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Hey guys, been a while since I’ve posted and a lot has changed. Specifically, I ended a long term relationship with my beautiful ex and have been riding the back of an amazing transformation. I honestly hope that my ex is growing as a person because I am and that’s what I wanted for her.

Now down to the nitty gritty. It came to my attention recently that there’s a lot of social stigma surrounding the concept of “Game”. For those that don’t know, that refers specifically to the art of picking up girls. While I can understand the social construct that would lead one to such a conclusion, I would also like to remind people that they are not in a position to judge anything that they have zero experience or knowledge of. While there are parts of “Game” that I disagree with, I have to say there is a concept that I learned from it that has helped me grow as a person. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it Game, although people refer to it as “inner-game”.

Now I’m a competitive person by nature and I strive for perfection because that is my code. As a result, I’m a bit hesitant revealing things that could comparatively make me lose my edge. However, I am not apathetic to the plights of the common man and am willing to give you this much. Inner-game is basically improving yourself. By becoming an awesome version of yourself, you will naturally attract more people (girls included). This is not menacing, degrading or negative in any way. It should be celebrated. But unfortunately, society has this stupid concept that you should always “be yourself”, and by that logic self-improvement is fake and frowned upon. I think this is the most self-destructive, redundant and idiotic thing I’ve heard in a while.

Be yourself.

A redundant, meaningless tautology. You can only ever be yourself. There is no possible way to be somebody else. Think about it, if you are the kind of person to try and strengthen your weaknesses, you are not “being somebody else” by trying to change, you are displaying a characteristic of your existing personality. A damned fine characteristic I might add.

The human condition is not so simple that you can only ever be one thing. You have your good days and bad days, you have multiple emotional states, you have interests, joys, fears, and different levels of energy. Self-improvement/inner-game is bringing out the best version of you. You are always yourself. You should just try to be the best that you can be.

I’ve even heard people giving “advice” say that “You’re not that kind of person so don’t try”. How defeatist is that? What they’re saying is “I don’t believe you can achieve any kind of progress to your life condition so just give up”. There could even be some tall-poppy syndrome where people are jealous of your potential to surpass them and try to hold you back. I won’t get into that – let’s just assume everyone has each other’s best interests in mind.

Specifically to the topic of attracting girls – are you willing to accept the fact that there are only a certain, predetermined few girls in the world that will ever like you, and that it’s futile to try and get a girl who is not on that list? If you’re willing to give up and accept this bleak philosophy on life, I have news for you. Your inner-game is weak and you are an unattractive person. Can you honestly say you believe somebody who has that low self-esteem will ever be attractive to a woman? There’s a reason why everyone will tell you to be confident.

Be confident.

This advice clashes with the philosophy of “be yourself” and that’s why most people fail at being confident. It’s “fake” because they’re just going through the actions because they heard they should. No, true confidence is the unshakable certainty in yourself that you can only achieve after dedicating your life to self-improvement. Until you understand yourself, accept yourself and try to better yourself, you are not confident. You are just acting. Women are emotionally sensitive creatures – they will feel the insincerity of your acting. “Fake it ‘till you make it” but if you ever get into a room with a truly confident man, you will realise that it’s a completely different level.

She only likes X-type guys, give up.

A girl does not like a guy because he is a gym junkie, or because he is a workaholic or because he is a gangster. Those are so superficial that they have nothing to do with the person themself. What women are attractive to is the characteristics that are associated with that kind of person. A gym junkie typically has a good looking body, puts hard work into looking good and is passionate about health and life. That is attractive. A workaholic has career potential, a sense of responsibility and the ability to shoulder burdens. That is attractive. A gangster is confident, takes control of the situation and is wild and unpredictable. That is attractive.

Get the gist? Anybody who tells you to give up has no idea what they are talking about. Is there any emotion that literally does not exist in you? I doubt it. We are all capable of feeling confident, responsible, energetic and humorous. We just display these emotions in different levels depending on our surroundings. Again, self-improvement is about having control over these emotions so you can display them in the best way that you can, given your situation.

This stuff doesn’t work on girls.

A friend once told me “if you want to catch a fish, you ask the fisherman not the fish”. I agree to some extent. I think a girl’s opinion can be useful for trying to understand the emotions behind a response but her idea of what you should do is coloured greatly by social paradigm, personal expectations and conflicting emotions.

But let’s simplify this. It doesn’t work on girls? Being the most awesome version of yourself doesn’t work? Then what – you be the lamest version of yourself?

Nope. Doesn’t work that way. You will never get 100% of what you want but how can you possibly think being the best you can possibly be will have a negative impact on your attractiveness?

What happens when you get the girl? Do you just go back to being normal?

That’s the whole point of self-improvement. Your “normal” is not the same normal as it was before you improved yourself. You are literally a more attractive person now because you have worked on yourself to be that person.

Your interactions can be different but you are and always have been yourself. The best version of yourself. The “strongest version of yourself” as Elliott Hulse would say.

There are two types of people when it comes to self-improvement. Those that wish and those that chase. Not everyone who chases their goal will reach it. In fact, when you set a goal like mine (perfection – literally) you set it knowing full well that you cannot achieve it. I have smaller, more realistic goals for sure but my code is perfection because I can imagine nothing better that I can be and I do not want to live life under a ceiling that I could potentially reach and stop growing.

Those that wish but do not chase get nowhere.

So what kind of person are you going to be? The one who doesn’t improve and tries to teach people they shouldn’t try to improve either? Or the one who adds meaning, vibrancy and energy to their life by trying to improve?

The end result is always a better version of yourself, but the very act of chasing it will earn my respect, and the respect of those who are insightful enough to see what you are doing. Some people will only see the end result. They will be haters until you achieve your goals. Then they will be suck ups. Don’t falter in the face of adversity. Focus on speeding past it.

