Archive for category The Collective Wisdom of Men

The Frustration of Expressing Masculine Emotions

A blog colleague recently posted an extremely well-expressed break up note. I don’t know if he actually sent it the note to his ex. Perhaps he only wrote for his blog. He posts anonymously, by the way. You can read the whole note here but I’ll be quoting the most relevant quotes in this post.

If your goal was to reconcile with me, repeating the usual pattern of ruining a perfect night by rejecting me wasn’t the smart thing to do. I don’t know what I’ve done with words or with actions that made you believe my response to tonight’s rejection would be anything but negative. Did you take my kindness for weakness or something?

I’ve read books on this stuff. Rejection piles up. Our fight started 8 days ago because, after that wonderful date, you said, “I’m not feeling it” at bedtime. You didn’t want to have sex then, and it pissed me off. The best way to reconcile was not to repeat the exact same thing again last night.

My first reaction was “that’s a lot of butthurt going on.” But on consideration of this bloggers age and life experience – quite similar to mine – I mentally retracted my first reaction and replaced it with “He makes a lot of sense”. As both the blogger and I went through the 80s and 90s, we experienced the full cultural typhoon of “men should be more in touch with their emotions.” We were expected to be sensitive, new age guys (SNAGs)

Machismo was ridiculed and the phrase “don’t be so macho” was heard often. Of course, the hypocritical irony of this era was when Ms Magazine published a photo of a nearly naked Burt Reynolds as a centerfold, a la Playboy. Reynolds was the sex symbol of the day and he was certainly the opposite of the SNAG. Too many guys growing up in that period of social history transformed themselves into SNAGs.

This blogger is angry because he was rejected sexually from a woman with whom he had some heavy emotional investment. He expressed is anger in an excellent and eloquent way. He’s not whining, he’s expressing his frustration with that situation as a way of dealing with it in an emotionally healthy way. He’s not being insulting. He’s not being critical of all women. But there is definite anger is in his words. Good for him.

Our society has a real problem with masculine anger. When that anger is manifested as physical violence, it gets serious attention. The public, especially women, assume that if one man expresses his anger through violence, all men will do the same. So, ordinary guys feel the pressure to suppress their anger.

Sometimes a guy erupts in strong verbal anger that inevitably ends up on the Internet. Certain male spaces are a perfect place to express that anger. Reddit has several subreddits where a man can vent his spleen about women, sex, relationships, society, whatever. Here’s a classic example. Because the anger stands out so much, all the words from other guys around the rant mostly go unnoticed. There could be 10,000 thoughtful and reasonable comments or blog posts, but it’s the angry ones that get shared around the ‘Net with the typical man-shaming remarks. It’s extraordinarily predictable.

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An Instant Messaging Interlude

While I’ve been rather chilly towards online dating in the past few months, I haven’t backed away from it completely. I have a mostly inactive Plenty of Fish account that I use to reading womens’ profiles. Out of curiosity and demographic honesty, I actually checked out a somewhat new online dating website, OurTime. I created an account, copied over some of my PoF profile text, put up some photos (not the gun photo). I actually paid for a month to get all the premium features.

I’ve been logging in every couple of days for the past two weeks to get a sense of the singles online more into my demographic. The Ourtime user interface has some minor issues but is generally easy to use. There are visual indicators of who has viewed my profile along with the usual messaging features. My profile has gotten a lot of attention. This is probably because I’m the new kid on the block and my profile is pretty good. I’ve gotten about 20 flirts and pre-populated incoming messages. Over 200 women have viewed my profile. Every woman claims to be in her 50s. As is common, I’m only attracted to about 20% of those expressing interest in my profile.

A couple of women have been rather persistent with multiple emails, flirts, liking photos, etc. If I’m not attracted, I just ignore. If I’m attracted I reply with a quick message and introduce myself just to see if their interest is honest. Sometimes, my return messages are ignored. This is one of the many negative points regarding online dating. Interest is expressed, returned interest is ignored.

One woman actually sent me a long message. She wrote that she was under the impression my profile was satire. I responded that I was being serious about my writing for post-divorce singles. We corresponded back and forth a couple of times, nothing particularly romantic, just some words about attraction and dating in general. Very recently, I noticed she was online and available for instant messaging through Ourtime. Being a writer, I likes me to do some instant messaging.

We started a instant messaging conversation. The initial topic was about the geography problem with the website. While she is local to me, I get many matches from all over the country. At this point, she subtly escalated me. I accepted that escalation. Here’s the unedited and relevant part of our online conversation:

Her: So you wouldn’t travel a long way for a date?

