The power to Love and Appreciate is the most misunderstood of all of our masculine powers. Indeed, popular opinion is against lumping this in with masculinity at all, for the sake of political convenience. I suppose it would be nice for the feminists of the world if all men were thuggish brutes without a speck of aesthetic sense, to help their generalizations about men and masculine culture, but the plain fact of the matter is that the power to Love and Appreciate is just as masculine and manly as the power to crush a skull with the butt of a rifle in defense of your country. Or the power to order such skulls to be crushed. Or the power to know the most efficient way to crush a skull. The power to Love and Appreciate a slippery one to get a handle on for some men, and for very good reasons.
But it's not just misunderstood from the masculine side: for women, this power presents a golden opportunity for projection. In this sense, projection is a positive thing most of the time. When a woman sees a man actively love and appreciate the world around him, she assumes that he has a caring and compassionate nature, empathy with other people, and will be understanding of her emotional needs and even be willing to fulfill them. Many a romance has been sparked by a woman jumping to these projection-based conclusions. The assumption that a man has a dog he's affectionate with, for example, translates into a whole host of supposed character qualities that a particular woman may interpret as good genes, giving her the green light to initiate Chemistry (often in conjunction with a low neckline) and entangle them both with sex and emotional baggage.
The best personification of this power in our modern Western culture has to be James Bond. Often tauted as the classic example of Dark Triad traits, let's ignore the nastier bits of his personality (licensed to kill people) and focus on the real reason James Bond is such a popular figure. He's not unique -- after all there have been plenty of action heroes throughout history. Upon close scrutiny, Bond's appeal isn't the fact that he's a cold-blooded killer in the service of King and Country . . . it's his ability to appreciate the best elements of our culture. Oh, and his ability to have sex with just about any woman he wants to. We'll get back to that in a moment.
Bond's appeal can be summed up with the instantly-identifiable popular phrases and brands associated with him: "Shaken, not stirred", "Jamaican Blue Mountain, black", Austin Martin, Walther PPK, Saville Row . . . Bond represents not just an adept assassin and general badass, but a badass who oozes culture, refinement, and (importantly) appreciation from every pore.
(Interesting side note: Don't think Bond is the best bellwether for the Appreciation and Love power? Consider his influence: thanks to Mr. Bond's predilection for JBM, mentioned (I believe) in Live and Let Die, among others, when the Japanese economy began to be dominant in the 1970s and 1980s, the Japanese collectively bought up the entire world's supply of JBM for a couple of years . . . because that's what the ultra-cool Westerner, James Bond, drank. Ian Fleming, the author of the 007 novels (and, interestingly enough, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang), wrote them all at his Jamaican Goldeneye estate and since he preferred the local JBM varietal, that's what Bond drank. It was a tiny, minor detail, the sort we fiction authors love to throw in to add depth to the character without a lot of boring exposition. But it made it into the movies, and Bond's character is so culturally powerful that suddenly everyone wanted JBM.
You can find the same deep interest and sophistication about Bond's martinis. The famous "shaken, not stirred" line has become iconic. Most of you wouldn't be able to tell a shaken martini from a stirred martini if your life depended on it, but the fact that Bond makes the designation to his bartender indicates to those who observe him that that sort of detail matters to this guy. He can appreciate the difference.
In fact, a more complete recounting of his discriminating taste in fine adult beverages is in the books. If you want to know Bond's authentic drink of choice, and get a little more insight into his character, then this passage from Casino Royale is helpful:
'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'
'Certainly monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm...er...concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I think of a good name.'
— Casino Royale, Chapter 7
The description is illuminating: Bond has very, very definite tastes, and he has them not because it's fashionable to show discriminating tastes -- he has them because every day might be his last, he works really hard at his job, and he fucking knows what he likes and doesn't see any reason not to cater to that if possible. His tastes aren't affectation -- they're his on the force of his own masculinity. His drink has a particular taste, a particular feel in a particular glass, and a particular temperature and preparation method. The dude knows his poison so utterly that any deviation from his desires is suspect. He has manifested his appreciation of the taste, feel, and even the vessel he likes to be served in, because he's all Alpha and that's just the way he wants it.
Bond is, as the newer movies never hesitate to point out, an atavism, an anachronism, a dinosaur in the world of mammals. And while that's a fair assessment, it doesn't just refer to his ability to dish out lethal violence with dashing abandon. It also refers to Bond's historical background as a character.
Bond is British (and half the world speaks English now), a scion of a a Scottish father and a Swiss mother, giving him an international, Continental feel while maintaining his essential Britishness. Bond's name was picked by Fleming because it was short, British, and undeniably masculine. His character is presumed to have attended all the best schools, been raised with the kind of education only a British gentleman would complete, and with that inclusion into the cultural aristocracy of the British Empire it is assumed that he has encountered and developed an appreciation for things to be just as he likes them.
