Manipulations

Can't think of a related picture, so I'll add one of me in the desert, being all wise and shit - Oman

Manipulation

You are a man. You are the only creature on this planet fit to accomplish anything of worth. And because of that, the rest of the world will always try to twist your mind, or twist your arm; to force you, by deception or by threat of imprisonment, to accomplish their goals instead of your own. Learn to recognize when this is happening, and take back control of your life, so you can do the things that YOU want to do.
-HumanSockPuppet
Twisting your arm is a masculine skill. Stronger men, better armed men, men with money who pay you can coerce you to act. These are things we know, things we understand, and things we can deal with. You can use your fists, or you can use the law. You can use it to give a stable rule-set; a level playing field. Stable rules allow you to work at your peak. Some types force is for your benefit, some is not; but they are known, and you have the tools to deal with them.
Women don't have force, women have manipulation. Referred to in short-hand as womaneese:
To use the correct combination of words, body-language, and tone, in order to elicit an action in men for their benefit. If the words are true, so much the better, but it's not required. 
The same way one lifts weights, practices at the shooting range, and learns the law, one needs awareness of womaneese. You need to be aware, as the best manipulation is one which makes you think you're in control. There are five ways in which a woman can both cede control, and maintain control. Five techniques used to get a man to acquiesce. The five main categories are: anger, ego, shame, wounding, and frame-shifting. The 5 pillars of manipulation. Are they good, are they bad, is she evil in using them? The questions I will answer:

  • What are the techniques?
  • how are they used?
  • why are men falling for them?
  • are women evil in using them?
  • should you always fight being manipulated?

As always, the answer is yes, no, and maybe.

Anger

When another man is angry, the first thought that a man has is, If push came to shove, will I win a fight with this man? If yes, you don't have to change. If no, will you be able to fight well enough to deter him from trying? And again, if the answer is no again, you do your best to acquiesce. Maybe it is an apology, maybe it's agreeing to a (read:his) consensus, or following that law to the letter. It's an agreement between men. If civility breaks down, at some point, the threat of violence will become real. Like the saying, A polite society is an armed society. If you know you can lose, you can acquiesce. If you know you can win but it's going to cost you dearly, you can disengage. If you don’t know either way, you remain civil.
When a woman gets angry, you don't have those same assumptions; it takes your hardwired instinct to acquiesce and uses it to full advantage. There is a depressing set of comics, Marriage is Bliss. It covers the concepts of a guy beaten down by a wife’s anger well. Are you walking on eggshells, are you afraid of your woman turning off the sex tap? When push comes to shove, you do that same inner thought. If push comes to shove, I cannot win in a fight with the men that will protect this woman. I will not be able to fight back enough to deter them from doing so. And so you acquiesce, you incentivize her. About incentives, they tend to encourage more of the same behaviour. The more of these fights you back down from, refuse to engage, or acquiesce, the more strength it gives for the next time a good tongue lashing is in order.
This is one of the rules of the Married Red Pill. Reward good behaviour, don't reward bad behaviour. In this case, by surrendering and giving a girl what she wants, you're encouraging it. You do this because you don't see your options, you're looking at her like an equal. An equal to a man, with the benefit of a woman. Without implied threat of violence, either legal, or physical, you've turned this hundred and twenty pound vagina faerie into Andre the Giant. You look at her as an equal; you also look at her as an advantage. You know, there is no way you can use violence against a woman and win. So you hamstring yourself, because you believe the lie. Don't. Men and women are not equal.
Now, when you are in these situations, realize she will get angry, because it's worked so much in the past. When you ask yourself who will win a fight, you change the frame. There is no fight, this is a little girl. if a 4 year old called you a poopy-face, what would you do? Drop kick her through the door? Give in and do what she says? Or would you laugh, rub her head, and get back to whatever it is you are doing before she interrupted? Now, if she tries to break that frame by hitting you, that's a whole other issue. I would treat that as a deal breaker, you do you.

Ego

Not all manipulation is negative. Ego is particularity clever, since it taps into your longing for validation. Most men have a need to prove their masculinity. in fact, there are two things a man cannot fake, sex, and violence, everything else is fungible. This is why fucking and fighting are so integral to a man, they are earned and objective. A woman intuitively knows this. Open that jar of pickles for me, you big strong man you? Oh, you're such a [insert insecurity, or validation here]. What man doesn't want to encourage this more? Reward good behaviour, don't reward bad behaviour, right? Wouldn't you want to encourage this woman, encourage her worshiping? To agree on how manly he is? Ask yourself; is that what she's really doing? Remember, womaneese, the correct use of words and tone to elicit an action. It's not malicious, and she very well may believe it at that time, but time, like emotions, are fickle.
I had a shipmate during my early days, Stacey. She was what we in the 90s called, a turbo slut. She was always branch swinging from short term relationship to short term relationship, a real serial monogamist. When she had a new man, all she could talk about was his big fucking hammer. A big tittied, pretty young prairie girl, talking about giant cocks. Always good for a laugh. I imagine you would do all kinds of things to encourage a chick to brag about your dick. To brag about it to anyone who would listen. Except, like clockwork, a few months later, the guy would be gone. His replacement in the wings.
And what happened, then? Well, in Whoresville they say – that the guys big dick shrunk three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Stacey came through, and the guy lacked the prowess of *ten inches, plus two!
Shed the need for validation, and ego flattery loses it's power. Remember, she feels it at that time. It may be sincere in her little girl brain, she may mean it completely, it may even be objectively true. Remember it's a fleeting emotional outburst, to make you more malleable. I said before a man is his own judge, and it's not just about not apologizing for being you. It's also about not buckling with complements. they are are controlling as the strongest punch.
Stacey, to scale.  Note, during my Mystery days, blue contacts and bit ass rocks in my ears, Peacocking.

Shame

Shame is the reaction you feel when someone goes after your soft spots. Men hate the idea of not being a man. What does it mean, to be a real man? Who cares? Once she throws it out there, you’re on the defensive. And the stronger you proclaim that it’s not true, the more it looks like you're hiding your shame. By treating it as real, you make it real. Everyone has it to some extent. Parents are ashamed of being bad parents. Men are ashamed of being bad men. It's an issue of frame. When you are insecure about some failure, some inadequacy, or just don't know if you're up to par; that's your thing. No one knows your insecurities so shut the fuck up about them, don't flinch. Most of the time people aim for the common spots anyways. Men have little dicks, parents are bad parents. Women are super sensitive about blowing Aziz Ansari. When someone else frames your failure, and you buy into that? They manufactured both your failure, and your shame from it.
Shame is a sort of emotional violence. Instead of avoiding psychical pain, you avoid the emotional pain. It is what drives your coercion, the polar opposite of ego. You acquiesce to avoid pain, not to increase pleasure.

  • You will be made to feel bad for not doing something. 
  • You will be made to feel bad for even thinking that thing. 
  • A real man would do it.
  • Only real men do it. 
  • My ex used to do it all the time. 
  • Even my ex would never have thought about doing it. 
  • The only people who do it are low quality (this one is common when women are talking about their soft spots; your happiness is the fault of low quality/intelligence in women). 

Intelligent people or those who wish they were, think only stupid people do it. Attractive people, or those who wish they were, think only unattractive people do it. Insecure people, or those pretending to be secure, can only imagine an insecure person doing it. Show us where the bad man touched you.
You are your one and only judge, and you will refuse to be judged by any standards, other than your own. Again, you are your only judge, and I will make a plea for irrational confidence, the best defense against shame.

Wounding

I remember a scientific concept, of crying babies, screaming women, and whining dogs. There is something within the male-brain that has a visceral reaction to all of them. When one of the things we value cry out under distress, we get a boost of anxiety, and an innate need to protect, to remove the source of that distress. Made sense for cavemen. Cave women didn't get angry because their boss made them stay late. they got angry because a bear was trying to eat her kids, or some dude was trying to cleave her head with a cudgel. You are the only creature on this planet fit to accomplish anything of worth, and people instinctively know, if they feign wounds, it can tap into that. It's not just women. Anyone who has been friends with a deadbeat will tell you the same. They just need a few bucks for something, or want forgiveness for doing that same stupid thing they always do, acting as pathetic as possible. When it's someone you like, it's begrudging coercion. When it's someone you don't like, it is shameful behaviour. When it's a vagina you may be fucking? It's the fucking Bat-signal.
It's easy when it isn't you at the receiving end. Everyone has that friend who is dating a dud, but he just cant see it. One of my best shipmates, Colin; he had it bad. He dated this French girl, Elle. Every time he was off to do something with the boys, she would get sick, she would have a headache. She would need to have him take care of her. And sure enough, we would get that same call week after week. He was sorry; he couldn't go out with us that weekend. Elle needed something; he had to take care of her. He was such a loyal soldier. Even after they broke up, and I worked with her when I was teaching at the fleet school, it was the same thing. A posting would come up out of area, and she would be at the hospital, coming up with all manner of NATO knee, RIMPAC back, and Padre Confessionals. Any sort of victim injury in order to remain in her cushy job. Max, one of our freshly married men was sent off, without his wife, to the coldest, most remote place in north Quebec, because she had a date that weekend. Seriously.
People aren’t going to be killed by bears and rival tribes anymore. You need to quash that instinct inside you. It’s a gift, not an obligation. Get cold, or you will get owned.

