Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs (1928)

The following article entitled ‘Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs,’ penned by Dorothy Dix appeared in 1929, foreshadowing many of the key issues raised by Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) today. PW

MGTOW

I often wonder that the modern woman does not perceive that she is killing the goose that lays the golden egg by her attitude toward men. By which I mean to say that it is women themselves who are destroying the things that they value most in life. It is women’s hands that are tearing to tatters the chiffons of romance and sentiment and idealism in which men have always clothed them. It is women who are stifling tenderness and slaying chivalry in the hearts of men. It is women who are doing away with all the graces and sweetnesses that made charm in the relationship between men and women and that incidentally lured men into matrimony.

For women are making men afraid of them and what they will do to them and that makes men cold and cautious in dealing with the fair sex. Even Romeo watches his step and counts the calories in his sweet talk when he keeps a date with Juliet nowadays.

Women don’t like this. They complain bitterly that there are no impassioned lovers. They say that young men are so afraid they may compromise themselves by their attentions to a girl that ten minutes alter meeting her they serve notice on her that they have no intention of marrying and that even one’s fiance’s letters read like a communication about the state of the stock market instead of being an outpouring of burning affection.

And women don’t seem to see that they are to blind for this state of affairs and that the reason for it is because they have taken love and lovemaking and even marriage out of the realm of sentiment and pinned a price tag on them and commercialized them. They have made men pay through the nose for romantic dalliance and idle words said on a moonlight night, and that is why Dan Cupid, who is no bill collector, has packed up his arrows and fled the scene.

Thus have many women been cut out of the pleasure and excitement of playing the love game, for no man dares take a hand in that now unless he is ready to pay up if the lady calls his bluff.

In our mother’s time it is doubtful if there was any woman so unattractive that some man at some time didn’t whisper soft nothing in her ear and tell her what beautiful eyes she had and how different she was from all other women and how the first time he ever saw her he felt that she was the only woman who ever really understood him and how sweet life would be if he could have such a woman as the by his side and who didn’t send her gooey songs and slushy poetry.

But now it is a common thing to have an attractive woman in her 30s or 40s tell you that she never had a beau in her life and that the nearest approach to sentiment she has ever heard from any man is when her boss said: “Miss Pothooks, you certainly are a peach of a stenographer and I don’t know how I would get along without you.”

The reason for this is, of course, that men are afraid to make love to a girl unless they are prepared to lead her to the altar. For over their heads dangles the sword of the breach-of-promise suit. They have seen Juliet cashing in too often on Romeo’s unguarded vows to take any chances themselves.

Now, of course, every woman yearns to be deeply and truly loved and to feel that some man is mad about her, but synthetic love is better than no love at all, and every woman would rather have been philandered with than to have been passed over entirely. The flirtations give her a tag end of romance at least to tuck away in her memory and to keep her from feeling that she was wholly lacking in attraction to men.

Also, man, women who have good jobs with fat pay envelopes and who are interested in their business or professions don’t want to marry, but they do enjoy the society of men, which they might have if the predatory women hadn’t made feminine companionship such a hazardous and expensive luxury for men to indulge themselves in.

And there is the matter of love letters. Men used to pour forth their souls to their souls to their lady loves in beautiful poetic letters that were like the beating of a heart in one’s hand. There are love letters that have come crown through the ages to us as gems of literature, and in the old days every woman had packets of love letters, tied with blue ribbon, hidden away among her treasures that she took out and read when she was old and that brought her girlhood flooding back upon her once more. Grandma wore grandpa’s love letters under her laces on her breast.

But the love letter has become as extinct as the Dodo. The modern youth when, away from his sweetie communicates, with her by radio or wireless or telegraph or he dictates it to a stenographer, and if the modern girl should put her steady’s letter above her Heart she would think she had an ice pack on and get a chill.

Why? Because women have made men afraid to write love letters. They have seen too many people snickering as they read some man’s impassioned maunderings in the newspapers and they know none but the foolhardy put down in black and white on paper the sentiments that seem so sweet and noble when they are written and that sound such idiotic twaddle when they are read aloud in court or appear in print.

Worse still, women are keeping men from marrying by demanding so much alimony that it makes matrimony not only a gamble in happiness but the most risky financial speculation they can engage in.

Under the present laws a man can marry a girl who makes no effort in any way to be a good wife. She can refuse to keep house, refuse to bear children. She can be lazy, extravagant, high-tempered, nagging and make his life a torment to him, yet she can force him to support her as long as he lives. And, such being the case, it is not strange that prudent men are shying of more and more from the altar.

These are facts which I respectfully submit to my sister women. And I would also call their attention to what happened to the greedy woman who killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

DOROTHY DIX.

Source:

“Why Can’t The Modern Woman See That She Is Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs When She Places a Commercial Value on Every Endearment a Man Utters, Cries Dorothy Dix,” syndicated, The Bee (Danville, W. Va.), Dec. 6, 1929, p. 12.

Bachelor Life With Freedom Looks Easier (1931)

The following article entitled ‘Bachelor Life With Freedom Looks Easier,’ penned by Dorothy Dix appeared in 1931, foreshadowing many of the key issues raised by Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) today. PW

mgtow

According to the census report, there has been a very decided slump in marriage, and this is blamed on men by those who have investigated the subject. They say that women are as eager as ever to enter the holy estate, but that men fight shy of it. Doubtless that this is true. Probably women have always been more anxious to marry than men because they have always looked upon matrimony as a career and getting a husband their chief business in life. The favorite game of every girl-child is playing bride, and by the time she gets in her teens she has her wedding all planned out, even to the last detail about the flower girls and the ring-bearers.

Boys Think Of Other Things

But no little boy looks forward as joyously to being a bridegroom as he does to being a quarter-back on a football team. Marriage is never the climax of his ambitions as it is of girl’s. He knows that, like death, marriage will get him sooner or later, but, at least until he falls in love, he cherishes a vague, secret hope that somehow he may escape it.

That men are becoming more bridal-shy and harder to catch every year women will all testify from their personal experience. More and more de women have to do the chasing of husbands if they want one. More arid more alluring baits do they have to use to toll men into the matrimonial fold, and this despite the fact that never were women more desirable, never better-looking, never better fitted to be real helpmates.

Cost Too Great

The reluctance of the modern man to marry can be explained in many ways. First, perhaps, by the high cost of living. Marriage appeals more to the young and reckless, who have not learned how to figure out the cost of things, than it does to the mature and cautious, who look at the price tag first and then at the article. But boys cannot marry because it costs too much to support a family, and by the time a man can afford a wedding-ring only too often he has lost his taste for it.

Then men don’t marry because they are too selfish. They love themselves better than they do any woman and they consider that swapping off their freedom and latchkeys for the privilege of listening to curtain lectures when they come home at 3 A. M. is a poor trade. They prefer sports cars to perambulators and playing golf to doing chores around the house on Saturday half-holidays, and so they stick to single blessedness instead of taking a chance on double wretchedness.

Afraid of Alimony

Still another reason why men do not marry is because of their fear of alimony. Certainly the gold-digging ladles, who make a man pay and pay and pay as long as he lives for the mistake he made in marrying one of them, are doing a lot to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. For they have made marriage a hazardous adventure that causes men to get cold feet even to think about and that causes the prudent to avoid the altar.

