To Be (Or Not Be) Yourself

In addition to reconciling seemingly incompatible concepts, a major struggle of any masculine geek will be determining who or what ultimately dictates his identity and actions – and to what end. Rollo Tomassi of The Rational Male refers to this in psychological terms as the “mental point of origin.”

In layman’s terms, it comes down to this question: Should a masculine geek be or not be himself?

At first glance, any man with a generally understanding of Red Pill philosophy will say “no.” The reason of course is because “to be yourself” is the patronizing adage boys grew up hearing from mothers, grandmothers, older women, blue pill fathers, and the extended community.

Mind you, “being yourself” typically means acting as you were taught to be behave in a thoroughly blue pill environment. Nobody ever told a Harley McBadboy to “be himself,” even as the homecoming queen ditches her date to go for a ride on his bike.

On the other hand, you have writers such as Andy Nowicki who have argued that men should indeed be true to themselves and that by changing themselves or putting on a front to attract women is either degrading to the man or represents submission to women.

He writes: “If you’re a quiet, shy, and nice guy, then why not go on being quiet, nice, and shy? If you’re a nerd, then nerd out; if you’re a geek, then geek boldly. If chicks don’t dig you, fine; let the chicks not dig you. Cultivate a contented sense of stoicism, and go on being who you are.”

In a followup essay, he writes that “broadly speaking, changing oneself in an effort to enhance one’s appeal to others (absent a morally compelling reason to change) amounts to committing a fearful degradation to one’s soul, a selling out of one’s integrity, a contemptible capitulation to conformism.”

This question matters to masculine geeks because as I’ve written before, most of them hide or are discreet about their hobbies due to inability of most other men and women to process the combination of the two in one person. Just as there is the myth of the good man who embodies a complimentary blend of alpha and beta characteristics, so there is a myth of the masculine geek who personifies the paradoxical union of two archetypes. This creates internal conflict as to what or not he should put aside things that bring him entertainment or value but is at odds with the modern dating world.

My observation is that the debate over whether to “be yourself” has always been fraught with ambiguity and confusion. Before you can even begin to answer, the presumed context must be understood. What is the object of the question? Should you be or not be yourself to what end? What is the desired goal or objective? What do you expect to happen as a result? What do you think being true to yourself will cost you or benefit you?

It seems reasonable to assume that to “be yourself” means to do what you want to do, rather than do what will please others or make them happy. But the issue in my mind comes down to actual intent and expectations, not the lip service so often paid by either side.

When men say “be yourself,” what do they mean? Do they mean “be yourself and a girl will like you for who you truly are,” or are they saying “be yourself whether girls like it or not, because trying to become someone else in order to attract a girl in the end won’t make you happy?”

Do you expect women to like you for who you are regardless of any preferences they might have, or do you intend to do what you do and be who you are regardless of whether women are attracted to you or not, and if the latter is the case that’s alright with you?

If the objective is to live a fulfilling life on your terms, then Nowicki is really getting at a separate issue than men discussing this question within the context of Game, which is about improving a man’s appeal to women. Nowicki is arguing that men shouldn’t concern themselves with whether or not what they love to do or who they are as a man fits within what women find arousing.

Further complicating this discussion is that for some men like in the case of Harley Mcbadboy, being true to themselves actually works as far as Game is concerned, because they’ve naturally developed alpha characteristics. For others, their true selves does not do this.  An unspoken but fundamental assumption of “being true to yourselves” is that everyone would act and be the same were they to do so.

In that situation, telling a nerk or geek to be true to themselves while the class beauty rides off with the cad is an attempt to deflect the realities of gender dynamics our society and culture condition men to deny and reject.

In addition, another important matter to account for is the extent to which the man in question is interested in women. What drives most men to the Red Pill is the now cliche “how do I get the girlz?” but the reality is many men are far more driven to fulfill other life endeavors and their interest in Game extends only so far as it enables them to accomplish that.

Unfortunately, many men aren’t honest with themselves about their expectations when discussing this notion of “being true to yourself.” Outwardly, they may proclaim they don’t care whether women find them attractive or not, and yet secretly they expect women they find attractive to seek them out for what they deep down believe women should be drawn toward. When that doesn’t happen, they become bitter and angry at both women and men who, understanding Game, engage in strategies that are demonstrably far more effective.

Masculine Geek cohost Rob noted this dynamic in a recent blog post describing an AFC (average frustrated chump) living with his girlfriend.

“A couple of days ago, Jeremy came to work in a bad mood. He gave me some story that wasn’t the story, it was an analogy. I just remember something along the lines of, “Why can’t people just accept me for who I am? Why do I have to change?” So Jeremy has some covert contracts going on too. He wants credit for his burden of performance. He wants her to love him the way he loves her. He has certain expectations of her that he hasn’t told her, and since she isn’t doing any of it, he’s pissed and bitter about it. Mostly bitter.”

In this case, it’s fair to say that Rob’s acquaintance isn’t actually being true to himself. Instead, he’s employing a form of Game that he believes should be effective, whether or not it really is. If he was genuinely being true to himself, his attitude would be different. He wouldn’t be upset with his girlfriend or her behavior. Or, he would understand that his desire to adhere to his “true self” runs contrary to his desire for a relationship with this woman. He would then have to decide if compromise is worth it, or the price for the relationship is more than he wants to pay.

In that sense, being true to yourself really comes down to a matter of priorities. Being good at one thing requires time and focus at the expense of another potential interest or preference. It’s one thing to wish you could do something, but it’s another to feel as though you’re entitled or deserving of it without doing what is necessary to accomplish it.

A reason for the confusion over whether to be true to yourself is that too often those who counsel men to “be themselves” and not care about what women think then turn around and reassure those same men that pursuing what they want in life will inevitably draw women to them. It is a clever rhetorical juke, and an inaccurate one at that. Too often, a competent man living life on his own terms will inspire a feeling of inadequacy among women, not arousal.

But once more, the objective of the question matters. The real question is should you be true to yourself or not (in order to ___________)?

To what end? That is the question. Of course, that all depends on who you are. And only you can answer that question.

My thought is that a masculine geek should treat the issue no differently than any other hobby, both in terms of himself and how he perceives fellow men. If we want to be good at a tabletop game, we put in the effort. But I don’t put my self worth in how good I am at Settlers of Catan. If you want to be stronger, you have to go to the weight room and lift. When I first started lifting at 16, I weighed around 150 lbs. By my senior year I weighed 175. I changed both physically and mentally insofar as my self-confidence was concerned, all for the better. I still lift for a variety of reasons, but in all honesty what gets me to the gym every day has nothing to do with what other wants or demand or expect. Lifting also takes time away from other things I might do, but I place it as a high priority in my life.

At the same time, I don’t look down on those who spend less time at the gym or only go for light exercising. Chances are, they run circles around me in another area of life I’d love to get better at.

Yet, if someone doesn’t put in the effort they don’t get to complain. If “being true to yourself” means not going to the gym very often, then fine. I won’t judge someone for not looking like a body builder, but that means they don’t get to be bitter about the lack of physical strength.

I’ll end on this note. “Being true to yourself” is somewhat of a philosophically ambiguous concept. Only the man himself knows if he is being true to himself, and who he is changes as time goes by. Further, circumstances often reveal to himself that who he thought he was wasn’t at all his true self.

The superior question is this: who do you want yourself to be?

Pursue that. Chances are, you will be content despite the costs and fulfilled by the rewards.

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