Monday, July 12, 2010

Lori Gottlieb - Canary In The Coal Mine

The book Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough, written by Lori Gottlieb, has created quite a stir. In this book she humbly and systematically gives an overview of the train wreck that is commonly known as the western woman. As a 40-something woman herself, she provides keen insight into why so many women reject good decent men because they aren't "good enough". The book reads almost like a diary, but not of a woman dreaming of her future prince, but of a woman who now regrets missed opportunities, and feels compelled to warn other women what can happen to them if they go on thinking that there is always a better deal out there. I personally liked the book. It reinforces what I have known and written about on this blog. And it is very refreshing to read a relationship book written by a woman that doesn't drip with self-righteousness, narcissism, and Princess complex. Although I disagree with the implication that happiness for women means getting married (before it's too late), the book is so good that I would recommend it to any man who finds himself adrift in the dating world and is wondering just what the fuck is going on with women.

The book is a sobering journey into the psyche of the modern western woman with regards to men and dating. It is almost a journey that should come with a warning "enter at own risk", as it is both fascinating and troubling. Fascinating because it is like looking at a different world. Troubling because it is a world filled with contradictions, pettiness, stupidity, logical fallacies, and a special brand of glue (called women's rationalization) that somehow holds it all together despite all the evidence telling these women that they are on an inevitable collision course with reality.

The traits of the typical woman showcased in Lori's book reads like a brilliant piece of fiction which unfortunately is anything but. It is like a tragic comedy where you can't help but feel sorry but also vindicated (if you're a man) at what lies in store for these women if they continue on their path. It also points to an interesting irony, where in some ways it is better to be a man in this dysfunctional dating culture than a woman, because as a man you at least have a reasonable chance of figuring out that there is a serious problem and can do something about it, either by learning to properly screen for women who do NOT possess certain traits, or just avoiding the women in these parts altogether. But for women in this culture there is a high chance they will be in for a very rude awakening, which will arrive too late (i.e. when they are past their fertile prime). And believe me, this culture does everything in its power to encourage the Princess complex in women by artificially raising women's value to the bubble-sphere, which will ultimately burst. So seductive is the feminist inspired propaganda that women can "have it all" that very few women seem able to resist it. Reality, when it hits, will be most painful for these women. Men, on the other hand, not cushioned from reality but facing it everyday, will have ample time to act and take measures to get the hell out of dodge if necessary.

This book is a warning sign, a canary in the coal mine so to speak, and it is only the beginning. As more and more women's quest for "Mr.Perfect" ends in a bitter realization that their best opportunities existed when they were the pickiest, more books and news articles will appear, lamenting the mistakes these women made. But don't blame the media or Sex and the City, honeys. Blame your own weak minds for falling for it.

It is fitting that only a woman can get the message across most powerfully. Only a woman can fully explore the female mind and provide rich insight into the thought processes of the typical American (or western) female, and explain why so many women reject good men, often in favor of emotionally unavailable, narcissistic, self-absorbed men.

Many men are already aware that women often go for the "bad boys" and reject "nice guys". But the question is, how come? There is the evolutionary explanation that bad boys are more exciting, risk taking, and strong willed (all fairly legitimate). But there is also another explanation, a cultural one. In the media, nice guy traits are often framed as weak, submissive, and approval seeking. These traits, such as, emotionally supportive, chivalrous, even intelligence, often belong to those men who are labeled as nerds, wimps, physically unattractive, or needy losers. But traits such as aggression, selfishness, lower IQ often belong to those men labeled as ladies' men, exciting, and heroic. Women tend to make quick associations, so if you have any nice guy traits many women will screen you out by process of association. And if you have bad boy traits many women will be more likely to want to be with you, also by process of association.

As a result, the bad boy achieves more dating success than the nice guy. And the bad boy doesn't necessarily need to stand out or be unique in his own bad boy way, either. He just needs to fit a certain badboy archetype, such as drive a motorcycle, drive a Corvette, be a surfer, be a scuba diver, or whatever.

