Very good sentences

From Ross Douthat:

…the feminist prescription doesn’t supply what men slipping down into the darkness of misogyny most immediately need: not lectures on how they need to respect women as sexual beings, but reasons, despite their lack of sexual experience, to first respect themselves as men.

And also:

…our society has lost sight of a basic human truth: A culture that too tightly binds sex and self-respect is likely, in the long run, to end up with less and less of both.


“”One successful foray ended on the guest bed of a high school friend's parents, with a girl who resembled a chunkier Reese Witherspoon drunkenly masticating my neck and cheeks. It had taken some time to reach this point -- "Do most Harvard guys take so long to get what they want?" she had asked, pushing her tongue into my mouth. I wasn't sure what to say, but then I wasn't sure this was what I wanted. My throat was dry from too much vodka, and her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to. I was supposed to be excited, but I was bored and somewhat disgusted with myself, with her, with the whole business... and then whatever residual enthusiasm I felt for the venture dissipated, with shocking speed, as she nibbled at my ear and whispered -- "You know, I'm on the pill..."

Ross Douthat is perhaps not the moral resource I would turn to on matters of contemporary sexuality.

Ross Douthat is perhaps not the moral resource I would turn to on matters of contemporary sexuality.

Why not?

Maybe because he portrays himself as America's Consummate Gentleman™ in one breath and engages in a classic kiss-and-tell in the next?

What is the contradiction?

Can you recognize the dame from his description? Do you know anyone who can?

He appears to be admitting to a case of impotence. You fancy he's thus presenting himself as a 'Consummate Gentleman'?

Here's how I read Douthat:

Vulgar, small-minded people are slaves to their base instincts.

Blessed with a working moral compass and a rare understanding of virtue, I float effortlessly above the beer-drenched lumpenproletariat.

What's the paragraph which comes before and after the one quoted?

Because of a single paragraph he wrote in a book he authored when he was about 25, consisting of a "kiss and tell" that doesn't even mention the girl's name (even though it does hilariously compare her to Reese Witherspoon - quite a humblebrag there Ross). Apparently it's enough to give born-again Victorians like fallibilist the vapors and reawakene his prurient sensibilities.

Since reading comprehension seems to be in desperately short supply, I'll make it really simple for all those who obstinately refuse to understand what I'm saying.

Douthat, although eloquent, remains a pompous and sanctimonious jerk. He belittles the perfectly natural human impulses of young people who desire sex by lumping them in with this homicidal psychopath. He makes common cause with the alarmingly large segment of feminists that see villainy in every y-chromosome bearing being on earth.

The People, they want sex and not the Latin Mass. Douthat's best impression of an exasperated nun chiding her charges will not create a revolution in human nature.


Douthat is a self-righteous scold who, like a mini-me David Brooks, has dedicated himself to the larger project of blaming the ills in our society on marginalized individuals seeking equal treatment and dignity. Take, for example, his conflation of "Hefnerism" with feminism. Only an idiot or the fundamentally dishonest thinks that Hefnerism - which glorifies a rich old man's procurement of a harem of artificially nubile young women who have internalized that they are commodities without independent thought - is consistent with feminism.

Feminism is the same as Hefnerism, but it substitutes an artificially masculine harem and Janet Napolitano in the role of Hugh.

That is not what he is arguing, though. Douthat is making an argument fairly common on the right -- but frequently misinterpreted by those on the left. The argument was put in much more blunt terms by Allan Bloom but, in essence, it is that if you have a society that celebrates casual sex (at least among people under 30) as the essence of the good life, well, life isn't fair. So you will have a few very attractive people having lots of sex while others struggle and yet still others will remain virgins because they are being out competed on the meat market.

Just as free markets can lead to economic inequality (and we can debate whether or to what extent it is a problem), a sexually liberal society leads to inequality in terms of willing sexual partners. The point Douthat is making is that our society doesn't provide many sources of self-esteem or validation for the losers ("beta males") in today's hyper-competitive dating market. He also touches on the observation that straight [white, if I recall] males in America have fewer friends than almost any other group so those who can't get dates also probably don't have many close friends, either.

A 'chunkier' Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon's most notable role at that time was as "Tracy Flick" in Election. Tracy Flick was attractive only to disoriented school teachers.

Because his morals seem little more than warmed over prejudice and vapid analogy:

"the feminist prescription doesn’t supply what men slipping down into the darkness of misogyny most immediately need: not lectures on how they need to respect women as sexual beings, but reasons, despite their lack of sexual experience, to first respect themselves as men."

could be:

"the not-getting-mugged prescription doesn't supply what men slipping down into the darkness of hating the rich most immediately need: not lectures on how they need to respect people as beings with money, but reasons, despite their lack of having-money experience, to first respect themselves as men."

TC, that first sentence was "very good?" how does it differ from the second?

This first is good. The second is poorly written but not bad either.

a description of an awkward, drunken encounter in college.

what's your point? I don't think you have a point.

For all the talk on income/wealth inequality, male sexual market inequality is rarely discussed, even in the Rodgers aftermath.

