Red To The Dead, Black Back

Reader:  Athol, long time reader here, occasional poster.
I was wondering what your thoughts are in relation to the alpha/beta nature of what I call ‘garage work’.   I’m not talking home improvement/landscaping type stuff particularly, but projects that usually involve moving parts, wrenches, and grease, where it has become increasingly normal to outsource the work at quick-change drive throughs, service centers, or Wal Mart… 
I was once of the opinion that the fact that I could afford to pay others to do these things for us was an alpha signal to my wife, a sign of surplus resources.
About a year ago my wife ran over tree branch that had fallen in the road, and it punctured her car’s radiator (no other damage).  I was trying to get it in the shop for repairs, and nobody was going to be able to work on it for a week or so.  It was a Saturday and I wasn’t very busy, so I drove by a salvage yard, and they just happened to have a parts car there of the same model with a good radiator, which I proceeded to bring home and install.
The response from my wife was incredible.  I knew she would be grateful for me fixing her car, but I completely underestimated how impressed she would be.  I think she had no idea I was capable of fixing it (after 10 years of marriage and an untold number of home remodeling/repair projects), and it was like she had just discovered her husband had an secret identity as a Jedi Knight.   The adoration was almost as wonderful as the sex. 
Since then, I’ve started scheduling time to change the oil on our vehicles myself, rotate tires, and just do basic maintenance work.   Instead of buying new lawn mower blades once or twice a summer, I take the old ones off and sharpen them on a bench grinder (usually timing it just right so that my wife sees, thus ensuring the sparks in her vajayjay are more impressive than the ones bouncing off the shop floor).   Whereas my old view was, “I don’t have time to do this stuff, I’m just going to pay somebody else to do it.”, my new view is, “I wonder if I were to unplug her car speakers and then “fix” them for her this weekend, if the sex would justify the effort?”
It’s not really the finances that drive me to do this… I could easily afford to pay somebody to do this stuff, as I did for years.  I could put the time I spend doing this stuff to much more productive use. 
But the response is fairly consistent and totally worth it.
In short, I think the “alpha” of being seen as a capable man with special knowledge trumps the “alpha” of having enough surplus resources to outsource trivial tasks.
Athol:  Man’s use of tools is the original Alpha Male skill.
Not to weird you out or anything, but maybe her dad used to do some of that sort of stuff.  Dad = The Man     therefore  You = Dad = The Man
Or maybe it’s simply that when you bring stuff to the garage, other men fix the problem. And it’s the guy fixing the problem that gets the credit… no matter who pays for it. The having money part being Beta / comfort building in nature would tend to suggest that.
Unfortunately for me though, when I open up the hood of a car I’m pretty much looking for a large red ON / OFF switch set to the OFF position… “Ahhh I think I see what the problem is honey, lemme try something…”
That being said, you sure as hell better learn how to change a tire and use jumper cables. No excuses. Below is a wee video explaining how to do just that.
Or as dear old dad taught me…. “Red to the dead, black back.”
Also do not experiment with squeezing your fingers or other body parts in the jumper cable clamps just because they look like giant clothes pegs and you have a compulsion. That’s all I’m saying.

If You Wanna Be Like Tiger Woods

I’m probably the one that’s going to get blamed for this, but JENNIFER was the one that said the last post lacked Steel Panther. I shit you not.

I mean I wrote a fabulous, almost spiritual, post about being a functional productive adult, and apparently that wasn’t what she expected. So hmmm.

Well Jennifer… defend yourself lol.

Jennifer:  LMAO I was kidding!  (But yes, I do have freaking Steel Panther in my head…we went out to breakfast just the two of us this morning and that was in the CD player in the car…)

Happiness Is A Side Effect

People buy and try all sorts of things to make themselves happy and none of it works. It’s entertaining for a bit, but that fades away quickly.

People who expect others to make them happy, aren’t going to be happy very long.

There’s three things required to be happy.

(1) Wake up in the morning and take care of the stuff that keeps you being a functional adult.

(2)  Do something productive in the world.

(3) Surround yourself with people also doing (1) and (2).

That’s about it. Happiness is a side effect of those three things.

