On Unhardening the Heart

A guy wrote the following letter to the “Dear Prudence” column at Slate.com:

I am a 25-year-old Indian-American who has been in this country since I was 5. I started dating a Caucasian classmate four and a half years ago in college. The romance bloomed, and we are still together. She is kind, loving, beautiful, and a great inspiration. I see us together for the rest of our lives. There is only one problem: My parents are very traditional Indians and have told me since I was a young boy that they wanted me to have an arranged marriage, and if I did “bring home an American girl” that they would disown me. After two years, I told them about the relationship, and they were rightfully hurt and upset I’d kept it a secret. They say now that they were “joking” about disowning me and that I should have come to them. But it is close to three years later, and my girlfriend has still never met my parents. I greet holidays with a sense of dread because I feel pulled in two different directions. Even when I bring her up in conversation, they quickly change the subject or just walk away. They say that my relationship is just “a phase” and that I will “come to my senses.” I also feel a sense of embitterment from my girlfriend for being completely shunned by her potential in-laws. My parents have told me that they will accept my girlfriend when we become engaged, but by then I fear that their attempt to build bridges will be too little, too late. I know that my parents love me and want the best for me, but is there anything I can do to unharden their hearts? (link)

Prudie’s advice in response to this was pretty good, I thought (read the column to see). But I was wondering — what would you tell this person? Would it be better for him to push his parents, and demand they accept his girlfriend, or is it better to kind of wait and see (until, say, getting engaged)? Do parents really mean it when they say “we’ll disown you,” or is it just something they say?

Finally, do people have experiences of their own along these lines they want to share?

356 thoughts on “On Unhardening the Heart

  1. My circle of friends are involved in the arts, literature, and film. In my crew or married friends; to put it bluntly the padma-salman model (though it failed) is the most common.

    What is the Padma-Salman model? Are all your friends droopy eyed, and married to independently successful supermodels? :)

    The old-style trophy wife marriage is fine: I think many women who get into these marriages know their role in the marriage is to make sure the drapes match the carpet (literally, not metaphorically!) and that the canapes are arranged tastefully. But there is a wealth of empirical analysis that women have to perform a disproportionate amount of domestic chores even in the modern dink setting. I think Becker most famously gave an explanation for this based on comparative advantage. He did not discuss the source of the comparative advantage, but it seems to me that at least some of it is socialization, and historical workplace discrimination against women (this has definitely reduced on average, but clearly still exists as the Ledbetter case recently established).

  2. Why did she become unhappy? What was so unbearable? Was it ALL the in-laws fault? Or does she share some of the blame? And please leave out any baises you may have in general against women living with their in-laws when you answer. I’m asking you about this specific case.

    Why the defensive tone? There was a lot of clash among the ladies. I doubt it was any one person’s fault. There were a few unmarried siblings in the house that essentially weren’t contributing as much as they should have and the wife found it difficult to deal with having too many things heaped on her in terms of responsibilities. Mom was maid before and now she was happy to have a partner but the wife wasn’t interested in being the maid to the other adults in the house. There were also expectations heaped on her on what to do how to do where to go what to say etc that the husband failed to speak up against.

    Let me tell you it isn’t inlaw bashing but if you don’t have a husband who can step in to speak up when parents come at you with a load of stuff (since he’s known them their whole life) it opens a huge can of worms and a divide among the folks in the house. She also got pregnant and then had a miscarriage and a lot of things went sour in the family with who was blaming whom.

    MIL expected her eat a certain way, do certain things and not do certain things when she was pregnant. One of them was washing her hair. Yup. She didn’t want her to wash her hair the entire time she was pregnant becaues it would be harmful to the baby. Well she did it behind her back. Husband failed to speak up and call it with his mother. Then the MIL found out. Somewhere in the middle of the fighting that took place two weeks later she miscarried.

    Irrespective of who’s fault it is which is a moot issue isn’t a person entitled to their happiness?

    Fine, but it’s just convenient that the “gray” area happens to come up when I bring up points of “archaicness” that trickle into a woman’s demands/expectations/contributions, etc… yet when it comes to points of women adhering to that same archaic “deal” , all of a sudden it becomes black and white, ie you’re question of , “Why should the rules be followed now?” You just can’t be selective like that.

    HMF I like you do not support the demands/expections women place on men that are unreasonable either. We are on the same page. You are asking me to prove a case against this mindset. I can’t. I don’t relate to the Padma/Salman types because I don’t have any real life examples I know personal that have worked out in that scenario.

    But what you are asking (and I may be wrong) is to define it in black and white terms and that’s something that isn’t possible. A woman may have an expectation from her husband to be the bread earner because she is at home raising two children and taking care of home related responsibilities. I don’t find that situation lopsided at all. The power of balance is only off if one person feels that way. Outside perceptions don’t matter.

