Monday, September 29, 2014

Dating Stuff: Pick Up Is Kind of Feminist

Whenever I talk to women about their experiences with men, I am surprised at how the majority of guys are creepy, aggressive, sometimes borderline rapey, clingy, insecure, whiny, disrespectful, and just bad when it comes to trying to win the affections of women. On some nights when I observe other men approach women, what I see often confirms what I am told. I wasn't always so confident of my abilities to attract and talk to women, so I am doubly shocked when I realize I actually have better game than most guys. I'm not so bad after all.

My "game" has come from studying pick up skills, which for me started from a foundational desire of self-improvement. My success at wooing women improved dramatically once I started to be more direct, honest, confident, and treating the woman I'm talking to as another person. The last component is particularly tricky for a lot of men because it seems most people with penises have a problem truly perceiving women as human beings rather than "objects" of desire or a trophy of sexual conquest. Social indoctrination notwithstanding, I believe there's an inevitability to objectification when a duality of sexual attraction exists. It is hard not to let the "sex part" of a person cloud your perception of him/her. I'm guilty of it as well. Even though I try hard to see every individual as an individual first, my willingness to talk to a person fluctuates depending on whether or not it's a woman, and if it's a woman, on how attractive she is. It doesn't make logical sense considering I'm not always trying to bang the person I talk to.

Still, how well I impress her hinges a lot on how I treat her as a person. Because if I realize that she is a person, I will treat her with respect and see things from her perspective. Not being able to see things from a woman's perspective is a problem I feel a lot of guys have. They do things that make no sense and wonder why women aren't throwing themselves at them.

If guys can see things from a woman's perspective, they'll probably see that creepily staring at a girl from across the room won't make her panties wet. Neither will a random guy grabbing on to her in a dark club. Neither will a guy following her around after he's been rejected. Neither will a guy hitting on her in a roundabout way by "asking directions." Getting shouted at from across the street won't either. Guys will probably also see that trying to logically convince a girl who doesn't want to have sex won't work. Same goes for pouting and whining. On the other hand, being confident and direct, and respecting the woman's boundaries (and subsequently making her comfortable) is more likely to get you laid.

One thing I realized by getting into pick up was that it can teach guys to treat a woman as a person and try to see things from her perspective, because being empathetic to another person's point of view is much more conducive to getting that person to like you than not being empathetic. A company's not going to sell as many products by shoving it down people's throats as it would by appealing to consumers' sensibilities. The same applies to a person trying to win the affection of another. As self-serving and manufactured as it seems, learning how to get what you want by treating someone with respect is a better start than force-feeding feminism to men who have already made their minds about women.

Pick up (at least the approach I took with it) may not lead to closing of the gender wage gap, but I think it would help reduce the number of creeps and rapey, self-entitled behaviors of men in the dating and nightlife scene. It would at least it would relieve the scores frustrated young men who paint an entire gender as shallow bitches because they can't get laid.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Buzz cuts, shaved heads

Just a short little post I've decided to write because I haven't been writing recently.

During my school days in Korea, I was obliged to follow certain codes of conformity such as the dress code. My peers and I all had to wear school uniforms and maintain limitations on our hair styles. This meant students weren't allowed to grow their hair past a certain length or have any styles that were "out there." As you'd assume, the standards for girls and boys were different. We also weren't permitted to dye our hair as well. As is everything in Korea, the above rules were enforced based on the individual discrepancy of teachers and whenever the administration decided it needed a crack down.

This caused some confusion over some rare students who had naturally different hair. There was one boy in my middle school who actually had an almost blond hair color, naturally. This was a Korean kid who I'm guessing has some Caucasian ancestors. I remember seeing him several times explain to a teacher about to smack him that his hair color is natural. There was also a girl who had naturally curly hair and she would also have to explain that she did not get a perm.

Most kids would grow their hair out as long as they can without violating the rules, which is the same thing guys do in the military. I guess how guys have to keep their hair short for most of their lives explains why so many Korean adults don't like to keep their hair short. I personally think most Korean guys' hairstyles are fucking stupid while I like to keep mine short. I've had a military buzz cut for pretty much my entire life and I can't go a day without somebody asking me if I'm in the military. I've always had short hair and sometimes I'll be a borderline skinhead just so I can put off getting another haircut as long as possible.

I, with some other kids, did that once in school and it ironically caused a commotion among the faculty. In Korea, really really short hair is associated with either Buddhist monks or organized crime. The teachers gave us a lot of shit for supposedly trying to be little gangsters. We of course protested that we are following the rules but we were told we should have the sense to not cut our hair that short. Considering how much shit students are given over long hair, I never would have guessed having hair too short would be a problem. Now, I know this is a common theme in Korea: follow the rules or we will give you hell but follow the rules too much and we will give you hell anyway.

This sort of confusion and ill-communicated guidelines have been a normal thing in my Korean experience. During my first and only year of Korean highschool, I was once beaten for not signing a document I was told I don't have to sign. The teacher told us that just because we're told we don't have to sign it doesn't mean we really don't. For me, these experiences represent life in Korea as a whole. Trying to deal with the confusion and frustration and figuring out how I'm supposed to conduct myself in this society has been mostly a negative endeavor. It's part of the reason why I just don't care that much to be a part of Korean society and socialize with Koreans by doing all the "Korean" things. Instead, I hang out with the degenerate foreigners and the Korean weirdos on the periphery Korean society.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dating Stuff: More on Marriage

There's a lot of people saying a lot of different things on how to make a marriage or a long-lasting monogamous relationship work. And this is my ironic take on how to make a marriage work. Here's a secret nobody seems to tell you: a marriage will work if it isn't a marriage. That may sound paradoxical, so let me explain.

First off, what is marriage? Why did people get married in the first place? It was a method to ensure one's lineage. Unlike other species who are happy to spread their genes, we have to get attached to this thing called a name so we get married so our children and children's children will have the same last name even long after we're dead and doesn't matter anymore. But of course a long time ago, having that lineage meant you have a legitimate claim to a throne or some position of power. For most of human history, our societies have been ruled by spoiled dipshits who got the job by winning the genetic lottery, and this was all possible through marriage. Then the guys in power got to hog all the women by claiming sex before marriage is bad but went through a convenient loophole of being the fucking king. Everybody exercise sexual chastity, but I get to fuck all the concubines I want since I'm the motherfucking king! Every culture has had different ideas about marriage throughout history but to me the notion of sexual chastity and "no sex before marriage" seems to go hand in hand with men in power attempting to grab an unfair advantage in the mating game.

