Thursday, February 7, 2013

Girl Game: Extend An Invitation

Believe it or not, I’ve spent most of this last weekend thinking about women.

Specifically, the oft-mentioned frustration among Red Pill women who have recognized what kind of marriage they want to be in with their husbands, whose timidity and lack of ambition dry up panties regardless of their good intentions. 

It’s not that these dudes are duds, understand.  In almost every case they are good, decent, kind men who have dedicated themselves to their families and their wives.  It’s not that they lack devotion, understand – most are filled with good intentions and a deep-seated desire to succeed.  What they often lack is understanding: of their wives, of sex, of the nature of relationships, of the sophisticated interplay of sex and intimacy in a marriage, of themselves, their masculinity, and their own inner nature. 

Oftentimes these men have grown up cowed, with distant or absent fathers and strong, sometimes even domineering mothers.  They have been taught by society that their masculinity is a stain they must overcome, and they approach their duties as father and husband like penance, not a prize hard won. 

Their betacization may be very comfortable to them, as they have been accustomed over and over again to diminished expectations in their lives.  The passion and fire, the Alpha spark that attracted their wives top them in the first place, is buried within them like a high school achievement award long-forgotten in your sock drawer. 

These poor men struggle with the expectations of their wives and society at large, and often they see no way out.  Even if their wives are silently begging them to stand up, take charge, be the man of the family and take the helm as Captain, it is as if they are enshrouded in a murky cloud of self-doubt and suspicion wrought by a lifetime of fear.  Whether you blame feminism, absentee fathers, or the generally dismissive attitude toward Alpha masculinity our society has put forward in the post-industrial world, these men fear both rejection from their wives and families and condemnation by society if they show the backbone they need to.

So what can a Red Pill wife do to help him along? 

Firstly, she has to accept that she can’t do the work for him.  This is his journey.  You are a part of it, but ultimately it will be up to him to rise to the challenge.  And that sentence, right there, is the essence of the second thing, and the point of my post: the rediscovery of his masculinity is a serious challenge to him, as imposing as a physical obstacle or an emotional crisis.  And often the only constructive thing a wife can do seems to be encouraging him to rise to that challenge . . . without letting your disappointment and discouragement show through.

I’ve discussed this long and hard (giggity) with Mrs. Ironwood all weekend, and gotten some superb advice from my readers as well.  Many of them are struggling with just this problem. 

How can a wife encourage her husband to be more Alpha without sabotaging her own efforts by inspiring doubt and insecurity, not confidence and authority?

Mrs. Ironwood’s response was intriguing.  She reminded me of when we first met, that first heady year of infatuation where good and regular sex was making both of our hormones do crazy things.  Without even realizing it at first, we started vetting each other almost immediately.  I quickly established she couldn't cook, she enjoyed sex, she was socially adept, she enjoyed sex, she was a genuinely warm and trustworthy person and she enjoyed sex.  Of course I was fixated on the sex, but that other stuff came up in the afterglow.

But then she reminded me of a moment that I’d forgotten, a moment that she used as the kernel for her to wrap her efforts around.  I’d gotten my very first novel sale from my very first novel submission, and I was feeling cocky as hell.  I was still in college, after all.  That in and of itself was a pretty credible DHV, considering I was still waiting tables.  I might be a struggling artist, but I was a struggling artist with some real success behind me. 

That’s not what got to her, though, she revealed.  What convinced her that I had serious potential was the stack of rejection letters I’d wracked up attempting to sell my second, original novel.  By that point I’d gotten thirteen, and I was thrilled.  I showed them to her almost eagerly as proof that I was a “real” writer . . . I wasn’t just coasting on my sale, I was already moving on to the next project, and had plans for more after that.  I wasn’t a guy who wrote a book, I was an author with a career I was managing, a career for which I had already armed myself with considerable knowledge. 

But more than that, I displayed my passion for the work with those rejection letters.  My cocky self-assuredness that I’d sell lots more books, my anticipation of more rejection letters as I worked to find another sale, those were HUGE displays of raw Alpha confidence to Mrs. I.  When a man is dedicated to his vocation, she explained, it’s easy for him to talk about all of the great achievements and accomplishments he feels he will make.  But when a man is so focused on his career that he not only anticipates the inevitability of rejection and failure, but looks forward to it as a positive sign of growth, that man is one to be reckoned with. 

It was that stack of rejection letters that convinced her that I had Serious Potential.  That came as a bit of a shock to me. At the time I was just trying to brag enough to get laid. 

