Mindfully Masculine: Personal Growth and Mental Health for Men

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot

November 13, 2023 Mindfully Masculine Media LLC | Charles & Dan Episode 105
Mindfully Masculine: Personal Growth and Mental Health for Men
Pop Quiz, Hot Shot
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Let's talk about "testing"! Not the boring kind from school--the exciting kind from relationships. Throughout romantic relationships, partners will "test" each other (consciously and subconsciously), usually in an effort to confirm that their partner actually is who, and what, they claim to be.

We hold the position that this is a normal, healthy part of relationships, and that a man's most effective response to being tested is to be authentic, and to continually work at being the strongest, healthiest, and happiest version of himself.

Give this episode a listen, and let us know what you think!

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Charles:

So okay, whenever you want to start.

Dan:

Good morning.

Charles:

Charles. Good morning Dan. How are you? I'm well, thanks.

Dan:

What have you been up to? I was treated to a nice birthday gift over the weekend. Went down to South Florida, went over to Peanut Island first time doing that and, yeah, kind of got caught up in a little bit of chop and, like I mentioned to you this morning before we recorded, we were fortunate to have a lot of people that were very kind and helpful there. A guy with a little dingy and a motorboat came by and was like hey, grab on. So we had just an inflatable kayak with two of us and we were just going in circles the whole time and I was exhausted. I mean, it was a nightmare. I didn't think we were going to make it and it's like a quarter of a mile. You can see it from the shore there. It was a beautiful day but a ton of chop. So we grabbed on. He dropped us over on the other side of Peanut Island where we could do a little camping, a little barbecuing, and there's a little coral reef. You could do some snorkeling and stuff there. So this first time I'd been over there and had a little picnic and, yeah, made some friends from Tennessee who were also kayaking. They just go all over the southeast looking for places to kayak. Wow, like serious kayaks. We had one that you just blew up, yeah, so I had a great time and, yeah, definitely would do it again, and hopefully next time with a little bit less chop there. So that was nice.

Charles:

I've been to Peanut Island once. I'm a little bit partial to the Blue Heron Bridge and Phil Foster Park. You did some of your diving there, right.

Dan:

I did how far? I have no concept. How far is Blue Heron Bridge from there, is it?

Charles:

close, it's very close. I've been to Blue Heron Bridge two and a half three miles. I had no idea. Yeah, it's all Riviera Beach.

Dan:

I didn't realize that Blue Heron Bridge was Riviera.

Charles:

Yeah, I've seen more exciting wildlife at Blue Heron Bridge than at the reef at Peanut Island. I mean it's nice, but I like the variety at Blue Heron Bridge a little bit more for snorkeling.

Dan:

When I went for, when I did some scuba diving down at Blue Heron Bridge, we actually saw Goliath Crooper, which apparently is really rare. They used to call those.

Charles:

Jewfish yeah, that used to be the name of them, Really. Yes, I do not Because I don't know what anti-semitic reason they called them that, but they used to be called that. They changed the name to or at least that's colloquial. Oh, colloquially that's what they were called. Maybe I just knew very racist people that called them that.

Dan:

But those things are huge, man, it was crazy yeah it was, and we couldn't really appreciate it because it was really cloudy in terms of the visibility. The visibility was really bad there, so we got to see the size of it a little bit and it was there for a brief moment in time. But, yeah, definitely enjoyed doing the Blue Heron Bridge because you could walk in with your gear, you didn't need to take a boat or anything you just took a walk in there and then go under the bridge. So that's been a few years. I'm overdue for another scuba trip. I've forgotten so much already.

Charles:

Yeah see, I'm dying to go on one of the there's five Royal Caribbean ships that, as part of the cruise, you basically can book your whole time on shore excursions to get your scuba certification. So you get to go on a cruise and you do checkout dives in the pool and then you do your final dive at whatever port that the cruise goes to, like Bahamas or whatever. And I've thought very seriously over the last few months of just booking one of those cruises solo and just go in and really focusing on doing a lot of writing for my business and writing in my journal and then also doing the scuba certification while I was on the boat. Now, it's not patty open water, it's the kind of certification where you still essentially need to go with a group, like you know, for like a resort dive, or you hire a guide to like take you out on a boat trip. But that's all that I think I would ever want to do anyway. I don't think I would ever want to. Just me and you rent a boat and we go dive, just the two of us, no, and I never would do that.

Dan:

I mean, every time I've gone I've we've hired somebody for the day to show it, because you don't even know where you're going unless you you know you really get into it. But having that there and every time I've done that, they've been great. They kind of refresh your memory in terms of you know the procedures to putting stuff on and testing things and and when you know when to come up, when to come down. So I highly recommend.

Charles:

Yeah, I don't think I. I don't think I need the certification where me and a buddy can just go out, the two of us. I don't think I would ever actually do that. So if I got the, the resort certification where you always have to go out with a dive master, I think I would get the. I would do the same amount of diving, yeah, and I'm definitely not interested in like going into caves or going super low or doing the nitrous or anything. I mean I am just going to be a scuba diving tourist and that's all I'll ever be. So I think I would. I think I would. That would be I think you know.

Dan:

I thought so too, and I would recommend the nitrous certification because, you realize after you do a few of them it's not that much more difficult and you get to stay under longer because you've got, that's what the nitrous gives you. And you start to feel comfortable and it's just like you know, just just with what you have, looking at stuff, and you're like, oh you know, be be able to be really cool, like look at a shipwreck or go into a cave or things like that you can do that with.

Charles:

just you don't need nitrous for that.

Dan:

No, no, no, no, no. But what I'm saying is oh, just gives you more time.

Charles:

Gives you more time.

Dan:

But also, if you wanted to do those, after you just do a few of the basic dives, you're like, oh, and I've seen all the the fit, the pretty fish I can see, I've seen all the coral. What else can I do, especially if it's convenient? Yeah, oh, I want to do a shipwreck, I want to do a cave dive, whatever, and so, yeah, you know, but you'll get there once you start getting into it. I love it because it's like meditating, I felt when I'm down there. You don't hear anything If you're not in a huge group anyway, you just all. You hear the bubbles and then all the way that's the only thing that you hear. Everything else is completely quiet. And then just the bubbles coming from from your, from your mouth, and then you know you just see these fish kind of coming by and just coming so close to you and you know some of them actually kind of bump into you and stuff a little bit if you're not. And it's very peaceful, it's very relaxing.

Charles:

Yeah, I find the same thing. Now, of course I you know, mindfulness is its own thing, and whenever somebody says fill in the blank is like meditating, I'm always like it is but it isn't. And I've heard the same things. Your business partner, Dick, told me the same thing about flying, where it's like when, when there's one thing that you're doing and you have to concentrate on that one thing, then at the you know, elimination of everything else that could distract you, there is sort of a a meditation like feeling to that. And I found the same thing when I had a motorcycle, because I would never like listen to music or anything like that with them, because driving a motorcycle of Florida is crazy already, and so, yeah, I would, I would always focus on just the road, and it is kind of relaxing in a way.

Dan:

And so the reason why it's like meditating when you're scuba diving is once you achieve the, the weightlessness, the neutral, the neutral buoyancy, which can be a little challenging, but once you get it and you don't feel your body anymore right now yeah, it really it did. Now I didn't come up and and I felt exactly like I feel after meditating, but when you're down there it's just very relaxing, very peaceful, and so that that part of it was similar to my meditating.

Charles:

Have you done a float tank before?

Dan:

I have I've done a few times similar, very similar experience.

Charles:

Absolutely. Yeah, I've only done it once, but I I enjoyed it, except the one that I was in had the. The pump or the filter or something was a little too noisy and I was like, eh yeah, this is distracting me, this is.

Dan:

I don't think this is what it's supposed to be, no, no, it's supposed to be complete sensory deprivation, right, so that's. That's sound too, yeah, yeah.

Charles:

All right Well how about you?

Dan:

What do you been up to? What's what's?

Charles:

new, more of the usual. I I've been working. I've been driving to and from work. I don't think I've gone on any trips since we've recorded last, which is unique I had one scheduled. I I I think I talked about going to Boston and then I talked about canceling the trip to save some money for either other travel or for the new car. I got my eyeballs on and I did cancel that trip. Um, I think it was a $72 round trip that I canceled on spirit, and they were like well, you know the our change fees are more than the cost of this flight, but we will give you a $20 credit for letting us know that you're not going to be on the plane, that we can sell the ticket to somebody else, and you know, with spirit, $20 credit, that's like a third of the price of what I usually pay to fly with them. So that's not nothing.

