Okay, sleep deprivation temporarily resolved, back to putting effort into this blog. Apologies for the less-effort, I know it's been showing lately.
The ancient Greeks believed there were two kinds of fate. There's the kind that you earn in consequence for your actions, and the kind that just happens because it's fate. Maybe your goats died because you had it coming, or maybe they just got sick. Consequences and destiny.
(I feel bad saying "the ancient Greeks" like that's one thing, but I'm having no luck looking up the actual source on this. I want to say it was the Cynics but I'm not sure. Either that or it was some idiot at a Pagan group making up totally deep, man shit and claiming it was the ancient Greeks and now I'm repeating it as fact. Anyway.)
This is a dichotomy that I think is important--and difficult--in the dating and meat markets. Sometimes people are attracted or not attracted because of you, and sometimes because of them, and usually it's a complex combination of both. Which is more correct: "He wasn't attracted to me," or "I wasn't attractive to him"?
Both attitudes become toxic when taken too far. Make your sexual locus of control entirely internal and you start acting entitled if you have a big ego or self-critical if you have a small one--sex becomes about what you deserve. You can also fall into obsessively rating yourself and others, since if only your perspective matters, attractiveness can be considered objective.
An entirely external locus of control, however, leaves you helpless. You feel resentment toward people who aren't attracted to you and a disturbing gratitude toward those who are, and view your preferred gender as a complete mystery. You also don't try very hard, because sex will come to you or not, there's nothing you can do. True love will see right past my stained sweatpants and shallow assholes will never like me anyway, so I won't change anything.
I skew toward internalizing; every time I get rejected in ways big and small I'm not angry but constantly concerned what I did wrong. (This is not just in sex; 98% of the time a non-crazy person calls me an asshole, my response is "oh God I'm so sorry" rather than "fuck you, asshole!") At the same time, I'm not all the way there, and I'm progressively getting better at understanding that someone else's decisions regarding me are not 100% about me.
I can't help but notice from my fortune-cookie descriptions that PUA is basically all about going from an external locus of control to an internal one--albeit usually way too far over, straight into "but if I'm sufficiently awesome no one should ever say no" territory.
As my usual radical-moderate self, I can only say that the answer is somewhere in the middle. You have some input, but sometimes you'll just run up against fate, and you have to be okay with that. People make decisions about you, so look good and be charming; but people make decisions for all kinds of reasons, so don't think it's all the failure or success of your charm. Finding this middle is ridiculously hard, and requires a very careful balancing of humility and confidence, but it's necessary or you'll end up one kind of crazy or another. In sex and in life.
I hate it when people call women "females." I have one friend who does it because she was in the military and it was standard practice there, and occasionally I'll say it when I specifically mean biological females rather than women, but 98% of the time it's douchebaggery. Rule of thumb: if you say "females and males" it's okay, but if you say "females and guys/men," you're probably a douchebag.