Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Swingsets and Sandboxes - Playground Rules for the Female Social Matrix

Venerable Manosphere blogger Susan Walsh at HUS hits the nail on the head again with How Women Really Feel About Male Dominance.  Among the gems was this brilliant observations about the roles of the Female Social Matrix and the Male Social Matrix and how they interact.  Since that dovetailed nicely with a point of my own, I'll go ahead and use Susan to kick it off.

Susan makes this keen observation:

social dominance is not conferred by women, it’s awarded by other men in a process of intrasexual competition for dominance and leadership. Men continually compete for dominance in social interactions with one another. The men who achieve the greatest rank among their peers may then display that dominance as a powerful advantage in attracting women for sex.

This point can't be overstated: Women have very little role in the establishment of male social dominance.  A hot wife will get a man social points, but only to a point -- if he can't match her status with his own, then he's likely to lose her to hypergamy and predatory dudes who thing they can poach her.  And the amount of mileage he'll get out of having a beautiful wife will be limited, in the Male Social Matrix.  Because Men build the MSM largely without regard to the role of specific women -- whereas the FSM is very much based on the buff-value a particular man provides to a woman.  

Let's look at this with a simple playground analogy:

So the boys are off being boys, competing in good-natured fun in the masculine Sandbox, competing for each other's attention and establishing their own hierarchy, as they build the vast sandcastle within.  Or battlefield -- they haven't decided which, yet, but that really matters less than how well they work together to build it.  They posture, they brag, they talk about the other sandboxes they used to go to which were so much cooler than this one -- let me just tell you -- and after a while someone starts giving orders and the other boys start to obey them, and what a hell of a big sandcastle they make when they all work together.  Or there will be two boys giving orders, who decide to be on opposite sides of a sandbox war, and all the other boys go to one side or the other and have a massive battle.

The Foreman or the General tell everyone else what to do -- you have to have someone giving the orders, after all, or nothing will get done.  Danny handles the trucks, Randy takes the toy soldiers and lines them up, and Heath is on dinosaurs and assorted action figures, Tommy is in charge of moving sand (it's his big yellow Tonka truck), but it's David who's the one who's directing it all.  He promised everyone who worked with him would have an incredible masterpiece of construction to show everyone's mom.  Something they all could be proud of.  But it takes a lot of work, and the only kid everyone will listen to is David, so he's the Foreman.  But building that sandcastle, that's the group's Mission, and everyone is devoted to that goal.

Only rarely do they even consider the girls on the other side of the playground, on the feminine Swingsets.  That's a whole different game.  Nothing to show your mom over there.  There they compete with each other about how high they can go, how fast, how far, how much fun, what kind of crazy spinning moves, and everyone trying to entrain the rhythm of their swings perfectly to enjoy the thrill of perfect consensus for one glorious moment.

No one is telling anyone else what to do, like over at the dirty Sandbox.  You're just swinging together and talking and enjoying the fun of tingle.  And the higher you go . . . the better the tingle. Since boys give a really good push, then finding one who will push you as long as you want it, just the way you want it, is madly desired by almost everyone on the swing.  Oh, there are those two girls who switch off pushing each other, but they're way down on the end and who cares what they think, anyway?  Have you seen how they dress?

The girls are swinging madly, screaming and calling and trying to attract the attention of the distracted boys and hopefully get one of them to come over and push her on the swings for a minute (form a romantic alliance) -- because that adds greatly to her social momentum. And the more you can persuade one of the boys to leave the sandbox and push you, the more the other little girls envy you for your social control.  .

If they can, they'll get the Construction Foreman or the General to come push them, which (often) shuts down the entire game until he returns, much to the disgust of the other boys. But it proves the girl's power, and she'll probably be flying for a while as he pushes.  But if he stays away too long, the other boys will start to bullyrag him, and someone else might get to be Foreman or General in his place -- while he's dutifully  pushing your dumb swing.  In fact, the other girls will be so envious that even if they're your good friends, they'll start trying to get your dude to push them instead of you.

But the boys largely could care less, and only the prospect of seeing up a skirt in the swing-pushing process keeps him interested.  Hell, if it wasn't for that, why would he leave the sandbox?  At least while you're up, you can hit the water fountain.  The other dudes understand the allure, and if the price of your thrill is your temporary absence, they'll reluctantly let it slide -- they wanna see some panties, too, after all.  And you gotta drink.  So they'll excuse you for a while.  Until you don't come back, that is, and then you might as well be a girl, because you could be playing with sand and trucks and now you're just pushing a dumb swing with the other morons who were stupid enough to get out of the sandbox.  

So the girls try everything they can think of to get a boy to stay and push them -- exactly like they want it -- and try for the synchronous swing that they all want.  Failing that, they want you to push you higher and give an even bigger tingle.  They'll say just about anything to get you to stay, get you to talk (but never push!) with the other girls, tell you they love how high you can push them because you're so strong, and you intentionally let them see up your skirt.

