The Full Cane Caldo

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am an extrovert and over the past month I’ve been able to meet up with four of the authors and commenters[1] that travel in the same blogging circles. This brings my total face-to-face encounters to seven, and I am very glad to report that I enjoyed them all, and I look forward to seeing them all again, and to meeting more people as they allow.

Of these recent conversations, one small off-hand comment by me during dinner and the reply to it lingered more than the others; especially in light of some recent kerfuffles. I had said off-handedly, in the course of a larger point, “I don’t want people to like Cane Caldo.” to which it was replied, “Hmm, interesting.”

I didn’t mean it is my preference for others to dislike my online personae, but that I am very conscious of the fact that the Internet is an unavoidable world of masks. We may shout solidarity or whisper truths about ourselves to one another, but we should not fall in love with the masks. That goes double for oneself. All of which brings up the question of exactly how masked am I?

Good question. I’m probably the last person who should try to answer it, but I can relate a story.


Last year a friend of mine threw a party. All of us have been close since high school, and so we happily attended and enjoyed the chance to reconnect while our wives giggled and our children played. All of us men smoke, and so we spent most of the time on the back porch smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, poking fun at each other and laughing.

The kids–about ten of them–were outside with us. There was a trampoline. They jumped and tussled and laughed and cried and got over it when we made sure they weren’t injured and told them to get over it. Sometimes a mom would come out to furrow her brow and find out what was going on. And we’d laugh and tell her to get over it, too, and so they all got over everything and the kids would go back to play and the wives would go back to their fun.

The sun was on the horizon and and we had just assuaged hurt feelings and staved off bitterness. There were no women in earshot, and the children were in oblivious play. My friend, a military vet for almost two decades said, suddenly serious, “I just want to thank you guys for showing me how to be a man.” We protested, but he wouldn’t have it. He talked about growing up without a father, and–a year younger than us–about how he took to us as older brothers. And we are brothers, and we had been young together.

Because the laughter of men is catnip to women, they would occasionally come outside and hang around; just being pretty and waiting for an entrance to the conversation. Then, after a bit, they’d go back inside and rejoin the wives. They wanted to belong to the laughing men, and that is good because they do. But bubbling up from under that goodness was something else, and that was the desire of our wives to be the center of the laughing men. That is not good, as you’ll see.

It was dark, and some had drank a bit too much beer. We were still on the back porch, but the kids had moved inside to the toys, and the wives had come outside to us. One man’s wife could no longer withstand the desire to be the center of our attentions, and so it happened. She went inside and came back with a box. She said, “You guys are going to love this game.”

Everyone but my wife and I knew what it was, and the rest of them smirked and giggled nervously. I asked, “What’s it called?”

She beamed. “Card’s Against Humanity. It’s a party game with topics that are just stupid, or kinda mean, or kinda gross, or whatever.”

“Gotcha. That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

“No, it’s really fun.”

“Ok. It still sounds like a bad idea. It sounds like the game is to make everyone feel awkward.”

Then, to prove it was fun, she read off one of the Cards Against Humanity in front of me, my wife, my friends, their wives, and even my adult daughter. I don’t remember what she said except that it had the word “cum” in it. My wife and daughter looked at the ground and immediately began for the safety of house.

“That’s enough.”, I barked.

Her grin faded and she began to protest. “No, it’s just funny–“

“It’s not funny. It’s embarrassing. If you want things to get awkward, then I can make it awkward.”

Silence. She bowed her head, slipped the card back into the case, and went inside. Our host pulled me aside and said, “Man, I want to apologize. I knew what it was and I should have said no. I guess I just…” He trailed off. He didn’t know what to do because it wasn’t his wife.

“It’s over now. I know that everywhere else she goes people would love her for bringing up that game; even other Christians. They don’t think it’s a big deal, and so she’s been tricked into thinking it’s acceptable because it’s “just a game”. She had no idea I’d have that reaction. I’m not mad at her. It just needed to stop.”

“Well, I’m sorry anyways. I’m glad you said something, and I wish I had. I shouldn’t allow it around my family, either.”

“Bro, we’re all learning.”

A few minutes later the woman came back out. She said she was apologizing to my wife, and then she realized that she should be apologizing to me; which she did and I forgave her. Her instincts to apologize to my wife were correct, though. I treasure my wife and kids, and her offense wasn’t against me but against my family, by extension my brothers, and by further extension my brothers’ families. If it had been just us guys when she pulled that stunt, I would only have looked at her husband with a concerned scowl and then walked off.

By the way, he was silent the whole episode.

As far as I know, everyone left on good terms. Still, it would have been much more pleasant for me and probably everyone else if that game had never come up. Then again, it wasn’t really the game’s fault, either.


 

(Author’s Note: Title taken from here.)

[1] They can choose whether or not they want to accept the infamy.

Future Time Orientated or Daddy’s Girl?

