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?

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!

POST THE SECOND
in which the Author reveals that PUA-style pickup game is not for everyone**

The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
[your] times are in [your] hand
[so say] “A whole I planned”

— adapted from robert browning

**this fact is almost universally overlooked in “the community”, not least because noting it would drastically slash the size of the target audience to which the community’s ersatz leaders hawk their products.

let’s begin by throwing personality types into a sieve, sifting vigorously, and seeing what shakes out.

broadly speaking, men’s ways of striving for experience and achievement — in the very inclusive sense of the term, covering everything from boldfaced résumé mainstays to drunken escapades — lie on a continuum.

at one extreme of this continuum are what i’ll call “vertical integrators”, men who seek to build something cumulative, with many overlaid layers of significance, development, and meaning. these are the thoroughgoing monomaniacs who dedicate their lives to building specific industry-niche businesses at work, or, if they find no such calling, to creating the industry niches themselves; to developing hard-earned talents, with a flat return curve prior to virtuoso level, at their esoteric pursuits; and to building large, patriarchal families.

at the other extreme are what i’ll call “horizontal integrators”, the dilettantes, dabblers, rogues, and picaroons who look to sample as many different swatches as possible from the mottled tapestry of life. drifters in good days and derelicts in bad, these are the restless transients who defy the law prohibiting perpetual motion. at work, at play, and in (and out of and in and out of and in and out of) love, they value diversity over depth. they are like junk bonds — their values may vary greatly from one hour to the next — but they never stray too far from the notion that quantity has a quality all its own.

these two categories correspond, very roughly, to one narrowly defined dimension of the alpha/beta dichotomy, although it would be foolish to define a reductionist alpha/beta dichotomy according to them.

the above is not a binary, nor is it a bimodal distribution; it’s a continuum on which lies a skewed bell curve, whose median lies on the side of vertical integration.

surely there are some chameleons, who masquerade as vertical integrators just long enough to have plausible deniability for their rogue exploits.
and for each of these sneaky fuckers, we can find an antithesis: a man of predominantly conservative disposition, who periodically emerges from the woodwork to white-knuckle a few peer-pressured bouts of chemically assisted derring-do, strutting and fretting his 15 minutes upon the stage in an ill-advised attempt to catch and sing the sun in flight.
these types notwithstanding, though, most men in modern western society are vertical integrators. of the minority who prefer azimuth to altitude, most will find themselves gazing inexorably further away from the horizon and toward the sky with the passing years, as time gradually whittles away their supply of the great horizontal integrator known as testosterone.

-.– — ..- –..– – — — –..– … …. .- .-.. .-.. .–. .- … …

ok, so, who cares?
you should.
because, for vertical integrators (that’s most of you guys out there), pick-up artistry is a sweet-tasting, slow-acting poison.

if you are a vertical integrator working at building or improving a long-term relationship, then do not use mystery-method-style PUA techniques.
notice the word “techniques”. you can and should still use reputable PUA material — especially from sources that have achieved prominence based on quality alone — to strip away the pretty lies and reconstruct the real real world, from first principles.
but, unless you’re getting incredibly lucky at an oversized game of battleships, you should not proceed a1 a2 a3 c1 c2 c3 s1 s2 s3 with your long-term prospect. this sequence can and will get you laid, but in the long term it will almost certainly be counterproductive, causing you to be blown out of the water as soon as the proverbial paint begins to dry.

first, understand that PUA game is to long-term relationships what a hammer is to a phillips-head screw; although one would think it obvious from the name, many people need to be reminded that PUA techniques are designed for pick-up, not for hold ’em.
it is designed for a task whose payoffs are not cumulative. it’s pure horizontal integration — a sisyphean task, of essentially constant difficulty level, repeated ad nauseam.
can you learn to write a novel by writing 1000 opening vignettes?
can you become a chessmaster by becoming really good at the catalan?
no.
NO.
you can’t.
but the PUA fellows are telling, and selling, the notion that you can.
fool, money, parted.
worse, though, PUA techniques are not just some inert chemical in the mix of a long-term relationship. in the conception, nurturing, and birth of a long-term relationship, PUA techniques play the role of thalidomide — allowing the birth to occur, but crippling the potential and shortening the life of the bond.
why?
as stated before, women are elastic bands.
effective PUA game works by stretching those bands at an extremely rapid velocity — rapid enough to produce consistent and reliable one-night stands for proficient practitioners.
and yes, haters, it works.
so what’s the problem?
the problem is that PUA technique gets you from point a to point s3 really quickly, and then locks up like a grocery cart that’s just hit the yellow line around the parking lot.
do you want your nascent relationship to end not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with the dull thud of a grocery cart ramming into your solar plexus?
didn’t think so.
neither did neil strauss, who was the best pua in the world until he met his own grocerycarterloo — when his beloved lisa leveridge, about whom he had waxed so sentimental at the end of the game, unceremoniously dumped him after the exact period of time that normally characterizes rotating polyandry.
ahem.
want to make it across the desert? don’t drive the car that goes really fast but gets six miles per gallon.

close your eyes and imagine the elastic in the waistbands of cheap clothing.
or one of the gummy erasers of decades past, small chunks of which could be gently and lovingly — with a little friction and heat — drawn out to a length of several feet, starting from less than an inch, given just the right amount of pressure.

the fundamental polymeric structure of these materials will gradually distend in response to constant pressure, stretching the material permanently — if, and only if, this pressure is skilfully applied just beyond the elastic’s threshold of comfort. if the pressure is steadily applied at this barely supra-threshold rate, the material is gradually slackened to a length unattainable by a single, more powerful impulse.

women are like this, too.
as are men.
as are frogs in pots of water slowly heated to boiling.

but women are especially vulnerable, since their very nature compels them to search for that je ne sais quoi** that is exactly 0.1 standard deviations past their “limit”.
pushing the envelope.

so, how is the elastic stretched?
THRILL is a quality that begins a few inches inside the envelope of prior experience.
DISCOMFORT, however, does not begin until a few inches outside the envelope.
there are, of course, exceptions; some phobics feel discomfort will into the interior of the envelope, while some adrenaline junkies don’t feel thrill until miles outside it. however, for most decently well-adjusted people, the above conditions obtain.

the most addictive experiences for women (and for men, too), then, are those that lie on, OR BARELY OUTSIDE, the envelope of experience — simultaneously maximizing the factor of thrill and minimizing that of discomfort.

importantly, though — and this is the single factor that causes many long-term relationships to fail, especially among PUA the types who have learned to approach and seduce women at high velocities — this tension on a woman’s “envelope” will gradually cause the elastic to expand.
and the Thrill and Discomfort borderlines recede.
and she chases them.
and a slut is made.
and elastic never goes back.

**in a very literal sense, to be explained in future postings.