Monday, January 27, 2014

Husbands Are Not Handbags

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, duh.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wife Test: Attractiveness

Well, fellas, it's time to boldly throw our dicks on the third rail of the intergender dating/mating discussion.  We're going to discus your future wife's attractiveness.

Attractiveness is not beauty.  Neither is it the ability to smear high-priced cosmetics across your face and hope the price tag automatically buffs your appearance.  Attractiveness is one of the keystone attributes of femininity, like it or not, and while sexuality is certainly a dominating factor in its assessment and importance, it is by no means the entirety of the feminine motivation to be attractive.   A woman who knows how to be attractive knows how to adapt her appearance and demeanor in subtle ways to present a different presentation appropriate to the social situation.  

Attractiveness is not an in-born trait -- beauty is.  Attractiveness is not bound by youth or age or dress size. When you evaluate your potential future bride on the basis of her attractiveness, how hot she is - believe it or not - should be a relatively minor consideration.  Whether or not she can make and keep herself attractive is far more important.

Most men simply do not appreciate the high art that feminine beauty and fashion entails for a woman of even modest means if she's to make even a half-hearted attempt at being attractive.  We're spoiled by the ten-minute shit/shower/shave routine we mastered when we were twenty and haven't varied much in the decades since.  We appreciate the result of her efforts of course . . . sometimes . . . but we rarely appreciate the hours and hours of study and experimentation a woman has to undertake before she can say that she's mastered the art.

It's complicated, and many short-sighted men consider it a waste.  But the importance of a woman's ability to be attractive is a fundamental cornerstone of your relationship with your wife, just as much as your ability to hold down a decent job.  This is especially important if a man has aspirations of having a family, but not for the obvious reasons.  A wife certainly needs to maintain her husband's attraction, but far beyond that a mother has to be able to navigate the much-harder channels of the Mommy Matrix.

Tarting yourself up enough to get an erection out of your husband is easy.  Dressing up with just the right
focus on fashion, cosmetics, hair, shoes and accessories to communicate your position and rank to the rest of the Mommy Matrix is the real challenge.  Husbands who dismiss this factor as unimportant are inadvertently dismissing a very important element in their wive's social matrix.  Really, it doesn't matter whether or not you'd do her . . . she can whip her girls out and get that reaction.

When she asks "How do I look?", she's looking for validation of her selection and reaction to the end-product of her efforts.  She's not trying to be sexually attractive, she's trying to be socially attractive, and those standards are very different.

It's often been said that women dress for other women, not men, and there's a lot of truth to that.  But I would say it's more important to realize that women have to dress for women first, unless they are overtly mating, before they are concerned with the judgment of men.

Mating is, of course, inextricably wound with attractiveness in that it is the perpetual force that impels feminine action even when no actual mating is going on.  Mating is the context for attraction.  But it is important to understand that the perceptions of men and women on the subject are largely filtered by their perspective.  Men see feminine attractiveness from the perspective of judgment, while women see it from the perspective of competition.

Women do not make themselves attractive to attract men, they make themselves attractive to socially dominate women by displaying their ability to attract men.  Being attractive to a woman is the social equivalent of having big muscles as a dude.  Just displaying them acts as a deterrent against potential competition.  But like big muscles, attractiveness requires constant maintenance and no little expense.

Many men will mistake beauty and youth for attractiveness.  They see their wives in their prime reproductive years when their hormonally-charged young bodies are buffing their base attractiveness.  "Natural Beauty" is a big draw, of course, and the frosting of youth makes it all that more appealing.

But when you're evaluating your future bride, you should look beyond "Natural Beauty" and take a cold, hard look at what Mrs. Ironwood calls "girl skills": her ability to make herself appropriately socially attractive.

The Wife Test: Wardrobe Madness

When Mrs. Ironwood and I first started co-habitating, we were young, poor, broke all the time . . . and compelled to be very social.  We were at that age where some of our friends were getting married, some were having kids, and some were dying young.  One particular weekend found us hitting the jackpot: our social and filial obligations promised a very, very full Saturday.