But Mrs. Ironwood saw it as something more.  Since a large part of her mating strategy at the time (thanks to her utter wreck of an ex) involved looking for a guy with real potential . . . and the ambition to realize it, she saw this as evidence of both.  The sale was great, she was impressed . . . but the hustle to keep pushing for success was far more impressive.  And the cocky way I cheerfully read her each of my rejection letters made her positively moist with appreciation.

She followed that up with a very physical demonstration of her esteem, and after that she made my writing career the one thing in which she made an universal effort to support and encourage me.  And by “support and encourage”, I mean wildly praise and wildly screw me at every sign of success as a means of positive reinforcement.

Seems to have worked.

The working theory that Mrs. Ironwood developed around this was: if you strongly encourage a man’s passion, and invite him to continue to succeed in that passion through consistent positive reinforcement, then he will naturally desire to follow that path as the path of least resistance.  And while delivering humpity goodness by the bucketloads is the core of that positive reinforcement, it involves many other aspects.  Bragging to her friends about me.  Talking to strangers about her brilliant husband the writer.  Openly and sincerely expressing her respect and admiration for me. 

Now I’m imagining that kind of apparently fawning devotion sickens the stomachs of some of my feminist readers.  I’m certain that most of those ladies are appalled at my apparent need to have my "delicate male ego" encouraged and catered to by my wife like I was a child.  The fact that you reduce it to those terms indicates your lack of understanding about how married people manage to stay married.

Mrs. Ironwood would not say she was particularly “submissive” in those days.  Hell, she was positively spunky, something which I was attracted to.  But she did understand male psychology well enough, and understood the role of a well-presented femininity in that context, to know that she actually had a lot of influence over me if she was careful enough to use it wisely.  She learned early on that I didn’t respond well to criticism (see: “nagging turns me on”), but she also learned pretty early how well I responded to bribes and positive reinforcement. 

She sees it as a subtle demonstration of the Art of femininity.  Just as a well-presented Alpha can use command presence and quiet authority to direct change, a woman can use the idea of the Invitation to elicit change.  The carrot, not the stick. 

Simply put, a way to quietly encourage a man toward a more Alpha presentation is to put him in situations in which you would like him to display Alpha, and then quietly invite him to do so without judgment or rejection.  That can be difficult for younger women especially, particularly if their mothers were single corporate feminists and raised them to see such expressions as a sign of weakness.  Too often an invitation from them turns into a shit-test.  And from women who have been in a troubled relationship for a while, such a passive sort of action seems counter-intuitive when you really just want to strangle him in his sleep.

But a woman’s strength in a marriage is usually not the ordering authority at which masculinity excels, but in her ability to inspire and encourage her husband while at the same time acting as a reasonable check and balance to his enthusiasm and occasional dumb-assery.  Mrs. Ironwood does not deliver ultimatums to our children, ordinarily.  She invites them to achieve and relates to them her reasonable expectations as well as her future delight in their accomplishments.  It’s a sign of her feminine grace that she doesn’t feel compelled to use threats to encourage proper behavior from them, she demonstrates both her hope (and eventual joy at its fulfillment) without dwelling over-much at the possibility of failure and her expectations and belief in their ability to do achieve. 

In retrospect, that was her M.O. all along and I just never realized it.  When I went to meet her father for the first time (on Father’s Day, no less), she did her best to prepare me for the reality of his alcoholism and his belligerence, and then invited me along to protect her.

Now, if she had led with “My dad’s a drunk asshole and might get violent when he sees me with another boy,” I might have had second thoughts and actually considered waiting in the car.  Had she been one of her contemporaries, she might have done just that.  But she was already certain that I was the one she wanted to marry (although she was still very willing to ditch me if we hit a dealbreaker - which impressed me) and even though she hadn't let me in on that fact, that’s how she was operating.

Instead she told me she’d like us to drop by to drop off her Father’s Day gift to her dad, and introduce me.   Then she put her hand on my arm, made sure she had my full attention, and spoke very softly but very confidently, saying something like this:

“It’s quite possible my dad has been drinking, and he has been known to get unpredictable and sometimes even violent when he does.  I hate to ask you, Ian, but would you mind walking me to the door and making certain things don’t get out of hand?  I’d be grateful.”

My masculinity surged at the invitation.  It had no innate assumption that I would, that I was obligated, that she was expecting me to do it.  She asked me, quietly and politely, to do one very specific thing – make sure things didn’t get out of hand.  

Yes, she was implicitly counting on the fact that I was a Big Hairy White Boy who was capable of doing violence.  And she knew from our short acquaintance that I was the kind of guy who indulges in chivalry from time to time.

