Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fractured Gentlemen

I was thinking about Roissy in DC and Agnostic Gloam the other day.  I haven't been to their blogs in a while, because reading pickup artist stuff always makes me uncomfortable.  When rightists defend the PUAs I think they generally do a better job than the PUAs do defending themselves.  Roissy's conviction that he is going to copulate feminism out of existence seems arrogant and implausible.  In contrast, the various reactionaries, paleocons, immigration restrictionists who say he's onto something may be onto something.

Not onto something about chasing women, so much as ... onto something about what ingredients there are in the pickup artist's approach to life that are valid.  (I'm not going to call PUAs "alphas".  I don't endorse Roissy's peculiar use of "alpha" and "beta".  An alpha is a male who has lots of children.  As far as we know, Roissy has none.)  I'll refer to that mass of lonely, usually awkward males as "the downtrodden".

A gentleman laughs off the "negs" (unprovoked put-downs) thrown by women.  It would not be gentle to respond in kind, nor would it be manly to allow one's feathers to be ruffled.  The downtrodden carry the reminders of every glove that lays them down (with apologies to Simon & Garfunkel).  The PUAs win this round; they discipline themselves to roll with the punches (as well as honing their own razor tongues).

A gentleman respects the feelings of his friends.  (The word for someone who does not is "cad', and it is a grave insult.)  Still, the gentleman coddles no one over the age of five and has little patience with weaklings.  This round is clearly a draw.  Downtrodden men tiptoe around everyone, while PUAs enjoy running roughshod.

A gentleman enjoys the company of women.  This of course is facilitated by the lighthearted spirit of play that pervades his social encounters with the opposite sex.  The irony is that of the two modern archetypes, the downtrodden has every reason to eschew the company of women, since it can be so painful to his delicate feelings.  His opposite, on the other hand, should have every reason to enjoy coed socializing - yet he seems to see it mainly as a means to arrange those encounters where there is little talking and (at least traditionally) only one woman.  So in spite of their feelings, on the question of actually seeking female friendship, the downtrodden win the round.

A gentleman doesn't shrink from a fight.  Likewise, Roissy gives "market value" points to any man who has been so angry that he fought and wanted to kill someone (unless it is a woman; on that Roissy and the gentleman of yesteryear are in perfect agreement).  The downtrodden, by definition, avoid conflict and run for cover.  Sorry guys, the more you shrink and try to be invisible, the more noticeable it is.

A gentleman has a healthy interest in gentlemanly pursuits.  This is a tautology, but I include it because it is important to list and categorize these pursuits.  Gentlemanly interests include "mechanicals" (we'll update that to science, guns, and automobiles), "the arts" (meaning approximately what they do today, with more emphasis on poetry and literature), "sport" (basically hunting, fishing, and ball sports), the "good life" (tasty food and drink, among others), and "civic life" (everything not government, military, or religious is civic, but the gentleman was a real joiner, as well as a talker and a listener).  Family, religion, and work round out the list.  

The PUAs and the downtrodden divide up this list.  The PUAs are more interested in cars, sports, and social drinking.  The downtrodden are more interested in science, weaponry (though not hunting, which is a rural everyman's pursuit), various nerdy clubs, religion, and their jobs.  Both groups like movies and food in about equal measure; while poetry and family seem to have gone out of style for everyone.  One the balance, I'd say the downtrodden win the purse here, if only because they have a greater variety of interests and are more likely to seem truly interested in their interests, while PUAs reek faintly of treating everything as a vehicle in which to chase skirts.  

What it all adds up to, for me, is the unmistakable impression that the ideal gentleman has cracked in the middle and split clean in half.  I'll grant that this is based on my experience alone.  (If you haven't spent hours in basements with nerds talking alternately about guided missiles and how hard it is to meet interesting women, my combination may seem implausible.)  If a Victorian gentleman fell out of a timewarp, I can't help thinking he'd despise all of the nerds he met, thoroughly enjoy discoursing with nerds in writing (at least if they didn't write about computers), and have a fine time clubbing with Roissy until he was forced to knock the latter's block off on the grounds of incorrigible rakishness.


TAS said...

"I'm not going to call PUAs "alphas". I don't endorse Roissy's peculiar use of "alpha" and "beta". An alpha is a male who has lots of children. As far as we know, Roissy has none."

This is one of the problems I have with PUAs. They don't understand that being an "alpha" is about having children, not childless sex.

An impoverished Muslim peasant may only have one sexual partner in his lifetime, but with that woman he will have around five children, making him much more evolutionarily successful than any "alpha" PUA ever will be.

B Lode said...

Roissy's retirement from the gene pool is a strange harbinger. The next generation will see:

Full-blooded, affluent whites even more monogamous than before, and increasingly rare.

Full-blooded whites of religious minorities (Mormons, Mennonites, Hassidim) persisting across social classes.

Mixed-race, lower-class whites, and blacks increasingly player-dominated, fatherless, and numerous.

A recipe for wide demographic cracks.