What does it mean to be a man?

Terry Crews

“Don’t be weak. Don’t be small. Don’t be poor. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be feminine. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be unapproachable. Don’t be sexist. Don’t be patronizing. Don’t be entitled. Don’t be unemotional. Don’t be big. Don’t be loud.”

What does it mean to be a man in modern time, is a question which keeps popping up again and again. Things have change for the better I would say but every once in a while the old fashioned legacy comes fighting back. Better known as toxic masculinity

One such thing is the nightmare which sexual harassment, abuse and rape. Its one of those things men don’t like to talk about, mainly the notion that it makes them less of a man? What ever that really means?

Now I hear some of you say, “Surely Ian, no one would give someone a hard time for encountering sexual harassment?”

To which I would say, where have you been?

So although most men have the right attitude for women, this is totally reversed for other men. Perfect example is 50 Cent’s mocking of Terry Crews’ sexual assault is no surprise given the toxic masculinity engulfing African American communities.

To be fair I careless what 50 cent thinks or says but its a example of what I see and hear too often when men get together. Its a typical pack mentality with each one outdoing each other with what they would have done, or how it wouldn’t happen to them. Yep the usual nonsense…

Dr NerdLove sums up my thoughts so well, that I’m going to say little else about it; theres also audio only if you prefer it like I do.

I don’t have absolute answers but belittling men victims of such abuse can’t be the right way…!

There are serious problems with masculinity but not talking or trying to outdo each other isn’t helping at all. I would also add there is a lot that can be learned from feminism, regardless of what others may think.

A real, honest sincere thank you Manchester

I wrote about the Manchester Arena bombing on Monday night and how I personally been dealing with things. Of course I wasn’t directly affected and I guess its not hit me as hard partly because although it wasn’t far away, I’ve tried not to keep looking at the news and social media. Well actually I’m limiting my sources and general browsing.

Everyone deals with tragic circumstances differently and its important to seek out what helps and be open to it.

This is why I love Dan Hett’s piece in the MEN about the last 48hrs after trying to find out what happened to his brother. I call it real, honest and fitting.

I know a lot of people want some level of privacy during this type of thing but I think the manner in which Martyn lived, he was such a known figure, it’s quite fitting to who he was.

I hate going into clichés but Martyn just had this completely unstoppable lust for life, it was unbelievable. He was the most memorable character you could conceive of. Annoying as f*** all day but just the most memorable guy.

Rest in peace to everyone who died on Monday night, young, old, no matter what religion, ethnic background, sex or sexual preference. Everyone deserves to live life because life is so finite. Tragic attacks like this is a reminder of this and reminder to each one of us all.

The descent of men not mankind

Thinking Digital 2014

I always get stick for not consuming a lot of BBC media but thats just the way I am to be honest (maybe one day I’ll go into this with more depth). However every once in a while I come across something which somebody recommends or links to.

Recently I have consumed the Future of Radio series (which I’m sure somebody thought after hearing about Perceptive Radio) and a very touching documentary about mixtapes which really sums up a lot of the thinking behind the physical playlist project. However its the Future proofing which has most impressed in the last month.

Can Civility Survive?

Mathematician Hannah Fry and guests look at whether civility can survive in the modern age

The Singularity

What happens if we reach the singularity, the day when machines match human intelligence?

No End of Pleasure

How will humans experience pleasure in the future?

The Descent of Man

Writer Michael Smith explores the uncertain future of masculinity.

It was can civility survive which got me interested in the series. Actually something Zoe posted on a similar vein got me thinking about the connection of doing things the modern way. Not relying on the legacy of the past. I mean for example, I mention Sarah quite a bit, shes lovely but shes an ex. Why should I be afraid to mention her? Anybody finds this weird could do with a strong reminder that its 2014 FFS! The same applies to most of the points Hello Giggles makes especially

  • The wallet reach

  • Being terrified to mention your ex

  • Feeling any embarrassment about online dating

  • Sticking out a terrible date out of politeness

But this blog is about the descent of men… Which I would if creating a mindmap for, would cross check with Blaise’s talk from Thinking Digital (video online now and MUST be watched) which also crosses over with The Singularity documentary from the BBC and many more posts including this one.

