Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why Male Birth Control Will Change Everything

Everyone knows what the female birth control pill did to our society, and while everyone also knows that reliable male contraception would be a boon, the general effectiveness of condoms and the difficulty in regulating male fertility at the hormonal level without also impairing male sexual function has made "The Male Pill" an elusive goal.  Pharma companies are interested, of course - considering their profits on female birth control, opening up a huge market for exploitation on a monthly basis is just too good to pass up.


But the best proposed method for reliable male birth control isn't a hormone-based therapy.  It's a minor surgical intervention that renders the patient effectively sterile for a ten-year period of time. RISUG, or Vasagel, has proven effective and safe in initial clinical trials in India.

Because it's a surgical intervention and not a drug, there isn't much corporate support for the procedure, but its promise has attracted individuals to contribute to the incredible expense of funding FDA testing.  And the promise is fantastic.  Essentially, a microscopic device is injected into the vas deferens, where its crystalline structure effectively shreds the sperm before ejaculation.  After ten years the structure breaks down and the patient returns to normal fertility.  Or the device can be flushed away surgically with another minor procedure.

But for ten solid years you don't have to worry about getting anyone pregnant accidentally.  The power to conceive is under your control, as a man.  You are no longer a potential victim of reproductive coercion.

That's not a term you hear often enough, although the effect is widely known.  When a woman gets pregnant (or pretends to, or convinces herself she is) in order to extract a commitment from a man without his knowledge or permission, that's reproductive coercion.  It's the other side of "using sex as a weapon".  Unfortunately, things rarely work out well for either the man who has been coerced or his off-spring.

In the discussion about sexual violence the issue of reproductive coercion rarely comes up.  The talk begins and usually ends centered on rape and violent sexual assault, acquaintance rape and sexual entitlement.  But the issue of sexual violence is not complete without putting reproductive coercion on the table for discussion.  If rape is morally wrong - and it is - then extorting an unwanted commitment from a man is equally wrong.

It's a Red Pill fact that a goodly portion of marriages are the result of a little blue line on a plastic stick and a True Love rationalization, not the careful vetting and examination they should be.  The status quo tends to run like this: Jack and Jill go off to college, hook up with a bunch of people before getting thrown together for a weekend at the beach, knocking boots out of boredom and opportunity, and six weeks later, after both have moved on, Jill shows up at Jack's dorm with a wet stick and a blue line.  June wedding and married student housing, or perhaps a semester off, if they elect to make a go of it.

Of course it really could be True Love - or boiling hormones - that provides the chemistry that turns that little line blue.  Or it could be a calculated ploy on the part of an ambitious or desperate girl, pure reproductive coercion.  Or it could be a simple mistake that neither of the principals feels ready to contend with, but because of moral obligation or their own youthful optimism they dive in anyway.

Whether inspired by a belief in True Love, a genuine mistake, or a cynical and calculated ploy to secure a given man, the result is the same: a child has been conceived without the father's knowledge or permission.  His conscious right to choose his reproductive future has been usurped.  While it takes two to tango, he is not the one leading the reproductive dance.  A woman is ultimately responsible for what happens to her body, one way or another, and a man is at her mercy at even telling him about the child.  He is not in control of his own reproductive freedom.

So . . . what would happen if he was?

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which a sixteen year old boy went in for his summer camp physical, and while he was getting his vaccinations caught up they took twenty minutes to put his reproductive life on pause.  With no chance of getting anyone pregnant until he was 26, what different kind of future does he face?

Imagine a world where a young man has a leisurely amount of time to cultivate a career, pursue a degree, develop a skill or master a profession, without the looming, lingering danger of unwanted pregnancy.  Imagine the shift in power as the ability for a woman to have a child comes under male review and approval.

The procedure is not expensive - around $1000 - and it appears to be perfectly safe.  If one assumes that any teenage boy with a brain in his head and a future ahead of him would take advantage of such a procedure, then only the very low-status, low-quality males would be casually fertile.  Competition for high-quality males would be extremely high among women, forcing even more competition for the Big C-Commitment of an engagement ring.  When a woman's ability to conceive is reduced to her ability to attract a man who finds her worthy enough to flip the switch and have a baby with her, the rules of the SMP change dramatically.

The "I can always get knocked up by a handsome stranger" fall-back position offers great consolation to women unable to master the intricacies of a heterosexual relationship long enough to have a baby.  Most sexually-active women go out of their way to avoid pregnancy with an essential random, for fear of his real status and the social consequences of reproducing without a reliable mate.  But if the majority of decent dudes are voluntarily sterile, then even that possibility vanishes.  But that would not be the boon to women you might imagine.

As the Wall inevitably approaches, the reproductive instinct, combined with generous contributions from the Rationalization Hamster, allow a given woman to rationalize lowering her standards to take advantage of the large pool of dudes who want a regular piece of ass and possibly a relationship, muddle through with Beta Bucks and start looking around for some Alpha on the side while soon-to-be ex-hubby raises the kids.  That's the status quo for all too many poor Beta dudes who think they've found True Love when what their wives are thinking Starter Husband.  As long as she's got a few good eggs and a willingness to go wild for an unsuspecting Alpha, she has a potential escape hatch and the rationalizations and legal remedies to use it.

But what happens when that option is, for all practical purposes, off the table?  When any hypergamy-inspiring hot Alpha who walks into her life is in control over his own reproductive destiny, the biological escape hatch is closed.  And when she has to ask her husband's permission to have a baby, she has lost the innate power of her feminine reproductive biology.

It goes beyond that, of course.  When the Betas-and-below can effectively control their reproductive freedom, the ability for a woman to secure a reliable provider with her reproductive biology without his consent . . . vanishes. She must rely on her sexuality and her (shudder) personality to convince a given man that she is worthy enough to bear his children. The burden of proving herself falls to her, as mother, not to him, as father and provider.

The result: teenage pregnancy drops, and accidental pregnancies of all types plummet.  Male fertility - a commodity so plentiful it's currently essentially free on the SMP - suddenly has value.  Men of quality get the procedure as a matter of course.  Most of the middle class, naturally.  Any smart boy on his way to college would certainly do it.  Same thing for the military forces - who wouldn't?  No need to worry about pregnancy if you don't have to, right?

