Thursday, October 4, 2012

Office Game: A Primer (Part 2)

. . . and now, back to the show!

Where we last left off, the question was:

"You can’t be the dominant male at work in an office full of women, can you?  Not without being the boss?"

Actually, you can.  

Remember, you aren't really trying to seduce any of them, you're just trying to inspire a calculated social response to your displays.  You're practicing with blunt weapons, so to speak.  Since there's no real "outcome" to anticipate, you can take a few risks you might not when the possibility of pussibility is on the line.  That takes an enormous amount of pressure off your Game.

So consider adopting some of the alpha presentations outlined here, in Male Dominance: A Beginner's Guide, in your work presentation.  And after you go over your wardrobe and personal presentation, including your stance and stride, pay more attention to your verbal cues.  These become even more important in an office setting than in a relationship, since (theoretically, at least) you're communicating more data signal with less emotional noise there.  But your word choice, tone, and inflection convey a host of information about you, and being careless with them leaves you vulnerable to the insidious nature of the office Matrix.

Start by the simple expedient of insisting on 'w' words.

I'll cop to picking this up from Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus, but it's solid advice for men: all too often women ask us "can you ______?" or "could you _____ ?" instead of "would you _____?" or "will you ______ ?".  The difference is subtle -- some people would say incidental -- but I think it is important.  The use of 'c' words is a passive verbal challenge to the competency of the person in question.  "Can you ____?" implies that your ability to do the task in question is open to question.  "Will you ____?" assumes that you do, indeed, have the capability to do the task, and is a simple request for you to do so.  'W' words invoke your aid, they do not challenge your competency.

Why is this an important distinction?  Because when people subtly doubt your abilities, that detracts from your alpha presentation.  When people subtly beseech you for your assistance, it adds to your alpha presentation because it is a sign of respect.  Of course, many people -- particularly feminist-minded female supervisors -- may not see this as an important distinction, out loud.  But A little social prodding can go a long way.  When a colleague asks you to do something with a 'c' word, re-direct.

"Can you take this up to the receptionist?"

"I can . . . and I will, if you throw in a 'please'!'  Say it cheerfully the first time, just this side of dickish.  And slightly increase the dickishness you use each time you are forced to do it.  Don't cross any verbal lines, and don't lose control -- let them lose control.  


"Can you get that to me by Friday?"

"I WILL get it to you by Friday.  Why must you doubt me?"

"Can you finish that by end of day?"

"I can . . . it's a matter of whether or not I will."

"Can I get you to take that box of copy paper up to the third floor storage room?"

"That's an interesting question -- I suppose it depends on what approach you take."

You can see how you skirt the edge of trouble.  That's fine, as long as you stay clear of any serious infringements.  The goal is to insist on something minor but important, and to do so across the board.  And eventually someone is just naturally going to notice you being dickish about this and call you on it.  That's the payoff: when you explain that you find the use of 'c' words in requests for your compliance are innately condescending, and you'd prefer to be asked outright.  Surely, that is not too great a thing to ask your colleagues?

 If you've worked in an office for a while, at some point one or more of your female colleagues will try to get you to do their work for them.  They may even resort to flirting with you to convince you -- not in any serious way, just throwing subtle Indicators of Interest your way to incite your interest, then asking you 'pretty please' to do that spreadsheet for her while you're staring at her boobs.  

In other words, she's trying to make you her Office Chump.

Don't be an Office Chump, dude.  It demeans the rest of us.

She's never going to put out for you, and those IoIs are just window dressing.  When a woman tries to pawn her work off on you with light flirtation, it's an office Shit Test, and one that you MUST NOT FAIL.  Because when you become an Office Chump, not only are you diminished in her eyes, but you lose alpha points from every other woman in the office, too.  The proper response is to refuse, politely, while escalating the scope of your displeasure with each subsequent request.  

After a request like this is made, here are some potential responses you might want to consider, with appropriate level of emotional content.  Remember, in two-channeled female communication, the emoting that you do along with your response is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the words you say:

"I'm afraid I can't help you with that today."  Aloof

"I have enough of my own work to do."   Snide.

