Applied Table Theory – Proximity: Long Distance Relationships

Let me start by saying there is no such thing as a long distance relationship.

Sorry. If you’ve never actually met the girl IN person and never spent a significant amount of time interacting with her outside of World of Warcraft, you have no relationship.

If you’re reading this article because that’s what you thought I’d be talking about, get off your computer, become attractive, and go meet some women in real life.

That’s not the focus of this column.

What I’m going to focus on here is a strong relationship that must, for unavoidable reasons, endure periods of distance.

See, what happens to most people, is they get into a relationship, then something happens, and then they end up separated without having broken off the relationship, or defined how it would work given the distance.

The “something” that separates you and your woman could be anything. Could be a new job in a new city that you or she can’t refuse. Could be something like a death in the family, and you’ve gotta fly back home for an indeterminate amount of time to settle the affairs. Could be that the Sith Lords have finally returned to wage war against the Jedi Order, and you’re needed on the outer rim.

Regardless of what causes it, sustained distance causes an undeniable strain on any relationship, and given enough time, will break ANY relationship.

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Dating Doctrine – Step 4 – Give Up on Perfection and Embrace Failure

I teach competitive Latin dance – you know, that stuff you see on Dancing with the Stars.

Pics or it didn’t happen.

I specialize in teaching people who have never danced a day in their lives.

You know what the first thing they say to me is, even before we begin?

Can you guess?

Well, here’s a selection of things that people tell me (and themselves) even as they’re walking into my class:

“I can’t dance.”

“I’m not coordinated.”

“There’s no way I can learn this.”

“I’m not talented in that way.”

Basically, the same damn thing I told myself the first two years I started doing Latin, 8 years ago.

So, I know where they’re coming from.

Usually, what they’re thinking when they say “I can’t do that,” is that they’re imagining the end goal. So they see something like this…

… and they think “I’ll never get there.”

They see a dance like that video up there, and to them it’s perfect and unattainable. It’s not even worth it to try.

Of course that happens. They’re beginners. They’ve never danced before. And usually, because I teach at a top tier University, they’re also really damn smart. So, it really frustrates them when I explain something with words, and they understand it, but they still can’t do it.

So, here’s where a lot of different neuroses, habits, and hidden downsides of “self-perceived aptitude” all come together in a perfect storm of getting nothing done: the illusion of perfection makes it impossible for you to improve as a person in any endeavor.

You tell yourself “Well, if I was good at it, I’d already be good at it.”

And then you don’t try. Because people who are good at things don’t lose.

As if no one has ever lost at tennis, basketball, or jello wrestling, right?

See, there’s something about our culture that reviles failure. As in, you fail at something – even something small, like a spelling test in first grade – and that’s it for you. You carry that shit around like luggage.

In modern civilization, you are not allowed to fail.

Let that marinate for a bit. Really let that sink in.

“But Vichet,” you say. “We’ve all failed in some way or another!”

Yeah, I know we have. I’m the one writing this, remember?

But really think about it. How openly do we allow ourselves to talk about our failures? How strong is that reaction in the pit of your stomach that makes you think “oh no, I better not mention that time I _______.”

What’s going on there?

Shame? Regret? Anger? Despair?

Sheesh. Where did that come from, right?

All of this, because for some reason, we all feel the need to be “perfect.” Whatever that means.

Got it?

Now, think of someone who is the paragon of their field.

Richard Feynman. Michael Jordan. James Brown. Anyone. Think of people who are world champions, renowned artists, leaders.

Now, think about the fact that when they were young, they were pretty much just like every other kid around them, and very likely, they were getting their asses handed to them at whatever it was they became known for.

You think Michael Jordan won every basketball game in his life, ever? Even when he was 6?

You think he was born knowing how to play?

It’s more likely he started playing when he was young, sucked at it for a while. Someone was dunking on him. Someone was breaking his ankles with a sick crossover. Someone was making him walk home and think “maybe I should get into something else.” Someone made him feel the way anyone who ever started fresh at something has felt, ever.

