September 30, 2006

YouTube: I miss Barna so much

I wouldn't consider myself a Hispanophile, but the three and then nine months that I lived in Barcelona were eye-opening. Contrary to what most think of the Mediterranean temperament, Spaniards are actually pretty introverted -- the national level of Extraversion, measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, is the lowest of the Mediterranean countries, all of which are lower than that of the US [1]. I though Spanish girls were more extraverted than Americans when I was there, but maybe I had more luck approaching girls there, or perhaps they were more willing to approach me, making them appear more gregarious. But one thing I do remember which squares with the Spanish tendency toward introversion is a remark that Anglo girls made of Spanish guys -- unlike Italian guys who follow you around in public chatting you up, Spaniards leave you alone. Now, introversion and shyness or diffidence aren't the same thing, of course. The national level of Neuroticism is above-average, though, meaning they're more easily worked up or excited. This low-E and high-N interaction would place the average in the "melancholics" of Galen's typology. That must be one reason why Woody Allen and The Cure are worshipped there! That must also be why a certain stripe of Anglo nerd, I've noticed, falls in love invariably with Spain rather than another Mediterranean country.

Aside from feeling that I fit in better with the girls there, I also noticed that Radical Feminism hadn't made much headway into the thinking or behavior of the modal intelligent young female. They are definitely anti-macho in the sense of not wanting anyone else telling them what to do in their public or private life -- which is to the good -- but they haven't gone as far as feminists have in the Anglo world by trying to badger women into acting like men. They still enjoy being feminine, take pride in their cooking skills, and accept that in circumscribed areas of life, men and women are just different.

In particular, by embracing femininity, they don't complain about the "beauty myth" and so look a lot better than Americans. Hell, even if they didn't put more effort than the average American into attractive clothes and hairstyles, their facial features alone would place them a league above Americans. I'm probably biased in thinking that Spanish girls have larger eyes -- I likely noticed the ones who did -- but I'm sure that the half-moon eyelid is more prevalent in the Mediterranean than in northern Europe. Spanish girls are also distinguishable by their bunny-like facial geometry, especially the prominent upper row of teeth. Those who don't like the look would (unfairly) call it rodential, but I think bunny-like is more fitting, as I find the slight apparent overbite neotenous. Plus they don't have English teeth, so it better showcases their smile.

Tying all three of these threads together -- a slightly melancholic disposition, a nonconformist yet feminine approach to sex relations, and the particular beauty of the females -- is the work of Cordoban singer-songwriter Vega (in Spanish), whose videos I found at YouTube. The first is "Grita!" ("Shout!") which I heard during my first stay in the summer of 2003. It's her version of rock meets pop-country, and the lyrics are about a young girl working up the courage to follow her dreams to be a musician. It's rebellious in a girly way, which I find refreshing -- that is, it's not punk rock, but doesn't try to be this masculinely confrontational.

The music of her recent single "Una vida contigo" ("A life with you") is a bit more wistful, but still playful; the lyrics are tender without being sappy, about how she wants to take care of her man. I've provided a non-professional translation below (I'll post a translation of "Grita!" later, as I'm dead tired -- 4:30AM and counting).

The official music video is here. Pretty cool.

"A life with you"

You want to believe, that now I'm avoiding your embraces
It doesn't matter to me if you're sick or healthy
You don't know that, on the contrary, I'd die if I saw a sea born in your eyes

Who but me, will make you laugh?
Me, only me
Who'll give you "good mornings" with caresses?
Each awakening, I promise to search every corner of this room, for a life with you
I want to continue taking care of you, to be able to share, a life with you

Tell me why, sadness pops in to your eyes and it began to rain
Remember that, I need your loving
And need to nestle inside your sweater

Who but I... (as above)

[1] Lynn & Martin (1995). National differences for thirty-seven nations in extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism and economic, demographic and other correlates. Personality and Individual Differences, 19 (3), 403-406.

September 22, 2006

The woman shortage

In memoriam Sixteen Volts, hounded into auto-CtrlAltDeletion by The Woman (or maybe not; we still can't tell). One good thing about having a more nutty, less-socialized personality is that they can't easily reboot your mind.

Peter has discussed before the woman shortage in various comment boxes that I frequent. The gist is that, from looking at how many men vs women belong to online dating websites such as Match or E-Harmony, there are more men than women, giving women the upper hand. But how can that be in a metropolis, which attracts disproportionately more women and gay men than straight men? Peter's idea is that serial monogamy is really de facto polygyny -- those supposedly monogamous guys are having affairs and whatnot on the side, taking their mistresses off the dating market. Collectively, then, the alpha-males -- let's say the top 25% of the desirability distribution -- all but monopolize the pool of females.

