Back in the day when I was in the Boy Scouts I knew a boy named Jeffrey*. Calling Jeff a friend would be a lie. To begin with, he was a couple of years younger than me, so he was in with a different age group of kids. At that age, you’re pretty sensitive to those things. There was more than that, though. Jeff was weird. He had the strangest sense of humor (and this is coming from me). He had a knack for saying just about the most inappropriate thing for any given situation. He was whiny, and not just in the way that all 12 year old suburban boys are whiny when you get them out into the woods for the first time. I mean he was whiny. He was more than a bit of a wimp, too. I mean, he was physically weak, but for a long time it went way beyond that – he wouldn’t even try at very much.
It wasn’t just the other boys who found him difficult, either. The Scoutmasters had trouble as well. In the summer of 1993 we went on a week long canoeing trip. The minimum age for the trip was set at 15. I found out later that 15 was picked specifically by the Scoutmasters so that they could keep him out of the trip without explicitly singling him out. On the one hand, that seems a bit mean. On the other hand, they handled it pretty well by making sure that they weren’t obviously singling him out. And he really was that difficult.
The following year, 1994, our troop took a 10 day backpacking trip at Philmont Scout Ranch in the mountains of New Mexico. They couldn’t get away with altering the age limit this time, so Jeffrey signed up to go. Everybody groaned and prepared for the worst.
Philmont is one of the most incredible places on earth, but it isn’t easy. Our trek was 75 miles of backpacking over 10 days – and not on easy terrain, either. Base camp at Philmont is at 6000 feet, and everything else is up from there. The highest point we hit on our trek was over 10,000 feet. One to three thousand feet or more of elevation change a day was pretty typical. Our troop started preparing for the trip a year ahead of time, starting with small day hikes, building to weekend backpacking treks, and more. Some of us who weren’t in the greatest of shape started doing more on our own. I started running, for example, eventually getting up to three miles a day.
I will give Jeffrey credit – a lot of credit. He knew that he was the weakest link in our group, but he desperately wanted to go. I mean, he really, really badly wanted it. He was too out of shape to handle running, but he started hiking every day with a pack that got steadily heavier. He went through his gear over and over again, getting it as light as he could. By the time we left he had the second lightest pack in the group.
More importantly, when we finally got on the trail at Philmont, I can’t remember him ever complaining. Not even once. Everybody else had their moments. You pretty much always do on the trail – that’s half the fun. Not Jeff. He wanted to be there, every minute of it. Even when it was hard, even when he was huffing for breath, even when he was the last person in the group and he was trailing everybody by a fair amount, I can’t remember a single complaint. In fact, I don’t even remember him talking much on that trip. He so desperately didn’t want to be the guy who pissed everybody off on that trip that he just shut the hell up.
That trip was life changing for all of us, but I don’t think that any of us got as much out of it as Jeffrey did. We all gained a lot of respect for him. We didn’t exactly stop teasing him after that – he could still be damned annoying – but the tone changed. He was annoying, but he was our annoying guy after that. He’d earned his right to be one of the group, and the teasing became a lot more good natured.
I found out some years later that Philmont was almost a metaphor for his entire time in the Boy Scouts. Jeffrey’s father was a fat lazy fuck who hated the outdoors. Hated isn’t even the right word. He was too phobic of the outdoors to even mow his lawn. On the weekends he’d go lie in his hammock on the porch all day and ignore his kids. He never lifted a finger to help Jeff in the Scouts. Jeffrey’s mom put him in the program to try and help make a man out of him, and later on Jeffrey wanted to be there, even though we picked on him mercilessly.
I haven’t seen Jeffrey in at least 15 years, probably more – and I never will again.
Last night Hermione and I had dinner with an old high school friend of mine and her husband. We were swapping current events stories about mutual old friends and I learned that Jeffrey hanged himself in 2009. Evidently he’d been battling depression and schizophrenia. He was 29 years old.
Jeffrey was probably one of the most Omega people I have ever met. I don’t know if he ever even had a girlfriend in his tragic life. I don’t know if our treatment of him in the Boy Scouts contributed to his suicide. I don’t know if there’s anything I could have done to help him. If he was honestly battling schizophrenia, the answer to both questions is probably “no.” Nevertheless, the way I treated him will haunt me for the rest of my life. He was annoying as shit, but I never would have wished this on him. I can’t help but feel that at the very least we all failed Jeffrey.