Only you can't let the other girls now you're doing it, or they'll call you a cheater.  I mean, some of them wore bluejeans -- they can hardly do that, can they?  And then they'll start talking about you, ganging up on you -- but not when the boys are around.  They might not want to push you at all if they knew how you acted when they weren't around.  Or how you're considering asking another boy -- who you think might push even harder -- to push you, because he wouldn't be happy with that.

It's HIS job to push you -- if you let just anyone push you, then he's just another tingle-inspiring tool of her semicircular canals -- he's got better things to do, especially if she's not flashing any panties.  But even if he's the only one she lets push her, he doesn't want to be stuck behind her all afternoon so she could chew gum and talk with the girls while he busted his ass pushing her and longingly watched the Sandbox of Masculinity from afar.  I mean, he missed the Great Patriotic Sandbox War for this bullshit?

Now, some of the boys are mean, and some are nice.  Some are strong and some are . . . not.  Some will only come out of the Sandbox occasionally -- hey, everyone needs water -- and are highly reluctant to push you unless they get the panties upfront.  Some are sitting just outside of the Sandbox gazing longingly at the Swingset, desperate for a glimpse of panties . . . but the girls never call to him, because he's not that strong and he eats his boogers.

Some will pretend to be nice and push you gently at first . . . and then push you off the swing entirely.  Or grab your hair and pull you over.  Which sucks, but then everyone stops swinging so hard and looks at you to see if you're OK, which is kind of cool.  And you had to admit, the tumble off the swing was pretty exciting until you hit the ground.  And hey, at least the guy was willing to push you, even if he was kind of a dick about it.  You'd let him do it again, if he promised he wouldn't push you off again.  Even if it wouldn't be totally awful if that happened.

Some will pretend to be nice and just want to see your panties.  They might even come right out and ask for it.  That would be awful -- but if he's the only boy willing to push, what can you do?  Swing by yourself?  Where's the tingle in that?

So you flash him "accidentally and hope he doesn't tell his friends at the Sandbox.  The last thing you need is a crowd of boys standing down by your feet while you swing.  That's too much attention, and the other girls don't like it when you do that.  You try to subtly hint that, yes, if you push me, I'll let you see my panties, but I can't promise that or they'll hear me and I can't risk that no matter how good the tingle.  I'm not That Kind Of Girl.  I like a good push but I'm not going to be the girl who shows everyone her panties -- like that awful girl Shannon!  No tingle is worth that.

But then there's that other thing -- that trick.  The Flying Catch.

It's the secret (and not so secret) dream of nearly every girl on the swings: to get pushed so hard and so high that you can let yourself go at the exact right moment . . . and experience something far more than the mere tingle. The glorious, two-and-a-half second experience of Free Fall that lights you up like a Christmas tree . . . until you come down.  Problem is, you can't get that high by yourself, nor can you land safely if you did.  You need a boy to push you hard, then be adept enough to slip past you, position himself properly, and catch you at the end of your flight in his big strong arms.  And when he puts you on your feet, you'll have the respect and acclaim of both the Sandbox and the Swingset.

Only . . . not every girl is cut out for the Flying Catch.  Nor is every boy.  Sure, they all want to be that good, that brave, that fearless.  But most of them are content to get by with the odd push and their own energy.  They'll never have the Flying Catch, but . . . you know, people get hurt doing that.

If you're a dude, you have to be exceptional to push hard, then dodge past a row of swings to the other side, cannily estimate the trajectory of the girl based on her (apparent) mass, sprint to the position you think she'll most likely land upon, and then prepare yourself to catch her without dropping her and injuring one or both of you.  That shit takes guts -- you get hit in the head with an eighty pound girl, and you're done for the day. And if she's big for her age, dude, you could have to go to the hospital.  Sure, upside you get to see all the way up her skirt for the entire glorious two-and-a-half seconds, but if the resulting collision gives you a concussion, why risk it?  Unless you are very, very sure that the girl isn't going to cream you, and you're strong enough to catch her without hurting her, you're going to either get hit and go home, or step out of the way and let her come crashing down . . . and go home, making you look like an ass.  It's a cost-benefit analysis, potential cool points (from both boys and girls) for your mutual flawless performance versus giving up that potential for the safer, more fun and less work of the Sandbox -- and ohmygod did you see that kid just take out all those Transformers?  SEE ya, Suzie! (*Crash*).

Of course it's just as hard, as a girl, to fling yourself off into the void and trust that your boy is going to catch you.  A million things could go wrong, after all, and you could wind up in the emergency room with a broken collarbone.  Or break your neck, as your mother warned you over and over.  But the pull of the tingle, the promise of Free Fall, of pure unencumbered flight, that's what you want.  Not just for the feeling, but for the feeling you get when everyone else is watching and wants to be like you.  THAT'S the stuff: the glorious envy of your female peers.  It's like taking the feeling of Free Fall and successful landing home with you, knowing that every other girl on the swings wanted to try it, but didn't have a boy, or didn't have a boy strong enough or fast enough, or she just didn't have the nerve.

