Monday, March 21, 2011

Fear of Flying

Have you ever been afraid of something that you knew was harmless? I've never been afraid of rats or spiders, or speaking in public, or getting in fights. I am afraid of heights sometimes; when I lean over the railing of a freeway overpass, I get vertigo and have to step away from the edge. It doesn't matter if I'm in a situation where I wish to be looking tough, or if I am feeling otherwise happy or carefree... it doesn't matter. I still get a rapid heartbeat and feel light-headed.

A lot of people have a fear of flying. Smart people. They know perfectly well that flying is orders of magnitude safer than driving. It's probably even safer than walking, depending on how you measure these things. One might as well have a fear of being struck by lightning in broad daylight. And yet, as the engines power up and the plane turns the corner on the tarmac, first in line for takeoff, hands grip the armrests with knuckles white and stomach queasy.

Flying is unnatural. Getting inside a big aluminum tube and jetting quite suddenly up to several hundred miles an hour and leaving the surface of the earth and ascending to a height five or six miles : this is not "natural." So it's not crazy at all to feel a quaver in your stomach.

Now I personally happen to love flying. I'm one of those people that enjoys turbulence. It feels like Disneyland to me. And when a big jumbo jet is ladling itself belly-down at landing, and a gust of wind makes it rock and dip like a baby's cradle, I get a big smile on my face. I just think jets are cool, I guess.

Still, I can't claim I've never felt afraid in a plane. Small planes in Africa or South America can be pretty dodgy. And most people have had at least one flight in a jumbo jet that was pretty freaky. When the jet drops a dozen feet in a split second, it's hard not to grip the arm-rails.

***

Even the most practiced players get a little knot of stomach-quease from time to time when approaching a smoking hot girl.

It's simply not natural to see a pretty girl that you've never seen and then start talking to her out of the blue. What I mean by "not natural" is that it never happened in the ancestral environment of humans, and it almost never happened even after the dawn of civilization. Most people lived hunter-gatherer lives, until the point at which most people lived agricultural lives. In neither case did one suddenly see a beautiful, fertile woman that one had never seen before.

Approaching a woman and getting shot down can be fatal for a man who lives in a band of 50 people, or a village of 300. The damage it does to one's status and reputation could scare away potential friends and potential mates. When your body gets all clammy or tight when you try to approach a beautiful girl, that's perfectly natural. That's your body, trained by generations of living in small groups, telling you to eject, eject!

But just because something isn't "natural" doesn't mean it isn't good. Airline travel is not "natural" either. And you can get pretty damn far by overcoming your fear of flying. A journey that took months by wagon, or 7 days by car, can be over in one evening. You can go places you could never have gone without the plane, if you just bite the bullet, get on board, and strap in.

If you overcome your fear of approaching a beautiful woman, you can do and see and achieve things that would never be possible if you had heeded your merely physical sensations of anxiety. It's natural to feel uncomfortable, just like it's natural to feel uncomfortable in an airplane. But you're a man and you suck it up and reap the rewards.

One of the biggest lies is that players never feel nervous or anxious. Not true. Players simply know how to confront their own fears, face them down, and reap the rewards. If you want to be a true master, you will learn to enjoy the fear. The fear tells you that you're doing something. You're going somewhere. People who sit on the ground don't feel the fear of flying. Only people who fly feel that sensation. If you feel the fear, the anxiety, the nervousness... you're on the right track.

Eventually, you come to enjoy the feeling. It's still vaguely traceable back to its roots as anxiety, but it becomes more of a thrill, more of a feeling of excitement, more of a rush. Like when my plane is rocking around in the air madly and I have a shit-eating grin on my face, because it's actually pretty fun.

You want to be that man with women.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What the Hell?

This is either deadly serious or completely tongue-in-cheek.





What on earth was this graffiti "artist" implying with this?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Girl on the Train #2 (with guest appearance by Crack Lady)

Sitting across from me, a mediocre-looking white girl, about age 27. A black lady, a crackhead, got on the train and hung to the pole between us. She was a textbook crackhead, complete with sunken cheeks, hollowed-out eyes, and powdery lips.

Fidgeting and knitting her fingers over and over on the metal of the pole, the crackhead called out in a creaky voice, "Anyone please help me with some money so I can get some food for my baby." She rattled it off with the practice of someone who has said the exact same line thousands of times, though she still managed to slur the words together.

