Bullshit News: Gillette advert sparks fury

Last week, social media had it’s latest eruption of outrage (number #7,686,892,213,293,973 to be precise) when Gillette released a new advertisement that focused heavily on the #MeToo movement and so-called toxic masculinity. I use the term “so-called” because I find it good practice to at least question another person or organisation’s definitions rather than blindly accepting them.

The ad [linky, linky] sees a twist on Gillette’s classic “The best a man can get” slogan and asks the question “Is this the best a man can get?”. It goes on to show things like a man grabbing a woman’s arse, a couple of boys play-fighting (with the parents shrugging it off as “boys will be boys”) and some teenagers watching girls in skimpy clothing on TV. Some preachy shit about holding one another accountable and being better blokes in general as well as examples of how we can all achieve this follows. The advert has generated a lot of negativity from the male community with many vowing to not buy Gillette’s products ever again for “insulting” them.

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Honestly, I would be MORE concerned with looking like this guy rather than wondering whether or not I am a sexual fiend.

So, as a card-carrying man, do I feel offended by Gillette’s “attack” on my masculinity? No, I don’t, for several reasons. Before I get to those reasons though, I do want to say that companies trying to tell us what it means to be a man or what to do in general can fuck right off. The same goes for the militant feminists who have grasped #MeToo by the horns in a death-grip and abused a worthy cause as a vehicle to shame men for anything that doesn’t fit their agenda and strict requirements. Don’t tell me what to do. I’m well aware that slapping a random woman’s backside is inappropriate as is forcing your partner to live in the kitchen 1950’s style but don’t try to make me feel guilty for following my biological coding and checking out a pretty girl in the street or for reading a “lads” mag.

As one wise philosopher once observed, “I am a man therefore I like breasts and bottoms”.

Gillette however, have nothing to do with my views on this subject. The first reason that their inflammatory advert hasn’t got me steaming at the ears with outrage is because I am secure in my masculinity. I will look at women I find attractive. I will aspire to be a man by my own definitions and metrics, not how a corporation or individual thinks I should live. I will continue to hang a sexy wall calendar up every January and enjoy the twelve pictures guilt-free. I will focus on my own life and progress rather than giving a shit about the judgements of others. I will continue to question myself and my actions and re-evaluate my direction but I will do it myself sans the influence of those who seek to change me.

Sometimes it may seem that certain corners of our society are trying to shame us for simply being blokes but it must be remembered that a vast chunk of what we (wrongly) assume to be facts and “correct” has been presented to us by the media and packaged in a way that suits them. Gillette sticking their oar in and telling us how to live is only possible with the power of TV and the internet. This crap that I dare to call a “blog” is media. So much of what we take to heart and get angry about is fed to us on a plate to encourage views, clicks and ad revenue. In real life, I can honestly – hand on heart – say that I NEVER, ever have to listen to somebody preach to me. In fact, the women in my workplace are more likely to slap you on the arse and are totally fine with harmless, playful flirting. Even they say that all of this super-feminism is a load of rubbish and you know what? We stand as equals, get paid equally and don’t think any less of one another because of sex.

We rib them for always complaining about being cold or gassing about pointless gossip and they rib us back for being shit at multitasking or obsessed with sports. Importantly, we ALL have a laugh about it and know that no malice or derogatory subtext was involved. The key thing is to know your boundaries and what is/isn’t sensible. Only a moron would attempt to speak lewdly to a woman that they don’t know at all for example and if they get called out on it then they deserve the consequences.

The point is, you shouldn’t correllate what TV and the internet shows you with reality. The outrage-fuelled headlines warp our brains and subtly redefines our perception of right and wrong. In the same way that I have no time for hardcore, angry feminists, I have no time for the daft notions that some blokes have. The idea that all women are out to enslave and castrate us for example or that we should waste our time getting angry about a Gillette advert. Wise up and stop playing into their hands. By tweeting your fury, all you have achieved is more exposure for the advert (which was currently sitting in excess of twenty-four million views at the time of me writing this…) and their brand.