However, there is also another factor in women's mate selection process. This is known as "the list". Women have these lists of what they want in a man, and they often disqualify any man who doesn't match "the list". And the list can be very large. Men it seems, are much more practical when it comes to dating, and women tend to focus more of their time and energy creating lists of what they want in a man than they do on actual dating. This tells you how utterly shallow women can be, and points to one major difference between men and women in this culture. Men have a large focus on physical attractiveness but there is usually a reasonable range of what constitutes "acceptable" for us. But women have a very narrow focus on what they want. For this reason it's not accurate to call men shallower than women because we select largely based on looks. Women in fact are much shallower because their range of acceptability is much narrower, even though they look at other things in addition to looks. It's because they look at more things on a more rigid level that they are shallower than men. You see; a degree of physical attractiveness in a woman is important to a man because it indicates youth and fertility. But physical attractiveness in a man (Brad Pitt level) is important to many women simply for decorative reasons. For them it's like choosing the perfect color of paint or the perfect lampshade. For many women, the perfect man is like having the perfect house. There are literally hundreds of factors that can go into making a house "perfect". But a house can be fixed up and altered. However, a man must come fully perfect in the eyes of many women. They approach men the way they do one-stop shopping, except that they expect to find the perfect house instead of the perfect lampshade or carpet, which is much harder to do.

One common selection criterion women have is the need to feel "butterflies", or "instant chemistry". Lori Gottlieb addresses this in her book. According to her findings, many women value the fleeting emotions known as butterflies and chemistry more than traits that will provide a benefit over the long term, such as trust-worthiness, compassion, supportive, etc. And many women will also break up with their boyfriends over the most trivial reasons, even though he may otherwise be a great companion, good in bed, etc.

The typical western woman is completely delusional in what she is looking for. According to a survey described in Lori's book, a sample group of women came up with around 300 things that a man must have, while men came up with around three things a woman must have to be considered date-worthy. Now, it's tempting to try and go deep into women's psyche in order to try and understand how you can possibly be so picky and superficial as to require so many things from a potential partner. But I don't even want to try, as it's so far removed from my current level of sanity that it would be like getting a lobotomy to try and understand the universe better.

If a typical western woman has "only" 80% of what she wants in a man she considers that settling. So to them it's either 100% or nothing. These women are intensely afraid of settling. It has such a negative social connotation for them that it's like their worst nightmare. To combat this intense fear of settling, these women have a tendency to overshoot their choice of partners. So for example, they tend to choose men that are more attractive than them, make more money than them, etc. because it's the only way they can be sure they are not settling. But where do you draw the line? These days there are a lot of fat women who think they deserve Brad Pitt.

These women would rather be picky than happy. Men aren't so shallow, which is why so many men (in this culture) are hooking up with women less attractive than them. To these men it's better to be happy than picky. If men were as picky as women no one would hook up.

It's true that there are complaints from women about men as well, and there are some legitimate grievances in that regard. However, if you look closely at the complaints from both sides the following general pattern emerges.

Women's complaints are generally that men don't measure up in some way. For example, all he wants to do is drink beer and watch sports, or he did X when he should have done Y. The complaints are often just vague descriptions, with not too much detail, and with focus on men's shortcomings (real or perceived).

Men's complaints are generally that they can't connect with women, that they aren't given the time of day, that they can't make progress, that they aren't meeting women's expectations, that they aren't getting positive responses despite putting in the effort.

Women's complaint format: "He's not good enough".

Men's complaint format: "No matter what I do I'm not good enough".

One group is focused on self-improvement and the other isn't. One group is forced to be introspective, and the other isn't. Therefore, which group is most likely to be humbled and realistic in their expectations? Which group is most likely to gain feelings of entitlement and narcissism?

