Archive for ‘love’

March 23, 2009

Romantic renegades

“Why do women love Bad Boys? Why do ‘nice guys finish last’ with the ladies, while no woman can resist the charm of a ‘black-hearted varmint’ like Rhett Butler? . . . What if, beneath the rugged veneer of the proud renegade, a woman espies something more tender, honest and decent than is apparent to those who judge superficially? Well, then, if she can win his love, she will have gotten herself a genuine romantic bargain. And, as you know, no woman can resist a bargain.”

* * * *

You might also enjoy Wythywindle’s “Athens & Jerusalem” analysis of my critique of feminism and Washington culture. His analysis is couched in terms of classical philosophy and literature. My critique is mostly based on long years of observation and experience. So if I am making points that in some way resemble the arguments of, inter alia, Erasmus, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jurgen Habermas and Harvey Mansfield — well, we are all observers of the same phenomena, and therefore our descriptions will be similar. But I can’t say with surety that I’ve read anything by any of those writers, except perhaps Mansfield.

Also, Wythywindle says I “distinguish . . . male predilections for reason with female predilections for emotion.” Not exactly. I do not insist that men are “reasonable,” or logical, or empirical, or any such thing. I just mean they don’t sit around talking about their feelings about relationships the way women do. It is the obsession with the emotional content of personal relationships (who likes who, who hates who, who snubbed who, etc.) that I find remarkably distinctive in women’s routine conversation.

I have argued (er, somewhere) that the typical girls-on-the-third-grade-playground cattiness — the tendency of girls to form cliques, and to tally up perceived slights to themselves and their friends, etc. — exists in large measure because girls seldom resort to violence to resolve disputes. If a boy tried that routine (“Oh, you can’t be her friend and be my friend, too, because blah, blah, blah . . .”) over on the boys’ side of the playground, he’d pretty soon get punched in the nose.

If a boy gets his feelings hurt that way, he’ll either sulk until he gets over it, or else he’ll get violent with the person who hurt his feelings. And here, the Alpha-male factor comes into play: The bigger, stronger, rowdier boys on the playground tend to dominate by the threat (implied or expressed) of violence. Ergo, the big tough boys don’t have to worry about any lesser boy saying anything hurtful to them, because that would result in a pounding for the lesser boy.

Boy-culture is therefore naturally hierarchical, with status based largely on physical prowess and perceived toughness, in a way that girl-culture never is. To the extent that queen bee of the third-grade playground is dominant, she is dominant because she is pretty and nice. But in general, the absence of the threat of violence means that girl-culture is more naturally egalitarian.

The importance of niceness in girl-culture status hierarchies is seldom mentioned by those who speak of sex differences, although it has been studied somewhat by developmental psychologists. But niceness is not always nice. It coexists with, and is inextricably bound up in, the cattiness and bickering that typifies girl-culture.

At any rate, these fundamental differences in boy-culture and girl-culture are reflected in the characteristic attitudes and behaviors of adult men and women. Understanding the nature of status within girl-culture is therefore key to the man who desires the esteem of women. But that’s a lot more complex subject than I feel like exploring just now.

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March 19, 2009

Men in Love: The Courage to Conquer

“Men want access to women so they make the effort, or sometimes do. Many men give up. The benefits of companionship don’t outweigh the challenges the relationship brings. . . . There has been a concerted attempt to demonize typically masculine behavior. Worst of all, many men seem to have conceded the argument.”

March 11, 2009

Insightful political commentary, etc.

Thanks to Smitty for the hard-hitting expose about Jesus and Elvis, plus moderating the comments, while I was out of pocket Tuesday evening. The man is owed cheeseburgers and beers for his labors, so hit the tip jar, people. (Second rarest sentence in the English language: “Thanks for picking up the tab, McCain.” Because of extremely low wages, newspapermen are cheapskate moochers, and I’ve eaten enough free food to alleviate Third World famine.)

Update blogging is in order:

Now, it’s time to address something that needs to be said: I naturally expect that, when I blog about gay rights/gay marriage in terms of God and sin and Anglo-American legal tradition, gay people are going to take umbrage. It is inevitable.

