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I’m frankly sick of the phrase “bitch shield”. Let me offer an analogy. A man of inherited wealth and privilege is exceedingly arrogant and rude to other people. He treats waiters and doormen like garbage, calls people of less means “plebs”, “proles”, and “poors”, and he holds and expresses the attitude that those of less means are subhuman, lazy, and cowardly. He is either blind to the fact that he has had an atypical and easy life, or justifies the fact on the grounds that he is simply better.

It’s not difficult to imagine a person like this. There are a lot of rich assholes like him out there. Let’s go ahead and further assume that he can “flip the switch” on his obnoxiousness. Around his father (who has the power to “cut him off” from his trust fund) he’s polite and seems outright submissive. When trying to impress a girl, he’s charming. Around the three or four friends he has, people he’s known since prep school of similar backgrounds, he’s fairly down-to-earth.

Let’s go further and assume that you’re of average means, and that this guy has just treated you like dirt. Understandably, you dislike him. One of his friends excuses his behavior. “He’s not really such a bad guy. The obnoxiousness is just an act. That’s just his rich shield. If you can prove your status to him, he’s actually a decent guy.” How would you respond?

If you’re like me, your response would be something like the following: “What? I have to prove my status to this prick? No thanks. ‘Rich shield’ or none, he’s shown himself to be an unlikeable asshole.”

The same goes for the bitch shield. A woman with a “bitch shield” is not a nice person who happens to carry a miserable demeanor around, as if it were some sort of tactical accessory. She’s a contemptible bitch, plain and simple, and she deserves to be called such, to her face and behind her back. No excuses. So let’s retire the concept and excuse of the “bitch shield” right now.

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Over at GirlGame, aoefe posted an essay, “Dissonance“, on the contrast of her traditional beliefs about gender and relationships against the truths (and untruths) she has learned in the Roissy-sphere. In one column, she presents what I call the “nice guy” view of relationships; in the other, she presents the most dystopian elements of the Roissy sphere. Obviously, for all of these dichotomies, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I’ll attempt to mediate these incongruities as well as I can.

1. I thought my accomplishments [as a woman] mattered vs. they are inconsequential to men. Achievements matter to men in relationships, but not in the same way they matter to society at large. Why is this? Society values devoted specialists, while in relationships, there’s a premium on well-roundedness. It’s better for one’s spouse to be modestly intelligent, good-looking, charming, and educated than it is for that person to excel at one to the detriment of others. As is a husband’s, a wife’s role is difficult and multi-faceted. She has to be a lover, a mother, a best friend, a spiritual and intellectual partner, and (when her husband is ill) a caretaker– a tough job with a wide array of responsbilities. Integrity and kindness are crucial. So are intelligence, education, ambition and beauty, but diminishing returns have already set in by the time a woman enters the top 1% for any of these. It doesn’t hurt for a woman to have a 150 IQ, but it’s not necessary.

Society, in the external sense, rewards people for being “pointy” rather than well-rounded– for reaching the apex of a narrow discipline. No one gets a promotion for being a great father, or for having a lot of hobbies. Professional athletes are not expected to be belletrists, nor are poets expected to excel on the basketball court. Obviously, there are practical limits on the extent to which one can invest all of one’s endowment into one discipline, but those who excel are often those who reach and push those limits, and they’re rarely well-rounded. This is just an inherent trade-off in life.

The female lawyer is a Roissy stock character for overblown “pointiness”– the woman who has invested the bulk of her time and emotional energy into the rigid, competitive, and rationalistic discipline of law, placing her social and inner lives on the back-burner. This is what’s rewarded (and requisite for any measure of success) in large-firm law (“biglaw”). It is not what most men want in a relationship.

Are a woman’s accomplishments treasured by men? Yes, absolutely. Skill, passion, intelligence, dedication, and artistic talent are major turn-ons. That said, while the difference between a “10” concert pianist and an “8” matter for one who aspires to the world stage, it’s just not an important factor in a relationship. Moreover, sacrificing important virtues for the sake of achievement, as is required in the most cutthroat careers (investment banking and large-firm law) makes a woman undesirable.

2. I thought confidence was attractive vs. confidence in a woman is not required. A woman’s confidence is an asset in a relationship, and a major turn-on in the bedroom. Yes, it is very attractive for a woman to confident, just as it is for her to be accomplished.

The world of “game”, however, is that of the crude sexual market. Sexual market value (SMV) is different altogether from desirability in the context of long-term relationships, to the point that there’s very little overlap. (This is one of the reasons why combat dating, casual sex, and the nightlife scene are among the worst places to look for relationships.) A woman’s SMV is based on her ability to provoke short-term, r-selective sexual desire. Intellectual, personal, and spiritual confidence– all of which matter immensely in long-term, loving relationships– have no bearing on a woman’s SMV. Even sexual confidence, although it makes a woman great in bed, does not appreciably raise her SMV. Her “market value” is largely determined by her looks, although it can be boosted via a certain bitchy social confidence that many men conflate with physical attractiveness, because they lack the self-awareness to recognize its influence.

On a related note, here’s a nasty secret about SMV. It has very little correlation, if any, to whether a person is good in bed. The casual-sex scene is focused entirely on the pursuit of social status, not great sexual experiences. In fact, most people would agree that peak sexual experiences require intimacy, trust, and love between the two partners, and are therefore completely impossible on the casual scene.

