Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Modern Love Story

I have a younger friend.  I'll call her Becky.  I've known her about ten years.  She's from the midwest, is tall, slender, auburn haired.  At the age of forty, she still looks very much like the barrel-racing rodeo princess she was as a teenager.  To my annoyance, she still gets carded in clubs.

Around the time I became friends with Becky, she met "Mark."  Mark is a couple of years older and also from the midwest.  He's been bald and rather pudgy since he was in his twenties.  As a result, he doesn't look much older now than he did when he graduated from college, but he's still rather self-conscious.  Both Becky and Mark are passionate about hiking, wine-tasting, and sex (not necessarily in that order).

Mark was enamored with Becky from the get-go.  In terms of appearance, she was the kind of woman he had always wanted but never thought he could win: real trophy wife material.  Becky, on the other hand, never seemed quite as enthusiastic about Mark, and she definitely had zero interest in being a trophy wife (she made her own income, thank you).

Ten years ago, Mark was doing very well in commercial real estate, pulling in $200,000/year plus bonuses.  That was a lot of money in our circle, and I'll admit I was a bit envious when Mark sent Becky exotic blooms for no reason at all, or swept her off for all-expense-paid vacations in Europe.

But Becky was always complaining about Mark.  He drank too much.  He didn't share his feelings enough.  He was too conventional.  He wanted to get married and she didn't.  He was bossy and critical.  He wanted her to play hostess at his parties.  His friends and colleagues were pretentious.  That sort of thing.

Yet their relationship persisted, off and on, for a decade.  Finally, Becky announced she'd had it with Mark, and they broke off.  Becky took off for North Dakota to take care of aging parents.  We thought it was kind of a shame.  We liked Mark and we missed being invited to his parties.  However, it was a relief not to listen to Becky complaining about him anymore.

Then the recession hit.  Overnight, Mark lost his job and his prospects of finding another one were bleak.  He was so devastated he started seeing a therapist, which wasn't the sort of thing we expected Mark to do.

It took Mark a year to find another job, and that was in the non-profit sector for about $45,000/year, a fraction of what he was used to making.

And that's when Becky decided she really missed Mark after all, for all his imperfections, and they got back together, and have been together ever since in apparent harmony.

When I ask Becky what accounted for her change of heart, she shrugs.  He's still bald and he still drinks too much and he still nags her about getting married.  And now when they go out, it's dutch treat: no flowers or expensive restaurants.   

But apparently, she likes him better now that he makes less money.  She's always nattering on about how darn important his work in low-income housing is.  Go figure!

So much for hypergamy.


Roosh: America's Ambassador of Love to Romania

I hate to link to one of Roosh's posts, cuz I know it just gives him more hits, but the videos from Romania are pretty funny, especially the one where he wanders around a half-empty subterranean shopping mall looking for girls. All I can think about is, He's paid a thousand dollars to fly to Europe and he's in a deserted underground mall?  WTF?  I'm not sure what I'd be doing there, but I'd definitely want to do it above ground, in daylight, where I could actually see something.

In one video he is a guest on a local TV show, sandwiched between two lissome Romanian girls, and being thrown questions in broken English that are meant to show the audience what a perfect tool he is.  I'm pretty sure he realizes they're making fun of him, but he is just so damn happy to be on camera he can't stop grinning. (It warms my heart to see Roosh smile, but when he laughs, he exposes his teeth and tosses his head back, so that one can't help but picture a braying donkey.)

Again, I don't know what I would wear if I were invited to appear on Romanian television, but I'm sure that whatever it was, it would be clean.  Maybe Roosh's faded t-shirt and peculiarly unflattering jeans are freshly laundered, but they don't look like it.  There he is, complaining about what slobs American women are, and look!  He's showing the Romanian public that American men are equally slobby.  I don't think he's doing American guys any favors over there. And what's with the crotch shot?  He has spread his legs just as far apart as he can, like he's saving a seat on the bus for a friend who's getting on later.  It doesn't even look like a comfortable posture.  

Oh God now I sound like his mother.  And we all know what Roosh thinks of his mother.

In his favor, Roosh is definitely showing a flair for comedy in these videos. Maybe he can get himself cast in a European sitcom, playing himself ?  I'm serious!  It could happen!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Seals: An Animal I Love

Reading manosphere blogs makes my head spin.  And not in a good way.

I'll watch this whenever I need to go to My Happy Place.  I only wish the clip were longer, so I didn't need to keep clicking the restart...

Don't Get Me Wrong, I Love Dogs!

Whenever the topic of gender came up, my old boyfriend, Paul, used to assert that,  "Men are dogs."  Our ensuing argument always followed along the same lines, with me protesting, "Not all men are dogs!  You're not a dog."  "I am a dog," Paul would counter, "because I am a man.  And all men are dogs."  (By insisting that men were dogs, Paul was claiming men were slaves to their dominant, hormone-driven instincts.  Or something like that.)  After a few rounds, I gave up trying to convince Paul to take a more evolved stance on the matter, and after a couple of years, boredom and frustration with Paul's distorted logic and lack of sophistication took its toll, and I broke off with him.

