How An Unmarried Man has stolen my soul

Well if Roissy can do it, why can’t I?

In fact, being that I have about 0.002% of his readership, I should have absolutely no qualms about it.
In fact, in fact, IN FACT.
This is the reason I should.
Personally I preferred “Roissy in DC” to “Citizen Renegade.”

Only a blogger knows our own reasons for doing what we do.
Only a blogger knows why we keep changing our header area and color scheme repeatedly as if searching for that golden blog grail.

Everything is in a name. The name…it sets the tone, the feel.
The readers, all 3 of them, intellectually integrate your blog name into their perception of your blog, and reach a point where the name and the writing becomes synonymous, genetically melded, thus dictating the general tone. Roissy in DC was an ultra cool name. Citizen Renegade…ah, sounds like the name a Tea Bagger might use for his lonely blog to expound upon the evils of government and feminism.

The reason I say all this is because I was contemplating a post. Actually, I’ve contemplated it for a couple of days, and in the course of hashing it out in my waking mind, a phrase keeps surfacing, a catchy set of words.

An Unmarried Man.
Which was originally set as the name of the post. But as I repeated the words in my mind, mantra-like, the working title and all they signify, the soul of the nature they impart, the way they ascribe a value set my life is centered around currently, it occurred to me that if I had to do this blog shtick all over again, I would have used that as the name for this blog.

An Unmarried Man.

How lushly simple and beautiful that sounds. Earnestly probing.
Such retiring but descriptive words. They must be unearthed. I must excavate the hell out of them.

An Unmarried Man.

I got to thinking…I can still do it. Roissy did it. Lots of bloggers do it.
Do I or don’t I?
I’ve built a franchise around “Phoenixism” for almost 9 1/2 months now. Whether it’s something to boast of is extremely questionable.

I’m being very indecisive, which is one of the most annoying traits I can think of, especially in a man.

So what is the emotional grip, the sway this (as now) hypothetical name has over me?
And why the post?
Am I trying to convince myself, one way or the other?
Is my public indecisiveness really just an overwrought and self-centered internal deliberation opened up for the blogosphere to witness? So that by the end of this post I may actually force myself to make a decision?

An Unmarried Man is the perfect fit, really. Like a glove.
Phoenixism, I thought it was a clever name at the beginning. Then.

You know, speaking as a man who was once married and “stepped out” the boundaries of that glorious institution, I can assure you that this hemming and hawing and second-guessing of one’s own previous choices is precisely the sort of emotional turmoil and thought process that goes through the minds of most adulterers, those heinous villains we delight in hating.

I’m essentially cheating on Phoenixism.
It’s emotional cheating right now because I haven’t acted on it but there is heavy flirtation going on. Innuendo.
An Unmarried Man is sweeping me off my married feet while Phoenixism is tidying up the house and preparing tonight’s supper.

Is there guilt?
Maybe.

Let me tell you why An Unmarried Man and I were meant to spend our lives together.

AN UNMARRIED MAN

Look beyond the limited cultural meaning of this description.
Look beyond archaic historical definitions.
Look beyond religion, beyond family units, beyond doomed self-destructive human arrangements which purport to pair off mating couples in eternally blissful matrimony.
Look beyond that.
Look beyond that because that is not what An Unmarried Man is about. I’ve never set out to ridicule marriage. Marriage, the arrangement that transcends description in our tangible world. Man, woman, joined by social and religious convention, indebted to each other spiritually for eternity. The marriage we reflexively think of.

No. Not the marriage I think of.

Wiktionary

The first 4 definitions refer to the traditional ideal of marriage and are based on the etymology of the word which revolves around the concept of union between man and woman.

Beyond that. I only care about definitions 5 & 6. Neutral definitions referring to the key concepts of “close” and “joining” of “2 parts.” This is the “marriage” I’m speaking of, the marriage of man and other. Marriages which are not necessarily codified by formal rites or historical cabals into Godly union.
No, no, no.

