My gym has profiles for all the trainers - all of whom are impressive - and each one has a little "philosophy" saying. A few hit me right between the eyes. Your body is the only thing you will ever truly own, look after it, and it will look after you.. Preach it brother! There have been two periods in my life when I didn't exercise regularly: about seven years between leaving secondary school and around the end of my first year working, and around three years in the Oughties when I started working in central London and stopped using a gym near my house. For a lot of that time I swam, and I started weight-training in the late… never you mind. I've been doing it a long time now. I have no idea how people can walk around with the bodies that most of them have. How can they tolerate the flabby arms and the soft muscles? Don't they know about the health advantages of training? It wouldn't be so bad if they were studying Aristotle and Sloterdijk instead, but they aren't. This also applies to the food we eat and what we drink. Says he currently eating the daily bar of chocolate and evening coffee. Which is what I do instead of what you do, which is booze.
Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself. Because this says that we are who we make ourselves, and we are responsible for that. "Finding yourself"? Suppose you find an arsonist? Or an asshole? Addict/ alcoholic / ACoA that I am, I've learned how to do some stuff that the Laundry List says I'm not good at. I've been creating myself since I was about eleven, every time I decided to read, listen to or do something new. The body I have comes from a gym, not my genes, because weight training really can re-shape how I look. We make ourselves in reaction to what others make of us, within the limits of the potential given by our genes. (That, by the way, is Nature vs Nurture vs Free Will wrapped up into one.) I am never going to be a distance runner - my breathing is awful but within the limits I can make choices.
Progress is made at those moments when, although your body says no, you will your mind to say YES!. Hell yeah. This is the difference between the Normals and Us. We show up when we would rather goof off and watch a DVD or a movie. I may do two sets instead of three, or lift a little lighter, or something else to make the session do-able. When I get back into the groove maybe a couple of weeks later - this current hot, humid weather is starting to take its toll - I'm at 90-95% of full performance. The Normals, who have been standing outside pubs drinking for the same time, are going to need at least a fortnight to get back up again. Assuming they make it back in, and don't stay dropped out way past the end of whatever it was that kept them away.
If you are strong mentally, the physical achievements are endless.. If you are training at all seriously, you will remember the first time the body was willing but the mind wasn't there. No-one knows what causes it, it has nothing to do with work, relationships, food or the weather, it might be the early stages of a virus that your immune system fights off… but your head ain't in it and you may as well quit and go home. It happens to everyone at least once a year. If my head is in the game, and my blood sugar is where it needs to be, I can train like a mofo. If I'm distracted or down, I'm weaker. If I'm angry, I'm strong.
Self-respect, self-discipline, perseverance, mental and physical strength. Sounds good to me.
Monday, 29 July 2013
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Over in the Manosphere they talk a lot about Alphas, Betas, Sigmas and the like. Try this
as an example.
My first problem with the usual typologies is that it's all a little too much like High School: swaggering Alphas, detached Sigmas, wussy Deltas, mass-market Betas. These ideas are supposed to come from "science", but it all sounds like a systemisation of teenage, and perhaps academic, life to me. People are not bonobos: that's why people make documentary TV programmes about bonobos, not the other way around.
So, is there a hierarchy? Don't think too hard: it's a trick question. A hierarchy implies someone who's judging, and a Man's reply to that will be "who the fuck died and put you in charge?" Men recognise hierarchy in objective achievement - running faster, lifting heavier, earning more, cutting neater code, laying tile straighter and faster, whatever - but not in the estimate of manhood. You're either a Man or a Male: it's binary. Of course it is: Men are binary. Women and diplomats go in for fifty shades of grey.
So let's dump the high-school hierarchy. There. Doesn't that feel better? Now let's also dump the stereotypes and classifications, mostly because they aren't relevant to the problem. We don't need to know anything about that schlubby-looking suburban pram-pushing, cargo-shorts wearing Dad at the door of the restaurant, about to inflict two tired and disgruntled children and a woman who may very well soon be his ex-wife for all the pleasure she seems to take in their company. It doesn't matter how much he earns, where he volunteers, what education he had or what culture he consumes. His political views are irrelevant. He's a disgrace, from his choice of clothes, through his slack posture to his shrewish wife. That's all we need to know, and we can tell it pretty much at a glance. We're men, it's binary: you're a disgrace or not. More to the point, you're an exemplar or not.
