Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Short Tangent on Relationships

These two videos have encouraged me to write a (hopefully) short, well-organized treatise on the "Douche Phenomenon". In this article, I will not cover the state of women, except insofar as it describes the state of men. I am not a woman; I cannot tell you much about being a woman.

Firstly, I think Susan's description of the state of young adult relationships is essentially correct: There is a top 20% or so of young men (boys, really) who are douches and douche-mimics who get nearly all the sex. The bottom 80% are the Good Guys. I will note that term "Good Guys" does not refer to whether they are actually good people, but rather to the master they serve. More on that in a bit. This ratio softens as the individuals in question age, but it's quite true within nearly all of high school and most of college. However, Susan makes no mention of how this state came into being, except for some vague mention of "the '60s". In addition, her suggestion of how to improve this, by just magically waving a wand and getting most women to choose the shy guys, is absurd.

Even though Susan's picture of the current state of the young adult sex scene is correct, I will paint my own, similar picture for the purposes of clarity and posterity.

Firstly, let me describe the 80%er. He may not be shy. He may not be particularly smart. He may not read much. He might even smell. He could wear glasses, or not, probably has disheveled hair, and he might be fat. He might even be athletic. None of these are his defining features. His defining features are that he is deferential, submissive, and caring. He might be caring in a genuinely nice way, or he could be a borderline stalker, it depends on the person. When you are upset, he'll comfort you. He will almost never give you an example to follow. He is a Beta.

What good would a description of the Beta be without a description of his counterpart? The 20%er is decisive, headstrong, competitive, boisterous, and outgoing. He might be an asshole, or he might be kind. He might be athletic, or he might be highly intelligent. None of those characteristics define him, however. He's a leader, competent or not. He is an Alpha.

Are these states that are set in stone, a part of human biology? No, not as such. Alphas and Betas are a part of human sociology, but as they're incarnated today they're extremely dysfunctional. Why?

It has to do with how boys are raised today. It used to be that boys were raised to be men. They played boy games, like soldier, or adventurer. They were trained to be aggressive, confident, competitive, reserved, and decisive, regardless of whether they were Alphas or Betas. A good boy was one who would make his father proud.

Today, boys are primarily raised via a maternal policy. This may not be carried out by their mothers, but it is definitely maternal. I am not confident that I know the origin of this policy, only that it currently exists, and is prevalent in progressive communities. The policy is that aggressive, decisive behavior is bad. Instead, boys should be caring, sensitive, emotional, and non-violent. Mothers want these things in their boys, and they tell them that they are a "good" boy if they exhibit them. Unfortunately, this is the complete opposite of what their potential mates want out of them.

This "nice guys are good guys" meme is trained into boys from an early age in progressive communities. Some boys respond to this. They would be the 80%, the betas. Others, do not. However, why does the 20% turn out to be a bunch of total douchebags? It's because they have no incentive not to. They will act like Alphas regardless, and thus have no potential reward for good behavior, since the rewarded behavior is acting like a girl (not a Beta). The 80%, however, are able to do a passable mimicry of young girls, and thus respond to the positive reinforcement. Thus, they grow up exactly how they were raised. These boys may be of varying quality, but they are always what their mothers wanted them to be. In this group, you'll find the shy nerd with a heart of gold. You'll also find the creepy stalker, with no social skills and no sense of personal space. It's a mixed bag.

But it's the Alphas that deserved the most sympathy. With no potential reward for being good strong men, they devolve into riff raff. This is where your asshats, douches, and players, as Susan refers to them, come from.

But why do women choose the decaying Alpha over the potentially more suitable Beta? The answer is simple: Because women value strength, confidence, decisiveness, and composure in men. Duh. They are not lesbians, they don't want to date women, even if those women happen to have dicks. They want men; hairy, strong, lumberjack-esque men. I'm speaking figuratively, of course.

These lumberjacks actually need not be physically strong. I'll use my friend, whom I'll call Tom, as an example. Tom is skinny, not very attractive, and has a high effeminate voice. Yet he acts confident, sure, suave, decisive, and strong. Not only are women receptive of this, men are, too. In fact, it took me a while to realize that he did have a high voice, so compelling were his signals of strength and confidence.

Betas, you probably should be taking notes.

So then, the assholes are not being rewarded for actually being good, they're not being trained to use their aggressiveness and confidence productively, and we're beset by a plague of douches. What can we do about it?

Susan identifies the solution as residing in women. They just need to choose better men. She couldn't be more wrong.

Women, if you choose a Beta thinking he's got a heart of gold, you'll be sorely disappointed. Think about it. The Alphas aren't being rewarded for good behavior, and neither are the Betas. The Betas are only rewarded for passive, submissive, effeminate behavior. For every nerd with a heart of gold, there are ten lazy, annoying bums, and two creepy stalkers. Gah, I know, it's a sad picture I paint. Well, women, that sucks. Looks like you'll be looking an awfully long time for Mr. Right. Hope you find him before your ovaries shrivel up.

No, the problem is most definitely in men, or, rather, how they're raised. For parents, I say the solution is to not raise your boys to be young girls. Raise them to be men. Build forts with them, play soldier with them. Teach them a competitive sport. I'd say get involved with Boy Scouts, but, unfortunately, the quality of that organization is dropping rapidly. 4H is right out; they started halfway down that slippery slope. Teach your boys to shoot (hell, you can teach your girls to shoot, too, it's a good life skill), how to use knives, and how to use power tools. Don't get upset when they're indulging in what you might view as violent games. If they come home from playing with their friends with bruises (and they aren't crying about some bully*), don't worry. Boys hit each other with sticks. It's what they do.

For the Betas themselves, I'd say the answer is this. Reverse your training. Act confident and sure, even when you're not. Be competitive, strong, and decisive. Do not pander, do not submit to a woman you are trying to court. That is the fastest track to hearing the dreaded "let's just be friends..." See how the douchebags act? Don't do that, but don't do the polar opposite of that, either. Act like Indiana Jones. Act like Zorro. Do not act like Batman, kidnapping children and forcing them into a life of crimefighting will get you arrested. Act like Han Solo. Any Harrison Ford character will work, in fact.

It's worth noting that rural, less-progressive communities suffer from this problem less. The reason is obvious; they're still largely being trained to be men. However, the problem is spreading rapidly, and it would not surprise me if rural communities began adopting this parenting method as well.

*By the way, while we're on the subject, the correct solution to bullying is to teach your kid to fight. Unfortunately, this can get your child expelled from public school. Fortunately, public school isn't really worth attending, anyway. If you find your child must attend public school, walk this line extremely carefully.

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