Monday, July 3, 2017

Why a Preference is NEVER "Just a Preference"

Every day on social media we see people casually throw around the term preference, but is it really ever just a preference. Whether it's skin tone, socioeconomic status, weight, or height amongst other things, these preferences are usually deeply intertwined with social constructs, and certain privilege (*please note* I'm not saying people are affected by these equally). Is a preference truly ever just a preference?

Before answering that question with my rationale let me say a few things about preferences. I don't think everyone means harm with their "preferences", but there are prejudices deeply ingrained into societies that can make preferences problematic. That is probably a reason why even though people have preferences, it makes them feel uneasy hearing the opposite gender talk about their preferences in partners. Also remember that preferences are influenced heavily by social constructs, and as such they can be affected by nationality, location, and even your own smaller town/community.

So back to my question, of whether a preference is every truly just a preference. As you've already probably surmised my answer is in most situations IT IS NOT. But you didn't come here for the answer, you've came for the reasoning behind the answer and I will try to elicit my thoughts as best as possible. Let's look at skin tone first. It's a no-brainer that it's never just a preference with this. I won't spend much time here because it's a topic that I could spend hours on and still not properly do it justice. Also, most reasonable thinkers are aware of the stigmas that follows different skin tones and the people that don't, won't be swayed by a few paragraphs from me. Colorism has a deep effect on women and men throughout the world. I once read an interesting article about how colorism affects women in the Mexican movie/television industry. Although majority of Mexicans can be classified as mestizo's (mix-raced, an overwhelming majority in Mexican society), novelas usually star white Mexicans despite them being an overwhelming minority. There are tons of examples from all cultures that are similar to that one. So please understand how your "lighter-tone" preference even if it's not malicious in intent is a sensitive issue.

I completely understand the presence a taller man has in a room, which is at the least partially attributed to the confidence he has by being born tall (Look up tall privilege for men & women, it's some interesting research). Short men are not just complaining and being sore losers because you make joke tweets everyday about how men below a certain height threshold "aren't really men". Several studies have shown that shorter men tend to be poorer, advance less in their careers, are seen almost universally as less attractive, and are also seen as less masculine and powerful. And that is just scratching the surface. There are men with socially induced psychological issues based on their lack of height. Some will say "it's just a preference", but like most of them there is a deeper malicious untold story behind it. That's why the "are short men really even men?" narrative, bothers people.

Weight is another one that seems straightforward. Part of the reason people like slim people is because they have been conditioned to see bigger people as less humane ("greedy pigs") and inferior. There can also be slight variances to this and other preferences too. For instance in the black community being "too slim" has been attached with inferiority. I'm not going to go one by one through every single preference and point out how many experience discrimination based on them. By now you should have gotten the gist of my rationale, and that is that there is a bit of prejudice in every preference. There's no reason why it would be preferred unless it was clearly seen as better than the opposite. Of course some preferences contain more prejudice than others, but that's not to say that even the lesser ones can't be hurtful.

Now am I telling people not to have preferences? I am not at all, and if that's your conclusion of my work then you have misinterpreted my message. I understand that people like what they like. Preferences actually make dating less confusing as you're significantly and purposely shrinking your dating pool, avoiding the hassle of actually having to give everyone a chance. I just want people to be more aware of why preferences can be a sensitive issue especially when they involve marginalized groups. Don't be that pretentious person that feels the need to constantly describe your perfect partner. Instead just go out there and date what you like and be happy. Everyone will feel better for it.

This is the sound I hear when I hear preferences

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Curious Case of Rachel Dolezal

By now you've probably heard about Rachel Dolezal, a prominent civil rights activist who happens to be white. Of course that is hardly news worthy, except for the fact that she misrepresented herself as being black. The interesting part is that she is mixed, and her heritage consists of Czech, Swedish, German, and Native American. Allegedly Native American is a small percentage but let's ignore all that right now and get back to the main issue,which is outrage over the fact that Ms. Dolezal identified herself as mixed-raced (including black) in the past. Is this real outrage or just uncomfortableness?

