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 Damn damn damn.

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Nov 20, 2001
Faludi has once again kicked me in the ass.

More diaries by Electric Angst
Feeling So Real
Well, let's see what happens...
Break My Body, Hold My Bones.
I'm sick. Fuck Off.
I Guess I'm Just a Sick, Sick Bastard.
Smile Down on Me
Bloody Your Hands on a Cactus Tree...
Oh my Golly!
I Want A Girl With A Mind Like A Diamond
Mister Macho Man, Is It True?
Lust for Life
No L-O-I-T-E-R-I-N-G Allowed
Ever Fallen in Love With Somone You Shouldn't Have Fallen in Love With?
There She Goes...
You're Older Than You've Ever Been. And now You're Even Older.
34 Cent Stamps.
Wish You Were Here
That girl thinks she's the queen of the neighborhood.
Oh, by the way...
You Know...
-Giving My Goodbye
I'm Gonna Play All Night.
Well I'm Just a Modern Guy...
Run Away.
Something in the Way
The Fact That I Adore You is Just One of My Truths.
It's Over.
Ho boy I'm Fat!
The funny thing is, trhurler lurks and reads this...
The Plan...
Why do I feel good today?
Shit I'm Horny!
Good Day
Much and more...
Let the Bible Belt Come and Save My Soul.
A Query.
I know why Europeans hate Americans...
Ok How I Wish...
Rich Man
Thank Goodness.
Yule is Coming!
Unfettered Boobies
Here We Go...
Dinner Tonight.
You know...

'The man as sex object' seems to be the theme of the latest chapter of Stiffed, exploring that theme via the focus on Details magazine. Very interesting stuff, and it hit me a little too hard.

Because I feel like I'm caught in that trap. I want to be a sex object. I want people to want to have sex with me. I feel like, with that possibility, I would be totally happy and content in my life. It's even worse than being a sex object, it's wanting to be a sex object, which is even worse.

Being attractive, being physically fit, being rich, being well-connected, being powerful, being impressive. These are the supposed avenues to being sexually desired. These are the false idols that I feel myself compelled to chase (and, of course, the "other way", the mythical shortcut that will bring about the desired ends without the work)

Who knows, perhaps if I work really hard, save up my money, and end up opening a bar downtown (one potential path for my future that's recently taken my fancy) then I will end up with enough money and social prestige to cause attractive women to want to have sex with me. Of course, not only would that be tons of work with lots of risk, but it would also be over a decade before I'm anywhere near realizing that plan.

Perhaps if I get back on the workout plan I've fallen off (as if I could actually stick to anything) and get myself nice and fit. Hit the clubs on Sunday nights and present myself well (perhaps take a dance class or two) and make my mark that way. Of course, the very idea of me turning from the genial hardworking gental giant figure the people downtown perceived me as now into some kind of "bar stud" is utterly laughable (even if I was lean and muscular, I'm not certain that I would be able to lose the soft, non-sexual look I have right now.)

Oh, and for those of you wondering about my girlfriend, of course, I love her, and I'm very satisfied with our sex life. It's not really more sex that I'm looking for. It's people wanting to have sex with me. It's being desired. It's striking up passion in another person. That's what I want.

Why do I feel this way? Who knows. I am probably just generalizing one particular inadequacy in my life and imagining that if I conquered it the various other dissapointments in my life would go away.

Either way, this is how I feel. Fortunantly, while I'm really vulnerable right now, I can trust you bastards to get swept up in making jokes and generally fucking around. I don't think I could stand the far more personal venom of K5 right now.


Welcome to a chick's world... (none / 0) (#1)
by hauntedattics on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 02:45:51 PM PST
Everything girls are fed from an early age has to do with being desirable or desired. The more guys are hot for you, the more stoked your ego gets. And that's really the key right there - ego. It's a rush to know that someone wants you and finds you attractive. But ultimately, it isn't satisfying and leads to a lot of personal unrest.

You wanna be loved? Love others. Love your girlfriend. Go home tonight, make her dinner and then run off to the bedroom for some hot girlfriend-boyfriend action. Your self-satisfaction has to come from YOU, otherwise you're just a mirror or a shadow of others.