    That was my whole point of how desi parents view marriage versus how a younger generation may. My husband and I have very different roles inside our 4 walls, ones that might make his parents upset but it doesn’t matter what they think as long as it works for us. That was my original point.

    I remember you said you lived in the Kitty Genovese apartment, and dated a NYC cop or something, and God knows what else.

    I don’t find them so isoteric actually. Do you know how many people get killed in NYC? It’s not unusual to have someone live in a place famous for something or the other. And is dating a cop such a huge deal?

    Do I know any women who have used their looks to attract a higher subsect of the species? Lets get real man it’s all about the looks in the beginning isn’t it? Up until recently I was single as well and when you hustle to get the best guys to look at you do you really think most women care about “oh I hope he sees how damn good I am with money and children”? Without the initial spark there is nothing more. Come now. You can’t seem to think people who live apparent “traditional lives” somehow ended up that way without any intial attraction.

    What I don’t know are women who just bring looks to the plate. They bring education, experience of life and their own contributions to the world and bottomline so I’m not sure how the same situation as you speak applies. I know women in arranged situations, cousins, cousins wives who are significantly more beautiful than the man. But I can’t say neither contributes equally and they were arranged. I don’t know how those transactions work.

  3. Desi parents are too much involved in their children’s lives. Doesn’t matter where they live, they are always unhappy to some degree with an independent choice regarding one’s life partner. American Desi parents say “cultural differences” since it is a bit more sophisticated cover-up from the old “she isn’t like us”. I have a heard a ridiculous reasoning that a gal’s father being from a village was the reason for a couple’s break-up. All parties involved are in India and the couple grew up in a town about 50kms from the said village.

    If children want to make their own decisions, they should show some independence, earn respect of their parents and stand by their own choice. Otherwise, they could settle for having their parents make all the relevant decisions in their life, like profession and marriage.

  4. One of them was washing her hair. Yup. She didn’t want her to wash her hair the entire time she was pregnant becaues it would be harmful to the baby.

    What is that about? My sister-in-law cert. washed her hair during her (two) pregnancies! I can see not using hair-coloring products, perhaps, but what’s up with this? (Apparently, some tradition I’m not aware of?) I called my mother, and she at least claimed not to know (she does that sometimes, even if she does know–anyway, reading this thread has ensured that egotistical, self-centered moi is going to be extra nice to my parents (heh–for a while)–I hadn’t fully (I had partially!) internalized just how cool they are!) My brother married a DBD who came here for grad school and they were pleased as punch in spite of some (from a traditional perspective) “non-overlaps.”

  5. What’s so wrong about this expectation when it’s one that women themselves are complicit in creating? If women use a man’s willingness to spend money (on her) as an indicator of [insert quality here], doesn’t that support the idea that a man’s role is one of caretaker, provider, what have you? And furthermore is it not reasonable that the woman should be more pliant as she’s set herself up in a position as being “cared for”?
    I’d allow the argument if the powers of contribution aren’t exactly equal in a situation and for whatever reason the woman doesn’t care to establish or reassert her own identity, living etc. In today’s modern world however where the contribution is equal from the man and woman and no one person is taking more care of the other in any shape or form, it is archaic.

    You are certainly generous JOAT, I wouldn’t allow for this argument at all.

    When in any desi marriage is the wife not contributing?

    Are finances the only thing considered “contribution” HMF?

    Well there the desi wife trumps all. It’s SHE who brings the dowry into the family. Desi in-laws, rather than pay for a full-time 24/7 maid actually get a maid who pays them!!!

    In the desh it is not uncommon, when ma-baba grow old and tired and need constant care and waiting on (and mind you, that happens at a relatively young age over there), they put high pressure on son to marry. For what? A full time maid that will pay them for the work she does.

    I have yet to meet one family in the desh who have not accepted dowry. OK, to be fair, I met one. Only one.

    What can’t these desi in-laws make their own money???

    Aside from the fact that a desi wife brings a hefty dowry with her to place at her in-laws feet, and aside the fact that she is in most cases because almost a slave to them, even when she has an outside job, the money more often than not goes into a “family account”, and yeah, she still has to wait on them hand and foot. And she gets told what to wear!!! Yep, an adult getting told what to wear.

    Is it different amongst desi families abroad? Assuming that the bahu does not live with her in-laws, I hope so. But JOAT is painting a different picture, and knowing what I know about how saas-bahu relations play out in desh, I believe her.

    And anyway, what lame-ass guy would demand service from his wife just because he is paying the bills?

    My partner is paying all our bills and he never once expects me to do his laundry, dishes or cook for him. Heck, he is just happy to have a companion and not be lonely!

    Who are these guys that have not lived on their own and can’t pick up after themselves?

