dread in relationships

Body Language

I have a feeling I’m going to get myself in trouble with this post. One thing I’ve learned from sixteen years of writing in the manosphere is that people take the issue of Looks are very personally. I think there’s something engrained in how our minds evolved to make us aware of where we fit in as far as image is concerned. I think maybe that’s the root of where we get the idea of leagues with respect to sexual market value. I’ve mentioned before that it’s my belief that everyone is keenly aware of their personal conditions on some level of consciousness and how we look to others is part of that awareness.

My friend Tanner Guzy wrote a great book this year titled The Appearance of Power and I learned quite a bit from it with respect to the, often derided, subconscious choices we make in how we present ourselves to others. A lot goes into what we think is the very simple task of dressing ourselves each day and the message we’re conveying to other men, women, our families, our coworkers, our church, etc. We all have at least a peripheral awareness of what we’re communicating with our clothes, our behaviors and our speech.

Another great book I’m presently reading is the new title from Joe Navarro, The Dictionary of Body Language. Joe was one of the speakers at last year’s 21 Convention and I had the pleasure of talking with him for a bit there. For 25 years he worked as an FBI special agent in the area of counterintelligence and behavioral assessment. Today he is one of the world’s leading experts on nonverbal communications and this book is a very good resource for a lot of reasons. I’m not sure Joe likes being affiliated with the manosphere, but there’s no doubt that what he’s studied and written about for so long can be an invaluable tool for reading the sub-communications of women in Game applications. 

Way back in 2011 I wrote a brief essay called Learn to Read. At that time my focus was on emphasizing the need to be aware of the information a guy could glean from his surroundings, understanding the social environment and also the sub-communications a woman might be relaying to him in that moment. We tend to take it for granted, but there is a lot of information our brains need to process in social settings. For the most part our subconscious minds push out the background noise and less important information to our peripheral awareness so our conscious minds can focus on what we think is most important. Sometimes the part we take for granted, the information that our subconscious processes can be at least as important as what our consciousness is sorting out.

I’m calling attention to this process (as well as Joe’s work) because I want to stress the importance our Instinctual Process plays in interpreting what we see with respect to social interactions, but more importantly for our purposes, when we see men and women interact with one another. For the past 12 years my career in the liquor and gaming industries has put me in the unique position of being able to people-watch and study the unspoken communications that goes on between men and women in settings where they’re primed to apply their interpersonal skills (or lack of). However, it wasn’t until I started contrasting what I was seeing with what I understood about behavioral psychology, evo-psych and the sexual strategies men and women evolved for.

And this, this is the part where I get myself in trouble. In that time I think I’ve developed a pretty good ability to read what men and women are communicating with their clothing, expressions, posture, physical positioning, etc. and interpreting it with a Red Pill Lens. I get in trouble with this because, like I said, people tend to take my reading into things very personally. Even if I’m reading the photograph of a couple they know nothing about they associate something in the image that with how they perceive themselves.

Most of us were taught from an early age never to “judge a book by its cover.” We were taught it’s wrong to be judgmental and it’s what’s on the inside that counts. This has never really sat well with me, but you run the risk of sounding catty when you judge a person by their looks or whatever it is they’re doing in a picture. They say you sound like a gossipy woman, or else it’s supposedly some indication that you’re projecting your own insecurities onto whoever it is you might be critical of. This is unfortunate because our Instinctual interpretive process makes judgment calls all the time in our peripheral awareness. We all make comparisons in our hindbrains, it’s just impolite to give voice to them. This does nothing to help us objectively assess what sub-communications are taking place.

So, fair warning, I’m going to make some reads on some pictures here and if what I interpret seems a little self-serving or judgmental just know that I’m doing my best to stay objective.

For the past 3 months I’ve gotten into the habit of reading the images of various couples that guys on Twitter have been sending me. If you want a brief primer for this I talked about it with Tim Wenger last August here. For the most part these guys wanted me to determine what they were seeing were Alpha Tells or Beta Tells in the body language between the couple. In the majority of these shots, the Beta male body language was fairly evident even to the untrained eye. What was less evident was what the woman’s sub-communications were conveying.