To be honest, personally I have zero outrage on the whole matter. If someone wants to identify as black and spend their life dedicated to promoting and furthering black causes and agendas, I have zero complaints. Now it would be different if someone "misappropriated" a culture to capitalize on a certain advantage but the current facts do not support that here. She's not someone pretending to be Native-American in order to open a casino or any unethical thing like that. I feel like black women have voiced the most outrage on the matter, which makes sense because they feel like their identity is being threatened here. Historically, they have been trivialized by mainstream media, while simultaneously having aspects of their identity misappropriated. That is a very legitimate gripe, I just don't think it applies here. I'm also aware that as a man, my perspective is different, so I understand how black women may feel exploited. I read a tweet that mentioned because of colorism, Rachel Dolezal gained an advantage in the job force by being a fairer complexion African-American. I found that a bit amusing because there's no way that being a lighter complexion black woman could trump putting white and identifying as being white as far as employment opportunities go. Don't over-think this by making up unsubstantiated advantages she may have had. Someone could easily play devil's advocate and counter that with disadvantages, especially if they don't have to actually have happened. Basically don't try to create a reason for being offended. Either you are or aren't based on real information.

Let's talk about race for a minute here. Race is a social construct, meaning that it is determined and differs based on the ideologies of each society. There is no natural world order to race. It exists however we want it to exists in our head. What about the biological aspect of race? That is also just as unclear, as genetic variation is often times higher AMONGST populations (races) than BETWEEN them. I read a story this year about mix-raced twins that are different races, because one appears white, and one appears black which is absurd to me. How can two people that share the same parental lineage be of different races. Another example is that during the Civil War, some white southerners based their right to succeed on the fact that they were a different race than northerners. While both were primarily descendants of Englishmen, the southerners claim they descended from Huguenots and Jacobites (rulers and nobles), while northerners were Puritans descended from serfs. In this example their position of power determined "race". Historically race has been used as nothing more than an instrument to promote superiority and justify discrimination.

Back to Rachel Dolezal; I'm not saying her methods were right, anytime you lie it probably isn't. But it would be contradictory to ostracize someone who has done more work for black causes than most black people.  I don't think the lie itself (as far as how she used it) was damaging per se, but with that said when you lie, you have to lie to keep up that original lie and as that multiplies it can become very damaging. I don't know if that happened or not, but I'm aware of the possibility. So why the lack of fury from me? Well because part of me can understand why she felt she needed to represent herself as black. Now before I finish this rationale, please understand that me understanding the basis of her decision does not equate to me supporting it as being right. It seems to me that very early on, Ms. Dolezal decided that she would dedicate her life to black culture. As a black person, I can say with confidence that we are not very inclusive to white people. That is mostly the result of years of mistreatment by them, but that is a subject for another day. The point is that we don't accept people often. We are even quick to exclude other blacks. Every black person is familiar with the phrase, "You're not really black because _______ (insert almost anything you can think of). We also demand constantly that our people prove their blackness and if they can't the validity of any argument they have regarding our race is null and void. It can be a bit of a hassle at times, and that's for a non-activist.

So you take a white woman wanting to make black culture her life's work and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to imagine the barriers she would face, not because of her work ethic or dedication to black causes but because of her race (ironically this is an issue that black people know too well). Add to the fact that white women and black women have a rivalrous relationship (that's putting it nicely and is another topic that deserves its own post), it's hard to imagine her progressing as far as she has or having the same influence. Maybe she considered representing herself as black as the only way to effectively carry out her work, which apparently she has done a pretty good job of doing. My intentions are not to make her out as the victim here at all, but I can understand why she did it. As an activist, not being in the "in-crowd" does not carry the same weight, it just doesn't. So if her reason for representing herself as black was to be a better civil rights activist and positively impact black lives, I personally don't see any reason for outrage. Now possibly I'm being naive and it could be a less ambitious reason that I don't know of yet, and I reserve the right to change my stance based on relevant and available information. But I'm open-minded. I believe that since race is a social construct, people can chose to identify with whatever they want as long as they are doing "right" by that group and actually accepts that group as their own. And no that does not include someone that dresses or tries to look a certain culture, but switches whenever it is convenient for them or when they can gain an advantage.