This utter lack of balance and introspection in women's own desirability and date-worthiness is one of the main reasons why modern dating is such a train wreck and unfairly skewed in the favor of women. Western women are so driven by their need to fit in and get society's approval that they will drive themselves (and anyone close to them) into the ground in order to achieve the ideal they feel they deserve. To them it's either 100% of what I want or nothing. They cannot get past this. Women have a much harder time than men rising above their baser instincts. They will take their cues from popular media, magazines, and romance novels and from that create their checklist of what Mr.Right should be. This is a fundamental weakness in the female character, their lack of objectivity and reason.

Western women are very animalistic and one-sided in their tendencies, and their selfish, shallow, and subjective views are the stuff of parodies. To give you an idea of how fucked up these women are; here are some quotes taken from Lori's book, made by random women she interviewed:

"Greg (the ex-boyfriend) made me feel like I was the most wonderful woman in the world... so I started thinking, if I'm so wonderful maybe I should be with someone better".

"He was very loving but he wasn't romantic enough. On Valentine's Day he made a mix tape of my favorite music and gave me an hour-long massage, but all day at work, whenever I saw the flower guy going up the hall delivering flowers to my colleagues, I kept thinking, where are my flowers? I wanted a guy who sent flowers".

"He brought me flowers, but cheesy ones that just spoke to bad taste — and the sense that I wasn't worth something more thoughtful".

"He had long nose hairs and they grossed me out, but I didn't have the courage to ask him to trim them, so I stopped seeing him".

"There are guys who are smart but then you're shocked to learn that for all that intelligence, they're just not that interesting. They have to be smart in an interesting way. They have to be curious".

"Curious, but not earnest".

"They have to be a little edgy".

"But not too edgy".

"They have to be normal. But just not boring".

"He shouldn't wear a brown belt and black shoes, or vice versa".

This gives you an idea of the kind of selection criteria women use and how pointless (not to mention ridiculous) it would be to try and satisfy them. It's like trying to enter the gates of a whimsical gatekeeper. It is something not even worth entertaining.

That all important sense of proportion is also largely missing from women's mate-suitability criteria. What this means is that many women will lump legitimate deal-breaker criteria with petty stupid shit. For example, a man wearing a brown belt with black shoes is just as bad as him saying that her family sucks.

It's a wonder women ever hook up with anyone with their huge list of criteria of what they want in a man, since it's impossible for anyone to pass them all. This leads me to conclude that, in addition to the subjective criteria on the list, the usage of the list itself is also subjective. Under usual circumstances most every man would "fail" one or more items on the list. But if a man possesses one or more traits that she REALLY likes than the other items on the list would automatically pass. For example, a woman will backwards rationalize that a rich man has all these other 299 traits she is looking for, because he has the one thing she really wants (money). But for other women, some other keystone traits could be: "very exciting", "ex-con", "drives a Ferrari", etc. Yet another keystone criterion could be, "If I fuck him I will be sexually validated". I have personal experience with this one. There were two instances where I told these two women that I just want to be friends (after they flaked on me). The result, they seduced me with almost no work on my part. But had they met me without the need to feel validated I would probably have had to satisfy their 300 or so criteria on what they are looking for in a man. And of course I would have failed.

When it comes to mate selection, western women use the following basic hierarchy:

Does he match the criteria on my checklist?
• If not, move on.
• If however, he's rich, very exciting, very attractive, or he raises my self-esteem to be with him then my checklist is not as important. But if it is still important I will backwards rationalize that he must satisfy all my criteria after all.

This is the thought process of a lower life form. Men do not generally think like this, but modern western women generally do.

You may have noticed, there is no "yes, he passes all my criteria", since that's impossible. This leaves only the two possible outcomes as to what actually plays out in real life.

In some ways, the PUA attempts to be the guy who satisfies the above selection hierarchy, by either being the guy who gives her that excitement, lowers her self-esteem, or both. The PUA basically "plays ball" with these kind of women, which means doing things on their terms and according to their world view.

My approach is to refuse to play ball, period. If enough men do this women will be forced to raise their morality (and intelligence) and we will all be better off. But as it stands, too many men are trying to play by the rules women have set (either consciously or unconsciously), who in turn are playing by the rules of popular media and feminism.