  They misunderstand why some men are nice guys, and misunderstand why they're upset.

Most men my age were taught growing up that if you were a nice person (meaning you treated strangers with respect, you didn't kill kittens, didn't take other people's stuff, didn't do mean things to others, etc.) that for the most and with rare exception you would receive the same treatment in return and would attract similar people into your life (both friends and lovers).  In regards to dating in particular, women who wanted meaningful, long term relationships, who were kind and interesting individuals wanted those same traits in the men they date and eventually marry.  Sure, some women might prefer the guy with a leather jacket and a Harley who gets drunk every night, but you don't want to date those kinds of women.  You want the other kind, the kind that likes that you are responsible and don't harm others, yet still funny and interesting.

It makes sense because the nice guy is trading the short term benefits of being a bad guy for the long term benefits of being nice.  There are true benefits to being a selfish asshole, but like the benefits of eating junk food while watching TV on the couch, they tend to be short term.  Eventually things catch up to you.

Unfortunately, sometimes the logic doesn't add up.  Sometimes there isn't any long term payoff to being nice.  And you were a chump for believing there was.  You were a chump for believing that it was better to go home early because you had work at 7 am, instead of staying out partying.  You were a chump for calling her at a reasonable hour instead of at 3 am for a booty call.  All of that stuff about nice women liking nice guys was horseshit to get you to feel better.

It's not a transaction. Nice guys aren't upset because women aren't video game machines at an arcade where they do whatever you want as long as you insert enough "nice" coins.  They're upset because like apparently doesn't attract like.

The great irony in this is that the guys who do view it as a transaction, they aren't the nice guys, and they definitely aren't the nice guys complaining via eloquent online opinion pieces.  It's likely the guys who write the articles are guys you never even gave a second thought to.  In fact if they didn't write these musings, you'd probably have never even known they existed.

And they're certainly not being rejected for being "boring".  Unless not in the way that you're thinking.  When most people use the word "boring" as a pejorative they're usually implying that the person does nothing all day except watch TV or post on the internet without any other interests, hobbies, or activities and so when they go on dates they have nothing to talk about.  In reality "boring" is a subjective term.  There are lots of things I find boring that you reader might find extremely exciting and entertaining, and vice versa.  Does that make you or I "boring"?  I don't think so.  These guys aren't being rejected for being boring; very few people are boring to the point of turning off every single romantic partner they ever had.  That's a little extreme here.
So what does this all mean?  I don't know.  It's hard to argue with the facts as presented.  Lots of seemingly great guys with lots to offer are finding a tough market for what they're selling.  Lots of guys with seemingly no future and plenty of bad qualities are snatched up faster than Silly Bandz in the summer of 2010.

I don't know what's happening for sure, and I don't know how to fix it.  But it kind of scares me.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Red Pill: An Early Analysis

Someone responding to a comment I made on a message board suggested I check out something called "The Red Pill" on Reddit.  As far as I can tell it gets its name from the scene in the Matrix where Morpheus tells Neo he can either take the red pill and learn the truth about his existence or take the blue pill and live the comfortable lie.  The parallel being that by taking the red pill you learn the truth about dating and women's true nature.

It's an interesting place.  Aside from being a den of anti-feminism (in both the good and the bad way), there's a lot of jaded, bitter posts, but there are also some posts with some very useful kernels of truth.  

People misunderstand things like The Red Pill.  They are usually lampooned as places where sexists look for an excuse to air their misogyny.  Perhaps some posters are there for that reason, but from what I've seen it's largely a place where guys who were very passive with women try to cope with the idea that their passivity was unattractive.  Or they try to cope with the fact that everything they were told about dating and women was a lie (or at least not as true as they thought).

For example this video clip from the HBO show "Girls":

If you think what the male character in that scene did was "cute", or "hot" or "sexy", or if you would actually say that to a girl in that context (really any context), you are part of the problem that has given rise to things like The Red Pill.  

The misconception is that guys who frequent The Red Pill are nothing more than aggressive douches looking for any way to get into a girl's pants.  But the reality is that these guys are who I think they are, they could use a dose of aggressiveness, because they were most likely extremely passive before.  

I know a guy like this.  He hangs out with a lot of girls and does things for them.  Gives them rides to the airport or wherever they needed to go.  He watches their kids.  All kinds of stuff.  And yet he doesn't try to make a move on them despite being interested.  He's the type of guy who could use some aggressiveness in his demeanor.  

It's not all great though.  There's a lot of misguided attacks on women.  Implying they're not good at physically demanding jobs, not good at math, can't be in positions of power or authority, shouldn't be working outside the home and are in large part just sluts looking for an ego stroke from beta men and good sex from alphas who treat them like dirt.  

If that's your takeaway from life I can imagine things must suck from that perspective.  You have to undo every fiber of your being and turn into something you're not and don't want to be just to have a chance to get a date or a relationship or sex.  That has to suck.  And I can imagine it would make you bitter or angry.  

The biggest takeaway I guess is that people seem to be talking past each other.  Women misunderstanding men, men misunderstanding women.  I'm not sure if I'll continue to read the posts on The Red Pill, but I'm convinced it's neither the answer to all my problems nor the manifestation of evil itself.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Know You're Trying to Help, but please, Don't Give Me Canned Advice

I hate having to write this kind of post.  No matter how well I write it or how long I think about what I'm going to write, it's going to come off as ungrateful and like I'm making excuses.  Nevertheless, I need to say it.

I pretty regularly post on Reddit.  The usual spots for someone like me (assuming you've read this blog long enough to understand what kind of guy that is) and some of the more surprising places as well.  A lot of the advice you read on there for people struggling to get dates or relationships is what I would call really basic and somewhat condescending.  Usually along the lines of "shave", "brush your teeth", "take a shower", "get a job", "comb your hair/get a haircut", and the one I like best "go to the gym".  As if everyone (or even most people) who are hard up for dates lack basic hygiene, are unemployed, and are either string beans or in a fattest person alive contest.  No way a person could take care of themselves and be in shape and still not go on dates.  Totally impossible. Right.

I understand that people who say this mean well.  They want the person they're giving advice to to succeed.  But I've met my share of guys who have struggled with women and they aren't slackers who look and smell like homeless bums.  And I also understand that it's impossible to know over the internet who takes care of themselves and who doesn't.  At the same time though, it's probably a good idea to assume that the people you're talking to have at least the basic hygiene you've had since middle school.  Anything less is borderline offensive.

This is along the same lines as the "you're single because you're sexist" line you sometimes see from time to time.  Yes because only nice, thoughtful men have girlfriends.  I wonder how many people who write on this topic have actually wandered outside into the real world where the rest of us live.

There's not much else to say.  I guess just be mindful when giving advice.  Most people aren't smelly hobos.