BONUS Thought. It's also interesting that Walter Francis White, former chair of the NAACP for over a quarter century, had white skin, blue eyes and blond hair by virtue of mixed European ancestry on both sides (primarily white), but identified completely as being black despite being the great grandson of President William Henry Harrison. Both of his parents were born into slavery though. It just goes to show how peculiar "race" is.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Avoid Dating 21 and 22 Year Olds

Disclaimer: 21 and 22 year olds might not like some of the things I say, and that is okay. Feel free to call me a misguided old man to feel better. Also there are some generalizations involved, some may apply to you more than others. The take away message should be that for most of these things, you're at your  worst at this age. For example, you may not be selfish, but your selfishness will be at it's highest at this age.

They old adage that "Youth is wasted on the young", often seems true in regards to 21 and 22 year olds. Obviously ignore this if you're in that age range or younger (you won't appreciate the rationale), this is advice for mid to late twenties. Date people in this age group with caution because they're extremely dangerous or reckless or some unpleasant combination of both. 21 and 22 year olds have their strengths and weakness just like any other age group, but if you're in your mid-twenties you probably won't like what they represent. Let's be honest, they represent a younger version of you, going through stages and phases you've already experienced. I wrote this based on how I perceive their actions and my reflections on my own time as being 21-ish (let's call it that so I don't have to keep typing 21 and 22 year olds), you may have a different perspective. Don't mistake this post as me saying they're bad people, which is not my intention at all.  My rationale is that the 21-ish crowd can be extremely difficult for anyone that is not in that age range. It's like they have a code of conduct and ethics that only makes sense to them.
Why is this group such a hassle? There's literally probably hundreds of acceptable reasons (okay I'm being dramatic), but I'll rattle off a few that comes to mind. First and foremost, they're just coming into their own. 21 and 22 is a very important age as far as growth and maturity goes. For a majority of people it is the first time they are really an adult, and the wisdom increase from 18 to that point is immense. The problem is that too often 21-ish year olds believe that because they are a lot smarter than they were at 18 that they've transcended to another realm of intellect. They display this in an arrogant, entitled, and condescending fashion, which is unrealized to them but former 21-ish year olds know exactly what I'm referring to. They also couldn't be more wrong; they'll have just as big of an increase in wisdom and maturity between 21 and 25. You cannot tell them that now though, because they're 21-ish and already know everything. Related to this is the fact that they take themselves way too seriously. What I mean by that is they're rigid in their wants and expectations and leave little room for flexibility. Controlling how they come across is more important to them than actually being happy. Just such pretentiousness all around, and I understand why but they will realize in a couple of years just how ridiculous they were. A favorite quote of mine is "When you're stubborn and prideful, not much is insightful". I don't think you can possibly describe early twenties better than that.

Another thing that makes dating the 21-ish group hard is that they think everything is replaceable. At 21-ish you always feel like if you have something good, you could always get it again or obtain something even better. A person with that mindset is dangerous. That type of person might not see the errors in their own ways nor bother attempting to fix them. Instead of being self-critical and actualizing, they can just chalk any loss up to the game and move on. They often brag about this (their ability to "cut people off"). Part of that is because they stay in a comfortable bubble (if they're college students). If you're 21-ish, you are probably an upperclassmen and part of the highest social status in that bubble. That's a very exclusive club. For females it's an absolute position of power and they rule as such, like absolute monarchs. At that point, you're in a familiar environment and if you are attractive, there's literally hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people in a 10 mile radius that would give you the time of day. On top of that, they'll draw interest from men age 18 through 30. This means that they will always have a plethora of options and never have to take any responsibility for relationship failures if they don't feel like it. That's not bad for them at all, for someone older that likes them, that's equivalent to playing with fire.

