Merry Christmas Badger Hut readers (and Badgerettes).
Vox Day, Roissy and Athol Kay all had brilliant posts recently about surviving the machinations your woman might put you through this holiday season. For those who might be non-North American or otherwise not in the know (can’t speak to this in other countries), the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays can be times of enormous pressure and backbiting for American women – there’s a considerable cultural and media expectation that holidays be over-decoated, over-fed and over-friendlied, and that you are failing as a modern woman if you don’t measure up to the obsessive-compulsive mommy down the street who had her Christmas lights up the moment the last trick-or-treater left her porch on Halloween night. They’re fighting not only the airbrushed scenes they see on commercial TV, but also the memories of their own childhoods (and good memories tend to underrate the negatives and create un-meetable expectations by comparison).
Much of this expectation is organized around the party/dinner events on Thanksgiving and Christmas nights, but it also concerns giving and receiving gifts, managing extended-family squabbles and decorating the house. Men of good game reading this can already predict this mixture is a huge time-bomb for a relational explosion, a sort of high-stakes short-order test of a man’s domestic relationship game skills. It’s a classic instance of the wife’s priority no longer being about the marriage/family per se, and instead becoming about measuring herself against a materialistic or cultural script. Guys with “supermom” wives know how this can separate a husband and wife; the characteristic symptom is when she begins to view the husband as an annoying blocker in the middle of her plans. The solution, in short, is to view it like a supercharged fitness test she doesn’t even know she’s throwing: enforce your own frame and expectations over hers at some points, and at other points just don’t even bother getting into an argument about it.
If I had gotten the better of time, I might have posted this before the holiday when it might have been more useful to the readership; however I’m never one to let good advice go uncited.
First, Athol gives tips for the Thanksgiving dinner (which apply just as well to the Christmas meal):
once Thanksgiving was moved to our house, Jennifer has a DNA sequence that kicked in and made her totally responsible for the perfection that shall be Thanksgiving Dinner for everyone. Which is a polite way of saying she became Batshit Crazy on a short term basis related to this one meal.
Normally I advise medication or running when faced with a Batshit Crazy wife, in this case though, I recommend assistance and letting it all wash over you.
Some basic tips about the meal itself: [abridged and with comments by the Badger]
(1) Arrange whatever seating pattern to enable both you and her to sit together, closest to the kitchen. This is so either one of you can get up and get something. Also it means you can put one hand on her thigh to direct her not to get up yet again. [also you can kino her during the meal to keep the romantic dynamic in play, and also shows that you two are a unit.]
(2) It’s your job to Alpha her into at some point sitting the hell down and actually eating dinner. [realize that if someone doesn't give her an order she won't sit down and enjoy herself, and if you want her to keep respecting you that person had better be you and not her mother/sister/best friend.]
(4) You carve the turkey. [the man of the house carves the turkey. remember that episode of the Cosby Show when Cliff had Sondra's boyfriend Elvin cut the turkey?]
(7) House cleaning happens the day before Thanksgiving. Direct everyone in the family to help with this. [you don't have to clean the entire house - put all the crap in a room no one is allowed to go into and lock it.]
(8) Thanksgiving morning, the turkey goes in the oven…. and you both go get some exercise. [exercise does seem to lower the tension hormones. why not have a good romp before any guests arrive?]
(10) Before the meal. Nuts, cheese, crackers, spicy salami and shrimp. Leave it out, watch the hordes come. [and put some bottles of booze out so they can make some cocktails.]
(unnumbered) get a set of new plastic containers and just load them up with the leftovers and make sure everyone one on the way out. [brilliant!]
I also second Athol and Jennifer’s endorsement of Alton Brown’s turkey-brining method. Link is here, youtubes are here:
Vox Day on The Meal
Vox concurs with Athol’s advice to just “let her do her thing,” but for a more calculated reason in the game-theory sense:
Don’t bother offering to help with anything. You’re not going to be able to do anything her way or to her standards. Besides, she’s going to be judged on her performance, so even if you are a competent cook or gift wrapper, any assistance on your part will not count and thereby is rendered invalid on its face.
He then advises to take it upon yourself to do the dishes, thus relieving yourself of the burden of having to listen to half-drunken chatter amongst a captive audience as the meal winds down. Brilliant guy, that Vox.
Vox Day on Gift-Giving
The Boss of Alpha Game penned a pair of posts regarding presents as another possible fitness-test trap for men who want nothing more than to make their girl haaaappy on Christmas morning. First, he discussed a process by which women might denigrate the value of the gift they received so as to reduce the sense of obligation felt as a result of accepting the gift. Just read the whole thing here.