"Really?  You expect me to do that?  Isn't that your job?"    Incredulous

"And what makes you think I would do that for you under the circumstances?" Curious and slightly aggressive.  (And it won't matter what 'circumstances' exist or don't exist between you at the time -- by mentioning that there are 'circumstances', if she isn't aware of any her solipsism will supply some.  Are you secretly plotting against her?  Do you have a crush on her?  Did one of the other women say something about you?  ACCK!)

"It sounds like you should have managed your time better." Amused.

"That sucks for you.  Hope it works out."  Stoic.

"What's in it for me?"  Opportunistic and blunt.  Leer a little, maybe, but don't escalate to the sexual.  

"Perhaps if you are under-resourced, we could discuss it with your supervisor at the next production meeting." Icy

Blank stare, snort of dismissal, silently return to work.  She and her outrageous request is beneath your notice, and she has irrevocably lost favor in your eyes.  Visualize her as a five year old little girl who just made a mess in the kitchen and then asked for a puppy.  THAT'S the disapproval you want to convey . . . and your silence will freak her out.  But don't be an Office Chump.

Try to keep strategic situational awareness active at all times: after all, you are a Sandbox dude on the Swingset side of town.  You are essentially walking past all of these women swinging back and forth and asking you for pushes or screaming at you to get out of the way.  You don't handle the situation by climbing on to a swing and trying to compete against the endless back-and-forth as one of the swingers, you're the kid who has the ability to push (be a strategic ally) some of the women forward . . . and screw with anyone who messes with you by pushing them off their swing.  Your masculinity is what gives you the leverage you need.

Why?  Because women react to a man psychosexually, regardless of the context.  If you are the only or one of a few men in an office, like it or not your presence is a factor in the Matrix.  Being responsive in nature, women will be prone to respond to what you do and don't do, regardless of your intentions.  If you're the young dude in an office full of old biddies, then they will possibly take a maternal attitude with you as they pre-judge you for suitability for their daughters, granddaughters, and nieces.  If you're in a mixed office with younger and older women, then the younger women will subconsciously seek your favor while the older ones will judge you harshly for flirting overmuch with the younger women, but will sometimes be quick to use you as a point of leverage to improve their own Matrix position (you get serious points for giving Good Mom, regardless of your age).  

Remember the two-channel female communication?  That's where this comes in.  If a dude on a team full of dudes has a bad day, everyone just ignores it, focuses on work, keeps it light, and moves on.  If a dude on a team full of women has a bad day . . . everyone on the team reacts to it.  When "the male" in the room is brooding, angry, upset, or disgusted about something, every woman in the office is instantly alert to it and that flips the solipsism into overdrive.  The reaction they have will depend on who they are, what age they are, and your previous history, but since the Matrix exists in the belief that negative emotions are a threat to consensus, women tend to respond dramatically to your display.

A woman may work with you and never consider you seriously, one way or another . . . until she thinks you're upset with her for some reason.  There is a strong fear of being disliked in the heart of every woman, even disliked by people she doesn't personally like.  Women are solipsistic enough to put themselves at the heart of every equation -- use that.  The rationale (I hesitate to use the term "reason" in this context) behind this is Matrix-based.  If you're upset with her, for whatever reason, then she will almost automatically suspect that you will work against her through the Matrix (that is, through gossip, spreading rumors, and other typical weapons in the estrogen arsenal).  And since you're a dude, and dudes are supposed to be all stoic and such, if you're emoting strongly then she knows that you are likely very upset.

Within the Matrix, such emotional issues are handled by smoothing them over, talking them out, and appealing to the common experience of womanhood for understanding and sympathy.  When a woman emotes strongly, it is a cry for support and assistance.  Even if she's bitching out.

With dudes . . . not so much.

So use that.  Be direct.  Don't bring up your obvious emotional state unless asked, and even then be highly reluctant to discuss it . . . but once the subject is broached, be direct, be brutal, and then be done with it.  Don't dismiss your emotions in front of them (deny that you are angry or upset), but instead demonstrate that you are in control of them and re-direct.  For example,

"Dave, you seem to be . . . upset today.  Is there something wrong?"