It’s not about anyone except you. Be the best version of yourself.

Contrary to what many of you may be thinking, this is neither a movie review nor an analysis of the text. No, I’ve analysed The Great Gatsby enough for a life time during my years as an English tutor as the text was quite a popular choice for school curricula.

No, this is not an analysis. It is a confession. A reflection. A soliloquy. As I have no idea how long my pensive mood will last, I will pick my brain in as orderly a fashion as I can muster and let this post flow where it will.

Confession. I cried twice in this movie. There is still social stigma against a man displaying tears but I am confident enough in my masculinity to admit it proudly. It has been said that just because a man does not show emotion does not mean he does not feel. I will go one further to say that men of a certain calibre feel more – so strongly that their emotion enters the realm of the profound.

Something that few people can appreciate is that when I say I cried, it was not a ‘boohoo, waaah’ kind of sobbing cry. It was a deep ache of sadness that constricted my throat and pierced down into my heart. It was the kind of pain that made my eyes water until I blinked, and a single tear rolled down my left cheek. Profound and meaningful. What meaning you say?

Reflection. Why did I cry? There must be meaning for a man to shed profound tears. It was not the movie. Baz Luhrmann’s adaption of the classic text was one that approached from an easy angle. He played the text as a love story – which it was – but neglected many of the other morals and themes of the original text. However, I do not fault him in his choice and I applaud him for his interpretation. The movie was a writhing current of human emotion, and I think this is important in a way you will soon understand. Overall, I recommend the movie, but do not expect too much from it. Perhaps it was because I already knew what was going to happen, but honestly, the movie had only two moments in it that really struck a chord with me.

So what was it? Why did I feel so stricken by these two moments in the movie? The line (loosely quoted) that started this was first spoken by Jordan Baker.

Coincidence? No, don’t you get it? Gatsby bought this house on purpose so that he could be close to her. He threw these parties hoping that one day she would wander in. Everything he’s done is for her.

I cried because I remembered a time where I too loved so strongly and so innocently. It also reminded me that I can no longer love like that anymore. Finally, it personified a struggle that I feel that only men can understand (I’m generalising here but it’s mostly true).

Soliloquy. Now, because of the kind of person I am, I must apply my knowledge to this perplexing rush of feeling I have experienced. There is so much to say and I don’t really know where to begin. I suppose I shall start by qualifying my last statement.

The struggle that only men can understand is a pursuit of perfection. Again, I do not wish to sound misogynistic – I am generalising – but this is an emotion more strongly felt by men than women. Why? Some might attribute it to pride. I think pride plays a large role, and we all know that men are prideful creatures. But there’s more, and this is something I feel as though I always knew but only now bothered to think on.

Carraway describes Gatsby as:

The single most hopeful person I have ever met, and will likely ever meet.

Why? An odd compliment to give to someone. Unless you thought (mistakenly) that he was an optimist. No, it has nothing to do with that. Carraway is describing the struggle I have mentioned – the pursuit of perfection. Gatsby’s hopes were to accomplish a dream, and his dream was so grand, precise and perfect that to chase it could only be described as exceedingly hopeful. In essence, Gatsby was chasing perfection. He built himself from the ground up, from absolutely nothing to an icon of the city. He did it for a woman, yes. Daisy was a large part of his motivation, but there was more.

The movie diverges a bit from the book at this point by adding  some embellishments to Gatsby’s mysterious past, but the essence of it is that Gatsby met Daisy and they fell in love. Real, innocent and pure love. But she could not be with him because he was penniless, something that he knew at the time but she did not.

So Gatsby forged a perfect dream  and obsessed over it. He overcame incredible things to  make himself “good enough” to be with her.  That’s important, remember that.

As a man, I have always dreamed of success and wealth. But why? Again, generalising, but men are often more ambitious, more academic and more driven to wealth and success. This stems, in part, from patriarchal values (which is why in our liberated world, women are increasingly becoming successful) but I think it goes further back than that. In short, it is evolutionary. Why do men strive for perfection? For success? To breed.

Love is a social construct. We will not get far in discussion unless we accept this. There is no room for Disney romance in here – in a purely animalistic sense, love does not exist. However, that does not mean it is not real. But why do we do what we do? Because  only the best of men could mate in the wild and this was our first order imperative – and still is. Men mate so that the species thrives, and to be able to mate requires success. We now live in a time where it is no longer just physical success that determines which men get to mate, but nevertheless success in something is required.

I have heard it said “Don’t chase women, chase the money and the women will come.” I would correct that to “Chase success” because success is not limited to just money, but if you become the best at anything worth being the best at, you will attract attention and women.

So this explains the impulse in men that makes them more likely to be ambitious and pursue perfection, but what about the lazy ones that don’t? Men need a catalyst. We’re designed to react, like a chemical compound, but we need a catalyst to cause that reaction. For many men, if not all, the strongest catalyst is love.

Love can be for many things. Love of country. Love of family. Love of life. But for those of us that are lucky (or perhaps cursed), it is love of a woman that really sets off the explosions. Gatsby had always dreamed of success but it took Daisy to make him achieve it. And personally, I know that I was a lazy, unmotivated slob back in my younger days. It took the unbearable thought of someone more successful than me stealing away my love to really make me work for success. What drove me to almost obsess about my “plan” for the future was her. I wanted to be able to support her, keep her happy, keep her attracted and just … keep her. But this is not as naive as it sounds. I do not believe in “the one” but I do believe in reactions. People cause reactions in each other all the time, some for better and some for worse. She has caused the best reaction in me out of all the girls I have been with. Everything I do, I do for her.

