The Final Turning

Brazil: March 2005

I was in Rio de Janeiro with my then-fiancee, Fernanda. She also has the distinction of being my ex-wife, btw. But I digress. I can distinctly recall the moment I started getting heavy about the inscrutable cruelty of life as we know it and the vicissitudes of economic collapse. Yeah, I was a fucking hoot! We were on Copacabana, Leblon or Ipanema beach sometime before Carnaval. We were engaged but still getting to know one another [see: divorce] and I had traveled around South America with the intention of settling somewhere, at least temporarily.

Brazil was first on my last as I had visited the previous year on some quickie package deal that included Rio and Buenos Aires and absolutely fell in love with Brazil, particularly Florianopolis. I attempted to buy a property there but the proceedings were so complicated and opaque as to engender sufficient distrust to scrap the idea altogether. I loved it dearly and had I elected to run the Brazilian residential housing gauntlet, I would have come out like a BOSS. The area appreciated rapidly as Brazil’s economy exploded, logging anywhere from 5-7% growth over a fairly lengthy period (but peaking in the mostly post-crisis year of 2010). It was a beach community located at the accessible but rarely accessed lower peninsula stretching down the coast of Santa Catarina state. Pantano do Sul was everything I had searched for: semi-deserted but with access to an urban center of about 500K. It was relatively safe when measured against crime rates in Rio or Sao Paolo (some would argue that tho) and was located on a relatively unknown and infrequently visited stretch of beach with water that was a little rougher than the usual sheltered harbors. And did I mention fewer people, right? Yes, sparsely populated above all else. Give me solitude I always say. Needless to say, I was upset that I had not summoned forth enough grit and determination to successfully navigate a half dozen corrupt Brazilian bureaucracies and purchase the residence of my dreams. Admittedly, these bureaucracies I speak of were impressive in their ability to assess “Gringo Taxes” whenever it suited them, which was pretty much at every turn in the home buying process. I ended up buying a place in Buenos Aires in case you, the reader, were curious. I don’t regret that purchase but there’s still something about Brazil. Talk about digressing; don’t think I needed to go that deep in terms of character building.

Point is, I can recall the moment I began to decry the general decline of society at large [said in my angry, fist-shaking old man voice]. I mean, why should I deprive my fiancee of the full arsenal of topics sure to render her incapacitated and woozy. I glazed her eyes over in one fell swoop when I began stammering about CDOs and too much damn leverage in the system. I can only imagine what was going through her mind as she listened to me pontificate about how difficult things were about to get. As it turns out, my fears at that time were not entirely unwarranted, and in fact, confirmed shortly after we moved back to the US in 2007. Housing took a dive just as I told her it would. That feeling that everyone thinks someone else is driving the bus as we barrel toward the precipice? Yeah, that one where everyone is panicked but no one knows what to do? That’s the global economy summed up.

Full disclosure: I have no earthly idea if MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) or another “meninist” offshoot is responsible for the David’s Bridal bankruptcy but I’d certainly like to think so. More likely it’s a combination of many things and MGTOW, The Red Pill and other men’s rights movements are merely the manifestation of the shitty deal men have been getting lately. Because these movements lack a clear charter and are, more often than not, hijacked by less well-intentioned people, it’s hard to say definitively that I subscribe fully to their philosophy but there are certain points which we can agree on.

For instance, I hold this to be true: marriage is not in a man’s best interest, at least not as things are currently structured. Under optimal circumstances, marriage benefits both parties equally and serves as the bedrock for family building and child rearing. That is no longer the case and marriages almost overwhelmingly favor women…..when they come to an ignominious end that is. Perhaps the acrimonious divorce is recompense for the relative male prosperity during the marriage and her oft portrayed longsuffering with some dope who dips his kid’s feet in plastic? I mean, that’s how it’s viewed, right? Men as clueless buffoons just getting by on a steady diet of wooly mammoth rib cages and living in dank, poorly decorated caves until our “better halves” drag us kicking and screaming into civility and domestic bliss. But that bliss is short-lived because it’s predicated on a lot of projections that neither party to matrimony are willing or able to satisfy, but none more than women.

Women cannot be blamed for this tectonic shift in gender relations, however. Simps and ultra-thirsty beta orbiters are the real issues at play here. These men have singlehandedly granted women an easy victory in the ongoing battle of the sexes by offering up their own dignity as a sacrifice to women who, ironically, wouldn’t ordinarily give them the time of day were it not for their resources. But with admiration comes other perks – not necessarily issuing from the man she was hoping would bestow them but nonetheless from someone emotionally pliable and thirsty enough to provide for her short-term material needs up to and including entertainment, travel, spending money, access to a more sophisticated social circle, etc. And somewhere, scrawled in fine print at the bottom of page 63, is an implicit agreement that you being a good little boy and providing for her material needs = getting laid because -wink, wink- both of us know you couldn’t get laid otherwise. It’s also necessary to take into account that before the advent of Instagram, hot women had a limited influence on people in other zip codes but today, some insecure woman compensating for an intellectual shortcoming can cast a very wide net with her narcissism. She can clap her ass cheeks together for men in Tokyo, Riyadh, Sydney, Paris, NYC, Sao Paulo and London instantaneously and start entertaining offers from insanely rich men who want to defecate on their chests.

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