Right. Now why do you expect that your life would turn out any different?

I’ll tell you why.

You expect yourself to be perfect.

You think you’re a Betty Crocker Instant Expert kinda person. You think there’s some skill out there that you haven’t discovered yet, and that skill is your calling, and you’ll be better at it than anyone else in the world, instantly, because – well, because you think perfection is what you deserve.

Sounds really weird when you voice that opinion out loud, don’t it?

Well, you’re not. No one is instantly good at something. Well, Mozart, maybe. But, really, are you saying you think you’re f*cking Mozart? Ego much?

What this really comes down to is how often we let our pride make decisions in our lives for us.

Your pride is what tells you that you have to be perfect at this or that, and if you’re not, well, get out of there because you can’t let people see your “weakness” or “failures.”

Let me tell you this. I started ballet and modern dance less than 2 years ago. I’m in classes with people who are both very talented, and have been doing it for longer.

Twice to three times a week, I step into a place where I am measurably one of the worst people in the room.

But I don’t let that matter.

Because if you want to be good at everything, you have to embrace the fact that you will suck at it for a long time.

Those were just two examples of things I’ve been new at. After I got over my pride, I discovered I could be new at ANYTHING and just do it without being embarrassed. I got in control of my life instead of my life controlling me.

So really think about it. Where are those moments that you allow fear of failure to make decisions for you?

Yeah. Get rid of those. The only way you’ll get better at anything is to commit to failing for a while. If you’re starting at a 1 out of 10, you’ve gotta go through 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 – all failing grades – before you get to 7.

So, live it. Become it. Be it.

Jake the Dog agrees.

Dating Doctrine – Step 2 – Mastering Your Life: What Would the Ultimate Man Do (WWUMD)?

Okay, you have life goals, and you’ve become attractive.

Now what?

“Well, Vichet, you said that we would score with the ladies!”

Having sex can make a nice man out the meanest!

Right. That’s true. If you have goals, and are attractive, and are also tearing shit up wherever you go, you will get laid. Even by pretty attractive women, to boot.

It’s inevitable. I mean, people have been having sex since the dawn of man. You and I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t. Now that you’re attractive and driven (and thus, usually, happy on your own), your potential partners will be that much more attractive, too.

But, that doesn’t make you invulnerable to lady troubles. Even the most attractive, put-together men can be thrown completely off track by the right kind of wrong woman.

“Vichet, you surely jest! If such a woman were I to encounter, I would avoid such trouble with the guiding light of Table Theory! Also, why did I switch into iambic speech? Wicked cool.”

Well… yes. To all of that, yes. But, Table Theory isn’t the answer to everything.

“Hogwash! You have an entire segment on your site called “Dating Doctrine!” What is it, if not the answer to every situation you could face when dealing with women?”

Well… true. There are a lot of answers here. I’m just saying they aren’t the “be all, end all” of running your life – more like very practical guidelines built from my own and multiple other, much wiser men’s experiences.

“But… but then what? I don’t have the cheat code to life anymore, if it’s not Table Theory! Who will I turn to for advice?”

The clouds part in an awesome ray of blinding light and, I dunno, rose petals and shit.

“Well, I think you know who you should turn to,” says the mysterious stranger as he dusts himself off and does some totally boss karate moves.

“Whoa!” you exclaim. “Who is this guy? He looks like me, but there’s something different about the way he walks, talks, and does karate! So familiar, yet so awesome!”

I’ll tell you who that is, sport – the Ultimate Man!

The Ultimate Man flexes casually and says “I don’t have to show off my muscles, but I will anyway because f*ck you.”

“Wow,” you say, impressed. “Why does he look like a cooler version of me?”

Well, that’s because the Ultimate Man is an ideal. He’s like Santa Claus, minus the child slavery and sweat shop managing. He represents the best of you. The guy who knows what he needs to do and does it intelligently, effectively, and with urgency – but not panic.

