A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Game" - A Summary (But Perhaps Not a Conclusion)

I am hoping against hope that this is going to be the last post devoted to PUA theory that I feel the need to write for some time. I'm certain my critics feel the same way. But all joking aside, I offer this post as a summary of my previous three posts (see here, here, and yes, even here). I have no illusions that what I'm about the say will be the "last word" on this topic, either for myself personally, or for the whole discussion in general. But I'm a busy man, and I don't have a copious amount of time to burn on chasing rabbits. Here are my main points:

1. "Game" advocacy must come to terms with the historical baggage of the Seduction Community.

This includes: (1) The sexual immorality, (2) any behavior that would be deceitful and fraudulent in what it conveys [Are you making a concerted effort to give a false impression of what you really are?]**, (3) encouraging the Alpha Jerk culture and skank behavior in women, (4) engaging in any other unethical and sinful behaviors in the name of masculinity, and (5) making an idol out of sex. One reader ("Thursday") retorted, "None of the bad behaviors you described are even close to being necessary to attract women" but he seems to contradict himself and Ferdinand Bardamu, who has said the following:
Have you considered, Mr. Auster, that the two explanations are not mutually exclusive? Namely, that in the absence of social conditioning, women will blindly follow their genitals straight into the arms of violent dirtbags? Those men are socially dominant by dint of their nature, which is why women are drawn to them and why, when they get slapped both silly and senseless, they almost always go back to them.
Which is it? Do women flock to alcoholic philanderers and other baddies or not? If not, then why are the baddies not alone? If women do flock to baddies, then what makes anyone think that Game Lite will do the job? If being a thug is what it really takes to do the job, then just what is the Christian man's option "in the absence of social conditioning?" Either you admit that Christian men are going to have a hard time finding decent wives in today's social climate or you admit that women can choose to change.

2. "Game" advocacy must disassociate itself from the Seduction Community.

My critics insist on using the language of PUAs (even invoking the acronym itself, which means "pick-up artist", duh!) and yet take exception when they are lumped in with the PUAs. Folks can't have it both ways.

3. "Game" advocates must be more forthcoming with specifics about how "Game" can contribute to interpersonal relationships between men and women in ways that others sources of knowledge cannot.

I have come across two "success stories" thus far, but when one drills down the narratives, they merely talk about about the husband being more assertive with his wife (something a man could just as easily learn from a tome in a family bookstore). The reader "Thursday" remarks that attracting women requires "considerable nuance" above and beyond merely being a confident and responsible man. Never mind that another "Game" advocate assures us that, "Game is not a series of tricks. It teaches men to grow a spine and grow a set."

How strange that our ancestors never heard of the "Mystery Method." I can hear it now, "Oh, but Anakin, they practiced game." Funny that none of the people I know who lived in the 20th century B.F. (before feminism) have ever mentioned anything about the "considerable nuance" of seduction techniques being the key to success to their dating and their marriages. Funny how men of old managed to find good women without the benefit of the modern Relationship Expert Industry (PUA, Christian, feminist, or otherwise). I tell you what changed: the expectations of many women. Instead of calling women out on their unrealistic nonsense, some men apparently want to kiss up and try to please the Exulted High Maintenance Ones. If you have to walk on sexual eggshells to please the modern woman then what does that say about her expectations and the viability of the relationship itself?

4. The claim has been made that "Game" can benefit Christian men hasn't been substantiated.

I threw down the gauntlet. I raised my ethical, moral, spiritual, and theological concerns. The responses on this matter have been disappointing. Anyone who has following this blog knows how I take great pains to answer any critics who say my views are not scriptural. But what do I hear from "Game" advocates? Something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter what you say Anakin. Women won't change. Game works!" Pragmatism and utilitarianism may work for a secular audience, but as a theological argument for Christians, it falls flat. How does "Game" square with what the Bible says about manhood? Can anyone take a stab at that question?

5. "Game" advocacy must show that it something more than "Cosmo for men."

I fear that the Beta Revolution, for example, is reductionist to a fault in its embrace of "Game." The Beta Revolution, like social conservatives, are concerned about normal, hardworking men dropping out of society. The Beta Revolution, however, thinks sex will motivate these men back to the salt mines. The critics of men's rights advocacy often declare, "You guys are just mad because you can't get laid." The Beta Revolution, in effect, says, "Yep, you're right!!" But does the Beta Revolution (or neo-traditionalist conservativism, for that matter) really focus on fixing society or dealing with women's behavior? Not to any great extent that I can see. It's mostly about fixing men. Men are the problem. Either they are not nice enough, or as the PUA seems to think, they are not sexy enough.

So, if a man learns "Game" and becomes desirable enough for women, just how exactly is his lot improved? How does he win, if at the end of the day, society doesn't respect men? How do his male descendants win if nothing changes for them, either? What reward is it to be the stud horse if, at the end of the day, you are still locked up in the same stall of those who own you?

Over at Novaseeker's blog, I wrote:
Let me remind you that I am not one of those evil "socons" that want men to be doormats to their wives. As a Christian man, I have written more against the misandry of social conservatives than anything else. However, the "beta revolution" will die in the nursery if you and others don't deal with the moral, ethical, and religious concerns of your target audience (responsible betas).
I stand by my words. The discussion has been lively and heated, but I am not out to spoil anyone's party. On the other hand, I am trying to offer constructive criticism. "Better the wound of a friend than the kiss of an enemy."

**On the deception issue, someone might counter, "Hey, women wear make-up and push-up bras." Well, for starters, I have some questions about Christian women wearing immodest clothing in public. Secondly, sooner or the later, the make-up is going to come off and I am going to see the woman for who she really is physically. But I don't hear anything about men letting their Alpha facade down. This, by the way, gets me to my next point: Men and women set each other up for disappointment by putting on an act during dating. If the relationship progresses, sooner or later, you are going to see your mate as he or she really is (bad habits, vulnerabilities, etc.). The eventual slam of reality is most painful for those who rode their ship on the crest of romantic illusions (including those generated by male "Game" and female "Rules").