Again, exactly the same she called out: "Anyone please help me with some money so I can get some food for my baby."

Nobody reacted. The white girl glanced up and looked around at the rest of us, as if in despair and disdain. She dug into her purse and took out a bill and handed it to the crackhead. The lady muttered thank you and waddled on down the car. The white girl looked after her with an exaggerated look of "compassion." It was as if she was witnessing herself being "kind," and was also conscious that other people were witnessing her being "kind."

She sighed wistfully, then picked up her book again and frowned in exaggerated concentration. The book was Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol (who can be seen publicly trumpeting his own hunger-strike here).

I went back to my book.

The crackhead, presumably, went off to get high.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Girl on the Train

New York City. I'm sitting on the uptown 1-train on a Saturday morning. A pretty girl comes in and sits down directly across from me. I take note of her, but it's really nothing worth more than a glance. I go back to my book. Pretty girls on the train in New York City are literally all around you. If you took a train from the far end of Brooklyn to the far end of the Bronx, on a single car of that train, at least 5 pretty girls between age 20 and age 30 will get on and off. Sometimes, depending on the train and the time of day, it can be upwards of 20 girls. I'm talking all 7's, 8's, 9's and even the occasional 10. (Of the honest-to-goodness, real-life 10's that I have interacted with in my life, at least 50% were in New York City, though I've spent less than 10% of my life there.)

When I glance back up at my surroundings a couple of stops later, my glance takes note of the pretty girl again, and this time something makes me pause. It's her expression.

Her dead-eyed, miserable expression.

She was about 22 or 23, though it was hard to tell because she wore a quilted black jacket with a deep hood pulled down over her forehead like Emperor Palpatine's cloak. Her ethnicity was hard to peg, too. At first glance I assumed she was Russian or Ukrainian. She had light hair — though it could have been dyed, of course — and light eyes. But her skin had an olive tinge to it, and she had big, shapely lips that made me think she maybe had some Central Asian mixed in (like Mongolian or Kazakh or something... not that far-fetched for a Ukrainian girl). Another glance and I could have sworn she was mixed Anglo and Puerto Rican. A lot of Puerto Ricans have light colored eyes, and with a little white blood in her and a trip to the hair salon... voila, we have this girl on the train. In any case, it was a bit ambiguous.

Nothing ambiguous about her beauty, though. The point is not her ethnicity, but rather her beauty. She had perfect skin, a lovely-shaped nose, and big eyes, and a sensuous mouth. Her jacket was too bulky for me to really get a good look at her body, but from her jeans I could see she had nice curves and no extra fat. My personal ranking for her would have been an 8 — a possible 9, pending a better look at her. In any case, easily in the top 5% of good-looking women in the world. An elite club.

And this pretty, pretty girl, looked so miserable. It wasn't sadness or physical pain. She didn't look like someone who had just suffered a death in the family, or who was dealing with a debilitating or fatal disease. These things can of course happen to anyone, including hot girls, and they can make anyone feel horrible inside.

No, her expression and body-language betrayed something else. I can only describe it as complete inner deadness. Here eyes were lidded heavily over, but she didn't look sleepy at all. Her pretty mouth was curled ever-so-slightly into an indifferent sneer... not the sneer of the bitch who thinks she is too good for the world, mind you. It was more like a mask of total, empty indifference. She looked like if you hit her with a hammer, it would bounce off with a dull clang, and no change at all in her expression.

For a moment, our eyes met. I've never seen someone look away so quickly. Lightning fast, before I even realized we were looking at each other, she looked away, back at the empty seats. Immediately she glazed over again. Glazed; that's the best word I can come up to describe this girl.

So miserable and dead and empty did this girl seem to me that I started working my mind, trying to come up with reasons for her to be like that. I ran through the usual list of things that make people unhappy, like the circumstances I listed above: sickness, grieving, tiredness. Plus: heartbreak, poverty, boredom. But nothing seemed to fit with this woman. Boredom might have come the closest, but there was an ugly desperation in her emptiness that went beyond mere boredom or stupidity.

