I have a general notion of what the words “alpha” and “beta” mean when applied to men, but I will confess my understanding is pretty rudimentary. All too often, when I read stuff about “game” and how to deal with women, I’m left with the feeling that gamers are really just assholes, playing into the “chicks dig jerks” mentality.
Here is the ever charming Heartiste, advising men on how to walk the line between alpha and beta, and I have to say, the hypothetical man he creates sounds like an immature fratboy. I think his advice is much better deployed in the sift and winnow process: don’t be a jerk, and don’t date women who dig jerks.
Let’s take a look.
Here are some common Acts of Beta refitted so that they’re executed with an alpha attitude.
Don’t buy something for her at the moment she’s leering at her object of acquisition. This is what men who are happy to support golddiggers do. Buying her stuff when she most expects it will only increase her demands for more stuff. It’s better to keep your gift-giving spontaneous, cheap and thoughtful. Flowers left on the table for her when she gets home. A small, goofy poem tucked into the clutter of her nightstand. For added effect, act at first like you don’t know who got her the gift. Inquire if it was her secret lover, and threaten to one-up “him” by buying her a yacht. Don’t get carried away with “special occasions”. One gift and done for birthdays and anniversaries. Keep her expectations low, and it will always be a challenge to disappoint her.
Okay, part of this advice is okay. Flowers and poems are very sweet, thoughtful gifts.
True story: I once asked Mr. JB for a sonnet for Christmas. It has clear metrics, a rhyme scheme that is easy to parse, and it seemed like a good fit with his personality. I wasn’t expecting anything of Shakespearian caliber, but I figured he could manage it.
Well, he did.
And it was all about how awesome he is, and how lucky I am to have him.
Oops. Forgot to specify that the sonnet was supposed to be about me! And that was the end of poetry in our relationship.
Okay, back to Heartiste. What is up with this “pretend it’s from her secret lover” bullshit? It’s like an expectation of infidelity, and reeks of insecurity and jealousy. It’s childish and stupid, and I’m glad Mr. JB has never done anything like this to me. And refusing to buy expensive gifts because it will only increase her expectations and make her greedy?
Dude, you are dating the wrong woman if she leers at “objects of acquisition”. Being totally into stuff is a bad sign for a meaningful, long term relationship. A woman who really cares about “stuff” is likely very superficial, vain, materialistic and why would you want to be with someone like that?
It’s okay to like nice things, and to have expensive things. I love my posh yoga pants. I have three pairs. I love my Coach purse. I have one, and it’s the only purse I own. I love my UGG boots. I have one pair. I don’t wear high heels and cannot imagine spending $1000 on a pair of Louboutins. I have a weakness for books, I admit, but I also make prodigious use of the library. I adore Chanel No. 5, but I wear it sparingly.
All of those things were gifts from my husband.
Every man, no doubt, has his limits for how much stuff is acceptable. What matters is how much your woman CARES about that shit. A woman who has 300 pairs of shoes and a house stuffed to the rafters doesn’t need to be managed. She needs to be cut loose. Keeping her expectations low is not the answer. Unless of course, those low expectations are the reason she’s dating you!
Making entertainment decisions
Ok, so she chooses a chick flick. This is not the worst thing in the world. With a little forethought, you can persuade her to choose a movie less vomit-inducing. Pre-empt her suggestions and take the lead in guiding her choice: “This is going to take a lot out of me, but I’m willing to watch a girly movie with you tonight, as long as I get a say in the matter.” She’ll feel bad about putting you through torture, so she’ll be more open to watching the less obnoxiously sappy chick flics, like Seven.
Meh. Mr.JB thinks Airplane and any movie starring Will Ferrell is hilarious. I think they’re stupid. I’m in a swoon over period costume drama. He finds Mr. Darcy with his giant fortune and frilly blouse ridiculous. We don’t subject each other to torture.
If your girlfriend is willing to force you to sit through something she knows you hate, well, that doesn’t say too much about her, does it? The solution isn’t to make her sit through something she hates, either. Go to different movies. Meet in the lobby. Find a movie you both love. Make movies something you do with friends. There are lots of solutions that don’t involve making the other person feel rotten.