3. I thought men enjoyed curves vs. men are turned off by less than slender. We’re all different. I’d say, in general, that I prefer a curvy and slightly muscular build with a BMI around 21-22. On a 5’8 (173cm) woman, this would be 138-145 pounds (63-66kg). Muscle, curves, fat– I like it all, in moderation. My tastes differ from those of the stereotypical male in other ways: I prefer small-to-medium breasts (perky A-cups) and dark skin color. I also find small bellies– the kind that are flat when a woman is standing, but soft and slightly pudgy when she sits– irresistably sexy. We men are all different in what we like.

What’s relevant to a woman’s success on the sexual market is the ratio of the number of men who prefer her body type to the number of women who have it. About 0.5% of men prefer obese women. If only 0.25% of American women were obese, instead of over 30%, they’d be “niche” lovers in a privileged position. Very thin women are in a good position because they’re preferred by such a large percentage of men but, in my experience, many of those are not the best men, just as women who prefer six-pack abs tend to be uncultured. The men who criticize their BMI-20 girlfriends for being “too fat” tend to be jackasses in other ways– misogynists, cheaters, bad lovers, and creeps.

Also, let’s not forget that the men who are most critical of womens’ bodies are those who have very little experience with real women. Men with even modest amounts of experience know that the emotional context triumphs over minor nuances in physical appearance. The Internets harbor quite a few basement virgins with this attitude, but I wouldn’t put much stock in what they think, unless one is interested in dating men like this guy (watch 1:00 – 2:00).

4. I thought aging was natural and acceptable vs. aging is ugly you might as well die. On the sexual market, a woman’s value plummets precipitously in her early 30s but, as I’ve said before, SMV is irrelevant to a woman’s long-term desirability. Desirable men marry women in their 30s and 40s all the time. In fact, most desirable men I know in their 30s and 40s prefer a woman 2-5 years younger than they are, not 10-20.

Men’s preferences for age gaps tend to be correlated to their inexperience, and it’s easy to imagine why. I’m 26, and although maturity is much more important than age, I’d most likely prefer to be with a woman of 23-26. I have no desire to date a 20-year-old. Why? Because I have before, when I was 23. I’ve dated women of every age between 17 and 22, and I’m basically done with those ages. Most of the older men who prefer women in their late teens and early 20s, in my observation, are those who never had the chance to date attractive women when they were young. I have, and I’ve moved on.

A woman whose self-worth is tied to her sexual market value, and to a steady diet of crass male attention, “might as well die” on her 30th birthday, because these benefits are about to recede from her life forever. Women with more mature senses of self-worth generally do fine. If they take care of themselves and age well, they’re highly desired by men their own age (including, if they’re married, their husbands) for long-term relationships.

As for aging being “ugly”, I don’t think so. I know some very good-looking 80-year-olds. They aren’t sexy to a 26-year-old’s eye, but they’re still attractive people. Attractive young people tend to age into attractive older people, even though they don’t inspire carnal lust later in life. Besides, very few people are ugly, even among those who are overweight. Most people I find sexually unattractive, but I would qualify far less than 1% of people I meet as ugly.

Moreover, even beauty itself is not necessarily tied to youth or SMV. Consider Michelle Obama. She’s a stunningly beautiful person, physically and otherwise, but I certainly wouldn’t consider her a sex symbol. Her beauty is derived from her elegance, intelligence, passion, and physical comeliness– not raw sex appeal. As a 45-year-old woman, her SMV (outside of her marriage) is virtually nonexistent, but I’d be thrilled to marry a lady like her, and one who ages as well as she does; and it’s no surprise that her husband, even with the presidency and millions of options, adores her. I bet he’s faithful to her as well; if he weren’t, I’d be angry, because she’s a wonderful woman.

Most men in happy marriages remain in love with their wives, even as they age. Who minds a couple laugh lines on the face one fell in love with? They’re a reminder of times enjoyed together. On that note, shared memories and depths of intimacy achieved are not easily replaced, and keep a wife’s “marital value” buoyant, rendering what happens to her SMV utterly irrelevant.

5. I believed I had value vs. to men I have very little. You do have value, in the world of long-term relationships. If you’re in a happy marriage, your husband will adore and treasure you.

On the casual sexual marketplace, however, people are interchangeable commodities, valued and priced according to a single measure of status. Absolutely no one is exempt from this. For a woman, this is largely determined by her appearance; for a man, it’s based on his “psychosocial dominance”, or Game. People who find this immoral or appalling, such as me, are best to avoid the casual-sex market and the combat-dating racket at all costs.

It’s important to note that “Game’s” tenets are often self-confirming biases. People with such a dismal view of human nature tend to find themselves surrounded with low-quality people, and the behaviors they encounter confirm their negative stances. “Game” is calibrated toward sociosexual success with low-quality people, the reason for this being their sheer number. In truth, the quality of people is not distributed like a bell curve. It’s shaped much more like a pyramid, and those who desire lifestyles of high-frequency sexuality must target the wide but dismal base of it.

6. I was mate selective because of personality type vs. I am hypergamous due to biological drive. “Hypergamy” is a difficult word to discuss, because it means different things to different audiences. There’s good hypergamy and bad. For women to desire men for their character, intelligence, integrity, ambition, and integrity is a great form of hypergamy, and one that impels society to grow. For women to desire men based on their sociosexual dominance or because those men are desired by other females (preselection) is bad hypergamy. The word hypergamy is used pejoratively in the Roissy-sphere, but largely because the style of hypergamy seen in the world of casual sex, Game, and combat dating is the disgusting and immoral variety. Hypergamy doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

It’s virtuous for a woman to be selective, but vicious for her to be picky. The distinction is as follows: the selective woman places a high value on intimacy, love, and men worthy of her affections. She gives her body and heart only to men who earn them, but does not reject men prematurely. The picky woman is one who rejects men for trivial reasons, such as poor fashion sense or a lack of Game.