On Rodgers, most mainstream outlets seem instead happy to beat the dead horses of "white supremacy" and "misogyny."

I don't think it makes sense to "use" the Rodgers aftermath to conclude anything about our modern American culture. Rarely do helpful or trenchant criticisms of culture come from the analysis of the severely mentally ill. This applies to both misogyny and "male sexual market inequality," as you put it.

You don't know many asian guys, do you?

what does that mean?

We need a better nomenclature of abnormal psychologies. Having watched his videos and read his manifesto, mentally ill is not the word I would use. We need to be able to distinguish between truly atypical neuro profiles, like autism or skitzophrenia, and someone like Rodgers who seems to have an essentially normal neuro profile but with some of the parameters miscalibrated, perhaps due to an up bringing that hit on certain soft points in his psyche. I would put many eating disorders in this same class. That's why douthats point is still relevant. We are in control of how we design out environment so we need to start taking the Savanah Principle seriously.

Was he mentally ill? He hated women enough to kill them because they did not want to sleep with him. That is evil, but I don't see evidence that he was delusional. They really didn't want to.

He never asked anyone. They probably would have said no, but still.

Trying is the first step towards failure.

Psychopathy or malignant narcissism seem possible. Weird that we don't know. I wonder if they can scan a brain that was shot.

I'd love to see some hard data on this, actually. Most of the time worries about "male sexual market inequality"--particularly the losers--ends up swept under the rug, because, well, society considers them losers. But if there were hard data indicating (1) male versus female sexual market structure, i.e. how do the network graphs generated by heterosexual contacts differ in terms of structure, particularly among the most well-connected and least well-connected male and female nodes, and (2) how these graphs have evolved over time, that would be something that you can't just brush under the rug with "well less-desirable women also have it tough." It would also give us some hard measures to compare against other social indicators--crime, poverty, family breakdown, terrorism.

There's no reason for this not to be ideology-neutral, too--it's objective enough and interesting enough that everyone from PUA to feminists should be interested in that kind of data.

Agreed, data is needed/would be interesting.

Many people across various ideological spectrums would not be interested, though.

Don't know on "PUA"s, but feminists tend not to be interested in numbers, except made-up and/or purposefully misleading ones--e.g. 1 in 4 women on college campuses, 70 cents on the dollar, etc.
"Our" perception. *shrug* Crass language alert and interpret how you will.

US Census.

There are several million more unmarried men than women between the ages of 20-30. You take some time to think about that, or conclude the US Census is a conspiracy run by lizard people, some folks like to jump that way I guess.

That data is NOT counting illegal immigrants, obviously.

I have been thinking along similar lines. Look at the situation for beta males versus beta females. The beta females can get the attention of "exciting" men who will not support them, but do impregnate and thrill them. This is risk-free for them due to welfare. The beta men, who might make perfectly serviceable husbands are frozen out--they are not exciting and their income is not needed.

In addition: The cads might actually be forced into being gentlemen if beta women insisted on them "putting a ring on it" before putting-out.

It is interesting for sure, but there is not much you can do about the inequality here. You cannot make women sleep with men they aren't interested in any more than you can force men to befriend anxious introvert men. Were either to happen spontaneously, we would surely have fewer severe cases of mental illness.

"It is interesting for sure, but there is not much you can do about the inequality here."

A culture of monogamy and modesty reduces the amount of inequality and the degree to which it is thrown in the face of the losers. By analogy, I think the rich have the right to spend their money as they see fit, but it is good for society for them to show some discretion.

Except the point is to increase your own social status which requires throwing it in the face of the losers. How dare you restrict my empowerment.

"It's not enough that I should succeed - others should fail."

Gore Vidal and various

One could legalize prostitution, for instance. Could help at the margins.

Wouldn't have helped this chap.

I don't know. It might have demystified the whole thing for him, given him some perspective, made him less desperate. Not for nothing is it called the biggest club in the world.

Fair enough.

It is? I've never heard that.

I had that thought, too. Prostitution might (never patronized myself, I hasten to add, so I don't know) serve as a nice, therapeutic release valve for a troubled, frustrated man like him, even if it didn't exactly solve his woman issues.

It has (served as a release valve) for me, once or twice in the past. Pent-up sexual desire in a healthy male is a powerful, uncomfortable force. I suspect it's difficult for folks who don't have a fresh sense-memory of that experience to empathize with folks who are going through it.

I read a blog post on this topic by an actual sex worker, who would really prefer that society at large not refer potentially violent men to her for ad hoc therapy. Sex is her job, and proposing that she be the solution to this problem is expecting her to accept a lot of workplace violence.

You know that phrase 1 in a million? This guy was 3 orders of magnitude rarer than that.

No one with access to a precog would refer that specific guy to any particular prostitute.

Where's Ray Lopez to tell us to ship the frustrated guys over to the Phillipines?

He is in the philipinos right now!

