Obsidian Inc.

“Mr. Big Stuff, Who do you think you are?”
-Jean Knight

As always, NABWALT but EBWALT…

Unsurprisingly, to me at least, commenter response to my post, “A Look Into The Mating World Of The Tyrones” was rather muted – largely due to the near-deafening silence on the part of our lady readers. Yes, there were a few – and I mean a few – comments on their part; but in the main, the ladies of J4G were largely MIA. Of particular note, was the conspicuous absence of the Sistahood.

That doesn’t mean that they weren’t reading along, though.

You see, I keep a sharp eye on J4G’s site analytics; I see who’s reading/following us, and where they’re coming from – so I know for a fact that there are quite a few Black Women who read us.

It’s just that they didn’t have any rap in reaction to my latest “Tyrone” post.

Funny, that.

Among the things that I said in my previous post, I suspect what cowed them was my mention of the battery of interview questions I pose to prospective ladies I’ve met. It is completely understandable – as I said, Black Men have a well-earned reputation for having very low mating standards and very high thirst levels to boot – and Black Women, as a group, are keenly aware of this. In fact, quiet as it’s kept, it is not at all as bad as some Black Women try to make out it to be; Black Male Thirst is in fact quite a boon to many a Black Woman. This ensures that just about every Black Woman is in demand.

So when a Brotha like yours truly comes along and openly discusses anything that might smack of standards, the Sistahood reacts…oftenly violently. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a Sista say “Who he think he is!?” in refernce to me, I would have no more financial concerns, and could probably live off of the interest.

You see, a lot of the Black relationship experts – Steve Harvey comes to mind – give Black Women the impression that they have low or lax standards when it comes to Black Men, when in fact it’s the reverse that’s true – and this is easily verified by even the most casual observation. Even non-Black people – perhaps especially non-Black people – can observe this. How often is it that you see a relatively fit and attractive Brotha yoked to a Sista who’s at best seen better days? And/or, who’s behavior and attitude is atrocious? You see, what Black relationship experts like Harvey really mean, is that a lot of Black Women have lax or low long term mating standards for the proverbial Mr. Bigs of the world - all they have to do is show up, and most Sistas will spread em, “Open Sesame” style.

It’s only the non-Mr. Bigs who have to run the gauntlet. Again, don’t take my word for it. Go out and observe all of this for yourself.

When Black Women rollout their three-mile long “lists”, they’re not doing it for the Mr. Bigs – they’re doing it for the dudes who are NOT Mr. Big – and let’s be honest. The “list” is a way of screening out a lot of guys, giving the ladies in question plausible deniability; see, if Black Women made it clear that they only wanted to pursue (and by pursued) by Mr. Big, what would some of the consequences of such an action be? Well, one such consequence is that at least some of the other Brothas would get a clue and simply stop, or at the very least greatly limit, their interaction with said Sistas. Which explains a lot of what we see socially on that front.

There is a notion among some Blacks – largely those who consider themselves “conscious” or otherwise educated and/or progressive – that Black Women are somehow being cowed into sexual prudery by Black Men at large. But this notion is patently ridiculous on its face – Black Women are hands down the most sexually liberated Women in the nation, if not the entire planet, with all manner of well-documented empirical and anecdotal evidence to support the claim – in fact, the evidence, taken together, forms a statistical tsunami at this point. Only the greatly naive, disengenuous or ideologically blinkered, would attempt to spin it otherwise.

As a recent article makes clear, Women in general, and Sistas in particular, want a “Plan B” Guy – because they know and understand, instinctively, that Plan A Guy is highly unlikely to work out long(er) term. Black Men having very low mating standards ensures that Black Women – even the most low down, Ratchet among them - will always have a Plan B.

Which brings us to our Feature Presentation…

Now Accepting Applications

There’s a view among some people – mostly Women, but some Men, too – that love, mating, relationships and the like, simply cannot be approached in the same way one would other endeavors in life; that things cannot be assessed, measured, quantified, given an “up or down vote” on, and so forth. “Love”, we are told, simply doesn’t work like that – and even more pointedly, our interlocutors assert, that those who approach affairs of the heart in such a manner, are “defectives” – you know, “on the spectrum” and so forth. These kinds of slurs are often “bundled in” with the Seduction Community and wider Manosphere, all aimed at discrediting the idea that Men, and let’s be honest here – this is totally a gendered attack – should not have any standards whatsoever for their mating lives.

Of course, such harsh statements and accusations are never hurled at the ladies themselves – I mean, who’s upbraided Women for having their “lists” and loudly suggesting that they’re suffering from Autism? To ask the question is to answer it: Women are not only condoned for having their “lists”, they are actively encouraged to “filter, filter, filter”. ONLY MEN are not to have any standards whatsoever. This is to ensure that all Women, at least theoretically, will have a Plan B.

Think about it.

Moreover, consider this: Americans in particular, spend a tremendous amount of their time at work. We work more than most people in the world, and the past few decades in particular has seen an immense amount of often arcane and byzantine rules regarding how we’re to interact with each other on the job. On the home front, the same timeframe has seen increased legal rules for how couples – married and otherwise – are to interact with each other. “Genderless” in theory, in everyday practice, these rules are really strictures for Men in terms of how they’re to interact with Women. In addition to that, there are more rules, laws and strictures placed on and around human mating than any other human endeavor. Again, think about that.

So, if all of what I’ve said above is true – and it is – why are only Men singled out for any attempts to erect and then implement any standards of their own?

By implementing an interview process, I, and any other Man, is saying loud and clear: we have standards for the Women we wish to partner with – and any Woman who may be interested in partnering with us must meet those standards. That’s what my patented Cafe Date Theory system is all about – it’s a low-cost, highly efficient interview and screening mechanism, one that can be tailored to meet the demands of whatever situation one might find oneself in. It’s conducted in daylight hours, in full view of others, and is no longer than a half an hour. It gives both parties the chance to evaluate each other physically and to interact in conversation, allowing each to decide if they want to see each other again or not. And it does it all with the idea of “saving face” in mind. But make no mistake – a guy using this system is communicating loud and clear, that he takes the mating game quite seriously; and any Woman who wants to be with him will do so, too.

Did you know that Al-Qaeda, the world’s largest terrorist organization, accepts applications? In fact, you have to fill out their forms in triplicate – it’s true, look it up. And as we all know, they suffer no shortage of young Men just dying to wear the coveted explosive vest.

