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« Music and Lit | Main | Chris Isaak »

October 25, 2006

Fiction, Empathy, Chix, Names

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

It seems that reading fiction can help you develop empathy. Dudes who want girlfriends, listen up: Take yoga classes; learn how to cook, dance, and flirt; and read a few novels, OK? In any case, girls sure look cute when they're wrapped up in a book. (Link thanks to Dave Lull, that literate lech.)

Find out how many people in America share your name. I should warn you, though, that when I typed my real name into the search box, this was the result:


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
0
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Pardon me while I treat myself to an identity crisis.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at October 25, 2006




Comments

Michael, presto - take an urgent yoga class: what do you need an identity for? Aren't you supposed to learn to be happy with little, forget your pride and aspire to be dissolved in the Universal Spirit (or whatever)?

I consider myself lucky, having same result.

Posted by: Tat on October 25, 2006 6:23 PM



There's no-one with my first name in the US, yet since the mass immigration of my Frisian forebears my surname is not that uncommon.

When I Google my own name, there are a lot of site referring people who are not me. One is a well respected diplomat, which makes it a pity I still haven't published hard core porn under my own name online.

Posted by: ijsbrand on October 25, 2006 6:40 PM



Supposedly 20 have my name which I find a bit reassuring. Internet dopplegangerdom, if you will.

Posted by: claire on October 25, 2006 6:47 PM



I got the same result. But I have a foreign sounding, south-asiany name.....which, speaking of, someone once asked me if my name was Irish in origin. No, it's Indian. Huh.

Posted by: MD on October 25, 2006 6:48 PM



Tat -- I have a lot of evolving to do!

Kjsbrand -- You mean you aren't IJSbrand, the well-respected diplomat?

Claire -- "Dopplegangerdom" is good.

MD -- I bet your red hair and freckles, and the colleen-like lilt in your accent had something to do his mistake too.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 25, 2006 7:52 PM



There are over two and a half million Richards (my first name) in the U.S.A. It's the seventh most popular name. There are zero people (not counting me) with my last name. It's enough to make a guy schizo!

Posted by: ricpic on October 25, 2006 9:32 PM



254 people share my name, and I resent every one of them.

Posted by: Brian on October 25, 2006 9:39 PM



Hmmmm, I'm rather common. There are 80 people with my name in the United States.
I've also searched Google to see if there are any well-known people who share my name. There's no one famous in a celebrity sense, but three people who are probably fairly well-known in specific fields: a Scottish university professor who's a respected authority on entrepreneurship, a state education department official in Connecticut,* and a man who made copies of ancient coins for museums.

* = I used to live in Connecticut and on a couple of occasions got phone calls meant for him.

Posted by: Peter on October 25, 2006 9:46 PM



I couldn't find anyone with my name. In a country of 300 million, I find this difficult to believe. I put my wife's name in, (Alston Anderson), and got the same result. Hmm...

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 25, 2006 9:55 PM



Why waste this great resource looking up real names?

"There are 15 people in the U.S. named Bart Simpson."

"There are 0 people in the U.S. with the last name Soprano."

"There are 28 people in the U.S. named Donald Duck."

Posted by: David C on October 25, 2006 10:02 PM



I wonder what database(s) they're using. They claim there is only one person with my name in the US but Google knows better . . .

Posted by: Kirsten on October 26, 2006 7:02 AM



Michael,
I'm with Kirsten. This "How Many?" site is a piece of trash. Both Google and Ask come up with quite a few folks with either my first (very foreign) name or my last (unpronounceable in polite public) name. Neither comes up with a combo of first and last and that's the only agreement between the three inquiry processes. This must be one of those sites that attracts folks to build up its "Visited" counter, as the information it provides is not really good.

Posted by: DarkoV on October 26, 2006 8:45 AM



It told me that there is no one else with my last name, but I know for a fact that this isn't true! There's even someone with my exact same name attending the very large University that I work for...