I don't doubt that alphas play around whenever possible, and that this takes some women off the market, but I think a stronger phenomenon occurs under serial monogamy -- that is, even if a would-be mistress doesn't indulge the alpha in his polygynistic fantasies, the unspoken-for females might still be enamored of him (or another alpha), preventing them from accepting offers from sub-alphas. Their reasoning isn't so screwy -- they know that under serial monogamy, it's only a matter of time before he dumps her, so she may as well wait eagerly, securing a "first in line" spot. Hell, she may even try to orchestrate the dissolution of his current relationship using subtle or gross methods. This aspect of serial monogamy has the same result on availability of females as polygyny has -- namely, they're almost all spoken for physically or mentally, thus producing a shortage of women interested in what a sub-alpha has to offer. And yet it doesn't engender the animosity in sub-alphas that polygyny does, as the monopolization is not overt, given that the additional females whom the alpha keeps off the market are only enthralled and waiting their turn, not actually living or mating with him. This is illustrated below: green boxes represent a person from the top 25% of the desirability distribution, the facial expressions are self-evident, and solid and dashed lines indicate "is comitted to" vs "is yearning or pining for" relationships, respectively.

This aspect of serial monogamy produces another curious result -- females must constantly compete against each other, not simply to land an alpha, but to keep him even while in a "committed" relationship (he's committed to leaving her once something better comes along or he grows bored of her). Under monogamy, they compete to snag the alpha but afterwards must settle, grin, and bear it if they lost. Under polygyny, only a bottom-of-the-barrel female won't be snatched up by some alpha or another, so competition isn't as fierce either. Yet under serial monogamy, the struggle is unceasing, and this frustration is compounded by the carrot-and-stick nature of a female's prospects -- sure, she could settle for a sub-alpha while she waits her turn to be the alpha's girl du jour, but she's equally sure that the alpha is this close to dumping that bitch of a girlfriend who's been hogging him for so long already, and that even if not, she'll get to work on sabotaging their relationship.

And though thoroughly perplexed by the lack of available women despite the absence of overt or stealthy polygyny, the sub-alphas do seem to realize that this is reality nevertheless, and so end up quitting the relationship game by throwing their hands up in confusion: "Girls!" They start hanging out only with guys and caring only about guy things -- video or computer games into their 20s and 30s, extreme sports, cars, whatever -- the devil if it alienates them even further from females. This is who SpikeTV is geared to -- it hosts manly car mechanic shows, as well as the geeky Video Game Awards, and of course the only focus on women is during a countdown of the 100 Hottest Babes. Hey, if your chances of marrying are slim, you might as well fantasize about the best available rather than develop some silly crush on a co-worker, who's likely pining away for someone taller and richer than you. These are thus the guys who drive the multi-billion-dollar-a-year porn industry in the US. The ones with more antagonistic personalities grow mildly misogynistic, while the more nurturing personalities wallow in shame believing that they haven't properly raised the child of their relationship prospects.

Some will say I'm painting such an awful picture of things so that we'll all decide to go monogamous -- conveniently enough for me, a delta-male. The alphas wouldn't like having their dick fenced in, and though the most desirable females probably wouldn't mind (since they'll snag the best no matter what), the sub-super-hot females would resent abandoning the opportunity to be the Miss Alpha for at least a little awhile to cash in on being Miss Nobody forever. I'm actually not urging legislation or a popular movement or what-have-you to return to strict monogamy, even though I believe that's optimal, as it doesn't bode well for social cohesion to have a growing sub-population of not just unattached but drop-out males. And while still acknowledging every woman's right to choose which mating strategy she'll employ, I look at the frustration etched onto their faces as they try to compete with would-be usurpers 10 or 20 years younger by purchasing $175 butt-resculpting jeans, and think: "You got what you asked for."

Creepy gay guys disguised as hot girls online

I realize it's somewhat old news by now, but I felt like posting on the lonelygirl15 hoax because I just got a "friend request" on MySpace, which I use in case old high school or college friends want to see what I've been up to (since they don't rat you out like the fuckers at Finkster). I've gotten friend requests from such folks before, but this time the requester was obviously a creepy old gay guy -- their main profile page had a picture of a hot, tawny, brunette coed with make-up and hair done, in a brilliant red dress, but with a natural smile on her face and photgraphed in her room (as a professional shot would raise suspicions even among patsies). Their list of 8 friends who appear on the main page is split evenly between boys and girls, equally nondescript human beings, drawn from a total group of 13 friends in all. The only personal info given is a female name, and some line about wanting to enjoy the city she's in -- no warning signals of high-maintenance. Am I to believe this laid-back, fun-loving paragon of Persian-ish pulchritude wants to be my friend, out of the blue? What did your parents teach you about "If something seems too good to be true...?" Or what did any thriller movie teach you about a setting being "quiet -- a bit too quiet?"

I first clicked on the "see all of ____'s friends" link to see if maybe she were a friend of a friend, but I got the "error" page. After successfully viewing many other people's friend lists, I tried again for the girl in question -- still the error page. Then I looked to see if the link was broken or something -- not broken, but tampered with! This person had rigged the link to automatically show the "error" page -- now why would some nonchalant hot babe want to hide her friend list from the world? It's too bad this jackass didn't think further ahead, as I just took the URL from someone else's friend list and pasted in the ID of the "hot babe" in the relevant part of the URL. And bingo, there it was -- 663 friends in total, not 13 as it said on the profile page, and every single one of them male, not split even as on the main page. Most of the males were youngish, of course, but probably 1/3 to 1/2 of them had shirtless or flexing photos as their main picture. Not even the randiest girl would collect a harem of so many young boys, and also lack a single female friend. No no, my friends: this was definitely a creepy old gay guy. Nothing wrong with gay guys, of course -- just the creepy old manipulative ones.

What really astounded me was that this guy was trying to dupe me despite the fact that 1 of just 2 blogs I'd written on my profile page treated this exact topic! After I signed up in May, within two weeks, I'd gotten several obviously bogus hot girls trying to add me to their list of young boys, and I wrote in the blog that anyone who was stupid enough to meet up with these non-hot non-girls deserved whatever they got -- they'd probably win the next Darwin Award. Now, "stupid" I mean in the Machiavellian sense -- not in the IQ sense -- as a synonym for gullible. Thank god for my grandmother's Japanese genes: individuals adapted to low-trust societies are better prepared to defend themselves against those who would manipulate them. I know it's those genes because my mother's side isn't particularly suspicious of others' motives, nor is my paternal grandfather. My East Asian grandmother, in contrast, has never socialized with anyone in her neighborhood -- not in some dangerous ghetto, but in the middle of nowhere, Ohio! She even mistrusts the only other old Japanese woman in the area. In fact, her own children aren't allowed to visit without notifying her in advance ("I'm not expecting a knock on the door today"). Overly suspicious? Perhaps, but at least she'll never be bilked out of her life savings by some televangelist huckster, and her grandchildren won't be suckered in by the traps of online con-men.

I don't pretend that this strategy can't occasionally backfire -- in 7th grade, my best friend's family was ethnically Chinese from Malaysia, and he related the story of his parents' first Halloween in the US. His mother thought the costumed teenagers were trying to break into her house or hold her up, so she chased them off her property charging after them with a baseball bat! Now no one got hurt, and sure, false alarm, but we excuse that inevitability when we say "Better safe than sorry."

Of course lonelygirl15 is fake

Initial coverage & comments here, here, here, and here. Did we really need to discover the actual data that proved she was a fake? This video-bloggin girl was supposed to be quirky, lonesome, and into the mysterious but also fascinated by Feynman and Jared Diamond -- this despite the fact that she's also supposed to be a 16-y.o. red-hot babe (in reality, she's "twenty-ish" according to the Gray Lady). Anyone who hasn't had their eyes sewn shut could have seen that this was just another example of nerd voyeurism. Into science, yet also the occult (for the Dungeons & Dragons-playing computer programmers)? Check. Misunderstood by the world, just like you? Check. All alone, tempting you to work up some guts for once in your pathetic life and rescue the cloistered maiden? Check. Flawless skin, alluring shape, and doe eyes? Check. And young enough not to have yet decayed into the desiccated careerism you have to deal with in your cubicle existence? Check. It was so obvious!

I'd like to think the people who fell for this were a bunch of teenage blockheads, but one of the three "Bree-seekers" who orchestrated a sting operation to uncover her true identity was a 36-y.o. computer programmer from Tulsa, Oklahoma. So, hypothetically old enough and brainy enough to know better -- but when your life is programming computers in Tulsa, you'll get wrapped up in any silly, seductive notion that lets you believe that everyone else really is crazy, that the females around you are really robots / aliens who've either wiped out or kidnapped all of the real females, like Bree -- and if they failed to sequester her, there surely must be many more like her! A small aperture leading into Wonderland! Grow up dude.

To a certain degree, I sympathize: life sucks for geeks and dorks, so the appeal is obvious of believing that you're in The Matrix and that a Trinity girl not only exists but is actively seeking you out. I'll even allow it if a geek wants to create such a fictional female character like Aeon Flux, or Trinity, or Laura Croft -- provided they don't fall in love with their Galatea (even more tempting in the case of an ingenue like Bree who requires cultivation). There are real girls out there, some of whom may actually give you a chance, though they won't be the hottest or most adventurous of females. And even if you're lucky enough to initially attract a hottie, giving in to Matrix-like thinking will only result in you idolizing her; and if there's one thing real girls never want, it's being put on a pedastal. By impressing upon her that she's so above you, you've visually proved that you're beneath her -- and that last thing real girls want is to date below their level. I'm sure they'd say something self-serving like, "Oh, I'm too humble to want to be worshipped" -- bullshit. The only reason they wouldn't want to be worshipped is that only a delta-male would follow them around.