Saturday, March 31, 2012

If you hafta ask . . .

I'm a big proponent of the notion that we need to teach women how to flirt.  One, because women suck at it.  Two, because it would do a great deal to reduce the painful transactional come-ons that women use when hitting on guys.  Three, because the shit women say when hitting on a guy is so fucking dumb it makes my head hurt.

A case study, if you will . . .

Ladies?  If you have to ask, "Don't you want to know my name?" then the answer is a resounding, "Noooooo..."

I was trying to be polite.  And I managed to not be overtly offensive.  But, there is no right answer when someone is hitting on you, failing miserably and yet remaining persistent.  Seriously, ladies, if you made all the signals -- expressing interest, forearm touching, asking the guy's name, joking, smiling, saying "I'm so drunk", etc -- and the guy's not biting, save yer fuckin dignity and stop.

Also, bonus points will be awarded for not replying, "Is that your real name?" when I answer the "What's your name?" question.  As awful pick-up lines go, that's about as fucking awful as they make 'em.  Once you're saying shit a guy should only ever hear from a stripper, you're really deep in bitch-fuck-off territory.

Ladies?  Some dignity please.  Rejection sucks.  But, it's certainly no reason to double down on your bad pick-up game.  Quite the opposite.  Salvage your dignity before the creepiest guy in the bar catches scent of your desperation and makes his move.

Further bonus points: if that's what you decide to go home with, then frankly you shouldn't have been hitting on me in the first place, bitch.  I ain't stickin my dick anywhere THAT dude's dick has been.  Cross me heart and hope to not die of whatever you two exchanged via bodily fluids.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thoughts on the formation of gendered identity

I guess I'm a bit stuck on this idea lately, wondering how a person arrives at their sexual identity, which is by definition a subset of their gender identity.  While it doesn't strike me, personally, as weird, I am aware of how strange it is for a person like me to ponder these things. 

A refresher on how I display per gender identity . . . I'm 33 years old.  White.  Male.  Physically, I don't know if this means much to a person who doesn't watch a lot of American football, but physically let's just somewhere out there is a defensive co-ordinator running a 3-4 who needs a defensive end who would have killed to have me in my heyday.  If you can't picture that . . . here ya go.  And a second.

Add to this that I am a bit bikerish-looking.  Scruffy bear.  Long hair.  Dirty water blond.  Add to this that I dress well without being over-dressed.

Women I've known seem to enjoy holding court on the question of my attractiveness. I seem to inspire intense discussion.  There are women who are uniform in their belief that a man my size simply cannot be labeled attractive.  They hold this as an article of faith and find the attraction their peers have toward me to require profuse and sometimes loud shouting down.  (I don't know how to explain this, but people are astonishingly comfortable having the damnedest conversations around me.)

But, there's the other group of women.  My fans.  For most of the English-speaking women I've known, I'm "cute".  Strangely, for the Spanish-speaking women I've known, I'm "guapo".  My best guess on the contradiction is that American women seem to need to downplay my masculinity, while foreign women are generally quite enthralled of it.  (I have unreal game with European women, many of whom have never encountered a freakishly large, but relatively athletic white man before.)

My point?

My point is that in terms of how I display gender identity, I'm very masculine.  Very cisgendered as the term is used in certain more modern gender-studies circles.

What's funny about that to me is that I've been accused more than once of being gay.  Now, I use the term "accuse" here not because I feel anyone should feel guilty about being gay, but because that was the tone of my attackers.  The centerpiece of this accusations has always been that I'm not sexually aggressive enough around women.  Particularly, other guys have taken umbrage to the amount of time I'm willing to wait women out.

When I was in high school, we were dirt poor.  Worse, I was in an academic program.  In a poor, rural school district, that means I largely went to school with kids who had a lot more money than me, because poor, rural school district segregate their classes pretty aggressively along economic lines.  A few exceptions are made for those poor kids who are undeniably smart.  And, of course, I was the exception.