For under the present laws it makes no difference whether the man was the one to blame or not; If a marriage goes blooey he has to settle the bill for the wreck. The man may have done his part nobly. The woman may have reneged entirely on her part. She may have been a shrew, a lazy loafer woman impossible to live with, but the poor, unfortunate who has married her as to support her, anyway, and often to contribute to the support a second husband. When you think of the alimony laws the marvel is not that so many men are afraid to marry, but that any man is plunger enough to risk it.

Need Is Less

However, prudence does not always keep men from marriage. The lack of an incentive is likewise a deterrent and two of the principal motives which formerly caused men to marry are now lacking. One of these was the man’s need of someone to take care of him and provide for his physical comfort. Men used to marry for a home and somebody to sew on their buttons and send out their laundry. There came a lime in the life of a young man when he was sick of boarding-house prunes and hash, and when in dressing in a hurry he couldn’t find a clean collar or a pair of socks without holes in them, a home and a wife suddenly seemed the most desirable things on earth and he rushed out and proposed lo the first girl he met.

But now the land is strewn with clubs and bachelor apartments where single men are valeted and cosseted better than any wife could do it, an that makes marrying for a home a superfluity. Also, alas, women have throw away, when they went into business, the rabbit’s-foot with which they conjured men into matrimony. For they are no more domestic, and many man refrains from popping the question to the girl he works at the next desk to because he is well aware that she is a better sales manager than she is a cook and that she would make a more satisfactory business partner than she would a life partner.

Girls’ Company Free

But perhaps the chief reason that men don’t marry is because they don’t have to in order to get feminine companionship. In the olden days a man led a girl to the altar because that was the only way in which he could enjoy her society without mother and father listening in. Then love-making had to lead somewhere and he paid for his petting parties with a marriage certificate.

Now that is all gratis. The society of women is as free to him is that of men. He spends his days in offices with girls. He plays golf with them. He goes off with them on long automobile rides, with never a chaperon in sight. Girls smile upon him. They break their necks trying to please him and keep him amused and entertained, and he doesn’t have to pay their bills or put up with their tempers or abridge his own freedom. He has a cinch. And he knows it. And he means to keep it, and so he doesn’t marry.

— DOROTHY DIX.

Source:

“High Cost of Keeping a Family and Fear of Alimony Keep Men from Altar – Bachelor Life looks Easier – Boys Too Poor, Men Too Wise To Take A Chance,” syndicated, Spokane Daily Chronicle (Wa.), Jul. 10, 1931, p. 5

A MGTOW Yardstick: Determination Of Self By Other (DOSBO)

In this piece I’ll be looking at the opposite of MGTOW, at what MGTOW isn’t, in order to throw MGTOW into relief against impostors. Naturally, this is my own take, one of numerous that abound on the Internet and one that comes with no special authority and no assumption that I speak for others.

By now many are familiar with the concept of male self-determination as a basic working definition for MGTOW. Self-determination is the practice whereby a man makes choices and decisions based on his own preferences and interests, monitors and regulates his own actions, and is generally self-directing.

Simple enough.

That leads to a consideration of the opposite of male self-determination, i.e., determination of self by other (DOSBO). Determination of self by other limits the definition of MGTOW and in one stroke negates the claim that MGTOW can mean anything a person wants it to mean. By applying the DOSBO rule, no person can qualify as a MGHOW if he hands over a significant amount of his sovereignty to another entity. Here are some examples illustrating DOSBO in action.

Example 1: Pro-feminist men
On the face of it, we might assume pro-feminist men are self-determined for having made a choice to be led by the spirit and letter of feminism. It hardly needs saying that this amounts to a false assumption.

The only self-determined decision such men make is an initial one to give up self-determination altogether in favor of determination of self by other—which is, of course, the antithesis of self-determination and thereby disqualifies MGTOW status according to DOSBO.

Example 2: Married men
This example is a bit trickier because it raises the question of whether the DOSBO factor is actual or merely potential for a particular married man. Marriage as an institution carries many cultural and legal values, from the symbolizing of a couple’s love in ritualized form through to the cultural and legal implementation of a gynocentric contract.

So the question to ask about any man entering into marriage is this: Is he entering the marriage to willfully participate in a gynocentric charade? Sadly, the vast majority of men are doing precisely that, which indicates that the DOSBO factor is actual—such a man cannot qualify as a MGHOW under this definition.

Alternatively, if a couple undertakes to symbolize their love through the ritual of marriage while at the same time imagining they are rejecting the gynocentric aspect imposed by the state, can that man call himself a MGHOW while the DOSBO factor looms in potential due to his wife’s latent legal power? Is this man, rare as he may be, a MGHOW?

This is where I stop short of saying he absolutely cannot be—although I would certainly call him foolhardy if he entered a marriage while knowing the enormous risks involved. He is actually a MGHOW in behavior because he presently “does his own thing,” but he is potentially a man whose life can be determined by his wife and the government if she so chooses. While I look at what is actual instead of what is potential, I’m forced to conclude that he retains some semblance of a MGHOW.

Example 3: Traditionalists
Like marriage, traditionalism needs defining because not all traditionalism is the same—it is not all gynocentric. Traditionalism is a big basket of historical practices that may or may not be limiting of male self-determination. To simply say “All tradition is bad for men” is a blunt instrument that begs debunking. A better approach might be to ask, Which aspects of traditionalism are limiting to male freedoms?

“Traditional gender roles” is a more precise name for the problem, although it too suffers from lack of discrimination. Is it some traditional gender roles, most traditional gender roles, or all traditional gender roles that are bad? Was it bad for married men and non to have the freedom to enjoy male-only fraternal organizations such as the Elks, Masons, Golden Fleece, and others,1 or was it oppressive for bachelor and married men alike to have male-only drinking saloons, pool halls, or sporting clubs? These too were the result of traditional gender divisions.

To use a more controversial example, was it limiting of male self-determination for a woman to stay home during the first two years after giving birth (not beyond!) to breast-feed while the husband worked, or is it limiting for the neotraditionalist couple of today to employ the same traditional role division whereby the father stays at home and bottle-feeds a baby while the woman works full-time?

Are not some aspects of traditionalism benign?

While I leave the answer to these questions open, I’m going to suggest that a much more precise term than either “traditionalism” or “traditional gender roles” would be traditional gynocentrism. Gynocentrism is the main perpetrator in limiting male freedom, and for that reason it is more precise to finger the gynocentric thread of traditionalism.

Moving beyond subjectivism
As a limiting principle, DOSBO delivers MGTOW from the meaninglessness of subjectivism, delivers it from the claim that MGTOW has no inherent meaning, or that it can mean whatever the hell a person wants it to mean. It gives a precise meaning with real meta ideological commitments. Whether or not DOSBO proves of wider value is not important, but it will hopefully stimulate discussion about what precisely are the things that all MGTOW hold in common.

Notes
[1] Edward Ward, The Secret History of Clubs, published 1709. [This is one of hundreds of titles detailing traditional male clubs, guilds, and fraternities. The examples given show that the clubs were riotous places of laughter, male bonding, drinking, inventing and collaborating on various projects, and above all were places to enjoy a little self-chosen freedom. Married and bachelor men alike participated, and in the majority of clubs no women were allowed to set foot].

Feature image by James Cridland

Early references to “Men going their own way”

Despite false claims that the phrase was invented during the last decade, “Men Going Their Own Way,” or variants such as “going his own way,” or “go his own sweet way,” is now hundreds of years old.

