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Small-Scale Question Sunday for October 22, 2023

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

This is something I've been mulling over for a while: if you aren't lucky and fairly determined, as a man - maybe as a human being - you need to decide where you want the ambulances and the tragedy if you want a relationship.

This is a stage that many people pass through at one point or another, and it is admirable to have strong enough personal or religious convictions to attempt it. Maybe that means being stoically resigned to being sexually assaulted or raped because you're a somewhat awkward but physically attractive mildly autistic 17-year-old girl who wants to experience life and have a family someday. In that model, you accept that you are going to need to kiss some frogs to find your prince. And you have an immune deficiency, so you genuinely make your peace with the fact that those frog kisses are likely to lead you to a couple of hospital stays that hopefully don't give you permanent damage. Maybe it means accepting that your girlfriend might stab you because you stuck it in crazy to get whatever wisdom comes from sex or relationships; maybe it means being maimed at 48 by your wife and the mother of your three children and winding up nearly dying, losing a limb, and spending three weeks in the local ICU.

I think that this is admirable and respectable, that in ages past men and women endured similar dangers in order to be worthy, and that war for men and childbirth for women have been how these tragedies played out until very recently.

What's your take on this?

  • -35

I think you're wildly misinformed and ignorant.

You need to work on yourself until you're attractive to women. Get into a long-term committed, monogamous relationship with a woman who can stand being in the same room as you. Your mindset will improve.

Separately, I don't say this to many people, but you would benefit from advice from the pickup artist community. There's a lot to be said against that community, but the one thing PUAs get massively, overwhelmingly right is internal-vs-external locus of control. In the same sense that "the customer is always right", women are right about their preferences, and if you don't meet that standard, that's a you-problem, not a them-problem, or a society-problem. Those communities will have better, specific advice for your circumstances. This forum is not equipped to help you.

I come here for intellectual discussion, not [gestures wildly at all your writing] whatever self-indulgent pity party this is.

You need to work on yourself until you're attractive to women. Get into a long-term committed, monogamous relationship with a woman who can stand being in the same room as you. Your mindset will improve.

For that - as I am - I need to decide where I want the ambulances, more or less; I hope that this can happen without doing things that are considered predatory such as trawling homeless shelters for girlfriends. That being said - and it's gross and nasty as hell, as well as at best morally murky - maybe relationships for the unattractive are just straight up hell and fucking suck, and part of the whole point is being able to bear the opprobrium of society AND whatever shit your girlfriend is slinging. For what it's worth, I know guys that have been attacked by knife wielding girlfriends; one of whom nearly died to blood loss. This is reasonable to expect from people, in my opinion: who cares if you die to blood loss at age 29 because your crazy girlfriend stabbed you, you've been in a relationship and she probably goes to jail or some shit, meaning that your betters are better off and you serve as an example and warning to others.

This is part of why I am going on the Hock on February 13, 2024, in the Alaskan wilderness somewhere north of the Arctic Circle: because I sincerely believe that this is a kind of preparation for a kind of struggle that is considered idiotic and stupid by the standards of my society. Also, the Hock will expose me to life and death struggle, which I think makes men more attractive. It is also going to make me more used to enduring pain, misery, privation, fear, cold, and hunger for no good reason. That's valuable when you wake up in the ICU thirteen days after being very nearly killed by your crazy girlfriend, one leg laying useless and crippled for life, rasping out statements about how you loved her and it was worth it.

Dulce et decorum est, boyos.

Last Christmas I watched the film Wild ( with my family, based on the memoir of the same name ( by Cheryl Strayed. The film concerns Strayed's successful attempt to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, solo. I didn't like the film for many reasons: its narrative structure (hiking interspersed with flashbacks) was monotonous; the dialogue was overwritten and stagey; the performances were of greatly varying quality; and what little CGI it used was unconvincing and distracting.

But the biggest reason I didn't like it was because I really disliked the protagonist. The death of Strayed's mother caused her to spiral into a deep depression, which she coped with by using heroin and having unprotected sex with strange men, despite being married. After one of these illicit trysts she gets pregnant, she decides to terminate the pregnancy, her husband (finally!) realises he's had enough and divorces her. At this point she realises she's hit rock bottom, prompting her to embark on her hike as a therapeutic exercise (explaining to an exasperated friend: "I'm going to walk myself back to the person my mother thought I was!").