During CPAC, I met conservative lesbian Cynthia Yockey, and Miss Yockey gives me a very gentle and friendly Rule 2 rejoinder on my belief in biblical authority. (Note to self: Resist temptation presented by opportunity for brilliant double-entendre.)

As is my wont (and Miss Yockey can ask commenter Victor about this), I will avoid engaging the specifics of her critique, and instead focus strategically on holding more defensible terrain. To wit, refuting the routine slander that alleges that Bible believers:

  • Hate gay people.
  • Are ignorant of the reality of gayness.
  • Suffer from twisted sexual “repression.”
  • Lack familiarity with scientific evidence.
  • Wish to deprive gay people of their rights.

These are lies, Miss Yockey. And who is called “the father of lies”? ( Church Lady voice.) Satan!

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
John 8:44 KJV

Miss Yockey, if you will read that chapter, you will find that Jesus spoke those words prophetically. The scribes and Pharisees, jealous of Jesus’ influence, were indeed already plotting his death. They kept questioning him, trying to trip him up so he would say something that would either justify his religious condemnation as a heretic, or else that would be seen as subversive of Roman authority and justify his condemnation for sedition.

John 8 begins with one of the most famous of these incidents, “the woman caught in adultery.” As everyone knows, Christ challenged the woman’s accusers, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7), and all of them walked away.

This woman quite literally owed Jesus her life. What transpired next?

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Romans 8:10-11

Jesus did not condemn the woman, but he nonetheless commanded her to “sin no more.”

Now, Miss Yockey, do not read that passage and think of yourself. Think of me. You have no idea how often I have cheated death. One night when I was 19, I consumed the better part of a half-gallon of psilocybin mushroom tea and tooted up a goodly amount of Bolivian flake cocaine.

Having started smoking pot as a 14-year-old, I’d done (and dealt) many drugs by the time I was 19. But psilocybin and cocaine I’d never tried and, as I did not realize at that time, I was under tremendous stress. My mother died when I was 16, I’d barely graduated high school, I’d goofed off so badly in college that I was on the verge of flunking out and — this was the real heavy one — my conscience was burdened with knowledge of my own sins.

By the time the psilocybin really kicked in, I had practically forgotten about that half-gallon of magic mushroom tea, whose effects I’d never before experienced. And as anyone who has ever done a lot of coke will tell you, that stuff makes you feel smarter than Einstein, a euphoria that borders on a sense of omniscience.

To say that I freaked completely out is to understate the case. I’ve always been about half-crazy, but for about 10 days there, I was 110% crazy, and when my older brother finally got me to the emergency room — oh, that was a wild ride — the doctor didn’t need to examine me much before he spoke those three fateful words: Nurse, Thorazine, please.

Recovering from that experience was a long, hard road, and I went so low that many doubted I’d ever recover, period. All that splendid talent, such once-promising genius, seemed destined to either institutionalization or else slumping along as a dim shadow of his former self.

However, people were praying for me, and people were willing to help me. I returned to college a year later, with only one last chance to make good or flunk out, and thus forfeit the full-tuition scholarship that the state of Alabama granted to the children of disabled veterans. My father had been quite nearly killed by German shrapnel while serving in France in 1944. (His Purple Heart and other medals hang on the wall beside my desk as I type this.) The merit of my father’s service had been rewarded with a scholarship for me — an opportunity I was on the verge of wasting.

I made Dean’s List that semester, my still-unstable psychological condition compelling me for the first time in my life to develop systematic study habits. It happened that one of my classes that semester was Introduction to Psychology, where I learned that long-term treatment with anti-psychotic drugs produces a debilitating side-effect known as tardic dyskinesia. So I weaned myself off the meds and, slowly, fought my way back to something like my old half-crazy self.

Now, Miss Yockey, I could elaborate at length all the miracles that God has wrought in my life over the past three decades. If you should ever see me write about angels, trust that there are angels, sent in answer to prayer, and “some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).