Nice quote, but -- like Hayek -- I am dubious of any claims made on behalf of "society"

Douthat is probably the most articulate and insightful pundit around these days. He succeeds in expressing what a lot of socially conservative are think - in a manner that is (or seems like it should be) accessible to people who have a very different set of assumptions. His 3 article series on SSM is exceptionally good. It's disappointing that liberals are rarely willing to address his comments substantively.

It’s disappointing that liberals are rarely willing to address his comments substantively.

That's just what they do nowadays. George McGovern is dead and Nat Hentoff is real old.

Let me know when a single right-winger on this site can discuss Krugman substantively. The wingnut mouth frothery: it's impressive in its volume.

Krugman > Douthat in every possible metric.

Krugman is definitely the greater narcisist.

Is there an echo in this chamber?

Case in point.

As someone who thinks Krugman is a pompous ass, the incredibly shallow dismissals that are so common in the comment section here are incredibly disappointing. You can find some reasoned deconstructions of him, but it takes digging through a lot of mood-affiliation- and group-signalling-comments to find them.

Ross Douthat's shtick is taking arguments that have been circulating for years in First Things (or, in this case, rehashing an argument made by Allan Bloom in "The Closing of the American Mind" over 25 years ago) and trying to make them palatable to urban liberals. I've already read the primary sources so I guess I am less likely to find Douthat's perspective all that refreshing or thought-provoking. He is a talented writer and all-around smart guy, though.

The issue is not the sex. If it were, prostitution would be the answer...the problem here is that Rodgers has an inferior position in the social hirearchy and therefore has no female validation. Rodgers would have no (okay, less) issues NOT having sex, if other men were ALSO not having sex, and if he were going out on dates with girls, the same as the captain of the football team. However, Rodgers perceives a world of "Average is Over," where the captain of the football team gets a regular stream of One Night Stands, and Rodgers can't even TALK to girls. He cannot respect himself as a man, knowing women do not respect him, as a man, and, as a man, would really rather prefer he crawl under a rock (whether he lives or dies is up to him).
Rodgers obviously has a skewed American Pie-esque perception of reality. As do other young men. As do many young women. The, erm, "rewards" are not unequally distributed, for lack of better terminology. Nor does it justify murderous rampage.

The issue identified by Douthat isn't sex, either. The problem is the dependence of self-worth on sexual market value or access to desirable sex partners. I don't know if there is a self-worth depression but it's absolutely true that the implicit message in our culture is, "if you can't have sex, no matter what else you do, you suck; if you can have sex, no matter what else you do, you're pretty awesome.''

Pick a guy at random. Ask him: if there is *one thing* which, if you had to give up (now and for all time), would prompt you to ponder suicide--what is that thing? Care to guess what the modal answer will be?

Sure, but you can want sex and not get it and still feel like a valuable human being. Lots of men don't seem to feel that way, though. The questions are, "why?" and "can anything be done about it?" I haven't a clue, but I think the phenomenon is real and worthy of attention.

The modal answer depends on the age group.


Sometimes eunuchs have been whole social classes, and they didn't commit mass suicide. As the Beta Guy alludes to, if no one else around you is having sex, it's not so bad if you aren't having sex either.

Eunuchs also don't have testes...

Try getting married. Sorry, couldn't resist.

That's not a problem. That's a biological function. If you are expecting people to be okay with a lifetime of the opposite sex viewing them as vermin, I highly suggest Dutch windmills for your next opponent.
As with all biological functions, problems emerge when culture twists them into horrible perversions. It is absolutely not a problem that young men find their virginity objectionable and take steps to remedy it. It absolutely is a problem if the remedy they take is raping women. The first is a useful tool to get men to do something besides X-box, the second is the Congo.

To further expand, there's also a difference between society respecting businessmen and earning a good salary, and society demanding you become the next Warren Buffet. The first produces a society of few Horatio Algers and a great number Hank Hills, the second produces Faust, Gordon Gecko, and a great number of Willie Lomans. With the occasional Elliot Rodgers.

To say, "you should be happy even though you're a poor and you reallllllllyyyyy don't need a car and you would have a car if you would just be yourself you would have a car so maybe this is actually your fault?" is offensive to the Willie Lomans, who would otherwise be respectable Hank Hills. However, I cannot decry Faust, because, you know, that's slut-shaming. #freethenipple #equality #thirdwaveisbestwave

All of your points are reasonable and well made, but there is a difference between wanting sex and not being able to get it and feelings sad about it sometimes and wanting sex and not being able to get it and thinking *therefore* I am worthless garbage. Why are there so many men telling themselves the latter? I sense an uptick in just the past few years.

My answers can only be speculation. I cannot say if this has increased. I cannot say how long a "dry spell" lasts before a man gets depressed.

When the suggestion is, or comes close to, "men really just need to get over themselves," it's a good sign of who you're dealing with...
Obviously I agree with you, to some extent. My favorite example of bad messages is American Pie: a pact formed to lose virginity, ends with a group decision that the Pact doesn't really matter. Then of course, American Pie becomes what we know as typical Raunch Culture...