Now, why is this a struggle? Why did I cry over this? Because I feel a great deal of inequality in the plight of men compared to that of women. And now feminists are going to be crying for my blood, but that’s not the point. I am not talking about social disparity of genders. I am talking about love. I believe love should be equal, but I also know now that such an idea is just fantasy. Very few organic things in the universe are capable of being equal – if any. I know for a fact that I put more into our relationship than my partner does, and that is no fault of hers. It is no fault of anyone’s. It just the struggle of a man, and it is why I felt so connected to Gatsby’s struggle. Everything he did was for her, and all she did was:

smash up things and creatures and then retreated back into her money, or her vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept her together, and let other people clean up the mess.

Biological evolution will explain why we men struggle like this. As we are shaped by social constructs, love represents the epitome of our evolutionary goal. It is why we struggle. And as Daisy says:

The best thing a girl can be in this world is a beautiful fool.

Because once you are no longer a fool, you would understand the suffering we go through and would be dragged into it too.

One last thing to qualify – I said I also cried because I know I can never love like that again. There is a saying amongst men that the first girl to break your heart is the one that changes you and turns you into a man. If there isn’t such a saying, there is now because I say it a lot. And it’s true.

Women are wretched things that love carelessly and dangerously. You are all free to dispute me on this but there will never be a scientific or statistical representation confirming either claim. However, I say from my own opinion, vast wealth of knowledge and empirical data (I’m trying to be humble here) that men are the ones that truly fall in love. 

Ask a woman what the top 10 traits of an ideal guy are. I guarantee the majority of women will mention something external to the man – money, belongings or status. Women are not satisfied with just the person, they want more. They always want more. Now ask the same thing of a guy. What are the top 10 traits of your ideal woman? I guarantee the majority of guys will only say things internal to the woman. They love the person. Men do not care about what is around her, what she belongs to or what she owns. Men love the person herself. 

Again, I am not being misogynistic. I am being honest. I hold none of this against either men or women – this is simply reality. But the fact is, almost all guys will love as purely as Gatsby until they’ve had their hearts broken.

When you have your heart broken by a girl it’s not something you ever forget. It changes you profoundly. To be more of a “jerk”. More selfish. More cynical. More jaded. Or as I like to see it, more lucid. You see reality more clearly. It is not worth loving that purely because humans are not made to handle something that pure. To protect yourself, it is more wise to keep yourself at an arms-length to every girl and question whether “the one” is even real.

I cannot ever love like Gatsby again, because I know better. But at times I wish I still could. 

Nevertheless, that does not diminish “real” love. Real love is not pure because we taint it just by being human. But it is no less valid and no less strong than pure love. It is merely different.

Real love is a mix of emotions. I told you this was important. It is not ideal like Gatsby’s. Real love is pain and happiness. Greed and selflessness. Because humans have too many emotions for pure love to ever exist. But how do you know it’s love then? I mentioned earlier that Gatsby was qualifying himself to Daisy. He did not return to her right after the war because he was penniless, and he put so much emphasis on his successes when meeting both Nick and Daisy that it was blaringly obvious that he needed them to understand that he was now qualified enough to be with her. War hero. Oxford man. Wealthy. Famous. He needed these things for Daisy. Partly because she would not have accepted him as just a penniless suitor, but partly because he needed himself to be good enough before he would be happy chasing her. I think part of love is when you change for a woman.

Don’t get me wrong. Women always try to change their men. That’s wrong and a fruitless endeavour. No, when the man wants to change. When he willingly and obsessively chases perfection to qualify himself, that’s love.

There’s more though. This pursuit of perfection becomes inseparable to us men. We can lose the woman but still chase the dream because that dream has already become a symbol of our love. Women, you are not that special – to put it harshly. Don’t make us do all the work. A driven, obsessed man will leave you in the dust and still chase his dream because his dream will have a woman in it but it doesn’t have to be you. If this sounds harsh or unfair to you, then you are most likely the kind of woman that does not pull her weight in a relationship. Relationships are hard work, so when you make the man do all the work and he realises that he can do all the work, you better be careful because he might realise that he can leave you behind.

Unfortunately, this works both ways. Gatsby had a chance to be with Daisy. He could have avoided everything but his obsession and hopefulness ruined him. Daisy gave him a chance to run away together. But he could not accept. He had worked too hard for everything. His dream was bigger than just her, though she was the centrepiece. He needed his success, his wealth and his status with Daisy, and could not bear the thought of separating them. Because they were all his dream.

You can never be anything but yourself, but there are many aspects to the human psyche. You can be vastly different but still be you. But which you do you want to be?

If Gatsby’s missed opportunity says anything, it is that he lost sight of his original goal. He changed to much and forgot what was really important.

In his younger days, he hesitated when he approached Daisy because he knew that if he fell in love with her, he would feel wed to her. He could not do that because that would forever change his destiny – and he was destined for greater things. Later, he returns with only one piece missing from his dream but in the end, she smashes it all.

There is a message here that could be slightly misogynistic. I consider it mostly true. Women are a huge distraction that can limit your potential. But at the same time, they can cause you to reach your potential. That is for you to decide.

But for me, I feel pensive and melancholy because Gatsby was a part of me – and I suspect a part of all men. He was a naïve younger self that loved too purely. A dreamer with too much ambition. And an obsessive pursuer of perfection. These are all parts of me that I can relate to and Gatsby embodies a failure of these endeavours. To me, there is nothing more painful than seeing the purest and strongest of a man’s dreams broken by a woman he loved too much.

I have never seen a cinema as quiet and depressed as when I left after this movie.

But for me, that blinking green light has slipped too far that I cannot reach it. It is but a memory of a time when I dreamed too carelessly and loved too strongly.

 

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Always raining on every holiday that comes by (like how Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus). If it makes you feel any better, I think it’s reductionist to say Valentine’s Day is meaningless because of its history. I simply think it’s important to know more rather than less.

