Friday, March 31, 2006

More updates as we get them....

Welcome folks. Here it is. My first blog. And long overdue I would say. I've sat in ambivalence land with my writing for too long. If you're something of a perfectionist you will know what I mean. I've often found myself wanting to publish more material on the web, but what goes up on our sites has to be high quality and a quick, opinionated screed on the topics currently whizzing through my head just wouldn't meet the criteria.

So it looks like blogging is my halfway house for updating friends, family and colleagues in addition to acting as something of a catharsis for me. A word of warning - if you're easily offended you might not want to read these entries....

Anyway, it's been quite a week.

Shopping List Girls

Something that's become a bane of my life - and I suspect many other men's. Scratch that - I know it's the bane of some of my male friends lives, - the relatively high incidence of 'shopping list girls' encountered in social environments. They generally exhibit a similar overall pathology, but with two types of shopping list, which I can illustrate with two examples from this weekend just gone.

Two girls approach me at the club and tell me I look like JayKay (ok, I've lost count now). We have a bit of banter back and forth and I find myself getting bored of them quite quickly, so I start qualifying the alpha of the two. I'm not sure how we got onto the topic, but it involved how many people she'd slept with. She asked me to guess so I said - 'hmm... I'd pick a number between one and one hundred and seventy five'.

I didn't know (though I can hazard a fairly accurate guess) what response she was expecting, but she immediately started emphasising that she wasn't a whore and that she'd only slept with six people. I immediately emphasised in turn that I didn't care and she could sleep with whomever she wanted. She then asked if she could sleep with Jay Kay. I said 'sure, tell him I said hi when you meet him and say thanks for the great time I had in Edinburgh'. She then lent in to me and said 'no, can I sleep with Jay Kay'. 'Oh! You want to sleep with me? Well you're going to have to impress me, I've only known you twenty minutes', I said.

She then said that her friend and her wanted to have a threesome with me. Her friend seemed to give some kind of silent acquiescence. I said I thought threesomes were overrated and were like trying to drive two cars. I spent a couple of minutes describing in detail why this was an appropriate metaphor. This seemed to stump them and clearly wasn't the response they were expecting. At which point, with nothing else to resort to I got the first type of shopping list...

The lead / alpha of the two began trailing off a list of things that their potential threesome partner has to have, this included - bizarrely enough, being a smoker. She got to about item three and I said good luck finding him and ejected from the conversation.

In case you haven't picked up the pathology I'm alluding to, I'll explain it at the end of the next example.

Shopping List Girl vs Sepultura

I hit the club early on Saturday to catch the Seps playing. Its the first time I'd seen them live. I'm not normally a gig person unless it's a band that really moves me, who's lyrics and music set my blood on fire (such as Senser). I can't say the Seps lyrics move me particularly (though they are one of the few remaining metal bands with a political slant), but those detuned guitars and Brazilian drum rhythms make me want to throw myself around like a crazy man.

I found myself hoisted up on a bench at the back with the club management who kindly made some room for me. The impact of the seps music through the PA was awesome and I was really enjoying the vibe - especially as it was so full - when along came a shopping list girl.

Now bear in mind that I was already somewhat inaccessible being stood up on a bench. I clearly had my attention riveted on the band. She was also very short which didn't help matters. She was quite pretty and - in the shopping list girl way - was under the distinct misapprehension that because she was a pretty female and was talking to me that I would automatically be interested in what she had to say.

She made quite an effort to get my attention despite the fact I indicated clearly at least three times that I was busy watching the band. She was reeling off her shopping list (this is type two) of what she had done during the day. It was - as it usually is - an inane torrent of boring shit. After a solid ten minutes of this (I timed it because I purposefully got my watch out twice to indicate non verbally my boredom as my other attempts at communicating evidently failed). She then gave me a jab in the stomach and an offended look, disappearing into the crowd.

So - this is the pathology in both cases: Shopping list girls assume that you are interested in whatever they want (type one) and / or whatever they have to say (type two) on the grounds that they are pretty females and you are a heterosexual male. I've gradually been encouraging some of my friends to become resistant to this. Gods know when the point in my life occurred where I switched from just being interested in pretty females to being interested in women who had a lot going on inside (and yes I know I've sometimes purposefully rolled with some proper bunny boilers - I'm telling you its the tortured artist / saviour complex appeal in those cases), I'm just glad that point occurred many years ago.

Unfortunately I still see at least ninety percent of the men around me in the same trap. I watch them laugh and smile and nod and lean in and supplicate to and be grateful for the attention of shopping list girls. It doesn't matter what shopping list girl is saying, all that matters to the man in question is that he has - if just temporarily - got a pretty female talking to him.