The marriage/divorce stats show a (morally) positive correlation between a woman’s achievement of a bachelor’s degree, and a continuance of marriage. Because of this, the idea has been put forward that this correlation centers on a (supposed) “future-time orientation”; i.e. the ability to delay gratification. Do we know how soon after graduation the women (who do not divorce) marry? I’m wondering how future oriented they are. Isn’t is possible that the ones who follow this pattern have made a decision to marry as soon as social pressures allow?

It seems to me that a college degree is the feminist merit badge among them all. It certainly is the prevailing notion for modernists, generally. Isn’t there the possibility that the women who are the most maritally stable are those women who both submit to the narrative of their leaders and media, and who also are really focused on (that is: strongly desire) marriage so to love a man? Is it possible that, given another set of priorities–or even just the removal of the bachelors degree notion–that those same women might do just as well marrying younger than 22 simply because that’s the demographic that wants to be married, and is also willing to listen to their authorities; that they wanted to marry earlier, and they only put it off as long as they needed to be respectful members of society as they were instructed?[1]

Maybe it doesn’t have to do so much with future time orientation as it does their respect for authority. Maybe daddy’s girls are a good thing, but not all daddies have the proper priorities. Of course, I don’t mean to say that all girls love and respect their fathers (or even that among those, they always do), but today we are talking about those girls that do.

EDIT: Let me ask it a different way: If there is a correlation between Daddy’s Girls and the continuance of marriage, and if there is a correlation between future-time orientation (impulse control, responsibility, etc.) and the continuance of marriage; then is it more likely that love for dad would arise from FTO, or is it more likely that FTO arises from love for dad?

[1] Not to say that such women do not also have desire to better themselves, or not to say that they aren’t also tempted to pride.

Red Weddings in Canaan

Elspeth gave a party to encourage wives to be loyal to their husbands. During that, someone told a joke about loving their husband’s strength. This caused some emotional terrorists to start planting rape bombs; specifically “marital rape”. The idea of marital rape is an IED in our culture that is used to scare women into rebelling against their husbands. The impact of the charge of “marital rape” is to create a prisoner’s dilemma between a husband and wife; the exact inverse of the prescription in 1 Corinthians 7 for the husband to surrender his body to his wife’s sexuality and the wife to her husband’s.

The main bomb-maker left, but not before G.I. Evangelical Joe showed up to make the world safe from terrorists by giving into their demands.

[W]hile the Bible does not say anything directly about marital rape in the Torah, it also does not say anything about abortion, and for the same reason; they were crimes mostly unthinkable to the Hebrews.Along the same lines, few states had bans on offing people in a VW microbus until Jack Kervorkian came along. Nobody thought there was a need.

The idea that the Israelites found abortion unthinkable is to put them on an imaginary pedestal of immense proportions. These are the people who will on-again-off-again sacrifice their  live-born babies on altars of Molech and other pagan gods. While we recognize that modern abortion is precisely the same in spirit, those Israelites were literally and manifestly worshipping foreign gods; sacrificing birthed, nursing, loved infants in full knowledge of their deeds. From this faulty start of romanticizing the Israelites he continues:

But it does not follow that forcing one’s wife was acceptable. It’s simply history, which is descriptive, not prescriptive–as Michigan residents who campaigned to stop assisted suicide would tell you, no?

For a place in the Torah that indicates the Hebrew attitude towards marital rape, let’s consider Deut. 21:10-14, which describes the treatment of captive women who are sexually desired by their captors.

It was, of course, the custom of invading pagans to rape all the young women when they conquered a city–she got to be a sex slave at best, a prostitute or dead if she were not as lucky. When she was no longer attractive, she would be sold into an even more humiliating slavery unless she found someone to protect her by some miracle.

Not the Israelites–a man got to provide for a pagan woman for a month, letting her mourn and getting to know her (perhaps gaining consent to the marriage) before he married her. He could not treat her as a slave, or sell her as one, and….

….even slaves were not to be treated ruthlessly. Now if a gentile woman merits this protection, what about a woman of Israel?

See what I’m getting at here? And this is why Peter (1 Peter 3:7) and Paul (Col. 3:19) tell the largely Gentile church…..more or less how to treat their wives like the Jews had been told to do.

The first error of the commenter I just quoted is that his idea of Peter’s encouragement for husband’s to be kind (1 Peter 3:7) and Paul’s warning for husbands not to be harsh (Colossians 3:19) is to base his judgment of what is kind or harsh solely on his own preferences. He doesn’t seem to take into account that he might be a bit effeminate; as we often see among modern American Evangelicals.

What follows this paragraph is most of my responding comment. This post is already long and it’s only getting started, but if are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ you can read the whole thing here.

I don’t think you’ve read that right at all. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 says:

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

First of all: The whole chapter of Deut. 21 (not that it was originally in chapters) is about taking responsibility for those around you, while remaining innocent yourself. The preceding verses (v. 1-9) concern how the town nearest a found murdered body is responsible for making atonement for that murder, while also proclaiming their own innocence (if they are).

