Putting up with her fit
November 10, 2012 § 14 Comments
I’ve been working my way through my own thoughts on the “manosphere” and Game, as they intersect (or not) with authentic Christianity. It is a rather chaotic and disorganized moving target of a subject, and I can’t possibly explore all the different permutations of Greek labels, social concepts, and psychological assertions. I’m a noob on the subject myself, but hopefully by the time all is said and done I’ll have kind of a Zippy’s “Idiot’s Guide to Game” here. I guess that means that, at least for this series of posts, I’ll be the Alpha Idiot (if that isn’t redundant).
One thing I’m not going to attempt is to give an overview of the manosphere, men’s rights movement, the state of marriage as a moral, social, and legal institution, and all that jazz in general. My purpose here is much more modest: to come to an understanding of, and conclusions about, “Game” as a set of prescriptions for present-day Christian men, useful “tools” (or not) in their dealings with women . I don’t know what those conclusions will be, as of this writing: that’s the beauty of blogging as contrasted to other forms of writing.
A certain amount of analytical background is necessary in order to take the subject seriously, and that is what the last few posts (here, here, here, here, and here) have been about. There are still some loose ends to tie up analytically, and in this post I’ll explore the concept of the fitness test. (It has a colorful name in the manosphere, but “fitness test” is more appropriate for polite company).
The idea of the fitness test goes beyond the typical “Lady Macbeth” notion that women tend to push their men, and that even when not being overtly pushed a man’s motivation often derives from his instinct to please and provide for his women and children. As a general thing (keeping in mind that NAWALT/NAMALT), men tend to be rather lazy absent a provider role. When placed in a provider role – something rewarding for its own sake to a man – men build civilizations. Our women (and children) make demands on us, those demands set us in motion, and that is generally a very good thing.
A good provider is motivated by his family and his family’s needs, and men are generally focused on attacking those needs out in the wider world. When things are working in their most healthy complementarian way, the man engages the world while the woman engages the household. He is outwardly focused and she is inwardly focused. As the Executive Officer to his Captain, she brings issues of the inner management of the ship to his attention when his attention is needed. Otherwise he is focused on the strategic mission, and she makes sure things are ship shape at home. Behind every good man is a good woman, and all that: not a categorically accurate statement by any means, but certainly true when things are working as they ideally should.
The idea behind the fitness test is that it is not the woman (the Executive Officer) who sets the ultimate limits on what is reasonable: it is the man (Captain). So she is wired to make demands without setting limits on those demands. She instinctively knows that a good Captain will set limits, and tell her when enough is enough. Setting limits on what is reasonable isn’t her job; it is his job.
During courtship a woman instinctively tests a man for his ability to run the ship. A “fitness test” is a demand that the woman makes of the man which pushes beyond what is objectively reasonable. He fails the fitness test when he gives in to that demand and gives her what she says she wants. Her instincts know that a good Captain will set firm boundaries and enforce them. A man who fails to do this with her when they are courting is not a good Captain. The more fitness tests he fails, the less she will respect him, and the more she will be driven to test him with even more unreasonable demands, or to break off the courtship.
When this happens inside a marriage, the result can be a cycle of escalation which is terminal for the marriage.
A problem arises in the modern context of feminism, because men have been trained to treat women as equals: as co-Captain rather than as Executive Officer to his Captain. Some have even suggested that feminism itself is a gigantic fitness test that Western women are perpetrating on Western men; and we are failing, clearly. August 18, 1920 wasn’t a day of unprecedented respect for women: it was a day when we failed them, let them down terribly; and there is a strong likelihood that our civilization will not recover from it.
The moral of the fitness test concept is that you really shouldn’t put up with her crap, no matter how good she looks. Even she doesn’t really want you to, when it comes down to it.
For your consideration for your Idiot’s guide: Tolkien’s marriage advice to his son (number 43): http://glim.ru/personal/jrr_tolkien_42-45.html
Clever idea though I have no idea how true it is to the courtship as was traditional in Western world. Did the women really push their lovers unreasonably?
I don’t like this
“. So she is wired to make demands without setting limits on those demands. ”
She is a rational person too.
