Swimmer asked for the definition of Empathogasm

Commenter ‘swimmer’ has asked that I explain or define my term <i>empathogasm</i>, stating it had been lost when a hard drive corrupted or something.

I am flattered that someone would take the time to record the explanation of a term that I probably made up on the spot the first time I needed it. Personally I like the term because it, like The Lift, fits perfectly as a description of the motive for certain behaviors. It is certainly not clinical, but it is efficacious in making succinct what I posit is an inner drive women have that I suggest is loosely analogous to the male sex drive.

The description, if I recall, was built from an example. The epiphany hit me one day a few years ago while seated around the neighborhood pool with my wife and youngest daughter. The pool attracts mostly moms and kids. The moms are in the back half of their 30’s as is typical for parents of kids 7 and under. We, however, have a late child whose birth came when my wife was 40 and I was 43. So we have a decade between us and the parents of our youngest daughters cohorts.

My wife as as prone to seek empathogasms as any woman, so I was fascinated that as she and some of the moms shared small talk, the communicating pairs were really straining to reach the climax, the empatholgasm. I’ve witnessed my wife and her friends or new acquaintances score one with minimal effort, yet this day the frustration was evident (for he with eyes to see).

When men meet we exchange facts. Birthplace, work, how many kids, maybe whether we like to fish or golf or hunt. We may get to the point where we are exchanging opinions. But we exchange them for informational purposes until we develop (unfairly) a first impression of who we are and where and if we fit. Acquaintances, buddies, friends? Decorum will dictate then whether we stay banal and discuss sports, get more ideological and talk politics, get personal but with reserve and talk faith or spirituality, or we open up and really share stuff. Not gonna happen very often in a first meeting.

Women however are exchanging facts along with opinions and value judgements until they sense there is something they can peel layers from and get deeper. For example:

“Oh your daughter goes to Maple Elementary?…Mine too” (this is where the metaphorical touching turns to heavy petting, there is a shot at an empathogasm here)

A careful often passive discussion about some value judgements regarding the school may ensue until one or the other expresses a feeling about some aspect of the school, a teacher, a policy, etc.

Sometimes they leave the topic frustrated as the petting was clearly leading nowhere. So they start another topic and exchange opinions about that. Could be diet, discipline of kids, something about the neighborhood, whatever things inform women’s initial conversations. Usually not deeply personal things like husbands or a particular child of theirs, so forth.

They will cast about sometimes rapidly firing off test facts and opinions seeking a spark that signals “willing partner”. As they narrow down to that topic they move very obviously to a place where one expresses a feeling about something and the other lights up as if the pleasure center in the brain took a surge and says, “you feel X about Y……I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL!”

That is the empathogasm. The whole dynamic is a little  bit like a man trolling a bar and finding the girl he thinks he may have a shot at for sex. Not a sure thing, but the exchange of information and the initial light conversation signals something or it doesn’t. Same for these women.

If a woman can end-cap a conversation with “I know exactly how you feel”, in the case of a newly met person the woman will leave the encounter saying she thinks she and that woman can be fast friends. No empathogasm, …eh, she thinks,….”she was ok”. Its the same for women who are long time friends. If they have a phone call that doesn’t yield an empathogasm about something, it will end sooner and be far less satisfying than especially the ones there they achieve the apogee of communication titillation, the multiple empathogasm.

Some have temporarily lost their vision after one-a-those.

Now consider how this empathogasm craving impacts the communication dynamics between wives and husbands. Take the empathogasm as backdrop for understanding the whole “I dont want to have my issue fixed, I want you to listen”…and it makes sense. Consider the Joel and Kathy nonsense about how if a man doesn’t literally KNOW his wife’s heart (something I only can understand in empathogasm terms, otherwise its meaning is lost on me) he is a failure as a husband. Those are all strongly worded things if they were not about something that finds a literal drive for some kind of climax as the motive.

