Social Media Narcissism: Love’s Worst Enemy, Trump’s Best Friend

narcissist

The other day, walking by a Hooters restaurant inspired a rant in me that ended up feeling like a graduation of sorts. I’ve been both the type of guy who doesn’t get girls and a class clown for a long time now, and the combination of those two qualities pretty much ensures a life of slavery to gleefully spouting off different reasons why girls won’t fuck me as I look for laughs, the dark nature of comedian blood allowing me to not care how much undesirability it telegraphs to the opposite sex. It was this comedic mindset that led me to spew endless tirades about the subject.

However, a lot of it ended up feeling like a disorder rather than a proclivity for mockery (I’m sure any true comedian will tell you they’re the same thing, but still). I wasn’t looking for actual sharp, thought-out bits, but rather just rabidly ranting any chance I got. The piece that Hooters inspired seemed like an epiphany and an elevation. After latching on to the simple fact of how uncomfortable it would make me feel to eat around girls dressed in standard Hooters attire, a rant that had been bubbling in me forever, one that stopped and questioned why guys always seemed to want to have females around, burst out of me. Suddenly, I felt like I had a genuine bit on my hands, hard-won after years of mumbling through lame ‘I don’t fuck’ diatribes. The viewpoint of wanting to avoid girls (especially hot ones) at all costs seemed like a graduate thesis of reality-based comedy for me.

The idea of how awful it was to be surrounded by females when you weren’t a typical horn dog looking for sex seemed beautifully, perversely true. Bolstered by my ongoing theory of the purity behind shelling out money in exchange for sexual favors or fun, I started to see how much the idea of having casual sex was anchored to ego. I thought about the girls in tight tank tops and boy shorts waitressing at Hooters. Why would one want to learn to be competent around them? The simple answer, of course, is sex, but it is literally impossible for sex to have no tie in to the ego for males. When you get it, it makes you feel good, validated. Broken down to the most natural terms, if you have a penis, being able to get a female is why you’re here. Even someone who claims they’re just completely enamored with how vagina feels is still getting Pavlovian blow-back confidence from the experience of intercourse.

Otherwise, in a world where strip clubs and prostitution exist, why wouldn’t I simply just pay to be around and interact with girls that look like that? Why would I want to spend my time devoting hours upon hours to developing a skill set where I can come across as desirable to these type of girls when, if I really want some attention from a hot female, I could just drop the cash and forget about the talking? Other than, of course, most folks not having the money to drop weekly bundles on strippers, I still believe it all ties back into ego. You want to be able to feel like you’re capable, and you want the buzz that inevitably, unavoidably comes from being with attractive women or with a lot of women. In my mind, this conclusion seemed to break down so much of our hook up culture as certifiably bat shit-insane that I walked around with an internal smile glaring out from me, knowing I’d gotten a one-up on the collective cultural rituals and could dismiss the otherwise undismissible, never having to jump through these idiotic hoops ever again.

When I put these kind of viewpoints out there, I always feel it necessary to state how much I’m not just some horribly cold misogynist, and how much I do still want and believe in love, real love, full on love, change-your-profile-picture, hold-hands-in-the-mall, can’t-get-that-goofy-smile-off-your-face love. I just see the two splitting into a giant dichotomy, with the horrific hook-up-influenced, fast-paced dating world on one side, and the world of mature, actual romance based on compatible personalities on the other.  Full of a mind state that seems positively modern and evolved, I want to forgo the awful world of dating and hooking up and just wait for the love.

But is that right, or even possible? Is it asking for the wonderful end result without going through the not-so-wonderful and yet essential building blocks leading up to it? I am actually a firm believer in not looking for the one, and fully back up the notion a lot of people have that the right one always kind of just saunters into your life when you least expect it, leaving you with your jaw agape in joy as to how this most utterly amazing person ended up in front of you. It’s not just a theory for me. The girls I’ve felt were the best matches for me, whether we ended up together, briefly fooling around, or just left to languish completely in my fantasies, did just kind of end up in front of me (usually, one way or the other, thanks to that classic purveyor of romance, retail stores). But while I do honestly believe in that, my mentality of wanting to do away with the looking process is something I believe is completely akin to what is happening to the younger generations.

