Alpha Male, Beta Male And Skittles For LTR And Marriage

I’m cheating on my post a little today… here’s me from the comments section of Sdaedalus regarding Skittling with a little more added on. The orginal concept of Skittles is Roissy’s and both posts are worth a read. The Cliff Notes summary being…
Skittling: “shorthand for giving a gift of low monetary value. The theory is that giving a low quality gift will make the woman more attracted than the same man in the same circumstances giving a high monetary value gift. So the theory goes that all things being equal, treating a woman relatively poorly with gifts will make her love you more.”
The advantage of a globally unique name is that I can just set up a Google Alert on my name and my lamp gets rubbed. So Sdaedalus pages me with…
“like most PUA advice, the role of skittling in long-term relationships has not been tested, and must be up for debate [paging Athol Kay here].
As to my answer to Skittling – not actually tried that with Jennifer I don’t think. All our money is pooled in a joint account and we’ve largely earned the same amount over the last 15 years to the point where we don’t keep count. If I buy her Skittles its with half her money anyway. So it’s all a moot point. Upon occasion I’ve snuck a Reese’s Pieces into the shopping cart because they’re her favorite. But then I’m edgy like that, you never know what might happen. I’m like a shopping cart ninja or something.
So she expands…
“There’s an argument that buying a girl a present with her own money (or part thereof) is uber-skittling.
I had this discussion with Maurice already on the previous thread where he suggested that as a present from him to me I should buy myself a pack of Skittles.
On a more serious note, although skittling in the monetary sense clearly doesn’t work with shared finances (though a true skittler would presumably avoid this for this reason), would you see skittling in the sense of treating a woman relatively poorly from time to time (not just with gifts, but generally) as a part of LTRs?”
Well in that case I am an uber Skittler as occasionally I just take some of the money half of which is Jennifer’s and buy porn with it. I guess that’s the ultimate Skittle. She buys romance novels and has some sort of ponzi scheme of paperback trading she does with other romance novel readers. It seems even enough I guess… we’re having sex a lot so I’m not trying to fix what isn’t broken. Though I am a little worried that if the ponzi scheme pays off we’re going to have to deal with 64,000 copies of used romance novels delivered over the next month. Though admittedly I’m not really paying attention to exactly how the paperback swap works. I just plan to deny all knowledge of it if she’s arrested.
As to treating women poorly as a LTR Game tactic this is exactly where PUAs shoot themselves squarely in the foot. There is a fundamental misunderstanding that the Beta comfort building skills are the opposite to the Alpha attraction building skills. They believe by purposely ruining the Beta stuff that they magically improve the Alpha stuff – it doesn’t. They might gain a small amount of Alpha credit for the balls to screw her over, but they damage a large amount of the comfort she has in the relationship. If they keep it up, she leaves in frustration.
Alpha and Beta traits are two completely different skill sets. You can get away with Alpha only in a pick up, but you clearly need both skill sets in a LTR.
I will lead (Alpha) a relationship in which I will be very nice to you (Beta), but if you start taking advantage of me I will bump back on that (Alpha) until you learn you must be nice to me, so that I will be nice to you (Beta). We will be nice to each other (Beta), because I insist that you comply or I will find a woman that will (Alpha).
See how that works?
Also as an aside, in the orginal Roissy post, Mr. Skittles was being discussed by two women comparing horror stories of their worst dating / boyfriend experiences and they discovered that they had both dated Mr. Skittles. So that’s probably the proof of the pudding that Skittling isn’t a LTR relationship move. In terms of an early dating thing, I think a large gift just tips your hand that you are highly interested in the girl, and that swings the power balance into her favor.
There’s a middle ground between frakking Skittles and $15,000 worth of flowers and it’s not $7500 worth of Skittles. Balance people, balance.


  1. SDaedalus says:

    Thanks Athol for the reply. I agree about balance, this is a good rule for life generally.

    For strict consistency, you should have a Ponzi porn scheme – if stuck with a large quantity of goods you could always offload them to certain denizens of the Roissysphere.

    Your comments on skittling in LTRs make sense.

    I recognise your photo as I came across it when looking for a picture to accompany my post. I ended up using the psychedelic Skittles poster instead. Apparently there is a fifth meaning to skittling which makes the decision to advertise skittles in this way quite subversive for its time.

    Thanks so much for the reply.

  2. Long before I had heard of Alpha and Beta, my wife always made the distinction between a "mean nice guy" and a "nice mean guy." The former being the ideal and what I'd like to think I am (i.e., being a prick only when necessary)…the latter, an a-hole who seems nice but shouldn't be trusted.

    With regard to gift-giving, your/SD's statement about pooled finances is a key point. I was the sole breadwinner for about 7 years while my wife was a SAHM; since 2002, she's climbed into a pretty good job at a big corporation and out-earns me at the moment. (My business has been pounded by the recession.) Our version of balance is to spend the bulk of our "fun money" on shared experiences such as travel rather than stuff.

    An ancillary point on gift-giving: I've always shunned Hallmark holidays, aiming for thoughtful/random instead. Buying flowers for no reason at all on a Wednesday, or if she had a crappy day at work, has a lot more impact than an obligatory ProFlowers call two days before Mother's Day, Valentine's Day or her birthday. And for extra credit, knowing her favorite flower doesn't hurt.

