“Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline.”
I had this incredible moment of content while I was kissing Sarah in the backseat of my car. “Heroin” was playing on the radio. She had asked me if her breasts were as big as I was expecting- that perhaps her nudes were deceptively angled, the old MySpace trick. She was so nervous I wouldn’t like her that she needed to hold her wine glass with both hands, to prevent spillage.
This worsened when I told her to cut the shit with the sterile, first date, getting to you know chit-chat- the last bold move I’d ever make. She had to put the glass down entirely.
Once in my car, she sat up straight, arched her back, and asked again- somewhere between seductive and genuinely worried. I told her that I’d need a closer look and took the straps of her dress off her shoulders.
And I had this moment, in the back seat, of true connection. I liked her- dark hair, large breasts, insecure. A kindred spirit left behind by the dating market, looking for something real. This felt different. This felt special.
The day after Christmas, 2016, was the last time any of this were possible.
When asked for writing advice, Delicious Tacos- who is certain to go down as one of the most important writers of the blogger-age- likes to keep things simple: get up early every morning and write. And there is something to that- the foundation of writing is interpreting the esoteric disorganization of the writer’s internal world through language and bringing those ideas to a place of external organization- quite literally, coming to terms with what is initially termless. This is why keeping a journal is often recommended as a form of therapy.
However, this only explains the process of writing- the easiest and most direct way to become a writer- rather than explaining what the job of a writer really is. This is something that warrants equal examination.
A good writer is tasked with splitting his veins open with a razor blade and covering his keyboard in hot blood- a prolonged and terrible ritual. You’ll know a piece is finished when your face is numb, eyes unfocused, and body trembling.
You’d think Delicious Tacos wouldn’t have left out the grizzly details- the horrible reality of being on the writing grind- considering I learned it from reading his work.
Oh, poor Tim the ostler! The humble stable buck hopelessly in love with his boss’s gorgeous, red lipped daughter. Like that was ever gonna happen, and she’s in love with the bad boy Highwayman anyway, a dapper thief with a taste for the high-life; the ostler never had a chance. So, what does our scorned, low-born, beta-male do? The only thing he can- Tim calls the police, another group of men more masculine than he, to properly dispose of the Highwayman.
Thus is the premise of Alfred Noyes’s narrative poem “The Highwayman” (1906). You may have guessed that our poor, law-abiding ostler isn’t quite the hero of the story- that role is more closely filled by the titular scoundrel, with the lesson being that we don’t judge the morality of actions as much as we judge the value of those committing them.
And Tim, as a poor stable-hand, doesn’t have much in the way of value- he’s disposable and invisible. In modern terminology, which is ironically also Old English terminology, Tim is a cuck– and if you want any chance at sexual success, you can’t be a cuck.
The summer between high school and college presents a beautiful, uniquely modern, netherworld- the intersection of hope and accomplishment. A short pause between childhood and everything else, like the blank space between comic book panels, where reflection meets expectation.
I had a conversation with friend at the time about our idea of what college would be like. We had both felt severely burned by our Catholic high school education- that the limitations of Catholic doctrine had somehow obscured Truth. The Truth, we had both agreed, was the ultimate end-game of any education; the absolute highest priority.
And not that we were necessarily wrong on either account, however this belief in “Truth as God” without the components of wisdom and social acuity will only lead to misery and self-destruction.
This is where, if this were a perfect story, future-me would appear in the back lot of Donny’s Adventure Kingdom- behind the pirate ship- and tell past-me how Truth must be tempered with rhetoric. People aren’t looking for Truth; people are looking for identity.
And the clove cigarettes have got to go too, for fuck’s sake.
“You give me a good whore house every time. A guy can go in an’ get drunk and get ever’thing outa his system all at once, an’ no messes”- George Milton, Of Mice and Men
Compared to male sexuality, female sexuality is surprisingly linear. While it’s true that men enjoy the typical signs of youthful fertility- large breasts, curvaceous hips, clear skin- a man’s attraction to a woman must be tempered by a sense of realistic accessibility. “The girl next door” archetype is sexy because she isn’t intimidating; she’s unaware of how sexy she truly is and this makes her accessible.
Female sexuality is more linear because women don’t feel indebted to accessibility as a component of attraction; for a woman, this would be like going to a movie and wondering, “do I deserve to be here watching this movie?” Since women don’t have this concern, a woman can feel entirely unencumbered with whom she’s most attracted to- which inevitably is the highest-quality male in any scenario.
However, defining highest quality male isn’t always what it seems.
Sexual strategy is like that scene at the end of Wargames where Joshua the computer tries to launch nuclear weapons and start World War 3; the computer cycles-through launch codes quickly while keeping the bits of code that are a positive match. Most people unconsciously allow their brain to do this work, matching behaviors with their positive outcomes, and bookmarking those behaviors while discarding the ineffective.
The conversation almost always goes like this when you tell someone that everything a person does stems from a foundation of sexual strategy: they listen patiently, provide the socially customary nods of understanding, and then say something like, “well, okay, but not everything…”
This certainly seems like it could be the case; it almost feels reductionist on some level to think that men and women are constantly being guided through their choices and actions by some invisible force emanating from their genitalia, silently screaming at them to just get it the fuck in like a pack of dogs in heat. That there must be a special designation, or a degree of intellectual sophistication , which separates the human animal from his more primitive underlings.
And this is certainly true; the human animal is civilized. We are conscious of a wider-span of potential emotions, and are gifted with the ability to fulfill more significant goals than simply eating and fucking. We can shape our consciousness with language, and vocabulary, and with language comes access to higher level thinking.
It’s a lot like when you were a kid in kindergarten, at the beginning of the school year, with all your little school supplies. You mom could have gotten you the boring eight pack of Crayolas, but you wanted the big box of sixty-four; you know, the kind that comes with the crayon sharpener. So instead of just “red” and “blue,” you had a whole variety of different shades of the same color to pick from, and lucky you, right?