Lack of other sources of validation/worth. No healthy community they're tightly bound to, no sense of esteem from work.

The number of men disconnected from communities and without personally validating employment has been increasing.

Inferior? Relative to whom?

He wasn't bad looking, had an education or could/would acquire one, was likely to slot in to some kind of decent job, there was money in (and there were connections via) his family.

He could appeal to many women, I'd say ... though maybe not the ones he wanted.

But if you read his screeds and look at his photos, you quickly get a sense that something wasn't quite right with his mind. THAT is not appealing to anyone.

Relative to the men getting the women he wanted. Could he appeal to women? Why, yes, he could have. However, he layered himself in a bunch of unattractive personality traits that repelled women. He chose to view women as morally degenerate louts for responding to men who project fun instead of projecting Charles Manson. And got pissy he couldn't land models.

I feel little sympathy for Elliot Rodgers, however, were we in a sex-less culture, he would still be angry if the quarterback were getting kisses and he getting nothing, and even if we were in the Pagan Utopia, he would be happy as long as he was getting action and validation as well (until his narcissism kicked in full gear).

Thank God he died before reproducing.

Liberals finally have the culture they've been pining for the last 50-60 years yet seem unhappy. What gives?

yeah! its Obama's fault! Bengazi!!!!

Ross Douthat's virtuosity of the written word unmatched.

Feminism: worthless unless it's laser-focused on making virginal men feel fulfilled. More deep thoughts from Douthat, although you knew this was going to be a doozy when he opened with the old "people need to stop talking about the spree killer I'm about to devote a column to."

I actually find it fascinating that sex-positive feminism comes under such special scrutiny here as opposed to, say, Christian traditionalism which places tremendous value on heterosexual marriage - hardly a better recipe for the self-worth of someone like Rodger.

Feminism: worthless

Two definitions of feminism that capture the essence of it.

1. The worldview informed by the notion that men have options, and women have obligations.

2. The worldview informed by the notion that only women have interests and sensibilities worthy of consideration.


The public policy implications: abortion on demand, unilateral divorce on demand, and elimination of the presumption of innocence for (male) defendants.

Yes, it's worthless.

I'm too pithy for my own good

"Women have options. Men have obligations"


Feminism: the fetish of phallic individualism with which women seduce themselves.

That was my first thought, too. Part of the point of feminism is that the entire world doesn't revolve around men all the time because people of other genders are humans too, and...Douthat criticizes feminism for not putting men's needs ahead of women's?

Criticizing feminism for not rescuing adult men from making bad choices is like criticizing hammers for not being good on breakfast cereal. That's not what the tool was for.

"Criticizing feminism for not rescuing adult men from making bad choices is like criticizing hammers for not being good on breakfast cereal. That’s not what the tool was for"

You have a point, but if I've often heard feminists say that patriarchy hurts men too, and that therefore feminism is good for men. When pressed for details, things remain vague.

Courts now routinely award joint custody to both parents in divorce, instead of assuming it's the woman's job to take care of kids, and the man's to earn money. This is a benefit to men. And I'd say feminism was at least partly responsible.

I do not think 'feminists' were agitating for joint custody. It reduces the options and discretion of mothers.

No the courts don't routinely award custody to both parents in a divorce. Even a passing look at the facts would make that obvious.

Also how would feminism be responsible for greater awards of joint custody? Every time a family law bill comes up for a vote that is in favor of joint custody; the National Organization for Women [the largest feminist group in America] fights it tooth and nail?

I'm a little confused by the whole concept of someone not being able to find a date these days. I'll admit I've never used a dating site, but can't people just find dates on a dating site easily? They don't have to be outgoing. They may not be great dates but I would think going on a lot of unsatisfying dates would actually satisfy the psychic pain of someone like this quite a lot. My understanding is the pain results from having no romantic female contact, being afraid of approaching women, feeling ignored etc. I'm sure eventually you would be annoyed with a lack of second dates or whatever, but going on bad dates is a lot different from sitting in your room alone crying and writing a giant journal entry, right? Or can people like this not even get dates on

So, you think the answer is for these men to repeatedly place themselves in situations where they fail and are rejected?

For normal people I think the answer is yes.

Yes. This is true of both men and women.

Isn't it obvious that he was essentially an angst ridden teen? Most people suffer through the teen years, uncertain about themselves and about dating. Then they mature. He didn't.

What's the percentage of alpha vs beta guys? 80-20%? 90-10%

My point, obviously, is that there are plenty of shy, nervous betas. Who don't spout misogynistic crap and kill people.

This is the bottom line right here. I don't think there are any broad points to be made about our society based on this case, except perhaps that we obviously continue to be crap at keeping guns away from the mentally ill.

That's what the pickup artists and other people who regularly have one night stands do.

That's the point. He didn't looked for dates in Imagine isolated suburbia where all the young people you know is from school and country club. Your chances to find someone are lower. Extra points, your parents tell you that people outside the "circle" are worthless.