7. I thought men were just men vs. men are alpha, beta, omega and zeta. The sexual marketplace, and the reversion to pre-monogamous sexual norms, created these artifacts. Alphas are the men who succeed in this nightmarish world, much like the rats and vermin that inhabit ruined environments. Betas are men, leaning toward monogamy, who are desirable for long-term relationships, and who succeeded in the previous regime, but are shortchanged by this one. Gammas (or omegas) are the men who succeed at neither, and often make fools of themselves attempting to become “alpha”. Zetas are analytically connected to the distribution of the prime numbers.

8. I thought racism had died out vs. racism is alive & well. The world of casual sex and combat dating is hellish, bringing out the worst in people. It’s also one of the most superficial social environments on earth, focused intensely on physical presence. This means that race will undeniably have a major role in it. For woman, race has a strong but complex effect on her SMV. For example, the obnoxious alphas often desire racial variety for the sake of “collecting” a complete set of racial categories, but they prefer to date blonde white women for the status benefits afforded. By contrast, the betas, who are significantly more desirable for (and desiring of) long-term relationships, tend to be very open to dating women of all races, and many are dating interracially. Love is far too beautiful to be rejected on such trivial grounds.

Racism is dying out, slowly, but this society has a long way to go. Interracial love, relationships and marriage are bringing down racial barriers rapidly, although the dehumanizing and ruthlessly competitive environment of casual sex and combat dating is one of the last places we’ll see racism disappear.

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Barry Schwartz, in The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, explains how having a large number of choices, in certain circumstances, can increase the stress people endure as they choose, and reduce their happiness with their choice after making it. Beyond a certain point, people aren’t more satisfied when they have more choice, but more restless. They’d be happier with fewer options.

The gist of the argument is like this. Let’s say that there are three flavors of ice cream available. When choosing, one doesn’t expect to be blown away by one’s selection, as there are only three options. The ice cream will be good, but one doesn’t feel personally responsible if it isn’t great. Very good is good enough. Not only that, but one can sample all of the available flavors within a reasonable amount of time and figure out what one prefers. If there are 67 flavors, one’s expectations are higher, and one simply cannot try all of them out. One never knows if something better isn’t out there. Even choosing an “optimal” option, at this point, becomes very difficult. Most people are used to making pairwise comparisons and struggle to choose a “best” out of so many alternatives. (In fact, when people are asked to rank more than 4 or 5 choices, their ordering is usually heavily influenced by order of presentation, making their rankings suspect.)

Dating, in a large city, has the same problem. With a lot of choices, it seems like one can always “upgrade”, and people of both genders seem to have adopted this belief. I’m not even completely confident that I’m free of this toxic attitude. It leads to a very crass dating environment, in which relationships are viewed as disposable– something that can be thrown out if it doesn’t “hold the room together”. Some people even sleep with multiple people concurrently, which this author finds disgusting and immoral. The frenetic, impulsive chaos that has been made of the dating environment makes everyone– except for the alpha males and sluts who, like cockroaches, thrive in damaged environments– unhappy. On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue that “choice” is a bad thing, especially on this matter. One’s selection of marital partner is the most important decision one will make, so it’s good to be a bit choosy. Anyway, one of the predominant reasons young people move to large cities is to have so much choice in dating. Certainly, this is one of my reasons for living in the city. Is this not, then, what we asked for?

Well, no. The truth is that much of this “choice” is illusory. In a large city, one might see hundreds of attractive people in a day, but how does one approach them all? It can’t be done. It would waste too much energy for very little benefit. With reasonably peeled eyes and decent small talk, it might be possible for a man to get 3-10 attractive girls’ numbers in a week, without going out of his way. How many will call back? Very, very few. Possibly zero. Believing that something better is always around the corner, urban women are essentially incapable of taking a new person seriously. (Men are somewhat better, but no saints either.)

The many-choices, window-shopping model of dating never worked, but it fails especially badly when most of those choices don’t really exist. For both men and women, they add stress and make people unhappy, and they still disrupt relationships, in spite of not being real options. A man is presented, in a large city, by an inexhaustible stream of attractive women, although 99% of them are inaccessible or will refuse to take him seriously. It doesn’t matter if he’s good-looking, smart, or wealthy. The experience is universal. Urban women likewise struggle to enter committed relationships– and let’s be un-PC and honest here, men loathe women with such attitudes and discard them without remorse– believing there are many more suitors out there than there actually are.

Eventually, most men realize that they’re being enticed with “shiny shit!!!” and that there is no substance to any of it. I’d imagine that women face a similar problem– a stream of male attention, most of it from low-quality men or men who aren’t serious. The result is frustration, wasted energy, and deep unhappiness. Scaled up to the aggregate, it brings about a landscape of empty and pointless dating, in which people are never satisfied or secure, always looking out for something “better”, and always aware that the other person is doing the same.

Schwartz describes two behaviors people face when presented with copious choice. One is maximizing, or trying to choose the best option. Feasible when the number of options is small and the problem is well-defined, it fails when the number of options is large and the problem is complicated, such as in dating. The other is satisficing, where the objective is to find a choice that is good enough. Satisficers tend, in general, to be happier people. It’s important to note that satisficing is not settling, as a satisficer continues searching until finding a choice meeting his or her standards; he or she just has no concern with getting “the best”. I wouldn’t, of course, advocate full-on settling in dating– people shouldn’t shack up with people who don’t make them happy, just to be attached– but the maximizer’s strategy is clearly impractical as well. We have to “satisfice”, given the impossibility of maximizing in the dating process, and the very high costs involved with being too picky. (I’d rather meet a “98%” match at 26 than a “99%” match at 55.)

