March 12, 2007

What's the right skin thickness?

Dr. Helen writes about something we were just talking about on Bloggingheads....

(Wait a minute! Are you getting a little queasy? Althouse is blogging about Dr. Helen writing on her blog about diavlogging with Althouse and (her husband) Instapundit, and at the same time Althouse is guestblogging on Instapundit and appearing on Bloggingheads with Instapundit and Dr. Helen. Don't worry. I expect Maxine to show up in the comments and deal with this alarming involution. Or just start a blog and call it Alarming Involution, write something brilliant, and send me the URL, so I'll have something to link to while I have this instalanching power.)

Dr. Helen writes about Albert Ellis and something called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
Ellis encourages people to "keep moving, moving, moving and to try scary things and not to give a s**t when they are rejected."
In the diavlog, Dr. Helen put it this way:
"He says the best thing that a person can do is to be rejected over and over and over and not give a shit. I think that's really good advice. He says you basically arrive when you can basically be rejected and just not care."
There were no asterisks in the speech on the diavlog, and it was possibly the only time anyone's ever said a bad word in the whole history of Bloggingheads!

Anyway, I didn't say it during the diavlog -- though I thought it -- but I think that maybe some people could come out well at the end of getting "rejected over and over and over" until the reach the stage where they don't "give a shit," but that this also sounds like a description of a sociopath!

Ellis himself seems to have developed his theory as a technique for picking up women, which Helen describes. He just forced himself to talk to every single woman, accept the rejections, and keep going.
Of the first 130 women he went up to, he got only one date, he said, but "with the second 100, I got good and made a few dates"—and, eventually, got to be "one of the best picker-uppers of women in the United States."
I remember reading some Henry Miller book a long time ago -- "Tropic of Capricorn"/"The Tropic of Cancer" -- and he described a technique of rubbing up against women in the subway on the theory that you'd eventually find someone who liked it. Well, it's not a crime to talk to women, but I'm just saying that rejection-insensitivity could be evil.

I think it's liberating to get a thick skin and squelching to dwell on what other people think, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the goal is not to care at all.

37 comments:

Doug said...

I find the older I get, the less I care about rejection, and it is liberating. I haven't gotten over it to the extent that I think I could sell soybean futures over the phone by cold calling out of the phone book, but the thought of rejection doesn't render me actionless.

I have visions of Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, explaining how to land women to the geeky kid. :

Mark Ratner: Well, naturally something happens. I mean, you put the vibe out to 30 million chicks, something is gonna happen.
Mike Damone: That's the idea, Rat. That's the attitude.
Mark Ratner: The attitude?
Mike Damone: Yeah! The attitude dictates that you don't care whether she comes, stays, lays, or prays. I mean whatever happens, your toes are still tappin'. Now when you got that, then you have the attitude.

Jeff said...

I can see the post at Pandagon now: "Althouse endorses sexual harrassment to prove to the Rethuglican patriarchy that she's 'cool'!"

Maxine Weiss said...

No dice.

I'm not clicking links anymore.

These Althouse links lead you down a primrose path.

I know when I'm being manipulated.

I cannot be controlled. I'm not some wind-up doll that performs on cue.

Peace, Maxine

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe, but I don't think you can control your fascination with Dr. Helen.

Joe Baby said...

Agreed on the sociopath element. Those I've known who have chosen this method can't pull it off w/o a double dose of nasty cynicism.

If a breakneck method is necessary, wish I could remember the name of the Euro chap...at parties, he would stare unendingly at the woman of his choice until he got a slap, or she ended in his lap.

Jeff is correct, his thread is going to make the Pandagonistas go nuts. I kinda like it when Althouse chucks a rock at a beehive.

Maxine Weiss said...

They've banned me on Pandagon.....and it's all your fault!

I clicked the link you provided.

Can you imagine? I'm nobody, yet I get banned. So funny that they're threatened by little me.

Even so, I don't like bad karma of being banned, after clicking an Althouse link.

I've been burned one too many times.

Peace, Maxine

Ann Althouse said...

I happen to know that Dr. Helen -- and Glenn Reynolds -- get Maxine. All the best people do.

Maxine Weiss said...

I didn't realize that Dr. Helen was married to Glenn.

(All right, so maybe I can be manipulated.)

You know Althouse didn't spell out the fact that those to were married to each other. That changes the dynamic.

So the old adage that gentlemen prefer blondes, but marry brunettes holds. But do they stay married to brunettes?

She came off as really competitive with him. The thing about heavy competition is that there's an end-point. The battle ends, and there's a winner, or loser declared.

The Nancy Reagan model might be better for Dr. Helen....whereby Dr. Helen still does her thing, but she's not so obvious (body language, elbow) in competing with hubby, on a public setting, flashed all over the blogosphere.

