some of the boys twist the old, battered doorknob violently, as though they were breaking the neck of an intruder.
others’ hands begin to shake, slightly, imperceptibly, then audibly, betraying the hollowness of the bravado that sustains them on the street.
their ways of opening the door are as colorful and revelatory as they are varied, each slightly exaggerated in the way so characteristic of teenagers.
every day they try on new identities, new comportments, new ways of apprehending the world, with all the grace and aplomb of a teenager stepping on the gas for the first time.
the cocky one torques the doorknob just as he’ll slam on the pedal in a couple of years, pressing his passengers into the seats and mistaking their trepidatious bewilderment for awe.
the hesitant one tries to twist the doorknob softly, hoping to slink unnoticed into the gym, but the rusty old knob and plate announce his presence in their unmistakable basso profundo — just as the car will jump and buck under his unsteady foot three years hence.

they are as energetic and dynamic as they are errant and unschooled.
they are full of piss and vinegar, but the piss is, more often than not, splattered all over the toilet seat, sprayed across the walls, and trickling onto the floor.

i was one of them, once, not long ago.
unlike many of my peers who view them with suspicious eyes, i have not forgotten.
and so i am here.

gentlemen, meet our newest fighter.

the bright california sunshine is no match for the dank, musty air of the gym, and is swallowed into a thick and impenetrable veil of darkness — a darkness so thick that it can be felt.
with it are swallowed pretentions, pretexts, bluffs, and fronts.
as the boy’s eyes adjust to the relative darkness, he finds that he has left flash, sound, and fury outside, and that this is it.

sandoval!

the boy snaps to attention with a mixture of respect and angst. by using his surname, i evoke in his mind’s eye vivid images of both the coaches and teachers who have helped him grow, more often than not against his will, and the officers, judges, and bailiffs that have shoved him through california’s one-size-fits-none juvenile legal system.

go stand in the doorway.
one foot in, one foot out.

even god only helps those who help themselves. and i am certainly no god.

if you are willing to be knocked down, defeated, bested, broken, and beaten, and you will keep getting up and fighting, then step inside.
if you step inside, you’re family.
if you find yourself with nowhere to go, and nowhere to turn, you have a new home.
anytime.

if you would rather not be knocked down, defeated, bested, broken, or beaten, then step back outside, and close the door.

which way are you going to step?

the boy stares me down, waiting, testing me, looking for the punch line.

i wait.

our eyes linger on each other. were i his age, even half this much direct eye contact, with neither side deferring even momentarily, would already have instigated a fight.

never taking his burning gaze from my eyes, he gathers up the last bits of his bravado, takes a slow, deliberate step inside the doorway, grasps the battered old handle from the inside, and shoves the door shut.

i reach out and grasp his hand. coming from a world where straight handshakes are often laced with straight razors, the boy is hesitant at first — he breaks the stare, a gesture of deference i’ve no need to point out explicitly — but then he slams on the proverbial pedal, meeting my eyes with renewed vigor as he clasps my hand and wrist in an overwrought, but gentlemantly, grip.

welcome.

for the next two years, neither boxing nor life was good to the boy; both dealt him countless numbers of knockouts.
once, he decided he was just done; he threw his gloves into the floor, tears streaming down his cheeks, and stormed to within inches of the door.
and then he stopped.
and looked at the door.
sandoval!
which way are you going to step?

he turned around.

he met the stares of the other boys, who had all once been in his place.
some dared him.
some encouraged him.
some dismissed him.
some scowled at him like disappointed fathers.

he picked up his gloves.
and his heart.

one more round.

what keeps us coming back, in situations when our rational calculus tells us that the costs have begun to outweigh the benefits?
what keeps us fighting through fatigue, ennui, conflict, injury, heartbreak, disillusionment, anomie, and betrayal?

many things, to be sure.
but, often, rites of passage — symbols of commitment, which in times of trouble can pull more weight than can commitment itself — are the carbon-steel rebar that keeps the whole structure from crashing down around us.