The most important thing to understand in making a complex choice is search cost. In crude economic terms, one’s benefit (“utility”) equals the quality (Q) of one’s choice, minus all search costs (C) incurred in finding and making it, or U = Q – C. Eventually, marginal improvements in Q are offset by massive increases in C. In dating, these costs are the time and emotional energy dumped into the process. The costs– both to the individual and to society– are massive, considering the emotional (“baggage”) and sexual (high “numbers”) wreckage resulting from widespread and pervasive failure. To reduce them, people have attempted to develop shortcuts, none of which have worked very well. For example, speed dating is more civilized than the bar scene, but generally a fail. (I’ll address it in a later post.) A more crass shortcut is high-frequency, commoditized combat dating designed for quick filtering on social status. For example, women “shit test” men as a quick means of assessing the man’s “alpha” status, increasing the rapidity with which they can sift through potential suitors. Shit testing reduces the women’s search costs, but unfortunately, merely externalizes them. By instilling in men the (highly disadvantageous) suspicion that women are nasty, crass creatures, the shit-testing woman shifts her emotional search costs onto the men she dates. Men, of course, have their own bullshit behaviors that serve to externalize their costs onto women. Everyone ends up losing.

I feel a need to state an obvious truth about the dating mess. “Something better” is often an illusion. Most of the choice presented is only “shiny shit!!!” in the end. There’s no such thing as the “best” person for anyone, because another person’s dating “quality” is dynamic. People change, as do relationships. This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t hold out for genuine love, but it does mean that holding out for “the best” or “the alpha” is patently ridiculous. No, you’ll never find a man with all his good qualities and 3 inches more of height. You’ll never find a blouse-filling version of that small-breasted, otherwise ideal girl. You can take the “hold out for perfection or die trying” attitude, but I can predict which of those will happen first. This is true even in New York, where the world’s a subway and apparent choices fly by with blinding speed. Accept it.

More to that point, wrecking oneself, others, and the entire dating environment in the hope of making one’s search go a little bit faster, or to find someone a little bit more “alpha”/”HB10″ish, is not a good idea. It’s one of the major reasons urban combat dating exists. If people weren’t so unrefined, brutish and crude, the dating scene would be a lot less horrible. The process might even be fun, instead of a source of stress and loathing. Then “searching” might not be such a miserable chore, and people might not be so nervous and miserable about the whole process. Search costs would become lower, and that’s not an abstraction. If we treated each other better, we’d have less “baggage” and clearer heads. We’d end up making better choices, and that would be good for everyone.

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I’ve published another article at The Spearhead: “Most Men Don’t Flake, and No One Likes Those Who Do.” Read the article here. It’s about the disparity in standards of expected social behavior from men and women, and ways in which women would benefit from rising to the male standard.

An excerpt:

A college friend of mine sent me an email this afternoon around 5:30, wanting to discuss logistics an arrangement next week. A strange thing happened. Once I noticed that the email had arrived, I replied. Immediately. I wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise. What would I gain by imposing an artificial delay on my response?

This doesn’t mean I’m always available. If I’m writing code or a blog post, I let calls go to voicemail and don’t check my email, not wanting to break my “flow”. I occasionally forget to return a call or write someone, but I always feel bad about it when I do, and it doesn’t happen often. I don’t enjoy flaking, don’t see a point in it, and don’t know why I would. Is it supposed to project status? Could’ve fooled me. I tend to think of flakes as indecisive losers, not “popular” people.

Women who flake do so because it’s part of their “busy game”. A lot of women, bizarrely, equate being unavailable and scarce with their time with a projection status. Sorry I don’t have time for you; I just have such an exciting life. To quote Helen Jordan, the immensely successful, but vapid and presumably untalented, novelist in Happiness, “I hate Saturday nights. Everybody wants me, Joy. You have no idea”. In truth, no man interprets a “packed social calendar”, much less outright flakage, with popularity in any meaningful sense of the word. If a woman is too busy to see a man once a week, and constantly making him apply for time, we assume she’s passive-aggressive, uninterested, or completely out of control of her life. […]

Read the full article, and make comments, here.

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Beta. In software, it represents a cutting-edge product that is still a work in progress. In gender dynamics, applied to a man, it means a man whose sexual power is artificially depressed by the crude sexual marketplace of an imploding culture that values cheap and horrible things. “Beta” describes a large range of men, from the social 15th to 98th percentile; at the top, these men are as “good”, by any reasonable standard, as the “alphas”. They’re often attractive, intelligent, and sociable, but lack the calculated social dominance necessary to attract women in the modern, instant-gratification-obsessed dating culture. Unskilled at triggering “the spark” immediately, they’re often passed over entirely.

