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.

What Happens In Vegas Eats Away At Your Marriage Like A Cancer

Reader:  Athol, I have a question about separate vacations. From what I have googled up they seem like a bad idea unless totally for a guys/girls only trip that is going to some place or doing something that is of no interest to the spouse; even in those cases views seem mixed.

My wife’s queen bee friend talked a bunch of single and married friends into a five day trip flying to a major city. I expressed my extreme displeasure with this since they are doing tons of stuff I would love to do there with her.

I have decided to treat this as a shit test and am agreeing and amplifying now that I have failed to talk her out of it (they scheduled it pretty quickly without much more than a couple of mentions).  I told her I am great now with separate vacations (very enthusiastic). I have also talked with the other husbands and we are planning a similar trip like a Caribbean trip.  Her first hearing of this left her scrambling for reasons for me not to go. She even backed off of doing other girls birthday trips where earlier she had alluded.

PS love your site, your advice has helped my marriage a ton. Other than this incident my marriage has vastly improved and we are both happy.

Athol: Ah the dreaded girls gone wild vacation plan. It’s a double bind in that if you passively sit by and say “Have fun honey!” you’re utterly defenseless to her cheating on you. But if you complain about it and ask her not to go, you’re a controlling jerk. So it’s lose-lose.

Look let’s be serious, the catch phrase these days is no longer “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, it’s “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas.” If you’re a good girl who just wants to have fun, I’m sorry but the army of whores have taken over and established that trips to the Big Smoke are not to be good girls. That’s why they eviscerate their husbands about being controlling jerks and shame them into sitting quietly at home. If you want to be a very bad girl, it helps to keep the cockblock three states away and to forget to have your phone on.

So yes indeed, it is a major Fitness Test because it creates the perfect situation to cheat on you. This is why your male Body Agenda kicks in and you feel that all purpose skin-crawling-sinking-stomach sensation of utter dread. It’s like your spidey-sense gets tripped on and never ever shuts off again until there is no chance of this frakking trip happening.

So what to do.

I would tell her that it crosses the boundary of what is acceptable in your relationship. Just like kissing someone else crosses the line, or spending a couple thousand dollars without discussing it crosses the line, or being out all night and not answering your phone crosses the line. Or you getting a lap dance at a strip club is crossing the line. Being married comes with boundaries that define the relationship.

See we all have lines where on one side of the line we’re okay with what is happening, and on the other side of the line, we are very much not okay with what is happening. Where those lines lay is different for each couple, but monogamous married couples tend not to ever discuss them. Couples that are swingers, are into BDSM or are polyamorous talk a great deal about this sort of thing. They have conversations like…

“I was totally okay watching you get double penetrated by Mike and Toby, but then you went into a private room with Mike and I dunno, I just felt like I was starting to freak out about not knowing what was happening.”

“Well okay then, I guess if we’re going to keep doing this, we need to stay in the same room.”

“Okay, thanks. I just need to see you when we do this.”

Or like…

“No I liked being spanked like that, but then you called me a ‘little bitch’ and it just kills it for me and I shut down on you.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, this is new.”

“I know, I didn’t mean to cry and be all dramatic. You can call me ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ or something like that, I have no idea why, but ‘bitch’ just sets me off.”

“Well okay then slut.”

Or like…

“I didn’t mind that you had a date with Melanie tonight, I just felt so ignored when you came home.”

“Ignored? What did I do?”

“You barely said hello to me when you came in.”

“But I kissed you and we talked in the kitchen for like ten minutes.”

“I know. Just hold me or something when you come home. Like a few minutes.”

“Oh. Why didn’t you say?”

“Because I feel all crazy sometimes about this, but when you hold me it all goes away after a minute and it feels peaceful and right.”

“Well okay then.”

Or like…

“Hey there’s just something about watching the most important person in my life, leave me at home for five days, while she goes and gets randomly drunk with her single and divorced friends, in a far away city where I have no ability to intervene if something is going wrong, will never get a sense of peace or closure about what really went on and have read dozens of stories on the Internet about other guys getting cheated on in the exact same situation, that just really puts me on edge. I’m trying not to throw up right now.”

“You’re a controlling jerk. Go fuck yourself if you think I’m staying home.”


Anyway, the whole girls gone wild vacation is typically predicated on disrespect and disinterest in the husband. Essentially she’s demanding that you passively watch her construct an entire scenario with a perfect cover for cheating. So even if she does nothing inappropriate, I can’t see how she’s going to respect you as a man after that.