FWIW, I believe the reverse is known to be true. It's actually easier to find dates and mates in small or isolated communities than big open ones. The paradox of choice and all that. I want to say somebody wrote a paper on this, but I can't immediately find it.

Evidently he was extraordinarily socially awkward and did not approach women or have any wing men. He'd also been a ward of the mental health trade since he was about eight years old. I suspect if you look under that rock, you will find culpable parties who've collected a mess of fee income over the years.

He hung out on websites that were dedicated to hating the very people who could help him with meeting women, dedicated to ideas that are the exact opposite of the truth.

I found it amusing that the supposedly incisive feminist critique Douthat links to was about how women have to endure getting hit on in bars by creepy guys. Oh the humanity!

You know where this happens: meat markets. There are plenty of restaurants or even bars in every city where you can go with your female friends to get drinks and you won't be harassed, or even approached. Essentially, feminists want the right to go to meat market bar without being hit on by creepy guys, when . . . the whole point of meat market type bars is to get creepy guys drunk by holding out the prospect of getting laid. Can anyone say, I want my cake and to eat it too.

"You know where this happens: meat markets" That's a rather strong assumption. Many women seem to complain about street harassment, and it is not unreasonable for a woman to expect a dearth of cat calls on her way to work.

How often do you hear cat calls walking down the street? I'm not sure I've heard a wolf whistle in 35 years.

Uh, if you live in a city you hear them all the time. Being a dude, I'm the object of many fewer cat calls than I believe I deserve, but I hear it directed at women pretty often. Someone literally pinched my wife's ass when she was taking a run down street this winter.

I can't recall ever hearing or seeing anything like this.

Have also never seen this, even when I worked construction, but I do live in a more genteel part of the country. Happened to my wife in Italy though never in the US. It did happen to her bff in the US once, although I didn't personally witness it ans this was almost 10 years ago. Hardly seems like an epidemic?

Anyway this argument isn't even necessary because the rage these days is "microaggression" which apparently comes down to "well that guy didn't wolf whistle but you can tell he wanted to so let's count it."

Spent 18 years of my life in cities.

I live in DC, but I also remember hearing it in Boston. I was at a barbeque last weekend where some people were talking about how it happens -- in fact i didn't even know my wife had that incident until she mentioned it there. Seriously, ask your friends who are women and I bet you get an affirmative response.

In some ways it is just a fact of life, I'm not exceedingly worried about it. But what are you going to say next, rape is way less common than the stats say?

"But what are you going to say next, rape is way less common than the stats say?"
Challenging your pulled-out-of-my-rear assertion regarding constant catcalls isn't even *close* to arguing that "rape is way less common than the stats say." It never ceases to amaze me how uncharitable people will be to anyone who they see as a "political opponent." "You mildly disagree with me? You must be PRO RAPE!!!1!"

And yes I recognize the irony in that last post.

Boston and DC?


Seriously, ask your friends who are women and I bet you get an affirmative response.

Not necessarily. As my wife noted, it's not the sort of thing you share with unfamiliar men because simply talking about something as personal as aggressive unwanted sexual attention is often misinterpreted as an expression of interest by a fair number of men.

However, from my limited conversations in this area, I suspect there are *very* few women who haven't been subjected to this sort of thing, often starting at 14 or 15 by people a dozen years their senior. It's just something most women have had to deal with a bunch of times throughout their life. (And that's the middle class. It's probably a lot worse if you're at all vulnerable.)

And if that isn't justification for angry feminists right there, I don't know what is.

I have been in many fights.

But I would say they are pretty rare.

Almost everyone you see happened by sex, which happens even more than people happen.

So we have to compare it to some expected baseline.

BTW, how do men know a priori that their "sexual" advances are wanted? Especially now?

Uh, I've lived in urban environments filled with young attractive women for the last ten years and I rarely hear cat calls, so there. The ones I do hear are either weaksauce "you're hot!!"s from self-doubting dorks or desperate hollers from packs of prowling proles. Neither overture is especially threatening because they're designed not to be. I sometimes see the girls make an "eww!" face but usually they don't react at all.

To be honest, what I notice is that the girls who complain most vocally about harassment from undesirable men are the women least likely to receive much attention. It's a humblebrag 10x more often than it's a legitimate gripe.

All the data suggests it's a race thing. These incidents are orders of magnitude less frequent among whites and asians, than not-whites-not-asians.

"Desperate hollers from packs of prowling proles - ... [are not] especially threatening."

So when you do hear "packs of proles" hollering at women, you interpret the calls as non threatening. And your evidence for them not feeling like threats is that the women don't "react" much at all.

Did you know that women are taught by our mothers to just keep walking because nothing good comes from "reacting"? If a woman "reacts," then she's threatening the guy's masculinity, and he's likely to escalate the aggression to demonstrate how much of a man he is.

See, which sums up research on the subject. Or skip to
(paywall) "Overdoing Gender: A Test of the Masculine Overcompensation Thesis"
Robb Willer, Christabel L. Rogalin, Bridget Conlon, and Michael T. Wojnowicz
American Journal of Sociology Vol. 118, No. 4 (January 2013), pp. 980-1022
Article Stable URL:

(paywall) "Physiological stress response to loss of social influence and threats to masculinity" by Catherine J. Taylor at

Women have something men want. My null would be that normalized to cultural norm women would want some attention, the kind they want, the way they like it.


