It’s Time to Start Negotiating

July 25th, 2010 by Pelle Billing

For thousands and thousands of years gender roles have been more or less fixed. In tribes, empires, feudal states and early nation states, men and women knew exactly what part to play. But in postmodern Western societies, the rules no longer apply, and if you haven’t already – it’s time for you to start adapting.

The story of humanity is one where collective negotiation between the sexes has always been the norm. Tribes didn’t succeed by having each man and woman quarrel about what tasks to perform. Men and women simply did what needed to be done in order to survive and to secure the wellbeing of their offspring. In traditional nation states men would support and protect the family, while women would give birth to children and work in the home. Roles were simple, efficient and clear-cut, with each sex respecting the other for the important role they fulfilled. However, the social fabric of the past is very much in the past, and it’s a new day with a completely new set of rules.

You may not have learned it in school, and your parents may not have taught you, but relying on traditional gender roles to get you where you want is uncertain at best. In this day and age we need to turn to individual negotiation, something that men especially need to start becoming aware of. Women have already made this transition to a much greater extent, thanks to the women’s movement. Women are more aware of their choices, and evolutionary speaking women have always had to think about how good a deal they can get when interacting with men.

Men, on the other hand, still believe that they need to perform their traditional duties in every area of life, and are rarely fully conscious of what they offer and what they get in return. If you are a man reading this, I therefore offer you this checklist of things to become aware of in your everyday life:

  • Do you help your female friend repair stuff or do you help her move or carry things that she finds heavy? If you do, then you should fully expect her to come to your house to cook and clean every now and then.
  • Do you buy drinks or dinners for women when dating? If you do, then what are you getting in return, financially? If the answer is nothing, then why are you doing it?
  • Do you really want to spend $10,000-100,000 on a fantasy wedding? Or is that her fantasy, and her wish? Would she let you buy something of equal value from money that she has brought into the marriage?
  • As long as family courts regularly award custody to the mother, it makes sense for every man to have a prenuptial agreement, so that you have the financial power after a divorce to compensate for her having power over the children.
  • Do you even want to get married? Do you need to get married to satisfy what you’re after? Or is it enough for you to live with a woman and raise kids together?

My take on individual negotiation is that nothing is off limits. You can certainly marry a woman, give her the wedding of her dreams, and then support her for the rest of your life. The question is: What are you getting in return? Are you getting your money’s worth? If you feel that this way of thinking is crass and unromantic, then you are the one to stand corrected. Love is free. Romance is free. No money is needed for two people to talk, kiss or make love. Everything that we have been made to believe is necessary for romance (flowers, expensive dinners, an expensive car, an expensive wedding) has no natural connection to either romance or love. And by the way, have you noticed what gender has decided what to call romantic?

Again, nothing is off limits. You can do anything you want, including traditional romantic gestures. But start by asking yourself why you are doing it, and what you are getting in return. Becoming conscious in this ways is not unromantic, it simply means leveling the playing field with women, and having the chance to face women as their equal.

19 Responses to “It’s Time to Start Negotiating”

  1. Russell Anderson Says:

    Pelle, this strikes me as a similar statement to Paul Elam’s investigation of the idea of the Zeta Male. I wonder, have you read his thoughts on the issue? And, if you have, what do you make of them?

    For my part, I agree with you entirely, and have for a while been consciously making the mental shift away from the ‘traditional’ roles of inter-gender discourse purely for the sake of them. Seems to be that, if women are not going to act in a traditional gender role, there’s no reason that I should – and to do so would be limiting myself. The thinking process I’m going through on my day-to-day life in these interactions is ‘if she were a he, would I be doing this?’. I’m also very alert to sexual manipulation, whether that be intentional or subconscious on her part.

    Of course, I fully imagine many women will be offended by the very notion of, say, not carrying or fixing something for them simply because they are female.

  2. Pelle Billing Says:

    Hi Russell,
    Yes, I’ve read Paul’s thoughts on the subject. He’s my editor-in-chief at MND :)
    His thoughts on the zeta male are very interesting. My thoughts are similar in some ways, but less specific. I don’t suggest a certain way for men to behave or not to behave, I simply want men to become conscious of what they are doing and whether it is serving their best interests.

    You can still be fully traditional, but then you need to find a woman who also wants to be fully traditional, otherwise you’ll be working your ass of and not getting very much in return. However, for most men I think it’s good to go through a period of “purification” where you experiment with treating women like men, to become aware of how you usually act around women.