Let's talk role-models. When I was an impressionable young man, we had real heroes: Simon Templar, John Steed, John Drake, James Bond, Napoleon Solo, Kojak, Harry O, plus any character played by John Wayne, Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood. Not a married man among them, all dashing bachelors without visible personal lives, capable, independent, tough, smart, cool and usually with neat cars. Only the great George Clooney carries on this tradition, and a young man could do a lot worse than model himself on Clooney's characters - even if they are more ambiguous than the earlier ones.
By contrast with these admirable figures, married men tended to turn up in comedies and soap operas, and if they were the lead characters in serious dramas, their home life was a sketch, usually featuring a supportive wife and two children on their way to school. If a male character had a detailed home life, it was the same disaster we recognise today. He was an emotional klutz and his more in-tune-with-the-important-things wife was always explaining said important-stuff to him. And of course, the domestic, Peyton Place-style drama, is predicated on on everyone behaving like personality-disordered cliches. One reason that the media seems full of negative portrayals of men is that there are far fewer heroes and those few are more complicated. The airtime has been taken by advertiser-friendly series designed to deliver a large, high-spending female audience.
So Who Da Man? Once it was John Wayne. Feminists hated him exactly because he was such a clear role model. Steve McQueen was the coolest white man that ever lived, no doubt. Miles Davis was cool, but he's a bad role model - maybe Arthur Ashe is better. My personal heroes (Socrates, Groucho Marx, Paul Feyerabend, Craig Murray) are all men who one way or another gave bureaucratic authority the finger, and were good at what they did.
We're looking for outward confidence, self-respect, the ability to gain trust from other people, manners, taste, discretion, the competent exercise of whatever the appropriate life-skills are for the time and place, and the ability to know who to trust. And yes, psychopaths score highly on all those things, so we need to add in the usual requirements of consideration, co-operation and contribution. Princes used to be punctual and polite and, oh yes, they killed you if you dissed them. Since killing people is frowned on, a modern-day Prince is still punctual and polite, but dumps those who diss him. Autonomy is the central criterion. If you are running around after your girlfriend, wife, daughter, mother, alcoholic brother, best mate, boss, supervisor, clients or whoever else, then you are below the Man-Line.
Sure. I know. This excludes men who are pillars of their community who have loving wives and adorable children. I have agonised about this for a long while. Now I'm sure. Married men can do many wonderful things, but forty per cent of them get divorced, which leads to daughters becoming strippers and sons flaking college. 3:2 against with a limited upside and a lose-everything downside is not a bet any sensible person would make. If it's a dumb thing for you to do in your professional life, it's a dumb thing for you to do in your personal life. A man knows that if it isn't business, it's R&R, and doesn't make dumb decisions in the first place.
Does anyone exemplify these virtues today? Aside from George Clooney? I'm going to guess that Roman Abramovich and Vladimir Putin are pretty much their own men, but theirs is a hard act to emulate. I don't know where a young man looks now for a decent role model.
Monday, 22 July 2013
So in Part One we established that my life since about 2006 has been pretty damn full of time-consuming and emotional Stuff that would cause lesser mortals to hit the bottle, take narcotic drugs or Go Travelling. But it gets worse. Or more pathetic, depending.
In an earlier draft I had a lot of stuff about how being in a no-sex relationship meant I no longer thought of myself as someone whose sexual needs were deserving of being met. Or indeed, that I no longer thought of women as sexual creatures. And meditations around that point. While putting the barbells back on the rack (because I'm a Good Citizen) I had a truly horrible thought. What if all that stuff was just therapy-noise, and I'd stopped bothering with sex because I don't need to fool myself I'm living a life anymore? What if I was only responding to the interest girls showed in me - and that was what I was doing, I never chased after them - because a) horny young man, b) I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing. (How about (c) I thought women could Ease The Pain? While I've always known that drugs could Ease The Pain and have stayed away from them for that reason, it never occurred to me that sex could ease the pain, nor that female company could, and it never did. I didn't drink to Ease The Pain, and it didn't anyway, but it did leave me feeling connected with... something.) What if, now I've tried an LTR, I'm like "been there, done that, didn't get the fuss"? What if I'm not only "not the marrying kind" (lovely phrase - though I think it was code for "gay") but "not the sexual kind" either? Okay, I'm being silly. Of course I am / was. Maybe now I just don't have the hormones to make me behave like an idiot (see how I naturally wrote "an idiot" to describe a guy who chases after girls because he's got a hard-on?) What if I just don't have the inner urge anymore?
