Rose and Valerie, screaming from the gallery: Christi Smythe and Martin Shekreli and the world of conformity

Ew. She fell for a negging beta male.

Another reporter went on a Tinder date with him just to write about it. He liked the attention. She liked getting a byline and some noteriety for having done it. The mutual selfishness was palpable.

I saw him on Tinder in NYC in 2018. I swiped right just out of curiosity. Would I have met up with him to to have been able to write about it later? No.

Have I gone out with other guys because they had power and charisma and money? Yes. I’m only made of flesh. I just wouldn’t go this far.

Women in need of validation will fall for the worst men, fully well knowing how awful they are. Look at Eva Braun. She married Adolf Hitler forty hours before they both took their lives (she by cyanide capsule and he by gun shot to the temple).

This is why we need to raise girls to be self-sufficient.

I’m exasperated with the whole world at the moment. It’s probably hormones. But hormones don’t invent facts. They don’t create observations. I am not crafting a reality that doesn’t exist. I’m just fed up with so many people in the one that does.

Everyone thinks they’re such individuals, making decisions that together form a personality. Some of the gay men I know pride themselves on their ignorance of straight men past times like watching sports. But then they get together to watch RuPaul’s drag race and listen to the same old diva anthems over and over like they were watching World Series highlights.

It has less to do with sexuality and more to do with hive mind thinking: the idea that something is ok, allowable, typical, acceptable, expected of someone because they belong to a certain culture.

I don’t belong to any pre-existing culture. I’m neither Mexican nor Latina, nor an intellectual or a professional, I’m not American or middle class, I’m not a nerd or cool, I’m not middle aged nor Gen X, I’m not young or a millennial.

And the idea of having to choose a single or even two or three boxes from which to assemble an identity sounds miserable to me. I’m sure there are people out there who find comfort in the like-mindedness of their friends.

I like having common interests with others. But I have those interests because I’ve chosen them. I didn’t just go with the flow. I didn’t start listening to a podcast and then quote someone else’s thoughts as my own and call it a personality. My very core is formed by critical thinking and curiosity.

That weirdness that people sense is me never commiting to their culture. And boy will they defend their culture. The other night this woman was defending Lena Dunham and Girls pretty rabidly. I conceded that I liked a particular episode, “Panic in Central Park,” for its lyricism. But the rest, I said, was just another well-meaning white woman’s entitled existence in a fairytale Brooklyn where the only POC in it exists to be a Republican bad guy.

She said that the show had value because it had become part of the zeitgeist. I think she was trying to sound intellectual. But anything in the zeitgeist can be defended in this low brow way. Janet Jackson’s nipple on the Super Bowl created the demand for YouTube to blow up. Her nipple was not exciting as such. It was prurient. It was pedestrian. It had shock value. And the only thing it served to prove was that forbidden human anatomy is still provocative in the land of the Puritans.

To anyone who would argue that Lena’s show was groundbreaking because it was sex positive and body positive…give me a break. She wasn’t leading the charge holding a feminist flag. She was being provocative in a childish way that people would watch because of the series of entitlement-based opportunities she’d received.

Watch She’s Gotta Have It by Spike Lee. That movie came out in 1986. It was thoughtful and sexually forward without pandering. The fact that we still talk about Girls as a phenomenon isn’t because it was good or held value. It’s because there are a lot of entitled upper middle class women in Brooklyn whose parents still take care of their safety net and they feel so very salt of the earth for working restaurant industry jobs while holding degrees in drama from prestigious schools. They think their struggle allows them to understand the struggle of people everywhere. And they feel entitled to speak for everyone when their experience is limited and so are their viewpoints.

Being popular or the need to be thought of as such is what leads people into bad ego-driven situations. People who are starved for attention will do whatever they can to get it, be it throwing parties that people show up to so they can throw it all up on Instagram, throwing ridiculous weddings to prove their validation by a single other person, and joining in on entertainment like Drag Race just so they can have something to talk about. Or how about falling in love with a notorious criminal? It reeks of neediness.

I live in this world, but I am not of this world. Part of my outsiderness comes from always being on the margins of society. If anything, I am Sondheim’s Ladies Who Watch. Does that make me part of the writer culture? Maybe a little. I am a little of everything. But it’s all authentic.

Maintaining authenticity, which is crucial to my soul, makes me less popular and quite contrarian sometimes. But I’ve tried the alternative. And all I could hear coming from inside that woman and girl was a high pitched siren. Danger, Will Robinson.

The only things I must do, like everyone else in this city, are eat, sleep, pay rent and die. Death does not scare me. But I feel most people run from it all their lives with no idea of the crucial compromises they’ve mad in adopting one size fits all personalities. From those bins, I will never collect easy friends.

Aristotle knew from friendship.

In contrast to the self-centered relationships described above, Aristotle delineates a third type, those grounded in virtue: τελια φιλια, fully-developed friendship. This type completes the intended design or purpose of Friendship. This entity is the final cause of friendship. Its participants necessarily share a set of values and principles of an irreducibly moral nature: A wants for B what is good for B for the sake of B. This is an essentially selfless relationship. Moreover, it is a constructive relationship. Each friend, by his own qualities, helps to fully realize what is not only potentially in the other but also realized in the other. He reveres and honors and, therefore, sustains, encourages, nurtures, supports, and celebrates what the other is and can become. Temporally, these relationships are not bound by maintenance of utility or pleasure but are sustainable over a lifetime.

As you may suspect, these relationships are the most rare of friendships, as they require virtuous participants to be realized. Should we despair, as most of us fall short of the mark? Will only few such friendships ever form, given the rarity of the truly virtuous finding each other? The theoretical Aristotle might imply as much, but, above all, Aristotle was a practical philosopher, and he offered this teaching to aid more than a few moral elites. Even between friends of greatly differing quantitative degrees of virtue (successful “execution” of a virtuous life), qualitative virtue (the desire for the other’s good for the other’s sake) can be shared rather equally.

That’s what I seek out. And I will cultivate those friendships. I will find lovers who fall into this realm. I will not, however, date a beta male because he negged me. Been there, saw the show, bought the t-shirt.

Now read this post.

Edit: apparently I felt the same way this day in 2018

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