    Please stay far away from me.

    Regarding the word “rundi”; it means “widow”.

    Because widows were rejected by their in-laws after the worshipable husband-son died, and could not return to their parents’ home, they often were left to wander the streets of India alone and penniless begging or if lucky, took up residence in an ashram. Either way, many of them had to enter into “illicit” relations with men in exchange for survival money. That is how the world “rundi” evolved from “widow” into “prostitute”.

    I was called rundi in India once while fully clothed from head to toe in baggy salwar kameez and purchasing tomatoes. Go figure.

    Don’t get me started. This topic boils my blood.

  6. Dear Abhi = PG. Hey PG, it took till comment #306 for you to turn the spigot on at full blast, I see.

  7. I have yet to meet one family in the desh who have not accepted dowry. OK, to be fair, I met one. Only one. . . . Is it different amongst desi families abroad?

    Well, my slightly older (and DBD, moved here when he was 2 years old) brother didn’t accept a dowry when he married a DBD. Of course, I am crass to enough to think that this is b/c (1) her family has no real $$ to speak of, and (2) it’s a slight “blocking” maneuver to reduce the likelihood of her parents moving here/in with them. Of course, I can really only broach this topic with my parents (not my brother!!), and they aren’t very forthcoming–so, I hatch my conspiracy theories in isolation!!

  8. 295 · HMF said

    I just can’t help but go back to making sense.

    You’re making sense!? Quit whining all the time about how hard you have it as a male. This idiotic point you bring up all the time:

    See, this I do not agree with. You’re right, it is an archaic practice to have one person act as the “caregiver” for another, yet isn’t that the very relationship a woman is setting up if she uses as demonstration of high value: the guys willingness to pay, and just general assertiveness, and ‘taking control or charge’ that women so often hold as high value qualities?

    in reply, i could bring up the notion of beauty that women are under pressure to conform to all the time, and the pressure to feign stupidity* to be attractive to men. you’ll say, ‘oh women are complicit in enforcing these norms.’** so? guys are complicit in setting the norms for alpha-ness also. the societal pressures you mention act on men and women all the time. and yet you keep on pointing the ones that make life difficult for men. have you seen a woman here harp on about the ledbetter v. goodyear case? how is that for a slap on women’s faces? besides being a terrible miscarriage of justice. if you had a fair and balanced viewpoint, you would bring THOSE things up as well — but you NEVER do. men have to contend with various institutional and systematic pressures but you’re entirely delusional (and in fact, downright disrespectful and misguided) about characterizing the problems that women face.

    • countless studies sow how women become less vocal in school because of the need to conform to female gender identity; other examples of systematic unfairness toward women: how the educational system is prone to excluding them from higher math and science; perception biases wrt even competent women political figures; tenure clocks and promotion schedules at workplaces make it difficult for women to achieve and maintain senior positions; the inability to utilize maternity leave because of disguised sanctions etc etc.
  9. What is that about? My sister-in-law cert. washed her hair during her (two) pregnancies! I can see not using hair-coloring products, perhaps, but what’s up with this? (Apparently, some tradition I’m not aware of?)

    I’d never heard of it myself and I was shocked. Apparently it’s some tradition in their family. I have a slew of such silly demands heaped on women I’ve known. One of my best of friends had a FIL who was a bit of a smartass (yeah I’m yet to met a dad who isn’t :-) ) but whenever her infant son fussed with food he’d come over and say things and get him more riled up. One day my friend said to him to please allow her to feed her child and not get him worked up because it prolongs the process by hours. Down came the house. I suppose all the things that had built hell broke loose and they were kicked out of the house. At that point her husband had lost his job, the parents weren’t working and for over a year she had run the house alone with 2 non contributing other adults living in the house! Yeah this shit happens here as well.

    Peer pressure is an amazing thing though. Even the nicest of inlaws can secumb under other people’s perceptions because for that generation it’s such a huge deal to be judged by one of their peers. I remember clearly my MIL fussing with my dupatta when we were in India. All because one of the aunties in the house had said to her “Oh boys here they stare at a girls chest bla bla shit”. I was like “Come now I’m a grown woman and understand how to take care of myself and dress appropriately. Get a grip I’m not a 15 year old that needs protection. Do the other women in this house not have breasts?” She is otherwise the most reasonable human being on earth but surrounded by a bunch of idiot women she lost her bearings for a little bit too. And because I call her on stuff she tends to respect me somehow so it works. She’s a fiesty girl though I can’t pull any shit on her either she’ll call my bluff in a minute :-)

  10. 306 · Dear Abhi said

    I have yet to meet one family in the desh who have not accepted dowry.

    i assure you that there at least 532456 families where dowry was not demanded. given the diversity of your experiences in india, i am surprised that you haven’t met more than one. seems like a statistical anomaly.

