Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bring back the brute! You may recall that about a week ago, I googled "making out" and found the interesting "Kiss Test", non? Well, anyway, to read it you had to give them your email address, and ever since, I have been receiving the most amusing newsletters from David DeAngelo, the guy who wrote this e-book on how to pick up women. It has some interesting advice, and I would like to share some of it with you, in the spirit of democratising knowledge. With a truly beguiling opening sentence, David begins:
Women don't CHOOSE to feel the emotion called ATTRACTION for jerks any more than YOU choose to feel the emotion called ATTRACTION for young, beautiful, hardbodied women. Nature has pre-programmed MEN with a mechanism that works like this:


Well, women have a similar mechanism. But I think that the female version is MORE COMPLEX. Yes, women do feel attraction for extremely handsome men... but they feel a MUCH STRONGER ATTRACTION for certain PERSONALITY TRAITS and BEHAVIORS than they do for physical looks alone.
According to David, attraction is "just something that 'happens' inside of a women [sic]." I don't really trust myself to analyse that phrase, so let's just move on... Here are the key traits of a jerk:
So stop being such a pussy, boyfriend! Here's how!
See if you can be a little less predictable. Don't let outside events or women control you. Be more of a challenge. Stop being submissive... and get in touch with that side of you that is more dominant (I said "dominant", not "domineering").
Of course this is all very amusing, but it also seems to tap into a strangely retro desire for masculine brutishness. As Lucy puts it, it's about women in chiffon dresses and set hair saying with petulant desire, "Oh Frankie, you are such a brute..." And then Frankie grabs her and kisses her with an almost violent passion - more like mashing her face into his - and she collapses in his arms, powerless against his brutish charms. It's no coincidence that the script for The Empire Strikes Back was written by Leigh Brackett, who'd also written the screenplay for classical Hollywood films like The Big Sleep:
Han Solo: Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I'm all right.
Princess Leia: Occasionally, maybe... when you aren't acting like a scoundrel.
Han Solo: [laughs] Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
[Han takes her hand and starts to massage it]
Princess Leia: Stop that!
Han Solo: Why?
Princess Leia: My hands are dirty.
Han Solo: So are mine; what are you afraid of?
Han Solo: You like me
because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.
Princess Leia: I happen to like nice men.
Han Solo: I'm a nice man.
Princess Leia: No you're not, you're - [they kiss]
It's a really melodramatic and, I think, essentially cinematic kind of brutishness - brutishness as scopophilic spectacle. I wrote an essay on t-shirts back in honours, in which I referred to the t-shirt doing for Marlon Brando what Laura Mulvey says the sweater did for Lana Turner: .

Can't you hear me yella, you're puttin' me through hella...

Brando's beauty aestheticises his brutality. But does it also sugar-coat the hoary misogynistic binary of the capitulating female and ravishing brute? See, that's my problem with the assumption that "women like jerks" (assholes, brutes, etc) - must women then be passive and willing to be treated like crap? Can't people assert their desires honestly without trampling on others or being trampled on? Is my naive faith in this idea behind my disappointing love life?

But just generally, I really like this word "brute" and want to bring it back into the vernacular, along with other words like "coffee lounge" and "hamlet".

Oh, and in other random musings, something occurred to me tonight as I was in Wing Loong, eating sliced pork and egglant and reading Glamorama. (Best part so far: Lauren says, "I bet you couldn't even remember what you did on Monday." Victor replies, "I modeled and then I had a sandwich.")

I overheard some youngsters at the neighbouring table. One said, "Where's [girl's name]?"
"Oh, she's going home; she wants to watch The OC."
And it struck me that getting home in time for The OC is the very sort of thing that the OC characters would do. I can just imagine Summer going to Seth, "Oh god, I almost forgot! I gotta get home for The OC."
Seth would say, dryly, "That's just typical, Summer. You're so eager to watch a show about yourself?"
"Jam it, Cohen - just drive me home," she'd answer.

Let it be said that I am not a fan of The OC and have watched a grand total of three episodes in my life. Indeed, I try to avoid shows that feature smug, self-referential cultural-studies-bait dialogue. You know the fucking show I'm talking about. Don't make me say its stupid name.

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