JOAN DIDION’S ESSAY: ‘ON SELF RESPECT’:

Once, in a dry season, I wrote in large letters across two pages of a notebook that innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself. Although now, some years later, I marvel that a mind on the outs with itself should have nonetheless made painstaking record of its every tremor, I recall with embarrassing clarity the flavor of those particular ashes. It was a mater of misplaced self-respect.

I had not been elected to Phi Beta Kappa. This failure could scarcely have been more predictable or less ambiguous (I simply did not have the grades), but I was unnerved by it; I had somehow thought myself a kind of academic Raskolnikov, curiously exempt from the cause-effect relationships which hampered others. Although even the humorless nineteen-year-old that I was must have recognized that the situation lacked real tragic stature, the day that I did to make Phi Beta kappa nonetheless marked the end of something, and innocence may well be the word for it. I lost the conviction that lights would always turn green for me, the pleasant certainty that those rather passive virtues which had won me approval as a child automatically guaranteed me not only Phi Beta Kappa keys but happiness, honor, and the love of a good man; lost a certain touching faith in the totem power of good manners, clean hair, and proved competence on the Stanford-Binet scale. To such doubtful amulets had my self-respect been pinned, and I faced myself that day with the nonplussed apprehension of someone who has come across a vampire and has no crucifix at hand.

Although to be driven back upon oneself is an uneasy affair at best, rather like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, it seems to me now the one condition necessary to the beginnings of real self-respect. Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception. The tricks that work on others count for nothing in that well-lit back alley where one keeps assignations with oneself; no winning smiles will do here, no prettily drawn lists of good intentions. One shuffles flashily but in vain through ones’ marked cards the kindness done for the wrong reason, the apparent triumph which involved no real effort, the seemingly heroic act into which one had been shamed. The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others – who we are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without.

To do without self-respect, on the other hand, is to be an unwilling audience of one to an interminable documentary that deals one’s failings, both real and imagined, with fresh footage spliced in for every screening. There’s the glass you broke in anger, there’s the hurt on X’s face; watch now, this next scene, the night Y came back from Houston, see how you muff this one. To live without self-respect is to lie awake some night, beyond the reach of warm milk, the Phenobarbital, and the sleeping hand on the coverlet, counting up the sins of commissions and omission, the trusts betrayed, the promises subtly broken, the gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice, or carelessness. However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously uncomfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.

To protest that some fairly improbably people, some people who could not possibly respect themselves, seem to sleep easily enough is to miss the point entirely, as surely as those people miss it who think that self-respect has necessarily to do with not having safety pins in one’s underwear. There is a common superstition that “self-respect” is a kind of charm against snakes, something that keeps those who have it locked in some unblighted Eden, out of strange beds, ambivalent conversations, and trouble in general. It does not at all. It has nothing to do with the face of things, but concerns instead a separate peace, a private reconciliation. Although the careless, suicidal Julian English in Appointment in Samara and the careless, incurably dishonest Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby seem equally improbably candidates for self-respect, Jordan Baker had it, Julian English did not. With that genius for accommodation more often seen in women than men, Jordan took her own measure, made her own peace, avoided threats to that peace: “I hate careless people,” she told Nick Carraway. “It takes two to make an accident.”

Like Jordan Baker, people with self-respect have the courage of their mistakes. They know the price of things. If they choose to commit adultery, they do not then go running, in an access of bad conscience, to receive absolution from the wronged parties; nor do they complain unduly of the unfairness, the undeserved embarrassment, of being named co-respondent. In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of mortal nerve; they display what was once called character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues. The measure of its slipping prestige is that one tends to think of it only in connection with homely children and United States senators who have been defeated, preferably in the primary, for reelection. Nonetheless, character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.

Self-respect is something that our grandparents, whether or not they had it, knew all about. They had instilled in them, young, a certain discipline, the sense that one lives by doing things one does not particularly want to do, by putting fears and doubts to one side, by weighing immediate comforts against the possibility of larger, even intangible, comforts. It seemed to the nineteenth century admirable, but not remarkable, that Chinese Gordon put on a clean white suit and held Khartoum against the Mahdi; it did not seem unjust that the way to free land in California involved death and difficulty and dirt. In a diary kept during the winter of 1846, an emigrating twelve-yaer-old named Narcissa Cornwall noted coolly: “Father was busy reading and did not notice that the house was being filled with strange Indians until Mother spoke out about it.” Even lacking any clue as to what Mother said, one can scarcely fail to be impressed by the entire incident: the father reading, the Indians filing in, the mother choosing the words that would not alarm, the child duly recording the event and noting further that those particular Indians were not, “fortunately for us,” hostile. Indians were simply part of the donnee.

