Sunday, March 1, 2015

Silence is Dread Game

I'll bet you didn't know that.
Confirming that the average boyfriend’s thoughts immediately turn to the subject during any period of silence, a study released Thursday by the University of North Carolina found that whenever a boyfriend isn’t speaking, he is, on 90 percent of occasions, thinking about ending the relationship. “By studying hundreds of couples we were able to determine that, nine times out of 10, if a boyfriend trails off in conversation or hesitates before answering a question, it’s because he’s currently contemplating how to break things off,” said the study’s author, Paul Hagerty, who added that even seemingly innocuous gaps in conversation caused by failing to hear something that was said or taking a lengthy pause between sentences are all-but-certain indicators that a boyfriend is mulling over how best to let his girlfriend down easy.
Sometimes, it's best to simply keep your mouth shut and let the hamster spin.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Of pens and the company ink

One of the pleasures of becoming a man of relative wealth and power is the discovery that many of the more attractive women who ostensibly want to be "mentored" by you actually want to achieve their career objectives by rather more straightforward and horizontal means. Don't fall for it. The most easily-plucked apple is seldom the most sweet. Or the most wisely-plucked:
Clougherty and Lonsdale had been dating over the previous couple of weeks, while he was her assigned mentor for an undergraduate course at Stanford called Technology Entrepreneurship, Engineering 145. The limited-enrollment class offered a combination of academics, business skills and access to Silicon Valley that has made Stanford the most-sought-after university in the country, with the most competitive undergraduate admissions and among the highest donations. More than any other school, Stanford is the gateway to the tech world, and computer science is the most popular major. Each year, new young multimillionaires are minted, some just months after graduation.

Lonsdale, who also went to Stanford, made much of his fortune by helping to start Palantir Technologies, a major data-mining company. He was among the “top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists,” according to the course description, many of them alumni, who came to campus as mentors for E145. “Students will learn how to tell the difference between a good idea in the dorm and a great scalable business opportunity,” the E145 handbook for mentors says. “Guide them and challenge them.” Stanford students are well aware of how valuable these contacts are. Around the time Clougherty took E145, another student’s project, a virtual-payment app, attracted an investment from a Google board member who was a guest speaker in the course. It became the start-up Clinkle, with initial financing of $25 million.

After sightseeing in Rome, Lonsdale and Clougherty were together in the hotel room they were sharing when she started dressing for evening Mass. Lonsdale came up behind her and kissed her, touching her neck and hair and telling her she was beautiful. She had told him she was a virgin. Both agree they had sex. But what actually went on between them that night, and throughout their yearlong relationship, would become highly contested. After the relationship ended, Clougherty accused Lonsdale of sexual assault. Stanford investigated whether he broke the university’s rule against “consensual sexual and romantic relationships” between students and their mentors and, later, whether he raped her. The findings from the investigations have sparked a war of allegations and interpretations, culminating last month with dueling lawsuits, filled with damaging accusations.
When I was a young man working at my father's very successful technology company, every secretary, cleaning girl, and marketing assistant made their interest in me clear. But I never did more than take one of them to lunch once - a risk worth taking because she was even prettier than her best friend, who was the reigning Miss Minnesota at the time - because I knew a) there were plenty of girls on the girl tree who didn't work for Daddy, and, b) the moment something didn't happen to go a girl's way, there was probably some sort of sexual harassment shakedown waiting to happen.

(There was never a second date because the girl ate like a freaking HORSE. I mean, she put away about four times what I ate, and I was lifting weights and doing heavy martial arts at the time. I correctly anticipated that she would blow up, which she did within 18 months. Damned shame. She was genuinely beautiful.)

Work can be a great place to meet women. An Adobe executive once gave me an amount of stick for treating one department there like a candy store. There are hot girls just out of college in practically every big corporation's marketing department. But don't date the women who work for the same company you do and especially don't get involved with any woman over whom you have any sort of authority, or for whom you have any sort of responsibility.