Besides, a boy can totally see up your skirt when you do the Flying Catch.  And you know what your mother would think about that, too.  She did say next time she caught you, you weren't coming back to the playground.  And that little bitch Crissy is just aching to tell on you . . . no, better to just watch in quiet envy than risk injury and humiliation.  You remember when Shannon got caught showing her panties to those two little boys, and how everyone went ballistic?  Now no one will even talk to her except the boys, and all of them want to talk to her. None of that for me, thank you.  Doing the Flying Catch is almost as bad as showing your panties to a boy on purpose.

The Swingset and the Sandbox interact, but their interactions are governed by very different sets of rules.  The Swingset depends on the boys in the Sandbox to come over and push.  In the meantime you can talk and swing and try to get consensus while you wait to attract a boy on his way to the water fountain.  The Sandbox doesn't depend on the Swingset for anything but a glimpse of panties -- the Sandcastle of Doom is the focus.  And as alluring as panties are, if the Sandcastle doesn't get built, what was the point of even coming to the playground?

And then there are those times when they interact perfectly, and a girl on the Swingset can get a boy in the Sandbox who is strong enough and fast enough to catch her in the Flying Catch, cue thunderous applause and Happily Ever After.  Of course, that maybe happens once out of dozens of attempts, but . . . well, some lucky girl got her thrill, and some lucky boy got the respect of his peers.

The interaction between the Female Social Matrix and the Male Social Matrix is a lot like that.

Susan reiterates this after going into the new dominance research:

Overall, the research suggests that women are not attracted to disagreeable males, i.e. jerks and assholes, they’re attracted to men who earn the respect and admiration of other men, and who display kindness and generosity. 
That, is, the girls wanna git with the boy that all the other boys like.  If the other boys like a jerk and an asshole the most (not unreasonable, since that attitude tends to push a boy into a leadership position), then the girls are going to like that asshole, too -- but for different reasons.  The boys like him because he he husbands his emotions and isn't afraid to aggressively pursue what he wants ("the mission") without social compromise, which is a good masculine leadership skill.  The girls like him because the boys like him, and because the woman who "tames" the former Bad Boy gets mad position in the FSM.

(The displays of kindness and generosity, I'm guessing, must be displayed from a position of strength in order to attract attention.  The boy who shares his shovel gets a point.  The boy who shares a whole box of legos is King Of The Freaking Sandbox.  Girls like to date kings.)

Prestige At Work, Dampening Panties
Susan goes on to break down male social status into two camps: Dominance and Prestige.  Dominant behaviors attract women short-term, but for the long-term women seem to prefer men who earn their position through Prestige (prestige defined as “freely conferred status” by peers in recognition of special abilities and skills. ”)  As one of the commentors put it, "Prestige, in a way, seems to be a form of pre-selection based not on women’s desire for a man but on the desire of other men to associate with him. "

This points toward a number of interesting Red Pill applications.  For one thing, that men will often specialize in something to gain status in the male hierarchy.  That is, while we recognize that we might not be Superalpha quarterback material, by making ourselves useful to the Superalpha leader (which implies the granting of our personal respect, not to mention specialization as, say, a field goal kicker) we gain status in relation to that leader.  We might not be the Quarterback . . . but when the Quarterback needs a field kicker, by gods, we can do pretty good at that and might even win the game.  

It also explains why garnering the respect of other men and gaining a place in the hierarchy is so important to men: it's a passive mating strategy.  That is, it is a more productive mating strategy to be a bench warmer on a winning team than to be the winner of the spelling bee.

Domination At Work, Also Dampening Panties
I do take issue with the definition of Dominance being confined to a negative space involving intimidation and coercion, in Susan's analysis.  I agree with one of the commentors who pointed out that while coercion and intimidation were certainly ways for men to establish dominance, that pure Charisma also plays a role.  Charisma is a rare and powerful thing, but when it is present in a man, it conveys more than simple assholery or achievement-oriented prestige do.   You see, naturally dominant males literally inspire submission in men and women alike. When in the presence of real dominance, the lesser dominant men and women all want to please or gain the favor of a truly dominant male in order to improve their social position, the male by being seen with him, soaking up some marginal respect by the association, the female by flirtatious behavior.

While it might take a while to establish just who is the dominant party in the MSM (it's ALWAYS up in the air in the FSM) once established men tend to cleve to that dominance in order to allow the leader to display competence and therefore garner more respect.  

