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.

 

20 Completely Arbitrary Rules For Being a Good Dad

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-father-daughter-beach-little-looking-ocean-morning-image310697201.  Be a dad, as opposed to mom’s helper.

2.  Every dad needs to be able to do an impression of a completely fearsome creature, that can be defeated by a four-year-old.

3.  If you have no clue what to do at home, you’d be surprised how often ordering Chinese food for dinner solves 75% of the problem.

4.  Your kids have a need to be proud of you. That thing that makes them proud, is probably that thing you stopped doing to spend more time with the kids.

5.  Know that the best moments in your kid’s life, are typically preceded by the words, “Don’t tell your mother.”

6.  Accept that you’re probably going to screw up being a dad at some point. All you can do is your best, and hope that one day it was enough, and you’ll be forgiven.

7.  Know that when you were little, your father was totally faking it. He had no clue what he was doing with you. Yet you thought he was amazing.

8.  Small naughty children are like Klingons. Speak to them as such, and they respond so much better. Come here now. Put toys away.

9.  Go to your kids’ parent teacher nights and the other school stuff like their plays and sports events. Yes they can be painfully boring, but you being there is important to them.

10. Part of your job is to let your kids take risks and fail. Life isn’t always fair, or easy, or simple. Sometimes the best teacher is a bad outcome. It’s your job to let them get hurt, but not injured. It’s your job to let them get embarrassed, but not ashamed. It’s your job to let them get anxious, but not fearful.

11. Have a good marriage. In a world of divorce, you’d be surprised how seriously kids appreciate that you’re still together.

12. Show the kids how to do stuff. Almost anything counts.

13. You should treat the kids all the same in a general sense, but different kids have different needs, so you’re going to have to treat them differently too.

14. Play ball inside the house. The kids are more valuable than the things that can be broken.

15. You do a vastly better job at defeating under the bed monsters than mom ever will.

16. Wear the dumb crap they bought you for your birthday, if only during the party.

17. If your kid does something good, put it on display on the fridge. When you take it down, keep it all in a secret stash somewhere.

18. Realize that half the time your kids are hanging out and watching sports with you, or whatever it is you’re into, your kids aren’t really into it. They’re just not opposed to it and are here just to hang out with you.

19. Tell them the stories from when you were little, about your dad.

20. Say you love them.

Jennifer is Back on the Sauce

So we’re in the grocery store, and I’m HUNGRY. I’m doing that slightly light-headed grabbing of everything tasty and fun and tossing it into the shopping cart.

I’m in trying new things mode.

Oh wow. Smokey garlic onion sauce.

That sounds delicious. Yes please.

Jennifer: “Oh, that sounds nice.”

Athol: “It does.”

Jennifer: “What I miss though is A1 Steak Sauce.”

Athol: “Oh, I didn’t know they stopped making it.”

Then I gaze down and literally stare right at a bottle of A1 Steak Sauce. Now I’m trying to  comprehend why Jennifer misses something that is obviously still available to buy, and is also inexpensive. It’s even on sale. WTF is happening?

Athol: “It’s right here, if you want it, you can have it you know.”

Jennifer:

Athol: “So…. why don’t you buy it anymore?”

Jennifer: “Well you hazed me about it.”

Athol: “I did?”

Jennifer: “Yeah.”

Athol: “Oh.”

And…. hmmm… I don’t recall hazing her about it. Maybe some light teasing though. Okay so let’s not quibble about a few times she may have made mistakes with condiments. That’s all He Said, She Went Bloop Bloop Bloop. We’ll never really be able to assign actual blame. I’m pretty sure any hazing she mentioned was horribly overstated based on her sensitive feminine nature.

It’s roughly at this point I recall that I haven’t seen a bottle of A1 Steak Sauce in my house for… ah… well since the old house and we moved in 2006, so according to the math, I’m an asshole.

Athol: “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you not eat something you liked. I feel terrible.”

Jennifer: “It’s okay.”

And off we went down the aisle, steak sauce gently nestled in the cart like the prodigal son back in his old bed. I really do feel bad about it.

But seriously now, I like to think Jennifer and I communicate pretty well. If we can miss these things, anyone can miss these things. Life is too short to miss out on the stuff you want. If you like things, you may as well enjoy them no matter what your partner feels about them. (Assuming it doesn’t have a direct negative affect on them of course.)

It’s not like I have to eat A1 Steak Sauce if she eats it. And in case someone thinks this post was sponsored by A1 Steak Sauce, please be assured that I think it should have a large warning label attached to it saying, “WARNING! Tastes like bovine rectum juice.”

 

So anyway…

what are you holding back on enjoying because of your partner?

 

 

Forum Upgraded, Gold Memberships Now Available

For those that haven’t followed the forum update, about a week ago we rolled out the upgrade, all going smoothly…

The Gold membership level is for forum members who want to more actively and seriously work on their MAPs, with a core group of people who want to do the same thing. The expectations of the Gold members and areas are higher when it comes to being positive and productive. Everyone is here to challenge each other and to support each other. It’s not a place to try for cheap laughs at your fellow member’s expense, or simply to be embittered about your lot in life. You come to apply yourself and the pleasure comes from the successes of your friends as much as your successes.