But she did not act entitled to my protection, merely because she was a woman, or even because she was a woman I was dating.  We didn’t have much of a commitment at that point, and while we were still quite infatuated with each other the specter of dealbreakers loomed large.  

What impressed me was that she did not act from a sense of entitlement.  She did not assume my protection merely because I was a guy and we were dating, she actively solicited my assistance and protection.  She invited me to be her hero . . . and I ate it up like half-priced wings at Hooter’s.

Now, that same technique could have been used by a woman of lesser character to maneuver a dude into a dangerous situation for her own nefarious ends – I get that.  Hell, I’ve seen it happen.  I was certainly taking a risk in taking her up on her invitation – I’d confronted belligerent drunks in the past, but I was rarely fucking their daughter.  That put a unique spin on things.

Still, she made it clear that it was important to her, and she was going to go up there anyway, regardless what I did.  She told me that if I didn’t want to, she would understand – and I’m sure she would, she was very understanding.  At that point I was already quite fond of her, and the testosterone was certainly coloring my perspective.  She had enough dread of her father’s unpredictability to not want to inflict him on anyone.  If I had said “drunk and angry daddy?  No, thank you!”, it would have been completely cool.  For a while.

But the other thing I didn’t realize is that once Mrs. Ironwood had made up her mind that I had Serious Potential, and the vetting had begun, among the first tests she was forced to throw at me was this one.  She had to not only introduce me to her father in a proper context (Father’s Day), but in a way that minimized the possibility of conflict WHILE ALSO clearly establishing, to him, that she was no longer either his problem or his to protect.

Okay, perhaps that is a little devious, now that I write about it.  I prefer to chalk it up to “shrewd”, in retrospect.

She was serious enough about me to take this risk, and serious enough about me to see if I’d back her up if there was an issue.  She also told me – in advance – that she would be grateful, as part of the invitation.  You just gotta love a Southern girl.  

She never made any specific “if you do this I’ll lay you righteously later”, she merely invited me to participate in this exciting opportunity to get the shit beat out of me and impress her with my willingness to take a punch, the unmistakable subtext being that her gratitude would be expressed in the sincerest fashion a nineteen-year old girl with a new boyfriend knew how.

In turn, I was impressed with both her willingness to walk in there with or without me – I respect bravery – and the humility she displayed in her invitation.  She didn’t beg.  She didn’t try to coerce.  She just spelled it out sweetly, told me the general expectations, and then hinted at the potential consequences both good and bad.  I didn’t know shit about Alpha or Beta back then, but I knew that when a pretty girl asks you to protect her, and you know in advance that she puts out, it really simplifies the decision-making process.

I can see her extending other invitations over the years.  Most I took.  Some I did not.  Some were obvious shit-tests in disguise, and some of those I did anyway, because it was part of her vetting.  She put up with enough crap from me during our vetting so I don’t resent it, but part of the vetting was seeing how she would attempt to invoke my aid and cooperation.  She extended invitations, which I was free to accept or decline.  I could live with that.

Her willingness to invite me to do stuff – not just for her, but for the relationship or even for my friends, if I was reluctant – wasn’t selfish.  She didn’t order me around like a slave, or demand I do anything.  She didn’t drop ultimatums or challenge my manhood.  She just . . . invited.  With the scope of her expectations and her gratitude invoked at the start.  And if I did not accept the invitation, she might be disappointed, but she was always courteous about it.

(One of the tragic things that the post-industrial world has given us is not just an erosion of common civility, but a scarcity of simple politeness and honorifics that allow far more nuanced communication.  Some feel that basic politeness isn’t necessary between husband and wife, as the intimacy implied in the commitment should transcend such things.  In my experience, close acquaintance makes the use of politeness and manners essential, not optional, in a marriage.  If I’ve ever failed to ask “please” or say “thank you”, it has been entirely unintentional.  Normally it’s part of the Ironwood family culture for such elements to help soothe the friction that can result from normal wear-and-tear.  Even (or especially) my kids are included: even while they are being yelled at for destroying something irreplaceable and invaluable (and sometimes something that they’ve been assured “aw, the kids can’t hurt that!”), other adults remark how absolutely polite my kids are.  It actually weirds some parents out.  That’s just how we roll.  But I digress.)

There were also times in the depths of my Blue Pill daze, particularly when I was “between assignments”, when we both doubted my ability to actually make my career work out.  But to her great credit, she never voiced those concerns to me, or to anyone else to my knowledge.  And when my discouragement not just with my writing career, but my ability to get any sort of job became too much, she was universally supportive even if she wasn’t sure if she believed it.