Now that I've dispensed the pop psych, get the hell back on that treadmill. You could stand to lose a few.

desirability (none / 0) (#4)
by nathan on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 03:38:09 PM PST
I think ol' Haunted really hit it here. You don't want more sex, you don't want a different SO, you want to be sexy. (You'll forgive me for noting that, paganism aside[1], this is what most conventional people want.) I don't know if being sexy is very important, though.

Was Hannah Arendt sexy? Was Heidegger[2]? How about St. Augustine or Einstein? Stop me when you see a pattern. Was Kierkegaard sexy? How about Paganini[3]? How about Newton and Copernicus? Simone Weill tried her hardest not to be sexy.

Some of the most beautiful love stories have taken between people that no one ever thought to be sexy. Don't worry about it. If you need to sex up for your own self-image, good; get exercising and get healthier. But what value is that if you let that define you? No one ever wins that battle.


[1] I will not address here the issue of whether pagans are conventional.
[2] Other than to Hannah Arendt, that is.
[3] Exception proving the rule. His persona was sexy, but he, personally, was not (short, ugly, skinny, no teeth, chronically sick with all kinds of nasty stuff.) He had a couple of quiet, private love affairs, one of which resulted in a son, to whom he was greatly devoted. Very ordinary guy in his personal life, really.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

I dunno. (none / 0) (#20)
by jin wicked on Thu Nov 22nd, 2001 at 10:44:46 PM PST
I think most of those guys you named were pretty hot.

"Ars longa, vita brevis...Art is long, life is short."

oh, please (none / 0) (#6)
by osm on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 04:04:50 PM PST
spare us the plight of the modern woman. it's so fucking hard to be a female. give me a fucking break.

"oh. boo-hoo. that osm guy doesn't like me. i can't fuck with his head. i can't rip his heart out, shit on it and shove it back down his throat."

you can all burn in hell for all i care.

hurm (none / 0) (#7)
by nathan on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 04:35:26 PM PST
Well, you can't possibly expect a woman to see the male perspective, osm; but the real problem is that men are asked to see the female one. This is something that may not sound like such a bad idea, but it's totally impossible, and it poisons relations between the two camps, so to speak. It's debased conversation between men and women, that's for sure.

Fine, women have to be pretty. Men have to be tall, strapping, aggressive, passionate, rich, have huge units, be 'romantic,' etc. It really cuts both ways.

Well, I can't really understand what a woman goes through trying to feel pretty. It must suck. I really believe that. But that's not something for which men ought to feel guilty. And it's not something men can appreciate, anyway, so who cares?

I must say that I used to be a little bent out of shape myself, because I felt as though no woman could possibly be interested in a short, pudgy [1], musician, with no taste for the mating dances that pass for social behaviour in this two-fisted head-clutcher of a society. Then I realized that it was only stupid women who'd pass me over on those grounds exclusively. Thank God I figured that out before I wound up hitched to one or something.


[1] this one emphatically past tense; I now run about thirty miles a week.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

thirty miles a week (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 07:26:53 AM PST
FUck, by the end of the year you'll be in Los Angeles!

I actually... (none / 0) (#17)
by hauntedattics on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 10:23:52 AM PST
make a huge effort to see the male perspective on a lot of issues, which may be why all the guys I know treat me like a buddy rather than someone to try to have sex with. All the guys except for one, of course...

But nathan, I think you're right that at some point there's a male-female disconnect and we can't expect the other gender to understand everything that goes on in our heads. Nor would we want to, if we actually sat down and thought about it. If there weren't any mystique, a lot of the fun would go out of relationships.

We don't know what goes on in *anyone's* head. (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by jin wicked on Thu Nov 22nd, 2001 at 11:09:38 PM PST
I think it's impossible to totally generalize anyone of either gender; there isn't a real way a female or male acts. Some women are obviously closer to preconceptions/stereotypes than others, as are men, but I don't think the way the average woman thinks is any more consistent than the way the average man thinks. That is, to say, there is as much difference between a man and woman's thinking, as a woman and another woman. Everyone is different, being the product of their environment, and we all grow up influenced by different things and ideas.

Intellectually speaking, I consider myself rather androgynous and find I have a hard time getting along with anyone who displays too much of the stereotyped gender traits either direction. I don't get along well with "macho" guys or men who very obviously treat me female (calling me sugar, flirting, etc) and I don't get along with women that do things you'd expect like watch television dramas and fawn over some cute singer or actor. Not that I specifically matter, but this just goes to show that everyone is different and you can't really rely on "gender traits" to predict much about a person.