In some cases, marriage was a way to get stuff. Men would marry off (sell) their daughters for a dowry (the selling price). Women were basically property you can buy and sell. Calling it marriage sounds friendlier than saying you're selling your daughter. The individuals getting married also had no say in the matter as well. Marriage also is a way to secure property. So basically, the rosy perceptions of everlasting love that commonly accompanies modern notions of marriage are bullshit. Marriage is a functional tool to consolidate power or to get stuff. Love, and the belief that you won't be complete without another person are shitty modern justifications for keeping this antiquated practice around.

In our modern world, it's a legal contract that binds two people together so they can have babies and raise them together. It's also usually associated with sexual monopoly for the vast majority of people. It's a way to secure finances and have legitimate children who won't be socially ostracized. It's a way for people to not get lonely when they're 70 and their friends start to die off. It's a system we don't need but we keep it around because people can't shake off such a deeply ingrained cultural tradition. We lie to ourselves and say marriage is about love. There are people who are much more honest and outright say marriage is not about love. But they still don't question the concept of marriage because they still think the function of marriage is important.

Even from a functional standpoint, I don't see the value in marriage. From the get go, I don't believe human beings are supposed to have life-long monogamous relationships. I think it simply goes against human nature. I think the fact there were/are functioning poly-amorous societies is evidence of this. Monogamy isn't necessarily natural but most people in modern societies are hostile to the alternatives because it is what they've been indoctrinated with.

Most animal species don't have life partners and human beings are no different in our nature. Forget communication, consideration, compromise, interests, or whatever for a second. At the core of it all, the problems that surface in most marriages manifest because we aren't supposed to be in such arrangements in the first place. You eventually get bored of that person and whatever passionate sparks that flew in the beginning, fade away. After years of being together, maybe the fights people have aren't symptoms of incompatibility, but rather, of being human? How many couples are still genuinely happy together after years of marriage?

Then why do we need marriage? We don't. I mean, I guess you need the concept of marriage if you're a king who wants a monopoly in the dating pool. Or you need marriage if you're a lawyer who specializes in divorce suits. But we don't need marriage for society as a whole to function. Living in a society where people don't married seems weird to us because we have never lived in a society like that, but there are/were societies that don't adhere to our modern concept of marriage. By modern concept I mean, marriage = life-long sexually and emotionally monogamous relationship. Some societies don't have marriage. Some had marriage but did it in a completely different way. My point is that society will still function. We think society needs marriage because we believe children should grow up with a dad and mom but that's because it's what we are used to. But it was also considered normal for married Spartan women to have sex with strong young men and bear future warriors if their husband was weak and old. They dominated Greek land warfare for 500 years. Mongolian boys were raised by their mothers and they conquered most of Eurasia. You may argue that a society's military prowess isn't indicative of a healthy society and I would agree with you, and then I'd also point out that Korea desperately latches onto the traditional family model and has the highest suicide rate in the developed world.

If everybody stopped getting married, life will go on. Society will function. Things will change of course and some people who risk to lose money or power from the change will resist. I'm sure all those Korean wedding halls will lobby to the government to launch a pro-marriage ad campaign.

On a personal level, I don't think most people have that much to gain either. Forget the historical contexts or social structures for now. Even for personal benefit, I don't think  getting married has that much offer. Whenever I tell people I'm not going to get married, I always get questions and comments like, "Don't you want to have kids?" or "What if you get lonely when you're old?" Staving off loneliness and raising children and easing financial burdens are practical reasons for getting married, and they tend to make more sense than marrying out of love. But you also have to admit stringing another person along for the rest of your life because you can't deal with loneliness or want to have a bit more money is pretty superficial. As for kids, I don't want kids but even if I did, why do I need to become married to become a better parent? I question traditional family formats because different people at different times did different things and nobody can agree on what's good parenting and what's not. I was raised in a traditional home with a mom and dad, and it was pretty fucking miserable (Korean parenting is another topic for the future).

Most people feel a need to get married and don't question it because it's what's been drilled in people's heads since childhood. Everybody gets married and has gotten married for a really long time so if you don't get married, you're seen as a weirdo. People want to get married but never question why. Since saying that marrying for money or companionship in itself sounds superficial, they lie to themselves and say it's for love.

If you want to get married because you're afraid of being alone, you have to admit to yourself that's what it is instead of coloring it with these noble notions of true love. If you're going to look for a life-long mate, doing it out of love seems much more conducive to a happy relationship (although it will generally still lead to unhappiness) than doing it for any other reason. A lot of people, especially Koreans, seem to obsess over the idea of marriage in itself so love, compatibility and chemistry take a back seat. Thus unhappy, miserable marriages.

If love, however, was the real reason for getting married, why get married in the first place? Why does anyone need to report it to the government? Why does anyone need a wedding to show and validate their love to a bunch of other people? Why not just love?

Make personal vows to eachother because eachother is the only thing that matters in this frame of logic. But that vow, a life-long promise and the expectation that something like that will last, is what I see as the fundamental flaw of marriage. Marriage is a misguided belief that a person's life and essential can be controlled. People change, they adopt different beliefs and habits, their likes change, they meet new people, and they fall in and out of love. How can anyone promise that their feelings for somebody won't change at all in the next several decades that they will be alive? There is no way you can guarantee that and it is unrealistic to expect it. But people do, and they're unhappy because their expectations aren't met. Life is not certain and you will never be happy thinking that it will be.

The only certainty is uncertainty and this skepticism about certainty is the reason I don't believe marriage. Marriage by nature assumes certainty which is completely unrealistic and ends up being detrimental to the relationship. Marriage and this assumption of certainty is born out of a want of security, safety and certainty. It's the reason marriage is always associated with people pulling out a mortgage on a house and a car, and they go to the same job and go home to the same house for the next few decades. They have kids and their life revolves around them. They do the same things as every other married couple and they do them over and over again. They stagnate and don't develop or grow as people. They become boring and codependent. This hurts the marriage.