So, we come to Valentine’s Day – a day of roses, chocolates, flings and confessions. Was this always the tradition? Certainly not. Like many holidays, this one has its roots in Christianity.  It was originally a Christian feast to celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Valentine. Unfortunately, the true story behind this holiday is a bit uncertain because there a few Saint Valentines recorded by the Church, all of whom could have been the subject of the original celebration.

As things go, this is the most popular and widely accepted story:

Roman emperor Claudius II had imposed a ban on marriage due to the concept that unmarried men made better soldiers. During this edict, a Christian priest named Valentine married couples in secret within the Christian church, thereby converting them to Christianity. He was sentenced to death upon being caught and was executed on the 14th of February.

A bit darker than the bubbles, rainbows and unicorns you’d expect of such a holiday, right? Most people recount this version of the Valentine’s story but there are two more.

A Christian priest, also by the name of Valentine but a different person to the first story, was jailed for helping Christians (which was a crime in his time and place). He fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and miraculously cured her eyesight. During his imprisonment, he sent her love letters signed “From your Valentine”. Eventually, he converted her father to Christianity (it helps that he magically cured her eyesight), and was later beheaded.

By now you’re probably noticing a huge religious influence behind these stories. The main theme is pretty much the conversion of faith, which is understandable. Many holidays were about that (again, refer to Christmas) and it makes sense for any organisation to require a method by which to spread its influence and popularity. On to the last story.

This one is a bit lacklustre compared to the others. The third Valentinus was a Gnostic teacher in Rome. He rejected the idea of celibacy and argued that marital love was central to Christianity. Gnosticism was later declared a heresy.

I can’t help but think maybe the last Valentine was just horny. I wouldn’t put it past a horny guy to go through a very indirect route to get what he wants. Forgive me for tarnishing his name but it makes me chuckle.

So those are the original stories of Valentine’s Day. Keep in mind, if they appear to be completely unrelated to the modern day equivalent, it’s probably because they are. The holiday itself was not established until almost 200 years after his death (270 CE) when Pope Gelasius the first wanted a holiday to replace the Pagan festivals to the god Lupercus. By establishing a feast for Saint Valentine in 469 CE, Pope Gelasius succeeded in converting many Pagans to Christianity by replacing their old celebrations of love and fertility. Again, the parallels to Christmas are remarkably strong.

In terms of symbols, hearts and chocolate fall very short. Traditionally, Valentine is represented by birds, bearing a sword, restoring sight to a blind girl and being beheaded.

So here we are at the contemporary Valentine’s Day, fussing over all manner of commercial goods. The profit margin for roses triples for a single day and the world’s insulin levels spike dangerously high as we indulge in chocolate. Many frown on this holiday because of that very same commercial aspect to it. Others say it is no special day because they love their partner every day of the year. I agree with both.

However, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be defiant of the holiday. You are “free” every day of the year but you can still celebrate an Independence Day. The holiday itself is only symbolic – it doesn’t mean “I only love you today because today is about love”. In the same way that Dawkins celebrates Christmas, there is nothing wrong with knowing the roots of this holiday being founded in Christian conversion and still celebrating it for what it is today. Symbols only have whatever meaning we give to them. 

To the lonely, I say enjoy tomorrow’s cheap candy prices. Remember, you can only know love if you’ve known what it is like to be alone. When you find somebody, your love will be all the sweeter.

To those who are spending their day with their partners, yes, it is ridiculously commercialised, labelled and expensive, but there’s nothing wrong with joining in the spirit.

To those who have someone but are unable to see them today, just remember, you have another 364 days to try. Valentine’s Day is only a symbol, and a symbol only has whatever meaning you give to it. Make another day special and give it the same meaning. It can be your own, private Valentine’s.

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/02/i-love-my-wife-my-wife-is-dead.html

I love the end of this paragraph:

I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

It must be hard to be a realist but love her so much. His logical mind would refuse to believe in an afterlife or any way to connect with her but his emotional mind would have been weeping.

Do I have anything to say about this? Well, you can take from it what you will. I’ll let the letter speak for itself.

This is an interesting topic that may border on the uncomfortable for many. As much as Disney and Hollywood want to convince you, monogamy was not our natural state of relationship with one another.

There are a number of theories about how monogamy came into existence. I’ll skirt over the moral and ethical details, as they are highly subjective, and just lay out the “facts”.

To being with, I need to clarify that as we are looking back to find the root of monogamy, it no longer becomes “human” monogamy, but rather monogamy as a wider species. To this end, here are a few statistics to keep in mind: monogamy in primates is found in 15% of species compared with about 5% for mammals as a whole (Schaik and Dunbar, 1990). It also invariably involves close spatial association between the members of the pair (sorry guys, long distance is a no-no; more on that another time).

Monogamy in these species did not evolve because males are unable to defend access to more than one female. Hence, it must be related to behavioural services provided by the male which substantially increases the female’s reproductive output.

The major proposal by Schaik and Dunbar is that the services mentioned in the quote above involve protection against predators, defence of an exclusive feeding area, and protection of the female and child against infanticide by other males. This paper is a bit old but keep in mind the main points: protection and food.

Where resources are transferred across generations, social monogamy can be advantageous if partitioning of resources among the offspring of multiple wives causes a depletion of their fitness value and/or if females grant husbands higher fidelity in exchange for exclusive investment of resources in their offspring. This may explain why monogamous marriage prevailed among the historical societies of Eurasia: here, intensive agriculture led to scarcity of land, with depletion in the value of estates through partitioning among multiple heirs.

The major point here is that social monogamy is the outcome of strategic behaviour in regards to the allocation of resources to the next generation (Fortunato and Archetti, 2010). Again, we can see a common theme. Not necessarily food, but resources/wealth (which are essentially the same as food when considering the difference between humans and other animals).