The section immediately after the captives (v. 15-17) talks about giving the firstborn his due regardless of a father’s favor for the son or the mother. Like the people in the city near the victim, the father does not get a choice about who is nearest himself (i.e., his firstborn): He must still honor him.

The next section (v. 18-21) is about how to deal with a rebellious son who refuses to repent by having all the men of the whole town take responsibility for killing the rebellious son and ridding their town of evil.

The last section (v. 22-23) about not leaving up a man hung on a tree. It puts the responsibility for a criminal to avoid God’s curse on the heads of the innocents and executioners near the dead criminal; who is responsible for his own death. It is also a foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion, and Joseph of Arimathea’s coming righteousness.

Keep that idea of imposed and imposing responsibility in mind. The context here (v. 10-14) of the taking of wives from female captives is: Accepting full responsibility even under duress, adverse conditions, mental anguish, and outside your control, and how to do that while maintaining innocence. So let’s look at v. 10-14 again.

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month.

Here’s the picture: Battle-hardened men who are sick of death, pitiless towards the enemy, unfazed by tears, away from their wives and no marital prospects from home in sight are going to be tempted to take a woman. They will justify it by

  1. That’s what the enemy would do.
  2. By rights these women ought to be dead with their kinsmen.[1]

God, being the creator and fan of marriage that He is, says:

“Ok, but slow your roll. You have a right to take a wife, but be sure you want to exercise your right because there’s no going back.

Here’s a good test to see if you really want her, or if you’re just trying satisfy some temporary urges: Bring her into your home–the home of her family’s slaughterers. This is going to upset her wildly. Take a good look at that. Also: Make sure you’re not beguiled by her beauty or ornamentation. Shave off her lovely hair, cut those pretty nails, and get rid of the snazzy clothes she was wearing and put on some of the clothes of her family’s killers. Take another good, long look at her now: bald and grungy; weeping so that she slobbers and snots all over her prisoner’s garb. Do this for a full month.

During that time, she’s probably not going to eat right; loose skin; bags under her eyes; maybe some sores from malnutrition or lying in one place for days on end. She’ll probably try to escape. That’s not going to endear her to your family. They’ll have to restrain her while she’s kicking and gouging and scratching (another good reason to get rid of those nails!) She’ll probably get wounded; a black eye; maybe a tooth knocked out. There’s a good chance she’ll try to hurt herself; even kill herself. If she does, those scars aren’t going to be pretty, and everyone will know how they got there. Some women will just go crazy, or she might lose the will to live and start soiling herself. Immense grief can do that.

But, at the end of that month, if you still want her then go ahead. Here’s how:

After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

You’re going to have to go in there and take her. There is a good chance some crying may be involved when you–longtime enemy and the killer of her family–try to put yourself into her. You’re gonna have to push through that. Luckily, her nails have only been growing for a month, but if she’s not too weak from poor nutrition, injuries gained while trying to escape, etc.–there’s a good chance you’re going to have to use some force. Nevertheless, if you do you can be her husband, and sheshall be your wife. You don’t have to ask her because she’s been delivered into your hand, and you’ve made a vow.

Now, I’m serious about that vow.

14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

You’re going to have to see this through for the rest of your life. She’s not a slave. She’s not a commodity. She’s not a concubine. She’s your wife; the whole bald-headed, baggy-eyed, poorly-dressed, soiled, and supremely resentful shooting’ match of a woman is one flesh with you. If that isn’t what you want, then don’t go into her. You’ve already put her through the wringer. Just let her go, man.

What we have is a set of verses that says a lot about what men should expect to forbear at times within a marriage: resentment, ugliness…generally some hard times and hard feelings. Those verses also practically prescribe what modern ears will hear as “marital rape”. It wasn’t rape, though. It was a form of wedding as set down in God’s word.

My sense is that, ultimately, the commenter is experiencing the American Problem; (I say that as a fellow American.) and specifically an American Evangelical Christian problem. Our penchant is to see the Israelites, God, and life generally through the lens of recent good-old days of American culture and history instead of looking plainly at what he called the descriptive history. (Good term, by the way.) When the Israelites are obedient, to us they resemble WWII-1950s Americans as shown in American propaganda: Tough on the bad men, winsome to the bad women, and positively permissive to the good women. That wasn’t even life in WWII-1950s American…much less bronze age Canaan.

How this American Problem manifests in the current sexual and marital culture is that guys who say the things he’s said stand aside and congratulate themselves when a man is thrown in prison for what is considered “marital rape”. Those same men will merely cluck their tongues when a wife cheats or divorces; perhaps mumbling something about praying for her while they mow her yard (paging Empathologism) during the ensuing “separation to allow for prayer and healing”. If they’re really “strong Christians” maybe they pray for that man who is being divorced to be broken, to see himself as broken, and pray for his own repentance. I think we can congratulate ourselves on that brokenness: Mission accomplished! But where’s the equality, man?

That last paragraph is important because it’s true-to-form even if it’s hypothetical. It happens all the time, and much more frequently than instances of so-called “marital rape”. And the reason that frequency is important is because we can see that not only is “marital rape” a bone-headed idea in the abstract, but in the concrete…how our modern and corrupted view of marital relations actually plays out. The false idea of “marital rape” is part and parcel of a larger propaganda scheme that intends to drive wives from husbands.

[1]Notice also that her mother is dead and will be mourned alongside the dead father; who presumably was killed by the Israelites. Despite what the commenter tried to sell: Women were not spared by default. In fact there are many places where God tells the Israelites to kill everyone. God Himself wipes out everyone in Sodom; man, woman, and child. The Flood killed everyone including babies. That doesn’t mean we can kill with impunity, but it does mean that even killing itself is not always immoral. The right and the intent matters, even when considering sexuality or killing.

Hold Your Fire

In the past, I’ve had trouble convincing my wife to get more exercise. We’d have talks, and I’d help schedule activities. There was just a lot of resistance; though I was the dutiful and suffering leader. Recently something’s changed. Now she’s getting up early and taking all the kids with her. I have the sneaking suspicion that she enjoys working out. Her clothes are starting to fit better, and the shrew will probably be better in the sack, thanks to her program.

All this time I’ve been the one motivating her, and now she’s all “Oh, look how much better I look; see how much better I feel; life’s so awesome; blah blah blah.” 

And get this: After all my complaints and recriminations that she needs to be sweet and obedient, then last week she decided–on her own–to start doing what I ask and being kind because she’s concerned about her own holiness; as if working out and being submissive was her own idea.

The nerve. Well, I’ll tell you I’m going to put a stop to that nonsense

 

[Editor’s Note: Some of you may have seen an unfinished version. I accidentally hit “Publish” instead of “Save Draft”.]

Harriett Johnson’s Lament

In a post linked to me, Free Northerner asks:

Where is the practical Christian advice that will help me find a wife? Where can I find advice so the good Christian girl’s description of me to her friends isn’t “ew”?

He then goes on to say:

Without that, all the rest of this debate over game is just noise and thunder signifying nothing. Awkward Christian men will go the degenerate dirt bags, because our choices are either try to pick the occasional nugget of truth from the hedonists and hope we don’t become corrupted by them or live the rest of our lives in grinding loneliness and sexual frustration.

If you don’t like game, give us an alternative.

Or what? The nigger gets it?

What do you have to do with me? If you want my help, then you should beseech my help. It won’t encourage me to help if you threaten to take yourself hostage. It is a father’s job to teach manliness. I’m not your father. I don’t owe you patrimony.

Having said that: It’s outrageously stupid to vomit out that I haven’t provided any advice on how to portray manliness, how to handle women, or how to attract women. I have given more patrimony than I owed already! There are volumes here and more volumes in the comments of others blogs. What I haven’t provided you with is the trappings of a system.

That’s what you want: a system. Why? Because you’re a nerd who likes and responds to systems and lists. While all sorts of good engineering is a result of good systems, living life is not. Life isn’t a system. Women aren’t a system. Marriage isn’t a system. Being a man, living a good life, and being married to a good wife, then, isn’t about following a system. It’s about living artfully. That’s why nominal Christians who “find” their answers in the Men’s Sphere bleat and repeat: “But, but, but…the Bible doesn’t teach how to attract and handle women!” Yes it does, but you can’t recognize it because you’re deliberately ignoring art while you delve for a system.

What I’ve written here is an artistic endeavor; both in what I advise, and how I advised it. A while back, I wrote this comment on Leap’s blog:

There was once a blog with a great tagline: “treating matters of great concern lightly”. Marriage is very serious, and as a man you’ll find that the seriousness inclines you to want to be “earnest” and “sincere” about everything.

I don’t know if you ever played sports, or sculpted, or painted, but there is a way that you are both deft (light) and intentional (follow-through) with your movements. Whether you’re trying to move the ball where you want it to go, or to cast the right shadow on the face…

I’m not sure if what I mean is coming through, but here’s another art example.

The best way to draw a circle is to step back almost arm’s length from the canvas, hold the pencil in your whole hand (not like you hold it for writing) firmly, but not tight. Then imagine a circle. Put the tip of the pencil on the canvas, and then draw the circle using your whole arm.

Intentional, and using the whole body, but with a light touch. You’re looking for a mate, but you are not going demand that she mate or bounce, or worry about whether the circle in your mind is perfect.

Over and again you’ll see this is my prescriptions: Step back, take a good look, see what the masters have done, see what the tools look like, and really see the canvas; which is the terrain. Then clear your mind except for what you want, put yourself out there and perform; lightly but with intention. Pitching is like this. Shooting hoops is like this. Sculpting is like this. Reading the Bible is like this. There is no list to drawing a circle except the very rudimentary one I’ve provided here. These are all arts, and arts can’t be codified into systems.[1]

Alternatively, you could pretend to take yourself hostage from yourself and then quaver, “Isn’t anyone going to help this poor man?”