I also can’t help but think that Jeffrey is not alone. Suicide is the 2nd highest cause of death among American young adults aged 25 to 34. The overwhelming majority of those suicides are young men – many soldiers who have a rough time readjusting to civilian life. This is a preventable tragedy that doesn’t get anywhere near enough public attention. I don’t know what the solutions are, but even before I found out about Jeffrey I felt like we as a culture aren’t even trying hard enough. I know, I know – in this corner of the manosphere I’m preaching to the choir. Still, I can’t help but feel this tragedy especially deeply.
Resquiescat in Pacem, Jeffrey. Rest in Peace. For whatever sins I committed against you in life, I am truly and deeply sorry.
* This is the first time on this blog that I’ve actually used somebody’s real name. He deserves no less from me.
When I lost my job a few years back, I ended up having to sell my sports car in order to make ends meet. It was the right call for our family, but it was highly disappointing. Though she’s kind enough never to say so, it probably also cost me some Alpha points with my wife. [On the other hand, in Athol's terminology, it gained me some Beta points for sacrificing what was needed to provide for my family.] At that time, we were living in a situation where we only needed one vehicle. When I got my new job, I started working on-site again (as opposed to working from home), and we needed two vehicles. I bought a cheap-ass “disposable” car to get us through for a while, under the theory that we’d be able to afford a nicer, newer vehicle by the time it died. Well, life has a way of not working out the way you plan it. The car died on me a little over a week ago, and we’re not financially ready to get another car right now.
They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well, we’ve been talking for some time about me picking up a motorcycle to replace the sports car. They’re considerably cheaper both to own and operate – at least, entry level bikes are; you can easily spend as much on a bike as on a car. And as a novice rider, an entry level bike is all I want. As it happens, a good friend of mine just upgraded from his entry level bike, and was looking to sell it. We’d already been negotiating to buy it from him when the car died.
Tonight I became the proud owner of a moderately used Suzuki GS500F.
Athol Kay is dead wrong.
Now hold on just a minute before getting too upset. Anybody who’s read this blog for any length of time knows that I have the utmost respect for Athol Kay, and I consider him personally to have done a world of good for my marriage, and I’m really glad that he’s finally able to support himself doing it. However, when it comes to Catholics and birth control he’s wrong: wrong on his advice, wrong in his approach, wrong in diagnosing the problem, and even wrong on the facts.
First, the situation:
If you write to me and say you’re a Catholic in a sexless marriage, primarily because your wife is terrified of having more children, that’s when I start experiencing a pain in my right temple that travels behind my right eye and makes it twitch a little.
Then I’m going to say something like “Ahhh… have you considered birth control?”
Not only is this wrong, it’s exactly opposite of the correct advice for this situation.
When I suggest birth control, please then don’t explain-to-me-more-slowly-that-you-are-Catholic-and-cannot-use-birth-control-and-need-a-different-answer-that-you-can-actually-use. I know that, I was purposely suggesting that you stop being miserable and start sinning a little.
Sinning a little is the wrong approach entirely.
Look being completely objective about this…
Athol is not being completely objective. He is giving advice from the perspective of an Atheist. It is logically incorrect to call that objective, as it is a perspective that very much has its own biases. Truly objective advice would consider that the couple in question is Catholic and adapt their situation, not try and push an Atheist and, frankly, Protestant-inspired answer on them. I love you Athol, but it’s true: Atheists are exactly 0% more objective than anybody else. That’s a big, fat, whopping zero. Also, while I won’t Athol of hating Catholics, for anybody to call his own perspective objective is insulting. Athol is better than that, usually, so I give him the benefit of the doubt of just slipping here.
if you have a religiously based cockblock stopping your sex life from being happy, then that’s the cause of the problem.
No, it isn’t. Athol’s commenters have diagnosed the problem more accurately. We’ll quote the earliest one on the list, Jason:
Athol, from the “red-pill” perspective, isn’t the wife’s refusal to use birth control/fear of pregnancy her “body agenda/rationalization hamster” saying to her husband “you don’t attract me enough to either want to have your babies or to otherwise lay you”? Wouldn’t the solution to the problem be less liberalization of religious practices and more “MAP”?