Then you have the proverbial "late bloomers" even though this age isn't really late bloomer age quite like late 20's. Well these are people who are newly attractive and you can expect them to respond as if that's the case, unpredictably. Being a "late bloomer" affects people differently and you never know how it may affect the younger person you are interested in. I know a few "late bloomers" that are 21-ish that are purposely sabotaging any and all relationships because the new thrill of being wanted is too exciting to them. Of course they won't say that, and there is nothing wrong with them taking advantage of it either, but if you're the older person that likes them that's something to be mindful of. They also won't learn this until later, but the brashness of flaunting how much you're wanted is unflattering. You don't have to make it known every five minutes, how many people want to talk to you. In my opinion 21-ish is also the most selfish years. Now there's a big difference between selfish years and someone that is just flat out selfish. Knowing that difference can save you a headache down the road. 21-ish year olds aren't selfish in a bad way per se, but like I mentioned earlier, they are just coming into their own and are more likely to place a disproportionate amount of emphasis on their own wants and needs over yours. Anyone with experience knows the struggle of relationships without balance, and that's something you're signing up for with this age group whether you want to or not.

Lastly, the 21-ish crowd are prisoners of the moment. Immediate wants, and instincts always seem to override their rationale, and that rationale may not have even been rational to begin with. This may be the most damaging as far as preventing good relationships. It makes them very susceptible to dangerous swings of highs and lows. Now that's not to say that older people perfect in this regard, actually far from it, but at least then most actions and decisions are based on some sort of logical plan lessening the collateral damage. Not the "it feels good or right, so I'm going to do it" type of plan either. Instincts are very important, but you also have to learn when not to follow your instincts. People also become a bit more predictable with age. Some level of predictability in dating is a good thing. Spontaneity may be more exciting, but it can also be more stressful. Sometimes it's good to know how that person will respond to certain things. Every decision in a successful relationship can't be a risk.

Anyways, try to avoid dating 21 and 22 year olds. I know it's easy to be drawn to their "potential" or the fact that their sporadic behavior can be exciting at times, but trust me on this and just let them be. They're like that free spirit that is meant to be admired from afar or that beautiful flower that you should leave in the ground after smelling it. They're just not ideal for dating, not yet but they will be. Take solace in that.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why Women Hate Men Binge Liking Their Instagram Photos

There's a very effective way to annoy a woman, and you can do it rather quickly too. Go to her Instagram page and like as many pictures as possible in a short time period. Women hate when men do this, especially if they don't really know you. I have heard women mention that they have blocked guys for liking all their pictures, usually followed by some version of "Ewww he's too thirsty/annoying".  Let that sink in for a second. Guys have been blocked, simply for liking all of a woman's pictures on a social media platform designed exclusively for liking pictures. The irony of this phenomenon is not lost on me. I once had a "discussion" with a woman who got offended when I mentioned that blocking someone for liking pictures on Instagram (remember that is the sole purpose) is kind of ridiculous. I simply stated that you're not forced to follow this person back or interact with them, so how can them giving you more likes which she wanted (Let's just say she was a high-end Instagram user), get under her skin so much. Well I have my opinion, and I'm here to give it.

Women wield a certain amount of power on social media, and the more superficial the medium, the more control women have on it. Is there a social media more superficial than Instagram? I can't imagine it. It's the only social media that gets heavy usage despite not being very fun or entertaining. So how does this relate to women hating when men binge like their photos. It's quite simple actually, let's go back to the power women exercise on Instagram. Calling it power, may not be completely accurate. A more accurate description would be "perceived autonomy". In Self-Determination Theory of human motivation, perceived autonomy is an important element. Having control is not as important as thinking you're in control. Usually women's perceived autonomy would rank very high on Instagram. They have creative freedom (at least from what is socially acceptable and popular), and most of the times interactions are one-sided in their favor (following to followers ratio/Likes received vs likes given/etc). Men are simply objects of their amusement that they can usually manipulate through whatever they decide to post.