Grant Amy some common sense

Amy’s gone and done it again. For how many years will I have to live with the fact that I ran, not walked, to buy her CD Age to Age with El Shaddai on it. Its going to be at least until her latest altruistic flog passes to and through the American evangelical zeitgeist.

She has an opinion piece up at Fox News where she opens with an  emotional hook that I can express in a math lesson. To remember the  correct order of operations in math you can use the acronym BODMAS.

When Grant says her favorite prayer is:

“Lord, lead me to the ones I need. And, to the ones who need me.”

Her acronym is BOD-my-ass because she has it ass backwards.

Forget all that because that’s not the worst of it.

She proceeds to share heart tugging anecdotes, which actually can have value. I get that. But she takes the warm broth of empathy she has generated and throws in a cold turd from left field.

Over 220 million women around the world have raised their voices to say that they want to avoid their next pregnancy but lack the information or contraceptives to do so. To say this takes extreme courage. And to hear this and do something about it takes courage. This means talking about pregnancy and birth and newborns with influential leaders across the United States [my bold]

Did she just say that 220 million women are unaware how they get pregnant? And by mentioning leaders in the U.S. is she on about insurance and Sandra Fluke stuff, or is she saying women in the U.S. are equally baffled that after laying back and enjoying it so often they have  thought of every county in England, then they are shocked that their pants start getting snug and their belly buttons are inverting?

The feminist leaning emotional ideas start popping up randomly like whack-a-mole.

I can empathize with these women around the world who want a chance for education, employment, and a happier, healthier family.

Will someone map her thoughts for me? Or point me in the direction of the thread… maybe just the “frayed not” from that punchline.

What does Amy make you think of?

Yea, me too….Vince Gill, sheesh.

F U Big Lou

Who has heard the Big Lou term life insurance commercials?

I heard one for the first time as I drove to tennis this evening and was appalled. I thought, however, that it was a local company and where I live this kind of kitsch is well tolerated. After Googling and finding several links that led to similar schlocky insurance businesses in other cities I suppose this idiocy may be heard elsewhere.

Big Lou’s insurance asks women if their husbands are getting fat and unappealing. Voice over is someone’s attempt to imitate an accent from one of the boroughs of NYC. They recommend the wife call Big Lou and get 1 MM bucks worth of insurance on the loser and stop wasting money trying to feed him healthy food. after all, they say, he will look pretty good with that million dollar policy on him.




Daughters protect elderly remarried mother from her second husband’s sex drive

78 year old Henry Rayhons is charged with raping his wife while she was in a nursing home.

The wife, Donna, a widow, and Ray a widower had married in 2007. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with early dementia and by 2014 was unable to live without full care in a facility. Henry says they did have sex early on at her behest, there in her private room. But that after a clinician told Henry and Donna’s two daughters  that Donna could no longer consent to sex he respected the boundary.

He faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

If it is true that patients have moments of lucidity, and if as the article says, patients are considered OK to make decisions about many things that are not trivial, why not sex?

Is this feminism and take back the night in geriatric expansion mode? Have they been so tainted with false media accounts of rape and so branded by the ruining of careers and lives with the Duke case that they are now going to show that men are a danger to their wives once the wife has dementia?

This is not complicated. It has no basis in anything that should point to criminality. I say so what if he had sex with her. If it was not medically dangerous and the wife didn’t object, where’s the problem?

The problem, in this case, seems to be the two daughters who never liked that mom was a geezer pleezer. It feels like they rushed at the opportunity the install the geriatro-chastity belt for their own reasons and are now happy to put a man away for 10 years whether he did it or not.

Nefandous Reality

People believe strongly in the version of reality that shapes and supports their worldview. People hold worldviews that support the way they see reality.

Take the two images below. These are screen shots from a video where an investment company is explaining what “quants” do and how it relates to investment strategy. Quants do more than stochastic analysis, often delving to chaos and fractals and all manner of really really high math. I find it fascinating but will forgo the tangent.