Dan:

Yeah. And then I mean I'm surprised they didn't charge you the change fee. They actually gave you money, yeah exactly.

Charles:

Yeah, that's kind of cool it is. It is I. Uh, yeah, I, I appreciate that. Um, in 31 days from when we're recording this will be my 46th birthday and I'll be up in New York city for that and I'm planning on four nights up there trying a new hostel. This is one where I will have my own room oh fancy. Well, I'll have my own. I'll have a bed in a room with a door. Nobody else will sleep with me, but it will be a shared bathroom. But it's also only it's $90 a night instead of the usual $50 a night. I think shared bathrooms is not a big deal at all.

Dan:

Yeah, I will spend much more time in bed than I will in a little less. Like it said, less is one toilet for the whole floor.

Charles:

Oh yeah.

Dan:

It's more like a dorm type of environment where there's more than one. That's fine.

Charles:

And I think it's a better area too Usually would stay up on what do they call it? Manhattan Valley, like Upper West Side, sort of 1303 or 113th Street, okay, and and Broadway was kind of the main Intersection of the hostel that I usually stay at. This one's in Chelsea and it's a little easier to get around. Oh, nice, midtown and downtown when you're in Chelsea, mm-hmm. So I'm hoping I'll be able to do even more walking, unless subway rides on this trip. But I'll be there, for my birthday is on, I want to say Monday, the 20th, and I think I'll be there Monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday and Friday, and that Thursday's Thanksgiving and that Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, mmm. So I will probably go visit the Herald Square Macy's on the day after Thanksgiving, because I love crowds and people. I Might, I might actually do the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, I? Okay now, does that take place on Thanksgiving or is it recorded before Thanksgiving?

Dan:

Oh, that's on Thanksgiving. That's Thanksgiving morning.

Charles:

It is. Yeah, I think I think I'll do it. I think I'll go and stand and watch the floats and stuff, yeah let me know how that goes for you.

Dan:

One of them will lose your crowds.

Charles:

Maybe one of them will lose their helium and fall on the crowd that happens every now and then or they get strong winds that they didn't expect. Fingers crossed, I mean it'd be good, it'd be a cool story. Yeah, I don't know. I think I might try it, though I think I might try to go and enjoy the crowd, if that's even a thing that is ha, I don't know you are gonna try and enjoy the crowd. I might try to enjoy the crowd.

Dan:

You want drugs this morning Just just caffeine Can I have.

Charles:

can I have some? Because? That's not sound like you. Just caffeine and Adderall? Okay, took 70 milligrams, let's go. So, yeah, that's, that's what I got coming up for me. I don't have any other travel before the end of the year, although, oh, I was on the Skyscanner app this weekend. Mmm, round trips to London for 350. Wow, okay, they got some pretty nice hostels in London.

Dan:

What kind of weather they have in this time of year. It can't be that great. I don't care, man it's.

Charles:

I Wouldn't bother me. Yeah, I, I mean it was gonna. It's gonna be rainy, it's gonna be cold big deal. I'll put on a rain jacket, I don't care, I it's very tempting. But you know, I'm trying to Trying to buckle down and get this, get this new set of wheels that I've been Jones and four, yeah, and that's where I should spend my money, because I know once I'm sitting in my little new convertible I'll be like man, I'm glad I saved the money up and bought this. Yeah, but it's hard to say no.

Dan:

Okay, how many months do you have to go before we feel comfortable pulling the trigger on on this vehicle? Just so you us, me and the listeners can keep you accountable. So you know it's looking, these crazy trips that you really don't need and the convertible you can enjoy every single day.

Charles:

That's true in Florida.

Dan:

I certainly could, if I and I would also enjoy it when you drive to. You know some of our outings, that's true, I would.

Charles:

I would be happy to drive, I like driving.

Dan:

Yeah, I love.

Charles:

If I Canceled my plan for going up to New York for my birthday, I could certainly get up before the end of the year, okay. But, this is your birthday trip. Yeah, I mean I could, I could enjoy my I mean birthday trip in 2024, right. Yeah, and this I mean I could stay in Orlando. Let you buy me a nice dinner and then take me to the cheesecake factory.

Dan:

Well, I mean, I'm gonna take you to dinner anyway, regardless of what you do with your trip right. So we need to plan that as well.

Charles:

Yeah, I well, I definitely, I definitely want a second stop. Wherever you take me, I want a second stop at Cheesecake Factory. Okay, it's a birthday cake cheesecake, sure, so that's not negotiable, but where we go beyond that. Oh, we tried bovine the other night for your birthday.

Dan:

That's right. Yes, thank you.

Charles:

I like that place. That place was good that was very good.

Dan:

I appreciate that. Thank you very much as kind of you to take me for a steak dinner.

Charles:

I enjoy a nice steak dinner with good company, and I enjoyed that particular location. I love how you go in. You go into the restaurant and it's mostly just a bar with some little booths and tables around it, and then there's that whole back room area. It's almost like a speakeasy. Yeah kind of yeah, like it really opens up in the back area and our waitress was amazing and let's see what all did we get? We got the cream spinach Slab of bacon. The bacon slab. That thing was amazing.

Dan:

I'll be honest with you it. It looked better than it tasted it was. I know, yeah, I wasn't sure if it was fatty or meaty or whatever, but it was just. It was a little bit soft in the middle, and that's. I Love bacon. But whenever they put it in slab form, I feel like I'm Setting my expectations a little too high. Like it's going to taste like regular bacon. It was more like pork belly right, yeah, exactly, and that's probably. that's what bacon is yeah, and so I'm like, yeah, it was alright, yeah, it was. I felt more obligated to eat it because you're paying.

Charles:

The uh. Yeah, I feel like if, if they just slapped together like eight epic bars, it would have been pretty similar.

Dan:

The steak was fantastic. We both had fillets and we got the truffle butter. It added. It added another dimension to those steaks, for sure.

Charles:

Yeah, and the cream spinach was pretty. That was a better. Oh yeah, they had a nice layer of cheese. I'll parmesan on top.

Dan:

I don't know, was there cheddar too? I don't know.

Charles:

There was. There was some extra. Yeah, maybe some mascarpone.

Dan:

It was good, delicious, that was yeah.

Charles:

Yeah, I usually make my cream spinach without cheese because you know, I mean, if you're like taking it to a Thanksgiving meal or Christmas meal, you don't know if people are into cheese or whatever. So I usually will make mine with butter, heavy cream, garlic and shallots and then, spinach sounds great and maybe a little bit of bacon bits, but I love, I love a good. I think it was emerald agassi's Recipe that I found, and he had cheese in it too, but I leave the cheese out, gotcha. I also like the taste of spinach. It's one of the few green vegetables that I actually like the taste of the vegetable. Yeah, really, asparagus, broccoli and spinach are probably the only three that I really enjoyed.

Dan:

What you're good, because those are all steak How's so so are any of those not in creamed form.

Charles:

I can do with just lemon, though. I prefer it with some cheese. Yeah, okay, asparagus, I can do with some, just some, like I generally know a holiday, though I wouldn't say no to it. Grilled asparagus with just like some steaks, like Montreal steak, seasoning on top, I can. I can do that. But spinach, spinach I can actually do, just sauteed with just a spinach, maybe a Little bit of butter to wilt it, and I probably put a little bit of salt, pepper and garlic on it. I can, I can deal with that too. Yeah, so those, those three are my, my three green vegetables that I like cooked, and then salad, of course I can, I can deal with iceberg, but prefer romaine, yeah, and yeah, I love. I've been eating a lot of salads lately because you know, for calorie restriction it's, it's easy to eat. You can eat a lot of salad and not get in that many cattle, right?

Dan:

You get that full feeling, yes, so I started incorporating some more salads into my diet after being pretty strict corn over for a while, but when I was doing smoothies, spinach was always my go-to green part of these Spinach is because the flavor and the creaminess actually that spinach provides. That in avocado Makes it really yeah, the shake really well delicious.

