Sorry for the long wall of text, this is my first topic on this forum. I started reading more about TRP last summer (starting with TRM, which was extremely eye-opening!), but I never felt compelled to post my own topic until now.
TRP has uncloaked a series of previously invisible truths. Among them, I now realize how alpha my father is, and how he taught my brother and I a lot of RP lessons that I took for granted or never even noticed. Reading more RP for the last year has also made me reexamine a few of his examples and lessons, including those that I ignored or didn't fully understand. He and my mother have an excellent marriage (relatively speaking / by LTR standards), and my brother and I are, more or less, well-adjusted (though I still have some work and learning to do for sure). While my parents have certainly had some major disagreements, I have always wondered why they did not fight like other parents I saw growing up - many of whom got divorced or probably will soon. Analyzing their behavior through a RP lens, I think I now understand why.
NOTE: In a lot of these examples I show how my mom tries to lie or be manipulative and how my dad shuts her down. This is not to disparage my mother, but to show that in many ways AWALT. My mom is amazing and I love her dearly.
A Few Ways My Dad Controls Frame
My dad dropped out of school to be a musician and went to Colorado for a few years because he was passionate about music. He can sing, play guitar, and has a lot of great stories he tells selectively. He is talented, interesting, and still has high SMV even at his age (late 60s). He works out every morning now and makes time for himself in the evening to do his own thing (read, watch sports, etc.) and expects not to be interrupted.
My parents are an unlikely pair, and met when my dad was 32 and my mom was 20. On their first date my dad told my mom some (but not all) of his adventures as a musician – talking about all of the friends he made, famous people he met or knew, and hinting at various sexual escapades (DHV). He told her about other girls he was seeing at that moment, including one that wanted to be exclusive with him that he wasn't all that interested in. Even now, he continues to carry an aura of mystery about himself, and while my mom tells my siblings and I that “your father fucked half of Colorado and you probably have some half-siblings somewhere”, even she does not know all of his secrets, as he reveals a new thing about his past every once in a while. My mom usually says “What?! I didn’t know that! You never told me that!”, to which my dad usually replies: “You never asked.” before moving on. More examples on frame to follow.
- Passes almost every shit test and does not let my mom gaslight anyone:
Even now, my mom constantly shit tests him, and every time she questions him illogically or says something that is incorrect (or crazy) he points out why she is wrong - both firmly and unapologetically. Women have this unique ability to exploit group dynamics to win arguments, shit test, silence, or gaslight (there should be a term for this, and maybe there already is). In my family, my mom has always used family dinners and friendly gatherings to shit test or gaslight my dad and others.
Like most women, she believes that the need to be polite and cordial in front of others will prevent people from calling her and other women out. Not my dad. Just recently, my family was conversing after dinner and my mom started talking about how she always used to be a little fat when she was younger, which is why she is having problems losing weight. She kept looking sheepishly at my dad while she elaborated, and when she was done my dad smiled, looked her right in the eyes and said: "You weren't fat. You were never fat." This is the absolute truth, as my mother was gorgeous and extremely skinny when she was younger.
When she tries to rewrite various aspects of family history, my dad shuts that shit down immediately, and if she carries on he tells her exactly actually what happened step-by-step until my mom submits and admits my dad's version is correct. He does not raise his voice, and usually does it with a playfully skeptical smile on his face. At this point, she usually laughs off the fact that he called her on her bullshit and changes the subject.
- Flirts with and negs women - even in front of my mom and his kids: (dread game)
Even though he is in his late 60s, my dad still flirts with random women and even lightly flirts with my mom's friends. He never says anything blatantly nasty, but uses sardonic wit and innuendo and then plays it off like it was nothing. A few times, women have come onto my dad in front of my mom and he flirted back a little, which definitely pissed her off, but clearly made her way more clingy and protective of my dad.
Once, my dad and I were in line returning something the day after Christmas and he saw a chick with tattoos of spiders going up her leg. My dad said (quite loudly): "See that girl with the tattoos? Worst case of crabs EVER!" We started laughing hysterically, trying to be as quiet as possible, as the girl clearly heard us and was slightly embarrassed. About a month later, he took my brother to a barbershop and the same chick was there and ended up cutting my brother's hair. He said the same exact thing to her face and said he recognized her from that day after Christmas. He started asking her about her “bad decisions, like getting crappy tattoos”, but did it in a playful and flirty manner, getting the girl to laugh and be comfortable. She ended up cutting my brother’s hair for a year or two, and according to my brother she was always visibly disappointed when my mom dropped my brother off instead of my dad – which pissed my mom off to the point where she would complain about the girl even though she did a good job cutting my brother’s hair. Clearly my mom sees that other women recognize my dad’s value and it makes her jealous.