Frame-Shifting

For the male who is not quite broken, or is blissfully unaware (as naturals often are), this one is a killer. Close your eyes, think back. Picture those girls, the ones you met in university, or the ones you meet at work. They are the ones who talked about school as if they were the first ones in the world to attend a school, #Iamverysmart. The girls who think their sheepskin equates to their IQ. Very similar attitude to those snarky new moms. The kind of woman who prefaces some bullshit statement by saying as a mother, I… 
If you’ve heard this before, then you know you got one. It's a manipulation, the same way that your headlights keep a deer from crossing the highway, and instead having it stand there like soon-to-be-roadkill. The goal is to make you too tired to fight, to make the mental labour involved in standing up for yourself harder than the mental labour involved in giving in. Deer in the headlights.
This type of manipulation is so common, it's cliché. Bill Burr talks about how women argue. Bringing up old situations to assign blame, but have nothing to do with the current situation. Demoting the conversation on a concept into an emotional one. She can be a subtle narcissist, and bring out any information that points you out for hypocrisy. So satisfying. She can be like the Charles and Edna example here. Reverse psychology, the Socratic Method, tit-for-tat, negotiation. The last one is the finest example, of Briffaults law. How many times has a woman you've known promised you something, usually sexual, in order to get you to do something? How many times have you done something, and then your reward fizzles into nothing? Frame-shifting is the ability to make your reality into her reality, along with all the fuzzy memories and logic that come with it. The smarter a woman is, the more adept she is at this skill. When a woman who is on the low end of intelligence try it, its also effective. Not because it's more skillful, but it short circuits the mans pathways. It's a dance, do enough words that everyone forgets how the conversation started, but we know damned well where it ended. Do you know why women do it better than men? Because men have shame, men have that want for honesty, the want for loyalty, the want for open communication. Take away those constraints, and act only to get yours. Only then will you not fall for this stuff.
Frame is king. Disregard whatever was said, focus on what you want. Less talk, more action

Counterpoints

Manipulation isn't good and evil, any more than when my grandmother would call dice and playing cards the devils tools. They are tools, old ladies playing crib do not equal Vegas taking your money. The thing about manipulation isn't that it's evil, or that it's always used against your best interests. That's the clever thing, much of the time the manipulations are good for you. That one time you do get a lackluster fuck out of a promise to make it up to you later? I'm sure everyone has experienced, or given this, at least once in their lives.
Those times when a loved one is truly in distress, and you come to their rescue? I remember a New Year’s trip to Seattle, some random dude tried grabbing my girl in our hotel, and tried dragging her out. I cut my hand on a painting I had broken, throwing the back of his head into it with the choke technique my step father taught me.
An ego stroking in front of a peer group can have lasting benefits in your networks (Stacey’s doing the lords work). I would often bring one of my plates onto my ships many dignitary functions. The Captain, Coxn, and Executive officer always loved how much more attractive it made their crew look, surrounded by attractive women, hanging off their crews arm. My head of department tried to get me charged, and the command team laughed him out of the room. Influential! For all these techniques, if they never benefited you, you would never agree to them. They are this intermittent reward system that women learn through trial and error.
So again, is it evil? Is it malicious? Yes, no… maybe. They are the the little white lies.

  • Oh, it’s not so bad, he will get over it.
  • I meant it at the time, but X got in the way
  • It's for his own good
  • It's only asking for such a small thing.

But much of the time they aren't. No one can look back fondly at the time their ex-wife gas-lights a man into avoiding all his friends, like poor Colin used to be. No one can look back fondly when their ex-girlfriend shamed him, called him distrusting and controlling; meanwhile, she's fucking some other dude while he continues to pay the bills. No one can fondly look back at the time their wife said she can't do some sexual thing, and would be triggered from some sexual incident in her past, and avoid fucking a guy for years. Then, 2 weeks after the divorce, is out happily riding another dude.

Questions you should ask yourself. 


  • Should you worry about it? 
  • What do you do about it? 

For that, each man has to ask this of himself. Be aware of when you are being manipulated. Hold onto the golden rule, what is in it for me? Is the manipulation for mutual benefit, or is it for your detriment? Had she not used shame, anger, or weasel words to get you to do something; had she simply asked, like a normal adult, would you have still done it? Have you been a floor-mat for so long you need to establish that you are no longer a plow horse? Are you being given a carrot on a stick, dangled just out of reach?

Manipulation

Women get angry. Women play to your ego. Women will shame you. Women will play wounded, and women will shift the frame until you're acting against your own interests. Not always, but often enough. There’s no need to get mad over it. It's no different than your boss, or that guy at the bar; they aren't directly telling you what to have to do, but they have that underlying understanding.