Are there beta females? I believe so. It seems, out on the dating market, that a lot of women are shallow, useless and whorish, but most of the women I know off-market (friends, friends’ girlfriends) are not like this. I’m tempted to make a “silent majority” argument in favor of the average woman being a relatively kind, sweet person. Why is she so rarely found on the dating scene, instead pestilent with serial daters and casual-sexing whores? Because she’s uncomfortable there. The beta “good girl” either finds a mate early, in college, or she waits. Not liking the dating scene, she doesn’t go there, Not comfortable approaching men, she doesn’t. She joins churches and book clubs and hiking groups, makes a few close female friends, and hopes to meet her “prince” through these safer, sanitized venues. She might create a profile on an online dating site or two, but nothing much ever comes of it. She often goes into her 30s single and inexperienced, even though absolutely nothing is wrong with her. Her standards are high, but justifiably and not unreasonably so. Her tastes in men are evolved– she likes intelligence and kindness more than bullshit social dominance. She’s even pretty, although usually not “hot”. She’s a great girl, if a man can find her.

Women have an alpha/beta problem, but it’s of a different sort altogether. I blogged about the alpha female archetype last week, and how her toxic behavior is seeping into American culture. This time, I’ll post about the female “beta” affliction.

Despite feminism, men are still responsible for making approaches, while women play the passive role. The male is the initiator in about 90% of relationships, and 99% of those that form outside of an educational institution. Women must to be carried into the relationship. Let’s consider how this plays out for the betas in both sexes. The “beta” male approaches women as often and eagerly– if not moreso– as the alpha male. The problem is that womanizing is not his natural form, and he hasn’t developed the skills that have become second nature to serial seducers. In contrast to these men, he looks like an awkward fool, much like an inexperienced juggler or a talentless freestyle rapper. (“I got the rhymes but I’m never on time and they’re sour like a lime; I should just pantomime, yo.”)

Women rarely approach men. This, obviously, is extremely unfortunate for the beta males. The approacher starts from a slight position of inferiority that betas are bad at overcoming. Men who are objectively desirable, but lack the domain-specific social skills of “game”, would have an easier time with women if the ladies were willing to do some of the legwork. I will also argue that beta females will benefit from such a regime.

Women are approached a lot, while lingering gender roles prevent them from making approaches. Women are socialized to believe that “if he likes you, he’ll come to you” and that they should “sit back, look pretty, and be chased”. I don’t think this is true. Often, the opposite is. A lot of men have no problem chasing “one-nighter girls”, because there is no feeling of loss if they fail, but become very awkward and shy around women they really like. Women have also been led to believe that it’s slutty for a woman to approach a man, which is patently ridiculous. After all, this isn’t the 1890s, and we have enough actual sluts running around this world that for a girl to ask a man out for coffee shouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

Many women have never made an approach in their entire lives. Therefore, they have never been rejected. I know many women who have never been dumped, either. So rejection– only as irksome, for seasoned men, as being caught in a rainstorm– terrifies women as much as it did us at age 13. Ladies seem to believe they can’t handle it. Rendered incapable of approaching men, women are stuck selecting men from the set who approach them. Women are approached often, of course, but much of the attention thrown their way is of extremely low quality.

Beta women are often more desirable than “alphas”– intelligent, beautiful, and kind– but lack the edge that would qualify them as “hot”. This is the “girl next door” archetype. She has A- or B-cup breasts, shoulder-length hair, and, except when swimming, won’t wear anything skimpier than a tanktop. Such women are approached often by male standards, but not nearly as often as the flashier, “hot” alpha women. Alpha women generally get an order of magnitude more volume in approaches.

An example of this is blondeness. Men will rate an otherwise identical blonde and brunette to be roughly equal in attractiveness, and will usually rate the brunette slightly better as a long-term partner. Men, in their intelligent and rational minds, do not have such a strong preference for blonde women. Yet, at a bar, the blonde will be approached three or more times as often. The same holds true for black women; most white men are not afraid of dating or marrying black women, but it’s still uncommon for them to approach them. Such factors, irrelevant to long-term relationships, are numerous and they compound geometrically. Some are ephemeral or controllable– for example, a woman exposing her shoulders, despite their being only a mildly sexual body part, at least doubles her visibility to men. Others are immutable and permanent features. The result of this is that the “girl-next-door” beta, likely to be of higher long-term value than “hot” counterpart, will be approached 10 to 50 times less often. The same “power law” distribution we see in men’s success in approaches also appears in womens’ frequencies of approaches.

The beta female is approached ridiculously often by male standards; but within her frame of comparison, she’s not. Her “outgoing” sister with the tramp stamp is approached by 25 times as many men, leaving her feeling unattractive in comparison, and relatively unwanted. Her confidence wanes, for the same reason the beta male’s does– it’s just insulting to see a human of low quality enjoying 5-50 times as much sexual or social opportunity, for absolutely no good reason. This renders her confused. She knows she’s beautiful, smart, and interesting, but can’t see to land the right man. Men must be “intimidated” by her intelligence, she presumes. Or “all the good ones are taken”, leaving only the bottom-feeders. Or nice guys are out there, but they don’t approach her.

No, Sally: it’s more like this. When it comes to whom they approach and how they approach these women, most men are fucking idiots. They don’t know what they’re doing, and they often work against their own interests. As execrable a trait as I find “preselection” in women, it exists just as strongly in men on the bar/party scene that is modern society’s only dating avenue left. It even happens in speed dating, a structured dating environment designed to give the betas “equal time”. The flashier, bubbly/slutty girls are designated as “hot” and the herb herd mentality sets in. These men aren’t looking for long-term relationships, but trying to assert their status. Combat dating, yo.

