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02/22/2013

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Stacy Blaise

As a "strong" woman I find it difficult to show my vulnerability to men. But, Dita Von Teese (my hero) stated that when she finally figured out thats what men liked about her (her vulnerability) then it changed her outlook on life.

Great column,
Stacy Blaise

Cassandra

Oh Arden

Love this, and love you.

I have personally been struggling with vulnerability, and recently came to a similar conclusion myself. This is what makes us human and without it connections are superficial.

Olga

I was one of the many that not showing true emotions was actually the equivalent of being strong. Thanks to Arden's work that I got slightly addicted to recently, I realized, that how can that be an evidence of strength if it's so much easier to do than being upfront? Isn't it supposed to be the other way? What identifies strong people is their capability of making hard decisions.
I also believe that it is not about what you say but how you say it. Confidence is a key here. If you are confident and if you are not afraid to use "Peak statements" that deserves nothing but admiration in my world.
This blog was really relevant to my very recent experience. I run a restaurant in Brooklyn and it is kind of a small neighborhood, so a lot of people know me. A lot of men approach me. But it's just not enough good material around (hope that doesn't sound too bitchy). Finally I kind of like someone. So happy, he was in a competition for me with his best friend. He won. Woohoo. Things started getting too serious and he stops talking to me. I am crushed, I did not confront him. I figured he lost his interest and I decided to make it easy for him. Later on, I found out, he freaked out, because he started liking me too much and everyone knows him and everyone knows me and he made that stupid childish move like something the person in high school would do - he figured he'd better break up with me before I break up with him.
Well, I learned a good lesson then. I decided that then on I will be upfront, I will not be afraid to express someone that I care for them. Because, unfortunately it's not many of them around I fall for, but the ones that matter do deserve it.
This is going to be my challenge and my personal social experiment, because me keeping feelings in a box did not bring me anywhere far yet.
And, once again. Thanks for the motivation. I think it will be worth it.

Bex

I love your work, but I must say that I'm pretty sure the criticisms of PUAs as manipulative and deceitful have to do with things like this:

http://clarissethorn.com/blog/2012/07/29/rapey-pickup-artists-analysis-of-a-field-report/

He may not be able to "trick" people into fucking him, but he can rape them.

Ardensirens

Bex - The guy referenced is a sociopath with a computer connected to the internet. Nothing of this sort would be found amongst the curriculum of any actual instructors in any companies that are actually selling products. Even the board on which the post was found, RSD, has been irrelevant for a long time.

Obviously the post described is reprehensible. There is no question about that. But I'm not going to sit by and see my whole industry smeared because of a few crazy people with keyboards. There are sociopaths in all walks of life, and whatever profession you're in, I'm sure there are some there too.

I feel bad for those who rule out pick-up because that's all they see, because those people are closing themselves off to a lot of tools that could help improve their overall quality of life. But all I can do is keep writing posts like this for those who want to get something out of them.

As for the nature of your comment, I've already defended my work against many of the sort, as I've stated, in my most recent blogs and articles. Case in point, those few bad apples aren't PUAs, they're idiots, scumbags, and possibly rapists. If every field was judged by its worst members, well, we'd all be going to hell in a handbasket.

MJ

"If every field was judged by its worst members, well, we'd all be going to hell in a handbasket." Well put Arden and, as far as I'm concerned, enough said. I hope people will finally stop lumping you in with the PUA scumbags and see you as the sweet, sexy, caring "Donna Reed of punk" that you truly are. :)

As for vulnerability/authenticity/transparency/honesty in relationships...wow, this is a juicy topic, one that I've been exploring for a while. My interest in the topic was originally piqued when I read "Radical Honesty" several years ago. I found the book and concept intriguing, however Brad Blanton's approach is too gruff and impolite to truly be relational. From there, I explored some other books that explored this concept, but in a way that would build intimacy with another. Some of my favorite books on this topic are:
Saying What's Real by Susan Campbell
Truth in Dating by Susan Campbell
Conscious Loving by Gay Hendricks
Conscious Heart by Gay Hendricks
Undefended Love by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons (I attended their workshop and it was life changing)