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In the ad, this dude stops his mate from harassing a woman in the street. Men taking offence at this seem to forget that there is a difference between admiring somebody of the opposite sex and actually going out of your way to shout at them.

This brings me nicely to my second point. The marketing people at Gillette aren’t stupid. An advertisement like this would have been re-worked countless times and would have to have been signed off by company bigwigs. In short, they KNEW that this would generate controversy and mass exposure for the Gillette brand while also earning them a ton of praise from the SJW camp. It has been an all-round winning situation for them and any man that believes Gillette will go down like the Titanic or suffer commercially at all for daring to tell their consumer base how to act needs to think again. There is no such thing as bad publicity as they say. I can’t be offended by an advert like this because in doing so I would be being played like a fiddle.

I will end this post by pointing out that there is a distinct whiff of hypocrisy about Saint Gillette and their “message” however. A particularly strong odour in fact. After all, this is the company that came out with a range of women’s razors and coloured them Barbie-pink so clearly they know all about feminism and #MeToo.

Oh and another example of their work…

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Bottom row, fifth from the left is my favourite. Go on and shoot me.

 

Brexit is Bullshit III: Ignorance and Misguided Dreams

Fuck me, I’m sick and bored of Brexit by now. Every day brings more and more doom-mongering here on British TV as well as utterly embarassing attempts at point-scoring between political parties as they elect to point the shit-encrusted finger of blame rather than banding together to work out a deal that will be good for the populance. Yet here I am making a third post about the whole fucking thing. Problem is, there is just so many angles to cover and Brexit in general is just such an easy target.

This time in part three of the eternal saga of miserable doom known as Brexit (or Breggzit according to certain newsreaders), I want to talk about some of the crazy things I hear coming from the mouths of Brexiteers. Most of it I consider to be extremely ignorant, misguided and plain incorrect but before I put my critical hat on, let me remind you all that I’m NOT disagreeing with people’s desire to leave the European Union and “make Britain great again”. It’s just that I don’t think people’s fantasies can actually be a reality once the facts and figures are taken into consideration.

Also, as a working-class man in his mid-late twenties, I’m not exactly thrilled that the older generation of pro-Brexit voters are determined to leave and risk potential economic ruin (or at least upheaval) at the expense of the younger generation. To be blunt, these people are driven by a perceived invasion of foreign immigrants and if they get their dream of a no-deal, middle finger to the EU and the country is fucked as a result then they won’t have to deal with it. They are prepared to obliterate the living standards of the younger populance (if it all goes sour) as long as they get their way. And to be even blunter? A great deal of the oldest of voters will not be long for this world once the shit hits the fan and they won’t have to live through the consequences.

So: some shit that I have heard/read and what I think of it…

“We were fine without the EU before. We will be fine once we’re out of it”

A romantic, chest-swelling statement designed to remind non-believers that all was well in those sunny, idyllic pre-EU days before the evil empire absorbed our island and made us all miserable. The sun surely shone all day, everybody was nutting into wads of twenty pound notes (just because they could) and there were no rules to bring us down. Problem is, this ignorant way of thinking doesn’t acknowledge the fact that the world as a whole has moved on since those pre-EU days. Globalisation is a thing and we are all more interlinked than ever before as a planet. This isn’t going to change. In fact, globalisation and international trade is only going to continue to grow and become more important.

Doing anything that sends us in the other direction or hinders our ability to be part of a fast-moving trade environment makes zero practical sense. Globalisation wasn’t such a major force before the UK was a member of the EU so maybe we were fine then but times have evolved and if you don’t evolve with them then you die. Going backwards and electing to be more isolationist doesn’t seem like such a good idea, especially since the UK is such a consumer-driven country that relies so heavily on the import of food and goods.

And you can’t simply rip yourselves out of such a complex system and expect to carry on as before. But then again, those shouting the loudest are probably those who have the least to lose should it go tits-up.

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“They need us more than we need them”

Such an ignorant statement that it deserves little analysis. It’s a view that stems from the belief that our products, goods and exports are so important to the EU that the union would implode in a fiery ball of failure should we leave without the form of trade deal that we want. At the end of the day, we are a consumer nation that imports so much of what we buy and eat. If we were more self-sufficient and confident about thriving alone in self-imposed exile then yes, I could see some potential merit in the above statement but this isn’t the case.

Believing that twenty seven other countries need us more than we need our links with them also makes no mathematical sense at all. I’m sure I could be incorrect somehow but I can’t word it in another way where the formula stacks up in Britain’s favour. It is the absolute pinnacle of ignorance and misplaced pride.

Any negative consequences will bring the rich and London elite down a peg or two and level the playing field between the north and south

An idea possibly born from the class divide which is definitely a thing here in the UK (but not exclusive to our collection of islands). There are many in the Midlands and the north that harbour a resentment towards London, the self-important attitude of “The City” and the wealthy people that live and work in and around the capital. People are working their arses off to keep a roof over their heads – with the spectre of redundancy and employers going into administration ever present – while people living in London rent teeny-tiny apartments for £2000 a month and their mayor dares to suggest that London could have an exception and remain in the EU (while the ‘Leave’ voters who ruined it for everybody can suffer the consequences alone, eat turds and die I suppose)

Unfortunately, it’s a fact that the working class and poor will suffer the most should Brexit go wrong and produce dire economic consequences. The rich and the greedy will simply have their ability to make MORE money diminished and will possibly have to just lower their living standards a little. Meanwhile, they will still have a better living standard than those at the bottom of the ladder as well as the cash reserves, influence and power to keep their seats at the top table of society.

If prices increase and jobs are lost then it isn’t those people that will be brought down as a result.

That’s about all I have to say for now. I could go on and on (so much dumb stuff is vocalised on a daily basis when people decide that they have the measure of Brexit) but quite honestly, I’ve bored myself here. I just wanted to publish a snapshot of some of the absurd “insights” that I hear on the radio or in actual conversation amongst other sources.

Book Talk: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck (Mark Manson, 2016)

tsa-1I’m somebody who isn’t really that happy with their life and so – this admission out of the way – I’ve read a lot of self-help material and watched countless motivation and self-improvement videos on Youtube. Thing is, a good chunk of this stuff is, as it turns out, complete bullshit that doesn’t sink in at all. Even worse, a lot of it could be detrimental to our quests to improve. All of this advice that instructs you to be forcibly positive and happy 24/7 for example…it’s actually the opposite of what you should be doing.

Well, according to Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck that is. Avoiding the negativity in your life and plastering over it with forced affirmations and fake-it-until-you-make-it positivity is no good. Refusing to acknowledge problems means that you will never solve them and if you furiously focus on positives then all you are really doing is reinforcing the existence of the negatives. This is just a taste of the kind of insight this book offers.

In reality, Mark Manson’s advice is all stuff that we should already be aware of but we seem to have lost our way. Taking personal responsibility for everything in your life, the importance of being able to say “no” and how to decript the (potentially shitty) values that you are living by are just some of the over-arching themes that make up this book of real talk. It’s eye-opening stuff that seems so obvious and simple yet our consumer-driven culture obsessed with the ego, financial wealth and materialism has warped our sense of reality over time.

I’m not saying “buy this book and your life will be fixed” but all I CAN say is that this is the first self-improvement book that I burned through at a great pace then read again immediately. And you know what? I think I might even read it a third time. There are many lessons and pointers that you can take from the book and implement in your own life straight away but The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck has resonated with me so much that I feel like ramming it into my mind.

I’ve learned that I probably complain too much and that I also blame others and past events for my problems. I’ve learned that I need to take personal responsibility for 100% of my life. I’ve taken away new ways of thinking and looking at life.

As I said, all seemingly obvious stuff but until reading this book, I wasn’t fully aware of how much I was doing wrong in life. I’m not here to make such cliched statements as “It changed my life” but I do feel as if I have been given a kick up the arse and a bit of a jump-start. I cannot say the same for 99% of other books or videos that I have tried.

The book is very easy to read too as it comes across as more casual and direct-talking versus other alternatives which can sometimes be a bit too stuffy and loaded with psychology-speak. I would even go as far as to say that it is an enjoyable read in general regardless of whether or not you are looking to get anything out of the experience. If you are like me though and want to improve yourself and figure out where you might be going wrong then I would heartily recommend putting the other stuff on hold and giving The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck a shot.

Youtube Comments: An Embarassment to Humanity

Many things frequently convince me to part with my faith in mankind and the future of our race. The fact that we use centuries of accumulated intelligence and technology not for our benefit but to continue killing one another for the benefit of spiritual mystical beings for example. The periodic threats of nuclear war that threaten millions all because bullish world leaders insist on winning the latest edition of “How large is your penis?”. Or even the idea that maintaining the right to purchase military-grade firearms is of greater importance than innocent children being filled with bullets and thus denied a future, all because they did something as outrageous as show up for school.

All of these things (and countless others also qualifying as entire discussion points in their own right) rarely fail to make me think “we’re so fucked as a race, aren’t we?”. They all pale in comparison to the comments sections on Youtube videos however.

Seriously, I have come to the conclusion that if you wish to see the most hate-filled, racist, cold, emotionless, easily-triggered, tasteless keyboard warriors that the internet has to offer then this is the place to go. You can probably point me in the direction of some less mainstream, off-grid web hangouts where entities (let’s not grace them with the term ‘People’) of an even fouler nature lurk but there are two reasons that make Youtube’s warzone comments so notable as I see it:

  1. This is one of the most mainstream, easily visible and accessible internet destinations out there. The hate and bile is right there for all to see and while videos may be flagged as 18+, the comments certainly aren’t.
  2. Facebook, Twitter and other high-profile social networking services come under repeated media fire for breeding peer pressure, hate speech, extreme bullying and depression yet Youtube seems to escape the spotlight despite being just as influential and integral to its users’ lives.

It seems that any video in any genre simply cannot exist without a simple disagreement of opinion becoming an issue of the commenters’ racial identity or right to life. I have seen people told to “fuck off and die” for having a different taste of music for example and I’d consider that mild by the standards of Youtube’s trolls. Don’t forget that these entities have standards so low that you’d have to drill down deeper than the deepest layer of the sewage network to even stand a chance of finding them. When you did find these so-called standards, you’d likely feel cleaner by returning to the sewers and taking a swim in that glorious cocktail of piss, shit and used tampons.

I have screen-grabbed an example of such bizarre behaviour to dissect and this (like my “fuck off and die” recollection) is still extremely tame. This is taken from a video of Rocky II‘s training montage. I’ve edited out the names and profile pictures of those involved even though I’m unsure that some of them deserve their anonymity but what can I say; I have a bit of class I suppose.

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As you can see, it starts off fairly nondescript with somebody being a smartarse and disputing the original comment because they decided to take it as literally as possible and combine the worlds of real-life sports trainers and their fictional movie counterparts. Then the opinion is put forward that Duke (Apollo’s trainer) was in fact superior to Mickey – a fair enough opinion (even if it is presented as a fact). Then, enter the Pedant archtype who isn’t happy that people casually discussing a movie have committed the cardinal sin of confusing managers with trainers.

So far, so good, right? But then…

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I’d ask if this was really that necessary or how we made it from the manager/trainer discussion to suicide but I can’t seem to find a suitable collection of words so I’ll let this classic meme do the talking while I gather myself.

