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.


  1. I do most of the work on my car. If my husband were to offer to do it for me, I'd be a little concerned since half the time he can't tell when the thing is running or not.

    Now, when he brought my computer back from the dead . . . Yeah, I bought special lingerie for that :-)

  2. I learned how to do maintenance on my car from an exboyfriend mechanic. It's not really safe to be broken down on the side of the road where any creep can pull up.

    But back to Mr. Reader and his new foreplay: Whether it's yard work, car repair, or cooking a gourmet meal in the kitchen, ANY display of "I can do this really well and I love it, so stand back and watch me!" is hot.

  3. I'd add that really DOING anything is hot. Action is hot and skill is hot. You get extra points in my book if it's anything that requires strength, getting dirty, getting sweaty or is dangerous. In my book these are "man tasks." There is something down right HOT about a guy with grease on his hands and covered in sweat. It's masculine.

    High on the man task list would be taking care of the car, home improvement tasks, yard work (especially keeping a veggie garden! masculine in the getting dirty part, care taking in the food part) tending a fire, and killing spiders. I'll also add that I've never been more annoyed at my guy than when the dog brought in a dead rat and he refused to clean it up…cleaning up anything dead goes in the man task list!

  4. I totally agree. The only thing I'd caution guys to watch for is making sure they still have enough time to actually spend time with their wives and have sex after doing all that maintenance.

    I really like it that my husband is very capable around a car (and computer!), and that his knowledge has saved us a lot of money, but he works a lot of hours and it's been taking a lot of evening time away lately.

    I know it won't be forever, but still…sometimes I wish he'd rather spend some more more money on it to relax more (he'd get laid more often!) in the evenings and on weekends.

  5. I love all of those you suggested!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Back to the butter and jumper cables again, huh Athol?

  7. Aleph One says:

    Coincidentally, I did a post on this very topic last week:

    Showing any kind of skill is a DHV. Showing a skill that actually solves a problem for your wife is very Alpha.

    I'm still not going to change my own oil, though. My mechanic's price for an oil change is actually less than I would pay for the oil and filter at AutoZone.

  8. Christopher says:

    On that note, always keep tools in the car. It's a little insurance policy against trouble, and you never know when you might be called upon to replace your SO's car's dead alternator in a heavy snowstorm in rural Vermont…

    She stayed in her friend's car, nice and warm, but her words were, "I don't know why, but watching you change the alternator was … kinda hot." :) Totally worth it.

  9. I love the idea of 'breaking' something so that you can be seen fixing it – hysterical – and I love it! I would find it such a turn on to know that he had gone through that much effort just to turn me on.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. I need to do more around the house. My wife knows I can do stuff — she said she could never be with so and so because he can't fix anything. On the other hand, it is quite sad what it takes to turn on our ladies. She just looks at me the right way is all it takes but I have to build a cabin with my swiss army knife to get her going!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not good though:
    1. Repairs that never get done because he won't pay anyone to do them but won't do them himself either. This means a long wait for the thing and in the end no functional result. Oh yes, he will also not let the wife call a repair person as he promises to fix it soon (he doesn't and if she says anything more she is seen as a nag).

    2. Repairs stuck halfway because he got tired of doing them or couldn't figure out the problem. Result being the thing in question is unusable even if vital.
    3.Repairs that leave the thing in question usable for awhile but they break down or fall into disrepair again fairly soon because the repair was done improperly or incompletely.
    4.The repair (especially referring to visible household things) is done with cheap,shoddy materials and looks like crap. Any female protestations on aesthetics is brushed away as frivolous.
    5. The repair actually is done in such a way (automobiles for example or electrical wiring) that there is a serious question of subsequent safety with those things. Experience has unfortunately proven this out.
    6. Too cheap to actually realize the thing is not repairable and must be replaced.He stalls for a long time (especially if it is an item the wife needs) and then if he reluctantly decides to replace it buys the cheapest replacement he can find which in turn breaks down or falls apart very soon.
    7. Overall result for wife: no Beta or Alpha here and no big turn on.

  12. THis hits home with me.

    My wife's Dad is a very handy, do it yourself type guy. 9 times out 10 he is spot on and does a great job. The odd time, it ends up like Tim the Toolman Taylor.

    It basically forced me into becoming more handy and constructive around the house. She was calling her Dad to come over and fix stuff!

    Anyway, he still helps me with big projects, but everything gets done by me now. And I do echo what Anon said above, if you are going to take this on, make sure tasks around the house get done, nothing worse than a bunch of half finished tasks around the house reminding your wife how unproductive you are.