“Go thou and sin no more,” Jesus said to the woman who owed him her life. Miss Yockey, if you think I’ve spent the past 30 years without sinning, you’re crazier than me. The apostle Paul once said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Timothy 1:15), but if Paul was chief of sinners, I’m definitely part of the tribe. The only one of the Seven Deadly Sins at which I have not excelled is gluttony, being skinny by nature. (On the other hand, I’ve gained 25 pounds since my Speedo glory, and can’t resist a buffet, so I guess I’m a perfect 7-for-7 in the deadly sins.)

Last fall, I got an Instalanche for a post titled, “Is babe-blogging a sin?” And in all good conscience, I contend it is not. One of the happy blessings of advancing age is that my appreciation of beauty steadily becomes more aesthetic than erotic. (My extremely beautiful wife is skeptical of such assertions, with ample reason given the fact that she is the mother of our six children. The main reason we don’t have seven is that I manage to keep myself almost constantly in the doghouse.)

Make no mistake: Lust remains a real temptation, and quite dangerous, and I would hate to think that I was leading others to perdition by such silliness as “Sarah Palin bikini pics” or “Old School upskirt.” But if you think about it for two seconds, this is the Internet. Everybody reading this is one quick Google search away from as much raw porn as they want.

So if there are recovering pornoholics out there who need a little methadone to help them get off the heroin, a little Christina Hendricks is relatively benign. (Don’t you agree, Dr. Vodka?) If by happy accident that random porn-Googler finds himself reading a right-wing blog run by a homophobic hillbilly holy roller . . .

Miss Yockey, I don’t believe in accidents. I’ve been involved in too many conspiracies, and have been the recipient of too many prayed-for blessings (e.g., Mrs. Other McCain) to think that things “just happen.” The person who is reading this is no more reading it by accident than I am writing it by accident.

BTW, did I ever tell you about the time my 1973 VW Beetle went head-on into a pickup truck, and I walked away with nothing worse than a headache? One of many potentially deadly encounters I’ve survived. If you believe in accidents, how is it that I’m even here to be writing this?

Richard Spencer recently paid me the fine compliment of noting that, in my Taki’s Magazine columns, I have shown an ability to write about sex in a funny, engaging way that is not preachy or boring, as is most conservative writing about sex. Such is the tragic dimension of human nature and the decadent situation of contemporary culture that, it seems to me, we must learn to laugh about sex or else it will drive us to despair. Ted Haggard, Jim McGreevey, Mark Foley, Eliot Spitzer, the Big Sexy — oh, wait a minute. Never mind. Failure to send a promised box of Godiva chocolate isn’t all that scandalous.

My point is that sexual sin seems nowadays so widespread that even the most respected and eminent persons might appear in the tabloid sex-scandal headlines tomorrow. And whatever your sins are, or my sins are, or the Big Sexy’s sins are, the fact that they’re not splashed in 96-point type on the front of the New York Post doesn’t mean our sins are unknown. You know your sins, and I know my sins. And if we have sinned against others (which I most certainly have), then those against whom we have sinned are also aware of our sins.

Is there a God who is aware of all our sins? I believe there is, and I believe His judgment is far more to be feared — because it is eternal and righteous — than any judgment man can make. We are sinners in the hands of an angry God.

Now, at last, the gay thing. As I look at the clock just now, it’s 3:50 a.m. ET, and a couple of guys somewhere in Atlanta are strolling out of an after-hours disco, arm in arm, on their way to an eagerly anticipated carnal satisfaction. Sinners.

Simultaneously, however, it is 12:50 a.m. in Modesto, California, where a pimply teenage boy — with the assistance of a 4-pack of wine coolers — has finally gotten to third base with his girlfriend. Sinners.

To quote the American poet Bob Seger, they’ve only got one thing in common, they’ve got the fire down below.

Will you accuse me of “ignorance” or “hate”? You haven’t the slightest idea what I’ve known or who I’ve loved. (Or what I’ve loved and who I’ve known.) As for the charge that I am unfamiliar with scientific evidence, that can be easily refuted, if necessary. Everybody knows I’m not “sexually repressed.” More like irrepressible.