Beta women, like beta men, are able to find long-term relationships, but the dry and single spells between them are often long. These women still get attention from men, but not much in the way of quality, because most attention women receive is spam. At least in the short term, statistics are not in the beta girl’s favor. Beta women can improve their prospects in two ways. The first is to start approaching men. Yes, it will be awkward, and rejection will happen. If men can deal with it, so can women. Moreover, we (unlike women) are quite forgiving of mild social awkwardness in a person we like– it’s endearing– so a woman’s concern about awkwardness in making an approach should not hinder her. Even if she’s never done it before, it can’t hurt.

The second suggestion is that women need to focus this newfound assertiveness on the right men. Many women already are assertive, but only with hard-to-get alpha shitheads, and it gets them nowhere. If you’re an intelligent, kind “girl next door”– a “7”, following the crude practice of placing a woman’s beauty on a 0-10 scale– there are millions of men who would love to marry you and, when they fall in love, they will see you as the most beautiful woman in the world. Potential great husbands exist, but they’re almost certainly all “beta”. This doesn’t mean that they’re milquetoast, boring or passive. It merely means that they lack the domain-specific skills necessary to trigger a romantic “spark” in the first 90 seconds of conversation. In other words, they don’t do this. Beta males trigger the K-selective, but not the r-selective, sex drive. The K-drive is much more powerful than the r-drive, but delayed in its onset. It never goes off “at first sight”. This means that, with a beta, the first romantic stirrings might emerge as late as the end of the second date, and a woman might not want to sleep with him until she’s known him for two months. Luckily for her, most “beta” men are willing to wait a few months before having sex, a small sacrifice for the right woman. They have patience, and women would be wise to develop it as well. Only in Hollywood does “the spark” happen 23 minutes after the male and female leads are introduced.

Attractive, intelligent women who find themselves nonetheless ignored by the impulsive, frenetic dating market are not imagining things. Women have an alpha problem as nasty as the one that men face. On the other hand, if women implement the two suggestions given above, they’ll not only make their own lives better, but those of a number of men, as well. Everyone wins.

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This is advice for American woman on how to “clean up” in dating by cleaning up dating. No gimmicks are involved. It’s a straightforward approach. Return his calls? Admit that you like him? Demand respect from him? Yes, it can be that simple.

Many early video games were wars of attrition against an increasingly unforgiving machine, with no clear ending. You could achieve a high score, but you never finished the game. The original NES version of Tetris, becoming increasingly difficult as the game progressed, was literally impossible (without hacks or cheats) to play at level 29. The pieces fell faster than the game could receive input from the controller. It killed you off. Before that was the original Pac-Man, which simply crashed after 255 levels– considered an irrelevant bug, as the designers expected no player to get that far. Both games were phenomenally successful; that they were never “completed” did not reduce their appeal.

Many other 1980s video games, as well, were unforgivably difficult, but surprisingly engrossing nonetheless. They had to be hard, as the game required repetition if one were to pack 100+ hours of gameplay into such a small space as was available at the time (on the order of 32-256 KB). Important to note, in the study of game addiction, is that the losses contribute as much to addiction as the high scores and successes. Yet enough about video games; let’s move our ludic focus to a different type of “game”: dating.

The goal of dating is the happy ending, a thrilling and lifelong partnership. It should be “winnable”. What happens when is you “beat the game” is that you find a lifelong partnership that never loses its luster, as is the case for a small set of couples. Many obstacles block people from achieving this successful outcome, and one among them is an addictive but losing approach, that has infected the urban dating scene to such an extent that virtually everyone is familiar with it: combat dating.

Combat dating is a dating process wherein asserting one’s own, and assessing the other’s person’s, social status is of primary importance, and treated as much more crucial than the “traditional” purpose of dating– getting to know, understand, and eventually love another person. In combat dating, the display and judgment of social status are achieved through subtle put-downs, displays of dominance, and bad behaviors (“shit tests”) designed to provoke strong, and potentially revealing, reactions. So-called “pick-up artistry” is the male facet of combat dating, but it has an equally ugly female component, in the form of not-returned calls, last-minute cancels, and inappropriate, rude shit tests.

Combat dating has the illusion of being a future-oriented activity. The Rules, while advocating combat dating (“never return his calls”), claims to be a road map to marriage. I’m sure some women have gotten “a ring on it” by behaving this way, but it’s not the foundation of a respectful relationship, and it’s only going to make everyone lose in the long run. People can marry despite fatal resentments created very early in the relationship, and the woman who refuses to return calls, or transparently pretends to be more busy than she actually is, is planting some very destructive seeds.

There isn’t the space to get into this, but aloof behavior by women doesn’t stoke the “hunter” or “chaser” instinct. It inspires the rape instinct, one that decent men have evolved so far from that they’ve extinguished it. In modern society, a woman is extremely unlikely to be raped for refusing to return calls, but when she ends up dating a string of overbearing assholes, she shouldn’t be surprised, because she’s stoking male resentment. An aloof, cold woman inspires a man to want to destroy or dismantle her, and this is why such women invariably find the most unhealthy relationships.

Winning combat dating is like winning a war, which, as a friend of mine says, is like winning an earthquake. The “game” is designed to feel winnable, but each success is utterly empty. So you’re a man who’s slept with his first HB9, even though she was terrible in bed? Or you’re a woman who has five men attempting to contact her, each leaving minute-long messages despite your refusal to return calls? Great job, Sisyphus. Now, those of us who aren’t interested in the pointless loss of time can discuss a different accomplishment: how to escape the hell of combat dating.

On this matter, it’s women who will lead our culture out of this mess. This is because there are already men who eschew such practices, but they are generally too naive and “gameless” to enjoy significant success. Men cannot re-civilize dating unless a significant proportion of women are on board with this change. In order to abolish combat dating once and for all, a “critical mass” of women will be required to step up. Here are four (out of many) ways a woman can remove herself from the combat-dating hell, making herself a highly desirable girlfriend.