Things got pretty frustrated on both sides, compounded with an ankle injury that led to a long stint on crutches/in a cast/in a wheelchair for her.  But as frustrated as she was, she almost never lost it and took it out on me.  Instead, when she saw that I was having problems, she would quietly invite me to help her do something that was actually designed to help me. 

It’s complicated, but in the depths of depression she found a way to re-ignite my passions and invite me to move forward.  She managed to inject me with hustle at some critical times not by telling me how desperate things were, but by telling me that she believed in me enough that she was certain that they were temporary.  She rarely nagged, never bitched, and always – always – respected me. 

So Mrs. Ironwood suggests to those women who are struggling with men trapped in Betaland that they consider trying to invite their husbands to take steps designed to allow his inner Alpha more room to run.  By using the simple feminine power of invitation, informed by expectation and backed by sufficient gratitude, a woman can encourage a man to take a few tentative steps towards the Captain’s chair. 

Consider this example: Mrs. Apple would really prefer Mr. Apple to get her a little more juiced by presenting more Alpha – more, she’d like to see him really take charge and handle things, now that they’re both fairly secure in their marriage.  But Mr. Apple is hesitant.  He’s been told all of his life that GOOD husbands don’t assert themselves and their male privilege in a marriage, because that’s WRONG and means he’s a bad person. 

He feels that deferring to Mrs. Apple is the only way to be happy in a marriage, and he accepts this because a) he’s been made to feel guilty for and ashamed about his masculinity and b) because it allows him to escape the accountability of traditional masculinity. 

Simply put, by constantly ceding the initiative to Mrs. Apple and letting her take the lead whether he agrees with how she’s doing things or not, Mr. Apple has a convenient scapegoat upon which to blame his mediocrity: his wife won’t let him.  He feels vindicated in his passivity because taking the risks that are implicit in leadership can and does lead to bruising, and by escaping leadership he can also escape fault and responsibility. 

That might be a safe strategy.  But it's not particularly manly.  And it's not a panty-dropper by any means.  She knows it, and deep down so does he.  By taking refuge in the Beta under the cover of a "co-equal relationship" and making his wife the leader in fact, if not in name, he thinks that her respect for his feminist principals and dedication to equality will improve her attraction.  In fact, he's clinging to that idea, because the alternative -- that he needs to Alpha up and show some leadership -- is just too darn scary.  It's too much work.  It's too dangerous, considering how quickly the womenfolk in his life are likely to jump on a sudden emergence of spine.

Worst of all, it might endanger his pussy supply, which he sees as a scarce quantity manifested within well-establish boundaries.  While he might not be thrilled with either the quality or quantity, he figures meager poon is better than no poon . . . and he can supplement with porn as needed.

It's not a bad life, for a Beta.  He's got about a 50/50 shot at seeing inertia overcome any regrets his wife might have that would lead to divorce, and those are pretty good odds in Vegas.  If he can distract himself with fantasy football, work, or other hobbies, and he isn't too into sex, being a Beta drone doesn't suck.  Not exactly a man's life, but compared to the living conditions throughout history, it's not bad.  While living in fear of your wife isn't pleasant, it beats being slaughtered in the meatgrinder of industrialized warfare or starving on a streetcorner or dying of something infectious.

But the Beta's poor wife, she struggles.  Whether she deals with the passive-aggressive nature of the marriage with any amount of grace or not is immaterial: what she actually got in her marriage was not what she envisioned at her Big Party.  She slowly loses respect in her husband even as she struggles to trumpet his feeble achievements.  Her frustration may turn to chiding and nagging, exacerbating the situation (most men will merely withdraw, their attention if nothing else) or it may turn into an increasingly-tacky number of shit-tests.  Neither route transforms him into the man of her dreams.  Worse, they both confuse things.

She wants the dependable, loving, empathetic provider, a man adept with comfort-building Beta skills.  But she craves the strong, decisive, resolute and protective Alpha male she reads about, sees in the media, and may even know in real life . . . and hubby ain't him.  Some days she wonders if they're even in the same species.  She desperately wants him to be that man, but at the same time she fears losing control of both him and the relationship.  Encouraging his Alpha is dangerous, after all.  That's why she wants it.  And fears it.  And wants him to intuitively understand that and manage to do that without pissing her off -- hell, by making her like it, even when she doesn't want to.

But when it actually happens, she reacts.  When he asserts himself and she senses losing control, she responds by tightening down.  He responds by clamming up.  Frosty times result.  Eventually, he caves, because he knows sex is out of the question until this is resolved.  Obsequious and allegedly romantic ass-kissing results, she knows she has to feign approval of his clumsy efforts or risk real problems, and a few mutually miserable weeks later she gets drunk and lets him tear one off before she passes out . . . thus rewarding him for his Betatude even while she despises it.