Whether comparing men with dogs (or rabbits), or women with hamsters (or chickens or snakes), barnyard analogies render any argument meaningless.  They are simply ways to "dehumanize" the other so that you don't have to treat them as individuals with unique qualities and experiences worthy of considerationWhile it's true that humans, like wolves, are pack animals, as any (reputable) social scientist will tell you, to understand the origins of our own behaviors, we are better off studying the higher primates, i.e., chimpanzees. (I'm a bonobo myself.)

And yet-- and yet--

Today I found myself wondering if Paul wasn't right.  Men in groups can certainly act like dogs in packs.  I have four (male) dogs myself.  Each dog, on his own, is a sweet and distinct individual.  As a group, however (Anyone say "kibbies?") they form a howling, snarling mob bent on chaos and destruction, impervious to either reason or protocol.  

Roosh recently got a couple of e-mails which he reproduced in part in his forum.  Apparently they were from a male friend of one of the "conquests" Roosh had described in a book.  What the sender's messages lacked in coherence and literacy, he made up in sincerity.

Sample of what the "white knighter" wrote to Roosh:

"I hope you [Roosh] feel bad for what you did. You betrayed her.... Do you ever think of the consequences you create when you do this? What pain you create?...  I believe this is a form of terrorism towards other countries and to the people you have hurt already. Terrorism is defined as creating terror in people and that is what you do when you write about your conquest. It is the woman's fault too, to fall for your game and they have had a choice to sleep with you, but it is not fair to them that you write about it without their permission...What you did to her was uncalled for.  You scared her... When you write your books, please warn them or at least send them a book so that way they can take steps to prepare for the shame you might bring them. .. to be published in your books of accomplishments with women would make any woman feel cheep, used, and disgraced..."

These tidbits are the bones that Roosh throws to his troops, who slavishly leap into the fray like... well, like a pack of dogs.  A grindingly predictable thread follows, in which the Roosh's minions deride the "beta orbiting" e-mailer's masculinity and dignity (for protesting the treatment of his friend), and lavish praise on Roosh, All Hail to the Chief, etc., ad nauseum.  In this way, Roosh uses a "threat" to the Group Think to reinforce his own authority.  He's very shrewd that way (part of why he's scary).

Ironically, the "hive mind" of females is a persistent trope among misogynists.

I can only hope that on some level, some of of these Rooshites realize:  Hey, he [the victim's friend] has a point...  Maybe it's not very manly or heroic to exploit women that way...  I wouldn't like it if it were my sister / my friend / my daughter Roosh was exploiting sexually and monetarily. .. 

(While some manosphere bloggers do concede that Roosh isn't the type of guy they'd want their sisters to marry, they don't seem able to take empathy any further.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Russell Brand: A Man I Love

I've always had a mad crush on Russell Brand.  I've sat through every one of his movies, even though most of them were crap, just to watch him.  His gypsy-boy physicality is dead sexy: the unruly hair, licorice-whip legs, yoga-toned torso, the manic energy his wiry frame can barely contain, those black eyes glinting with mischief...

But as we all know, physical attraction isn't enough to sustain a long term relationship, even one as unilateral and unrequited as the one I have with Russell Brand.  No, it's his brain that really turns me on: the cliche "rapier wit" was invented to describe Russell Brand.. 

When did I first know that it was love, not just lust?  Perhaps it was when he hosted the Westboro Baptist Church on his talk show.  It's hilarious.  He is irrepressible, and yet so sweet in his mockery.  He shreds them, but in the kindest way.  One imagines that it would be impossible to have a real quarrel with Brand: in minutes, he would have you on the floor laughing at yourself in spite of yourself.  He would kill you with kindness.

Then yesterday I read his remarkable essay on the demise of Margaret Thatcher.  It was one of the best things I have read for a long while.  Although I am neither British nor of Brand's generation, he made me understand what it was like growing up under her administration.  (Actually, liberal Americans who have been living with the post-Reagan legacy will relate equally well to what Brand writes about Thatcher).

The entire essay is a masterpiece -- anyone with the slightest interest should read it in entirety -- but this bit really stayed with me:

It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of Girl Power. I don't see that. She is an anomaly, a product of the freak-conomy of her time. Barack Obama interestingly said in his statement that she had "broken the glass ceiling for other women." Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.

And this!  This is when I knew beyond any doubt that the love I felt for Russell Brand was no passing fancy, but The Real Thing:

Interestingly, one mate of mine, a proper leftie, in his heyday all Red Wedge and right-on punch-ups, was melancholy [upon hearing of Thatcher's death]. "I thought I'd be overjoyed, but really it's just... another one bites the dust..." This demonstrates I suppose that if you opposed Thatcher's ideas it is likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one's enemies.


Sunday, April 7, 2013


Are you old enough to remember when the back pages of comic books and popular magazines had ads for stuff like "X ray glasses," that promised to give readers the power to see through girls' clothes, and Charles Atlas programs that guaranteed to turn any 90 lb. weakling into a muscle-bound beach bully?  There was always at least one ad for a guide to picking up girls.  I'll admit I was intrigued by glasses that provided x-ray vision, and I remember buying at least one clutch of "sea monkeys," but I knew the pick up guides had to be a load of rubbish and even if I had been a boy, I was pretty much sure I wouldn't have fallen for those scams.