Listening to the documentary about the uncertain future of masculinity, I felt like how I felt when blaise gave his talk. Its a little scary from a male point of view and its clear to see why some men are rebelling. They like things how they are and don’t want it to change. The change is scary but theres no excuse for ignorance and hostility! They have to get use it because its going to happen and frankly its a great thing for humankind and the diversity of the human race. I urge men to look at this all as a positive thing!

It always reminds me of my position as a feminist and that blog post which really solidified my view.

10 things men and women judge each on

When Imran sent me this piece of dating data, I thought on first look… “here we go with the stereotypes…” and is sub 10,000 really enough for a decent amount of data about online dating? I guess theres so little open data, that even 5000 people from Match.com is worthy of looking at? However in some defence its always good to have biological anthropologist Helen Fisher on board somewhere.

After a little read I was surprised how interesting the results were…

Right on the most loved up day of the year… Here’s some data and feedback!

What men judge women on

What women judge about men

  • Bad looking Teeth is a turn off for sure, and I don’t mean the shade. Just bad odd looking teeth. Never really thought of it as an indicator of that persons diet but for example smokers teeth is a total turn off.
  • I’m totally rubbish at grammar, but I decided if I can spot something wrong, then there must be something seriously wrong. This is clear to see when using certain sites.
  • Hair and Clothes isn’t such a bad thing, but I do look for a unique style. Of course glasses is always a plus, specially the rectangle framed ones.
  • Tattoo’s, I’ll be honest and say I can’t stand tattoos. Little tiny ones isn’t so bad but massive ones are just a large turn off for me. Not sure where it comes.
  • Nails and hands isn’t such a deal breaker, I do like soft hands.
  • Accents are tricky because I’ve been out with woman who I couldn’t even understand. She was lovely but I didn’t get a word she was saying.
  • Shoes like clothes and hair, i’m more interested in seeing a bit of unique style, something which speaks about their personality. I would never turn someone down just because they had crappy shoes.
  • Couldn’t give a toss what car they drive and frankly most of the woman I’ve dated carry  iphones or blackberries. If I dated one which had a rooted Android phone, I honestly would be amazed

Cutting advice for some single woman

I believe Tara Hunt tweeted a link to the huffington post article titled Why your not married

When I first started to read the piece, I was on a tram reading it via Readitlater on my Kindle. I was expecting something like the NYtimes piece which I blogged about before. But actually it was something a lot more neutral to me. Anyway I couldn’t help but tweet out certain parts of the article.

Its a rude awakening call for woman who ask themselves why there not married… It boils down to these points

  1. You’re a Bitch.
  2. You’re Shallow.
  3. You’re a Slut.
  4. You’re a Liar.
  5. You’re Selfish.
  6. You’re Not Good Enough.

Exploring just one of the points, in this case the Shallow one

When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man’s character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you’re not married, I already know it isn’t. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.

Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenaged girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either.

And you know what, the author Tracy Mcmillan is bang on with this point… So many woman I’ve been out with and there not looking at the character, there looking at all the (in my mind) superficial stuff.

I’m not saying men are much better but in my experience (and I only date women) they seem to fall in to the traps of what our material society says is good. Does he have a good car, does he have nice suits, does he have well groomed hair, etc, etc… Not a thought about whats actually going on inside the shell…

Of course I’d be very wrong to suggest the only reason women are not married is because of these things… in fact there are quite a few woman who don’t want to be married and are against the notion of marriage at all. Its also difficult to meet people and get a better sense of there character without any ego or edge.

Geeks Talk Sexy2: The Other Half of the Population

People in circles

We said geeks talk sexy would be back bigger and better… and it certainly did.

