Pure Unadulterated Lust

There is no other word for it.  Not desire, not covetousness.  The only word for what I feel for the Vibram FiveFingers shoe-glove is lust.

Look at them!  How can you not want them?

They announce to the world "I am an important man with important appendages."  This is something the world needs to know.

The protruding parts of my anatomy are so important that each toe requires its own private space.  A place where they can remain undisturbed while researching cures for cancer, designing a portfolio that outperforms the market while being adequately hedged against risk, conducting delicate diplomatic negotiations,  creating new forms of art that will cause you to rethink the human condition and all the other things my toes do on a daily basis. 

And those are just the little toes, I'm not at liberty to disclose what my big toes are doing.

I wear a size 44, in case you're wondering what to get me for Christmas.

Also, I would like a miniature executive desk in black walnut with matching bookcases for my nose.  Affixing it to my upper lip will be difficult but not, I think, insoluble.


Calvinist Hip Hop Thursday

Why Calvinist Hip Hop?  Because lots of words rhyme with election.

This weeks pick is Lecrae's "Don't Waste Your Life"

Looks like someone has been reading John Piper.


Psalm 32: Blessed Are the Forgiven

A Maskil of David.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
     whose sin is covered.
2Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
     and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
     through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
     my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5I acknowledged my sin to you,
     and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
     and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
6Therefore let everyone who is godly
     offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
     they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me;
     you preserve me from trouble;
     you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
     I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
     which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
     or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
     but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
     and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

I was going to write some commentary on this, but some guy named Paul already did:

Romans 4
1What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." 4Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
     and whose sins are covered;
8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."


Which College Major is the Most Foolish

We all know which majors attract the smartest students.  Those selecting the hard sciences are pretty clever while Elementary Ed majors are as dumb as a sack of hammers.  The question that excites me is somewhat different.

Given the abilities of the students selecting the major and the expected payoff for earning that degree, which students are making the wisest decisions?  The most foolish?

I understand that there are non-monetary considerations--theology students wanting to be closer to God and El Ed majors wanting to be closer to their intellectual equals--but given the wealth of resources available at your local library, college is not worth bothering with unless a degree will get you cash money.

To answer this question, I used two sources of data: Steve Sailers estimation of IQ by GRE score and PayScale.com's list of median salaries by major.  The IQ estimations ranged from 103 to 133 and the median salaries from $41,600 to $109,000.  I simply subtracted the lowest score from both sets of numbers to give me a rouch estimation of dollars per IQ point.  I compare this to an expected value of $2,246.67 per IQ point.  This method works well because Social Work majors are both the dumbest and the lowest paid. 

If you have a better methodology (and you probably do), don't tell me about it.  Just run the numbers and post the results.  I'll link you from here.

Unsuprisingly, Accountants are the wisest and Fine Arts the most foolish. Philosophy majors came off suprisingly well here.

Here's the raw numbers for you:

MajorVerbalQuantSumIQMedian SalaryIQ Predicted SalaryDifference
Accounting408585993110$77,600 57326.66667$20,273
Business admin & mgmt. (Business
438561999111$73,000 59573.33333$13,427
Health & medical sciences (Health
447552999111$69,600 59573.33333$10,027
Chemical Engineering
7261211128$107,000 97766.66667$9,233
Communications4705331003111$68,400 59573.33333$8,827
Electrical Eng4597261185126$102,000 93273.33333$8,727
Computer & Infor Sci (Computer Science)4667011167124$97,400 88780$8,620
Industrial Engineering4407071147123$95,000 86533.33333$8,467
Business admin & mgmt. (Business
4425921034114$73,000 66313.33333$6,687
Public Administration (Health Care
453515968109$61,000 55080$5,920
Mechanical Engineering4697241193126$98,300 93273.33333$5,027
Civil Engineering4577001157124$93,000 88780$4,220
Economics5037061209128$101,000 97766.66667$3,233
Architecture4756101085118$78,300 75300$3,000
Earth, Atmos & Mar. Sci (Geology)4956361131121$84,200 82040$2,160
Engineering (Environmental Engineering)4687191187126$94,500 93273.33333$1,227
Other business (Hotel Business Management)4445991043114$66,400 66313.33333$87
Social Work428466894103$41,600 41600$0
Banking & finance4677111178125$89,400 91026.66667($1,627)
Materials Engineering4947271221129$98,300 100013.3333($1,713)
Agriculture4585921050115$66,700 68560($1,860)
Life Sciences (Forestry)4625811043114$64,200 66313.33333($2,113)
Political Science5245881112120$77,300 79793.33333($2,493)
Psychology4725451017113$61,000 64066.66667($3,067)
Education449534983110$54,100 57326.66667($3,227)
Chemistry4866801166124$82,300 88780($6,480)
History5425571099119$70,000 77546.66667($7,547)
Sociology4885451033114$57,900 66313.33333($8,413)
Mathematical Sciences (Mathematics)5027331235130$93,600 102260($8,660)
Arts-Performance & studio (Drama)4885531041114$56,600 66313.33333($9,713)
Physics & astronomy (Physics)533736126913398800109000($10,200)
Biological Sciences (Biology)4916311122121$71,800 82040($10,240)
Elementary442526968108$42,400 52833.33333($10,433)
English language & lit (English)5605531113120$66,900 79793.33333($12,893)
Anthropology & Archeology
5335691102119$63,200 77546.66667($14,347)
Arts-History, theory, crit5395721111120$62,400 79793.33333($17,393)
Philosophy5906381228129$76,700 100013.3333($23,313)
Religion & Theory (Religious Studies5415891130121$57,500 82040($24,540)
Foreign languages & lit (Spanish)5315741105119$52,600 77546.66667($24,947)
Other Humanities & Art (Fine Arts)5635991162124$56,30088780($32,480)


