Thursday, December 11, 2008

"This is a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl"

There’s a sweet simplicity to those words sung by James Brown. They appeal to whatever innate desire we have to order the world into a natural, sensible hierarchy. The question, however, is: is it true? Is it a man’s world?

I got to thinking about what, if any, natural hierarchy exists. What I came up with are not absolutes, but general tendencies of who trumps whom. That is, who tends to get what they want, and who tends to have to settle. These are the ranking as I see them:

Alpha Male
Queen Bee
Average Female – High Achieving Beta
Beta Male
Omega Male – Fugly Woman

The alpha male will usually win out over the queen bee. This is due to two facts: women tend to have a higher proclivity for monogamy, and men tend to age better. It’s uncommon to see any woman past their early-twenties continue to snag high status men and dispose of them at their leisure; whereas, this is somewhat common among alpha males. Two exceptions that come to mind are Madonna and Angelina Jolie, and they tend to be more alpha male than queen bee in their overall demeanor.

Nature is a cruel master, but fair. If things seemed skewed in favor of men at the heights of the social hierarchy, they move in the opposite once we get into the middle. The average female should be able to run circles around beta males. This has everything to do with sex. For men who don’t regularly get laid, women remain a mystery. Since the average woman has a level of social intelligence miles ahead of the average man, she can easily use access to her ‘holy-of-holies’ to keep control of interactions and relationships with beta males. Once, however, people reach their mid-to-late twenties, and some men have started to get significantly less awkward and begin to come into their own, things can even out for high-achieving betas. This is especially true once a woman’s biological clock starts its inevitable countdown. I would still give the tie-breaker to the average female. High-achieving betas often see their achievements as an explicit means of attracting women, so they remain in the role of pursuer, whereas alpha males are those who have managed to reverse the natural order and become the ones being pursued.

I would say something about the bottom of the pile, the omega males and porcine women who both populate and comprise the audience of most daytime television, but who cares. If you care to know about them, watch an episode of Maury.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Like a Freakin' Onion Article: "Hipster Blogger References Imaginary Malady in Response to Imaginary Problem"

Maybe Agent Smith was right: human beings really do need a certain amount of misery in their lives. How else to explain the nonsense I read in this morning’s Express:

Voters across the country, whether they support McCain or Sen. Barack Obama, say they are experiencing nail-biting, ulcer-inducing anxiety ahead of next week’s election and all that’s riding on it.

The article, called “Election Anxieties Cross Party Lines”, goes on to quote a number of avid morons who seem to think they’re very existence is riding on what happens next Tuesday. There's Cynthia Liu, whose plaintive, hipster grimace can be found set in to the article:

Democratic blogger Cynthia Lie has dubbed it “Post-traumatic Election Anxiety Disorder,” with hallmarks including restless Web surfing for election information, sleeplessness and making desperate calls to undecided voters…

and from the other side of the aisle:

Valentine, a sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, says he doesn’t know what he’ll do I McCain loses.

The really sad part is that if you turn the page, you can read a story about Congolese refugees fleeing their homes in advance of a rebel army. There are places in this world places where power is transferred by men wielding AK’s; where who wins an election may determine whether you eat or not. That fact makes me pretty damn happy that I live here, and makes me understand that no matter who wins the election; my life will change very little.

So, to all you ridiculous people with huge, gaping holes in your lives that you’ve seen fit to fill with a sheep-like devotion to the political candidate of your choice: lighten the fuck up!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Firday and I'm Open... to Suggestions.

In all likelihood, I'm going to spend this weekend much the same way that I spend every other weekend. I'll go to the gym. I'll do some work. I'll have a beer or thirty-six beers; maybe a glass or two of whiskey. I'll hang out with friends. I'll knock a few errands off the list. It's all par for the course.

But maybe, just maybe, I'll do something this weekend that I've never done before. It's not incredibly likely, but it's possible. Inspire me. Give me some suggestions. What should in do in DC that I've never done before?

PS - Please, ideas, activities, locations, but no names. Unless, of course, those names are accompanied by photos, contact information, and details as to just how you'd like to be done.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"He's so smart! He agrees with everything I say."

Roissy’s post on Girls and Politics got me thinking. As someone whose political leanings fall outside of the DC mainstream, this is something I deal with on a regular basis. It also got me thinking about something else I’ve been noticing. On a recent trip to Whole Foods (which, by the way, is always good for observing multiple incidences of SWPL) I observed a new phenomenon. I saw multiple couples where at first I thought there was huge mismatch in favor of the girl (i.e. the guy was better looking). In all instances I soon realized that there was something evening up the score: the guys were total morons. Granted, that’s a tough diagnosis to make from a few moments observation in a supermarket; but when one guy is wearing a crooked baseball cap and making awkward, gang-ish hand signs and another is goofily grinning at some checkout-aisle tabloid, they just might not be the sharpest tools in the shed. Not to mention, the women in both cases did not seem to be the slightest bit amused. They honestly looked like mothers dealing with annoying children.

