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May 14, 2008

Girls, Details, Yak

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

An entertaining Roissy posting -- bouncing off of an Alias Clio blogpost -- about whether women and men can ever be friends has spawned a very entertaining commentsthread.

New slang term to me: LJBF, for "Let's Just Be Friends." Coolly enough, "LJBF" can function as a verb -- a woman can "LJBF" a dude. Betas, I've learned, get LJBF'd all the time. Alphas know enough not to let the possibility arise in the first place.

How do you react to the scene over at Roissy's, by the way? (Skipping over the fact that he's a very talented badboy blogger.) FWIW, I'm amused, if a little appalled, by it. I like the rowdiness, the lack of inhibition, the defiantly anti-PC exuberance ...

Plus, visiting Roissy's is always an instructive keeping-up-with- the-zeitgeist experience. That whole Alpha-Beta-"game" way of thinking about and discussing romance and sex was almost entirely new to me when I first stumbled across Roissy's blog.

Following the discussions there, part of me thinks, "Well, good. At least they're talking about courtship, if in their own raised-on-first- person-shooters kind of way." Another part of me thinks, "Hmm, back in the day I'd probably have done a little better for myself, bed-notch-wise, had I had some 'game'."

But I confess that a third part of me listens in, gasps, and thinks, "Have relations between the sexes really come to this?" It seems to me like such an everyone-out-for-himself, seething-with-mistrust- and-antagonism scene that -- were I young -- I wouldn't want to take part in it at all. What can I say? That's just how I react to shark-tanks.

What the to-and-fro on the current posting has mainly left me thinking about, though, is something unrelated -- and very basic: women and the way they chew things over.

Here's my comment from Roissy's:

What *do* women get out of endlessly combing over the micro-shit of their unremarkable day? Christ!

Does it take them that much effort to digest what they've been thru? Do they do it for the pure girly joy of it? Like most men, I can’t help suspecting that they do it partly to drive men crazy with impatience.

With The Wife (who I adore), I’ve gotten to the point where, when she swings into chewing-her-day-over mode, I tell her “OK, I’ll give you 10 minutes on this, but then we either move on or I start throwing chairs around.”

Any insights or theories from anyone? When I ask The Wife what it's about she just gives me one of her patented "You'll never understand even though you clearly ought to" looks. And when I look at myself I find no such compulsion no matter how deep inside I plunge. At the end of my day, I may or may not need to indulge in a five-minute vent, but that's a purely functional thing -- a matter of gunning the motor once before shutting it down for the rest of the night. Because, at the end of my day, what I really want to do is let go and move on, or maybe just relax.

End-of-the-day girltalk by contrast seems to have no point or goal whatsoever. It's ruminating for the sake of ruminating, and the unbraiding of details seems to want to go on forever. But maybe women simply don't want to let go and move on. And maybe fretfulness is a rewarding state of being for them. Of course, I'm reading all of this in male terms ...

BTW, I actually find the way women experience life enchanting, and I always have. Their hopes, their dreams, and (up to a point anyway) their feelings ... And, where romance and sex are concerned, I'm very much of the "her pleasure is my pleasure" school, though (I hope, anyway -- Roissy has me worried about this) not to the point of wussiness. OK, maybe to the point of wussiness. But that need women have to re-live, to examine, and to re-examine every damn thing that happened, and every micro-feeling they felt, during the day ...? That I could live without.

Ladies: Enlightenment, please. Dudez: How do you react to (and deal with) gals' determination to rake the day over? There's always the vanishing-behind-a-newspaper option, I suppose ...

* Semi-Related: Thongworld.



posted by Michael at May 14, 2008


As I've said once before on my blog (only to get pounced on about it), I always find this kind of comment from a man difficult to accept because most of the men I've known talk a great deal about whatever issues of the day are bothering them. And even those who don't put their feelings into words often have a knack for making you "feel their pain" anyway, with heavy thunderous silences or mutterings over the newspaper or kicking irritably at the furniture.

I've certainly done some of the kind of "chewing" you describe myself, but it's not habitual. Usually it's when something very disturbing has happened and I need to discuss it with someone to figure out what was going on. "Am I reading this correctly?" I want to know, "or am I being overly suspicious?" No doubt that's sometimes the reason why men do it, too. I just can't believe, though, that women are so much guiltier of this habit than men are; it doesn't square with my experience at all.

One clever observation, though, that may make sense of our differing perceptions: CS Lewis observes in The Screwtape Letters that, up to a point, fatigue makes women talk more and men talk less. That may explain why men are convinced that women are so loquacious at the end of the day: it is partly true, and partly the result of their own tiredness which sensitizes them to women's talk.

Posted by: alias clio on May 14, 2008 3:10 PM

"Have relations between the sexes really come to this?" It seems to me like such an everyone-out-for-himself, seething-with-mistrust- and-antagonism scene that -- were I young -- I wouldn't want to take part in it at all.

The internet has brought out all the Aspergy (but not literally) folks. I see "game" as basically running what "alphas" (i.e. non-nerds) do naturally in emulation. The lack of empathy/understanding that you detect for women among these men comes from the same place as their need for learning how to pick up women from the internets.

The sad part is that they think they've got it all figured out when really they only understand it the way parrots understand English.

Posted by: JewishAtheist on May 14, 2008 3:11 PM

A. Clio -- Oh, men have their own ways of blabbing too much, god knows. NYC has millions of men who are too full of themselves, and who are determined to be loud and tiresome about it. Not my topic here, though. I think your hunch about fatigue levels at the end of the day is a good one. Another one: Men have a tendency to talk about things (issues, sports, ideas, combat), while women have a tendency to talk about stuff (feelings, invisibles) that men have to make huge efforts to zero in on. While it comes naturally to women, it seems like a lot of exhausting nothing to us. On the other hand, whatever your own experience, the whole women-spend-a-lot-of-time- pulling-apart-feelings-and-relationships thing has been widely noted by tons of people. The guy who hides behind a newspaper while his wife babbles didn't become a cartoon cliche for nothing. Same with the stock image of the fretful wife who can't let go, and the husband who retreats to the garage to get away from it.

JA -- That's a smart hunch. Much of the talk does seem to have a kind of "I need to study real hard in order to be able to act like a normal person," robotic quality. On the other hand, these youngsters have been denied traditional sex roles and traditional courtship behaviors ... It's like watching kids re-invent the wheel sometimes.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 14, 2008 3:21 PM

Chris Rock has the answer: you let them talk, nod, and then after a while say "I told you that bitch was crazy". It actually works pretty well because 8 times out of 10 it's a woman they want to complain about.

And yes, the dating scene really is that bad, at least it was for me a few years back when I dipped my toes into the dating pool. Yuk. It was like going on an interview for a job you don't even want. Cold and Machiavellian. Non-stop "me-me-me". And I'm sure the men are at least as bad as the women.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on May 14, 2008 3:22 PM

Comment I left at Clio's most recent post:

BTW, I know this is a bit off topic, but a guy should never let a girl get away with using the "I think you're a really nice guy" line, if only for his own self respect. You have to call her on it. Tell her to her face that it is an insult, which pragmatically it is.

Posted by: Thursday on May 14, 2008 3:30 PM

2 possibilities, depending on the stage of the relationship:

(1) new relationship:
PRETEND you're interested, without actually being interested.
-- if you've ever been in sales, you'll know exactly what i'm talking about.
use the pretend interest to build rapport, but make comments that are only slightly related.
-- if she's good at getting your gist, she'll shorten her screed.

(2) old relationship (= over 90 days):
nod your head with a few 'uh-huh's and 'aw baby's. then, without warning, launch exuberantly into a COMPLETELY unrelated topic.
-- it helps if you have a reputation for a wandering, erratic mind, as i do.

Posted by: johnny five on May 14, 2008 3:48 PM

"Can't We Be Friends" - a lovely song, with a wonderful recording by Ella and Louis. There's wisdom in the lyrics.

Posted by: dearieme on May 14, 2008 3:54 PM

When I think back on all the totally retarded, idiotic things I did in the past, I could kick myself. Trying to be the Nice Guy. Not realizing that "let's just be friends" is a vile insult. Not taking the initiative more often. Other gaffes that don't come immediately to mind. While trying to run Game, had I known about it, probably wouldn't have worked well, if I had just known what to avoid, then things likely would have been much better for me.

Posted by: Peter on May 14, 2008 4:07 PM

In The Evolution of Desire David Buss argues that women intentionally try their men's patience (with moodiness so they can judge his degree of commitment to her.

Really interesting book - has all sorts of evidence and speculation about the one endlessly fascinating topic - women, men and their relationships.