"Nothing I care to discuss with you.  Let's get back to work, shall we?"

(She hears: Nothing I care to discuss WITH YOU.  Now I'm going to pointedly ignore this obvious strong emotion because I'm just that cool, cool enough to even work with someone who has pissed me off.)

"Dave, is there something the matter?  You seem . . . agitated today."

"Actually, yes, there is.  I overheard something ugly being said about a co-worker by two other co-workers, and it made me uncomfortable and angry.  But I'm trying not to dwell on it.  I've got too much work to do to get distracted."

"Dave . . . I noticed you were upset over something?"

"I am.  I don't want to talk about it."  

In "femineese" this means "I want to talk about it!", and more than likely that's how your female colleague is going to interpret it: a request for a verbal prod so that you may talk about your feelings.  Only you're a dude.  You've been passively trained to "talk about your feelings", despite your natural inclinations, and she will probably tell you that you'll feel better if you talk about it.  Which you would . . . if you had a pussy.

But you don't.  You're a dude.  We do NOT process our feelings by talking about them, the way a woman does.  We process our feelings by WORKING THROUGH THEM, often silently and with great introspection.  Our unwillingness to discuss our powerful feelings is not, as feminist claim, a weakness.  It's a feature.  So when a woman encourages you to "talk about your feelings", she's not just trying to get you to reveal important emotional information about yourself, she's seeking data she can use in the Matrix.  

If you're upset because Melissa was bitchy this morning, then she can use that.  If she doesn't know the reason you're upset, she has to let her hamster spin and the solipsism machines go to work.  That's not to say she'll be unsympathetic to you -- but you have to ask yourself if it is her sympathy that you want.  Sympathy is not the reaction you're looking for.  If you say you don't want to talk about it, you need to establish that you are, in fact, not going to talk about it, and any further incitements to do so will be met with frustrating looks and angry gestures.

(I remember one of the last temp jobs I had before I found a full-time gig, many years ago, I got in trouble for being mad.  Well, not "being mad" -- but "being mad" and not telling anyone why.  I actually got called into the manager's office to explain myself.  There wasn't a problem with my work, I was just making co-workers 'uncomfortable' with my emotions, when they didn't know the reason.  I said it was personal, and if they wanted to keep prying into my personal life I'd call my temp manager to ask for another assignment.  It was like the notebook all over again: in the absence of real data, speculation was substituted and used like it was the real thing.)

Your perceived emotions can be of great value to you on the job.  Just as being aloof and disinterested most of the time works wonders, so does being a tightly-controlled ball of outrage.  When a man in a group of women does that, I'm certain that there is some sort of pheromonal signal that causes women to be anxious at a biological level.  Thanks to 100,000 years of dicey history on abuse, a man who is angry is a potential danger to women.  He's also far more attractive to them.  The feminist argument against Patriarchy that revolves around female security usually includes some point about "domineering fathers" and a slap or two against "the sensitive male ego".  Making a group of women squirm over your negative emotional state gives you some power over them.  Denying them data about why gives you more.

To conclude our verbal excursion, remember that an Alpha states where he's going and invites others along, he doesn't strive for consensus.  So don't strive for consensus.  Don't automatically go along with the team if you think otherwise.  Be kind of a dick about it.  They'll be annoyed . . . but they won't be disinterested.  An Alpha also doesn't overshare, particularly about his emotional state.  An Alpha doesn't request sympathy.  An Alpha does demand verbal respect from his peers.  An Alpha doesn't succumb to Shit Tests.  An Alpha isn't a Chump.  An Alpha doesn't gossip or take the "feelings" of others as their primary point of departure.  An Alpha uses "I" and "me" language, he doesn't try to bury himself in the group.  An Alpha seeks recognition for achievement, he doesn't want a ribbon for participation.  As you work on your Alpha presentation, slowly incorporate a few of these things into your office routine every week.