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baptizing "Game"?

From the feedback I received on my last two posts, I've learned some about how people understand the dynamics of mate selection between men and women. My last two posts (see here and here) stated my moral and theological objections to the PUA community. I have had basically two reactions from my readers:

1) People agreeing with me and saying what PUAs espouse is evil. The idea of seducing women with manipulative techniques in order to bed them is understandably off-putting to people of faith.

2) People who think I misunderstand "Game."

What I am seeing is a lot of cross-talk, argument over semantics, perhaps some special pleading and a few other things that impair clarification and resolution of the issue. I am certain I can take some blame for this, but I don't think I can take all of it.

There is apparently a group of men in the blogosphere that want to bowdlerize PUA tactics. That is, they want to crop off the seedier aspects of "Game" and talk about ways that men can improve their interpersonal relationships with women. "Game", for this group, is understood in a general and innocuous way. Indeed, some posters even talk about "Game" saving marriages. But that doesn't answer what I have already written:
Some readers want to redefine "Game" to mean things men have always done to catch the eyes of ladies. Historically, the word "Game" has had more negative connotations than that. I say it has too much to be used by Christian men.

When a godly women makes herself attractive, we don't call this "teasing." When she is sexually assertive with her husband in the bedroom, we don't call her a "porno slut." Likewise, we should not the use the language of PUAs to describe what godly men do to attract women ...
In short, I ask why some male bloggers feel the need to use the language of "playas," pimps, lotharios, lounge lizards, and the such like to describe the general concept of making oneself more attractive to women? And to say a Christian man can do this? Why would a Christian man want associate himself with the sexually immoral by using their language to describe his dealings with the opposite sex? It doesn't help his testimony, even if he has no intention of sleeping around. I can see it now: "Hi. I'm Chad. I go to Grace Community Church and I'm into Game!" What do you think Jane Q. Public is going to think about that? It's like saying, "Hi, I'm Hannah, I go to Grace Bible College, and I'm into teasing guys!" No, uh, "epic fail." You are not going to win the hearts and minds of men who are serious about sexual purity by asking them to borrow terms from the Seduction Community. At the very least, a new set of terms and/or concepts needs to be put forth that are acceptable to men of faith.

What is it that the Seduction Community can offer men of faith that they can't pick up elsewhere? I can go to a family bookstore and there are plenty of books telling men how to romance their wives, how to stop being a wimp and be a "real man," etc. Ever read No More Christian Nice Guy by Paul Coughlin? Many of the authors of these books are licensed counselors and therapists. Consider that there are also marriage enrichment seminars, workshops, etc. to boot that a religious man can attend.

You can teach men how to approach women and how to maintain the interest of women. All fine and well. More power to you if you can approach this subject in a format acceptable to Christian men. But the bottom line is that teaching men how to approach women is a meaningless exercise unless men and women genuinely love and respect each other. I am all for being physically attractive and romantically attractive to one's spouse, but I am not going to be able to do much seducing if I'm wasting away from inoperable cancer. The same goes for women. I've said a lot on this blog and elsewhere about Christian women needing to be more responsive about what turns men on instead of be such priggish prudes. One thing I will not do, however, is to suggest that sexual attractiveness is the foundation rock of a godly relationship. Agape is the foundation. Agape expresses itself by being considerate of the erotic needs and desires of one's spouse. However, the fruit of a tree should not be confused with the tree itself.

As it is, the three-hundred pound gorilla in the room is this: A lot of women and men don't love and respect each other. Seduction techniques, per se, cannot create this love and respect. Without the prerequiste love and respect, seduction techniques only lend themselves to sports sex, grudge sex, sugar daddy prostitution, trophy spouses, or what have you. Such is a turn-off to a godly man. Until men and women respect each other, their relationships will essentially be nothing more than détente at the genital level. Obviously, there are men in the PUA/Seduction community who are not bothered by this, but the rest of us should be bothered. And when it comes to love and respect, women have their work cut out for them, given the fact that they gotten off with something less than a slap on the wrist for the last 40+ years. That's what lies at the heart of the issue - people's integrity, not a technique.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Biblical Manhood vs. "Game" (Reprise)

In my last post, I looked at how PUA theories about women and men were incompatible with the Christian worldview. Some of my readers nonetheless tried to defend "Game." I can understand someone disagreeing with me, but what is baffling is when people merely restate the very thing that I just got done refuting and don't offer any counterarguments in response to my specific points. I put forth several scriptures that show just how unscriptural PUA theory is in its assessment of what it takes to attract women. No one addressed the scriptures, specifically the scriptures that tell men how to act--scriptures that are quite clearly in conflict with worldly notions of masculinity.

One red herring thrown into the discussion is that women don't like pushovers. Another red herring was the mention of men doing things to attract women and how natural that was. My discourse is about neither of these things, per se. Some readers want to redefine "Game" to mean things men have always done to catch the eyes of ladies. Historically, the word "Game" has had more negative connotations than that. I say it has too much to be used by Christian men.

When a godly women makes herself attractive, we don't call this "teasing." When she is sexually assertive with her husband in the bedroom, we don't call her a "porno slut." Likewise, we should not the use the language of PUAs to describe what godly men do to attract women. Are you nostalgic for the masculinity of the past? I'll tell you where the PUAs would be in the past--on the bottom of the food chain, dismissed as gigolos, cads, and rakes. They would be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

What Attracts Women = Natural?

You might say that women are naturally attracted to cads and rakes. I say that women are sinfully attracted to cads and rakes. God did not design women to be attracted to the things he clearly condemns in his Word. Worldly women are attracted to the wrong things because they are in rebellion against their Creator. So, let's break it down and review some examples ...