The thing is in high school I had a lot of girls who liked me.  And of course, I was dirt poor and they weren't.  Meaning I constantly felt like shit and felt unworthy of their attention.

What's worse is that as long as I have been sexually mature, when a woman decided she liked me, she never just liked me.  She locked in on me.  Bad.  Meaning?  Meaning that there were multiple girls in high school who spent more than a year making serious attempts at getting my attention while pretty much ignoring every other guy in the school.  Of the top ten hottest girls in my graduating class, five of them took a run at me.  All five failed.  Admittedly, on account of me, but . . .

Guess what rumor that created? 

If women spent an undue amount of time discussing whether I was cute (or guapo), let me just tell you that the other guys in high school spent an undue amount of time trying to figure just how gay I had to be to not be raping every girl in the goddamned building indiscriminately.  I'm also pretty sure that the other guys were jacked about the fact that I was jamming up the deep end of the breeding pool. 

Really, I can't blame them on that account.  Primate behavior dictates that signals come from the top down.  If several of the hottest girls are all jammed up pining for one guy, you can damned well bet that fucks up the entire signalling system.  What's funny is I can remember some of the guys in HS made a point of telling me which girls liked me.  In retrospect, I think this was their best attempt to unclog the jam in the system.

As I got older, I got more comfortable and finally started having very muted relationships.  No surprise, having wasted my teenage years not getting laid, I wasn't really equipped to handle relationships when I finally got around to them.  The longest relationship I had was an off-and-on casual relationship with a girl I hated from day one in college.

I can remember the gay thing actually reared it's ugly head after she left school.  Her best friend decided that was the time to make her move.  Now, this girl had a legion of guy friends who all wanted to fuck her.  As anyone who knows that setup will tell you, those guys were never getting laid.  Not by her, not ever.  I turned her down and eventually was accused of being a "bull queer" by those guys.

So . . . there's some insight into why gender identity matters to me.  I've been on the receiving end of some nasty and unwarranted talk in my lifetime, much of it centering on my gender identity.

I think my case was particularly inflammatory because I'm so clearly the heteronormative stereotype of masculinity.  Tall, strong, scruffy, raised tough, aloof, emotionally distant, good-looking.  In other words, at first glance, I square nicely with the stereotype of a manly man.  And if there's one thing I've learned about this crazy shitpile of mutant apes we call humanity, it's that they get pissy when their expectations don't pan out precisely as planned.

Worse, human beings consider the "sexual" stereotype of any kind important.  So, if you're heteronormatively straight and masculine, but you don't behave that way, then the response by the mob is to deem you heteronormatively gay and masculine.  Because even if you're not normal, people still want to cram you into a stereotype that works for them.  A highly sexual gay guy is still considered superior in our culture to a straight guy who is passing up easy shots.

Now, in my case, if people had ever bothered to think the problem through, they actually would have found the underlying dysfunction in my sexuality in fact strongly reinforces heteronormative stereotypes.  My hold-up, quite simply, is that I couldn't be the man I wanted to be until I had the money to pull it off. 

I grew up around too many illegitmate kids who never knew their dads.  I grew up around too many trailer park moms who left their kids to be raised by those kids' grandmothers.  I grew up around too many guys who missed their kids' childhoods because they were pulling stints for drug trafficking, robbery or murder.  I grew up around too many guys who lost their jobs because they spent a month recuperating in the hospital from having their faces beaten in. 

From an early age, I knew what the fucking problem was: M-O-N-E-Y. 

Until I had money, as far as I was concerned, I wasn't a man.  Not enough of a man to deserve the undying affections of a beautiful woman, that's for sure.  And I wasn't gonna fake it -- I've seen how that bullshit ends.  I was going to get my education and get rich.  That's all there was to the equation. And the further along that path I got, the more able I was to function with women.

The joke, of course, is that I sacrificed my youth to this plan.  Worse, I lost all the experience that I should have developed.  And of course, my lack of relationship experience compounded over time into bad relationship experiences.  All of which made me worse and worse.