Posted by: A. Horbal on October 26, 2006 9:31 AM



I have the impression that the site isn't checking actual names but is coming up with probabilities instead. For example: There are 5000 people with my first name and 300 with my last name, and probability says that, given those figures, there should be no one with the combo, despite the actual fact that that's my name. I think that's how it's coming up with its results. I don't think it's actually going to Google and seeing whassup. But brighter people than I maybe can answer this ...?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 26, 2006 11:41 AM



However, a weakness of the study is that the direction of causation has not been established – it might simply be that more empathic people prefer reading novels.

Exactly.

Posted by: Agnostic on October 26, 2006 11:43 AM



Ah, come on Mike. Women don't want bookish guys except insofar as the knowledge gained in those books leads to money, power, and respect*. Correlation, not causation!


* There is also the outlier of the rogue-ish, tormented poet type who some also find appealing. Said rogue is usually good looking, though. Joe Schmoe is better off accumulating wealth than going to yoga classes or pretending that some starlet's travails are of any importance...just as Jane Schmoe is better off losing weight than trying in vain to feign interest in football or higher mathematics :)

Posted by: gc on October 26, 2006 12:23 PM



I agree with the empathy and reading thing. Recently I swimming in feeling, and a serious desire to experience joy, after reading Charles Baxter's "The Feast of Love". I responded to these feelings by engaging various women on my commuter train in conversation, and I was not brushed off. I took the one I liked the most to the recent performance of Polly Frost's work on Cornelia Street.

On the other hand, the bitterness one typically finds in the response sections of blogs tends to reinforce cynicism, alienation, and resentment towards strangers.

Posted by: James M on October 26, 2006 1:49 PM



girls sure look cute when they're wrapped up in a book

Reminds me of the intro screen on the search computers at Borders: pretty girl in pajamas lost in a book, and the question "What do you want to do?"

Posted by: J. Goard on October 26, 2006 3:45 PM



"Women don't want bookish guys except insofar as the knowledge gained in those books leads to money, power, and respect*. Correlation, not causation!"

Again I say, that depends on the type of women you are looking for. I know MANY women whose type is, in fact, the bookish nerdy type, and not classically good-looking, either. I thank God for that as I am that type of guy.

Now, if you are a bookish guy who goes after women who like men to be more Type A, then I would say that's your fault. People should know by the time they get out of high school what types of people they attract.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 26, 2006 4:11 PM



careful, patriarch, you're threading on thin ice: Peter with inevitable "women shortage!" cry can jump out of the shrubbery any minute now.

Posted by: Tat on October 26, 2006 4:58 PM



Another small point in favor of dudes learning a bit about food and novels is that time spent on these activities actually develops the soul. Rewarding in its own sake, plus girls like guys who aren't just aggressive little button-pushers.

Even from a strict-fuctionalist p-o-v: Via the arts (well, the arts-and-such), guys can learn a little patience, a little respect for taste and sensuality and pacing, and they can develop a bit of adroitness around emotions and psychology. Chicks fall for that shit!

You may even develop a little bit of actual interest in food, dance, literature, etc. Fun! Plus it'll help you stay awake as your gal drones on about this stuff.

Guys who have made the effort to acquire a little culture can land some awfully interesting girls ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 26, 2006 6:23 PM



I know MANY women whose type is, in fact, the bookish nerdy type, and not classically good-looking, either.

I was at first uncertain whether the antecedent of "not classically good-looking" was the "MANY women". That is, that the kind of woman who goes for nerdy guys is not classically good looking.

I then realized that you phrased it differently; but regardless of the phrasing my original interpretation was pretty much a given. There is a reason that this elicits knowing smiles (not very work safe)

http://dannyman.toldme.com/journal/2000/images/openbsd.jpg

plus girls like guys who aren't just aggressive little button-pushers.

little button-pushers, no. But big button pushers? The ones who push the big buttons? They do very well :)

Also, to clarify: it is easy to date an unattractive or overweight girl. So easy that I would say this is clearly not the point of MB's post. MB is trying to say that a significant number of *attractive* girls read books and are into guys with books, guys who cook, etcetera. I don't think this is empirically true.

to be precise: there are really two camps. There are those who think that women want you to relate to them as an equal. This group includes our esteemed host, to an extent, as he recommends actually becoming interested in what women are into in order to harmonize with them and so on. Many women also think they want an equal, or at least they have been told to say this.