1. "Game" might say that cockiness and arrogance attracts women, but the word of God condemns cockiness and arrogance (1 Pet. 5:5).

2. "Game" might say having wealth and material things attracts women, but the word of God condemns the eagerness to get rich (Prov. 28:20).

3. "Game" might say that the "neg-hit" attracts women, but the word of God condemns unedifying speech and unduly provoking others (Eph. 4:29; Gal. 5:26).

4. "Game" might say that keeping women on a yo-yo keeps them off balance and clinging to you but the word of God condemns dishonest and inconsiderate behavior towards others (Prov. 11:3; James 3:17).

5. "Game" might counsel men to avoid "one-itis" and to keep several different women in rotation. "Game" may even point out that women like men who already have other women in tow. But the word of God condemns sexual immorality and treating women in impure ways (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Tim. 5:2).

6. "Game" might say that women are attracted to men who know how to assert dominance by keeping other men down, but the God of word spells out doom for such a man (Mark 10:42-43; Psalms 72:4; Isaiah 26:5; Luke 1:52-53).

7. "Game" might say that women are attracted to the man with the "warrior" spirit, who fights others for what he wants. But God condemns brawlers, self-seekers, and the such like and commends peacemakers, those who are gentle, and those who suffer for righteousness sake instead of taking vengeance (2 Tim. 2:24; Titus 3:2; Rom. 2:8; Rom. 12:9).

8. "Game" might say that men who are "bad boys" (those who are uninhibited enough to engage in socially deviant behavior) attract women, but the word of God condemns these confident men as fools (Prov. 14:16) and tells men to suffer as those who do good, not as evildoers (1 Pet 3:17).

I could go on with other examples of ungodly things that attract women. The bottom line is that I rather be boring to women than be damned for eternity.

About Confidence and Taking the Lead

Now, to be fair, there is dating advice out there for men, which the PUAs expound on, that is not so morally problematic as the examples I give above. A lot of it focuses on behaviors that make you appear to be confident to women and in control of the situation. Here's the catch: I note with concern how men talk about confidence as something you do to attract women. I see this kind of talk especially among PUAs and traditionalists. Even Paul Coughlin, in his book No More Christian Nice Guy, cages the idea of being a strong, manly, confident guy in terms of something that pleases women. It is not till the very end of his book that he mentions, in passing, the idea of men being something more than that.

MGTOW does not look at confidence as something you do to attract women. MGTOW looks at confidence as something you ARE IN SPITE of women. I think this is one primary way in which MGTOW "owns" and "pwns" the other voices out there speaking on masculinity. The key is not traits and behaviors that women think express confidence, but actual confidence itself. The man who doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to take the nuclear option and tell wicked women to buzz off, even if it means being alone, is at the mercy of women. He is the real pushover. But look at the PUA guy. He keeps flashing his peacock feathers before women and doing dances that make him look "confident." I frankly don't see how any man who is deathly afraid of going without sex and female attention can be called confident. Sure, a stupid woman with no sense or discretion will fall for such fake displays of confidence. It's easy to bed stupid women. It's not so easy to stay happily married to them (And I remind my readers that marriage is the only "game" ChristianGuy gets to play). Authentic, godly confidence risks turning women off for the sake of what is right and what is just. A lot of men outside of MGTOW don't have that kind of confidence.

The Limitations to Attracting Women

I have already pointed out that men cannot embrace any traits or behaviors that are sinful in order to attract women. But even in morally neutral matters, a man cannot work to attract women at the expense of his relationship with God (Luke 14:26). If his ultimate care is to please women instead of pleasing Christ, then he is no better than the young lady that primps and preens herself and yet does not grow in her spirituality. Religious leaders are always telling young women to maintain their inner beauty and not to make outer beauty their primary focus (1 Pet. 3:3-4). We need to be telling young men a similar thing. We do not need to be reducing young men to peacocks on display for female consumption. We do not need them to be reduced to success objects or status objects that provide women with "many luxury vacations." Apathy in this matter is inexcusable.

Pushing Back

Another point: Women, culture, church, and even family members often push back against the expectations men have about attractive women. They tell men "stop being shallow," "be realistic," and the such like. Well, men need to do the same thing with women's expectations. Push back!! When I look around, though, I see a lot of passivity from men ("Women won't change," "that's the way they are," "you won't get laid thinking that way"). But I ask: Why are men expected to change their preferences on everything, but not women? Men who don't have the courage to question women on their expectations (which may be the product of a feminized culture and not biology) don't have the right to talk about other men getting back the physical tokens of their masculinity.

Recently, a snarky poster viciously compared me to George Sodini, a man who recently took his frustation out on some women and killed them. But as Amir has pointed out, George was into PUA ideas, not MGTOW. Mr. Sodini allowed himself to be a tool for a stupid culture that says you are a nobody if you are not getting laid. And sadly, in death, he has become a tool for paranoid pundits who want to tar and feather every man that voices misgivings about misandry and gynocentrism. A man like Sodini can feed anger and resentment to the extent that he lets others control his self-image (including women). If a man looks to others for approval, he gives them that control. On the other hand, a man can never be the "loser" if he refuses to play "the Game" in the first place.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Biblical Manhood vs. "Game"

Seduction theory, PUA (Pick-Up Artists), "alpha" male, "beta" male, "neg-hits," "Game," etc. I have been familiar with these terms for just about as long as I have been focused on men's issues. The theory of gender relations that lies behind these terms has been the stuff of chatter among some MRAs, MGTOWers, and the such like. To be certain, the ideas of the PUA community have not been entirely adopted by MGTOWers and MRAs. A lot of PUA literature seems to suggest that men who don't get laid are, of necessary, "losers." MGTOW rejects this message for the simple fact that the approval of women is not a valid metric of a man's worth. However, some still see value in the PUA philosophy for instructing men in how to view women and how to treat women. If you are not religious, the following discussion will be of no value to you. You may choose to ignore this post. But what about the Christian man? Can he carry anything away from PUA theory?