Google, Apple, Goldman-Sachs, Wal*Mart, all have applications and interview processes. Nor do they care one whit if someone gets huffy about them – “we’ll call you. Next!”.

And the interview process itself is hugely important – for one thing, it’s a form of a Compliance Test - a way to determine what a Woman’s level of interest in me early on, is. If she’s receptive to my questions and answers them, chances are she’s into me; if on the other hand, she reacts negatively to my questions, I can cut bait right then and there, with minimal time or resources expended. Companies use compliance tests of all kinds, and have done so for decades if not longer; and like them, I do it because I can. As I said before, we Tyrones come into our own as we age a bit, and many of our lady cohorts come calling one way or another around this time. So we’re in a position to pose some questions if we want to, and I most certainly do.

It is important for these ladies to hear themselves say, that they are now north of 35 – or 45. It is important for them to state, for the record, their dress size, their weight and, if applicable, that they are up to their eyeballs in hock to Sallie Mae, among other creditors. That they have “x” number of kids, often times without benefit of marriage (as I’ve said previously, I’m willing to give Divorced Mamas/Ladies a break – although more investigation is needed as to the circumstances surrounding her divorce; I’d have to work back on her story to make sure everything adds up. Trust but Verify). I watch very carefully for whether they show outwards signs of Femininity – for example, does she wear a dress to our coffeehouse date – or does she wear pants of some kind? The former gets a point; the latter is a point deduction.

How does she interview? Is she submissive and friendly, or is she stand-offish and pensive? Does she smile, or is she “mean mugging”? Points accrue or deduct, based on these factors.

What does her body language suggest, particularly as I pose questions about her dress size, weight, kids, etc? Are her answers freely flowing; does she “lean in” or “out”; does she fidget with herself or phone, etc? Is she comfortable with making sustained eye contact? Does she blink a lot?

How does she react to the following question: “Well Angela, it seems that you have quite a busy life, what with your job and the kids and so forth. Where do I fit in the mix?” Is her response poised, “smooth” – or does she stammer a bit, trying to find the right words to say? Does she get indignant?

Indeed, what does she think about me – does she think I’m pompous and arrogant, or does she think I’m thoughtful and serious?

Is she on time? After all, such an engaged Woman understands well the importance of time – she wouldn’t have her oh-so-important job and activities with the kids were it otherwise; does she approach our coffeehouse meeting in the same manner, or does she approach it differently? Does she operate on “CPT” (that’s “Colored People’s Time” for those not in the know), or is she punctual? Does she arrive early? If running late, does she call or text, or neither?

How does she react/respond to the question “Why me?” – is it poised, or forced?

Would it surprise anyone here to know that I’ve interviewed quite a few ladies who work in HR and related departments for their jobs – and that they interviewed, badly?

Of course, like all interviews anywhere else, a lot depends on the “intangibles” of interaction between the two parties; a Sista who brings a lot of submissiveness, femininity and eagerness to please, can and will go far, as “Steve”‘s new lady friend – we’ll call her “Crystal” – has aptly shown. Indeed, I gotta give her props – she knew her market and what they want, and went after it, being careful to state upfront what the lucky guy gets if he gets with her. Now, personally, things would have gone differently if it were yours truly in that scenario – her “head shot trick” would not have worked, because right after making first contact on POF and us busting it up on the horn a bit, I would have setup a coffeehouse date, at High Noon on a sunny day – and I would have positioned myself such that she would have to approach by walking a bit in full view on the street. She would not have been able to “surprise” me with her “extra” – and we would have discussed that over the course of our conversation. Depending on her reaction to my questions in that regard, we might take things to the second interview phase – I’m willing to work with a Woman if she shows that she’s eager to please. Nor would she have been able to buy me off, as I’m not interested in her or any other Woman’s money. But, because Black Men have such low mating standards – and Black Women like Crystal know this – she and many, many other Black Women are quite successful in doing the things they do, because they know how so many Brothas out there roll. Quite a few Brothas have no problem laying up with a Crystal, taking her baubles, and then busting it up with yours truly online about how big she is.

While we’re on the weight thing, Steve, in truth, is in a heck of a pickle – see, he’s already laid down with Crystal. Which means, in her mind, that she’s good to go as is; Steve has compromised himself, and does so even more the more he lays down with her and, accepts her gifts (she bought him a Stingray watch over the weekend). She can rightly say, if he tries to run a power move, that he had no problems getting with her and taking her money before; she sees no reason to change it up now. And she’d be right. Crystal is living proof of what I’ve been saying throughout this post and previous posts before it - that so long as Black Men as a group are willing to mate so low, Black Women as a group have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to change anything. The advice I gave him was in truth a shot in the dark – time will tell. I just feel so badly about it because, based on everything I can gather about her, Crystal does seem like a really nice and sweet, albeit very lonely and desperate gal. And even hardened OGs like yours truly, doesn’t like to see people like her get done greasy.

Anyway, my point is that my interview process or style is not set in stone – indeed, a tremendous amount of how I go about things depends on how the lady in question presents herself. For those ladies who bring a kind of adversarial vibe, I pull out my clipboard and get icily clinical with it – the formal wording and body language being not-so-subtle “tells” to the lady, that she needs to get lost. And usually, the ladies take the hint; Women are very keen readers of nonverbals, after all. On the other hand, if a Sista meets at least a few of my requirements and makes up for the rest with lots of femininity, submissiveness and eagerness to please, I can and will pretty much toss out the more “formal” questions and just enjoy spending time with her. It truly is all up to the ladies.

Another added bennie to this way of doing things – and this is in response to Ciaran’s query to me in the previous discussion – is that of Age. You see, CDT may be a bit of a challenge for younger guys; after all, by definition, younger gals hold a higher card over most fellas – but for the older gals (“older” being defined by 35-up), the Game, done changed. Notable exceptions notwithstanding, they are no longer bringing all the boys to the yard like they used to – and those boys who do come calling leave quite a bit to be desired. Unlike most in our youth-obsessed society, yours truly very much enjoys transitioning into the OG phase of his life, enjoying all the perks that senior-status among Men brings. And this is doubly so being as how I’m a Black Man. As I said previously, a Brotha who takes care of himself (little to no smoking/drinking/drugging; watches his weight; grooms well; etc.) can and will field interest from a fairly wide spectrum of ladies – say, at least five years on either side of his own age, at minimum. Put that together with the fact that it is indeed an achievement to reach the upper ages as a Brotha still intact, alive and kicking – like I said, I can and often do get catcalled when out and about suited up. And quiet as its kept, A LOT of Sistas out there like themselves an older Man, because they like the experience wedded with his taking care of himself. Another reason why the Game changes for the older gals – competition from the young(er) chippies. Errbody focuses only on the supposedly “Dirty Old Men” thing, but what they fail to consider, is that it takes two to tango; lots of younger gals get down like that, too.

