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Not every insult (veiled or blatant), punchy challenge, or arch criticism by a woman is a shit test as the term is commonly understood — a subconsciously guided female examination of a man’s grace under pressure that helps her assess his alphaness. There are other reasons a woman might be critical of a man she is dating or evaluating as a suitor.

I have observed that there are two alternate explanations for bitchy behavior that men will encounter most often in the course of their love lives.

1. She is genuinely repulsed by a man’s betaness.

When a girl is sincerely and uncompromisingly put off by cloying or socially clumsy beta male behavior, she will sometimes be unable to stifle the disgust she feels and her animus will come spilling out in icy cold body language, nagging, scolding and nit-picking. This is predominantly the behavior of the bitch in betrothed bondage to the beta male, who has grown tired, or become unsettlingly aware, of her hubby’s unsexy weakness. The beta husband who finds his time with his wife increasingly characterized by seemingly irrational wifely outbursts of anger, incessant nagging about inconsequential misdemeanors, passive-aggressive sex withdrawal and assorted glib jabs and cruel mannerisms that show a disrespect for his presumed status and masculine prerogative, is experiencing the foul ministrations of a woman in thrall to her slow boil of hate for male enfeeblement. This phenomenon is easily substitutable for men and women in unmarried long-term relationships.

Men, beware. This is no shit test. It is your most immediate warning sign that your lover is about to leave you, or, worse, cheat on you. She has no interest in sussing out your manliness; she is only a fist of rage semi-incoherntly lashing out at you for making her feel unfeminine. Treating her behavior like an extended shit test may actually backfire if you haven’t prepped her for your transformation to a man willing to display his balls.

Note that this supremely bitchy behavior may occasionally manifest early in the courtship dance, usually by women with low impulse control and looks in the 4-7 range; the kind of women who get hit on a lot by “creepy” men thinking they have a chance, and who have reached their tolerance threshold for such brazen men. If flecks of spittle fly as she castigates you, or she is simultaneously backing away while hurling her insults at your face, or her entire body curls up into a phantom turtle shell at the mere exposure of her personal space to your entreaties, you are likely dealing with sincere loathing and not a shit test to be aced for further sexual exploration.

2. She is afraid of losing her man.

A girl who adores her boyfriend will, at times, and especially during those moments when his appeal to competitor women is most discernible, act in ways that strike normal, logical men as strange. Instead of anointing with flattery and devotionals, the anxious woman with commitment extraction on her mind may respond with what she perceives as self-esteem lowering cuts to some or another flaw of her boyfriend’s.

The flaws she highlights will almost always be of a physical nature, or a treatise on his style. “You’re getting pudgy.” “I never noticed before how gross your toes are.” “You look like you haven’t slept in a week.” “You’re too pale.” “You walk funny.” “That shirt makes you look like a doofus.”

Charming, eh? Ah, but she will hardly be able to announce these flaws with the expected contempt; often her critique will be leavened with a revealing brightness in the eyes and sensuously accessible body language. An experienced man will rapidly know her bitchiness comes from a place of insecurity about her standing with him. He will know, as true as the sun rises in the east, that women simply don’t put very much emphasis on a man’s looks in comparison to the other attractiveness traits that women desire in men. And that this truism goes double for a woman in love, for whom her man’s looks are a paltry secondary consideration to his wit, leadership, humor, kindness, cockiness, thoughtfulness, edginess and sexual prowess. And so her criticisms of his physical state or fashion sense will trickle harmlessly off his ego like water off a duck’s back, understood as they are as the bleatings of a desperate lover engaged in a mini power play.

The woman chooses the physical and the stylistic for her barbs because she is projecting her very real female horror at coming up short in these two areas critical to her own SMV onto her man, for whom she mistakenly believes pokes at his physical attributes will have the same effect on him as it would on her; namely, the effect of luring him more deeply into an approval-seeking mode of thought and, thus, a stronger commitment from him that she much desires. This type of subversive badinage is actually a form of bonding for the woman. Unlike insults directed at a man’s status for which there is no turning back, the nature of petty jabs at his looks or his choice of clothes brings a woman closer to her man; she is complicit in his reformulation to something “better”, i.e. domesticated.

Men, be gladdened. If you hear your girlfriend or wife criticizing you in this manner, you are confirmed to be sitting pretty in the driver’s seat of the relationship. You have hand. She wants what only you have to give: increased commitment. And she wants it as badly as you wanted her sex when the two of you started dating.

You may play it off like a shit test, replying in knowing condescension or, even funnier, feigned concern. E.g., “Yes, I really ought to get right on that fixing my troll toes. I’ll schedule an amputation tomorrow.” But be warned: the nature of this type of criticism is not usually that of the shit test. She is not interested in deducing your alphaness; she already knows about that, and anyhow her jabs are of a different nature when it is playful shit testing that motivates her.

No, she wants to hurt you just a little bit — to make you just insecure enough, really, to inspire you to ingratiate yourself to her needs without turning you away completely or unintentionally pushing you to desperate, servile betatude — and pointed, spiteful criticism of your physical flaws (that she thinks ought to matter to her, and to you, but really don’t) is how she gets at you. She knows you’re confident to volley her verbal airstrikes. If you begin hearing a lot of this sort of criticism from her, it means flirty parrying is not what she seeks; she wants your ultimate capitulation.

…every kiss begins with three months’ salary


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