Note that even the smartest, best-educated women exhibit this sort of hypergamy. And why not? It's easier than actually working.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How to impress a woman

Science again backs up the Theory of Game:
Chaps, if you want to impress a woman, don’t talk about work. An analysis of almost 1,000 speed dates, showed that females switched off when a prospective beau started chatting about his job. Much more successful, was allowing the woman to talk about herself. And, surprisingly, interrupting her....

Professor Jurafksy’s analysis also showed that women liked men who interrupted them. He said: ‘The men would interrupt a lot. We thought interruption would usually be a sign of taking the floor and of being rude but all of these interruptions were sympathetic interruptions.

‘They would stop someone and say “Oh, that exactly happened to me too”.

‘They were attentive listening-type interruptions. And women, in a date that clicked, showed signs of engagement. They varied their pitch a lot, they varied their loudness, they got louder and softer. So, on a good date, the woman was engaged and the man was attentive.’

However, women really didn’t like men who were hesitant, with time-buying phrases such as ‘kind of’ and ‘sort of’ interpreted as a sign of awkwardness. And they really didn’t like chit-chat about work.
Translation: women like alphas who don't talk much and interrupt when they have something to say. And they dislike Gammas who ramble on, are insecure and focused on themselves, and are eager to demonstrate their competence.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't. Be. That... Thing

And Gammas wonder why higher-status men despise them so deeply. Don't EVER feel bad about kicking a Gamma when he's down. If you do, kick him again by way of penance. It may be the only chance he gets to learn better.

Fortunately, most of these submen are doomed to be dead ends anyhow.

I had a fascinating encounter with a Gamma male yesterday. He was deeply concerned about the possibility that mildly insulting people would be counterproductive in a certain circumstance. When I criticized the notion, he reacted in an angry, over-the-top manner with a long response replete with serious insults that ended with a self-pitying posture of martyrdom. It was remarkable. It was HILARIOUS. As I subsequently observed on Twitter, a moderate is someone who would rather shoot at his allies than at his enemies.

Sans an understanding of the socio-sexual hierarchy, I might have responded in anger. Instead, I simply pointed out that criticism is not insult and that there was no need for any ritual online seppuku, so he blithely proceeded as if nothing had happened. Now, I happen to like this guy, so I was content to let it go, but it was downright textbook, and I remain in both awe and astonishment at the vast gulf between the way in which low-rank and high-rank men are inclined to handle conflict.

To the right, the complete opposite.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Graduating Gamma 3

Step 3: Emotional

The Gamma lives on an emotional roller coaster which goes from anxious repression to emotional outbursts which can accumulate into rage and then despair. A Gamma is effectively out of balance emotionally and which is why they are so obnoxious to people around them and especially to women.

I have a couple of ideas of why this is so, and my guess is that a Gamma was a boy who was just a little more emotionally sensitive and a bit smarter than the average boy, then experienced some combination of the following factors: a Gamma father or father figure, raised by women alone, bullied rather heavily, socially awkward and had trouble knowing how to act, overweight or possessed some other physical trait that made him overly self-conscious. I don’t think it is any one thing, but rather a combination of several influences and events beyond which slowly turns a boy who might have some tendencies towards being a Gamma into a full-blown Gamma in adulthood. If you suspect you are a Gamma you’ll probably find this list or events like this to be still painful in your memory. Take that same boy and surround him with strong, but patient men, and have him enter into a masculine profession or the military, and he’d probably turn out a Delta or a Delta with a few Gamma traits.

Swinging the pendulum

After a lifetime of Gamma reinforcement how does a man turn things around? I suggest for one month swinging the pendulum far in the opposite direction. Almost like an emotional detox, the Gamma needs to completely turn around for a time and get off the emotional roller coaster. I suggest one month of practicing the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. The first step is to get yourself a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. My favorite version is by Everyman’s Library as the language has been updated, but it costs money, so there’s a free version here, and if you want a printed book they are easy to find used or are always at the local library. This is the place to start because it isn’t a philosophical abstract but instead a portrait of an Emperor and how he lives out the philosophy in his daily life. It’s also a damn good read.

As for a definition of Stoicism I’m going straight to the dictionary:
1. the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.