Charles:

I've never been able to tolerate any kind of vegetables in my smoothies and I don't think I ever will. Oh, the other night I did go to seasons 52 with a friend and had they had a lot of tempting offers that they have that ahi tuna salad that I really like. Last time we went with Curt Richard, I got that. It was delicious. But then for their fall menu, oh God, they had a Lamb loin. I think it was a lamb loin that I decided to try that and it was. It was better than any steak I've had at seasons 52. It was so. It was like a Kona Kona coffee crusted lamb loin or something like that. It was so tasty, I got it. I got it medium and it was perfect. And then I also love their little dessert shooters. You know those very small ones where they encourage you to get two or three, but no one done for me. What with the turtle cheesecake? Oh, it was, it was. It was as good as it sounds, yeah, awesome. So, all right, let's, let's get into our material. Let me check what's up. Timer 18 Minutes in. So, yeah, we have indulged in that's enough time. Chit chat, bullshit, long enough Time for some meat. I always think, oh, I'm gonna look at the timer today on this episode. Yeah, I'm gonna look at the timer and it's only gonna be like nine or ten minutes and it never is All right. Today's chapter in atomic attraction Again, this this is a book We've spent a lot of time on, but it's very diverse. It gets into a lot of areas, not just you know, here's the color shirt you should wear to make girls like you, but it also gets into. The last part of the book is more about maintaining relationships and we will run into some good stuff and some bad stuff. This chapter is women always test. And God, there is so much Anxed and bitterness on the internet about the fact that women test men. Not much mentioned. Not many guys complain about the ways that men test women, which we certainly do, but yeah, the the anger over women testing men is is quite palpable, especially on a reddit, and it really is unfair, I would say, because we, we all test things before we choose to invest in them. We test drive cars before we spend the money on them. You know, if we're looking to adopt a dog, we we go to the pound and we we have them taken out of the cage so we can play with it a little bit and see what it is that we're getting into. And In this example I am equating men to dogs, not women to dogs. So less less my complaints about Dr Glover come back, but it's, it's, yeah, it's essential that before you invest your time, effort, emotion, money in something, you make sure it's the right thing that you're choosing, and you do that through testing. Now One sentence here in the first paragraph of this chapter that I highlighted was at its core a test is an easy way for a woman to determine whether a man is weak or strong. I would cross out weak or strong and say it's an easy way for a woman to determine whether a man is trustworthy. Because if a man Advertises himself as weak, if he says you know, physically I I can't lift any weight, I can't run any distance and, from a perspective of my character, I only do things that are easy and I never, I never apply myself to do things that are hard or difficult. I just give up. That is a. If a man comes to the table with that and it's completely honest about it, that's the only man that no woman will test. She will take you at your word right. If you advertise yourself that we as weak in both what you do and what you say, she'll just be like, okay, I believe you, and then she'll never test you, yeah, and she'll never want to be with you. Yeah, sure, so I would change it to trustworthy, because most men will always be honest. Trustworthy because most men will advertise themselves through their, their words, certainly, and possibly their actions, as being strong, and so it's only when you bring that to the table, when you sort of try to sell yourself as strong, that is when a woman will test you, not to see if you're strong, necessarily, but to see if you're trustworthy. Right, is this guy what he says he is?

Dan:

I mean, you've already passed the first Test by saying you're strong and not weak, right, correct, the guys who say that they're, they're weak, whatever, come come qualify themselves immediately, right, yeah, so it's just like okay, well, action speak louder than words. We all know that and that's, I feel, where a lot of women are coming from is okay, you're saying this, but how do you actually behave, right, are you just selling me like a used car salesman and saying you know, hey, all these things, you know I've got all these things going on, but you know what people say, what people are, do, are very different.

Charles:

Right, talk, talk is cheap. It's easy to tell someone what you are. It is difficult to show them what you are and it's very difficult to show them what you are over an extended period and not be truthful about it. Eventually, you spend 90 days, six months, a year with somebody. Depending on how often you see them, you will see who they are, will come out, because you know that's. That's one of the things my old Minister, when I was growing up, used to tell me that pressure exposes people for who they really are. Yeah, you know, good time, good times. You can pretend to be anybody you want to during good times. Yeah, but you know, deal with a break up, a job loss, a terminal or a chronic illness. That's. That's when people will see who you really are, because you can't, you can't hide it, you can't focus on the game while you're focusing on staying alive, and so, yeah, that's, that's what it comes down to now. Now there is something here in the second paragraph, before we get into this insane case study, a test is nature's way of helping a woman find the best genes for her future offspring. If you pass a woman's test, she's more likely to believe you can father strong, healthy children. I find that the way that he characterizes this, I feel like it's a little bit of a veiled reference to the hypergamous nature of women, but I also don't think that it's necessarily accurate. We've learned in this and in other books that the impulse or the drive to avoid pain is stronger than the drive to find pleasure, and so I would say that a woman's testing is not necessarily about finding the highest value man to mate with. It's more about avoiding the life destroying cost of picking the wrong man to make kids with.

Dan:

Yeah, I also think that not every woman needs exactly the same thing as every other one, of course, and so therefore, the way she tests a man is going to be different, based on her own needs, right?

Charles:

Yes, there will be certain things that are probably universal to heterosexual women who have an interest in reproducing, which would be many, if not most of them. But then, yes, things like preference is going to be a factor as you go on a case by case basis. And the answer to that is not, as a man, try to be the things that she's looking for, because, as we said, you can keep that up for a little while, but you can't keep it up forever. The result is to be authentically who you are. Work on making who you are the best version of yourself, and then you will be less preoccupied with oh no, is she testing me? Am I being tested? Why is she trying to test me? If you're just honest all the time about who you are and you're committed to growth and self improvement, then testing isn't going to be a problem for you. It'll be a benefit, because maybe she'll test you in a way that you'll both realize, oh yeah, that's not who I am, and then that there you go. You two shouldn't be together, yeah.

Dan:

I actually, after reading this chapter, had to kind of a thought that it might be a little bit more or less triggering for some men to change the word from testing to communication. So to me, when a woman is quote unquote testing a man, to me that's just a different form of communication. She is basically communicating hey, I need to understand what she's doing. She is basically communicating hey, I need to understand your nature, and this is the way I'm communicating with you, to understand your nature. And I feel, if that, if you are not oversensitive to these two, those methods or techniques that she's using to communicate with you, you can communicate back in a way that makes her feel and understand properly. Words aren't enough in these situations, so that's one form of communication. The way I'm looking at it is a woman might do or say things to elicit an emotion or an action in you, and that's just another form of communication that she's leading with. That you need to respond with in kind in order for her to understand where you are and feel secure that, yes, you are who you say you are, or you are who you are pretending to be.

Charles:

Yeah, the only issue I have with swapping out the term communication is that I believe the majority of testing that a woman does is unconscious, where communication, I think, has a little bit more of a deliberate connotation to it. Okay, fair, where you initiate communication with someone as a matter of will or a choice that you make, where I think most of the testing that happens. I don't believe that most women are even aware of the fact that they're testing. I think they just.

Dan:

it's so imperative that you don't make babies with the wrong man that it's just part of I guess it's more for me, in my own way of thinking alright, she's just communicating, she's just trying to get information from me To me. That's what I'm labeling as communication. So how am I communicating back to her what information she needs to have? Because if I just say things, that's not enough. I need to communicate in a different way. And so for me I'm just trying to take the word test out of it, because I feel like that's a very growing up- you know going into school and things like that. We're tested by authoritarian figures. I feel like that's got, it's a trigger word from a person in power. That's kind of right. And I feel like a lot of times maybe when we use that word, I know I associate sometimes like this person thinks they're better than I am right, or that they are an authority figure and that I am trying to prove myself to that person. And by taking the word test out of it and going communication, it's not I'm trying to prove myself, it's more of. I'm trying to just communicate who I am.

Charles:

Yeah, man, that's the thing that really clicked with me as you were just talking about. That was I was thinking back to when I was in school, and I love test days. You freak, because I could usually do well on the tests without having to study. Oh, that's nice and so it's interesting. It's like being tested is a far, far lower stress situation for me. Interesting that a phrase like doing the work oh, because that reminds me of homework, which I never did and never enjoyed doing, and was always. I would always procrastinate and be nervous about homework.

Dan:

Yeah.

Charles:

And so, yeah, it's like doing the work of the relationship. That fills me with anxiety. Or even doing the work in therapy. Those are the little bit of homework on a recurring, normal basis that you're required to do in life. That stresses me out where the big test like the SAT or the standardized test or the final exam, no problem, cool as a cucumber Don't mind those at all.

Dan:

So I wasn't actually going that far to say that it's doing the work.

Charles:

No, I was just throwing that out there as sort of contrasting it with because those are the two things you do in school.

Dan:

I hated the work and I hated the test. I hated both of those things.

Charles:

I found that the testing was a relief to me. It's like okay test days here, and I would usually approach it with the attitude of I'm smarter than this teacher. They're going to communicate stuff in the question that will tell me what the answer is without me having to even know it, and for the most part, I found that to be true. I would do none of the homework, I would ace all the tests and I would skate by with the C, because that's what us underachievers do.