This was my point: a conventional marriage is bad for the health of a life-long relationship.

The conventional notion of marriage stems from the conventional notion of love, which assumes a person is only complete with a soul-mate. You'll only be truly happy if you find somebody they say. It's an unhealthy and somewhat sinister notion, although it's understandable why people think this way. I know it's cliche, but you should always love yourself first and foremost. But most people think their happiness and worth depends on someone else. It doesn't. That's why people become possessive about their partners. It's not true love if it's born out of insecurity and obsession. Finding somebody you love (which isn't true love if you don't love yourself) won't make you happy in a deeper sense just as how winning the lottery won't either. Most people don't get that and it is this expectation that makes people put pressure on their partner and become distressed about how their partner is or what he/she does. Demanding someone else to be a certain way strains the relationship.

I have ironically said before that I will settle with a girl who won't settle. This means I will fall for somebody who won't want to stagnate and stay the same. This means she will want to freely explore life with or without me. This means she is her own person and won't depend on me for happiness. My friends have said that my stance on marriage will one day waver when I meet someone who knocks my socks off. I may meet someone who astounds me, but I still don't know why I have to get married to her. If I love a somebody, why do I have to bind her in a legal contract or even a verbal agreement? Why can't I just love her and let that love be instead of making it into an expectation?

My theory on having a successful marriage is this: don't worry about having one. Learn to love yourself first and foremost, then you'll be able to better give love to others. Live your life for yourself. If you do, you'll inevitably end up attracting someone who's also awesome and loving (and if you don't you won't care because you're busy being awesome), and if she/he is awesome enough, you'll end up enjoying eachother's company for awhile. That person's path in life will cross yours. Don't get married or make any vows or promises or expect things to stay the same. Always be open to change and acknowledge your respective paths can diverge. If you truly love someone, you can let that person go. In the meantime, enjoy your partner's company now. Cherish the moment and love him or her now. If moment by moment, you want to be with that person, then be with that person in that moment. After enough of such moments, you may find yourself being parted by death. Then that's pretty much a marriage.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dating Stuff: My Journey into "Pickup"

As highlighted in my New Year's resolution post, one of my goals this year was to get out of my social comfort zone more often in order to achieve a certain level of social confidence. In particular, I wanted to become better at interacting with women within a romantic/sexual context. When it came to the opposite sex, I wanted to get better at getting what I want. In fact, among all my goals this year, this has been one of my main focuses. I've failed miserably at cutting out carbonated drinks or maintaining a certain weight, but I have been getting much better at talking to woman and becoming a confident person.

These are the opening pages of a new chapter in my life and I wanted to explore the significance of this new chapter. To put it simply, I've been getting into what some people call "pick up" and I've been learning how to get better at picking up girls. Here I want to highlight the lessons I've learned, the thoughts I've had, and changes I've gone through.

What is Pick up?
First, I should clarify what I mean by "pick up." I don't personally like using the term "pickup" when describing the field of picking up girls because it seems to conjure up images of creepy douches who objectify women as sex objects and try to manipulate them into having sex. Like with everything else, I've learned that pickup has different branches and approaches. Not every Muslim is militant and fanatic, not every boxing trainer believes in using one particular style, and not every pickup artist is trying to "trick" girls into his bed.

In the simplest and broadest description, I see pick up as being about basically two things: Having confidence and social skills. That's really it. Now you can go into a more detailed exploration of what "confidence" and " good social skills" really entail, but that's about it. And there are guys who research more specific tactics and psychology and "tricks" but I don't think any of that matters if you don't have a foundation of self-confidence and social skills in the first place.

So, what is pick up? To put it simply, pick up is the practice of talking to random strangers in a romantic context. That's all it can be but most people tend to understand pick up as straight men trying to hit on women. I am of the belief that the principles of pick up can be applied to women picking up men, gay men picking up men, or even human interaction in a completely non-sexual context. I would extend pick up principles to business to consumer interactions and even the betterment of an individuals relationship with his or herself.

For the purposes of this post, I will define it specifically as "approaching another person for a romantic/sexual purpose."

Some people may think it strange for someone to actively dive into a "study" of picking up women. This is especially so in Korea where approaching strangers isn't common and most romantic courtship is set up by a third party. I think many are passive when it comes to finding a partner. They wait around and frustratingly wonder why it's hard to meet a good girl (or guy).

Having the ability to approach strangers is a way to be autonomous and active in seeking what you want. Instead of wondering where to meet women or depending on others to hook you up with a date, go out and do it yourself. I don't get it when people ask me where I meet women. The answer is obviously, the street, the subway, the bus, cafes, parks, anywhere and everywhere. If you see a girl who's attractive and/or interesting looking, say "hi." Don't wait around and hope somehow "the one" is going to miraculously fall on your lap. Go out there and meet people.

Before I entered this chapter in my life, I've had frustrating experiences with meeting women. I did not meet many. I was plagued with simple problematic facts:
1. I'm a straight guy.
2. I like women.
3. I want to have sex with women.

The solution was surprisingly simple: meet women. It is a simple problem with a simple solution.

I'm Not Really into Pick Up
This may sound contradictory to the entry as a whole, but I kind of have a hard time saying I'm really into pick up. When I think of guys who are really into it, they freaking study it and practice it. Some guys will frequently go out just to practice talking to women, try out different techniques and approaches, and analyze their outings afterwards. They approach it as a specific craft or skill.

While I have and sometimes do approach women just for the sake of practice and getting into a habit of being sociable, and I have thought back on those experiences to assess what I should and shouldn't do next time, I don't do it with enough regularity to say I'm really into it. It would be more accurate to say I dabble in it. Also, my general approach to pick up is broader and I consider it only one facet of my personal development. My end goal isn't simply getting better at talking to women, and I will expand on this later.

Another problem I have is that saying that you're into pick up may make it seem like you're some kind of casanova who can get any girl he wants. But I'm not. If I'm a pickup artist, I would have to add I'm not a very good one. But I don't really care if I'm not getting laid every other day. It would be nice but it isn't my goal.

