Vetting, Part VI: A camera isn't designed to snap a lifetime
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 it’s 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:
I. 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.
V. 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.
VI. 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.
VII. 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.
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.