Calvinist Hip Hop Thursday

I was predestined to like Calvinist Hip Hop.

This week it's my new favorite song, Trip Lee's "Cling to You" featuring Shai Linne.

Verse 1 - Trip Lee:
Lord, I'd like to start by saying I can hate where I'm at
When this life is hard and situations take me aback
The fight is hard and I can hardly face it in fact
In life it's hard to get up like a bar with weights that's attached
It really seems the situations that I'm facing is wack
I been awakened but now I'm feeling forsaken and trapped
With no hope and I'm broken open for Satan to trap
I been bothered since You Father put this weight on my back
So please erase it's wack, cause when this pain it attacks
My weakness is at it's peak and I'm feeling strained and I lack
The trust in You I struggle through the ways that I should come to You
Lord, what am I gonna do? It's true this pain it distracts
But I see my only hope when my backs on the ropes
Is in You so I read through the facts that You wrote
The pain may fade away, but if that's my only hope
Then You don't get the glory alone not even close

Lord, it may get better but it may not
So when I pray God, I pray I
Would trust You whether or not the pain stops
So when the the pain falls, coming down like rain drops
I just gotta cling to You

Verse 2 - shai linne:
Heavenly Father, in Your Word You say we can build
Because of Jesus and the blood that He graciously spilled
Lord, I thank You for real, cause my Dad's always there
I can cast all my cares plus the weight that I feel
My situation is ill, I ain't asking to be making a mill
But is all my money for paying my bills?
It gets crazier still, my soul's on dangerous hills
A target for the world, flesh, and Satan aiming to kill
While the wicked who be hating your will
Sit by the lake as they chill, taking in sensational thrills
Lord, Your Son I admire, He's the one I desire
I'll run through the fire if You say it's Your will
But at times it's hard to hear You, the world doesn't fear You
Lord, give me a clear view Your face is concealed
Help me to be patient until Your grace is revealed
And in the mean time, between time, be praising You still


Verse 3 - Trip Lee:
Lord, You know I'm hoping that my situation will switch
That You'll show me You're amazing by erasing it quick
But I've noticed that my hope was in You changing it quick
Instead of knowing You're enough Lord I was chasing Your gifts
But then I opened up Your text and looked at David and them
Their situations was grim, but it ain't change them within
They prayed You'd take it away but sought Your face in the end
And found comfort in Your justice and the grace You extend
So in this life full of strife if my days get grayer
I'm content with the fact that You'll stay my Savior
No change in my King, man, it ain't no greater
Comfort than what's found in You that's so major
So in this life full of strife if my days get grayer
I'm content with the fact that You'll stay my Savior
No change in my King, man, it ain't no greater
Comfort than what's found in You that's so major
So in this life full of strife if my days get grayer
I'm content with the fact that You'll stay my Savior
No change in my King, man, it ain't no greater
Comfort than what's found in You that's so major

On Conservatives

Once upon a time I considered myself a conservative. I no longer do, mainly because I don’t know what the word means any more. I thought that a conservative was someone who stood for self-reliance, limited government, fiscal responsibility, foreign policy realism and had a deep and unwavering suspicion that people who claimed to be able to fix the problems that have bedeviled man for millennia were either charlatans, fools or both.

