Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Manners

Everyone seems to agree that the fraction of masculine, "manly" men has declined over the past decades.

Movies are one way to study cultural change. In Hollywood movies, the swaggering, testosterone-soaked role models of the past have given way to feminized, boyish characters. Young men are now prone to identify with characters who embrace their angst-ridden "soft side". In movies like "Juno", "Slumdog Millionaire", "The Squid and the Whale" (and pretty much any other movie out there besides hardcore chick flicks) male protagonists are portrayed as "sensitive" and therefore smart.

If there is any room for more masculine counterparts, they get are stamped off as "dump" jocks and bullying nuisances who will eventually fail in life. The old stereotypes of the risk seeking adventurer is nowadays being laughed at as cliche.

Things have changed so radically that a TV series like "Mad Men" which provides us with a glimpse of times past are publicly followed with a feeling of estranged amusement. The show evokes the frivolous fascination of a freakshow. Mad Men's appeal is breaking the taboo.

We live in an age where the neutralization of gender roles is deemed politically correct. Any word to the contrary gets stamped as "sexist" (with a curious negative connotation). Accordingly, women are increasingly portrayed in classic male domains. Female roles have shifted from housewives to tough CEOs, scrupulous politicians, cold hearted murderers - even sexual predators.

But while everyone likes to complain about the lack of balls all around us, there is little mention of the flip side:

The loss of ladylike behavior in women of our age.

I am not talking about the classic notion of a "Lady" in terms of lavish dresses or up nosed attitude.
What I am talking about is basic manners.

Gracefulness is at the very core of femininity.

There is sexual appeal to a woman who acts with the polite, self controlled elegance of impeccable manners. Women like Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly and even Marylin Monroe knew to how use this to their advantage.

On the other side of the spectrum there is rudeness. Lack of respect for others and aggressive selfishness are rather masculine traits (which are not unappealing to women).

With the blur between gender lines, we lost Gentlemen and Ladies alike. Young boys get told that it is okay to cry even if you are not a girl. And young girls get raised to embrace their tomboyish side of playing in the mud, burping, cursing and farting - just like the boys.

An amazing phenomenon that directly stems from this loss of a feminine ideal is the confrontational behavior of (drunk) girls towards men. With good regularity I get to witness women picking fights at bars with innocent bystanders (this is a good example of what I am talking about).

What makes these aggressive interactions so much worse is that women have not been socialized like men when it comes to provocation. Men learn in kindergarten where to draw the line, and the physical consequences of stepping over it. Women do not just lack that experience. It often seems as if these females expect men to shy away from physical escalation or some white knights to step in and end the fight (in favor of the girl).

There is truth to the saying that sex starts outside the bedroom. Men have sex appeal by the way they speak and behave. And to some degree that is true for women as well. Sex lives by the tension between a masculine and a feminine pole. The further the poles are apart, the stronger the tension (and the better the sex).

When it comes to sex, the "buddy with tits" is the literal female equivalent to the feminized male.

23 comments:

  1. i got slapped by a girl one time b/c i correctly guessed which holier than thou nearby college she attended by breaking down her clothing, her boyfriend's femininity and her attempt to cut me in line. chicks just don't learn things the hard way that men do. in the end she'll be with a simpleton of a man that she'll resent and make as miserable as she is, instead of having gotten slapped right back, re-evaluating things, and having a man she respects and doesn't dominate. she didn't get off lightly...she'll be miserable.

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  2. Re: video link

    This version is better -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1T4rYYMsX0

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  3. I tell ya, man. There's something in the water. Whatever is fucking up the gender of frogs and fish is making men more feminine, and women more aggro.

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  4. I have to admit, that chick with the drink deserved it. It's that double standard though. Treat me as an equal but don't beat me up as one.

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  5. @ el chief:

    A quick google search for estrogen/drinking water pops up mostly catholic (!) web sites who claim that contraceptive leftovers in female urine have poisoned our water. They even claim a link to decreased fertility and sperm quality.

    It is an interesting question whether there is anything to it. But I can't find any peer-reviewed study demonstrating any such link, nor believable data on estrogen/estradiol levels in US drinking water.

