Man Up vs The MAP

The basic rule of thumb is that any time someone is telling you to “Man up!”, they are trying to get you to do something not in your best interest, by shaming you into doing it. The actual threat that powers the shame, is the implication that if you don’t comply with demand against your best interest, you will no longer be viewed by women as a male worthy of sexual interest. Which to your Body Agenda means it’s actually is in your best interest, even if whatever it is, is clearly hazardous to your long term survival. Typically whatever the Man Up demands are related to, are something very foolish, impossible or even dangerous / fatal.

Having said that, there is a blurry area between being told to Man Up, and what I am suggesting husbands do in running the MAP. You can be told to Man Up and earn more money as a Fitness Test just the same as I can suggest increasing your income makes you more attractive to women. You can be told to Man Up by your wife and not let your boss walk all over you as a Fitness Test, just the same as I can say add more Alpha into your overall demeanor and you should see some changes at work too. You can be yelled at to be a man around the children, just the same as I can say being a good father is a draw to female interest.

The difference being that I am telling you to do things that are in your best interest in and of themselves, with the happy side effect of gaining sexual access to the woman you want, rather than trying to take advantage of you, based on the threat of removal of that sexual access.

It’s a bit of a paradox come quagmire. Women want to be with the best men they can be with, aka the winners. Thus you have to learn the game being played, and play to win. Your true opponents in the Sexual Marketplace aren’t women, it’s other men. The top of the heap guys will always get pussy, the bottom of the heap guys will never get pussy. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it always was, and I’m pretty sure it’s the way it’s going to be.

Have you noticed that no one ever calls a woman a loser? That’s because she can’t actually lose. Oh sure she can have a really unfun time of things, but push comes to shove, any woman can find a man to have sex with and get pregnant to with minimal effort. Just go to a bar and hang around to closing time. I’m not saying he’s going to be the greatest guy in the world, but you can always find someone to do the deed to help propel your genes into the future generations.

Men on the other hand. Men have to win. Thankfully it’s a big society and there’s lots of ways to be a winner, but ultimately if you’re a guy, you have to find some way to be a winner to get someone interested in you sexually.

When women tell you to Man Up, what they think they are saying to you, is for you to “Be a winner.” But because they feel they have to say that to you, they’ve already decided that you are a loser. Even if you comply with it, you’re doing what she says and submitting to her, thus failing a Fitness Test, which means you’re still in her loser catagory anyway.

So my advice is to evaluate the whole Man Up situation very carefully rather than knee-jerking into puffing up and doing something foolish or dangerous to save face. Figure out what it is that will make you a better man in general, find what it is that you can be a winner at and set your course in that direction. The women will eventually come around.


  1. cybro says

    I have seen what happens to the “winners” and I prefer the life of a “loser” thank you very much.

  2. says

    This post at first may sound like splitting hairs, but I think the message is You’re the Man–you get to decide what that means for you. You decide what will make you a better man and they you do it. You’re not just living for someone else and what they want you to do and be all the time. It’s okay if you proactively ask your wife for input and ideas about your goals–something I think is actually very helpful. In that case, though, you’re listing to her suggestions, considering them, and then making your own choice about what is right for you–you may or may not decide to do what she suggests.

  3. BlackCat says

    Stellar, and timely, given that there have been more than a few “Man up” shamers in the comments of late.


  4. JCclimber says

    Best response I’ve found is: “And?…”
    After they respond to my 3 letter question, I like to reframe their point, boiling it down to its essentials (usually that they want me to do something that is not in my best interest) in one or two very cynical sentences, putting a very negative spin on their viewpoint.
    Then you say, “not going to happen in this lifetime”. No apology. No further explanation. Then immediately change the subject after a 2 or 3 second pause.
    You’ll find this is less necessary after you’ve started changing your behavior and holding your frame consistently.