1. Never sleep around. Casual sex begat combat dating. When such an emotionally loaded decision is expected to be made so soon, a hostile environment ensues. The “three-date rule”? That’s idiotic; you often know nothing about a person after 3 dates. If sex were expected to happen after the establishment of a love relationship, and therefore months off in the distance, we’d have a much more genteel and respectful dating environment. A woman who wishes to maximize her desirability to the best men is advised never to have sex outside of a committed and loving relationship. Then, dating can take a more relaxed pace. As for the men who’ll vanish if a woman doesn’t sleep with him after 3 dates? No loss; they weren’t worth dating in the first place.

2. Be enthusiastic. Return his calls. Women are afraid to be “too assertive” with men, as if to show genuine enthusiasm makes a girl seem “easy”. Often, they’re afraid it will make them seem slutty. Obviously, this is ridiculous. This aversion might have made sense in the 1890s, but in 2009, there are so many actual sluts out there that no one’s going to pass judgment on a woman for (gasp!) asking a man out to coffee. Men respect assertive women.

Also, it’s crucial that a woman make time for a man. Many women mistakenly believe that for a woman to be constantly busy is a sign of high social desirability. Wrong. To a man, it’s a sign of disheveledness and stupidity. A woman who forces a man to “apply for time” is not casting herself as desirable, but leading him to think of her as flighty and disposable.

The woman who refuses to return calls is going to be tossed out of bed as soon as she “gives it up”, and forgotten after a month if she never does. Once conquered or written off as a loss, she’s discarded. By contrast, the gal who returns (or even initiates) calls is communicating, I’m a great girlfriend. She’s much more likely to get a good man to stick around, regardless of when she has sex with him.

3. Demand respect. Although a great girlfriend is enthusiastic about and admiring of her boyfriend, she should never be a doormat, but an equal partner. Admire and grow to love him, but also love yourself. “You’re awesome, but so am I” is the best attitude. It’s not just women who value confidence in a prospective mate. In the long term, confident and assertive women are considered the most attractive. It’s much more meaningful to be admired by someone who holds herself in high regard than by someone who doesn’t.

4. Be very sexual– with him. Once in a sexual relationship, initiate sex. Know what you like, and demand it. (You masturbate, right? If not, start.) Don’t hold back. Express pleasure when he kisses you. Breathe heavily during foreplay. A reasonable man never loses respect for a woman because she’s sexual with him.

These four suggestions come from a list that could be miles long, but indicate the general shift in womens’ attitudes and behavior that needs to take place. None of these suggestions involve any deception; all of them call for above-board assertiveness and a degree of honesty that qualifies as “extreme” by the standards of modern dating. This is because, in truth, the single most important aspect of being a great girlfriend is being a great friend, and more important to being a great friend is being a great person. In this light, the combat dater’s quest for romantic success by being a horrible person should seem absurd and foolish. I hope I’ve convinced my readers that it is.

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Genuine friendship between single, heterosexual opposite-sex adults is rare. Why? The answer’s not just “sexual tension”. Platonic friendships are common in teenagers, who are just as horny as adults. Nor are same-sex platonic friendships uncommon among gays. I address the causes opposing opposite-sex platonic pairings, and discuss solutions.

I took a psychology course in high school where the teacher described patterns in friendships according to age. He said that most of us, at 17, had as many opposite-sex friends as same-sex friends. (In my case, this was true.) He also told us that, starting in our mid-20s, we’d have many more same-sex friends, and very few opposite-sex friends. This I didn’t believe, but he was right. As a 25-year-old man, I probably have ten times as many male friends as female, and most of the latter I’ve known since college, if not before. Making a new female friend is an extremely rare event, friends’ girlfriends aside. It seems to be harder, for most people in their mid-20s, to become genuine friends with a single person of the opposite sex, than it is to get into a relationship.

After college, opposite-sex friends are harder to come by. Usually, when it happens, it’s through couplings considered sacrosanct. For example, most of my female friends are girlfriends and wives of close male friends; sleeping with them is out of the question, and would be so even if their relationships ended. For a single man and woman to become friends, on the other hand, is very rare. The often-blamed culprit is “sexual tension”. This assumes that all men want to fuck all reasonably attractive women at all times, or that women suspect this of men. This is not entirely true. The problem is more subtle.

The “sexual tension” explanation is, nonetheless, half-right. For a man in his 20s, celibacy is painful. Men are expected to be in control of “the situation” at all times– at least traditionally, they make the first call, choose the venue of the first date, and move in for the first kiss. So a long dry spell, even when it can be attributed to a busy work schedule, high standards, and a run of bad luck, feels like a manifestation of inability. Failure to procure. A man who has not had sex in 6 months is, invariably, constantly thinking about it. Like money and health, sex is one of those matters that settles into its right place when abundant, but that people obsess over when it’s lacking. All of this said, to assume such a man will eagerly hop into bed with the first willing woman is patently ridiculous. As with many women, a large proportion of men, and possibly a majority, are “nice guys” do not have sex outside of a committed relationship.