[1] Another of the many confusions surrounding Game. It seems like–and is sold as–a system, but it can’t actually be learned except by doing. Those things are called arts.

Are You Ready for Some Downton Abbey!

There arose, in the comments of my previous post, both a question about, and a defense of, Downton Abbey. So, why exactly have I banned Downton Abbey? Easy: For the same reason I banned pro football in my house.

Let me explain.

I have a friend who hates his job. It’s just above entry-level. It’s not exciting, challenging, or terribly rewarding. He works with (and for) a fist of women who are fat, gossipy slobs. To make it worse: His wife is a low-level executive at a major corporation. She is the bread-winner, and his income is rather superfluous. They use it to pay off their accumulated debt.

For years, every several months, my friend would ask me: “Hey, Cane, do you think you could get me on where you work?”

“Well, you’d have to have the skills I have. You need to get training.”

“Oh, ok.”

And then we’d go back to our beer and cigarettes and crack jokes, or maybe he’d start telling me a story which was ostensibly about the difficulties of raising children, but was actually about how his wife doesn’t contribute enough to that process. This is, of course, assuming he got permission to come hang out with me. [1]

This friend is certainly smart enough to do the work I do, and his logistical skills are better than mine. He could definitely do my job, but he won’t get the knowledge. This guy knows every name and statistic of every NFL starter, and has for the past 20 years, but he can’t be bothered to get a couple certifications that I could use to sell the rest of his experience. He spends hours every day watching sports broadcasts, watching sporting news[2], playing Madden, listening to sports radio in the car…

The common refrain is that he needs to man up, and it’s true. Yet, he’s already keenly aware of that. The mirror tells him this every day of his life. My saying it one more time won’t do anything but confirm him of the opinion that he’d better get used to the pain of being a lesser man. So, what could I do? One thing for sure: I knew the NFL wanted my friend in this state. They want his life devoted to professional football. They want his wife working to buy more crap to justify more Super Bowl commercials. They want him fantasizing and idolizing the life other men lead. So, I said, “To Hell with the NFL.”

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

To be clear: That’s my charity for my neighbor. Forgoing pro football is not an imperative for everyone who would be a Christian. It’s not the law. I’m not even recommending it.

Now that we’ve made a full circuit of my perspective you hopefully have a better idea of my perspective on the utility of entertainment, and how I judge what is good to consume. Taking this back to Downton Abbey, I wrote:

“[…] I put forward that the major dilemma of season one–Mary’s fornication and it’s, ah, resolution–was picked precisely because the one thing they [the producers of the show] knew all women can agree on is that banging a foreign prince and getting away with it is just too hot to ignore.”

To sum up the action under discussion: A Turkish noble visited the noble family in residence at the show’s title, and the eldest daughter (Mary) took him to her bed almost immediately after meeting him. That’s where he died. The women of the family conspire to hide it–not only from the public–, but the father and future suitors.

Of all the women on the show, Mary is the prettiest and the most broadly sympathetic for modern women. She’s mouthy, bored, and derisive of anything except what strikes her fancy. Because of the expense of television production, it is in the best interest of the producers to use their most enticing hook in the first season. They need to get viewers to commit to watch it every week so that the advertising companies will offer more money to run their ads around the show.

The hook is this: “Imagine being your beautiful entitled self, but in the past; back when clothes were more elegant; back when there were horses and castles; back when you could really earn a risky thrill by fornicating with the irresistible foreigner.”

The conspiracies of the women is a major theme of the show, and the first time we see fully see it is in the cover-up of Mary’s fornication. The argument has been made that what we need is more of this conspiratorial action by women; that a missing piece of today’s social puzzle is women pulling levers behind household thrones to machinate good works, and that Downton Abbey provides a pretty good template for how that works. It’s my opinion that to say such a thing is to admit to having fell for the ruse. Yes, women’s conspiracy and impudence can be put to very good use and is too often missing in the background of Christian affairs. Playing upon this truth is how they get the conservative-minded sort of folks who like a good period piece to accept it. This way they get the introverted and extroverted sluts hooked; all with Dad’s approval.

I don’t know about other households out there, but this is something to which the females of the Caldo family are remarkably susceptible. And it’s not a movie, but a series; something to which you have to make a commitment of many hours to watch and understand. Even if every episode after the first two seasons are gen-u-ine conservative hallmarks, I cannot forgive the deep cynicism used in those twelve episodes. More importantly: I’m not so stupid as to think it just flies right by my wife and daughters without whispering in their sinful and relatively undiscerning minds that they are missing out on some really good fucking and drama.

Before you start harrumphing that nearly every show worth watching has some form of perverted content in it, let me spare you: You’ve missed the point. What I ban is not based upon whether I agree with the actions of the characters, but whether I believe the show has a corrupting effect on the neighbors who live in my house. It very well could be the case that this doesn’t tempt your neighbors…but the fact that it’s a hit show–from Britain–speaks against that possibility…that and the fact that American women practice fornication almost universally.

