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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DC: Hot, Buttery, and Just out of the Oven

New York is “the Big Apple”. There’s Motown, Chi-town, and LaLa Land; Steel City, Charm City, and the City by the Bay. It seems that every major city in America has a nickname; every city, save my present home, Washington, DC. It’s about time that we remedied this, and I propose that DC’s nickname should be something along the lines of “the Big Pie on the Potomac” or “the Crusty Capital”. Why? Because Washington, DC is just about the flakiest place I’ve ever been.

I haven’t spent much time out west, and I can imagine that the laid-back left coast lifestyle might lend itself quite well to flakiness. As far as east coast cities are concerned, however, DC has to be right at the top of the list. There seem to be entire relationships out there based on the mere idea of maybe, one day, spending some time in the same place. Look at all the Facebook wall posts that say things like, “Hey, miss you. We should hang out… soon!”

I think it’s funny… when it involves other people. When it involves me, I just find it annoying. The older I get, the less desire I have to be friends with anybody and everybody. I surround myself with people who bring something to the table. And, although I have no problem in groups, my ultimate test of whether someone is worth getting to know is based on one-on-one interactions. When someone takes the effort to make plans with me, I expect that they feel the same way. My expectations have been sorely let down.

If one, or both, of us doesn’t think enough of the other to actually make plans, and then keep those plans to the exclusion of whatever else might come up, why go through the pretense in the first place? There are plenty of people out there who I am fine seeing whenever we happen to run into each other, and yet some of those same people seem dead set on roping me into making plans that I know they won’t keep. What’s more, when I call them on it, they look at me like I just kicked their puppy in the face.

So, I’ve got two questions: what is it about DC that breeds this flakiness and what the fuck can I do about it?

Here are some possible answers to the former:

- DC is a political town, and therefore almost everyone in it is to some degree a politician. Does that mean that everyone aspires to be either king or kingmaker? No, but it does mean that most people here are naturally concerned with their status and, therefore, the line between socializing and networking is continually blurred. Most of these people aren’t so much looking for friends and acquaintances as possible connections, entries in a rolodex.

- DC is a town where so many people’s social groups are an extension of political movements and causes. Fostering actual friendships with people can take a backseat to securing one’s place in the group. These are the people who ask “so, who’s gonna be there?” every time plans are being made.

-DC is a town full of kids; recent grads eager to prove themselves real-life adults with schedules full of interesting plans. No more keggers and trips to the dining hall, they’ve moved on to cocktails and brunch. The prospect of having an evening without one of these social events penciled into their planners can fill some people with existential dread, so they overbook and promise to be places they have no intention of ever going.

These are just thoughts. I won’t pretend to have a definite answer. I want to hear what other people have to say. I also want to hear what people think about how to handle it. It’s hard to stop making plans with flaky people without coming across like anti-social hermit or a raging asshole, but at the same time, my tolerance for this kind of thing is definitely waning. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Female Narcissism

A couple of caveats: (One) I would prefer to make my first post something more positive… begin on an up note. This is a blog, however, and this is what’s happening with me right now. (Two) I don’t like getting into the whole battle of the sexes thing. The world has enough wars, whether cold, hot, or metaphorical, and I’m not trying to start any more. That being said, I have a couple of things to say about narcissism; in particular about female narcissism. A couple of weeks back Roissy threw up a post with the following quote:

Motherhood has always been the best remedy for female narcissism.”- F. Roger Devlin

I don’t have anything to say about that particular quote, but I do want to offer some perspective on female narcissism. Men are perfectly capable of being narcissistic. The male ego is the most obvious form this can take. The thing about female narcissism, and what makes it so frustrating, is that it so often gets sublimated into some sort of fake consideration. What follows is an example.

I have a profile on an internet dating site. I had a lot of success on it where I used to live, but since moving to DC it’s been a great big bust. I think there are specific reasons for this, but that’s another post. I still go on the site and look around every once in a while. If I see someone that has potential, I send her a message. I keep it short. I keep it light. If a girl is interested, all it takes is to let her know that I’m not a complete moron, and that I can make her laugh. So… what should I think when I send a one-line, very light, very breezy comment to someone, and then, two weeks later, get this message back:

I'm flattered by your interest. You seem like a great person but this isn't what I'm looking for.

Some of you may be tempted to think that she didn’t get my message for a while, or just had so many responses, and since she’s such a nice girl, she wanted to send me a brief, polite response acknowledging my message even though she wasn’t particularly interested.

To any of you who believe that: I’ve got some prime real estate spanning the East River that I can let go for a fraction of its market value.

It’s more likely that this girl experienced some form of rejection herself in the two weeks between my sending and her replying. What better way to make herself feel better, then to “reject” someone herself? The idea that I might have spent that two weeks lamenting not getting a response is so much more insulting than the idea of her not being interested in me. If she had any real interest in being nice, she would have realized that. This, however, is the game we play. We transfer our own feelings around like a game of emotional hot potato. We make ourselves feel better by trying to make someone else feel worse, and then pretend that it makes us “bigger” people.

So, what are the takeaways from this?

Ladies: Get over yourselves. We’re guys. We make advances; that’s just what we do. Don’t make too much, or too little, of them. Since men make the first move most of the time, you’re often going to be in a position to say yea or nay. Don’t let that go to your head. If you get a brief message on an internet dating site, the guy has probably sent out twenty more and expects seventeen to be ignored. Any guy who gets offended at not getting a response back, probably doesn’t deserve the response in the first place.

Gentleman: Don’t obsess too much over what you’re saying to women. It’s much more important how you say things. At the end of the day, she’s going to be making her decisions much more on the signals you’re sending and on her own intuition than on any sort of rational reaction to what you’ve said.

Random Thoughts on My Favorite Subject

Here are some random things about me until I can get a proper “About Me” section up:

-I love the expression “go to the mattresses”

-I hate reducing multi-syllabic words down to one syllable; I hear “chicken parm” and I vomit in my mouth a little.

-I am neither an over-sexed, androgynous rock star nor a pumped up, unrepentant gangster, but I often find myself identifying with Prince and 50 Cent lyrics.

-I fuck like champ.

-I never believe a girl who says, “I give great head.” You all claim to give great head.

-I realize the logical inconsistency of the above two points, and I really don’t care.

-I don’t love them hoes.

-Yes, I realize that not all women are hoes, and I thank the sweet baby Jesus for that every day.