And there are those who think (know?) that women want a man who is taller, who makes more money, who is as intelligent if not more so, who has as good an education if not better, and who commands the respect of his peers. IMO that's much closer to the reality of the situation.

Hot women don't want equality. They will settle for equality, but they want *dominance*. (As noted above, unattractive women will happily settle for simple companionship. But they are not the subjects of interest.)

Since dominance is the thing, earnest attempts to ingratiate oneself by reading Cosmo, viewing the Da Vinci code, or attempting associated irrationalities are destined to fail as they have their origins in weakness, in solicitousness.

Note that those men clever enough to *feign* earnest interest in yoga or astrology are a different kettle of fish; they are going into these situations with no illusions about the utility or rationality of said pursuits.

Posted by: gc on October 26, 2006 8:50 PM



Guys who have made the effort to acquire a little culture can land some awfully interesting girls

Not many American girls. Exceptions aside, most "cultured" American girls just want you to have seen the latest Foreign Movie You Have To See, or read the latest bullshit novel, etc. Not real culture, in other words: just the most current badge of in-group status. European, Japanese, and well-to-do Latin Americans are more likely to value real culture, so if that's your thing, they're a safer bet. Of course, you have to have lots of them around for this to work, or else live abroad. On that note, if you want to attract girls by doing girly things, then you have to target groups that care about such things -- Brazilian girls might care how well you can dance, but the Japanese couldn't care less.

Remember Michael, you live in New York City, where female variability is high -- from the stone-cold golddiggers to the indie rock girls to the mousy bookish types. It's one of the few meccas for people who don't fit in anywhere else, so you can actually find a hot, agreeable goth girl (or what-have-you), so being a goth guy wouldn't incur huge dating costs, as it would in any other area.

The percentage of such girls in other areas is even lower, since most of them migrate to New York-type areas, and the absolute population is lower (since NY is the largest metro area in the US), so the average guy would be lucky to find a single such girl within 2 hours drive.

Posted by: Agnostic on October 26, 2006 9:12 PM



Why aren't any gals taking part in this conversation any longer?

GC -- Ooh, you're harsh. Funny too. That said, I'm not sure that I see you saying much beyond "Successful alpha males tend to do really well for themselves, hot-chick-wise." That's certainly hard to dispute. But I think the conversation doesn't concern what the successful alphas might do -- they're already doing fine, and most certainly aren't hanging around this blog anyway. It concerns what the 98% of guys who *aren't* successful alpha males might do to increase their chances of finding agreeable gals, to have a funner romantic life, and maybe eventually to find a simpatico mate, no?

If what you're saying is that the non-alphas should go out and act like alphas, I've got to disagree. It might work out for a few of them, but for the majority it'll backfire. They're be uncomfortable, and they'll feel like they're living a charade. (And girls can sniff this kind of pretense out in mere seconds.) Even if they're successful at the pretense, they'll wind up with girls that are wrong for them. They'll be in the awful position of having a hot fantasy chick available to them but feeling sheepish about enjoying her company -- a surefire recipe for impotence, divorce, and/or cheating.

Far, far easier on the soul (and far more satisfying) to step off the competing-with-the-alphas ladder entirely and to sink into the texture of life (ie., cook, read, enjoy life) instead. Oddly enough, you'll find many fun and fine ladies waiting there for you.

The alpha-rat-race is suitable for only a small number of people, really. There's nothing worse than an alpha-wannabe anyway.

Agnostic - You're certainly right that life outside NYC and a few other cities can be awfully ... conventional. Gals looking for nothing more than a provider and a child-raising partner, etc. Terrifying in its dullness. It's enough to make a guy go gay, just for the sake of some excitement and adventure.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 26, 2006 9:20 PM



I'm a bookish type, and when I worked in a medical school the hot-looking medical-student ladies flirted with me even though I was an older guy with a crappy job. They actually don't need a guy to take care of them, and just wanted someone they liked being around. Nothing came of it, but that was mostly because of me.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 27, 2006 12:26 AM



I've dated, banged and/or cohabitated with progressives, conservatives, alphas, zeds, rich, poor, poets and halfbacks, book-smarties and street-smarties.

