Paleo Retiree writes:
- “The Manipulated Man“ by Esther Vilar. A rant from the early ’70s that has acquired an underground rep as an anti-feminism classic. Short, elegantly organized and composed; bristling with shrewdness and indignation; and far more insightful about women and the shit they get up to than any Game guy I’ve read. This is very worldly stuff composed in the tradition of the Euro literary essay, and in its ice-hot tone and its often scornfully ironic sophistication it reminded me of such classics as “La Princesse de Clèves” and “Les Liaisons Dangéreuses.” It’s a fun, super-stimulating read, but do come prepared: this ain’t no all-on-one-level, bullet-pointed self-help book. The case that Vilar makes is that in modern societies men don’t oppress women; instead, women use men’s needs and cluelessness to control us. Men want sex and praise so badly, and are so blind to the games women play, that, despite our rep for running the world, we’re basically women’s slaves. Me, I’ve been known to mutter “If only men wanted sex half as badly as we do, we’d make out a lot better for ourselves in the battle of the sexes,” and I suspect Vilar would agree. Fun to learn from Wikipedia that, inevitably I suppose, a feminist once accused Vilar of being “not only sexist but fascist.” Here’s a webpage devoted to Vilar.
- “The Sex Diaries: Why Women Go Off Sex and Other Bedroom Battles“ by Bettina Arndt. Arndt is an Australian sex therapist and magazine editor, but despite these qualifications she isn’t a member of The Cathedral: instead, she’s honest and down-to-earth about women, men, relationships and sex. (Her tone is very different, but her view of these things isn’t far from Camille Paglia’s.) Arndt based this book on contributions from numerous Aussie couples, who kept sex journals for her, and I found it valuable in two main ways. The first is the book’s main theme: how hard it can be for a woman and a man to stay in sexual sync over the long haul. The glimpses of grownup frustrations and relationship-struggles are fascinating and often moving, as well as very easy to relate to. The second great thing about the book is Arndt’s main argument, which is an attack on an idea that feminists have crammed into women’s brains in recent generations, namely: that, even in marriage, whether sex happens or not should be almost entirely up to the woman. (Traditionally, a wife was understood to owe her husband regular sex.) Arndt makes the point that it seems to be among life’s givens that many women lose a lot of their interest in sex once the initial seduction-and-falling-in-love, “limerance” period is over; and that as time passes, concerns such as kids ‘n’ jobs ‘n’ money ‘n’ houses often push sex ever futher down their to-do list. Meanwhile, many if not most guys marry in the expectation that access to sex will be simpler than when they were single, and despite life’s ups and downs maintain an eager interest in everyday bonking. The result is often mucho misery and despair, and a couple at loggerheads with each other. Arndt urges married women to move beyond the idea that they need to be in the mood (since they so seldom are) and to consider returning to the traditional view that they should agree to regular sex with their men whether they initially feel like it or not. The marriage will be happier, and practically speaking many women will find themselves enjoying the sex anyway. (FWIW, I’ve been amazed by the number of friends’ marriages that have broken up mainly because the wives cut off sex. How on earth does a wife who cuts off sex expect her husband to react?) As you might imagine, Arndt’s point of view has won her many feminist enemies; she’s been accused of being, among other things, a “rape apologist.” My verdict on the book: pop relationship journalism of a very rewarding kind. The world would be a far better, and far happier, place if it were inhabited by more rape apologists like Bettina Arndt. Here’s Arndt’s website, where you can find a lot of good interviews with her and blogpostings by her.
- Bonus reading: Is Monogamy Insane?
Late edit: Much valuable life-wisdom from Dave Chappelle in this clip: