Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dear Salvador: Lesson #2 - A Few Words on Women


Dear Salvador,

On Fashion:
When undressing for sex, your socks should always be removed before your pants. If you end up being seen in your underwear and still wearing your socks, you may not recover. This situation doesn't apply to women, so don't get tricked by watching women undress and trying to emulate them.

On Touching:
Imagine a naked woman standing with her arms at her sides. (Feel free to play along at home.) This is easy for you, because you're high school, and you were probably doing it before I asked you too. Now, imagine this naked woman standing under a shower faucet slowly dripping water. Drip. Drip. Drip. Like this.

If your powers of concentration are strong enough, you can see the individual water droplets moving downward and eventually off of her, via her toes or her fingers. It is important to realize that the path the water droplet takes is different each time (ala Ian Malcolm). Whenever you make contact with a woman, it is important not to repeat your own actions too much. You don't want to touch her the same way over and over again. She is not a cat.

To return to the faucet analogy, take your imaginary woman and move her around barbie-doll style. Have her bend at the elbow, putting her hands in the air for instance. Which way is the water moving now? The "toe water" should be the same, but the "finger water" is now moving off of her by her elbows, not her fingers. If she lifts her leg out to one side, the exit point is now the heel. If she bends at the knee like a flamingo, the exit point is the bottom of the foot.

The reason I mention this change in body position and why it's important is that your movements when you're touching a woman should be akin more to moving outward instead of downward. That is, your goal should never be just fingers and toes, but elbows, knees, wrists, backs, etc. etc..

And your actions should follow-through to their completion. If you're stroking a woman's arm, for example, your hand should never stop halfway between the elbow and the wrist. (You can try it on yourself if you're alone right now.) It feels weird, it looks weird, and it actually will make her feel like a pet, instead of a woman.

That is also to say that you don't need to mimic the water droplet originating at the top of the head either. Of course it would be really awkward if you started your hands on the top of her head and moved it all the way to her toes. In practice, you should consider the water droplet having a different origin, not necessarily the top of the head. That is, imagine your hand and the drop of water starting in the same place and leaving in the same place.

On Shortcuts:
You've probably heard of the really stupid book, "How to Make Friends and Influence People". One of the key pieces of advice this book offers is the platitude, "interested is interesting." (That is, if you feign enthusiasm for someone else, they will think you're an interesting person. This is complete bullshit, and I'll explain more about it later.)

Take a look at this picture of Farrah Fawcett. This poster went on to sell 12 million copies and was the definitive image of the definitive sex symbol of the 1970s. We can safely assume that this is a sexy picture (although dated).

Now, my question is "Why is this picture sexy?"

You can quickly name a lot of things: the hair, the eyes, the smile, the legs, the breasts, the obvious nipples, so on and so forth. What I want you to do though, is take the Farrah in this picture and imagine her standing with her arms at her sides, staring at the ground. It immediately becomes less sexy. In fact, it actually becomes nothing more than a study in anatomy, instead of sexiness.

The thing that makes this a sexy poster, as opposed to a poster of a sexy woman, is that Farrah is smiling and looking at you. That is, she is finding you attractive. In fact, if you do a quick google search of any and all PG rated pictures of this kind, they are almost always looking directly into the camera. They are looking at you.

Therefore, we can agree that if a woman finds us sexy, the situation itself becomes sexy. This works the same in reverse, albeit a little differently. If you can convince a woman that you find her sexy, it will help convince her that you are sexy. The problem is defining the line between showing your appreciation and just plain being creepy. All people like to be looked at in a positive manner, to be sure, but not everyone appreciates being eye-fucked. This is a distinction that I can't teach you, and you'll probably just have to practice. (Consider this your homework assignment.)

On Dichotomy:
The semanticist SI Hayakawa described everything as being either a two-valued orientation, or a multi-valued orientation.

The two-valued orientation is easily characterized by "good/bad" although it branches out into other orientations. For instance, if you're starving, he writes, everything in the world is either "food" or "not food", and anything that doesn't fall into one of these catergories does not exist for you. Meaning, if you're hungry in Calcutta, a bench in Rome is not even a part of your world. It doesn't exist. A second example he gives is fear. If your life is in danger, everything around you is suddenly divided into "things that can help me" or "things that can hurt me". Nothing else matters besides these two things.

The multi-valued orientation is when you take a look at something and can acknowledge both the good and the bad, as well as an infinite number or other possibile values. For instance, you will never divide all the movies in the world into the two categories "good" and "bad". You will instead say, "This is a funny movie" or "This is a sad movie". And even within that, you acknowledge that not every second of the movie is funny, and that some scenes are funnier than others. No movie is 100% of X and 0% of Y.

The two-valued orientation is used for stuff like eating and surviving. Human stuff. The multi-valued orientation is better for things like art, politics, and things like that. (We'll probably come back to this idea, actually, when we discuss politics.)

The problem with this is that sex is one of those "human things." This means that, as men, we categorize women into "good" "bad" or "doesn't exist." If you sit back and think about the women in your life, you will do this. Some women you will like and want to date, some women you don't like and don't want to date, and there are probably a multitude of women that didn't even register in your thoughts, some that are probably close to you and you see every day.

Start doing this today. Stop asking "Do I like her?" and start asking "What do I like about her?" In other words, stop using the two-valued orientation and switch to the multi-valued.

Your relations with people will improve tremendously. You will be able to acknowledge a person's strengths first and foremost when considering them (something that is important to them), as opposed to think about whether or not you like them (something that is important only to you). I can't say that this is the instant shortcut to popularity or that you'll be a Cassanova in no time, but I will tell you that this is the very best way to treat people in the best way.

This has the added benefit of quickly making you immune from entering into a bad relationship. If you ever had a conversation with a friend whose dating a monster of a girlfriend, you'll find that he has trouble naming a good quality about her. Usually he'll respond with something like "She makes me happy" or something along those lines, which implies a two-valued orientation as though the woman were food. With the multi-valued orientation, you can say that you appreciate X and Y qualities about her, and then ask yourself if those qualities are the most important to you. (Example: If Girl X is really smart, but Girl Y can snowboard, you have to ask yourself which of these qualities is more important in a mate.)

And that is your lesson for this week. I can't stress enough about the multi-valued orientation, about how you should start asking what it is you like about each woman (and person) around you, as opposed to whether or not you like them. Start doing that right now.

Master Splinter
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