Here are a few examples (out of thousands) showing that the phrase, as used in reference to men’s freedoms, is an old one:

1996
MGTOW 1996

1939
MGTOW 1939

1936
MGTOW 1936

1922
MGTOW 1922

1917
MGTOW 1917

1913
MGTOW 1913

1902
1902 MGTOW

1899
MGTOW 1899 Morning Post - Friday 22 September 1899

1897
Let men go their own way -  MGTOW 1897 The Copper country evening news., October 09, 1897, Image 2

1889
MGTOW 1889 - letter written by Walt Whitman

1886
MGROW 1886 Aberdeen Journal - Monday 06 December 1886

1880
MGTOW 1880 Hull Packet - Friday 03 September 1880

1856
MGTOW 1856 Bucks Herald - Saturday 07 June 1856

1853
MGTOW 1853 Dictionary of English and French Idioms Illustrating, by Phrases and Examples, the Peculiarities of Both Languages, and Designed as a Supplement to the Ordinary Dictionaries Now in Use

Montana Man Refuses to Pay Bachelor Tax

This photo comes from the 23 May 1921 Batavia Daily News.

William Atzinger, of Fort Benton, Mont., refuses to pay the $3 state bachelor tax. Neither will he be married to escape the tax. But he’ll pay, he says, if spinsters are taxed also.

William Atzinger, of Fort Benton, Mont., refuses to pay the $3 state bachelor tax. Neither will he be married to escape the tax. But he’ll pay, he says, if spinsters are taxed also.

Volume 8 of The Social Hygiene Bulletin has this note:

The Tax on Bachelors

William Atzinger, aged 35, notified the assessor of Chouteau County, Montana, that he will refuse to pay the poll tax of $3 levied on bachelors by the last state legislature. In his declaration he says, “Spinsters are responsible for my not being married in their refusals of my wooing in the past.”

The report from Great Falls, Montana, further quotes the defiant bachelor as follows: “Tax the spinsters of the same age and I will gladly pay, but otherwise it is class legislation and I stand upon my rights. Furthermore I refuse to get married to escape jail and I refuse to pay a bachelor tax to escape jail.”

Early the following year, the Montana state supreme court ruled that the bachelor tax was unconstitutional (at the same time it also threw out a 21-year-old poll tax that was also imposed only on men).

See also:

1896: Mrs. Charlotte Smith proposes a “Bachelor Tax”
The danger of celibacy (1707)
Penalties for not marrying (1903)

Penalties for not marrying (1903)

The following article provides evidence that bachelor movements have existed throughout history, and that societies usually end up pressuring bachelor men to marry. The following piece first appeared in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on Saturday 21 November 1903. – PW


No marriage

PENALTIES FOR MARRYING

Matrimony is considered a punishable offence in some communities. These circles of society are small, but their edicts are strong. The larger community, if it takes cognisance of a man’s single state, usually imposes a fine for not getting married, as in Argentina where bachelorhood requires the payment of an increasing tax to the government.

But in certain circles marriage is regarded as an offence. At Oxford University, for instance, a fellow of All Souls’ College forfeits his fellowship if he takes to himself a wife while he is supposed to be studying the classics.

He not only must pay a penalty, but he must present his college with a memorial in the shape of a silver cup, on which is inscribed the words, “Descendit in matrimonium” – “He backslid into matrimony.”

The aristocratic Bachelors’ Club of Piccadilly, London, ostracises members who forget themselves so far as to marry. Instant expulsion is the punishment for this offence. The backsliders must leave the company of the bachelors for ever. As an act of grace they pay a fine of 100 dollars and become honorary members of the club, but that is their own salvation.

Not only England has these anti-matrimony clubs. Their formation in Chicago has been treated as a joke, as it has in other American cities. Bachelors in other countries have lent an air of seriousness to their endeavours.

It is serious for a member of a certain Junggesellen Club [Bachelor club] in Germany to lapse into matrimony. As soon as his intention becomes known he is tried in the club court, with the president as judge, where he is allowed to plead in extenuation of his offence. On the skill of his pleading and his excuses depends his fine, from 100 to 250 dollars.

This fine is devoted to a dinner, at which all members appear in mourning garb. At its conclusion the president reads the sentence of expulsion, and the delinquent is led from the premises to an accompaniment of groans and lamentations.

Only last winter a recreant was condemned to swim twice across the Seine at midnight, with the result that a severe attack of rheumatic fever nearly robbed him of the bride he had paid the heavy price to wed.

While the bachelor sometimes has to pay dearly for a wife, in at least one country it scarcely pays to remain celibate. In Argentina the man who prefers single to married bliss has to pay a substantial and progressive tax. If he has not taken a wife by the time he has reached his 25th birthday he must pay a fine of 5 dollars a month to the Exchequer.

Source: Lancashire General Advertiser on Saturday 21 November 1903

 

See also: Bachelor movement of 1898

Book synopsis: The Age of the Bachelor

The following book synopsis, The Age of the Bachelor, by Howard Chudacoff details a historical scenario like that presently gaining traction under the heading MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way).

k6561Howard Chudacoff describes a special and fascinating world: the urban bachelor life that took shape in the late nineteenth century, when a significant population of single men migrated to American cities. Rejecting the restraints and dependence of the nineteenth-century family, bachelors found sustenance and camaraderie in the boarding houses, saloons, pool halls, cafes, clubs, and other institutions that arose in response to their increasing numbers. Chudacoff recalls a lifestyle that had a profound impact on society, evoking fear, disdain, repugnance, and at the same time a sense of romance, excitement, and freedom.

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/6561.html

1896: Mrs. Charlotte Smith proposes a “Bachelor Tax”

In the 1890’s a proposed ‘tax on bachelors’ caused the very first MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) and Men’s Rights group to form.1 At that time a group of bachelors banded together in response to the tax and to fight for their freedom from gynocentric slavery. They can also be considered the first Men’s Rights group to fight against patently misandric laws.

Background
01-Charlotte-Smith-1896In 1896 a Mrs. Charlotte Smith, feminist activist and President of the Women’s Rescue League, spearheaded an anti-bachelor campaign based on her concerns about the increasing numbers of women who could not find husbands — a surprising development considering men outnumbered women in the United States then by 1.5 million.2 Her solution to the “problem” was to denigrate, malign, and ultimately punish bachelors in order to pressure them into marrying any women unlucky enough to remain unwed.