Maybe Dr. Helen needs to perfect "The Gaze" ala Mrs. Reagan where stares admiringly at her man for long periods, holds back, and lets him win.

Hey it worked for Mrs. Reagan.

We didn't see evidence of that when the two spouses were on camera.

But, hey---who knows what goes on in a marriage. For all we know she could be hitting him over the head with a frying pan behind closed doors---Mrs. Reagan that is!

Peace, Maxine

Mortimer Brezny said...

Dr. Helen and Ann should do a divalog.

As for this theory of picking up women, it's actually what those Tom-Cruise-Magnolia courses teach, e.g., Real Social Dynamics. I've never taken the course, but I hear you pay $1,500 to have some guy escort you around while you're rejected repeatedly.

Kevin T. Keith said...

I think I could sell soybean futures over the phone by cold calling out of the phone book

My brother does exactly that. Apparently it's not going well.

Maybe you're better at it than him.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think I was fairly shy and sensitive back in HS and maybe college. But as life progresses, at least some of us get so we care less and less about what others think of us.

There are good sides to it and bad. The mostly good is that I now talk to pretty much everyone all the time.

I think the bad there is that a lot of those of my generation are getting this way, and are less and less likely to be nice just to get along. The closer the relationship, the worse this seems to be (I am talking siblings here, not spouses).

I am not there totally yet. I am not ready, and probably never will be ready, to completely jump into the shotgun method of picking up women.

Doug said...

Keith, I was saying (or trying to say) that while I don't fear rejection so much, I still couldn't do something like over the phone sales. I had a friend who sold futures and options over the phone for a short time, he said it was difficult getting used to it, but it was exciting when you made a sale.

My friend didn't last very long there, he didn't really enjoy it. He sells lawyers now instead of agricultural commodities. He tries to find high earning attorneys jobs at big law firms.

Maxine Weiss said...

Look at some of the famous brunette marriages in society:

Sonny and Cher-- She was very competitive with him, and the marriage imploded.

Steve and Edyie-- She's a hot-blooded Italian and he's a Jew. Actually we know very little about that marriage, but I can imagine what must go on behind closed doors. Can you imagine taking an apartment beneath them? The screaming that must go on at all hours of the day and night!

President and Mrs. Reagan-- Nancy is actually brunette. That's her true hair color from birth. She simply went lighter as she aged. And even then it's not totally a blond-- Miss Clairol Moongold. Anyway, that's the one good marriage we know of. She stepped aside (publicly) and let him go forward. And, they had a happy marriage.

Nobody wants to think that's the way to a successful marriage, but clearly it worked for the Reagans.

Peace, Maxine

Joseph Hovsep said...

I'm not sure I like the metaphor "thick skinned" for what Dr. Hellen is talking about (granted, I know next to nothing about psychology). But from a lay perspective, I think the goal is not to become numb to rejection, but to be conscious of how it makes you feel/react and then make a conscious decision to use the experience in a more productive way. You're still paying attention to the rejection and its effect on you, but you're engaging those experiences and feelings differently. Its almost like a supersensitivity rather than a numbness, at least in the way I aim to avoid my own potential for overreaction to unpleasant feelings.

Ann Althouse said...

Interesting insight, Joseph. I'm picturing something like judo. Reversing the energy somehow.

I might do something like that blogging in the face of my foes.

Joe Baby said...

Pandagon et. al aren't foes.

They're fauxs.

Doug said...

Joseph brought up the concept of becoming numb to rejection. I think the danger in become numb to it is that at times, rejection is a sign that what is being used isn't working. If a guy is walking up to women saying "You are one foxy mama", he is due for a ton of rejection because he is using pick up lines from the seventies. Because he doesn't fear rejection, he may be less willing to change his moves.

Ron said...

I'm not proud -- if Maxine wishes no linkage, I'll take it from the Insta-Vortex! I'm Spam in a can, doc, send me into orbit!

Back in blogreality...I wonder how much people have thought through the effect of massive amounts of rejection; I suspect you come out worse for wear, even if you get to your goal; just having the thick skin indicates some kind of hurt, and well, does the person inside die a death of a thousand cuts? I don't know, but it seems we should explore that out a little more.

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm on topic. We're talking about thick skin.

As such, I think it's fair game to ask the question....

Why did Glenn feel the need, in 2005 on his blog, to post a picture of Dr. Helen in bed wearing a white T-shirt ??

And I do mean white T-Shirt. Not a dark bathrobe, not a dark sweatshirt.

It had to be a white T-Shirt.

I'm not the only one, you know people at that law school gossip about Glenn and Helen's marriage, their proclivities and peccadiloes. Predilections.

The fact that he readily posts boudoir photos of her.....is there another law professor that would do that?

If the roles were reversed, would a female law professor post sexy pictures on her blog-- of her hunky spouse in bed ????