The first image is a woman with a B.A. in economics. She is the market facing face of the company because she is reasonably attractive and polished. Had they let her just talk about their services like the man in the video does it would have been fine. But they add this segment where she is writing numbers and symbols on a clear board, meant to look as if she is close to a breakthrough on LaPlace’s Demon.

This woman is not a quant. And folks don’t solve differential equations, by choice, with a wax pen and a clear board.

Qwannabe Quant

Quant Wannabe

The woman in the second image just sits and speaks from the table pictured. She holds two degrees in engineering and a Ph.D. in economics. This woman is a quant in real life.

Righteous Quant

Righteous Quant

The presence of the first woman feeds an aspect of the artificial reality that informs women’s worldview. I’m pretty, I’m whip smart, anything he can do I can do…so forth. The reality is that the second woman is, well, a woman too. But do women want to think that a bookish woman from a patriarchal country who wears a head covering and dresses in an androgynous manner is more the reality of of the STEM high achiever? No. So they think otherwise. Then advertisers help them keep their version of reality in place by adding segments like the one with the clear board and the blond.

This manifests in the sphere when women write things like the recent infestation of comments that are drawn from the kind of reality shown with the blond writing equations. The woman is stating things that only exist in her mind because she read them somewhere else and she liked how they felt in her head. No thought was needed, no rearrangement of priorities or changing of beliefs. Just affirmation that in her world men are being taught to be ogres and attractive middle aged women with BA’s in economics are doing Elliott Wave mechanics for investment firms.

There is power in offering up a reality that allows women to self affirm. This power lets call <i>The Farce</i>. The Farce is strong in most women. Women gather under a venerable teacher named Yoga where they feed collectively at the power of the darkest side of The Farce. There is a man or lore who was said to have the farce in him greatly, and despite his altruistic deployment of it, they hold him still in highest regard for his ability to create reality.

He was called OB(GYN)-enobi. He once is said to have spoken a policeman who was leaning into a car full of women, waving his hands and saying “you don’t need to see her identification….these aren’t the women you are looking for”. The policeman repeated back OBGYNs words and left the women to their leave.


America, odd ya see

A female special forces soldier witnesses her squad murdered in North Africa by an evil private security firm hired by an even more evil American corporate cabal.

That’s the back story for a new program called American Odyssey.

She sounds like a character that regular folks will be able to relate to doesn’t she? And those of us who work for anything larger than a sole proprietorship can wipe off the festering gelatinous remnants from the last marinade and wait to have this new self effacing sauce brushed on.

Sundays at 10/9C




See Alice, and some other second thing.

I am certain this has been posited somewhere before. I seem to recall the famous Minter marriage topic brushing up against it, but not painting broadly. That guy was very open about his self-love and the efficacy of same, and if I recall concluding that porn and self indulgence had cost him, uh, some rigidity or something along those lines. While likely true it was an unfortunate nod to conventional wisdom that the decline in male sexual capability with age is not at all related to the partner, but to the fact that the man is most likely staying up late with Lucy Laptop, Tracy Tablet, and Phoebe Phone…exhausting himself in a menage a trois that no Luddite could possibly enjoy.

Or not. Stay with me as I swerve.

I raised the subject of a couple, friends of my family, who are in the death rattle of their marriage. I explained that the man is like a released hostage, not elated at the family being destroyed, rather he is content in the fact that this 27 year union is going to end, not if….and he knows when. He is not crestfallen, weepy, or morose. He is a bit pissed off.

He spoke to me last evening and still sounds great. He shared some bitter wife anecdotes that I explained to him come from the template. One was that he spent a full day and night  at her house while she was out of town, cleaned, mowed, and did some work on her bed because she has an injured back. When she returned he was still there. She made no acknowledgement of any of the work.

As he left he told her that he had done some work on the supports under her bed and that he had slept on it himself (he has had five back surgeries) and thinks it will help her back.