Mr’s Smith’s malignment of bachelors began with attacks on public servants and officials, saying that bachelors have always been failures, and that bachelor politicians, especially, were “narrow minded, selfish, egotistical, and cowardly.” She further claimed that, “It’s about time to organize antibachelor clubs in this state. It should be the purpose of every young woman to look up the record of each and every man who is looking for votes and, should his moral character be such would make him unfit for office, then his shortcoming should be the point of attack by the antibachelor women of Massachusetts. There are 47,000 girls between the ages of 20 and 29 years in this state who cannot find husbands… [and] the bachelor politicians, they do not dare discuss the social evil question.”3 She states:

“No man can be a good, honorable and upright citizen
who has not entered into the holy bonds of wedlock” [Charlotte Smith]4

 

the-chipley-banner-chipley-washington-county-fla-25-sept-1897

Part of her remedy was to have bachelors excluded from employment in prominent public sector positions. Her second punishment proposed a universal bachelor tax of $10 per year be applied,5 amounting to between 1-4 weeks of the average wage, with the proceeds to provide living standards for ‘unmarried maidens’ orphans and the poor. In 1911, Mrs. Smith was still spruiking the tax on bachelors, claiming statistics showed that 60% of eligible men in Massachusetts never married, especially men of “small means” because “in order to be popular at the club now it is necessary for a man to have one or two automobiles a yacht, and two or three mistresses, but no marriage.”6

Many proponents of the tax believed that it would encourage marriage and thereby reduce the state’s burden to care for those who did not financially support themselves. Perhaps most importantly Mrs. Smith felt that the tax would lower the number of men “who go around making love to young girls.”6

The bachelor band of 1898

The bachelor tax proposed by Smith was by no means the first. For example, in 1827 a “highly numerous and respectable” group of men met in a New York City hotel to organize a protest against a bill before the New York legislature that replaced a current tax on dogs with one on bachelors. The bill, they claimed, was “onerous and in direct violation of the great charter of their liberties.”7

In 1854, in Connecticut a legislator argued in the House of Representatives against a proposed bill to tax bachelors: such a bill was unnecessary, he claimed, because “There was a tax laid already upon a goose, and any man who had lived 25 years without being married could be taxed under that section.”8 These two bills were not unique, as bachelor taxes have existed around the globe and throughout the millennia, dating back at least to ancient Greece and Rome.9

The culmination of attacks on both the finances and character of bachelors resulted (in 1898) in the formation of a small resistance group in Atlanta Georgia, known variously as the Bachelor Band, The Bachelor League, or famously the ‘Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band.’

The latter takes its name from the case of Bardell vs Pickwick in Charles Dickins 1836 classic novel The Pickwick Papers in which the character Mr. Pickwick is forced to defend himself against a corrupt lawsuit brought by his landlady, Mrs. Bardell, who is suing him for breach of promise, and which ultimately results in his incarceration at Fleet Prison for his stubborn refusal to pay the compensation to her. Thus ‘Anti-Bardell’ in the title refers to men’s struggle against corruption, greed and bigotry, with the bachelor band publicly claiming that “One of its main objects is the suppression of Mrs. Bardell’s large army of female followers today.”10

The Bachelor Band undertook political activism on behalf of men’s rights, including articles in numerous mainstream newspapers, letters to politicians, and public petitions to raise both awareness and support for men against misandric laws and practices. In response to Mrs. Smith’s campaign for what she termed “compulsory marriage,” the Bachelor Band held an emergency meeting chaired by Al Mather, a prominent real-estate dealer.

At the meeting a member cried out, “We are pledged to celibacy, and we must remain true to our resolve!” Another member, Henry Miller stated “It is an outrage to attempt a tax on bachelors. The next thing, I suppose, will be to put tags on us or make us get out licenses as is now requires for dogs.”11 The meeting then moved into a secret session where the proposed bachelor tax was discussed, with attendees concluding that is was not the tax per-se that was the problem, but the spirit of the thing. The members, one and all, declared the tax was an attempt to place bachelors under a ban, and by doing so force them into matrimony. With all members of the same opinion a resolution was passed as follows:

“We hereby ask and request that the Senator and the Assemblymen from this district, namely Mr. Daly, Allen, and marshal exert themselves to the best of their ability and means to defeat the bill now before the Legislature to tax bachelors; and it is further resolved that the Secretary be authorized to forward a copy of the above resolution to each of the gentlemen mentioned, and further to notify the proposer of the bill, Assemblyman Weller, and the governor of our action.”11

Another group, the Hoboken Bachelor Club, discussed the merits of drafting a petition protesting against the bill and circulating it for signatures. As can be seen from the political action taken, the assault on men was not going to be taken lying down, with the bachelors forming a resistance movement headed by Lawyer John A. Hynds who not only resisted pressure to marry but challenged the bachelor tax and the cultural misandry that accompanied it. According to one media account the bachelor group was still active four years after the date of the above controversy, making it a successful long-term organisation.12

One of the more humorous, but effective examples of the group’s media activism was this piece in the New York World:

BACHELOR’S LEAGUE AGAINST THE FAIR

John A. Hynds - (Chief Officer of Bachelor Band)

John A. Hynds –
(Chief Officer of Bachelor Band)

Twelve bachelors have formed a league against marriage under the name of the “Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band,” a name which recalls the woes of Mr. Pickwick, of immortal fame. The motto of the club is Solomon’s proverb: “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” The objects of the club are to oppose matrimony, to fight for the liberty of man, to encourage the manufacture of all such devices as bachelor buttons and to check the movement inaugurated by Mrs. Charlotte Smith “and other disgruntled females” to require bachelors to wed.

Any member who marries will be fined $1000. The club will attend the “funeral” in a body dressed in black, wearing long, mournful faces, with an abundant supply of crepe. In addition to this they will emit groans during the whole ceremony. When the fine is paid the member shall be declared legally dead.

Another offense is “getting the mitten.” If a member is “mittened” by a widow or old maid the fine is doubled. Among other offenses are calling a woman “sweetheart,” “dearest,” “sugar lump,” “dovie,” “tootsie-wootsie,” “honey,” “lamb” or any such kindred nonsensical, absurd and disgraceful terms, and “walking with the female in the moonlight, speaking of the stars or the weather, quoting poetry –original or otherwise- riding through a tunnel in a car when any female occupies a contiguous seat, getting down on his knees before or at the side of a woman, carrying a girl’s picture in his watch, hat or pocketbook, staying later than 12 o’clock at night, sending cologne, cinnamon drops or other kinds of perfumed liquids or shopping in a dry-goods store with any one of the fair sex.”

The chief officers of the club are: John A. Hynds, chief marble heart; E. C. Brown, junior marble heart; Mark J. McCord, freezer; J. D. Allen, iceberg.

Mr. E. C. Brown, the junior marble heart, was tried recently on the charge of deserting the Atlanta charmers and visiting a Marietta widow and sending the widow flowers and candles. He was forbidden to visit Marietta for two months and fined twenty-four theatre tickets.13

* * *

Penalties against bachelors as enticements to marry are seen as far back as classical Roman times and, as with Eliza and Mariana who in 1707 AD proposed harsh penalties for unwed men, women are the most passionate advocates of bachelor punishments.

The Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band represents possibly the earliest MGTOW and MHRA group we know of, with men fighting for the basic right to determine their own lives and liberty, including the right to not marry. The stacked deck against men is not new, nor is an organized reaction to it. The only thing these poor chaps needed was the internet, and a mind for rebellion. With this in mind let’s make sure we milk the internet for all we can squeeze out of it… it’s our best chance yet.

