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Vetting may not work. Proactive boundaries do.

Vetting is the relationship strategy where a man takes a list of values and qualities he prefers in women and uses it to assess the viability of the woman he is currently dating so that he can know if she is worth committing to over the long term. The quintessential strategy for the type of men who readily identify with being traditional and conservative within a modern and liberal society. Note, these are little ‘l,’ and little ‘c.’ This isn’t about tribal politics, this is about men. The vetting strategy is thrown around as if its the same strategy men have used throughout history, when in reality it’s a horrible mental model; a narrative guys use to provide comfort for the grim reality that relationships all end, and most end well before the man is ready to move on, or his children have had the full biological father experience.
Vetting is a horrible strategy for the following reasons:
  1. Men do not know what they want in life. Men have a wonderful ability to rationalize what the world offers, transforming it what men wanted all along. A vetting list is guesswork and post hoc rationalization.
  2. Vetting a woman is vetting for values. The question is, whose values? Men today are instilled with feminine values, created by and for women to meet their own needs, not his.
  3. Vetting only works if everyone is doing the same and is immunized from everything else.
  4. Vetting for values is a narcissistic fantasy, and serve to hide the true nature of women and men in order to live in the narrative it presents. By the time the masks come off it’s too late.
  5. Vetting creates an ego investment, where a man ignores anything that is outside of his vetted criteria. If the list is wrong, it’s an attack on a mans ego, and he will fight tooth and nail to protect it.
  6. Even if the masks are off, and humans are naked and honest in their interactions (which they aren’t) vetting offers a snapshot into someones values, not a longitudinal assessment. It has the same longevity as an MBTI assessment; it’s astrology for the educated.
  7. Vetting is often done to the exclusion of actual relationship strategies. Boundary enforcement is far superior and doesn’t require a lifetime of instilling feminine values in a man in order to understand them.
Men do not know What they want in life. The idea of taking a man at his most inexperienced and encouraging him to develop a list of qualities that give him the best choice in a long term relationship is naive. Vetting is touted as mitigation of risk, but risk is a wonderful container word that we can fill with whatever feelings we want. What exactly is a man risking?
Is it financial risk? Most men will parrot the line of divorce bisecting a mans fortune, but this is post hoc rationalization, not the core reason. The kind of man who is able to build a fortune has the tools to build two. The kind of man who is unable to build a fortune doesn’t have the fortune to lose. Clearly it isn’t about financial hardship.
Is it about the risk of losing so much time to a poor connection? Men age well, and assuming their lives have been a constant path of improvement in the ways that matter most, we don’t lose so much time that our lives will end alone in a house of cat food at boxed wine. A strong theme is that men are being raised as defective women, and the idea of men aging like women, approaching that wall where we transform from young virile men into cold angry spinsters is a female insecurity. Men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, with the assumption that putting in a modicum of effort are constantly growing into more valuable men, have many options throughout their lives. If a woman were to pull the plug, men are in a far better position to trade up in life. The amount of women who desperately search for high value men is at an all time high, we only need to reach out. A large part of having longevity in a relationship relies on a man being a womans best option. If you are one woman’s best option and she forgets, you can be another woman’s best option.
A real risk exists, in that a man can lose access to her children. Men cannot have children, they can only sire children. We get to be involved in the child's life at the behest of their mothers. And while this sounds callus, one of my mentors in this space gave me a wonderful piece of wisdom. “The majority of time you spend with your children will be with them as adults.” I should hope a mans primary concern with life isn’t his ability to babysit the kids, or coach a little league game for their sake, since we know it’s to soothe his own soul. The risk is in not being able to watch them grow up, or to be unable to raise them in the way you wish you were raised as a child. You weren’t raised that way and you turned out alright, which makes my point. Many of us had fathers who didn’t get to watch us grow up, and made up for lost time when we got older. I never got the privilege, my father died just before I turned eighteen. I’ve never held that chip on my shoulder, I turned out alright
The risk is ones ego. Most men who tout vetting as a relationship strategy tend to be early into their relationships. It’s not that a man knows it works, it’s that he hopes it worked, even though it was largely guesswork and coming to terms with the person that took interest in him.