First of all, let us deal with the main goal of PUA theory: to seduce and bed women. PUA literature, with little or no exception, assumes sex outside the bond of a committed, godly marriage. There is talk of practicing and honing your skills on women. But what does the Bible say in response to this?
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Gal. 6:8, NASB)
And there is a lot to reap in this side of eternity from promiscuity and sports sex: jealousy, crimes, financial loss, loss of health, emotional problems, and yet even loss of life.

But then their is other side of eternity:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21, ASV)
Simply put, a Christian man can forget about "Game." He needs to keep his pants on and his mind pure. Someone may say, "Okay. I'm not going to sleep around but Game Theory allows me to understand women better." For what purpose? To get married? To stay happily married? If you are thinking that, then you are wrong on both counts.

PUA only explains the behavior of ungodly women. Note, I didn't say "non-religious" women. I said ungodly women. Doing "game" in order to attract a godly woman is like telling Christian women to wear slutty clothing and swing on a pole in public to attract godly men. It's a false and unbiblical approach. Indeed, I am certain doing "game" and being the Alpha male will work for a lot of church-going women, but it is because they merely have a form of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5), but are not really mature in Christ (if they are even saved at all). Do you want to be married to those kind of women? Remember, "Game" is great for casual sex with emotionally unstable women, not for helping you find a spiritually mature woman that cares about your mind, body, and eternal welfare.

PUA may insist that women are the same and hardwired to respond in a similar fashion. The Word of God declares such reasoning null and void. Read the Bible plainly says about the "nature of women":
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:13-18, NASB)
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Rom. 6:16, NASB)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (Gal. 5:16-17, NASB)
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:24, NASB)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Cor. 5:17, NASB)
Look at the verses carefully. When it comes to being tempted by the wrong things, no woman can claim God made her a certain way. A biblical anthropology declares that women are free moral agents who have choices for their behavior. A woman who chooses a "bad-boy" thug over a responsible but unassuming Christian man is not acting on some trait that is innate to women. Don't blaspheme the Creator, who made women, because your are unwilling to think outside the box about how women should behave. The woman who responds to PUA tactics is in bondage to sin and worldy self-deception. Likewise, men can be in bondage to worldy self-deception about women. Before I was a Christian, the women of Playboy were awe-inspiring. After I got serious about God's word regarding sexual purity, the women of Playboy became pitiful (the display of their flesh becoming like what Amir Larijani would call "cattle shows").

As a Christian man, your main goal in life is not be pleasing to the women of the world (including the women of world that sit in a church building). You main goal in life is to be pleasing to Christ. If the women in your faith tradition don't appreciate that, then their souls are probably in a precarious spiritual condition. You should be concerned about their eternal destiny and where they might take you if you allow yourself to be influenced by them (Eccles. 7:26; 1 Cor. 15:33).

Being Christian man means you won't be having sex with a lot of hot women, if any women at all. The Bible commands men to be responsible, dependable, gentle, humble, agreeable, longsuffering, law-abiding, not greedy for gain, not brawlers, free of selfish ambition, not high minded, those who honor others over themselves, not self-promoters, cautious, and slow to speak their mind (1 Cor. 15:58; 1 Tim. 6:11; Col. 3:12; James 3:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 6:17; Rom. 12:16; Rom. 13; Heb. 12:14; Phil. 2:3; 1 Thess. 4:11; Prov. 14:16; Prov. 27:2; James 1:19). These and other godly qualities are not exciting to the women of the world. They'll dismiss you and write asinine essays about why "nice guys aren't so nice." You might like to think of yourself as a "bad boy" who nonetheless plays by the rules. Think again, pal. Believe me, when they say "nice guy" in a peeved tone, they most certainly mean men like you. That's the brakes and that's your cross to bear.

You may wave your John Eldridge books in my face all day long, but here's the bottom line:
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. (1 Cor. 1:26-29)
It annoys me to no end to see Christian men get all defensive when the world questions their masculinity ("Hey, being a Christian doesn't mean I'm a wimp! I can clean out an entire bar with my two bare fists!"). Sorry, but you will never be "man enough" in the eyes of the world (and in the eyes of nominally Christian women). Accept the shame.

As a Christian man, you might get married to a woman who is very physically attractive, but there's no guarantee of that. Both sexes like a modicum of physical attractiveness in one another. But overall, the only women you should be remotely thinking about are godly women. By this I don't mean the culturally conservative, churchy types who want a man to provide them with "many luxury vacations" or the nice house, two cars, and three kiddies. I am talking about a woman who a heart on fire for Christ. Spiritual people of either sex are hard to find, even in churches. Churches in America have degraded to nothing more than well-furnished, well-lit community centers for people who are into SWPL. For either sex, finding a godly spouse means going through buckets of chaff to find one grain of wheat. As a Christian man, that is the reality for you in an age where Western Christianity has "left its first love" (Rev. 2:4).

The pile of gravel the Christian MGTOWer has to shovel is a unique one. It deals with the cost of discipleship. That means you may never find "the one." It means you may have to fly solo through this life. When you go to heaven, you will be given a new body. It will not be the body of a male porn star or the Studmeister (Luke 20:35). That should clue you in the bigger picture of what your life is about.

Personally, I happen to be friends with a single woman who is very spiritually-minded and devout. There are times when she makes me feel like a spiritual beta. The women of the world, on the other hand, do not make me feel like the "beta" because they have nothing to offer to me--besides illicit sex. What good is that? (Mark 8:36). But get this: Being a slave to Christ means that you are free from the Untouchable Goddesses Who Reign Over Male Self-Esteem and Happiness.