  • You will do what I say, or you will be out of a job. 
  • You will not fuck with me, or I will put you down. 
  • You will follow the law, or you will lose your freedom

That woman in your life will use her womaneese to get you to do something for her, or stop doing something for yourself. You will act on her wishes, or else. Instead, you are adding to the tools you have, in order to deal with these new coercive methods. Just like the tools you have for your male and society interactions. If your boss pushes too far, you [should] have fuck-you money, and you will find another job. If that guy in the bar tests you, you will put him down. If you cannot, you will make it cost him more than it's worth to start any shit. If your woman is manipulating you further than you care to be manipulated, you will use your tools. And this is the crux of it. The guiding principle of what you can do, and what your tools are for dealing with women.

Your only tools

A man only has three tools, your commitment, your affection, and your attention. Those tools only have teeth based on your SMV. You aren't using the stick to avoid manipulation, you're removing the carrot.

Retirement, 2 years and 30 days later

Tip of the hat to the first post. The Suez seems a better pic than the Panama, since a mans MAP doesn't have locks, it's all under your own steam

Reflection: 2 years since taking the pill

It is just over over 2 years since my first post, and here I am, reflecting on my journey. I am reflecting on the lessons learned. I am reflecting on the lessons I thought I learned. I look back and see lessons that I wasn't aware of. It years of reading, learning, writing, acting, and calibration to get to where I am today. My first steps into my Male Action Plan (MAP) involved boundaries, involved not being taken advantage of, or for granted. The hidden lessons were on overcoming learned helplessness and the validation seeking behaviour that came with my anger phase.
I learned the importance of having fight left in you, not caring if others acknowledge it, and how avoiding the hard things go a long way towards killing lifes joy.
I learned to take the lumps when I had no choice, and avoid the lumps when the opportunity presented itself. Even in victory, no one really gave a shit, and I should continue with whatever the fuck I am already doing. Finally, I learned that life only gives joy to authenticity, and that I had no idea what the fuck authenticity was, most of us do not.

Learned helplessness

If you fail enough, if you are kicked enough when down, you have a common coping mechanism. It is called learned helplessness. Failures lead you to distrust escape routes when they present themselves. They are just another failure, why waste the effort. You take the easier road, accept your fate, and take the easier action. Since you will arrive at the same outcome, why bother?
The experiment that coined the phrase involved dogs, being given electric shocks while locked in cages. Scientists would keep the cages closed throughout the experiment, while randomly applying electric shocks. The dog would scramble about and try to escape until the shocks stopped. Eventually, the dogs stopped trying to escape. Eventually, the door was opened during the shocks. The dogs were so prepared for failure, so prepared that it was easier to lay there and accept their fate. They never tried to escape.
This was the script, the script that I was writing for my life. My own personal one-man play. I was gaining weight, I was on SSRI's. Fourteen months of purgatory where I learned the Laws of Power. Laws I ignored as a child, when the adults around me constantly demonstrated them to me. The military as an organization is cold, and uncaring. You get used to it. Once you are subjected to the military justice system, you experience this first hand. It was my command team, using the system to remove me. How else could you explain throwing around the accusations of espionage, in a unit that did not contain anything of worth? Jeff gave the premise, and my team rolled with it. Everyone was primed to assume the worst, and there we were. Delays in due process, punishment without due process, the rules didn't seem to matter. On an organization that drilled procedure, rules, and compliance above all, it is a huge pill to swallow. Just knowing that it was all a lie, contingent on you being high enough in the chain of command to disregard it without consequence.
I beat this attack. I did what people did not do. I shed my learned helplessness. I still had some fight left in me. The military has a system, which is as clever as it is consistent. It's called a summary trial. It is an informal version of a court-martial. Equivalent to what you associate with plea bargain vs a  court trial.
It is theater at it's finest.
This theatrical production happens the same way, every time. I've been the director of this play a dozen times in my own career up to this point.. Use dread to put fear into the other person, let it simmer a bit, then, you offer a lifeline:
Here, a court martial can offer jail-time, it's very serious. Just take the summary trial. We get this out of the way, and it can be all over. worst we can do is a few weeks in confinement, that's not so bad.
And that's what everyone wants. When every one of those guys was on the stage. Their one man production of "Fucked, the musical". They wanted it to end, to remove the electric shocks. They all said the same line. They just wanted it to end. It was fucked, after the 3rd one, you realize they all had the same script, you didn't even have to tell them their lines. Of course, you lay on the organizations disappointment with their ethical lapse, like a father disappointed in his son. Nine times out of ten they would cry. This was by design. I was actually given formal training on how to act when a man cries in front of you, how fucked up is that? I still remember having it explained to me:
Don't console, don't tell them it will be OK, don't say anything. If they begin to tear, push the box of tissue towards them, do not offer. Pause until they can regain composure, and do not let them leave the room.
When a guy is given this exit, to make the pain go away, it is the equivalent of you laying there, waiting for the shocks to end. You are helpless, so you let it happen as the path of least resistance. In reality, they opened the door for you long ago and you just refused to step out. The reason that door is opened is the same reason that the summary trial is offered. Most sailors are not trained in the rules of evidence, they cut corners when doing interviews, and screw up all kinds of due process. Often, the punishment is given beforehand, because they just know that the guys guilty, or he deserves it. I have a recording of my MP interview. I have no idea if it was permitted or not, but I heard the point where they opened the door for me. It was when I heard them ask me to tell them what I had done, and what else they could charge me with it. And with a few simple words, my MAP had began:
I'm not going to do your fucking job for you
Not going to lie, felt pretty bad ass to talk all tough to the cops. I was pissed, all that time, and they really had done nothing at all. I had pictured what so many other men picture. That moment in their head when their ungrateful spouse, their ungrateful boss, when they cannot be bothered to put in the effort while shitting on you. They had asked me to shock myself. When I was offered the script, offered the summary trial, I turned it down. The powers of punishment would be greater, but so is the onus of the organization to prove them. I took on the risk of unlimited punishments, because I know that I was in the right. A defining male characteristic is our risk taking behaviour, and this was my risk.
After 14 months of punishment, poisoning my professional network, libelous correspondence, I won. You can shock me for over a year, and I would survive. As soon as the door opened, I would escape. I want it to end, but on my terms. I still had fight in me, good. What came next was the shit that I was not ready to own.
On the developed side of the canal, there were always these pathways, if you looked, you could easily escape the desert