She is a rational person too.
Absolutely. Most everything in this discussion refers to impulses, drives, tendencies which a rational moral agent can (and generally should) understand about herself, tame, and control, since we are not merely animals. A special problem with the modern condition is that large numbers of people are no longer being raised to exercise reflection and self control: large numbers of people are being raised feral, and many who weren’t raised that way have gone feral.
One of the conclusions I’ve already reached about “Game” is that a man should never, ever marry a woman who needs to be “gamed,” certainly not in some way that comes unnaturally to him. That is a recipe for disaster, akin to a woman marrying a jerk she intends to “tame”.
But that doesn’t rule out a man improving himself before marriage; it doesn’t imply that Game is useless to some already-married men; etc. I’m trying not to jump to premature conclusions. We are animals after all – we have an animal nature – even though that isn’t all we are. A lot of temperance and self control starts with reflection on our animal nature and drives, ultimately leading to mastering them as we ought rather than letting them master us.
We in the orthosphere crowd have had discussions about game before (see, e.g., here: http://bonald.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/pile-up-on-social-conservatives/). I’m a relatively recent convert to the faith, so I have experience dating/courting/whatever both irreligious and deeply religious women. My experience is that both “fitness test” and neither are really aware that they’re doing it or why. Women sincerely interested in marriage will start testing later, will test less often, and will seemingly place less weight on those tests, but both do it. It seems natural to women to test limits, and for good reason: they have every right to assess their fitness of the man to whom they would be entrusting their hopes of reproductive success.
The peril of game is not insights like this which are, after all, just the common wisdom of innumerable generations, willfully debased by feminist iconoclasts and their ignobly-motivated leftist male enablers. Men *just should* be authoritative, commanding, and even aggressive, and they just shouldn’t take crap from women, especially their women. The peril of game is the dubious extrapolations from those insights (“therefore everything is just blind impulse” reductionism, biodeterminism, mechanism, etc.), the proposed applications of those insights (borderline abusiveness and manipulation for the purpose of serial fornication), and the ideological baggage that comes with it all (utilitarianism, atheism, etc.). They are perfect exemplars of what I once called “configural antimodernism,” i.e., opposition not to modernity per se or in toto, but to the particular vision of modernity which by coincidence has prevailed in the world.
A problem arises in the modern context of feminism, because men have been trained to treat women as equals: as co-Captain rather than as Executive Officer to his Captain.
More than this, I think that the problem for men is the unquestioned moral superiority given to women–the sugar and spice view. Sure, we (as a mostly post-Christian society) say we believe all are fallen, but we tend to believe men are more so. It’s ubiquitous; said when it can be, implied when it can’t.
[Please use “i” rather than “blockquote”. – Z]
That’s some good stuff Proph, thanks. In my own exploration here I plan to do some more detailed due diligence, examining some of the “Commandments” and “Iron Rules” in specific and in context. If the Game nominalists are right and Game is just a grab bag of tools some of which can be used as good means to good ends, I plan to demonstrate it. If not, I plan to demonstrate that. My suspicion is that there is some truth to both perspectives, but I have no predetermined outcome in my own mind. I plan to treat my “catalog of Game techniques” post (when I get to it) as a kind of poor man’s wiki, as I did with waterboarding, so I can update it with significant new putative techniques or insights if and when they come in.
I’m more sympathetic to Dalrock’s criticism of SoCons (even though I am one) than Bonald is in that post. I laughed myself silly at the Gilligan post when I first read it because it struck me, like all good comedy, as so true to life. I do suspect that he may be making too much specificity out of the far more general human phenomenon of red herrings; but hey, a slice of pie is still pie, and if SoCons are avoiding the necessity of slut shaming and are failing to attack feminism root-and-branch that is worth pointing out.