I’ve heard a lot from women recently about using certain political or ideological litmus tests for men they hook up with or date. This seems a strange idea to me. Personally, I hate echo chambers; nothing irks me more than being surrounded by people who think exactly what I think. I like debate. I like to hear other people’s viewpoints. I like my own opinions to be challenged, because I realize that’s the only way to know whether I’m full of shit or not.

Where does idea of not dating guys who don’t share your politics come from? More importantly it seems a recipe for guys developing attachment to ideas they don’t really care about because it’s getting them laid. I tend to think that, in a democracy, the route that people take to come to their opinions is as important as those opinions themselves. Am I alone in this?

Almost every girl I know or meet claims that she wants a man of above-average intelligence, which just doesn’t jive with this desire to have someone who agrees with you on everything, or on everything you think is important. Incredibly intelligent people tend not to just go along to get along. There’s a choice to be made. And it seems that plenty of women are choosing agreeable over intelligent. Bringing this back to Whole Foods: is it possible that women in DC are starting to look for ‘mimbos’?

This goes along with my dislike of most things SWPL. It’s not so much that I hate any of these things in particular (I even like about a fifth of them). It’s the hypocrisy that goes along with this way of seeing the world: I’m a free thinking, progressive, liberal who just happens to only associate with people who look and act exactly like me. And I won’t tolerate anyone who isn’t as open minded as I am. Never mind that this whole way of looking at the world grows out the same upper-middle class, white bread background that hipster/yuppies spend so much time trying to distance themselves from.

Being a Democrat or a Republican says very little about how open minded or intelligent you are. In fact, if you think it does, there’s a good chance that you are neither.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Campaign For Real Bullshit

Watch this video.

Girls are under more pressure than ever… really? I guess Ann Frank went to Amsterdam on holiday.

I applaud a company selling its product by appealing to one’s inner sense of self rather than trying to shame, cajole, or peer pressure, as so many commercials try to do. I only wish that Dove did it with out feeding into this bullshit sense of “Oh, we’ve got it so hard these days.”

Just because there’s a billboard, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. You shouldn’t need a soap company to tell you that. The idea that culture is this oppressive weight that dictates itself to us poor victims is complete and utter bullshit. If you’re a strong person, you take in all the options around you and make the decisions that are best for you and that fit best with your values.

If you take your cues from a soap commercial, even if the particular message is a positive one, you’re still just a tool.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fresh Thoughts on Double Standards

Lately, I’ve taken to reading a few so-called “slut” blogs; written by unapologetically promiscuous women with high sex drives and the willingness to seek out pleasure on their own terms.

The thing I most appreciate about these blogs is that they give me insight that I might not otherwise get. I stopped trying to figure women out a long time ago. I treat girls like a black box. Actually, I treat most people like a black box. I don’t particularly care what they’re thinking; I only focus on their behavior. Things change as I get to know someone, but in the short run I’ve found the following to be true: if you’re trying to get inside a girl’s pants, the worst thing you can do is to try to get inside her head. Once you start guessing at her motives and projecting motivations onto her actions, you’re dead in the water.

I dig where these ladies are coming from. I think it’s a ridiculous idea that your sexual behavior be completely circumscribed based on what you happen to have between your legs. That’s on the one hand. On the other, I’m sort of tired of hearing complaints from women about the “double standard”.

Do women who sleep with lots of men pay a higher price than men who sleep with lots of men? Yes, they probably do, but men who sleep with lots of women are a special case. I don’t know that it is an appropriate comparison at all. Yes, our culture holds certain esteem for the Alpha Male, but our culture also elevates his female counterpart, the Queen Bee. The difference is that a woman does not become Queen Bee by bedding a lot of men. There’s a reason for that: bedding a lot of men is no great accomplishment. The Queen Bee maintains her status, in large part, by holding out the promise of sex to lots of men, but fulfilling that promise only to a select few. Other women fall in line the way most men fall in line behind an Alpha Male.

Almost any woman, if she adjusts her standards and expectations and can develop a little game, can sleep with lots of men. For the most part, we don’t put up much of a fight. The average man, however, cannot go forth into the world with the same sort of sexual impunity that even the plainest Jane possesses. A woman named Norah Vincent wrote a book about the eighteen months she spent living as a man. She sums up part of her experience in the following quote:

If you have never been sexually attracted to women, you will never quite understand the monumental power of female sexuality, except by proxy or in theory, nor will you quite know the immense advantage it gives us over men. Dating women as a man was a lesson in female power, and it made me, of all things, into a momentary misogynist, which I suppose was the best indicator that my experiment had worked. I saw my own sex from the other side, and I disliked women irrationally for a while because of it. I disliked their superiority, their accusatory smiles, their entitlement to choose or dash me with a fingertip, an execution so lazy, so effortless, it made the defeats and even the successes unbearably humiliating. Typical male power feels by comparison like a blunt instrument, its salvos and field strategies laughably remedial next to the damage a woman can do with a single cutting word: no.