Dan:

Oh, really, yes, oh, so you were like ace in these things and not doing the work.

Charles:

I was pretty much ace in the tests and just not. Oh, because?

Dan:

you didn't do homework at all.

Charles:

I wouldn't turn the homework in at all.

Dan:

I get zeros, oh shit.

Charles:

Yeah, I mean sometimes I would do enough of it to skate by with a D or a C, but the test I could ace. So I would be like a C student, essentially by being good at tests I could also do papers. If it was a class where it was like we're going to tell you what the paper is going to be about at the beginning of the semester, I would just in the first two weeks I'd hurry up and do the paper.

Dan:

You're the exact opposite of me. I'd stay up the night before, oh yeah, no, not me, I'd be freaking. Hated doing papers, I would do.

Charles:

You usually turn it in late. Anyway, I would do a paper on a topic that I had never even been taught about, wow, I would just I would read while at the beginning of the class, because this is one of the ways I do think that I'm ADHD is I would be interested in the class in the first few weeks and then I would be not interested in the class at all. So it's funny in my college experience, both of the schools that I attended would have mini-mesters during the summer where it was like a six or an eight-week semester instead of a 15-week semester. Mm-hmm, every time I took a mini-mester, I got an A on the course. Wow, every single time I never got less than an A. And every time I took a full-length 15-week, it was a struggle for me to pass the class, because I would hit the ground running so hard and be so interested in the material. I would read the textbook like the first two weeks of class, cover to cover, wow, and then I would just never have any interest in going to class or doing the homework or anything like that. So when it came to papers, yeah, I would just read the book and then go to the library, do the research paper and then just kind of sit on it until the end of the semester.

Dan:

I wish I had been like halfway to where you were with that. I just yeah, the last minute of stuff killed me. It just totally stressed me out and I never learned my lesson. I never decided I'm going to do it, even when they assigned it or did it on time. And yeah, I just.

Charles:

Yeah, I had a, I would go away somehow. I had a very interesting and uniquely difficult time in school because of that. I would be so interested at the beginning and then it would kind of just fall off. And yeah, I'm proud to say I've brought some of that into relationships. It's worked just as well. There's no season relationships. Those are past fail. Okay, so let's talk about the Wild and Wacky case study. Jason and Amy were celebrating their one year anniversary. They both ordered a couple of drinks a daiquiri and a pina colada, which I'm not going to fault them for their choices. I would like to know what flavor daiquiri it was. They both take a drink of their drinks. Jason's pina colada was delightful and Amy's daiquiri was terrible, and so she didn't like it. And he offered her a sip of the pina colada and she liked it and decided to keep it. And then he tried the daiquiri and concurred with her that it was not very tasty. Again, I want to know if it's a banana daiquiri. So he didn't drink it because it was gross. She didn't drink it because it was gross. It just sat on the table for an hour. Why? Neither of them said to the waiter hey, make me a new daiquiri. It's terrible is a very convenient fact for Christopher Canwell's insane case studies, because that's what a grownup does Like. Oh, this drink's not good, bring me a fresh one.

Dan:

We know the people that are in his case. Studies are not grownups.

Charles:

No. And again, he's made up all these people and so he's chosen to make them not grownups, because he's tried to prove a point. So he doesn't drink it, she doesn't drink it, she dares him to drink it and says that if he does drink it then she'll give him the best sex of his life. And so he drinks down the whole nasty drink instead of saying there's so much opportunity here to handle this in a calm and cool way. And he doesn't do it like my first thing, like OK, hold on. So you're telling me that if I drink my whole drink, if I finish the whole thing, you're going to give me the best sex of my life and invite the basketball? team yes, you took me off my score. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, no good reason.

Dan:

Oh my God, I couldn't resist.

Charles:

And then she confirms yes, if you drink your whole drink, I will give you the best sex of your life At that point. Waiter, this daiquiri is terrible. Bring me a second pina colada and then you enjoy your drink and then you hold her to the deal. Ok, so that's the first place where you went wrong. Is he drank a nasty drink for the first time? He drank a nasty drink for the promise of future sex with a girl he's been seeing for a year.

Dan:

Yeah, that's right. Something is really unhealthy in your relationship if you're begging for sex after a year, yeah, or begging for good sex. No.

Charles:

I mean, or the best sex. Yeah right, number one. I mean one person cannot offer another person the best sex of their life. The best sex of your life is something that you do with your partner, not for your partner, and so Interesting dynamic. Yep, this is again. It's freaking silly, ok. So basically he finishes the drink, then they get home or whatever, they get into bed and she's too drunk to one half sex. And then he's like you're not drunk, you had one drink. She's like I'm tired. And then basically, whatever the reason is whether whether he failed the test at dinner for the drink and she was just trying to see if he would drink a nasty drink to screw with him, or she just wasn't in the mood for whatever other reason he loses his mind and basically keeps begging her for sex and she's like no, I'm not into it, you, you ruined it. And then the next morning I guess he was counting on sex with her in the morning, since she was too drunk or tired or whatever, and she didn't give him any of that. She got dressed to go have lunch with her sister and then he texts her the following day hey, how was lunch? She doesn't respond. He starts freaking out getting worried, starts blowing up her phone with more texts and more calls. She never responds to him and then you know, eventually that's the end of the relationship Again. This is just so much nonsense and such a poor example of testing and such a childish example of both of them behaving like maniacs. The bottom line is don't trade things you don't like for things that you might like, because that's a operating from a position of scarcity, like treating her like anniversary. Sex is something that you need to make a deal for. It's like-.

Dan:

And that he's not enough on his own to have sex with her, that he needs to do these parlor tricks in addition to who he is in this relationship after a year, in order to earn sex from her. There's something seriously wrong in that type of relationship. The power dynamic is damage at that point. There's something underlying that needs to be talked about, because it's clear that she doesn't either respect him or is concerned about him. Because, again, to me, I'm not looking this as a test, as more of a communication, because she pulls away. Not only is she saying hey, dance for me, monkey, kind of thing, by doing something disgusting. That's something as a big brother I would do to my little sister would, basically this reminds me of being downstairs in the bar or whatever.

Charles:

A frat brother, and a frat brother is right. You dare somebody to do something they don't want to do.

Dan:

Yeah, there's all these old bottles of everything or whatever. We would torture my sister, you know, trying to tease her into drinking this stuff, and she never would. But at the same time it's like you don't that's not something you do with somebody you love, and it was also by. The fact is that she wasn't responding back to his texts the next day and responding or the day after that. That show she's pulling away. So that means that there's something that-.

Charles:

Or she's just busy or her phone died we don't know why she didn't-. Right.

Dan:

Because the message that I got from this fake scenario is that the guy really didn't have control over his own emotions or value his himself enough. Instead, it sounds like just whatever, wherever they were in that relationship, he was just coming on too strong and you know, I looked at that as her communicating in a way, saying hey, I need a break, give me some time here. And I feel like that's the right response from this guy would have been not blowing up her phone, not, you know, trying to make these deals and bargaining to have sex with her, but, you know, taking a step back and if you've got again, we always talk about building a cake of life and having things to do. If you have other things that are pleasurable in your life, other than this relationship, it should be easy for you to find something that enjoyable for you to do, kind of help take your mind off of things.

Charles:

Yeah, and I would say, you know, I've been in relationships that had the dynamic of I didn't want to have sex as much as my partner did, or my partner didn't want to have sex as much as I did, and in every case there's something else going on that is that is leading to that. It's not just sex is not isolated, and in this case I mean, I feel like both partners really did reinforce the somewhat harmful trope of men love sex, women hate sex and they just tolerate it. Right, and that's not. That's not the way it ever works in a healthy relationship. It's humans who are healthy, you know, obviously with some possible caveats as far as asexuality or things I don't understand very well, that I'm not going to speak on. But for the most part, most of us who pursue romantic sexual relationships with partners and we are happy and safe and are mostly emotionally retracted physically, yes, but especially emotionally attracted to our partner, we're going to want to have sex with them, whether we're male, female, gay, straight, whatever, yeah. And so in this case, just the the idea of yeah, jump through this hoop and I'll give you the best sex of your life, it's like no, I'm not going to drink this drink and I got some stuff planned for you and we are going to have the best sex of our lives tonight. And yeah, just this. This thing where one person is is chasing and the other person is running is is not a healthy dynamic when it comes to sex. Yeah, yeah, and so there's a disconnect. Yeah, I feel like there's so many more profound truths to glean out of this case study than what the author intended, and that feels like a a bummer and a missed missed opportunity. All right, you're welcome back, dan.