  3. Denis Says:

    Things that are easily acquired, obtained, or maintained, without any effort or sacrifice, lack value… it’s human nature.

    The secret to why the confident guy wins with women, over the nice guy, is that he is perceived as being a stronger, more confident guy with more value. How? He never invests everything — his entire being, ego, and self-worth in what one woman’s response or reaction to him is. He doesn’t gush with compliments; he isn’t always available; he doesn’t give too much; and he knows he isn’t going to die if a woman says “no” to him. More, his attitude is, yeah, I’d like to go out with you, but if I can’t, that’s OK — I’m a busy guy, with exciting things going on, and lots of other options.

    I am not suggesting that you mistreat women or disrespect them in any way.
    What I suggesting is that you value and respect yourself more.

    Negotiation is not required, it is simply retraining women’s expectations about equality and your own self-respect.

  4. Framtiden är människornas Says:

    [...] krav. Enda problemet i sammanhanget är att män inte har det, vilket jag tar upp i mitt senaste engelska blogginlägg, där jag uppmanar män att börja tänka på samma sätt som kvinnor. När vi inte längre har [...]

  5. David Says:

    Great posts Pelle. You have nailed it once again. Ordinary men do so much for women without even thinking about it. And what do we get in return? Continuous criticisms in the media for not doing “our fair share” of the housework.

    I shall be following and commenting on your posts. You are one of the better MRA’s around. Keep up the good work.

  6. Pelle Billing Says:

    Thanks David.

  7. Jim Says:

    Time for a bumper sticker:

    “I’ll do half the hosuework when you bring home half the income”

  8. Tweets that mention It’s Time to Start Negotiating -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Harper, Men’s Rights Blogs. Men’s Rights Blogs said: It’s Time to Start Negotiating [...]

  9. Porky D. Says:

    Sounds good to me but the problem is that so few men do it, so unless a man is quite a catch he can assume that the woman will simply dump him for someone more subservient.

  10. Russell Anderson Says:

    Porky: the question is, do you want to allow yourself full control of your life and actions? Because, if you do, perhaps you will have to forgo certain women who expect to be pedestalised and treated like a princess.

    This is why I made the statement about sexual manipulation – I’m very alert to doing something just because a woman jiggles her tits at me. I remember years ago working as a barman, and being astounded that all the other barmen would serve an attractive woman before a man (or unattractive woman) who had been waiting there longer. These guys weren’t going to pull this girl, they weren’t in with any sort of chance whatsoever (often, she was there with her boyfriend). Yet they would still serve her above other customers whose turn it was. Why? They were allowing themselves to be sexually manipulated – doing something for her, with no possibility or expectation of reciprocation, just because she had a pretty face or big breasts. And, to me, that is a stupid way to live your life.

    Yes, there will be some women who will not put up with you if you don’t act as the white knight. There are also others who will. Frankly, I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who expects me to be subservient to them – what the hell sort of a relationship is that? If you’re willing to do that, just in order to get a girl, I can’t help thinking you’ve got your priorities wrong. You treat people well because you believe they deserve to be treated well. You respect people because they deserve to be respected. You act towards people in the manner that they have shown themselves to deserve, not because of the chromosomes they have.

    And if some women don’t like that? They’re probably not the sort of someone I want to be with anyway.

  11. Betsy Says:

    “However, the social fabric of the past is very much in the past, and it’s a new day with a completely new set of rules.” ~Pelle

    I agree that both gender will need to negotiate thoughtfully with each other to make it through the next 20 years. But, society is definitely on a DESIGNED trajectory…

    Pelle, Did you watch The Story of Stuff?
    To keep up with our current rate of consumption in the U.S. alone…WE WOULD NEED 5 EARTH to meet the resource needs for this consumption.

    We are currently at a point where we either will honor nature and natural law or be destroyed.

    Something else of relevance…All countries are economy based. Do you really think laws and rights matter?…to those in control.

    Mayer Amschel Rothschild quote: Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.

    A few elite families have been in control for several hundred years. They control the money/banks….this is their culture. States have become human livestock farms.

    The earth is our mother.

    When an individual’s labor is taxed…and there are no jobs…and there are complete land monopolies…then what????

    Well…1 in 8 Americans are on welfare.

    How can we teach our children about love for humanity, when the very industrial system we serve perpetuates poverty and leaves the impoverished with no other choice but to be humiliated and burdened with “help” that will further remove them from the land?

    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti

    This is why so many are suicidal.
    Oh, and there is preliminary research underway on the “need for” and “safety of” putting lithium in drinking WATER!