I'd say most days I see at least one woman who, if we were meeting in more convenient circumstances, I would be quite happy to get next to, if only the one time. One advantage of being older is that my choice is much wider - roughly from twenty-five to forty-five - (and I said my choice, not my chances). The circumstances are no good. She is in full work armour, I am in full absence, both of us are on public transport or around the City, or just maybe in the West End. No time, no state of mind. (Yea gods, Roosh goes touring the world and Krauser hangs around the West End all day, or else goes off to exotic destinations. Neither have full-time day jobs. I'd like to see either of them pull at the rate they do if they had to be in the office by 08:00 five days a week.)
Of course I have the inner urge. If I didn't I wouldn't be moaning on about it like this. Sure I don't have the hormones at the levels I used to, but that is, as you will understand when you too get here, a good thing. My problems are all logistics: where to meet, and where to go for the action. afterwards. Actually, most peoples' problem is logistics: otherwise there would be no dating agencies or websites, and that attractive girl in your office wouldn't have the problems she's having getting a date or even a husband.
By the time I came out of the LTR, I was mid-fifties. You can recite all the cliches you like about men ageing well, but that sound you will hear as you pass fifty-five is the door squeaking shut. Suddenly a fifteen-year age difference is significant again. I did go out with a twenty-four year old when I was forty-one, and partly because I looked thirty-one, it wasn't an issue for her - and anyway she was AA-female bonkers. However, ask a forty year-old woman if she's prepared to have an intimate encounter with a fifty-six year old man and see what happens. Ask a thirty-year-old woman if she wants to intimately encounter a forty-five year old? Maybe, if he's in really good shape. But a fifty-five year old - even if he's in really good shape? A guy needs to be a Certified Somebody to be attractive past fifty-five, and I am a Regular Joe. The waitresses in my regular lunchtime haunts smile at me because I'm their nice regular customer who treats them like people, but how they hold themselves and smile when the customer is a hot thirty-something guy is totally different. I get it: the odds are slim. And no, a "woman my age" won't go near me because I'm clearly not house-trained and she has nothing in common with me. So the odds are pretty damn small.
I started this two-parter because I was starting to beat up on myself: five years ago and I haven't got back in the saddle; I'm less than a real man because I'm not approaching every woman I have even the slightest twinge of interest in; I should be doing daygame approaches. And so on and so forth. Turns out that it's been a fairly eventful five years, I'm not in my early thirties, and the rest of the world probably doesn't think I should be chasing after girls at all. It's a Big Myth that Everyone Is Better Off With A Partner. Actually, at least thirty per cent of the people who do try LTR's split after ten years... oh, wait, that's what I did.
Damn. I'm just another statistic.
Thursday, 18 July 2013
I broke up my one and only LTR in October 2008. I haven't had a woman in my life, or bed, since then. At my age, that's a lot less painful than it is for a thirty-year-old. However, that's nearly five years ago, and it's worth wondering where the time went. When I look at it, it's a freaking miracle I haven't collapsed.
In 2005 I was unemployed for half the year. The company I had been working for ran out of money and made a lot of redundancies in the summer. I think I got a very short consulting gig sometime in the winter or the start of 2006, then nothing until about November 2006 when I had an awful three-month contract at Newbury Mobile Phones Ltd. That's a lot of time out of work.
In 2007 I joined The Bank. I stopped going to the local gym at the same time, as I had been getting bored, tired and lacking all enthusiasm for exercise. What I didn't know was that my blood sugar would shortly go from 4-5 micro units per millivolume, which is fine, to around 8-9 mmol/L, which while not life-threatening, caused me to get blotchy, itchy legs, a string of nasal infections (which are taken seriously by medics, and for which I became really well-known at the Soho Walk-In Centre) over a two-year period, and I swear my brain didn't function quite right. The fact that my slot in the office was gloomy, the boss was an insecure bully, and I couldn't see that my job would last past the next three months, did not help. Plus adapting to the weird world of retail banking takes much more time than you would think. I weighed 103 kgs, too much of it was fat, and I snored badly. That was pretty much 2008 as well, and you can add in some blood tests.