The biggest turnoffs in the world are intolerance, arrogance and willful ignorance.

What I require for contact is a lively mind, a sense of humor and a modicum of compassion. What I require to continue taking my pants off is the above plus mad bedroom skillz.

Caveat suitor...

Posted by: communicatrix on October 27, 2006 1:18 AM



Brava communicatrix! I'm sick of hearing about how all the hot women are superficial and the rest are too ugly to be considered. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, apparently a lot of you guys wouldn't date a girl who'd consent to go out with you.

Posted by: Rachel on October 27, 2006 8:47 AM



"Babes with books" . . . my idea of paradise. And I often feel it's a paradise lost--to me, anyway. As a native New Yorker who got himself marooned in Atlanta (the Anti-Manhattan), and now finds himself unable to return due to the high cost of New York housing, I find that much of what's been said about women and books and nerdy guys and NYC rings true. Because I wear glasses, am a basic introvert, and read a lot (certainly much more than the average Atlantan of my acquaintance, although only a modertae amount compared to many people I knew in Manhattan), I would generally be classified as "bookish," although I have tried to balance that out by avoiding the cloistered bookworm/couch-potato life with real-world activities and interests, such as fitness and exercise. (I do not have a bookworm's body.) One of the things I miss most about NYC was the great variety of people, especially female people. I never had any trouble meeting women who were both well-read and attractive. Here in Atlanta, which is a much more tribalistic place than NYC and where people seem hell-bent to fit themselves into one of a few basic tribes (Yuppie, Buppie, Ghetto Black, Redneck, etc.)and void themselves of as much individuality as possible, the attractive women seem mostly the Barbie doll type looking for their powerful, upwardly-mobile Ken. Such types do not read (except for the occasional John Grisham or other bestseller). Whereas the women who do read--at least the ones I encounter--are generally unattractive, often extremely so. They've made the typical nerd choice: "I'm going to live in my head and out of a book, and my physical appearance can go hang."

Posted by: Bilwick on October 27, 2006 9:05 AM



Rachel and Colleen: I'm now reading, in another window, an entertaining thread (so far - 148 comments) on LiveJournal: an US-residing guy from Russia asks his audience for their opinion on pros and cons of returning to Moscow for good.

One of the short threads goes on approx. like this:
G: I see only two reasons to come back: to get higher status (lifestyle-T) for same money - and chicks (the term translated inadequately mild - T). With 5 caveats [...]Caveat #5: Feminization of chicks and pussification of guys in Moscow has sped up. However, even if every once in a while you might stumble upon self-dependent(T) girl a la America, but in general - it's still haven; you can find neighborhoods in Moscow where you can rape any chick and militia will not bother you because they were told "there could be no rapes in this neighborhood".
A: you forgot two more reasons: Balet and Soul-Searching.
G: Soul-Searching is sex that you get for free. And balet is anorexic chicks I'll not fuck if they'd pay me.
A: The principle to remember here: the less Souls-Searching, the more expensive sex is.
G: I'll print that out and post next to my monitor.

Posted by: Tat on October 27, 2006 12:10 PM



Holy crap.

Where is this thread? It could be just the incentive I need for finally learning Russian...

Posted by: communicatrix on October 27, 2006 3:32 PM



I'd give you a link, but only after you'll learn the lingo!
But, seriously, Russian LiveJournal is so much more entertaining.

Posted by: Tat on October 27, 2006 3:54 PM



No nerd tribe in Atlanta? They've got a university, no?

I guess they're all ugly, though. I think that's where that old saw about brains and beauty multiplying to a constant got started.

Posted by: SFG on October 27, 2006 3:55 PM



Hey GC, would you be considered physically "hot" by women? If not, then it's fairly ridiculous that you bemoan the fact that it's hard to get "hot" women. Why should they go out with someone less than physically hot when apparently you feel the same way. If you are physically attractive, then it's most likely your bitterness that repels "hot" women.

This statement of yours is hilarious:

"Hot women don't want equality."

While there are many women who prefer a dominant man, I don't think you can lump all physically hot women into that category. There is no blanket statement that can be applied to this or that type of woman.

