Monday, August 15, 2011

Desired Objectification

I think I've found one of the things that went wrong between my ex and I. I really want to understand what went wrong because I feel like that will help me with my feeling that something mysterious is wrong with me that will ruin any future relationships.

Recently I've seen a lot of women talking about fantasies involving objectification (esp. dollification), and read this post involving it: Sexual Harassment and Men. A particularly relevant paragraph, quoted in turn from Shakesville, is
It is a conversation I've had before with trans women, with fat cis women, women with noticeable physical disabilities, and with a women who has severe craniofacial deformities-the "I don't want to be treated like a piece of meat or an object or a possession, but because Visible Women are treated like pieces of meat and objects and possessions, the fact that I'm not makes me feel like I'm not even a woman" conversation...
Now, I've always considered myself extraordinarily good at not objectifying women. My recurring fantasies all focus on volition, which kind of rules out objectification. I'm also better than most at not staring, etc. But I'm just now realizing that this was probably one of the major sources of problems between my ex and I.

She used to say to me, "Do you mind if I look at you like a piece of meat?" I always said sure, while trying to hide the fact that the phrase made me kind of uncomfortable. I don't like the idea of being objectified. I think it would be flattering if someone wanted to dollify me, except that it would be insulting to my mind and will that the situation would be improved if they were left out. But the fact she was using that phrase indicates it wasn't an objectionable idea to her.

She told me once that she didn't feel attractive to me. This made no sense to me at the time, because I complimented her all the time. My pet names for her were things like Pretty, Beautiful, Gorgeous. There was the way I'd always run to her when she'd mention she was going to be naked, and tell her how gorgeous she was. And, of course, there was how much I always wanted sex with her.

But, I insisted on her mind and will being involved. Earlier, when I was less desperate, if she wasn't particularly into it, I'd suggest we save it up for later. I was always wanting her to do things involving her mind, like dressing up, playacting, telling me her ideas and fantasies. And it was to the almost total exclusion of wanting to use her body. And I think now that that was a constant insult to her looks. Men are expected to objectify, and lots of (most? nearly all?) women want it under the right circumstances, and I'm pretty sure she was one of them. So, I think always asking for her mind, and never just for her body, made her feel that her body was unattractive, which was of course one of the best possible ways to make sure she didn't want to have sex with me.

I think I'll probably write this up for her in an email and ask her about it; since she felt unattractive, maybe explaining it will help her now. That kind of thing doesn't go away with time all that quickly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being an Asshole through Inordinate Humility

Part of humility is not overrating the degree and quality of one's own talents and gifts; underrating them does not make one more humble. Another part is not overatting the importance or merit of those gifts, or oneself. I'm thinking in terms of people like Wagner, who think their gifts mean they deserve special treatment from the world around them.

Underrating one's gifts is not really humility and can be bad in many ways. For one thing, you may not use them to the fullest. But what I want to talk about is that you may not be sufficiently careful with them.

I know, even deep down, I'm very strong; stronger than I look. At Aikido once, we were practicing a throw that involved taking an opponent's (uke's) legs out from under them; it was a difficult fall we hadn't practiced much, and there were some bad backs and shoulders present, so we were supposed to help ease the uke's fall with the other arm. I simply picked them up, turned them sideways, and set them gently down on the mat. After I did this to my teacher, a muscular six-footer, he said "It's like he's holding a baby isn't it?" If I thought I was weak, if I wasn't careful, if I acted like certain small thin sedentary people of my acquaintance in college, I would really hurt people. I have to know that I'm stronger than they and must act differently.