Dan:

Thanks, Charles. I appreciate the the interruption.

Charles:

No, no problem, we. We had to take a quick break in our recording of this episode because you had a scheduled conference call and I Biest with you for too long before we started recording that. I ate up our recording time, that's okay, and it was good content. Thank you. Yeah, I did have a lot to share that. Maybe someday I'll have the courage to talk about everything like that on the podcast, but but it was not this day. As Eric Orn would say, yes, some to work towards Right.

Dan:

We need something to wake us up.

Charles:

Okay, so we're going to start getting into the different kinds of tests that men might be confronted with in their relationships and one of the sort of the intro to the different levels of testing which even got. Even the names of these are offensive. The piece of advice that he shares at the beginning is the moment you sense a woman pulling away by either acting disinterested or not responding to your text or calls quickly, or not responding to your text or calls at all, then and then this is not going to be anything different. You should it says you should assume that she's testing you. It doesn't matter whether she's testing you or whether she's busy or whether her phone died. You just don't blow up her phone and start trying to chase her down to get a response, right. So whether she's testing you or one of those other things I said, you know she's got a family emergency, she's got a work emergency, she's cheating on you None of it matters. It does not matter what. The core reason is that she's not meeting your probably unspoken expectations for how quickly she gets back to you. Just leave her alone until she gets back to you and then you know if you want to ask her a question about what was going on, why she wasn't responding. If you want to say, hey, the fact that we haven't talked in a week for what seems like no reason is an issue for me, let's, let's get into it. Then you can do that. But in the moment when your emotions are triggered and you're ramped up, just leave her alone and you'll hear from her eventually, or you won't, but either way you'll be okay. Yep, I doubt your wife or your girlfriend of a year is going to just stop talking to you for no reason. You know what I mean. Yeah, so okay, so let's get into the. The kinds of tests. The first one is very eloquently titled the bitch test, which you know, I I would almost rephrase this, or or not rephrase it, but recontextualize it, as the bitch test is not about the woman in your life being a bitch. It's about the woman in your life testing you to see if you're the bitch. And in this case, the woman is doing it through rude or insulting or disrespectful behavior. And what the author is recommending is that you do not respond to this with anger or with emotion or with ramping up the situation. You just calmly walk away. I would encourage you to not just walk away but say, identify why you're walking away and say, look, I'm, I'm not feeling what's going on right now and I don't. I don't care to respond to it in the way that you're coming at me, so I'm going to, I'm going to go for a walk, I'm going to take a break and we can discuss what we're both feeling later on. Yeah, I think he would say it's all he says is it's better, instead of giving it a temptation and exploding in rage, it's better to keep a cool head and walk away. Yeah, I, I do feel like there is an opportunity for instruction here and there's an opportunity for strength and vulnerability to say I'm not into what's going on right now, I don't like what you said to me, I don't want to be spoken to that way, so I'm going to remove myself from the situation and we can have a conversation about this later.

Dan:

Yeah, it's stating your boundaries and enforcing them. That's. That's a big thing that a lot of us have difficulty doing, as as I've had difficulty speaking that word. So yeah, and I'm I'm absolutely guilty of that as well. It's not an easy conversation because a lot of times, when the motion's already high, at least from one person, the last thing you want to do is amp them up, and sometimes it's difficult to be okay saying something that potentially might throw a little fuel in the fire.

Charles:

Yes, I would say that, um, yeah, and remember that. You know, people set boundaries not as punishment and not as justifications for breakups. People set boundaries because they're interested in maintaining the relationship. Yeah, you know, when somebody does something to you that you consider to be unforgivable and you don't wanna be with them anymore, when you say, hey, you treated me this way, it's not okay, we're done, that's not really setting a boundary. Setting a boundary is saying I care about this relationship, I want it to go on, and so I can't participate from just for my half. I can't participate in this kind of behavior. When you treat me this way, I have to respond to it this other way so that we can maintain our relationship.

Dan:

And I think an important part of setting those boundaries is you do it ahead of time. You communicate that before the boundary is violated. I know you can't possibly think of every scenario. However, there should be some certain things that need to be talked about before you go to the extreme of saying, all right, I'm out, with a few exceptions.

Charles:

Yeah, of course, but yeah, it is better to.

Dan:

Murdering your parents might be one of them. Something like something with those, or maybe for some of us.

Charles:

that would be a favor. I don't know, Maybe that would be the sweetest active service ever. I don't want to pay with too broad of a brush, but murder is not in my love languages for receiving.

Dan:

Just let's put that out there. We're two different people.

Charles:

Dan yeah.

Dan:

That's why this dynamic works.

Charles:

The old Libro Scorpio, the Enneagram nine, enneagram eight, pairing yeah. So I would say that, yeah, because you don't know exactly everything that somebody could do that would violate your boundaries. That's why taking a walk is such a valuable tool, because you can. It's very easy to say, oops, I just noticed my, I have an issue with what happened here, but I haven't stated it as a boundary, so I need to figure out how to do that. So that's why I'm gonna take a break, I'm gonna take a walk, and then I'm gonna come back and say, hey, I've got a boundary around this. I know neither of us knew that I had a boundary over this issue. We haven't talked about it before. But now I've got to say okay, what you just engaged in is behavior that I can't tolerate, and so let's talk about how, when you're feeling what you're feeling and I'm feeling what I'm feeling, we can approach this in a way that doesn't violate either of our boundaries.

Dan:

Yeah, I mean, I had a next girlfriend who I fought with way too much and verbally and she would always say her therapist From the club.

Charles:

we should have buttons, yeah.

Dan:

She would always say her therapist would tell her not to make decisions or we shouldn't make decisions in the middle of an argument and I always was just like yeah what does she know?

Charles:

And I was just like I'm like I want out.

Dan:

But I didn't mean it at the time and I really I didn't have the wisdom back then to I wasn't into this personal development stuff and I just didn't have the wisdom to listen. But it was smart advice. It was you don't wanna. Your primitive brain takes over at that point and when your emotions are running high and so it's very difficult to overcome that and make intelligent decisions with the more modern part of our brain, the more evolved part of our brain, which is where we really should be making these decisions from. So walking away, getting rid of that anxiety and lowering those emotions gives the front part of your brain a little bit more space to operate and be able to make those proper decisions.

Charles:

Yeah, and this is I mean. Look, I'll be honest, this is a this part of it, and anytime I'm encouraging our listeners or you to take that break and walk away, it's a bit of do as I say. Don't do as I do, because it's a huge-. Do as you did, let's put it in the past.

Dan:

Okay, I like that's fair, you're gonna do that from now. Yeah, you're working on it right?

Charles:

Yeah, because it is. I mean, it is definitely. It's easy to say when I'm sitting across from you recording a podcast, but when you're in that moment oh yeah, for sure Of you know the the amygdala's getting activated and you're trying to think with your prefrontal cortex and you've got the voice in your head saying oh no, when people take a break, they leave and never come back. And because that's what my experience was as a kid, it's like when it's I'm just taking a break, then you know, a couple years from then, then you got a different set of parents than the ones you had originally. And that is hard, that's a hard voice to silence when it was so loud when you were four or five years old. And it's never gonna be gone for me. It's always gonna be in the back of my head and every fight that I have with someone who I don't wanna be fighting with in the first place is gonna be like the front part of my brain is gonna say we should take a break right now and the back part of my brain is gonna say, if you let them go, you're never gonna see them again. Yeah, yeah. And so my cross to bear. And thankfully, great books like Atomic Attraction are inspiring me to think about it in ways the author does not intend.

Dan:

Interesting. Aaron. He's getting some value or you're getting some value.

Charles:

I am yes, I am definitely mining this book for what I can use and hopefully that's getting spread to some of our listeners too. Let's talk about the jealousy test. So the jealousy test is when your partner will do something as innocent and probably unconscious as referencing some really funny joke that their coworker Steve told and he's so funny, he's so good at telling the stories or the fact that it could be something more dramatic. You go to the bathroom and come back and then your girlfriend or wife is talking to some guy at the bar that you have no idea who it is. Either way, the instinct that most of us men have when that happens is to do something called mate guarding, where we eventually want. We want to signal to ourselves, to her and to everybody else in the place that we are that no, she's my property, she, you know, and that is an unhealthy impulse and it doesn't lead to anything good. The way that that should be handled is and the author says, with indifference or humor, but I would say, not with feigned indifference or humor. You should actually be indifferent and you should find it funny, because I mean number one you should feel some measure of pride that you're with someone that the opposite sex or the same sex has interest in. That's a good thing. You don't want to be with nobody wants to be with somebody that nobody else wants, and so you should feel good about that, not bad about that. You should be on your guard for inappropriate behavior. But it doesn't take inappropriate behavior to set off the mate guarding impulse that most of us have. It takes very appropriate behavior in many cases to still get you like uh-oh, this feels like a threat of some level.