There are some men in this world who are so good-looking, or so accomplished that they rarely ever get to know the feeling of rejection, and others that are so oblivious and self-centered that they are almost incapable of knowing or caring about that feeling. For the vast majority of us, however, the fear of being rejected, of being social ostracized is real. We can feel it in our guts every time we approach a girl or make a follow-up call, or lean in for that first kiss. Some buckle under that feeling and give in to the fear; others don’t.

Alpha Males aren’t held in high esteem because they sleep with a lot of women. The women are a side effect of being thought in such high esteem. Women are supposed to have the final decision on sex, but for some men that is not the case. Alpha Males derive their status from their ability to impose their will on the world around them; to take a system that is “supposed” to work one way and make it work the way they want it to work. To put it in language that relates to the above quote, Alpha Males are those of us who don't take no for an answer. They are the ones who win wars, build corporations, and bring new technology to the market. Without people like that, the world that we know would not exist and we’d all still be squatting in caves, so I think that esteem is well-deserved.

I agree that there is something not right about condemning women for their sexual choices, especially now when birth control and medicine have mitigated some of the ill effects of promiscuity. My point is that the other half of that supposed double standard, rewarding male promiscuity, is really unrelated. Our culture punishes men, as well. It just does it to those who are unable to conquer their fears or to overcome their present limitations.

The question that I put out there for consideration is this: Do men who try, and fail, to bed numerous partners suffer any less social consequences than so-called sluts?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lance Cristal: A Straight Shooter with Upper Management Written All Over Him

The best blogs out there seem to be about something. With that in mind, I have to ask myself: what is this about?

The short answer is that this is about me. In being about me, it is also about all the things that I touch and connect to on any given day. It’s about the place that I’m living right now, Washington, DC. It’s about the strange assortment of people who come here to do whatever it is that they do. And, of course, it’s about dating, because in relations between the sexes I see it all. It’s the perfect microcosm for what makes this world so fucked up and yet so wonderful all at the same time.

What I’ve just written is all well and good, but it’s too short winded for my tastes. I, therefore, have decided to draft a mission statement for this blog. If it’s a good enough tool for Corporate America, then why shouldn’t I put it to use?

This is the mission statement of Lance Cristal Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Lance Cristal himself:

LC Ltd. is in the people business. More precisely, LC Ltd. is in the person business; and that person is Lance Cristal. If other people can read anything I write and find some value, some entertainment, or even a little truth; then great, I am all for it. At the end of the day, however, this is completely self-serving. Make no mistake about that.

These are the three guiding pillars of LC Ltd. (side note: although this mission statement rests on three pillars, this is not the reason that I am sometimes known as ‘the tripod’):

My Vision:
Economics and evolutionary biology are my two favorite prisms through which to view the world. There are two reasons for this. First, both understand that we are all self-serving. Individuals exist to maximize their utility and propagate their genes. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is stupid, naïve, or trying to sell you something. Second, they both understand the importance of signals. To go through life explicitly believing what people tell you is to go through life with your head up your ass. Dig deeper. The truth is almost never at the surface. The most interesting things that people say are not meant to explicitly communicate something, but rather to send a signal about what type of person he or she wants you to believe him or her to be. Never forget that.

Point of View:
While my head is often floating in the clouds, I make sure to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground. I know where I come from, and I know where I’m at, therefore I have no qualms about reppin’ my hood. I’m not going to pretend to be objective, because noone is. I’m not going to mince any words, because the truth wants to be served whole. You can butcher it how you want it.

Although I prefer to not get into he said-she said, battle of the sexes type arguments, I will consistently attempt to bring a masculine point of view to things. I won’t do this because I’m a chauvinist, or because I think men are always right. I do this because I believe it is a point of view worth being adequately and intelligently represented. Perhaps there are certain historical trends that needed correcting, and that feminism/post modernism/multi-culturalism/etc. have had a place in doing that; but in the long run squashing masculinity is not the best way to put women on equal footing. So many of the problems I hear from women, especially when it comes to dating in DC, arise from men not wanting to act like men. I will relentlessly attack all sublimated, passive-aggressive, man-boy behavior that I encounter in myself and those I come in contact with. I have no patience for that shit. You shouldn’t either.

Corporate Social Responsibility:
Finally, LC Ltd. has no policies of Corporate Social Responsibility. It exists solely for the benefit of the owners and management (i.e. for Lance Cristal). Terms like ‘social responsibility’ and ‘social justice’ are oxymoronic. They exist to give upper middle class white kids some way to simultaneously vent their guilt and congratulate themselves at being upper middle class white kids. Justice and responsibility are both concepts that are properly applied to individuals and not to groups.

It’s funny to me; all the people who come to this city to try and ‘save the world’. Saving the world implies that you know what’s best for the world. And that is the height of hubris. To quote one of my new favorite fictional characters, “The universe is indifferent.” The sooner you get used to that fact, the happier you will be.