Me: lol… Not a chance, there are 5 million people in this part of Florida.

Her: How many of them are females lurking around the corner for you?

Me: This question I will never answer. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Her: Under cover dating agent. badboy007 love it

Me: Actually, not undercover at all. I make no secret of my writing endeavors.

Her: You mean you are an agent that does not wants to be under the covers

Me: Hehehehe… I like your style. If you want to trade verbal moves, you have met your match.

Her: You think so? Maybe I did or maybe you did

Me: Oh, you can do so much better. Turn in your college degree and get a refund.

Her: I did and they gave it to me to pledge it to the less fortunate on Ourtime

Me: That was good.

Her: You can thank me now”-)

Me: I give you two points. That’s as far as my gratitude goes. I have very high standards.

Her: 2 points -How low can you go?

Me: I said HIGH standards. Ask about points 3 and above.

Her: asking about your point system now

Me: 1 point is maintaining my interest. 2 points is engaging me with the tit a tat with words. 3 points is making me hit google for quotes. 4 points is want to meet in person because of words and stuff. 5 points is a second date.

At that point, she logged off. Then I logged off.

She did log back in later and sent this IM:

“Sorry I had to log off I was called away. I got to point 4. Does this mean you want to have words with me?”

This woman was raised overseas so I’m sure she doesn’t fully understand the English idiom “Have words with”. The ball is my court now.

This brief back and forth between us shows some key elements in attraction and communication between the sexes, even if online. One of the lessons here is that a man must maintain frame and confidence. This means he controls the ebb and flow of the conversation. This is easy online because there are no body language and voice inflection issues. Those are just words on a screen. But frame, flirtation, and escalation can certainly happen in this communications medium.

This women is somewhat older than me and yet responded like a much younger woman. The rules of attraction do not change significantly with age. This is an important lesson for my male readers. 25 or 65, men can deal successfully with women in the context of attraction and dating if men know the essential truths.

UPDATE: This woman sent me a message yesterday with a mildly entertaining joke. I responded by continuing to qualify her with that point system. I double downed. In our subsequent IM chat later in the evening she was clearly pissed off, obviously not used to a man continuing to qualify her. I might post that IM chat log. Stay tuned.

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Observations At The New Job

I’ve recently taken a new, full-time contract job in Miami. The contracting agency threw enough money at me to accept the very long commute. Where I work is not glamorous Miami. It’s the industrial part of Miami where warehouses and import-export businesses abound. The famous airport is less than a mile away. Topless girls on the beach are quite a few miles away. Despite it’s glamorous reputation, Miami does work pretty well, despite the fierce heat, congested streets, and the occasional alligator eating a house pet.

This is only the second time in my career where I’m working at a corporate headquarters of a huge multi-national company with billions in revenue and the highest profile in its industry, . Normally, I work on nerd farms surrounded by information technology (IT) people. I have no problem with IT people but they represent a stereotype that I found to be accurate. Being at a corporate headquarters means all departments needed to run a huge corporation are in the corporate campus. There are also at least 2,000 people working in the buildings

There are all sorts of people here. It’s a mix of ages, nationalities, languages, personality types, etc. Most everyone is friendly, relaxed, professional, and seem generally happy to work here. When I leave my cube to go to the cafeteria or have a smoke, I see far more social interaction than in the usual IT shop. It’s refreshing and improves my mood, as well. Human beings are social animals.

I make a point to casually observe how the women appear and act in this corporate environment. There are a lot of women here. All ages are represented and it’s a good snapshot of how age impacts a woman’s appearance. Time can be merciless. But I have seen The middle-aged guys working here all kind of look alike. I am convinced that a man’s physical looks plateaus at a certain age, perhaps around 40, and can stay that way for a decade or more.

There is also a very good cross section of how women dress themselves. This company is a bit unusual in that all the summer months are casual dress. The men take advantage of this by generally dressing very casually, including board shorts and sandals. The only exceptions are the many Italian guys who bring a certain European masculine fashion sense, even while casually dressed. But some of their sartorial expressions get dangerously close to hipsterism.

The women dress quite well despite it being casual dress summer. The reason for this is the Latin influence here. The stereotype that Latinas dress better than their American peers is basically true. So the situation is that in the fashion arms race here, the Latinas are usually better armed and the American women are playing catch up. I’ve notice that no matter the age if the figure supports it, the Latinas are far more likely to wear much tighter clothes and much higher heels or sandals.

When I’m observing all this, I have to ensure I don’t stare too much. This is actually really tough challenge given the current state of my eyesight. It takes my eyes quite a while to focus on a particular thing so I’m concerned my gaze is just a hair too long when I’m looking around. Maybe my gaze shows confidence, maybe I’ve crossed the Rubicon into the creepzone.