Ask my friend Michael Petrelis how much I hate gay men. Ask Tammy Bruce how much I hate lesbians. Ask Lynn Conway or Dierdre McCloskey how much I hate transsexuals. Far from wishing to deprive them of their rights, I will stand up for their rights — especially their First Amendment right to tell meddling politicians to go straight to hell, or their Second Amendment right to defend themselves against assault.

Miss Yockey, you have yourself said that I am irresistible, and you may have thought you were joking. But ask anyone who’s met my wife . . . well, she’s gotten better at resisting me, but it’s a difficult feat to accomplish. My late mother said that I could accomplish anything, if I ever put my mind to it, and please don’t tell me my mother lied.

The question of resistance, however, brings me to a conundrum that long contemplation has not resolved in my mind: Are “gay” and “straight” mutually exclusive categories? Would a Venn diagram show them as non-intersecting circles? Is Andrew Sullivan utterly incapable of erotic interest in a woman? Could Camille Paglia ever feel attraction toward a man?

I answer: “No,” “no,” “maybe,” and “it would certainly be nice to think so.” I do not doubt, Miss Yockey, that you and your partner are happy together. But if somehow you were to become so unhappy as to split up, or if by misfortune you were widowed (as it were), I would not automatically rule out the possibility that your next partner could be male. More amazing things have certainly happened.

Teenage dopehead psycho becomes notorious right-wing journalist with beautiful wife and six kids? Impossible.

My dear grandmother used to say that I missed my calling, and should have been a preacher. Well, if you miss one calling, you never know what the next calling will be. And if you ignore that one, and are called again . . . But God keeps calling and calling, like the finance company wanting to have a friendly discussion about my 2004 Kia Optima. And by the time you finally answer the call, maybe you’re so messed up that the only use God has for you is as a perpetually impoverished blogger. (Hey, it’s not His fault that I didn’t answer the first call.)

Well, it’s 5 a.m. now, and Mrs. Other McCain’s alarm clock is set for 5:30 a.m., so we’ll see how irresistible I am when I bring her a fresh hot cup of coffee. But if I’m not entirely irresistible, what about God? Can I resist God, Miss Yockey? Can you?

You did not read this by accident, did you? My original career goal was to be a rock star. I been bloggin’ all night, my hands are wet on the keys . . .

UPDATE 6 a.m. ET: OK, so it turns out I am resistible. But I did bring her the coffee and thought of something: Am I privileging patriarchal heteronormativity, or whatever they call it in Women’s Studies course nowadays?

Do I appear an arrogant chauvinist, to suppose that if Cynthia Yockey and her partner woke up this morning to find Brad Pitt standing there with two fresh hot cups of coffee, that they’d decide to have a Brad sandwich for breakfast?

Excuse me while I leave you to contemplate that scenario. As an old football junkie, my bet is that Brad would put it in the end zone, even if he didn’t make the two-point conversion.

UPDATE 6:10 a.m.: Just talked to Mrs. Other McCain again. Sly humor: “I don’t know!”

Trying hard to maintain family values while talking about baseball. Which reminds me that today the Braves play the Phillies in spring training. Who’s pitching and who’s catching? No, who’s on first! I don’t know! Third base!

UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: Professor Glenn Reynolds: “It figures this would come from a lesbian.” Ah, so two can play the old double-entendre game, eh? Well, back at ya, Professor!

Nothing says “family values” like ZZ Top . . .

I’m going to have to ask blogospheric neologian William Jacobson what to call it when the Professor sends me traffic via a carom shot off a lesbian blogger. Or perhaps Gunnery Sergeant Hartman will have some suggestions.

March 2, 2009

Minor blogging milestone

Just collected my second check from Google Adsense. I got my first check back in November, as I recall. So it took eight months to get the first, and only another three months to get the second.

A small check, obviously — not that giant check they give to Powerball jackpot winners — but it is actual income from mere blogging. This gives me a thin pretext of legitimacy when I tell my wife that blogging constitutes “work.”

