Seduction as an Ascetic Discipline
The delightfully impious Roissy in DC is going after blogging superstar Megan McCardle, who evidently isn’t impressed by the so-called “seduction community.” As usual, Roissy has some brilliant insights — for example:
Ultimately, women . . . want their alpha male – beta male distinctions predigested and unsullied by interference from proactive men intent on bringing chaos to the male hierarchy. This is why women love royalty and kings and princes so much; in that world, the alphas are identified and known. There is little churn. The women have only to concern themselves with competing with other women for . . . the top dog. But in a world of game [i.e., seduction strategies], where the status of men is in a constant state of flux, ever-shifting and spoiling the tidiness of the women’s preferred caste systemed zero sum sexual market, there are additional stresses and concerns. Now the women have to figure out who among the millions of men trundling through their gleaming anonymous urban jungles . . . are the alpha males of their dreams and expectations. By muddying the waters, game makes this filtering process more difficult for women. More exhilarating, too.
For the record, I have no idea whether women prefer rigid hierarchies. Still the theory makes sense. Only the most blinkered or perverse observers would deny that women generally gravitate to high-status males. Even feminists like Naomi Wolf, Martha Nussbaum and Samantha Power have married up. (This is ironic because feminism can never achieve its goals until women are willing to marry down. After all, the low-earning, low-status partner will have a strong tendency to let the other climb the greasy pole while she finds better things to do with her life.) A caste system does clarify who the high-status mates are, and therefore makes it easier for women to make the “correct” sexual choices. Women resent an sexual marketplace where they can easily be duped into mating with a low-status male. Roissy’s observation that women swoon for royalty neatly illustrates the hypothesis. As I said, I’m not sure if it’s correct, but I do think it’s plausible and quite trenchant.
But then Roissy commits a fallacy. He dubs the “Fallacy of Misdirected Hate” the proposition that “A guy who spends his life obsessing over how to get women is a loser.” Roissy gives the following reductiones ad absurdum:
A guy who spends his life obsessing over climbing the corporate ladder to get more attention from women is a loser.
A guy who spends his life obsessing over mastering guitar and playing in a rock band to get more attention from women is a loser.
A guy who spends his life obsessing over pursuing financial rewards and acquiring resources to get more attention from women is a loser.
A guy who….. ah, you get the point.
In other words, obsessing over seduction techniques is an intellectual or career obsession like any other. From a genetic perspective, according to Roissy, the reason that men devote decades of effort to the pursuit of a single goal is that becoming the best at something will ultimately improve their mating prospects. (Of course, men are usually unconscious of the ultimate genetic reasons for their obsessions.) A obsession with seduction techniques just so happens to produce improved mating prospects directly as well as indirectly. It is no less a waste of time than any other pursuit.
The fallacy here is this: Let us grant that the men are genetically programmed to focus single-mindedly on a single goal. That does not mean that all single-minded goals are equal. On the contrary, an obsession with, say, string theory, is superior to an obsession with, say, bull-riding, which in turn is superior to a truly destructive obsession such as with, say, winning political elections. I suppose that learning seduction techniques is not the most harmful thing one could do with one’s time. But it is clearly not the most worthy obsession imaginable.
Nor does a study of seduction lead to more satisfaction of one’s desires. Like any other ascetic discipline, seduction requires you to master your emotions and fundamentally reshape your character. The “natural” tendency of men is to be utterly awed and stupefied by female beauty, and to grovel and plead in order to have access to it. There is surely no more chivalrous a creature than the 13 year old boy! How disappointing it is for him to learn that his love and respect for beautiful women is precisely what makes him contemptible in their eyes, while the callousness of the 18-year-old Big Man on Campus is precisely what makes them admire him. The seduction community tells men to overcome their chivalrous tendencies and instead to treat women like clockwork oranges. To be sure, seducers revel in their orgiastic conquests. But the last they thing they should ever do is lose control; the seducer must continually squelch any desire to truly love and admire a woman. The life of the seducer is rather like that of the married man: in both cases, you have to learn to control and sublimate your instincts.