  5. says

    I’ve always remembered “discretion is the better part of valour”. Good advice Athol – especially to younger men who I think are more vulnerable. Could I say your philosophy is not about havng power over others, but empowering yourself? Thanks for the blog roll listing! :-) :-) C

  6. Jacquie says

    Great post. Some thoughts and questions on this topic as I’ve been mulling this around my mind just recently.

    My husband making changes has spurred me to make changes in myself. Both of us finding the red pill and focusing on what and who we can change (ourselves, not each other) has resulted in a relationship between us that I would not have, at one time, thought possible. As we move further along I have rediscovered the man that attracted me so many years ago and recognize that I did indeed marry a Man, a very good Man.

    At times I find myself faced with concerns of sounding too much like my former. As I align myself under his leadership, working at letting go of old habits, I am not sure how to approach him at times or how to word my thoughts. I come from the perspective of being his helpmeet and would not use the words ‘man up’, but I don’t want to insinuate those words either.

    “But because they feel they have to say that to you, they’ve already decided that you are a loser.”

    This part of what you wrote hit me the hardest. I don’t consciously see my husband as a loser. If anything I see so much more of his leadership which I overlooked through the years, and have regained an immense amount of respect for him. In this I do wonder often what kind of things I should mention to him as his helpmeet and what kind of things should I keep to myself. And the ideas and suggestions that I do have but choose to keep to myself; does having them tell me that I unconsciously think less of my husband than what my conscious thoughts tell me? Sometimes I hesitate or don’t mention at all thoughts I may have about a situation or whatever because I question my own motives; at times I honestly don’t know if I am just sharing a good suggestion or am I trying to manipulate a situation. This has been one of the most difficult obstacles for me so far on this journey and now reading this in your post has me even more confused because if I hold a thought or idea that could have been beneficial to him then I have failed him as the helpmeet I should be. Where is the balance? How does a wife find it?

    Reasonable requests in a reasonable tone of voice are just fine. Once you add in the Man Up language though, it takes on an unreasonable tone.

  7. says

    “Man up” is the slang inferior of the old “Be a man.”

    Both imply the target is either taking some easy way out or, generally avoiding a necessary difficulty.

  8. says

    “When women tell you to Man Up, what they think they are saying to you, is for you to “Be a winner.” But because they feel they have to say that to you, they’ve already decided that you are a loser.”

    Yeah, ran into this a little over a month ago, maybe you can tell me how i should have handled it. Was a friends birthday party, and i was there with my at the time fwb. So he pulled out the hardcore Portuguese spirits and started pouring shots. It was nasty stuff. When i pounded it back, i thought i swallowed acid and im sure my face showed it, along with the groan.

    FWB turns to me and says ‘Really? You should buck up and take it like a man. You don’t here us complaining when we have to swallow!’ (obvious sex ref)

    I had no comeback. I just took the next shot and pounded it back and didn’t even flinch, as nasty as it was. I just looked her dead in the eye and said, ‘That’s how good European girls do it’. But i already knew the shit test was lost. On top of that i took myself to about 1 drink away from throwing up, something i haven’t done since my teens. So i fell into the trap of ‘manning up’ against my better judgement and health risk involved.

    If anyone knows a good way that should have been handled.. im all ears!

  9. says

    This is a bigger deal than most men realize.

    One of the hardest things about taking the Red Pill is accepting responsibility for your own actions as a man and the head of your household (even if you are the only member of that household). It’s easy to be a Blue Pill dude and defer responsibility to other people — your wife, the government, someone else — but when you take the Red Pill and make that commitment to yourself that you will deal with the universe the way it is, and not the way it’s idealized to be, then things get complicated. And hard.