This time we focused on the other half of the population (woman) and the focus paid off greatly.

So to start with, we took on most of the feedback from the first one. One of the critical points was shifting from one subject to another too quickly and losing the crowd as we transitioned around the world of geeks and sex. This time it was much easier to stick to one subject as we digged deeply into the world of what its like to be a geek woman and a geek man in 2011.

The event started like the last one. Cocktails were served as people turned up and chatted in little circles. We played a documentary from Channel4 titled Love Virtually to get people in the mood, while myself and Samantha got setup. The choice of cocktails included the Geek Girl and the Geek Guy.

Geek talk sexy drinks

By the time we got started, the room was nice and full with people sat around a massive communal table. We hadn’t quite got through to our special guest yet but it was on with the show. This time we had a lovely presentation which gave people an idea of where we were going and roughly how far we had gotten through everything.

While Samantha kicked off proceeding with a discussion around peoples experiences with the opposite sex, I was contacting our special guest – the ever transparent Tara Hunt.

We compiled a list of things from the audience of things not do when trying to have a romantic relationship with the other sex.

  • Wear Clothes
  • Don’t Google people (unless you need there contact details)
  • Don’t try living your life by the game
  • Don’t post pictures of you with your ex on a dating site
  • Don’t post old photos (its just creepy seeing people as children)
  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t use text speak
  • Don’t be rude
  • Be Pleasant and polite
  • Don’t be a tool
  • Be polite

We also asked everyone to write down where they have met previous or current boy/girlfriends. We got some, well lets say interesting answers back. (worth noting there all done in secret)

  • When out farming (really?)
  • Online dating (Ok cupid got a mention)
  • By joining clubs and societies
  • Through mutual friends and acquaintances
  • In Bars/Pubs
  • Through work
  • Round the back of Piccadilly station
  • At LARP events
  • At Festivals
  • While drunk
  • Via the Vax mainframe email system at the Polytechnic
  • Cafes (but that person made it clear its not working as they have been single for 4 years)
  • Via Partners (interesting one this one)
  • At Events
  • At Parties including the Christmas Party

Interestingly someone wrote on there piece of paper, “did you want to know about same sex partners too?” This will be picked up in the next month.

By the time we got to the book the game. Things had turned very heated in the room. From memory it seems most the woman had never heard of the game or of the idea of a pickup artist. This of course much debate. One woman declared anyone who has used the game to pickup woman must be some what sad. But at the same time, her partner also raised his hand to say he was aware and may have rustled through the pages of the Game at one point. You can imagine that would be a difficult discussion to have later.

But there was no time for that, it was time for a breather and a refill on the cocktails. While everyone got more drinks, I got everything setup with Tara Hunt on skype. I’m actually surprised it all went really well and she could hear us perfectly well. The only issue was the bandwidth didn’t seem to be there for video but audio was great. As the break ended, it was time for the 60 second rants. And boy we had some juicy ones.

One of the most interesting rants came from Ara who talked about the serious lack of porn for women, something I have to be honest I’ve never really thought about. But she was right, beyond the usual stereotypes there seemed to be not much. Em gave a rant about online dating in general which got me for one going. Chris also added a different perspective covering online dating from a poly perspective. Another one of those things which I’d never really considered. There were of course more, but I never got the chance to give mine which is maybe a good thing.

geek talk sexy2

Listening in to the rants was Tara Hunt on skype and it was time to un-mute her and ask her to explain her story. As she told her story, there were gasps and looks of horror how someone could be so open it hurts when she talked about her relationship and showed the site. It really set in when Tara asked me to show her post titled “5 reasons why I don’t date muggles.” People were able to ask Tara afterwards about her love life and how she copes. I actually wished I’d recorded the whole thing using Skype Recorder because there was some great questions and some even better answers from Tara.