In the end, she ends up directing while trying to pretend that it's a union of equals.  Even when she tries to defer to her husband on an issue, even if it's a token "male" issue, he's reluctant to offer an opinion for fear of upsetting her.  So even while she might get things the way she wants them, the fact that she could not rely on him for input makes her dissatisfied with the process.  That triggers his fear response, and he piles on more obsequious Beta . . . precisely what she's finding objectionable.

So she ends up acting Captain without the title or the clout, while he avoids conflict and, increasingly, his chances at poon.  Mrs. Apple ends up telling Mr. Apple what he needs to do, even if she finds a nice way to do it without overtly emasculating him.  And if she's telling him, then there's no room for him to even try to show some Alpha leadership . . . because he feels like it's a trap.

So on top of Inviting your husband to take an active hand, you must reduce his Fear by assuring him that you will accept the consequences of that, no matter what they are, in advance . . . and then sticking to that.  You must convince him that you will not second-guess, criticize, undermine, or otherwise attempt to re-take control once you have ceded it, except in the most dire situations.

And yes, you should prepare yourself for much teeth-gritting and patience as he stumbles through the idea that he is in charge the first few times.  Because no one gets bitten by a radioactive pit bull and turns into Alpha Man.  With rare exceptions, they have to learn it the hard way, like Bruce Wayne did, one painful mistake at a time.

That's the downside of encouraging Alpha, Ladies: your newly-strong and passionate man may not always do things the way you want.  And you have to not only accept that, you have to be open to it.  You have to be willing to accept the consequences of his leadership, even if they suck.

This is especially difficult if you have spent most of your adult life on your own, and have a low threshold for incompetence.  One flash of impatience and you tear the wheel out of his hand and you've ruined the entire effort.  It's also difficult if you have standards so rigid  for how things should be done that you are unwilling to entertain an alternative to something you know is just more efficient or otherwise preferable.  Just because you know how you do it, that doesn't mean that you know how he does it, and his way might be . . . different.  You have to bite your tongue and let him make mistakes without criticism and judgement, unless he solicits it.  If he does solicit it, do your best to be a diplomatic and helpful First Officer, but do not hand him the answers . . . and don't criticize him or the process.

Above all, YOU MUST NOT PANIC, JUMP IN, AND TAKE THE WHEEL BECAUSE YOU THINK HE'S SCREWING IT UP.  Unless the boat is going over a waterfall, you must not only accept the inevitability of his "screwing up", you must allow him the room to do so without condemning him.  Point out that you're sorry things didn't go as planned, if you must, and offer him some quiet encouragement to marshal his resources and rethink through the problem . . . but don't offer to solve it and don't tell him he's an idiot for not solving it.

It's a confidence thing.  And Betas have a long, hard road back to Alpha levels of confidence ahead of them.  Think of it as a sandcastle that they're building, one grain of sand at a time.  Until it's large enough to withstand it's own weight, it will be a fragile thing.  In order to improve his confidence in his own leadership, you must express your confidence in his leadership even if you have your doubts.  And you will -- you'd be stupid not too.  But an expression of confidence in his ability to -- eventually -- handle the situation helps remove some of the "crippling fear of judgement" element.

Next, you have to clearly and simply state your Expectations.  No, really.  Don't beat around the bush, don't hint, use innuendo or subtlety - the time for that is past.  Such hints only confuse him about what you actually want - remember, he isn't another woman.  He doesn't use multi-channel communication, he has a purely analog mind for these purposes.  If you don't tell him what the desired goal is, at least one aspect of it that he can hang on to, then he's going to be confused and hilarity will ensue.

Consider: When you tell your dude "I really wish you would be more romantic", in so many words, he has no freaking clue what you really mean, so you end up with flowers and chocolate and dinner . . . which is all very nice and regular and cliched and boring and not at all what you really meant.  What you really meant was "I want you to pay me some close, personal attention in a stimulating environment in a way that leads to emotional intimacy, growing affection, and sexual excitement, making me feel important and loved and lucky to be with you."

Sure, "romantic" is short-hand for that . . . to women.  But most non-Game dudes cling to the safety of chocolate/flowers/dinner/diamonds because that's all they know of romance.  So spell out your expectations without handing him the answers.  Let him know what would make you happy, but don't be so specific that it turns into a shopping list, not an opportunity for leadership.