    Athol’s absolutely right: when someone is telling you to “Man Up”, they’re invoking shame and using your own masculinity against you. Now, if that comes from a man then it can be seen as an invitation to remember your masculine power, qwitchyerbitchen, and do the job at hand. When men tell other men to “Man Up” (usually) they are trying to improve the condition of the other man. In the Male Social Matrix men are generally encouraged to help each other like that as part of the process of turning a Guy in to a Man . . . or simply providing moral support for a difficult issue. When a man tells another man to “Man Up” he’s offering both support and criticism, acknowledging the difficulties of the issue but also declaring his belief that the other man has within him the capability and testicular fortitude to get the job done despite his own fears and insecurities about the issue. Since all men have fears and insecurities, a quiet, private discussion about them with another dude who acknowledges those fears and insecurities but also expresses his belief in your ability to deal with them is a gift from another man.

    But when it comes from a woman, it’s the nastiest sort of insult. On par with the “C-word”.

    When a woman says “Man Up”, she’s not offering constructive criticism wrapped in a masculine-flavored coating of support. She’s calling into question his masculinity and his ability to get the job done, and expressing her doubts about her dude in the most insidious of ways. It’s the moral equivalent of presenting yourself to your husband before a formal occasion after three hours prep on hair, make-up and wardrobe only to have him wrinkle up his forehead and say “You mean you’re going to wear that? In public?” Devastating.

    The Red Pill doesn’t banish fears and insecurities — if anything, once you know all of the things that can go wrong with your life, your wife, and your relationships, it can make you a little paranoid. But what the Red Pill can do for you is give you the space to acknowledge your own fears and insecurities and handle them. The Red Pill doesn’t say you have to be an indestructible, invulnerable, and emotionally-distant man in order to thrive. But it does give you just enough security and belief in yourself to push back when you get the shit-testing “Man UP!” from a woman.

    Damn it, Athol. You made me write another post. Now I’m going to have to expand on this for my own blog.

    But it’s an outstanding observation, and one more stunning contradiction to the “everyone should be equal” Blue Pill ideological that has ruined so many marriages.

  10. Eric says

    As with most things, depends on the context. My sister told me that one time when I had descended into a pity party about my business and the economy, and it was exactly what I needed to hear, and exactly who I needed to hear it from.

    Likewise, we had purchased a horse for my daughter a few years ago and during the first few weeks we had it at home, it bucked me off and bruised me up pretty badly. I reacted (reasonably) by not letting my daughter ride it until I had spent more time on it and cold figure out what had caused it to react that way… a course of action I proceeded (mostly out of fear) to avoid for three months. One of my uncles finally broke my impasse by stopping by the house one evening for the express purpose of telling me in a private conversation that I either needed to “man up” and start working with the horse or else sell it. It was what I needed to hear, and spurred me (pun completely intentional) to ride the horse enough to admit I had made a bad purchase for my daughter. It was an expensive lesson, both in terms of pride, money, and a sore back, but now she has a horse she can ride.

    Telling someone to “man up” as a sort of dare, or as a means to manipulate their behavior in a social group setting, is emasculating and insulting and should be avoided. Telling them the same thing in the context of giving private (i.e., not on an internet comments board) advice about life decisions and relatationships… I think under those circumstances it can be proper and effective, even if given by a woman.

    Having your wife tell you to man up is either a sign that you have been seriously slacking in your alpha duties, or else it is a sign that you married a cast iron bitch. Either way, you have some work to do.

  11. Highlander says

    In regards to the whole “Man Up” thing, I’ve come to the conclusion that we as men were once like wild stallions, once captured we’ve become broken draft animals. Part of the deal being a draft animal is we’ve been told that as long as we do what we are supposed to, things will be very predictable and safe. 20 years on we find out that the deal was not really for us, the deal was for our wives until they decided the crops in and we are no longer needed. Women instinctively love horses, love stallions, but have to geld them to keep them. In gelding them they lose the attributes the wives once found appealing, and even though they pull now in the harness with all their might, they are no longer “pretty horses”.

    In short , trying to please them is a losing game, and once they have your balls you are done. Women really don’t know what they want, and are unhappy about it most of the time*. I think that is why men dislike shopping with their wives, they instinctively know and are reminded that like those pair of shoes she just had to have today, they could be tossed into the Goodwill pile tomorrow.

