Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Married Man Manosphere

I'm almost coming to the end of my tour of the Manosphere. Not of the PUA world, which is a different matter: I may yet read Mystery Method, if only because everybody seems to. The difference is that PUA's are only interested in picking up girls, and the tricks, training and state of mind needed to do it well, whereas the Manosphere is an attempt to enumerate and define the wrongs of feminism and misandry gone bonkers. And, well, also about how to pick up girls, and manage them once you've got them.

I have two outstanding issues, and both are related. One is about the whole Married Man Game bit, and the other is about whose fault it is when a marriage or relationship breaks up and leaves behind a trail of financial destruction.

One reply to this is that a truly alpha husband controls the Frame and stops that break-up happening. His wife is so awed by his alpha-tude that she never seriously considers divorce. That sounds robust enough, but it misses the target by a mile. Why should I need to control the Frame all the time? Isn't my partner under some obligations to behave reasonably? Which remark gets an indulgent smile. No, she isn't. Women are not under any obligations to behave reasonably. Don't I know? They can behave any damn way they please at any time for no reason at all, and it's the husband's burden to reign in their random and bring them back onto a steady course.

That's a very Biblical attitude, and many of the Married Man guys are Christians of one shade of extremity or another. I'm not. I think that if you want the vote and a chance to compete for a job I want, plus your own bank account and mortgage, and to take strangers into your bed Saturday night, then you can behave like a Registered Adult in the rest of your life as well. Women lost the right to be random when they started taking men's jobs from them. It's not my job to make a woman behave like an adult: she's supposed to be one. I will walk out if she starts behaving otherwise. A married man doesn't have that option, and has to take all the shit that gets dealt to him. To deal with that stuff, he needs Game. At least, that's what the Married Man guys are selling.

There's just one catch, and it has to do with the nature of human action. Men and women are moral and economic agents who make decisions, and their actions are the results of choices, for which they are responsible, and for which their only defence is that they were deceived by a plausible liar.They can make excuses about why they should not be censored for those actions, or they can offer reasons for why they did what they did, but they can't dodge accountability and responsibility: it comes with being an adult, which means in these parts, being over eighteen. No amount of biology, hormones, evolution, social forces and other such stuff gets you off the moral hook, even if it may get you a suspended sentence. 

Decisions and actions may be influenced by what other people do, and may be made on the flimsiest of pretexts, but that doesn't mean they aren't decisions. Those decisions are not forced, entailed or made unavoidable by anything anyone else does. Even when I say, and you agree, that "I had no choice", we are exactly recognising that I did, but it was one I could not be expected to accept. Decisions and actions are always a jump from reasons and influences: in the end, there's an element of random in all decisions and actions, because there's always something else you could have done. (There's more to this subject, but this isn't an essay on the philosophy of mind.)

Staying married on a given day is a decision, even if it is made by habit, as is dropping the D-bomb, or letting Krauser take her home on the bus.  Here's the newsflash: it's her decision, not the guy's. He can persuade, charm, intimidate, scowl or do whatever, but in the end, she decides how she reacts, and that decision is completely independent of anything he does. Like all decisions, it is acted on or not out of convenience, courage and capability, and it gets made for reasons or causes that have little to do with whatever post hoc rationalisations are offered. The end result of all this is basically random. That's the bit everyone backs away from - even though they sometimes notice it, and scratch their heads in puzzlement at it. Human actions are not senseless: on the contrary, almost all of them make sense in a huge number of stories. It's that which story the action makes sense in is up to the person doing it. ("Why did you throw the turkey in the trash after you just cooked it honey?" "I don't goddamn know. And don't you dare empathise with me.")

So there is no method for keeping any given woman from dropping the D-bomb, cuckolding her partner, withdrawing sex, behaving like a bitch or doing any other damn unpleasant thing she wants to. Just as there is nothing that is guaranteed to turn off all women from providing functional sex, reasonable cooking and loyalty - which is why some are badly treated and still behave like decent wives. There is nothing a man can say or do to make a girl like him, despite all the promises that Mystery might make, and there is nothing he can say or do to get one out of his orbit if she doesn't want to be ejected. This doesn't stop people handing out advice, and since nothing makes advice make sense as much as a good Grand Narrative, that's what there is in the Manosphere: Roissy's evo-psycho, Rollo Tomassi's Female Imperative and feminine solipsism, Athol Kay's Captain-and-First-Officer, Ian Ironwood's Alpha Moves... and some of that stuff works a lot of the time, but it works because the Mrs Tomassi, Kay and Ironwood let it work, and whether the next time is one of those times, for your girl or their wives, nobody knows. 

Which just leaves the accountability bit. A divorce or break-up is always the decision of the person who files, though we may recognise that sometimes they have good cause - violence, financial irresponsibility, cheating and flaunting it. The filer may try to avoid the attribution of responsibility by blaming the filee, or talk the other side round to agreeing, but absent actual violence, the very fact that's she's blaming or persuading means she knows it was her unilateral decision. That decision is, in the end, always a choice between a divorce and a not-divorce, an attempt at reconciliation or separation. Since nobody can control what goes on in someone else's head, the most righteous Alpha has no control of when the D-thought will land, take root and blossom into action. I've read bloggers who suggest that the man should take the responsibility for the bad stuff that happens to him: it's all his fault. I kinda know what they are getting at, but taken literally, it's delusional to a psychiatric degree, and taken as a statement about human action, it's just plain wrong. Sometimes, in fact, way more often than most people believe, there is absolutely nothing that you could have done. It's sheer self-indulgence and grandiosity to suppose otherwise about your own actions, and sheer bloody cruelty to suggest otherwise about someone's else's.

All that said, a lot of men would be way better off for taking much of the Married Man advice. It won't protect them from disaster, but it sure might pep up their lives and make them better people. Good luck trying it on a controlling shrew / borderline / narcissist / addict / alcoholic / daddy issues / resentful "make-doer" / high-T career drone or any of the other many species of Really Bad Choices that a man can make. Somewhere in Athol Kay, but not often repeated enough, is the most important piece of advice: that the default position for a young man is that he is not getting married unless she is Truly SpecialTM. The catch is, Athol's devotion to his lady wife aside, Ms Truly Special is like Mr Santa Claus - neither of them are really there. In the real world, the best anyone is going to get is Ms Pretty Close. And all the problems lie in that gap between those two ladies. When a guy comes to the opinion that he's going to be lucky to get Ms Fairly Okay, he's should start examining MGTOW seriously.

For this lifetime bachelor, MGTOW avant la lettre, the Married Man guys come across as trying their righteous best to make the best of a dodgy decision they probably wouldn't make now. It sounds like so far, some of them are doing a pretty decent job. They give me the feeling that being married is like sitting on a powder keg, a hostage negotiator for life, and for reasons that totally escape me, they seem to think it's worth it. But I'm a sober alcoholic / addict / ACoA and all-round jerk, so what do I know from being an upright citizen? Strangely, I don't feel any need to change that, nor to apologise for it. And at my age it would just plain un-freaking-dignified to be otherwise. Nobody on this train gives a flying toss about me and my opinions, and without any rancour I'm quite happy to reciprocate.

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