  11. My sister-in-law cert. washed her hair during her (two) pregnancies!

    And look how your niece and nephew turned out. ‘Nuff said.

    (You trust Jindal’s intent, but not your brother’s! Wow! :-)

  12. 314 · Rahul (You trust Jindal’s intent, but not your brother’s! Wow! :-)

    LOL!! Two nieces, but, yeah!! I guess my family is weird–my parents and brother are pro-Jindal, too, though the sister-in-law respectfully dissents (and is accepted for such!). ;-)

  13. You’re making sense!? Quit whining all the time about how hard you have it as a male. This idiotic point you bring up all the time:

    Funny, you actually prove my point with your trite defense. the long standing narrative is men have it easy, and women have it hard, end of story period. Anything else can be written off as “quit whining” seriously, Would a male request for you to “quit whining” be met with anything other than a label of sexism? Secondly, bringing up cases of discrimination in the work place is completely predictable and equally idiotic. I’m all for equality in the work place. The reason I dont “bring these points up” is because there’s no debate! I agree with ending workplace discrimination!

    in reply, i could bring up the notion of beauty that women are under pressure to conform to all the time, and the pressure to feign stupidity* to be attractive to men.

    No, I wouldn’t reply the way you said at all. I would say you’re completely right, and I’m all for getting rid of those pressures, if you’re for getting rid of the former – which of course, you’re not. However, it’s women who actively pursue those beauty norms (it’s what makes them norms in the first place) because they earn disproportionate benefit from them.

    As for men reinforcing alpha-ness, that’s just stupid, put a couple of guys together in a pool hall together, no one gives a fuck how much the other makes, put a couple of guys in a pool hall with a girl there, then you see “alpha-ness” start to rear it’s head. In fact the entire concept of ‘alpha-ness’ only has any viable meaning in the context of attracting men. (for heterosexuals that is)

    So Pm, care to take another crack at misrepresenting my views? or just continue with the snide jabs (which were funny the first 100 times perhaps)

  14. in the context of attracting men

    “attracting women”. but go ahead with the gay jokes.

  15. in reply, i could bring up the notion of beauty that women are under pressure to conform to all the time

    by the way, this is not a valid counterpoint at all, the discussion we were having was that JOAT asked a question regarding a woman being expected to be more adaptable/pliant/what-have-you, essentially in a sense, adapt to her husbands will, when push came to shove. And my response was that in the formative times of relationship building (ie, dating stage, particularly in western countries) it’s an idea that women re-inforce, by categorizing qualities like ‘taking charge’, ‘decisiveness’, and ‘confidence’ as high value, and furthermore being attracted to men with those qualities. And my point was that women can’t all of a sudden turn around and ask why are you taking charge/making decisions and expecting me to just go along with it, when they were attracted to those qualities in the first place.

    Your point is not analogous because beauty will always be DHV for women.

  16. 316 · HMF said

    However, it’s women who actively pursue those beauty norms (it’s what makes them norms in the first place) because they earn disproportionate benefit from them.

    I feel that this is a slightly skewed perspective, in that it ignores the pressure women have to pursue those norms, pressures that are reinforced by women, but also created by male-dominated media. To assume that women benefitting from adhering to those norms is the sole reason they do misses the larger factor, which I believe to be the former (media, etc.) I don’t think desire can be separated so easily from the social pressures that shape them (and create them, IMO.)

    Because I don’t know how to quote multiple paras: “As for men reinforcing alpha-ness, that’s just stupid, put a couple of guys together in a pool hall together, no one gives a fuck how much the other makes, put a couple of guys in a pool hall with a girl there, then you see “alpha-ness” start to rear it’s head. In fact the entire concept of ‘alpha-ness’ only has any viable meaning in the context of attracting men. (for heterosexuals that is)”

    I disagree with this statement as well, insofar as I think male competition exists regardless of whether an attractive female is present or not. I do think having a women in there changes things, but I don’t think they are the sole object of competition. Such an argument gets a bit too close to implying that women are to blame for male competition, rather than acknowledging that the desire behind that competition is also constructed and shaped by social forces.

    The way gender roles are set up certainly affect and are harmful to men in a variety of ways, no doubt, (just as white privilege is harmful to white people), but one group has a greater hand in defining those roles because of their sheer number when it comes to cultural producers. I’ll stop there, because just as I don’t want to hear a white person lecture too authoritatively on American racism, I don’t want to claim too much authority when it comes to sexism and male privilege.