Lastly, you have to dangle the Incentive in front of him.  It doesn't have to be sexual (that's just the simplest and most basic incentive), you can actually give him meaningful reward merely by verbally paying him some respect.  Mrs. Ironwood assures that the best results come when you leave the exact nature and means of the incentive vague and nebulous, with the understanding that it will be commiserate with the effort and the achievement.  But she also cautions that bait-and-switch tactics undermine the very confidence you are trying to inspire.  If you imply that "very grateful" is somehow sexual, then you follow through.  If you imply that the pay off will be in admiration and respect, then it has to be verbal and (if possible and appropriate) delivered publicly.

(ALPHA BUFF: Ladies, quick-and-dirty way to up your fella's Alpha instantly without him even realizing it?  Call him out for effusive but reasonable praise in front of a group of people -- friends, family, even in-laws he doesn't like.  Men get a surge of Alpha from both respect and loyalty, and your public recognition and admiration are just the kind of cheap trick that can put a little more Tarzan into Saturday nights.  Just sayin'.)

Once you have Invited him to take up the challenge, removed the fear of judgement, assured him of your approval (even if its just for the effort) and gratitude, invoked your confidence in him, and presented the lure of a grateful incentive then . . . you just have to sit back and wait. 

That's the hard part, for two reasons: firstly, because some guys are so mired in Beta that you might have to repeat this two or three times before he gets it.  Secondly, because sitting around and waiting for the Alpha to sprout can be maddeningly frustrating.

You can mitigate this by starting with small things, low-hanging fruit.  For example, if you tell him "I've got the last weekend of the month free . . . I want to go away together.  Just the two of us.  Would you please make the arrangements? Whatever you pick will be fine, I just want to go someplace.  Surprise me, but let me know what kind of clothes to pack about a week beforehand, so I'll be ready.  I'm confident you'll find somewhere intriguing to go," then that gives you everything on the list:

1. Invitation ("Would You Please Make The Arrangements?")
2. Expectation ("I Want To Go Away Together For The Weekend")
3. Removal of Fear ("Whatever You Pick Will Be Fine")
4. Assurance of Approval/Inspiration of Confidence ("Surprise Me . . . I'm Confident You'll Find Somewhere Intriguing")
5. Incentive ("Just The Two Of Us" [giggity])

And that's the proper way to extend an invitation to a dude.

One of three things will happen.

a) He ignores you completely.

b) He makes a tepid stab at it, but folds and asks you for advice and more information.

c) He stumbles a bit, but manages to find someplace that technically fulfills your expectations, even if the details are, perhaps, not what you envisioned.

d) Free of restrictions and constraints, he will pick an extraordinary getaway destination that truly surprises you.  Mad wet panties as a result.

So how do you deal with each of these situations?  That comes under Follow-Through.  It varies according to his response, and should be tailored to the situation, but in general if he ignores you, you should repeat yourself at least once, without prejudice.  If he ignores you twice, then proceed to the Direct Approach:

Grab both of his hands suddenly.  Sit him down in a chair.  Crawl into his lap until you are straddling him.  Grab his face.  Kiss him for no less than ten seconds straight.  Use tongue.  Make moany noises.  Continue until you feel the bulge rise under your booty.  Break the kiss.  Say,

"Now, do I have your complete and undivided attention?"  Wait for positive response.  Then repeat the original Invitation.

He will probably pick up on it the second time.

In the case of b), a variation of the Direct Approach is called for.  Repeat all the steps up to the dialog.  Substitute:

"If I wanted to make the arrangements, I would have made the arrangements.  I wanted you to make the arrangements.  So make the arrangements.  There are no wrong answers.  As long as I don't end up at a gun show or a NASCAR rally, and it's someplace no one can hear you scream, we're good.  Don't overthink it, just do it."  Repeat kiss.  Walk away and wiggle your ass.

Then be prepared for a lusty weekend at a Collard Greens festival or such, because yeah, he's probably going to screw it up.  It doesn't matter.  He tried.  He made an effort.  If the result sucks scissors, you must still reward the effort.  One more grain of confidence to his pile.  In case of c), your best bet is to utterly ignore the quirky-to-abysmal conditions and focus on the "Just The Two Of Us" element.  Yes, you should still hump him silly, because sexual positive reinforcement works with dudes like bells with slobbery dogs.

But afterwards, when you do comment on it, keep your criticism light and suggestive ("Maybe next time we could try the hotel without the chalk line silhouettes in the room -- it looked like they had a salad bar!") without bringing him down.  Make sure to thank him for the effort and assure him that you not only had some fun on the little adventure, that you appreciate all of his hard work and efforts to make it happen.  Then screw him again when you get home, just to emphasize the point.