I’ve said previously that I’ve conducted several hundred such “coffeehouse interviews” over the years; on its face that sounds like a lot, but in truth it’s really not. All it takes is a bit of math and dilligence. As Crystal shows above, it isn’t that hard to have Sistas approach you; you just gotta be a cut above most other Brothas, and to be frank, that’s not very hard to do, at least not for me. The thing with CDT is that it’s very cost-effective and time-efficient; for a C-note I can get at least ten such interview/mini-dates out of the way, all in one day. In fact, the most I’ve ever done in one day was, I think, eleven. And I did that just to see how many I could do in one day. Right now, I could field at least 100 such mini-dates inside of the next 30-60 days. Hard-charging it, I could double the number in the same timespan or less. It’s just not that hard. Rack ‘em.

I find that the group of Women most likely to make a stink over what I’m talking about here, are also the group of Women least able to call any shots out on the open mating market. This is how and why so many Black Women lose their minds when a Brotha “mates out” – because he is saying loud and clear, that he wishes to impose at least some mating standards in his life. There are a lot of Sistas out there who are banking on Black Men not being able to do any better. While this mating strategy does have a disconcerting logic to it, it’s also disturbing as to what it says about so many Sistas themselves.

Call it the Misogyny of Low Expectations.

Now adjourn your arses…

The Obsidian

A Look Into The Mating World Of The Tyrones

Inspired by my mini-conversation with Novaseeker yesterday, and keeping in line with the general theme of “Marriage (& by extension, relationships/dating/mating) 2.0″ in our time, I thought to share a bit about the mating lives of a segment of American society that is little known about – those Men I refer to as the Tyrones.

 

By now, regular readers know what I mean when I use that phrase, but for those just coming along: “Tyrone” is the name of a close personal friend of actor-turned-relationship expert writer Hill Harper, and is very briefly mentioned in his NYT bestselling book, “The Conversation”. “Tyrones” are very smart, highly intelligent and industrious Blue Collar Brothas, whom the Sistas of Harper’s mileu tend to shun for mating. I’ve taken it upon myself to expand and expound a bit about the Tyrones in large part because so little is known or written about them. I mean, let’s face it – online, when it comes to discussions centered on mating, it’s very Class-focused – by that I mean, that all of the air in the room is taken up by the middle and upper middle classes - and this is true on both sides of the Color Line. On the relatively rare occasions that the working and lower classes mating lives are discussed at all, it’s usually from a “what’s wrong with them?” standpoint – everything is focused on “after the fact” kinds of things. You know, the kids that are born of their haphazard unions, and other fairly dysfunctional things that have become part and parcel of being a member of the (Black) working and lower classes in our day and age. Because virtually none of their number have the wherewithall to be heard at the “table”, very little is actually known about HOW they wind up meeting and mating in the first place – compare and contrast that the reams of chatter on the matter by their upper class betters – an alien could land from outer space today or tomorrow and would be able to glean, often in mind-numbing detail, exactly how said upper classes – again, of both principal American races – meet and mate. This yet another reason as to why I cite “Promises I Can Keep” so much – because it is one of the precious few sociological works in our time that actually gives the reader a blow-by-blow, nuts-and-bolts look at HOW the lower classes mate – where and how they meet; what their mating rituals look like up close and personal. And when you do consider that, other things, like the tempest in a teapot of our time, “street harassment”, kinda looks a bit different, if not because of the inherent Class (and to a slightly lesser extent, Race) conflicts the whole thing brings up.

Continue reading

On The Meaning, Function & Purpose Of Marriage & Relating, In Early 21st Century American Life

“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die…”
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Good morning Mr. Champ, everyone,
It is the countdown to the Inevitable Moment indeed! And one that, as that Moment gets closer and closer, you seem to be putting up more and more urgent posts of trepidation about it.

Let’s be frank, shall we?

You’re right to be…concerned. After all, it’s hard to deny the facts:

-Blacks marry at considerably later ages than everyone else does in America
-Blacks divorce at higher rates than everyone else in America
-Blacks have higher rates of infidelity, domestic/spousal abuse/finanical strife, than everyone else in America

And so on.

Add to this a criminal and family/child support court system that is weighted heavily in favor of (Black) Women and heavily weighted against (Black) Men, and it is little wonder as to why so many Black Men aren’t particularly eager to jump the broom in our time.

Which raises the question, One Mo Gin:

WHY, should a Brotha tie the knot, again? For who? For what?

I have asked this question before in this forum and elsewhere, and the “answers” have been, sadly but by no means unsurprisngly, wholly unsatisfactory; quaint bromides about Religion, & “Duty” (heh), or esoteric and once-removed “reasons” involving Taxes and Courts (again, heh), simply don’t cut the mustard.

After all, a Brotha can get ALL his romantic, s*xual AND reproductive needs met, WITHOUT marriage, AT ALL.

We all know this to be true.

Some will argue, that (Black) Men live longer and healthier when Boo’d Up in Holy Matrimony; but I say, if we can make a world in which “Julia” can be cared for sans a Man, why can’t we do the same for Tyrone – or Dante? Must they have a Woman Who Has Papers On Them in order to live a meaningful life? Why can’t Obamacare launch a Single Men Living Well initiative – specifically designed to reach out to Men, and Men of Color most especially, making the case for how the govt cares about them and instructing them as to their health and wellness? Why must the social, political and economic outreach in this regard be Women Only?

Others have argued, that married Men – in this case Brothas – get more Rumpy Bumpy than their single counterparts. I’m not so sure about that – after all, the S*xless Marriage is a very real phenomenon – where the Wifey, now that she’s got the ring, can and often does let herself go, and all the frisky times with it. Of course, such things are noted among our Brothers From Another Mother; Black Men are loathe to publicly discuss anything that might go against the ManDingo Mystique.

But it’s there, alright – and we Brothas all know it. Why castrate oneself in such a fashion?