2009 started with me going on a carb-free, chocolate-free, reduced-sugar diet that lost me 15kgs (down to 88 kgs) in about four months. At 88kgs sometime in the summer, I was experiencing serious constipation, so I ate more bulky food and my weight settled around 91kgs. The nasal infections stopped. My head cleared up. My mood improved. But not before I was put on an "improvement plan" at work at the start of the year, and then re-organised into a lower-grade job in summer as a result of The Merger. (Not quite as bad as it sounds: at The Bank anyone to whom that happens keeps their existing pay and conditions for about three years, giving them ample chance to get their grade back.) All my Bro's went off in different directions across the organisation, and I had a new manager. Which was actually the best thing that happened to me, even if it took a while before I could recover enough to be an asset to him.
2010. Not a day went by that I didn't think of my down-graded status. I did my job. The entire company was in turmoil, new recruits were joining every month, and very few people really knew their way around. I just did shit I thought needed doing, and that turned out to be exactly what my new manager wanted his people to do. So I started to work my way back again. I was helpful to the new guys, and that's not as common as one might think, and I got my grade back in the autumn. A couple of months later I joined my current gym. That was because my weight had crept back up to 95kgs again. I've made that sound like an easy year, but it wasn't. It was stressful. I took time off work, but no holidays.
2011. The year of the holidays. I went to the Algarve, Pembroke and Biarritz via days in Paris either side. I brought a heatwave with me to all of them. And I was… not lonely, but exhausted from having to keep myself busy and occupied for the sixteen hours a day I'm usually awake. I talked to no-one who wasn't staff, except in the Algarve where I spent a couple of hours talking with a German girl who painted churches and who was driving round Europe with her dog and sleeping in the car. The people who ran the restaurant at that beach thought we were so cute. I was damn nearly in tears one of those lunchtimes on the Algarve. Dinner at Chez Phillipe in Biarritz was amazing. Then The Bank moved us from Covent Garden to Bishopsgate. We still don't like it. Also The Year of Spinning, Running, Yoga and Pilates.
2012. The year I was coughing for months and my legs packed up. Don't let's talk about 2012. I don't want a repeat. I got a lot of massage and osteopathy. Almost as much as I did on my damn arms at the start of 2013.
I didn't mention the building work I had done on the house in 2007, where I had to fire one set of builders and find someone else to finish the job. The place now looks finished - except for the cupboard under the stairs, and I really should replace the kitchen. I've had three cars in that period: a Ka that got written off when a drunk shunted me in Twickenham, a Clio that got flooded by the river at Richmond because I didnt know it was a super-tide Sunday, and the Punto I have now. All of them second-hand and all paid for cash.
So over that period I've been dealing with shit and changing my life round pretty much non-stop. Everyone gets a year to mourn. That takes me to October 2009. Then the work situation takes over. That takes me to October 2010. I don't have an excuse for 2011, 2012 was pretty much a Lost Year, and I don't have an excuse for 2013 either. Except, you know, grey hair, a string of bad experiences and very few good ones, and one other thing, which will begin part two.
Monday, 15 July 2013
I have finally put my finger on what's been troubling me about some of the commentators and even posts at Dalrock, Rational Male and other such blogs. These guys are blaming the women. They are blaming feminism. They are blaming Ben Bernanke, the Family Courts, female HR drones, Barak Obama, welfare, socialism, the tax system, fault-free divorce, Sex And The City… everything and everyone, in fact, except... oh, themselves. These guys never blame themselves.
In AA the drunk hears very early that the only person who got him drunk was himself. Nobody held him down and poured the drink down his throat. He was the one walking into bars, ordering booze and tipping the stuff down his throat. Nobody kidnapped him, chained him to a barstool and threatened to kill him if he didn't put a half-dozen beer-and-whisky chasers down. He is responsible for getting drunk, not the barman, the brewery, the advertising agency or the guy who built the factory where they make the stuff. Not others, him. End. Of. Story. Recovery concentrates less on why he turned into a useless drunk and more on how to get back to being a useful member of society. How does the drunk live sober, one day at a time? Identifying his fears, resentments, shortcomings and needs to make amends, accepting the responsibility for his screw-up, are all part of the Steps.