Let me put it to you another way: Do you care if an ugly woman calls you a "beta"? She says, "You're not my type!" You think to yourself, "So what's your point, lady?" In the same manner, the Christian man looks at the women of the world (including the worldly ones that sit in the church) and sees the truth: these women are like whitewashed tombs. So, what good is Game Theory to me if my intimate relations with women are limited to marriage and if I am studiously avoiding those women who are in bondage to sin and the devil? I don't have to consult Doc Love or whoever to ferret out these women. I just need to consult my Bible (Luke 6:44).

I know how some of my posters might retort: You take the Bible too literally. Religion is a just a tool for weak-minded people who have no life. Yada, yada, yada. Sorry, but that discussion is beyond the scope of this blog. If you have a gripe against Christianity, there are other venues for you to express your misgivings. What I have expressed here is not some form of self-medication or statement of "sour grapes" regarding mate selection. I am simply stating what my religion demands of me. Even if I was in a position to have sex with every lingerie supermodel and NFL cheerleader under the sun, I would still have to answer to God for my actions. If you are going to follow Christ, these are the facts that you must come to terms with. It is really as simple as that.

Final note: Culturally conservative women who play the "nice girl" act, don't put out for the gents, and yet are worldly and spiritually immature in so many other ways most assuredly have nothing to offer me (Prov. 21:19). If marrying "in the faith" means marrying one of these suburban female overlords who wants her SUV, Martha Stewart lifestyle, and "many luxury vacations," then take me to the urologist for my scheduled orchiectomy (because it's going to happen one way or the other in that case).

Suggested reading: Women Who Diss Christian Men as Being Weak

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Delay of Marriage (Men Are Not the Problem)

Anyone following my writings and the writings of some fellow bloggers for the last few years will know what we are up against: Nobody's getting married like they used to and everybody wants to blame the guys for it. Let me itemize, reiterate and encapsulate a few things about the so-called "delay of marriage." But first let me say the following by way of introduction to my subject matter:

Anybody who believes immature, single men are primarily to blame for people putting off marriage or not getting married at all needs to stop what he or she is doing right now, get up, go to the bedroom, and stay there until I say otherwise.

Chronically unexamined in the larger discourse are the contributions of the distaff gender to the current phenomenon of "protracted singleness." Thus, at least for the sake of balance, here are some talking points that constitute the proverbial "third rail" of the discussion on people not getting married ...

1. The Cosmo Complex

Popular culture keeps reminding men that the old rules are gone and now they got to prove themselves to women more than ever before. We keep hearing from women, "I don't need no mayyyannn, and if one is lucky to have me, he's got to ... [insert 6,045 stipulations here]." Let's be honest here. I mean it: let's-be-honest. We do not see men behaving like this. If they did, they would be written off as egoistical, chauvinistic cads, who think "the world revolves around them" or that they are "God's gift to women."

Women, due to a confluence of increased independence, increased social status, increased economic power, and a gynocentric culture, now have inflated assumptions about how men should be. A plethora of romance novels, mainstream television shows, movies geared towards women, etc. simply adds fuel to the fire. However, there is no serious widespread conversation about whether or not the criteria women set up for suitors are fair or warranted.

There are much more cultural controls for men who have unrealistic assumptions about women than vice versa. You see articles shaming men for viewing women through the lens of physical beauty. You see our media putting down men for going "out of their league" (envision the stereotypical blonde who pours the drink down the shirt of Joe Six-Pack). But where is the analogue in our cultural discourse for women who have unrealistic ambitions for men out of their league? Dove commercials can focus on realistically beautiful women (see also the Campaign for Real Beauty), but I don't see culture wringing its hands in a similar fashion to counteract some of the mental distortions women have about the ideal man.

When it comes to romance, media tells ordinary women they are all princesses and deserving of the best. It hearkens back to the Disney movies. I suppose much of this is the result of women being the pursued sex, the ones who reject the advances, the gatekeepers with regard to formation of relationships. But with woman-firstersim, the egos of the pursued sex get magnified. Women need to realize playing hard to get has it pitfalls. You won't have self-respecting men feeling sorry for you when you blow off opportunities. They are not going to listen to you whine about their being "no good men left" when you treated many men, who are indeed good, so shabbily--or like they didn't exist.

Why is there a delay in marriage? Because many women have drunk the Kool-Aid and believed they were goddesses of the new millennium and there would be an endless supply of suitors to choose from. This is especially the case for Gen X women who now are waking up with a bad hangover. Buyer's remorse is indeed setting in for women in this age group. No ladies, "you can't have it all" when it comes to mate selection.

2. The Cinderella Paradox

I've blogged about this one, and it's related to the "Cosmo Complex." Women tend to be hypergamous. The "Paradox" is that as women increase their social status, the ability of men to be desirable mates for these women decreases. The pyramid narrows at the top, but don't tell this to the modern woman. She has conned herself into believing that their are enough men of high status to go around who are, at the same time, serious about marriage.

Meanwhile, men are getting economically disenfranchised. Even Albert Mohler, who likes to target men a lot, said something revealing in a recent broadcast (see 9:40 ff. here). He indicated the recent downturn in the economy has essentially impacted male-dominated professions, except for one field--the repair industry. Of course, Al hardly connects the dots when comes to men's issues. The 300 pound gorilla that Al and others ignore is this question: Do you know any professional women who want to marry repair men?

We can't put the toothpaste back into the tube, tell women to stop seeking prestigious jobs, or tell them to get back into the kitchen and bake some pie. But the doesn't stop many so-called liberated women from confining men to the old, stereotyped role of being "the main earner" does it? The reason there is a delay in marriages is because a critical mass of women show they are clueless about this matter.