- Lets people's imagination fill things in when it benefits him:
During conversations where he is being attacked or might look bad, he dismisses and laughs everything off and moves on. During conversations where he looks good, receives a compliment, or is expected to elaborate on a skill he possesses or experience he had, he smiles, stays silent to qualify the statement, does not elaborate so people wonder exactly how awesome he is or why the statement is true, and then moves on. For example, no one in my family has heard my dad sing except for me and my mom. My mom always says that he has a beautiful voice and should sing more. She even asks him to sing in front of people so they can see it too (shit test). Does he sing because she asks him to? Fuck no. He usually smiles for a while, shrugs modestly, and moves on - usually nonchalantly taking a sip of wine or a bite of steak.
- Stresses how important it is to stay in shape and make more money than your spouse:
When my parents met, he was 12 years older than her but in great shape. He let himself go off-and-on when I was younger, and when he lost his job my mom also let herself go. Both of them were upset by this, and this is the only time I can really remember them fighting a lot. My dad eventually got a better job making a lot more money than my mom and started working out again every morning – which he does to this day. After people started noticing my dad was in great shape, my mom started working out again too. I don’t think that is coincidence, and neither does my dad. He has told us that if a woman makes more money than you she thinks she can control you, and that if she thinks you aren’t better than her she might let herself go or stop trying. Sound familiar?
- Almost never compliments my mom directly:
He compliments my mom all the time when she is not around – especially on her musical ability, intelligence, and work ethic (my mom is actually pretty amazing). This sends a positive message to his children (“I love your mom, and you should, too.”), but he knows that the compliment eventually gets back to her through us. In fact, I am pretty sure he counts on it. When I tell my mom “Dad says your voice always mesmerized him”, she gets flustered and says “He literally never tells me that!”, which makes her happy but puts her on edge. This makes his infrequent but direct compliments more meaningful and sincere, while also keeping my mom on her toes. When she fishes for compliments in front of people my dad usually just smiles and says nothing, which drives my mom nuts. He almost never compliments her directly or shows great affection in front of other people.
- Walks away when he is not interested in something to do his own thing:
Growing up, we had various family friends over for dinner. Some of the dinner conversations became heated political discussions, which my dad wanted nothing to do with. Did he sit there and complain that we should be talking about something else? Did he attack someone when they accused him of having an inferior belief to their own? Nope. He would simply smile, say “I’ll check back in a while.”, leave the room, and do his own thing until he heard the yelling stop. Sometimes he would come back to the conversation, sometime he wouldn’t, but every time this happened he was literally doing something better with his time that he enjoyed. My mom and the other women took notice, and a couple times I remember my mom and her friends started talking about my dad, wondering what he was doing and complimenting him a lot while he was out of the room.
My mom was smoking hot when she was younger (in case you were wondering it was great hearing my friends talk about banging her when I was young… >_>), and many of my friend’s fathers took notice. During this time, my dad never showed that he was threatened by any of them. Ever. If they flirted with my mom, he flirted with their wives. Despite not being very tall, he was in better shape than most of them and usually a hell of a lot more interesting. To be fair, my mom grew up in a household with good family values, and when someone made her uncomfortable, either in her head or in reality, she would tell my dad. My dad would then smile, calmly comfort her, and take care of it. He never lost his cool.
Various RP Lessons for Me and My Brother
- When he fucks up he owns it and moves on:
My dad has made a ton of mistakes in his life, but owns them, imparts his knowledge, and moves on. The biggest mistake he made was getting into debt. Both he and my mom had a ton of credit card debt, my dad lost his job, and they had to borrow money from my grandma to prevent being evicted. My mom actually led the charge on this front to get out of debt, and when my dad didn’t change his behavior my mom actually told my siblings and I and him that if he opened up another credit card she would leave him. Let me rephrase this: the only time my mom has ever threatened to leave my dad was when he didn’t have a job and was incurring credit card debt – this is despite the fact that he supported her for years after she got laid off. He changed his behavior, and since then has encouraged never getting into debt and being smart with money. He has never swayed from this since, and this is but one example of him walking the walk and assimilating an important behavior and lesson into his greater frame.
- Don't be a knight in shining armor:
When I was in junior high and early high school, I definitely had a white knight complex. I remember talking with my dad once about some girl at school saying something like "So I told her not to hang out with guys like that or she will find herself in a bad situation and people will think she is a slut." My dad shut that shit down and explained to me that protecting other people's honor is misguided, stupid, and an exercise in futility. He explained that I was being controlling, that you can't and shouldn't control people, that everyone makes their own mistakes, that people need to make some mistakes to grow, and that when I got older I would understand that better. He reinforced this any time he suspected me of being jealous or clingy in any of my relationships or when observing my friends’ relationships, and did the same with my brother. He also taught me that when a girl is acting like they need to be saved they just want attention, aren’t interested in you, and probably think you are a pussy. Tough love, but he was right and I learned.
