Saturday, October 20, 2012

The authority grab and the precision junkie

I've been thinking more about work language lately, and less about personal life. Here's a thought.

As I advance in my career I spend more time at conferences, it seems. And there are definite patterns of language at conferences. I'm not in the academic world, but I have a feeling that if I was, I would see this all the time, since it is frequently academics who do these.

1. Why didn't you mention [my thing]?

So, a presenter gives a talk at a conference. The presenter does a good job or a bad one, but let's say a good one. Clear, concise, interesting, novel presentation on something of importance (suppose it was on, development in west africa or something). Question period. Someone puts up their hand and the question is:

"This presentation was very good, I thank you for it. But I am amazed that in the entire presentation there was absolutely no mention of [whatever]. How you can talk about [your topic] without talking about [whatever] is beyond me. It seems to me that [whatever] is completely crucial to this discussion, and needs to be incorporated into all discussions of these matters."

The speaker, if polite, usually acknowledges the importance of [whatever] and moves on to the next question.

I think of this as a kind of authority grab. The questioner is asserting the importance of [whatever], and [whatever] is usually the issue or research topic of the questioner.

2. What you said is not precisely true.

Some people you work with are what you might call precision junkies. If you say that something happened at the beginning of 2009, they will say "well, it happened in March 2009, which is not exactly the beginning". If you say that there was a man-sized hole, they'll say "well, it would have to be a small man."

The precision junkie might be doing an authority grab, or they might be contrarian, but most of the ones I have met are literally junkies. They can't help themselves. And you can't do much about them.

Neither of these people/tactics are dangerous, so I wouldn't worry about them. Just knowing they're there and knowing their names will help them irritate you a little bit less.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Harm reduction and porn

Every so often, I feel like my mind is being attacked, by images and plans, scenarios in which I could cheat on my woman. If I have the privacy to do it, I scan websites that review escorts, I look up online escort services, I look at strip clubs as I walk past them, I look up massage parlors. I imagine, in great detail, how I would go about evading getting caught and arranging a sexual encounter in one of these places, with one of these strangers. Thinking about these scenarios causes me to zone out for hours, and it's very sexually exciting. This is what addiction felt like, and I think it's no different than a drug. I lose time, I waste energy, I can't focus on what's important. I get stuck in a fantasy world, I sit, undignified, at the computer, wasting hours.

Odysseus tied himself up to the mast of his ship so that he wouldn't run to the sirens. My method is a little bit more prosaic. When I feel these - for lack of a better word - attacks coming on, I masturbate, using porn, so that no matter how much I am tempted, I could not physically pull off cheating. I am not sure if this is necessary or if it is excessive, I realize it is cheating in a way (though not nearly as harmful as cheating with another person).

When my woman is away, I do this even more. I feel like I am beating my brain, or my body, at its own game. It is demanding that I destroy my relationship and my future for anonymous, meaningless sex. I am responding by wearing it out through the most meaningless form of sex available (masturbation).

I would prefer to not use porn at all, and to just be free of this little voice in my head, these addictive cravings and compulsions. I think a combination of distraction and willpower can ultimately work. I want to free myself. I have tasted freedom and it is so powerful, so good, I want it again. I have it now, partially.

I am describing a classic porn addiction. The problem is that the porn addiction is the lesser of evils. What I think I am trying to do is the opposite of the gateway drug idea. But am I fooling myself? Am I actually, instead, heading in the opposite direction?

The one thing I have going for me is that, unlike with drugs, you need to be in a certain physical state - as a man, anyway - to actually engage your sex addiction. You can smoke or snort at any time, but you can only have sex if you can get an erection, and if you have beaten yourself to submission, you can't get an erection. So that's what I do.

I repeat, it's not my first choice. But it's my harm reduction method, like the methadone they give to heroin addicts.

Another thing I zone out on: creeping Music and Voice on the internet. I'm not as bad as Zuckerberg at the end of the Social Network, but I am not that far off. Voice is getting more and more famous, so there's more and more to see of her on the web. Music isn't, but she loves every new social network tool, especially involving photography, so there's always chances to see her.  Why do I do this? I don't want anything with these women. So, what am I doing? What is this behaviour? It also steals my time and energy, turns me into a criminal sneaking around. Why do it?