A philosophy that flourished in ancient Greece and Rome. Stoics believed that people should strictly restrain their emotions in order to attain happiness and wisdom; hence, they refused to demonstrate either joy or sorrow.

You can read more about it on Wikipedia, but for our purposes the above are sufficient. I’m sure there’s someone out there who will take umbrage with this definition and can’t wait to spam the comments with a debate about the true definition of Stoicism and their “oh so interesting” knowledge about Stoicism. Don’t do it because it doesn’t matter here and you will be missing the point. I don’t bring up Stoicism to debate its meaning or to claim it has superiority over all other philosophies or other such irrelevant topics, only that it can be a useful tool to help one graduate from Gamma.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Portrait of a Sigma

I was reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman yesterday and was a little surprised to stumble upon this remarkable portrait of a sigma in Haruku Murakami's short story "Nausea 1979", in which he meets a young man who inexplicably begins vomiting every day after receiving a mysterious series of crank calls from a stranger:

I knew this young illustrator from the time he did a drawing for a story I published in a certain magazine. He was a few years younger than I, but we shared an interest in collecting old jazz LPs. Another thing he liked to do was sleep with his friends’ girlfriends and wives. There had been quite a number of them over the years, and often he would fill me in on his exploits. He had even done it a few times while the friend was out buying beer or was taking a shower during one of his visits.

“You do it as fast as you can, with most of your clothes on,” he said. “Ordinary sex can drag on and on, right? So once in a while you take exactly the opposite approach. It gives you a whole new perspective. It’s fun.”

This kind of tour de force was not the only kind of sex that interested him, of course. He could enjoy it the slow, old-fashioned way, too. But it was the act of sleeping with his friends’ girlfriends and wives that really turned him on....

I found it hard to believe that such things could be carried off so easily, but he didn’t seem the type to spout a lot of nonsense just to make himself look good, so I began to think he might be right.

“And finally, most of the women have been looking for something like this.... What they want is for somebody to be interested in them beyond the—in a sense—static framework of ‘girlfriend’ or ‘wife.’ That’s the most fundamental rule in all this. Of course, on a more superficial level, their motives are all over the map.”

“For example?”

“For example, getting even with a husband for fooling around, or boredom, or the sheer satisfaction of attracting another man. That kind of thing. I just have to look at them to know. It’s not a question of learning a technique. This is strictly an inborn talent. You either have it or you don’t.”

He did not have a steady girlfriend himself....

I probably average a little over twenty-three hours a day alone. I live alone, I hardly ever see anybody in connection with my work, I take care of most of my business by phone, my girlfriends belong to other people, I eat out ninety percent of the time, the only sport I ever practice is long, lonely swims, my only hobby is listening to these more or less antique records by myself, and the only way I can ever get my kind of work done is to concentrate on it alone. I do have a few friends, but when you get to this age, everybody’s busy, and it’s impossible to get together all the time. You know what this life is like, I’m sure.”

“Sure, more or less,” I said.

He poured more whiskey over the ice in his glass, stirred it with a finger, and took a sip. “So then I started thinking seriously. What was I going to do from now on? Was I going to go on suffering with crank calls and vomiting?”

“You could have gotten a girlfriend. One of your own.”

“I thought about that, of course. I was twenty-seven at the time, not a bad age to settle down. But I’m not that type of guy. I couldn’t give up so easily. I couldn’t let myself be defeated by something so stupid and meaningless as nausea and phone calls, to change my whole way of life like that. So I decided to fight back. I’d fight until every last ounce of physical and mental strength was squeezed out of me.”


“Tell me, Mr. Murakami, what would you have done?”

“I wonder,” I said. “I have no idea.” Which was true: I had no idea.

“The calls and the vomiting kept up for a long time after that. I lost a tremendous amount of weight. Wait a minute—here it is: On June 4, I weighed 141 pounds. June 21, 134 pounds. July 10, whoa, 128 pounds. 128 pounds! For my height, that’s almost unthinkable! None of my clothes fit anymore. I had to hold my pants up when I walked.”