If you get option d) you are a very lucky woman.

If he absolutely blows you away, and you find yourself having lunch in Paris, singing a duet with your favorite pop star, or sampling champagne while a horse-drawn carriage drives you down to the two-masted sailboat your husband has hired to whisk you away to the Bahamas overnight, then you have struck Prime Husband.  Fuck him rotten upon arrival.  Blow him like it's prom night.  Seriously consider anal.  Offer to get a tramp-stamp tattoo of his name.  Think about a threesome with a $1000 a night hooker.  Dress up in a schoolgirl outfit and put your hair in pigtails.  Compose an ode to his penis.  You do everything in your power to make him feel manly, mighty, and truly Alpha.

And before you know it . . . he'll start acting truly Alpha.  Because nothing incites the ambition for Alpha like getting righteously laid by a stone freak that you just happen to be married to.  Success breeds confidence, and to dudes nothing makes you more confident than successful breeding.  If he manages Option D, then you start thinking up shit to do to him you've only heard about on the internet.  That kind of positive reinforcement is just the feedback his masculine soul needs to give him the desire to be the kind of man you want him to be.

After a couple of slow balls, you can consider upping the ante . . . but don't push him too far or too fast.  Slowly but surely extend him invitations to act, and then persuade him that it is in his interest to accept them.  Pick things you know are well within his scope, at first, before getting too challenging.   Don't expect him to go full Picard the first time, but gradually increase the difficulty of the challenges and the richness of reward.

And if you think using sex as an incentive is somehow cheap, demeaning, or an insult to your femininity and individual independence . . . grow the fuck up.  You're married, you aren't in high school anymore.  Sex for romance, intimacy and love is for the infatuation stage the honeymoon, and vacation sex.  When you're married, sometimes you have sex because that's what married people do.  It isn't always about your personal feelings on the subject.

Believe me, your husband swallowed his personal feelings when he suffered through all of those bridal shows and your sister's piano recital.  He's bought tampons for you against his inclination.  He's done plenty of stuff he wasn't into, for the sake of the marriage.  If you suffer from the illusion that all good sex is an intimate and erotic expression of love, then you don't need to be married.  Married sex is like a huge box of chocolates: there's plenty of variety, and every now and then you'll come across something you just don't like, but it's only candy.  There will always be another piece in the box.  And you know that caramel praline you've been craving is hiding out there, somewhere . . .

One of the dramatic misconceptions that has arisen out of the feminist-influenced Sexual Revolution is that if every sexual experience in marriage is anything less than a magical intimate gestalt of emotion, spirit, and pleasure, then the wife is being cheated somehow.  The fact is, in marriages that last (that is, non-feminist-oriented ones) there's plenty of mediocre sex.  For both parties.  That's what you are signing up for.  If you can't handle that, then don't get married and stay on the carousel.

The trade-off is that when it's good, married sex is REALLY fucking good, because you can do things with your wife of 20 years that you couldn't even consider proposing to a woman half her age.  While the dude who goes out and puts 10 notches on his post in a month with his exotic harem of FBs and ONS is seen as a successful player by any reasonable standard, the fact is he only has sex 10 times in a month.  That's just barely the married average.  While he's struggling mightily to break new ground and add another notch, a married couple can go through foreplay, intercourse, and afterplay before he's found the first likely prospect of the evening.  And an hour later, they can do it again.

Married sex might be mediocre on average, but in a Red Pill marriage, it's plentiful with occasional flashes of brilliance.  If a dude has good Married Game and can juggle the Alpha/Beta skillset skillfully enough, then the opportunities for such flashes go up as his woman becomes more inspired.  If a dude is trapped in Betaland, he requires an invitation to escape before he can find his Alpha.  An invitation to lead.  An invitation to be the kind of man you know he has the potential to be, and the kind of man he wants to be.

But he has to accept the Invitation in the first place.  He might be reluctant to, so keep it simple.  Repeat the offer, if you must, but extend the Invitation to follow his masculinity and find his Alpha.  And then hump him righteously as a reward.


  1. "This is his journey. You are a part of it, but ultimately it will be up to him to rise to the challenge. And that sentence, right there, is the essence of the second thing, and the point of my post: the rediscovery of his masculinity is a serious challenge to him, as imposing as a physical obstacle or an emotional crisis. And often the only constructive thing a wife can do seems to be encouraging him to rise to that challenge . . . without letting your disappointment and discouragement show through."