    The exact link between estrogen and aggression is also not quite clear (see here and here), but there seems to be something to it.

    My guess would have been that the average testosterone level for women has risen over past decades (many possible reasons, including diet). But it is very conceivable that fucking with the estrogen levels for means of contraception results in higher aggression. Hormones tend to interact in bizarre ways and show complex dose-response patterns. As anybody who gets somewhat into bodybuilding knows, endocrinology is a beast.

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  6. I only started thinking about this recently, but so many of the women I've worked with over the years have developed this hard veneer of pseudo-masculinity, presumably as a result of the demands of the workplace, particularly competing with men.

    An obvious exception to this is younger women. In their first few years out of college, many of these women are still very feminine and girlish. But, as they get older the demands of the workplace wear them down and even if they maintain their looks and figures, they just become harder inside.

    Of course, we can over idealize the past as well. I don't think a return to domestic drudgery would be welcomed by most women, or men for that matter.

    As a side note, I have noticed that those few women that can stay in touch with their feminine side can really use that to their advantage in the workplace, and I don't mean that in any kind of manipulative way. I've only run across this once or twice though.

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  7. Any word to the contrary gets stamped as "sexist" (with a curious negative connotation)

    While we're linking videos ....

    "What's wrong with being sexy?"
    --No... sexIST, sexIST! --
    "Yeah, what's wrong with that?"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeGteg74mjw

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  8. After watching that video... those people's main problems are

    (A) Live in Detroit
    (B) Are Lions fans

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  9. I think cultural upbringing plays an enormous role

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  10. “Ти ж дівчинка – поводься відповідно!” tranlt: “You are a girl, so act as one!” - This is just one of the many golden rules/phrases that was constantly repeated to me by my parents (mostly by my mother) throughout my life and it still continues on a regular basis. We are taught to use our feminine side to our advantage – ex: no bags carrying in a present of a man (this might be small and petty thing, I know, but it makes a difference). Electrical/fixing, heavy duty tasks are done by a man – certain household tasks were divided based on a gender between my brother and me. Of course, with an age change girls learn how and when to be “безпомічними-helpless” around a boy. There are many more examples of that in daily interactions between Ukrainian men and women.

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  11. I'm a pretty big guy. A 120 lb man (if they even exist) would never slap me, especially for something so trivial as a neg or a difference of opinion, because it is plain to see that I would kick his ass in retaliation. Yet women seem to think they can get away with it.

    I was recently slapped by a woman for something trivial. I slapped her back hard. I suppose I still treated her like a woman, as I didn't punch her back, but nonetheless it was very empowering, and I'll bet you anything she won't be slapping guys again anytime soon.

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  12. 11minutes,

    You are German, correct? I am soliciting advice on how to date German men here. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    -- Sofia

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  13. @ Sofia:
    "How to game a guy"?!?
    You got to be kidding me.

    For the record: Game works because female sexuality is primed to get sperm from guys who spread sperm (i.e. fuck around). Guys respond to different cues because a woman who fucks around will decrease his chance of passing on genes to the next generation. It's not rocket science.

    Things that work with women such as being surrounded by swooning members of the opposite sex will not work on guys. We are not biologically programmed to fuck alpha females. We are programmed to lust for young, firm, fertile flesh.

    If you want to get banged by that alpha dude, lose some weight, put on some make up and show him that you are attracted. There really isn't much else you can do.

    "Gaming" a guy is a joke. There is no effort in getting laid for any attractive female. And if you are not - hope for a drunk one night stand that he won't have to tell his friends about, or simply forget the hotties. Whenever I hear girls brag about their sexual exploits, I get that mental image of an obese male bragging about his overeating...

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  14. 11minutes,

    Oh, I should clarify. I don't want to have sex with him. Well, I do, eventually, but that's not the aim of my project.

    Girl game is fundamentally passive and relationship focused, not about scoring like male game is. I understand the precepts.

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  15. @Sofia

    Well, it's just semantics, but if you think about it, "game" really is a misnomer for something akin to beta-ization.

    What you have in mind is more akin to the "The Rules": avoiding to be fucked'n'dumped and scoring someone willing to sacrifice for you. In a way that is the complete opposite of what "female players" refer to when they brag about their "game". And I agree, commitment of an attractive guy is more of an achievement for a girl than simply getting laid.