An Unmarried Man is about marriages of the informal but utilitarian variety. Marriages man takes upon himself and which are steered and accelerated by factors intrinsic to his grandiose human spirit. Marriages dictated by desires for wealth and superficial pleasure and ego and fear and conformity and immortality. Union of man and those objects and cultural motifs he’s built which promise only casual attachment but are easily and abruptly divorced without fanfare if the need or urge ever arises. Marriages that spawn new inventions and the construction of vast cultural and societal monuments that feed his ability to foment and give birth to all the marriages his voracious heart desires. For these marriages, the marriages of the the mind, breed more marriages. To sustain marriages, man must enlarge and increasingly encumber his world with new tools of of material reproduction. And deeper he buries himself in his external world of gadgets and shortcuts and conveniences. Marriages severed as easily as switching a blog name.

An Unmarried Man. Is an unburied man.

Seeking to live a life with as few unions as possible.

How many lazy and superficially satisfying amenities is a man willing to part with? How intensely is he willing to part with the ornamental glitter that materialistic culture coyly offers his avararice-ridden soul?

That is now the spirit of this blog. That is where I find myself these days. Phoenixism, the concept of renewal and self-discovery, was a step.
The evolution of unmarriage, of leaving the path, departing, extricating oneself from the world’s timid delights. How far do we veer out? How far do we take it?

How far can I take it?
The decision is made. Was made much earlier in this post, actually.
Minutes after I publish, Phoenixism will give way to An Unmarried Man.

I suspect that in time, a new name, a name which symbolizes my pressing expressive urge of the time, will supersede this name as well.

As they say, once a cheater, always a cheater.

Mr. Crotchety comments on Real Women

I read a very distressing news article this afternoon while eating my lunch.

You see, while I munched away at my desk (a horrible fate if ever there was one, why do I do it?), I wandered over to msn.com since it’s a relatively inconspicuous and extremely “non-NSFW” site to peruse while behind the cloak of my employer’s iron networked fist.

On msn, it seems everything is “pop-” something…health, cuture, celebrity, all that mindless crap that kills precious lunchtime minutes when you should be exploring the wild countryside. Anyways, the cycling stories in the lifestyle section flashed a headline that caught my eye.

What Real Women Expect From Men it boasted.

Excuse me?
Real women? What is a “real woman?” Can someone please explain to me…?
The tagline volunteered a little more clarification.

Esquire asked 36 American women at five definitive ages what they wanted out of a guy their age. Here’s what they believed, in their own words.

Ugh. I don’t like it when Esquire gets involved in interpreting and conveying female attitudes. If women are given a public podium I guarantee you they will act up. Truth and sincerity are tossed to the curb. The attention whore inclination and the drama queen heritage come bursting out. Granted the podium, the collective female voice will resort to the “giiiirlfriend” twang accompanied by the patented eye-roll and flip of the wrist as it commences to make a mockery of reasoned expression. She will overstate (overstatement is a timeless gender trait for women) and make self-aggrandizing observations of which truth and accuracy play very little part.

The unscientific survey lists 5 ages (18, 27, 35, 44 & 53…not sure of the significance of some) and traits that men at each age group should embody.

I loathe this presumptuous garbage. Women expect?

What right do women have to expect anything? Exactly when and how did these women learn or become indoctrinated with the “should” mentality when it comes to life and expectations? Did the spoiled little girls never learn that daddy did everything for them out of love, but that love will eventually shrivel into skeletal residue the minute they step out into the real world?

Oh, wait, no, they never learn that, do they? It’s never difficult in this age for women to find hordes of male saps, needy and frothing at the mouth for someone to worship, who are willing to barter their soul and assume the role of doting daddy in order to win a woman’s love sexual availability.

Women bleat on with unrealistic demands. They prey on the weakness of the modern male spirit. And they vomit up bullshit “requirements” as they stumble into the mating dance with the ironic utility of a job interview.

Well shit, I needed to see what these women thought about a guy my age. 45, not 44, but one year will not make or break their lofty expectations, will it?

He should be a real partner.
What on earth is this drivel about a real partner? That sounds like patented television psychoevangelist filler, symbolic but nonsensical phrases which sound somewhat logical when not considered seriously. But stop and think about it. A real partner who will humor all your mindless dalliances and will gladly subvert his once edgy and brilliant persona to your numbing and ritualistic level?

