Ovid Game tip: Don’t visit her on her birthday.

In The Allegory of Love C.S. Lewis explains that because the concept of courtly love has fully transformed our view of sexual passion, we misread prior works as if they had the same theme.  He uses the example of Ovid’s Art of Love, which he describes as an ironic poem on the art of seduction:

Ovid sat down to compose for the amusement of a society which well understood him an ironically didactic poem on the art of seduction. The very design of his Art of Love presupposes an audience to whom love is one of the minor peccadilloes of life, and the joke consists in treating it seriously—in writing a treatise, with rules and examples en rège for the nice conduct of illicit loves. It is funny, as the ritual solemnity of old gentlemen over their wine is funny. Food, drink, and sex are the oldest jokes in the world; and one familiar form of the joke is to be very serious about them.

He offers the following example from the poem:

Go early ere th’ appointed hour to meet
The fair, and long await her in the street.
Through shouldering crowds on all her errands run,
Though graver business wait the while undone.
If she commands your presence on her way
Home from the ball to lackey her, obey!
Or if from rural scenes she bids you, ‘Come’,
Drive if you can, if not, then walk, to Rome,
And let nor Dog-star heats nor drifted load
Of whitening snows deter you from the road.
Cowards, fly hence! Our general, Love, disdains
Your lukewarm service in his long campaigns.8

Lewis explains that this is a joke, mocking the foolish way men pedastalize women and set out to satisfy their every whim (truly a fool’s errand).  Since we have adopted the foolish view of courtly love, we can’t imagine Ovid’s mocking as anything other than sincere:

No one who has caught the spirit of the author will misunderstand this. The conduct which Ovid recommends is felt to be shameful and absurd, and that is precisely why he recommends it—partly as a comic confession of the depths to which this ridiculous appetite may bring a man, and partly as a lesson in the art of fooling to the top of her bent the last baggage who has caught your fancy. The whole passage should be taken in conjunction with his other piece of advice—‘Don’t visit her on her birthday: it costs too much.’9 But it will also be noticed—and this is a pretty instance of the vast change which occurred during the Middle Ages—that the very same conduct which Ovid ironically recommends could be recommended seriously by the courtly tradition. To leap up on errands, to go through heat or cold, at the bidding of one’s lady, or even of any lady, would seem but honourable and natural to a gentleman of the thirteenth or even of the seventeenth century…

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56 Responses to Ovid Game tip: Don’t visit her on her birthday.

  1. Pingback: Ovid Game tip: Don’t visit her on her birthday. | @the_arv

  2. Shaka Zulu says:

    This is excellent material, Dalrock. Keep the articles coming.

  3. johnmcg says:

    And, of course it reads exactly like a lot of modern marriage advice, particularly of the “marriage advice from a divorced man whose wife left him” genre; e.g.: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/marriage-advice-_n_3805880.html

  4. Then the bubonic plaque came and eradicated the thirsty/unfit and balance was restored.

    Wipe out in 3, 2…..

  5. Frank K says:

    @johnmcg – from the huffpo link you posted:

    “SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else”

    Vows be damned. This sure seems to make a case against marriage, not for it.

  6. EhIntellect says:

    “‘Don’t visit her on her birthday: it costs too much.’”

    In my bluer pill days, I forgot her birthday, once, after a decade of marriage. After realizing my disinterest, distraction, even after dropping hints, she unilaterally bought a central vacuum that day ($800). F@#k me!! As embarrassing as it is to admit, I then took her out for dinner that night. Fairly warned, be thee, says I.

  7. Ilion says:

    SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else

    Sex-flip — “HE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of his phallus, he may give that phallus to someone else”

    Telling a woman to “follow her heart” is like, and makes as little sense, as telling a man to follow his [(sounds like) heart]-on.

  8. Ilion says:

    In my bluer pill days, I forgot her birthday, once, after a decade of marriage. After realizing my disinterest, distraction, even after dropping hints, she unilaterally bought a central vacuum that day ($800).

    I’d suggest “forgetting” her birthday — and expecially Valentine’s Day — before you even ask a woman to marry you. If she makes it a big deal, DON’T.

  9. Frank K says:

    @Ilion – “I’d suggest “forgetting” her birthday — and expecially Valentine’s Day — before you even ask a woman to marry you. If she makes it a big deal, DON’T.”

    I’d suggest that if she ever shit tests you that you dump her. No second chances. By doing that she is telling you that you will NEVER make her happy.

