Wednesday 22 June 2016

Paper Towns: A lesson for young men

“No regrets, just lessons learnt.”

Hardly anything in life emotionally moves me these days.  Any negative interface with women, friends, foes, family or work colleagues, that may have previously perhaps given me frustration or anxiety, is now nothing more than a mere inconvenience or hassle that I could do without, but consequently a decision to just rub the water off my back.

Nevertheless, during a recent visit to Istanbul I saw first-hand the pronounced numbers of Syrian (or war torn exiles from other countries) refugees trying to simply make it to the next day.  A lot can be debated about the whole subject of immigration and asylum seeking – and the ramifications it has on the resources, crime and expenditure within the “accepting” civilian country, but it takes a pretty cold-hearted onlooker to be inflicted with zero sympathy towards kids no older than a few years in age walking around with no shoes on, no parent or adult guidance, and, most relevant, very little hope of what life will bring concurrent to the pain in their stomachs growing stronger by the minute.  During the last couple of days I passed on a few Turkish liras that made little difference to my life but a significant amount to them, but on one occasion it was a decision I immediately (although not retrospectively) regretted once being followed around by them asking for more until they could pursue no further as I entered the underground barriers.

Where’s all this going, you may ask?  Well on the flight back I decided to look at the film offerings.  I came across a film I had never heard of called “Paper Towns”, and the synopsis alluded to a high school boy trying to locate his childhood sweetheart.  With my interest in how horribly wrong men act with women, I thought it would be at least worth 80 minutes or so of entertainment.  It proved to be so.

The movie itself, in my opinion, is not something that will leave you craving to watch it again or passing on blockbuster recommendations to your peers to go and view it.  If you hold desires to watch it without knowing the plot, stop reading now. 

There are two key characters being Quentin (the geeky, average looking 18 year old boy) and Margo (the popular, cuteish, biker looking 18 year old girl).  The storyline in terms of timeframe was predominantly based around the last few weeks of high school up to prom and graduation, but there was enough history given to explain how Quentin had been infatuated by his street neighbour Margo for pretty much 13 years of his life.

Margo, as the character in the film, annoyed me from the start.  I think this was all the more compounded due to the quick transition from witnessing poverty to observing the perennial spoilt, self-indulged, attention-seeking, self-obsessed American female brat.  She had barely noticed Quentin’s existence for a sustained period of time due to hanging around the social proof group and dating the high school jock, yet one night towards the end of the academic year she creeps though his bedroom window.  She asked him to assist her in gaining revenge on her jock boyfriend who had, in her claims, been cheating on her with her best friend.

Her high self-opinion and expectancy brought about it as a given that Quentin would play the Clyde role to her Bonnie needs in seeking this retribution that involved high risk ramifications if caught.  Quentin, being the shy, reserved, risk-free and safe (and of course, to her, completely boring) type, at first showed reservation, but with tongue out, balls heavy to explode with teenage horny fat juice, and gullible assumption his assistance would make her like him more, he quickly agreed to go along with it.

How many times, as a now adult and mature man, do you look back at the exertions you made as a teenage boy or early 20’s lost sheep in believing your efforts of money, time, energy and favours given to the one you “loved” would bring about her eventual return of affection?  How many times did it reap any significant reward?  Then recall how this same girl or woman gave her heart, and more, to the guys who gave her nothing.  Finally, if you could have that time over again, how would you act now?

After prank night, Quentin went to bed sporting a smile wider than the M25 circular in probable hope the next day she would run up to him and smack one on his lips.  The following day, Margo had gone, and gone she was for the days and weeks that followed.  To her parent’s admission, she had performed this vanishing act before, and she did it for nothing more than fulfilling exhibitionist motivation.  Quentin naively convinced he could be the one to save her, and he spent endless money and time in searching for clues to where she may be.  Hence the title of the film, he eventually tracked her down in a “Paper Town” after driving 1300 miles from Orlando to New York. 

Was she excited to see him?  No.  Was she appreciative of his endeavours?  No.  Was she impressed with the inspector role he performed to work out the clues?  No, and in fact in her words the clues were not left primarily for him to locate anyway.  Was she excited when he declared his undying love towards her?  Absolutely not, to the point where her face illustrated the anticipation of a woman dreading the words that she whole-heartedly expected.  As men, we’ve all been there at least once in our life – dangled in by her obsession to feel wanted, special, or to get another guy jealous, only for her to likely have a pre-conceived justification at the ready to why she doesn’t feel the same way.  

But if nearly 99% of the film could have led a man into the head first path of misguidance – in propaganda that this is the way a man in love should act – I have to give credit where credit’s due to the writers and directors in so far to how they wrapped it up.  Rather than my explanation, I leave you with the quote given by Quentin:

“What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.  Margo was not a miracle.  She was not an adventure.  She was not some fine and precious thing.  She was just a girl.  It took me a long time to realize how wrong I was, but not just about Margo.  I was wrong about a lot of things.”

A final thought  

I often ask myself how different I would have acted around women, like Margo in the movie, if I obtained this kind of blog guidance from the manosphere when I was an innocent 18 year old boy trying to figure out how complex women are.  My honest answer is, I don’t completely know.  Part of me thinks I would have made initial mistakes in exactly the same way, but a bigger part of me believes this literature and advice from older and experienced men, who are open to putting their hands up to past shortcomings and not just obsessed with taking victory laps from triumphs, would have allowed me to put the wrongs right much earlier in my life than I did.

I didn’t have a dad, god bless his soul, who could guide me in this way.  In fairness, he didn’t have the vast experience with many women either to lean on even if he had been open to talking about it.  As I’ve documented before, asking women, even your own mother or older sister, is a complete waste of time, and in fact it would bring about more detriment and head-scratching to you than asking nothing at all.  They wouldn’t tell you the truth ahead of vainly concealing the mistakes they had made in the past.  The vast majority of men, including men in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are beta males – clueless, too forgiving, too admiring and unwilling to accept the truth, when it derives to female habits - therefore asking them to not be afraid in pulling up women for their lies, manipulations, motives and agendas is next to worthless.

This is why, in my humble opinion, any teenage boy should read posts of this nature and realize that they are objective, truthful, hard-hitting, realistic and honest views based from life experience he, as the younger man finding his way, does not yet have under his belt.  In a way, young men of today hold the key to a better future generally with women in benefitting generations of men to come.     


Paper Towns (2015) - 20th Century Fox 


  1. Less Frustrated, More aware24 June 2016 at 14:16

    Interesting film/book reference. Never heard of it until your post! Wow, I wonder if the film will make guys realize how deluded they are about women. I'm sure, though, they'll think "that film character is a chump, thank gawd I'm not him!"

    I hope you do continue posting as you have recently. Even better if people find your posts and learn from it. It's nice to know what I observe is not make-believe!

    1. I enjoyed the film, if for nothing more than it being good illustration in how not to act from a young man's perspective. You would like to think a film like this can guide men in similar positions, but I guess that until they collide into advice of this nature then they will keep on making the same mistakes over and over... and many would still make the same mistake anyway - theory and practice. If you can't incorporate the practice, the theory is good for nothing.

  2. Q-tip:
    How many times, as a now adult and mature man, do you look back at the exertions you made as a teenage boy or early 20’s lost sheep in believing your efforts of money, time, energy and favours given to the one you “loved” would bring about her eventual return of affection? How many times did it reap any significant reward? Then recall how this same girl or woman gave her heart, and more, to the guys who gave her nothing. Finally, if you could have that time over again, how would you act now?,,,WOWWWWWWWWWW.......the issue is ,,if,, LOL..that time is lost:)