    Lithium in water ‘curbs suicide’

  12. Betsy Says:

    Unless we negotiate independence and sovereignty all other negotiations will be pointless…and the meat-grinder(consumer-based economy) will persist.
    The U.S. has become a debtor nation. A debt slave is not recognized as a sovereign individual.

    Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America (9:00)
    (The UN’s role is mentioned in this video)

  13. Oz Cynic Says:

    Pelle, “negotiation” implies that one party (males) have (has?) the power, the ability and the opportunity to do so.

    Let’s face it, we males have nearly no power left. This isn’t “negotiation”, it’s a case of “terms dictated to a demoralised imprisoned defeated enemy (ie: men) after an abject unconditional humiliating surrender”. Negotiation under THOSE terms consists of “sign the papers or else.”

    Pelle, what you describe is all very fine, but let’s face it, it’s about as likely as Barack Obama going on international TV and begging the forgiveness of everyone affected by the present economic crisis because President Obama had been fooled by his own advisors into this utterly destructive grovelling to those who created the problem in the first place: the damnable banks. It’s about as likely as the same President Obama praising men for their raising of Society from the grinding misery of the Stone Age, to being able to land men on the Moon.

    “Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen”, the Feminists sneer. Sweetie, back then everyone was barefoot, and the “kitchen” was what the ravenous wolf-pack outside the door wanted to turn your hovel into – THEIR kitchen, with you and your children as the main course. That door keeping them out was built by men. The food you were too terrified to go and catch – or too weak, or too ill, or too whatever – that food was supplied by men. Women mainly collected nuts and berries near to the “home” (if such a word can be extended to the real conditions of the time), but fruit and nuts and berries only appear for a few months of the year. Given that the Stone Age also coincided with the Ice Age, then Winter would have been extended with the fruit-and-nut gathering conversely a shorter and shorter time. I’m sure some “Summers” did not exist at all, where the snow only slowed down, and did not stop falling. It was an ICE AGE, remember? The idea of anyone gathering berries and fruit and nuts in such conditions is laughably stupid, to put it mildly. The only source of food was (gasp) whatever animals that men could catch (shock, horror, yes, they actually ate meat, oh, the CRUELTY) and it was only men who had the physical capacity to do this.

    This was another non-negotiable period in men’s existence: you either hunted, or were hunted. A slow-running cave man was seen as just as good a meal by a sabre-toothed tiger, (or cat… kinda big for a cat, though) as anything else that was slow, or badly prepared for the actual conditions… and I’ll leave you to try to negotiate with something that was larger than you, hungrier than you and much stronger than you – and thinks of you as nothing more than an easy meal.

    Heck, I could be describing how men are now!

    If President Obama wishes to castrate himself, well, that’s his business and I and everyone else have to respect that, even if we might find it a rather strange choice. The problem is, he is being shoved into a Social policy somewhat like his economic policy – it’s draw up by empty-headed lunatics. That he should have enough common sense to see this mess for what it is goes without saying. That President Obama cannot see it for what it is speaks volumes about how, if you castrate yourself, you have not just merely removed your ability to reproduce, but seemingly it also shuts down your ability to even raise a whimper of a fight to stand against the blatantly wrong. I presume President Obama’s excuse will be he had his mind… elsewhere… at the time. Well, if castration happened to me, I’d certainly be thinking of the pain, rather than anything else so he might be on to something there!

    In short, via both his own actions and inactions and by by the actions and corrupt advice from his advisors, President Obama no longer has the authority to negotiate, he merely has to Do As He’s Told, without question, and certainly without doing anything to restore his own credibility.

    So, if President Obama does not have the “authority” to negotiate, WHO THE HELL DOES?

    I put it to you – no man has the authority to do as you suggest, even if granted the so-called “legal right” to do so, simply because a “legal right” always stands below the SOCIAL right to do so. And now men do not have the social right to do a damn thing.

    Young guys feel it the most keenly, which is why they commit suicide the most. Gay guys try to escape from it all by having sex with other guys and pretending it doesn’t affect them. Wow, are THEY in for a shock. It’s like Cambodia trying to maintain neutrality in the Vietnam War. The Khmer Rouge’s Year Zero and the Killing Fields follow, seemingly inevitably.

    But first the Feminists practice on someone else.

    So, no, Pelle, negotiations follow on from having the right to do so. I put it to you, right now, men do not have that right.