  13. Definately agree! I really hate the "I promise I'll get to it, don't call." and then if you ask about it again, you're nagging!! I read somewhere (here? relationship book? housekeeping website??) That if your husband isn't doing his job around the house, simply take it away from h im and give it to another man. That TOTALLY works….

    All of those things are excellent angering points!

  14. Sexy Bearfriend says:

    I completely agree. The idea of what is "alpha" isn't locked in stone, per se. The details depend on the woman. A man in a suit actually turns me off, regardless of how "high powered and rich" he is. I think that it's vaguely effeminate. Now, a man that's a bit sweaty and has muscles and facial hair (had to throw in the "facial hair" thing!) is a man of ACTION. He gets things DONE. And that is hot and sexy (and is rewarded!)

  15. Sexy Bearfriend says:

    Definitely agree as well. Everyone should be setting an example for the other. As long as you do all the tasks that are your responsibility, he should me measuring up as well.

  16. The thing about oil changes is that for a lot of men, it is one of the few 'gearhead' type tasks they can perform regularly and competently. Most modern vehicles don't need a lot of maintenance work, and a lot of the work they might need is above the paygrade of the modern shade tree mechanic.

    So oil changes are actually a good place for some men to start, but the thing you have to realize is that you are purposefully chosing to forego the convenience (and sometimes the dollar savings) of taking it to the quick-lube place down the street… in exchange for hot sex from a wife who is turned on by your actions.

  17. Christopher – you get way extra points in that her FRIEND was there watching too. That's like super mega sexy points cause every girl wants their friends to go "aw, i wish my guy could do that" She gets the actual sex appeal of the mechanic work (in the snow no less!!! WOW!!) along with the being proud of you in front of her friend. We LOVE when our friends wish they had you….as long as the friend is less attractive….

  18. if she sat on the couch eatting bon bons all day, you probably would be annoyed by her "looking at you the right way" Men need their women to do stuff too, and if she's doing it, you probably don't even notice. it's just when she's NOT doing it that you notice – weight gain, no makeup, hair not washed, legs not shaved, house an embarassing mess etc.

  19. Dreadpiratk says:

    Interesting. When I first started reading game posts on Vox's blog, and then here, it confused me because I definitely didn't see myself as Alpha and yet I have an excellent sex life with my wife. I don't make a lot of money and we don't live in a nice house-just the opposite in fact, our house was condemned when we bought it, and I've been ripping it apart piece by piece and rebuilding it. Turns out the right recipe for my wife's libido is me in a tool belt covered in dust. Who'd have thought? I really do love taking something old and decrepit, tearing it to bits, and then making it like new again, so it's a win-win.

    This also explains why she likes to take pictures of me doing jobs like tearing holes in the roof and posting them on FB for her friends to see.

    It truly amazes me how many men don't know how to do simple things like hang a door or install a toilet. It's not rocket science for heaven's sake, just think it through, watch a video on youtube, then just do it.
    The benefits are outstanding.

  20. man rebuilding an entire house, that's fantasy material right there…

  21. Dreadpiratk says:

    No, it's actually more of a horror story. Or maybe a comedy, it depends on the day.

  22. I am surprised there are so few comments. This is a major part of female attraction to her partner. She must admire something about him to feel sexual attraction. ?I strongly agree that succeeding in a task important to her, is like gold.?
    Bring on some more examples.??
    Even though I am mostly a shy, beta nerd, my love life with my late, beloved wife was amazing. Better than the hosts of this blog, and we were quite a bit older. She often expressed admiration when I completed a man task with tools (” I couldn’t do that”), and did the “eek” thing with spiders, frogs and other live and dead wildlife, and called on me to handle it. She was taller and stronger than me, but all woman.??
    Guys, do not miss a chance to do this. It is very satisfying to both parties. ?I read a male complaint elsewhere, demanding that, in the name of equality, women should deal with their share of wildlife. Feminist claptrap. Absolutely wrong. Depresses normal female desire.??
    Hard, physical stuff is good, but as observed above, nerds can triumph too, if she needs what you can do. This is an email from my beloved to me at work (not bragging- just the truth):??
    From: Mrs Wombat?
    Sent: Thursday, ……. 11:51 AM?
    To: Wombat?
    Subject: In praise of your many talents…??
    The one I was thinking of right at this moment, as I sit here listening to Pachebels Canon, is not the one you demonstrated so expertly this morning, nor even your ability to fix computers so much as your willingness to fix said computer while patiently putting up with my unreasonable hissy fit. I believe its called ‘grace under fire’. thankyou. I love you.??
    -Mrs Wombat

  23. First post here- imagine the above without the “?” as a new-line character

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