Ha, yeah... the Jezebel-types would try and have themselves (and you) convinced that it's a bunch of WASPy investment bankers loitering around and cat-calling at girls for teh white-male-privilege evuls.

The notion that this cat-calling-esque behavior comes disproportionately from lower SES non-Asian minority men is something they try to turn a blind eye to, in alleviating the cognitive dissonance.

I interpret the calls as non-threatening because I am normal and capable of inferring intent. The proles are signalling to one another that they like beautiful women and that they aren't afraid to let the world know about it, but they're afraid to actually *do* something about it in a way that allows the girls to reject them. The hollering is actually a way of ensuring they don't have to. And yes, I think most beautiful girls, those who are yelled at the most, figure out pretty early on that these guys are harmless losers masking their insecurity behind cheap talk displays. I don't know how many nights out it takes to realize this stuff, but it's considered common knowledge in the circles I travel in, and I'm not that cool.

"BOSTON—According to a Boston University study released Monday, men from lower-income backgrounds are significantly more skilled at communicating their attraction to women than their middle- and upper-class counterparts.

"Many people would assume that the relative dearth of educational opportunities available to men in lower economic strata would result in inferior communication skills," said Boston University social anthropologist Dr. Mary Schoen, co-author of the study. "To the contrary, our research finds that they are up to four times more adept at conveying their interest in women than men with higher incomes."

Lower-income men, Schoen said, have a variety of phrases at their disposal to clearly and concisely communicate their attraction to members of the opposite sex. Among them are, "Slow down so I can get a look at you," "Mmmm, you are lookin' fiiiine today," and "I wouldn't mind a piece-a dat."",173/

I have heard two. However, I live in the suburbs, and have most of my life, and may not be representative given that I am surrounded by my metal armor box.

I'm male. I hear catcalls on a daily basis during my commute directed at various young women. I hear them directed at my wife or female friends when I'm walking with them. If you haven't heard them, you either live in a very sheltered community, don't go out or have lost the ability to appeal to the douchey male demographic.

For what its worth I frequently retaliate by calling back at the men responsible with exhortations to spend their testosterone on male colleagues or by making a similar unwanted sexual advance and calling them "toots."

When I was walking back to the dorm one night a dude on the roof yelled "have you seen deez?!"

Cat calls? Really? Where is this world I keep hearing about? I have never heard a woman whistled at in my life. By the way, I think you, A Definite Beta Guy, meant to say uncommon or unlikely rather than unreasonable.

I also live in DC and although I have only heard a few cat calls in action, many of my (attractive) female friends report being cat called. From what I understand, it is definitely a race thing. This doesn't happen downtown but head west of 16th street and you'll hear it.

Once, a guy on the street in Chinatown asked a woman on the street, whom I didn't know, if she wanted to [bad words]. I, maybe a little belligerently, told him to STFU. He said, "Dude, who the f** do you think you are swearing at me?"

In many women's experience (including my own), catcalls are much less likely when we are (or appear to be) in male company. Your own presence biases the observation. That doesn't mean that women aren't hearing themselves be whistled at.

Schrödinger's cat was dead when you looked inside the box; doesn't mean he's been dead all along.

This. Unaccompanied females get a lot more attention. Observer bias matters; so do things like pedestrian density. In NYC it's pretty bad.

Having been in groups of men the reaction to an unaccompanied woman is different to an accompanied woman. Both get looked at, but the former elicits comments among the men. I have rarely been in a situation where I heard catcalls.

Set up an account on a dating site and put up a picture of a moderately attractive woman. Politely decline offers because your busy, the person isn't your type whatever. The replies are astounding - threats, hate, getting called a whore etc.

Or simply ask any woman who has used a dating site what happens. I think women just kind of accept this is normal. Guys aren't aware just how bad it is. I wasn't, until a friend showed me just a few batshit responses.

1. I can't help but notice that people immediately switched to an entirely different topic: cat calls. I think I can safely say this is an implicit recognition that my description of what happens in bars is accurate.
2. It may indeed be very annoying to be constantly reminded that you are always being judged on your bodily attractiveness, but I'm skeptical that cat calling is indicative of any sort of physical threat to a woman, which was the subject of the feminist article Douthat linked to.

I don't mean to delegitimize the sometimes very real threats to women's physical safety, but there seems to be a fairly consistent effort to turn absolutely every unpleasant social behaviour into a threat to women's physical safety or to exaggerate those things that actually are a threat.

…our society has lost sight of a basic human truth: A culture that too tightly binds sex and self-respect is likely, in the long run, to end up with less and less of both.

Funny for a website relating quotes about culture binds too tightly around self-respect, also wrote a book called "Average Is Over."

