More on Frame and Fitness Testing


In a major honor for me, Dave from Hawaii left a comment on yesterday’s post (in which I quoted his “inviting her into my life” elucidation of frame). Part of his comment is a great jumping-off point to the topic of shit testing or fitness testing.

While people refer to shit tests as fitness tests or congruence tests…another good way to think about it is a FRAME test.

She’s testing to see if you are going to maintain your frame – the one she wants to be a part of – of if you’re gonna lose your perspective and get caught up in her frame.


The pathology of fitness testing is oft discussed in the manosphere. (For his part, Roissy has asserted that shit testing is a hardwired biological imperative, part of a woman’s DNA.) A critical realization for men trying to understand female communication is that the fitness test is not about the verbal request – it’s about the subliminal play for dominance and how you respond to it.

Fitness testing as a real test, in the early dating process, is easy to understand – both genders have semi-subconscious ways of evaluating their partner’s biological quality. What makes less sense is why a woman would continue the testing throughout a relationship or a marriage, as innumerable men will attest. Shirley it’s enough to run the tests a few times early, and go on with your mutual life in peace?

Well don’t call me Shirley, I struggled with this question for a while – perhaps a majority of women were irrational and paranoid and insisted on re-qualifying their men more often than you’d change oil? – until I saw a blog post by stagetwo entitled “Rubbing Up Against Your Manhood” that simply and clearly spelled out what’s going on.

The concept of shittest suggests a probing and information-gathering function. Once you’ve passed a sequence of such tests, your manhood should be accepted (or rejected), and the shittesting should end. However, to the extent that the relationship remains sexual in nature, her shittesting, though it might become milder, may never end.

This is because what we call a shittest is not just a test. It is rubbing up against your manhood, and it serves not only to test but also to feel and just enjoy your manhood.

Recall that porn is about physical encounters that reveal the female object’s physical beauty. And romance novels, the female equivalent of porn, are about story, dialogue, emotion, in short: dramatic interactions that reveal the male object’s dominance and power.

Similarly, the female equivalent of rubbing up against your sex [where the male version is sensual touch] is not touching your prick, but creating dramatic interactions that reveal your dominance and power.

So the act of “testing” is not just testing for a resource, it’s utilizing the resource for what she sees as its intended purpose – affirming, comforting and exciting her in a frame in which she feels comfortable.

This explanation is so brilliant and yet so intuitive I don’t know why I had never seen it laid out like this before. What’s the point of testing if you’re not going to use the skills you test for? (Bio-focused people would probably say that the resource is “cashed in” when the woman bears the man’s progeny, genetic fitness being the motivation for the test in the first place. However, humans are interesting and complex creatures, and a single action often underwrites biological, social AND intellectual motivations.)

For the sake of re-emphasis, it might help to re-frame the issue, no pun intended. Have you ever had a friend who had an animus about a benign topic? And have you ever intentionally teased or provoked this person, just to see them launch into a tirade about Sam Bowie being drafted ahead of Michael Jordan, or the cable company, or their least favorite airline, or Carrie Bradshaw’s shoes? (That last one was for the women reading.) And you chuckle and give them an understanding wink for bringing some humor to your day, even if they had to be goaded into it.

That, my friends, is exactly what’s going on with shit testing. Failing one is like refusing to tell a funny joke when set up, it disappoints the audience and they (she) will lose faith in you.

Of course, if you’re funny on a regular basis, people won’t ask you to tell jokes – you’ve done it before they have time to ask. That goes for shit testing too.


I’d be remiss if I closed out the topic without this clip. The cultivation of frame was a major plot point in the 1995 crime farce Get Shorty.



Filed under beta guide, primary sources

14 responses to “More on Frame and Fitness Testing

  1. Jet Tibet

    Badger I’m glad to see someone giving this some new thinking.

    Based on my experiences in employing game techniques with my hot and beloved wife, I don’t think that they are fitness tests so much as “filling a vacuum” ie. if I don’t act dominant, there is a hamster (different hamster from the usual one) that runs around trying to set up a frame. In the case of my wife that leads to the “tests” like: can you drop what you’re doing and take care of whatever etc.

    I think Roissy actually offered a similar idea once in a comment thread, even though it goes against the whole Darwinian fitness thing (which anyway seems dubious).

  2. Thanks for the link love Badger. Great post.

  3. @ Athol

    Finish your damned book! Are you self publishing?

  4. Getting there theprivatemen. I never knew how huge of a task it would be. And yes -using

  5. voukmn

    Yeah, sometimes the word ‘shit testing’ gives an unnecessarily malevolent edge to this phenomenon. It’s not only limited to female-male relations but can be present in other fluid yet hierarchial situations.

    I had an epiphany of sorts of this on a gig a few months ago. You’re probably aware that it’s common to heckle the band on stage – at least in the punk/indie circles – which is something I also enjoy doing on occasion. I don’t mean the annoyed booing of a genuinely displeased audience, but the more good-natured back-and-forth that sometimes develops between the performer and the audience that might sound quite cruel if you’d read it only on paper.

    Now, the band walked on stage, fiddled around a bit and I shouted a playfully displeased comment before their first song when it dawned on me: I was actually expecting and hoping them (or the frontman in particular) to wittily retort back. Which they thankfully did. The overall mood lightened and the audience were impressed with the band’s charisma and wit. In those circles, this was an international-scale band so by default they already had the clout to pretty much come in and fart into microphones for 90 minutes if they desired, but nevertheless I, as a member of the audience, felt the need to sort of test their fitness to make sure that they’re really all that.

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  13. Lamont Cranston

    Early in my marriage I used to get a shittest from my wife. I used to play computer games. (Who has time for that now?) She would walk into my study and start talking at the side of my head until I dropped my train of thought, stopped what I was doing turned my head, and talked to her. After getting very annoyed two or three times I decided that this was a problem that needed to be solved. Fortunately, all of those games had a “pause” button. I figured out where they were, and as soon as she crossed the threshold of my study I would hit pause, turn in my chair, make hard eye contact and say, “Yes?”

    About the third time that happened she asked me what was wrong and I said, “You’re doing this to see if you’re more important to me than my game, so I’m trying to communicate clearly.”

    There was a paused, followed by, “You’re right. I won’t do it any more.”

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