Dan:

And I think something to keep in mind here is that if the twinge of the jealousy comes up, I think it's important to not feel bad about that. Right, it's what you do with those feelings and how you communicate that point forward, correct? Yes, I'm glad you mentioned that You're not going to be able to quickly. At some point maybe you might be able to diminish those emotions or those reactions a little bit over time, but it's not something you can do overnight, and definitely not with your prefrontal cortex and calming everything down. That's just not the way it works. So it's more about all right, how do you handle that? And so for me, another way to think about the approach would be come with curiosity too. So ask questions and try not to do it in a sarcastic or emotionally laden tone when you're asking the questions, but be curious oh, what was that joke about? Or does Steve have any other funny jokes, or does he do any? Stand up, just ask questions and just get more information. And I think part of the and I think I remember reading something at some point when you start asking questions or you ask questions of somebody else, you activate a different part of your brain that actually takes some emotion out of the situation. So I think it probably would work for you as well, kind of reduce your emotions coming with curiosity.

Charles:

Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned curiosity. I actually had the thought I think it was yesterday as I was coming home from work about I watched an interesting reel about with the definitions of what many of us, especially Gen X and older, were, what we've grown used to as far as words like sex and gender and learning that, like all words in languages change over time and that's trying to deny that is kind of silly and I also enjoy what people say that word's made up. And then the response I believe from Thor, one of the Thor movies was all words are made up because they are. As a society, we assign meetings to noises we make with our mouths and squiggles we put down on paper and we all agree with what they mean until we don't all agree with what they mean and then they start meaning different things and I don't see that I'm not threatened by that. Okay, I am threatened by that, but I shouldn't be threatened by that at the level where it impacts my ability to be empathetic and understanding and curious to people, and so I had the thought yesterday. So, anyway, I was watching a reel where somebody basically said, okay, if terms of gender and sex they don't mean the same things that they met when I was a kid in school, learning about them. What does it mean now? What does masculinity mean? What does femininity mean In your opinion? What do you think it means? This is like a pretty thoughtful guy who's got an Instagram that I follow and he talks a lot about relationships and about social issues and things like that, and he basically said masculinity is the behaviors that we currently come to expect from men and boys and femininity are the behaviors that we currently have come to expect from women and girls and that can change and does change, like the idea of the kind of clothes that men wear. Like as a country and as a society, there's a significant portion of us who identify as traditional men that kind of identify, the clothing and the hairstyles of the 1950s. That's masculinity, and anything that came before that or after that that's not masculinity, and so we tend to get kind of caught up on that. And same thing with the gender roles of women and females, and we do the same thing. It's like we sort of center on this one moment in time where we think things were the way they were supposed to be, whatever that means, and then that's what we accept as the way things are supposed to be forever. But I was thinking the and one of the things we positively, in my opinion, associate with masculinity are things like ambition, delayed gratification, strength under duress, just positive traits, that of people, not just men, but people who are willing to do the hard thing for the greater good of themselves and the people they care about. That is one of the things I associate with masculinity and another thing that I've begun to associate with masculinity is curiosity. Getting it back to what you were saying where, what is it about curiosity that, I think, makes it perhaps the most important mark of fitness in a person, and I was thinking about it in terms of contentious social issues. We did that episode a while ago about woke words that scare men and things that as a man, you could hear, specifically as a white middle-aged man like we both are. That could put you a little bit on the defensive and wonder okay, when you use this word, what is it that you're saying about me? How are you judging me? How are you telling me that I'm not good enough, or I don't have the right outlook, or I don't believe the right things, and so, anyway, that gets it too. Yeah, if someone were to say something about your country's history of colonization or your gender's history of ruling by patriarchal standards, or your race's history of supremacy, the correct and, I think, the healthiest and the most effective reaction to all those things is curiosity. Like what is it that you mean by those words? Tell me more, I'm interested. Tell me where you think that people like me, or me specifically, has fallen short of those things in the past. Like because through curiosity, through asking questions, you are learning more about the environment you currently live in not the environment you wish you lived in, not that your perspective on the world as you think it ought to be, but you're getting perspective on what the world that you live in actually is. And the more knowledge you have about the world you actually live in, the more fit you are to survive and thrive in that world.

Dan:

Absolutely.

Charles:

It goes back to Stephen Covey's seek to understand before you seek to be understood right, yes, and so that takes more information and you need to be curious to get that information, because yes, and if you do find yourself drawn to traditional masculine roles of, you know, in your family being a teacher, being a provider, being a protector then you need to understand the times and the world that you're living in with as much information as possible so that you can do those things that you find to be important values. Yeah, yeah.

Dan:

I mean skills, then being able to adapt.

Charles:

Yes, I mean, adaptability is really the. That's how Organisms survive, right? Yes, and as organisms, we're really the only ones that have that ability to say okay. I could choose to be defensive now. I could choose to feel accused of something, or I could choose to say your perspective is valuable and interesting to me and I wanna know more about it. So tell me more. Tell me more about how you think this group of people has behaved poorly. Tell me how you think I may have missed opportunities to do the right thing.

Dan:

I wanna hear more, I wanna understand more, and I think the other part of that that makes it an easier thing to do is to also not be tied to right or wrong, that this person is right or that you are right that's so hard or that they are wrong or that you are wrong yes, right, and you have the decision. You have the ability to decide after you have that information again, kind of like this book what you wanna leave and what you want to incorporate or take away from that, and I feel that's the elements of being able to adapt right At that point. And you are still the reason I like. That is, you are still in control, you are still deciding for yourself. You are not just rolling over and going, hey, my information, my values, my opinion doesn't matter, but at the same time you're also not in this delusional place where you think that you are flawless, perfect and right all the time either, and that takes a little humility and a little life of experience, I think as well, because that's gotten easier for me as I've gotten older.

Charles:

Yeah, I, it's boy. It's one of the reasons that I'm so bummed out by what I perceived to be the transition of Dr Jordan Peterson from somebody who started his public life, at least as somebody that was sharing some real valuable information and then has kind of suffered from what we call and we referenced on this podcast before audience capture, where we would be in a threat for the same thing if we ever got big and successful at our podcast, which is this idea of your audience is coming to you with expectations of what they want to hear from you, and the way that you secure your financial future is by giving the people what they want. And I feel like Dr Peterson has got himself into that position where he's telling a certain segment of the population, which does trend to be male and trend to be on the right side of the political spectrum, he's repeating the things they want to hear, instead of focusing on things like in the book that we reviewed, where he would say go into every conversation, assuming the person that has the opposite opinion that you do understand something that you don't yet understand. And yeah, it's like that stuff. Does you know when you have to sell TV shows and podcasts and books to people that they're already coming to the table with a bunch of values and a bunch of opinions and you want them to keep buying your stuff. You know, positions like always assume that the opposition has no something that you don't yet understand. It kind of gets lost and I think that's a shame. That. Where again I will to Sam Harris's horn whenever I can, because he is very open on his podcast about the fact that pretty much anything I say half my audience is gonna hate me.

Dan:

Yeah, you know and I think. But at the same time, I feel I guess the question is you know, is Peterson doing that because he really doesn't believe in what he's saying, all those things, or is he leaving out the other parts that might go against what his main audience is saying? You know, it's hard to believe that and maybe I'm just coming from a wrong angle. I'm making an assumption here. Is that, you know, if we were to get really big, our, you know, we would still, we'd say whatever we felt and believed, and then let the cards fall where they may in terms of who agrees with that or not, right? Yeah, I don't know. I you know, but I like to think we would and I hope that we would. Yeah, but look it's just easier, I feel like it's also. It's also like being a nice guy kind of thing. You're pretending to be something that you're not right and it's just kind of. I feel like it's kind of along those lines Exactly like that. If you go down that road versus just going. This is what we believe. If you like it, great. If you don't, great, all right, we'll see you later. You're not. You're not one of our thousand raving fans.