We began the day with a 6 year old birthday party, then progressed to a business luncheon, thence to a memorial service and lastly to a formal night-time wedding.  Four separate wardrobe changes.  Four hours on the road between engagements.  Brutal.

Mrs. I didn't blink.  Chalk it up to her own mother's training in such matters, her debutante skills or her extended stint running a retail cosmetics counter, the future Mrs. I managed all four wardrobe changes, including three footwear changes, in the car on the way.  She arrived at each even properly attired and made-up, displaying the proper accessories and shoes for the occasion and comporting herself with dignity and grace.

At one point I realized that the elegant young woman dancing with the groom was the same one who had squatted in the middle of a ring of six-year-olds for a rousing game of duck-duck-goose that morning, and then had cried in earnest sympathy with our grieving friends that afternoon.  She still looked as if she'd spent all day at the salon.  Her versatility and knowledge of her own capability for attractiveness demonstrated a competency and dedication that I found admirable . . . and highly desirable in a mate.

When vetting your future bride, consider a similar challenge: several different social events in rapid succession, requiring a re-tooling of her presentation for each.  Moving from formal to business to casual to other in no particular order will be a challenge worth observing.  Believe it or not, how attractive she is really isn't the most important factor in this test.

Things to consider: Does she complain bitterly about the pressure or does she accept it gracefully?  Is she demanding and disrespectful as she completes her transformation, or does she do so coolly and without recrimination?  Does she blame you for stuff that is clearly outside of your control?  Does she arrive more or less complete, or does she need another 15 minutes in the ladies' room to finish up?  Does she have a wardrobe sufficient for her needs or does she try to employ clothes that are not quite appropriate to the occasion?  Does she have the proper undergarments and outergarments to support her wardrobe selection?  Is she vocally critical about some perceived flaw in her features, or does she work with what she has without complaint?  And how is the final product?  Is the juice worth the squeeze?

And just how long did it take?  That can be a vital metric to know.  I once had a girlfriend who couldn't get ready to go to class without three wardrobe changes and a 45 minute temper-tantrum about her hair.  Formal occasions were nightmares, a perpetual blow to her self-esteem.  Mrs. Ironwood usually only needs 20-30 minutes for everyday prep, twice that for business or formal.  That's not unreasonable.

Remember, the end result should be evaluated on a relative basis, not how hard she makes your dick.  Appropriate dress and makeup for the occasion is key, as is preparation and execution.

She need not turn every head in the room, but as long as she looks good on your arm she's achieved her goal.  Few women really want to be the most attractive woman in the room . . . just one of the more attractive.  Out-shining the other women singles her out for unwanted attention, not from male lotharios but from female be-yatches who are looking to score social points by cutting down the weak and poorly-dressed.

Of course it goes without saying that the sexual attraction side of things should get some attention, too.  While you're probably pretty happy just to have her boobs in your face, a woman who has mastered the art of attraction remembers that her sexual presentation is as important as her sexual performance.  Being able to dress formal, business or casual for a particular event should be complemented by the ability to appear enticingly attractive in an intimate setting.

Shucking off the little black dress at the end of the night should be able to lead to pulling on something more seductive, and repairing your hair and make-up appropriately, not Noxema and comfy jammies.  Being able to segue from attractive-formal to attractive intimate without fuss or hand-wringing is the epitome of a woman's attractiveness skills.

Being able to maintain your attractiveness over the years is also important, much to the dismay of feminists everywhere.  Age might sap her beauty, but it doesn't necessarily decrease her attractiveness.  Those skills stay with her.  Indeed, fighting the effects of gravity, slower metabolism and age in general make attractiveness a high feminine art.  Mistaking youth for beauty or attractiveness has led to some depressingly lackluster pairings.