My eyes have been opened. While Bush the Lesser was president, conservatives supported none of these things. Now that the Republicans are out of power, they’re claiming them as core principles again. Lew Rockwell famously argued that the only thing conservatives stand for is “lying from noon into night.” I think it’s a fine piece of political rhetoric, but I don’t agree. I don’t think conservatives are lying. That would require them to have principles worth lying about. They don’t because a conservative is simply someone who hates liberals.

Close your eyes and imagine the dream world of the liberals. It’s a marvelous place. Married homosexuals in Toyota Prii (I insist that’s this is the correct plural of Prius) carpool with endangered species. The various peoples of the earth hold hands and sings songs about love and sharing and all wars consist of pillow fights. In the evening the sick and infirm are wheeled outside to bask in the free healthcare that drops from the sky and no one ever has to die. I call it Liberaltopia and I often visit there in my dreams.

Conservotopia is another matter. It is a bitter land where the air is laden with the scent of sulphur and the screams of the damned. Here is where the feminists, environmentalists and hipsters are slowly tortured for eternity. They confess their errors and beg for forgiveness, but none is to be had. There are no demons in this land—all the torture is conducted by faithful conservatives. This is virtue’s reward. When evening comes, they leave their work and gather at the one oasis of serenity and beauty in this desperate land. It is a hilltop palace with peaceful gardens and tasteful sculpture. Here they may rest from their labors and gather at the center to worship the only begotten Son of God: Ronald Reagan.

I am not cool with this.


Men and Women are Different

Part One in a Series:

When a woman is attracted to a man, she laughs at his jokes. When a man is attracted to a woman, he laughs at his own jokes.

The truth of this can be confirmed through simple observation. I mention it because you should never, ever laugh at your own jokes. Ever.

If everyone else laughs, it's acceptable to get caught up in the moment, but if no one laughs, you will be the only one laughing. This means that you will be laughing at an inappropriate time.

There are only 4 types of people who laugh at inappropriate times:
  1. Small children
  2. Pot smokers
  3. The mentally ill
  4. The mentally retarded

You don't want to appear to belong to any of these groups. In the entrire history of the world no woman has ever told her friend "I met this really great guy: he's 6 years old, reeks of bong resin, thinks the CIA has put a hidden camera in his toilet and has to wear a helmet indoors. I think he could be the one!"

This has been a public service message from The Mighty Incognomen.


She was Young and Foolish and Now is Full of Tears

My mother, who is pushing 70 has started a blog. I guess it's official, everyone has a blog now.

Her maiden post explores the phenomenon of late life divorce among everyone's favorite legalist heretics, the Mormons. It's an interesting read because my mother predates the baby boom, feminism and (I believe) the invention of fire and this gives her a unique perspective.

My own circle of acquaintances does not include many of the aged and infirm, so experience has led me to conclude that people get divorced because they are selfish egotists. Apparently older people get divorced for other reasons. Who knew?


I Went to a Sci-Fi Convention Once

I wasn't always an old, boring married man. I used to be a young, boring single man. Here's some nostalgia for you:

My roommate plays in a "Vampire: The Masquerade" LARP. For those lucky few of you unfamiliar with the concept, this is where a bunch of pasty, overweight geeks pretend to be pale creatures that never have sex and feel a constant urge to feed. I'm not sure where the pretending comes in, but that's not important. What's important is thanks to my roommate and his host of pseudo vampires I attended my first Sci-Fi convention last weekend.

Also my last Sci-Fi convention.

Of course, in order to attend and observe the geeks, it was necessary to blend in with them. I had to dress the part. My first choice was black trousers, black shoes and white socks. It certainly made me look like I belonged at a Sci-Fi convention. Unfortunately, I was unwilling to be seen in public like that.

So I went with plan B and dressed as a Romulan. Not only did I look like I belonged, but I could also walk around grabbing my crotch and asking "who wants a ride on my warbird?" In retrospect this should have been plan A.
I arrived at the convention in full Romulan regalia, and immediately felt a new sensation that I'd never experienced before. I felt slender. Slender, well sexed and well adjusted. My friend Ryu, who I invited for moral support, was less exhilarated. As 6 butter-beasts in Anime t-shirts walked by, he remarked "You know, if we'd won WWII, we'd have had their kind exterminated."

At this point, two guys in imperial storm trooper outfits walked by. They had little rainbow stickers on the back of their uniforms. Just what I needed to see, gay storm troopers. Now, every time I watch Star Wars all I can think about is hot clone on clone action. I used to like Star Wars, now I love it.