Also, my “this is work” argument got a boost from certain readers/tip-jar hitters who haven’t asked to be acknowledged for their contributions to the pre-CPAC fund-raising drive. It’s a subject of debate whether I still owe Little Miss Attila more martinis. I did indeed give her a $20 for lunch Friday.

Plus, I introduced Attila and Melissa Clouthier to a young protege, Josiah Ryan of CNSNews.com, whom I suspect by merely flashing his crooked grin helped them get in touch with their inner cougars. And that’s gotta be worth something, right?

L-R: Melissa Clouthier, Josiah Ryan, Little Miss Attila.

February 20, 2009

Dishonor and shamelessness

“This is what happens when there is no honor and there is no shame and there are no rules for engagement.”

February 18, 2009

No ceasefire in the War of the Sexes

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW.) Truce negotations have once again broken down despite my Valentine’s Day peace initiative, and today we have a barrage from Dr. Melissa Clouthier:

Robert’s article coincides with a dear friend’s search for a good man. I recounted how, at the end of her date on Friday, the guy leaned in to give her a good-night face lick. I am not kidding. And as if that insult wasn’t enough, the man requested that she bite his neck and scratch his back. He was divorced (huh, I wonder why), professional and good looking. What in the hell?
Perhaps with the advent of technology or the decline in formal social protocols or the increase and ubiquity of porn or the elevation of the pop culture, people have just lost the ability to know what to do on a date.
Note to men: face licking is a no-no. In fact, I feel safe in saying that if you take face licking out of your whole wooing repetoire, no one is going to complain.

OK, so if the face is off-limit for licking, then . . . oh, never mind the cheap humor. This is serious, people. Omens of an impending sexual Armageddon are all around us, from the Octo-Mom to the 16-year-old sex-change to the 10-year-old divorcee, and the fundamental causes of the hostilities are being ignored and distorted by the MSM. In the simplest terms, the ascendance of the modern and artificial has made it increasingly difficult for people to achieve the traditional and natural.

You and me, baby,
Ain’t nothing but mammals.
So let’s do it like they do
On the Discovery Channel.

Ah, poetry — the universal language of love! These hiphoppers and neo-Darwininian sociobiology types are saying nothing that a Bible-thumping Calvinist couldn’t tell you: Men and women belong together in pair-bonds, forming kinship units that harmonize sexual complementarity in socially beneficial ways. Adam and Eve, Cupid and Psyche, Romeo and Juliet, Tarzan and Jane, Rhett and Scarlett, Ron and Nancy — it is a very simple formula, really. Why, then, do so many Americans today find it impossible to make the equation add up?

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Mark 10:6-9

Obviously, “the hardness of your heart” (Mark 10:5) has been causing trouble for humanity since time immemorial, but at least the categories of male and female and the desireability of marriage were once fairly clear, even to those hard-hearted Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked. Our latter-day Pharisees would crucify Jesus as an intolerant patriarchal homophobe for daring to suggest that (a) there is a God, and (b) He created men and women to function as integral and complementary parts of a “one flesh” unit.

Now we see Dr. Clouthier observing that “people have just lost the ability to know what to do on a date,” and lamenting men’s cluelessness about the “whole wooing repertoire.” But a woman is wooed to be won. That is to say, the object of the pursuit is the conquest, and here is where modern artificiality intrudes. In recent decades, the concept of dating as courtship — that is to say, a man seeking a wife — has faded to near invisibility. Instead, the romantic scene has begun to resemble a game of musical chairs in which the music never stops, the perpetual pursuit having become the whole point of the ritual.

Women blame men. Men blame women. But amid all the finger-pointing, the music keeps playing and the failure to form stable pair-bonds becomes pandemic. Traditionalists who look at big-picture “cultural trends” are overlooking the role of individual initiative. You can write all the op-eds you want decrying the trend, but trends are nothing more than a cumulative measurement of individual actions.

My novelist friend Tito Perdue (whose The Sweet-Scented Manuscript is a roman a clef of his own scandalously romantic youth) once said something very profound to me. “Think of all this,” Tito said, indicating that he meant the entirety of our contemporary cultural-political superstructure. “Now ask yourself, ‘How many Spartans would it take to destroy it all?’ Ten thousand? One thousand? One?”