“Let me ask one question: why didn’t you just install an answering machine, or something like that?”

“Because I didn’t want to run away, of course. If I had done that, it would have been like admitting defeat to the enemy. This was a war of wills! Either he was going to run out of steam or I was going to kick the bucket.

What is interesting is that Murakami accurately describes many of the attributes of a Sigma decades before the concept was articulated. The young illustrator is solitary, but successful with women despite being physically unremarkable, is likable and makes friends easily, but has little interest in a social life. He possesses unusual motivations and preferences, has strong willpower and a high level of self-discipline, and exists almost completely outside the normal social hierarchies. His interests fall on the obsessive side. He understands women on a level few men do, but has very little interest in them beyond their sexual utility and is more inclined to view them with contempt than place them on a pedestal. Relationships, both friendly and romantic, are open to him, but he instinctively shies away from them.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, Sigmas are weird, and usually quite a bit more bent than they are superficially perceived. Needless to say, this socio-sexual profile has virtually nothing to do with the gammas who are dissatisfied with their place in the social hierarchy or the omegas who are largely barred from it. They can be reasonably described as a twisted form of introverted Alpha.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Alpha Mail: Extreme Gamma

FC asks if there is anything she can do about her middle-aged Gamma brother:
I'm enjoying the gamma posts. They explain a lot of behaviors I'd noticed without being able to put them into a coherent frame. I really liked the parenting advice today. It sounds like solid generic parenting advice since all kids indulge in that behavior to some extent. The points concerning the need to be right even to the point of turning a petty matter into a full blown argument  or social embarrassment sound very familiar.  I'm curious how you would deal with a gamma-type in your immediate family who has no apparent inclination to change.

My brother has a very pernicious habit of asking for advice on his life which clearly reflects a fear of changing, being wrong, and taking real risks. He lives with my parents, is in his 40’s, and has never had a girlfriend. He asks for advice about "his problems", and then picks apart your opinions on his circumstances, tells you all about why your advice won't work for him, and why your opinion is wrong. This especially seems to happen while we are having drinks or just watching a movie, generally having a light, good time.  It basically pisses all over the evening.

This is a particular thorn in the side for me because I'm aware I’m needy. I instinctively want to fix people. I feel pained for him and his missed life. It's a conversational bait and switch that caught me for years but now that I recognize it, I don't know how to respond to it because a large part of me would like there to be some response that would wake him up. Engaging him on this topic at all just seems to feed into his sense of rightness. Is there any way I could shut down these types of behaviors and still try to nudge him in a better direction? Or maybe I just need to accept I'm not equipped to do that?
This sounds more like an Omega than a Gamma in some ways, but the attitude she describes is pure Gamma. However, it seems to be very hard for some people, especially women, to accept that not only is it beyond their ability to change another adult, it is neither their responsibility nor their right. FC's brother is content with his life as it is. It may not be what he ideally wanted, he may not be all that he thought he could be, but obviously he is content with it. If he wasn't, he would do something about it and he would be grateful and heedful of advice concerning how to change it.

What he is doing when he asks for advice about his life is simply making himself the center of attention. He doesn't want the advice, he has no intention of changing anything, he just wants everyone to talk about him. FC can either oblige him or she can reject his attention-seeking, but regardless, she needs to stop taking his pretensions seriously. Of course he talks about "his problems", what else does he have to talk about? His property taxes, his kids, or his wife? He doesn't have them!

FC also needs to stop feeling pain for him and his "missed life". He hasn't missed anything he really wanted. He is leading the life he has chosen. God has granted him that privilege and FC needs to do so as well. The man is in his 40s. He's not going to change now. The time to intervene was when he was 9, not more than three decades later. He has constructed his Gamma delusion bubble, now let him live in it in peace. No one is equipped to change a man so strongly rooted in his ways; even if her parents threw him out of the house tomorrow it is unlikely he would modify his attitudes in the slightest.

My practical advice would be to stop offering him advice and to simply offer sympathy if she is in the mood to put up with his narcissistic preening, and to tell him that she's not interested in hearing the same old song and dance if she is not.