Unfortunately, most Blue Pill men have been artificially divorced from most of their natural passions, thanks to post-industrial life and feminism. When they look back on their pre-marriage lives, they see them in terms of what they had to give up in order to be married. In other words, most Blue Pill men have defined their contemporary lives in terms of the compromises they have made -- the passions that they gave up in exchange for "wedded bliss". Which is why most Blue Pill men are leading undersexed lives of quiet, passionless desperation.
The other side of this power is the power to Love. And that's where things start to get interesting.
Just like Command, Conflict, and Contemplation, the power to Appreciate and Love is a learnable, practicable skill. If you can't articulate how you love the stuff you merely like, how are you going to be able to communicate how much you love and appreciate something such as your wife and kids? As our interface with femininity, and the rest of the social world, this power has to be developed. That's why we study Game, after all: to be able to express our desires and communicate our wishes in a way that is attractive, compelling, and admirable. Or at least fake it convincingly.
This power demonstrates our discriminating nature. Our ability to recognize quality in other people, in women in particular. No woman wants to be with a man who doesn't value her -- but in order to do that, he has to demonstrate that he knows HOW to value something else, first. Further, he can't just say he "likes pretty women" and therefore she should be flattered . . . she wants to hear in gross and gory detail just how much he likes her in particular, and why, in the context of being an appreciator of pretty women.
Now, it's tempting to decide that your woman should be the object of your passion -- I mean, read one romance novel and you'll see how much utter devotion the heroine loves hearing from her man how much he can't live without her. But you try that shit in real life, and you invoke Roissy's 3rd Commandment:
III. You shall make your mission, not your woman, your priority
Forget all those romantic cliches of the leading man proclaiming his undying love for the woman who completes him. Despite whatever protestations to the contrary, women do not want to be “The One” or the center of a man’s existence. They in fact want to subordinate themselves to a worthy man’s life purpose, to help him achieve that purpose with their feminine support, and to follow the path he lays out. You must respect a woman’s integrity and not lie to her that she is “your everything”. She is not your everything, and if she is, she will soon not be anymore.
I can't put it any more clearly than that. If the Power to Appreciate and Love is the natural locale for your Game development, then an essential element of that Game is to understand that professions of love and devotion are one of the surest ways to kill her interest and excitement for you. Oh, she might feel valued at first . . . but if she is the center of your existence, then you aren't displaying the discriminating passions that are the DHV for this sphere.
But you can't just ignore her, either. You do, in fact, love her (or at least want to get in her pants and feel pretty passionate about it). How do you express that? Get beyond "nice shoes" and start delving deeply into her psyche for the really good stuff she'll react to, for one thing. This is axiomatic of Roissy's classic 16 Commandments of Poon Number 9:
IX. Connect with her emotions
Set yourself apart from other men and connect with a woman’s emotional landscape. Her mind is an alien world that requires deft navigation to reach your rendevous. Frolic in the surf of emotions rather than the arid desert of logic. Be playful. Employ all your senses. Describe in lush detail scenarios to set her heart afire. Give your feelings freedom to roam. ROAM. Yes, that is a good word. You’re not on a linear path with her. You are ROAMING all over, taking her on an adventure. In this world, there is no need to finish thoughts or draw conclusions. There is only need to EXPERIENCE. You’re grabbing her hand and running with her down an infinite, labyrinthine alleyway with no end, laughing and letting your fingers glide on the cobblestone walls along the way.
This might seem in conflict, or even contradictory, with Rule III, above. After all, how can you connect with her emotions and demonstrate your non-woman-oriented passions to her at the same time? Especially within the confines of a long term relationship this is going to be a challenge. But not impossible, or even that difficult, once you understand it.
Most dudes screw this up by clamming up -- and while strong and silent are generally attractive qualities in a man, a stoic and laconic manner will eventually lead her to conclude that you are either too deep for her or too shallow, based on a lack of evidence in either direction. If she's begging you for emotional connection and you're giving her nothing, you're a wash in her mind. On the flip side, over-sharing your feelings is more suitable to, say, her BFF or best gay friend, not the Cockzilla in her life.
In order to find the happy medium that will satisfy both her desire for emotional connection AND keep her intrigued by your non-sexual passions, I use the model of the Zookeeper.
Imply that there are plenty of other cages she hasn't seen (the sloth cage or the hyena cage, for instance), and some you don't want her to see yet (the Lion cage, for instance, where you keep your righteous anger and appreciation of violence, or the bear cage where you keep your determination). But by showing her a few of the cages in carefully controlled circumstances, you are introducing her to your emotional life and allowing her the opportunity to follow you on the tour and observe for herself.
Not to conduct it: she only gets to see what you show her. And don't think she'll get resentful because you aren't being emotionally forthcoming enough -- on the contrary, she'll ultimately be far more impressed with your control of your own emotions than the breadth of emotional life you may have. After all, there are few things less masculine than a man in an emotional panic.
If she tries a Shit Test involving getting rid of something you value "for your own good", for example, then it is a perfectly reasonable response to let her see the Lion, sans protective bars. You are a Zookeeper -- you aren't a prison guard. Your control exists for the benefit of your mental health, not for her benefit. You are there to see that the animals stay on one side, the spectators on the other, but when a spectator wanders into the lion's cage . . . well, they should have read the sign.