Maybe I need to sneak around? Is that the real thrill? Not reliving the sexual memories (which I do), but the need to have secrets, the need to have a secret life? A psychoanalyst might have a field day with this one, a pseudonymous blogger - who loves superhero movies and comics and shows like Dexter that involve secret identities - wondering, stupidly, if he gets off on the thrill of having a secret life.

My goal is integration - to lead one life, all above board, all clean and open. Is that goal generating these counter-drives, these counter-urges for secrets and sneaking?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Her sexual personality

I have been thinking about why sex fascinates me so much, why I re-live sexual memories so often and so much. It is not just the visual. Sure, we males are visual creatures and I am strongly affected by even subtle sights of female beauty. But I think that what is amazing about intimate relationships, even rocky ones, even bad ones, is the chance to get to know her sexual personality.

I think about Music, for example. She had this mischievious energy. She liked to be coaxed, a little bit. Even when she was eager to make love, she would suggest it very gently, like a question. We'd be in bed in the morning, and she'd sit up, and ask: "Do you want to get up? Do you want to get down?" Leading question. Predictable outcome. Or she would be on her laptop, pretending to ignore me, while I came up behind her and started massaging her. She would purr, but keep her attention away from me as long as she could. She was adventurous with blowing me, too, always trying to see how far back she could take me, and then reporting it back to me proudly. "You were all the way back here," she would tell me after.

But when she was really hot, she would become much more serious, and much more submissive. She would still want me to take her, but she would be very quick to move to whatever position I moved her to, quick to do whatever I wanted her to, and vocally very responsive. When I miss making love to her, when I fantasize, I miss these things about her. As much as the way she looked, and smelled, and tasted, and felt, I miss these things about her personality, things that I only learned after we'd made love dozens of times.

Voice was different. She was always hungry. Our sex life was limited only by my endurance. If I was ready, she was ready. If anything, she was more flamboyantly submissive than Music. It was a wild, loud surrender, lots of screams, lots of "please take me".

Music and Voice were such intense experiences, and so different from Soulmate, when I was younger, or Princess, today. Soulmate was finding herself, back then; Princess is finding herself, now. I realized, Princess is the last woman I will be with, and neither of us know her sexual personality yet. Shakira sang about a she-wolf being in there, and I think there's a she-wolf inside Princess too. I've caught glimpses of her, but I am looking forward to when she comes out and we can spend a whole afternoon together.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time to change up...

Four more months of real, grownup, married life later, and I am rethinking what I do with this blog. I started this when I was lonely and dating and looking for something, and now I've found it and the world is very different. Maybe I'm living a journey not too different from Neil Strauss, who went from The Game to Emergency - learning how to pick up women, then learning how to protect himself and his family in case of the world collapsing. Well I've been around the world and seen that it's collapsing. Collapse is nothing new to me. But other things are. Like, responsibility. Not being able to risk my life so casually. Thinking about saving money and resources.

But it occurs to me that these, like my previous concerns about pickup and loneliness, addiction and nostalgia, are also concerns people have. Along with my abiding interest in pop culture and novels. Not to mention that there is still just as much need for a sharp tongue now as ever, in my life.

So, perhaps there is still a place for this blog.

Having said that, my blogroll is hopelessly out of date, so I think I am going to change it up. Goodbye Suzette, I loved you. Bad Man, you emailed me back when I was close to rock bottom, and now you're gone from the web. Naked Loft Party, you guys left too. Tim Ferriss, I will continue to read everything you write (and thanks for 4HB, I am using your protocols to help recover from both back and ankle injuries), but you certainly don't need any of the trivial traffic I would send your way! I do seem to be following you in life though. I am just now getting into cooking - me and Princess are becoming expert chefs. So, of course, I'll be getting 4HC... although for now, Jamie Oliver's doing a pretty awesome job.