Personally, I buy the explanation. When a woman is worried about her status with me (in PUA jargon, when my "attainability" is too low) she'll start doing things (like starting arguments over what I see as nothing) that seem to me to be calculated to get a reaction out of me. It's interesting because there's a fine line; if the guy is too aloof, the woman will panic that you're not committed and will leave to find another man. If he's too reactive, she finds him less attractive and that makes her marginally more likely to cheat.

Posted by: Steve Johnson on May 14, 2008 4:15 PM

Insofar as game is intended to help men understand women and how to appeal to women more readily, it seems like a plus. However, when it veers into power plays (the "neg"), it is only good if your goal is to sleep with as many women as possible and never settle down. This is (apparently) great for Roissy, who, one should point out, is also working in one of the most cutthroat dating atmospheres in this country, but isn't going to lead to long term happy relationships.

Plus, as MQ pointed out at Roissy's, the tenor of comments on that site tends to rapidly cross the line between usefully pointing out areas where men and women often differ into talk of enforcing said differences. (The current one where women shouldn't talk about sports because they're clearly only ogling the athletes or trying to appeal to potential partners is particularly amusing, but they're probably worse for the male readers--why should Michael be worried about wussiness?).

Posted by: CyndiF on May 14, 2008 4:19 PM

Well, Michael, it could be that men "choose" me in part because I'm a good listener. Perhaps I give men more space to talk than most women do, and I know how to encourage confidences. But I don't think that my impression is false, or all that limited. I don't "sleep around", but I've dated rather a lot of men, had lots of male friends,and I've heard a great many of their stories. Some of them have even had the temerity to utter that line about women talking too much about their feelings in my presence, and this always provoked a glare from me. I can't really speak for other women, which of course is the other side of the equation, but I knew the comment was unfair to me.

Posted by: alias clio on May 14, 2008 4:32 PM

Todd -- The current dating scene really is that spikey? Yikes. I'd be an Omega myself in those waters. That's a funny description of it.

Thursday -- That's some good advice.

Johnny5 -- I gotta start cultivating an even-more scattered brain than I already have, and I gotta start using it more strategically.

dearieme -- Excellent rec, tks. Youngsters: go listen to some Louis and Ella. Sorry to see there's no film footage of them together on YouTube, though some people have set the music to slide shows. There's always this to enjoy.

Peter -- That's a wonderful blogging idea: Things I should have avoided. Provided it doesn't get too painful to think about, that is.

Steve -- I'm buyin' it too. Women always seem to be monitoring how closely their men are attending to them, don't they? They really oughta learn how to relax that grip a little bit. Their men would like them a lot better.

CyndiF -- I'm with you: It's nice to see kids figuring out this female-male thing. Americans seem incredibly bad at mating up, so anything that helps them along is something that I'm in favor of. Those moments that mq points out are pretty funny too, though, aren't they? Guys declaring what guys are allowed to do, and what girls are allowed to do ... Gets mighty narrow and prescriptive.

A. Clio -- I can imagine that glare.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 14, 2008 4:32 PM


A guy can't settle down with a girl who won't go to bed with him.

As far as "power plays" go, well, it's a cruel world. Attractive women are completely heartless when dealing with men they deem unworthy; look at the LJBF phenomenon. A woman will take a guy who's "nice" to her and suck him dry for emotional support, money, meals, favors, etc. if he lets her. Since women actually want men who are stronger than them (emotionally) if a guy is unwilling to use "power plays" he'll likely never get an attractive girlfriend / wife. Good luck getting men to pay that cost versus the cost of the disapproval of tut-tutting women.

Posted by: Steve Johnson on May 14, 2008 4:37 PM

Hey Steve,

*Some* attractive women are completely heartless, but not all. And often, LJBF is used by women who don't want to hurt a guy and are too inexperienced/immature to understand that they are taking exactly the wrong approach. The power play I specifically cited was the neg, in which a guy puts the woman down to reestablish dominance. Most happy marriages are successful because the two partners work to build each other up. You seem to be providing a template for an emotionally weak man to deal successfully with a bitchy woman; I'm simply pointing out that there is room to aim higher.

Posted by: CyndiF on May 14, 2008 5:00 PM

steve johnson: A woman will take a guy who's "nice" to her and suck him dry for emotional support, money, meals, favors, etc. if he lets her.

wait what? the ljbf dude pays her half on 'dates' ?
you can't be serious. you just can't.
i mean, i know plenty of betas, but none that beta.

Posted by: johnny five on May 14, 2008 5:03 PM

A big problem with a lot of "game" is that so much of it is focussed on the short term. Reasons why (aside from men's general horndoggedness):
1. I know this may sound unbelievable to some guys, but i think once you aquire some skills, it is actually easier to bed a bunch of girls than to get into a real relationship. For a lot of guys, it's easier to maintain a fun, sexy image for 3, 4, 5, 6 dates than it is to figure out how to keep her attracted in the long term. And since guys like casual sex, once it becomes easier to aquire that than relationship sex, they just settle into the player lifestyle.
2. Game requires practice, which means that to get good you have to interact with lots of women. But there are only so many long term relationships you can have. So game can be much more finely honed for short term stuff.
3. Once you have worked so hard to aquire a skill set, it is really tough to just abandon it for something that is as much hard work as a relationship.

BTW I'm not sure the "neg" itself is really that bad. It is just meant to temporarily signal disinterest and isn't really meant to trash a woman's self esteem.

Posted by: Thursday on May 14, 2008 5:10 PM


I'm thinking of one particular (very attractive) girl that I was friends with; she always tried to get me to buy stuff for her (food, coffee, etc.). I knew what she was up to and kept her around for the halo effect of being around an attractive flirty girl (got several other girls from having her around). This girl did this purely out of habit / instinct. Do I think a beta guy would give in in hopes of making an implicit deal? Yeah, I do.

Personally, I've never sunk that low. Learning about "game" allowed me to pick out what did work and why out of the stuff I was doing naturally; it also got me to stop doing some other stuff that was hindering me.

Posted by: Steve Johnson on May 14, 2008 5:31 PM

I can't be the only one for whom this entire "game" thing is somehow repulsive, can I? Isn't a "beta" a fish?

And "I'm thinking of one particular (very attractive) girl that I was friends with; she always tried to get me to buy stuff for her (food, coffee, etc.). I knew what she was up to and kept her around for the halo effect of being around an attractive flirty girl..." I've had guy friends do that to me. Always figuring I'd pay for the pizza if we ordered it, or eating my food without asking.

I hope they weren't coming on to me.

Posted by: i, squub on May 14, 2008 6:44 PM

Michael, Roissy is a sociopath.

To paraphrase a line from a movie, he's got parts missing that normal people have.

I say that while admiring his well-versed point of view. Without a doubt, I would have admired him in high school for doing very well something I wasn't doing at all.

But as an adult, and married with children, I feel something more like pity for him, mixed with a little aprehension (I have daughters).

Don't question your manhood in light of the Roissy paradigm. You're married. You've proven it.

Posted by: Matt on May 14, 2008 6:45 PM

What is frustrating to me about Game nerds (and I use the term respectfully), is despite their convictions and analytical mindset, their complete failure to take their ideas out of the black box and push it to the next level and make it a legitimate science, when the effort needed to do this would be absolutely trivial.

Consider that one of the most famous, and surprisingly enlightening, experiments in modern psychology is Clark and Hatfield's simple Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Offers where we learned that almost all men, and almost no women are willing to have sex when it is freely offered by an average looking stranger of the opposite sex.

Clark and Hatfield's 18 confederate's approached only 192 people to perform this experiment.

Less known about the study is that fully half of women and men on campus agreed to a date with an average person just because they asked them.

This is useful information about male and female psychology, but how generalizable is it across different demographics? What other offers and approaches do men and women respond to? How do responses differ by the attractiveness of the subject and the confederate?

Well, we have no idea. This simple and cheap to perform experiment is considered a classic in psychology, it has been cited almost 300 times, and yet it hasn't even been replicated in the 20 years since it was published.

So how hard would it be for Game types who go out and perform similar kinds of "experiments" every weekend to just add a little bit of discipline to their routines, and write down a few numbers? Maybe coordinate a little online with others across the country to boost sample sizes?

There could be a new Clark and Hatfield kind of paper every week. Not only would it contribute to knowledge about male and female psychology, it would add a whole new dimension of creditability and marketability to Game, which is already a kind of cottage industry with Ebooks and seminars and whatnot.

Posted by: Jason Malloy on May 14, 2008 8:06 PM

Besides, that big old man-crush you've got on young Roissy is getting a bit unseemly.