Confidence, Social Skills, and Direct Honesty
Those three things are closer to what I hope to achieve with pick up, they are I believe the main factors of being "successful," whatever that may mean to an individual. Approaching an attractive woman requires guts and confidence. Chatting up a random person for whatever reason can be nerve-racking but doing it with a romantic purpose makes it even worse. While it has gotten better, I still get nervous approaching a cute girl I don't know and telling her that she's cute.

My legs and hands sometimes shake, and my heart palpitations can go out of control. But conquering fear is how you mature as a person and go after what you want. Most people won't approach a stranger they want to meet because of this fear. After I started to face this social fear, I've become more confident and after meeting so many people, my social skills have improved as well. If I am comfortable with the nerve-racking experience of hitting on an attractive woman, I find it easier talking to new people in other contexts.

Another thing that becomes practiced with pickup is honesty. Some approaches to pickup may be different but I am of the belief being direct and honest is the best. If you are approaching a girl because you are interested in her, tell her why you are talking to her. You don't have to sneak your way in and risk being friendzoned. You waste less time and it hurts less if you're rejected.

Box of Chocolates
As Forrest Gump wisely put, you never know what you're going to get. Life is full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises. Sometimes positive and negative. If you want to live your life, you need to open the box and see what kind of chocolate you will get. I want to grab life by the horns, live on the edge, and live to the fullest and act on other cliche sayings about living life.

I want to explore, experience things, and take on new challenges, but little things in life such as meeting new interesting people or taking a different path in your neighborhood can be as rewarding and exciting as sky-diving or jumping off a cliff. You never know what you're going to get or who you are going to meet.

The next person you approach might be the love of your life, a fun fuck-buddy, or an amazing friend. Maybe all three. You don't know. Why not take a chance. Say "hi" and see what happens.

Knowing What You Want
For me, my attitudes on sex and love transformed with the accumulation of experience in meeting, having feelings for, and fucking different people. I think many people, especially men, hold unhealthy attitudes towards sex and relationships. It's often possessive and obsessive. People get frustrated from the lack of sex while simultaneously judging others for partaking in it. Men think women are "their's" to own and get defensive and aggressive when that supposed ownership becomes challenged.

I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of women and sex in most people's lives. Sex is traditionally taught as a "bad" thing or a really "special" thing. When sex is finally obtained, it is seen as an achievement or a conquest.

But meeting a lot of different women and having more access to sex has changed my views. Looks don't impress me as much as the contents of a woman's character, and my standards for assessing character has skyrocketed. Since I feel I can easily meet women, I don't feel possessive about a girl I like. I don't need her so her judgement of me doesn't change how I feel about myself. If a girl doesn't like me, I can move on to the next one instead of creepily following her around.

But because I've met different women with different personalities and likes, I've realized sometimes a girl doesn't like me because we don't click. If I get rejected (and I get rejected a lot) it's not because she's a slut or a stuck-up bitch; we just didn't vibe. I can move on without any emotional hangups or feeling bad about myself. I've realized I could apply this to every other relationship in life. If a friend isn't a positive influence on me, I can cut him or her out of my life without judgement or sadness. It can simply mean we just don't click.

I'm not saying getting a guy into pick up will automatically lead to a healthy attitude on sex or women though. Maybe my habit of self-reflection and analysis lead me to this change. However, I also feel it depends on which approach of pickup one chooses to follow.

My Pick Up Approach
I think most people have unhealthy attitudes about things because they have an unhealthy attitude about themselves. And my personal approach to pick up is about developing a healthier attitude about oneself.

All the tricks, theories, skills, and confidence ultimately starts from yourself. All those things should be built on a foundation of being a more mature person. Why would a girl find you interesting, if you aren't an interesting person? Why would she notice you if you're in the corner sulking by yourself? How is she supposed to see you as a man if you're a little pussy? How are you supposed to think of things to say to her if you don't have any passions or beliefs? Why would she like you if you don't like yourself?

Some pickup artists focus on the external first. They study tricks and tactics before examining inward. While this may result in some success in getting laid, unless you can mature fundamentally, it will just be a bunch of lies you tell girls to fuck you. Getting laid in itself becomes the goal and it won't necessarily lead to a fuller and happier life.

The above video is from a youtube channel called Simple Pickup. Watching their videos and listening to their thoughts greatly impacted and inspired me. They're also hilarious. While I don't agree with everything they say or do, these guys "get it." They are much more aligned with my attitudes toward women and life. Like the above video, they talk a lot about growing as a person first. Personally, I am even more heavily leaning towards the personal development aspect of pickup than the actual picking up girls part.

The Simple Pickup guys have a much healthier and mature approach than other pickup artists like say, described in The Game, which is about douchey frat boys trying to compensate for their sexual frustrations.

The douche-bag bible.

Getting Laid Isn't the End-Goal
In fact, my approach to picking up women isn't just about picking up women. Most of the things I highlighted can be applied to other areas of life. Being confident, having passions, experiencing new things, conquering fear, not being attached and being honest are things that can simply make you a happier person. At least it has for me. It's also about building the confidence for other areas in life. If I'm hesitant to introduce myself to a girl or go for a kiss, how will I find the courage to go for my dreams, or fight for my convictions? Will I hesitate to jump in the water if I see a child drowning? I hope not.

This is about knowing what you want and saying "fuck you" to your fears and going for it.

My dabbling of pickup has been just one part of my overall development that has lead me to another chapter in my life, which I plan to write about someday. I'm about being true to myself, loving myself, finding inner peace and doing things I'm passionate about. And that will inadvertently make you a more attractive person.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Black-face and Imperial Japanese Flags and Korean Rudeness

Two recent stories popped out at me while I was reading through some random news on the internet. The unsurprising incident of a Gag Concert bit using black-face (again) to get some cheap laughs and the One Piece exhibit being canceled because the cartoon had a panel that showed a flag that looks like the flag Imperial Japan used.

I think these two incidents reflect the collective hypocrisy and lack of introspection of Korea. I've discussed the inwardly directed honesty Korea as a whole seems to severely lack in a previous post, and I just wanted to talk about it again but in a slightly different light. I want to attack the collective. I just find it ironic that a society that can nonchalantly insult another group of people would be so offended by a negatively perceived symbol. 