And while some women don't feel obligated to make themselves up for their husbands on the basis that they don't feel the need to impress him, and they feel that he's already seen what she has a million times, wiser women understand that feminine allure is a subtle art that demands study, dedication, and no little expense to do well.  Deciding that you don't need to make the effort for hubby anymore might sound "mature" but what it actually is (whether he voices this or not) is "disrespectful".  When you decide your husband just doesn't care, so why make the effort, you're telling him subconsciously that you no longer consider his opinion valuable.

When you just stop trying because he's not telling you how ravishing you look to your satisfaction, regardless of what you think is going on, he'll notice.  And not in a good way.  Once he notices that you aren't trying anymore, his attraction to you is almost destined to fail eventually without intervention.  It also deprives him of the opportunity to sincerely complement your efforts on his own.  And that's a dangerous first step toward seeking validation of your femininity from somewhere else.

Attractiveness is a slippery issue, highly subjective and open to interpretation.  but it's also a key Wife Skill, and one that should be vetted for religiously.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Red Pill 2014: Extra Strength

If I had to sum up my experience with the Red Pill in 2013 I think the clinical research term "serious adverse events" would express it nicely.  That's what gets reported during a drug study when things go seriously south for some reason.  It may have nothing to do with the med, or everything to do with it, but a SAE indicates that the regular protocol of the study has, in some way, been challenged.

If one uses a drug study as a metaphor - an apt one for the Red Pill - then 2012 would have been Phase I, when I figured out the nuts and bolts, began to understand the underlying dynamics, and witnessed first hand the effect of taking charge of my relationship, my family, and my life.  I took my wife on a Big Date, helped her through some difficulties at work, and demonstrated (not dictated) that I was the Captain of my little ship, the lord of Stately Ironwood Manor.

I saw my family prosper, my career surge, and my relationship with my wife blossom sexually and emotionally.  We capped it with a Vegas vacation and hopeful expectations for the new year.  2012 demonstrated to me the efficacy of male dominance and Married Game in leading my house, not just being my wife's husband and my kid's father.  In 2012 Red Pill Phase I was a qualified success.

Of course, as they say, anyone can be a good scoutmaster at a court of honor.  But when the scout is bleeding and you're 15 miles from the nearest road, that's the true test of a scoutmaster.  Taking the Red Pill under relatively normal suburban professional conditions was one thing . . . but could the principals behind the Red Pill stand up to adversity?

Enter 2013: the year of Serious Adverse Events.

Let's begin with my son's abduction, the consequences of which we are still dealing with.  When someone takes your kid without your knowledge or permission with potentially harmful intent, even if they bring him back, and then declares their intention of repeating the crime, it challenges your sense of security and normalcy to the extreme.  I cannot help but reflect how I would have responded pre-Red Pill and compare it to how I responded post-Red Pill.

BLUE PILL: Would have protested and played the Outraged Father for a few moments, then grimly stood back and let my wife lead the discussion, abandoning the course of events to her decision-making under the guise of "deferring to her matronly wisdom out of husbandly respect".  We would likely have been cajoled and persuaded to let the matter pass, no harm, no foul.

RED PILL: Took the lead and aggressively challenged the school administration's policies, got the state board involved, reviewed the pertinent laws and regulations, and demanded accountability and change.  Regardless of what effects my actions may or may not have had (people were fired), my approach to the matter was dramatically altered by the Red Pill perspective.  I went in as a dominant force, not a quietly glowering and ultimately ineffectual crutch for my wife.  Indeed, while Mrs. Ironwood did supply a lot of the data and the "good cop" persuasion in our deliberations, I consistently led the discussion and provided verbal muscle when things faltered.

RESULT: Mrs. Ironwood was immensely pleased how I handled the matter, taking the verbal point to keep her from having to do so.  I was physically protective and dominating which allowed her to do the verbal dueling in her sweet Southern manner.  We worked with near telepathic efficiency, and when it came to her wanting to hamster off into dark corners I held her firmly to the task.  No excuses.  No rationalizations.  All accountability.

Next, let's examine the other big deal in 2013, my Niece (and former nanny) using our distraction with the abduction and the lengthy recover to rob us blind.