Leaning In

Of the more than a hundred shots I read, the number one most common position for men was the lean in. This posture is something Roissy once called attention to as the hallmark of a Beta subconsciously manifesting his mindset in his body language:

The lean-in is easily identifiable, and while I don’t think it is alwaysBeta Tell (depends on context) it’s certainly the starting point for other manifestations of men with a necessitous subconscious. What I mean by that is that the lean-in is a physical display that illustrates how a man’s subconscious has decided that his woman’s Frame is the dominant one in the relationship. He feels the compulsion to put himself into her space as his natural impulse.

It’s also important to bear in mind that when we are photographed with others, in this case women, we are, or would like to be intimate with, there is a subconscious recognition that anyone viewing the image will infer a relationship context. More on this later, but for now keep in mind that some of these inferences will be related to mate guarding behaviors.

The reflexive critique of this lean-in is usually “Well, that’s just that one shot” or “The photographer told him to lean in” to which I can only say that the predominance of couples shots, candid and staged alike, most consistently pose a man as the leaner.

Lean out

The counter to this leaning-in is a woman leaning out or away from the man. It’s almost as if there is an unspoken conflict of hindbrains going on. A (Beta) man leans in to find inclusion and acceptance in a woman’s Frame while her own hindbrain instinctively reacts and attempts to lessen any inference of intimate acceptance to a larger audience.

Above are some examples of the lean-out. In some of these the latent message the woman’s hindbrain is conveying is almost “Get him offa me!”, but with a smile so as not to be too obvious. Also notice the positioning of the free hand in most of these pictures. We’d like to rationalize this as a gesture of affection after the fact, but in the context of these shots the unspoken message is a defensive one against the man’s lean-in. Again, this is one more manifestation of a war playing out between the couple’s subconscious.

The Eyes Have It

I also want to draw attention to the facial expressions of these women. Notice the commonalities in gaze direction and the message their eyes and expressions are sub-communicating. Women are keenly aware of the permanency of an image and what that image communicates. I’ve pointed out in many a prior essay that women’s brains evolved to give them a much fuller capacity for communication and a sensitivity to nuances than men. Men prioritize the content (information) of communication while women prioritize context (feeling) of communication. This is a truth we have to consider when we analyze the expressions and physical communication of women in photos.

I joked with the guy who sent me the second image here that she looks like she wants to bang me, not the guy doting on her. There’s more than a bit of truth in that assessment. Women today are hyperaware of how an image can be used to facilitate or handicap their sexual strategy. It’s no accident or casual glance when a woman directs her attention towards the viewer. It’s not a person behind the camera that she has in mind when she knows she being photographed, it’s the potential audience – an audience that’s grown exponentially in the age of social media. 

In all these shots the woman’s attention is on how she will be perceived by any viewer of the shot. In some other images I was sent the woman’s focus was on anything other than the men whose only focus was her. In advertising there’s a presumption that when two or more people appear in an ad the one with the presumed dominance is always the one looking away or out at the viewer. The submissive party was the one whose attention is directed at the dominant person. The dominant person is the one telling the story in the ad. A common complaint among feminists about magazine ads in the 60s through the 80s was that it was women who were always disempowered as a result of being posed in subservient positions where they focused on a male in the ad image. The only exception to this was in what feminists still refer to as the Male Gaze wherein the dominance a woman was afforded was limited to her sexual viability and her capacity to hold the attention of any men in the ad and men viewing the ad. 

These concepts are an interesting contrast to the millions upon millions of photos girls and women post of themselves on social media every day. Think of the gender power dynamics in all these shots. It may seem like I’m splitting hairs here, but the reflexive impulse a majority of women default to is one of advertising themselves for potentially better options in the sexual marketplace.

Whether or not this is a practiced or unconscious tact, the latent purpose of women’s responses to their men’s Beta Tells is to advertise their sexual availability to the audience. Some guys have said that women default to these expressions as a means of ego aggrandizement and I’m willing to accept that there’s undoubtedly an element of egoism (certainly solipsism) involved. No doubt women often enjoy the envious attentions of other women on Instagram in the right context. However, these ‘ego shots’ almost universally center on the woman in the power dynamic. In each of these images the power belongs to the woman.