  17. To assume that women benefitting from adhering to those norms is the sole reason they do misses the larger factor, which I believe to be the former (media, etc.) I don’t think desire can be separated so easily from the social pressures that shape them (and create them, IMO.)

    that point came off the wrong way, the media does have an effect, however, what’s considered ‘beauty’ isn’t defined by media images, I believe media images reflect what we have evolutionarily wired as “beautiful” of course, style is different, but the underlying principles of beauty, symmetry, fertility indicators, etc.. I believe is hard coded. Now of course, the images of rail thin women do provide pressures on women to conform to certain norms (but I dont consider this beauty, I just consider it pressure to fit to a societal standard – which does change over time, but this isn’t to be confused with ‘beauty’), but likewise males have images (not necessarily physical, but does include physical) of handsomeness, wealth, prestige to conform to as well. Seeing all those women go gaa gaa over ‘The bachelor’ is the same as men going gaa gaa over some hot actress. My point is, in this sector, it balances out.

    Such an argument gets a bit too close to implying that women are to blame for male competition, rather than acknowledging that the desire behind that competition is also constructed and shaped by social forces.

    And what social forces might you be speaking of that are completely divorced from impressing, attracting and keeping a woman? Trust me, you’ll be hard pressed to find one, finally in the end, that’s what it comes down to.

  18. In the end, I have to defer to my man, CR.

    “A man would f*ck a woman in a cardboard box, if she’d go for it” – Chris Rock

    “Sure, nowadays a woman can pay her way, but nothing dries up a woman’s p***y quicker than her reaching for her wallet” – Chris Rock.

  19. just as white privilege is harmful to white people

    The white privilege harm to white people is the assumption of “lack of guilt” or complacency. that is, “if we’re in a nice white neighborhood with no black or brown people, we’ll be ok” then boom all of a sudden, you get columbine.

    Tell me, where’s the analog to gender in that? the harm that comes to men, is the female privilege, as I’ve outlined above.

    I’ll stop there, because just as I don’t want to hear a white person lecture too authoritatively on American racism, I don’t want to claim too much authority when it comes to sexism and male privilege.

    Completely different, males didn’t go to oprah-land and bring women here on slave ships to build our “male economy”, I won’t deny the existence of male privilege, but female privilege exists as well.

  20. in the context of attracting men

    whoa! i haven’t seen a freudian slip this bad since the time i saw freud in a slip…cueing up his pool stick, of all things

  21. And what social forces might you be speaking of that are completely divorced from impressing, attracting and keeping a woman? Trust me, you’ll be hard pressed to find one, finally in the end, that’s what it comes down to.
    As for men reinforcing alpha-ness, that’s just stupid, put a couple of guys together in a pool hall together, no one gives a fuck how much the other makes, put a couple of guys in a pool hall with a girl there, then you see “alpha-ness” start to rear it’s head. In fact the entire concept of ‘alpha-ness’ only has any viable meaning in the context of attracting men. (for heterosexuals that is)

    I mean, Akshay, come on! After all, “my genes made me do it” is an excellent and perfectly acceptable explanation for everything else you do in life, so why not use genetic determinism for something as simple and easily explained as “social forces”? And in any case, these social forces are ultimately shaped by women sitting in a room without any men. We all know that heterosexual men, when they are by themselves, are jolly good fellows, it is when the woman sashays in, that it becomes a Lord-of-the-flies nightmare.

    Yes, HMF, to obviate your need to type, I misrepresented you.

  22. 318 · HMF said

    And my response was that in the formative times of relationship building (ie, dating stage, particularly in western countries) it’s an idea that women re-inforce, by categorizing qualities like ‘taking charge’, ‘decisiveness’, and ‘confidence’ as high value, and furthermore being attracted to men with those qualities. And my point was that women can’t all of a sudden turn around and ask why are you taking charge/making decisions and expecting me to just go along with it, when they were attracted to those qualities in the first place.

    Sorry but I am not sure I follow your argument. If a woman is attracted to a guy who is decisive and confident, why would it mean that she would want to be subjugated by her husband & in-laws? Surely it is possible to have a mature and equitable relationship with a decisive and confident man.

    Back to the topic..

    Being a 2nd gen Australian and new mother to a 6 month old I can definitely relate to both sides. As a parent I want my child to be happy and to live a life better than my own – each generation should live better than the last and all that – but amongst all this love and concern, I can see how it could be difficult to divorce my own ideal of happiness with my child’s. For example, I think happiness would entail having an occupation requiring some intellect, traveling a bit, having a nice companion and being financially secure. But what if my son’s idea of happiness was to grow organic vegetables in some free sex commune (I know they probably don’t exist anymore just trying to think of a worst case scenario here)? I honestly don’t think I could accept that as it would be like a rejection of my own culture, values & lifestyle.

    So it is quite obvious that I should avoid hippy festivals and organic supermarkets, but unfortunately it wasn’t so easy for our parents. It’s all very well to say “Oh they should have stayed back in Desh if they don’t want their kids to become western etc etc” but most of our parents came here to give us a better education, opportunities, standard of living, generally a better life. So it’s really a double edged sword for them – give your kids a better life but at the expense of them rejecting your culture and values.

    So kids, don’t be too hard on your parents, talk to them and listen & respond to their concerns. If they make bizarre suggestions, it’s only coz they love you so much.

  23. If a woman is attracted to a guy who is decisive and confident, why would it mean that she would want to be subjugated by her husband & in-laws?

    I made no mention of in-laws, that’s a familial dynamic. I notice that you left out “takes charge” from my description, I’ve heard this used by many women as a high value characteristic, also, ‘subjugated’ has a connotation of being powerless, which I never said. What I did say was the expectation that they be more pliant, willing to adapt, malleable in terms of their career goals, work, etc… is not an entirely crazy expectation, given the manner in which they entered the relationship in the first place. This is not exactly being ‘subjugated’, what it is, however, is a conflict-resolution algorithm, one that is, yes, set up partially by women in the first place.

    Yes, HMF, to obviate your need to type, I misrepresented you.

    Really I just thought it was your consistent inability to address the point.

  24. 325 · bengali said

    Sorry but I am not sure I follow your argument.

    No need to apologize. No sane person does.

  25. Sorry but I am not sure I follow your argument.

    Just read Rahul’s responses on previous threads, the paintstakingly thorough approach he takes to understand the argument and valid counterpoints he presents are astounding.

  26. As for men reinforcing alpha-ness, that’s just stupid, put a couple of guys together in a pool hall together, no one gives a fuck how much the other makes

    ain’t that The Truth brotha’!

    i can’t f-ing believe how delusional you are. i’ve seen men (and only men) ask, other men several personal questions about their salary, investments, stock options, educational history, and previous employers in a bid to figure out whether the other dude’s net worth is increasing in an age-appropriate manner. the few women present in the room were all married or ‘spoken for.’ the males themselves were in marriages or steady long-term relationships. i had to hastily change topics in such a room once, because all the guys in the room were all ending up with feelings of inferiority by asking one obviously alpha-dude about his particulars.

  27. i can’t f-ing believe how delusional you are

    Yeah that’s it. My decades of experience as a man really doesn’t match this one single anecdote which you erroneously again use to disprove , but end up proving my point.

    A woman’s physical presence in the room to bring out “alphaness” doesn’t necessarily mean that she must be a viable target, and not “spoken for” I thought you had at least a modicum of understanding. Whether somone is married or not is, is just a social envelope, that prevents a guy from doing something socially unacceptable (like touchng her, asking for her #, excessive flirting, etc..) but the hardcoded evolutionary instinct to demonstrate high value come out all the same.

    The fact that the women present are ‘spoken’ for is really quite irrelevant. When you come back to it, men really don’t compete with each other, for any other reason than to subtextually demonstrate that they have the power to attract a woman.

    I mean this is just plain as day. what other meaning could “alpha” have other than the perceived ability to attract the opposite sex?

    But Im glad you were there to “hastily change” topics given your keen sense of perception and obvious unselfish caring for the inferior males who so desperately needed your omniscience to save them from themselves.

  28. i’ve seen men (and only men) ask, other men several personal questions about their salary, investments, stock options, educational history, and previous employers in a bid to figure out whether the other dude’s net worth is increasing in an age-appropriate manner

    alright, lets go with your explanation. if the rationale for asking such questions isn’t to subtextually “rank” one’s ability to attract women next to the guy he was questioning, what is your opinion for his motivation? that is, why would “the other dudes net worth” be of interest to him? I mean, was there some practical reason, like he was interested in working for him?

  29. A woman’s physical presence in the room to bring out “alphaness” doesn’t necessarily mean that she must be a viable target, and not “spoken for” I thought you had at least a modicum of understanding.

    portmanteau, I know you are a woman and hence naturally inferior, but don’t you have even a basic understand of physics? Heisenberg’s principle says that the mere fact that you are a woman observing this scene means that all your conclusions on men’s behaviors are invalid. Since Pauli’s exclusion principle establishes that HMF and women cannot exist in the same physical space (insert favorite joke about right hand, Vaseline, or gerbils), he has had incontrovertible and unmatched decades of experience of “unpolluted” stag dynamics.

  30. Heisenberg’s principle says that the mere fact that you are a woman observing this scene means that all your conclusions on men’s behaviors are invalid.

    Actually, yeah, I don’t think even a youtube link could explain how a woman can be physically present in a space and speak intellectually about how men interact with each other when women are not present.

