Sunday, February 28, 2010

Insecurity As Freedom

Some time last week what started innocently enough as a request for info on Men's traditional kimono proportions like Toshio Mifune wears in Yojimbo and Sanjuro:

but ended up being a phone conversation at 2am, with my ex. Which sounds emotional, but being Japanese 2am was when she knocks off work and thus when she decided to call obviously not willing to wait 6 months for an off day as they call them.

As per my 'Taking the Kid Gloves off Post' I didn't ask about her relationship or lack thereof, but she asked about mine. I assume because every ex feels safer if their ex is dating somebody new.
And she called me out, I was doing my whole 'I'm not really interested...I'm not really meeting anybody...not socialising...' spiel and she said in her gifted blunt way 'sounds like excuses' which is true.

I've simply failed to get a girl. I have a bunch of excuses but should stop using them. The bare bones truth is, I don't have a girl because I don't care enough to get one. I hadn't really talked or even communicated to my ex since she forgot my birthday - and why not who am I but some guy she dated for 6 months going on 3 years ago? That gesture too contained only the information that she didn't care enough to remember and really it's quite a reasonable thing to forget. (If you don't have facebook to remind you).

But more than not caring enough to get a girl, I have to admit, I'm afraid to. There was a time when my ex could have asked me to stop what I was doing, all she had to do was ask and I'd have a 9-5 job that wasn't challenging but probably be financially secure and steadily progressing towards 'quality of life'. And remember the race for quality has no finish line.

So yeah... ah... where was I? Oh yeah, I'm frightened, you know the human condition. But unfortunately for me I'm in the very unfortunate position of actually being afraid of women, not afraid to talk with them, or even be afraid to be seen naked by them, no I am simply afraid of having one.

Why? Well let me not answer that question... instead a vaguely relevant diversion. When I was 12 I thought I'd be famous by 18. I used to get anxious about this, because I wanted to meet my first and last girlfriend before I became famous so I knew she would love me for me and not my fame and fortune or whatever. Ha ha, what a cocktwerp, how naive youth is. But now that I'm old bitter and synical, I just don't think it possible.

Professions that involve fame are 'scalable' I highly recommend if you only read one book a year (or even two years) read 'The Black Swan' By Nicholas Nassim Taleb. He talks about these. He talks about Extremistan and Mediocrestan, and then 'scalable' professions and I forget what the equivalent was so we'll just call them 'non-scalable', scalable are winner-take-all professions. Like being a pro-athlete, rock-star, opera-singer, leadership consultant etc. That is, that the number 1 will earn 10 times more than the next most successful in that profession who in turn earns 10 times more than the next most successful, and the vast majority of people 'in' the profession aren't in the profession. They are waiters, work at starbucks or in my case, work in a call center.

Most 'actors' and 'writers' are seen and read by nobody, earn minimum (or less) wage and offer all the security of the Federal Reserve (hah!).

Now I've also said many times, that a luxury women have is that men in most cases don't think about their finances. For example today I was doing a mental exercise that was highly unusual. I was trying to imagine a married lifestyle where I was wealthy enough to have a big house and holiday in Europe every year. Now I admit that if I was earning $100k a year, and that took care of the big house, and my wife earned a relatively modest $25,000 a year, it still seemed like I had to put mental effort into thinking that her $22,000 after tax or whatever would pay for the holiday in Europe. It seems much more likely to me that if I want that lifestyle I would simply aim to earn $135,000 a year for the additional $22,000 after tax or whatever for the holiday.

I don't mean I can't imagine using somebody else's money, I just don't feel confident basing some part of my desired lifestyle that depends on somebody else's ability to earn it. I can't really imagine anybody thinks this way but evidently they do. Also evidently a lot of people also think liek me, earn your own money to control your own lifestyle.

The split seems to be divided by gender (but is not absolute), that is why I say girls have a luxurious position in that if they have a 'dreamer' or 'scalable' career ambition, becoming a dancer, singer, popstar or tennis player I can imagine that there would be plenty of men perfectly okay to have a relationship with them even if they financially contribute nothing. They wouldn't think of it as added stress or pressure on them, but there natural role to provide for a 'family' that includes their spouse. This would be called being simply responsible on their part.

It is a hangover from the atomic family deal, I know, and totally sexist in both directions. It is belittling to women to suggest they earn 'play money' just as it is belitteling to men to suggest they have a fundamental responsibility to provide for consumption.

But it's that view I'm afraid of. I know that most relationships start out just as fun, with ample trepedation that you don't necessarily want that partner for life. And some are over in two weeks, but others grow attached.

Just so, I can imagine meeting a girl that is okay with the fact that I am trying to make my way in a scalable But they're 'okayness' is founded on the assumption that we'll only be together for 3 months anyway. But once those 3 months tick over, suddenly I'm the man in the picture, but I'm not the man that buys that house, that lifestyle or whatever.

Men have the luxury of being able to think that the woman in their picture is an independant variable to everything else in it. Women have the luxury of foisting responsibity in part onto that man variable.

But Germaine Greer said in the 60's that until people recognise 'insecurity as freedom' we can't be free. I'm sure there's millions of years of genes though urging people to feather their nest to care for the next generation, and the behavioural drive of those genes is going to be hard to dissuade.

But I'm afraid, I'm afraid of being asked to stop, to give up. I'm afraid of that. I should trust people not to, to give them a chance. Because at worst I'd just have to say 'get out' but I'm the kind of person that insists on their being a point to everything. Thus I'd rather have no relationships than a string of failed relationships. Sure I could have fun, but they take time and energy, time and energy away from my dreams I can barely afford now.

The great irony I see though, is that those who 'make it' are in high demand by a lot of women. If you're a big-shot comedian, movie star, or rock star or whatever then groupies flock to you, you can pick off some of the highest earning women in the world too, your Miranda Kerr's and Beyonce Knowles.

But where 12 year old me was being so naive was that many of these same women regardless of how much they are earning themselves would not stick around to be with you in the poor and uncertain begginnings of making it. When your mattress is made of cardboard and your diet consists of pocket change.

On top of that, many partners would discourage you in your fledgling years from even trying, with the pursuasive voice of a sexual partner you have become accustomed to. Not all, but many, too many in my experience. I've had ultimatums for cutting my hair on either side of the fence. (dumped if I do, dumped if I don't). The more serious of the ultimatums should have been the end of the relationship then and there.

It's one gender divide that persists and I'm truly mysogenistic over it. I don't blame anything in the X chromosome as such though, just social conditioning. I believe if you are going to teach women to be free, you have to teach them to think 'my money' not 'our money' as horrible as that sounds. I've heard it expressed by Billy Connelly as 'Men buy a house they want to live in, women buy a house they want to renovate. Men marry a woman they want to keep, women marry some guy they plan to change you into in the future.' His advice, dishearteningly was to 'not bother fighting it' and if there's no point to fighting it, I'm just going to run from the fight to begin with.

Depressing isn't it.

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