And I just found her motivation and conception of herself so grandiose and narcissistic - the idea that her personal problems are of such profound import that the only way she can address them is by walking 1,100 miles, alone - that I couldn't stand her. Even when she correctly recognises that she's a piece of shit, she still thinks she's a piece of shit in a rather grand, exceptional way - a Mary Sue who's a villain is still a Mary Sue. Like, if you've (finally!) realised that it's wrong to cheat on your husband with strange men (and grief over your mother's death does absolutely nothing to exculpate you) - sure, you absolutely could try to address this by hiking 1,100 miles alone with little to no expertise, and potentially endangering other people who may have to come looking for you if you injure yourself.

Or you could, I dunno, not cheat on your husband, you stupid bitch.

Most of us go through our lives quietly toiling away at doing the right thing, not expecting or receiving any special praise for doing so. When we realise we've fucked up, we quietly toil away at trying to put things right. Most of us have the self-awareness to recognise that our personal problems are not huge, all-encompassing things which require extraordinary, dramatic efforts to rectify; for most people, their personal problems are ordinary and mundane, and can (must) be resolved or managed with ordinary, mundane graft. Cheryl Strayed can't even claim that the root of her personal problems is a traumatic event outside the realm of normal human experience (like being raped or horribly maimed; even having a miscarriage or a cot death would have been more sympathetic) - the death of one's mother is deeply upsetting, but unfortunately, it's something that the vast majority of people in the world will go through at one time or another. If everyone dealt with the death of their mother by abandoning their duties and embarking on a hike for three months - why, the Pacific Crest Trail would be clogged with people denser than Times Square and society would collapse. Strayed dealt with the grief over her mother's death by i) ruining her husband's life; ii) conceiving a child and then aborting it; iii) going on a long hike; iv) writing a book about her experience which made her millions (and she still had the nerve to complain that the film adaptation wasn't nominated for Best Picture and accusing the Academy of sexism). Most people take a few weeks off work and deal with their bereavement privately, with dignity. "But you don't understand, I had a really close bond with my mother!" - well, so did the Hispanic binman who collects your rubbish, Cheryl, who can't afford to take three months off work, because he has to put food on the table for his (un-aborted) children and (un-cuckqueaned) wife. It's the height of narcissism and self-absorption, perhaps even clinically significant delusions of grandeur.

I imagine you can guess where I'm going with this. You've been talking about this "hock" thing for at least a few weeks. You seem to expect us to be impressed by your plan to do this - well, I'm no more impressed by hearing about people's plans to complete punishing physical ordeals than I am by hearing about the idea someone has for a novel: the execution is the thing. ("Oh my God, you're thinking about running a marathon?! That's amazing! You're so disciplined and dedicated for thinking about doing one! And here I am actually running one like a sucker!") But more than anything I just find your motivation for doing it contemptible in exactly the same way as Strayed. You think you're the first guy in history to ever feel lonely or romantically frustrated? You think the only way you can deal with your personal problems is to embark on some punishing attention-seeking voyage? In your circumstances, most people just practise their people skills, improve their diet, go to the gym and perhaps attend a therapist if applicable - and they (we) do so quietly, with dignity, without any expectation of praise or commendation.

If you're lonely and romantically frustrated, I'm sorry to hear that, I've been there and it sucks. But whining about it on a forum is not going to help you, especially not when you rubbish all of the well-meaning and practical advice offered in reply (all of which that I've seen is more sensible and likely to help the issue than "go to Alaska alone"). If you want to do your "hock" thing, go for it, but don't delude yourself into thinking that it will magically resolve all of your personal problems in one fell swoop - wherever you go, there you are. And for God's sake, stop telling us about how you're going to do it and expecting us to be impressed in advance by your resolve and determination. Prepare for it in your own time, complete it, then you can feel proud of your accomplishment, and perhaps even write a postmortem about what you got out of the experience.

Counterargument: if every lonely individual chucked themselves in the Alaskan wilderness - leaving instructions to not look for the body or attempt rescue - there would be a lot more determined people in the world and a lot less lonely people. Yeah, it's nuts. Yes, it's dumb as hell; the risible idiocy fundamental to the Hock is, in my opinion, part of the whole fucking point of the Hock.

I don't even know how to talk to you. It's like you're not even reading anything anyone is saying to you, just using their responses as opportunities to whine and pontificate.

The pontification is an ad Hock commentary for posterity if I don't make it. Could just be the writings of a dumb jackass, but whatever. Am probably going to write a blog about this whole hock crap. I have been training and preparing in good faith for this journey.

Congratulations on your epic roast making the Quality Contributions list, though.

I would greatly appreciate if you would stop being a dumb jackass for five minutes and respond to my sincere request of a couple of days ago. Feel free to respond in DM if you're embarrassed.

Congratulations on your epic roast making the Quality Contributions list, though.

Thank you, although it was intended as well-meaning criticism borne of concern.