“I also don’t take myself too seriously,” says the Ultimate Man. “For example: everybody poops. This one time…”

Ooookay, Ultimate Man, let’s not get too far into that.

“Fine,” says the Ultimate Man. “I’m totally telling this story later, though.”

Sure you are.

You look at the Ultimate Man, and then in a mirror. “So he’s like the super-ego,” you remark.

Shut up. Kind of. Whatever. Anyway, what the Ultimate Man really is, is your better nature. Name a problem you procrastinated about last week.

“Let’s see… oh, I didn’t want to wash my dishes, so I left them in the sink for 2 or 3 days.”

Okay. That’s a double whammy of gross and mundane, but what say you, Ultimate Man?

“That shit’s already done. What I’m REALLY working on is learning all the different languages I need to know for my backpacking trip across the Mongolian steppe.”

“Whoa!” you utter. “He’s actually DOING that? I always just considered that a pipe dream.”

Well, of course he is. He’s you. Just the version of you that will actually fight a little bit every day to achieve what he wants to achieve.

Your eyes light up with a twinkle, and you trip over yourself in glee with your next thought. “What can he tell me about getting womens?!”

All of them!

“Hmph,” the Ultimate Man scoffs. “True happiness come from within, Grasshopper. I get all the women by being my awesome self.”

That’s right, young padawan. The Ultimate Man doesn’t focus on getting women. They just hop along for the ride, and he lets them stay if they’re cool.

“What?” you ask in disbelief. “How do you deal with lady problems, then?”

“I don’t,” says the Ultimate Man.

“Do you have a set of rules? Guidelines? A Dating Doctrine, perhaps?” you ask, pleading.

“Well, guidelines, yes,” the Ultimate Man says. “There’s only one: be the Ultimate Man.”

You sit there and ponder the perfect circularity of his proposition. “Can you be more specific?”

The Ultimate Man rolls his eyes, bored with tedium, but acquiesces. “Fine. Here’s a samurai slash of truth on what it means to be the Ultimate Man – this has nothing to do with women in and of itself.”

  • Never make decisions based on fear of failure.
  • If you must make compromises to accommodate a weakness, find a way to fix the weakness as soon as possible.
  • Not everything that is urgent is important.
  • Consider others’ opinions without being ruled by them. Seven times out of ten, they might just be assholes. The other three, you might be the asshole.
  • You will always have to deal with the consequences of your actions – maybe not today, but someday.
  • There are no rules that will cover every situation – use your head.

“Now, based on that,” the Ultimate Man begins, “I’ll show you how I deal with relationship problems from the standpoint of the Ultimate Man.”

  • I face (significant) disagreements with any female friend head on.
  • I am never afraid to be alone – if a relationship must end, it must end.
  • If I am willing to compromise, I do – I am not willing to compromise on everything.
  • I always have my own friends, my own dreams, my own money, and my own life. A woman must have all those things and be part of mine if we are to be compatible.
  • I don’t yearn for days past or exes, because I take and appreciate the lessons I’ve learned from them and move on.
  • After a break up, I don’t let nostalgic emotions (the fear of being alone) make decisions for me that will ultimately make me even less happy.
  • When I mess up, I learn from it and do what I can to repair the mistake. If the mistake irreparably damages the relationship, then so be it.
  • Life is too short for grudges and crazy women – happy men understand this.

“There’s probably some other pointers, too, but I mostly just play it by ear. So, that’s pretty much it,” the Ultimate Man says. “When it comes to women, at some point you just start using your head, and you’re mature enough to take risks and accept mistakes, and learn from them. To know that relationships are full of gray areas, and that there’s no way to plan for every situation like most of the rule books say there are. When was the last time you pulled out the rule book, Vichet?”

Not since I started writing one of my own, Ultimate Man.

“Ahh, rulebooks. I remember when I needed one,” the Ultimate Man says wistfully. “Well, off again I go to kick ass and be happy. Til next time, the power is yours!”