It has been *my personal experience* that the more thoughtful, scholarly types (male and female) often tend to be less-gender specific in traits and mannerisms. Not saying geeks are girlish, or anything of that sort. Just that they seem to, many times, be less affected by society's pressure to act like a MAN or a WOMAN. Their personalities don't depend on what's in their pants, which is probably a large part of the reason why I'm attracted to them. I think Electric Angst might fall in that category; he seems like a thoughtful fellow already, to me that's a great thing and I don't see why he'd feel the need to be desired by less desirable people (i.e., someone who judges you solely on the basis of how you look or how masculine you are or aren't).

Anyway, I don't think there's anymore of a male-female disconnect than a person-to-person disconnect. IMO, it really boils down to a communication issue. It's possible that getting past the "I'm the woman, you're the man" issue helps to facilitate more open communication, but that's just a guess. It's not so much a 'male' perspective, as just a perspective different from your own.

"Ars longa, vita brevis...Art is long, life is short."

by Anonymous Reader on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 10:07:21 PM PST
You wanna be loved? Love others. Love your girlfriend. Go home tonight, make her dinner and then run off to the bedroom for some hot girlfriend-boyfriend action

Yeah, dude, take her advice, do the whole Alan Alda thing! Be sure to be attentive to all her *needs*, and don't leave your dirty laundry all over the house!

Then you can have fun crying into your pillow six weeks from now, when she gets bored of having a total milktoast for a boyfriend and dumps you for the first sports-car driving, vise-grip handshake, arrogant lout that comes along.

OH MY GOD! (none / 0) (#19)
by osm on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 11:12:15 PM PST

Just don't care. (none / 0) (#2)
by Hagbard Celine on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 03:02:49 PM PST
I feel for you. I do. People get wrapped up in themselves and how people look at them. It's hard not to when you've grown up in this world, be you male or female.

My personal opinion: Don't give a fuck about what people think about you unless you care about them. You're the same as everyone else. PPPFFFTTT

You're just developing into a mature adult (none / 0) (#3)
by moriveth on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 03:05:07 PM PST
We all go through stages (usually in our early to mid 20's) where we feel we have yet to realize our full potential as, say, a more handsome Larry Ellison. Never fear, you'll soon come to grips with your innate mediocrity and grow surprisingly content with a dreary middle-class lifestyle. And probably still spend your spare time ranting on weblogs about that Faludi bitch.

A personal attack just like on K5 (none / 0) (#5)
by theboz on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 03:51:44 PM PST
No I'm just kidding about that.

I've observed that at strip clubs, there are usually two types of men that frequent those places. The first will be the 18-25 crowd, who think it's great because you get to look at naked women and have fun. You go there because it's new, taboo, and a very macho thing.

Then there's the other group. These men are usually 35+, and go there because they have a feeling that they need to be desirable to women. These guys go in there not to see naked beautiful women, but to pay beautiful women to flirt with them and pretend to desire them. It's quite sad that these guys can delude themselves into this. They don't go to strip clubs for the boobies, they actually go there to have a female to talk to.

Make sure that you don't become someone in the latter group.

I also know how you feel, as I used to be fairly desirable until I started doing nothing other than sitting on my ass. I'm not hugely fat (probably because of my height) but I have a bit of a gut I don't like and a huge decrease of physical strength. I don't get hit on much anymore, and it bothers me. I think that I definitely need to work out more myself, and that would fix many things. I think you are going in the right direction for that, but don't go overboard. You don't want to purposely become a bar shark trying to pick up women. You have a girlfriend that you are happy with, but you just need that extra ego boost every once in a while. Make sure you don't alienate Laura by going through this effort to be hit on. Just get into shape, then let it happen naturally. Your girlfriend still might get jealous but at least you're not hurting her feelings by doing it back.

And on a silly note, I've been working out a little and I have a plan. If I can make my pectoral and arm muscles larger, I can have a larger gut and still look ok. It sounds safer than trying to slim down and be toned.

sorry for all the posts (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by nathan on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 04:46:00 PM PST
But I just reread the article. You're vulnerable right now? You goddamn male woman. There's nothing soapier than self-consciously claiming to be vulnerable, and 'right now' at that. Take a vacation from Oprah and read some Xenophon. That'll make a man out of you.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

Well, *I'm* totally gorgeous (none / 0) (#9)
by Chocolate Milkshake on Tue Nov 20th, 2001 at 09:33:45 PM PST
Don't get me wrong, it's great being a sex object and all, but there is a downside. When people desire you, and you are unable or unwilling to reciprocate, there is a tendency for them to get resentful and snipey, which sucks. I mean, it's not like I can just fuck everybody. Or can I? Hmmm....

