15th of June 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 20


In this week of Helping Joe, Tucker and Charlie talk about Joe’s awful room. They dig into why he was sleeping in a closet, how the favela-like condition of his room is a reflection of how he thinks about himself, and why this is so unattractive to women. They go on to talk about having basic self-respect, why men have trouble connecting with their emotions, and how society doesn’t teach men how to express their emotions and discourages them doing so. Tucker also tells a funny story about how the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy dudes tried to makeover James Gandolfini.

*The woman in the opening clip is Charlie’s girlfriend’s reaction when she went over to Joe’s place to evaluate his room and help him improve it.


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Joe’s Thoughts and Takeaways From This Episode:

Hey this is a running commentary of random thoughts, notes, and takeaways I had during or after this episode. – Joe


  • Joe’s funny but terrible gifts for Charlie’s birthday
  • Break down of Joe’s room and his tiny closet bedroom
  • The wrong way to take and apply advice
  • “The way that you think of yourself is usually what you show the world.”
  • Joe’s progress connecting with people and making friends
  • Why men have trouble acknowledging their feelings or connecting their emotions

@Beginning – I got Charlie gifts for his birthday

This was kind of a joke but I think they thought it was serious.

The dark chocolate was a real gift because Charlie likes dark chocolate. A while ago I went to Whole Foods with this girl I have been dating and we bought a bunch of chocolate and had a great time. I took notes on which ones were the best and bought them for Charlie. We didn’t talk about this date on the podcast.

However, the fruit was a joke. I saw this on Charlie’s twitter:

Charlie tweet

I went to Whole Foods, but they didn’t have the “soursop” so I got some other ridiculous fruit instead, including a pomegranate, which isn’t that ridiculous but is delicious.

Tucker’s dying laughing as I explain my rationale behind getting these. I think this is the hardest he has ever laughed on this podcast. He can’t pay money anywhere in Austin to laugh this much.

Tucker talks about me developing empathy. I just like to give people gifts, even if they don’t make sense sometimes. I think it was just a nice thing to do. I don’t know about “developing empathy.” I probably still suck at this.

@5:00 – Charlie is frustrated

On the last episode, he wanted to talk more about my room and how I do not actually have ED. My sexual performance issues were mental, not physical. Each time we have sex it seems to get better and better, which is great!

Charlie thinks my room is the most important thing to talk about. I doubt that, but I’m starting to realize I have pretty bad sense of what the most important thing to talk about is.

@9:00 – My room, sleeping in a closet

Room 3

Room 1 Room 2

Room text 1

For a while I slept on the thin pad of a chair from IKEA. I was laughing talking about this on the podcast because it was really embarrassing.

“It’s a perfect symbol of how Joe thinks of himself.” – Tucker

Yea I don’t know about this. I don’t think he’s right here.

“Also, the hyper-rationality that led to eating gelato with a Mexican girl in freezing cold weather has also led to sleeping on a patio chair mattress in a closet that you don’t even fit in.” – Charlie

Hahaha yea this was kind of fucked up and Charlie was right here. This was crazy but I thought it would help me sleep better.

“Tucker and Nils have both said if you read anything on the internet that you think might improve your situation, you will try it, even in the face of it not making any sense!” – Charlie

I argue and compare Tucker sleeping in his massive closet (king size bed, bug walk in closet) to what I was doing (sleeping in a 6ft by 5ft small closet) and Tucker loses it. This is pretty funny.

“Tucker’s advice is not sleep in your closet. It’s make your room dark. They are totally different things!” – Charlie

Yea in hindsight this is pretty stupid and embarrassing. Tucker says they are emotional issues. I don’t know. I just feel like a fucking idiot looking back at this.

@12:00 – Tucker tells a great story about a 4HWW reader that emailed him

This guy asked him for help. Tucker emailed him and got back an auto-response.

“They don’t even have fucking jobs, but they had email auto-responders… He totally missed the entire point of 4HWW. What he did was say, ‘Oh here’s a checklist of hacks that I can do and all my problems will be solved.’ It probably made his problems worse.”

I’m not this bad but yea I do the same things with trying to where the right clothes, find the right date spots, text the right things, all this stuff that doesn’t matter. What matters is showing her who I am, connecting emotionally, getting to know her, and seeing if I like her. I can’t control any of this so I focus on bullshit that doesn’t matter.