He should still be eager to learn
Yes, eager to learn how to please your slothful and gluttonous ass. Learn to center the relationship around your childish, self-absorbed needs.

He should be able to sing along to all the songs on Boston’s first album.
Lame.
OK, so you realized your first two expectations were straddling the region of male self-disrespect and you needed to tone down the feminine power trip for a moment.

He should be financially secure.
Why does that matter and how exactly do these women quantify “financially secure?” This is womanspeak for “I’m modern and I work and earn all the money I need for myself and I’m not looking to share any of it, so you better be ready and willing to foot your half of the bill. Oh, and of course, it would be nice if you foot the whole bill once in a while as well. Oh, and own a great house, a plush Lexus, a fantastic television, a fashionable wardrobe, go on annual international trips, and own a professionally stocked kitchen.”

He should understand the importance of jewelry in a woman’s life.
Oh I understand and that’s why I’m here and you are there.

He should take out the garbage without being asked.
Yeah, whatever…something stinks in here and it’s not the garbage…

He should be sexy.
Yes, a very fair and reasonable request as her waistline inches out and time’s heavy burden weighs down her less resilient flesh? Very reasonable. Oh, and don’t go on with your larger than life new age bullshit about the relative, cerebral nature of “sexy” and its dynamic nature. We know exactly what you mean. At least cougars are honest about it.

He should be a gentleman.
I don’t know what a “gentleman” is or does, really. But a man who treats everyone with respect and kindness is timeless. Or ageless. Besides, there is nothing as infuriating as the adjudicators of etiquette. Etiquette is load of crap, manners are for simpering idiots. I’ll act like I want.

An empty day in my empty Generation C life

I suffer for this motherfucking Art, man.
Don’t take this shit lightly.

Mm. OK that is a load of hyperbole. Admittedly.

First of all, the issue of “art.” Very questionable. Some of the crap I shovel into this blog is a bunch of aimless self-absorbed rambling. Granted, much great art is essentially that, isn’t it?
The difference being a glaring absence of money and/or fame. Still, a dearth of those ingredients likewise does not preclude one’s honorable presence in the reputable art world.
So screw it. This is art, because I call it that. Take a hike.

Now the suffering part. Beyond questionable.
I really can’t call this “suffering,” in good conscience. Some days are bad, some are good, but I don’t fillet my soul over burning coals to make sure this product is brought to your famished eyes on a nearly daily basis. It’s not that severe.

But I do have rough days when it’s miraculous, at least in the context of my life, that I can plop my ass down in front of the computer and spit out anything remotely worthy of deletion.
I’ve literally sat at the laptop in my bedroom and it must be the sleepy Sandman vibe because I’ve literally dozed off while while contemplating the last draft of a post before hitting the magic publish button. I only hope that activity is restricted to the writer and not the readers. I hope.

Cause I suffer for you bastards.
I hang on the crucifix of Phoenixism to regurgitate this shit. Don’t take it lightly!

Let me tell you about suffering.
I think today may rank as such a day.

Suffering, pain, devotion.
Let the Phoenix rise!

Today, and those days like this, I should probably resist posting.
There is no good reason that would convince me it’s a wise idea to post on days like this.
See, I believe it’s a compulsion.
An addictive compulsion.
This posting bullshit. Blogging. It’s like being an alcoholic.
Dude, you don’t have a drink, you don’t whet your compulsion for a sizable amount of time, and you feel empty, lost; a sensation of absence courses through your soul. You skip a drink, you skip a post, it feels as if you’ve wronged nature. You’ve slyly skipped out the back door on fate. For you shirked your duty, your preordained appointment and now the god of regularity and habit is roiled. He will fuck you up!

Still, you must blog despite it all. You must have that drink because to not do so would be dereliction.
Compulsion is a beautifully human curse,
I guess it could be worse.