Mate Guarding

Another common Beta Tell is the death grip pose many men will opt for in their couple’s photos. This is a position where the man locks an arm around his woman or drapes an interposing forearm barrier between the viewer and the woman who is trying to coyly escape his mate guarding message. 

In a lot of these the woman often has her hand on his hand as if trying to pry him off to release her. It seems like a reciprocation of affection – similar to the hand on the chest pushing him away – but this is afterthought rationalization. Death grip is a clingy positioning, but again the battle between his and her subconscious centers on the guy mate guarding and her own subconscious desire to broadcast her sexual availability in spite of him.

I Love Mommy

In almost all of these images the male is focused intently on the woman. From a Red Pill perspective, I see this as a manifestation of how these men have been Blue Pill conditioned to make their women their Mental Point of Origin.  Even in the images where the man is looking at the camera his sub-communication is one of clear abasement to, or guarding of, his most important priority.

However, the most disturbing trend I’ve seen in couple’s photos is what I’ve dubbed the I Love Mommy pose. Maybe it’s my instinctual interpretation of it or maybe its’ an obvious Freudian connotation, but in these shots the Beta assumes and almost childlike position of kissing on his woman. 

Okay, so the last one is a press shot, but you get the idea. You can see the I Love Mommy positioning in a few of the prior photos above as well.  I could probably dedicate an entire essay to all of the psychological implications of this phenomenon. I had one critic on Twitter ask me if I genuinely thought this tendency was due to unresolved issues these men had with their mothers; it wasn’t until later he admitted he had a tendency to do the same and was honestly concerned. 

I’m sure the possibility exists, but more importantly I think this habit is due to men internalizing the myth that vulnerability is endearing to women. There’s this persistent lie that accompanies the vulnerability myth. That’s the lie that men can let their guard down and ‘relax’ around the woman they feel securely paired with. As a result they mentally revert to the boy who didn’t need to qualify himself for his mother’s love and they regress to a subconscious comfort in that vulnerability they believe will endear them to their woman. They sub-communicate all this in the I Love Mommy position.

I’ll have to return to this Mother Issues concept in a future essay, but for now, how do you suppose a woman’s hindbrain imperative for Hypergamy will perceive this habit, particularly in light of how image conscious women are in the Instagram generation? My first impression is that it would be one of revulsion, apprehension and resistance. Nothing turns off a woman more than a man indicating that he’d rather be her child than her lover or husband.

Alpha Tells

So, if all of this reads like the overly-critical projection and nitpicking I told you most critics will accuse me of earlier, maybe I can assuage your own judgment by presenting some Alpha sub-communications examples here. Finding these examples can be a tall order in an age where any man photographed in a position not entirely focused on his woman runs the risk of being called ‘toxically’ masculine. Today, men who are confident enough to default to body language that communicates they are their own mental point of origin get accused of ‘abuse’ or at least being self-centered. But as you’ll see this isn’t such a bad thing.

The best example of Alpha Tells in couples photos focus on the man being the center of importance in the shot. Yes, this is Vincent Cassel (51) and his wife Tina Kunakey (21). I have no doubt some hater will come up with some reason in the comments why Vince doesn’t align with whatever their interpretation of Alpha is, but for our purposes these images illustrate the opposite of a lot of the Beta sub-communications we just went through. So try to look past the celebrity and see what’s being displayed here.

First off, notice how Tina’s focus of attention is always on Vince. Women who hold genuine admiration for their men consistently make them the story in photos. Even in the shot where they look at each other her focus is on him. It’s not difficult to assess the power dynamic in their relationship, but you can also feel a genuine desire emanating from Tina.

Also, women who genuinely admire their men are unconcerned that their actions in a shot might be read as subservient or ego-abasing by women’s audience. I’d go so far as to suggest that the attention a woman receives from a man her Hypergamous hindbrain confirms as Alpha is far more valuable to her ego than any lower quality attention she might temporarily enjoy by appeasing her audience. Much of this observation is rooted in the Desire Dynamic. Hypergamy cannot afford to have a high SMV man be confused about her desire or motives. A woman who is proud of the association with man she’s paired with is less concerned about the perception other women might have of her actions – in fact, she’ll convert any disparaging opinion of them into a point of pride, if that man is above her own sexual market value.