But I do support Susan's point: Social status is conferred by men, not women. Women simply respond to it.   That might come as a big shock to social-status conscious women, but social dominance is not conferred by women, it’s awarded by other men in a process of male competition for dominance and leadership. Male  social interactions include continual competition for dominance with one-another, usually in a friendly sort of way (but sometimes not). The men who achieve the greatest social rank among their male peers may then use the display of that dominance as a powerful tool in their mating strategy, i.e.  in attracting women for sex.

Within the Male Social Matrix respect is most often conferred on men by other men as a reward for having a combination of alpha and beta traits (ideally, social leadership and authority combined with the ability to mentor and encourage consensus).  Needless to say, this is more attractive to women than mere brutish behavior -- depending on the woman.  Once again, it's context-based.

(And that's what I think is missing from this equation.  A woman's perceptions arise from her past experience and her own unique personality, of course.  And for some women, particularly those with hardcore daddy issues or deep feelings of personal insecurity, the domineering thug might seem like a good catch.  My friends who are cops have repeatedly told me of the women who prefer to date cops, and there are some pretty standard commonalities.  One powerful one is the need to feel protected.  For these women, physical strength and power to do violence is far more important that social status, per se, and the limited earning potential of a policeman has far less to do with her attraction than his ability to kick someone's ass.  She's a security-junkie, and the bigger the dude the better.  But I digress.)

Now those things that can elevate a man within a particular part of the MSM are the things I've mentioned before: respect, competence, authority, mastery, control, intelligence, daring, strength, power, that sort of thing.  When a group of male strangers gather for some purpose without a predesignated leader, then men will usually self-sort into a hierarchy based on the constituent elements present, placing those with the best characteristics to complete the purpose in the leadership position.    That individual assessment of a particular man's competency on a subject is a vital part of the equation.  Once the hierarchy leadership has been established, by consensus or by vote or however, then men have no trouble relaxing into a temporarily lower-status position within the MSM.   

In the FSM this would be the kiss of death: to 
accept a lower position in the Matrix without at least scheming about it is a Gamma female response, and anathema for a real female Alpha or determined Beta.  Any submission to a hierarchy eschews the ideal that female power comes from equally shared consensus, and to voluntarily accept a lower position without fighting to get it back -- not, usually, by making oneself better, but by undermining the Alpha females who did manage to rise to the top of the Matrix and take their place, bucket-o'-crabs style.   They do this by attempting to control the Matrix consensus against the leadership.   Or sometimes to force the leadership into action in accordance with the wishes of the consensus, even if that becomes problematic for the leadership.  That's because men and women lead differently.

An astute reader sent me an article demonstrating this rather clearly.  He found it in an advice column for working moms.  Read it, and see if you can spot the differences in male and female leadership styles: 

Q: I’m a mother of two and head a company of 10 employees. One mom staffer often leaves early for her kids’ activities or stays home whenone is sick. Other staffers resent her. Should I say something?

I'll get to the answer in a moment, but notice how she phases the question.  As my reader pointed out, she isn't stating "I have an employee who uses her family as an excuse to leave early or stay out.  Should I say something?"  That would be a more masculine response.  It would also be a no-brainer, and if a dude wrote into an advice column with this he shouldn't be in charge of anything in the first place.  

Note how she frames the issue: "Other staffers resent her", not "her work performance is failing and its bad for morale".  The focus of her discomfort isn't (ostensibly) on the worker, but on the verbal ire of her co-workers.  The problem wasn't that she wasn't pulling her weight and costing the company money, but that the other (presumably female) staffers were getting mad at her.

Then she compounds the issue by asking "Should I say something?" which no male manager would ask. Why?  Because if you have an employee who is not measuring up, the question "should I say something?"  is moot.  You either say something and handle the issue, or you aren't deserving of your title and authority.  Nor would a good male manager have likely led with "I'm a father of two" before anything else -- not because the Male Social Matrix discounts fatherhood (far from it) -- but because a male manager would not see his own family status as having any relation to that of his employees.  

But a female manager feels compelled to list that status first in order to build sympathy, establish context, and put her status out for review in FSM standard language: list any relationship or family status first, then career status.  A man would probably have written the question: "I run a small company of ten employees, and one employee -- a single mother -- habitually leaves early or stays out because of family.  While I support my employees'  in their family life, this is starting to be a drain on us all.  What can I do to mitigate her childcare issues and keep them from ruining my business?"  

Big difference.  The male is worried about the business -- the "mission" -- whereas the female manager is far more worried about what her employees are saying behind her back, and whether or not her problem employee would fee offended if she attempted to hold her to account.

Here's the columnist's answer, by the way:

A: It’s the old “what working mothers do to keep up jobresponsibilities while keeping families afloat” challenge. Sometimeswe need to face the fact that some jobs, for whatever reason, mightnot be the best fit with our family’s needs. There’s nothing wrongwith approaching your employee if you do it with respect and concern.“Is everything okay at home?” you might ask. “I’ve noticed you’ve hadquite a few emergencies lately and you’ve missed some deadlines. Ijust want to make sure you’re not overloaded.” Listen to what shesays, then come to a solution that works for both of you. Maybe sheworks from home one day a week. Maybe she comes in early every day soshe can leave early. Or maybe letting her go is the outcome she’s secretly hoped for.