    * I’ve female acquaintance who was married four times, broke up at least four others marriages by being the OW who confided this to me after a couple of drinks….at 53 she’s till not happy and regrets most of her actions.

  12. Jack says

    “‘Really? You should buck up and take it like a man. You don’t here us complaining when we have to swallow!’”


    “Well there’s your answer. Real men don’t swallow. Real women do.” Said with a devil-doesn’t-care smirk.

  13. Changed Man says

    I agree with Ian’s assessment of the ‘man up’ coming from another guy. I got my ‘man up’ smack upside the head from my (now) best friend at a critical point in my life. I credit his timely advise and encouragement as a catalyst for finding & reading MMSL, taking the red pill, and beginning a conscious (and much more satisfying) relationship with my wife.

  14. RedPillNewb says

    I think it’s fair to ask a man to “man up” and meet his obligations, even when doing so is unpleasant. So you can’t just quit your miserable job to become an artist when your children are hungry and your house is falling down: man up and do what is quite properly seen as your duty as a father.

    But on the other hand, no man has an automatic obligation to give his wife whatever she wants. If you can afford to quit your job to become an artist, but that means giving up the fabulous travertine-and-granite kitchen remodel, there’s no “manning up” to be done. It’s not a man’s duty, generally speaking, to provide a fabulous kitchen. He might choose to do so, and his demonstration of earning power may be attractive. And if it results in years of delicious home-cooked means, it may be an excellent decision. But it’s not part of being a man, and if the woman is confused about the point, it’s her issue, not his.

    Which kind of “man up” are we talking about here?

  15. Acksiom says

    Ian, do you have any metrics on when another man’s “Emm You!” should receive a response similar to a woman’s?

    Because by both my experience and observation, most men’s “Emm You!”‘s consistently have more to do with keeping other men in the blue pill box than it does with actually helping them. I agree that there’s usually at least some of the male-positive messaging you identify involved, but AFAICT the primary social purpose of “Emm You!” is to keep men in the supplicatory mindset of self-sacrifice for others — other *men* included.

    To put it another way, what exactly is supposed to make it any less shamingly manipulative and devaluing just because a man does it? Your model doesn’t seem to allow for that possibility and thus doesn’t just fail to protect men and boys from “Emm You!”‘s *inherent* devaluation, but arguably makes them even more vulnerable to it.

    Without metrics we can use to determine whether another man’s “Emm You!” is valid because the target really is being self-harmfully juvenile. . .or invalid because he isn’t, but the male critic is treating him as though he were, in order to keep him in the blue pill box, for the critic’s benefit, and at the target’s expense. . .it seems to me that *all* “Emm You!”‘s should receive a negative response from your three-level model of establishing personal boundaries and rejecting shaming language.

    Guys, it doesn’t stop being devaluing, dehumanizing, depersonalizing shaming language just because another man does it. If Ian won’t provide means for distinguishing between genuinely juvenile behavior that does merit an “Emm You!”, versus healthy, self-respecting behavior that doesn’t, you’re better off assuming ALL “Man Up!”‘s are more about making you a desperately submissive supplicator so that others can benefit from your self-sacrifice on their behalf than they are about actually helping you.

  16. holdingallthecards says

    If someone is telling you to Man UP, they are frustrated with your behavior and all your excuses.

  17. OffTheCuff says

    M3 my gut reaction would be to smirk, point eyes up (“oh really?” expression, and unzip my fly a bit thearrically in one short, quick movement. Then look expectantly at here.

