Watched a Dylan Kidd movie today, one of my favorites. It’s the classic story of a kid trying to learn about sex, much like the On Sri Lankan Girls post seems to be. It is about an apprenticeship, that is, the learning of a skill. Not being ‘interesting’, this is a specific social skill. Every culture from the Yanamomo to the Dutch has mating rituals of some sort, only loosely correlated to reality. Socialization is, by definition, breaking your instincts and remolding them to match your culture. In childhood you learn to shut-up, not throw your food and all manner of uncomfortable and unnatural things. You also learn language, which is a bloody incomprehensible and nonsensicle set of rules. Mating is another nonsensicle set of rules which we have to learn in our second socialization. The first step is to break your ‘natural’ instincts and remake them to fit the culture. In this case the culture is competive and consumerist. The mating ritual is not ‘being yourself’ any more than pissing your pants is potty-training.
As an analogy, children naturally simplify language. Toddlers take irregular forms and regularize them, as would make sense. So a kid will say ‘I have two feets’ or ‘I goed to the store’. In the same way, a naive boy will be nice to girls, communicate clearly, and read books. It’s sweet, but at some point you have to grow up and just accept whatever crap methods the society has set. In the latter example that would be ignoring girls, lying out of your teeth, and making money. Certainly irregular, even counter-intuitive, but that’s what socialization is. In a competive, consumerist culture, the idea that our mating rituals are anything but superficial and deceptive is ridiculous.
Note: I’m not saying that I believe in or act in these ways, but there is a definite ritual that I’m at least aware of. This doesn’t apply to all women, just the belle of the bell curve.
Rodger Dodger is (an excellent) movie about a cad and his nephew. Roger works in an Ad Agency and parties at night, always trying to pick up. His nephew wants to learn, and Roger endeavours to teach him. The dialogue is priceless and I recommend watching it. The first task is not teaching anything, but breaking the naive teenager down. He teaches Nick to ogle women discreetly, to get a girls attention (by any means necessary), be superficially interesting, move the conversation to sex, and close the deal as soon as possible. These are all wholly unnatural. No well-brought-up boy would behave in this way.
# *ogle*: What Roger valued here was the mental focus on sex. To live, breathe, and be finely attuned to the presence of sex in your environment. What this means, of course, is objectifying women.
# *get attention*: The first time they meet Elizabeth, Roger yells ‘Rosebud’ across the bar and flags her over. Nick is sweet and sincere, but Roger is the asshole initiating and finally sitting her down. The key here is to make the first move _by any means necessary_, including being rude. Or famous, or rich. Humble and knowledgeable won’t get you shit.
# *be superficially interesting*: “Your first instinct will be to open up and tell the truth. Fight it. Lie, keep it interesting” (Roger). What you need is something that makes instant sense – be it looks, flowing drinks, or a car on the curb. What people here call ‘interesting’ is almost always too complex for a bar. Anything that takes another sentence to explain is bloody useless. I can see eyes glazing over when I say I studied Cognitive Science. There is a tangible sensation when the interest is lost, there’s a skip in the illusion. If you want to maintain the illusion then you honestly need to just make shit up.
# *move the conversation to sex*: Now this is not nice at all. It does, however, put the main point on the table. They have to be aware that you have a dick. Roger and Nick got Jennifer Beale to talk about blowjobs, which was a definite plus.
# *always be closing*: Also not nice. A real gentleman would never broach the subject, preferably until marriage. But you have to. Horrible example, but there was a wasted girl at this party asking Nick to hold her. He was nice and said no, but that’s forgetting his ABCs.
Had a phone call and now I’m sleepy but I’ll update this tomorrow, maybe. I had a personal Roger Dodger in my life who was such an ass that I stopped talking to him. Round the time he kissed my girlfriend. I’ll add some on that. For now the thesis is,
There is a mating ritual, with rules. In a consumer culture, the mating ritual is superficial and deceptive.
For people who think that’s bad, I’d say it’s a step up from ‘I’ll trade you cattle for your 12 year old daughter’
update: Ruwani called it a game, which prolly makes more sense. Any game requires different skills than walking or whatever, and the first step is to lose your inhibitions about looking stupid. I think that’s what a Roger Dodger character does, and I assume everyone has one or two. These are mine.
*Iraqi Michael Jackson*: This was first year at school and I was (more) geeky and insecure. Somehow this weird Iraqi guy had gotten into Rez following a girl, who’d run away. I didn’t know that. He was just in the hall and asked me to play chess, so I said OK. MJ was very forward and I think he got my number or whatever and we started hanging out. I didn’t really have any friends so it was cool. MJ was weird cause he was a devout Muslim, so much so that he didn’t kiss girls or even masturbate. No alcohol, cigarettes, etc. He was also an expert Michael Jackson mimic, especially the Moonwalk. For a while he was claiming refugee status as an Iraqi until the authorities figured out that he had a job and revoked it. MJ lived in Vendôme in some sketchy Al-Qaeda safehouse with two beds and a hacker Arab roommate.
The Roger Dodger part of MJ was that he had zero inhibitions about talking to women. The fact that he would never sleep with them might have made that easier. One thing I remember was going up the Metro escalator and him starting a conversation with a Chinese girl. She actually wouldn’t stop talking to us, in that lonely immigrant way. I didn’t even know that was possible. It never occured to me that the social fabric allowed you to talk to strange girls, let alone on the Metro.
He was like that with anyone and everyone. He also knew the Arab neighborhoods and was able to find excellent Shish Taouk. The problem is that he was almost childish in conversation, and he started embarassing my friends. We gradually lost touch and I think he moved to Alberta of all places. *What he taught me was the first step, getting over the fear of opening my mouth*.
*Jon Douche*: Jon was a jazz pianist with a nipple ring, no permanent housing and questionable morals. Unlike MJ Jon did have sex, and often. I met him through Guillaume, and he somehow latched on. During the Jazz Fest he knew all the clubs where the artists jammed after the shows, and he’d play with them. Some nights we’d crash hotel lobbies and play the piano and sing until we got kicked out. It sounds sweet, but Jon was often well over the line that separates outgoing from asshole. He would start random conversations with anyone, and often got plain rude if they weren’t receptive.
One uncomfortable event was a dinner party at his house. Well, not his house, some house he was crashing at. I was there with my girlfriend, though we were on a ‘break’ of sorts. Her friend and our later roommate was there as well, let’s call her M. He was just being a dick as usual, hyperactive, petulant, and overtly sexual. I walk into the kitchen to find him pressed up on my girlfriend and took her aside to yell at her. Now the party is disintegrating and Jon looks like a sleazy bastard as far as I can tell. However, as we’re leaving, M says that she wants to stay. After hitting on my girlfriend, M was willing to take seconds. Never understood this. If there’s anything that Jon taugh me it’s that *there’s actually some value in inhibitions*.