I would have turned around and left if it hadn't been for the Klingons. I like Klingons. Whether they were strutting about like they owned the place, scarfing down Cheetos in the hospitality suite or just relaxing with a bit of karaoke, the Klingons never got old.

The fat women in bondage gear got old fast though. In fact, some of them had gotten old during the Coolidge administration. I had no idea they made rubber dresses in a size 36, but I know they shouldn't. Wow. After a half hour of these blubbery belles, I began questioning my own sexuality. Not that I found the men more attractive, it was more the "giving up on the human race entirely" sort of sexuality questioning. I was looking around for a nice brook trout to slam my meaty shaft into.

I didn't find one, but I did manage to locate the bar. That helped. After 2 beers, 3 long islands and a shot of Don Julio, the weirdoes didn't seem so weird. It was time to start messing with people.

Every time the gay storm troopers walked past, I would wave my hand and say "these aren't the hard throbbing cocks you're looking for." The one on the left told me to move along, so I pointed at his crotch and said "aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?" He hit me.

So I went off in search of easier prey and that's when I saw them, the only 4 attractive women in the entire hotel, standing together in the lobby. What followed will no doubt go down in history as the infamous "warbird decloaking incident of 2004." Needless to say the shields went up and it was red alert time. Fortunately nobody recognized me after I ditched the wig, costume and makeup, so I didn't get arrested.

After that, Ryu and I decided to hit the room parties and find a good time.
Room party number one: a man with no front teeth was boasting about his ability to channel "psychic energy." I asked him if he could channel a dental plan. Then I was asked to leave.

Room party number two: a 350 pound woman in a halter top was boasting about her high pain threshold. Eleven well chosen words later, she left the room in tears. The Mighty Incognomen would like to take this opportunity to remind you that not all pain is physical.

Room party number three: we didn't make it. On our way there, we pass a 250 pound middle aged woman dressed as Sailor Moon. Ryu began weeping and denying the existence of God.

He'd matched me shot for shot despite weighing half as much and could not be consoled. I began shaking him and screaming "Snap out of it man! You can handle this, you're Japanese! Your ancestors gave us the Bataan Death March and the Rape of Nanking, don't dishonor their memories!"
It didn't help, so I left him to go to the dance.

Everyone, at least once in their life, should watch Sci-Fi fans attempt to dance. It's hard to describe, but here goes: Imagine if they held a wheelchair race in Pamplona during the running of the bulls. It would be horrible, bloody and cruel, yet funny as hell. The dance was kind of the same way.

There were 3 types of dancers: too large to move well, too spastic to move well and the pink blob.

The pink blob was topless, wearing a pink tutu and holding two giant feathered fans. It shook and wobbled and waved the fans about in a manner that could not, under any conceivable definition of the term, be described as dancing. In fact, the pink blob moved faster when the music stopped.
The pink blob was about 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide and shaped like, like, well really, like a turd. Pointed at each end, lumpy in the middle and with little visible chunks of corn. Well they were pustules in the pink blob's case, but the effect was similar. I'm not sure if the pink blob was a he or a she, or even what phylum the creature belonged to.

I was looking for an impromptu weapon with which to harpoon this monstrosity when I got busted. Yes, I had failed to pay the $40 convention registration fee and snuck into the dance without a pass. I was thrown out before I could put an end to the pink blob and its reign of terror.

Not sure what happened to Ryu. I think he's still in a hallway at the hotel, curled up in the fetal position crying.


Calvinist Hip Hop Thursday

I love Calvinist Hip Hop. It's the only genre of music that can also be used to fight evil robots. If you ever find yourself escaping from a futuristic dystopia while being purused by a malfuctioning catering robot, you can just pull out your iPod and

PROCESSING phat beats and mad rhymes about reformed theology...






The Husband Quiz

I created a simple, 10 question quiz to evaluate how good of a husband you are.


The scoring is explained below, but you probably want to take the quiz first.

  1. Your wife has been gaining weight and asks you "Does this dress make me look fat?" How do you respond?

    • "I love you just the way you are."

    • This is both evasive and cowardly, but it's not the worst possbile response. 2 points.

    • Ignore her.

    • This is evasive, but not cowardly. After all, this is the most infamous marital shit test in the English speaking world and your wife knows it as well as you do. You're not obligated to answer. 3 points.

    • "It's not the clothes that make you look fat, it's the second helpings."