So a run down on today’s suffering.
This is one of those days I take the train to and from work which is a commitment to being away from home almost 12 hours. That’s a long fucking time. Braving crowds, sharing seats with space hogs on the bus and train, scaling stairs and escalators at the Metro stations, strolling along scummy Hollywood streets, scaling more stairs and elevators at work, pulverizing my brain for 8 hours with cerebellum-shrinking clerical work, weathering capricious and scary co-workers, taking a one hour lunch which is like a glimmer of short-lived freedom which makes me realize I can just walk away from this place and keep going and going and never look back if I wasn’t so goddamned reliant on the paycheck to sustain my meager habits, 9 hours of glorified post-modern enslavement in all. Another four hours of immersion in rush hour public transportation crowds spanning the gamut from white collar downtown professionals to blue collar Homies pressed together on the eastbound bus. Hell yeah! And the commute is never a flawless and peaceful activity. If it’s not a taxi driver having a road rage pissing match with another car on Selma as I march to the Red Line station which leaves me ready to dive into the bushes at the slightest hint of violence (walking and living in this town makes one very keen to the concept of “line of fire,” something only police and soldiers normally have to worry about), then it’s the many homeless and indigent I must carefully maneuver through at Pershing Square because even though most of the time the biggest threat they present is an affront to the senses of vision or smell, occasionally one of them springs a Collie surprise (“he was such a gentle, friendly dog, he always got along well with the neighborhood children…”).

Then I expect myself to drag my ass into this apartment, climb more stairs, carting a backpack pregnant with books and a lunch pail, cook, gotta cook if I wanna keep this beautiful mind sharp and productive, eat, wash dishes…sometimes I don’t start tapping these keys until 9pm. Today has been a fuck it day. Instead of cooking the minute I walked through the door, I launched immediately into this post, arrived at a nice stopping point, prepared some foodstuffs, brought them back to the computer and continued eating and typing. This post smells like black beans. Enjoy the aroma.

Suffering. As U2 said, “you give yourself away” and that is my theme. Put my life on hold for Phoenixism. Live no life.

Hey I can get away with it, you know why? Because if it wasn’t for this blog, I would be indulging in some other equally fruitless and questionable use of my time which doesn’t involve “living” according to standards of 21st Century thought. Thought that tells us, warns us, that we are not “living” unless we are 1) eating, 2) surrounded by too many people, 3) spending money, 4) spending too much money to do something we would be able to do independently for free or cheaper.

Yeah I have no life. Eat me. You won’t catch me apologizing or justifying.
This is it.
This is me.

And tonight I am possessed with this strange overriding urge to study human train wrecks. Undoubtedly, the “misery loves company” axiom at work.
Imagine everything I highlighted about my day, all that I braved to be here right now in front of this glaring computer monitor. The hurdles, the obstacles, a parade of bullshit intent on dissuading me from pounding this post out. Not only will I pound this post out. I will also bring you a couple of human train wrecks which brighten my day in the same way that an explosive fireball might light up the Gulf of Mexico at night.

Light it up baby!

People of Walmart

Sorta matterhorn-ish, don’t you think?

Need a better view of the crevices? Welcome to the bat cave.

If that doesn’t leave you distraught and nauseated, we can do you one better. The now defunct FUPA Hunter brings you…!

Because the only sight more gruesome than cottage cheesy-like layers of upper arm fat is when they actually are the color of cottage cheese!

Would you like a bigger bowl?

I hate to be a spoil sport, but I really have to call to question the motives for the popularity of these vomit-inducing voyeuristic sites. What is the fascination with bodies and wardrobe that are beyond embarrassingly bad? Humorous, amusing, yes. These photos have that raw, lowest common denominator appeal but I feel their ubiquity has cheapened the shock value of bad taste. While exposure is not acceptance, it is certainly the first step.

The marginal, brought into the fold, courtesy of the internet. Granted, my hypocrisy is not exactly lost on me. Here I sit, railing against the prevalence of this type of photo entertainment and I immediately turn around and post two. Well, I’m trying to make a point, damnit. Namely that this type of physical carnival sideshowism and tragic attire has no reason to be upheld as “entertainment.” Technology and its portable surreptitious nature has turned this into Generation C (cheesy).