  10. SirHamster says:

    I’d suggest that if she ever shit tests you that you dump her.

    If you mean *any* shit test, I think you are committed to a monk’s lifestyle. It is the nature of women to push the boundaries …

  11. SirHamster says:

    And the corollary to that is that it is the nature of men to let women do so. Adam and Eve.

  12. Dalrock says:

    @Frank K

    I’d suggest that if she ever shit tests you that you dump her. No second chances. By doing that she is telling you that you will NEVER make her happy.

    If she never shit tests you then you should dump her with even greater haste. “That’s a man, baby!”

  13. feeriker says:

    I’d suggest “forgetting” her birthday — and expecially Valentine’s Day — before you even ask a woman to marry you. If she makes it a big deal, DON’T.

    “Why on earth would you want me to remember –or, better question yet, why would YOU want to remember — a day that marks you growing another year older and that much closer to The Wall?”

  14. samuel culpepper says:

    I’ve been married for 16 years and don’t do birthdays, valentines, anniversaries, including my own. Its either a celebration of self or just commercialized schmuckery, either way I don’t do them. If that is grounds for a woman to walk, then let her, its stupid, immature and just shows a general lack of seriousness for life’s purpose. Abraham and the partirachs didn’t worship women, why should I just because time has advanced about 2500 years?

  15. Meh, I’ve just decided to skip the hassle and go monk, as many folks here have derisively suggested. I do not understand those so thirsty for pussy they put up with all this hassle. The juice just is not worth the squeeze.

  16. Cane Caldo says:

    @johnmcg

    And, of course it reads exactly like a lot of modern marriage advice, particularly of the “marriage advice from a divorced man whose wife left him” genre

    I am stunned! Is this the same JohnMcG who used frequently to post at Zippy’s blog?

  17. Sigma K says:

    Wise sage advice. I will do a happy birthday text and a dinner at a place I like…

    Romance is suicide.

  18. Ha ha a guy wanting a girl who never shit tests reminds me of those guys who wants a girl who loves fantasy football, craft beer, video games, and juvenile fart humor. It’s not a viable dating preference. It’s just an inability to get along with women.

  19. When a woman stops shit testing you it’s because she has correctly deduced that you have nothing worth testing.

  20. Frank K says:

    @Dalrock – “If she never shit tests you then you should dump her with even greater haste. “That’s a man, baby!”

    LOL! Thanks for the laugh

  21. Lost Patrol says:

    It’s a good thing I have a streak of masochism, what with all the painful truths that are constantly dredged up here. If I could bear to read poetry, which I barely can’t, Rudyard Kipling excepted; I would have been the man thinking Ovid was giving actual good advice. In a weird way, it’s a comfort to know that men besides me have been falling for this romantic love BS for centuries.

  22. Pingback: Ovid Game tip: Don’t visit her on her birthday. | Reaction Times

  23. Darwinian Arminian says:

    @GodIsLaughing
    When a woman stops shit testing you it’s because she has correctly deduced that you have nothing worth testing.

    Good insight. Back in the earlier days of the manosphere, I remember there being a blogger (can’t remember which, might have been Advocatus Diaboli) who used to emphasize the purpose woman’s shit tests with a euphemism: As he put it, a woman who shit tests you is a woman who is “rubbing up against your manhood.” So if you’re tempted to get annoyed when she starts up again, remember to look at it this way — and always STAY HARD.

  24. feministhater says:

    When a woman stops shit testing you it’s because she has correctly deduced that you have nothing worth testing.

    It just means she’s ready to monkey branch. Shit Tests are nothing good. They’re just the constant nag of a wife looking to find someone better and trying to justify it, and you champs keep giving them more ammo. Make hay whilst there is still some more alpha man to jump to, eh? Fucking hell, why can’t you red pill knowledge aware men actually hold women to the vows they make. Oh, they’re children, I keep forgetting and thus we should care that they keep shit testing because children just have the greatest ability to deduce worth…

  25. why can’t you red pill knowledge aware men actually hold women to the vows they make.

    Frame. It handles most of it, part of that frame was our Christian vows 25 years ago.

    I’d also be curious to see a successful marriage where the husband doesn’t somehow acknowledge and cope with his wife’s hypergamous nature. Keeping it down to a dull roar is the best some guys are going to get.