My fellow men - get some self-respect. You need to disabuse yourself - and these women - of the notion that this behavior is acceptable and/or desirable. You do yourself no favours and you certainly do them none by indulging their narcissism. Never fear raising your standards - the psychology of plenitude is key to your success as a human being. I guarantee that for every shopping list girl you eject from your life, however pretty, you'll find another hundred just around the corner who are just as pretty, but with some substance to them as human beings. You owe it to yourselves and to them. If your standards go up, so do theirs.

If you don't believe me then by all means join me for a night out and I will show you that there are many high quality women out there to meet. My ratio of one in ten still applies. Some people misunderstand why I speak to so many women. Other than the fact that I'm generally quite sociable, there's also this specific ratio at work. I find I have to speak to ten women to find one woman I consider a high quality human being who I might want to spend time with. Sometimes this ratio can rocket up to one in five in an environment where I happen to have something key in common with the women around me (fanboy conventions are great for this as despite the low ratio of fangirls to fanboys, most of the fanboys haven't a clue how to approach and talk to their fangirl compatriots. Damn it guys, you've already got something in common with them, it couldn't be easier....).

The ratio is never higher than one in five though - and if I start thinking it is higher, then that's my litmus test for dropping standards (or perhaps a testosterone spike, or a full moon, who knows). I have no fear of speaking to, or approaching women and a large part of this is because I'm very demanding. If you're an unhappy man in this area, just raise your standards and keep them high consistently, I guarantee your life will improve. Women - you need no advice from me, you've got your own well established social and intelligence network......

I have several amazing and wonderful women in my life at the moment - thank the gods - and that is in large part to my not tolerating the shopping list pathology for more than a few minutes ever.


Anonymous said...

Hmmn, thatsure makes for some interesting reading.

p.s. yo're much better looking than jay kay.


Devil's Advocate said...

I was intrigued by the comments about "shopping list girls", but one thing that sprung to mind, was how do you know that somebody wasn't watching you, and perceiving *you* to be supplicating etc to pretty females? Is there someway one has to act to convince others that one is independantly minded? Can one appear to be interested, to a casual observer, and yet still have self-respect and not really feel anything for the "shopping list girl"?

It's all perception, man. Glad you got your own thoughts and opinions sorted/well-formed. But just because other's don't *look* like they are self-respecting, well adjusted, etc, types - it doesn't mean they're not.

Katabasis said...

I *know* I supplicate sometimes. It's both hard-wired (biologically) and programmed (socially) into men to supplicate regularly in such situations. I'm interested in fully understanding how - and to what degree this affects my behaviour and subsequently short cutting it. The less automatic behaviours I have, the less robotized I am and the more freely I decide my experiences and my future.

There are many ways to behave that could convince others that one is independently minded.

"Shopping List Girl" is a pattern of behaviour I've observed again and again. Recognising it has saved me a *lot* of time. I realise that because others don't 'look' like they are self-respecting, well adjusted etc doesn't necessarily mean that they're not.

The fact is, I have only another three or four decades of useful life left on this planet - I need a screening process that stops me wasting my irreplacable life energy on people who have no business taking it. You could call it my "bastard shield". :)

devil's advocate said...

Nice to talk to a blogger who can respond thoughtfully :-) (I'm sure there are many others out there too, or perhap it's just the forums I visit that put me into contact with intransigents :-) )

I understand your point, and it makes a lot of sense. I've had a lot of discussions with a particular friend of mine, and the subject of "waking up" keeps cropping up - i.e. the idea that many people (<- please excuse my vague generalisations) do not really consciously evaluate their own perspective or the events or trends in their lives and the society around them.

I guess I got ever-so-slightly defensive, because of my own life experiences, many of which have involved people making (often wrong, occasionally hurtful) judgements, based on my ethnicity. And therefore I'm a big fan of not judging things without knowing them first. *Please bear in mind, I'm talking only about my own outlook and not accusing you of being narrow-minded, judgemental, etc*
One phrase that stood out from my favourite childhood novel was "Not all that is gold glitters, not all those who wander are lost...."

I'm also really interested in - how to articulate this? - just interacting with everybody and hopefully spreading ideas that way, I'm (perhaps unjustifiably) critical of friends/acquaintances that feel there is much wrong with the world (sorry, generalising again) and who socialise only with others of the same mindset/outlook, i.e. it "feels" to me like they're shutting themselves off/rejecting being around that which they don't agree with. (again, difficult to articulate exactly what I feel without having to write thousands of words... the inadequacies of English as a second language, eh!)

Anwyay, I expect you are as (or more) thoughtful in person, as you are on the web. I salute you!