I have seen some people mistakenly think of Korea as some sort of haven of free speech that hasn't been yet poisoned by western PC-ness since  politically incorrect things could be said so freely. Anyone who knows anything about the ROK government would know how much Korea loves free speech. Hint, not much. Private citizens are not also keen on things that offend them like Imperial Japan, saying Takeshima is Japanese, calling it Takeshima, foreigners dating Koreans, and black people in general. 

You might mistakenly believe Korea is a place that values free expression when you can see swastikas and pictures of Hitler and nobody batting an eye. Yet, try walking down the street with an Imperial Japanese uniform while waving the Rising Sun flag. I'm sure people won't be so nonchalant about free expression then. Insulting black people and glorifying Nazi Germany isn't an issue here because people don't give a shit about black people and the European theater of WWII. But they throw a tantrum over anything Japan related because it affects them, or at least, they think it affects them. Free expression in Korea is only preserved when it's about people they don't give a shit about. Things start being politically incorrect when it's about them. 

You know, I don't even really give a shit about black-face or racism or people being offended by some reference to a thing that reminds them of bad times. The worst thing I feel about using black-face in humor is that it simply isn't funny. It's over-used and the joke is so obvious that its apparent the comedian thinks the audience is full of morons. I feel the same way about fried chicken jokes about black people and making fun of asians for having slanted eyes. I love a good race joke but fried chicken jokes stopped being funny the millionth time I've heard it. I fucking get it, black people like fried chicken. Black face is even worse because it's pointing out a fact that's already staring you in the face. Black people are black! And somehow that's supposed to be funny. 

What I find amusing is the hypocrisy and the inconsistency of this kind of stuff. Choose a damn side and make up your mind. If your society values free-speech so much that racist jokes are brushed aside, then apply that to everything. You can't be offended when you are so willing to offend others. 

That's the irony I always feel when Koreans ask me about racism in the United States. Almost every person who's worried about being discriminated against by white people for being Asian or Korean will make sweeping generalizations of black people and talk about how they're scary in the same conversation. Most people don't see the irony. 

I've been thinking, this irony and lack of introspection in this country is its biggest social problem. I would say introspection (self-reflection and honesty to oneself) is pretty much the most important virtue a modern person could possess. The same applies to a collective, but the collective can't be honest if the individuals aren't. 

Koreans aren't introspective because most of them live in their own tiny bubble. I've had a friend who said they're too in their heads. Dr. Glover would say they live in the "unconscious." Whatever you call it, it seems many Koreans go about their lives monotonously, without really realizing what's going on around them. I mean that both literally and figuratively. On a literal sense, Koreans literally are not aware of their surroundings. While most people might perceive this as rudeness, I really don't think it's deliberate. Most people who shove into you or block your path probably don't even realize they are doing it. It's not like most people wake up in the morning with a plan to be an asshole that day.

People here are rude because they are not conscious. I'm not sure it's even rudeness because I think of rudeness as self-serving and selfish. While Koreans don't lack in selfishness, a lot of behaviors I observe here also go against the logic of self-interest. Illogical and common-sense lacking behavior is certainly in abundance here. For example at my school, students will charge their phones and leave them out in the open on the hall way floors. Even if you aren't concerned about theft, you would think putting your phone on the middle of the hallway floor would put it at risk of being stepped on by an equally oblivious passerby. It's not just objects either. I've seen numerous instances of women leaving their strollers with the baby inside out in the middle of a sidewalk while they shop at a store. Wouldn't you be at least a bit worried about potential kidnappers or at the very least, the baby being exposed the hot sun, cold weather, or rain (yes, I've seen a baby out in the rain by itself while the mom was shopping)? 

Such behavior cannot be logical, let alone consciously made. It makes no sense for people to take a piss and leave their bikes perpendicular to a bike path so it would block all the other bikes. It also makes no sense for pedestrians to walk on the bike path when there's a paved path made just for pedestrians, just right fucking there! I can't count the number of times I had to swerve my bike to avoid hitting someone walking on the bike path while there's an empty walkway right next to it. I really think these people are not aware of where they are or what they are doing. They are just living things that do stuff, but none of them are really alive. 

It's the only way I can explain why Koreans have no problem shoving others out of the way, but they don't like it when it happens to them. It's why they can spew racist garbage but be overly concerned about other groups of people being racist against them. It's why they spit on poor countries and are desperate to be seen as advanced by others while being guilty of the same backwards shit they think they've distanced themselves from. Its why die-hard patriots will stay up all night to support their national soccer team yet will litter all over their beloved country without a second thought. 

I'm okay with racists. I'm okay with rude assholes. But if you are a rude, racist asshole, you have to acknowledge and accept the fact you are a rude, racist asshole and that there are other rude racist assholes who will be rude and racist towards you.

I don't care about selfishness either. After-all, human beings are all inherently selfish. We just have to admit to it and own up to it. Truly selfish people are usually not even aware that they are selfish. Most racists will probably tell you they aren't racist. 

I'm not really in the business of telling people how to live their lives. People will do what they do. I can't really change the collective. But I think this prevalent lack of introspection and honesty is something that should be addressed. I believe it will be a step toward solving problems but if not, it's at least conducive to a happier individual life. 

In order to make this post consistent with the series of recent entries I've made, I'll say that the immediate relevance all of this has is with the company I choose. Especially with women. One of my main criteria for friends and romantic partners is introspection. I tend to respect people who can honestly peer inside themselves and I tend to not respect people as much if they lack this ability. I mean, if you can't reflect on yourself, are you even a person? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dating Stuff: Cat Calling, Pick Up & Street Harassment

I originally titled this entry "Pick up is kind of feminist" but I changed it because I saw a blog post linked by the Grand Narrative's facebook page and I wanted to address it. “Hey, Beautiful! Is What I’m Doing Really Cat Calling?” posted on feminspire brushes on my main topic of pick-up and also what I don't like about some variants of feminism.