Our ego tells us that this one of a kind girl is the kind of girl that we carefully observed and concluded that she was one of a kind, one in a million of her kind. For most men, the one of a kind girl wasn’t one of a kind, she was the one girl who kind of showed us any affection at all. The girl we were the kind of man that she was able to attract, he was her niche.
She had a specific type of man she could attract, and we let life happen to us.
And this is why vetting does not work. Vetting implies we are taking control over our lives, and in reality, most men are letting life happen to them, and vetting provides a narrative that allows a man to pretend he doesn’t sail to wherever the winds decide to take him. For the inexperienced man (most men) he doesn’t get to decide, others will decide for him and he has to come to terms with that, hence, vetting.
It doesn’t help that men are attached to wonderful container words such as: valor, honor, sacrifice, hardship. Military men are familiar with the phrase ‘Embrace the suck,’ as much of a military mans career is about enforced hardship in order to achieve a higher goal. It feels good, so many civilian men love to pretend their ability to keep a woman is akin to fighting the Nazis in Normandy.
“Sure, I would have served if it wasn’t for these flat feet, embrace the suck, Susan.”
Those container words are filled with values. A list used for vetting is a checklist of values, and those values did not come out of a vacuum. Men are not born with values inherent to them, they have to be taught, they have to be instilled in him. Who are the gatekeepers to values? Increasingly this is the pervue of women. Women create values, values by women, and for women. They may benefit a man, but in any situation where the values that benefit a man contradict the values that benefit a woman, the womans values win out, always.
The values in a mans life, the ‘should wants,’ or the ideological structure (not root words idea, ideal, logical.) Find me a social structure that creates these values that isn’t heavily influenced by women, and I’ll show you one that is about to. Women have invaded every male space and taken it over, often to the thunderous applause of the thirsty men who are happy to have the validation of their feminine gods to shine upon them. Paleolithic men loved to have structures that encourages women to join them, since women meant tribal longevity. That primal instinct is totally unprepared for a world of almost nine-billion people in peaceful societies removed from all natural threats. A mans deference to the female imperative is the diabetes of our value system, too much of a good thing is bad for us.
Men aren’t able to teach men anymore. The decimation of the family unit over generations has all but removed the man from the household, replaced with a substitute teacher father, who has Damocles sword over his head should he want to establish boundaries. “You’re not my real dad!” Right, his job was outsourced to cheap dad 2.0 labor. Pedophilia has pushed our removed many male teachers for young children. When I was a child I had a half a dozen male teachers before I got to high school, my nephew has none. Of the fathers that remain (half of the biological and step fathers) a great many are emasculated to the point of being wonderful feminist allies, codependent men who aren’t in a position to lead themselves, let alone lead the next generation of men to some measure of happiness. I know this because my generation wasn’t lead, and now we are in the position to pass on the lessons we didn’t learn to the generation that won’t stand a chance. I have a feeling a lot of dads will disagree with this and it warms my heart. You’re part of the solution, and this isn’t about you. The kind of person who reads this is so rare as to be a statistical outlier. I also know many of those dads are insecure, class conscious patriarch wannabes, the emperor wears no clothes, but one desperately needs him to be in a parka in order to convince himself that he’s happy.
There used to be other institutions that offered guidance outside the household. Church used to, though the pastors are now pastoresses. The church is running out of spaces for men so they coddle the women. It’s a common trope that the worst of women seek the church for absolution, and the church promises to get the flock to ‘man up and marry those hoes.’ Can you tell me that the church will fill mens heads with virtues that benefit him above all?
So without the influence of men, a cadre of women are spending the child's formative years instilling their feminine values onto him. It’s not malicious, they don’t know any different, nor should they. Men are raised as if they are women, is it any wonder they come out defective? The emasculated dads, the 2.0 not my dads? They are the cheerleaders, the allies. They parrot the same feminine attitudes and may as well grow breasts and own the role.
And many do.
