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                                                (late 80s)

               Plywood and
               two by fours,
               used books,
               army surplus,     CAVE
               rust and dust...

         The grunginess of my
         cheap but functional
         lifestyle turns off
         many women.

But I know what to do about
it.  Make some more money,
buy a new car, get some               REALCHECK
more clothes, get a more
expensive hair cut, move to
a bigger place...  All to
impress women I think are       "That's unfair.  Really women
fools for being impressed.      just respect talent.  People
                                with talent just happen to
                                have money."

                 Right. All women are
                 indifferent to merely
                 inherited wealth.

                                "Come on, some women are
                                interested in other things..."
Okay, let's try to be
positive.  All good                                    True but then,
libertarians know that                                 I'm often
prostitution shouldn't be    LIBERTY                   attracted to
illegal.  Maybe there                                  liberals who
isn't even anything wrong                              can't handle
with it.  So then there's                              anyone who
nothing wrong with                                     doesn't recite
disguised versions of it,        Except                the party
either, right?                   possibly,             line.
                                 the fact
So why not pair off with         that they're                TOLERANCE
someone with some material       disguised?
advantages?  Admirably                                 So why not recite
practical, no?                                         it? I know where
                              Then honesty             the buttons are,
So why can't I get            is the central           why not push them?
used to this?  If most        issue?                   I don't even have
women want to play                                     to lie, I just
whores, then I ought                                   have to steer the
to be able to play the        Unless it's              conversation to
role of trick easily          the _style_ of           subjects where my
enough.  Why don't I          the disguise,            opinions are in
either pay the price          rather than              agreement.
or forget about the           the need for
deal and quit looking         them...                 When a dangerous topic
for things that aren't                                comes up, all I need do
on the market?                DECADENCE                    is remain silent. 

           By these lines the world seems divided: some seek
           material wealth and some ideological purity.       I have little of
                                                              either to offer.
           If it comes down to a choice between
           conservative whores, and liberal sluts
           which will it be?

                                          Third base.      METHOD

There's a gap         I'm not interested in
between my            unattainable ideals.
ideals and
                                                   I don't have much in
                                                   common with most
I seem stuck in a        So which do I fix?        people.  Women I have
disgustingly             Are my ideals out         a lot in common with
conventional             of touch with             are even rarer.
moralistic mode.         reality, or can           There aren't too many
                         reality be brought        female libertarian
                         more in line with         cyberpunk rock
Terms like "slut" and    my ideals?                climbers around.
"whore" can be taken
as gender-neutral,                                           SEARCHING
technical terms,
without negative
connotations.  Sluts                                So maybe I should   POLY
have sex when they                                  abandon the notion
want to have sex,        Personally, I              of "having things
whores do it for         think there aren't         in common" with a
ulterior motives.        enough sluts around.       lover.

So is everyone a slut                               Am I so vain that
or a whore?                                         I need to be
                                                    surrounded by
No: there are other          RAND                   human mirrors?
logical possibilities
       Like Slaves.
                      "Women make wonderful pets."
Maybe Romantics                     ---Michael Shane,
(sex-for-love)                         Private Detective
aren't exactly the      HORSING
same as Whores.
And maybe Studs       ((...talk about              Not long ago I was shot
(show offs?) aren't   the love/                    down with the line "We
the same thing as     lust dichotomy?              are very different
Sluts.                Nah.  Too                    people."  So, at the very
                      boring. Even                 least you need to have in
But why choose        for me.))    LOVE            common an appreciation
such loaded                                        for differences.
terms if I        PERM
really mean
something more                                     True DECADENCE
                                                   Decadence has been
Maybe I'm over dramatizing.                        defined as "the
                                                   elevation of style
How about some simple                              over substance." to
compromises?  There's                              quote Barry
clothes I want anyway,                             Malzberg, who said
like a leather jacket.       (Improve your         it once, though not
When my car finally dies,    marketability         first.
I'll probably replace it     by doing
with something like a        things worth          Maybe I'm a person
jeep or motorcycle.  I       doing anyway.)        who likes to pose
could dust off some of my                          as being relentlessly
old short story attempts                           honest?  Could it
and try to get them                                be that I don't
published.  I could even    (Or take a shower?)    mind lies so much
clean my room.              (Nah, too extreme.)    as boring lies?
                                                   That conventional
There are prices I'd be                            hypocrisy bothers
willing to pay, if it got                          me just because it's
me somewhere worth being.                          conventional?
Looking for an image                                (ETHICS)
to assume that              "...  I wonder if I                           
doesn't violate my          ought to tell them     When you really get down
identity.        GUISE      about my PREVIOUS      to it, I think that the
                            LIFE as a COMPLETE     source of all our ideas
Trying to write a story     STRANGER?"             about ethics are really
that I can become the                              esthetic.  When
protagonist of.                                    philosphers try to
                                                   resolve ethical issues,
Esthetics the first           "What if a doctor    they always resort to
and final word?               could save two       hypothetical cases, i.e.
Then style is                 lives by taking      telling stories. We
substance, and the            vital organs from    formulate principles to
"decadence" I sneer           a third patient?     generate artistically
at is choosing the            Does that _seem_     satisfying endings.
wrong arbiter of              right?"
style.  Who is the
proper judge of the
style you live by?

       Yourself.                             Maybe I've been
And maybe all of this
is too simple to mean

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