As I've worked on becoming a more transparent person over the years, I've discovered that, with some people, showing my vulnerability and being truly undefended has created bonds that are more intimate and powerful than I could have ever dreamed of. And, like you said, it's the best high one could possibly experience. I was so high on this new form of authentic communication that I truly thought I would experience greater intimacy with EVERYONE that I chose to be truly transparent with. Sadly, this was not the case. Some people simply can't handle the truth. They don't WANT the truth. They don't WANT to go deeper and experience the high of true intimacy. As you've mentioned in former posts, some people are simply married to their own misery, they don't want to be happy because it's too foreign. Similarly, I've noticed, some people don't want to go deep, they want to stay shallow.

Sometimes you will present your raw, naked, vulnerable truth to someone and it will just lay there on the ground, awkward and lonely, because the other person can't hold it, doesn't know what the heck to do with it. This dynamic was recently presented in the show Girl's, in the episode, "Another Man's Trash." Hannah spends a glorious, romantic week-end with an older man, Joshua. When he asks her to open up to him, she does, BIG time. She really puts it out there, the good, the bad and the uncomfortable. Unfortunately, as soon as she does, Joshua's face falls and you see him instantly fall out of like with her and shut down emotionally - he bit off more than he could chew, it's simply too much for him.

http://www.hbo.com/girls/index.html#/girls/episodes/02/15-one-mans-trash/video/inside-the-episode.html/eNrjcmbO0CzLTEnNd8xLzKksyUx2zs8rSa0oUc-PSYEJBSSmp-ol5qYy5zMXsjGyMXIyMrJJJ5aW5BfkJFbalhSVpgIAXbkXOA==

I say all of this not to be a Debbie Downer on the topic of building intimacy by being more truthful, vulnerable and authentic, but to simply illuminate that reality that sometimes it will go well and sometimes it won't. My own experiences with this have got me wondering what the heck to do when it's doesn't? How does one get out of that situation gracefully when your guts are sprawled out everywhere? Hannah chose to sneak away...never to return, but there's got to be a better way.

I appreciated this video of an awkward little exchange between Decker Cunov of Authentic Men and "Sandra." I like the way he stands his ground when he is not being met by her...what do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQVyU5iQ9Fk

Again...great post! I'm a huge fan of you as a person and of your writing. :)

Ardensirens

MJ - Most of the time when a person can't handle the truth, it's because they think they're somehow obligated to deal with it, rather than just observing what is. Nicely enough, this is then a new truth that can be addressed: "I notice you look uncomfortable, is there something about this information that's upsetting to you?" You can also prepare people for what you have to say ahead of time. My friend Reid from reidaboutsex.com advises going about difficult conversations in three steps: 1. State why the conversation is difficult for you, what you're afraid will happen (eg, I'm afraid you're going to get defensive and this is going to turn into an argument), 2. State what reaction you'd like to get instead (eg, I'd like you to just observe what I'm pointing out and understand it going into the future), and then 3. Say the thing that's difficult for you to say.

When people can accept the truth as information and not as a demand or obligation, it gets easier for them. I recently confessed to a guy that I hadn't gone a day without thinking about him since we'd last seen each other four months prior, and he got thoughtful and replied, "I have. I've gone a day without thinking about us." And as much as that sucked to hear in the moment, I said, "Okay, that's what's true for you, and that's fine." And then it wasn't awkward. And truthfully, it IS fine - I'm a seduction coach, so naturally I spend more time thinking about sex and relationships than the average muggle. The fewer value judgments we assign, the easier it gets.

But at the end of the day, if someone does get scared off, think of that as information too, information about what that person is capable of handling. If someone proves that they're not able to hold space for your feelings, they might be doing you a favor by letting you know what you can expect from them. And you might at that point reconsider whether you actually want them as a partner.

Ardensirens

I should also add that it's important to know the difference between expressing a truth and making a request. Sometimes you're just giving someone information without expectation attached; sometimes you're making a request that someone may turn down. Both of these are okay, but know the difference so that you can communicate them effectively and anticipate a reaction. Sometimes you tell someone your feelings because you want to know if they feel the same way. There's a yes/no question inherent in that. And you have to respect someone's no, even if what it looks like is that they're running away because they can't handle it.