And then the power in the SMP shifts.  When women have to compete, really compete for a man's commitment, not just for provision and protection but for access to his genes, then the social pressures change and the idea of commitment becoms a lot more clear-cut.  Marriage becomes re-entwined with reproduction as it becomes clear that a solid marriage is the best guarantee of quality children raised in a reliably stable family.  Men who are able to demonstrate that kind of ability by their late 20s suddenly gain huge capital in the SMP, and they will be quick to re-write the rules of commitment.  Without the potential of "Guess what, honey? You're gonna be a daddy!" looming over them they are free to insist on a far stronger commitment than the drive-by matrimony that persists today.

Of course the Puerarchy explodes with horny young dudes who can't get a girl pregnant, thus obscuring the future good family men from being easily identified in the competition altogether.  When "extended adolescence" means being sterile until you're 26-28, life for a young man becomes one long pussy-party.  Even having a steady girlfriend doesn't mean as much.  The moment she brings up the idea of a serious commitment without the biological bond of a child, the youth in question is forced to look just at her, not at their offspring, when making that decision.  And let's face it, ladies, many of you just won't measure up under that kind of scrutiny.
The process of conception requires his positive approval, not just his passive cooperation.  Without that bullet to dodge, the Puerarch is able to really enjoy his youth in ways that make feminists everywhere shudder.

RISUG gives men the chance to really plan and execute their life's ambitions without concern for premature distractions.  With the smug knowledge that our sexual capital only improves with our age, instead of depreciating like a woman's, such control over our genetic destiny gives men the room to make far more intelligent, informed choices about where and when they want to father children, and with whom.  It puts a premium on the Dad skills and abilities, and makes the stakes in Combat Dating much, much higher for women.  It puts the balance of reproductive power in masculine hands, and increases the competitive drive among women.

Suddenly fatherhood becomes a hot commodity, not a wellspring for sitcom jokes.  A man who has elected to be a dad would first secure his rights and ensure he has made a choice in the mother of his children that he can live with before he has the reversal done.  Without the biologic pressure of unexpected pregnancy, he has the time to vet - and, if necessary, discard - unsuitable mates before they lure him into marriage and divorce.  He also has the time to develop a career and financial standing to support children when he's ready to, not when that cute girl he met in the quad presents him with a freshly-peed-upon stick.  By the time your AFC Beta boy is ready to become a Dad, he'll be in his late 20s, moderately successful, and ready to make some serious decisions about his life - and his choice of wife.

Of course that also frees up his dating life, too.  Without the danger of unexpected pregnancy, he just has the minefield of STDs and batshit crazy to navigate, and that's not nearly as fate-changing, usually, as bringing a kid into the world.  With a modicum of Game knowledge, the Dad-to-be can sow his oats like an Alpha for a decade.  That's likely to make him generally less commitment-happy, and genuinely instruct him on the nature of women.  And that's going to be very frustrating to the Beta-girl who suddenly fines herself desperately
competing for male attention when she wants to be out protesting wage inequality.

And most importantly, it makes responsible fatherhood a valuable commodity.  The worse the Puerarchs behave in their cock-sure shenanigans, the more the stability of a well-seasoned male will be valued by women who want to be mothers.  Watch the age of first marriage climb for men, and over-all marriage rates fall yet lower.

The blowback against feminism would be severe.  When femininity is valued, feminism loses force.  Arguing for a lean-in career path which almost certainly dooms your chances of reproduction loses credibility in the face of observable truths.

Revalorizing marriage and family by re-valuing fatherhood and paternalism - and, yes, Patriarchy - leaves women with stark choices when it comes to their futures. They would either have to commit to a childless future as a corporate drone, dying lonely and covered in cats, or they will play the game that gets them pregnant, by the rules made by those who control the tap.  Feminism will be a hollow ideology.  When men hold their future children hostage to their will, women will reflect more deeply on the whole issue of equality.  And we'll see a lot less emphasis within the Matrix on conquering the corporate world, and more emphasis on escaping it . . . by becoming a wife and mother to a worthy man.




Also, capitulating to popular demand as a test I'm letting folks take a look at a Red Pill Primer for Boys, set up as a Google Presentation.  Here's the intro.  Let me know what you think.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Husbands Are Not Handbags

You know that feminism is starting to realize it has a problem when they start trying to praise men.

Bless their little hearts, when the feminist establishment recently took a good hard look at all of the high-profile success stories of female CEOs, politicians, and senior administrators, among the commonalities of experience was this: most female power players enjoyed the support of a devoted househusband in the shadows.  In other words, they didn't get where they were without a man's help.  This article over on HuffPo by Anne-Marie Slaughter, amusingly entitled Behind Every Great Woman Is A Great Man explores the idea, foreign to feminism, that gosh darn it maybe husbands aren't such a bad idea after all for the up-and-coming career woman.  Heck, they're now as stylish as a Prada bag.

 According to a recent study of high-profile female executives who identify as feminist, having a helpful hubby is about as essential as a Prada bag to get ahead in the corporate world.  Beyond the glass ceiling you can’t have it all without the help of a man, it seems.  Every leaning-in woman, apparently, has a trusty, devoted Beta boy in the background picking up kids, ironing the pleats in her skirt, and otherwise making her look good.  Docile, well-domesticated Beta husbands have become an essential accessory for the metropolitan feminist matriarch.

Of course, most of these super-supportive “househusbands” are as white, wealthy, and privileged as their ambitious wives, so they can spare plenty of time for nurturing duty by throwing money at problems that ordinary husbands and fathers have to deal with.  Being a great dad and hubby is easier, I'd imagine, when you have a housekeeper, nanny and a landscaping service.  But the data is clear: progressive corporate feminists should get married to superBetas to enhance their chances of success.  

The premise of the argument is that if competition and ambition are good for women to demonstrate, then caring and compassion and a desire to raise their children and be a part of their lives are just as good for men to demonstrate.  Because, according to Slaughter "We don't observe that desire on the part of many men today, in the same way that we didn't used to see the competitive side of women." 

This, despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of men who desperately desire to do just that, but have been prohibited from doing so by a women-oriented family court system.  This, despite the dramatic rise in the number of dads who are dispensing care and enjoying it.  Despite this gross misrepresentation of the deep masculine desire to father (she can't bring herself to use the term, selecting the gender-neutral "caregiving" instead), Slaughter insists "Men are still socialized to groom their competitive instincts and suppress their caring sides."

Well, duh.  