I’ve always been a bit of a Treebeard myself. If I take Dalrock’s criticism of SoCon’s personally and define SoCons to be people just like me, well, that’s a pretty small group: so small that I can hardly take offense if nobody has noticed. The group “people like me” is far more obscure and unknown than the Amish. If I take him to mean all the Christian folk who think of themselves as conservative and vote against abortion and gay marriage and whatnot, well, he’s got a point. Most SoCons (understood that way) avoid and water down and red-herring-distract from slut-shaming like the plague. The key with all of this stuff is the realization that in order to take it seriously you kind of have to avoid taking it personally.
Just because I tend toward Entishness doesn’t mean I wouldn’t or won’t help stomp Saruman into oblivion, of course.
Yes, pedestalization, policing the hierarchy, and a few other bricks remain to be laid, as it were. When I went to write this post I started by making a list and intended to put it all in here, but it was just too big and disjointed and I didn’t have the time to even complete the list let alone do justice to it all. Now that the whole first-Tuesday-in-November circus is over this is front burner for whatever time I have to dedicate to blogging.
Actually, any suggestions of other things I ought to cover before digging into the specifics of various Commandments and Iron Rules and whatnot would be much appreciated.
They are perfect exemplars of what I once called “configural antimodernism,” i.e., opposition not to modernity per se or in toto, but to the particular vision of modernity which by coincidence has prevailed in the world.
That’s a great term; I’ll try to remember to credit it when I use it in the future. So-called postmodernity is a perfect example of it: postmoderns discover the limits of modern positivist rationalism but intransigently refuse to give up their naturalism; so they end up disbelieving in truth in general. The alternative – horrors! – is to find themselves cresting the mountain top to discover that the Pope, the Saints, and the Apostles have been there all along.
I never remember the italics rule.
Actually, any suggestions of other things I ought to cover…
Did you get the email I sent several days ago?
I did not get an email … I’ll check SPAM … zippycatholic at hotmail dot com.
Yep, retrieved from SPAM folder.
Reading Bonald’s posts, I am reminded of how before they attained significant market share, Mac and Linux fanboys used to brag about how their systems were “virus-free” as opposed to Windows systems. The reality was that they weren’t a big enough target for malware writers to bother with. Now that they are, we’re seeing that these systems are no less impervious to viruses than Windows.
I think that’s Bonald’s point — social conservatives have been taking all of feminism’s bullets. If you don’t believe me, just ask Senators Elect Akin and Mourdock.
It’s all well and good for Darlock and all to throw around words like slut as if it was an article, and bask in how much more courageous they are than those social conservatives are who wouldn’t dare call a slut a slut. But I suspect, the minute the MRM gained any real power and influence beyond just being a corner of the internet, the days of referring to promiscuous women with the derogatory terms of “sluts” and promiscuous men with the (at least acoustically) complimentary term of “players” would be over.
In terms of the morality of fitness tests, on the one hand I can understand the implulse. Men have to pass all sorts of tests (as has been noted in other debates, including waterboarding) before they can take on certain roles of society. Why not being a husband and father, which may be their most important role?
On the other hand, it necessarily puts men into an emotional conflict between being true to themselves and their impulse to take care of the woman in his life. Life itself will generate situations like this, but engineering one intentionally doesn’t strike me as a loving thing to do.
Perhaps this may have its place before marriage, when if the husband “fails” the fitness test, you can move on, but doing so once already married, when you should already be a team, and the consequence of failing is to just contempt strikes me as off.
Of course, we are not in the Garden anymore, so fit happens (actually, as I’m sure has been noted before, the sin of Adam is an example of a failed fitness test). Still, to borrow from another discussion, a marriage based on “passing” fitness tests would seem to be a silver medal to one where you don’t test each other to begin with.
[…] replaces one irrationality with an even more irrational one. Proph deploys the useful term “configurable antimodernism” to refer to this kind of selective and ultimately self-defeating reaction against the pretty […]
[…] As an aside, when you ask women what they find attractive in a man they are almost always going to answer the wrong question. She probably isn’t being dishonest: she may not even know herself what it is that makes her feel weak in the knees. But she knows what chores she wants done around the house. Ironically, doing the things she finds “attractive” in the one sense is often likely to kill her attraction to you in the relevant sense. […]
[…] Fitness tests are something many women definitely do, probably for the most part unconsciously. […]