for those men who deserve to be called men, word is bond.
and actions speak even louder than words, so ritual actions are superglue.
when words and actions are combined to create ritual, men become bonded for life.

which way are you going to step?
with these words, the door comes alive with persuasive force that few boys can resist, no matter how intractable they are in other areas of life.
they won’t leave, unless they are bloodied, beaten, disillusioned and broken. and, often, not even then.

do you promise to be to her a loving and loyal husband, to cherish and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, to be faithful only to her as long as you both shall live?
with these vows, the man’s wedding band comes alive, with the same persuasive force.
he won’t leave unless his life is sucked out in its entirety. and, often, not even then.

and so it is, too, with women — put through, and schooled with, the proper symbols and rites of passage, they will cleave to their relationships with intense ardor.

the fatal mistake, though, is to attribute to women the same degree of agency so often shown by men who take vows and undergo rituals — to assume that women’s minds will construct the same schema of loyalty, devotion, and duty around those rituals as will men.
ain’t gonna happen.
as with so much else in matters of love, it’s best when men lead, and women follow — when men move women, and women are moved by men.

the same is true for rites of passage.
women can be as compelled by ritual to stay in their relationships as can men, but they won’t by themselves transmute word into bond, or actions into superglue. that has to be done for them, by their man.

take the wedding bands again.
to a man, the wedding band speaks in its own voice, animated by the matrimonial ritual; he internalizes the symbolic significance, and therefore transmutes word into bond all by himself. hence why he doesn’t need to be reminded, and why constant “reminders” from his woman are at best nagging, at worst domineering behavior, and always pernicious in their effects on the relationship.
to a woman, the wedding band doesn’t have a voice of its own — it will only speak in her man’s voice. its symbolic power will only be actuated if he instills it in her, if he transmutes word into bond for her, as though leading her through the steps of a dance.
it’s his job, when he grasps her left hand, to meet her eyes, stare her down, and tell her, this ring means that you’re mine.
i own you. you’re my property.
over and over.
again and again.
until he has successfully transmuted word into bond, without her even noticing, and she now hears his voice emanating from that ring.
you’re mine.

and you don’t need a wife, or wedding bands, to make this work.
any symbol will do.
a cheap bracelet or ring that you bought her at the beach.
a necklace or bracelet that claims her as yours, which you can lock onto her body and keep the key if necessary.
a tattoo that she gets for you, in a location that others may or may not see.
the way you look into her eyes, making both of your jaded hearts burn with passion, with love, when you fuck her.

women end relationships more often than men do, but only because men don’t bother to ignite them.

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make me feel like a woman.
six words.

she had been waiting for me.

she lay languorously on her back, her lush, dark tresses released from their professional coiffure and cascading with calculated carelessness across the king-size pillow.
a solitary shaft of soft green neon light penetrated the curtains to her right, limning every curve of her sensuous, fertile physique. as she splayed her arms overhead in a languid, catlike stretch, her beautifully crafted breasts strained against her flimsy camisole, drawing it away from her stomach; the neon light played across the toned contours of her torso, painting them with a mesmerizing, sinewy chiaroscuro.

my gaze alit on her breasts and then meandered lazily downward along the shadowy neon outline of her stomach.
between the lines.
i finally became lost in the hazy sfumato between her legs.
her hips thrust further forward in an instinctive, primal response to my shameless staring; her legs spread just far enough for her sheer panties to divulge the outline of her clit piercing.
“naughty girl.”
i glanced knowingly into her eyes, meeting her lubricious stare with a wry, disarming smile.

her whole body softened, surrendering to the intensity of my piercing gaze, as she drew shortened breath through her softly parted lips.
she fixed me with a prurient glare, her eyes enlivened by defiant expectation as she dared me.
entreated me.
challenged me.
implored me.

six words.

make me…

take control of me.
unapologetically.
unhesitatingly.

take the lead.
push me.
make me dance.

subdue me.
overwhelm me.
wrest my stubborn will from me, and enslave me.

one chance.
no missteps.

do whatever you want to me.
as long as you do it now.

i’m a bitch.
tonight, make me your bitch.

…feel…

fuck me.
make my mind, heart, and soul shake as hard as my body.
destroy my illusion of control.
tear away the patina of routine and ennui, and make me breathless again.

read my mind.
ignore everything i say.
take everything from me.

exceed my impossible expectations.
rewrite my memories.
rewrite my fantasies.

be an irresistible, dynamic force.
make me lose myself.
make me forget everything.
burn away the dirty fingerprints on my heart.

make me feel alive.

i’m a slut.
tonight, make me your slut.

…like…

shove me out of reality and into fantasy.
look into my eyes, just long enough for me to see myself as you see me.
stare into me with your icy, black gaze.
pull me into your world with a selfish gravity stronger than my own.

beat me at my own game.
destroy my smug self-importance.
set me alight, and burn me to the ground.
take the ashes in your hands and arrange them however you want.
then blow them away.

make me fall in love.
then push me away.
make me into somebody else.
then send me back to my world.
make me feel again.
then break my heart.

i’m a woman.
tonight, make me your little girl.

…a woman.

know me.
read me.
best me.
lead me.

tame me.
fuck me.
choke me.
hit me.

degrade me.

break me.

own me.

i’m a madonna.
tonight, make me your whore.

men describe, women infuse.
men lead, women follow.
men know, women feel.
men extrapolate, women intuit.
men create, women become.
men demand, women insinuate.
men persuade, women seduce.
men bulldoze, women erode.
men plant, women nurture.
men push, women pull.
men catalyze, women react.
men act, women inspire.

what good is either, without the other?

make me feel like a woman.

six words.
one challenge.

can you read between the lines?

beauty?
to me it is a word without sense because I do not know where its meaning comes from nor where it leads to.

~ Pablo Picasso

feminists and their ilk are infamous for asserting that beauty is socially constructed.

if taken literally, that statement is ridiculous; it’s clear that female beauty is, to first approximation, an objectively measurable quality.
whr, bmi, frankfort line, rule of fifths, nasofacial angle, etc. — no single one of these parameters captures female beauty by itself, but they can be combined into predictive formulas that are uncannily accurate, and cross-culturally robust, in predicting men’s ratings of female beauty.

however, it’s equally foolish to assert that none of men’s conception of female beauty is socially constructed.

like most claims that make up feminist cant, “beauty is a social construct” is a whole cumulus cloud of lies that has condensed around a tiny grain of actual truth. since most of my readers are well aware of the lies, it’s worth articulating the grain of truth.

specifically:
it’s obvious that, to first approximation, there is a universal standard of female beauty.
however, when i see people trying to parse the differences out to the first and second decimal places — “she’s a 9.3, she’s a 9.4” etc. — i know i’m seeing people for whom one of the following is true:
(1) they are nerds that live in their basements, nitpicking everything to death as a proxy for living it;
(2) they share the same solipsism that they are so quick to point out in women, attributing the exact niceties of their own highly granular scale to other men;
or, ironically,
(3) they are highly social and spend all their time in, and with people from, a very narrowly defined social milieu.

#1 and #2 need no explanation, but #3 runs deep. it’s one of those forces of which most people are unaware; that unawareness is precisely the source of its power.

the graduations at the highest level of the female beauty scale — even the ones that can be measured or approximated scientifically — are heavily influenced by social factors.
anyone who has actually met people from different races and different walks of life, firsthand, would know this.

there are two primary mechanisms.

