The Absolute Last Thing I Will Ever Say about the Tired Subject of PUAs vs. Feminists


I recently turned 35.  That’s not old, but it also isn’t young.  For a writer, I think it’s a good time to confront the possibility that you will spend your entire life saying the same thing over and over, and then take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.  So I’ve decided to take a look at the subjects I tend to revisit again and again, and ask myself, not “what additional thing can I say about this?”, but rather “what final thing can I say about this?”  And it seemed like a good subject to put to bed first would be the one that everybody is the most sick of hearing about.

So I will now conclusively resolve the issue of PUAs vs. Feminists, and then nobody on the internet will have to write anything about this ever again.  You’re welcome.

That’s really the problem with the internet, by the way.  Back when writers wrote books, you could write a book about something, and then that was your book about that thing and you were free to write another book about something else.  Now that writers have blogs about particular subjects, you have to keep writing about that subject regularly, as well as endlessly.  If you ever actually figure out anything conclusive about it, you’ve put yourself out of a job.  Not the kind of job where you get money, of course, but the kind of job where you get attention.  And since nobody pays attention to me anyway, I’m free to do what the rest of the internet is scared to do: resolve the stupidest, most endless culture-wide flame war of the past decade in a single sentence.  Are you ready?  Here it is:

PUAs take an obvious, undeniable kernel of truth and blow it psychotically out of proportion, and then feminists respond by denying that the kernel of truth is true.

Honestly.  That’s it.  We’re done here.  Go back to any blog post or message board you’ve ever seen that degenerated into a comment war so protracted it would take you weeks to read, and you will find that the matter is utterly resolved by the single sentence contained in the above paragraph.

Are women attracted to confident guys?  Yes, but that’s not a big deal, and everyone already knew it anyway, so who cares, shut up.  PUAs, stop pretending that “confident” actually means “psychopathic.”  Feminists, stop pretending that women actually prefer stumbling dorks.

Are most women sexually submissive in their private lives?  Yes, but that’s not a big deal, and everyone already knew it anyway, so who cares, shut up.  PUAs, stop pretending that liking to get handcuffed actually means women secretly want to not be allowed to have jobs or vote.  Feminists, stop pretending that all women are actually dominatrixes.

Do women like money?  Well, who doesn’t like money?  Have you ever met anyone, male or female, gay or straight, who was like “eww, money, get it away from me, I wish I had less of it?”  Seriously, what the hell?  I might add that it is also technically true that Black people like fried chicken, because Black people are human beings and all human beings like fried chicken.  Some other things that are true are that left-handed people drink water, Canadians breathe oxygen, and Presbyterians will reflexively pull their hands away from a hot stove.

Here is how self-evidently asinine these “debates” would look if they were about anything else:

PUAs:  Many people enjoy going to see horror movies, so there is no logical way to deny that                 people will like it if we sneak into their houses dressed as Jason, hide in the closet, and             then jump out when they’re about to go to bed!
Feminists:  Nobody enjoys horror movies!

That was good, right?  See what I did there?  Here’s another:

PUAs:  Most people like pizza, so that means if we start tackling random people on the street               and shoving entire pizzas up their asses, we are doing what naturally needs to be done,             and everyone else is just scared to say so because of political correctness!
Feminists:  There is not even such a thing as pizza!  You only think there is such a thing as                            pizza because of the media!

I could keep going pretty much indefinitely with these — and to be honest, part of me wants to — but I understand that your time is limited.  Suffice it to say that they would all be variations on the general theme of:

PUAs:  Obvious and utterly inconsequential observation, so therefore insane conclusion!
Feminists:  Sweeping denial of obvious and utterly inconsequential observation!

And also hilarious, naturally.  But the goal here is to be permanently done talking about this, and at this point I almost am.  But first I have to resolve the ongoing brouhaha over whether the stupid minor things these people argue about are stupid, minor, and biological, or stupid, minor, and cultural in origin.  And the answer to that question is that everybody who actually knows anything about biology or sociology started regarding the question of “nature vs. nurture” as a false dilemma about 30 years ago.  And that, my friends, is how you write a paragraph where every sentence begins with a conjunction and nobody even notices until you point it out.

How is “nature vs. nurture” a false dilemma?  Well, let’s return to our horror movie and pizza examples.  There are proven and explicable biological processes at work that cause us to get a sort of natural high from deliberately watching fake scary things, and yet if you went back in time 700 years and showed people a horror movie, they would literally go insane, because their understanding of science wouldn’t allow them to process what they were encountering.  It seems a safe bet that we aren’t being tricked into liking pizza by the media, since taste buds are a part of your body and therefore pretty damn biological, and yet if you brought a pizza to that tiny island in the Indian Ocean that nobody can study because the people there kill you with arrows, it would make them puke, and also they would kill you with arrows.

You can always come up with a way to say something is biological, and you can always come up with a way to say that something is cultural, and assuming that neither of the explanations is stupid (it can’t be cultural that we think poop smells bad, or biological that we wear green and get drunk on March 17th), they’re probably both true.  And does the fact that something is strongly linked to biology mean that there’s something “wrong with” the people it’s not true of?  No.  I don’t like horror movies, and I knew this one guy in high school who didn’t like pizza.  Who gives a shit?  Most of the girls I’ve dated have been submissive in bed, and a couple of them have been dominant.  Once again, who gives a shit?

Am I alleging that nothing PUAs say is valuable?  No.  They say a bunch of things that are valuable.  Here are all of them:  stand up straight, act like you like yourself, don’t beat yourself up over rejection, do something funny every now and then, look people in the eye but not too much, touch people when it seems like they want you to, give people cutesy little pop-psychology tests about what kind of person they are that actually don’t mean anything, and wear red.  You will notice that none of these is specific to the Secret Crazy Psychology of Women, but rather that all are generally applicable to the Fairly Obvious Psychology of People.  They will work if you are a straight man talking to a woman, a straight woman talking to a man, a gay man talking to another man, a gay woman talking to another woman, or Morrissey being bored and exhausted.

So, that’s it.  That is all that needs to be said about PUAs vs. Feminists, and now I’m done.  I never need to say anything else about this, because whether it’s tomorrow, next month, or in ten years, you will be able to sufficiently address any argument along these lines by posting a link to this essay.  Will anybody listen?  Of course not.  This is because the people who are on blogs and message boards arguing about this stuff are 24, and they are not arguing about this stuff because they’re actually trying to conclude anything, but rather because arguing about this stuff is fun when you’re 24.  But I’m not 24.  I’m 35.  And I’m done.

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