Exactly so. Modernity is a flimsy house of cards, and one courageous man, resolved to action, can change the world. A quite similar point was also famously posed as a question: “Who is John Galt?”

Having married and fathered six children, I would be considered by some as having done enough for “traditional family values,” if I never did anything else. Yet I continue to play the shadchen, to encourage my young friends to marry, since each marriage is a victory against modernity.

Well, some will ask, what is marriage without romance? To which I answer, what is romance without marriage? Think about any romantic movie. Think about the scene in An Officer and a Gentleman, where Richard Gere in his dress whites comes into the factory, grabs Debra Winger and carries her away. We know how this story ends — they marry, and live happily ever after — without ever being explicitly told. This is the righteous end of any love story.

When I chided my young friend Richard, making him an example of the deficiency of romantic ardor among the men of his generation, what I had in mind was a certain cautious, calculating approach to romance. People talk of “fear of commitment,” when what they really mean is fear of rejection. Men are afraid to commit, because commitment entails the possibility of loss, and these clever young fellows are always second-guessing themselves: “What if . . .?”

What they lack is the impetuous recklessness of the chivalrous lover, who espies beauty with the eye of that famous lad of Verona:

What lady is that which doth snatch the hand of yonder knight? . . . Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

Ladies, let me ask you a question: Suppose that you were single and attended a party one Thursday evening. Suppose that at this party, you met a man whom you found attractive, with whom you had in common whatever you deem necessary to have in common, and that this man seemed similarly attracted to you. Knowing ladies as I do, I imagine your heart quickens at the very thought of such a meeting, and that you feel a certain warm glow at this “meet cute” moment that is the third scene of every romantic comedy.

So, there you are — single lady, single man, reasonably well-matched and mutually attracted — chatting at this party, and the man says to you, “Listen, I really like you. I’m going to go mingle and talk to some friends, and I know you want to do the same, but do me a favor and don’t leave until you talk to me again.” Agreed, correct?

All right, so the party is winding down, and you go to find this fellow as he asked. He says to you, “Listen, why don’t we go get a cup of coffee down at the diner on the corner? My treat.” Agreed, correct?

You stroll to the diner, talking of everything — your parents, your brothers and sisters, your college, your job, your hopes and dreams and plans — and it’s all clicking perfectly. You get to the diner, and he not only buys you coffee, but suggests you have a slice of cheesecake, too. (How did he know you love cheesecake?)

You talk and talk for another hour, and you excuse yourself to go to the ladies’ room. When you come back, he’s absorbed in checking his Blackberry. “Just a minute,” he says. The waitress brings the check for $7.50 and, glancing up from his Blackberry, he hands her a $10 bill and says, “Keep the change.” (Oooooh.)

So after another minute or two, he puts away the Blackberry and says, “Hey, listen, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I was just checking the schedules online. Tomorrow’s Friday. There’s a flight leaving the airport for Vegas at 7 o’clock in the morning and” — he checks his watch, which you notice is a nice watch –“it’s 11:30 now. That gives us about four or five hours to pack and get ready. I can call in sick at the office, and you can, too. If you want to meet me at the airport at 5, I can order the tickets now. We’ll fly to Vegas, get married in the Elvis chapel, book a hotel room, have our honeymoon this weekend and be back at work on Monday. I love you. Please say yes.”

Well, knowing ladies like I do, you’d probably find an excuse to say no. But the sheer romantic craziness of such a proposal would make a lasting impression, wouldn’t it? And if you resisted the temptation to fly off to Vegas that weekend, you’d certainly want to hear more from a guy who was so crazy in love with you that he would propose marriage within a few hours of meeting you.

