Thursday, August 23, 2012

DHV: Have some credit

When my first marriage broke up, my credit was awful. I had a pre-paid cell phone because even the phone company wouldn’t give me credit. In my defense, I must point out that I was married to a drug addict, but I must also accept responsibility for my own bad decisions – including the decision to remain married to a drug addict for as long as I did.

As soon as we separated, I formulated a plan. I eliminated all excess spending. After alimony, nearly half my take-home pay went to paying down some very old debts. I also worked on cleaning up my credit reports. I won’t go into details here, but I found a lot of useful information at the FICO Forum.  

Three years after the separation, my credit had improved enough that I was able to buy a house. Three years after that, I was able to qualify for an American Express card. That green Amex card is a huge symbol to me, because Amex was the first credit card I ever owned, and the first one to be cancelled for missed payments. Having that card in my wallet reminds me that I am now a responsible adult.

You’ll hear a lot from guys like Dave Ramsey on why it’s important to be debt-free. And I agree with most of it. But being debt-free is not the same thing as not having credit, or not using credit. And sometimes, it’s really important to be able to pull out the credit card and handle a situation.

I was recently in just such a situation. My wife and I attended a family reunion on the other side of the country. It was an area we had never visited, and to maximize our time there we booked the last flight out of the airport the night we were scheduled to return home.

That’s where Murphy’s Law raised its ugly head. Due to mechanical problems, our flight was cancelled. Two hundred people de-planed and headed to the service counter to try to re-book their flights. When it was finally our turn, the very pleasant young man informed us that he could get us two seats on a non-stop flight home at 1:00 PM. It was currently a little after midnight.

“Don’t you have anything leaving earlier?” I really didn’t want to spend the next 13 hours in that airport.

He clicked on his keyboard for a minute. “I have a flight leaving at 9:00 AM. But you have to change planes in Chicago, with a two-hour layover. It arrives at [hometown] 20 minutes later than the non-stop.”

So we take the nonstop. “Can you provide us with a hotel room?” He explained that the airline does keep a block of rooms, but they didn’t have any more available. He gave me a pink slip of paper with an 800 number, and told me that if I called that number they could find me a discounted rate.

My wife, by this point, was getting a little bit nuts. We could see some folks from our flight bedding down in the corner at the next gate. CNN was blaring loudly on an overhead TV screen. I knew it was time to Alpha-up and be the Captain.

“Sit here with the bags,” I told her. “I’m going to go over there where it’s a little quieter, and make a phone call. Don’t panic, I’ve got this.”

I called the number on the card. They told me that they had a few rooms left near this particular airport, at a Marriott. $115 seemed like a good rate, under the circumstances. There was a free shuttle. I wrote down the confirmation number.

I went back to my wife. “Grab your bags, we’re going to the Marriott.” The relief in her eyes was visible.

Instead of a miserable night trying to sleep in an airport, wearing clothes we had been sweating in all day, we got to take hot showers and crawl between clean sheets in a comfortable bed. In the morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast overlooking the bay, while watching the airplanes take off from the runway that jutted out into the water. Then we took the free shuttle back to the airport, and the flight home went off without a hitch.

The “old me” wouldn’t have been able to make this happen. After carefully budgeting the trip down to the penny, I wouldn’t have had the resources to deal with the extra Benjamin for the hotel room, not to mention the extra $50 for breakfast. That little green Amex card in my wallet bought me much more than a comfortable night’s sleep and a pleasant breakfast – it let me be a hero to my wife.

And that is a great thing to be.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Alpha move: dress better

Over on Hooking Up Smart, a commenter named Cooper had some questions about why he was attracting the wrong kinds of women. It seems that he has no problem attracting women, but he’s looking for a potential Mrs. Cooper.

I’m not going to suggest that Cooper’s wardrobe is entirely responsible for his problem. There’s a lot going on here, and his clothing choice is only a small part of it. But it’s probably the easiest part to fix.

Cooper says he’s partial to “Obey shirts.” Being of a certain age, I had no idea what an Obey shirt is, so I had to check out their web site. My immediate advice to Cooper was to stop wearing them. He’s in his mid-twenties, so he may be able to get away with wearing graphic tees for a few more years. But even as young as he is, such clothing is not optimal.

I think part of Cooper’s problem is that the graphic tees send a message about him, and that message says that he’s either an adolescent or a thug. That’s directly relevant to his situation, because Red Pill dudes know that adolescents and thugs have no problem attracting women. If he wanted to be like Heartiste or RooshV and tally up a string of one-night-stands, he’d be doing fine. But Cooper is looking for a long-term relationship. Women who are attracted to adolescents and thugs are not LTR material.

A good rule of thumb is to dress one notch above those around you. If you’re a college student and your classmates are all wearing tee shirts, try wearing a polo shirt instead. If casual Friday at your office means all of the men are in polo shirts and khakis, then wear some nice wool slacks and a button down shirt. Don’t be afraid to put on a sport coat when going out to a club. If all the other men are in sport coats, wear a suit. If everyone is wearing a suit, be the guy in the bow tie or the guy with the brightly colored pocket square. 

If you’re over 30 years old, save the graphic tees for doing yard work or changing the oil in your car.

If you need some help with your wardrobe, check out Tanner over at Masculine Style.  Some of his suggestions are a bit too fashion-forward for a guy my age, but he has some good insights on how a man should dress.
Clothes may not make the man, but they do say something about him. What are your clothes saying about you?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Alpha Advice: Buy a Motorcycle

I spent last Saturday driving my roadster much too fast on twisty mountain roads, with my wife in the passenger seat. Well, mostly in the passenger seat. I let her drive some, too.

My wife is an adrenalin junkie, so when we got back to our hotel room that night I was handsomely rewarded for scaring the crap out of her. It didn’t even matter that we were both dog tired, sunburned, and the walls were so thin we could hear the fat lesbians giggling in the next room. It was awesome.

But this post is not about getting your wife hot by riding her around in a sports car. It’s about motorcycles, and the women who love the bad boys who ride them.

One of the roads that we drove on that day is a particularly infamous stretch of US Highway 129, known as the Tail of the Dragon. At one end of this stretch of road, there’s a motel that caters to motorcyclists. And next to the motel there’s a pub and grill which serves the best burgers in the area. We ate lunch there, and since it was a Saturday in the summer time, the place was packed. We enjoyed some great people-watching along with our burgers.

There was a wide variety of people to watch. There were young dudes in leather jumpsuits driving crotch-rocket bikes, and grizzled old-timers on chopped Harleys. There were retired couples on Gold Wings, and of course, there were the sports-car guys in Polo shirts and Bermuda shorts.

The first thing that I noticed was the biker women. They ranged from the young and hot to the elderly and morbidly obese, but they all had one thing in common: No matter where they might fall on the hotness scale, every one of them was far hotter than the man she was with

Once I noticed this, I started searching in vain for the exception: surely that fat gray-haired lady… nope, her husband is wrinkled and missing half his teeth. This one looks kind of butch. Oh, that’s because her “boyfriend” is a girl. The 30-something with the bad haircut and lazy eye? Not a biker, she’s married to one of the sports car guys. In every case, if a biker dude had a woman with him, she was two to three points above him on the hotness scale. 

The conclusion is inescapable: buy a motorcycle to increase your sex rank.

N.B. – I will not be taking my own advice. I owned a motorcycle years ago, for about six weeks. In that short span I had two accidents. The first was entirely my own fault, and resulted merely in a bruised ego and some scratched paint. The second could easily have killed me, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could have done to prevent it. I’ll stick to hot two-seat convertibles, thank you very much.