So the needs of women are preached to men when they are young children, unencumbered by the needs of men. They are increasingly being removed from the household, the schools, and the churches. More and more women are spending more and more time around children, and raising men as if they were defective women, instilling the values that most resonate with women. We cannot expect any vetting to overcome the underlying values that created it. Though it does make women have a much easier time identifying these plow horses, looking to hardship and sacrifice for their next fix. First hit is free.
The thing about insecure men looking for assurances in their women is they don’t have the confidence in their own criteria. I’d suggest there’s something in our DNA that nags us, in the back of our head, a feeling that something is wrong, but not able to pinpoint exactly what it is. Mans ego soothes that, instead looking for the herd to reinforce and validate the values that were given to them by their women, codified in a list that is largely guesswork, in hopes of avoiding a risk that is poorly thought out, which is really the search for permanence in an impermanent social structure. We all die alone, the only difference is the spread between death and alone.
A man raised by men or influenced by men would be more accepting of the responsibility that comes with this. Female values search desperately to insulate responsibility, offload it onto authority, onto consensus, onto the rules. The modern relationship is like a virus set upon the traditional conservative values. Mind you, the thing about traditional conservative values is that they aren’t traditional, nor conservative. Modern men pretending they are traditional, based on advertisements from the Donna Reed show and Norman Rockwell Americana paintings, used to sell cigarettes and vacuums. Consumption culture doesn’t conserve, and the tradition was an aspirational one that actual tradition had to be convinced was the norm. A man isn’t the traditionalist, he is Norman, the symbol of relationships from a fictional time.
Vetting doesn’t work because it requires a cartel in his society. Everyone has to play by the same rules, and women just don’t. They don’t have to, it’s codified into law. Most family breakups aren’t from infidelity, or abuse, or some very reasonable criteria for their dissolution. They are broken up because, most of the time, the wife isn’t haaappy. Remember that sacrificial nobility referenced earlier? Those are his rules, not hers. Cartels never work, the instant one party can break the rules for personal gain, they do. Vetting can’t work when only half the society respects the values. Normans aspirations only work when Norman is the norm.
Does anyone know what one of the biggest indicators that a woman will divorce/separate are? It’s whether she has divorced friends. No one can vet a girl based on whether she has friends who will divorce in the next 5 years, or whether you’ll be required to move to a city and all new new friends and co workers are divorced women. As much as we like to think we are impervious to the influence the people around us give, we aren’t. I just wrote down the multitude of ways men have been raised with female values. Women are more prone to follow the herd then a man will ever be. It’s as large a difference between the sexes as there is the disparity in testosterone production between the sexes.
Thats the thing about vetting, or the vales checklists. Not only do I argue they aren’t effective, but it’s clear even the people who swear by them don’t have confidence in their efficacy. The mathematics of our world work whether it’s daytime or night, whether you’re in Africa of Asia. The value checklist only works if everyone has the same values, and homogeneous social groupings are basically extinct. I’d argue the Mormons, the Amish, and some of the backwater cultures on the dark continent are the last vestiges of it, but that doesn’t help anyone. A mass exodus will only water down what they have curated for themselves.
This all implies that the players are acting in good faith and honesty with each other.
In reality, vetting only serves to obfuscate the real people involved, encouraging masks, slowing down the period of getting to know the real person behind them. By the time the masks come down, it’s too late, the vetting has done its purpose already and it’s too late.
Earlier, when I suggested that the values that underlie a vetting checklist are build by women, for women? This couldn’t be any more clear than in seeing them work in practice. A man who is vetting a girl for a relationship doesn’t hide the fact he’s vetting a girl, in fact most men can’t shut up about their damned checklist. Two types of women will hear it, the first kind is the woman who has options, she sees one guy with a huge list of what she has to do, a shopping list to which the common answer is ‘you can’t tell me what to do!’ And she’s right. Any decently attractive young woman today doesn’t have to listen to a man ever, and no man has the ability to incentives her otherwise. The only tools he has are his value, and the tall buff guy on Tinder is much hotter, and has a much shorter list of criteria and he will win. Even chasing him will win, a mans list just isn’t any fun. However, once a woman has gotten to the tail end of ‘I wasted my 20s’ and wants out of the sexual marketplace (or worse yet, the sexual marketplace asks too much of her to continue) those same guys are sitting there with their lists. Clearly they are really good lists, look at how many women didn’t meet their criteria? No worries, girls have known whats on that list since they were seventeen. They throw away the bar dresses, grab a sun hat and a summer dress and take a few Tinder phis in a wheat field. Make sure she braids her hair and always stare:
Down and to the left, down and to the left. That’s a Kennedy assassination joke, and I worry it’s too obscure for anyone to catch.