Posted by: David Fleck on May 14, 2008 8:51 PM

CyndiF -

Having been the LJBF'ee on few occasions (hey, I was naive back then, what can I say?) I agree that most women don't have any malicious intentions when they utter those dreaded words. In all of the cases I am convinced that the women genuinely thought they were showing me some mercy by not dumping me outright. There's no reason to believe they were unusual in this respect.

Posted by: Peter on May 14, 2008 9:00 PM

Hearing women go over their day in excruciating detail makes me often think women were not suited to the workplace, but to the home.

Here's why: Women (especially single ones) often substitute the emotional dedication of a family for the workplace. They get more attached -- getting in on the gossip, going to every idiotic "event," and throwing themselves into the work. And "bonding" with office morons who use them like workwhores.

Guys seem to play it cooler - they play golf on their lunch hour, or workout and they DO NOT put in overtime for free -- they will do freelance for extra money.

Thus, women operate at a more emotional pitch at work, which is why they can't let the events of the day go. I think, because of this, women are less productive. They sweat the small stuff and lose sight of the fact that it's someone else's company. These qualities, though, are EXACTLY the qualities you would want in child rearing -- total dedication and attention to detail.

Note to working women: Your workplace does not love you. It will spit in your face and kick you out the door. Put some effort into you fat, stupid Sam's Club-bred kids.

Posted by: Days of Broken Arrows on May 14, 2008 9:01 PM

Should be "a new dimension of credibility."

Dammit Firefox spellcheck!

Seems to be a lot of errors in there. Why no Preview comment feature Michael von B? No love for the OCDs?

Posted by: Jason Malloy on May 14, 2008 9:04 PM

Jason, don't worry -- I've got a mathematical model based on the Mystery Method figured out, hopefully one that no one's proposed before.

I don't think most Game nerds are the research type, though -- more like an engineer or applied technician. Like, take some well known result from social psychology and see how to adapt it to a nightclub; see whether it works or not. If so, keep it, otherwise chuck it.

Posted by: agnostic on May 14, 2008 9:48 PM

Why all the negative energy directed at Roissy?

He's a hedonist, so his life's goal is the maximumisation of pleasure. If you're not a theist, what else is there? His practices are certainly consistent with his beliefs. As for him bedding lots of women, so what. As I don't believe that he is in the practice of raping women, the women that he has bedded have given themselves freely to him. His success with the ladies is based on a very good understanding of female psychology and a permissive social environment where women are expected to spread their legs at the first attractive schlong that is pointed in their direction. I guess he would have had a much harder time trying to get some action if he had game but had been bought up in a Muslim, Victorian or other traditional type of society. He has said much the same in his posts.

Posted by: Slumlord on May 15, 2008 1:43 AM

Mystery Method is the most scientific and advanced pickup method. It is a detailed structure with little left to chance, and incorporates a wide variety of field tested stuff from a diverse array of pickup artists, along with a decent smattering of evolutionary biology. That's why it appeals to 'game nerds' moreso than other, more 'natural' approaches, or methods that rely solely on 'inner game'. Sometimes MM can seem too complex, especially the elongated version presented by Savoy in 'Magic Bullets' which introduced some unnecessary complications to the more elegant, shorter presentation by Mystery himself in 'Mystery Method' (eg the transitioning phase Savoy introduced is unnecessary in my opinion - if your frame is strong, which Mystery places great emphasis on, then you can randomly jump from one topic to another - only beta's need to 'transition', alphas just talk about whatever they want)

But I'm seriously looking forward to agnostic's stuff. Who knows, in the future maybe there'll be great colourful textbooks on college campuses containing the detailed algorithms, charts and general equations of pickup. If Mystery is the Darwin of pickup, then agnostic and the game nerds could be the Hamilton/Trivers.

Posted by: cuchulainn on May 15, 2008 6:01 AM

On finishing 'The Mystery Method' my first reaction (after taking a deep breath and stuttering 'wow...') was what Jason said - take this to the next logical step: actually work out the math and stats in a detailed way. I even brought up excel for a time and tried coming up with some kind of foundation, but then got bored.

Posted by: cuchulainn on May 15, 2008 6:39 AM

Regarding the yak factor, I have tried a lot of things, but have essentially defaulted to Chris Rock's method. If America offered knighthoods, that man would have one.