Like the joke goes "You married her". Oh yes they did. They picked her out, they asked her, and they signed on the dotted line. And then they tell us that she fooled them by acting sane and sexy during courtship, then flipped to a Borderline sexless nightmare the day after sobering up after the wedding reception. I've met enough crazy women in the rooms, and in real life, and they give themselves away as entitled / crazy / selfish / manipulative / otherwise undesirable within about an hour. (The Catch-22 here is that you shouldn't get married before you've got enough experience to spot the danger signs, but when you have got enough experience to spot the bad 'uns, you won't want to get married.)
Saying that those guys have some blame to accept is not saying they have to accept all the blame. I am not for one moment running the line that women's behaviour is just something that we have to live with - indeed the MGTOW point is exactly that we don't have to live with it, and the PUA point is that even if we do live with it, we should exploit it. Women are human beings, not squirrels, and are subject to the same moral and personal standards that men are: they don't get a pass for anything at any time "because boobies". Shit-testing would be boorish from a man, and it's boorish from a woman: it has nothing to do with hypergamy and everything to do with bad manners. Women do random behaviour and moods because they have been told by the culture that it's okay to do so. All the stories the evo-psycho crowd tell to "explain" women's behaviour are irrelevant because unlike squirrels, men and women have free will, and so what they do is a choice for which they are responsible. Western women who behave badly do so from choice, and they have endless role models, from Eastenders to Jane Austen, to show them how.
Those complaining Manosphere guys at Rational Male and Dalrock married the woman. But they won't take the responsibility for that decision. They won't accept their part in it, which was... whatever it was: a lousy judge of character, blinded by sexual desire, mindlessly following social conventions and outdated ideas of what "men" do, whatever. Until they do, they aren't going to sort themselves out as individuals. Sure, their wives were awful people for whatever reason, but that's her half of the story. The other half is his part. He married her.
Thursday, 11 July 2013
Somewhere in a Manosphere comment I read someone saying that women are only good for sex, and otherwise bring nothing to the party. Harsh much, but I get how the guy has a point.
I'm a well-organised man, who preps and cooks his own food, keeps his quarters clean, washes, irons, cleans dishes and paans, has a reasonably-stocked fridge and shelves, gets the bills paid on time, gets the car taxed and MoT'ed, and generally deals with all that life maintenance shit. The introduction of a woman into my life is a net drain of resources: I have to fit her in round the housework, the gym and the job. That's about an hour a day in the week and ten hours at the weekend. Seriously. (I have an hour commute and wake up at 05:45 to be at work for 08:00. Weekend days start with a visit to the gym. The commute is productive: reading or writing.) So what does she bring? Or rather, what does she bring that a guy doesn't? Maybe feminine charm, but ladies, half of that lies in the possibility of sex. Once there's definitely no sex, you lose your privileges and are just another guy. It's kinda obvious really.
It's just as true for a well-organised girl with a day job and a gym habit. Life is determined by logistics and economics first, then by biology and culture. And what does a man bring to her party? These days almost as little. And if she's not fucking him, he's just another eunuch to her. That's right guys, she's looking at you and not seeing sexual possibility at all. Not sure I like that idea.
As ever, there's a clue in the question, or at least, the implicit premise of the question. What can a woman bring to a man leading a well-ordered, organised life? What many men value in women is exactly the random they create - for a lot of people, that random, from women, from children, is what living is about. Not, however, if you're an organised bachelor. For guys like me, random is a liability, and that leaves the girls with sex, or they're just guys with curves.
Which is where I'm guessing our guy is coming from. It comes across as harsh because of the implicit dismissal of the other things women can bring. Like… ummm. Oh yes, Soul mates. And companions. And sympathy. And support. And help with the travails of life. And children.
Yeah. Right. This is not to say that some women can't be some of those things to some men - though it is to accept that many women cannot be any of those things to nearly all men. It is to say that in the world I live in, the tempo of life means that if people aren't armouring up to go to work, or armoured up at work, they are frustrated, stale and tired in the three hours between getting home and going to sleep. Five days a week they have nothing left for each other. As for the weekends, don't get me started on the misery and anger given off by all those married-with-young-children couples-in-Carluccio's-and-Pizza Express. I stopped going into weekend shopping centres to avoid those awful vibes. Good Anglo worker drones, and even twerps like me, have very little left to give by way of time and emotional energy after the job and the household and life maintenance have drained it all away.