Finally, we have one of the most recent studies done by Sergey Gavrilets at the University of Tennessee (2012). Gavrilets identifies a key trait in all polygamous alpha males: they don’t have to invest in their young because they’ll have plenty of offspring regardless. By comparison, a supportive male (not an alpha, but helps provide food and protection), can also be successful reproductively speaking, but only if they can be certain of their “target” children – otherwise they will be wasting resources on offspring that aren’t their own. Using the complex mathematics of his field (biomathematics), he reconciled a model for the transition from alpha polygamy to our current social paradigm of monogamy (a paradigm that is again turning a bit due to the rambunctious youths).

The crux of the matter? Low-ranking males offered food to females in return for mating opportunities as they had no prospects in physical domination. Obviously, these males were more likely to select faithful females. And think about it, women love material things right? Even gold-diggers will stay faithful (or appear to be) to a lesser male if the promise of wealth is large enough. This evolution into monogamy also signified a change in the concept of what “success” and “power” are. Today, they are more frequently associated with monetary assets than physical prowess.

It has been said, obviously, that Gavrilets’s paper is a bit oversimplified, but hey – spherical chickens in a vacuum (science joke; click the link for an explanation).

So what does this mean? Women are shallow? Well, yeah, but it’s in their nature. That’s how they evolved. No, seriously though, you can take away whatever you want from this information. Whether you hold patriarchal views or the more radical “modern” views, these are just scientific approaches to a social phenomenon. Biologically and evolutionarily speaking, I understand polygamy and the need to sleep around. I try not to judge people for it either, and consider myself quite open minded. Personally, though, in terms of a long-term partner I’m willing to really invest in, I’d prefer a faithful girl. Maybe that strips me of an alpha male status, but that’s how we appear to have evolved. Well, as it stands I probably have more physical prowess than any monetary assets so …

Chocolate is one of those clichés we often see in movies as the go-to food for heartbroken women, but how much truth is behind this response? A lot more than one might think.

Chocolate is a psychoactive/psychotropic food containing more than 500 natural chemical compounds, many of which are categorised as mood and pleasure increasing. A psychoactive compound is one that crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts on the central nervous system where it affects brain function. There are a variety of chemical substances in chocolate. Essentially, the ingestion of chocolate replicates good feelings that can imitate those of happiness and even falling in love. Interestingly, over 52% of women in the UK stated that they preferred chocolate over sex.

Phenylethylamine:

This chemical is released by the brain when falling in love, and is probably the biggest contributor to chocolate making us feel good. It releases dopamine (the happy chemical) and endorphins into our pleasure centres and peaks during orgasm. It helps mediate feelings of attraction, excitement and euphoria.

Tryptophan:

This is an essential amino acid that enhances serotonin function which helps diminish anxiety.

Endorphin:

A lot of people should be familiar with this chemical – it makes you feel good and warm. Endorphins reduce sensitivity to pain and are the body’s endogenous opiates.

Anandamide:

This chemical is an endogenous cannabinoid found in the brain. This can have a small effect of promoting a feeling of well-being. The presence of N-oleolethanolamine and N-linoleoylethanolamine also inhibit the metabolism of anandamide, prolonging the feeling.

Theobromine and caffeine:

We all know the effects of caffeine – it stimulates the central nervous system, increases blood flow to the brain, and increases serotonin production. All that basically amounts to increased alertness. It’s worth noting that there is only a very small amount of caffeine in chocolate though – much less than what you’d get from other sources (coffee, etc.).

Theobromine is a chemical cousin to caffeine and is found in greater concentrations in darker chocolate. Theobromine has similar effects to caffeine, to a much smaller degree, but is also a cardiac stimulant. It has been shown to reduce coughing and is also thought to pay a role in regulating moods.

Aggregate effect:

Binge eating chocolate can be explained by the above effects. Psychologically, people attribute a cause and effect relationship between chocolate and feelings of anguish, in which chocolate appears to make the consumer feel better. This is not a placebo effect (as demonstrated by the chemicals above), and thus makes the subconscious association stronger – resulting in cravings when things are going bad. However, it’s common knowledge that binge eating chocolate will lead to obesity, causing self-esteem and image problems, as well as inhibited production of certain chemicals such as dopamine, and basically ending up in feeling worse for a lot longer, so let’s take a look at the health issues of chocolate.

Health:

Surprisingly, chocolate is good for your health. The distinction we have to make here is the type of chocolate you’re eating. Dark chocolate is good for you. It can lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation, preventing the formation of blood clots and arteriosclerosis. We also know from above that chocolate contains phenylethylamine, releasing endorphins and dopamine. It also helps control blood sugar by reducing insulin resistance and is full of antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals (potassium, copper, magnesium and iron).

Modern day chocolate dates back to the addition of triglyceride cocoa butter by Swiss confectioner Rodolphe Lindt in 1879. Since then, chocolate has been made sweeter and sweeter so that the concentration of cocoa is more and more diluted. It’s this chocolate that’s bad for you – the one that’s basically just sugar and cream. White chocolate, specifically, has no cocoa solids in it at all. Milk chocolate (obviously) has milk (or condensed milk) in it and a lower cocoa percentage.

Given the health benefits, I would advise adding darker chocolates to your diet in moderate amounts. Personally, around 60% cocoa and I can still enjoy the sweetness of chocolate. Any higher and it’s too bitter for me. I’ve stayed away from white chocolate for a long time now but I eat a lot of dark and milk chocolate, even during cutting when I’m trying to lose weight. I haven’t personally found any fat gain problems with eating a whole block after training, but obviously, chocolate is a calorie rich food so if you’re not active, you should eat less but not avoid it completely.

Etymology of cocoa:

While I’m on the topic, I’d like to point out that although I’ve used the word “cocoa”, it’s believed that this English word was a result of English traders misspelling the original word “cacao”, taken from the Olmec civilisation.