That's a surprisingly blunt answer for a "working mother" advice column.   As my reader pointed out, "The matrix complained, and pulled the other crab [the employee] back into the bucket. The editor even suggests that the working mom secretly hopes to get fired."  Hardly the "sisterhood-is-powerful!" reaction of her feminist forebears, but it's clear that this boss is using the rationalization of complaining 
employees to handle discipline for one who was abusing the system . . . but only after a fuss was raised.   

A male manager would have likely had the required talk with the employee without waiting for the gossip and resentment and dealt with the issue himself.  But an office full of female staffers, with a female boss, is far more likely to delay and discuss and otherwise attempt to build consensus . . . and when the consensus is strong enough, they can use it even to direct their own boss.

The Matrix relishes this kind of subtle infighting and rewards those who successfully control the consensus with leadership of the Matrix.   As long as everyone pretends to go along with that (to avoid destroying the precious perception of consensus) then it doesn't really matter who leads the Matrix.  Women are free to jockey for power with gossip, sabotage each other with rumor and innuendo, and work to shift the consensus favorably towards them until they are themselves "secretly" leading the consensus and someone else takes them down.  When that happens, even if the other women hate the conniving bitch who screwed over their BFF for the PTA leadership, they respect her for her ability to play the social game well.

By contrast,  once Men have submitted to male authority, they rarely attempt to overthrow the hierarchy even if they are at the lowest point on it.  Indeed, their power and promise of power comes from hierarchy, so serving it is ultimately in their best interest.   Men who rebel against their duty to authority in the absence of real incompetence or disaster by their leadership are not seen as heroes by their fellow men, they're seen as men who have failed in their duty.  They have purposefully trashed the hierarchy from which their authority should spring and put themselves at the top without properly earning it.  

That's why generals who stage successful coups d'etat are so paranoid: they know that by assuming their position the way that they have, they have taken the great risk of alienating those who they are supposed to command.  And an army that has accepted one change in leadership without much struggle is unlikely to fight to keep you on top.  A man does not lose power by voluntarily submitting to a respected authority.   He gains it.   A soldier gets more respect than a civilian, even if he is a lowly private.  An athlete might lack the talent or ability to be a star player, but if he's a good team player who works hard then he can still get the MVP trophy at the end of the season.  Or even team captain, if he has garnered sufficient respect from his teammates.  

So how can you use this?  The obvious way, of course, is to make certain your woman witnesses other men behaving respectfully to you and treating you with deference.   Cultivate a couple of slavish beer buddies she doesn't know real well who cannot shut up about how goddamn great you are any time she's around, for instance.   Or distinguish yourself with the membership of some club or professional association you belong to.    Let her see other men acclaim and admire you, and her panties get drenched.   I noticed a distinct uptick in interest from Mrs. Ironwood, for example, when I started actually getting fans for my work.   And while she almost always responds to the presence of ardent female fans (thanks to preselection) I get almost as good results when one of my male fans praises me and I share that with her.

Second, just by being aware of the fact that women don't control male social status you've gained an advantage.  Most dudes are pretty clueless about social matters, and just naturally accept their social role as wherever their woman stuck them.  They sometimes think that going out of their way to help women ("white knight" style) will add to their social status and improve their relationships.  In fact, consistently being seen helping women through their difficulties diminishes you in male social status.  Yes, the women in the Matrix who are familiar with you will gossip about your assistance in a positive manner . . . but once you understand that men generate the social status that is so important to the FSM then you'll realize that your "sweet" gesture got you no closer to getting laid or even being taken seriously by women.   

That doesn't mean you don't volunteer to wash the dishes when you have dinner at your mother-in-law's house -- that's just polite.  It does mean that if every time "the girls" in the office/class get into a project they can't get out of, you don't go running to fix it . . . you let them fall on their collective ass.  Because if you're the kind of dude who White Knights all the time, the other dudes in your matrix will know it, and your social status will fall.  I used to make this mistake all the time when I was a Blue Pill teenager.  I figured if I helped women out, their gratitude for the service would incline them toward liking me.  It did . . . as long as I was safely in the 'friend zone'.  

So when I was the only guy helping in the kitchen with the girls at church youth camp, they all thought I was great . . . until I asked a girl out.  The moment I tried to make my dutiful service into something else, then all of the sudden I was "creepy" for being so "deceitful" about my motivations.  And of course the other dudes had long ago written me off as gay or too gamma for words.  I wised up, eventually, and I quit being the bitch of any girl who smiled at me until I tried to kiss her.   But it took a long time to figure out that being perpetually ready to go to any woman's rescue was not helping me get laid in the slightest, and was actually working against me.  Because women saw it as weakness they could take advantage of, and men saw it as a disinterest in masculine endeavors.