But, ya know, at least now my sexual aggressiveness is approaching about a tenth of the appropriate level expected of a straight guy in my position.  I'm sure some group of mutant primates deep down feels like that's a minor improvement.  Probably in need of a great deal more.  But, ya know, at least it's straight cisgendered male behavior, right?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I like to see other people be happy

Something I realized about myself a few weeks ago is that I have zero impulse to steal another person's happiness.  I was out drinking and I was hitting on this girl and eventually realized she had a boyfriend.  I told her to invite him to join us and she did.  She, he and I were getting along great and I actually think their relationship was open enough I could have made that move on her.

What was great about them is they were a little punk couple in their early 20s struggling to get by.  We spent the whole night talking about that awesome out-there shit that only young people talk about.  Ron Paul, government, best drugs, travel, etc. 

The thing is, seeing them together, I just loved them as a couple.  They were young and cool and getting by on that thin margin that you have to tread to be that age and have anything resembling a life.

Push comes to shove, I could have blasted this kid out and taken his girl. 

But, I love them as a couple.

Is that weird?  I mean, I know it's not stereotypically heteronormative male behavior.  But, is it weird?

I love to see other people be happy.  When a woman is finally, fully out of my life, one of the first things I start worrying about is her future happiness.  I'm happy when I find ex-girlfriends on Facebook and see that they're married and have kids and are posting lovely vacation photos with the man and the woman cuddling and shading the little critter they made while they're all on the beach.

One of the hardest things for me is when I know I'm not going to make a move on a girl who likes me.  I currently know a girl -- not know-know, but just someone I'm acquainted with from encounters are area bars -- who is in the throes of a long dry spell and is bouncing off the walls crazy just wanting to get laid while also screaming for that perfect romance and undying love relationship.  I get the impression that some of her dry spell actually traces to waiting and hoping for me to ask her out.

Stuff like that kills me. 

I know I'm not going to date her.  She's too young for me, 21, and even for a 21-year old she's very immature.  There's vast differences between us, and frankly, she doesn't impress me as a human being.  I mean, if we were talking just the physical part, I'd screw her brains out in a heartbeat.  But, in my experience, you don't make that a pitch -- EVER! -- to a chick who is bouncing off the walls, especially if she is immature and doesn't have any of her shit together.

And that really makes me feel like a terrible person.  I know I could make her life better in no time flat.  But, I couldn't see her making my life better in a hundred years.  And I hate how it makes me feel.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Origins of male aloofness

I was reading a post the other day on the blog of Huge Schwyzer.  He was talking about the whole "asshole" mystique thing that has come into vogue in pop psych and the whole wannabe playa community.  The general stereotype in question being that women prefer to fuck high status assholes.

I credit Schwyzer for making the point that a lot of this behavior arises from the need to justify the modern war between the sexes, where jaded, horny, unsuccessful males assert that woman have assholery coming as the price for not fucking nice guys.  He also goes on to note that a lot of the pop evolutionary biology claims are in fact just indoctrinated behavior among women.  Particularly, he cites the female proclivity for pursuing brooding, inaccessible men as an example beaten into women by cultural norms.

One thing I'm not a fan of is the mass conspiracy theory.  Even in a case like this, where the notion is a conspiracy of ignorance.

I like a lot of Schqyzer's stuff.  I particularly think he hits the mark more often than not when he goes are the wannabe pick-up artists for their vindictive view of why women deserve to be on the receiving end of dominant male behavior.  There is a lot of stuff in the PUA community that can be chalked up to telling people a lie they want to hear.  Trust me . . . I've trolled those boards and if you ever want to see guys go psycho, suggest that they stop being so derogatory toward women.  That shit will explode.

I tried that conversation, because I didn't think the PUA community really needed to be overtly anti-woman.  For example, I tried advocating against slut-shaming.  I'm a believer in the sex positive movement.  I just don't see how a group of guys who want more sex could possibly lose if women felt less slutty for having more sex.