I came up with a wild scenario. Perhaps she was a Russian sex slave, imported by a mobster who promised her the good life in America. And she got here only to find herself repeatedly raped and abused. But a girl like that would probably not be allowed to ride the train by herself on a Saturday morning like that. It's quite possible, though, that she was a sexual moll of some kind. Maybe a low-class call-girl on her way home after a night with her johns in Manhattan (she got on in Manhattan and the train was Bronx-bound). That kind of thing could make a human dead inside, to be sure.

But what inspired me to write about it wasn't the sick fun of speculating about the misery of this pretty, young girl. It was another thought I had: what are the chances that this girl could ever be so stone-faced and miserable in a non-feminist, non-liberal society?

Surely, young women suffered in "olden times." Humans of all kinds have suffered in all times and in all places. (One of the more laughable assumptions that SWPL liberals make is that misery can somehow be eliminated permanently from the human condition... if only those evil rednecks would get out of the Magic Obama's way!) But it's nearly impossible for me to imagine this expression on a pretty young woman's face in a small, medieval, agricultural village.

Let's assume she is Ukrainian. Born 500 years ago with the same body and features (assuming that nutrition and medicine went smoothly in her life... a big assumption, I know, but this is a thought experiment so play along), she would have been the princess of her village. She might have been married off at age 14 or at age 20... I don't know medieval Ukrainian traditions and I'm too lazy to look them up. She might not have loved her husband very much or at all. Maybe he was some thick-fingered, bad-smelling, old drunk bastard. Maybe he would even have beaten her sometimes.

Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, based mainly on the feminist interpretation of history, in which all women were perfect angels and all men horrible, abusive brutes. Anyone who actually thinks this is welcome to go and actually read some historical documents from those times and visit some of the few remaining traditional, agricultural villages in the modern world. When you see how straightforward and, yes, fair these places can be to their denizens, try not to let the mental whiplash damage your neck muscles.

It's equally plausible she could have been very happy with her husband. She might have had 8 children in life, of whom, say, 5 survived birth and childhood. As she aged and her beauty faded, she would become a respected member of the matriarchal class, shaping the lives of her children, caring for her husband and being cared for in return. When she died, she would have been buried next to her ancestors, and people would still remember her and tell stories about her and put flowers on her grave. Her own granddaughter — another beautiful young girl, let us imagine — might have a keepsake of hers on her own mantelpiece.

But in neither situation, happy marriage or unhappy, can I imagine such dead-to-the-world eyes. It's more or less unthinkable.

There's one other possibility I haven't mentioned, of course: drugs. This girl could have been completely fucked up on heroin or God knows what. I fully accept that this was a possibility. Honestly, she just didn't look that strung out, and her eyes didn't have that glassy cracked-out look, either. Her skin was soft and rich, and there were no bags under her eyes and no other indicators of drug abuse. But I guess it's possible she just started getting fucked up recently, and still retained her physical health even as the drugs were allowing her to mentally check out.

Still, it's a moot point. Pretty young girls don't become junkies because they feel happy and fulfilled and loved. They don't become junkies because they feel they fit into their world in a profound way. No one every lit a crack pipe out of humility, gratitude, or deep inner happiness.

The last thing I want to say is also obvious. Many people these days have the same expression as that pretty girl on the 1-train. Middle-aged business men, single mothers, teenage kids staring blankly at their iPhones. I don't have hard evidence that this kind of soul-death is strictly limited to our own times, and it seems to me an overly broad assertion. History is richer and deeper than even the most dedicated student of mankind can fathom.

But there was something so poignant, and at depth, evil, about seeing this pretty girl so dead to the world. It makes a man think. Or at least it should.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Crowd is Untruth

There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side. There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that "the crowd" received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.

—Søren Kierkegaard, The Crowd is Untruth, 1847

Friday, March 4, 2011

18-year-old Honduran Girls

Couple weeks back I was in Central America again. All week I was quite busy with work, and working mainly in a small town (an ex-United Fruit Company banana town... those are interesting places these days). It was nice enough, a pleasing amount of hard, interesting work to do, but not so much as to be exhausting. After work each day we raided the coconut trees for yellow coconuts, which we drank dry (about a liter of liquid), then cracked open to eat the soft flesh inside. That's a meal in itself.

But after five days of that, of that and the sunlight and the motorbikes going by on the roads nearby, it was nice to be back in a larger city, where there was a dance club next to the hotel.

