Monday, 21 September 2015

The Way of The Superior Man - Or Pitching To Your Audience

For reasons that are too unconvincing to describe, I wound up reading a book called The Way of the Superior Man recently. I rarely feel “that’s three hours I won’t get back”, but I did about that book. Pseudo-spiritual snake oil and polysyllabic tantric soft-core porn. I found many things objectionable about it, not least the characterisation of many dysfunctional and downright rude and thoughtless female behaviours as flowing from a “feminine energy” and therefore “good” or at least, as unavoidable and non-negotiable as the weather. Why would anyone say that?

Well, it’s like this. a) The audience for these books, and sites such as Rational Male and MMSL, is mostly married men; b) the appalling female behaviour described so well is actually that of a disrespectful bitch who should be kicked clean out of any man's life; c) but he can’t kick her out, because the cost of divorce, so he’s stuck with her; d) which would be intolerable if he believed that her shrewish behaviour was directed at him personally and specifically, and that there was nothing he could do to change the situation; e) so he needs to believe that all women are like that, it isn’t him personally, and maybe by Connecting With His True Purpose or Instilling Dread or running Married Game or some other trick, he can make his life more tolerable; f) hence the popularity of books and sites which reassure married men that, indeed, All Women Are Like That, and find “reasons”, from mystical “feminine energy” to “evolutionary psychology” and for all I know String Theory as well, for what is actually consciously-chosen, shrewish, nasty, dysfunctional, manipulative and generally awful behaviour.

I’ve always been amazed at just how much ingenuity men put into “explaining” the unacceptable behaviour of their, or other men’s, partners. I’m amazed because I’m a bachelor (the bit where I was in an LTR and told myself that the bits I didn’t like were just what happened in LTR’s and I needed to get used to it? Never happened). Bachelors are bachelors because they aren’t prepared to put up with women’s random. Who would? The answer is: millions of married men. Who live in an emotional world I can’t even begin to imagine. Maybe bachelors have Rat in their Chinese horoscope: that little critter never gets into anything he doesn’t have a way out of. Which is also the first rule of business: never sign a contract you can’t afford to cancel.

So books describing the Way a man should live are not going to sell if the opening message is “Married? Put this back on the shelf. You’re screwed.” On the other hand, if they don’t say that, they are full of lies and deception. To this day, the best self-improvement book for men remains Bernhard Roetzel’s Gentleman. Which tells you how bad all the others are.

No comments:

Post a Comment