You see, I’m a prime candidate for this. I’ve been the class weirdo for as long as I can remember, with a self-absorption closer to being based in autism than narcissism keeping me locked inside my head, fantasizing, theorizing and plotting, coupled with healthy doses of vanity and purpose due to my unending obsession with entertainment and becoming a part of it. None of what I’ve listed above is proper for being a well-developed person who consistently interacts socially. But I always thought that was just me. I’m a comedian, a clown, an entertainer, with big ol’ dreams. A Kanye-level focusing on myself seems par for the course.

Until social media reared its omnipresent head. I’ve written about this before (you can find the full article beneath this one here on this blog), but I believe social media has committed the unforgivable crime of turning an entire generation into, well, me.

I don’t want to repeat what I’ve already covered in the other article, but what social media has done is bring a classic cliche to life in screaming technicolor: if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Being a movie star is pretty much the base-level, garden-variety American daydream. Your face is up on billboards and magazine covers, and people are endlessly talking about you and adoring you. Of course, the realities of what it takes to actually get to that point are a tiresome, game-playing-centric gambit to enter into an industry that is said to be hopelessly, vainly cutthroat. Most folks wouldn’t dream of actually going through this process (even people for whom it’s been their lifelong dream are often turned off by the actual journey), but what if you could get a glorious facsimile of it simply by signing up for a free website?

Simply put, social media puts the emphasis on you. The status bar on facebook tantalizingly asks you, ‘What’s on your mind?’, and Instagram pretty much exists for the people who thought facebook and Twitter weren’t selfie-centric enough. When you pick out a profile picture you look gorgeous in, put it up online, and come back to a bunch of comments and likes, that is a Fisher-Price My-First-Fame-Experience that gives you 100% of the ego validation with none of the pitfalls that accompany the laborious journey to make it in Hollywood.

Therefore, as social media becomes more and more normal (I’m sure some of you have grandparents on facebook), the younger generations, who have no idea what it’s like to exist without it, become more and more focused on the self. I believe this process has had an extremely muscular hand in helping destroy the ideals of old, times when people were married with kids and a career before they even hit their twenties. In this day and age, people look at the idea of marriage and say, ‘What about me?’

Much has been made of the gradual destruction of dating in these generations, and this clearly has to do not only with the new emphasis on the self, but also a similar awakening to the ridiculousness of the traditions of old, with people wondering why they should go through the trials and tribulations of dating in the same way I wondered why I should have to deal with learning how to sculpt a female-friendly version of myself. The hook-up culture is a by-product of our new narcissism amplifying decades-old, basic human problems.

For example, the classic example of the nice guy finishing last. I believe there has always been a bit of distortion surrounding this. It’s not based on the guy being nice so much as it is a nice guy’s approach being more straightforward and real. Game is getting a child to take medicine. You don’t need game to get a kid to eat a piece of candy. Its entire existence is to help soften you to what’s happening. If I want to lead my dog into his cage, I don’t just point to it and say, ‘Get in!’ That’s simply too blatant and real. I shove a piece of food tauntingly close to his face, let him focus on it, and gradually use it to guide him to the cage before throwing it in, having him follow after it and then locking the door. Got him! Game is simply that piece of food.

So my firm belief is that it’s not about the niceness, it’s about the fact that you’re not cushioning the process. My theory that I could probably never get a girl without game is not based in cliche comedian self-pity – I simply understand what’s happening to the younger generations. Without game, I’m blatantly saying, ‘Hey, this is me. This is how I am. I’m available. The person you’re seeing is just me, no games, no seduction, no routines, so if you’re down with that then we can start to build a relationship based on who we really are.’ That’s always been a terrifying concept for humans, let alone the narcissism-soaked modern ones. Girls don’t friend zone guys because they’re too nice, girls friend zone guys because they’re nowhere near being ready to be in a relationship where truth is at the core of it, where looking down the line seems to lead to, oh fuck, Christ no….marriage?! Great relationships are like classic sitcom will-they-or-won’t-they fodder. Why? Because every great relationship should have a solid base in friendship. So, if you’re not old enough, or not ready, your body says, ‘Well, we definitely click, but you feel like a buddy, I can talk to you, relate to you, we’re perfect together and um, that’s a pretty damn heavy feeling.’ Is it not better to just be with a guy who’s hot and knew how to talk to you at a party enough to fuck you and now when you look at him you really don’t see that future vision, but fuck yes, isn’t that the point? Realness, as always, is scary.