    • This is the best response. Sure she'll be angry and hurt, but it's honest and it clearly puts the responsibility for the weight gain on her shoulders, where it belongs. It's not at all loving to lie to your wife (particularly when she knows you're lying and she will). It's even less loving to allow her to persuade herself that her weight is something beyond her control--something women are very prone to do. It's your duty to steer your wife away from self destructive behavior. You'll probably get yelled at, but so what. You'll live. 5 points.

    • "You look gorgeous, give me a kiss."

    • This isn't just the worst response listed, it's probably the worst possible response anyone has every given (and I know people who have done so). It's not merely cowardly and evasive, it's also desperate. Showing affection is not a favor, it's a duty. 1 point.

    • "A little bit, yeah."

    • Honest and direct. Depending on the woman, this may actually be the best option. 4 points.

  2. Your wife has been keeping herself in shape and asks "Does this dress make me look fat?" How do you respond?

    • "Like Jabba the Hut in a peasant skirt."

    • I consider this the best option, but it is risky. If you know your wife has serious issues about her weight (despite being in shape) don't use it. That being said, your wife is asking you what she knows to be a famous gotcha question, she knows exactly what she looks like and she has way more confidence in her ability to judge women's fashion than in yours. Choosing this option means that she'll never ask again which is worth quite a lot.

      The beautiful thing about this answer is that it's so completely over the top. If she gets mad, point out that she asked a loaded question, that she knows perfectly well she looks great and that she can't take a joke. All of these will be true. 5 points for not being risk averse.

    • Roll your eyes and point out that you weren't born yesterday.

    • This was my answer and it served well. This is not a serious question when asked by a fit woman. 4 points.

    • "Clothes don't make people look fat. That's what gluttony and sloth are for."

    • This is a perfectly fine answer for the previous question, but it doesn't work here. It's too likely to be taken as an insult and isn't over the top enough to be blown off. On the plus side, it does show that you're not a chicken. 3 points.

    • "You look gorgeous, give me a kiss."

    • Never, ever ASK your wife to kiss you. Women hate it. Pickup artists recommend "would you like to kiss me?" instead. Every Cary Grant character ever recommends just grabbing her and planting one. Either works, but women love Cary Grant a lot more than they love Mystery. 1 point.

    • Hug her and tell her that she's beautiful.

    • This is a little better, but she didn't ask the question to be reassured about her attractiveness. It was a shit test. Treat it like one. 2 points.

  3. When women say "I want a man who isn't afraid to talk about his feelings," what do they really mean?

    • They want a man who talks about his feelings.

    • No they don't. If they wanted that, they'd have said that. Women have female friends for this sort of thing. 2 points.

    • They want a man who listens to them talk about their feelings.

    • Getting warmer, but if a woman is depressed talking about her depression makes her more depressed. This is why therapy is so lucrative--they keep needing the therapist more and more. 3 points.

    • They want an unemployed musician with multiple tatoos who sings about his feelings for other women.

    • Yes indeed, this is what most American women want these days. Not the ones who are good marriage material, but I didn't specify that. 5 points.

    • It's ok to cry on her shoulder when the weight of the world is too much to bear.

    • Unless you're joking around, you can't have a penis and select this answer. It's a scientific fact. 1 point.

    • They want a man who isn't afraid to talk about his feelings, but would never do so in a million years.

    • This is what women who are good marriage material want: Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. 4 points.

  4. Your wife tells you that she wants one of those horrible miniature dogs. What do you do?

    • Change the subject.

    • A perfectly fine answer if not for the fact that if she really wants one, she'll change the subject right back. 3 points.

    • Agree to buy her one and then keep putting it off in the hope that she'll forget.

    • Nothing says weak, disrespectful coward like this. 1 point.

    • Refuse firmly and categorically.

    • A fine choice. Some things you simply can't compromise on. 4 points.

    • She comes home from work to find a toy poodle with a bow on its head sitting on a handmade card saying how much you love her.

    • Your wife is sure to tell her new lover what a great husband you are. 2 points. It's weak and cowardly, but at least it's not disrespectful.

    • "If you get one, I'll turn it into Korean food."

    • The best answer, unless you picked the Jabba the Hutt answer for the second question. You can make too many mean spirited jokes. 3 points if you did this, 5 otherwise.

  5. Your wife tells you that you have to take the garbage out before she has sex with you. How do you respond?

    • Punch her in the face.

    • You should never, ever hit your wife. That being said, there are actually two options here that are even worse for the long term health of your marriage. 3 points.

    • Tell her you would take the garbage out, but you're not in the mood.

    • Being passive agressive is bad. Being passive agressive with a woman is even worse since she's going to be better at it and can nurse a grudge longer. 2 points.

    • Go to the bar. Don't come back until closing time or you stop being angry, whichever comes last.