For one brief shining moment, I actually had the family unit trained to give me 15 minutes from the time I broke the plane of the door to set shit down, change clothes, prepare a cocktail, clear off a suitable perch, etc. before the litany started. They lapsed and when I tried to restore the previous wonderful time, I got a lot of grief on how hard it was to contain the barrage for that long. So, now, as with all guys, it starts before the door completes its swing to allow me entry. [sigh]

I have discovered one fortunate quality of the daily download/lament/rehash: once it stops, there is a small window where you're expected to remember what was said and perhaps get quizzed on it. However, once 20 minutes have passed (on the outside) it's ephemeral, and you no longer need to retain anything you've heard (save for the odd "to do" that comes up, which you can write down), and you can purge that memory space and go on with your evening. During the tsunami, though, you've got to retain stuff.

Just get through it as it relieves some sort of pressure, then let it all go.

Off-topic, and/or to address the initial topic of the dreaded LJBF phenom: I got it so much at one point in high school that I literally just stopped dating for a while. I was making the mistake of going after girls I found attractive without bothering to look for signs that they were attracted to me. Once I started to look for that crucial bit of info - that they dug me, too - things got a lot better.

I was and will never be an alpha dog - have no interest in it, have seen how it turns out in the end with a few buddies - but I did get to date (with benefits) some pretty spectacular babes after I clued in a bit.

One thing I was lucky enough to have happened to me early (end of jr. high) was I did the LJBF once in spades, because I was young and naïve enough to believe I could turn things around. And, even though I did get a little base action, the girl was just freakin cruel enough to me that when it did finally grind to halt, I NEVER allowed the LJBF crap again. I saw a comedian once who suggested the proper response to "LJBF!" was "No, let's just be enemies." He was so right. I actually used a version of that once. What I actually said to "LJBF!" was: "Hell no. I wouldn't allow a friend to treat me like you have. Goodbye."

A final thought. The elusive Roissy is certainly a fun read. The recent skid-mark post was a classic. I have a theory about him for which I have no proof. (Emailed him once and asked, but got no response.) I suspect Roissy has a sister or sisters. All gamers that I know of do. Having known a couple of them since grade school, I noticed that by observing their sisters, especially when the sisters started dating, they had a lot of inside info on how they think and feel about such things. It also appeared to demystify a lot of the female animal for them. So, I posit that all alpha gamers had the benefit of a sister while growing up.

Posted by: yahmdallah on May 15, 2008 12:42 PM

Women don't just yak about their day in any old way. They seem to focus on problems, and of course, the emotional undercurrent of those problems. Deborah Tannen identified this pattern in women as "Trouble talk", and said that this is a real need for women. Manly man that I am, I hate talking about troubles, especially if there's nothing I can do about them. And so, despite clio's more general claim way early up in the comments, do most men.

Oh, a long-time married friend describes his wife's nightly day-yack at him over the dinner table as her "core dump". Does seem to describe what woman do it for...get it off their chests, so to speak, get it "validated", and then let it go.

Works for them, I guess.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 15, 2008 1:31 PM

When my girlfriend goes too far with her daily recap, I use the old Dan Jenkins golf line about listening to guys go over their round, "If I have to go the full 18, I get caddy fees!".

Posted by: Brutus on May 15, 2008 3:41 PM

Ah, patrickh, there you go disagreeing with me, and you're usually one of my defenders.

I can only conclude that when men do their emotional "dumping", they simply are not conscious of it. Because, you know, they DO.IT.TO.ME.ALL.THE.TIME. (Sorry for shouting, but really.) And I cannot believe that my experience in this respect is really so extraordinary. I cannot even count the number of hours I've spent listening to men groan about their troubles...who seldom returned the favour, by the way. I think it must just be one of those things that men take so much for granted in a woman that they don't notice it.

I don't doubt that there are some men who never do this, but I suspect that they are much rarer now than they once were, at least in North America.

It is true that men tend to be extremely reluctant to discuss the problems of a "relationship" with the woman with whom they have that relationship, but that's a separate issue. It's also true that they don't like to hear women going on about their day-to-day problems because they don't know how to respond or help; but again, that's not quite the same as insisting that this is a purely feminine habit.

I can only conclude that the reason men dislike it so much when women do this is that they want to go on about their own lousy days, and get annoyed when their wives or girlfriends expect the same from them.

Posted by: alias clio on May 15, 2008 4:38 PM

If you pretend anything in a relationship, you'll be miserable in no time. The oldest advise in the books, "be yourself," is the only way to go. If you don't attract the kind of women you think you should be by being yourself, maybe it's time to come to terms with who you are, exactly. Ultimately, that will be a good thing.