Validation Seeking

It is not a positive thing. It is not a negative thing. It is an attention thing. Acting because you want someone to acknowledge you or your grievance is validation seeking. In my case, I wanted to rub their noses into it. The letter from my commanding officer contained a last ditch effort to shit all over me. Accused me of being a bag of shit, functionally useless, and stopped just short of calling me illiterate. The second paragraph though, it had been one of the kindest things I have ever seen written about me. That they hated me, but desperately needed me, the place was falling apart without me. A mans only value is what others can glean off him, and for the first time in a long time, I was valuable.
I framed that letter, placed it at the front of my desk. I displayed it proudly, I wanted them all to know. That will learn them! Fuck me, I roll my eyes when I remember this. Had another guy told me this plan, I would have laughed and called him a faggot. And here I was, a giant faggot with a framed picture. There's an inside joke to go with this, I will leave it for another day. It wasn't just the letter either. I had the timer. A big digital timer, visible to all, counting down the 6 months until I was a civilian again. A big fuck-you, down to the second.
I put together a plan, I decided that I was done. Once you see the "meritocracy", the paper-tiger comradare, the faux-nobility of Queen and Country, and you cannot do it. After all that, it was impossible for me to stay and still pretend I had any self-respect. I would be the jaded sailor, sitting around for 8 years, collect my non-indexed pension. Fuck that noise, ride or die bitch. Military paid for a second degree, of which I completed in three years. Three, boring, anti-social hard study years. I had gotten enough mentor-ship to transition into civilian life properly. I had saved enough money. Enough that I would not have to work for years, not unless I wanted to.
I then sat at my desk, staring at that countdown timer. Every time someone came into that room, I would watch them glance over, read that letter, and then look at them. Officers would always avoid the topic, enlisted guys would act surprised. Old salty chiefs would shake my hand and congratulate me on the war trophy. How cathardic.
Fuck you, I'm valuable and you're going to lose me! 
What a horrible script. I made this theatrical production in response to theirs. And it wasn't the play I wanted to perform, that is the worst part, it was wasted effort. What were they going to do? Make a request to have me stay? They had nothing to offer me, and I would have refused. The egos attached were not going to try anyways, even if the place burned down after I left. No, I wanted them to request, and I wanted to reject the offer. That would have felt good. I always say, I ain't shit, and that's OK. I was not OK with it then. That moment I secretly fantasized about would never come, and I shouldn't have even invited the thought of it. I had enough anger over my life at that point, I didn't need to seethe off it. It got me back to the gym, it got me eating better, it got me motivated to game. I acted as if that was not enough.

The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy.

