Self-Deprecating Humor

Forum Question: Can a comedian with a self deprecating sense of humor be an Alpha Male? I remember hearing that John F Kennedy had a self deprecating sense of humor and he was an Alpha Male. I have always had a self deprecating sense of humor and wonder if I should alter it. 

I think you have to separate the comedy from the comedian when you’re thinking of whether it’s Alpha or not.

Being a comedian… especially a professional one… is unquestionably Alpha in that anyone with the balls to stand on stage with nothing but a microphone, and entertain a crowd of people for an hour, is very much walking a tightrope of victory or failure. A big part of it is not caring what the audience thinks, and how they might be offended et al. That’s Alpha.

The caveat to that being you actually have to be good at it and pull it off to be Alpha. If it goes well, it’s amazing. If it goes poorly, you reek of the most awkward social failure.

It’s also Alpha to a decent percentage of women to have a high intelligence, and the average IQ for a professional comedian is in the 140 range. Connecting different nuggets of information into something funny requires a high IQ. Almost everyone is smart enough to get the joke, but the creation of the joke requires a moment of very high IQ.

The comedian, or perhaps more correctly the comic persona, can be more or less attractive, based on what vein of humor the comedian is attempting to mine. Usually comedy is based on some sort of social disconnect, vulnerability, fear or frustration. Less common professionally is wordplay, because after an hour of wordplay humor, it’s no longer punny.

Self-deprecating humor is a variety of using personal vulnerability as a power source. As such it tends to reduce your attractiveness. However it’s possible to use the observation of that same vulnerability, and the under lying social disconnect creating it, and do it from a stronger frame of attractiveness.

It’s the difference between making a joke about you being some variety of loser, and you making a joke explaining how losing happens. You essentially frame yourself as a winner by default.

As a rough example of this, Louis CK is unquestionably at the top tier of the comedy world, but a fair bit of his material is centered on being unattractive and failing with women. Someone like the late Patrice O’Neal mined a lot of humor out of explaining male-female social dynamics. The average guy in the street is probably going to be a lot better off doing Patrice-like humor than Louis CK-like humor.

Oh and in terms of Presidential humor, well again, you already have massive social proof in that you’re the President of the United States.

And drones. I’m pretty sure having the ability to unleash attack drones makes you funny.

 

Who Is Your Jury?

There’s often a generalized line of advice that you shouldn’t worry about what other people think, and just do what seems right to you. It’s meant to cut through the self-doubt, the people pleasing and get you finally doing the things that you’re best suited for doing. There are some people who feel like their life is an endless jury trial where everyone passes judgment on them. It’s generally good advice.

However, there are two basic problems with this advice…

(1) The type of people who really don’t care what other people think and just do what seems right to them, tend to also be called sociopaths.

(2) Most people who aren’t sociopaths, are pretty terrible at trying to act like sociopaths.

So let’s just admit that we all do worry about what other people think to at least some degree. We all like to be liked, we all like friends, most of us don’t want to screw our fellow man over either. In short, we do care what other people think.

The real question though, is not whether we care what people think, but who you allow to sit on your internal jury to pass judgment.

Seriously now, sit back and have a long think about who you worry about pleasing, who’s opinion you to try and follow and why you want to follow it. Who have you put on your jury? Most of us tend to have some automatically assigned people like parents, siblings, spouses, close friends and peer group members. All these people have been selected uncritically.

Now think of all the different situations you have today, the choices and challenges you face.

Are any of the people currently sitting on your jury, qualified to have a genuinely valuable opinion on the subject at hand?

Are any of the people currently sitting on your jury, free of self interest when it comes to the decisions you’ll be making?

If you were starting from scratch in picking out a jury for yourself today, would you pick any of the people currently on it?

Who would you pick instead? If you had to please / impress / get the approval of five or six different people for the rest of your life, who would you pick?

What’s interesting is how much power we give away to people who essentially have no real leverage over our lives, apart from that which we give them.

So who is on your jury? Who should be?

 

 

Five Date Nights = One Fight Night

I’m a big believer that your overall approach to your relationship needs to be as positive as it can be.