For who?

For what?

I mean, exactly WHAT, is the typical Black Woman bringing to the table that makes it worth the time and considerable risk, of Putting a Ring On It? Is there a simple listing that such a Sista can rattle off? Can we Trust, But Verify this listing?

To ask the question, is to answer it, hmm?

Brothas know the deal; as a group we may not be as prolific or vocal as our White brethren; but we “speak” with our feet just the same, if not moreso. All of which is well-documented.

So long as the incentives to marry remain murky at best and downright dangerous at worst, Brothas will continue to vote with their feet – either not marrying at all (I remind the reader, Black Men are the highest cohort NOT to marry among American Men aged 40 and above), or, saving that, by staving marriage off as long as humanly possible. I’ve seen both scenarios play themselves out, many times. It is quite routine, in fact.

I’ve personally turned down several formal marriage proposals, about half a dozen “hookups” where an intermediary attempted to introduce me to a Sista with a Ready-Made Family (read: Baby Mama). They got wind of my work record and and clean living and wanted a Packmule to help raise them chirrens. But I saw it a mile away and steered clear, declining to even meet with the ladies in question. Again, how is this a good deal for me? What do I get out of this?

Ahhh, but that’s just it – we, as (Black) Men, are not supposed to ask such selfish questions! We are not to have any lives or interests or concerns of our own; we are just to “Man Up!” and do as we’re told and like it.

Not me.

Enjoy the married life, Champ; here’s to you not becoming the Mall Mule with the Thousand Yard Stare!

:)

Now adjourn your arses…

O.”

The above comments were written by yours truly and appeared on May 19, 2014 at the popular Black Bougie website, Very Smart Brothas; it was the very first(!) comment in a discussion entitled, “Getting Married…And Acting Single”, by Damon “The Champ” Young. At the time, the post dropped roughly two months out from his tying the knot, and my missive set off a veritable firestorm of response, most notably by the Sista Ladies in attendance - none of whom actually addressed, to say nothing of debunking, the points I raised.

Hmm.

I repost those comments, in the light of Ciaran’s “weekend discussion” that kicked off in earnest with his most recent post; and more to the point, in reaction to “Lurker’s” comments about my supposed “evolution”. Surely, given the two together – Lurker’s observations about my comments, and my VSB commentary as per above, things look just a weebit incongruous, yes?

Well, not really. Here’s what you’re really seeing:

Me being deeply conversant with, and respectful of, both sides of the argument.

See, in our deeply Ideological Age, the Truth itself, truly does come dead last. People line up on both sides, and duke it out without any regard for facts, reason, logic or evidence; there is simply no respect for the Truth. And why should there be? After all, the Truth forces one to actually think…to consider the possibility, that not only they may be wrong, but that the very people that they have demonized on the other side, just may have a valid point.

If you read the ensuing discussion over at VSB, it quickly turns from one where the veracity of my claims could be confirmed or denied, to a referendum on yours truly – the very antithesis of the masthead of the site(!). My arguments weren’t weighed based on their merits – for example, notice how NO ONE actually addressed the bullet points I made in my post – but rather how I made certain others in the forum – and let’s not mince words here, (Black) Women – “feel”. I argue this wasn’t by accident; my points weren’t specifically addressed, because they were (and are!) unassailable. The simple truth is, that for the “Tyrones” – mating choices suck. The quality of Black Women available to them, suck. Sure, some suck less than others; and the constant drone of how Men – particularly on the working and lower classes-end, aren’t up to the job of marriage and like in our time, is never ending – but the point is made. It is simply difficult for anyone with a straight face to tell me, or anyone who brings these points up, that there isn’t a “there” there. You just cannot do it.

And yet, there’s Damon, about the get married. For him, and his Class cohort, life is, all things considered, pretty good. Marriage 2.0 will serve him well, at the least much better than Tyrone, if for no other reason than because Damon has a better  pool of Women from which to select from.

It will be interesting to see if “Lurker” will be as effusive of my observations this time around, as he was in the previous discussion. Time, will tell.

While he, and perhaps a notable number of others, marvel at my “evolution”, what they may not want to consider is that I can deeply resonate with the deepseated concerns of the guys – like Ted D (though he’s remarried), Honeycomb, Hollenhund and others – have stated. Simply put, Marriage 2.0 does not gurantee “hard” rights, incentives and rewards, that Marriage 1.0 did, as per my VSB commentary lays out. For guys like Damon, they may not need or even want such things; but for guys like the ones I just cited – indeed, for guys like me – it’s a different story.

In her excellent work, “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage”, Prof. Stephanie Coontz, an avowed Feminist, makes the case towards the end of her book that the foundations upon which marriage in our time are by their very nature fragile; they exist on notions that were indeed alien, only a few centuries ago – a blink of an eye in broad historial terms. Further, Coontz says, that the public policy debate surrounding marriage, once the dust finally settles over Gay Marriage itself, will have to inevitably turn to how to equip people – and by “people” what she and pretty much everyone else among the Chattering Classes really means is Men Like Me(TM) (read: blue collar, “unwashed”, etc.), as to how to navigate this Brave New World of matrimony (and by extension, romantic relationships, dating, etc.). She notes how some have argued for actual classes in conflict resolution, communication and the like; and while for my part I cannot totally poo-poo such things, I echo the sentiments of those here in the forum:

The premise flows from an assumption the ladies on the other side are just fine as they currently are.

They are not.

Even assuming that what Coontz and other Cathedral Clericy advocates “works”, there is a real question as to whether, as Ted so aptly put it, “the juice is worth the squeeze” – whether the Women who would be mates for such Men, as well as the “new” model of relating – is worth it all in the end. That, is a question that for all intents and purposes, is Blasphemous – for ONLY Men and their worth can be called into question; Womens’, cannot, must not.

A little while back, Okrahead wrote what would become a hugely popular guest post for us here at J4G, entitled “The Resume”; I had meant to write a followup and never got around to it, so today’s missive will have to suffice. The themes that Okrahead pursued in that post, very much informs the current high-pitched discussion obtaining on Ciaran’s post – and let’s be clear here: Ciaran has repeatedly stated that he recognizes the concerns that have been stated by so many guys on said discussion thread along the lines being discussed here, as highly legitimate. Reaction to Okrahead’s post – especially by our lady readers – was particularly visceral and pointed – as far as they were concerned, he was “out of line” for suggesting that Women present a simple bullet-point resume that outlines what qualifies them for as a wifely candidate. They saw it as unromantic at best, and utterly demeaning at worst…though they didn’t outline precisely why. Others among their number, objected not necessarily to the goal of Okrahead’s post, but rather the method – it was too direct, harsh, exacting…cold.