You wanna know why?  It's a big secret: because sex is the primary motivational factor in a man's life, and being socialized to groom their caring sides gets them personally, socially, and psychologically mangled in the pursuit of that motivating factor.  Men groom their competitive instincts because they compete for the attention and the sexual availability of women.  And yes, we are groomed to suppress our caring sides, because over-empathizing with your competitors is counter-indicated to the whole idea of competition.  But to conclude that it is therefore missing or underdeveloped is an error.  

Men suppress their caring sides until needed, otherwise they become whiny Gamma nightmare Nice Guys.   And to reinforce the idea that having their caring, nurturing sides groomed is a poor mating strategy, just watch what happens when a man so-groomed goes out into the sexual marketplace. Watch how the women he meets, including the corporate feminists, recoil with loathing as he demonstrates how caring and non-competitive he is.Those guys end up in lackluster marriages (if any) where their wives have clearly settled and the gamma male in question is largely superfluous until she bangs someone better.  I've seen these poor idiots actually apologize to their wives for "driving them into the arms of another man" by their self-loathing.   It certainly does not improve his attractiveness to women in the slightest, and all the HuffPo articles in the world aren't going to suddenly make them find them so.

That puts feminism in the ironic light of attempting to glorify men, in some minute form or fashion, and from this missive it’s clear that this is territory that they are both unfamiliar with and clearly untalented in.  Their attempts are so feminist-laden in perspective that they don’t realize just how humiliating this is for the poor Betas in question.  

They feel that they are doing these men and society a favor, by glorifying their willingness to abandon or postpone their own ambitions for those of their power-hungry wives.  They think that extolling the nurturing virtues of men will somehow detract from the four decades of systematic male abuse that has spewed forth from feminist pages. 
But the truly, deliciously ironic thing about this is that they are in fact objectifying these men, as well and truly as any man has when expressing a preference in cup sizes.  They have made these Betazoids and their nurturing virtues – they can’t quite bring themselves to call it “fatherhood” – into the latest adornment on their vanities by their half-hearted, tepid praise.  They seek to praise these men by invoking their feminine virtues, not their masculine ones. 

Think of whom these articles are designed for: women who are “leaning in”, young ambitious career feminists eager to step on a ladder of dicks on a daily basis to advance their career aspirations.  In a publication designed to inform women, en masse, about the expectations of the female social matrix.  Huffington Post just put the scrotums of Betas on the rack like limited-edition Italian designer handbags.  Every ambitious young executive feminist woman should have one to be in the club, only . . . there seems to be a deplorable shortage of dudes willing to sign up for that lackluster gig.

Why?  Because even as they extol the virtues of these pro Beta men, they can’t disguise their unease and disgust with themselves for doing so.  Nor can they repair the damage done for the last two generations to the very men they stalk with a condescending pat on the head.  So the faint praise with which they are damning those poor husbands is ironically pointing out just why a quality dude should shy away from such a relationship. 

I’m not talking out of my ass here.  I’ve been a househusband.  I’m still as much housekeeper as householder, with Mrs. Ironwood working from home, and yeah, I provide a lot of basic support for the family.

But the cold fact is, Ladies, it is different for a man.  You essentially just patted those dudes on the head for non-masculine virtues.  The social reality is that publicly praising a husband for his housekeeping and caregiving is the functional way to lose points for him, no matter how darn good he is at it. 
 
 That's equivalent of a dude bragging to his friends, “Yeah, she’s got a face like a trainwreck and she’s lousy in the sack, but she makes so much cash I don’t have to lift a goddamn finger!”  It might be a practical advantage, but you don’t score social points for it.  On the contrary, you lose points.

Women might appreciate another woman’s househusband intellectually and emotionally, but they don’t find him attractive for it.  Other men don’t look upon a high-end househusband with envy, but with pityNo man wants to be in a relationship where he’s doomed to be the junior partner forever . . . not if he wants the respect of his male peers.

Their willingness to submit, economically and legally, to the realities of the post-industrial world and accept whatever custody-and-divorce settlement her lawyers can negotiate for her make these domesticated Betas little more than prized pets for their wives – sorry, “executive domestic partners”.   

And the feminist establishment’s lackluster attempt to add fictitious value to the men who sacrifice their masculine ambitions for the security of their wife’s paycheck insults the very real masculine values at play here.  Nurturing fatherhood and husbandly support are, indeed, worthy expressions of masculinity, but only in complement to other, far more Alpha qualities.  Attempting to downplay the nature of masculine nurturing in the context of a robust masculinity and elevate it’s purely Beta is about as emasculating as it gets. 

These men don’t need to be valued for their nurturing.  They need to be acknowledged as Fathers and Husbands, the traditional titles of such men, and celebrated for their accomplishments independent of their wives’ busy lives.  Celebrating their domestic mastery is a lovely way to round out a respectful ode to these men, but not as the focus.  Goddess knows they don’t hear it often enough from their wives, no doubt.  In fact, in their attempts to extol the virtues of a junior male domestic partner, these women miss the grim reality that is the life of a Domesticated Beta Husband.

I know more than a few of these guys.  In some cases they enjoy successful careers themselves – just not as successful as their wives.  In others they have been forced by fate or circumstance or economic necessity to take over the housekeeping duties of the home.  They did not do it by native inclination. 

But what the feminist elite doesn’t mention about these men is the reality of their lives.  Perhaps life on the Upper West Side is different from the rest of the nation, but elsewhere the life of a career woman’s househusband is fraught with all sorts of issues, almost none of them revolving around his “intimidation” by his wife’s power.  More often than not the couples are in marriage counseling and frequently are on the verge of divorce under the strain of the relationship.  But he rarely counts himself as lucky to have found such a productive breadwinner.  Strutting around proudly about how important your wife is gets you ostracized from male and female society.  No dude wants to brag about how his wife is always too busy with work to spend time with him. And no one wants to associate with the dude who can't make it without a woman's help.

Let’s take a look at the sexual dynamic in such a relationship.  Someone should – feminism wants to ignore it, pretend that everything will work out nice and tidy in the bedroom.  The cold reality is that women who out-earn their husbands, or whose husbands are unemployed or are genuinely responsible for the house as a full time SAHD are largely unattracted to their menfolk.  When a working dude does laundry it’s a godsend for most wives.  When a househusband does laundry it’s an occasion for criticism about how he folds towels.  It damn sure ain’t foreplay.

Sexually, career women have a hard time with relationships with Beta husbands.  One couple I know seems a perfect example.  Ten years ago the wife was a successful attorney and the husband a low-level transportation manager and “full time dad” who was lauded in my progressive neighborhood as a sign of the perfect post-industrial family unit.  She made the majority of the money, he kept the house and took care of their daughter. 