Expect some friction, some heat, or even some blowback, depending on just how sensitive your co-workers and supervisors are.  But that's kind of what you're looking for: remember, it's a fundamental Game truth that women need excitement -- and no where do they need it more than the boring office.  When what Julie has for lunch is the pressing topic of conversation, you can imagine just how starved for excitement their brains are.  By being a bit of a dick about a point like this, you are becoming the topic of conversation -- and excitement.  It's hardly driving through the halls on a motorcycle, but it's just enough of a hint of 'bad boy' to get some notice.

If confronted directly by your supervisor with a directive to stop -- probably the worst you'll have to deal with -- stubbornly state that it is not to much to ask for some respect for you and your job.  If they insist on a dominance display for challenging their authority, reluctantly agree to stop correcting people, but point out that you have made the request, and your co-workers who ignore it are making a statement to you about their feelings.  Then go brood at your desk and turn down the temperature for a few days.  Women hate it when a man broods.  It makes them anxious.

Other ways to verbally express a dominant presentation include pausing for three heartbeats before answering a question (the faster you respond and talk, the less in-control you sound), practicing a sly, rakish smile that you can deliver no matter what words are coming out of your mouth, and a dismissive sigh that automatically makes women feel like pushy little girls being busted by Daddy.  Above all, keep things mysterious.  Don't give them too much information, and don't be afraid to be vague and non-specific.  (A friend of mine does this to the point where he doesn't even reveal his sexual orientation -- straight -- to his coworkers, and keeps them guessing on purpose.)  

There's more, but that's probably enough for today.  We'll cover some more in Part 3.


  1. As the only man in my office, I can only guess what is said behind my back..,

    On an unrelated note, I really like the art you use for this site. What are the best places to find posters/prints like this? It'd be great for the bachelor pad.

    1. I'll be posting a detailed account of the sites art in my upcoming 100th post. But thanks!

      Oh, and if you ever wondered what women say about you behind your back, get a recorder on your smart phone and "forget" that you left it in the break room at lunch, or wherever the estrogen is thickest. Go away for an hour. When you review the recording, you'll have a lot better idea. Valuable information, that.

    2. I second the thumbs up on the artwork, a bit Norman Rockwellish with added porn. What's not to like.

  2. Mr. Ironwood,

    What you described at Dalrock's regarding the Puerarch becoming a Patriarch is pretty much par for the course in latin cultures.

    It's a life plan that works for it's purpose, which is to become the sole breadwinner with a stay at home Mrs. Spend your 20's and even early 30's building yourself, your career, your business (the only time I would take such a risk), build a great social circle, have fun, bang hos, and just focus on developing into the best earning and overall best man you can be. Then marry some pretty young thing in her early 20's to start a family.

    Always worked in my family, and I see it working for generations to come.

    In other words, you nailed it.

    For myself, I'm not sure if I'll follow in my father's footsteps of trying to balance being an entrepreneur and a family man, or get the snip and build an empire. My family line will continue without my exact genes, and plan on being a very active part of the lives of my brother's children (another latino thing).

  3. Excellent! I agree about asking with 'w' words instead of 'c' words. When I ask the females where I work to do something for me it's always "will you" or "would you". It works both ways...that shows you are a leader and confident in their abilities.

  4. I love this post so much I want to marry it.

    ... or at least add it to the harem for a bit.

  5. A little late to the party - but I think I'm going to try this verbal stuff out.

  6. I'm almost 30 years old, a woman, and this website has explained every conflict I've ever had with women, especially at work. I've never understood women and always felt lonely and isolated when their opinions of me swing wildly from from acceptance to cold shoulder, seemingly by the day, sometimes by the hour. It's giving me a good game plan going forward too after my years of looking for acceptance based on accomplishment has failed miserably. From now on, I just pretend to be agreeable, keep my excitement over some breakthrough or another to myself, and above all, don't break their consensus! I hate it, and it makes me hate my own gender so much. But even though I can't escape the FSM, knowing the rules will make my life a lot more peaceful and predictable.

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  9. It seems I'm on the right track, I hope I can do well. The result was something I did and was doing to implement it.

  10. This is so fun! What a great idea. Also I love how authentic you seem to be. Your style and passion for blogging is contagious. Thank you for sharing your life!