The internet is experiencing an ever-growing phenomenon of lonely people complaining about their inability to attract the opposite sex, a movement that is championed by the “forever alone” meme. The vast majority of these are males, so I’m here to clear up a few things that may be confusing guys.

1. “I want a girl to love me for who I am”. 

This is often used by guys who refuse to change parts of themselves, whether psychologically or physically. It’s also an excuse for making no effort. The entire concept of “loving you for who you are” is rubbish because no matter what you do, you are still you. Using this excuse to salve your conscience about being in poor physical shape and being a mental wreck is not going to make you attractive. The ability to change is also part of you – and if you are unwilling to improve yourself (by changing) you send a very poor message to the opposite sex.

A man that is willing to endure the physical hardship required to improve his physical image demonstrates that he is willing to make an effort to look presentable, has the knowledge and mental fortitude to suffer through training, and as an added bonus, appeals to the latent female instinct for being attracted to an alpha male, protector and provider. Maybe some of you are complaining how superficial and unfair this is. Get over it. Life is superficial and unfair, and if you just want to sit back and complain, life will leave you behind. You either play by the rules or lose the game. Maybe this will help guys understand – imagine if girls made no effort to look good. Old sweats, no makeup, no skin care products, blotchy faces, lumpy bodies and hair growing out the wazoo. Not very attractive any more, huh?

There’s also the psychological aspect, including habits and outlook in life. A man willing to change his bad habits is one that demonstrates a drive to constantly improve himself – something everyone finds attractive. A man working towards a good career demonstrates his ability to work hard to be a provider, and to prove to himself that he can be successful. What woman wants a guy who has no future? Who is unwilling to improve himself? So the next time you refuse to do something because you want a girl to “love you for who you are” think to yourself, what are you exactly? A stubborn little boy who refuses to grow.

2. “There was no chemistry”

This is actually one that girls use more, typically to tell a guy why they don’t like the guy. The guy, being a gullible, innocent little boy, believes her and thinks “there’s nothing I can do, there just wasn’t any chemistry”. Wrong. Chemistry is a lie (not the science behind it, just the way the word is used when dealing with attraction). I’m going to focus more on initial chemistry (so mainly, the first date). A girl’s idea of chemistry is perfection; they want to feel an unexplainable connection. But what is that connection exactly? Well, most girls don’t know but if you prod them enough, they might give physical examples. The guy looks at her the right way, talks to her the right way, says the right things, touches her at the right time and is confident, teasing and naughty to the right degree.

But wait! Those are all things the guy can do. You know what that means? You make your own chemistry. Chemistry can happen by chance, but why lose countless girls waiting for that chance to happen? Do those things and be that guy.

3. “Just be yourself”

This is another piece of advice that typically originates from girls. It’s almost useless. As mentioned above, you are always yourself. Even if you talk yourself up, you’re still you – you’re just showing the side of you that can sell yourself. If you overcompensate for your weaknesses, you’re just being the you that is protective of his own insecurities. No matter what, you’re always you. The point of this advice is to be confident – which is one (of many) attractive trait. Being confident is good but it’s not enough. This advice would be more accurate if it was reworded to “just be the best you can be”. Show the sides of you that are more attractive. Everybody is capable of being confident and fun to be with (usually dependent on your external environment and internal mood); just make it happen. Easier said than done, I know, but in the end you’re the only one who can change you.

4. “Be really nice/Be a jerk”

This one has many faces to it. Girls will tell you to be nice, but by now you should know that girls don’t give good advice regarding this topic. Some guys take it the opposite way and act like jerks. I definitely hear a lot of guys complaining that girls always go for jerks. Well guess what, at least being a jerk conveys self-worth and confidence. It’s better than what a lot of guys do – enslave themselves. There’s a difference between being nice and being subservient. I had a huge rant on this in my post “Why You’re to Blame for the Friendzone”. There are heaps of pictures of guys grovelling in an attempt to be nice – there are guys letting girls sit on them like chairs, holding all their stuff and doing their mundane tasks for them. That’s not being nice, that’s being a slave. Guess what? Slaves aren’t attractive, especially not to women. It demonstrates a huge weakness in your self-worth and confidence when you’ll lower yourself to such a pathetic level. By this stage, the girl has already lost all interest in you as a partner because you haven’t demonstrated any male characteristics worthy of being attractive (or if you have, you’ve undermined it by being a pathetic slave). How do you tread the line between being a jerk and being a slave? Well, a friend of mine put it this way: “don’t do anything for a girl that you wouldn’t do for a friend”. You are the most comfortable and natural when with your friends, and most of the time, that’s when you’re also the most attractive and balanced as a person. No special treatment (until you’re already in a relationship).

5. “I don’t care about looks or money – I just want a guy who is …”

Another thing girls say that is a lie. Now, this might offend some girls but I’m going to be brutally honest about it. Everybody cares about looks. Guys are just open enough to admit it (though males are becoming more feminine these days so there are guys who will claim otherwise). You’ve probably all heard that girls don’t know what they want. Well this actually applies to most people. Nobody knows what they want until it appears in front of them. And I can back this up with science.

“People will readily tell you what they value in a romantic partner,” said Eli Finkel, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and co-author of the study. “But study after study shows that those preferences don’t predict whom daters are actually attracted to when they meet flesh-and-blood partners.”

There’s a whole article here entitled “You Say You Don’t Care About Dating a Hottie?” (article from my friend Nav; thanks!): http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-01-dont-dating-hottie.html

Looks will always be important because by definition, someone you find good looking will trigger chemical reactions in your body making you like that look (dopamine, epinephrine, serotonin, etc.), so looking at something good looking will naturally make you happier and lustier (lust being an important first step in the love cycle). There’s also the primal instinct of people to want the best genetic pool for their children, meaning height, symmetry and other physically attractive traits are premium goods in the attraction market.