The problem was that after a working day filled with high-Alpha males the wife would come home to hear the husband talking about his “work” at home with the kid . . . and to her it sounded like unbearable whining, not a discussion of goals and accomplishments.  Certainly not the sort of thing to dampen panties. 

As she began to withdraw physically, he tried to Beta-out and be Superdad in an effort to appeal to her.  As everyone in the Manosphere should be able to predict by now, after some initial damp praise the wife just got more and more resentful that her underemployed husband was enjoying all the benefits of parenthood while she slaved away at the office 60 hours a week.  The pristine state of the house no longer mattered – everything he did was subject to criticism and fault.  Superdad did not dampen panties. 

They considered having another kid but elected to buy a bigger house first.  They bought the one next door so they could oversee the renovation.  At first things evened out – he looked more Alpha as he oversaw the construction, she responded to the hope of better times with a more receptive attitude – but it was a very short-lived solution.  As the new home neared completion, the old problems returned with a vengeance.  The wife decided she wasn’t happy.  The husband got resentful over his powerless status in the relationship.  Instead of feeling celebrated as a husband and father, he was castigated as being lazy and entitled. 

Eventually they both had affairs.  She took up with one of the alpha male attorneys she knew from work, he indulged in a tawdry bit of infidelity with a younger college girl who saw his nurturing as attractive and his wife as an ungrateful bitch who did not know how to appreciate a good man.  She cheated first.  The whole thing blew up and wrecked the family.  She ended up moving into the new house with the kid, he got stuck in the old house.

Renting.  On his own, he couldn’t afford to buy it from her.  She graciously eschewed child support from him in return for guaranteed after-school child care.  She even discounted his rent in appreciation of his good nurturing.   So if you want to put a market value on masculine nurturing, according to this particular feminist lawyer, it’s worth about a hundred and sixty bucks a month.

The humiliating reality of the situation is that despite all of their prattling about valuing nurturing in the husbands who support these corporate feminists, these men – like all men in our society – are disposable to feminists.  Ann Marie Slaughter’s article quotes Bill Gates indicating that there are two great forces in human nature, self interest and caring for others, and she does her best to invoke the latter in men . . . but only at the expense of the former. 

Look how she puts it: But it's time to change the way we socialize our sons and choose our mates. Caregiver men are essential to the advance of competitor women.That is, in order for a woman to be competitive, she must accessorize properly with a caregiving man, despite the fact that society – as it stands – makes this a very poor choice for a man’s long-term self interest. 

Making our boys less competitive and encouraging our daughters to choose less-desirable mates might be the best route to making men more useful to women, but it is not in the best interests of men.  Focusing on caregiving when both mating and socializing only reward competition in boys is to doom your sons to lives of frustration and resentment – Betahood, in other words.  And teaching your daughters to value domesticity over productivity in their future husbands is to condemn them to unhappiness and eventual divorce. 
.
Feminism’s desire to Build A Better Beta ignores the very real consequence to the men in question.  They are neither desired by women nor respected by their fellow men.  They are, for lack of a better term, Future Ex Husbands.  You have to be a special kind of selfless masochist to thrive in that environment.  And not the kind of dude I want to hang out with.

What is really delicious about this bit of irony is that Dr. Slaughter is, in essence, telling women that the only way they can make it is to marry well . . . she just changes the definition of “well” from “wealthy and powerful” to “knows how to iron”.  In fact, she has to admit that the top women in their fields cannot seem to sustain their ambitious rise without a man’s help and assistance.  Yet she is loathe to actually commend those men in ways that are truly flattering to them. 

The irony train keeps chugging along as soon as you realize that the kind of high-quality man who can, indeed, be both householder and housekeeper, breadwinner and bread baker, is generally not going to want a relationship with a woman with whom he feels in competition, and therefore he’s going to eschew the ambitious career woman for a less complicated, less-demanding wife. 

That leaves the Beta AFCs who become domesticated out of economic necessity, who might be attracted to the vitality of a corporate feminist but who is under the mistaken impression that he can expect the kind of domestic loyalty and rejection of hypergamy he thinks marriage entails. 

When you know you’re the last ride on the carousel, what your wife settled for after she’d enjoyed “realer” men in her youth, you get to carry around a permanent inferiority complex that no number of expensive gifts is going to buy off.  You’re a Beta Dick she values for your dependable domesticity, and as soon as the kids are old enough to fend for themselves your sorry unproductive and decidedly unsexy ass is going to get dropped. 

At the very best, you will always live a contentious life of negotiated intimacy and rigid boundaries that makes a mockery of the partnership of marriage.  These corporate feminists who suddenly see a husband as this season’s must-have accessory to break the glass ceiling, not a partner worthy of a life-changing commitment.  To them, their careers will always take priority over their relationships, their children, and their families.

Don’t believe me, ladies?  Ask yourself this: if your househusband suddenly asked you to quit your job and move away for the good of the marriage and his happiness, would you?  Would you give up your career in favor of the needs of your family?  Or would you insist on counseling and start asking around about attorneys?

From a fella’s perspective, there is every reason in the world to avoid marrying a corporate feminist in the process of “leaning in.”  In general they make lousy wives . . . and if you’re not concerned with what kind of wife the woman you will marry will be, you seriously need to re-think your priorities.  They will not have time or energy to devote to you and the marriage, their idea of commitment is transitory at best, and – with gallant exceptions – many of them are utterly mediocre moms. 

Corporate feminists still have all the same desires and wants as other women, and are subject to the same pressures of hypergamy and fleeting youth.  But they also have a far greater access to a pool of relentless alphas in their chosen profession.  That gives them ample opportunity to find engagement and distraction with a dude who really makes their panties wet, not the dude who takes them out of the dryer. 

A househusband who can be the primary caregiver, not support the household financially, and still keep his wife aroused and interested is a rare and special breed.  In the face of that scarcity, the odds your corporate feminist wife is going to find herself "leaning in" over a desk one late night at work while a super-alpha business associate removes her dainty underthings is pretty high.  And a man faced with a woman who clearly would rather devote her energies toward her job rather than to him and his family is going to find his beloved corporate warhorse either tantalizingly unavailable or decidedly lacking in feminine allure. 