The point here is that you don’t deliberately and manipulatively force the other person to accommodate you, when you damn well know they will not enjoy the experience. What is the point of that? And how will that play out in the long-run? A relationship based on subterfuge is not going to end well.
Doing things together
The worst thing you can do is not make a bad choice, but make no choice at all. Every man will be faced with those moments when he either can’t be bothered to think of something to do with his beloved, or he really can’t come up with any ideas. “What do you want to do?” are the most terrifying words a man will hear, next to “I missed my period” and “I had lunch with my ex.” Whatever you say, don’t sound wishy-washy. Even if your idea sucks, it’s better to forcefully present a sucky idea than to waver and say you’ll do whatever she wants to do. Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t get any input from her. It means you offer a suggestion, and be flexible if she makes a counter-suggestion.
This is much better. Offer a suggestion and be flexible. No argument from me.
If you get that expectant “Will you buy this for me?” look from your woman, muse thoughtfully about the product, and then announce it would look great on your mistress. Ask your girlfriend/wife if it comes with a motorcycle. Wait a few months, and then buy it for her. The object here is to never get caught being the type of man that asks “How high?” when his woman wants him to jump.
Announce it would look great on your mistress?!?!?!
What a dickish thing to say. Really? You want a woman who accepts that level of rudeness? Who has so little self-respect that she will tolerate you being a complete douchebag? Try not being a douchebag.
Again, if you are dealing with a very “stuff” oriented woman, who sees you as a means to satisfy her material goals, why are you in the relationship?
Making it rain
If you’re going to spend beaucoup bucks on your girl, (and you’re a well-off man for whom the expenditure is inconsequential), don’t get her “stuff.” Buy her experiences instead. Two plane tickets to a European city will be appreciated more fondly than a thousand pieces of jewelry.
Beaucoup bucks is a relative term, although I agree with the sentiment. If you have $20 to spend, a fabulous bottle of wine and a loaf of French bread and two perfect apples on a picnic blanket by the river is way better than “stuff”, because it takes so much more thought and effort than just plunking down your cash at a store.
This should be completely mutual, too. If the game here is to satisfy her expectations without reciprocal action, you are with a drama queen who needs to be at the center of the narrative, and that is not a good thing.
The crying game
Every so often a girl just needs a good cry. Maybe she had a bad day at work, her parents are bugging her, or she got a shitty haircut. Let her tumble into your arms to sob it out. And, though this won’t need saying for the more experienced men in the audience, don’t say anything. Over and over, I’ve rediscovered the power of keeping your trap shut when a woman is in the midst of an emotional draining. Hug, stroke, and silently sympathize. That’s all you need to do.
Agree 100%. I’m not prone to emotional outbursts, although the Red Wedding absolutely killed me. Even though I’ve read the books, and I knew it was coming, the death of Catelyn Stark had me sobbing. My husband did the hug and stroke and sympathize thing, but only because what else could he do? It’s a fictional character!
He usually goes in to management mode and starts offering solutions and I have to tell him to please shut up and just let me get it out. And of course, the inverse is true, too. When he has an emotionally upsetting day, and comes to me, I hug him and sympathize and then he looks at me and says, “well, are you going to help me with this or not?”.
He wants solutions. I want sympathy. We do our best to meet each other’s needs, even though they’re different.
When she says annoying or stupid shit
Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, ignore her or change the subject. 20% of the time, call her out on her bullshit.
Ignore her? Change the subject? Again, what kind of woman accepts a relationship in which she gets ignored or derailed 80% of the time? Okay, that’s not quite fair, and I suppose it depends on how OFTEN she says annoying or stupid shit, but if it’s frequent, the ignoring strategy is just being a dick.
Why would you want a relationship with someone who is annoying or stupid? This sounds like a strategy for managing contempt. I can imagine a lot of eye rolls, which happen to be a great predictor of shitty relationships.