This is an excellent start.
The wrong facts:
Your options are either to do some fancy bible study to find a way to approve what you want to do sexually, dump that particular aspect of religious belief (which is exactly what 98% of Catholics in America do on the birth control issue), or dump the religion completely.
The 98% statistic is wrong. It’s been debunked in so many places that I’m not even going to bother to dredge up a link (commenters feel free to jump in). Google it. Please either stop quoting it in your arguments or stop expecting me to take you seriously.
Jason has hit the nail on the head here. If the unnamed man’s wife was into him, she wouldn’t mind the possibility of having more of his babies – at least not this the level of irrationality that swears off sex altogether. In fact, if she was really into him, she’d want it.
Let’s take the woman at her word for a moment and assume that she truly is afraid of getting pregnant, and hence he gets no sex. This is an irrational fear – there’s a reason I used that word before. Some actual facts:
- A woman can only get pregnant during a particular window of her menstrual cycle. Assuming worst case scenarios, this window is about one week out of four. The other three weeks of the cycle, her chances of becoming pregnant are statistically insignificant. Yes, it happens. But not to anybody you know [if you think it happened to somebody you know, it's almost certain that in reality there's some reason why it actually was during her ovulation window and they just didn't know it].
- Natural Family Planning is based upon using actual body symptoms to know when this window is, and it works. When used correctly it’s 99.86% effective.
- Natural Family Planning is approved by the Catholic Church.
The first response of many non-Catholics is going to be to deny that NFP is effective. This is neither objective nor evidence based nor correct.
Furthermore, Athol’s advice is exactly opposite of what this man should be doing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that in the situation he’s in, if he follows Athol’s advice, his marriage is doomed. He might as well file divorce papers and give it up. Note: his marriage is already in pretty bad shape, and it may not be salvageable; but following this advice guarantees that it’s done.
Being the religious head of the household is an alpha trait.
Wait, let me repeat that again – it’s important.
Being the religious head of the household is an alpha trait.
It’s a very alpha trait. Athol lives this in his own way, though it may not be obvious. His atheism gives direction to his household. They may not be atheists themselves (I recall reading on his blog some time ago that Jennifer was still quite Christian), but I guarantee you that his atheism tempers their religion and keeps it from boiling over. I guarantee you that they respect his atheism for its honesty, and for the fact that he won’t cave on what he believes just to make them happy.
Why should his unknown e-mailer cave on his religion to make his wife happy? Especially since if she’s honestly not using birth control, it’s because she’s tacitly accepted Catholic dogma as well. Face it: if she wanted to get it, she could – with our without his knowledge or permission. Birth control is cheap, it’s readily available, and it’s easy to get privately. Planned Parenthood will discretely mail it to you for $25 a month, or you can drop by and pick it up in person – no insurance required, no paperwork for anybody else to ever see.
Disagreeing with the church as an outsider is fine. This is America, it’s your right. Disagreeing with the church honestly as an insider is… well, I won’t say “fine,” but it won’t kill your credibility with your spouse. But doing it when you honestly believe church doctrine just so that you can get laid? You’ve just destroyed your religious cred, and failed a major shit test at the same time. No, birth control is not always a shit test – but if the man in question caved for the reasons Athol’s giving him, it would be failing a shit test even if the birth control situation wasn’t originally a shit test at all.
Pick up artists can get away with encouraging women to be sinful. The man in question could probably have gotten away with it if he’d done it very early in their relationship. But now that he’s established himself as honestly against birth control, he can’t do this and get away with it. If he does, he concedes all of his status as religious head of the family. After all, what good is the religious head of the family if he’s caving on questions of morality. It’s not worth arguing about whether it is or isn’t a question of morality: they believe that it is, so caving on it will have this effect.
Yes, I know – it’s fair for people (men and women both) to not want more kids. But to be frank, children happen even when birth control is involved. Birth control is seldom perfectly used – actual use failure rates on The Pill are around 15-20%. 40% of all abortions are performed on women who were using birth control at the time they conceived. I personally know a woman who got pregnant while using The Pill and condoms.