As long as I can remember, I never got excited. I was never excited for birthdays, vacations, or paychecks. It was as if I didn't care about anything. I wrote this piece two years ago. I remember being excited about leaving the military. I was fucking giddy. The last 20 months were filled with anger and excitement, spite and joy. The one thing it did not have was apathy.
I missed the obvious, many do when they are the middle of their situation. This is the importance of the own your shit weekly posts in Married Red Pill. You perform consistent reflection, calibration and action. While you are performing, you get the perspective of someone who both understands your mental outlook, and does not care to get in your way. I'd go so far to say they enjoy watching you solve it, especially if they can attach their notes onto the success story. Strangers, men, focused on a similar goal are the only group I know that help a man when he's down. Better than paid shrinks, better than family, and way better than you're fucking wife, girlfriend, or fat-full-time babysitter.
The lesson that I take away, after some distance, was how good it is to have fight left in you. I learned that validating of that fight with others is wasted effort. I read about men committing suicide after a divorce, a stock market crash, a false rape accusation. I realize, they didn't have any more fight in them. I'm not comparing or minimizing what they went through, I see that they wanted to take the easier solution. I will not judge a man for that. I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that I am not one of those men. The world may not give two shits if I live or die, if I succeed or fail, but I do.
Those spiteful symbols did not make me happy. They were chocolate cake, a prop for this theatrical production. They tasted delicious, and if chocolate cake was the only thing I ate, I would be a fat fuck. I wrote on that old post about getting dragged into the boss office, heels together, berated over something my replacement had done. I didn't feel anything, it was surreal. I was an actor, going through the motions. the play was wrapping up, this was the last show, and I just sat there, she does know this is just a play, right? Military theater would have me stand straight, take the shit, and profess how I would take action to rectify. And on top of it all, I would thank them for the interaction, like they were doing me a fucking favour by chewing me out. I don't recall saying anything, I just said "K" and left it at that. the director had already yelled to cut, the scene was over, and here this person was, still treating this as if it were real.
The difference was in being John Hamm, not being Don Draper. This is what I learned. Never accept my fate if a door is open. Never expect others to validate it when I do, and to always remember, it's just theater, and I am another actor.

The adventures of Donkey Dick in Dubai; or, Mess culture and Superego

Rock Bottom, Dubai UAE. Not seen: Donkey Dick, see below for explanation why.
Meeting guys in Florida was … interesting. After I presented, Rollo had a question. Very cool! THE redpill hero of mine! Rollo asked me what I thought was the biggest obstacle for men. The biggest obstacle in becoming self-actualized.
I still stand by my answer. Self-sabotage, AKA stepping on your own dick.
I've read and seen unwarranted shame, as well as unwarranted pride. Pride in half-assed effort. Many of the men in Florida were a pleasure to talk to, and I can tell they interact with other men on the regular. But the younger crowd? Something stood out. Which reminds me, the date. November 11.
I'm coming up on my 2 year anniversary. My 2 year anniversary of leaving my bitch ex-wife, AKA the Royal Canadian Navy. I enjoyed the memories, the coworkers, the foreign ports. I won't speak well of the organization, especially from the perspective of a man, finding his mission #PeacetimeMilitaryProblems. I do reflect on the experience on occasion, the Mess Culture. It occurred to me, this is the thing that was missing with a lot of those guys.

What is Mess Culture? 

It's what guys refer to when complaining about the female invasion of male spaces. I can talk to a man, or read his writing, and can tell you if he has it or not. It's that obvious. /u/Dirty_pr had a few of his friends show up in Florida, I met them when they were telling the story of eye-fucking Rollos wife on the plane. 10 seconds into the conversation I could tell. They were the kind of men who had it. /u/Screechater, /u/thefamilyalpha as well. Half of theredpill is about sexual strategy, the other half of the mission statement is: in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men. Being able to successfully engage other men, and not devolve into bitch-fights and bravado contests is a skill. I don't think people are taught it anymore. I'm not talking conflict averse either, I'm talking specifically male conflict juxtaposed against female conflict. This is why female invasion causes problems. Problems exist when women are around when you get platonically social. You start to pick up their caddy habits. Shame, in-group signalling, these are a woman's tools. If you can shame a man, a man who has no other masculine frame of reference? Then you can manipulate a man into thinking himself a failure, feeling unwarranted shame.