    • It's petulant and childish to do this, but you do have an excellent reason. Make sure to order quality drinks. 4 points.

    • "Ok honey."

    • Why not just file for divorce? It's a foregone conclusion anyway if you pick this option and you'll at least keep some of your dignity. 1 point.

    • By emulating Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind."

    • The only acceptable answer. If you didn't pick it, rent the movie. Your wife will enjoy the movie and you'll learn something. 5 points.

  6. Your wife is talking about something and you're not paying attention. Suddenly you hear her angry voice demanding to know "Are you listening to me?" What now, sport?

    • "Of course not, you talk too much."

    • Mean without being funny, playful or helpful. 3 points.

    • Rack your brain for the last thing she was talking about and say "Sure I was, you were talking about X."

    • It's dishonest and it won't work. She knows perfectly well you weren't listening even if you are capable of recalling what was said. 2 points.

    • "Of course I was listening."

    • This tells your wife two things. That you are dishonest and that you think she's stupid. Now you're really in trouble. 1 point.

    • "No. Were you saying something important?"

    • A fine answer. It will always work and usually she wasn't saying anything important, which helps disharge the anger. 4 points.

    • "No, I was busy picturing you naked."

    • The perfect answer to use once. Don't use if too often though or disaster will ensue. 5 points.

  7. Do you have a dangerous job (policeman, bouncer, drug dealer) or hobby (boxing, skydiving, hard drug use)?

    • No.

    • Uh oh, you're boring. Marriages can die of boredom. 1 point.

    • No, but I did before I got married.

    • At least you have good stories. 4 points.

    • Does taking kung fu lessons count?

    • No, no it doesn't. 2 points.

    • Yes.

    • Hooray, you are an international man of mystery. 5 points.

    • I have both.

    • There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Your wife may well snap from constant worry. 3 points.

  8. Your wife gets mad at you when, as far as you can tell, you've done nothing wrong. How do you respond?

    • I tell her to calm down.

    • She's not going to calm down for a while. At least you didn't validate her irrational rage. 2 points.

    • I give her a non-apology apology like "I'm sorry you feel that way."

    • The Clinton special. It works wonders. 4 points.

    • I apologize right away. I'm going to anyway, so I might as well get it over with.

    • Congratulations, you've just persuaded your wife that she was right to get mad over nothing. I hope you enjoy getting yelled at because it's going to happen a lot. 1 point.

    • I invite her to sit down and talk about it.

    • Not the best option, but it's better than telling her to calm down. If she keeps yelling, make sure you don't backtrack to one of the lesser option. That will only make things worse. 3 points.

    • I make fun of her.

    • The key word here is fun. It should be playful teasing. She's taking herself too seriously and needs help not doing that. 5 points.

  9. Your wife gets an exciting job opportunity, but taking it involves moving across the country. How do you respond?

    • My wife doesn't work or doesn't work in a job where that would be an issue.

    • The best answer. You're the provider, that means that you're supposed to do the providing. 5 points.

    • We move. I don't want to stand in the way of my wife's happiness.

    • You've forgotten which one of you is the wife. Don't worry, the custody battle will remind you. 1 point.

    • We sit down and discuss the pros and cons before reaching a mutually satisfying decision.

    • Unless you plan for the discussion to involve the phrase "if you don't start taking your job less seriously, you'll wind up childless, bitter and surrounded by cats" this is a bad idea. It's not a great idea even if you do. 3 points.

    • We probably move, we need the extra money.

    • You're the provider, you're supposed to provide. 2 points.

    • We don't move.

    • Of course you don't. 4 points to you, buddy.

  10. Finish this sentence. If you are nervous about a situation at work, talking about it with your wife ________________.

    • Makes you feel better.

    • Unless your definition of "talking about it" means "discussing a couple of possible solutions I'm considering," it won't. Give yourself five points if that is your definition. Otherwise 2 points.

    • Creates a sense of openness in the marriage that will strengthen it in the long run.

    • It won't. 1 point.

    • Wastes valuable time that could be spent thinking of ways to fix the problem.

    • This is true, but it's also selfish. 3 points.

    • Makes her nervous too.

    • This is also true and not selfish, but incomplete. 4 points.

    • Is a really strange thing to do.

    • Exactly. Unless your wife has both the relevant experience and the temperment to offer useful advice, it's an odd combination of impractical, conterproductive and against your male instincts. 5 points.