She followed him to his car and asked, “So you slept in the bed?”. Him: “Um, sure, yea, where else would I sleep?

She said, “That’s just weird and creepy”.

I don’t know about you but that kind of thing gets me exercised. More, its a glimpse into how her bed has likely been for years.

All of that for some reason sent me to sleep last evening with images of two claw foot bathtubs on a hill. Well, not really. But it did make me wonder if the absurd amount of Cialis sold in the US has a tiny bit to do with that happens, down to and including nothing,  in her bed(s) collectively. When mercy comes runnin’ and she gives her thoughts to England for her man is it any wonder he needs a pharmaceutical splint?

The sameness of the difference

This is nothing new.

Diversity used to mean something related to the word diverse. Different. Differing. I suppose it still does if the topic is the flavors at Baskin Robbins. Those are still different. Or random people’s taste in music. Very diverse.

I just read an article on Bloomberg where the sameness of a group is heralded for the groups diversity. Consider these two quotes:

The goal is to arm the participants—all women and minorities who have yet to serve on boards other than their own companies’

When he introduced himself to the class, Walker said, he told them, “This is the most diverse group I’ve been in in a very long time.”

Women’s college? Boldly diverse. Black institutions of higher learning? Off the charts diverse. A black women’s college? Queue back light and resonant monk choir note. Diverse wouldn’t do it unless spoken in breathless awe.

If you want to change the people, change the language incrementally over time. Before you know it everyone will be feeling down, which means up, which would be bad, which is good.

The subtle power of example: Between normalcy and overreaction biases

Today we had a guest preacher. Whenever that happens its to be expected that we will hear the sermon equivalent of a stump speech. Some stump sermons are outstanding. Honed over years of delivery, if the hook and lever are workable, a gifted guest preacher and his stump sermon can be a fresh breath of air.

Today’s was better than average, and like most, was a sort of back to basics lesson about God’s presence in life, good and bad days,…like that. When it is time to make it personal for the crowd preachers start using generic examples, like, “Well Lord, my brother was ill and we prayed and prayed and we ended up burying him last month”, or “My child is off the rails in rebellion and has been for a few years, where are you God in this?” and finally “My husband ran off and won’t come back”.

The folks who read my prattling have seen me use the descriptor comfy chair as a way to describe how most people are content with their sound byte based views on things.These views never fail to bring nods all around in conversations after all. More, when a different view is articulated the person settled into the comfy chair of their shallow beliefs will deny the obvious in any form it is presented. They don’t want to sit on the wooden stool, they wanna stay in the comfy chair.

As the preacher was creating his examples its hard to fault him for the one he chose for  marriage failure. He has only heard such examples used in his lifetime. Or if he ever used or heard used an example that was Christo-politically incorrect he learned quickly that he’d best not go there. So, husband leaves wife is the crisis he chose for marriage problems. The crowd heard three examples, and none of them stood out as different in any way. Cozy…those examples. Safe. A hand made wool throw added to the comfy chair, a crackling fire and some tea. Don’t mess with me, I’m warm, comfy, and my tea is steeped just right. A military man may well shout OOLONG! so compelling the imagery.

The choices made when constructing examples are immaterial when it is about a death of a loved one or about a child lost to the world. In other words he can say man, woman, child, adult, whatever and there is no value judgement buttressed or diluted. But the choice to have a man running away from his family as the marital collapse example is not without consequence, and the results are subtle yet extremely powerful. So powerful that it leaves marriage failure as the prime issue where churches allocate time and resources 180 degrees out of phase with how the statistics would suggest the issue be addressed.

The simple alternative would be just to have the wife leaving the husband. Think about the difference in the way the whole message would be perceived after the fact had he done that. Powerful truths, saving truths, could be put asunder by the choice of an example that ruffled the feathers of the gaggle of cacklers in the pews.

Lets crank it up further.

“You have been praying that your wife can break her addiction to pornography”, he may have said but for the fact that fifty shades of shit would hit the fan.