You stare in awe as the clouds part again, with a fresh lemony scent – and also maybe lightning because that’s cool, too – and the Ultimate Man departs into parts and panties unknown. “Did he just quote Captain Planet?” you ask.

Shut up. No. Whatever.

Anyway, do you see what I mean when I say that really, there are no rules, and that Table Theory is just one method among many to reaching a state of being your own master? And that, when you are your own master, you will never have questions about women again – only your own actions and observations?

“I guess so,” you say.

Good. The point of all this isn’t to make you dependent on any one doctrine or mode of thought. It’s to make you realize that you’re capable of sound judgment, and of accepting any woman’s response to your being and doing.

To use myself as a non-Ultimate Man example, after a while, I no longer needed to ask my mentors endless questions about what I need to do in this situation or in that one. Sure, I pick their brains now and then – but I, like they, realize that ultimately, I alone am the Captain of the KAB (Kick-Ass Boat) Vichet. My choices are my own. I make my own decisions, with my own reasoning, and my own goals in mind, and I do it in such a way that I am always play to my better nature, and addressing my weaknesses head-on. When I fail, I fail smartly, and take note for what pitfalls I can avoid next time, and I don’t let failure jade me.

Remember how I said nothing is less attractive than a bitter misogynist? Yeah.

No more short cuts, no more excuses, no more social crutches so that I don’t have to deal with my problems. Just me, my actions, and this big question that is life.

That’s what Ultimate Vichet would do.

And that’s the 3rd and final step of the Dating Doctrine series.

Now, what would your Ultimate version do?

“I think I know,” you say.

So, go out there and get it!

Dating Tropes Explained – Part VII – Shit Tests and Crazy Women

So, a lot of guys who come to me for advice are actually part of what you’d call the pick-up community.

“Gasp,” you think. “Is Vichet a PICK UP ARTIST?”

His popularity! His suave presence! I knew it!

Irrelevant.

And I’ll say this in critique/defense of the pick-up community: like any self-help oriented community out there, it has its share of snake oil salesmen. But, there are also lots of genuinely good guys looking out for genuinely good guys, too. So you take the good and ignore the bad.

Anyway, the story is always the same, when a guy comes to me for advice. It’s because something didn’t work out the way he wanted.

And, usually, he’ll start like this:

Hey Vichet, I went on a date with this girl and it seemed to be going pretty well, cause she went dancing with me after, but then when I dropped her off at home she didn’t invite me upstairs. A couple of times during the date she mentioned that she never sleeps with a guy on the first date. I mean, why would she mention that? Was she shit testing me to see if I would try to make a move anyway? Did I fail?

Well, yeah, bro. You did fail. If you define success as getting laid, anyway.

Furthermore, if we wanna take this girl at her word (why not?), you’ve got a TON of leeway between doing nothing, which is what you did up there, and having sex on the first date. I mean, I assume that most girls don’t bang on the first date until they prove otherwise (I make it a point to present the opportunity). But there’s nothin’ wrong with asking if she’d like to have another drink upstairs, and seeing where the boundaries are (remember that “no means no,” and “no that means yes” really just means “crazy”).

But that’s neither here nor there. The main star of this article is the ever-crazy shit test.

For my uninitiated readers, a shit test is defined as the following:

shit test (n) – any situation manufactured and manipulated by a woman to judge the inner character of a man

also…

shit test (v) – to administer said shit test (n)

Above: A classic example of a woman shit testing a man to see if he has an Oedipus complex, and is thus attracted to her because she resembles his mother.

That sounds f*ckin’ crazy, don’t it? That’s because it is exactly that: crazy.

And, since most women aren’t crazy, you really don’t need to worry about this 95 percent of the time. Especially because most of the time, when a guy thinks a woman is crazy, it’s really just because she’s not that into him but is trying her hardest not to be a dick about it.

A shit test is essentially the verbal version of smacking someone in the face just to see what they’ll do. Most women don’t actually do that. Some do.