BLUE PILL: I would have pronounced my profound disappointment and frustration and then sank back into a gloom while Mrs. Ironwood did damage control.  Would have likely allowed filial pressure and the "forgiveness" vibe persuade me to allow her to go on with her downward spiral, my hands washed of her.  Spice is an ugly drug to get addicted to, and I would have probably tried to get her into some sort of group assistance plan.  Hell, I might even have been persuaded to pay for it.

RED PILL: Once the nature and extent of my Niece's (and her boyfriend's) larceny became clear - and it was extensive, they'd been going through our attic, my wife and daughter's jewelry boxes, my shed, stolen the kid's electronics and pawned them, etc - I kicked her out, went to the police with the evidence, and had warrants issued for them both.  Since she was a family member my homeowners' insurance didn't cover it, but I didn't let that stop me.

RESULT: Both of them are now at-large, running from the law.  When the time comes, I will testify to put her in jail.  I want him to understand the unique joy of being the prettiest Quaker boy on the cellblock for a few months.  I'm not worried one bit that I have ruined their lives by prosecuting them for a felony, as I would have been in my Blue Pill days.  Once I took charge of the boat, my focus became my family.  When she elected herself out of that category by openly betraying our generosity, she got out of my boat.  As much as I still love her, I also understand that how I react and respond to this has a far, far larger impact on my children and their perception of me than whatever happens to her.  My first duty, under the Red Pill, is my wife and children.  Fuck with that and you're putting your pecker in the pincers, no excuses.  My remaining duty to my Niece involves holding her Accountable.  See a pattern evolving here?

Lastly, let's examine the dramatic shift of personal dynamics at Stately Ironwood Manor:  After the abduction and my niece's shenanigans were keeping us busy, Mrs. Ironwood sustained a major assault on her career by a former mentor who decided to crab-basket her former pupil out of the limelight . . . by challenging her integrity.  Almost none of you know Mrs. Ironwood personally, but let me assure you that Mrs. I protects her integrity like a Vestal protects her virtue.  It is to her industry what creativity is to mine.

BLUE PILL: I would have advised her to bite the bullet, accept the tacit admission of wrongdoing and a fault on her integrity, and slog through a job that she otherwise loved and that we had already sacrificed so much for.  I would have offered to sacrifice even more, taking on additional household burdens to keep her in her job.  I would have praised her diligence and duty to her family, making light of the implications of her continued employment.

RED PILL:  I told her to quit her fucking job.

That's a big deal.  When you, as a couple, have devoted more than a decade to a particular career and have made sacrifices and life changes to accommodate it, you both have a stake in that career.  Mrs. I left a fulfilling, financially rewarding post with a prestigious title and a springboard into the stratosphere of her industry . . . because her kids and husband needed her more than she needed a career.

(Lean into that, bitches.)

Don't mistake me, Mrs. I hasn't left her industry.  She's just gone from full-time rock star executive to part-time work-from-home consultant and author.  As a result she has taken a severe pay cut, and our household income dove by more than half.  More importantly, she's able to pick the kids up from school every day and oversee their homework, keep the house picked up (I still do the lion's share of the cooking, thankfully), and generally provide maternal support for our three middle schoolers . . . and wifely support for me.

I still remember the day she told me she was terminated, vividly.  She looked me in the eye tearfully and told me, bluntly, "So, you wanted to do the stay-at-home-wife, dominant-husband thing, Ian?  Well, you're about to get it . . . good and hard!"

Note to all you nascent Red Pill husbands out there: it is oftentimes easier to deal with a spirited resistance to your establishment of your dominance than it is to get sudden and critical support for it.  When your wife essentially tells you that she's not just accepting your leadership, but demanding it, then you'll know real pressure.  It's easy to spar with her.  You get points for witty banter.  But when she looks at you with tears in her eyes and says "What are we going to do?" . . . and expects you to form a cogent answer . . . then you'll know the real test of the Red Pill's power.