"Pride and Prejudice" and Pick Up Artists

"Pride and Prejudice," the favorite book of marriage minded women in the English speaking world is a great many things, the greatest of which is a perfect illustration of a truth universally acknowledged—that there is an enormous gap between what women say they want in a man and the men they want.

If you were to ask any woman of your acquaintance to describe her ideal man, she would probably produce a list similar to the following: kind, open, a good listener, mature, professional, dedicated to self-improvement and capable of paying a decent compliment. If you were to counter that what she really wanted was a cold, arrogant, emotionally distant and occasionally cruel man, she would dispute your claim most furiously. If, on the other hand, you were to ask her opinion of the book’s Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy, she would shudder with disgust at the first and confess eternal love for the character of the second.

How can this be? Mr. Collins is kind—he wishes to protect the interests of his female cousins. He is open—he discusses every aspect of his life in tireless detail, right down to the hour of his bedtime. He is responsible and dedicated to his profession and the interests of his employer. He not only vigorously seeks his own improvement, but constantly exhorts everyone around him to better themselves. He even spends several hours a week reassuring an old woman of her worth through flattery and kind words. In short, Mr. Collins is everything women (or at least modern American women) claims to desire in a man.

Without exception, women consider Mr. Collins the creepiest, most repellent loser in the history of English literature.

Then we have Mr. Darcy. He is, without question, an asshole. Consider this passage from chapter three where Mr. Darcy first sees the novel’s heroine:

"Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you."
"Which do you mean?" and turning round he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me."

Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings toward him. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous.

If your reading comprehension is lacking, what just happened is that Mr. Darcy was not content with merely negging a target, as the pick up artists do. Instead he landed an insult that could only be more crushing if he followed it up by throwing her to the floor and delivering the people’s elbow to her solar plexus. The result is that the lively, intelligent and charming Miss Elizabeth Bennet can neither speak nor think of any other man for days afterwards.

"His pride," said Miss Lucas, "does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a right to be proud."

"That is very true," replied Elizabeth, "and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine."

This is beautiful. Mr. Darcy’s savage rudeness is excused by all the women as a DHV, and the particular target is now exerting an exclusive claim on him. Note that she emphasizes the word mine. The only thing missing is speculation that he could run a three legged race all by himself. Presumably the copy editor removed that bit.

As the novel progresses, Mr. Darcy’s character is established as more and more alpha. Consider this passage, where Elizabeth has rejected his first proposal and angrily denounced him.

"Can you deny that you have done it?" she repeated.

With assumed tranquillity he then replied: "I have no wish of denying that I did everything in my power to separate my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in my success. Towards him I have been kinder than towards myself."

Elizabeth disdained the appearance of noticing this civil reflection, but its meaning did not escape, nor was it likely to conciliate her.

"But it is not merely this affair," she continued, "on which my dislike is founded. Long before it had taken place my opinion of you was decided. Your character was unfolded in the recital which I received many months ago from Mr. Wickham. On this subject, what can you have to say? In what imaginary act of friendship can you here defend yourself? or under what misrepresentation can you here impose upon others?"

"You take an eager interest in that gentleman's concerns," said Darcy, in a less tranquil tone, and with a heightened colour.

"Who that knows what his misfortunes have been, can help feeling an interest in him?"

"His misfortunes!" repeated Darcy contemptuously; "yes, his misfortunes have been great indeed."

"And of your infliction," cried Elizabeth with energy. "You have reduced him to his present state of poverty—comparative poverty. You have withheld the advantages which you must know to have been designed for him. You have deprived the best years of his life of that independence which was no less his due than his desert. You have done all this! and yet you can treat the mention of his misfortune with contempt and ridicule."

"And this," cried Darcy, as he walked with quick steps across
the room, "is your opinion of me! This is the estimation in which you hold me! I thank you for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps," added he, stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, "these offenses might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; by reason, by reflection, by everything. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They were natural and just. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?—to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?"

This is the true heart of what pick up artists call alpha behavior. He makes no attempt to persuade, defend himself, grovel or apologize. That’s what betas do. The only weakness Mr. Darcy admits to is his interest in a woman as far below his social status as she is.

The rest of the book details how the increasingly obsessed Elizabeth Bennet goes about persuading herself to eventually yield to Mr. Darcy. She even goes to far as to visit his home when she thinks he is away and collect information about him. The novel ends with an improbable white knighting by Mr. Darcy (it is female wish fulfillment lit after all), which conquers all of the heroine’s objections and reduces her to a quivering mass of gratitude, but even after all of this Mr. Darcy is unwilling to drop his masterful reserve and the book ends with him offering her no higher compliment than praising “the liveliness of your mind” and refusing to apologize for being the strong silent type.