Have a quick watch of John Gottman…

So what does that mean in terms of practical application?

Well, sometimes the best thing you can do is just knock off the pointless fighting for no reason. Stop the snarky one-liners. Stop the eye-rolling. Stop the passive-aggressive ignoring. Stop the nagging. Stop the whining. Stop slamming the doors. Stop assuming disrespect. Stop trying to find a negative motivation behind what they are doing.

I’ve seen so many misapplied attempts to be Alpha just coming across as a contemptuous asshole, that I’ve started wondering if some guys are actively trying to tailspin the relationship into the ground. Should you stand up for positive boundaries and not be taken advantage of? Sure you should, but that’s not being an asshole, that’s being a functional adult.

In all seriousness, I see the greatest and fastest gains in relationships, when people just stop doing the things that are negative. You don’t even have to do anything new, just stop the endless Displays of Low Value and Negative Energy.

Or put another way, if the five-to-one ratio of positive-to-negative is correct, maybe you have to start thinking of it more like five date nights being equal to one fight night.

If you had to try and change your relationship to fall into line with a five-to-one ration of positive-to-negative, what would you have to change?

All Else Being Equal, Assume Love.

I’ve seen something really interesting with the couples I’ve been coaching.

I tend to lean heavily toward getting as much information as possible before we get to the call stage of things, and I usually have a pretty good idea of which way things are going to go. But there is always something about seeing people in person and hearing their vocal tones. There’s always a ream of information in the way a couple sit next to each other, who turns to look at the other when they speak, who speaks first, who rolls their eyes and sighs. When I ask a particularly pointed question… who locks eyes with mine and gives that tiny little up and down nod with a quarter-smile that someone finally gets it.

There are also all the questions about their history. How did you guys meet? Tell me the story of you two.

And they tell me.

At some point though, I usually have to drop the bombshell… and just to be clear, I don’t do it unless I genuinely believe it to be true.

“You guys love each other a lot. I can see it.”

Usually that’s closely followed with something like…

“There’s a lot we can work on here, but it’s not like I’m seeing any great deal-breaking issues. This is all fixable.”

Their looks of utter relief are so palpable. It’s as if I said something like “The biopsy is back and there’s no cancer.”

Now I realize I’m the great and mighty Athol, who is the expert of all things marriage, and there’s probably some kind of placebo effect here. But the effect is so much greater than what I bring to the table. I mean I’ve sat through hour long tales of everything a couple has done up until now. There’s risk, pain, sacrifice, triumph, joys and failures on their journey of togetherness… but they still aren’t sure there’s love there sometimes.

It’s like their greatest struggle is against the fear that divorce is their destiny. I’m totally blown away at how powerful it is to a couple to simply hear that someone else thinks they love each other.

Now to be sure no one gets married for perfectly benign reasons of saintly love for their partner, but invariably people do indeed marry from a desire to love and be loved. Misunderstandings and tiredness imputed with an assumption of a lack of love, will quickly spiral the relationship into a dark place. It can be incredibly destructive to a relationship to have the wife’s girlfriends endlessly explaining what’s wrong with men and how secretly abusive all of them are. It can be incredibly destructive to a relationship to have the husband’s manly mentors endlessly explaining what’s wrong with women and how secretly abusive all of them are. It can be incredibly destructive to a relationship to have the culture endlessly repeating a badly written sitcom assumption that love, sex and happiness ends at the altar.

So all else being equal, assume love.

And try it out yourselves. If you know a couple who are being good to each other, tell them so. It has a way of changing things for the better.

 

When You Feel Like You Married the Wrong Person

There’s always some point in your marriage when you find yourself waking up in the morning next to your not-soulmate. It’s natural to start to wonder if you even should have married them in the first place. It’s tempting to just want out, not even to be with someone else, just to simply be free of ever having to look at them again.

But in the face of a lack of significant personality defects, abuse or cheating, leaving them simply because you feel unhappy is one of those deeply conflicting questions.

i.e. “My wife is an alcoholic and can’t keep a job” is a very different situation than “my wife is lacking some girl game”, or “what’s with all these hair products everywhere?”