Thirdly, understanding the power the FSM has over a woman is breathtaking.  You really do not, as a man, have a proper appreciation of just how much your wife lives and dies by her social positioning.  Shit you would shrug off as incidental can lead to a woman's hamster breaking the light speed barrier in a social crisis.  If your best friend, for example, told you that you were a fat slob who needed to lose fifty pounds, you'd likely agree and call him an asshole for pointing it out before you both waddle off to Denny's.  If a woman hears from her best friend that she's starting to look "hippy" from a certain angle, that's the FSM equivalent of a flesh wound.  I've seen such casual remarks launch episodes of neuroses that minstrels will sing about one day.

Understanding that her social status is dependent upon your social status in a relationship grants you more than a little leverage in the relationship.   A married couple is, for all practical purposes, a social team.  You get a little status from having a beautiful wife (and slightly less for a plain wife, none for a bitchy wife, and negative for a truly bitchy screachtard), and she gets a significant boost from you if you are held at all in esteem by your male peers.  Your cooperation as a team can lead to mutual benefits, if you're subtle and adept enough to work together.  

When I go to a social function with Mrs. Ironwood, for instance, we've developed a series of protocols that we use to mutually support each other in conversation, rescue each other from unpleasant people, and signal to each other if we need to a) talk alone together  b) have a minor social emergency c) stay clear of the conversation because it is socially dangerous d) have acquired a stalker e) I have to go to the bathroom, can you get me a drink? f) I want to wrap things up and go home  and f) let's get the hell out of dodge.  

 (I'm trying to get her to understand a new one, g) let's meet in the bathroom, outside in the car, or some other secluded place for some danger nookie.  So far, not much luck with that one.)

And if you aren't -- or don't want to work together to buff social status for some reason (say, six weeks without fellatio might convince you), it doesn't take much to give your wife a temporary hit on her social status by not cooperating with her.   Telling tales to her biggest rival's husband, for instance (certain to get back to her rival) or fart loudly in front of the local social heavyweight  -- both would be mortifying wounds to a socially conscious wife.  And perfectly excusable from you, as you are merely male and have no idea how women "really are".  Indeed, from the perspective of the Matrix, any issues that the women in her FSM will be laid at HER feet, not yours . . . because "he's a man and doesn't know any better".  But she's going to be the subject of position-killing gossip for months.

(Side Note: It's amazing how feminism flies out the door when women get talking about other women.  If you ever get the chance to overhear your wife and her friends when they don't think you're listening, you'll overhear stuff about women not present and their attached menfolk that would have you, my friend, in diversity training classes for the next six months for the pure misogyny.  I once watched a friend of mine and his feminist wife get into a fight because despite her insistence that there were only minor physical differences in men and women, gender was a cultural concept, and that sexism in any form (save the usual male-bashing) was appalling, she was furious at the fact that he had mentioned something about her poor wardrobe in passing to her highly successful big sister, who was only too happy to help her little sister out shopping.  The feminist freaked because now she looked sloppy and poor to her big sister, and that would be used to judge her and angle the rest of their family FSM against her, and proceeded to accuse her of being manipulative, scheming, and conniving, a total whore, low moral character, etc. -- and that HE should know better.  But I digress)

So keep in mind that when a woman is in a relationship with you, that it has much more significance to her relations with the FSM than you think.  Indeed, you aren't in a relationship with her, you're in a relationship with her whole network, and thinking otherwise is going to get you in trouble.  As much as she may or may not love you, your presence in her life is giving her a buff -- because being single after 30 and childless after 35 substantially lowers her positioning vis a vis the FSM.  What you do or don't do affects not just you and she, but her and her relationship with the FSM.  

We'll be returning to this subject repeatedly in the future.  There's lots more to cover.  Promise.


  1. Ian, thanks for the link. I especially like your playground analysis - in seconds it catapulted me back 45 years. I can recall those interactions so clearly, and remember that moment when I realized that a boy singling me out for teasing liked me! What a revelation!

    I do think it's critically important for both sexes to realize that social status is conferred to men by men. Women are simply reading the road signs.

  2. Very true.
    Men are not having relationships with single women.
    They are having relationships with single women who are constantly being told that the bigger better deal is out there for them, via her friends and family.
    If a guy keeps hearing about how he should be grateful she picked him (last), and how he doesn't match up to the previous boyfriends (that dumped her) ...
    it is not a surprise if he chooses not to stick around.
    If one could do a longitudinal study of female mental breakdowns and correlate it to her popularity,
    I am pretty sure it would reveal that the women with the most relationships AND the most female friends ...
    have a lot wrong in their heads.
    (Since they can't talk to a guy about how he should be grateful, nor bring him down ... unless they want him to leave).
    Makes for a good time for medications.
    And lawyers too!