As for money? Well, who doesn’t like nice things? Money may be more or less important to a woman (or man) depending on the individual (most women love it), but it will always play a part in the selection process. Think about it. Two identical guys, except one is broke and the other is a millionaire. Who do you pick? Exactly.

Money represents the ability to give women things that they want that can make them happy. It also tickles the fancy of that primal urge to find a provider as a husband. I’m not saying flaunt your wealth – that’s an arrogant dickmove – but you should have a foundation of confidence based on the successes you’ve achieved in your life, and monetary wealth is one of them. In fact, women can smell money from a mile away so really, you don’t have to flaunt your wealth. You’re probably better off trying to hide it. Just don’t give the impression you’re a bum.

——————————————————–

So, hopefully that clears up some of the confusion out there for guys. In the end, the crux of the matter is that you’re the only one that can make you more attractive, so moping around isn’t going to solve your problems. In fact, since negativity is an unattractive trait, by complaining instead of doing something about it, you’re actually making yourself more unattractive – thus adding to your problem. Even if you think you don’t show that side of yourself, this kind of negativity is undermining; it seeps into your personality and into everything you do.

Be attractive by making yourself attractive. Nobody is going to do it for you.

It’s been a week since this blog went up and I’ve hit 500 views so I thought I’d celebrate by performing another community service (alongside my attempts to educate people in English and science). This time I’ll be telling you why people who complain about being friendzoned only have themselves to blame.

Now I’m no expert on girls, nor am I as smooth as some of my friends, but I do have a beautiful girl friend (which I consider an achievement that qualifies me to advise people stuck in the friendzone). Better yet, I have an analytical mind and will rationalise, to the best of my ability, the reasons behind my argument. It’s up to you whether you choose to believe in my reasoning or not, but honestly, if you have the time to add to this growing internet phenomena of friendzoning I think you’re due for a bit of a change in the way you think and behave. Before I get started, I’ll just mention that it would be more correct for me to say “friend zone” but as the phenomena is practically a term on its own, I combined the words (which also makes it easier for me to type and create a verb for it – friendzoning).

Let’s start with a disclaimer. I’m going to be generalising a lot because that’s the only possible way for me to write anything short of going around to each and every one of you with a case-by-case analysis. It’s the concept you need to understand, not the specific examples. In fact, if you’re dumb enough to think that every girl (yes, this will be targeted towards guys) is identical then maybe that’s the whole reason you’re not having much success. To make it easier on the eyes, I’m going to break it up into subheadings now.

Edit: In retrospect, the post title isn’t really addressed directly so I’ll just mention now: if you do any of the things I say not to do and none of the things I say to do, then that’s why you’re friendzoned. It’s your own fault.

Alpha Male:

Now, since we’re talking about heterosexual guys, it should be safe to assume that the girl you’re after is looking for a man. A man. Why is that important? So you can realise that you should stop acting like a pussy. Put it this way: would you be going for a girl that acts all masculine? I’m not talking about the “cool” girl who hangs out as a friend, plays games or joins in with sport and teasing, I’m talking about excessive bodily noises, behaving like a slob, poor hygiene and anything else considered not very feminine. Since we’re generalising here, the answer should be no. You want a girl who, despite any other cool traits, is still very feminine. What makes you think that girls want a feminine guy? This is why the age old adage “confidence is sexy” is still relevant. Confidence is a part of masculinity.

The topic of masculinity will inevitably lead to the controversial topic of the “alpha male”. Looking at primal animals (from which we evolved) the alpha male was basically the strongest provider (mainly of protection) and thus every female instinctively wanted the alpha male. Alpha male status basically denotes you as someone females find more attractive than others. Don’t get this term confused with jerks – they’re two completely different categories. The only reason why jerks have more success than you is because of something all jerks have. Yep, confidence. Do you honestly think women are stupid enough to intentionally choose somebody that will end up treating them wrong? No, they choose these jerks because they’re initially attracted to their confidence.

I’m going to be taking a lot of paragraphs because I don’t want this to turn into a block of text that’s hard to read. More on alpha males though – there are numerous traits of an alpha male and some of them will depend entirely on circumstance and environment. More general traits include wealth (provider), good looks (aesthetics and genetics), good body (protector and aesthetics), status (provider and power), and the confidence that I mentioned earlier. By now, hopefully you understand what I’m getting at. To be the ideal male, you should be confident, successful and just act with dignity and rectitude. Let’s review, can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this following picture?

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It should be pretty damn clear why this guy is in the friendzone. That’s not an alpha male. That’s a slave. It’s practically shouting at the girl that he’s not worthy of her attention because he has no dominance, no dignity and no confidence. Just to make my point clear, here’s another one.

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The pitiful fact that he’s kneeling in front of her while doing this not only emphasises his subservience (which is practically the opposite of alpha maleness) but basically tells the girl that he’s already in the palm of her hands. More about how girls think later.

Just one last thing to note before leaving the alpha male topic, remember how I said being an alpha male isn’t the same as being a jerk? Well yeah, that’s important. Sure, being an asshole is better than being the quiet guy who nobody thinks of, but if you can be the awesome guy who’s also not an asshole, that’s even better. Sorry, I just had to include one more because this one is the epitome of pathetic.

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If you’re going to do that, at least get your face out of the dirt and face upwards. Give her a cheeky grin and tell her to watch her step.

Making your intentions clear:

Let’s start this one off with a picture from Friends, since the show was what popularised the term “friendzone” in the first place.

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Notice how he said “you waited too long to make your move”. Time is not an arbitrary measure, but you need to make your intentions clear. If you act like nothing but a friend, eventually, that’s how she’ll think of you. If you don’t make it clear that you’re interested in her, then at some point it’s going to be game over for you. And no, doing everything for her and always agreeing with her doesn’t let her know that you’re interested in her. That’s how she comes to know of you as the friend she can always rely on and who’ll do anything for her.

