Friday, July 16, 2010

Confessions of a beta female

I started following some posts on Pick Up Artists (PUA) at Megan McArdle's place and saw that Vox Day and Roissy had joined in to argue about whether or not PUA's are "girlie men" (Megan McArdle seems to think they are). I don't think PUAs are "girlie men," but if they are, so what? They are just using sexual power like women always have and now the women are upset that their turf is being invaded.

Great topic but instead of spending time reading their posts, I got sucked into a quiz at Roissy's place. For those of you not familiar with his work, Roissy is a blogger who discusses the techniques of PUAs. If you are not familiar with this dating approach, check out books such as Neil Strauss's The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists or Mystery's The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed.

So I took the quiz at his place on the "Dating Value of Women." I know, I'm married, but it sounded like fun, so why not? With my low score, it turns out, I'm a "classic beta female:"

-4 to 14: Classic beta. Your hot friends always gets hit on first, but if you really tramp it up you can snag a slightly better than average guy to take you home for a single night of commitment.

Apparently, I would be a real loser on the dating scene. Funny, that's not how my dating life was when I was younger, but then, I was probably too much of a beta to see it. Seriously, I think this quiz is pretty invalid for some people. It doesn't take into account outliers who do not fit the criteria. Apparently, alpha females don't curse, have an average to just above average (but no higher IQ), and wear heels over three inches.

None of those traits describe me. I never thought of myself as a beta female but I guess I'll just have to get used to it. It seems to have brought me happiness so far,and having to stop cursing and wear high-heeled shoes would make me miserable.

Truthfully, the test is chauvinistic towards women and gives high scores to men without manners, but then, maybe men who are picking up women want sterotypically feminine women and women want jerky guys. Go take the test if you would like to know if you are alpha or beta on the dating scene. If female, go here or if male, go here, and if you are brave enough, share the results with us.

Update: Ann Althouse: "Fuck that test." Neither one of us is going to make it as an alpha.


The confusing gentle art of verbal self-defense

I always try to work on a few personal goals during the summer months when I have a bit more time. This month, I took a driving lesson to improve my already superb skills and ordered the book, How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Getting Your Point Across with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense to help me with my conversational skills.

I tend to get pretty angry and heated during political discussions and thought this book might help to channel that anger into something more constructive. I realize I am not going to change people's minds in a one-on-one discussion, but thought I would look into what else I could do besides just get mad, like become a better debater. The book I mentioned is written by Suzette Haden Elgin, PhD who is a linguist and the author of a series of books on the gentle art of self defense.

Instead of straight talk about how to make my points more accurately in speaking, I found the book confusing. Elgin initially speaks in the book about hostile language and if and how it can lead to violence. She seems to think that it does and should be abolished. Later in the book, she seems to say that verbal violence should be a last resort, not a first one. I found the book confusing.

As an aside, I must add that I disagree that hostile language should be abolished. Once you start putting limits on what people can say, you limit their freedom in ways that can actually lead to more violence, it just dwells underground--or like in Communist countries, leads to restrictions on citizens. And it leads to a society where everyone is scared to speak, which to me, is worse than random violence once in a while.

She gives tips and examples of how to look at different verbal disagreements and to use techniques, which again seem confusing to diffuse various situations. Initially, she says that men and women are not different when it comes to language, but later says that the majority of American males operate on the metaphor "LIFE IS A FOOTBALL" while the majority of American women use the metaphor "LIFE IS A TRADITIONAL SCHOOLROOM." Apparently, men say stuff that might seem like a lie but is fine if used on the football field, like pretending you have the ball when you don't etc. And women see telling lies or other exaggerations as a lie that warrants punishment.

I'm now more confused than ever about how to handle hostile verbal interactions after reading this book.

Any suggestions for a good book on how to handle political or hot topic arguments?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Toxic children?

New York Times: "When good parents plant bad seeds" (hat tip: Had enough therapy? blog):

For years, mental health professionals were trained to see children as mere products of their environment who were intrinsically good until influenced otherwise; where there is chronic bad behavior, there must be a bad parent behind it.

But while I do not mean to let bad parents off the hook — sadly, there are all too many of them, from malignant to merely apathetic — the fact remains that perfectly decent parents can produce toxic children......

For better or worse, parents have limited power to influence their children. That is why they should not be so fast to take all the blame — or credit — for everything that their children become.

If you are a parent with a "toxic child," I recommend reading Joshua Coleman's book, When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don't Get Along.
CNBC: States with the highest cost of living. Note that most of them are left-leaning.

Monday, July 12, 2010

50th anniversay of Etch A Sketch

Did you ever have an Etch A Sketch Magic Screen? It was one of my favorite toys as a kid and today Etch A Sketch turns 50! The Telegraph has some amazing artwork here.

Anyone else love playing with this toy as a kid or even now?


Sunday, July 11, 2010