Oh, I know, that 2005? picture wasn't sexy.

But, she was in a white T-Shirt !!!

Listen fair is fair.

If we're gonna go after Feministing, then Glen and Dr. Helen better make sure their own backyard is pristine!

(Actually, I'm just trying to get back into Pandagon's good graces. I've never been banned from anything, and it hurts!)

Peace, Maxine

Simon said...

Well - if her point is that you can't live or die by what other people think of you, then that's agreeable enough. But it's a short hop from what Helen's describing to being The Todd.

Ernie Fazio said...

Dr. Ellis seems remarkably close to Werner Earhart of EST fame, the charlatan of the 70's who glommed together buddhist thought, Norman Vincent Peale, and Dale Carnegie to come to a "getting it" of personal empowerment and selfishmness. I don't know if Dr. Helen is old enough to remember that meme.

My personal antidote to blog nastiness or other "slings and arrows" (a great TV show also) is to "graduate from high school." In my view very few people do graduate, because most remain wrapped in the constant fear of disapproval from whomever--the mean girls, the jocks, the soches, the intellectuals. In other words everyone is obsessed about being embarrassed. Everyone that is who refuses to defeat embarrassment. My philosophy is to defeat embarrassment by not worrying about the proverbial red face that accompanies being told: that your fly is open, there is something caught in your teeth, that your idea is stupid, that your opinions are wrong headed, etc. People are in deathly fear of being singled out for criticism especially the type that promotes humiliation. However, if they refuse to give in to the humiliation, in effect, if they defeat that potential for embarrassment, then they can truly say that they have graduated from high school.

L'Althouse, graduate from High School and don't fret about the mean girls and boys on the left who have branded you as "not cool" to them. It doesn't work if you just play with your new friends on the right and join in their mean talking to the left. It only works if you slough off all clique yammering and stand alone. A Diva, worth her salt, should expect to do no less.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

This is Sales 101. It's simply how to see "rejection" in a different way. If you book one out of five cold calls and each booking averages one hundred dollars in sales, then each "no" is worth $20. Sales people learn that they get well-paid to get past the "rejection" of the nos.

And, hey, aren't redheads supposed to be more stoic?

Maxine Weiss said...

I think it's pure genius:

Glen, in 2005, posts a picture of Helen in tight white T-Shirt, and guys visit the blog in droves.

Don't ask me to link to that picture. I hate links. Even if Glenn took it down at this point (But why would he?) plenty of guys have already pasted, permanently it to their wallpaper.

I get it now. Glen trots out Dr. Helen to boost his male readers, encourages her cleavage, why not? if it gets more and more visitors.

Don't fault enterprise.

What's troublesome is how this goes over in terms of Dr. Helen's career. She'll catch a lot more flak, in terms of her career, than he will in his.

As a society we can forgive a husband for exploiting his wife, her assets etc... much more than we'll forgive an ambitious wife who tries to further her own career.

That's just the way it is. Helen says she has a thick skin and couldn't care in the least.

That's what she says now, or so I'm thinking, not having visited her site.

Let's see how she feels about it in 20 years, when she realizes all the criticism really did kill her career.

Touche: I don't see too much difference between Helen and Jill, other than Helen is married and laughs it off, and Jill is a whiner; but they are both engaging in the same tactics.

Don't want to hear that, but look at some of Helen's photos, and see for yourself.

Sorry, Helen. Call it as I see it. Boy, I must be desperate to get back into Pandagon!

Peace, Maxine

Pogo said...

Maxine,
Isn't it similarly possible that Dr. Helen, having dealt with psychopaths and once nearly died of heart trouble, and clearly having a strong and clear sense of herself, that maybe she made that decision herself?

And perhaps she actually likes that her husband thinks she's a total babe?

Revenant said...

I don't see how "not giving a shit" , in the sense used here, makes you a sociopath. A sociopath is someone who doesn't care about OTHER peoples' feelings. A person who doesn't let other people dictate HIS feelings is just -- well, thick-skinned.

Another way of putting it is that a sociopath wouldn't see a woman's unwillingness to have sex with him as a reason not to have sex with her. A man who realizes she doesn't want to have sex with him and simply redirects his attentions elsewhere without being emotionally bothered by the rejection is not a sociopath.

Mortimer Brezny said...

And perhaps she actually likes that her husband thinks she's a total babe?

Her husband is right.

Maxine Weiss said...

Yes, Pogo, anything's possible. I'm just going by what we saw of them together during the video--the uncertain body language, the uncomfortable small space.

The way that spouses interract on camera, in public, might be totally different from what goes on behind closed doors.

It seems like their careers are rather divergent, though. Juxtapose that against that elbow action, and each jockeying to get the other's elbow in front of the other....

