Posture, vs Posturing…

June 18, 2009 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 7 Comments

There are way too many web sites out there claiming they can help “Nice Guys” get laid via speed seduction techniques (for a price, of course). Unfortunately, way too many “Nice Guys” are the kinds of suckers who fall for that shit. Let’s face it, they fall for the kind of women who do THIS, too.

And yet, email commentary in the “Nice Guys=Bleah!” section of HBI is proof that not all Nice Guys are misogynistic assholes in wimps clothing.  Some can actually figure out how to grow up into mature adult males.  That being said, I continually get emails from self-professed “Nice Guys” who want some kind of real, concrete advice on what they can do to change, to get the girl, to have a REAL relationship (as opposed to just getting LAID).  Of course, putting aside the fact that HBI’s primary mandate is not to help losers get dates, what it all really boils down to self-confidence and truly liking yourself.  If you are truly comfortable in your own skin and care about yourself, you take care of yourself physically (hygiene, dress, health, etc). You carry yourself differently. You don’t project an air of desperation that the average female can smell a mile away.  But completely changing your personal outlook and growing a spine is a tall order for most doormats. So I’m going to throw you a cookie. One SIMPLE thing you can do, that will start to change your life. Really.  I’m not yanking your chain here.

Remember, you WILL have to change: Not WHO you are, but WHAT you do; your behavior and attitude will have to be modified.  Sitting alone sucking on the self-pity straw, believing that the woman of your dreams should love you just AS YOU ARE (with no effort on YOUR part to be the man of HER dreams), is crap fed to you by too many entitlement-minded psychobabble books.  So don’t be a bitter, narcissistic asshole who sits there expecting the world to revolve around YOU.

I got this from my youngest son, who took one look at a single friend of mine and said (of the guy’s lack of dating success), “I know what his problem is. It’s his posture.”  I thought about it, and I realized he had something there. Not the WHOLE thing, but something significant.

So here’s your cookie. It isn’t going to change your life overnight. It’s not going to magically make you a chick-magnet. It IS however, going to be a step in the right direction, and possibly a springboard for change in your life.

It’s simple: Stand up STRAIGHT.

Yep. Just that. Walk with your shoulders BACK. Not back and raised up – put them back and down, so that it straightens your spine – naturally, not stiff like you have a stick up your ass.  Hold your head up when you walk and when you talk to people. Do NOT round or hunch your shoulders forward. Sit up straight when you work.  This applies to whether you are walking alone on the street, or talking to a man or a woman.  It won’t feel natural at first, but the longer you do it, the more comfortable you will feel. (It’s also better for your back and neck).  Change your posture, and it will have a perceptible effect over time, on your attitude, and on the perception OTHERS have of you. In time that may even translate to changing your own self-perception.  

Oh, and stop reading those stupid speed-seduction sites and lusting after beautiful-but-damaged women. It’s all just so cliché.

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*SNAP*

June 11, 2009 | Filed Under The Heartless Bitch Way | 2 Comments

I received this in email this week:

Subject: RANT
Date: Tue, 09 Jun 2009 18:19:34 -0400
From: (you know who you are)

SNAP JUDGEMENTS

I am all for going with your gut on things but it really pisses me off when people make snap judgments about me when they haven’t even gotten a chance to get to know me.  Making snap judgments rather than getting clarification and using discernment isn’t becoming of a HEARTLESS BITCH.  It’s just plain cunty.  CUNT=Can’t Understand Normal Thinking.  At times we are all a bit mentally challenged.  We all have blind spots.  Rather than be all cunty and snotty it would be nice if bitches could cut another bitch a break when she is having a hard time.  If you have something to say be direct and try and have some fucking manners about it or just ask for some clarification.  Having some new blood around these parts would be a good thing.  When new bitches show up on the scene and want to be a part of things it would be smart to be welcoming and not denigrate them.  Tough love is sometimes necessary.  I am all about it if it is going to help a bitch out.  Don’t be kicking bitches when they are down though.  That’s just being an asshole. 

I didn’t need to go to the Bitchboard to figure out this was a burnt newbie having a temper tantrum.  Here is my response:

SNAP WHINERS

I am all for going with your gut on things but it really pisses me off when newbies send me whinging passive-aggressive emails thinly disguised as “RANT”s, WITHOUT THINKING first, because it shows they haven’t even got a clue how this site operates. Sending me foot-stamping emails, rather than toughing it out and getting a clue on the Bitchboard, isn’t becoming of  a HEARTLESS BITCH.  It’s just plain LAME.  LAME = Loser-Assed Mewling Email.  At times newbies are a bit mentally and socially challenged. They have blind spots, especially when it comes to accepting responsibility for their actions on the board and figuring out how to rectify their mistakes (or at least, not repeat them).  Rather than be all whiny and passive-aggressive (and emailing the editor), it would be nice if newbie members could stop making excuses, stop asking for breaks, allowances and for people to be “nice” to them, and just SUCK IT UP. If you have something to say, be DIRECT and take it up with the person you have an issue with, ON THE BOARD. DON’T email me with your complaints.  And try to have a fucking spine and learn something from the exercise rather than couching your responses in “poor me” deflections and sucking on the self-pity straw.  Having new blood in the BitchBoard doesn’t mean we should compromise our standards because some find the going tough. The site IS, after all HEARTLESS BITCHES INTERNATIONAL. When new bitches show up on the scene and want to be a part of things it would be smart of them to figure out how to NOT stick their feet in their mouths, and not expect some warm, fuzzy, “we are one” welcoming committee to make them feel all loved and special. Tough love is an imperative on the board.  There are no double-standards here. This site isn’t about catering to any individual’s issues.  You have problems and blind-spots? You are going to get called on them, and chances are, it won’t be pretty. If you make an ass of yourself on the BitchBoard, you have to suffer the consequences. Don’t be whining to me that it’s not fair and that things should operate differently.  That’s just being an asshole, and all I’m going to do is make fun of you in this column.

heartlessly,
-Natalie

And here is what Fabulana has to say about the “RANT”:

My number one pet peeve is people who email the site, apply for admission or post on the Bitchboard, and start using terms like “bitch” and “cunt” in the traditional hate speech manner. If you can’t tell the difference, you are not mature enough for this site. We aren’t into denigrating and Subordinating women in some slangy, casual, pop culture way; this isn’t a hazing. If I call Natalie the most Heartless Bitch on the face of the planet, and you can’t sense my glowing admiration for her, you are not clever. Coming up with new ways to insult people who happen to be women using sexist language (i.e. “CUNT=Can’t Understand Normal Thinking”) is just plain self- hating, and that is ONE thing we at Heartless Bitches are NOT. We JUST DON’T DO IT and if you can’t understand why, you are indeed trapped in “normal thinking.” I understand it perfectly well, just happy to abstain, thanks! That’s why this site exists.

-Fabulana

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It doesn’t get any easier…

June 3, 2009 | Filed Under Parenting, The Heartless Bitch Way | 4 Comments

Once, when my children were very young, I was exasperatedly telling an older friend about my trials and tribulations with parenting. (It might have been the day after we found worms coming out of my eldest’s ass)…. I said, “Does it get any easier as they get older?”  She said, “It doesn’t any easier, the problems just change.”

My kids are now in their twenties, and in some ways I find being a “parent” to young men this age even harder than parenting them when they were young.  When they were little, you had authority – it was an essential part of the role. After all, your primary job as a parent, as Dave Barry puts it, is to stop them from killing themselves before they are 5. (Or 10, or 15…)  As difficult as young kids can be, you still have the the right to say, “No. You will do it THIS way.” or “You need a time out to think about this”, and in the worst case, you can pick them up under your arm and haul them off to their room, (or to the car, so you can take them to the hospital for stitches). When they get older, it all gets more complex. It’s hard to pick up a 6’2″ 190lb guy, and you can’t exactly give them a “time out”, (Though you CAN embarrass the shit out of them when they break the “No Skanky Hos Sleep Over” house rule.)

These are the things they don’t tell you about in prenatal classes, or even parenting books.  For example, I had a hard enough time dealing with my own existential angst, and now I get to relive it all over again as my kids go through their own versions.  Each one in his own uniquely painful (and painful to watch) way.  

When they ask questions when they are little, you generally know the answers. As adults, those questions get really complicated and the future hangs in the balance, and all of a sudden you have to say, “I don’t know”.  Or worse, when you DO know exactly what shit is going to happen, and no amount of warning them will dissuade them from a bad course of action.  I mean we all made mistakes, and lord knows, we probably learn the most from our mistakes rather than our triumphs, but it is REALLY hard to watch your kid make the SAME mistakes over and over again.  It’s even harder to say NOTHING when you see them repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot.  (OK, for me, that’s IMPOSSIBLE.)

But here’s the dilemma: We all want our kids to feel loved, validated, and good about themselves. In order to give your child that message, you are supposed to “accept” them as they are. However, if you accept all that they do as an adult without comment and you see them doing self-destructive and/or self-defeating things, aren’t you just “enabling”?  If you see your kid with all this potential, just floundering, do we not owe it to tell them that we believe the can be/do so much MORE with their lives?  If I applaud them for working at a shitty minimum-wage job am I not giving them the message that I think that’s all they are capable of?

More importantly, do we ever stop being “parents”?

A friend sent me a quote yesterday, that seemed to match my feelings on this subject:

“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”
    -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Or, as Ashley Brilliant put it: “Just because I have accepted you as you are does not mean I have abandoned all hope for your improvement.” 

You hope that by the time they get to their twenties they at least have some things figured out, and they ARE adults now, so they have to assume responsibility for their actions, but I think the hardest part is letting go. I think my biggest challenges in the last 4 years have been around figuring out HOW to be a parent to an adult.  Even the best offspring are going to do things that are crazy, reckless, and downright foolish (god knows, *I* did), and if we say nothing when we see this going on, and bad things happen, are we complicit in the outcome? In law, if you witness a crime and say nothing you can be considered an Accessory After the Fact, right? How do you draw the line between “caring” and “interfering”?  I mean, I think we can all identify the extremes, but it’s that stuff that’s close to the line that makes us so miserable.