3. Your Female Essence Is Not So Great

Danielle Crittenden compares older bachelors to a subway train of "misfits" and "crazy men." Laura Nolan says men are like eggs; they must "hatch" (get attached to women) or "go bad." Candice Watters repeats what she says. Some of Lisa Anderson's friends think older men are single for reasons that are not so flattering. Let me say the following with all due respect and without malice: All the women saying these things and the such like need to collectively put a sock in it. It's no longer surprising to me, but nonetheless noteworthy, that some of the most bigoted, knuckle-dragging, anti-male sexist drivel comes from putatively conservative women.

I've already said something about women being told by society they are princesses and how such leads to inflated expectations regarding men. I also believe women being told they are princesses by a gynocentric, chivalrous society causes them to be blind to their own shortcomings. According to the Standard Party Line, it's men who have all the faults, all the bad habits, all the hang-ups, all the displays of immaturity, all neuroses, all the issues with the parent of the opposite sex, all the wrong reasons for being unattached, all the creepy behavior, etc. Popular culture leads us to believe that the typical women is Marilyn Munster, an archetype of prettiness and normality, surrounded by male freaks.

Women complain that media portrays them in an unrealistic manner. Indeed, this is the case. Popular culture is too flattering to women. Popular culture wants us to believe that the woman on the street is beautiful, intelligent, savvy, more adept than the men around her, emotionally stable, quick-witted, resourceful, etc. She is not the woman on the street that I know in real life.

The women I know in real life are not goddesses. They are Just. Human. Beings. They snore. Their breath stinks. They pass gas and it smells as bad as what comes from a man. They lose it. They have weird quirks. They take medications for their emotional problems. They have to turn to the men in their lives to fix things. They they say and do stupid things. In essence, they don't fare much better than their male counterparts in dealing with the vicissitudes of life. They're just as screwed up as everybody else. Like Alfred Adler said, "The only normal people are the one's you don't know very well."

In the meantime, I keep waiting for the female equivalent of the statement "Brother, You're Like A Six." But I suppose a society that can't realize a female murderer for what she is probably can't admit to even the slightest imperfections in women. The reason there are delays in marriage is because a lot of women don't see themselves as the flawed creatures they are--in need of God's grace like everyone else. Ergo, they are not willing to extend grace to the men around them. There is another reason for a delay in marriage. It's because some women, like men, are--gasp--not marriage material.

4. The Tool in the Company Store

Do you know what a lot of single men see when they look at their married counterparts? They see married men being treated like the tool. Nobody wants to be a tool. I daresay if your typical man wants to marry, it's because he's marrying for love. What do women marry for? From the looks of things, it's property, children, and social status. You demur when I say that, do you? Explain, then, the recurrent theme in our media of some older divorcée or widow who, having had her children and her inheritance at the expense of some man, says something along the lines of: "I'm not looking anymore. I just don't feel the need to clean up after some slob, yada, yada." Of course, she isn't looking. She got what she wanted.

There yet remains to be any serious discussion in this culture about how women objectify and demean men in marriage. Indeed, that married men might want to be treated as human beings with their own valid opinions seems earth-shattering to some women. Dr. Laura writes a book called The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and women get upset. The insulting corniness of the title aside, why did such a book have to be written in the first place? Isn't caring about what should be the most important man in a woman's life a no-brainer? Apparently for a lot of women it isn't. Too many married men are treated like appliances, or that loud relative that visits every so often and that you wish would go away at the end of the evening.

Pundits like Mark Regnerus, Albert Mohler, and writers for Boundless.org hold out marriage to young men as the solution for sexual immorality. Really? Did they read the book Every Man's Battle? Did they read Paul Coughlin's No More Christian Nice Guy? Because these books tell a disturbing truth: A lot of Christian men hope that in marriage they can have their proverbial cistern to drink from or the proverbial breasts of a wife to get intoxicated by (Prov. 5:15-19). But men find the cistern dry. Women simply do not have enough love and respect for their husbands to care about the relationship needs and desires of these men in terms of emotional and physical intimacy. The pundits talk about men defrauding women before marriage. How about the women who defraud men after marriage (1 Corinthians 7:5)? No we can't talk about that, because men have to earn affection from their wives, dont'cha know.

Men have observed how their fathers have been treated in the new era of gender relationships. Young men are afraid of commitment. No surprise there! It's not "just a piece of paper" after all. They know "everything changes" after marriage. Indeed, what does change? Huh? Answer me. They know. It's about the obligations ... which tend to be slanted one way and offset by not very much being given back. You see, we talk about a man's fear of divorce. But there's another bogey-man here: the loveless marriage.

Like I said, many married men are treated like the tool. And the social structure is rigged like the Company Store. What's on the shelves? Marriage 2.0. It all about her expectations, their parents expectations, their friends expectations, the expectations of everyone else. It's about "keeping up appearances" and "keeping up with the Joneses." So, many men exhaust themselves physically, financially, mentally, and emotionally because what's on the shelf puts them in debt with the Store Managers. In this day and age, will a man's life really be enhanced by saying "I do" or will it be diminished? Will he have to sacrifice his dreams in a culture where a woman's opinion trumps all other viewpoints in a relationship? To say that the modern marriage (Marriage 2.0) is female-centered to a fault is an understatement.