  31. 330 · HMF said

    But Im glad you were there to “hastily change” topics given your keen sense of perception and obvious unselfish caring for the inferior males who so desperately needed your omniscience to save them from themselves.

    yes, because although men’s behavior can always be predicted/accounted for by genetic-deterministic accounts, women (like myself) have been taught to observe rules of civility such as not asking personal questions in public. either the behavior of men and women can be explained by biology — in which case, you should stop blaming women for how they act, or you should accept that men and women act out according to both hard-wired, learned, and socially mediated behaviors.

    also: my question to the men here — in the absence of women, have you noticed men being competitive? or does HMF speak for all of you?

  32. “As for men reinforcing alpha-ness, that’s just stupid, put a couple of guys together in a pool hall together, no one gives a fuck how much the other makes, put a couple of guys in a pool hall with a girl there, then you see “alpha-ness” start to rear it’s head. In fact the entire concept of ‘alpha-ness’ only has any viable meaning in the context of attracting men. (for heterosexuals that is)”

    Men flex their damn muscles at each other without anything to do with women. They have boxing matches and body building contests, climb mountains and participate in extreme sports all to show off their might against each other. If the perk is that they get a woman it’s a peripheral side effect at best. They would find a woman despite beating each other up!

    Every war in history is because of men pandering to their need to flex their muscles at each other. In a pool hall men are just as competitive with each other with or without women around. If at all they are bigger asses to each other when women aren’t around. Hell we have desi men who climb all over each other and fight with each other to play the bill at the end of a meal. Isn’t that the ultimate sign of asserting your masculinity to one another? And they could be a bunch of old men with absolutely no need to impress anyone but each other.

    Your argument implies that George Bush and Hitler were trying to score chicks while waging their wars! How simplisticly convenient.

  33. in the absence of women, have you noticed men being competitive?

    Yes, but I always blamed the trace genetic material left by women who had previous sullied the room with their presence.

  34. either the behavior of men and women can be explained by biology — in which case, you should stop blaming women for how they act,

    I have no problem with women stating they act according to biology. Then just admit the shit and get on with it, if you read the messages above, it’s the selective choosing of what traits are “inherent” and biological where as what traits are learned social constructs, is what I take issue with. ultimately, it all comes down to keeping it real.

    And they could be a bunch of old men with absolutely no need to impress anyone but each other.

    But why would the ability to pay impress another guy? because subtextually, the idea is that at some point, some woman would at some juncture find that trait attractive. Do you think when two guys go out together they fight over the bill? heck no, it’s usually when families go out together and the two old men have their wives and sister-in-laws and other things in the presence.

    In a pool hall men are just as competitive with each other with or without women around.

    And you’dknow this how? do you plant secret cameras and observe? seriously, I’m all for making baseless statements, but one’s that fly in the face of common sense need to be called out.

    They have boxing matches and body building contests, climb mountains and participate in extreme sports all to show off their might against each other. If the perk is that they get a woman it’s a peripheral side effect at best.

    But why? what’s the point of showing your ‘might’ to someone else, unless it’s usefull at doing something? Keep digging, you’ll find that in these instances, the goal at some level is to show one’sself attractive to women.

    Your argument implies that George Bush

    You don’t think W was swingin his dick around when he said “bring it on”?

  35. 337 · HMF said

    seriously, I’m all for making baseless statements, but one’s that fly in the face of common sense need to be called out.

    in that case it’s a wonder that you let yourself type.

  36. in that case it’s a wonder that you let yourself type.

    Once again, you’ve covered the what, but failed miserably on the why.

  37. Your argument implies that George Bush and Hitler were trying to score chicks

    And you don’t think world leaders have a much greater proclivity for attracting/being with women? Hello? JFK? Bill Clinton?

  38. “Men flex their damn muscles at each other without anything to do with women. They have boxing matches and body building contests, climb mountains and participate in extreme sports all to show off their might against each other. If the perk is that they get a woman it’s a peripheral side effect at best. They would find a woman despite beating each other up!”

      perhaps men are competitive with each other even when women aren't around. at some point in life most guys figure out that to be attractive to women one must be good at something. this takes a certain amount of diligence that would be nearly possible to exert while always being conscious of the goal of attracting females. the drive and competitiveness becomes innate. in the end, most of us are trying to prove our value to earn power to impress ladies. this holds for the athlete, connoisseur, moneybags and the clever raconteur equally..
    
  39. And you don’t think world leaders have a much greater proclivity for attracting/being with women? Hello? JFK? Bill Clinton?

    Natural predisposition is NOT the same as literal intent! That it might attract women is NOT the underlying reason why these leaders functioned in the fashion they did.

    And if you are implying they did how do you know? Do you know them personally?

    You are implying that the whole purpose of men flexing their muscles, excelling in life, making money or achieving anything is to impress women. Your argument de-generates men to Neanderthals who lack the ability to excel unless there is a good lay around the corner. I find that essentially a dumb statement.