When a little girl thought a little boy on the playground was cute her reflexive response to him was not something she had learned to consciously control at that age. That response is often reflected in the expressions of adult women when when their peripheral awareness of an attractive man connects with their Hypergamous hindbrain. The biting of the lip, the beaming admiration, the laser eye focus and the hopeful smile followed by a coy embarrassment of what she’s doing when she regains her composure are all the physical cues of a woman whose primary concern is the man she’s with.

Now, contrast these images with the earlier ones in which the men are clearly the hangers-on of the women in those photos. I’ve mentioned before that a natural Alpha man is almost never aware of his own Alphaness and that’s what really stands out in these photos – the men aren’t trying to evoke the reflexive responses of the women. They fluidly (almost Zen-like) prompt these reaction in women. There is no pretense or the obvious mugging for the audience that you see in shots where the Frame is clearly being directed by the woman while the hapless Beta tries to prove how in love he is by kissing on her while she finds something more interesting to occupy herself with. When a woman admires her man he is literally all she can think about.

In closing here I want to reiterate that I’m aware that all of this is going to come off as self-serving or catty. It’s impossible to objectively interpret body language without someone resorting to point & sputter insults about how they think you’re just being petty or you’re jealous of some celebrity’s life. Be that as it may the discouraging of anyone attempting to understand sub-communications only serves the the party that has the most to gain from a larger ignorance of them. So I hope this breakdown has provided at least some useful references to consider your own, or your woman’s, default behavior when the cell phone cams come out at a party.

But if you learn nothing else from this post, and you need one take-home message, please, whatever you do, don’t be this guy in your next couples shot.

Ovulation & Dread

ovulation_dread

I had an interesting study brought to my attention recently (ht/ Robert Burriss) and I thought I’d get back to a nuts and bolts post with something useful I found in it.

Women Selectively Guard Their Desirable Mates From Ovulating Women.

As you might expect, much of the findings in this study reinforce many Red Pill principles founded in evo-psych, but there are a few new angles to consider here. Before I start to riff on this study, bear in mind that the concept of female mate guarding behavior centers on what the researchers define as ‘desirable mates’ to women. This subjective assessment of desirability will play into all this analysis.

For women, forming close, cooperative relationships with other women at once poses important opportunities and possible threats-including mate retention. To maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of same-sex social relationships, we propose that women’s mate guarding is functionally flexible and that women are sensitive to both interpersonal and contextual cues indicating whether other women might be likely and effective mate poachers. Here, we assess one such cue: other women’s fertility. Because ovulating (i.e., high-fertility) women are both more attractive to men and also more attracted to (desirable) men, ovulating women may be perceived to pose heightened threats to other women’s romantic relationships. Across 4 experiments, partnered women were exposed to photographs of other women taken during either their ovulatory or nonovulatory menstrual-cycle phases, and consistently reported intentions to socially avoid ovulating (but not nonovulating) women-but only when their own partners were highly desirable. Exposure to ovulating women also increased women’s sexual desires for their (highly desirable) partners. These findings suggest that women can be sensitive to subtle cues of other women’s fertility and respond (e.g., via social exclusion, enhanced sexual attention to own mate) in ways that may facilitate their mate retention goals while not thwarting their affiliative goals.

Right from the start here we have two Red Pill foundations confirmed; the influence that perceptual SMV plays in women’s sense of passive Dread and the fundamental influence that menstruation dictates to sexual arousal and concurrent motivations for sex appeal during women’s ovulation phase.

I’ve previously gone into the dynamics that play out between men and women with regard to perceived SMV of a partner versus the other partner’s self-perception of their own SMV and how this determines secure vs. insecure attachment. This post was more of an outline of results of SMV imbalance rather that the motivations for the characteristics of those personal attachments. This study illustrates these underlying motivators very well.

Anyone who’s heard my Man in Demand talk on Hypergamy understands the (menstrual cycle) biological root for women’s personal and sociological behavior, and this study provides yet another confirmation of it. I’ve also written in the past about men’s propensity for mate guarding and the behavioral cues women, both subtly and not so subtly, display that prompts them to mate guarding. However, I’ve yet to explore women’s mate guarding behaviors.