Among the cages in the Zoo of course is the Lovebirds: your sense of romantic, sexual love. This is at the heart of this sphere, and unfortunately all too many men have grown up ashamed of this cage, for whatever reason. Either they were talked out of it by an over-alpha male at an impressionable age ("real men don't go in for that mushy romantic stuff") or they refused to embrace the erotic nature of that kind of love out of a feminist-inspired Blue Pill guilt about "taking advantage" of women sexually. Either way, they hide away their Lovebirds from their woman except on very special and rare occasions.
Of course, that's why the woman came to the Zoo in the first place.
Just be sure she understands where the bars are, and why you're not going to open them except for very special circumstances. And believe it or not, that's a good thing. Just as you don't want to think that she's let half the world tour her vagina, she doesn't want to think that you've let half the world tour your deepest, most intense emotional landscape. She wants to be your special little snowflake who you are so enthralled with that she, alone, is worthy of a cage-less tour. That's part of the allure of Christian Grey and other one-dimensional romantic heroes: they guard their Lovebirds so carefully that the heroines get obsessed with being allowed in the cage because they alone are worthy.
Which brings us back to the 16 Commandments and Game in general again:
VI. Keep her guessing
True to their inscrutable natures, women ask questions they don’t really want direct answers to. Woe be the man who plays it straight — his fate is the suffering of the beta. Evade, tease, obfuscate. She thrives when she has to imagine what you’re thinking about her, and withers when she knows exactly how you feel. A woman may want financial and family security, but she does not want passion security. In the same manner, when she has displeased you, punish swiftly, but when she has done you right, reward slowly. Reward her good behavior intermittently and unpredictably and she will never tire of working hard to please you.
"Keep her guessing" about your Lovebirds, and it will intrigue her for years. Let her walk into the cage like she owns the joint, and you're doomed to Betadom.
That doesn't mean you can't maintain your careful control over your emotions and still express your enthusiasm for her -- it just means that mixed in with precious glimpses of the Lovebirds she has to get past the hyenas and perhaps a random troop of baboons loose in the Zoo. She has to exert some effort to see the Lovebirds cage, and her satisfaction with it will often be tempered by how hard she had to work to get there. If she can just walk in, walk up to it, and walk right in . . . well, she can be done by 10:30 and still have time to catch a movie with her girlfriends.
The power to Love and Appreciate comes naturally to most men; some of us just un-learn it if we're placed in extreme situations where it becomes a punishable offense. But women are attracted to this very-masculine archetype as much or more than the others. It's the one that talks to them, not at them, the one who really cares what kind of day they had, and the one who would rather go to the game than go shopping . . . and doesn't mind saying so. This is the seat of your aesthetic sense, your appreciation for color, texture, taste and sound. When you spend an extra $50 on car speakers because you love the way Led Zeppelin sounds that much, your Lover is showing. When you call in sick to work -- for both you and your wife -- and then spend the rest of the day being intimate (i.e., plowing her like it's Springtime in Kansas) without regret, your Lover is in charge.
I said that this is the sphere wherein Game lies, and I stand by that. While every part of you can appreciate the sublime act of getting laid, the one who actually does the leg work is this one. The intellect may be figuring Game out, the Captain may be using it as a valuable tool of structure and order, the Warrior may see it as an intriguing pass-time between battles . . . but this is what the Lover lives for. James Bond with a license to fuck. Sophisticated tastes and larger-than-life appetites. Experience and wisdom tempered by enthusiasm and delight. An appreciation for his emotions to inform his larger life, but the control to keep them useful experiences instead of excuses for failure.
By seeking out the complementary companionship of a quality woman and appealing to her sense of emotional intrigue, you are exercising a profoundly masculine power. By yoking the intellect to the matter, you get Game in its modern context. By producing high-quality kids with her and raising them to maturity, you get a sense of satisfaction the Captain, Nerd, and Warrior can only imagine. And by indulging in your personal passions, you not only fulfill your own desires, you demonstrate your worthiness to a woman by showing your ability to have a commitment to something outside of yourself.
For all the Dark Triad shit that gets saddled on Jame Bond, remember that his emotions -- patriotism, noblesse oblige, sense of higher purpose -- are actually subordinate to his classic narcissism, or he wouldn't have a license to kill -- he'd just be a killer. Understanding the importance of the work he does, James Bond doesn't flee from or deny his emotions, he embraces them, controls them, cages them until he can call them forth at will and make them do his bidding. He may love himself . . . but only in the context of a higher calling. The important thing is that he can love, and more, that he can appreciate those things worth fighting and dying for (or at least sleeping every night with a pistol in your hand and three fingers of Scotch at your elbow) more than he values his own survival.
While this concludes the series on the Masculine powers, that doesn't preclude revisiting them in the future. If you have questions, I'm more than happy to back over any of these posts and explain in better detail.
If you don't have questions . . . then what are you waiting for? Go out and be manly and fuck something sweet and tasty. You'll thank me later.