What should the man in question do? He doesn’t have very many good options. If things have reached this point, his marriage is already in trouble. Even at the most sexless point in my marriage, Hermione still wanted to have my kids. Indeed, our first son was conceived at the tail end of the most sexless point in our marriage. Furthermore, the fact that things ever got to this point implies that he made a poor choice in partner to begin with. If she’s an honest believer and is really that upset about having more of his children, it’s seriously time to wonder if the existing kids are his. If I were him, I would be discretely getting paternity tests done.
First, he needs to work even harder at the MAP. Second, he needs to make a re-dedication to his religion (let’s assume that he honestly believes it; if he didn’t, he’d have already taken the easy path and gone with birth control) and make a show of it. After those steps are done – and only after those steps are done, he needs to double down on the no-birth control rule. If she continues to deny him sex, rather than getting upset he needs to treat her with contempt – more than a true neg, he needs to make it clear that he actually believes that she is taking advantage of his religious beliefs in order to deny her own husband sex. It’s a contemptible, despicable thing to do, and he should treat her appropriately. This will be far more effective if he can believably flirt (and no more) with women who are more attractive than her while in her presence.
If, at that point, the situation persists he needs to prepare himself for the fact that she is likely to initiate divorce on her own in the near future. Being Catholic, I don’t recommend that he initiates one or threatens her with one. But he should probably make initial contact with a lawyer, hide away a bit of money so that she can’t empty it from his bank accounts, and otherwise prepare for the coming storm. In 21st century America he can’t stop her if she decides to unilaterally divorce him, so he has to be prepared for it, Catholic or no.
W.F. Price over at The Spearhead has had several posts lately arguing that feminism is peaking and the decline is coming soon. I agree with his logic, and have been making similar points privately for some months now. Today, however, I give you a new exhibit. This was the main article on CNN earlier today:
After factoring in the rising cost of child care, the daily commute and other work-related expenses, a growing number of mothers are figuring out that having a job just doesn’t pay.
Many of us in the mano/trad/alt-right o sphere have been arguing this for some time. For it to be a major article at CNN, however, shows that the view is hitting the mainstream. Of course, the end hasn’t totally arrived yet. Count on this as laying the groundwork to argue for more welfare, state-supported child care, etc. Still, the message is getting out there.
When Hermione was pregnant with Primus, we attended a kind of hippie birth preparation class. It was intentional, because Hermione is pretty big on the whole natural birth thing. Plus, the childbirth industry in the US is a gigantic scam – but that’s a topic for a whole post on its own. We’ve kept up with everybody from that class via Facebook, and for good reason. It was a pretty eclectic mix of people.
There’s one couple from that group in particular that caught our eye. Both were pretty southern. He was a working class Joe (mechanic, if I recall correctly). She was a graduate student at the same major southern university that Hermione and I were enrolled in at the time. On the other hand, he was a pretty alpha guy. He was one of those guys who talked the macho talk pretty well, and we just knew that his daughter was going to have him wrapped around her finger as soon as she was born. Also, the wife was super religious. The pairing seemed a bit odd, but it also seemed to work.
Alas, it was not to be. Before his daughter’s first birthday, his wife had pushed him out the door and was out on the skanky-ho club scene. Now, the club scene doesn’t necessarily have to be the skanky-ho club scene. But we saw the Facebook pictures, and I call it like I see it. Her outfits would be skanky enough on a 20 year old. On a woman in her early thirties with a kid, it’s the kind of thing where you want to just tell her to grow up a bit. If you needed any more proof of everything Dalrock’s been saying for the last year or so about how even the highly religious aren’t immune from the modern divorce culture, this is it.
It’s been a little bit over a year now, and within the last couple of months, both of them have gotten remarried. It’s worth noting that his new wife is significantly hotter than his ex.
Divorce theft sucks for men, no question. But they do much better than women on the remarriage market.
I saw this earlier this morning and it made my day. No, it made my week.
Anyway… a year ago Jennifer and I were all but filing for bankruptcy and that was even after strip mining my 401k, checking the couch for change and deferring the taxes. If the Primer didn’t sell, we were going to be totally hosed. I seriously love my readers. Seriously, seriously, seriously love my readers. Which means my next news is kind of amazing…
…I’m quitting my day job.
Congratulations, Athol. Here’s hoping you save many, many more marriages and make a shitload of money doing it.