A primary difference of the Gold Category areas is that they are hidden from the view of the rest of the forum, and from the internet at large. Only Gold members and the moderators have access to see them. This creates a better degree of privacy for the primary purpose of blocking out trolls, the simply bored, the bad tempered and those seeking to simply act as armchair quarterbacks without running their own MAPs.

The categories…

Gold – Running My MAP

This is somewhat similar to the Free/Silver category of the same name, but instead of simply announcing at random when you have made progress on your MAP, there’s a tighter focus. We have far more of an expectation that you are going to keep it updated and are actively seeking advice / confirmation on what you should do next.

It is an expectation, bordering on requirement, that all Gold members have their own thread in the Running My MAP category.

Three Monkeys Monday

On Mondays, you update your personal MAP thread with your progress for the week. A simple and easy format is the Three Monkeys approach. Each week you announce your Three Monkeys – the three things you intend to work on this week – and update how the last week’s Three Monkeys worked out. Then the rest of the Gold members can offer advice, support and encouragement on meeting those goals.

There’s no explicit requirement that you do this actually on Monday, your personal schedule may preclude it, but the concept is that once a week you talk about your Three Monkeys and are held accountable to your actions.

@BrianC and @Serenity are assigned moderators to this category.

Gold – Men’s Room and Women’s Room.

There are a male only category and a female only category in the Gold area. These categories are hidden from the view of the opposite sex. The challenge for these categories is to find ways to be supportive of the ways both sexes can Game each other in a positive and fun way. It’s not about splitting up into two camps and complaining about the other. We don’t do gender warfare in the Gold areas.

There are a reasonably large number of couples on the forum and the Men’s and Women’s rooms provide a way to get advice about positively Gaming your spouse, without them knowing exactly what is coming. It’s about finding ways to surprise and delight the other. It’s about how to build attraction, without them knowing exactly what is coming.

Likewise if you are single, it’s still the place to get explicit encouragement and advice about becoming more attractive and getting into the dating market.

If the Gold – Running My MAP category is more active at the start of the week, the Men’s and Women’s rooms become more active toward the end of the week. The common theme is “how do I win the weekend?” “How do I get a +1 experience with my partner this weekend?”

@Monkeys_Uncle is assigned to the Men’s Room and @Maria is assigned to the Women’s Room as moderators.

Gold – The Fungeon

The Fungeon is a place where members are able to ask far more explicit and direct questions about sexuality. One of the core ideas behind MMSL is that very often with couples there is an underlying power dynamic where men enjoy sexual dominance and women enjoy sexual submission. That dynamic can be tapped for its erotic potential and can result in sizzling sexual experiences, but there is also a risk of missteps and to be blunt, some people just want to twist MMSL into a justification for sexually abusive actions. Or they simply get off on talking about it and playing the role of “I’m sexually freaky on the Internet” without actually living it.

The Fungeon is intended as an introductory area to start exploring some of the power exchanges, without becoming threatening, ignoring consent or becoming dangerous to either party. Or more simply, the emphasis is on fun, rather than pain. Hence The FUNgeon.

Some explicit limits of this category are:

No pushing people into subspace, “non-consensual consent”, rape scenarios or activities requiring a safeword.

No potentially injurious things like knifeplay, physical suspensions, airway blockages, etc.

No games with blood, urine or fecal matter.

These rules may seem restrictive to some, but again, it’s aimed at people exploring these dynamics as an introductory place. It’s not Fetlife.

@Angeline is the moderator for The Fungeon.

The Four Different Gold Memberships

Because there’s a Men Only and a Women Only category, there are automatically two different types of Gold Memberships…one for men and one for women.

There’s also what we call a “Zen Garden” option where nearly the entire rest of the forum is hidden from the view of the Gold Member. This is great for those that want to be free from the sense of noise and mental distraction the rest of the forum can create. It’s surprisingly peaceful and focusing. If you want to get the sense of focus being a Gold Member brings, but don’t want to be sucked into a giant forum and start feeling like you’re caught in a time sink, the Zen Garden option is for you.

Thus there are in fact four Gold Membership types: Gold Men, Gold Women, Gold Men Zen Garden and Gold Women Zen Garden.

Please note it requires a manual switch by a moderator to set or change your membership type.

Becoming a Gold Member

Once you have signed up for a normal free membership, you can upgrade to the Gold Membership.

Gold Memberships are paid for by subscriptions via PayPal. It is remarkably easy to set up a PayPal account and link a credit card to it. We never get to see your credit card information.

Monthly subscriptions are $19.99

Three Month subscriptions are $49.99

Annual subscriptions are $149.99

You can unsubscribe at any time and there are links to do so on your member profile page.

If you wish to change a subscription to a different time period, you need to unsubscribe from your current subscription plan and then subscribe to the new one.

Please note that membership subscriptions are not refundable, even if you are banned from the forum.

Gold Member Couples

MMSL is extremely couple friendly and as such, if you identify as a couple, the one subscription fee covers both of you as Gold Members. It’s obviously just going to take some minor communication with Jennifer as to who each of you are on the forum after you sign up.

And again, because it’s pushing the forum software to the limit, it requires a manual switch by a moderator to set or change your membership type. We activate memberships and make changes as quickly as possible, but it’s likely to be a few hours. If for some reason 12-24 hours goes by without a response after your payment, please contact Jennifer Kay.

Also if your email address you give PayPal is different to the forum email, please message Jennifer below and tell her who you are!