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What, Chivalry Again?!

I look seriously askance at the concept of chivalry. I’ve made that no secret in my blog and my tweets. When Bring Chivalry Back surface on the web some months ago, I made my polite critique and moved on. My tweets on the subject aren’t so polite. The Chivalry Guy(TM) recently posted on his blog about how women need to step up their graciousness regarding the chivalrous gesture. Kudos, Chivalry Guy, kudos. I completely agree. The whole blog post is here but I’ll pull out some key paragraphs with my comments in bold.

“The very element of demanding it creates a dynamic that demeans the whole meaning behind it.  Chivalry brings with it a statement of a man considering women special and worthy of caring.  If all women want is the grunt work of having someone open the door for them or carry their bags or give up the seat on the subway, they are robbing it of the graciousness behind chivalry.”

Two things going on here, one I agree with, the other less so. A chivalrous gesture towards a woman who is important to a man is cool. Such a gesture towards an unknown woman is not cool. But Chivalry Guy is 100 percent correct about how graciousness is lost when women expect random men to be pack mules because chivalry. No, ladies, you don’t automatically receive a man’s sacrifice – no matter how small – unless you are willing to have some gratitude and delivered with graciousness.

“If chivalry comes just from demand and every guy would do it, how would one separate the wheat from the chaff? Rather than demand it, women would be better served to seek it, to hope for it, to attract it, to appreciate and cherish it.  By making it something to attract, they are energetically letting the universe know the kind of man they want to attract.”

It’s fairly clear what Chivalry Guy is getting to. He wants men to stand out from the crowd. That’s a fundamental element of masculine confidence and I agree with Herr Chiv. However, being chivalrous is not the way for a man to be distinctive. The current cultural landscape simply does not reward a man for being chivalrous because chivalry does not spark attraction in women. This is where Chivalry Guy and I part ways tactically. We agree on the strategy – a man must stand out – but disagree on how a man should go about doing that.

“There’s also a great difference between demanding and appreciating it.  When it’s expected as a requirement, it often becomes easy to diminish it or even forget to acknowledge the graciousness behind it.  I’ve seen numerous posts from men who will bemoan the fact that they held the door for several women and heard nary a “thank you.”  Those men begin to develop an attitude questioning whether they should even continue.”

As well they should question why continue with such gestures. Men have every right to expect at least a pleasant “thank you”. Men respond extremely well to incentives. Men also go the other way with enough disincentives. If there’s no incentive for being chivalrous, there won’t be any more chivalry. This puts the ball (hehe) squarely in the ladies’ court. It’s good that Chivalry Guy recognizes this. It would be very good if dating coaches started to encourage their clients to show some feminine graciousness when faced with an act of classic chivalry. Given the general state of cultural affairs where most men are completely invisible to women

Traditional chivalry is not coming back. In its place, an odd mix of pick-up artistry (PUA) and technology such as texting and online dating has evolved. Swipe right! Get laid tonight! The gallant gentleman is like a good buggy whip, well-crafted but totally outdated and unnecessary. But if Chivalry Guy wants to pitch chivalry as a masculine attraction point, good luck to him. I’d rather advise men on what actually works.

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GI Joe Got It Right

In a recent email, a reader asked for some advice regarding making some changes to his life to help him meet his relationship goals. He’s somewhat like me in regards to profession, age, and general situation in life. I certainly empathized with him as I read his email. One of his major complaints was his history of being the NiceGuy®. Of course I recommended the book “No More Mr. Nice Guy” as a start to his way off that emotional trap.

As he was looking to get back into the dating scene and wasn’t real keen with trying online dating, I gave him my standard advice about finding live singles events in the cosmopolitan city where he lives. As is a technologist, I know full well how difficult that line of work is regarding building social skills. Somewhat related, his city – like mine – has a large number of tourists and these folks are excellent to work on social skills. Of course I recommended that he hit the tourist spots and strike up conversations.

Attending live singles events can yield some excellent results especially when being more of a passive observer that an extroverted fellow who happily meets others. Here is what I wrote on this: You have to become extremely self-aware of what you are doing in social situations. It will feel very weird in the beginning and you will likely not speak much fearing that you might revert to someone you were and not someone you want to be. By the way, hearing and analyzing how and what you say (even body language) is something of a Zen experience. But it can be done with practice.

Thankfully, there are two positives that come with being a good social observer:

1. Without yet being a serious participant in social interactions, this gives you the opportunity to watch social interactions in an appropriate context. This gives you the time to watch critically how men and women communicate. The subtle forms of non-verbal communication are extremely important to watch. Women, in particular, use non-verbal communication like a ninja uses a throwing star.