  26. feministhater says:

    The only thing that makes the majority of women stick to their vows is social and political pressure. Shit Tests are just an excuse, it’s not as if they are all starving with daddy government their to pick up the tab…

    If you won’t hold women to account, they won’t do it themselves and thus will play the romance game and make you jump through hoops. Until society gets on board and punishes frivolous divorce, adultery and starts respecting husbands and fathers again, you’re whistling past the graveyard of marriage.

    A shit testing wife is just a wife looking for someone better, she just hasn’t found him yet or has and is just looking for a way to blame you for the dissolution of the marriage. All romance is just a woman shit testing a man to see how much of the bullshit he will put up with. It has no bearing on your worth. Either shut it down when she starts or show her the door.

  27. feministhater says:

    I would agree with that. However, you’re just explaining what amounts to a mammoth of a task for most men, so failure is the outcome for the majority of marriages today, whether they end in divorce or not. Hence the advice to stay away from a woman who shit tests you from the start is solid advice. She ain’t your wife, she ain’t anything to you so why on earth would you allow her to even start shit testing. Show her the door.

  28. SkylerWurden says:

    I think the greatest sin of our modern world is in forcing ourselves to sin by starting off with the attitude of “I will definitely sin. I can’t not sin.”

    I’ve read at least 50 of these blog posts over the last two days, and I don’t think I’ve seen you mention a very real solution to these problems even once:

    You don’t have to have sex to lead a fulfilling life. Celibacy is not only possible, but desirable. I’m not suggesting every man abandon marriage, but I definitely think we have lost something very important in our slavish worship of marriage as man’s highest goal, when in actuality it seems much more like the lowest “still-Christian” calling a man can take. Not trying to put down marriage here, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve met very many “Christians” who would be willing to give up all marriage and sex forever; though that is precisely what they will be required to do before entering the Kingdom of God. Wouldn’t it be better to start practicing now, rather than wait until the (literal) last minute?

    And I have very little sympathy for the “I’m going to fuck chicks anyway, might as well do it the right way” since there are vast sums of men who have remained celibate their entire lives. If they can do it, than you can to, and anything less is just excuse making. Understandable, but still excuse making.

  29. Ilíon says:

    hooked on cant:I’d also be curious to see a successful marriage where the husband doesn’t somehow acknowledge and cope with his wife’s hypergamous nature.

    You poor, poor, “gamers” and your invented cant.

    ‘Hypergamy’ does not refer to slutishness (of which you “gamers” approve … until it bites you in the ass).

    ‘Hypergamy’ does not refer to the state of living your life as though life itself, and marriage, were a meat-market singles bar.

    ‘Hypergamy’ does not refer to the mindset of treating your “commitments” as disposable.

    ——-
    What ‘hypergamy’ *does* refer to is the near-universal desire-and-need of women who wish to rear children to marry men with more resources than they themselves have.

    ‘Hypergamy’ is a *good* thing.

  30. Boxer says:

    Hence the advice to stay away from a woman who shit tests you from the start is solid advice. She ain’t your wife, she ain’t anything to you so why on earth would you allow her to even start shit testing. Show her the door.

    It really depends on the definition of “shit testing”. Wanton disrespect is one thing, but a lot of women insult you in minor (or laughably outrageous) ways in an attempt to flirt.

    I bet you have best friends from childhood, and I bet you guys call each other disgusting nicknames that you think are funny. Me too. It’s the same thing with women.

    I’m on board with you temporally, though. Women who start up this sort of nonsense too early are presuming you’re desperate enough to enter into a protected sort of emotional space too quickly. They either think you’re low-value or they’ve got autism. Either way, it’s a lot of trouble.

  31. Ilion,

    What ‘hypergamy’ *does* refer to is the near-universal desire-and-need of women who wish to rear children to marry men with more resources than they themselves have.

    ‘Hypergamy’ is a *good* thing.

    Fine.

    And if you are a woman and you are defending hypergamy as a good thing (it may be), then a single woman who makes HUGE DOLLARS doing (whatever) and has abundant resources, she can’t complain to anyone if she concludes that there are no good men out there to marry. By virtue of her own good fortune, she has essentially disqualified herself from the sacrament of marriage.

    Hypergamy says supremely lucky, super-intelligent, lying shysters capable of accumulating massive wealth and resources, like an Elizabeth Holmes, she will never marry. And she has no b1tch as a result. She is BEYOND marriage (so to speak.)