Deep down, I don't really believe people are attracted to me. Sure, I know it on the surface, but not deep down. So I haven't been, and am not, as careful as I should have been. A small example that hit me recently was when I was at the last Dorian's Parlor, in my tux and tophat, with my hair down and flowing over my shoulders. (I have really nice hair; if I saw it on a woman I'd love it.) Sparkly Girl was saying how sexy I looked, which I took as mostly kindness. Playing along I said, how about if I do my Rudolph Valentino look (source), and demonstrated. The smile fled from her face, she looked down, and said, "Don't do that." And it wasn't because I did it wrong and looked like a serial killer focusing on an intended victim (which you totally do if you try this and miss.) She actually found me so attractive that it bothered her. And I find that very hard to assimilate. I know it, but I don't really believe it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that this is not the fault of women in general or even my exes in specific. I've had this problem for a long time, and while it was reinforced by the way my marriages have gone wrong, it was not created that way. Lots of women have been very kind in terms of trying to help me over this; but it's not so easy. (Some other time I'll talk a bit about what I'm actually thinking when complimented, and why it doesn't convince me of what the more logical level of my brain thinks is true.)

It's not just attractiveness; I don't think that's even the biggest part. I also don't think anyone can love me once they get to know me well enough. The 'not attractive' issue is only part of it. This is such a standard component of bad self-image that I don't think it needs further discussion here.

I think this "no one can be attracted to me or love me" may be part of the reason that some PUA types can act like assholes without having started out as one. How can you possibly break a woman's heart if she can't possibly really care about what you think or do? I'm not a PUA type, and I certainly try to be careful not to hurt anyone, but my instincts are wrong in this. When I'm trying not to hurt anyone, I'm mostly trying to make sure they know me and my flaws so they won't build their hopes around an imaginary better me and have them dashed by getting to know me. Instead of thinking they might actually like me and build up hopes for a permanent attachment. Actually I encourage that kind of hurt in a bunch of unintentional ways, like by being full of compliments. But I've realized there isn't any possibility of a permanent attachment because to me, any love a woman shows me is just showing she doesn't understand me yet. How can I allow myself to fall in love with someone that I'm sure is going to reject me?

That is the current #1 reason that I am no longer and should not be dating.


Here are four videos I've seen recently that show men as attractive and desirable, all by female artists.
Kate Ryan - Libertine
Nadia Ali - Fantasy (Album Edit) (Has a contortionist!)
Nadia Ali - Fantasy (Morgan Page Remix) (Nadia Ali carries more than her share with two videos for one song, and with her lyrics in general)
Jewel - What's Simple is True

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another cheering up song.

There is something about this one that always makes me feel better, especially when I'm feeling down on myself. Hope it'll do the same for you.

Motorhead-I Got Mine

I think it's something in the unapologetic way that Lemmy growls,
It's only me babe
It's only me
Refuse disposal refugee

This Is Ponderous

A lot of the people I know online, including me, have been kind of depressed recently. To counter that a bit, I give you a fan-created video for This Is Ponderous by 2NU. Hope it cheers you up!

Monday, August 1, 2011

How my ex felt

Hmm, I think this song might sum up what my ex felt.

Matt Cerf ft. Jaren - Let Me Breathe (Noel Sanger & Shawn Mitiska Mix)
I woke up next to you today
Knowing you had to leave forever
We cannot continue this way
I see in your face the eyes of a stranger

Like a hidden power…dormant
My future is trapped inside of me
For all those years I have been patient
With you I cannot set it free

Let me breathe
I’m suffocating I can’t take it
Let me breathe
I’m afraid that I won’t make it

Let me…

Let me breathe
I’m suffocating I can’t take it
Let me breathe
I’m afraid that I won’t make it

One thing I'm not is controlling, which one might infer from the suffocating/with you I cannot set it free. But I think she felt that way more because of the commitment, and her unhappiness with it. Makes it a very sad song for me. To compound it, Jaren, the blonde woman in the stills, is the one who looks a lot like my ex.

Since I realized I really wasn't sufficiently over her, I've kind of been wallowing in it to try to get all the way over it. It's not helping. I think I'm underutilizing my valuable powers of denial and repression at this stage; they're there for a reason.