Monthly $19.99




Three Months $49.99




Annual $149.99


UNSUBSCRIBE From Gold

 

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Let Noobs Die in a Fire

Time for a geeky World of Warcraft post. I’m healing on a Holy Paladin.

Combat begins…

Boss creates completely obvious pool of fire on the ground centered where the Mage, the Hunter and the Warlock are standing.

The Hunter and Warlock scamper out of the fire and take a damage tick.

Mage doesn’t move and just keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

I cast a Flash of Light at the Mage and top up his health.

I Flash of Light the Hunter and then the Warlock to top up health.

[Jennifer: Just to be clear, I have no idea what any of this means.]

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Holy Light healing the Warrior tanking the boss.

Me: Move out of the fire.

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

[Jennifer: Y'all wanted him to blog again.]

I cast Holy Light and top up the Mage’s health.

Holy Light healing the Warrior tanking the boss.

Me: MOVE MAGE

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Holy Light on the Mage.

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Holy Light on the Warrior tanking the boss.

Me: …

[Jennifer: Oh dear god, just skip to the end if you don't play Warcraft. He goes on and on like this for a while.]

Mage falls to 15% health.

Mage: WTF HEAL

Emote: Paladin blows Mage a kiss!

Mage: #&*%**# YOU

Mage dies in the fire.

Holy Light on Warrior.

[Jennifer: Why am I even editing this post at 1am? This whole thing smacks of a Fitness Test.]

Boss killed and looted.

Mage: WHY DON’T YOU LEARN TO PLAY YOU SHITTY HEALER

Me: I’m not going to heal you if you stand in the fire.

Mage: Screw you.

Hmmmm…. challenge accepted.

Requeue for another dungeon hoping the Mage is so desperate for groups he’ll join again.

New group forms. Death Knight is tank.

Mage: The healer is crappy kick him.

Death Knight pulls three packs of trash mobs, tanks easily, I keep everyone up easily.

[Jennifer: Keep going, I'll tell you when to start reading again.]

Mage pulls next pack of mobs.

Death Knight ignores Mage and pulls two other packs.

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Mage as he’s owned by enraged orcs.

Mage: Rez please.

Me: Run back in.

Mage: …

Mage eventually runs back in the front door of the instance and catches up with the group.

Final boss again, combat begins…

Boss creates completely obvious pool of fire on the ground centered where the Mage, the Hunter and the Warlock are standing.

Everyone quickly scampers out of the fire.

 

So… the moral of the story.

[Jennifer: HERE! Start reading here!]

If people don’t respond to talk, let the natural consequences play out and allow their folly to educate them.

Sometimes people have to repeatedly die in a fire before they learn. If you keep helping them, you’re training them to be stupid. And by default to despise you.

Now if you’re a nice person, you probably feel that allowing the lazy and stupid to get owned by their sub-optimal planning, makes you a terrible, terrible person. If that’s the case, you’re probably also confusing the subtle, but important difference between fire extinguishers and flamethrowers. It’s not like you set them on fire.

So…

What dumb shit do you keep rescuing your partner from, that they are completely capable of handling themselves? 

 

A Choice Between Two Blue Pills

If you’re a long time reader, you’ve seen a number of changes in my thought over the years. One of the more important ones is the stepping away from the Red Pill motif. There are a few reasons for that. Thus this all-purpose explanation of why, and why you should too.

The first reason is simple. It’s already trademarked. “Take the Red Pill” is a trademarked phrase and not by me. Thus every effort by me to continue to promote the concept, every dollar earned on that phrase is like the Dwarves of Moria digging ever deeper down into the earth until that fateful day they reach the Balrog. I had no clue it was trademarked before I started writing. Once I figured it out, I groaned inwardly for a couple months and then made changes. No lawsuits involved and that’s about it.

The irony that someone actually owns the phrase should not be lost on those that proudly claim to be “Red Pill” like they are suddenly free from social control. You may as well make “I’m lovin’ it” your personal slogan. That’s trademarked too.

That being said, the Red Pill concept is a mishmash of ideas and that really needs to be talked about. So let’s review the standard Manosphere training footage…

What Morpheus is offering Neo is “the truth”. But it’s a little bit more than that, in that it’s a huge moment of awakening, a huge moment of enlightenment. It’s really more akin to a religious conversion that anything else. As the next scene plays out, Neo is literally born again from an artificial womb, complete with umbilical cords, a placenta, amniotic fluid and what now prophetically looks like an Obamacare drone overseeing it all. Then an opening dilates underneath him and he rides the birth canal out into the real world. YouTube of all that.

Except there’s a huge problem with that as a practical application beyond the metaphor of enlightenment.

In the first movie, there’s a clear version of “Red Pill” reality explained, and a clear version of the “Blue Pill” fantasy. In the real world, humans are living in some kind of shit hole under the earth, which essentially looks like a cross between an aircraft carrier and a prison. Except the food is obviously the product of a committee and a questionable bidding process.

The fantasy world is a city in 1999. This frankly seems really nice, except the horror is that it’s totally wired for high-speed internet and everyone is jacked in with a hard-wire connection in warm comfy wombs. Supposedly the evil machines running the world have found a way to harness the bio-electrical charge of human beings and we’re all a bunch of renewable AA batteries. There’s no explanation given for how the machines get more energy out of us than it takes to care for us though. Also in the third movie there are giant drilling machines and I’m just wondering why geothermal energy wasn’t tapped as a far more convenient option. Just sayin’.