  32. Frank K says:

    FWIW, I have met women who don’t shit test. I even married one.

  33. feministhater says:

    ‘Hypergamy’ is a *good* thing.

    It is female nature. It is not good. As a man’s nature is to spread his seed. The contention is that once you make a vow, you are to control your base nature and keep those vows. It’s about control. The practice of hypergamy, that is monkey branching, is not good, it is not right to leave a husband because the wife thinks she found a better deal.

    This is nonsense, part of it is made up words for what is usually called ‘greed and selfishness’. You made a vow, stick to it, through thick and thin. That is what makes something good. The time for a woman trying to pick the best possible husband is when she is young, fertile and not married. Once the choice is made, bar very strict criteria, the vow is to be kept.

    Destroying a marriage and thus a family because of the hypergamous nature of women is not a good thing. It is bad and evil. Get it through your heads, call them out on their shit or don’t complain. Stop making evil things good, this is a curse handed out by God for the disobedience of Eve. They are evil traits that are to be controlled through marriage.

  34. BillyS says:

    Having a wife who enjoys video games is doable, if more challenging. The other stuff is not high on my list, so I don’t care if no woman with those existed.

  35. Ilíon says:

    Boxer:Wanton disrespect is one thing, but a lot of women insult you in minor (or laughably outrageous) ways in an attempt to flirt.

    Goodness! Women behaving toward men exactly as the “gamers” say that a “beta” trying to convince a woman that he’s really an “alpha” *should*? What’s this world coming to?

  36. Ilíon says:

    me:‘Hypergamy’ is a *good* thing.

    feminismlover:It is female nature. It is not good.

    So, it’s “female nature” to seek to secure the best available father for her future children *before* she has them …*and* somehow that’s not a good thing. Gotcha!

    feminismlover:As a man’s nature is to spread his seed.

    That isn’t actually true; that is a lie promulgated by the sexually perverse men who invented feminism in the forst place as a means to use other men’s daughters as consequence-free sexual play-things.

    feminismlover:The practice of hypergamy, that is monkey branching, is not good, it is not right to leave a husband because the wife thinks she found a better deal.

    That is not what the term actually means. That’s the twisted cant you “gammer” fools have invented.

    You people don’t *hate* feminism nor the so-called sexual revolution; what you hate is that *you* (you, personally, yourself) turned out to be the “useful idiot”.

  37. @Ilion you’re being a bit Concern Troll-y.

    Hypergamy, like Money, Desire for Food and Shelter, are things that simply “are”. They’re part of the fabric of human existence, but they have no innate moral character.

    What has moral character is what the person does with the understanding of those natural features.

    A Fitness Test is a sin. Always will be. It is based on either a false dichotomy or an implicit lie, that is used to challenge Authority.

    This is why you can always expect a Woman to be Hypergamous, but you have to measure how much she Fitness Tests. A lot and its the signs of a corrupted soul. None and she’s clearly making plans to leave. So a Husband should always expect some to happen because Women live far deeper in their instincts than Men do, but they can be dealt with.

  38. ManlyMan says:

    Oh look, InsanityBytes is here.

  39. Ilíon says:

    some fool:@Ilion you’re being a bit Concern Troll-y.

    That’s all I need to say.

  40. feministhater says:

    It is actually Insanity bytes. As soon as the words ‘That isn’t actually true; that is a lie promulgated by the sexually perverse men who invented feminism in the forst place as a means to use other men’s daughters as consequence-free sexual play-things.’ all was revealed.

    Nice straw man, but you’re arguing against demons in your mind. Always have been. Sort out your own shit, don’t stay here. Go away.

  41. Ilíon says:

    feminismlover: “… Go away.

    Translation: ‘Cause Heaven knows, the last thing this little echo chamber needs is someone able to speak truth.

  42. feministhater says:

    Oh yes, you are always here to speak the truth. You misrepresent, make up straw men and then pretend that you are telling the truth.

    Fuck off, go away, no one wants or needs your bile here.

  43. Cane Caldo says:

    The theory of the shit test, that a woman tests her man to see if he can manage her, is wrong. “Fitness test” is even worse. Shit tests are explorations of how much shit with which a woman can get away. That’s it. It’s just selfishness. To believe otherwise is to believe that children sneak cookies to ensure your security measures, and to believe that children pester for toys in the store to ensure parents have good budgeting skills. No. They want the cookies and they want the toys.