When Dr. Slaughter talks about re-valuing both men and women for their ability to care and/or provide, just to whom is she speaking?  The men, who know that touting their domestic capabilities gets them sent to the bottom of the loser pile in human mating, or the women, who know that “a tidy housekeeper” has never appeared on her dream list of Prince Charming qualities and likely never will? 

Men value a husband based on how well his family functions and how he gets along with his wife, and his domestic responsibilities are part of that reflection but not a significant part.  Women value a husband in a lot of ways, and caregiving is certainly among them, but the idea of basing their mating preferences on a man’s nurturing is foreign to feminine sensibilities. 

We need to change how we choose our mates?  No shit, Dr. Slaughter.  But making the assumption that a well-paid career woman is a safe bet for a blissful marriage is stupidly naïve and dangerous to the interests of men. 

While you talk of valuing these men for their caregiving, you do so in a feminist climate that has continuously denigrated the roles of husband and father for four decades.  What you propose instead is an emasculating and matronizing rationalization of a dysfunctional system. 

Praising men for being more like women does no one favors.  It certainly doesn’t help those poor AFCs stuck in the shadows of their wives until they get discarded. 

Quite the contrary, it’s just cruel of you.  Stop objectifying husbands like they were handbags.  It makes you look fat.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Wife Test: Domesticity


It’s amazing how many women don’t really understand that “wife” is a job description, not a title.
  


One of the key components of being a wife is being a homemaker.  That isn’t to say that housework therefore is her responsibility, only that one of the things a man seeks and finds value in when he is looking for his wife is someone with whom he can make a home.  Even in our post-industrial take-out culture a man wants to feel that he’s coming home to his wife, not going to the apartment where he sleeps with his roommate.

Many women these days, thanks to feminism’s dark shadow, have equated domesticity with slavery, for some reason.  They look with disdain on their grandmothers and great-grandmothers who saw value in building a home fit to raise children in.  As women have entered and come to dominate the workforce, they proudly eschew the domestic skills that are their maternal legacy in favor of corporate achievement and “personal fulfillment”. 

But a man who is serious about taking a wife wants a wife worth taking.  And a woman who cannot manifest her domesticity is a poor bet for the position, regardless of how hot she is or how impressive her resume is.

What is domesticity?  Simply put, it’s the discipline and art of building and developing a comfortable and attractive home for your family.  It is a task shared between husband and wife, ideally speaking, but just as a husband’s primary duty is to secure the home, the wife’s primary duty is to make it worth securing.  That doesn’t mean scanning Pinterest for hours until you have just the right catalog numbers, that means investing the hours of study, planning, and execution necessary to slowly convert the house you live in into an enjoyable home.

So how does one measure domesticity?  How does one wrap a rule around warmth and charm?  Can modern men even recognize it for what it is when they see it, or appreciate it properly when it is called to
their attention?
 
As part of the vetting process for your future bride, pay careful attention to a few key factors that may indicate her domestic inclinations.  In particular, be on the lookout for the following:

·                    Houseplants.  Not everyone has a green thumb, but most domestically-inclined women tend to collect houseplants.  Their condition will tell you a lot about her domesticity.


·                    If she has a pet, look to see how well she cares for it.  While the Manosphere disparages the Cat Lady, kitties do have the advantage of showing you just how attentive a woman can be to the task of keeping it properly.  A woman without much domestic inclination will often have a messy litter box or feeding area.  Dogs are even better for judging this.


·                    Is the art and decoration in her place personal, professional, or commercial?  A woman with a well-founded sense of domesticity will often have art of a personal nature, or reflective of her domestic aspirations.  Professional art demonstrates taste and culture, but could also signal aspirations of affluent status that could be contra-indicative to domesticity.  Commercial or popular art shows an investment in her social presentation, which isn’t exactly non-domestic, but it does show that she’s subject to social pressures.  If she has a Twilight poster in her room, for instance, that is telling.  And not particularly domestic.  A good mixture of all three demonstrates balance, and how they are presented will tell you how she feels about herself and her home.  An ambitious display of aphorisms and affirmations demonstrates a low self esteem and idealism more suited to corporate life than domesticity. 


If her place lacks art entirely . . . go for a one-night stand and move on.  Nothing to see here.

·                    Décor.  It doesn’t have to look like a magazine article, but are you comfortable when you go to her place?  Are the colors jarring and discordant, or warm and comfort-building?  Does she even care about the décor, or is she blatantly utilitarian?  A couple of small touches that are designed to make a noticeable difference indicate a good domestic sense.  If she has brick-a-brack, what kind and how much?  Collections of clowns, angels, kittens, frogs or ducks are generally warning signs.  Displays of her childhood and teenage achievements, family photos, and tasteful presentation are all good signs.  If you don’t understand why something is there, ask her.  If she doesn’t have a funny story or anecdote about it, that doesn’t bode well.

·                    Does she cook?  While culinary skills are no guarantee of domesticity, and their lack does not mean a lack of domestic impulse, they are nonetheless a fair indicator of her inclinations.  Mrs. Ironwood hates cooking, but that doesn’t make her any less domestic.  If a woman has a decent set of cooking utensils, actual ingredients in her refrigerator, and a pantry that contains shortening, flour, and yeast, those are good signs.  Her offering to cook you a meal within the first three dates is also a good sign.  Even if you plan on cooking for your future family, as I do mine, ensuring your future bride knows her way around the kitchen is highly recommended.

·                    Does she have people over?  There is a decidedly social component to domesticity.  Women who build nice homes want to show them off and claim the points.  If your prospective wife doesn’t ever entertain, then one potential reason is her lack of domesticity.

   ·                 Does she know her neighbors and their names?  Corporate drones can live next to someone for ten years and never know their names.  Domestically-inclined women want to know who lives around them.


·                    How often does she change her sheets, and is her laundry up to date?  Do her towels match? Piles of dirty clothes and perpetually-drying laundry are bad signs.  Clean towels and sheets are good ones.


·                    Is she careful to lock up when she leaves and not leave windows unlocked?  If she is not that conscientious about her home, she’s not going to be about yours.  Being security conscious is a domestic ability.

·                    Is her trash and recycling in order, or is it overflowing? 


·                    Has she done anything toward the presentation of her front door?  Domestically-conscious women are as into making the entrance of their homes attractive as socially-conscious women are at making an entrance.