The average single “nice guy”, when he meets a woman he finds attractive, doesn’t begin with the idea of her as a sexual object. Instead, he evaluates her as a potential girlfriend. Often, the potential for a relationship is simply not there. Sometimes he’s the first to recognize this; more often, it’s the woman who is more perceptive, the result being rejection. The not-nice guys– assholes, if you will– will try to sleep with a romantically incompatible woman anyway, in order to gratify their own egos. We can be thankful that they’re uncommon. By contrast, the nice guy will often want to remain friends with her. If nothing else, there’s a long-term romantic benefit in having a strong social network, since friends of friends are the most common source of romantic introductions. The woman might also desire his friendship. Alas, it’s very unlikely that genuine friendship will happen.

There are at least two prerequisites for genuine friendship to exist between single heterosexuals of the opposite sex.

1. Disinterest in a romantic relationship is mutual, and known by both to be so. If the man is sexually and romantically attracted to the woman, and the woman has no sexual feelings for the man, this is a problem. The same holds if the reverse is true. If the friendship becomes painful for either party, or if suspicion and discomfort enter it, it will invariably end.

When a woman rejects a man, his romantic and sexual interest in her will usually dissipate over the next few days. Rejection implies a discrepancy between how the man perceives the woman and his relationship to her, and what actually is. So a rejected man, if he’s introspective, will step back and re-assess the situation. Sometimes, she’s just a bitch. Much more likely, she’s a fine person, but she believes there’s no romantic potential between the two of them (and she’s probably right). If this “re-assessment” results in the extinction of the man’s romantic desire for her, friendship is possible. (If he finds himself deeper in unrequited “love”, friendship is not possible, and he should break off all contact with her for his own sake. He should also grow a pair.)

2. The woman considers the man to be an attractive person. The woman may have absolutely no sexual feelings for the man. She may have rejected his advances months ago. This is not a problem. In both sexes, but especially in women, there’s a difference between (a) considering someone attractive and (b) being personally attracted to that person, the former being a necessary but not sufficient condition for the latter. If the woman considers the man to be “a catch” and would eagerly set him up on a date with her beautiful, single best friend, they can get along, even if she has no sexual interest in him. If she would never set him up with a beautiful and potentially compatible female friend, then she considers him to be inferior and genuine friendship is not possible.

What men need to do: If a man realizes that a woman is never going to be his girlfriend (she rejects him, or they’re just not compatible) and wants to remain friends with her, he needs to have been, and to remain, utterly respectful of her. Pick-up artistry is a great way to project oneself as the type of psychosocially dominant (to use Roissy‘s terminology) man that weak, vulnerable women want to have sex with. It doesn’t make a girl want to spend time with a man.

Above-board, “nice guy” approaches to attracting women do not inspire raw sexual attraction in as large a number of women as pick-up artistry, and they take much more time to develop. If being friends (“LJBF”) with a woman is held to be of zero value, and therefore equivalent to being outright rejected, PUA is the way to go; but if the man’s goal is to expand his social circle and improve his odds with women in the very-long run, a respectful approach is a much better idea. I’ve been both a “nice guy” and an unbelievable asshole in my time; I know this much from experience.

What women need to do: Men are rarely subtle about their romantic and sexual intentions. Once these become evident, the woman should ask herself if she has similar intentions. If not, the next decision is whether she wants to be friends with this man. If she does, she has to make a bold and very rare move. First, she must diplomatically but firmly reject him. Not returning calls is an unacceptable method of doing this. What does she say, in rejecting him? “You’re not my type” and “I don’t want to ruin our friendship” are a massive pile of buttfail; the first is extremely insulting, and the second is transparent. I’m just not interested in dating anyone right now. That’s all she needs to say. It’s not insulting, it’s plausible, and no one can argue against it. (If she pairs up with anyone in the next three months, she’ll certainly lose the friendship. This may or may not be a bad trade.)

Her next move is a bit dicier, but equally necessary. For a single and celibate man to be around desirable women can be painful, and if she’s not “on his team”, he doesn’t want to be friends with her. She doesn’t need to sleep with him or be his girlfriend to be supportive of him, of course. (Obviously, if she doesn’t want to sleep with him, she outright shouldn’t.) She must, however, offer copious assistance to him in his search for a mate. I’m not talking about advice; he can get that on the internet. She needs to make introductions. She needs to offer time as his “wingman”. After formally rejecting him, she probably shouldn’t contact him for 3-4 weeks. When she does, on first in-person contact, she should offer to set him up with a desirable and potentially compatible female friend. He won’t ask for this; she must volunteer. (The reason for the 3-4 week waiting period is to avoid casting her friend as the “replacement”. By this point, the man should have recognized his incompatibility with the woman who rejected him and be out of love infatuation.) Men generally assume that women enjoy playing “match-maker”, and that if a female friend doesn’t offer to set a man up with her desirable single friends, she actually thinks he’s a loser. So introducing a man to her desirable female friends is the only way a woman can signal that, despite her lack of romantic interest in this man, she seeks genuine friendship– not the sort of post-rejection pity-friendship that makes both parties miserable– and considers him a desirable person.

This is difficult, of course, and can be awkward. It’s not unusual or awkward for a single man and woman in their 20s to be friends, but it’s very unlikely for them to become friends. Combat dating inspires men to approach women, and women to react, in a manner that is rude and inspires either immediate sexual attraction or bitter contempt– but never friendship. Most women, also, lack the social skill necessary to turn a guy down without making him dislike her.

Obviously, the goal of finding a romantic partner is rightly placed, by people in their 20s, higher than that of making an opposite-sex friend. It’s much more valuable to have a great girlfriend than a girl friend. On the other hand, when romantic potential is not present between two people, there’s value in forming a genuine friendship, since a strong social network makes the search for a mate substantially easier. I hope that I’ve illustrated how this is possible.

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