Charles:

Yeah, and part of that is, I mean, keeping a handle on your lifestyle and your expectations and what it is that makes you feel good, Like look. I'm sure there is some level of success that I could achieve where buying $5,000 cars and $60 coach seats on Spirit would no longer appeal to me, but I don't know that. I think I think I've gotten to the point now where I'm old enough and happy enough that I'm not chasing a lifestyle to be happy. I don't know that. You know, staying at the Plaza after I've chartered a private jet to New York would make me so much happier than a $60 Spirit flight in a hostel that there's not much I would be willing to compromise to get that other life. I feel like things are good as they are and I don't know that I would muzzle myself and not say what I wanna say to get that other thing. I'm sure those other things are great and I've been on expensive vacations and I've been, you know, I've sat in first class before. But a free glass of orange juice before the flight does not feel as good as go putting your head on the pillow, knowing you said exactly what you believed all day every day.

Dan:

I'm gonna challenge you and say that why can't you have both, like that, the option, right? I believe you know you can say what you wanna say and still achieve. If you want the financial wealth, if you want that type of lifestyle, I think you can do it and still be true to yourself. I don't think it's an either, or I don't think it's an either, or I think one way might be faster. My belief and I don't again I'm making assumptions here my belief is that what you just said, I think it would be faster if you basically niche down and kind of sold out a little bit, it could be faster. It could be faster. But I'm challenging my own beliefs recently with something that I'm listening to, called prosperity consciousness actually, and he's got an interesting perspective that he kinda walks you through. Even if you had a million dollars, if you needed to spend $1,000 a day on yourself, could you do it First couple of days, yeah, maybe after a week, yeah, but could you do it every single day for a year? Those people, they make $365,000 a year. Many people make many, much more than that, oh sure. So he's like listen a lot of times and he kinda tries, helps you identify, you've got these other blocks going on in your mind in terms of do you really need that much money? Is that something that would make you happy? And if not, there could be reasons why you might be sabotaging yourself in certain areas where you're trying to earn some of this million dollars a year kind of thing, because you don't have a need for it or you've got some preconceived notions that are blocking you, such as people with money are unhappy. That might be one of them that we all kinda live with. Right, rich people aren't happy, or rich people are bad, they do bad things, and he just kinda helps you uncover some of that stuff. So, anyway, I digress.

Charles:

Yeah, I appreciate it. I think it's a conversation worth having, but the idea of and we'll bring it back to again just approaching life, even approaching things, whether it's on a societal level, political level or in your personal relationship things that feel like an accusation. Another thing that I learned this week from there's a great account I follow on Instagram that I'll share in the notes. She's a relationship coach and she shared that not all pain is somebody's fault, okay, meaning you and your partner, you and your friend. Something could happen in your relationship where one of you feels bad about it and it needs to be discussed, addressed, repaired in some way, without it being anybody's fault, like you don't have to drill down every time to somebody's underlying intentions and get to the point where you agree that you did this thing to hurt me. No, I didn't. I didn't think it was gonna hurt you at all, and that was a big thing in my last relationship on focusing on the impact of actions versus the intention of actions, and intention matters, but impact also matters and Sam Harris and his analogy, or his metaphor explained it where there's a big difference between stabbing your wife and the two of you are in the kitchen cooking and you turn around with a knife in your hand and it accidentally goes into your partner, the impact is the same Somebody's going to the hospital, somebody's gonna be in a lot of pain, but the intention is where you can use that to determine okay, what's gonna happen next Once we get through this emergency, what's gonna happen next time? As somebody who is defensive, my impulse would be let's minimize the impact and focus on my good intentions. And, as somebody who might be partner, who may be more sensitive or more likely to be hurt by something I say or do, I would say they could have the opposite thing, which is, let's focus a little more on the impact and not on the intention, and there's a balance to be had there. But bottom line is, sometimes people get hurt and it's not another person's fault, it's just the thing that happened and you can address it based on hey, things accidentally happened, people get hurt and we can work through that and not focus on the. Okay, now the criminal investigation of whose fault this is has to happen. It's the well, either you're too sensitive or I'm too much of an asshole. We gotta get to the bottom of which is true, and it could be neither of those things, and it's often probably neither of those things. But again, when that goddamn amygdala starts firing off and shuts the prefrontal cortex down, that's when we have to remember these things and keep them in mind. Okay, so digression over, mostly For now. For now, the reason that we I will say this about the jealousy thing the way to counteract and insulate yourself from the emotions and the concerns of a jealousy test from a woman, is invest in yourself and be the kind of person that you respect and you're proud of and you consider as attractive, and you will be far, far less concerned about her finding somebody else. I've said before no partner, no woman, no wife, no girlfriend has ever been stolen. They've only been lost.

Dan:

And I think a part of that comes down to. I really believe we should all be, from both men and women, our perspective and same thing with our friendships, in relationships that we want to be in and that we don't need to be. And I feel like if you have the mindset you operate in a way such as this is something that I want, this is something I appreciate, this is something I enjoy and not something that I need. It's a lot less triggering when the risk of losing that other person comes to light, and I feel, in those jealousy situations you were talking about, that's a little bit of what goes on that Make guarding is oh, I'm afraid to lose what I've got, because I'm afraid of what's gonna happen to either me, my emotions, my life, whatever that is, if that other person goes away and I don't think that's again. I feel like there's some deeper issues that need to be worked on if you're operating in that type of mindset.

Charles:

And I have been there. I have frequently operated in that kind of mindset, and what I'm learning through some of the books that I've read recently and some of the work I've done in my men's group is, as a child who dealt with abandonment issues, the thing to remember as an adult hopefully a healthy adult who's working toward being healthy and happy and safe is that I am now in a position as a 45 year old man where I can never be abandoned by anyone because I've got me in my corner now who is a healthy, compassionate adult, and I will treat myself that way. And so now, no matter who comes or goes in my life, I'm doing the work that I need to do to look out for me and keep me healthy so I can accept new people into my life and I can lose people into my life and and I'll be alright Like it doesn't mean it's not gonna be painful. It's gonna.

Dan:

It's gonna it's not gonna suck. Yes, but you will survive and you need to remember that, yeah.

Charles:

Yeah, because I've survived it so far. I've survived it in way more vulnerable conditions than I am in today, and I still made it through back then. Great point. So I can certainly make it through now.

Dan:

Great point.

Charles:

And so that's what keeps one from pushing everybody off to a distance, and hopefully that's what keeps one from driving people away who are in your life, by trying to manage them instead of just love them. So, okay so, but again, I will say that investing in yourself and for me that means things like my meditation practice, my journaling, taking walks, going to the gym, going on trips, doing long hikes. When I do those things, I feel like I am not going to lose a bake off with another man. Yeah, for the woman that I'm interested in, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. When I don't do those things, when I neglect those things, when I'm in a relationship and I'm spending too much time sitting on her couch watching TV instead of doing the things I need to do for my own health, that's when that insecurity starts creeping in for me and I start worrying about those things at a level that I shouldn't.

Dan:

And we have to also remember that especially women, I feel, are much more perceptive than men. On the whole I'm going to stereotype here, but I think they are and they're going to pick up on that. Insecurity too, those things that you're talking about in terms of spending so much time with them, texting them all the time, or spending on the couch and just, or a maid guard having to melt down when you come back from the bathroom and she's talking to a guy. Right, and it's obvious to us as men and to me, I feel like you know, women it's probably screaming billboards of, hey, this guy is not securing himself, he is not, and that's the last thing somebody else wants in their life is to have to take care of somebody else, right? And when you're screaming that insecurity, it means I need instead of I'm able to give, and I don't feel like you know it's a different dynamic If it's a mother child or a father child. There's a need and give and responsibility there, Absolutely. But we need to, as human beings, realize that there is no unconditional love between two partners. That doesn't exist. That is something that you earn and it's something you need to maintain. And, yeah, it means it's work. Unfortunately, there's not. It's not like oh yeah, you're my girlfriend now I can just kick back, and you know.

Charles:

And taking it back to the beginning, like we said, about the guy who honestly advertises his weakness and his frailty, you know, when you're in a situation and I mean jealousy will happen to you, even when she's not testing I mean unconsciously, consciously she's not testing at all, she's just interacting with someone and it could trigger jealousy in you. But what you have to worry about is what is that communicating to her? She could have this innocent interaction with this guy with no interest or attraction to him whatsoever, but by you freaking out about it, that plants the seed in her mind of OK, wait a second, he's worried about this. Is my co-worker, steve, better than my boyfriend?

Dan:

Or, if nothing else is, this guy can't handle reality. Like I need to interact with men because that's I live on the planet, sorry, so, yeah, I live on the planet and I need to interact with both men and women and do things that are a part of normal life. He can't handle me being part of normal life. That's not healthy.