I’m bringing up the SMV ratios and Mate Guarding posts here because it’s important to bear in mind the subjectivity that perceived SMV plays in regard to motivating mate guarding. Depending on that balance (or imbalance) one partner will be more motivated to mate guard than the other. Which of course then brings us back to the Cardinal Rule of Relationships. Mate guarding impulse is contextual to the comparative value of both individuals and the value of others in their social environment (potential sexual competitors).

Thus, it is a significant challenge for women when other women attempt to poach their partners. For instance, over 50% of women admit to attempting to poach another woman’s partner, and over 80% of men admit to having been the object of another woman’s poaching—with about half of men admitting to “going along” with the poaching attempt (e.g., Schmitt et al., 2004; Schmitt & Buss, 2001). Women have good reason, then, to mate guard.

I’m going to encourage readers to take the time to, at the very least, read the introduction, premise and results of this comprehensive study. Naturally there will be incredulous women who will insist that men tend to overestimate the displayed sexual interests of women towards them. This is a common social convention that serves a very specific purpose for women; plausible deniability.

If the common group-think is that men are egotistical, think they’re “all that” and stupidly believe they’re seeing sexual cues from women because “that’s just how men are”, then we have a pre-established condition in which women can believably deny interest. Thus, should a man not find a woman attractive, or opt for another, this then serves as a rejection buffer as well as a precondition for her own rejection of a man should he make an approach and not be found attractive.

The Schmitt & Buss studies account for this, but even if they didn’t there would still need to be a functional reason for women’s mate guarding behavior. That reason puts the lie to the social convention of women presuming men aren’t as perceptive of their sexual cues as they’d like to believe.

[…] whereas men have at times physically isolated and sequestered their female

partners to restrict other men’s access to them (e.g., in harems), women may analogously socially isolate their partners from potential poachers—keeping them apart so as to preclude potentially costly competition for their romantic partners.

The usefulness of this strategy depends on women being able to identify those who might be likely and effective mate poachers, and then excluding them (but not others) from their social circles. If a woman indiscriminately distances herself and her partner from potential poachers (i.e., all other women), she is assured of his fidelity but at the cost of eliminating her access to the numerous benefits of female–female friendships.

Spoiler alert: The study confirms that women will covertly exclude themselves and their lover’s company from women who A.) outclass them in comparative SMV (hotter women than they perceive themselves to be) and B.) happen to be in the proliferative phase of ovulation.

This indicates that not only are women subconsciously (if not consciously) aware of intrasexual rivals ovulatory states – as evidenced by dress, ornamentation, vocal intonation, scent, sexual proceptivity, etc. – but they are aware enough to orchestrate covert methods to protect their sexual investments in a ‘high value’ male while ensuring future intrasexual friendships.

That may seem like an overly scientific way of saying women watch out for other women slutting it up, but the subcommunications of ovulation are so subtle that women’s subconscious, peripheral awareness of those cues evolved for a sensitivity that goes beyond the obvious slut. That’s how important retaining a better-than-self SMV optimal mating choice is to women in an evolutionary scope. That sensitivity is part of women’s psychological firmware.

[…]In addition, if a woman were to consistently and indiscriminately exclude other women from her own and, by extension, her partner’s social circle, she might gain a reputation for being non-communal and non-nurturing, and thus, for being an undesirable friend. This might not only thwart her ability to form future friendships with other women, but might also lead her partner to perceive her as highly difficult, uncooperative, controlling, and non-trusting.

Thus, on one hand, the costs of indiscriminately avoiding other women are high because women reap important benefits from making new same-sex friends, On the other hand, women can and do mate poach with frequency, and those women deeply embedded in one’s social circle may have increased access, motivation, and ability to poach successfully.

There’s a few things to unpack here before we can make this information Red Pill / Game applicable. The most important metric that female mate guarding indicates is her genuine assessment of a man’s SMV and how valuable his participation and investment in their LTR (or even STR sexual value) is to her.

I’ve seen this mate guarding play out in my own relationships before, both as a Red Pill husband who happens to work with beautiful women in the liquor industry and prior to my Red Pill awareness of it in my libertine 20s. Back then it was easy to pass off as ‘bitches be crazy’ when a girlfriend or a short term sex partner “just got jealous”. But in hindsight the timing of those fits of jealousy seemed a bit to regular.

