A couple of nights ago, I watched a documentary called The Side Effects of Being American. It was about a group of three brothers and strength athletes, two of whom were doing illicit steroids regularly. One of them had tried it for a time in college, but quit, he says because of guilt. It’s unclear as to whether or not he’s taking legal steroids (anti aging and medically supervised performance enhancers).
Their heartbroken and shocked mother tearfully asked her middle son, the “clean” one how her well raised sons came to believe that they weren’t good enough…how they got to the point where they felt they had to use steroids regularly.
In my exploration of the blogosphere, in an attempt to better understand men, I’ve noticed a marked difference between the guys my dad’s age, and the guys my age, and the guys in their 20’s now. Guys under 45 these days are, for the most part, feminine, vain, and have screwed up priorities. They are this way mainly because their parents protected them from reality.
They were told that if they “worked hard and played by the rules” they would succeed. If they were fortunate, they came to understand that this was hogwash early enough to take the truth in stride. The unfortunate ones still feel as if they are weak or defective because working hard and playing by the rules did not give them the rewards they were promised.
One of the most damaging myths, in my opinion, has been the promise of free, easy sex, from hot chicks with no consequences.
What is most physically beautiful and ideal in a woman is youth, breeding/nurturing/sexual fitness, and good proportions/symmetry. This has been so since the dawn of known history. The problem is, of course, that the same things are most physically beautiful in men, and that neither men nor women can function optimally just from being pretty. So all sorts of things come into play in determining who is one’s best mate.
In the past, western men seemed to understand this as well as other men understand it still. They expected more of their partners and themselves than a pretty face and physique. If it was a matter of love or practical good (such as in arranged marriage cultures) looks were secondary to optimal function and attachment.
I’m not waxing nostalgic. People were no more deep then than they are now. Yet then, it was less frustrating for the vast majority to find a decent partner at least most of the time, because expectations were based on deeds not looks. Now, men themselves feel like lesser men if they don’t look pretty and have alot of money, and they feel as if women who don’t look pretty are lesser women.
In the 30-somethings it seems to have turned sharply in that direction. Teens of the 80’s turned into bitter lonely men, married whores, or dumped their good wives for the hypothetical whores they thought they could do better with, in record numbers. It’s gotten so that I understand the life stories of most of my old contacts will follow one of maybe 4 scripts. Mine was getting dumped for hypothetical whores, but with a twist since I understand men way too well, and give a guy a “free five”. Within 5 years, he can walk away with zero penalties.
More about why that was a good decision later, but for now I’ll explain a bit more why western men are so damned girly now.
Basically, it’s because they don’t generally have man-like priorities anymore. If you need a woman to be dependable and trustworthy, that will be important to you. If your woman can be a lying, thieving, cheater, and you’ll still be okay, then honesty, loyalty, and honor are not as important.
Women have let men off the hook. Sure, they still take them to the cleaners in divorces when possible, but otherwise women don’t require that men be honorable, trustworthy, and kind anymore. In fact, these traits are viewed as strangely feminine rather than just humane. Humanity has become the domain of the female, and studly assholery has become the definition of male.
So a guy who isn’t an mirror primping asshole worried about whether or not jojoba or papaya is a better conditioner, is viewed as feminine now. Women who cook and can manage a group of five kids in an orderly manner are considered too masculine.
So these three steroid taking brothers’ mom was a big, curvy, church going, super feminine woman who even baked their weight gain bars. Their dad was a very handsome, hard working guy with his head on straight, who worked for IBM and later started his own business. Who was the invader who programmed their beautiful strong boys with big dreams to believe they weren’t good enough?
Well, to be fair, it was too many hours and instances of unsupervised television. My daughter watches plenty, but it’s usually educational, cartoons, and sci-fi. No chance of developing a negative body image from Mythbusters. We talk about models and actresses. We know a few, and my daughter knows exactly what they go through to maintain their looks…and what they look like without makeup. She has no illusions, and thusfar, no desire to be like that since her career and priorities in life are different. So she’s not judging them negatively, just choosing her own path.
I wonder how different life would have been for these brothers if they had met and gotten to know some professional wrestlers, bodybuilders, and strength athletes growing up, who were honest with them. They might still do steroids, but they’d be less conflicted about it, and much more understanding of their own motivations, rather than detached and viewing it in the context of addiction.
What really disturbs me is this idea that they and most western males now have the same desires. It’s like the American dream is no longer individual. They feel like they must all have big muscles, lots of money, and access to lots of young, pretty girls spreading their legs on demand, or something is lacking in their lives.
Even more disturbing is the seething contempt so many have for the women who may not be so “perfect”, but do give them attention. It doesn’t matter than 100 million average looking girls would have their babies, cook their meals, and be faithful wives for life. These are substandard ogresses who deserve to die alone for the sin of not being hot enough that their equally feminized friends would praise their living status accessories.
They actually complain about these women talking to them, being friendly to them, and wanting them. The women who are important are the top 10% in looks, who they deserve because they’ve played by the rules and worked hard. It should be like in the sitcoms, right?
At 38, I’m basically out of that “game” and enjoying the apocalyptic show from the nosebleed. It would be nice to find a partner in all ways, but I’m sure if I do, it’ll be a chance meeting in the parking lot, and I understand my chances are quite low. So part of my development back into my formerly hardcore self is being more okay with the idea that I wasn’t one of the lucky ones…or was I?
I did have the good sense and good luck to marry young and breed young. I also look pretty good for my age, and no wall is on the horizon to hit in the near future. All my older aunts are aging well, as is my mom. So at least for the purpose of hanging out and being a non slutty freak who likes to dance, I’m doing pretty well. I won’t look too extremely out of place when I take my daughter to Burning Man for her 21st birthday.
…and who knows? Maybe somewhere out there is a bookish and yet highly…driven guy who can handle me. I’m not holding my breath, but it can happen. It’s just not something I can say that I’m really looking for anymore…at least not in Israel. Guys outside of Israel, well, that would require a miracle, and this is not something I would bank on.
Like I said…most people are not that deep. The practical concerns would get in the way unless someone thought I was truly special. Lots of girls who are younger and prettier are special too.