Anyway…

Yay enlightenment. Except if you want to use it as a practical application beyond just using it as a metaphor for enlightenment itself… you have to supply the theoretical framework grounding the philosophy you have been enlightened to.

Putting that more clearly, as an Atheist I could say that when I had my awakening moment of realizing X, Y and Z about Christianity was bogus, I had my Red Pill moment. My eyes were opened. I saw the truth of the lies of the church yada yada yada.

But you could just as easily say that when you become a Christian, and you have your awakening moment of realizing X Y and Z about Christianity being true, that’s when you’re having your Red Pill moment. Your eyes are opened. You see the truth of the bible yada yada yada.

See how chirping “Red Pill” means next to nothing without the context of a philosophy behind it?

I mean for politics, is the correct Red Pill viewpoint democrat, or republican? Or Ron Paul? Or the guys who bury a bus in their backyard and have a five year supply of ammunition and MREs?

Is the Red Pill all the stuff the manosphere talks about… or it is feminism? I mean wasn’t there some moment of stomach churning enlightenment for the first feminists when they visualized for the first time a concept of the patriarchy? Holy crap, those bastards own everything and we don’t even get a say, we’re getting screwed. Sound familiar?

So let me say that again, going “Woo-hoo! Red Pill” means next to nothing without the context of a philosophy behind it. All it means is you’re really excited to have learned something and probably annoying to be trapped in a conversation with at parties.

Now because my thing is relationships, I’m going to explain a little more my own personal philosophy and why I focus on what I focus on in my work.

I see three broad issues affecting relationships and I think they probably have about equal weighting in importance. This is one of those “more of an art than a science” type feelings though.

The first is biological in nature: the whole thing of Body Agenda, your hormones, your neurotransmitters, and the entire neurological construction of the meat computer than is your brain. Your genes. The things men are biologically driven to do, and the things women are biologically driven to do. Or in short, this is the Nature bit of the Nature vs. Nurture argument.

And the second issue is the entire sociological, economic and cultural construct in which we live our lives. Everything from our schooling, to our entertainment, our religious beliefs and science, and possibly more importantly, our laws. All these things affect our relationships. This is the Nurture side of the Nature vs. Nurture argument.

The third area is our individual self-awareness, free thought, ability to choose, logic, self-discipline, personal history and internal moral compass. For lack of a better explanation, Nietzsche is the third candidate in the Nature vs. Nurture debate.

All three general factors are influences on your relationship and life.

If the economy sucks, your life is probably going to be harder. It’s going to be a negative stressor on your relationship. I can’t tell you how many guys have come to MMSL with a troubled marriage and everything stems back to when they lost a job in the economic downturn in 2008, which started a relationship downturn.

But when an individual person or couple comes to me with a relationship problem, the solution I offer them is not advice on fixing the economy, or Red Pill based complaints about gender issues. I simply try and fix the problem.

Don’t misunderstand me here for a minute. I completely understand there are some horrific, stupid, harsh, evil, mindless, shameful social, economic and legal influences on individuals and relationships. Things I’d like to see stopped. But when an individual comes with a problem seeking help, trying to “fix society” as a solution to their individual issue is misguided. All I can really work with is mastering the Nature side of things and the Nietzsche personal growth stuff.

In addition, when it’s a bad relationship that’s at stake, they typically come seeking help at a time of crisis and instability. Thus one of the first things you need to do is stabilize the relationship so it doesn’t just end before any kind of progress is able to be made. One of the best ways of doing that is finding common ground together. Telling the story of how they met. Telling the story of when the kids were born. Telling the story of the house purchase and how the career path was. You triage the relationship and look for the problems.

This is the point where injecting the gender warfare variants (manosphere or feminism) of your personal version of the Red Pill into the mix are incredibly toxic. Suddenly there’s pain, anger, disgust, hatred, or betrayal injected into a system we are trying to stabilize and heal. It’s like having a fist fight break out in the Emergency Room after a car crash. Doesn’t matter who was driving or how fast they were going, now is not the time to debate it.

The final problem with the Red Pill motif as based on The Matrix is even more serious. In the movie there is a fantasy world called The Matrix and there is a real world outside The Matrix with different rules you can escape to.

The reality is though, in our non-movie lives, there is no possibility of escaping from the real Matrix. You can exert some moderate influence over it, but that’s it. From a neurological point of view, your entire experience of reality is minimally different to that of being jacked into the Matrix in the movie. You can be as Red Pill as you like, but you get to experience reality through a Blue Pill physical body. This is why it’s so freaking hard to break Oneitis and why you stare at boobs so much.

The other issue is that you can completely transform society into a paradise, but I can assure you that someone, somewhere, eventually, is going to be some sort of greedy asshole and taking over the whole thing and being a real jerk. In all seriousness, my political hope is that the Evil Overlords aren’t so much deposed, as simply made agreeably competent.

This is why at the end of the final movie, Neo is actively working with the machines, to stabilize the entire system. That stabilizing of the system is the entire purpose of Zion et al. Morpheus offered Neo the Red Pill, promising “only the truth”, but the reality was he didn’t know what the truth was himself. At the time, Morpheus is unaware that he’s puppet for The Oracle – one of the two primary creators of the Matrix itself.