  14. Allan Says:

    Thanks, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I automatically feel I should help my gf with cleaning her gutters, moving heavy stuff, fixing the clothes washer… and when she offers to do things for me in exchange I feel reluctant, guilty to accept. Value yourself more, eh?

    An aside, we were talking about equality, men’s and women’s issues and I said “…but I agree women suffer more.” She looked at me funny, puzzled and said, Oh really? I really think men have it worse.

  15. Pelle Billing Says:

    It’s really interesting when you start thinking about all this, isn’t it?
    You seem to have a gem of a girlfriend who can think independently and not automatically repeat the “given truth”. You can have a discussion where you defend women and she defends men ;)

  16. Schala Says:

    “Do you even want to get married? Do you need to get married to satisfy what you’re after? Or is it enough for you to live with a woman and raise kids together?”

    Canada has an equivalent state of things that includes everything but alimony at separation (it includes child support and separation of goods at separation for example), if you just declare your household a couple of over a year old or do any steps towards conforming that (filing joint taxes, acting legally as if anything but roommates).

    You’re not legally married and children previous to the union have nothing to do with the other partner responsability-wise, and you don’t owe alimony (for the spouse) on either side. That’s about it.

    And while this also applies to same-sex couples (same-sex marriage is unilaterally legal in Canada since 2006), being legally male (but otherwise female) sorta keeps the government away from snooping into me and my boyfriend’s business. I’ve lived here over a year, but they don’t know we’re a couple. As long as I don’t get surgery to become legally female, they likely won’t care unless we decide to declare it to them.

    It seems the government thinks any non-hetero couple would declare it outright, or at least don’t seek to confirm it. This is nothing like the Adam Sandler movie where people absolutely want to know if you ‘really are gay’ or taking advantage of marriage rights (as if no het couple would do that).

    So yeah, funny loophole. The government not recognizing me as female keeps them from penalizing me (because in my current situation it would be) because I’m in a couple. You see, as a single, I can get welfare (about 6k a year, free of tax). As a couple, I could get a tax deduction (about 10k a year of it), but no welfare. As long as we don’t work a high enough wage to take advantage of this deduction, it simply ain’t worth it.

    Me and my boyfriend both agree that either equality has been achieved, or that men have it slightly harder on some things in Canada. Women probably have some issues as well, like street harassment…I just haven’t experienced it. I even defend fictional depictions of men. Like say, anime, where any girl exposing herself in front of a male character, intentionally or not (say pantie shot or very exposed cleavage) is the guy’s fault for looking and he’s always considered a pervert for it (even if he gets it shoved in his face, as opposed to wanting to look)…while the girl walks half-naked with a mini-mini-skirt that she chose*.

    I also critique the desirability-gap, even if I personally benefit from it. I can exchange value via being sexual, because his sexual needs exceed mine. So I can stay home with minimal fuss, without children.

    Being trans (and without the legal change, its easy enough to find out), anti-capitalist (I’m against exploiting the poor and vulnerable), and non-ambitious in the career domain (I prefer being told what to do precisely), makes my job prospects nearly nothing though.

    *I consider it stupid even more since the writers of those kinds of anime, tend to be guys (Rumiko Takahashi is an exception, a woman writing shonen where this happens every 2 minutes). Unless Japanese men are inherently ashamed of ever desiring women that they find it justified to get bitch-slapped every time someone shoves sexualized images in their face, as a kind of punition. Sort of accepting the male-sexuality-as-inherently-toxic meme hook and sinker.

  17. Schala Says:

    A few notes about the above:

    Marriage, at least in Quebec province, doesn’t imply taking the spouse’s surname. In fact it’s illegal to do so since 1981 (not retroactive).

    I forgot something about my paragraph on the desirability gap. It’s not only that my boyfriend has a higher drive than me (which he does, but that’s my situation), it’s that it’s *assumed* he wants it more than me, regardless of reality. And therefore, any sex he has with me is me doing him a favor. I don’t like that notion. I do him a favor by going that extra mile, not by having sex at all.

  18. Realist Says:

    First of all, great points. This is going in the right direction.

    However, about not paying on dates… most Western men already don’t pay for the dates and most women pay their own bills.

    “Yes, there will be some women who will not put up with you if you don’t act as the white knight.”

    Yea, those will usually be the most desirable women – young and pretty. If you don’t treat them nicely, they will leave because they can easily find a man who gladly will. But one can always settle for less attractive women.

  19. Masculinity « Manosphere Links Says:

    [...] women have always had to think about how good a deal they can get when interacting with men. [...]