In one guise or another, Indians always are. Again, it is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has its price. People who respect themselves are willing to accept the risk that the Indians will be hostile, that the venture will go bankrupt, that the liaison may not turn out to be one in which every day is a holiday because you’re married to me. They are willing to invest something of themselves; they may not play at all, but when they do play, they know the odds.

That kind of self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth. It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my had in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult bin the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with ones head in a Food Fair bag. There is a similar case for all the small disciplines, unimportant in themselves; imagine maintaining any kind of swoon, commiserative or carnal, in a cold shower.

But those small disciplines are valuable only insofar as they represent larger ones. To say that Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton is not to say that Napoleon might have been saved by a crash program in cricket; to give formal dinners in the rain forest would be pointless did not the candlelight flickering on the liana call forth deeper, stronger disciplines, values instilled long before. It is a kind of ritual, helping us to remember who and what we are. In order to remember it, one must have known it.

To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out – since our self-image is untenable – their false notion of us. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gist for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give. Of course I will play Francesca to your Paolo, Helen Keller to anyone’s Annie Sullivan; no expectation is too misplaced, no role too ludicrous. At the mercy of those we cannot but hold in contempt, we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the urgency of divining and meting the next demand made upon us.

It is the phenomenon sometimes called “alienation from self.” In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands to much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the specter of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that answering it becomes out of the question. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.

the blind leading the blind (part 56):

inspired by long haired boys and 2011:

1. negging is sooo 2008. women are way too smart to fall for that shizzy nonsense anymore. We’ve evolved. we just don’t have the time. and some of us even like ourselves.

2. sincerity is the new irony. i mean it.

3. 2011 is all about ‘bro-labs’ or ‘collabros’. the term ‘collaboration’ is out! we’re sick of it! and you should be too!

4. start using the word ‘jabroni’ instead of ‘bro’, ‘douchbag’, or ‘dickhead’. and feel free to spice it up by adding the word ‘face’! example: ‘what’s up jabroni face?!’ OR the simplified: ‘fuck you jabroni!’

5. date boys younger than you. they can handle it. i think. maybe. well, just try… and then see how you feel.

6. start saying: ‘who are you wearing?’ it’s so much more fun then the usual ‘what are you doing?’ or ‘how are you feeling?’ BORING! 2011’s ALL about spicing it up! and NOT being a predictable patty! (and if you’re already saying that, start saying it more!)

7. emoticons are IN! don’t be scared of them! they are NOT dorky. do what you feel! or more specifically, show what you feel…with emoticons!

8. in addition to the ’emoticon madness’ I’m advocating, use these guys as freely as possible too: ‘!!!!!’ i think they’called ‘exclamation points’ or something dumb like that! weeeee!!!!

9. do you, imma do me.

10. only date beautiful long haired dudes.

CALL ME TONIGHT DURING ‘BOYCRAZY RADIO’!

BOYCRAZY RADIO!!! from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

TONIGHT!

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 26, 2011!

TUNE INTO – BOYCRAZY RADIO!

9PM PST/12AM EST

JUST CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

DIAL:

1(646) 378-0649

OR TOLL FREE

1(877) 569-3588

to CALL IN!

we’ll bro out, role play, & discuss ALL your love/sex/dating/life dilemmas!

let me know you’re out there and that you’re PRO ‘boycrazy radio’!

but either way… I LOVE YOU!

xo, Alexi


Listen to internet radio with Alexi Wasser on Blog Talk Radio

this is steve jones:

STEVE JONES from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

Legendary guitarist of the Sex Pistols,

host of my favorite radio showJonesy’s Jukebox” (now on kroq every Sunday 7-9pm pst),

and all around amazing, talented, badass, interesting, and hilarious guy….. this is Steve Jones!

Last December, i had the pleasure of being a guest on his show….

and after, Steve let me interview him! enjoy! xoxo

chatting with 2 smart, young, dudes of the day!