Charles:

Yes, I want to finish this chapter on one last thing, and I thought a fun way to do this would be. He gives several strategies here on how to pass every test that a woman gives you, and I've got some strong opinions on his recommendations, so why don't you read these one at a time? Yeah, and I will chime in and yell and scream when I hear something I don't like.

Dan:

All right To project strength and confidence is useful to keep the following guidelines in mind One don't try to control her Absolutely Agree with that 100%.

Charles:

Do not try to control your partner.

Dan:

Two never beg, plead or cry.

Charles:

Okay, never beg, never plead, but I will not agree to never cry. There are situations when it's appropriate to cry and, yeah, I am not going to try to convince men that it's never okay to cry, never okay to cry in front of your partner, your therapist, your best friend. There are times when it's okay and if you have saddled up with a friend, partner or therapist that can't hold space for the fact that you might need to cry, then go find a better one.

Dan:

Yep.

Charles:

So beg and pleading no, don't beg and plead anybody for anything but crying. I am not going to across the board say don't cry, never ask for forgiveness Also bullshit there are. Listen, when you participate in behavior that falls short of your values. Again, if you were the last person on earth and you did something that you didn't think was okay, you should ask yourself for forgiveness. If someone else saw you behave that way and was impacted by you behaving that way, you should ask them for forgiveness too. So this idea of never ask your partner for forgiveness is bullshit, I agree.

Dan:

Never become aggressive.

Charles:

Yeah, I agree with that too, because if you become aggressive, that is communicating that you're not in control of yourself 100% avoid showing signs of jealousy. Yes, 100% agree with that. Again, build yourself into the kind of a man that doesn't lose bake-offs.

Dan:

Never make a woman your top priority.

Charles:

I would agree with that, because never make anything your top priority except for your own health mental, physical health. That's number one, above everything else.

Dan:

Don't try to reason, explain and apologize.

Charles:

Okay. So I would say, when you're having a fight with a partner, particularly if it's a woman, what were the first two Reason? Explain and apologize. Okay. Yeah, reasoning your way out of a conflict is not going to result in a victory and is probably not going to. Your partner should be able to understand where you're coming from and what you were thinking at the time that you did something that bothered them. So reasoning and explaining is a way to share with someone who you are and how you work. It's not a way to get them off of the thing they believe or the reason that they're upset. The last one was Apologize. Again, you should apologize when you've done something wrong, either through your intention or through the impact it had on. When something goes away that you wish it didn't go, it's okay to say I'm sorry, things went this way, I'm sorry I acted this way, I'm sorry this happened, I'm sorry for you that this happened. I mean, there's a ton of ways that you can apologize and I think the man who always apologizes and the man who never apologizes are displaying the same weakness of a different color.

Dan:

Mm-hmm, don't chase her with messages and phone calls.

Charles:

I agree 100% that. Yeah, you and chasing is the operative word here when you want to talk to somebody, talk to them, Initiate communication. When they have communicated to you that they need space or they're busy or something, just believe them and believe that you're worthy of them coming to you when they're ready to have a conversation.

Dan:

And part of that communication is meaning no response, no communication back to you. That is communicating something still right, that's true.

Charles:

And it's not communicating that you're worthless. It's not communicating that you're a bad guy. It's communicating that their interest in a dialogue with you right now is too low for them to talk to you. Yep, and that's okay. They're allowed to have that, whether it's a brand new person that you've just met or your partner for multiple years. If they just don't have interest in speaking to you right now, they're allowed to feel that way.

Dan:

And that kind of goes along with the next one. If she withdraws her attention, never chase her.

Charles:

It goes right along with that and I would say, yes, you're not going to convince someone to give you more attention. There's nothing you can say that will talk them into giving you more attention.

Dan:

Take the focus off the woman and focus on yourself instead.

Charles:

Again, I think that contributes to what your priority is in life. If your priority in life is your mental and physical health and being, you know, the healthiest, best man you can be, then that is where your priority should be Build the healthiest life you can, and the women, children, other men in your life will benefit from that.

Dan:

Deflect rude, disrespectful behavior with humor and indifference.

Charles:

And that's across the board with anybody in a professional or personal setting. If somebody reacts to something you've done or proactively decides to be rude or disrespectful, do not let it change your attitude or change your state.

Dan:

Act like a robot and remain indifferent to her emotions and moods.

Charles:

I disagree with that Do not act like a robot. There's a big difference between letting someone's bad mood put you in a bad mood and being indifferent. I would say, yeah, if someone's upset about something, or in a bad mood or sad or crying, you don't need to mirror their emotions, as he previously said, meaning something. You don't need to let their state take over your state, because that's codependence, but what you can't, you don't need to be indifferent either. You can be concerned about what they're going through. You can be kind about what they're going through, but don't let it turn your state into their state. Yep, that's a better way of putting it. For sure, you pretty much on the same page with me on these. Absolutely Okay. I wish the author was. I wish I didn't have to feel the need to correct someone who's more.

Dan:

But most of it's highlighted that you did agree with yes, correct. So maybe 90% there, 85%, something like that.

Charles:

Yeah. Which is more than usual for one of these chapters, but the things we disagree with are pretty big. Yeah, I mean they never cry. I mean and never apologize, never ask forgiveness. I mean thatmy inability to apologize and ask for forgiveness has torpedoed some pretty important relationships in my life.

Dan:

Yeah, I mean, some of that definitely speaks to not being able to manage emotions. So it's kind of like how I am with peanut butter and like I can't just have like a little bit right, I have to keep it like out of the house, otherwise I'm going to consume the whole thing. And I feel like his approach is kind of like a shotgun approach, almost like all right, don't you know, or put up a whole wall, be indifferent to everything, rather than coming from a place where you actually show some emotion but you're able to manage it and care for it, so you're able to give some value and provide some value at the same time.

Charles:

So yeah, I feel bad that a lot too much of men's advice that's available in both books and Instagram and Reddit and whatever. It's so much absolute, absolute, it's nonsense and so little nuance. It's just like you know, okay, you're probably you're in a rough position with your relationship or your breakup or your whatever, yeah, and so it's way easier to sell a handy dandy list of 10 things to always do or never do than it is to teach you how to handle your life with nuance. So we're just going to make lists of always do this, never do this, and I'll cash my check and I'll hope it works out for you, yeah.

Dan:

I mean, that's one approach to take and it's not necessarily the approach that we think is most effective.

Charles:

Yeah, no, I mean, it's an easier approach in the self-help space than it is to say, okay, you need a decade of therapy and a decade of, you know, 12-step groups, because that's the only way that you're going to get to the bottom of your problems. And it's hard to sell a product if you're telling people that so, or a book or a class.

Dan:

Well, hopefully we're bridging that gap. So we're, you know, kind of taking what we have the information here and we're adding a little bit of the fine tuning to say, hey, look, you know, come off this extreme edge of it and look there's other ways to kind of take this information and apply it in a way where it is valuable and you may not need to go through a whole 12-step process. So I feel like that's kind of where we fit in.

Charles:

Yeah, no, not everybody. Not everybody needs decades of therapy and decades of 12-step. Some of us do and we should do those things when we need them. But I mean, I'll give credit to Coach Corey Wayne, who's all over Instagram and you can get his book 3%. Man, he's very honest when he says okay, you're going to read this book once and you're going to implement some of the things I tell you and your dating life will get better. Your dating goals after you read my book once will be attainable, but not sustainable. And he's like read this book 10 to 15 times, over and over and over again, so that when something comes up that is not written out in black and white in these pages, you'll understand the mindset that I'm trying to teach you and you'll be able to apply it to the specific situation you're in. And you know, look, it's harder to sell books when you tell people you need to read my book 15 times. But he's still willing to say it and while I don't agree with him on everything, I appreciate that he's willing to be honest in that way.

Dan:

Maybe that's a book we need to cover at some point.

Charles:

Maybe it is. Maybe it is All right, dan. This has been a long one. We may have to split this one in two. We'll see, and I will talk to you again soon. All right, man, have a good one, you too.

Scuba Diving and Outdoor Adventures
Birthday Dinner and Favorite Green Vegetables
Understanding Women's Tests and Communication
Effective Communication and Academic Approaches
Relationship Testing and Communication
Setting Boundaries and Walking Away
Navigating Jealousy and Embracing Curiosity
The Question of Integrity and Success
Navigating Insecurity and Maintaining Healthy Relationships
Strategies for Handling Relationship Tests
The Impact of Coach Corey Wayne