In almost every case of you getting rejected, shit test or no, you’re still standing there, with this hopeful, boyish, stupid look on your face.

And then you ask…

“But Vichet! How can I PASS the shit test to gain access to her sweet sweet underparts?”

God, damnit! She wasn’t shit testing you! She probably was just not into you!

But fine. I’ll bite. I’ve known, taken out, and even banged some women who have that kind of shit-testy way about them, where they’re thinking “I’m going to put this person in this situation and see what he does.” It happens. When it does, it’s like you’ve won the lottery of having to deal with shitty people.

And there are ways to pass the tests. It involves you lying, not being yourself (because that’s what she’s shit testing), and playing a Cold War game of sexual chicken to see who gives in first. If you’re capable of being more manipulative than a shit-testing woman (good luck), then congrats, you get to spend even more time with this harpy – in BED!

Although I will say all that tension and anger might make the carnal gymnastics a little more interesting, if you’re into that.

Still, back to my point – giving any advice about how to pass a bona-fide shit test is tantamount to putting out fires on a sinking ship – it’s a bad situation you cannot fix by staying on the damned boat!

Let me repeat: women that actively employ shit tests are CRAZY.

Unrepentant, bat-shit crazy with a side of f*ck-up-your-life-and-eat-your-dog insane.

And you want to sleep with this theoretical woman? Or see them more than once?

I mean, have you IMAGINED what being in a relationship with this kind of woman would be like? It’d be torture!

Her – “Hey baby, can you pass the black pepper?”

You – “Sure, babe. Here.”

Her – “You son of a bitch! You KNOW I’m allergic to black pepper! I’m gonna put a baseball in a sock and beat the shit out of you when you fall asleep!”

You – “Aw, man…”

Back in high school, we used to say “bitch be triflin’.”  For all of my non inner-city readers, that can be translated into technical English thusly: “That woman regularly manufactures conflict from non-issues.”

Or maybe you prefer Shakespeare: “Her affectations are the fury of a raging fire! No man or boy hath water ’nuff to quench! That and she a straight up bitch.”

So, advice of the century: if your woman legitimately engineers situations where you will be made a fool if you don’t act in exactly the way she wants, then dump her manipulative, triflin’ ass.

No exceptions. No excuses. For every physically attractive shit testing woman, I can find you an equally physically attractive woman who doesn’t have the narcissistic personality disorder.

I mean, really, come on! Do you need to get laid that badly? Well, here’s a tip:

Now, as a caveat, I will say this. Every woman I have ever met is indeed MUCH more observant than the average guy. But not because she shit tests. She just pays attention. A skill EVERY man needs to have.

My theory is that women are much more observant because they are, in our society, generally put under much more social pressure to look, act, and speak certain ways. This means they have to pay attention to themselves, their own actions and attitudes (and any ties between the traits) much more than the average guy who can get away with farting in front of his friends. The average woman is thus much more able to pick out traits implied by others’ behaviors.

So, if you’re being an dickhead, and you get rejected by twenty woman for being a dickhead, don’t immediately think that they were shit testing you, because you might actually be a dickhead. Ask yourself “are there legitimately things I can improve about myself?”

But, if you’re not a dickhead, you can learn from this. A good woman observes things like whether you’re rude to waitresses, whether you have a bad relationship with your parents, whether you hang out with worthless people, and so on and so forth. She doesn’t shove you into a room with these situations and observe you through a one way mirror – she just lets it happen naturally and chills the f*ck out about it.

You should do the same. Observe women, and be chill. You will see what she’s about. The information will reveal itself without you spending all your effort looking under stones and in dark corners, so you’ll be much less neurotic in action and mind.

This will help you filter out the crazies and the not-crazy-but-incompatible people in your life. You will also filter in the people you can generally get along well with and who understand you.

So there you have it. When it comes to shit tests the only way to pass is to dump her triflin’ ass!

The more you know!