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[image: imgflip.com]
And so it continued…

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I would attempt to commentate on this conclusion to the discussion but I don’t think I need to. For the purposes of re-capping however: a Rocky II clip inspired a conflict of opinions on trainers and managers. Said conflict then evolved into a not-so-subtle suggestion that one of the involved parties should go and hang themselves (as you do for confusing trainers with managers, real life trainers with Rocky trainers or for being a Duke fan). Finally, a good ol’ race-fuelled argument.

As I said, this is a very tame example. So tame in fact that it barely registers. Many other furious debates succeed in racking up hundreds of replies and utterly vile on-screen words that sometimes defy belief. Some may argue that I should “grow up” or just accept that this is life in 2019 but I refuse to accept that. The fact is, you don’t hear people speak this way in the real world. They are keyboard warrior trolls on a power-trip, safe behind their monitors or smartphone displays. Let’s see them stand face-to-face with a grown man in the street and tell them to go hang themselves for holding the opinion that Megadeth is better than Iron Maiden. Most of us swear and rib our mates about their opinions but it’s done with humour and an understanding of the boundaries. We know who we can share black humour or crude jokes with for example.

In Youtube Land however, there is very real malice from a sizeable number of users who appear to think nothing of making a simple disagreement personal and bringing somebody else’s ethnicity into it for no reason at all. They see no problem with telling another commenter that they used their sister as a “cum dumpster” the night before last when in reality, they are probably a basement-dwelling professional troll with no real life interior knowledge of a woman’s underpants.

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It’s over-compensation and feeling powerful by putting others down magnified ten-fold (at a minimum). Trolls and keyboard warriors on Youtube (and most other social networks for that matter) come in two varieties: the first species is neaderthal in nature and not yet in possession of an imagination. Hard-hitting, punchy insults and childlike tantrums punctuated by words such as “fuck” and “cunt” are their only form of response to anybody who dares challenge their hard-man act. Ironically, it’s these types – who seem the most ghastly and repulsive at first – who probably have the most hope of transitioning to a regular human being. A slim hope mind, slimmer than the gap that the Millenium Falcon squeezes out of after attacking the Death Star II’s core in Return of the Jedi. It’s the second species of troll that you have to be more wary of.

Passive-aggressive prose and carefully constructed replies designed to poke and prod at another is their style. Rather than going in fists-swinging with their digital mouth vomiting out swears, these social rejects get their thrills by laying the bait and toying with the fish they manage to hook. Accomplished grammar, a calm persona and the ability to respond to anything are other hallmarks to look out for. These are the sorts of trolls who refuse to let their opponent claim the last say and achieve a trouser tent by retrieving facts and figures to discredit another viewpoint or working out how to push another’s buttons. You can imagine them sitting back with a wide, toad-like grin as they watch somebody else unravel and if all else fails, they have no qualms about signing off with an ice-cold, passionless put-down.

Read too much of this crap and you begin to wonder if these people have a life outside of the internet or how awful their own existence must be if they need to throw their self-respect beneath a dumpster and communicate with others in a such a revolting manner. More to the point of this topic’s title, it’s embarassing that this is a representation of us, the human race. What happened to agreeing to disagree and accepting that not everybody holds the same opinions as us? Somewhere along the line, it became essential to always be right (a mathematical impossibility in itself) and fling insults around like uncivilised apes slinging turds. Somebody disagree with your outlook? No problem; just tell them to jump off a bridge (while promising that you will be banging their mother as they plummet to their doom).

But then again, I’ve just written a big blog post about morons and wasted some of my life analysing their motives so what the fuck do I know.

Brexit is Bullshit II: The Saga Never Ends

I’ve previously posted about the embarassment that is Brexit but I feel like I have more to say on the subject. There will probably be a Brexit is Bullshit III [insert movie-apeing subtitle here] looking at a different element of the process but I felt I had to knock out a Part 2 now based on current events in Westminster.

Y’see, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May will attempt to win a vote in parliament for her Brexit ‘deal’ that she has put together. The problem is that it looks set to be defeated overwhelmingly by a mixture of Remainers and other MP’s who simply don’t agree that this deal will be good for the UK. The media is reporting that the deal may feature several amendments suggested by Labour (the main opposition party) in order to garner more votes. What this says to me is that this deal (if it DOES survive the vote) will be one of the most pointless, watered-down excuses for a deal since deals began.

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The deal was already seen as a betrayal by those who voted to leave the EU due to how many concessions had already been made to Europe. It wasn’t hard enough; wasn’t “up yours!” enough to the EU and their negotiators. Making more amendments is frankly a laugh and we could – in my view – end up with a deal that goes through the motions of us leaving the EU in formality but with as little as possible actually changing. Let’s not forget that this vote was supposed to have already happened but was postponed once.

It really does feel like an episode of Game of Thrones at the moment albeit without any credible leaders or sexy ladies getting their kit off. At the time of me typing this up, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that “this political chaos cannot go on” and signalled that should May’s Brexit deal be defeated, his party will call for a general election. Isn’t that a bit ironic? Saying that you want the worst British political chaos in recent times to be brought to an end while threatening to throw more fuel on a raging fire by adding a country-consuming election vote into the mix?

Meanwhile, the DUP (Democratic Unionist’s Party) from Northern Ireland – which propped up May’s Conservatives at the last snap election – are set to vote against the deal themselves due to the issue of the Irish border and a refusal to agree with the “Backstop” idea (a plan which will see the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remain as it is now i.e. no hard checks). On TOP of that (as if there needed to be any more complications…) there is currently no government in Northern Ireland since the Power Sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein collapsed two years ago.

You can see now why we are fed up with Brexit in the UK. The whole thing is a monumental train-wreck that will never satisfy voters on either side of the issue. Of course, it could be about to get much, much worse…

If the deal is defeated in parliament (a current, very likely outcome) then we could be leaving the EU without any deal of any sort. Hardcore Brexiteers are championing this idea and looking forward to giving the finger to the EU and making Britain “great again” (more on this in Brexit is Bullshit III – coming to a shitty, rundown shambles of a cinema near YOU soon…) but away from the scaremongering, there are numerous ways in which we – as a country – could suffer after severing the cord between us and Europe. You only have to look at how financial markets are so easily influenced by rumour, loose predictions and “feeling” to wonder how things may pan out once paths are chosen and economic deals not made.

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A reminder of a hideously blind, uninformed campaign [image: The Independent]
But who is really set to suffer from the fallout of a no-deal Brexit? Will it be those in Westminster fighting for control and playing political chess? Will it be the suited MP’s and high profile public figures with enough money to weather the storm? No, it will be people like me – working class people who keep the gears of our economy turning while those we are supposed to trust (LOL) to run the country dump it into the toilet and keep pulling on the flusher, seemingly determined to force the UK into its own sewerage system and make as big a stink as possible.

This should be the time for MPs to realise that this pantomine has run its course, set aside their differences and work together to put some sort of agreement on the table for the good of the voting populance. You know, the very same millions of people who they want to vote for their parties at the next election? But of course, this isn’t how it’s going to go. Instead we will have a PM (who didn’t believe in Brexit) forging on with her widely panned deal, an opposition leader using the situation to gain political power and MP’s from the whole political spectrum forgetting about the man in the street and squabbling amongst themselves, trying to score points instead of securing a stable future for the UK.

As I said in the previous installment of Brexit is Bullshit, I am no fan of the EU and being under the influence of a super-state that can overrule my own country but at the same time, I simply couldn’t vote to leave (as I would have liked to) because I knew that this current farce would be the outcome. I saw no concrete plans, credible statistics or a timetable for how we would deal with the process if we were to vote “Leave”. All I saw were propaganda-decorated buses preying on public emotions, blue-sky dreaming and people shouting “Take back control!”

Obviously, nobody could have predicted just how embarassing and drawn-out the Brexit saga would actually become. If you read this, are living outside of the UK and can’t help but laugh then I sincerely don’t blame you. As for me, I just feel like a powerless passenger on a runaway train. It all comes down to just how bad the derailment is.

Book Talk: Brief Answers to the Big Questions (Stephen Hawking, 2018)

sh-1When it comes to books and reading, one of the mini goals I set myself last year was to introduce more variety into my consumption of the published word. I read a lot of fiction (but not from a very varied variety of authors it must be said) and a few magazines and that’s it. A factual, science-related book that I could actually learn a few things from was top of the list so when I saw this book by Stephen Hawking (one of his final projects before he passed away), I picked it up on impulse. It did after all mention black holes on the back and I have always been fascinated by these and the theories behind their existence.

The main selling point of Brief Answers to the Big Questions is that Hawking tackles various subjects and presents his thoughts in a way that even non-science types such as myself can understand. Of course, I still got a little lost when the likes of Quantum Mechanics and various other advanced theories were discussed but on the whole, this was a book that was quite easy to pick up and could easily serve as an entry point into more complex material should I wish to delve deeper.

Of greatest interest to me were the chapters entitled “Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?” and “Will we survive on earth?”. I’ve always been a big subscriber to the possibility that mankind will be eliminated by events that most of us laugh off as sci-fi movie rubbish right now so to read Stephen Hawking’s logical and well-presented thoughts on these matters was very interesting. He reiterates that he is an optimist and has hope for the future of the human race but at the same time, the ease of how we could be rendered extinct by our own doing is quite worrying and Hawking makes it sound so simple and straightforward.

Discussing these subjects with facts at hand and as little speculation, personal opinion or agendas as possible was refreshing for me. It was a reminder of how often we are fed ‘science’ news that is actually tainted with bias, scaremongering or political agendas. Here it is different and if Hawking says that X could kill us all because of Y and Z then you will tend to believe him because he is referencing facts and futures that seem entirely reasonable.

He also has a good sense of humour too which I have to admit, I didn’t expect.

In conclusion, this is a great book that discusses answers to the big questions that many of us have forgotten how to ask, let alone contemplate. Perfect for anybody into science who is already familiar with the work of Stephen Hawking; perfect for people such as myself who require these often complex subjects to be presented in more layman terms.

Unrequited Attraction: A Necessary Suffering

Here on Unfiltered Opinion, I’m not shy about dropping F-bombs or broadcasting my blunt assessments of news events and life. As such, it may seem that I have a harsh or unforgiving nature but I’m here today to make a somewhat contradictory confession to lead us into the topic that I want to discuss today. That admission is that I am a bit of a sappy romantic when it comes to love. I can’t get enough of things like chivalry, legends of heroic knights saving the day for their lady and all that crap. This has led me into trouble on several occasions because I have found myself hopelessly giddy for certain girls/women in the past and gone in WAY too deep with my heart while neglecting my mind and reason.

Before I go any further however, I feel that it’s important to point out that I do also believe that none of this should be applied to real world romance. Yes, there are exceptions amongst the fairer sex that will be receptive to some good old-fashioned chivalry but on the whole, the White Knight persona is bad news and should be discarded immediately if a man wishes to push a woman’s biological buttons and rev her up. I’m not saying that you should be an arsehole instead or that you shouldn’t hold doors open or buy a girl flowers but there’s a fine line between being a gentleman and just being a mug.

As I said, I have been down the path of getting too swept away by an initial attraction and this post is about coming out on the other side and being better off for some emotional suffering and hard but entirely necessary life lessons. As I also said, I still love all of that romantic shit but my head is screwed on tightly these days and I don’t intend to be so gung-ho about the flowery stuff going forward.  This is me relating (loosely to smudge over any sensitive or personal information) my most recent folly and the important lessons that I learned.

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[Image: Pinterest]
This happened a few years back now. The lady in question was somebody I met through work and it was a completely unexpected encounter that knocked me for six. Have you ever bumped into somebody for the first time and thought “wow” then been unable to stop thinking about them? Well, that’s what happened here and it didn’t take me long to think “fuck it” and go for it. I got knocked back and was fine with that at first because I was just glad that I at least knew I’d chanced my arm but still, she wouldn’t leave my head and with having to see her frequently, the attraction refused to wane.

This went on for about a year with me in full-on fool mode, telling myself that I had no chance but not believing the truth that I was attempting to convince myself of. I couldn’t get her out of my head and I got into quite a bad place where I ultimately ended up wishing I’d never met her or that she’d just leave me alone. It was a bit of a mini episode that I look back on now and feel embarassed about in all honesty. I obviously wasn’t in full command of my rationale and I still kick myself for having let it happen after going through a couple of similar albeit less dramatic scenarios in the past when I was even younger. It was self-inflicted torture and a subconscious refusal to just accept the situation and let go.

I was angry that I’d allowed this to happen but looking back on it now, I can see how this lady got under my skin. I met her at the tail end of a year where I’d been fighting depression and had some pretty nasty thoughts about wanting to just give up and not carry on. I was tired and had had enough so my state of mind must have been quite fragile at this point and my emotional guard very low. I do remember feeling that I’d had more than enough shit and that I felt like I deserved to pursue something positive. Ironically it turned out to be a massive neg in the end but that stressful experience became a life lesson – I can see that now in hindsight.

For you see, we all want to be that person who doesn’t have to deal with remembering the one that got away and nobody wants to feel like they lost out but the truth is that most of us WILL encounter unrequited attraction or love at some point. Perhaps you are desperate for somebody who is already spoken for or maybe you think the world of somebody who simply doesn’t view you as anything more than friends. These things happen. They hurt and they suck giant balls but it’s a form of suffering that needs to be endured and come to terms with because important lessons rise from the ashes of these unfortunate situations.

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In my case, the biggest take-away was learning (as I should have done years ago to be fair) not to get too invested or set on somebody and simply be much calmer about it all. So far, my new attitude towards attraction has been working pretty well and when I’ve not managed to get anywhere with somebody I’ve taken a liking to (for whatever reason) then I’ve simply thought “well that was a bit shit wasn’t it?” and moved on. Yes, I DO want somebody but I’m not desperate to force a situation and escaping being single is no longer a do-or-die mission in my head. It’s not “giving up”; it’s about having greater self-respect for myself and not ignoring oppurtunities but also not allowing them to rapidly evolve into the be all and end all.

For the majority of people, this is all pretty self-explanatory or just common, subconscious “normal” behaviour anyway so you will be probably be reading this and thinking “what the fuck is this twunt banging on about?” but some of us are just wired differently or affected by our past experiences and relationships. In my case, I’ve had to learn to alter my attitude and philosophy after that particular emotional slog and while I feel that I might be “behind” in terms of society, I am glad of the emotional suffering because I learnt from it.

This brings me to the final thing I want to touch on in this post and that is about how it seems that millenials and younger people in general today appear to be determined to actively avoid this suffering and rejection. I don’t wish to tar all teenagers and those in their very early twenties with the same brush but I have seen a lot of avoidance and complete inability to cope with rejection on social media. Rather than seeing the eventual value in suffering and moving on, it seems more popular to congregate in Facebook and Twitter’s echo chambers and feed off of others’ negative emotions while contributing their own to the big mixing bowl of depression. The extreme posts I have seen such as people making suicidal statements because they were dumped or acting as if they are the only ones to ever be rejected in the history of humanity are something else. I also learned of “ghosting” and to be completely frank, that is such a heap of pathetic bullshit that should never have been given a name let alone existence as an actual concept.

It can’t be healthy for society in general if people are growing up with this entitled attitude and believing it is better for them to indulge in each other’s misery rather than growing as human beings. Perhaps it is hypocritical of myself to make these observations after taking (in my humble opinion) far too long to learn some of my own lessons but it’s another of those instances that makes me question the negative reprocussions of social media being so tightly intertwined with the lives of the younger generation.