Some of the questions you have to ask are …

(1) Whether or not you’re screwing up the situation yourself, and just dealing with a sub-optimal relationship you can improve.

(2) Whether you’re simply expecting too much of any one person in a relationship.

(3) Whether you’re struggling through some stresses external to the relationship, which are making the relationship harder, but aren’t precisely their fault (or even your exact fault)

(4) Whether you’re still hurt by Critical Moments of Neglect by your partner and holding onto the anger etc.

I’ve had instances of all four of those factors with Jennifer.

(1) I bumbled along for years not knowing about Alpha and Beta stuff, and changing some of the things I did made positive changes. Things on this front were never terrible, but they are significantly better now. We’ve also do a lot of different things in the bedroom now than we did before.

(2) Jen is very soft, quiet, gentle, peaceful, forgiving, trusting and yielding… and at times that is something I experience as horribly under-stimulating. I now consciously create a lifestyle for myself where I have more stimulation. Part of the reason I wrote MMSL was it was something to do that was high-stim. I can’t expect Jen to provide all that for me. Likewise she is more conscious that I get bored faster than she does. We have a better balance with this now.

(3) Being broke sucks. She was stressed out a lot. Not sexy.

(4) There have been a handful of miscommunications and major incidents where I got seriously hurt and some took a couple years to work through.

At the end of the day, Jennifer loves me like no other person on earth does. But she’s not my magical soulmate where everything is perfect and we don’t have to consciously work at our relationship. She’s my wife. It’s not like I’m a perfect match for her either.

Thankfully in most cases, when you just have a background sense of vague unhappiness, without some kind of clearly dysfunctional spouse to work around, things can get remarkably better once you start working on improving your life and marriage on a conscious level.

It really can get better.

Five Things That Make Someone Batshit Crazy

Back towards the beginning of the blog I had a viewpoint that when it comes to a spouse being Batshit Crazy, all you could do is “medicate it, or run”. I pretty much saw it all as a combination of psych and behavioral issues. These days, I see Batshit Crazy as having five different potential causes.

(1) Something funky with their endocrine system.

I talked about this in particular back in February, but the link between endocrine levels being out of whack and crappy moods is well established. Just think of a woman with bad PMS. She’s a cranky shit weasel because her hormone levels are actively turning her into a moody version of her normal self. Now imagine that her hormonal levels are out of whack on a permanent basis and she’s permanently in a PMS-like hormonal state. At some point you just run out of chocolate and Midol to distract her while you barricade yourself in the mancave.

The solution for this one is to head to the doctor and get the full set of labwork, being clear that there’s some degree of negative moods and behavior that goes along with it. Same deal for men and women, low testosterone guys are fairly intolerable to live with.

(2) They figured out being Batshit Crazy gets them what they want.

This is the behavioral one. Just like a three-year-old who figures out throwing a tantrum gets them candy from a weak parent, your Batshit Crazy partner has figured out on some level that being “out of control” gets you to do what they want you to do. They don’t want to clean the house, so they throw a tantrum so bad you don’t dare cross them and you clean the house for them instead. Despite the fact that you work the full time job and as far as you can tell, they are primarily occupied with playing Candy Crush all day. Or the last time you asked to spend time together on the weekend, he ripped the curtains off the wall and called you a stupid whore, so now when he disappears all weekend hunting, you just watch him go and don’t say a word.

Or put more simply, they figured out abusing you works great, because you just tolerate it. The solution for this one is standing up for yourself, maintaining personal boundaries, improving yourself to the point where you don’t need them so much you have to tolerate things so easily, and potentially getting outside help depending on the level of intervention required. If it’s really just a ton of Fitness Testing, you can run the MAP and push back on it more and more over time. If it’s genuine abuse, that’s more likely to need greater support.

(3) Unresolved abuse/childhood issues.

This is the one where there’s some kind of pre-existing trauma in their life, that’s never been properly addressed, and you’re getting to bear the brunt of them being triggered by whatever it is still lurking in their memories. Essentially *anything* from their personal history that makes you go, “Oh wow, that’s so horrible” counts as a potential trigger there.

