Following yesterday’s post on how to never get shit tested, I was led to reflect on the nature of what a shit test even is.
Essentially, it’s a tactic used to establish a social pecking order between two (or more) people.
Figuring out where you sit in relation to another person on the social hierarchy is perhaps on of our most primitive instincts. It would have been used historically to determine privilege of access to resources, and to mates.
When two people meet, they will initially feel each other out to determine who is the dominant party. Many cues are at play – mainly nonverbal through body language and eye contact – but also some verbal. Shit tests are always thought of as being verbal in form, but this isn’t necessarily so. A woman is testing you when she tries to push in front of you at a queue. Or when you’ve piqued her interest, and she gets into your personal space to try to fluster you, or tries to hold eye contact with you until you drop it for example.
This isn’t just limited to male/female interactions. It is especially noticeable with male/male interactions also, whereby a new guy being introduced to a group will typically be the recipient of some ribbing and banter, as the group try to assess who he is and what his place in the hierarchy is. If he shows that he is not able to handle the tests, he’ll probably be warmly accepted and placed low down in the hierarchy (who doesn’t like having someone around they can feel better than?). If he shows he’s capable of handling himself, and has high self-esteem, chances are the reception will be more cagey, as the existing higher status members of the group try to size him up as a potential threat.
When a girl throws a shit test at you, she is trying to wrest control of the most important frame away from you – namely the frame of “I have more social value than you”. Lose the test, and in her mind, you are low value, and she is not romantically interested in you. Beat the test, and you become potential mate material.
In the context of the above, it then becomes obvious how if your apparent social value and dominance is high enough, as conveyed simply by your countenance and eye contact, that your place in the social pecking order is beyond question, and no tests will even be issued, apart from by perhaps by others who (rightly or wrongly) assume themselves to be your equal.