A Short, Disjointed History of Mess Culture

When I talk about the lack of male-spaces, I talk about having a place to relax and bond, and it is missing almost everywhere I go. I've been to almost 2 dozen different countries, and it's the one thing that has existed in all of them, though it's becoming harder to find. I'm talking about the place where you play hard, you work hard. I would hear the old hairy-bags*1 talking about their Mess Culture in the 90s. They would have porn playing 24/7 in the mess. They smoked and drank before the morning shifts. It was a different time. My generation are coffee addicts, only the engineers table getting drunk on Monday. Instead of porn, we would have SexTV playing porn documentaries. I guess the difference between porn and a documentary was whether there was a cameraman in the shot, and a lack of closeups.
No one complained though. We even had conversations, surprised that it wasn't jagged in, or that some woman would complain about it. The idea of being unapologetically man was so foreign to us, we were treating it like an indulgence. We were numb to the visuals after a while. I remember a few times we would be talking about starting a yoga session on the flight deck, or talking about our various business side-hustles while Asia Akira was polishing a knob in the background. At one inspection, a group of us was reading, while it was blaring in the background, the XO just laughed and told us which one of our books he had read and enjoyed previously. My last year on-board, there was a growing group of guys having video-game tournaments on a Friday night in San Diego. Doing it all, sober, after a month of 24/7 work shifts and sleep deprivation. I kind of knew there was a problem with this, but couldn't put my finger on it, before RP. I was in Tijuana with the senior NCO's drinking tequila in a cab, driving around T-town, yelling at the Zebra. (If you don't know, look up Tijuana Zebra for a laugh)
Mess culture, for lack of a better word, is the male social matrix, formalized. I don't want to make it sound too faggy, it's kind of like a safe space. Not safe for your feelings, more safety for your reputation and mental sanity. Work hard, play hard. We all know we are in a competition in the world, it's a structured environment where you can drop that pretense and have some respite. Best way to ensure a long lasting friendship? Know the weaknesses of another man, have him know yours, and don't capitalize on them. Lifelong bonds right there. to illustrate mess-culture, one rule of mess functions:
No one may leave the dining room without first obtaining permission from the PMC.
My favourite formal mess dinner stories are from this rule. It's almost a punishment. Guys have pissed in their tuxedos, with laughs had by all. Eventually, you learn to pace yourself, but someone always does it. Unless you were a recovering alcoholic, the peer pressure to drink and suffer was written into it. I can't describe it in a way to give it justice, you just have to experience it yourself. This isn't a western thing, or a military thing either. It's a world-wide male phenomenon. I still have fond memories from having a makeshift mess function in some random hole-in-the-wall whiskey bar while I was in Tokyo. Sitting there, watching baseball with a businessman who didn't speak a word of english, absolutely shitfaced. The junior OD's that had joined me there had a great time, in the company of perfect strangers.
Another rule:
No cameras are allowed in the mess. 
The mess culture is one of discretion. It's every mans fortress of solitude. Problems are handled from the members, it starts in the mess, it ends in the mess, and it's never discussed outside the mess. My dislike of reservists spawned form watching them take selfies in a mess. Also a complete lack of competence, but that's a story for later. The whole culture transformed into a narcissistic signal, Look how much fun we are having, acting like real men! When I talk about LARPING masculinity, this is a good example.
A mess culture is male-only. There isn't a situation where you can let your vulnerabilities show around women, and not suffer repercussions later. They change the dynamic, and not in a good way. Not every women is incapable of joining in, and not every man is capable of turning-off with the token female presence. It makes more sense to generalize here, at the expense of whomevers feelings are hurt. It's just not worth it.
The problems grow, when you're so used to a female presence it completely changes how you act. Acting differently, even when there are no women around. I can't speak to this as a male sexual strategy. I can speak to it as being able to enjoy being a man, surrounded by other men. And I'm telling you, it's one of life's true pleasures.

Sorry I missed your speech, a tale of two stories

Part I: Lost Boy

Can't sleep the day before a SAILORD, or sailing order. 

Missing your ships cast-off was more than just a charge for AWOL. They had to send a boat to come pick you up, and bring you back in front of everybody. Even if you had a story of fucking 3 models, it was an embarrassment in front of your entire peer-group. You would be rightfully ashamed. The models were the mitigating factor in your punishment. The Cox'n would laugh and buy you a beer, after he ran your ass*2. And when asked to give a speech, talking about married men and the RP, it was another sailord for me. It wasn't about people wanting to listen to me, it was a work. It's not the anxiety that you'd get as a kid, up early waiting for Christmas. That's a leeching attitude. It's that readiness to produce.
This is what we play for!
I was not expecting to have this insight at the 21 Convention. It stuck with me longer than I thought it would. After I gave my 9AM talk, a guy I met on the first day shook my hand. Illimitable man describes Lost Boys, and this kid would be the archetype. He kept apologizing for missing my speech. I didn't care, they paid for 55 minutes of my time, how they chose to use it was their business. Still, he kept apologizing, and then he would stare. He would just stare at me, like it was my line next. Stared with these eyes. I don't want to get too faggy here either, I couldn't get that image out of my head. Clearly he wants me to ask him why he couldn't make it. Finally, he blurts it out.
It was because he got a hooker, and because of the logistics, missed the first hour. 
It gave me pause. He didn't know who the fuck I was yesterday. And now? Now I was the man in his life who could give him absolution for his sins. He had the look of a guy who was begging. Was it for forgiveness, acceptance, approval? I don't fucking know. I've never had a guy look at me like that. It wasn't awkward, it was just... off. He was ashamed. It wasn't rightfully ashamed, like if he had missed a SAILORD, and had to be paraded around for the rest of the crew. He wasn't costing anyone an inconvenience, no one there knew him. There was no judgement from anyone, but still shame. This is what I'm talking about. Who would shit on him for hiring a pro? Women. And no women were there, yet he still stuck to the script.
I am starting to understand why guys latch onto RP, like it's some kind of identity. They never had a Mess Culture, they don't know what other men are like, and have never had to learn to have that comfort and ease in that comes from it. Hunter just stared at me, awkwardly. All I could think to do was to tell him a story. The story of Donkey Dick and his adventures in Dubai.