After thanking Tara, it was time for the wrap up and a brief mention about the 3rd part of the series.

Yes in the next one, we’ll be going deep into the LGBT geek scene. Luckily we have help from others who are much more knowledgeable that myself, Samantha or Hwayoung. After the 3rd one, we’re unsure if we should do one more on Poly relationships (which seem quite common in geek culture it seems) and other types of relationships or what. At some point we’re looking to bring London flirt club to Manchester and do some geek speed dating but all will be revealed in the near future.

Generally this event was much better than the last one simply because we had all the elements to keep us focused. Having a Tara as the guest also really helped everyone think about this matter in a much deeper level. Ultimately the discussions continued very into the night at Common Bar afterwards. Everyone had a great time and we look forward to part 3…

What is that stuck in his pint?

Continue reading “Geeks Talk Sexy2: The Other Half of the Population”

A Rant About Women by Clay Shirky

A Pensive Clay Shirky

If you’ve not been following the heat/blowback from Clay Shirky’s rant about woman then its worth reading and following some of the strongly formatted comments which follow.

Personally I see what Clay is trying to say, but I don’t think its written as elegantly as he was thinking. That or he’d felt like causing a bit of a storm on the internet for a while. I wanted to pick up on two comments which sum up my thoughts…

Simon St.Laurent says:

There are two basic problems with this piece.

First, telling other people that the way to fix their problems is by being more like you is rarely a good strategy. It might work one-on-one occasionally, but the larger the cultural boundary this approach tries to cross, the less likely it is to produce much besides sparks.

Second, the behavior prescribed is behavior that a lot of us – men included – would like to see reduced rather than increased, punished rather than rewarded. That the first two examples both involved telling lies, however white they might seem from this perspective, doesn’t help make the case.

Stepping back and asking about how people listen seems to me a lot more likely to work than telling people they need to change how they talk.

There is a certainly amount of arrogance is asking someone to be more like yourself… I certainly don’t like it.

Marcus Brody says:

You’ve got the problem backwards. It isn’t that more women (and men) should act like hierarchical assholes, it’s that those assessing performance shouldn’t be so lazy that they only notice assholes. Your argument boils down to: people who assess performance are lazy and don’t bother to think critically so they are easily swayed by false aggrandizement. If you want to change the assessors opinions you should lie because the assessors don’t put in the effort to tell the difference between falsehoods and reality.

And you know what, most assessors are lazy, so lying does pay off. The call to action, though, shouldn’t be for more lying, but rather, less indolence on the part of those who are in a position to judge others.

Unfortunately for Clay, your starting to see this type of headline come up – Shirky: Women Need to Strap On Some Balls . Geez, wonder how long it took to create that headline…

Manipulation of women or just a upper hand in the game?

Rules Of The Game – Episode 1: Be A D–khead

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I'm sorry but as far as I'm concerned its manipulation and I really don't like it. What am I talking about? Well shows like the one above (cheers Dave for the link). The weird thing is its not exactly the show aspect which is the problem, its the pure social engineering aspect of it to trick women into giving out there numbers, going on a date or getting them into bed.

Yes I know its a bloody complex issue because you could say well we all use manipulation to a certain extent but this is something else and the reasoning behind it is for pure personal gain which in my book is not cool. What I don't get is what do these guys think will happen in the future? Are they expecting to keep up the act, show or persona forever? Maybe?

So yes I've opened a huge box of topics in this very short post. And I keep rewriting rants about social engineering, confiedence, social control and ultimatly Neuro-linguistic programming. We should be teaching this stuff in schools so everyone can protect themselves from con artists and social hackers like some people I know. I made reference to the real hustle in a previous blog post educating the masses about these such topics but we kind of need a show to talk about protecting yourself from the opposite sex (or same sex if you prefer). Don't get me wrong I'm not a player-hater as such but I don't feel it fair someone holds an advantage over someone else, specially when it comes to the painful world of mating or dating.

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