Compliments and flattery
Keep it rare, spare and unawares. The best compliments are unexpected, and evenly divided between being romantic and raunchy.
Uhm, no. Find something to thank or compliment your partner on EVERY day. That will keep you focused on all her wonderful qualities, and if you can’t find anything nice to say, you should probably be looking for a woman with qualities you admire.
Compliments and flattery, when genuine, are food for love. Starving your girlfriend of acknowledgement just for the sake of it is a really jerky thing to do. What is the point? False flattery is also insulting, but I can’t understand not wanting to show the woman in your life that you admire and love her and really appreciate her ass.
Don’t bother. Women are constitutionally incapable of receiving advice in good faith without twisting it into an attack on their character or attractiveness. Either lead her to what you want her to do, or let her flounder on her own.
Oh, boy. If you are with a woman who cannot take advice, you need to lace up your shoes and RUN! There is no hope for this relationship at all. The whole point of marriage and relationships is to be there for one another in “good faith”.
Basically, this advice amounts to “my way or the highway”, and it’s a total dick move. What happened to even if your idea sucks, it’s better to forcefully present a sucky idea than to waver and say you’ll do whatever she wants to do. Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t get any input from her. It means you offer a suggestion, and be flexible if she makes a counter-suggestion.
Expect that in any relationship, she will be doing 75% of the talking, and you will be doing 75% of the head nodding. If you don’t like this, you should be dating a man.
Ha! I have an outlier then. Mr. JB is Chatty Cathy in a man’s body. He talks non-stop, from the moment his feet hit the floor in the morning til he hits the sack at night. His job is talking. He gets paid to talk and he never grows tired of it.
I think introversion and extroversion are pretty evenly distributed between the sexes, and again, this idea that women natter and men nod is very contemptuous.
Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who’s conversation you define as “fluff”? Go find someone you actually LIKE talking, or LISTENING to.
When things get really frustrating
Leave. It works wonders. Slip out the back, Jack. Return in a few hours, after she’s had time to think clearly about the rift her bad behavior is causing.
Or, you know, think about the rift you being such a colossal asshole is causing.
If she fattens up
Dump her. Seriously. You are staring down the barrel of decades of unsatisfactory sex and resentful withdrawal. If you truly deeply love her, the best persuasion is leading by example. Exercise more, get buff, draw attention from other women, flirt with other women, and, if you are really fucking subversive, buy her a dress in the size she was before she got chubby.
Cruel, but true. However….
DO NOT BUY HER A DRESS IN A SIZE SHE WAS BEFORE. That is mean. It will make her feel incredibly shitty and ashamed. Fat people know they’re fat. Women, especially, know when they have put on weight. If it’s dealbreaker, and I think it’s completely understandable that it IS a dealbreaker, then move on.
Don’t be a fucking jerk about it. Just move on.
The toughest thing for any man is staying mysterious for his woman. The more a woman knows about her man, the less excited she feels about him. An easy way to inspire wonderment is to stay late at work a few nights, unannounced. Another way is the calculated revelation: “Oh, I thought I told you I was a local karaoke legend?” Be more unpredictable. Try speaking in a fashion that avoids your most common tropes and semantics. Radically change your style of dress. Join a club. Attend a seminar. Anything to shake up the monotony.
What?!?! Are you serious?
Stay late at work without telling her? Why? That’s pretty inconsiderate. And what does “be unpredictable” mean? You’re going to up and gamble the down payment on the house?
There is a huge, huge difference between being dependable and reliable and solid, and being boring and uninspiring. There is a very easy way to maintain your “mystery”, which is just another way of saying that you still interest her.
Read. Cultivate your mind. Learn new things. Explore the world. Grow. In whatever way interests you. You don’t need to change your speech patterns or your wardrobe. Those are such superficial things anyway.
You stay interesting by actually being interesting. It works that way for everyone, in fact.
Make a small effort to not fall asleep after sex one in a while. Cuddle. Under no circumstances should you be the little spoon, unless you’re being a clown about it.
Awww. Being the little spoon can be so much fun.
And don’t be a clown.
Clowns are scary!
Lots of love,