When Neo finally gets to meet the Architect of the Matrix, he makes it clear that even the offering of the choice, is part of the system of control. Or perhaps put more plainly, what Morpheus offers Neo is a Blue Pill… and merely a visually different Blue Pill that requires active participation in the system of control, rather than passive acceptance.

This is why nearly everyone loves the first movie and doesn’t like the second one. The first movie offers a comforting dream that the Matrix can be escaped from. The second movie methodically crushes that dream underfoot.

We are all born into a world with layers of control, expectations, biological urges and deep existential questions. Having a functional and happy sexual relationship really seems to take the edge off a lot of the less pleasant elements of existence.

But functional and happy sexual relationships are systems. There is an ebb and flow of energy between the two sides. Thus you cannot help one, without also helping the other. I started off writing MMSL aiming just to help men, but have seen that at best it’s limited in its effectiveness, even if well intentioned. At its worst, it probably causes damage. After a certain point, the Red Pill motif just doesn’t help much.

As I develop more materials, MMSL will stay a brand targeted at a male audience. But there will also be brands of my material targeted for a co-ed audience and other brands targeted at a female audience. It’s a long road ahead and like The Oracle said, I’m just here to do what I’m here to do. I know some people will think makes me a sell out, betraying men, yada yada yada. I think I’m at peace with that finally.

Upcoming Forum Changes

The short version is this…

I have four major aspects of my life I can spend time on. (1) The life coaching side of things, (2) creating new content including blogging, (3) the MMSL forum and (4) rest, relaxation, getting to enjoy things and all-purpose self-care.

I can however only realistically do three of those four things for any continuing time period and I’ve really come to a point of just being burnt out on nearly everything. Thus something has to give, and that something is going to be the forum.

I’ll get to what those changes are going to be a little later in the post, but for now, I feel the need to explain how we got to this situation.

A little history…

Back in 2009 I started commenting on the Talk About Marriage forum. Most people liked what I had to say and I kept saying it over and over, so I started thinking about writing it down as a book.

In 2010 I stared the MMSL blog and began work on the Primer. Major sidetracking in the death of my father knocking me for a loop.

In 2011 the Primer is finally done. Very Red Pill in tone. By this time I’m working about 2-4 hours a day answering email and giving free advice out.

In 2012 I’m getting exhausted from full time work, all the email advice I’m giving, and trying to write the Primer revision which fails to figure itself out a couple times. In mid 2012 I quit my nursing job with the plan to start turning the free email advice into paid life coaching. Unfortunately I’m told that MMSL as it exists is really going to be far too close to marriage counseling to do it without a license yada yada yada. Crap.

At this point the book money is doing just fine and I have all this email advice I’m doing for free, so the idea was to start a forum and eventually have it running so instead of having hours of my day taken up with unpaid advice-giving, I could write more. I figured the forum would be a few hundred people.

In 2013 I come close to starting a business with a partner in the training industry who wants to merge my MMSL stuff with his industry knowledge, and turn it into a small empire. It all sounds good at first and then flounders. It dies for a number of reasons, one of which being I’m still not happy with the state of the Primer revision. I also delay another book 95% complete while this all goes down. By April I’m in a bad place.

In a brainwave, my Primer revision takes a vastly different tack and it becomes The Mindful Attraction Plan book. It sells well and also has the advantage of being “whole life” in approach, thus justifying a life coaching approach based on The Mindful Attraction Plan. Thus shortly thereafter I can open a life coaching service. It would be easy to say I sold out at this point, but the reality is I really do believe in the MAP book and it’s very effective for many people.

In later 2013 though, things start to get out of hand for me. The coaching takes off great, the forum remains vastly more time consuming than I ever imagined, I’m still writing the blog and starting to have more writing ideas. Then the bottom falls out as my wife Jennifer gets targeted at her job, literally taken to Human Resources and frowned at, because some random person from their government funding agency is sending the CEO of her company my blog posts in unmarked letters.

I green light Jennifer leaving her job, but there’s a lot to do to balance the income of her not working. I’m also no longer getting any enjoyment out of writing the blog, knowing some bitch (Jennifer is 99% certain she knows who did it, so I’ll say “bitch” here) is actively willing to use my writing to personally screw my wife over. About three months later, Jennifer quits her job.

Meanwhile the forum has grown and grown to where today it has just over 3000 members. It only takes one person in three-thousand on any given week being pissed off or otherwise Batshit Crazy and behind the scenes it turns into something like being an Air Traffic Controller in a freak snowstorm. It makes me miss just doing 2-4 hours of free email advice some days.

Meanwhile the older forum members miss the good old days when the forum was smaller, and new members feel the older members are often jerks. Oy, Houston we have a problem.

Why the forum is problematic…

The biggest issue with the forum is that it starts to define my own personal branding and philosophy out from under me. By which I mean that if I have a stated viewpoint on something, and the forum starts repeating something divergent from that viewpoint, eventually that viewpoint becomes “MMSL says to do X”. Then it is a very short jump to “Athol said you should do X”, when in fact I may have warned to do the exact opposite of X.

There have been some very useful insights that have come from the forum interactions, don’t misunderstand me on this, but there have been some absolutely maddeningly wrong ones that I can’t seem to kill off too.

What I’ve come to understand is that there are always going to be some small percentage of people who will take something I’ve said, and then endlessly restate it one standard deviation toward stupidity. Then if this is left unchecked, it becomes part of the “official MMSL canon”.