Every man who played the field in his 20s and 30s knows these women. He’ll scroll through social media and see the girl he used to call up when he struck out on a Friday night, all of a sudden her bio looks like the Little House on the Prairie. “Wait, is this the same girl who I watched deep-throat a whiskey bottle last month?” No, it’s the virginal good girl who just wants a relationship, to settle down and have a family. And Norman will look at his list, look at her, and be so impressed with his luck.
“She is exactly what I’ve been looking for, she meets the list 100%” of course she did, when you follow the recipe you generally get the same dish as the one on the picture. She may believe that’s her now, shes highly invested in believing it, so why wouldn’t she? And for a year, two at most she will be. But the thing about masks is people cannot wear them forever. At some point she reverts back to her normal self, and the guy looks at someone who doesn’t resemble the girl on his list anymore. His ego will hide that from him, for a little while, but you can’t keep that up forever either. How do I know this so well? Hundreds of these guys are finding their way to this space via a Google search that has some variation of:
‘Hey Google, why won’t my wife have sex with me anymore?’
And it’s not just the girl wearing a mask either. The guy has his own mask, the one of the great guy with high standards, he’s loyal, he’s committed, and his greatest goal in life is to be the father of her children. It’s a narcissistic fantasy. He doesn’t want to raise a happy child into a functional adult, he wants to be a dad, and those aren’t the same thing. It’s OK if you don’t know the difference, because your kid will. Meanwhile the man gets to live his narcissistic fantasy, for a little while. He spent his adult life searching for this perfect woman, that value list stapled to his head like a party game. Read my wishes, fit the mold, and get what you want. Once a guy gets there, it all starts to sink in. His identity was created by women, for women. It’s not natural feeling. He may not know why he has this narcissistic fantasy, but after a while others go off script, others start to act like they have their own desires, their own values, and their own incentives to act in their own best interest. This isn’t supposed to happen!
After the first child, maybe before, maybe after, the girls honeymoon phase, or her mask comes off. Once it comes off she looks at that man beside her and realizes he doesn’t measure up to the kind of man that got her wet. She just doesn’t feel like it anymore, so she stops being his fantasy, his symbol to fetishes. The sun hat is replaced by a pixie cut, the cunt dressed replaced with a moo moo, the sweet femininity is replaced by a nagging battle Axe. The marriage is often replaced by a wealth transfer via divorce and accusations that he abused the kids. Never mind it’s not true, the courts have to act in the child's best interest, best not to take any chances! And once all this sinks in, the guy passes by any opportunities to take his balls back and start becoming an advocate for his own best unrests, once it’s too late, he finds out he’s been Zeroed Out.
This is narcissistic rage. It’s not pain, pain is when you drop a hammer on your foot. It’s not anger, anger is when someone else drops the hammer on your foot. Rage doesn’t make it to the frontal love, narcissistic rage is the limbic brain realizing that others aren’t adhering toe the narcissistic fantasy, they aren’t acting as the symbols of that fantasy, and the man can no longer fetishes them as set pieces in his one man play. Norman: The musical, no longer showing. This rage manifests in many ways. A man turns to the bottle, a man turns to nose candy, or turns to a barrel in the mouth. The lucky only rewrite their narcissistic fantasies, plume the women for daring to have agency and looking quickly for her replacement. Repeat until dead, free sandwich if you get the marriage card stamped 4 times.
Vetting doesn't work because vetting isn’t an action. It’s building a narcissistic fantasy wherein everyone gets to play their part until they get what they want, then the masks come off, we meet the real person bend them, and potentially have the narcissistic fantasy turn into narcissistic rage.