  3. "you aren't in a relationship with her, you're in a relationship with her whole network"

    Hence the dating advice I give to women in this post:


    Yeah, it's somewhat unrealistic... sadly.

    1. That doesn't mean you can't work it to your advantage. Especially when you work the preselection angle, you can make her roll over and beg if you can manipulate the Matrix properly. Since they just won't quit talking with their friends about every little detail of their relationships, best to use what leverage we can from it.

  4. Excellent post. I see now how I've failed at various times to maximize my attractiveness to my SO by being disinterested in her girlfriends' boyfriends. Keep up the brilliant writing.

  5. Maybe it's a Blogger/mobile thing, but if not - black text on black background is invisible. The first half (the sandboz analogy) was amazing though, so I'm gonna find my way back via laptop and read the rest. That was a fun read!


  6. Disregard previous comment RE: formatting. *After* my comment posted, I was able to see the "view mobile version" link that was obscured before. Duh! Also, sandBOX, not boz, was brilliant.

  7. I think you lost me right at the start with the sandbox/swingset metaphor. I always played in the sandbox, building and fighting wars. Heck, I was even the General at times. The boys never seemed to have a problem with me being there, either, which runs counter to your theory. Even to this day I have scant few female friends (because I find their labyrinthine social networks tedious, exhausting, and pointless); I've always been "one of the guys", and my fiance doesn't seem to mind a bit. So how exactly is he supposed to help me out in the Female Social Matrix if I'm not a part of it? Moreover, as someone who is probably part of the Male Social Network (I'm programmer and work almost exclusively with men, judge/frequently am judged according to professional accomplishments - I'd also chuckle and call my male best friend an asshole and go out for a beer if he called me fat), how do I help him? This whole schematic seems to fall apart in my situation.

    1. Just because your personal experience didn't mesh with the metaphor doesn't mean that it wasn't apt in a broader context. And I think you'll find that the boys' acceptance of you was not as rock-solid as you might have perceived at the time.

      Where do you fit into the FSM? Not very far up, sadly. Unfortunately, you also don't fare very well in the MSM, although you'll do better than most of your female peers thanks to your trade and attitude. But "hanging out with the boys" is not a good way to elevate yourself in the FSM, unless you are actively controlling them. Then it's okay, in short doses.

    2. Different anon here with a similar background to the anon above. (Though for me it was more ignoring both boys and girls to read a book.) Anyway, my question is if it's actually important to care about your standing in the MSM and the FSM if you're female and are in a LTR, particularly if you're a very introverted person?

  8. I'm keen to read your further posts on this Ian. Particularly regarding the FSM when the husband is the AMOG - if you wouldn't mind covering that.
    I have noticed a couple of times now when I'm with my husband (AMOG)at a work function of his, I have gotten a cold, hard stare from his colleagues gf/wives and they won't talk to me. I did not even know these women, (they had met my husband previously when I was not present). I always just thought; wow, she's not very friendly. It never occurred to me that my husbands position as the AMOG might have something do with their cold attitude toward me?
    Strangely also, a female colleague of his was very friendly and chatty to me in previous years, but at the last function she was hostile toward me - she refused to even make eye contact with me or acknowledge my presence in any way the entire evening, even when we were the only two women at the table. Bizarre, since I hadn't had contact with her in a couple of years, and she worked quite closely with my husband. Her behaviour was so uncalled for and I'm still perplexed how much of that had to do with the FSM in general, or with my husband in particular. I hope your further posts will give me some clarity on it.

    1. This is an explicit part of the FSM: the woman of the AMOG is automatically "the target" -- the crab trying to escape the basket. Whether you intended to or not, that's your designated role within the Matrix.

      So how to deal with it? Mrs. Ironwood has the social skills of a diplomat, and she relies quite a bit on patented Southern Grace and Charm as weapons in the Matrix. But then she went to cotillion and was a debutante and her mother and grandmother steeped her in that culture so thoroughly she turns to it naturally.

      Usually, when she gets a Matrix challenge like a snub or something, she uses the "kill the bitch with kindness" technique: actively engaging the other woman on a number of light topics of conversation, making sure to congratulate her or compliment her on something in a very public way. This diffuses the perception that your relative silence is you just being a cold, stuck up bitch (socially speaking), as you are being observed interacting and smiling with those who seem to want to pull you down. This also creates the perception in the various female cliques in the room that you are friendly with that person, and after you repeat it with any other women who seem reluctant to engage you, simply by your social activity you have established your position within the Matrix.

      That doesn't mean they still won't go after you -- but no one will want to be the one to break the consensus that you're actually very charming and gracious without prima facea evidence, or they end up looking like a bitch. But if you keep smiling, are free with the complements to other women, respectfully distant from their husbands, and engaging about their lives, and children, you can hold your own indefinitely in that situation.