And I sensed some sort of a tension.

Maybe that's healthy, maybe it isn't.

Who knows about marriages these days?

I do think if Helen is going to weigh in on the whole Jessica Valenti, Jill debate....then she'd better be ready for her own little scandalous photos and cleavage....which apparently she doesn't care about.

I think Althouse has a right to say whatever because I've not seen any cleavage photos of her. (Wouldn't that be delicious if one, or more, surfaced?) There may be artful, blonde, contrived moments with Althouse---(Blondes get away with murder) but in general....Althouse has the least amount of hypocracy, precisely because she hasn't put forth a sexual image, --real or perceived.

A number of readers, the blogosphere etc, have perceived a sexual images with Helen...so it makes her more of a Hypocrite...but she doesn't care via the "thick skin"

Now....but mark my words, Dr. Helen...skin thins over time. What seemed thick today, 10, 20 years from now might start to thin rather quickly.

Heart disease is a separate issue. Everyone has their dramas, crises etc...

Peace, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

Hey, we all trade on something.

Althouse trades on her Blonde-ness.

Helen, Jessica and Jill trade on there cleavage.

I trade on my....artful use of Capitalization?

Everyone's got a gimmick.

And there's nothing wrong with that. All, I'm saying is don't be naive. I'm sure Helen knew exactly how many buttons she had unbuttoned, with that blouse she wore on camera. My God everyone else did.

Heart disease or not, brunettes usually live long lives. They're survivors. But will it be a happy life?

Skin thins over time. Little things gnaw at you, no matter how you try to laugh it off. Helen's idea of having a thin skin, and playing the stoic, stiff-upper-lip (I haven't read her Blog)...seems absurd to me in this day and age, when we want people to express more vulnerability, not less.

I like emotion, it humanizes what's increasingly a very robotic, thick-skinned, emotionless world.

But then as a total Pisces Sentimental Idiot, I get naturally weepy over anything and everything. It's not a bad way to be---letting your vulnerability show.

Peace, Maxine

GPE said...

"Alarming Involution" - Excellent name for a band.

reader_iam said...

Well, hey, I'll just go right out on a limb here.

I'll bet a significant portion/proportion (no telling how close to all) of the commenters here--have not read Dr. Helen's blog not so much extensively or regularly, but at least over time.

Had they, they might be aware of particularly important parts of Dr. Helen's adult biography/history--I'm putting it that way though I'm thinking of one thing, in particular, a little more than the others--which, it seems to me, likely have some bearing on her attitude about not taking rejection too seriously. (No, they don't have anything to do with the fact that she's married to Reynolds.)

I know that at least one or two or so commenters at Althouse (whom I've yet to see turn up on this thread, so far) are regular Dr. Helen readers/commenters.

Maybe they're lurking.

Anyone care to share if they know to what I'm referring?

reader_iam said...

I admire Dr. Helen, by the way. Whether I disagree or agree with her on any particular issue or issues, in whole or in part, hasn't a thing to do with it.

It does rather have to do with the subject at hand.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

RIA: Have a heart and spill it. Quit keeping me in suspense.

Maxine Weiss said...

Pssst: I'll let you in on a little secret.

Nobody reads Blogs.

Do you realize that I've actually rarely read an Althouse blog?

I go through the back door and head straight for the comments, first... and then see if I can figure out what all is going on from the comments alone.

That was what Althouse was known for, the comments. Not so much the quantity, but the quality of the comments. When the comments are good enough, you don't have to bother with the Blog.

I read books, not blogs. (That was elitist!)

It's true. I watch everything on mute. And, I rarely rarely will read a full Blog, before jumping in with my extensive analysis based on anecdotal inferencing--read: guessing.

I'm frequently wrong, but it's fun when I'm right...as I usually am.

Ego.

Peace, Maxine

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TMink said...

I confess. I cannot follow Maxine a bit. She seems a gentle and kind soul, but Maxine, so much of it goes over my head I need a hair brush.

It is a bit of a let down to cop to not being one of the best people, but there it is.

Trey

Maxine Weiss said...

Well, maybe you can follow this:

I should apologize to Dr. Helen.

I'm not to proud to say I'm sorry, Dr. Helen.

I didn't realize she had heart trouble.

True, it hardly hurts her; but it's still mean whether or not she's affected.

I am a bit mean. And, it's so easy to spout off when you are behind a computer screen.

If I can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?

I might try that.

Anyway, I really am sorry for the comments I made to Dr. Helen, whether she took offense or not, whether she has heart trouble or not, I probably shouldn't be saying it.

It might be boring around here though, if I do start controlling my mouth.

I'm sure you'll all live.

And, I really am sorry!

Love, Maxine

TMink said...

Maxine, even I could understand that. I stand by my statement that you are a kind soul.

Trey