But the more critical issue is that if she goes, she should be under no illusion that things will be the same between you when she comes back. Because like it or not, this is just something you’re going to react very badly about and things will be different. Your Body Agenda is all ramped up that the very worst thing in the world is happening five days in a row, you feel powerless to stop it and your internal relationship boundaries have been utterly disdained by your partner. That isn’t meant to be heard as a threat, just the simple reality that you’re not going to feel the same about her.

What drives you crazy is the implied threat to your oxytocin/vasopressin induced pair bond. There’s only two ways to stop it, either (1) she doesn’t go and the threat to the pair bond is removed, or (2) have the Body Agenda of the husband break off or diminish the strength of the pair bond itself… by which I mean stop loving her so much.

In short, don’t get into an argument about it. Don’t try and rationalize about it, because this isn’t something you have rational control over. I’d just say… “For me that’s crossing a serious line, I’m not going to be okay with that.” Which can’t really be argued against because it’s how you actually feel and will respond.

If she goes anyway after that, I think that’s a fairly clear signal she’s sending you.


If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Stay Out Of The Marriage

The meme doing the rounds is “Marriage as Restaurant”. It started as a comment by Dalrock here, was expanded on by Anonymous Reader, Hawaiian Libertarian chimed in, as did the Wild Man Project. They are all worth a read and make a strong metaphor for Marriage 2.0.

Summarizing them all into a single loose thought, Marriage is like having dinner in a rather questionably run restaurant where bad things can happen to men, and you’re potentially better off eating outside the restaurant. As far as it goes, I agree, though I have got to wonder why no one mentioned the possibility of one guy being duped into having to pick up the check for another guy aka paternity fraud. Also I would have added in the possibility of guys ordering filet mignon and being served hamburger, yet forced to pay the full price for the filet mignon. Or simply being told chef didn’t feel like cooking, and to just drink water for the next six months. Or perhaps being very obviously served someone else’s leftovers. Or catching some dreaded disease in there from the lack of basic sanitation when dealing with various “uncooked meats.”

In short, I agree that when marriage goes wrong, it goes very wrong indeed. Which is why the only bolded statement in the Primer says…

Unless you are completely confident in your choice of wife and ability t0 maintain your relationship, I advise you not to get married at all.  (Chapter 29)

…all that being said, there is a serious flaw in the “Marriage as Restaurant” metaphor. Namely, it frames the man as being a fairly passive victim of his fate. It may as well be a “Marriage as Hunger Games” metaphor, or “Marriage as a Razorblade in a Candy Apple at Halloween” metaphor. All that’s left is for the roadrunner to stick out it’s tongue at us and go “beep beep.”

What marriage is really like, is opening a restaurant with a partner. You may hope it turns out awesome, but no one gets a Michelin Star just for opening a restaurant. You earn it.

When you open a restaurant, there’s a lot to think about, because as everyone knows, quite a lot of new restaurants fail. When you start something as major as this with a partner, there’s a serious legal agreement that is entered into, and both partners bring something to the table of value. Typically that’s some combination of brains, beauty, brawn or bucks. Maybe you chef it up in the kitchen and she runs the front, but each partner has a role they need to play and if they don’t play it well, the business could simply go under. If it fails, whatever is left of the mess is divided up, but it’s not usually a net positive for either partner if that happens.

When you open a restaurant, it’s going to be a lot of work. You’re going to have good days and bad days. Someday’s it’s going to be a huge party in there and some days it’s going to seem pretty dead and you’re going to look at each and wonder why you even started a restaurant in the first place. Especially when the economy is rough and running a restaurant is harder than usual. But you keep the food fresh, the restaurant clean, the people smiling and don’t give up making a go of it… because while some restaurants fail, plenty of restaurants do pretty well and you are not without influence.

If someone else’s restaurant makes you jealous, you ask them what they do and copycat what you can. If the restaurant is struggling, blaming the hell out of each other isn’t a solution. You read up on restaurant management. If your restaurant is starting to slide downwards, you don’t just hope for the best, you seek help. If you’re in a crappy location, you pull up sticks and move.

However, you must accept that if the food you’re sending out of the kitchen is crap, the people working out front can’t save the restaurant for you. Plus the wait staff hate delivering crappy food and once they lose faith in you, it’s not long until they throw in the towel. Like it or not, the head chef is the most critical role in the restaurant.

