Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph and Randomness in Dating

I recently watched Wreck-It Ralph. That movie is an attempt by Disney to cash in on the recent craze about all things "retro", and of course it has to conform to mainstream media gender stereotypes. There was one rather surprising scene in it that highlights realities in dating, which I will expand upon further down.

Let me briefly introduce the main characters:

  • Wreck-It Ralph: A humanoid version of the gorilla in the original Donkey Kong video game. Fat, slow, and dimwitted.
  • Fix-It Felix: A rough analogue to Mario in Donkey Kong. He's very short, thin, and has a slavish sense of duty.
  • Vanellope von Schweetz: Female support cast: creative, witty, and resourceful.
  • Tamora Jean Calhoun: The lead character in the Call of Duty parody Hero's Duty. She's the typical "strong female character". Of course, without her, the male leads would achieve nothing. I mean, just look at this:

If this isn't a complete reversal of gender roles, then I wouldn't know what is.

The most interesting part of the movie, for me, was the following scene, which depicts a facet of female behavior that doesn't seem to be widely acknowledged.  Here's the clip:

To summarize, the doofus hero Fix-It Felix says to the tough yet hyperfeminine Tamora that she is "one dynamite gal". This reminds her of her adonis-like ex-husband who used to say those very words to her. She then gets pissed and tells Fix-It Felix to get out of the space ship. Expressed more abstractly, the pattern is as follows:

1. Guy says something random
2. ???
3. Girl does something completely unexpected

The missing step in 2) isn't just a reference to an Internet meme based on South Park. Instead, it refers to the underlying logical structure. View 3) as the conclusion and 1) as the premise. However, to a sane person, there must be something missing because otherwise you can't really explain the reaction. Let's now talk about the missing part. First, you have to keep in mind that the view girls have of guys is often nothing more than an amalgamation of previous relationships and idealized notions taken from movies, magazines or, in rare cases, books. This is highly irrational, but what's more irrational is that those phantasies then guide their behavior. It can be good or bad for you, which I'll illustrate via a couple of examples.

Here's a relatively common one: The girl asks you about your zodiac sign. You only want to get laid so this sign of stupidity doesn't make you walk off right away, and you say it's X. It's just so happens that it's your lucky day and X is also the zodiac sign of the guy with the biggest cock she's ever had in her. Suddenly she thinks of that and she likes you a little bit better. For her, the following logical inference might be entirely plausible, even if you spelled it out for her:

1. That guy's zodiac sign was X and he had a huge cock.
2. Your zodiac sign is X.
3. You've got to have a huge cock.

However, it could have gone a lot worse. You may not just have the wrong zodiac sign. Imagine you happened to have the same first name as the most recent guy who pumped and dumped her. She will invariably be reminded of that and may associate all her negative emotions with you. I once had a woman ask me, coyly, whether I intend to just fuck and leave her. I laughed and asked what she meant, and then she said I had a name quite similar to some guy she recently met and that some of my antics reminded her of yet another guy. Please note that I had spent at most 15 minutes with her at that point. Really, the stupidity of some people is without bounds. (In her case, the problem, though, was that she was the kind of girl no sane guy would consider for anything serious.)

Being compared to some random guy who fucked her years ago, good or bad, is bad enough. Even worse is when women dream up an image of how men are supposed to be. This is more of an issue with younger, inexperienced women. I'll tell you another of my war stories: I met that 17 or 18 year old girl in London. She lived further off, and one fine day her parents weren't home, so she asked me to drop by. She met me at the station, and on the way back to her place she said that the fridge was empty and wondered whether I'd like to grab a bite to eat somewhere. She seemed oblivious to the fact that it's possible to buy food at the supermarket and prepare it herself, so we went to some pub instead.

Eventually it was time to pay, and I pulled out my wallet. The food wasn't particularly expensive, even on a student budget, so I asked her whether I should pay for her. She declined, so I said, "Sure." and put some money on the table, and so did she. My share was slightly larger. The waiter came, I tipped him. I got 2 pounds in return, flipped one coin over to her, and kept the other for myself. So far this was completely unremarkable, and something I would normally have forgotten. However, without knowing it, I saw myself at the receiving end of a shitstorm, and this little girl tried to educate me on how this interaction should have gone, and how a "real gentleman" should have behaved.

This was the script she had expected:
- I should either have paid for all of it myself without saying anything (This doesn't agree with my perception of social customs since it wasn't me who suggested eating there) or I should have engaged in the following ritual:
a) Asking whether I should pay for her
b) Let her decline
c) Insist on paying anyway, "because that's what men do"

Do you know what the "absolute worst thing" was? That I tipped the waiter with her money. Apparently the very least a gentleman could do is covering her share of the tip. (This reminded me ever so slightly of one time when I was brunching with a friend and two girl from school. They ordered one item after another, and at the end they wanted the four of us to all "share the bill equally".) Eventually it emerged that she had seen a scene like that in some TV show or movie, and her fantasy was that some "real gentleman" would treat her "like a lady" and "like on TV".

You think this is crazy? Wait, because I've got another one for you, this time not featuring a teenager but a woman in her late 20s. I was the same age in both scenarios. Well, what had happened in that case was that she reacted offended when I wanted to pay my share of the bill. The dynamics were quite different because she had a pretty decent job and I was basically constantly broke.  She said that my actions were "demeaning", and that it said a lot about me that I wanted to pay for my part even though I had no money. It seemed no matter what I do, I'll always be a sexist pig.

Please don't view this post as an incoherent rant, though. The point of those examples is simply that you have no idea about her history with guys or her values, and the often irrational conclusions about life and men she has drawn for herself. It's impossible to plan for those contingencies. Some girls are a bit more rational than others, but if you spend enough time with a girl, you are almost guaranteed to end up in a situation where you'll ask herself what the fuck just happened. Instead of planning for all kinds of contingencies, just present a side of yourself you're comfortable with. However, if you meet enough women you're almost guaranteed to end up in a situation that may remind you of "Fix-It Felix".

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Interesting you bring this up. I was thinking about random female reactions recently in connection with a realization I had. In the entire history of mankind it seems that female choice played a negligible role in mating. In pre-historic times it was simply the biggest and strongest male who just took the woman, and in historic times marriage was almost universally arranged by parents.

    This means it's unlikely that women evolved to have strong independent preferences for any specific kind of man but instead, in the absence of a strong inner push, have to rely on external social cues.

    How else do you explain the apparent random preferences of females as well as the wide divergence of types females like in different cultures? The most striking example is the fact than in some Asian countries nerdy, bespeckled, frail Chinese are most sought after while in America these kinds of men are least liked.

    I think the random element, the chaotic and unpredictable element in female behavior that poets and writers have noted for centuries if not millenia is something final, basic, and irreducible whether or not my little evolutionary psychology theory above is at all credible, and I myself am hugely skeptical of the entire field of evolutionary psychology.

    But for a long time I have thought something was fundamentally wrong with attempts to come up with a coherent theory of female mating behavior. Guys like Alek Novy and the now defunct crew made valiant and heroci efforts in this line and came up with some very good theories that probably are somewhat true, but the more women I meet the more convinced I get that there is an irreducible element of chaos and unpredictability in female behavior. Once I had that insight it dovetailed nicely, I realized, with what poets have been saying about women for centuries, and with the facts of our evolutionary history as I understand where female choice played a tiny role, if any role at all.

    In any event the random element in female behavior is very real whatever the reason.

  2. Haha, finally another post from you..

    yeah i recognized myself in the very same position too often back in 2012...

    i used to meet a larger number of women and, while experimenting, i had the weirdest incidents with the paying thing, just like you.

    One was pissed that i didn't pay her salad (4 bucks, but i read in a pua forum prior to this, that i shouldn't pay) and the evening was basically ruined... (she still went to some private school for like 500 bucks per month?)

    I've had several more of theses incidents. One chicks was, for example, pissed when i moved her in some student bar (cheap looking, but i'm a student) near my appartement. (she expected something expensive, i guess)

    Finally, i stopped going out with chicks mostly, so that i meet them usually for a walk or something.
    I stick to the rules from this guy "boy toy", who basically says he justs moves them in his crib, no date/drink bs.

    Chicks are like a random walk.

    1. I like the "random walk" analogy.

      What Boy Toy says makes a lot of sense, at least to minimize randomness at the beginning. However, plenty of women keep up a facade, which they will only remove once they think you're committed to them, at whatever low level that may be. Therefore you'll delay seeing her crazy side, but if you keep seeing her you won't be able to avoid it. Yours is a great strategy for one-night stands or very short-term flings, though.

  3. Worst piece of keyboard jockeying I've seen in a while. Mental masturbation hell.

    1. Oh come on Roissy has posts that are way worse then that :D

  4. This was a pretty good post. When I use to read the PUA stuff and something totally different happened from what they said would happen I would literally stand there dumbfounded and be like "what the hell just happened?" What you describe here is the truth. Plain and simple. You have no control over other people regardless of what PUA's say. All you can do is present yourself as an attractive man if their preconceived ideas don't mesh with your beliefs than you need to move the heck on.

  5. Good post. The funny thing is that women will very often exhibit completely random and irrational behavior even without you having actually said or done anything at all. A very common example is a woman being totally into you one moment, and then the next time you call or message, she is suddenly icecold. For guys getting into pick-up, this seemingly random behavior can be very frustrating, and they spend days analyzing what they could have done wrong, when the truth is that there may be a million possible reasons for her sudden change of heart, many of which are completely outside of your own control. Simply accept that "randomness in dating" is part of the game. With experience, you learn to not place too much importance on a given woman before having actually fucked her, knowing all too well that a lot can happen and go wrong before you have sealed the deal...

  6. I would really love to hear an analysis of "Dredd" from you. Especially your thoughts about the two main female characters. :)

    1. Dredd was a pretty entertaining movie. The strong female leads were bullshit, though. The mere thought that a frail woman could run an organization of criminals is absurd, and so is the thought that some other frail woman could play the role of a super-tough cop. I think this focus on "strong female characters" is just a poor attempt of the movie industry to broaden their audience, not realizing that they alienate the people who would flock to their movies. There just aren't many women who are interested in that kind of movies, just as there are only very few men who manage to sit through some romantic comedy. However, if I have to endure "strong female characters" in action movies, then why can't Hollywood give me strong male characters in romantic comedies instead of those laughable wimps.

    2. Thank you, Aaron. While this is certainly true, I could watch the whole movie without any cognitive dissonance induced by the female characters. The viewer was spared from any borderline or narcissistic personality disorder portrayed by the female actors (Compare for example Lena Headey in "Terminator", the series, and "Dredd"; you get an urge to kill yourself after watching the first 5 episodes or so of the former.). This made the movie really entertaining to or even beyond the level of "The Raid".
      Your point about "strong female characters" may be true since a lot of feminists seem to have enjoyed the movie, judging from different reviews on the internet, though a majority disliked the exsessive brutality of some of the slo-mo scenes. Can you recommend a movie you liked where the male/female-balance is actually good?

    3. I'm not sure a good action movie needs to have male and female leads. I think that the 80s produced some of the best (Hollywood style) action movies ever. In fact, I can't think of any movie made in the last two decades that would match the first Terminator, the first Rambo, or the original Total Recall.

      If you've got half an hour or so to spare, then check out this thread on the forum where we've gathered a lot of "manly" movies:
      I'm pretty sure it'll be worth your time.

    4. I wasn't particularly looking for an action movie per se, just a movie were you think the male/female-balance is right. I'm just curious and looking for a good movie to enjoy. :)

    5. I don't think women are portrayed particularly realistically in movies, so I can't help you with regards to a movie with a good "male/female balance". There are plenty of recommendations in the thread I linked to. Otherwise, you normally can't go wrong with Pixar pre-Disney. In the last decade or so, thought, I think that TV shows have clearly overtaken movies as a story-telling device. Just look at The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, or Breaking Bad!

  7. Another example of this stupid girl power dynamic is this trailer for Thor. Natalie Portman storms up to the God of Evil and slaps her and he just smiles and takes it and says he likes her sassiness. Give me a break! Instead of making her look tough and badass, which was the desired effect, it just makes the male villain look like a sucker:

    Even worse are all the male fans who seem to think it's a cool scene.

  8. Wow, this was a fantastic post - and man, does it apply to both sexes too - some interactions I've had with men were so similar to shit like that (and I've probably acted this way too). We're obviously far from a 'rational' species.

    I'll disagree with your Dredd comment though; both female characters, despite having obvious strengths, e.g. cunning and ruthlessness for MaMa, psychic-martial arts-sharpshooting abilities for Cassandra, were also shown as having extreme weaknesses as well. For example, the way Dredd cut through MaMa's last stand plan through sheer force was just funny to watch. I was even kinda disappointed at how easily she was dispatched with, initially, but then I thought "how would a woman, even if trained, fare against a trained man in that scenario (which involved close combat) anyway?" and laughed it off. My high expectations were demolished by a decent dose of realism. I digress... :-)

  9. Pixar's new movie, The Good Dinosaur, looks like something you can actually enjoy as a man: I didn't see a single female figure in the whole trailer! :)


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