On the other hand, in long term relationships, my 13 year marriage included, men (and women) have to give and take on quite a few things just to keep things civil. Michael, your 10 minute rule regarding the wife's venting, is a good one and similar to what my wife and I have worked out. It is physically painful, as in my head starts to actually hurt, to have to listen to those diatribes wherein my wife dissects everything almost as she living it. She now knows this, and I also now know it's important to her that I hear at least an executive summary of her feelings about the day, and behold! A pleasant compromise has been reached.

This "game" shit is ridiculous. Good luck fellas, if you think this will net you anything more than a few extra hookups. Which, hey, that's nothing to sneeze at, but it doesn't scale past the age of 30.

Posted by: JV on May 15, 2008 5:06 PM

You are forgiven for shouting, clio. But...I am beginning to think that you are a one-woman outlier with an unusual capacity to get men to open up to you. I think, unscientifically, that most women find their men to be clams, uncommunicative grunters, and--wait for it!--emotionally unavailable. You sound, dear clio, like you have had more than your share of excessive male emotional availability.

You know, you can always just tell them to shut the f*** up.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 15, 2008 5:15 PM

This "game" shit is ridiculous. Good luck fellas, if you think this will net you anything more than a few extra hookups.

not true. my number of closes more than quintupled and my multiple long-term love-filled relationships doubled after i learned and applied game.

Which, hey, that's nothing to sneeze at, but it doesn't scale past the age of 30.

also untrue. relatively speaking, game benefits men in their 30s more than men in their 20s because the majority of the former have entered a time of their lives when random hookups become a thing of the past. combined with their maturity and real world experience, game propels the 30+ crowd into success with women that they haven't had since their wild frat boy days.

Posted by: roissy on May 15, 2008 5:48 PM

For some reason, it makes everything more vivid for me to think and mull it over. I may not be so talky-talky as some women, but, I just get a buzz out of thinking about my own little world.

It must be chemical.

Posted by: MD on May 15, 2008 6:16 PM

roissy, I don't doubt the "game" increases the number of hookups, I guess the percentage of that increase may vary from person to person. My over 30 remark was more along the lines of the fact that it's kind of sad if a man in his 30's still regards the number of random hookups as a primary motivator in his dating life. I'm not saying a man should throw in the towel, but viewing women as deals to be "closed" just isn't cute if you're too old for the frat house.

Happy trails, though. And I have to say, you're a damn good writer with a very entertaining blog.

Posted by: JV on May 15, 2008 6:23 PM

And I have to say, you're a damn good writer with a very entertaining blog.

but i have to clear up a misconception that a lot of people have about some of the terminology men use when describing their sex and love lives. "closing the deal" is shorthand for "enjoying the bounties and pleasures in the bed and out of the bed of a variety of beautiful women". as a man, i make no excuses for my desires and i stride through the world without apology. spicing up a deep long term relationship with the occasional fling, or playfully bedding a number of women and leaving them better off than i found them, or giving myself totally to one exceptional woman, are all part of my male essence. the good years of life are too brief to rationalize my desires into submission under a load of moral encumbrance or societal expectations.
for example, that many people think it "pervy" for a man to bed women 15 years his junior matters not one whit to me. that some believe it's not "cute" to pick up women unless i'm a frat boy has no bearing on my internal moral calculus. at the end, i want to be able to say to myself -- did i do what i wanted or what others wanted?

Posted by: roissy on May 15, 2008 7:12 PM

Thanks patrick. You know, it is possible for a man to be both "emotionally unavailable" and emotionally demanding, at the same time. Many men expect/demand a good deal of attention and ego-stroking from women (over work issues, family crises, and so forth), and yet aren't willing to give much of the same in return. And many women, having experienced this kind of thing from men, turn in relief to your old-fashioned strong, silent type, because though he may frustrate them at times, he isn't quite so exhausting a companion.

I've found that many "player" types are especially prone to the kind of thing I describe: they seem to have hard shells on the outside, but on the inside they are often emotional messes who require a good deal of "validation" from the women in their lives - the many women in their lives. It can be part of their charm at first, because they seem so "sensitive", but a certain kind of sensitivity can be very painful to live with.

Posted by: alias clio on May 15, 2008 7:21 PM

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