"men slipping down into the darkness of misogyny most immediately need: not lectures on how they need to respect women as sexual beings, but reasons, despite their lack of sexual experience, to first respect themselves as men."
So misogynistic men are lacking in sexual experience? Ridiculous. Some are, some aren't. But I guess we all know how useful stereotypes are.
Its great to learn that this person thinks lectures may not be an effective intervention technique. First time I'd ever heard that!
this person uses the word "respect" far too often: "respect women", "respect themselves", but then again the whole post is just verbal masturbation.
Rodgers was prescribed antipsychotics. Am I wrong in thinking we can assume that his doctor thought he was psychotic? Sure, its normative, but never-the-less, this guy was an accident waiting to happen. Next year he may have be focused on cats or cab drivers. Psychosis is a loss of 'contact' with reality. Him being hate-filled and misogynic is a little beside the point. My question (and to be honest, trying to reason about the causes and motivation of crazy people seems crazy to me) is: if the police had actually looked at his videos, would they have been legally able to be more aggressive in their approach? Since I have no plans on watching them, nor am I in law enforcement, I guess I'll never know... Wouldn't it be ironic if the extensive NSA surveillance results in fewer of these incidents (we'll drive "the crazies" into the woodwork)? If only they were that rational...

No, the NSA won't help.

" Am I wrong in thinking we can assume that his doctor thought he was psychotic"

Yes. Antipsychotics are prescribed for a number of mental issues

Who wouldn't be confused?

At the same time that pointless and boring sex and sexual identity permeates our culture, we have a concurrent resurrection of moral righteousness in which making out on campus can get you expelled and even the NYT can't fire an editor without being called sexist (though sexist will be replaced with racist if the new editor doesn't work out).

The closest I can get to explaining it all is that sex and sexual identity needs to be everywhere because it's cool to smash the status quo and affront the prudes, but at the same time Blaming The Other for one's ills is now going mainstream as a cultural phenomenon and few things delineate the Other better than gender.

We all on 'shrooms, I guess.

Shut down the thread, we have an answer.

Or maybe sex sells to some people and moral prudery sells to some other people and the two are sold side by side. It can be very confusing if you notice goodness and badness metrics are constantly being inverted, but most people don't seem to notice.

Sex sells best to the prudes. Ayn Rand showed this I'm a throwaway in Atlas shrugged. Not sure where she got it.

In a throwaway. I wonder what the net value of autocorrect is.

reading the douthat column, noticing a trend of conservative punts, him included, trying to rationalize or justify his behavior.. Weird . in 1999, after the Columbine massacre it was the left that was more 'introspective'. A lot of conservative beta males may identify with his stuggles , I sure as hell don't want to be lumped with them.

I don't know if it is left or right, I haven't read much. But I think anyone who has known a number of men over the years remembers a few that were this far from being as dangerous. I know two; one I herded into the emergency ward to prevent him from doing himself harm after a girl broke up with him. He was quite personable, in fact attracted many very nice women, but when the relationship developed he got squirrely and scared them off. He is doing fine now, settled and in a long term relationship. A second I tried to convince a woman to walk away, in vain; he had issues and took a long time to grow up. A mess ensued.

This is a situation where a young man needs a solid family, a good father and a mother who demands respect. The male transition from childhood to adulthood is fraught with danger; a child becomes very strong physically and has a powerful chemical coursing through his body that creates urges that are almost uncontrollable, all during a time when the heavy implications of a relationship require more maturity that you have. It is no wonder that some fall off the edge.

I think most societies have figured out a way or a place for young men. There are appropriate outlets for the raw energy of young men such as sport or hard work, and there are appropriate and not dangerous outlets for the sexual energy. The successful ones recognize the need for tight control and immediate consequences, as well as incentives towards maturity.

I suspect that a Victorian moral structure will end up being imposed eventually. No matter what one thinks of rape statistics, it is too high. The trends will swing from no rules and open encouragement of licentiousness to something far more strict and supervised. College administrators will end up having chaperons on staff.

My mother always said that men are very strong all the while being very fragile. Maybe she was right.

Boys need outlets for their nature through rigorous play, risk-taking (climbing trees, exploring etc) and sports.

Our experience is that schools are clamping down in boys' play.

My oldest son - an intelligent, kind and sensitive kid - was sent to the office several times for climbing a fence, wrestling and throwing blackberries among his friends.

We eventually left for Asia but it continues and I don't think it will end well.

Boys need outlets for their nature through rigorous play, risk-taking (climbing trees, exploring etc) and sports.

Our experience is that schools are clamping down in boys' play.

My oldest son - an intelligent, kind and sensitive kid - was sent to the office several times for climbing a fence, wrestling and throwing blackberries among his friends.

You are exactly right.

Your mom was a wise woman.

I say when we as a culture turned away for ethics and virtue as a measure of ourselves, descending into hedonism and debauchery is inevitable. My advice to men not getting enough validation from women is to consider that in order to be admired, one must be admirable.