This changes when males binge like their photos, as it destroys that feeling of control for women. Instead of having creative freedom and controlling interactions, the woman is now being objectified (most likely sexually), and she is now an object of a male's amusement. When women post what men consider "thirst traps", they really believe it is genuine artwork (well some women not all). They had to capture the right angles, the right lighting, etc, but now instead of being viewed as art, it is being viewed simply as sexual attraction and stimulation by that male who mindlessly clicked on every picture without appreciating the art, aesthetics, and the core idea behind the picture. Now, instead of control, women feel as if they are back in our Patriarchal Society and resent that feeling. Their creative freedom has been seemingly turned into a meaningless man's sexual attraction. And because most think that men can't control their sexual urges, it has no significance. A woman who already is so sure that she is attractive gains nothing by men agreeing to it, especially at the price of her "perceived control".

Now I'm aware some could say I'm reaching too far, that binge liking is simply just thought of as being annoying. I'd be willing to believe that if it was a few isolated incidents, but that's not the case. Men binge liking pictures really bothers women. That's my opinion based on my observations and experiences, what is yours?

This is the result of binge liking

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Day I Became an Adult (The Day Naruto Ended)

Very rarely do I write about anime/manga (major understatement as this is the first time), but it's not everyday that a major staple of my life and such a momentous series comes to a conclusion. I apologize to my usual readers. I normally write for you all, but this one is for me. Naruto, created by Masashi Kishimoto, has had an amazing 15-year run. I haven't been along for the whole entire ride, but I have been a devoted fan since 2007. Like most kids of my generation, I watched Dragon Ball Z, but Naruto was really my gateway into other anime and manga series. A part of my youth died when Naruto ended. My "youth" could be defined by two things, Track and Naruto, and now I have neither. But enough about my fandom as that isn't the purpose of this. I want to discuss the ending.

There are 3 things that I wanted to happen before the Naruto series ended. I wanted Naruto to reach his goal of becoming Hokage, become universally acknowledged as a great ninja, and marry Hinata the woman I thought he deserved. All three of those things happened, so you would expect that I'd be satisfied with the ending, but I'm not. Now I won't go as far as some frustrated fans have by calling it a terrible ending and/or series ruining, but for me it was just "meh". A good ending should never have the audience feeling indifferent. Let's address why I feel this way.

My Macbook background since July 2013

1. Lack of Closure. There are so many storylines that never seemed to get its proper due. A gripe of mine is that Naruto-Sasuke's rivalry went from an important piece of the story, to pretty much the entire story itself. I'm aware that you can not properly end every storyline created over 700 manga chapters, but I'm not entirely sure that Kishimoto closed any. Maybe that was his intentions, especially with the inevitable spinoff, and related material that will be released over the next few years (no one sits on a cash cow). I partially understand the rationale of that, but it still makes the ending of Naruto underwhelming. A story 15 years in the making deserves a just ending, and anything made extra after that should be exactly that,"extra".

2. Relationships. We could spend all day arguing about the merits of the relationship pairs at the end, and we wouldn't really get anywhere. I'm going to try to avoid criticism of any pair. Ultimately, I got the couple that I wanted (Naruto X Hinata), but it seemed so contrived and lacking in substance. I wanted this relationship to happen, but I wanted it to seem "right" and it just didn't. Now I know that Naruto: The Last Movie is supposed to address this issue in some regards, but it seems to me that it will just be major retconning. Now as an American, I'm very familiar with retconning, but I think my favorite aspect of anime/manga is the general avoidance of retconning. It makes choices matter. This goes back to me saying the relationships feel contrived. It doesn't seem like any choices made by the characters mattered. All works of fiction are contrived, but they shouldn't feel that way. Conclusions should be based on a natural and reasonable progression of choices made by the characters. Quick advice for any writer. If you're going to make relationships an important part of the ending, you might want to put more effort into writing romance throughout the story.

3. No Hokage Moment. It's nice to see that Naruto is Hokage, but I think for most fans we were more interested in experiencing the moment he became Hokage. His dream was always to become Hokage, not to work as Hokage. It would have been a better moment to show the selection process, the support he got from his peers and villagers, and ultimately concluding with Kakashi (6th Hokage almost by default) putting the Hokage hat on Naruto's head with the cheering of the villagers, and some anectodal quotes from the people that know him well. If someone's life goal is to win an Olympic gold medal, I want to see them in the moment that they win the Olympic gold medal, not a few years later walking around with the medal around their neck. Now maybe that Hokage moment is being saved for later, but all in all it led to a disappointment with the ending.