      And if someone is publicly rude or snubs you in an attempt to humiliate you or otherwise make a scene, the proper response is to smile sadly, shake your head as they stomp off, and say just loudly enough, "I heard about her and the meds, but I didn't think it was this bad . . . bless her heart."

      You can say whatever you want about a woman in the South if you follow it with ". . . bless her heart." One of the cultural advantages of the Land O' Cotton, but one you can probably use elsewhere.

  9. Thankyou for your reply Ian.
    Yes, I have always done what Mrs Ironwood does - I engage the women with smiles at eye contact and am very friendly and kind in conversation, giving minimal attention to the bf/husbands. I have 'killed them with kindness' before if I noticed any sort of uneasiness toward me and it always worked - until I came to a work function for my husband. This particular gf of his colleague remained cold and uncomunicative to me despite my attempts to talk to her. So the next time it happened with a different woman, I didn't bother to try and talk to her if she couldn't even manage to smile back at me (twice). I see now I should have approached her despite her behaviour and forced her to engage. I am non-confrontational though and at the time thought I didn't need to meet someone who obviously didn't want to meet me.
    As to the co-worker completely ignoring me, I should have called her out on it too - with kindness. She didn't make a scene though - I did not speak to her to be obviously snubbed. I was waiting for her to look at me and acknowledge that I was at the table, and the longer she went without doing so I became intrigued, and wanted to see how long she would keep it up before atleast flicking her eyes to my face - but she didn't, not once, for hours on end. It was deliberate. She knows me to be friendly and nice, I expected her to talk to me. So why this time she 'couldn't even stand the sight of me'?
    It could be my hamster talking , but I'd hazard a guess she has a crush on my husband and she was angry I was there, reminding her he is married to an attractive woman? If she didn't know me she might have just looked daggers at me all night, but as we do know each other, if she had spoken or looked at me, perhaps she couldn't trust herself not to betray her anger/jealously toward me?

    1. Nah, you're totally spot on with that. If you don't have a reputation for crushing kittens or being an unrepentant racist or something, the most probable cause of her ire was that she coveted your husband and resented the fact that you were with him.

      On the up side, that means you have a hot husband who other women want -- on the down side, that means that you have a hot husband who some other woman is considering trying to poach from you. Best thing to do in that situation is hang on his arm and act like he's the best thing ever -- it won't make her go away, but it will establish your territorial rights. Also, you can let it be quietly known (as Mrs. Ironwood does, when necessary) that you won't hesitate to cut a bitch who tries to move in on your man . . . bless her heart.

    2. Lol...'bless her heart'....I'll use that next time.
      Thank you for your insight and tips, I appreciate it. I will be putting those into action.
      I only ever see his co-workers perhaps once a year. Considering recent events, I now feel too 'out of sight-out of mind' where they are concerned. Should I endeavour to have more of a presense regarding his colleagues? (Visiting him at work etc so the women are reminded of me more often) I have had words with my husband that he needs to make his loyalty to me more obvious to the women at his work - but I don't want to Beta-ize him. There are also more men than women at his work - can I influence the females through the other men? Eg; do men talk about other guys wives? If hubby's colleagues spoke highly of me being nice or pretty etc, would that help deter the women from 'trying' for my husband? Can I fight the 'poachers' from the inside?
      Thank you for your time, Ian. I know you are busy.

    3. I wouldn't worry so much about the females, then. In general, the rule-of-thumb is to be comfortably distant from your spouse's worklife, and when you do interact ensure it is in only a positive manner. If most of your husband's co-workers are male, then when you do see them, act friendly, smile a lot, greet them by name if you know it, and try to act more like a girlfriend visiting her important boyfriend at work than his wife making a business-mandated stop.

      Why? Because to the extent that men will "gossip" about other men's wives, among the topics of discussion are a) hotness (within limits), and b) bitchiness. "Bitchiness" means as much how much he bitches to them about you as it does how bitchy you present yourself.

      If he doesn't bitch at all, and speaks of you in the most glowing terms, that's a net plus for him . . . unless they think he's lying. If you show up eager to see him, friendly to all, and utterly hands-off with his career, you are a goddess among wives, regardless of how hot you are. Some dudes with rough marriages bitch about their wives all the time as real ballbusters. I'm lucky -- when people ask why I don't bitch about Mrs. I the way other men do, I point out that she not only lets me work in porn, she'd come do me in the parking lot if I asked. And I tell them that she swore only to use her bitching powers for good, and I hold her to that. What's to complain about?

      And their wives? Let them be jealous and envious. That's just the cross you have to bear for being near the top of the crab basket. Unless they take direct action, you're golden.

    4. Ok, you've pretty much described what I already do with his work - very hands off, leave him to it. Thank you for your advice - and for this blog. I have learned so much from your articles.

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