    Wow, Ian. GREAT post! I am sitting here wondering how you managed to write all of that - which is so on point. I want to make it required reading for all frustrated married women. The above paragraph hit me between the eyes. I didn't want to continue reading because it was as though you were reading my mind. It sounds silly to say it brought tears to my eyes, but it did. I care so much about my marriage and my husband and seeing the process of him regaining his Natural Alpha traits is hard to watch. Possibly because it reinforces the truth … it was ME – my bitchiness and my controlling and demanding ways that got him HERE. And while I agree that this is HIS journey, it makes me sad that we are here.
    And the Road Map that you outlined to helping the Alpha process was really good. I’m going to print it out and reference it often. That and search out a way to contact the very wise Mrs. Ironwood! Her insight is impressive and appreciated!

    Thanks!! Really good stuff guys!!

  2. This is brilliant, brilliant stuff. I hope you're getting thousands of hits.

  3. This is exactly, EXACTLY what I needed to read! I have been getting very frustrated with our progress and when I try to find things to help I am often confronted with a.women are evil...don't get married ( that's helpful) b.well -meaning advice that goes against what I am trying to do (I doubt they even realize that they are influenced by feminist agenda.)or c.people who express their ideas in a way that is rude and hurtful (meant to insult, not inform.) Gentlemen leaders don't always tell us what we want to hear and will point out the areas where we need to work, but in a way that is not degrading or insulting. THANK YOU! It may hurt because we know that we have done something wrong for years but the intention is to educate and help.

  4. I suppose this comment is necessarily tied directly to this post. I've read a lot of this "manosphere" stuff recently, and it astonishes me how much I was misled by pretty much everybody when I was growing up. Now I can see how many things over the past thirty-five years or so I've screwed up one way or another in dealing with women. I look at what still gets said throughout society and marvel at how wrong-headed it is.

    I think I sort of have a beta streak in me, and I don't know how much I could have behaved differently back in the day, but if I'd known then what I know now, I'd at least have had a chance at "correcting" my behavior to get what I wanted (a getting laid more often, b having better relations with women overall).

    At this stage in my life, I don't suppose it makes as much difference, but at least with the knowledge that comes from posts like this I can have a better shot at keeping things at an acceptable level for myself and Mrs. Self.

    But I feel sorry for the majority of younger folks who still wallow in the sludge of modern falsehoods about how men and women do/should behave. I feel like I wasted my younger days because of that foolishness, and nobody is the better for it.

    Older, Wiser, Disillusioned

  5. Ooops. "isn't necessarily"


  6. Ian - another opus - one which brought back many bittersweet memories of my betaself prior to my divorce. So much here for a man/husband to read, much less a woman/wife....

    Well played, good sir

  7. Ian, do you think this could also work for getting my husband to become more physically fit? He's fixed much of the Alpha traits, however, I find it almost impossible to be attracted to him all the time do to his poor physical condition. He is starting to work out now, which is good, and like the alpha traits you suggested one should reward.. do you think good results could come from doing the same for this?

    1. find a local powerlifting gym and start working out there. bring him with you. He will naturally want to do what the guys there are doing b/c guys are competitive and powerlifters will generally teach anyone who wants to learn though they tend to be a mentally unstable bunch.

      My wife made fun of my engineering butt - or lack thereof - until I started lifting with one of my friends who powerlifts. then she created a monster....

  8. This is another great post. Excellent insight and advice. However, I've read it several times now and always have to laugh out loud at the part about the single PUA that ONLY scores 10 times in a month, as that is "barely the married average..."
    Hell, 10 times constitutes a pretty good YEAR (or a fairly average 2 years) for some of us!! It's all about perspective, right?

  9. If you would like an alternative to randomly picking up girls and trying to figure out the right thing to do...

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    Then I urge you to view this eye-opening video to discover a strong secret that might get you your very own harem of sexy women:



  10. Hi everybody. I recently saw a testimony about Dr. Todd in a blog I visit for relationship and dating counseling problems because i had been having serious issues with my boyfriend and we had been dating for six months, he just suddenly changed,he wasnt returning my calls,he started cheating,he was hurting me in many ways i never thought possible and I just thought I should try it*maybe out of desperation of some sort*..and I contacted Dr. Todd..At first everything felt dreamy and unbelievable,his consultations and solution was a little bit easy and strange and I was scared a little coz I heard read and heard lots of stories of fake spell casters,scams and i never really believed in magic..I played along with a little hope and and faith and I sent some few stuffs after everything and it worked like a miracle,everything went to a while new direction,it was and is amazing...I guess it was all good faith that made me read That particular post that faithful day..I hope he could help other people too like he did me...I did a little and I got everything I wanted and wished for*my husband,my family and my life back. E-mail: