The Adolescent Social Skill Set

Having been on vacation recently (sorry for the lack of updates) I took some time in between fishing charters and tequila sampling to look at the overhyped stories about the upcoming olympic games. Unfortunately the games don’t really hold the same appeal they used to, and now especially against the more constant awareness people have of professional sports. So in order to generate advertising revenue for the games themselves it’s become necessary for the media to seed the human interest stories months ahead of time about athletes the public would likely never have been aware of left to their own interests. Knowing who the top javelin throwers in the world are is a pretty niche interest.

So it was with a bit of non-olympic interest that I became peripherally aware of the Lolo Jones story. Grit Artisan had a pretty good breakdown about our newest American feel-good olympic hopeful. Win or lose, expect to see her image plastered on a LOT of sportswear, cereal box and energy drink advertising for the next 8 months.

Before you get the wrong impression, my intent in beginning this post off by drawing attention to Lolo isn’t to eviscerate her. I actually kind of like her. Minus the manjaw, she’s a solid HB 7.5 on the rigorous Tomassi scale, mainly because she got the athletic appeal I like, but she also seems genuinely likable. I use Lolo because she is a prime example of socialization based upon an adolescent social skill set:

From Grit’s post:

-She considers her virginity a gift (!) that she wants to give to her husband. She thinks its the hardest thing she has ever done in her life- harder than college or training for the Olympics. She also realizes and acknowledges the past temptation and opportunities that she could have had sex.

I think it’s important to note that a fem-centric media has used 29 year old Flo-Jo’s Lolo’s virgin status not only as a rallying cry for evangelically defined abstinence, but also as the typical and convenient male-sexual-response shaming device it loves so much. Track & field fans or not, all women can lament in chorus with poor Lolo’s quest to find the Right Guy™ amongst so many immature and uncontrollably sex-concerned boy-men:

It was on Twitter earlier this year where she first announced to her almost 55,000 fans that she was a virgin.

She also said on the program that she has grown accustomed to being rejected by men as a result of her beliefs.

She said: ‘Here’s the two things that happen when you tell a guy you’re a virgin, this is the honest truth. One, you tell them [and they say] “oh ok, I respect that”. But you can already see in their eyes [that they’re thinking] “she’s lying about this and I’ll crack it”.

‘So we’ll talk usually one to three months [later], then they’re like “oh shoot, she was serious”. Time for me to exit.’

I can’t imagine shots like this wouldn’t convey any message to the average guy other than, “I’m a devout christian and I’m waiting for marriage.” Yep, must be those incorrigible men’s sex drives that make ’em bottle out before putting a ring on it. Nothing like the continuation of the ‘there are no good men left’ meme to get the otherwise uninterested ladies into watching the Olympics. Maybe Garfunkle and Oates could dedicate this song to Lolo at the opening ceremonies?

Late Term Virgins

Before I get knee deep in the moral rationales for her ‘decision’, let me begin by stating that in and of itself I don’t necessarily disparage the idea of retaining ones virginity (male or female) when that person is fully self-aware of the long term implications that decision represents. I can already hear the howls from the monogamy minded members of the manosphere, “Why would you discourage women from retaining their virginity? Don’t you know the more dicks she’d had the less likely she’ll be able to pair-bond with a guy? You’re encouraging premarital sex and thus cock-carouseling!”

I’ve covered most of this material in Late Term Virgins, but the salient point here is about adolescent social skills:

Simply put there are experiences and opportunities for personal growth that only embracing our sexuality can offer. One point I regularly make with respect to AFCs is that at some stage in their maturation they became retarded. I use “retarded” in the clinical, not the derogatory sense here; their social maturation becomes held up by their lack of access to experiences that would help them develop new cognitive models. Most of the time this is due to an inability to see past old conventions they learned in adolescence which halts them from passing to the next level so to speak. The problem with saving oneself for marriage becomes apparent in this. I’m not saying there is no merit in it, just that most people subscribing to it blindly do so without understanding the limitations inherent in it.

Whether that person is Lolo Jones or Tim Tebow, the latent purpose of a vow of chastity made in a person’s adolescence is an effort to curb the long-term consequences of the actions that a volatile chemical cocktail of pubescent hormones prompt in them. This ‘decision’ is couched in whatever moralism helps them and their parents sleep better at night, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of educating a 15 year old promised virgin to understand the social implications of that promise when she reaches 30 and is still a virgin.

Wearing our public faces (the ones that look like wisdom and prudence) there will no doubt be a demographic with some reason to celebrate Lolo or Tebow. “Wow, they really do hold to their convictions. They are an example, unlike us lesser people who were too weak to resist our carnal appetites.” And while they finish that sentence there’s still a nagging discomfort in revering ‘celebrities’ for not experiencing something that 99% of the human population has experienced well before age 30.