    Hitler was looking to get laid so he thought he’d try to conquer the world and kill a few million Jews in the process!! OK I’m done with this lamedick argument.

  40. Hitler was looking to get laid so he thought he’d try to conquer the world and kill a few million Jews in the process!! OK I’m done with this lamedick argument.

    In Hitler’s case, yes, it is believed, it was.

    In 1945 the Russian conducted an autopsy of Hitler’s burned body and issued a report that Hitler had a sexual deformation, having only one testicle. ” Based on a controversial Soviet medical report on Hitler’s dead body which showed that he had only one testicle. Waites argues that this condition occurs frequently enough in otherwise normal males to be generally considered a minor anomaly, although it can be a source of severe anxiety. This condition was responsible for his (Hitler’s) sexual repression and consequent inability to benefit from any normal form of direct sensuality. His intense grandiose ambitions, then, can be seen as an effort to compensate for basic feeling of inferiority and isolation. In this connection, his irrational hatred of the Jews, with its specific sexual references to Jews as seducers of innocent young women, also falls into place as a protective defense mechanism.

    There are hundreds (if not thousands) of books written on it – it is also rumored that early in his life, that he may been spurned by a Jewish woman, Jewish men stealing Gentile women, and laws such, as Germans could not have any relationships with Jewish women shaped his entire life.

    So it is also believed for Idi Amin’s case.

    The above facts will be told by any person following world history.

  41. OK I give up. I don’t give into the argument that men are bascially only driven by their animalistic need for sex but this thread has become a little ridiculous now made worse by unmarried people theorizing about how marriages should work and how women should be treated despite their unhappiness. I’d forgotten because I hadn’t been on SM for a long time that I’m always grateful after an exchange with HMF that I don’t know anyone like that in real life! shudder

  42. Hitler was looking to get laid so he thought he’d try to conquer the world and kill a few million Jews in the process!!

    No, what one’s choices are for life’s “work” are not the issue, it’s the alpha qualities of “power’, so Hitler wanted to be the best killer/dictator, better than the next Jew-killer out there, and yes, even that is ultimately connected to a desire to impress women.

    That it might attract women is NOT the underlying reason why these leaders functioned in the fashion they did.

    You make it sound like I said the leaders did their thing then ran to the next girl and said, “hey baby look what I just did”. No, it’s not like that at all. What I’m talking about is ‘power and having other men subordinate to you’, and this is done primarily to impress women? what other reason would a guy have to pursue this qualities??

    the drive and competitiveness becomes innate

    I agree with this COMPLETELY. it’s very much internalized. it starts from when you’re very young. You see certain guys get women all the time, and naturally try and dissect what about them makes them succeed. this sows the seed of competition and/or attempted alphaness.

    Now you can’t look at an isolated microcosm and say, “oh well so you’re saying when ice hockey players are fighting on the ice, they’re secretly single hoping single women are fainting in the stands” That’s just silly, and is basically the way you’re responding.

    You have to look at it and say, Professional male competitive sports has become so popular, primarily, we live in a society in which women respond positively to physical strength, aggressiveness, ‘taking charge’, and going for a puck on a slab of ice is one way that’s manifested in our society.

    JOAT, both you and PM have gone on and on about it being a lamedick argument, and yet have offered no altenative other than “yeah, well men box just to fight each other, because that’s what they do” So tell me, if men amass power & flex their muscles just for the sake of doing it, is that any less “neanderthallish” than doing it to attract women? If not, then what’s the difference between our points of view anyway?

  43. I’d forgotten because I hadn’t been on SM for a long time that I’m always grateful after an exchange with HMF that I don’t know anyone like that in real life!

    Oh lady, you’d be surprised. Sure I might be rough around the edges, but nearly every male I speak to says something to the effect of “I agree with you, but that’s the way it is” [in the sense of the 'rules' surrounding male-female interaction being immutable]

    it could be, you just know a bunch of great academy award winning actors.

  44. 344 · Kush Tandon said

    There are hundreds (if not thousands) of books written on it – it is also rumored that early in his life, that he may been spurned by a Jewish woman, Jewish men stealing Gentile women, and laws such, as Germans could not have any relationships with Jewish women shaped his entire life. The above facts will be told by any person following world history.

    Yes. I also remember that the National Enquirer had a well sourced article, maybe some time in late 2001, where a buxom blonde from the Midwest mentioned how she had laughed at the size of Osama’s small member, and he had channeled his resulting shame into a crusade against American depravity. Unfortunately, the 9-11 commission report did not take heed of this important information in its recommendations for preventing future terror attacks.

    And everybody knows that Cindy Sheehan was just a spurned bushie.

  45. Wow. I am glad that jurisprudence does not condone the “be the best killer” genetic motivation.