[1] I adore his wife. She’s very sheep-y, and I believe would follow his lead if he took it. At least, that was true a few years ago. Now they’ve established patterns, and breaking patterns is painful even when it is helpful. Resetting mishealed bones is no work for sissies.

[2] Sports broadcasts and news are a double-whammy because cable/satellite is expensive. In the age of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant the only reason to have cable is for the sports. Very often one of the bills that send women to the office to act as other men’s wives is cable/satellite. It’s part of a larger cycle of pushing women to “produce” in the corporate fields so that they can be “better” consumers. Then, having developed a taste for consumption, feel compelled to “produce” to obtain and justify that consumption.

You Bowed Up When You Should Have Bowed Down

Where wives fall (run) into rebellion is not when they choose not to do something evil their husbands command, but when they do not submit to those husbands. It’s not “legitimate” rebellion for a wife to refuse to take birth control as her husband wants–It’s not rebellion at all! The rebellion is when she believes and acts as if from that moment she does not have to seek his approval; even and especially concerning the evil act under consideration.

Over and over again we see examples in Scripture where a servant cannot or will not obey a master; whether good or evil. The righteous servants always say something along the lines of, “I cannot comply with this. What can I do instead to appease my lord?” David says this to Saul; Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar; Lot to the men of Sodom; Esther to King Ahasuerus; Tamar to Amnon…

The absence of the bolded bit is the rebellion, and it is never legitimate.

 

This post repurposed from a comment I made on SunshineMary’s post: “When submit in everything means ‘but not this thing’ “

Innumerable Insanities

Donal Graeme asks a question:

As a man, I never gave serious thought to how women would rate themselves and each other. Part of me assumed that women could at least get a rough estimate. But after having read some comments and e-mails, and talking with some women I know, it seems that this isn’t the case at all. Apparently they are quite poor at rating their own attractiveness.

This shouldn’t have surprised me, really, but it did. And I don’t have a good excuse for it. How many posts and threads in the manosphere have discussed how women have completely unrealistic expectations these days? Hundreds at least. While the toxic hypergamy which infects the water supply in the West might be the cause of some of this, it can only work with what is already present. So it should have been obvious to me that women aren’t able, in most cases, to accurately place their own SMV value (which is what the 1-10 scale essentially represents).

[…]

Should a single woman looking to marry strive to find out her respective attractiveness on the 1-10 scale, in order to calibrate her relationship efforts towards men with whom she is roughly matched?

Now, this is an important and delicate subject, and Donal Graeme is undertaking a search for understanding. Like many undertakers, he’s working in the dark. So before we even attempt to suss out all the nuances, subtleties, and intricate interactions of this corpus we must illuminate what is to be studied. Let me get the light for you:

Women are crazy.

1) The singleness of a woman has nothing to do with whether she is concerned about her attractiveness. With very few exceptions: Every woman wants to know if she is attractive. Age and infirmity do have a mollifying effect, but even then the downward pressures of time and circumstance will only cause this desire to seek affirmation in lower regions (“I’m so glad you like it, honey. You love Grandma, don’t you?”)

Wherever you go, if the threads of conversation veer into the importance of the 1-10 scale, the women start throwing out their numbers, bolstering each other, etc. I’m speaking of Christian, married, and ostensibly sane women. (And perhaps they are; with passing moments of madness.) You can’t stop them from wanting to know; from trying to dictate; from competing with each other, and trying to make sure no one gets too far ahead of the fold. They’ll protest that they don’t mean to be competitive. As the saying goes: “Numbers don’t lie”, and self-referentially invoking the 1-10 scale is nothing but numbers. So what we see here is that, untrained, women are short sighted, vain, and envious; which looks a lot like cruelty.

One of the ways we know that women are short-sights, etc. is that the 1-10 ranking system is a guy thing. Generally speaking, women are more concerned with the brute question of, “Does he want me more than her?” It’s only after some man tells a woman of the 1-10 system (which is instinctive and naturally understood by men) that she becomes enthralled with knowing her place on it. My second point will show that this is insane.

2) The 1-10 scale is abstract; not concrete. It’s meant to illustrate; not define. Pursuit of “real knowledge” of a “real number rank” is a disorder revealed by the light of our first premise that Women are crazy. As I said: Men intuit that each man’s rank of the same woman will be different, and that it’s an expression of where that particular woman’s attractiveness ranks at this particular moment; respective of who we can recall immediately without too much effort.

3) Women are like fields of flowers: They are very pretty when bloomed, but go bad from the head down. This fading confuses and exasperates women as they daily greet each new day with less petals. Now, remember: Women are crazy. They have no idea how to value themselves, and in their insanity each wrinkle, grey hair, and saggy bit of face causes them a fit of re-evaluation; which seems reasonable on the face of it.