1. Preselection

PUA types have expatiated on the role of preselection in amplifying a man’s attractiveness to women, but, as is so often the case in the dance of the sexes, one partner’s footwork is mirrored by the other’s.

the more socially aware a man, the more likely is his idea of female beauty to be conflated with preselection.

gedanken experiment, for the men out there:
let’s say you can have exactly one of the following as your mate of the moment, with whom you’ll be seen by your whole social circle as well as by surrounding strangers. what you’ll get to do with her, and to her, is left as an exercise for the reader, but everyone will see her on your arm:
1) gisele bundchen;
2) a random woman who is the exact ideal of the type you like to fuck. (if you say this is gisele, you are almost certainly either lying or incredibly self-unaware.)

in this experiment, most men would pick gisele — even at the cost of the extra hardness of their hard-on.
in this experiment, ALL men with extensive upper- and upper-middle-class social circles would pick gisele, even if they’d rather be fucking the other woman.
why?
one reason is preselection.
these men know, perhaps unconsciously, that being seen with a supermodel — the very quintessence of feminine beauty and desirability from a female standpoint — will up, or re-up, their status with other women. in other words, the arm candy may not be optimal from the men’s own standpoint, but it certainly is from the standpoint of other arm candy.
the man walking around with a willowy, sylphlike model is not as sexually entranced as the man walking around with a voluptuous vamp who oozes molten sexuality, but it’s a pyrrhic loss; consciously or not, he’s bartering a certain quantity of pure carnal obsession for a greater degree of power over other women, who see the apotheosis of beauty (as seen by female beholders) on his arm and fantasize themselves into her place.
it takes an uncanny level of self-awareness, a level most men simply don’t have, to tease this confounding variable out of one’s evaluation of beauty.

the power of this particular confounding variable is particularly strong when it is not attenuated by the blistering heat of prior carnal fulfillment.
most men have never known the joy of fucking the body, soul, and mind a woman who is, at least for the moment, a pure sex object; the quickening, the sudden restoration of meaning to an otherwise hollow existence, that can only come from the violently cathartic release of our true, irrational, passionate, reptilian inner nature with a partner who is far from perfect. or, indeed, if she is “perfect”, the concomitant pleasure of smashing that superficial perfection with an relentless salvo of wanton, irrepressible salaciousness — smearing her carefully applied foundation of makeup, pretense, and resistance with dirty, passionate hands powerful enough to strip away her outer layers and reveal the gloriously imperfect whore beneath.

for men who haven’t had that experience, and are thus unable to penetrate the deepest, dirtiest corners of a woman’s soul in a single, languorous, cryogenic yet burning glance, preselection is a powerful force indeed.
for those of us who have, the gentle piccolo of preselection and objective visual beauty is forever drowned out by the throbbing, tympanic beat of sexual compulsion.

2. Class Indicators

men’s notions of the zenith of beauty are also strongly influenced by social class.

the more socially successful a man, the more likely is his idea of female beauty to be shaped by the social class in which he has achieved that success.

the willowy, lissome body that would launch a thousand amex black cards would have little currency on rockaway ave., brownsville, while upper-class ideals are too narrow for the thick, curvaceous lodestars of fertility that awaken the lyrical muses of ghetto poets.
just as literal hunger awakens men’s tastes for more voluptuous women, so it goes for entire cultures.
no man is an island.
when a man is surrounded, at work and at play, by a homogeneous fraternity of buddies and colleagues who are unknowingly entrusted with enforcing the unwritten rules of their social class, he will begin to internalize those rules. with each barb, each innocent tease about his taste in women, he turns ever so slightly and imperceptibly away from his own desires, tightening the ties that at once bind, unify, and divide.

quick: think of all the men you know whose tastes in women are “freaky” or “unconventional”. (if you don’t know any such men, get out more. if you can’t stand the thought of doing that, talk to an escort or pimp sometime about the wide variety of men’s lusts, and about the surprisingly unconventional “beauty” for which high-powered men will pay good money.)
generally, the more “freaky” the tastes, the more socially unaware or reclusive the man.
why?
the relentless prodding of conformity that inevitably accompanies social success has had no opportunity to do its work on these men; so neglected, they are left honest.

only for us few, proud, blessed outsiders do beauty and sexual irresistibility ever converge.
and therefore, only we outsiders, for whom social constructions have disappeared and objective beauty has been engulfed by the greater force of primal impulses, can truly penetrate the deepest beauty of all — the beauty that is not skin deep, nor in the eye of the beholder, but in the flash-point of the explosion for which our own hands are the catalyst.

in what distant deeps or skies
burnt the fire in thine eyes?

and what shoulder, and what art?
could twist the sinews of thy heart?

