Archive for May, 2010

The Wutzwerg – Klaus Kinski

May 31, 2010

I recently had a conversation with a friend about Klaus Kinski, the actor. My friend had some interesting thoughts…

Klaus Kinski, the “Wutzwerg” (“angerdwarf”) as my friend calls him, through his frequent explosive rages, rose rapidly in his youth to become a sexual superalpha. High on all three traits of the dark triad – narcissism, machiavellism, and psychopathy (he was once diagnosed with schizophrenia), he was naturally irresistible to women.

In the hierarchy of men, however, these same traits limited his ascent. Despite being a world-class actor and natural star of great international appeal, he never had the level of success commensurate to his talent. With his rage, extreme narcissism, and violent – even homicidal – tendencies, he was seen as too much of a risk factor for movie productions.

While many men appeal to women by first gaining status among men, the unique quality and intensity of Klaus Kinski’s assholery, my friend argued, led him first to rise among women, and then to fail among men.

To illustrate the exemplary assholery of his relations to women, a quote: “As soon as I fuck a girl or she’s sucked me off, I want to leave her immediately. If one sucks me over for so long that I let her sleep with me and she wants to cuddle up to me, I kick her away.”

This led our conversation to the question whether we should consider the qualities preferred by female sexuality as generally positive and desirable – beyond the sexual domain. Klaus Kinski’s story would suggest that the answer is no.

Evolution built the human brain. But let’s not trust its wild brilliance too much: It is perfectly liable also to give the females of a species a preference for males with rapist tendencies (as rapists’ offspring may more effectively spread their genes in the generations to follow – by rape). Evolution can be brilliant, but it is also blind, and it has no regard whatsoever for our preferences, be they ethical, political, or personal.

Decisiveness, determination, and success itself are qualities we value, which are also sexually preferred by women. A measure of assholery, while socially undesirable and unsurprisingly widely shamed, can contribute to success. But let’s not whitewash the evolutionary program. While we should accept the sexual preferences of the opposite sex as biological fact and as nobody’s fault, we need not accept them as norms or as our own preferences.

There are many positive qualities that have little or no weight, or even negative weight, in the female attraction formula. Good looks are a plus of small weight. Intelligence is a bit of a handicap. Lovingness is a major handicap, especially if it appears compulsory and prevents any demonstration of the ability to be a true asshole.

Game is a playful way of accepting that women have these sexual preferences and of appealing to them without enslaving oneself to them and limiting oneself the way Kinski did.

Klaus Kinski died in 1991. “How did he die?” I asked my friend. “Well,” he answered, “what do you expect? He exploded in anger. Like Rumpelstiltskin, he tore himself up. He just essentially self-combusted. Heart-attack, I think they called it.”

How happy do you aspire to be?

May 31, 2010

At the most general level, game in a relationship comes down to a simple question: How happy do you aspire to be? A man who aspires to be very happy is very attractive. He is a leader toward this higher ground of greater well being. And the primary indicator that he aspires, with confidence, to reach this higher ground is his response when his girlfriend gives him grief. Does he engage the grief, or turn away to set out again on his own path toward happiness? Do the latter and she will want to come along.

Dating dynamics

May 31, 2010

This appallingly simple algorithm accounts for a surprisingly large portion of the variance of dating developments.

The conservation of discontent

May 15, 2010

When a man is demanding, and a bit of an asshole, a woman will be loving and sweet in response. This is natural as she will feel herself falling a little deeper in love with him.

When a man is loving and sweet, and a bit too nice to be sexy, a woman will be bitchy and demanding. This is natural as she will simultaneously feel dissatisfied with him as a man and in a position to push her own agenda.

These two complementary tendencies, I think, are a universal feature of female sexuality. Some women, with awareness, manage to rein them in more than others.

I propose that as a result of these tendencies, the total discontent in the relationship is approximately conserved at all times.

There is a constant amount of discontent to be expressed. The considerate man understands that he must give her a hand expressing it, or she will have to do the whole job.

The two elephants in the room of feminism

May 3, 2010

Feminism derives its wide acceptance in intellectual circles from the idea that women are disadvantaged. This justifies a unilateral push for power that would not be considered acceptable for men.