2. You will be perceived as mysterious and aloof and the dames actually like this. The body language you must project is that of amused/aloof mastery of the social scene. But if someone makes eye contact – man or woman – acknowledge that with a small chin rise and a pleasant “Hello”. It’s a social event and a conversation might actually break out. The horror! Hold your drink at your waist, dammit. The “drink shield” is a defensive posture. You’ll be dressing one level up from the rest of the guys, too. Finally, don’t stare, just observer with some degree of subtlety.

I must reiterate that this process is neither easy nor natural for most guys re-entering the dating scene. There will be awkward social moments at first. There might even be a social gaffe or two. If the guy can recognize what happened and why, that’s a huge step forward in re-learning some key social skills. You know the GI Joe cartoon from way back when? Yeah, “knowing is half the battle”.

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Cuddling For Dollars

Read this story first.

Welcome back.

This is important because it speaks to a human need. Many of us get enough physical contact from the opposite sex so that a professional “cuddler” isn’t necessary. However, many men go without such physical contact. Many women have the same issue. Our species, homo sapiens, is a physical one. We need the touch from others. Hell, we’ll accept the closeness of other species as a substitute.

Years ago I travelled to the middle east (United Arab Emirates) and I often observed two guys walking down the street or in the souk, holding hands, as friends. To my western sensibilities, I thought this completely nuts. As I think now, it makes sense. Humans need physical contact with other humans and it doesn’t need to be sexual. I have been reading about older women who are deeply sad that there are no man to provide even a simple hug.

This professional cuddler is a manifestation of a social pathology brought on by recent changes in human culture. Technology is one of them. Also, the atomization of our culture encourages us to remain single and isolated from the physical touch of others. This trend doesn’t end well.

With hook up apps like Tinder on the high seas of “dating”, a man can get some quick sexual touch and for most guys, this can suffices. The professional cuddler, however, is clearly for a smaller group of guys who need more than a sweaty night with bodies conjoined at the genitals. A powerful read on the lack of human touch is M3’s post on being involuntarily celibate (incel) .

The desire for physical closeness with the opposite sex is why I recommend that a woman takes a man’s arm when they’re out perambulating, especially when on a date.  I don’t criticize the professional cuddler. She sees a need in the marketplace and is fulfilling it. I do, however, have criticism of her clients. If they are fairly normal guys, they can up their Charisma so that no cash needs to be involved when physical intimacy occurs.

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Courtship Lite!®

There’s a discussion going on amongst the “Olds” The discussion centers on courtship and the lack thereof. Matt Walsh fired off a blog post exhorting men to be better at courtship. Evan Marc Katz did much the same with one of his blog posts. The chivalry guy focuses a lot of his writing on courtship. As an old myself, it’s my turn to enter the discussion. Let’s keep it simple. If you’re under 30 and pre-marriage/LTR, courtship for you is dead. There are no rules, there’s pickup artistry (PUA) for the guys and sex-positivity for the girls. Relationships and sexuality for the youngs is a tinder-fueled bonfire of the vanities. My readers should breathe a sigh of relief for not being young anymore.

If you’re re-entering dating after divorce and you’re over 35 or so, we now have Courtship Lite!. The ritualistic courtship of yore (think 1950s) is well dead. It’s pointless to analyze why it’s dead because my readers already know why. In its place are simple guidelines for having good dates. CourtshipLite!® goes something like this:

1. Man and women start to communicate – face to face or via online dating.

2. A potential connection is made.

3. Man states (he never asks!) that he and the woman are doing to have a date.

4. She agrees.

5. The man plans a simple and modestly creative date and coordinates the schedule with her so the date is made.

6. The date happens. Attraction increases, comfort is established. A good time is had by both.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until relationship goals are met or the two stop dating because, well, whatever.

Courtship Lite!® rejects grand and chivalrous gestures, fancy meals, or expensive gifts. It’s actually a pretty good system because it focuses on the two people making a connection. Dating is about the man and woman, not lists of requirements or lists of personal attributes. It should be a fun and relaxed experience. Those seven steps provide just enough structure without being too rigid. This also allows the man to take the lead in the dating process.

It’s unfortunate that Evan Marc Katz doesn’t have more men as clients because he is very realistic and very diplomatic. But men are generally unwilling to seek direct help. The dating coach industrial complex is powered by Estrogen!® So, frustrated men turn to the Internet and find the Manosphere and blogs like mine as they look for solutions to make dating easier.

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