I think I've said this before in another thread, but the best tactic is to make a woman laugh. If you can do that, you're in. It works on every type, I'm telling you. And also, do it sincerely and not by degrading someone or something else.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 27, 2006 3:55 PM



Found via Luke Ford, here's an audio of an interview with Neil Strauss, who wrote a book on how to pick up women

http://tinyurl.com/yxt89h

Posted by: James M on October 27, 2006 4:21 PM



Here's a test of the website: grab your local phone book, find a unique last name and search for it. I guarantee that within 10 names the site will tell you that no one has it. A dollar for anyone who finds otherwise (I saw it after 3).

Posted by: Ed from Florida on October 27, 2006 6:43 PM



Whoops, I should have read the FAQ:

Q: Does the program really know how many people have the same name as me?

No. The program returns an estimate based on available data. It should be considered a "ballpark figure". It will usually return an answer in the right general area, but the chances of the figure being exactly right are very low.

From another part of the FAQ:

Around 1 out of every 10 people will have a last name not on the list.
Around 1 out of every 10 people will have a first name not on the list.

Posted by: Ed from Florida on October 27, 2006 6:47 PM



Here's a question for the many Midwesterners. I have the impression that the red states are so poisonously anti-intellectual that any interest in books or the arts in a male is seen as effeminate and a sign of homosexuality. Is this the case? If so, it could explain why more guys don't take up yoga.

Posted by: SFG on October 27, 2006 7:08 PM



While there are many women who prefer a dominant man, I don't think you can lump all physically hot women into that category. There is no blanket statement that can be applied to this or that type of woman.

The patriarch is hot.

Posted by: communicatrix on October 27, 2006 9:05 PM



Michael B.'s reply to GC above contains profound wisdom. Any young man would be well served by meditating on it.

The more life experience I get, the more I understand that there is NOTHING better than being able to relax and truly be yourself with a love who is genuinely your friend. Equality is at the heart of that. Granted, the "lover" part requires physical attraction, but it does not require an endless search for the stereotypically "hot babe". Women seem to get all this younger than we men do.

Trying to "play" people gets in the way of companionship. It truly sucks to be in a relationship that is infected by fraud, pretension, or lies.

Also, what's all this stuff about yoga being useless catering to women? It's great physical training. It works, people, it works.

Posted by: MQ on October 27, 2006 10:04 PM



It you bemoan the fact that it's hard to get "hot" women.

Don't read into it what's not there :) I don't think it's very hard to date attractive women. It's actually pretty easy. You just shouldn't fool yourself about what they want.

What they want is money, education, and status. Wit certainly helps. But they don't want empathy, or for you to do the dishes, or for you to talk about Unix or mathematics or books, or for you to be their "equal". They say they want these things, but they really don't. Even among ideological feminists, how many do you see dating men who are shorter than them, or who are high school dropouts? Gloria Steinem married a South African entrepreneur. Biology always beats ideology.

My point: plenty of smart guys are capable of attaining money, education, and status. Due to their intellectualization of the world, however, they are also capable of falling into a societal trap -- namely the belief that embracing feminist nonsense of varying stripes (most of which boils down to the fallacy that women want an "equal") will get them some action.

It is this trap that must be avoided, and it is this that I am warning against. Don't read books to get girls. Don't go to yoga to get girls. Build yourself up professionally and hit the gym consistently. Carry yourself with an arrogant smirk. Because even though women say they don't want arrogant jerks, they *do* want men who have options. And men who have options tend ot be a bit arrogant. Back in college, the guys in my fraternity used to joke about the following phenomenon:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27651

Frat-Guy Boyfriend Not Like The Other Frat Guys

"Most frat guys can be pretty obnoxious, especially around women," said Errico, 19. "But Troy's not like that at all. If one of his brothers makes some lewd comment or something, Troy will tell him to cool it when I'm around. Even though he still parties pretty hard, he almost always sets aside one night a week just for us."...

Other Sigma Epsilon members agreed that Ausmus is a great guy who is clearly unlike the other frat guys.

"Troy's cool," fraternity brother Marcus Glynn said. "He's totally down for whatever: He can put away the vodka like nobody's business, and if there's chicks to mack on, he's there. Wait—did you say Troy Schultz or Troy Ausmus? Actually, I guess it doesn't matter. They're both kinda like that."