Except it’s not because they also tend to be short-sighted, vain, and envious. What usually ends up happening is that a score of scores in words are bled out in explanation of why they are still a 6 today even though they were a 6 yesterday, yet are objectively not as prettily-petaled today as yesterday.

Men are like farmers, and place a higher value on rich virgin soil, smooth slopes, easy irrigation, and a decided lack of plow-shattering stones. These all factor into an (abstract) appraisal of the rank of a given property. In addition, men grow an attachment to their own fields as they work them, and work with them. This attachment deepens into real appreciation as that work is rewarded with the joy of the harvest, and that joy recalibrates his sense of the 1-10 scale in the favor of his field; flowers or no.

Finally, what women consider attractive is irrelevant to those to whom the attraction actually matters. Men decide who is, and who is not, attractive.

My suggestion to women that want to obsess over numbers is to get into the kitchen and whip me up something delicious out of that dusty cookbook. It will tell you all the numbers you need to know. Those women who find this suggestion offensive are welcome to instead take off those sweatpants and sew a dress from pattern. Alternatively, you could make a grocery budget, or count out 3 sets of 10 lunges; knees all the way down to the floor, ladies. There’s no cheating in math.

Insert Tab A into Slot B, Right?

It’s a terrible idea for a woman to marry a man for whom she believes she is settling. Conversely, it’s usually a good idea for a man to marry a woman who is below his station in life. The relative classlessness of America (on both counts) makes opaque what would be fairly transparent in a more firmly stratified culture.

In our aspirant meritocracy, various factors will be weighted differently for the respective genders. For example: Physical beauty raises a woman’s station more than it would a man’s, but a man’s intelligence–particularly if he can parlay that into more funds, or witty quips–is a bait valued more by a woman than a female’s eloquent speech is to her quarry.

There are, of course, limits to these generalities. Good-looking strippers are rarely accepted into the polite company of upper society, and men with a surfeit of brains will prefer the smart-mouth broads who can trade barbs. (Guilty.)

Are you getting the picture? This stuff is subtly complex, and complicated by subtleties. When it comes to assortive mating we (individually) barely know our asses from our elbows, as it applies to differentiating what is good for us from what we want. For this task we want the wisdom of the counsel of many; particularly from those who have been been heated in the furnace of marriage, yet have endured to be purified. Parents are a good start. Grandparents are even better because they are too old and too short for the world to give a damn about your modern conventions of emotion. At the very least, they will confirm you to the path you choose, and can provoke an “us against the world” attitude that can be useful when the world actually is against you.

The Slow Heart of Manhood

I’ve been away, you see.

While I was gone, I thought a lot about nerds and cool kids, and attraction; about what it means to be “in” in someone else’s mind. A good deal of that time was spent reflecting on school days long past. One thing that I realized was that my place in that “in” space–popular–hasn’t changed very much; not at work or anywhere else. I’m still the kid who merits interest or respect, but isn’t popular. If I show up at a party people think that speaks well of the person throwing the party, but they don’t take a particular liking to me.

From first grade to high school graduation I attended eight different schools. Each of those were in different districts, if not cities and states. (I never matriculated from one school to the next, so those mundane changes in schools don’t factor into my whirlwind tour of public…ah…education.) That pressure of being the perpetual new kid molded me to prefer gaining acceptance by working rather than networking because it’s a helluva lot easier to demonstrate competence during one school year, than it is to ingratiate yourself with the cool kids–or even the nerdy kids. Besides, why bother when another move is imminent?

Clothes, attitudes, hang-outs, etc. are things you can choose (Game), and they can make you cool; which is to say “to exist within acceptable social boundaries”. Within those outer social boundaries is the popular–attractive–group. Only others can make you popular or respected. It’s a truth that cool kids are more often liked (than are nerds) but they are separate things and you get no say in the matter other than how you present yourself. They don’t even know who you are; only that you’re not them. We don’t get to choose to be liked (attractive) to others, but you can move yourself into within those boundaries by avoiding conspicuously anti-social behavior.I mean anti-social in the sense of not meeting the minimum requirements of polite behavior.

So, dress your behavior for success.

The demonstration (presentation) of good work won’t make you popular, but it is hard to beat when it comes to earning respect. You can dislike the new kid who starts offense and defense, but you can’t ignore him. The coaches favorite isn’t going to like it when he loses a rotation on the pitching mound to the new guy, but if we win, what is he going to say? When the history teacher says,

“Take your notes, Johnny.”

“That’s not fair, Mr. History. Cane never takes notes.”

“Cane gets 100 on every test. You don’t.”

That’s not going to win you a lot of friends, but it does tend to elevate your status regardless of their feelings. The cool kids who were accomplished tended to appreciate my talents, and therefore me. They already had all the affirmation they needed, so they weren’t concerned if I didn’t offer more. It’s the normal kids that struggled year after year, and game after class who tended to resent me. That’s still how I operate: “Regardless of others’ feelings.” Not because I think they’re unimportant, but because there is nothing I can do about them, and no time even if I did. “The end is near”, warns the Book. That goes for all things.