The solution is therapy of some kind, plus stepping around the triggers that are easily identifiable.

(4) You’ve driven them crazy by your behavior.

 It’s a minority of cases, but it does happen where I hear impressive descriptions of an out of control spouse… and on finally meeting them, I discover they are fairly normal and driven to their wits end with the original spouse who talked to me. The DARVO method – Deny Attack Reverse Victim and Offender – a stock in trade of both men and women playing out the strategy outlined in point (2) above. The trouble is, if it’s actually caused in no small part by you, you probably think it’s all justified because in your mind they are the crazy ones.

Or alternatively, they are the crazy ones, but saying you’re the crazy one, driving them crazy. If that was confusing, that’s because that particular strategy is designed to be confusing, and make you start doubting whether or not you’re crazy yourself.

Generally speaking the solution is to try and figure out who else has problems interacting with the alleged crazy person. If basically everyone – friends, family, co-workers, bosses, the neighbors – are having trouble relating to one half of the couple, that’s the Batshit Crazy one. Or maybe you’re both crazy and your life is like a reality TV show pilot.

If it’s you, the solution is to stop being such an asshole, and smooth it all out. Seek some help for it if you need it.

(5) Genuine psych disorder.

Something like genuine bipolar, schizophrenia, depression even ADHD, are all real enough and can be treated with a combination of therapy, medication, diet, exercise and so on. But I’m honestly starting to reach for this as the last potential explanation of why someone is Batshit Crazy

Importantly, there can be more than just one cause and the more causes there are overlapping, the harder it is to unpick the situation.

But you do have to figure out what the causes are before you can align it with the proper treatment.

Podcast with Shy Man’s Dating School

Hiya, yet another podcast.

This is actually the one I’ve most enjoyed doing and Steve and I actually clicked so well that we chatting after the podcast for another 40-50 minutes.

Far more on the “why did you write The Mindful Attraction Plan” angle, as opposed to the Primer material.

Anyway… his blurb from http://shymansdatingschool.com/31-athol-kay-balancing-alpha-beta-traits/

Athol Kay from Married Man Sex Life is an author who has written The Mindful Attraction Plan, The Married Man Sex Life Primer and How to Answer “Do These Pants Make My Ass Look Fat” … And Get Laid Like Tile.  Funny, lighthearted and realistic,  Athol looks at what doesn’t work and gives real world advice on how you can get results not only in your relationship, but how it can transfer into having a better career, a healthier lifestyle and ultimately, an entertaining life.

Today on the Shy Man’s Dating School Podcast Series, Athol tells you about the officer and first commander relationship, how to create the best possible positive energy flow to make your life better and he taps into how taking charge can actually take a low key approach and how instead of demanding submission, you can evoke it.

DURING THIS EPISODE, ATHOL AND I SPEAK ABOUT:

  • The officer and the first commander relationship: how having a well defined power structure in your relationship will make your life easier to handle and maker you and her happier
  • Taking charge can be low key: evoking submission rather than demanding
  • Balancing alpha and beta behavioral concepts
  • His advice has the random side effects of making not only your relationship better but your career, health and lifestyle
  • Taking aim at the Red Pill community, explaining his thoughts on what works and what doesn’t
  • Star Trek and the epiphany that started it all

On the Dating Skills Review Podcast #66

Hiya,

I did the Dating Skills Review podcast with Angel Donovan.

http://www.datingskillsreview.com/ep-66-keeping-marriage-and-long-term-relationships-alive-athol-kay/

This was a fairly laid back interview. Ended up going more into my personal life than the Alpha Beta stuff et al, but all good. I forget sometimes people don’t always know the early bits of the relationship.

The one weird moment was a disagreement over the math of how many times Jennifer and I have had sex. He made a corrected note on the transcript. My math wins!