This is why, for example, I eventually just banned all talk of anything related to BDSM on the forum. I’ve long held some mild to moderate bedroom play of dominance and submission related stuff is perfectly fine. Many women respond very well to it. Jennifer and I like it. However I’ve discovered through some repeated testing that if BDSM-anything is allowed on the forum, it quickly starts turning into something I’ve rather depressingly termed Rapeworld.

Example… true story by the way.

Email Guy: “Hey I haven’t had sex with my wife in two years. Should I just start having sex with her when she’s sleeping around 3am? Just push through if she wakes up?”

Athol: “Ahhh… no that’s a terrible idea. Are you emailing from the 4th century or something?”

Email Guy: “Gotcha, thanks.”

Athol: (thinks) “What the frak is on the forum today!?!?”

It gets worse. Some chick on the forum was floating the idea of using sleeping pills to knock herself out, and the idea was as she was drifting into unconsciousness, maybe that would result in a great orgasm with her husband. Oh. My. Gawd. You’re slipping yourself something like a date rape drug. I leave a WTF comment and close the thread. Heavy facepalming in moderator channel ensues.

All that stemmed from someone’s original comment that they liked it, when their husband woke them up in the middle of the night and they had sleepy cuddly sex. See what I mean by one standard deviation toward stupidity? Most people knew exactly what was meant, a small handful just didn’t.

Look, I won’t lie here either. Some of the confusion is my fault. MMSL covers a big set of theory and it’s not all perfectly laid out. Plus I’ve actually slowly changed and expanded my own thought. I don’t say exactly the same thing in 2014 as I was saying in 2009, 2010 or 2011. There’s a heck of a lot for new people to get caught up with.

Plus… well there’s hamster to contend with.

The MAP is hard. It’s really, really hard. It’s not all wonderful. Not everyone wants everything to apply to them. Everyone wants to be a special snowflake and find a way to take a shortcut. No one wants to wake up and realize that their MAP is probably going to take years rather than months. Everyone says they want to be Outcome Independent, but no one really wants to go to Phase Four and start putting their chips on the table and flop their cards down.

A lot of the attempts by the forum to “improve MMSL thought” are actually attempts to create shortcuts around something I’ve fairly well proven works. Then obviously when the shortcut fails to work… cue up the complaint that “MMSL doesn’t work for me”.

Coaching vs. the Forum…

There’s a tendency to slowly turn the forum into a place where you can just talk about running your MAP, but not actually run your MAP. Some people stall out for a long time. This started becoming blindingly obvious as soon as I started coaching people. The difference in success between the average coached client and the average forum member is really quite sizable.

Obviously I’m going to claim that myself and the other coaches (Rebecca and Brian) are amazingly amazing, and it’s our presence that makes all the difference. That is true. However, it’s also true that the coaching clients start coaching with a much greater sense of investment and determination to succeed than the average forum member does. There’s just something about taking money out of your pocket that stops your hamstering excuses about why something can’t be done, and you just go out and start doing it.

Which brings us to money. The forum is expensive to run, about $600 a month currently and it generates very minimal income and requires a huge time investment to keep running.

The thing that pays the bills is the coaching. The majority of the coaching leads are coming from the blog, the books and word of mouth. Only about 25% of my coaching clients are also active forum members, 25% of them have a token forum membership, and 50% of them pretty much think the forum is horrible-to-nasty-in-tone-and-advice and it makes me look bad.

To be blunt, I’ve been told repeatedly by people paying me hundreds to thousands of dollars, that they are using me in spite of the negative branding the forum is giving me.

That’s a huge problem.

I’ve twice now had an interaction where a “senior” forum member has crapped on a newer member, I’ve had to say something about it and the “senior” member quit the forum and/or needed to be banned. The crapped on member became a coaching client and spent $1-2,000 dollars on coaching and has a vastly improved life.

I completely understand why someone who has been on the forum for over a year and posted a thousand or more comments, can feel a sense of entitlement and position. They have contributed to the forum. But I can’t afford any more of these friends.

Private Messages are of The Devil…

If I had known what private messaging would turn into on the forum, I never would have enabled it. There are really two forums. One is the main forum where everyone can see what is happening. Then there’s this entire other forum experience happening in private.

The most common issue is advice cherry picking. Someone has a problem and they post it on the forum, then they get advice and they don’t like it. So then they start Private Messaging anyone and everyone to hunt for someone to give them the advice they want to hear. When they finally hit on someone giving them the “correct” advice, they thank them and then continue on doing the dumb thing they wanted to do in the first place.

These relationships can slowly morph into a de facto coaching arrangement spreading over several months. This isn’t immediately problematic, I mean it’s not illegal or immoral, it’s more that there’s a competing free coaching service that I’m unwittingly supporting. Maybe they would have used the paid coaching, maybe they wouldn’t, I’ll never know.

There’s also some giant Private Messaging chains and cliques that have developed. We’re talking 10,000 or more messages with 10 or more people on the chain. It’s great that people are getting along, but if 10,000 x 10 = 100,000 page views, then its cost me about $60 to host the conversation. I feel incredibly old and cranky saying that, like I’ve discovered an open window in my daughter’s room while the air conditioners have been on all day.

There’s also lots of playing footsie in the Private Messages, budding Emotional Affairs and I can neither confirm nor deny knowledge of worse. It’s not wildly uncommon for a new male member to immediately Private Message 10+ female members looking for specific… advice.