4. Sasuke's Redemption. There's a reason why most redemption stories in fiction end in death. It becomes too hard to imagine acceptance or a "normal" life after the crimes the redeemer perpetuated. Itachi, Nagato, and Obito are great examples of this. Plus, what is more redeeming than someone who selfishly pursued violence and destruction to sacrifice themselves for the survival of another. Then you have Sasuke's redemption. After a few pages of talk to someone that would have forgiven him and accepted him regardless, he's good to go. Not only that, but he's free to come and go through any shinobi village whenever he feels like it. Didn't seem like enough to me. Sasuke, Orochimaru, and Kabuto should have all been exiled. They all did some good which is why they keep their lives, but ultimately their crimes were just too much to live peacefully around the same people.

Those were my biggest issues with the Naruto ending. Maybe they will explore some of those issues over time, but as of right now it leads the ending to be unsatisfactory. But to keep this from being entirely negative I will list a couple highlights from the ending.

1. Naruto and Hinata's family.
2. Asuma's son could be an interesting storyline.
3. The choices for Kage were perfect.
4. Sasuke's epilogue to Naruto.

Thank you Masashi Kishimoto for a great manga/anime that deeply affected my life. My displeasure with the ending in no way affects my gratitude towards you for giving us Naruto. Thank you, and good luck in your next endeavor.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Are We Really After Our "Perfect Match"?

On Thursday I watched an MTV series called "Are You the One?" I watched a couple episodes in the past with my reality-junky teenage sister, but somehow I lost track of the show. The short synopsis is that they put 10 women and 10 men in the same house, and they have to find their predetermined (By some scientific process) "perfect match". If they find all the perfect matches, they get to split $1 Million dollars or roughly $50K apiece. Ultimately they all found their perfect match but enough about that as this isn't a review of the show, but rather how the show relates to finding love and our perfect match in reality.

The most interesting aspect of the show and I believe it to be true in real life as well, is how determined everyone seemed to NOT want to find their perfect match. Of course, they claimed to want to find their perfect match but it seems that they were trying to take the quickest and easiest path to their perfect match. That usually involved an early attraction to the person they were most attracted to or the person whom conversation flowed naturally with. The thing is, that no matter how good those things sound, they are two of the biggest deceptions in regards to finding your perfect match. It's a flaw of first impression which I will address a bit more later. Finding the perfect match was also often hindered by the excessive desire for "hookups" and the fallacy of that culture. People were quickly hooking up and developing a sexual bond that they wanted to force, oftentimes one-sided, and letting that drive their opinion to whom their perfect match was. Some people weren't even really playing the perfect match game and were just trying to hook-up with people, clouding everyone else's mind in the process. I'm pretty sure everyone can relate to that at some extent.

As the show went on, despite finding out who weren't their perfect match, people kept trying to force something with them. This was usually to the detriment of their real perfect match. As I mentioned before they ended up pairing together all the perfect matches, but that doesn't mean that they were actually interested in each other. For the most part they weren't. Out of the 10 perfect matches only 2 or 3 left the show with any real interest in trying to be together, and ultimately only one couple is together (they are engaged now). That summarizes our culture's dating arrogance perfectly. Go on a show because you aren't having dating success. Once you get there, continue to make the same errors which has led to countless bad hookups in the past. After finding your perfect match which seems like a gift, promptly show no interest in being with them. Now as "reality television", I'm aware the authenticity of the show could be questioned, but it is pretty consistent with how people act in real life.