    But here is the catch: Women lust for men who are unavailable. (This what "Game" is all about: (pretending to) be disinterested, busy with other women and willing to walk away at any moment.)

    In other words: A man who commits suffers from an instantaneous loss of social status (and sexual attractiveness).

    This has two consequences when it comes to male-female relationships:

    1) The guy who now seems so immensely attractive now will get increasingly less attractive with the duration of the relationship (unless he manages to keep himself unattainable - a seemingly impossible feat). This is why the frequency of intercourse goes from several times a day to a few times a week (if you're lucky) in long term relationships.

    2)A true alpha male will refrain from the sacrifices that come with lowering his status. This is the root of the modern day dilemma: Women try to "date" and betaize the few men who can have any women they want in the vain hope that she will be "The One" he changes is life style for. But why would he?

    When getting a beta provider to commit, any woman will feel that she "gained" security, resources and reputation.

    A beta guy might feel that he also gained something by trading off time, money and "exclusivity" for regular sex.

    So, that situation would be fair deal. But of course, we are not talking about trying to date a guy who would happily join a relationship in order to fuck you on the regular (i.e a beta). These guys are uninteresting and only considered as last straw when time took its toll on the firmness of butt an boobs and anything else failed.

    But hoping to get an attractive guy as boyfriend is hoping for an alpha to give up his trump card in the game: it's like asking a hot woman to scar her face.

    An alpha guy entering a relationship will feel that he lost much of what being alpha is all about: freedom. Read Master Dogen's post from a couple of days ago to get a glimpse of what that feels like for a guy.

    Still wonder why women "always end up with jerks"?

    [All this having said, if there is any cultural difference between US and Germany when it comes to that: the German "Joe Average" tends to be much more willing to enter a relationship. So if he has beta tendencies, you might be in luck. Note that on the flip side Germans wait much longer until the proposal. The average in my social circle is five years.]

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  16. But here is the catch: Women lust for men who are unavailable.

    I'm inclined to agree, but I do have contentions with universalizing that statement. I've had two LTRs (1+ years), with men I was very attracted to, and had set my heart on. The sex never diminished in frequency or in quality, and the only reason both of those relationships ended was timing (they had to move for work related reasons, but invited me along). I am still on excellent terms with both. I've "had" one Alpha (at least what Roissyites would consider Alpha), only because it began under the pretense of a relationship and he then re-directed the nature of our interaction... The assholery was attractive in some sense, but on another level, contributed to some serious self-loathing. There IS a medium between a nice guy who doesn't wallow in self-pity and a hedonistic, self-serving Alpha asshole and we forget that with these blanket dichotomies.

    Jens, the current, has already expressed romantic interest in me although nothing physical has happened yet, so I'm inclined to think he's more beta than Alpha (along with a host of other reasons).

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  17. The problem with slapping girls back is that a dozen white knight male assholes will regard that as carte blanche to beat the shit out of you "in retaliation".

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  18. It can definitely start a fight, but I guess that's the price you pay for sticking up for yourself. Since I am big and generally go to the bar with my friends, I can handle the fallout.

    I just heard a story from a lady friend of mine about how she and a guy were getting some late night pizza and got into an argument with a trashy drunk girl. The girl shoved her slice of pizza into the guy's face and punched him in the face a bunch of times, bloodying his nose. He didn't retaliate because "he couldn't hit a girl". How pathetic is that?

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  19. @marquis- I hope you called the police.

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  20. So back to the post... I totally agree that there is a serious polarity problem. I see so many women in their masculine wondering where all the men are? Yea well, getting into their feminine would help! But for me their cry is real, where have all the men gone. The men with presence and power, the men who can turn a woman on without just stamping all over her. What I call 'men'. I think that the women shifting roles is because the men aren't there - they are programmed to fill the gap. Why?? It happens though!

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  21. A good topic for a post would be delineating the differences/frictions between being The Man and being polite and civilized, say at a party or something.

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  22. On a basic level: I get an automatic 'ick' reaction when I see a woman swear. I tend to think it's quite normal, plus attractive when used sparingly and appropriately, on a man.

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