What makes that kind of man romantic is his courage. He knows the odds are that you’ll say no, but he has the courage to overcome his fear of rejection. Consider that dangerous cad Rhett Butler in the famous library scene from Gone With The Wind:

Rhett does not hesitate to declare his interest from the outset, and is bluntly honest about his intentions, even though he knows that Scarlett is under “the spell of the elegant Mr. Wilkes.” His confidence, his boldness, his sarcastic indifference to the dangers of love — this courage is what makes Rhett such a classic symbol of romantic manhood. Guys: Be like Rhett. And if that challenge seems a bit daunting, how about another classic role model?

Pepe Le Peu. Ah, the charmingly roguish French skunk, who refuses to take no for an answer. The wonderful thing about Pepe is that he cannot conceive that anyone would not love him. His perception of himself as irresistible means that, when the unfortunate female feline who has accidentally acquired a white stripe comes into view, he automatically misinterprets her resistance. She is too shy, too girlishly embarrassed by her passionate feelings for him, he tells himself, and so Pepe continues to pursue.

In 21st-century America, Pepe would be served with a restraining order, of course, and booked for stalking and harassment if he didn’t knock it off. But the spirit of Pepe — the romantic perserverance in search of love despite repeated rejections — is what must be recovered if we are to avoid the continued slump toward loveless decadence that now threatens to envelop our culture.

Young people suffer today, as much as anything, from a failure of the romantic imagination. If each young man would resolve to be a Rhett Butler or a Pepe Le Peu, to take it upon himself as a personal responsiblity to woo, win and wed that white-striped cat — to be a John Galt of love — we could turn this thing around yet. It may seem like a crazy idea. But romantic ideas always seem crazy.

UPDATE: Linked at Five Feet of Fury. Linked at Dustbury.

UPDATE II: Quote of the Day! (Higgins, have you met Mrs. McCain?) BTW, I’ve just received an e-mail from Tito Perdue and am awaiting permission to quote it.

UPDATE III: OK, permission granted. Via e-mail, Tito Perdue brags on wooing his bride of many years:

You and I may be the last Americans who know what love and dash and maximum romance can be. I found my woman within 48 hours of leaving home and won her against the most rigorous competition imaginable. The college had 500 male students, and 300 of them were after my Judy. She was wooed by seniors and New Yorkers and all sorts of sophisticated types, but it was that little country boy from Alabama who took her to bed.

A story in its own right, but this is a family blog, so you should just buy Tito’s book.

February 14, 2009

Valentine’s Day: Coffee for Cupid

My latest column at Taki’s Magazine:

As Valentine’s Day 2009 arrives, the desperate real-estate salesmen of Glengarry Glen Ross are an apt metaphor for the romantic plight of our age. Plenty of prospects out there — there are some 24 million women ages 18-29 in the United States — but guys can’t seem to close the deal: 65 percent of those women have never married. The median age at first marriage for women, which was 20 in 1960, is now at an all-time high of 25.3, and spinsterhood is an increasingly common fate. Thirteen percent of women 40-44 have never married, reflecting about a one-third rise since 1980 in the likelihood of being an old maid, a percentage that can be expected to increase given the current low marriage rates for young women. . . .

Please read the whole thing!

UPDATE: Via electronic communication, G2 provides this intelligence from the front lines of the War of the Sexes, as a lovelorn young hottie confides:

The concept of “wooing” a girl is, if not entirely unheard of, at least unpracticed among practically every man I know. Still, I think it’s largely the woman’s fault. I was having this conversation with a girlfriend yesterday, and I realized that the once-masculine role of putting a woman on a pedestal, sweeping her off her feet, etc. has been assumed by females. Nearly every girl I know in a relationship or pseudo-relationship has been the one doing the wooing. She usually idolizes the man – and worse than that, lets him know it.

Things are getting desperate out there, you see.

UPDATE II: Another young lady writes:

Here’s the real problem: men. Good luck to all the 18-to-29-year-old women out there trying to find a man who a) is not on drugs, b) is not in jail, c) is consistently employed and d) actually wants to get married and settle down someday. Apparently in this generation there are enough loose women that the men have realized they can get all the benefits of marriage without making the commitment. As the old adage goes, why work and buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? With that kind of a market, the cows who won’t give away milk for free tend to have a tougher time.

Yes, there does seem to be too much surplus milk on the market nowadays.