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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The circle of bitterness

In which Kay Hymowitz decides that Camille Paglia was correct all along:

Jillian Straus, author of Unhooked Generation, discovered that a lot of women had “personal scripts”—explicit ideas about how a guy should act, such as walking his date home or helping her on with her coat. Straus describes a 26-year-old journalist named Lisa fixed up for a date with a 29-year-old social worker. When he arrives at her door, she’s delighted to see that he’s as good-looking as advertised. But when they walk to his car, he makes his first mistake: he fails to open the car door for her. Mistake Number Two comes a moment later: “So, what would you like to do?” he asks. “Her idea of a date is that the man plans the evening and takes the woman out,” Straus explains. But how was the hapless social worker supposed to know that? In fact, Doesn’t-Open-the-Car-Door Guy might well have been chewed out by a female colleague for reaching for the office door the previous week.

It should surprise no one that the combination of mixed messages and self-destructive incentive structures created by women is having a pernicious effect on the mating rituals of Western culture. I don't think it has occurred to many young women that the not uncommon act of saying one thing and doing another not only has the potential to turn would-be Nice Guys into Sexual Predators as is described in the linked article, it not infrequently has the effect of teaching young men to ignore absolutely everything that comes out of a woman's mouth.

What, after all, is the average guy to conclude when, after listening to a female acquaintance's oft-heard lamentation that "all she wants is someone who is nice and will treat her well", she promptly lifts her skirt for the first drunk, unemployed bad boy she runs across within hours of their first meeting. Not only is her behavior creating a negative disincentive for courtly pursuit and a positive incentive for ruthless predation, it's also teaching him that there is no reason to place any value on her words.

This sort of thing isn't likely to make an significant effect the first or second time, unless it's the behavior of a girl to whom the guy is especially attracted, but after seeing the same scenario play out a few dozen times, why would any woman expect men to pay attention to her words? Even worse, once a man concludes that female words addressed to him are meaningless, he loses any justification to tell her the truth in return.

I have to admit, even as a hard-core gamer, I'm somewhat dismayed by the stunning lack of interest many young male gamers show in the opposite sex. Historical statistics indicate that most of them will eventually come around and successfully propagate the species, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that in the next ten years, more and more intelligent young men will turn away from conventional dating patterns in favor of prostitute services, pornography, and female-substitute devices. I suspect that two of the great technology investment opportunities of the future will be pseudo-relationship software services for women and robo-girl technologies for men.

In fact, the incipient economic catastrophe may well be the one thing that saves Western culture; a society focused on survival is one too busy for the modern cycle of sexual bitterness. The great power of woman has always been her ability to influence the behavior of man, and while the descent of the modern young man may not have been caused by the decisions of the modern young women, it is certainly exacerbated and encouraged by them.

UPDATE - Roissy aptly sums up the crucial issue:

A simple question many men ask themselves: If I play by the rules and make room for human cultivation, and the asshole down the street is getting laid like gangbusters, then what’s in it for me?

If Hymowitz answers “An ennobling of your spirit and dignity as a man”, she will lose the argument. As well she should.

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