Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Shooting at Japanese women with bamboo rifles

There's a lot of outrage on social media (and real media) about a certain "dating coach" and his let's call it unorthodox approach to seducing the ladies. I'm not going to link to his stuff here because you've probably already seen it and I don't want to bomb the guy with any more free publicity than I already have (not that I think anyone who would be interested in anything I write about on my blog would be at all the sort of person who would get anything useful from one of his seminars).

However, if you haven't had the joy of watching him at work, his advice for winning the hearts of Japanese women is basically to shout "Pikachu!" at them, then grab their heads and shove them into his crotch. At the end of the video, you see him doing it to a few clearly very embarrassed girls while bystanders look on with uncomfortable expressions.

Now obviously ordinary, non-sociopathic people are pretty much universally outraged by this how-to guide to sexual harrassment bordering on physical violence, but I want to talk here about something slightly different.

The most striking thing about the "dating advice" this gentleman dispenses is how useless it is in its ostensible function. You're not going to pick up anyone by grabbing random girls with your big meaty hands and forcing them to smell your sweaty balls, you're just informing them that you're an asshole. There may be specific social environments where the group's general familiarity with each other has led to a sort of general lowering of inhibitions and a shared understanding at play that something like that is funny and silly, but fundamentally it's just not effective dating advice.

The "dating coach" knows this, and so, if they're honest with themselves, do the fawning acolytes you can see hanging on his every word in the video. So what is it really about?

If you look at the reaction of the attendees in the seminar, their main reaction is laughter. They're like an audience at a comedy club, listening to a standup deliver racist and sexist one-liners and anecdotes that one after the other reinforce their most shameful prejudices and reassure them that they aren't alone. These guys probably aren't going to go to Tokyo and start thrusting their crotches into girls' faces: what they are getting instead is a cathartic validation of their own potency. They might laugh about it and make half-hearted plans to visit Tokyo together, high on the thrilling possibility that they could impose themselves thus on the supine Oriental ladies of Japan, but most of them will return to their lives of nagging self-doubt and making spiteful threats to women on the internet.

Even Mr. Dating Coach probably doesn't really take that approach. He's probably tried it just enough to know he can get away with it, but in the clips on the video, he's clearly doing it for the benefit of whoever's holding the camera. Those clips are demonstrations of his ability to impose his will on the female species, but I'm going to stick my neck out here and suggest that he has never got laid using that method.

No, what it is is a sort of ritual of male power, Mr. Dating Coach acting as a sort of priest, conducting a congregation of men who share a nagging sense of their own declining status. Together, they act out this pantomime of male dominance and female submission, like cargo cultists performing military drills with bamboo rifles in the hope of summoning back the airdrops that have long passed them by -- they are not there to learn but to experience fleeting reassurance of a status of respect and dominance that they feel they deserve but have never thought to earn.