Part II: Donkey Dick

A bosun I knew, Dalke. We called him Donkey Dick. Since the filthy line monkeys had no filter or shame, we all had turns being surprised by his dick jump-scares. It was a party trick, see if he could trick you into staring at it, so he could call you a fag. The only guys who didn't fall for it were the gay dudes onboard. I guess once you've had enough dicks, you know the signals to watch for. We were in Dubai for 10 days R&R, in the middle of our deployment.
For some background, any woman you see in Dubai who isn't British, Emirate national, or a flight attendant is a prostitute. Even then, the lines blur. The main bar everyone went to was called the Rock Bottom. As close as the middle east gets to the movie Roadhouse. When we got there, some Palestinians picked up bricks from the street and were throwing it at some Iranian dudes Lambo driving off. Inside? Hookers, the children of ex-pats, and a shit ton of sailors. Donkey wasn't there yet. Where did he sneak off to?
Some guys would pick up, some would not. I got a Omani flight attendant that night with a New Zealand accent. Donkey showed up later, and was laughing. The bosuns were striking out, and eventually were going for hookers. 500 USD for an hour, and Donkey couldn't stop laughing, calling them all losers. I don't know what hookers cost normally, but that seemed expensive as fuck. Donkey said it was fucking ridiculous, and then told us why he was gone. Donkey had a hooker earlier, and he sat us down and told us a funny story.
Sidenote: British/AUS/NZ accents make girls sound feminine


He came there with a strategy. He had deployed previously, and knew the score. Guys would be all horny, sexually frustrated, and blow it all night. Sailors are known for DGAF, but not known for game. Once they couldn't take it anymore, and the night was winding down, they would be paying top dollar for the end of the night hookers. The girls were smart, and added desperation charges onto their rates. Donkey, on the other hand, grabbed one at 7PM, before the doors even opened. Cost him 150 USD, and by his words worth every penny. Now he could chill and enjoy himself, sipping on drinks and having a laugh telling stories with the boys. He sat back, sipping on Zima's (don't ask) and had the biggest grin on his face. 

No shame, no judgement, just Mess Culture

But they are no different. I didn't end up paying much more in alcohol, than Donkey did in USD

Part III I regret not spelunking in Oman: 

Now, if you really want a rabbit hole to go down:
She'd run and tell the story to the one person in her life who had, simultaneously, full power of absolution and zero power of punishment, and if she was 28 that would be a therapist but at 18 it could only be one person: her mother
I find it hilarious that I wrote this almost a year before I ranted against asking 'why'. Imagine a place where this person of absolution is a complete stranger. I worry that I was such an important figure in another guys life, I hope that I'm not, I really do not want it. 
I don't know if it helped the guy out, if he got his absolution, or if he learned anything from the weekend. He shook my hand and walked away. I didn't see him for the rest of the conference, hopefully he didn't leave, and stuck it out. Yeah, he was awkward, out of shape, dressed poorly, and had a J-curl from the 1980s. I've had guys like that in my basic training, minus the hair. Guys like this in my TQ3 course, guys like this during my ship time. I've even had this type of guy as a student when I was an instructor. Know the difference between a natural, a RP man, and an incel? Mess Culture, some muscle, and time-in.
My friend Chris, myself, and my coworker Kyle could have fit all three examples to a T. By our fourth year in, and a shit ton of sea-days, we all had similar stories, and you wouldn't know which was which by the end.
Sex with that HB8. Drunken buffoonery in San Diego and the train to T-town. Overnight stays in the drunk tank. Kyle runs marathons for fun, re-mustered into clearance diving (basically spec-ops). Chris was groomed for leadership as an officer. I've moved on and made it in the private sector. I say these things not to brag, I say them to show the importance of Mess Culture.
Chris is retiring end of the year. Plan to take a trip with him to celebrate. Ideally, some place where the chance of dying is > 0, his OCD will go crazy just by the spontaneity of it. I was pissed, last time we were in Oman, a cyclone took out the roads, and I wasn't able to go spelunking in the caves, those ones from the movie Rambo III. A month after missing that opportunity, Donkey Dick was teaching me about how best to hire a hooker in Dubai, and I was wearing one of these fucking
flight-attendant hats and my birthday suit, no ragrets.
I really hope the guy from Florida learned to have a laugh, and tell other guys how to manage your time better when hiring a professional during a masculinity conference.

*1 Hairy-bag is an endearing term for sailor that we would use to describe each other. 
*2 To run someone is to put them on a summary trial