If I had to sum up my experience with the Red Pill in 2013 I think the clinical research term "serious adverse events" would express it nicely. That's what gets reported during a drug study when things go seriously south for some reason. It may have nothing to do with the med, or everything to do with it, but a SAE indicates that the regular protocol of the study has, in some way, been challenged.
If one uses a drug study as a metaphor - an apt one for the Red Pill - then 2012 would have been Phase I, when I figured out the nuts and bolts, began to understand the underlying dynamics, and witnessed first hand the effect of taking charge of my relationship, my family, and my life. I took my wife on a Big Date, helped her through some difficulties at work, and demonstrated (not dictated) that I was the Captain of my little ship, the lord of Stately Ironwood Manor.
I saw my family prosper, my career surge, and my relationship with my wife blossom sexually and emotionally. We capped it with a Vegas vacation and hopeful expectations for the new year. 2012 demonstrated to me the efficacy of male dominance and Married Game in leading my house, not just being my wife's husband and my kid's father. In 2012 Red Pill Phase I was a qualified success.
Of course, as they say, anyone can be a good scoutmaster at a court of honor. But when the scout is bleeding and you're 15 miles from the nearest road, that's the true test of a scoutmaster. Taking the Red Pill under relatively normal suburban professional conditions was one thing . . . but could the principals behind the Red Pill stand up to adversity?
Enter 2013: the year of Serious Adverse Events.
Let's begin with my son's abduction, the consequences of which we are still dealing with. When someone takes your kid without your knowledge or permission with potentially harmful intent, even if they bring him back, and then declares their intention of repeating the crime, it challenges your sense of security and normalcy to the extreme. I cannot help but reflect how I would have responded pre-Red Pill and compare it to how I responded post-Red Pill.
BLUE PILL: Would have protested and played the Outraged Father for a few moments, then grimly stood back and let my wife lead the discussion, abandoning the course of events to her decision-making under the guise of "deferring to her matronly wisdom out of husbandly respect". We would likely have been cajoled and persuaded to let the matter pass, no harm, no foul.
RED PILL: Took the lead and aggressively challenged the school administration's policies, got the state board involved, reviewed the pertinent laws and regulations, and demanded accountability and change. Regardless of what effects my actions may or may not have had (people were fired), my approach to the matter was dramatically altered by the Red Pill perspective. I went in as a dominant force, not a quietly glowering and ultimately ineffectual crutch for my wife. Indeed, while Mrs. Ironwood did supply a lot of the data and the "good cop" persuasion in our deliberations, I consistently led the discussion and provided verbal muscle when things faltered.
RESULT: Mrs. Ironwood was immensely pleased how I handled the matter, taking the verbal point to keep her from having to do so. I was physically protective and dominating which allowed her to do the verbal dueling in her sweet Southern manner. We worked with near telepathic efficiency, and when it came to her wanting to hamster off into dark corners I held her firmly to the task. No excuses. No rationalizations. All accountability.
Next, let's examine the other big deal in 2013, my Niece (and former nanny) using our distraction with the abduction and the lengthy recover to rob us blind.
BLUE PILL: I would have pronounced my profound disappointment and frustration and then sank back into a gloom while Mrs. Ironwood did damage control. Would have likely allowed filial pressure and the "forgiveness" vibe persuade me to allow her to go on with her downward spiral, my hands washed of her. Spice is an ugly drug to get addicted to, and I would have probably tried to get her into some sort of group assistance plan. Hell, I might even have been persuaded to pay for it.
RED PILL: Once the nature and extent of my Niece's (and her boyfriend's) larceny became clear - and it was extensive, they'd been going through our attic, my wife and daughter's jewelry boxes, my shed, stolen the kid's electronics and pawned them, etc - I kicked her out, went to the police with the evidence, and had warrants issued for them both. Since she was a family member my homeowners' insurance didn't cover it, but I didn't let that stop me.
RESULT: Both of them are now at-large, running from the law. When the time comes, I will testify to put her in jail. I want him to understand the unique joy of being the prettiest Quaker boy on the cellblock for a few months. I'm not worried one bit that I have ruined their lives by prosecuting them for a felony, as I would have been in my Blue Pill days. Once I took charge of the boat, my focus became my family. When she elected herself out of that category by openly betraying our generosity, she got out of my boat. As much as I still love her, I also understand that how I react and respond to this has a far, far larger impact on my children and their perception of me than whatever happens to her. My first duty, under the Red Pill, is my wife and children. Fuck with that and you're putting your pecker in the pincers, no excuses. My remaining duty to my Niece involves holding her Accountable. See a pattern evolving here?
Lastly, let's examine the dramatic shift of personal dynamics at Stately Ironwood Manor: After the abduction and my niece's shenanigans were keeping us busy, Mrs. Ironwood sustained a major assault on her career by a former mentor who decided to crab-basket her former pupil out of the limelight . . . by challenging her integrity. Almost none of you know Mrs. Ironwood personally, but let me assure you that Mrs. I protects her integrity like a Vestal protects her virtue. It is to her industry what creativity is to mine.
BLUE PILL: I would have advised her to bite the bullet, accept the tacit admission of wrongdoing and a fault on her integrity, and slog through a job that she otherwise loved and that we had already sacrificed so much for. I would have offered to sacrifice even more, taking on additional household burdens to keep her in her job. I would have praised her diligence and duty to her family, making light of the implications of her continued employment.