I told one of my sons that if he didn’t want me voicing my opinions on his choices, he should stop asking me to fund them, or more to the point, asking me to bail him out when he runs out of money.  In business, if you go to a venture capital firm to borrow money, they have VERY tight control on what you do with that money – how you spend it, what information you disclose back to them, and how you pay it back. Kids today, on the other hand, seem to think we should loan them cash with impunity, (and some think they are actually ENTITLED to it) and without having the right to say ANYTHING about how they might spend that money, manage their finances, never mind actually talking about repayment.

I wonder, is the safety-net of a mom who will help him out financially (that gravy train has come to a grinding halt, BTW), and a Dad who will give him work at his business if he can’t find anything else, actually undermining the initiative he might take for real personal growth and achieving his potential if he didn’t have us to fall back on?

(I gave my cousin a birthday card a while back that said, “We child-proofed the house 3 years ago… but they keep getting back IN!”) 

I see the same issues but in a different way with my eldest. It’s like they both have a vision of what they want (sort of – at least what kind of lifestyle they want), but neither seems willing to endure the effort (doing things that they don’t find immediately pleasurable), and the delay of gratification it would take, to get there. They often put off long term gain in favor of short term things that are “fun” and feel good, but that they KNOW are holding them back. And yet they rationalize their choices.  “I’m young. I have lots of time.”  I hear this is an issue with many of the “Millennials“.  Kids in this instant-gratification/Nintendo generation seem to have little tolerance for the rote, less-than-fun work that it takes to get to an accomplished level. Teachers at the college level have told me that so many of the students just don’t want to do the work necessary to REALLY learn the material, and worse, they don’t think they should HAVE to. They think they should earn a degree through attendance alone.

The thing IS, I know I didn’t raise my kids to be this way, but something is going on.  Is it an education system that stopped making the kids responsible for self-discipline, instead shunting it to the parents? (Getting planners signed? We never had “planners” when we were in school…). Is it the “everyone is special, everyone gets a certificate” crap that is currently fashionable? Is it the “heaven fore-fend we should FAIL a child for not meeting the standards set for passing this grade”?  I think that Raina Kelly nailed it in her “Generation Me” article in Newsweek: “…as Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell point out in their excellent book “The Narcissism Epidemic,” released last week, we’ve built up the confidence of our kids, but in that process, we’ve created a generation of hot-house flowers puffed with a disproportionate sense of self-worth (the definition of narcissism) and without the resiliency skills they need when Mommy and Daddy can’t fix something.”

If you believe what the Steven Levitt’s and the Malcom Gladwell’s of the world are telling us, it seems that parenting doesn’t matter as much as we think it does. Society, peers, and a whole host of other factors (on top of genetics) may have a much stronger influence:  Reality TV, Financial scandals, an information age where viral marketing spreads trends faster than ever before, and the perception that they will never be as successful as their parents may have a bigger impact on this generation than any values we can hope to instill.  According to the studies that Gladwell cites in The Tipping Point, it is of far more negative impact on a child to have good parents in a bad neighborhood than it is to have bad parents in a good neighborhood.  According to data that Levitt quotes, whether you read books every night to your kids, took them to museums, or put them in a head-start program has little impact on their outcome in school. (On a positive note for all you guilt-ridden working moms, going back to work before they entered kindergarten also has no impact on school outcomes compared to staying home until they enter school.) Further to alleviating that parental guilt, Judith Harris’s “The Nurture Assumption” (reviewed here by Malcom Gladwell) turns the tables on many assumptions about the impact of parents on the personality/behavior of the child.  We aren’t as important as we’ve been lead to believe we are. (Oh thank GOD. You mean it’s not all MY fault?! What a relief.)

It would seem that if individual parents are not directly to blame for the current epidemic of narcissism and instant-gratification in the millennials, then we as a society have to take some responsibility. Remember when it was inappropriate to let a kid run amok in a restaurant? Remember when it was socially acceptable to ask someone to take a screaming child out of a theatre, or chide a child that wasn’t yours, for rudeness or aggression?  Now, heaven fore-fend you should look askance at someone else’s kid.  The “village” it seems is bent on raising a bunch of self-absorbed brats.

Despite the negative influences of the Millennial generation, I am proud that my sons are polite, courteous (at least to others, and usually to me), and helpful. They do not suffer from the same sense of entitlement that I see plaguing friends and acquaintances. When we help out, they are grateful, but they don’t expect it.

I just hope that they DO have as much time as they think to “figure it out”.  I just hope that when they are 35 and finally finished school and are trying to start a career, that managers like me aren’t going to look at them like 2nd-class citizens, wondering why someone that old is only JUST getting his shit together now….  

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