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This one is roughly correct. When the girl loses any sexual interest in you, you are no longer in the game. If you confess after she has decided that you’re only a friend, you’re just going to get an awkward “let’s just be friends” kind of rejection. Your image in her eyes is very important. That doesn’t mean be a pig and make blatant advances on her, but keep her guessing. Just when she thinks you’re just a friend, you say something naughty. She goes “oh! I can’t believe he said that about me” and starts to feel self-conscious. At some point, she’ll start to care about your opinion on how she looks and she’ll want to prove herself to you. That’s how you’re meant to do it – girls are too used to being chased so a guy that can make her do the chasing is both interesting and an alpha male (because by nature, that’s what the alpha male is). I’m not going to go any further into this but just remember, when I say “make your intentions clear” I mean, make sure she knows (or thinks it’s a good chance) that you want more than just friendship. I’m pretty forward and flirtatious myself so I’ve never run into a friendzone problem because none of the girls I’ve been with were ever certain that I just wanted to be friends. It might have also had something to do with me being impatient when I want something, but I would hint at something more than just friends every now and then to keep them on their toes and to keep that interest there.

She just doesn’t like you:

Then give up. Life isn’t so easy that you’ll always get whatever you want. People, of all things, are very emotionally complex. It’s not as simple as “I want an xbox, therefore I work for the money and when I get the money, I can have that xbox that I want”. Sometimes a girl just won’t like you. Take a hint, you’ll be better off and so will she. Not only is pining after the same girl after being subtly rejected very beta (beta meaning not alpha), it puts you in a bad emotional state and prevents you from reaching for other opportunities. Also, it annoys the crap out of the girl.

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So I saw that picture and people were going on about how he was friendzoned. I think that’s just a pretty blatant hint that she’s not into him. Holy crap she practically shouted out “I’m lesbian”. The fact that she felt the need to state that they were “not dating” and just “best friends” seems pretty intentional to me. This is why girls always complain that us guys don’t get hints. Also, why would the guy say “hahahaha” after saying “I love you”. That’s just giving the girl an excuse to take it as a joke. Stick to your guns, don’t pussy out half way.

Even if you want that one particular girl more than anyone else, it’s still better for you to let go – at least for now. Why? Because after letting go, you might find that you didn’t like her as much as you thought you did. Other girls could make you forget her. And if not, by leaving, you have an opportunity to erase your history with her and reinvent yourself before coming back for another shot (maybe a year or so later). It’s better to be constantly in and out of the “I just met you zone” than permanently in the “friendzone” (if you want the girl, that is; those of you that are happy just being friends are either lying to yourself or shouldn’t be bothered about the friendzone in the first place).

And yes, if you finish sticky-taping your balls back together and ask the girl out, you might get rejected. Maybe that’s because she doesn’t like you. But refer to the paragraph above – you’re more of a man (and thus more attractive) if you try, fail then leave. I’ll let you guys in on a secret. My ex cheated on me and we broke it off on mutual terms. She was surprised that I didn’t try to get her back and that I let go of her so quickly and easily. Within two days, she was trying to ask for me back. I still ditched the bitch because that’s what being alpha is and if I let her walk all over me, I’d be like the human bridge up there – pathetic.

Understanding how girls think:

I’ll be blunt. This is incredibly freaking hard. However, there are a few things in particular that you’re better off knowing. First of all, girls are attracted to confidence. We’ve gone through that already. Second, girls are insecure and emotional creatures – they will constantly seek affirmation from peers. That’s why married men and guys with girlfriends are more attractive to girls – because the guy’s worth has already been verified by another female. If the girl is single, she might think “why isn’t he with me? Is the other girl better?” and then feel the need to prove to herself that she’s the better one (which is why we get women who hit on married men, besides the “thrill” of cheating). There are ways to play on these insecurities to get the girl to chase you but I won’t get into those (and they’re not as bad as it sounds). Third, girls are attracted to wealth and status. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. That doesn’t mean a girl will pick solely based on those things, but they do play a significant role. The older the girl gets, the more important money and status will be and the less important things like physical appearance will be (good news for some of you).

Why are wealth and status important? Because females are, by nature, nest builders. They seek the best man to provide for a family, then they have children and raise them in their nest. All girls want a perfect nest. Why wouldn’t you? Of course, sometimes they just want these things because they’re narcissistic. In reality, it’s probably a mix of both. Just remember, girls want a guy that has the potential to provide them things they want, whatever it is they want (superficial stuff or family stuff).

Notice how I say “potential”. This is important because sometimes you don’t have to have the wealth already. Why are men with no direction or future, and who are unwilling to change themselves, unattractive? Because women know they’ll end up nowhere with a man like that. Physical appearance comes in a bit here – the fact that you work out is attractive on multiple levels. First, it means a hot body (or a potential future hot body), and second, it means you’re the kind of guy who’s willing to improve parts of himself that he knows need work. That is immensely attractive in both men and women.

Of course, there are also the other well-known traits that can give you a few extra points. Being interesting and funny and stuff always helps. Just remember though, girls are always talking about that “chemistry” between them and a guy. What they don’t know (and what a lot of you guys don’t know) is that chemistry doesn’t just happen. You make it happen. From the moment a girl meets you, the way you look, smell, present yourself and speak, as well as what you say and with what kind of tone, your body language and your entire carriage all contributes towards whether she feels chemistry or not. Sure, you can fluke it from time to time, but if you really know what’s going on, you can create that chemistry yourself.

So, if you made it through this entire post you’ve probably had some problems with the friendzone. Let me know in the comments below whether you learned anything, whether anything makes or doesn’t make sense and even if you want peoples’ (including mine) opinion on a particular situation of your own, put down the details and I’ll do my best to give you an answer.

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