    The false idea of a shit/fitness test as a natural good is just another version of something like courtly love–in which a man must prove he will put her wants first–, only viewed through the further skewed lens of evo-psych. It’s a compounded error of the type I mentioned here:

    [M]y view is that, due to our sinful nature, the world gets marital love wrong in many ways; and that each of these difference wrong ways play some role in perverting other wrong ways.

  44. Gunner Q says:

    Cane Caldo @ 9:03 am:
    “The theory of the shit test, that a woman tests her man to see if he can manage her, is wrong. “Fitness test” is even worse. Shit tests are explorations of how much shit with which a woman can get away. That’s it. It’s just selfishness.”

    +1. It’s hard to square shit tests with Biblical commands of respect and obedience. Inevitable does not imply acceptable.

  45. I don’t care that women are hypergamous. I only care that some women use that hypergamy to justify divorcing their husbands the moment they find someone better OR (worse) their husbands are simply no longer capable of providing for the woman in the manner that she feels she is entitled.

    #1) Hypergamy = woman’s nature

    #2) Divorcing a husband because she isn’t haaaaapppy anymore, feeling completely righteous and justified in doing so, and getting society to be your ally in going feral = feminist’s nature

    #1 runs parallel with the Patriarchy. Secular law strengthening marriage used to fix #2. Since feminism came along, #2 is now THE problem.

  46. SirHamster says:

    The theory of the shit test, that a woman tests her man to see if he can manage her, is wrong. “Fitness test” is even worse. Shit tests are explorations of how much shit with which a woman can get away. That’s it. It’s just selfishness. To believe otherwise is to believe that children sneak cookies to ensure your security measures, and to believe that children pester for toys in the store to ensure parents have good budgeting skills. No. They want the cookies and they want the toys.

    I think you make a good point about the motivation of the actors, but it can be simultaneously true with other observations.

    The child is ignoring Dad’s rules because he wants a cookie; when Dad sees and knows this, it is a test of Dad’s authority. Does he shrug and say “whatever, kids want cookies”? Does he lay down the law in a calm way? Does he lose control and angrily yell about how this kid doesn’t listen?

    The reaction to the transgression matters, now that we have judged that the woman’s shit test or the child’s disobedience is wrong. The transgression gives an opportunity for the man to demonstrate his nature. This is a test he can pass or fail, by different standards – the Churchian standards, PUA/Game standards, or God’s standards.

    That good can come out of it is not an excuse for the wrong, and the evo-psych models of these dynamics ultimately fail because man is not just an animal, but a moral actor.

  47. Ilíon says:

    … and the evo-psych models of these dynamics ultimately fail because man is not just an animal, but a moral actor.

    Moreover, “evo-psych models”, and thus “game”, aren’t based on anything other than the imagined psychology of imaginary “cave-men”.

  48. I never subscribed to the evo-pysch models so much as the sin nature model. Women have a sin nature, “game” is a human effort to compensate for sin. Women owning up to their sin nature would go a long ways towards addressing the felt need for game. Doesn’t seem to be in the cards. I guess we need to continue to address them as sub-adults as a class.

  49. Rollory says:

    I remember Ilion from … where was it, Mangan’s? If it wasn’t that blog it was someplace like it.

    Interesting to see his utter cluelessness has not diminished with time.

  50. Ilíon says:

    When I don’t subscribe to an ideology, especially one easily seen to be false, I don’t use the language of that ideology.

  51. Hazelshade says:

    Gotta love it when history’s great rakes affirm the red pill and dump on nanny-mongering lady-worship.

  52. @Ilion:

    You literally proved my point. Clever. /golfclap

    Your mother would be so proud.

  53. Anonymous Reader says:

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

  54. Tim J Penner says:

    The point of Dalrock quoting Ovid, as I understand it, is that they both intend to question the inerrancy, infalibility and indispensibility of the “Holy Honey Do List.”

  55. ahlstar says:

    God Is Laughing

    Women have a sin nature, “game” is a human effort to compensate for sin.

    This is the best summation I have ever seen to describe the loathsome “game”.

    hat tip

  56. Tam the Bam says:

    “Oh look, InsanityBytes is here.”
    I was racking my brains for the handle as soon as I ran into the inimitable drivel.
    It’s like the smell of fox-piss; hard to describe, but unmistakable.
    Thanks ManlyMan and feministhater.

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