And, I would agree – Okrahead’s post is indeed a bit clinical. But what it lacks in warmth and emotional sensitivity, it more than makes up for in cleareyed clarity – a tradeoff that I suspect a not insignificant number of this blog’s male readership, would readily make.

I know I would.

Let me bring a bit more clarity to the ladies’ consternation:

Okrahead’s position, essentially says to a Woman that her eggs aren’t good enough. When a Woman is being courted by a Man, the implicit understanding is that he finds her reproductive capacity compelling enough for him to pursue her in the first place; it is self-evident. For a Man to require “upfront assurances” from a Woman in the manner Okrahead has laidout, he is saying, loud and clear, that her reproductive capacity, at the very least, is shaky, if not outright subpar. He has to be convincned that she is bringing “more” to the table with which to compensate for this crucial lack. It is perhaps the single biggest diss a Man can convey to a Woman, when you really think about it.

Hence all the protestations.

Yet, given my VSB commentary above, how should a Man like the kind Okrahead, or I outlined above, approach these matters? Should they just blindly go about them, as if no other mitigating factors make a difference? To those like “Lurker”, I ask, what do they counsel, in the particular, specific situations I outlined in my VSB commentary above? What would they have the Tyrones to do?

I, for one, will be patiently awaiting his response.

And yours.

Let the discussion continue!

Now adjourn your arses…

The Obsidian

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Raising Boys to Men vs The Death of Adulthood

When I was a boy of ten or so, an old plumber came to my parents’ house to install a new water heater.  Although he was old and bent, he was powerful – he easily carried out the old water heater and carried in the new one by himself.  And he was skillful, rapidly cutting, cleaning, and sweating the copper pipes, leaving perfect, gleaming fillets of solder at each joint.  As I sat on the rickety cellar steps, watching his progress with rapt attention, he patiently and kindly described each step of his work to me.  There was a right way and a wrong way to do things, he explained.  So impressed was I that I retained every word.  This to me was a man – strong, skilled, capable, and independent.  I wanted to be a man too, to escape the weakness, ignorance, and dependency of childhood.   Although I dreamed of becoming a scientist, engineer, or inventor, I saw in the old plumber the essence of what I wanted to be – a man who could do things, build things, fix things.  His encouraging replies to my curious inquiries and his compliments on my cleverness reinforced my desire to learn how to do the things men did – to become an man who could work his will upon his little piece of the world.

**********

My story of the old plumber is just one instance of innumerable encounters with grown men that shaped my aspirations and my understanding of manhood.  Not all these encounters were with real men – the characters of the fictions and the histories I read served their role as well.  Each of these imparted to me a bit of the virtue of manhood.

Over four decades have passed since that day.  I have become the scientist, engineer, and inventor that I dreamed of as a boy.  I am now much closer in age to the old plumber than to the boy I was.  I am the father of three boys of my own, and I am a leader in an organization that builds leadership and life skills in pre-teen and teenage boys.  When I work with these boys, I sometimes wonder if I inspire any of them as the old plumber inspired me.

On some days, with some boys, I am sure the answer is yes.  I see their curiosity and their excitement in the things I teach them.  I see their pleasure in my recognition of their accomplishments, and I recall the gratification I felt as a boy when men acknowledged me.  With these boys I feel I am having a positive influence, helping them grow to become men of skill, competence, self assurance, integrity and honor.

But many other boys are much harder to reach.  These boys seem to have little interest in what I teach them, and neither my praise or admonishment has much influence on them.  I’ve pondered why that might be.  Of course, some boys will be uninterested in the material and activities, others will not respond to my methods and personality, and some will be simply too young or immature.  But I think it goes deeper than this – these boys appear to be uninterested in the realm of manhood as a whole, as well as the men who inhabit it.  And why should they?  21st century boyhood offers endless amusement and adventure, while 21st century manhood is disparaged and degraded, full of liabilities and unprivileged responsibilities.

Writing in the New York Times a few weeks ago A.O. Scott touched on this phenomenon in an essay entitled “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture”.  Despite his mandatory feminist framing and ritualistic self abasement as a white heterosexual man, Scott offers a number of observations of the decline of manhood in the popular American culture.  Asserting his pop cultural conformity from the first sentence, Scott starts with a de rigueur analysis of “Mad Men”:

From the start, “Mad Men” has, in addition to cataloging bygone vices and fashion choices, traced the erosion, the gradual slide toward obsolescence, of a power structure built on and in service of the prerogatives of white men. The unthinking way Don, Pete, Roger and the rest of them enjoy their position, and the ease with which they abuse it, inspires what has become a familiar kind of ambivalence among cable viewers. Weren’t those guys awful, back then? But weren’t they also kind of cool?

In those days before the great Coming Apart, even an old plumber might stand accused of enjoying some of those prerogatives.  To be a tradesman was an honorable occupation, a solid member of the broad middle class.  Plumbers and garage owners were neighbors with doctors and engineers in my childhood neighborhood.  A tradesman had pride in his craft, pride as an American, and even pride as a taxpayer.  He might not have been “kind of cool”, but he was proud to be a working man.  A man that a boy might emulate.

But today, manhood is the object of cultural criticism, scorn, and mockery.  As Scott puts it:

Maybe nobody grows up anymore, but everyone gets older. What happens to the boy rebels when the dream of perpetual childhood fades and the traditional prerogatives of manhood are unavailable? There are two options: They become irrelevant or they turn into Louis C. K. (fig. 5). Every white American male under the age of 50 is some version of the character he plays on “Louie,” a show almost entirely devoted to the absurdity of being a pale, doughy heterosexual man with children in a post-patriarchal age. Or, if you prefer, a loser.

If my old plumber were alive today, he would be just another pale doughy hetersexual male loser.  No longer an exemplar of masculine strength and skill, he would be reduced to a tasteless butt-crack joke.