Recently, John Thomas at Boundless offered a young man a piece of advice: "Remember: You're pursuing a person, not an institution." Boundless staff writer, Suzanne Hadley weighed in:
"I've been on the receiving end of this approach. A woman can tell when she's just on a job interview for the role of wife. Of course, single women want men to pursue them. But a woman also wants to know that a man is pursuing her because of her unique qualities -- not just because he's in need of a wife."
But what I find more enlightening is the comment of one male reader who exposes Boundless' sheer hypocrisy in this regard:
I have read countless articles on this site that say the Christian dating should be intentional and with an objective toward marriage. In fact, the reason I started reading this site was a publication entitled, “A Guys Guide to Marrying Well”. This booklet is caulked full of section headings such as “Don’t Wait for a Burning Bush”, “Brother You’re Like a Six”, and “Don’t Wait For Your Soul Mate”. Apparently, Christian women aren’t getting the same message…. Because lots of you still seem to want “Brad Pitt and Jesus Christ all rolled into one”.
Indeed women are not getting the same message. They're special, after all. They must never be objectified. They must never be reduced to a role or a position. They must be seen as unique human beings. Men on the other hand? Well ... uh .. um. Crickets chirp.

Who are we fooling here? It's the old tool thing again. Men are not wanted "for richer or poorer," "in sickness and health," or "for better or worse." They are wanted for what they provide. They are just a means to an end. The modern married man is just a cardboard cut-out, a body double, a convenient warm body to full the role of making the princess' dreams comes true. In the end, he is viewed as a commodity or resource that is disposable or expendable. His worth is ultimately determined by his usefulness to women. Too many men are finding out that their wives didn't really marry them; instead, these women married a fantasy of "being married." That is the essence of Marriage 2.0 for you. Moreover, let me say that a lot husbands are being torn down psychologically and blamed for everything that goes wrong in a marriage or family. But society and even the church just looks the other way. Are modern women and their male apologists so incorrigibly stupid as to believe that single men aren't picking up on these things that I've mentioned?

If what I saying here is overstated, then why is marriage framed in terms of a cost for men? Why do they say, "Why but the cow when you can get the milk for free?" If marriage was so great for men, then shouldn't they see it as an opportunity and not as a cost? Well it seems being the princess in modern society means not only that you get to treat men shabbily before a relationship, but during the relationship as well. In short, there is a delay in marriage because men are not getting anything out of what is offered and women don't care enough to have it otherwise.

5. Divorce

Yeah, can't leave this one out. It's been discussed by many others, however, so I won't belabor it. Men stand to lose a lot if women decide to cash in on the marriage. You have people like Stephen Baskerville sounding the alarm on this matter. Mind you, this man has been interviewed by none other than Albert Mohler. And yet this is what Mr. Baskerville says in his book Taken into Custody:
There is mounting evidence that as men discover the terms of marriage and divorce today, they are engaging in a marriage boycott or marriage “strike”: refusing to marry or start families, knowing they can be criminalized if their wife walks out and how attractive the divorce industry has made it easy for her to do so. …. Sonja Hastings of Fathers-4-Equality says that “no matter how decent, hardworking, and caring you may be as a father, that in the event of separation, you will more than likely not get custody of your child, you will lose up to 80% of all of your assets, you will have to pay up to five times the cost of raising a child, and most importantly you could never see your child again.” In Britain a fathers’ rights group tours university campuses warning young men not to start families. Even one attorney writes a book concluding that the only effective protection for men to avoid losing their children is not to start a family in the first place. (HT: Dr. Helen)
When it comes to the divorce and why there is a delay in marriage, well, "I rest my case, your honor."

Before I close, let me throw another molotov cocktail into the garden party of Blame-The-Guys-First crowd: Seven years ago the CDC conducted a study on people and their desire to get married. Do you know which gender agreed more with the statement, "It is better to get married than to go through life being single"? The men. Even among conservative protestants, the breakdown was roughly 68% men vs. 59% women. I am certain this study is not unknown to the Marriage Mandators. Even Steve and Candice Watters were made aware of it a few years back before the Boundless Line blog came on. Recently, Candice Watters was on a radio show with Al Mohler concerning their pet topic, the delay of marriage. Al, as usual, conjured up images of helpless little maidens desperate to get married and slacker dudes sitting on their duffs doing nothing. What did Mrs. Watters say in response to this talk? Search your feelings, padawan.

You see, then, how the snow globe really shakes up. Yes, there are women out there who are nothing like what I described above. That's not the issue. The issue is this: We have a cultural climate (both in and out of the church) that allows women to be exactly like what I described and a statistically significant amount of them are "like that." I've touched the third rail. It deals with how women treat men. And yet, I'm not shocked in what I've said. Are you?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

That Broadcast

Well, true to form, Albert Mohler is celebrating Mark Regnerus' article in CT and has decided to beat the drum about the matter. My thoughts about Al's broadcast (see the minute markers below) ...

13:30 ff. (But especially at 14:50 ff.) ... Let's see. "It's unreasonable to expect" young people who delay marriage to not sleep around ...but wait! Sexual sin is problem! It's theological schizophrenia at its worst. Listen up folks: I'm all for early marriage, but it's becoming apparent to me that Albert Mohler and Mark Regnerus are much more fatalistic than I am about people being able to obey God's commands. Apparently, only married people can be pleasing to God. Everyone else is doomed to sexual sin, unless of course, you are one of the mystical 144,000 with the gift of celibacy.

16:10 ff. Marriage makes adults of us? Those of us who have witnessed the legacy of parents this side of the Baby Boom can have a laugh at that one.

16:20 ff. Gross eisegesis of 1 Cor. 7:7. I see no mention of the "gift of celibacy" here. No mention of Paul having a low sex drive or some divine gift of not caring about women. It doesn't stop the Marriage Mandate movement from imagining that it's there in the text, though. Just like Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:18, they've quoted the passage so long, they stopped actually reading it.

17:55 ff. Our poor teens don't have the gift of celibacy because they are having sex! Umm, they probably don't have a clue, either. Could it be the real reason evangelical youngsters are not so far apart from the world in having premarital sex is because they are surrounded by a pornographic culture? Or how about these reasons ...