Notes

[1] Specifically, the earliest MGTOW and Men’s Rights groups currently known by this author. If an earlier MGTOW or MR group is brought to my attention this page will be updated accordingly.
[2] The Crusade Against Bachelors, The Norfolk Virginian. (Norfolk, Va.), 02 Sept. 1897.
[3] Antibachelor Clubs: Mr’s Charlotte Smith Starts New Political Crusade, Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.), 28 Aug. 1897
[4] No offices for Bachelors, Kansas City StarThursday, August 19, 1897, Kansas City, Kansas
[5] Massachusetts Bachelors Taxed $10 a Year, The Salt Lake herald. (Salt Lake City [Utah), 01 March 1898
[6] Tax on Bachelors, Boston Globe, Feb.15, 1911, 1. (Smith was also campaigning against women riding bicycles, which she considered immoral).
[7] Editorial, Connecticut Courant, February 5, 1827
[8] Connecticut Legislature, Senate, House of Representatives, Hartford Courant, June 26, 1854
[9] Taxing Bachelors in America: 1895-1939, by Marjorie E. Kornhauser
[10] Evening star, February 15, 1898, Page 13, Image 13
[11] Bachelor Tax Feb 12 1898 New York World
[12] The Times 19 January 1902 › Page 4, “Allison Mather, former president of the Hoboken Bachelors’ Club, and who for many years was proud of the distinction or being a confirmed woman hater, is suing for divorce. When he married last year the members of the club went into mourning.”
[13] New York World, 1898 [Note: “mittened” or “getting the mitten” is an old-time New England expression, meaning to have your offer of marriage rejected by your “best girl,” and has an origin in the customs of the earlier days. Two hundred years ago, gloves were unknown in the country towns, and mittens were knitted and worn in all families. If a young man, going home from singing school with the girl of his choice, was holding her mittened hand to keep it from getting cold, and took that opportunity to urge his suit, if the offer proved acceptable, the hand would remain; if taken by surprise, an effort to withdraw the hand would leave the mitten. So the suitor would “get the mitten, but would not get the hand.”

The birth of chivalric love

By Peter Wright

Love and war have always been opposed, as we see in our usual phrase ‘make love not war’ or in the rhetoric of pro and anti-war camps. That the two are mutually exclusive is obvious enough. However, in twelfth century Europe something peculiar happened that ushered in a melding of these two contrary principles. Here the military code of chivalry was mated with the fancies of courtly love to produce a bastard child which we will here call chivalric love (today we simply label it ‘chivalry’). Prior to this time chivalry always referred to the military code of behaviour –one that varied from country to country– but one which had absolutely nothing to do with romantic love.

What method did twelfth century society use to bring this about? In a word, shaming.

The medieval aristocracy began to ramp up the practice of shaming by choosing the worst behaviours of the most unruly males and extrapolating those behaviours to the entire gender. Sound familiar? Knights were particularly singled out –much like today’s sporting heroes who display some kind of faux pas– to be used as examples of bad male behaviour requiring the remedy of sweeping cultural reform.

During this time of (supposedly) unruly males, uneducated squires were said to ride mangy horses into mess halls, and rude young men diverted eyes from psalters in the very midst of mass. Among the knights and in the atmosphere of tournaments occasional brawls with grisly incidents occurred – a cracked skull, a gouged eye – as the betting progressed and the dice flew. Male attention to clothing and fashion was said to be appalling, with men happy to go about in sheep and fox skins instead of clothes fashioned of rich and precious stuffs, in colours to better suit them in the company of ladies. And perhaps worst of all were their lack of refinement and manners toward women which was considered offensive.

How and by whom was this unruly gender going to be reformed? One of the first solutions was posed by a French Countess named Marie. According to historian Amy Kelly, with her male reforming ideas;

“Marie organized the rabble of soldiers, fighting-cocks, jousters, springers, riding masters, troubadours, Poitevin nobles and debutantes, young chatelaines, adolescent princes, and infant princesses in the great hall of Poitiers. Of this pandemonium the countess fashioned a seemly and elegant society, the fame of which spread to the world. Here was a woman’s assize to draw men from the excitements of the tilt and the hunt, from dice and games, to feminine society, an assize to outlaw boorishness and compel the tribute of adulation to female majesty.”1

Countess Marie was one among a long line of reformers to help usher in a gynocentrism whose aim was to convince men of their shared flaws –essentially to shame them- and to prescribe romantic love and concomitant worship of females as the remedy. Via this program romantic love was welded onto the military code and introduced as a way to tame men’s rowdiness and brutality, something today’s traditionalists agree with in their call for men to adhere to these same male roles established first in medieval Europe. One of today’s authorities on this period describes the training of knights in her observation, “The rise of courtly love and its intersection with chivalry in the West are both events of the twelfth century. The idea that love is ennobling and necessary for the education of a knight comes out of the lyrics of this period, but also in the romances of knighthood. Here the truest lovers are now the best knights.”2

With romantic love firmly established within the chivalric code we begin to see the romantic behaviours of soldiers so familiar to us today; going to fight and die for his Lady, love letters from the front lines, a crumpled photo of his sweetheart in a uniform pocket. Rather than for man, king and country it is his love for “her” that now drives a man’s military sacrifice. This is also the reason why today’s movies portraying warzones and carnage always include a hero and his Lady/Damsel pausing for a passionate tongue kiss while the bombs explode around them, as if to suggest that all this carnage is for the sake of her and romantic love. Once accepted into the chivalric canon various love “rules” were enforced with military might –by white knights as we call them- and the resulting culture has been unstoppable. To try and stop it brings the wrath of all those white knights who will bury your ass into the ground for breaking this new military “goal” of romantic love.

Prior to the Middle Ages romantic love was usually considered with suspicion and even viewed as a sign of mental instability requiring removal from the source of trouble and perhaps a medical solution. In the context of universally arranged marriages, romantic love, if it was indulged at all, was done so in a discreet and often underground way without the sanction of polite society. This was the situation worldwide until the advent of the European revolution.

The cult of chivalric love took root first among the aristocratic classes and soon after reached the common classes through literature and storytelling. Romance literature in particular. Having germinated initially in Germany and France in the twelfth centuries, the cult spread on the wings of a burgeoning book production industry that would bring the gynocentric revolution to the entire European continent.

When one considers the subjects in these books – Gawain and Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde, heroic male deeds for women, love scandals, courtship, upper-class weddings, adultery, and status – we are reminded immediately of today’s women’s magazines that spill out of the magazine racks of shops and waiting rooms.

Women’s magazines and the omnipresent romance novel –and women’s gluttony for them- can be traced back to this early period in which the term romance was actually coined. According to Jennifer Wollock, a professor of Literature at Texas University, such literature had a substantial female readership along with mothers reading to their daughters. Wollock states that the continuing popularity of chivalric love stories is also confirmed by the provenance of romance manuscripts and contents of women’s libraries of the late Middle Ages.2

The three behaviors of chivalric love-code

Keeping with the male side of the equation, the main behaviors prescribed by the code of chivalric love are the doing of romantic deeds, gallantry and vassalage.

Prior to its redeployment in romantic relationships gallantry referred to any courageous behaviour, especially in battle. The word can still mean that. However, under the rules of chivalric love it became, according to the Google dictionary definition, “Polite attention or respect given by men to women.” Can these two definitions of gallantry be any further apart? Like the contraries of military chivalry vs. chivalric love, these two definitions of gallantry stretch the definition to cover two completely different domains of behaviour. It appears then that women of the time successfully harnessed men’s greatest sacrificial behaviours –chivalry and gallantry- to indulge their narcissistic appetites.

A vassal is defined as a bondman, a slave, a subordinate or dependent, or a person who entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held as a fiefdom. Vassalage was then utilized as a conceit that Maurice Valency called “the shaping principle of the whole design of courtly love.”3 Whether it was a knight, troubadour, or commoner the vassal-to-woman routine was the order of the day then, exactly as it is today.4 Poets adopted the terminology of feudalism, declaring themselves the vassal of the lady and addressing her as midons (my lord), which was taken as standard flattery of a woman. One particularly striking practice showing an adaption from the feudal model involved the man kneeling on one knee before the woman. By kneeling down in this way he assumes the posture of a vassal. He speaks, pledging his faith, promising, like a liege man, not to offer his services to anyone else. He goes even further: in the manner of a serf, he makes her a gift of his entire person.