It is from this position of degraded masculinity that I try to motivate and teach boys.  Stripped of much of the situational authority that society used to bestow upon a man in my position, I have to rely more heavily on personal charisma, individual social dominance, and psychological persuasion.  In a curious and somewhat uncomfortable manner, my efforts to motivate boys parallel the efforts of pick up artists to seduce women.  In both arenas, the cultural status of men has been greatly diminished, and the supporting conventions and rituals have been stripped away.  It is no longer sufficient to follow the script – there is none.  Detached from the social structures that used to support us, we must instead amplify and project our personal strength to hold the attention of those we seek to impress.

A great achievement of Western Culture was the elevation of well socialized, dutiful boys into leaders of society.  The “privileges” of manhood were both an inducement to boys to accept the restraints placed upon them in the pursuit of manhood, and a supportive framework for those adult men helping to guide them there.  Without the supporting framework of this so-called “masculine privilege”, the adult male leader of boys now has to rely more heavily on his own resources – his ability to inspire, cajole, motivate, or even to intimidate when required.

Those who achieve the greatest success in this post patriarchal culture are not the respected pillars of their communities, but those who foster their own little cult of personality.  This represents a dangerous turn for society, because the individuals with the greatest social wit, charisma, and force of personality are often dark triad sociopaths, not well socialized, law abiding family men.  By tearing down the “patriarchy” that supported the latter, Western society is increasingly choosing the cult of personality over the rule of law.

No doubt the feminists will read these words with smug self satisfaction, for they have had great success in tearing down what they regard as “patriarchal privileges”.  But in doing so, they have damaged the future of boys,  and ultimately girls, more than they have hurt men like me.  Boys are not attuned to gender politics, but they sense its consequences.  What motivation does society provide them to assume the responsibility of manhood when its value is disparaged while the pleasures of boyhood are so immersive and intense?  As Scott puts it,

Why should they listen to uptight bosses, stuck-up rich guys and other readily available symbols of settled male authority?  ….

True contentment is only found with your friends, who are into porn and “Star Wars” and weed and video games and all the stuff that girls and parents just don’t understand.

While our young feminist women have great ambitions in education and careers, sooner or later most decide they want a husband.  And as a recent Pew Research Center study shows, the single most important attribute these young women look for in a partner is a steady job.  But their male peers are increasingly turning their backs and following a different path.

As Scott points out, the theme of men going their own way by seeking comfort in their friends and seeking escape from the society of work and women has a long tradition in American literature:

At sea or in the wilderness, these friends managed to escape both from the institutions of patriarchy and from the intimate authority of women, the mothers and wives who represent a check on male freedom.

While the sea and wilderness hold little allure for the modern boy, the ever expanding universe of cyberspace presents an even more attractive and accessible escape. And those that escape may never enter the world of work and marriage.  Thus, the feminist victory over masculine status and privilege redounds upon the young women, who still expect men to exhibit their traditional responsibility (though they are loath to reward them for it).  But such men are increasingly hard for women to find.

I must admit this leaves me with a profound ambivalence.  Perhaps I should leave the feminists to enjoy the spoils of their victory, and leave the boys to eschew manhood for the pleasures of a perpetual adolescence.  Do I really want to teach boys to do their duty to God, country, and all the old laws of obedience and service, just to prepare them to be exploited?  I am very cognizant of the dangers that await them:  ruthless employers seeking their replacement with lower cost labor; hostile feminists seeking to criminalize their masculinity in all its expressions; and vindictive ex-wives extorting alimony and child support.  I can sympathize with those who choose to walk away from all of this.

On the other hand, I do not want to see these boys surrendered to a life devoid of the satisfaction that real accomplishment brings.  And I do not want them always hiding and retreating while the social justice warriors infiltrate, sack and destroy their refuges.  So I spend many hours each week working to help boys grow into men.  Men of integrity, honor, kindness, and generosity, but also men who will stand up for their culture and their beliefs, and who can plan, organize, and fight for their own interests.

To this end, one of the most important skills I teach is leadership – the ability to determine what needs to be done, formulate plans to do it, then motivate others to follow the plan. The boy leader who tries to exercise his newfound authority is supported by the framework in which he works – the rules and practices of the organization and the authority of the adult leaders who support and guide him.  Without this support, few boys would have the personal resources to develop their leadership abilities.  As the boy leaders need support from the men leaders, the men leaders need support from their society.  When society withdraws its support from men, it also withdraws its support from boys.  And when these boys grow to men, some of them are unwilling or unable to support women and their children, who ultimately suffer the consequences of the feminist assault on masculinity.

**********

A number of years ago it was time to replace the water heater in my own home. I still remembered the old plumber’s lesson from 30 years earlier, but my hands and mind lacked his skill – my movements were awkward, my methods were disordered, and the copper joints I sweated sported unsightly runs and drips of molten solder.  Yet with each pipe and joint I gained skill and satisfaction.  When it was done, I felt proud, and a little more of a man.  At last I had stood in the old plumber’s shoes.

But there was no boy sitting beside me to watch, question, and learn.  My sons had more interesting things to do.  There were video game bosses to fight and princesses to rescue.  And another game level to beat, and then another, and then just one more …

- Ciaran

Watchout For The Big Girl(TM): Real Rap Mating Info/Advice For The Larger Ladies

“I had early a taste for beauty of female form. Face had for me of course the usual attraction, for beauty of expression always speaks to the soul of a man first. A woman’s eyes speak to him before she opens her mouth, and instinctively (for actual knowledge only comes to him in his maturer years) he reads in them liking, dislike, indifference, voluptuousness, desire, sensuous abandonment, or fierce reckless lust.

All these feelings can be seen in a woman’s eyes alone, for they express and move with every feeling, every passion, pure or sensual. They can beget in the male pure love as it is called, which is believed to be so till experience teaches that however pure it may be, it cannot exist without the occasional help of a burning throbbing, stiff pr*ck, up a hot, wide-stretched c*nt, and a simultaneous discharge of spermatic juices from both organs. The rest of a woman’s body, the breasts and limbs, can move lust unaccompanied by love, and if once admiration of them begins lust follows instantly.