How can you actively challenge her domesticity?  Here’s a few ways:

1.                  Tell her to make you a pie . . . but don’t give her any more details than that.  See how she approaches the matter.  If she refuses outright, get used to a lot of take-out.  If she buys pre-paid shells and fills them out of a can, or buys frozen pie, then she might be teachable, but probably not.  If she sees it as a challenge and cranks out a homemade apple pie made with fresh Granny Smiths and lard, then you have a winner.  Make sex noises while eating pie.

2.                  Ask her how she would plan your sister’s/niece’s/cousin’s emergency wedding for sixty people next weekend with a budget of $2000.  See what she comes up with.  A corporate zombie will snort and say hire someone.  A domestic goddess will have a themed action-plan and budget projections put together in an hour.

3.                  On a whim, go see a house for sale together.  As you go from room to room ask her how she would decorate it.  Along the way find out whether she would prefer city or country life, and what style of house she wants.  If nothing else, the idea of seeing a house as a “just pretend” exercise will get her thinking about your potential as a husband and start the panty-dampening process.  Plus you’re there, in a big ol’ empty house with no one else around.  You’ve got a 50/50 shot at a quickie if you have decent Game.  More, if the house is affluent enough.

4.                  Check out her mother’s place.  Domesticity isn’t hereditary, but if her mother has a strong domestic streak, then it might just be dormant in her fit of corporate rebellion from gender stereotypes.  Put a ring on it and she often goes the way her mom did.  So see how comfy your potential future mother-in-law’s place is and keep that in mind.

Even a strong sense of domesticity is no guarantee of a happy life or a good wife, but without it your marriage will suffer.  Perhaps terminally.  Figure out in advance what levels of domesticity you crave in your future and then screen accordingly.  Or get used to Lean Cuisines around the television, bub, and occasional nights of lackluster sex.  Because in my experience there is a correlation between domesticity and approachability for lusty shenanigans. 



Once the dishes are done, of course.


Monday, November 11, 2013

The Ironwood Rules Of Engagement

In celebration and acknowledgement of a Manospheran, Morpheus, taking the plunge into matrimony, Vox Day gave a beautiful list of instructions to him and all newly marred fellas.  I can heartily endorse all of what he said, when taken with a healthy dose of wisdom.  Badger followed up with an instructive commentary.  Athol Kay's post today is also helpful in determining when a fight is underway and when someone is just being a cranky-pants.   And as an OMG (Old Married Guy. "old" meaning you've managed to hit that ten-year anniversary without separation, divorce, or court-ordered rehabilitation) I am bound by custom to pass along my own insights on the institution.


Remember, advice is like a drink: it can only affect you if you accept it.  With that caveat in mind, one of the things that has been a pillar of the Ironwood marriage has been our Rules of Engagement for Fighting.

All couples fight.  It is inevitable that conflict arise between contrasting perspectives.  Even Commander Riker disagreed with Capt. Picard from time to time.  That being said, how you manage your conflict can make or break the stability of your union.  A lot of young couples find themselves in trouble very quickly because a) they didn't do a good job of mate selection or b) just don't know how to run a healthy relationship dynamic.

I'm not faulting them - in all honestly, realistic portrayals of well-functioning married couples in popular culture are pretty thin on the ground, and its unlikely they can look to their parent's generation for insight.  But part of managing a relationship is understanding how to manage conflict.  And in marital conflict, like any other conflict, there can be agreed-upon and religiously-adhered-to Rules of Engagement to keep things productive.

I've blogged about these before, back in the mists of time, but they bear repeating, and I'm not above stealing from myself when I think it is timely.  And no, not because Mrs. I and I have been fighting recently.  I just know a lot of newly married people.

All couples fight.  You can't avoid it.  But you can choose how you fight.




Mrs. Ironwood and I  came up with these before we ever got married (we lived together for 6 years first.  I was pretty sure I wanted to marry her 4 years into the relationship, but when you're planning on only marrying one girl . . . better to wait two more years and be sure.).  We had the help of a highly skilled marriage counselor, one of the very, very few I've known worth the money.   These Rules were mutually understood and agreed-upon before we got married. They are designed to keep things productive.  

They are:

1) No yelling. Reasonable tones only.  Over-shouting the other person is rude and does not lend weight to your argument.  NO YELLING is the very first rule. Yelling is a clear attempt to establish dominance without having
won an argument. That's disrespectful not just to your partner, but to the marriage as a whole. Worse, when a man yells in an argument it demonstrates he has lost his cool.  (Yelling at your children to get their attention, or increasing your tone to denote emotional emphasis of a particular point, is different than yelling in a fight with your wife).  As an axiom to this, I'll add "No interrupting".  Interrupting is as much of an attempt at conversational dominance as yelling.  Indeed, just as yelling is the masculine preferred method of establishing social dominance, interrupting is how women usually do it.  Maintaining reasonable tones and allowing your partner to finish their thought without your input is fundamental.

2) No name calling. That's disrespectful. This is your spouse, and calling them names is hurtful and unproductive.  If some behavior is unacceptable, call it out as such.  Don't just say "You're such a cunt!", because you shouldn't let anyone call your wife a cunt without repercussions.  That includes you.

3) Stick to one topic at a time. Don't fight about that thing you did last week.  Or last vacation.  Or last year.  Or on your wedding day.  The conflict is here-and-now, and unless there is a reason to bring the past in as
prologue, expanding the scope of your argument does no one any favors.

4) No ultimatums. That's contrary to the spirit of the discussion. You are having an argument.  It doesn't mean the end of your love for each other, the end of your relationship, or the end of your marriage.  It's a fucking argument.  Keep your emotions under control and deal with things productively and move on.  It's not a sign of the end, or a reason to say "I'm unhappy".  Married people fight.  Happily married people fight.  Hell, happily married people fight the most, sometimes.  Allowing your ego and your feelings to be a springboard to some bullshit ultimatum that can't be un-said is in no one's best interest.  If you feel like throwing out an ultimatum, give yourself 24 hours to think about it.  If you still feel that way, start a separate discussion about it.

5) No chase-and-follow. Handle your business face to face in your own home without involving other people.  
No running to your mother, your brother, your sister, your best friend, a hotel, a bar, or a brothel.  It's twice as bad if you expect someone to follow you there, and see a failure to do so as a lack of endorsement in the relationship.  That's attention-getting bullshit game playing, not mature and thoughtful attention to your responsibilities as a spouse.  Sure, we all need support, respite, and refuge from time to time, but if you flee in the face of an argument, you are abrogating your responsibilities to the relationship.  That's not to say you can't call a time out.  But a time-out is a cool-down period, not an excuse to flee.