Nowadays, we have infomercials and pick up artists like Roosh.  And while I'll confess I still slow down at the Walgreen counters where "As Seen On TV" products are displayed, I still scoff at the sad sacks who think the secrets of successful seduction can be found in slim missives dispatched from turd world countries.

Although I am contemptuous of PUA, I don't hate the suckers who support this industry: I feel kind of sorry for them.

I don't really hate PUA on principle, or rather I don't hate it more than I hate Cosmopolitan magazine.  PUA is like Cosmo for boys.  Adolescents are desperately looking for answers to the burning teenage question, "How do I make [people of the opposite sex] desire me?", and these sources give lots of advice, repetitive and reductive and simple-minded to be sure, perhaps reassuring by its very repetitive, reductive simple-minded nature.  It's understandable to devour junk when a person is fifteen, but by the time he/she has graduated from college and entered the "real" adult world, it's time to grow up.

Anyway, I'm all for everybody pursuing as much sexual validation as they need or want. What I hate is reducing both men and women to the sums of their worst parts.

My problem isn't with PUA or MRM in theory, it's with misogyny  misanthropy.  My problem with the PUA of Roosh, Rossy, et al. is that it isn't "sweet love making" that is being promoted, but rather opportunities to degrade, exploit, or humiliate  My problem is with referring to women as "notches" and "flags" or to men as "betas" and "manginas."

My problem is that I just don't recognize the people who inhabit the PUA/MRM world, where every man is a caged, snarling predator in a gnawing state of priapism, and every woman is either a conniving gold-digger or a maniacal, castrating bitch.

For one thing, nurturing a hateful, resentful, "us against them" mind set is counter-productive to the immediate, pressing concern of getting laid.  We won't even think about how it ruins any chance of a long term, emotionally intimate and trusting relationship.  C'mon guys, think about it:  Roosh gets his dick wet maybe once a month by making pick up his full time job but he's in his mid-thirties now, and he doesn't seem to have ever had a real friend, much less a regular girlfriend.  And this is your relationship guru?

People like Roosh or Roissy or (God forbid) Paul Elam are not making the world a better place, that's for sure.  And the irony is they're so self-evidently miserable themselves.

What's in that red pill, anyway?  Why would anyone want to take it?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roosh Hates Toronto

One of these days I mean to visit Toronto, because until recently I had heard nothing but rave reviews of this sparkling, multicultural cosmopolis.   My parents visited Toronto when I was a teenager.  They returned with a beautiful Indian scarf for me (which I still cherish) and praise for the sophistication and civility of its residents.  A friend of mine used to date a Canadian lad.  Unfortunately, when he sold his Toronto condo and moved to Edmonton, she kind of lost interest...

The only person I've run across to say a disparaging word about Toronto was Roosh, who had a recent, spectacularly unsuccessful weekend there, unable to persuade one single lady to return to his hotel room for a sip of flavored vodka. (I know, flavored vodka?  Blecchh.  But apparently that's what all the cool club kids are drinking.)

Apparently, he is still stinging from his defeat.

Roosh was offended by a young Toronto lass' words in response to his negativity about "game" in Toronto.  (Read her entire post; it's quite funny.)

Roosh observed that "Girls are more excited about getting late night food than having sex."  

Emilia: "Could not agree more. Everytime my friends and I heard the song “Gasolina” we changed the lyrics to “Pizzaiola”. The Diana. The Americana. OOOOOhhhh Vittoria. No sex beats a late night slice."

This made me chuckle.  It also made me recall the great Southern wit Florence King, who once wrote, "I've had sex and I've had food.  And I'd rather eat."  Never were truer words spoken.  And the older a woman gets, the truer they become.  Which explains Food Porn and my own ever-expanding waistline.
Roosh also wrote that "Girls [in Toronto] cock block more than anywhere else in the world.

Emilia responds:  "Girls don’t cock block. If a girl wanted to fuck you, she’d fuck you. Even with seven of her friends yelling at her to stop, she will proceed with no caution. I’ve literally had to owe my friends money for sleeping with people they hate. I’ve had friends run out of cabs and go back to people they were dragged from."

I nod my head vigorously in agreement.  I hate to tell you how many guys I had sex with that my girlfriends warned me about.  (Did I listen?  Never!  Were they right?  Always!)

I'll admit that due to my advanced age, the term "cock blocking" is new to me.  Back in the day, we just called it "being a good friend."
Roosh also complains, "Buy a girl drinks or she loses interest."

Emilia says,  "I don’t know how to say this without sounding shallow but here’s the truth: whatever you’re talking about, we don’t care. Something about sports, something about your job, maybe you have a dog, we don’t give a shit. Less talkee, more shotsee."

I mean really, Roosh (and his lame-ass followers):  Do you expect intelligent, attractive young women to fuck you stone cold sober?  Men like you should fucking worship at the shrine of  Dionysius.  

Anyway, I guess Roosh has declared Toronto off-limits to his acolytes, which is nothing but good news for the ladies of Toronto.