The problem is, the PUA community isn't about sex positive.  It's right-wing leaning.  And a great deal of its ideology falls into that Rush Limbaugh wheelhouse of "film it for us, you filthy cunt!"  The PUA movement is, at the end of the day, a jihad against women.

I'd also offer, it was around this time that I realized the PUA folks were like communism.  Sure, there are some ideas there worth exploring, but the broader ideology is dangerous and depressing.  So, I abandoned that crap.

I've had my frustrations with women.  But, the one thing that always worked out for me is that my frustrations come after I get that first burst of attention.  In truth, I don't know the pain of being a loser that no woman would fuck.  It's a slow night for me at the bar or the club that I don't get hit on.

The thing for me is my frustrations go back to those gestational days of my sexual awareness.  My frustrations go back to being a dirt poor fifteen year old kid who was ashamed he couldn't afford to take a girl out and treat her right.  My frustrations go back to being a 20 year old college kid afraid that if I settled into a relationship I couldn't provide for the woman in my life.  Women liked me. I've always had, even on my fattest day, even on my poorest day -- some girl somewhere who would have been glad if I asked her out on a date.

And this brings me back to Schwyzer.  One thing I think he misses widely on is just bashing these guys for projecting all their inadequacies onto women and screaming, "You deserve it, bitch!".


Because all these bad habits, all this anger, all this woman-hating, all the crap starts at an age where no one is really responsible for anything.

I look at a lot of my aloof behavior and I find it easy to trace.  For me, it all goes back to not being good enough to date that cute little tennis player who sat in front of my in Spanish class

One, it's not like my aloofness toward women was unjustified.  I, to this day, feel I have a right to hold back so that I may focus upon self-improvement.  When I settle down, I want to be the best possible man I can be.  I don't want to inflict myself on some poor girl.

Two, it's not her fault, but spending more than a year trying to catch the eye of an aloof guy did not impart to me any good lessons about gender.  To start, I learned about the astonishing ego-boosting power of just letting a girl trip all over herself for me.  I learned that women, when they fall hard for a guy, will endure hell and back with little chance of a reward.

But, you can't blame a fifteen year old girl for that!  I mean, hell, on a long enough timeline she was making a solid bet.  I did eventually grow up into one of the most successful men in my graduating class.  I was smart, tough, self-controlled.  None of these things that motivated her were at the base of them faulty in any way.

Yet, for all the non-fault in this tale, at the end of the equation you end up with a grown man with a very damaged idea of how to relate to women.

One of the biggest problems with modern sexuality is that we negotiate our sense of our own gender and the opposite gender under horrid conditions.  Fifteen year old kids aren't in a position to understand the right and wrong of these negotiations.  And worse, by the time those fifteen year old kids are old enough to be accountable for right and wrong in gender politics, the damage has already been done.  They're suddenly 20 year old losers glaring with hatred at the world.

I say this as a guy whose life had worked out pretty well.  If I want to get laid, all I have to do is go out on a Friday, smile and see who smiles back.  If I want a nice suit, I just put down my credit card and I walk out with a nice suit.  If I want good booze, I drop a twenty on the bar and I drink good booze.  That said, I carry a lot of damage with me.

I can't think of the pain that lesser guys suffer.  One of the greatest joys in life is trying too hard to be cute and having a girl smile back at you for it.  And there are many guys out there who have never known that joy.

It should come as no surprise that such men carry deep wounds into adulthood.

Frankly, I take issue with the white knight compulsion to ride in and slay all these evil losers for being mean to the woman folk.   It's too easy to pat yourself on the back for going full keyboard commando and sending the losers back to their mom's basement.  It's too easy to scream "Grow the fuck up!" and walk away smugly acting as if you've accomplished something.  No you haven't.  Not at all.  It just reflects on one more set of flawed ideas about gender politics.