Citing evidence of vassalism Amy Kelly writes, “As symbolized on shields and other illustrations that place the knight in the ritual attitude of commendation, kneeling before his lady with his hands folded between hers, homage signified male service, not domination or subordination of the lady, and it signified fidelity, constancy in that service.”5

Kneeling-pics
In short it was the lover’s feudal relationship between vassal and overlord which provided the lover with a model for his humble and servile conduct.2

_____

The lead actors – then and now
Imagine twelfth century Europe as a great stage performance enacting the themes of chivalric love, one that would become so popular its actors would continue to serve as role models for the global population 800 years later. The lead actors in this medieval play are as follows, accompanied (in brackets) with the titles we apply to those same actors today as they continue this ancient drama:

Courtly Ladies (= Feminists). Feminists today refer to courtly ladies of the late Middle Ages as the first feminists, or protofeminists, and as with modern feminists these women enjoyed considerable privilege and means. In the 12th – 14th centuries evidence shows that women began to agitate for increased authority over the ‘correct’ way for men and women to conduct relationships, with particular emphasis on what they felt were acceptable roles for males in a dignified and civil society. Not surprisingly this was precisely the time when powerful women were able to establish the female-headed ‘courts of love’ which acted in a comparable way to today’s Family Courts in that both arbitrated love disputes between conflicting couples.

Key literature from the period detailing proper etiquette expected in gender relations was commissioned for writing by powerful women (eg. ‘The Art of Courtly love’) and in some cases was written by women themselves (eg. Christine de Pizan’s writings or those of Marie de France). The emerging discourse acted like a drug that promised the introduction of a one-sided power for females over males, and through the dissemination of romance literature that promise rapidly spread to all social classes in the continent. We have been living with the consequences ever since, a revolution far more significant to the history gender relations than the introduction of the birth control pill and no-fault divorce combined- the latter being mere epiphenomena generated within a larger culture of chivalric love.

The archetypes introduced into society by these high-born ladies are instantly recognizable; the damsel in distress (women as innocent, woman as helpless, women as victim), the princess (women as beautiful, women as narcissistic subject requiring devotion, women as deserving of special privileges), and the high born Ladies (women as morally pure, women as precious, women as superior, women as entitled). These illusions ensured that the attentions of men would be spent attending to women, a program so successful that modern feminists continue to shape today’s cultural landscape with the program of their protofeminists forebears. And just like their forebears, feminists continue to use shaming narratives to facilitate their pedestalizing inheritance.

Fotor091415394White Knights (= White Knights). We retain this metaphor for such heroic individuals, men who are gallant in so many ways, but mostly the wrong ways such as showing-off to undeserving women and concomitantly delighting in competing with and hurting other men. More than any other player in this play, white knights specialize in gallant behaviour for the purpose of impressing and ultimately getting their egos stroked by women.

For these first white knights the tournament, the forerunner to modern sporting tournaments, consisted of chivalrous competitions or fights in the Middle Ages. In these fights knights were only too willing to hurt their fellow men to win the praise of female spectators. The competitors were observed doing battle by women who would throw their garments into the arena where the sportsmen would pick them up and wear pieces of women’s clothes -hence the male wearing a particular woman’s scarf would represent her in the tournament.

The men were basically fighting for “her” then, just as they did elsewhere on real battlefields for wife and mother. The gallant man who won his tournament was granted an opportunity to dally with the woman whom he represented in the ring. We retain this gynocentric tradition today as golf tournaments, football tournaments, martial arts tournaments and so on, all designed to show male prowess where the winning competitors get to dally with the best ladies.

MEDIEVAL KNIGHT & LADY BEFORE JOUST- ILLUSTRATIONOther activities of white knights include impressing women with big gestures of protection. For example, the ‘Enterprise of the Green Shield with the White Lady’ was a chivalric order founded by Jean Le Maingre and twelve knights in 1399 committing themselves to the protection of women. Inspired by the ideal of courtly love, the stated purpose of the order was to guard and defend the honour, estate, goods, reputation, fame and praise of all ladies and damsels, an undertaking that earned the praise of Christine de Pizan. Le Maingre, tired of receiving complaints from ladies, maidens, and widows claiming to be oppressed by powerful men bent on depriving them of the lands and honours, and finding no knight or squire willing to defend their just cause, founded an order of twelve knights sworn to carry “a shield of gold enamelled with green and a white lady inside”.

The twelve knights, after swearing this oath, affirmed a long letter explaining their purpose and disseminated it widely in France and beyond her borders. The letter explained that any lady young or old finding herself the victim of injustice could petition one or more or the knights for redress and that knight would respond promptly and leave whatever other task he was performing to fight the lady’s oppressor personally. The similarities of this Order with contemporary enterprises such as the White Ribbon Campaign in which male “ambassadors” pledge an oath to all of womanhood to never condone, excuse or remain silent about violence against women, and to intervene and take action against any man accused of wrongdoing against a woman. The similarities in these gallant missions make clear that the lineage of white knights has progressed seamlessly into the modern era.

Troubadours I (= PUA and Game promoters). The troubadours’ job was to spread the word about the virtues of chivalric love through music, song, poetry and storytelling. Aristocracy and commoner alike enjoyed hearing tales about bravery, and ladies were swept away with epic love poems as the troubadours practiced the rituals of chivalric love. Just like PUAs or Gamers today who write and speak in praise of pussy, troubadours too were composers and promoters of the ‘arts of love’ aimed at securing sexual fulfilment.

Like those troubadours, Roosh and Roissy (etc.) continue the tradition of prose-writing to illustrate the many ways to flatter women in order to get into their pants. Game is a very apt word for this 800 yr old tradition, with its proscription for rehearsed lines and lack of personal authenticity. It is a scripted game of women-worship aimed at a narrow goal. In essence this Casanova routine amounts to a feigning of chivalric love for the purposes of manipulation, usually to gain sex. When modern women call these men ‘players’ they may be very close to the mark. While Roosh et.al. outwardly claim to reject chivalry, they nevertheless embrace its tenets like consummate thespians.

Troubadours II (= Profeminist Men – sometimes derogatorily named ‘manginas’). Unlike the troubadours mentioned above who advocated for a love aimed at sexual fulfillment, Troubadour II advocated a more idealized love of longing that did not consummate in sexual fulfillment. In essence these men more resembled sycophantic Romeos than horny Casanovas. The guiding concept for them was called “fin’ amors,” which meant pure love. Such men were particularly prevalent in the north of France, whereas in the south we see that troubadours (type I mentioned up above) celebrated a love that was adulterous or carnal in which full sexual encounters were sought.

Another thing that distinguished type II troubadours from the former is authenticity. These men appeared to identify wholly with the role and were not merely players. The desire to serve women as their vassal, or perhaps as their masochistic slave, called upon their innermost character. Think of today’s version being the typical profeminist men who work slavishly to pass on the message of their feminist superiors, much as these troubadours slaved to advocate the narcissistic idiosyncrasies of their Ladies. The vassalage role applies here more than with any other character of the Middle Ages – not as a merely pretentious means-to-an-end routine to gain sex, but rather as a soul-affirming act.