I’m going to suggest that developing an awareness of a woman’s bouts of jealousy or her subtle timing in wanting to spend time alone with you, or her being more sexually proceptive (she wants to fuck more) with you at times you may think odd. These are Alpha or Beta TellsA woman’s preoccupation with guarding you from other women is a prime indicator of your SMV worth to her. It stands to reason that only ‘desirable’ men deserve the effort of her mate guarding.

This is an important Red Pill sensitivity to have as it also allows you to determine a woman’s unspoken understanding of where she and you stand in relative SMV comparison. As I was saying in the introduction here, that ‘desirability’, that SMV ratio, that Alpha impression that makes you worth mate guarding is subjective to what a woman’s self-perceived SMV is in respect to your own. When we interact with women in the long term it’s very easy for men to lose sight of this balance and think that their frumpy wife is the best they can do. There is a definitive psychological game that women of low SMV will play with men they know are of higher value – they will continually devalue that man as a form of mate guarding.

That devaluation may take the form of browbeating, nagging or accusing him of being attracted to other women in an effort to get her higher value LTR man to self-limit his being poached by endlessly qualifying himself to his low SMV wife/girlfriend. It’s far easier, and far lower an investment of resources if a low SMV woman can convince her higher SMV man to mate guard himself.

Just as an aside here, there may be a few readers who’ll think women will rationally consider that their long term provisioning is virtually assured in a feminine-primary social order. Alimony, child support or pro-female government will assure her and her offspring a baseline of security, so why mate guard any man?

The answer of course is that women’s psychological firm ware didn’t evolve to acknowledge these considerations. Once again T-Rex doesn’t want to be fed, he wants to hunt. So even with the logical consideration that provisioning is assured women’s limbic (particularly on an Alpha Fucks short term breeding assurance) still wants those environmental and behavioral cues that indicate they have that security.

Passive Dread

So with all of this to digest how do we put this knowledge of women’s limbic desire for ensuring a mate’s exclusive sex and provisioning to use for us?

The obvious answer is in the title of this post – developing that awareness of your SMV worth to a woman is a good starting point from which you can subtly employ a passive form of Dread.

I’ve gotten a lot of grief for just my acknowledging Dread, much less using it beneficially for both a man and whatever woman he chooses (long or short term). It’s always about how horribly manipulative it is, or it’s just an unsustainable game of brinksmanship between a couple that destroys trust. But what these (usually female) critics never recognize is that Dread is already an integral part of every relationship by order of degree.

The fact that both male and female mate guarding behaviors are evidential facts of both sex’s hindbrain function should be proof enough that Dread, the concern of loss of investment, and the subconscious, comparative evaluation of SMV is something that’s always an operative. It’s inherent to our conditions as evolved human beings.

My advice in this instance is for men to become sensitive to the indicators of that ovulatory mate guarding dread and use that insecurity to promote a better, genuine desire in that woman. Suggesting this will seem counterintuitive to a Blue Pill mindset. The conditioned response will be to allay that woman’s fears (the ones she’s subconsciously aware of but will hate you for making her acknowledge) and provide her with comfort and familiarity.

But comfort and familiarity are anti-seductive and kill the genuine desire, the genuine need to fuck you in order to keep you and show her appreciation for your higher SMV. Why does a woman compete for what she is constantly comfortably assured she already has?

The trick to employing soft or passive dread is making yourself sensitive to the opportunities to use it and then gently provoke it in as covert and indirect a way as possible. One of the better ideas the early PUAs had was mastering the art of the Neg, or the backhanded compliment. The idea was to casually knock a woman’s self-image down to a manageable degree in order to get her to qualify herself the the PUA. Passive dread operates on a similar principle.

You need to see the opportunities for its use, and women’s propensity for mate guarding men they find ‘desirable’ is a reasonably predictable opportunity. See those chances for other women’s casual flirtations with you, look for those unsolicited opportunities for easy social proof, and don’t dissuade your woman’s initial mate guarding response. Casually push back on the mate guarding impulse, don’t jump to the reassurances of your undying love and interest.

See that opportunity for what it is – a chance to restate whose Frame she’s chosen to be a part of. She wants to merit your value. Take that effort away from her and you become valueless to her.