The man who gets married 2, 3, 4 times, he avoids all this by his ego investment. The mask comes off but his ego puts it right back on. She isn’t lying about working late, when she comes home to immediately have a shower it’s because she’s tired and it helps her sleep better. She isn’t texting someone else, you can trust her because you vetted her properly. Clearly you’re the best man in the world, she wouldn’t dare leave you for another man. Oh that guy? Yeah, you’re way better than him, so she couldn’t be lying about just being friends.
Vetting doesn’t work because our egos will work overtime to ensure anything and everything a woman does outside that list will conform to that list, the alternative is to admit we were wrong, the list is wrong, and that we were living a lie. We can’t have that, so it must be some other convoluted explanation!
So we have a list of values that were largely guesswork, put together by a man who lets life happen to him and rationalizes it as a preference. The values that underlie the list are created by women, for women, and increasingly with less and less male influence when it matters the most. It vets for values that only have meaning if the social groups we belong to act as a cartel, which they never do. The list is really just a script for an unrealistic play that two people agreed to do for a year or two until it becomes too hard to pretend, and even when it happens, a man will most likely pretend it’s everyone else's fault but his own that anything went wrong.
For some men they rewrite the narrative on the fly, their ego defends them against living in a lie by changing the lie. Miller lite masculinity, named after the flavorless beer is a great safeguard against coming to terms with a false fantasy crashing down. Instead of exploding outward, raging against the failed scripts outside, they go inside. The man isolated himself in the man cave, isolated from the family he vetted for. He turns from chasing women and family to chasing fantasy football, growing a beard, driving a truck, drinking beer, smoking a pipe, jerking off to fine leather, doing anything and everything to hide from the fact that his narcissistic fantasy is a lie. Norman 2: Electric Boogaloo is born.
Even if all of that isn’t true, and everything happens in the exact opposite way, it wouldn’t make any difference. People could be honest, cartels could work, the list could be foolproof and the values congruent with a mans best interest and it still wouldn’t matter. Vetting is about as useful as MBTI, astrology for the educated. It offers a snapshot into a persons life instead of the longitudinal assessment everyone hopes it to be.
What is MBTI? The Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It’s a pop-psychology form of astrology. Instead of Sagittarius there’s introversion, instead of Scorpio there’s sensing. How does this relate to vetting, or value lists? It’s because they don’t predict anything, they merely assess a person at a moment in time. People change, relationships change people, and the person you were with 5 years ago isn’t the same person you are with now. We can be generous and call it growth, or we can not and call it divergence. The point is, the values you vet for are not the values she will have after your first child, after you put a ring on her, or after the divorce papers are served. MBTI has a half life of 6 weeks, that means that if you give a hundred people an MBTI assessment, in 6 weeks half of them will test differently. Now it is pop-psychology, on par with phrenology, it’s got more rigor than your damned list. What do you think the half life is of your value assessments? What do you think your skill is when it comes to accurately assessing a girls values?
People shed their cells and replace them all the time. The person you knew seven years ago is almost entirely a completely new person, a Ship of Theseus in real time. When a man vets a girl, he isn’t assessing her long term commitment to his fantasies, he is assessing her ability to fulfill them today, right now, and merely hopes that it will carry onto the future. I’d say the divorce rate is a good indicator as to the longevity of vetting, but it’s no longer very good at it, people know the jig is up, and stopped even testing their lists. I don’t blame them, I consider myself among them. Do you really think you were smarter, more rigorous, a better judge of character than half the men that came before you? Maybe you are, are you also better, smarter, more rigorous than the ones who beat the odds and live out quiet lives of desperation inside of their marriage? Any smart man shouldn’t have that same level of certainty.
If the list, the values, the qualities you measured today have no guarantees of being there tomorrow, why even bother with the list, it’s just a crap shoot. Oh, so it increases the odds? OK, and betting on red or black instead of a specific number has better odds in roulette, the house takes it all in the end. Surely men are smart enough to figure out a better way.
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