There’s also the issue of Private Messages being used to target and/or actively harass other members. This is easily the most problematic aspect of them.

Plus, obviously there’s bitching about me in there. But we all knew that. I wouldn’t wish telepathy on my worst enemy.

All that being said…

The Forum really does a lot of good for a lot of people. Some people make remarkable progress and make leaps and bounds of personal growth. Marriages are saved, sex lives restarted, kids grow up in intact families.

When it works well, the forum is amazing. But it’s working less and less well, so there have to be changes.

Recapping the issues…

The primary issues are that it sucks up my time, I have to fight to retain my branding, it’s losing money, undercuts the coaching, newbies arrive lost, oldies feel entitled and grumpy, there’s a sheer size issue and PM’s are really problematic.

The Solution…

The core of the solution is dividing the forum membership up into differing membership levels, some of which are paid. We’re looking at generally forcing the forum culture toward the culture of people being here to actively work on their MAP and get their lives turned around.

Free Member…

This is going to be the default member option when people sign up for the forum. Along with that is some reduced functionality to the membership.

Can start a thread in the Introduce Me category.

Can comment on threads, except the 911 category is read only.

Cannot start a Private Message.

Cannot have a signature line, can’t upload images, standard Vanillacon avatar images.

The Gold Member area is completely invisible to Free Members.

Even mildly badly behaved Free Members are just going to be summarily dismissed. Walk in polite, or keep walking basically.

Silver Member…

This is essentially the same as the current forum membership, with the following exceptions:

Cannot start a Private Message, but can reply to one.

The Gold Member area is completely invisible to Silver Members.

Silver Members behaving badly will be made Free Members

You become a Silver Member by proof of purchase of one of the books. Send us a copy of receipt or a your copy of one of the books can send a “book selfie” picture as proof.

Current active members will get grandfathered into Silver Members, so as to avoid Jennifer having to deal with hundreds of emails of book selfies.

Gold Member…

The Gold Member category area will include four categories.

(1)  Men only area – not even viewable by female flagged members.

(2)  Women only area – not even viewable by male flagged members

(3)  Running my MAP – must be about what you are actually doing for your MAP

(4)  The Fungeon – consider this an introductory sexual dominance and submission topic area. Emphasis on fun and pleasure rather than pain and pushing things into non-consensual activities.

The entire Gold Member area is not viewable by memberships below Gold.

Private Messages can be started.

The Gold areas will likely attract the best members to comment, and the members who are the most motivated to actually make changes. Likewise the moderators/coaches will obviously give greater priority to Gold Member concerns and categories. We can’t assure giving anyone specific attention and advice though.

There is also a Zen Garden option where for Gold Members, the entire rest of the forum is turned non-viewable. Peace and quiet at last.

Gold Memberships are $19.99 a month, whether single or a couple.

Platinum Member…

This one we’re still debating and working on between the coaches. It’s intended to be all the Gold goodies, plus a hybrid of a One Hour Call, plus the 12-Week Guided MAP questionnaire, scripted into a more forum based process. As opposed to Gold, this would be a specific advice and attention thing from the coaches/moderators. It’s a question of what we can do for $99 a month that is effective for members, but not going to exhaust a coach if it’s wildly popular.

When this all happens…

There’s nothing to see or sign up for on the forum currently. The nature of the forum software is that you’ll start seeing a bunch of stuff being put in place/turned on as I’m building it. I can’t really hide the construction process.

Likewise the grandfathering in the active members into the Silver Membership is going to take a lot of effort. We have 3000 total members, and 1000 of those have been active in the last three months. You may see some of that happening sooner rather than later.

Planning to have the option to have paid Gold Memberships available announcement on May 30th and the whole thing go live on June 2nd.

The majority of the day-to-day running of the forum will then be handed to Jennifer, with Brian and Rebecca helping moderate. We’re still discussing what I do with my account, I may just drop down to a Golden Zen Garden level. I still want to comment, just I want to enjoy commenting.

In closing…

Anyway that’s about it for now. I realize that a lot of this has sounded like whining. The truth of the matter is that I’ve taken far too long to finally get to the point of just being willing to pull the trigger and risk pissing a bunch of people off. A lot of that is simple exhaustion. Plus the forum has been my baby and despite my frustrations with it, it’s incredibly hard to let it go and see what happens.

I’m very much aware that many people have given of their time and effort to comment and help others through the forum. I’m really truly aware of that. The forum isn’t all created by me. But at the end of the day, I have to be able to create new content, or eventually everything will pancake down and that will be it. MMSL is this weird thing where my personal life, my philosophy, my business life and creativity are all merged into one thing. I simply can’t create new content, unless I’m in a good place on a personal level.

Likewise I’ve become a very boring person to live with recently and while Jennifer is tolerant, supportive and uncomplaining, she really should complain.

There’s so much more to do.

The MAP Coaching Chocolate Chip Cookie Guarantee

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-cookies-image28388706Week Two Coaching Call…

Athol: “Oh yeah, watch for the plate of cookies coming this week.”

Client: “The what?”

Athol: “Cookies. Your wife is going to bake you cookies this week. Just watch for them.”

Client: “Ahh… okay.”

Week Three Coaching Call…

Client: “HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE COOKIES?”