@14:00 – Not an idiot, it is emotional

“If you were an idiot, we could just blame stupidity, but you’re not. You have a problem connecting with your emotions so you look for external solutions… What hyper-rational people do is turn to checklists.”
– Tucker

I still feel pretty stupid though.

Again this is something I continue to not understand that well. Nils has talked about this hyper rationality and not connecting with emotions (hers and mine) a lot in episodes he has been on. Tucker has talked about it throughout this series. I still don’t get it.

I think being more consistent with mediation will help with this. That is something I haven’t been doing consistently and have sucked at recently. I need to get back on it.

@15:00 – Sleep hacks!

We take a detour here when I pull out some ridiculous shit in my bag. They make fun of me for these “sleep hacks” that I am experimenting with. By doing this, I pretty much ignore what they just said about hacks.


Red reading light
Uvex safety eyewear, Orange Frame
Sleep Mask
Macks Silicone Earplugs

Another hack: I started eating raw honey when I read this in Tucker’s Testosterone ebook (original source was from Seth Roberts blog)

These things really don’t matter. What matters is sleeping more (8-9 hours) and better (do you feel good the next day). If they help do that, great! If not, who cares, don’t use them.

“There is literally nothing else you can do that’s better for your [mental and physical] health than sleeping 8-9 hours.” – Tucker

Yea I don’t make this a priority and have horrible bed time habits.

@18:30 – Going to sleep dusk to dawn (peasant hours) and sleep cycles

We get into a detour of a detour here and talk about random sleep stuff. This is rising and falling with the sun, do this 3-6 weeks, then you go into multi-phasic sleep. This is the best sleep for humans but impossible if you live in the real world. It happens sometimes when you go camping.

Charlie recommends Sleepy Time to figure out when you should go to bed. And they talk about sleep cycles for a bit here.

@22:00 – Back to The Room

They get back to this because according to them a shitty room says a lot about how I think about myself and how I carry myself. I don’t feel like it’s a reflection of me, but maybe they are right.

“You were using a piece of garbage as a garbage can.” – Charlie

Yea this was sad but true.

I had no furniture in there, but we had spare unused furniture in the garage that I could have used but just didn’t. I don’t know why I did this. I’m not lazy. I knew the guy legitimately wasn’t coming back to get it. I had no good reason not to take 20 minutes, grab that stuff, and put in my room.

“This is perfectly emblematic of how Joe sees himself in his head… You are so deeply critical of yourself that you won’t even let yourself have nice things or even keep the things you have nice.”
– Tucker

This is sad to recognize. I don’t why I do this. It doesn’t make any fucking sense. Why would any sane person do this to themselves?

“Everything someone does is a reflection of what they think in some way, shape, or form. The way you treat yourself is very much a reflection of what you think of yourself.” – Tucker

These problems, and a lot of problems that Mating Grounds listeners have, are less knowing about women and more understanding yourself, how you think, and dealing with emotions. The more I do this podcast, the more I think he’s right about this.

@28:00 – You deserve a basic minimum level of respect and human rights

It made me sad when he said this because it hit somewhere deep where I know he’s right. I don’t respect myself. Sometimes I don’t expect other people to respect me, and I think because of that they don’t. Then I have to deal with fucking problems that arise from that down the road. It’s sad and it sucks.

It sucks at work because problems pop up there. One job in particular I loved and was promised raises for months then when that time came they let me go and hired someone else at a much higher pay rate. I loved the job and identity it gave me and I didn’t demand respect or honesty from my bosses because I was probably afraid of losing it.

It sucks at home because my roommates start out cool, but I let them get away with shit that you shouldn’t let people get away with, it ramps up until I get angry about it then we have an argument. I’ve started noticing this as a pattern, which means it’s my fault but I don’t know what I’m doing that’s causing this.

Anyways, they were making fun of me about my room being a human rights violation if it was prison. This was funny but sad.

“It is hard to realize that you treat yourself like shit because then you have to realize that you have these emotions and you have to face them and that sucks. You’re not consciously doing that.”

“Young girls if they really like you can overlook a lot of things for a while. The reason I ate protein for 6 months of my life was because I got girls to buy me food. I was attractive to them in other ways so they were cool with it, but think about how fundamentally unattractive that is.” – Tucker

This was funny but a great point.