Mental Chronicles 1

White and Nerdy is having some problems.
First and foremost, he cannot get laid.
For the modern male in his 20’s and beyond, virginity is an oppressive curse, a heavy social weight locked around your neck.
It is the stigma that keeps on giving. The longer a man wallows in virginity, the more time there is for ill feelings of alienation to fester and multiply exponentially. Rather than nurturing the seeds of hope, each luckless day brings with it unprecedented levels of anguish. It’s not really about the sex. We’re talking about all the extraneous personal shit that leads to a man’s state of virginity, the lack of acceptance he experiences, and the neutering of his sexual and social vitality. These are the very real effects of a man’s involuntary virginity. The “outcasting” of a man, the sublimation of his soul to dejection and hopelessness.

The virginity feeds the mind.
Actually, doesn’t feed it. Leeches from the mind; devours and pummels it.

When I first discovered White and Nerdy’s blog, Omega Virgin Revolt, he had just published 2 or 3 posts, each purporting to expose the mistreatment he has received at the hands of women, mostly co-workers. My initial reaction was to browbeat the guy. The posts reeked of victimization, a guttural helplessness which placed blame everywhere but his own hands.

White and Nerdy’s primary lament underlying his blue-balled torture is that women, by virtue of their evil natures, have collectively, albeit unconsciously, conspired to deprive him and other men of sex. Unfolded a bit further, modern culture, tainted by feminism, has structured itself in such a manner that he (and others of his ilk), are denied access to women due to the their inherent social shortcomings. He also accuses women of actively seeking to destroy his livelihood and good name. He is unforgiving and persistent in his reiteration of this meme. He points out several instances in which women, supposedly unprovoked, filed sexual harassment accusations against him which threatened his job in the STEM sector.

Reading through his posts, I underwent several reactions of incredulity. On the one hand, maybe the guy really is falling prey to the dubious and evil machinations perpetrated by various women he encounters in his daily life.
But I also find myself wondering if he’s fallen prey to a groundless paranoia which allows himself a self-portrayal of the archetypal tormented social misfit who elicits sadistic levels of feminine abuse and antipathy which may or may not exist in reality but which seem large and imposing from behind the curtains of alienation.

I wonder if he’s relinquished control of his dignity to all his putative female tormentors who are really just ordinary women who might be slightly creeped out by his standoffish behavior.

As I said, my initial reaction to his posts was skepticism. In fact I was a bit harsh in some comments in which I obliquely hinted at mental illness as the cause of his inability to get laid and I used my own pathetic past as a contrasting backdrop. “If I was able to get laid when I was in my 20s, there’s no reason you can’t unless you’re nuts,” was the gist of my scolding. Looking back, calling White and Nerdy mentally ill was a bit ironic.

On Saturday, White and Nerdy posted an entry titled “Aspergers Syndrome” in which he ventured that perhaps the mental health field has begun to fall back on a lazy, overused diagnosis of Aspergers when confronted with men who are socially unable to initiate sexual relations with women (and the concomitant character failings that inevitably accompany such a pitiful mess of a man who drags himself into the psychologist’s office). Essentially accusing psychologists and psychiatrists of mindlessly buying into an enigmatic female practice of persecuting socially maladjusted men.

White and Nerdy theorizes that mental health professionals are participating in a concerted effort to “pathologize” socially undeveloped men in order to assuage womanhood of any personal blame for their mistreatment of men who haven’t proven able to fit the mold. Once ostracized and fallen out of favor, it is virtually impossible for such a man to gain a foothold in the realm of normal social activities, as the feminine matrix is less than willing or forgiving.

Captured my attention.
Am I buying?
Not completely.

But…I believe there are some kernels of truth in White and Nerdy’s superficially outlandish postulation. Even though his ideas may seem farfetched (and some of them might very well be), I believe that buried deep in his paranoid, pod people accusations, there is a very real and demonstrable movement, a paradigm shift if you will, afoot, which is carelessly casting legions of poorly socialized young men into the realm of the mentally disordered.

I’ve been down this road.
In his Aspergers post, I commented and described a revelatory history of my own…and I used the podium to detail my distrust of the mental health “profession.”