— william blake

ladies and gentlemen, the topic of today’s interdisciplinary studies class is applied physics.

refractive index:
the extent to which a material bends the rays of illumination passing through its boundary.
the higher a material’s refractive index, the greater the distortion.

total internal reflection:
a phenomenon in which no light is allowed to escape from the interior of a material, due to (a) the material’s high refractive index and (b) the oblique angle at which light hits the material’s surface.

today’s lesson:
the refractive index of the soul is greater than that of the eye.

as wise minds have realized since antiquity, the refractive index of the soul is so high that few can shine the light of introspection at the proper angle to see anything resembling a true picture.
the eye, however, renders much more accurate images.

the result:
most of us are generally aware of our physical “type”.
however, most of us — especially the young and innocent, whatever their age and level of experience — will have no clue whether a particular context or situation will press our arousal buttons.
until…
it just happens.

the refractive index of the soul is high indeed.


total internal reflectionthere is a grim equivalence between the woman who, despite her plaintive lamentations of being repeatedly used and abused, continues to seek badder and badder bad boys, and the man who, despite his vocal denunciation of mercenary sluts, continues to seek provocatively-dressed and -made-up women whose every word, gesture, and subtext is designed to lull men’s instincts with the Soma of concentrated, aggressive sexuality before moving in for the coup de grâce.

we just don’t learn.

projected from the wrong angle, the light will never reach our consciousness.

total internal reflection.

moreover, many of our most primal situational triggers are strictly prohibited in polite society. in fact, one could form a reasonably accurate definition of “polite society” just from knowing which drives must be starved, suppressed, and shunted into more materially productive endeavors.

the result?
if and when one of these situations rears its beautifully ugly head, its raw reptilian appeal will be doubled by the sweet taste of forbidden fruit, and compounded further by deafening cognitive dissonance.

non cogito, ergo sum.
descartes was wrong.
the more our rationality is shattered, the more we feel alive.

now, we’ll get even more interdisciplinary, and discuss inequalities.

men are primarily aroused by concrete visual and behavioral stimuli, which are easily understood and identified.
women are primarily aroused by situational, contextual, and subtextual stimuli, which are refracted beyond recognition for all but the most coldly perceptive among us.

therefore, women’s relative powerlessness in resisting skilled seduction is real.
and actionable.
and capable of being exploited.

Sample Problem 1
if one gold-digger can dig gold from ten men, and one blessed seducer can dig gold from ten such gold-diggers, then this seducer shall receive __________

Answer
a hundredfold now in this time

also, equalists, read the following and weep:
there is limited justification here for the claims of women caught in affairs and infidelities that “it just happened” and that they are thus less complicit in their transgressions than are men.
specifically:
if a woman is subconsciously and primally seduced by a new and exciting situation, context, or subtext — of whose appeal she is really, truly, and fully unaware at the outset — then, much to the chagrin of her long-term partner, her claims of being helpless, passive prey are the naked truth.

things really do “just happen”.

this is not to excuse the ultimate conduct of such women: “is” and “ought” are not the same, nor are explanation and justification.
however, it must be accepted that women, much more than men, will find themselves in situations that stealthily build up unconscious, unexpected arousal. indeed, in less than the time required for that reptilian arousal to diffuse to the cortex, a well-executed seduction can reach fever pitch, insurmountable by any earthly means.

Exercise 1
the policy implications of the above, concerning men’s and women’s differential freedom of movement and association, are left as an exercise for the reader, but i will be helpful enough to point out that herein lies full justification for assigning much stricter curfews, rules, and punishments to daughters than to sons — and likewise for wives vis-à-vis husbands.

Exercise 2
likewise left as an exercise for the reader is the role of non-earthly means — such as ardent, irrational religious faith — in countering women’s otherwise irresistible arousal.
hi gorbachev!