At any rate, in regards to the desirability thing, attitude plays a big part of it. This is true of men and women. If you act like you think you're desirable, as long as you aren't too ugly, fat, old, etc., people will want to have sex with you. It's been noted about Cleopatra, that she was actually kind of funny-looking, but she bewitched men with charm and sass. By contrast, you can be gorgeous (like me) but act like a nincompoop a lot (ditto), and thereby alienate many potential fuck-buddies. Que Sera, and all that.

I sympathise (none / 0) (#10)
by otak on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 04:39:25 AM PST
I feel for you, Electric Angst, I really do. A year ago I was just like you - chubby, depressed, left-wing. It was then that a friend told me about the work of Eric Stephen Raymond. I was sceptical, since at that time my crypto-communist beliefs had lead me to believe that Eric S Raymond was nothing but a opinionated loudmouth idiot. I couldn't have been more wrong. Raymondism goes beyond any simple doctrine or religion and on to a comprehensive guide to every aspect of human life. To my knowledge there is no field, no matter how esoteric, that Eric has not supplied with definitive wisdom.

From a Raymondist standpoint the solution to your problem is clear. In Sex Tips For Geeks, How To Be Sexy, paragraph forty-one, Eric addresses your situation:
work on your self-confidence while you cultivate the other sexy traits that should be readily available to people wired like [hackers]. Tone up the bod a little; be articulate; develop some sexy expressive skill like music or poetry; be courteous and a good listener; dress a little sharper; and look for some status hierarchy where you can rise to or near the top.
A year ago I would have thought that advice facile and smug, so I realise that you may not appreciate Eric's assistance. But please, I beg of you, think on it a little, and maybe read a little of Eric's strange and haunting poetry.

Let Eric Raymond help you to help yourself.


I've followed (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 04:46:25 AM PST
All ESR's advice to the letter and still can't get laid. I think it only works for someone of ESR's charisma. Maybe I should join another cult led by a charismatic leader like Al Queda. Those perpetual virgins in paradise sound fucking good from where I am standing...

Smooth Playah (none / 0) (#15)
by egg troll on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 08:36:40 AM PST
I used to be like many of you: awkward, introverted, arrogant and unwashed. But then I discovered ESRs ultra-swanky sex tips and now I'm awash with women. In fact, its worked too well: I have too many females after me. Seems like everyone woman out there wants a piece of Egg Troll. If you've ever seen pictures of women swarming the streets of London after the Beatles, you get an idea of what my life is like. So everyone take care when following ESRs amazingly well-working sex tips.

Posting for the love of the baby Jesus....

Hold on. (none / 0) (#16)
by tkatchev on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 08:47:02 AM PST
Did you mean to say "swanky sex-tips" or "skanky sex-tips"?

Peace and much love...

I got your back here buddy... (none / 0) (#12)
by noah Oneye on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 06:03:46 AM PST
If you want to become more attractive to the opposite sex, follow the age old path to the promised land:

Play live music.

I've been singing/playing guitar in a couple of bands in bars around town for the past two years, and it's amazing how much that changes people's perception of you. I don't really care, as I've got a great girlfriend, but it's still cool when beautiful women come up and tell you how great you are.

To exaggerate the results even more, move to an Asian country. I now live in Taiwan and western men (including tons of old, fat, engineers) have no problem finding young, attractive girlfriends.

I'm just trying to help... Personally, though, I think you worry way to much about other people's opinions. You've got a girlfriend, relax. Find a hobby that gives you satisfaction. Hey, like music!

"...and in your free time you can make me sandwiches..."

Why don't you just reject the mass media (none / 0) (#13)
by Adam Rightmann on Wed Nov 21st, 2001 at 06:40:04 AM PST
The mass media only wants you to feel inadequate, and make you think happiness comes from buying material, having shallow, damaging sexual relations, and being an acerbic, cynical human being.

You've mentioned wanting to be a lawyer. Here's a Latin/legal term you can use to decode media messages, cui bono

A. Rightmann


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