_____

Which brings us to what the MHRM refers to as gynocentrism. It is clear from the foregoing that unless evidence of (broadspread) gynocentric culture can be found prior to the Middle Ages, then gynocentrism is precisely 800 years old. In order to determine if this thesis is valid we need first to define exactly what we mean by “gynocentrism”.

The term gynocentrism has been in circulation since the 1800’s, as far as I can tell, with the general definition being “focused on women; concerned with only women.”6 Adam Kostakis further qualifies gynocentrism as, “male sacrifice for the benefit of women” and “the deference of men to women,” and he concludes; “Gynocentrism, whether it went by the name honor, nobility, chivalry, or feminism, its essence has gone unchanged. It remains a peculiarly male duty to help the women onto the lifeboats, while the men themselves face a certain and icy death.”7

From these definitions we see that gynocentrism could refer to any one female-centered practice in an otherwise androcentric society, or to even a single gynocentric act carried out by one individual. With this broad usage in mind the phrase ‘gynocentric culture’ proves more precise for the purposes of this essay , which phrase I will define here as any culture instituting rules for gender relationships that benefit females at the expense of males across a broad range of measures.

At the base of our current form of gynocentrism lies the practice of enforced male sacrifice for the benefit of women. If we accept this definition we need to look back and ask the accompanying question of whether male sacrifices throughout history were always made for the sake of women, or alternatively for the sake of some other primary goal? For instance, when men went to die in vast numbers in wars, was it for women, or was it rather for Man, King and Country? If the latter we cannot then claim that this was a result of some intentional gynocentric culture, at least not in the way I have defined it here. If the sacrifice isn’t intended for the benefit women, even if women were occasional beneficiaries of male sacrifice, then we are not dealing with gynocentrism.

Male disposability strictly “for the benefit of women” comes in strongly only after the advent of the 12th century gender revolution in Europe – a revolution that delivered us terms like gallantry, chivalry, chivalric love, courtesy, romance and so on. From that period onward gynocentric practices grew exponentially, culminating in the demands of today’s feminism. In sum, gynocentrism was a patchy phenomenon at best before the middle ages, after which it became ubiquitous.

With all this in mind it makes little sense to talk of gynocentric culture starting with the industrial revolution a mere 200 years ago (or 100 or even 30 yrs ago), or of it being two million years old as some would argue. We are not simply fighting two million years of genetic programming; our culturally constructed enemy is much, much simpler to pinpoint and to potentially reverse. The historical evidence is strong. All we need do now is look at the circumstances under which gynocentrism first began to flourish and attempt to reverse those circumstances. Specifically, if gynocentric culture was brought about by the practice of shaming, then that is the enemy to target in order to reverse the entire enterprise. For me that process could begin by rejecting the fake moral purity to which women of the last millennia have pretended and against which the worst examples of men have been measured in order to shame the entire gender.

References

1. Amy Kelly, ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine and Her Courts of Love’ Source: Speculum, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Published by Medieval Academy of America, 1937)
2. Jennifer G. Wollock, Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love, (Published by Praeger, 2011)
3. Maurice Valency, In Praise of Love: An Introduction to the Love Poetry of the Renaissance, (Macmillan, 1961)
4. For an excellent article about vassaldom today see Gordon Wadsworth’s ‘The Western Butler and his Manhood’ which indicates an unbroken line between the romantic vassaldom of the Middle Ages and the “butler” role expected of males today. (Published on AVfM, 2013)
5. Amy Kelly, ‘Did Women Have a Renaissance?’ in Women, History, and Theory (Published by UCP Press, 1984)
6. Dictionary.com – Gynocentric
7. Adam Kostakis, Gynocentrism Theory – (Published online, 2011). Although Kostakis assumes gynocentrism has been around throughout recorded history, he singles out the Middle Ages for comment: “There is an enormous amount of continuity between the chivalric class code which arose in the Middle Ages and modern feminism… One could say that they are the same entity, which now exists in a more mature form – certainly, we are not dealing with two separate creatures.”

Love and friendship

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Feminism promotes a neurotic vision of what constitutes true love. It takes its model directly from the Age of Feudalism which saw vassals bowing down and kissing the hands of Lords. In the 12th century that model served as the basis for a new kind of love in which men were to play the role of vassal to women who played the role of an idealized Lord.

C.S. Lewis, back in the middle of the 20th Century, referred to this historical revolution as “the feudalisation of love,” and stated that it has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched. “Compared with this revolution,” states Lewis, “the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature.” [1]

Not only has this feudalistic notion of love permeated almost every corner of the globe today, it continues to be vigorously promoted by both feminists and traditionalists alike. The love we are referring to is what Hollywood, romance novels, and other media refer to as “romantic love,” the fantasy to which every modern man and woman pledges blind obeisance. Here are two descriptions of romantic love from modern scholars:

C.S. Lewis:

“Everyone has heard of courtly love, and everyone knows it appeared quite suddenly at the end of the eleventh century at Languedoc. The sentiment, of course, is love, but love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, and the Religion of Love. The lover is always abject. Obedience to his lady’s lightest wish, however whimsical, and silent acquiescence in her rebukes, however unjust, are the only virtues he dares to claim. Here is a service of love closely modelled on the service which a feudal vassal owes to his lord. The lover is the lady’s ‘man’. He addresses her as midons, which etymologically represents not ‘my lady’ but ‘my lord’. The whole attitude has been rightly described as ‘a feudalisation of love’. This solemn amatory ritual is felt to be part and parcel of the courtly life.”[2]

C.S. Lewis wrote that many decades ago; I’m not sure “everyone” knows it today. We ought to remember his words, because in the long sweep of human history, what we think has been with us forever is something people only a few generations ago knew to be mostly an artificial, idealized notion.

Slavoj Zizek:

“The knight’s relationship to the Lady is thus the relationship of the subject-bondsman, the vassal, to his feudal Master-Sovereign who subjects him to senseless, outrageous, impossible, arbitrary, capricious ordeals. It is precisely in order to emphasize the non-spiritual nature of these ordeals that Lacan quotes a poem about a Lady who demanded that her servant literally lick her arse: the poem consists of the poet’s complaints about the bad smells that await him down there (one knows the sad state of personal hygiene in the Middle Ages), and about the imminent danger that, as he is fulfilling his ‘duty’, the Lady will urinate on his head.” [3]

Feminism’s mission today is largely the promulgation of this “love,” and it is right that men and women learn to reject it, as Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), Women Against Feminism (WAF), and Men’s Human Rights Advocates (MHRAs) are doing. It is a “love” that dehumanizes males by turning them into masochistic servants, while simultaneously dehumanizing women by idealizing them to the extent that their humanity is obliterated and replaced with an image of divinity. It’s a recipe for disaster on both sides; the occasional lucky couple for whom this works is about as rare as a lightning strike, with no evidence that even that lucky few are really happier or more productive than anyone else.

When I consider this disastrous state of affairs that has lead men to boycott relationships, a few questions arise; are we being too rash in our rush from love, and if yes is there a better model, a new model, or perhaps an older model for relationships that we have forgot?

The field of attachment science concludes that an absence of close and consistent human attachment causes children to literally wither and die, refusing to thrive despite being provided with clothing, food and an adequate number of toys. Likewise adults literally commit suicide to escape feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially after a relationship separation. Even if we don’t end up suiciding from loneliness we have to ask ourselves if the absence of an intimate relationship in our lives leaves us limping, or somehow unfulfilled? Some would suggest we can fill our intimacy void with friendships, but this leads to a further question of whether there is an adequate formulation of friendship that can satisfy our needs – a relationship that doesn’t rely on the usual vassal and lord model at the core of romantic love.