So do people actually want to find their perfect match? I think people are more interested in obtaining and utilizing the power to chose. Maybe it's our misguided attempt at "free-will". We're all familiar with the slang word choosing, and it relates to our obsession with choice. Our generation values choice over success and compatibility, and any choice that we don't believe is our own constitutes "settling". That singular phrase defines 21st-Century dating. It's also used as a crutch, and allows us to justify our mistakes and shortcomings by refusing to change and evolve. It's much easier to say, "I don't like that, so it's settling", opposed to leaving our comfort zones, trying different things and questioning our own rationale. It's sad to say, but we even have people that are more interested in a partner that would get Instagram likes and approval more than something authentic (Social Media's effect on dating is a topic for another day). Even though we are relatively young, don't let that limit you either. You never know when you're going to meet your perfect match, there's no guarantee that because you're not ready at 24 that you'll still get another perfect match at 31. Or maybe you won't meet your perfect match until 31, the point is don't take your age for granted.

An often used phrase that I believe is misquoted is "you can't choose who you love." We use that phrase in justification of actually choosing who we want to love, and as an excuse to continually pursue non-perfect matches. That quote is supposed to mean that you are drawn to people and there's no real explanation, instead we use it to mean that that's the person we decided that we want and hopefully all our differences and incompatibility will just fall together. Going back to the show, there was a couple who hit it off instantly but weren't a perfect match. Throughout the show they still dated and went through the motions of finding their true match. Well after the show, they didn't last very long because even though they connected instantly they weren't a perfect match for a reason. Maybe instant sparks are more important to us than long-term sustainability. I think it's hard for us to accept, that the person that gives us those instant butterflies and fireworks, isn't really the one. It's strange to say but sometimes the reason you are attracted to a person is the exact reason you could never really be with them. In my opinion a "perfect match" is the perfect symmetrical balance between the mind and the heart, which means there is a level of rational thought required. First impressions are anything but rational, and maybe that impedes our progress. I think if you talked to people who found their perfect match, they would tell you that they had to not only open their heart but their mind as well to different possibilities. 

A great quote from a book I read is that "we humans question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we really believe, and those we never think to question" (Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card). It is pretty straightforward how that relates to dating. We have already clouded our mind by what we absolutely believe our "soul-mate" will/should be, and by how we feel relationships should go that we never really think as to whether there could be a better way. Despite how often we are faced with the fact that maybe our beliefs (in regards to relationships) are wrong, we still hold on to them in hopes of a miracle. I challenge you to change, I promise it's not "settling". Every change won't work, but it will give you different experiences to base your perspective on.

Be more open-minded, less arrogant, and don't be so quick to call things you aren't familiar with "boring" (another word that has negatively influenced dating). Maybe I should have mentioned this earlier, but finding yourself first is imperative to finding your perfect match. Until you've realized who you are, your judgement will always be blurred. Good luck to finding your match.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nice Guys Don't Have to Finish Last

We're all familiar with the cliche that nice guys finish last, well at least when it comes to dating and matters of the heart. Well I'm here to tell all of my nice guy brethren that you don't have to finish last, but it does require a different approach. "Nice guys" aren't losing simply because they are nice guys, boring, or unattractive. They're losing because in their naivete, they believe human nature and either refuse or aren't very good at playing the powerful game of "Seduction" (I promise that word is as graphic as this blog gets lol). We hear about the "Art of Seduction" but most men, underestimate its importance.

You're probably wondering what does seduction have to do with anything, and the answer is EVERYTHING. Contrary to popular beliefs or stated opinions, people actually want to be seduced. That's where it gets difficult, as people want to be seduced without actually knowing that they are being seduced. Great seduction requires suggestion and not directly stating. Nice guys have been lied to and like anyone with any shred of decency would do, they pay close attention to women's Twitter rants and Instagram posts detailing what they desire in a significant other and relationship. Those traits such as loyalty, and understanding, aren't false per se, but it ignores the important process of actually obtaining their interest in the first place. That is where seduction comes into play.

As mentioned previously seduction is based on suggestion. Most "nice guys" make the mistake of telling a woman how they feel about them immediately. Sounds admirable, but is a recipe for failure. At that point, you've basically admitted to a woman that you intend on wooing her. Not only does this come across as unexciting, it affects the perception of all of your moves. As I stated before, no one wants to know that they are being seduced. They may have an idea of the seduction, but the moment you come out and tell them, you've lost. Now the perception of your "scheme" has changed from charming, perplexing, spontaneous (things women like), and now appears conniving, dishonest, and manipulative (things women don't like). While direct honesty sounds good in theory, it comes across as brash and unflattering, but of course we are never told that. Time for an example.