I had a “serious” relationship with a girl in high school that lasted almost two years. During this time, I would occasionally talk about how she was the one for me and a lot of other pseudo-romantic bullshit. My dad would laugh at this and explain to me how there really isn’t a “one”, and how the notion itself is unhealthy. He would ask hypothetical questions like: “You are 17, what if she got hit by a car? Would you never find another one like her until you die?” or “6 billion people (at the time) in the world and she is the only one for you? Give me a break.” I didn’t agree with him at first because I was young and stupid and getting laid, but over time his skepticism won me over.
Fast forward some years later, some of the biggest fights I had with my ex-wife were about us being the perfect “ones” for each other. I should have seen it as a red flag that we were still having these fights into early adulthood, but I was young and stupid and getting laid. By this time, I had adopted my father’s philosophy that there is no “one”, and that we should just be grateful that we found each other and were happy. This, however, did not work with my ex’s narrative since she wanted to tell people that we both saw each other as “soulmates”. Pardon me while I puke in my mouth a bit. I have my dad to thank for making me see the light on this issue early on.
- Don’t shit where you eat:
My dad warned me multiple time growing up to never date people at work – especially those you work with directly. He had dated people in the same company before, but never someone who worked with him, or even in the same building. I did this twice, and while one instance was not so bad, the other was a complete disaster that almost ended very badly for me. My dad stressed the importance of being hardworking, confident, and unattached at work so that things don’t get complicated. He also pointed out that men are often most attractive when they aren’t trying to be. He was right.
- Didn’t let me forget the financial side of love and divorce
When I told my dad I was thinking about divorcing my ex he heard me out and supported me. He showed sympathy, but also immediately pointed out that if I made or inherited significant amounts of money while I was thinking it over, my ex would be entitled to some of it. My ex and I didn’t have kids, so there were luckily no major complications, but I am so happy he was there to bring me down to earth and remind me of the practical side of signing that piece of paper. I went to the courthouse within a few days of that conversation to get it over with.
My dad taught me that respect was earned, and that authority was arbitrary. Both should be questioned constantly, and should not be given or recognized automatically. After getting out of debt, he stressed the value of “Fuck You” money, and definitely did not want to see any of his children be slaves to anything – debt, a job, or a person. If someone gets in your way or tries to stop you: fuck ‘em. Do your own thing. You will find people like you eventually, or others will follow you.
My dad is pretty damn funny and witty when he wants to be, so here are a few other miscellaneous truths he told me and my brother growing up:
When I turned 30: "Don’t worry, you can still fuck 20 year olds when you are a billionaire!" My mom overheard this and got pissed at him, but we both laughed hysterically.
"Date the stupid ones, but only marry the smart ones." I told my mom that he would always tell this to me and my brother. She paused for about ten seconds ,then said “He’s such an asshole…” You could tell it made her like him more.
When I was playing Pop Warner football, we played a game against some really rich kids at their field. My dad started pointing out some ugly girls my age in the stands saying “How about that one?” I told him I was a bit confused why he was pointing out only ugly girls, to which he replied: "Marry an ugly rich girl. They will definitely say yes and their parents can pay to make them pretty." This one really made my mom mad when I told her he said that haha.
Last but not least, I have only seen my dad cry twice, and both times he went out of his way to hide it from my mom as best he could. Both times were at funerals for people we really cared about, and the losses were unexpected and absolutely devastating. Still, he stayed calm and collected around my mom because he knew he had to.
Things I have not lived up to (yet):
I played basketball, lifted weights, ran, and did martial arts when I was in high school and early college. After getting married, I continued with this until my marriage faltered and I started to let myself go. I went from ~165 to 220 fucking lbs. I am back down to 180, and have recently started to lift and run again.
That said, it is important that you *always stay in shape – no matter what happens in life. Others have said this, and I cannot stress this enough. Don’t get comfortable, because something bad could happen at any moment and you want to be prepared to move on. Unless you were born with a chronic illness or disability, your health and to a large extent your looks, are things that you can absolutely control.
- Getting completely out of debt:
I still have quite a bit of student loan debt to pay off, and am studying for a second degree (completely my choice). In addition to my full-time job, I do freelance work programming and building websites, and am working on a number of side projects to not only pay this debt off as quickly as possible, but to live the life I want and have a shitload of money so I am ready for anything in life.
I hope that if I ever have children, I can teach them even more RP stuff than my dad taught me.
Thank you to all of TRP people on this forum, and a special shout out to Rollo Tomassi and TRM for opening my eyes the rest of the way. I have purchased your third book but have not had time to read it yet. Something to look forward to! :)