So, dress your work for success, now.

Plenty of people are less than thrilled about spending their careers with me, but they feel better that I’m there. They assume we’re going to “win” now–and with very few exceptions we usually do. Still… I have these conversations with average co-workers; like last week, just before boarding a plane.

“…I think he’s a nice guy.”

“Nice guy? What an awful thing to say.”

“No it’s not! It means-”

“I know what it means. It means you find him pleasing, or should find him pleasing; because he’s non-threatening.”

“Well…yeah.”

“That’s a horrible place to be stranded, socially. I hope no one says that about me.”

“I don’t think there’s any danger of that, Cane.”

His tone was less than salutatory, because he could suss out what I was saying: “I don’t care if you find me pleasing or not.” What a rude thing to say! Except it’s not. Only assholes go around thinking, “People should please me, and if they can’t they should try to make me think they are.” The stuffiness he detected was the feel of his own sphincter tightening on his neck. A lot of people are so constricted.

My father was the one constant person that I tried to please, and, still, when I need to do something that I don’t feel like doing I’m very likely to utter a proverb of his before I engage in whatever thing it is that I don’t want to do: fire someone (Mess with the bull, you get the horns.) get up early (If you hoot with the owls, then you scream with the eagles.), admit and fix a mistake (If you’re gonna be stupid, you gotta be tough.). My appreciation of work is his appreciation of work. Those two concepts are inseparable in my mind, and just like when I was a child they are all I try to please. Between childhood and some years ago, I tried to please my wife, and when that didn’t work I tried to please myself. That went as badly as trying to please her. When things became clear was when I said to us, “I don’t care what you or I want: This is where we’re going because this is where my father** told me we are supposed to go. If you want to follow me, get in line.”

When I look around the Manosphere, he and his kind are what I don’t notice. The absence of dads is palpable in the comments, and in the posts that generate the comments. Even if they are physically there, they’re undercut by the culture (their wives and the law), and they are unsupported (because there are few of their kind). Stalks in a field can resist the wind better than one can alone. We all suffer because our friends and neighbors dads are missing. No earthly father is perfect, and we learn from other fathers as well as our own…when we can find them, and when they still act like men.

My son, Gus, misses me more than his sisters do, when I’m gone. He’s five, and asks Mrs. Caldo about it like five-year olds do; not stupidly repetitious, but prodding to see if Mom’s story is consistent. Does she really know what’s going on, and is she telling the truth? He’s concerned because he really feels like I ought to be home a lot sooner than ten days, eight days, six days, five days, four days…

Because Mrs. Caldo misses me like he does, she told me a story about Gus and Liz. She said Gus was laying on the floor, using our old boxer Clives as a pillow, and petting him. Liz said, in that girly innocence that strikes boys as obvious and condescending, but is meant as an attempt to connect:

“Do you like Clives, Gus?”

“Yeah, he’s awesome. You know, like Dad’s awesome.”

It’s self-evident to him, and my dad’s greatness was self-evident to me, too. “I’m disappointed in you, son.” was a grievous thing for me to hear as a boy, and often started me sobbing. That separation from his goodness was worse than a whipping, which I would happily have taken if it would close the distance.

After the conversation with the co-worker, we boarded the plane and I tried to sleep. I could only manage about an hour of it. When I woke up, I put on my headphones, and listened to Mumford and Sons latest album. The third song, “I Will Wait” is a radio hit…which is quite a shock, to me. The first verse is the singer speaking to his wife:

And I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of darkness
Which we’ve known
Will blow away with this new sun

That’s refreshing in the pop music world, but common enough not to warrant scrutiny. But starting with the following chorus through to the end of the song, the singer is addressing the new sun.

But I’ll kneel down
Wait for now
I’ll kneel down
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow

Cause I will wait, I will wait for you

My hunch is that nearly everyone hears something else. They take this as a song about a man relying and waiting on his woman. Only the artist can say definitively, but I can’t hear it. He’s clearly relieved to see his wife, and to let her support him, but his desire is for the one who forgives; who tethers minds free from lies, and paints spirits gold.

So there I was: 30,000 feet in the air, hurtling through space and time zones. Everyone around me was corded up to their seats and watching the in-flight movie while I mouthed the words to a pop song and cried. There are precious few persons in our lives worth such emotional outbursts. If they are concerned whether we–individually–are cool or attractive: they’re not one of them. Wives should not be critical of their husbands’ attractiveness, but if they are, then they are. Do not spend on them. Remember: It’s what you do that matters. Nobody cares what you feel, or who you are because they can never really feel or know you anyway. Even you don’t know who you are; except that you are not another.

So, dress your heart for success, now. In other words: Slow your roll, playa.

*A difficult example of this is virginity. In our libertine times, virginity is anti-social. The best response is something like, “It’s complicated”, or, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

**Sadly he did not go there himself, but that’s his problem to work out.