A small foot, a round, plump leg and thigh, and a fat backside speak to the pr*ck straight. Form is in fact to most, more enticing, and creates a more enduring attachment in men of mature years, than the sweetest face. A plain woman with fine limbs and bum, and firm, full breasts will (unless her c*nt be an ugly gash) draw a man to her where the prettiest-faced Miss will fail. Few men, unless their bellies be very big, or they be very old, will keep long to a bony lady whose skinny buttocks can be held in one hand. I early had a taste for female form, it was born with me.”
-”My Secret Life: The Autobiography Of A Victorian Gentleman”, Vol. 3, Chapter 12

While perusing my social media feeds the other day, I came across the following Field Report by a Brotha whom I will refer to as “Steve”; he has given me permission to post his report here, for the purpose of dealing with the larger topic of the Big Gals(TM). The text has been slightly altered to protect the names and circumstances of the principals (and of course, I cannot include the pics he posts along with it):

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“Wonder Why They Call You…”: How Tupac Informs The So-Called “Street Harassment” Debate

“Ms Jones sure is needlessly combative, >.< From the very first reply “Thank you for the elaborate email”, I think she was already being snooty for no reason; I think the word ‘elaborate’ was used in a negative sense here, a normal person would say “thanks for the kind email” or “nice email” or smthg like that…And the subsequent emails are worse, of cos.

A bit OT, but it reminded me of the lady in this Judge Judy case–who was actually quite physically nice-looking IMO. But if that’s her attitude in front of a judge and an audience of millions…”

-Ms. Alana, lady J4G commenter/reader, “The Inability To Seek Consent”

“Look here Miss Thang, hate to salt your game
but yous a money hungry woman and you need to change.

In tha locker room all the homies do is laugh.
High five’s cuz anotha nigga played your ass.

It was said you were sleeezy,even easy
sleepin around for what you need

See it’s your thang and you can shake it how you wanna.
Give it up free or make your money on the corner.

But don’t be bad and play the game, get mad and change.
Then you wonda why these muthafuckas call you names.

Still lookin’ for a way out and that’s OK
I can see you wanna stray there’s a way out.

Keep your mind on your money, enroll in school.
And as the years pass by you can show them fools.

But you ain’t tryin’ to hear me cuz your stuck,
you’re headin’ for the bathroom ’bout to get tossed up.

Still lookin’ for a rich man you dug a ditch,
got your legs up tryin’ to get rich.

I love you like a sista but you need to switch,
and that’s why they called U bitch, I betcha.”

-Tupac Shakur, “Wonder Why They Call U…”*

Before we begin today’s discussion, as always, we have to note that time-honored Red Pill Maxim: NABWALT but EBWALT.

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The Inability To Seek Consent

“I love it when a plan comes together.”
-John “Hannibal” Smith, “The A-Team

“The shit’s chess, not checkers!”
-Denzel Washington/Alonzo Harris, “Training Day”

“We have ways of making you talk.”
-Old Jedi Mindtrick

Late Thursday evening, only hours away before my “#YouOKSis White Feather Campaign” post was to drop, I got word from several longtime J4G readers that Ms. Feminista Jones had elected to “air” our offlist email exchange in its entirety, on her website. Published on Aug 18, 2014 under the title “The Inability To Accept No”, Ms. Jones takes our exchange as Prima Facia evidence of how she and so many other Sistas are so besieged by varied and sundried forms of “harassment”:

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Why The #YouOKSis “White Feather Campaign” Failed…Badly

“Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.”
-Malcolm X

With Summer 2014 now firmly in the history books, it’s a good time to review some of that season’s biggest “stories” on the Sexual Politics front. Fortunately for us, our Sistahood’s Feminist contingent never fails to disappoint - recall Summer 2013′s tempest in a teapot involving Prof. Hugo Schwyzer, for example. Great job, ladies!

So, what was this Summer’s “big story”? Well, to let Ms. Feminista Jones, the Amazonian “sex-positive” third-waver from the Boogie Down up in NYC tell it, it’s the the “epidemic” of “street harassment”, dontcha know – and her solution?

To “call on” (read: cajole, shame, demand) Brothas to “police” other Brothas; to intervene whenever they spy a Sista out and about being “harassed” by another Brotha, by “simply” (heh) going up and asking said Sista in Distress(?), “are you OK, Sis?”. Ms. Jones has been able to drum up a bit of media attention for her bright idea, which culminated in a feature appearing on the Black-themed News One channel, and some social media buzz came along for the ride. Ultimately, though, the whole thing fizzled out before Summer was done, and instead wound up alienating not just (Black) Men, but quite a few (Black) Women as well – for example, I got wind of her Twitter beef shooting war with Mr. Tariq Nasheed via a Black female follower of his. None of these developments came as a surprise to your humble correspondent; indeed, in a email correspondence to Ms. Jones, which, interestingly enough and completely unbeknownst to me at the time, shortly after her spat with Mr. Nasheed, I made the case that she was going about the whole thing all wrong. Of course, my attempts toward reason, moderation and understanding with an eye toward real solutions with the Brothas Who Actually Matter, all fell on deaf ears. Such is the Way of the Sistahood, to favor irrationality in the face of reason.

Sigh.

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I Remember Mama: One Man And Boy’s Odyssey Through Abuse (Guest Post By Dr. Edward Rhymes)

(Editor’s Note): Last week’s debut offering on the part of Dr. Edward Rhymes was so warmly received, not just here but over at the leading Men’s Issues website A Voice For Men, that his followup essay was greatly anticipated, and the good doctor didn’t disappoint. In this piece, Dr. Rhymes discusses in greater detail a topic that I’ve broached recently, and from a deeply personal place as a survivor of child abuse at the hands of his own mother. It’s something that needs to be discussed much more than it currently is, and for that to happen it will take more Men telling their stories. We here at J4G deeply thank Dr. Rhymes for his courage, as well as his thoughtful insights and sensitive handling of these very touchy issues. Here’s Dr. Rhymes.

Writer’s note: I wrote a piece last week on domestic abuse and was ready to move on to another subject. It seems that although I thought I was done with the topic, the topic was not done with me.

Born in the 1960s to a 14-year-old mother, I am one of those individuals who came into the world at a time when the word “Negro” was still being placed on birth certificates. Without the requisite skills or resources to care for her child, the tiny bundle with asthma, I was placed in a foster home and there I stayed for the first six years of my life. It was a wonderful family and I was reared in an atmosphere of kindness, responsibility and love. Although my foster parents very much wanted to adopt me, they acquiesced to my mother’s desire to regain custody.

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David Buss HBES Interview On YouTube

Since we’ve been talking a bit about Game/Pickup I thought the following interview of Prof. David Buss for the famed HBES conference would be interesting to our readers:

Buss discusses some of the fundamentals of EvoPysch, how he got started and some of his biggest influences. He also deals with some of the key concepts and arguments both pro and con. Really good stuff for those who really want an informed and thoughtful discourse on the matter.