RED PILL: I told her to quit her fucking job.
That's a big deal. When you, as a couple, have devoted more than a decade to a particular career and have made sacrifices and life changes to accommodate it, you both have a stake in that career. Mrs. I left a fulfilling, financially rewarding post with a prestigious title and a springboard into the stratosphere of her industry . . . because her kids and husband needed her more than she needed a career.
(Lean into that, bitches.)
Don't mistake me, Mrs. I hasn't left her industry. She's just gone from full-time rock star executive to part-time work-from-home consultant and author. As a result she has taken a severe pay cut, and our household income dove by more than half. More importantly, she's able to pick the kids up from school every day and oversee their homework, keep the house picked up (I still do the lion's share of the cooking, thankfully), and generally provide maternal support for our three middle schoolers . . . and wifely support for me.
I still remember the day she told me she was terminated, vividly. She looked me in the eye tearfully and told me, bluntly, "So, you wanted to do the stay-at-home-wife, dominant-husband thing, Ian? Well, you're about to get it . . . good and hard!"
Note to all you nascent Red Pill husbands out there: it is oftentimes easier to deal with a spirited resistance to your establishment of your dominance than it is to get sudden and critical support for it. When your wife essentially tells you that she's not just accepting your leadership, but demanding it, then you'll know real pressure. It's easy to spar with her. You get points for witty banter. But when she looks at you with tears in her eyes and says "What are we going to do?" . . . and expects you to form a cogent answer . . . then you'll know the real test of the Red Pill's power.
You'll either fold or you will hold. And there is no real way to test for that without actually doing it.
It was all gamesmanship up to then. But when your family takes three huge knocks in short succession, you can't tamely go back to the Blue Pill days, retreating into the comfort of mediocrity and anonymity. If you respond to the challenge of adversity with timidity and resignation you lose. Because if you lose respect in your wife's eyes through your failure to lead, or throw it back on her with "well, you're still responsible for half of the bills!", or any other asinine response, you lose. The only practical Red Pill response to the serious adverse event of Mrs. I's unemployment was to Shut Up And Be The Fucking Captain.
I could have done any number of things, in that situation. Under the Blue Pill it would have been permissible to whine, pout, complain, bitch, moan, blame her, blame her former employer, rant ineffectively, plot in obscurity, write a bunch of pointless letters, undermine her confidence, and demand she find another job at once.
What I actually did . . . was double down on the Red Pill. I became the Patriarch my family needed, that she needed. Instead of bitching about bills, I used the opportunity to take my overly-entitled children and teach them the Fine Art Of Being Broke. Not "being poor" -- different skill set -- but being broke. Little things, like how to leverage free events and the library and other social things into meaningful experiences. How to shop on a budget. How to fix a car on a budget. Prioritizing bills and expenses. That sort of thing.
Further, I put my money where my mouth was. Mrs. I's loss of salary, even with unemployment benefits, was pretty huge. I'm a writer. I make my living on the rent other people pay to stay at my castles in the air. So I built more castles. Last year, if you count up all of my various pseudonyms, I published 9 books in addition to a full-time job, this blog, and my Daddy duties. I pushed for the lowest-hanging fruit, leveraged my largest audience, and applied my nose rigorously to the grindstone. Instead of bitching and moaning, I got off my ass and tried to write my way out of the problem.
As a result, my kids had a far, far better Christmas than anyone could have expected, and the Ironwoods entered the new year without outstanding debt in arrearage. I held myself accountable. I wasn't going to depend on Mrs. I to come up with her half of the bills, a la the "equal partnership" rule, because this wasn't an equal partnership. We don't have equality. We have equilibrium. And the Red Pill dictates that when one side is weakened, the other side compensates. I refused to consider it "her responsibility" to get a new job, not when our kids really did need her the most, I saw it as my responsibility to do everything in my power to facilitate that. In this case that meant making more money. Simple as that.
But beyond the financial, her appreciation of my dominant position in the family has allowed her to keep her shit together under some truly trying circumstances. Sometimes all I had to do was stand there, like an immovable rock, and be a point of stability she clung to while she wept and let her emotions sweep over her. Sometimes she needed me to step up and enforce my role as Patriarch with the kids, unapologetically and without a trace of weakness. Sometimes she needed me to intercede with a client or a creditor or a teacher to allow her to get something done.
And always she wanted my praise, my approval, and yes, my guidance. While she didn't want my criticism, she bore it, and bore it gracefully for the most part. We had some tense times with all of those Serious Adverse Events, but the truth of the matter is that if I hadn't stepped it up and taken the helm with a firm, dominant hand, our ship would have veered off into the reef a hundred times.
So 2014, I so declare, will be the Year of the Red Pill, Extra Strength. If anything, I have seen just how effective the Red Pill, Married Game, and an enlightened and pragmatic understanding of gender relations and heterosexuality can be in your life. With a positive outlook on masculinity, a fresh look at femininity, and a lot of sex and communication, the Ironwoods are going to double-down on the Red Pill this year. We're going to embrace Patriarchy 2.0 and enjoy the hell out of our marriage, SAEs be damned.
As our youngest has frequently said through this last year, "Tough times don't last, tough people do", and we've lasted through some of the toughest we've seen. We're still here. I'm still writing. And there are plenty of fellas out there who need a good dose of Red Pill this year, so let's get to work.