The Important Things In Life

May 22, 2012

Another repost from In Mala Fide, about what you should not worry about when you’re young. In short, none of that intellectual stuff.

If you have been beaten like a red-headed stepchild all your childhood, literally or metaphorically, you may have an urge to find the Meaning of Life. That’s a worthwhile thing to think about, but after you have taken care of your more prosaic needs, like money and sex.

I was out in the boonies in the South, driving back from another unsuccessful job interview, listening to a country music station. They played a real oldie called “Faster Horses”, which is to the point such things are the point of life.

Personal update- my foreign girlfriend broke up with me yesterday, then talked herself out of it, as she has done once or twice before. I was not trying to convince her not to- I have been thinking it’s got to end soon and I need to just let it go- but she did it herself. I am going to have to talk about Latin emotions at some point.

Sick, But Thought-Provoking, From IMF

May 18, 2012

Ferdinand Bardimu put this up a while back on In Mala Fide, and in true FB/IMF style, it’s pretty twisted, but thought-provoking. It’s a poem about a necrophile, making necrophilia a metaphor for masturbation.

I’m unable to resist the nerd impulse to point out that if the guy was an actual necrophile, he wouldn’t have been turned on by the woman when she was alive, or vice versa. But that’s not the point. The point is, it’s crazy to be obsessed with things you can’t have.

FB is on a big kick against masturbation. I’m not ready to give it up, but I see his larger point. Masturbation and porn addiction are on some level much like necrophilia. The actual woman is not being possessed and enjoyed, because that would be impossible. Only some essence, taken away and stored on ink and paper or these days, pixels on a computer screen, is. Being obsessed, enamored, enthralled, possessed, by the ghostly image of a woman who wouldn’t give you the time of day in the flesh is crazy.

People- men and women- only really do this with sex objects. People lust after many things, but mostly only in passing. You may love cars. You may see an expensive car you can’t afford in the street, and say to yourself  “cool car” but that’s it. You may flip through a car magazine, but you don’t keep it under your bed. Women do this with clothes, I think. “Vogue” is their “Car and Driver”. Our porn is visual, theirs is textual. They obsess not over swimsuit models on the internet but mysterious cowboys and millionaires in romance novels.

In any case, it’s far better to enjoy the thing you can actually have than something created in your head with words and pictures. It occurred to me recently that looking like porn is like sniffing glue- it’s not really something enjoyable as much as something that knocks you out and numbs you to the misery of your existence. Not a good way to spend your time.

Social Anxiety and “Creepiness”

May 17, 2012

Matt Parrott has attacked “creepers” at In Mala Fide, as a result of a dustup with Robert Lindsay, complaining that people treat him poorly.

Ferdinand Bardimu has attacked nerds, and while his criticisms were cruel, they were not without merit. We are most likely to listen to criticism made in good faith and with the intent of helping us, but that doesn’t mean things said in a spirit of cruelty and contempt aren’t true.

Parrott makes a rundown of “manosphere” types, but we are concerned with the first, what he calls “creepers”. Creepers would be people on the outside, complaining about it, such as men’s rights advocates. His criticism of this group is that they think things should be fair. Lindsay is angry because while he makes a good faith effort to be friendly, people sometimes react negatively to him. Here was my response to him in comments-

“It’s hard to know what to make out of this. You say you were a successful extrovert before, but you describe the feelings of an introvert/shy person. I think you are a frustrated extrovert, which seems strange to me as an introvert because we perceive extroverts as sailing easily through life.

“I think you are being a little hard on yourself. People of good social skills are generally polite and friendly to those they interact with, even if those people are a little strange. If a person is rude to them, an extrovert assumes the person is a dick; an introvert assumes they must have offended the person somehow. Assuming the first is probably more mentally healthy.

“On the other hand, you are clearly a person with low regard for social taboos, inasmuch as you write a politically incorrect blog under your own name with your picture on it. Some people are comfortable talking with a stranger, some aren’t. Maybe evaluating the person and the situation would lead to fewer negative reactions.

“One reason people may respond less positively to you now than in years past is your age. People are usually polite and friendly to young people, to old people, and to women, but as a middle-aged man there is little social or internal pressure to be polite to you, unless you are very good-looking or of obviously high social status.

“In any case worrying too much about other people won’t help. Some people will like you, others won’t. Some people are more fortunate in that lots of people like them, and others less so. Enjoy life on the terms it’s presented to you, not much more you can do.”

I’m reminded of the time the now-defunct blogger Fifty Year Old Virgin tried to talk to a woman in an appliance store, and she was a total bitch to him. My analysis of that was, one, he was not creepy. He was a successful business owner and an excellent ballroom dancer. I’m sure he was well-dressed and polite. I suspect, however, he betrayed a certain amount of social anxiety. People can respond to that in two ways. If they are decent people, they will be cool with it. If they are your run-of-the-mill dicks, they will be neutral to slightly negative.

FYOV had the bad luck to run into an actual bully. I’m guessing the woman was a hot middle-aged woman, had probably been the shit when young and was used to being sucked up to by guys, but not as much now as before. Like a fat girl, she took the opportunity of being approached to boost her ego by dumping on a guy who had put himself in a vulnerable position.

Lindsay’s problem does not seem to be anxiety, but aside from the fact he worries too much about what other people think, maybe a bit of actual, I hate to use the word, “creepiness”. This thing called “creepiness” is indeed, as the complainers say, lack of high social status markers and the display of low social status markers. If you are good-looking and have money it is a lot easier to display high social status markers. Life is not fair, obviously, but you can avoid showing too much low social status.

As I said, part of Lindsay’s problem is his age and gender. People don’t feel much compulsion to be nice to middle-aged men. Beyond that he is a somewhat nerdy-looking guy with glasses. He openly advocates strongly left-wing political views, which while not as socially taboo as right-wing views, are not widely accepted. I can’t tell what kind of clothes he wears, but he may have kind of a hippy thing going, which not that many people like.

I would say to Lindsay- get contacts and get a shorter haircut. Wear more conventional clothes. Avoid talking about politics or intellectual things unless you are sure the person agrees with you and is interested, most people don’t like talking about such things and are uncomfortable and easily offended when others do. You are a lot different than most people, and people who are different must assure people who are normal that they are not a threat. America is a society that puts great emphasis on the normal, the common and the mainstream.

Being conventional is very important in the US. In places like Japan, apparently you can go out dressed like a cartoon character and nobody minds. That is a very tricky proposition in the US, and few succeed at it. You can dress unironically, or ironically. You can wear a Pac Man t-shirt unironically, in which case you are a dweeb. Or you can try to wear it ironically, like a hipster, who is trying to say “I’m so cool and above it all I can dress like a dweeb and a weirdo and still be cool.” But most people just find hipsters annoying. You have to present yourself in a conventional, non-threatening manner, and you can control this.

Extroversion is highly valued in the US, along with status of all kinds. You can’t control this, or your status in general most likely. If you are an IT guy you are not high status. But you can be the normal IT guy, not the dweeb IT guy. Outsiders can seek social status with each other, like in the movie “Role Models” where Ken Jeong plays the king of the medieval role-playing people. But you would want to carefully conceal that from normal people.

So, as I am pretty much always saying, control the things you can, and don’t worry about the rest, and be happy.