    The more I internalize the proper attitude, the more I use gestures and body language, and the less words I use. Maybe it’s just me,

  18. Wendy says

    @ Highlander:

    But the same could be said about men right? Men want hot women they can have sex and fun with and will keep them fed and keep house. As Athol said, it is very simple: keep your man laid, trayed, maid.
    But then we women hit 40, or 45, or 50 and then men notice we are all of a sudden wrinkled, going gray, and not perky. It’s all gone to hell. The guy can decide to just dump us right then. Men do do that. Not all men, and I know the divorce statistics put women on the hot seat. I am just telling you that women have their downfall as well and we also feel like a man can be hard to please in some respects. Some women are perfectly happy to have sex 3 times a week, this whole site is dedicated to increasing that frequency as much as possible and you have a bunch of women reading it. So, there are people on both sides of the fence trying to figure it out. Its
    not like they explained it very well to anyone in school, or at home. Some people did get some good examples at home, many did not.

  19. Joe Commenter says

    @Jackie @Wendy. Giving info is fine. such as, John (whatever your H’s name is) , if you take the job and it doesn’t work out, we will be fine. We will find a way to pay the bills.

    LOt different than saying, come on. Man up and take some responsibility around here.

    At work, I expect that the people who work for me will give me info that I need to make good decisions. I don’t want someone holding back info from me because they might offend me. A leader does not necessarily have all of the answers. A leader is just someone who evaluates the known info, makes the decisions, and then sees that the decisions are followed up on. Holding back info does not help anyone.

    But giving info is a lot different than delivering an insult couched in “information”. “well any idiot can see that the right way to do this is….”. That is not info.

    Give your H the info, tell him what you think the consequences of the decision could be for you, then let him make the decision.

    Do you have some unresolved power struggles w/ your H?

  20. Shanna says

    You should have negged her, but acted like you thought it was all funny.
    “Oh yeah? You thought that was funny? Why don’t you show everyone the look YOU make when you swallow. Heh heh.”

    @JoeCommenter, I liked your response.

    I can’t imagine telling my husband to “Man Up”, but I probably have in the past – using other words. I”ll make sure I never do again.

  21. NG says

    “So, there are people on both sides of the fence trying to figure it out. Its
    not like they explained it very well to anyone in school, or at home. Some people did get some good examples at home, many did not.”

    You hit on something I’ve been thinking whenever I read red pill/manosphere blogs. Many of the men are angry at the info they are reading, the changes they may have to make, the fact that society didn’t give them the memo, etc.
    It’s understandable, but many women didn’t get the memo either. It seems like many of the men think that women got the memo but somehow are refusing to abide by it. Majority of people (men and women) are confused, the society has confusing and conflicting messages (and no it’s not all feminism fault).
    Most people are sheep, they don’t really think and/or analyze their their lives and the beliefs and messages they live by. Most people don’t even bother to understand themselves and what drives them on a deeper level, talkless of understanding others.

    Just like there are men looking for answers, there are many women too. I have over the years seen an ever increasing number of female version red pill blogs (femininity blogs, forum that discuss books and concepts like Dr. Laura, Laura Doyle (The submissive wife), Fascinating Womanhood, etc).

  22. Dreadpiratkevin says


    I won’t speak for Ian, but for my part I’ve had older men who took on the role of mentor for me, and had to say at times ‘man up’, and it was neither devaluing nor shaming. It was in fact an acknowledgement that I had the capability to handle the problems I was dealing with on my own, I just needed someone to smack me upside the head and tell me to quit whining and get to work. Young men need that sometimes. Seen properly it’s actually a compliment. The alternative to ‘man up’ sometimes is ‘give up, you can’t handle it’.

    As far as a metric goes to tell a good man up from a bad, it really isn’t hard. If an older, more mature man take the time to tell you something like that privately, it behooves you to put aside your pride and listen; it may be the best advice you ever get. If you idiot friends taunt you with it in public, it really isn’t. It’s the difference between mentoring and peer pressure. Same language, but a very different message.

  23. JCclimber says

    Ever watch the original Godfather movie? Remember when Don slaps his godson and tells him “you can start acting like a man!”? You see, that was an alpha male telling another male who looked up to him to stop crying (literally) and get some balls. And it worked. If you’ve read the book, you know that approach wouldn’t have worked on any of Don’s 3 real sons, but was exactly the right thing to do for this godson.