The grievances of women are legitimate. It is true that women have been and are disadvantaged by the classical sex roles in many ways. Discrimination against women exists and needs to be overcome. However, men as well are disadvantaged by these roles – in different ways. It is widely held that sex discrimination is predominantly discrimination against women and that women have less power overall. However, these assumptions are questionable.

While subtle and complex biases against women exist, discrimination does not fully explain the dominance of men in many fields. The major reason is something so old and familiar that it is hard for us to see: in the absence of extraordinary achievement, a man is valued less than a woman (reverse sexism). Men are therefore under greater pressure to reach extraordinary levels of cultural achievement.

The ultimate cause of this (glossing over a network of proximate causes) is that women bear children. Men are forever compensating for their tiny contribution to the reproduction of the species. Consider that you could kill 90% of all men at a negligible cost with respect to the species’ ability to reproduce, while killing women will decimate the following generation proportionally.

This is why every boy, despite being taught that men and women are of equal value, still today grows up understanding that, if worst comes to worst, he will be expected to volunteer to sacrifice himself to save a woman – a deep hypocrisy.

This, in no uncertain terms, delivers the inevitable message that women are needed more. On average, women are more valued, more protected, and more desired. And men kill themselves to compensate, often by direct physical risk taking, and even more often by pushing themselves to succeed unhealthily (leading to lower life expectancy). Men also “gain” years that women spend on pregnancy and child care – only to compulsively pursue their compensatory cultural ambitions.

For men, cultural achievement is a necessity, the key to being valued, desired, and loved, and thus to personal happiness. For women it is a choice. The alternative choice for women is to be valued, desired, and loved in a more traditional female role. Men do not de facto have this choice to the same degree (rare exceptions notwithstanding).

Get rich or die trying‘ is one expression of this male predicament. But the phenomenon is present in different variants across subcultures and very tangible in each of our own lives. Those men who fail in the game of achievement, go on to ‘dominate’ all the dirtiest and most hazardous occupations, where women are also underrepresented.

Moreover, the supposedly enviable leadership positions tend to be stressful and burdened with responsibility. Given a choice of being valued and loved by a different route, many men as well as women would choose that – only there’s no equality of those alternative choices.

The major pressure factor on men is female sexual preference. And there may not be any remedy. There’s little we can do about either the female preference for dominant males or the male preference for beautiful females. Note the irony: Men dominate because women prefer men who dominate. So who’s dominating whom, really?

Men are forced to take disproportionate physical risks. They are required to do the dying as well as the killing. Life expectancy is a good indicator of overall societal power (consider black versus white, poor versus rich). By this indicator, females are clearly favored.

Sex differences in life expectancy may have biological causes, but may also reflect the greater pressures men are subjected to over their lives. To the extent that there is a biological component, men should be seen as the biologically weaker sex and compensative action should be taken. In fact less money is spent on medical research benefitting men than women. Here as in other domains women continue to be the protected sex. For a good discussion of some of these facts, see Warren Farrell’s important book “The Myth of Male Power”.

The final stroke of genius of the societal exploitation of males is the notion that complaining about one’s plight is not masculine. The slaves are to sing, so as not to burden their master’s conscience. Really, this is just another application of the ever effective threat of sexual deprivation that binds the majority of males, to whom sex is available only in exchange for money or lifelong commitment.

Feminism has glorified what is great about the male role (individual freedom and cultural achievement) and denied the considerable advantages of the female role (being more protected, desired, and loved; greater emotional freedom; less pressure to perform). It is also in deep denial, by and large, about the nature of female sexuality.

The two elephants in the room of feminism are (1) the female sexual preference for dominant males (where dominance is defined in relation to the female and a merely equal male is never desirable) and (2) the disadvantages men suffer (which concern bare survival, life expectancy and being valued, desired, and loved at lower levels of societal success).

If feminism is going to survive and continue to be a positive force, it needs to face these challenges, resist the descent from radical theory to unilateral lobbying for power, and embrace a more expansive vision of gender roles based on an acceptance of biological facts. First, the female sexual preference for dominant males, which is widely denied, should be acknowledged. Second, the male sexual preference for beautiful females, which is widely acknowledged as true, should not be considered a fault of men that needs to be corrected. Let’s accept our sexual preferences as biological fact and fault neither men nor women for them.

What would real equality (of value, of life quality, of sexual desirability for the average person) be like? If feminist theory could develop a vision for this, then it might remain an important force for societal change.