6) No involving other people. This is between us.  Trying to get other people to support your position against your spouse is a recipe for a general social shit-storm, and repercussions that last far beyond the argument itself.  When the Female Social Matrix gets involved in your marriage, you have problems far in excess of what you asked for.  Keep private things private, by mutual consent.  Unless someone needs to affirm or deny as a witness - in which case you have some trust issues to work out - your argument is your argument, no one else's.

7) No ad hominem attacks. They are rude and intellectually dishonest. As a man it is a good example of a loss of control - DLV.  As a woman, it is a demonstration of disrespect contrary to the spirit of the discussion - DLV.  You may disagree with their behavior or their perspective, that does not make them less of a person or unworthy of your respect and love. Even if the problem is habitual, it is not usually indicative of a flaw in someone's character.  

8) No kidney punches, i.e. hitting the other person's acknowledged weak spots. After nearly 20 years, we know where those are. If your husband/wife had an alcoholic parent, for example, comparing them to that parent would be considered a kidney punch.

9) No involving the children. This is a debate between adults.  It should not be held in the presence of children, nor should children be privy to the after-effects.  Your first responsibility as parents is to ensure a safe and happy childhood for your kids, and watching parents fight is rarely a good thing.  Especially in an age where their friends' parents are divorcing so rapidly, it is unfair of you to inflict your sophisticated adult discussions on minds who lack the adult context to understand them properly.  All they know is that mommy and daddy are fighting, and they're anxious, and they're worried that they'll have to take sides.  Do your fighting in a room with the door closed.  Like your love making, it doesn't require witnesses.


10) No profane language. If you can help it.  Emotions get high, and invective will of course be used in an adult discussion.  But don't go overboard.  Emphasizing a point with a calmly-delivered f-bomb is one thing; having "motherfucker" fall too oft from your lips undermines your credibility.  And it detracts from your point, whatever that is.

That's the general guideline. 


Our friends think we never fight, but we do -- we just agreed to the rules ahead of time. We've managed to stick to this set of rules for two decades, and maintaining them has helped us get through some dark times, even when the Rules worked against us, personally.  And that's not to say that both of us haven't occasionally violated one of the less-important of the above rules at various points, including Yelling. When that happens, it's time to call a "time out" and walk away for some silent contemplation, marshal your resources, etc.. It stretches out the fight, but it's better than a trip to the emergency room.

(If you want to improve the efficacy of employing these rules, you may gain considerable leverage by fighting naked.)

Oh, and the unofficial #11?


Make-up sex. Righteous.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Girl Game: Issue A Challenge

I've taken a good chunk of the summer off from the blog to write and conduct Field Work, and I'll be getting back to regular posts shortly.  Until then, here's a little something I've been working on I thought y'all might get something out of.  It's another Girl Game post, but it's equally useful for men to use on women, slightly tweaked for gender differences.



One of my long-time readers came to me with a problem: after working with her husband to overcome some BETA issues and ALPHA him up a bit to generally good effect, the dude back-slid after an argument into nearly full Blue Pill BETA supplicant mode, much to her dismay and mild disgust.  But as she is committed to the relationship, she wanted to know how to repair that damage.

So I discussed it with Mrs. Ironwood for a while and she pointed out that it can be difficult to be assertive from a submissive position without coming across as the typical "bossy bottom" (a term borrowed from Lambdaworld to describe the submissive partner in the relationship who is actually in charge, usually through a multitude of passive-aggressive and emotionally manipulative actions).   No one likes a bossy bottom.

But that doesn't mean a wife is powerless to affect change in a nascent Red Pill relationship, nor is she automatically at the mercy of her husband's whim.  When a Red Pill husband accidentally shifts into reverse, a Red Pill wife has a chance to give him a way back, if she is bold enough.  You don't do that by bitching, nagging, whining, or pleading.  You do that by issuing a challenge.

Just like a woman in a relationship can impel a man toward the Red Pill and a more dominant presentation by Extending an Invitation, when a Red Pill dude really screws up, instead of letting him twist in the wind while he figures out where he went wrong, it is often in a wife's best interest to forget the issue that started the argument/crisis and focus on building a way to repair it.  You do that by Issuing a Challenge.

Now, every man wants to feel like a heroic knight in shining armor in his relationship, and while that implies plenty of dreary damsel rescuage, it also implies a dedication to a quasi-mystical quest.  So when things are amiss in the usual ALPHA-BETA, Male/Female equation to the point where your dude starts whining or moping instead of manfully handling his business, not only do you as a Red Pill wife and First Officer have a responsibility to the ship to point it out in a respectful way, but you have an agency to restore that equilibrium.

Just as you can Extend an Invitation to give him a nudge in the right direction, creating the space to impel him toward a more ALPHA presentation, when he fucks up you can give him a way back by Issuing A Challenge.

Now, you have to be careful about this, because it has the possibility of blowing up on you if you aren't.  You must make your dude understand that this isn't just an ordinary hysterical shit-test, it's a very deliberate and calculated Shit Test.  Indeed, it isn't a classical Shit Test by virtue of its restorative power.  Traditionally, by acceeding to the Shit Test you lose no matter what: even if you do what she wants, she loses respect for you for caving in when you really should have stood your ground.

Issuing a Challenge is more involved.  First, it should be well-established just WHY you are issuing the challenge in the first place.  Let's pretend, for example, that Mrs. Ironwood and I had a fight, and instead of being all ALPHA like she wants me to be, I cave in and go into obsequious BETA mode until she's ready to strangle me.  The first part of Issuing the Challenge revolves around identifying the behavior you wish to correct.

"Ian, you're being a spineless bastard.  I'm sick of this BETA attitude of yours, and I'm calling a flag on that play."  Okay, so she really wouldn't talk like that, but I've reduced a twenty-minute conversation to the headline.  "I really don't feel as attracted to you when you're like this, and I'm not happy about it."  She doesn't need to add the insulting "Man Up!" because that's, well, insulting when it comes from a woman.  "I'm not happy about it" is sufficient to demonstrate the limits of his behavior.

Second, once you've established WHY, you need to establish HOW.  "Ian, I know you didn't mean to go all Blue Pill Beta on me, so I'm going to assume you just had a bad day and got sand in your panties.  However, you did hurt my feelings, and yeah, I'm a woman, so that's important.  I need to feel like you're in charge again, or we're going to start fighting again.  So . . . I'm going to give you a week to think about it, and while you're thinking, perhaps you could do something to demonstrate both your contrition at being a pussy and your devotion to your own masculinity.  If you can't come up with something creative in a week . . . well, let's not dwell on such an unpleasant possibility."