  24. PocketAces says


    The only way to respond to that comment is not to accept her frame, which is a dilemma:

    1. Real men know how to swallow
    2. You are not a real man

    I wouldn’t like to choose either one.

    You have to substitute your own frame:

    “Hard to swallow when you are choking.” Slight emphasis on YOU (her), line said casually.

    Implied is:

    1. You would suck my cock.
    2a. I would disrespect you by shoving it down your throat and making you gag.
    2b. My enormous cock would make you choke.

    One-ups-manship is all about implication. You couldn’t just come out and say “I’ll choke you on my cock.”, but hooking your line on the swallow part and adding your implied frame makes it.


    “I bet you could teach us all how to swallow. Tell us about how you won that hot dog eating contest. Or as we call it around here… Friday Night.”


    1. I agree, you know how to swallow.
    2. You gobble more cock than hot dog eating champions do.
    3. You do it every Friday night.

    This one is a bit more wordy than I’d normally like, but it gets points for the twist at the end.

    I could do this all day. :)

  25. PocketAces says

    If you are nerdy and a bit of a dick, you could pull this off. The trick is to say it like you are thinking aloud and prolong the suspense about what you are calculating. Extra points for adding in more calculations while drawing out the process and not letting anyone figure out what you are calculating before the reveal.

    “You are right.
    Ok. 200 divided by 5$ = 40.
    40 times.. oh, lets say 1/2 ounce volume
    20 ounces is a bit more than an American pint, let’s round down.

    Please do show us how you swallow that.”

    Now, you may get the glass of water in the face for that one (get ready to duck), because if she holds onto the glass, it implies that she accepts your frame.

    Hehehee. This is fun!

  26. PocketAces says

    Prior should read:

    “You are right.
    Ok. 200 divided by 5$ = 40.
    40 times.. oh, lets say 1/2 ounce volume
    20 ounces is a bit more than an American pint, let’s round down.
    **Hand her a pint of beer / glass water / whatever **
    Please do show us how you swallow that.”

  27. Wendy says

    @Joe Commenter: thank you for the input. Much appreciated. Not much of a power struggle here, we’re just getting started on the MMSL, and it’s been basically initiated by me, which is antithesis to the whole point of the thing, so it’s more like a chess game from where I am standing, except I can’t wait for him to check mate me. I am moving slow and I have to second guess my every move. Which is an odd place for me to be, So I think we’re on a good track. They say you have to get lost before you find your way again.

  28. says

    ““Man up” is usually a euphemism for “do as you’re told””

    Yes, quite the paradox – they appeal to your sense of strength and independence to get you to be servile and submissive.

  29. Vanessa says

    “Man up” is simply a way of saying “Your (wimpy) behavior is unacceptable to me.” I recall a recent post where calling your pregnant wife a bitch was lauded to the skies as a brilliant way to say “Your behavior is unacceptable.” Why is it OK for the man to use gross disrespect to get his point across, but not the woman?

  30. says

    I had never thought of it like that. The whole “it’s not in your best interest” thing. Thank you.

  31. Joe Commenter says

    @Wendy: One of the most useful phrases I have when trying to be captainly w/ my wife is “what I am struggling with is this …..”. Then I describe what advantages and disadvantages of the situation and the alternatives are. Then I invite her opinions. What I like about this is it lets my wife in on what my thought process is and gives her the opportunity to give me intelligent input. My wife has this awesome ability to make snap decisions that are quite sound most of the time. Thing is, nobody, including me, takes very well to unsolicited advice. But when I ask for advice like this, I’m much more willing to consider it.

    Maybe your H could incorporate this technique.

  32. Acksiom says

    @Kevin — there are almost always other ways to communicate the same positive messages you describe besides “Man up”. So why bring gender into it? What is the purpose of characterizing somebody that way? What is it supposed to accomplish?

    It won’t be worthwhile for me to discuss this further with you until you’re willing to seriously explore those questions.


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