Which brings me to the next point: if Game/Pickup/EvoPsych/human mating aren’t your interests, you then have no reason at all to be on this thread. In other words, of topic comments will vanish.

You’ve been warned. Don’t be a cockblocker.

:)

Let the learning begin!

Now adjourn your arses…

The Obsidian

Jeb Kinnison’s “Controversial” Take On Emma Watson’s “HeForShe” UN Address

(Editor’s Note): I got word of Mr. Jeb Kinnison by way of another website that deals with relationship and mating issues, and found his take on matters to be interesting; finding his website and reading more of his thoughts, I decided to contact him for the possibility of his posting some of his articles here at J4G. Due to his first book being published at the time and his schedule being quite loaded however, we had to put off any such talks of bringing what he has to offer to this venue.

Fast-forward roughly six months or so, and once again I find Mr. Kinnison to be in rare form – this time, opining on “Harry Potter” actress Ms. Emma Watson’s “HeForShe” address she delivered before the United Nations recently. I found his take on her speech, and the issues it addresses, to be thought-provoking, and once again I wanted to feature them for the J4G audience’s consideration; however, A Voice For Men seemed to beat me to the punch, publishing his blogpost first.

Within days though, AVFM editor-in-chief Mr. Paul Elam announced that Mr. Kinnison’s piece was taken down, and offered a public apology both to his readers and to Mr. Kinnison himself. Not to be outdone, Mr. David Futrelle of Manboobz/We Hunted The Mammoth fame (or infamy, depending on where you sit regarding Mr. Futrelle) posted his take on Mr. Elam’s taking down of Mr. Kinnison’s article.

I include the above facts of the situation so as to give as full and fair an accounting of what actually went down and the players within the drama as best I could document; as always, context matters. As we open the floor to you, our readers, to hash things out, I feel it very important to note a few simple rules of the road:

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A Word About Game/Pickup & The Manosphere

I‘ve been quietly reading along the many comments following my posting of the Back To Pickup School Double Header on Wed, featuring Mr. Rom Wills and myself; I must say that I wasn’t surprised by the overall reaction on the part of a number of readers.

One of the reasons why I finally decided to strike out on my own as a Men’s Issues blogger, was because of what I saw in many of the Manosphere venues at the time, most notably at one blog that used to be known as “Roissy in DC”. Roissy, who wrote voluminously on Pickup and Game and is considered by most Manospherian “insiders” to be among if not the most influential thinker therein, nevertheless had several major drawbacks to him – not the least of which was his, in my view at least, gratuitous mean-spiritedness, which would be manifest along both racial and yes, gender lines. In my opinion, these things prevented people from really focusing in on what he was saying, lifting the “noise” above the “signal”.

But, because I strive to be a pragmatist, I for one could live with Roissy’s incorrigibly cantankerous ways; after all, his views along these lines are nowhere near as unique or obsolete as many of us would like to believe, and in any event, should not detract from the veracity of his insights and the academic work upon which they were based. And so, I pressed on in reading and oftentimes, interacting on his blog.

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SFC Ton’s Survival Series: Concluding Thoughts

(Editor’s Note): Ton got in touch with me with the following “wrapup” post concluding his excellent survivalism series. It really does speak for itself in that it covers a few things that weren’t included previously. Take it away, Sarge!

 Howdy y’all

Let me address something I should have done from the start. I am invested in the survivalist/ self reliance lifestyle, but not to the upper limits. The typical things we need to deal with, cars breaking down, crime, house fires, unemployment, bad weather/ natural disasters etc don’t require a large amount of advanced preparation. Neither does some of the less common things like riots and terror attacks. Therefore I am not recommending anything beyond the basics. I’m not worried about super volcanoes, peak oil, solar flares, EMP bursts, zombies, space aliens or anything else that will make a decent movie. My biggest worry is being injured and unemployed for a year or more. However, once I put a way a year’s worth of spending cash, food and other expendable items, I realized I am capable of riding out some ridiculous scenarios. Once you hit a certain point, you’re pretty much ready for any damn thing. Being prepared to defend your home vs some dude who wants your TV goes a long way toward being ready for a riot, especially when you are prepared to deal with some seriously bad weather. Those sheets of plywood you have cut down to fit your windows will protect your home from wind damage and help keep looters out. Couple that with a shotgun, a decent amount of ammo and no need to leave your home for 3 weeks because you have food, water and what not on hand and you’re pretty much good to go. It’s pretty damn hard to prepare for one event and not, by default, hit some level of preparedness for another event.

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Considering Chey B

“But they always try and holler, but never step correct,
Making comments bout your ass, showing blatin disrespect…”
-Deniro Farrar, “Notice”

In case you haven’t already picked up on this, I’m rarely at a loss for discussion topics here at J4G (or indeed, IRL – ask anyone who knows me!); indeed, if anything, I have too many things I’d like to bring to the forum for our esteemed readers’ consisderation and comments. In some five years of blogging, I’ve yet to experience a case of writer’s block; for me, there’s so much to blog on and about, and so very little time.

Such was the case when, on my Twitter recently, I stumbled onto this YouTube video presentation by one Mr. Cheyenne Bostock, also known as “Chey B”:

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“Shii-Cho Game” & Killing The “Brainy Guys Don’t Get Laid” Fallacy

(Editor’s Note): We continue our Back To Pickup School Series here at J4G, with part two of our Game Double Header, which focuses on the first “form” or “style” of Game, inspired by the fictional Jedi Order, what I refer to as Shii-Cho Game. Though it’s really all about the fundamentals and basics, it would not be wise to “sleep” on this style of Game, for no other form or style of Game can really be “tight” or “solid” without it, and, if mastered to its highest degree, can prove to be quite highly effective in its own right. In the comments, I’ll discuss more of what I mean. By all means, share your thoughts!

“Keep it simple, smartass.”
– Obsidian

Yesterday, I spoke at some length about Anti-Seducers, based on the excellent book by Robert Greene called The Art of Seduction; in particular, I mentioned two types of characters Greene mentioned of the Anti-Seduction variety – the Moralizer, and the Bumbler – and I had said that the Manosphere is chockfull of both types. Today, I want to pickup where I left off, while also offering what I hope will be some practical, results-oriented solutions to those who wish to turn their situation around.

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