In Latin America (in the cities, at least), it's perfectly normal to go up to girls and start dancing with them. Of course, this can be done in the US, too, but there's just a different feel to it down south. You can casually dance with a girl, then with a different girl, then back to the first, then to a third one. And they don't get all defensive and bitchy; nor do they get slutty and embarrassingly drunk.

The music at the club was atrocious, of course. But after a couple beers you barely notice. A pretty young thing kept making eye contact with me at the bar — or rather she kept looking back at me after she seemed unable to process the way I calmly stared her down when we first noticed each other). (Repeat after me: eye contact, eye contact, eye contact). I waited for an opening and went and talked to her. She and four girlfriends were out with two guy friends. That's five girls, all attractive, all between the ages of 18 and 22, with two guys with them.

The guys were slightly wary of me, but basically cool and friendly. They didn't mind me dancing with their girls. I noted that one particular guy was really into one particular girl, and so I mentally wrote off that girl and danced with her only very loosely and casually — signaling that I wasn't going to move in on his territory. No sense into getting into some cock-size confrontation with a perfect stranger when there were so many delicious gazelles on the savannah.

"Casual" dancing of course means dancing very closely, hands on each other's hip or side or lower back. If it's been a while since you fucked an 18 or 19 year old girl — or even danced with one — it's hard to describe just how intoxicating they are. Even an average-looking girl that age is a pleasure to be around. An actual beauty can be such a powerful presence it knocks you off your game. Her smell alone is dizzying.

Of course, one easy way to avoid being knocked off your game is to be surrounded by such creatures. Not just the five in the little group of friends I made, but of course assorted others all over the club. Don't get me wrong. Not all the girls in the club were attractive. There were some heifers, and some of those freakishly overly made-up girls you see in Central America. But the general atmosphere was quite nice, ladies-wise.

One girl named Rosanita danced with me for over an hour. She was slender but not skinny, with a little layer of female softness over her hip-curves. She had a smallish chin and big eyeballs that made her look a little like a Disney princess in a charming way. When we danced, she got very close and moved very well, but she looked elsewhere, side-to-side with a pouty expression. I can't think of a nicer way to spend an hour of one's life than dancing late at night, mildly intoxicated, with a girl like that.

Well.. ok, I can think of one thing.

When Mystery talked about the "Secret Society" made up of hot women and guys with game, he was talking mainly about getting laid. But there's a whole beautiful set of moments and emotions and experiences that go along with it. Being someone who lives life to the fullest, who spends time with beautiful women (and yes, has sex with them), comes with a thousand little moments that are lovely in their own right.

The hard work, the warmth and sunlight, the coconuts at the end of the day — all this was part of the texture that led up to Saturday night and the cold beers and the warm señoritas.

When I got off the plane in Houston the next day, I looked around and wondered how many of the people around me had enjoyed — truly enjoyed — their Saturday nights. Not to mention the other 6 days and nights of the week.

AF

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dehumanized

Passing through security this morning at SFO (a particularly Soviet-style security regime in that particular city), I felt for a moment the intense dehumanization and strangeness of the whole farce. A crowd of white passengers being waved through, berated, treated like garbage, ignored, and intimidated by a staff of non-white "security professionals." (there was not a single white person among the 20 or so TSA employees).

A huge, sweaty, fat Latin man joked around with his buddies instead of looking at the x-ray screen he was supposed to be monitoring. Meanwhile the line of people got longer and longer. Of course, no one dared to say a word. We were all completely cowed, like castrated mongrel dogs begging to be let inside. I went through the new body-scanner where a hugely fat black lately rudely directed me with hand motions without even deigning to look me in the eye.

Putting my belt and shoes back on, feeling a bit flustered and angry about the whole thing, I took a deep breath and looked up at the light streaming through the skylights in the terminal (not everything about SFO is terrible). Though the whole thing is dehumanizing and infuriating, there's nothing anyone can actually do to dehumanize me. I'm untouchable.

It is the TSA people themselves that turn into non-humans through their constantly engaging in their petty power, their lack of dedication and kindness, and their participation in a basically corrupt, absurd system.

Sitting down to eat my breakfast, waiting for my flight to New York, I notice I have a metal spoon, a metal fork, and a plastic knife. What a strange time to be alive.