 

Specifically, in this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Athol’s origins (03:58)
  • Athol’s introduction into relationship advice based on his own relationship (05:20)
  • Athol’s personal background and meeting his future wife (07:08)
  • Keeping focus on his long distance relationship (10:05)
  • Athol’s sexual life with his wife (see correction in introduction) (13:00)
  • Is marriage different compared to any other very long-term relationship? (14:55)
  • The positives and negatives of marriage versus a long-term relationship (16:33)
  • Why should marriage be a consideration when in a long-term relationship? (17:40)
  • Scenarios in which marriage should or should not be considered, from one’s own perspective as well as with the other person (19:50)
  • Changes and transition periods leading up to a sustaining marriage (24:05)
  • Scenarios involving men giving up certain traits that lead to marriage problems down the line (24:45)
  • Why men drop their alpha activities when in a long-term relationship or marriage (27:35)
  • When critical moments of neglect or failure take place that result in a lack of trust or support, whether intentional or unintentional (30:20)
  • Excuses pertaining to critical moments of neglect or failure (31:52)
  • Miscommunication scenarios: Athol’s personal example (33:54)
  • Fixing breach of trust and miscommunication issues (39:20)
  • Identifying alpha / beta problems versus trust problems (42:03)
  • Worry benchmarks to consider when there is a decrease in sex (44:48)
  • Reasons for sexual lifestyle changes (46:00)
  • Balancing alpha and beta behavior concepts in a relationship (48:00)
  • Recommendations for high quality advice in this area of dating, sex, and relationships (54:30)
  • Top three recommendations to help men get results as fast as possible in this area of their lives (55:38)

Why Was Her Affair Partner Worse Than Me?

If your wife cheats on you and her affair partner is clearly a highly attractive guy, it’s stomach churning, but at least it makes some kind of logical sense. She traded up and everyone likes getting a better deal.

But there are also plenty of times when the affair partner is frankly not all that impressive. The husband is the king of awesome and the wife has an affair with “some loser who has a kid in the same class as one of my kids.” The loser has a smaller house, a beat up car, a mundane job, is divorced yada yada yada. On paper it makes no sense. Why him?

The missing piece of the puzzle is that people tend to get into affairs based on getting what their current relationship lacks. The lower Sex Rank affair partner may only need to supply that one element that the higher Sex Rank marriage partner lacks. Thus…

If you’re broke, it’s a guy with a good income that’s the threat.

If you’re fat, it’s the in shape guy that’s the threat.

If you’re ignoring her, it’s the guy that can emotionally connect and hold a conversation that’s the threat.

If you’re boring, it’s the guy that’s fun that’s the threat.

If your penis is non-functional, it’s the guy with a working dick that’s the threat.

If you’re [insert weak point], it’s the guy [strong at your weak point] that’s the threat.

It’s also a factor that the affair partner doesn’t need to supply the entire relationship. Our king of awesome above, let’s say he’s got a great income, houses, fancy cars, vs. the loser with his small house and moderate standard of living. The wife in question doesn’t lack for finances because the husband supplies it, so the lower income of the loser isn’t that much of a point against him. If the loser however can provide a lot of emotional connection and conversation, and the husband is essentially so busy being the king of awesome he ignores her, suddenly the loser has something of value she craves. She can get one need met from the husband and the other need meet from the loser.

Or put more plainly, the husband is almost always unwittingly providing support for the Other Man to seduce the wife. The husband is typically supplying most of the wife’s needs, meaning the Other Man only has to supply the remainder of her needs to have an in.

This is incidentally why you blow an affair up and demand an all in or all out decision. When the husband threatens to end the relationship unless the wife punts the Other Man out of the picture, it puts the Other Man into a position where if he wants to continue the relationship with the wife, he now has to be able to supply the entire relationship, which he may simply not want to do, nor be capable of.

Or put another way, if all the Other Man has to do is provide a listening ear, a bunch of text messages and a hotel room once in a while, that’s not that difficult. If he has to provide an income, medical insurance, a place to stay, break up his own family and live with your wife 24/7, that’s a lot more difficult. He may not be willing to do that, or even be able to if he wanted to. Typically the come-to-Jesus-moment-of-horror for the cheating wife is that in the middle of her husband blowing the affair open, the Other Man denies her request for a complete relationship. Sorry honey, you’re just a piece on the side, not the main dish, go away.