Sigma Epsilon president Todd Bohnert had similarly high praise for Ausmus.

"Troy's a total player," Bohnert said. "These days, it's some chick named, I think, Christine. He's always talking about what a great lay she is and all the crazy shit she likes to do in bed. He's so smooth, it's sick. He knows exactly what they want to hear."

There are different status ladders. Businessman, Professor, Fraternity President, Athlete, Investment Banker, Writer, etcetera. But get to the top of one of those status ladders and it's really no problem to get hot women, so long as you've kept yourself in reasonable physical shape.

And regarding arrogance -- that's really not a turnoff if you have the requisite status. They just rationalize it a posteriori to make it seem like "this one" is different, or magically transmogrify "arrogance" into "confidence".

And to some extent this becomes self justifying. For what is confidence but justified arrogance, and what justifies arrogance better than early tenure, the respect of your peers, mad bling, and hot babes? :)

One more link:

http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/features/n_9495/index.html

Indeed, there’s little evidence to show that as women acquire financial muscle, relations between the sexes have evolved successfully to accommodate the new balance of power. Neither the newly liberated alpha women nor their shell-shocked beta spouses seem comfortable with the role reversal.

For women, the shift in economic power gives them new choices, not least among them the ability to reappraise their partner. And husbands, for their part, may find to their chagrin that being financially dependent isn’t exactly a turn-on. According to psychologists (and divorce lawyers) who see couples struggling with such changes, many relationships follow the same pattern. First, the wife starts to lose respect for her husband, then he begins to feel emasculated, and then sex dwindles to a full stop....

When Emily comes home, she doesn’t always want to be the boss. But she says her husband no longer has the authority to take over. “I want somebody to take that power role away from me,” she explains. “Ultimately, it gets down to pretty basic stuff. It’s hard to be the power broker every day and then be the femme fatale. I’m not going to pay the bills—I feel like his mother—and then come home and suck his dick.

If you are her equal, you are already in trouble; that's an unstable situation. And if you are her inferior,well, the statistics just don't lie.

Posted by: gc on October 28, 2006 7:54 PM




Michael B.'s reply to GC above contains profound wisdom. Any young man would be well served by meditating on it.

Any young man would be well served by reading this:

http://www.amazon.com/Google-Story-David-Vise/dp/055380457X

and seeing this:

http://www.searchengineherald.com/2006/03/11/larry-page-and-lucy-southworth-pictures/

and reading this:
http://www.amazon.com/Game-Penetrating-Society-Pickup-Artists/dp/0060554738

and seeing this:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?o=1&f=/chronicle/archive/2005/09/25/LVGPHEQA941.DTL

Judge by results, that's all I ask :)

Posted by: gc on October 28, 2006 7:58 PM



But I think the conversation doesn't concern what the successful alphas might do -- they're already doing fine, and most certainly aren't hanging around this blog anyway.

How do you define alpha :) ? Blog readers tend to be alpha by most quantitative definitions. They have education, money, leisure time...

http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/3656.asp

If what you're saying is that the non-alphas should go out and act like alphas, I've got to disagree. It might work out for a few of them, but for the majority it'll backfire.

I think my point is only this: either non-alphas have to learn to act like alphas, or they need to give up their belief that they're going to date a hot girl. "Get Rich or Stop Whining", so to speak.

If they're interested in hot women, they need to crush the hope that one of them is going to stroll in on their Star Trek convention or compliment them on their knowledge of Tolstoy or Hawthorne or date their pasty butt for participating in yoga class. Won't happen.

Now, if all they're interested in a companion, blah blah blah, then yeah, sure, so long as they're willing to compromise in the looks department pretty much anywhere is fair game. Which few of them are willing to do!

Which brings me back to where I started. The issue is that these poor nerds will be misled. Many of my friends, people who've made their pile in tech, were once nerds chasing these various gossamer fantasies about how to get women to like them. They tried books. Tried "Take Back the Night". Tried plenty of BS. Nothing worked.