As for Mr. Collins, the book ends with him being made the butt of yet another joke.

The point of all of this is very simple. The continuing popularity of Pride and Prejudice is further proof (not that further proof is needed) that when a woman says say that the techniques of pick up artists are ridiculous or that she would never fall for any of them, the woman is lying.

Mr. Darcy would probably pimp slap her. She'd like it.


The Old Man and the Shit Test

I've been reading Roissy recently and it's been quite enjoyable.

One thing that puzzles me though, is why it's the single-by-choice PUA crowd who systematically analyzed the "shit test" and how to respond to it when it's us married guys who face the most diabolical shit tests and and we do it without the luxury of being able to turn around and walk out the door. I think it's because men who don't already know how to deal with the shit test either can't get someone to marry them or they can't manage to stay married long enough to work out a system.

If you're unfamiliar with the term, a "shit test" is when a woman give you shit to see how you'll respond. The best known example is the sitcom trope "Does this dress make me look fat?" She isn't asking because she values your opinion or because she wants to be reassured about her attractiveness; she's asking to see if you'll answer like a man or not. (On a side note, my wife actually asked me this during the first year of our marriage. I responded by rolling my eyes and telling her I wasn't born yesterday. Make of that what you will.)

With that out of the way, I'd like to relate the story of one of the the nastiest shit tests I've ever heard of and how the hero triumphed by dint of simple manliness (what the PUA crowd calls alpha behavior, our generation having forgotten the correct term).

Ann was a school teacher and George worked as a forklift mechanic until he retired at 65 (still strong enough to beat some manners into a 30 year old welder on his last day). His retirement messed up their marriage no end. George had no idea what to do with himself all day and was starved for conversation when Ann came home full of resentment that she still had 10 years of trying to force literacy into the heads of unwilling teenagers before she could join him in doing nothing. Tensions built, arguements ensued and then Ann devised a truly vicious little shit test. Although her husband had traditionally handled all the home maintenance and remodeling (competently, although the demands of his job prevented him from doing the work as thoroughly as he would have liked), Ann announced that she she wanted the kitchen remodeled and, because she wanted the work done right for once, she was going to hire someone and oversee the work herself.

As she intended, George took this as a direct attack on himself and his worth as a man and he responded as a man should. He asked what she had budgeted, agreed that they could afford it, wished her luck and wandered off to the local salvage yard. Although the results were not what she had expected, Ann proceded to canvas the other teachers at school for recommendations and recieve a glowing recommendation a man we will call Chuck (his real name having been forgotten).

Soon Chuck arrived to begin the work. Chuck was very young and very handsome, which caused Ann to realize with concern that the recommendation she had accepted came from a young, single teacher who lived in an apartment. Her concerns were justified as it turned out that Chuck was dumber than a sack of hammers and, while he may have been skilled with a tool, it wasn't one you could buy at Sears.

While Chuck remembered to turn the water off before rerouting the pipes for the kitchen sink, he didn't realized that the pipes would still contain water until after beginning his first cut, which resulted in a shower of wet plaster barely missing the computer in Ann's downstairs office.

This upset Ann a great deal, but she still had hopes of showing George up. These hopes were dashed the next day when she smelled smoke. Chuck, it seems, was unaware of how to operate a brazing torch and had set his to produce the largest possible flame before setting the house on fire. One empty fire extinguisher later, Ann found herself in the garage apologizing to George and asking him to please keep an eye on the brainless wonder she had hired before they both found themselves homeless.

George expected this. In fact he had planned for it, although setting he house on fire was a more dramatic touch he had hoped for. George's first response had been to ask for her budget to see if it was adequate for hiring a competent contractor. Once he knew that it wasn't, failure was virtually ensured, so his next step was to visit the local salvage yard and launch the post retirement hobby he had been putting off: buying totaled, but repariable cars for a few dollars, repairing them and selling them for a few hundred. This meant that when Ann went to look for him he was hard at work, forcing her to apologize for interrupting instead of getting angry that he was sitting around while the house got destroyed. It also meant that his garage became a gathering place for the other retired gearheads in which their neighborhood was particularly rich, removing his dependency on his wife's conversation.

The story ended happily. Chuck recieved much much valuable instruction from George (which he was happy to recieve, although it's questionable how much he understood), Ann got a new kitchen and George regained the respect of his wife. George and Ann subsequently moved and, although he is now pushing 80, he has remodeled their new house and is currently redoing the landscaping.

They will soon be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and are, incidentally, my parents.