Epistemic status: Exploring new area, making bold claim
What is a shittest?
In conventional usage, a shit-test is a behavior strategy in which a woman challenges a man's status/value/loyaly/ by observing his response. Some common variants include: giving a man an unreasonable task to see if he does it (where negotiating or refusing the request would signal high status), insulting a suitor, or behaving in a particularly unpleasant way to test for loyalty. The phrase "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best" is sometimes the idea. I won't link to any PUA or romance blogs becuase most of them suck: as always I recommend Geoffrey Miller's Mate for practical advice.
What are they good for
Despite the bad reputations, I think shit-testing is instrumentally rational for the tester. In the right situation, more men should do it.
I recently moved from a female-minority mating market to a male-minority mating market in a US coastal city. I'm also a better match for people's preferences here. Because of the new market, it takes me far fewer hours of bumbling/socializing to get a date on average. It looks like I can have 1 +/- .5 dates a week at the cost of only a 4-5 hours of texting/week. I will also live in this city for a much longer time. Therefore its worthwhile to take my time in mate selection and meet a few preferences. Shittesting helps me sort people.
I have two main behavioral preferences I shit test for.
How do they argue?
I want partners with:
- low need for closure (NFC) - they should have be willing to change ideas on new evidence and accept that there is not one definitive answer
- are able to supply arguments I find compelling
- evaluate arguments I make in a compelling way
I want low NFC partners because they are much more fun to talk to. Talking to someone who hears one argument for a position then adopts that position and ignores all future arguments is just really really boring. Also I have found people with high NFC have more one-dimensional, less nuanced views (anecdotal). Furthermore, I seek partners who can supply compelling arguments because I don't want to have to fake finding their arguments compelling. If she can rip apart my arguments, that's the cherry on top because I'll improve my arguments every time we hang out.
Shit-testing for this is easy to do on a first date. I wait for my date to make an interesting proposition, then I supply contradictory evidence or state that I am unconvinced. This test gets diverse responses. The responses I dislike are: repeating the assertion/evidence, arguing to authority, ad hominem, avoiding the disagreement, a non-compelling critique of my evidence. The low NFC responses are: supplying an additional argument, motte-and-bailey[^1], a compelling critique of my evidence, supplying multiple new arguments, clarifying the original position. I've given the shit-test 4 times and had 1 pass and 2 failures and 1 tie.
For example, last night my date asserted that the Belgian racial policies caused the Rwandan genocide. I countered that ethnic divisions are common and mostly nonviolent, positing a food insecurity explanation. She supplied an argument about the unusually disorganized quality of the violence and the targeting of the killings. Iirc, she also pointed to the partition of India. She pointed out that while ethnic division is common, equal size ethnic groups are much less common. HOT.
How do they train me?
I accept basically accept Diana Fleischman's argument that people subconsciously reinforce and punish behaviors to shape their partners. She is giving a SSC online meetup talk this Sunday, which I am excited about. People both subconsciously and consciously train their partners by punishing behaviors they dislike and rewarding behaviors they prefer. Fleischman argues that women have evolved to train more effectively than man.
My preference is for a woman that
- Trains me in traits I myself want to change
- Trains me more with rewards and less with punishment
- Is willing to watch the Diana Fleishman lectures and think about the best relationship for both of us
So I need a shit test for that, but I'm not sure how. The problem is that people probably don't start punishing partners during the "honeymoon" period. I need behaviors I can observe or test in the honeymoon period which are strongly correlated with my preferences. Ideas welcome!
[^1] Fallacies are fine. I want a smart women with an open mind, not an ideal Bayesian Homonculus.