2 beautiful dudes of the day! from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

PS:

1. gay, straight, or bisexual- condoms SHOULD always be worn during sex.

2. gay, straight, or bisexual- you can totes have kids!

3. someday soon, anyone and everyone will be able to get married to whoever they want/whenever they want/wherever they want.

here’s to hoping for a better world in the very near future!

thanks for being brave and open to chatting with me boys!

lots of love, alexi

FOR DUDES ONLY- how to FOR SURE blow it with a great girl: (PART 3- READER SUBMISSION)

Dear Alexi,

Thought you might want to hear what a fucking jerk I’ve been dealing with, and how BLIND I’ve been.

Any one or two of the following behaviors probably should have been enough for me to get the hint, ‘THIS GUY IS NOT A GOOD GUY, and he doesn’t really care about you.’

But for some reason I saw a goodness in him that i thought would come out eventually, a maturity.

Sadly, it never did and I had to cut myself off from this addiction. In the end this probably says more about me than him.

WARNING SIGNS HE MIGHT BE A TOTAL D-BAG:

1. He fell asleep on the first date.

2. He fucked up your name on the second date (this is after he has seen your breasts)

3. He consistently texts you at 2am, and rarely during the day (other than to complain about his job)

4. He asks YOU to hang out and then bails on the plans, even though it was his idea.

5. He makes jokes about “Women’s Rights”

6. He hates Beyonce. (because shes too much of a FEMINIST)

7. He is shorter than you.

8. When you tell him initially that you are not orgasming during sex and that you need him to be more “generous”, he is hostile and immature.

9. He has catch phrases that he says all the time. Ant they’re not so funny.

10. He refers to himself as a BRO in almost every post with his friends on facebook.

11. He likes to “Rage”

12. He has the culinary taste of a twelve year old.

13. He made you watch “The Room”, even though you were bored out of your mind.

14. He posts things on your wall about Fox News.

15. He says he doesn’t remember how many people he’s slept with.

16. He made you see “Jackass 3D” in theatres on a date, even though that’s what he wanted to see…not you.

17. He only called you baby or told you that you were pretty when he was drunk.

18. He had a Halloween party, and though you’d been hanging out for months, he lied to you about it. then asked you to help him with his costume.

19. He speaks constantly about his career ambitions but when it comes to yours he barely listens.

20. He made fun of homeless people on the street.

21. He called them ‘boobies”

22. After many months of consistent hanging out and dates, he never introduced you to his friends. Even though you asked him to, and he had met some of yours.

23. The night before your birthday he texts and calls you from 3am to 7am, but on the day of your actual birthday he ignores you.

24. When you tell him you can’t do this anymore. He just says “ok”.

CALL ME TONIGHT DURING ‘BOYCRAZY RADIO’!

BOYCRAZY RADIO!!! from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

TONIGHT!

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 19, 2011!

TUNE INTO – BOYCRAZY RADIO!

9PM PST/12AM EST

JUST CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

DIAL:

1(646) 378-0649

OR TOLL FREE

1(877) 569-3588

to CALL IN!

we’ll bro out, role play, & discuss ALL your love/sex/dating/life dilemmas!

let me know you’re out there and that you’re PRO ‘boycrazy radio’!

but either way… I LOVE YOU!

xo, Alexi


Listen to internet radio with Alexi Wasser on Blog Talk Radio

being a girl isn’t always as easy as it seems:

boycrazy bikini mishap: from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

BOYCRAZY IN BROOKLYN (PART 2):

BOYCRAZY IN BROOKLYN (PART 2): from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

TONIGHT: TUNE INTO ‘BOYCRAZY RADIO’ – SPECIAL GUEST: MY MOM!

BOYCRAZY RADIO!!! from alexi wasser on Vimeo.

TONIGHT

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 12, 2011!

TUNE INTO – BOYCRAZY RADIO!

9PM PST/12AM EST

SPECIAL GUEST: MY MOM!

AKA ‘MOMMY’

it’s the BEST of both worlds!

if you DON’T have a mom,

or at LEAST a mom you can TALK to…

you can borrow MINE for an hour!

JUST CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

DIAL:

1(646) 378-0649

OR CALL TOLL FREE:

1(877) 569-3588

We’ll bro out, role play,

& discuss ALL your love, sex, dating,

and life dilemmas!

Listen to internet radio with Alexi Wasser on Blog Talk Radio


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