To sum it up, a guy named Jozen posted on his blog Until I Get Married about how he picked up a girl on the street and wondered if his approach was bordering on harassment. The writer Kristen Maye at feminspire thought it was clearly harassment. As you might guess, I disagree. Based solely on what Jozen wrote, he yelled at this girl in public to get her attention, got her attention and met up with her subsequently. That's it. It's not the approach I would have used because I think yelling at someone you don't know is rude, but it wasn't harassment.

I guess it depends on how one defines harassment. The actual definition of the word stresses that it is continuous and repeated. Personally, I always thought of harassment as someone trying to interact with me despite my clear expression that I do not want to. So if I'm walking down the street and some dude compliments my shirt and I say thank you and walk off, and dude follows me and keeps making compliments to the point I get annoyed with him and tell him to go away, yet he keeps following me, that's harassment. It doesn't really matter why or how he did it or what he said, the fact that it's repeated despite my clear desire to end the interaction means it is harassment. The writer herself wrote, "if you feel compelled to pursue a woman on the street, the pursuit should end as soon as it’s made clear that the pursued isn’t interested in order to mitigate their feeling of being harassed.

In the case of Jozen, the girl in question responded to his yelling and reciprocated positively. End of story. If the girl told him to fuck off but the guy kept following her and trying to talk to her, I would say that's harassment. Maye makes a big deal about how yelling at the girl was a show of male dominance and privilege, and this is where I feel a dissonance between myself and other feminists. I feel Maye, and other feminists like her, read too much into things. This is the reason why I am not sure I can fully define myself as a feminist.

Maye also goes into cat calling in her article even though what Jozen did was nowhere near cat calling. According to Maye, "Street harassment is about power, control, ownership of public space and visible displays of masculine domination." There's a point where I think you can read into all these social implications, or simply conclude if a dude's being a dick, he's being a dick and move on. I can walk into a jungle and a wild chimpanzee can pump his chest out and eyeball me trying to assert dominance. I don't feel emasculated or feel like I'm being oppressed because at the end of the day, as a human I have the ability to grab a shotgun and blast the chimpanzee's face off. So much for that dominant posturing. Extreme example I know, but what I am trying to say is that cat-calling and so-called other displays of masculine dominance doesn't really affect me or you ultimately in real ways. To give you a more relevant example, I often observe guys in bars acting in the same ways a primate would. They would pump out their chests, eyeball other guys, and try to act as "alpha" as they can. Why they aren't trying to just have a good time is beyond me. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what they hope to achieve by being the toughest guy in a fucking bar. But I let them. If a guy wants to take up a few cubic inches of space more than I and feel macho, I let him. If he wants to think he can kick my ass, I let him. I let these assholes have these little victories because in the end, what do I really lose from it? I don't lose money, I am not physically hurt, and my worth as a person isn't lessened by some random drunk idiot's opinion of me. 

This is all of course from a man's perspective (and a fighter's perspective, and we are a different breed of people) and maybe I would feel differently if I were a woman and I was constantly hounded by men by cat calls. While probably not as bad as what a woman would feel, I've experienced similar situations where people said derogatory shit at me because I am asian. I would walk around cities in the states and there were some people (usually homeless) would yell at the back of my head, "Ching chong! Konichiwa!" There was a time when I might have been enraged and offended by this but nowadays I am not offended or go into social analysis of non-asian privilege. I just think, "weirdos" and went on my day. I don't expound on social implications of ageism and how older people are exploiting their privilege and dominance when a ajushi is rudely stops me for directions (more on this later). I could lament over the woes of being young in Korea or being asian, but I just go, "fuck those assholes" and move on with my life.

On cat calling, I don't like it, but probably not for the same reasons as Maye; I think it's retarded. From the perpetrator's perspective, it accomplishes absolutely nothing other than a temporary feeling that you're "alpha" just like the guys at bars who act tough. It's no more than an attempt to feel like a man with the least amount of effort. It's the same as the commonly observed tough guy who talks smack to his opponent while he's walking away and at a distance. The safer you feel, the tougher you feel. If you're tough, you'd show it in a fight. If you're good with women, you'd actually do something instead of saying shit from a safe distance. I realize this is human nature to an extent but it still doesn't stop me from thinking guys who do this are cowards who lack introspection. And in my opinion, this is what a woman who's the target of cat calling should feel. Guys who cat call want that ass but are too fucking scared to do anything about it but they feel the need to at least say something in order to build up their little fragile egos.

I do not however, want to dogmatically state that a women who's being hit on, yelled out, cat called, harassed or whatever should feel this way or that. What one feels is what one feels. I sure as hell don't feel good about it when somebody is rude to me. I just don't feel the need to eliminate that behavior by incorporating it into a social movement. I prefer that nobody is rude to me or says racist or sexist things but shit happens. The expectation of Maye that men should be constantly aware how she or other women feel in public is another thing that bothers me. I don't go out of my way to offend people but I am sure when I attempt to chat up a girl in hopes of dating her or having sex with her, there will be some women who will be offended for whatever reason, and that's not something I can always control, if at all. The writer apparently doesn't like being implicitly sexualized. Well, to that I say tough luck because she's bordering on thought-policing. You can't control how people think of you (nor should you) and you can't do anything in this world without offending somebody. Whatever I do or say, I am sure somebody on this planet will be offended. Feminists will be offended by this post. Chauvinists will be offended by this post. Cowardly creeps who are too afraid to actually go talk to women will be offended I just called them a bunch of cowards. Nationalists will be offended by my blog. Racists will be offended by my blog. Christians will be offended by my blog. White supremacists will be offended that I'm not white. I bet there are some people who will be offended I don't like soccer (btw, fuck soccer). The point is, I can't please everybody, nor should I want to.

As long as you aren't actually hurting somebody and breaking the law, I can't care that much. The issues put forth on the article aren't as real and consequential as not being able to vote or work because of your gender or race. The article implies that my having a penis threatens her in public that I need to be wary how I behave because of this. That's nonsense for the reasons I've stated above. Maye says, when guys do things like what Jozen did, it can "condition women like myself into silence, hyper-vigilance and paranoid distrust of any man saying anything on the street." She ends up generalizing men as a whole because of what she perceives as negative experiences with some men. Isn't that sexism? That's on her. It's more of reflection of what kind of person you are if that's how you react to such experiences. Imagine if a white guy said that same thing about black people due to some of the negative interactions he's had with black people. He'd get harped on for being a racist. 