Rodgers *did* think he was admirable, that was the foundation for his entire warped view. Of course, his definition of "admirable" was that he drove a BMW, had $300 sunglasses, and was an "extreme gentleman". He raged because he wasn't getting the respect he thought he deserved; especially from hot blondes.

Because, like many Southern Californians, he thinks that you are what you drive. His father did a poor job raising him.

His Father didn't raise him.

Exactly my point, and Ross' point too.

Isn't the failures of modern society the downfall of fatherhood? Men don't know how to be men anymore.

Justin Bieber is a sex symbol. Humphrey Bogart is rolling in his grave.

Maybe his father did a poor job. Sometime average efforts have horrible results. Seen that up close and personal.

Thus my point, when we have men and women who turn away from ethics and virtue, we get hedonism and childishness. If he had worked on cultivating himself, he would have found not only this would attract others, but that he would likely no longer needed their affirmation.

A culture that too tightly binds sex and self-respect is likely, in the long run, to end up with less and less of both.

So end your "marriage" artifice and let it all hang out. It's ridiculous how public intellectuals like yourself promote lifestyle choices in which you'd never indulge.

There's plenty of sex being had, along with a highly inflated sense of esteem. It doesn't take much digging on young people's social media to observe this. It's just that a majority of women want to have sex with only a minority of men. Not that women shouldn't have standards, but there are consequences to having a bunch of sexually frustrated young men around.

" reasons, despite their lack of sexual experience, to first respect themselves as men"

At best, Douthat raises a question but doesn't attempt to answer it.

So how might we answer it?
There's a life of consecration (e.g. Catholic men joining religious orders). But, if we want to be less extreme:
There are various types of a life of service -- military service being one, but not the only one by any means.
There are sports accomplishments, academic accomplishments, the accomplishment of being able to support yourself.

These aren't new. In fact, these are some of the principal ways we get others to respect us, because others aren't likely to know about or care much about our sexual exploits. And "self-respect" and "respected by others" are close cousins.

Boy Scouts, Knights of Columbus, Masons, military, sports, unions, etc....

A man has to earn his place amongst men.

Young Rodger was seeking his place among assholes and faggots. No real men anymore, not even gay ones. Modern Family and Big Bang Theory is what they have to look forward to? I'd shoot people too. Thank God I had two girls.

"military service"

Get sent to die in some desert hell hole bringing democracy to sand naggers that hate you and will never change so Hiliburton gets rich.

Also, being in the military is a great way to end up divorced.

"sports accomplishments"

Part of being a loser like this guy is you don't have the genetics to be particularly good at sports.

"academic accomplishments"

Academia pays subsistence wages and is a useless and politicized wasteland. Go talk to post-docs.

"accomplishment of being able to support yourself"

Unemployed ghetto bangers have the same standard of living as most working class jobs after transfer payments. And I can assure you being some office drone isn't a path to fulfillment or respect.

Wow, that's some densely packed stereotypes talking there.

The problem is NOT SEX, as another commentator has raised earlier. It's status and it's insolvable. Fortunately, those who are driven to kill by feeling slighted in the status contest are no more thaandful. n a h

I will venture that I have more sex than 99% of Americans, as a young, gay gym fanatic and anabolic steroid user living in the downtown of a major city. However, no matter how much sex I get, I still fly into white hot rages whenever I am reminded of my lowly position as a business analyst -- the white collar equivalent of a mudlark, a truly ignominious job. Just this week, I have thrown a laptop out the window like a frisbee, smashed up a beautiful Tiffany lamp, and kicked a hole through the wall after fairly innocuous conversations with friends, when the subject of careers came up. Don't worry folks, only inanimate objects need fear me.

It's maddening because YOU are constantly reminded of how everyone is doing better than you (whether they truly are or not doesn't matter) -- and it is your fault that for being such a loser. I will freely admit that I zigged when I should have zagged, which is why I am where I am. At the moment, I am making a last ditch desperation play, and heading out to North Dakota. At least there I won't be passive-aggressively 'coached' on my performance by Boomer bosses after turning in a burn-down chart five minutes AFTER the contractually mandated 5 PM deadline.

Make that HANDFUL above. Damn smartphone!

Also, you're on steroids

Wow. We have a social hypothesis. Steroids make you extra competitive so you keep using steroids.

Jeez, thinking back I'm up to at least ten fights with basically strangers, none of which I instigated. Forgive me if some women get a few clumsy compliments from these clowns!

Dear women, don't feed the trolls! And don't have their kids!!!!

I agree, very thoughtful sentences, I'll go and read the article.

The architects of the post-war world figured they could solve a lot of problems by annoucing that all people had a right to various things. They even wrote up a list of them and forwarded it to Santa Claus. I have never thought this was a very productive way of looking at things, but maybe I've just been a Grinch, letting every one else have all the fun. Therefore: I declare sex a human right. I mean they already did this for the internet, which is mainly used for when an individual isn't getting laid anyway.

Conservatives on sexuality have not been real popular. This causes them to get all Straussian. Who knows what Douthat means. Men should be more comfortable with celibacy? Maybe Rodgers would be better off as a priest?

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