Lily

Arden --

I, too, am a fan of your writing but there's a reason why PUA is routinely criticized as fake and inauthentic, and it's not because the people being critical have all the wrong ideas.

People don't need classes or 'routines' to be authentic.

If PUA is going to be perceived as more authentic, then it's going to be because you and others reform it from within, not because the general public is lobbied to change its mind about the most obvious features of the movement -- pricey classes, books, and routines.

Lily

Bex

@Arden - I'm not sure if you read the entire article I posted, but you'll notice that it wasn't just the "sociopath behind the keyboard" participating in the thread in question. In fact, Mr. "Tyler Durden" himself, along with at least one other instructor at Real Social Dynamics, made an appearance on that specific post to give their support to the author.

From Tyler: "YES! Finally a "Fingerman Method" manifesto. So bomb been waiting for this since Miami. :)"

From another instructor: "We’re here to fuck girls not assuage hypothetical psychological wounds and/or better society. I’m frankly a little sick of KJ moralizing and hand wringing about this shit. Let’s not sugar coat what it is we are doing here too much. We’re FUCKING WOMEN."

RSD is only one of many pick up artist schools out there, but the problem is obviously more than just one guy behind a keyboard. The sociopaths aren't just following the PAU industry, they are making it.

I don't think there is any reason to have to defend a desire to teach or learn the art of seduction... but one shouldn't have to dismiss valid criticism of an industry that condones rape in order to do that.

Bex

Honestly.... my only big issue with your post is your assertion that " You cannot trick someone into fucking you." When people say that they think pick up artistry is about "tricking people," they mean that they think it is about raping people. But no one likes to use the R word in polite company.

MJ

@Bex The "industry" doesn't condone rape, the sociopaths do.

There are also priests who have been convicted of molesting little children. Does that mean the "industry" of priests condone pedophilia?

Ardensirens

Bex - No, in that instance, they meant tricking. I understand your concerns but you cannot interpret comments you haven't read from people you've never met.

I'm done defending. My point stands.

Crystal

Wow! Your writing style and content inspire me so much. I'm in my first relationship right now as a 17-year old, and my own motives had been confusing me, to be honest. Back then my infatuation and excitement with him (purely physical at first) propelled me to seduce him and reveal my vulnerabilities to him without a thought (mostly with my focus on self-growth and authentic conversation focusing on the other person), but the more I got into the intricacies and dynamics in our relationship, the more my tendency to rationalize and research started coming out, and the more I realized I would need effective outside help. And your blog acted as a savior when I found it. Every single post you write makes me strive for more with all my relationships. I'd already been fully vulnerable and open in person in my apology to him once, and yet I'm afraid right now without my self-conviction. I don't get embarrassed, but recently I've started to panic and harden in the face of danger, and that unemotional, focused energy terrifies him when compared to the way I used to show him through my eyes and voice just how much my heart beat around him. Perhaps I just feel too content and almost bored with him that I can't help but feel something is missing. Simply making eye contact and sweetly smiling at him from across the room doesn't give me the same rush of joy and nervousness it used to so many months ago (and even less does exchanging conversation even if it's exciting), and I want to be as fearless as you are. Reading your experience made me realize that the adrenaline rush that comes with complete vulnerability is exactly what I crave. Thank you for your existence Arden Leigh x)

Bex

"There are also priests who have been convicted of molesting little children. Does that mean the "industry" of priests condone pedophilia?"

I think the cover-ups make it pretty clear that the corporation of the Catholic church condones pedophilia, yes.

Benjamin

I think PUA gets a bad image because of where it comes from: crappy one liners, cheesy opinion openers, and weird peacocking fashion. Honestly, I am surprised to hear you talk about Neil Strauss teach about self improvement as a way of attraction just because he comes from that crappy era of "The Game" where that stuff is completely outdated and corny. I find that the "healthier" PUA material out there is all about self improvement and becoming a better man that does indeed offer value to people and one of those ways is indeed through vulnerability.

I do agree with you, vulnerability is definitely a way to live by because it filters out all the shit in your life and people will either accept it or don't but then that saves you a lot more time to begin with.

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