The writer also criticizes spontaneity and doing what one wants to do, which I see as a core element of picking up women and in general happier living. She says, "We unlearn the impulse to immediately go after anything we want as children because we come to understand that it’s not always best to do so, and that we aren’t entitled to everything we want." I have to chalk this up as a fundamental difference between how her and I see live life. Child-like wonder and spontaneity (or impulse as Maye calls it) is something I actually strive to adopt. And going for something you want doesn't mean you feel entitled to it. In my view, it shows courage and daring. A person who goes for what he/she wants despite the seeming futility of it is admirable to me. 

I have spent a lot of time pick apart this article but it's not all negative. For example she says, "Obviously there are ways to approach people that you don’t know on the street, but those ways should brim with respect for that person’s time and that person’s right to rebuff you. Fronting the risk of approaching someone on the street means being OK with the possibility that the person will ignore you, reject you or curse you out in a place a public as the street." 

I agree.

"I think it would help men like this blogger to understand that in public space, where people have the equal right to reasonably expect autonomy, sometimes you just have to recognize the inevitability of missed opportunities." 

Also agreed. 

Then she says this: "That means that substantive connections are unlikely to be facilitated in the street." Disagree! One of the best interactions I've had with a woman I randomly chatted up on the street. From my experience, the street is one of the best places to connect with a stranger because there it isn't as expected for someone to talk to you as it in a bar. In a bar, there's an expectation that a guy talking to a woman is looking for a one night stand, and that adds a pretense to the interaction. On the street, it leads to a purer interpersonal connection.

"It doesn't ask women if they are even interested in entertaining a romantic exchange at say, 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the way to a dentist appointment. It doesn't give the pursued the option to consent to that pursuit." Also disagree. An adult woman possesses the autonomy to speak for herself if she doesn't want a guy hitting on her on her way to the dentist. If a woman is that busy, she will express it. A guy shouldn't have to tiptoe around his intentions because he is an adult speaking to another adult. 

I spent a lot more space discussing this article alone than I intended so I will split this entry into two parts. As I read Maye's article, I found myself disagreeing with more than I expected and actually kind of got offended by it from a feminist perspective. I find the implication that women are fragile beings who need to be tiptoed around and men should be careful of not offending them or making them feel threatened, to be insulting. Not to mention sexist, to both parties. I don't think that was the most shining example of feminist literature. 

Ultimately, I find the dogmatic tone of the article to be disagreeable. Things aren't that black and white as the writer suggests, especially when it comes to human interactions. I don't think one can clearly say a certain behavior is or isn't harassment in all situations. It all depends on how and who's involved. But, I do agree with Maye that if it's made clear the pursuer isn't interested, attempting to further the interaction is harassment. So if you try to talk to a girl and she is showing obvious signs that she isn't interested, cut your losses and move on. But let feminists like Maybe not deter you from at least saying "hello."

Next post, I will conclude with what I really wanted to say about picking up girls and how I think that the study of pick up might actually be conducive to feminism.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dating Stuff: Finding My "Celine" and Lessons I've Learned from the First Time I Fell in Love

Well that was a long title, and this might be a long entry.

Last year, a friend of mine introduced me to the Before film series with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I usually don't like romantic movies but I recommend people to see at least Before Sunrise. The story revolves around hopeful young love and deep cerebral connections. It fills one with hope and a longing for more. I'm pretty sure I don't really need to explain any more since it's pretty famous.

Ever since I saw that movie I've been longing to establish the type of connection with a girl the two characters share. It kind of shrouded my expectations of dating and gave me a standard that would not be easy to satisfy. The usual back and forth of "What do you do?" and "How long have you been here?" bored me. I wanted something deeper and more instantaneous. I wanted to meet a girl and just ask her, "What is your deal in life?"

I told my friend that I need to look for my "Celine." Celine is the character played by Delpy and the name has become sort of an inside joke for girls we can truly connect with. At the time I though it was unrealistic. The funny thing is, that sort of connection that I was looking for came true. I wasn't expecting it so it hit me pretty hard when this girl whose number I got at the subway station turned out to be the most amazing person I've ever met. Somehow, almost all our conversations naturally turned to deep philosophical discussions and we realized so many of our beliefs were the same or at least similar. I never knew I could click with a person at this deep of a level so fast and be on the same plane of thinking. I didn't know a girl like her existed. I didn't know a person like this existed. I found myself falling for her hard and fast. During a month long affair, I was ecstatic as I got to know her and deeply saddened when she left.

It wasn't all sadness though. I was bummed out that this girl left, but I was also extremely glad to have met her and filled with hope at the knowledge people like her existed. After reflecting on the short-lived experience, I realized I took some lessons away from the first time I fell in love.

Really, the first time I fell in Love?
Yes, I really think this was the first time I fell in "Love." Now I think this is a complicated statement because it depends on how one defines love. What is love and what are the implications of it? In my mind, love is simply a word to describe how you feel for someone or something. There's no real definition of it, but I usually decide I "love" something/someone when it's the word my mind consistently jumps to. But how was this different from any of other times I've fallen in love?

The old saying of "you don't know how to love if you don't love yourself" may sound cliche, but I've only recently realized how true it is. It surely sounded like nonsense when I was younger. When I was younger, I was also severely depressed and much more insecure than I am now. I've fallen in love with girls much earlier in my life than this year, but it always came from insecurity. The feeling of being "lucky" to have this person in my life and that I'm not good enough for her along with an intense fear of losing her always accompanied my so-called "love." That's not love, it's obsession. It's unhealthy for both people involved.

Of course, I've had previous episodes of infatuation which during that time, I've described as "being in love." It was, however, not true or real as love should be. When you come from an insecure place where you hate yourself, you feel the need to have someone else "complete" you and you feel like you would be nothing without that person. I've learned that this is bullshit but society in general seems to embrace this notion of romantic love. We are bombarded since childhood with this idea of "happily ever after" and countless love songs are about how much the singer loves somebody. People tend to glorify what I consider to be creepy. In Korea it's worse because being needy and clingy is considered normal.