Therefore I believe the oft-spoke of destruction of dating is absolutely tied into the growing sense of self. Reality becomes the thing to avoid, with endless hook ups or I-don’t-need-anyone independence becoming the much more preferable option. To today’s kids, the concept of romance seems archaic and scary, a pillar of the classic way of life that has been crushed under a lust for selfies. You’re not a slave to your parent’s cultural expectations and you sure as hell don’t need someone because you are self-empowered and have plans, goddamn it. Who wants to be tied down when your Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are all screaming your importance at you on the daily? Out with the old, and in with the new.

Which brings us to the popularity of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump is rising to power in a time where people are being forced to deal with not only homosexuality, but also people switching their entire gender. A time when ‘Merry Christmas’ is an insult. A time when everything is up for grabs as offensive and feelings are easier to step on than ever before.  A time when marriage is a joke.

While there are undoubtedly jackasses that support Trump, I feel the collective dunce cap being placed over his supporter’s heads is just as dangerous as the blanket statements about Muslims he’s made part of his campaign. People are freaking out about how much popularity he’s gained without ever attempting to understand it. I am in the unique position of having had my father explain his support for him to me, so I’m awash in a world of lefties with a direct line to what one of the right, one that I respect, is thinking (for the record, I try to not pick either side).

It is my belief that Trump represents a traditionalism that is beyond refreshing to an older generation having to deal with calling Bruce Jenner ‘Caitlyn’. A time when we weren’t politically correct. A time where men were, well, I don’t want to use the ‘men were men’ cliche, but certainly weren’t obsessed with their next selfie and how the current news items made them feel inside. Trump is speaking to a generation who married early and worked hard at the expense of self. To imagine a man from my grandfather’s generation coming home from a long day of busting his ass to provide for his family to take a selfie in the mirror and post about how his job made him feel is one of the most hilarious things I could think of.

This was a generation that put the collective good before the self. I was utterly ecstatic that Whole Foods didn’t require me to wear a uniform or shave, instead wanting me to feel like myself. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy that, right? How distinctly human! Well, my dad’s response to the lack of dress code at work to promote individuality was a half amused/half bewildered ‘what kind of company is this?’ He doesn’t care about kids expressing themselves. Employees should look a certain way. So should America.

To those who believe this, Trump is a savior. No, I don’t care what all you little sensitive hippies think about it. Muslims are consistently the ones to attack us, so that’s who we’re going after. Immigration is a problem, so we’re building a wall. Trump’s mouth is alienating to many, but there is definitely an old school, fuck-your-feelings logic to all of it. Donald Trump speaks for every bewildered, confused traditionalist who wants to point at Caitlyn Jenner and say, ‘Um, I’m sorry, but that’s a dude’, every frustrated-by-political-correctness American who wants to say, ‘Why the hell wouldn’t we target Muslims?’ He is brash, boorish, confident, outspoken, and, most importantly, the complete antithesis of every single attribute that modern social media-based narcissism is bringing out in people.

I find it important to state again that I’m not in support of either side. The reason is because a dichotomy is growing in this country right now. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump could not be more opposite and neither could the old-school and new-school lines of thought. Now, more than ever, is the time to attempt balance. There are a lot of positives to the way we are evolving (more and more acceptance of new lifestyles) and a lot of negatives (crushingly sensitive mentalities, detached, self-obsessed kids), but change is happening. The hard part is walking that tight rope between the two, which is intrinsically less fun than picking a side and vehemently defending it.

In other words, I might want to do away with the process of looking for a girl, and it might even be logical, but am I losing something essential to the experience of being human by completely focusing my attention inward? Have we become afraid of being hurt without realizing how essential that unwanted emotion is? And is the reason for Trump’s meteoric rise the uncomfortable truth that sometimes unwanted emotions need to be placed front and center?

I don’t know, but I sure hope a lot of people read this blog and tell me how brilliant I am.

 

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