Allow me to riff for a moment: I’ve been working on a theory about why women hate beta-supplication game…the theory is that the totality of beta behavior triggers this uncomfortable feeling of obligation in the woman. Every favor, gift gift, dinner out, even times he forgives her for bitchy, crass or cruel behavior, inures her into a feeling she owes him something. And if there’s one thing I’ve found can kill a tingle with consistency, it’s the suggestion she owes some romantic debt (be it sex or love) to a man. (Just read the responses of women who say they want a better sex life but refuse ideas like committing themselves to say yes, or to go on a “sex streak.”) Women seem to trade in emotional currencies far more than men (who trade in rational currencies), and emotional currencies can’t be subject to obligatory reciprocity the way rational currencies can.
Additionally, gifts, favors etc signal to a woman that you think her to be high value, which she might react negatively to if she secretly believes she’s not high value. Men respond to this kind of situation with gratitude, women seem to respond to it with contempt for the giver as a rube. So you get a double-whammy of annoyance that she is under social expectation to repay the favor, and lack of respect for the gift-giver who has shown his foolishness by presuming her to be higher value than she herself believes.
Now, as to the real plan for giving gifts, Vox also cites various blue-pill cultural nonsense that has served to mislead men down the pedestalizing path for decades:
Here are several “helpful” suggestions offered by the experts on women in the mainstream media:
- Anything that suggests that the recipient is anything less than perfect will go down worse than Frankie Boyle at a kid’s Christmas party.
- Never buy a woman an iron for Christmas unless you want to get hit over the head with it.
- Guys, this is 50 shades of WRONG. Don’t even think about it – or anything else tenuously linked to 50 Shades of Grey for that matter.
- Nothing says “I don’t really think that much of you” quite like a handbag by ‘Louis Vilton’. If you can’t stretch to a designer bag, better to opt for the (genuine) perfume.
Translation: don’t buy a woman anything that might be sexy, affordable, useful, improving, or popular. Only gifts that are rare, expensive, and useless will be appreciated. Except, as we already know, buying the perfect gift is the worst thing you can possibly do since it will create an unwanted sense of obligation.
So, ignore the experts. If she said she wanted X at some point during the year, then buy X. Don’t overthink these things and stop striving for the nonexistent perfect gift. Remember that presents don’t fix relationship problems.
For f&%$’s sake, especially don’t fall for those stupid jewelry ads that say “love is priceless, so you should show it by spending $1,000 or more on our product.” This is where a sort of soft-PUA approach is called for: be judicious in your gift-giving, never equate dollars spent with love expressed, seek gifts with uniqueness and emotional power that cultivate the “secret world” between lovers and not a mass-marketed consumerism, and steadfastly refused to be judged by the standards of her rat-race girlfriends. Staying low on the expense ladder also reduces the sense of obligation; if she likes the gift, it contains emotional power, which will cause her to want to reciprocate, and then it’s no longer an obligation.
If she complains about the money, she’s a brat, and you better game that shit out of her or find another woman.
Did Someone Ask For PUA Gift Tips?
Fear not, as Roissy is here to say it much better than I ever could:
One time, I recorded myself singing a song I wrote for a girl. I used a hand-held recorder, so the quality wasn’t good. You can hear a dog barking in the background and rain falling outside on the patio. We eventually broke up from intractable circumstances, but keep in friendly contact occasionally, and she tells me that to this day my recording is the only item of love she has from any man that she refuses to discard.
Cost of this gift to me: zero dollars.
Psychological value of this gift to both me and her: priceless.
Ability to leverage this gift against future girlfriends who know about it: infinity priceless.
The alpha male gifts that women love are never what Kay Jewelers, Zales or VisaMastercard tell you they are. The gifts women love the most are not those gifts that by virtue (or vice) of their cost demonstrate the extent of your beta provider resource pool. No, the gifts women love the most are those gifts that demonstrate the personality traits of the alpha male, a man with romance in his heart despite carrying the burden of multitudinous options with women in his groin.
One of the challenges of LTR/marriage life is maintaining that emotionally intense, carefree “lover” side of the lover-provider dynamic. It’s easy to get into a reciprocating-obligations gameplan where you treat each other as co-employees of a small business instead of as singular emotional fonts from which you each draw from the other’s power. If done wrong, Christmas may be the worst time of the year for this, as a holiday that is supposed to be about the love of the Good Lord for his people for so many degenerates into a insurmountable set of challenges where people as they are are discarded as cannon fodder into the fire of outsized self-destructive cultural expectations.
Hopefully the men reading this have already begun to employ these lessons in their relationships; if not, you can start getting ready early for next year.