(1) The religious community of which they are a part is more culturally conservative than spiritual. I mean Christianity is more than just refraining from sex. But with so many religious conservatives, their faith seems to be about mere do's and dont's. So, their kids see through the charade and conclude that even the do's and don'ts are a waste of time. Why should the kids be serious about tackling sexual sin when the grown-ups at church aren't serious about tackling materialism, selfish ambition, gossip, bitterness, wrath, backbiting and all the other works of the flesh that you don't hear the cultural warriors talk about? Christianity has been dead in North America for a long time (being reduced to a civic club for Republicans) and the putative 80% of church kids sleeping around only puts the icing on the cake, IMHO.

(2) Albert Mohler and others have already told young people in so many words they are going to fail. So the mantra goes like this: "God designed us for sex!" No, folks, God designed us to fear him and keep his commandments, whether we get "get lucky" or not (Eccles. 12:13).

21:00 ff. Some talk about "the World" and "the Biblical vision" (read "us" vs. "them"). Is the Marriage Mandate Movement really all that separate from how the world views relationships between men and women? You mean male-bashing and an overemphasis on romantic relationships being the solution to life's problems are Christian concepts and not something I can see on the Lifetime Channel?

23:50 ff. Proposal that we grill young men about their marital status. "How are you handling this?" Hey, Albert, how are the married men handling it? Or is Proverbs 21:9 just written in jest and not really meant as cautionary advice? All the questions you fire at the young man struggling with his chastity could be fired right back at the older man struggling in his marriage. Everything has its price (1 Cor. 7:28).

29:00 ff. Guess who is on the show tonight, folks! Candice Watters is in da house! Al hearts ya, SISTAH! Cue from stage left and sit in the easy chair next to the big man. Smile to the camera and tell us about your latest movie.

32:30 ff. Male bashing. What would Albert and Candice's shtick be without that? Men delay marriage "because they can?" Yeah, and more power to them, I say. Men delay marriage because the owners of the club have set the entry fee too high. Or men delay marriage because it's not available to them. Maybe Marriage 2.0 is the only product on the shelves in a given situation.

33:10 ff. The fundamental responsibility is mostly on men to "grow up and get married"? And that part about how oh-so-many Christian women are "ready for marriage?" Are these women ready for marriage, or they just ready for the wedding? Big difference, there, Al. Because in marriage, it takes two to tango. It takes mutual sacrifice. I have a difficult time believing that a generation of women raised on a diet of cultural misandry, helicopter parenting, materialism, and the therapeutic zeitgeist of putting female felt needs before all else is really ready for marriage. Are they really ready to selflessly love a man and be his helpmeet? Are they even ready to keep the toast from burning?

Finally, Al, you ask, "Where are the men?" They're all around you, pal (Although, they are probably not dancing to your tune.). They're all around those poor little evangelical bachelorettes, too. But the women don't see those men. When ladies ask, "Where are the men?" they probably mean only those that could perchance fall within what Roger Devlin calls their "erotic field of view." The young Christian maiden is probably wondering why Matt the pretty boy "won't get serious" and be "spiritual" like her and "realize his call" to embrace "Biblical manhood" by embracing marriage. Unheeded goes Raymond, who is shy and socially awkward, but loves the Lord much more than Matt ever will. Put another way? I fear too many women are confusing strong feelings with the quality of being spiritual.

Anyway, with respect to Al, it's essentially just more of the same. I'll leave it at that.

HT: Puritan Calvinist.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

That CT Article

Puritan Calvinist has beat me to the punch in panning an article which appeared in this month's issue of Christianity Today about marrying young. I saw the hard copy at work earlier in the week, and like I told PC in the comments section of his blog, I was a bit dismayed when I looked at the front cover of the magazine and saw the title emblazoned there. My fear was that Christianity Today had drunk the Kool-Aid of the Marriage Mandate Movement.

I am in strong agreement with PC on one point: Unmarried people can live without sex (and that without too much effort). Any suggestion to the contrary flies in the face of the clear teachings of the Word of God, which sufficiently addresses the issue of choice and sexual responsibility (1 Thess. 4:3-5). My readers can attest that I have been quick to lower the boom on any statement asserting that "men can't live without sex, blah, blah, blah." That said, I can see some of the point made by Mark Regnerus, the author of the article in question, about the challenges of staying pure. The hoops we make people (especially men) jump though in order to get married well is, at best, an unnecessary barrier to promoting sexual morality.

Here is what the church should do: It should support a social trend towards making the goal of marriage obtainable, but nonetheless optional, for young people. Unfortunately, what some religious pundits seem to be doing is making the goal of marriage unobtainable by upholding unrealistic social expections (chiefly the ones they pile on men), and yet making marriage mandatory at the same time. This latter course of action is irresponsible, unscriptural, and downright stupid.

In his comments about Christian men, Regnerus drops the ball. Like so many other commentators, he can't resist the temptation to paint single women as victims and men as immature playboys. He also can't resist the temptation to overstate the benefit of marriage to a man's development as a human being. Ignored are the social realities of "lifeboat feminism,"shrinking economic opportunities for men, unrealistic expectations of men by women, the objectification of men as success objects, the Cinderella Paradox (where the increased socioeconomic status of hypergamous women collides with the decreased ability of men to be desirable mates for said women), male-bashing, the divorce industry, the domestic violence industry, the sexual harassment industry, our therapeutic culture's focus on making women happy above all else, and the simple plain fact that men don't need to marry if they don't feel like it (oh, and did I mention lifeboat feminism?).

Yet as much as I may disagree with some of the key points of the article, I though this line was pure gold: "In societies like ours that exhibit lengthy economic prosperity, men and women alike begin to lose motivation to marry and have children, and thus avoid one or both." Believers need to keep this in mind the next time they are tempted to blame the New World Order, environmentalists, Democrats, slacker dudes playing video games, or the such like for people not wanting to "play house."

At any rate, read Regnerus' piece with a large chunk of salt.