Call it a Double Standard if you like, but when we encounter a 40 year old virgin male our underlying impression of him is not one of reverence, but rather one of suspicion. We wonder what’s wrong with a guy who’s never had sex. Part of being a total Man is to have had sex; it is to have had consolidated upon our most basic biological impetus. A man incapable of this (by choice or by circumstance) is considered deviant and forces us to wonder at his social maturation. In other words, a normal guy should’ve gotten laid by 40.

Lolo’s is an interesting case. There comes a point when normal women ought to have had sex as well. While we can make the case that sex-positive neo-feminism endorses cock-carouseling as a deviancy, there is also a stage at which we begin to wonder about a woman’s maturity and socialization when she hasn’t had sex by a certain age. By today’s standards, at 30 Lolo is practically a nun. We can cling to the sense of hope she inspires by holding out for marriage, but at what age do we determine that maybe Lolo is still stuck on the idealism of her youthful promises?

Adolescent Social Skills vs. Mature Social Skills

My sister-in-law got pregnant at 18 and married at 19. After about 20 years of marriage and 2 children she went feral. Hypergamy prompted her to divorce the husband who’d ‘done the right thing’ at 20 years old and remarry a millionaire. There’s more to this story, but one annoying aspect of her very brief dating period of the millionaire was her psychological regression back into the only social skill set she’d ever known; the one she’d used right up until becoming a teenage mother. Her phone call conversations with this late 40’s millionaire took me aback at first – it was script taken directly from the worst 80’s Brat Pack movie. Cutesy pet names, and behaviorisms that bespoke a woman who’s social understandings were frozen in time since the mid 80’s to be thawed out in 2003.

I shouldn’t really say that she regressed to her adolescent skill set, because she never really had the opportunity afforded by experience to develop a mature way of socializing as an adult (of 40+ years at the time) should realistically be expected of. Her story is a gross, anecdotal illustration that made me realize the larger, much more nuanced, whole of people using their last relatable experience as reference for understanding and applying themselves in novel situations.

One of the most consistent dynamics I deal with when I’m asked for counseling or even just casual advice is determining how much real-world experience the person asking me has. For example, it’s a much tougher task to unplug, and teach a guy Game who’s social understanding is rooted in idealistic, adolescent beliefs he’s never had the opportunity to mature past via experience. For many in the manosphere it’s an almost enjoyable act to be the iconoclast of juvenile, Disneyesque plugged-in idealisms, but it really does nothing to help the man (not to mention woman) who’s only frame of reference has ever been based in their adolescent social skills and understandings.

With every passing year, by order of degree, it becomes that much more difficult to get a person to accept their social retardation and unlearn their adolescent skill set as their only skill set.. A man of 25 might be willing to come to terms with his lack of referable experience, but the man of 45’s ego, by virtue of age, relies upon that model in order to feel validated. He’s had half a lifetime of experiences, but all of that was built upon, and limited by, a social model he’d learned and frozen at age 18.

Add the feminine rationalization hamster to this equation and it’s easy to see how stories like my sister-in-law’s come to pass. For women there’s little motivation to move beyond the adolescent model that worked so well for them in their teens. Thus we have mid-50’s women who’re easily entertained by television (HBO’s Girls) and stories that allow them to vicariously relive the framework of their adolescent social awareness. I have little doubt that in my sister-in-law’s psyche nothing was out of the ordinary, but to those around she was either cute in her unawareness of her 20 year old social behaviors, or she was an anachronism.

Women can get away with a lifetime of social awareness halted at age 17, but socially, men are expected to know better. This is why Lolo Jones gets a smile and a wry wink at 30, but the 40 year old virgin man is “creepy.”

Social Models

There was a time when the practical merits of virginity made sense. When a person’s life expectancy was about 50 years, an adolescent skill set was much different than it is today. There’s a reason individual cultures had ceremonies for passing into manhood and womanhood at age 15, we needed to be men and women at a much earlier age. Adulthood was literally 18. Since then, our biology and our evolution, physically and psycho-socially, conflict with that older model. We’ve drawn the process of maturation out to accommodate a longer lifespan as well as the contemporary expectations of education, career, family, etc. as per the norms of the societies that foster them.

Yet we still use the older socialization model – the one when more was expected of us earlier – as a base for judging the relative maturity of an individual. For all the handwringing about ‘Kidult’ men not manning up to fem-centric expectations, it’s almost comical to think that those expectations are rooted in a traditional, social model for maturation that hasn’t existed in almost a century in western culture. They want the anachronism of the old model to be relevant to men for exploitative purposes that they’re willfully or blissfully unaware of, yet we’re supposed to congratulate a 30 year old woman for not having sex based on an antiquated social model. Lolo Jones living in 1912 would be an old maid by those social standards; people of that era would wonder what was wrong with her.