This recent incident was the first time I've loved someone while I loved myself. Meaning I was much more secure with where my feelings came from. I didn't need this girl to "complete" me or any of that nonsense. I like myself and I would be happy with or without her, but having her around would've been even more awesome. This attitude may sound callous to those who don't get it, since I don't need her, but I don't need anybody. Nobody needs anybody. I did not and do not need someone to dump my insecurities on and to be an emotional pillar for me to lean on. I don't need to add that kind of pressure on somebody else. I, myself, am that pillar. This means if I love somebody, it's a much more real love. It's not a love that is actually a masked desire to share my psychological burden. It's not a love that is given only in exchange for something I want. I can give my love to others because I don't care if I don't get anything back. I have enough love for myself. This is why I say it's the first time I've truly loved somebody in a romantic fashion.

Another problem with love is the implication around it. Love for somebody else is supposedly this big thing, with other big things around it. That's why couples make a big deal out of it when they say "I love you" for the first time. Maybe it sounds like I trivialize it but I think I am able to love more freely and easily because I don't put so much on this idea of love. For a bit I hesitated saying that I was in love with the girl in question because it would sound weird that I was in love with somebody who I didn't know for that long. However, love was what I felt and while it didn't mean I wanted to marry this girl or that I couldn't live without her, what I felt was what I felt.

This also makes it easier to move on when things don't work out. I used to become destroyed after lost love like I'm sure so many others can understand. I would be left a smoldering emotional mess. After a heart-break, I wouldn't able to function for a good while because I thought my happiness and worth as a person depended on how much this other person loved me. Now, my attitude on this has completely changed. Sure it sucked that my "Celine" was gone, but I acknowledged that it sucks and I moved on. I try to apply this mentality to everything else in life as well. Sometimes things in life don't work out for me and while it sucks, I just have to move on because my worth as a person is not dependent on external things.

If I see a girl I find attractive, I need to go talk to her. 
A lot of dudes talk about game. A lot of dudes don't really walk the walk. It's a nerve racking experience trying to talk to a random stranger and asking her/him out. But that random stranger could end up being the love of your life or at least an awesome person who you can be close friends with. What's stopping you? What's stopping me?

I don't understand when people wonder where to meet the opposite sex (or the same sex if you're homosexual). If you leave your house, you will probably see people other than yourself and surely some of these people will seem interesting or attractive. Simply muster the courage to talk to somebody you might be interested in.

I did not know what to expect when first talked to this girl at the subway station. She might've been cold or a complete asshole. She might have told me fuck off or turned out to be bat-shit crazy. Instead it turned out to be the best decisions I've made this year. So the lesson is, take a risk, which there isn't a lot of when it comes to simply starting a conversation with another human being. The potential to gain so much seems to outweigh whatever petty fear one may have of rejection.

There are amazing people out there
Although it bummed me out that a girl so wonderful and seemingly rare was out of my grasp, her existence gives me hope. Maybe there are others like her. So where are the wonderful amazing people you can connect with and relate to? They are out there in the world and you should go out and find them, if that's what you want.

I was one of these assholes lamenting about how there are no good girls out there. Have I looked for them? No.

On one hand, because I believe I truly am somewhat different in the way I think, I do think it is difficult for me to meet someone who is on the same plane of thinking as I am. Not that I'm so enlightened and wise, but I do meet a lot of people and a lot of people are not as keen as I am about debunking conventional wisdom and shattering traditionally held beliefs. I don't think I'm superior because I do this, but this is the type of person I am, and I find it harder to connect with people on a deeper level if they don't at least meet me half way on this.

As difficult as it is to find them, these people do exist as evident by the girl I'm talking about and some other people I have met in life. At the very least, I have met many wonderful, smart women who I have had fun conversations with, even if we weren't totally on the same page. So instead of sulking and being sad that I won't ever meet somebody like her again, I have to get out and meet more people. Who knows who I will run into, and even if I don't run into anybody, who cares?

I now have established a standard
In the same vein, I realized I now have a real standard that I look for in women. If you ask me what I mean by "look for in women," I'll answer that I have no idea what I'm talking about. If I'm just looking for sex, I would need to find my mate attractive and like her personality just enough. But I'm obviously "looking for" something more than that. But I don't believe in marriage so what's the end goal of something "serious?" Why look for something "serious" if I believe it's going to end anyway?

I don't know. Maybe I want to connect with someone even for an instant because after all, our lives are a collection of instances and in the grand scheme of things, the human life span is an instance as well. Maybe I'm not necessarily "looking" for something as if I'm in search, but if something sticks, I may want to go along with it, even just for awhile. So if I ever run into someone who satisfies my standard, I may want to stick around while it lasts.

When describing what my standard for whatever it is I just explained above, I say: The type of girl I would want to settle down with will never settle down. This may seem paradoxical considering I don't believe in settling down, but if I had to settle down, it would be with a girl who wouldn't settle down. What I really mean is that if I met a girl who wouldn't "settle" but seeks to constantly evolve and grow, I might find myself wanting to stick around and grow with her.

A long lasting partnership is one that grows and matures. It changes. Have new adventures. Grow as people. I believe, at least with who I am, marriage can work if you avoid security. Being secure (in this sense) means you want things that are comfortable, familiar, and safe. But marriage in itself is the want for security, which is why people need a signed document and a fucking ring even though it's all arbitrarily made up. Security is boring. Couples stagnate and settle into routines and habits. Things become stale. Relationships whither in this way.

So in order for a marriage to work, at least for me, it would be one that isn't constrained in a traditional marriage set up of a house in the suburbs, two kids, a dog, and the both of us working in corporate prisons trying to keep up with the Joneses by buying the newest must-have material possession our consumerist society tells us to buy.

So, the girl I may want to "marry" is someone who is so awesome I might actually find myself considering marriage despite my previous vows not to. She would have to be really fucking awesome if that were the case.

Ultimately, none of this is planned, calculated or even kept in the forefront of my mind when I meet women. I'm not really actively "looking for" anything; I'm just putting myself out there in the world and seeing what happens. If I meet a girl who is just that amazing, I will probably end up falling for her regardless of my volition. If or when that happens, I look forward to the journey without really caring what happens in the end.