Immediately upon realizing she just went from two men in her life to potentially zero men, she heads to the nearest bathroom and throws up.

Or alternatively, she realizes that the Other Man compared to the husband is a loser, and she has no desire at all for a complete relationship with him. Thus when ultimatumed, she dumps the Other Man.

Just bear in mind that even if she comes back home and tearfully and genuinely wants to work on things, there’s still the initial background issue of whatever that weakness in the husband was. At some point, he’s got to address that, or eventually all this plays out again.

And as always, prevention is the best medicine. If you have a glaring weakness in your marriage, that’s your top priority to fix.

Why Being Asshole Alpha Works For About Six Months

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-man-woman-dating-restaurant-image19636044One of the biggest frustrations I’ve had over the last five years, is watching the endless parade of guys get all excited about becoming Alpha,  getting about six months of great success from it, then nose diving their relationship into the ground.

If you’ve been deficient in Alpha and failing to attract your wife, adding Alpha is pretty much always going to be a good idea. But just like all the standard “Blue Pill” advice assumes there’s already attraction in place and then advises to be more Beta, all the “Red Pill” advice assumes there’s already enough relationship comfort in place and advises to increase the Alpha. If you go all Alpha and neglect the Beta, eventually you run her Relationship Comfort down far enough to damage the relationship.

Alpha and Beta are two completely different traits. You have to get over this idea that Alpha and Beta are at oppositional to each other or you’ll eventually screw your relationship up. You can do behaviors that are highly Alpha / Attractive / Dopamine stimulating AND highly Beta / Comforting / Oxytocin stimulating. Something like going to a really nice restaurant and having a wonderful conversation with her can be both Alpha and Beta. There are all kinds of ways to Display High Value in your dress, your car, choosing to take her to a new restaurant as a novel experience, and your confident casual frame. That’s all Alpha. But you’re also paying individual attention to her, being emotionally connective, touching her and so on. All Beta. It’s completely possible to do both.

It’s also possible to do things that are so crappy that they drive down both her attraction and relationship comfort at the same time. For example, smelling like you’re unaware of the existence of toilet paper is a great relationship ender.

The trap is that most guys discover the importance of Alpha, after a prolonged period of being Low Alpha and High Beta in their relationships. So they arrive with a stockpile of Relationship Comfort and a shortage of Attraction. Thus those early improvements in being Alpha result in fairly immediate success. She’s relived and excited to be attracted to him again/more, and even if he’s being a little less attentive and Beta, he’s still got a huge stockpile of Beta credit to pay with.

But after about six months of now acting High Alpha, Low Beta… he’s pretty much spent down the stockpile of Beta credit. Then she starts getting really hurt and pissed off at him.

The point of critical failure comes around the six month mark where he misreads a Loyalty Test as a Fitness Test. A Loyalty Test is based on her fears he’s not that into her and a Fitness Test is based on her lack of respect for him. Thus if she acts out a little to see if he actually cares about her (Loyalty Test), and he responds to that like she’s rude, spoiled and demanding, (Fitness Test) the results are going to be quite negative. It’s an easy mistake to make because being more Alpha was successfully passing all the Fitness Tests she was throwing at him before now. Once you have an hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Worse still, these critical points of failure can come when he’s bankrupted himself on the Beta front. Which is why suddenly the wife that was hot to trot just a few weeks ago, is suddenly shutting down sexually. That shutting down could be anything from no sex at all, minimal sex, duty sex, starfishing, drinking in order to have sex, reducing it all to very vanilla sex, no BJ’s yada yada yada.

If you’re in that position, it’s usually fixable, but you’re sure as hell going to have to offer up some apologies and the worse you bankrupted the Beta, the longer it’s going to take to make her feel comfortable being in a relationship with you. If you confuse being Alpha with being a full-time asshole, you’re going to have to eventually change that if you want to stay happily married.

It’s all about the calibration. Be  consistently Alpha to keep attracting her, be consistently Beta to make her feel comfortable she’s attracted to you.