Examples either have power, or they fail to tap into righteous power that is available.

Similarly, most have seen the videos some churches use where members offer some testimony and express gratitude to God and to the church for walking them through some problem. Has anyone ever seen one of those videos that involved a man speaking about how his wife up and left and now praise God she is back? Yes? me too. But.

They always have the man weeping in confession to how he was not loving her as she deserved. They have men who were solid husbands wallowing in self effacement to make the point that ANY wife would have left him and thankfully he is now deemed worthy again.

Regardless what the topic of sermon, most involve using some generic examples. Weekly even the most expository type preachers will toss in a campy example or two, sometimes using specific people, sometimes using generic references. When these are buried amidst especially poignant topics it grieves me to imagine that but for choosing examples with fear in mind, the impact of even the best crafted message would be lost.

Butts would rather stay in comfy chairs than have to move to the wooden stool. The stool is a real pain in the ass.

Like a Life Saver Candy

For years Ive been an advocate of the Marriage Savers program. Created by Mike McManus, it is a cooperative effort amongst local churches in a given community whereby, through a covenant commitment, pastors adopt certain programs and policies that show remarkable efficacy in decreasing the rate of divorce in defined populations. They have years of data from each successful deployment (meaning a sufficient critical mass of proximate churches participate) showing fantastic results. You can scan the site and see for yourselves.

I receive regular emails from them and in the past have engaged them in conversation by email. I asked what I thought were blunt tough questions and never was disappointed by the responses, even from McManus himself who seems to be a real gentleman with real concern about divorce in the church (and in general, but his program is about churches). I failed, however,  to dig in and actually read the covenants to which churches commit..

An email I received yesterday , subject line : “A Lenten Pledge to radically Reduce the Divorce Rate” , listed off new community successes including the before and after statistics. They are impressive. Then it goes on the summarize the church covenant in numbered parts with my simple description following their headings:

  1. Preparation….premarital counseling.
  2. Enrichment….reinvigorate stale marriages
  3. Restore…using mentors to help repair hurting marriages
  4. Reconciliation…Here is where the bomb went off

I found this quote in the Reconciliation section text about helping separated couples:

a 12-week Marriage 911 workbook course taken by the spouse who wants to save a marriage when a partner wants a divorce. The course is taken with a friend of the same gender, who acts as an accountability partner, using a Support Partner Handbook to know what questions to ask each week. It is designed to help the committed spouse grow so much that the errant spouse is attracted back. It saves more than half of the marriages. Cost: only $28 plus shipping. [my emphasis]

I fear the “cost” is far more than $28.00. This is nothing more than a fancy new specialty tool added to the toolbox of the unhaaaapy wife. Its the full weight and force of the churches under covenant, the staffs, the elders, the mentors, and the support people back at Marriage Savers, all working to fix the man ( fix the man ≅ fix the marriage).

He knows its men who find themselves “the committed spouse” in the vast majority of cases. My pastor acknowledged as much a few weeks ago at lunch, sharing that his next meeting was with a wife who had refused to see him for four months during which the husband had more than remade himself per her complaints.

The advice to men is comfy chair stuff. “Don’t beg, don’t push”, just polish yourself into a Dove-scrubbed glow so fresh looking and smelling she will take you back if for no other reason than it will allow her to sit the fabric softener aside when washing the sheets, so fresh your aura will be. (fresh enough to overcome the miasma of passive aggressive manipulation).

Saving the marriage is unarguably good. Kids benefit enormously. The cost is born by the husband who has had this laid upon him by degrees for years with each argument that she uses to leverage out another chunk of who he is. This kind of program cuts short her rock chipping and blasts the crap out of him leaving a plodding long suffering steadfast man who will find no succor in the law, in friends and family, nor from his church.

Like the candy mentioned in the title, there is a hole in the center of marriage savers. It beats the alternative though. In this game some people do not get trophies. But for the victory with points at the buzzer….marriage wins 51/49.