The trouble is most guys get into the chef game like this…

When you really should be thinking about doing it like this…

So yes indeed, who you get into business with is half the battle, but the other half of the battle is you. Worst comes to worst, a top quality chef is always in demand. So keep your knives sharp.




Commenting FYI

I’ve been playing with commenting widgets and as an unexpected result everyone appears to be flagged as a first time commentor to be held for moderation again. I’m still playing with things over the next few days, so other random things may happen to the website.

You Have The Bridge Number One

My eyes are bleeding from researching blog widgets and crap these last three days. I’m fried. Jennifer is very supportive of MMSL, but I’m very much the writer of the two of us. So I threw her some softball questions and took a nap…

Having read and edited every single MMSL post over the last two-and-a-half-years, what have you learned from it all?

That I am a very (very, incredibly) lucky person to be married to Athol!  No, really…we have a very good relationship that has the lovey dovey aspects as well as the realization that a relationship takes effort, communication and time together to make it work.  I have learned about the “dark side” of people cheating on their spouse, or people putting no effort into their sex lives and growing apart.  It’s sad but a part of a lot of people’s lives, and I’m glad they have a place here to ask questions and get feedback and practical advice.  I’ve learned that it feels good to share what works for us and what we’ve learned in our marriage…even if it does cause the occasional uncomfortable conversation at work lol.  (No, coworker lady, I’m not a sex slave.  I’m not having my intimate life and marriage splashed all over the internet against my will.  Really, it’s all good…)

Do you have a favorite post?

Well the pants post is of course legendary.  Being a practical, needs it all spelled out for her kind of a girl, I also in general enjoy the reader email posts that offer the reader’s story, followed by practical advice that really works.  (action, people, not just words!)

What’s it like now Athol is full-time MMSL?

I am not used to saying “my husband is an author” yet when someone asks me what my husband does for a living.  It is pretty exciting but somewhat unnerving at the same time…the whole working for yourself/being your own boss thing is very cool and I’m proud of him, but yeah…it doesn’t come with health insurance or a guaranteed amount in your paycheck every week.  I am totally not complaining…just saying it’s taking some getting used to.  It’s nice to have him based at home rather than commuting for two hours a day, and to have him happier and less stressed because he’s doing something he’s passionate about is fabulous.

Don’t you feel exposed by having your sex life online like this?

It’s funny, I only rarely have that “oh my god, people are reading about our sex life” feeling.  I think it’s mostly because truly, I love you all…but I’m never going to be face to face with 99.999% of you!  If you were all my neighbors opening your windows at night in hopes of spying on some loud, raucous sex that would be different!  Our family and friends know about the blog and the books, but in general it’s all TMI, so they are happy for us but not hanging on every word.  Plus, I have editorial powers so if there’s something that I’m really not comfortable with, Athol will edit things down to something that’s comfortable for me.  It’s all very strange, considering that I started out as a very naive and shy wife, and that I have the “good girl” reputation at work still to this day.

What’s the best thing about MMSL?

There’s the non-selfish best thing…I’m so glad that there’s a place for people to find help in fixing, resuscitating, or enriching their marriages and LTR’s.  I’m glad that Athol’s phone dings all day with emails coming in from people who have questions or are thanking him for writing material that is helping their marriage and lives.  Then there’s the selfish best thing…It’s wonderful to see my husband finally doing what he loves to do full time, getting a charge out of helping people, and getting challenged by the questions and comments.  The interaction with readers really spurs him to think about new, different ways to help people succeed in their relationships.

Do you wish anything was different?

Lol I wish he was a morning writer instead of an evening writer!  He has his best ideas and creative energy in the evenings…so my routine is to fall asleep on the couch half an hour before he’s done writing, wake up and edit his post, then go to bed and screw like wabbits.

What’s next?

More writing, some traveling and speaking, and lots more sex.  (We have a responsibility to uphold here people…)

Athol: Lol I get to postscript Jennifer for a change! I think we’ve both grown into much stronger people. Jennifer is still a sweet natured good girl, but there’s much less tolerance for other peoples nonsense these days. Considering I’ve been writing about not letting yourself get taken advantage of in your marriage for the last two-and-a-half years, I believe I’m doing mind control wrong. Which is ironic as we get the occasional nutcase who thinks Jennifer is in need of serious rescue from my evil clutches. (We only play that game every second Tuesday.)