Athol: “I’ve been doing this a while now. You always get cookies in week three.”

Client: “I don’t know how you knew she would do that.”

Athol: “Chocolate chip right?”

Client: “You’re starting to freak me out. How do you know this stuff?”

Athol: “My confidence is large.”

So….gentlemen, here’s the deal.

If you sign up for 12-Week MAP Coaching, you’re going to get a plate of cookies by the end of the third week of coaching…

…and it’s going to be made by your wife.

In addition, I’m so confident of this, that I’m going to back it with a guarantee.

JEN 22 LRIf your wife doesn’t make them for you, my wife will.

 So drop Jennifer a line and put in your order for cookies.

Plus the coaching will change your life yada yada yada.

(Offer good within the Continental US and people signing up until 3/31/14.)

(Sorry ladies, my confidence is indeed large, but I’m not about to bet your husband is going to bake you cookies.)

 

10 Reasons It’s “Endocrine Maybe” Instead of Batshit Crazy

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-love-hate-image29322025For a long time I’ve been saying that all can do for Batshit Crazy, is either medicate it, or run.

Except by “medicate it”, I meant psych meds. I’ll blame my psych / behavioral nursing background for that. Crazy = pills for crazy. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

But…

I’m starting to see more and more supposedly Batshit Crazy people suddenly stop being so crazy after getting on the correct set of endocrine meds. It’s really been apparent in watching all the stories of men with low testosterone on the forum who are Cranky Shit Weasels (TM) determined to avoid sex and intimacy, slowly but surely turning into normal guys once they get on testosterone therapy. Which is to say pleasantly dickish.

I’m seeing some of the same changes in personality and mood with women too. Frankly it’s getting to the point when someone presents as simply having something as simple as depression, I’m starting to think endocrine rather than psych as a starting point. Same thing with wildly inappropriate anger or disinterest in sex and other activities.

In general what triggers a “you should go to the doctor and get checked out” thought, is typically a collection of symptoms into what I call Endocrine Maybe. Here’s a list of some you might have…

(1) Lack of sexual interest and/or ability to enjoy it. That covers everything from acting like a captive Panda in the face of the zoo keepers showing you bootlegged Panda porn, to erectile dysfunction or inability to orgasm.

(2) You’re incredibly moody. Your husband stacked the dishwasher incorrectly and you’re acting like a wrestler being called out for cowardice. Stuff like that. Everyone around you walks on eggshells.

(3) You’re exhausted beyond all reason, except you are now specializing in not really doing very much.  You’re tired and unmotivated. You’re starting to see paper plates as a solution to doing the dishes.

(4) You’re forgetful and can’t think straight. You miss important things you have to do and your brain is fuzzy. You probably feel stupid because you keep losing things and can’t figure stuff out. Being moody is a great cover for not knowing what you should do when you just screwed up something by forgetting the obvious. Plus you’re too tired to think straight anyway.

(5) Your weight is keeping pace with inflation. You exercise and eat right, but you’re slowly blowing up like Veruca Salt. Or on the other hand, your weight is mysteriously going down even though you’re eating like Fat Bastard.

(6) If your menstrual cycle was made into an infographic, the graphic designer may as well be a three year old with a red crayon who was told to draw dinosaurs fighting. Goodness knows what’s happening down there. You period is random and confusing. Or maybe it’s just gone completely.

(7) You have your own weather. Everyone else is nice and warm, you’re too cold. Or vice a versa. If the kids are messing with the thermostat again, there’s a 17% chance you’ll drown them in the bathtub.

(8) You’re starting to drink, do drugs, or some other kind of self-medication to keep yourself mentally stabilized.

(9) Everything sucks. It just does. You experience First World Problems as genuinely depressing and frustrating.

(10) Someone printed this blog post off, handed it to you, then dove for safety.

So…

If you have some sort of reasonable collection of those symptoms, maybe it’s time to go visit your doctor, and this is the important part… Tell. Them. Everything.

Seriously now. Don’t hold back on anything that’s wrong with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for an endocrine referral to a specialist if your labs come back with numbers all over the place like a Lotto drawing.

Bonus reason that it might be endocrine…. you’re enraged at the suggestion you should go to the doctor to be checked out.

The good news is that if it is in fact an endocrine disorder, then it’s usually pretty fixable with medication. You can make really quite significant progress on a personal and relationship level once it’s treated. The counter-point to that though, is if it’s endocrine related and you don’t get it treated… well… enjoy the slow gradual worsening of the Batshit Crazy.

And as an aside, Rebecca Watson is the go-to of the MAP Coaches for endocrine stuff, most particularly low testosterone men. You can also check out her blog Secret Life of a Low T Wife.

 

Mindful Attraction Plan Review

Transparent 3Dcover for website adReview of The Mindful Attraction Plan from New Hombre

Summary: it is the concepts from Married Man Sex Life applied in a more general manner to any area of your life: relationships, employment, social clubs, etc….

…I’ve begun incorporating some of these concepts into my employment, and it has really helped.  It helps ME maintain a more positive frame which helps me reduce my stress level.  I notice that others respond so much better to positive energy vs negative.

The essence of the book is practicality and application.  Any theory covered is done so in order to help you apply those concepts to bettering your relationships.

If I were grading on a 5 star rating scale, I would have to give it 5 out of 5.  Great read and can only help you in your relationships.

 

Read the full review here.