  3. Reinholt says:

    I don't know, there are some really amusing possibilities with $7,500 worth of skittles…

  4. "I will lead (Alpha) a relationship in which I will be very nice to you (Beta), but if you start taking advantage of me I will bump back on that (Alpha) until you learn you must be nice to me, so that I will be nice to you (Beta). We will be nice to each other (Beta), because I insist that you comply or I will find a woman that will (Alpha)."

    Wow, this quote summarizes the use of game in a LTR, doesn't it? If you write nothing else, you're all set; this is the basis for everything else.

  5. Athol Kay says:

    @ Jake – agree 100% that flowers on a random day is better than flowers on Valentines Day.

    @ Reinholt – lol possibly :-)

    @ Salut – thanks.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Totally agree that the men who think that ruining the Beta stuff automatically ups the Alpha. When we first met, my husband played that "I won't spend too much money on you" game. Clearly, he was reading the wrong stuff. He insisted that it worked but honest to god, I was just enduring it because I knew he was really a nice, generous man at heart. Thank god he no longer thinks that he has to act like a cheap asshole to get what he wants–far from it. He is an excellent mix of alpha and beta traits. I would not like 100% of either. He now laughs at how he acted.

  7. Athol Kay says:

    Thanks Stephanie.

  8. less of me says:

    I've been following the Skittles trail around the Intertubes now for about a week; what a web we weave.

    I'm glad I made it here though before the diabetic coma dropped me. The scope of the PUA, game, alpha/beta philosophies is fairly new to me; I was aware of the lake but not the depth of its water. I'm not sure all of it is entirely pertinent to my daily existence but much of it is interesting and valuable when written about and discussed by persons with humor and a humane perspective.

    Athol KayAlpha and Beta traits are two completely different skill sets. You can get away with Alpha only in a pick up, but you clearly need both skill sets in a LTR.

    That's the money quote. I hope more people read it. Maybe if you moved the rainbow pic down there.

    Specifically, I think the actual Skittles could be used as an inexpensive token reminder of a LTR running inside joke, if associated with the proper mutual moment in the right way. Now granted, bigger is better, and more is more, and all that, so $7500 worth of Skittles will let you run the gag for decades and, of course, that amount of candy would be extremely useful if you ever needed to lure and trap James Woods, (though the effects on the LTR of having a caged aged bad boy actor in the house would need to be thought through first), and I concede what Reinholt hinted, more amusing possibilities might exist.

    But all that would be just fine only until I realized I had just spent 7500 ACTUAL CASH FOLDING PAPER MONEY DOLLARS ON SKITTLES, then the rainbow fades and the sugar hangover begins. You said it first: Balance, indeed.

    I commend you Athol Kay and your Copy Jen-itor on maintaining such an entertaining blog. Don't mind me, I will be trolling the archives for weeks. Thanks

  9. Athol Kay says:

    I've been ranting about the needing Alpha and Beta skill sets in LTRs and marriage the whole time on here. You'll get tired of it lol.

    Thanks for kind words.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think this works in my marriage. I upped the alpha recently, but now feel OK with moving back to a bit more beta. If she behaves, she gets more beta.

    David Collard

  11. PostBabyDrySpell says:

    Athol, skipping over the Alpha / Beta thing, the giving of gifts *as an act* is the important thing. I have no chance of finding the research I read (you try googling for "giving gifts research" and you'll be able to donate a lot of money to a lot of worthy causes) – but some work was done which established that it's the act of giving that counts, the gift is almost irrelevant. So through a year, for impact on your relationship 50 small gifts vastly exceeds the impact of one big showy one.

    If you're getting into the psychology of why size doesn't matter (ooer), it's probably related to the concept of "Availability". She will remember those flowers or cute crap you bought her last week far more readily than the Diamond earrings that sit in her jewellery box unnoticed most days of the year.

  12. Athol Kay says:

    That must be why I give Jennifer a stick of gum after we go out for breakfast together. :-)

  13. I love this picture. I love it everytime I see it.


  1. […] Originally Posted by always_alone Maybe. She might just be thanking you for moving her piano. Or softening you up for those diamond earrings she's had her eye on. Perhaps, just scratching an itch. OF course if the only thing you're interested in is the sex, then it really doesn't matter what she is thinking. Well she was leaning over the piano when it got moved! I hear you and I know it is not about me. I suppose a lot of guys are like that. I can honestly say the women I have had sex with did not choose me for the diamonds. Now I hope my wife saw my potential, and maybe saw the good in me but what she also observed was an example of pre-selection. Yes down the road I started buying my wife diamonds because I love her and I could. But she let me know a long time ago she had enough diamonds and was plenty happy without any more. Anyway, a guy does not have to be poor or selfish or stingy to have a high SR. But he can be. I just think there are guys who exist in the middle of this continuum who "in there own way" out score either end of the spectrum. The guys in the middle have a blend and likely are in it for more than the sex. They have Alpha / Beta balance. If someone want to insist they have lower SR than the pool guy then fine. Or lets just say strippers. I suppose the best looking of them at a glance my have a high SR but do they really? I can't speak about male strippers. But female strippers are just skanky to me. Skank is just not appealing to me. Skittles […]

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