So, yes, our guy is being harsh, but it's true. In the Anglo world right now, there's very little for men and women to give each other that they can't get with a good flatmate. Except sex.
Monday, 8 July 2013
Thursday, 4 July 2013
If you had asked me, I would have said that June was the worst month yet. I was tired, very tired at the start of the month. So much so that I brought my first full week of annual leave forward to the week of the 3rd. Good choice! The first and so far only consistently sunny week of the year. I didn't do much, but it was a sheer pleasure just walking round central London or sitting in my garden.
I ended the month benching three sets of three reps of 75kgs (that's 165 lbs in old money) - which is some kind of lifetime personal best for me. The target is now 85 kgs, as that's what my trainer told me she had done (one rep+spot) a couple of days before. Can't be out-pushed by a girl, even if she is a blue-belt jiu-jitsu medallist. Not doing so well on the pull-ups, as I'm still on 50kg of assistance. Six months to go.
I attended the two-day SAS Analytics 2003 conference in Westminster. Excellent keynotes from Tim "Undercover Economist" Harford on Wednesday and Olympic rower Greg Searle on Thursday, followed by a series of half-hour talks covering everything from analytics for beginners, social networks and on to fraud and logistics. It brought together a lot of what I've been reading about on blogs and in articles. The event was refreshingly free of sales pitches and recruiters, though there were a lot of in-house SAS people there. An excellent way for The Bank to spend £900 (inc VAT) of its revenues. (Banks, by the way, don't have VAT-able outputs, so they can't reclaim VAT.)
I saw Fast and Furious 6 (because entertainment), Piercing Brightness at the ICA, Before Midnight and The Iceman at the Curzon. Sis and I suppered at Beagle in Hoxton and took the Overground to Clapham Junction. I read volume one of Prince of Thorns, Neville Shute's Ruined City, Gary Taubes' Bad Science, Dr Robert Lustig's excellent book on diets and food Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, Ian Ironwood's book on the Manosphere, Jim Baggot's Farewell to Reality and William Bratton's The Turnaround. (Ah, so that's what I did in June: read!) Most of those on the Kindle. So far, I'm finding Kindle-reading is more absorbing than paper-reading, but I miss that symbolic act of putting the book up on the shelf after it's read.
I got into the swing of the Riemann-Roch essay, after spending way, way too long on the mysteries of one-forms on Riemann surfaces. I was starting to think I had severe brain rot and would never get it.
The month ended with a weekend trip to Rome (Ryanair, Stansted) with some of the Lisbon gang. Friday night was supper in a random restaurant in Trastevere, followed by a long visit to the Coyote nightclub in Testaccio. We got back at 4 am the next morning, struggled up to the jiu-jitsu contest oat the Palazzetto dello Sport, had a very late lunch off the Corso and supper at AdHoc on the Via di Ripetta after getting a last-minute cancellation. Two of us went for the seafood tasting menu and pronounced it Yummy, with excellent service. Bed at 01:00. Sunday was a walk in the Villa Borghese and a quick lunch, followed by a ride to the airport. I promised to mention the moment when I walked into my bedroom and found a twenty-eight year old Russian blonde in my bed… but she's my trainer and we're friends.
What made the month feel bad was a grinding project at work that simply would not go away and required endless reconciliations of this-run-with-the-last-run kind. I suck at those. I hate reconciliations. And it does not help when the IT people change the data codings under you. Once that got out of my hair, everything started to feel better. Also, I started to recruit an assistant analyst. Hard science postgrads with proven SQL ability only, please.
Monday, 1 July 2013
Not Mayfair, Kensington or even off the back of Oxford Street. Coleville Place W1, hidden round the back of Goodge Street.
It's about half a mile from Soho and my gym, which is just far enough to make it "going home" and restful, without actually being, you know, very far away. Charlotte Street is a hundred yards away. I have never, ever, seen a For Sale sign there. Ever. Maybe it's some kind of special estate and regular people can't live there.