Most Attraction Is Structural

I’m getting less interested in pushing the Sexy Moves sort of advice, because increasingly I’m seeing the primary issues of attraction as being quite structural in nature. The Sexy Moves work amazingly well for guys who have the major issues of income, health and house basically in place and functional, but the ones that don’t, see little effect from trying the Sexy Moves.
The story this reader emailed me was a long back and forth, but essentially the extremely common thing where married life seemed pretty good, then suddenly two months ago his wife started pushing him away and things started falling apart very quickly. The good news being that he found MMSL, started the MAP and got into marriage counseling just as it was about to get very bad.
here’s one of my replies to him….
Okay, here’s what’s happened…
(1)  You have a lot of “structural weaknesses” in your ability to attract women in a general sense, in that you’ve stagnated your personal growth a lot. You’re stalled in your career, could be fitter, smoke pot etc. The good news is that you’ve started addressing those and are obviously scrambling to get that all caught up and back to being attractive. But that’s obviously going to take some time in that you can’t gain 20 pounds of muscle in a week, or switch jobs tomorrow. These things take time.
However you’ve been coasting along in your marriage with a very low level of attraction to pull your wife’s interest, which is fine as long as no one else pulls her interest. Which leads to (2)…
(2) There’s a very high probability that another man is involved in the picture somehow, and that started kicking in two months ago… which is when your wife’s behavior started to change. I’m not saying she slept with him, because obviously I don’t know that, but she is certainly attracted to someone else and is torn between him (dopamine) and you (oxytocin).
Your extreme jealousy is probably your intuition picking up on the other guy.
My suggestion would be to actively rule out the existence of this other guy – check credit card receipts, cell phone history, email history etc and see what you find. Though I caution you that it will drive you completely paranoid just doing that even if you find nothing. The taking the ring off, sleeping in separate beds, fighting with you and creating drama are all to get the creation of space between you and her, to allow her room to move toward him.
Bear in mind that (1) is your fault and what was leaving the door open for (2) to happen. If you find she has done something physical with someone else, immediately kick her out of the house and follow up with your marriage counselor.
You simply can’t rest on your laurels as a husband and expect your wife to remain attracted to you, if you do not remain attractive. The relationship can amble along just fine for years with no particular sign of danger, but the foundations are crumbling away underneath you and all it can take is one solid hit of interest from another man and it all can come crashing down.
Fixing the structural problems of your income and health can take a long time. When the shit hits the fan… you simply may not have the time to fix it before she does the unthinkable.

The Fog Of Whore

The Fog of War is often used in computer strategy games to hide the position of enemy units unless within the current line of sight of your own units. This is to mimic the reality of warfare where you don’t know where enemy units are, unless you’ve scouted their position out.
“War is an area of uncertainty; three quarters of the things on which all action in War is based on are lying in a fog of uncertainty to a greater or lesser extent. The first thing (needed) here is a fine, piercing mind, to feel the truth with the measure of its judgment.”    Carl von Clausewitz
The Fog of Whore is the lies, bullshit, deceit and misdirection an unfaithful spouse uses on the unwitting faithful spouse, when an affair is in progress or being considered. Affairs require secrecy. And yes indeed, your good, moral, sweet, loyal and, not meaning this to sound like a cheap shot on the religious… even your Christian spouse can be laying on the manure two feet deep.
So…. having caught her husband in an emotional affair…
Reader:  So, back to the point. I snoop, multiple times a day, at work, etc. Again, I’m just so wary of being burned. I haven’t found anything. I don’t think I will find anything. He has a government e-mail account which he cannot delete or change (because, duh, it’s a government account). I’ve explained to him that even if she did e-mail him, I won’t hold that against him– only if he were to respond. I feel like a crazy person. And it’s only a matter of time until his patience wears thin. He understands to me this was emotional cheating, but I know he doesn’t really believe it was cheating, and that I have blown it out of proportion.
What is reasonable in a situation like this? Where is the line between paranoid, obsessive stalking and reasonable self-defense drawn?
Athol: The line between paranoid obsessive stalking and reasonable self-defense is very blurry, simply because reasonable self-defense snooping will make you feel totally paranoid and obsessive. Then because you now feel paranoid and obsessive… you can’t stop snooping. The only way to feel trusting again, is to actually trust and not snoop. Your feelings follow your actions.
I do advise people who suspect their partner is involved with someone else to actively seek to find out if there is someone else… by which I mean snoop. However I always warn them that they will feel extremely anxious and paranoid when they do so. So whatever snooping you do shouldn’t turn into an endless stakeout.
There’s also no perfect solution here either. If you do snoop, you’re paranoid and controlling. If you don’t snoop, you risk not catching the affair in progress. Plus people engaged in affairs or considering them create a great deal of distraction and always attempt to hide the affair from discovery, so a merely casual investigation isn’t likely to find much of anything.
My general advice is if you get a nagging sense that something isn’t right, check into things thoroughly once, and if you find nothing, stop. It’s a somewhat jaded view of things, but good people occasionally do very bad things… even to people they love… or perhaps more correctly, once loved.
Overall though, more information is better than less. Sometimes you just have to clear away the Fog of Whore.