(Again, severely reducing the convo.)

When setting the goal of the Quest, it is important to keep it a) achievable and b) challenging.  I'm a writer.  If Mrs. I challenged me to write . . . well, pretty much anything, that wouldn't be much challenge.  The English language is my bitch.  I've written everything from menus to major novels.  Poetry?  In my sleep.

But if she challenged me to, say, sing her a song in front of a crowd that would stretch my meager vocal talent to the limit . . . and be an impressive feat if I could actually follow up on it with less than four beers in me.

Don't make the Quest about tangible gain or reward ("I want an emerald bracelet!") because that is both unimaginative and ignoble; the point of the exercise is to get your dude's creative juices flowing in a positive direction. You want to inspire him, not discourage him.  Reducing the challenge to his ability to shell out cash is banal and pointless.  "I want an emerald bracelet . . . that you design and build yourself, down to mining and cutting the gemstones" is an achievable and challenging goal.

A week and a Quest, as well as some parameters: both manly AND contrite.  And, I know up front, the more it references my devotion to her and my family, the crazier the reward when I'm done.  The woman issuing the challenge must understand that the juice has to be worth the squeeze, i.e. Herculean effort deserves Dionysian reward.  If you're gonna be ballsy enough to issue a challenge to your man, you'd better be woman enough to fulfill the reward appropriately.


Once you've established What you want changed, and given him some idea of How you'd like to see it . . . step back.  Don't harp on it.  If possible, do something or establish something that is a visible, silent reminder of the challenge, but don't mention it again.  The Mission has been given.  The Quest has begun.  The Challenge has been issued.  A simple reminder, a token of that ongoing mission, is helpful to keep the matter present in both of your minds without it becoming a point of contention.

To that end, don't let him talk about it with you.  That spoils it.  Part of the magic of this is that after you have set the parameters, your biggest role in this should be that of observer and audience.  You've given him an opportunity, now it is up to his masculine whiles to fulfill it.  If he consults with you, asks your advice, etc. then he's falling prey to Solomon's Dilemma, and you should politely feign not understanding what the hell he's talking about.  If he needs clarification, that's one thing, but the point of the exercise is to give him an opportunity to impress you, and if you're holding his hand the whole way, that ain't gonna happen.  The token should be enough reminder of what he needs to do.

Then give him a while.  It might be a long while.  You might find it hard to cultivate patience.  But don't give up hope, not until he admits defeat.  That should be a crushing blow to his ego, and if he truly cannot rise to your challenge after giving it his best, then either the challenge was too hard or the man was too soft.  Re-think it, re-issue it, and give him another shot.

The goal here isn't to make your dude into a limp-diked Beta.  The goal is to give him something tangible to aspire to, a quest to perform, a mission to accomplish.

Here's an example: A few years ago, Mrs. Ironwood was standing in front of her highly-disorganized closet trying to get ready for work, and despite the cubic miles of fine textiles on display for her, she declared that she couldn't find anything to wear . . . and blamed her shitty closet.

"I would give just about anything to have a decent closet!" she declared.

"Anything?" my penis asked.

"What do you think?" she asked, her eyes narrowing.  It was a casual mention, and she briefly told me what her ideal would be like, but that was the extent of her direction.

Challenge accepted.

I let her forget about the conversation for a few weeks, made some secret sketches and preparations, and then the next time she went out of town on business I descended on Lowe's like an avenging horde.  I put all three kids to work, and spent all weekend completely gutting and redesigning her closet.  There was a light inside, a shoe rack, three tiers of clothes racks (one full one for dresses, two demis for tops and pants), lingerie drawer, baskets for dry-clean only and delicates, hooks for bras, the works.  I didn't have to tear out any walls or doors, but when she got home for the reveal, well, she was impressed.

Impressed enough to do Anything.

At the time it wasn't a conscious thing, but the whole idea of issuing challenges became a part of our marital culture.  Most recently, as Mrs. Ironwood has taken up her new role as stay-at-home-wife-and-mother (!), I've turned the tables on her a bit, issuing a few challenges of my own.

She's been doing almost all of the cooking, which is a HUGE departure for us both.  I've been cooking for twenty years, and approach the subject as an art.  She's far more literal, has little natural talent or intuition with cooking, and approaches the matter as a science.  So asking her to cook anything is a Big Deal.

But I wanted to encourage her pursuit, as reluctant as she was, without being either condescending (which would sap her confidence) or preachy (which would piss her off).  She's done magnificently, thus far, and can now turn an omelette as well as the children.  But I wanted to give her something a little more confidence-building than bacon-and-eggs.  So I issued her a Challenge.

I didn't expect a quick turn-around, but since our anniversary (22 years) rolled around August 1, she decided to act on it.  My challenge was for her to cook me lumpias, a kind of Filipino fried egg-roll I became enamored with, due to a strange series of circumstances involving moonshine and a huge cast-iron kettle and a cute little Filipino woman, back in the mists of time.  I've only had them a half-dozen times, but they're exquisite.  Papa Ironwood still recalls his first experience with them at Subic Bay fondly after 40 years, although he never fails to mention that the ones he tried likely had monkey meat instead of pork.

If you've never had them, they're a treat.  They're somewhat like traditional Chinese egg rolls, but instead of a lot of cabbage or bok choy, lumpias are often made with pork and sweet potatoes or carrots.  It's not a difficult dish, exactly, but it is time-consuming, takes a lot of prep work, and involves a deep fryer.  It was, in other words, a worthy Challenge to my wife's nascent cooking abilities.

She surprised me Anniversary night when I got home with a whole assembly-line of lumpias.  I hadn't given her more than "I'd really love it if you'd learn how to make lumpias", and she ran with it.  And yes, I was impressed, so impressed that I broke out the Third Anniversary Present that night, made us both cry, and proceeded to the more sweaty and sticky portion of the evening.

Ladies, if your dude is lagging, then consider Issuing him a Challenge.  It's an opportunity for him to impress you, surprise you, delight you and astound you . . . without you chewing him out for screwing anything up.  It gives him the opportunity to demonstrate his competence and ingenuity.  And it gives him a tangible, achievable goal toward which to work.  And sometimes that's all we need to get us out of our own heads.