In ancient cultures friendship was a more lofty aspiration than it is today. It was synonymous with love and it often involved sexual intimacy. In Ancient Greek, the same word was used for friend and lover. In our culture we have succeeded in separating friendship from the category we call love, and excised all trace of sex from friendships. Today when we say, “They are just good friends” or “she’s only a friend” we are indicating the absence of both intimate love and sex.

Friend 1

To older classical cultures, friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of the different kinds of loves, and for that reason I wonder whether it’s worth reintroducing it here as a guide to relationships between red-pill men and women?

Suppose that rather than running from intimacy we were to demote our idea of “romantic” love from its pedestal, and elevate friendship-love in its place. Suppose also that we steal back sexual attraction and sexual intercourse from the neurotic clutches of “romantic” love, and allow it once again to be part and parcel of friendship if and when relationships call for it.

Before we consider elevating friendship as a replacement for romantic love we need first to detail precisely what it is and how it looks in lived experience, and to that end here are three salient points of definition.

Friendship is based on shared interests
Friendship is based entirely on things people have in common, like some shared insight, interest or taste. It might be cooking, sport, religion, politics, sex, or gardening, and in the best friendships there occurs a handsome combination of these. No friendship can arise without shared interests, because there would be nothing for the friendship to be about. Furthermore, that “something” is generally located outside oneself and one’s relationship – at the football stadium, church, chess-board, or stamp collection. Friendship differs in this respect markedly from “romantic” love in which couples perpetually focus on each other and talk to each other about their love.

Friends hardly ever talk about their friendship. C.S. Lewis captures this with his remark that friends stand side-by-side rather than face-to-face:

“Friends are not primarily absorbed in each other. It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction. Lovers look at each other – that is, in opposite directions.”[1]

This kind of friendship, this love, is not something we can have with anyone we meet. We can no more choose in advance who we are going to be close friends with than we can choose what sort of skin colour we are going to be born with. Friendship arises organically when we discover that a previously casual acquaintance, or perhaps a new person we meet, shares significant interests with us; “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!” The pleasure derived from cooperation in that shared interest, and of getting to know them through that activity, provides an avenue for deep bonding and human attachment.

Friendship is based in personal authenticity
Friendship is based on true identities and interests, not on some narrow and dehumanising role we might play. Friendship invites you to speak out about your interests in order to find potential areas of commonality. This is not allowed in so-called “romantic” love lest your interests threaten the narrow feudalistic fantasy. In “romantic” love the main “shared interest” is that script which insists the man play the role of masochistic utility, and the woman an idealised goddess. It is an objectification of both parties.

Friendship is not based on the feudal model: not vassals and overlords, but partners in crime.

Friendship is highly compatible with sex
Sex does not belong to romantic love – it belongs anywhere you want it to belong. Modern culture has begrudgingly allowed for this possibility under the risqué concept of “friends with benefits,” but to the ancients it was not daring at all, it was perfectly normal. Friendship also allows for a kind of quasi-romance–or dare I say, a possibly more authentic romance? Have you not had a good friend give you a gift, take you out for a meal, or to the movies? Sex and romantic gestures need not remain colonised by feudalistic notions of romantic love alone.

Sexual attraction and desire also need to be put in their place. They may generate some chemistry and may be the first thing that attracts you to a person, but like the shiny trinket that catches your eye at the shopping mall, you will first stare at it in wonder, maybe have a feel, and then decide whether you really want to take that thing home and share your life with it. Friendship is much the same, and if a person you meet has little in common you will be inclined to leave them on the shelf and move on, despite their sexual attractiveness.
________

Romantic-love and friendship-love are clearly opposed relationships with opposing motives. A woman might say: “I don’t want to be friends with my husband because it will take all the drama and intensity out of our marriage.” That is true enough, friendship does take some of the neurotic drama and intensity out of a relationship. But it also takes away the masochism and narcissism, and replaces that sickness with something human and real.

One of the worst-kept secrets about married couples is that they often treat their friends with more kindness, compassion and generosity than they ever do for each other. When best friends are together they are charming, engaging, helpful and courteous, but when they return home to their spouses they appear resentful, angry and uncooperative with each other. Hardly ever do we see this pattern reversed, where people are horrible to friends and at their best with their long term romantic love partners.

Friendship-love not only existed throughout the world before “romantic” love was invented, but it remains active in some pockets of culture today – for instance in China and India. Author Robert Johnson, for instance, writes about the presence of friendship between couples in India, recounting a Hindu marriage rite in which the bride and groom make the solemn but hopeful statement, “You will be my best friend.”

Johnson goes further, telling that “In a traditional Hindu marriage, a man’s commitment to his wife does not depend on his staying ‘in love’ with her. Since he was never ‘in love’ in the first place, there is no way he can fall ‘out of love’. His relationship to his wife is based on loving her, not on being ‘in love’ with the ideal he projects onto her. His relationship is not going to collapse because one day he falls ‘out of love,’ or because he meets another woman who catches his projection. He is committed to a woman and a family, not to a projection.” [4]

Friendship-love appeared long before “romantic” love and it worked. The “romantic” version of love is full of narcissism, corruption, entitlement and despair, where dreams collapse and lives are shattered. On the other hand go ask the happily married octogenarian couple who their best friend is – they will look at each other and smile knowing the answer has been beside them for sixty years. Our lives, loves and families fare much better when we base them on this very human kind of love called friendship.

With freindship, men and women have an opportunity to truly go their own way while keeping the option of healthy intimate relationships with either sex alive. Having your cake and eating it too. That would be my suggestion of how we might cure the malaise.

I once again note that the breakdown in relations between men and women has been painful, and men have suffered the most in this I would think; in the current socio-political climate, marriage and even cohabitation is like jumping out of an aeroplane with a chute you’re not even sure is going to open. And all change can’t simply be political. Still, if we are ever to look forward to a cultural change that might make for a new era of improved relations between the sexes, ditching these feudalistic attitudes about “romantic love,” and restoring the ancient tradition of seeing intimate friendship being the highest ideal for a relationship, would probably by a major step in the right direction culturally. This will require a shift in the attitudes of men and women alike, but the evidence for this being possible is strong; we’ve done it before, and we still see it in some cultures today. It’s not impossible for human beings to think and act this way. So can we return to a culture where that’s the more normal way of thinking? I’d like to believe that possible for us today, or at least in the future.

References

[1] C.S. Lewis, Friendship, chapter in The Four Loves, HarperCollins, 1960
[2] C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford University Press, 1936
[3] Slavoj Zizek, The Metastases of Enjoyment, Verso Press, 2005
[4] Robert A. Johnson, Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, HarperCollins, 1983
[5] Robert C. Solomon, Love: Emotion, Metaphor, Empathy, Prometheus Books, 1990
[6] Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cicero’s Essays on Old Age and Friendship, Translation Publishers, 1926
[7] Lorraine S. Pangle, Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship, Cambridge University Press, 1986
[8] Irving Singer, The Nature of Love: Plato to Luther, University of Chicago Press, 1966
[9] Irving Singer, The Nature of Love: Courtly and Romantic, MIT Press, 2009
[10] Alan Soble, Eros, Agape and Philia: Readings in the Philosophy of Love, Paragon House, 1998