You go directly up to a woman, and state that you have strong feelings for her. You have just took the worst route in obtaining a woman's interest. Women want to feel as if they chose to like you, not that you coerced them into liking you. Depending on how bored she is, she may even entertain you with a date out of kindness. If you think that's what's happening, under no circumstance do you allow that date to happen. If it does, I can assure you that she will spend the entire time observing you and rationalizing why you aren't the person for her. You've already lost, that's why your seduction game is vital.

People can usually sense when they are being seduced, but they give in because they enjoy the feeling of being led along. There is a strange pleasure derived from letting go and allowing yourself to be led into an unfamiliar situation. You must not announce your intentions or reveal them directly in words, and instead must apply strategies of misdirection and dare I say "deception" to confuse your target. Feign romantic interest, then merely friendship, enjoy the company of other women, go to places you normally don't, and stop going to places that you always do. These actions are confusing, but they will also generate excitement. A woman wants to be led down a path of intrigue and even desires a certain amount of jealousy and confusion opposed to the boredom of security. Nice guys aren't told this. Why you ask? Because women are familiar with the power of seduction. They absolutely do not want men consciously wielding such power.

You probably want proof as to what I'm telling you is true. Well think about it, who seems to always get the girl? The assholes, the doucebags, and the arrogant and disinterested guys. Well it's not rocket science, those guys are naturally better at seduction and not necessarily intentionally either. Women often confuse those guys' disinterest or unpredictable behavior as a thrilling game of seduction, when it is really just disinterest (maybe not sexually but in them as a woman). That is the danger of the art of seduction, so be sure to protect yourself against it. The greatest seducers are disinterested people. All the misdirection strategies discussed in the previous paragraph, are their specialties. They are even better at it, because they are doing it genuinely.

Before you start this game, make sure that you are willing to finish. If you revert back to your natural instincts and confess your affection before you have someone completely smitten with you (at that point it wouldn't matter) it will backfire. No one wants to feel manipulated. All of your previous acts will now be resented. Everything that once seemed charming will now seem ugly.

There is a story about an aristocrat in 17th-century Paris that desired the affection of a countess. He was a "nice guy" that struggled with women. This aristocrat obtained the services of Ninon de Lenclos, the most infamous courtesan of 17th-century France, a woman who lovers had been the greatest writers, philosophers, and politicians of that time period. For comparison, it would be like receiving seduction advice from an older, wiser Marilyn Monroe. Well anyways, de Lenclos guided the aristocrat in obtaining the heart of the countess. Her strategies were very effective, and the countess began showing interest in the aristocrat (laughing more at his jokes, asking others about him, etc). The aristocrat could now see the finish line. Well one day the aristocrat was alone with the countess, and without his adviser he reverted back to his true form and immediately confessed his love for the woman. Surprised and shocked, she subtly recoiled from him and excused herself. He was confused. It's quite simple, all of his actions were now viewed differently. He had been manipulating her, quite well at that, and no one wants to embrace that thought. What was once intriguing as a game with moves now appeared as nothing more than an artless show of passion. The countess felt embarrassed and used. He never had a chance with her again. This reinforces the idea of not starting the process of seduction if you don't intend on following it through to the end. If the aristocrat had showed more patience, and made his move once she was caught in his web and smitten with him, the process would not have mattered.

Now remember this is all about BEFORE you actually get a woman's interest, once she is yours avoid playing games that can lead to confusion and jealousy. They invoke a much different reaction in a partner than a prospect. That is where the Instagram posts traits come in handy. As a nice guy you have nothing to worry about, as you could perform those duties with your eyes closed, it is the obtaining interest part that normally fails you. Now take this information and prosper.
Disclaimer: A portion of paragraph 5, and the story in paragraph 8 is paraphrased from the 3rd chapter of the book "The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene. Great book, and worth a read.