Back in my late teens, early 20′s, I was fighting some serious cognitive and social oddities brought on by my stunted levels of socialization. This brought me to the shrink, obviously. The psychologists volunteered voluminous levels of diagnostic bullshit and the psychiatrists fed me neuroleptics and anti-depressants. The side effects were horrible. I told the psychiatrist ‘fuck this, I’m not taking this shit anymore’ and I walked away and never looked back.
The mental health field is feminized claptrap and obviously we are well aware of the power of the pharmaceutical industry. Rather than attend to personality and emotional immaturities which are behavioral in origin, they fall back on the DSM flavor of the month.

I have volumes to say about this. About my personal history and its parallels to White and Nerdy and other young men in similar situations. And rather than laugh or condescendingly trivialize their lot in life as some self-created burden that they need to snap out of, as if were so easy, I’ve begun to look at these guys in a very personal and empathetic light. I once walked in these shoes and actually, I still do. But not in the way you probably think.

(The next Mental Chronicles installment will examine what I call the “feminization” of the mental health field).

“Yes, and cow dung make good fuel, too.”

Have you heard of the village?

If you are familiar with my thoughts here, you’ll quickly realize, upon learning of the village, that it is quite suitably my imaginary idyllic beacon. I was reminded of the village today while I watched Akira Kurosawa’s “Dreams.” The movie is a vast, surreal, vivid display of private cinematographic wondrousness based on several of the famous Japanese director’s dreams. Eight, to be exact, and the final dream represented in the movie is entitled “Village of the Water Mills.” As with many of the short dreams portrayed in the movie, the story involves a lone traveler who discovers a desolate and uncanny location populated by mysteriously fleeting characters who appear trapped between two worlds, a tenuous border zone separating states of existence.

In this case, the traveler wanders into the village and finds an elderly man who happens to be doing maintenance work on a…water mill, of all things.

The traveler is dressed in a a relatively modern ensemble of jeans and button-up shirt while the village dweller is an archaic representation of distant Japanese past.

The border zone these two presently occupy is explained by the elderly man in this clip:

The old man’s even-handed responses and explanations of the village’s pre-modern style of life make me smile.

Perhaps this one sentence, in response to the visitor’s querying him about the village’s lack electricity and reliance on candles to illumine the oppressive rural darkness, sums up the dialog best: “Why should night be as bright as day?”

But the most striking thing to me about the village is not its lack of electricity or lights or machinery or lack of common modern amenities. It is the lack of a formal, geographical name. This town is not only timeless…it is bodiless.

It left me second-guessing man’s reflexive habit of bestowing names in order to distinguish people and places. To consider a village that has no name is baffling to my sense of order and proper reality. How must a civilization without names manage to exist, how would it diverge in ritual from my accepted cultural manner of attaching labels to my world.

For is this not the purpose of names?
Names tie us, they bind us. They consolidate our differing streams of existence. Names solidify and mark the land that is not marked. Names place artificial differentiation on places which nature didn’t. We draw city limits, we draw invisible and imaginary limits to this coldly and neutrally natural world of ours. Names bring the element of the unrecognizable and inexplicable into focus and provide us with a common understanding of our physical environment.

Kurosawa’s Watermill Village is a repudiation of mankind’s egotistical yet helpless attempts at harnessing his wild environment.

The Zen-like Watermill Village offers an an exquisitely right-brained method of interacting with our world. In this village, direct binary relationships are not inherent to the language’s mentality or structure. All concepts skirt such simplistic correlations. Rather, we relate with our environment through an internalized and slightly spontaneous but descriptive fashion. Names are not labels; names are movement, they are emotion, they are untold. We don’t recognize or demarcate with meaningless words. Names are denoted by traits, behaviors, description, underlying sensation. We share an awareness of the place, and when we think of it, we know it, and descriptions of it are exuded in the context of its role or placement within the environment. Issuing a humanly contrived name reeks of hollow superiority and godliness. In Watermill Village, the land, the landscape, is immutable and thus not in need of an impermanent name (essentially, all names are impermanent for those that name are impermanent themselves).

Watermill Village then is reflective of more than just trite pastoral symbolism.
It treads upon the ambiguous nature of an unworldly transient mentality, perhaps comparable to that of the American Indian.