Then they realized that after you hit the jackpot in the IPO, all that stuff is unnecessary.

They are still nerds. But hot, *interesting* women gravitate towards them. And by no means were the majority stereotypical gold diggers. Many of them were attractive chicks who *think*, on some level, that they're ideological crusaders for equality. Come on, you know the type -- the kind of girls who deny up and down that feelings of attraction stem entirely from their man's demonstrable accomplishment. See the following trailer for an excellent example of what I'm talking about:

www.apple.com/trailers/newline/just_friends


The mirror image phenomenon is found in the men who have deluded themselves into thinking that they would still be *just as attracted* to the woman they're currently dating if she was 30 pounds heavier. Then perhaps she comes back from overseas, and reality catches up.

They're be uncomfortable, and they'll feel like they're living a charade. (And girls can sniff this kind of pretense out in mere seconds.) Even if they're successful at the pretense, they'll wind up with girls that are wrong for them. They'll be in the awful position of having a hot fantasy chick available to them but feeling sheepish about enjoying her company -- a surefire recipe for impotence, divorce, and/or cheating.

If they manage to become alpha, they will *be* alpha. Alpha is a state of mind that comes from your peers deferring to your judgment and obeying your commands. Whether they be graduate students or employees or fellow fraternity members or what have you, it's a drug that has that transformative effects on your psyche.

Plenty of former nerds are poised to become alphas. Again, think "Just Friends":

www.apple.com/trailers/newline/just_friends

This happens so often that it is a staple of our popular culture: "Former nerd comes home to 10 year high school reunion a tech millionaire. Football star is overweight assembly line worker with bad knee. A bevy of hometown girls rapidly approaching their sell-by date, vie for his attention."

Far, far easier on the soul (and far more satisfying) to step off the competing-with-the-alphas ladder entirely and to sink into the texture of life (ie., cook, read, enjoy life) instead. Oddly enough, you'll find many fun and fine ladies waiting there for you.

But who has really stepped off the alpha rat race? You can't completely step off. If you've decided that you are fine with being a well-compensated but anonymous banker at a prestigious bank, or a journalist at a famous newsmagazine, or a professor at a small liberal arts school...that isn't really "stepping off" the alpha rat race. That's just stopping at a pretty fair way up the ladder.

The alpha-rat-race is suitable for only a small number of people, really. There's nothing worse than an alpha-wannabe anyway.

The only thing worse is an alpha-wannabe who thinks that novel reading is going to get him chicks... :)

Posted by: gc on October 28, 2006 8:23 PM



gc, Neil Strauss's book isn't about an "alpha male" titan of the business world -- it's about a guy who learns how to be outgoing and bold and charm women. Yes, those are real skills that can be learned. It's not surprising women like confident, charming men. It's also true that the more you have your shit together, the more attractive you'll be. But all you need is one woman. There are a ton out there. Anyone reasonably together and outgoing will have plenty of choices. Best to choose one and focus on building a real human relationship, instead of obsessing about stuff taken from primatologist's studies of baboons.

Posted by: MQ on October 30, 2006 12:02 AM



The alpha male determinists here are more or less right in their analysis but wrong in their attitude.

To add to MQ's well-made point: just about any normal single man can improve his lot with women by 90% if he stops rationalizing his difficulty with attracting women and insted gets his act together, figures out who he is and works on being good at it, is in decent shape, keeps a neat appearance, and has the right attitude.

And what's all that about hot women? Similar to men, for most women being reasonably slim, sane, and with a good attitude constitutes 90% of "hotness". If you're after Girls Gone Wild-type hot coed chicks, then go to a strip club or to Vegas and get it out of your system.

In my case, when I was single I avoided the "out of my leage" women and instead focused on ones who are "merely" pretty and had a great personality. Trust me, you'll be happier with that approach.

And while I'm on the roll, I think that most guys who kvetch about alpha males couldn't handle a 6 (much less a 10) if one dropped on their lap.

Posted by: PA on October 30, 2006 9:49 AM



There are over 1 million people with my real first name and over 143 thousand with my last name. On the opposite end of Michael Blowhard...let me treat myself to an identity crisis!

Posted by: annette on October 30, 2006 9:53 AM






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