@34:00 – Makeover reality TV shows and Queer Eye + James Gandolfini story

Tucker tells a funny story about The Queer Eye for Straight Guy trying to makeover James Gandolfini and he got pissed and trashed the set of The Sopranos.

My room is already trashed so I can’t do this.

@37:00 – “The way that you think of yourself is usually what you show the world.”

Tucker uses homeless people as an example. They feel like shit and so they don’t take care of themselves and act crazy. They show the world how they feel about themselves. It’s an extreme example, but same shit applies with me and my homeless shelter room.

Women care about your aesthetic traits (grooming, clothes, home décor, etc.) because they are signs of deeper things like ok this guy has shit together or he’s at least not crazy. These all signal things about you to women. And your home is a signal to yourself because you spend the most time there.

“Why don’t you have enough respect for yourself to treat yourself well?”

@41:30 – I talk about my pattern of not expecting respect from other people

I wrote about this up above and talk about it here.

One example is having problems with roommates. Not big problems but just a pattern of same weird dynamic that goes on. They give me shit for things. I take it jokingly and let it go. Eventually, it gets to be too much and I don’t like it then we get in an argument and it sucks. “I don’t know where that line is.”

Tucker says that it’s because I have no experience in social relationships. Maybe he’s right but I don’t know. He brings up the weird gifts I gave to Charlie. I don’t think my social skills are that awful, but maybe they are.

@44:00 – Great point from Tucker here

“I know you don’t want to see all these things about yourself because to see them is to recognize and say, “Oh my god. I am really functionally retarded in certain social and emotional areas. But the only way you are going to get better is to accept the reality as it is and then move forward… most people don’t do this. It takes courage to admit these things about yourself and see these problems for what they are.”

Yea this is absolutely right. I really don’t want to admit that I’m this fucking bad because it sucks. And I already know that I suck hahaha and now I’m worse. God damn it.

“That’s why no one does this because it’s really hard work… If it feels shitty, you’re going in the right direction. It’s going to hurt.”

@46:00 – “You don’t know how to connect with people yet”

You used to not understand people at all so you would 1) pull away or 2) let them run over you because you don’t understand:
-How to connect with people
-How to read good & bad intentions
-You don’t have a fully developed theory of mind for other people
-No social support (“you didn’t have any fucking friends”)

I don’t understand what “theory of mind” is. I should have asked him about this on the podcast.

I did have friends, but just not that many and I wasn’t really all that close, especially in high school and most of college.

I don’t talk about my problems with people because I just hold it in. I’ve held it in for most of my life. I don’t know why. I just do. I don’t like talking about myself. I don’t like talking about my problems because it’s weak or I feel weak, even though that’s bullshit because we all have the same problems or have run up against similar problems in the past. Fortunately, I’m learning how to do that on the podcast

@48:00 – Tucker breaks down my terrible gift to Charlie

It was an awful gift, but a step in the right direction 🙂

The point was preventing cancer, not the fruit. Same thing sleep situation, the point was to sleep in darkness, not to sleep in an uncomfortable closet.

Connecting your thoughts to emotions and social relationships.

“Most of your problems with girls are not informational, only 20% are”

@50:00 – Why men have trouble acknowledging their feelings or connecting their emotions

1. In modern Western society, we have no masculine rituals or cultural practices for men to express their feelings.

This is totally true. Nobody teaches you how to do this. There is no space or practice for getting your feelings out.

Also back in the day, men and women used to have separate groups but we don’t have those so much any more and a lot of men feel ostracized. It’s hard for guys to make friends outside of school, work, & sports. Tucker explains why here.

“It means that you have to take this into your own hands and create your own groups and your own friendships. It sucks and it’s bullshit but that’s how it is… You have to play the hand you’re dealt. And as a man in society, especially emotionally and socially, you are dealt almost no cards.”

2. Being emotional and crying is something women do, not men

“Women are better at understanding emotions and creating & maintaining social relationships. But it doesn’t mean they are the only ones that have to do that stuff. Men have emotions and social relationships too. Men look at effectiveness of other men. Women look to support other women… Nobody ever talks about this stuff, nobody teaches any of it, and your parents didn’t know any of it.”

Yep… this stuff is pretty much all new to me, both the being vulnerable & connecting emotionally from past episodes and looking to effectiveness in other men. I have never heard of any of this and rarely think about it on a conscious level.

@55:00 – It is your parents’ fault, but it is your responsibility now

“It’s their fault but blaming them doesn’t get you anywhere. Accepting that they had an impact on your development is important. Recognizing that they had an impact is important so you can account for it and move on from there.” – Tucker

I still feel really uncomfortable putting anything on my parents because I think they did a decent job in raising me and giving me a good hand to play in life. They fucked up a few times and didn’t know everything and are still probably clueless about a lot of stuff, but I don’t know how much of a bad impact they had. They could have done a better job but they did a pretty damn good job I think even though I have problems now.

@56:00 – Santa Claus tangent

Tucker takes us off on a tangent here talking about Santa Claus. I kind of zone out to be honest because this is a broader point about parents, religion, and government. I try to bring it back to topic at hand and he mentions the Nice Guy myth, which I fully bought into until I was about 21-22 when I realized that shit just doesn’t work. I read a great book about this written by a psychotherapist called No More Mr. Nice Guy that Dr. Miller actually recommended on the podcast a few times. Unfortunately we don’t have time to talk about it here.

@58:00 – I have a problem recognizing and appreciating my own progress

Tucker & Charlie point out a few important things and they have done a good job of this throughout the podcast talking about this.

-I had 0 women when I first came here. Now I’m dating a nice girl and have the potential to date others.

-I had 0 friends when I first got here. Now I have a few good ones.

Tucker says I have a dozen good friends. I don’t think I do.

“Until you actually reach out to talk to people, it’s hard to know how many would [talk to you]… and you do it here every week.” – Tucker

Yea, he’s right. When I feel bad or depressed or upset about something, I’m 100x more likely to keep it inside and try to figure out how to deal with it on my own rather than talk to anybody about it. This is really unhealthy because all the psychological research points to 1) sharing problems and getting support makes you less stressed and more happy and 2) people, especially men, with strong social relationships, a good support system, live longer and have better physical health than those men who don’t. This is a bad habit that I have. I don’t know how to talk to people about my problems and issues without feeling weak. And being perceived as weak is something that I am scared of because they won’t want to hang out with me anymore if I’m an emotional drain or not an effective man. Even though I read Daring Greatly (Episode 12) and realized that most of those thoughts are bullshit, I still don’t want to talk to that many people about all these shitty problems I have.

I’m glad Tucker points out that I come back again and again on the podcast to face these emotional problems and that every other guy they had on before quit. We recognize that at leaset I have the guts to keep showing up whereas most guys don’t want to face these hard truths and problems about themselves because they suck. I forget that 90% of guys won’t do this even though it’s what a lot of them need.

@1:03:00 – “You only focus on the bad. That’s why we had you do the 5 Minute Journal.”

I think this is more a human problem than my problem. I’ve read this before a lot because many people have written about how our brain evolved to scan for negative things in our environment because back then those dangers meant death whereas positive stuff was great but not as important. So we evolved to focus on negatives because that vigilance kept us alive. The modern world is so safe that we don’t really need this anymore, but we’re still stuck with this faulty shitty brain system that makes us focus on negative instead of positive. Again, this isn’t just my problem. This is every body’s problem. I think meditation and journaling has helped though.

“You are a vastly different person now than you were 4 months ago when we started. Do you not see that?”

Tucker mentions a stock market chart and there are booms & busts but the trend line is always up. This is a great fucking analogy. The trend over the long-run is up and since I started this is way up!

“The lowest troughs now are still better than where you were when you started… ‘I did a bad job making jokes with my group of friends that I see every week.’ Think about that.”

Yea he’s right. So true, but I don’t recognize this because I just get stuck in my head spiraling or ruminating on negative thoughts, feelings, and the events that caused them, instead of thinking about it as a good problem to have because before I was at 0.

This was a good way to end the episode but I left feeling really frustrated, like I didn’t get to talk about the stuff that wanted to or need to talk about. This was one of my least favorite episodes because it was hard and I didn’t feel like we got anywhere even though we talked about some important stuff. I just had a lot of mixed feelings and felt like this sucked.

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