You'll either fold or you will hold.  And there is no real way to test for that without actually doing it.

It was all gamesmanship up to then.  But when your family takes three huge knocks in short succession, you can't tamely go back to the Blue Pill days, retreating into the comfort of mediocrity and anonymity.  If you respond to the challenge of adversity with timidity and resignation you lose.  Because if you lose respect in your wife's eyes through your failure to lead, or throw it back on her with "well, you're still responsible for half of the bills!", or any other asinine response, you lose.  The only practical Red Pill response to the serious adverse event of Mrs. I's unemployment was to Shut Up And Be The Fucking Captain.

I could have done any number of things, in that situation.  Under the Blue Pill it would have been permissible to whine, pout, complain, bitch, moan, blame her, blame her former employer, rant ineffectively, plot in obscurity, write a bunch of pointless letters, undermine her confidence, and demand she find another job at once.

What I actually did . . . was double down on the Red Pill.  I became the Patriarch my family needed, that she needed.  Instead of bitching about bills, I used the opportunity to take my overly-entitled children and teach them the Fine Art Of Being Broke.  Not "being poor" -- different skill set -- but being broke.  Little things, like how to leverage free events and the library and other social things into meaningful experiences.  How to shop on a budget.  How to fix a car on a budget.  Prioritizing bills and expenses.  That sort of thing.

Further, I put my money where my mouth was.  Mrs. I's loss of salary, even with unemployment benefits, was pretty huge.  I'm a writer.  I make my living on the rent other people pay to stay at my castles in the air.  So I built more castles.  Last year, if you count up all of my various pseudonyms, I published 9 books in addition to a full-time job, this blog, and my Daddy duties.  I pushed for the lowest-hanging fruit, leveraged my largest audience, and applied my nose rigorously to the grindstone.  Instead of bitching and moaning, I got off my ass and tried to write my way out of the problem.

As a result, my kids had a far, far better Christmas than anyone could have expected, and the Ironwoods entered the new year without outstanding debt in arrearage.  I held myself accountable.  I wasn't going to depend on Mrs. I to come up with her half of the bills, a la the "equal partnership" rule, because this wasn't an equal partnership.  We don't have equality.  We have equilibrium.  And the Red Pill dictates that when one side is weakened, the other side compensates.  I refused to consider it "her responsibility" to get a new job, not when our kids really did need her the most, I saw it as my responsibility to do everything in my power to facilitate that.  In this case that meant making more money.  Simple as that.

But beyond the financial, her appreciation of my dominant position in the family has allowed her to keep her shit together under some truly trying circumstances.  Sometimes all I had to do was stand there, like an immovable rock, and be a point of stability she clung to while she wept and let her emotions sweep over her.  Sometimes she needed me to step up and enforce my role as Patriarch with the kids, unapologetically and without a trace of weakness.  Sometimes she needed me to intercede with a client or a creditor or a teacher to allow her to get something done.

And always she wanted my praise, my approval, and yes, my guidance.  While she didn't want my criticism, she bore it, and bore it gracefully for the most part.  We had some tense times with all of those Serious Adverse Events, but the truth of the matter is that if I hadn't stepped it up and taken the helm with a firm, dominant hand, our ship would have veered off into the reef a hundred times.

So 2014, I so declare, will be the Year of the Red Pill, Extra Strength.  If anything, I have seen just how effective the Red Pill, Married Game, and an enlightened and pragmatic understanding of gender relations and heterosexuality can be in your life.  With a positive outlook on masculinity, a fresh look at femininity, and a lot of sex and communication, the Ironwoods are going to double-down on the Red Pill this year.  We're going to embrace Patriarchy 2.0 and enjoy the hell out of our marriage, SAEs be damned.

As our youngest has frequently said through this last year, "Tough times don't last, tough people do", and we've lasted through some of the toughest we've seen.  We're still here.  I'm still writing. And there are plenty of fellas out there who need a good dose of Red Pill this year, so let's get to work.